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The Protoss are a race in Blizzard Entertainment's real-time strategy computer game, StarCraft. They are technologically advanced, and rely on psionic abilities and cybernetics in battle. They are the primary opponents of the Zerg. The Protoss are highly religious and follow a strict code known as the Khala. The Protoss have a three-chambered heart (this was shown when Tassadar attacked the Zerg Overmind).
In StarCraft online culture, the Protoss are often referred to as simply the Toss.
Aiur is a world engineered by the Xel'Naga, a race of extragalactic geneticists, obssessed with creating a race that had purity of form. The Xel'Naga, disappointed at their failures to create such a race, were surprised to discover the creatures on this world.
They watched over this species of hunters and warriors and discerned that they indeed had a purity of form, as they were incredibly adaptable and had unmatched strength and speed. But the Xel'Naga were even more intrigued by their species-wide psionic bond, which the Xel'Naga believed to be a manifestation of purity of essence.
The Xel'Naga altered the Protoss to some extent with their Khaydarin Crystals, but were content to remain unseen for a very long time. Eventually, after all of Aiur was covered by civilized Protoss, the Xel'Naga descended onto Aiur in order to more closely study the evolution of their charges. Where they first set foot upon Aiur, a Temple was built.
Initially the Xel'Naga were worshipped as gods. However, as the young Protoss became more personally aware, they started to seek individuality, and concentrated proudly on personal achievements rather than the common good. Their egos grew above the ancient communal relationship and Tribes sought isolation from others. Many began to frown upon the Xel'Naga, who tried to participate in their affairs.
The Protoss used to share a psionic link with each other and Aiur, but as Protoss egos rose with their new inventions, such as spaceflight, this link weakened and eventually faded away. The Xel'Naga believed that the Protoss had lost their purity of essence and began to withdraw from the planet.
Disappointed, the Xel'Naga began withdrawing from Aiur. However, the suspicious Protoss responded with an attack that destroyed a number of Xel'Naga worldships. The Xel'Naga Worldships fended off the hasty attack and left the system. The Protoss Tribes then turned against each other, beginning thus the Aeon of Strife, the most devastating civil wars in recorded galactic history.
The Aeon of Strife
During the Aeon of Strife, Protoss advancement slowed, and the tribes waged a massive war with each other, lasting hundreds of years. Little is known from this time, but it is known that the Protoss lost their psionic link with both their land and the Xel'Naga. The Aeon of Strife was the longest, most devastating civil war to ever strike any currently known species. The most famous Tribe from this time period is the Akilae Tribe , which are to this day renown as the Protoss' finest psionic warriors.
During this time, the Protoss maintained colonies on other planets, but these too quickly became gripped with the Strife.
He Who Brings Order
The mystic Khas (a word meaning "He who brings order") eventually brought about the end of the Strife. He had studied the "forbidden" teachings of the Xel'Naga and unearthed the Khaydarin Crystals. With these crystals he was able to amplify the psionic link, which had submerged itself in Protoss egos, and recreate the link.
With this power, he travelled through Aiur and the other Protoss planets, teaching the Protoss he encountered to join the psionic link; this became a philosophy called the Khala. Eventually he reunited the majority of the Protoss, forming three castes and a new Tribe.
The very first group of warriors and students to surround him became the Ara Tribe , and joined the Judicator Caste . The other Tribes to quickly join also became members of this caste.
The next group of Tribes became the Templar Caste (the warriors), and the majority of the Protoss became the Khalai Caste (workers and artisans), ending the civil war.
Unknown to the majority of Protoss at this time, some Protoss refused to join the Khala, yet did not act on the violent emotions of the Strife. Adun and his templar refused to exterminate them as ordered and they were expelled from Aiur with an ancient Xel'Naga freighter. These outcasts were known as the Dark Templar, who responded by severing the nerve cords that linked them to the Protoss telepathic community.
Expansion and Discovery
The Protoss conquered hundreds of worlds within their corner of the galaxy, spreading cvilization to many of the more advanced races that they encountered.
The Protoss follow the Dae'uhl, aka Stewardship, of the planets once claimed by the Xel'Naga. They started supervising and protecting the lesser life forms, but rarely interfering.
