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"We’ve recently heard reports about a mysterious new weapon in the hands of the Zerg. We’ve heard of battlefields being covered in a dense, blinding cloud, rending our guns all but useless, and of Battlecruisers escaping from battle only to be yanked back into the fray. The source behind these bone-chilling truths is the Viper, and we now have a full intel report on not only what it can do, but how."

The viper

The viper is a new strain of zerg fliers that were incorporated in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm.

Overview[edit | edit source]

"Viper: strategic asset. Abducts targets, pulls to its location. Usable on ally or foe."

A viper

The viper combines several vicious biological weapons to weaken enemy forces and give an edge to the Swarm. They are a specialized offensive-support strain,[1] being perfectly evolved for battlefield manipulation, a role previously held by the defiler,[2] which the viper contains genetic material from.[3]

Physiology[edit | edit source]

"Go to hell. We still carry bayonets."

- A Dominion marine in regards to the viper's blinding cloud ability(src)

Vipers lack any form of direct attack, but they are extremely dangerous in their role as a support strain.[4]

The viper's tail is largely unchanged from the original defiler template. However, it has been evolved to allow the viper to maintain its balance and direction while flying, as well as steering. What truly stands out, however, are the ingrown, crystalline spikes on the tip's surface. These "crystals" emit a powerful pulse that the viper uses to locate its targets with pinpoint accuracy. Its limbs, while formidable in appearance, are crippled in terms of offensive capability, as the Swarm relegated them to the role of simplistic vice-grips. The protruding spikes are porous bone structures, able to pierce flesh and immobilize prey without inflicting lethal damage, and are directly linked to the creature's lymphatic system. When on the prowl, the spikes exude a pheromone that makes the viper seem innocuous and non-threatening to its hapless victims.[1]

A viper

Vipers store a thick microbial soup within their abdomens, and can spray the viscous mixture into the air whenever ranged foes approach, essentially nullifying the effectiveness of their armaments until they can move out of the cloying mist.[2] This mixture is effective against both projectile and energy-based weaponry, and can reduce the zerg's foes to fighting in close quarters.[4]

All vipers possess a prehensile proboscis–an elongated organ that serves as the viper's digestive system, and one that runs the entire length of the creature's body. Just as a frog uses its tongue to catch prey, the viper regurgitates its flexible intestines with great force in order to grab and pull a target towards its location.[1] Enemies hoping to escape to high ground are quickly snatched from their dominant position by the proboscis, allowing the zerg to counter just about any tactical terrain advantage.[2] This muscle is powerful enough to even draw a battlecruiser towards the viper.[5]

When fatigued, the viper can siphon bioelectrical energy and nutrients from friendly zerg buildings, allowing it to quickly return to the fray.[2] This is achieved by separating the ionic chains present in the hardened tissues of Zerg nest structures to produce a nourishing fluid. Said fluid acts as a catalyst for the plethora of microorganisms present in its bloodstream, which generate bioelectrical energy to replenish the viper's stores.[1]

A Leviathan Brood viper

As one of the original zerg broods, vipers of the Leviathan Brood exhibit more defiler tendencies than that rest of the swarm. While this has caused many abnormalities to surface, its potent toxins appear to be worth it.

Viper enslaved by the Cerberus Program were given a hammerhead cranial implant that enhanced the accuracy of their proboscis.[6]

History[edit | edit source]

A Cerberus Program viper

Vipers were originally a type of primal zerg.[7] Their uniquely vicious defenses drew the attention of Abathur, who brought their essence into the Zerg Swarm.[6] With the need for a support strain apparent, the defiler template was revisited, and perfected with genetic material from an unknown species, preserving its core functions, but excising the defiler's lethality, which had been as deadly to zerg as it had been to the Swarm's enemies.[1] Abathur incorporated the viper's gene sequences into the Swarm himself.[6] Later, Sarah Kerrigan was able to evolve her own vipers from the mutalisk strain.[8]

During the End War, a number of vipers were incorporated into Amon's zerg brood.[9]

Game Unit[edit | edit source]

Versus[edit | edit source]

Vipers are classified as "battlefield manipulation units." They are hive-level caster units with no other prerequisite building.

