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Damage types

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In StarCraft, there are three damage types: concussive, normal, and explosive. The actual damage done depends on the type and the size of the target unit, as indicated in the following table:

Unit Size Concussive Normal Explosive
Small 100% 100% 50%
Medium 50% 100% 75%
Large 25% 100% 100%

Protoss shields always take full damage.

Concussive DamageEdit

Units which deal concussive damage are optimized to kill small units such as zerglings and zealots. Concussive damage is limited more than any other damage type and is comparatively a rare attack mode.

It includes the vulture, ghost, and firebat.

Explosive DamageEdit

Units which deal explosive damage are optimized to kill large units and buildings. Explosive damage isn't particularly effective against small units (which suffer half of the damage). Despite the name, many explosive attacks do not deal splash damage; for instance, the siege tank's attack in tank mode is optimized for destroying armored units, but it only gains splash damage when it switches to siege mode. Exceptions to the 'splash units are explosive' rule are the protoss archon, corsair, and high templar's Psionic Storm.

It includes all rockets attacks (e.g. missile turrets, goliaths' anti-air, scouts anti-air, valkyries, wraiths' anti-air), and all types of powerful cannons, like those of siege tanks and dragoons. It also includes the hydralisk's needle spines, the sunken colony's subterranean tentacle, infested terran's suicide, and the devourer's acid spores.

Normal DamageEdit

Normal attacks are effective against all types of units.

It includes all melee attacks, like those of the zergling and ultralisk. It also includes laser weapons (battlecruiser and wraith), most bullets (marine) and special cases (SCV/probe/drone's attacks, protoss photon cannon, archon, scout's ground attack, carrier (interceptor's) attack, zerg spore colony, guardian, mutalisk, and scourge)

Unit SizesEdit

Unit size is only loosely correlated with the size of a unit's sprite and the amount of space a unit takes up in a transport. Unit size is more closely linked to armor quality.

A small ground unit, such as a ghost, wears personal armor, whereas a large unit, such as a siege tank, is covered with neosteel plating. Few units, such as the hydralisk, are medium-sized.

Most air units are large; indeed, all terran air units are large, even units which would be expected to be relatively small and lightly-armored, such as wraiths (compared to battlecruisers). Most powerful anti-air attacks deal explosive damage, as a result. The biggest exception to the rule is probably the mutalisk, which is small, but is expected to face explosive attacks regularly. Zerg scourges, protoss interceptors, and observers are the other small sized air units. Zerg queens and protoss corsairs are medium sized.


  • If a unit is shielded (protoss only), the shield takes full damage from any attack, regardless of the unit's size and damage type.
  • All buildings are "large" units.
  • Some attacks may also deal splash damage, which damages units around the target. Splash damage typically affects all units except the attacker's own units; the exceptions are siege tank, spider mines, and infested terrans which affect all units.

StarCraft IIEdit

In StarCraft II, units deal a base amount of damage and may gain bonus damage against certain unit types, as opposed to in StarCraft, where damage may be reduced depending on what unit type is being damaged.[1] Damage is added on a "per hit" basis, and bonuses are calculated before armor is subtracted.[2]

Attack types are more varied than in StarCraft, and can gain bonuses towards light, armored, biological, and massive units.[3] Most units are either light or armored, which roughly corresponds to non-large and large unit sizes of StarCraft, respectively. Buildings are treated as armored[3] and have the "structure" property.[4] Some units, such as the archon, are neither light nor armored.[1]

Shields are subject to the bonus damage of the unit underneath them.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Light armor, heavy armor, biological, mechanical, giant, psionic, etc. are some attributes that units can have. For example, the Ultralisk has “heavy armor – biological – giant” attributes, whereas the Archon has the “psionic” attribute. You can probably tell from looking at the Archon, but not all units are divided into [light armor/heavy armor]. Damage calculation is also different from the previous game. Units’ attacks always do at least 100% of the damage value shown on the screen. And then, depending on the attack’s property, additional damage may be dealt when attacking units with specific attributes. For example the Archon’s base damage is 25, and deals an additional 10 damage against biological targets. Therefore, Zerg units (which are usually biological) take 35 damage when attacked by Archons. And in the case of the Siege Tank, its Siege Mode deals 60 damage, so it deals 60 damage to all ground units. If the old system of “explosive, concussive” and “small, medium, large” was used, then Marines would take reduced damage from a Siege Tank. Kicho. 2009-01-14. Starcraft II Production News. StarCraft Legacy. Accessed 2010-01-25.
  2. "(10+5-2) x2 = 26 each missile has the bonus and the reduction calculated separately.
    nice question though ;)"

    What he said.

    Damage is added up on a per hit basis. Then armor is subtracted from each hit. It doesn't matter how many shots you fire at once, we calculate each hit separately. We have been pretty good so far about making sure that the graphics match the number of hits. So if you see two missiles firing out of a unit, that's going to be two separate hits.
    Cavez, Kain175. 2009-02-12. Complicated question about bonus damage. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2009-02-12.
  3. 3.0 3.1 At the moment, there is 'light' and 'armored' armor classes. Buildings also fall under the 'armored' armor class.

    Attacks on the other hand are a bit more varied. There is bonus damage towards, 'light, armored, biological, and massive.' Knowing a unit's damage bonuses will be very important in knowing what to use to counter certain units.
    Karune. 2008-09-30. Armor and Weapon type. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2008-09-30.
  4. Zetaras Xal'Kurat. 2008-10-17. BlizzCon 2008: Changes to StarCraft 2. SC2 Blog. Accessed 2008-10-17.
  5. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. (Activision Blizzard) (in English). July 27, 2010

General Strategy (Damage Types and Unit Sizes). Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2007-11-20.

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