Banebrood are a race whose origins are argued over and shrouded in mystery, but it seems clear that they are hybrids of humans and beasts. Although their enemies might consider them evil, the Banebrood themselves have no use for such concepts; they divide others into natural and unnatural.
“Natural” to them means embracing their primal violent inner-beast and living by the law of the jungle. This is good.
“Unnatural” to Banebrood means corrupted, tainted and living in self-denial, which all “civilized” races do.
All Banebrood possess a psychic connection to the Urghast, which is both a universal, form of primal energy (which drives them into frothing aggression) and the personification of the Primal Beast.
General Gaming Concept:
The rules and playstyle of the Banebrood are based on their concept – they are generally fast, aggressive melee fighters without a lot of sophistication.
Subfaction 1 – Beastspawn. This subfaction has the man-beast models. They are fast and offensive with the option for using plagues and mutation magic
Subfaction 2 – Reavers. Horde or elite barbarian warriors with cannibal abilities and tactics.
Speed – Banebrood are overall the fastest faction in the game. The Beastspawn’s subfaction ability gives them a longer charge range and some units can move normal speed across difficult terrain.
The Reaver Tribesmen have advanced deployment. In general, Banebrood tend to be light and medium infantry models, meaning they can move more often than heavy infantry.
Additionally, Magic can allow them to increase their movement value and become light infantry.
So for example, Maldire Mongrels with Long Legs spell can move 20 inches per round and charge 16 inches. Or the Gorelord with Long Legs can move 25 inches and charge 19 inches.
Offensiveness in melee – All Banebrood have average to very good melee stats and rules. In fact most of their abilities and tactics give bonuses for melee. Even the cheap Maldire Mongrals can make 3 attacks when they charge.
The Guthackers have an attack which allows them to target several models with the same attack. Skulleaters get extra free movement and attacks when they kill models they charge.
Plagues – Banebrood are not just boring melee troops to throw at the enemy, they have three unique aspects which make them unique, the first of which is Plagues. Some models carry horrific diseases and are able to infect other Banebrood troops with these plagues. Fortunately these infected Banebrood models are immune to the effects of plagues but become carriers of the disease and can easily infect enemy models they are in melee with.
Each plague has a unique effect. Using plagues requires a little thoughtful setup at the beginning of the game but after that they remain active at all times.
Mutations – the second unique aspect of the Banebrood is Mutation Magic. Banebrood magic is very much about buffing. Long Legs increases MOV, Bugstalk Eyes increases DEF, Exoskeleton increases ARM etc. There are also some horrific de-buffing spells to use against enemies as well as some more exotic mutations proving added abilities. Each Mutation spell can also be made permanent! And in addition to that, all mutation spells can be upgraded to a better version of the spell. So there is a lot of flexibility and bussing to be done, but in general the buffing is to make them more offensive in melee.
Cannibalism – all Banebrood eat other races, including Reavers. This enables them to consume life force of their victims, gaining them extra ACT or horrifying their enemies.
The cheap unit of Reaver Tribesmen also have the ability “Eaten Alive”, which enables them to overcome enemy models in base contact, knocking them down and causing direct damage to the enemy as they literally eat them alive. This is great against enemies with high ARM or high DEF. Gangs of these cheap freaks can bring down warlords and elite enemies without even making an attack.
Fragility – while not exactly fragile, most Banebrood tend to have less armor than other factions and no defensive tactics. In fact there are very few Defence or Armor buffs in the Banebrood faction. Naturally their elite troops like the Skulleaters and Guthackers have better armor.
This means their cheaper troops tend to die pretty fast. That is not a problem if they get to cause some damage first, and they usually do because of their speed.
Lack of Missile Troops – So far Banebrood have basically no effective missile troops, just a few here and there, like the Cyclops Baleful Eye attack, or the Ursapines spines or the Bloodgut Ravager’s bow. The speed of the Banebrood tends to makes this a minor issue, but you can be sure to take casualties before you get to grips with Wyldfolk and Mortans.
