StarCraft II: Which Race is for you?

There aren’t many real-time strategy (RTS) games at the forefront of eSports. A plausible explanation for that could be the lack of cooperation between players. RTS games are played by two adversarial players. Also, the strategy aspect can mean that matches go for a very long time. It’s daunting for newcomers to the gaming world.

But StarCraft 2 has kept its head above water for some time. The game is very popular in the East. Appropriately, almost all of the best players came from South Korea. However, as the business of gaming inflates, there is promise for games like StarCraft to grow.

New players might actually prefer to play a game where they rely only on themselves. They want to do everything with their own hands—no reason to share the victory. Of course, those that like or might like strategy games, ones that are built around getting the brain going, will enjoy StarCraft 2.

Every new player has to select a race to play as. But investing hours into experimenting to find the right fit isn’t an option for every new player. It never hurts to have a headstart. And with so many excellent players already established in the East, the West ought to have a bit of help to catch up. Lineups is here to do just that.

Protoss

StarCraft 2 Protoss

Credit: starcraft2.com

Summary

The story goes that the Protoss race is rooted in philosophies and study. They’re advanced technologically, and their native planet, Aiur, is rich with intellect. The race was very strict about tradition in their society till the Zerg race invaded. Now, the Protoss have a choice: hold to their tradition and die, or let it go and survive.

The Protoss warriors are supposedly the best there is—the only reason they have trouble with the Zerg race is because of the endless numbers. Protoss are strong with psionic ability. To handle being outnumbered, they employ mobility and surprise. Also, they have a killer fleet: ships upon ships capable of destruction.

This race has expensive units that are worth the price. And by using probes, Protoss can warp in units for sudden attacks and reinforcements. Warpgate is a fantastic tool for this race. Later in a match, Protoss can deal devastating splash damage. What’s more, all units and all buildings are automatically equipped with a regenerative shield. But, this race’s buildings can only be made within the range of a pylon.

Is it right for you?

Despite how it may sound, Protoss is actually the least technical (mechanical) of the three. Experienced players recommend Protoss for new players, expressing that it can be picked up the quickest. The biggest obstacle is just getting familiar with the game: learning how to properly scout, set forcefields, and such.

This is a good choice for beginners in general because of its pacing. Early on in the game, things are slow. The time for units to build is slow. The time to tech is slow. By the time everything picks up, a Protoss player has gotten a grasp on how to play. It’s like a curriculum: not all knowledge is thrown at you right away, but it builds and builds until suddenly the instructor is trying to cram weeks of information into the last few days before Finals.

That aside, Protoss appeals to tactical players. If you like planning ambushes, traps, and moving units from one place to another quickly, then you might main Protoss. Do you like simple steps in a process? For Protoss, all it takes is a single probe to construct an entire base. Are you not a fan of sending in your troops without being able to deploy reinforcements? Protoss is a good choice for you; this race has a commendable selection of support units.

Finally, do you like lowering your enemy’s expectations? Protoss players often have small forces that their opponents underestimate. A new player can send in a small force and when the enemy takes the bait, warp in a larger force. An experienced player can send in a small force and overcome the opponent’s bigger army.

Terran

StarCraft 2 Terran

Credit: polygon.com

Summary

Does the name sound familiar? Can’t quite place it? Terra means “earth” in Latin, literally. And like the inhabitants of Earth, Terrans are known for using the environment to their advantage. Also like the inhabitants of Earth, Terrans aren’t finished unless they are exterminated completely.

Experienced players have praised the base defense of this race. Planetary Fortress, for example, is the best defensive structure of them all. Additionally, buildings that can lift off or submerge so that units can pass through make for great choke points. Terrans get free bunkers. Those can be salvaged for defense or offense with low economic risk.

The story goes that Terrans are the descendants of colonizers from Earth. Far from Earth’s jurisdiction, these expendables obey the Terran Dominion, ruled by an emperor. They’re able to subsist on basically-inhabitable planets because their humans—they’ve evolved to be masters of survival.

Unlike Protoss, Terrans can build anywhere. Their strength comes in the diversity of units. As said before, this race is naturally durable and resilient. In-game, this translates to tough armor, defensive buildings and vehicles, and the ability to repair buildings and units. Experienced players tend to mark Terrans as difficult in the mid-high skill range, though scouting is easy at all levels.

Is it right for you?

Pride for being a human should be left at the door when deciding which race to play. Terrans rely on strength of numbers as well as strength of firepower. Their reinforcements aren’t very good, and experienced players find the low reactivity to be a challenge.

