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Howling Banshee special rule

 Post subject: Howling Banshee special rule
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:18 am 
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Howling Banshees have long been considered sub-par aspect warriors in EA, largely because they are CC oriented, and this role is better filled by Striking Scorpions, with their greater number of attacks and superior armor. Part of this is a result of the fact that the Banshee's traditional role of Heavy Infantry hunters is difficult to duplicate in Epic - FF treats everything the same so a good CC, MW score that would allow them to cut down Space Marines with ease would make them superb armor hunters as well.

You've probably all seen my proposal that Banshees get CC, MW against infantry only, with CC3+. However I've not spelled out how this would actually work yet. And so I will. Feel free to pick apart any loose ends you find along with the more general criticisms.

Howling Banshee Notes wrote:
Howling Banshee Power Swords have Macro-weapon against infantry only. Track these hits separately from other MW hits (different colored dice are ideal for this). Allocate these and normal MW hits in any order you wish, but if any hits caused by Power Swords are allocated to non-INF units (including LV units) they do not use the Macro-weapon ability when rolling to save.

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 Post subject: Re: Howling Banshee special rule
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:46 am 
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I'm not sure this really helps much given the big issue is their armour save and survival. It might just be window-dressing with an added complication of a new special rule.


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 Post subject: Re: Howling Banshee special rule
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:54 am 
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It's possible. I'm not certain it will remain either; Banshees could even be well and truly out of luck. I do know that it's the best fix I've seen that doesn't add unwanted side effects (aside from the fact it's a special rule that is). This is an instance where spitballing is most appreciated, as it's the best idea of a sorry lot.

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 Post subject: Re: Howling Banshee special rule
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 2:15 am 
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Out of the box ideas that don't require a special rule (note, not all are workable):

A) reduce the CC ability to 4+ and make it so a player could take 2 units of banshees in place of 1 unit of any other aspect (so a player could take up to 16 units of banshees in a warhost) [or maybe 3 units banshees in place of 2 units other aspects]

B) grant a free (or reduced-cost) wave serpent transport for every two units of banshees taken

C) reduce armour to 6+ and CC ability to 4+ (or even 5+) and give them inspiring (so that they can win engagements based on psychology and not brute force)

D) keep stats as-is but give them some additional special rule (infiltrator or scout or sniper*)
* you'll have to provide a clarification of how sniper would work in assault, which effectively becomes a new special rule.

E) keep stats as-is and boost speed to 20cm (or maybe 25cm). This would make them a bit scarier coming out of a gate, and lets them double/march faster than warp spiders.
EDIT: This would also boost their ability to utilize the eldar hit and run ability after a successful assault.

I'll ruminate on it and see what else I can come up with.


Last edited by semajnollissor on Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Howling Banshee special rule
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:27 am 
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It does help with armour and survivability - with First Strike, any added killing power is also greater survivability.

Note: As both Banshees and the other likely unit to get this (Genestealers) both have first strike, I wouldn't rule it as being allocated as MW. Say rather that they're allocated as normal hits, but any INF unit allocated a hit counts as being hit with MW.

Oh, and

F) Give the Banshee Exarch FS on the extra attack. As it stands now the +EA on the Exarch in a Banshee fm is very likely to never happen at all.


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 Post subject: Re: Howling Banshee special rule
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:40 am 
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I also think the real key is in the Exarch.

I had suggestes giving MW to all extra attacks of CC exarchs to make them good picks over FF exarchs.

If that extra attack on the banshee also had first strike, I am certain Banshees would be frequent picks.

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 Post subject: Re: Howling Banshee special rule
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:37 am 
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semajnollissor wrote:
Out of the box ideas that don't require a special rule (note, not all are workable):

A) reduce the CC ability to 4+ and make it so a player could take 2 units of banshees in place of 1 unit of any other aspect (so a player could take up to 16 units of banshees in a warhost) [or maybe 3 units banshees in place of 2 units other aspects]

B) grant a free (or reduced-cost) wave serpent transport for every two units of banshees taken

C) reduce armour to 6+ and CC ability to 4+ (or even 5+) and give them inspiring (so that they can win engagements based on psychology and not brute force)

D) keep stats as-is but give them some additional special rule (infiltrator or scout or sniper*)
* you'll have to provide a clarification of how sniper would work in assault, which effectively becomes a new special rule.

