The Cyclone is a fast hit-and-away vehicle produced from a Factory with an attached Tech Lab. It was first introduced in Legacy of the Void.
The Cyclone has an ability called Lock On which does roughly the same amount of damage as its regular attacks, but has a longer range and allows it to shoot while moving. Paired with a high movement speed, this makes the Cyclone a master at kiting.
For 2 years, from Patch 3.8.0 (Nov 2016) until Patch 4.7.1 (Nov 2018), the Cyclone filled a vastly different role: it did not require a Tech Lab, was not designed for kiting but rather raw damage, and was a little sturdier, too. As a result it was the centerpiece of many an early-game push. The Lock On ability was restricted to air targets.
Locks the Cyclone's weapons on the target unit, dealing 400 damage over 14 seconds to ground and flying targets. Can move while firing. Cancels if target moves out of range.
To use Lock On, a Cyclone must move within 7 range of a target. Once the ability is activated, a Cyclone can move away from the target up to a distance of 15 while still maintaining effect. Lock On lasts for 14.3 seconds after activation, but the effect is broken if the target dies, moves out of vision or exceeds the maximum distance of 15. It cannot be cancelled early by any other means. The cooldown of 4.3 seconds starts once the lock is broken or expires.
By default, Lock On is set to auto-cast. Auto-cast will only activate when the Cyclone is not on a move command, and it will only target units (with the exception of Larvae and Broodlings) and combat buildings. Auto-cast will also not target anything already locked onto by another Cyclone. When multiple eligible targets are in range, closer targets are prioritized.
Lock On is an ability and therefore ignores the armor of a targeted unit, but also does not profit from Vehicle Weapons Upgrades: it does a flat 20 damage per shot and delivers one shot every 0.71 seconds (the same speed as its regular weapon attack). The Mag-Field Accelerator upgrade doubles the damage per shot against Armored targets to 40.
Once Mag-Field Accelerator has been researched this is visible on all the player's Cyclones: the model gains two red "head lights".
- Ever since the Cyclone revert in patch 4.7.1, Cyclones are no longer buildable from a reactored factory and are an alternate to a siege tank requiring a Tech Lab, they are debateably stronger early game due to the Lock On large effective range and because of the vision provided from the player's own building allowing better sniping against early harassing units such as Medivacs, Banshees, Oracles, Warp Prisms and Drop-Overlords.
- Cyclones lose their mobility advantage against fast mass-produced units and upgrades like Stimpacked Marine/Marauder, Zerglings with Metabolic Boost or Blink Stalkers.
- Later in the game, small packs of Cyclone's can complement a main army in sniping important spell casters such as Vipers, Ravens and High Templar or large Tier 3 units like The Tempest, Carrier , Ultralisk and Battlecruiser.
- A pack of cyclones can rapidly snipe bases if they all use Lock On (preferably with Mag Field Accelerators) on the base. This can combo'd with a hellion runby to get worker kills as they send resources to the nearest surviving base due to the fact that there is a high chance they clump up and quickly fall to the hellion's piercing flamethrower.
- Lock On has a maximum effective range of 15 which surpasses that of the Siege Tank's 13 and even that of the Protoss Tempest's air attack's 14. This allows the Cyclone to effectively snipe off key units from a safe distance after achieving Lock On.
- Lock On only has 7 casting range however so care must be taken to ensure the cyclone survives to unleash its full volley due to its limited 120 hit points (a single widow mine one-shots a Cyclone)
- The Cyclone's default weapon has a meaningfully capable DPS but has a lackluster range of 5. As such it is not recommended to use the Cyclone's default attack over Lock On.
- The fast movement speed of the Cyclone (being close to that of the Hellion) allows for an unorthodox fragile mechanical style composition that excels at pressuring the opponent and firefighting.
- Sometimes used to skim on early Missile Turret for a fast Command Center (3) off of two production structures. Especially strong against Stargate opening even with just Factory (1) + Marines.
- Can be effectively used early in the game to pressure a greedy protoss and snipe key units before they become counters such as Stalkers before Blink and Zealots without Charge.
- Phoenix and their Graviton Beams are a hard counter to cyclone's however as it disrupts Lock On.
- To a more micro-intensize (and risky) extent, warp prisms loaded with immortals can effectively one shot Cyclones given they are dropped to kill the Cyclone before Lock On completes.
- Against Banshee openings, a single cyclone is capable of dealing with a single banshee given it's micro'd away from the banshee and maintains detection/vision, do note that the cyclone is faster and Lock On gives it 15 effective range. You do not need mag field upgrade to kill a banshee in one Lock On.
- Against early Marines + Siege Tank pushes common in this mirror match, Cyclones do little except spot the attack coming across the map. Mass Hellions to kill the Marines (leaving the Tanks defenseless) is far more useful.
- Cyclones are adept at safely damaging and possibly killing the powerful Battlecruiser once they have their upgrade.
- The Hellion Cyclone style is common against zerg as the hellion can cover the Cyclones during Lock On from their counter: zerglings allowing for effective poke damage and/or sniping bases.
- Burrowed units (especially banes) are highly effective against this extremely mobile force and/or Infestors with Fungal Growth.
- Vipers can also use Abduct to separate the more dangerous Cyclones from the main army. Beware to not lose the Viper to a Lock On however.
