FAQ/Walkthrough by Taenju

Version 1.2, Last Updated 2013-08-24

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Copyright Information

Exclaimer: I do not own any property of the game, and the views and beliefs expressed in-game do not necessarily represent my own.

This text document is Copyrighted under me, Thomas A Halter Jr. This document cannot be rerecorded or hosted anywhere without my consent. I have given my consent to host my document to: Gamefaqs.com. As of the posting of this FAQ I do not wish to have my FAQ hosted outside GameFaqs or otherwise outside the GameSpot network. Any reproduction without my consent will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law in any case of copyright violation.

Any characters, licenses, and/or software and other copyrighted objects are copyright under their respective owners and entities. Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm and its associated characters are property of Blizzard Entertainment and it's respective entities.

Version History


Version 1.00 3/16/13

  • Initial Walkthrough Outline created
  • Gamefaqs Markup mechanics implemented
  • Copyright information created
  • Table of Contents created
  • Version History created
  • Author's Note created
  • Intro created
  • Walkthrough created
  • Zerg Tricks/Terminology created
  • credits Added

Version 1.10 3/18/13

  • Minor spelling/grammar errors fixed
  • Minor formatting errors fixed
  • Some sections rewritten for clarity
  • Multiplayer Changes from Wings of Liberty added
  • Master Swarm Campaign Achievement list added

Version 1.11 3/18/13

  • Minor formatting errors fixed

Version 1.2 8/23/13

  • "Missing Link" achievement added to Mastery Achievements
  • "Missing Link" strategy added to walkthrough

Author's Note

I purchased a copy of Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm on the U.S. release date of 3/12/13, and I played the campaign mode and writing the walkthrough as I experienced the game for the first time. The purpose of this is to provide a walkthrough that does not spoil the events ahead of the text, provided the reader doesn't skip ahead missions.

That being the case I will most certainly miss hidden collectibles, easter eggs, or other valuables throughout the first iterations of this walkthrough. I would be absolutely ELATED for the GameFaqs community to help fill in the gaps and I will of course be abiding to GameFaqs's golden rule of giving credit to my help. Simply send me an e-mail at Taenju@hotmail.com to give me the information you wish to provide. The only caveat to this is I will not include creative content that I cannot credit to someone. So if you are giving me a suggestion for a strategy for a mission or challenge please give me a GameFaqs username I can credit or the content will NOT be added to the game.

As far as my experience with Starcraft goes, in order to give a background to my validity writing this walkthrough, I have played Starcraft I casually for a couple years before getting Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty and playing competitively for the first time alongside the campaigns. For those of you that are curious as to my skill level, I have practiced up to a Silver level 1v1, 2v2 and 3v3 as well as a Gold level 4v4 primarily playing as either Terran or Random (This was during the last ladder season before Heart of the Swarm launched). Now to argue for my walkthrough before everyone dismisses the lowly silver player, I have beaten the Wings of Liberty Campaign fully on Brutal Difficulty and I definitely think it takes a different capacity to overcome campaign challenges than it does to be proficient at multiplayer. If you wish to see my profile in game I go under the username "AdvsInfinity" where you can see my rankings and campaign achievements.

I will be writing this walkthrough at this time of me being a Silver player and I will be providing strategies for Brutal difficulty to ensure that my walkthrough will apply to a reasonable amount of skill without having to be a Platinum or Diamond level Starcrafter. Starcraft II campaign or not you still need to understand basic strategic concepts like the build order, macro, micro, and planning but when going through the campaign it is more of using the tools available to you to overcome a challenging problem whereas in Multiplayer it is much more about strategies and counter-strategies. The walkthrough will be written with all of this in mind and this is the background that's going to inform the in-game decisions like upgrades and progression.

This is going to be my sixth guide as well as my tenth contribution to GameFaqs overall, including reviews. Also, this is going to be the first time I will have written a walkthrough in GameFaqs's "Formatted FAQs" style and I am pretty excited already writing this and not having to worry about line length and being able to include my own screenshots within the document to help illustrate the strategies I am providing. I will also be submitting a user review and then I plan on providing an achievement list if GameFaqs will support it, if not it will be here all the same.

For those of who interested on what other guides I've written they are Dark Void, Army of Two: The 40th Day, Aliens Vs Predator (2010), and Dante's Inferno (my FotM winner). On that note I'd better mention that I will not be including a Mechanics section like I have in the past where I explain all the systems of a game for two reasons: the first being that Starcraft II is a Real Time Strategy game and a mechanics section for it like I have done for other games would end up taking up half the document, instead I am going to include a few general Zerg tricks that take advantage of the current systems to make playing the game easier both in the campaign and in multiplayer as well as some of the terminology I will be using throughout the guide. If you want a full explanations of all the game's systems go to the in-game tutorial section as they give a pretty comprehensive overview of the bare mechanics much better than I ever could in text format. To access this tutorial click "Menu," (which, at the time of writing this was in the bottom right corner) and then select "Help," you should be brought to a screen with various help functions and at the top is a button labeled "Launch Tutorial" and that will bring you to the main video tutorial menu.

