The Baneling is a suicide bomber unit morphed from Zerglings after a Baneling Nest has been constructed. Similar to the Infested Terran from Brood War, the Baneling is a suicidal unit that deals significant splash damage.
Banelings have a splash radius of 2.2 and do not deal friendly fire damage to either your units or those of your allies. However, their attack range - unless manually detonated - is only 0.25, which is basically melee range and too short to go off from second row by themselves. But they can be detonated manually, and they will also perform their "attack" upon death.
Banelings are a very effective unit against Light units due to their high damage bonuses in combination with splash damage. Correctly using a group of Banelings can deal massive damage to a hostile army and allow other units to clean up any remaining army much more easily. Because of their low survivability, getting Banelings to successfully hit groups of enemies is key. There are many options that can help a player use Banelings effectively:
- The Burrow upgrade enables a player to hide his Banelings to act as a trap. When the opponent runs over your Banelings, detonate them while burrowed to wipe out entire groups by surprise.
- The Baneling speed upgrade Centrifugal Hooks is also important for getting your Banelings into the action by cutting the time it takes to reach the front lines.
- Tactical use of Creep Tumors and the Overlord's Generate Creep ability can also help Baneling use by increasing their running speed.
- Tactical placement of Banelings is important too; by flanking opponents you can deal even more damage and leave the opponent with no way to escape.
- By using Overlords with the Ventral Sacs upgrade you can drop Banelings over an opponent's army to great effect.
- Using the Infestor's Fungal Growth, you can keep the enemy from dodging your Banelings.
Try to surround and attack, pull back a little and attack again. You don't want to waste Banelings on tanky units such as Marauders. You want to hit light units, so be wary of good players who will use these Armored units to shield their Light units.
Banelings are especially potent against structures, dealing significantly more damage that scales well with upgrades. There are several things to note about Baneling damage vs. structures:
- Exploding Banelings always deal extra damage to a building in range. That is, you do not have to use their Attack Structure ability on a building to deal the extra damage.
- Baneling damage on buildings is not mitigated by armor, so that the 1 armor that most buildings possess and the Terran Building Armor upgrade that grants +2 armor does not affect Baneling damage.
Banelings are often used in a mid-game timing window after Zerg gets a Lair but before Protoss has Blink or Stargates. Banelings have perfect synergy with Overlords that have speed and drop capabilities as they can be used to carpet bomb the Protoss unit ball. Although Banelings do little damage versus any unit type but light, carpet bombing with Overlords allows Banelings to survive the trip to the Protoss ball or hit aside with lighter units. When ordered to drop Banelings in the middle of a tightly packed cluster of units, transports (such as Overlords) will not usually be able to place the unit in the middle of the cluster, as there is no free ingame space, rather, the units will automatically be set to drop on the closest unoccupied area, most likely the edge of the formation. Overlord bombing is still a viable tactic, however, as it consolidates the individual 35 health of four Banelings into one 200 health unit (which can be made even more efficient with extra Overlord decoys), and protecting them from enemy ground fire, greatly increasing survivability when approaching the enemy army.
- If Protoss performed a 3-Gate Sentry Expand, the Banelings can easily wipe out any Sentries in the Protoss ball. These Sentries are far more likely to have full energy considering the time they've been charging. Also, Sentries are Light units, meaning they take bonus damage from Banelings. Killing Sentries in the midgame reduces the number of Force Fields the Protoss ball can perform which allows Roach/Zergling mid-game compositions to become strong.
- Usually Protoss chooses to push out as a means for them to take a third base. By using Baneling carpet bombing, you have the possibility of wiping out the opponent's army thus denying the third base and creating a contain.
- The Baneling carpet bomb gives makes an Overlord ball a large threat in the midgame even if the Overlords have no Banelings in them. Faking a mid-game Baneling transition allows you to push around the Protoss ball into a more favorable position.
However, Baneling carpet bombing loses its effectiveness once Protoss has researched Blink or goes for any Stargate play. The Protoss ball can use Blink Stalkers to kite the Overlords to make them unable to drop their payload and render them useless. The only counter to Blink in this scenario is to use Fungal Growth as Stalkers cannot Blink while under its effects.
Banelings are one of the most important Zerg units in ZvT. Because of its attack bonus against Light units, a properly placed Baneling trap can be devastating to a primarily Marine/Hellion based army, and to a lesser extent, Marine/Marauder armies. Sufficient numbers should be able to wipe out such forces entirely, and any survivors will be easy picked off with the Zerg player's quicker units. Sometimes it is better to just unburrow the Banelings, and have them killed by the Terran. On death, the Banelings still detonate, which can sometimes leave you with 1 or 2 Banelings left over, as opposed to killing them all by manually exploding.
Since Terran players don't get detection as quickly in TvZ, burrowed Banelings can be an excellent way to lay a trap against an enemy army. By laying a few Banelings in key Choke Points or on paths to key locations, you can ensure maximum damage when the Banelings explode.
Terran Wall-ins prevent early Zergling rushes. However, using Banelings to spearhead the attack can break the Supply Depot wall-in, allowing your Zerglings to rush into his base. This is very situational, and best used if the Terran is not massing tier one units, but is teching to higher units. See Baneling Bust.
Banelings have bonus damage versus Zerglings, and even a few can dramatically affect the outcome of early Speedling battles. They are not recommended versus Roaches, however, and it's worth noting that a Baneling cannot kill another Baneling. Unlike any other unit in the game, the unit that attacks first will die, and the other will survive.
In addition to being very effective against Zerglings, a player can kill one Hydralisk with either three Banelings or with two if they have +2 attack upgrades. This makes Banelings effective against mass Hydralisk or Roach/Hydralisk armies with proper micro. However, this is countered by Infestors with Fungal Growth, which prevents Banelings from reaching the army. Banelings will not be killed by a single Fungal Growth because of Zerg Regeneration.
Also remember that when a Baneling is killed, it automatically 'attacks'. Thus if a group of Zerglings kills a Baneling before it reaches its mark, it still explodes and deals the AOE damage. To avoid this, in the early game it is usually advisable to attack Banelings with Queens, Spine crawlers, or to trade individual Zerglings.
It's also important to note that one Baneling can one shot Larvae, which can completely shut down your opponent's production.
In Combination with other Spells
- Burrow - As one can set Unburrow to autocast, Banelings can take over the role of Spider Mines from SC1. However, it is more effective to wait until the entire hostile army is on top of your Banelings in order not to alert the enemy and to fully exploit the area of effect. The Baneling is the only other Zerg unit besides the Infestor that does not lose any of its sight range when burrowed.
- Explode - This ability allows you to explode the Baneling on the spot, even while burrowed. Take note that activating this ability while you have multiple Banelings selected will cause all of them to explode, possibly wasting plenty of Banelings through overkill; Turning on the auto-cast function of Unburrow at that precise moment instead can greatly improve efficiency. Manually ordering Banelings to explode may be necessary when Zerglings have the opponent fully surrounded or otherwise obstruct their path. It takes 1 Baneling to kill Zerglings, 2 to kill Marines and 5 to kill Zealots (or you can use 4 to get the Zealots down to 10 health and then finish them off with 3 hits from Zerglings).
- Fungal Growth - The Infestor's ability to fungal growth units, freezing them in place for 4 seconds, makes Banelings much more effective, enabling them to hit units that would otherwise kite them.
- Baneling's sounds (video and sound) - YouTube video.
|Patch 6 (version 0.8.0.14593)|