SC2 General Upgrade Maths and Game Mechanics FAQ


Here I will provide a breakdown of all the important maths focused on upgrades and combat.

Say you keep asking yourself:
"Should I upgrade weapons or armor first?"
"Is it worth my 100 gas to get combat shields?"
"Does it make a difference if I spend my money upgrading? or should I just get more units?"

Take a look here, maybe you will find answers to those questions.

Hopefully if the blues find this useful they will sticky this so it wont get lost with all the other threads [:

I will try to keep this updated with each patch

Let me know what kind of things you would like to see here!

0. General
1. ZvT
2. ZvP
3. PvT
4. ZvZ
5. TvT
6. PvP

0. General:
- Each worker on a mineral field will provide an income of 40 minerals per minute. However the 3rd worker on the mineral patch will only provide +20 minerals per minute and the fourth will make almost no difference to your income.

Q: How does armor work? Is it the same as Warcraft III?
A: No, armor is a static value in Starcraft II. For example a roach with 1 armor takes 1 less damage from all attacks. So a marine which does normally 6 damage, will only do 5 damage to a roach. A Seige tank that normally does 50 damage, will only do 49 damage to the roach.

Q: How does armor work when I have more armor than a units damage?
A: Units in Starcraft cannot do zero damage, the minimum is 0.5.
For example if I had a fully upgraded ultralisk with a total of 6 armor and an un-upgraded marine fires at it. The first shot does 0 damage and the second shot will do 1 damage. So if the ultralisk has 500 hp, it will take theoretically 1000 shots for a basic marine to kill it assuming the ultralisk does not regenerate health.

Q: How does Protoss shield regeneration work?
A: Protoss shields no longer regenerate in combat. They only regenerate 8 seconds after they have not taken any damage. Once they are out of combat, most protoss units regenerate their shields at around ~2 shields per second approximately.

Q: How does Zerg regeneration work?
A: Most zerg units regenerate at around ~1 hp/per 3.5 seconds. Certain units such as the roach regenerate faster than this. A roach regenerates ~5hp/per second underground (and more with the tunneling claw upgrade). This regeneration happens ALL the time even while they are in combat.

Q: If I upgrade armor, does it improve my Protoss shield?
A: No, armor values only reduce incoming damage to Protoss units life totals. Shields will still take full damage unless you have the Protoss Plasma shield upgrade.

Many Protoss players will choose to upgrade armor over shields simply because a majority of Protoss units have a larger life total than shields. With the exception of Dark Templar and Archons heavy builds, it is almost always a more effective choice to get armor upgrades over shields.

Q: How does the Protoss plasma shield upgrade work?
A: Similar to armor. Say you have a probe and you upgraded the Protoss plasma shield. A marine that normally does 6 damage will only do 5 damage to the probes shields. However once the shields are depleted on the probe, it will take the full 6 damage from the marine unless it also has Protoss ground armor upgrades.

Q: How does mutalisk bounce damage work?
A: Each bounce does 33% of the last ones damage.

Vanilla mutalisk: 9-3-1
Fully upgraded: 12-4-2

Q: What is critical mass?
A: A student once asked Confucious, "How do I get good with Terran?". Confucious replied, make enough tanks so that everything dies in 1 volley. Essentially critical mass is a number of long ranged units grouped up so that melee or short ranged units usually all die before they can get close enough to deal damage.

For example against a ball of marines and marauders, if I had 5 collosi, and they each fired a laser sweep they would deal a total of 150 damage - enough to incinerate marines and marauders alike. Most Terran players would agree that once they see 5 collosi their infantry are essentially worthless against the collosi ball. The critical mass of collosi against terran infantry is thus 5 (less with upgrades).

Q: How do I counter critical mass?

1. Get your own ball of dangerous ranged units. Counter critical mass with your own critical mass but micro yours better (this happens alot in TvT where you see tank stand-offs)

2. Do a complete tech switch to a unit the long ranged unit cannot hit. ie, against a critical mass of seige tanks, you might drop 5 stargates and start massing void rays.

3. Overwhelming AOE damage - Psionic storm, hunter seeker missile and fungal growth, ultralisk drops, baneling mines, tactical nukes all extremely effective against grouped up units

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