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Starcraft 2 Guide: Terran It Up

The Terrans are the primary race of Starcraft 2, and it shows. In the single-player campaign, they get access to tons of units that they don't in multiplayer, whereas the Zerg and Protoss have only a few single-player exclusive units. It is also a common complaint on the Blizzard forums that the Terrans are overpowered compared to the rest of the races. While we certainly don't think this is true, the Terrans are significantly easier to pick up and play than the other two races, and lend themselves well to a wide variety of strategies.

In general, Terran strategies revolve around their mobility, versatility, and lack of dependence.
  • Most strategies do not take into account static defenses, as the Terrans only have access to one automatic static defense: the missile turret. Thus, it's not uncommon to see a Terran player forgo turrets and bunkers to build up a strong attack force faster. This can be dangerous if you don't get a detector unit, like a Raven, but as cloaked units are generally not prevalent until mid-to-late game, it's not too big of an issue.
  • The Terran bread and butter unit, the Marine, is one of the only units in the game that is universally useful. It can hit all targets, deals okay damage, can increase its own attack speed, can be healed on the move, and costs no gas whatsoever. While you may see Zerg or Protoss players not using Zealots or Zerglings, it's rare to see a Terran player not use marines.
  • The Terran tech tree is simple, and can be completed within 5 to 7 minutes. Command Center allows the Barracks, which allows the Factory, which leads to the Starport. Each of these structures also has another structure associated with it the allow the construction of specialized units: the Ghost Academy, Armory, and Fusion Core. All of the unit producing structures also share add-ons: reactors and tech labs. This makes the Terrans the most flexible and modular of the three races when it comes to teching up and base management.
  • Terran structures do not require any external power sources, like the Zerg or Protoss structures, and all unit-producing structures can lift off and fly away. Once again, this means the Terrans are considerably more mobile in bases than the relatively static Zerg and balanced Protoss.

There are three main Terran strategies that see play in competitive leagues. These three strategies are very common, incredibly flexible, and overall offer the discerning Terran player a number of options to play with. While these are hardly the be-all, end-all strategies, they are definitely a good starting place for beginners and offer the professionals a good launching point for more creative plays.

The first Terran strategy, and arguably the strongest of these three, is Marines, Marauders, and Medivacs. Otherwise known as MMM, it's a fairly simple strategy. Tech to a Starport with a reactor while building up a force of Marines and Marauders. Once you have a few Medivacs, you can either load your units into them for a base drop or simply assign your Medivacs to follow your force and heal them. The result is a resilient, massive force that is effective versus both ground and air. As a pure MMM force is susceptible to counters (especially against Protoss, who have three great counters: Colossi, High Templar, and Carriers), many Terran players get auxiliary units to shore up weaknesses. The most common of these is the Siege Tank, thanks to its devastating effect versus ground units. In game, this is referred to as "MMM to X," where X is the primary auxiliary unit, such as Siege Tanks or Banshees.

  • Highly mobile, thanks to the usage of Medivacs to cart units around.
  • Resilient, as Medivacs heal biological units and keep forces in the fight longer.
  • Can use stimpacks to drastically increase damage output.
  • Meshes well with other unit compositions.
  • Requires good macro skills and several more Barracks buildings to be sustainable.
  • Vulnerable to area-of-effect anti-infantry counters, such as Colossi or Banelings.
  • Medivacs incredibly vulnerable, easy to take out, renders whole force much easier to kill.
  • Stronger against ground than air.

The second Terran strategy is Mechanized, or Mech for short. Mechanized is a common strategy in 2v2 games, where one player can defend while the other player techs up as fast as possible. Mech revolves around three units as well: Thors, Siege Tanks, and Vikings. Thors deal heavy damage and can stun single targets, but move slow, don't deal that much to air units, and don't have an area-of-effect on attacks. Siege Tanks bring the requisite area-of-effect devastation to the table, but are vulnerable to melee units air air attacks. Vikings ruin air units, but can't handle anti-air as well. All three of them combine to shore up the issues with the other units, making a well composed force that churns through enemy units.


  • Great at dealing damage to both structures and large clumps of units.
  • Few weakness if all units stick together.
  • Counters a lot of potential unit compositions
  • Requires good microing skills to prevent destruction of units.
  • Difficult to heal in the field.
  • Expensive in both minerals and gas.

Finally, there's the good old strategy known as Cruisers. We're pretty sure we don't need to explain this one, but we will anyway: tech as fast as you can to Battlecruisers, then build a force of Battlecruisers, Vikings, and Ravens. Proceed to dominate the air and annihilate all who stand in your way. Cruisers are rarely a strategy in 1v1, as quick matches are common, but it is a fairly popular strategy for 3v3 and 4v4, where your allies can defend you as you tech up and start pumping out the beasts.


  • Easy to gain air dominance with, as both units are strong against air.
  • Difficult to counter with ground units, as Battlecruisers tear through most units like paper.
  • Strong against all unit types.

  • Susceptible to masses of anti-air units, either aerial or ground.
  • Extremely expensive and time-consuming
  • Requires fast teching, which leave player open to attacks.

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