As one of the three basic free starting commanders, Raynor is one of the most played co-op commanders in the game. With access to most of the standard Terran units from Wings of Liberty, Raynor also resembles Terran ladder play more than any other commander. That being said, Raynor is one most difficult commanders to play, mirroring the difficulty of apm-intensive Terran play typically found in multiplayer.
Generally speaking, there are two ways to play Raynor; an offensive Bio-based styles of play and a more rarely-seen defensively oriented mechanical mode of play. Using an army of relatively fragile Bio units, it’s up to the player to keep his force alive and deathball it to victory. With mechanical units, Raynor can hold a position indefinitely, especially against ground forces.
Raynor Bio compositions have the smoothest power curve in the game. He is carried by his two calldowns in the early game and gradually powers up throughout the game. Eventually, Raynor’s Bio composition becomes highly powerful as it is able to shred down all enemy units and buildings very quickly. Vulture Mines are able to take down any ground wave instantly. Also, because Mines don’t cost any supply, Raynor can inflate the power of his standing army indefinitely.
Pure Mech has a slightly bumpier ride as Raynor needs a few more minutes to get the necessary number of Spider Mines out on the field. He’ll also have a hard time dealing with air compositions early on with Mech.
Viable Unit Compositions
Generally recommended on offense-oriented maps where you push into an enemy base. Bio-based play consists entirely of a mix of Marine/Medic with circumstantial Firebat/Marauder support. Marauders survive AoE attacks better than marines and do well against armored ground compositions. Firebats are generally a very good choice against Zergling-based Zerg compositions and on Miner Evacuation and Dead of Night, but not to be used in other situations.
This is the same as the Bio composition, with the exception that a few Vultures are added on in a separate control group for the sole purpose of laying Spider Mines. Mines are laid all over the map to cover alternate enemy attacking paths while you push down objectives. This composition is useful for larger maps where you have to be in more than once place at a time, such as Mist Opportunities, Oblivion Express, and Vermilion Problem.
Mech (Vulture/Tank/Viking or Vulture/Banshee/Viking):
Raynor can effectively utilize a defensive mechanical composition consisting of Vulture/Mine on the ground and Viking/Turret for the air. Siege Tanks or Banshees can be supplemented in order to clean up anything that the mines missed. This composition is best utilized on defensive maps. One or two Medics should also be added into this composition in order to heal your Mechanical and your ally’s units.
Mid-game Pushing Power: Raynor excels at pushing encampments in the mid-game with a bio composition. Bio units, with a backbone of Marines and Medics, provide the necessary DPS and sustainability required for these pushes. On the majority of maps, Raynor has the fastest clearing potential of any commanders.
Defensive Ground Ability with Mines: Mines are one of the best defensive options in the game, rivaling Karax Cannons, Swann Tanks, and Zagara Bile Launchers. See the Vulture section for more info.
Unlimited Mineral Income: The extra income provided by Mules allow Raynor to resupply his Bio force rapidly and to ramp up quickly, letting him build an excess of static defense (Mines/Turrets).
Area of Effect Damage/Mutators: Raynor’s Bio gets torn up by some AoE mutators such as Blizzard, Twister, or Orbital Strike. In the hands of a less-skilled player, he’s also weak against enemy waves with heavy AoE such as the Reaver/Disruptor wave or Terran Mech. In addition, Raynor doesn’t have many good answers to mine-clearing mutations like Minesweeper.
Difficult to Master: Raynor is one of the hardest commanders to play well. Due to the diverse set of skills Raynor’s playstyle demands, newer players without strong StarCraft mechanics will struggle to do well with Raynor on the higher difficulties.
- You should generally aim to build 6 Orbital Commands on longer missions and 3-4 on shorter rush missions. 6 Orbital Commands mine out your minerals in about 35 mins and you will almost never need more minerals than that.
- Opening almost exclusively a 3CC or 4CC build (three to four Command Centers before any units) is completely safe in most situations with the help of your two calldowns. This gives you a booming initial economy, which allows you to snowball the game. Refer to the build referenced below for more details.
- Mines are Raynor’s most overpowered “unit” and they annihilate ground armies. They should be used against ground waves on any map with a defensive component.
- Alternatively, massing Missile Turrets with your excessive mineral bank is also effective against air waves.
- Improve your multitasking. Multitasking Bio, Mines, Mules, production, calldowns, and upgrades can be tricky for newer players. Raynor is a very demanding commander to play, so get practice and improve.
- Use calldowns when they’re available instead of leaving them for emergencies. This especially applies to Dusk Wings with a full Mastery upgrade as you can have them on the field 50% of the time. (They last 1 minute and have a 2 minute cooldown.)
