Warmachine Cryx Model Review: Bane Knight
From the moment it released WAY back when in Superiority the Bane Knight was the epitome of what you wanted in an infantry unit. Durable, hard hitting, and had a crazy rule "ShadowShift" that no one could really plan for. For all of you newer players believe it or not the Bane Knight was even better in mki than mkii. That being said the Bane Knight still ruled the mkii field. A combination of Vengeance, Ghostly, and WeaponMaster made for a unit that couldn't really be jammed, didn't mind being shot and could kill anything they encountered. Couple that with Bane Lord Tartarus (for the rest of the blog simply called BLT) and they were the premier unit of infantry in mkii. With the start of mkiii everyone who owned 30+ Bane knights sadly put their banes away, for the era of the bane had passed. That is until the recent BANE CID went live. The Bane Knight is no longer an unstoppable killing machine, but it certainly still has it's place on the table. It' lived, it died, it lives again! Except they're undead...
A unit of Bane Knights comes in at 9/15 for 6 and 10 "men" respectively. They are small based Speed 5, Mat 6, Def 12, Arm 16 with 2 inch melee and PS 12 weapons. They have Undead, Ghostly, Set Defense, and Wall of Steel. Ghostly allows them to ignore terrain penalties for movement and they can't be targeted by free strikes. Set Defense provides +2 def against charge attacks, getting them to a respectable def 14. Wall of Steel is new and from the CID it grants the model +2 Arm if it's base to base with one or more models in their unit. On their Bane Lance they have Brutal Charge, which grants +2 dmg on the charge attack. This gets them to PS14 on the charge.
Things We Love
They are obnoxiously hard to kill, and if left alone will hurt things. Dark Host (theme list) grants them all prowl which really can be annoying coupled with ghostly. Seriously though, Prowl and Ghostly are like Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. With just one we're not really excited, but put them together and it's amazing. That being said don't be afraid to get further up the table and forfeit the stealth for board positioning. Identify if they need stealth and make your in game decisions accordingly. As far as synergies go:
A Wraith Engine allows them to be effective arm 20 vs shooting.
BLT no longer curses things. That being said he picked up Veteran Leader Banes. BLT's veteran leader is more flexible than curse, albiet less powerful. While in BLT's command area friendly banes gain +1 to attack rolls. BLT is ghostly spd 5 and cmd 9. So he has a 10 inch run and a fairly large bubble of veteran leader. Getting the banes to effective MAT7 is key in using them as an anti infantry tool.
Darragh Wrathe is always incredible, and that doesn't change with Bane Knights. Mortal Fear allows them to be effective ARM 20 in melee (against living models). Death Ride helps compensate for the loss of curse movement, and vengeance.
Cloak of Ash (Gaspy3) provides them concealment, (stealth in theme) and gives living enemy models without immunity fire -2 to attack rolls when within 2 inches. Stacking this we set defense gets us to the range where even elite infantry misses us more often than not on the charge.
Caustic Mist (Gaspy2) dropped after the banes advance allows them to be stealth for the enemy turn, and if positioned properly any model engaging them will suffer corrosion.
Death Ward (Scaverous/Skarre2) brings them to arm 22 vs shooting. Not saying this is the best use of the spell, but it's certainly annoying. Coupled with Darragh vs living models in melee they can be effective arm 22 there as well. A 10 man unit at effective arm 22 is really hard to dislodge.
Things to Watch Out For
Cav will murder us. Well, as much as you can murder a dead thing. Cav care not for out set defense, and us being base to base means multiple rolls for impacts before the charge swing. Even if we do live we will struggle to kill most cav without the charge.
Like most high arm single wound we want to avoid corrosion, and fire while we're at it.
When I was playing them and on the clock I fell back into the old "blob of banes formation". Remember they have Wall of Steel and want to be base to base with their compadres for the Arm bonus.
Their inherent weaknesses are all things we can fix. MAT 6, mediocre speed, and average hitting power. Gaining set defense allows us to be more comfortable when taking charges. After that we can move into rear arcs for the hitting bonus and possibly to ignore shields. They are in my mind a front line troop that screens in other units, while still being able to do work themselves. We armor tank shooting and can avoid a good number of attacks with def 12 and set defense. Their threat is something that needs to be respected, and ghostly combined with the new 8 pieces of terrain recommendation of sr2017 could end up being a life saver.
So while they are no longer the face melting banes of the past, the mkiii, post CID Bane Knight certainly has come off the shelf and back onto the table for me. Try them in Dark Host and let me know what you think. Coupled with a unit of Bane Warriors and a wraith engine it's a strong blob of angry undead angst coming up the table.
Till next time,