Friday 26 December 2014

Head-to-Head: Bane

Following on from my comparison of the two Harley Quinns for the Batman Miniatures Game, I've had couple of requests to look at the three Banes that are currently available for the game.

Before I begin, I'll stress that this is just my analysis of the different versions of the character and, to use an internet cliche, YMMV. Also, I won't be taking into account the sculpts, which with Bane are radically different, as really this is a matter of taste. If one model appeals more than the others, in my view that's the one you should go for, as that's the one you actually want.

However, for those still deliberating, we'll begin.

Head-to-Head: Bane

As stated earlier, there are three models currently available for Bane. Firstly there is Bane as featured in the Arkham Asylum and Arkham City console games, a hulking model that sports pipes, tubes and a massive tank on his back. This model is referred to as Titan Bane.

Next up is the version of Bane that features in the prequel game, Arkham Origins. This is another big guy, but this time without all the pipes. The presence of this model explains why Titan Bane isn't known as Arkham Bane. Anyway, this version goes by the sobriquet of Origins Bane.

Finally, we get a little smaller for a rendition of Tom Hardy as Bane in the Dark Knight Rises movie. Sporting the slightly too large sheepskin coat, and the voice muffling mask that's divided opinions, this version is known as DKR (Dark Knight Rises) Bane.

There are significant price differences between the three models. DKR Bane is half the price of the other two, but it's worth noting that Origins Bane comes in a crew starter pack with three henchmen (Dallas, Smash and McGregor) and so is therefore, technically cheaper than the other two if you take this into account. What's more, Origins bane is currently the cheapest big guy in the game if you factor in the proportionate cost of the henchmen.

One thing that does sadden me is that the version of Bane that is conspicuously absent is the character as he appeared in the Knightfall story line, which was responsible for making me into the Bat-fan I am today.

Round 1: Crew Building

Titan Bane comes in at a whopping 150 rep (the joint highest rep in the game), which makes him a starting crew all by himself and almost half of a tournament points level force (350 rep). To my mind this makes him good value, especially if you're a reluctant painter, as this keeps to model count of your crew down. What's more, as well as being a Bane crew leader (naturally), Titan Bane can be played with another crew as he has Affinity to Batman. Yes, you read that right, Batman...I'll just leave that there.

DKR Bane is a slightly more palatable 96 rep, which is quite reasonable for a leader and leaves you plenty of room for Henchmen and Free Agents. He is also available for another crew, the League of Shadows, in which he operates as a Sidekick rather than a Free Agent. This is significant as it means that when working for the League, he not only gives a re-roll to Let's Go rolls, but also gives away fewer VP for being knocked out. Fittingly for the movie version of Bane, he also has True Love: Talia, which makes him a very good fit for a League crew which foregoes the might of Ra's Al Ghul.

Origins Bane has the lowest rep of the three, 93. He is also the only one which is not available for any other crews. In fact, this is only model that is unique to to the Bane crew as the Henchmen he comes with are available for the League of Shadows. For me, it is the Henchmen that give Origins Bane the edge in this category as for the same cost as Titan Bane, you are able to field a crew of higher rep (185 vs 150), and the Henchmen give you the same start into a League of Shadows crew that DKR Bane does. 

What's more, a Bane crew really benefits from the presence of the henchmen that come with Origins Bane. Dallas in particular, combined with Night Vision Goggles, brings the range that the other henchmen available to the crew (Blackgate Prisoners and Lunatics) lack.

All of this means that in my opinion, especially if this is your first crew, round 1 goes to Origins Bane.

Round 2: Movement

Let's be clear. Mobility is not really the forte of any version of Bane. All three are in danger of finding themselves outmaneuvered by Batclaws and Acrobats. DKR Bane comes off worst with a Movement skill of only 2 and will need to rely on others in his crew to deal with foes on rooftops.

Origins Bane and Titan Bane are somewhat better, with a Movement skill of 3. Also, as Large characters they have a higher basic move and can ignore some smaller obstacles.

The two are split by several details in favour of Titan Bane. Firstly, a higher Willpower means that Titan Bane has more counters to spend and therefore more to devote to movement. Secondly, the two Titan Doses he begins the game with mean that his Movement skill can be increased to 4 at least twice in the game, and being a Titan Addict means that he can access this increase at other times in the game. Additionally, and this is a very small advantage, Titan Bane is a slightly larger model than Origins Bane, which means that he can ignore a few more obstacle. Finally, clever use of Primary Target: Titan Container can get round other crews' mobility by forcing the enemy to come to you. Send Titan Bane straight for his target objective and dare your opponent to come to you to prevent you racking up 3 VP's per round.

Round 2 is a clear win for Titan Bane.

Round 3: Combat

All three versions of Bane come with reinforced gloves, meaning that they inflict 2 stun damage with each successful hit at Strength 3+. Both Origins Bane and Titan Bane are able to Charge and are Master Fighters, which means that they gain +1 to hit. Origins Bane has an Attack skill of 5, whilst Titan Bane has an Attack skill of 6 (which is very hard to block) and the ability to increase this with his Titan Doses.