Now one thing to keep im mind for my walkthrough is that I will be primarily focusing on strategies and methods that succeeding in getting me either the Brutal difficulty completion or Hard difficulty Mastery achievement. You can also obviously apply these methods to beat each mission at lower difficulties if you wish, just keep in mind that because you might be doing that some of the things I suggest may seem like they are overcompensating/overkill for the challenges you'll face.

Zerg Tricks

Note: I expect this to be the section that has the most reader-expanded section with people sending me more tips and tricks, just be sure to give me a GameFaqs username to attach to it!

Fast Larvae Inject


This is the way I have learned to use your Queens and be able to use their "Spawn Larvae" ability on all of your hatcheries at the same time: the key comes with the fast that (by default) the "Center Camera on main base" button is bound to the Backspace key. Pressing this key once centers your camera on your first base, then pressing it subsequent times cycles through your bases. Now, provided you have at least one queen at each base with enough energy to spawn larvae, this should work without much issue


1. (Make sure all of your Queens are on the same control group by the way) Press the control group key you created for your Queens.


2. Press "V" or whatever your hotkey is for "Spawn Larvae" depending on your setup.


3. Press "Backspace" to focus on your main base, do not scroll or adjust your camera at this point.


4. Press and hold "Shift"


5. Click on your base


6. Press "Backspace"


7. Repeat 5 and 6 until all of your Hatcheries have Spawn Larvae working on them.


8. Release "Shift", go along your merry way.


I have found this to be a reliable way to larvae inject all of your hatcheries very quickly, how well this works however still depends on your ability to be vigilant and manage your Queen's energy alongside everything else your doing. One Problem that might happen with this process is if you have less Queens than Hatcheries or if one of your Queens doesn't have enough energy for spawn larvae this will cause another Queen to attempt to move away from her base and move to another one to execute the Spawn Larvae command, so be very careful for runaway Queens when doing this. Some players also like to change the cycle Base hotkey from "Backspace" to "Space" so that they don't have to take the time to move their left hand to make this trick work but that comes down to personal preference, I like keeping controls on their defaults myself so I don't screw anything up but that's me.


Infested Terrans, Burst Mode


More a multiplayer trick, but when you have your infestor hit squad, you want them to do as much damage to a standing army or mineral line as quickly as possible, however when you move them out and you start giving the command to spawn infested terrans you can click as fast as you can but you're still limited to a stream of infested terrans that will be spawning one at a time and your opponent might have enough time to react and defuse the trap. An easy way to remedy this is to shift-queue the infestors moving to a spot then queuing up all of the infested marines:


1. Command your infestors to where you want the infested terran surprise attack, pretty close to where the infested terrans will actually stand.


2. Press the hotkey for infested terran.


3. Press and hold "shift"


4. Spam click near where you've ordered the infestors to go.


5. Release "Shift", go along your merry way.


What you will get from this is your infestors will move to the spot you have specified and then spew a couple dozen infested terrans at the exact same time, giving the opponent the least amount of time to react and take the most damage out of your infestor hit squad.

Terminology

Supply Blocked/Capped: This happens when you reach your supply limit for your Army and is generally something you need to avoid unless you're at the ceiling of 200 supply.


Drops: Usually referring to a tactic involving a unit that can transport other units, for zerg that's the Overlord with the transport upgrade, protoss it's the Warp Prism, and for terran the Medivac. For example if I'm saying to destroy a target with "Roach Drops" I'm referring to transporting roaches to a location with overlords and dropping them at an advantageous location.


Macro: An overarching term referring to economy, production and base-building. To have good Macro is to be gathering a greater amount of resources, consistently improving your base, and being able to consistently develop attacking units.


Micro: Another overarching term referring to the ability to control units during a confrontation to provide an advantage over allowing the computer to handle the action through a process like Attack-moving. To Micro well is to kite melee units with ranged, to move your army mid-fight to have a more advantageous confrontation or backing weakened units out temporarily to win more decisively. One example of this is using, say, a Hydralisk to attack a Zealot and moving the Hydralisk back after each shot so the Zealot can never get into melee range and he can kill the Zealot (This specific form of micro is referred to "Kiting" the Zealot). Micro can save units and let you win fights that you wouldn't win if you simply had the unit A.I. auto-attacking for you.


Shift-queue: The idea of giving a unit a series of commands, so instead of having to tell a unit to move, then have them do what you wanted to do, then going back to control them afterwards you can simply give them all those commands by holding the "Shift" key and lining up all of the commands. This is important in several ways, like giving scouting workers or zerglings a list of places to check, telling SCV's to build something then immediately go back to the mineral line, telling one probe to warp in multiple buildings and then focus on something else. It is a worthwhile technique to include in your regular play.


