StarCraft Wiki
StarCraft Wiki
"We are the protoss. Children of ancient gods. We are the Firstborn. And we shall be the last left standing."

A protoss

The protoss (Khalani for "Firstborn") are a sapient humanoid species native to Aiur. Their advanced technology complements and enhances their psionic mastery.[1]

The main protoss cultural groups are the Khalai[2] and the Nerazim, who reject the Khala.[1][3] Other cultural branches include the Tal'darim, Purifiers, and the Ihan-rii.[4]

Protoss civilization was reunified when the Khalai and Nerazim, sundered since the Discord, were reunited[5] after the devastation of Aiur by the zerg during the Great War.[6]

Alongside the zerg and terrans, the protoss stand as one of the three dominant species of the Milky Way.[7] Protoss are not found outside the Koprulu sector.[8]


Main article: Protoss history
"Stay alert people, these guys play hardball."

A zealot

The protoss are an ancient race, and they consider themselves to be the "firstborn" race of the universe.[9]

Aeon of Strife[]

Main article: Aeon of Strife

The protoss were discovered by Amon and his followers on Aiur, a world the xel'naga had previously engineered. The xel'naga, who were nearing the end of their life cycle, were in need of a race to achieve purity of form and intrigued by their mental connection, chose to use the protoss. Amon uplifted the protoss and manipulated their essence. Pushing the evolution of the protoss, the purity of form was achieved and the xel'naga eventually descended to Aiur. The protoss, who revered the Amon and his followers as gods, learned much from them. But in time, they began to grow wary of their creators, and rebelled from them, attacking their ships and killing hundreds. Amon and his followers left the planet as the protoss fell into the Aeon of Strife, a period of brutal civil war.[1] Until the End War, history would hold that it was the xel'naga as a whole that were responsible for this uplift.[10]

The destructive civil war ended when Khas, using xel'naga-derived artifacts called khaydarin crystals, re-created the psionic link. It became the basis of a new philosophy called the Khala.

Approximately 1500 by terran reckoning, the Conclave attempted to exterminate rogue heretics who had deliberately cut themselves off from the Khala and would later become known as the Dark Templar. They ordered Executor Adun to execute them, but Adun refused, instead teaching the rogues to hide from the Conclave. Eventually the rogues lost control of their powers, alerting the Conclave. They were secretly banished on a xel'naga ship.

A lone protoss faces down the zerg

By 2499 the protoss became aware of a xenomorphic threat, the zerg, another alien species also created by the xel'naga. The zerg were attacking the terrans, a species which had traveled to the Koprulu Sector two hundred years previously. The Conclave dispatched Tassadar and a force of protoss to destroy the infestation by purifying the infested worlds.[1]

Fall of Aiur[]

"My Life For Aiur!"

- Protoss battlecry(src)

Main article: Fall of Aiur

Tassadar's force failed in its mission, and the remnants traveled to the new zerg homeworld, Char. There, Tassadar struck an alliance with the Dark Templar prelate, Zeratul. They discovered a weakness in the zerg command structure which could be exploited only by the Dark Templar, and clashed with their new leader, the Queen of Blades. Meanwhile, the majority of the zerg force traveled to Aiur.[11] The protoss were losing the battle, but when Tassadar brought Zeratul to Aiur, a protoss civil war broke out between Tassadar's followers and the followers of the Conclave.[12] Eventually Tassadar's faction won.[13] Unimpeded by the Conclave, Tassadar's followers attacked the Overmind itself.[14] Tassadar died during the battle.[15] Seventy percent of protoss on Aiur were killed.[16]

The protoss fled to Shakuras, followed by a zerg faction.[17] The protoss destroyed the renegade zerg, saving themselves but advancing Sarah Kerrigan's aims.[18] With the assistance of her enigmatic minion Samir Duran,[19] she would later force the protoss into destroying the second Overmind for her, making her the sole leader of the Zerg Swarm.[20] As the protoss attempted a revenge strike on Kerrigan,[21] Duran abandoned her to conduct protoss/zerg hybridization experiments, which were discovered by Zeratul.[22] The latter exiled himself for several years following the discovery.[23]

End War[]

"Alas, the day has finally come. The End War is upon us... and all of creation depends on our victory!"

- Dark Prelate Zeratul(src)

Main article: End War

The protoss spent years rebuilding the Golden Armada to retake Aiur, and in 2506, the fleet was launched to retake their homeworld.[24] However, this coincided with the return of Amon, who corrupted the Khala and possessed every protoss connected to it.[25] Artanis gathered the survivors aboard the arkship the Spear of Adun, and set off to find the means to fight Amon.[26] They retrieved the Keystone,[27] and evacuated the Nerazim from Shakuras before destroying the planet as Amon's forces overran it.[28] The Daelaam followed Zeratul's lead to the temple of Ulnar,[10] but found the xel'naga there dead.[29] Artanis then united the ancient Purifiers and the Tal'darim with the Daelaam, and moved to reclaim their home.[30] The attack was successful; Aiur was reclaimed and Amon was thrust back into the Void.[31] The protoss, with the aid of the Dominion and Zerg Swarm, pushed into the Void and slew Amon, ending his manipulations of the protoss.[32]

In the years following the conflict, the protoss struggled to heal the racial wounds of their history, as well as the lack of purpose from the loss of the Khala.[33]


"As they say, the enemy of my enemy... tall, dark and ugly?"

