So a bit of a different lore episode this week, but I've been helping out a big Arcade project named Keystone, a StarCraft digital card game on the arcade, who brought me on to consult for lore in their newest expansion Desperate Alliances, an expansion themed around the Brood War. Given I’ve obsessively memorized every line of Brood War and now have to explain a UED tattoo to my future children, needless to say I don't need much provocation to talk about it.
So yeah this is a bit of a thing to spotlight the game, and I was paid to help (paid lore consultant, who would have thought that'd be a thing), but the new expansion drops tomorrow on June 11th, go check it out, I worked a lot with coming up with the themed card ideas and stuff like the card play sounds and images. But for this I'll go a bit into the era's history, as well as the “alliances” that this expansion has, as well as show off some new cards and talk about the lore behind them.
The Ashes of the Great War
In 2500, the Great War ended. Tassadar, channeling the energies of the Void and Khala, destroyed both himself and the zerg Overmind, shattering the Swarm, but leaving Aiur ruin, overrun by the zerg under the control of the Overmind's subordinate cerebrates. In terran space, Arcturus Mengsk solidified his new empire, the Terran Dominion, as he reforms from the ashes of the Terran Confederacy he engineered the downfall of.
The infested terran Sarah Kerrigan meanwhile, now free of the Overmind's control, was caught in a battle with the Overmind's former second-in-command cerebrate Daggoth and his followers. Daggoth sought to create a new Overmind as the cerebrates could not live without them, while Kerrigan aimed to claim the Swarm for herself. But without her broods, Kerrigan would need to seek out former allies and enemies in order to overcome Daggoth's sheer strength. Exiled from Char, Kerrigan began her schemes…
However, the greatest threat was far beyond the sector. On the terran homeworld of Earth, the United Powers League watched the advancement of the alien powers. The discovery of the first alien civilizations united the UPL in a way it never had before, and it re branded itself new government, the United Earth Directorate, or UED. The government's first act was to send its greatest officers, Admiral Gerard DuGalle and Vice-Admiral Alexei Stukov, to secure the sector and pacify the alien powers.
Meanwhile, as another war erupts in the Koprulu Sector, an ancient force watched from the shadows, an evil in service of the dead xel'naga Amon. Seeking to prevent this conflict from ending his schemes, this force intervenes, pulling the strings to ensure his schemes are brought to completion…
One of the main mechanics of this expansion are alliances, so cross-faction cards that can be used by terran and protoss, terran and zerg, and zerg and protoss. A good way to go through the Brood War (and some of the Great War) I think would be to look at each alliance and the history of how these two different characters worked alongside one another.
Protoss/Terran – Raynor and Fenix: Brothers in Arms
During the Great War, the terran rebel Jim Raynor and his revolutionary group Raynor's Raiders, followed the psionic cries of the psionic terran Sarah Kerrigan to the remote planet of Char. There they found the Swarm occupied the world, and had infested her into the Queen of Blades. The zerg ambushed Raynor's fleet, stranding them on Char. With nowhere to turn, Raynor found an unlikely ally in the protoss sent to the planet under Executor Tassadar, who were also seeking the source of Kerrigan's psionic cry. The two fought against Kerrigan, only to be aided by a third faction, the Dark Templar of Dark Prelate Zeratul. Though Tassadar's people and his had a deep racial hatred, the two overcame it to band together, and Zeratul slew one of the Overmind's cerebrates, Zasz.
This had an unintended side effect however, and Zeratul and the Overmind touched minds, showing the Overmind the location of the protoss homeworld of Aiur. The Overmind launched his assault on the world with overwhelming forces, overcoming the defenses of the planet.
In the province of Antioch, stood the venerated protoss hero Fenix. He served under the Conclave, the ruling body of the protoss, and was charged with defending the province of Antioch. However, cut off from support, Antioch was assaulted by the zerg. Fenix was overwhelmed and mortally wounded. He was presumed dead, but in actuality his ruined body was carried out by his allies.
