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- Defend the Artifact
All-In is the final mission in the Wings of Liberty Campaign. The Artifact has been assembled, and so the time has come to attack the Zerg Primary Hive Cluster. You are to hold your ground against the Zerg until the Artifact is fully charged.
- Defend the Artifact
There are two versions of All-In that you can play, depending on whether you did Belly of the Beast or Shatter the Sky. If you did Belly of the Beast, then you'll have to deal with the Zerg Air, and you should refer to the appropriate section. If you did Shatter the Sky, then you'll have to deal with the Nydus Worms, and you should refer to that section.
Vs. Nydus Worms
With the Zerg Air neutralized, this mission almost becomes a cakewalk (almost.) This is essentially pure defense against ground, and with an invincible wall-in involving Bunkers, Siege Tanks, Banshees, Planetary Fortresses, and Psi Disruptors (if you have them), your only real concern becomes Kerrigan.
First off, don't try to hold the two chokes as far forward as they are. Pull your eastern defenses closer to your base, so you only have two choke points to hold. Wall-in with bunkers/depots/turrets, and ideally a Planetary Fortress close to each ramp leading to the Artifact, as Kerrigan will choose to engage them but, with SCV's repairing, they are almost impossible to destroy. Planetary Fortresses can train SCVs on site to auto-repair them.
Siege tanks and turrets on your high ground is very effective. Turrets help by killing the overlords that would otherwise give vision to ranged ground units. A second factory may be necessary to get a critical mass of tanks. Psi disruptors slow and bunch up the zerg attackers, increasing splash damage from your tanks. If you run out of room on the cliffs for psi disruptors, try placing more just below the cliff by your merc compound. Keep a few science vessels near tanks for repairs.
Make a group of banshees to seek and destroy Nydus worms. If you're planning on using the artifact very often, then focus on destroying Nydus worms that won't already die in a nova. Nydus worms will spawn more units and higher tier units the longer they remain alive. As Nydus appear periodically in bunches, it can be helpful to save up a nova for them, then set it off as soon as they are all finished spawning, destroying most or all of the Nydus and their attack waves. The Artifact will then be recharged by the time the next wave of Nydus worms hit.
5 banshees are a large enough hunting pack on normal (with your three starting and two merc hires, they can two-shot a Nydus worm) and about 8 for brutal. Both the missile and double cloaking time Armory upgrades are very useful here. You can cloak, shift-click and preset an attack route for your banshee pack (avoiding the spore crawlers), allowing you to focus on your macro, but it is still important to closely micro them as you can turn around after a few seconds and find your banshee force has disappeared after getting detected by an Overseer. Nydus worms have 300 hp (normal) / 400 hp (hard) / 500 hp (brutal).
When the Artifact's charge reaches about 42% (on all difficulties), Horner will alert you to a massive wave of Overlords moving in to drop Zerg forces and spread creep all over your base. To deal with this, either (1) use the nova ability, which takes about 12.5% to charge (meaning if you want to do this you should not use it after the Artifact charge reaches 30%) (2) plant turrets on your perimeter, or (3) patrol marines.
Keep your defensive force in this position, and you should be able to complete the mission. Your Siege Tanks will kill most of the Zerg coming to attack, as they're rallied to go up the ramp, and not towards your main.
Don't bother attacking zerg bases because if you do, they spawn swarms of zerg.
If you lack planetary fortresses and psi disruptors but still picked Nydus worms, then simply build a wall of perdition turrets between your tanks and the zerg because some of the zerg will reach your tanks.
Finally, you'll need something to deal with Kerrigan - See the Kerrigan section below.
If you have the Immortality Protocol, you can use Thors to soak up the Zerg attack waves' damage and keep them bunched up, allowing your Siege Tanks to take them out with ease. It is also possible to do the same thing with mind controlled Ultralisks supported with medics, reducing gas requirements. It is helpful to position between 2 and 4 Thors at each choke point. The Thors are also useful for destroying nearby Nydus Worms with their cannons and stunning Kerrigan (doable, but more difficult with the upgraded cannons, since you have to place the attack on the ground). Be aware that Kerrigan's instant-kill attack, if targeted on a Thor, will prevent it from being rebuilt via Immortality.
Vs. Zerg Air
This mission has several solutions, but the easiest ones require upgrades and research that not everyone can have. The following strategies are listed in order of easiest to most difficult.
