Baneling (Legacy of the Void)
- This article covers the current multiplayer version of this unit. For other versions see Baneling (Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm) and Baneling (Heart of the Swarm Campaign).
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 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 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.
- It is recommended one avoids attack moving their banelings for as long as possible. Attack moving into an army may cause banelings to focus units inefficiently (e.g. focusing a siege tank instead of a mass of marines or killing only one enemy zergling). Simply boxing or using a separate baneling control group to move command them towards more cost-efficient targets is important.
- It takes two enemy baneling detonations to kill a baneling; therefore, it is beneficial to move banelings in groups of two and move command them when walking near enemy banelings. This can help min/max your unit's value with respect to total damage dealt and/or potentially cause the enemy to trade cost-inefficiently.
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 deal a lot of damage against structures, dealing significantly more damage that scales well with upgrades but they are very cost-ineffective. 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.
With the recent nerfs to Baneling damage vs non-light units, Banelings are rarely seen in army compositions anymore, most players now preferring Lurkers instead. With that said, Banelings are often used for harassment as they one shot Probes (and Drones) with +2 Melee.
Against Terran bio, Banelings see extensive use. They are primarily being used to kill or, at the very least, flush Marines out from the Terran bio-ball. In combination with Zerglings, Banelings can be devastating as they force the bio to split, increasing the surface area for the Zerglings. However, Banelings are very vulnerable to Widow Mines and Siege Tanks that are properly target fired, being one shot by the splash damage of both units.
Banelings see much less use against mech due to their aforementioned weakness to Siege Tanks. Despite that, they are sometimes used in high-momentum army compositions to destroy Planetary Fortresses, albeit with very poor cost efficiency.
Most games of ZvZ are characterized by the early game Ling-Bane phase, as both players try to out-micro each other to either end the game or secure a faster third base, centering around the Baneling's ability to instantly kill all Zerglings in its splash damage range.
While many games will continue on into the Roach-Ravager phase, increasingly more often one player will choose to go with Mutalisks. After this they can choose to transition into Ultra-Ling-Bane-Viper. This composition depends on high-momentum, being out-traded by Hydra-Lurker-Viper due to the Baneling's vulnerability to Lurkers, it being critical to deny the other player's mining.
Magic Baneling Numbers
When attacking with Banelings, it is important to know whether one's Baneling count is high enough, as attacking with too few Banelings to breach the defenses often results in a bad trade. This is especially true when "Baneling busting" a wall or sniping a Planetary Fortress.
The following is a listing of the number of Banelings it takes to kill a given structure or unit. The four values refer to level 0/1/2/3 of the Melee Attacks upgrade. Common use cases are highlighted in bold.
Unless otherwise noted, these numbers assume an armor upgrade level equal to the Baneling's attack upgrade level.
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, slowing them 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 3.9.1 Balance Update|
|Patch 4.12.0 |
|Patch 5.0.2 BU |
- Blizzard Entertainment (22 November 2016). "Legacy of the Void - Patch 3.8.0 -- November 22, 2016". Battle.net.
- Blizzard Entertainment (20 December 2016). "Legacy of the Void Balance Update -- December 20, 2016". Battle.net.
- Blizzard Entertainment (9 June 2020). "StarCraft II 4.12.0 Patch Notes". Battle.net.
- Blizzard Entertainment (20 August 2020). "BALANCE UPDATE". Battle.net.