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The Shredder
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Wed 11 Mar 2015 - 10:51

@Lord Mal wrote:

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.   

But the problem is that they don't escalate in any way. They can't take special ranged weapons, they can't take special melee weapons, they don't become more threatening. All they get is more bolter shots.

@Lord Mal wrote:
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.  

I'm happy to add points to a unit to make them work, though I'd strongly disagree that other units require much higher investments. A Venom is 65pts, 3 Reavers with Cluster Caltrops and a Blaster is 73 - both of these are likely to accomplish far more than 5-6 mandrakes.

See, I'd far rather invest some more points and have a functional squad, then a cheap, ineffective one. And, that's my problem - as above, Mandrakes don't escalate in any way.
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Wed 11 Mar 2015 - 16:01

As far as I can tell from the Guard codex, if there were 20 models in the unit, then they had to be Conscripts. Conscripts are W/BS 2, Ld 5, and 60 points for 20. You also could have run them off the table with 6 Khymerae and a Beastmaster.

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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Wed 11 Mar 2015 - 16:46

@The Shredder wrote:
@Lord Mal wrote:

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.   

But the problem is that they don't escalate in any way. They can't take special ranged weapons, they can't take special melee weapons, they don't become more threatening. All they get is more bolter shots.

@Lord Mal wrote:
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.  

I'm happy to add points to a unit to make them work, though I'd strongly disagree that other units require much higher investments. A Venom is 65pts, 3 Reavers with Cluster Caltrops and a Blaster is 73 - both of these are likely to accomplish far more than 5-6 mandrakes.

See, I'd far rather invest some more points and have a functional squad, then a cheap, ineffective one. And, that's my problem - as above, Mandrakes don't escalate in any way.

The venom doesn't escalate either, but I don't see anybody taking 1 or 2 venoms, without taking a whole bunch of venoms.  The only thing that gets larger is the volume of shots, and the threats.  Again, people are ignoring the context of actual army builds.  You don't just take one venom, so comparing 1 small mandrake unit to 1 venom doesn't make sense, since you don't take one venom to deal with stuff, and even if you did, you can't fit an extra venom in the FA slots people usually have.  Same thing with Reavers, who I admit, I'd rather take than Mandrakes, but as you said in another thread Shredder, you had to cram 6 into one unit to fit in the FA slots. That right there is already a higher point investment.  People keep pointing to FA units (Which mandrakes aren't), and comparing them straight up with no remaining slots left to fit those things in anywhere.

As to the escalation thing, if you had 3 or 4 Mandrake units (Again, I'm not seeing anyone that actually uses the elite slots these days, since Grots are usually from the Grotesquerie) that's not only 3 to 4 seperate targets that are relatively safe against non-cover ignoring attacks, but 3 to 4 times the number of shots of the one little bitty mandrake unit.  Also, people forget about soulfire, which would definitely be more likely to happen with 3 or 4 little mandrake units running around burning people out of cover (It just take one of those to wound to trigger it).  

I think mandrakes play a better role for a Coven heavy force since they tend to have less mass Venoms, which play a similar role, just better but more expensive.  It looks to me like they would be a great utility for a Coven heavy list without a lot of Venoms, so that they could babysit objectives or harass things while the Coven units tackle the main threats.
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Wed 11 Mar 2015 - 17:06

The problem there Lord Mal is that in a coven heavy force would you not be using the covenite coterie detachment? Which means that to take those units of mandrakes you'd need an HQ and two Troops to get access to them?

I think the bottom line is that no-one here is saying that Mandrakes can't ever be useful, nor that people shouldn't try to fit them into a list in a particular role if they want to take them, but to answer the original question, they don't get love because they aren't a stand out choice for anything in particular.

And just to answer a couple of points from elsewhere in your post.
1. I've never used 6 FA slots without taking empty raiders/venoms in there
2. I don't take grots from the grotesquerie, nor do plenty of others I've seen posting up lists (Mushkilla probably the most prominent)
3. I don't forget about soulfire, it just doesn't do anything (literally, I've never had it cause an unsaved wound on anything)

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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Wed 11 Mar 2015 - 17:30

@Lord Mal wrote:

The venom doesn't escalate either

I more meant that I'd rather pay a bit more to get a venom than have either a 36pt mandrake squad or a 5-6 man mandrake squad for a similar cost.

