Banes on horses are finally here! Time to take a close look.
Guest article by SpiderBite
Cryx has been waiting for Bane Cavalry since Superiority. 23 April, 2014 we finally get our prayers answered and we have not been disappointed. Our Bane Cavalry have a middling MAT, less than stellar PS on the main attack (Cleaver, Bane Blade, whatever it’s supposed to be called), are not faster than other Cavalry, and outrun their own Curse… which other Banes cannot even benefit from. Accounting for all this, the only thing I dislike about the Bane Riders is their name. Allow me to explain why.
Surprise! They’re Undead! We get so spoiled to this, it’s one of the reasons other factions hate us. Overtly, the Curse is an interesting problem, its range is 9”, but they threat 12” without it. Using the leader model to charge something closer (your own Machine Wraith for example…) enables you to get the rest of the kids effective MAT ridiculous with a 14” charge. That’s if you’re ignoring that they do benefit from Tartarus’ Curse even if they can’t stack it with their own. Yeah. Now we’re getting sexy. Ghostly will ensure you won’t take free strikes, don’t care about terrain, and can go through anything but models in your way. Depending on how you work your Impact Attacks, even intervening models are not a problem, especially thanks to Tall in the Saddle letting you ignore medium/small bases, just make sure you get your 3” in. When you do get to your target, a MAT10 PS15 will hurt just about anything good.
Now all that is well and good but Cryx have been smashing things easily since… forever. What do they bring new to the game? Survivability. The mass POW10 shooting that tear apart the rest of our troopers need some phenomenal rolls to even ding our new ponies. POW12 Covering fire? Okie-dokie, I’ll gamble on you not rolling 11+ for that. Scather template? Don’t care! If we add in Death Ward to bring the Cavalry to ARM20 with five boxes, I am gladly ignoring Harbinger’s feat with these guys. Having a unit with a great threat range, a good PS on their own and survivability is a beautiful new addition to our forces.
Between the Curse and Cavalry charge bonuses, these guys will hit. When in doubt, we have a multitude of ways to help. Now for the weak parts, the lesser of which is the PS12 mount and 13 main weapon, at least it’s 15 on the charge. However, we are Cryx. We are known for our ability to drop an opponent’s ARM from 20 to an effective 1.
Now how do we get our new toys to sing the best? Let’s go with overt synergies, or to start, the lack thereof. My votes for our bottom three Bane Cavalry warcasters: Goreshade1, Mortenebra and Venethrax. These ‘casters don’t really do much for the Bane Cavalry. Most of our other warcasters help them hit, hit harder, and/or have ways of protecting them.
My top five votes do more though. Both Skarre2 and Scaverous have Death Ward and defense debuffs to help them hit, if they really need it. As a bonus, Black Spot tends to really like models with Reach. Scaverous on the other hand, also has his own built-in ARM debuff, but that’s not all. Telekinesis gives more potential threat, adds a layer of protection, and can open up secondary charge lanes. This brings me to the Bane Riders’ number one problem.
Once they are stuck in, they are stuck in.
This can be quite a problem for an elven point unit. If you’ve killed your target, you’re probably in a bad situation where you’re also about to lose your Cavalry. Rarely a decent trade there. Luckily, my top three votes have a cute little spell that enables them to continue with the mayhem! Curse of Shadows. Curse of Shadows enables you to not care if your impact attacks destroy a screening unit, or even if that unit is there, to say nothing of another ARM debuff. Quite obviously, Deneghra2 springs to mind, with her myriad of debuffs, denial and movement shenanigans. She even brings Marked for Death so they don’t need LoS and can literally charge through a building to their target.
My second pick for best warcaster: Witch Coven. They have Curse of Shadows, of course. The Witch Coven also brings survivability. Between their feat, Occultation and Veil of Mists being a cloud, your Banes should arrive on time, intact, and ready to go.
By far the best warcaster, in my opinion to run these guys with is Goreshade2. Curse of Shadows? Check. Occultation to keep them safe? Check. Probably bringing Bane Thralls for more ARM hate? Check. Bring back three Bane Riders for one point? Big ol’ check there.
Bane Riders are a superb unit that looks great on the table with a silly name. As with most of the Vengeance releases, I think they will be a key point in shaking up the meta and how/what we see fielding in the coming year. If anyone is disappointed in this unit, my best advice is to pick another faction, ‘cause you’re not Cryx-ing right.