Burrow is a zerg ability used to conceal themselves underground. Ground breeds vibrate billions of tiny muscles at a low frequency; this breaks up earth, rock, and vegetation allowing the creature to "swim" through the ground at near running speeds.[1]

Burrowing has led to the deaths of countless terran soldiers. Terrans were able to mimic this lethality with the Perdition turret.[2]


Burrow SC1 Able1

Many zerg ground units may burrow, rendering themselves invisible but incapable of moving or attacking.

Purchased from Hatchery/Lair/Hive
Hotkey B
Cost 100 Minerals Terran SC1 100 Gas Terran SC1 80Time SC2 Game1
Lurker SC1 Art1

Lurkers in Brood War can only attack when burrowed.

Unlike other units, lurkers may burrow without the ability being researched.

StarCraft IIEdit

Hydralisk sc2 burrowanim

A hydralisk burrowing

Many zerg ground units may burrow, become invisible and may be revealed primarily by detectors, and may not move or attack.

Exceptions include:

Some units can unburrow via autocast, causing them to emerge and attack when an enemy moves into range.

The ability is not smartcast.

Hotkey R
Cost 2 seconds to burrow, 1 second to unburrowTime SC2 Game1
Purchased from Hatchery/Lair/Hive
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Cost 100 Minerals Terran SC1 100 Gas Terran SC1 71Time SC2 Game1
Required Lair (WoL)
Hatchery (HotS/LotV)

When zerg units burrow in StarCraft II, the player controlling them can see part of them "sticking out of the ground", making it easier to identify them. However, they remain invisible to enemy units without detection.

Burrowed units are treated as a different unit type for UI tab selection purposes, unlike some other status effects.

Roaches and infestors can move while burrowed. Moving while burrowed produces a distortion similar to cloaking. Infestors can also spawn infested marines while burrowed. Ultralisks gained the ability to burrow. In the Heart of the Swarm campaign, lurkers and impalers can attack while only burrowed.

Some critters can also burrow, like the lava crab.[4]


In StarCraft II, the supply depot has a burrowing ability, allowing it to sink into the ground so that units can pass over it. However, this ability does not prevent it from being seen. Similarly, the Perdition turret retracts automatically, when not in combat.[2]

Heart of the Swarm DevelopmentEdit

The following section contains information from a previous version of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm which is no longer valid.

During the development of the Heart of the Swarm, several units have gained burrow related abilities. Banelings gained a hive upgrade that allows them to move while burrowed. Ultralisks gained an ability that allows them dash underground into the heart of enemy forces.[5]


The visual effects of burrowing are limited as more fancy animations would take more time and thus lead to balance issues.[6]


  1. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Zerg research (in English). 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Perdition turret
  3. Blizzard Entertainment Staff. 2010-07-24. Infestor. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2010-07-24.
  4. StarCraftLegacy. 09/08/12. (HD) StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty Single Player Gameplay Demo. Last Accessed: 09/08/18.
  5. LordBlackJack. 2011-10-20. Blizzcon 2011 : Zerg new units Starcraft 2 heart of the swarm. Youtube. Accessed 2011-11-08.
  6. 2010, SC2: Zerg Crawlers. Deviantart, accessed on 2011-07-01