"IT IS THE BEEEEEINNNBLEEEEHHDDDEEEE!"
The Baneblade is a big fucking Imperial tank in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, known generally for an impressive arsenal (OF GUNS), and disappearing en masse. Besides looking totally kickass, it stomps a lot of ass too. It is supposedly one of the oldest and largest tank designs used by the Imperium, despite that it's actually medium-sized according to the old Epic fluff. Then again, the "big" tanks in Epic were closer to moving, gun-mounting cathedrals. This is an actual tank. A manly tank. The manly tank.
The Baneblade first appeared in the Space Marine edition of Epic, where it was the Imperial Guard's standard super-heavy tank (it says a lot about the universe that there's such a thing as a "standard" one). This version was armed with a turret-mounted Battle Cannon (with the same stats as the one on the Leman Russ Battle Tank, despite the turret being the size of a Leman Russ), two Lascannons, and a bunch of dice worth of "Bolters" to deal with swarms. Despite obviously having a big gun on the lower hull, there was no representation of it in the tank's rules. Fluff described the hull as the size of a city block.
Being a standard version, there were variants at that point, and only three:
- The Stormhammer was effectively a moving fortress, and the precise armament is hard to say given the odd way the game treated "Bolters;" anything from an officer's Bolt Pistols to both a Leman Russ' Heavy Bolters was one attack die with the same stats. This means this particular monster might have up to 24 Heavy Bolters (or alternately 12 bolt pistols) in addition to two turrets with two battle cannons each. Basically, you park it in a place and then forget about that place, since it is now Defended.
- The Shadowsword was one of two Titan-killing variants, armed with two Lascannons and some "Bolters" like the Baneblade, but with the rear hull built up to mount a fixed Volcano Cannon, a giant laser weapon normally mounted on Titans.
- The Stormblade was a second variant of the fixed-weapon hull, and proof of how incredibly fucking HUEG the old Epic fluff made the Baneblade chassis; no fruity Lascannons for this one, the sponson weapons were a rack of missiles and a fucking Battle Cannon. Your main gun was a Titan-grade Plasma Blastgun with a Hellion anti-Titan missile slung on the top. Potential drivers had to produce written proof that they were bad enough dudes to save the President before they'd even be considered. Forge World makes a Stormblade, but it just sits there (eating an entire sack of dicks) because it knows it will never be cool enough to have a sponson-mounted Battle Cannon.
The Chaos legions have their own version called the Decimator, which is, in fact, an early pre-production model super-heavy tank that would later lead to the development of the Baneblade. It has replaced its bolters with lots and lots of Reaper Autocannons, resulting in it being far nastier against medium armor, though its main cannon is not turreted, meaning the entire tank has to turn to fire it.
Here are a few fun facts about the mighty Baneblade:
- At the time of the Great Crusade, there used to be entire
companiesbattalions of Baneblades (it was described as being the "mainstay" of the Imperial Army). Nowadays, regiments with anywhere near a hundred Baneblades are virtually unheard of, and any Imperial Guard force can count itself lucky to have just one in their possession. The Mechanicus gets a special ability to commission (read - pressgang) crew from guard regiments, using a vague prognostic algorithm to select those that show promise). If a Baneblade gets lost in combat, chances are that the Mechanicus will throw a bitchfit and pull out all stops to recover the hulk. This was the case seven years before the Third Armageddon War, when an entire Imperial Guard Army Group of approximately 30,000 men were deployed to Golgotha to retrieve Yarrick's Fortress of Arrogance and a bit of STC teleporter tech (although guard didn't know about that last part). From two tank battalions, lead by a Shadowsword tank called Angel of the Apocalypse and supported with a full mechanized battalion of elite Kasrkin Storm Troopers, only a pair of tanks and couple of hundred men survived. Rather justified. It was not and that is the point of the novel Gunheads that describes the sorry ordeal. They traded an elite tank force that was desperately needed in Armageddon for Yarrick's precious relic so that some smug general could score some political points. Worse than that, the Baneblade was only a carrot to get the AdMech some meatshields for their Xenos Teleporter Stealing Fun Time. Repairing a Baneblade is easier than making a new one, but trading a full tank army for one is not worth it. This seems to be a constant trope in 40K - sending a large amount of bodies to retrieve one body. See "squads of Space Marines fighting and dying to retrieve the body of an already-dead comrade so their geneseed can be retrieved, even though dozens of other Marines are dying at the same time" (except the gene-seed can produce several Astartes for each of the dead guys). Ehhhh, that is questionable. The epilogue really seems to suggest that the inspiration of the Fortress of Arrogance was enough to have a major if non-quantitative effect that two tank battalions and a full mechanized Kasrkin battalion could not have ultimately contributed to the pivotal battle that led Ghazghkull to leave Armageddon. TL;DR, your mileage may vary. What is important to note is that they sacrificed that elite force plus a Shadowsword to save a Baneblade wreck. So, what did they spend to get the Shadowsword wreck?
