From Liquipedia StarCraft 2 Wiki

Upgrades include anything that improves the functionality of your units. This page covers the information about what upgrades types can be found in Starcraft II, and how to use them. For all race specific upgrades available in multiplayer, see either Protoss Upgrades, Terran Upgrades or Zerg Upgrades.

Upgrade Types[edit]

Numerical Upgrades[edit]

Numerical Upgrades refers to those upgrades which increase the attack and defense values of your units, increasing their efficiency. For all races, air and ground units are treated separately. For Terran, ground units are split into mechanical and biological. For Zerg, ground attack upgrades are split into melee and ranged. Protoss attack upgrades are not split, but instead they have an upgrade to shields as well as an armor upgrade for their units. There are three upgrades for each of these categories. The second and third upgrades of one category require an additional tech building for researching:

Zerg melee attacks upgrade
Research at

Evolution Chamber
Requires: Requires:


+1 +2 +3

Numerical Upgrades are performed in a single generalized building and there are two kinds of Numerical Upgrades, attack and armor, which both have an equal cost and research time (apart from the shield armor upgrade for Protoss).

Attack Upgrades[edit]

These increase the damage dealt by all units of the class by a set number for each unit. The increases generally work out as being [base damage/10] but this is not a definitive calculation. 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. These upgrades affect each attack additively, so if a unit attacks twice it will gain the bonus on each separate attack, rather than as a bulk addition to the final attack.

An example of an Attack Upgrade would be the Terran Infantry Weapons level 1 upgrade:

Infantry Weapons Level 1
 100      100      160 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 those of shields.

An example of an armor upgrade would be the Zerg Ground Carapace level 1 upgrade:

Ground Carapace Level 1
 150      150      160 Hotkey: C
Researched from: Evolution Chamber
Increases the armor of all Zerg ground units.

Shield Upgrades[edit]

Unique to Protoss, these 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 Shield Upgrade would be the Shields level 1 upgrade:

Shields Level 1
 150      150      160 Hotkey: S
Researched from: Forge
Upgrades the armour of shields for all Protoss units and structures.

Upgrade Buildings[edit]

The Engineering Bay provides all Numerical Upgrades for Terran Infantry.

Terran Infantry upgrades are available from the Engineering Bay while Mech and Air upgrades are researched through the Armory. In order to research infantry upgrades beyond level 1 an Armory is required.

Protoss ground unit upgrades are available from the Forge while Air Units are researched through the Cybernetics Core. Shield upgrades for all units and structures are also found in the Forge. In order to research upgrades at a Forge beyond level 1 a Twilight Council is required.

Zerg ground units are upgraded with an Evolution Chamber while a Spire or Greater Spire is required for air upgrades. In order to research Zerg level 2 upgrades of any kind a Lair is required, or for level 3 a Hive. Level 2 upgrades are still available with a Hive.

Qualitative Upgrades[edit]

Qualitative Upgrades, in most cases, affect how units function apart from their numerical combat effectiveness. This type of upgrade might for instance increase the speed of a unit, such as Metabolic Boost, range of a unit, such as Extended Thermal Lance, or the starting energy of a unit such as with the Moebius Reactor upgrade. In other cases entire abilities may be made available as with Psionic Storm.

 200      200      110 Hotkey: T
Researched from: Templar Archives
Gives High Templar the Psionic Storm ability.

Upgrade Buildings[edit]

Qualitative Upgrades are most frequently available at the building that enables the construction of the unit. For example, Siege Tank upgrades at the Tech Lab and upgrades for the Zergling at the Spawning Pool. As with Numeric Upgrades, sometimes an additional building is required to unlock all Qualitative Upgrades for a unit.

 200      200      130 Hotkey: A
Researched from: Spawning Pool
Decreases Zergling attack cooldown to 0.587 (-0.109). Requires a Hive

Campaign Upgrades[edit]

Many additional single player upgrades are available in the Campaign mode that are unavailable elsewhere in the game. These upgrades become available to you as you play through the Campaign and are presented as choices in between missions. These choices do not affect multiplayer games.

Wings of Liberty[edit]

The Wings of Liberty campaign only features campaign specific upgrades for Terran units and structures, despite containing missions where the user plays as Protoss. There are two types of upgrades available, Armory upgrades and Research upgrades.

Upgrade Charts[edit]

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