The Starcraft Command
Some may argue that the Protoss
have the strongest arsenal. This futuristic race isn't for players who like to sit around and watch. Your best weapons need constant care and feeding, as you must create their firepower. The Protoss is perhaps the most labor-intensive of the lot, and playing them requires vigilance. Watch your units and resources constantly.
Tip: Never ever underestimate the importance of the fact that your units do not physically have to construct buildings. One good blast of psychic energy, and your Probe can be on its way. Take advantage of this by creating Probes to mine, and gather and allot just one or two Probes to base construction. You're going to need all the resources you can get with the Protoss, so you should also take advantage of the fact that you can build entire bases all at once. Find areas for expansion as soon as you can.
Tip: Quickly scout the area for other resources. Defending these resources, particularly early in a multiplayer game, is easier than you may think. Your Zealots are amazingly powerful as a first combat option and can easily handle the best of the other races' ground troops. Defend new resource-rich areas with a handful of Zealots and a photon cannon or two, and you'll have no problems whatsoever. In the time it takes your opponents to get airborne (the Zealots' main fear) you should have better defenses in place.
Tip: Always upgrade your firepower first. There is never an exception to this rule when playing as the Protoss. Defend, schmend. Up the attack rate, up the speed, up the damage every chance you get. Pay particular attention to your Dragoons--these multilimbed menaces are the backbone of your fighting force, and should be bumped up in power as soon as possible.
Tip: If you are playing against an unknown foe in a one-on-one contest, and want to win more than you want to play the game, go for the early kill. The Zealots are far stronger than the other races' initial units, and this advantage can often deliver victory within the first ten minutes of any multiplayer game. Even if you're playing against another Protoss player, a swift, ruthless preemptive strike can leave your opponent defenseless. Instead of constructing buildings, build a force of Zealots, and wipe out the other player's fighting units, his Probes, and then his base (in that order).
Tip: One Stargate ain't worth jack in this world. Probes may make quick work of whipping together a Gateway, but your ships take much longer to cook and cost a pretty Protoss penny. As you explore the map and learn your enemies' locations, start planning your air attack and the placement of your multiple Stargates. Waiting for that much-needed Carrier to come off the Psychic workline has caused many a hardy Protoss leader to despair, so get them underway fast, and protect yourself during the wait.
Tip: Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. Dodge and jab. Attack and fall back. The Protoss air power can be awesome, but you must learn to protect your investment. The shield generators, when used properly, mean the difference between using and losing your Carrier. Place a Shield Battery near every one of your Stargates, and use them! Although some ships move more quickly than others, most of the air units are less than speedy. As you begin your retreat, you'll no longer be firing, and you will take additional damage. Plan for it. When your shields are almost reduced to zero, run! Fly as fast as you can to the nearest Shield Battery and let it work its magic. Otherwise, all your time and resources are lost.
Tip: Use the Pylons as early warning devices. Because you must build an annoyingly large number of these glorified homes to support your army, use them to your advantage by spreading them all over the place. Near each Pylon cluster, build an inexpensive Photon Cannon. These self-defending units will warn you of an enemy's approach, and, as an added bonus, will weaken and deter opposing forces as they plod their way to your base. The Photon Cannon works equally well against air and ground troops, too.
Tip: Scout it out! The cheapest ship in your yard isn't just so much scrap metal. These quickly built units pack a powerful punch, and can bedevil the hell out of enemy ground units. Use them to scatter the enemy and provide a second layer of defense to your base. (The first being the Photon Cannons.)
Tip: Shuttles are dumb. You may think that these units with no defenses would take the path of least resistance when traveling from one point to another (in other words, they'll avoid enemy fire), but no. Given a new destination, the Shuttle turns into a crow and flies the shortest possible route over enemy territory and into oncoming Battlecruisers. Map their course carefully with StarCraft's waypoint feature.
Tip: If you're playing against the Terrans and you see a Science Vessel, kill it dead. D-E-A-D. These ships, and their shield-reducing EMP Shockwave powers, are your mortal enemy.
Tip: Reaver beware. There is a reason these units resemble slugs--they act like them. These slow-moving bad boys require your constant attention...especially in battle. Like the Carriers, you must monitor this unit's supply of ammunition and rebuild it. Plan accordingly by arranging battles that use both the Reavers and the Carriers in one section of the screen. The awesome combined firepower of these two unit types can make short work of almost any enemy installation, and you can quickly manufacture more units for both as the battle rages. If you have to zip between raging battles on separate sides of the map, high-maintenance units like the Reaver are going to end up acting as convenient targets for your enemies while they await your resupply commands.
Finally: you are nearing the end of the game, the resources have all been harvested, and the battle is raging, but unfortunately you've reached your unit maximum. What's one to do? A quick check of your battlefield will almost certainly reveal now-useless Probes, passively sitting where you once had minerals. Collect them as a group, and send them into the heart of the busiest battle you are waging. Although they won't do much damage, these selfless P
robes can act as decoys, drawing enemy fire away from your more expensive and powerful units. Even better, once the now-useless Probes are destroyed, you can create new offensive units that can help you win the war!