The Zerg are an alien race in the StarCraft universe. They are similar in appearance and behavior to the Tyranids of Warhammer 40,000 as well as the 'bugs' of Starship Troopers and the Xenomorphs of the Alien movies (in fact the Zerg were referred to as Xenomorphs in an early demo version). They also share many characteristics with the Borg of Star Trek; they roam the galaxy assimilating species they encounter into themselves, and they share a hive mind ruled by the Overmind, much like the Formics from Ender's Game. It is separated into a number of broods that are named after monstrous mythological creatures, predominantly from Norse mythology. Each brood serves a specific purpose and is controlled by a Cerebrate that is physically incapable of disobeying the Overmind. Zerg was originally spelled "Zurg" but the name was changed before StarCraft's release.
To "zerg", a verb denoting the use of mass numbers to achieve an objective, has become a widely accepted term in a variety of other games, including Warcraft III, World of Warcraft, Dark Age of Camelot, and other multiplayer games. This references the ability of the Zerg race to generate combat units, particularly Zerglings, much more quickly and earlier than other races.
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This article contains plot details about an upcoming episode.
The original Zerg species was discovered on the ash world Zerus, in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, by the mysterious and ancient Xel'Naga after the Xel'Naga abandoned the Protoss on Aiur, giving up on them as a failure. The Zerg organism was a small and weak larva-like organism, but it contained the purity of essence sought by the Xel'Naga.
Through Xel'Naga proto-genetic manipulations, the Zerg survived the torrential firestorms of their world and thrived. The Zerg developed the ability to burrow into the spinal fluids of less vulnerable creatures on Zerus, parasitically merging with them. These new bodies would then be used to manipulate their surroundings. The Zerg began to assimilate the genetic strains and processes of these host creatures. However, the Zerg had an undeviating drive to consume only the most advanced species they encountered. Lesser species were eradicated. The Xel'Naga were surprised to find how quickly the Zerg could steer the evolution of their host creatures. They developed armor piercing spines, razor-sharp limbs, and ultra dense carapaces.
Fearful of the chaotic in-fighting that had enveloped the Protoss, the Xel'Naga created the Overmind, an enormous brain-like entity, to bring order to the Zerg. At first it was only a semi-sentient entity created from the instincts and collective sentience of the Zerg, but it quickly evolved.
The Overmind did not directly relay orders to its minions. As new species were added to the Swarm, it began to relay orders through Cerebrates, giant versions of the Zerg larvae. Direct orders were relayed through Queens and Overlords.
The Overmind began to think of its future. In order to continue finding new species, it needed to leave Zerus. Extending its senses into space, it became aware of enormous space-faring organisms. It lured them to Zerus with its psychic abilities, and assimilated them into the Swarm. Soon all the Zerg had the ability to survive in space. The Xel'Naga considered this a triumph. The Zerg had not only survived their weaknesses, but had also retained the purity of their terrible overriding essence.
The Overmind extended itself further into space, becoming aware of the Xel'Naga Worldships in orbit above Zerus. The Xel'Naga realized their psionic link with the Overmind had been severed - the Overmind effectively hid itself from their view.
The Overmind sent its minions into space, attacking the unsuspecting Xel'Naga. Despite the ancient race's best efforts, it was overwhelmed as the Zerg crashed into the hulls of its ships. Within a few hours the Zerg laid waste to the Xel'Naga fleet. The greater whole of the Xel'Naga was consumed by the raging, genetic whirlwind of the Zerg, and the Overmind gained their knowledge and insights. Processing thousands of sentient beings into itself caused the Overmind to grow much more powerful. It learned the secrets of the sacred Khaydarin Crystals, and began to incorporate the energies of these Crystals into its own. Through the knowledge gained from the Xel'Naga, the Overmind was able to increase the level of sentience in many of the higher Zerg strains, while still keeping them fully under its control.
The Overmind dissected the memories of the Xel'Naga experiments with the Protoss. The Zerg then devoted their energies to seeking out the powerful Protoss in the hope of absorbing them into the Swarm, uniting purity of form and of essence, to create a totally "perfect" being.
