So you’ve gotta respect Godzilla.
That’s just a thing. He’s way too large, powerful and capable of apocalyptic destruction on an unheard of scale to not merit respect. So in light of this plainly common knowledge, we at Hero’s World chose to hold a contest of sorts; a battle of giants. Hordes players were invited to bring their favourite Kaiju monster Gargantuans and Warmachine enthusiasts were likewise invited to bring their massive-monster-murderers, the Colossals. In addition, as a nod to the unmatched destructive power of these beasts, all huge based warbeasts and warjacks could make power attacks for free. Players were allowed to spend two points of their caster’s warbeast/warjack points on a support solo or unit to really help crank these monsters up to eleven!
The results were spectacular! Even though only my man Chadi and I brought Gargantuans I think something like eleven or twelve of the fourteen participants brought out their huge bases for a good old Thursday throwdown. Much fun was had by all, and many thanks to Northblade for organizing and running the event, and even rolling a few dice himself. I must admit I got rather ponderous while enjoying the competition, because I haven’t seen so many huge bases at an event since the few months following the original colossals release wave. I mean, the usual suspects are pretty common in Stormwall, Galleon, Earthbreaker and even Hyperion; but I don’t see the others too often.
In addition, I don`t use my own Mammoth all that often anymore. This event made me wonder why. I really like the Mammoth. I have experimented pairing him with several warlocks and had mixed results but the most consistent factor was how much fun it is to put on the table. I guess I must have forgotten that in the last little while because he has been finding his way into fewer and fewer lists. Putting the Mammoth on the table that night helped me remember how awesome it feels to charge that massive beast in and wreck everything in it’s path, so I’ve been inspired to mount a defence for it; to campaign for it, if you will. Here are FACE_DOOM_II’s reasons why YOU should love/hate/want to play/be afraid of the Mammoth.
As always I will start with some basic stats and abilities, and there is a lot to cover on this model so let’s dive right in. Mr. Mammoth has core stats not unlike most basic Titans, with a few glaring exceptions. He is speed 4, strength 15, mat 6, rat 3, defence 8, armour 20 with 50 damage boxes, and command 6. He has a range 10, 4” AOE gun that hits at pow 15, and has a rate of fire of 3. His melee attacks consist of two war gauntlets which are p+s 19 and his tusk attack which is p+s 18, and he is still a warbeast so after being enraged by Paingiver Beasthandlers he will be effective p+s 21 on the fists and 20 on the tusks. The Mammoth is Fury 5, threshold 9 and costs 20 points.
So I am immediately impressed by his base strength statistic, because it means that he will not only hit hard in melee but that he will be great at power attacks that involve opposed strength checks, and will be able to throw models up to 7.5” without any buffs. His defence is pretty standard for a huge base, so really only his rat stands out as being painfully low. Aiming for 5 is a somewhat depressing concept but as a Skorne player I have been dealing with rat statistics as low as 3 and 4 quite a while now and know that they can be augmented for better results, or just used to take out targets with lower defence (but I’ll get to that later). His mat is high enough to get the job done and when you remember that he is a warbeast and can be buffed as such it’s not hard to imagine him having Rush for +2” movement, taking his threat range up to a respectable 11”. With 5 Fury to play with, a free charge from Enrage, and 20+ hitting power this guy can put a lot of damage out into the field, and soak up a good deal himself with 50 boxes.
When we turn his card over though, I get really excited.
First up: the animus. It’s called Counterblast, and some Minion and Legion players will already be familiar with it. It basically says that when an enemy model moves into your command range and stops you can make an attack against it. It is tagged ‘self’ so only the Mammoth and your warlock can use it. This animus has not seen a lot of love in the factions that have previously had access to it, possibly because the beasts who have it already have not been traditionally popular in the Legion Teraph and the Minion Gun Boar, and possibly because it is a limited use animus (ie it can’t be spammed around on all your beasts). In Skorne I believe it’s a different story. First off, the Mammoth itself loves to use this animus. The two things best suited to killing Colossals and Gargantuans are weapon master infantry and Heavy ‘jacks and beasts; Counterblast is useful against both. Most weapon master infantry do not have a great deal of armour. There are exceptions for sure but when you think of Doom Reivers, Tharn Bloodtrackers, Nyss, Banes (I hate Banes) and various others you are talking about units whose armour is seldom over 13 or 14. When a big group of those guys charge the Mammoth, if Counterblast is up he can wait until four or five have charged in then trigger his animus and target the centermost one with a cannon shot. It’s probably going to miss at rat 3, but cannot deviate more than one quarter inch so with a 4” AOE it will likely clip all of them. The blast damage is pow 8, so rolls of 6-8 will likely be killing models before they can make their devastating charge attacks against my big fun Elephant. Likewise when an enemy heavy charges in, you can make a melee attack against it before it resolves it’s attacks. You’ll likely need a 6 or less to hit and be close to straight dice damage (possibly much higher with buffs) giving you a decent chance to cripple a system or aspect before they start whaling on you! That would be pretty legitimate to me already for it’s point cost, but that’s only the very top of the card.
