How To Nuke Your Enemy in StarCraft

The three warring races in StarCraft, the Protoss, the Zerg and the Terrans, each have their own specially devastating attack capabilities. For the Terrans, it is the nuclear strike. A nuclear missile deals 500 damage points or takes out two-thirds of a target's total hit points.

  1. Build up to the requirements of a ghost unit. Ghost units are essential as they are the only ones with the ability to call in a nuclear strike. They are quite expensive to build though and will be available after several stages of build development. As with most units, start out with the Barracks structure. Afterwards build the following in succession: Factory, Starport, then Science Facility. The Science Facility structure can add a Covert Ops facility to itself. Take note that this precludes building a Physics Lab. With the Covert Ops structure in place you now have the ability to create ghost units. Getting to this point as quickly as possible will require careful management of supply points and acquisition of resources.
  2. Set up upgrade options for ghost. The Covert Ops facility gives ghost units their special abilities: cloaking and lockdown. Cloaking is the more important of the two and will be necessary later for infiltration. This facility can also provide ghost units with the Ocular Implant upgrade. This can increase a ghost's sight range beyond a nuclear missile's blast radius. Given how expensive it was to build your ghost unit in the first place, you don't want it to simply end up as collateral damage in the nuclear strike.
  3. Free up supplies to build your ghost unit and nuclear missile. Somewhere along the way to building the Covert Ops facility, you should have also added a Nuclear Silo to your Command Center. If your resources and supply points allow for it, you can build another Command Center with its own Nuclear Silo, giving you the ability to make two attacks. You will need at least 9 supply points, 8 to arm the silo with a missile and 1 to build one ghost unit.
  4. Select targets for nuclear strike. In the course of the game, you naturally would have performed some scouting missions, figuring out your enemy's strength and weaknesses, and possible tactics and strategy. It is essential that you locate your enemy's most important structures, such as main bases or other areas with a lot structures and units. A nuclear missile is devastating and you don't want to haste all that power on something inconsequential. The point is to cripple the enemy beyond any ability to retaliate.
  5. Enable ghost infiltration. The ghost unit's cloaking ability is good enough for getting past regular enemy units but they are easily cancelled out by detector units or structures. Observers and photon cannons are Protoss units that can unmask a cloaked ghost. Zerg overlords and spore colonies have the same ability. Before you let your ghost move within sighting range of the chosen target, apply some diversionary or containment tactics against such detectors. This frees up the ghost to waltz in and call in the strike.

Take note that every time a special ability is used there is a cool down period. A unit only regains use of the ability after the cool down. A ghost can cloak again sometime before the nuclear missile actually hits the target. Use that ability again to allow your ghost unit to escape.


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