The Zerg did not know the exact location of Aiur, homeworld of the Protoss, but they were able to travel towards it, adding new species (such as the Mutalisk) to the Swarm along the way. However, the Zerg Overmind despaired; how could it defeat the Protoss with their powerful psionic abilities, when its own were so limited?
In the shadow of the Protoss lay the Koprulu Sector, a patch of space inhabited by the Terrans. This species had been discovered by Zerg deep space probes. Normally the Zerg would not be interested in such a weak species, but they exhibited a powerful psionic potential. Their probes discovered humans living on over a dozen worlds.
The Zerg slowly made their way towards the Terran worlds. The journey lasted for sixty years, but eventually the massive, extended Zerg Swarm reached the outskirts of the Koprulu Sector. According to StarCraft: Uprising, the Zerg infested a number of Fringe Worlds at this time.
The Overmind subtly infested the surface of the Terran Confederacy colony of Chau Sara with Hive Spores, then sent its minions down to the surface to infest the Terrans. The Terrans were defeated and largely enslaved or killed.
The Zerg were surprised at the Terran response, and were defeated by a sudden attack by the Protoss, led by Executor Tassadar. The Overmind told its minions not to fight back, in order to observe Protoss attacking for the first time. The attack sterilized all life on the surface of Chau Sara, effectively ending the Zerg infestation.
Plot advancement in StarCraft: Brood War
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This article contains plot details about an upcoming episode.
By Episode IV, it was revealed that the Zerg had formed a new, young Overmind on Char, the adopted Zerg homeworld, but it was captured by the United Earth Directorate in Episode V. In Episode VI, the final act to date, Infested Kerrigan, the self-claimed Queen of Blades, a former human Ghost telepath soldier who had been infested (transformed) into a Zerg/Human Hybrid, had the second Overmind killed and claimed leadership over the entire Zerg Swarm.
With the Terran Dominion decimated, the expeditionary fleet of the United Earth Directorate destroyed, and the Protoss homeworld Aiur conquered by the Zerg with the survivors fleeing to Shakuras, the Zerg currently stand as masters of the StarCraft universe.
All Zerg are directly subject to the will of the Overmind; it is a biological impossibility for them to oppose its directives. Only Cerebrates (smaller brains), and possibly Overlords and Queens, have sentience, and control a different army (called a Brood), using Overlords as lieutenants to directly control the warriors and workers. The lesser Zerg minions are wholly dependent upon the Cerebrates and the Overlords for order. Should a Cerebrate die, its brood may run amok; the animalistic nature of individual Zerg emerges. In the context of a multiplayer match, when an Overlord dies, a Zerg player loses control points, and must grow more overlords to replace the loss. Without these control points, additional Zerg units cannot be built. Even Zerg buildings are living organisms, and aren't built but grown. They act as organs in the body of the Zerg Hive Cluster.
Main gameplay attributes
- Low cost per unit produced
- Low unit power
- Low supply consumption per unit
- Unmatched ability to swarm ('zerg') an opponent.
- The Zerg units (and buildings) regenerate (recover from damage) over time. All Zerg ground units can be healed by allied Terran medics (Brood War only). Also, most of the land units have the unique "burrow" ability; this is a very effective way to set up an ambush. Burrowed units can only be harmed by area-of-effect spells such as psi storm, unless they are revealed by a detector unit. However, burrowed units cannot attack, move or use special abilities. The only exception is the Lurker (Brood War only), which can only attack when burrowed. Burrowed Zerglings spread throughout the map provide a very cheap and effective method for following enemy troop movements.
- Least efficient building method, extreme building restrictions. Zerg structures can only be built on the Creep. The Creep is formed by a hatchery (Zerg's main structure) and can be extended by a Creep Colony. Only the Hatchery has no building restrictions, as Creep Colonies must be built upon existing Creep themselves. Certain buildings must be 'upgraded' to attain higher technology level.
- All Zerg units (except Broodlings and Infested Terrans) are made from larvae at the Hatchery. This allows Zerg to quickly switch unit combinations, counteracting the high building cost. It also allows for more parallel production than the other races, allowing large numbers of units to be produced in short order if necessary/possible, without as much required infrastructure.
