I'm a Diamond Terran frequently matched up against Masters level players. If a TvP ends before 15 minutes, I'm usually the one winning it, but in lategame I rarely do as well.

I usually focus on Marauder+Ghost+Viking as I've seen top players do so very effectively, but it rarely works for me due to Zealot heavy compositions. Mixing in Marines or Hellions essentially gives me units that die to 2 Colossi shots, so that just doesn't work. My stutter step micro is very very good and I tend to have strong EMPs, but against Zealots with +3 armor (rushing this is the norm) they just don't die before I run out of room to micro, and meanwhile Colossi are ripping through my infantry and my Vikings are getting picked off by Stalkers. If they add Archons, it's even worse.

It feels as if Protoss can just a-move their force and I have to micro Vikings to stay out of range of Stalkers while stutter stepping while landing EMP's, and even if I do so perfectly I still don't come out ahead unless I have a significantly stronger force to begin with or am microing a drop at the same time (which Protoss can defend with instant warp-ins).

The only thing I haven't attempted is mixing in Tanks, but the level of micro necessary to include them in an already hugely micro-intensive force is not even remotely comparable to what a Protoss has to do with their ball. Most don't even include Psi Storm or Sentries and can still power through me despite weaker upgrades and less supply.

I can attach a replay or two later today, if that would help.

  • This question sounds suspiciously like you're Macro is slipping. I've seen a lot of TvP with MM/Ghost/Viking dominate Protoss if they can get off good EMP. Usually it's Protoss struggling to Feedback Ghosts...
    – tzenes
    Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 1:07
  • My macro certainly slips, but usually no more than my opponent's. Mass zealot just walks through my army.
    – Decency
    Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 13:19
  • I'd need to see a replay. I spent a good deal of time dominating Korean 4-Gate with just Marine/Marauder, so it seems odd. For those who don't know Korean 4-Gate is a Zealot heavy build.
    – tzenes
    Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 23:31
  • Korean 4-gate is an early game push without Colossi and without Charge- this question pertains to late-game. (K4G is also a terrible build since the warp gate nerf.)
    – Decency
    Commented Jul 27, 2011 at 13:36
  • I agree, but if you do Korea 4 Gate (pre nerf) and back with sentries on your 10 minute push, you're dealing with a Zealot heavy army and no escape. What's more even in the case of Chargelot/Colossus, it's easily dominated by adding Ghosts in to the mix. What I'm saying is my experiences are incongruous with your own. There needs to be somethign else here that differentiates them.
    – tzenes
    Commented Jul 27, 2011 at 15:37

3 Answers 3


I'm a protoss player so I'm on the opposite end of your situation.

I believe the way for Terran to win is to never directly encountering the army.

Use drops to keep his army out of position and win the attrition war. What I mean by this is that when they pull their army back to base, use your main force to knock out expansions. If you can keep denying expansions, they can't replenish their force as quickly as you can, or they can't afford it. If they don't pull their army back, they're warping in units at home, which means their front line army is that much weaker.

Maurader/ghost/viking is a decent composition, but you have to have marines in there as well. Stimmed marines are the highest DPS unit in the game (not counting storms/fungal over a group of units). When the fights start, make sure your vikings are target firing the colossi, a few shift right clicks in the fight will reduce their numbers much better than just A-moving them in. By keeping colossi numbers down, your infantry army is that much stronger.

Your ground force should be something like 60% marines, 35% mauraders, and a few ghosts. That said, your army composition should be reflective of what he's making more of (This is assuming an infantry force). If he has more zealots get more marines, more stalkers? More mauraders. I also assume that you're making medivacs to help your healing.

You also mention that it's the norm to get +3 armor really fast, and it's right, I do as well, marines do 5 damage (no upgrades) zealots have 2 armor, take off 2 more from guardian shield and you're tickling the zealots with no upgrades. Upgrades make them that much stronger. The answer? Keep up on your attack upgrades too. They essentially cancel out if you are just as high with your attack upgrades. And since you need to make the armory to keep upgrading, might as well do air attack as well (so your vikings can knock down colossi faster).

It's also key to keep their colossi numbers down. Losing 2-3 vikings to take out 1 colossi is huge and well worth the trade. This can be combined with drop play. If you see that they are back at base dealing with your drop with warp-ins and haven't moved their army, stim in and attack his main force before he reacts, by targetting the colossi and taking them out of the battle, your infantry force will be that much stronger.

  • PS. Are you on the NA servers? I could use a zerg practice partner to play games not on the ladder :)
    – Sorean
    Commented Jul 25, 2011 at 21:04
  • Just to cover you: Liquipedia - Terran Strategy mentions "Harass - High mobility harass units, such as Hellions and Banshees, or Medivac-based drops make harassment a potential linchpin of Terran play." Commented Aug 17, 2011 at 12:06

Terran infantry has amazing DPS. The problem is that getting that DPS usually involves clumping your units which is suicide against a large number of colossi.

The key here is positioning. You must snipe observers over your army to keep your opponent in the dark as to where your army is. Next is spreading your units BEFORE the fight. If you try to spread during, you will likely be too slow and subsequently forcefielded into a barbecue.

If you have a good spread, you can simply stim and attack-move. In fact it really is that simple. It's the Protoss's job to not walk into a spread out Terran infantry army. Because if he does, your stim and concussive shells will incur heavy losses on his end.

When you're pushing 200/200, it's much more important to spend 5 seconds properly spreading your units than to eek out 3 more marauders into your army. There's a fine balance between macro and micro.


While I don't play at your level quite yet, my impression so far was that it's best not to fight the death ball but rather try to spread the Protoss forces. That means drops and multi-pronged attacks and engaging frequently at different spots (undefended places), maybe even killing small chunks of the protoss army so that it cannot reach critical mass.

The ShoutCraft invitational finals (TvP) were an excellent example of that. SixjaxDDE did a great job attacking at multiple fronts.

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