Control Group: A functionality in Starcraft II that allows you to save a selection of units or structures to a number key on your keyboard and recall that selection by pressing that number. A very crucial tool for players that have learned the fundamentals of Starcraft two along with Hotkeys, you create a control group by selecting units or structures (let's use a few roaches for an example) and pressing ctrl-# where the # is a number key on your keyboard (let's say ctrl-1) and then you can go do something else, like using a Queen to spawn larvae, and then press the number key you used (1 in the example) to automatically reselect all the units you had in that control group (the roaches we selected earlier)


Hotkeys: This is another functionality in the game where every building, ability, or unit has a "hotkey" associated to it. One example of this is the hotkey for "Zergling" is "Z", so instead of having a larvae selected and clicking the Zergling icon on the bottom right you can have the larvae selected and press "Z" on your keyboard. Using hotkeys for making units, structures, and using abilities is generally accepted as simply the faster way to produce units and structures and combined with control groups are essential to extremely fast play.


Saturation: Refers to the level of workers at a base, "Full saturation" of a base usually means that each gas geyser and mineral node has at least 3 workers harvesting, essentially meaning that particular base is running at peak efficiency before adding more workers would start giving substantially diminishing returns. "Over saturation" is another term used for when there are far more than 3 workers per resource node at a base, and is usually a very inefficient way to use workers. In Heart of the Swarm a counter is displayed overlaying the base to show saturation as a faction, i.e. 13/24 would be 13 workers at a base that would need 24 workers to be considered "Fully saturated."


Surround: Mostly referring to Zerg (more specifically Zerglings), but is a concept that applies to every melee unit practically, is the ability to get "the Surround" or a full saturation of your melee units around an opposing army. This is the goal for the most efficient melee damage without having, say, 20 zerglings running around the confrontation trying to find an opening to run in and attack.


Concave: Similar to "The Surround" but applies more to everybody and their ranged units, "The Concave" refers to having your units having enemy units surrounded in a small arc. In contrast, the units that are being hit by a good "Concave" are caught in the inverse "Convex" although it is more accepted to refer to the team with the advantage having a good "Concave" rather than refer to the team with the disadvantage being caught in a "Convex." Generally speaking, if two equal teams of units were to be caught in this situation, the side that is in the "Concave" formation will come out on top.


Proxy: A "Proxy" refers to building a structure more nearby to your opponent as opposed to building that structure within the pseudo safety of your own base. Applies more towards Protoss and then Terran, one common "Proxy" strategy you will see will be in multiplayer where Protoss players build a "Proxy Pylon" near an enemy base so they can warp in units at that pylon rather than build them at his own base and have to run all the way across the base. It is also common to see strategies like a proxy Barracks to build units right at the enemy's doorstep.


Scouting: In starcraft "Scouting" is used as a generalized term for the information you have on an enemy's base. Good scouting means you saw the opponent's buildings or units. Typically in multiplayer matches it is common to send a "Scouting Worker" early in the match to get scouting information on your opponent.


Macro-Hatch: For Zerg play specifically, a Macro-Hatch is a second Hatchery built nearby to another functioning base (usually the first base) who's purpose is purely to provide more Larvae with which to make more units more quickly.


Studderstep: Applies mainly to ranged units, most commonly Terran Marine/Marauder groups: it is the idea of micro'ing so that the units will fire a ranged attack, step forward during the time you would have to wait to fire again, and firing again. Doing this well repeatedly allows an army to move, even slowly, without suffering a serious hit to their damage output. Again this is most common for Marine/Marauder groups due to their high rate of fire allowing a reliable damage rate while moving.


Multiplayer Changes from Wings of Liberty

Side Note: Take heed that these changes are current as of 3/18/2013, and are subject to change by Blizzard balance patches. If there has been a recent patch this list may not accurately reflect all of the units described.

Many changes were implemented to the existing Wings of Liberty structure, and anyone who wants to play competitively and played Wings of Liberty to any degree will want to note these changes:

  • The Protoss Mothership no longer has the Vortex ability and was replaced with Timewarp, the mothership Core ability that slows down enemy units inside the field. The Mothership can also be made by upgrading the Mothership Core as well as being produced from a nexus.
  • The Protoss Void Ray had its supply cost raised from 3 to 4, preventing Protoss players from getting as many of them at once with the same amount of supply. Their ability to become "Fully Charged" after attacking consistently for a short period of time has also been removed, and instead replaced with the ability "Prismatic Alignment" which allows it to become "Fully Charged" for 20 seconds and allows it to do more damage versus armored units only.
  • The Protoss Phoenix has had a small range increase as well as an upgrade called "Anion Pulse Crystals" which allow its range to be increased further.
  • The Protoss Carrier can move while its interceptors are attacking, they will return to the ship if the ship itself gets out of range of the target.
  • The Protoss Dark Shrine structure had it's building cost changed from 100 minerals and 250 gas to 150 minerals and 150 gas.
  • The Protoss Sentry now has the Hallucinate ability without needing to research it at the cybernetics core.
  • The Terran Siege tank no longer requires the Siege tech research to deploy into siege mode.
  • The Terran Ship and Vehicle armor upgrades have been combined into one upgrade at the armory rather than two separate ones.
  • The Terran Reaper no longer does increased damage to light units and does not have its anti-structure grenades any more. It also does not require a tech lab so it can be produced two at a time out of a Barracks with a Reactor add-on. They were also given the ability Combat Drugs, which allows them to heal while out of combat.
  • The Terran Medivac now has the Afterburners ability, giving it a significant speed boost for a short time and has a 20 second cool down.
  • The Terran Thor has had its 250mm strike cannons ability removed, and in its place, added the High Impact Payload ability that converts its air targeted attack from a splash damage attack with lower damage to a higher damage single-target attack. This does not change its ground-targeted attack at all. The Thor no longer has or uses energy.
  • The Terran Raven does not need to research Seeker missile any more, and its cost has been reduced to 75 energy. The Seeker missile now takes 5 seconds to activate after being deployed, and will fizzle out of the target goes out of range before it activates.
  • The Terran Hellion can now be upgraded with Transformation Servos at the tech lab (Armory required) to transform between the hellion and the Hellbat on command.
  • The Zerg Ultralisk now does 35 damage to all units, rather than in Wings of Liberty where they did 15 damage to all units and 20 added damage to armored units.
  • The Zerg Spore Crawler can now be built when the Spawning pool is complete, and does not require the Evolution Chamber. It also does double damage when hitting Biological units, this applies to all Zerg air units.
  • The Zerg Mutalisk now heals more rapidly than other Zerg units when out of combat.
  • The Zerg Infestor's Fungal Growth ability has been changed from an instant-cast ability to a projectile ability, so the projectile will have to travel for a short time before reaching its target and applying the effects.
  • The Zerg Hydralisk can now be buffed by researching the Muscular Augments ability to give it an increased 25% speed off of creep.
  • The Zerg Burrow ability and Overlord's/Overseer's Pneumatized Carapace can now be researched at a Hatchery rather than requiring Lair tech.

Introduction

If it isn't already obvious, Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm is dual parts expansion and sequel to Wings of Liberty and this walkthrough is going to be written informed by the Wings plot. Obviously if you don't want spoilers to the Wings campaign... well... you're one expansion too far ahead, play Wings first, I know you have it because it is required to play Heart of the Swarm so go do it!

Here's going to be where we pick up the plot left behind by Wings, you have been warned:

SPOILER! Highlight to View

We left Jim Raynor after his assault on Char, having successfully constructed the Xel'Naga artifact and used it to destroy the zerg presence long enough to retrieve the somewhat uninfested Sarah Kerrigan (her hair could definitely use some work, depending on perspective) and take her off-planet. With all the rich Starcraft History behind her we obviously can't expect to keep Kerrigan away from her little Zerg pets for long and she definitely has a lot of motivation to hurt just about everyone.

Campaign Walkthrough

So now it's finally time for the part most people will probably skip right down to, the walkthrough. I will be including primarily collectible locations and base normal/hard strategies to begin with and then I will work on adding Brutal difficulty strategies and Achievement guides immediately after. If I missed anything that you've found please e-mail me at Taenju@hotmail.com and it will be updated, I will not accept anonymous contributions for creative tips and strategies so please include your GameFaqs username so that I may properly credit you.

1. Lab Rat

The primer mission intended to get you in the mood to control some disgusting zerg-bugs, this mission is pretty easy and simple even on Brutal difficulty.

Objectives

  • Select Drone
  • Mutate Hatchery
  • Harvest Minerals (0/300)
  • Morph Overlord
  • Mutate Spawning Pool
  • Morph Zerglings (0/6)
  • Destroy Gas Turrets (0/3)
  • Destroy the Eradicator

Bonus Objectives:

  • Release Zerglings from Pens (0/3)

Achievements

Lab Rat: Complete the "Lab Rat" Mission in the Heart of the Swarm Campaign

Mighty Mouse: Destroy 35 Sentry Bots in the "Lab Rat" Mission

Rat Race: Complete the "Lab Rat" Mission in less than 10 minutes on Normal Difficulty

Mad Dash: Destroy 3 Factories in the Lab Rat mission in less than 10 minutes on Hard difficulty. (Mastery Achievement)

Execution


Brutal/Rat Race Strategy:


This mission really is a pushover if you have a basic grasp of hotkeys and control groups, and even if you don't the Rat Race achievement can be obtained on as low as Normal difficulty there shouldn't be much of an issue. For this first part of the guide I will be walking through obtaining the "Rat Race" Achievement on Brutal Difficulty, as it can be done rather reliably without too much effort.

To start crown prince Valerian is going to want you to play along in his test and will instruct you to take a drone, build a hatchery, an overlord, then a spawning pool. Make one more overlord before the spawning pool and feel free to make extra drones in between instructions for a faster time, just don't bother going any higher than 11 or 12 drones mining the test chamber minerals because you really don't need much more than that for the obstacle ahead and you want a faster time anyway. After the spawning pool is done Valerian will want to end the test but Kerrigan is still game for more, and decides (instructs you) to make zerglings. Provided you have the 10-12 drones you want, just start spamming zergling production now (this is pretty much the macro for the rest of the mission). For the Brutal Rat Race endeavor I suggest definitely putting your Hatchery on a hotkey and updating the rally point to several of your zerglings after every room or two.

