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"But the fact is, not much else on the battlefield compares to the mothership. With its ability to warp the fabric of space and time itself, this monster of a ship really is a weapon without equal."

The mothership is a powerful protoss capital ship.


"By the heart of Aiur!"

- Protoss mothership commander(src)

Motherships are mighty protoss support vessels,[2] and are one of the most powerful warships in the protoss arsenal.[3] They served as the flagships of the Golden Armada.[4]


Mothership schematics

Motherships are costly and time-consuming to produce. As a result, the protoss have begun constructing them in two stages, with the mothership core being the first step. The core itself can be used as a defensive and support weapon.[5] Its hull, comprised of three slowly rotating wings, projects a tightly woven energy dome which allows for a life-sustaining atmosphere within the confines of the vessel, and turns harmful deep-space radiation into surplus energy for plasma shields and primary systems.[6] The ship's hull plating is unusually thick, and its exact resiliency is unknown to Dominion scientists.[1]

A mothership

The mothership's core has a similar barrier whose sole function is to keep the crew on the rest of the ship safe from the powerful energies it generates.[6]

A single crew member can pilot the ship for simple warps. More complex operations require a crew.[7] These vessels are designed for redundancy, and damage to a single wing won't disrupt its combat systems. Gaps between the wings don't hinder personnel movement, as short-range teleporters rapidly transport its crewmembers from point to point.[1]

Motherships greatly exceed the size of any Terran Dominion military vessel,[1] though their size is still exceeded by the zerg leviathan.[8]

Ihan-rii motherships were adorned with runes, declaring their order the only true descendants of the xel'naga.[4]

A Tal'darim mothership

The Tal'darim also use motherships. The Death Fleet's motherships are equipped for battlefield domination. Each one is a throne from which a Tal'darim fleet lord oversees the ruin of their foes.[4]


The mothership's khaydarin crystal

At the heart of each mothership is a huge khaydarin crystal infused with an incredible amount of psionic energy[2] that quickly dissipates[6] after being discharged in the gaps between the vessel's wings.[1] By tapping into this energy, a mothership can warp or crack the very fabric of space-time itself.[2] Once the mothership becomes fully operational, this dissipating power is absorbed by the wings and projected as a cloaking field that covers a wide area around the vessel. The mothership itself does not benefit from said field, but it renders nearby protoss forces, structures, and allies invisible to the naked eye.[6] Sensor arrays are located on the wings, along with manned lookout points for long range surveillance.[1] Motherships utilize inertial nullifiers in order to safely enter planetary atmospheres.[7]

A single mothership can turn the tide of a battle.[4] For combat, the ship is equipped with a purifier beam which constitutes its primary means of defense, firing in controlled bursts against air and ground targets.[6] The devastating power of a mothership can wipe out squadrons of enemy ships in the blink of an eye or lay waste to entire planets.[2] Other aspects of a mothership's interior include a waking chamber for its commander, crew quarters and a med-bay.[7] A number of escape pods are also featured.[9]


Golden Age

The mothership

The motherships were designed by Juras,[7] and constructed during the protoss Golden Age of Expansion as deep space exploration vessels, leading armadas of protoss ships through space.[2] The Templar Caste successfully petitioned for modifications; the final design included weapons and some were eventually converted into military command ships.[7]

In the midst of the Golden Age of Expansion, an imperfection in the way excess the mothership's energy was vented between its wings while maneuvering in unusually high gravity was discovered in the khaydarin crystal cores of motherships, causing two to fail in the gravity well of a neutron star and leading to the deaths of 8,463 protoss; one of the greatest loss of lives in the Golden Age. In response to the tragedy, the Khalai Caste developed two inventions, the technology allowing the motherships to mass recall away from danger, preventing another disaster like the neutron star incident, and the arkship, a massive ship that could be used prevent a similar random tragedy from also befalling the Protoss Empire as a whole.[10]

