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The Protoss Immortal - Lore and Stats
According to the beta website, Immortals are, like Dragoons from Starcraft, crippled warriors placed into exoskeletons so that they can continue the fight even after defeat. "But the loss of every immortal is keenly felt. These ancient warriors are a dying breed pledged to give their all in the end times of their people. They stand on the front lines of the final war, sacrificing themselves to buy their race a few more days or hours. Soon none will remain." Instead of being a core ranged attacker like the Dragoon, the Protoss Immortal is a powerful anti-armor support platform.
Build Time: 55
Damage: 20 (+30 vs Armored)
Hardened Shield: The Immortal's Hardened Shields reduce the damage of incoming high damage attacks to 10 if his shields are still up.
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Protoss Immortal Strengths and Weaknesses
The Immortal's greatest strength comes in part from the Hardened Shield. Though the Immortal doesn't have a huge shield buffer, that buffer lasts and incredibly long time even in the face of heavy bombardment, making them incredibly powerful against Terran Siege Tanks, Zerg Ultralisks and other high damage units like the Colossus and the Thor. On top of the Hardened Shield advantage, Immortals do radically increased damage to armored units, making them not just strong counters, but hard counters to Siege Tanks, Roaches, Thors, and strong against Marauders, landed Vikings, Infestors and Ultralisks. Any serious ground force should include a strong complement of Immortals, especially when facing mech Terrans or an early Roach/Hydra push.
However, Immortals cannot attack air, making them weak if your opponent techs out of ground units (though they are still very strong against buildings and may be useful in a mixed army). Even more devastating is their slow attack and mediocre damage against non-armored units, which makes them vulnerable to Zerglings, Marines, Zealots, Broodlings and other low-damage swarming units. Another danger is the Ghost, whose EMP can completely remove an Immortal's advantage. For this reason, Immortals should always be supported by Stalkers, Zealots and possibly Colossi to clear weak enemies and give them room to fire.
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Protoss Immortal Strategies
Since a 1 gateway opening into a Robotics Facility is one of the strongest openings - due to the importance of producing Observers - the Protoss Immortal is an extremely strong unit to produce in the opening minutes of a game. Strong against Roaches and Marauders, even a small number of Immortals can put your opponent on the defensive early on. Many Protoss players will, when assured that their opponents are not rushing air or pushing out aggressively, wait until they have 5-6 Zealots, 1-2 Sentries and Stalkers and 2 Immortals, and then make a push for their opponents base. This is an incredibly powerful core strategy and can open up into more complicated unit strategies, and is a big step toward Colossi, which will more or less force your opponent to tech to air if they want to survive.
The one danger of this strategy is that it is so powerful and common that many players will assume that Protoss will attempt an Immortal push by default - because of this, it is a good idea to feint a gateway heavy build or deny scouting so that your opponent will have to respond blindly. Even if your Immortals have been countered, this is a strong build because of the importance of producing observers - so teching to a Robotics Facility is still a strong opening.