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. 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, 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.
Due to their bloated nature, banelings are barely able to walk. They have been observed to tuck into a ball and roll.
Banelings were first observed during the Siege of Cask in 2503. 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. However, queens drove the development of a new strain, via zerglings incorporating native mold into themselves. These new banelings were thus sent against Cask, their spray of acid destroying its defenses and eradicating the terrans present.
During the same year, 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.
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.
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, who may move while burrowed, the infestor, who may move and cast Infested Terran, 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.
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. Use of raiding is recommended even until late game.
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.
Banelings have low hit points so are best used in ambushes. They can burrow, attacking like mines, but can also attack from other hidden areas, such as behind trees, to accomplish the ambush.
Banelings are very useful against marines and zealots, even into the late game, and generally dominate units such as zerglings in combat, but zerglings can come out ahead with micro. Banelings can be defeated by marines equipped with stimpacks or defended by marauders.
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, or by commanding the baneling to explode on the spot.
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.
A baneling levitated by Anti-Gravity explodes when destroyed, dealing damage to air units. This can open up new tactics in team games.
↑Dustin Browder, Robert Simpson, Matt Cooper, David Kim. 2008-12-19. Battle Report (2). Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2009-04-16.
↑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?Battle.net StarCraft II General Discussion Forums. Accessed 2009-04-22.
↑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.
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. Battle.net StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2009-12-15.
↑ 21.021.1Zerglings 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. Battle.net StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2009-03-16.
↑ 22.022.1Banelings 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)Battle.net StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2009-03-16.
↑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. Battle.net StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2008-08-18.