Mollog has been smashing warbands, taking trophies and making memes since his arrival on the Warhammer Underworlds scene. Opinions on his power level, strategy and workout routine are many and varied, but in this article I hope to gather together some of the communities collective wisdom along with my own observations, and look at how best to take down the mountain that is Mollog. We’ll look at what Mollog players want from their game, cards you can include to stack the odds in your favour, before tackling the most important issue, in game playstyle against the big man! Mollog’s Mob presents unique challenges to both play as and against, and to master the latest metagame players will need to understand how this Troggoth works.
I recently won some glass with the beautiful behemoth and had almost finished writing an article on how best to win with him. The updated BAR along with FAQ changes have rendered that article completely useless, so instead I will be bothering Tom by interjecting into his article with ‘insight’ from the Mollog perspective. If you see red text then its from me. – Mike
Death and Glory
The subheading pretty much summarises Mollog’s main aims. Good objective decks will undoubtedly include passive, but ideally Mollog players will pick a board which allows them to set up their squigs to score
Extreme Flank (BANHAMMER WOZ ‘ERE) and Alone in the Darkness without having to use activations on them. So, what do Mollog players want to use their activations on? To phrase the question slightly differently, how do they score glory aside from the aforementioned passive staples?
BAR Update: With Extreme Flank gone and Superior Tactician restricted Mollogs passive and snowball glory have been hit. Mollog players will more than likely keep running Superior Tactician, but this will cost them another restricted objective, an aggro ploy or one of their tasty accuracy upgrades. This means avoiding Mollog is going to bring about an even bigger glory differential than it used to. You just have to manage to avoid him.
Mollog’s Mob Objective decks tend to be fleshed out with score immediately cards based on Mollog dishing out the pain. These, combined with Longstrider, Superior Tactician and other snowball objectives like Master of War and Solid Gains will often fill the deck. Some variation will occur between how passive/aggro the deck is built, and personal preference comes into play, but the core will be the same. Ideally minimal activations go into what the squigs can score, maximum activations go into what Mollog can score, and more often than not, Mollog scores by killing.
So how does Mollog go about dealing death in Shadespire? Well first off he wants to inspire for the double charge, hopefully by drawing Inspiration Strikes or Bag of Tricks to then get Inspiration Strikes. – Second Wind has a similar effect to Inspiration Strikes for the Mollog player now so you should be expecting him to be capable of double charging. Inspiration is even more important after the FAQ ruling allowing him to be activated with a charge token when inspired. Fortunately Mollog can afford to spend activations drawing, as you’ll rarely want to activate the squigs and you can only activate Mollog twice assuming the opponent is going to take a Move and a Charge to reach. As of the new FAQ – he can activate to attack after a charge when inspired, I’ll talk more about this in a moment.
The circumstances would have to be pretty opportune for Mollog to charge early, as this would expose him early to multiple attacks. If Mollog does charge early this does give you more options and opportunity to dish out the pain. Nine times out of ten, the Mollog player will draw twice then move and charge, draw three times and charge, or if he is inspired draw twice and double charge. Assuming all has gone to plan of course.
If you go aggressive on Mollog you will likely run into either Aggressive Defence or My Turn, or maybe both! This out of action attack allows Mollog to an extra opportunity to start the score immediately train, as he likely one shots your model (though not always, and this is crucial to deciding whether you want to risk the charge). Mollog players want you to proc their reactions for free attacks before they wade in and mop up the stragglers. Be sure to keep track of these cards when playing against the raid boss! Even if your attack is successful and you make a dent in the Troggoth, you’ve probably now inspired him, and he can now start attacking back. Models with knockback will be one option for forcing Mollog players to charge twice.
FAQ Update: If you charge into the inspired Mollog grinder, even after he has charged once, he can keep swinging at you. If he has Aggressive Defense and My Turn he will batter you with his helicopter stick. Mollog may not be accurate, but if you give him enough opportunities to roll dice a crit will come up. If Mollog connects and drops a hand full of score immediatelys in front of you, the game is going to get hairy real fast.
