Starcraft 2 Terran Guide - HotS Updated

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Click Here to Get The Osiris MethodIn this guide to the Terran race in Starcraft 2, you will find everything you need to know about the Terran race, including guides to the units and structures, counters, build orders, strategies, openers, and more.

Below, you will find a table of contents detailing the sections of this Terran guide. In order to keep our navigation bar down to a reasonable size, some of the guides on our site can only be found by navigating through the pages below.

For example, the Terran strategy page provides an overview of Terran strategy in Starcraft 2, while there are links to specific race match-ups like the Terran vs Zerg or Terran vs Protoss match-ups. Be sure to check out all 5 sections of the Terran guide in order to get access to all our guides and strategies!

Terran Guide Table of Contents

Terran Structures
Terran Units
Terran Army Compositions
Terran Strategy
Terran Build Orders

Below, you will find a quick overview of all 5 sections of our Terran guide providing all the basic information, the summary of the section, and what you can expect to find inside.

Terran Structures Guide

Full Guide: Starcraft 2 Terran Structures

Terran structures in Starcraft 2 have to be constructed by SCVs. While an SCV is constructing a building, it is unable to do anything else until the building is finished. An SCV can "Halt" construction (default hotkey "T") and be pulled off a constructing building before it is finished, but the building's progress will not continue until another SCV goes back to constructing.

SCVs that are constructing can be targeted and killed. If an SCV is destroyed in this manner, a new SCV must come and finish construction of the building. Killing off SCVs that are working on buildings is a common harassment tactic in the early game.

Another unusual aspect of Terran buildings is that their production facilities can lift off, fly around, and land in new places. While lifted, these structures become air units and are able to move slowly around the map. Tech structures, Supply Depots, and defensive structures (including the Planetary Fortress) cannot lift off.

The Barracks, Starport, and Factory can make use of the Tech Lab and Reactor add-ons. The Tech Lab allows for the production of high tech units and provides research opportunities while the Reactor allows the production of units two at a time out of a given facility (by default, only units that do not require a tech lab). A structure can only use one add-on at a time.

The lift-off features is most commonly used to swap add-ons between buildings. In the early game, it is common to use a Reactor with a Tech Lab and a Factory with a Reactor. This allows the Terran player to start researching Stimpack and Combat Shields at the Barracks and allows the Terran to produce Hellions two at a time from the Factory. Once the important research is complete, the Factory and Barracks will switch places, allowing the Terran player to start working on Siege Tanks from the Factory and producing Marines two at a time from the Barracks.

Finally, note that Supply Depots can be lowered and raised. Terran players will often build a structure wall with Supply Depots to keep unwanted Zerglings and Banelings out of their base and then lower the Supply Depots when they are ready to move out with their army.

Terran Units Guide

Full Guide: Starcraft 2 Terran Units

Terran units in Starcraft 2 fit into three categories: bio, mech, and air. Bio units come out of the Barracks, Mech units come out of the Factory, and air units come out of the Starport. Out of all the races, Terran players are the least likely to use just one unit type. Even the ubiquitous Marine works best when supported by Medivacs and Siege Tanks or Widow Mines.

Perhaps the most important thing to understand as Terran units is the concept of a mineral dump. The Terran's MULE provides about 270 minerals to the Terran player its 90 second lifespan. MULEs cannot be used to harvest gas. As a result, Terran players wind up with more minerals to spend than the Protoss or Zerg.

As a Terran player, if you do not go out of your way to spend these excess minerals, you will quickly bank up thousands in surplus. As you can imagine, this is not an ideal situation when those resources would be put to better use by being invested in additional units or infrastructure.

There are 4 primary mineral dumps for the Terran: the Marine, the Hellbat, the Hellion, and the Orbital Command. If you are playing with a bio build and using bio and infantry upgrades, you should produce a steady stream of Marines. Mech players can produce a steady stream of Hellbats or Hellions. These units do not have to be used in a very cost efficient manner. Any time you can kill an enemy unit that costs gas with units that only cost minerals, you are doing well as a Terran player. In the late game if you are already maxed out and have banked up a lot of resources, a good mineral dump is building a few extra Orbital Commands. These provide energy for additional MULEs as well as Scanner Sweep.

Terran Army Compositions

Full Guide: Terran Army Compositions

In Starcraft 2, massing a single type of unit is rarely an effective strategy. Instead, several types of units that work well together are used to form the bulk of an army. The mix of units used in an army is known as the army composition.

There are a lot of viable army compositions available to Terran players. Most Terran armies are typically described as either bio, mech, or some combination of the two. Top-level players almost always use armies that draw upon all three Terran production facilities at some point over the course of a game.

