Commanders discussion: Hardest to Easiest

Co-op Missions Discussion
So let's discuss how different are commanders from hardest to autopilot mode.

Try to consider everything. Examples:

  • Karax, Stukov and Swann aren't ONLY defensive, they can be played offensively, with static/mobile/mech units.
  • Raynor can be played with bio only, mech only, both, also Orbital CCs, etc.
  • Zagara has mainly a single way to be played.
  • Etc, etc etc.

    Now, my list would go like this where 1= Hardest and 16= Easiest. If you want to justify your answer much better. I wasn't sure about some numbers, so I could have made some mistakes but here we go.

  • 01: Swann
  • has to: build 20 depots 1 by 1, donate drones, pay for drill upgrades. Super slow start and mineral starved. Expensive calldowns but are ok, exception are bots which are earlier but not that good either. Niche variety of units, some slow, too weak or stack one on another. Expensive and slow healing detection, needs babysitting. Ok teleporting, needs micro to load units first.
  • 02: Alarak
  • needs to build many structures, needs to replace units constantly. Needs to build pylons. 1 good reusable def and off calldown, another one super late and scarce. Resurrection takes time. Lacks aerial units. Niche teleporting. Weakest hero from commanders pool. Easy detection.
  • 03: Horners
  • has to build many platforms. Has to take care of his carr... galleons. Excellent and cheap bio. Expensive and good mech. Very good calldowns. Has to build depots. Limited teleporting for mech only. No healing. Expensive detection, needs babysitting.
  • 04: Raynor
  • Needs to build a lot but Instant supplies. Decent calldowns. Nice healing. Easy to get units, takes time to have an army. Niche and limited teleporting for BC only. Has to build many buildings and orbitals for more minerals and units. Good bio. Decent Mech. Best and instant detection.
  • 05: Fenix
  • decent and versatile hero. No calldowns. Needs to build pylons. No healing. Excellent teleporting. Suits resurrection takes time. Has to build many gas free buildings. Excellent variety of units. Good and strong semiheroes. Easy detection.
  • 06: Kerrigan
  • Great and strong hero. Great and good variety of units. Excellent teleporting. Excellent detection (nydus). Has to build a few hatcheries or queen inject. Takes a bit of time for hero resurrection. Needs many overlords for supplies. Niche healing.
  • 07: Vorazun
  • Auto Gas. Good and strong units. Free cloaking pylons. Excellent calldowns. Great Teleporting. No healing. Easy eco saturating base. Ok detection, needs babysitting.
  • 08: Karax
  • Free and automatic healing for mech. Instant pylons. Instant static. Excellent static defense. Good and expensive mech. No teleporting. Good calldowns. Lacks some units like ground to air. Ok detection, needs babysitting.
  • 09: Zagara
  • Good hero. Easy to saturate base and expo, thus good eco. Easy, fast, cheap and almost instant a click army. No teleporting. One of the most aggressive commanders being able to clean maps by herself. Needs a few overlords and can focus on attacking only. Easy to have a quick army again. Has to build many hatcheries or queen inject. Takes a bit of time for hero resurrection. Detection needs to be babysitted. Niche healing.
  • 10: Abathur
  • Slow to get an army but fast to get ultimates. Brutes and Levs are enough for regular brutals. OP deathball army. Nice variety of units for every occasion. Nice teleporting on some units. Has one of the best healings. Doesn't need many buildings, 2 hatcheries are enough. Easy to a click once he has an army. Detection needs to be babysitted
  • 11: Artanis
  • instant army on the battlefield. Easy to mass a deathball, nice variety of units for every map and comp. Solar Bombardment is one of the most OP calldowns. Doesn't build pylons. Instant detection, needs babysitting.
  • 12: Nova
  • doesn't build depots. Auto Gas. Easiest detection. OP army. Hero is good and has a nice collection of abilities for every occasion. Very good teleporting and healing. Strong and useful calldowns. Cheap upgrades. Instant hero resurrection.
  • 13: (Bio) Stukov
  • super good calldowns. Braindead inf bunkers are easy to mass and unload. Inf Bunkers are defensive and offensive at the same time. Doesn't need to use expo gas. Barracks spwan a horde of inf marines in case you are too lazy to build bunkers. OP bio. Mech Stukov is on the other hand more complex, weaker, needs a true revamp and bc it's not well known, won't mention him. Detection needs to be babysitted.
  • 14: Dehaka
  • builds few buildings. Most OP unit in Coop can eat a Leviathan/Mothership/Loki as a newborn lvl 1 baby. Has an easy and strong army. Easy detection. Good teleporting but hero only. Nice passive healing aura. Instant and cheap hero resurrection.
  • 15: Zeratul
  • builds a few structures, free upgrades by collecting artifacts. Easy no pop Detection. Easy to have 3/3/3 soon. Magic and free vespene assimilators. OP and cheap calldowns to clean rocks and expand quickly. OP units. Great teleporting.
  • 16: Tychus
  • builds a few buildings. Cheap resurrections. Easy detection. Expensive but instant upgrades. OP heroes. Too much teleporting. Quite probable to have full upgraded units to the end of the mission if not rushed. Best healing. Most OP calldown in coop with Odin's nuke.
    You missed 14, I guess :) UPD2: fixed

