StarCraft II

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"Hell... it's about time."
Tychus Findlay.

Starcraft II is a Real Time Strategy game by Blizzard Entertainment, and is the long-awaited sequel to StarCraft. Released in three installments, with each one focusing on a different race of the game. The first game of the series, Starcraft II: Wings Of Liberty focuses on the Terran side, while the other two installments (Starcraft II: Heart Of The Swarm and Starcraft II: Legacy Of The Void) focusses on the Zerg and Protoss respectively.

The terran campaign, Wings of Liberty, was released on July 27th, 2010. Set four years after the events of the Brood War, the campaign focuses on rebel hero Jim Raynor and the Raynor's Raiders, and their efforts to take down the corrupt empire called the Terran Dominion. Heart of the Swarm was released on March 12, 2013 and follows Sarah Kerrigan in her effort to regain control of the swarm and exact her revenge on the Terran Dominion's emperor, Arcturus Mengsk. Legacy of the Void' was released on November 10, 2015 and focuses on Artanis, as he reclaims his homeworld of Aiur and reunites the Protoss factions in order to defeat Amon.

Like StarCraft and Brood War previously had, Starcraft II has a prominent competitive scene, complete with professional teams, paid players, tournaments and sponsors. Blizzard caught on to the importance of the progaming scene and built SC2 from the ground up around Competitive Balance while providing extensive first-party global tournament infrastructure. They also regularly solicit feedback from top players regarding the Metagame and act on certain suggestions, resulting in a constantly changing Metagame.

Each game has its own page, as each can be played standalone:

Tropes used in StarCraft II include:

Goliath: Go ahead, TACCOM. Milspec ED 209 on. USDA selected. FDIC approved. Checklist complete... SOB.

  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Justified since Raynor is smeared as a terrorist and mostly gets help, new blueprints and other stuff because he pays people for it or does them favors. Becomes a little less justified in the final missions where theoretically, you should have the entire technology of the Dominion at your disposal--but then again, you're in the middle of an inescapable warzone and it's pretty friendly of the game that you can call in mercenaries and arsenal upgrades at all. Plus, through the final missions, you can see wrecked battlecruisers and wraiths fall down around you constantly, It seems like things aren't going well for your allies.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: The secret mission in Wings of Liberty has an invincible Hybrid chasing you as you escape the facility.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: One of the terran missions has a planet near a sun going supernova (which is, indeed, the name of the mission itself). You have to complete your objective before a wall of fire sweeps across the map, and in the meantime have to keep relocating your base to stay ahead of the flames.

Raynor: Relax, partner; we got HOURS till that sun explodes!

  • Alliterative Name:
    • Raynor's Raiders.
    • According to Word of God, when Raynor's unit, the former Colonial Militia, was working with Mengsk, they were known as Raynor's Rangers.
  • All There in the Manual: The Dark Templar Saga and the Frontline series are practically required reading for the sequel. Frontline gives the backstory and lore of several new units, while The Dark Templar Saga explains in detail what Preservers are and why they're significant. In addition the "Ghost Academy" series of books details the back-stories of Nova and Tosh; Though Starcraft 2 immediately spoils how well their friendship went after academy.
  • And I Must Scream: The Zerg Overmind, Kerrigan and the Infested Terrans:
  • And the Adventure Continues...
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes:
    • Your only semi-tangible rewards for getting Achievements is new player portraits and occasionally new icons for your troops in multiplayer.
    • The special edition perks also grant you a differently modeled Thor unit, along with some other portraits.
  • Annoying Arrows: A variation; in a cutscene, General Warfield pulls a Hydralisk spike (one of several) out of his arm. He loses the arm and gets a mechanical replacement.
  • Apocalypse How: The Dark Voice, the leader of the Hybrids, achieves a Class X-4 in the Overmind's Apocalyptic vision of the future. It will absolutely happen if Kerrigan dies.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Stetmann's logs on the Zerg and Protoss specimens read like this ("it grew an ocular organ today", "it must be getting power from somewhere", "at the first sign of trouble I'll throw it out of the airlock myself..."). By the end of the game, it turns out the Protoss specimen has been helping Stetmann all along and is now covertly supplementing the ship's systems, whereas the Zerg specimen is rather ominously reported as, "trying to escape."
  • Arc Words: For Wings Of Liberty: A man is who he chooses to be.
  • Arm Cannon:
    • The Marauders have dual arm-mounted grenade launchers modified from Firebat armor.
    • The Firebats themselves (only available as one of the many, many campaign-exclusive units) have dual arm-mounted flamethrowers.
    • General Horace Warfield wins this one, literally, with a cannon replacing his arm after losing one to Zerg poison. Fortunately, he retains his other, Hydralisk-punching hand.
  • Armor Is Useless:
    • According to the first game's manual, marines' CMC combat armor was designed to stop standard firearms and shrapnel--and their C-14 Impaler rifles were deigned to penetrate CMC armor. In the cutscenes, however, the marine armor appears to be easily pierced by hydralisk spikes and gauss rifles alike. As it is Power Armor it provides boosts to strength and speed and protection from the environment and the like (or so the novelizations tell us), but as a defense against enemy projectiles you might as well be wearing a cotton robe.
    • The point is in-universe, average marines are very much considered cannon/tentacle/psipower fodder, what with most being concsripted convicted criminals. Most other Terran weaponry is generally much more effective and terrifying, such as the siege tanks, spider mines, wraiths and so on.
  • Artificial Brilliance: The computer has become Dangerously Genre Savvy due to a new hidden value assigned to units that determines their kill priority when attacked by AI opponents. Some caster support units take priority over standard attackers so the computer will target them first if they can. That's right, Blizzard has programmed the AI to Shoot the Medic First. However, it can also fall into Artificial Stupidity when you realize that you can position your units in such a way to either make them keep running around a unit or even move wildly trying to GET to the target.
  • Ascended Meme: Terrible, Terrible Damage, the reference to the project lead Dustin Browder, is now the God mode cheat, as well as what General Horace Warfield near the end of the game says when his ship goes down. It also appears when getting lots of simultaneous kills in challenge levels.

"Mah ship is takin' tayrible, tayrible daymage!"

