Tommy Muldoon is my favourite investigator in the Arkham Horror universe, period. I first fell in love with this investigator in Eldritch Horror. Long story short, I tried to use his ability in that game to protect another investigator from harm but ended up getting that investigator killed instead. For some reason, I thought that was so funny that Tommy immediately rose to infamy for being the absolute worst. As I got more experience with Tommy in other parts of Arkham and learned more about his lore, my love for him only grew. Tommy yearns so badly to be a hero and save everyone around him, but he’s just so…. how do I put this?…. so very incompetent that he can’t quite make it. It’s simultaneously hilarious, relatable, and deeply horrifying. Tommy desperately tries to shield others from harm, puts himself into danger, and takes big risks all in the name of becoming a hero someday. You, as the player, will either see him achieve his dream or watch him fail miserably. Just like in my Eldritch Horror games, it will probably be the latter. But who knows? Maybe for once Tommy will achieve his dream of becoming a ~*HERO*~ and you’ll save the world after all.
Also, he named his gun Becky and he sometimes treats his gun like an actual person, which is just so wacky, how could you NOT love this guy?
There are still a few things we don’t know about Tommy since we haven’t seen the back of his card. However, I’d say we can safely assume he has access to Guardian level 0-5 and Neutral level 0-5 cards, so we will run with that for now. Tommy’s stat line is exactly the same as Roland’s except that he has one less health and one more sanity, giving him a more balanced body line. His stat line adds up to 12 and his body line adds up to 14, which are both standard values.
Overall, Tommy’s stats can be summarized as pretty basic, being the same as the core set Guardian. His 2 in Agility will likely not be a major hindrance, unless you are playing an evade-heavy campaign such as TFA. Furthermore, his 3’s in Will and Intellect allow him to find a moderate amount of success should you have to pass those tests, as it will take only a small amount of assistance to find some success there. His 4 in Fight is what will help take down enemies. Of course, you may find very quickly that a 4 in Fight a little bit lacking to fight some big enemies, but Tommy has an answer to that problem.
Based on just his stats and card access (or what we know so far), we can safely say that Tommy is a fighting Guardian who can occasionally help with the clue burden. With that much in mind, let’s continue to build up our picture of who Tommy is as an investigator.
(His Elder Sign draw is also really good, but we won’t analyze it much more than saying this is a solid Elder Sign effect.)
I mentioned Tommy is a fighting Guardian, but there are, of course, 4 other fighting Guardians in the roster. So what sets Tommy apart? That would be his investigator ability. If you are unfamiliar with the faction, fighting Guardians are usually lacking in resources. They do not naturally have many resource tools in their deck pool and they are also usually required to pay for quite expensive assets and events to keep their team alive. Zoey is a mild exception to this, as she does have a resource ability naturally; however, Zoey will very often immediately dump all of those resources into Zoey’s Cross, meaning she regularly doesn’t even see these resources outside of Cross fuel. You also could use some Rogue tools to give Leo money, but that’s more of a Rogue archetype than a Guardian one. By and large, Guardians are poor because they have almost no inherent resource bonuses and spend all their money on expensive cards to protect the team.
Tommy Muldoon doesn’t have this problem. This is what makes Tommy different.
I don’t mean to say that Tommy sits on a big pile of resources, like some kind of Preston-style Guardian. I mean that Tommy’s investigator ability allows him to effectively be refunded for assets that are defeated to health or sanity. This means a lot of his assets are effectively free or almost free. Not only that, these assets get shuffled back in to his deck, which means you don’t even lose the card in the process. This is amazing value! Remember how I said Guardians spend all their money on expensive cards, rendering them poor? Tommy has that to deal with this initially, but because he gets refunded, at least partially, for assets that get defeated he isn’t poor the way other Guardians would be later on. These extra resources give him a lot more options to play with, as he can access more expensive cards as these refunds come in.