- Due to the high cost of cyclones, swarm hosts and their cheap (essentially free) Locusts are a hard counter.
- Systems go. Cyclone ready for action.
- Optics online. Let's go kill something.
- You got coordinates or what?
- Comm's open.
- This ought to be good.
- Show me who you wanna die.
- Got a target in mind?
- Cyclone receiving.
- Channels clear, boss.
- It's a cyclone... not a cyclops, alright? I don't care that it has one eye!
- Oh, this will drive circles around a Diamondback. I guarantee it.
- Uh... I'm kinda out of jokes, man. I'm not really a jokey kind of guy.
- Gonna just keep poking me anyway, huh? Look, we get back to fighting? I'm actually good at that!
- How about I make this really simple. You point them out, then I risk my neck by driving right up to them. Then, get this, I kill them! Sound good?
- Okay, so this is you, "Hey, Cyclone. What you're doing?"" Then I'm like, "Nothing, I just want to go kill things!"
- "Well how 'bout we have a nice long talk instead?" "Gee, I dunno, boss. That sounds pretty awful. Maybe we could just stop this whole thing and get back to shooting stuff!"
- "No, I'm just going to keep on doing it. Blah bla-blah bla-blah. Poke poke poke!"
- [sigh] (to self) Don't let 'em get to you, man... just pushing your buttons.
- Will you quit doing that!?!
- Moving into position.
- Nothing'll stop me.
- I get you.
- Cyclone en route.
- In gear.
- Oh, I'll get there.
- Adjusting for new coordinates.
- Target locked.
- Annnd, here... we... go.
- I'm going in.
- Oh yeah, I see them.
- Let's stir up some trouble.
- Typhoon missiles locked.
- Say goodnight.
- This one's going down.
- Taking some fire here.
- Enemy contact.
|Balance Update #1
- Lock-on range down from 15 to 12.
- Range upgrade now increases lock-on range up to 15.
|Patch 2.5.5 Balance Update #4
- Cyclone movement speed increased to 4.72 from 3.94.
|Patch 2.5.5 Balance Update #5
- Health reduced to 120 from 160.
- Lock-On now deals 400 damage over 20 seconds against both ground and air.
- Lock-On upgrade increases the damage against armored units by 400 against both ground and air.
|Patch 3.3.0 Balance Update 
- Cost reduced from 150/150 to 150/100
- Supply cost increased from 3 to 4
|Patch 3.8.0 
- The anti-ground weapon has been heavily changed.
- Damage changed from 18 to 3 (+2 vs armored).
- Range decreased from 5 to 4, and the new "Mag-Field Launchers" upgrade gives +2 range.
- Attack period change from .7 seconds to .1 seconds and random delays removed.
- Weapon upgrade amount changed from 2 to 1 to account for the new damage value.
- Changed weapon name to Tornado Blaster.
- No anti-air weapon.
- Movement speed decreased from 4.72 to 4.13.
- Lock On can now target air units and air structures only. Range is unchanged, and the ability now deals 160 damage over 14 seconds.
- Removed auto-cast for the Lock On ability.
- Supply cost decreased from 4 to 3.
- Increased health from 120 to 180.
- The Cyclone no longer requires a Tech Lab, and can now be built with a Reactor.
- The Cyclone auto-attack missile art has been adjusted to reduce visual clutter.
- The missiles fired from the Lock On ability are unchanged.
- Removed the Cyclone Lock On Damage upgrade from the Factory Tech Lab.
|Patch 3.8.0 Balance Update 
- Anti-ground weapon range increased from 4 to 6.
- Anti-grounds weapon minimum scan range updated to 6.5
- "Mag-Field Launchers" upgrade removed.
|Patch 4.0.0 
- First four shots will fire quickly for the Cyclone's Lock On ability.
- New upgrade "Rapid Fire Launchers":
- Research from Factory Tech Lab
- Cost: 150 Minerals / 150 Vespene Gas / 79 seconds.
- Increases the attack speed of the first 12 shots of the Cyclone's Lock On ability.
|Patch 4.0.2 Balance Update 
- Factory Tech Lab
- Rapid Fire Launchers cost reduced from 150/150 to 75/75.
|Patch 4.7.1 
- Now requires a Tech Lab to be built at the Factory.
- Health decreased from 180 to 120.
- Movement speed increased from 4.13 to 4.73.
- Tornado Blaster weapon changed to the Typhoon Missile Pod weapon:
- Damage changed from 3 (+2 vs Armored) to 18.
- Can target air and ground units.
- Weapon speed changed from 0.1 to 0.71.
- Range decreased from 6 to 5.
- Weapon upgrades changed from +1 to +2 to account for the new damage value.
- Lock On ability changed:
- Ability can auto cast.
- Can now target ground and flying units and structures.
- Damage changed from 160 to 400 damage over 14 seconds.
- Rapid Fire Launchers upgrade removed.
- Added Mag-Field Accelerator upgrade:
- After researching Mag-Field Accelerator upgrade, Lock On will deal 400 (+400 vs Armored) over 14 seconds to ground and flying targets.
|Patch 4.8.2 
- Mag-field Accelerator research time increased from 79 seconds to 100 seconds.
- Mag-field Accelerator upgrade tooltip updated.
- Lock-On tooltip updated.