Meanwhile, the Conclave, assured of their victory, sent Tassadar's student, Artanis, to arrest Tassadar on Char. However, Artanis, having seen Fenix fall and doubting the Conclave, instead allied with his old master and Raynor. The team rescued Zeratul and took him back to Aiur, knowing they were the only hope of stopping the Overmind and his zerg. Though Raynor was not a protoss, he promised to help them finish the fight against the Swarm. They were not welcome back on Aiur however: Tassadar was declared a heretic by the Conclave. Fenix, placed within a life support combat walker named a dragoon, came to warn Tassadar of the Conclave's actions:
”They hunt you even now, Tassadar. And though I damn myself by doing so, I shall stand by you till the end.”
It was the first time Fenix and Raynor allied (though Raynor himself isn't present until later). The two stood against the Conclave and burned their citadel of Khor-shakal. But Tassadar could not bear to see his people slaughter one another, and surrendered, telling his followers to not give up the fight in his absence. Zeratul vanished in the fighting.
But Fenix and Raynor refused to give up. They fell back and regrouped with Artanis, and rallied their forces to launch a final assault on Tassadar's prison. Though they breached their defenses, it was a trap, and the Conclave ambushed their forces. Only the intervention of Zeratul at the last moment saved Raynor and Fenix, and freed Tassadar.
The Conclave gave the alliance one chance to defeat the Overmind. Fenix led an assault on the cerebrates guarding the Overmind, allowing Zeratul to slay them, while Raynor mustered his forces for the final assault alongside Tassadar. However, the zerg defenders proved too mighty, and Tassadar was forced to channel Void and Khala energies and ram his carrier into the body of the beast. The Overmind was destroyed, but Tassadar died in the conflict.
Yet, the battle was far from over.
The cerebrates, who served under the Overmind, took control of the rampaging broods and let into the weakened protoss defenses. Their fleets were destroyed, the remaining Conclave was shattered, and the once mighty Protoss Empire fell. Aiur was lost. Zeratul and Artanis rallied forces to evacuate the population of the planet to Zeratul's world of Shakuras, but the zerg dogged them. Raynor and Fenix stayed behind to defend the warp gate they were using to evacuate, but the zerg pushed them back and got through the gate. In order to stem the tide of zerg, Raynor and Fenix shut the gate down. The act cut off the flow of zerg, but now Raynor and Fenix were stranded on Aiur, surrounded by hostile zerg.
Salvation came from a strange place. Sarah Kerrigan, once Jim Raynor's lover, came to them and warned them that the zerg were creating a new Overmind, and that a terran faction from their homeworld of Earth, the United Earth Directorate, had moved in to control it. To fight their overwhelming forces, Raynor and Kerrigan needed to rescue their old, hated enemy, Arcturus Mengsk, Emperor of the Terran Dominion.
The UED smashed into the Terran Dominion and took their capital of Korhal, surrounding Mengsk and almost capturing him. But Raynor and Fenix's fleets broke through the UED blockade, stole Mengsk, and took him back to Aiur, putting him in cryostasis. However, the UED followed them, breaking through Fenix's ranks and destroying Raynor's command center. Yet Kerrigan had planted an agent among the UED's ranks, an infested terran named Samir Duran, who allowed her zerg to distract the UED long enough for Raynor, Fenix and Mengsk to escape the battle.
Raynor, Fenix, and Mengsk met with Kerrigan, who was losing control of the zerg to the UED. The broods under Daggoth had capitulated, and the UED claimed the new Overmind. Not willing to see their sector conquered, Raynor helped attack their anti-zerg superweapon, the psi disrupter, allowing Kerrigan to retain control of her broods. To help support the effort, Fenix and Raynor led an assault on resource-rich world of Moria, and overcame the defenders to steal resources.
Finally, Raynor and Fenix took the fight to one of the primary UED strongholds, the former Dominion capital of Korhal. While Kerrigan led the brunt of the assault with her zerg, Raynor and Fenix assaulted the outlying fortifications. The result was a route, even with the UED's controlled zerg they were pushed off world. Raynor and Fenix were victorious.
That's when Kerrigan turned on them.
Kerrigan released her broods on Fenix's forces, overwhelming the protoss warriors. Fenix fought valiantly, but was killed in the attack. Shocked, Raynor swore he would see Kerrigan dead for her betrayal, with or without an army at his back, and retreated.
Though Raynor would take a very different course in his later conflicts, the death of Fenix still haunted him, and remained a scar bore by both the terrans and the protoss when it later came time to trust Kerrigan. Yet their alliance through the Brood War laid the groundwork for better relations between the two different races, and proved their nobility in the eyes of one another.
