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An overlord

"Graaallghhub? Graaaawlughhb!"

- An overlord(src)

The overlord is a zerg flyer that provides control for lesser minions.


"Overlords provide control for your minions. As your forces grow in number, you must hatch more Overlords to control them."

An overlord during the Great War

Overlords were evolved from the Gargantis proximae, a species of giant space-faring and semi-intelligent creatures[1] which volunteered to be assimilated in order to avoid extinction.[2]

Once assimilated, they were used to help cerebrates control and coordinate their broods and scout using their enhanced senses.[1]


The elongated appendages that hung from the underbellies of the Gargantis were evolved into an array of microscopic filaments that gather sensory and spatial information through intermittent pulses, which are then fed into the overlord's central nervous system. All data gathered is processed as fast as it is received, allowing overlords to navigate through any environment and relay tactical data to the Swarm.[3]
On average, during the Second Great War overlords were approximately 18 meters in length, 12 meters in height, and 10 meters in width.[4]

An overlord after the Brood War

Overlords possess a large, bulbous brain which is protected by a heavily armored weave of bone and cartilage. It is a large organ, with millions of nerves and synaptic contacts.[3]
The overlord's cerebral structure is complex with neural pathways woven throughout the body[5]; but is heavily concentrated in its lower section and legs. It is through this system that overlords relay commands to the Swarm.[3]
The overlord's nerve system makes it a powerful psionic energy transmitter (its ability to broadcast psychic energy is unmatched) and to preserve this capability, the zerg only altered neurologically impotent parts from the Gargantis, including the carapace and pulmonary chambers. As a result, the overlord's core genetic matrix is atypically homogeneous: over 90%. The minimal alterations also preserved memories[5]; ancient overlords, essentially assimilated Gargantis, regained their individuality upon becoming feral.[1]
Dr. Talen Ayers proposed two theories as to why this was—one, the Gargantis had the properties the zerg desired, and as such, little modification of their genetic code was required. Two, the zerg are unwilling to meddle too deeply with the structural makeup of species that possess great psionic ability, knowing that even the slightest of changes can destroy this ability. He counted on the latter.[6]

Current overlord physiology

Unlike most other zerg breeds, overlords have a greater capacity to act on their own judgement, though their mental flexibility is still severely limited.[7]
Overlords typically only relay orders. They are technically capable of directly controlling lesser zerg, but only with extreme difficulty.[2]
Overlords are able to communicate thoughts and concepts, including complete sentences, to higher command zerg breeds.[8]
After Kerrigan's defeat at Char, some overlords tried to form pockets of organized zerg in the same manner as broodmothers. While most regressed to a feral state[9], some, particularly those Gargantis proximae originally assimilated onto the Swarm, regained their free will upon going feral, and were able to gather small broods.[2]

Overlords are fairly docile. Additional duties include tending to young larvae[10] and monitoring the progress of drones through a type of instinctive telepathy.[11]


An overlord confronts a marine

Overlords retain the thick outer shell of the Gargantis, and it changed little in the assimilation process.[3]
Their exoskeletons are strong enough to resist a lightning strike.[12]

Overlords with the correct growth stimuli[1] can carry other zerg within hollows in their hides.[13]
In this form they become deep-space transports[10]; the importance of their function is underlined by the sheer number of overlords found accompanying zerg forces.[1]
As spacefaring creatures, an overlord's carapace pressurizes and seals whenever the creature flies through vacuum. Two species of unidentified symbiotic organisms seem to regulate these functions, though Dominion scientists have been unable to obtain any living samples—these organisms die within seconds if removed from their host overlord.[3]
Due to their need to support many different strains of zerg at once, overlords can sometimes exhibit spontaneous adaptive mutations in order to improve their own efficiency.[14]

An overlord

Overlords use helium-filled gas sacs and a weak telekinetic psi-ability for lift and motive power.[15]
This helium is generated through an efficient respiratory system distributed throughout the overlord's carapace. The excess helium is stored in thick sacs that contract and expand through rudimentary pulses, allowing overlords to regulate altitude and propulsion at will.[3]
They move quite slowly however.[16]