- Production of Baneblades continues into the 41st Millennium. Although the STC has been shared with a select few of the countless forgeworlds in the Imperium, the majority of Baneblades still come from Martian forges. As a result, the Macharius Heavy Tank was re-discovered/developed explicitly for armored regiments that needed something meaner than a Leman Russ Battle Tank but needed scientific notation to denote their place on the Baneblade delivery list.
If you need some kind of analogy to more fully appreciate the awe-inspiring/pants-browning nature of Baneblades and their variants, then consider that a vanilla Baneblade is basically an up-armored WWII-era destroyer on treads with a near impossibly good suspension, weight to power ratio, ground pressure ratio, a power plant that will gladly burn any fuel, an advanced fire control suite and yet still is more heart-stopping better/terrifying than that. Or a Landkreuzer P.1000 Ratte that actually worked except you know with 25mm auto-cannons and particle beam "Laser" anti-tank weapons. Either way you think of it, it is an awe-inspiring/terror-inducing weapon.
Also one of the few imperial guard tanks that don't look like they refitted something from the first world war.
Scratch-built Baneblade models with homebrew (read: unfair) rules have been kicking around since roughly ten minutes after it was introduced in Epic, but it wasn't until Forge World was founded that Games Workshop ever considered releasing an official model. The Baneblade then became available as a plastic kit from GW itself, along with a six-option kit for the fixed-hull variants. With the sixth edition re-release of Apocalypse, GW redid the kit again to make all eight of their official variants listed below.
There are currently ten official variants, with the names being a nightmarish jumble of "Bane," "Sword," "Storm," "Shadow," "Blade" and "Hammer" to the point it's difficult remembering which is which. Though the naming conventions may have an in-fluff excuse for their complexity, because apparently since Baneblade and Shadowsword tanks are in such high demand that unscrupulous Forgeworlds without the correct know-how to build them would bodge together a variant "counterfeit" tank and hand them off to unsuspecting Imperial Guard regiments, who are none the wiser when they get "Baneswords" or "Stormblades" instead of what they actually asked for.
The modern Baneblade mounts what's known as a "Baneblade Cannon" (representing belated recognition that the thing in the turret is really huge and so probably not a Battle Cannon) with a coaxial Autocannon, the same two Lascannons it always had, two Twin-linked Heavy Bolters in each sponson and another two on the hull front, and a Demolisher Cannon where the Mysterious Not-A-Weapon was once mounted. This leads to the well-known ELEVEN BARRELS OF HELL, though the vehicle has options for two more sponsons to be mounted (each with another Lascannon and Twin-linked Heavy Bolter) plus a pintle mounted heavy stubber or storm bolter, which raises the bar to eighteen. This option can only be taken on the GW plastic kit, as the old Forge World models were shorter, sillier-looking, and had no place for them. These were given their own pattern in the fluff, and thrust upon an unsuspecting Forge World (the other kind) to make and produce for all eternity. There are two patterns of the Baneblade, the Mars and Lucius pattern. Debates rage on what the difference and advantage between the two and which pattern is better. Whatever is the case the Baneblade excels in its job at being adaptable to different environments.
The Banehammer fields the Tremor Cannon in a forward-set casemate, a weapon that can turn a huge segment of the battlefield into a patch of flying rubble, slowing down the enemy long enough for the rest of the army to destroy them. It can also carry 25 soldiers, and has enough room in the rear deck to let ten of them stand outside and fire. Like all of the variants of the Baneblade, the Banehammer came into being as the solution to a specific tactical need. Like its counterpart tank the Stormlord, it is a dedicated line-breaker, designed to deal with large waves of infantry. Where the Stormlord is exceptionally effective against Orks, the Banehammer is especially effective against the horrendously fast-moving Tyranid swarms and their notoriously resiliant larger bio-forms. The Tremor Cannon that replaces the original Volcano Cannon is a potent weapon adapted from a Squat design: it fires large self-propelled rockets with an incredibly hard tip which are designed to burrow themselves a set distance into the ground before exploding. The underground detonation creates a powerful shockwave much larger than the shell's explosion, which will impede the progress of any unit caught within it. Infantry will be thrown down and shrouded in dirt, while tanks will become bogged down and trapped by the shifting soil. While the Tremor Cannon shell itself does relatively little damage, it is the side effect of the underground explosion that is invaluable, pinning the opponent in place and making him vulnerable to sustained bombardment by the other artillery elements of the Imperial Guard. Additionally, since the Tremor Cannon is much smaller than the original Volcano Cannon, the Banehammer possesses a large empty hold, which can be used to either transport a small platoon of Imperial Guardsmen, or house a cramped but fully functional headquarters equipped with powerful Vox-casters and tactical arrays from which the officer in charge can lead his troops.
