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 Mandrakes...?

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PostSubject: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeWed Jan 29 2014, 15:14

Alright, I know there's plenty of hate out there for them, and I'm not about to start singing their praises either, but...that's because I've never used them.

In theory, I see why Mandrakes are a sub-par choice. I get it. But, I'm just wondering if anyone has ever tried them out on the field, and had any success. We can manage a decent bit of Infiltration alongside Eldar Rangers, could a team of Mandrakes get up to a decent amount of shenanigans? If a 75pt team takes the heat from a unit or two of shooters and this means Venoms and Raiders get upfield, how bad is that?

I'm just thinkin aloud....
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeWed Jan 29 2014, 15:38

If their sole purpose is to die to give someone else a chance to get closer, I don;t think that's worth it.
They;re main problem is that they don't get their shooting attack until they gain a pain token, and they can;t do that unless they either kill something in combat (which they can;t do in the turn they infiltrate making their key ability useless) or is they start with a Haemonculi, in which case they can't use their key ability.

I can think of only ONE useful way to use them, and that's if you take a fortification (like a Bastion) and deploy it outside your deployment zone (closer to the enemy) and get the Mandrakes to infiltrate straight into it to man the emplaced gun. Their Stealth is a heavy building or behind an Aegis Line isn't a terrible idea, especially is dumped next to a gun and a comm-link to make your useful units coming on from reserves more likely.

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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeWed Jan 29 2014, 16:05

One possibly use I can see for Mandrakes, giving it a lot of thought, is in a floating gunline army. Hide them out of sight and if your enemy moves up to deal with the various Night Shielded craft of death, he either has to clear the Mandrakes out, or suffer them charging him and completely bogging things down. That might be semi valuable.
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeThu Jan 30 2014, 06:19

Getting them the pain token is an issue if they have infiltrated. Unless u have a Raider w/ Haemie and maybe Wracks attached, they could move u and disembark, giving the PT to the Mandrakes.....but I'd much rather have Wracks w/ 2 PTs....however if u like to field 3 Wracks in Venoms then the Haemie the would be fine to join the Mandrakes, imo

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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeThu Jan 30 2014, 06:53

lcfr wrote:
If a 75pt team takes the heat from a unit or two of shooters and this means Venoms and Raiders get upfield, how bad is that?
That is not bad.
The problem is...Mandrakes don't do that very well.

Okay, 1st off - to do this they need to assault the enemy. To do that they need to infiltrate. The way infiltrate works means that the first available time for them to assault is Turn 2 (also known as when a Wych unit can assault...y'know, kinda making you wonder the point of the infiltrator in the first place)

2nd off, by 2nd turn, that means the enemy shooting unit has already fired 1-2 times...functionally meaning they've already served their purpose with 1-2 dead Raiders/Venoms.

3rd off (and most embarrassing in a long line of shame) ...um...there actually aren't too many shooting units worth tackling that...well, 75 points of Mandrakes have much of a chance of actually beating up. Lootas? Lootas would just kill the Mandrakes. Oblits? Same deal. Firewarriors? I'm guessing you're looking at some dead Mandrakes...yes, I think Firewarriors win in assault versus Mandrakes even if the Mandrakes are the one doing the assault. Maybe an IG HWT? I guess Mandrakes could win that, they are slightly better than generic IG in assault, and IG has no real overwatch shenanigans. Um...I think Cultists manning a quadgun would probably win. I'm running out of soft targets here...Devestators/Havocs? I think the Mandrakes would lose but would probably manage to tie them up for a turn (hopefully) so...that might be helpful.

So, basically, they're too slow to actually do a tie-up kill in time for it to matter...and then they are *also* actually incapable of even really tying up or killing most dedicated shooting units in the game...and gawd help them if they're dumb enough to assault a unit with actual assault capability.

Eldar Storm Guardians are tougher in assault than Mandrakes.

Eldar.
Storm.
Guardians.

Mandrakes are, stat line alone, only *slightly* better than generic IG Troops. Just roll that one around in your head for a while.

I love the fluff of Mandrakes.
I even sort of like the models, and at least like the basic design concept (my hang up is I feel the models came out feeling anime-ish, but I do like the basic design ideals of the sigils, lack of facial features, and the flesh clothing).
But dear lord...those rules...so bad.

