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January 20, 2013

Skorne: Mammoth First Impressions

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No Quarter 46 officially comes out at the end of the month, along with several model spoilers. Advance copies are already out, and we have some great tidbits!

Hey BoLS crew, it's Muffinman again, bringing you Skorne players some of the latest news from Privateer Press.

It's been almost a year since PP announced they would start making Collosals and Gargantuans. Almost all of them have been released at this point, with the stragglers coming in the next few months. With this month's NQ magazine, we finally have the full stats for the final Gargantuan, the Mammoth. And let me tell you, as a Skorne player I am ecstatic.

The stats have been out for a while now, since a few people got their hands on some early copies of NQ. If somehow you've missed those spoilers, I'll summarize them here. this article isn't focused on spoiling stats, but more on talking about what this model is going to mean to Skorne players.

Stats

The Mammoth:
Spd 4, Str 15, Mat 6, Rat 3, Def 8, Arm 20, Cmd 6
Fury 5
50 Boxes, heavily weighted towards Body
FA: 2
Point Cost: 20
1 P+S 18 attack with Crit Pitch
2 P+S 19 attacks
1 gun with Rng 10, Pow 15, AoE 4, Rof 3

Has Bulldoze, Assault, and Counterblast (animus)

First Impressions

Those stats are incredible. It would be difficult to argue that the Mammoth is not the best of the Gargantuans. When the stats were released, there were a lot of people calling this thing the "Stormwall of Hordes". While it's probably not quite as good as Stormwall, it's still a very impressive beast. Let's break it down and talk about why I think this model is so good.

Take Stormwall, generally considered to be the best of the Collosals. The thing that made it so good was the fact that it was like taking the offensive capabilities of 2 Defenders, 2 Cyclones, and a melee jack and sticking them all on one chassis, then adding the special rules for the lightning pods. By that logic, the Mammoth is like you took a Bronzeback, 2 Dire Troll Bombers, and a Khador heavy and stuck them together. Then throw in assault and counterblast to sweeten the deal.

In a given turn, the Mammoth will either be acting as a gunboat or mixing it up in melee. If you're using the mammoth for it's shooting, you can fire off three shots, boosting either the hit or damage on each one. Rat 3 means you won't be hitting much, but pow 8 blast damage on 3 or more 4" pie-plates a turn will do a good job of clearing out low armor infantry. If you're able to knock down a heavy or hit a warbeast with the Krea's paralysis gun, you could instead be putting 3 boosted pow 15s into a target.

If you want to throw this guy into melee, he hits even harder than a bronzeback. Considering that a bronzeback can 1-round almost any model in the game, that's quite a punch. The Mammoth does have 1 less MAT than a Bronzeback, but against big hard targets like heavy warjacks and colossals,  mat 6 should be enough to get the job done. Assuming all attacks hit, against a standard Arm 19 warjack an enraged Bronzeback does 64 damage (including a headbutt chain attack). an enraged Mammoth does 74 damage on average, easily scrapping anything in the game. additionally, the Mammoth gets a shot with his cannon on the charge. this usually won't hit, but against a colossal it might tack on some extra damage, or clear out some support stuff around a heavy jack.


The Mammoth also has Bulldoze. On a huge base it might be difficult to get more than one or two models pushed in a turn, but a few strategic pushes can get extra models in range or push models out of scenario zones. defending a zone against a Mammoth is going to be very difficult. if you crowd the zone with infantry, the mammoth can shoot them with multiple large AOEs. if you toe a heavy in the zone, it will get bulldozed out. if you plant a heavy or colossal in the middle of a zone, the Mammoth will most likely kill it.

The Mammoth is also going to be fairly difficult to get rid of. A base armor of 20 is great for this guy. with the assortment of armor buffs in Skorne, the Mammoth will often be Arm 22 or above. there are still plenty of things that can one-round a Mammoth, but he will at least make it difficult. The animus helps with this. On paper, at least, counterblast looks amazing on the Mammoth to keep him alive. if you charge him with a heavy, he can take a pow 19 swing at your model first, which could easily take out a system or aspect with a fairly average roll. If the Skorne player is feeling lucky, he can use the tusks for counterblast, hoping for a Crit and tossing the attacker away before they can even make an attack! if you charge him with a unit of infantry, he can wait until the last one moves and fire a 4" AOE at the attackers. they'll be so close it doesn't need to hit, and will only scatter an inch or less doing pow 8 blast damage in a large 4" bubble. The Mammoth will often not have the Fury left over to cast this animus, but if I'm expecting a charge or relying on the Mammoth to hold a zone I would definitely like to use this animus.

