In the early game, if the Terran player goes for marauders (with upgrade), what can a Protoss player do to effectively counter this? Zealots seem to be ineffective, and while stalkers are a little better, they still seem to die quickly to them.

  • 2
    Have you tried Zealot/Sentry?
    – tzenes
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 23:47
  • Can the marauders break 3-4 cannons ?
    – ripper234
    Commented Aug 11, 2010 at 23:55
  • @ripper: During early Game cannons are waste of resources, imo - except you're going for cannon rush
    – fschl
    Commented Aug 12, 2010 at 7:53
  • You might want to add some comments on what you mean by early game as this term is often confusing and interpreted differently. For example, at about what supply are you expecting the Marauder push?
    – rysama
    Commented Aug 12, 2010 at 23:08

7 Answers 7


As far as i remember marauders do additional damage against stalkers, so your best option would be a mix of zealots, sentries and stalkers.

Zealots will take damage away from the stalkers unless the enemy focusses his fire (which then would allow the zealots to close in on the marauders). The sentries reduce the damage from the marauders, giving you an important advantage. They can also block his retreat or cover yours and cut of parts of his force. The stalkers can either blink in (warning: dangerous) to quickly get in range as soon as the enemy starts attacking the zealots or - with a little micro - you can blink out as soon as a stalker looses his shields.

Another option, though more long term, would be to switch to air as marauders are ground-only and it might be possible that he focussed too much on marauders so he has little to no anti-air.

  • 4
    I actually like a lot of what you said, but I strongly disagree that switching to air is the solution for long term Marauder play. If he's cranking a lot of Marauders he has a number of Rax which can very quickly out put a large number of Marines, so if you take the time to build Starports, all he has to do is build cheap marines to reduce the effectiveness of your strategy. But you do get my last Up vote of the day as I like the other stuff you said.
    – tzenes
    Commented Aug 12, 2010 at 15:26

1-1 a Stalker will lose to Marauder. The loss is exponential as you add more even numbers of Stalkers/Marauders.

1-1 a Zealot (w/o charge) will lose to a Marauder with concussive shells and good micro.

However, because of the armor types and damage, Zealots can actually counter Marauders if they can get close enough.

The correct approach for dealing with early Marauders (i.e. too early to have charge, or immortals), is to have a well balanced composition of both Zealots and Stalkers (maybe 1 or 2 Sentries). If the Terran player tries to kite your Zealots, the Stalkers will have an easy time firing back as they are much faster than Maruaders, Marines and Zealots. If he targets the stalkers, and not the Zealots, your Zealots will have enough time to get in and do terrible terrible damage.

In any case, I usually prefer a Void Ray tech to force the Terran into doing a marine heavy build. I then tech to Templar to counter the bio ball. With Templar, feedback can kill ghosts and medivacs, and marines don't really have a defense against storm.

Also, because you have the stargate, you can easily build phoenixes to lift up tanks if he goes mech.

  • I don't believe zealots are viable until they get charge, otherwise the marines/marauders will endlessly kite them. However the research for that costs 200/200, plus the 150/100 it costs for the Twilight Council. Commented Aug 12, 2010 at 17:46
  • This is early game, we're talking 20 or so food. You cannot build ONLY Stalkers because Marauders 1 to 1 will beat your pants off. You need BOTH zealots and Stalkers. You cannot just build Sentries either because they move too slow and will slow your tech. And for the record, Marines alone cannot kite zealots.
    – rysama
    Commented Aug 12, 2010 at 18:33
  • 3
    I think what rod is getting at is using Zealots (which are light and have as much hp as a Stalker) as an effective meat shield for your stalkers. Either the Marauders target the Zealots and get eaten by Stalkers, or they attack the Stalkers and the Zealots become nice dps.
    – tzenes
    Commented Aug 12, 2010 at 21:00
  • if this is a Marine/Marauder ball then it is not that early, you have time to get what you need (whether it be colossus, void rays, or immortals) you just need to make sure to scout. Scouting is the key to effective countering.
    – Latency
    Commented Aug 13, 2010 at 12:58

Coming from the view of the Terran player, it will be easy to pick off your Zealots with some simple micro after the concussion shells are upgraded because they slow the units. Stalkers are the thing that annoy me if I'm trying to do this because they have the same range as the Marauders. If I'm picking off Zealots the Stalkers can target me, if I try to go for the Stalkers the Zealots can get close enough to cut me down. So I'd say be fast and get a mix of the two in your starting defense. A photon cannon or two should complement this as well.