- Jack Frost and Charlie Vane after seeing a protoss for the first time(src)

Male protoss anatomy

Protoss are about two meters (six foot seven)[11] to three meters tall,[34] with typical heights of eight to nine feet (2.4-2.7 meters).[35] The height of researcher Ulavu was given as two and a quarter meters.[36] A protoss would consider a human over six feet tall to be "short."[37] While the average protoss weight has not been documented, Tassadar weighed 145 kilograms.[38]

They have two glowing eyes[1] that blink normally,[9] digitigrade legs, semi-permeable skin covered in scales, and toes, broad chests and shoulders, and narrow waists with slim midsections. Extending back from the crown of the head, protoss have a bony crest. Beneath it, emerging from the back of the head, are the nerve cords, allowing them to access their racial psionic gestalt. This gestalt is the basis of the Khala.[1] Aside from their eyes, protoss possess no other orifices on their bodies. Protoss hands are notable for their variation, with some protoss having two fingers and two thumbs, and others having three fingers and only one thumb. This is a random hereditary trait among the protoss.[39]

Selendis, a female protoss

The xel'naga considered these beings to have purity of form as the protoss are incredibly adaptable to harsh natural conditions and climates, and their strength and speed were unparalleled amongst the other races known to the xel’naga.[1] Protoss have sharp claws, which can be deadly weapons if a protoss is caught unarmed.[40]

Protoss derive sustenance from light,[37] capable of living off moonlight (reflected sunlight),[37][41] and can go without light for extended periods of time.[41] Though the process of light absorption is similar to plants, protoss are able to access energies over a wider range of the electromagnetic spectrum than most plants.[36] What little water they need is absorbed through the skin.[41] The Dark Templar modified themselves biologically and used other techniques to survive on the formerly lightless world of Shakuras.[42] Protoss require oxygen to survive.[43] Protoss waste excretion occurs on a molecular level through the skin.[39]

The protoss used to hunt, but they did so to collect the blood and hides of animals for various purposes, not for sustenance.[37] Ancient protoss also used to till soil to grow crops.[44]

Protoss hear and smell through their skin, and it is believed that their primary sense is sight. Protoss have a sense of smell sharp enough to identify other protoss and see very well at night. A protoss' skin color may change in response to changes in its emotions. They are bereft of mouths, noses, or visible ears and are without a sense of taste.[37] They possess three hearts,[11] though they are located so closely together in the body, many protoss refer to it as one organ.[39]

A protoss with golden eyes

Protoss sleep and dream in a manner similar to humans.[37] All protoss eyes glow due to their latent psionic power.[45] When particularly emotional, streams of energy have been observed to stream from a protoss's eyes, similar to how a terran might cry.[46] Eye colors include blue, green,[47] gold,[48] violet,[49][50] and red.[51] The proliferation of eye color corresponds to kindred; Khalai eyes are predominantly blue, Nerazim are predominantly green,[47] and red is present among the Tal'darim,[51] though has also been observed for the Khalai.[49]

A protoss's maximum life expectancy is 1000 years,[52] though exceptions exist.[16] Like other creatures, protoss grow weaker with age, with physical and mental faculties degrading as they get late into their lives.[47]

Protoss are not a prolific people,[53] to the extent that the xel'naga developed an artifact, the Kassia crystal, to counteract this.[54] The population of Aiur, however, had reached billions.[55] Before the Fall of Aiur, the protoss population was in decline due to systemic extermination; the protoss were passing away from sheer age.[56] Their numbers have been further reduced through conflict,[57] and their population continues to decline.[58]

Protoss blood is blue[37] or a dark purplish color, almost black.[39] Protoss can bear birthmarks.[8] As in humans, skin color is considered a sign of ethnicity, with each protoss tribe having a specific subtly differing hue or typical pattern of markings associated with it. While the protoss are no longer a tribal society, the tribal bloodlines still run strong.[1][59]

As with terrans and zerg, protoss genetic material consists of DNA[22] with helix strands. There is evidence that the protoss have yet to unlock their full genetic potential, but this theory died along with the Protoss Advance/Experimental Facility.[60]

Protoss DNA is "antithetical" to zerg DNA and cannot be combined through infestation under normal circumstances. Artificial methods can be used to generate hybrids however.[61] A protoss may still serve as the host for a zerg parasite.[62]

The following section contains information from Heroes of the Storm that is ambiguously canonical.

Protoss possess a body part called a thylar, which may be held by their hand.[63]

Medical Care[]

"There's a protoss here who needs mouth-to-mou - ooh... well... mouth to... something."

- A confused medic(src)

Kept alive through advanced technology

On the battlefield protoss warriors are known to fight with tremendous power and grace, but despite the chaos they inflict on their enemies they are capable of being mortally wounded. When a protoss nears death, their foes often bear witness to a startling flash of bright light as the protoss warrior seemingly disappears. Primitive races are known to quail in superstitious fear upon seeing this, but it is actually another aspect of protoss technology at work rather than any sort of supernatural feat.

Protoss armor is typically equipped with a complex teleportation mechanism that can detect when its wearer is grievously injured and automatically teleports the warrior to the nearest safe haven. This of course is dependent on the mechanism being fully functional, as there is the risk of being damaged during combat.

