Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Intro to the Mammoth

Another one of my model reviews for Bell of Lost Souls. I am working on a series of articles including a painting/assembly article and a write-up on the use of the mammoth with various casters. Any thoughts on the Mammoth or it's tactical applications would be very helpful in crafting a good end to my series of articles.

Hopefully people have enjoyed my write-ups so far. I am looking forward to finally getting a real Mammoth on the table instead of the Animantarax stand-in. I apologize to anyone who has already read and commented on the article on BoLS, if you've already seen this one there's nothing new to see.


I'll just say it up front, the Mammoth is good. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who would disagree with the assessment that the Mammoth is the best Gargantuan. I would go so far as to say that the Mammoth is the only Gargantuan that is better than several of the Collosals. Stormwall and Galleon are still better than the Mammoth, but it seems to be on par with the other collosals.

So what makes the Mammoth so good? How did it end up with such a better reception than the other 3 Gargantuans? One big reason is that it's a giant beast in Skorne. We just have such good beast support that we can squeeze every bit of power out of a large model like the Mammoth. I haven't seen a whole lot of talk on the subject, but I have the feeling that even the Mountain King would have looked great in Skorne. Just think of the Mountain King with Skorne's damage, accuracy or threat range buffs stacked on it. An Archangel with Skorne buffs could be really sweet (except for that animus... but we have animi, that's not a problem). It would have been hard for the Mammoth not to be good when it's tossed into this faction.

The other big factor in my opinion is that the Mammoth has a very streamlined design. it's designed to do two things (kill light infantry and wreck things in close combat) and everything on the model helps do those things really well. We'll talk about those abilities in a minute, but I just want to compare this to the other Gargantuans. All three of the others have some things they do well and then some odd quirky things that only help in certain situations. The Archangel has a lot of abilities that could help, but don't help it's "bottom line" of damage output. Consume, Ride-by and that animus just don't add much but you have to assume they go towards the point cost of the beast. The Mountain King gives up hitting accuracy for whelp shedding which is cute but only works if he doesn't get totaled.  The Woldwrath has too much tied up in a fancy shot and support animus. The Mammoth on the other hand has everything focused on damage output which is never reliant on corner-case scenarios.


The base stats are about what we all expected for what is basically a super-sized Titan. Low speed, very low defense, and exceptionally low Rat balanced against high Mat, high Str, and high Arm. He has a very hefty damage grid at 50 boxes - the second most of the Gargantuans. His point cost is high, you have to give up the equivalent of 2 bronzebacks to fit him in a list. To round it out, the Mammoth has an impressive Fury stat of 5.

Like all Titans except the cannoneer, the Mammoth boasts 3 initial melee attacks. These attacks start at the P+S of an enraged Bronzeback giving the Mammoth an extremely high damage output with very little support. He also carries a large cannon that has range 10, up to 3 shots, a medium AOE and decent Pow.

hasn't come out of my bag since the spoilers dropped

The animus is Counterblast which was previously on the Gunboar from Minions but is much more impressive on a Gargantuan. This animus allows the Mammoth (or another model able to cast SELF animi, like your warlock) to make a ranged or melee attack targeting a model that ends its movement within 6" of the Mammoth. This has a cool interaction with the base Gargantuan rules, allowing the Mammoth to make a ranged attack against something in his melee range. So if he gets charged by a unit of 6 or 7 models, he can trigger counterblast when the last one goes in and hit everything in the 4" AOE with blast damage. Or if a heavy charges in the Mammoth can get in one swing at a very high P+S and possibly knock off a column before attacks are made.

The next ability on the back of the card is Assault. When the mammoth charges, he can make a ranged attack before swinging in melee. This can be used to drop an aoe from further away after a failed charge, or can give what is essentially a 4th initial attack at pow 15. It's not his most used ability, but it can come in handy.

Finally the Mammoth has bulldoze. This ability makes it very hard to hide your heavies from the mammoth, and allows him to wiggle into positions that your opponent thought were safe. This can be used to bump things out of zones, clump models up for better attacks, or make a path to a protected model. If you haven't played with bulldoze before it sounds a bit underwhelming. After playing with the Mammoth a bit, this might be my favorite ability on his card.
Bulldoze would work even better if you could get into base to base contact with other models. 


