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PurEvil
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PostSubject: Mandrakes get no love.   Mon Mar 09 2015, 23:42

Why haven't I heard anyone talking about Mandrakes? At 12 points per model, S4 and 3 attacks on the charge, they have been my MVP's for my last two battles. Add the fact that they pick up +3 to any cover save as well as fear, and you have a unit that can break mobs without the crazy point totals of some of our other specialists.
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Tue Mar 10 2015, 00:43

No invulnerable save, no armor save, very little melee capacity, extremely short range shooting. Virtually solely an anti-infantry unit (and a mediocre one at that) in a codex which excels at anti-infantry. If you've got the models they aren't a horrible selection, but if you're building an army there is zero reason to buy them.
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Tue Mar 10 2015, 01:25

I like em...
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Calyptra
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Tue Mar 10 2015, 02:30

I want to like Mandrakes. Nearly everyone here does. If you do some digging around here, you can find long threads about how much we want to like Mandrakes, and how hopeful we were that they'd be more useful in the new codex.

As an assault unit, they're not good. Wracks have the same number of attacks, are better offensively because of poison, are better defensively because they're T4, have a 6+ save, and start with Feel No Pain, for 2 points cheaper per model. Wracks can also be taken in formations like Scalpel Squadrons so they're not using an Elite slot, and this makes them better still. Even our much-maligned Wyches are probably better in an assault; they're not S4 (probably) but they have the same number of attacks, better Initiative, a 6+ armor save, a Dodge save, and combat drugs, again for 2 points less, and they're a Troops choice.

Their shooting attack isn't bad, but I wouldn't call it good. Wyches have poison, and Wracks have access to ossefactors, which are genuinely scary guns. Kabalites with splinter rifles will usually have more effective shooting (longer range, same number of shots at short range, poison), at 4 points less per model.

The only thing I think Mandrakes are actually good at is having an awesome cover save. That might make them useful for securing objectives and playing to the mission, except for all the stuff in the game with Ignores Cover.

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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Tue Mar 10 2015, 04:57

If they work for you, great! I don't think you see too many people talking about them because there is not much to say. We have better cheaper units, especially in that elite slot. But keep playing them, its all about having fun. I play my Incubi often becuase i like em so much, and they do well a lot of the time, so its fun. Competitively though, mandrakes aren't anything special.
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Tue Mar 10 2015, 06:17

Calyptra is right--like Wyches and Hellions, I want to like them, I just can't get excited enough about them competitively.
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Mr Believer
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Tue Mar 10 2015, 08:15

Part of the problem with mandrakes is that they're infitrators in an army that doesn't really need infiltrators. DE are so mobile that all you're really doing with your mandrakes if you're securing or contesting objectives with them is saving one vehicle from snap shooting for one turn. Their shooting and their close combat ability will see them bounce off MEQ every time, and the power from pain table almost makes them worse as they can't go to ground later in the game when they become fearless. Flamers will erase them from existence, and with only 18" range shots, it's not hard for even a vaguely competent opponent to get in range to do just that.

All that being said, I will be using mandrakes in my next game. The last time I used them they wandered on from the wrong board edge around turn three or four and just mooched about not doing very much, but that was more down to poor objective placement on my part (I hope). This time I'm probably going to try infiltrating them. Because I usually play the same opponent, who is currently using Death Guard, I don't ever expect them to do very much to him, but I like to make a TAC list, so for now they stay in. They're cheap and might finish something off later in the game, then hunker down on an objective. And I really like the models. They, along with the Incubi, will probably be replaced with Grotesques later though.

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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Tue Mar 10 2015, 10:09

Yeah Mandrakes are ok. Nothing more. I personally think they're pretty good against an opponent who likes to bring fire warriors but even then, the Tau are so blessed with ignores cover weaponry you're basically prevented from infiltrating them.

I'd say the AP4 on their shooting attack makes them better than kabalite warriors in that department (shorter range notwithstanding) but the hard counter to them is anything with ignores cover, and with most armies having options for this (like a drop podding tactical squad for example) deploying them on the board at the start of the game is tantamount to giving your opponent first blood (unless of course they haven't brought any ignores cover stuff, which would be unusual).