Vipers give the zerg an edge in clearing out chokepoints, allowing other short-range zerg units to stand a better chance against long-ranged units.[10]

Upgrades and Abilities[edit | edit source]

Increases armor of zerg air units.

Acquisition
Purchased from
Level 1
Cost 150 Minerals 150 Vespene gas 160seconds
Effect +1 armor
Level 2
Cost 225 Minerals 225 Vespene gas 190seconds
Required Lair
Effect +1 armor
Level 3
Cost 300 Minerals 300 Vespene gas 220seconds
Required Hive
Effect +1 armor
ve
Abduct SC2-HotS Icon.jpg
Abduct

The viper targets a unit and pulls that unit to the viper's location. This allows it to pull allies to safety, or pull enemy units out of position. The ability can pull units up and down cliffs.

While the target is being pulled, it cannot attack. If the target had been burrowed, it will reburrow when the pull ends.[11]

Usage
Hotkey D
Cost 75 Energy
Range 9
Cooldown 10 seconds
ve
BlindingCloud SC2-HotS Icon.jpg
Blinding Cloud

The viper spits a green cloud. Ground units and structures in the cloud have their range reduced to one.

The cloud covers an area of 2.[12]

Units can move out of the cloud to fire normally.

Usage
Hotkey B
Cost 100 Energy
Range 11
Duration 14 (HotS)
6 (LotV) seconds
ve
Consume(Viper) SC2-HotS Icon.jpg
Consume

The ability deals 200 damage on a friendly building (except a creep tumor) over 14 seconds to gain 50 energy. The ability does not work on units.

Usage
Hotkey C
Range 7
Cooldown 1 seconds
ve
ParasiticBomb.jpg
Parasitic Bomb

Creates a parasitic cloud on an air unit after a 0.7 second delay, dealing 120 damage over 7 seconds to that unit and any air units around it. Cloud has a radius of 3. Cloud persists for the remaining duration if the target is destroyed. Does not stack with other parasitic bombs.

Usage
Hotkey R
Cost 125 Energy
Range 8
Duration 7 seconds
ve

Heart of the Swarm[edit | edit source]

In the campaign, the viper is an evolution of the mutalisk, derived from the genes of primal zerg. Vipers also appear as part of Yagdra's pack in The Crucible.[7]

The viper strain of the mutalisk has the same statistics as a regular mutalisk (but aesthetically, it is different by having four blue wings), but can transform itself into a viper at a specific mineral, vespene and time cost.

Abduct costs 25 energy and lacks a cooldown, Disabling Cloud replaces Blinding Cloud and prevents shooting from beneath the cloud entirely, Consume targets allied units, and the viper can directly attack air units.[8]

Compared to the brood lord, the viper is rather similar to a corsair, an air-to-air fighter with a temporary ground disabling move, but with a weak automatic attack, and the bonus ability of being able to move ground units to itself. But in terms of raw fighting ability, its air-to-air ability is not noticeably better than the baseline mutalisk given the latter's multi-bounce attack.

Co-op Missions[edit | edit source]

Abathur is able to mutate vipers in Co-op Missions once he reaches Level 8, and can upgrade them at Level 9. These vipers have an anti-air attack that does 10 damage. Amon's vipers and Abathur's vipers use Disabling Cloud instead of Blinding Cloud.

Upgrades and Abilities[edit | edit source]

VirulentMicrobes SC2 Icon1.jpg
Virulent Microbes

Vipers abilities gain +4 cast range.

Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Initially available
Acquisition
Purchased from Infestation pit
Hotkey R
Cost 50 Minerals
50 Vespene gas

60seconds

Mastery: -1.2seconds per Structure Morph and Evolution Rate mastery point. Down to a minimum 24seconds
ve
ParaliticBarbs SC2 Icon1.jpg
Paralitic Barbs

Vipers Abduct stuns for an additional 5 seconds.

Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Reach Abathur Level 9
Acquisition
Purchased from Infestation pit
Hotkey T
Cost 150 Minerals
150 Vespene gas

60seconds

Mastery: -1.2seconds per Structure Morph and Evolution Rate mastery point. Down to a minimum 24seconds
Required Hive
ve
Abduct SC2-HotS Icon.jpg
Abduct

Pulls a target unit to the location of the Viper, Enemy units are stunned for 1 second.

Usage
Hotkey D
Cost 25 Energy
Range 9
Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Initially available
ve
BlindingCloud SC2-HotS Icon.jpg
Disabling Cloud

The viper creates a cloud that slows movement speed and prevent enemy units and structures from attacking and using energy-based abilities. Last for 10 seconds

Usage
Hotkey B
Cost 75 Energy
Duration 10 seconds
Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Initially available.
ve
SC2 Abathur AC - Biomass.png
Biomass Gatherer

Vipers gain +3% hit points, +1% attack speed, +5% energy regeneration and +1% Biotic Leech per stack of Biomass. Can stack up to 100 Biomass.
Passive: Heal 1% hit points per Biomass.

Essence Hoarder: Vipers can collect an additional 25 Biomass (summary 125).

The Limitless: Vipers can collect an additional 100 Biomass (summary 200), but gain +1.5% hit points, +0.5% attack speed, +5% energy regeneration and +0.5% Biotic Leech per stack.

Usage
Range 4
Notes

The amount of collected biomass vary, based on difficulty and the amount of supply consumed by the killed enemy unit:
Collect 5 biomass per supply (Casual and Normal)
Collect 4 biomass per supply (Hard)
Collect 2.5 biomass per supply (Brutal)

Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Basic: Initially available.
Biotic Leech: Reach Abathur level 15.
Acquisition
Basic
Effect Hit Points: +4.5 per Biomass. Up to a maximum 600

Attack Speed: +1% per Biomass. Up to a maximum 0.75
Energy Regen/Second: +0.028125 per Biomass. Up to a maximum 3.375

Biotic Leech: +1% per Biomass. Up to a maximum 100%
With Essence Hoarder
Effect Hit Points: +4.5 per Biomass. Up to a maximum 712.5

Attack Speed: +1% per Biomass. Up to a maximum 0.67
Energy Regen/Second: +0.028125 per Biomass. Up to a maximum 4.078125

Biotic Leech: +1% per Biomass. Up to a maximum 125%
With The Limitless
Effect Hit Points: +2.25 per Biomass. Up to a maximum 600

Attack Speed: +0.5% per Biomass. Up to a maximum 0.75
Energy Regen/Second: +0.0140625 per Biomass. Up to a maximum 3.375

Biotic Leech: +0.5% per Biomass. Up to a maximum 100%
ve
Icon Zerg Leviathan.jpg
Evolve to Leviathan

The Viper evolves into a Leviathan. Can be set to autocast.

Essence Hoarder: Evolve to Leviathan is unavailable.

The Limitless: Evolve to Leviathan is no longer limited to 3, but requires 200 stacks of Biomass for evolution.

Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Reach Abathur Level 2.
Acquisition
Basic
Cost -1 Control 5seconds
Required Collect 100 Biomass
Cannot have more than 3 at the same time.
With The Limitless
Cost -1 Control 5seconds
Required Collect 200 Biomass
ve
SC2 Abathur AC - BiomassRecovery.png
Biomass Recovery

When killed, your units have a 50% chance to drop all their Biomass.

Essence Hoarder: Increases the Biomass Recovery chance from 50% to 100%.

Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Reach Abathur level 7.
ve
Consume(Viper) SC2-HotS Icon.jpg
Consume

The ability drains up to 75 life from a friendly Zerg unit and give the Viper 2 energy for each point of life drained.

Usage
Hotkey C
Cooldown 10 seconds
Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Initially available.
ve
ParasiticBomb.jpg
Parasitic Bomb

Creates a parasitic cloud that deals 90 damage over 10 seconds to the target and enemy air units nearby. If the target dies, the cloud remains in the air where the enemy died until it expires.

