In Starcraft 2, there is a “best counter” for every unit. In this guide I will give detailed information for Terran players to counter every Starcraft 2 Zerg units.
Please keep in mind that this is a general terran unit strategy guide, it is based on pure unit statistics. So you must adapt depending on the situation in-game. For example, if I say that Vikings are the best unit counter against Mutalisks, don’t go for Vikings if you haven’t even started building a Starport as your opponent shows up with 6 mutalisks, you won’t have time for that, produce marines and/or missile turrets instead and then build a starport if you manage to hold off the first mutalisk batch.
My point is, adapt this information to your game depending on the situation, you can’t always produce the best unit counter in time, so sometimes you’ll have to go for 2nd or 3rd best. With that said, let’s get started with this guide!
Table of Contents
- How to Counter Zerglings
- How to Counter Queens
- How to Counter Hydralisks
- How to Counter Banelings
- How to Counter Roaches
- How to Counter Infestors
- How to Counter Mutalisks
- How to Counter Corruptors
- How to Counter Ultralisks
- How to Counter Brood Lords
1. Hellion – Thanks to its flamethrowers, the Hellion does massive AoE damage against packs of Zerglings and also benefits from their +5 damage vs light units, killing them in 3 shots (2 shots with the Infernal Pre-Lighter Upgrade), which means that 2 or 3 hellions can together take out several Zerglings simultaneously everytime they shoot.
Even better, with their incredible movement speed, they can fire and run away unscathed with proper micro, making the hellion the best Terran counter vs Zerglings.
2. Reaper – Dealing 2 x (4 dmg + 5 dmg vs light) = 18 dmg to Zerlings everytime they shoot, and they shoot rather quickly. This means that with no upgrades, they will need only 2 attacks to kill a Zergling. Not as good as the Hellion vs Zerglings, due to a lack of AoE and no super speed, but in certain situations they can do really well, especially with a ledge nearby for some hit and cliff jump harassment.
3. Marines + Bunker or Walling – Not as good as the above two options, but still the best option if your opponent tries an early Zergling rush before you get the chance to tech for Hellions or Reapers. Generally, Terran players will simply wall off their entry point quickly with their first barrack and a supply depot. Then place a few marines behind and shoot away while the poor Zerglings will try to chew at your buildings to enter.
1. Ghosts – Sniper Round deals 45dmg to biological units, plus they have a natural +10 dmg bonus with Biological units. Which means that they can take out a Queen quickly, without taking a single damage (as long as they remain cloaked). Not to mention, Queens do very poor damage versus ground units.
2. Reapers – With their excellent mobility and bonus vs light units, reapers are great to harass drones and queens. Climb the nearest cliff, take a few shots at the Queen, if she runs away, take out some drones and run away if your opponent sends a heavy force against you. Rinse and repeat and keep pressure on your opponents economy and on his queen. If you manage to take out a queen early with your reapers, this will be a huge step back for your opponent. Even better, if your opponent has his drones and queen run away, simply attack his hatchery. Reapers do crazy damage against buildings, don’t forget that.
3. Marauders – With their long range and their concussive shots, Marauders can easily take out a Queen without leaving her a chance to run for cover. A couple of marauders combined with a bunch of reapers is the ideal early queen gank squad.
Note: In any case, no Zerg opponent will ever mass produce Queens, so you shouldn’t build the above units specifically to counter 1 or 2 Queens. However, it’s still good to know what units work best against them.
1. Siege Tanks – Easily the best counter to Hydralisks. While in Siege Mode, tanks can kill several Hydralisks with only two shots. Don’t use them solo though, protect them with a squad of marines or reapers and they’ll rip Hydralisks to shreds from the safety of their huge range (13 in siege mode).
2. Ravens – Two things make the Raven great against hydralisks. Hunter-seeker Missile is great against stationary units, Hydralisks like to stand there and shoot and don’t move very fast, plus HSM does 100 damage, just enough to kill a bunch of hydras in one shot. The other thing which makes them awesome against hydralisks is the Point Defense Drone, which will absorb many shots from hydras and save your troops a whole lot of damage.
3. Reapers – With their +4 dmg vs light units and their nice mobility, Reapers inflict 18 dmg per attack against Hydralisks, a lot better than what Hydralisks do (Only 12 dmg per attack), and they cost a lot less to produce.
4. Marines – One single Marine will lose versus a single Hydralisk. However, 3 Marines will easily defeat a single Hydralisk, while costing about the same amount of ressources and less building requirements. With the combat shield upgrade or a single infantry armor upgrade, mass marines become an excellent counter to Hydralisks.
1. Siege Tanks – In siege mode, they kill banelings in one hit, before they even get anywhere near. With the help of a medivac and good micro (Unload – Shoot – Load), they become an even better counter.
2. Reapers – They do 18 damage per attack to Banelings, thus killing them with two shots. With proper hit and run (aka “Kiting”), they can kill them in two shots before the banelings get a chance to explode near them. However, reapers are light units, so they take full damage from banelings and can quickly be obliterated without proper micro skills. Pair them with a few marauders to help with the kiting, using concussive shot on the closest banelings to slow them down.
3. Marauders – With their range of 6 and their concussive missiles which slow movement speed, Marauders can “kite” banelings with proper micro and kill them before they even get in range to explode. Moreover, Marauders are Armored units so they only take 15 damage from Baneling explosions. However, they only deal 10 damage per attack to light units, so it’s best to pair them with other units which do a lot more range damage versus banelings, such as reapers and siege tanks.
Tip: While kiting, let one of your units lag behind to force the banelings to explode and take out only that unit.
The Battle Report #1 between David Kim and Matthew Cooper shows that technique, with David Kim feeding units one by one to the banelings while kiting them (see video below).
