I’ve been a fan of the character Molly Squidgepidge and her background story since getting into the Malifaux game and since finishing painting her in March I’ve managed to include her in quite a few games, mainly used in conjunction with Seamus, but on a number of occasions I have tried her leading a crew.
She was heavily included in my crew choice during the recent BotCH (Battle of the Chumps) Tournament at Maelstrom, in which I think I included her in all but one game (which was shared Slaughter).
Now I don’t want to say anything too negative about using Molly as a leader as I’m a relatively new player, although from talking to people and reading plenty of forum posts etc it is fairly evident and generally acknowledged that Molly is considered to be an underperformer when it comes to leading crews and I’m pretty sure even the game developers are well aware of this, being that Wyrd are soon going to be releasing ‘at least one and maybe more’ story encounter packs, with the inclusion of some new minions for Molly.
Now it was quite a pleasure to read on Twitter/Forums and hear on the Malifools podcast (http://www.malifools.com/) that Jon Mickleburgh (@jdmickleburgh on twitter) was going to endeavour on his own #Molly2012 crusade. I’ve even accepted Jon’s ‘Molly only’ challenge for this year’s grand tournament.
With that in mind I’m going to increase the frequency of my own Molly lead games and have agreed to share my thoughts and findings with Jon.
Molly 2012 Part 1 (Reviewing Molly’s card, interactions with available crew and my experience so far).
Without covering too much ground that’s already been covered, Molly can only Hire Horrors, Belles and Totems and is Henchman 5. Currently this means she fairly restricted in Crew build to just a few minions, with the only option for high damage output being the ‘Rogue Necromancy’ which is the classic paper tiger model and it’s also worth noting that unlike Nicodem and Mcmourning, Molly does not have the option of summoning the ‘Rogue Necromancy’ in game! However Molly can summon (for 2 corpse counters!) Horrors, Belles and Necrotic Machines with base size of 30mm only, which does allow her to summon ‘Madam Sybelle’
Molly herself is fairly hard to actually damage and kill, with the opponent having to first pass a ‘Pitiful’ WP duel when targeting her and then get past her ‘hard to wound 1’ a potential trigger on her df which can negate all damage, followed by the ‘slow to die’ and ‘use soulstone’ combination. With 10 wounds the only let down on her survivability is the actual defense stat which is just df4. She also has a trigger on her WP which deals 2 wounds to anyone losing a WP duel with Molly as the defender, which acts as a very good deterrent for enemies with low WP and wounds.
Now her abilities certainly seem to have plenty of potential, however I have found that the vast majority of them can easily become redundant against crews that do not contain ‘living’ models or have ‘immune to influence’! If your opponent puts an Hoffman crew on the table then Molly’s going to end up doing very little in the game.
Instead of giving a breakdown of each of Molly’s spells and abilities which can be read about in plenty of other places (including the pull my finger wiki) I’m just going to list them in no particular order and give my quick thoughts on them.
· Henchman 5 – Could really do with being higher (at least 7), especially has she’s more likely to want the ‘Rogue Necromancy’ in her crew, with no option to summon it, It would also increase her possible Soulstone cache which would help when it comes to making sure those key spells happen.
· Instinctual +1 (0) action – Good but I can’t help feel that Molly being primarily a support master also needs a +1 casting action. And Instinctual is really there just to make sure Molly can cry each turn (see below).
· Pitiful - very handy
· Necrotic Spray – Deals 1wd to each living model within 1” when Molly takes damage. Limited use, but try not to forget about it when you do face a Living crew.
· Reveal Philip – 0 Action that requires multiple living targets to be worth using.
· Uncontrolled crying - 0 action - unless Molly is well out of harms reach she should always be crying at the end of each of her activations to ensure Pitiful is active.
· Whispered Secrets – 0 action Spell that copies a 1 cost spell from the target, for Molly to use once. I’ve cast this plenty of times now on her own crew, taking abilities such as Lure (though Rotten Belles cast it easier than Molly), Acid Breath and Shriek. I’m thinking this could be the ability that’s key to unlocking Molly’s potential, and I’m going to start looking for combos that can come from enemy models.
· Imbue Vigour – 1 action spell that grants the target +3wk. This is the one useful ability that Molly can try to cast when facing non-living and ‘immune to influence’ crews, it does require 7Masks or greater, which unfortunately reduces its reliability somewhat. If you get the right cards in hand (7+ and 9+ of masks) this combos very well with ‘Madam Sybelles’ ‘Call Belle’, in practice getting both those cards and not wanting them for other things (Croolligans or sever damage) is rare.
· Philosophy of uncertainty - 1 action spell that requires the caster to sacrifice, in order to kill a non-master model within 3” also requires a WP resist. This combos nicely with ‘Necrotic machine’, although I find it fairly hard to keep the ‘Necrotic Machine’ alive whilst getting into range, once you have the high crow required to cast it.
· Molly’s other spells include ‘Terrible Secret’, a very functional double negative defence and attack debuff and ‘The Shocking Truth’, a short range damage spell that can paralyse on the severe damage. Of those I actually find the debuff the better option as it can cripple even the best of enemies including Von Shill.
Molly also produces ‘Extraordinary Dead’ a 4” aura that gives Belles and Horrors +2wk whilst in the auras range.
As mentioned above Molly and Sybelle make a very good pair when it comes to movement tricks, although because both of the movement spells require either a 7 or 9 of masks, making any movement based plans unreliable, but handy if you do draw the right cards. I think the best bet is just to stick to using Molly’s +3wk buff along with the +2wk aura which if given to a ‘Rogue Necromancy’ or ‘Dead Doxy’ will give an initial walk of 10, followed by a second walk of 8 (no longer getting the aura buff).
Crooligans I’ve had a fairly mixed bag of results with. By having their key spell ‘The Mist’ a 1 action spell that requires 8+, the Crooligans suffer badly, because without it they are fairly weak and slow. Also worth noting is that ‘The Mist’ only has a 3” range unlike ‘The Fogs’ 5” (created by ‘Stitched Together’), so the Crooligans can still be targeted by ranged attacks. Having said that, when they perform, they do so fairly well moving around the board and sitting on objectives.
Rotting Belles are your bread and butter minion in this crew and luckily they are a good investment for 4SS each, the only drawback being their low damage output. I’ve learned that unlike a Seamus lead crew, you don’t have the same hitting power, so positioning and correct use of ‘Lure’ is going to be even more key to successful use within a Molly crew.
Lastly I’m just going to mention the ‘Grave Spirit’ totem, which I actually don’t own yet, but was lucky enough to borrow once and to me is looking like a fairly good choice to include for 1SS instead of the 2SS ‘Necrotic Machine’, as it can be used effectively by giving armour +2 to either Molly, Sybelle or the ‘Rogue Necromancy’.
Molly on first glance appears to have a good bunch of spells and abilities, however when it comes to actually using her to lead a crew then some of her flaws become more apparent. Because she is primarily a support master she doesn’t really appear to do anything and I suppose this is because the buffs and debuffs she provides are not significant enough to affect the game at the same level you would expect for a Leader.
Her biggest issue is probably with the lack of Living opponents and her complete inability to deal with ‘immune to influence’, which completely negates her more offensive spells.
That being said Molly’s biggest draw is her background story and the visual appeal of her crew, which is the main reason I’m being so stubborn and sticking with Molly girl, despite getting a beating every time she leads a crew onto the gaming table.
Hopefully through my own and Jon’s blog we can perhaps unlock the hidden potential and work out some sound tactics for Molly lead crews.
PS Must say after reading Jon’s first report he seems to be off to a good start with a 6-2 win.