E) keep stats as-is and boost speed to 20cm (or maybe 25cm). This would make them a bit scarier coming out of a gate, and lets them double/march faster than warp spiders.
EDIT: This would also boost their ability to utilize the eldar hit and run ability after a successful assault.

I'll ruminate on it and see what else I can come up with.

I like a lot of these alternatives, though obviously they would need honing.

To my mind there are two distinct parts to the problem
  1. The HB niche role
    As spelled out by SG, these are 'Heavy' infantry killers.
      Note, by definition, if we succeed in fulfilling this objective of making them excel as 'Heavy infantry killers', we could well make them less desirable, as they will be sub-par in other circumstances (against hordes, armour, skimmers etc).

    IMO "Inf-MW" is too powerfull because it results in an auto-kill for all but RA infantry, and it also negates cover saves. Here I prefer the adoption of an assault version of "Sniper" (applicable against infantry in CC), because that means that all targets get a chance to save, and that cover can play a part. I call this special rule "Assassin". See here for definition

    I also agree with Semajnollissor they need "Infiltrator" to improve their utility by giving them a greater assault radius, and possibly even 20cm movement for the same reason. Combined with "Assassin", this would also mean that HBs could specify hit allocation, allowing them to attack enemy leaders (and other appropriate targets) increasing their chances in the Assault Resolution.

    As LoM and Ulrik say, the HB Exarch definitely ought to have FS on his MW attack, though I suspect this needs to be a unit note to avoid complications in the Exarch character definition.

    Finally, given all the above, perhaps they ought to revert to CC3+ ?

  2. Survivability in assault
    All other Eldar CC specialists get a 4+ armour save, which means they are much less susceptable to support fire. With the HBs, it only requires one unit in the target formation to survive the First Strike assault for support fire to kick in which, when in B-B with enemy units, is often much harder to avoid than when in FF range. Currently, with their 5+ armour save, this relegates the successfull use of HBs to attacking small, isolated infantry targets, which in turn both increases their specialisation and decreases their utility.

    I still think improving HBs to a 4+ armour save is both characterfull and necessary. While I recognise the issue that it makes them tougher against normal shooting and goes against their "character" of the 40K world, the alternative would be yet another special rule (+1 to their armour save in assault) which IMO is even less acceptable.


Last edited by Ginger on Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Howling Banshee special rule
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:47 am 
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LordotMilk wrote:
I also think the real key is in the Exarch.

I had suggestes giving MW to all extra attacks of CC exarchs to make them good picks over FF exarchs.

If that extra attack on the banshee also had first strike, I am certain Banshees would be frequent picks.

Except EUK banshee exarchs have first strike, and they are not frequent picks.

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 Post subject: Re: Howling Banshee special rule
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:20 am 
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Kyrt wrote:
LordotMilk wrote:
I also think the real key is in the Exarch.

I had suggestes giving MW to all extra attacks of CC exarchs to make them good picks over FF exarchs.

If that extra attack on the banshee also had first strike, I am certain Banshees would be frequent picks.

Except EUK banshee exarchs have first strike, and they are not frequent picks.


I meant MW on exarch EA + FS on all basic attacks.

Honestly the FS can kill all opposing base contact enemy and then you lose your basic attack should be FAQed away, like when the Flying Power Fist issue came up.

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 Post subject: Re: Howling Banshee special rule
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:43 am 
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I think the special rule is a bit wonky. As the defender, I am incentivised to allocate the hits on tanks that may not even be in base contact with the banshees rather than take MW against my infantry. Taken together with first strike it's a hit allocation nightmare.

I think the banshees are just a victim of the game mechanics, combined with the other pressures on selecting a BT army. I actually like the stats on the unit (once the exarch is fixed) and often think about taking them, I just generally end up opting for a more flexible formation. When you have the choice, you tend to optimise for the "best" combination, and there will always be one that is better than the rest for a particular use. FF is just more useful, which is important if you're going to spunk a lot of points on the formation. For the same reason, I tend not to take many scorpions either - generally only if deploying via Vampire.