The Banesword is a siege tank and one of the most recent derivation from the (in)famous Shadowsword: its Quake Cannon can be fired as a barrage weapon at a massive range to destroy up to 15' away, use this to troll the WFB players on the next table. In all seriousness, The power of the Quake Cannon, combined with the armour of a super-heavy, has established the Banesword as the pinnacle of Imperial siegecraft. Many Imperial commanders would be willing to exchange two regiments for a single Banesword; such is the reputation of this tank. Indeed, Imperial combat doctrine holds an honoured place for the Banesword. It is unknown what the Iron Warriors would think of this, although they will most likely find this tank to be quite convenient in their specialty. Like the Basilisk, the Banesword's place on the battlefield is in the rear areas, obliterating enemy fortifications with long range fire. Like the Basilisk, the Banesword can also be pressed into the frontlines. The Banesword's armoured mass and secondary armament of three sets of twin-linked Heavy Bolters and two Lascannons allow it to perform much more efficiently than a battery of Basilisks when fielded in this way. The Banesword dispenses with the most hampering disadvantage of the Shadowsword, namely having to disengage its engine before firing. However, like all super-heavy tanks based on the Baneblade chassis, it suffers from poor top speed and maneuverability, and the Quake Cannon's fixed setting requires the Banesword to be bodily aimed at its intended target. Additionally, the Quake Cannon is inefficient against enemy Titans, for unlike the Lance beam from a Volcano Cannon, or the massive plasma burst from a Plasma Blastgun, the massive shell will be stopped by any remaining Void Shield, requiring the target's shields to be taken down before the shot is taken with any hope of success.
The Doomhammer is a tank-killer. With a modest 5" blast but stats befitting a tank hunter, the Magma Cannon can reduce all but the largest of titans to scrap. While the magma cannon's range or area of effect are not the equal of the Shadowsword's volcano cannon, it can still deal a death blow to unwary players thinking they are all hotshots for having a Titan on the field. Since shells did not have to be carried and the retrofits did not take up too much space, it can also carry 25 soldiers, and has enough room in the rear deck to let ten of them stand outside and fire. The Doomhammer was first designed as a field conversion of a Banehammer tank during the 1000 year-long siege of the Renegade Forge World of Odana. By replacing the Banehammer's Tremor Cannon with a Magma Cannon the tank gained the ability to severely damage or outright destroy vast swathes of enemy vehicles. During the siege, armoured vehicle attrition rates outstripped supply and thus Imperial commanders had to use replacements for their lost Shadowswords. In a way, you can think of the Doomhammer as the 'shotgun' of the Titan-killing Baneblades as it lacks the overall oomph, it makes up for the aforementioned troop transport and its ability to cover a decent amount of land into molten lava.
The Hellhammer has the same profile as the Baneblade -- it doesn't have a big armored casemate like the others, but rather the same comically-small pivoting turret. It uses the Hellhammer Cannon, which is shorter, but no less deadly than the Baneblade Cannon, and strikes harder but on a smaller area, giving exactly zero fucks about the cover in between. Basically, if you shoot it at a unit, and that unit is not a superheavy, you have killed that unit. And any sense of friendship you may have had with your opponent. The Hellhammer was built to provide short-ranged fire support in difficult conditions (like city fights), hence why the Hellhammer Cannon is used and why it has such a comically short turret. You don't want your tank get stuck trying to cross a T-Junction due to "Overcompensation-Syndrome" now do you? The Hellhammer's primary powerplant is a Phaeton pattern 110 square kilo-cubits Adaptable Thermic Combuster, supported by a Gravis pattern Thaumic Resonance Crystal Generation Unit. Besides the standard Smoke Launchers and Searchlight it can be adapted to mount a Hunter-Killer Missile and/or a pintle-mounted Heavy Stubber/Storm Bolter. Some Hellhammers will replace the side sponsons with extra armour or even add two additional side sponsons, each armed with a Lascannon and twin-linked Heavy Flamers. Most importantly of all, the Hellhammer is fitted with the mighty lasgun - known to vaporize foes of the emperor with a single beam of holy light.
