StarCraft II - Complete Guide to Protoss Units

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

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.

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style="font-style: italic;">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


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!

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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.

The Stargate - Carrier (and others) has arrived.

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style="font-style: italic;">The Protoss Fleet combines
specialized firepower with units that demand counters from your
opponent, such as rage quitting.


Phoenixes -
The fastest unit in the skies, the Protoss Phoenix is a
light air unit that shreds other light air units with its dual laser
strikes.  It has zero weapons to deal direct damage to ground,
and since it strikes twice, fares poorly against enemies with heavy
armor upgrades or high base armor to begin with, such as capital ships
and Brood Lords.  

If you're having trouble with Mutalisks, Banshees, Ravens, or just want
to scout and see what the situation is in your opponent's base, the
Phoenix fufills this role better than any other air to air
unit.  They're tougher than they look as well, sporting 60
shields and a solid 120 HP while only costing 150 minerals and 100 gas
each.  Keep in mind that you aren't going to win against
Corruptors, and Vikings will give you a run for your money, so pick
your fights carefully with Phoenixes and run as needed.  

When the skies are yours or you come under attack by a heavy ground
force, there's the trusty Graviton Beam.  Channeling this on a
target picks it up into the skies, and leaves it to die to your other
Phoenixes in short order.  You can also use it on heavy units
of the enemy, such as Immortals or Siege Tanks, to disable them while
your ground forces do the dirty work.  This ability only costs
50 energy so you can throw it out there quite often.  3
Phoenixes can even raid an economy by lifting and blasting workers with
the only limitation being how quickly you can press G and
click.  A unit not to be underestimated, but not to be massed
unless you're crazy.

Void Rays -
While looking fairly harmless, the Void Ray becomes a
monster once the prismatic beam  is unleashed on a
target.  The damage from these starts out slow, and after two
animation changes and sound cues, the laser reaches full power and
gains a devastating attack power boost against Armored targets and any
other target as well.  To put things in perspective, a pair of
these targeting a hatchery can bring it down in about 15 seconds at
full power.  That's scary stuff, and assuming they live to
reach full power, makes Void Rays the weapon of choice against large
air units.  If you think you can evade the beam and make it
reset, it's not as easy as you think.  The Void Ray maintains
its charge for several seconds after it stops firing, and can even fire
while moving towards a target.  The only way a unit can escape
from a Void Ray is death, or by being quite fleet of foot.  If
the latter seems to be a problem, there's an upgrade to increase the
Void Ray's speed greatly at the Fleet Beacon, making it almost on par
with Mutalisks and Phoenixes.  They are somewhat frail and
expensive however, packing only 100 shields and 150 HP but costing a
painful 250 minerals and 150 gas each.  You have to control
these well--they may melt opponents at full laser charge, but they also
wither quickly themselves under any kind of fire.

Carriers -
The iconic air unit of StarCraft, the Carrier now comes
prebuilt with 4 interceptors and no longer needs an upgrade to build to
its limit of 8.  If you've never seen a Carrier in action, the
Carrier itself sits at long range and dispatches a swarm of little
fighters that pelt a target over and over again.  The little
guys can be shot down, but will retreat to the Carrier for repairs when
heavily damaged.  

Each interceptor costs 25 minerals to build and each carrier has its
own build queue for interceptors.  Now you can even auto-cast
the build interceptor option, and every time a interceptor is shot
down, it will instantly begin building another one if you have the
minerals to support it.  On top of that, there's now an
upgrade to dispatch the entire fleet of interceptors in short order
whenever they engage, rather than slowly releasing the swarm.  

All of this power comes with some drawbacks though, and Carriers are
still incredibly expensive at 350 minerals, 250 gas, 6 population, and
that's not even counting additional interceptors.  They also
lost a little durability, and now only sit at 300 HP and 150
shields.  Each race has a powerful counter to capital ships,
so if you're hoarding Carriers, you better hide them well and strike
before they build the appropriate counter.  A devastating unit

The Mothership
- Signifying the end of the game, the Mothership brings
both firepower and incredible special abilities to the
battlefield.  You can only have one of these at any given
time, and they cost 400 minerals, 400 gas, 8 population, and take over
two minutes to build.  If you are planning on getting one of
these out before you win, you'll need to Chronoboost it
constantly.  And by it, I mean your Nexus.  That's
right, the ultimate Protoss sign of power comes from the same place as
the lowly Probe.  What the hell?  

These are vulnerable to the same things Carriers are, and while they
are more durable, they are also far more lucrative of a
target.  They also move slowly.  Guard it carefully
and use the following abilities, and you'll likely win effortlessly.

•    Permanent Cloaking - Everything near
the Mothership is cloaked from sight.  This includes units AND
buildings, making it entirely possible to stealth a series of Photon
Cannons while under attack or hide your expansion from view. 
The Mothership itself is still visible and vulnerable though, making it
a beacon for all things painful from the opponent's anti-air.

•    Mass Recall - Stealing another ability
from the Arbiter, the Mothership can spend 100 energy and summon a
rather large area of units to its position in short order. 
You can use this to bring reinforcements to the battle before all is
lost, or you can fly your Mothership over an expansion or behind the
enemy's lines and summon your army to a position they are not prepared
for it at.  Be careful of area of effect abilities when using
this though.  Things like Hunter Seeker Missile, Psionic
Storm, and Fungal Growth will ruin your hopes and dreams if aimed atop
your Mass Recall.

