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For a catalogue of all race-specific upgrades available in multiplayer, see Protoss Upgrades, Terran Upgrades, and Zerg Upgrades.

Upgrades are in-game researches that improve the statistics or unlock abilities of units. This page describes the upgrades types to be found in Starcraft II, and how to use them.

Upgrade Types[edit]

Numerical Upgrades[edit]

The Engineering Bay provides all Numerical Upgrades for Terran Infantry.

Numerical Upgrades are those upgrades that increase the attack and defense values of your units, increasing their combat efficiency. For all races, air and ground units are treated separately. Terran ground units are split into Mechanical & Biological. For Zerg, ground attack upgrades are split into Melee & Ranged. Protoss ground attack & armor upgrades apply to all ground units, and they have an upgrade to shields. In each category there are three levels. The second and third levels of most categories require an additional tech building. Only Zerg require a separate building for Levels 2 and 3, a Lair and Hive. Each upgrade costs as much Vespene as Minerals, and Attack and Armor for each unit type usually have an equal cost and research time.

Race Research Location Upgrades Advanced requirement
Terran Engineering Bay Infantry Weapons
Infantry Armor
Armory Vehicle Weapons
Ship Weapons
Vehicle and Ship Plating[n 1]
Protoss Forge Ground Weapons
Ground Armor
Twilight Council
Cybernetics Core Air Weapons
Air Armor
Fleet Beacon
Zerg Evolution Chamber Melee Attacks
Missile Attacks
Ground Carapace
Level 2: Lair Level 3: Hive
Spire Flyer Attacks
Flyer Carapace
Level 2: Lair Level 3: Hive
  1. In HotS, Vehicle and Ship Weapons were combined as well; in WoL, they were four separate upgrade sets.

Attack Upgrades[edit]

These increase the damage dealt by all units of the class by a set number for each unit. The increases generally correspond to being [base damage/10, min 1] but this is not universal. These upgrades also affect the bonus damage of some units, for example the Immortal gains an additional 3 bonus damage against armored units per upgrade. Upgrades affect each attack, so if a unit attacks in volleys it will gain the bonus on each separate attack, rather than as a bulk addition to the whole attack. Note that attack upgrades do not apply to damage caused by abilities.

An example of an Attack Upgrade is:

Infantry Weapons Level 1
 100      100      114 Hotkey: E
Researched from: Engineering Bay
Increase the damage of Terran infantry units.

Armor Upgrades[edit]

Each Armor Upgrade increases the armor of a class of units by +1. For Terran and Zerg, these reduce all incoming damage. For Protoss units it only decreases the damage dealt to health points, not dealt to shields.

An example of an Armor Upgrade is:

Ground Carapace Level 1
 150      150      114 Hotkey: C
Researched from: Evolution Chamber
Increases the armor of all Zerg ground units.

Shield Upgrades[edit]

These Protoss upgrades affect the armor of Protoss Shields, on both units and structures. By default the shield has 0 armor but with each upgrade it will increase by +1. Shield armor reduces all incoming damage until no shield health remains.

An example of a Shield Upgrade is:

Shields Level 1
 150      150      129 Hotkey: S
Researched from: Forge
Upgrades the shields for all Protoss units and structures.

Qualitative Upgrades[edit]

Qualitative Upgrades, in most cases, affect how units function apart from their damage dealt and damage taken. This type of upgrade may still change a unit's statistics, for example, increasing a unit's speed, such as Metabolic Boost, range, such as Extended Thermal Lance, or starting energy such as Pathogen Glands. Some upgrades unlock abilities, as with Psionic Storm.

 200      200      79 Hotkey: T
Researched from: Templar Archives
Gives High Templars the Psionic Storm ability.

Upgrade Buildings[edit]

Broadly speaking, qualitative Upgrades are available at the building that enables the construction of a specific unit. For example, upgrades for the Zergling are at the Spawning Pool. Terran upgrades are also often available at a Tech Lab attached to the unit's production facility. As with Numeric Upgrades, sometimes an additional building is required to unlock all Qualitative Upgrades for a unit.

Campaign Upgrades[edit]

Apart from numerical upgrades, in the Campaign, most upgrades are unlocks purchased between missions, rather than researched in-game. Many additional upgrades are available in the single-player Campaign mode. They become available as you progress through the Campaign and gather 'Research Points' and the like. These choices do not affect multiplayer games.

  • Wings of Liberty
    • The Wings of Liberty campaign only features campaign-specific upgrades for Terran units and structures, despite containing some Protoss missions. There are two types of upgrades available, Armory upgrades and Research upgrades.
  • Heart of the Swarm
    • In the Heart of the Swarm Campaign, units can be improved at the Evolution Pit by choosing Mutations, which can be changed again between missions, and completing Evolution Missions, after which the player must choose one of two Strains of a unit, which is permanent.
  • Legacy of the Void
    • In Legacy of the Void, Passive and active abilities are unlocked at the Solar Core, and eventually there will be three versions of each unit to select. Both kinds can be freely changed between missions.

Upgrade Charts[edit]

  • Chart with emphasis on Hits per Kill [1]
  • More in depth match-up charts (not entirely up-to-date):