Any unit will do, but some fill that role even better. The Hellion is a great unit to feed to banelings, with their 90HP, it will take 3 baneling explosion to kill a single Hellion, while doing nice damage to banelings (bonus vs light units). Their incredible mobility also makes it easier to position them quickly between the banelings and your infantry. Position them sideways in front of the banelings to block them as much as possible.
1. Siege Tanks – Roaches have high speed health regeneration, so you must use brute force against them, killing them with heavy fire before they get the chance to back off or burrow to regenerate. Siege Tanks in siege mode fit that role best. They are also good vs roaches even when they aren’t in siege mode, dealing 15 dmg + 10 vs armored.
2. Raven – The Raven brings 3 extremely viable cards to the table against roaches. They fly, so roaches can’t hurt them. They are dectectors, preventing roaches to burrow and regenerate. Hunter-seeker Missile deals a massive 100 damage in an area, which is enough to finish off roaches mid fight before they even think about burrowing. Combine it with infantry to guarantee an efficient mass roach killing.
3. Thor – With do a massive 90 damage vs ground units, so of course they do great against Roaches. Their Armored status and 400 HP also allows them to take a lot of punishment from Roaches. However, don’t send them alone, pair them with other appropriate units such as Marauders, Siege Tanks and Ravens.
4. Marauders – Marauders outrange Roaches significantly and also outgun them thanks to their +10 dmg vs armored units. Their concussive missiles also help them finish off low HP roaches before they manage to escape, this only works until your opponent researches burrow though, so make sure to get an Orbital Command ASAP or a raven for detection. This makes them the best early counter to roaches.
1. Ghosts -EMP Shot not only drains all energy from Infestors, but also reveals them for 5 seconds. Use your intuition to guess where they’re burrowed, EMP Shot that area and if you are successful, you’ll have 5 seconds to turn these ugly bugs into a pool of blood, which should be plenty at this stage of the game.
2. Ravens – Detection is great against Infestors. They also move very slowly, thus making it hard to dodge a carefully placed Hunter-Seeker Missile. Be careful though, Infestors can use Neural Parasite on your Ravens and nullify that tactic, be the first one to act.
3. Orbital Command – Build one if you haven’t already. Build a second one if your opponent is going for Infestors. Always save some energy to scan and destroy these bugs quickly before they turn your army against you.
1. Vikings – They do 20 damage per attack against Mutalisk, which is more than twice as much, while costing about the same ressources. With their great mobility, they can chase mutalisks really well and make your opponent wish he hadn’t produced any.
2. Thors – +4 damage vs light. This grants the Thor a solid 4x 14 damage versus Mutalisks. With their insane range of 10, they can kill Mutalisks before your opponent even sees your Thor. With their 400 HP and armor of 1, thors can even withstand a heavy mutalisk pack.
3. Battlecruisers – They do farily well vs heavy Mutalisk forces. However, teching to Battlecruisers is very ressource heavy, so only go for this option if your opponent is going for mass mutalisks.
4. Marines – Without upgrades, they die pretty quickly to Mutalisks and their multi-shots. However, with the Combat-Shield and Stim-Pack upgrades, they become a very good counter against Mutalisks.
1. Thors – Being a ground unit, the Thor is immune to Corruptors. Plus, with it’s huge range of 10 (double as much as the corruptors), the Thors counter Corruptors best.
2. Vikings – Vikings cost slightly less ressources than Corruptors, however they are better than them in every aspect. They deal 28 damage per attack (thanks to their bonus vs armored) and have a range of 9. To top it off, you can quickly switch a low HP viking to ground mode before it is finished off by corruptors, thus preventing the loss of a unit. They also have superior mobility.
3. Marines – They can’t be hit by corruptors and can kill them pretty quickly with the Stimpack upgrade.
4. Raven – Point defense drone is great against Corruptors and their relatively slow attack speed.
1. Banshee – Well duh, free hits. They do significant, long range damage to ground units and can’t be harmed by Ultralisks. If you see your opponent teching for Ultralisk, make sure to bring a few extra Banshees into the fray.
2. Battlecruisers – With the Yamato Cannon upgrade, battlecruisers can make quick work of the zerg powerhouse. Each Yamato Cannon does 300 dmg, which means that you can instantly kill an Ultralisk if you’ve got two of those.
3. Thor – The Ultralisk is only devastating against small ground units, because of his splash cleave attack. A Thor will only take 20 damage per attack from an Ultralisk, while dealing 90 damage every attack, which is almost 5 times as much. If your opponent crazy enough to stick his Ultralisk on your Thor while your smaller infantry units chew at its husk, you’ve got yourself a pretty good deal. Plus, the Thor’s 250mm canon does 500 damage while also stunning the target for 6 seconds! This is huge, it’s like this ability was made specifically to counter Ultralisks! Thors are in my opinoin the best ground unit to counter ultralisks, by far.
4. Marauders – With their +10 damage bonus vs Armored, a squad of Marauders does pretty well against an Ultralisk, especially if you spread them out nicely, preventing the Ultralisk from taking full advantage of its splash cleave attack.
Tip: Always spread out your ground infantry units as much as possible when going up against an Ultralisk to minimize the effect of its Splash Cleave.
1. Vikings – 2 x 14 dmg per attack which can’t be retaliated, superior mobility and cheaper to produce.
2. Battlecruisers – Yamato Cannon for some one-shot fun.
3. Raven – Point Defense Drone is great against the broodlords attacks, which hit quite hard, but at rather slow pace. Plus, their movement speed isn’t the best, so a well timed Hunter Seeker Missile will quickly make a dent at their HP.
4. Thor – Superior Range (10) and Superior Firepower (4x 10dmg). If you can’t access the above units, then this is your Plan B.