StarCraft/Protoss mission 10: Eye of the Storm
|New Enemy Units||None|
|Special Structures||Zerg Overmind (destructible w/5,000 HP)|
This is it. The final scenario of StarCraft. The big showdown. The hardest mission available until Brood War came out. Whatever you want to call it, this one will be a fair challenge the first time you play it. Your only task is to destroy the Zerg Overmind, located at the center of the map and surrounded by layers and layers of thick Zerg defense; to this end, you are given not one, but two races to control, two bases, and two sets of supply resources. This means that you may build up to a unit supply count of 400 in this mission, easily dwarfing any army you've ever wielded at this point.
The first half-hour or so of play should be devoted to building and maintaining your base. The following two sections detail what to do at the two bases; even though they are separated here, you should be doing most of these things simultaneously. This means a lot of switching back and forth between the two bases, something that you'll have to get used to quickly.
 Terran Base Management
In the upper left corner of the map is your Terran base. It starts out fairly developed, giving you a few Bunkers as well as Missile Turrets for defense. Note the ludicrous amount of minerals that are in this base! You're likely to be mining from here until near the end of this scenario. Set your SCVs to start mining, then put your starting infantry into the Bunkers. The Zerg do attack this base rather ferociously, so you're going to want a powerful perimeter defense. As you build up, have at least five bunkers spaced out in the southern border of this Terran base (line them up, more or less, with the southernmost mineral deposit), and fill them up with range-upgraded Marines. You're also going to want about 20 Siege Tanks around, some Sieged and others not. This sounds like a lot, but you're going to pull a lot of these Tanks when you mount the push on the Overmind, so you should have a lot. Put Missile Turrets at even intervals next to your Bunkers, and also produce Goliaths in the 20s, as well. The Hyperion can round out the anti-air defense. Finally, when you get them, put some Science Vessels near the lines. (Use Irradiate on incoming Ultralisks or air units, especially Guardians. Or you can also use Defensive Matrix on Siege Tanks under attack.) Don't forget that some of these defenses need to go into defending the eastern border of your base too, although there aren't as many attacks coming from the east.
There's plenty of real estate in your plateau; a suggested base layout is having production buildings near the center of the place, research buildings and Supply Depots to the north of the Vespene Geyser, and Starports in the area to the left of the mineral line.
As you do all this, also remember to use your Sensor Sweep to reveal as much of the map as possible when it's idling at full energy.
 Protoss Base Management
At the lower right corner is the somewhat more humble Protoss base. Note that the starting location has two Vespene Geysers; if the Terran base is your primary mineral base, this is your primary gas base. Station Zeratul and the Dark Templar to defending the northern opening of the place, with Tassadar's Gantrithor a bit behind. Work as fast as possible to get a decent network of Photon Cannons surrounding this base, because you don't have as reliable a ground defense as a Siege Tank line over here. (Well, not yet.) Start building your Gateways (you'll want at least four by the time this is over) and other necessary tech structures in the southern portion, and try to produce more Dragoons than Zealots for early defense. This is because the Dark Templar do the same job as Zealots, just more efficiently. You can also bring down some of your Siege Tanks from your other base later if you want.
The early-game dynamics of StarCraft always results in a mineral shortage a little into a game; this scenario is no different. Yes, the Terran base has lots of minerals, but because the deposits are clustered together, you can't mine them all at the same time, no matter how many SCVs you have. As a result, you'll need to expand somewhere; it's your choice whether to make a Terran or Protoss outpost, and you have one pretty good choice for each race at the very outset. For the Terrans, exiting the starting base via the northeastern ramp and following the path will lead to a pretty large deposit, while for the Protoss, going up the ramp in the west side and continuing west will eventually reveal a plateau with a similar-sized deposit. It's recommended that you take the Protoss expansion, if you're not sure which one you want; the way that defenses are concentrated in the Terran base makes a separation of resources unfeasible, while the Protoss bases aren't attacked severely enough to make that an issue.
Either way, expand somewhere and start harvesting excess minerals. Make sure the place is defended adequately. If you're doing Protoss, it's a good idea to use all the leftover space to make more Gateways and Robotics Facilities here, and you almost definitely want to put the Stargate in this base, for quick access to air units. Also, at the northernmost ridge of the plateau, put down two Photon Cannons. This serves a couple purposes: first, as an airdrop deterrent. Both Zerg Broods in this mission love to drop a bunch of Hydralisks via Overlords and wreak havoc with your bases. It shouldn't be an issue to fend off once your defenses are set straight, but they're still annoying. Those Cannons sit right in the path of the AI's airdrops, and will discourage Overlords from coming near. Second, as a harassment tool. This ridge is sitting immediately south of a Zerg base. This base is actually part of a gigantic Zerg Creep network that spans the entire center area of the map, complete with a dozen Hives; however, at this point what it means to you is that the Zerg won't be mining anything from that base anymore, because your Photon Cannons are in range to kill any Drones that try to. It effectively shuts down a portion of the Zerg economy.
