Another Sunday, another character thread. Following up from his lore thread Friday we’ll be continuing our look into Zeratul, the Dark Prelate of the Nerazim. There’s a lot to go through with him, and a ton of cool little references in his Heroes appearances.
Also the recent major reworks of Nova nd Hammer are full of little references to the SC universe, but those were threads I already did. Dunno how I want to handle those, let me know if you all have any ideas. Zeratul character lore thread All previous Lore Of episodes
Zeratul’s appearance is based off of his StarCraft II one, armed as a regular dark templar with ceremonial robes and a warp blade. Warp blades draw from the Void, channeled through the willpower of the user, so it’s a medium between the blue psi blades Artanis uses (pure psionic willpower) and the red bane blades Alarak uses (raw Void energy). Zeratul’s is a mastercraft warp blade, and while the mechanics of it are unknown it clearly uses more potent energies.
- D: Permanent Cloak – Dark templar have the ability to cloak themselves from slight and strike from the shadows. This was taught to them by the legendary Executor Adun in the early days of the discord between Nerazim and Khalai over whether all protoss should be forced into the Khala, their mind link. In game, the dark templar unit (and Zeratul) have the same passive ability, but never break stealth even when attacking, but they can be seen with a detection unit.
- Q: Cleave – The animation of this ability is similar to Zeratul's Shadow Strike ability from Legacy of the Void, which did major damage to a single target.
- E: Blink – Dark templar have the ability to “blink” through the shadows, enveloping themselves in darkness and teleporting a short distance. Zeratul uses this ability both in combat and to get around rough terrain, and most Nerazim units (dark templar and their robotic stalkers) are also able to use blink. Zeratul has this ability in all of his StarCraft II iterations.
- R1: Void Prison – In Wings of Liberty, Zeratul had this ability, which would stun an enemy and its ability to detect for 12 seconds. Unlike here, this ability was single target and affected units could be attacked while stunned.
- R2 (Old): Shadow Assault – Similar to the Shadow Fury ability that dark templar from the Legacy of the Void campaigb and Vorazun (the leader of the Nerazim) are able to use. But while Shadow Assault charges a single target, Shadow Fury causes the dark templar to blink rapidly around, striking everything in range.
- R2: Might of the Nerazim – The Nerazim are the protoss who rejected the Khala and severed their nerve cords, getting into a thousand-year civil war with the Khalai of Aiur. These are Zeratul’s people, who he has loyalty to. The ability itself doesn’t appear to be similar to anything in StarCraft, but Valeera the Hollow (death knight Valeera) in Hearthstone has a similar mimic ability as her hero power.
- Shadow Hunter (Level 1) – The second book of the Dark Templar Saga, a trilogy of StarCraft books, is named “Shadow Hunters,” which is a term used to describe dark templar. This book's cover is also a portrait in Heroes of the Storm. Shadow Hunters is also the name of the ninth protoss mission in SC1 where Zeratul kills two cerebrates.
- Move Unseen (Level 1, New) – One of the move quotes for the stalker, the dark templar assault strider, is “we move unseen.” Which is funny because in game they don’t have any cloaking abilities.
- Grim Task (Level 4, Old) – Zeratul’s journey to uncover the will of the xel’naga and how to defeat the fallen xel’naga Amon was described as a “grim task,” as it alienated him from his people and the powers of the sector. It’s also Zeratul’s outlook on killing (since this is a quest that rewards kills), which he regrets doing but sees as a necessity.
- Darkness Descends (Level 4, New) – “Darkness descends” is one of the attack quotes for StarCraft II dark templar. Zeratul in StarCraft II has a similar attack quote “Oblivion descends.”
- Wormhole (Level 7) – Stable wormholes are a rare natural phenomena in the StarCraft universe, and ships can traverse through them to reach new locations. Zeratul used one shown to him by a xel’naga energy creature to aid in his search for the truth about the xel'naga's return.
- Shroud of Adun (Level 13) – Shroud of Adun is another name for the dark templar’s cloaking ability, taught by the ancient executor Adun. I went over its history in the permanent cloaking section.
- Master Warp-Blade (Level 16) – Zeratul’s warp blade is a mastercraft warp blade, and it’s a good bit more powerful than the blade of an average dark templar.
- From the Shadows (Level 16, Old) – When dark templar are built in StarCraft II, their quote is “from the shadows I come.”