A mothership

The surviving motherships were not recalled at the end of the Golden Age. Most were left at the farthest reaches of protoss exploration as titanic monuments and holy shrines, commemorating an honored way of life and a proud period of history.[2] The crews were placed in stasis, although it was expected the ships would not be needed again.[7]

High templar Rihod's mothership remained active. Its crew assisted lower-technology aliens who had been struck by a disaster.[11]

The Fall of Aiur

A mothership during the Fall of Aiur

The zerg attack on Aiur during the Great War reversed forced a re-evaluation. The motherships were recalled to service[2] by high templar Erekul. However, it was too late for the ships to alter the course of the war.[7]

Amongst the reactivated ships was Moratun, the original mothership and crewed solely by Juras. Moratun rescued zealots from a besieged colony before travelling to Aiur. The ship, and other empty motherships, arrived in Aiur's star system only after the Khalai evacuation to Shakuras. The ships were forced to find the Dark Templar homeworld by themselves. The fleet was manned by the few survivors that could be found.[7] Rihod's mothership was not brought to Aiur, for fear it could be lost in combat.[11]

The motherships were reunited with the protoss during the Interbellum and taken over by the Templar Caste.[2] Since their return from deep space, they have become an important part of the protoss war effort and the Golden Armada.[5]

The End War

A Purifier mothership

Many motherships were lost to the control of Amon during the End War, and the Daelaam was forced to engage them during the final assault on Aiur.[12] After their activation, the Purifiers began to construct their own motherships to emulate their templar brethren.

As Aiur was being rebuilt, a renewed cultural interest in the Golden Age of Expansion lead to a new wave of support and care for ancient motherships.[13]

Game Unit


The mothership is a high-value support unit. Only one may be deployed at a time. It frequently appears as a 'boss' in StarCraft II campaigns.

It behaves like the Arbiter: it cloaks and recalls friendly units, and may temporarily disable units. The ship's long ranged attack allows it to contribute firepower from behind the front; it may also fire on the move. The mothership is the only unit able to survive a direct hit from a nuke.

Vikings, corruptors, and void rays, are effective counters. It may also be hijacked by the infestor's neural parasite.

The mothership is suited for late-game scenarios.[14] However, its use in multiplayer is curtailed by its high cost, position on the tech tree, vulnerability to focus firing, low mobility, and relatively low damage output.


CloakingField SC2 Icon1.jpg
Cloaking Field

Passively cloaks nearby friendly units and buildings within a range of 5.

MassRecall SC2 Icon2.jpg
Mass Recall

Summons all units in target area (6.5) owned by the mothership's player to the mothership's location.

Does not share a cooldown with the nexus Strategic Recall ability.

Hotkey R
Cost 100 Energy
Duration 2 seconds
TimeWarp SC2 Icon1.jpg
Time Warp

After a 1.79-second delay, warps spacetime within the target area for 7 seconds. Enemy ground units, air units, and structures within the field are slowed and have their attack speed reduced by 50%.

Hotkey T
Cost 100 Energy
Range 9
Duration 11 seconds


Purchased from Cybernetics core
Hotkey E
Level 1
Cost 100 Minerals 100 Vespene gas 129seconds
Level 2
Cost 175 Minerals 175 Vespene gas 154seconds
Required Fleet beacon
Level 3
Cost 250 Minerals 250 Vespene gas 179seconds
Required Fleet beacon

Increases protoss air unit armor.

Purchased from Cybernetics Core
Hotkey A
Level 1
Cost 150 Minerals 150 Vespene gas 129seconds
Level 2
Cost 225 Minerals 225 Vespene gas 154seconds
Required Fleet beacon
Level 3
Cost 300 Minerals 300 Vespene gas 179seconds
Required Fleet beacon
  • +1 armor to shields per level.
Purchased from Forge
Hotkey S
Level 1
Cost 150 Minerals 150 Vespene gas 129seconds
Level 2
Cost 225 Minerals 225 Vespene gas 154seconds
Required Twilight council
Level 3
Cost 300 Minerals 300 Vespene gas 179seconds
Required Twilight council

Wings of Liberty

Vortex SC2 Icon1.jpg

The mothership creates a Vortex that absorbs nearby units, allied and enemy alike, into it for the duration. The mothership will not be absorbed. When the Vortex ends, all affected units reappear around its location.

