StarCraft II - Complete Guide to Protoss Units

Updated Wed, Apr 28, 2010 by Stow

The Protoss army returns in StarCraft II with a vengeance.  Wielding the same familiar weapons of war as before with new faces and a handful of entirely new units, previous Protoss lovers will feel right at home with the warriors of Aiur in the sequel.  The Protoss army in general still fields incredibly tough units, at a price premium, and has incredibly powerful abilities and casters in the right hands.  The wrong hands will cause more harm to your own army than to your opponent's!  Easy to learn, yet difficult to master, we cover the ins and outs of the Protoss Gateway army with this quick primer!  

The Gateway Units - Everything you need to win.

The Protoss gateway army is a mix of potent casters and brute force that tends to cut Marines in half.

Zealots - The tough warriors return to make your enemy's lives hell early on and provide a deceptively strong front line in all stages of the game.  Zealots still weigh in as the strongest and toughest base units around, and still command a high price of 100 minerals each.  You get what you pay for though, and Zealots are one of the highest sources of pure damage in the Protoss ground army.  The downside is they need to be in constant melee contact with the enemy for this advantage to really be felt.  Smart players will use your lack of speed against you and kite you around, making your Zealots seem worthless.  This is where the new Charge ability comes into play.  Not only does it raise the base movement speed a fair notch, it also gives them a burst of speed to blitz the first target in range every so often.  This upgrade is basically necessary to keep using Zealots after the early game, and though it weighs in at a hefty 200 minerals and 200 gas, enables Zealots to slice and dice opponents with relative ease.
Stalkers - The Dragoons of the previous game are no more, and in its place the Stalker rises up.  Stalkers are ranged combat units that function much like a Dragoon, but with a much lower base damage and a slight bonus against Armored forces.  They are the basic unit you go to for fighting air units, and due to having fairly good speed and range, make for excellent troops to work en masse with and micro extensively to defeat superior numbers with.  The Blink ability is used for exploiting that advantage further, and enables a short range teleport for all Stalkers with a fairly short cooldown.  A good blink can catch raiding air forces off guard and net you a quick kill or two, and you can use the ability to great effect raiding yourself!  Be careful though, as being Armored targets a lot of units excel at killing these, and these lack sufficient punch to kill most armies alone, even with upgrades and micromanagement.
Sentries - A new unit from the ground up, the Sentry is a target no more durable than a High Templar.  However, the Sentry excels at defensive operations rather than offensive.  It is also the only caster-type unit that also has an attack, and this attack can also hit air!  Do not underestimate the Sentry attack, it seems like a little boring laser, but it does damage remarkably fast for a support unit.  As is the case with most support units though, it's quite expensive at 50 minerals and 100 gas each.  You only need a Cybernetics Core to enable these and Stalkers.

    * Force Field is a relatively cheap ability that tosses down an impassible blockade to land units.  If any units are there, they are pushed aside.  This ability is absolutely amazing when employed well and enables you to defend chokepoints with ease, split up opposing armies and conquer them one part at a time, and set up defensive screens to protect your army from the inevitable mass Zerglings.  The more their units have to run around, the more damage your ranged units can dish out!   
    * Guardian Shield is an interesting ability that creates an aura around the Sentry.  All ranged damage dealt to friendly units is reduced by 2.  This can backfire if you're not careful and basically paint a HIT ME  target on your Sentry, disabling the aura instantly on death.  Control them carefully when using this ability.  It's a great counter to Terran Infantry!
    * Hallucination returns to this unit.  You can now create clones of any unit, even ones you haven't even built yet.  This can enable some crazy tactics, such as creating Void Rays early on to fool your opponent into thinking you're going fast air.  These units do no damage, but can still take damage for your army.  Use them!

Dark Templar - A shadow passes by the opponent's forces as they march to your base.  It reaches the workers and begins a dance that is impossible to describe, but beautiful to watch.  Worker assassination is the specialty of the Dark Templar.  These units are highly expensive, and now require their own technology building that takes over a minute to create and 250 gas.  Production of Dark Templar from there is 125 minerals and 125 gas for each one, and note that these units don't even come close to the survivability of a Zealot or Stalker under fire.  Use them sparingly and wisely and you'll see great results.  Note that after the SCVs lost their max HPs, Dark Templar now kill those in one hit as well.  Slice and dice!
High Templar - A unit that needs no introduction, the High Templar is one of the most threatening units in the game as long as it has Energy.  The Psionic Storm can still be called down onto opponents, albeit with less damage and a smaller radius than before.  Nevertheless, good aiming of this ability wins the game almost instantly.  It takes a lot to get to these units though, as much like Dark Templar they have their own expensive building and even then Psionic Storm must be researched before it can be used to turn the tide.  On top of this, High Templar are still 50 minerals and a whopping 150 gas to produce, and are frail at only 40 shields and 40 hp.  Before Psi Storm is researched, you can use the Feedback ability from the Dark Archons to get some use out of the pre-Storm High Templar.  This ability destroys all energy on a target and converts each point to damage to that target.  This will outright kill any high energy caster, and cripple big units like Thors if they are sitting on too much energy.  Guard and use High Templar well, and you'll win.  Fail, and you wasted tons of resources that will probably cost you the game.  
Archons - The mighty Archon still has power overwhelming, but now shares its High Templar roots with the Dark Templar, and 2 of either can now form an Archon.  Archons are no longer instantly destroyed by an EMP from the Terran Ghost, now that EMP only destroys 100 shields.  They do heavy damage with very slight splash, and have a bonus against all organic units, which basically means the entire Zerg race.  Unfortunately the great reduction in splash damage has destroyed their usefulness in fighting off droves of Zerglings and Mutalisks, and these have very little time to attack against any smart Terran player.  You'll rarely see Archons except in the most extreme of High Templar play where Archons are formed in the heat of battle once High Templar are out of energy.


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