Zagara – Co-op Commander Lore

starcraft 6 - Zagara - Co-op Commander Lore

Hey folks,

I know I said I do these ever Monday but I forgot yesterday I got busy, so this one is one day late. Probably will be a bit of a shorter one since Zagara doesn’t have too awful much to her. But there is some cool stuff either way, so let’s get into Zagara, the First of the Broodmothers.

I’ve made an archive for all prior episodes! Check them out, especially since I did Tychus/Zeratul so long ago

First Among the Broodmothers

Longform lore here

Ever since the Swarm first formed on Zerus, the Overmind had always utilized the role of “queen” in his hive clusters, creatures devoted to tending to the hatcheries to oversee drone activity. But when the Overmind left Zerus and began to assimilate various species across the stars, the role of the queen was evolved from an insectoid species named the Arachnis brood keeper, a flying, egg-laying monster.

This new species caused the role of the queen to shift to more of a battlefield support role, where it would gestate parasites to plant into enemies of the Swarm, and house the hyperevolutionary virus the zerg used for infestation. It is this queen we see during the Great War and Brood War.

However, after the Brood War, Sarah Kerrigan stood alone as ruler of the Swarm, and the former sentient lieutenants of the zerg, the cerebrates, all died off. In order to maintain control of the zerg, Kerrigan and her evolution master Abathur sought to create a replacement for the cerebrates. They turned back to the queen template, and began extensively modifying their genome. Kerrigan introduced terran DNA, as well as that of her own, and something approaching protoss genetics (likely something similar as protoss genetics cannot be assimilated directly into zerg) in order to expand their mental functions, reshaping them more in her image. These new queens looked almost humanoid in appearance as a result, with tendrils and a female form mimicking Kerrigan’s own. These new queens took on their classic role of tending the hives, defending drones, and gestating the larva and eggs of the core hive cluster, as well as the new roles of spreading creep and healing allies, though it lost the ability to fly.

However, these creatures were still very basic in terms of mental faculties. Kerrigan and Abathur modified a few select queens to have the ability to control swaths of the Swarm same as the cerebrates before them. They were given the capacity to think laterally and tactically, as well as given independent personalities. This was to ensure that if Kerrigan died, the Swarm would not be shattered the same way as when the Overmind died.

First among these was Zagara. She commanded a vast brood that stayed on Char. Kerrigan would launch an invasion of Dominion space in search of a relic named the Keystone, but that relic would be used against her by the terrans, shattering the Swarm on Char, devastating it and deinfesting Kerrigan. With the core of the Swarm gone, Zagara took command of the remaining Swarm on the planet. She faced down General Horace Warfield of the Terran Dominion, who had begun purging Char of the remaining zerg. Zagara ran her brood through the Bone Trench leading to his fortress, but Warfield used his Gorgon-class battlecruisers to strafe the oncoming Swarms. Zagara’s brood was devastated, and she was forced to flee to the Acid Marshes of Char.

Not long after, Kerrigan, deinfested (canonically, according to Shadow Wars, she goes to Char first), returned to Char to claim the planet. Zagara refused to accept that a human was the Queen of Blades who created her, and attacked Kerrigan’s broods. Kerrigan overwhelmed her, and subjugated the broodmother under her command. In order combat the Dominion, Kerrigan had Zagara modified by Abathur to increase her mental faculties, giving her more abilities to hypothesize scenarios. This was to give her knowledge of one concept: vision, the ability to see beyond the current fight to the future of the zerg.

Kerrigan killed Warfield and reclaimed Char. When she went to Zerus to reinfest herself as a new Primal Queen of Blades, Zagara oversaw her defense against the primal zerg. Zagara served loyally, even when Kerrigan was weakened and defeated, and soon the Swarm was united under their banner, and they assaulted the Dominion capital of Korhal, overrunning its defenses and killing its emperor, Arcturus Mengsk.

Now, Amon, the one who first created the Overmind, has returned to wipe them from the universe. Zagara sends her unending tide of flesh and claw to combat the end, and to overwhelm his hybrid armies.

