Starcraft 2 Zealot Unit Counter
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The Zealot is a staple in the Protoss army. This melee
fighter is used in virtually every ground-based Protoss army, if only to soak up damage for more powerful
ranged units like the Colossus.
The Zealot's low cost, native armor of +1, Charge upgrade, and solid health totals make it relevant all game
long. Since Zealots appear at all stages of the game in Starcraft 2, you will want to be sure to study and memorize
these Zealot counters!
Protoss Zealot Counters
While Zealots can be easily countered by the Protoss player, their low cost makes them an appealing option. Even
when you are using units that counter the Zealot, it is still sometimes wise for your opponent to incorporate the
Zealots anyway. Zealots are cheap melee units with generous health totals, so they can serve as tanks for long
range units. Here are the primary Zealot counters you can use to make sure these tanking Zealots do not
stick around too long:
- Stalker (early game): Before charge or before any other units come out, a well-microed
Stalker is able to easily kite a Zealot without taking damage. Mastering this micro is essential to success in
- Oracle (early game): While the Oracle is not used as a primary attacking force, it is good
to know that the Oracle can quickly burn down Zealots (and Sentries) in the early game. If you can delay the
Protoss opponent with early Gateway pressure and use this advantage to sneak out an early Oracle, it can be
game over for the opponent.
- Colossus: The Colossus is the primary means for Protoss players to counter mass Zealots.
Players will need to protect their Colossus with ground forces of their own, as Colossi with no tanking units
are very vulnerable.
- Archon: Archons are a straight-forward Zealot counter. Zealots are considered biological
so they take bonus damage against the Archon. The Archon's splash damage also increases its effectiveness
against the Zealot. Be careful not to overproduce Archons since they are such large units that they might not
all be able to get in range simultaneously.
- Sentry: The Sentry does not counter the Zealot directly, but its Force Field ability can
be used to protect vulnerable ranged units from the Zealot. Zealot armies can also be split in half with Force
Field, making them easier for other Protoss units to handle.
To protect against Zealot backstab attacks, try to avoid maxing out as Protoss but rather leave your supply
cap at around 185 out of 200. This gives you the opportunity to warp in reinforcements wherever you need them to
stop enemy Zealot warp ins. If you max out, you lose this ability to warp units in to where you need them.
Terran Zealot Counters
With the release of Heart of the Swarm, the strength of the Zealot has diminished significantly in PvT. There
are now just too many good Terran unit counters to the Zealot.
- Hellbat: Hellbats absolutely shred Zealots, especially once the Zealot count increases.
The splash damage from the Hellbats adds up as more and more Zealots enter the battle. If you are using mostly
bio, you can still mix in some Hellbats to deal with Zealots. Make sure to get Infernal Pre-Igniter.
- Hellion: In early game skirmishes, Hellions can fill the role of the Hellbat as a
Zealot counter. Hellbats do the job better once you form a large unit ball. Kiting is required to
make the Hellion work.
- MMM: While normally Marines and Marauders will lose to Zealots, with Medivac support and
good shoot-and-scoot micro, bio ground units can actually counter Zealots.
- Ghost: Ghosts deal bonus damage to light units, and with EMP, it only takes a handful of
Ghost shots to take down a Zealot. While Ghosts cannot tank Zealot damage, it is surprising how quickly Zealots
are burned down by Ghosts which have Marauders in front of them to soak up damage.
- Banshee: Banshees are fast enough and do meaningful enough DPS that ignoring the Banshee
while trying to do damage with the Zealot does not work out very well. The Battlecruiser is too slow to chase
down Zealots and can be ignored by a Protoss player with good micro.
- Thor: The Thor dominates the Zealot on a supply for supply basis, but Thors are also a lot
more expensive than Zealots.
Even bio players should add in a couple of Hellbats to help counter Zealots. You do not need vehicle upgrades
for Hellbats to be effective against Zealots.
Zerg Zealot Counters
Zealots are just like a high powered, slower, and more expensive Zergling. As a result, the same units that are
good against the Zergling tend to do well against the Zealot.
- Roach: Roaches are good versus Zealots because of the +1 armor and high HP total.
The native +1 armor reduces Zealot damage by 2 since the Zealot has 2 attacks with each swing. Kite with
the Roaches for best results.
- Zerglings: When upgrades are equal, 4 Zerglings takes down 1 Zealot. When the Protoss
player's weapon upgrades reach one point higher than the Zerg's ground carapace, Zerglings start to lose very
quickly against Zealots. Keep that in mind.
- Roach & Hydralisk: Hydralisks deal a ton of DPS, but get chewed up by Zealots. Roaches
in front of the Hydralisks can help soak up damage while the Hydralisks dish out the DPS.
- Ultralisk: A hard Zealot counter. A few Ultralisks can take down a dozen Zealots with no
problem. The native armor of the Ultralisk significantly reduces Zealot damage.
- Brood Lords: Like any ground unit that cannot hit air units, the Zealot is countered
handily by the Brood Lord.
- Swarm Host: Zealots are not fast enough to meaningfully catch up to Swarm Hosts,
allowing Swarm Hosts to use several waves of Locusts before the Zealots ever get in range. Since Locusts do
well against Zealots, no Zealots ever get in range.
While Banelings specialize in destroying light melee ground units, they are too expensive to be a true Zealot
counter. It is much cheaper and more efficient just to use Roaches.
Mutalisks are not great against Zealots since Zealots can easily ignore Mutalisk damage for a long time before
being taken down. Zealots have high DPS and can cause a lot of damage. Add a Spine Crawler or two at each base to
help prevent Zealot backstab attacks.
Video Guide: Zealot Unit Counters in Action
The video below demonstrates some of the micro required to counter the Zealot with units of all races.
"Shoot and scoot" micro should always be used with ranged units against Zealots, even after the Zealots have
Zealots are easy to counter with all three races. Just make sure you do not focus all your damage on the enemy's
Zealots while their more powerful units like the High Templar and Colossus go unchecked.