- Do not leave the Hyperion idle. It is a very powerful calldown with both its active abilities and can take out key objectives.
- Mech upgrades affect both of Raynor’s calldowns.
- Set up your Bio in a concave before engagements. This lets all of your army start firing more quickly and mitigates splash damage.
- Raynor fares better against Protoss defenses than Terran or Zerg defenses. Specifically, Tanks and Vipers give Raynor a lot of trouble when he’s assaulting an enemy base.
- Learning the stutter-step technique will slightly improve the efficiency of your Bio army.
- Learning the rapidfire technique will help you plant Spider Mines more quickly and greatly improve the effectiveness of these units.
Calldown and Unit Overview
33.93 DPS x 5
With full mastery points, you’ll be able to call Dusk Wings every two minutes (instead of four) starting at the four-minute mark. Dusk Wings are fully cloaked and do immense area of effect damage. They are powerful enough to take down almost every ground-based attacking wave until the very late stages of the game, allowing your armies to push bases without retreating. They’re also useful for killing the initial rocks at the expos and the 1st attack wave. Note that the Dusk Wings deal 50 damage to all enemies at the location they are summoned.
The Hyperion is the other, more robust calldown that you call down every six minutes, starting at the five minute mark. With full mastery points, you’ll be able to call it down every four minutes and thirty seconds starting at the five-minute mark. While it has a long cooldown, the main advantage it has is it can attack air units. It also has much better survivability against fortified areas. Its abilities include:
- Hyperjump: Teleports the Hyperion to any location on the map, even unexplored areas.
- Yamato Cannon: 600 damage single target ability with some AoE damage. You’ll most often want to kill the most dangerous units to Raynor’s Bio with your Yamato. This includes all forms of splash damage and capital ships.
- Point Defense Drone: Prevents projectile damage, 4 charges, 5 second cooldown, lasts 3 minutes. Make sure to use all the charges during its duration.
- Advanced Targeting Systems: Friendly units near the Hyperion do +2 damage. This lets the Hyperion scale with your army as it highly increases the damage output from a group of Marines.
Units and Buildings
No Stim: 8.02 DPS at 0/0
With Stim: 14.04 DPS
The bread and butter of your Bio force, Marines are an all-purpose unit that deals immense single target damage for its cost and supply. They are very susceptible to AoE, however, and must be supplemented with other Bio units when necessary.
Medics are Raynor’s healers and can heal both Biological and Mechanical units. Generally you’ll want one Medic for every four non-Medic Bio units. Against heavy AoE mutators, you will want to increase this number. For a mechanical force, two Medics are sufficient to heal up between fights.
No Stim: 7.52/ 15.03(vs armored) DPS
With Stim: 13.15/ 26.31(vs armored) DPS
Premier Bio composition support. They are mainly used to prevent your Bio ball from being too vulnerable to area-of-effect damage, such as against Infestors and Colossi. Although you should make them against all compositions if doing a Bio composition, you should only prioritize them against ground-only compositions.
No Stim: 6.39/9.58(vs light) DPS
With Stim: 11.18/ 16.77(vs light) DPS
Firebats have a lot more HP/armor than the other Bio units, but they’re also much more situational than Marines or Marauders, due to having a small attack range and low single-target DPS. Firebats are only ideal in only two situations: against the two Zerg compositions that start with Zerglings and on maps with infested such as Miner Evacuation and Dead of Night. They are also viable, though not necessary, against certain Protoss compositions that don’t include Immortals.
6.97/17.42(vs light) DPS
Though they’re not powerful attacking units, the ability to lay an unlimited number of mines supported by masses of Orbital Commands and Mules makes Vultures one of the most powerful units in the game. Mines in a mech composition make defensive missions such as Temple of the Past, Oblivion Express, and Mist Opportunities trivial.
Tank Mode: 16.59/27.64(vs armored) DPS
Siege Mode: 13.42/19.17(vs armored) DPS
On the ground, the Siege Tank is mostly outclassed by either a Bio ball or Vulture Mines. Even with the unsieging speed upgrade, Tanks don’t provide enough of a benefit when mixed with Bio units. The main use for them is as supplementary units in addition to Mines on a defensive mission such as Temple of the Past or Oblivion Express. On these maps, the Tanks will be able to clean up stray units that have slipped through the mines.
