"Whoa! Careful of those protoss cannons! They can detect banshees even when they're cloaked!"

A photon cannon

The photon cannon is an automated, all-purpose[1] defense structure of protoss design.

Overview[edit | edit source]

"Did this thing just demote me to bullet catcher?"

- A Dominion marine after reading anti-cannon tactics(src)

A photon cannon

Photon cannons require a link to the psionic matrix generated by pylons. Although the protoss revel in the glory of personal combat, they also recognize the need for automated defenses. As such, the cannon fires an encapsulated antimatter sphere similar to that generated by the dragoon, which can target air and ground targets.[2] Inexpensive and easy to deploy, photon cannons are often installed at the entrances to protoss encampments, or overlooking psi-powered checkpoints. Photon cannons aren't rapid-fire weapons, so they're not as effective against massed foes. A marine rifle company or a pack of zerglings can easily work its way through a protoss station, picking off cannons one by one.

Photon cannons are equipped with special sensor technology borrowed from the observer. They are capable of spotting cloaked or burrowed enemies at a wide range.[1]

Experiments were done with integrating photon cannons with warp technology. However, these experiments widely ended in failure.

Tal'darim are known for secretly constructing cannons behind the mining operations of the enemies. The Ihan-rii modeled the phase disruptors on their cannons after an avian creature once native to Tyrador IX, before it was hunted to extinction by terran settlers.[3]

Game Structure[edit | edit source]

StarCraft[edit | edit source]

Strengths[edit | edit source]

  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to deploy
  • Targets ground & air
  • Detects cloaked units

Weaknesses[edit | edit source]

Abilities[edit | edit source]

This unit may detect cloaked and burrowed enemies.

Upgrades[edit | edit source]

  • +1 armor bonus to shields per level for all units and structures.
Acquisition
Purchased from Forge
Hotkey S
Level 1
Cost 200 Minerals 200 Vespene gas 266seconds
Level 2
Cost 300 Minerals 300 Vespene gas 298seconds
Required Cybernetics core
Level 3
Cost 400 Minerals 400 Vespene gas 330seconds
Required Cybernetics core

Development[edit | edit source]

During the StarCraft alpha, the photon cannon was known as the "photon battery."[4]

StarCraft II[edit | edit source]

The photon cannon re-appears in StarCraft II, much the same as its predecessor.

Wings of Liberty[edit | edit source]

Abilities[edit | edit source]

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

ve
Upgrades[edit | edit source]
  • +1 armor to shields per level.
Acquisition
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
ve

Co-op Missions[edit | edit source]

All protoss commanders are able to construct photon cannons in Co-op Missions. Karax is able to upgrade his photon cannons upon reaching level 6 and warp them in instantly once he reaches Level 11. Zeratul gains a variant named the tesseract cannon.

Artanis Upgrades and Abilities[edit | edit source]

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

ve
SC2 ProShields.gif
Protoss Plasma Shields

Increases the shield armor of all protoss units and structures.

Usage
Passive
Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Initially available.
Acquisition
Purchased from Forge
Hotkey A
Level 1
Cost 100 Minerals 100 Vespene gas 160seconds
Effect Shield armor: 1
Level 2
Cost 175 Minerals 175 Vespene gas 190seconds
Required Twilight council
Effect Shield armor: 2
Level 3
Cost 250 Minerals 250 Vespene gas 220seconds
Required Twilight council
Effect Shield armor: 3
ve
Vorazun Upgrades[edit | edit source]

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

ve
SC2 ProShields.gif
Protoss Plasma Shields

Increases the shield armor of all protoss units and structures.

Usage
Passive
Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Initially available.
Acquisition
Purchased from Forge
Hotkey A
Level 1
Cost 100 Minerals 100 Vespene gas 160seconds
Effect Shield armor: 1
Level 2
Cost 175 Minerals 175 Vespene gas 190seconds
Required Twilight council
Effect Shield armor: 2
Level 3
Cost 250 Minerals 250 Vespene gas 220seconds
Required Twilight council
Effect Shield armor: 3
ve
Karax Upgrades[edit | edit source]

Note: The Photon Cannon is not available when using Prestige 2: "Templar Apparent"

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

ve
KhalaiIngenuity LotV Icon1.jpg
Khalai Ingenuity

Pylons, photon cannons, khaydarin monoliths, and shield batteries warp in instantly.

Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Reach Karax Level 11
ve
EnhancedTargeting LotV Icon1.jpg
Enhanced Targeting

Increases the range of photon cannons, khaydarin monoliths, and shield batteries by 2.

Usage
Passive
Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Reach Karax Level 8
Acquisition
Purchased from Forge
Hotkey R
Cost 100 Minerals 100 Vespene gas 120seconds
ve
OptimizedOrdnance LotV Icon1.jpg
Optimized Ordnance

Increases the attack rate of photon cannons and khaydarin monoliths by 25%.

Templar Apparent: Optimized Ordnance is unavailable.

Usage
Passive
Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Reach Karax Level 8
Acquisition
Purchased from Forge
Hotkey E
Cost 100 Minerals 100 Vespene gas 120seconds
ve
SC2 ProShields.gif
Protoss Plasma Shields

Increases the shield armor of all protoss units and structures.

Usage
Passive
Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Initially available.
Acquisition
Purchased from Forge
Hotkey A
Level 1
Cost 100 Minerals 100 Vespene gas 160seconds
Effect Shield armor: 1
Level 2
Cost 175 Minerals 175 Vespene gas 190seconds
Required Twilight council
Effect Shield armor: 2
Level 3
Cost 250 Minerals 250 Vespene gas 220seconds
Required Twilight council
Effect Shield armor: 3
ve
Alarak Upgrades[edit | edit source]

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

ve
SC2 ProShields.gif
Protoss Plasma Shields

Increases the shield armor of all protoss units and structures.

Usage
Passive
Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Initially available.
Acquisition
Purchased from Forge
Hotkey A
Level 1
Cost 100 Minerals 100 Vespene gas 160seconds
Effect Shield armor: 1
Level 2
Cost 175 Minerals 175 Vespene gas 190seconds
Required Death council
Effect Shield armor: 2
Level 3
Cost 250 Minerals 250 Vespene gas 220seconds
Required Death council
Effect Shield armor: 3
ve
Fenix Upgrades[edit | edit source]

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

ve
OperationalEfficiency SC2 Button1.png
Operational Efficiency

Production and tech structures no longer have tech requirements, have their mineral costs reduced by 50%, and have their gas costs reduced by 100%.

Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Reach Fenix Level 10
ve
SC2 ProShields.gif
Protoss Plasma Shields

Increases the shield armor of all protoss units and structures.

Usage
Passive
Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Initially available.
Acquisition
Purchased from Forge
Hotkey A
Level 1
Cost 100 Minerals 100 Vespene gas 160seconds
Effect Shield armor: 1
Level 2
Cost 175 Minerals 175 Vespene gas 190seconds
Required Twilight council
Effect Shield armor: 2
Level 3
Cost 250 Minerals 250 Vespene gas 220seconds
Required Twilight council
Effect Shield armor: 3
ve

Development[edit | edit source]

The photon cannon initially structuraly resembled its predecessor, retaining its 'telescope'.[5] It was replaced by the phase cannon early in the development of StarCraft II.[6] It has since returned in name and ability, although uses the phase cannon's model.[5]

Heroes of the Storm[edit | edit source]

Heroes DevLog2.jpg

The following section contains information from Heroes of the Storm and is not canon to StarCraft continuity

Photon cannons can be summoned by Probius in Heroes of the Storm[7]

Known Variants[edit | edit source]

Images[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Barba, Rick. StarCraft Field Manual (hardcover). Insight Editions, November 17, 2015.
  2. Underwood, Peter, Bill Roper, Chris Metzen and Jeffrey Vaughn. StarCraft (Manual). Irvine, Calif.: Blizzard Entertainment, 1998.
  3. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. Collections Tab: Skins. October 17, 2016
  4. Renders, accessed on 2011-07-20
  5. 5.0 5.1 2011, SC2: Protoss Photon Cannon. Deviantart, accessed on 2011-02-20
  6. Karune. 2007-07-23. StarCraft II Q&A - Karune Briefings. StarCraft II General Discussion Forums. Accessed 2007-09-06.
  7. Blizzard Entertainment. Heroes of the Storm (Blizzard Entertainment) (in English). June 2, 2015
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.