In Heart of the Swarm, Swarm Hosts were introduced to kind of play the same Lurker did in Starcraft I. However, the Lurker could be used pretty well both offensively and defensively on multiplayer games.

In HotS however, it seems Swarm Hosts are used more as a 'siege' unit to siege defenses. Does it have a viable role as a defensive unit, ie used to defense an expansion or base, or should it be considered an offensive unit only when playing multiplayer games against live opponents?

  • I don't really see how this unit plays like the Lurker at all...
    – Decency
    Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 21:02
  • @Decency I would think that it was modeled slightly from it as it could be used for containment. When I use to use Lurkers extensively it was for containment, and Swarm Hosts can similarly be used to contain an enemy from a part of a map. They aren't 100% the same by any means, as the Swarm Host can siege but still they have similarities. For reference, I was a C+ in the ICCUP throughout a handful of seasons in BW.
    – Falcon165o
    Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 15:06
  • True, but lurkers were also incredibly cost-effective defensively in chokes against large groups of units (especially with Dark Swarm) whereas Swarm Hosts seem pretty much useless in that regard.
    – Decency
    Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 21:55

4 Answers 4


Swarm hosts can work quite well defensively if the enemy engages in a medium sized choke. E.g. The average choke to a natural. However, it is easy for the enemy to bypass this. If the enemy drops in the main or on top of the swarm hosts, it will take too long to reroute the locusts. By the time the next wave of locusts is in position, the enemy will have had tonnes of time to inflict undefended damage.

Sure, if the enemy is on the defensive when your swarm hosts are sieging an expansion, the enemy can also drop on top of your swarm hosts. The big difference here is that if the enemy commits a large portion of his army to drop on the swarm hosts, the current wave of locusts will batter down the expansion.

So the difference is that when swarm hosts are sieging, the current wave of locusts are forcing the enemy to a certain position so that he can defend. When swarm hosts are defending, the current wave of locusts can be easily ignored by the enemy.


It is really in my opinion the Zerg equivalent of the Terran's Siege Tank. It works well in both roles offensive and defensive. You actually use it in the campaign at one point to turtle off and hold off a attack. Then at other times go on the offensive. So it seems like it was definitely designed to do both roles.

The unit fires off locusts, so they must have a way to path to your enemy. So you can not have it fire down from a cliff (unlike Siege tanks). They need a "walkable" path to get to your enemy. With the vision your creep spread usually gives you it gives you quite a decent amount of vision for your siege unit defending.

  • I've just heard a lot of casters (PsyStarcraft, Day9) talk about how its difficult to use them defensive. I understand unless they can't Locusts can't shoot down a cliff (unless someones right against it in range), but when in a small choke point (like a ramp) they aren't too useful. I just wanted another opinion on that.
    – Falcon165o
    Commented Mar 13, 2013 at 17:47
  • @Falcon165o I think there is really 2 parts of this question that need to be answered. One is in regards to them being used in multiplayer or singleplayer. In single player its a lot easier since the AI will just walk to their death. While a player will not. I'll update my answer to reflect that soon.
    – Halfwarr
    Commented Mar 13, 2013 at 18:06
  • Yes I guess that is my mistake. I meant on multiplayer. I will update my question too.
    – Falcon165o
    Commented Mar 13, 2013 at 18:23

IMO, it can bu used as both.

DEFENSIVELY: They can be used with spine crawlers to offer ranged meatshield to them. Can be used as free units to stop possible counters instead of spine crawlers (not the best) I don't see them working as an anti drop defense like lukers used to.

OFFENSIVELY: Get 4 or 5 with your army, profit as your free units slowly poke away at your opponents wall, once the wall is down, you can swarm your opponent.

Also, they can be used to put pressure on an expansion while your army goes to another. It will force your opponent to split his army.


IMO they far outshine their defensive capabilities with their offensive performance. They are great at contains and whittling down an enemy. You can kind of use them defensively if you already had some map control and a push is coming you can leap frog them back. If however an enemy is on top of you they often spawn units too slowly to defend effectively against a large force especially if they have detection.

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