Terran/Zerg – The UED and the Slave Broods: The Iron Fist
At the turn of the 22nd century, Earth was united under a one-world United Powers League, who cracked down on the chaos of the 21st century. They attempted to lock up all genetic deviants, pirates, and dissents into camps, millions of people dying in their purges. From these camps, a scientist named Dorian Routhe sent 40,000 of these prisoners in a spacefaring experiment to colonize new worlds. Though the experiment vastly overshot its mark, the stock of prisoners led to the terrans of the Koprulu Sector.
For hundreds of years, the UPL watched uncaring as the colonies 60,000 light years away developed. But in 2499 these terrans were suddenly caught in a flash war with two alien civilizations, the Protoss Empire and the Zerg Swarm. Having never encountered alien civilizations before, the UPL used this to rally the support of the people, reforming into the United Earth Directorate. They then vowed to end the conflict in the Koprulu Sector. The UED sent a fleet under Admiral Gerard DuGalle and Vice-Admiral Stukov with three goals:
- Conquer the terran colonies and depose of Emperor Arcturus Mengsk of the Terran Dominion.
- Enslave the new zerg Overmind and its broods
- Use these zerg to pacify the protoss
While Stukov was supportive on this mission, DuGalle considered the zerg too risky of an element. He set a demonstration of zerg on a Koprulu colony to show his old friend exactly what they would be unleashing, before abandoning its defenders to the zerg. There could be no mistakes, or doubts as to what their mission was, horrible though it may be.
The UED smashed into the Dominion border world of Braxis, at first trying to blockade a protoss fleet they encountered on the planet, but the protoss were able to break through. Undeterred, the UED invaded the planet, gaining help from a mysterious rebel holdout named the Confederate Resistance Forces under Samir Duran. With his help, the UED decrypted the Dominion's security datalink, and raided their shipyards for battlecruisers. In their search around the sector they found an old Confederate superweapon named the psi disrupter that could disrupt zerg's communications to one another. Stukov wanted to use it, but Duran convinced DuGalle it was too much of a risk to their ability to control the Overmind, and DuGale ordered it destroyed. Yet, Stukov violated his old friend's orders, and disassembled the disrupter instead of destroying it, preparing to rebuild it.
The UED then assaulted the Terran Dominion capital of Korhal, overwhelming its defenses and cornering Emperor Mengsk. Yet as they prepared to take him into custody, a fleet under rebel Jim Raynor and protoss Praetor Fenix broke through and warped Mengsk away. The UED tracked them to Aiur, and broke through the protoss lines, but Duran allowed the zerg to slip through and distract the UED long enough to escape. Convinced Duran was a traitor, Stukov went to activate his disrupter.
DuGalle, unaware, followed his old friend to Braxis, discovering the disrupter there. Duran convinced him Stukov had betrayed him, and that he needed to be killed. DuGalle reluctantly agreed to the assassination, and Duran infiltrated the disrupter and shot the vice-admiral. In his dying breath, Stukov explained Duran was a traitor working for the zerg, and they needed the disrupter to accomplish the mission in the sector. Having a too-late change of heart, DuGalle prevented Duran and his zerg from destroying the disrupter, and set course for the planet Char.
On Char, the UED used the disrupter to disable the new Overmind's defenses, and overcame them. Medics with neurostim drugs pacified the Overmind, allowing the UED to control it. While the zerg were overrun, Kerrigan revealed herself to DuGalle, stating she controlled Duran, and would remove them from power soon enough.
And soon, she made good on that. Allying with Raynor, Fenix and Mengsk, Kerrigan had the psi disrupter destroyed. She then rallied a new Swarm, and unleashed them on the UED's secondary stronghold of Korhal. The UED were pushed back, but prepared for their counterattack, releasing the zerg on Kerrigan's stronghold of Tarsonis. However, the Overmind proved unwieldy to control, and the UED had to send a terran force to coordinate the zerg. This proved to be their undoing as Kerrigan destroyed their terran science base, disrupting their control of the zerg.
