The Mothership Core is a new Protoss unit available in Heart of the Swarm. This casting flyer is a unique unit
in that players can only produce one. Its presence gives the Protoss player more options for applying early
pressure, holding off the rush, and increases the mobility of the Protoss army.
Mothership Core Production
Cost: 100 Minerals, 100 Vespene Gas, 2 Supplies. Limit 1 Mothership Core or Mothership at a
time (you can rebuild it should it die).
Production Time: 30 seconds
Produced at: Nexus
Requirements: Cybernetic Core
Class: Armored - Mechanical - Psionic
Mothership Core Stats & Info
Health: 60 Shields, 130 Health, 200 max energy (spawns with 50)
Weapon Damage: 8 (+1 per level of air weapons upgrade)
Range: 5 (moderate)
Hits Ground Only
Attack Speed: .85 (fast)
Movement Speed: 1.88 (slow)
The Mothership Core has a low-damage but very fast attack with a range of 5. It can only hit ground units. The
Mothership Core has no anti-air attacks. It is similar in strength to a Zerg Queen, although it is more effective
offensively. The Mothership Core will kill enemy workers very quickly if not chased off, making it very effective
at harassing workers.
SC2 Mothership Core Gameplay Video
Here is a video showing off the Mothership Core, its new abilities, and some strategies that make use of this
Mothership Core Abilities Guide
The Mothership Core has 4 abilities:
Photon Overcharge: Costs 100 energy. Causes the target Nexus to become overcharged, granting it
a long-range attack for 60 seconds that deals 20 damage per hit. This attack is moderately fast and most
importantly has a range of 13 (same as a Siege Tank to give you an idea). This ability can fend off practically any
Mass Recall: Costs 100 energy. Warps the Mothership Core and your nearby units to the targeted
Nexus. Unlike in Starcraft 1, where you recalled units to the Arbiter, this allows the Mothership Core to actually
teleport itself and your nearby units to a Nexus.
Time Warp: Costs 75 energy. Warps spacetime for 30 seconds. Ground units entering the Time Warp
have their movement speed reduced by 50%. The area of effect of this ability is quite generous.
Upgrade to Mothership: Costs 300 minerals, 300 vespene gas, and 6 additional supplies. The
Mothership Core stops and starts morphing into a Mothership. This takes 100 in-game seconds. The Mothership loses
Photon Overcharge and instead gains Cloaking Field.
Starcraft 2 Mothership Core Strategies
The introduction of the Mothership Core has drastically altered the Protoss race and had introduced a variety of
Gateway-First Fast Expansion
The Protoss Mothership Core offers the Protoss player an opportunity to take a fast expansion without going for
an early Forge. While the Forge Fast Expand build is still viable and popular against Zerg players, it is easier to
defend an economic opening against Protoss and Terran players via the Photon Overcharge ability.
Getting out an early Gateway and Cybernetics Core instead of a fast Forge for expanding has a few advantages.
First off, it allows the Protoss player to get access to important technology early. The major downside of the
Forge Fast Expand is that important upgrades like Warp Gate technology and access to Stargate/Robotics Bay units is
seriously delayed. This is not an issue with the Mothership Core opener.
Additionally, using the Mothership Core is simply less resource-intensive. Building a Forge and a few Photon
Cannons can quickly run 600 minerals, which is more than enough to slow down technology advancements early in a
Finally, the advantage of the Mothership Core is that it can tech directly into harass builds if your opponent
also opts for an economical opening. The Mothership Core can also function as an offensive unit, so if your enemy
takes a fast expansion, you can use your Mothership Core to harass the enemy's mineral line. You can tech into
Oracles to increase the effectiveness of your harass as well.
The Mothership Core also makes early Stalker aggression much more effective. Since the Mothership Core is a
flying unit, it will provide vision of the high ground. You no longer have to push up the ramp into waiting melee
or short-ranged units in order for your Stalkers to attack an opponent's main or natural! Given that the Stalker
outranges many units like the Marine and Sentry, this makes attacking enemies in the very early game much more
Using Photon Overcharge Defensively
There are two things you have to consider when relying on Photon Overcharge to expand: Photon Overcharge costs
100 energy, and Photon Overcharge only lasts 60 seconds. This has a variety of implications for using the
When the Mothership Core is built, it cannot use Photon Overcharge at all for 50 seconds while it regenerates
energy. This means that if you are relying on Photon Overcharge for defense, you cannot afford to lose your
Mothership Core to an enemy attack. Be careful when using the Mothership Core to harass the enemy for this
When you have two Nexuses, you also need to be aware that the enemy player can simply avoid whichever base you
use Photon Overcharge and attack the other one. As a result, this strategy works best on maps where there is a slim
ramp separating your main base and natural expansion. You can wall off the ramp to prevent the enemy player from
sneaking into your main base and ignoring the Overcharged Nexus.
Finally, note that the ability only lasts 60 seconds, but costs 100 energy. An enemy player who is rushing may
simply back out and wait for Photon Overcharge to wear off before attacking again. If you do not have the energy to
refresh Photon Overcharge, you will need to make more Sentries during that 60 second window so you can block the
enemy with Force Field until Photon Overcharge is ready to be used again.
Time Warp & Psionic Storm
By far the most effective way to use Time Warp is in conjunction with Psionic Storm. Time Warp has a very large
area of effect, large enough that you need to use several Psionic Storms to cover the entire area of effect of Time
Warp. You will always want to include a Mothership Core in your army when you are facing a ground-based enemy, as
this combination is powerful versus virtually any army make-up. This is demonstrated in the video posted earlier in
The Power of Mass Recall
Unlike the Mass Recall of Starcraft 1, which was often offensive in nature, the Mothership Core's version of
Mass Recall is primarily defensive.
Note that in order to use this ability, simply press the Mass Recall hotkey then click on the Nexus you want to
teleport to on the minimap. If you waste time looking for the actual Nexus in-game, your Mass Recall will be way
Many players will think of Mass Recall as a way to pull out of engagements. This is true and it is effective in
this scenario, particularly early in the game. An example of this is using the Mothership Core with Blink Stalkers
to harass the enemy. The Mothership Core provides vision of the high ground, allowing the Stalkers to Blink up. The
Stalkers can then do as much damage as they can, using Mass Recall to escape once the enemy player brings their
The most under-rated use of Mass Recall however is protecting your expansions in the late game. In Wings of
Liberty, it was very difficult for Protoss players to protect their bases once they took a 3rd+ expansion. Terran
drops and Zerglings could be used to great effect to kill off a distant 4th or 5th expansion. Mass Recall lets the
Protoss player instantly warp to their expansion in need. With a full energy pool, you can even warp twice in a
row, allowing you to fend off multi-pronged drops.
Starcraft 2 Mothership Core Guide Conclusion
The Mothership Core is a unit that Protoss players are going to want to incorporate into their army in virtually
every game. Its abilities are very strong and versatile for its low technology and resource cost.