In a Vampire, getting into BtB is no problem, but with only 2 DC to absorb return hits you need some CC troops with decent armour. Unfortunately, mixing scorpions with banshees doesn't work because wonky FS hit allocation means the scorpions end up in FF - losing their attacks and not absorbing hits. On the ground, there's very little that can turn back a mounted FF aspect assault, it's the best place for your Autarch/BTS and hit n' run helps them justify their expense by supporting a second assault. CC options are less versatile but just as expensive - a 600 point formation needs to be having a major impact or you will lose the game. Deploying via webway, threat range gives you the versatility that again justifies the expense, and infiltrating FF specialists are unbeatable there. You also want armour, to give you the best chance of remaining combat effective once isolated on the battlefield.

I dunno, maybe MW (or something like Power Weapons) would be enough to persuade you to go with a unit with lesser versatility, it's hard to say.

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 Post subject: Re: Howling Banshee special rule
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:53 am 
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Note that unless you have a combined formation of Banshees and Spiders, all Power Weapon hits will be allocated separatly fromnormal hits.


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 Post subject: Re: Howling Banshee special rule
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:39 am 
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For those who are bored, or want to read the earlier discussions in 2009, they are here


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 Post subject: Re: Howling Banshee special rule
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:58 am 
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Kyrt wrote:
I think the special rule is a bit wonky. As the defender, I am incentivised to allocate the hits on tanks that may not even be in base contact with the banshees rather than take MW against my infantry. Taken together with first strike it's a hit allocation nightmare.


Yep, this is why I wanted it torn up. Looks like the first version of wording I had - while tortuous - was better. Of course I didn't save it.

Ginger wrote:
Survivability in assault
All other Eldar CC specialists get a 4+ armour save, which means they are much less susceptable to support fire. With the HBs, it only requires one unit in the target formation to survive the First Strike assault for support fire to kick in which, when in B-B with enemy units, is often much harder to avoid than when in FF range. Currently, with their 5+ armour save, this relegates the successfull use of HBs to attacking small, isolated infantry targets, which in turn both increases their specialisation and decreases their utility.

I still think improving HBs to a 4+ armour save is both characterfull and necessary. While I recognise the issue that it makes them tougher against normal shooting and goes against their "character" of the 40K world, the alternative would be yet another special rule (+1 to their armour save in assault) which IMO is even less acceptable.


The thing on the armor save is that Banshees are less well armored than their other CC kin. In 40k, Scorpions are T3 with a 3+ save, Spears are T4 with a 3+ save. Howling Banshees are only T3 with a 4+ save, along with Dire Avengers, Fire Dragons, and Swooping Hawks - all armor 5+ in EA. It is possible that it is neccessary to increase the armor, but it is certainly not characterful.

Try this:

Howling Banshee Notes wrote:
Howling Banshee Power Swords have MW against infantry targets only. Roll these attacks seperately from other MW attacks (different colored dice are ideal for this). Hits must be allocated to INF targets within 15cm until each such unit has one hit allocated. Then they are allocated to remaining units as normal, until each unit has one hit allocated. If there are remaining hits, start allocating second hits to INF, and so on. After all Power Sword hits are distributed, allocate all remaining MW hits as normal. Any Power Sword hits on non-INF units (including LVs) do not use the MW special rule.


Now when I say "allocate all remaining MW hits as normal" I mean to fill in the non-INF gaps then continue as normal - should that be spelled out?

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 Post subject: Re: Howling Banshee special rule
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:34 pm 
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So you can allocate CC power weapon hits on infantry within 15cm, ignoring tanks that are in BtB? :)

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 Post subject: Re: Howling Banshee special rule
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:35 pm 
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Spectrar Ghost wrote:
Try this:

Howling Banshee Notes wrote:
Howling Banshee Power Swords have MW against infantry targets only. Roll these attacks seperately from other MW attacks (different colored dice are ideal for this). Hits must be allocated to INF targets within 15cm until each such unit has one hit allocated. Then they are allocated to remaining units as normal, until each unit has one hit allocated. If there are remaining hits, start allocating second hits to INF, and so on. After all Power Sword hits are distributed, allocate all remaining MW hits as normal. Any Power Sword hits on non-INF units (including LVs) do not use the MW special rule.


Now when I say "allocate all remaining MW hits as normal" I mean to fill in the non-INF gaps then continue as normal - should that be spelled out?


That's more eloquent and detailed rule of what I was trying to convey here. I think that, in principle, it looks okay, although it's a bit wordy, but I think that it's necessary to spell it out to that extent, otherwise you'd only end up having to write an FAQ for the rule.

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