Kerrigan now will want to prove a point that the Zerg aren't all that keen on being controlled, and you are tasked with causing general havoc in the testing space. Remembering to constantly press your hatchery hotkey and produce more zerglings throughout the entire mission, start by grabbing your cuddly friends and immediately attack-moving to the southeast. You'll wreck a few sentry bots and free more zerglings. Keep the momentum going and when you arrive on the far end of the bridge immediately rush down and kill the sentry bots and generator to release more zerglings. It should be worth noting at this point that as long as you keep a couple dozen zerglings at all times you should be golden for the whole mission. It is also worthwhile to run your zerglings somewhat past the Sentry Bots, just enough for them to be on the far side of them, before attacking just to get a more efficient surround on them since you're working with melee units after all.

At this point attack-move your main bunch of zerglings up to the second generator (Just use your minimap to give the attack-move command and click on the yellow ping on the middle-right) and then gather up the zerglings from the pen you just opened and any stragglers from your hatchery and give them the same order, adjust your hatchery's rally point as needed. Before your zerglings reach the ping they'll run into more bots and a factory to deal with, afterwards order them across the bridge to the upper left to fight more bots and a few turrets.

Now, the next room will have three gas turrets that will slowly damage all your zerglings while inside the room. What I suggest is don't be like me the first time and kill them one at a time, but order your zerglings to attack one, deselect 6-8 lings from your selection, order them to attack the next one, deselect 6-8 more lings and then order the rest to attack the far one. The result should be them all dead within several seconds depending on your speed.

Next attack move to the lower right towards the generator and of course destroy the generator to get another boost in zerglings. Follow this up by attack moving up to where the third and final yellow ping is on the minimap. If you have been keeping on top of your zergling production at you should have 2 or 3 pages of lings in your selection. Note, if you are just replaying the mission to get either the Rat Race or Mad Dash achievements, go ahead and turn right at this point, if you still have 40 or so zerglings you should be able to manage easily enough. For the Mad Dash Achievement, destroy the Sentry bots (But not the Eradicator) then send half of your zerglings to each factory, once they're both dead, provided you were fast enough, you should get the achievement.

When you arrive in the room with the last generator kill the sentry bots in front, then attack move down to past the generator then split off half the zerglings to attack to the left to clean up all of the sentry bots and then attack the generator for the last of the zerglings. At this point you have probably gotten the "Mighty Mouse" Achievement. Last thing is to kill the eradicator, order your lings to attack-move into his room on the top right and they should take care of him in no time flat.

If you don't get the Rat Race achievement on the first try, just bump the difficulty back down to normal and knock it out of the way. If you're fast enough it is indeed possible to get all of the achievements and the bonus objective as well as Brutal Difficulty completion all in one fell swoop. You may need to do multiple runs to get the Mastery Achievement, Mad Dash, however as this method doesn't leave much time to kill the factories behind the Eradicator AND the Eradicator itself.

2. Back in the Saddle

Turns out Mengsk wasn't all too happy about his son and Raynor leaving Kerrigan alive, and he's come to crash the party. Time to high-tail it outta here!

Objectives

  • Get to the Sublevel Door
  • Defend Sublevel Door
  • Escape the Sublevel
  • Defend Tram Engines
  • Reach the Spaceport
  • Destroy the Archangel
  • Kerrigan Must Survive

Achievements

Back in the Saddle: Complete the "Back in the Saddle" mission in the Heart of the Swarm campaign

Full Throttle: Prevent the Dominion from destroying a Tram Engine during the Tram Ride in the "Back in the Saddle" mission

Brutal Legend: Don't take damage from the Archangel in the "Back in the Saddle" mission on Normal Difficulty

Nick of Time: Complete "Back in the Saddle" with more than 40 seconds on each lockdown on Hard Difficulty (Mastery Achievement)

Execution

This mission is still straightforward, though now you're controlling Kerrigan (and not Jim Raynor too, though that confused me at first, he's just following you.) and fighting some tougher enemies so you can't be as reckless here as I was during Lab Rat. Just take some care and don't go running into peril and for the most part you should be completely fine. There's only one timed achievement (the mastery one) so everywhere else you can take your time.

Begin by running Kerrigan down the walkway and then she'll instruct you to use Kinetic Blast on a nearby enemy marauder, Kinetic Blast does 300 damage so pretty much it's your one-hit kill/single-target damage engine. The next few attacks down the walkway are simple enough, feel free to use Kinetic Blast as much as you want, there's not much issue of losing energy on this first level. After helping the Umojan soldiers fend off a couple ghosts pick up the hp/energy cube and keep running.

