Starcraft 2 Marine Unit Counter

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Click Here to Get The Osiris MethodThe Marine is one of the most commonly used units in Starcraft 2. No matter what race the Terran is playing against, Marines can be part of an effective army composition.

Despite the fact that there are many units that are strong against the Marine, the Marine still remains difficult to stop for many players. This is due to the Marine's cost effectiveness.

Since Marines only cost 50 minerals and many of the units that counter Marines are much more expensive, you need to use counters that convincincly destroy enemy Marines in an efficient manner. If you lose too many high-cost units in your efforts to destroy enemy Marines, you can win the battle but lose the resource war (and ultimately the game).

Protoss Marine Counter

Protoss players have many counters that they can use to stop the Marine. The challenge of the Protoss player is protecting their units that counter the Marine, as the Terran is adept at neutralizing or destroying these units.

  • Stalker (early game): In the early game, a Stalker or two can outmicro Marines with ease. Being able to take down a couple Marines with a single Stalker in the early game is a vital Protoss skill. See the video guide for help.
  • Colossus: Colossi are the easiest to operate Marine counter. Extended Thermal Lance means that the Colossus can sit safely out of range and melt Marines with no problem. Make sure you have some ground units and Sentries to prevent bio units from coming in range of the Colossi.
  • High Templar: Psionic Storm is one of the best skills in-game to use against the Marine. A single duration storm can kill a Marine outright.
  • Oracle (5 or less): An Oracle can take down a pack of 5 Marines or less. While you would never use Oracles as part of your main army to attack enemy Marines, this is good to know when it comes to harassment attacks. The Oracle's strength against Marines as it means the Terran will need a substantial force to chase away an Oracle or two. Oracles cost too much and are too fragile to use as part of your main army.
  • Sentry: While Sentries do not counter Marines directly, using Force Field to cut Marine forces in half or to prevent them from kiting is a very effective strategy. Guardian Shield also significantly reduces Marine damage, particularly when
  • Zealot: With Charge and Sentry support, Zealots will perform well against Marines. Alone and Chargeless, Zealots get kited. If the Zealot has an armor advantage, it becomes almost immune to the Marine's attacks, especially with Guardian Shield.
  • Archon: Archons work a lot like Zealots against Marines - they get kited easily, but if a Force Field is used to prevent Marines from running, the Archon can do very well.
  • Tempest: Tempests are surprisingly good against Marines. They have so much armor that if upgrades are equal, the Tempset will barely take damage against Marines. The Tempest's range allows it to focus-fire down Medivacs as well. The Tempest also performs okay against Vikings.
  • Carrier: Carriers are very strong against Marines for the same reason the Tempest works well: high armor and high HP. Marines are unable to do meaningful damage against Carriers.

Marines do very little damage, so one of the best ways to stop them is to gain an armor upgrades advantage. Chrono Boosting upgrades out of the Forge is a good way to increase the effectiveness of these unit counters.

Terran Marine Counter

Marines are very popular in early TvT since they are a well-rounded unit, but they are rarely used in mid to late game TvT. Other units that deal splash damage are just too effective against the Marine for the Marine to be a real threat in the late game.

  • Siege Tank: The Siege Tank is the primary reason why Marines are counters in late-game TvT. A few Siege Tanks in a cluster can take out large packs of Marines without risking taking any damage in response. Terran players tend to stick to Marauders or Hellbats when combating Siege Tanks for this reason.
  • Hellion: With Infernal Pre-Igniter, the Hellion counters Marines very well. Hellions are no more expensive than Marines, so losing a few Hellions to slay a large number of Marines is perfectly okay.
  • Thor: Thors can 1-shot Marines. You probably would not go out of your way to build Thors to counter Marines, but it is good to know your Thors will handle Marines. Between the Siege Tank, Thor, and Hellion, Terran bio really cannot stand up to mech.
  • Battlecruiser: With a default armor rating of 3, Battlecruisers take half damage against Marines. BCs also do very good ground DPS, so it is no contest in favor of the Battlecruiser. The Battlecruiser can even use Yamato Cannon to take out enemy Medivacs.

Some players use Terran bio in the late game, but generally mech is seen as superior once upgrades are maxed out. In order for Terran bio to work, the Terran using Marines has to avoid engaging the mech Terran directly and instead use drops to take advantage of Medivac mobility. Shut this down by adding on Missile Turrets.

Zerg Marine Counter

While there are a lot of Zerg Marine counters, stopping Marines in a cost-efficient is easier said than done. Good micro is often required to make these unit counters work.

  • Baneling: Banelings are excellent against Marines, but only if you can hit multiple Marines with a single Baneling blast. If you can only hit 1 Marine with a blast, the Baneling lost is too expensive to make it worthwhile. The Centrifugal Hooks upgrade and the creep speed bonus make it much easier to connect with Banelings against Marines.
  • Roach and Hydralisk: The combination of Roaches and Hydralisks does well against Marines. You really need both units rather than one or the other as the Roaches soak up damage for the Hydralisks while the Hydralisks deal most of the DPS.
  • Infestor: While not as popular to use after the nerf, Fungal Growth can help counter Marines. It roots them in place so Banelings, Zerglings, and Ultralisks can hit them easily. It also deals 30 damage over 4 seconds, which is more than half of a Marine's health pool.
  • Ultralisk: Ultralisks are the real deal when it comes to stopping Marines. The only thing is Ultralisks are very high tech, so you might not always have access to these units when it comes to defend against the Zerg. The Ultralisk is a good choice when you have Chitinous Plating, melee weapons and ground carapace upgrades already.
  • Brood Lord: Like the Ultralisk, the Brood Lord will decimate Marines. Like the Ultralisk, the Brood Lord is a high tier unit so it might not always be an option when you are faced with a Marine force. Brood Lords are also very slow, so be sure not to go too far out into the open with the Brood Lords or Marines in superior number may burst them down.

Be careful not to let your ground units fall behind Marines in upgrades. Zerglings work great to pick off the remaining Marines after an attack with Banelings or Infestors, but only when upgrades are equal. If the Zerglings are 0/0 and the Marines are 1/1, the Zerglings will really struggle.

Video Guide: Best Marine Counters

The video guide below shows these Marine unit counters in action:


Many units from all 3 races are effective against the Marine. The trick is making sure you nail these unit counters perfectly. Marines cost next to nothing, so you have to win the battle convincingly in order to come out ahead against Marines.

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