I agree with whoever commented about using them for Bastion manning.
Basically, probably the best use for Mandrakes (presuming you don't have a better use for an Elite slot...which is a pretty good part of our Force Org.
But, if you don't want to field some Trueborn or Incubi or something, then Mandrakes are pretty cheap to get and are pretty durable behind an Aegis or something, so can man a Quad Gun pretty well if you have nothing else to sit there with them.

That would be my best advice.
Don't assault anything with them though - they're not good at that.

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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeThu Jan 30 2014, 21:32

I am sure I am in the super minority when it comes to mandrakes. I don't like the models all that much, and I find them to be a quite useful unit in my basic army lists (I practically auto-include them in lists). Of course, I love the fluff is well.

Unfortunately, with some deadlines approaching, I don't have the time to re-defend Mandrakes as in the past (2 - 3 months into 6th edition, IIRC). A fairly extensive (and only partially outdated) discussion can be found here: https://www.thedarkcity.net/t3614p80-mandrakes.

Long story short, they are an annoyance unit that you can make very awkward for your opponent to deal with. They're low enough on the threat level that other things take precedence, but you can also press with them to force an opponent to deal with them. Further, proper allocation of force with mandrakes can yield wonderful results (Once took out 3 wave serpents in a game with a 9-man squad).

They are hard to use and need their shooting attack to be useful. That being said, I can usually get them a pain token before T1 shooting phase, I'd say conservatively it happens in 4 out of 5 games.
If you want a challenge, go ahead and give them a try.

One important note is this though: They're not that effective in the most popular DE lists (i.e. venom spam), which is why I think you hear a lot of hate on them as opposed to "limited effectiveness" comments.


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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeThu Jan 30 2014, 21:52

@Thor - I think 5 mandrakes could take 12 fire warriors in a fight. Just. 15 attacks on the charge, 10 hits, 6.66 wounds (call it 6), 3 dead fire warriors. 9 fire warriors back, 4.5 hits, 2.25 wounds, likely 2 dead mandrakes. However, being able to beat fire warriors in combat by 1 is hardly a ringing endorsement. And they'll get shot in the face first. You can also assault on turn 1 if you infiltrated, provided you're going second. Provided you managed to get out of LoS, you can be 12.1 inches away, so 7" charge... doable. Manning a bastion is not a bad idea, actually. Not a bad idea at all. Bonus awesome points for taking a fortress of redemption and infiltrating it full of mandrakes. But you lose all your practicality points.

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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeThu Jan 30 2014, 22:19

Edit: realized I did this with a 4++ not the Mandrake's actual 5++
Let's adjust...


Panic_Puppet wrote:
@Thor - I think 5 mandrakes could take 12 fire warriors in a fight. Just.
...I don't know about that, shall we crunch the actual numbers?

12 Fire Warriors vs. 5 Mandrakes

Mandrakes declare charge.
Fire Warriors declare Overwatch.
24 shots - 4 hits - 3.33 wounds - 2.22 dead Mandrakes.
So, about 2-3 Mandrakes make the assault.
Tau have Photon grenades, so no bonus attacks.
So - 4-6 attacks at I 5 presuming the Mandrakes didn't have to assault through cover (if they came through cover this fight is pretty much over already)

So, 4-6 attacks - 2.66-4 hit - 1.77-2.66 wound - 0.8-1.33 dead Tau. Good job, Mandrakes.
Tau get to swing back now - there are about 10-11 Tau left.
We'll just call it 10 and give the Mandrakes a break.
10 attacks - 5 hit - 2.5 wound - 1.66 dead Mandrakes.

So, basically, even giving the Mandrakes benefit of the doubt, the Firewarriors win in the assault more than likely, at the least it's probably a tie.
In further resolution the Firewarriors win the war of attrition.
Everyone cheers the mighty slap fest of two non-assault units fighting it out.
What's that? Mandrakes are supposed to be good in assault?
...oops.

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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeThu Jan 30 2014, 22:28

Incubi are also an assault unit. I think 3 incubi may also lose to 12 FW...
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeThu Jan 30 2014, 22:33

I didn't take into account overwatch; I also didn't know fire warriors had photon grenades. That's just unpleasant.

