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"Those things are pretty nasty. Next time, you should try not to let them splash you!"
Baneling SC2 head1

A baneling

The baneling is an explosive zerg strain, evolved from the zergling. It is a suicide bomber unit.


Baneling SC2 Art2

A baneling

Banelings are created from zerglings following a brief chrysalis phase. In the new form, the zergling's claws shrivel and become withered, and a swollen sac filled with volatile chemicals grows out of its back.[1] The zergling's skin is repurposed, stretching over newly formed growths while its bone plates soften to hold bulbous, pulsating acid sacs in place. Though the remains of the carapace offer no real protection, they allow for unhindered delivery of the baneling's payload. The digestive and reproductory tracts are assimilated as nutrients to accelerate the process, and make room for the fleshy, mutated adrenal glands. These are re-purposed to produce and store large quantities of highly corrosive acid.

Baneling SC2 Cncpt1

A baneling

Because of its mass, the baneling's legs are thicker than the zergling's, in order to stabilize itself. Its feet are replaced by sharp spikes that allow them to navigate rough terrain, albeit at a slower pace. The Swarm was able to increase the baneling's speed despite these imperfections. Yet due to their bloated nature, banelings are barely able to walk. They have been observed to tuck into a ball and roll. Banelings also possess a rudimentary sonar system—Dominion scientists have theorized that this is a degeneration of the zergling's complex optical structure. This system consists of a transmitter in the center of the baneling's skull, along with two evenly spaced receivers to the sides. The transmitter emits pulses that map the baneling's surrounding area, and echoes back to the receiver, feeding the baneling with a continuous stream of spatial information.

As Soronan mold is part of banelings' genetic structure, they are capable of surviving on minimal oxygen and moisture.

When a baneling gets close enough to an enemy, it triggers a reaction within its volatile chemical payload, causing the creature to explode with a shower of searing acid. The explosion destroys the baneling but also inflicts terrible damage to its enemies,[2] highly effective against both structures and ground forces. In fact, a clutch of them is capable of wiping out a group of vehicles and infantry in the blink of an eye. The banelings' lethality is further enhanced by the zerg predilection for burrowing. An apparently safe area can soon turn into a deathtrap as these monstrosities erupt beneath their foes, giving enemies virtually no time to react.[1]


Baneling SC2 Art1

Banelings attacking Cask

Banelings were first observed during the Siege of Cask on Sorona, in 2503.[3] Its defenders held out against the zerg long enough so that it came to pass that only minor breeds such as zerglings continued to be spawned to be sent into battle.[4] However, queens drove the development of a new strain,[1] via zerglings incorporating an acidic native mold into themselves.[4] These new banelings were thus sent against Cask, their spray of acid destroying its defenses and eradicating the terrans present.[4]

During the same year,[5] when other terrans encountered the baneling for the first time they thought it was a mutation of a previously unknown genus rather than a morph of the zergling. The baneling was duly added to the list of threats and scientists began an effort to develop chemical rounds to detonate banelings prematurely.[1]

In 2505, Abathur used the baneling strain as a base for a mutation upgrade to the mutalisk, allowing its glaive wurms to explode on impact.[6]

Game UnitEdit

Baneling SC2 DevRend3



Suicide unit


Volatile Burst



Sight range



25 Minerals Terran SC1


25 ZergVespene SC2 Game1


0.5 ZergSupply SC2 Icon1

Build time

14 Time SC2 Game1

Evolves from



Baneling nest




3.5 (4.13 with Centrifugal Hooks) CentrifugalHooks SC2 Game1









Collision radius


Hit points

30 (+5 health with Centrifugal Hooks) CentrifugalHooks SC2 Game1

Hit point



0 SC2ZergCarapace

  • Biological
  • Ground
Volatile Burst

20 (+15 vs light)RipwaveMissiles SC2 Icon1

  • Ground

0.59 (can only be used once)




+2/+4 vs light SC2ZergMelee

Attack Buildings


  • Ground

0.833 (can only be used once)




+5 SC2ZergMelee



Kill score




Banelings are relatively small units that slowly move around the battlefield and kill opponents with a low-damage suicide attack.

Banelings do not roll[7] unless they have their speed upgrade.[8]

It is strong against marines, zealots, and zerglings. It is weak against thors, stalkers, and roaches. Siege tanks are also very effective against banelings while in Siege Mode. High templar with psi storm can also obliterate tightly packed baneling groups, while the sentry can use Force Field to prevent the banelings from getting into melee range.

Due to not having an armor type, banelings will not take bonus damage from virtually any unit.