It sounds negative, but I don't think any of us are trying to be that way, it's just a realistic assessment of their threat level, which is pretty low.

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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Tue Mar 10 2015, 11:34

Well, Mandrakes are a quite good control-field unit. They aren't easy to play, but are a funny harass unit.
Better in turn 4+. Yes they have Infiltration but don't need to assailt in turn 2. I found Mandrakes quite good to guerrilla style, giving threat to all small units (with fire until they have Furious Charge).

Do not be impatient, keep theme covered, and use it for shooting small objectives. That's all Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Tue Mar 10 2015, 11:56

@PurEvil wrote:
Why haven't I heard anyone talking about Mandrakes? At 12 points per model, S4 and 3 attacks on the charge, they have been my MVP's for my last two battles. Add the fact that they pick up +3 to any cover save as well as fear, and you have a unit that can break mobs without the crazy point totals of some of our other specialists.

If mandrakes work for you then awesome! Almost everyone agrees they are cool models and wants them to serve a purpose efficiently.

If you have the time, please do a batrep that demonstrates how they earn your MVPs. I'd love to see it!
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Tue Mar 10 2015, 12:32

@Cerve wrote:
Well, Mandrakes are a quite good control-field unit...Do not be impatient, keep theme covered, and use it for shooting small objectives. That's all Smile

Flamer=dead mandrakes. Not my idea of a field control unit, which is something that carries a sufficient threat that it must be dealt with or avoided. With a few exceptions, like anything T3 with a 4+ or worse armour save, Mandrakes can be ignored. Even those unit identified rarely come in such small numbers that even a full unit of mandrakes are a threat.

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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Tue Mar 10 2015, 17:53

if you are consider Mandrakes, I'm already happy
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Tue Mar 10 2015, 18:01

@PurEvil wrote:
Why haven't I heard anyone talking about Mandrakes? .....

There was some discussion of them just after the latest codex dropped near the end of last year:

http://www.thedarkcity.net/t10961-how-to-make-mandrakes-playable

http://www.thedarkcity.net/t11485-mandrakes-on-a-transport

http://www.thedarkcity.net/t10723-what-are-the-point-of-mandrakes
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Lord Mal
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Tue Mar 10 2015, 19:00

To me, their uses seem to be limited to very small tack on units (the minimum unit is really not a particularly big investment even if they just get blown off the board, then that was something else not getting shot at), or to be taken in multiple small units.

I don't have the models, and it is crazy given how fragile they are, but does anyone think that 3 maxed units of them would at least be good offensively? I mean, sure Str4 isn't great, but they have 2 shooting attacks at 18 in range. That means if you have 30 of them, that's 60 shots, and you can deploy one as a decoy to get flamers, then deploy the other 2/3's on the other side. Yes, that's the investment of 3 venoms with Warriors, but honestly, are those Venoms w/warriors any more survivable usually? They still seem to get one shotted a lot. What makes them dangerous is that you spam a lot of them. I hear the elite argument, which is valid, but it looks like most people just end up using a lot of Coven Formations for their elite slots, or don't fill them out anyway (Blasterborn seem to be the only real regular book elite people still use).

I'm not saying this is a good idea, just that I doubt anyone has tried it before. I know that on paper, skinks in Fantasy, at first, didn't look great either until people started using the skink clouds to "weight of dice" things to death.

Obviously for this to work, you'd need to bring some heavy "Distractions" that will pull the load, and so that they can't focus on the Mandrakes. Grots in Raiders, Corpsethief, or possibly Dark Artisan. Something that's a threat and needs to be dealt with. With infiltrate, and other threats on the board, that could potentially be a lot of shooting, and extremely annoying to the opponent. Just spit-balling ideas...
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Tue Mar 10 2015, 19:11

I don't think increasing the quantity of mandrakes is the key. I think multiple small units is probably the best option for them if you aren't using your elite slots for literally ANYTHING else. They can at least be vaguely helpful early on in maelstrom games, particularly that one that lets you draw a number of cards equal to the number of objectives you control. Could give you a good head of steam early on. Most opponents aren't going to be that annoyed by short ranged strength four shooting, it's only like being hit by boltgun fire, and if you don't expect that to happen occasionally/constantly then hell has frozen over and there are soaring swine all over the place Laughing They might take out a light vehicle if you're lucky, but two Venoms cost only slightly more than a full unit of mandrakes and put out more shots at longer range.