A protoss immortal pilot

Those protoss who are too badly injured after the battle but still wish to continue fighting are placed within the shell of a dragoon, immortal or vanguard, which allows them to serve their brethren on the battlefield. The choice is left to each individual protoss; whether to continue service or join with their ancestors in the Khala.[64]

Protoss that suffer injuries to their psionic appendages (such as the Nerazim) attach clamps to the remnants in order to prevent energy bleed.[54]

Terran understanding of protoss physiology is limited.[37] Their respective biologies are similar enough for substances and drugs, such as Sundrop[65] and a medic's medicine to affect both.[66]

Mental Abilities[]

Protoss psionics

Their powerful psionic abilities extend further than that of human ghosts.[65]

Protoss have been described as "devastatingly intelligent", and their thought processes work very differently than those of terrans.[67] They are able to contemplate multiple scenarioes and run through many different lines of thoughts and memories in the span of a second.[68]

Protoss are natural mind-readers. They must learn to filter the thoughts they read, block and release (which would prevent other protoss from reading their minds).[37] The ability to block thoughts is compromised by the Khala, which prevents the protoss which follow that philosophy from hiding from each other.[65] During the Aeon of Strife, Protoss regularly used their mind-screening abilities to ambush each other.[37]

Protoss can use their psionic abilities to shield themselves, charge their tools and weapons, and to materialize, manipulate or meld matter.[64] At least some of these abilities can only be used by a small minority of protoss without technological assistance (such as the creation of shields).[1]

Zeratul using the powers of the Void to blink

Protoss can sometimes access memories and strands of experience from protoss who have died and entered the Khala, but only preservers have full access to this knowledge.[64] Protoss warriors can learn from the spirits of fallen warriors at the Templar Archives.[1]

The powers of the Khala and the Void protect protoss from zerg infestation.[61]


Protoss can communicate telepathically with each other. They can do so through "speaking," a method that transmits little or no emotional content.[37][65] Using their nerve cords they can also communicate in a manner which enables them to sense each other's emotions, a key part of their psionic gestalt, the Khala.[37] During the Aeon of Strife this ability had fallen into disuse, but was restored by the mystic Khas. Protoss who follow the Khala use both methods of communication.[65] Dark Templar ritually sever their nerve cords, which prevents the emotional link.[1] Clamps are placed on these severed nerve cords to prevent energy bleed.[54]

Protoss can create a special kind of mind-meld deep within the Khala, where no one can lie. Protoss performing this kind of mind-meld hold up their hands and face their palms to each other; both palms softly glow. This kind of communication was also possibly held between Executor Adun and Raszagal, the latter not following the Khala.

Protoss "speak" a language called Khalani,[65] communicating through telepathic bursts. The privacy of the conversation is up to those involved on it. Even through communication, pain can be caused via this telepathy via mental spikes.[69] Terrans exposed to protoss communication often hear nearly meaningless sounds. However, at least some protoss have the ability to "translate" the thoughts into a form which a terran can understand.[70] There is a limit to how far a protoss can communicate through telepathy—psychic boosters are used for ship-wide broadcasts, and psi-link spires are used for communication across interstellar distances. Protoss are capable of using their telepathic powers to directly interface with terran video communication systems.[39] Often psi links are outfitted into protoss helmets and gauntlets[47] to allow them to communicate over distances and in the mental chaos of battle.[71]

The protoss of the Aeon of Strife did not understand the concept of non-psionic communication. Khas effectively (re-)created the concept of reading and writing, a necessity for translating some xel'naga relics.[65]

In addition to telepathy, protoss possess a degree of body language used in conveying feelings, intent, etc. For instance, a bob of the head and movement of a protoss' nerve chords is a sign of contempt. Bowing of the head, shaking and/or mottling of the skin is a sign of emotional distress.[37]

Terran technology is able to detect and interact with long range protoss communication frequencies through use of a hyper-waveform emitter.[72]


"If society is defined by how well its members comprehend one another's interests and culture, the protoss manage to eclipse us merely by existing. You call them detached? They connect with each other's emotions instinctively. They share dimensions of understanding as easily as we breathe. We remain so very, very alone. Our relationships are childish by comparison."

A zealot of the Khalai

Protoss culture is built around core philosophies that have been rigidly adhered to for over a millennium. As such, it is difficult for their society to adapt to changing circumstances.[73] The integration of Khalai and Nerazim is a case in point in different cultural values.[54][65]

Khalai culture has its roots in the Aeon of Strife, the period of chaos following the retreat of the xel'naga. At the end of the Strife, the protoss were reunited under the precepts of the Khala ("Path to Ascension") as promoted by the mystic Khas. The Khala took advantage of the natural psionic communal link and established a caste system.[1] Protoss can be fanatical when it comes to their religious beliefs.[73]

Not all protoss embraced the Khala. Many outcasts, eventually known as the Nerazim, were later banished from Aiur.[1] Yet other outcasts, the Tal'darim, use drugs to cut themselves off from the Khala.[74]

Female protoss rarely attain positions of power, except among the Nerazim. They are rare among the Templar Caste and were never part of the Conclave. Many protoss have a prejudice against female terrans, as the only one they've had much contact with was Kerrigan (contrasted to Jim Raynor).[43] Very young protoss are referred to as "younglings."[8]

The protoss are considered a "warrior race", although they were not constantly at war. They trained incessantly for combat, however, and prior to the Great War warred with the kalathi and "other types" of protoss.[75] Protoss have a strict code of justice and honor, and strongly believe in their responsibility to enforce it. They strive for glory in battle.[9] For the protoss, discipline and advanced technology are the key to success on the battlefield, and dying with honor is preferable to surviving through cowardice.[76]