Vs Air: 11.50/16.50(vs armored) DPS
Vs Ground: 13.80 DPS
The counterpart to the Vulture mine, Vikings are used to clean everything up in the air that Vultures do on the ground. Note that because Vikings are fragile units, you’ll need Turret support to deal with heavy air waves without taking significant losses. In most cases, adding Vikings to a Bio army for anti-air purposes isn’t as effective as simply adding more Marines.
Best used in combination with Vultures and Vikings to provide additional support to Mines on the ground. As an alternative to Tanks, Banshees are more mobile and can more easily deal with some bonus objectives. However, the tradeoff is that Banshees are more fragile and vulnerable to AoE effects. Banshees can also be used against certain compositions that lack solid anti-air such as the Protoss “Gateway” composition.
Vs Air: 31.36 DPS
Vs Ground: 41.82 DPS
Typically, Battlecruisers are outclassed by any and all of Raynor’s other options. Battlecruisers are very slow to get out, have low range, and don’t put out any area of effect damage. With either a Swann ally to provide additional gas, or a Karax ally to help heal your capital ships, you can reconsider this option, but it’s almost certainly still an inferior choice. Battlecruisers are most often paired with Vultures as the minerals dump.
Bunkers are generally not a good defensive option outside of early game due to their low DPS. In the early game, it can sometimes be wise to produce one Bunker as a defensive measure against the first wave if you either don’t have Dusk Wings unlocked or you’re playing on a map where Dusk Wings aren’t available before the first wave. The best example here is on Dead of Night, where Bunkers are essential to a strong defense.
In addition to mines and Bio, Turrets are another good mineral dump for when you have massive numbers of Orbital Commands. This is especially true when you’re going Mech and relying on Vikings as your anti-air. Turrets are especially useful on maps such as Void Launch and Temple of the Past where you have to defend against hoards of predictable air units.
Raynor’s build doesn’t change much as he levels up. For players at level 1, you’ll either have to rely on your ally to defend the first wave or skip the third CC in favor of a Bunker to defend the first wave. The ability to instantly build Supply Depots marginally speeds up this build. The following is a generic build for Raynor on maps with rocks. This build must be adjusted on maps without rocks at your expansion. Refer to the attached replay pack for additional details.
- 14 Supply Depot
- 16 2nd Command Center (at rocks if available)
- 19 Barracks
- 20 Orbital Command on first CC
- 20 3rd Command Center (at rocks if available)
- 21 Orbital Command on 2nd CC
- 21 Refinery
- 22 Refinery
- 25 4th Command Center (at main base, optional)
See attached replays for more specific examples.
Raynor is one of the most powerful commanders at low levels as most of his strongest traits (Marines, Mines, Orbital Commands) are accessible even at level 1. However, Raynor still receives a few power spikes at the following levels:
Level 2: Banshee Airstrike: Allows Raynor to clear rocks and kill off the first wave without having to commit to units.
Level 4: Infantry Upgrade Cache: Upgrades his Bio play immensely.
Level 8: Orbital Drop-Pods: Supplements Raynor’s Bio pushing power greatly.
Level 15: Mercenary Munitions: One of the best level 15 masteries, giving Raynor a 15% attack speed increase to his entire army.
Power Set 1:
- Stimpack Duration +2%-60% (+2% duration per level)
- Speed Increases for Drop Pod Units: +2%-60% (+2% speed per level)
Power Set 2:
- Hyperion Cooldown: -3s - 90s (360s down to a minimum of 270s)
- Banshee Airstrike Cooldown: -4s - 120s (240s down to a minimum of 120s)
Power Set 3:
- Medic Heal Additional Target: +3% - 90% (-3% heal per level)
- Damage Reduction during Medic Heals: +0.5%-15% (+0.5% damage reduction per level)
KerriganUtilizing Kerrigan’s Omega Worms allows Raynor a more mobile ground force. Medics can heal Kerrigan’s units, but Kerrigan generally doesn’t need the extra healing if she has good creep spread.
ArtanisRaynor’s best partner. Allows Raynor’s Bio units much higher survivability with Guardian Shell, and offers Artanis some much-needed healing in turn. Shield Overcharge is also great on Raynor’s Bio.
SwannRaynor doesn’t especially appreciate Swann’s extra gas income unless he’s going Mech and even then, it’s not a necessity. Scans can synergize well with Swann’s Drill. Raynor can use Swann’s Tech Reactor, but it’s generally not worth Swann’s time to create extra add-ons for Raynor.
ZagaraZagara’s Mass Frenzy greatly increases the effectiveness of Raynor’s units more than she does any other commander. At the same time, Raynor’s Hyperion buffs Zagara’s Zerglings more than any other unit in the game. Zagara’s aggression helps Raynor push into enemy fortifications, while Raynor’s mines cover for Zagara after one of her pushes.