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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeThu Jan 30 2014, 23:14

Roc wrote:
Incubi are also an assault unit. I think 3 incubi may also lose to 12 FW...
Yeah, but people actually advocate taking a unit of 5 Mandrake to 'assault shooty stuff'. I've never seen anyone recommend taking a unit of 3 Incubi to do anything.

Heck, I say they should never be taken except with an Archon with a PGL.

Edit: and, actually, there are a number of units that 3 Incubi assaulting it could work out pretty well. Can you think of the unit(s?) that 5 Mandrakes should assault? There isn't even that much that 10 Mandrakes can handle. There is a lot of stuff that 6 Incubi can handle.

Statwise, in assault, Mandrakes are less functional Space Marine Scouts.
But Space Marine Scouts cost less.

Edit-Edit - Mandrakes would do well not to assault Space Marine Scouts...

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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeFri Jan 31 2014, 01:23

I'm not saying you *should* take mandrakes in assault. In fact, I consider labelling mandrakes as an assault unit a mis-characterization. They are a utility unit, nothing more, nothing less.  

My point was that it was a false equivalency. 5 mandrakes =/= 12 Fire Warriors, nor are 3 incubi. Even up the points and both the DE will clean up, especially if you consider mandrakes firing going in.

I know, requires pain token. I honestly cannot remember a time I haven't given them a T1 pain token though. If you run mandrakes, that's how you run them.

Bringing a 'drake squad with no way to deliver a token is like bringing a blasterborn squad with no venom. Bring your delivery systems.

Now, get the pain token and bring 105 points of mandrakes (7) vs. that 120+ squad of FW. 14 shots, 9.4 hits, 6.2 wounds, 6.2 dead (assuming no cover). Then assault: overwatch: 12 shots, 2 hit, 1.66 wo (i think), 1.1 dead. Mandrakes get 10 attacks, kills another 1.7 (so 7.9 dead total, say 8 ). 4 return swings, 2 hits, 1 wound, maybe another goes down. You'll come out with 4 - 5 drakes who already took out their points cost, now have another PT, and are ready to blast a vehicle because they finished off the FW on your opponents turn.

And frankly, that's not even what I would generally use them for.
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeSat Feb 01 2014, 04:29

Roc wrote:
I consider labelling mandrakes as an assault unit a mis-characterization. They are a utility unit, nothing more, nothing less.  
I'm not sure what you mean here. I think a Haem is a 'utility' unit insomuch as he can boost almost any unit in the game. In addition, he's actually a pretty decent shooty character and, for his points, a pretty solid assault HQ as well. He's "utility" but is also, individually, good at stuff.

In my opinion, the only utility of the Mandrakes are against...well, bad players who waste time killing a unit who lacks the ability to kill just about anything.

Roc wrote:
My point was that it was a false equivalency. 5 mandrakes =/= 12 Fire Warriors, nor are 3 incubi. Even up the points and both the DE will clean up, especially if you consider mandrakes firing going in.
5 Mandraks do = 3 Incubi insomuch as they are both unit selections for our Elite slot that almost cost the same. I'll agree they have different uses, but, frankly, every unit with a point cost = every other unit in our codex with a point cost, because by spending points on one you are not spending them on another, and that means you need to consider what they will or will not bring to your goal of winning the game. Yes, you can, and should, compare/contrast/and consider them all.

Roc wrote:
I honestly cannot remember a time I haven't given them a T1 pain token though. If you run mandrakes, that's how you run them.
So you also buy a Haem and deploy them/him so he can join them? Or are you using Wracks/Haem+some other IC? I will admit it sounds like a lot of points being spent to grant a sub par unit a semi decent shooting attack.

Roc wrote:
Bringing a 'drake squad with no way to deliver a token is like bringing a blasterborn squad with no venom. Bring your delivery systems.
I can agree with that. You should field units that work as opposed to ones that do not. Footslogging DE units with 18" shooting tend to be pretty lackluster...well...I guess the Mandrakes get stealth and infiltrate over the Trueborn Wink

Roc wrote:
Now, get the pain token and bring 105 points of mandrakes (7) vs. that 120+ squad of FW.
I will note that I didn't create the 12 FW setup - someone brought it up and I expanded.
That said, if you want to discuss point parity - you need to include the cost of the units that are giving the Mandrakes a Pain token.