The combination of their technological prowess and arrogance has blinded the protoss (at times) to collateral harm suffered by "lesser species."[77] However. the protoss have always been willing to sacrifice their lives for other members of their species.[8] Protoss revel in the glory of personal combat,[1] and consider the ranged weapons of terrans to be cowardly.[78] Nonetheless, they recognize the necessity of ranged warfare, hence the existence of technology such as the photon cannon.[1]

Aiur holds great, almost spiritual significance to all protoss.[8]

The protoss, or at least the Khalai, do not not have a concept of luck, instead seeing "the synchronicity of events," and knowing there is a grander design behind them.[79][80]

Among the Nerazim, family ties are important, but among the Khalai and Tal'darim, family terms are indirect, and protoss do not form terran-like family units.[8] However many Khalai protoss are aware of their blood family, maintain some ties to them.[43]

Unlike terrans, protoss do not have a concept of knocking—as protoss are able to sense one another, there is no need to knock on a door to announce their arrival. Similarly, protoss have zero skills in cooking, as they have no mouths in which to eat.[45]


"Oh, good, the protoss...I was hoping to get an indulgent lecture today."

Protoss have a mental language, Khalani,[65] and a written language. These were used by both the Khalai and the Nerazim.[43] Khalai can communicate wordlessly due to the properties of the Khala, while Nerazim must psionically communicate words rather than emotions.[81]


"Faith before fear."

Protoss reverence

The protoss as a whole once worshiped the xel'naga as gods.[1] In the present day, various protoss have also referred to the xel'naga as gods,[82][83] and the Tal'darim have taken a hardline approach to worship of Amon and his follower xel'naga as a deities.[84]

Protoss Heroes[]

A number of protoss are highly regarded by both Khalai and Nerazim, and have become associated with honorifics (e.g. "en taro"—"in honor of"):

  • Khas – A prominent figure in protoss society, he was the charismatic and spiritual leader who brought an end to the Aeon of Strife by using ancient xel'naga artifacts, the khaydarin crystals, to unite the warring tribes by calling them into a communal telepathic matrix. The belief that this was necessary for the protoss to survive became known as the Khala, and is followed by almost all protoss factions. The Path of Khala is the sole and dominant religion in the society of the protoss of Aiur, and societal rank (for example, Templar, Judicator) and honor are linked with Khala.[1]
  • Adun – Another well known figure in protoss culture, he is honored by Khalai and Dark Templar alike. A powerful warrior in his time, he was charged with the extermination of the rogue tribes by the Conclave. Unable to bring themselves to slaughter their kin, Adun and his troops attempted to hide the heretics. Though he failed, he would be known as a savior to the Dark Templar,[1] and would gain similar status on Aiur after the myth of the heretics spread, revealing that he saved Aiur from the heretics and their anarchist ways.[65] The phrase "En Taro Adun" is used by the protoss as a formal greeting or farewell, and also serves as a battlecry, while the Dark Templar use "Adun Toridas" in a similar fashion.
  • Tassadar – He led the Koprulu Expeditionary Force during the Great War. The subsequent reunification of the Khalai with the Dark Templar began with his befriending of Zeratul. This alliance allowed the protoss to slay cerebrates and the first Overmind. Tassadar sacrificed himself to kill the Overmind. For his heroic example, he serves as a contemporary example of protoss virtues. Some Templar, notably Artanis, Selendis and Zeratul have taken to saying "En Taro Tassadar".
  • Zeratul – A hero of the Great War, Zeratul taught Tassadar how to channel void energies, allowing him to defeat the Overmind. Zeratul's tireless devotion to discovering the meaning behind the hybrid and Amon gave the protoss the edge they needed in the End War. Through the conflict, Artanis took to saying "En Taro Zeratul,"[85] and in the aftermath of the conflict attributed their victory to Zeratul.[31]
  • Artanis – After serving in the Great War and Brood War, Artanis took over the role of Hierarch of the Daelaam. When Amon returned and corrupted the Khala, he gathered what few loyal protoss remained, and struck back, bringing the ancient Purifiers and Tal'darim into the Daelaam's fleet. Artanis reclaimed Aiur, and thrust Amon back into the Void, then sending the fleet in to finally strike him down forever. "En Taro Artanis" was shouted as an honorific in the Daelaam's last stand against Amon on Aiur.[31]


Protoss conflict

The extent to which the protoss have been a unified people has waxed and waned over time. Originally tribal based, the protoss settled under centralized rule with the coming of the xel'naga, only to revert to tribalism in the Aeon of Strife, only to once again be unified after thousands of years. Under the Khala, the Khalai formed the caste-based Protoss Empire while those who refused to submit became the outcast Nerazim.[1]

In the aftermath of the Brood War, both lines of protoss were united under the Daelaam.[86] However, internal tension once again led to tribalism[87] and their civilization fractured.[88] In the aftermath of the End War, the Daelaam united the remaining tribes, and reclaimed Aiur as the homeland for all protoss.[31]

The Tal'darim are a branch of protoss that were taken from Aiur during the departure of the xel'naga, and serve as a separate culture from the Khalai and the Nerazim, unconnected to the Khala.[89] They are warlike, and before his fall served Amon with a fanatical devotion, using terrazine to become closer to him.[84]

While not true protoss, the Purifiers were templar designed by the protoss who rebelled over not being treated as true templar. During the End War, they were absorbed back into protoss society with the promise of equal treatment to true protoss.[90]

The Ihan-rii are a fanatical branch of protoss that isolated themselves from their kin millennia ago to worship the xel'naga. They use a powerful stone for their technology, and largely remain on the fringes of the sector, passively observing.[4]