- The toughest aspect of Zerg is generally thought to be knowing when to use your larvae to build more drones (in order to strengthen your economy for the long term) vs. when to use them to make more units (for defence and offence in the short term).
Some example special abilities
- "consume", a Defiler special ability. It destroys a targeted unit of your own army and partly restores the energy (50 energy points regardless of the consumed unit) (required to use special abilities) of the caster. Because of the very low unit cost (particularly for Zerglings), the Defilers can recharge instantly almost for free. Other races must wait for the energy to replenish over time.
- "spawn broodling", a Queen special ability. It destroys the targeted organic unit almost instantly and creates small, very low-health units called Broodlings that are used mainly for scouting or harassment purposes (and to add insult to injury). Typically used to destroy deployed Terran Siege Tanks or Protoss High Templar.
- "plague", a Defiler special ability. It reduces the affected unit's HP by 300 hit points or down to 1 hit point, whichever comes first. It can be very useful against grand fleets of Battlecruisers and Carriers, or against Terran or Protoss bases.
All Zerg units slowly heal over time, and all Zerg ground units (except for the Ultralisk and Broodling) have the ability to burrow once the evolution is researched. All Zerg units are morphed from larvae produced at the Hatchery, Lair, or Hive.
- Larva (Core Genus: Original Zerg Strain)— tiny unit spawned from a Hatchery, Lair, or Hive. Up to three are spawned over time. They carry the genetic makeup required for each Zerg unit (except for Broodlings and Infested Terran; see below), but a young Hive Cluster will only have the genetic code for the most basic of Zerg breeds. They have low hit points and you cannot control their movement, but an extremely thick carapace absorbs a lot of the damage inflicted upon them. When ordered to morph into a unit, they transform into an egg until the units hatch. Eggs are nearly impervious to attack as they have high hit points and an extremely thick carapace. One unit is hatched from it, except in the case of zerglings and scourge, whose genetic simplicity allows two to hatch from each egg. Larva eventually die when they are cut off from the creep. The larva is descended from the original Zerg organism, but is much larger.
- Drone (Core Genus: Gashyrr Wasp) — worker, consumed when creating a new base structure. Has a weak attack that cannot be upgraded. The drone is descended from the savage Gashyrr wasp of Eldersthine. Like the larvae, drones are controlled by the Overlords who monitor their progress through a type of instinctive telepathy.
- Zergling (Core Genus: ZZ'gashi Dune-runners) — melee attackers, the weakest of the basic ground units, but very low-cost, as a single egg hatches two zerglings; the "Adrenal Glands" upgrade available at Hive tech level gives them a 33% increase in attack speed. Movement upgrade is also available. Zerglings' power must not be underestimated; it is easy to quickly produce huge amounts of them, and when fully upgraded, their sheer numbers can overwhelm an opponent quickly. Because of the genetic simplicity of a Zergling, two hatch from each egg. Requires Spawning Pool.
- Hydralisk (Core Genus: Slothien) — distance attack. Generally regarded as the most versatile unit, masses of hydralisks can defeat most anything (especially when used in conjunction with Dark Swarm). Hydralisks are the only Zerg ground units that can attack air units, so they are essential in any game. Many people feel that Hydralisks are the most cost-efficient unit in the game. Hydralisks are quickly dispatched by reavers and siege tanks. Movement and attack range upgrade available. Requires Hydralisk Den.
- Lurker (Core Genus: Hydralisk) — morphs from Hydralisk. Must burrow to attack, but is invisible to opponents when burrowed, except for detectors. Devastating especially to small-sized units, such as Terran infantry. Splash damage is linear and does not decrease with distance or position. Consumes twice as many supply points as hydralisk. Requires "Lurker Aspect" evolution at the hydralisk den. (Brood War only)
- Defiler — caster, no non-special ability attack. Have 3 types of special abilities: consume, dark swarm and plague. Consume sacrifices a player controlled Zerg land unit for 50 energy points for the defiler regardless of the unit sacrificed. Dark swarm is a temporary area effect special ability that negates all ranged attack that falls within the dark swarm — only melee and splash damage can affect health points. Dark Swarm tends to be the Defiler's most useful special ability. In the hands of an expert, it allows a small group of hydralisks or zerglings to destroy far superior forces. Plague is a very lethal special ability, reducing the affected units or structures HP by 300 or down to 1 hit point, whichever comes first. It is very useful against grand fleets of Battlecruisers and Carriers. Special ability and energy point upgrades must be researched before use (dark swarm is the only inherent special ability). Requires Defiler Mound.