@Lord Mal wrote:
 The only thing that gets larger is the volume of shots, and the threats.

What gets much better is manoeuvrability (both for the venoms and their passengers). Having so many long-range poison shots, combined with 12" move and the option of flat-out is very useful in a way that multiple mandrake squads just can't match.

@Lord Mal wrote:
 You don't just take one venom, so comparing 1 small mandrake unit to 1 venom doesn't make sense

Only if you ignore my point entirely.

@Lord Mal wrote:

As to the escalation thing, if you had 3 or 4 Mandrake units (Again, I'm not seeing anyone that actually uses the elite slots these days, since Grots are usually from the Grotesquerie) that's not only 3 to 4 seperate targets that are relatively safe against non-cover ignoring attacks, but 3 to 4 times the number of shots of the one little bitty mandrake unit.  Also, people forget about soulfire, which would definitely be more likely to happen with 3 or 4 little mandrake units running around burning people out of cover (It just take one of those to wound to trigger it).   

The problem is, those shots are short-range (and the mandrakes are limited in their mobility - since leaving cover is pretty suicidal), and S4 is virtually worthless.

@Lord Mal wrote:

I think mandrakes play a better role for a Coven heavy force since they tend to have less mass Venoms, which play a similar role, just better but more expensive.  It looks to me like they would be a great utility for a Coven heavy list without a lot of Venoms, so that they could babysit objectives or harass things while the Coven units tackle the main threats.

Thing is, you'd have to take a regular detachment either way, so I'd rather just skip the mandrakes and have some ObjSec Venoms, along with scourges or reavers for anti-tank.
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Wed 11 Mar 2015 - 23:33

@The_Burning_Eye wrote:
The problem there Lord Mal is that in a coven heavy force would you not be using the covenite coterie detachment? Which means that to take those units of mandrakes you'd need an HQ and two Troops to get access to them?

I'm actually developing a list with a minor CAD with minimum Kabalites to go with some coven formations.  So 80 pts on foot, that go with a Scarlet Epicurean formation huddling around the Cronos.  The wracks have ossifactors and are fearless.  I needed the 2nd Haemy to babysit a group of Grots (which you need regardless of Grotesquerie or not due to Grot Leadership).

@The_Burning_Eye wrote:
I think the bottom line is that no-one here is saying that Mandrakes can't ever be useful, nor that people shouldn't try to fit them into a list in a particular role if they want to take them, but to answer the original question, they don't get love because they aren't a stand out choice for anything in particular.

That's fair enough, my posts said multiple times I agreed with people's assessments, and don't think they're amazing by themselves either.

@The_Burning_Eye wrote:
And just to answer a couple of points from elsewhere in your post.
1. I've never used 6 FA slots without taking empty raiders/venoms in there
2. I don't take grots from the grotesquerie, nor do plenty of others I've seen posting up lists (Mushkilla probably the most prominent)
3. I don't forget about soulfire, it just doesn't do anything (literally, I've never had it cause an unsaved wound on anything)

1. Again, this right here is my point.  Even if you take just 2 Venoms with a Dissie each, that's the cost of a x10 Mandrake unit with a champ.  It's not suprising that when people compare 1 venom to 3 mandakes, the effectiveness won't even be close.  I don't know how many venoms you meant you took, but I think it's fair to say most people take over 4 (Either as FA, or as Troop Carriers).  That's at least x20 mandrakes for 4 venoms, even if we're talking about FA Venoms and not Transport Venoms.   So lets say four 3 man mandrake units (This is a little more than the cost of 1 venom with a 5 man Kabalite with Blaster in it).
2.  I'm a huge fan of Mushkilla's Grot list, in all it's variations, but again, I think it demonstrates exactly my point, which is look how many points it takes (although obviously it also takes skill) to make those 2 units successful.  The answer is, a lot.  Even a list that features more than half the points like that list has 2 elite slots leftover though...
3.  How many mandrakes fielded at one time though?  Did you have 20, or 3 to 6?  If it's the former or more, than you're right and I am wrong.  If it's the latter, than we're again comparing the output of large point units to extremely small point units.