Units leaving the Mothership's Vortex are un-targetable and immune to damage for 1.5 seconds.

The area of effect is 2.5.

This ability is removed in Heart of the Swarm.

Hotkey V
Cost 100 Energy
Range 9
Duration 20 seconds
Cooldown 20 seconds

Legacy of the Void

In the Legacy of the Void single-player campaign, the player acquires Tal'darim motherships that have significantly different statistics and abilities from the motherships available in multiplayer play. The normal mothership is not accessible in the campaign, but several motherships are sent to attack the Keystone along with other ships of the Golden Armada.

Co-op Missions

In Co-op Missions, Alarak temporarily gains access to the Tal'darim mothership with his Death Fleet ability.


See: StarCraft II Mothership Quotations



DistortedReality SC2 Icon1.jpg Distorted Reality

10 Achievement SC2 Game1.JPEG


Capture 50 enemy units in a single Vortex in a Melee game.


This achievement must be done in a Wings of Liberty game, as Vortex is removed in later expansions.


Known Motherships

"Standard mothership? How many are out there?"

A mothership's bridge


Known Commanders


Mothership cinematic model

  • The mothership's old "Planet Cracker" ability is based on the energy beam from the ship in the introduction video for StarCraft. That ship is the "conceptual anchor" for the mothership idea.[15][16]
  • Motherships are rarely, if ever, shown in wide shots of the Golden Armada in space. The one notable exception to this is the one being stood on in "Reclamation."
  • A mothership was considered for Heroes of the Storm, where Probius would summon a mothership as his ultimate, warp up, and bombard his enemies with it. The concept for the ability was transferred to Alexstrasza.[18]




  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Barba, Rick. StarCraft Field Manual (hardcover). Insight Editions, November 17, 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Mothership. Accessed on 2008-03-30
  3. 2015-04-09, A Time for Templars: Protoss. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2015-04-10
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. Collections Tab: Skins. July 19, 2017
  5. 5.0 5.1 Blizzard Entertainment. 2012-12-20. Mothership Core. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2012-12-21.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 2015-04-30, Mothership Science. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2015-05-01
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 Kindregan, Brian T. "Mothership." (January 15, 2010). Blizzard Entertainment. Mothership Accessed 2010-01-15.
  8. Leviathan
  9. StarCraft II, mothership unit quotations
  10. Brooks, Robert. "It Will End in Fire." (Nov 3, 2015). Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft Lore: It Will End in Fire Accessed 2015-11-03.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Zapotek, Ren (w), Noel Rodriguez (p, i). "Twilight Archon." In StarCraft: Frontline: Volume 3 (paperback binding), pp. 132-177. Tokyopop, July 14, 2009. ISBN 978-1427-80832-5.
  12. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Salvation. (in English). November 10, 2015
  13. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. Collections Tab: Skins. October 17, 2016
  14. 2015-05-11, Legacy of the Void Beta: Balance Update Preview - May 11. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2015-05-21
  15. Chris Metzen, StarCraft Legacy staff. 2009-04-03. SC:L Metzen Interview - Lore Exclusive. StarCraft Legacy. Accessed 2009-05-18.
  16. Karune, Dustin Browder and Samwise Didier. 2008-11-18. BlizzCast Episode 6. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2008-11-18.
  17. Knaak, Richard A. (w), Washio, Naohiro (p, i). "Thundergod." In StarCraft: Frontline: Volume 1 (paperback binding), pp. 48–93. Tokyopop, August 1, 2008. ISBN 1427-80721-3.
  18. 2017-11-23, BlizzCon 2017 Heroes of the Storm Deep Dive Panel Transcript. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2017-11-26