    • In Battle.net, you can get an error message: "The page you were looking for either doesn't exist or some terrible, terrible error has occurred."
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: In-game units advance in rank by racking up kills as recognition of their strength, though there's no actual RPG element that upgrades them because of it. The Galaxy Editor, however, supposedly has provisions for a level system. Of course, as with the original the heroes are higher-ranked by default and kick a lot more ass. Subverted by then main character units that retain their set rank no matter how many they kill. (Tosh will always be Rank: Spectre Leader, Tychus will always be Rank: Scoundrel, and so on)
    • At least one of the mission setups for Heart of the Swarm revolves around this idea, with Kerrigan having to prove that she is stronger than another zerg leader.
  • Awesome but Impractical:
    • The Protoss Mothership is expensive, slow to build, slow to move, it lies at the top of the tech tree, and its attack isn't all that powerful. For all that time and money, it's basically an Arbiter with higher HP. Blizzard has even stated that they know the mothership isn't as useful as they'd like in the multiplayer and is really more just a symbol of the player's economy that they can afford the thing, especially after patch 1.3.
    • Battlecruisers are also considered this. Like the Mothership, they are big, slow, expensive, and at the end of the Terran tech tree. What really puts the nail in the coffin, though, is that all 3 armies have hard counters against battlecruisers that are significantly cheaper and more versatile.
    • Reapers are extremely fast, extremely mobile and do serious damage against light units and structures. However, their Glass Cannon status means that they die very fast in head on fights and require huge amounts of micromanaging to stay effective. They also have shorter range than Marines, so they can't hide in infantry balls like Ghosts can.
    • In-universe, there's also the Odin, which, according to Swann, implies too much trouble to logistically supply and maintain, which is why you only get to use it for a couple of missions, and end using a reduced version of this, the Thor.
  • Awesome Yet Practical:
    • The infamous Terran siege tank is as beefy as ever, capable of doing massive damage to units from a very long range, and they deal splash damage to boot.
    • Viking transform from air-superiority fighters that shoot missiles to walking mechs brandishing autocannons. They produce quickly and cheaply, and amassed can take out capital ships with ease.
    • The Sentry, a tier 1.5 unit. Guardian Shield allows it to reduce the damage nearby friendly units take from ranged attackers, making them especially useful against Marines and Mutalisks who have low base damage. It can also use Force Field to block off key choke points and break up enemy armies in the field.
    • Ghosts basic abilities are effective against Zerg and Protoss armies. EMP shells can wipe out the energy reserves of Infestors and High Templar as well as quickly strip away Protoss shields. Their Snipe ability allows them to deal large amounts of damage to biological units while ignoring their armor.
    • The archon toilet was notorious for its ability to destroy an entire enemy army with minimal losses incurred, if any. Combine high splash damage killing machines (archons) with an ability that clumps every unit caught in it on-top of each other (Vortex - which happens to swirl units entering it around before they disappear through a hole) and you get an extremely potent, awesome combination. It was eventually nerfed by allowing units to spread, (see Obvious Rule Patch below), but is still effective against large, slow units that aren't able to spread out in time.
  • Bad Future: The Overmind had a vision, which Zeratul got a hold of and passed to Raynor, of a future where Kerrigan was killed, which results in the Dark Voice enslaving the zerg using the hybrids. The hybrid-zerg army then annihilates the remaining Terran and Protoss. And then the Voice kills the zerg to power up the hybrids further, so that they can destroy all other life in the universe. This occurs in a mission where you play as the Protoss in a futile last stand as the last remnant of their entire species is wiped out.
  • Bag of Spilling:
    • Due to Technology Marches On, many of the old units are either upgraded with new abilities or replaced outright with new units. Doesn't explain why some perfectly good old abilities like Lockdown, Stasis Field, Dark Swarm and Plague are no longer in use. Plague and Stasis Field have equivalent new abilities, but otherwise...
    • The Science Vessel. In the lore it's been replaced by the Raven, who deploys automated drones to fight or defend, but in the campaign you get the choice between the Raven or the Science Vessel. The Science Vessel is far more useful due to the new Nano-Repair ability, which basically makes it a Medivac for mechanical units, ground and air.
  • Bar Brawl: The cutscene "Bar Fight": After you finish the mission "Maw of the Void" and collect the last piece of Xel'Naga technology, the non-primary members of the Hyperion are considering a mutiny because Jim "sold" them to the Dominion when Jim agreed to work with Valerian to defeat and de-infest Kerrigan, something they see as a betrayal, since they've signed up to fight against the Dominion, not to work along them. Then, Tychus (who was drunk) says that nobody can trust in "that drunk Jim Raynor". Jim heard all of this and had a fight with Tychus, which ended in Tychus being neutralized after damaging Raynor's jukebox.
  • Baseless Mission: There's several of these in the game, many of which require you to be careful with your forces so you don't squander them.
  • Base on Wheels: The "Wings of Liberty" Terran campaign takes heavy advantage of the fact that all their production buildings can be lifted off and moved to another location. There's a lava level with resources found only in canals that get flooded every few minutes, another one where you need to keep moving your base ahead of a wall of flame, and a couple of maps where your starting location just doesn't have many resources to begin with.
  • Batman Gambit: Valerian's plan to recruit Raynor relied pretty much entirely on predicting Raynor would want to confront Arcturus face to face rather than, say, blasting his ship out of the sky with the Hyperion's Yamato Cannon. It also relies heavily on Raynor's guilt of leaving Kerrigan behind and his wanting to cure her instead of just killing her like he swore he would in Brood War.
  • Beehive Barrier: Immortals' hardened shields.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The First Planet that Doctor Hansom decides to settle down on is called Meinhoff. Incidentally, the German words "Mein Hof" Literally translate as "My Yard/ My Home" (Their Safe Haven). However, the Planet is soon overrun by the Zerg Virus, and Raynor is forced to evacuate the survivors, bringing them to a safer Planet which, just by the way, they called "Haven". Things are looking up, when The Protoss turn up and try to vaporize the place because they think the infestation is still not defeated. So much for Safe Havens in any language.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Half of the single-player campaign consists of Raynor running around the galaxy rescuing abandoned colonists from zerg and occasionally protoss. However, at the end of the campaign Jimmy's invasion of Char kicks it into overdrive, with him bailing out half the Dominion fleet including their General, mopping the floor with the zerg on their home turf (which an Enemy Mine alliance failed to do), and deinfesting Kerrigan.
  • Bigger Bad: The "Dark Voice".
  • Bittersweet Ending: Sarah is "healed," but Raynor had to kill Tychus. Also, Arcturus Mengsk: his media image is reeling, but he's still The Emperor of the Terran Dominion. And let's not forget about the Hybrids...
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: One of the medic's Stop Poking Me quotes is a hilarious jab at the Protoss. "We've got a protoss here who needs mouth-to-mouth! Er... mouth to something, anyway."
    • The Zerg. Their tissues mutate and their immune response hunts mutated cells down; if the mutant tissue survives long enough, the entire body develops that mutation. Their amino acids also have "unique R-groups" that let them absorb protein to fuel their Healing Factor. That tissue culture Steinmann's got growing? It used to be rotting.
  • Blatant Lies: UNN's news reports (at least, Donny Vermillion's parts. He knows which side of the bread the butter's on, Kate on the other hand...).
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: Available with the Vanidium Plating upgrade (+5% HP per armor upgrade level).
  • Bold Inflation: MAAR's SPEECH.
  • Boring but Practical:
    • Zerglings. They're the first zerg unit, they move and attack fast, but there is really nothing special about these guys... except their numbers.
      • On the other hand they can evolve into Banelings, which fall in the lines of Demonic Spiders.
    • Marines are still the best units in the game. Fully upgraded Marines are perfectly capable of taking on armies of Tier-3 units.
    • Marauders do bonus damage to "Armored" unit types... which includes most front-line units Tier-2 and up, and all buildings. They also have a movement speed debuff which affects every non-massive ground unit.
    • Mass Mutalisks. Once they reach critical mass, it is pretty damn hard to stop even with the right counter units all lined up.
    • Alongside the Marine, you get the SP-only Goliath once it gets the upgrades for range and attacking multiple targets. Studier, more powerful and one of the most versatile units in the game.
  • Brick Joke: One of the SC1 Marine Stop Poking Me's is "How do I get out of this chickensh*t outfit?" The SC2's Stop Poking Me is "I'm still trying to get out of this chickens*t outfit."
  • Broad Strokes: Continuity regarding the Non-Entity General player characters of the Magistrate, the Cerebrate, and the Executor from the first game. Current Canon/Word of God holds that the first game's Executor was Artanis, and the Cerebrate was among those killed by Zeratul during the defense of Aiur, while Kerrigan's Brood War Cerebrate eventually died without the Overmind to sustain it. The Brood War Executor may have been Selendis. The UED captain is probably dead. The Colonial Magistrate was mentioned by Raynor directly: apparently they parted ways after the events of Brood War and Raynor has not heard of him since.
  • Broken Faceplate: A scene near the end of the game shows the aftermath of a battle, with many broken and immobile suits of Terran power armor strewn across the ground. One prominent shot shows a large hole shot through the characteristic domed visor.
  • Bullet Hell: The Lost Viking arcade game, particularly the Zerg level and the Terra-Tron boss.
  • Call Back: Kind of literally when an old adjutant you dig up plays a conversation from the first game. Also, that event was rendered in glorious 3D in a new cinematic.
    • see "Brick Joke"
  • Canon Immigrant: Many of the new characters were featured in the side novels and short stories before making the cut into Starcraft II.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Played straight as can be with Raynor's revolver. He's only got one bullet, too.
    • The artifact pieces, somewhat. You collect the first piece as early as the second mission (as an opportunity to make some money), and other bits here and there... until after the fourth piece, when its purpose is revealed.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Any TIME the hybrid Maar OPENSSS his TELEPATHY channel.
  • Cliff Hanger: Heart of the Swarm and Legacy Of The Void have a lot of things to explain.
  • Combining Mecha: Terratron, from the 2009 April Fools' Day gag. It makes an appearance in the Mini Game.

Beware of Terra-tron. HE DOES NOT LIKE YOU.

  • Cipher Scything: This happens to the player characters from the original and Brood War campaigns; the unnamed Commander/Executer/Cerebrate being retconned away.
  • Computers Are Fast: In StarCraft II, the computer can do an absurd amount of actions per minute. And by absurd, it's 2000+ APM. The best Korean players clock in at around 300, which (let us point out) is an already-absurd 5 actions per second.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: On Hard and Brutal difficulties, the AI will use units you don't have and cannot have access to yet, such as Siege Tanks in the second mission and Ravens and Banshees in the train mission. Later missions also give the Dominion bases Tech Lab add-ons to their buildings so they can double-train any unit they like long before you can access them, and on Brutal they get more of the other upgrades you won't have access to yet, such as their buildings auto-repairing themselves. Also, statwise, their units will be better than yours in every way.
  • Continuity Snarl: Since the player is free to play through the missions in any order they like, you can end up fighting enemy units, seeing various sideplots, and snagging new units you aren't supposed to know exist yet. For example:
    • You can play the final Tosh mission and find Thors, before the Odin, its Super Prototype, makes its "official" debut in other missions.
    • In a similar situation, if you complete the mission for the 4th artifact, you'll see a cinematic of Raynor meeting with Valerian and the Dominion Fleet, at which point General Warfield is supposed to be accompanying them. You can then play the "Media Blitz" mission, the final mission of Matt Horner's Revolution campaign, and attack Korhal, where Warfield is handling security.
    • Alternately, you can first play "Media Blitz", causing Donny Vermilion's nervous breakdown, and then complete "Maw Of The Void" and have him back, reporting on Valerian Mengsk's failure to arrive to a battlecruiser's christening ceremony which was proceeding despite the general mayhem caused by the rioting in the streets. The continuity's hosed either way.
    • At one point, Horner accuses Raynor of putting everyone at risk so he "can get [his] girlfriend back". However, a player can complete the entire Zeratul arc before this conversation, the ending of which gives Raynor a very good, non-selfish reason to want Kerrigan alive.
    • In one of the Zeratul missions in the ruins of Aiur, you find Warp Gates abandoned from the planet's fall. Reactivating them reveals a high templar and stalkers that got caught in the warp matrix when the gates lost power. Two problems with this - protoss didn't reverse-engineer the xel'naga technology for Warp Gates until after they evacuated Aiur, and stalkers are dark templar machines based on the dragoon that also weren't developed until after Aiur was abandoned and the two races were reunited. The Tal'Darim also seem to be fans of using Stalkers and Void Rays (Dark Templar + High Templar energized warships) despite their fanatic hatred for Dark Templar.
    • Similarly to the protoss example above, the recovered adjutant is not the same model as the ones shown in the original game--though it does have a trace of a Southern accent, in contrast to your normal adjutant.
    • Swann reverse-engineers a schematic of the Thor by studying the Odin, which is to be showcased on Korhal as a prototype for a new line of Dominion weapons. However, according to the Frontline graphic novels, two years prior to the game Thors are already in use in the field, so why the need to show off their prototype? Furthermore, according to the official website for the game (which admittedly was abandoned long before the game came out), the Thor was developed secretly on Korhal, while the Odin is on planet Valhalla. A short story explains that it was moved to be finished.
  • Continuity Nod: Once you've hacked the old Confederate adjutant, it mostly sputters static, but repeatedly clicking on it has it identify itself as the exact same Adjutant from the starting Terran campaign of Starcraft. Since this adjutant happens to have data from a very important event in that campaign, it makes sense that it's the same one.
    • Additionally, the lines that it intercepted as part of the Tarsonis defense network prior to the Zerg attack (along with the lines from Raynor's flashback of above event) are the exact same ones from the last few Terran missions in Starcraft 1.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Swann reverses-engineers the Thor from the Odin, and it just so happens his schematics for the Thor are exactly the same as the Dominion Thors. The only differences in the optional upgrades you can purchase... which Dominion Thors automatically get if you rescue them in the initial invasion of Char.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Apparently if you're badass enough, you can walk around a hell world covered in molten magma full of infectious agents without putting down your safety mask. Additionally, your units rapidly lose health if they're caught in a wall of fire caused by a supernova, or if they're caught in a rising "tide" of lava; merely being in close proximity to the fire or the lava is fine. And if you're attractive enough, you don't even need to wear clothes. Rule of Sexy trumps mere 1000 degree heat, any day. Or can create it.
  • Cosmetic Award: There are TONS of Achievements to get: something like sixteen hundred points from the single player campaign alone (each Achievement being worth 10 to 20 points), and getting them is surprisingly addictive. The only reward is getting more portraits and a higher points score for your player avatar, but it's still fun to get awarded for pulling off something hard like blowing up 20 different things with Yamato cannon blasts, killing 50 units with Zeratul in a single mission, or preventing the protoss from destroying a single SCV of yours in a mission where they're constantly being exposed to fire...to say nothing of completely esoteric and (on the surface) impossible ones, such as warping in a zealot...while playing as zerg.
  • Creative Sterility:
    • The protoss, although not as much as in the first game, still seem to have this. A notable example is when you acquire enough research in Protoss technology to gain the ability to create automated Refineries--they use low-range warp technology to warp vespene gas right to the Command Center on a regular basis without the need for workers to transport it. The base building is only slightly more expensive than a normal refinery, but is overall less expensive because you don't need to train SCVs for them, it mines faster than SCVs would going back and forth, and you can build them and mine a geyser anywhere even if you don't have a base nearby. Stettman wonders why the protoss never thought of this, and chalks it up to their "primitive" religious superstitions and lack of Terran creativity.
    • Within the Protoss army itself, the colossus is an old unit the Protoss have dug up since abandoning them, and the Mothership is an old unit in the lore that just wasn't used for combat in the first game. Void Rays and Stalkers were designed by the Dark Templar. So in a way, the Khalai/Aiur Protoss are still experiencing this since this means the only new units they themselves have created are the Phoenix and Immortal, which was only created to replace the Dragoon,--the jury's out on the sentry since it has no unit lore.
  • Creator Cameo / The Cast Showoff: One of the in-game TV ads is about Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain, in-game called "L800ETC", the band comprised of several members of Blizzard's development team, promoting their new album.
    • On a somewhat related note, here is the portrait of a Goliath mercenary unit. Here is a photo of Dustin Browder, head of the development team.
  • Crippling Overspecialization:
    • Present as in most (all?) other RTS games, but some examples are particularly egregious--like the firearm-equipped units that can't shoot airborne targets (immortal, reaper, marauder, Viking in walker mode), and the various flyers with air-to-air weaponry that can't be used to attack the ground.
    • Justified. Hitting a flying target with a weapon not designed for anti-air use is probably a little harder than the necessary for gameplay depiction of the action.
    • The Raven's missile ability is particularly baffling. The missile can target units and does 100 damage to air and ground units alike. Sounds like it would be a really handy against buildings, particularly air defenses that can take the Raven down, right? Wrong. While the missile has no trouble targeting stationary units, it's for some reason incapable of targeting buildings. Even moving buildings, such as flying command centers.
  • Crossover:
    • The manga short story "The Voice in the Darkness" is a Call of Cthulhu (tabletop game) crossover. Also, the 2007 April Fool's joke "Tauren marines" was a crossover with World of Warcraft.
    • There is also a Murloc Marine.
    • Diablo makes a cameo in the rising lava level, reminding much of Hell as it was in Diablo 2.
    • The official DOTA mod features characters from Warcraft and Diablo, like Thrall and the Witchdoctor.
  • Converging Stream Weapon: The Void Ray. The number of beams that converge actually increases over time letting it be a much better weapon against targets that take a while to kill.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Averted with one of the cutscenes previewed before the game's release, wherein Zeratul kicks a bunch of zerg ass and even harms Kerrigan, as Zeratul is pretty much just as destructive in-game, and has the same abilities too (beyond being stuck on flat planes). Kerrigan, however, displays a severe case of Cutscene Incompetence.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: Although the storyline has multiple branching paths, Blizzard is on the record stating which paths are canon. If you want to know, the canon ending of the Tosh missions is Breakout and the canon ending of the Ariel Hanson missions is Safe Haven.
  • Curse Cut Short:
    • Killing a Marine may result in hearing "Motherf-!"
    • The normally proper and calm Matt Horner, when he sees the Leviathan in the final mission, just catches himself in time.

