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Starcraft II Race Tips

Updated on September 25, 2010

The nomadic Terran, the advanced Protoss, or the swarming Zerg - these are the three races that battle for supremacy in Starcraft, and it is up to each commander to decide which one of these races to lead into battle.

This guide will offer a brief, overview of each race, and give relative beginners some tips, on the best ways to make these races really shine. Common strategies will also be linked to. For help with some of the lingo used with these strategies, look here.


Flexibility, and adaptability, that's the name of the game for the Terran player.

Just like in Starcraft I, many of the buildings of the Terran are capable of 'lifting off.' This ability gives the Terran player a lot of flexibility. Zerglings flooding your base? you can lift off most of your buildings, out of harm's reach. Want to expand quickly? You can build a new command center inside the defenses of your first base before flying it into place. Want to grab an island expansion, but don't have a drop ship ready? Just fly a base over there. Heck, you can even use buildings to scout out the map if needs be.

Also, you can make your huge floating buildings dance!

The Terran Command Center has a few additional tricks up its sleeve as well. It can actually 'load' SCV's, meaning it can be used to shelter a few workers during an attack, or carry a few workers with it to an expansion point.

Players can also upgrade their Command Centers to an Orbital Command, which can allow the player to scan an area, as well as call down a MULE unit, a special worker, that can harvest twice as fast as an SCV, but only functions for a short time before breaking down. The Orbital Command also allows a player to call down an instant supply depot, which can help a player avoid supply lock.

To maintain a strong macro-economy, players in most situations will want to use the Orbital Command to keep pace with the economic-boosting abilities of the other races.

The Command Center can also turn into a Planetary fortress, useful for holding on to contested expansion sites... or perhaps even go on the offensive.

Common opening build orders (and their associated strategies):

Reaper Rush

1-1-1 Opening

MMM (Marine/Marauder/Medivac)

Matchup strategies


For Aiur! The Protoss represent the strongest one-on-one units in the game. That is balanced out by also having them be the most expensive , and often slowest to build, units in the game as well.

Lucky for Toss players, they gain the power of 'Chronoboost' in SC II. This ability, used through their Nexus buildings, lets them speed up the production of units and upgrades. To be a competitive Toss player, it is important to remember to use it early, and use it often.

The Nexus also has gained the ability to spawn a Mothership, a powerful capital ship for the Protoss fleet, which fills the position of the Arbiter from the first game.

Players can only have one Mothership at a time for a reason. Players looking for a way to break a late-game stalemate ill find the Mothership's ability to warp in whole armies, and freeze portions of the opponent's army to be game-changing.

The photon canon from SC I has returned as well, and remains the best stationary defense in the game, able to hit air and land and detect stealth units. The canons aren't movable however, so be careful not to build them where they aren't really needed.

Common opening build orders (and their associated strategies):


Void Ray rush

Vanilla opener

Dark Templar Rush


For the Swarm ... the race of choice is Zerg.

It's a race that can be intimidating for new players thanks to unusual units, the larvae system, and the Zerg base's dependence on creep (that gray ground cover). But beyond all those hurdles is a slew of nasty tactics that the Zerg player can unleash on his enemies.

But if you want to know the key to playing virtually all strategies in SC II, it's going to be all about the Queen.

Well... not that Queen. Not even Kerrigan, but this Queen.

Can anybody find me somebody to love?
Can anybody find me somebody to love?

The Queen unit - trained from your hatcheries once you have a Spawning Pool, serve two very important purposes. Your matriarch can spread the creep through creep tumors, and can inject more larvae onto your hatcheries, allowing you to substantially boost your unit production.

Queens have become important combat units as well, being one of the few early Zerg units able to attack air units, and able to transfuse more life into units, but by far it is the Injection ability that is the most crucial for Zerg players to use.

The Swarm has always been more about offense than defense, but Zerg players get some extra perks in the base defense department in SC II, with the ability to move their spine crawler, and spore crawler structures. The ability to direct creep growth, and move defenses means Zerg players have the ability to play the slower, terrain-control type of game that used to only be the domain of the Terran and Protoss.

Common opening build orders (and their associated strategies):


One base Roach

Fast Mustalisks

Baneling Bust

What SC II strategy do you hate?

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    • glenn wallace profile image

      glenn wallace 7 years ago

      Thanks Winterfate!

      I'm going to be reading your SC scenario walkthrough very closely, since I'm still trying to beat several of those levels on the harder setting.

    • Winterfate profile image

      Darrin Perez 7 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Just writing you up again to mention that I've linked to this hub in my latest SCII related hub. :)

    • Winterfate profile image

      Darrin Perez 7 years ago from Puerto Rico

      A nice and concise strategy article! Thanks! :)