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The Protoss Colossus - Lore and Stats
Ancient relics from a war long in the past, the Protoss Colossus is unique to the Protoss army in that it is a robotic unit built solely for the purpose of war. According to official lore, "most protoss robots are created for industrial or resource-gathering purposes" and the "conclave outlawed the manufacture of colossi, and existing machines were deactivated before being sealed away in distant asteroids and uninhabited moons." Now that the war with the Zerg is going badly, these machines have been called back into action as powerful artillery and support units.
Build Time: 75
Damage: 15 (x2)
Cliff Walk: The Colossus can walk up and down cliffs.
Extended Thermal Lances: Increases Colossus range from 6 to 9.
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Colossus Strengths and Weaknesses
As a high tier unit, the Colossus is a very powerful component of the Protoss army. Like the Immortal, the Colossus is built from the Robotics Facility, but requires a Robotics Bay as well, making it very costly to tech to. This is because the Protoss Colossus is extremely powerful against massed units, since its attacks deal damage in a line, sweeping across firing lines to do damage to several enemy units at once. This makes it devastating against tier 1 and tier 1.5 units like Marines, Hydralisks, Stalkers, Marauders and Roaches, but it can also be deadly to Zerglings, Zealots and other close range units if you have your own wall of units to provide support and keep enemies at bay. If your opponent is massing ground, the Colossus is never a bad choice, unless teching to it will put you behind. It is deadly against the popular Terran Marines and Marauders build, as well as the common Roach and Hydralisk heavy build that Zerg often favor. Researching Extended Thermal Lances makes the Colossus even more powerful, allowing it to outrange most units and deal heavy damage from afar, increasing its effectiveness greatly - if you have the resources, strongly consider getting this upgrade.
As powerful as it is against ground, the Colossus is extremely weak against air, since its unique mechanic means it can be attack even by air-to-air units. Vikings and Corrupters will shut down your Colossus quickly, and require a stronger supporting army - the range upgrade is even more important in these situations. Likewise, the Colossus is weak against powerful single-target spells like Neural Parasite and the Thor's 150mm cannons. Obviously, if your opponent is massing air, the cost will be detrimental, but against a ground army, the Colossus is a powerful choice.
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Colossus Strategies and Tips
Since it is such a high-cost unit, there are few strategies that center on the Protoss Colossus. It is best used to strengthen your army or respond to massed biological units. Especially with the range upgrade, two or three Colossi with a Zealot, Stalker and Sentry shield can effectively counter most massed ground armies - especially if you catch your opponent by surprise. Always be sure to take advantage of Cliff Walk - placing your Colossi on the high ground can allow these expensive and powerful units to rain fire on your enemies with impunity. Also, though it is risky to use such expensive units for this, you can use Colossi mobility to effectively harass your opponents mineral lines - since the line damage will have a greater chance of destroying workers. If your opponent is countering your Colossi, consider researching the Sentry skill Hallucination and creating copies to fend off Neural Parasite or large numbers of air-to-air units - the ability is so rare, you might catch your opponent off guard.