- Like the larva, the defiler carries within it the genetic code of every other Zerg breed, but it does not produce them. To the contrary, the defiler uses these genetic matrices to produce cancer-like toxins which have dramatic and deadly effects on the Zerg.
Although it would seem counter-productive for the Zerg to kill their own troops, the catastrophic effects produced by this forced devolution have been known to destroy legions of enemy troops.
- Ultralisk (Core Genus: Brontolith) — Expensive heavy melee unit. In Brood War an armor upgrade for the Ultralisk is available that makes them almost impervious to lighter Terran attacks. Speed upgrade also available. Their physical attack is seriously lacking, though, for the cost and size. They make amazing meat shields as the surrounding zerglings and hydralisks deal the real damage. They are also useful for simply intimidating an opponent; an inexperienced player will typically panic at the sight of even a small group of Ultralisks. Requires Ultralisk Cavern.
- The Ultralisk is descended from the Brontolith, a peaceful creature it no longer resembles. The blades on its back are nearly indestructible and are rumored to possess a monomolecular edge. According to StarCraft: Alternity, an ultralisk is about 20 meters (65.6 feet) in length.
- Broodling — special unit, see "Spawn Broodling" in general attributes above. Spawned by the death of an organic land unit when affected by a Zerg Queen's Spawn Broodling special ability. All broodlings will die eventually regardless of health about two minutes from the time they were created.
- Infested Terran — special unit (see "Queen" below). Is manufactured from a previously infested Terran Command Center. It is a kamikaze unit that has attack power with a damage equivalent to that of a nuke, but with a smaller area of effect.
- Overlord (Core Genus: Gargantis Proximae) — supply, detector, and (when upgraded), transport unit. The Overlord is much like the Terran Supply Depots. Although initially very slow, an upgrade available at the Lair increases its speed to a reasonable level. There is also the ability to upgrade its sight range, making it into a very effective "spy" unit. An evolution available at the lair gives it the ability to transport up to eight unit slots (each unit takes up a different number of slots; zerglings, broodlings, and drones take up one slot, hydralisks and defilers take up two, and ultralisks and lurkers take up four). It is capable of detecting cloaked and burrowed units, however, weak in combat and incapable of attacking.
- The semi-intelligent, space-faring behemoths known as the Gargantis Proximae were inducted into the Swarm so that their heightened senses could benefit Zerg warriors in battle. The Gargantis flyers were assimilated into the Swarm so well that the Cerebrates use them to maintain control over their forces, using a form of telepathy.
- Mutalisk (Core Genus: Mantis Screamer) — short distance attack. Bounces three times for reduced damage in each successive attack. They are not cost effective unless used in large groups and against units incapable of attacking air targets or units with a slow firing rate. Mutalisks are often used to harass the opponent's harvester units. Precursor for Devourer and Guardian. Requires Spire.
- Guardian (Core Genus: Mutalisk) — can only attack ground targets. Morphs from Mutalisk. It has a long-range attack, capable of destroying all stationary defences without fear of retaliation (but they must watch out for Terran Goliaths with upgraded range). However, they are painfully slow and must be backed up by units capable of defending against air targets. This is the main Zerg artillery (siege) unit. Requires Greater Spire.
- Devourer (Core Genus: Mutalisk) — can only attack air units, with a slow attack speed. However, its attack is incredibly devastating. For each acid spore that a unit is hit with (up to 9), the firing rate is slowed and the unit takes additional damage from all attack until they wear off. Also morphs from Mutalisk, but moves much faster than Guardians. Requires Greater Spire. (Brood War only)
- Scourge (Core Genus: Unknown) — blind kamikaze unit. Capable of kamikaze of air units through a plasma metamorphosis. Powerful attack that is necessary for bringing down a large force of Terran Battlecruisers or Protoss Carriers. Is useful for stopping drops and destroying isolated air units. Low hit points. Like the Zergling, the DNA of the scourge are so simple that two are hatched from every egg. Requires Spire.