If you sit back, Mollog decks could be running Hidden Paths, Commanding Stride, Faneway Crystal, Spectral Wings, Potion of Grace or a multitude of other cards to help close the distance – in addition to Mollogs intrinsic threat range of 7 over two activations. If he draws the right cards he has a good chance of getting to you.
So Mollog wants to lumber towards you, swatting his enemies aside while his fungal fanclub cheer from the backlines. This goes for the majority of decks, the majority of the time. There are some stalagsquig shenanigans that can be toyed with, and I’m sure one brave soul is piloting the Bat Squig from the pits of hell, but this approach to playing Mollog seems to be predominant currently. So how the hell do we stop the giant without bouncing off his spore-covered club?
Lets start by looking at what a bad game for a Mollog player looks like. I’ll tell you what a bad Mollog game looks like, it’s missing 8 attacks in a row with the bloody fool #I’mNotSalty
More specifically, Mollog is taken out of action before he has scored his score immediately objectives for killing. If you take Mollog down at the start of Turn 3 after he has Remorselessly finished his Strong Start and Longstrode his way to victory, your opponent is likely already sitting on a veritable treasure trove of glory. So a kill on Mollog before he scores glory effectively neuters your opponent. This doesn’t mean the kill has to be early on, it just has to be before the glory train gets rolling. So what else sucks for Mollog players?
Mollog misses. I’m legit more scared of this one when playing as Mollog.
And Mollog does miss, frequently. With a base dice characteristic of 2 smashes with no access to cleave he will mostly be running at odds of connecting only slightly higher than a coin toss depending on your defence characteristic. As soon as you hit two defence dice (regardless of whether you block or dodge) the odds are against Mollog connecting with you. Mollog players will try to trap you to get around this (the sign of a good Mollog player is one who is constantly trying to trap your fighters), and will probably run accuracy improving power cards to shore up this weakness. You can just as easily shore up your defences though, because if Mollog isn’t hitting, he isn’t scoring.
Mollog ineffectually lumbers towards you.
If Mollog can’t get to you he’ll have a bad day. Admittedly its hard to keep him away, but if you are running a defensive style deck, you might have cards to hold him at bay. The more aggressive Mollog players will be heavily punished by this, especially if you manage the following. If you have the spare activation’s you can put fighters onto free objective tokens or even try to set objective tokens up so that they are more towards Mollog’s territory – this mostly nullifies Faneway crystal as a way for him to get to your back-line.
Mollogs passive glory is stifled.
This either means killing squigs or pushing them around so objectives cant be scored. Cards like Distraction can help deny positional objectives, and cards like Alone in the Darkness and Escalation can be played around to help deny them. If no one dies and you manage to thwart the behemoths passive plans, then no accuracy upgrades make it on to the big man. Mollog will never be able to pull an extra penny from behind the ears of his slain enemies. No extra wounds will find their way onto the already tanky Troggoth. Even after the FAQ nerfs Mollog’s will always be running Strong Start – if you kill one of his random followers then it can be a 2 glory swing your way.
So now you just need to try to manufacture a bad game for the Mollog player.
How you ask?
Well hopefully like this…
Attack Action Blockers
Whilst this card only works 1 in 3 times, it will inspire a look of dread in your opponent 100% of the time. It not only blocks the attack, but sends the damage right back at the aggressor. Mollog dishes out upwards of 3 damage wherever we are in the game, and so this particular ricochet is a game changer. I just don’t like including it in my deck.
If I played a best of 3 and went 0-2 because Rebound didn’t go off in either game I wouldn’t have been unlucky. Those are the odds. I get it to activate in 1 out of 3 games.
How did you beat Mollog? I played Rebound and beat the odds. It’s just not great advice.