"Sophisticated psionic biology. Gilded technology that defies the laws of space and time. If the Protoss are arrogant, as their detractors claim, can you blame them? They were cruising the galaxy in golden superships when humans were still digging in the dirt for grubs."
Main articles: Protoss Technology Listing

A dragoon—an example of protoss cybernetic technology

The protoss are the most technologically advanced race in the galaxy.[77] Their technology is a blend of psionics and mundane technology[64] and has shown itself to be far more advanced than many other species of the galaxy, including humanity,[1] which was "digging in the dirt for grubs" by the time the protoss had achieved interstellar travel.[78] They have been referred to as "the most technologically advanced race in the universe,"[9] and their warriors are "the best trained in the galaxy."[91] Despite their technological advantage, the protoss constantly strive to enhance their weapons and armor.[1] Their weaponry is energy-based.[92]

Protoss technology is functional, as well as artistic.[45]

Some protoss technology requires vespene gas as a catalyst.[1] Protoss utilize cybernetic technology to save lives, and bolster their warriors' prowess.[57] This technology is so advanced when compared to that of terrans that to some terran scientists, classifying it as "technology" at all seems inadequate, as protoss have displayed a cognitive, almost spiritual bond with their cybernetic machines.[39]

Protoss metals are particularly durable, not decaying or eroding even after hundreds of years of neglect. Even battlefield scraps of protoss metal can maintain their undiminished shine without signs of pitting, scarring, or scorching.[68]

Battlefield communications between protoss are efficient.[81] The use of energy for defensive purposes is a standard protoss practice.[93]

Protoss warriors being teleported

Protoss armor contains teleportation technology which whisks the warrior away to safety when they are injured to the point of death.[64] Injured and crippled protoss can be transformed into cybernetic warriors.

Due to their low population, the protoss frequently use robots in their military.[1] Due to their diminished population, the protoss are in a position of not being able to waste resources.[58]

Protoss pilots are an integral part of their ship, and using it drains their energies.[43] Protoss aerospace craft utilize anti-gravity technology to keep them airborne when operating within a planet's atmosphere.[52]

The colossus—an automated protoss war construct

The protoss developed powerful crystal technology and incredibly powerful weapons of war, such as the colossus and the mothership, and could develop more powerful technology if they wished.[67] The protoss limit their use of technology, as they are frightened of what they could do with it[94] and feel they have perfected a slow but steady and methodical system of technological development.[95] The longevity of protoss history has allowed them to develop incredible weapons of war over the course of it.[9]

Despite the Fall of Aiur, the protoss can still produce starships on other planets, and they have also inventories of them in many places.[94]

The following section contains information from StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty that is ambiguously canonical.

Protoss excel in energy manipulation. Arcthium gems are key to their technology.[83]



StarCraft: Ghost[]

StarCraft II[]


Early protoss concept art

  • Protoss comes from the Greek "πρώτος" meaning "first." This name is possibly given because the protoss were the first semi-successful xel'naga creation, bearing the name "Firstborn."[1]
  • In StarCraft online culture, the protoss are often referred to simply as Toss (or P or Pro or PTo by some Korean players); amongst more experienced players, it's usually abbreviated to simply P.
  • The protoss bear similarities in their "look and feel" with the draenei of Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft universe. Other similarities can be drawn to Warcraft elves, given not just the different kindreds, but the universal glowing eyes (magic for elves, psionics for protoss) in both species, the colors of which correspond to the kindred in question.
  • All protoss names undergo careful consideration, as Blizzard has very strict guidelines as to how a protoss name should and should not look like. This is linked to a real-world dictionary of Khalani being maintained.[96]
  • In the 2013–2018 period, the protoss article was the sixth most visited page on the wiki, narrowly edging out the zerg (which took the #8 spot). This makes the protoss the most visited playable race page, though the visitation level was below that of the xel'naga (which took the #4 spot).[97]


  • The protoss were the second race developed for StarCraft, developed alongside the zerg after the terrans were fleshed out.[77]
  • It was decided that the protoss would not be savage, but "primal and powerful." They were loosely based on the stereotypical grey aliens of science fiction, only the protoss would be much taller, and much more muscular.[35] This race would have advanced technology and mysterious motives. The zealot acted as the baseline protoss unit, being "a non-wimpy grey alien wearing ornate power armor and wielding a wicked set of blades." Protoss units further up the tech tree were free to deviate from this norm.[98]

Art Style[]

"We made ours eight or nine feet tall instead of the skimpy pre-pubescent gray aliens with no muscle tone. Our Protoss have giant golden armor they have to support. Those little guys couldn’t do it, you know?"

Early insectoid concept art for the protoss

  • The dragoon served as the initial basis for the protoss. The idea was that the protoss would be a robotic race, with the protoss having units that resembled robotic duplicates of animals. However, it was found that the yellow and orange metal of the dragoon was too limiting as a color palette for the entire protoss race. The protoss were later developed into an organic species, though autonomous robotic units remained part of their tech tree.[99]
  • Because the protoss are not as numerous as the terrans and zerg, even their most basic units are designed to look as though they're able to fight against impossible odds.[92]
  • Alongside the terrans and zerg, the protoss aesthetic in StarCraft was decided early on, that their structures would be elegant and rounded.[35] The protoss's armor, buildings, and units followed the ethos set by the zealot, of all being aesthetically pleasing to the eye.[100] For their structures, blue crystals and stone architecture were utilized to establish a sense of contrast.[99] Silver and gold are prominent throughout all protoss units to underscore their lineage and ancient culture, silver and gold being chosen due to their nature as "noble colors."[92]

