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Burrowed zerg

Burrowing is a ground unit ability in StarCraft and StarCraft II, predominantly used by the zerg.


Burrowing is a[zerg ability used to conceal themselves underground. Ground breeds vibrate billions of tiny muscles at a low frequency; this breaks up earth, rock, and vegetation allowing the creature to "swim" through the ground at near running speeds.[1] This ability has led to the deaths of countless terran soldiers. However, the terrans were able to mimic this lethality with the perdition turret, which retracts automatically, when not in combat.[2]

Game EffectEdit


Lurker SC1 Art1

Lurkers in Brood War can only attack when burrowed

The majority of zerg ground units can burrow in StarCraft, the ultralisk being a key exception. Unlike other units, lurkers may burrow without the ability being researched.

Burrow SC1 Able1

Many zerg ground units may burrow, rendering themselves invisible but incapable of moving or attacking.

Purchased from Hatchery/Lair/Hive
Hotkey B
Cost 100 Minerals Terran SC1 100 Gas Terran SC1 80Time SC2 Game1
Burrowed Attack

Lurkers may burrow even if the ability has not been researched. Lurkers may attack only when burrowed.

StarCraft IIEdit


In StarCraft II, the supply depot has a burrowing ability, allowing it to sink into the ground so that units can pass over it. However, this ability does not prevent it from being seen.

SC2 Supply Depot Lower-Raise icon
Lower/Raise Supply Depot

Lowers the structure into the ground so ground units may pass over it. The structure may be raised back to block pathing. Friendly units standing on the structure are pushed the nearest edge when the structure is raised. Enemy units standing on top prevent the structure from being raised.

The structure's attributes, other than blocking movement, are not changed when it is lowered.

Hotkey R
Cost 1Time SC2 Game1
DrillingClaws SC2-HotS Icon
Drilling Claws

Reduces the time Activate Mine takes to burrow the widow mine from 3 seconds to 1 second. Cloaks the widow mine when burrowed, even when Sentinel Missile is on cooldown.

Purchased from Tech lab attached to factory
Hotkey C
Cost 75 Minerals Terran SC1 75 Gas Terran SC1 79Time SC2 Game1
Required Armory

Unlocks the perdition turret for production.[1]

This turret fires a deadly wall of flame that is ideal for holding off large waves of enemy units. The turret also conceals itself beneath the ground when out of combat, luring unsuspecting enemies into its field of fire. The zerg's ability to burrow has allowed them to massacre countless terran soldiers in deadly ambushes. The new perdition turret should help even the score.

Campaign Acquisition
Acquired from Hyperion laboratory for 10 zerg research points

Spider Mines pursue enemy units that come in range, and detonate for heavy area damage. Buried Spider Mines can only be seen by enemy Detectors.

Hydralisk sc2 burrowanim

A hydralisk burrowing

When zerg units burrow in StarCraft II, the player controlling them can see part of them "sticking out of the ground", making it easier to identify them. However, they remain invisible to enemy units without detection.

Burrowed units are treated as a different unit type for UI tab selection purposes, unlike some other status effects.

Roaches and infestors can move while burrowed. Moving while burrowed produces a distortion similar to cloaking. Infestors can also spawn infested marines while burrowed. Ultralisks gained the ability to burrow. In the Heart of the Swarm campaign, lurkers and impalers can attack while only burrowed.

Some critters can also burrow, like the lava crab.[3]

Many zerg ground units may burrow, become invisible and may be revealed primarily by detectors, and may not move or attack.

Exceptions include:

Some units can unburrow via autocast, causing them to emerge and attack when an enemy moves into range.

The ability is not smartcast.

Hotkey R
Cost 2 seconds to burrow, 1 second to unburrowTime SC2 Game1
Purchased from Hatchery/Lair/Hive
Hotkey B
Cost 100 Minerals Terran SC1 100 Gas Terran SC1 71Time SC2 Game1
Required Lair (WoL)
Hatchery (HotS/LotV)
Burrowed Attack

Lurkers may attack only when burrowed.[5]

Does not require Burrow to be researched.


This unit or structure can detect cloaked, burrowed, duplicated and hallucination enemies.



The following section contains information from a previous version of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm which is no longer valid.

During the development of the Heart of the Swarm, several units have gained burrow related abilities. Banelings gained a hive upgrade that allows them to move while burrowed. Ultralisks gained an ability that allows them dash underground into the heart of enemy forces.[6]


The visual effects of burrowing are limited as more fancy animations would take more time and thus lead to balance issues.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Zerg research (in English). 2010.
  2. Perdition turret
  3. StarCraftLegacy. 09/08/12. (HD) StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty Single Player Gameplay Demo. Last Accessed: 09/08/18.
  4. Blizzard Entertainment Staff. 2010-07-24. Infestor. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2010-07-24.
  5. Burnes, Andrew. 2008-03-10. StarCraft 2 - Zerg Attack: New Screenshots, Unit Images & Unit Info! Accessed 2008-03-10.
  6. LordBlackJack. 2011-10-20. Blizzcon 2011 : Zerg new units Starcraft 2 heart of the swarm. Youtube. Accessed 2011-11-08.
  7. 2010, SC2: Zerg Crawlers. Deviantart, accessed on 2011-07-01