"Holy sh--sir..."

Tape: "Welcome to Anger Management Volume One. Repeat after me: "Anger does not dictate my life."
Spectre: "Anger does not dictate my life."
Tape: "Anger does not dictate my life."
Spectre: "You just said that you stupid b-!"

  • Damage Increasing Debuff: The Corruption ability, which makes their target receive 20% more damage for a few seconds.
  • Danger Deadpan: The Wraith pilot. The unit has four different death lines, all of which would sound normal when delivered with utter terror.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The protoss now sport a number of Dark Templar-related units beyond just the Dark Templar themselves. They have their own creepier version of the Dragoon, the Stalker, and a flying laser beam called a Void Ray.
  • Dark Secret: In the form of the Dominion behind the Hybrids and Tychus' deal with Mengsk.
  • Deal with the Devil: Again, Tychus' deal with Mengsk. For his freedom, he just has to play along with Raynor until he gets to Kerrigan, then he must kill Kerrigan. This was, by the way, half revealed in the opening cinematic- the dialog reveals that Mengsk is letting Tychus go free, but at that time it is not revealed why. It was even invoked in the final cinematic.
  • Death From Above: Pervasive throughout, but one example that stands out is in the A Card to Play cutscene (a squadron of Banshees destroys an attacking Zerg force). Nuclear strikes initiated by Ghosts or Specters would qualify as well.
  • Deep South IN SPACE:
    • A number of Terran units sport a very southern accent, the jukebox between missions plays mostly country, and of course, the Dominion's predecessor was called the Confederacy.
    • Some of the terran in-game themes also have country-like parts.
    • Annabelle, one of the terran NPC's and the only female in the Hyperion's Cantina, talks like Southern Belle if you click on her (one of her lines includes "Well I do declare!").
  • Demoted to Extra: Kachinsky was supposed to have his own mission chain but it was scrapped. He does get to be the default profile picture for people who haven't earned avatar achievements yet, and is seen wandering around every room on the ship, as well as being the voice of the short-lived committee debating mutiny against Raynor.
  • Determinator: There are several in this game, Raynor is an obvious one. Even years after the events of Brood War he still wants to try to save Kerrigan and he eventually does. He also has an axe to grind with Mengsk and the Dominion, another goal he refuses to give up on even when logic and good sense says he can't win.
  • Development Gag:
    • Players who followed the development of the game will notice that many of the campaign-exclusive units and upgrades were originally in the multiplayer at some point. Examples include the Diamondback tank, the Battlecruiser's missile barrage and defense matrix abilities, the Science Vessel's nano-repair (indeed, the Science Vessel itself), and the Banshee's missiles doing splash damage.
    • Speaking of the older units, nearly every one of them exists within the editor, and many of them can at least be encountered in missions, like the Protoss Scout or the Zerg Scourge.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything:
    • Several people got their copies of the game early, but it couldn't be installed--attempting to do so prompted an error message that the game can't be installed until the 27th, when the game was officially released.
    • Several units that normally don't have an attack have voice quotes for an attack command, just in case you want to edit them to have one for your custom map. You can hear them ingame when selecting multiple units and the portrait used is one without an attack.
    • Digital Rights Management comes in the form of an authorization key which must correspond to an entry on Blizzard's master list, and can only be used once; key generators either do not work or rob some poor stranger of their future purchase.
    • There are triggers in campaign maps which will automatically end the mission in victory if you do something crazy, e.g. wipe out all the enemy bases in a mission where your only goal is to survive for a set amount of time. Some of these stunts will even net you hidden achievements.
    • Ariel Hanson leaves the Hyperion once you resolve her storyline, however, if you complete any of the other missions in the game, she'll have something to say about it, right up to the point of no return.
  • Difficulty Spike:
    • Wings of Liberty is fairly easy on Normal difficulty, with the exception of the final mission. There's also a significant spike in difficulty just going from "Normal" to "Hard." On Hard, the A.I. changes its tactics completely and often has unfair advantages. For example, in the third "Zero Hour" mission, the zerg not only swarm you in vast numbers but reinforce their area by spawning Creep Tumors and building Spine Crawlers, and get orbital strike backups.
    • There are also several missions where you have additional objectives on Hard to make it more challenging. For example, you can't lose too many civilians in The Evacuation in addition to having to escort 50 of them to the airport.
    • While on "Normal" difficulty you can select any game speed you want, on "Hard" you cannot go below "Fast".
    • Earlier: "Zero Hour" is pretty tough compared to the first two missions, but not right away... just manning those bunkers is enough at first, but it gets pretty intense by the end.
    • Three missions stand out for this trope. "In Utter Darkness," "Supernova," and "All In" are, by far, the most difficult missions of the game and stand above the others assuming equivalent difficulty levels. "All In" isn't too terrible if you know a few secret knocks, namely using a ridiculous number of siege tanks and making sure to intercept Kerrigan with a ball of stimmed Marines short of her hitting your tank line. "Supernova" doesn't give you enough time to build a proper force to face the Tal'darim and, to make it worse, they frequently attack you and cause attritional losses. Moving your base under pressure is very problematic. "In Utter Darkness" is probably the worst of the three (althought "Supernova" comes close), as success in this mission depends on being able to pick out hybrids for Lift with your Phoenixes. This gets very problematic once the number of units on the map gets so high they're all stacked on top of each other.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: One of the terran banshee pilot's quotes:

Banshee pilot: In space, everyone can hear me scream... (Beat) ...'Cause I'm the Banshee, get it?

    • Doubly funny in that the lore explicitly states Banshees don't work in space--for cost reasons, it doesn't have engines that work outside an atmosphere. On the other hand, you do use Banshees on orbital platforms and even on a Xel'naga World Ship, because space platforms have artificial atmospheres around them. That seemingly extend far beyond their surface.
  • Double Entendre: From the Ghosts:

I think the female ghosts have nicer equipment.