- Queen (Core Genus: Arachnis Brood-Keeper) — caster, no non-special ability attack. Special abilities: "parasite" enables you to see what the infected unit sees, including detecting ability — can be negated by restore special ability (Brood War only) — inherent special ability (no special ability upgraded needed); "ensnare" is an area effect special ability that slows enemy unit attack and movement rates; "Spawn Broodling" instantly kills an organic unit to create two low-hitpoint broodling units. Also, the Queen has the ability to infest a heavily damaged (red) Terran Command Center and transform it to a factory of Infested Terrans. Requires Queen's Nest.
Zerg structures are unique in two major ways. First, Zerg structures are considered alive and heal over time, just as Zerg units do, and bleed when injured. Also, all Zerg structures except for the Hatchery and Extractor (which is restricted to construction over a Vespene geyser) must be built on a thick, spongy purplish-brown material known as the "creep." Creep Colonies are needed to extend the creep to allow the manifestation of other Zerg structures. When a Creep Colony, Sunken Colony, Spore Colony, Hatchery, Lair, or Hive is destroyed, all corresponding creep retreats except for a tiny area around the structures. Larvae eventually die when not sustained by the creep. Structures of other races may not be built on the creep, but will not be destroyed when overrun by it. The exception to this are the structures of other Zerg - in fact, a common Zerg/Zerg tactic is to open a Nydus Canal (see below) to the opponent's Creep and deploy troops right into his or her base.
- Hatchery (Primary Larva Spawning Grounds/Resource Metabolizer) — spawns larvae from which to morph Zerg units (up to three). Also allows the Burrow evolution, which allow all ground units (except for the ultraliks and broodling) to burrow into the ground at will. Only Zerg building without any building constraints, and also expands the creep further. Provides limited supply.
- Extractor (Vespene Mining Tendril) — built over a Vespene Geyser, this building allows Zerg Drones to harvest Vespene gas.
- Evolution Chamber (Zerg Genetic Laboratory) — provides three levels of upgrades for Zerg ground unit attack power and armor (attack power of Drone is not upgraded).
- Spawning Pool (Zergling Breeding Grounds) — allows for the construction of Zerglings at the Hatchery. Contains upgrades for the movement speed and (once you have a Hive) attack speed of Zerglings. Requires Hatchery.
- Creep Colony (Creep Production Organ) — expands the Creep. Can be upgraded to Spore or Sunken Colony.
- Spore Colony (Aerial Defence Tower) — stationary defensive structure capable of attacking air units with rapid-fire spores. Can detect cloaked and burrowed units. More resilient than other defences. Requires Evolution Chamber.
- Sunken Colony (Ground Defence Tower) — stationary defensive structure capable of attacking ground units by using a tongue-like appendage to attack. High damage, compared to other defences. Requires Spawning Pool.
- Hydralisk Den (Hydralisk Cocooning Womb) — allows for the morphing of Hydralisks. Contains speed and attack range upgrades for the hydralisk, as well as the "Lurker Aspect" (Brood War only; requires Lair), which allows for the morphing of lurkers. Requires Spawning Pool.
- Lair (Advanced Hatchery) — upgrade of Hatchery. Required for second level of Evolution Chamber upgrades, some advanced structures, and the Lurker Aspect at the Hydralisk Den. Carries over all abilities of a Hatchery, but with increased hit points. Also allows for the sight range and speed upgrades for the Overlord, as well as the transporting evolution. Requires Spawning Pool.
- Spire (Zerg Flyer Breeding Grounds) — grants ability to morph Mutalisks and Scourge. Also contains upgrades to armor and attack power for air units (attack power of Scourge is not upgraded). Requires Lair.
- Greater Spire (Advanced Spire) — evolution of the Spire. Required for morphing of guardians and devourers. Requires Hive. Carries all abilities of a Spire.
- Queen's Nest (Queen's Lair) — required for morphing of Queens. Allows evolution of ensnare and spawn broodling ability for Queens, as well as an energy upgrade. Required for Hive.