VorazunVorazun’s Emergency Recall can save cloaked Banshees, but this is generally not a huge draw. Dark Pylon recall can help Raynor greatly with mobility.
KaraxKarax’s repair beam mostly only helps Raynor’s starport Units as they’re the only mechanical units that are designed to be damaged. Unity barrier allows Bio to take an extra shot before dying.
AbathurMend tends to help Raynor’s Mech more than his Bio compositions. Medics help heal Abathur’s units, especially Brutalisks, which Abathur’s Queens can be slow to heal.
AlarakAlarak can Photon Overcharge Raynor’s floating buildings, which represents about as much power as a Hyperion. Raynor’s high number of units serves to boost Empower Me greatly.
NovaDefensive Drone has great synergy with Raynor’s bio army as its main issue is survivability. Airlift can also ferry Raynor’s units across the map instantly.
StukovRaynor and Stukov’s calldowns can tag team down enemy waves and structures. Other than that, Raynor and Stukov are two of the least synergistic commanders in the game.
FenixFenix is able to Recall Raynor’s Bio force, even more greatly increasing Raynor’s mobility.
DehakaDehaka, the hero, acts as a huge tank for Raynor's army. In addition, his healing aura and his Tyrannozor's armor aura both greatly extend the life of Raynor's fragile army.
Chain of Ascension
- Building a Bunker by Ji’nara can hold off the enemy reinforcements while you power up and build CCs.
- The first Dusk Wings can handle first attack wave and the expansion. If there are air units, you will have to lure them to the Bunker.
- Save the first Hyperion for the large second attack. Most of the time you should still have time left at the end to teleport it to the second fortified base and clear some dangerous units.
- Use Vultures to mine the areas where Hybrid waves spawn so you’ll have a much easier time dealing with them.
- Dusk Wings should be used to clear out the first, second, and third Hybrid spawn areas while Bio forces push forward.
- You should be able to get Vultures out before the 9-minute spawn trigger for the first set of Hybrids.
- Vultures can sneak past the last fortified base by moving below them.
- Don’t forget to mine up the reinforcement attack paths.
Dead of Night
- Make use of the Hyperion and Dusk Wings during the first night. The Hyperion especially can be quite useful because its PDD can distract Spotters even when placed far away.
- Marines, Medics, and Firebats should be the core of your Bio forces, Firebats are great for tanking and dealing with the massive numbers of Infested both during the day and at night.
- A split Bio force during the third day can cover the map a lot faster than a single, large force.
- Tanks can help greatly against the third night and later, but you really should try to finish before that or shortly after third night begins.
Lock & Load
- Dusk Wings can take care of expansion rocks and first attack/lock but may not be able to clear everything if they have to destroy the Vespene rocks.
- The first Hyperion can accomplish a lot. Delay it for about 20s and then summon between the left lock and the forces guarding the lock. Drop PDDs as necessary while destroying dangerous splash and scanning to target down the cloaked/burrowed units (Terran Banshees won’t cloak). Once the dangerous units are taken out, teleport to the bottom-right lock and target the anti-air so that your Dusk Wings can clean up. With the remainder of the Hyperion’s time, teleport it to the lock area directly above and use one last Yamato to take out another dangerous unit; when Dusk Wings are done clearing the bottom-right lock, they can be suicided to clear more targets right above. If done right, your forces should be able to easily assault the left lock, the bottom-right lock should be completely cleared, and the upper-right lock should have slightly weakened defenses.
- Vultures can be useful for defending double waves if the game goes on too long.
- Marines, Medics, and Firebats should be your units of choice for this mission. Firebats are ideal to burn and tank against the hordes of Infested.
- One of the Eradicators can take out the Dusk Wings. The Hyperion is recommended to finish it off first. Do not attempt to kill off Eradicators with Bio forces as you’ll suffer heavy losses.
- Try to have a second Bio force going around the map clearing stuff, since you don’t need a full army to defend ships.
- The Hyperion can protect the first bot as well as clear some of the second and third bot areas. The 6-minute Dusk Wings can further clear the third bot area.
- You should be able to get a few Vultures out by the second bot wave, even with a 5-6CC opening. Dusk Wings will help until you can start laying mines.
- Lay mines all over the map, especially at spawn points if you can memorize them. Building Missile Turrets at the final spawn points helps against masses of air units as well.
- Hyperion can take out first train on its own as well as warp over to the attack wave that follows shortly after.
- It’s useful to push into the train spawning locations to lay mines at the escort spawn locations. If you can’t push both, then at least push the upper train location since that’s also where some attack waves will spawn.