The Shadowsword is a titan-killer. With a D-strength Volcano Cannon. It is considered the sister-tank to the Baneblade and EVERYTHING else outside the two of them are consider cheap knock-off wannabe tanks. Some Forgeworlds simply can't make Volcano Cannons or the complicated targeting computers intended to go with them, so they mount different guns and are sold off to Imperial Guard regiments in place of Shadowswords to fill requisitions. You'll find several variants listed below. "Real" Shadowswords are registered on Mars as soon as they get manufactured, and the Adeptus Mechanicum keeps a paranoid level of attention regarding their wherabouts so they know where they are at all times. Even amongst "dedicated" Shadowsword tanks, there seems to be very little rules difference for telling genuine vehicles apart from counterfeit ones on the tabletop; one might assume that the targeting computer sponsons (granting +1 BS) indicate a authentic Mars registered vehicle. Either way; the Shadowsword has a very good chance of bringing down even the biggest of titans. This guy is your friend. It will be there for you when something absolutely must die and must die now. GW and Forgeworld both make kits for these -- the GW kit can make seven other tanks, but FW's kit has the targeters, a bigger engine and a travel mount for the cannon to rest on.
The Stormlord is designed with but one purpose: to waste MEQs. With the most dakka seen in Imperial armies (hell, ANYWHERE) in the form of a Vulcan Mega-Bolter (that can fire twice if the tank sits still), the ability to have up to 20 of its 40 passengers fire from its fighting platform and the option to have four lascannons, this tank WILL END enemy infantry! Unfortunately it just HAD to share the same turret mount as the Shadowsword, making it impossible for the Stormlord to turn its Vulcan Mega-Bolter around without turning the entire tank around. Ironically this makes it a pain in the ass when fighting in close and narrow environments like urban areas, places where the Stormlord is meant to shine the best. Seriously, try and do a parallel parking with this monster when trying to aim at some scrubs hiding behind a concrete wall. Despite the unfortunate implications, this is still probably one of the best super-heavy tanks in the game due to the amount of fire power that you get. 30 s6 ap3 shots at 60" range, 9 s5 ap4 shots at 36" range (twin linked) and 2 s9 ap2 shots at 48" range. Then you get 20 models shooting out of the top. Though you wonder how the passengers fit without taking up room for extra ammo...
If you want maximum dakka try taking this with four sponsons, giving it 30 Heavy Bolter shots, before the Mega Bolter has even been taken into consideration.
Originally built from salvaged Shadowsword or Stormblade tanks, because those Volcano Cannons and Plasma Blastguns are blisteringly difficult to manufacture, the Imperial Guard just put wide-bore Cannons on the hulls and gave them spare Hellhammer Shells to fire. Needless to say these "unsanctioned" modifications got the Mechanicum's collective jimmies rustled up. But because the vehicles were still good at what they did, the Imperial Guard commanders kept the vehicles listed on the roster in spite of what anyone else was thinking. Yet, in an uncharacteristically grown-up move, the Mechanicum actually capitulated on the matter and started making Stormswords themselves, upgrading the "Hellhammer Cannons" with dedicated "Stormsword Cannons" which have much the same range and effect, but a bigger blast radius. The Stormsword excels at city fighting. It is able to turn entire building blocks to dust with a single shot. The tank's main weakness is the short range on its Stormsword Cannon and lack of a hull-mounted Demolisher cannon.
On the TabletopEdit
The Baneblade and its variants are all profiled in the 8th Edition Codex: Astra Militarum. The premier superheavy tank of the Imperial Guard, the Baneblade tanks make for a formidable base to build an army around and a source of a lot of heavy weapons fire. All Baneblades have the same statline: at T8, W26 and a 3+ save they're more than able to soak up quite a lot of the fire they will inevitably attract. And while its BS4+ doesn't seem like a lot, thanks to its Steel Behemoth rule it can fire all of its Heavy Weapons (which is everything it has except its Storm Bolter, which as a Rapid Fire weapon isn't affected by this anyway), as well as fire and charge on the same turn it Fell Back. And thanks to 9 attacks at S9 AP-2 DD3 it can deal a surprising amount of damage in close combat, but don't send it into a fight against things like Terminators (unless you use the "Crush Them!" Stratagem to boost it up to WS 2+ and let it advance and charge in the same turn- then it can take on a Bloodthirster in melee and still have a good chance of winning). The Baneblade starts to deteriorate at half wounds, losing three of its 10" movement, its BS goes down by one and it loses 3 attacks. But because it's so tough, it can take quite a beating before being diminished as long as your opponent doesn't have Lords of War on the battlefield as well.
