Tomb Banshee 8th edition Warhammer fantasy battle Vampire Counts overview
What are Tomb Banshees
Tomb banshees are the unquiet spirits of the numerous evil sorceresses and witches that plaque the lands of the Warhammer world. Many of these spirits of these evil woman are reluctant to cross over into the afterlife where they would have to face the judgement of the terrible sins they have committed in their life. These restless spirits howl and wail in frustration at both their inability to move on and because they quickly grow to despise the living as they represent those things that are lost to them.
Tomb banshees are most feared for their unearthly shriek and howls and cause mortals to quiver in terror so fearful is it that beating hearts are stilled as victims literally die of shock and horror.
In the game
Tomb banshees are an ethereal infantry undead unit with a special "shooting" attack ghostly howl. They are available in two slots. One as hero level characters the other as a champion upgrade for units of cairn wraiths. Tomb banshees are one of the few options available to vampire counts that have a shooting attack, the other two being Terrorgheists and a Vampire Lord or Strigoi Ghoul King armed with Skabscrath which have the more powerful death shriek special rule.
They are more or less identical in 8th edition Warhammer from 7th edition except for the addition of them as a hero level character selection. Like most ethereal units and characters no upgrades or extra equipment are available to tomb banshees in either of their formats.
Pros and cons
Like all ethereal troops tomb banshees main pro is that they cannot be harmed except by magic spells and magical weapons. The ghostly howl attack is more effective against troops with lower leaderships and smaller units, it also has the advantage of the tomb banshee being able to direct this attack into combat against the unit they are fighting.
Cons are as a champion upgrade for a unit of cairn wraiths you are substituting combat prowess for the ghostly howl attack, if you are intending to use the unit of cairn wraiths in combat the lose of these attacks can make a different. Remember ghostly howl is also only used in your own shooting phase whilst units involved in combat fight in both players turns. Magical attacks of any kind also make short work of tomb banshees.
Usually the character version of tomb banshees are more effective (though slight more expensive) as they are more tactically flexible, they are able to hide in other units protecting them from magic missile spells, they can even join units of cairn wraiths if you wish and leave when things get a little bit risky for them the extra points costs is worth this added flexibility.
The choice of whether or not to include tomb banshees should largely be based on the enemy army you are facing. Against high leadership armies ghostly howl is less then effective, however against lower leadership armies both terror and the ghostly howl attack can inflict some serious damage. Both spirit hosts and hero level cairn wraiths are a cheaper option (also with more wounds) if you just want an ethereal blocking unit.