    UPD: I'm still reading, but for me - single "hold Z" button H&H is much easier than Alarak :)
    There seems to be an individual difference in the tier of the commander, but I almost agree with the commander's explanation.
    I am not a huge fan of using the commander's performance during solo/speedrun as a way to rank them, but this is probably what is going to happen here.
    Or maybe the performance in mutations.

    In my opinion a ranking does not make so much sense as even the worst commanders overkill anything on brutal games, and noone is forced to beat mutations on solo.

    Personal skill level of a player makes the biggest difference anyway. There are people who beat brutal missions solo with Kerrigan hero only so queen injections do not even matter for example.

    Usually if you struggle with a commander you probably just do not know how to play said commander, or you are missing machanics, lacking micro, macro, hotkeys and so on.
    Because every commander can beat everything.
    I'm still trying to figure out the direction of your post. While mostly on point, where is the intend of the discussion?

    From a chronological release perspective, there is a slight lean on more micro heavy to less macro heavy. The list though doesn't highlight that. I am also unsure if there's any meaning behind the number (or just there).

    Just a little confused :).
    I like the effort in the post.

    But these types of topics really have to get much more specific about what metrics are used to get useful information out of them. Probabaly ranking in 3 categories: overall power level, difficulty of macro, difficulty of micro. And each of those topics needs to be clarified for max skill cap or lowest effort needed to not lose.

    For example, hero units like Nova/Dehaka make it much harder to lose a mission (kinda easier) but extremely difficult to reach the theoretical skill cap (kinda harder). So it really depends on what metric you use for the rankings.
    12/19/2018 05:49 AMPosted by Daegoth
    02: Alarak
    needs to build many structures, needs to replace units constantly. Needs to build pylons. 1 good reusable def and off calldown, another one super late and scarce. Resurrection takes time. Lacks aerial units. Niche teleporting. Weakest hero from commanders pool. Easy detection.
    For me, Zeratul is the weakest hero unit. I routinely hit 50k damage with Alarak.
    There are no bad commanders, just bad players.
    is arbitrary, the only thing that’s different is that some commanders are less or more micro/macro heavy, thus making them easier to use.
    I’d say Fenix>swann in terms of difficulty , because you have to both macro and micro his suits, while swann isn’t that microheavy unless using dropships a lot.
    Your list sounds more like how easy it is to steamroll from early to late game with certain commanders. In that case I’d put Kerry up there with the likes of Dehaka
    12/19/2018 07:54 AMPosted by Cybernetic
    For me, Zeratul is the weakest hero unit. I routinely hit 50k damage with Alarak.

    Zeratul can push a fortified position in early game much better than Alarak thanks to combination of high damage, cloak, blink and fast shield regeneration. Alarak can deal better with attack waves thanks to knockback wave, but at a time Zeratul can't deal with wave on his own you should already have army or cannons ready.
    I'd re-order 3, 5, and 6 to being:

    3. Kerrigan

    5. H&H

    6. Fenix

    Other than that, the list looks right.
    Why do people keep saying Alarack is so hard? You hold down space bar, the screen is illuminated with holy light, and everything dies. GG! It’s not that hard!

    Also, I feel stukov is a bit harder than people give credit for, but otherwise no massive disagreements from me.
    After reading top 3, are you counting the number of structures needed as a difficulty index?
    For the purposes of revealing bias, my favourite/most played commanders are Nova, Vorazun, Abathur, and H&H. My least played are Raynor, Swann, and Kerrigan. My ranking would be:

    1: Karax. Mostly because he has such an unusual playstyle and therefore a very steep learning curve, and also he's absolutely miserable to play at low levels. Leveling him up doesn't make him better; it makes him stop being broken (and not in the OP sense).

    2: Alarak. Has a higher micro requirement than most anyone else, and unlike most other micro-heavy commanders, there's nothing to simplify his macro.