The Leviathan Brood

This one’s a bit weird, since it’s the skinset Zagara uses, but the brood does not seem to have anything to do with Zagara, predating her by hundreds of years. For the sake of clarity, we'll go into what little we do know about them:

The Leviathan Brood was one of the original zerg broods, known for stealth and subtlety, striking from where the enemy least expects it. They are a largely aquatic brood, and contain many adaptations from oceanic creatures, giving them more webbed fins and spikes. The brood has a vast number of mutalisks, but also is notable for being one of the few broods to have never lost the ability to evolve lurkers after their were discarded by Kerrigan after the Brood War.

While we never directly see them during the Great War, out of universe, the Leviathan Brood dates back to StarCraft 1 as default name for the 8th zerg faction in the post-game screen of multiplayer matches.

  • Zergling: Evolved from the Zz’gash dune runner, the zergling are the Swarm’s hounds of war, overwhelming enemies with mass numbers. Their genetics are simple enough to where they are spawned two at a time from a single larva. The zerglings of the Leviathan Brood’s simplified DNA has caused their body to obtain unintentionally evolved growths and spikes. All of Zagara’s zergling upgrades are the same as Kerrigan’s, but for those who missed that thread:

    • Metabolic Boost: A common evolutionary tactic is bolster their metabolic system with augmented enzymes, allowing them to close distances quicker and outrun pursuers. During the Second Great War, improvements to this process even gave zerglings small wings as part of the augmentation process.
    • Hardened Carapace: During the Second Great War, Abathur experimented with hardening key locations across the zergling's thorax, which would hamper access to the zergling's vital organs.
    • Adrenal Glands: A rebalancing of the zergling's brain chemistry that dates back to the Great War. This puts the zergling in a battle frenzy that increases their rate of attack.
    • Shredding Claws: While there isn't much lore for this upgrade, zergling talons are notoriously sharp, being able to tear through neosteel. Even separated from the creature and after years of wear they can shred terran flesh without them noticing.
  • Baneling: An evolution of the zergling, which turns the creature into a ball of fleshy, acidic sacs that explode on contact. The baneling was unintentionally created by the Terran Dominion, when they held off supporting the city of Cask in order to see how groups of zerglings adapted to siege situations. These zerglings evolved by consuming the local Soronan mold to turn into bloated suicide bombers, and busted through the city’s defenses in a tide of acid. The genetic information was then sent back to Char where I was adapted into the greater Swarm, with suicidal triggering mechanisms taken from the old breed of infested terrans evolved into it.

    • Centrifugal Hooks: Due to the mass of the baneling, the creatures are traditionally much slower than the zergling, and need thicker legs to compensate for their weight. However, by evolving hooks along its body, banelings can “tuck and roll” into balls, allowing them to barrel quickly at enemy positions.
    • Corrosive Acid: During the Second Great War, Abathur experimented with the composition of the baneling’s acid to increase damage at impact. By mutating the cells that produce the acid, he was able to increase its potency.
  • Rupture: Abathur struggled with a flaw in the baneling genome regarding the thickness of their acid sacks. In order to compensate, he restructured the creature’s membranes to be thicker, allowing it to hold more acid. This allowed banelings to explode with a greater amount of acid.

  • Queen: I mentioned the main story of the queen earlier, but these queens are much less intelligent than Broodmothers like Zagara, and are relegated to managing the hive clusters themselves, spreading creep, tending larva, and healing allies with regenerative acids. The Leviathan Brood queens are known for being particularly vicious and hostile.

  • Aberration: Aberrations are heavily mutated infested terrans, given a thick hard carapace and a centaur-like body. These creatures are designed to take damage for the infested terran swarms and break through heavy defenses. While these creatures were common among heavy infestation sites, Zagara was able to create her own during her fight to reclaim Char from General Warfield.

    • Protective Cover: The Aberrations, though able to rip apart defenses with their claws, largely function to take the brunt of fire from enemies while greater masses, be they zerglings or infested terrans, overwhelm defenses.
  • Scourge: The scourge is the suicide flier of the Swarm of unknown genetic origin, dating back to the Great War where it was used to great effect against protoss and terran capital ships. They are able to generate a plasma reaction that rips through armor. After the Brood War, scourge still remained among the Swarm, but many were relegated to being living ammunition for leviathans, or being housed within scourge nests as static defense. When fighting General Warfield, Kerrigan taught Zagara a lesson in tactics by using the scourge nests to take out Warfield’s Gorgons.

