Starcraft II: Terran Units

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty is the Terran campaign part of the Starcraft II trilogy, scheduled for a public multiplayer beta this summer and a retail release later this year. Now is a great time to catch up on what’s changed with the Terran race in Starcraft II, and what’s remained the same.

The long exiled humans known as Terrans in Starcraft II are balanced between the powerful Protoss units and the swarming Zerg. They may not be as numerous as the Zerg or as advanced as the Protoss, but Terran units have firepower and brute force on their side. Terran units can’t fight it out one on one with the powerful Protoss units, and they can’t match the swarming Zerg for sheer numbers, but they have a few advantages any Starcraft player should be aware of. Classic units like the Marine, Siege Tank and Battlecruiser return, each with new abilities and uses.

The Marine has been the poster boy of Starcraft since the original game came out in 1998. Marines are both versatile units and expendable cannon fodder. A group of them in the right place can chew up air and ground units quickly with their machine guns, and upgraded Marines should not be underestimated. In Starcraft II, Marines can be upgraded with a combat shield that increases their hitpoints by around a quarter. As in the original game, Marines can also have upgrades that increase the range of their rifles. Backed up by Medics and other Terran units, Marines are a force to be reckoned with. Alone, they tend to get gruesomely killed in CG cutscenes.

New to Starcraft II are Reapers, jump pack equipped infantry armed with dual pistols and explosive charges. Reapers are highly mobile, able to fly over cliffs and other barriers with ease. Resourceful players will use this mobility for hit and run attacks on enemy workers, and use the explosive charges to destroy enemy expansion bases. Reapers aren’t heavily armed or armored, and are vulnerable in an open firefight. Even more vulnerable than Marines against tough opposition, Reapers should use their speed to escape any dangerous firefights.

Every unit from the original Starcraft is a classic, but Ghosts are legendary for their role in the singleplayer story and the multiplayer game. Ghosts are elite operatives with psionic abilities that allow them to cloak themselves, hence the name. Ghosts can designate targets for strikes by nuclear missiles, even while cloaked. A well defended base can be vaporized in seconds by a few cloaked ghosts with the nuclear designation ability. In Starcraft II, ghosts are even more effective than they were in the first game. Their sniper rifle kills weaker units like Marines and Zerglings in one shot, and they can summon a drop pod full of Marines to land on any target. They also have EMP missiles that will quickly wipe out the shields of Protoss opponents. Ghosts were a deadly unit in the original Starcraft, and their new abilities make them far more dangerous in Starcraft II.

The Marauder is a new Terran unit in Starcraft II, a very heavily armored infantry unit armed with missiles. Their missiles have a damage bonus against armored units and slow down all enemy units when hit. Charging melee enemies like Zerglings can be slowed down considerably by Marauders, allowing Marines and other Terran units to dispatch them easily. Marauders are slow as a result of their heavy armor, and if unsupported they are vulnerable to fast moving melee units like Zealots. Marauders are also vulnerable to air units, as their missiles can only target ground units.

Starcraft veterans might be wondering why the Firebat infantry unit hasn’t been mentioned yet. The answer is that there are no Firebats in Starcraft II, unfortunately. However, developer Blizzard knows that the Terrans need some unit to incinerate Zerg and torch Protoss, so they added the Hellion. The Hellion is basically a combination of the Vulture and Firebat units from the original Starcraft, a small, fast moving scout vehicle that is equipped with a flame thrower. Like the Vulture, the Hellion is great for harassing enemy bases and killing enemy workers. It’s flamethrower also makes it very effective against mobs of lightly armored units like Zerglings or Zealots. On their own, Hellions are vulnerable to air units and heavily armed units like Siege Tanks.

Goliaths and Wraiths are both Terran units that won’t be returning in Starcraft II. They’re replaced by the Viking, a mechanical walker that transforms into a flying air superiority fighter. The Viking is a very versatile unit, able to quickly move from any area to another by flying. If attacked by a large group of Zerglings, Vikings can simply transform into their aircraft form and fly away, since Zerglings can only attack ground units. vikingair1If attacked by units like the Protoss Phoenix that can only attack air units, the Viking can transform to its ground form. Because of this a large group of Vikings can avoid almost any strong enemy force and attack the enemy’s weakness instead. Able to defend themselves against air and ground units alike, Vikings will be a useful new unit for any Terran player. Vikings can also be quickly and cheaply built relatively early in the game, when Terran players will need them the most to fend off early Zergling or Zealot rushes.

