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Shakurus SC1 Art2

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"But the fact is, not much else on the battlefield compares to the mothership. With its ability to warp the fabric of space and time itself, this monster of a ship really is a weapon without equal."

The mothership is a powerful protoss capital ship.

Overview

"By the heart of Aiur!"

- Protoss mothership commander(src)

Motherships are mighty protoss support vessels,[2] and are one of the most powerful warships in the protoss arsenal.[3] They served as the flagships of the Golden Armada.[4]

Design

Mothership SC-FM Art1

Mothership schematics

Motherships are costly and time-consuming to produce. As a result, the protoss have begun constructing them in two stages, with the mothership core being the first step. The core itself can be used as a defensive and support weapon.[5] Its hull, comprised of three slowly rotating wings, projects a tightly woven energy dome which allows for a life-sustaining atmosphere within the confines of the vessel, and turns harmful deep-space radiation into surplus energy for plasma shields and primary systems.[6] The ship's hull plating is unusually thick, and its exact resiliency is unknown to Dominion scientists.[1]

Mothership SC2-LotV Art1

A mothership

The mothership’s core itself has a similar barrier whose sole function is to keep the crew on the rest of the ship safe from the powerful energies it generates.[6]

A single crew member can pilot the ship for simple warps. More complex operations require a crew.[7] These vessels are designed for redundancy, and damage to a single wing won't disrupt its combat systems. Gaps between the wings don't hinder personnel movement, as short-range teleporters rapidly transport its crewmembers from point to point.[1]

Motherships greatly exceed the size of any Terran Dominion military vessel,[1] though their size is still exceeded by the zerg leviathan.[8]

Capabilities

Mothership SC2 Head1

The mothership's khaydarin crystal

At the heart of each mothership is a huge khaydarin crystal infused with an incredible amount of psionic energy[2] that quickly dissipates[6] after being discharged in the gaps between the vessel's wings.[1] By tapping into this energy, a mothership can warp or crack the very fabric of space-time itself.[2] Once the mothership becomes fully operational, this dissipating power is absorbed by the wings and projected as a cloaking field that covers a wide area around the vessel. The mothership itself does not benefit from said field, but it renders nearby protoss forces, structures, and allies invisible to the naked eye.[6] Sensor arrays are located on the wings, along with manned lookout points for long range surveillance.[1]

A single mothership can turn the tide of a battle.[4] For combat, the ship is equipped with a purifier beam which constitutes its primary means of defense, firing in controlled bursts against air and ground targets.[6] The devastating power of a mothership can wipe out squadrons of enemy ships in the blink of an eye or lay waste to entire planets.[2] Other aspects of a mothership's interior include a waking chamber for its commander, crew quarters and a med-bay.[7] A number of escape pods are also featured.[9]

History

Mothership SC2 Cncpt1

The mothership

The motherships were designed by Juras,[7] and constructed during the protoss Golden Age of Expansion as deep space exploration vessels, leading armadas of protoss ships through space.[2] The Templar Caste successfully petitioned for modifications; the final design included weapons and some were eventually converted into military command ships.[7]

Around 1500, a flaw was discovered in the khaydarin crystal cores of motherships, causing two to fail in the gravity well of a neutron star and leading to the deaths of 8,463 protoss; one of the greatest loss of lives in the Golden Age. In response to the tragedy, the Khalai Caste developed two inventions, the technology allowing the motherships to mass recall away from danger, preventing another disaster like the neutron star incident, and the arkship, a massive ship that could be used prevent a similar random tragedy from also befalling the Protoss Empire as a whole.[10]

Mothership SC2-LotV Art2

A mothership

The surviving motherships were not recalled at the end of the Golden Age. Most were left at the farthest reaches of protoss exploration as titanic monuments and holy shrines, commemorating an honored way of life and a proud period of history.[2] The crews were placed in stasis, although it was expected the ships would not be needed again.[7]

High templar Rihod's mothership remained active. Its crew assisted lower-technology aliens who had been struck by a disaster.[11]

The Fall of Aiur

Mothership SC-FL3 Comic1

A mothership during the Fall of Aiur

The zerg attack on Aiur during the Great War reversed forced a re-evaluation. The motherships were recalled to service[2] by high templar Erekul. However, it was too late for the ships to alter the course of the war.[7]

