Terran Strategy
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Terrans have quite a few tricks that need to be learned for island warfare.

Mobile Buildings
Most Terran buildings can lift-off, and fly. A great trick for Terrans is to build your first Barracks, then fly it over to another island securing it with Marines until you can Dropship a SCV over to the island to build Bunkers and Missile Turrets. It is very important not to be spotted by the enemy when sending your barracks over-- beware of Zerg Overlords! If you are spotted, they will send Mutalisks over ASAP and often before the Marines can properly defend the island. If the enemy is expecting the flying Barracks, this can be difficult. If you are spotted, don't try to lose the enemy Overlord, instead immediately head to an island and start training Marines. Once you have a Starport and Control Tower, send a Dropship+SCV over and build Bunkers.

You can also fly Barracks over to the enemy's island. If they know it's an island map, they might be building primarily anti-air defenses, making their town vulnerable to a group of Marines. Fly Barracks over to enemy islands and free islands. Start building groups of Marines and defend until you can get SCVs to the island via Dropship to build Bunkers and Missile Turrets. If you're really lucky, you can fly a Factory over and land it on their island.

When you have mined out an island, lift-off the Command Center and fly it to another island if one is available. Only the Terrans can do this. If you have the resources, you may want to rebuild a Command Center at the old location to keep any ComSat or Nuke Silos active.

Artillery Attacks
Siege Tanks in Siege Mode have a range of 12. Sometimes by placing your Siege Tanks in Siege Mode at the edge of the Island, you can use it to fire on enemy islands. This of course depends on how close the islands are to each other. Give it a try, sometimes it works. Ghosts with Ocular Implants may also be able to land nukes on enemy islands, or at least close enough to the edge of the island to wipe out towers and Bunkers.

Island Defense
Terrans have one of the best island defenses. An few SCVs can easily secure an island on their own very quickly. In this shot, one SCV builds Missile Turrets while the other builds a Command Center.

A fast way to secure an island is to send a Dropship with 4 Marines, and 4 SCVs. Use one SCV to build a Bunker, 2 SCVs to build Missile Turrets around the Island, while the other SCV builds a Command Center. Place the Marines in the Bunker. If it is attacked, use all the SCVs to repair it as it is being attacked. If you are really pressed for time, use 3 SCVs to build Missile Turrets until the island is covered by them. This is just an example, you can always send more or less units to take the island.

If you have a free Barracks fly it over to the Island, or, if that is not possible, have a SCV build a Barracks on the island if there is room. Start building Bunkers and place the Marines inside. You want to get Marines on the island either by Dropship or by getting a Barracks on the island. Missile Turrets and Bunkers can defend an island against almost everything but Battlecruisers, Guardians, and large collections of Scouts/Carriers. Place Ghosts on the island in Bunkers. Pop out, Lockdown enemy Protoss and Terran flyers then retreat to the safety of the Bunker. Locking down incoming transports is also a great way to aggravate your opponent.

The Wraith
The Wraith is useful in island games to patrol the space between islands. Unless the enemy is very sloppy in their island defenses, you will not be able to take islands with Wraiths. Wraiths only have 8 ground damage which is not enough to take out serious anti-air defenses. If you see an opening in the enemy defenses, or they have not yet setup, use Wraiths. Once the enemy has their defenses in place, you want to use large collections of Battlecruisers with initial salvoes of the Yamato gun to open up the defenses. Make sure to repair damaged Wraiths.

One often successful strategy with Terrans against other Terrans and Protoss is to build up to cloaked Wraiths as fast as possible, then attack the resource gathers. Zerg players can often easily counter this with a Spore Colony and Overlords, but unless they prepare for it, Protoss players are weak to this attack, as are Terrans. When doing this strategy, you have to worry about a land invasion via transport. It's a gamble. You can prepare for a land invasion, then go Wraiths, or just take the chance you won't get invaded and go straight to Wraiths. That strategy pays off if you are not invaded, but if you are, it spells the end for you.

The big siege weapon for the Terrans is the Battlecruiser. A good goal in island games if Dropship invasions are not practical is to amass a large collection of Battlecruisers. Using the Yamato gun, and a large force of Battlecruisers, you can punch through almost any defense. Remember that the Battlecruiser can fire its Yamato gun further than its sight range. Use the ComSat Station to reveal the enemy so they can be Yamato'd from a distance. You will probably need at least 3 Starports to build mass Battlecruisers. Gas is very important for this plan. Use Gas only for vital buildings, Battlecruisers, and a few useful upgrades such as Stim Pack and U-238 shells for added Marine range if you have 1-2 Gas geysers. You're going to have to save for each Battlecruiser. You must repair your Battlecruisers-- do not allow a single one to die. If you have multiple geysers, build Science Vessels and use Defensive Matrix on attacking Wraiths and Battlecruisers. A 750 HP Battlecruiser will last a very long time. Transports protected by a Matrix also stand a much better chance of unloading safely, even under fire.

Terran on Terran
This can be interesting, especially with flying Barracks. As mentioned above, sometimes the enemy will fly over a Barracks to try and build Marines on your island. A Bunker or two defending your town should stop this combined with patrols of the island. Fly Barracks of your own to islands to secure them.

  • Use Ghosts to Lockdown enemy Battlecruisers and Wraiths.

