Phoenix (Legacy of the Void)
- This article is for the Legacy of the Void multiplayer version. For the Heart of the Swarm version, see Phoenix (Heart of the Swarm). For the Wings of Liberty version, see Phoenix (Wings of Liberty).
- For the player, see PhoeNix.
The Phoenix is a speedy Protoss air-to-air fighter, which warps in at the Stargate. Phoenixes can attack other air units while moving, granting an upper hand against enemy air units that rely on hit and away tactics. Light units like Mutalisks and Banshees take bonus damage from the Phoenix, further increasing its effectiveness. However, Phoenixes don't do very well against Armored flyers like Battlecruisers and Corruptors.
The unique ability, Graviton Beam, can lift a ground unit into the air, disabling it, and making it vulnerable to attack by air; great against non-Massive ground Tech or Siege units like Siege Tanks, Immortals or Lurkers to name a few; allowing for securing the air against harass and ground pushes in the early-to-mid game. Making for a nice opening combo with the Oracle against Overlords and Medivacs that may be used for harassment/dropping Protoss.
Even without Chrono Boost this unit's build time is quick and can respond to a sudden change in the opponent's unit composition or to tank Viking or Corruptor shots for your Colossi, Carriers and Tempests. Earning this unit the nickname of "The Flying Zealot" (like Oracles that is sometimes compared to Dark Templar in the same way)
The Phoenix is a great hit-and-run unit, a group of several Phoenixes can easily move into an undefended worker line and cause big economic damage.
The Phoenix is fairly effective at disabling caster units or destroying them outright. Most casters have light armor, and lack abilities that are very effective against Phoenix. Phoenixes can also support your main army by lifting up other high threat units like Siege Tanks.
Graviton Beam is very handy for asserting a defensive advantage. The Phoenix can whittle down retreating forces by lifting units, trapping them for your main army to destroy. Graviton Beam can freeze high power harass units like Hellions or casters, giving more time for your defenses to respond. Phoenix can also help with defense by trapping units foolish enough to get in range of Photon Cannons, making them easy kills.
Phoenix, or Stargate builds in general, are a good soft-counter to Robotics tech, as well as Nexus first builds.
Most Protoss tend to tech Robotics Facility units to get detection in case of Dark Templar, which leads to compositions featuring Immortals, Disruptors and Colossi. In these armies, Protoss spend the vast majority of their gas building Robo units and sink their minerals into Zealots. The Phoenix is an excellent counter to this combination as:
- Phoenix can lift Immortals to neutralize their attack and kill them in relative safety.
- Phoenix can attack Colossi directly.
- Phoenix cannot be attacked by Zealots, Colossi nor Immortals.
- A Phoenix has 180 effective hp and counts as light, thereby able to take 18 Stalker hits before dying, 20 with +1 Air Armor.
- The Phoenix is one of the fastest units in StarCraft II, giving it the ability to enter and escape battles quickly.
These advantages make the Phoenix a surprisingly viable option in the match-up. However, Phoenix have very little stopping power on their own. They cannot stop your opponent from expanding, and they offer little threat in punishing your opponent. Top level players prefer to spend the initial energy of phoenix to kill at least 1 probe per phoenix before save up energy for big battle. This economic harassment allows a player to close the income gap when opening Phoenix against a quicker expansion.
Against an opponent who opens up with Robotics tech, Phoenixes will easily shut that play down. Immortals are utterly useless against Phoenixes due to lack of anti-air capabilities, although you should be careful if they make Stalkers. Should the opponent try for a 3Gate Robo Immortal All-in play, Phoenixes can also snipe Sentries à grâce the bonus damage to light units and resistance to Stalkers' anti-armor attacks.
A common use for the Phoenix is to get 5 or 6 and constantly harass the opponent's mineral line. 5 Phoenix generate an average of 50 energy (enough for one use of Graviton Beam) for every 17.7 seconds (roughly 14 seconds with 6). Taking into account that Probe build time is 17 seconds (without Chronoboost), means 6 Phoenix allows the effective shut down of one base's Probe production.
Phoenix will usually force a large anti-air response from the opponent. Most of the time, this means Stalkers (with or without Blink). As a result, progamers such as TT1 or DdoRo often build Immortals when opening with Phoenix.
The tensest situation for Phoenixes, other than dealing with DTs, is dealing with other Phoenixes. It is extremely tricky to micro Phoenixes so that one's Phoenixes are focus-firing on one of the opponent's Phoenixes on the move. Many players will invest in Air upgrades for Phoenix vs. Phoenix battles. Air Attack upgrades look very pleasing, but it does absolutely nothing. Phoenixes with +1 Air will still require 9 hits, the same amount that a normal Phoenix needs, to kill an opposing Phoenix. It is much better to invest in the Armor upgrade as the extra +1 Armor will enable a Phoenix to not only survive one extra hit from an enemy Phoenix but two extra hits from a Stalker.
Currently, Phoenixes are used in PvT to stop and prevent Medivac and Banshee harassment, due to their inability to fight back against air units. The Phoenix's bonus damage to light armor also gives them significant DPS advantages against said units, and against Vikings.
Phoenixes can also be used to scout. Although the Observer is cloaked, it is a slower option, even if its speed is upgraded. You could also use hallucinated Phoenixes produced from a Sentry to scout without committing to a Stargate transition, but the real thing can actually harass mineral lines and stall the construction of any buildings along the way.
Phoenixes are a very common follow-up after expanding in PvZ, or even as an opening. Generally, Phoenixes are far more effective when in a squad of 4 or more before showing them to your opponent because 4 Phoenixes can kill a Queen using just one graviton beam. Phoenixes can be used to eliminate Overlords off the map to deny the Zerg's scouting and map control, and may be able to supply block the Zerg, thus halting their army/economic growth. Phoenixes are great in combination with Void Rays, as Phoenixes can lift units, such as Queens, and Void Rays can deal the damage without being attacked. Phoenixes are very deadly to small groups of Zerg units. Even Hydralisks are vulnerable to a few Phoenixes if there are not enough of them. Phoenixes are a good way to deal with Mutalisks.
Phoenix's quotes (video and sound) - YouTube video.
No patch changes in Legacy of the Void.