Up ahead Kerrigan will have you demonstrate Crushing Grip on a group of dudes, afterward run forward and a couple drop pods will land units near you. Just queue up a Crushing grip and aim it at where the drop pod is landing, letting it fly when the units emerge. You may want to hold back just a couple seconds from the first drop pod to the second just to have Crushing grip help you with the second group. After the third drop pod you'll be stuck in a room with some other soldiers and a heal cube. Take the cube immediately (it will respawn by the time more action happens) and aim a Crushing Grip at the left door. A bunch of zerg units will start funneling through, and on brutal difficulty a baneling is in there somewhere, you want to Crushing grip the zerg when you see the baneling in the mix then target down the baneling, then use a kinetic blast on a roach. If you're getting hurt you can always pick the heal cube up and walk back towards the door you came from and let Jimmy take the heat, I'm sure he doesn't mind. He's pretty much invulnerable in this mission anyway.

Now in the next level the Nick of Time achievement is available but it takes some patience to get through. The timer itself isn't much of an issue, it's plenty of time to get from one waypoint to the next, but if you want the achievement you need to be ready to take a few risks. The first segment isn't that bad, push up through the firebats and marines fighting the zerglings and roach then proceed to the hydras fighting the marauders, just make sure the hydras don't focus Kerrigan down. Up ahead is the next waypoint and here's where it gets tricky because you've got to manage your time in each encounter. Around the next corner a group of zerglings, a baneling, and a roach will come at you, I suggest using crushing grip on the zerg/baneling and auto-attacking the baneling and then right when he's dead (in like one shot after the Crushing grip) throw a Kinetic blast at the Roach and start running, ignoring the zerglings that might still be alive.

In the next room there's a couple more zerglings, aggro them and studderstep Kerrigan a bit so her and Jim quickly kill the zerglings and you move forward far enough to see the Ultralisk trying to break the debris to attack you. Throw another kinetic blast at the ultralisk and auto-attack him but watch the health on the debris, you want to manage it so you kill the ultralisk and he destroys the debris at nearly the same time, so you can keep running forward. Around the next corner shoot the Marauder or marine to aggro the ghost behind them then crushing grip them all when the ghost groups up with the other two and keep running, picking up the heal/energy cube on the way. Below you'll find an ultralisk and a couple zerglings, use crushing grip on them all and then kinetic blast on the ultralisk. Again you want them to die right around the same time the debris does. Quickly keep running down and kinetic blast the next debris ahead of you and rush to the beacon. The timer is kind of finicky here so you'll want to run past it at about 0:41/0:42 or else the transition to the next segment will be too long and it will actually count as 0:39.

The last segment is easier than the last but you still need to pay attention, up ahead there will be a group of units with a medic, crushing group them all, auto-attack the medic, then kinetic blast one of the marauders. Step on the smaller beacon and you will see the room ahead with a siege tank, a couple goliaths, and a bunch of marines and you have a choice of either poisoning the room (which will leave the siege tank and goliaths) or releasing zerg units (which will leave several roaches and zerglings all with half hp). I prefer using the gas method because dealing with all the zerglings and roaches, even though they're weak is very time consuming. So gas the place then immediately run in and kinetic blast the tank, auto-attack the nearby goliath, kinetic blast the second goliath, and finally run up the ramp on the other side and crushing grip the group of marines and medic on the other end. At this point there's a marauder and marine ahead but there's also the beacon, so due to time constraints ignore the enemies until you've registered leaving the lockdown area by stepping on the beacon. You'll be notified immediately if you got the achievement, if not, load back one checkpoint and try again, that middle segment is definitely the trickiest.

Up ahead past some dudes you'll find the next waypoint, this will start the Tram Ride sequence. Now, it feasible to get the Full Throttle achievement on Brutal but you can knock the difficulty down if you just want the achievement. Periodically Vikings, Wraiths, and Medivac/Firebat drops and on Brutal there's one heal/energy cube that will continually respawn on the tram, instead of two so manage your energy. You'll want to use your Kinetic Blast and Crushing Grip powers quite liberally here to keep all the engines alive, your Umojan allies are also pretty competent at killing the enemies when they're all bunched up so if you see them all attacking one pair of wraiths, you and Jim should head to the other side of the tram to hit other threats. Your minimap will be your best friend here for picking off units and getting into position before they actually start firing at the engines.

In terms of the achievement, the wraiths are really what's going to do you in, there's also one segment halfway through where 3 vikings will land in the back of the tram the medivacs aren't much of a threat but you do want to kinetic blast them before they get to the tram so that you have more time to focus elsewhere. Just use all of your powers liberally and grab the heal/energy cube whenever it's convenient. The end of the segment is marked when a Medivac comes in and drops a Kinetic blast target, err, I mean tank... near the rear of the tram.

On the other end of the tram you'll have to fight through a couple more groups of dominion infantry, nothing special, before moving on to fighting the Archangel (now I wish I had THOSE vikings in my Terran games!). It's also pretty feasible to get the Brutal Legend Achievement here on Brutal as well, it just takes some patience. Firstly when the fight starts don't immediately line up with the other soldiers auto-attacking it, as Archangel will open up with a machine gun volley along the cone of soldiers, instead stand several feet to either side of the line and start wailing on him. He will then start firing a series of missiles, every other missile aimed at your feet. You have enough time to see the aiming reticule and move out of the way and possibly get a Kinetic blast in between the missiles at are aimed at you.