Overall the Mammoth is a seriously solid model. I feel like all of the abilities and stats come together nicely into a very aggressive high damage model. One of the issues I have with the other Gargantuans is that they trade high stats for cute tricks. things like whelp shedding, ride by attacks, and the Wold Wrath's animus are somewhat situational abilities that detract from doing their job well. The Mammoth doesn't really have any odd tricks. he shoots his big gun on the way in, then smashes things once he gets closer. All of his abilities help him do one of these two things, and there isn't really anything not focused on doing massive amounts of damage. Additionally, he gives Skorne another really solid answer to high defense low Arm models that we have lacked in the past.

Support

On its own, the Mammoth is good. When you also have arguably the best beast support in the game, it becomes amazing. Let's look at a few of the key support pieces the Mammoth is going to want to take advantage of.
All the support you need

Paingivers - kind of like saying warjacks are better with choir. you should already be taking these guys if you play Skorne. using all 5 fury to shoot its guns and then being conditioned back to 0 is really good. healing is important for a big model like this. and a free charge and bumping his pow up to 21 is what makes this thing hit harder than anything in the Skorne stable up to this point.

Cyclops Raider - you take this guy for his animus. Making the Mammoth's gun Range 14 instead of 10 is really good. Those extra 4" will help with killing off jamming infantry like Kayazy before they get to your lines. 5 points is a pretty hefty price tag, however. I may try running the Mammoth without snipe and see how big a difference it makes. if you run the Mammoth aggressively, it might not need the extra range.

Basilisk Krea - this guy on the other hand, will be in every Mammoth list I build. I already use him a lot, and he definitely works well with the mammoth. the animus gives +2 arm against shooting (and def, but that only gives a def of 10...), which will let the Mammoth shrug off anything less than a boosted pow 15. once you get a bit closer, the krea can hit a warbeast with his gun, letting the Mammoth actually hit with his guns, or get an easy kill on a normally high defense model like a warpwolf. If you get lucky enough to tag a caster with this shot it should be game over when the Mammoth unloads on it.

Extoller Soulward - early on in the spoiler cycle, everyone was talking about using a Soulward with the Mammoth. But with a Rat of 3, eyeless sight might not be as big a deal as we thought. If you can aim and put a fully boosted shot into a stealth solo like Tartarus it might be worth it. Ignoring concealment could help out against models in clouds etc. magical weapons comes up sometimes if you need to drop the AOEs on pistol wraiths or blackbane's ghosts. This one will depend on my list. if I'm using a caster that likes Soulwards anyways (like eHexeris) I'll go ahead and take one.

Mortitheurge Willbreaker - This is the other model that was revealed in this No Quarter. I'll be writing an article on him a little later, but I couldn't help mentioning him as support for the Mammoth. Ancillary attack is awesome on the mammoth, letting him drop a 4th AOE each turn. Puppet Master is going to be amazing in Skorne, and can make sure the Mammoth kills what it goes after. it also sets up a cool combo where you Puppet Master a Krea, boost a shot at the enemy caster (hitting a def 15 with reasonable confidence), then hit it with 3 boosted pow 15 cannon rounds.

Hey look, I found a use for the Animantarax! 
Up Next

I'm not going to discuss casters at this point. There are a lot of really cool things that most of Skorne's warlocks offer the Mammoth, but this isn't the place for me to discuss those synergies. There are of course some obvious choices, but I think the Mammoth with work well with almost any caster (eMorghoul is the only one I'm not seeing any real good reason to take a Mammoth with). In the next month or so I will be testing out the Mammoth with every caster in the Skorne roster, trying out the various uses for the Mammoth. I'll be posting thoughts as I go over on my own blog, and will be giving you a caster rundown as soon as the Mammoth is officially released.

For now, post your thoughts on the Mammoth below! Do you have a combo or strategy you're planning on using with the Mammoth? do you have a caster or list you want me to include in my initial testing of the Mammoth? Let me know below!
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