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Dra'al Nacht
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PostSubject: Mandrakes: What if?   Mon Jan 07 2013, 15:26

I was musing about the seldom used Mandrakes.

My hypothetical question is: If Mandrakes had the Altered Physique (start with a pain token) rule added, would you consider them a viable option?
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Count Adhemar
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Mon Jan 07 2013, 15:30

They're still an elite combat unit that would struggle to deal with most rank and file troops in an assault.

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Dra'al Nacht
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Mon Jan 07 2013, 15:50

Agreed, but my thoughts are that the extra survivability and shooting could make them a little harder to ignore when you infiltrate or outflank with them. I wouldn't consider them purely for their killing ability but for their perceived threat.
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Thor665
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Mon Jan 07 2013, 16:44

If they gained Altered Physique either at no additional cost or a relatively minor point gain then they would be provable better than they are now.

They would still not be viable.

To be viable I think what they really need is an upgrade character who can actually take tools to help them in assault and also grenades or a rule that allowed them to function as if they had grenades (like a 'strike from the shadows' special rule wherein they act as if they have offensive and defensive grenades).

At that point, as long as they didn't become more expensive I'd actually probably consider them because they could become a semi-decent solution to Long Fangs and their ilk.

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Count Adhemar
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Mon Jan 07 2013, 16:50

I'd be up for that. I'd also like to see poisoned weapons but that would need a point increase.

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Balisong
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Mon Jan 07 2013, 18:10

Make them Fully Daemons or give them "shadow" based psychic powers.
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Dark_Kindred
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Mon Jan 07 2013, 18:34

@Dra'al Nacht wrote:
I was musing about the seldom used Mandrakes.

My hypothetical question is: If Mandrakes had the Altered Physique (start with a pain token) rule added, would you consider them a viable option?

Ask yourself: Would you ever take Wracks if they were an elite choice? I wouldn't.

+1 Thor but that goes without saying

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Mushkilla
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Mon Jan 07 2013, 18:36

Now if only the squad leader could carry a WWP... Twisted Evil

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Shadows Revenge
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Mon Jan 07 2013, 19:18

@Mushkilla wrote:
Now if only the squad leader could carry a WWP... Twisted Evil

or could actually take a power weapon...

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Nomic
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Tue Jan 08 2013, 07:55

If the Decrapitator was a Mandrake upgrade chracter instead of an overpriced HQ, he might make them good. Drop his point costs and reduce the stats to compensate (make him about 50 points with +1 to regular Mandrake bs, ws and ld) and remove the weird deployment rule. Now Mandrakes have a power weapon character (who can also instakill stuff) and start with a pain token. Also make give him shrouded so the unit gets a 2+ save in cover and 4+ in open. They'd still be pretty mediocre in assult, but now they'd be quite difficult to remove from cover and would be pretty good at shooting.

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greater_fishy
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Tue Jan 08 2013, 11:40

I think if they started with a pain token it would go a long way to fixing the unit, and I would probably try to include them in my lists
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Kinnay
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Tue Jan 08 2013, 12:41

They had so much potential to become a cool unit, what with all the shadow stuff... Instead of having a Pain Token from the get go (which only makes sense fpr coven units, in my opinion), they should really have gotten their shooting attack as standard ability; Stealth and ignore (difficult) terrain, to underline their shadowy nature? Offensive grenades because they strike from the shadows of their foes?
The Nightfiend should have been made a proper Daemon with all its perks and handicaps, along with much more options. A stronger shooting attack, perhaps like the AP1 gun of the Warp Spider Exarch? Maybe become a level 1 Psyker with a choice between an offensive and defensive, Mandrake-specific power? At least a power weapon... maybe one that changes its form, i.e. giving the player the choice to switch between maul, sword and axe!

The Decapitator would actually be good if only he was an IC. A stronger shooting attack and a Shadow Field (go figure!), along with the rules for the Nightfiend described above would be the cherry on top. Wink

Dayum, I would have loved to field Mandrakes. Why oh why have they only been added so quickly and without thinking? We've waited SO many years. A few months more to take care of all the little inconsistencies left in the ruleset wouldn't have killed us...

