In the Starcraft 2 Heart of the Swarm campaign, most
missions allow players to control Sarah Kerrigan has a hero unit. As you progress through the campaign,
Kerrigan gains levels and unlocks new abilities. Before each mission, you can change Kerrigan's abilities in
order to suit the particular mission you are up against.
In this Starcraft 2 Heart of the Swarm abilities list and guide, you will find a description of all Kerrigan's
abilities and what they do as well as recommendations for which abilities to select and the best overall Kerrigan
Note that Kerrigan's abilities are broken down into 7 tiers. Players can only choose one ability from each tier
at a time.
Tier 1 Kerrigan Abilities
Kinetic Blast - Costs 50 energy, 10 second cooldown. Kerrigan deals 300 damage to a target
unit or structure from long range. This is an incredible ability, and one you practically always want to use.
It can be used to 1-shot a variety of buildings and units and is essential for soloing with Kerrigan.
Heroic Fortitude - Grants Kerrigan +200 max health and increases life regeneration rate by
100%. Not worth it, particularly once you unlock Mend. Being able to Kinetic Blast dangerous targets from range
will result in more effective HP gained than having +200 health all the time without Kinetic Blast.
Leaping Strike - Costs 50 energy, no cooldown. Kerrigan leaps to her target and deals 150
damage. Grants Kerrigan +10 damage but reduces her range by 3. The decrease in range significantly reduces
Kerrigan's ability to solo, as it puts her in a much more dangerous position. No Kinetic Blast makes it harder
to pick apart buildings as well. The +10 damage is not significant as you reach the higher levels as well.
Tier 2 Kerrigan Abilities
Crushing Grip - Costs 50 energy, 10 second cooldown. Stuns all enemies in the target area
for 3 seconds and deals 30 damage over time. If you have the energy for it, it works well. Not a bad choice,
particularly for use against large clumps of Infantry. Stronger in earlier missions.
Chain Reaction - Kerrigan's attacks jump to up to 4 nearby targets and cause 10 damage per
bounce. You have to micro Kerrigan to get the most out of this skill, but it does add a substantial amount of
DPS, particularly if you use the "Fury" skill in Tier 6.
Psionic Shift - Costs 50 energy, no cooldown. Kerrigan dashes a short distance, dealing 50
damage to all enemies in the area of effect. Not a huge fan of this ability in later missions since it requires
Kerrigan to be in melee range for it to hit. However, this ability also increases Kerrigan's movement speed by
30% at all times (as a passive bonus), making it a nice choice until you unlock the Leviathan. The Leviathan is
slow, so once you get that unit, you do not want to outrun it with Kerrigan.
Tier 3 Kerrigan Abilities
Zergling Reconstitution - Killed Zerglings respawn at your primary Hatchery at no cost.
Zerglings will respawn at a rate of 10 Zerglings every 30 seconds until all Zerglings have returned to life.
This can work okay on smaller missions, but later in the game it is not as effective (at least if you are going
for the timed achievements), as regenerating 200 slain Zerglings takes 10 minutes! It is kind of fun to use
Improved Overlords - Overlords spawn instantly and provide 50% more supply. This is
actually not bad (until you unlock Automated Extractors), as you always start with a few Overlords. It prevents
you from having to make more Overlords early in the mission and noticeably speeds up your micro.
Automated Extractors - Extractors automatically harvest gas at maximal efficiency
without any Drones. This is by far my favorite Tier 3 ability, as it allows you to build a few Extractors as
soon as the mission starts and you end up with max gas harvesting. This allows you to macro up faster, gets gas
started earlier, saves resources and supplies that you would normally have to invest in Drones to grab gas, and
even allows you to start harvesting gas at expansions sooner. It is the best option in this tier for all these
Tier 4 Kerrigan Abilities
Wild Mutation - Costs 50 energy, 25 second cooldown. Friendly Zerg units in the target
area gain +200 maximum life and +100% attack speed for 10 seconds. This sounds really good on paper, but it is
10 in-game seconds. It barely lasts any amount of time at all. It also has an extremely small area of effect.
It can work on Zerglings but Mend is so good in the later missions that I cannot see why anyone would choose
Spawn Banelings - Costs 50 energy, 30 second cooldown. Spawns 6 Banelings with timed life.
This actually works really well until you unlock Mend. Getting 6 free Banelings that spawn instantly helps
Kerrigan solo until she gets Mend. This ability also works well during the Conviction mission later in the
game, where you otherwise get a limited number of units to clear to Raynor's prison cell.
Mend - Costs 30 energy, 8 second cooldown. Heals Kerrigan for 150 life and nearby friendly
biological units for 50 life. Units also heal for an additional 50% of the total health restored over the next
15 seconds. This is an amazing ability and allow Kerrigan to clear most of the map. Stack this with the
Leviathan and there is Kerrigan can solo even the most fortified positions on Brutal mode.