- Hive (Advanced Lair) — upgrade of Lair. Retains all the abilities of a Lair, as well as allowing for the third-level armor and weapon upgrades at the Spire, Greater Spire, and Evolution Chamber and the rest of the structures (and the attack speed upgrade for zerglings at the Spawning Pool). Requires Queen's Nest.
- Nydus Canal (Long Range Colony Artery) — ability to instantly transport ground units from one location to another (and back). The "exit" location can only be constructed on creep. Requires Hive.
- Defiler Mound (Defiler Spawning and Evolution Chamber) — allows for morphing of Defilers, as well as the Plague and Consume evolutions and an energy upgrade. Requires Hive.
- Ultralisk Cavern (Ultralisk Breeding Grounds) — allows for morphing of Ultralisks, as well as (in Brood War), speed and armor upgrades for the Ultralisk. Requires Hive.
- Infested Command Center — comes from a queen. When a Terran Command Center falls beneath half HP, a queen can infest it. Produces the Infested Terran.
The Zerg excel at quick generation of armies, making them highly flexible. Each Hatchery produces a maximum of 3 larvae and a new one every 20 seconds, making it easy to grow new units, and every Hatchery can create any available Zerg unit, unlike the specialized factories of the other races.
Their return cost is building expenses. Each Hatchery/factory is extremely expensive (300 minerals and 120 seconds of build time, compared to for instance the 150-mineral 80-second Terran Barracks), and furthermore, each new structure must be grown from a Drone (50 minerals, 20 seconds). Defensive structures are even worse: the Drone must be hatched and then turned into a Creep Colony, and then the Creep Colony must be turned into a Sunken or Spore colony (for a total of 175 minerals and 80 seconds). A lost building is worse for Zerg than 10 lost units. (Zerg defensive structures are also the worst in the game, so smart players eschew them altogether.)
Because of slow building and Drone sacrifice, and moreover because of the need to build drones with the same limited early larva supply used to build attack units, Zerg have the weakest starting economy. They make that up with their Overlord, which can be immediately sent to scout, and the serendipitous discovery of an enemy base can lead to an early attack, something the Zerg excel at. An early-game strike at the enemy's mineral line will usually even the odds, if it doesn't hand the Zerg the advantage. Since Hatcheries allow the building of 3 units at once, if the Zerg survives to mid-game, they tend to catch up and even push ahead of the other economies. Their cheaper hatcheries relative to the other race's "town center" buildings also makes it easier for the Zerg to take multiple expansions.
Zerg are particularly weak against well-defended choke-point unless you use a trump strategy. Due to the cheap cost of units, Zerg fighting power cannot be concentrated onto one choke point efficiently. 24 Zerglings can be stopped on a cliff, blocked by 3 Zealots. It would be much wiser to attack from a different angle. In general, fighting in open space is best for Zerg.
When Zerg face off against each other, the game gets fairly predictable. Zerg vs Zerg games usually involve only three types of attack units: Zerglings, Mutalisks, and Scourge. This is primarily because Hydralisks are not effective against combined Zergling/Mutalisk forces. Devourers are also sometimes used if the game lasts a long time. The Queen's Ensnare spell, though rarely seen, can also be very useful in Mutalisk air wars.
Another advanced tactic would be to "nydus" your enemy base using the Nydus Canal. Although, very hard to pull off and would give away your tactic (ie. ground units, zerg race), if achieved, could hinder your opponent to a significant degree. This tactic requires early scouting to first know that the opponent is indeed Zerg and would also require exposed creep in your opponents base that isn't defended so the Nydus Canal can spawn successfully. Of course, one may go to the extreme and construct more than one Nydus Canal, then try to make exits for each one.
When the Swarm confronts Terran foes, it usually faces one of two main tactics. The primary strategy employed by Terrans, the dreaded tank push, is as effective against Zerg as any race. A prepared Cerebrate has several effective counters. Burrowed Zerglings are capable of lying in ambush for approaching tanks and emerging practically on top of them, too close to hit. When protected from Marine fire under the cover of a Defiler's Dark Swarm, Zerglings can quickly surround and destroy enemy tanks. Tanks can also be neutralized by a Queen's Spawn Broodling. This is especially effective if the enemy deploys tanks in small groups: a tank that is suddenly turned into Broodlings will attract the fire of other nearby tanks, distracting them, and damaging tanks or infantry close to the Broodlings. This can also be used in the middle of a group of Marines, or as a cheap way to damage Bunkers prior to a base assault.