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Azdrubael
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Tue Jan 08 2013, 13:14

Doesnt matter, right now in 6th they cant even assault if they infliltrated or outflanked, they suffer turn of ranged fire anyway.

They have become even worse in 6th.

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Orthien
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Tue Jan 08 2013, 19:49

I agree with Kinnay that as cool as starting with a PT would be that is more the Haemmy coven domain.
They really needed to play more on the from the shadows aspect as well as giving the Nightfiend some kind of upgrade.
I would think something along the lines of Baleblast as baseline with the ability to infiltrate in during movement on Turn one rather than before the game.
Then have the PT gain give them Rending and/or Grenades or something.

I would field that even if there was a 2 point increase or something on them.

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Ulcis
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Tue Jan 08 2013, 21:35

I had a great game when my 5 man Mandrake unit charged a Tau Fire Warrior unit, wiped them out & then Bale-blasted the next unit before another charge. I've found they can be a good distraction, and fun when they work, but not really worth the points.
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Sathonyx
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Thu Jan 10 2013, 21:10

I think a combination of Nomic & Kinney's ideas would work best as a fix by GW for us
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Druchii
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Fri Jan 11 2013, 04:47

I've found out that they can have a role in a very friendly game. But all the circumstances around the whole agenda makes it very hard to utilize... And you will probably perform better with other units doing the same thing.
If you have an empty raider and a haemonculi you could theoretically get that shooting attack and a transport from the very beginning. Let the hameonculi start the game with the mandrakes, load them up into the empty raider in the movement phase and sail em over the table... Or you could buy a squad of Warriors or even Trueborns and get the same result...

They are a bad choice in every way due to the fact that you can most of the times do the same things better for a smaller point tag using either Kabalite warriors or Wyches. =/

Like som many times before when it comes to GW... - "what were they thinking?"
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Orthien
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Sun Jan 13 2013, 21:33

@Druchii wrote:
They are a bad choice in every way due to the fact that you can most of the times do the same things better for a smaller point tag using either Kabalite warriors or Wyches. =/

Except they can bring some things that Warriors and Wyches can't for example AP 4 and Stealth.
Granted they still can be bested but other options but there are rolls you can utilize effectively for them if you plan it and want to bring them.

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Squierboy
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Mon Jan 14 2013, 00:43

Mandrakes have such a wonderful little write up in the codex. All that stuff about appearing out of their victim's shadows, being nicknamed 'creepers', and being surrounded by an aura of icy coldness. Very evocative.

Then you look at the stats and get very upset that GW made them even worse than in the previous codex. Their special rules pretty much cover the least you'd expect from a 'stealthy' unit, and that's it.

I don't mind leaving the pain token-bale blast rule in place, but I would add in a special deployment rule that allows them to deep strke in and assault (vanguard vets can do this & they only cost 20 points each). Add defensive/assault grenade ability (without actully having grenades). Reduce S to 3 and add some options to take poisoned weapons. They should have minimal abilities to damage vehicles. Limit to small squad sizes. Fear special rule?

Oh, and give the nightfiend some upgrade options....jeez Rolling Eyes e.g. A miasma of absolute cold that reduces their opponent's attacks; an ability to increase the power of the unit's baleblast; an improved invulerable save for the unit; an instant-kill weapon (like the decapitator, as someone has suggested already); a rending weapon.

All at a suitable points cost of course! But you don't mind paying the points if you get something viable as compensation.

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Dark_Kindred
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Mon Jan 14 2013, 02:47

@Orthien wrote:
@Druchii wrote:
They are a bad choice in every way due to the fact that you can most of the times do the same things better for a smaller point tag using either Kabalite warriors or Wyches. =/

Except they can bring some things that Warriors and Wyches can't for example AP 4 and Stealth.
Granted they still can be bested but other options but there are rolls you can utilize effectively for them if you plan it and want to bring them.

Plasma Grenades and Defensive Grenades.

