StarCraft II - Terran Vehicles In-Depth Stats and Strategy

Posted Tue, May 18, 2010 by Stow

Possessing both the most mobile and immobile units in the game, the Terran Factory forces are a mixed bag.  Hellions terrorize the opponent's economy and melee, picking them off with superior speed and the power to hit multiple units.  Siege Tanks slowly drive into position to unleash hell at a range no other unit can even come close to matching.  Thors intimidate everyone else on the battlefield with their powerful land cannons and superior splash damage versus air units.  Terran vehicles are very strong, but while their HP counts seem high, they fall incredibly quickly.  They bring incredible firepower to the front lines, so long as they themselves aren't the front lines!

A dune buggy.  With a flamethrower.

How can you not like it?


Cost - 100 Minerals, 2 supply
Build Time - 30 seconds
Combat Stats - 90 HP, 8 damage, + 6 versus light, +16 versus light with upgrade.  Attack Range of 6 and all targets in the flamethrower's path take damage.  0 armor, Light/Mechanical armor types.  Attack upgrades give +1 normal, +1 to bonus damage.
Can only attack land units.

Early Game - Hellions can hit the battlefield before any other vehicle, and often times before any one can stop them.  You only need two or three to put a serious hurt on your opponents, so do not bother with the Reactor upgrade if going for this tactic.  Your goal is worker assassination, and it works primarily versus Zerg and to a lesser extent Protoss.  Drive right by any forces and start lining up shots.  Stick and move.  These units are not meant to fight anything toe to toe, especially when you're raiding like this.  Ideally, you want your opponent to panic and start microing his workers together--this plays right into the Hellion's strength.  Keep driving around, and if the workers flee, you've  got an opportunity.  You can move faster than them, so pursue and try to line up a killer shot.  When one burst of fire kills 5 or more workers, you can hear your opponent slam his fist on his desk in anguish.  Keep doing as much damage as you can with these, and don't forget to keep producing units at your base in the meantime.  You don't want to leave yourself vulnerable to a counter attack!

Mid Game and Late Game - Now that you can't just waltz in and have your way with their workers, Hellions come into play to keep those pesky light melee units off your big guns.  Hellions have several main uses at this point.
    - If you're going for an infantry-centric army against a Zerg, you can bet your ass you'll see Banelings come at you eventually.  Hellions are the perfect answer.  With the upgrade, 2 Hellions can kill a line of Banelings charging at your Marine mob instantly.  Once the suicide squad is down, your Marines can fire with much less risk.
    - Vehicle-centric armies, often referred to as Mech armies,  use Hellions as their frontal force.  Lots of them.  This does not make them suddenly potent fighters, but your goal is to provide a field of fire (literally) that incinerates the enemy melee before they can get to your Thors and Siege Tanks.  Keep Hellions in front of your army and scouting around for ambushes, flanks, and just looking for the enemy melee in general.  Unless the Zerglings are on Creep, you can have your way with any melee unit in the game.  Even a charging Zealot can't touch a Hellion force when it's using hit and run tactics.  Keep the enemy off your heavy artillery and you'll walk over your opponent!
    - Hellions are exceptional at assassinating enemy caster units.  Your forces are highly mobile and cost no gas, so you have very little to lose going for these high cost, low durability targets.  High Templar are but fodder for your fire.  Ghosts will have to cloak or burn.  Once these priority targets are down, you can engage them with much less risk to your forces.

While not looking like much, the Siege Tank is quite the threat un-sieged as well.

Siege Tanks

Cost - 150 Minerals, 125 Gas, 3 supply
Build Time - 45 seconds
Combat Stats - 160 HP, 1 Armor.  Can only shoot land units.  Armored/Mechanical armor types.  4 second delay in switching modes.
    Tank Mode - 15 damage with +10 versus armored, 7 range.  Attack upgrades increase damage by 2 and bonus versus armored by 1.  Relatively fast firing speed.
    Siege Mode - 60 damage, +5 per upgrade.  13 range.  Attacks deal splash damage in a decent radius, but splash damage is weaker when shooting larger targets (Explosion originates at the middle of the targeted unit).  Immobile, slow attack speed.

Early Game - Early siege tank use is largely map dependent and depends on the actions of your opponent.

Some maps, such as Desert Oasis, have your starting base's resources in range of Siege Tank weapons from below.  Getting a tank and siege mode research underway the moment the tech lab finishes, and setting up a bunker or two around there to secure your position can win the game right then and there.  Of course, you still need to have sight above so you'll need to bring in a flying unit (or building!).  Almost all expansions in the current map set of the beta are vulnerable to Siege Tank fire from some angle or elevation.  Exploiting this early can take out that expansion before they begin to reap the real benefits from it, and give you the opportunity to set up your own while the pressure is on them.

Defensively, a siege tank or two can very easily dissuade early aggression, but it's very important to not overdo it.  You may secure your base, but hiding behind your wall of supply depots, Marines, and Siege Tanks is not going to stop your opponent from expanding and controlling the map.  It's also important to position these correctly.  You may want to have the maximum range at the front so you can put the most firepower on your opponents, but if targeted by your opponent's ranged units your tanks will go down in short order.  Keep them a safe distance behind your front lines--but not out of range of course.