By my accounting the cheapest way is probably 3 Wracks+Haem+Venom.
Which means you're now comparing at least 240 vx. 120...and that presumes naked Venom and naked Haem.

Roc wrote:
14 shots, 9.4 hits, 6.2 wounds, 6.2 dead (assuming no cover). Then assault: overwatch: 12 shots, 2 hit, 1.66 wo (i think), 1.1 dead. Mandrakes get 10 attacks, kills another 1.7 (so 7.9 dead total, say 8 ). 4 return swings, 2 hits, 1 wound, maybe another goes down. You'll come out with 4 - 5 drakes who already took out their points cost, now have another PT, and are ready to blast a vehicle because they finished off the FW on your opponents turn.
If the Tau are in cover what happens is; 3.1 Tau die from shooting. (less if the Tau are within 8" of the Mandrakes...which is pretty likely - in which case 2 Tau die)
1.11-some other slightly larger number I'm too lazy to crunch Mandrakes die from overwatch. (did you remember FNP when you did your math?)
Presuming dead 'drake and the front 2=3 Tau being dead doesn't deny them the charge, they get in.
Tau swing first since Mandrakes can't handle rubble. 1-1.33 die (depending on the 8" question)
That leaves, by my accounting, about 5 Mandrakes.

At that point your math holds steady - I think you forgot to give them FNP in your example and made them look worse than they should.

But, yes, your amped up Mandrake unit with support can mostly handle a unit that costs about as much as it in assault - which Tau are known to be pretty decent at. Wink Thankfully it wasn't Space Marine Scouts.


Roc wrote:
And frankly, that's not even what I would generally use them for.
I would hope not - they are terrible at it.

What would you use them for? Like...what would they kill? Or is my hope just that my opponent is going to shoot a unit that can barely hurt him rather than shooting one of my units that can hurt him quite a bit? I don't get what they're doing for you, standing around going 'boo' is not really going to work against a player who understands how wuss weak a Mandrake unit is - and at that point the extent of your threat is the small shooting bubble against infantry, and a hope that no one comes over to assault you, as Mandrakes can't handle assault well, yet have as their most potent tool a short range shooting attack that is pricey to get on them since they lack the ability to kill stuff on their own.

That's really my issue with them. I can take a *lot* of things in the codex that are capable of going 'boo' and scaring my opponent...and have the added benefit of being able to inflict affordable damage in return. So why not just use them as 'utility' for whatever the Mandrakes bring, especially if part of my Mandrake stratagy is having them close enough for someone to walk a pain token over to them...at that stage clearly any unit in the Dex that can get in a transport is just as fast (faster really) than the Mandrakes for getting up in my opponent's buisness and being a threat. Heck, the aforementioned Trueblasters are doing it, and for far less, and if I want anti-infantry shooting - against most targets I submit some Splinterborn in a Venom would outperform the Mandrakes shooting easily, and in the same force org, and not requiring me to buy a way to give them a pain token, and having a far better range.

What do you think I'm overlooking here?

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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeSat Feb 01 2014, 07:40

I have not found a use for Mandrakes that something else can't do better in 6th.

Back in 5th, when I ran strictly WWP armies, I used Mandrakes all the time. An attached Haemonculus with a 10 man squad put out quite a bit of shots. But now, it just isn't viable. With Eldar, you can get what Mandrakes could do but better.
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeSat Feb 01 2014, 12:07

I will point out that assuming you go second and the enemy is careless, you may assault on turn 1 from infiltrate

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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeSat Feb 01 2014, 12:57

Massaen wrote:
I will point out that assuming you go second and the enemy is careless, you may assault on turn 1 from infiltrate

Yes, but the maths seems to suggest you'll not actually do anything when you do charge.

Maybe against Snotlings?

Oh, I have thought of something they can be useful for. As no-one likes using them, deploy them as the unit your opponent has no experience with, and feels concerned by because he doesn't know what they do. Let him waste some decent units on them, and be disappointed by how rubbish they were. Then you grin.