The protoss StarCraft II style

  • For StarCraft II, the protoss underwent an aesthetics redesign, with more flowing shapes, less geometric angles. and a more organic feel.[101] This was part of an unofficial retcon on Blizzard's part, an idea that protoss structures in StarCraft II had always looked the way they appeared in the game.[102] The protoss appear more "bulked up," but this wasn't a conscious decision, but more the result of using 3D models rather than sprites.[103] Early styles bore resemblance to that of the blood elves of Warcraft due to their flashy engravings, but this art style was abandoned.[104]

Story Development[]

"Space samurai"

  • Blizzard refers to the protoss as their "space samurai," or "space paladins."[9] This idea stems back to their development in the original game.[100] In Blizzard's mind, the protoss are defined by the following traits:
    • Ancient, noble race.
    • The Khala.
    • High tech.
    • Small numbers.[9]
  • In very early drafts of the universe of StarCraft, the protoss were designed to be more insectoid, giving them more similatrity to the zerg. The idea was changed later, but some design decisions, including their head plates, use of blades as weapons, and their psychic connection of the Khala were holdovers from the idea of connecting the two races. While not specified as being intentional or a coincidence, the zerg and protoss did end up being connected through their shared history with the xel'naga.[100]
  • While the terrans and zerg had different backstories in the first pitch for StarCraft, the protoss appear to be much like their counterparts from the end-game.[105] In this version they were more willing to take direct action against terrans however, as demonstrated by the original Tau Ceti backstory.[106]
  • A challenge for writing protoss is that they do not possess the same kind or amount of body language as humans. The writers of Legacy of the Void watched episodes of ER, for as it per its nature as a medical drama, the characters' faces are often covered bar their eyes. Eye movement was studied in regards to how it could apply to protoss characters, as their eyes are their main conveyors of emotion. While the protoss are intended to be "unknowable" (in regards to humans/terrans), it was also intended that elements of humanity still shine through.[52]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 Underwood, Peter, Bill Roper, Chris Metzen and Jeffrey Vaughn. StarCraft (Manual). Irvine, Calif.: Blizzard Entertainment, 1998.
  2. Elder, Josh and Ramanda Kamarga. "Why We Fight." In StarCraft: Frontline: Volume 1, pp. 6–47. Tokyopop, August 1, 2008. ISBN 1427-80721-3.
  3. Blizzard Entertainment staff. 2009-01-08. Dark Templar Vote: Decide Which Clan Joins the Battle. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2009-01-08.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. Collections Tab: Skins. July 19, 2017
  5. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft: Brood War. Vivendi Games. Mission: Legacy of the Xel'Naga (in English). 1998.
  6. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft: Brood War. Vivendi Games. Mission: Escape from Aiur (in English). 1998.
  7. (2007). StarCraft: The Board Game (manual). Fantasy Flight Games.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 2012-12-05, Community Lore Discussion BlizzCon 2015. StarCraft Legacy, accessed on 2015-12-28
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 2014-11-07, StarCraft II Legacy of the Void Campaign Overview. YouTube, accessed on 2014-11-13
  10. 10.0 10.1 Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Legacy of the Void, The Infinite Cycle (in English). 2015-11-10.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Rosenberg, Aaron (June 1, 2006). StarCraft: Queen of Blades. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 0-7434-7133-4.
  12. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Mission: Homeland (in English). 1998.
  13. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Mission: The Trial of Tassadar (in English). 1998.
  14. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Mission: Eye of the Storm (in English). 1998.
  15. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Cinematic: The Death of the Overmind. (in English). 1998.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Underwood, Peter, Chris Metzen and Bill Roper. StarCraft: Brood War (Manual). Irvine, Calif.: Blizzard Entertainment, 1998.
  17. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft: Brood War. Vivendi Games. Mission: Dunes of Shakuras (in English). 1998.
  18. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft: Brood War. Vivendi Games. Cinematic: Fury of the Xel'Naga (in English). 1998.
  19. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft: Brood War. Vivendi Games. Mission: Drawing of the Web (in English). 1998.
  20. Zeratul: "Kerrigan, this is Zeratul. I demand to know why you've taken our Matriarch."
    Sarah Kerrigan: "Actually, Zeratul, she's not the one I'm truly interested in. I stole her to get to you. You see, I need you and your brethren to kill the Overmind for me. The only way I had of assuring your cooperation was to take away that which you value most. However, I give you my word that once you've killed the Overmind, I'll allow her to return to you."
    Zeratul: "As if your word held any value..."
    Raszagal: "Zeratul, my faithful servant. You must aid Kerrigan in this endeavor. The Overmind is our common enemy. It must be destroyed to insure that our people will survive!"
    Zeratul: "You ask me to aid this vile creature?"
    Raszagal: "I do not ask this for myself. Nor do I ask it on Kerrigan's behalf. I ask you to do this for our people, Zeratul. Obey me as you always have... Trust in my judgement."
    Zeratul: "Very well, Matriarch. The Overmind will die this day." StarCraft: Brood War. Vivendi Games. Level/area: To Slay the Beast (in English). 1998.