Like Origins Bane, DKR Bane also has Strength (3+) and Attack skill 5. However, the Combo trait means that DKR Bane actually has the potential to inflict a maximum of 15 stun damage in one round (Titan Bane can only match this by taking a Titan Dose). What's more, the Brutal trait allows him to re-roll his Collateral Damage die, significantly increasing the chance of both critical damage or, more significantly, a knock down.

I found this round a hard one to call. However, despite DKR Bane's abilities, it's very hard to argue with the reliability of Titan Bane's volume of attacks with an increased chance of hitting, due to being a Master Fighter and difficult to block. Round 3 also goes to Titan Bane.

Round 4: Defence

Again, Titan Bane and Origins Bane share similarities in defence. Both have a Defence skill of 3 and both have Resilient (re-roll Endurance rolls) due to being Large, but similarly, both suffer from reduced Blink rolls against shooting. Once again, Titan Bane wins the stand off (as you might expect, given his higher Rep). The combination of higher Endurance (10) and Insensitive make him not only incredibly tough to take down, but also able to continue to function at his full number of Action Counters until he's knocked out. What's more, he has the ability to raise his Defence value through the use of Titan Doses.

Origins Bane is no slouch, with Endurance 8 and Sturdy (only lose 1 Action Counter for each 3 points of damage), but he is significantly weaker than Titan Bane. However, despite this, Origins Bane has hidden defensive move linked to his attacks in the form of the Lethal Blow trait. Each time he inflicts a successful hit, he inflicts the Shock effect, which prevent the character he hits from spending any Action Counters for the rest of the round. This means that if Origins Bane gets his attacks in first, he can protect himself from return attacks. This does depend on Origins Bane going first, but if he can get the drop on his opponent, he can be very well protected.

DKR Bane is also a surprise package when it comes to Defence in ways which are not always that obvious. He has Endurance 8, which is the same as Origins Bane, Insensitive like Titan Bane, and has a Defence skill of 4, which makes him significantly harder to hit. He also takes full advantage of Blink rolls against shooters, which given his lack of a ranged attack and poor mobility is probably a good thing. Runaway is also a useful skill in certain circumstances against Batman, Law and Green Arrow crews.

However, the point for me that really seals the deal for me with DKR Bane is Combo. Although this is an attack trait, the fact that DKR Bane only needs to use 4 Action Counters to make 6 attacks, means that he can fight at pretty much full effect and still put three Action Counters in Defence. Combined with his Defence skill of 4 and being able to use cover more effectively makes him noticeably harder to hit and in my opinion, this more than counters Titan Bane's additional Endurance points.

Round 4 goes to DKR Bane.

Round 5: Special and Support.

Titan Bane is not really a team player. With the exception of the Scheming trait (which seems to be of dubious value), he is solely focused on breaking faces and grabbing his Titan Objective.

Origins Bane is a little better in this regard. His Scheming value of 2 is better than Titan Bane and he can also use his Lethal Blow to support his crew. Not only does the Shock effect protect Origins Bane, it also renders opponents vulnerable to the Henchmen by effectively removing Action Counters placed in defence. What's more, combining this trait with Charge could mean, in the right circumstances, that Origins Bane can burst through a whole host of enemy models, potentially robbing several enemies of their ability to act at all beyond basic movement. Yes, it's a circumstantial, but it's definitely worth keeping your eye out for.

DKR Bane, as might be expected from a member of the League of Shadows, is much better a coordinating with his allies. Strategist supports the whole crew before the game begins, and like Origins Bane's Lethal Blow, DKR Bane's Brutal trait can be used to set opponents up for the henchmen to attack by knocking them down. DKR Bane is even more effective at leading the line in this manner, as his Kill Them trait grants extra Attack Counters to nearby henchmen before they strike.

Although not really a fair comparison, DKR Bane is even better when part of a League of Shadows crew. He gains the benefits of being a sidekick, but also has the potential to team up with the League's version of Scarecrow. It's already become a well known combo in the game that DKR Bane, can use his formidable attack capabilities to knock an opponent out, and then Scarecrow's Death or Exile ability removes the enemy model from the game.

Clearly round 5 goes to DKR Bane.

Overview: If You Only Buy One...

Erm...we've got a draw.

And quite fittingly so. I actually think that when it comes to Bane, it really depends on what you want.

Origins Bane struggles against both Titan Bane and DKR Bane in attack and defence. He's the least powerful of the three, although he does have some hidden depth. However, the biggest draw for this model is the fact that he's proportionately cheaper, in terms of pounds-for-points, and comes with three henchmen that can't be accessed otherwise. Without these three a Bane crew is limited to Blackgate Prisoners and Lunatics for henchmen. To get the best out of this Bane, he needs to be used aggressively, and early in your turn, to use his Lethal Blow to render powerful enemy models inactive and vulnerable. Cheaphammer recommends Origins Bane for a Bane crew which doesn't have to use Free Agents.