Then came the final assault on Char. With the aid of the dark templar, Kerrigan smashed into the UED and its slave broods in a cataclysmic battle. The UED defenders put up their best fight, but soon were overrun. The Overmind was killed by Zeratul, and UED forces were scattered, fleeing the planet and stranding many on the surface. DuGalle mounted a counterattack alongside the protoss and Dominion to finish Kerrigan, but Kerrigan destroyed them.
Kerrigan allowed them to turn tail and flee, before sending the Swarms after the survivors. DuGalle, defeated, wrote a letter that he hoped would reach his wife:
”Dearest Helena, by now, the news of our defeat has reached the Earth. The creatures we were sent here to tame are untamable, and the colonies we were sent to reclaim have proven to be stronger than we anticipated. Whatever you may hear about what has happened out here, know this: Alexei did not die gloriously in battle. I killed him ― My pride killed him. And now my pride has consumed me as well. You will never see me again, Helena. Tell our children that I love them, and that their father died in defense of their future. Au Revoir. “
With that, DuGalle committed sucide. The fleet was overrun, not a single ship made it back to Earth, though remnants remained in the sector. The UED spy network only returned incomplete information on their fleet's fate.
Zerg/Protoss – Kerrigan and Zeratul: The Desperate Alliance
As the Aiur protoss evacuated to the dark templar world of Shakuras, Kerrigan saw her chance to lay a trap. The zerg the protoss were fighting were her enemies, but she had to assure their cooperation in order to defeat Daggoth. She intercepted the dark templar's leader, an ancient wizened protoss named Raszagal, and dominated her psionically. She then waited back as the Aiur protoss, under Artanis and Zeratul, slowly moved to seek her shelter.
Daggoth's zerg had followed Artanis, Zeratul, and Judicator Aldaris from Aiur, and were on the verge of finally destroying their hated enemy. They fled to Raszagal, who welcomed the Aiur protoss with open arms in spite of the centuries of persecution. Though the zerg dogged them, she told them that an ancient xel'naga temple could channel energies to purge the zerg from Shakuras, but that it needed two crytals, the Uraj and Khalis crystals, lost during the divide between the protoss tribes.
As the protoss secured the temple, Kerrigan revealed herself, offering her aid in securing the crystals, the protoss were skeptical, but Raszagal, her pawn, convinced the others that they needed to work with her, and that Kerrigan was indeed her own person now. They overcame the Dominion garrison there to get the first crystal, but were blockaded by the invading United Earth Directorate forces which came to besiege the planet. Artanis refused to back down, and punched a hole in their blockade large enough for the protoss to escape through. The protoss then went to the planet Char, where the new Overmind lay, and overcame its forces to take the Khalis.
When they returned to Shakuras however, they found Judicator Aldaris had raised an army against Raszagal, refusing to give into her. Zeratul and Artanis were forced to fight their old friend to stop his uprising. But before he could reveal his true reasons for rebellion, Kerrigan appeared and killed him. Distraught, Zeratul banished Kerrigan from Shakuras, and she willingly left.
Even in spite of Kerrigan's betrayal, the protoss activated the xel'naga temple of Shakuras. The renegade swarms threw everything they had at the protoss defenders, but it was not enough. The detonation eradicated the Swarm from Shakuras. Finally, the protoss would have a chance to rebuild.
They would not get long however. Weeks later Kerrigan struck Shakuras, needing a weapon to kill the new Overmind. She raided their capital of Talematros, and overloaded the Nerazim pylon clusters. In the confusion, Kerrigan stole away Matriarch Raszagal. Zeratul gave chase, and Kerrigan said she would allow Raszagal to return to them if he helped her kill the Overmind. Zeratul at first refused, but Razsagal convinced him that the Overmind was a mutual enemy that needed to die. Reluctantly Zeratul agreed.
The united Nerazim and zerg force clashed with the UED and its slave broods on Char, blood and ash mixing in the conflict. Yet in the end, the UED were overcome, and Zeratul slew the new Overmind. But in the aftermath, Kerrigan revealed that Raszagal had become her puppet, and that she belonged to her. Shocked, Zeratul stole away Raszagal and attempted to leave the planet. But Kerrigan gave chase, and cornered him. Unwilling to have her live as Kerrigan's slave, Zeratul did the unthinkable, and killed his ancient leader. In her last moments, Raszagal thanked him, and gave him the future of their people.