Banelings are strong against melee units[9] and weak buildings such as bunkers, supply depots, and photon cannons[10] but are weak against ranged weapons due to their low hit points.[11] They are designed to counter zealots, zerglings, and un-upgraded marines.[12][13]

Groups of banelings do not attack individual targets with overkill, they will only detonate as many of themselves as needed to destroy one target before moving on to the next (or waiting for new orders). When assaulting multiple targets banelings can transition from a just-slain target to a still living one in a fraction of a second.

The baneling's splash attack does not injure friendly units.[14][15][16][17][18] It does full damage within the splash radius.[12][13][17]

If a baneling is killed, it explodes, dealing splash damage around it.

Banelings won't accidentally target buildings when ordered to attack units.[19]

A burrowed baneling can have unburrow set to autocast, giving it an attack ability similar to that of a spider mine.


Explode SC2 Icon1

Banelings can be ordered to detonate, instantly dealing damage around them, even if burrowed. The ability is not smartcast.

AttackStructure SC2 Icon1
Attack Structure

Banelings can be directed to destroy buildings, dealing 80 base damage (+5 per upgrade) and ignoring building armor. The ability can be "autocast", causing banelings to ignore units and only attack structures.


Many zerg ground units may burrow, become invisible and may be revealed primarily by detectors, and may not move or attack. Exceptions are the roach, which may move while burrowed, the infestor, which may move and cast Infested Terran,[20] and the baneling, which can detonate while burrowed.

Some units can unburrow via autocast, causing them to emerge and attack when an enemy moves into range.

The ability is not smartcast.

Hotkey R
Cost 2 seconds to burrow, 1 second to unburrowTime SC2 Game1
Purchased from Hatchery/Lair/Hive
Hotkey B
Cost 100 Minerals Terran SC1 100 Gas Terran SC1 71Time SC2 Game1
Required Lair (WoL)
Hatchery (HotS/LotV)


Purchased from Evolution chamber
Hotkey M
Level 1
Cost 100 Minerals Terran SC1 100 Gas Terran SC1 114Time SC2 Game1
Level 2
Cost 150 Minerals Terran SC1 150 Gas Terran SC1 136Time SC2 Game1
Required Lair
Level 3
Cost 200 Minerals Terran SC1 200 Gas Terran SC1 157Time SC2 Game1
Required Hive
  • +1 bonus to armor per level for zerg ground units.
Purchased from Evolution chamber
Hotkey C
Level 1
Cost 150 Minerals Terran SC1 150 Gas Terran SC1 114Time SC2 Game1
Level 2
Cost 225 Minerals Terran SC1 225 Gas Terran SC1 136Time SC2 Game1
Required Lair
Level 3
Cost 300 Minerals Terran SC1 300 Gas Terran SC1 157Time SC2 Game1
Required Hive
CentrifugalHooks SC2 Game1
Centrifugal Hooks
  • Increases the speed of banelings.
  • +Increase the health of banelings by +5.
  • Causes banelings to roll instead of walk.
Purchased from Baneling nest
Hotkey C
Cost 150 Minerals Terran SC1 150 Gas Terran SC1 79Time SC2 Game1
Required Lair

Heart of the Swarm CampaignEdit

Baneling SC2-HotS Story1

The baneling upgrade screen

In the campaign of Heart of the Swarm, banelings may be evolved into either splitters or hunters after completing the required evolution mission. At Level 20, Kerrigan can use a Spawn Banelings ability to instantly create 6 banelings.


SC2 CorrosiveAcid Icon
Corrosive Acid

Doubles damage inflicted to primary target. Splash damage is unchanged.

Damage output of baneling acids low. Room for improvement. Acidic compounds can be altered. Mutation of production cells within membrane of acid sacs is required. Would increase acid potency two-fold, deliver significant damage to target.

Campaign Acquisition
SC2 Rupture Icon

Increases explosion radius by 50%.

Current membrane toughness of acid sacs too low. Can restructure membranes, thicken. Will allow acid sacs to carry increased volume, improved radius of spray upon detonation. Will decrease likelihood that enemy survives inevitable rupture.

Campaign Acquisition
SC2 RegenerativeAcid Icon
Regenerative Acid

Baneling explosion heals allied units and structures.

Discovery. Successful mutation of baneling acid spray, infused with debriding properties of swarm queen's transfusion. Upon detonation, acid spray dissolves necrotic tissue from injured zerg within radius. Allows wounded zerg to regenerate quickly.

Campaign Acquisition

Co-op MissionsEdit

Banelings are exclusive to Zagara in Co-op Missions. In addition to normal production from zerglings, Zagara can upgrade baneling nests to periodically spawn banelings over time.