Skorne is a support-heavy faction. There are a ton of options for beast support. The trap is spending way too much on your one big model, however, and you have to be a bit picky. In testing the Mammoth, I have played at least one game with every Skorne caster, and have finally settled on what I believe to be the best base "package" for the Mammoth. This is where we fall heavily into the gray area of my opinion, so take all of these recommendations with some salt.

First, I want to mention two models that I DON'T usually bring with the Mammoth. The Raider and Extoller Soulward. In general, I think it's a bad idea to spend an additional 7 points just to make the Mammoth's gun better. While normally Snipe and Eyeless Sight seem like a good idea anytime you have a decent gun, in this case I think your better off not using them. The only times I've brought an Extoller with the Mammoth were when I needed him for my Warlock as well (either Hexeris, usually). Both models are useful, and there are situations when they could be really good. But if you're trying to cut down on support costs, these two would be the first to go.

Enough about that, on to the models I almost always take in a Mammoth list, roughly in order of importance (again, heavily influenced by my own opinions)

A Mammoth's best friend

1. Basilisk Krea. I usually take one even without the Mammoth. The defensive bubble from the Krea is good for keeping any Warlock alive. With the mammoth it helps add some protection for that expensive centerpiece. Arm 22 against shooting is a really nice place to be, and will help get your Mammoth where you want it. The Krea is also helpful against Hordes. If you can manage to hit an enemy heavy warbeast with the Krea's Paralysis gun, their Defense drops to 7. This lets the Mammoth actually hit something wit its ROF3 gun, and save fury to boost damage. Against a paralyzed heavy, the Mammoth can put out 3 boosted pow 15 shots that hit on 4s. As an added benefit  that heavy won't be able to charge your mammoth next turn. If you get a little bit lucky, you could even tag a living warlock or warcaster and do the same thing. Most casters can't handle 3 boosted 15s in one round.

2. Willbreaker. Speaking of "a little bit lucky", this guy has been making waves in the Skorne community. He can help that Krea hit a target that you really need to paralyze, or could just put puppet master on the Mammoth to get the most out of your shots. Puppet master is nice to have on a Mammoth with counter-blast up, making it more likely to hit or get a crit pitch when it makes a counterblast attack. Ancilliary Attack is good on the Mammoth, letting him fire a 4th AOE4 into a cluster of lightly armored troops. Or an extra melee attack if you failed to kill an enemy model with your initials. The willbreaker is always good in Skorne, and the Mammoth is no different.

This is your dice with Puppet Master

3. Agonizer. Another common 2 point solo for Skorne, this little guy is extremely valuable in keeping your Mammoth alive. Against Hordes he gives the Mammoth some additional protection from attacks made by warbeasts and against Warmachine he can prevent their 'Jacks from receiving focus. Very few things will put much of a hurt on a Mammoth without using any focus.

4. Titan Gladiator. Instead of using a Raider to increase ranged threat I like the Gladiator to increase melee threat. With Rush you also get an effective 2" of extra range with your ranged attacks, but it will still be useful when it's time to go into melee. The Gladiator also gives you another great melee heavy which means you wont' be totally out of the game if you lose your Mammoth to an enemy heavy.

As you can see, you're not really spending points on models you wouldn't want anyways. take the models above, add in paingivers (I didn't list them as "Mammoth support" simply because if you're not bringing paingivers you're not playing Skorne) and a screening infantry unit and you have a solid core for a 50 point army. The choices listed above come in at 46 points, leaving you 4 plus your warbeast points. From there I take models that generally compliment my Warlock, such as an Archidon and another 2 point solo for Makeda.

That's all for now! Watch for another article in the near future discussing Mammoth tactics in more detail and a rundown of how the Mammoth performs with each of our Warlocks.

Until then, leave your comments below! what do you see as the core of a good Mammoth list? How does the Mammoth stack up with the other Gargantuans and Collosals? Will it see consistent play, or will it only be used in limited lists like the other Gargantuans?  

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to say that I continue to enjoy your articles. I haven't used the mammoth, but I certainly can dream and feel inspired by good writing like this!

    Keep up the good work.