Mothership (Wings of Liberty)
- This article covers the now superseded Wings of Liberty multiplayer version of this unit. For other versions see Mothership (Legacy of the Void) and Mothership (Heart of the Swarm).
The Mothership is the most powerful unit in the Protoss arsenal: It requires a Fleet Beacon and is warped in from the Nexus; because of its extensive capabilities, the Mothership has a unique restriction: only one can be deployed by each player at a time.
Although it does have an attack in the Purifier Beam, the primary use of the Mothership is its powerful support abilities. The Mothership has two spells, Vortex and Mass Recall: the Vortex spell temporarily removes all units from the field in an area of effect for 20 seconds; the Mass Recall spell instantly teleports all player (not friendly) units in a select area to the Mothership's location. Furthermore, the passive ability Cloaking Field cloaks all nearby friendly units and buildings. While these abilities are powerful and potentially game-changing, the Mothership is very expensive, quite slow, takes a long time to warp in, and is only available at the end of a long tech path. Thus, the Mothership is generally only seen in late game compositions, although specialized builds can produce it earlier.
There used to be very few builds tailored to incorporate the Mothership, and was often used as a cheese or an embarrassment tactic, such as the Mothership Rush All In as first played by HuK in 2010, which heavily relied on surprise to be effective.
However, as players have more likelihood of getting expansions and a large income in the late game, the Mothership has become an integral part of many Protoss late game strategies.
Vortex can effectively remove large amounts of enemy units from play, forcing an opponent to either engage with a smaller army or send the remainder of his units into the Vortex. As of patch 1.3, all units are immune to damage for 1.5s upon the expiration of the spell.
Some players have also experimented with using the Mothership away from their army, utilizing the Mass Recall spell to their advantage. The Mass Recall spell can evacuate trapped offensive units to safety, or allow an otherwise immobile army to defend or attack more than one key location on the map.
In Protoss vs Protoss, the mothership is usually seen in lategame, when the players' Colossus count and positioning often decides the outcome of battles and games. The Mothership can use its Vortex ability to remove some of the opponent's Colossi from the fight, while also clumping them up for own splash damage when they exit the Vortex. In this situation, the player using the Mothership will have both more Colossi and better positioning due to the ability to spread the army while the opponent is in the Vortex, which can significantly increase chances of winning an engagement.
A less common way to employ the mothership is a build that utilizes the cloaking ability of the mothership. The Mothership usually follows a Phoenix harass, as at that point the Stargate is built and there are required Phoenix out. After that, the Protoss using this strategy gets a Fleet Beacon and a Mothership, also getting 1 or more Observers to accompany the army. When the confrontation with the other player occurs, your Observers spot his, and since they are likely the only air unit in the army, the Phoenix will kill the other player's Observer. Then it is simply a matter of using the cloaking on the Mothership to keep your army alive, and keeping the Mothership alive as best you can. It should be noted that this build is VERY difficult to effectively pull off, since the Mothership takes so long to tech to and build, and it is almost always more practical to simply produce more units and try to get a stronger army or economy.
Mothership is rarely used in the PvT match-up because of it costs 8 supply, 850/750 (150/150 for a Stargate, 300/200 for a Fleet Beacon, and 400/400 for the Mothership), and doesn't really offer anything to engagements in late-game PvT as it can easily be shot down by Vikings and it is extremely hard to land a Vortex on a fast marine-marauder army with a slow unit that the Mothership is. There has only been one note-worthy use of the Mothership in PvT, and this was game 5 of the finals of the 2012 Global StarCraft II League Season 2 between Mvp and Squirtle on the map Metropolis. Squirtle constantly used Mass-Recall to warp in large armies into Mvp's main, or small contingents of Zealots, Archons, and High Templars onto Mvp's fortified positions on the corner island expansions. In the meanwhile, Mvp massed up a huge army of ghosts and Battlecruisers. The tension built up to one moment where Mvp, now up to 20 some Battlecruisers and a double digit number of Ghosts, got most of his battle cruisers caught in a Vortex, and thus Squirtle went in and destroyed Mvp's seemingly unbeatable army with Archons, Stalkers, Voidrays, Feedbacks, and Psionic Storms.
Using Mass Recall to teleport a good-sized army of Stalkers and Immortals is effective if used in conjunction with Vortex. Casting Vortex on the Zerg is effective due to Zerg's "strength in numbers" tactics tend to leave them in large clumps. Vortex-ing one of these clumps can temporarily take out a large portion of the Zerg army, allowing the Protoss player to either wreak havoc on the remaining Zerg army or freely destroy Zerg structures. Lately, more strategies have been adapted to utilize the Mothership vs. Zerg, primarily by the pro player KiWiKaKi. The now (mostly) defunct Archon Toilet was one such strategy, which was seen in games against XlorD (as shown in the Day9 Daily Number 249) and InflowLooky (the use of which killed 33 Mutalisks and 3 Corruptors in one fell swoop). After the change, the Archon Toilet only works against extremely slow units that have a tendency to clump up; the only such unit in the game is the Broodlord. In fact, one of the best ways for a protoss player to kill a Zerg army with a high Broodlord and Infestor count (8+) is the Archon Toilet.
Another effective use of the Mothership was seen in a game from KiWiKaKi against Machine, in which he acquired Blink Stalkers and a Mothership. He blinked Stalkers between Machine's bases on Xel'Naga Caverns, killing two of Machine's Hatcheries and eventually his Lair (which prevented Overseer production). He then used the Mothership's Mass Recall to safely move his trapped Stalkers out of Machine's main base, effectively preventing Machine from both remaxing and producing Overseers to detect the Mothership's cloaked units.
Mothership's quotes (video and sound) - YouTube video.
|Patch 1 (version 0.3.0.14093)|
|Patch 2 (version 0.4.0.14133)|
|Patch 12 (version 0.14.0.15343)|
- VOD: SCReddit Invitational Machine vs KiWiKaKi on Xel'Naga Caverns - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyP92qD8psA
- "The Archon Toilet" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpdmG_O2kQU