CentrifugalHooks SC2 Game1
Centrifugal Hooks

Increases baneling's movement speed.

Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Initially available.
Purchased from Baneling nest
Hotkey C
Cost 100 Minerals Terran SC1 100 ZergVespene SC2 Game1 60Time SC2 Game1
SC2 CorrosiveAcid Icon
Corrosive Acid

Increases baneling's attack damage to primary target by 100%. Splash damage remains the same.

Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Reach Zagara Level 11.
Purchased from Baneling nest
Hotkey A
Cost 150 Minerals Terran SC1 150 ZergVespene SC2 Game1 90Time SC2 Game1
SC2 Rupture Icon

Increases baneling's splash damage radius by 50%.

Campaign Acquisition
Unlock Reach Zagara Level 11.
Purchased from Baneling nest
Hotkey R
Cost 150 Minerals Terran SC1 150 ZergVespene SC2 Game1 90Time SC2 Game1


Baneling SC2 DevRend1

A baneling (early render)

Baneling SC2 DevRend2

A baneling (early render)

Banelings are a powerful economy-raiding force; by using overlords to transport them into an enemy base, they can quickly devastate the workers. However, a planetary fortress is well suited to destroy the banelings.[11] Use of raiding is recommended even until late game.[21]

Banelings should be mixed with zerglings when facing ranged opponents because they become difficult to focus fire; even one baneling escaping the fire can destroy a mass of ranged units.[22]

Banelings have low hit points so are best used in ambushes.[23] They can burrow, attacking like mines,[22] but can also attack from other hidden areas, such as behind trees, to accomplish the ambush.[23]

Banelings are very useful against marines and zealots, even into the late game,[21] and generally dominate units such as zerglings in combat, but zerglings can come out ahead with micro.[24] Banelings can be defeated by marines equipped with stimpacks or defended by marauders.[25]

As they do splash damage, banelings are effective against cloaked units. For instance, a group of dark templar attacking a hatchery can be eliminated by banelings that target the hatchery itself,[26] or by commanding the baneling to explode on the spot.[27]

A baneling/roach combo can be very powerful against terrans. The roaches will soak incoming damage, making it easier for the banelings to reach their targets.[28]

A baneling levitated by Anti-Gravity explodes when destroyed,[29] dealing damage to air units. This can open up new tactics in team games.[30]


Main article: Baneling/Development

Heroes of the StormEdit

Heroes DevLog2

The following section contains information from Heroes of the Storm and is not canon to StarCraft continuity

Banelings can be spawned by Zagara in Heroes of the Storm.[31] They also replace Tychus's Shredder Grenades in his Infested Tychus skin.[32]

Banelings can be spawned on the map Braxis Holdout, and are part of the zerg attack waves that are sent against opponents.[32]

Special Baneling StrainsEdit

Baneling HotS Game2

A baneling


"There ain’t no party like my Baneling’s tea party! Hey! Ho!"

- Daxxarri(src)

Baneling SC2 Phys1

Baneling plushie

In a poll conducted by Blizzard Entertainment, banelings were voted as throwing "the best parties in the Koprulu Sector."[33]

The baneling is often nicknamed "bling" in online culture.

A baneling/zergling plushie was available at BlizzCon 2013.[34]

A baneling pet in World of Warcraft is available for those who purchased the digitial deluxe or collectors edition of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm.[35]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 2008-05-23. Baneling. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2008-05-23.
  2. Baneling, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2014-08-14
  3. September 27, 2011. "Timeline." StarCraft: Ghost: Spectres. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). pp. 393-416. ISBN 978-1439-10938-0.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Dayton, Cameron. "Broken Wide." (March 5, 2010). Blizzard Entertainment. Broken Wide Accessed 2010-03-05.
  5. Kenyon, Nate. (September 27, 2011). StarCraft: Ghost: Spectres. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 978-1439-10938-0.
  6. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Evolution pit units (in English). 2013.
  7. Dustin Browder, Robert Simpson, Matt Cooper, David Kim. 2008-12-19. Battle Report (2). Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2009-04-16.
  8. Yes. In the current build, Banelings are no longer roll but once they get the movement speed upgrade, they have the rolling animation. Cydra. 2009-04-22. Do the Banelings roll with the speed upgrade? StarCraft II General Discussion Forums. Accessed 2009-04-22.
  9. Karune. 2007-11-26. >Karune, can you please discuss new zerg pics. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2007-11-26.
  10. Blizzcon Video Archive (Sonkie vs Yellow). Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2008-10-19.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Karune. 2007-11-26. Baneling Drop. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2007-11-26.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Xordiah. 2008-04-11. Discussion of the Month April: The Baneling. StarFeeder. Accessed 2008-04-12.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Karune. 2008-04-13. Discussion of the Month April: The Baneling. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2008-04-13.
  14. I can confirm you that exploding Banelings do not damage allied units: both your units and those of your allies are not affected at all by the acid explosion. Zhydaris. 2010-01-19. Question on Baneling splash damage/friendlys. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2010-01-19.
  15. @Crazy_dave
    At the moment there's no friendly fire associated to the Explode ability.
    The baneling explode exactly when you press the key, no targeting needed, no delay.