- Void Slash (Level 16) – The dark templar call on the energies of the Void, an alternate dimension outside of time, to empower their abilities. Their blades are Void energy focused through their willpower.
- Twilight Falls (Level 20) – “Twilight” is used to describe the fusion of the Khalai and Nerazim societies, the “light” and “dark.” Tassadar is described as the Twilight Messiah for using both energies to kill the Overmind, and the government of the two cultures coming together was named the Twilight Council.
- Gift of the Xel'Naga (Level 20) – Zeratul spent much of his time searching for answers on the xel'naga's return, and the Nerazim venerate the xel'naga as gods. Much of Nerazim technology, including the warp blade Zeratul uses, is reverse engineered from the xel'naga worldship they fled from Aiur on.
Poke Zeratul’s StarCraft 1 quotes Zeratul’s StarCraft II quotes ”You address me?”
– One of Zeratul’s select quotes from StarCraft 1 and StarCraft II. ”I will erase the demons of the past.”
– One of Zeratul’s StarCraft II select quotes. Zeratul seeks to undo a lot of the damage he inadvertently did to his people by leading the zerg to Aiur, then leading them to Shakuras, and then by killing his leader Raszagal. ”Scythes are nice, but I prefer cloak and dagger.”
– This is a bit of a layered one. There are two models of dark templar from different clans in StarCraft II with different weapons, one is the Zer’atai, who wear zerg bones and use warp scythes (which also show up as Zeratul's Zerg Hunter skin), and the other is the Lenassa who use warp blades and cloaks. At the launch of StarCraft II
, Blizzard held a contest to decide which model would be the model for dark templar in StarCraft, and in the ability for each different model to randomly spawn was what won, so every dark templar you build has a chance of being one or the other. Zeratul is saying that he’s more the Lenassa style of dark templar, with a single arm blade and a cloak, over the scythe. Cloak and dagger is also a way to describe more subtle attacks. ”You’d be surprised how easy it is to sneak aboard a spaceship.”
– In Wings of Liberty
, Zeratul sneaks aboard Jim Raynor’s ship the Hyperion
in order to give him a memory crystal showing him why he shouldn’t kill Kerrigan. He later snuck aboard Kerrigan's primary zerg command ship-creature named a leviathan in Heart of the Swarm
. ”Blink and you’ll miss me. You get it? Because that’s the power I have. Blink. And humans- you know what, nevermind.”
– Zeratul doing my job for me. ”(ACHOO) Wait, what just happened? How did I do that?”
– Protoss don’t have mouths, and communicate through psionically planting the idea of something in a target’s mind as well as reading the target’s intended thoughts (which is why protoss understand Murky). Sometimes protoss will send ideas usually reserved for breathing, like sighs, but given they operate like plants and breath through their skin it’s be impossible for them to sneeze. ”Speak slowly, and carry a large warp blade.”
– A joke on “walk softly and carry a big stick,” popularized as the foreign policy slogan of American president Theodore Roosevelt. It’s similar to Zeratul’s philosophy of only using power when necessary. Zeratul in SCII also speaks rather slow and drawn out. ”I should use my abilities to attack enemy heroes. Also, I should investigate why I talk to myself so much.”
– In Wings of Liberty
, Zeratul has an arc of missions where the player controls him, and he speaks to himself as a tutorial to the player and to explain what they need to do (things like “I should blink to get across this chasm.”) This is often attributed to the fact the mission arc is Raynor seeing Zeratul’s memories through a memory crystal, and therefore he hears everything Zeratul was thinking at that moment. ”I bear grave tidings. Not really. I just like saying that.”
– When Zeratul gives Raynor his memory crystal in Wings of Liberty
, he greets him with “James Raynor, I bring tidings of doom.” ”The darkness is my ally. But we keep it casual. The Void is a jealous mistress.”
– “Darkness” is a running gag in poke quotes going back to Warcraft III’s generic demon hunter hero, with their quote "Darkness called... But I was on the phone, so I missed him. I tried to *69-Darkness, but his machine picked up. I yelled 'Pick up the phone darkness!' But he ignored me Darkness must be screening his calls.” It’s been a ton of poke quotes since then, even more in Heroes, and while Zeratul uses the shadows his power comes from the Void. ”The prophecy foretells of a chosen one. One who will bring balance to the For- oh ho ho! This is the wrong prophecy. Yeah. That was a close one. We almost got sued there.”