  21. Artanis: "Kerrigan, this is Artanis. My brethren and I have come to avenge the deaths of Fenix, the Matriarch, and all of the other Protoss who fell before the Swarm! It is long past time you paid for your crimes against our people." StarCraft: Brood War. Vivendi Games. Level/area: Omega (in English). 1998.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft: Brood War. Vivendi Games. Mission: Dark Origin (in English). 1998.
  23. Blizzard Entertainment. 2010-7-27. Cast of Characters: Zeratul. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2010-7-27.
  24. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Legacy of the Void, For Aiur! (in English). 2015-11-10.
  25. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Legacy of the Void, The Growing Shadow (in English). 2015-11-10.
  26. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Legacy of the Void, The Spear of Adun (in English). 2015-11-10.
  27. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Brothers in Arms. (in English). November 10, 2015
  28. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Last Stand. (in English). November 10, 2015
  29. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Cinematic: Entombed. (in English). 2015.
  30. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Legacy of the Void, Templar's Return (in English). 2015-11-10.
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Cinematic: Legacy. (in English). 2015.
  32. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Into the Void, Amon's Fall (in English). 2015-11-10.
  33. Acks, Alex. "One People, One Purpose." (July 28, 2020). Blizzard Entertainment. One People, One Purpose Accessed 2020-07-28.
  34. Back of the original StarCraft box, 1998. [1]
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 2017-04-27, Rock and Roll Days of StarCraft: a Development Retrospective. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2017-04-29
  36. 36.0 36.1 Zahn, Timothy (November 8, 2016). StarCraft: Evolution. Del Rey Books. ISBN 0425284735.
  37. 37.00 37.01 37.02 37.03 37.04 37.05 37.06 37.07 37.08 37.09 37.10 37.11 37.12 Golden, Christie (May 22, 2007). StarCraft: The Dark Templar Saga #1: Firstborn. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 978-0-7434-7125-1.
  38. StarCrat Figurine Box, accessed 12-6-2018
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 39.4 39.5 Barba, Rick. StarCraft Field Manual (hardcover). Insight Editions, November 17, 2015.
  40. Houser, Jody (w), Guzmán,Gabriel (p, i). "StarCraft: Scavengers: Issue 4" StarCraft: Scavengers 4 (7) (October 31st, 2018) Dark Horse Comics.
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 Karune. 2007-10-29. StarCraft II Q&A - Batch 19. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2007-10-30.
  42. Dark Archon. StarCraft Compendium Protoss units.
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 43.3 43.4 Golden, Christie (June 30, 2009). StarCraft: The Dark Templar Saga #3: Twilight. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 978-0-7434-7129-9.
  44. Brooks, Robert. "It Will End in Fire." (Nov 3, 2015). Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft Lore: It Will End in Fire Accessed 2015-11-03.
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 Brian Alexander, Akex Acks (w), Carlos Rodríguez (i) and Sandra Molina (c). (April 2, 2022). StarCraft II: Nature of the Beast - The Complete Collection. Blizzard Entertainment. ISBN 978-1950366866
  46. Burns, Matt (w) and James Waugh (w), Edouard Guiton (i) and Emanuele Tenderini (i). (October 20, 2015). Artanis: Sacrifice. Blizzard Entertainment. Artanis Sacrifice Accessed 2015-10-20.
  47. 47.0 47.1 47.2 47.3 Burns, Matt. "Children of the Void." (Oct. 13, 2015). Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft Lore: Children of the Void Accessed 2015-10-13.
  48. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Cinematic: The Death of the Overmind. (in English). 1998.
  49. 49.0 49.1 StarCraft Remastered, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2017-03-31
  50. War Chest: BlizzCon® 2018, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2018-08-13
  51. 51.0 51.1 Brooks, Robert. "Ascension." (Oct. 01, 2015). Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft Lore: Ascension Accessed 2015-10-01.
  52. 52.0 52.1 52.2 2014-12-01, BlizzCon 2014 LotV Lore Community Corner Discussion with James Waugh. YouTube, accessed on 2015-04-03
  53. Overview. StarCraft Compendium. Accessed 2007-11-07.
  54. 54.0 54.1 54.2 54.3 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.
  55. Kindregan, Brian T. "Mothership." (January 15, 2010). Blizzard Entertainment. Mothership Accessed 2010-01-15.
  56. "The Protoss are sort of a troubled species. They're being systematically exterminated, and were being exterminated long before the Zerg arrived. They were starting to die out from their sheer age, but now that the Zerg came and their home world is gone, these guys are really having a lot of trouble." Dustin Browder, Jonathan Ross. 2009-06-29. Destructoid interview: StarCraft II's Dustin Browder. Destructoid. Accessed on 2009-07-23
  57. 57.0 57.1 2014-10-30, Zealot Science. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2014-11-01
  58. 58.0 58.1 2015-02-05, Void Ray Science. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2015-02-08
  59. 2018-04-02, BlizzHeroes Twitter. Twitter, accessed on 2018-04-012
  60. Furman, Simon (w), Tomás Aira (p, i), German Erramouspe (i). "Creep." In StarCraft: Frontline: Volume 2 (paperback binding), pp. 26-67. Tokyopop, January 1, 2009. ISBN 1427-80831-7.
  61. 61.0 61.1 Blizzard Entertainment. 2013-01-15. StarCraft II Creative Development Q&A - Part 12. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2013-01-15.
  62. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Heart of the Swarm, Enemy Within (in English). 2013-03-12.
