There are 48 units in StarCraft 2. Through next Friday, we're highlighting seven of our favorite pieces of sci-fi military equipment in Blizzard's follow-up. First up: the Carrier.
What it is: an expensive, heavily-shielded capital ship
Build cost: 350 minerals | 250 gas
Build time: 120 sec
Produced from: Stargate
Real-world analog: Aircraft carrier
Armament: Up to eight Interceptor fighter ships, launched from bays inside the Carrier
Best against: Structures; Siege Tanks and other units that can't defend themselves against anti-air
Worst enemies: Viking (Terran), Corruptor (Zerg)
Advantages: Mostly autonomous; clutters the screen with buzzing Interceptors
Disadvantages: Expensive in resource and time to build; relatively slow; need adequate scouting before pushing a squad of Carriers toward your enemy
Quote: “Carrier has arrived.”
Who it's for: Players that excel at winning the economic race but don't want to fuss about with heavy micromanagement to capture a victory. Build a pack of Carriers, hover 'em over an enemy's stuff and watch the ships' autonomous damage-children mill over your opponent like so many hungry laser locusts.
Graviton Catapult (150 minerals, 150 gas) - Launches Interceptors faster.
Air Armor (150 minerals, 150 gas) - Increases armor.
Plasma Shields (200 minerals, 200 gas) - Increases armor.
Since time immemorial, armies of the world have sought to domesticate the beehive for war. Early Cherokee bands used hornet nests as impromptu grenades when their arrows were depleted, hurling the angry cylinders tens of feet before fleeing, regretting their flower-dotted headdresses. Endeared by humanity's attempts at bee-based death, Protosskind developed the Carrier in the 25th century, perfecting the military art of putting tiny, hurt-causing things into a big, flying container.
Carriers are the hovering, ominous beehives of StarCraft 2 multiplayer. Once they've received an attack order, a buzzing team of contracting, independent Interceptor ships streams from the Carrier, encircling and dive-attacking their target until it's destroyed. Though the Carrier parent vessel remains still (and usually an arm's length away from the fight) during this assault, the chaos caused by a messy flock of Interceptors has the added combat advantage of cluttering the screen, impeding a defending player's ability to respond. Auto-targeting units or defensive structures (like the Terran Missile Turret) usually attack the Interceptors, not the Carrier they emanate from, meaning a player that's defending against a Carrier usually needs to act quickly and micromanage their defending units to have a chance of surviving a raid.
(Thanks to the StarCraft wiki for being a helpful source of fact-checking on our data for the Carrier.)