Kerrigan, shocked, said that she had given Zeratul the worst punishment she could ever dream of, and allowed him to live to wallow in his misery. Zeratul said she would regret the day, and left the battlefield.
Kerrigan's manipulations of the protoss shattered them. Artanis attempted a counterattack with the remainder of the Fleet of the Matriarch, but were soundly defeated by Kerrigan. Yet, in the ashes, all the protoss could do was rebuild on Shakuras, hoping to strike vengeance against Kerrigan for the devastation she had wrought on them, and the way she had manipulated them to put her in power.
So I've blabbered enough on the setting, let's get into the cards themselves and the lore behind them:
Protoss – 6 Minerals – 3 Gas – Aggressive
Send 1 Zealot, 2 Dragoons, and 1 Archon. They start in the enemy spawn area. Heroic.
Aldaris was a protoss of the Judicator Caste, the leadership caste of the Protoss Empire. He was a firm believer in the old ways of their rulers, the Conclave, and their traditions. As one of their honored members, he was assigned to advise the young Executor Tassadar, a warrior protoss who was gaining immense acclaim among the empire. The disgruntled Aldaris was less than impressed and quick to chastise Tassadar for his mistakes.
When the war with the zerg broke out, it was Aldaris who made sure Tassadar carried out the Conclave's orders: burn the human worlds to stop the spread of the zerg. But Tassadar violated these orders, at first in small ways by letting the terrans escape purification, then by directly intervening to help the humans. Aldaris was an outspoken critic but was sent back to Aiur after Tassadar's defeat at Tarsonis. Tassadar was declared a traitor, and his student, a young praetor named Artanis, was appointed executor in his place.
Aldaris and Artanis stood in defense of Aiur when the zerg attacked their homeworld directly, but as Aiur fell, Aldaris took in the Conclave's propaganda that they were winning the war. Instead Aldaris and Artanis were sent to track down and arrest Tassadar. But Artanis, now doubting the Conclave, instead allied with Tassadar and the dark templar, who were hated heretics in the eyes of the Conclave, to defeat the zerg. Aldaris, enraged at this consorting with the fallen ones, reported their betrayal to the Conclave, and a civil war broke out between Tassadar's forces and the Conclave. Tassadar raised the main Conclave citadel, but refused to see his kin fight one another, and surrendered to Aldaris. Tassadar's forces attempted to retaliate, and broke him free, but Aldaris ambushed them. Yet Zeratul and his allied them ambushed Aldaris's forces, and Aldaris gave them one chance to kill the Overmind. When he saw that Zeratul was able to kill the Overmind's cerebrates, he conceded that Tassadar was correct all along.
Yet after Tassadar's sacrifice to destroy the Overmind, Aiur was lost to the rampaging zerg. The Conclave and their fleets were destroyed, leaving Aldaris without his leadership. He worked to help Zeratul and Artanis evacuate the population to Zeratul's world of Shakuras, but the zerg followed them there. They were greeted by Zeratul's Matriarch, Raszagal, who welcomed them, and gave them a plan to defeat the zerg by using the xel'naga temple. Zeratul and Artanis allied alongside a freed Kerrigan to regain the crystals needed to activate the temple.
But as he waited on Shakuras, Aldaris discovered a dark secret: Raszagal was working for Kerrigan. Unaware of how deep the conspiracy went, Aldaris rallied his Khalai warriors and rebelled against Raszagal, trying to remove Kerrigan's influence from the protoss. When Zeratul and Artanis returned, Raszagal convinced them that Aldaris was attempting to persecute the Nerazim once again, and the protoss suppressed his uprising. Aldaris tried to reveal what he knew about Raszagal's alliances, but before he could tell them, the blades of Kerrigan whirled at him, killing the Judicator.
While remembered for his dogma and stubbornness, Aldaris in the end did what he saw as best for the protoss race, and nearly adverted the cataclysm that was to come in the Brood War.
The effect of the card is made to emulate the mission Aldaris dies in, “The Insurgent.” Aldaris gets access to archons, arbiters, and high templar, which are restricted to the player. The skin his zealots use (and that are on the card) is the Judicator skin, which are made to resemble the Praetor Guard. These are zealots assigned to protect the Conclave and its Judicators.
