Welcome to my new series of articles, Building On a Budget. The goal of this series is to help players wanting to start a new faction to quickly build different tournament viable lists for less than $101 while still giving you the option to play the master you desire. The pricing is based off the Wyrd store site pre-tax, so no special online discounts. Additionally, I do include some of the general upgrades in the crews which you’ll need to buy the generalist upgrade packs for the cards and those costs aren’t included in the pricing.

In these articles I’ll be breaking down my purchases into bundles with 3 tiers of recommendation. My tier 1 bundles are, in my opinion, the best place to start a new faction. The tier 2 bundles are fine places to start, but usually are limited in options. The tier 3 bundles are not the best place to start a crew, but if you really want to play a given master, it gives you a place to start. Technically there is a 4th tier, but this is limited to the masters that you can’t make a decent crew while staying within my price point.

As an additional notes, I purposely avoid spending money on models that can be found in another master’s box, as I believe it to be wasteful spending if you are planning on eventually buying that other master’s box. So with that all cleared up, let’s get underway with the Arcanists.

Tier 1
Masters: Ramos, Colette, Mei Feng, Ironsides, Kaeris

Bundle 1: Ramos and (Colette/Mei Feng/Ironsides/Kaeris) ($90-$100)

I dub this as the Ramos bundle because his box is so strong and versatile that you can combined him with most other Arcanist boxes and have two decent crews.

  • The M&SU (Ramos Box) – $50

and pick one of the following

  • Smoke and Mirrors (Colette Box) – $50
  • Rail Crew (Mei Feng Box) – $40
  • Troubleshooters (Ironsides Box) – $45
  • Burning Revelations (Kaeis Box) – $45

I would also recommend picking up some magnets as well for the spiders. If you magnetize them on the bottom, you can just take spiders off their solo base and attach them to the bigger base to make a spider swarm.

If you wish to play Mei Feng, Ironsides, or Kaeris this is your best place to start for them. Below are some example crews you can build with this combination.

(1)Ironsides — 7ss
+Frontline Leadership – 1ss
+Challenge The Crowd – 1ss
+Warding Runes – 1ss
(2)Mouse – 4ss
(3)Howard Langston – 12ss
(4)Joss – 10ss
+Warding Runes – 1ss
(5)Oxfordian Mage – 5ss
+Blood Ward – 0ss
+Temporary Shielding – 0ss
(6)Oxfordian Mage – 5ss
+Doom Ward – 0ss
+Temporary Shielding – 0ss
(7)Oxfordian Mage – 5ss
+Nemisis Ward – 0ss
+Temporary Shielding – 0ss

(1)Mei Feng — 6ss
+Hard Worker – 1ss
+Vapormancy – 1ss
+Seismic Claws – 1ss
(2)Emberling – 3ss
(3)Howard Langston – 12ss
(4)Joss – 10ss
(5)Kang – 9ss
(6)Rail Worker – 5ss
(7)Rail Worker – 5ss

(1)Kaeris — 7ss
+Grab And Drop – 1ss
+Arcane Reservoir – 2ss
(2)Fire Gamin – 4ss
(3)Fire Gamin – 4ss
(4)Steam Arachnid – 4ss
(5)Howard Langston – 12ss
+Imbued Energies – 1ss
(6)Joss – 10ss
+Imbued Energies – 1ss
(7)The Firestarter – 7ss
+Imbued Energies – 1ss

As you can see the general pattern for list building here is use the master’s box crew then add Howard, Joss, and spiders as needed to fill out the list (Or in Ramos’ case add a couple minions and the henchman if needed). All the lists feature Joss and Howard because they two of the better Arcanists damage dealers that see play with most masters. As for specifics….

Ramos you want to focus on the spider engine for completing schemes and tying up enemy models. The Brass Arachnid is there to reactivate either Howard or Joss as needed. The last 14 points can be filled with your choice of models from the 2nd box you choose (avoid using spiders as you’ll need them for summons).

Ironsides is a master that wants to get into the enemies face and tie up as many models as possible. You will want to make sure to avoid the enemies big hitters though as they likely hit a bit too hard for Ironsides’ tastes. Enemy beaters are Joss and Howard’s targets for the game. The Mages will want to stick near Ironsides for her hand-picked men buff to make them dangerous.