The_Shredder wrote:
I more meant that I'd rather pay a bit more to get a venom than have either a 36pt mandrake squad or a 5-6 man mandrake squad for a similar cost.

How many venoms in whatever list though does this make?  Again, you're comparing 1 venom to 1 tiny group of mandrakes, but you're not running one venom in the list.  You're running several to make them worth their points.

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to go over each point Shredder, but this thread is exhausting me a bit, so I apologize in advance for not quoting you directly.  I'll absolutely give you the speed on all the things everybody pointed to, but again, all of those are in the FA slot, which is already packed to the gills.  Also, all of the people taking these are taking multiple of each one, and larger amounts when adding up the points than people realize.  2 Units of scourge, x2 to 3 units of Reavers, or x4 or more (often way more) venoms, are all at least 20 mandrakes if not more.  But people are comparing all of these to one 3 to 5 man units of mandrakes that they used in games.  The points aren't remotely equal, and so neither is the output.

So I'm just going to say that I doubt anybody will be convinced regardless of what I say in terms of Mandrakes being better than people think.  They're mostly being compared to venoms (What many people consider the best thing in the book), Scourges (Taken in almost every list), and Reavers (Another one of the best things in the book).  I'm in no way trying to say Mandrakes are better than venoms, however my main point is that I really think people are viewing them as much worse, when if you take the same amount of points in mandrakes as venoms, they'll be much closer to that level of effectiveness.  

I just don't think it's fair to compare a 36 to 60 pt unit, to 3 to 6 (or more depending on the list) venoms, which add up to minimum 165pts, and maximum, nearly 400 (more for Venoms with troops).  I challenge anyone to take just one venom, like the one unit of small mandrakes everyone has tried, and see how that one performs.

I'm personally going to take at least 20 now to see for myself (If I can get enough models, which are tough to get without being incredibly expensive).  I'll proxy them first, but I really don't think larger amounts will perform nearly as badly as the x1 3 to 5 man unit that everybody has tried did.
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Thu 12 Mar 2015 - 0:02

@Lord Mal wrote:

How many venoms in whatever list though does this make?  Again, you're comparing 1 venom to 1 tiny group of mandrakes, but you're not running one venom in the list.  You're running several to make them worth their points.

What am I supposed to be comparing to what?

Could you tell me what I'm allowed to compare them to?

@Lord Mal wrote:

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to go over each point Shredder, but this thread is exhausting me a bit, so I apologize in advance for not quoting you directly.  I'll absolutely give you the speed on all the things everybody pointed to, but again, all of those are in the FA slot, which is already packed to the gills.  Also, all of the people taking these are taking multiple of each one, and larger amounts when adding up the points than people realize.  2 Units of scourge, x2 to 3 units of Reavers, or x4 or more (often way more) venoms, are all at least 20 mandrakes if not more.  But people are comparing all of these to one 3 to 5 man units of mandrakes that they used in games.  The points aren't remotely equal, and so neither is the output.

That was my point though - I find that those units are far more useful than a 10-man squad of Mandrakes. Scourges are mobile and excellent against virtually any vehicle. Reavers are mobile and good against a variety of units, venoms are mobile and good against infantry, bikes and MCs.

Mandrakes aren't mobile and are decent against infantry at short-range.

I find that I'm rarely in need of extra anti-infantry weapons, and see their lack of mobility as crippling.

@Lord Mal wrote:

So I'm just going to say that I doubt anybody will be convinced regardless of what I say in terms of Mandrakes being better than people think.  They're mostly being compared to venoms (What many people consider the best thing in the book), Scourges (Taken in almost every list), and Reavers (Another one of the best things in the book).  I'm in no way trying to say Mandrakes are better than venoms, however my main point is that I really think people are viewing them as much worse, when if you take the same amount of points in mandrakes as venoms, they'll be much closer to that level of effectiveness.  


