When playing as Protoss, would you recommend upgrading shields or armor first? I know the attack upgrades are more valuable, but the mechanics of the defense ones are a bit vague.

Does the armor upgrade have any effect at all if the units shield is still up?

3 Answers 3


The short answer is no.

There is an important trade off between shield and armor. Obviously shield upgrades affect more units (air and ground), but beyond that, shield regenerate so they often prevent damage more than once. By comparison units often have less shields than health. There is also a cost difference between the two.

edit: It is important to note that pro level Protoss players (ie. tester) often choose armor over shields. The reason for this, is that in a large battle, the higher amount of HP usually means that armor will have a large effect during the course of the battle, additionally, EMP dictates that Protoss are often less able to rely on their shields in TvP.

  • So does armor give any additional damage reduction while the shields are still up? Aug 7, 2010 at 0:11
  • No. It's Shield damage, and any spillover goes to health damage. Far as I know (and certainly in multiplayer) no damage "pierces" the shield to directly damage the health. Aug 7, 2010 at 2:34
  • 1
    Just to add to this answer, the Armor upgrade is more valuable against Terrans if they use EMP. Sep 3, 2010 at 21:25
  • @Carl great point I'll add it in.
    – tzenes
    Sep 3, 2010 at 21:42
  • Also something to note, that there are a few protoss units that have some base armor (Zealot for example). Making armor upgrades even more powerful.
    – path411
    May 10, 2011 at 19:53

If I’m not mistaken, shield affects all units and buildings, whereas the armor is only for units. But I’m not 100% sure if this is correct. Anyway, I’d say upgrading the shield first is usually a good idea, as it directly affects your cannons.

  • 2
    Shield also affects ground and air (as well as buildings), but at increased cost
    – tzenes
    Aug 6, 2010 at 23:27
  • 2
    Does the upgrade just make the shield take less damage? Does it affect shield regeneration at all? Aug 7, 2010 at 0:11

Honestly, a lot depends on your strategy.

If you are building a very diverse army, then you should get Shields first, because they benefit your entire army. Alternately, if you are using cannons heavily for defence, then get shields because it benefits your cannons.

If you are going all-ground or all-air, then get armor because it's more cost-effective.

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