New StarCraft 2 units revealed

Protoss Replicant can copy enemy units.

The new units and major changes for the three races in StarCraft 2 have been revealed at a BlizzCon panel discussing how multiplayer will pan out in first expansion Heart of the Swarm.

Lead designer Dustin Browder said that each race will get three new or completely remodelled units in the add-on - although he stressed that no changes were final yet.

The Terrans' Hellion vehicle will now be able to transform into a Battle Hellion, giving it better close-range abilities and ensuring it remains useful in late-game battles.

The Warhound is a new mech "like a smaller, faster version of the Thor" with an anti-mech ground attack for use against other Terran or Protoss players. It's partly intended to move the Thor back up to the status of ultra-powerful "über" unit.

The Shredder is a cheap, stationary board control piece that automatically defends with lacerating fields of attack. It's particularly useful against Zerg but it doesn't work near other Terran units, forcing Terran players to spread their resources around the map.

On the Zerg side, the Ultralisk changes size and gains end-of-game splash damage ability as well as a burrow charge that lets it penetrate right to the heart of enemy formations.

The Viper is a new flying, spell-casting unit which can use a long appendage, like a tongue, to pull enemy units towards it or off elevated positions.

The Swarm Host is an artillery unit which burrows and spits out locusts and is seen as a great way to gain map control.

The Protoss have the highest-profile casualty; the Carrier unit from Wings of Liberty is gone. It's replaced with a new capital ship, the Tempest, a pincer-shaped vessel with powerful area-of-effect anti-air capabilities.

The Oracle is a powerful Protoss flying raider that can be sent into a rival's base to cripple their economy by freezing access to its resources.

Finally, the controversial Replicant is an extremely expensive high-level unit that can actually copy opponents' units, giving the Protoss player access to the units of other races - a demo video showed a Protoss player summoning siege tanks.

Among further major changes, the cost of the Ghost's cloak will be adjusted, Reapers will regenerate health out of combat, the Battle Cruiser gains a speed boost ability, the Baneling a burrow move, the Hyrdalisk a speed upgrade, Corruptors a new ability called Siphon which harvests buildings for resources and the Nexus gets defensive and recall abilities.

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