Amongst the reactivated ships was Moratun, the original mothership and crewed solely by Juras. Moratun rescued zealots from a besieged colony before traveling to Aiur. The ship, and other empty motherships, arrived in Aiur's star system only after the Khalai evacuation to Shakuras. The ships were forced to find the Dark Templar homeworld by themselves. The fleet was manned by the few survivors that could be found.[7] Rihod's mothership was not brought to Aiur, for fear it could be lost in combat.[11]

The motherships were reunited with the protoss during the Interbellum and taken over by the Templar Caste.[2] Since their return from deep space, they have become an important part of the protoss war effort.[5]

Tal'darim Motherships

ForgedMothership SC2SkinImage

A Tal'darim mothership

The Tal'darim also use motherships. The Death Fleet's motherships are equipped for battlefield domination. Each one is a throne from which a Tal'darim fleet lord oversees the ruin of their foes.[4]

Game Unit

Versus

The mothership is a high-value support unit. Only one may be deployed at a time. It frequently appears as a 'boss' in StarCraft II campaigns.

It behaves like the Arbiter: it cloaks and recalls friendly units, and may temporarily disable units. The ship's long ranged attack allows it to contribute firepower from behind the front; it may also fire on the move. The mothership is the only unit able to survive a direct hit from a nuke.

Vikings, corruptors, and void rays, are effective counters. It may also be hijacked by the infestor's neural parasite.

The mothership is suited for late-game scenarios.[12] However, its use in multiplayer is curtailed by its high cost, position on the tech tree, vulnerability to focus firing, low mobility, and relatively low damage output.

Abilities

Mothership SC2 Icon1
Transform Mothership Core to Mothership

The mothership core turns into a mothership, costing 6 supply.

Usage
Hotkey U
Cost 300 Minerals Terran SC1 300 Gas Terran SC1 71Time SC2 Game1
ve
CloakingField SC2 Icon1
Cloaking Field

Passively cloaks nearby friendly units and buildings within a range of 5.

ve
MassRecall SC2 Icon2
Strategic Recall

Summons all units in target area (6.5) owned by the mothership's player to the mothership's location.

Does not share a cooldown with the nexus Mass Recall ability.

Usage
Hotkey R
Cost 100 Energy Terran SC1
Duration 2Time SC2 Game1
ve
TimeWarp SC2 Icon1
Time Warp

After a 4-second delay, warps spacetime within the target area for 7 seconds. Enemy ground units within the field are slowed by 50%.

This ability is available from Heart of the Swarm onwards, replacing vortex.

Usage
Hotkey T
Cost 100 Energy Terran SC1
Range 9
Duration 11Time SC2 Game1


Upgrades

Increases attack damage of protoss air units.

Acquisition
Purchased from Cybernetics core
Hotkey E
Level 1
Cost 100 Minerals Terran SC1 100 Gas Terran SC1 114Time SC2 Game1
Level 2
Cost 175 Minerals Terran SC1 175 Gas Terran SC1 136Time SC2 Game1
Required Fleet beacon
Level 3
Cost 250 Minerals Terran SC1 250 Gas Terran SC1 157Time SC2 Game1
Required Fleet beacon
ve

Increases protoss air unit armor.

Acquisition
Purchased from Cybernetics Core
Hotkey A
Level 1
Cost 150 Minerals Terran SC1 150 Gas Terran SC1 114Time SC2 Game1
Level 2
Cost 225 Minerals Terran SC1 225 Gas Terran SC1 136Time SC2 Game1
Required Fleet beacon
Level 3
Cost 300 Minerals Terran SC1 300 Gas Terran SC1 157Time SC2 Game1
Required Fleet beacon
ve
  • +1 armor to shields per level.
Acquisition
Purchased from Forge
Hotkey S
Level 1
Cost 150 Minerals Terran SC1 150 Gas Terran SC1 114Time SC2 Game1
Level 2
Cost 225 Minerals Terran SC1 225 Gas Terran SC1 136Time SC2 Game1
Required Twilight council
Level 3
Cost 300 Minerals Terran SC1 300 Gas Terran SC1 157Time SC2 Game1
Required Twilight council
ve

Wings of Liberty

Vortex SC2 Icon1
Vortex

The mothership creates a Vortex that absorbs nearby units, allied and enemy alike, into it for the duration. The mothership will not be absorbed. When the Vortex ends, all affected units reappear around its location.

