What Reaper changes mean for other races



Sat 23rd Feb 2013 - 3:54pm

If you’ve paid any attention to the changes made to the terran reaper in the heart of the swarm beta, you are probably feeling a rollercoaster of emotions. Reapers have gone from being an impractical threat after the early game, to something always available and terrifying.

In Wings of Liberty, the reaper was rarely used. They were a relatively benign unit, usually stoppable and easily dealt with due to their weak armour. They were good at two things: killing workers quickly, and killing weaker buildings quickly. They had a huge damage buff against light armoured units, and an alternate means of attacking buildings with “cluster bombs” instead of their normal guns. These made reapers a threat in the early game against all other races, but not for long.

The minute a unit without light armour – stalker, marauder, queen – came into play, reapers were effectively shut down. They were easy to micro, but could still be stopped with ease, as they would tend to target ONLY your mineral line, meaning a queen, stalker, or marauder left in that area could easily stop the early aggression.

Now, however, reapers got fast. In heart of the swarm, the reaper is a whole different unit. Initially, in Wings of Liberty, they ran quite fast (slower than a stalker) but required an upgrade at the tech lab of a barracks, which was only available after building a factory. This meant that by the time they had fast reapers; reapers were no longer a threat. Now, however, reapers have their default speed set at 3.75. Stalkers can only move at 2.953 movement speed. This is a huge increase.

As well, if a reaper stays out of combat for a little bit of time; it will start to regenerate its health. This means that a terran unit which is good at harassing and getting away, can now restore all of its health if microed away. This is a frighteningly cost efficient new feature to the regularly kamikaze style unit.

Did I mention they no longer require a tech lab and can be built two at a time with a reactor?

What does this mean for those up against reapers?

This doesn’t mean an awful lot, just that your go-to XvT strategies will need some revision, perhaps the introduction of some static defence, or maybe just some non-light armoured units early game. Seriously, these things shouldn't pose much of a threat.

Time to transition away from reapers.