The Protoss suffered disastrous contact with the Zerg. The Protoss discovered Zerg probes on the edge of Protoss space and discovered their true purpose; to conquer the Protoss and absorb their psionic abilities into the gene pool. They realized that the Zerg they had secretly been infesting the Terran planets, and they exterminated the first planet without warning.
The Fall of Aiur
After the destruction of the first Terran planet, they would wait until the Terrans had left the planet to destroy them, but would scour the surfaces clean of all Zerg. Tassadar, the leader of the force sent to scour the planets of the Zerg, enlisted the aid of the Dark Tempalr without the permission of the Conclave after he discovered that they could be used to defeat the Zerg. Normally, a Zerg cerebrate would be reincarnated, but the Dark Templar had the power to cut off the reincarnation power. However, when the Dark Templar destroyed the first cerebrate, the Overmind discovered the location of Aiur. After a long battle, they finally managed to conquer the planet.
The Overmind itself landed on Aiur, but after a long, stalemated battle, Tassadar was forced to combine the forces of dark and light templar and sacrifice himself to destroy the Overmind. Even then, in the aftermath, 70% of their population was slain, Zerg were running loose on Aiur, and the Conclave had fallen.
With Zerg running loose across Aiur, Zeratul, a prominent Dark Templar leader, suggested that they flee to Shakuras, the homeworld of the Dark Templar. Despite protests from Aldaris, the leader of the Conclave, they did so. However, it was soon discovered that the Zerg had followed them there, and that they had manifested themselves around the Xel'Naga Temple. The Matriach of the Dark Templar, Raszagal, noted that they would need two crystals, containing the powers of light and dark templar, to defeat the Zerg.
However, Sarah Kerrigan, a Terran ghost operative that had been infested by the Zerg into a ruthless servent of the Overmind, came to them and told them that there was a new Overmind growing on the planet Char. She claimed that she was free from the Overmind's control and that she didn't want to come under its influence again. So, while they agreed to help cripple the maturation of the Overmind, Kerrigan agreed, in turn, to help with the obtaining of the two crystals.
After the two crystals had been discovered and the Overmind was crippled, Aldaris and his followers waged a civil war with the Protoss under the command of Artanis, Zeratul, Fenix, and their Terran allies (notably James Raynor). The Conclave was defeated, but Kerrigan intervened, killed Aldaris, kidnapped Raszagal, and claimed that she had been brainwashing her to do her bidding all along. The Protoss then proceeded to secure the Xel'Naga temple and combine the powers of the two crystals. This scoured the surface of Shakuras of all life, except for the ones inside the temple, and, therefore, defeated the Zerg force. Later, Zeratul had been captured by Kerrigan and offered to return Raszagal to him. However, Zeratul feared that Raszagal was still under the control of Kerrigan and killed her. Kerrigan, surprisingly, let Zeratul go.
Later on, when Kerrigan had gathered her forces above Char, the remaining Protoss under Artanis (as well as forces commanded by the United Earth Directorate and the Terran Dominion), attempted to stop Kerrigan. However, Kerrigan defeated all three forces, and the remaining Protoss, commanded by Artanis (since Fenix had been killed and Zeratul had dissapeared), retreated to Shakuras to begin rebuilding the once grand civilization.
Protoss are about 3 meters tall and have two glowing eyes, digitigrade legs, semi-permeable skin covered in scales, four fingers on their hands (of which two are thumbs) and toes, broad chests and shoulders, and narrow waists with slim midsections. Extending back from the crown of the head, Protoss have a bony crest. Beneath it, emerging from the back of the head, are the nerve cords, allowing them to access their racial psionic gestalt. This gestalt is the basis of the Khala.
Protoss lack noses and mouths, and it is unknown if they require food or drink. It is known, however, that they used to be a hunting species. They communicate telepathically with each other, but may be capable of vocalization. They use psionic communication devices at long distances. They are physically resilient and illness is extremely rare.
A Protoss's average life expectancy is several hundred years (possibly at least 800; see Matriarch Raszagal). Protoss under 300 years rarely have any significant political positions.
Protoss blood is blue, with a slight iridescence. After several minutes outside the body, it gradually evaporates, flaring with pale blue light and vanishing.