Terran – 3 Minerals – 1 Gas – Aggressive
Send 4 Marines, 2 Firebats, and 1 Goliath. Launch: Discard 2 random non-Confederate cards. Then draw a card for each one discarded.
When Arcturus Mengsk overthrew the Terran Confederacy and established his new Dominion, many fled to his banner out of fear of the two alien powers. However, many also saw him still as a terrorist usurper. Once such unit was the elite Confederate Resistance Forces.
Formed under the mysterious Lieutenant Samir Duran of Alpha Squadron, the resistance forces attempted small strikes against Arcturus Mengsk in the early years of his regime. But they did not gain traction until their raid on the ice world of Braxis. As it would so happen, they were in the path of the invading United Earth Directorate, and Duran offered their forces and intel in exchange for working alongside the UED. Stukov was skeptical, but willing to accept the aid, and with their help the UED overcame the Dominion defenses.
With the help of the UED, the Confederate Resistance Forces then tried a daring raid: an assassination of Arcturus Mengsk while he was visiting his son in the foreign nation of the Umojan Protectorate. This attack was lead by Captain Angelina Emillian, Mengsk's commanding officer when he was in the Confederate Marine Corps. The marines ambushed Mengsk and nearly took him down, but the combat skill of Mengsk and his forces, as well as the intervention of General Edmund Duke, took out the Resistance Forces. Mengsk insisted that Umoja was complicit in the attack, straining the already tight tensions between them for the years to come.
The Confederate Resistance Forces served alongside the UED, but when the Brood War drew to its close, the UED were crushed, and their fleets shattered. Mengsk then proceeded to purge all remnants of the Confederacy from his Dominion. Half of the former Confederate ghosts were executed, senators who could not adapt vanished, those children of the leaders of the Confederacy Mengsk could not control he had killed. What few Confederate regiments and holdouts remained were either annihilated or fled to mercenary work. Mengsk would ensure that all traces of the government he fought against were ground to dust, and that nothing would rise from its ashes.
Zerg – 6 Minerals – 3 Gas – Action
Kill all of your non-Zerg units. For each unit killed, send 1 Ultralisk, 1 Guardian, 3 Hydralisks, 5 Mutalisks, or 15 Zerglings (chosen randomly).
The planet Korhal was taken from Arcturus Mengsk during the UED invasion, something neither the protoss nor zerg accomplished in the first war. They fortified it as one of their strongest staging points for operations in the sector, reinforcing it with their slave broods. If Kerrigan was to break the UED, she needed to break Korhal.
With the psi disrupter destroyed, Kerrigan and her broods allied with Fenix and Raynor to raid the Kel-Morian Combine capital of Moria for resources, and infested a number of command centers. These were sent in the assault. Kerrigan's broods smashed into the capital of Augustgrad, while Raynor and Fenix screened her flanks. The slave broods and UED put up a fight, but were overrun. As part of her “deal” with Emperor Arcturus Mengsk for helping her, she gave Mengsk his planet back.
It was all a ruse. As her allies rested, Kerrigan turned on them.
Her forces overwhelmed the bases of Fenix and his warriors and General Duke's Alpha Squadron, overrunning them. The defenders tried to rally and counterattack, but were too weakened. Fenix tried to stand against Kerrigan, fighting as a noble templar, but even in his advanced dragoon armor he fell in battle
or when you used Spawn Broodling on him. Raynor, enraged, swore he would kill Kerrigan for this betrayal, before departing with his Raiders.
Kerrigan broke through Alpha Squadron's defenses, fulfilling her long wish to have General Duke killed. Though his battlecruiser Norad III put up a might fight, Kerrigan felled it and killed the old general. Mengsk was enraged at the betrayal.
Kerrigan: “Oh come on Arcturus, did you really think I’d allow you to come into power again? You practically fed me to the zerg on Tarsonis. You’re directly responsible for the hell I’ve been through. Did you honestly think I’d let you get away with that?”
Mengsk: “But you said revenge was secondary to defeating the UED!”
Kerrigan: “I lied. I liberated this planet because it was the UED’s primary staging point, not because I was under any obligation to you. I used you to destroy the psi disrupter, and now that I’ve got my broods back you’re no longer necessary for my plans. I think I leave you here Arcturus, among the ashes of your precious Dominion. I want you to live to see me rise to power, and I want you to always remember, in your most private moments, that it was you who turned me loose in the first place.”
