Mutalisk (Legacy of the Void)
- This article covers the current multiplayer version of this unit. For other versions see Mutalisk (Heart of the Swarm), Mutalisk (Wings of Liberty) and Mutalisk (Heart of the Swarm Campaign).
The Mutalisk is an extremely fast air attack unit capable of attacking both air and ground units. The Mutalisk's projectile, called "Glaive Wurm", hits the target and then two subsequent targets (each for a third of the damage of the previous hit). Mutalisks make effective scouts and skirmishers, able to slow/disrupt mining operations, incoming forces, or enemy expansions.
Needing a high economy to produce in mass, Zerg players believe they "have to do damage" especially to workers and unfinished buildings (no armour bonus). An alternative to this mantra that may come with experience is to: "Aim for the low hanging fruit." As simply keeping Mutalisks alive and taking advantage of their Mutalisk Regeneration keeps this threat alive and forces the opposing player to make more static defences as the size of the Mutalisk flock grows.
The other consideration is Mutalisk have a weakness to anti-air splash damage of Terran units and bonus damage to Light units of Protoss, a weakness the high health of Corruptors do not and if the opponent counters with mass air units Vipers can exploit just as well with Parasitic Bomb.
Early-game Mutalisks are Harassment units and should be used as such. They should only directly engage an army when they massively outnumber the opposing force or are supporting a large ground force. Their strength lies in their mobility, picking off stray units, workers, and buildings. Because few units are fast enough to keep up with Mutalisks, they provide indirect map control - if an enemy balls up their forces to take the offensive, Mutalisks can be used to pick off buildings and units within the enemy base, forcing the enemy back to defend.
Deciding how many Mutalisks to morph is crucial. As each Mutalisk is added to the group, the benefits gained decrease. The number of Mutalisks to make depends on the situation and must be learned through experience. When used for harassment, attack upgrades should have priority over armor upgrades, as your objective is to cause as much damage possible to defenseless targets and run away before much enemy fire comes your way.
A micromanagement trick to make all Mutalisks pop at the same time is to select all the Larva/eggs and bind them to a hotkey. This way, when the Mutalisks spawn they will remain assigned to the same hotkey and can be sent to the enemy base slightly faster.
Due to the Mutalisk's attack style, Mutalisks can most efficiently harass when "stacked" into a clump that generally appears, moves, and attacks as a single Mutalisk. This makes it very difficult for an opponent to target-fire the weakest Mutalisk in the group. Also, with proper micromanagement, every Mutalisk in the stack will attack at the same time, allowing the Mutalisks to dance in and out of the enemy's firing range, greatly reducing damage taken.
The proper micromanagement for Mutalisks involves moving into range to attack, retreating during cooldown to avoid retaliation, then moving back into range to attack again when the cooldown has ended. While doing so, Mutalisks should be manually assigned targets rather than attack-moving so that they will focus fire and kill the same unit rather than injure a number of units.
Due to their relatively slow acceleration, Mutalisks should be continually moved at full speed even when there is no harm in sight - this allows them to easily escape at full speed when defenders arrive.
Chasing Fleeing Units
Like all units without firing animations, Mutalisks can attack while remaining at full movement speed if issued the attack command followed instantly by the move command. It is important to note that if Mutalisks are not given a target, they often decelerate before firing, which will allow the targets to slowly get away, so manual targeting must be used rather than attack-moving.
- Harassment - Due to the mobility of Mutalisks, they are also very effective at harassing Protoss Probes, exposed buildings and stray units.
- Note regarding Sentries - Be wary of Protoss players using the Guardian Shield ability on their Sentries. This reduces the attack damage done by the Mutalisk, but also, more significantly, it reduces the first bounce damage to 1 (2 with 3 attack upgrades) and the second to 0.5, effectively reducing 2+2+1 damage. This flat deduction actually gets worse in relation as the Glaives' upgrade effects do not match opposing defensive upgrades.
The natural Protoss counter to the Mutalisk is the Phoenix, that does extra damage versus Light units and is more mobile than the Mutalisk. A Protoss that decides to tech to Phoenixes will generally shut down any Mutalisk play and will get map control. It is important to rule out Phoenix play before teching to Mutalisks.
Muta Spread Technique vs Thors and Liberators ("Magicboxing")
With proper micro it's possible to take on Thors with Mutalisks, this does however require a special micro technique called "magicboxing". The way this works is that whenever Mutas attack they clump up on each other. The way to prevent this is to fly right over the Thors using a move command and hit the top or old position button, in this way the Mutas will be spread out and take no splash damage while they start attacking the Thors. With this technique it is not possible to focus fire as that would clump them up, but usually only 1 or 2 Thors fit underneath a mutalisk pack. As illustrated in this video:
- When engaging into Terran Marines, Liberators or Thors; Overseers and Corruptors are Armored-types (no Thor bonus damage) and can tank the first few hits. Giving Zerg to split in the mid of battle.
In Mutalisk vs Mutalisk battles, Flyer Carapace should always be upgraded rather than Flyer Attacks if possible; Air Carapace decreases the damage of all 3 bounces from the glaive wurm by 1 each, while Air Attack only increases the damage of the attacks by 1, 0.33, and 0.11. Air Attack is preferred against Corruptors as it increases the damage dealt to Corruptors by ~16% while Air Carapace only decreases the damage taken by ~7%. Against Hydralisks, the correct upgrade depends on what Mutalisks are being used to accomplish. Attack upgrades assist in sniping Hydralisks, Queens, and Spore Crawlers, but armor helps soak up damage, allowing more time for ground units to close with the Hydralisks.
Because the effectiveness of upgrades increases as the number of units increases, a player who upgrades their Mutalisks early should play defensively and accumulate Mutalisks rather than trading them against enemy units, and then make a timing attack as soon as the upgrade completes. Conversely, a player should attempt to engage an opponent suspected to be stalling for upgrades to finish. Additionally, this also means that upgrades should be started sooner on macro-oriented maps and positions, and vice versa.
Focus fire is always preferred in small Mutalisk vs. Mutalisk battles, as dead Mutalisks do not cause damage while several hurt Mutalisks do. Because it takes 14 attacks to kill an opposing Mutalisk, Mutalisks should be selected in groups of 14 or 7 so that they can efficiently one-shot or two-shot enemy Mutalisks without wasting attacks. These numbers should be adjusted accordingly if upgrades are in play. In larger (21+ Mutalisk) engagements, this is no longer relevant as the sizable amount of bounce damage negates attempts to focus fire efficiently.
- Mutalisk's sounds (video and sound) - YouTube video.
No patch changes so far in LotV.