As in Humans, coloration is considered a sign of ethnicity, with each Protoss tribe having a specific color or typical pattern of markings associated with it. The main exception is the Ara tribe, as it was not originally created through inheritance, instead derived from unrelated students who originally followed Khas and his philosophy, the Khala.
The Protoss brain is similar in structure to a human brain. The most noticable differences lie in the cerebellum, primarily in its size. The Protoss cerebellum is elongated in comparison to humans, resulting in a larger surface area which accounts for the greater cognitive abilities of the Protoss. This is also the reason for their vast psionic powers, as this enlarged area is probably the area of the human brain which is relatively inactive.
Protoss Religion takes its roots from the wars that plagued Aiur following the retreat of the Xel'Naga. United after several years under the teachings of Khas, the Protoss began to adhere to his teachings of the "Khala", or Path to Ascension. The resulting religion bears a striking resemblance to modern day Hinduism — the Khala has a caste system and focuses heavily on the teachings of Khas and the ability of the Protoss to use Psionic powers. When Protoss warriors die it is believed that they have reached the "Khala's Light".
- Khala ("Path of Ascension")
- Dae'Uhl ("Great Stewardship")
Religious figures in Protoss society
- Khas — A prominent figure in Protoss society, he was the charismatic and spiritual leader who brought an end to the Aeon of Strife by using ancient Xel'Naga artifacts, the Khaydarin Crystals, to unite the warring tribes by calling them into a communal telepathic matrix. The belief that this was necessary for the Protoss to survive became known as the Khala, and is followed by almost all Protoss factions.
- Adun — Another well known figure in Protoss culture, he is honored by Khalai and Dark Templar alike. A powerful warrior in his time, he was charged with the extermination of the Rogue Tribes by the Conclave. Unable to bring themselves to slaughter their kin, Adun and his troops attempted to hide the heretics. Though he failed, he would be known as a saviour to the Dark Templar, and would gain similar status on Aiur after the myth of the heretics spread, revealing that he "saved" Aiur from the heretics and their "anarchist" ways. The phrase "En Taro Adun" is used by the Protoss as a formal greeting or goodbye, and also serves as a battlecry.
- Tassadar — He gained a following after his heroic death in defeating the Zerg Overmind. He serves as a contemporary example of Protoss virtues, and some Templar (notably Artanis) have taken to saying "En Taro Tassadar".
Heroes and other notable Protoss
- High cost per unit produced
- High unit power
- High supply consumption per unit
- Very powerful special abilities (the Psi Storm is often referred to as the "most powerful damaging special ablilty in the game").
- Only race with "shields." All Protoss units (including buildings) have shields; when damaged, shields regenerate over time, even faster than Zerg units heal. Shields, however, always take full damage (see Damage types). Shields are instantly drained by the Terran Science Vessel's EMP ability. Shields on all units can be regenerated almost instantly by the Protoss Shield Battery structure. However, they are unable to heal damage sustained when their shields have been depleted.
- Protoss structures, like their units, cannot be repaired of damage sustained while the shields were down (exception to this is a Terran medic healing a non mech Protoss unit)
- Fastest building method, moderate building location restrictions (Pylons)
The most technologically advanced race in the game, the Protoss field relatively small but very powerful armies. Their units cost much more than those of the Terran or Zerg, and require more supply, but are far more powerful than the equivalent units of those races. Their shields also serve as a replacable buffer of health. The Protoss builder unit, the Probe, does not actually build structures but instead warps them in from Aiur; once the Probe has finished opening the warp gate, it can walk off and begin mining, or even warp in more buildings.
The Protoss's major downfall is their high cost; a Protoss player without a strong economy is essentially doomed, and it is a small economic disaster if they lose even one unit (as opposed to, say, the Zerg, who throw away their soldiers with impunity). The Protoss also have a weakness no other race has, in the form of their Pylons. Pylons are specialized buildings that project an energy field, symbolized onscreen as a transparent blue circle; all Protoss buildings require this field to function. Pylons are relatively durable (300 shield points and 300 Hit Points), but they are still the easiest thing in a Protoss base to destroy, with the added effect of 'unplugging' all the Protoss's home appliances and factories. A concentrated assault on Pylons, in other words, can bring Protoss production to a halt; and, since Pylons also provide Supply, those buildings that remain 'plugged in' still may not be able to produce more units until the Supply limit is restored.