  • Dramatic Pause: The protoss love that. One of the examples is Zeratul's dialogue with Tassadar's spirit.
  • Drop Pod: The Terrans use them on occasion, and one mission involves rescuing Drop Pods stranded a bit too far behind enemy lines.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Collect the MacGuffin, team up with your worst enemy's son, fight a losing battle while outgunned and outnumbered while the MacGuffin charges up energy, take a bullet from your oldest friend and kill him, and finally rescue Kerrigan. Oh, and since this is just the first game in the trilogy, and considering what we learn by the ending, it'll only get worse from here before the final ending of the trilogy. The heroes are really earning their happy ending in this game.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The "Dark Voice" and his hybrids.
  • Elite Mooks: The Aberration is a zerg unit that only appears in the campaign. It's big and can take a lot of damage, but fortunately only has melee attacks. It is implied that it's an "advanced" form of an infested terran, since they only appear in missions where infested terrans feature prominently.
  • Enemy Mine: The final missions have you team up with the Dominion - who you've been fighting the entire game - to put an end to the zerg threat by saving Kerrigan.
  • Escort Mission: Two of them.
  • Excuse Plot: Parodied in the Lost Viking arcade game.
  • Executive Meddling: Blizzard and Gretech's efforts to push SC2 at the expense of the Proleague have earned them this reputation.
    • This is also thought to be the reason the game has Facebook integration and lacks LAN multiplayer.
  • Exploding Barrels: Even the RTS genre isn't safe. In this case, they make an appearance in the secret terran mission.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: The final mission in Zeratul's flashback campaign in the second game has you controlling the last protoss army in a fight to the death against The Dark Voice, his hybrids and the mind controlled zerg. The mission only ends when all of the protoss are dead, including the normally un-expendable hero units. There are no victory conditions, just "you have killed enough zerg to be worthy of the name protoss", and optionally you can defend a key building long enough to Fling a Light Into the Future. Also counts as Story-Boarding the Apocalypse.
  • Fan of the Past: The jukebox in the Hyperion's cantina plays nothing but Southern rock and country, including covers of "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Free Bird".
  • Fanfare: The game's main menu music starts off with a remix of the original menu music and then usually fades into a quieter background theme, but every now and then it will instead progress right into the full main title. It is awesome every time it happens.
  • Fantastic Recruitment Drive: There's a Dominion ad encouraging parents to let their children be trained as Ghosts.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Flash Step: Stalkers are able to short-range teleport with Blink, just enough to hop over a cliff or zoom out of range of an enemy. Zeratul's got his own version of Blink; it's functionally the same, but he turns into a puff of black smoke when he does it.
  • Flavor Text: contrary to the first game, where non plot relevant exposition was in the manual, most of the lore can be accessed in game.
  • Fling a Light Into the Future: The bonus objective of the final mission in the protoss mini-campaign is to protect the protoss archives long enough to allow the high templar within to preserve everything they know for future species, and thus invoke this trope.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Possibly justified. The last time we saw Raynor in Brood War he was swearing revenge for Kerrigan's treacherous murder of Fenix. Fenix isn't even mentioned in this game, but because Zeratul, the one who wants Kerrigan dead more than Raynor, tells him that Kerrigan is vital for the survival of the sector, thus rendering the whole vengeance thing as something... suicidal, to say the least.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Raynor finds Zeratul's sneak in the Hyperion, Zeratul alerts him that Kerrigan must be alive or something very bad will happen to the universe as a whole.

Zeratul: You will hold her life in your hands...

    • Tosh tells Raynor he suspects someone on the ship is working for the Dominion and Horner constantly tells Raynor that Tychus is up to something and that someone has 'a gun to his head.' Both foreshadow Tychus's betrayal at the end of the campaign.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams:
    • The protoss take this trope and turn it Up to Eleven. The stalkers and the phoenix fire short laser bursts; the sentries, the warp rays, and the mothership fire continuous energy beams directly at the target; and the colossi and campaign-exclusive enemy stone guardians fire sweeping lasers along the ground. Even the probe uses an energy ray to gather minerals. In any diverse protoss army, expect to see quite the Beam Spam. On the Terran side, there's the battlecruiser, and the campaign-exclusive wraith (though only for air-to-ground attacks), back from the original game. Technically, the diamondback tank uses a rail gun, but it looks like a continuous laser.
    • Lampshaded and referred to by name with the song Terran Up The Night, with the line "The sound of friggin' laser beams and gatling guns..."
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Word of God hasn't explained a story reason yet, but "Dark Templar + Dark Templar = Archon" instead of Dark Archon now, due to the Dark Archon's role as a caster support unit being taken up by the High Templar and Sentry.
    • Additionally, the Hyperion is supposedly in orbit when Raynor is leading missions. During the cutscenes, it demonstrates the ability to scan planets and show troop movements on the surface. The player is unable to use this ability during the missions, instead relying on traditional scouting.
    • As lore and unit descriptions have it, Reapers are recruited from the most dangerously unstable of convicts, Ax Crazy psychos that could not be redeemed even through neural resocialization. When you first meet them Rory Swann--a guy who gets irritated at the notion of just allowing pirates on board--exclaims "Hell, cowboy, we gotta train more of these guys! They're seriously bad-ass!" Of course, as The Engineer, he's probably more interested in their gear than the men inside the suits.
    • The mercenaries you can hire can also be seen working for enemy forces, especially on higher difficulties. Irritating, but given that "Cutthroat" revolves around mercenaries demonstrating Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, it isn't unbelievable that some of them may be double-dealing. However, the Battlecruiser mercenary unit "Jackson's Revenge" is, according to its profile, a unique old Confederate battlecruiser. That's why you only get to hire one per mission, there's only one of it. However, even if it gets shot down and destroyed, next mission it'll be free to hire again. On Brutal difficulty, some of the enemy battlecruisers, such as in "Breakout" and the aforementioned "Cutthroat" are replaced with Jackson's Revenge, thus allowing a Mirror Match if you do the artifact missions up to the point you have Battlecruisers and can call in your own Jackson's Revenge. Imagine it--JR vs JR in "Breakout", both get destroyed, then move on to "Cutthroat" and have JR vs JR again. Mind Screw much?
  • Gatling Good: The Viking, a transforming combat walker / fighter jet, uses these in walker form, as does the Goliath. Tychus gets his own personal one in his on-foot mission. The mercenary battlecruiser Jackson's Revenge gets gatling lasers, which is mostly Rule of Cool since the original battlecruiser doesn't have them and Jackson's Revenge shows no noticeable advantages for having gatling lsers.
  • Genius Ditz:
    • The Medic talks like one, acting rather too cheerful for war. (By contrast, the Medivac pilot sounds like a cross between a callous female Chuck Yeager and a Dr. Jerk.)
    • The medics seem like normal people compared to Egon Stetmann - basically a Hollywood Nerd who hardly ever says anything that would give him an IQ above 70, except in his research notes.
  • Geo Effects: creep provides a movespeed bonus to Zerg units. The fact that players can now control and direct the spread of creep, via Queen-spawned Creep Tumors, Nydus Worm eruptions and Overlord Diarrhea, makes this a significant strategic consideration rather than just a home-court-advantage afterthought.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Siege tanks look beefy but are actually quite fragile. Woe to any ground unit that wanders into their artillery range, though.
    • Dark Templar are continuously invisible, unlike most cloaked units, and have really strong melee attacks, but pitiful shield and life points--if they're detected, they're going down fast.
    • Ghosts and spectres are similarly fragile but situationally able to devastate units (especially if you include their ability to call down nuclear strikes).
    • And, of course, this also all applies to any offense-oriented Squishy Wizard units, such as the High Templar.
    • The Colossus, a towering four-legged walker of death can fry several units in a row from a distance, making it the Protoss equivalent to the siege tank. Unfortunately, it's so tall that it can be attacked by anti-air attacks which means there's no place safe for this unit when its on its own, and it's totally helpless against air-superiorty fighters like Vikings.
    • And speaking of Vikings... Long range? Check. High damage against all air units? Check. No armour and a limited amount of hitpoints? Check. However, it's worth noting that the Terran in general have averted this trope compared to the first game, in which they were pretty much an entire army of Glass Cannons.
    • The Terrans are still mostly Glass Cannons, though, and thankfully so, otherwise they would be overpowered. They already have a lot of units that deal high damage and no melee units at all.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom:
    • This seems to be a trait of very powerful and/or native psionics. Sarah Kerrigan gets them in her infested form. Most of the Zerg have them (they're all psi-sensitive), as well as all of the Protoss. Units like the Firebat or Marauder get cool Power Armor suits that have glowing eyes as well.
    • As of the end of Wings of Liberty, Dark Voice is this.
    • When the decrypted Adjutant is playing back its recording, its eyes turn red whenever Mengsk is talking.
  • Good Guy Bar: The cantina on the Hyperion, complete with an arcade machine and a jukebox hanging from the ceiling. Raynor's in another bar in the beginning on Mar Sara and it looks like said bar is actually his headquarters. Of course, since he has only a handful of troops on-world and his staff is literally a holographic head in a box, he doesn't need much.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: In order to unlock the final three missions of the campaign, Raynor must complete all the missions whose objectives are to acquire pieces of a Xel-Naga artifact that is the key to defeating Kerrigan. It is not necessary to complete all of the non-artifact missions to beat the campaign, although a certain number must be completed to unlock various artifact missions.
  • Gravity Sucks: Apparently the platform above Char needs power to stay in orbit.
  • Guide Dang It: There's only so many credits you can get in the course of the single player campaign, and A LOT of stuff you can buy.
  • Gunship Rescue: The mission "Zero Hour" pretty much involves holding out until the Hyperion can arrive and pull this off, seguing into "The Escape from Mar Sara". Later, toward the endgame, a squad of Banshees serves the same purpose on Char.
  • Harder Than Hard: The aptly-named Brutal mode.
  • Herd-Hitting Attack: Psionic Storm and Hunter-Seeker Missiles are good at clearing out clusters of weaker enemies.
  • Heroic BSOD:
    • An otherwise unheroic Dominion reporter gets one in Starcraft II when he finds out Mengsk turned the zerg on Tarsonis, and he's seen on-air mumbling "I had a brother on Tarsonis...I had a brother". Later the field reporter takes his position, stating he committed himself to a mental institution, "dressed only in his socks and in possession of the Emperor's manifesto and a pound of peanut butter".
    • Kerrigan has one of these in the New Gettysburg flashback: after she ran out of ammo, energy (her cloak failed), and had no other possible weapon of fighting the zerg, she tossed her IR goggles away, dropped her rifle (which we see clatter to the ground in slow motion), and stared up at the sky as the camera pulls away.
  • Hive Queen: The queen, which is supposed to stay in base to help maintain, strengthen, and defend.
  • Hold the Line:
    • The third mission, a direct throwback to the third mission of the first game. They even take place on the same world, and probably close to the same location. The last mission of the main campaign also qualifies.
    • Also "The Dig", with the twist that "the line" is a gigantic Fricking Laser Drill. That can defend itself.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Ghosts, whenever they use their "Snipe" ability. Then again, it is a very loud "thwip!" sound that will alert any player paying attention that a ghost is nearby, sniping units, so it's not as whisper-quiet as most Hollywood Silencers.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: If the player chooses to side with Nova over Tosh. When running away, Tosh threatens Raynor with a voodoo doll of himself, and then stabs it. Nothing happens, because Tosh has attuned the doll to the wrong person: Tychus. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Homing Boulders:
    • This is perhaps Justified because they shoot Frickin' Laser Beams, but Stalker attacks have really odd terrain-following properties. Observe, as Lampshaded by Husky Starcraft.
    • Projectiles in general have a fairly amusing terrain-following style, similar to Stalkers. Watch for Marauders shooting up on the high ground, with their grenades having a non-parabolic arc to somehow zoom up to the height level.
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: As if the zerg don't fit this trope to a T already, the movement upgrade for zerglings causes them to grow little wings that make them look even more like little locusts.
  • Hot Scientist: Ariel Hanson. Lampshaded a bit.
  • Humongous Mecha: Protoss' colossi are gargantuan daddy-long-legs-style walkers so tall they can be targeted by anti-air weapons and walk over cliffs. The viking can switch from fighter jet to semi-Humongous Mecha, and in the single-player, the goliath, straddling the line between Powered Armor and Humongous Mecha, returns. The terran Thor is as big as some buildings, and the original plan was to have it be built by an SCV in the field rather than inside a building because it was so big--this was axed because it didn't work for gameplay. However, they're both put to shame by the Odin in the single-player campaign, a prototype Thor. The Thor is as big as some buildings-- the Odin is bigger than buildings (and, indeed, it's implied it would not fit in the Hyperion, a massive battlecruiser)! In the mission where you rampage around a city with it you can destroy background doodads like vehicles and streetlights just by brushing past them.
  • Hurricane of Puns:
    • The Tauren Marine just... won't... stop.
    • The Firebat doesn't seem capable of saying anything that isn't fire-related. Even his offscreen cry for help is "Mah goose is gettin' cooked!"
    • Several units get into this when it comes to the fun responses used when you keep clicking on them.
    • Click on the Spectre unit enough and it will start quoting the titles of Steven Seagal movies.
  • Hybrid Monster: The protoss/zerg hybrids that were merely in prototype back in the secret mission of Brood War are now beginning to awaken. We see two kinds, and they're both nightmarishly powerful and nigh-immortal. Picture something as intelligent and psychically powerful as the Protoss with the physical prowess and determination of the Zerg and you can tell the as-yet-unseen Bigger Bad has some very nasty things in store for us. Oh, and it's implied that Mengsk and/or Dr. Emil Narud are behind their creation or at least in on the gig.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Literally in the case of the Protoss. Their new dropship is a flying robot called a "Warp Prism" which stores units in a teleportation matrix. It can also double as a warp-in point for new troops from a Warp Gate.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • At one point, Jim Raynor says that the Tal'darim "seriously need to learn when to quit." Not to belabor the point, but this is the guy who is attempting to bring down the largest political power in the sector, is willing to fight fanatical Protoss for money, and agrees to a plan to rescue Kerrigan, murderer of billions, from the Zerg. A sense of perspective is not Raynor's strong suit, apparently.
    • Medics sometimes cry "Medic!" when they die. Guess they can't Heal Thyself.
    • In the Bar Brawl cutscene, Tychus tells the others that they can't trust "that drunk" (Raynor). While being drunk himself and the least trustworthy guy in the faction next to Tosh.
    • Orlan, in the Cutthroat mission, says to Mira Han, after he had been hired by Raynor to hack into an Adjutant, but decided instead to sell the information to the Dominion.:

"I'll show you what happens to double crossing backstabbers!"

  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Throughout the game Raynor is shown to be losing faith in his own revolution, especially when Kerrigan is thrown back into the mix, and Matt calls him out on it at one point as his personal feelings for Kerrigan interfering with his ability to lead. During the last mission as the artifact is about to activate, after you fend of Kerrigan for the last time, the human part of her mind calls out to Raynor and tells him not to give up. It works this time.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Arcturus and Valerian Mengsk combine this with the Bling of War, but then Raynor's everyday clothes look very cool too, however prize number one goes to the protoss fleet commanders, with Artanis having what seems to be the coolest uniform in the universe, golden armour and psyonic neon lights included.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Two marines once insisted on calling a Medivac a "heal bus", much to the chagrin of it's pilot. Eventually, the pilot murdered them because it was just that bad.
  • Informed Flaw: Raynor and his men are supposed to be fairly small-time rebels working out of a single broken-down battlecruiser with limited supplies, manpower and funds. This doesn't stop them at all from building the Dominion's most recent and powerful units, making technological breakthroughs on the zerg and protoss that the Dominion has not, and kicking the asses of all three races several times despite supposedly having inferior technology and numbers. To say nothing of having one of the most powerful human-built warships, the Hyperion, at their disposal. It's a little easier to accept if you keep in mind that they spend weeks, possibly months, bouncing all over the sector doing missions, and several of those missions involve helping out worlds being attacked by the zerg. The local security forces join up with Raynor to help their people, and stick along for the ride. Take a look at cutscenes showing Raynor's army near the beginning (just the Hyperion and whomever fits on board) and the end (several cruisers, implying he has a whole fleet now). It's also clearly stated that a big part of the reason they manage to have everything running so well is that a protoss crystal housed inside the lab is superpowering the ship and keeping its systems at peak efficiency--including, presumably, the lab itself and the armory.
    • Valerian also gives Raynor the resources and blueprints needed to construct warships (his funding helps explain the fleet part). Speaking of which, the moebius foundation gives him a lot of money each mission. They also had a zerg chrysilis, that contained a treasure trove of zerg dna and research material.
  • In Working Order: The xel'naga artifact. Interestingly, Ariel Hanson notes that the artifact is thousands of years old, which is really young compared to most xel'naga artifacts, which are millions of years old. Probably built around when they were uplifting the Protoss.
  • It Can Think: Heart of the Swarm promises to introduce several other intelligent types of zerg capable of speech, including Kerrigan's Voice with a Hivemind Connection.
  • It's Personal: Kerrigan was the Confederate Ghost who killed Mengsk's father, mother, and little sister. This leads to Mengsk betraying her. Oh, and he killed a couple billion people and lied about the foundation of his empire. Mengsk's betrayal of Kerrigan pushes Raynor into rebelling against him, (although he may not know about the whole Kerrigan as a Confederacy Ghost thing) and is the reason he mentions most often in both StarCraft and StarCraft II. Horner even calls him out on it.
  • It's Raining Men: Mercenaries, MULEs, and a couple of protoss tech upgrades deliver units in orbital drop pods. The Zerg get their own equivalent of this in some of the Wings of Liberty campaign missions; some kind of purple, fleshy torpedo falling from the sky that unleashes zerglings and creates a Creep Tumor on the spot. The Protoss are exempt from this trope, presumably, because they just warp in units via teleportation.
  • The Jimmy Hart Version: An almost note-for-note rendition of a common Firefly theme appears as Raynor stands victorious over Tychus after their bar-fight.
  • Karma Houdini: The Queen Bitch of the universe herself, Sarah Kerrigan. It's even pointed out that she deserves death for the crimes she's committed, but they need her so she get's off without as much as a slap on the wrist.
  • Kill It with Fire: Firebats, hellions, and perdition turrets aren't the most powerful units available, but they all do splash damage, making them excellent against the swarming, lightly-armored zerg. Plus, perdition turrets are hidden until they deploy; firebats are tough; hellions are quick. Both firebats and hellions get a campaign upgrade that widens the splash as well.
  • Knight Templar: The Tal'darim, a fanatical protoss faction that stayed behind in Aiur colonies has become quite xenophobic. In the mission "Maw of the Void", they've captured some Dark Templar, which will join you after you free them.
  • Large Ham: Units come in two flavors: hammy and snarky. Maar IS PRETTY bad about THISSSS, as well as the heroes in the last Protoss mission (sans Mohandar, who isn't even that snarky to make up for it) There, in the face of total annihilation, they consume massive amounts of scenery, especially when they die:

"Why did we kill Kerrigan? If only we had known!"

  • Last Stand: "In Utter Darkness", where the Protoss--the last free race capable of standing up to the Fallen One--are wiped out in a single, glorious defensive action. May also count as a Crowning Moment Of Awesome for the protoss species as a whole.
  • Late Arrival Spoiler: The official website's preview of Heart of the Swarm gives away the ending of Wings of Liberty, specifically, Kerrigan being de-infested.
  • Lego Genetics: The various attempts at splicing zerg and protoss DNA to create hybrids. This is foreshadowed in lore, as the zerg and protoss were both created by the Xel'Naga in the attempt to create another race like themselves.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Ultralisk. With a whopping 500 hit points, ridiculous attack damage and heavy armor, you'd have thought that it would be as heavy as you can get. Then you find out that the thing moves FASTER THAN A MARINE. These guys can destroy armies on open fields and can be produced in bulk so long as you have the resources. Their ability to ram buildings for extra damage was removed, but due to their default attack being area of effect this was actually a buff.
  • Loophole Abuse: People often stream their games. Aint No Rule saying you can't go in their stream, queue up at the same time as them, and then spy on them through their stream.
  • Lost Forever: Once you invade Char, you can't complete any missions from other arcs, nor can you play Lost Viking anymore. At least you're warned of this beforehand.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Terran marines get a 30mm riot shield welded to their left pauldron. It gives them +10 HP.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The Zerg, oh lord the Zerg. Marines/human infantry in general are not spared from this either.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Sort of. The characters spend most of the campaign collecting pieces of an artifact, including one left on a world whose sun goes supernova. The Big Bad also wants this artifact, and at the start of the final mission she even says "You've brought me the Xel'Naga artifact". However, perhaps she was mistaken about it, or was going to use it a different way, because it seems very effective at the purpose for which Raynor uses it, and which Kerrigan was trying to stop him doing so.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The banshee. Missile turrets and battlecruisers can be upgraded with this.
  • Made of Explodium: The Aberration, when killed, turns grey and explodes in several different areas, culminating with its head exploding.
    • Banelings and Scourges also use this since suicide is their primary form of attack. The Aberration was originally going to be the same before it was turned into a melee fighter.
  • Man in the Machine: Immortals and stalkers.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Probably Dr. Emil Narud. Emil means "to rival, to emulate, to copy". Now spell his last name backwards and consider the meaning of his first anew. On a more prosaic note, take a wild guess as to the profession of Horace Warfield.
    • Also, Valerian's ship, the Bucephalus, is named after Alexander the Great's horse.
  • Mega Manning: How Raynor expands most of his arsenal in the campaign. The Raiders head to a new planet and either see some abandoned vehicles in the environment or get a gift of new units from an ally. Engineer Swann scans their schematics and voila, you've got your own set of blueprints and can manufacture them freely from now on. There's also the Research upgrades. As you collect protoss relics and zerg DNA samples, the Hyperion scientists learn more about the other two races and can eventually duplicate choice bits of their technology/biology for usage in your army.
  • Mini Game: In the Cantina you can play Lost Viking, an arcade shooter style Bullet Hell game where you control the eponymous Lost Viking trying to make his way back to Vikingville, but watch out for the evil Terra-Tron, HE DOES NOT LIKE YOU.
  • Mook Maker:
    • The infestor zerg unit has no attack of its own, but is able to spawn tons of infested terrans who are each approximately as powerful as one human marine (but they walk very slowly). The infested terrans fall apart after a few seconds, but there's a very low energy cost on the infestor's ability, so if used gradually it can launch a continuous stream of infested terrans. It can even do so while burrowed underground. The Brood Lord's default attack is launching weak units at its target; the impact does most of the damage, and the broodlings persist to gnaw on the enemy for a few seconds before exploding. Similarly, the terran Raven produces automated cannon turrets and missile-intercepting laser drones.
    • The campaign also has the Leviathan, which theoretically can produce mutalisks and brood lords quickly enough to reach the 200 supply limit in less than a minute. Fortunately, when controlled by the AI, it produces them at a much slower rate.
  • Moral Guardians: A quite Egregious example of this trope is found in Starcraft II; Blizzard has, in order to promote a "safe" online community, announced their intentions to ban all maps they deems "offensive" or "inappropriate," claiming they have "no place" on Battlenet. Cue uproar from diehard UMS fans.
    • As an example, a map that was banned for (accidental) use of prominently-displayed swastikas gained a following who believed Blizzard took it down for use of the word "badass". In reality, Blizzard has never banned a map for using curse words, although there is a filter preventing such words from appearing in the map description. The reason they gave is: "because we can". This is exactly as dickish as it sounds: they had almost no way of doing it with Starcraft and even Warcraft 3, because they didn't have the staff, but now they do.
  • Mordor:
    • Char, a mineral-rich volcanic planet, isn't the zerg homeworld but it is their main base of operations, and it's a nasty place indeed.

