StarCraft II - Terran Air Units In-Depth Stats and Strategy

Everything that flies in the Terran skies sacrifices everything for one thing--firepower.  The Terran Air Force is frighteningly strong, but has pathetic speed and lackluster durability. 

Everything that flies in the Terran skies sacrifices everything for one
thing--firepower.  The Terran Air Force is frighteningly
strong, but has pathetic speed and lackluster durability. 
They're also incredibly specialized--there is no one unit that you can
mass that will win you the game (well, most of the time!). 
Often times Terran Air is a response to something your opponent does,
and typically they excel at countering the units they're designed to
destroy.  The Raven is the only flying spellcaster in the
game, and its unique abilities can turn any battle from a lost cause,
to an overwhelming victory.

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style="font-style: italic;">The Overlord Exterminator.

Hide them carefully, Zerg players!


Cost - 150 Minerals, 75 Gas, 2 supply

Build Time - 42 Seconds

Combat Stats - 125 HP, 0 Armor, Armored/Mechanical Armor types in both

    Air to Air Flying Mode - 10 damage, +4
vs. armored, fires two shots per attack.  9 range
(!).  Each attack upgrade increases both types of damage by
1.  Can only shoot other air units.  Moderate move

    Ground Assault Mode - 14 damage, +1 per
attack upgrade.  6 range.  Can only shoot ground


Early Game
-  Vikings are your go-to against any kind of early signs of
total Air strategies.  The moment you see early Stargates,
Starports, or a Spire, your next step is to make a Starport with a
Reactor to crank out Vikings unless you're planning a Marine-centric
counter attack.


Keep in mind that while these control the skies, they do not control
the skies in small numbers.  A Void Ray will drop a lone
viking very easily, but when a cluster of vikings fights a cluster of
Void Rays, and you see the Void Rays dying in single volleys, that's
when the Vikings are in control.  But against players that
know this weakness, they will try to harass anything that comes out of
your Starport and prevent you from achieving that level of air
superiority.  You may need to backup your Vikings with a
Missile Turret or two while you get a good number of them up and


This strategy emphasizes the main power of the Viking--the ability to
strike opposing air units, while remaining under the cover of ground
forces/buildings.  The viking is a powerful air to air
fighter, but combined with the fact that it can remain over the safety
of your ground support while you pick away at the enemy air or Colossi,
make the Viking the powerful unit that it is. 


Late Game -
If capital ships are in the game, Vikings need to be.  A
combination of superior range, and a bonus against Armored (which all
heavy air is) gives Vikings the punch needed to drop a battleship in
only a few volleys.  You can employ these against anything in
the skies, but be careful.  When issuing attack commands,
Vikings love to cluster up as they approach a target, and leaves them
very vulnerable to splash damage such as Thors, Fungal Growth, and Psi
Storm.  None of these can outright ruin your Viking force
alone, but a couple in quick succession can.  Be careful.


Don't even bother with the ground form of these.  The
transformation sequence is too long and leaves you too vulnerable, and
for the cost, you can just purchase a Marauder and a Marine and get the
same level of performance and damage while saving on gas.  If
you want to harass from the skies, you should be using....


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style="font-style: italic;">A whole lot of firepower, in a
little package.

style="font-style: italic;">Just pray you don't get shot


Cost - 150 Minerals, 100 Gas, 2 Supply

Build Time - 60 seconds

Combat Stats - 140 HP, 0 Armor, Light/Mechanical armor types. 
12 damage per attack with +1 damage per upgrade, attacks twice per
barrage.  6 range.  Can only shoot ground units.


Early Game
- The banshee is just a terror to come up against.  Units with
a bonus against Light rarely attack air.  Those that do, you
probably won't have early on to counter these.  Scout, scout,
scout.  Know that you are more than capable of rushing to
these and dominating a Zerg early if you can prevent them from seeing
it coming.  One banshee will kill a queen.  One
banshee will kill a stalker.  One banshee kills a Marine in
two volleys (three with Combat Shield).  In short, these are a
game changer if you go for one very very early.  To do so,
you'll need to sacrifice virtually all gas-type production and go for a
heavy wall-in.  Start your factory as soon as possible, and
have it build a tech lab as you start your Starport.  When the
Starport finishes, lift both the Factory and Starport off and have them
exchange places so you can immediately begin Banshee production.


Scout early, and see if you can get away with going for an all-in
strategy.  The most important aspect of this is preventing a
scout from getting into your base.  The moment they see
something out of the ordinary -- no tech lab on a barracks, fast
Starport, they'll realize something is up.  Once you get 1-2
out, go for broke.  Set your rally point to their base and
continue building Banshees, but also construct Marines and prepare for
the counter attack should it happen.  From there, it's all in
your micromanagement skills.


Late Game 
- Cloak is a mixed bag.  It is a very expensive upgrade at 200
minerals and 200 gas.   It's also very easily
negated, as Overseers build incredibly quickly, Observers are almost
always in the field at this point, and Comsat Scans are a dime a dozen
once your opponent has an expansion up.  Really, the value of
this depends on your ability to make the most of it.  If you
get caught going for your opponent's anti-air units and they reveal
you, you're likely going to lose them all.  Banshees are
frail, frail things.  You need to be especially careful of
Thors and Phoenixes at this point.  Both of these will
demolish your Banshees in short order.  Phoenixes can be
handled by a pack of Vikings, but Thors will just force a retreat if
more than one are present.