This is one of the easiest ways to win this Mission, especially on Hard to get the "Aces High" Achievement. The key of this strategy is to be a really good macro player. Start by making Reactors on the Barracks and the Starport, add a Tech Lab on the Factory. Start producing Siege Tanks and Marines, but remember not to queue them since macroing the first minutes is quite important. You start with two ground choke points and the Artifact cliff. Bunkerize the two choke points with at least 3 Bunkers full of marines, maybe some Marauders in the mid game and 4 Siege Tanks behind them with some SCV's repairing the Structures (It is important to have all the Armory Console upgrade for the Siege Tanks). Now mass out Turret behind your mineral line and the perimeter of the Artifact Cliff. Now the KEY of this Strat are the Armory and Engineering Bay upgrades. First Max out the Ship Attack and the Infantry Attack, then upgrade the Vehicles Attack and so on... Try to be researching upgrades at all time. Massing Marines, Medics and Vikings and you should do it in no time. That's the basic way to resist the Zerg army. Now you have 3 major concerns in this mission.
1. Kerrigan: There is a good explanation about Kerrigan abilities in this article so I'll just mention the strategy for defeating her. Remember you want to mass Marines on the Choke Points with 4-5 SIege Tanks in Siege Mode (Obviously) (or even Siege Breakers form the Mercenary's). When Kerrigan arrives at the choke point you want to have the marines in front of the Bunkers and the Siege Tanks way behind (Keeping Kerrigan in their range of Siege shooting). Kerrigan will probably do the Psionic Storm to our Marines so you want to micro them well away form it. Keeping the Tanks shooting at her with the upgrades and having Kerrigan focusing those weak Marines will do the trick on defeating her.
2. Leviathan: Mass Vikings with the Rally point where they belong: the barracks to the choke points and the Starports to the choke points and the Cliff.
The Leviathan comes at 70%, so prepare enough Vikings to keep it from reaching you turret perimeter. Avoid using the Nova Power.
Tips: Try to keep the Vikings as far as possible form the Leviathan so the Turrets can shoot any other Zerg Air units it creates. Research +3 ship attack. A well-spread, concave Viking formation mitigates the Leviathan's area of affect stun spell.
3. Random Unreachable Zerg Units
A good player has to be always alert... a lot of random units will invade your base killing supply depots, structures and SCV's. I normally try to have a couple of Mercenary Units patrolling around the Base specially on the right upper supply depots and between the Artifact Cliff and the Mercenary Building. Another unit that will kill most of your Turrets are the unreachable BroodLords. Have a 4-5 Viking Hot Key group to Deal with them.
I didn't use my Battlecruisers at all... I just left them on the Cliff to deal with some air units and the random units that appear suddenly in your base. But on the last minutes O took 1 Battlecruiser to each Choke point for supporting the Overrun.
I consider Thors to be a neutral unit in this mission. I made 1 or 2 just to tank some units at the choke point and to have Kerrigan stunned so she couldn't Psionic Storm on top of my Marines
Macroing(Making Mules anytime you can) Upgrading Damage then Armor Mass Marine Mass Viking Mass Siege Tanks Repairing SCV's at choke points and Turret Perimeter Kill Broodlords harassing base (Behind mineral line too) Missile Turret Perimeter (Behind mineral line too) Facing Kerrigan with Marines and Siege Tanks form Behind Focus the Leviathan with Vikings
When to use the Artifact?
I got my North Choke Point destroyed after facing the Leviathan since my APM is not the best. I used the Artifact in that moment and stablished a new defense perimeter with the Battlecruisers and a group of Siege Breakers and Marines until i finished the 3 Bunkers.
Psi Disrupters is a nice addition to the Choke Point Defenses but they take a lot of space behind your Bunkers so i just made 1 on the Cliff near the North Choke Point.
With Hive Control
If you got the Hive Mind Emulator, then you can use those to easily win this mission. As long as you can make it past the first few waves without losing many towers, and obtain a critical mass of Mutalisks and Broodlords, you will be fine. You will want to kill the Merc Compound and construct 4 Bunkers there on the lowground and fill them with Marines (see video in ghost strategy for ideas of how to build your infastructure). Build Perdition Turrets or Planetary Fortresses at the ramps to deal with the Zerglings, and surround the artifact with Hive Control towers. Hotkey all of them together, and every time Mutas or Broodlords attack, press and -click all the Mutalisks.
Air also attacks your mineral line, so place a couple hive turrets there, as well as a Battlecruiser. When Kerrigan comes the first time, activate the artifact and send out all your Marines to engage, and she will go down. The next time Kerrigan arrives, you should have enough Zerg air to make it easy (4 Brood Lords is enough to kill her, as long as you have a way to deal with other nearby Zerg).
