When a roach comes directly next to a unit or structure, he smashes it with his claws (or whatever), instead of spraying acid on it.

Does this attack have different damage amount than the acid attack? If so, how much, and how much does it benefit from each level of upgrades? Also, does it benefit from Zerg Melee Upgrades or Zerg Ranged Upgrades? Do both attacks have the same qualities in regards to light/armored units?

Also, does this melee attach deal splash damage? It sure looks like it, because roaches swing around with their claws, kind of like the ultralisk does.

And finally, is this of any interest while microing? Does it ever pay off to run up to the enemies first to make the roaches use the melee attack, or maybe the other way around?

  • does gaming not have the ability to vote to close a question as a dupe? i guess i am too used to stackoverflow. anyway, this question should be merged with gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/6976/… Jan 31, 2011 at 6:24
  • oops. looks like gaming does have the close feature, but i don't have enough rep here yet. Jan 31, 2011 at 6:26
  • The original question doesn't say anything about the Melee/ranged attacks of roaches or that even that they may have those 2 attacks. It was only about different kinds of upgrades. This is why I asked this question which is not the same as the one linked.
    – Cray
    Jan 31, 2011 at 11:29

3 Answers 3


Short answer: There is no difference except for range and animation.

Long answer: They both do the same damage, have the same cooldown, and benefit from the Zerg range upgrades in the same way.

Roach Claw Attack

  • Damage: 16
  • Target: Ground
  • Cooldown: 2
  • Range: .1 (melee)
  • Upgrade: Zerg Missile, +2 per level

Roach Spit Attack

  • Damage: 16
  • Target: Ground
  • Cooldown: 2
  • Range: 4
  • Upgrade: Zerg Missile, +2 per level


As for which is better to employ, the spit attack is better simply because it keeps your roaches at range and allows more of them to hit a target while leaving melee range for units that only have a melee option. Your roaches will naturally use their spit attack anyway, so there's really no difference in your micro. They just fall back on the melee attack when they are next to whatever they are attacking.

  • Additionally, there is no splash. Jan 31, 2011 at 7:31
  • Hmm, I think it's better to use the melee attack when you have a lot of roaches, so that more of them can actually shoot: the melee range ones use the melee attack, the other one use the range attack. They don't need to go around and form an arc this way.
    – tharibo
    Dec 10, 2012 at 10:36
  • @tharibo That's true if you have an all-ranged comp, but if you're running a combo like zerglings/banelings with your roaches, you probably want to free up melee range for the 'lings. :)
    – Shaun
    Dec 11, 2012 at 1:25

Actually, there is a difference: the melee-animation-driven damage, while benefiting from purchased ranged upgrades, is not affected by PDD (where applicable) and Guardian Shield, so you should definitely keep that in mind when facing a protoss or an annoying terran with early ravens :)


Above post is correct.

vs pdd or guardian shield you may want to move what roaches you have into melee range. vs pdd better off to just micro back if your army comp is large and diverse. I have yet to really see even pros utilize this due to the intense actions required on such a low value unit.

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