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So I love the new mandrake model, just not a big fan of the rules. They cost as much as a space marine with about half the defense, and to be honest I dont know why they have a shooting attack after they get a pain point since all the fluff is about them comming out of the shadows and stabing people. I would have liked to see them given Scout along with their other rules. And instead of getting a shooting attack from their first pain point give them rending from it. Keep the points the same, maby raise it 1 or 2 points. Right now i just dont see them making it into any competative list with the other elite units their up agains.
Hey chaospantz mandrakes aren't designed against highly armoured targets like space marines, they are best suited to take on lightly armoured units with high shooting capability, tau fire warriors, imperial guard weapons teams, dark reapers or holding up a ranged unit so your raiders can advance more easily. The ranged attack is also pinning which can come in pretty handy, and despite costing 15pts per model they generally cost you less, because they don't require any upgrades at all (raider, sybarite, agoniser, etc.) and you'll probably only need 5-7 of these guys in an army so they end up costing you less in the long run. They're not necessary, but they are pretty damn handy if you have the spare points, as long as you remember their use is strategical not statistical.
There is no way on earth you can make mandrakes stand up to our other elite choices for raw damage without snapping them in half, they are just not designed to be a shock trooper.
Believe it or not mandrakes are actually amazingly good - most people jsut math hammer them against marines declare them a total write off, it is a total shame given they get some extremely powerful rules (namely infiltrate when combined with fleet) for dirt cheap. Plus they are one of 2 DE units that are S4 base. Mandrakes are the cheapest way to get early charges on anything with the staline of a guardsmen or aspect warrior - they will easily take most of them due to striking first.
Once they get their pain token their lack of grenades slowly means less and less - if a unit is pinned it doesn't benefit from the effects of cover which is immensely useful for digging small firebase units out of cover. The invulnerable save as base is also crucial given the only other model in the army that gets an invulnerable save 100% of the time is Lelith (and I suppsoe ghostplate armour, but that doesn't come as base on all bar vect iirc).
Mandrakes are one of the few true hunter-killer units in the game (the other prime examples are necron wraiths and witch hunter seraphim) which makes them challenging to use to their potential as it requires a level of coordination simply not found in a majority of internet lists which are all based around point and click strategies.
I think Outsider has a good take on it - the Mandrakes are a thinking man's unit that can be useful but not in an obvious way. If you have ever used them in the last codex then it won't be hard to figure how to use them now and I think they are a little more dynamic now with the changes. I wouldn't write them off completely but they are really dependent on getting those tokens.
As for the original question in the post - I am afraid to suggest anything for fear of making them unbalanced in our favor but I suppose if I had to choose something, scouting as suggested by Chaospantz.
If Blood Angels can infiltrate a scout bike AND scout it then really, what's the harm?
Last edited by KwiKwag; December 16th, 2010 at 16:19.
"On a hunch, I melted them down and inhaled the fumes and read the dark eldar codex again, AND FOUND A BUNCH OF NEW RULES HIDDEN BEHIND THE OTHER WORDS..." [Gardeth on modelling & interpreting the DE Codex]
I will definitely be getting some Mandrakes in the future, they don't seem all that strong, but they are a lot better than they were before. I'm sure they'll be decent on the field, and a unit of 6-7 is really not that expensive at all.
If you wanted to make some changes to them to make them better, try simply adjusting their points cost. Perhaps 1-2 points cheaper would suffice. If that's not enough, just keep lowering their cost until you find they're worth taking every game, then you raise the cost a bit again
"I have seen you humans, trying to forge an Empire in the name of a corpse"
When I read their fluff I expected them to be able to deep strike and then charge in the same turn or something similar. Instead they just got infiltrate which is still effective but not as cool as they could have been.
an Interesting (but probably not balanced rule) would be this
Strike from the Shadows: The unit may deep strike as normal the player targets a single enemy unit when deep striking with the Mandrakes. The Mandrakes must deep strike within 6 inches of the targeted unit. The mandrakes may charge the Targeted unit the turn they deep strike. When the Targeted unit is destroyed you may remove the Mandrakes from play (the opponent does not get Victory or Kill points from this unit if removed this way)
Although rough, I think everyone can get the point of the rule. I see the mandrakes as "Tactical Snipers" that could deep strike into an otherwise unsafe area, wipe out small high firepower unit, and then disapear back into the shadows.
Just a random idea that poped into my head.
By the way I just bought a box of mandrakes and they were a bear to put together, their slots did not fit into the bases and for some reason the 1 arm would not stay glued. amazing looking models though
Last edited by sendaf; December 16th, 2010 at 20:41.
"Thank him who puts me loath to this revenge on you who wrong me not for him who wrongd"
I'll agree with Chaospantz. You won't find them in many (if any) competitive lists. They can't fill a troop slot nor are they as cheap as wracks. They aren't as good as a trueborn gunship setup either. I'd rather get another squad of wyches or take brides for CC. With mandrakes, you have to spend 10 points to get LD 9 and have no access to upgrades. To top it off, they are more expensive then the before mentioned units.
The infiltrate ability is hit or miss. If you don't get first turn or happen to get initiative stolen, then you might have just wasted up to 160 points. And if you play against decent opposition (or the multitude of mech armies) you probably won't get a first turn charge out of them.
And lets be honest about the pinning. Its a longshot to rely on failing the pinning test in the environment of LD 9/10 or fearless that competitive lists routinely run. Perhaps if it was more along the lines of the what the horrorfex used to be, then maybe it would be worth it.
Can you make them work? Sure, but you could easily take a different unit type that can do the job better or cheaper. So in regards to what the OP asked, I agree with him. They don't compete that well with the other DE elite choices. Drop the cost by 1-2 and give them shooting off the bat and they become competitive IMO.
Mandrakes make great objective grabbers in Apocalypse. If your enemy goes the small elite force route, the small army and a super heavy or two route, or the flank march route then you can just infiltrate Mandrakes on an objective in their deployment zone that is in cover and just spend almost the whole game going to ground for a 2+ cover save.
League Stats: Orks 4W-1L-1T, CSM 4W-2L-0T, Dark Eldar 10W-6L-4T, Tau 3W-1L-1T, Blood Angels 4W-1L-1T, Imperial Guard 2W-1L-0T
Tourney Stats: Blood Angels 6W-0L-0T, Dark Eldar 2W-1L-0T