Eventually he will fly up and drop-pod some troops on you. They aren't all that threatening but you'll want to avoid the line marking Archangel's bombing line if you want the achievement. Now don't stand near the bridge where you started because he will discharge electricity and damage you if you're too close to where he lands. He will then land on the bridge where you started the fight and fire a cluster of missiles on either the left or right side of the field. You can stand in between aiming reticules and miss being hit despite being in the middle of the fire zone but this is finicky. The more reliable method avoiding being hit is to stand in the middle then move to whichever side isn't being fired on and just continue attacking/kinetic blasting him.

After enough damage he will fly into the air again for one more run of drop pods and bombing lines before landing again in the middle. Again make sure to avoid standing near where we lands and getting hit by the discharge. This stage he simply fires a block of missiles in the direction he is facing so it is pretty easy to stay near him (AFTER he lands of course...) and side-step the bombing areas and just beat him into submission and end the mission. It's worth mentioning that while it's easier to damage him on Normal difficulty it doesn't actually lessen the missile arrays he attacks with so you will have just as annoying of a time dodging the missiles, attempting to never be hit, on Normal as you would on Brutal.

3. Rendezvous

The fate of Wings hero Jim Raynor after his encounter with nova is up in the air, and Kerrigan does not approve. We follow her back to the surface of the planet in her search for Jim when she finds a Drakken pulse cannon threatening to own the Hyperion when Horner wheels back around to try and pick up Jim.

Objectives

  • Hold Out for Reinforcements
  • Destroy the Drakken Pulse Cannon

Bonus Objective:

  • Rescue Trapped Swarm Queens (0/3)

Achievements

Rendezvous: Complete the "Rendezvous" mission in the Heart of the Swarm Campaign

First Strike: Destroy 15 enemy structures before Naktul's forces arrive in the Rendezvous mission

Zerg Save the Queen: Rescue all trapped Swarm Queens before Naktul's forces arrive in the rendezvous mission on Normal Difficulty

Premature Evacuation: Destroy all Dominion Structures in the "Rendezvous" mission before Naktul's brood arrives on Hard difficulty (Mastery Achievement)

Execution

One note before we start this mission, those of you that are familiar with the Wings of Liberty Queen unit will want to note this: the Queen that's introduced in this mission is NOT the same Queen you see in multiplayer that's essentially a macro unit. The Swarm Queen does not have the spawn larvae ability, takes 50 gas each to make, has a more repetitious healing ability, and does not suffer such an atrociously slow speed-penalty off of creep. Because of this the Swarm Queen will be used as an army unit in this map because, frankly, the map does not really favor doing the achievements with pure zerglings with all of the air units, hellion/hellbats, marines, and siege tanks. I will still be using zerglings because the Queens will need a buffer to be super effective and they will still fill a fast moving melee/cleanup roll. Just realize that the lings will die super quick and Swarm Queens will be the staying power.

One thing to keep in mind is the Swarm Queens are rather clunky and, paired with being rather short ranged, will need to be micro'ed to make sure the queens in the back of an army are actually attacking rather than trying to run around to get into range.


Brutal Strategy


Alrighty, now is when things get a bit more serious. You start with Kerrigan (the same version you used in the last mission) and the beginnings of a base. Periodically throughout the mission the Terrans will send waves of marines, marauders, hellbats, wraiths, banshees and even thors near the end for you to fend off until Naktul's reinforcements arrive. For this mission, unless you're a total baller and can macro/micro like a champ I suggest getting the Brutal difficulty completion and Achievement completions in two separate runs. On Brutal difficulty, to win the simple way, drone up heavily and get your spawning pool first, then add spine crawlers to either side until there's four or five at each side then stick a couple more spore crawlers next to the one preplaced for you. During this time have a Swarm Queen (slightly different from the multiplayer Queen unit you might be familiar with) being produced at all times. Once that's done create both an extractor at the gas and a macro Hatchery next to your main hatchery and drone back up to full saturation, all the while constantly producing Swarm Queens.

When fending off the terran attacks, make full use of Kerrigan's abilities, use Kinetic blast to punch out annoying units like wraiths, marauders, and medics as well as use Crushing Grip as an area of effect stun to help your Swarm Queens and spine crawlers deal with the opposition more easily. With this method we aren't going to worry about trying to save the trapped Queens until after Naktul's reinforcements arrive.

After all the base preparation is done all that's left to do is just keep making Queens and use the extra larvae now for zerglings. Try to put in the time to get the attack or defense upgrades from the preplaced evolution chamber as it will help but it's not critical.

Naktul's reinforcements will arrive soon after the attack with thors and when that occurs you will get a serious boost in units as well as the terrans will cease their attacks. Rally your hatcheries to Kerrigan and grab all your stuff and move out now (press f2 for a convenient way to select your whole army). Keep producing Queens and zerglings and head to all three caves to retrieve the trapped Queens and zerglings. At this point in battle use Kerrigan again to cast Crushing Grip as an area of effect stun and use Kinetic blast to quickly knock out the tanks you will be encountering. Naktul's reinforcements will keep appearing as you progress until Naktul herself appears near the cannon to help destroy it.