At 370 points for most of the variants with a maximum of 410 for the Stormlord, Baneblades are at a base level pretty affordable. They all get different main weapons, and all of them have a pair of Heavy Bolters as well. The Baneblade and Hellhammer get an additional Autocannon and Demolisher Cannon, and the Hellhammer also has a Lasgun for some reason. All of them can take either one or two pairs of sponsons, each equipped with a Lascannon and either two Heavy Bolters or two Heavy Flamers. Note that you can mix and match as you see fit: if you have only one pair you can pick one with a Heavy Bolter and the other with a Heavy Flamer. Sponsons cost 34 for the Heavy Bolter and 48 for the Heavy Flamer. The points really add up though: 68 for a pair and 136 for a full set of Heavy Bolters, and 96 and 192 for the Heavy Flamers. But when you look at the firepower you know you've got the good stuff. Four Heavy Flamers net you 8D6 S5 AP-1 D1 shots that auto-hit, while the four double Heavy Bolters, paired with the standard one, nets you 30 S5 AP-1 D1 shots at 36" range. And don't forget the 4 S9 AP-3 DD6 shots from the four Lascannons. Note that the Heavy Bolter option is 20 points cheaper than an equally-equipped Heavy Weapons Squad. The Heavy Flamers are expensive, but other tanks are bound to a maximum of 3 for a comparative higher price tag (aka the tank they're on). The Baneblade can also take a pintle-mounted Heavy Stubber or Storm Bolter, and a Hunter-Killer Missile for good measure. The Heavy Stubber is the superior option (especially now that they are at the same price as a Storm Bolter as of Chapter Approved 2018) most of the time: only when decked out with Heavy Flamers or when facing enemies that charge the tank the Storm Bolter is superior. The Hunter-Killer Missile is neat, but with the massive arsenal the tank's lugging around it's not necessary. Because of its massive array of weapons charging one is a very bad idea: even when only hitting on sixes the sheer volume of fire will mean that you'll get hit.
|Baneblade||Baneblade Cannon||72"||Heavy 3D6||9||-3||3|
|Banehammer||Tremor Cannon||60"||Heavy 3D6||8||-2||3|
|Banesword||Quake Cannon||140"||Heavy 2D6||14||-4||D6|
|Doomhammer||Magma Cannon||60"||Heavy 2D6||10||-5||D6|
|Hellhammer||Hellhammer Cannon||36"||Heavy 3D6||10||-4||3|
|Shadowsword||Volcano Cannon||120"||Heavy 3D3||16||-5||2D6|
|Stormlord||Vulcan Mega-Bolter||60"||Heavy 20||6||-2||2|
|Stormsword||Stomsword Siege Cannon||36"||Heavy 2D6||10||-4||D6|
The table contains the main guns of all eight tanks, but they're more than just statlines attached to a tank:
- The Baneblade is the standard against which all other tanks are held. The Baneblade Cannon drops potent damage at a reliable rate, allowing you to blow up all but the heaviest of tanks in a single shot of its main cannon. It is also one of the two variants that carries an Autocannon and a Demolisher Cannon for that extra bit damage. As is, the Baneblade is a great long-range support tank.
- The Banehammer is more of a tactical vehicle for the special rule that applies to its Banehammer Cannon: if a unit is hit by the gun (not wounded, no unsaved wounds: hit) its movement is halved and it cannot advance next turn. This makes it an ideal gun to shut down enemy units that need to be places to be the most effective: this especially works well agains tanks or transports. While lacking the firepower of the Baneblade, the Banehammer grants a unique tactical option. While the Banehammer is a transport, its long range means that you'll have to consider if you want to get close to disgorge your cargo and risk being shot at even more.
- The Banesword hits less often than most other variants, but it hits hard with its Quake Cannon. S14 means that all T7 and lower targets are wounded on a 2+, and its hefty AP-4 means that even Terminators have to watch out lest they are vaporized. On top of that, its D6 damage comes with the catch that all rolls of 1 and 2 count as 3, so infantry that gets hit will be vaporized immediately and even monsters will think twice about walking into its range of fire. And with 140" it's a lot of range indeed.