The betrayal at Korhal would be long remembered by all of the races of the sector, and served as a warning for the might and power of Kerrigan.
All Races – 2 Minerals – 2 Gas – Aggressive
Send 1 Ghost. Launch: If you have a Terran unit, give Duran +40 damage. If you have Zerg, give him rapid life regeneration. If you have Protoss, give him permanent cloaking. Heroic.
In the shadows of the Brood War, there lurked an ancient power, manipulating it to his own agenda.
Samir Duran was an ancient xel'naga, a being from a realm named the Void, which formed entire universes to cultivate creatures pure of form (psioniclly powerful) and pure of essence (able to adapt) to create new xel'naga. But some, under a powerful renegade xel'naga named Amon, saw this process as barbaric, and sought to simply create the ideal universe rather than ones filled with strife. So, Duran set out with Amon to create an army, pure of form and essence, that could be raised against the main body of the xel'naga.
They began with a race named the protoss to make them pure of form, but accelerated their learning too fast, leading to strife and distrust, spiraling into civil war. Duran and his allies then left to create a species pure of essence, accelerating a bug-like species named the zerg. They bound them to a hive mind named the Overmind, encoding it with the overriding directive to perfect the Swarm no matter what. This way, the Overmind may eventually assimilate a species pure of form and achieve what Amon desired.
The plan went awry however. The xel'naga loyal to their cycle discovered Amon's plan and attacked him above the zerg world of Zerus. A War Among the Gods erupted, and in the chaos, the Overmind, who had been secretly watching, attacked the warring xel'naga. Amon and many of his followers were slain, as were the loyal xel'naga, banished back to the Void. But the Overmind gained knowledge of the xel'naga's purities, as well as the existence of the protoss, a species that could make itself perfect. Though it feared Amon's return, it could not override this directive to be perfect, and departed Zerus.
Surviving the battle, though, was a single xel'naga loyal to Amon. This was Duran. He watched from the shadows, subtly manipulating events so the zerg went on their collision course with the protoss. This was done, and the two races were devastated in the Great War. But the aftermath proved to be something Duran did not expect.
It's unknown what threat to his plans spurred Duran out of hiding, whether it was the new Overmind or the invading United Earth Directorate, but to manipulate events further, Duran went undercover among multiple factions. He infiltrated himself among the Confederate Resistance Forces as a lieutenant formerly of Alpha Squadron, and among Kerrigan's broods as her infested terran second-in-command and consort.
Duran manipulated the UED, trying to steer them into destruction by preventing them from getting the psi disrupter, and allowing Mengsk, Raynor and Fenix to escape their attacks. This was discovered by a canny Vice-Admiral Stukov, who sought to activate the psi disrupter he had built against orders, but Duran had Admiral DuGalle believe Stukov was a traitor, and was sent to kill him. Duran killed Stukov, and set the disrupter to overload, but the UED were able to stop him. Though Duran failed to stop the UED from claiming the Overmind, he eliminated one of their key officers.
Duran served loyally by Kerrigan's side through her schemes, aiding her in conquering Korhal, betraying her allies, and using the Nerazim to kill the Overmind. Yet, shortly after the death of the Overmind, Duran vanished, leaving Kerrigan alone with Char surrounded by three hostile fleets.
In reality, Duran had taken a terran science group and begun to fuse protoss and zerg together into mighty hybrids. This was discovered by a retreating Zeratul, who beheld the abominations before him. Duran contacted Zeratul directly, informing him he was not with Duran, but with a far greater power:
"Your violence, young prodigal, is typical. As is your inability to comprehend the greater scheme of things. You can destroy all of the specimens here. It will do you no good. For I have seeded the Hybrid on many, many worlds. You will never find them all before they awaken… And when they do… your universe will be changed… forever."
While Kerrigan came out victorious, it was Duran who was the true winner of the Brood War, and it would not be long before his schemes would carve a swath of destruction through the Koprulu Sector.
Ow my hand.
Anyway this is the deep rundown of the Brood War, and the factions coming to Keystone. I hope you all enjoyed the lore dump, or if you just play the game itself, then at least the cards. It's 100% free in the arcade, so give it a try. Will get to the Co-op Nova episode next week, so see you then!
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