Usage
Hotkey R
Cost 125 Energy
Range 8
Duration 10 seconds
Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Initially available.
ve
SC2 ZergAirWeap.gif
Zerg Flyer Attacks

Increases the attack damage of zerg air units

Usage
Passive
Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Initially available.
Acquisition
Purchased from Spire/Greater spire
Hotkey M
Level 1
Cost 100 Minerals

100 Vespene gas
160seconds

Mastery: -3.2seconds per Structure Morph and Evolution Rate mastery point. Down to a minimum 64seconds
Effect Damage: 12
Level 2
Cost 175 Minerals

175 Vespene gas
190seconds

Mastery: -3.8seconds per Structure Morph and Evolution Rate mastery point. Down to a minimum 76seconds
Required Lair/Hive
Effect Damage: 14
Level 3
Cost 250 Minerals

250 Vespene gas
220seconds

Mastery: -4.4seconds per Structure Morph and Evolution Rate mastery point. Down to a minimum 88seconds
Required Hive
Effect Damage: 16
ve
SC2 ZergAirCara.gif
Zerg Flyer Carapace

Increases the armor of zerg air units.

Usage
Passive
Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Initially available.
Acquisition
Purchased from Spire/Greater spire
Hotkey M
Level 1
Cost 100 Minerals

100 Vespene gas
160seconds

Mastery: -3.2seconds per Structure Morph and Evolution Rate mastery point. Down to a minimum 64seconds
Effect Armor: 2
Level 2
Cost 175 Minerals

175 Vespene gas
190seconds

Mastery: -3.8seconds per Structure Morph and Evolution Rate mastery point. Down to a minimum 76seconds
Required Lair/Hive
Effect Armor: 3
Level 3
Cost 250 Minerals

250 Vespene gas
220seconds

Mastery: -4.4seconds per Structure Morph and Evolution Rate mastery point. Down to a minimum 88seconds
Required Hive
Effect Armor: 4
ve

Development[edit | edit source]

Main article: Viper/Development

The viper's parasitic bomb ability was altered from its launch iteration. Its damage no longer stacked with other parasitic bomb effects, but its damage was increased to 180. A one-second delay was added before the bomb started dealing damage.[13]

Special Viper Strains[edit | edit source]

A viper

Trivia[edit | edit source]

The viper is David Kim's favorite new zerg unit in Heart of the Swarm.[14]

The viper is similar to the beta queen unit from StarCraft development, as both share similar abilities with the defiler.

Images[edit | edit source]

Skins
Portraits

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 2015-01-16, Viper Science. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2014-01-20
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Unit Guide: Viper, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2014-05-12
  3. 2014-12-01, BlizzCon 2014 LotV Lore Community Corner Discussion with James Waugh. YouTube, accessed on 2015-04-03
  4. 4.0 4.1 Barba, Rick. StarCraft Field Manual (hardcover). Insight Editions, November 17, 2015.
  5. 2015-01-16, The Crème de la Zerg. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2014-01-19
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. Collections Tab: Skins. July 19, 2017
  7. 7.0 7.1 Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Heart of the Swarm, The Crucible (in English). 2013-03-12.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Heart of the Swarm, Mutalisk Evolution (in English). 2013-03-12.
  9. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Legacy of the Void, Purification (in English). 2015-11-10.
  10. 2012-06-11, Dustin Browder gives Slasher the scoop on Heart of the Swarm. YouTube, accessed on 2012-06-21
  11. Raiderrobert. 2012-09-05. Summary of HOTS Changes. Reddit. Accessed 2012-09-09.
  12. Cloaken. 2012-10-12. Balance Update #6 (10/12/2012) Heart of the Swarm Beta Discussion. Accessed 2012-10-12.
  13. 2017-08-17, StarCraft II Multiplayer - Major Design Changes. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2017-08-20
  14. June, 2012, Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm "New Units" Explained by David Kim. G4, accessed on 2012-06-21
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