Starcraft 2 Beta New Unit Spotlight: Zerg Baneling

The Zerg Baneling is a new specialized ground unit in Starcraft 2. It is a kamikaze bomber type of unit much like the Scourge from the first Starcraft, except it is on the ground. This opens up new tactical possibilities and makes the Baneling more versatile and deadly than the Scourge.

The Basics

Once you have built a Baneling Nest, Zerglings can be morphed into Banelings for 25 minerals and 25 gas each . With only 30 hit points, 0 armor, and a Move Speed of Normal when off creep, Banelings are fragile and slow. Banelings should never be sent alone, as they need other units with them for protection and to draw enemy fire so that the Banelings can survive long enough to hit their target.

The Baneling’s attack against units is called Volatile Burst. They explode when reaching melee range, doing 20 base damage with a bonus of 15 extra damage against Light units. With this bonus against Light units and a splash radius of 2.2, Banelings are great for taking out clumps of light units like Zealots and Marines.

Banelings can also be used against buildings with their Attack Structure ability. This ability does 80 damage to a building, plus you can right-click the ability so that the Baneling will automatically explode when next to a building. This is great for busting through a walled off Terran choke-point.

Available Upgrades For The Baneling

At the Baneling Nest you can research the Centrifugal Hooks upgrade. This increases movement speed, which definitely helps you to be more successful hitting targets before your Banelings can be shot down. At the Evolution Chamber you can get 3 levels of upgrades for Melee Attacks and Ground Carapace. Each Melee Attacks upgrade adds 2 base damage and 2 bonus damage against Light units to the Volatile Burst attack, and 5 damage to the Attack Structure ability. Each Ground Carapace upgrade adds 1 armor.

Like all Zerg ground units, Banelings can use the Burrow upgrade to burrow underground. You can press the X button at any time to explode your Banelings, even when they are burrowed. This means you can set traps for your opponent, and lead him right into them. When his units walk over your burrowed Banelings,  you can instantly explode them to put a large dent in his force or even wipe it out completely.

Baneling Strengths

Banelings are best at doing lots of instant splash damage, especially to Light units. They are also great at busting through choke-points that have been walled off with buildings. You can do the most damage when you have the element of surprise, so it’s a good idea to run distractions so that your opponent can’t see your Banelings coming.

Baneling Weaknesses

As stated earlier, the Banelings are very fragile with their low hit points and no armor. They can be easily and quickly destroyed by ranged units, so you must be careful and pick your spots when using Banelings.

Best Uses Of The Zerg Baneling

Banelings are best used as wall breakers and to take out groups of Light units. If you can get Banelings into your opponent’s mineral line, then you can almost instantly wipe out all of his workers. There are two indirect ways to do this – one way would be transporting them in your Overlords once you get the upgrade and then drop them right on your opponent’s workers. The other way is to spawn Nydus worms in your base and your opponent’s base, and then send your Banelings and other units in to wreak havoc.

To sum it up, Banelings are a specialized unit that is strongest in the early game, but can still make an impact in other parts of the game.