- The Doomhammer has a gun that is more or less a Melta weapon in that it gets to roll twice for damage and take the best one. At S10 AP-5 it's more than capable of dealing with super-heavy vehicles like Land Raiders and Monoliths. The 30" range that this requires you to be in is very close, but this does make it a more viable transport than the Banehammer. Chapter Approved 2018 has seen its cost cut to 400 points.
- The Hellhammer is the second variant with a Demolisher Cannon. Its main gun ignores the bonuses granted by cover, but with only 36" range you'll have to get very close in order to get its shots in. Its range might be short, but its firepower makes it a souped-up version of the Baneblade Cannon. Costs 410 bare.
- The Shadowsword is what you field if you want to bring down enemy Titanic units. 3D3 is an odd roll, but puts out a reliable 6 shots that at S16 down even T8 targets on a 2+. And with 2D6 damage anything hit by it will feel it. On top of that, the Shadowsword gets to re-roll failed Wound rolls against Titanic units, and it gets +1 To Hit against them as well. That means that the Shadowsword has to take out any fitting targets it faces ASAP lest it gets put down before it can do so.
- The Stormlord is the odd duck out with its Vulcan Mega-Bolter. A flat Heavy 20 means that it is ideal for putting down large swathes of infantry and has a good chance of damaging tougher targets as well. Despite being a Bolter weapon it's got a massive 60" range, making it a powerful anti-vehicle weapon at range. But because of its massive transport capability (40!) it's used best as a close-range fire support vehicle, allowing you to haul a massive force towards the enemy to disgorge onto the objectives you cleared with your massive firepower. Because of this the array of Heavy Flamers work well to support the Stormlord, but do note that this nearly increases by 50% the hefty 410 point cost of the vehicle.
- The Stormsword is tank meant for short range attacks, carrying a Stormsword Siege Cannon to deal with tough targets. Not only does it ignore the bonuses granted by cover, it also has re-rolls on damage rolls of 1. While those two things only really overlap against tanks in cover, the Stormsword can deal a decent amount of damage against just about any target.
All in all, most Baneblade variants are really helped by the Heavy Bolter sponsons: not only are they cheaper they don't need you to be as close to your enemies. While the Heavy Flamers can deal more damage they are hampered by their range and damage output, and work best on those variants who already need to be close to the enemy to use effectively. The pintle-mounted weapons are good, but not required; the same goes for the Hunter-Killer Missile.
The tanks find themselves in the 26-30 points range, which is rather hefty. This point cost does include all the goodies, so don't be afraid to splurge on two sets of sponsons, a pintle-mounted weapon and a Hunter-Killer Missile. You've paid for them already, so you might as well use them.
Other Imperial ModelsEdit
The Fellblade is the Space Marines' main super-heavy tank, not used very much since the Horus Heresy. It's not so much a variant of the Baneblade as a sibling tank, with a unique Forge World kit to make it and a couple of its own unique subtypes.
Fortress of ArroganceEdit
It is of no surprise that Yarrick has his own personal Emperor-mobile in the form of the Fortress of Arrogance. The Fortress is a sweet-ass black and gold plated Baneblade with unique decals and armaments. The Fortress was refitted with an armored cupola, giving Yarrick a "pulpit" from which to command and inspire. While he's clearly in sight of everyone, the cupola is protected by a special force field. The turret also includes enhanced sensor and communications arrays making it far more accurate and have a longer range and penetrative shot than the regular Baneblade. This makes the Fortress of Arrogance an excellent HQ command choice as the ability to inspire nearby troops provides a good morale boost in the midst of battle. Unfortunately Yarrick was pretty bad at maintaining his mobile house of pimps. During the the Battle of Golgotha, the tank was crippled by a Stompa, and Yarrick was forced to abandon it when the Imperial forces were routed from the planet. This is the scene of the above mentioned boggle of stupid. An Adeptus Mechanicus Reclamator expedition found the remnants of the venerable Baneblade, after losing like several hundred Guardsmen, 9 companies of battle tanks and The Angel Of Apocalypse(A Shadow Sword which is arguably rarer than the Bane Blade in question). In a scene of a miracle, the Fortress was barely defiled by the Orks and was able to be fixed by the Mechanicus in prime condition. As soon as he could, Yarrick had his Baneblade transported to Armageddon, where he would most likely of used his tank to proceed and pile-drive it into Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka's anus in Octarius.