    Yes, we've been following the thread you're referring to and we're quite interested in the discussion going on there.
    I suggest you to continue posting your suggestions because your opinion matters to us, even if we don't always reply to every single thread.

    Here's one occasion where I think you might need smart casting. Let's assume you have 20 Zerglings currently selected, you don't have a lot of vespene gas and you feel the need for 5 or so Banelings. Without smart casting you'll have to manually select 5 of these little dodgy creatures and then morph them, or else you'll be mutating all of the 20 Zerglings into Banelings (and deplete your vespene reserves in the meanwhile).
    With smart casting on the other hand you'll be able to mutate 5 of them in a matter of seconds without deselecting them, just by pressing the key 5 times in a row.

    Obviously this is just an example, but I feel that smart casting has a role to play here.
    Zhydaris. 2009-12-15. Siege mode. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2009-12-15.
  16. Quote:
    But Banelings splash damage doesn't hurt your own units right?
    No, it doesn't hurt your own units. Karune, Olivestrip. 2009-03-16. Are Banelings going to be visible? (post 11) StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2009-03-16.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Karune. 2008-04-16. StarCraft II Q&A - Batch 35. StarCraft II General Discussion Forums. Accessed 2008-04-16.
  18. Karune. 2007-11-26. Baneling's Explosion: Friendly Fire or Not?. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2007-11-26.
  19. Karune. 2009-02-18. StarCraft II Q&A - Batch 49. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2009-02-18.
  20. Blizzard Entertainment Staff. 2010-07-24. Infestor. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2010-07-24.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Zerglings are always useful in late game due to their speed and ability to surround enemies. Banelings too are especially useful against both Zealots and Marines, even with their upgrades, and thus will always be useful to counter them. Additionally, Banelings are always useful in raiding, which should be done throughout the entirety of a StarCraft II game. Karune. 2009-03-16. Teir 1 Unit in Late Game. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2009-03-16.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Banelings are visible and still very effective. When they are grouped with Zerglings, it is hard to focus fire several Banelings approaching at the same time. Even one Baneling getting through can be devastating to mass Marine armies or groups of Zealots.

    Burrowed Banelings are also like mines, deadly when used as an ambush on unsuspecting forces.
    Karune. 2009-03-16. Are Banelings going to be visible? (post 2) StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2009-03-16.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Pardo, Rob and Zetaras Xal'Kurat. 2008-06-29. WorldWide Invitational 2008: Pictures, Presentations, Videos (StarCraft II Panel: Evolving Design) SC2 Blog. Accessed 2008-06-30.
  24. The tier 2 battle continues with Banelings that can dominate Zerglings, but with micro, Zerglings can actually come out ahead in Zergling vs. Baneling battles. Karune. 2008-08-18. StarCraft II Q&A - Batch 43. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2008-08-18.
  25. Zarhym. 2010-03-12. #BlizzChat Developer Chat on Twitter – 3/12. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2010-03-13.
  26. 2007-17-11, StarCraft II Q&A - Batch 46. Karune. Accessed on 2008-18-11
  27. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. (Activision Blizzard) (in English). July 27, 2010
  28. Hammy. 2009-04-04. ESL Finals Paris StarCraft II Gameplay Impressions. StarCraft Legacy. Accessed 2009-05-18.
  29. Exclusive Karune's answers for Accessed 2008-06-03.
  30. Karune. 2008-05-07. StarCraft II Q&A - Batch 37. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2008-05-07.
  31. 2014-05-30, Blizzard Says Heroes of the Storm Is "Much Closer to a World of Warcraft Experience". Gamespot, accessed on 2014-05-31
  32. 32.0 32.1 Blizzard Entertainment. Heroes of the Storm (Blizzard Entertainment) (in English). June 2, 2015
  33. 2011-07-16, Poll: Partyin’, Partyin’, Yeah!. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2011-07-29
  34. 2013-10-18, (Updated) BlizzCon® Store Online Sale Open Now Through November 9. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2013-10-20
  35. Heart of the Swarm Collector's Edition, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2012-12-03

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