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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Sunday, June 20, 2010

How To: Howling Banshees

This was pointed out to me on Warseer (quote from Lordmonkey) asking how one makes Banshees work for Eldar.

"Hi all,

I run a squad of 6-8 Howling Banshees including an Exarch + a Farseer with Doom and Fortune, mounted in a Wave Serpent.

They are intended for use as an anti-MEQ unit and will murder marines in combat when doom is cast. The farseer can (if lucky) fend off counter attacks from walkers.

The only trouble I have with them is that they have to wait around inside the Serpent for a turn before they can get out and assault. This often means that my serpent either gets blown up, subjecting the banshees to heavy bolter fire/heavy flamers, or the enemy simply move more units forward in an attempt to swamp them.

How do you Eldar players run your Banshees? I'm thinking about expanding the squad to 10 members + Farseer to soak up damage but it sort of seems wrong for a unit like these - I don't feel I am playing very well if my glass hammer is getting shot at. "

I thought I’d answer poor Lordmonkey’s woes. Worry not, some somewhat decent articles will be coming out during the week but kicking back atm (watching Australia’s World Cup “hopes” go down the gurgler). So the short answer in how to play your Banshees: on your display case. Reason number 1: they eat up Fire Dragon slots. Reason number 2: they aren’t Fire Dragons (or at the minimum, Harlequins). Reason number 3: they have to hide in a transport for a turn and hope the enemy stays nearby or hop out a turn early to assault (how long does T3/4+ last? Not long. Reason number 4: They are S3 MEQ hunters. Thanks for demanding me to use Doom to make this unit even remotely useful. Hell someone on Warseer answers the question for me! Quote from hungry hungry hormagaunt:

“The absence of an open-topped transport or assault ramps kind of screws over Banshees at the moment, I'm afraid. None of the Eldar assault choices work terribly well, except the jetbike-mounted Seer Council.

I really hate to say you should abandon a unit you like, but really, there's no way to use them well with the current state of the codex. They can't assault out of a vehicle, and they sure as hell can't foot-slog it.”

Well done. But we still see lists or individuals advocating Banshees all the time (or even the dreaded Scorpion or Banshees debate). I could rip apart everyone’s comments (like tar pitting with a Jetlock Council then assaulting next turn with Banshees…that’s only 1000 pts spent) or continue beating the drum about why you shouldn’t use Banshees but rather will pick upon a tactical misconception the posters here seem to be running on. Charging Serpents straight into your opponent’s lines to pressure them with a 4+ re-rollable cover save Serpent w/Banshees in it. These posters seem to be operating under the assumption I’m going to attempt to shoot it down. Some armies will happily do this (I.e. Tau) or laugh because you hit bubble-wraps/blocks/etc. The general rule of thumb to deal with it though? Block the exit.

Poor little Banshees are stuck for another turn. Can’t rotate, can’t tank shock the models away, can’t shoot them away, etc. disembark and assault and they have been effectively ignored. So if you have to absolutely use Banshees and won’t hear a word against them or just love the models/concepts/whatever. Here’s how you do it. First off, make sure you have as much anti-tank as possible elsewhere. This means two dragon squads, BL on Serpents and maximum S6 firepower. Equip the squad with 6-8 members, Exarch w/Executioner, a Farseer w/Doom & Fortune (using these spells as much as possible before hand) and Serpent w/TL-Scatter Lasers (or Shuriken Cannons) and underslung Shuriken Cannon. This Serpent plays the same role as normal Dragon Serpents but with a different payload. Then play as Eldar are meant to play. Keep your opponent’s at arms length and when your opponent’s armor starts cracking or you want to contest objectives, move your Banshees serpent to an area where they cannot be easily blocked. Banshees can charge 6”+D6”+6” (13”-18”) + disembarkment distance out of a Serpent so you want to put the tip of the Serpent around 10-14” from your target with the hatch facing away. This actually allows the Banshees to get out of the Serpent and assault something on a single turn whilst minimising the possibility of the Serpent’s exit being blocked.

Is this efficient? Not really. Is it harder to play than the cheaper Dragon squad? Yes. Is it more effective than blindly throwing the Banshees into your opponent’s teeth? Yes. Do I recommend using them? No. Am I done with rhetorics? Well this is a conundrum as I’m answering it… If you absolutely have to use them, make sure you follow this sort of strategy but I’d wait for a later edition where they can damage tanks (rending lols or a high S weapon on Exarch) and can actually survive combat against heavy hitting assault units (I.e. invul save).

3 pinkments:

Chumbalaya said...

If you aren't Fire Dragons or Harlequins, GTFO my Elites slot.

Kirby said...

An appropriate summary Chumb lol

Iggy said...

I'm late to this party, but a hilarious comment!

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