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 How competetive are mandrakes?

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Lyceus
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PostSubject: How competetive are mandrakes?   Sat Aug 26 2017, 21:25

I read some posts where people say they do good and others say they underperformed.

How reliable are they for their costs?
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TheBaconPope
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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Sat Aug 26 2017, 21:30

They're generalists. Essentially, they're not the best vector for any one job, but they'll preform average at just about everything. Need something to sit on an objective? -1 To Hit and Deep Strike will help you. Need some anti infantry? Well you have 10 S4 shots per squad. Have a big guy with a bigger invuln? Lucky for you, you can dish out mortal wounds. They are by no means something to base your entire list around, but throwing in a squad or two to top off your 2000 point army will rarely fail to impress.

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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Sat Aug 26 2017, 21:31

Reliability relies on larger groups I think. I've found 5 inconsistent. But their deepsteike won me a game by blocking an objective off and they do okay if you bring them out turn 3, shoot then change an important long range squad. I'm going to keep using them, probably build 5 more

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Mppqlmd
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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Sat Aug 26 2017, 22:24

They are the best point filler for a list.
I recommend always taking them last, and pour your remaining points in them.
They can do everything fairly well, and for the points are very good.
Since they don't need transports, they are also our easiest-to-field unit. You pay for mandrakes, you get mandrakes.

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Hellstrom
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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Sun Aug 27 2017, 11:13

They are decent against T3 enemies, which most of the rest of our armies struggle to shoot. I've found them to be pretty poo in combat though. Sit at 18" and continue shooting, unless you can charge a tank imo.
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Thor665
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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Sun Aug 27 2017, 13:21

I'd second the above. They're basically a harassment shooting unit that can do okay in assault - not an assault unit with a nice shooting option. Use them like short range snipers.

I would call them about a C quality unit.
Not bad, but hardly earth shattering.

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Kantalla
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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Sun Aug 27 2017, 15:02

I find Mandrakes really really good.

Points efficiency wise against single wound infantry they are our best offensive unit for shooting outside 18".

If you field a Farseer with Doom they are multiply very well, and become a good option for killing high toughness models (especially those with invulnerable saves). My last two games, I faced a Leviathan Dreadnought and Aetaos'rau'keres, and Mandrakes would have been the best tool to deal with those, and I didn't have enough.

Deep strike lets them occasionally snipe characters or claim important objectives.

They are fairly weak in assault, but with hard to hit they have some use in tying up tanks, as most can't hit them due to WS 6+.

The downside is they are very fragile to small arms fire.

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Deris87
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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Sun Aug 27 2017, 17:55

I'll echo that they're a generalist unit that performs well to above average against most targets. They're not always the best option to charge straight into a full strength enemy unit, but their high volume of medium quality shooting and melee attacks (plus Mortal Wounds) makes them a threat against a large variety of targets. They're like a swiss army force multiplier. If they excel at anything I'd say it's anti-horde, though because they're so fragile you definitely want to only charge a weakened unit to mop up with their three S4 attacks each.
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The Shredder
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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Mon Aug 28 2017, 20:33

I really want to like them - their guns are great, their deployment is nice, their shadowy rules are really fluffy. However, they just seem too expensive for what they bring.

Don't get me wrong - they're not terrible and they're miles better than they were in 7th. They also seem to be the only unit in our codex that actually gained fluff, rather than being stripped of anything even remotely fluffy or interesting. However, 19pts is just too hard for me to justify, given how easy they are to kill with small arms. And while the range of their guns is nice, they gain no benefit from cover so you can't really take advantage of it.
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Dark Elf Dave
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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Tue Aug 29 2017, 14:42

Hi All

Just been reading the comments, I am quite interested in the Mandrakes, I would love to use them more often.

Are they really that bad in combat? A unit of 5 would hand out 16 S4 attacks in close combat...that's not bad. I imagine dropping them 9" from a key target, 10 Baleblast shots and then a charge...better on turn 2 so that you can re-roll the charge if needed. I would imagine you would do a similar amount of wounds between shooting and melee with Mandrakes.

They seem quite a versatile unit to me. What would you use them for most? Objective secured? Or character hunting perhaps? I think against GEQ they look very strong.
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The Shredder
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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Tue Aug 29 2017, 14:57

@Dark Elf Dave wrote:
Hi All

Just been reading the comments, I am quite interested in the Mandrakes, I would love to use them more often.

Are they really that bad in combat?  A unit of 5 would hand out 16 S4 attacks in close combat...that's not bad.  I imagine dropping them 9" from a key target, 10 Baleblast shots and then a charge...better on turn 2 so that you can re-roll the charge if needed.  I would imagine you would do a similar amount of wounds between shooting and melee with Mandrakes.

They're not bad in combat - the issue is that they're not really good in combat either. They can put out a decent number of S4 attacks, sure, but with no rerolls, no AP, no extra damage etc. I don't think those attacks will result in many actual wounds. Given that they're still pretty fragile, any return attacks could really hurt them. What's more, if they end up in an ongoing fight, then they're also being deprived of their great shooting attack.

Now, I think it can definitely be worth charging them - I just don't see it as their primary goal. Rather, I'd aim to shoot a unit and then potentially charge it to finish off the survivors (or maybe shoot one unit and then try to tie up another).