Eventually, as you prepare a strike force, you may still need more resources. In this case, just take the expansion that you didn't take previously. That should give you everything you need, but if you're preparing a 400-supply army or something and still require more, additional resource node locations will be marked in the "Alternate Strategies" section.
 Planning the Attack
Your finishing force in this scenario is a bunch of Siege Tanks. More accurately, you will need a battalion of 12 Tanks accompanied by at least 12 Goliaths, four Science Vessels, optionally 12 Marines, and an Arbiter. Yes, an Arbiter; you will need to use the Protoss unit in conjunction with this army for maximum efficiency. On the other side of the map, a second force consisting of 12 Zealots/Dark Templar (one group), 12 Dragoons/Archons (one group), six High Templar, two Reavers, another Arbiter and, if you wish, Marines and Firebats will push inwards via Arbiter Recalls. Make a total of four or six Arbiters, actually, so that you have reserve Recalls if necessary. Preparing something like this is no quick task, so you'll need to be vigilant in your unit production at all times.
As mentioned above, you'll pull the Terran units from base defense duty. You shouldn't leave the place undefended, though. In fact, you should leave at least eight Tanks and twelve Goliaths around base, and should continually be producing more of both units—have three Factories run full-time. Research all Vehicle upgrades to Level 3 using two Armories, and try to get as much Ship Plating as you can, too. In addition to the obvious Siege Mode upgrade, you'll also want Irradiate for the Science Vessels, U-238 and Stim Pack for the Marines, and all infantry upgrades at Level 3.
Over on the Protoss base, since you won't be making Carriers in this strategy, skip the Fleet Beacon entirely and go straight to Arbiter Tribunal. Research Recall there; Stasis might be handy, but you'll never get the chance to use it, anyway. Grab Psionic Storm for the Templar, Singularity Charge for Dragoons, Leg Enhancements for Zealots, and Scarab Damage for Reavers. All three Forge upgrades (Ground Weapons, Ground Armor, and Plasma Shields) should be at Level 3. Use two Forges. The air upgrades aren't necessary, but it never hurts to have them. After you pump your two Reavers, your Robotics is going to sit idle; rather than have that happen, make a handful of Observers to use in your attack and also as general early scouts.
As you finalize the preparations, send one Observer and half of your Arbiters to the Terran base. Obviously, there's a lot of Zerg waiting to eat them up on the way, so rather than have them go straight, tell the units to fly west towards the southwest corner of the map, then north to the Terran base. If you don't like that route because the Zerg is actually closer to the southwest, you can also use the northeastern corner and then fly west. Whichever one you like. You don't really need to go to corners as there may be two Hydralisks sitting there; just go near the end. (Have the Observer go first if you're unsure of the path.) At this point, if necessary, you may use Recall to bring Terran Siege Tanks or Goliaths to supplement the defenses at the Protoss base, or go the other way round with Archons and Zealots.
 Tank Push
Before you do anything, make sure that you know where the Overmind is. Do Sensor Sweeps near the center of the map, and you can't miss it. When ready, take both attack forces and pack them as tightly into the smallest surface area possible. The Protoss force will be ignored here for just a minute now. Take at least one of the Arbiters (don't be afraid to use more if you need; your Arbiters do not cloak each other but you do get a larger cloaking area and you might need backup in case you lose one or more Arbiters), and with your Terran army solidly under its Cloak cover, start advancing down south. Use the Observer to scout, as always. You'll arrive at a ramp; getting everyone down there without a huge disruption is difficult. Park the Arbiter so that most of the units both on and above the lower level will be covered up; make sure to use Hold Position on it, because otherwise the aggressive Arbiter will chase after any stray Overlord or even Scourge that it sees. Science Vessels should follow. Then, have the Marines (if you have any) come down and hide in the left-side contained area. Then, have the Tanks descend. Make sure none stray outside the Cloak cover or too close to the Zerg base. Use the Observer to get an idea of what the immediate edge of this base looks like, park the Tanks at a convenient spot for destruction, and go into Siege Mode. While they do this, have the Goliaths come down and Hold Position around the Tanks for support (again, most, if not all, of these units should be under Arbiter cover). Once the explosions start, the Zerg will start throwing a staggering number of units at you; expect to see Ultralisks in dozens at once, and Mutalisk packs of similar size. Since your units are Cloaked, though, there's nothing they can do against the Tanks; your Arbiter is, on the other hand, in danger from Mutalisks, Scourge, and Hydrailsks, but your Goliaths should take them down in no time anyway. Don't forget about Irradiate if the numbers get annoying, and Defensive Matrix if a group of Scourge charge at your Arbiter.
