Greetings and welcome to Battle 9 of Old vs. New.
So, we've seen some sights in our battles thus far. Wyches have battled from Elite slot to Troops. The dread New Incubi have stalked the field. The fearsome Lords of Old have claimed the souls of their meager replacements. The Haemonculi has shown that the power of pain overcomes being better at everything else. New Vehicles have shattered the Old models.
But, though all this stuff is good, what about one of the more...questionable options we have?
What about a unit that was called the worst unit in the codex...BOTH TIMES!
Yes, it's now time for - the Battle of the Mandrakes!Slot and Cost
As usual, the first basic question is - did they change the cost of the model, and is the model still in the same slot of the codex?
Both of our options of shadowy killers occupy the Elite slot, so no changes there at all.
Both also rack in t 15 points per model, so, again, no changes.
I will note that New Mandrakes at least do have a Sarge upgrade, which is a little different and odd for them. Still, slot and price are identical - easy call.Advantage? - Tie!Stats
This should be an easy one to compare. Did they take away or add to the stat line?
The Old Mandrake
|WS ||BS ||S ||T ||W ||I ||A ||Ld ||Sv |
|4 ||4 ||3 ||3 ||1 ||5 ||1 ||8 ||5+ |
The New Mandrake
|WS ||BS ||S ||T ||W ||I ||A ||Ld ||Sv |
|4 ||4 ||4 ||3 ||1 ||5 ||2 ||8 ||5+ |
And the upgrade characters;
The New Nightfiend
|WS ||BS ||S ||T ||W ||I ||A ||Ld ||Sv |
|4 ||4 ||4 ||3 ||1 ||5 ||3 ||9 ||5+ |
Pretty big changes right there. First off, the New Mandrakes get +1 Str *and* +1 A all for the same cost. That's a pretty drastic upgrade for an assault unit.
TO top it off, though he really is awkward to include in the discussion - at least with their Sarge their Leadership goes up to a quite respectable 9, which means they're more stable.
Can't argue with that, statwise the New are clearly superior.Advantage? - New!Wargear
What good are stats without awesome weapons to use them with? New
They come with one CCW weapon each - huzzah.
The only upgrade option the New have is the option to take the aforementioned Nightfiend. Oooh, CrAzY upgrade options...Old
Well, compared to these guys, maybe one option is impressive. Old Mandrakes had no upgrade options at all.
I will note they started with a *splinter pistol* and a CCW. So the +1 A that New Mandrakes has is kinda dorked with here - because basically the Old had that, and also had a shooting option (an inherent one at that - thanks Balefire!) which is unquestionably a good advantage.
Now, basic wargear considered - it's a question of what's better, splinter pistols or a Sarge. Meh, pretty cruddy consideration any way you cut it. (what a shock, with Mandrakes it's a debate of Cruddy or 'slightly less cruddy') But let's consider something a bit more important - and that's the special rules, because with Mandrakes this really does matter.
We're probably all basically familiar with New Mandrakes. They have a 5+ Invulnerable save, and also the Stealth, Infiltrate, and Move Through Cover special rules. This allows them to be pretty hard to kill with shooting (3+) or any other assault weaponry (5+ one way or another) and they can also appear near to enemy units and truck through cover really well when coming to get them (though please ignore the total lack of assault grenades that will make their assault a sad joke even though they're clearly intended to be an assault unit that rushes through cover to ambush stuff)
They also have Night Vision and a shooting attack, both of which are pretty 'meh since it's hard to get the shooting attack and...yeah, whatever.
Now, the Old...how can I discuss this one.
OLD MANDRAKES SCREWED WITH EVERYONE'S HEAD.
That pretty much describes their deployment method. Y'see, when you deployed Old Mandrakes you actually didn't deploy them - you deployed 3 models and any one of those models 'might' be the Mandrakes. They could move around as normal in the Movement phase but couldn't attack nor could they be attacked.
Then, on Turn 3, you declared one of them as real - removed the other 2 - and then deployed the entire Mandrake Unit at the location of the 'real' marker. Then you got your move, shooting, and assault phases.
Also, they had sort of a Super Stealth effect. They had a permanent 5+ cover save - or +2 to their normal cover saves (so a 2+ save when in cover. Also, they counted as 'in cover' during assaults, so if you didn't have assault grenades you would end up attacking at I 1 when dealing with them. So, they were really hard to shoot to death and really hard to assault unless you were properly equipped - making them really great...if they had been Troops and could have sat on objectives
Still, really crazy ability to threaten and offer options, and surprisingly tough to kill.
That's some odd stuff, but at the core I have to say the Old Mandrakes impress me more. Balefire is great, but hard to get. And the other New Mandrake stuff kinda pales compared to the Old Mandrakes who were overall better at being hard to shoot to death and probably also better at getting in to threaten enemy models in a functional way. The best I can really say for New is that they're easier to attach an HQ to...not that anyone really would want to much.
Also, wargear wise I will say I slightly prefer a pistol option to a Sarge option...maybe just me, but there you go.Advantage? - Old!Face to Face in Battle!
Okay, so now it's time for a slightly embarrassing slap fest as two sub-standard assault units go to town on each other - huzzah! I'll also admit that probably I shouldn't really have given the New Mandrakes the Nightfiend as a perfectly even matchup in points would have been easy to do but...meh, whatever, I wanted to toss him in there.
10 New Mandrakes (one with Nightfiend Upgrade) - 160
10 Old Mandrakes - 150
-----------------------------Old Mandrakes Assault
Everyone has 5 Initiative so this is all simultaneous.
Old Mandrakes have 30 attacks - 15 hit - 7.5 wound - 5 dead New Mandrakes.
New Mandrakes have 21 attacks - 10.5 hit - 7 wound - 4.66 dead Old Mandrakes.
At this point it becomes a grind that could probably go either way. I guess I'll give the slight statistical edge to Old in that battle, but probably both squads are pretty mauled afterwards.New Mandrakes Assault
They end up assaulting through covr and go at I 1 - Old Mandrakes swing first.
Old Mandrakes - 20 attacks - 10 hit - 5 wound - 3.33 dead New Mandrakes
New Mandrakes now have 7 alive.
22 attacks - 11 hits - 7.33 wounds - 4.88 dead Old Mandrakes.
Another grind but not quite as tough, and the New Mandrakes should get the win this time as the Old don't get a leg up enough to overcome the New's ability to wound on a 3+.
I honestly expected Old to win both of those, but it looks like the initiative donk wasn't a big enough shift to off-set the attacks gained in assault. Both of those fights are pretty pathetic on the whole though, and both times the 'winners' are basically down almost half their squad or more in order to get victory.Advantage? - Tie!
So that's my breakdown.
It's pretty pathetic.
New has better shooting - Old has more accessible shooting.
Old are harder to kill by a solid margin. New are overall better at killing things due to their Str boost.
I think Old have the more interesting mechanics and are better able to get off an assault the turn they rrive, but New is still not too bad with Infiltrate and could also pull off an assault when they arrive.
Both squads need grenades...
Meh, I think I'm going to give Old the nod, simply because the deployment type felt more interesting and at least gave me some interesting things to do when I fielded my Mandrakes (and did work nicely a couple of times too). New isn't that far behind though, and though the Nightfiend is pretty much gak I can't say that the Str boost isn't nice (though does it offset an option of shooting pistols prior to an assault? I dunno)
Meh, I'll vote Old because that's what I do most of the time
That's my call - what's yours?