    3: Kerrigan. Maybe it's me, but I can never figure out how to play her. There's no obvious synergies in her army.

    4: Raynor. High macro requirements, and a fair bit of micro required too due to a glass cannon army.

    5: H&H. Very slow ramp-up makes the early game pretty nerve-wracking, and there's an art to placing Mag Mines right.

    6: Swann. I haven't played Swann much, but your macro seems like it needs to be pretty on-point.

    7: Vorazun. Similar issues to H&H with ramp-up time, though she's pretty faceroll lategame.

    8: Nova. She's fairly easy to play at a basic competency, but I'd argue she has perhaps the highest skill ceiling of any commander. There's always room to improve your micro.

    9: Zagara. Not a lot of micro, but your macro game has got to be decent if you want to maximize her potential.

    10: Fenix. A-move friendly army and fairly forgiving macro since his units are so cheap.

    11: Artanis. Basically just ladder Protoss, but easier and stronger.

    12: Abathur. Bow before his unkillable A-move deathball.

    13: Dehaka. The strength of his hero and his numerous calldowns make him extremely forgiving in almost all circumstances.

    14: Stukov. His mech build actually requires a fair bit of skill, but why bother when you can just build a bunch of Barracks, throw your Psi Emitter somewhere vaguely near the enemy, and lean on the A key?

    15: Zeratul. Basically just Protoss Nova but even more streamlined and a much lower skill ceiling.

    16: Tychus. Less a commander and more of a cheat code. Don't need to macro. Barely need to micro. Just steamroll everything with units whose raw stats make them near unbeatable. And maybe use their abilities if you get bored.
    Thinking it over, I would make 3 changes to the list:

    1. I would probably move bio stukov 1, maybe 2 slots up.
    2. I would move vorazun down 2 or 3 slots.
    3. I would stick Alarack between zagara and karax.
    I agree that Swann is the most difficult commander, with full terran macro, slow ramp-up and need for good micro.
    By your definition (play on autopilot) Nova should be way higher, just above Tychus and Zeratul. I mean, you can build almost anything and win with it if you bother to drop a drone over your army, or drop the minerals you're floating on top of the enemy army.
    I would swap Raynor and Alarak, because I've seen way more bad Raynor than Alarak players.
    I would swap Karax and Fenix, since offensive Karax actually requires skill (macro, upgraded army and forge, good sniping) to pull it off.
    I would swap Abathur and Stukov, because you can A-move Roach Queen (+3 Brutalisk) into anything, but if you A-move infested into armies with mass AOE they die like flies.
    I like the feedback. As I've mentioned b4, this is imo. Not considering brutations, not considering solos. Just wanted to read your opinions based on your experience and knowledge on the game. It seems there is a general agreement about Ty and Z about their simplified game.

    @Cibernetic: I totally agree with you that Alarak can do more dmg than Zeratul and thus stronger in that sense. When I talked about weakness, I meant "being able to take damage" not doing it, I should have been more specific but guess both of them could be ranked as the ones that tolerate less dmg.

    And yes, I considered factors such as buildings, healing, mobility/teleporting, building supplies, controlling heroes, army size and compositions, calldowns, passives, etc. I think some commanders feel like autopilot compared to others. The previous revamps helped some commanders to work better but there's always room for improvement.
    Overall I agree with your list, but I have some different opinions.

    01. Swann. Nothing much to say.

    02. Alarak. Alarak is insanely difficult for people who don't particularly practice him. I mean if you are overall good at the game, fine, just pick a random commander and play and everything is good. But Alarak is quite confusing.

    03. Raynor. Not the hardest macro and micro but he needs both. Also I'm bad at vulture so I rate him high. I saw someone solo a Mist Opportunities bruation (forgot the mutators, I think there is speed freaks) with spider mines. I can't even solo brutal Mist Opportunities with vulture build...

    04. Fenix. LOTS of researches... What makes this harder is that many (and maybe the most important ones) need unlock from other techs.

    05. Abathur. I have never seen a random teammate except VT boosters who knows how to make brutalisks/leviathans fast in the early game. Not a single random teammate (including brutations). Also getting biomass for the intended units is a little bit tricky. He needs standard macro like some upgrades as well.

    06. Kerrigan. Standard zerg macro with hero unit Kerrigan micro. But you can focus on Kerrigan during most of time and rally all your units in the Omega network. Omega network as a detector is awesome, makes her almost have scans.

    07. Dehaka. Early game multitasking is very difficult and may force you to give up macro. Only Dehaka and Zeratul have this kind of feeling.