Bio builds use Marines as their core backbone as well as their mineral dump. However, Marines alone do not make a good army. Medivacs are incorporated to heal the Marines, allowing the Marines to use Stimpack repeatedly without permanently losing their health. Vikings are added as needed to take out air units that are strong against Marines like Colossi and Brood Lords. Ghosts may be added to take care of enemy spellcasters like the Infestor or High Templar. Marauders are added if the opponent uses armored ground units like Stalkers or Ultralisks.

Mech builds are a bit more flexible. Hellbats are used as a mech player's mineral dump and can help absorb damage, protecting the more costly Siege Tanks and Thors. Widow Mines and Hellions are also part of mech builds, but do not as commonly find their way into end-game builds. Hellions and Widow Mines are often used in the early game to gain map control (Hellions) and shore up defenses (Widow Mines). Widow Mines are actually more commonly used as support for bio builds.

Bio-Mech builds incorporate both unit bio and mech unit types. This combination typically uses Marines and Medivacs and then adds on Siege Tanks or Widow Mines for support. Siege Tanks and Widow Mines are particularly strong versus Banelings, which are the bane of Marines. Siege Tanks are more reliable to use than Widow Mines, but also less mobile. Widow Mines have a faster move speed than Siege Tanks and with Drilling Claws can activate and deactivate much faster than a tank can move into and out of Siege Mode.

Full air builds are viable in the late game if the Terran player has enough income to support the high cost air units. The best Terran air builds typically involve large numbers of Battlecruisers, Vikings, and Ravens. Battlecruisers are strong against ground units, Vikings are strong versus air units, and the Raven's Point Defense Drone (PDD) absorbs missile attacks. Since most anti-air attacks are missile attacks, it can be hard for enemy units to break through PDD if there are multiple Ravens all using this ability.

Terran Strategy

Full Guide: Starcraft 2 Terran Strategy

Terran is by far the most defensive race in Starcraft 2. Thanks to its ability to make temporary walls with Supply Depots and the ability to lift off buildings in conjunction with the presence of the Siege Tank and Widow Mine, the Terran player is able to hold off attacks from larger enemy armies.

Terran players can successfully use many different unit combinations regardless of match-up. Full bio, full mech, full air, and bio-mech builds can be all be used successfully against Protoss and Zerg players. Terran vs Terran is the most rigid match-up, with the Siege Tank and Viking being the stars of the show in the mid-late game. However, even TvT has a large number of valid opening builds, with everything from proxy Reapers to Hellbat drops being used successfully at the high level.

No matter what race you are playing against, good Terran players make consistent use of drops. The Medivac's Ignite Afterburners ability and dual function as a healing unit make the Terran the best race for performing all sorts of drops. Terran players often win games with a series of devastating drops rather than destroying their opponent's army in open combat.

Since Terran players tend to have less supply tied up in workers (thanks to MULEs) and can hold off larger enemy armies when defending with Siege Tanks and Widow Mines, Terran players can dedicate more supplies to drops without compromising the defense of their main forces. A Terran can have 20 supplies tied up in two drops and still be able to defend an attack from a fully maxed out enemy army.

Terran Build Orders

Full Guide: Terran Build Orders

A build order refers to the order in which units and structures are built. These build orders typically lead up to a key event, such as taking an expansion or initiating a timing attack. The best Terran amateurs typically stick to a few well-practiced build orders (1-2 to use against each race), as learning a build order does require time.

Pros who have much more time to dedicate to Starcraft 2 may work on many build orders. Pros in particular have to master many build orders since they often play against the same opponent many times in a row during tournaments and want to keep their opponent guessing.

Terran players have many viable build orders and often switch between unit types by moving around add-ons depending on what tech route their opponent chooses. Against Zerg players, Terran typically opt for a fast Reaper or Hellions, as these units can provide map control for the Terran player since they are strong versus Zerglings. Without getting out these units early, the Zerg would be able to easily gain map control with Zerglings. This map control is often used to take a fast 3rd base. This third Orbital Command is often kept in the main base to produce extra SCVs and MULEs, only being moved out to an expansion of its own once the first two bases are fully saturated with SCVs.

In mirror match-ups, Terrans may open in a variety of ways. While the Banshee rush used to be very popular in Wings of Liberty (and is still used - just not as frequently), the more common forms of early aggression involve getting out a quick Medivac and dropping some combination of Marines, Hellions, or Hellbats into the opponent's base. Terrans who want to expand early in TvT often go for a quick Viking, as the Viking can simultaneously shut down drops and Banshee rushes by killing the enemy's Medivacs or Banshees.

Against Protoss players, Terrans typically opt for early Marines or Widow Mines in order to combat the Oracle. They also tend to add on defensive structures to prevent Marines from getting out-microed in the very early game by the dreaded Stalker/Mothership Core combination.


Over time, more and more content will be added to the sub-sections of this Starcraft 2 Terran guide. Be sure to check back regularly for new builds and strategies.

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