Tier 5 Kerrigan Abilities
Twin Drones - Drones now hatch 2 at a time from a single egg at no additional cost. They
also now only cost 1 supply count for 2 Drones. This an excellent upgrade as it makes macroing up at the start
of any macro-based mission so much faster. It also a strong choice
Malignant Creep - Creep spreads further and faster. Units on creep gain extra life
regeneration and 30% increased attack speed. This is actually a good upgrade, though it is hard to choice over
Twin Drones. In our The Reckoning
brutal mode guide, I have laid out a strategy for using this particular upgrade. Combined with Fury, if you
are good with creep spread, you can have Kerrigan attacking at double her normal attack speed. The only problem
with this choice is that it is slow, so you always want to opt for Twin Drones when going for the timed
Vespene Efficiency - Increases vespene gas harvesting efficiency by 25%. While increased
gas production is nice, Twin Drones will increase your macroing power at a greater rate than Vespene Efficiency
can. Twin Drones also saves you supplies and resources, making it the clear winner.
Tier 6 Kerrigan Abilities
Infest Broodlings - Enemies damaged by Kerrigan become infested and spawn two Broodlings
with timed life if the infested units are killed quickly. This is a horrible choice for Tier 6. A single Brood
Lord spawns Broodlings at a faster rate!
Fury - Each attack temporarily increases Kerrigan's attack speed by 15%. Can stack up to
75% increased attack speed. Considering the time it takes to build up the stacks, this is roughly a 50%
increase in Kerrigan's DPS. It is an amazing skill and one you will almost always want to pick. Upon testing
this and Ability Efficiency, I think Fury is the best option, at least when paired with Chain Reaction.
Ability Efficiency - Reduces the cooldown and energy cost of Kerrigan's abilities by 20%.
This is a great choice because it allows you to keep the Leviathan out 100% of the time and summon it 1 minute
earlier in the mission. It also reduces the cooldown and cost of Mend and Kinetic Blast, increasing Kerrigan's
survivability and damage slightly. Works best when you choose Crushing Grip over Chain Reaction, as Ability
Efficiency makes it easier to frequently use this ability.
Tier 7 Kerrigan Abilities
Apocalypse - Costs 100 energy, 6 minute cooldown, 3 second cast time. Kerrigan deals
300 damage to enemy units and 700 damage to enemy structures over a large area. This is similar to a nuclear
strike but only takes 3 seconds to land. Looks cool, but is very weak in my opinion, especially when you get to
the later missions where Terran structures automatically repair.
Spawn Leviathan - Costs 100 energy, 5 minute cooldown. Summons a Leviathan with a 5 minute
lifespan. It has 1000 HP, can attack air and ground units (even while moving), and has two powerful
energy-based abilities. Bio-plasmid Discharge is a powerful single-target attack that deals 500 damage. It can
1-shot Thors and many small buildings. Kinetic Blast and Bio-plasmid Discharge can be stacked to nearly destroy
any structure in-game. Bio-Statsis on the other hand is a 5 second stun with a substantial area of effect (10
second cooldown). The Leviathan and Kerrigan can take out practically any structure in the game, so I strongly
recommend using it over any other Tier 7 ability.
Drop Pods - Costs 100 energy, 6 minute cooldown. Kerrigan summons drop pods that contain
40 Zerglings, 5 Roaches, and 5 Hydralisks. While it is nice to get that many free units, I would much rather
have a Leviathan on my side than about 1000 resources worth of units.
Best Kerrigan Builds
Using the information in the previous section, there are a few builds that work well in Starcraft 2 Heart of the
Swarm. First off, I consider the following abilities strong enough that you will use them under practically any
circumstances. The rationale behind these decisions is explained in the above section.
Tier 1: Kinetic Blast
Tier 3: Automated Extractors
Tier 4: Mend (though Spawn Banelings may be a better choice in the "Conviction" mission).
Tier 5: Twin Drones (though Malignant Creep can work well in "The Reckoning").
Tier 7: Leviathan
The tiers where there are two viable options are Tier 2 and Tier 6. The first option is Chain Reaction and Fury,
whereas the second option involves using Crushing Grip and Ability Efficiency.
Chain Reaction and Fury
This is likely the best build for most players. Kerrigan's auto-attack damage practically doubles from using
Fury and Chain Reaction. Kerrigan is a bit more vulnerable with this build, but she is also more destructive with
just her auto-attack ability. This means that Kerrigan does more damage and requires less of your attention, which
is great for players who are not skilled enough to macro without shifting their focus to the main base.
You may need to pull back for 1 minute every 6 minutes while you wait for the Leviathan to come off cooldown.
You also need to take more care to protect the Leviathan. Use Kerrigan to focus down enemies that are doing heavy
damage to the Leviathan, particularly using Kinetic Blast on any Vikings you might see.
This build also works well for any situation where you are fighting against a tight timer for a Hard Mode
Crushing Grip and Ability Efficiency
One option for Kerrigan is to use the Crushing Grip and Ability Efficiency abilities for Tiers 2 and 6,
respectively. This version of Kerrigan requires more micro, deals less damage, but is much more survivable. Between
Crushing Grip and the Leviathan's Bio-Stasis ability, even the most condensed packs of units do not stand a
Additionally, Ability Efficiency means you can use Kinetic Blast, Mend, and even summon the Leviathan sooner.
This build does however require more attention to use successfully, as you need to be Mending and Kinetic Blasting
more frequently, as well as casting Crushing Grip.
Played perfectly, this is likely the strongest Kerrigan build for Brutal mode. It is much more defensive in
nature than the Fury and Chain Reaction combo. You can survive any sort of attack with the Crushing Grip and
Ability Efficiency combination, but only if you control it very well.