Mid/Late Game - Don't underestimate their damage in Tank Mode!  If shooting Armored units, buildings, or destructible rocks, the rate at which these deal damage is actually higher than when in Siege Mode, assuming no splash damage.  So if you get caught on the move against a pack of Roaches or Stalkers, don't be afraid to just hammer them with the main guns.  Since they fire faster, but for less damage, you'll have to put forth more effort to kill chasing Zealots.

As armies begin to get large, the positioning of your Siege Tanks is all that matters.  If caught from behind or near the front of the army, they will die before they can even get a shot off in Siege Mode.  When pushing out and getting near your opponent, siege half of your tanks and move slowly, leapfrogging your tanks and forces ahead with Siege Mode.  That way, if your opponent strikes, you'll have the decisive first blow from Siege mode that will often panic your opponent into backing off.  Next time they come, you'll be fully sieged up and ready for anything though!

It's extremely important to protect these from air raiding.  Mutalisks and Phoenixes love tanks.  Phoenixes can even pick up your siege tanks when in siege mode.  And since these units have to come in packs to do any damage, and are light units, we have this next bad boy to assist in the matter...

Heavy firepower, and the voice resembling a certain Terminator.

A match made in Heaven.


Cost - 300 Minerals, 200 Gas, 6 Supply
Build Time - 60 seconds
Combat Stats - 400 HP, 1 Armor.  Armored/Mechanical/Massive armor types.  There is a delay switching from anti ground to anti air weapons and vice versa, but you don't click a button for this--it's automatic.
    Attacking Ground - 30 damage a hit, attacks twice.  Gains +3 damage on each hit per upgrade.  Will attack twice even if the first hit kills the unit.  6 range.
    Attacking Air - 6 damage per missile, +6 versus light, shoots a cluster of 4.  These deal splash damage in a small radius.  Gains +1 damage normally and +1 versus light per upgrade.  10 range.
Requires a Tech Lab and an Armory.

Early Game - There really isn't an 'early game' for the Thor, but there are some silly tactics involving a fast one.

Referred to as the 'Thorship' or 'bullshit' by most players, this involves going directly for a Thor and a Medivac.  You'll need to get both refineries up very quickly, and skimp on the unrelated tech--Wall in with only a barracks and supply depots, and don't make an add on otherwise.  The moment you hit 100 gas, throw down your Factory, and when that finishes, throw down your Armory and Starport.  While those are building, put down a tech lab and make sure you have at least 8 extra supply.  Build a Thor and a Medivac when the respective buildings finish, and scout your opponent once more to see where their vulnerabilities lie.  Pick up the Thor with the Medievac and head for your opponent.  Drop it off near the workers, and begin blasting away happily.  If against a Zerg that targets your Medivac with their queen, prioritize it first.  Most Protoss players will only have a few sentries and maybe a stalker at this point, and a Thor can annihilate those with no problem.  The moment anti-land forces approach that you can't handle, pick it up with the Medivac and look for more vulnerable spots.  Keep building units and expanding--the whole point of this is to pressure them and throw them off their game.  When things just aren't working anymore, take it home and repair it.  That Thor is a hero!

Mid/Late Game - Thors excel at demolishing medium units and large units with their cannons, and larger units especially with the 250mm Cannons.  The real weakness of the Thor is swarms of Zerglings, and if you don't have to worry about those, you can use Thors to some extent in every game.  Even if you do think that's coming, use your Hellions to soften them up enough for the Thor cleanup committee.

Contrary to popular belief, the Immortal is not a good counter to the Thor once the Thor has 250mm Cannons and the energy to use them.  The Immortal's Hardened Shields does not apply to this attack since it's considered spell damage, and as an added bonus, the cannons stun the Immortal until it dies from the barrage.  So what would normally be an easy target for the Immortal, turns into an easy target for the Thor with the upgrade.  In the rare case you see Colossi or Ultralisks, the 250mm cannons basically render them useless.  Use them at every opportunity on big units, and if you need to, on buildings to ensure quick destruction.

One of the more annoying aspects of Thors versus Protoss is Feedback.  An ability that is designed to be anti-caster, actually works quite well on the Thor since it has to amass a lot of energy to use its ability to begin with.  If you see this happening, you need to mobilize your Hellions or Ghosts to neutralize them before they cause too much damage to your Thors and remove their energy.

The Thor is *not* a good unit to use against heavy air.  Heavy air units are highly armored, and the Thor does not get its bonus damage versus them.  You'll see your barrage doing 20 damage, and with the slow attack speed, that isn't killing a capital ship anytime soon.  As such, you'll need to support these masters of killing light air units with units capable of killing heavy air units--A pack of Marines or Vikings for instance.  The Terran army is by far the best to blend multiple units together into a killing machine, and the Thor drops the hammer quite nicely against all other targets.  Attacking with a Thor is a very all or nothing strategy though.  You don't retreat when you can barely move to begin with!


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