– The prophecy Zeratul mentions it “one who will bring balance to the force,” a reference to the prophecy of Anakin Skywalker from the Star Wars prequels. Zeratul hunts a similar prophecy (with about the same community reaction to it existing), and discovered that Kerrigan was chosen by the xel’naga to be one who could ascend to become one of their race. ”Human anatomy is so perplexing. I mean, with only one opposable digit, how would you even hold your, you know, philar. …I meant no offense”
– Protoss hands have four fingers, and two opposable digits. No we still don’t know what philar. Yes it’s an implied penis joke. ”The shadows writhe around me. It’s somewhat disgusting actually. Does anyone know how to get them to stop?”
– Whenever Zeratul uses his blink ability in game (though it’s most apparent in cinematics) shadows will coat his body. ”You know, sometimes I just want to step into the light. Maybe… maybe get a hug too.”
– Zeratul spends most of his time hidden in the shadows. Also may be a reference to a quote he says to Kerrigan in SC1 “though we strike at you from the shadows, do not think we lack the courage to stand in the light.” ”Long ago, an oracle of my people foresaw the arrival of a hero, one who would guide my blade to victory. Clearly, you are not that hero.”
– A reference to the player, and the fact Zeratul's usually guided around in RTS games by one. The Nerazim have oracles that see through the timestream and search for prophecies, and operate psionic ball-like ships also named oracles to manipulate the strands of fate. Anyone who’s played SC2 multiplayer knows this always translates to “destroy your worker line,” as in game they can reveal an area, set up traps to stun units and use a pulsar beam that can destroy light units quickly.
There’s a few interactions specific to the Ronin skin Zeratul. Because this is focused on the StarCraft character and I haven’t done it for previous episodes, I won’t get into those here. Artanis: ”It brings me great joy to see you, old friend.” Zeratul: ”As ever, my blade is yours, Hierarch.”
– The Zeratul side of the quote doesn’t appear to be implemented in the game as of yet. Artanis and Zeratul served together as friends in StarCraft 1, with Artanis initially distrusting the dark prelate, but the two working together to escape with the surviving Khalai protoss to Shakuras, defending it from the zerg and trying to stop Kerrigan’s plans. Artanis’s role is Hierarch of the Daelaam, leader of all unified protoss, as elected by the representatives of the protoss tribes. Zeratul: ”En Taro Tassadar, Hierarch Artanis.” Artanis: ”Anan pokahl.”
– Again the Zeratul side appears to be in the files but not in the game itself. “En Taro Tassadar” means “in honor of Tassadar,” and is a common protoss greeting after Tassadar’s death. It shares special meaning to Artanis and Zeratul, as Artanis was Tassadar’s pupil and Zeratul trained Tassadar in the ways of the Void, and all three allied to defeat the Overmind. Artanis’s quote is used in the protoss air unit the phoenix, but we don’t know what it translates to. Arthas: ”I see you wield the darkness as I do.” Zeratul: ”No, never as you do.”
– Arthas is a master of the death magic from the realm of the Shadowlands, while Zeratul wields the energies of the dimension known as the Void. Yet the Nerazim focus on controlling the Void and not delving too deep into it, while Arthas drinks deep of that power for his own gain. Funnily enough “darkness” is used in two different contexts here, Arthas uses the metaphorical darkness (death magic) while Zeratul manipulates the literal darkness (lack of light). Zeratul: ”I sense in you a darkness that would consume all worlds.” Arthas: ”How perceptive of you.”
– Arthas, the Lich King, is a master of the undead Scourge and a force of evil that wishes only to conquer. If given the opportunity, that conquest would go far beyond his world. Zeratul: ”I sense in you a darkness that would consume all worlds.” Crown Prince Arthas: ”I don't know what you're talking about”
– Crown Prince Arthas is Arthas as he first picks up Frostmourne, becoming a slave to the Lich King of the time, the spirit of the orc Ner'zhul. He is unaware of the true darkness within him nor does he personally lead the Scourge. Kerrigan: ”Ready for some fun, Zeratul?” Zeratul: ”You and I interpret this ‘fun’ very differently.”
