What does +1 mean in Starcraft 2? I know it is a +1 level upgrade for weapons or armor, but how does this affect the battle?

Let's take a Terran Marine. With no upgrades it deals 6 points of damage. I assume this means that on one shoot burst on another Terran Marine for example, the enemy you're shooting at will lower its life from 45 to 39.

How many life points will the Terran Marine with +1 weapons upgrade take from an no upgrades enemy Terran Marine then?

  • 1
    This will depend on many factors: A) What is shooting, B) What it is shooting, C) What the upgrade is, weapons or armor, and D) If they're under any sort of buff or debuff.
    – Frank
    May 21, 2016 at 14:57
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    @Frank Well, the provided example suggests a stock Terran Marine shooting another stock Terran Marine. Why not go along with that?
    – user1337
    May 21, 2016 at 18:50

1 Answer 1


+1 Upgrades just do exactly what you would think they do. They increase the attack damage by a certain amount. For your marine it is one damage, so it then deals 7. The same goes for armor upgrades. A zergling with +1 armor will only take 6 damage when shot by a marine with +1 attack. Of course there might be other buff/debuff effects for example a Guardian Shield from a Sentry which is basically +2 armor.
While armor upgrades always decrease the damage taken by one, the exact effect of the attack upgrade depends on the unit. For marines each upgrade increases attack damage by one, but Ultralisks for example gain 3 attack damage per upgrade. (Thanks to @OrcJMR for pointing that our in a comment)

Those upgrades have a huge impact on the game. The player with the upgrade lead has a big advantage in fights, assuming that the army supply is around even.

The prime example it the matchup between Zealots and Zerglings. With no upgrades a Zealot needs 3 hits to kill a Zergling. With +1 attack the Zergling dies in 2 hits. If the Zerg player then get +1 armor a Zealot needs 3 hits again. The same logic applies for all other cases as well even though it might not be as impactful as in this example (but it often is).
Good players always try to attack the enemy when they have an upgrade lead. This is often refered to as hitting a timing. Hitting a timing when your +2 is finished but the opponent's is not can decide the fight in your favour.

  • 3
    While you are completely right about Armor upgrades - they always add +1 to damage mitigation to any unit - you are wrong about weapon upgrades. Weapon upgrades DO NOT add 1 point of damage to an attack - the exact amount depends on a unit. Roaches deal 16 damage, plus 2 per upgrade, Adept deals 10+12 vs. Light, plus 1+1 vs. Light per upgrade, Ultralisk deals 35 plus 3 per upgrade, Siege Tank deals 35+15 vs. Armored plus 3+2 vs. Armored per upgrade.
    – Orc JMR
    May 23, 2016 at 7:08
  • @OrcJMR Thanks, was a bit stuck with the marines there ;) Updated my answer.
    – Denker
    May 23, 2016 at 10:19
  • The second sentence is still saying strictly +1 :-)
    – Orc JMR
    May 23, 2016 at 10:23
  • @OrcJMR Nice comment!! From where do you know these things, just practice? Is there a place or some document where all these things are documented? Thanks!! May 23, 2016 at 16:20
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    @JacobKrieg Thanks! Actually, from Google :-) that promply leads to the best wiki on Starcraft II - Liquipedia. Teamliquid.net as a whole is great, containing all kinds of data from units, to strategy guides, to e-sports coverage and forums.
    – Orc JMR
    May 24, 2016 at 4:30

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