I don't see how, to be honest. A 65pt venom is equivalent to 5-6 mandrakes (let's call it 6). Both put out 12 shots, but the Venom has twice the range, wounds anything on 4s (whereas the mandrakes will struggle against bikes, Wraiths, TWC, MCs etc.), and can move 12" each turn.

Maybe it's just my meta but, as above, I just don't have a use for dedicated anti-infantry guns.
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Thu 12 Mar 2015 - 0:55

You're supposed to be comparing them to the equal point amount in total.  Nobody takes a total of 65 points of venoms.  They take a total of 400 to 600 points of venoms (or more).

You're right, 1 venom, isn't equivalent to 5-6 mandrakes, because again, nobody takes just one venom, you take a bunch.  So similarly taking 1 mandrake unit isn't going to work any better.  

Let me clarify.  For example, 65 pts of venom x 3 venoms (I doubt too many people have just 3 FA Venoms).  That's four 3 man units of mandrakes worth, not one unit of 5 mandrakes, and it's also 50 pts cheaper.  The 4 small mandrakes  are 4 seperate targets, and 12 wounds vs 6 wounds.  They're much slower even with infiltrate, but you also have those slots for more FA now, like Scourges or Reavers for anti-tank.  Pairing them with Covenite units who are fearless turn one with a haemy, and have a -1 debuff for leadership when these units all have fear, you can see how this is more effective than pairing them with Venoms and Kabalite Venoms, who do the same job, and don't have these synergies.  

Again, I'm not saying that the mandrakes are a superior choice, but I really don't think they are nearly as bad when compared to venoms as people are suggesting.  Also, if we're talking about Troop carrying Venoms, then the venoms become way more costly then the mandrakes are, since when they die, the troops inside also die.  When you take these units in mass, with that many points invested in them more, they become that much better in effectiveness due to their vastly different cost.   Venoms are also obviously a threat, and so frequently get one shotted before doing anything.  x4 36 pt mandrake units will probably be ignored, therefore not costing you all those points.
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Thu 12 Mar 2015 - 11:26

Except that you don't have enough Elite slots for that. tongue

Also, I don't take Venoms as FA choices - I take them as transports for my Warriors and HQs.

And, once again, you seem to be missing my point. What are these Mandrake squads going to accomplish? For about the 5th time, my armies are not in need of short-range, S4 guns. Especially ones that are basically immobile, once deployed.

With regard to troop-carrying Venoms, they're far from the death-traps they were in 6th (especially with the new pfp rules). Explosions are far less common, and tend to be less damaging even when they occur. And, what's more, many assault units struggle to even catch venoms (and receive little payoff even when they do). I agree that these cost more points, but as I said earlier this isn't a problem for me. Taking them with Warrior squads gives me 2 ObjSec units that can move 12" per turn (as long as the venom is alive), and the Warriors can bring a Blaster for anti-vehicle/TEQ duty.

Once again, I like versatile, long-range firepower and I like speed/manoeuvrability. Venoms have both, Mandrakes have neither.
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Fri 13 Mar 2015 - 11:16

Than why not field mandrakes in venoms Wink
Bottom line.. those who like them will field them in friendly games.
For now I don't see them in competitive lists. I personaly like them and have fielded them to some degree of success.
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes get no love.   Fri 13 Mar 2015 - 17:48

It's all very well to compare things point for point, but the problem with Mandrakes isn't their cost, it's their utility to the army. Even if they were six points apiece I doubt you'd see them fielded because Dark Eldar don't really need what they offer. Strength four shooting? Meh, we wound everything on 4s anyway. Infiltration? We're so fast we don't need infantry to start in a forward position. Soul Blaze? Don't make me laugh Laughing

Like I've mentioned, I'll be trying to make them work because I have the models, whether it's as a 36 point 2+ cover save and extra wounds for an independent character, or as objective camping cover huggers. But I suspect I'll only be making use of them for a little while.

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