Having said that, the effect this card has on a game is undeniable. This card can turn a game by itself, and is probably worth the slot despite my hang-ups about the card being an incredible inconsistent win condition. This should be thought of as an insurance policy, if you think you can win with nine gambits consider this. You shouldn’t rely on Rebound to win.
Rebound-Lite – this card saves your fighter without dishing damage back onto Mollog. The odds of success are doubled to compensate.
I run Last Chance in every dodge warband deck as it can essentially turns an enemy charge into a move action stranding them in your territory. It blocks any score immediately objectives they were relying on and leaves them vulnerable to counter-attack.
This card sets up the conditions for Mollog to have a bad game. I’ll talk more about how to take advantage of this in the play-style section. I cannot overstate just how on the mark Tom is here, Last Chance in turn 1 can literally deny Mollog’s whole turn and stop him getting the glory to play his much needed upgrades.
Frozen in Time
This 50/50 card previously seen as an insurance policy taken out against rogue relic players has a similar effect on Mollog. If you rely on one model, taking that model out of a game for 1/3 of it’s duration is a dream for you and a nightmare for the Troggoth. You can spend your free turn mopping up squigs and setting up your next turn.
When the card works.
This card is a gem. When Mollog charges in and misses – which half the time he will – he will greedily leave you 2 hexes away for a follow up attack. Transfixing stare and run away laughing. Have fun scoring nothing today Mollog!
Mollog’s early plans focus on inspiring, as the spike in power he gains is astronomical. Cruel Taunt shuts that plan down. Cruel Taunt also removes the fear of inspiring him whilst attacking allowing for the 4 damage hit to come back off of a My Turn or Aggressive Defence.
When the card works.
Seriously only take this if you already have Frozen in Time and think that whatever tournament you are attending will have a majority of Mollog players, its not worth it against the rest of the field and its borderline not worth it against Mollog.
I haven’t tested this yet but I just want to bang this bad boy on the Fanatic and stick him next to Mollog. If you can force Mollog players to use a move action to escape rather than attack, you’re doing Gods work.
Essentially you want to whack this upgrade on a tanky model and force Mollog to kill him or move away before he can start on the rest of your warband. It might work.
I’m pretty sure Tom was cackling with maniacal laughter as he thought up this plan.
Kill the Squigs, Flee from the Troggoth.
Kill the Squigs, Flee from the Troggoth.
Kill the Squigs, Flee from the Troggoth.
Jokes aside, games can be won by disappearing to the other side of the board once Mollog makes his way to you. The confused look on the big mans face when he finds nothing left to kill is priceless. Meanwhile your simmering a Bat Squig and mushroom stew, safe and sound 10 hexes away.
Encroaching Shadow/Lethal Ward/Reflected Injury/Raptor Strike/Shardgale/Abasoths Withering
All the above 1 point damage pings help to bring Mollog into range of a lethal hit. The conditions for each are varied, I’d personally recommend taking 1-2 of these cards in any deck just to level the playing field against the Troggoth without giving him the chance to use Aggressive Defence.
The ploys (so not Abasoth’s Witherng) will still trigger My Turn, be careful!
The Big Hitter
This is my boy! I’ve said its dangerous to attack Mollog without being able to one-shot him. Welcome to the one-shot card.
This card needs a crit (I imagine I hear people cry), I thought inconsistency was bad!!??
We can control how many dice we roll. We can roll lots and lots of dice.
(Cheers Jamie Giblin for the board pics)
Winning the Roll-off
Mollog wants to come to you and hit you with his two range club. The Soul Refractor allows you to duck behind blocked hexes and prevent Mollog from bringing his two range to bear.
How much you want to offset the board depends on your playstyle. Aggro warbands will want a squarer set up to allow easier squig access. Defensive warbands might want to offset the boards more.
Remember, the tighter the corridor you set up between boards, the easier it is for Mollog to trap you on your board. If you have the tools to hold him at bay then set up a corridor. Just try not to end up locked on a board with Mollog.