Siege Tank

When the rest of the Terran vehicles simply won’t get the job done, the Siege Tank is the answer. Heavily armored and armed, Siege Tanks will blast their way through virtually any ground unit. While deployed in the immobile Siege mode, the tanks have a huge range, able to fire at unsuspecting enemy units in the distance. The great range of Siege Tanks also means that assaulting enemy units will likely be vaporized before they get close enough to attack. siege-tank-deployedHowever, like every other unit, the Siege Tank has drawbacks. It has no defense against air units, and will be destroyed by them if not backed up by other Terran units. The Siege Tank is also slow and ponderous, and vulnerable when not established in a secure defensive position. Changing between mobile and siege mode also takes a long time, leaving the tanks vulnerable during their transformation. For example, cloaked Ghosts could call down a nuclear strike on a siege tank position, and the tanks would likely not have enough time to undeploy and move out before the missile hit.

In the original Starcraft, if the Siege Tank wasn’t enough for the task, Terran players were in trouble. In Starcraft II, there is an even bigger Terran vehicle that players can use if nothing else works. The Thor is a massive bipedal walker, like the Goliath or Viking, but much larger and more heavily armed and armored. The Thor can attack enemy air and ground units, making it a threat to any force in Starcraft II. Its armament also has bonuses against armored enemies, and the anti-air missiles have an explosive radius that damages any nearby air units. Because of these bonuses, the Thor will quickly destroy most armored ground units and air units alike. However, its large and slow to fire weapons are ineffective against hordes of small, weak units like Zerglings or Marines, who can overwhelm it with numbers. The Thor is unique among Starcraft II units in that it is disabled rather than destroyed when it loses all of its hitpoints. Like a Terran building that is badly damaged, a disabled Thor will eventually burn down, but can be repaired by an SCV and brought back to the fight if the enemy does not finish it off properly.

The Banshee replaces the Wraith as a small flying Terran unit that can attack ground units. Unlike the Wraith, the Banshee can only attack ground units, making it vulnerable to other air units like the Protoss Phoenix. However, the Banshee is more effective at attacking ground units than the Wraith was, dealing far greater damage to enemy structures or ground units.The Banshee also has a cloaking device like the Wraith, that allows it to evade detection and avoid destruction by enemy air or ground units. Relatively cheap and quick to build at a Terran starport, the Banshee is a very specialized unit that could be a game-winner in the hands of a skilled player.

If the Thor isn’t enough to defeat the enemy, Terran players can turn to the most deadly Terran unit out there, the Battlecruiser. Battlecruisers are massive flying battleships that have the most hit points of any unit in Starcraft or Starcraft II. They can attack both ground and air units with their laser batteries. Even more powerful than the standard laser attack is the Yamato cannon, a very powerful and long ranged ability that can be fired at either air or ground units. The Yamato cannon is powerful enough to destroy most air defenses such as Missile Turrets in one hit, and can do so from outside the range of turrets. After destroying the air defenses of an enemy base with their Yamatos, Battlecruisers can move in and destroy the rest of the base with impunity. The Battlecruiser has two new special abilities in Starcraft II, the defensive matrix and the missile barrage. The missile barrage ability fires a group of plasma torpedoes at ground targets, quickly decimating entire groups of enemy infantry like Marines, Zerglings or Zealots. The defensive matrix casts a shield like barrier around the Battlecruiser, deflecting enemy attacks and allowing it to withstand even more damage than it normally does.

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  1. Awesome overview of the new starcraft 2 terran units! I cant wait to use the new Terran technology! the Marauder, Banshee and Thor look like they will be an excellent addition for Zerg killing!

  2. I didn’t play Terran myself much in Starcraft, the battlecruisers looked cool in the cutscenes but they were pretty useless unless you had like 10 of them in the game.

    With their new abilities they’ll be crazy good, one of them can kill 10 marines or so in one shot with the missile thing. And the Viking looks like it would be very tough to beat.

  3. Nice, even though they’re at the midpoint, I can tell that someone who knows how to play RTS properly, as in sending in the right units for the right job, will utterly dominate the playing field with these guys.

    You know, in C&C Tiberian Sun, I just rushed people with a crapload and a half of infanty. Unless you had your own crapload and a half, you wouldn’t last a minute.

  4. Yeah, you don’t need to worry about Blizzard balancing the game. The South Koreans have been playing Starcraft professionally for eleven years now, and the three races are still balanced, they can’t find any unbalanced unit or anything at all in the game. It’s pretty incredible.

  5. OrganizationXIII · Edit

    Ya think? I tried playing against the Koreans once, twice, three times, and I lost every time. I’m pretty sharp at Starcraft but those guys aren’t even human. It’s like they read the mechanics guide and memorized the entire thing.

  6. They don’t read the guides, they write them haha. The Koreans are better at Starcraft than the guys who made the game.

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