Starcraft 2 Protoss Heart of the Swarm Change List

Starcraft 2 Strategy Guide --> Heart of the Swarm Guide --> Protoss Change List(you are here)

Click Here to Get The Osiris MethodIn addition to the introduction of new units, Starcraft 2's Heart of the Swarm expansion also modifies some of the old Wings of Liberty Protoss units and adds some new upgrades.

Below, you will find a video guide detailing all the new Protoss units as well as examples of the new upgrades and changes to the old units in action. Below the video, specific strategies and information on each of these changes is discussed.

HotS Protoss Changes Video Guide

The video above shows off the gameplay for all the new Protoss Heart of the Swarm units and also discusses all the changes to the old Wings of Liberty units. More specific details can be found below.

New Units in Heart of the Swarm

While the video guide covers new units, the focus of this guide will be changes to old units. If you want to read about the new Protoss units, please check their respective pages:

Changes to Old Protoss Units

Protoss have the fewest changes to their old units in Heart of the Swarm. There are only 3 units currently that have been modified: the Void Ray, the Phoenix, and the Mothership.

Void Ray Changes

The Void Ray has undergone a major design change in Heart of the Swarm. Void Rays no longer charge up on targets. Instead, there is an energy-free activated ability called Prismatic Alignment that causes the Void Ray to become "fully charged" for 20 seconds. This ability has a 60 second cooldown. This skill is instant, so the Void Rays become charged the second you activate it.

This is both a huge buff and a nerf. It allows Void Rays to immediately start doing more damage when an enemy is first engaged. Normally, Void Rays do not have enough time to charge up fully in mid-game skirmishes and instead require cheap tricks to charge (like targeting your own units before going in or attacking nearby rocks) if you want them to be fully effective in combat. Now, all you have to do is click "Activate Prismatic Alignment" in order to have a charged up Void Ray.

However, Prismatic Alignment can only be activated for 20 seconds at a time, and then you have to wait 40 seconds for it to be available again. So while Void Rays may be more effective in combating enemy armored unit, if the battle drags on for a long time, they may not deal as much damage.

Additionally, there are 2 more nerfs to the Void Ray. First is the way the Prismatic Alignment ability works. When the old Void Rays attacked, they dealt 6 damage to regular units and 10 damage to armored units. When they charged up, they dealt 8 damage to regular units and 16 damage to armored units.

In Heart of the Swarm, Void Rays still deal 6 damage to regular units and 10 damage to armored units in a non-charged state. When Prismatic Alignment is activated damage only increases to armored units. While a Void Ray with Prismatic Alignment activated still does 16 damage to armored units, it only does 6 to regular units. This is a noticeable nerf when fighting against light units like Marines or Hydralisks.

Another nerf is that now Void Rays require 4 supplies instead of 3 supplies, which is a massive nerf, especially if you are trying to use them as part of a deathball at the end of a game. If you have about 50 supplies to dedicate to Void Rays, you can only build 12 whereas you used to be able to build 16 on the same amount of supplies.

At the same time though, Void Rays have received a massive buff in the form of the situational use of Prismatic Alignment. In particular, many top Protoss players mix in a couple Void Rays in their army in order to take down armored air units. The Void Ray absolutely destroys any armored air unit, supply for supply, when Prismatic Alignment is activated. A single Void Ray will rip through 2 Corruptors or Vikings (assuming the Terran does not kite with the Vikings), allowing Protoss Air army combinations (commonly called SkyToss) to be much more viable.

Void Rays are also great versus Protoss forces. Only the Archon, Tempest, and Phoenix can efficiently engage Void Rays. The Archon is the only one that can battle with a Void Ray efficiently, but that is only if the Archon can reach the Void Ray. The Archon has the disadvantage of limited range and the fact that the Archon is a ground unit.

Additionally, if you are not maxed out, the extra supply cost of the Void Ray is inconsequential as the actual resource cost is the same. While you probably do not want to max out on Void Rays, if you are at 130/150 supply, the extra supply cost of the Void Ray does not hurt you at all.


Unlike some other units which were completely redesigned, the Phoenix was simply buffed. The range has now increased from 4 to 5, which makes kiting Mutalisks without purchasing the Anion Pulsar-Crystals upgrade possible. With the upgrade, the Phoenix is able to utterly decimate Mutalisks, even with poor micro.


The Sentry's Hallucination ability no longer needs to be researched. The Sentry now starts with this ability. This is a substantial buff to early-game Protoss scouting, as you can use Hallucination to create a Phoenix, and then use the fake Phoenix to scout the map. You get the same movement speed and vision of a normal Phoenix without any resource investment!


The Mothership is now upgraded to the Mothership from the Mothership Core. The total cost is still the same. The upgrade is faster than the old Mothership Core production, but the Mothership Core can not be a target of Chrono Boost, making production speeds about the same. Rebuilding the Mothership Core and then morphing it into a Mothership is actually slower without the ability to Chrono Boost the Mothership's production. The major benefit of this change is that building a Mothership no longer blocks a Nexus from producing Probes for 2+ minutes.

However, the Mothership did experience a nerf. The Vortex ability has been removed from the game and replaced by Time Warp. Time Warp creates a large bubble on the ground that slows down enemy units that are inside. This is still a powerful skill, as you can use Psionic Storm on trapped units for large amounts of damage. With that said, nothing can compare to the strength of Vortex, as a single Vortex can change the outcome of a battle in a way that no other Wings of Liberty ability could.

Starcraft 2 Heart of the Swarm Protoss Changes

Since Protoss players got 3 new units to the Terran and Zerg's 2 new units, it seems that their old units did not change much in relation to the other units. However, the Phoenix and new Void Ray are really strong anti-air units, and the new units in Heart of the Swarm have made air-based Protoss armies highly effective in all match-ups.

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