Starcraft 2 Archon Strategy - Updated
Starcraft 2 Strategy Guide --> Starcraft 2 Protoss Units and Structures --> Protoss Ground Units --> Starcraft 2 Archon (you are
In patch 1.3.3, the Archon, previously one of the most underused
(and rightly so) units in the Protoss army, got a major buff.
Prior to 1.3.3, the Archon was typically only used in the "toilet bowl" strategy, where players would use the
Mothership's Vortex ability to trap enemy units inside, and load their own archons in the same vortex, ensuring
instant death for the enemy units trapped inside upon release thanks to the Archon's splash damage.
The Archon toilet was nerfed in a previous patch, and prior to 1.3.3, Archons were rarely used.
However, despite the 1.3.3 buffs, many players have been slow to incorporate these into their game. As a result,
I decided to write an article to cover how the changes to the Archon have affected its viability and how you can
incorporate this unit into your army.
The Starcraft 2 Archon - 1.3.3 Changes
There were two changes to the Archon in patch 1.3.3 - the range of the Archon was increased from 2 to 3, and the
unit is now considered massive. These have a few major changes on the way the Archon is used in all match-ups:
Protoss vs Zerg
The extra range goes a long way towards making Archons more viable in any Protoss death-ball. In particular,
Archons are an extremely effective transition in dealing with the increasingly popular Baneling/Speedling builds
players have been running with lately on ladder.
Archons with equal upgrades will 1-shot a Zergling (or multiple Zerglings due to splash damage). They also have
primarily shields, which makes them quite strong versus the "bane rain" approach becoming popular in higher ranks
If you are unfamiliar, many Zerg players like to build up a ton of Banelings, pack them into Overlords, and drop
them on the Protoss death-ball. This completely decimates Sentries and even Stalkers in large quantities, with the
Zerg essentially trading armies with the Protoss.
Since a Zerg on several bases can re-macro very quickly, the idea is that the Zerg trades armies with the
Protoss and then quickly rebuilds their entire army, long before the Protoss can reassemble a force. Oftentimes
Zerg players will mass Zerglings after a mass Baneling drop given their fast production time and relative strength
versus Gateway units.
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Adding some Archons to the mix is a great way to stop this; Archons do not die easily to Banelings (takes nearly
20 direct Baneling hits to actually take out an Archon), and Archons will quickly regenerate their shields in time
for the reinforcing wave of Zerglings.
Just remember not to make too many Archons - add in a couple and make sure you still have plenty of Stalkers,
Colossi, and Sentry.
Zerg players looking to counter Archons can invest in Infestors (for Neural Parasite) and Broodlords. Protoss
players looking to stop Infestors or Broodlords should invest in Blink Stalkers in an attempt to blink to and take
out mind-controlling Infestors.
If the Zerg player gets too greedy and goes entirely Roach, Zergling, Baneling, and Infestor (or even
Ultralisk), a few Phoenix with a lot of energy can also make quick work of Infestors (Infestors have very little HP
for a 2-supply unit).
Protoss vs Terran
Archons in PvT match-ups have gotten a huge buff. Previously, Archons were quite useless against Terran players
because of their limited range and Concussive Shell's slowing effect; Archons could never get in range of Marine
and Marauder balls to do any damage.
Now, due to the "Massive" status of Archons, they cannot be slowed by Marauders. Their extra range bonus also
helps them get in range of Marauders and Marines. They are natively much faster than Marines and Marauders as well.
Though stimmed, well-microed MM balls still outmaneuver Archons, well-timed Force Fields can help keep Marines and
Marauders in place.
One little-known fact about the Archon is that while it is a massive unit, it is NOT considered armored! In
other words, despite its large size, Marauders and Siege Tanks do not deal bonus damage to the Archon.
Really, aside from EMP and perhaps Thors, Terran players have no easy way to take out Archons; the best they can
do is kite them via repeated stimmings, which makes Archons really strong against slow-moving Terran armies (i.e.
ones that involve Siege Tanks).
The recent changes to the Archon have actually made Zealot, Sentry, and High Templar a viable combination
against Terran MMM and MM + Siege Tank pushes. A few well-placed Psionic Storms or Feedbacks can quickly drain
Medivacs and force MMM into retreat.
You can then morph High Templar into Archons and push out. Fully upgraded Archons nearly one-shot fully-upgraded
Marines, and since they have splash damage, if Archons get in range of Terran ground units even for only a few
hits, they can quickly way waste to an entire army.
One of the best ways I have seen this used, even in high-end play, is as a transition out of Colossus in
response to Viking production. If you force the opponent to make 6+ Vikings, you can easily completely drop
Colossus production and switch over to a very Zealot, High Templar, Sentries and Archon-heavy army.
By the way, Zealot/High Templar/Sentry combos work so well in PvT, over say, Stalkers, is simply because Zealots
cost no gas investment, whereas Sentries and High Templar are very gas intensive. Additionally, Marauders dominate
Stalkers due to bonus damage.
Players can produce a ton of Zealots with very little investment. Also with Charge, Zealots are incredibly
strong versus Marine, Marauders, and Tanks, especially when Archons and Sentries (for Guardian Shield) are in the
Even the best "shoot and scoot" microers will find that they will have to choose between the Archon or the
Zealots for what they want to hit. If they want to snare and run from Zealots, the Archons will catch up
Again, the Archon and Zealot combo is especially effective versus any Terran which incorporates a lot of tanks;
Marines and Marauders have to fall back against Zealot/Archon/Templar/Sentry builds.
The way Marine/Marauder survives a push from a melee-heavy army is by stimming and kiting, alternating quickly
between moving back and stopping to shoot for a brief second. Unfortunately for the tanks they cannot retreat that
easily, making them fall prey to the advancing Zealot/Archon ball.
This is especially effective for breaking out of any sort of contain a Terran player might try; if you push out
with a lot of Zealots, High Templar, Sentries, and Archons, the Terran player will be forced to fall back, allowing
you to pick off his tanks with ease.
Protoss vs Protoss
Out of all the match-ups, I would say that the Archon buff did not change PvP match-ups nearly as significantly
as it did in PvZ and PvT.
Massive status has granted the Archon the ability to break Force Fields and immunity to the Phoenix' Graviton
Beam, which can be useful. However, the real bonus of the Archon is that it does bonus damage to biological units,
of which the Protoss have very few.
I will say that the Archon is very effective against Zealots and perhaps even Sentry; if the opponent is keen on
that army make-up, Archons are now an appropriate counter.
However, in PvP, games rarely progress late enough for Archons to be viable, and well-controlled Blink Stalkers
are still very strong against Archons, especially if the Blink Stalkers are backed up by Colossus. Given that Blink
Stalkers and Colossi are core units in PvP match-ups, Archons may struggle to find a place.
It may, however, be good practice to keep an Archon or two in your army just for the purpose of breaking up
Force Fields. Also, dropping 2 Archons into the enemy mineral line can be very devastating and especially effective
if you have some gas to spend.
Starcraft 2 Archon Strategy Conclusion
With the introduction of the 1.3.3 patch, the Archon in Starcraft 2 has now become a viable unit not only for
specific strategies but for regular inclusion in PvT and PvZ match-ups.
The Archon gives Protoss players new builds to use in these particular race match-ups, particularly when faced
with a Baneling/Zergling happy Zerg player or the very common MMM and especially the MM + tank builds Terran
players are so fond of.
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