Some warlocks will also love this animus, due to their weapon abilities or inherent hitting power. Most things will think twice about charging Xerxis knowing he basically has defensive strike at mat 8 p+s 14. Epic Morghoul is much harder to knock down with that headbutt after he Counterblasts with his blind fan and reduces your Warbeast’s mat by 4! I’ve even killed an Epic Stryker with Zaal by using Counterblast with his annihilating gaze! He had overboosted on three dice in order to kill the Mammoth (thinking it was my last real threat on the table) and done 8 damage to himself to get all the way up to strength 18! I had put Puppet Master on Zaal with a Mortitheurge Willbreaker so I could re-roll any dice if I missed the attack roll, and I ended up needing to, but it was worth it because the damage roll was p+s 24 thanks to his huge current strength. After the damage he had done to himself it didn’t take a huge roll to take him down, and it was a good lesson in the value of Counterblast. You can’t hit if you don’t roll dice, so roll dice as often as you can.
Next on the list is Assault. That’s right, the Mammoth has Assault. For those that have never played against the Protectorate of Menoth this rule allows you to make a ranged attack against your charge target immediately after charging and before making your charge attack, and you can still shoot even if you fail your charge. Again at rat 3 this is not going to be used to snipe out high defence solos or pick off casters, but with pow 8 blast damage you might not need to hit them directly. Rolling a lucky nine or ten will drop some UAs or solos like Eiryss or Rheinholdt or Maddy Corbeau, and support units like shepherds and choir will just melt under it (who will likely not be far from the heavies you’re charging). If you`re going after an enemy battle engine or Colossal it likely means a direct hit and an extra pow 15 damage roll for free.
Next up (oh no he’s not done!) my friend the Mammoth has Bulldoze. I love this ability from my days playing Khador clam ‘jacks, because it allows you to make use of charge lanes your opponent didn’t see coming. Bulldoze allows this model to push any enemy models it contacts 2” directly away once per turn per enemy model. On such a large base this is obviously a strength in scenario play as it means he’ll be able to bump out models who are only toe’d in or slightly more to zones or contesting flags by only 1” or so. It also means that if there are models blocking you from your desired target you can often bulldoze them 2” away and still complete your charge even though they were in your way before you moved. This one may see less use than it does on Devastators but still has the potential to be very handy, especially late game when moving models can score you points so much more reliably.
Finally at the bottom of the card we find that his tusks have the critical pitch ability, allowing him to make throw power attacks for free against models he has critically hit with this attack (and automatically winning the strength roll). Remember when I said his base throw range was 7.5”? Well now he can charge something, boost to hit it with the tusks and if he crits, toss it almost 8” away (preferably out of the zone or into another heavy). If he is enraged this distance increases to 8.5”, with the potential to deviate a further 3” away. The model thrown still takes a p+s 20 damage roll from the tusks that could gain an additional die if the throw is well placed and makes them contact an equal size model or obstruction. His high strength means pretty powerful collateral damage at pow 15-17. This guy can reliably clear a zone without even killing all the models in it between Bulldoze and critical pitch because he can bump things 2” then take up to three boosted tusk attacks in addition to his initial war gauntlets, hoping to roll those crits. It’s going to require some luck but we are talking about a dice game here.
So now that we are finally through his impressive array of rules let’s talk about what the Mammoth brings to the faction. The abilities and animus are fairly impressive to me but what can I do with the Mammoth that I haven’t been able to do before with other things in my army? He has only slightly more hitting power than a Bronzeback and gives up 1 mat and a chain attack: smash and grab to him so their damage output is probably about the same. He has the Cannoneer cannon (well…three of them) but one less rat than the Cannoneer, and he costs more than both of those beasts combined. I hear this argument quite frequently from other Skorne devotees and on the forums and I just don’t see it to be frank. This is a fundamentally different beast. Firstly he benefits from the Gargossal rules so he can’t be knocked down or slammed or Telekenesised around the table, and doesn’t need buffs to move through rough terrain and forests. Fifty hit boxes is not as high as we might have hoped for but it’s still enough that he’s difficult to one round for most things, especially considering the frequency of +2 armour buffs among our warlocks. I strongly feel that Counterblast makes him more survivable as well, for the reasons I discussed previously. He has enough Fury to buy his two extra shots, boost damage on one important solo or UA, then cast Counterblast on himself before the Paingivers come and pull all that fury off him.
The Mammoth’s melee potential is self-evident, and his ranged potential is actually rather scary as well when closely examined. Taking all things into consideration he can one round just about any Colossal or Gargantuan. He will often be p+s 21 plus, so straight dice or better, and needing threes or fours to hit will get up to 8 attacks in addition to the assault shot. On average dice against armour 21 that’s 59 damage, and Skorne has no shortage of damage buffs or dice augmentation. A puppet master charge from this guy could easily deal fourteen or fifteen damage. Granted there are some Gargossals that can take more damage than that, but you have a turn or two to soften them up with a big boostable cannon before you go in anyway. At rat 3 enemy huge bases are one of the things he can reliably hit, and if he can hit all his shots without boosting he can afford to boost damage on all three of them. He can also soften up lower defence heavies , and with Far Strike from the Cyclops Raider his range goes up to 14”, which is nothing to shake a stick at. As a shooting platform this guy can compete. Sure his rat is very low but hitting with this cannon is strictly a bonus, and usually still happens at least a few times a game. The real value is the 4” AOEs with pow 8 blast damage he is dropping all over opposing infantry. That is high enough pow to reliably kill almost half of the small based infantry in the game, and many of the key support solos you want dead before they can ‘support’ things. This beast does the work of any two other heavies in Faction both in melee and at range.