Do you like to create durable armies? Like creating a huge army that has a good diversity of units, thus is able to handle many situations? Do you like assembling a huge armada and decimating your opponent? Terran is a good fit for you. Do you like having units that heal? Is it a priority of yours to build a base with top-notch defense? Do you play as a tank in most other games?

A Terran base, properly fortified with all of the defensive structures it offers, can withstand a lot. It can take a big punch. And all you have to do is survive. If the opponent’s assault fails to destroy a Terran base, then the Terran can easily relocate everything. Literally. Most buildings have the ability to lift off and fly to a new place.

Are you the type that likes punishing weakness? Do you like capitalizing on your adversary’s failure to fully defeat you? Revenge attacks are common for Terrans. When your base endures a massive siege, you can just move it all somewhere else and begin building units. If you’re a tactician who knows that the right positioning determines victory or defeat, then this race is the one for you.

But be warned: experienced players report that Terran has a difficult time later in the game, when Protoss excels.

Zerg

StarCraft 2 Zerg

Credit: pcgamer.com

Summary

This ‘race’ is similar to the Covenant from the Halo franchise. It’s comprised of various species with the active goal of conquering worlds. But unlike the Covenant, Zergs aren’t obedient to some supernatural entity and they don’t want to purge the universe of life. Zergs don’t even have any technology! All of their functions are carried out through biological adaptation and planned mutation.

The story goes that Zergs are, if anything, organs. They’re specialized organs contributing to the ‘living’ Zerg nest. For those who don’t know, that kind of behavior can be found in our very own Animal Kingdom. Insects act in a “swarm” complete with officers who direct that action, and all of them answer to a single organism. For the Zerg race, that’s the Overmind.

Like insects, Zerg units can be built by-the-dozen for a cheap price. Hatcheries are the only production buildings of this race, which allows for some flexibility of play. Drones can sacrifice themselves to become buildings. Nevertheless, all buildings have to be constructed on ‘creep’ which itself provides a speed boost to all Zerg units.

Although Zergs are absolutely organic, experienced players rate this race as the most mechanical of the three. New players should be aware that this is the most difficult race to learn, but it’s not impossible to pick it up early on. That said, Zergs are the easiest to play at mid-high levels. Plus, the fact that Zergs are absolutely organic means that all units and buildings regenerate health over time.

Is it right for you?

Are you the nemesis of Buzz Lightyear? No, wait, sorry, that’s Zurg. If you find a place in your heart for your units, then this isn’t the race for you. On the contrary, if you like to crank out units just about as fast as they are killed, then you’ll like Zerg. The larvae system will be your friend. Note that the individual units are fragile, super fragile. Breathe on them wrong, and they die.

Not really, but you get the idea. Do you make it a priority to control more of the map than your opponent? Zergs have excellent map control. Scouting, too, is good. Love to harass your opponent? Do you win by putting pressure on your adversary till they crumble? Zerg has many units that can burrow underground and tunnel. Think of the fear your opponent will feel when your swarm of units crawl out of the ground all around them! Moreover, the Nydus Network can take your entire army anywhere you have vision. A smaller force of units can emerge at the back of an enemy’s base, drawing the defensive units to them while doing some damage. And when the defensive units move to the back, an apocalyptic army of units can swarm head-on with an advantage.

If you are the speedy type, the type that needs to keep moving, then you will probably fit as a Zerg. Do you like to voraciously expand your control? How about cutting off escape? The advanced mobility of the Zerg race allows you to surround your opponent, build multitudes of units, and then attack from all sides and from within. Terrans tend to like building huge armadas with complex breakdowns of units. Zergs know that versatility doesn’t mean a thing when you can ridiculously outnumber the enemy.

But maybe you don’t want to spend time surrounding your enemy. In that case, the Zerg race can play the long game. With mid-late game prowess, Zergs can chip away at the opponent’s army or defenses. Eventually, an opening might appear. Then, endless waves of units flood in and raze the base to the ground.

But, again, be warned: Zergs have notoriously bad anti-air and can be wiped out early on, if you aren’t careful.

I'm a Creative Writing-Psychology double major at Butler University, Class of 2021. My closest friends are the leaders of Butler's eSports Team, so I've become very interested in the subject and I'm excited to get involved in it myself. A lover of video games and writing, working with Lineups is the perfect opportunity for me to coalesce these two passions of mine and gain experience writing professionally.

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