Warfield: Char. If hell ever existed, this is it.

    • Redstone too. In fact, the periodic lava flooding might make it more of a Mordor than Char. Raynor notices it too:

"Great. Lava and zerg. Two of my favorite things."

  • Neck Lift: Kerrigan is seen performing a telekinetic version of this on Valerian Mengsk in a trailer for Heart of the Swarm.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: A sizable chunk of the trailer/commercial footage for Starcraft II happens out of order in the campaign. For example, one trailer has Matt handing Raynor his badge and this apparently motivating Raynor to take back up the fight: in the game Raynor has been keeping up the fight, just laying low for a bit, and the scene of Matt handing him his badge is much later in the game. In the trailer Matt's line "vengeance doesn't factor into this, our revolution is about freedom" is directed at Raynor. In the game he's actually talking to Tosh...although he could also be gently reminding his commander, given the context of the scene. A commercial trailer shows a hologram of Mengsk telling Raynor he's way in over his head. Mengsk is actually talking to his son, though Raynor is also present and when he announces his presence, Mengsk directs a similiar line to him.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The normally stoic, deadpan and fearless Tosh is clearly wigged out from the Hybrid's psychic "scream" after the raid on the Dominion laboratory.

Blinding. Searing. Like the sun burning in your face with your eyes squeezed shut. I have never felt such a thing before. I hope I never do again.

Tychus: Well, now, these Dominion eggheads thought of everything. I'll be right back.

  • No Ending: The game ends with Jim carrying a now (mostly) cured Kerrigan off Char. Though this resolves that plot, there's still Zeratul's vision and the Dark Voice, Valerian's dealings with Raynor, the Moebius Foundation and "Dr Narud", and of course Kerrigan's curing means the zerg are leaderless, although a quick glance at her cured body reveals an odd skintone and the nastiest dreads in existence, so she isn't totally free. Besides the above point, the only real resolution to any of the overarching story is Raynor exposing Mengsk's war crimes to the Dominion. Its obvious the game is more meant to set up the larger story coming in the second and third games rather than resolve everything. Oh, and rubbing salt in the wounds is the game itself, containing an advertisement for Heart of the Swarm on the main screen after finishing Wings of Liberty.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • The third mission is a direct throwback to the third terran mission of the original, and even takes place in the same areas of the same planet, Backwater Station on Mar Sara.
    • In the third-last one, you have to rescue General Warfield, a decorated general whom's been the greatest enemy against your faction. This is the exact same plot as the mission where you rescue Edmund Duke from the first game. To top it off, Warfield is also travelling in a green Battlecruiser that gets shot down, with almost exact same units Duke had (he has a couple medics though). Several other levels will also make you nostalgic. For example, the second-to-last mission has you choosing to cripple the enemy's air or ground capabilities before the final assault, which parallels the UED's mission where you choose to take out Mengsk's battlecruisers or ghosts in Brood War.
    • The secret mission could be described fairly accurately as "Dark Origins but with Raynor instead of Zeratul".
  • Obvious Rule Patch:
    • The Zeratul missions don't give you access to sentries because all them would benefit from having Force Field to block choke points into your base. The final mission which is a vision of the future in particular would be plum easy if you were allowed sentries.
    • The Nerf to Motherships in Patch 1.3, which made units that escape a Vortex spell invincible for several seconds and almost completely destroyed the Archon Toilet tactic that took advantage of Splash Damage against the clustered units. Only the slowest units unable to take advantage of the invincibility time to flee are obliterated, now.
  • Oh Crap: What the player thinks upon hearing: "Alert. Class twelve psionic waveform detected." In case you're wondering, yes, that scale normally goes up to ten.
    • The player will also think this if they hear the words "Nuclear launch detected" and have no idea where it's about to land.
  • One Bullet Left: Done thematically. Raynor's revolver only has one bullet left, and it's meant for Arcturus. He almost wastes it on Valerian (who he mistakes for Arcturus), and ultimately sacrifices it to save Kerrigan from Tychus.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: The Lost Viking game in the Cantina; the aformentioned lost viking dies from one hit (without any power-ups) in a Bullet Hell-type game. Good luck.
    • The Zerg Changeling. The unit can be spawned from the overseer, and is designed to imitate an enemy unit so it can scout your opponent's base. It technically has five hit points, but everything in the game-- including workers-- does at least five damage.
  • One-Man Army: If you thought some of the heroes in the original game were strong, wait until you see the Odin. In addition, an achievement for one mission where you're required to get 50 kills with Zeratul is called One Man Army.
  • One-Scene Wonder: High Templar Karass; He has glowing orange eyes that no other protoss has, he has his own speech set even though he's never playable, his only role in the campaign is to lead a charge of Zealots through a Zerg barricade so that Zeratul can get the last piece of the Prophecy, and then pulls a Heroic Sacrifice by duelling with the Queen of Blades so that Zeratul can escape with the prophecy. He is seen in only one sixth of one mission in the campaign, but his actions may have saved the Universe.
  • One-Woman Wail
  • Outlaw Town: Deadman's Rock, an entire outlaw planet.
  • Outrun the Fireball: The "Supernova" mission. And the end of the "Belly of the Beast" mission.
  • Painfully-Slow Projectile:
    • The nukes are still awesome, but good luck hitting anything other than buildings. You can get ghosts pretty early while their prerequisite building also manufactures nukes, but it still takes a good 10 units of time for the nuke to finish dropping.
    • The Raven's Seeker Missiles. There is even an achievement for dodging one for long enough for its fuel to be spent.
  • Plot Coupon That Does Something: Some artifact pieces, when put together, actually come in handy in the final level in Wings of Liberty, instead of just acting as an "I Win" button if you hold out long enough.
  • Powered Armor: With the Orbital Strike research, they even come in drop pods. Even without that research, there are some cases where the drop pods are used, such as for infantry mercenaries.
  • Private Military Contractors: The mercenaries in the single-player campaign. They're actually quite badass, with much more impressive unit models and more powerful statistics. If you hire all of them, you get the achievement "Band of Legends". If you manage to call in all available units in a mission, you'll see why.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Many of the protoss.
  • Psycho Prototype / Flawed Prototype: Spectres--next-generation ghosts--depending on who you ask and who you believe. Their psychic powers are more destructive, they're harder to control, and they tend to be more eccentric in general, but they're also under fewer mind-control implants than ghosts and, unlike ghosts, are all volunteers (at least to become spectres; those who were previously ghosts, like Tosh himself, were not so lucky with the initial stage of training).
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Ohhh, boy: a Nerd, a Mr. Fixit, a mercenary contractor, an idealist, renegades...we can continue all night long. Lampshaded by both Raynor and Matt, after the mission "Media Blitz":

Raynor: You know, Matt? Someday, you're going to lead this bunch of misfits.
Matt: Oh, no... that's what I keep you around for...sir.
(Cue some laughs)

  • Reinventing the Wheel: Averted and played straight in the campaign. Averted in that unit abilities (Marine shields and stimpacks, bunker capacity, etc., which need to be researched in multiplayer) are purchased and then stay with you for the rest of the campaign, while damage and armor upgrades are reset for every mission.
  • Retcon:
    • Everything the zerg Overmind did in the first game, from infesting Kerrigan to the invasion of Aiur, was an attempt to circumvent the Dark Voice's plans. The Overmind couldn't resist its xel'naga programming, so it arranged its own destruction, transferring control of the Swarm to the hopefully-independent Kerrigan.
    • Also, as seen in some of the earliest trailers, the scene of Kerrigan's infestation is changed too. Originally occuring on a platform called New Gettysburg over Tarsonis, StarCraft II shows it taking place on the surface of Tarsonis in a city of the same name. (That has been retconned since the campaign's novelization, Liberty's Crusade, came out. Also, the city called New Gettysburg was in a mission that was cut from the original game, possibly adding to the confusion. And the orbital platforms did exist, as seen in the artwork of the recap slideshow that plays while the game is loading.)
  • Rise to the Challenge: Twice. The mission "The Devil's Playground" (your first Tosh mission) has the lower levels flooding every few minutes, forcing you to evacuate before your units die. Another mission ("Supernova") has you having to relocate your base due to a fire barrier consuming everything at it's way. And a later mission ("Belly of the Beast") has you outrunning a rising lava river as you try to escape a cave.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: From what we've seen so far of the upcoming Zerg expansion, Kerrigan is downright pissed at Arcturus (Up to Eleven compared to Raynor), after what Mengsk did to her in Starcraft 1.

Kerrigan: "The killing will never stop... until Arcturus Mengsk is dead."

