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"Blah blah blah. They hide and they heal. And it sucks."

- A Dominion marine mocking analysis of the roach.(src)

Roach SC2 DevGame3

A roach

The roach is a zerg ground unit in StarCraft II.


Roach SC2 Cncpt2

A roach

The roach is a particularly tough, armored breed which possesses a high-speed regeneration ability when burrowed.[1] A roach is just slightly shorter than a terran wearing CMC armor.[2]

Roaches evolved from the fast-healing zantar slug of Garxxax[1] and were in use by 2501, taking part in a battle on Shi.[3] Their ranged acid saliva attack is capable of penetrating neosteel and armor, and violently dissolving flesh on multiple entry points. This saliva is derived from the zantar slug and is expelled with considerable force through the muscles that surround the roach's salivary glands—highly specialized striated ducts that produce a unique enzyme that weaponizes the creature's already corrosive saliva.

If pressed into close quarters, roaches use scythe-like blades on their backs to dispatch the enemy. The hardness of these scythes allows roaches to scythe through neosteel and armor with ease.

Roach SC-FM Art1

A roach

The roach's metabolism is ten times greater than that of the zantar slug (increased through assimilation), and gained the ability to quickly regenerate even the most grievious wounds when burrowed. The absorbtion of soil compounds, especially rare earths and metals, has allowed roaches to develop extremely thick carapaces. Some Dominion scientists have theorized that the roach is not immune to the ravages of its acidic body fluids, and the creature's potent regeneration capabilities ensure tissue integrity in spite of constant corrosion.[1]


"Use heaviest weapons only and confirm kill shot. I repeat, be 100 percent sure of total kill! Those bastards heal real fast, so do not settle for injury! If they burrow, grenade them as they go down!"

- Major Lee Treicher directing marines against roaches(src)

One on one, few are capable of taking on a roach and winning.[1] They are deployed when zerglings start to be thinned out and are sometimes supported by infestors.[4] When paired with zerglings, they can be nearly unstoppable against marines bereft of siege tank or bunker support.[5] Roaches are nearly impervious to small-arms fire, and nigh immune to flame-based weapons, and explosives and artillery are a must for terran forces when these creatures are deployed.[1]

Game UnitEdit

Roach SC2 Head1
Roach SC2 Rend2



Medium ranged creature


Acid Saliva



Sight range



75 Minerals Terran SC1


25 ZergVespene SC2 Game1


2 ZergSupply SC2 Icon1

Build time

27 Time SC2 Game1

Evolves from



Roach warren



  • 2.25 (3 with Glial Reconstitution) GlialReconstitution SC2 Icon1
    • 2.92 on creep (3.09 with Glial Reconstitution)
  • Burrowed 2 (2.6 under creep, (WoL/HotS), 3.14 (LotV)[6])







x 1.3

Collision radius


Hit points

120 (Heart of the Swarm campaign only)

Hit point
  • 0.2734
  • 5 (burrowed)
  • 10 (burrowed with Tunneling Claws) GlialReconstitution SC2 Game1




Armor type


Acid Saliva


  • Ground





+2 SC2ZergMissile



  • Ground



0.1 (melee)


+2 SC2ZergMissile



Kill score




Roaches are strong against hellions, zealots, and zerglings, and weak against MMM, immortals, and ultralisks. Thors, stalkers, and siege tanks also pose a strong threat to roaches due to their bonus damage against armored targets.

They have no anti-air attack. Roaches inherit the roles of medium attacker and ambusher from the original StarCraft's hydralisk and lurker. To compensate for its lack of anti-air attack, it is common to see roaches combined with hydralisks. A common strategy is for roaches to absorb damage while hydralisks deal it.[7]


Roach SC2 DevGame2

Roaches attacking.

The roach is a ranged unit, giving it added utility at choke points.[8] The roach rises slightly when it attacks.[9] It also has a melee attack that it, like the hydralisk, performs at close range for the same damage as the ranged attack.[10]


RapidRegeneration Roach Regeneration

Roaches regenerate at 5 hit points/second when burrowed.[11]

The rate of healing increases with the Tunneling Claws upgrade to a rate of 10 hit points per second.[11]

The regeneration doesn't stack with the medivac dropship's healing ability.[12]


Many zerg ground units may burrow, become invisible and may be revealed primarily by detectors, and may not move or attack. Exceptions are the roach, which may move while burrowed, the infestor, which may move and cast Infested Terran,[13] and the baneling, which can detonate while burrowed.

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
Hotkey B
Cost 100 Minerals Terran SC1 100 Gas Terran SC1 100Time SC2 Game1
Required Lair (WoL)
Hatchery (HotS/LotV)


GlialReconstitution SC2 Icon1 Glial Reconstitution

Increases roach speed from 2 to 3. This has no effect on burrowed speed.
In Legacy of the Void, this increases burrowed move speed while on creep.[14]

Purchased from Roach warren
Hotkey G
Cost 100 Minerals Terran SC1 100 Gas Terran SC1 110Time SC2 Game1
Required Lair
GlialReconstitution SC2 Game1 Tunneling Claws

The roach can move while burrowed. It moves faster when burrowed beneath the creep. Glial Reconstitution has no impact on burrowing speed.

While it can be researched earlier, Tunneling Claws cannot be used until burrowing has been evolved.

Tunneling Claws also increases the roach's burrowed regeneration rate from 5 to 10 hp/second.[11]

Purchased from Roach warren
Hotkey T
Cost 150 Minerals Terran SC1 150 Gas Terran SC1 110Time SC2 Game1
Required Lair
  • Attack bonus for queens and zerg ground ranged units.
Purchased from Evolution chamber
Hotkey A
Level 1
Cost 100 Minerals Terran SC1 100 Gas Terran SC1 160Time SC2 Game1
Level 2
Cost 150 Minerals Terran SC1 150 Gas Terran SC1 190Time SC2 Game1
Required Lair
Level 3
Cost 200 Minerals Terran SC1 200 Gas Terran SC1 220Time SC2 Game1
Required Hive
  • +1 bonus to armor per level for zerg ground units.
Purchased from Evolution chamber
Hotkey C
Level 1
Cost 150 Minerals Terran SC1 150 Gas Terran SC1 160Time SC2 Game1
Level 2
Cost 225 Minerals Terran SC1 225 Gas Terran SC1 190Time SC2 Game1
Required Lair
Level 3
Cost 300 Minerals Terran SC1 300 Gas Terran SC1 220Time SC2 Game1
Required Hive

Heart of the SwarmEdit

Roach SC2-HotS Story1

The roach upgrade screen

In the campaign of Heart of the Swarm, roaches may be evolved into either corpsers or vile roaches after completing the required evolution mission.


SC2 HydriodicBile Icon Hydriodic Bile

Roach deals +8 damage to light units.

Base composition of roach acidic saliva identical to that of zantar slug. Highly corrosive. Can alter chemical compound. Systematically evolve bile duct membranes, force production of hydroiodic bile. Upon contact, will melt tissue, flesh, bone. Dissolve poorly armored foes.

Campaign Acquisition
SC2 AdaptivePlating Icon Adaptive Plating

Roach gains +3 armor when below 50% HP.

Roach carapace effective. Improvement difficult. Requires redesign, alternate carapace structure. Can use modular plates to protect roach, provide equivalent defense. When roach wounded, adaptive plates react to blood flow, thicken. Ensure survival.

Campaign Acquisition
SC2 TunnelingClaws Icon Tunneling Claws

Roach can move at full speed while burrowed. Doubles roach regeneration rate while burrowed.

Can enhance roach utility, several key evolutions. Able to evolve tunneling claws, series of spiracles lining carapace. Will allow roach to tear through terrain while burrowed, draw additional nutrients from soil. Combination provides strategic advantage.

Campaign Acquisition

Legacy of the VoidEdit

In Legacy of the Void, the roach gains the ability to mutate into a ravager, a specialist artillery unit.[15]

Co-op MissionsEdit

Zagara is able to summon sacs of roaches with timed life in Co-op Missions. Otherwise, roaches are exclusive to Abathur. Abathur is able to evolve his roaches into ravagers, and they upgrade to the vile strain when he reaches Level 14. Additional upgrades for roaches and ravagers are unlocked when Abathur reaches Level 4.




Main article: Roach/Development

Roach StrategiesEdit

On normal and rush maps, roaches are well suited for the early and mid-game.[16]

Zerg vs TerranEdit

Roach SC2 Head2

Roach profile

A roach/baneling combo is very powerful against terrans, as the roaches will soak damage, enabling the banelings to get close to the enemy and deal their high damage attacks.[17]

Zerg vs ZergEdit

Roaches and zerglings are used early in ZvZ matches. Roaches are a more defensive unit compared to zerglings. Cost for cost, roaches win against zerglings at chokepoints but lose in open areas. Later in the game, numerous roaches can defeat numerous zerglings even in open areas.[18]

As a game progresses, a roach/hydralisk combo can defeat a zergling/mutalisk combo.[18]

Zerg vs ProtossEdit

Roaches are a great way to defend an early expo against 2 Gate zealot push. Mass overwhelming roaches is also quite strong against a fast teching opponent, even one who goes air. Use roaches to soak up colossus damage until ultralisks or air units can support.


Roach SC2 Cncpt1

Concept art

Roaches, coupled with their speed and burrow move upgrades, make great harassment units at exposed bases.

Roaches are a great staple unit and have great value for cost, but take up control quickly. In direct encounters with enemy armies of equal supply, mass roach is more likely to lose.

Special Roach StrainsEdit

AcidBurns Cover1

A roach


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Blizzard Entertainment staff. 2010-07-24. Units: Roach. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2014-20-08.
  2. 2015-09-18, NYCC 2015 – James Waugh’s StarCraft Field Manual Signing Schedule. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2015-09-23
  3. Gerrold, David (w), Fernando Heinz Furukawa (p, i). StarCraft: Ghost Academy: Volume 3 (paperback binding). Tokyopop, March 8, 2011. ISBN 978-1427-81614-6.
  4. Overview: Zerg, accessed on 2011-01-13
  5. Kenyon, Nate. (September 27, 2011). StarCraft: Ghost: Spectres. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 978-1439-10938-0.
  6. 2015-09-17, Legacy of the Void Beta Balance Update -- September 17, 2015. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2015-09-30
  7. 2012-06-08, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm - Battle Report (Protoss vs Zerg). Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2012-06-21
  8. Karune. 2008-04-08. StarCraft II Q&A - Batch 34. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2008-04-08
  9. StarCraft. 2010-02-02. The programming team has added some impressive new unit movement animations to the game. Air units like the phoenix and banshee bank on turns, roaches and hellions both rise when they start moving, and tanks slightly bob when stopping. Facebook (StarCraft). Accessed 2010-02-03.
  10. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. (Activision Blizzard) (in English). July 27, 2010
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II Map Editor. (Activision Blizzard) (in English). July 27, 2010
  12. Karune. 2009-02-18. StarCraft II Q&A - Batch 49. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2009-02-18.
  13. Blizzard Entertainment Staff. 2010-07-24. Infestor. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2010-07-24.
  14. 2015-03-31, StarCraft II Legacy of the Void Beta Release Patch Notes. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2015-04-03
  15. Blizzard Entertainment. 2015-03-18. Legacy of the Void Beta Preview. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2015-03-18.
  16. 2015-04-14, Legacy of the Void Beta: Balance Update Preview. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2015-04-17
  17. Hammy. 2009-04-04. ESL Finals Paris StarCraft II Gameplay Impressions. StarCraft Legacy. Accessed 2009-05-18.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Karune. 2008-08-18. StarCraft II Q&A - Batch 43. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2008-08-18.

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