@Dark Elf Dave wrote:

They seem quite a versatile unit to me.  What would you use them for most?  Objective secured?  Or character hunting perhaps?  I think against GEQ they look very strong.

Given their versatility, I think the answer is 'whatever I most need help with that game'. Razz

I'd lean towards using them for anti-infantry duty (since they're one of the few units we have that wound GEQ on 3s instead of 4s), but really I'd just try to use them for whatever I think needs to be killed that turn.

And, of course, you can always put them in range of more than one unit - giving them a secondary target if the first one proves easier to destroy than you expected.
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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Tue Aug 29 2017, 15:22

Vs guardsmen and other GEQ they should be good cc, attacking with a squad of 5 will result in 16 * 2/3 (hit) * 2/3 (wound) * 2/3 (armor save) = 4.74 wounds which is actually very good. Compare to poor ol' 5 wych squad with hydra gauntlet at 6 * 2/3 * 1/2 * 2/3 + 2 * 3/4 * 5/6 = 2.58 wounds and mandrakes can shoot too. You can charge a squad of 5 GEQ and reasonably expect to wipe it. A squad of incubi for comparison is 16 * (4*5/6 + 12*2/3)/16 * 2/3 = 7.56 expected wounds but they are of course dedicated cc.

They are worse when you need ap eg vs marines, where it's 16 * 2/3 * 1/2 * 1/3 = 1.77 wounds for the mandrakes vs incubi's 16 * (4*5/6 + 12*2/3)/16 * 1/2 * 5/6 = 4.72 wounds. But killing 1-2 marines is not bad.
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Dark Elf Dave
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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Tue Aug 29 2017, 15:36

That is pretty much what I had expected...5 Mandrakes who both shoot at and then assault 10 guardsmen (assuming no losses in overwatch) should near enough wipe out that unit in one turn.

Of course you might want to pick a target carefully because Mandrakes don't want to be too central on the battlefield perhaps.

Just thinking about the overwatch scenario...10 Guardsmen could be packing a flamer, a missile launcher and a hand thrown grenade couldn't they? So they could potentially do some damage in overwatch to DE.
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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Tue Aug 29 2017, 18:10

I've had great success with them once I learned to wait to bring them in on turn 3. At that point they have re-roll charge and hitting on 2s in CC due to PFP. Every time I bring them in earlier, they seem to get stranded and get shot up/assaulted very quickly.

I use them to clean up weakened units. Played a BA army last week where they dropped in and took the last 4 wounds off of Dante and then ran over and took out 3 terminators. Not bad for a 90ish point unit in two turns of work. Their combination of mortal wounds and AP -1 on their shooting attacks and good amount of CC attacks make them a pretty solid choice. I am going to make sure I have them in every list now.

I do want to echo what others have said though.... they are a generalist unit and can perform extremely well, but don't let that persuade you into building a list around them.
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Dark Elf Dave
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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Tue Aug 29 2017, 20:19

What number of models do you think makes the best build? Or is each unit max 5?
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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Tue Aug 29 2017, 21:41

I've had pretty decent results using a five man unit. Definitely looking to fill the unit out to 8 or so. They have been decent wit five, a few more would really help for those Mortal Wounds that you fish for.

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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Tue Aug 29 2017, 21:57

I took 2x5 in a 2000p game today and deployed them second turn behind enemy cover.

They were up against about 7 space marines 2 hq 2 razorbacks and a predator in that corner.

They managed to cause about 4 wounds after saves in total, probably 1-2 mortal wounds.

Then they failed the charges at 9 inch. Then they got shot to death from the space marines. One flamer alone kille some of them. I was left with 2 mandrakes after that. They did manage with some lucky rolls to wound the razorback but that was it.

Not worth the points for me in that game. Maybe against non space marines in the future. Good that I used proxys.
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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Tue Aug 29 2017, 22:08

Well it's not really a surprise that 170pts of unit didn't do well against 3 tanks, 2 HQs and some TAC.
I'd probably call them heroes of the day seeing how outnumbered and outgunned they got in that match-up.

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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Tue Aug 29 2017, 22:10

If I was inclined to field Mandrakes 2x5 is how I'd go with it.

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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Thu Aug 31 2017, 03:57

What's your reasoning for two of five? I have ten all painted up and can't decide his to run them
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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Thu Aug 31 2017, 04:45

2x5 will let you pick on more stragglers if you need to finish off threats in different spaces of the board. And if you need 10 in one space then great, drop 10 in one space. It's just added flexibility to split that unit I think.
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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Thu Aug 31 2017, 04:52

And it means 2 units to shoot at instead of 1. And reduced risk of morale losses.

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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Thu Aug 31 2017, 05:41

The only argument for 10 is Overwatch : if you charge with 5, and the enemy kills all of them with overwatch, he keeps his overwatch, and can shoot the other unit of 5 that would charge him as well.

But then again, if you're charging a unit that can kill them all in overwatch, you're either very unlucky, or quite stupid.

Other than that scenario, 2*5. Eggs in baskets and all.

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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Thu Aug 31 2017, 11:06

2 units of 5 also gives you an extra Nightfiend, meaning you get +1A overall.

A minor point but still noteworthy.
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PostSubject: Re: How competetive are mandrakes?   Thu Aug 31 2017, 14:13

Morale tests!!! Smaller units are always better.
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