- It may help to build a Bunker and Turret at locations that the AI builds on, so that you can maintain control over those areas. The other option is to just fully-clear the map.
- You will need to focus a lot more on laying mines, as well as keep a slightly larger force of Vultures.
- If going against air compositions, particularly Terran air, it’s useful to have a moderate fleet of Vikings, since Marines out of range tend to attack the train instead of running to attack the air units.
Rifts to Korhal
- Unlike every other map, you will need a Bunker with Marines to take the first wave. Your Marines can be rallied to your rocks until 2:20 or so before they have to get to the Bunker.
- Delay the first Hyperion for about 20s and spawn it on top of the second attack wave, after which you should target down dangerous units and some air in the second area. Dusk Wings then will be able to clear even more units.
- Enemy attacks always come from the same direction - Vultures can lay mines if you see a lot of splash coming.
- In the last area, taking out the Nexus/CC/Hive near the frontmost shard can give you more micro room.
Scythe of Amon
- Right after the third CC is put down, the attack wave warning will trigger. Build the Bunker at the appropriate side once the attack marker appears; the first wave from Terran/Zerg sometimes splits up if it comes from the left, so build closer to the middle if that occurs and be ready to lure with Marines.
- Summon the first Hyperion and then Dusk Wings at the sliver on the same side as the first attack. Hyperion can focus down the Overseer and then teleport to first bonus area. Dusk Wings can handle the first sliver safely with the Overseer gone, and the Hyperion (if carefully controlled) can clear most of the first bonus area.
- Float an OC over to the expansion while clearing the mini-base below it. If first attack came from north, you will have to take out the expansion sliver as you land the OC.
- Dusk Wings can help greatly during attacks on the sliver by taking out dangerous splash as well as the Rifts and grip crystals, but make sure they don’t get too far ahead of your Bio because they can be shot down very quickly.
- The map is big. Raynor wants to minimize travel time. The recommended order, accounting for bonuses, would be the nearest two -> left-most -> top-mid (clear out 3rd bonus path along the way) -> north-east most.
- PAY ATTENTION TO THE BLUE CIRCLE OF DEATH
- SERIOUSLY, PAY ATTENTION TO THE BLUE CIRCLE OF DEATH
Temple of the Past
- Float the starting Barracks to top of main ramp to stall enemies until Dusk Wings come online. Against Zealots or Reapers, add a few SCVs to repair.
- Use the Hyperion for the second attack and teleport to lower-left corner base to begin attacking. Leave some PDDs in the area for vision to summon Dusk Wings on the 3rd attack wave.
- With a 4CC opener, you should be able to get out a Factory in time to make some Vultures to assist with the fourth and fifth attack waves.
- After first Thrasher, you can add two more OCs for safety or push the side lanes if rushing for a full clear.
- Clearing lanes is very important for laying mines at Thrasher locations.
- By the end of the game, you can have your entire base covered with mines and Missile Turrets for an impenetrable defense.
- Full Mech is also very viable on this map if the goal is to not clear the map. Vultures, Tanks, Banshees, Turrets, and Vikings are all excellent choices for defense.
The Vermillion Problem
- Delay first Hyperion by 30s before summoning at the expansion. Teleport it over to deal with the first drop.
- If you have crystals spawned far apart from each other, just get the closest one and use Dusk Wings to deal with the other one while dropping a few Marines if there are air units.
- Use mines for defense, especially when you have access to the two bases, since those will be the enemy spawn points towards the end.
- The Hyperion can solo first Shuttle wave and the attack that follows shortly after.
- Vultures can be out by the time you need to defend the first bonus and 2nd shuttle wave, even with 5-6CC opening.
- Try to clear out the enemy bases as quickly as you can and build Turrets around the spawn points.
- The Hyperion summoned at the right edge of the third Thrasher area can take out most of the anti-air for Dusk Wings to safely take out two of the three Thrashers. A second round of Dusk Wings will handle the third Thrasher and some of the ground forces. Try to leave the Hyperion’s final PDD in a safe area so you have vision for the second round of Dusk Wings.
- Try to skirt around the edges of the final area to avoid aggroing all the dangerous units at once.
Replay PackAttached is a replay pack of the record speed runs for Raynor on each map. These replays provide a demonstration on how to play Raynor.
Writer: LilArrin, monk
Editors: Aron, LilArrin, Maguro, monk, Raincamp, T.Chosen, Yuriprime
Editors: Aron, LilArrin, Maguro, monk, Raincamp, T.Chosen, Yuriprime