DKR Bane is an interesting proposition, and certainly as capable as the other two. However, this model was originally released to be used only with the League of Shadows, and to my mind he still works at his best there. He combines with Talia Al Ghul very well, and can lead the line as a sidekick without the danger of losing the Leader VP's, whilst combining him with Scarecrow can be devastating. His Kill Them trait is also a big help for one of the League's weaknesses, the henchmen's lack of Action Counters. The big argument against using this version of Bane in a Bane crew, is that he's just better in the League of Shadows. Again, use him early in the round to get the most out of Kill Them and Brutal, DKR Bane is a linebreaker. Cheaphammer recommends DKR Bane for the League of Shadows.

Titan Bane is a powerhouse and actually fits best with running a crew of prisoners and lunatics, but he will need to use Free Agents (such as Deadshot, Deathstroke or Mr Freeze) to combat the relative lack of mobility in his band, however, this will lead to a shortage of numbers in the crew if you use too many. Due to the cost of the model, Titan Bane probably needs to be scoring VP's in as many rounds as you can manage. He should either be pummeling his opponents into the dirt or controlling his Titan Objective to bring the enemy to him. Use Titan Doses to achieve these two goals and to keep him standing. Cheaphammer recommends Titan Bane for a low model count Bane crew featuring Free Agents.

Whichever Bane you choose, this is a model that needs to be fighting to get the most out of him. Be wary of high damage shooters, because your opponent will want to weaken Bane before he reaches their lines. Also be prepared for an enemy that tries to isolate Bane from the game, keep him where the action is. Carefully managed, Bane shouldn't fear anybody in combat, even big hitters like Clayface, Croc or the Batman...

...especially Batman...

Again, I hope you find this article useful. I'm certainly getting a clearer understanding of the different models and how they work through doing these comparisons. Let me know if there's a character you'd like me to cover, and as previously, feel free to add opinions on anything you think I've overlooked.


  1. A very good overview of the three available Banes. Guess I'll pick up DKR Bane as I recently bought the League of Shadows group. Thanks a lot!

    1. Glad to be of assistance. The main thing of note for Bane in the League is that without one of the Al Ghul's present, you can only use one Ninja.

    2. I see, good to know. The Al Ghul's have elite boss: Ninja, I guess this is the ability you are refering to, correct?
      I hope the printed rulebook gets released soon. The PDF is pretty hard to read and focus on. Not really a printed friendly PDF either with all the artwork.

  2. Hey! I play Bane exclusively, and I don't think you can Charge + Lethal Blow. Both are Special Attacks, and they're mutually exclusive. It would be awesome if you could, though.

    1. Ah, thanks for spotting that. I'll go back and edit it out. I was using Bat-builder when writing the article and didn't clock that they were both special.

  3. Really nice article. I am a great fan of Bane (all versions, but didn't like the ending of the film, which revealed, that he is just a Sidekick and not a Mastermind), I will purchase them all and I would have played Origins and Titan Bane in a similar way, but I hope that TDKR Bane is playable without the league as well, because I wasnt planning to start with them.

    1. Thanks. Glad you found it useful. DKR is playable with a straight Bane crew, so there's no need to get any League stuff if you don't want to.

  4. Another question.

    If I use Origins Bane then its really hard for me to reach the 300 points.
    If I use Bane + his 3 Henchmen + Mohawk + Ted Hunter then I am at 280 points and 850 $. 72 points and 150 $ to spend, but I dont like the thought that Bane dont uses professionels and would like to avoid some goons as prisoners, or so.
    What would you now recommend? I am now struggeling a bit and dont know how well the Venom Soldier turns out in the end.

    1. Arrgh, made a mistake. With alle the Mercs I have 45 points left, which even wont fit with the Venom Soldier...ahhh, thats tricky.

    2. If your focuses on Bane + Mercs, the starter pack and both Mercs blisters will get you to 346 rep, 350 is tournament standard.

      For 300 you have a choice of dropping Venom Soldier or two others (McGregor + Smash or Mohawk). This will leave you at 289. To be honest, 11 rep isn't that big a deal if you really don't want to get prisoners. Having both TNT and Dallas will definitely keep you competitive. A 6 or 7 man crew is perfectly useable.

      Hope that helps.

    3. Ah ok, I thought 300 is standard and I believe 300 were the points for that last big tournament in UK:
      350 is no problem, thats right, but if I play 300 then its not possible to play Dallas and TNT together, becasue then they are 1200 $ and I believe in 300 is 1000 $ the limit.

    4. Another idea for 350 points.

      Bane (Origins or TDKR), TNT, McGregor, Smash, Dallas, Ted Hunter and Deadshot.

      Do you think that works? Its many Shooting stuff and no room for equipment. But I like the idea. :-)

    5. 350 has been the limit for every tournament I've been to, including the KM official ones.

      Good point about TNT and Dallas at 300 though. Have you seen Arkham Innates blister? They are both around 25 rep and could easily be painted as Mercs (they're wearing Bane-type masks too) and would give you more flexibility.

    6. Yup, I think that are the only ones which maybe fit...the soldiers which start around, but ok then, if 350 is standard there are many possibilities...besides, this looks like 300: