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Hydralisk
Hit Points: 80
Size: Medium
Supply: 1
Cost: 75 25
Build Time: 28
Produced at: Hatchery
Requires: Hydralisk Den
Base Ground Attack: 10e
Base Air Attack: 10e
Base Armor: 0
Range: 4 (5 with upgrade)
Sight: 6
Cooldown: 15
Production Hot Key: H

This species, first seen in security camera footage discovered on a dead Terran cargo vessel, is one of the fiercest and most dangerous of the Zerg strains. The upper carapace plates of the Hydralisk can open to expose hundreds of spines that are projected with such force that they can penetrate 2cm Neosteel. Fortunately, they move quite slowly on open terrain.

The Hydralisk is easily the most versatile breed for the Zerg. With the ability to strike both ground and air targets, Burrow (once evolved), and health regeneration, the Hydralisk is a force to be reckoned with. Also with their short build times and relatively low cost, they can be produced in mass numbers to overwhelm the enemy.

With the ground/air strike capability, Hydralisks are the best support units in the Zerg race. Combine their attack with Zerglings, Mutalisks, Guardians, etc. and the enemy will have a much more difficult time halting them. Another excellent combination is using Hydralisks with Dark Swarm. Casting Dark Swarm over a large Hydralisk force can increase their lifespans by quite a bit and can be particularly useful against large ranged attack unit groups like Carriers, Dragoons, Goliaths, Vultures, Guardians, etc. Watch out for melee attack units (i.e. Zerglings, Zealots, Firebats) when using this combination since they will have the advantage under the Dark Swarm.

One thing to remember when producing Hydralisks is that you can never have enough. To help increase production, be sure to build multiple Hatcheries whenever the opportunity arises. With a steady resource stream you should be able to keep the Hydralisks pumping out in a seemingly neverending stream.

Between battles give your Hydralisks a chance to regenerate their health by Burrowing them near the battlefields. Keeping them Burrowed will give them a better chance of being able to heal since if the enemy can't spot them, they can't attack them. Also while Burrowed, they can serve as temporary scouts/observers giving your more healthy forces a better chance of survival by knowing what is coming their way. For more offensive purposes, the Hydralisk is one of the best suited units for Burrow ambushing. Use the ambush to either surprise an incoming enemy force or wait til an enemy passes by and ambush the enemy from behind.

Hydralisks also serve as the ideal drop unit with Overlords. With four Hydralisks in every Overlord, it is easy to transport a huge force of these deadly units to the backside of an enemy base, killing them before they know what hits them.

Keep in mind, however, that although the Hydralisks are very useful, they are not the ultimate unit. Mass producing only Hydralisks can bring out their flaws and give a more well balanced enemy force a better chance of defeating them. Simple Psionic Storms can wipe out legions of Hydralisks and Terran Siege Tanks can make mince meat of oncoming Hydralisk hordes before they can even get within range to hit the Tanks. So build a lot, but be sure to build other units as well to keep your opponent guessing as to what strategies you might be using.

Hydralisks defend a base Hydralisks attack enemy resource collection

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A group of Hydralisks respond to a Zealot attack.

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A large group of Hydralisks makes a crushing attack against the enemy resource collection operations.

Hydralisks fend off a Scout Hydralisks, Zerglings and Zealots Clash

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A group of Hydralisks chase a Scout away.

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Zerglings and Hydralisks engage a group of Zealots in fierce combat.

Countermeasures
With all the Hydralisk abilities and traits, you can expect to face them in almost every Zerg encounter.

Terrans

  • If you decide to use Marines/Firebats against Hydralisks, make sure you have the advantage in numbers or be backed by Medics. Also get the U-238 Shells upgrade for the Marines as quickly as possible so at worst case, the Marines will be able to hold ground against them. Also, take the time to build Bunkers for your Marines against Hydralisk hordes, since not only do they provide protection, but they increase the Marine attack range as well.
  • Reinforce Bunkers with Siege Tanks in siege mode to keep Hydralisks at bay (preferrably at a choke point, if possible).
  • Use Irradiate with Science Vessels to destroy tight packs of Hydralisks.
  • Make good use of Cloaked Wraiths to attack Hydralisk groups that have no nearby detectors.
  • Battlecruisers with their thick hulls and Laser Batteries can hold well against Hydralisks, but be sure to build them in fleets.

Protoss

  • Zealots can be a good counter against Hydralisks in larger numbers. They're better yet if escorted with Dragoons.
  • If there are no nearby detectors, use Dark Templar to quickly dispatch Hydralisks.
  • Reavers can quickly depopulate incoming groups of Hydralisks with their superior range and power.
  • Psionic Storms serve as the best counter against groups of Hydralisks. A few seconds beneath a Psionic Storm and even the mightiest Hydralisk can be reduced to nothing.

Hydralisks are Psionic Stormed Reavers making quick work of Hydralisks

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The Hydralisks unload from the Overlord in an attempt to defend the base, but one Psionic Storm takes care of all four Hydralisks and the Overlord as well.

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Reavers make quick work of Hydralisks.

Templar Psionic Storms Hydralisks Dark Templar intercepting Hydralisks

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A Templar puts a Psionic Storm on a group of attacking Hydralisks. This is one of the most effective counters to attacking Hydralisks.

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Dark Templar are a great counter to Hydralisks. Use Corsairs to push away the Overlord detection support then follow up with Dark Templar attacks.

Zerg

  • Use upgraded Zerglings in mass numbers to overwhelm groups of Hydralisks. (Even better if accompanied by Hydralisks)
  • In equal number confrontations, Hydralisk vs. Hydralisk encounters will boil down to who has more upgrades and better unit control.
  • Lurkers can shred Hydralisks if they have no nearby detection.
  • In the latter game, Guardians can use their superior range to attack from high ground where Hydralisks will be unable to reliate.
  • Use Queens to Ensnare enemy groups of Hydralisks, giving your force a better chance of survival.
  • Use Defilers to utilize Plague against enemy Hydralisks or Dark Swarm over friendly Hydralisks.
Upgrades

Burrow Burrow
100 100
Missile Attacks Missile Attacks
Level 1 - 100 100
Level 2 - 150 150
Level 3 - 200 200
Carapace Carapace
Level 1 - 150 150
Level 2 - 225 225
Level 3 - 300 300
Muscular Augments Muscular Augments
150 150
Faster Hydralisk movement
Grooved Spines Grooved Spines
150 150
Increased Hydralisk attack range
Burrow - Burrow can give Hydralisks time to regenerate or set up an ambush.

Missile Attacks - Each upgrade adds +1 to Missle Attacks for a total of +3 when fully upgraded.

Carapace - Each upgrade adds +1 to the Carapace for a total of +3 when fully upgraded.

Muscular Augments - To make sure Hydralisk attack groups can attack or retaliate when needed, get this upgrade to increase their speed so that targets can be reached as soon as possible.

Grooved Spines - Getting the increased attack range upgrade will give the Hydralisks the ability strike the enemy sooner, keeping them at bay or damaging them while they approach. An essential upgrade for the Hydralisk.

Special Abilities


Parasite Lurker Aspect
Cost: 200 200
Brood War Only

Once the ability is evolved at the Hydralisk Den, the Hydralisk has the ability to morph into the Lurker. During the transformation, the Hydralisk can still be recovered, but once it's complete, the Hydralisk is lost.



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