– Kerrigan enjoys the constant conflict of the Nexus, while as mentioned Zeratul only engages in conflict when it’s necessary. Zeratul: ”Kerrigan, I hope your anger will not become a liability.” Kerrigan: ”Let your blade do the talking Zeratul.”
– Primal Kerrigan, which is her Heroes interpretation, is a creature driven by revenge and anger toward the Terran Dominion emperor, Arcturus Mengsk. Zeratul is a very controlled fighter that usually only uses violence as a necessity (choking archaeologists who call him a coward notwithstanding). Kerrigan is telling him to shut up and fight. (To Murky) Zeratul: ”Do not let vengeance consume you, small one.”
– Since protoss read the thoughts and emotions of those they communicate with rather than their literal words, they can understand Murky, and know his goals to get revenge on the Warcraft adventurers (player characters) that senselessly kill murlocs. Raynor: ”Feels like old times already.” Zeratul: ”Indeed, perhaps too much like them.”
– Zeratul and Raynor fought together as allies, and the two allied with Tassadar after Raynor and Tassadar were stranded on Char. Together they fought a gurellia war with Kerrigan and her zerg, returned to the protoss homeworld of Aiur, fought the protoss government (Conclave) and banded together to finally kill the Overmind. When Zeratul helped evacuate the surviving Aiur protoss to his world of Shakuras, Raynor defended the gate as the protoss got through, eventually destroying the gate and stranding himself on Aiur to stop the flow of zerg following the protoss. I’m not sure what “too much like them” is referring to, unless it’s a poke at the game playing at nostalgia. Zeratul: ”Friend Raynor, we have not fought together since the Great War." Raynor: ”Man, I miss that vulture.”
– The Great War is the events of the SC1 campaign (prior to the BW expansion), as mentioned Zeratul and Raynor fought alongside each other, though were separated during Aiur's evacuation. While Raynor was represented by several hero units in SC1 (a marine like in Heroes and as his Hyperion
ult), he was most commonly seen on a vulture hoverbike. Sadly this bike was absent in SC2, though he’d occasionally make references to his old favorite bike design. Tassadar: ”Once more we are called to battle, Zeratul.” Zeratul: ”And we shall rise to meet it, old friend.”
– Tassadar and Zeratul met on Char during the Great War, and both were forced to fight together to avoid the wrath of Kerrigan. Zeratul taught Tassadar how to use Void energies in tandem with his own, allowing them to strike down the Overmind’s cerebrates. Together the two avoided the persecution of the Conclave, struck at the Overmind itself, and eventually Tassadar would use what Zeratul taught him to sacrifice himself to kill the Overmind, shattering the zerg. Their friendship laid the foundation for the two cultures to begin to mend centuries of persecution. Zeratul: ”En Taro Adun, old friend.” Tassadar: ”Adun Toridas, Zeratul.”
– “En Taro Adun” is the honorary greeting of the Khalai protoss like Tassadar, meaning “In honor of Adun.” “Adun Toridas” is the Nerazim greeting, meaning “Adun hide you.” Both cultures venerated Adun, as they viewed him as a hero for their respective histories, the Khalai saying that Adun drove the Nerazim off Aiur and the Nerazim saying Adun sacrificed himself to allow them time to escape Aiur (the Nerazim interpretation being the true one). This is both of them using the greeting of the other’s culture, showing the respect they have for one another's people. Zeratul: ”En Taro Adun, old friend.” Mecha Tassadar: ”I believe you may have misidentified me. Also, what's an Adun?”
– Not much to this other than it's the best interaction in the game. Mecha Tassadar is from another world and not a protoss and therefore doesn't know about Adun.
Kill Quotes Generic: ”I deliver you unto the Void.”
/ ”The Void awaits you.”
– The Void is an alternate dimension which the xel’naga inhabit, and the Nerazim draw power from. Nerazim also associate the Void with the afterlife, and believe that as one comes closer to death, they come closer to the Void. Generic: ”You have chosen poorly.”
– Likely a reference to the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
scene where Donovan drinks from one of the fake Holy Grails and is killed. The guardian of the grail then says “he has chosen poorly.” Illidan: ”Go now into the darkness that consumes you.”
