Race Match-Ups in Starcraft 2

Starcraft 2 Strategy Guide - Race Match-Ups (you are here)

Naturally, Starcraft 2 strategies will differ based on your enemy's and your current race. Additionally, your strategies will and should vary from game to game as your opponent's strategies also differ.

With that said, there are some recurrent themes among games the same race match-ups in Starcraft 2. By understanding these general strategies, you can more effectively pick a strategy to use against your opponent.

Note: For specific Race vs Race strategies, see the individual articles on the left-hand side bar for each race.

Zerg vs Terran

For the Zerg player, Zerg vs Terran is all about getting a big economy. Zerg units simply are not as strong as Terran units, end of discussion. You will need more units if you want to win (at least in most cases).

With that said, it is also up to the Zerg player to build units which counter the Terran's selection. Banelings and Infestors should be in your army when playing against Infantry/Bio, and you will need advanced tech (like Ultralisks or Brood Lords) if the enemy gets a lot of Mech units.

For the Terran player, the Terran player really dictates the pace of the game. The Terran can slowly but steadily grab expansions, using Siege Tanks, Bunkers, Widow Mines, Thors and Turrets to defend their expansions, all while using drops to put constant pressure on the opponent.

Terran vs Protoss

In this match-up, Terran do very well versus Protoss units by opting for a bio push (Marines, Marauders, and Ghosts) against units that come out of the Gateway, and using .

The key to this match-up at high levels of play is for the Terran player to counter Colossus, High Templar, and Archon. If allowed to run rampant, either of these units will wreck Terran bio. The appropriate Terran counter is EMP for Archons, Snipe for High Templar, and Vikings for the Colossus. It really is that cut and dry, but balancing the perfect number of Ghosts and Vikings to counter the Protoss forces is harder than it sounds.

Some players use Mech against Protoss with varying degrees of success. Mech can be very effective versus Protoss ground forces, but runs into inevitable problems against the Void Ray and Tempest.

Zerg vs Protoss

As a Zerg player, your first priority is to get down an efficient Spawning Pool at around 13 or 14 supplies. This protects you against proxy and cheesy openers and also stops the Protoss player from blocking your expansion with a Probe.

The Queen is a great unit for early defense in PvZ. Queens are strong versus all Protoss air, whereas Zerglings and Spine Crawlers are very strong versus early Protoss ground.

The Zerg player is most susceptible in the mid-game to a timing attack of Sentries, Immortals, Zealots, and Stalkers. Hold off early attacks of this nature with Queens, Zerglings, and automated defense (all gas-free) while working towards Mutalisks. While Mutalisks are incredibly weak against the Phoenix, they are a good way to stop Immortal/Sentry All-In variations, which lack significant amounts of anti-air. be sure to focus down the Sentries first with your Mutalisks as the Sentry's Guardian Shield ability significantly decreases the Mutalisk's damage.

In the late game, Protoss players can use practically any high-tier unit combination effectively against the Zerg player. High Templar, Robo-based builds, and air (SkyToss) or some combination of the 3 are all viable builds.

Protoss Mirrors

When facing a Protoss vs Protoss match-up, 1-base builds are typically the recommended opener. Even with the existence of the Mothership Core, it can be very hard to stop early Gateway + Mothership Core attacks.

Terran Mirrors

Terran mirrors are almost entirely decided by who has the most Siege Tanks and who has air superiority. Siege Tanks rule the ground, while air superiority is used to provide vision for Siege Tanks. Siege Tanks can shoot farther than they can see, so if you control the skies, your Siege Tanks can outrange your opponent's!

Terran are a very slow race, so harassment via drops, Seeker Missiles, Auto Turrets, and Banshee tank sniping should be used often.

Zerg Mirrors

When faced with a Zerg mirror match, you can expect to be consistently rushed in the lower leagues. Once you get to the higher leagues, many players have opted for a build that involves a fast expansion and a Baneling Nest around the 28 supply mark. This gives the Zerg just enough time to defend against early Zergling and Baneling pushes without major economic sacrifices.

All bets are off on maps with short rush distances though - prepare for an early attack just to be safe.

Mutalisks are extremely strong in the ZvZ match-up. As a result, the strength of the Spore Crawler has been increased significantly against the Mutalisk. Build some of your own Spore Crawlers to take advantage of this fact.


Going into a game, you should already have an idea of what to expect from your opponent. If you are ever uncertain about what to do versus a certain match-up or "hate to play" against a certain race, odds are you will lose this match-up often. Pick up some strategies and watch some replays in order to get more comfortable with the match you understand the least and your record will improve accordingly.

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