The Arcanist’s underground movement (literally!), Molemen are old miners who’ve volunteered to be transformed into Molemen in exchange for a generous dividend from the Union for their family. The rumours of young, healthy miners disappearing are just that – rumours, spread by malicious Guild agents. It’s just a coincidence that the process of transforming a ‘volunteer’ into a Moleman leaves the fellow completely unrecognisable…
Molemen make excellent scheme runners, particularly when paired with Marcus, Kaeris and Colette. As a first glance, you’re probably thinking, ‘Ben – what are you talking about? Wk and Cg 4 doesn’t make for a good scheme runner!’ Luckily, Molemen have a way to offset their otherwise poor mobility with the Tunnelling tactical action. As a (0), they can be simply placed in contact with a friendly scheme marker within 8″. This makes them ideal to work in pairs – one walks forward and interacts to drop a scheme marker, then the second uses Tunnelling to leap forward, walks and interacts to drop a scheme marker.
They’re fairly resilient for their cost too, with Armor +2 and a trigger on a tome that lets this reduce damage to 0. This certainly makes them more resilient against other scheme runners, who generally aren’t likely to have a stellar damage track, and will therefore take a while to get through the Moleman’s defences. There’s also their other (0) action, Dig In. If Tunnelling gets them where they want to be, Dig In lets them hold that ground once they’re there. It boosts their Df to a decent level, and – perhaps more importantly – prevents the Moleman from being pushed or moved. Particularly suited to Turf War, Reconnoiter, Breakthrough or any other time you need to have a significant minion in one place, this is a nifty action that can make them ideal for scoring VP.
Offence isn’t really the Moleman’s strong suit. With a low Ml and damage track, the Moleman is better at resisting damage rather than dealing it. They do have a trigger that lets them take another attack against a different target, but this is rather situational and I can’t think of a time when I’ve actually been able to use it.
I touched upon the masters that I tend to run Molemen with briefly at the start of the post. While Molemen work perfectly well in a pair by themselves, I have found that they synergise with certain masters more than others. Marcus works well with them due to their Beast characteristic making them not only a thematic part of his crew, but also allowing them to benefit from the various Beast-only buffs Marcus and his crew favour. Kaeris (with the Wings Of Fire upgrade) and Colette, on the other hand, work well with Molemen due to their tendency to litter the board with scheme markers – setting up a network of jump points early on to facilitate the Molemen’s Tunnelling.
What about playing against Molemen? As with a lot of the Arcanists, anything that ignores Armor is the best bet when facing Molemen, or a model that can reliably deal four or more damage in one attack. The Moleman’s Df is a little below average, so hitting them shouldn’t be a problem. Remember that they can either use Tunnelling or Dig In each turn (not both), so they’ll be a little more vulnerable after they’ve used Tunnelling. If you have a way of clearing scheme markers at range – such as a Performer or Aionus – you can shut down their mobility, which drastically lowers their effectiveness.
Well, that’s enough from me. Drop me a comment with your thoughts – do you like Molemen, or do you prefer one of the Arcanists other 4ss options? And what’s your preferred way to exterminate a Moleman infestation? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!