Starcraft 2 Widow Mine Info & Gameplay

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

Widow MineThe Widow Mine is a Terran unit introduced in Heart of the Swarm. This is a mobile, burrowing proximity mine which fires off powerful missile attacks once every 40 seconds.

The Widow Mine is like a vastly improved version of the Spider Mine from Starcraft 1 and the Wings of Liberty campaign. Unlike the Spider Mine, the Widow Mine is built directly at the Factory, can unburrow and move on its own, can attack air units, and is not destroyed by exploding. As a result, the Widow Mine does take up supplies and has a moderate resource cost.

Widow Mine Production

Cost: 75 minerals, 25 vespene gas, 2 supplies.

Production Time: 40 seconds.

Produced at: Factory

Requirements: Factory

Class: Light - Mechanical


Widow Mine Stats & Info

Health: 90 health.

Range: 5.

Movement Speed: 2.81 movement speed (moderate).

Burrow: The Widow Mine takes 3 seconds to burrow before it can fire off an attack. This can be decreased to 1 second via the Drilling Claws upgrade.

Armor: 0

Sentinel Missiles

When burrowed, the Widow Mine gains the Sentinel Missile ability. This is a proximity-based attack with a range of 5 that automatically attacks a random enemy unit within its range. It will automatically go off as soon as an enemy gets in range and you do not get to pick the target.

Sentinel Missile deals 125 damage to its primary target and 40 damage in splash damage to nearby targets. Note that both enemy and friendly units will suffer from the splash damage, so be careful about placing this unit near your SCVs.

Sentinel Missile deals +35 bonus damage to units with shields (i.e. Protoss). This means a Protoss unit with at least 35 shields will take 160 damage from a Sentinel Missile. This allows Sentinel Missiles to 1-shot many Protoss units that otherwise would survive a single blast (i.e. a Stalker).

Sentinel Missile has a 40 second cooldown. When on cooldown, the Widow Mine has no offensive capabilities. The Widow Mine also no offensive capabilities when it is unburrowed.

SC2 Widow Mine Gameplay Video

The video below demonstrates how the Widow Mine works and gives some basic strategies that you can use with this unit:

Widow Mine Upgrades

The Widow Mine has one upgrade that affects it: Drilling Claws. This upgrade is available at the Tech Lab when attached to a Factory. It speeds up the burrow and activation time of the Widow Mine by 3 times (from 3 seconds to 1 second).

This upgrade costs 150 minerals, 150 vespene gas, and takes 110 seconds to research. This is a fairly expensive and lengthy upgrade, so make sure you are making heavy use of Widow Mines before investing here.

Weapon upgrades do not effect the Widow Mine's damage, but the Widow Mine also ignores armor.

Starcraft 2 Widow Mine Strategies

The Widow Mine is an interesting unit with a wide variety of applications. As a proximity mine, the unit may appear defensive at first glance, it seems that at the highest level of play the Widow Mine is finding most of its use in an offensive capacity.

Mineral Harass vs Protoss

The most common way players have successfully incorporated the Widow Mine is to harass enemy workers, particularly Protoss players. The splash damage from a Widow Mine is able to kill a Probe in one hit, so a few Widow Mines in a Protoss player's mineral line can literally wipe out 15+ Probes in a single round.

However, the same thing can be said for Hellions. Even a Medivac full of Marines can clear a mineral line in a few seconds. Why use Widow Mines? The reason for this is that not only are Widow Mines good at killing Probes, but they are also particularly difficult for Protoss players to deal with since they require detection. This means getting up a Photon Cannon, Observer, or Oracle, neither of which is a very quick feat for the Protoss player.

Burrowing Widow Mines in an enemy mineral line not only is likely to result in the death of a lot of Probes, but it also can win the game outright, particularly in leagues below Diamond. Not only can this result in many Probes dying, but if your opponent has no detection, they are out of luck. The Widow Mines can stop all mining at that location until detection is produced, which could take a long time if your opponent is still low-tech due to an aggressive or economic opening.

There are two ways to go around this: via a drop or just running your Widow Mines in. Drops are actually better in the early game when the Protoss player is just on one or two bases (as the front door may be blocked by army or sentries). It also gives the Protoss player less time to react and usually guarantees some kills.

Just moving your Widow Mines on the ground works well once the Protoss player already has 3+ bases up. You can make 6-8 Widow Mines, and send a pair to each base, shift-clicking move and burrow, so they will automatically run there and burrow once they get there. This is great because you do not have to worry about controlling each individual set of Widow Mines.

Due to the efficacy of just running Widow Mines into the Protoss natural or main, many Terran players have taken to opening with a proxy Factory. This build is seen even at the Pro levels of play. One reason it so popular is because it is strong against early Oracle harass. If a Protoss player opts for a fast Stargate, the Oracle will be the Protoss player's only detection by the time proxy Widow Mines start arrive. If there are no Photon Cannons up, getting detectors to all the bases and units to kill the Widow Mines is very difficult.

