In stark contrast to the adaptive Terrans and feral Zerg are the stolid, conservative Protoss. With their highly advanced technology and strong psionic abilities, the Protoss have long considered themselves the most powerful species in the known galaxy. Although they are not a physically prolific people, they have learned to bolster the ranks of their military with robotic war machines and to combine their intrinsic psionic ability with technology, thus producing some of the most effective warriors ever known. If the Protoss have a weakness, though, it is their refusal to accept change. The tenets of their major religion, known as the Khala, form a rigid path and the Protoss are loathe to deviate from it for fear of once again falling into civil strife.
Although the Protoss were originally divided into several warring tribes, they were united by a single scholar/philosopher known as Khas, or "he who brings order". Having studied the archaic, forbidden teachings of his ancestors, this mystic unearthed ancient, monolithic artifacts known as the Khaydarin Crystals. The power contained within these crystals -- along with his teachings -- are apparently responsible for the strengthening of the primordial, psychic link that all Protoss share. Khas also developed a strict religious, philosophical, and social structure christened the Khala. Under the Khala -- which translates roughly to Path of Ascension -- the Protoss have abandoned the crude tribal factions that led them into generations of vicious blood feuds and have instead created three castes: The Khalai (artisans and inventors), The Templar, (warriors and explorers) and The Judicator (administrators and leaders).
There were however a small faction of the Protoss who rejected the Khala, for fear that sharing a communal psionic link would cause them to lose their individuality. This small faction of tribes were exiled from the Protoss homeworld of Aiur, and have since disappeared.
Protoss units are typically more expensive than units from the other two races, Terran and Zerg; the justification is that the Protoss units are stronger than their equivalencies from other races. Many StarCraft players consider the Protoss to be the easiest to learn of the three races, due to their simpler design, although there is much to learn about tackling other races. Protoss have the most powerful early late-game of any race, and with economy in their favor, are a force to be reckoned with once their infrastructure is in place and they survive the early aggression of other races.
In terms of a need to expand and army mobility, Protoss falls in the middle between Terrans and Zerg.
Protoss units include the melee Zealot and the long-range Dragoon. Both of these are fairly mobile and have high health. Dragoons have rather low damage against small units however, although they are capable of using their range and speed to keep other units at range while still being able to attack. Later on in the game Protoss has High Templar and their Psionic Storms available. This is a defining element of the race in Starcraft. Storm conjures an region of ravaging psychic power that can decimate armies. The Reaver is an extremely lethal siege unit that requires the mobility of Shuttles to be effective, but obliterate masses of units at a time. Even later in the game, the Arbiter warps armies across the map or freezes armies in place, taking them out of the battle until the duration has passed.
Something that has become relevant with the development of the metagame is the Corsair, a highly mobile unit that blasts areas of the air, capable of devastating stacks of enemy air units. This has given Protoss unparalleled possible early air control, although this is largely only relevant against Zerg, which have floating Overlords which are a necessity for the Zerg.
A large part of Protoss health tends to be Plasma Shield, which take full damage from all sources and regenerate over time. They can be depleted instantly however with the Terran Science Vessels EMP Shockwave.
Famous Protoss Players
- Grrrr... - Won the first OSL and is the only foreigner to ever win an OSL.
- GARIMTO - Won two early OSLs. Retired in 2002 and later became a commentator.
- Reach - Known as Herotoss or Mantoss. One of the few Protoss to consistently qualify for leagues when others were failing. He has won one OSL.
- Nal_rA - Well known as the Dreamer. Nal_rA was one of the most entertaining and creative players. He has won one OSL and one MSL. Worked as a commentator.
- Kingdom - The Deviltoss. Known for his amazing control. He has won one OSL. Worked as a commentator.
- Anytime - "Grim Reaper" Anytime has won one OSL.
- Bisu - Often referred to as the "Ninja Toss" for his signature Dark Templar Harass, Bisu arguably the best Protoss to ever play the game. He is famous for his revolutionary PvZ play. He has won three MSL titles.
- Stork - Stork is best known for his heavy macro style as well as his PvT play. He has won one OSL and has four second place finishes.
- JangBi - "Almighty" Jangbi is well known for his superb use of psionic storms. He has won two OSL.