The amount of people I have played against who win the board placement and then set up narrow/length-ways breaks my mind. As a Mollog player that’s exactly what I want, I can threaten the entire width of the board from a central hex and its so easy to trap enemy fighters. When playing vs Mollog don’t be a dunce, set up wide.
Losing the Roll-off
If the Mollog player gets to orientate your board, you want to have the majority of your hexes in the centre. Otherwise Mollog will just pick the edge with the most hexes and line that up with his board. The Cursed Oubliette is a non-committal board, but it will allow you to hide at least one model at the back, and set the majority of your warband up in a position that means Mollog will have to come onto your board to attack.
The exception to this rule is for smaller warbands. If you can pick a board with hexes scattered around the outside, there will almost always be a corner of the board you can hide three or four models on. The Shyishian Stardial has the added bones of blocked hexes to skirt Mollogs range. Unfortunately there’s no hiding for the hordes.
This section is the most crucial to ending Mollogs reign in Underworlds. With 7 wounds Mollog for the majority of warbands, the majority of the time will take 2-3 hits to take down. Each hit has a 50-60% chance of connecting depending on upgrades and gambits. I’m generalising here, but my point is the odds of first turn killing Mollog against a good player are low, as it would depend on both good dice and a good draw. In addition, Mollog can react off of our attack actions to swing back and start racking up the glory for rampaging through models smaller than his club.
If we don’t hit Mollog though, he will remain at 7 wounds and be unassailable for the entire game, and theres only so much board we can run to before we have to confront the Troggoth.
So what do we do?!
When To Hit Mollog
When Mollog Can’t Hit Back
Free damage on Mollog is hard to come by, and so it should be. The warband is dependent on one model, and if he was easy to kill then the whole band would be a joke. Having said that, there are times when we can have a free pop at the Troggoth, and these oppurtunities should be taken.
- Range 3 attacks – Mollog can’t react to these attacks to get a free hit in, and every wound knocked off your gargantuan opponent brings him closer to kill range. Be sure to push him back even if your attack is unsuccessful. Be aware though that making an attack this way does put your model in charge range of a now rather irritated Troggoth, and every successful Mollog attack has the chance of scoring 2+ glory.
- When Mollog has 2 charge tokens/1 move and 1 Charge token – These occasions will more than likely be engineered by Transifixing Stare. If an opposing Mollog player has burned both his mobility activations before his final activation a mistake has probably been made. My Turn and Aggressive Defense can still be played in this case though, so be wary of a counter attack even if Mollog is out of activations.
- When you have the final activation – This goes hand in hand with the above opportunity. This is usually the only time Mollog will be out of activations with you still having one remaining, as most Mollog players will save their charges for the back end of a turn. AD and MT are still a threat if you attack here.
- When Aggressive Defence and My Turn are gone – If Mollog has exhausted these cards you can afford to be much more aggressive. Watch that discard pile, look at how many cards are left in your opponent deck. See how many power cards are in your opponents hand. (hint: if they have none you are safe)
- When you can finish him – This doesn’t mean with Ready for Action, I mean you can finish him in one fell swoop. RFA can be interrupted by Mollogs reaction Gambits, so make sure you’re keeping track of these if you’re planning on going for a lethal double hit. If you can kill the Troggoth and the odds are in your favour, roll those dice. May the crits be with you.
- This next one is a rare case, but if Mollog isn’t inspired or equipped with a damage upgrade, i.e. he deals 3 damage with his big attack, then its totally worth hitting him with a fighter over 4 wounds that deals 1-2 damage. If you deal anymore then you just inspire him yourself and if you have less wounds then you risky dying to a My Turn/Aggressive Defence.
When considering whether it’s worth trading fighters for Mollog, the important thing to consider is glory. If you trade 2 of your warband for Mollogs life, Mollog could have scored anywhere between 2 glory up to the dizzying heights of 10. If Mollog has Tome of Offerings equipped, play safer. If Mollog has been forced to bin some score immediatelys, play more aggressive. There is no hard and fast rule, just be aware that any death you concede could be a big cash-in for Mollog, and you need to decide if it is worth the risk.