The Stormblade is armed with a titan-scale Plasma Blastgun: a plasma-hurling death weapon that eats MEQ's, hordes, hordes of MEQ's, and even light tanks for breakfast. With better range than the Stormlord and a blast radius so big that Plasma Siphons feel even worse about existing, it excels at killing hordes of anything in Apocalypse. Even vehicle hordes. Its origin story starts on the Forge World of Ryza, where despite having the best reputation with regards to plasma technology, they couldn't build Volcano Cannons for Shadowsword tanks. So as an alternative to a giant D-Gun they slapped a giant plasma gun instead. Luckily, because the Shadowsword chassis was so massive, removing the laser generators meant there was plenty of space for a cooling system, so the tank never Gets Hot! from overuse. As mentioned above, Stormblades in Epic used to have Hellion Missile launchers to add to the amount they could Rape Titans, however in current 40k they no longer have them. The fluff reason is because the missiles had a tendency to self detonate when exposed to enemy fire, resulting in several tanks being destroyed by their own missiles. So it was figured that the tank and plasma blastgun were more precious than the limited-use ordnance that came as an aftermarket extra, so the missiles were withdrawn. There is also a Legion Astartes version because Forge World got tired of making additional versions of the Fellblade.
The Stormhammer is a Solar Auxilia tank for 30K. It differs from the old epic version in that it only has three barrels of battle cannons - a twin linked two shot hull mounted battlecannon and the (if we use naval terminology for the thing) Superfiring S9 AP2, 7" blast Stormhammer cannon with shred and pinning. The standard secondary weapons are six multilaser sponsons which can be swapped out for heavy bolters or heavy flamers for free or lascannons for a cost, a coaxial multilaser and a hull mounted lascannon. Optional toys are a pintle mounted multilaser or heavy flamer and up to 4 (!) HK missiles. All the firepower is rounded out by a 6+ invulnerable save against blast and template weapons, and the ability to reroll failed dangerous terrain tests. The sponson weapons can be traded out individually, letting you choose any combination of multilasers, heavy bolters, heavy flamers and lascannons you want. It fills the same role as the Baneblade as a general purpose superheavy, with a gun for every target. The Stormblade offers more flexibility in loadout, and having 6 sponsons that can be individually customized for any situation allows it to engage even more targets compared to the Baneblade. The original Stormhammer was outfitted with two twin-Battle Cannon turrets and four pairs of Heavy Bolters, along with options for pintle storm bolters and four more sponsons, meaning it could mount seventeen fucking bolters if you were willing to pay for it. The problem? Its turrets all pointed different directions. Parking this thing in the intersection of a city table and pointing its turrets down the streets, however, was as good as denying the area to the enemy completely, unless somebody brought a Deathstrike. Now that 8th has removed facing, when/if Horus Heresy gets updated this thing will be a mean piece of work.
The Decimator is a Super-Heavy Tank used by the Chaos Space Marines. Although most have been changed considerably by their time in the Eye of Terror, the Decimators were originally precursors to modern Imperial super-heavy vehicles like the Baneblade, Shadowsword and Stormsword, the last of which it most closely resembles in function. It is like the only super-heavy tank that the forces of Chaos have without being forced into Daemon Engine territory or exclusively sucking Papa Nurgle's dick. Decimators are armed primarily with a heavy, medium-ranged barrage weapon such as the unique Decimator Cannon which was a S10 AP2 weapon of rape, supported by several reaper autocannons, and are used to bombard enemies in cover. It has a unique rule called the "Decimator Tank Shock" which forces enemy infantry to take a test which will always have –1 to their Leadership if they are tank shocked by a Decimator. It should not be confused with the Decimator Daemon Engine, although they are both intertwined in being moving hunks of metal that can make you piss your pants.
The Plaguereaper is a Baneblade variant exclusive to the forces of Nurgle. It's a corrupted baneblade chassis with its baneblade cannon replaced with a giant pus-cannon, which bathes a large area with a contagion that causes the body of whoever is afflicted by it, to erupt in boils and their flesh broken down before their very eyes in seconds. Hideous piece of Heresy, ain't it
What happens when orks get hold of the massive engine of armored destruction that is the Baneblade? They make it twice as big (by welding armor plates and guns where there's a gap) and fast (by
giving it a ridiculous super-charged engine so big it probably houses several lost gretchin communities painting it red).
