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"Gimme something to shoot!"

- Terran marine(src)

The marine is the basic infantry unit of terran forces.

The unit was voiced by Chris Metzen.[1]


The marine is the most versatile tier 1 unit in the game. Compared to the zealot and the zergling, the marine is medium cost, is the only one with a ranged attack, and can even hit both ground and air units. They do normal damage, making them useful against all types of armor, and are even more effective in large numbers. Stimpacks further increases their effectiveness by greatly increasing their movement speed and reducing their cooldown to almost nothing, at the cost of 10 hit points, enabling marines able to dish out a surprisingly large amount of damage before being killed. In Brood War, medics exponentially increase the effectiveness of marines since stimpacks can be used more liberally, and damage can be healed. Infantry upgrades throughout the game increase the marines' effectiveness by 50%, giving them one of the biggest boosts in the game.

Marines become available to the player in the campaign with the mission "Wasteland" in Episode I and "First Strike" in Episode V.


Marines are commonly partnered with medics in the strategy "MnM." The medics allow a more liberal use of stimpacks, which greatly enhance the marines' damage output. This can be considerable as marines are cheap and plentiful. The infantry groups may block chokepoints and counter air harassment; they are a useful component to a combined-arms force. In addition to researching stimpacks and acquiring medics, U-238 also enhances the marines lethality.

Against lesser opponents, using attack move is sufficient to bring the marines to bear; the marines should focus fire on stronger units. Attack moving a combined group of marines and medics may be tricky since the medics may "charge" ahead when the marines stop to fire; the medics only stop if a unit requires healing.

The effectiveness of the marines is reduced against very strong enemy attacks that overwhelm the medics' healing. As marines are fragile an ability to quickly fall back from such threats can destroy a MnM group; MnM micro is one of the most difficult challenges in the game.[2]

When encountering burrowed lurkers or defilers about to attack through dark swarm, stim the marines and retreat immediately. The medics will chase after the marines on their own to heal them. Additional support may be needed to produce favorable conditions to resume the infantry attack.

Setting up marine groups with hot keys may provide the necessary reaction time to avoid and outmaneuver the enemy.[3]

Early Game[]

Marines have strategies available throughout the early, mid, and late game. In the early game, a single marine and SCV can start a dreaded bunker rush.[4] If the terran goes supply depot, barracks x2, refinery, and academy, the first medics can assist a very dangerous attack as well.[5] This play is very common against the zerg before mutalisks or lurkers can be produced, with the goal of forcing the opponent to waste money building defensive sunken colonies to prevent off the attack, at no cost to the terran. A siege tank (if you still have time) or additional marines can provide increased pressure against the sunken colonies and threaten a win.[citation needed]

Proxy barracks make these early game strategy faster, riskier, but even more decisive.[6]

If you choose a different early game strategy, marines become your lone defenders. At this critical stage of the game, it takes finesse and confidence to compete against the stronger melee zealots and zerglings, who will quickly kill your small numbers of marines if they can get close.[citation needed] So keep your marines away! Make opponents waste precious time chasing your marines around. Against zealots in particular, you can run your tiny marines between buildings or through your SCVs line. Many times those fatty zealots get hung up or have to take the long way around, all while you get free shots in before running back to the other side again.[citation needed] Take advantage of the marine's ranged attack, and hide marines in places where those zealots can't reach or zerglings can only approach one at a time. Common places include behind a building block on your ramp,[citation needed] behind 2 hold position SCVs blocking your ramp,[citation needed] or vertically in between your command center and first barracks.[citation needed] Depending on these mazes makes early building placement crucial for terrans. Don't be afraid to practice and watch pro videos to learn how to fight off these early aggressors[citation needed]. The marine's job is to give the terran time to get the tech to force the next phase of the game.

Occasionally you will also see marines use bunkers on the defensive. These bunkers give additional hit points to the marines inside, but are expensive and can only cover a static area. Bunkers are usually used to buy time or cover chokepoints where an attack is guaranteed. Remember that you can't stim marines inside a bunker, so leave them outside the bunker before an attack, and stim and bunker up as soon as the attack hits.[citation needed] Marines inside the bunker are outranged by static defenses like sunken colonies, so careful placement of bunkers is critical. Many games are decided by aggressive zerg sunken colonies placed just out of the range of bunkers, slowly being built into the terran's main as the marines are forced to fall back.[citation needed] If you're feeling foxy, many players when they see a bunker will assume it is full, so by leaving them empty you can sometimes fool the opponent into thinking you have a stronger defensive force then is actually there.[citation needed] If you're feeling extra foxy, placing only one marine in the bunker can enhance the illusion that the bunker is full when the enemy attacks. Placing bunkers behind supply depots is also a good strategy, sometimes forcing zealots and zerglings to have to walk around a supply depot block to reach a bunker full of marines. Placing another bunker next to the supply depot block and filling it with marines and firebats could also prove very effective against melee enemies, even ultralisks.


In the mid-game, marines and dropships make incredible harassers, a key part of terran's mobility. A dropship of 6 marines and 2 medics with stim can destroy a base with minimal defenses before the enemy can react, and flee without any casualties.[citation needed] Against the opponent who tries to expand, taking advantage of the terran's typical defensive stance, marines and dropships are the perfect counter.[citation needed] Larger numbers of marines and dropships, if they can safely land, are capable of strong strategic attacks with little threat to the turtling terran, able to outflank the enemy's position and wiping out the enemy's main infrastructure, in multiple locations at once.[7]

Late Game[]

In late game, epic numbers of marines can easily provide front line defense for tanks and science vessels, particularly in terran vs. zerg matches. Since they produce so quickly and cost only minerals, marines are also fast and cheap reinforcements, allowing the terrans to stay on the offensive. Marines can aggressively push across the map unless confronted with large numbers of their counter units, or spread out and nip overextending bases in more places then the opponent can react.