•    Vortex - Summoning a black hole from
outta nowhere, the Vortex sucks in friend and foe alike in an area, and
persists until the spell ends.  All units inside the vortex
are completely invincible and will be returned to the battlefield after
20 seconds have passed since the Vortex was used.  This can be
used to split your opponent's army, making your life far easier by
letting you crush one half, and then wait outside the Vortex with open
arms.  Open arms with Zealot Psi Blades mounted on them, of

The Robotics Facility - High Priced Units for High Stakes

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style="font-style: italic;">While fairly optional, the power
of the Robotics units is not to be trifled with.  All of these
units can cause your opponent a great deal of grief.

Observers -
Our stealth friends return for another run, or flight I
suppose.  They've been nerfed somewhat and now cost a fair
amount at 50 minerals and 100 gas.  Since this is the same
cost as a Sentry, a unit that can turn the tide in a hurry or almost
enough for a High Templar, you need to keep these units alive and mind
the enemy's defensive positions and detectors.  They are
permanently cloaked and are detectors of stealth and burrowed
units.  They move rather slowly, but for a cheap upgrade, you
can move them faster than most medium air units.  This upgrade
is necessary if you're having trouble with Banshees constantly on the
move away from your detection.

Warp Prisms
- The Warp Prism replaces the Shuttle, and while it still
has many of the exact same features (carries ground units, dies to a
stiff breeze, has a speed upgrade) the real reason to build these lies
in a new special ability.  The Warp Prism can deploy into a
mini-Pylon field at any given time, and while it cannot move in this
form, it does power nearby buildings and more importantly, allows you
to use Warp Gates to call in ground forces anywhere you can deploy a
Warp Prism.  

Some players keep one with their main forces and deploy it the moment
things get heavy, enabling them to summon in several units to try and
sway the battle in their favor.  Others will use this ability
to sneak in units at the back of their opponent's base, whether it be
via Warp Gates or the classic drop method.   Still
others will pick up a Colossi and use it like a Reaver, dropping it to
fire one shot and then picking it back up to dodge counter
attacks.  They are fairly expensive at 200 minerals each, so
be careful with your sneaky tactics.  Walking into one missile
turret can spell a quick doom for it ... and anything inside it!

Immortals -
The final word in pushing a defensive position, the
Immortal is a heavy unit at 100 shields and 200 HP.  They're
costly at 250 minerals and 100 gas each, and a high 4
population.  But what they bring to the table is highly
unique--as long as the Immortal has shields, all attacks above 10
damage are reduced to 10 damage.  That Siege Tank
shot?  10 damage.  Spine Crawlers or Photon
Cannons?  10 damage.  On top of this, the Immortal
excels against all of these units offensively as well.  It
only does 20 base damage, but a whopping 30 bonus to Armored units and

This means an Immortal can kill a Siege Tank in 4 shots, or 3 with one
weapon upgrade.  You can also imagine how fast they demolish
defensive structures with that bonus..  If you're having
trouble with Zerg players using Roaches and Ultralisks, Immortals blast
them to pieces with incredible speed and efficiency.  You have
to be careful though--these units fail badly against swarms of smaller
units.  Zealots, Marines, and Zerglings all don't take the
bonus damage from being light units themselves, and all do less than 10
damage per hit, making the hardened shields of the Immortal
worthless.  Keep them covered with Zealots and High Templar to
strike down the little guys while the Immortals go to work on the heavy

Colossi -
Towering units that resemble something from War of the
Worlds, these are similar in use and effectiveness to the Reaver from
StarCraft.  They bathe units in a quick line of fire with dual
Thermal Lances.  The shot pattern is aimed at the target unit
to the outside, and the lasers cross the target to the other
side.  To put it in better words, the shot resembles a
T.  The unit is where the lines meet, and the top of it is the
perpendicular laser path the Colossi fires in.  This makes the
Colossi exceptional at melting lines of ranged units of any kind.

The Colossi doesn't care about cliffs, the unit's legs are so tall that
it can walk up and down levels of elevation with zero effect. 
If the enemy is in a position where it can be harassed from high
ground, the Colossi is weapon for the job.  Being so tall does
have its disadvantages, and the Colossi can be attacked by ground based
units, and shot at with anti-air weapons.  Since the Colossi
is considered both Armored and Massive, it's vulnerable to the Capital
Ship counters as well as units such as Immortals.  

Since they weigh in at 300 minerals, 200 gas, and 6 supply each, they
need to be guarded well.  With proper support and good
targeting though, you will leave nothing but charred remains in your
wake with a few of these in your army.  Be careful of hordes
of Zealots and Zerglings however.  If the enemy seeks to
surround you, use the cliff-walking ability to your advantage and
retreat to a position where they can't hit you, but you can incinerate

The Protoss army still has their mighty shield regeneration ability on
all units.  It works a little differently now, as no
regeneration will occur when the unit has been damaged
lately.  After 10 seconds have passed though, Protoss units
will begin to regenerate quite quickly.  This goes for
buildings as well, so finishing the job on your Protoss opponents and
retreating the wounded in small engagements can give you little
advantages that eventually add up to a win.  The Protoss
forces are strong, expensive, and have good abilities, but they all
need to be used in tandem with each other to produce victory reliably
against the forces of the Terrans and Zerg.  We'll cover how
to best use each of these units in depth soon, so hopefully you can get
access to the beta or pick up the game at launch and familiarize
yourself with the forces of Aiur!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Game Page.

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