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Lord Mal
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Tue Mar 10 2015, 20:45

Not that I disagree with your assessment Mr. Believer, but you mean two minimum venoms without warriors inside as a FA choice, but most people don't have enough fast attack slots open for that.  So venoms seem to mostly be spammed as core choices with warriors inside.  I agree that if you're running Realspace Raiders as a secondary detachment though, venoms are better by themselves if you have the slots.  Venoms though only have 4 wounds for two venoms, and tissue paper armor that won't protect all that much better than the non-existent armor of the Mandrakes (Not everything ignores cover too).

If you're not though, I wouldn't scoff at 60 strength 4 shots a turn at relatively close range, that then can burn for more wounds.  Obviously, like everything, there are counters (flamers and templates), and there are things that it's not good against (Even with that many shots, vehicles are only if there's not better targets).

The fact that you expect everyone to have mass bolter fire tells me that it's not as ineffective as you'd think at first glance. Laughing

Calyptra: Was editing and got ninja'ed lol.  I agree with that, I think Mandrakes or Wyches require both certain things to support them in order to work, and more of them than the bare minmum.   Hellions however, I just don't see working no matter how much thought goes into trying. What really irritates me about the hellions though, is that they made the Kabalite Raiding Party include them when I'd really like to try that formation out, except the hellions seem like such a huge waste of points. I literally could have been okay with any other unit being included instead of them for the formation, in both gaming and fluff terms.


Last edited by Lord Mal on Tue Mar 10 2015, 20:58; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Tue Mar 10 2015, 20:47

Mandrakes are on my list of things which I don't think are good, but aren't so bad that I wouldn't paint them up and play some games with them if a box dropped in my lap. Wyches and beast packs are also on that list, as opposed to, say, Hellions, which I would just stare accusingly at before rummaging through the kit looking for parts to use on other models.

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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Tue Mar 10 2015, 22:55

Thinking more about Mandrakes... I guess they probably aren't super competitive, but a lot of people here and on the internet have mentioned the whole codex isn't competitive... They seem alright to me.

Yes, ignores cover will destroy them. But, the same can be said for Kabalite warriors. A 5+ save is about the same as no armor save against most weapons in the game. And realistically, if a Wave Serpent points at a Venom, Raider, or any unit on the ground, it is probably going to die. So I'm not sure I buy the durability issues raised above.

Infiltrate isn't amazing, but it does open up a few possibilities. And the Mandrakes come without the need for a transport. So while 12 points per model can be high for an equal footing, if you compare the unit to unit cost they seem ok.

AP4 seems pretty good as well. Eldar, Tau, and some other light infantry can get aced with that.

The 18" range is mitigated by infiltration as well.

They seem ok to me.
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Tue Mar 10 2015, 23:07

The only reason I would consider bringing them is if I expect to see a lot of bike armies, as the infiltrate puts a decent stop to the scouting.
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Tue Mar 10 2015, 23:09

My problem with Mandrakes is twofold:

1) They don't do much. S4 weapons with dubious range aren't exactly anything to write home about, and if they try to assault then they'll just trip over the hedge they're hiding in and go last (not to mention having no save when they get there).

2) Their other use would seem to be objective-sitting, but this is a role I've never needed as DE. I don't need an elite choice with pitiful shooting when I can have ObjSec venoms to hover nearby.

I have sometimes put them in my list, but then I almost always end up taking them out again. There's just always something more useful I can buy for 36pts.

I really love their models though, and have even converted one into a sorcerer-haemonculus. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Wed Mar 11 2015, 02:57

@The Shredder wrote:
My problem with Mandrakes is twofold:

1) They don't do much. S4 weapons with dubious range aren't exactly anything to write home about, and if they try to assault then they'll just trip over the hedge they're hiding in and go last (not to mention having no save when they get there).

2) Their other use would seem to be objective-sitting, but this is a role I've never needed as DE. I don't need an elite choice with pitiful shooting when I can have ObjSec venoms to hover nearby.

I have sometimes put them in my list, but then I almost always end up taking them out again. There's just always something more useful I can buy for 36pts.

