Unit Spotlight: Bane Knights

With the Rest of the Unit Spotlight Series, I’ve finished painting these Banes tonight, and rather than just show off pictures, I’m gonna write a little article about ’em as well!

Off we go with Bane Knights then!

Bane Knights were the greatest force to be reckoned with in MK I, and in MK II, they were brought back into line with the rest of the faction. Bane Thralls took their proper, as many would have it, place as the go to infantry of Cryx. Now they are experiencing a sort of Renaissance in the faction, with many units and abilities now ignoring stealth. There is also a 30 Bane Knight army headed by Skarre that is making its rounds. I, however, will only have the one unit.  This one!

Bane Spartan Group

They were a joy to paint and put together, and I can’t wait to get them on the board when I get together with the guys in April.

Stats!

SPDSTRMATRATDEFARMCMD
576412168

Its the typical sorry Cryx setup, with victim defensive stats, though the ARM is better. They have the slow Heavy Infantry speed, and  MAT is pretty typical at 6, though its nothing to write home about. They’ve never used RAT in their life, so it doesn’t even count.

However, their below average stat line belies great power, though, as their special rules are very enjoyable, but before we get there, we’ve got the weapon: The Bane Lance, which comes in at a pretty respectable P+S 11, but its the Reach and Weapon Master that make it really hum. With a charge threat range of 10′, and an average damage of 22, 25 on the charge, the Bane Knights represent some serious damage to most jacks and all heavy infantry. Lighter infantry will generally be harder to hit, but that’s what we bring our good friend Bane Lord Tartarus for, but we’ll get to him later.

The back of their card has a number of rules that just keep amplifying the goodness of the unit.
Traits: Undead – again, nothing new to Cryx. Immunity to fear and fleeing and not suffering much from coherency means they get stuck in and don’t budge until you kill the very last one.

Abilities:
Ghostly: This is what makes the choice between Thralls and Knights matter. Bane Knights have the ability to ignore both free strikes and most terrain, enabling them to get into, and out of, wherever on the board they happen to need to go. This flexibility combined with reach and weaponmaster makes the banes a continuous threat to anything within 7″. The addition of Ghostly also tends to free up a number of models in terms of both order of activation and target selection. Arc nodes, Saxon Orrik, Scarlocks and ‘Casters can all either stay home or have to not worry about the Banes. Ghostly is amazing.

Vengeance: Remember when I said they had a slow speed 5? Combined with Ghostly and Reach, Vengeance extends that to the heavens. Tartarus brings it all the way to a reach out and touch you of 15″, ignoring free strikes and difficult terrain. Vengeance giving you that extra 3″ once a model in the unit is destroyed or RFP, forced the opponent to make some difficult choices. They want to remove the whole unit, or almost every model, or leave it be and hope it doesn’t take his legs off. It is not a good place to be in with P+S 11 Weaponmasters.

Spartan Bane Leader

Spartan Bane Leader

These rough and deadly dudes come in at a clean 6/10. While expensive, the ARM16, reach and ghostly really make it worthwhile. The only units really competing for the same points are Blackbanes and Revenant Crew. The Crew we’ve discussed, and Blackbanes performs a significantly different function that its not really a competing slot.

And what role do the Bane Knights Play? The Aggressor. They move in, along with their BFF Tartarus, and threaten to punish anyone coming within their threat range. with Vengeance and Tartarus’ Death Toll ability being able to replenish the Knights if even one is left really puts the pressure on the opponent. They have to remove every model and most likely Tartarus, or suffer dearly for the expenditure of resources.

I’ve really found a lot of good use with the unit as a bullet sponge, absorbing the damage that other units would take on the turn they are removed from the game. They are so good at what they do that the opponent has to try and remove the unit when you give them the opportunity, so use it to your advantage.

Their MAT 6 makes them generally armor breakers, and sometimes troop killers, but rarely both. However, they do have the backup of the Cryx army and Tartarus. Many casters can get their MAT up to 10 or higher, again with Tartarus.

They are everything that a Cryx unit should be. Bad stats, great weapon, good rules, and when added to a casters arsenal, brings their board state closer and closer to 11.

So, Lets take a trip through the casters again, shall we. I expect very different results this time than last.

A reminder of the scale, again: 0 – I’d never bring this unit with this warcaster, and the unit has heavy negative synergy
1 – I’d bring this only in a gimicky list centered on this model/units and its ingame ineractions.
2 – I’s consider bringing this model/unit with this warcaster, with the proper support units and as a points filler
3- When taking this caster I  debate bringing this model/unit every time
4- When taking this caster, I find it hard to leave home without this model/unit
5- This model/unit is an Auto-include for this caster.

 

Asphyxious I – As I said about the Pirates, I also say about the Knights. Scything touch and Parasite make a great combo for any melee unit. This time, it pushes the number extremely hard, as an effective 17 weaponmaster is no joke. Gunning from across the table at speeds up to 15″ they really can protect Asphyxious as he bounces around the board, teleporting and stealing souls.  (3)

Asphyxious II – What once was an automatic include into this army with the ability to go incorporal and a garunteed +2 MAT and charge range against the caster is, now still an autoinclude. When it comes to getting work done on the feat turn, nothing quite sings so beautiful as your full 8 man unit of Knights backed up by the 2 Bane Thralls dropping dark shroud on the targets. I’ve been able to swing many games just by having the feat exist with banes on the board. With Parasite to up their damage, Clouds to protect on the way in, and Excarnate to make more once the Biles are out of the picture, Asphyxious II brings the whole package for the Bane Knights.  (5)

