Heart of the Swarm: What We Know So Far

By Published October 31, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Over the past months, Blizzard has done well to tease their fans with StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm mini-announcements; we've compiled those for you below and collected a list of the pending changes. The delicious teasers of things that have changed for Wings of Liberty and are incoming for HotS are below.


StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Balance

  • Terran vs Zerg: Balanced except in Korea, where Terran is heavily favored.
  • Zerg vs Protoss: Balanced except in Europe, where Zerg is favored.
  • Pro/Community feedback advice Blizzard that 1/1/1 is too powerful.
  • Blizzard agrees 1/1/1 was too powerful pre 1.4.0 Patch.
  • Blizzard agrees EMP was too strong pre 1.4.0 Patch.
  • Looking at general protoss buff
  • EMP is seemingly going to be subject of radius nerf


Heart of the Swarm's multiplayer philosophy:

  • Do not add strengths to units, only fix their weaknesses.
  • Remove units that "do not add much to play" (Mothership, Carriers).

Heart of the Swarm multiplayer changes:


  • New Units: Oracle, Replicant, Tempest.
  • New Abilities: Mass Recall (Nexus), Arc Shield (Nexus)
  • Retired Units: Mothership, Carriers.


  • New Units: Shredder, Warhound, Thor (Hero)
  • New Abilities: Battle-Mode (Hellion), Non-toggle Cloak (Ghost), Redline Reactor (Speed Boost - Battlecruiser), HP Regeneration/No Special Building Attack (Reaper)


  • New Units: Viper, Swarm Host, Locust.
  • New Abilities: Siphon replaces Corruption (Corruptors), Burrow Charge (Ultralisk), Burrow Movement (Baneling), Speed Upgrade (Hydra)
  • Retired Units: Overseer.

New Units (Detailed)





  • Cost: 200/200
  • Copies a non-massive targetted unit, including abilities and upgrades




  • Cost: 150/200
  • Entomb - Creates a bubble around a mineral patch, making it inaccessible until the bubble is killed.
  • Preordain - Reveals what enemy buildings are producing.
  • Phase Shift - Temporarily warps buildings, Players do not have access to tech for warped buildings. Can be used offensively (disrupting tech) or defensively (protect building).



  • Cost: 300/300
  • Charge attack for anti-air, large splash
  • Single attack for ground units




  • Mainly for Anti-Air, sources say good vs mech such as siege tanks
  • Short range, similar to goliath in Singleplayer

Battle Hellion:

  • Transforms between "battle" form and the form of the hellion we currently have
  • "Battle form" slower than normal hellion form, short, cone style attack, similar to firebat from SC1




  • Mobile AoE turret (both air and ground)
  • Will only attack if no friendly units are near




  • Cost: 100/200 (3 supply)
  • 200 Energy Max
  • Requires Lair tech
  • Ocular Parasite - Grants permanent detection to a non-massive ally (energy based)
  • Abduct - Pulls a unit (friend or enemy) to it's location (100 energy)
  • Blinding Cloud - Reduces range of all units in the cloud to melee range, units in cloud unable to use energy-based abilities

Swarm Host


  • Cost: 200/100 (3 supply)
  • 120 hp
  • Requires Infestation Pit
  • Does not require burrow upgrade to burrow
  • Spawns 2 Locusts (90 hp, 14 melee attack, last 15 seconds) approx. every 15-17 seconds while burrowed.


New Abilities/Changes


  • Arc Shield is a new ability in your nexus that grants buildings 20 damage vs light attacks, additional shields and armor (This is meant for early game defense). It costs 25 energy and it lasts 20 seconds.
  • Mass Recall (Nexus) grants you the ability to recall units in the battlefield. It costs 75 energy and units that are recalled cannot move for a short period of time after.



  • Redline Reactor is  a sprint type ability for the Battlecruiser
  • Reaper loses D8 Building attack but gains a HP recovery skill.
  • Cloak (ghost-only) is now time-based. Energy cost is a set amount.
  • Thor costs 600 minerals and requires fusion core as well as an Armory. It loses its air attack but gains "Bombardment", similar to siege mode. Its attack/HP are increased and there is a limit to 1 Thor at any given time.



  • Adrenal Glands upgrade possibly removed. (Not confirmed)
  • Hydra speed upgrade, increases off-creep speed by 50%. (cost 150/150)
  • Upgrades for Banelings to move while burrowed. (Hive tech, cost 150/150)
  • Burrow Assault is granted to Ultralisks. Ultralisk burrows and launches itself towards the enemies, unburrowing and knocking the over (30 second Cool Down)
  • Corruptors is granted a new channeled ability "Siphon." Drains 1 damage per second and converts damage done to minerals. Corruptors no longer have the ability "Corruption."

All of this and more will be added to StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. Obviously, some of the things mentioned here will have to be balanced so the game can maintain the coveted e-sport status.

Last modified on October 31, 2011 at 8:00 pm

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