I find myself clicking on the "Help" button at the top of the screen to figure out Rock-Paper-Scissors counters on the fly. The Help system is nice, but I'd prefer if there were some easier way to quickly learn what counters what without having to memorize an enourmous strengths/weaknesses table.

I recall in Warcraft III, there were different types of damage and armor, like "Piercing" and "Siege" or something. If such a thing exists for StarCraft 2, it might be what I'm looking for.

How can I learn my StarCraft 2 unit counters quickly?

3 Answers 3


Units have attributes and the system is a little more complicated than Warcraft 3.

If you look at each unit it will have one or more of the following descriptors:

  • light
  • armored
  • biological
  • mechanical
  • massive
  • psionic

For example a marine is a light biological unit while a siege tank is an armored mechanical unit and a marauder is an armored biological unit. This is something you will have to memorize with time but usually you can guess which will apply just by looking at the unit or in doubt clicking on it. These are easily viewable on the HUD just below the units description in the center of the screen.

Now each unit may have a bonus against one of these armors making it a good hard counter. You can see this bonus during game by selecting the unit and viewing the HUD in the center of the screen. It will list the damage of the unit and any bonuses it receives against units of a particular type.

For example, Helion's have +dmg vs light armor and are great for killing zerglings, a light biological unit. An Immortal has a large +dmg bonus vs armored units and is a great counter for other armored units such as marauders, siege tanks, roaches or stalkers.

Blizzard has said there will be tutorials in the released version of SC2 to train players for multi-player combat. Part of those tutorials will be explaining by example how these hard counters work and which units to build to counter your opponent.

  • 1
    Be careful about relying too much on the bonus damage value, though. Just because some unit has bonus damage against another unit does not necessarily make it a good counter. For example immortals are great against roaches but not as great against marauders, even though both are armored.
    – Oak
    Commented Jul 18, 2010 at 16:03
  • 1
    I'd go so far as to say that while hellions counter zerglings, zerglings with speed upgrade actually counter hellions. Another example: Marauders counter Siege tanks while in Seige mode, but outside of siege mode, Siege tanks counter marauders.
    – tzenes
    Commented Jul 18, 2010 at 17:21
  • Yes a number of units have no damage modifiers but are still good counters. There is no quick way to learn these though other than waiting for the tutorials in the released version. The other option is first hand experience which requires losing and watching replay's to see how your opponent counters and learning from them.
    – Wadu
    Commented Jul 19, 2010 at 21:17

I'm sorry if this answer is a bit simplistic, but I recommend just playing the game. There aren't that many different unit types in this game, and you get to remember counters really quickly.

Also, I've seen high-level players that don't always agree with what the help screens say, so going with experience is also better.

  • 1
    I agree. It's a similar case with Supreme Commander 2.
    – RCIX
    Commented Jul 11, 2010 at 22:35
  • +1 agree too... read all you want, but the moment you experience a relationship between 2 units first hand in a game, it will be burned in your mind more strongly than any article or chart or memorization technique.
    – tenfour
    Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 16:14
  • I believe this should be the answer to that question... even thought i'm just reviewing old posts :P
    – Nick122
    Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 18:59

I'll give you a quick break down, but you have to remember everything on this list is wrong. There are no hard counters in Starcraft 2 (despite what people will tell you), but there are soft counters:

  • Immortals counter Roaches
  • Banelinges counter Marines and Zerglings
  • Thors counter Muta
  • Ravens counter Marauders
  • Hellions counter Zerglings (but not speedlings)
  • Reapers counter Zealots (but not speedlots) and Zerglings (but not speedlings unless you have mass Reapers)
  • Vikings counter Carriers, Battlecruisers, Broodlord, and Vikings
  • Ghosts counter Protoss and Mutalisks
  • Infestors counter Colossus and Thors
  • Colossus and Templar and Siege tanks counter mass units (yay splash)
  • Immortals kinda counter Tanks and Marauders
  • Sentries counter ground
  • Ultralisks counter Stalkers and Tanks
  • Stalkers kinda counter Roaches
  • Roaches counter Hydras!
  • Marauders counter melee
  • Corruptors counter Colossus, Battlecruisers, Broodlord, and Carriers
  • Spine crawlers kinda counter roaches/marauders/stalkers

Bare in mind enough units or micro and any of these counters go the other way.

  • There IS at least one hard counter I can think of, which is Ghost vs. High Templar. Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 20:59
  • @Carl A hard counter (as I understand it) would be a unit (A) which can defeat another unit (B) with a significant advantage. In the case of Ghost vs HT, both have an ability which nullifies the other, thus neither have the advantage. Now you can say a ghost has a slight advantage as it can cloak, but I would not classify that as a hard counter.
    – tzenes
    Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 21:07
  • But the Ghost out-ranges both of the Templar's abilities, plus one Ghost can nullify multiple Templars, and not the other way around. The only situation where a Templar would "beat" a ghost is if the Terran player isn't paying attention. I can't think of any other pair of units that has such a large advantage for one of them in the entire game unless you count something like a Zergling and an air unit. Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 21:25
  • @Carl I've seen Huk snipe enough ghosts with Templar that I can safely say it is not a definite advantage. But I think the larger point of this post is that there are no advantages in SC2 that are large enough to be Hard Counters.
    – tzenes
    Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 22:26
  • Maybe a better example of a hard counter is Thors vs Phoenix. But tzenes is right... this hard counter is only theoretical in a game where you only get 1 unit type per team.
    – tenfour
    Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 16:17

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