Asphyxious III – The Return of Scything Touch is welcomed, but the loss of Parasite is not. Him and Targarus make them very dangerous to high defense troops by using Carnage to bump their MAT to 10. Ashen Veil bumps their defense up a bit, but is better off on a higher defense unit. (4)

Deneghra I – Again, What does Deneghra I not make better? Crippling Grasp and her feat makes them MAT 10 and P+S 15 weaponmasters. Tartarus and an errant Bane Thrall can push it to 12 MAT and 17 weaponmaster, and man can that trash some models. Ghost Walk does nothing for them specifically, but their innate Ghostly makes it so that she has at least two units in the list that are going to be ignoring terrain every turn. (4)

Deneghra II – Curse of Shadows and her feat allows the enemy nowhere to escape. Being able to ignore free strikes, terrain and a single unit for positioning in order to line up the strike on the following turn is brilliant. Ghostly paired with Marked for Death means that you can charge through buildings and from the other side of the forest, all while moving your MAT up a step. At her very best, she can make the Knights an effective MAT 13 with Tartarus around, and most things that are that high on the curve to necessitate a 13 don’t have the armor to withstand the assault. If you really manage to pull it off, the Feat+Marked for Death+ Dark Banishment setup can really mess peoples day up. (3)

Skarre I – Along with Asphyxious II, Skarre was the original MKI poster child for Knights. With her Sac Strike going off of modified armor, her feat allowed a 12, no LOS required Boostable pow 21 damage roll. There weren’t many casters that could survive that type of damage. Now, Sac Strike might as well not be on her card, but the Knights still him with her as well as any. P+S 16 weaponmasters at ARM 21 with Vengeance and Ghostly are nothing to be laughed at. With Dark Guidance to buffer out their MAT, its hard to leave home without ’em (4)

Skarre II – Skarre II really brings only a few things to the party for the Knights. Without any armor debuff, she has little to offer them beyond Black Spot. Now, that one unit will go into the dirt like a mole, but you can accomplish the same thing with ranged attacks and not risk the Melee. Death ward is nice, as Knights with ARM 18 can shrug off even some of the harder anti-infantry measures out there, but its generally on the Deathjack or the Leviathan to keep it safe.   (3)

Goreshade I – Goreshade provides nothing to any of his troops. On the one hand, that means that can’t help them go from good to great. On the other, though his feat means you’ve got Tartarus along, and Knights go great with Tartarus. They are also pretty self sufficient, with terrain mitigation and the ability to punish the enemy with Vengance.  (3)

Gorhshade II – Goreshade II loves him some Banes and is almost never without his good buddy Tartarus. with Occultation to provide stealth, Curse of Shadows to aid in the damage output, and Sudden Death for stupid shenanigans, he’s got the support package to get them their alive and in one piece. I tend to go with the double Bane Thralls, but they are always a consideration.  (4)

Goreshade III – Occultation is back again, and Mockery of Life on these guys just makes Vengeance that much sweeter. Scything Touch adds a touch of a damage swing, to push them over the edge. I don’t know where they will sit in his list eventually, but I expect it will be a constant consideration.  (2)

Terminus – Who doesn’t like tough Bane Knights? who doesn’t like tough Bane Knights that can take a bullet for Terminus and then trigger vengeance along the way? Oh, right, your opponent. While Terminus has almost no spell support to offer any of his infantry, what the Bane Knights bring for him is worth the price of admission. (4)

The Witch Coven – Occultation‘s been talked about. I should just remove it from further discussions about her. Veil of Mists, however, combined with Ghostly’s immunity to free strikes, really hits home in manners of maneuverability. Curse of Shadows, as well, allows them both maneuverability and hitting power. Stygian Abyss, while usually an assassination tool, can be really good at letting the Knights drop a Circle or Legion heavy that is blocking the road. The feat, as well, enables the Knights to get close enough to do the dirty work, and its something I really appreciate.  (4)

Mortenebra – Mortenebra should be right up there with Goreshade I so I get this done with all at once. Nothing other than the feat is good for the troops in her army.They’ve again got the self sufficient theme going on, but she’s generally going to want to bring more Jacks or jack support.   (2)

Venethrax – Yes, here is my boy. A specific timing interaction makes the Bane Knights one of his best infantry choices. Vengeance and the resulting attacks happen before both replenishment of Focus and the conversion of souls to focus, so Soul Harvester to get  a ton of work done here. I bring them to every game.  (5)

Scaverous – Scaverous’s Winters Grasp and Telekenesis shinanigans can really turn the Bane Knights to 11, but there are so many things he wants to take with him that its generally hard to fit anything not specifically dedicated to his feat. None the less, these guys can do a very respectable job with him, and I keep meaning to fit them into a list somehow.  (3)

Bane 4

Best Caster: Asphyxious II. His feat is still pure gold for them, and the threat of that feat going off and removing one or more of your valuable models from the board at one go is no joke.

Worst Caster: Mortenebra. The unit, while good, costs to much for her to really get use out of them. They would still be useful and you’d probably be happy you brought them, but then again, you could have had a Leviathan.

Results: Boy, Bane Knights are pretty bad ass. They take the typical Cryx approach of average or lesser stats, but when you add the Warcaster in to bring the enemy down to their level, they really shine bright. With Tartarus to support them, and with Tartarus I find it hard to leave the Thralls at home. That is a large chunk of points, though. 25 can be a whole game all by itself. When it gets rolling, though, there isn’t much out there that can really give em a run for their money.

Bane Knights: 8/10