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Mutalisk
Hit Points: 120
Size: Small
Supply: 2
Cost: 100 100
Build Time: 40
Produced at: Lair/Hatchery
Requires: Spire
Base Ground Attack: 9
Base Air Attack: 9
Base Armor: 0
Range: 3
Sight: 7
Cooldown: 30
Production Hot Key: M

Frankly, the Mutalisk is an enigma. It is not known how they are capable of maneuvering through a vacuum, or even of controlled flight within an atmosphere, but they have been able to stand toe-to-toe (so to speak) against Wraith fighters along the Coreward border worlds. The Mutalisk's attack is quite unusual. The Mutalisk produces and projects much smaller, voracious creatures that rapidly fly between enemy targets as it disintegrates explosively.

The Mutalisk serves as the basic flying support unit for the Zerg and has the ability to strike both air and ground targets. However its Glaive Wurm attack has the special property of hitting several targets within close proximity of the inital strike and against packed groups of enemy units, Mutalisks can quickly tear them apart. The inital hit does 9 base points of normal damage (more if upgraded), the 2nd hit strikes the enemy nearest to the first target and does about 1/3 damage and the 3rd hit strikes the enemy nearest to the 2nd target while doing about 1/9 damage.

The Small size classification of the Mutalisks can become critical if an enemy begins producing anti-air units with explosive attacks like Hydralisks, Goliaths or Dragoons since the Mutalisks will only take 50% damage. Use this advantage whenever the chance arises and keep the damage ratios in mind when deciding whether or not to attack an enemy force or not.

The Mutalisk can attain tremendous air speeds and can travel across battlefields in a very short amount of time, making them perfect as scouts, interceptors and hit-and-run attackers. Probably the best use of the Mutalisk is in the hit-and-run tactics. With their mobility, enemy expansions or stray attack groups make easy targets for the Mutalisk and often they can raze an enemy base or force before they have the chance to properly retaliate. But be sure not to fall into an enemy trap since with a fairly weak vitality, the Mutalisks are easy prey for the more powerful anti-air units of any race. Keep the advantage with the Mutalisks by keeping them constantly moving to avoid as much damage as possible while attacking weakly defended enemy areas.

One Mutalisk property that can work both for and against it is the ability to stack when grouped together. For an opponent this can be fairly frustrating since it is very difficult to select individual Mutalisks when they attack. However, this can be a curse when the enemy uses area attack units like the Corsair or Valkyrie or area-effect abilities like Psionic Storm, Ensnare or Irradiate. When facing these kinds of defenses Mutalisks will usually die or be affected en masse. Should the enemy use these area-effect abilities or attacks regularly, try splitting the Mutalisks into smaller groups so that the damage done against the attack force in minimized.

Even if Guardians and Devourers are producible, it is still usually a good idea to keep a few Mutalisks around to serve as escorts, support and fodder. They can supplement the anti-air or anti-ground attacks of the Guardians or Devourers while absorbing the damage and directing attacks away from the more expensive units.

Mutalisks attack defenses Probes Mutalisks hit stranded Reavers

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This Protoss town has no anti-air defenses making it a perfect target for a large group of Mutalisks.

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Mutalisks are great counters to Reavers. Use Mutalisks to kill Shuttles carrying Reavers then direct them to attack the Reavers themselves.

Mutalisks attack a Protoss Expansion Mutalisks put Tanks on the run

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These Mutalisks catch a Protoss expansion early before Photon Cannons are warped in. If the enemy has no anti-air defenses such as Dragoons, Templars/Psionic Storm, or Photon Cannons, Mutalisks are the perfect unit to use for the attack.

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Terran Tanks without the proper support of Marines, Goliaths or Valkyries make perfect targets for these Mutalisks. The Tanks are soon forced to retreat.

Mutalisks overwhelm Terran defenses Mutalisks finish off a Terran Town

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In large enough numbers, Mutalisks can overwhelm anti-air defenses such as Missile Turrets and Bunkers (even being repaired). If the Terran enemy does not use Irradiate, Valkyries, and Battlecruisers, large groups of Mutalisks will put a quick end to them.

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Mutalisks finish off a Terran town.

Countermeasures

Terrans

  • Marines are the best means of defense against an oncoming Mutalisk group with their Normal damage attack and cheap cost. If backed by Medics and Stimpacked or protected within a Bunker, the Marines can cause serious damage to Mutalisks.
  • Cloaked Wraiths have the advantage over Mutalisks if there are no detectors nearby.
  • Irradiate from Science Vessels can be particularly nasty to stacked groups of Mutalisks.
  • Battlecruisers in groups can withstand many Mutalisk attacks and with their powerful Laser Batteries, they can quickly whittle down a group of Mutalisks.

Psionic Storming Mutalisks

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A Science Vessel Irradiates Mutalisks as they try to attack some Siege Tanks.

Protoss

  • In the early game, Dragoons are necessary to defend against Mutalisk attacks, however, it's a good idea to make sure they stay near Shield Batteries and recharge their shields whenever possible.
  • The High Templar's Psionic Storm is probably the best defense against Mutalisks since any Mutalisk will perish should they remain under the entire duration of a Psionic Storm. If they happen to be stacked beneath one, they will all take heavy damage.
  • Archons in numbers can cause staggering damage to groups of Mutalisks with their psionic might and splash damage.

Photon Cannons push back Mutalisks A lone Archon fends off a Mutalisk attack

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A few Photon Cannons hold off a Mutalisk attack.

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Don't use Mutalisks to attack Archons unless you significantly outnumber the Archons. One Archon can take quite a few Mutalisks by himself.

Zerg

  • Hydralisks beneath Dark Swarm work well against Mutalisks, but in the open, Hydralisks usually aren't a good idea to use against them.
  • In Mutalisk vs. Mutalisk encounters, unit control, upgrades and sheer numbers will determine the outcome.
  • Scourge, though not very good against enemy Mutalisks by themselves, can be very useful if they're used to escort friendly Mutalisks. They can quickly dispatch or heavily damage enemy Mutalisks, giving the friendly Mutalisks a much better chance of winning the encounter. Be sure to keep close control of the Scourge though, making sure that all of them don't target a single Mutalisk.
  • Devourers with their splash Spore attack and heavy armor can withstand groups of Mutalisks, but not if they're severely outnumbered. Use them sparingly.
Upgrades

Flyer Attack Flyer Attack
Level 1 - 100 100
Level 2 - 175 175
Level 3 - 250 250
Flyer Carapace Flyer Carapace
Level 1 - 150 150
Level 2 - 225 225
Level 3 - 300 300

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

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

Special Abilities


Guardian Aspect Guardian Aspect
50 100

Once the Spire has been morphed into the Greater Spire, the Mutalisk becomes capable of mutating into the Guardian. During the cocoon phase, the mutating Mutalisk is vulnerable to attack and can be reverted back into its Mutalisk form. However, once the Guardian emerges the transformation cannot be reversed.

Devourer Aspect Devourer Aspect
150 50
Brood War Only

Also, after the Greater Spire has been set up, the Mutalisk becomes capable of mutating into another form: the Devourer. As with the Guardian, the morphing Mutalisk is vulnerable to attack and has the option to revert back to its Mutalisk form. However, once the Devourer emerges, the Mutalisk cannot be recovered nor can it be morphed into a Guardian.



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