  • Robo Speak: The damaged Confederate adjutant, the raven, and (to a lesser extent) the science vessel (which is not actually a robot) and standard adjutants, as well.
  • Rousing Speech: Raynor gives one to the surviving Terrans on Char in a cutscene prior to the final mission (may have been unintentional, but the marines chose to listen to him anyway). Also, in the side-mission "In Utter Darkness", Artanis gives an epic one when he arrives on the battlefield prior to everyone getting killed by the zerg and the Hybrids in an apocalyptic Bad Future.
  • Sand Worm: One of the new zerg units/buildings is effectively this. Load a bunch of zerg into a Nydus Network, then grow a giant underground worm that pops up and starts disgorging tons of swarming zerglings. Seeing them, especially in the campaign, is always an "Oh Crap" moment.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: In case regular protoss weren't dogmatic enough for you, the terran campaign features the Tal'Darim, who don't really care for humans at all and swear bloody revenge on you every time you help yourself to something they're guarding.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: The mission setup and outcome for the "Haven" missions. A protoss named Selendis is preparing to annihilate every community on a planet because some of them are infected with zerg parasites. You can choose to help out in slaughtering the infested terrans or to tell her to back off and fight her because the colony's doctor insists she can cure the infested humans (and incidentally, Selendis doesn't take it personally if you fight her). If you choose to fight off the Protoss, the "infested colonists" are represented by about five guys with tentacles in a holding pen and the rest of the colony is just fine. If you choose "exterminate the infection," the entire colony is a pulsating, writhing mass of Meat Moss. So either way, your actions are justified.
    • In addition, if you decide not to cleanse the Colony, the Doctor is seen walking off afterwards just fine. If you DO decide to cleanse it, turns out she was secretly harboring a Zerg infection, and turns after. Same thing happens in any other branched mission; if you side with Tosh, it turns out he really is a revolutionary. Go against him and he turns out to be a scoundrel as Nova said.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale:
    • When the terrans first arrived to the Koprulu sector, they numbered approximately 32,000. According to Blizzard's website, there are at the very least twelve billion terrans in the Koprulu sector at the beginning of Starcraft II, and in the game Raynor mentions Kerrigan killing eight billion people during the first game. He might have been including the protoss, but that still means you're looking at more than twelve billion humans living in the sector. As mentioned here, to have this many people after only 240 years would require the population to at least double, every decade, for 24 decades. To put this in perspective, it took four decades for the human population to double between 1960 and 2000, and it's been slowing since.
    • We're low on resources and space here on Earth; in the Koprulu sector they're always expanding to new worlds and refining new resources. Hypothetically speaking, if they did experience a population boom like that they'd probably have a much easier time sustaining it than we would. But it's still a huge boom that needs to take place.
    • Also, advances in technology plus the fact that they were originally colonists could mean that they were given technology that could increase fertility or even clone/artificially grow new people. Another explanation can be found in one of the Frontline short stories, where a team of protoss try to recover a Xel'Naga artifact that's explicitly stated to increase fertility.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Dr. Narud. He and his backwards counterpart have the same facial hair, both have unique accents, and both are/were in second-in-command positions; Duran famously used his close position to DuGalle and later Kerrigan to manipulate both of them for his own unknown benefactor. Kerrigan also claims to have seen through Narud's "charade."
  • Secondary Fire: Several units, such as the Reaper, Baneling, etc. The Roach and the Hydralisk notably have a "hidden" melee attack animation at close range that has the same DPS as their regular attack, but have the added effect of not tripping Point Defence Drones.
  • Sensor Suspense: The sensor tower, when first introduced in a gameplay demonstration, was used for this effect.
  • Separate but Identical: Raynor and the Dominion have access to most of the same units. Some of the old units like wraiths, science vessels, firebats and vultures are less-commonly used by the Dominion since according to the lore these units are obsolete and are being/have been replaced by newer units, but they're still around.
  • Sequence Breaking:
    • Each mission unlocks a new unit. Missions come in chains, and generally you can do a mission from a particular chain (like the ones where Tosh hires you to get stuff for him, or artifact hunting with Tychus) before switching to another. Missions late in a "chain" are more advanced than earlier ones and appropriately grant a more powerful unit. This results in quite a few of the early missions being very easy if you acquire the stronger units first. For example: The second Ariel Hanson mission pits you against swarms of low-HP, slow-moving Infested Terrans. If you do enough Artifact missions first, you have Siege Tanks which can be posted on high ground surrounding your base, and with two or three Siege Tanks overlooking every chokepoint, your base is completely impenetrable. Reapers, gotten in Tosh's first mission, will also dominate that mission, as your objectives are to hold of swarms of light-armor units by night and destroy buildings by day, two things Reapers are particularly good at. Better, in fact, than the hellions you are given for this mission.
    • A significant part of the third-to-last mission can be skipped, provided you have an ability to summon infantry units behind the enemy lines via drop-podes.
  • Shoot the Television: Jim Raynor does this in the opening cutscenes, when Emperor Mengsk refers to him as "a clear and present threat" to the Dominion during a news conference interview. He later gets a note from the owner billing him for the damages, and in another bar, the TV has a note on it that says, "Do not shoot screen!"
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids: Tosh's attitude toward Matt Horner's vision of good future after you succeed in rescuing the spectres.
  • Sinister Scythe: One of the possible dark templar model have scythes with two blades. The arching shoulder blades of the Ultralisk, though not actual scythes per se, have the same feel to them.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: After the first game and expansion slid all the way down the cynical side (to the outright depressing), the sequel begins a shift back to idealism, especially Mengsk's defacing and Kerrigan's de-infestation. After four/twelve years, things are looking up... Right?
    • This is essentially the mood for the cinematic A Better Tomorrow. After breaking open New Folsom prison, Matt Horner believes that their real victory was releasing everyone who ever spoke out against Mengsk. That the point of their revolution is to build a better tomorrow. Tosh scoffs at this and calls it naive; claiming that tyranny can only be succeeded by tyranny, and that one can only fight the present enemy. Raynor is in the middle, believing that Matt's better future will arrive; but those fighting out of hatred and revenge, like him and Tosh, will have no place in it.
  • Smart Bomb:
    • During the final Terran mission.
    • And, of course, the bomb in Lost Viking
  • Soul Brotha: The Marauders got a whole lotta love for their own voicework, baby.
  • Space Western: The new flavor of the terrans, altered from their previously distinctive Deep South flavor (right down to the Confederacy using the CSA battle flag, only altered slightly).
  • Spent Shells Shower:
    • This trope is used to good effect to show how utterly screwed General Warfield and his men on Char are. Even with the insane amount of dakka inherent with this trope they don't so much as slow the incoming wave of zerg down.
    • Also inverted when Raynor guns down a certain hydralisk. You only see one shell drop, and it's that one shot that brings the hydra down. The shell is big enough that it embeds itself in the ground with a thunk, like nothing so much as the Ring in the Lord of the Rings films when Bilbo finally lets go and drops it to the floor.
  • Squishy Wizard:
    • The trope is somewhat averted with the ghosts. Despite their role being essentially the same in the game as the previous game, the rounds on a ghost deal 20 damage to light units, making them very effective as anti-infantry/air even without using the snipe ability. With Snipe, they can essentially 1 shot Zerglings and Marines provided the Marine is not upgraded. They are still squishy, just not as squishy.
    • Completely averted with the sentry. If you have seen sentries in action, they can last an absurdly long time. This is in combination with the fact that all of its skill are based on defense with the ability to create hallucinations to divert enemy attention, generate force fields to stop enemy movement and create a massive umbrella barrier that reduces incoming damage. It even has the attack capabilities that are slightly inferior to a Terran Marine. In combat, their use is limited to support but in base defense, one of them can hold off an infantry army by blocking up ramps.
    • Played straight with most other casters. Specially the infestor and the high templar.
  • Stealth Pun:

"Why is the Stalker talking about taking pictures of me and calling my phone? ...Oh."

Stetmann: "Those things are pretty nasty. Next time you should try not to let them splash you.
Tychus: "Thanks for the advice, son. Now shut up."

Terran Marine: THANK YOU, SIR! MAY I HAVE ANOTHER?!

  • Summon Bigger Fish: A few of the "commando" missions feature this. You have the option of, for example, unleashing a bunch of caged test subjects upon Dominion soldiers. If you do a little exploration, one such mission even lets you unleash an Ultralisk upon the enemy.
  • Super Prototype: The Odin, a prototype Thor. It is implied the Dominion intended for the Odin to be replicated exactly, but for whatever reason they settled on the weaker Thor. According to Rory, the Odin is a piece-of-junk showpiece made to show off to the Dominion public during its demonstration. Rory goes on to tell us the Thor isn't as strong as the Odin but is less expensive to produce and maintain. Which is probably why the Raiders only use it in two missions, given their limited resources. Well, that and it's so big even the Hyperion can't haul it around.
  • Sweet Home Alabama: The Terrans. Also, the bar plays the Trope Namer song in the sequel.
  • Take That: Fish. Barrel. Fox News Channel.

Donny Vermillion: Ladies and gentlemen, each night I bring you the news in the most fair and balanced manner possible.

  • Take Your Time: Generally averted in the missions themselves, often brutally. However, in campaign mode, the player has a fair amount of control about which order they perform the missions in. Therefore, a mission can become available and the player can choose to do half a dozen other missions before tackling it. That's all well and good when your job is just to raid a location and recover an artifact, but a bit odd when the mission involves evacuating a planet under attack or recovering an artifact from a planet where the sun is going supernova. Needless to say, you'll always arrive before (and just before) the sun goes supernova or the people you're trying to help are slaughtered by the zerg.
    • Valerian actually encourages this at the start of the Maw of the Void mission.

Valerian: Take your time, commander.

  • Taxonomic Term Confusion: In the original game, its expansion, promotional materials, and the early Expanded Universe, protoss and zerg were capitalized. However, as of the sequel, the species names are now officially uncapitalized, as is the scientific standard for species (although who knows how we'd deal with alien taxonomy).
  • Technology Marches On:
    • A lot of the campaign-only units are Too Awesome to Use (in multiplayer) or would even be Game Breakers, but a few others that are returning units from the first game are demonstratably inferior to their new counterparts--minus their mines and a slight speed advantage, Vultures aren't as nearly effective as Hellions, and Wraiths aren't quite as effective as either Vikings and Banshees. This is even lampshaded in-universe: Swann says that Vulture bikes are deathtraps, while Raynor says they're a classic piece of engineering. (Possibly also a lampshade of the Broken Base.)
    • In-universe, the Marauders use modified Firebat armor, the Siege Tank is now the Crucio model instead of Arclite model, and the Behemoth-class Battlecruiser is being phased out of service for the Hercules and Minotaur classes.
    • Biology marches on too, apparently. Some of the zerg samples you bring Egon are from sub-species of Zerg that are no longer used as playable units, like the Defiler. Apparently Kerrigan just isn't using those types of zerg any more, which is why samples of them have become rare and valuable for examiners. On the same note, some of the zerg breeds have evolved into massive beasts of destruction like the Leviathan or the Omegalisk.
    • On the other hand, some old-school Terran units are still just as effective as ever. Goliaths remain well-balanced units with a nice antiair niche, and the classic Medic can now be upgraded to heal faster and use less energy, which in tandem with lower build time and costs can make it superior to the Medivac in some situations. Unedited medics inserted into a certain custom game that adds Brood War units to the standard cache of Starcraft II units result in completely overpowered Terran infantry for melee games.
  • Tempting Fate: Before the third mission, Tychus sees a decorated trophy Hydralisk skull on the wall and wonders how good a deal they would get on hunting some zerg. Then the mission starts:

Raynor: I've got transport coming to pick us up. All we got to do is sit tight.
Tychus: Don't sound too hard. I figure, we earned ourselves a little R&R.
Adjutant: Commander, I'm detecting a massive concentration of Zerg bio-signatures landing at the abandoned dig site.
Raynor: I should have know it. Damn you, Tychus!
Tychus: I swear man, I didn't know nothing about no Zerg.