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Braseye
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Tue Jan 15 2013, 12:56

I think a good rule for them, taking into account their background fluff, would be to have a rule like the Ymgarl Genestealers. For those who aren't fimiliar with this rule it basically states that at the begining of the game you secretly choose a piece of area terrain for them to deploy from, write it down, then, when they deploy from reserve they appear there and can attack, shoot and assault (this is amazing) as normal! If you have been on the receiving end of Ymgarl Genestealer hidden strike you know how nasty this is.

Also I would give them Fear and either Rending or an AP3 power weapon. These changes would make them well worth taking, fit the fluff better and imrpove there CC ability.


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wanderingblade
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Wed Jan 16 2013, 21:28

A thought that occurred to me today was why not give them all Precision Strike in combat? Obviously that's nowhere enough to save them, but it fits their background and makes them useful assassins - providing they can actually damage things...
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Thor665
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Wed Jan 16 2013, 22:58

I know that isn't a win though - because you could give them all Precision Strike and make each model cost 1 point less and I still wouldn't field them.

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wanderingblade
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Wed Jan 16 2013, 23:19

Well no, and neither would I, but I thought it was an interesting idea that might help them a little - and also offer something different. A lot of the ideas over the last two pages - Shrouded, Poison Weapons and so on - are good, but either makes them Quins-lite or infiltrating Wracks, to me at least.

If they had Precision Strike (assuming they've been buffed to reasonable combat unit level) they can do something different - whether that's hunting down characters, or removing hidden power weapons before they can splatter your Incubi. Something like that would make me want to take them.
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes: What if?   Fri Jan 18 2013, 23:48

Heres an idea, an unlikely idea but something I thought of.
Imagine a new dark eldar forge world model. The funeral barque.
It would look like your standard raider except it would be all haunted and ghosty, torn sails, cloth flowing off of it. Instead of a flight stand it would be born aloft on the backs of numerous mandrakes. Instead of a fore weapon there would be a casket, not a human/eldar sized casket, more of an ornate box with runes carved into it. The helmsman a tall and wiry mandrake in a hooded cloak with a pointy stick or something to stab people with.

Fluff would be that when a suitably ancient and powerful nightfiend falls in combat its soul does not immediately transfer over to the warp. The rest of his kin will, if able, cut out the nightfiends heart and bind its soul to it. This is only a temporary holdback, the soul will leave the material world within a day. If before then the mandrakes manage to return the heart through the web way to their lair they will engage in a ceremony and place the heart into the box sealing the vengeful soul away. Then mounting this box on a funeral boat of old (any downed/abandoned raider will do) the mandrakes of the clan bear the funeral barge to battle so their comrade may have final vengeance and whatnot.

Rulewise count it as a skimming chariot with a built in rider, the helmsman with a pointy stick, maybe throw him a special rule or two for flavor. Also if you want two things the chariot could be a designated transport (can chariots be designated transports? I haven't actually seen one yet) for a generic mandrake HQ making the built in rider obsolete and the whole thing less wonky.
Other rules:
Spitefull Pallbearers: Whenever the rider makes a sweeping attack make an additional d6 strength 4 ap - hits against the same target.
Flickerfield and/or nightshield standard (mandrakes are supposed to be sneaky/stealthy/hard to hit)
Vengeful Ancient: once per game during the shooting phase the funeral barque may opt to open the casket releasing the angry spirit within who proceeds to rend face before being sucked off to the warp. Make it a 1 shot 12-18" ranged shooting attack with morale consequences and rending, perhaps if the unit targeted is destroyed a paintoken may be given to any mandrake unit on the board.
Ghostly Procession (the big one): Any mandrake unit on the board and fully within cover may sacrifice their movement and be placed within 6 inches of the barque. They may not move further in the movement phase, but may run and assault normally. Think of this as mandrakes sinking into the shadows and reappearing/surging out from the barque and its pallbearers.

Obviously the main thing about this model would be that it would allow you to completely redeploy your mandrakes from their infiltrated hiding spots once the barque got close to something juicy. This would allow you to infiltrate the 'drakes to threaten objectives, drawing fire away from your army and if your opponent chooses to ignore them you can yoink them back and throw them in his face. The oneshot and character riding thing are really secondary.

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