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I have noticed that many people seem very fond of Banshees but after having examined their usefulness in comparison to other models I can't help but think that there isn't much of a reason to take Banshees over either harlequins or Scorpions except in very specific circumstances.
Harlequins are the first unit to discuss and their comparison is rather simple. Most people would agree that a squad of harlequins is simply more dangerous in combat. They get more attacks at close range and they can get those attacks with the Harlequin's Kiss. They possess the same save as Banshees and, in addition, they have a whole slew of other abilities making them hard to pick off at range and more powerful useful in combat. What it comes down to is that a squad of harlequins offers equal or better stats than a squad of Howling Banshees. The Harlequin attacks make them more deadly. In addition to that Harlequins have a means of approaching the enemy and not getting shot to death. The Banshees, as most agree, require a Wave Serpent to get in close to the opponent. That brings me to the major advantage that Banshees have over Harlequins which is cost. The Banshees cost significantly less per model but the additional requirement of a Wave Serpent by and large mitigates the lower point cost.
Striking Scorpions are a more difficult comparison for Howling Banshees. Many seem to say that the Banshees are designed to take on heavy infantry while the Scorpions are better for hordes (large number of light infantry). There is some truth to this school of thought but the Banshees are only good for their specialized role while Scorpions are capable of filling the role of Banshees. While Banshees have power swords to strike through armor they only have a limited number of attacks for dealing with hordes. Scorpions on the other hand have a high number of attacks and a high strength value. This means that Scorpions can handle hordes and get more chances to hit heavy infantry. In addition to this, while they don't have power weapons to ignore armor saves the Scorpions have a higher strength value making it easier to get wounds. That higher strength value also adds to the chance that Scorpions will land a blow on heavy infantry. Their higher Strength and greater number or attacks add to the ability of a Scorpion to combat heavy infantry while the power sword of the Banshee does not give them a far greater advantage against most hordes. The higher strength is also an asset against enemies such as monstrous creatures. Now add to this the fact that Scorpions don't tend to need a Wave Serpent to get to combat, Scorpions have a higher armor save and the two units cost the same number of points and it certainly seems as if the Scorpion is the better choice.
All of this isn't to say that Banshees are worthless. They just seem to be overshadowed in power by Harlequins and they seem to lack the versatility that Scorpions have. The Banshees require a Wave Serpent usually while Scorpions don't, and in fact have many options for getting into the fray, but still have the option of taking one. They Banshees do have fleet of foot, which Scorpions don't, but the fact that they need a vehicle to get them into combat makes fleet of foot far less useful to begin with. The Banshees also have the Banshee mask but it is only useful part of the time and the majority of the time Eldar have a higher initiative than units they are charging.
Maybe I am not giving Banshees enough credit but it appears that Harlequins and Striking Scorpions are more versatile and play about better than Banshees.
Personally, I agree. the 3 Eldar CC elites are all pretty good, but I think you mostly nailed it. Personally, I like Harlequins and Scorpions better, and Harlequins are trickier/better and Scorpions are more versatile/resilient.
Fact remains though, if it fits your tactical plan, and you know you'll be facing units that happen to have a high/decent initiative as well as a great armor save, or you're running a mech like army where you WANT to put all or most of your units in serpents for your battle plan, then you'll almost feel like you're wasting points on scorps resilience or harlies shadow protection.
Hmm, harlies have a worse save than Banshees, but it is an invuln, that's reason number one I don't like em as well. Lower save
2) The rending is great, but a lot less reliable than the power weapons. Look at it this way, Harlies need 6's to get the save free wound, but the banshees wound on 5's and 6's save free for toughness 4. The harlies get more attacks its true, but they give more saves. It's true that harlies are more effective against high toughness things like monstrous creatures, but there are more reliable and cheaper ways to deal with those as well.
3) Banshees get counter attack, which means that when gene stealers, demonetes, or whatever else high initiative comes along the ladies still go first and hand out the pain, and aren't dependant on getting the first jump on the enemy.
4) The price of banshees is lower than harlies. Even though a WS costs more and is pretty essential, it is still a tank/transport without the banshees.
