SeerK here again. Well we are finally down to the last ship in the “Ships Of The Rense” series. We are down to our main command ship. The ship that strikes fear into the hearts of the enemies of the federation and in the hearts of disloyal citizens of the Federation. I speak of course of the Banshee Dreadnought. The dreadnought is currently the biggest class of ship in Firestorm Armada. They are capable of devastating firepower and can take as much as they can dish out. They also are rather expensive points wise, justifiably so.
The Banshee is no exception. As Dreadnoughts go the Banshee in my opinion is a good ship, but a little under gunned as compared to other Dreadnoughts. It has the customary Dindrenzi style kinetic weapons in the fixed fore position, but it is not as strong as the kinetic weapons on the Dindrenzi Battleships. The secondary fore arc weapon is a powerful beam weapon, but its limited to 20 inches of range. This gives the Banshee, like the other tier one RSN vessels, the lack of a one two punch that they really need to deal with vessels of the same weight class. The starboard and port beam weapons are very nice though. They have good range and strength for dealing with smaller vessels.
Now despite my opinion the Banshee needs more in the way of weaponry, what it lacks in punch it make up for in secondary systems and tricks to help deal with the enemy fleet. The Ops Center and Dirty Secrets MAR's come standard. This gives you some nice tactical advantages. You can take 4 TAC cards and you can force your opponent to waste a TAC card when he plays it. Dirty Secrets, although you can only use it once a game, can be pretty clutch. This is especially true when facing the new TAC cards in the Marauders fleet manual. Being able to prevent your point defense from being shut off or a ship from shunting out can really give you an advantage to hang over your opponents head.
The Banshee, like all the RSN ships, also has the advantage that it is way more maneuverable than your average Dreadnought. With the ability to reduce your turn limit to one inch and being able to move up to eight inches you can bring your weapons to bear much more easily. I once got in a firefight with a Nausica Battleship and a Retribution Dreadnought with just my Banshee. Spellduckwrong had wiped out my entire fleet say for the Banshee. It was mostly untouched and with 2 shield dice it was proving hard to take out. I was able to out turn both ships in very close quarters and keep my main weapons on target. The game ended before the Battleship died completely sadly. If another turn or two had taken place the Nausica would have died and the Retribution would not have been far behind.
So yes I think its under gunned, but you can use the weapons more effectively. I almost always use the same load out for my Banshee. I add a shield, -1 on the turn limit and add 2 inches to movement. I run at least two Sirens as well. I also add Special forces as I like to run the Banshee in close quarters.
In my experience this is probably the best way to actually run your Banshee. Up close and personal. The fluff refers to Dindrenzi commanders charging headlong into combat. The Banshee cannot really slug it out with other Dreadnoughts or even squadrons of heavier craft at a distance. Basically your lethal operating range is 12 to 20 inches from the enemy vessels you are engaging. With Sirens as escorts this means more accurate fire at your ideal range and you have the ability to bring it to bear in such a way that more ponderous vessels cannot bring their most lethal weapons to bear. Out maneuvering your targets is one of the key to success in running the Banshee. Picking your targets is as well. Be mindful of your targets weapon arcs and ideal ranges. Obviously the rear arc is vulnerable on most vessels. Hitting the vessel in the aft can be difficult and its an obvious tactic. Mine fields and other vessels can easily cover the hind quarters of targets. Hitting the port and starboard arcs or even the Fore can be more desirable to attack as long as the weapons in that arc are weak.
For example, Sorylian vessels tend to have very weak Fore arc weapons. They are set up to broadside enemy vessels. Vessels with lots of turrets can be problematic, but this is when attacking from multiple arcs comes in. I have always said you have to play RSN fleets smart. They are a fleet based on synergy. Dreadnoughts are big targets and you can use this to your advantage. Drawing fire with the Banshee and hitting your target with another squadron helps give you the one two punch that destroys tier one vessels quickly.
Dreadnaughts are big and tough and generally not to be taken in low point lists. Battle fleets benefit from the presence of a Banshee, but a totally kitted out ship can take a big chunk of your points. So choose wisely and make sure the benefits outweigh the negatives.
Well thats all for the “Ships Of The Rense”. I am going to start delving into the Marauders next. They are new and change the game up quite a bit. I will also be covering Planetfall at the end of October. Its up for pre order as of the 9th and is slated for an October 22nd release. I have to say I am pretty excited for this game. Firestorm combined with Planetfall for joint games and campaign play is going to be awesome.
I also want to remind everybody I am hosting a Tournament on October 11th at Evolution Games in Lansing Michigan. The Battle At Cyrax Alpha has an event page on Facebook. All the details are there.
Until next time crush the Alliance and as always.............