- Probe — builder unit
- Zealot — primary attack unit. The Zealot is a melee attacker, and is much stronger than the primary attack units of the Zerg and Terran. Can be upgraded for faster movement speed, increased damage and better armor and shields. Like Zerglings and unlike Terran Marines, it cannot attack air units.
- Dragoon — ranged attack ground unit that deals medium explosive damage. The dragoon can be upgraded for longer range, higher damage and stronger armor and shields. It also has the capability to attack air units.
- Reaver — siege unit. It is both the slowest siege unit and the most powerful. Unlike most other units, it does not have unlimited ammunition. Instead, it must be ordered to build "Scarabs" at 15 units of Minerals each. It has an initial capacity of 5 which can be upgraded to 10. Each shot uses up one Scarab. Note that the Scarabs move along the ground toward their targets; while they will circumnavigate obstacles if possible, they need a relatively clear path. This and its slow speed are the Reaver's main weaknesses. However, the high damage, splash effect and Normal Damage types make it very powerful against groups of weak units such as Zerglings or Marines, and the long range can be used to take out defensive structures with impunity, although it lacks the range of the Siege Tank. The Reaver can be upgraded for higher Scarab capacity, higher Scarab damage, better armor and better shields.
- High Templar — primary caster. High Templar cannot attack and are rather slow and weak. However, their special abilities make them powerful support units:
- Hallucination — Creates two copies of a target unit. Enemies cannot distinguish hallucinations from real units directly. However, hallucinations do no damage when they attack, cannot use special abilities, and take double damage. Hallucinations disappear if they are "killed" or once their energy runs out. This can be used for decoys or for intimidation. Hallucinations also immediately disappear when special abilities (target specific or area effect) hit them for some sort of effect or damage, even when the units are at full health. Very useful for getting rid of half of those forty battlecruisers. Must be researched at the Templar Archives.
- Psi Storm — possibly the most powerful special ability in the game. Psi Storm covers an area with crackling electricity. Any units in the area, both friendly and enemy, take damage for each second that they stay in the field. This is extremely effective against slow-moving units like the Reaver or Siege Tank or against large groups of small units like Zerglings. Psi Storm does not stack; that is, multiple storms cast over the same area at the same time do not combine effects. Must be researched at the Templar Archives.
- Archon Meld — only available when two or more High Templar are selected at one time. The Templar merge in pairs to create Archons. This does not consume any mana; however, the merging takes some time during which the Templar are vulnerable. The meld is irreversible, so the high templar and their abilities are irretrievably lost.
- Archon — Archons are created when two High Templar merge. They have a powerful ranged attack that deals splash damage, and can take a strong beating with 350 shield points. However, they only have 10 hit points, so an EMP will bring them to near-death. Archons are immune to Irradiate, and are almost unaffected by Plague (it lowers their HP to 1 without damaging their shields.) They can be upgraded for higher damage and stronger armor and shields. Archons are great melee units.
- Dark Templar — stealth unit with permanent cloaking ability (no cloaking special ablility or energy points required), opponent requires units with detector ability (e.g. Terran Science Vessel) to see it. It has powerful attack but relatively low hit points. A brilliant harassment unit. (Brood War only)
- Dark Archon — caster, no non-special ability attack, formed from two Dark Templar. Its abilities include mind control which allows you to take control of an enemy unit at cost of energy. This can even be used to take control of another race's worker unit, allowing you to build that race's tech tree. Of course, this is expensive and not always cost-effective. The other two abilities are feedback and maelstrom. Maelstrom freezes all biological units in the radius of attack. Feedback is used to kill other energy using units by draining their energy and then using it as a physical assault to damage or kill the target unit (this may even be used on Battlecruisers because they use energy to power the Yamato Cannon). (Brood War only)
- Shuttle — flying transport unit. The shuttle's speed can be upgraded at a Robotics Support Bay, making it the fastest transport unit in game after speed upgrade.
- Scout — Heavy fighter craft; most powerful of the basic ships. Speed and sight range upgrade at Fleet Beacon. A fleet of scouts can even defeat battle cruisers or carriers, making it an extremely deadly unit. However, scouts can be quickly dispatched by battle cruisers if they are hit with EMP. Scouts are ineffective against most ground units.