    08. (Try hard) Nova. If you want to utilize the best units in her arsenal, you got to micro really hard and have a clear mind. More importantly you don't want to lose any key unit.

    09. Karax. Little bit hard to macro well actually. You may also face energy management problem.

    10. Vorazun. The boudary between standard macro and simplified macro. Usually you have to warp in time and remember to get cossair production on. The ramp up time is long but if you don't play mass void rays, other builds usually include dts and they can defend themselves well. (Massing stalkers don't have a long ramp up time) A huge contrary to Swann.

    11. H&H. I don't know why H&H is rated that high. Basically you can just rush carr... galleons, and once one is done you can already attack with inte... drones tanking. After getting more resources just call down a battlecruiser for better tanking and you will have no problem except enemy yamato cannons. It is a little bit hard to build optimal depots during the time you rush carr.. galleons, but after that depots are cheap and you can just spam them. Raven drop for detection is handy, and you can A-move ravens. Calldowns, tactical jumps are also good.
    (I personally stick with this build cuz it works quite well in brutal tho the ramp up time is long. In brutation H&H is terrible except the ones that platform is the MVP. Just forget H&H in brutations that they don't work well.)

    12. Zeratul. I don't agree that Zeratul is over simplified. Seeking artifacts is clearly harder than clicking some upgrades, and I perfer the latter. Random Zeratul usually find all artifacts after 15 mins and Zeratul being op makes them think they are playing Zeratul well. Also you want to start massing cannon in the mid game and the multitasking is not the simplest. Good thing is that you will never forget upgrades.

    13. (Usual) Stukov. Moving home needs some efforts but overall ok.

    14. Tychus. Rated the simplest on the internet but you have some pressure for screwing up everything leading to the whole team reviving. May need burst APM for high tier attack waves.

    15. Artanis. Drop everything. Drop armies, drop calldowns, drop detections. Especially for everyone's favorite tempests build hehe. Start with 200 supplies.

    16. Zagara. Build 5 macro hacteries, dial sddddddd for economy, dial svvvvvvvvvv for supply, dial szzzzzzzzz for ground, dial srrrrrrrrrr for air, dial f2ea for the win. Free banelings and Zagara herself make early game safe and you can tech up fast to get all important researches, includint tier 3 ones. The only problem is that lurkers need detections, and overseers die to spore crawlers really fast. But still easier than Stukov who has the same problem.
    people like to proclaim raynor as this super high skill cap difficult commander but unless you're playing on brutal mutations all you do is a-move to victory, he's incredibly easy to play.

    ''oh but you have to manage 20 barracks'' you really don't outside brutal mutations
    ''oh but you have to build like 8 orbital command centers'' you really don't outside brutal mutations, I only make 3 and I can a-move through brutal just fine
    I'm not sure why people put Tychus as easier than Zeratul.

    Honestly, the number of choices and things to keep track of between the two makes a clear difference.
    You have to actually remember to upgrade your units.
    You also have to actually use their abilities (although some are autocast).
    The only thing you don't have to do (in comparison) is continuously build units. And even then, with a 100 population that's not exactly a lot.

    Obviously Tychus is an easy commander; at least if you focus a bit on his offensive strength (the outlaws' balance is all over the place honestly), but the game doesn't hold your hand at every opportunity: you have to build those engineering bays and manually upgrade, you have to constantly go back/select your armory/hideout/safehouse and upgrade, you have to actually spend resources on those upgrades and you also have to build your refineries and assign workers.
    I'm not sure a small mini-game done by mid-game is a good way to replace all of this.

    As for the hardest commanders, it's a bit more playstyle-oriented. If you're not that good on micro or macro, then some are definitely harder than others.
    That said, Swann is rather notorious for being relatively average at best until late game even if played to perfection.
    Karax can also pose some problems, but it's more mission/mastery oriented.
    Alarak is not very intuitive, but since you pull quite a few tricks with him he's not that hard. It's more that his army is really lackluster.
    Abathur also lacks a bit of intuitiveness in his mechanics. Collecting biomass can become extremely annoying, both building and upgrading his army costs a lot of gas and his population cap is counter-intuitive. That said, most maps and setups can be taken on easily with his 3 Brutalisks and 3 Leviathans, especially if you have the symbiote mastery, so it's not exactly "hard".

    I wouldn't consider any other than those 4 as harder than any other, except maybe Dehaka since it's quite easy to forget the macro part but it's really just part of getting used to playing him.

    Join the Conversation

    Return to Forum