Achievement Strategy - Hard mode


This time we're going to set Kerrigan in the spotlight doing most of the early work. Also note that getting the Premature Evacuation achievement does NOT include the terran structures on the other side of the bridge where the cannon is. The set up is similar to the Brutal Strategy but less turtling. Right when the match starts get your hatchery on a hotkey and spend all of your larvae on drones. Now take Kerrigan and run her to the right where you'll see some minerals to pick up, use those to have a drone back at your base build your spawning pool. Keep getting drones while you run Kerrigan down the ramp to the right and Kinetic Blast the bunker on the other side of the fence. Do some kiting micro against the marines but don't get Kerrigan killed, you can sometimes come out on top if you land a good crushing grip and auto-attack them all down. By this time the terran's first attack will be coming, run Kerrigan back and use Crushing Grip on them when they destroy the first infested building (so the broodlings can get some free shots on them) then back up to your spine crawler and do it again when they get in range.

Once they're dealt with go back down to where that bunker from earlier was, it should have burned down by now and you can crushing grip and kill all the marines nearby and free the Swarm Queen from the cave. Run all of your new units back home. Have you been keeping up on your drones? Well, anyway, now's the time to place a macro Hatchery and extractor. Drone up until you get full saturation, maybe even a worker or two over and then switch production to as many Swarm Queens and zerglings as your income will allow.

While this is happening send Kerrigan up to the left and use a Kinetic Blast on both of the bunkers up there. Retreat her temporarily to deal with any attacks that might be occurring. When the bunkers are burnt down start killing the marines with crushing grip and attacking. If you get too many enemies on Kerrigan at the same time kite them back to the base and attack them at your spine crawler. Next head up the ramp and deal with the Firebat, marauder, and three marines to free the next group of zerglings and Queen. Keep Queen and zergling production going the entire time and grab 4-5 Queens from the bunch at your base (this can work with 3 but it's kind of slow and more risky) and have them accompany Kerrigan and attack up to the right from where you recently freed the last bunch of zerg units. Move back any swarm queens that are too injured to be tanking damage and start whittling down the four factories in that area. Use Kerrigan's Kinetic blast on the tech reactor add-ons to speed up their efficiency and have less units spawning on top of them.

By this time your Queen/zergling army back at home should be getting quite large, provided you have been keeping up on your production (putting your hatcheries on a hotkey and spamming units every once in a while really helps). While the Kerrigan raid party is having fun up north, run your Queenling army up to the right and attack the defense line. The tank there is a priority, but that particular one won't go into siege mode for whatever reason. Have both of your attacking parties start working towards each other into the third cave where a Queen is trapped. This is probably the only time late in the game that a terran attack group might actually run past the Queenling army and attack the base with relatively little defense. Again if you're on top of your army production you should have at least a small group there that can handle it, just keep an eye out.

Once you've freed the last set of zerg units put everyone in one big deathball and start cleaning up all the buildings near the cave and then finally have them march over straight east past the bridge to kill the last set of terran structures that apply to this achievement. Using this method also gets you the Zerg Save the Queen and First Strike achievements retroactively. Then of course Naktul's reinforcements will arrive and you can roflstomp the Drakken Pulse Cannon area with relative ease... or you could be like me and forget to micro your units past the bridge and lose Kerrigan to siege-tank fire (where I managed to not do that on Brutal). Either way, the job gets done.

SPOILER! Highlight to View

Exclaimer: No, I hadn't played any further at the time of writing this, this was just speculation on my part at the time. Hence why this is in a spoiler bubble.

At the mission's completion we're treated to a cutscene where Kerrigan is waiting for Jim when a little zergling with a broken tusk comes up behind her. Her attention is grabbed by the news report as Kate Lockwell announces that Jim Raynor was captured and executed (I don't buy it for one minute, we saw UNN during Wings of Liberty, we know they have about as much trust and credibility as Fox news! ... just kidding, but seriously I don't buy it).

Kerrigan goes into shock and depression and curls up against the wall and the zergling comes up to her, awwww, I think I'll name him "Tusk."

SPOILER! Highlight to View

So after learning of Jim Raynor's execution at the hands of the Terran dominion Kerrigan is definitely pissed.

And everyone knows what Kerrigan does when she's pissed from Brood War!

Objectives

  • Collect Ursadon Matriarch Essence
  • Destroy Psi-Link Spires (0/3)

Bonus Objectives

  • Kill the Ursadon Matriarchs (0/2)(+1 Kerrigan Level Each)

Achievements

Harvest of Screams: Complete the "Harvest of Screams" mission in the Heart of the Swarm Campaign

Ice Breaker: Destroy 20 unfrozen enemy structures in the harvest of screams mission

Storm Chaser: Complete the "Harvest of Screams" mission in less than 15 minutes on normal difficulty

Psi-lence is Golden: Complete all objectives in less than 12 minutes in the "Harvest of Screams" mission on Hard difficulty

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