The correct strat would be to do a quick transition to Void Rays, Colossus or Immortals, were Marauders are a pain in the early game before you get zealot charge and are better against all of the gateway units. They are however weak against immortals and cant attack voidrays. You just have to watch out if they have more marines in the terrain ball then you may even want to go to with Colossus because they will make quick work of marines and a group of 6 marines will destroy a void ray easy.

  • This is quite possibly the worst answer to this question without being completely off topic (ie. suggestion hydras) or insulting.
    – tzenes
    Commented Aug 12, 2010 at 15:24
  • 3
    @tzenes I know you're famous for competitive downvoting, but this answer is actually correct. Marauders with concussive shells counter both zealots and stalkers. A lot of high level protoss players only make a few t1 units and hold off the terran with force fields until they get their first couple immortals (which can can be available faster than you think). Commented Aug 12, 2010 at 17:45
  • @Carl since I didn't answer this question how is this competitive down voting? I've watched a number of high level Protoss play against early Marine/Marauder aggression, and I've never seen them try to rush Voidray/Colossus to deal with it (Immortal timing push does line up nicely with a good Marine/Marauder push).
    – tzenes
    Commented Aug 12, 2010 at 19:24
  • @tzenes You are definitely correct about void rays. I've actually seen WhiteRa lose several games BECAUSE he used his fast void ray build and the opponent simply stimmed up and melted the void rays with his marines. Commented Aug 12, 2010 at 20:37
  • @tzenes Like I said, you have to be aware of what your opponent is making, if you are stupid and pumping void rays out against a marine ball you are going to lose, thats a fact, but if you are watching them pump marines thats when you go colossus. StarCraft 2 is all about reacting to what your opponent is currently producing, this is the correct strat if you can pay attention to what your opponent is making, if you cant then you are doomed to lose to marauders anyways, that is why scouting in SC2 is so important.
    – Latency
    Commented Aug 13, 2010 at 12:51

sentries stalkers and immortals when microed right can do a nice counter use the sentries to block off the marauders and use a forcefield to weaken their strikes, then use your stalkers to do damage. Immortals also have a bonus defense against marauders.

  • forcefield is what you use to 'block' and a shield is what you use to weaken ranged attacks.
    – Mark
    Commented Aug 13, 2010 at 4:04
  • Ya forcefield blocks paths guardian shield protects, sorry
    – Lurker
    Commented Aug 16, 2010 at 17:57

There was a youtube tutorial video about this exact setup. The protoss demonstrated that skipping the early stalker/zealot, and going straight for colossi is a viable choice.

Your goal should be to get the first colossus out as soon as you can, while producing a single Sentry, and blocking your entrance with force field. This requires you to be very very aware of the enemy troops, because he will try to stimpack his army and run up your ramp, and if he succeds, you are done.

You need to shut them out at the bottom of your ramp, anything above the lowest level will result in your enemy having vision on your buildings on the cliffs. You need to get the sentry out early, so it has mana for more than one field.

While your first colossus is building, start producing Stalkers/Zealots. Try to abuse the Colossus' ability to walk down cliffs, and get free shots at his army, Thermal Lance helps greatly with this.


I would recommend holding your own ramp with zealots, cannons and a sentry while you tech to a robotics facility.

If he is going with a barracks-heavy build, then you will need collossi and/or immortals. Chronoboost zealots until you robo finishes, then chronoboost out an immortal. The first immortal should help immensely in fending off marauder spam.

  • You should have a robotics facility way before you have a forge/cannon....
    – ShaneC
    Commented Aug 18, 2010 at 16:51

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