The Zerg Roach is a new ground unit introduced in Starcraft 2. It has been a cause of much controversy throughout the Beta, as it has gone through many changes. While it was universally accepted earlier in the Beta that the Roach was overpowered, some people now question whether it is even worth using anymore.
Roaches can be spawned once you have built a Roach Warren. Each one costs 75 minerals, 25 gas, and 2 supply points (this was a recent change, as they used to be 1 supply – more on that below). With 145 hit points and 1 armor, the Roach is the Zerg’s sturdiest ground unit save for the Ultralisk. Classified as an Armored Biological unit, the Roach has a Move Speed of Normal when off creep and a Move Speed of Fast while on creep. The Roach’s attack is called Acid Saliva, and it can only target units and structures that are on the ground. It does 16 damage with a Weapon Speed of Very Slow, and its range is very small at 3.
Available Upgrades For The Roach
At the Roach Warren there are 3 available upgrades. Glial Reconstitution increases movement speed, Tunneling Claws let Roaches move while burrowed, and Organic Carapace increases hit point regeneration rate of Roaches while they are burrowed.
At the Evolution Chamber, you can upgrade 3 levels of Missile Attack and Ground Carapace. Each Missile Attack upgrade adds 2 base damage to the Acid Saliva attack, and each Ground Carapace upgrade adds 1 armor.
Roaches are strong against weaker Light units, including Marines, Hellions, Zerglings, and Zealots. They can also be used as meat shields at the front of your army to soak up the damage, while your squishier Hydralisks and Infestors can stay back. Once they have the Burrow and Tunneling Claws upgrades, they can be used to make sneak attacks by burrowing and moving underground until they reach their target, then pop up all at once to do massive burst damage. This strategy can be deadly against an opponent who has neglected to get any detectors.
The Roaches do have many weaknesses. Their attack, while strong, has a short range and can’t attack air units. When running into units that have large bonuses against Armored units, like Marauders and especially Immortals, the Roach is quickly destroyed.
The Controversy Surrounding The Zerg Roach
With the big change in Beta Patch 12 making Roaches use 2 supply instead of 1, many people that play as Zerg say that the Roach is too weak now and not worth 2 supply. This is most likely an overreaction and people will learn to adapt to the change. There is always the possibility that Blizzard is not done with changes to the Roach yet, and they may still be changed for the better in the future.
Starcraft 2 Beta New Unit Spotlight: Zerg Queen
Starcraft 2 Beta New Unit Spotlight: Zerg Baneling
Starcraft 2 Beta New Unit Spotlight: Zerg Infestor
Starcraft 2 Beta New Unit Spotlight: Zerg Corrupter
Starcraft 2 Beta New Unit Spotlight: Zerg Brood Lord