  63. 2014-04-06, Heroes of the Storm – Zeratul – Talents. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2014-07-13
  64. 64.0 64.1 64.2 64.3 64.4 Karune. 2007-01-22. StarCraft II Q&A - Batch 26. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2008-01-22.
  65. 65.0 65.1 65.2 65.3 65.4 65.5 65.6 65.7 65.8 65.9 Golden, Christie (November 27, 2007). StarCraft: The Dark Templar Saga #2: Shadow Hunters. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 978-0-7434-7126-8.
  66. Blizzard Entertainment staff. 1998. Medic. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2008-11-30.
  67. 67.0 67.1 Blizzard Entertainment. 2012-12-03. StarCraft II Creative Development Q&A - Part 7. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2012-12-03.
  68. 68.0 68.1 Gerrold, David. "“In the Dark”." (May 2, 2013). Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft Lore: In the Dark Accessed 2013-05-02.
  69. Mesta, Gabriel (July 1, 2001). StarCraft: Shadow of the Xel'Naga. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 0-671-04149-5.
  70. Metzen, Chris & Samuel Moore (March 29, 1999). "StarCraft: Revelations." Amazing Stories 596 (Spring): 20-27.
  71. Kogge, Michael. "Carrier." (May 09, 2013). Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft Lore: Carrier Accessed 2013-05-09.
  72. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Mission: Enslavers bonus campaign, mission 2A: "Playing with Fire" (in English). 1998.
  73. 73.0 73.1 Races: Protoss. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2010-08-07
  74. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named SC:G:Spectres
  75. Blizzard Entertainment. 2012-12-10. StarCraft II Creative Development Q&A - Part 8. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2012-12-10.
  76. 2017-12-08, Which Race Should I Play?. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2017-08-12
  77. 77.0 77.1 77.2 Brooks, Robert. The Cinematic Art of StarCraft (hardcover). Blizzard Entertainment, October 18, 2018.
  78. 78.0 78.1 2017-07-07, Unit Spotlight: Protoss. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2017-07-08
  79. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Jim Raynor (In English). 2015.
  80. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Conversations after: Sky Shield (in English). 2015-11-10.
  81. 81.0 81.1 Todd, Hugh. "“Lens of the Void”." (April 25, 2013). Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft Lore: Lens of the Void Accessed 2013-04-26.
  82. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Cinematic: The Prophecy. (in English). 2010.
  83. 83.0 83.1 2014-08-30, Unused HoTS Story Elements. StarCraft Legacy, accessed on 2014-08-31
  84. 84.0 84.1 Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Legacy of the Void, Steps of the Rite (in English). 2015-11-10.
  85. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Legacy of the Void, Salvation (in English). 2015-11-10.
  86. Watrous, Valerie. "Colossus." (Apr. 07, 2011). Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft Lore: Colossus Accessed 2011-04-11.
  87. Metzen, Chris; Chambers, Andy; StarCraft Legacy staff. 2009-04-03. BlizzCon 2007 StarCraft Lore Panel Editorial. StarCraft Legacy. Accessed 2009-05-18.
  88. "What we're talking about for the Protoss campaign is -- y'know, the Protoss are a shattered civilization, right. They've been beaten and pummeled by the brutality of the StarCraft universe for years and years and years now, and we might bring into the campaign something even worse happens to them, and they ultimately just fracture into all these different factions. And so you are working as one of the Protoss Heroes trying to re-unite the Protoss before annihilation." Dustin Browder et al. 2009-09-04. BlizzCon 2009 StarCraft 2 Fansite Q&A - Part 4/5. Youtube. Accessed 2009-10-07.
  89. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Rohana (in English). 2015.
  90. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Legacy of the Void, Purification (in English). 2015-11-10.
  91. Rob Zacny. 2014-11-08. How Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void makes your Protoss fantasies come true. PC Games N. Accessed 2014-11-11.
  92. 92.0 92.1 92.2 Toyama, Kevin. The Art of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty (hardcover). Insight Editions, July 27, 2010.
  93. 2014-11-20, Immortal Science. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2014-11-21
  94. 94.0 94.1 Blizzard Entertainment. 2012-11-26. StarCraft II Creative Development Q&A - Part 6. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2012-11-26.
  95. Blizzard Entertainment. 2013-01-07. StarCraft II Creative Development Q&A - Part 11. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2013-01-07.
  96. 2009-09-08, Blizzplanet Live Chat with Tokyopop: Starcraft: Frontline Vol. 4. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2009-10-10
  97. 2018-03-30, 'Starcraft' 20th Anniversary: What Fans Are Most Interested In. Wikia, accessed on 2018-04-01
  98. 2018-04-03, EVOLUTION COMPLETE: REIMAGINING CLASSIC STARCRAFT UNITS FOR STARCRAFT II. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2018-03-07
  99. 99.0 99.1 2018-12-02, 20 YEARS OF STARCRAFT: AN IGN RETROSPECTIVE. IGN, accessed on 2018-12-03
  100. 100.0 100.1 100.2 IGN. 2018-03-30. Celebrating 20 Years of Starcraft: An Interview with Starcraft's Creators Accessed 2018-03-30.
  101. 2010-2011, Starcraft 2: Protoss Scout. Deviantart, accessed on 2011-02-14
  102. 2011, SC2: Protoss Robotics Facility. Deviantart, accessed on 2011-02-28
  103. 2016-11-12, BlizzCon 2016: StarCraft Interview with Allen Dilling. YouTube, accessed on 2016-11-16
  104. 2011, SC2: Protoss Stargate. Deviantart, accessed on 2011-03-20
  105. 2007-06-24, Starcraft Teaser (1995). YouTube, accessed on 2013-02-06
  106. Beta. Accessed on 2008-01-26