The battlecruiser has a staggering 500 hit points; no other standard game unit tops this margin. This makes the battlecruiser the only non-hero unit in the game able to withstand a nuclear strike, which do 500 damage thus allowing the battlecruiser to survive with minimal HP. Their laser batteries can inflict 25 base points of normal damage to air or ground targets. The battlecruiser's attack kills zerg scourge with one shot, and in groups they can shoot down flocks of scourge with minimal damage. In large groups, battlecruisers can quickly decimate enemy troops even in inferior numbers, and are a force to be reckoned with. However, they are very expensive and slow to build, and are only potent in groups. Alone, battlecruisers are easily destroyed. Battlecruisers are often used to shield weaker units while those weaker units last longer in battle.
There are several effective counters against battlecruisers. Spell-casters can quickly cripple them with abilities like Lockdown, Psionic Storm and Plague, specially if the battlecruisers are stacked. Dark archons can use Feedback to quickly deplete the energy of battlecruisers in quick succession, preventing them from using their Yamato Guns and causing heavy damage or even mind control them turning them against their team. Goliaths, dragoons, wraiths and scouts can defeat battlecruisers in large numbers due to their strong anti-air attacks. Devourers are useful counters with its corrosive acid, making battlecruisers more vulnerable to mutalisks and hydralisks. The defiler's Dark Swarm allows hydralisks to attack battlecruisers without fear, and the queen can use Ensnare to hamper their movement and attack rates, which are slow in the first place.
The slow speed of the battlecruiser makes it difficult to disengage if a battle makes a turn for the worst, or to extract a damaged ship for repair. Carriers should not be used against battlecruisers as the interceptors individually do little damage to the battlecruiser's armor, and the battlecruiser's Yamato Gun can quickly deplete half a carrier's health, leaving them weakened against the battlecruiser's superior firepower. Similarly, marines, corsairs and valkyries do low damage and so are not as effective as other units due to the battlecruiser's high armor.
The battlecruiser was designed by Samwise Didier. He took squares and rectangles and "smashed them together," as, in his words, it didn't have to be precise. Years later, the battlecruiser's hammerhead iconography remains one of his proudest contributions to Blizzard's universes.
During the StarCraft beta, battlecruisers were once also equipped with a pair of Nova cannons.
Along with every other unit, the battlecruiser received a visual upgrade for StarCraft: Remastered. The upgraded version allows its bulkheads, engines, and viewports to be viewed on the unit model.