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Field Guide: Banshee

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There is some competition for the ’10 point’ heavy slot in Retribution and there is a very good argument that the House Vyre myrimdon, the Banshee is the best of these options. So what do Retribution generals need to know about this heavy?

BansheeVitals

The stats for the Banshee are not hugely different from the House Shyeel Heavies, but there are two critical differences. Firstly, all of the House Vyre myrmidons are a little slower with SPD 5. While this looks bad in Retribution, it is the same as the mid-weight Cygnar heavy warjacks, and it is perfectly respectable on them. So not quick enough to keep up with our light infantry, but ok to follow up as a second line unit.

The second big difference is armour. The Vyre myrmidons, Banshee included, have ARM 19, one more than the Shyeel myrmidons. However the Vyre myrmidons are still DEF 12 giving them very healthy defensive stats.

Combined with armour we get more damage boxes to compensate for the lack of a force field so the Banshee is far more survivable than other Retribution heavies. More on this later…

Armament

The weapon systems are where the Banshee makes its money. For melee, it carries two Void blades. While the small one is almost irrelevant, the big blade has Reach and hits as hard as any other myrmidon in the faction. On top of this, it has Critical Grievous Wounds, which is situationally brilliant, especially against warbeasts.

In terms of damage output, realistically it packs as much punch as the Phoenix, but that’s not the whole story. The big thing is the Banshee’s gun, its Force Cannon. This little cookie is why we take this myrmidon.

Just looking at the basic stats, the Force Cannon is pretty impressive. With a Range of 12 and POW 14 it is pretty healthy for a boostable gun. And then we come to the secondary effect, Momentum. To recap, for those that have not read the card, the Force Cannon slams small and medium base models D3″, causing power 14 collateral damage, and knocks over large based models.

Until recently, my favourite use for this gun was to knock stuff over to clear line of sight or to effective drain focus when the target has to shake to get up. But slamming models is fun. Really really fun. And it is often not too difficult to engineer a slam into someone, or something else. POW 14, boosted, and an additional dice? And possibly two targets? Well why not?

POW 14, boosted, and an additional dice?

And then it cap it all, the Force Cannon is not attached to an arm or a system, so it is fully active until all 30 damage boxes are gone. This is a little different to the Shyeel myrmidons that tend to lose their main guns very quickly. In my latest game, this gun racked up four Forge Guard kills in two turns, and then thanks to his final ability, the Banshee finished off the final two weapon masters in melee whilst suffering negligible damage.

The Wailing

Being a Retribution myrmidon, this obviously isn’t the end of the Banshee’s abilities. It’s final rule, Wailing, is most powerful when your opponents forget about it. Whilst within 5″ of the Banshee, warrior models cannot give or receive orders, and spell casters cannot cast spells.

Although its not the reason for bringing this myrmidon, it often messes with your opponents’ plans. For example, parking the Banshee next to a unit of weapon masters severely affects their damage potential because they cannot charge and shield wall units can’t do their thing. And any warcasters that want to get close and personal are often undone if they cannot cast a key spell; teleport and flashing blade being two good examples.

Synergies

There is stiff competition for the ten point slot in Retribution from the Phoenix and Discordia. The Banshee brings a little more raw hitting at the expense of infantry clearing and flexibility. In terms of specific synergies, the Banshee likes anything that works with its Force Cannon.

There’s a good argument that the Banshee should be the first jack Kaelyssa should reach for. It makes an excellent target for Phantom Hunter, and of course benefits from the feat, but Witch Hunter is especially nice. Nobody likes getting slammed and knocked over, but it is much worse when it happens in your own turn. In my lists, it almost always joins a Phoenix to form Kaelyssa’s battlegroup.

Ravyn, is the queen of buffing ranged attacks. Unfortunately she probably wants to apply those buffs to units rather than myrmidons, so moving on…

Both of the Vyros’ Bird’s Eye ability is super nice for the Banshee. Vyros 1 adds an important movement buff and in return the Banshee puts out a huge area for Vyros to use his own Flank ability. In the absence of a Hyperion, the Banshee is also a prime candidate for his armour buff.

However I think the Banshee is even better with Epic Vyros. I have been using him as the big hitter at the end of a synergy chain started by the rest of the battlegroup. And utilising Wailing he can be a complete pain during Vyros’ feat. Plenty of potential here to be explored methinks.

Rahn probably wants the arc node on the Phoenix more than the slam potential (after all, he can do that himself) but Ossyan is probably the third caster that really likes the Banshee. Quicken is pretty nice to compensate for the SPD 5, and knocking stuff down to murder on feat turn is a perfect match.

Apart from warcasters, probably the best support piece for the Banshee is the humble, and ever present arcanist. Most turns the Banshee will very happily operate with a single focus point, and when it needs to hit hard, Concentrated Power pushes the big Void Blade to a respectable POW 19. Nice.

So that was a brief introduction to arguably one of the two best warmachines for the Retribution of Scyrah. Go forth, and knock some round ears onto their butts.

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