In the Brood War expansion, Zerg face an additional threat: pure infantry armies of Marines and Medics, affectionately nicknamed M&Ms. These can deal significant damage to Zerg forces while sustaining frustratingly few losses. Fortunately, the Zerg now have Lurkers, which are specifically designed to counter large groups of infantry. Lurkers benefit especially from good unit control: a cunning Cerebrate will note the approach of infantry and continually order his Lurkers to hold their fire until the enemy troops are right on top of them. This will greatly increase splash damage, and, when combined with surface troops, makes it difficult for the Lurkers to be targeted, even after being detected.
In extremely long games, Terrans sometimes opt for a large fleet of Battlecruisers. These intimidate some Zerg players, as they have no equivalent capital unit, and large groups of Hydralisks will be quickly mown down. Queens and Defilers are the answer here, as Ensnare and Plague will cripple the enemy and render them unable to escape. In Brood War, Devourers and Mutalisks are a highly effective combination. Scourge also show their quality in this situation, as they can take down expensive Battlecruisers for much less cost. However, one must remember that, if unescorted and unaided, no amount of Scourge can score a hit on groups of six or more upgraded Battlecruisers. Their upgraded weaponry will take Scourge down in swarms.
Terrans have few special abilities that are trouble for the Zerg. Irradiate can be highly annoying, as a single use will destroy an Overlord or Lurker and can massacre a clump of Mutalisks. It is largely ineffective against other units, however, due to the extremely long time it takes to work. Burrowing the affected unit is the best defense when it is used on a pack of Hydralisks. Nuclear strikes should not be a problem as long as you keep Overlords in every base.
Finally, although Infested Terrans are entertaining to use, their effectiveness should not be overestimated, as they are rarely able to reach their targets without dying. Dark Swarm can be used to prolong their lives, but it does not effectively protect units from splash damage. In allied or team games with a Terran partner, however, Defensive Matrix can drastically alter that.
Zerg players have a bit of an advantage against Protoss, due to the fact that Protoss have no reliable early scout (Probes die in two hits from Sunken Colony, Corsairs are a bit late, and Zealots have a hard time making it into a good Zerg's base). For this reason, Protoss players have to play a guessing game regarding the Zerg's strategy until they have reliable data. Generally, Zerg players pick a strategy at the start and later on change it to throw the Protoss off balance. Mutalisks, due to their small size, are fairly resistant to Dragoon fire, and of course are completely safe from Zealots. High Templar, however, will decimate them if they pause in mid-flight. Hydralisks, if micromanaged properly, can defeat Zealots without taking a single hit. Zerglings destroy Dragoons due to their small size and speed.
The Zerg will typically have massive numerical superiority against a much smaller army of far tougher units. The clever Cerebrate will turn this into an advantage by dividing his forces and attacking from multiple fronts. This has the added benefit of dispersing your troops, providing some protection from psionic storm -- vital in Zerg vs. Protoss matches. A well placed storm can destroy a dozen or more clustered Hydralisks in seconds. Individual High Templar can be destroyed with Spawn Broodling, but an intelligent Executor will trick you with hallucinations while hiding the real Templar in Shuttles. The best solution is simply to prevent large groups of units from piling up in the first place through constant harassment.
- Infested Kerrigan
- Zerg Overmind
- Yggdrasil (Overlord)
- Infested Stukov
- Infested Duran
- Battle.Net: Zerg
- StarCraft homepage at Blizzard Entertainment
- Underwood, Peter, Bill Roper, Chris Metzen and Jeffrey Vaughn. StarCraft (Manual). Irvine, Calif.: Blizzard Entertainment, 1998.
- Neilson, Micky. StarCraft: Uprising. New York and Toronto, Ontario: Pocket Books, 2000. ISBN B00005AS12 (eBook only)