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StarCraft II Heart of the Swarm: A closer look at new multiplayer units

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Besides giving us a peek at how Blizzard factors valuable fan input into StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, the developer also gave us a closer look at the new unit types that will arrive with the long-awaited expansion. Here’s the lowdown:


Issues and weaknesses

  • Thor is too slow and clumsy
  • Race has difficulties in handling mass zealots in late game

New units and abilities

  • New “battle mode” for hellion – transforms like a viking
  • Battle mode hellion has more hit points, moves more slowly
  • Shorter, wider arc on flame attack, and stronger
  • Gives Terrans a beefy front-line fighter in the late game


  • Smaller, more nimble version of Thor
  • Effective anti-mech ground weapon to help break siege tank lines
  • Anti-air attack with splash damage


  • Robot that emits channeled, area of effect damage when immobilized
  • Damage automatically shuts off when an ally moves into range
  • Gives Terrans cheap zone control, but can’t be used near main army
  • Still very much a work in progress


  • Moved to late game, more hit points and damage
  • Can only have one, like mothership from Wings of Liberty


Issues and weaknesses

  • Mid-game difficulties with siege and controlling areas
  • Missed opportunities with certain units like Ultralisk and Corruptor
  • New units and abilities


  • Existing version is bulky and has difficulties engaging in battle
  • New burrow charge ability lets it dive underground and get into the fight easily


  • New caster unit with detection — replaces overseer
  • Has abilities like blinding cloud to help break entrenched positions
  • Abduct ability allows it to pull units to itself — pull siege tanks or colossus out of death balls

Swarm host

  • Zerg artillery for map control and siege
  • Burrows into the ground, and continuously generates small creatures to attack
  • Feels very Zerg-y


Issues and weaknesses

  • Needs more raiding options
  • Needs area of effect, anti-air attacks
  • New units and abilities


  • New Protoss capital ship, replaces carrier
  • Anti-air splash damage for Mutalisks and other aircraft
  • Has direct air-to-ground attack as well that isn’t splash


  • Special unit that can clone itself into any non-massive unit
  • Allows Protoss to also take Siege Tanks or Infestors from enemies
  • Very expensive
  • Still very much a work-in-progress, not final unit


  • Caster unit used for raiding and harassment
  • Can disable enemy structures, or prevent mining with its abilities
  • Doesn’t actually kill or damage anything
  • Mothership is cut in favor of this unit

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John Gaudiosi
John Gaudiosi has been covering video games for over 25 years, dating back to his work for The Washington Post while in…
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