The first and strongest unit of direct army attacks. A strong brute-force unit and excellent mineral dump as well. In terms of health and damage this unit is second to none of the basic units of the early game, but is kited extremely easily by any ranged unit; so Stalkers are recommended for chasing pesky units and wait for the Twilight Council to finish researching Charge to make its health and damage a threat.
A Zealot that uses Charge to engage a target will hit the target at least once, even if the target flees. This ability is set to Autocast by default.
Charge is a critical upgrade for Zealots, which boosts natural running speed and gives a sprint-like attack that can catch up to anything, thus improving the Zealots' ability to surround units.
Zealots are effective meat shields for a Protoss army, particularly against Immortals and Stalkers as they can tank 9 Immortal hits and 17 Stalker hits. However, Colossi are very strong against large numbers of Zealots. Depending upon the terrain and unit positioning, Stalkers can effectively kite Zealots without Charge. Against Zealots with Charge, Stalkers can only kite provided that they have Blink.
Zealots are a crucial unit against Terran. They're still good damage dealers, but their role as a meat shield is far more pronounced, in that there are much more powerful units such as the Immortal or the Colossus which function as the primary damage dealers. The zealot is a good counter to the Marauder and relatively strong against the Marine, although if micro'd correctly, a Terran player can effectively kite an army of Zealots with Concussive Shells or Stimpack. After concussive shells is researched, the Zealot is almost nullified until the Protoss player researches Charge. By upgrading charge, Zealots can close the distance to the strictly ranged Terran units much more quickly, minimizing the damage they take before engaging them and forcing the Terran player to micro back much more intensively in order to avoid being completely surrounded by the Zealots. Also, Charge can be used very effectively to serve as a flanking mechanic, since the rapidly closing Zealots will almost instantly close many of the paths for the Terran units to retreat, if not flat out surround the entire army, rendering it immobile and very susceptible to High Templar or Colossus attacks.
Late game transitions into gas-heavy units such as Colossi and High Templar rely heavily on large numbers of Zealots to buy time for the more expensive units to deal large amounts of splash damage. On top of this, their mobility with Charge makes them great for harassing expansions as games reach later stages.
Against Zerg, Zealots can be successful at applying early pressure if Zerg does not get Roaches or sufficient numbers of Zerglings. The effectiveness of Zealots against Zerglings often comes down to positioning: Zealots are very effective when they engage Zerglings with even surface areas.(like when Zealots and lings are at even numbers, or the engagement occurs at chokes or against walls) However, if Zerglings are able to surround a small group of Zealots, the Zealots will die very quickly. This dynamic is extremely important in the PvZ early game.
Once enough Roaches have been built, Zealots become ineffective without some combination of support units such as Stalkers, Sentries, or Immortals. The Charge upgrade is very useful, especially against ranged Zerg units such as Hydralisks.
When paired up with Archons, Zealots make an excellent meat shield for the Archons to safely deal massive amounts of splash damage. With this combo, Zealot/Archon can be supported with 12 gateways off of two bases, provided that the Archons are made from High Templar. This composition is most effective in small arms engagements where it is possible for all or at least most Zealots to engage. Additionally, this composition will shred Muta/Ling and effectively combat Roach/Hydra.
Banelings can be very effective against massed Zealots, especially if groups Charge into them. However, a trick to minimize losses is to deactivate Charge on all but one or two Zealots. The few sacrificial Zealots (those who still Charge into the Banelings) will absorb about 4-6 Baneling explosions and minimize the amount of splash damage that could have been potentially dealt.
Zealots can be used as meat shields against Ultralisks. However, following Balance Patch #8, Ultralisks now deal flat damage vs all unit types (35 from 15 +20 vs armored). It now takes 4-6 hits for an Ultralisk to kill a Zealot, depending on upgrades.
The +1 weapons upgrade is an important upgrade when fighting Zerglings or Hydralisks. This allows a Zealot to kill a Zergling (35 HP) in two attacks ((8+1)x2 x2=36) instead of three and a Hydralisk in five attacks instead of six. This reduces a lot of overkill and making an engagement with Zerglings and Hydralisks much more effective.
Zealot's quotes (video and sound) - YouTube video.
|Patch 3 (version 0.5.0.14219B)|
|Patch 16 (version 0.19.0.15976) Undocumented Changes |
|Patch 17 (version 0.20.0.16036) |