I would like to add as well that if your assets are being defeated to health or sanity, you already got value out of them in the form of soak. For example, being able to put a damage and a horror onto your Beat Cop instead of onto yourself is already a positive thing. So to also get a full refund on these and the card back in the deck is just extra value to you. You can think of it as Tommy gets paid money to soak damage and horror. This means Tommy is an investigator that is incentivized to get hit, and in a game that hits you all the time, that is a very powerful thing.
While some investigators have signature assets that are either “take it or leave it” (case in point: Agnes’ Heirloom of Hyperborea, which is often just committed for icons) Tommy’s signature, Becky, is central to playing him successfully. So, let’s take a deeper look at this card.
First of all, this weapon is cheap. Two resources for a gun that does +1 damage and +2 fight is so cheap it feels like stealing. It takes up two hands, but trust me, this asset is worth both your hand slots (and you get around this by playing Bandolier, which is auto-include tier on Tommy purely because of how important Becky is.) How good are these bonuses? Timeworn Brand, which costs 5xp and 5 resources, gives you the same fight bonus and the same damage bonus, for 1 less hand slot. So that’s a Melee card comparison and you can see just how expensive these kinds of bonuses could be.
Second, while this card only gets 2 ammo, check out the following line. When you would get your refund from your investigator ability, you may instead get some or all of that refund in the form of ammo on Becky. Basically, what this means is you can theoretically just have more ammo on Becky than you could ever reasonably need. Typically, the biggest problem with guns is they run out of ammo. If you manage to time your refunds well, Becky can always have ammo, meaning you will be ready to fight a lot.
Third, and this is playing off the point I just made, because Becky can have so much ammo on it, you can use event cards that require ammo much more easily than other investigators might. For example, while “Eat lead!” can allow you to dodge an autofail on a critical fight action or Warning Shot can helpfully move a non-Hunter enemy away from your location, these cost precious ammo. However, Tommy can use them more freely because ammo for Becky is easy to come by.
All these benefits means Tommy really wants Becky in play almost all the time. You want to search your deck for Becky if you can and then stack upgrades on it. Becky is your life as Tommy. Just like in the lore, you must protect this precious gun. Use Prepared for the Worst to find it, and treat it right with Well-Maintained or Reliable. If you want to hold anything else, including an XP weapon, get a Bandolier or Bandolier level 2. I’m not exaggerating. Shooting bullets out of Becky is your job now, not holding Flashlights or Machetes or even Lightning Guns. Becky is the investigator, you are the person responsible for holding Becky. Make us all proud.
(Now, by all means take back up weapons in case you don’t find Becky soon enough or Becky ends up in the discard pile for some god-forsaken reason, but otherwise BECKY IS LIFE.)
Tommy’s signature weakness Rookie Mistake is… interesting, I guess? It’s potentially a board wipe but it will very often do nothing or close to nothing. Basically, any asset with damage or horror already on it gets wiped from the board. This naturally screws with your refunds, which are integral to playing Tommy. However, this isn’t that big of a problem because as I said earlier, if you have damage or horror on an asset, you already got some value out of that asset. Furthermore, cards with no damage or horror on them are unaffected, meaning it’s unlikely you ever get a total board wipe. For example, Bandolier has 1 health only so it will never be wiped by Rookie Mistake. Becky, which is core to your play, is also not affected. Since you know this card is in the deck, you can just play around it a little bit. For example, I would never take Agency Backup on Tommy due to this weakness, since that’s a card that has to sit with horror and damage on it for so long, i.e., 7 or so rounds, to get the maximum value out of it. Brother Xavier is my example of about the maximum amount of health/sanity I’d be willing to risk sitting on the board with Rookie Mistake around. On the other hand, you ideally want exactly one card to be lost to this so that Rookie Mistake doesn’t constantly get shuffled in and you get dead draws over and over. You can get hurt by this card, but it’s a relatively mild signature weakness. Focus on playing around it and remember it’s in your deck as you consider your refund timings.