Mei Feng likes constructs and scrap all over the board so she can rail walk to where she is needed in a game, so make sure to spread out your models a bit to increase her mobility. Unless of course they are a ranged crew, then you can keep your crew in a ball and vent steam two or more times a round to make it unlikely for the enemies’ range attacks to hit any of your crew while they get into melee.

Kaeris is a good drop for scheme marker heavy pools as she can rival Colette in sheer volume of markers dropped. You’ll want to be careful not to spread out you weaker models to much though (as she can make her crew quite fast) or they will be easily picked off one at a time.

Bundle 2: Burn Ramos ($90)

The Ramos box is so flexible that we actually did a master spotlight episode covering this very list which you can built on a budget and this is why it makes Tier 1.

  • The M&SU (Ramos Box) – $50
  • Steam Arachnid Swarm – $18
  • Electric Creation – $11
  • Johan – $11

(1)Ramos — 7ss
+Arcane Reservoir – 2ss
+Field Generator – 2ss
+Under Pressure – 2ss
(2)Brass Arachnid – 4ss
(3)Electrical Creation – 4ss
(4)Howard Langston – 12ss
(5)Johan – 7ss
(6)Joss – 10ss
+Bleeding Edge Tech – 1ss
+Powered By Flame – 2ss

The basic idea of this crew is to make the summoned arachnids powerful. Ramos primarily is just summoning them in and buffing them by giving them plus flips to their defense and attacks. The electrical creation is there to simply die turn 1 and create scrap to summon off of (either killing it at range with Joss, or magnetizing it with Ramos). Joss then hovers midfield to give the spiders burning on their attacks while Howard picks off key pieces as needed. In the meantime, the spiders are swarming enemies to lower their defense then making multiple attacks to stack lots of burning.

Tier 2
Masters: Colette, Marcus, Rasputina, Sandeep

Bundle 1: Solo Colette  ($)

The solo Colette box is tier 2 because its power level is similar to the Ramos bundle with her included and it gives you a second master. This bundle is a bit more thematic (overall) and includes a few new options for Colette to exploit. As another side note, I would also purchase magnets with this box so you can magnetize the Coryphee models to make a duet (instead of buying another Coryphee box).

  • Smoke and Mirror (Colette Box) – $50
  • Coryphee – $18
  • December Acolytes – $21

(1)Colette Du Bois — 5ss
+Cabaret Choreography – 2ss
+Practiced Production – 1ss
+Shell Game – 1ss
(2)Cassandra – 8ss
(3)Coryphee – 7ss
(4)Coryphee – 7ss
(5)December Acolyte – 7ss
(6)Mannequin – 4ss
(7)Performer – 5ss
(8)Performer – 5ss

Colette’s primary strength is her ability to prompt hard hitting models to make additional attacks each round and this list gives you a few options in Cassandra, Coryphee, and Acolyte. Colette often spends the first turn summoning in doves for activation control and so you can later sacrifice them to buff your prompt target. You don’t want to dance your Coryphee together right away since they will give you extra activation early in the game, so keep them safe until they merge (likely turn 2-3). Cassandra is a strong solo model and  often runs by herself to complete a task in the mid to backfield that you need done. The Acolyte is there to be prompted over and over to take range attacks that automatically slow enemies when they hit.

Bundle 2: Solo Marcus ($89)

The solo Marcus bundle just misses tier 1 because while Cojo and the Rattler are fine, there are better options if you have a little bit bigger budget. Still this list is a solid alpha strike list that can still do marker schemes.

  • Claw and Fang (Marcus Box) – $50
  • Molemen – $21
  • Sabertooth Cerberus  – $18

(1)Marcus — 7ss
+Feral Instincts – 1ss
+Pack Leader – 1ss
+The Trail Of The Gods – 1ss
(2)Jackalope – 2ss
(3)Cojo – 8ss
(4)Moleman – 4ss
(5)Moleman – 4ss
(6)Myranda – 8ss
+Imbued Energies – 1ss
(7)Razorspine Rattler – 7ss
(8)Sabertooth Cerberus – 9ss
+Imbued Energies – 1ss

The goal of the list is to hit the opponents crew hard to fast on turn 2/3 and win the game from that momentum. This is done with an alpha strike by Marcus, Myranda, and the Cerberus. Myranda starts the attack by quickly moving up the board then transforming into a Cerberus (drawing 4 cards off Imbued Energies) and leaping into the enemy late in the turn. The hired Cerberus follows by discarding Imbued Energies to go fast so it can walk, leap, and charge. Once both the Cerberus have finished then Marcus comes in to finish off anything left with his attacks or through more Cerberus attacks via Pack Leader. In the meantime, the Molemen and Rattler are used for activation control and to run any schemes that you need done. Cojo will likely be a solo taking care of any odd jobs that are left or joining in the alpha strike.