Mutalisks will make short work of the Leviathan when it comes. If you're short on air, then don't kill it, as it will send you healthy amounts of mind-controllable units.
Its easy to have 5-8 pages of Zerg air by the end of this mission, depending on how much stress your computer can handle.
With Ghosts and Upgrades
This strategy requires less micromanagement than Hive Control and may be better suited for players with low APM. The basic idea is to put upgraded Ghosts into Bunkers around the artifact (no turrets needed). With their ocular implants, the +1 range bonus of bunkers and extra damage to light, they can kill Mutalisks before they even get close enough to do damage. Once the Bunkers are filled, block the ramps with 4-5 cloaked Ghosts each, and you're basically invulnerable to everything but Kerrigan unless you fail to snipe the occasional overseer. To deal with Kerrigan, train many marines. You can also use the Ghosts' snipe ability to deal additional damage to her. Use your battlecruisers to defend your mineral line once Horner warns you about the attacks from behind.
With PSI Disrupter,Science Vessel, Vikings
Build Science Vessels and deploy them to the artifact, left and right side of your defence line, they will repair your vessel at no cost. (Using SCVs will cost minerals and vespene gas, and the Viking can go out of range). Use PSI disruptors to slow the mutalisks allowing your anti air defense and Viking to quickly eradicate them. You need the Viking range upgrade from the armoury to counter Brood Lords. Build Bunkers and Psi Disruptor and Siege Tanks at all fronts. Send your battlecruisers to guard the base and mineral line. When Kerrigan appears, activate the Nova, use your Science Vessels to irradiate her, and with the support of your tanks, she will go down fast. You might want to plant some spider mines on her path. Use Goliath to support your Vikings, keep a few around the artifact in case zerglings drop from the sky.
When the Leviathan appears, do not attempt to destroy it, simply hold on the line, the Vikings and science vessel will give a good defense.
Viking+ Perdition Turrets
This strategy will go much smoother if you have the Perdition Turret tech, since they can almost single handedly take care of all the ground units (except for Kerrigan) and you don't need to waste supply on excess marines. Also you really should have the Viking upgrades (especially the extra range).
This strategy focuses on protecting the ramps to the Artifact, with splash Vikings to destroy air, and Marines and Medics to kill Kerrigan..
Right off the bat you want to get 2 Starports going with Reactor Cores on them for Vikings (get about 5-6 in the beginning) and also an Armory for air upgrades. The mercenary Vikings will also help you immensely.
Start building Marine Medic, but keep them back to protect your base, or in bunkers.
If you don't have the Hive Control towers or the necessary Ghost upgrades, then the mission becomes more difficult. You'll want to make sure that you have a lot of Marines and Medics and a lot of Vikings. You only need maybe 12-16 Siege Tanks maximum, as you won't see as many ground units in this mission. You'll want to build Bunkers in front of your Siege Tanks as opposed to Planetary Fortresses, as Bunkers with Marines in them will hold the line better against Mutalisks and a lot of what the Zerg will throw at you.
Your Vikings should be separated into two even groups. You'll often be attacked by air units at multiple places at once, and you'll want a mobile group of Vikings to deal with them all. Air units will attack at four places in this mission: Your mineral line, your left defenses, your right defenses, and the Artifact. You'll have to use your Vikings to deal with all of these threats.
About halfway through the mission, you'll get an alert that the Leviathan is coming. The Leviathan is 3000 HP as opposed to 4000 HP in the mission Shatter the Sky, but it's much deadlier. First of all, it cannot be hit by ground units because it's too far out. Secondly, it spawns air units at much quicker rate than in the mission Shatter the Sky. Finally, it has a much more deadly attack, and it has two spells: A spell similar to Fungal Growth that also causes your air units to stop attacking, and a powerful spell similar to Yamato Cannon, that will only be used against capital ships like Battlecruisers. You'll want to use your Vikings to take it down, and ignore all the Mutalisks and Broodlords that emerge from it. Remember to use the Artifact's Nova to deal 1000 damage against it, as that will help tremendously. Spread your Vikings apart as best you can, and be sure to continue reinforcing with more Vikings. It will go down eventually. Your Vikings won't have time to rest though, as you'll need to take down all the units that the Leviathan spawned, as well as the waves of air units that will come soon after.
At several points in the mission, Kerrigan will appear. She has 1000 hp (normal) / 1250 hp (hard) / 1500 hp (brutal) with resistance to spells and some form of damage reduction in addition to her 3 armor. She also sees cloaked units and onto high ground without line of sight. She has two spells - one that is similar to Psi-Storm except over a larger area and longer period of time, and another one that is basically destroy target unit. To kill her, you have several options:
- Marine and Medic - This can be effective, but you'll have to get a good concave on Kerrigan so she doesn't destroy all your Marine and Medic with her Psi Storm ability. Make sure to meet her outside of your base so that she won't be killing more expensive units that you may own.