– Part of the rituals for demon hunters of the Warcraft universe is to implant a demon into your own body willingly and fight it to gain control. Illidan many times has made compromises to gain more demonic power, where Nerazim are all about control as to not be consumed by Void energies. Outside of Amon's corruption, “consumed by Void energies” is less being corrupted and more just dying. Kerrigan: ”For Raszagal!”
– During the Brood War, Kerrigan psionically dominated the ancient leader of the Nerazim, Matriarch Raszagal, and used her to manipulate the protoss, getting Zeratul to help her kill the newborn Overmind. When Kerrigan cornered Zeratul after he tried to escape with her, he killed Raszagal to free her from Kerrigan’s enslavement. Kerrigan let Zeratul go, as killing his leader would be a shame that would torture him for the rest of his life, the greatest revenge she could ask for. The death of Raszagal haunted Zeratul, and earned him the hatred of many Nerazim. Protoss: ”My burdens grow heavier.”
– Zeratul does not like taking the life of fellow protoss, and even insane fanatics like the renegade Nerazim Ulrezaj he regularly attempted to talk out of conflict. “My burdens weigh heavy” is one of Zeratul’s StarCraft II
select quotes, referencing a lot of the violence Zeratul has both seen and inadvertently caused. Raynor: ”Well fought, James Raynor.”
– Zeratul has a great respect for Raynor, considering him to be extremely resourceful. The two are close friends for surviving the wars of the sector as allies. Tassadar: ”Rest now, brother.”
– This interpretation of Zeratul comes from after StarCraft 1, when Zeratul saw Tassadar give his life to kill the Overmind. As such, he sees death as a rest for his old friend. Zerg: ”Suffer well, abomination.”
– The zerg were the great enemy of Zeratul, and Zeratul was key in helping kill the Overmind and his cerebrates. Zeratul meanwhile has lost much to the zerg, especially Kerrigan, and though he was loath to help her he was forced to help the zerg when it was the only way to help stop the coming of the xel’naga Amon.
Killing Zeratul Quotes Alarak: ”It seems I have overestimated your skill, dark prelate.”
– Alarak never met Zeratul, as Zeratul died before Alarak became relevant to the greater protoss race, but Alarak heard much of Zeratul as the one whose hunt for prophecy gave the protoss the edge they needed to defeat Amon. Dark prelate is Zeratul’s military rank, which is a battlefield commander. Artanis: ”May Adun hide you next time.”
– The Nerazim greeting “Adun Toridas” means “Adun hide you,” a reference to the fact that it was Adun who taught the Nerazim how to cloak and hide from the Conclave. Kerrigan: ”You never stood a chance, Zeratul.”
– Kerrigan and Zeratul have fought several times, and every time Kerrigan has either won or come out on top. Queen of Ghosts Kerrigan: ”Zeratul…”
– This one is open to interpretation since it’s one word, but given the inflection and since the Queen of Ghosts is supposed to be a redeemed Kerrigan, I take this as regret for what she did to Zeratul during the Brood War, forcing him to kill his own Matriarch in order to save her from Kerrigan’s influence. Samuro: ”You fought well, dark templar.”
– Dark templar a militant order of the Nerazim, elite shadow warriors that use stealth like Samuro. May also be a reference to Samuro's voice actor, Samwise Didier, doing a lot of the dark templar concept art
. Sonya: ”Only cowards skulk in the shadows.”
– Dark templar strike from the darkness, while Barbarians are all about facing foes head on with raw strength As u/Golblin
said in his thread, “There are no sneaky Barbarians.” Tassadar: ”Forgive me, old friend.”
– Tassadar and Zeratul fought and trained together, and became close friends through the Great War. Xul: ”You’re right, scythes are nice.”
– A reference to Zeratul’s poke quote above, “Scythes are nice, but I prefer cloak and dagger,” which is itself a reference to the two models of dark templar that can spawn in SCII. See the poke quotes section for more on that. Zul’jin: ”The scarf was my thing first!”
– Zul’jin and Zeratul both wear face scarves. Zul’jin was from Warcraft II, which predates StarCraft. In the first StarCraft, Zeratul’s face scarf was brown (at least in cinematics), but this was later changed to be purple in StarCraft II and StarCraft Remastered, more similar to Zul’jin’s.
Other Quotes ”I will do what must be done.”
/ ”I will not falter, I will not waver.”
/ ”Oblivion descends!”
/ ”Honor commands.”