    • Simplified Genome: Like the zergling, the scourge is known for having very simple genetics, which allows two scourge to spawn from one larva.
    • Virulent Spores: While the lore of this ability is unknown, acidic spores were used by the devourer strains in order to combat capital ships, in a similar role to the scourge,
  • Corruptor: The corruptor is another anti-capital ship strain with an unknown origin, known as “flying squids.” They produce pockets of antigravity to fly in most environments. Its tentacles are filled with cancerous growths that it consumes to adjust its flight capabilities, as well as prevent the cancer from killing itself. It fires massive parasitic spores at enemy air targets. Kerrigan lost the genetics for the corruptor in the second half of the Second Great War, but they were recovered during her assault on Moebius Corps at the dawn of the End War. Leviathan Brood corruptors were adapted to survive in high gravity environments and have webbed features that imply they were bred for aquatic warfare.

  • Bile Launcher: These massive living cannons were adapted from the virophage sequences by Abathur during the Swarm’s final assault on Korhal, creating a long range artillery piece. These were used to take down Korhal’s Drakken Defense Network. This is not the first time such defenses were used, as Char was defended by a similar orbital defense breed named the spore cannon that could take down orbiting battlecruisers.


Many of her abilities take from her Heroes of the Storm abilities, modified to better fit into Co-op.

  • Baneling Barrage: Using the frontal mouth on her torso, traditionally used to inject quickening fluid into hive clusters to speed up larva production, Zagara can send a stream of banelings at enemy targets.

  • Hunter Killer: The Hunter Killer is a powerful strain of hydralisk that was utilized by the cerebrate Daggoth and his Tiamat Brood for special operations. They aided in Kerrigan’s protection while she was infested and helped her raid a terran science vessel to undo the restrictions placed on her brain during her ghost indoctrination. During the Brood War between Daggoth and Kerrigan, Hunter Killers fell among the many different zerg factions. When the Second Great War broke out, Kerrigan utilized these ultra-powerful hydralisks as her elite personal guard.

  • Frenzy: Many zerg breeds have strictly regulated amounts of adrenalin, in order to keep them hyper aggressive but prevent that aggression from harming the host organism. Sometimes however this need for survival can be overwritten in order to ensure that the zerg overwhelms an enemy.

  • Infested Drop: Using a zerg drop pod known as a sac, Zagara can call down a number of roaches, armored zerg breeds that spit acid, evolved from the zantar slug of the planet Garrxax. This breed can heal quickly while burrowed, and take heavy damage before finally falling to enemy fire.

  • Medusa Blades: While there isn’t much lore for it, this is one of Zagara’s talent choices in Heroes of the Storm. The development name for StarCraft II was “Medusa,” named for Kerrigan’s hair.

  • Level 3: Inject Larva: The queen can utilize a protein-based substance that can stimulate cellular growth, normally used to heal wounds in other zerg bioforms. However, if this fluid is combined with a catalyst secreted by the queen, it can be injected into hatcheries to cause the organic structure to incubate larva rapidly.

  • Level 12: Zergling Evolution: Swarmling: During the Second Great War, Abathur discovered a feral hive cut off from Kerrigan on the planet Astrid III that had evolved a mutation to incubate zerglings almost instantly, and could create three from larva. He introduced it as a potential mutation for the Swarm. These swarmlings have an even more simplified genome than the regular zerglings, which has caused the dorsal fin of the zergling’s base creature, the Zz’gash dune runner, to reappear on their body

  • Level 14: Baneling Evolution: Splitter: Evolved from essence of the mitoscarab of the planet Nelyeth, the creature’s decentralized nervous system was used to allow the baneling to split into several “baneling spawn” after detonation, allowing for further assaults on enemy forces. However, such a split could only occur once, as the baneling spawn only left behind acidic fluid.

  • Level 15: Broodmother: Broodmothers, as mentioned, as advanced queens given command over the Swarms as subordinates to Kerrigan. After Kerrigan left the Swarm, Zagara took over as the primary broodmother, taking the title of Overqueen.

That’s all for this week, an interesting but concise episode. Next week we’ll get a fun one with Vorazun, so feel free to comment and let me know what you think of these. See you all next week!

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