Note that many Protoss players do not wall off versus Terran. I have seen Terran players even in professional-level games successfully run Widow Mines up the ramp and right into the Protoss player's main base, getting sets of Widow Mines active at every mining base - a complete disaster for the Protoss player.

Mineral Harass vs Zerg and Terran

Widow Mines are not as popular to use versus Terran and Zerg players for mineral harass. Terran players are not as vulnerable to the Widow Mine: the splash damage of Sentinel Missile is 40 damage, and SCVs have 45 health. This allows the SCV to live through the splash damage of a single Sentinel Missile attack. Drones and Probes on the other hand have 40 health, and as a result, are 1-shot by the splash damage of a single Sentinel Missile.

Widow Mines are not typically used against Zerg players (or even advised) simply because Hellions are better at the job. Not only can Hellions harass the worker line, but they also give the Terran map control, keep the map clear of Zerglings, and can kill off creep tumors to stop Zerg creep spread. Widow Mines cannot duplicate this function for the Terran.

Widow Mines are very useful though for defense and in the late game versus Zerg, as discussed below.

Guarding Distant Expansions

One of the easiest ways a player can make use of the Widow Mine is to guard wherever you think the enemy is likely to take their fourth or fifth base in a long game (third base for lower-ranked players). You can burrow a Widow Mine at each of these bases. When the opponent sends out a Drone or Probe to expand, the Widow Mine will kill it instantly.

Why is this so effective? By the time a player is taking a fourth or fifth base, they are not likely to be focusing their attention on the actual worker going to build that base. Instead, they off-handedly send a worker out to the expansion and then go back to focusing their attention on their main army.

When the Probe or Drone does not make it to the target location, most players assume it was intercepted by the enemy (since 4th and 5th bases tend to be far from their main army), and that enemy has already left the area. By the time they realized what happens, the Widow Mine will have recharged, and when they sent out a new worker, this same thing will happen again.

I have seen even in professional level matches where this exact scenario unfolds 5+ times in a row. Players who are busy dealing with the Terran player's main army keep sending out a Drone every minute, thinking that the Drone was just intercepted, not realizing a Widow Mine has been killing the Drones over and over again.

This does not work well on Terran players, since Terrans typically build their Command Center within the safety of their base and only then float it to their fourth or fifth expansion. The gig is up when the player realizes that they cannot land their Command Center due to a Widow Mine being burrowed there.

Guarding Your Own Base

Widow Mines can also be used on defense, particularly early in the game before the enemy player can get detectors or units with enough range to pick off a Widow Mine safely. Burrow a few at the entrance to your base for protection. Later in the game, this becomes less useful, as detection and long-range units enter the battle field.

Early in the game, using Widow Mines on defense can help protect your base if you go for a really aggressive opener, such as a Macro CC build, which involves building a third Orbital Command inside your base early in the game for extra SCV and MULE production.

The Widow Mine is also good at fending off air harass and drops. Terran players were typically quite vulnerable to drop attacks, as Terran players without a Planetary Fortress are unable to hold off ground units through automated defense alone. A few well-placed Widow Mines on the edge of your mineral line can kill off Medivacs, Warp Prisms, and any ground-based attacks that might get into your mineral line.

However, be careful with the way you position your Widow Mines, as the splash damage they deal will hit your SCVs as well. SCVs can take 1 splash damage hit without dying, so if you do put Widow Mines in your mineral line, make sure they are spread out enough so that the same pool of SCVs does not take more than 1 missile hit. Better yet, place the Widow Mines in between your mineral patches and the edge of your base. Not only will this keep your Widow Mines from accidentally hitting your SCVs, but it also lets you pick off transports before they can ever drop their cargo in your base.

As a Fall Back Point vs Zerg

Widow Mines are often commonly used by top tier Marines as a fall-back point against Zerg players. When attacking with Marines and Medivacs, the Zerg player will try to use Banelings to efficiently take down the Marines.

The Terran player can use Stimpack and run away from the Banelings, falling back towards their less mobile units. In Wings of Liberty, Siege Tanks were (and still are even today) as a fall back point, as Siege Tanks could then blast the Banelings from a safe range.

The Widow Mine can also fulfill this function. A single Widow Mine blast can take out a huge number of Banelings, so this is an effective strategy. The Widow Mine has the added advantage of being cloaked when burrowed and being able to defend itself versus air units.

This does not mean the Siege Tank is no longer used as a fall-back unit. Players usually just use a mix now. Siege Tanks still fair better against beefier Zerg units like the Roach and Ultralisk.

Starcraft 2 Widow Mines Strategy Guide

Despite their appearance as a defensive unit, Widow Mines can be used successfully in all aspects of a game of Starcraft 2.

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