- Arbiter — caster; all nearby units belonging to the player with the Arbiter except other Arbiters become cloaked. Can cast stasis field that freezes all units for a set amount of time. No health or energy points can be lost or gained during stasis. No other abilities can affect units, including the undoing of the stasis field. Can also cast recall, which transports a player's units to the vicinity of the arbiter almost instantaneously. Can recall locked down units. Cannot recall units in stasis. Special ability and energy point upgrades at Arbiter Tribunal.
- Carrier — heavy air unit. The carrier attacks by launching Interceptors, each of which are built at a cost of 25 minerals. Carriers start the game able to hold four interceptors, but an upgrade at the Fleet Beacon increases the capacity to eight. The Interceptors give the Carrier the longest range of any Protoss unit, comparable with the Terran Siege Tank and the Zerg Guardian. Carriers are most vulnerable to the Zerg Scourge.
- Observer — flying scouting unit. Observers are permanently cloaked and thus visible only to other detectors. Observers have no attacks or abilities, and have few hit points. The speed and sight range of Observers can be upgraded at the Observatory.
- Corsair — caster and light fighter with a rapid-fire low damage splash attack against air only. The Corsair can cast "Disruption Web" which prevents all land units (friendly and otherwise) and defensive buildings within the web from firing or operating. Units and buildings in the Disruption Web can be targeted for attacks and special abilities. The disruption field cannot be undone until the spell wears out. Corsair upgrades to abilities and energy points are available at the Fleet Beacon. (Brood War only)
All buildings must be built in the vicinity of a Pylon except for the Nexus, Assimilator and other Pylons. All buildings that do not have an completed pylon required for operation will cease all operations, including upgrades, unit training, magic point restoration, and attack.
- Nexus — creates Psi, resource depot, produces Probes
- Assimilator — collects Vespene gas
- Pylon — creates Psi, powers buildings
- Gateway — summons infantry units
- Forge — upgrades weapons, shields and armor
- Shield Battery — rapidly recharges shields
- Cybernetics Core — upgrades Protoss Dragoons and spacecraft
- Photon Cannon — defensive structure
- Robotics Facility — creates robotic units
- Stargate — summons spacecraft
- Citadel of Adun — upgrades Zealot speed, allows summoning of the Templar Archives)
- Robotics Support Bay — upgrades robotic units
- Fleet Beacon — upgrades the Carrier
- Templar Archives — upgrades the High Templar and Dark Templar
- Observatory — upgrades the Observer
- Arbiter Tribunal — upgrades the Arbiter
There are many different strategies for Protoss. These are the basics:
- Zealot rush — during the initial stage of the game (1 min or so into the game), rush into the enemy's base with at least 4 Zealots. If your forces have an obvious superiority over the enemy, destroy their base as a whole. If not, try disrupting their mining operation as much as possible to cripple your enemies' abilities to retaliate in the long run.
- Dragoon rush — Similar to the Zealot rush, a group of 4-12 Dragoons can wreak havoc in the early-middle stages of a game. In addition to the Zealot strategies, the long (upgraded) range of Dragoons often enables them to hit key targets with impunity, especially if the enemy is overly reliant on static defense. This is particularly useful versus Terran, if the opponent's Refinery can be taken out before Siege Tank production starts. Counters to this include the wall-in, strategic Bunker placement, Stimpacks, and U-238 Shells.
- Cannon rush — This tactic involves building Photon Cannons just near the enemy's base, so that (if properly positioned) they can attack the foe's soldiers and factories. Because the Zerg factory is its Hive, this tactic doesn't work on them (the Creep also gets in the way), but against Terrans or the Protoss itself, just two or three properly-positioned Photon Cannons will end the game, destroying factories and allowing you to build another row of cannons with which to further advance. Zerg cannot use this tactic, as their defensive structures require Creep; Terrans can, but 100-mineral Bunkers are useless without another 200 minerals' worth of Marines, whereas with only 250 minerals (100 for the Pylon and 150 for the cannon) the Protoss are ready to go. Finally, do not attempt this tactic unless your teammates are willing to defend your base, which will be essentially unprotected.
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