Mandrakes are just a weird unit. They are steeped in interesting lore but somehow their rules just do not fit. They are a mess of ideas that aren’t nearly as cool as they should be.
I went to the GW site to look a the model and guess what – you can’t even buy Mandrakes anymore. That is pretty frustrating as a new player so it makes it even more of a Hot Mess. They are one of the more unique looking designs in the Dark Eldar line with a very interesting Anime influence. They are supposed to be some kind of Daemon idea that lives in the shadows. Are they former Dark Eldar ghosts that didn’t get eaten by Slaanesh? Are they an entirely weird race of Aeldari that everyone have forgotten about? Do they have Body Pillows with Vect’s face on them to sleep thru every night?
I’ve got a lot of thoughts on these guys as while I am not a fan of the Dark Eldar army as a whole (too much PTSD of getting flamed by Wracks, touched poorly by Incubi, and made to dance by the Wytches) the Mandrakes are one of those units that have a soft spot in my black heart by just being a kinda cool looking set of models. Let’s make them cool again and maybe GW will throw out some plastic versions at some point.
Make Mandrakes Scary
First let’s get to the basic stuff – these guys are supposed to pop out of the shadows and attack. They are also supposed to be scary too and even the Dark Eldar are afraid of them. With that let’s just give a nice -1 to leadership Aura when they are around and a fun thought – they can pick a target enemy unit and they get another -1 to Leadership at the beginning of the battle. This idea of Marking an enemy is something I want to go into in a bit and could make for a really creepy unit.
Since they are Daemons – Make Them Have Some Daemon Stuff!
You know how Daemons have that Manifestation thing – why not give something like that to these guys? They can show up closer based on your Leadership value. Heck, make it where if they show up and charge a unit that has a lower leadership value they get bonus’s to hit, damage, and extra attacks. These are the guys designed to pop out and drag the enemy into the shadows like some creepy horror movie monster.
Let Mandrakes Mark Things With Their Shooting
Here is a thought – we won’t make their spirit shooting attack better but let it have some cool abilities like marking the unit they hit with some kind of debuff option. Dropping their Leadership more, making them get hit easier, and get wounded easier as this foul mark shines brightly to the pain-hungry Dark Eldar. Let them become a kind of weird debuff unit that isn’t just about showing up and getting objective or zone.
Give us Back the Special Character!
Do you remember that guy known as Kheradruakh aka the Decapitator? The weird shadow Phoenix Lord like thing that was the monarch of the Mandrakes? Why not bring that guy back as a cool-looking little elite choice that doesn’t take a slot if you have a unit of Mandrakes. He could be an amped up version of the stuff above with some kind of crazy attack ability as he comes out and gets to swinging. Give him a tally-like option as he kills enemy units he starts to get better and better. Let the model be this insane-looking anime-like evil batman hanging out on an outcropping/building ready to strike!
Make Mandrakes Scary Again!
Halloween is right around the corner and wouldn’t it be awesome to have some scary boogie monsters ready to take all your candy? Bring these models back with a cool new design to let people get scared of green glowing, samurai pants wearing, and emotional shadow daemons ready to bounce on your soul.
Subscribe to our newsletter!
Get Tabletop, RPG & Pop Culture news delivered directly to your inbox.
Let us know how you would fix the unit, down in the comments!
Thomas Reidy, aka Goatboy, the ever-evil member of BoLS. I do arts, play 40k, and even paint a lot of stuff. I have been playing Warhammer 40K since the 1990s, and have won multiple national events including Adepticon and GW GTs. I’ve been writing for BoLS for 15 years. Look at my Instagram to see what I am working on – or working on for someone. I am always doing something hobby related.