/ "Sok'dash salahk."
/ "We must not hesitate."
/ "Aru nal'adan!"
/ "We must act!"
– Quotes from his StarCraft II unit. ”So be it.”
– A move quote from his StarCraft 1 unit. "Aiur will be restored."
– Move quote from his StarCraft II unit. Aiur is the protoss homeworld, but after the events of StarCraft 1 Aiur was lost to the zerg and overrun, forcing the protoss to abandon it. Zeratul is partially responsible for this, having unintentionally revealed the location of the planet to the zerg Overmind when it touched minds with the creature after slaying its cerebrates. "Glory to the Firstborn."
– Move quote from his StarCraft II unit. “Protoss” means “Firstborn,” as they were the first uplifted by the xel’naga (who it would turn out to be xel’naga loyal to Amon who were directly manipulating life). "En aru'din Raszagal."
– Translated from Khalani this is roughly “In memory of Raszagal.” Raszagal was the ancient and venerated leader of the Nerazim, having been one of the few alive who personally remembered Aiur and knew Adun. However, during the Brood War Kerrigan psionically dominated Raszagal and used her to manipulate the protoss into aiding her in killing the renegade zerg and their new Overmind. In order to free her from Kerrigan’s grasp, Zeratul killed Raszagal, a burden he carried up until his death. ”En Taro Adun!”
– The common greeting and battlecry of the protoss, usually the Khalai. It mean “In honor of Adun.” ”So suffer the enemies of Shakuras.”
– Shakuras was the Nerazim homeworld, while normally a nomadic people they settled around a xel’naga temple there. After Aiur fell, the Khalai protoss moved there as well, making it the center of the protoss people, but during the End War against Amon, the planet was destroyed in order to keep it from being infested with Amon’s zerg and hybrid. ”Hear me, for I bring tidings of BOOM!”
– Zeratul’s dance animation is him breakdancing to a boombox. This is a reference to his quote to Raynor during Wings of Liberty
, “I bring tidings of doom,” when he gave him the memory crystal to try to convince him not to kill Kerrigan. ”Now this is the real Shadow Walk!”
– The Shadow Walk is a ritual Nerazim go through to become dark templar. The Nerazim must walk down a valley filled with dark templar, and sneak through the shadows to get to the other side. If seen, the dark templar will strike them. If the aspirant can make it to the other side without being incapacitated, they are given the rank of dark templar. ”I am the will of the xel’naga!”
– Through StarCraft II, the xel’naga guide Zeratul to help manipulate events to perpetuate their Infinite Cycle and defeat Amon, sometimes appearing in the guise of the ghost of Tassadar, though it’s hinted Zeratul figured that out. Though he died before he could see their will to completion, what Zeratul learned was key to helping defeat Amon and having Kerrigan ascend to xel’naga. ”The secrets of the xel’naga will not uncover themselves.”
– Zeratul’s quest after discovering the hybrid threat was to uncover the secrets of the xel’naga, and their potential return. ”Do you know how old I am? And you’re making me wait?”
– Zeratul was 641 years old when he died, middle aged for a protoss who rarely live past 1000. An easy way to associate protoss age with human age is to just divide by 10. ”The dark templar are a nomadic people. We’re not fond of sitting around in one place. Doing nothing. (clears throat)”
– After their exile, the Nerazim became nomadic, traveling around on the xel’naga worldship they escaped Aiur on, before arriving on Shakuras. While they do have a central capital, a lot of the Nerazim are nomadic wanderers, only setting up shrines and memory libraries as permanent settlements.
And that’s all for our dark prelate! Next week we’ll be doing our last legendary skin (well, legendary skin with lore relevance anyway) Queen of Ghosts Kerrigan. There’s some cool stuff to go into but it’ll be a shorter one. Again let me know if there's interest in doing some of the rework abilities, I was thinking of going back and reworking old articles but we're reaching the point where some of them are about to be archived. I may do a summary post or something, depending on what people want. Either way, see you next Friday!
- Dark Prelate – Dark prelate is Zeratul’s rank, and makes him the battlefield commander of a Nerazim warband, which can be out wandering the cosmos for decades at a time. According to the skin description, this was the ceremonial robes given to him upon receiving the rank of dark prelate, crafted to reflect their unique beliefs and personality, as individuality is at the center of Nerazim culture. This specific armor is named the Shadow's Embrace.