  • This Is Reality: Tychus worries that the artifacts you've collected will put a hole in the space-time continuum. Raynor assures him that "This ain't science fiction!"
  • This Looks Like a Job For Aquaman: A lot of the campaign missions are designed specifically to put to use the new unit introduced in that mission:
    • The Diamondbacks can attack on the move and do additional damage to armored units--they're introduced in a mission ("The Great Train Robbery") where you need to chase down fast armored units.
    • The battlecruisers are slow to move, slow to build, expensive and ultimately plain inferior compared to a balanced fleet of banshees and vikings, but the mission they're introduced in features rift fields that slowly drain the HP of units. Only the battlecruiser has enough HP to fly into the fields, fight, and escape back to base before being destroyed.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The artifact's energy nova takes several minutes to recharge when used, so make sure you only use when it absolutely need to. One of the achievements is to complete the mission on Hard difficulty and only use the nova once, so you'd better make damn sure you make that one usage of it count (the one use you are allowed is likely meant for about one minute before the timer is up and you get attacked like crazy). Also, a lot of the campaign-only upgrades and units are too powerful for Multiplayer. You're going to need everything for the final mission, though. It's not called "All In" for nothing.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • The AI simply does not know when to run from a fight in the single-player campaign. In "Smash and Grab" you have to grab an alien artifact from a Tal'darim base before the Zerg overrun them on another front. Rather than pull their units back to regenerate their shields and wait for the next attack wave after fending off the Zerg, the Tal'darim will send their units down the lane into battle and get themselves utterly crushed. And then in "Media Blitz", despite commanding the Odin with 2500 HP and enough firepower to kill any enemy unit in two shots, any Dominion defenders you come across, even if it's just a lone Marine, will charge in and start firing.
    • Subverted by the Tal'darim Executor in "Maw of the Void", who will fight you, then teleport away after taking enough damage to regenerate his shields and energy. He does this two or three times.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Ghosts and Nukes are far more useful than in the original game. Ghosts cost less to upgrade (though the unit itself costs more to train), they aren't as squishy with a stronger attack and a lot more HP, and they build faster. Plus, ghosts are actually able to act as assassins, popping infantry units in one shot (though this takes energy). They also now have the ability to fire EMP rounds, which is highly useful against Protoss units in general, units that need energy for their abilities, and can even temporarily decloak invisible units! Meanwhile, Nukes cost less, build faster, and the Ghost and Nuke are much lower on the tech tree, on approximately the same tier as the Factory, allowing them to come out much earlier. The Ghost's prerequisite building is also where the Nuke arms so once its up you can have your Ghost ready to Nuke in a minute flat.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The final commercial trailer for the game ruins the surprise twist that Raynor allies with Valerian Mengsk (though not the reason Raynor agrees), and that at some point he returns to Char.
  • Transforming Mecha: The Viking, which turns from a Valkyrie lookalike to a Dreadnought lookalike.
  • Tripod Terror: Technically, Colossi have four legs, but they still fit the spirit of this trope, since they're gargantuan walkers on long legs whose primary attack is frying the enemy from a distance with a sweeping heat ray, just like the Martians in the War of the Worlds. As a bonus, those long legs aren't just for show--they can walk right over cliffs, giving them a good mobility advantage.
  • Tron Lines: Ghosts and spectres (judging from Tosh and Nova) both have these as part of their suits.
  • Units Not to Scale: You're able to fit pretty much your entire army and whatever colonists you rescued from Mar Sara inside the Hyperion. Of course, when units are to scale it's a lot harder to see the fine details (see games like Supreme Commander), which is why Blizzard went with this. On top of this, the Hyperion is one of the more powerful Battlecruisers ever built, so it might be unusually large.
    • Several buildings can also produce units far too big to fit inside, like the Thor and Battlecruiser.
    • Lampshaded with the Odin: it's only a tad bit bigger than the Thor in-game, but Swann specifically notes that it's too big to even fit inside the hanger, while apparently you can fit multiple Thors inside.
  • Unwitting Pawn: As a result of working for the Moebius Foundation, Raynor unwittingly ends up allying with the Dominion he had been fighting with all along. On top of that, it's possible that both have been double-suckered by a third party. Poor Jimmy seems to get suckered at every plot twist and turn since the first game.
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: The first cutscene showing Swann shows that his console is identical to the one the player uses when selecting upgrades for units. Apparently he personally arranges it so that every single piece of hardware has but two possible upgrades--no more, no less. Seems an odd way of doing things.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The Tal'darim, who give an excuse for TvP levels in the campaign.
  • War Is Glorious: Reconstructed with flair near the end of the game. Fighting the zerg is still horriffic and suicidal, but "some things are just worth fighting for". So Raynor rallies the troops with a private monologue that just accidentally happens to be broadcasted to all marines on Charr. And in the end the terrans manage to leave a positive impact on the greater story of the universe for the first time ever. Hell yeah!
  • Wave Motion Gun:
    • The battlecruisers return with the Yamato cannon, while the void ray is a ship built around a Wave Motion Gun.
    • In a campaign mission you control the Drakken laser drill, which is a Wave Motion Gun on a mount. It can take out archons in less than three seconds. In perspective, Tychus says the Laser Drill puts out about 180 gigawatts of power.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The High Templar's feedback ability vs Maar. A single shot of feedback is enough to drain Maar's energy to prevent him from using his special abilities.
  • Weak Turret Gun: The Raven can deploy them, at least they only cost energy and serves as a good distraction. A few can actually be quite good for quickly supplementing a defense, or attacking a worker line.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Immortals are refitted dragoons. The facilities required to create dragoons were all inconveniently located on Aiur, and were destroyed during the zerg invasion. They basically took every dragoon remaining and toughened them way the hell up, to preserve them a little longer since their supply of them is limited. So it's basically We Can Rebuild Him Twice. There's also the "Immortality Protocol" upgrade for the Thor unit which lets you reactivate destroyed Thors at a fraction of the price of a new one.
  • We Have Reserves: Kerrigan demonstrates that the species that is the Trope Namer for Zerg Rush still holds to that line of thinking after more than ten years. She practically lampshades it.

"My forces are without number."

  • Wham! Episode: The entirety of Zeratul's mini-campaign. Starting on Zhakul, we have our first contact with an active hybrid. It's all but immortal and gets stronger every time you defeat it. After that, there's the trip to Aiur in which we learn not only that Tassadar is still alive, for a given value of alive, but also what the Overmind's true motivation for creating Kerrigan was and realize it wasn't as evil as we'd thought. Lastly, and the most whammy of them all, the Overmind's vision of the future, in which we learn what happens if Kerrigan is killed. You control the last remnants of the protoss race against the immensely powerful Dark Voice and his army of hybrids and zerg. It ends with the Dark Voice extinguishing the star you're orbiting and presumably destroying all life in the universe.
  • What a Piece of Junk!: Raynor and Swann have a tense discussion about vulture hover-bikes. Swann thinks the model is a deathtrap. Raynor, having iconically owned one himself, is not amused.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: If you take the time to read the terms and conditions the first time you run the game, you'll be doing so to the main theme mentioned above.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Raynor laments about the wall of fire in the Supernova opening cinematic with this trope.

Raynor: Why did it have to be fire?

  • Word Salad Lyrics: A Zerg, A Shotgun & You
  • The World Must Know the Truth: What drives the Revolution/Matt Horner missions. They manage to show to the Dominion civilians all the truth about its foundation, thus unmasking Mengsk and starting a revolution.
  • Xanatos Roulette:
    • The Overmind had an apocalyptic vison of the future. Knowing that he can't do anything about it due to his lack of free will imposed by the Xel'Naga, and the forced directive from the Dark Voice, he needed someone who could prevent the end of days. His answer? Kerrigan. Infest a powerful human psychic so that she can rule the zerg, then act as a decoy by taking physical form on the home planet of the most technologically advanced species in the galaxy and daring them to kill you. Once they have conveniently done so, she'll be in charge... and at least hopefully will have free will.
    • Mengsk's plan with Tychus: Release him with the cover story of being employed by Moebius (an organization led by his son) in order to innocuously guide Raynor and his crew towards acquiring the artifacts, one of which Mengsk almost had in his possession already. These artifacts would then stay in Raynor's possession long enough to bait him with the idea that it could "cure" Kerrigan, while simultaneously baiting his own son towards the foolish gambit of attacking the zerg homeworld in order to deploy said artifact. All so he could have Tychus kill Kerrigan.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: The twilight archon was designed to be a fusion of a dark templar and a high templar, and symbolically would have combined the power of the original archon with the spellcasting powers of the dark archon. They then scrapped it and brought back the original archon exactly as it was, the only difference is now any two templar fuse into an archon regardless of their alignment. Maybe it'll reappear in Legacy of the Void's single player.
  • You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With: Happens when Tychus Findlay asks Jim Raynor about what it was like fighting the Zerg.

Tychus: What it was like, Jimmy? Fightin' them...Zerg?
Raynor: All the scrapes were in back in the day, all the narrow escapes...none of it compares to how terrible they are, Tychus. You don't know what real fear is until you've got a thousand of these sons of bitches bearing down on you.

  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Happens in the Overmind's vision where the zerg, commanded by the hybrids, who are themselves puppets of a greater power, are used to destroy the last protoss army, and then the hybrids are used to kill them, themselves, and every other living thing in the universe. Most, uh...Triumphant, for lack of a better term, Example?
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The mission "Outbreak" is pretty much this. Tychus even lampshades this by saying "I think I saw this in a movie once!" You have to fend off hordes of infested terrans during the night and counterattack during the day. There are often hundreds attacking at once...fortunately, individually they're pretty weak, most of them have no ranged attack, and flamethrowers and other area-effect weapons are pretty good at mowing them down. Hell, one of the achievements for the mission is also called "28 Minutes Later".