- Siege Tanks - Siege tanks in siege mode with the armory upgrade and lvl3 weapons do 115 damage per shot—their mercenary cousins deal a frightening 170 damage per shot. Although this damage is significantly reduced against Kerrigan, it still tears through her hp bar rapidly. The siege tanks range also helps keep them out of harm's way, as Kerrigan prefers to engage the units closest to her first: engaging her with marines just inside of the siege tank's range buys the tanks some time to kill her.
- Banshees - Banshees can tear through Kerrigan's HP pretty fast, but are vulnerable to Psi Storm. Be sure to micro them away as soon as you see the storm appear, and have a repair team of SCVs (or, better yet, science vessels) ready for repairs after you're done with her. Split your Banshees into groups and attack from multiple directions to minimize the damage from each storm. As Kerrigan only uses the storm when a squad of units is bunched up, it is critical to spread them apart.
- Spectres - Spectres are a really useful unit to have when fighting Kerrigan, due to their Psionic Lash ability (bought in the Armory) which deals 200 damage to the targeted unit. It does reduced damage to Kerrigan—roughly 75 on normal, 50 on hard—but it's still very effective compared to the alternatives. Note that one-shotting Kerrigan would take about 13 spectres on normal, 25 on hard.
- Ravens - Ravens can effectively distract Kerrigan for short amounts of time by placing autoturrets close by, which she will then focus on storming/killing rather than your expensive units. Seeker missile also does a reduced amount of damage to her (50 on normal, less on hard/brutal.)
- Thors - Thors have the 250 mm Cannon ability. The 250 mm Cannon stuns Kerrigan—while stunned she cannot use her nasty special abilities but can still move and attack, making her an easier target.
- Battlecruisers - If you selected the Tech Reactor research, you should be able to quickly build up a sizable force of Battlecruisers, which are generally a good unit to have for repelling Zerg units. The Yamato Cannon is really what makes the Battlecruiser shine though; in addition to being able to snipe Nydus Worms, landing a few Yamato blasts on Kerrigan will take large chunks out of her health. Yamato does roughly 90 damage to Kerrigan on normal, 75 on hard. Be careful to engage Kerrigan from range however, as she will selectively target your Cruisers and use her one-shot kill ability. Since her one-shot kill seems to have a short cool-down, sending in a few less expensive units like Siege Tanks, Banshees, or Vikings will act as a sacrifice that will spare some of your battlecruisers.
- Broodlords - requires Hive Control and that you didn't complete Shatter the Sky. A large number of Broodlords can stop Kerrigan in her tracks as she isn't able to destroy their Broodlings fast enough to prevent them swarming her. She also won't target the Broodlords while being swarmed by broodlings. Though this method is extremely effective at distracting Kerrigan it requires other units to deal the final blow.
Be careful if you use Thors or Spectres, as you might find yourself low on gas during the mission. Only get as many as you need.
When the Artifact's charge is close to 100%, Kerrigan will appear one last time to take you down, so if you have enough units you'll want to focus fire her down at this time. If you don't then you should retreat to the Artifact's high ground, and hope that Kerrigan gets distracted by your base and doesn't move up to destroy the Artifact.
The Xel'Naga Artifact is an extremely powerful tool in this mission, and can easily turn the tables when used at the right moment. Once its charge-up period of three minutes has completed, a button will appear next to the charge timer in the upper-right corner of your screen. Clicking on the button will unleash a devastating Energy Nova that radiates outward from the Artifact, instantly killing all enemy Zerg units in a huge radius (barring Kerrigan and the Leviathan, although both still take significant damage). While this ability can be a lifesaver if your base is being overwhelmed by Zerg, the Artifact is meant to be a "panic button" of sorts; it's wise to save the Energy Nova until you desperately need it. For instance, it's not a good idea to use the Artifact on a standard wave of Zerg units, only for Kerrigan, the Leviathan, or the Overlord drop to appear right after the attack finishes and cripple your defenses.
- This shouldn't be too difficult, especially considering the number of units that attack you in this mission. Note that if you want to get this achievement along with "Aces High", below, you should save your single Artifact Nova for the final wave.
- If you're playing the mission with Nydus Worms, you should only use it near the end of the mission, when the Zerg start coming non-stop. If you're playing the mission with Air units, you'll want to use it against the Leviathan.