5) Veil of tears is nice to keep the fire off for sure, but it isn't a guaruntee that they aren't going to get shot, and to make them take their 5+ means that there are going to be casualties, when each one of em goes down its a lot more points than a banshee falling to fire. The WS virtually guaruntees that they are gonna get where they are going in ONE Turn to assault the next, but the harlies have to hoof it for probably two or three before they even get to fleet into assualt. I mean if you put banshees in a wave serpent with star engines you can get your banshees to travel and assault up to 54" by turn two with no risk of getting shot at.
Anyway, these are the reasons why i roll the ladies instead of the drama queens. I have some harlies too, but i really do perfer ladies.
In comparison to scorpions, banshees have a huge advantage in that they can fleet, and still attack into cover at full initiative.
I really do think that all of the eldar CC units have a place, but its important to remember that its whatever caters to your playing style. If you like a mech army, banshees are the way to go, if you like a lot of infiltrators go scorpions, if you like higher priced elite armies go harlies.
Finally, if you throw banshees against the other two units who do you think is gonna win? It's gonna be the ladies nearly every single time.
Last edited by FartsMcGee; May 12th, 2009 at 09:16.
Banshees (especially supported by a Farseer) are nothing short of amazing choices for shattering MEQ squads. Put Banshees up against Scorpions and the Scorps get wrecked every time.
I have a friend who plays Space Marines who generally ran a couple Devastator squads in each match he played, I brought 8 'Shees with a Fortune/Doomseer in a Serpent to try them out (was my first time using them.)
Turn 1 the fortuned 'Shee Serpent puts its foot to the floor and moves 3 feet into assault range of the Devastators and out of visual range of all but 1 lascannon, which it easily survives. Turn 2 they disembark and eat the first 10 man Devastator squad (unfortunately in the first assault phase, leaving them vulnerable in the second.) Fortunately only a couple died from shooting, and on Turn 3 the 'Shees moved forward and ate the second 10 man Devastator squad.
In subsequent turns, that squad knocked out a Whirlwind, killed a Bike Chaps, and another 5 man Tactical squad. Most of my other units had died to enemy fire by turn 3. By turn 5 he had 1 Scout and 2 Tacs left on the table, in addition to the Immo/WD Whirlwind.
Granted your results may vary, it was one of my first games as Eldar, and against someone who didn't know what to expect from Banshees. But run properly, they can scare the pants off Space Marine players, and they are incredibly devastating if underestimated.
This certainly doesn't stop Harlequins from being very effective units, but they really shine against large amounts of models with poor saves, or high-strength Monstrous Creatures, where their rending weapons will seal the deal. They also take much more kindly to being on foot, as they can't be shot at until they're just 6" (assuming a lucky opponent) out of their threat range.
Last edited by Arkanor; May 12th, 2009 at 09:20.
Banshees >>>> space clowns, space clowns die far too easily to shooting (all the special rules in the world make no difference in rapid fire range, and a low invul save is useless), and hit like a paper towel in combat, even when spamming kisses.
Banshees will kill more, survive longer if used well and more importantly and the best reason, they look better than the space clown models
I play banshees over harlies cause i fear an angry lady more than a fricking clown.
Last edited by niraco; May 12th, 2009 at 10:50.
The other posters seem to have covered most of my thoughts on the topic. The serpent arguement is used alot to say that harlies are actually cheaper but it doesn't fly for me. As fast as harlies can be banshees in a waveserpent are faster. I use the banshees because they can get the transport so they keep up with the rest of my mech army while providing a large number (30 attacks is not to be laughed at) of armor ignoring attacks. The rest of my list covers hordes with large numbers of flamers. Now when I play a footslogging army the harlies find their way into my lists as a countercharge unit where the VoT can keep the amount of fire coming their way down. The large number of attacks and the chance of armor ignoring attacks makes them better at dealing with a wider range of threats that may advance toward my lines. I just pray that there are no deepstriking flamers or rapid fire guns.
I run 'shees simply cos i have a mechanized army, with eldrad, and i find that i can quite easily get them into combat with a marine squad, which is doomed, and their as good as dead, 24 armour ignoring attack's are pretty fricking scary, and if they charge me, i have 24 armour ignoring attacks that strike first (: i love banshees, but you do have a valid point, but it depends what kind of army build you have.
Death to the Alien!
who likes cockroaches anyway.
Ordos Xenos 4/0/3