The Tormentor AKA Pert's personal car is a modified Shadowsword of the Iron Warriors Primarch, Perturabo. It is a really pimped out variant that boasts additional armour plating on all sides (in fluff, no effect on the tabletop), a 15-model transport capacity with added rear access point, an even more enhanced Volcano Cannon (again, nothing changes in crunch) and a Titan grade Void Shield. When Pert does it right, he gets it done. It only has one set of sponsons, but with it's special rule Torment you won't care, since if you fire all your weapons at the same target, you get Monster and Tank Hunter. It is still not known whether Pert uses this as his personal car so he can run over and crush any pedestrian vehicle that pissed him off lately, but it's pretty likely, knowing him. But what is known is that the Tormentor is a clear sign of Pert telling Rogal Dorn to go fuck himself as he destroys Dorn's fortifications. In terms of tabletop, the Tormentor can be spent with a +500 points in a 3000+ points or more game. The Tormentor uses the Dedicated Transport rule and can carry a scary number of Thallaxii and/or Iron Warrior troops (but they can't begin the game embarked). It also doesn't take up a Lord of War slot.
Dawn of War seriesEdit
In the Dawn of War PC game the Baneblade is the IG super-heavy unit, equivalent to the Chaos Bloodthirster Daemon, or Eldar's Avatar of Khaine. Only it's better because instead of a winged Daemon cow or a big flaming homosexual in a loincloth, it's a fucking giant tank. It is literally the best of these master units in the game, and it will go toe-to-toe with any other such unit and kill them before they kill it. Every time.
Its a well known fact that the crew members of Baneblades are chosen exclusively on the grounds of how big their balls are. This makes them able to shout "Failure is the weakness of the enemy!" "Ready to unleash ELEVEN barrels of hell!", "All guardsmen, Follow ME to GLOOREEEEY!" and "WHATEVER YOU WANT, we are ready." and being the only badass non-Hero unit in the entire Imperial Guard.
The Baneblade was introduced in DoWII's second expansion: Retribution, as the Imperial Guard's super heavy unit and one of the superunits, a title it shares with the Swarmlord, the Great Unclean One, the Avatar of Khaine once more (notably, the Avatar along with the Baneblade are the only returning superunits from the first Dawn of War series), the Battlewagon, and the Land Raider Redeemer (which is a different variant from the one in Dawn of War). It makes a centerpiece appearance in the second mission of the campaign where a renegade one chases your characters around while the crazy Scottish driver yells "IDDACARE WHOO YOU ARE! FELL DA MIGHTA'DA BANEBLADE!!" It then gets sodomized by rudimentary anti-armour turrets. On the upside, if you're playing space marines, you get to watch the Emperor's Fury running around a jungle path being chased by a giant tank (Benny Hill music optional, but encouraged).
It's still a moving fortress of rape that can decimate multiple tanks at a time and blow hordes of enemy units to bits and the strongest and toughest vehicle in the game (since it can't transport infantry like the Battlewagon and Land Raider Redeemer, it compensates with more firepower). The main difference is that while its main weapons systems (the BEHNBLADE cannon and the Demolisher Cannon) do much more damage than before, they don't function like the rest of its guns, they're used for special abilities that require manual targeting to fire, and cannot be fired at targets within minimum range. On top of that, this Baneblade has only TEN BARRELS OF HELL: the co-axial autocannon is there but is non-functional, which very slightly reduces the overall firepower of this beast. Needless to say, the Baneblade requires a ton of support to use effectively, or otherwise it will be taken down in melee/at close range by just about anything (though all super units need support as well, so that's nothing new). Also, it's size means it can have difficulty maneuvering on certain maps (DoW II maps tend to not have as much open space as the original's).
The Baneblade has achieved a bit of a mini-meme status because of Captain Apollo Diomedes of the Blood Ravens, who has this tendency to scream: "EET IS THE BEEEEHHHHNNNBLLADDDE", in the most awesomely hilarious voice possible, whenever he sees one. Unfortunetly, this meme is already old and overused.
The novel, titled Baneblade, is about Lt. Lo Bannick and his quest to redeem himself from the grievous sin of killing his cousin in self-defense. He does this by signing on to the nearest imperial guard unit and starts the novel commanding a squadron of Leman Russes and then after an Ork ambush he gets a spot as third gunner on the Mars Triumphant.
In short it's written so you could fap to how awesome the Baneblade is. Ironically, the real star of the book is a dangerously intelligent Ork Wierdboy who's aware of the Emperor's presence in the warp.
The sequel novel is entitled "Shadowsword" and follow's Bannick's adventures as he grows disillusioned with the Imperium of Man and gets told to pilot a Shadowsword because its soul feels guilty over being used by Orks before the Imperium salvaged it back. When he destroys a warp gate to prevent a daemonic invasion, his commissar tries to execute him and his entire crew for seeing what should not be known.
General Sturnn likes it hot and heavy.