Pick your targets well when using these.  They are great
assassins of high value structures and units.  Demolish enemy
Ghosts and Templar before they can unleash hell on you.  Raid
your opponent's economy if it rests on an edge that you can retreat
to.  Don't just have these wail on Warp Gates or units that
can't shoot back though--the time you're wasting blasting non-essential
structures will turn into time they have to prepare a counter!


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style="font-style: italic;">Somehow, it just isn't the same
without the Science Vessel voice.


Cost - 100 Minerals, 200 Gas, 2 Supply

Build Time - 60 seconds

Combat Stats - 140 HP, 1 Armor, Light/Mechanical armor types. 
No attack, but is a detector. 


Auto Turrets - The most basic ability is only useful when
harassing.  Dropping 2 of these behind the minerals of your
opponent can serve as a great distraction and requires a
response.  While not terribly strong, the turrets do have a
very high rate of fire and will gun down workers quickly.  The
most frustrating part of using these in the heat of battle is
placement--they are placed just like a building, so you need a flat,
clear piece of land to place this, and multiple turrets must be placed
in the same fashion.  It's a difficult ability to spam, so
save your energy for the other two fantastic
spells.   If your opponent is going for a purely
melee force that is coming at you, you may be able to buy some time and
put up a better defense by placing a wall of these down ahead of
time.  Auto Turrets have 150 HP, 1 Armor, and do a normal
damage attack of 8 damage at 6 range.  They last 3 minutes, or
4 with the Durable Materials upgrade (don't bother).


Point Defense Drones - Similar to the Defensive Matrix ability from the
first game, this deploys a defensive drone that diverts all enemy
projectiles in the area to it.  If the projectile can be seen
flying through the air, generally it will be diverted to the
Drone.  The drone has a limited duration and can only absorb
so much punishment before it powers down and projectiles resume normal
flight, after about 20 shots.


This is an extremely good ability to use in Terran vs. Terran, or
Terran vs. Zerg air wars.  All projectiles shot by their
respective air units will be destroyed by the drone.  While 20
shots may not seem like much when 20 Mutalisks are in play, by the time
the drone is done absorbing the shots, it will be 18 Mutalisks if you
have Vikings on the scene.  Generally, using this will force
an immediate retreat by your opponent, giving you free shots. 
Capitalize, capitalize, and keep in mind these do have a good duration
much like the Turret.  If they're not destroyed, they will
regenerate their energy slowly over time and provide you with a
defensive point to return to if you're overwhelmed.


Hunter Seeker Missile -  Blasts the target into tiny pieces,
dealing 100 splash damage.  Unfortunately the Missile now has
to be launched from a rather low 6 range, meaning your Raven is going
to be targeted by any anti-air in the game.  This is
especially true when you need to fire these into the middle of clusters
of units to get the most damage out of it.  Meaning, you'll
now have to sacrifice your Raven more than likely to get off the sexy,
10 Hydralisks killing shot.  What a shame, right?


The missile can be avoided.  After it is launched, there is a
little red painted target line on the targeted unit, and if it flees
for 15 seconds and the missile never reaches it, nothing
happens.  The missile runs out of gas and falls to the
ground.  This rarely happens in fights, since things get so
chaotic and units bump into each other as they try to flee. 
You have to be careful when firing this off against mobile air
units.  The splash damage does not discriminate between friend
or foe, and smart players may try and manipulate it into your units!


Generally, Ravens are used in Zerg matchups to spot for burrowed traps
and go for Hunter Seeker kills on the inevitable pack of Hydralisks or
Mutalisks.  You can put them to good use in any matchup, but
it all rides on your ability to use the spells properly and when they
matter most.  200 Gas is a lot to spend, and that's not even
counting the research necessary to fire off Hunter Seekers. 
Could you better use this on more combat units, like a pair of
tanks?  This is a decision you have to make yourself!


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style="font-style: italic;">If it's on the ground, the
Battlecruiser will beat it.  If it's in the skies, the
Battlecruiser will likely still beat it.


Cost - 400 Minerals, 300 Gas, 6 Supply

Build Time - 90 Seconds

Combat Stats - 550 HP, 3 Armor, Armored/Massive/Mechanical armor types.
6 range, gains +1 attack on both attack types per upgrade.

    Air to Ground - 10 damage per hit

    Air to Air - 6 damage per hit


Early Game, yeah right,
let's just skip to Late Game
-  The flying
masters of the skies, the Battlecruiser returns with a vastly different
attack style.  Rather than emptying out everything into one
big laser hit, it now fires incredibly fast and incinerates all it
hits.  It does damage faster than even a Banshee, without the
glaring weakness against air units. Hordes of ground based anti-air,
such as Marines or Hydras, will melt much faster under the new machine
gun of lasers.


I may say 'without a glaring weakness against air', but you have to
support these with actual anti air.  Their damage output just
doesn't cut it against their heavy air counters-- Void Rays, Vikings
and Corruptors will tear apart Battlecruisers at an alarming
rate.  However, two of those three are durable, semi-expensive
anti air... that dies instantly to our old friend : The Yamato Cannon.


The Yamato Cannon has received a slight upgrade, and now does a
whopping 300 damage to the target.  This will annihilate any
anti air unit instantly, and two will take down anything in the
skies.  Properly targeting and getting off the Yamato Cannon
before Void Rays can charge up their lasers on your hulls is essential
to their survival.  If you're going to go all-in with
Battlecruisers and little else, you'd be a fool not to research the big
gun.  The moment you reveal these, you need to go for the kill
though.  It's very cheap to mass up the counter to these,
compared to what it costs you to get them on the field.


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