With all that covered, now it’s time to consider what cards would work well with Tommy and what cards won’t. So let’s make a shopping list.
1) Cards with health and sanity we can defeat for refunds
2) Cards that synergize with Becky
3) Cards to use as backup weapons in case we don’t get Becky
4) Generically strong Guardian cards that can serve as outlets for your refund money
and finally, a bit of an oddball category you won’t typically find outside of Tommy
5) Cards that either cause damage/horror or synergize with taking damage/horror
Here’s what we don’t want:
1) Standard healing cards, because we vastly prefer soak to healing
2) Cancels, because Tommy is usually okay with being hit and would rather save the deck space
3) Weapons that take up Becky’s double hand slots (without Bandolier 2 in your deck)
4) Cards with health/sanity that are going to be out for so long with damage and horror on them that Rookie Mistake has a very high chance of wiping them
Here’s a sample of what Tommy’s Nope List is in my opinion based on the above lists. If you really want to, you could use these, but I think these are bad or subpar choices for Tommy specifically.
- .45 Thompson
- Delay the Inevitable
- Emergency Aid
- First Aid
- Hallowed Mirror
- “If it bleeds…”
- Inspiring Presence
- Second Wind
- Agency Backup
- Armor of Ardennes
- First Aid(3)
- “I’ve had worse…” (2) and (4)
- Lightning Gun
- M1918 BAR
- Ornate Bow
- Springfield M1903
And here’s a sample of what I would call Tommy’s YES List. These cards will serve Tommy well. Cards that I think are top or “autoinclude” are bolded.
- .45 Automatic
- Dynamite Blast
- “Eat lead!”
- Fine Clothes (campaign dependent)
- Heroic Rescue
- Guard Dog
- Prepared for the Worst
- Scene of the Crime
- Smoking Pipe
- Something Worth Fighting For
- Survival Knife
- True Grit
- Unexpected Courage
- Vicious Blows
- Warning Shot
- Beat Cop(2)
- Blood Eclipse
- Brother Xavier
- Custom Ammunition
- “Eat lead!”(2)
- Ever Vigilant
- Keen Eye
- Stick to the Plan
- Vicious Blow(2)
- Timeworn Brand
To be clear, these are just non-exhaustive sample lists using my opinions of what I think will be good or not good for Tommy. Don’t feel locked in to anything I said here. If you really, really want to run Flamethrower Tommy, then go for it. Also remember we don’t know the full deckbuilding, so I was only able to speak to Guardian and Neutral options.
- Blood Eclipse and deal all 3 damage to Brother Xavier. This deals 2 testless damage to an enemy and gives you at least 3 resources. You then get to do the Blood Eclipse test at 6 Will for 4 damage on a success. If you have Bandolier(2) in play with 2 hand slots full of weapons, you get +1 Will toward this test, for a total of 7.
- Brother Xavier’s defeat can potentially gives you enough resources to pay for Dynamite Blast. This means you can also have Brother Xavier out, play Dynamite Blast, put all the damage on Brother Xavier, and get at least 3 resources back. This deals up to 5 damage to 1 enemy with no test.
- Venturer can give you a whopping 7 ammo on Becky – three from its exhaust ability and four from the refund (this is why I marked Venturer as auto-include.)
- The classic Survival Knife-Guard Dog combo works wonders on Tommy, because the Guard Dog pays for itself if it dies in the end. Survival Knife is a great item to hold in your Bandolier hand slot for this reason.
- Heroic Rescue is a great card for Tommy because it causes him to get hit, which can help you get refunds. See my previous Heroic Rescue article for a more extensive list of potential Heroic Rescue combos.
- Painkillers and Smoking Pipe can be used not just to heal yourself but also to force your refunds out by converting damage and horror around.
Well, that’s all for now! After release, I will update this guide with more details as his deckbuilding is revealed and as I get more gameplay time. But I hope this gives you some great ideas for now and that you will love Tommy as much as I do. Thanks for reading!