Individually, marines are easy to pick off with almost every other unit in the game, but in larger numbers with medics they are a fearsome, dogged threat. Counter marines with heavily-armored, high hit point units such as battlecruisers and ultralisks, which take little damage from marine attacks.  Sunken colonies are similarly effective in numbers of approximately 1:4.[citation needed] Marines are also vulnerable to units that deal splash damage like lurkers, reavers, and siege tanks, and area effect spells like psionic storm. Fast units controlled to execute hit-and-run attacks (vultures, mutalisks) can pick off marines before they can do much damage[citation needed]. Marines are also much more vulnerable when flanked, when they don't automatically focus fire the same units and can't retreat so easily from threats. Speed upgraded zerglings, hydralisks, and zealots in particular are best used for these sorts of surround attacks against marines and medics.[citation needed] Dark templar are also deadly in flanking marine groups given that they can cut through a marine in only one blow. But, many times, the zerg player has no choice but to use dark swarm and plague to break a chokepoint guarded by marines and tanks.[citation needed] While pushing a MnM force back, keep a careful watch for marine-loaded dropships, and try and destroy the delicate craft before the marines have a chance to land. Irradiation is also fairly effective against clustered marine groups.

In most cases, marines fare poorly against protoss units given that many protoss units inflict high damage compared to their terran and zerg counterparts.

Units that do splash damage such as siege tanks, lurkers and Reavers also counter marines.


Against Terran[]

Counters Hard: dropship, missile turret, science vessel, valkyrie
Counters Soft: Wraith, SCV
Hard Countered by: battlecruiser, irradiate, spider mine, vulture, siege tank (siege mode)
Soft Countered by: firebat, goliath

Against Protoss[]

Counters Hard: corsair, shuttle
Counters Soft: probe, scout
Hard Countered by: archon, carrier, psionic storm, reaver
Soft Countered by: disruption web, dragoon, zealot, dark templar, photon cannon

Against Zerg[]

Counters Hard: devourer, overlord, spore colony, scourge
Counters Soft: drone, hydralisk, mutalisk, zergling
Hard Countered by: guardian, lurker, sunken colony, ultralisk
Soft Countered by: dark swarm, ensnare, plague


Marines and firebats double their rate of fire and increase their movement rate for a limited period of time.

Hotkey T
Cost 10 HP
Purchased from Academy
Hotkey T
Cost 100 Minerals 100 Vespene gas 80seconds


Purchased from Engineering bay
Hotkey A
Level 1
Cost 100 Minerals 100 Vespene gas 266seconds
Level 2
Cost 175 Minerals 175 Vespene gas 298seconds
Required Science facility
Level 3
Cost 250 Minerals 250 Vespene gas 330seconds
Required Science facility
  • +1 bonus per attack per level for ghosts, and marines.
  • +2 bonus per attack per level for firebats.
Purchased from Engineering bay
Hotkey W
Level 1
Cost 100 Minerals 100 Vespene gas 266seconds
Level 2
Cost 175 Minerals 175 Vespene gas 298seconds
Required Science facility
Level 3
Cost 250 Minerals 250 Vespene gas 330seconds
Required Science facility
ResearchU-238Shells Terran SC1.png
U-238 Shells
  • Increases marine attack range by 1 (to 5)
Purchased from Academy
Hotkey U
Cost 150 Minerals 150 Vespene gas 100seconds

Marine Heroes[]


Selected Confirming order
Repeatedly selected
Other lines


From a conceptual standpoint, the marine was a "no brainer," given the role of power armored soldiers in sci-fi.[8] It was the first terran unit developed (its first appearance was a blue armored trooper with a machine gun), and served as the jumping off point for the terran faction as a whole.[9]

In the beta of StarCraft, the marine was named the "marauder." This name would later be used for another infantry unit in StarCraft II.[10]


  • A StarCraft II "Classic" skin modeled after the StarCraft marine is available for reaching level 4 in the free War Chest for BlizzCon 2019.



  1. Chris Metzen (2009). BlizzCon Panel. BlizzCon 2009. YouTube. Accessed 2010-06-07.
  2. Team Liquid Poll: What type of micro do you regard as the hardest? Februarys. November 06, 2008. [1] Accessed 01-08-2009.
  3. Dodging lurker splines. Hwasin's Marine Dodge. JWD241224. June 18, 2008. [2] Accessed 01-08-2009.
  4. Boxer bunker rushes Yellow three games in a row. [3] VioleTAK. October 09, 2006. Accessed 2008-12-23.
  5. Earliest possible marines and medic. [4] SlayerS_Boxer vs Nal_ra Proleague June 10 Nemesis 1/1. KlazartSC. June 11, 2007. Accessed on 2008-12-23.
  6. 2 barracks proxy at 1:20. [5] Midas vs Mind @ Incruit OSL Ro16 Group C 2Set. VioleTAK. 9-12-2008. Accessed 01-07-2008.
  7. Boxer's triple drop on 3 bases, from a defensive position, at 3:00. [6] Boxer v Chojja Pimpest Play MSL 2006 (P2 of 2) (English). CholeraSC. 3-25-2008. Accessed 01-07-2009.
  8. 2018-04-03, EVOLUTION COMPLETE: REIMAGINING CLASSIC STARCRAFT UNITS FOR STARCRAFT II. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2018-03-07
  9. 2018-12-02, 20 YEARS OF STARCRAFT: AN IGN RETROSPECTIVE. IGN, accessed on 2018-12-03
  10. 2011-05-03, Blizzard Archive. "", accessed on 2018-07-03