Starcraft 2 Hellbat Info & Gameplay

Starcraft 2 Strategy Guide --> Heart of the Swarm Guide --> New HotS Units --> Hellbat (you are here)

Hellbat PictureThe Hellbat is a Terran ground unit introduced in Heart of the Swarm. The Hellbat is actually a new battle form of the Hellion, and players who have an Armory and the Transformation Servos upgrade can morph their Hellions into Hellbats and Hellbats into Hellions in just a few seconds.

The Hellbat trades the Hellion's speed and range for more damage and health. The Hellbat's strength is that it requires little micro, allowing late-game mech players focus their micro on Siege Tanks, Thors, and Ravens.

Hellbat Production

Cost: 100 minerals, 2 supplies.

Production Time: 30 seconds.

Produced at: Factory

Requirements: Armory

Class: Light - Biological - Mechanical


Hellbat Stats & Info

Health: 135 Health.

Damage: 18 (+2 with upgrades) to non-Light units, 18 (+3) vs light units. Damage to light units goes up to 30 (+3 with upgrades) to Light units with the Infernal Pre-Igniter upgrade. 

Attack Speed: 2 (slow).

Range: 2 (very short).

Movement Speed: 2.25 (fairly slow).

Armor: 0

Although the range of the Hellbat is just outside of melee range, having a bit of range does allow the Hellbat to attack ranged units without getting hit by friendly fire from the Siege Tank. Additionally, while the Hellbat is slow, so are Siege Tanks and Thors, which is what this unit is typically paired with. If you need Hellbats to get across the map, you can always turn them into Hellions for the trip and then back into Hellbats when they get there.

Hellbat Research & Other Oddities

In order to switch the Hellbat into Hellion form (and vice versa), players need to research the Transformation Servos upgrade. This costs 150 minerals, 150 vespene gas, and takes 110 seconds, so it is not a small upgrade. It is available at the Tech Lab attached to the Factory once you have an Armory built.

Hellbats now benefit from Infernal Pre-Igniter. This upgrade is available at the Tech Lab attached to the Factory and costs 150 minerals, 150 vespene, and requires 110 seconds to research. This increases the Hellbat's damage to light units from 18 up to 30. Note that at HotS release, Hellbats dealt 30 damage per hit to light units by default. Hellbats were deemed too strong early in the game but not necessarily in the late game, so requiring this research has made it so that it takes a little longer to use Hellbats to their full strength.

Additionally, the Hellbat fills up 4 of the 8 Medivac slots, whereas a Hellion only fills up 2 slots. This means 1 Medivac can only hold 2 Hellbats, whereas 1 Medivac could alternatively hold 4 Hellions.

SC2 Hellbat Gameplay Video

The video guide below shows the Hellbat in action and goes over some common strategies for using this unit in Starcraft 2:

Starcraft 2 Hellbat Strategies

The Hellbat is an awesome unit and as a result has been widely adopted since HotS release. While it is slow and clunky, it has a lot of strengths that make it invaluable. The Hellbat fills 3 vital functions for the Terran army:

Anti-Zergling and Zealot Unit

The Hellbat is a true counter to Zerglings and Zealots, both of which melt against this unit. While the Hellion can counter these units as well early in the game, the Hellion's effectiveness declines once Zealots get Charge and Force Field backup and Zerglings get Metabolic Boost and are backed up by Fungal Growth.

The Hellbat on the other hand destroys Zerglings and Zealots all game long. Since Hellbats are so cheap to make and produce so quickly, the Terran player can now counter a Zealot or Zergling wave following an army trade in the late game.

As Part of Multi-Pronged or Defended Drops

Since Hellbats are typically used with a mech army, many players do not realize that Hellbats are also considered Biological units. This is important because biological units can be healed by the Medivac.