Little Offensive Magic – most magic is focussed on buffing, and there are no direct “fireball” type of attack spells in the Banebrood bag. Magic range is also not great.
Moderate Leadership – Banebrood are not cowardly scum like the Gnolls subfaction, but they are not up there with the bravest warriors either.
Immunity – Undead and non-living models are immune to your Plagues, Fear and Horror.
Synergies and Complexity
Synergies – tactical synergies between models tend to be fairly basic, but more complex than Trolloth (who are also a pure melee subfaction). Using Banebrood is largely about strategic placement of models, speed, buffing with spells, plagues and cannibalism, and maximizing offensive power with a few tactics and abilities of the warlords.
Complexity – Banebrood rank as medium in terms of complexity to use. There is quite a lot to this faction when you consider all their tactics, abilities, spells and plagues, but none of it is complex.
Why should I collect Banebrood?
They are incredibly fun to play! You can literally put your opponent in fear with all their offensive buffs and insane speed as they cross the board to cause havoc!
Banebrood have awesome creatures like the cyclops, Chimera and Ursapine.
Although Primarily an offensive melee warband, there are many of different ways to use them (see below warbands).
What Types of Warbands can I build?
Elite Melee Warband – Focus on Guthackers and Chimera with a Shaman or two to buff them up even more! This is a super-killer melee warband.
Superfast Melee Horde – build your force around cheap Maldire Mongrels. Buff them with plagues and spells like Long Legs, and lead them to battle with the Gorelord, using his tactic Howling Mad to double your troops charge bonus!). This is a massive and super-fast warband, moving up to 20 inches per round.
Monster Warband – 3 Ursapines, 2 Cyclopses, 2 Chimeras a Stagotaur and a Gorelord / Wave-2 Baleking. This is a small, deadly warband of creatures.
Defensive Warband – It’s definitely unusual for Banebrood but it is possible. Deploy two units of Skulleaters led by the Reaver Tyrant, and buff them with Bugstalk Eyes, Exoskeleton and Spiked Horror, plus Black Plague. In addition, their subfaction ability allows them to heal up to 6X D3 damage every round if you want. This is a truly hard warband.
Mutant Madness Warband – With a Bisotaur Shaman as your warlord and a Fallow Shaman characters you can create a huge number of permanent mutations and upgraded mutations. This works especially well with the Guthackers (who give spell-casters a special bonus). With this combination you can cause massive crippling spell effects on the enemy in addition to buffing your own troops.
Cannibal Carnage Horde – Use the Reaver Tyrant warlord to lead a warband of Reaver subfaction. You can take up to 40 Reaver Tribesmen in a 500 point warband, then use their Eaten Alive tactic to take down enemies. Not only is it awesome against hard models, it also heals D3 damage to the Reaver Tribesmen. Together with healing from their subfaction ability, the enemy will find it difficult to kill 40 models who all have regenerating abilities.
Plague Master Warband – Take a Pestbringer, lots of Mongrels and lead them with the Bisotaur Shaman. Spread Bubonic plague to your horde of Mongrels and engage the enemy. Cast Viral Dominance on the enemy and watch them all fail their affliction and expiry tests for the diseases. With most enemy models suffering Bubonic Plague, they will be losing D3+1 life-points every round.
Beastspawn Warhorde Warband – this is an intermediate option between elite Guthackers and horde, and represents a professional raid or small incursion featuring 1-2 units of Goreguard. Add a small Guthacker unit for heavy-hacking and a small Mongrels unit to use as bait/flankers, then you have a very solid melee warband of professional soldier brood. Lead them with the Balelking and your recipe for mayhem is complete.
General tips for using Banebrood
When they charge, they normally cause massive damage, but beware of counter charges and long drawn-out melees.
Banebrood usually perform best when working as a large mob in close proximity to their warlord.