desert-hydra

How d’Halaak me now?

Author: Gav Beckitt

Now I have been known to over enthusiastically discuss with gaming buddies how much I love playing with my huge snake. They nod, half listening as I eulogise about its potential to reach out and touch you while excitedly spraying everything in sight. My colleagues nonplussed by my passion to share recommended I post something on the internet as it is often seen as the natural habitat for such discussions and content… although a number of the websites they directed me to did not seem appropriate for such content?!

Having finished perusing the recommended sites – for research reasons only I thought I had best return to the original purpose of this blog – the Desert Hydra. I recently built and painted my Hydra, which I must say was a joy to build. I’ve missed using polly cement glue! Plus the mould lines were far easier to remove than on any of PP’s other plastic kits. With so few armour plates and hardly any gold trim I managed to build and paint it up over the course of a week, this is a massive achievement for me as the Mammoth took nearly four years to complete! However as has been mentioned elsewhere the flesh hooks are compromised at several points on the model.  Rather than model those back on I decided to paint the intact ones as part of the Skin tone. It looks better than it sounds and you only notice if you are looking for them.

So why the rush? What made me so determined to get him on the table? Well firstly it is a stunning model and deserves the attention.  But mostly I wanted to try it out as I believe it is far better than most people give it credit for. I have so often seen comparisons between the Mammoth and Hydra, referring to the damage output being the same and that the mammoth is more survivable, so why would I ever take one?

Well I think there are a few reasons to reach for the Hydra over the Mammoth.

  • Base speed 5 over 4 is far better than it initially looks. In Skorne we have a several ways to speed beasts up, Makeda1, Morg1, Xerxis2 and of course the Gladiator. These combined +4 movement/speed buffs are more impactful on the Spd 5. The reason for this is that there are several speed 6 reach heavies in the game that can gain +2 movement buffs. With the base speed of 5 on the Hydra you still out threat these models.
  • 6 inch sprays. Now I know that the ranged output on the mammoth can be applied reliably throughout the course of the game, however it can be a trap. It is very important to keep your 38 point model committed to the game. Having the mammoth just advance and shoot can be a detrimental as it does not have the speed to then become relevant in later turns. The range on the Hydra prevents you from making that mistake! I will admit that I raged against its meagre 6” spray before I tried it. But now I have used it I can appreciate how powerful it is. You do not need all of its attacks to kill a heavy, so multiple sprays into valuable support pieces allows the Hydra to Multitask whilst also being in relevant positions.
  • Whilst the Mammoth animus is brilliant in certain situations the Hydras animus will give some opponents nightmares. As your opponent needs to be 3” closer to shoot you rather than think of it as a range penalty to your opponent’s guns, look at it as a possible 3” threat extension on your melee list!
  • Critical grievous wounds. This will save your Hydra. With the amount of attacks your hydra can make these are not unlikely and will severely hamper any reprisals in situations when you spread your attacks on multiple targets.
  • 5 Basic attacks. With the reduction in fury control this is a very large selling point. The mammoth and hydra may have similar damage outputs but this is a comparison using the total number of attacks that they can make. Factoring beast handlers , and assuming all hits the Hydra does on average 38 damage to an Arm20 target (inc Charge) using its initials. The Mammoth in the same situation does 28 damage (inc assault) using its initials. So the Hydra can be more fury efficient.
  • Regeneration and snacking. Both allow for healing and the ability to remove from play is great to have. Self-healing allows the Hydra to free up potential order of activation issues on your caster. Don’t forget however that you can’t be forced to heal if your spirit is gone!

As with everything in this game you should not apply black and white judgements upon models.  The Mammoth is a better choice in some situations; however do not rule out the Hydra as a poorer version of the same thing.

I am currently experimenting with the Hydra in my Makeda1 list. She allows it to play very aggressively (Quicken) whilst offering excellent defensive tactics with the feat to screen and scarab shield guards. Plus the Flexibility that jackhammer offers for both unjamming and offensively.

However I will leave gushing over Makeda1 for another time!

Gavin Beckitt