Given that you can fit 2 Hellbats in one Medivac and Hellbats deal 18 damage (30 damage to light) per hit and have 135 HP, a single drop force of Hellbats is quite formidable. Their bonus damage to light units lets them shred through workers very quickly, and their high HP and damage output means they are going to be able to kill 2 Queens or even a Spine Crawler without getting wiped.

The primary advantage this survivability imparts the Hellbat is that they are just about as effective as a Hellion drop, but do not require the micro that Hellions do. Hellions are great when dropped, but you need to maneuver them into the right position so that 1) they are not getting killed by things like Queens) and 2) so they can be attacking workers from the right angle. The end result is that Hellion drops typically take up the player's full attention.

Hellbats, on the other hand, attack in a melee style and are strong enough to kill off minor nuisances like Queens or a Spine Crawler. They do not need to be microed and are cheap enough that you can throw them away. This opens up the possibility for a Terran player to drop on an enemy in multiple spots at once or to drop against enemies that have automated defense.

In the late-game, a Terran may load up 2-3 Medivacs full of Hellbats, and drop one off at each expansion, all at the same time. These drops do not need to be microed, and the low cost means you do not even need to save the Hellbats. Once you send in the drops, you can posture with your army to distract your enemy. Without even sacrificing any costly units, you can completely cripple the enemy's economy in this manner.

These drops are especially resilient because the Medivacs will heal the Hellbats since Hellbats are considered bio.

As a Mineral Sink In Late Mech Armies

Another great way to use the Hellbat is just as a way to spend your extra minerals in the late game if you are going for a mech build. Typical mech armies contain Thors (300 minerals, 200 vespene each), Siege Tanks (150 minerals, 125 vespene gas each), and possibly a few Ravens (100 minerals, 200 vespene gas each). These three units are all very gas intensive, and as a result players using these in their army typically have a huge surplus of minerals.

This becomes even more pronounced thanks to the MULE. The MULE gives Terran players massive amounts of minerals in the late-game, especially mech players. One of the reasons bio builds are so powerful in the first place is that Terrans can dump their extra minerals into Marines, whereas now they have a viable mech option for the late game.

Why not reinforce with Marines (i.e. bio mech)? There are two distinct advantages that using Hellbats provides. First, the Factory produces Hellbats, and can also produce Siege Tanks and Thors. This flexibility means you need to invest less in infrastructure and you get more production capacity. Secondly, even though Hellbats are like infantry units, they get vehicle upgrades. This means in the late-game you can have 3/3 Hellbats and 3/3 Siege Tanks on the same upgrade system. Using Marines, you would have to research infantry weapon and armor upgrades separately. Marines also require Combat Shields and Stimpack.

In the late game, two Factories with Reactors can produce 8 Hellbats per minute. Placing 2 minutes worth of production in front of your Tank and Thor line is practically free (since you should have extra minerals anyway) and will go a long way in protecting your expensive Thors and Tanks.

You can also use Hellbats in a "brute force" capacity which is typically reserved for Zerg players. In the late-game, it is not uncommon for even professional-level players to have a resource pool of 4000+ minerals as Terran mech players. This is common when armies have maxed early in the game and no player has fully committed to an attack, leading to more expansions. With Terran, more expansions means more Orbital Commands, which means a huge mineral count thanks to MULEs.

Should armies trade late in the game, a Terran with a big resource bank can quickly produce a large army of Hellbats, and use these units to overwhelm the enemy with brute force. Hellion form can be used to get the Hellbats to the front line quicker, only morphing into Hellbat form when they arrive.

Starcraft 2 Hellbat Conclusion

Like many players, the Hellbat did not interest me much at first. However, it turns out that it is great at drops and is an excellent resource dump for pure Mech players in the late-game. If you start racking up 2000+ minerals in a Terran game, dump it into Hellbat drops and forms of "trade" attacks - you can often force your opponent to spend precious resources and time fending these off, whereas you just spent minerals that you could not spend anyway due to a lack of vespene gas.

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