I really love their models though, and have even converted one into a sorcerer-haemonculus. Very Happy

See, that's kind of my point though, I'm not saying they're amazing, but I'm not sure what people expect out of 36pts for a minimum unit? If we could take other units that small, I doubt they would do much. 1 Grot by himself, 4 kabalites, etc. The only units I know in the game that are that cheap in total (meaning transport or anything else attached), are units used for either screening or babysitting objectives (Like Ork's Grechin). Most of the stuff in the codex that is effective takes a huge amount of points to make that way, so I'm not sure why this unit would be any different.
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Wed Mar 11 2015, 05:02

I will have to mess around with the Battle Report Builder that is available on here, until then I can give a brief summary of how the mandrakes won the day.

First turn, opponent pays them no heed. He sees 6 mandrakes with 2+ saves from the woods they infiltrated in to, so figures it is not worth the firepower it would take to dislodge them.

By the end of turn 3, I have managed to relocate the Mandrakes behind some LOS blocking terrain on the right flank, a little over 12 inches from an patch of woods. Start of turn 4, Mandrakes move out, drop 7 out of 20 guardsmen in the shooting phase, then assault. Furious Charge + Fear is a dangerous combo against sub-quality opponents. 6 killed on the charge, the last 7 get run down as they run and the mandrakes consolidate in to the forest (which is an objective). Didn't hurt that I got a VP for destroying a unit in the turn and another for destroying a unit in the assault phase. The next turn, the IG player put too much effort in to trying to blow them out of the forest, letting my blasterborn raider wreck his flank.

Now, I understand that our army is great at killing mobs, and so it seems ridiculous to pick up a unit that does just that and only in the right situation. There are two reasons that I use them, however.

1) We all realize they are just cool.

2) Mandrakes can do a number of things, from holding objectives to laying down better than average close range fire. Keep them around until Furious Charge kicks in and you have strength 5 charges. Yes ignores cover will root them out, but if all of the ignores cover weapons are focusing on my 70 points of mandrakes, then that is a worthy sacrifice.

Am I missing something here? Is there a better decoy unit that can still pack a punch if it gets ignored?
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Wed Mar 11 2015, 08:47

@Lord Mal wrote:
The fact that you expect everyone to have mass bolter fire tells me that it's not as ineffective as you'd think at first glance. Laughing

Oh, it's not that I think it's ineffective. It's just that I expect everyone to have it because they most likely have Space Marines Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Wed Mar 11 2015, 09:01

Totally agree with PurEvil
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Wed Mar 11 2015, 09:41

I've got a few questions/comments.

1. How did you manage to destroy 1 unit in the shooting phase and another in assault, since you can only charge the unit you targeted in the shooting phase? Was there an IC in there?

2. It sounds like you rate the mandrakes for spending 4 turns to kill a unit of 20 guardsmen and then claim an objective? To be honest I'd expect a single twin cannon venom to produce a similar result, and it would be shooting at them from turn 1, so could easily achieve it much earlier.

3. I think you're misunderstanding what I'm saying about ignores cover - it won't take 'all' of the ignores cover weaponry my opponent has to kill them. 1 combat squad of marines with a flamer and combi flamer will do it (and believe me, template weapons and other ignores cover stuff are not uncommon in other armies), and that unit can also have a reasonable expection of taking a lot more damage than the mandrakes in all situations, not just when they're sat in cover.

If you're looking for a decoy unit, i think medusae in a raider are pretty much the boss. It's a unit your opponent cannot ignore, 3-4 AP3 templates is something that no opponent (bar possibly terminators) can ignore because it can deal with both horde units and marine equivalents. It can also arrive precisely where you need it the most at that particular time, or start on the board if you prefer. It gives the unit protection wherever it is on the board, instead of restricting it to cover hopping. Quite simply if you turned up with 6 mandrakes vs my marines, I'd ignore them until i needed to get rid, then I'd assault them and watch them fall apart (just looking at rough numbers, it would only take 6 tactical marines to take down 6 mandrakes if i get to charge, assuming they don't cause any casualties from pistol fire and overwatch leaves the squad at 6 (overwatch from 6 mandrakes has a 1/3 chance of causing a single casualty)

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