F2 is the hot key that helps to select the whole army. But that includes the Observers scouting on their mission and need to be kept as-is/not joining our attack movement.

How can I call for all army excluding Observers?

  • 1
    Not to get involved into the whole argument abount control groups, the answer is: there is no way to "select all army except Observers".
    – Orc JMR
    Apr 27 '15 at 8:32
  • F2 to select army (+ observers)
  • Shift click on your observer(s)
  • Control + 1 To put all army (-observers on control group 1)
  • Use 1 to select army

Add to your army by selecting new units and pushing shift + 1

Making your own control groups for your army is far better than using the F2 default one. There are many instances where you will not want to select every single unit; The scenario you outlined is one, as well as when you have separate units to defend, harass or scout. So try not to use the "select all army" button as it gives you less control.

Also if you are comfortable with using F2 you can rebind that to a control group.

  • Well, to me as a Protoss player, I do this 90% of my time - warping new army units continuously and calling them to join my on-going attack movement. This helps maximize the attack force and/or not leaving any "free" army waiting behind the line.
    – Nam G VU
    Apr 27 '15 at 2:45
  • Making control group takes us 1) about 1 to 2 seconds to Ctrl-1 create control group number #1 initially, and 2) aobut 2-3 more seconds for every time locating the new army on the map and Shift-1 adding them to group #1.
    – Nam G VU
    Apr 27 '15 at 2:49
  • So, at the moment of an on-going engagement with the enemy, paying 2 seconds to call for more army is NOT my choice actually. I would rather stay with F2 and looking for a way to exclude those unwanted observers.
    – Nam G VU
    Apr 27 '15 at 2:51
  • 4
    It's not a must, it's worse in most situations just because you can't choose to exclude units (such as defending units). F2 will prevent you from becoming a better player. It takes nowhere near that long to use control groups, whenever you warp in, just select them and shift 1, takes a tiny fraction of a second. Have your other production buildings rallied to your army units, when they get near your army, select them, shift 1. There's no need to go looking for your units, they don't move, they're exactly where you told them to go.
    – Aequitas
    Apr 27 '15 at 2:53
  • What are you going to do in response to harassment? Are you going to push F2 and send your entire army to stop 1 zealot? That's ridiculous, you just push 2 where you have a small force to defend and send those, or if you don't have a defending force, you push 11 select a few and then send those.
    – Aequitas
    Apr 27 '15 at 2:58

In my honest opinion you should never call your whole army. Maybe, it's a bit acceptable when:

  • Doing a massive All'in
  • Defending against a massive All'in (e.g. HOTS Pull the boys plague)

The main disadvantages are:

  • You select also Observers, as you mentioned
  • You select harassing units (e.g. A bunch of Zealots and DTs attacking a far Opponent's base or a Warp Prism bringing chaos in opponent's base or Phoenixes patrolling an area)
  • You select units in hold position (and you don't really want an huge wave of zerglings to get into your main, don't you?)

Assuming that you play as Protoss

Use a single Control Group for your Main Army

Mostly, composed by:

  • Gate Units: Zealots, Stalkers, Sentries, Adepts and Archons
  • Robotic Units: Immortals, Colossi and a Bunch of Observers
  • Air Units: Void Rays, Carriers and Tempests

Every time you build one new unit that is contained in the preview list, you should insert it Shift+Group in your Main Army.

Keep multiple control groups per kind of Units

You should separate the Main Army from Casters (e.g. High Templars), Caster Air Units (e.g. Phoenixes and Oracles), Harassing Units (Oracles, ...) and Mothership.

Personally, I use the following configuration:

  • Key 1, Main Army (Formed as shown before)
  • Key 2, Casters: Sentries in early, High Templars or Disruptors in Mid-Late. Important High Templars really need to be in a different control group and not in the main Army
  • Key 3, Blink Stalkers or Phoenixes. Important Phoenixes really need to be in a separated Control group. If you want them to follow your army, just make them follow on of your Backbone units e.g. Colossus
  • Key Q, Mothership, it has to be in a separated group to cast Photon Overcharge and all those funny Protoss Stuff
  • Key Cap, A bunch of harassing units or Oracle. Oracle can also go on group 3 in early game.
  • Key R, Warp Prism or Observer, I don't need to explain why Warp Prism goes in a separated Control Group. If you want to carry it with your army just make it follow one Backbone unit. About the observer, I bind the one closest to opponent's Base/Army

In some cases, depending on the build or on the game, you should also separate Tempests e.g. Playing vs Mech or Late PvP.

I hope I've been helpfull, GL & HF.

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