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. 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. Few materials can withstand this acid burst.
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—Dominionscientists 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.
Leviathan Brood banelings retain the spine-like growths of the zerglings that metamorphosed into them.
As all Soronan mold proteins exist in banelings, they are capable of surviving on minimal oxygen and moisture. Terran scientists theorize the triggering enzyme for the baneling's ability to detonate was adapted from those of early infested terrans.
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. By 2512, the Terran Dominion had developed a neutralizing spray for their vehicles that could stop the corrosion from baneling acid.
Banelings were first observed during the Siege of Cask on Sorona, 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 an acidic 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.
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. After joining Kerrigan, Dehaka would selectively breed his pack to create similar strains of creatures among the primal zerg.
Baneling acid sacs were harvested for use in Project Simulant in the project's attempt to recreate the baneling in robotic form. The engineers had to deal with the sacs constantly melting through the surrounding plate infrastructure. Eventually they made it work.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
↑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.
↑ 23.023.1Zerglings 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.
↑ 24.024.1Banelings 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.