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Watching my marines get blown up makes me sad. What are the best ways to prevent banelings from killing my mass marines and ruining my night?

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youtube.com/watch?v=fzMhh8zhTiY Banelings everywhere! –  StevenMcD Jan 20 '11 at 6:33
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up vote 10 down vote accepted

There are a couple of things you can do to avoid an untimely acid-drenched loss.

Early Detection

The earlier you scout that Baneling nest, the sooner you can begin preparing to counter banelings. If you're worried about baneling landmines, get a Raven as soon as possible, as it is economically unfeasible to continuously use scanner sweep to preface your advance (though in a pinch, they work fine).

Research and Upgrades

The Marine Combat Shield and Infantry armor help minorly against baneling assaults, but the real research to aim for is Stimpacks. Stimmed marines move at 3.37 and change, which is faster than even speed-upgraded banelings (at 2.9531 (+0.4531 with creep)). Unupgraded, Baneling's speed of 2.5 will overtake the 2.25 speed Marines. Stimmed Marines can not only escape alive, but can kite the zerg, taking potshots at the encroaching banelings if you've got decent micro. See this question for more on that.

Army Composition

Stick some marauders in your army! Not only do their concussive shells slow down the baneling advance, but they have both more health (125 compared to 45(55)) and lack the "light" keyword that gives banelings bonus damage against marines.

You can almost never have too many medivacs -- if you're trapped or otherwise able to escape, you may be able to load your marines into the dropships to save a large portion of your forces.

Micro

Perhaps the most important thing to consider is how well you control your marines, and how well your opponent is controlling their banelings. Banelings are extremely cost effective units if they get to use most of their splash damage, so your goal is to minimize the number of units hit by any one baneling. If you watch professionals play the game, you can sometimes see things such as a single marine peeling off from the ball to suicide against 2-3 banelings -- the fewer units over which you can spread the baneling damage, the better your odds of coming out of the skirmish with your army still intact.

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I would argue that really, only Micro will help you out. While There are a number of Army Compositions that are better against mass Banelings, if you do not Micro your MMM ball, you will still lose. Learn to stutter step, learn to spread your Marines. And get some Siege Tanks for Pete's sake. If I see one more Terran without 8+ Siege Tanks in mid-game I'm going to hurt someone. –  tzenes Jan 20 '11 at 1:20
    
that's what I don't get. I mean if you are going for a bio army why not also get some un-upgraded mech? It can't hurt production or economy, can it? –  bronzebeard Jan 20 '11 at 2:57
    
@Bronze of course it can hurt production and economy, because that's money you're not spending elsewhere. If you're going for Mech then you're reducing the size of your bioball or setting back your expansions. Until you get out 6-8 Siege Tanks it doesn't really pay off for you so there is a time there where your investment hasn't payed off, and you're vulnerable. –  tzenes Jan 20 '11 at 4:18
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because tanks are too resource-intensive to be wasted as buffer units. You would have equal or better results using the resources to throw down a new barracks / more marines. –  Raven Dreamer Jan 20 '11 at 5:33
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Do not fight them on creep. –  DogDog Jan 27 '11 at 6:22
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setup tanks to blow up any advancing baneling army.

Run a couple marauders in front of your army to check for blings.

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