When it looks like there are no more structures in range and the Zerg are tired of throwing more guys at you, un-Siege the Tanks and displace, in a similar manner as before, towards the Overmind's location. You don't have to destroy every single base in the big Zerg supernetwork; in fact, it'll just take you longer for no real benefit. Just push steadily towards the Overmind, taking care not to take it too fast and to use the Hold Position command every time.
 Protoss Support Tactics
Meanwhile, the Protoss won't be sitting still. You could do what the Terran force is doing and advance slowly under Arbiter cover, but this race isn't built for that—even Reavers don't do siege tactics very well. Instead, you're going to Recall your entire force into the heart of the Zerg base. Make sure that your units are packed as closely in a circle as possible, then do some Observer scouting to find a suitable place. The junction between the Red and Magenta Zerg bases (on the right side of the map) is a good spot, but as long as it's somewhere close to the enemy and the place isn't extremely densely packed, it'll do. Take two Arbiters and, taking hits if you need to, have the first one Recall your Protoss force in (after clicking Recall in the Arbiter's command menu, it's best to click on the center of your pack of units so that the most units will arrive). If there's anyone left behind, quickly gather them together and have the other Arbiter use Recall again. As soon as the units arrive (which is instantaneously), all hell will break loose. You'll need to micromanage this force a tad bit, making sure that Reavers are stocked and (obviously) casting Psionic Storm at the right spots (if you took Terran infantry with you, be sure not to accidentally Storm over a bunch of Firebats or something. They are very vulnerable to this ability!) and merging energy-less Templar into Archons, but generally these fighters know what they're doing and will take a significant chunk of attention away. Only make sure that none of your Heroes are part of this attack!
 Attack on the Overmind
While the Protoss army puts up the distraction and works its way towards the center, the Terran force should have reached the Overmind. This area is a killing field—brimming with high-danger units like Ultralisks and Scourge, not to mention static defenses galore. Your Arbiter is in extreme danger, so make sure the Goliaths and Marines (use Stim Packs liberally at this point) are vigilant in taking down Scourge and Mutalisks. If your Arbiter gets attacked, use Defensive Matrix on it with one of your Science Vessels. Recall another Arbiter (with the one that is getting attacked) to replace the one you have if you really have to. Once the Overmind is in range, put the Tanks into Siege Mode and open fire with everything. If the timing works, you may even meet up with the Protoss guys here. Reavers and Archons helping to pound on the 5000-HP shell of the Overmind will bring it down that much quicker. Once it is done, sit back and enjoy the cinematic—congratulations, you have completed the main campaign of StarCraft.
 Alternate Strategies
With two races, there are as many ways players can beat this scenario. The basic approach will be the same: slowly chip away into the Zerg bases until you reach the Overmind. You have resources and time, so feel free to use Battlecruisers, Carriers/Arbiters, Archons/Reavers, or anything else you like. It's even possible to do a Nuclear Push on this map. Have three or so Nuclear Silos continually arming with Ocular Implants-upgraded Ghosts, and put some units down for support as you Nuke the Zerg bases to oblivion.You can also create 12 Carriers and 12 Battlecuisers and push directly for the Overmind with Yamato Cannons ready.Perhaps the most exhilarating assault is a combination of 400 supply's worth of units. Wraiths and Scouts dominate air if put together; Science Vessels can cast Irradiate on Archons, who are not affected by the ability, so that the Archons can walk into enemy Zerglings and literally melt everything around them with radiation; you can use High Templar to create Hallucinated Arbiters, which can provide cover while real Arbiters Recall an army of Tanks and Reavers into the middle of the enemy base for massive ground damage. There's a lot that you can do with some creativity, so go ahead and have some fun.This mission is very hard to lose if you manage to survive early, so you can experiment as much as you want.
To pull this stuff off, you'll probably need a lot of resources. Fortunately, the map here happens to be StarCraft's richest in both minerals and Vespene. The southwest corner of the map has two large mineral fields, the northeast corner has four full Vespene Geysers, and in addition to the two expansion spots mentioned in the walkthrough, there are three more balanced expansions, in the center-left and center-right sides of the map and on top of the plateau directly north of the Zerg supernetwork. Don't forget that you can also steal resources from any Zerg bases you destroy. If you plan on taking either the southwest or the northeast resource node, make sure you bring a little force to clean up the two Hydralisks guarding them.