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Lift off

From Liquipedia StarCraft Brood War Wiki

Lift off is a default ability available to a number of Terran buildings. They are:

These buildings, when selected, can be lifted off after which they hover in the air. When airborn, buildings can be ordered to move or land on any buildable ground. They cannot produce units or upgrade. The hotkey to lifting and landing is L.

The range of vision does not increase or decrease when a building is lifted off. The area of vision does move one hex to the north. Airborn buildings can also see up high grounds.

When lifting off, buildings leave their add-ons behind. These will remain inactive and can not be used to upgrade, scan or build/launch nuclear missiles. Nor can you keep producing Battlecruisers or Ghosts. Battlecruisers or Ghosts that are already building will keep building. If the add-on is upgrading, the upgrade will be canceled when you lift off the main building.


Lifting off is used for a couple of purposes throughout the Terran match ups.


Their great number of hitpoints makes buildings scouts that are hard to kill. In TvT Barracks are often used to scout the enemy tank line. Floating Barracks, and occasionally Engineering Bays are staple in this match-up, as vision is extremely important. Sieged Tanks can shoot farther than they can see, so the additional vision provided by these scouts can be pivotal in this match-up. The lack of anti-air units in this match up also make buildings strong early-game scouts as your opponent won't have the means to dispose of this intruder.

In other match-ups this method of souting is less substantial. Versus Protoss your opponent will have enough Dragoons to be able to quickly kill a floating building. When used for scouting purposes buildings are usually kept close to the base, for instance positioned just outside the main base to spot incoming drops.

In the versus Zerg match-up most buildings that can be lifted off are needed for production or upgrading. Buildings that are done upgrading or no longer needed for production are sometimes sent out to gain additional intel.

In certain situations a floating building is used to give vision up or over a high ground in order for your ranged units to be able to shoot there. In some contain situations a building may be floated out to give some intel of the opponent's army. Occasionally a building is constructed for these specific goals. For this, the Engineering Bay is used - it is the cheapest and fastest to build with the Lift off ability.

Defense and Relocation[edit]

Lift off can be used as a defensive move. When a Terran expansion is raided, a Command Center can Lift off and move out of the range of ground units, potentially saving it. This concept may also be applied to other buildings with the Lift Off ability.

When there is a need to relocate multiple buildings to another location, but since in Starcraft it is not possible to group select multiple buildings, there is a way to simulate a group through unit following: pick one lifted off building (leader), Move command (or right-click) onto it each other lifted off building (followers), then move the leading building to a new place, the rest will follow.


Airborn buildings can be suspended over anything that's on the ground, effectively hiding them from sight. As a consequence your enemy won't be able to target fire your units (you can still select them using click-drag). In practise, this is sometimes used to protect Turrets from Mutalisks targeting them and from Shuttles seeing them. Alternatively a floating building can imply there's a Turret underneath it. That way you can trick your opponent into keeping off his Shuttle. M&M can be sometimes covered by floating a nearby building in your base to protects from the focused Mutalisk harrass.

Hiding units with buildings can also exploit an attack-preference mechanic. In StarCraft, an attack-moved unit will prioritise attacking Siege Tanks and Marines over SCVs and Medics. Consequently the latter can effectively be used to block a ramp or choke points to prevent melee units from reaching your units. Using this, your opponent is forced to target-fire your blocking units. However, placing a building over these specific units will prevent your opponent from doing just that. For examples of this technique see: Leta vs ZerO on Neoharmony and Sea vs Movie on Sin Chupung Ryeong

There are several other cute tricks you can do. Hide a critical tech building or upgrade from sight, hide a building/repairing worker to keep it from being target fired, or hide an unfinished building so your opponent can't click and finish it. An example of this last trick can be found in Flash vs Lomo on Neo Harmony.

Float over[edit]

Lifting off can be a good way to get buildings to their designated destination (perhaps one that cannot be reached by ground, or is dangerous to go to). Command Centers are often built within the safety of a Terran's main base and floated to an expansion once finished. This is a more secure way of expanding (albeit a bit slower). In this way Terrans can also expand to island locations without the need for a dropship. However, note that many maps, such as Python and Andromeda, prevent expanding in this manner by placing a small mineral patch on the landing site. This requires a peon to mine it out before a CC can be landed.

You can also use floating buildings as a moveable wall, landing them to block incoming enemies. However this is a tedious and slow way of pushing and isn't often seen apart from relocating some buildings to wall your natural. Flash is known for doing so in TvP on Medusa.

Another use for floating over is the floated proxy. An SCV can build a building out of harm's way after which the building can be floated to a key location (for example into the opponent's main or onto a highground) where it can start producing units. Additionally, after a basic proxy, a building can be floated back to the Terran main base.


Landing buildings can be used to stack units on top of them, glitching them over obstacles. For more info, see Sliding through Mineral Lines.


After a wall-in is no longer needed, a walling building (often a Barracks) can be lifted to let your units out.