- High Templar – High Templar is one of the highest ranks you can achieve in the Khalai Templar Caste, or warrior caste. This skin is an alternate StarCraft universe where Tassadar is a Nerazim and Zeratul is a Khalai, and the two switch roles, with Tassadar teaching Zeratul how to use Void energies to defeat the Overmind. The description also switched Raszagal with Judicator Aldaris, the Conclave member who tried to persecute Tassadar in SC1. In this skin, Zeratul’s robes are changed to have Khalai symbols, and his nerve cord is intact, showing his connection to the Khala. His blade is also blue in this skin, showing it’s a psi blade rather than a warp blade.
- Solarite – Solarite is an ancient, combustible substance the old Protoss Empire used to power their starships. Since then its instability caused it to be replaced with more efficient technologies, but during the End War Artanis reactive the ancient arkship the Spear of Adun, which was powered by solarite. The campaign requires players to gather the substance as bonus objectives to power more ship systems. Most orange colored protoss tints are named Solarite.
- Executor – Executor is a Khalai rank that is the supreme commander of a fleet or force of the protoss. This skin is a follow up from the High Templar skin, and has Zeratul in more ceremonial Khalai robes with high templar pauldrons, and like the high templar skin his nerve cord is uncut and his warp blade is a psi blade. The description also continues the High Templar Zeratul universe, where Zeratul sacrifices himself to kill the Overmind instead of Tassadar.
- Ara – The Ara Tribe was one of the main Khalai tribes of Aiur, and after the chaos of the Aeon of Strife, the thousand year protoss civil war, the Ara were the ones who promote the mandates of their new mind link the Khala and create the Judicator Caste to lead the protoss. They ruled as Judicators for hundreds of years before the zerg invasion, where Aiur was lost to the zerg, largely due to the Judicator's arrogance and refusal to adapt. When the Protoss Empire was reformed into the Daelaam, they had a seat on the Twilight Council that lead the protoss, though their representative Nahaan hated Shakuras and spent as much time away from it as possible.
- Ronin – Ronin are another word for wandering samurai, without a lord or master. This skin is from the same feudal Japan alternate universe as Shogun Artanis. The skin description references the Lenassa Clan, which in canon is a clan of dark templar who use a fighting style similar to that of Zeratul, with one warp blade on the wrist.
- Unraveler –Unravelers are a powerful version of the Greater Mummies who wandered Tal Rasha's Tomb in Act II of Diablo II. For more information on them, check out the thread u/Golblin made on the skin.
- Zerg Hunter – This skin changes Zeratul to a Zer’atai Clan dark templar. The Zer’atai were renowned hunters who stalked the stars searching for prey, and fashioned their fallen enemies into bone armor they would wear. After the zerg invasion of Shakuras and the Brood War, many Zer’atai put this skill to use to hunt the zerg, and as such many, including Matriarch Vorazun (Raszagal's daughter), wore zerg bones on their armor. Usually however the Zer’atai use warp scythes instead of warp blades, and as mentioned in StarCraft II you have a chance of spawning either a Lenassa or Zer’atai dark templar every time you warp one in. The skin also changes some abilities, making his singularity charge into a spiked zerg-like device and changing his blink to have a purple mist effect that arches up into the symbol of the Zerg Swarm.
- Tal’darim – The Tal’darim are a faction of protoss that were taken away by the xel’naga Amon and his followers at the beginning of the Aeon of Strife, and are known to most HotS players as the faction of Alarak. They are ruled by a Chain of Ascension leading to a Highlord who leads them, and can usurp those above them with a challenge named the Rite of Rak’Shir. Initially they were loyal to Amon and wished to be uplifted into hybrid, but after Alarak took over the Tal’darim followed their own path, and aided Artanis in destroying Amon.
- Exiled – The skin name is a reference to Zeratul’s exile, at first a self-imposed one to make up for his sins and killing his leader as well as hunting for the truth of the return of the xel’naga. This got complicated when it later became a real exile without an explanation in spite of most protoss still seeing him as a hero, and the prevailing theory is that though many protoss respected him, he was exiled in his absence, as many Khalai hated him for accidentally leading the zerg to Aiur and many Nerazim hated him for killing their leader who had lead them since the Nerazim were exiled, over a thousand years.