  • Use cloaked Wraiths against Battlecruisers, and, conversely, use Scanner Sweep to reveal cloaked Wraiths so your Battlecruisers can attack them.

  • Beware of the rush to Cloaked Wraiths. Defend your town with some Bunkers near your SCVs, and a Missile Turret or two. Use ComSat to reveal the Wraiths. If either the ComSat Station or Bunkers are attacked, grab groups of SCVs to quickly repair them.

  • Use Goliaths against Wraiths and Battlecruisers if they manage to get over your town.
Terran on Protoss
Protoss will try for a direct Shuttle landing of Zealots, Reavers, and Templars. If that is not possible, they will mass Scouts, Carriers, or a combination of both. Protoss will use Photon Cannons, possibly Dragoons, Templars' Psionic Storm, and Archons for defenses. Sometimes Protoss players will ignore all defenses, and go for all Scouts. Use this to your advantage. Dropship Marines and Firebats into their towns, with Stim Pack if you see an opportunity. This often works against the Protoss, much more so than against either Terrans or Zerg.
  • Use Goliaths against Scouts and Carriers if they fly over your town.

  • Use the Science Vessel to EMP enemy Photon Cannons, and then send in Battlecruisers or Wraiths to finish them off, opening up the defenses.

  • Protoss players will often use a Shield Battery/Scout combo. Do not do any fighting by the Shield Battery if possible.

  • EMP groups of Scouts and Carriers. A player relying on Shield Batteries will be forced to suffer serious damage or retreat.
Terran on Zerg
Zerg are the biggest worry on island games. They have many things available to them for island work.

The first concern is mass Mutalisks. Quite often this is the strategy Zerg players use on island games, the race to mass Mutalisks. Bunkers and Marines with Stim Pack should cover this in your main town, but the problem is Mutalisks preventing further islands from being secured. That is where the flying Barracks comes in handy. You can fly a Barracks over and build enough Marines to fight off or delay the Mutalisks if you are very quick and not spotted. You need to secure at least one extra island with Gas for Battlecruisers. Using your initial Minerals and two Gas mines, you should be able to build enough Battlecruisers, if you conserve your Gas, to take out the Zerg.

The next concern is Guardians. Guardians can take out any island defenses from a distance. Battlecruisers are the answer here also. You can get Battlecruisers around the same time that the enemy gets a group of Guardians if you start fairly early, use at least two Starports, and conserve Gas.

  • Use the Science Vessel's Irradiate on collections of Guardians, Mutalisks and Hydralisks. This works very well.

  • The Zerg can use the Queen's Broodling spell to get rid of Siege Tanks and Goliaths, so you might want to skip using these against the Zerg, or keep them behind Missile Towers.

  • The next tool in the Zerg arsenal is the Nydus Canal. Using this, they can connect all their islands, and send mass groups of Hydralisks between them to defend them. Yamato Canals, then attack.
With all these things available, the Zerg are certainly something to be feared on island games, but you have one tool that can break through all Zerg island defenses (even if they have the whole map): the Battlecruiser. Battlecruisers can destroy large collections of Guardians, Mutalisks, and Hydralisks. They can Yamato Spore Colonies from a distance. Once you have a collection of 6-10 Battlecruisers, you can begin to take Zerg Islands, depending on how many Spore Colonies they have defending them. This should easily overcome mass groups of Mutalisks and Guardians if the enemy continues to build them.

Watch out for Scourge, and Scourge bait tactics. Sometimes the enemy will respond to Battlecruisers with swarms of Scourge. Once you have a large group of Battlecruisers, they can easily kill Scourge before they can get close. With only a few Battlecruisers, they can be easily killed. If the enemy uses Ensnare then distracts your Battlecruisers with other targets, Scourge will work.

The Defiler is the Battlecruiser's primary enemy. If you get Plagued, don't stay and fight. Run away, repair, and return. Zerg players can also place Hydralisks under a Dark Swarm. If the Defiler consumes Zerglings to regain energy, they can cast unlimited Plague and Swarms. Battlecruisers cannot break through this kind of defense. The Defilers can also burrow when in danger. In this picture a Defiler is hiding under the Dark Swarm with a group of Hydralisks. The Defiler cast a Plague then a Dark Swarm. The Battlecruisers were forced to run, and repair.

ComSat the Burrowed Defilers to reveal them. Once the enemy switches from Mutalisks/Guardians to Dark Swarm/Hydralisks/Plague, you will have to switch to Siege Tanks. Only Siege Tanks (in Siege Mode) and Firebats can attack groups of Hydralisks under Dark Swarm. If the Terran player continues with a Battlecruiser-only strategy, the Zerg player will easily damage and eventually destroy the Battlecruisers. Use Dropships to get the Siege Tanks to their destination.

The Yamato gun works against units in a Dark Swarm. Yamatoing the Defiler can help if you can target it while in the Dark Swarm.

You can use Science Vessels to Irradiate the Hydralisks under the Swarm. The enemy must decide between leaving the cover of the Swarm and watching his/her troops explode. This is probably the best counter to the Dark Swarm/Hydralisk strategy. A good counter to this for Zerg players is to Burrow the Irradiated units. The Irradiate will still be on the Irradiated unit when Burrowed but the Irradiate will not hit the other Zerg units.

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