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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeSat Feb 01 2014, 18:36

I've found a 7 man squad is useful for denying an objective. I agree there are better units out there, but l like Mandrakes.

Shifting your entire army to one side on turn one, you can usually get tour opponent to readjust battle lines. Mandrakes can then come in from the opposite table edge (2/3s of time) and hang out in cover for a turn. Possibly even going to ground. You can then try and give them a pain token mid game, butter up a unit with shooting and finish with mandrakes, or just hang out with stealth. If completely left alone, they can finish wounded units. If not left alone, they aren't killing your other guys. And if they survive to late game, deny an enemy objective.

They aren't great, even lack luster... But they aren't terrible. I think if they were 12 points a piece tthey would be fine. At 15 they are fun to use, but not as effective as other units. Still usable though.
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeSun Feb 02 2014, 01:54

Can't we all agree to disagree, Mandrakes fluff is the shiz, models don't look half bad either. Their stat line is horrible, I personally hope that our 6th edition does them justice because personally I would love to have those guys actually work in a game.

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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeSun Feb 02 2014, 02:34

Squidmaster wrote:
Massaen wrote:
I will point out that assuming you go second and the enemy is careless, you may assault on turn 1 from infiltrate

Yes, but the maths seems to suggest you'll not actually do anything when you do charge.

Maybe against Snotlings?

Oh, I have thought of something they can be useful for. As no-one likes using them, deploy them as the unit your opponent has no experience with, and feels concerned by because he doesn't know what they do. Let him waste some decent units on them, and be disappointed by how rubbish they were. Then you grin.

I only mentioned it as someone earlier mentioned turn 2 was the first chance at a charge like wyches in a vehicle...

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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeSat Feb 08 2014, 07:27

I have found ONE good tactical use for mandrakes that has gotten me a win or two (provided this is actually legal which most of my opponents have agreed that it is). Infiltrate also grants outflank. While you cant attach an independent character to a unit that infiltrates, you can attach one to a unit held in reserves for outflank. What I do is I make sure I put some terrain about 6 inches from either table side in both deployment zones when we are setting up. Next I attach a Haemi with a liquefier or hex rifle to a unit of ten mandrakes and leave them in reserve. When I get them into play I walk them into the cover I put down and now they can shoot immediately, have feel no pain, and worst case scenario, they are a great bullet sink as you can have them go to ground and claim a 2+ cover save. I have even had this work against cover ignoring armies like Tau due to the 5+ invul paired with feel no pain. Their shooting attack really is very nice especially against things like fire warriors as they will likely get pinned. For some REAL fun give the Haemi a webway portal and bring out whatever else you have left in reserve in you opponents deployment zone and profit!
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeSat Feb 08 2014, 07:35

the only problem i have with that, is you only get to deploy it turn 2, the turn you want to use it

other than they, that is a great idea and i had not thought of that good idea!
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeSat Feb 08 2014, 08:09

That is true but they will likely be up in your opponents face turn two which is when you want to distract him as its usually turn two when you launch your assaults.
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeSat Feb 08 2014, 17:35

my problem with them coming on second turn, is that you have to hope the rest of your reserves don't come on via table edge before you can use the portal on the second turn
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PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeSat Apr 26 2014, 15:43

It's very meta dependant but around here, Mandrakes are now near mandatory in competitive play.
The meta is crawling with White Scars marines and you need something to block those scout moves... our only option (without allies) is infiltrating a small unit of mandrakes fowards. It's sad since they're going to die if you don't have first turn but it's better than getting hit by a Iron Hand chapter master on bike along with a command squad and Khan.
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Vasara
Incognito assault marine
Vasara


Posts : 1160
Join date : 2012-08-22
Location : Vantaa

Mandrakes...? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitimeSat Apr 26 2014, 17:03

If allies are allowed inquisitor with three skulls cost 34pts. And it doesn't give fb so easily.

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New Dark Eldar in Tournaments: Wins: 17 Draws: 2 Losses: 8
ETC 2013 DE/Eldar player (4th)
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ETC 2015 Captain, Eldar/DE (10th)
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Mandrakes...? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Mandrakes...?   Mandrakes...? I_icon_minitime

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