Bundle 3: Solo Rasputina ($101)

Again like Marcus, this bundle just misses tier 1 because of a couple of less then idea models. The crew does still have very high damage output and strong area control though.

  • Children of December (Rasputina Box) – $45
  • Snowstorm – $35
  • December Acolytes – $21

(1)Rasputina — 6ss
+Shattered Heart – 3ss
+Cold Nights – 1ss
(2)December Acolyte – 7ss
(3)December Acolyte – 7ss
(4)Ice Gamin – 4ss
(5)Ice Gamin – 4ss
(6)Ice Golem – 10ss
(7)Snow Storm – 11ss

The primary goal of this crew is to blast the opponents crew into oblivion. You’ll do this by spread out you models to setup different attack angles for Rasputina to exploit with her Shatter Heart upgrade. If you have a solid hand and the opponent is bunched up, don’t be afraid to burn soulstones to make sure you maximize your damage from blasts. When not on the offense, remember to drop your Ice Pillars down to protect your crew and block the enemies’ movement. Snowstorm is in the list for two purposes. First, he protects Raspy and gets her out of melee of enemies that try and tie her up with his placing ability. Second, he using his placing ability to move the Ice Golem into range to do his (3) Punch.

Bundle 4: Solo Sandeep ($92)

The solo Sandeep box is tier 2 because Sandeep needs a bigger budget to fully exploit his toolbox style of play. Regardless, this combination of models will give you enough versatility that you can compete in most scheme pools.

  • Beacon of Knowledge (Sandeep Box) – $50
  • Wind Gamin – $21
  • Shastar Vidiya  – $21

(1) Sandeep – 7ss cache
+Arcane Reservoir – 2ss
+Behold // Command – 1ss
+Unaligned Sage – 1ss
(2) Kudra – 7ss
+Imbued Energies – 1ss
(3) Shastar Vidiya – 8ss
+Well Rehearsed – 1ss
(4) Shastar Vidiya – 8
+Imbued Energies – 1ss
(5) Shastar Vidiya – 8ss
+Imbued Energies – 1ss
(6) Wind Gamin – 4ss
(7) Wind Gamin – 4ss

Sandeep is a master that has the tools to handle any situation and this is compounded by the fact that other models in his crew can “borrow” his actions to use them for themselves. The first major choice you’ll need to make is which limited upgrade you want to use, either Behold Another World or Command Another Plane. Both upgrade allows Sandeep to summon in up to 3 extra gamin models at any give time. It is also important to note that each gamin comes in with a 0ss upgrade that gives them both a buff and debuff, so you need to choose which upgrade to attach wisely. As far as picking one of the upgrades, if you don’t have any other guidelines to follow, then take Behold for scheming and Command for attacking. Sandeep’s role is to fill the gap that you need filled by either using his ranged attack to kill something, pushing his other models into better positions, commanding his crew to do interacts, or summoning in more models.

The Wind Gamin and Banasuva are your only summoning options due to our budget limitations, but more often then not, they are the models you want to summon. The Wing Gamin are the schemers for the crew and they have the added perk that they can’t be killed, but instead bury. Banasuva serves as either a beater or a tarpit as the situation requires.

Finally, the Shastar are well rounded mid-ranged models that can fills most your crew’s needs. The Shastar are academics so they further benefit from Unaligned Sage by not needing line of sight to Sandeep to “borrow” his actions and they can help cycle the cards in your hand while near Sandeep.

As you can see from these lists, Arcanists are a great faction for new players to start with because you can make many great lists with a limited budget.

So think you have some better lists then the ones I presented? Then post them here and give me the breakdown on why they are better. If I like them then I’ll add them to the list and change the current option.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the article. Also if you really enjoy my work, check out the S&S podcast here and my new Patreon site here.