Saturday, June 19, 2010

Aspects of Khaine pt 3: Howling Banshees

A piecing cry is the last thing heard before death. A blur followed by a clean cut of a shimmering blade wreathed in energy. When the cry of the Banshee is heard death follows. The followers of Khaine, the daughter's of Morai-heg, the Harbingers of woe. The Howling Banshees.
Banshees are the quick and lethal close combat aspect. They Have many benefits and advantages over their more heavily armed and armored siblings the Striking Scorpions. The first, to me anyways, is that they are actually fleet. This means a lot when you foot slog across the field only to run and then not be able to assault. The second advantage is that they are all armed with power weapons. This is one factor that has always frustrated me. I am partial to Scorpions, but despite having better armor, better strength and more attacks only one guy in the squad can have a power weapon and he goes last.
This takes me to advantage three. The banshee mask. This little piece of war gear makes it so on the first round of combat the imitative value is 10. So that means you are pretty much going first. Combine this with the power weapons and its a bad day for the enemy.
There are some disadvantages though. Well one big one actually. Some say their armor save, but a 4+ is decent and is shared with several other aspects. The big disadvantage is the fact they strike with a strength of 3. This is rough considering on the charge you must wound anything toughness 4 or above on a 5 or 6. Since they have only 3 attacks on the charge, compared to the striking scorpions 4, it can be rough.
This means striking first is essential and landing as many hits as possible is key. The Exarch has the ability to help with this in the form of her Exarch powers. War shout forces a morale check which if failed means the enemy has a weapon skill of 1 for the first round of combat. Combine this with a doom from a close by Farseer and you will inflict some kills. I always give my banshees the second power Acrobatic as this gives them the counter charge ability which means your opponent must really think if he wants to assault the banshees as they will be striking first and with full attacks.
Banshees also are great for assaulting into cover. The Banshee mask negates all bonuses to initiative given from cover and grenades. This ensures you are always going to strike first. So Banshees make the perfect shock troops fro taking those objectives or annoying long range support units that are n cover.
The one factor to keep in mind is that you want to keep a Farseer within range to doom any enemy units that have the possibility to assault of be assaulted by the banshee squad. Fortune is also a good aide as always since it increases survivability especially if you don't have the squad in a transport, which you should, or the transport has been destroyed.
The Banshee Exarch has several good weapon options. The best is the Executioner. This baby adds +2 to the strength, which means she hits at strength 5. So hitting and wounding on 3's is a nice thing especially at initiative 10. An often over looked option is the triskele. It can be used as a ranged and close combat weapon which is a power weapon. It is only strength 3 but it is AP 2 when thrown. Did I mention it is assault 3 and only 5 points. The third option is the mirror swords. I have one Exarch equipped with this when I run 2 squads. This gives her 2 attacks instead of one for having 2 close combat weapons. I prefer the executioner as it is higher strength and honestly more attacks is not always better. I give this to an Exarch in a smaller squad to offset the fact I am not running 10 banshees in a squad. I almost always run them in full squads of 10 unless I must use a smaller squad because of points of I am using a Falcon to transport them. In this case I am using them as more of a distraction. The mirror blades are nice in smaller squads attacking soft units, Imp Guard and Tau. Squads of 10 is the preferred unit size though. This means more attacks and more survive combat. It is essential you give them a wave serpent. I always equip it with spirit stones vectored engine and star engines. Expensive yes but this ensures they make it to the enemy safely. Nothing sucks more than loosing a squad because you turbo boosted the serpent gets shot down and explodes on impact killing all inside.
You must plan your assaults to maximize the number of attacks. If it is possible to safely disengage and remain out of combat until your next turn it is advisable to do it. This gives you time to doom units and cut their number down with fire before assaulting them again. You must always remember to fire the Banshees shuriken pistols before assaulting a unit. This helps thin the herd and increase the possibility of killing more troop sin an assault. Kind of a no brainier I know, but you would be surprised by how may people forget their close combat troops have pistol weapons they can also use in the shooting phase. The whole point is to thin down the herd so the Exarch can try and deal the killing blow to the bigger guys in the squad. If you get bogged down and unable to escape form combat this is when Banshees will begin to show their weakness. They are not tough enough to get in a prolonged fight, especially with tough troops, space marines, daemons and such. Strike quick, strike hard and then get away to strike again.
So use your Banshee's wisely. Pick your targets carefully. Use them against softer targets.

Well that's my two cents about Howling Banshee's. The next Aspect in our series will be the bane of tanks everywhere. Fire Dragons.

Until then...................

Blood Runs, Anger Rises, Death Wakes, War Calls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1 comment:

  1. You have 2 part 3's btw. This and the Dark Reapers.
    Great write up. I love my banshees, almost as much as my scorpions :D