Units leaving the Mothership's Vortex are un-targetable and immune to damage for 1.5 seconds.

The area of effect is 2.5.

This ability is removed in Heart of the Swarm.

Usage
Hotkey V
Cost 100 Energy Terran SC1
Range 9
Duration 20Time SC2 Game1
Cooldown 20Time SC2 Game1
ve


Legacy of the Void

In the Legacy of the Void single-player campaign, the player acquires Tal'darim motherships that have significantly different statistics and abilities from the motherships available in multiplayer play. The normal mothership is not accessible in the campaign, but several motherships are sent to attack the Keystone along with other ships of the Golden Armada.

Co-op Missions

In Co-op Missions, motherships can be utilized by Amon's forces in higher difficulties. Alarak temporarily gains access to the Tal'darim mothership with his Death Fleet ability.

Quotations

See: StarCraft II Mothership Quotations

Development

The mothership core will be removed in an upcoming patch. With this removal, the mothership will be built directly from the nexus. Its photon overcharge ability will be removed. It will gain a recall ability separate from the nexus—units targeted will be recalled to the mothership.[13]

Achievements

DistortedReality SC2 Icon1 Distorted Reality
Points

10 Achievement SC2 Game1

Criteria

Capture 50 enemy units in a single Vortex in a Melee game.

Notes

This achievement must be done in a Wings of Liberty game, as Vortex is removed in later expansions.

Known Motherships

"Standard mothership? How many are out there?"
Mothership SC2 Cncpt2

A mothership's bridge

Variants

Known Commanders

Notes

Mothership SC2-LotV Rend1

Mothership cinematic model

  • The mothership's old "Planet Cracker" ability is based on the energy beam from the ship in the introduction video for StarCraft. That ship is the "conceptual anchor" for the mothership idea.[14][15]
  • StarCraft: Frontline: Thundergod depicts motherships as taking part in the purification of Mar Sara.[16] This contradicts all other sources of information, which establish that motherships weren't recalled into service until after the Great War.[2][7][11]
  • Motherships are rarely, if ever, shown in wide shots of the Golden Armada in space. The one notable exception to this is the one being stood on in "Reclamation".

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Barba, Rick. StarCraft Field Manual (hardcover). Insight Editions, November 17, 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Mothership. Accessed on 2008-03-30
  3. 2015-04-09, A Time for Templars: Protoss. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2015-04-10
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. Collections Tab: Skins. July 19, 2017
  5. 5.0 5.1 Blizzard Entertainment. 2012-12-20. Mothership Core. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2012-12-21.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 2015-04-30, Mothership Science. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2015-05-01
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 Kindregan, Brian T. "Mothership." (January 15, 2010). Blizzard Entertainment. Mothership Accessed 2010-01-15.
  8. Leviathan
  9. StarCraft II, mothership unit quotations
  10. Brooks, Robert. "It Will End in Fire." (Nov 3, 2015). Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft Lore: It Will End in Fire Accessed 2015-11-03.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Zapotek, Ren (w), Noel Rodriguez (p, i). "Twilight Archon." In StarCraft: Frontline: Volume 3 (paperback binding), pp. 132-177. Tokyopop, July 14, 2009. ISBN 978-1427-80832-5.
  12. 2015-05-11, Legacy of the Void Beta: Balance Update Preview - May 11. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2015-05-21
  13. 2017-08-17, StarCraft II Multiplayer - Major Design Changes. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2017-08-20
  14. Chris Metzen, StarCraft Legacy staff. 2009-04-03. SC:L Metzen Interview - Lore Exclusive. StarCraft Legacy. Accessed 2009-05-18.
  15. Karune, Dustin Browder and Samwise Didier. 2008-11-18. BlizzCast Episode 6. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2008-11-18.
  16. Knaak, Richard A. (w), Washio, Naohiro (p, i). "Thundergod." In StarCraft: Frontline: Volume 1 (paperback binding), pp. 48–93. Tokyopop, August 1, 2008. ISBN 1427-80721-3.