When to Hit the Squigs
The most important point here is that Squigs are worth just as much glory to you as Mollog.
YOU DO NOT KILL MOLLOG TO WIN, YOU KILL MOLLOG TO MAKE MOLLOG PLAYERS LOSE.
– Plato, probably
With that in mind, when do we hit the squigs.
- When the squigs are in range – attacking the squigs has far less risk involved compared to attacking Mollog, and nets us the same amount of glory. You shouldn’t be trying to justify attacking the squigs, you should always be trying to justify attacking Mollog.
- When you can attack the Squigs and end your attack out of Mollogs range – This is ideal. If you can Hidden Paths onto Mollogs board after he has committed and start mopping up glory you’ve made a very positive play in this matchup, especially if you’re aggro. Even if you aren’t aggro, every kill is glory and the squigs are the easiest kills your getting against this warband.
With Extreme Flank being flung into the ban bucket, this just got a whole lot easier.
Mollogs objectives are now almost entirely aggresive, with the exception of Longstrider and potentially Alone in the Dark. Escalation and Master of War rely on glory to play, glory which Mollog needs to kill to get.
- Make sure every fight you pick is worth giving Mollog access to his objective deck. If Mollog isn’t fighting, he isn’t scoring
- Block Alone in the Darkness
- Use pushes to keep Mollog away
- Use gambits to block successful attacks
- Use gambits to avoid Mollog
You will (probably) have more objectives which don’t rely on kills than Mollog. If you do have objectives that rely on kills, pack your deck with mobility and score them on the squigs.
Killing Mollog is the ultimate denial for this deck, but it is not easy and can backfire. Consider your alternatives, attack when you have the best chance of success.
Raid Boss Down: We’re done
Practice against Mollog is crucial. He plays differently to other warbands, and is far easier to pick up than he is to play into. This doesn’t make him broken (although the warband is undoubtedly top tier) nor does it mean there isn’t skill to playing him, it just stacks the odds in his favour until people play around him properly.
To expand upon this Mollog is what i would consider a ‘noob stomper’. He is exceptionally good against players who are not aware of his special rules or even who just don’t know how to generally play against him. Every tiny advantage you can get vs him is essential, use these tips as a starting point and practice like hell against the big troll, you will see him at tournaments for a while.
My experience has come from playing Bryce and Mike’s Mollog decks, mostly with my Godsworn. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to attend any tournaments this month for more practice, but I’ll let you know how the Hunt get on in March with a new version of the deck.
Until then, best of luck in all your Troggoth Hunting. Take everything I have written with a pinch of salt and try to look at the rationale behind my advice so you can make your own mind up as to whether it is good advice or not. If you disagree please tell me, I want to get better and Mollog mangling myself!
Until next time
Is It Asleep? (<- We’re going to make this card worth taking)
As a future Mollog player I plan to take Illusory Fighter for 2 reasons. To catch those who think they can just wander in my backlime and kill squigs, and also to transport back to safety after killing some dudes.
Hi Anthony! Thanks for giving this a read! Mikes been running illusory fighter for the same reason. It helps Mollog to protect his backline and get out of danger. It results in this weird mind game between us though where i attempt to threaten his backline early with one model to make him Illusory Fighter back away from the rest of my warband!
Additionally with Supeior Tactician, RFA and My Turn being almost mandatory, you only have 2 restricted slots left! Having said that i think Illusory Fighter is well worth it, it just needs timing well!
Great article! Anyone given Touch of Death a run into Mollog? Really tempted to give it a spot with my Cursebreakers.
Touch of Death is certainly tempting, you can see at a glance just how powerful it can be. However I think you have to sacrifice too much to build around it and even then its only really worth it vs Mollog. You have to be super careful when teching against the big brute that you don’t make your deck bad to the rest of the field and I feel like touch of death does that. Certainly a clever idea though.