Stalker (Legacy of the Void)
- This article covers the current multiplayer version of this unit. For other versions see Stalker (Heart of the Swarm) and Stalker (Wings of Liberty).
The Stalker's name is indicative of its hit-and-run capabilities: they have a relatively high movement speed, and after the Blink upgrade has been researched at the Twilight Council, they can advance or retreat literally in a flash, bypassing rocks and hopping up and down cliffs.
Blink is one of the most versatile upgrades in the game. It can be used for harassment, quick defense against drops or air units, and chasing down retreating units.
Blink requires vision of the area Stalkers are trying to reach. This means you will often need air units or Hallucinated Phoenixes to Blink into the enemy base. Using Blink is very micro intensive but can be extremely powerful on certain maps.
Additional details of the Blink ability can be found on the Blink main page.
The Stalker is a key component of ground armies due to its range, damage output, ability to counter air units, and attack bonus towards armored units such as Marauders and Roaches; however, Stalkers are relatively fragile units. As an armored unit, they are particularly weak to Marauders and Immortals. Generally speaking, a critical mass of 8-12 Stalkers, supported by 2-3 Sentries and 2-3 Immortals (Terran) or 2-3 Zealots (Zerg) will do extremely well against the Marine/Marauder/Siege Tank builds that are popular in TvP as well as the Roach/Hydralisk combo or Mutalisk/Zergling prominently used in ZvP. A large enough ball of Stalkers (in excess of 15-18) can hold its own against most mid-game builds and provides the player with a highly mobile army, capable of hit-and-run tactics. Stalkers can evade established defensive positions or abuse cliffs to get away from any pursuers. Against highly mobile harassment such as upgraded Reapers or Mutalisks, jumping in to engage with the Blink upgrade can help secure kills. Stalkers also augment any Protoss army since they have one more range than Sentries, allowing them to easily form a line behind Sentries to attack an enemy army.
An early swarm of Stalkers is the goal of most 4 Gate rush strategies in PvP. A mass of Stalkers that attacks early, around 4:00 or even earlier, can be extremely difficult for a Protoss opponent to deal with provided they do not open with a Robotics Facility. In later stages of the game, Stalkers with Blink can provide additional mobility and harassment, but they struggle against the almost inevitable Immortal-based army in the Protoss mirror match-up. However, the anti-air capabilities of the Stalker can prove critical when dealing with alternative PvP strategies including Phoenix and Oracle harassment as well as Void Ray rushes.
Before getting Blink, Stalkers can be difficult to use in the early game because of the Marauder's Concussive Shells ability, which slows Stalkers to a crawl and makes them easy prey. However, Stalkers are useful for preventing any early Reaper or Hellion harassment. In the later stages of the game, Stalkers often prove critical for defending Colossi from Vikings. The general response to a large number of Stalkers is to produce Marauders due to their bonus damage to armored units such as Stalkers. Stalkers with Blink can be used to harass an enemy Terran and bypass a Bunker-heavy fast expansion. Stalkers can also effectively force an opponent to waste a Stimpack by engaging an enemy Terran infantry army and then Blinking and running away, effectively reducing the hitpoints of the Terran army while taking little damage in return. In addition Stalkers make excellent units for defending Terran Medivac and Liberator attacks.
Since the release of Legacy of the Void, the massive nerfs to the Colossus as well as the addition of the Lurker have made using large masses of Stalkers obsolete in favor of the beefier Immortal Archon Chargelot army composition. That said Stalkers are still useful when dealing with roach based attacks due to their bonus to armored units, they are also used to kill Overlords attempting to scout if the player has not opted to open with a Stargate .
Stalkers with Blink are useful at chasing down small flocks of Mutalisks ,however a large amount of Mutas can be very difficult to defend against without the help of Phoenix. Lategame a way to use Stalkers is as anti Broodlord units. One has to be careful of Lurkers on the ground nonetheless as blinking under Broodlords over Lurkers will result in losing the Stalkers for little to no gain.
During 2019, a more offensive way to use blink stalkers was developed as a means to bludgeon Roach based play, more specifically styles that go into Mutalisk or Swarm Host Nydus. Due to the fact the Stalker could deal bonus damage to Roaches, which is a supplement to the few immortals a Protoss will have. Secondarily are its anti air capabilities which are very useful against Mutalisks as well as Locusts. These two aspects combined form a strong mid-game timing attack vs Zerg players who play Roach Swarm Host or Roach Muta.
Stalker micro usually involves using Blink to climb cliffs, stutter stepping to use the Stalker's fast speed compared to most T1 units, and using blink to recharge the shields of stalkers at the front of the battle by blinking behind the army and losing attack priority.
Stalker's quotes (video and sound) - YouTube video.
|Patch 4.0.0 |
|Patch 4.1.4 Balance Update |