His stock only rises when you start considering all the great support staff we have in Skorne. A Willbreaker can use ancillary attack on him for another cannon shot, or give him Puppet Master to help him hit or damage a key target more reliably. The Willbreaker also allows the Mammoth to run a flank because of the Beastmaster ability, which lets him force friendly faction warbeasts. He cannot reave the fury but Beasthandlers can pull it off for him regardless. You’d probably rather occupy a more central table position but it’s an interesting option. A Cyclops Raider gives him Far Strike (snipe), enough said there. With the Guidance ability from an Extoller Soulward the Mammoth gains eyeless sight and magical weapons, making him an ideal option against incorporeal Cryx units like mini-feated Satyxis Blood Witches or Black Bane’s Ghost Raiders AND allowing him to ignore stealth. Shifting Stones in Circle Orboros are still annoying when there are only two of them left but taking triangulation/teleportation off the table early is a load off my chest anyway. Stones are defence 5 but armour 18 so his gun is ideally suited to sniping them off, and there are usually some low armour targets hovering around them that might get clipped by a 4” AOE. Granted taking a Mammoth, a Cyclops Raider for the awesome Far Strike animus, an Extoller and a Willbreaker costs 23 or 24 points already after warbeast points, but this package will get more than enough work done to earn those points back.
This kind of ability to reach out and touch an opponent’s high defence solos and support staff is new to Skorne and it’s a game changer. Honestly there is no Skorne Warlock who does not benefit from the kind of infantry clearing and late game scenario potential this guy brings, so it`s really just a question of who benefits enough to spend the necessary points. The Mammoth is likely replacing both a Bronzeback and a Gladiator in whatever list you take him in so he`s probably not going to get much use with beast heavy Warlocks like Rasheth and Naaresh who want several heavies. One notable exception is Morghoul 1, whose Abuse spell really turns the Mammoth up to 11 (it`s basically Redline for warbeasts) making him speed 6 and p+s 23 after being Enraged. Morghoul`s list has never really favoured ranged options but it would take some infantry clearing pressure off of him and give him something big to hide behind :p. Epic Hexeris already has maybe the best infantry clearing potential in Skorne, but even he can benefit from the presence of the big guy. His Black Spot spell allows friendly models to make an additional attack against target unit each time they destroy a model in that unit (attacks generated by black spot don`t trigger this ability). Against low armour infantry this likely means six cannon shots from the Mammoth in a single turn; seven if the Willbreaker uses ancillary attack on it! Epic Makeda can also afford a Mammoth, with Road to War making up for not having Rush in the list. The boosted attack rolls from her feat turn mean he should be able to clear a zone of even a few heavies between Bulldoze, Assault and critical pitch on the tusks.
Personally I have had the most success with Supreme Aptimus Zaal in combination with the Mammoth in a very rare ranged-heavy Skorne list. Zaal has an upkeep called Awakened Spirit, which allows a warbeast to cast it`s animus once per turn for free. This basically means the Cyclops Raider will be able to Far Strike the Mammoth every turn for free then still take a shot at something himself. Upkeeping Inviolable Resolve on the Gargantuan makes him a much more survivable armour 22, and I have a Basilisk Krea in that list whose Paralytic Aura makes my Mammoth an impressive defence 10, armour 24 against ranged attacks. If I can score a few control points in the first three turns or so I`ll look for a chance to get the Mammoth into a zone with Last Stand on it for the additional die to attack and damage (in exchange for dieing at the end of the turn…) where it can boost for four dice on tusk attacks, making the critical pitch almost reliable! If he clears the zone I dominate and win the game. Zaal can also make good use of Counterblast, and really appreciates the huge base to hide behind with his old man stats :p Almost every other warlock has some kind of synergy with the Mammoth but these are the ones that really stand out for me.
So all in all I am very grateful for having been able to participate in the `Kaiju` themed Thursday throwdown because it has reminded me how much fun Gargantuans and Colossals are to use. Sure they chew up a lot of your points and it can be tough to place their bases (unless they have Bulldoze!) but they are awesome fun to put on the table. They are a great centrepiece for your army, a hugely fun narrative and thematic element to add to any game AND a great way to avoid those annoying Kreoss 1 and Lyllyth 2 assassinations. Fellow Skorne players: bring out your Mammoths! I`ll even go so far as to tell other Hordes players to do the same. Every Gargantuan brings something cool to the table and works well with some warlock or another. Even the Mountain King…looks really awesome! 😉 I will be trying to find more space on the table for my Mammoth, whose trunk is nearly complete, and hope to see all you Hysterics out there doing the same thing. Until next time, Cheers from FACE_DOOM_II