By the Second Great War, overlords could disgorge creep to prepare the way for zerg conquests.[1]
This creep is produced by the overlord liquefying its internal organs, with the creep being stored in multiple glands near the overlord's head. The process is instantaneous and takes place when space is needed for transportation of zerg ground strains. Overlords can regrow their organs at will, and can modify them to derive substance from inhospitable environments.[3]
Also by the Second Great War, overlords could metamorphose into overseers.[1]

A primal overlord

While most primal zerg, like those of Dehaka's pack, have evolved beyond the need of overlords, small numbers of primal overlords can be found among the various packs.[14]

Leviathan Brood overlords reflect the genetic mutations of the creatures beneath them, due to their constant connection within the Swarm's hive mind.

Overlords enslaved by the Cerberus Program were enhanced with incandescent energy beacons that allowed them to pinpoint positions even in low visibility conditions.[14]

Game Unit[]


For StarCraft gameplay information see: Overlord.

StarCraft: Ghost[]

StarCraft Ghost Logo2.jpg

This article or section contains information about StarCraft: Ghost, which has been declared non-canon. Elements may be taken as 'flavor lore' however.
The content may be significantly out of date. Please do not add speculation to this article, and remember to cite a published source for details.

DoorBreach SC1 CineBattleAmerigo1.jpg

This following section contains information from concept art that may not be canonical.

Caged overlord

Overlords make an appearance in StarCraft: Ghost, and is a target that Nova could destroy with a calldown of the science vessel irradiate ability.

StarCraft II[]

For StarCraft II gameplay information see: Overlord.

Known Overlords[]

An overlord's visage

Variant Strains[]




  • According to the StarCraft manual, overlords were utilized by the zerg before the Swarm left Zerus and were derived from the Gargantis proximae.[13]

The wording was ambiguous on whether the overlords in these two instances were the same or not. The two were explicitly equated in the short story "Just an Overlord" published fifteen years after the manual.[2]

  • Overlord is the name of a mech pilot in Overwatch. His mech is named "Mastermind," possibly as reference to the Mastermind Overlord sub-strain. Furthermore, a StarCraft-themed backpack can be found outside his room on the Busan map.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Game Unit: Overlord. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2010-09-20.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Jurgens-Fyhrie, Gavin. "Just an Overlord" (March 21, 2013). Blizzard Entertainment. Just an Overlord. Accessed from Blizzard Short Stories Hub on 2021-05-09.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 2014-07-31, Overlord Science. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2014-08-08
  4. Barba, Rick. StarCraft Field Manual (hardcover). Insight Editions, November 17, 2015.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Blizzard Entertainment. Overlord Dissection. Project Blackstone. Accessed on 2013-03-25
  6. Dayton, Cameron et al (July 21, 2014). StarCraft II: War Stories. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ASIN B00IWTWTBY.
  7. Blizzard Entertainment. 2012-11-26. StarCraft II Creative Development Q&A - Part 6. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2012-11-26.
  8. Golden, Christie (November 27, 2007). StarCraft: The Dark Templar Saga #2: Shadow Hunters. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 978-0-7434-7126-8.
  9. 2011-05-31, The Interrogation Room: StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. GameSpy, accessed on 2011-07-08.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Overlord. StarCraft Compendium. Accessed on 2008-01-19
  11. Drone, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2011-01-19.
  12. Mesta, Gabriel (July 1, 2001). StarCraft: Shadow of the Xel'Naga. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 0-671-04149-5.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Underwood, Peter, Bill Roper, Chris Metzen and Jeffrey Vaughn. StarCraft (Manual) . Irvine, Calif. Blizzard Entertainment, 1998.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. Collections Tab: Skins. October 17, 2016
  15. Karune. 2007-12-14. StarCraft II Q&A - Batch 24. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2007-12-14.
  16. 2014-12-04, More Zerg Science (All Too Easy). Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2014-06-12
  17. 2016-07-21, BLIZZCON 2016 GOODY BAG. Blizzpro, accessed on 2016-07-22.
  18. Blizzard Entertainment. 2017-04-01. Overlord Announcer coming to StarCraft II!. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2017-04-01.