Welcome to a quick introduction. This series of articles is designed for those new to the game and looking for more information about the masters, keywords, and general advice on purchasing models to start a keyword off. As a quick disclaimer, many of the models are still unreleased in M3E form, but you can sometimes find the old M2E versions of the models and I’ll try to update the lists as new boxes are released. If you do plan on using old M2E models you will need to buy the faction’s arsenal deck for these model’s cards, since the box will contain the M2E (or M1E) version of the cards. That said, lets get started.


  • Human faction of rogue mages that are assisted by elementals and robots
  • Faction ranges from those fighting for social justice in Malifaux to those performing acts of terrorism
  • Overall Melee focus in faction that relies on tough models (lots of armor and shielding) to get into the fight over speed and tricks.




Master: Sandeep Desai

  • Warrior-scholars that use elemental magic and are assisted by elemental creatures


  • Sandeep summons smaller elementals (gamin) which can merge together to become larger elementals (golems)
  • Sandeep and Banasuva (totem) can command elementals to take additional actions.
  • Academics all have mantras (6″ auras) that trigger when they or an elemental model takes the concentration action. So a gamin could push 2″, gain shielded +1, draw a card, do its demise ability, deal 1 damage to an enemy within 2″, and heal two damage all from a single concentration action if it is within all the other model’s auras.
  • Due to heavy elemental use in the crew, its common for the crew to focus on the elemental sub-theme of fire with Fire Gamin and the Fire Golem or metal with Metal Gamin and the Metal Golem.

Complexity: Moderate

  • Must learn when to keep models together for mantras and when to spread out
  • Must learn when to summon and what models to summon

Beyond the Master Box

  • (MUST) M3E Box – Peer ReviewYou’ll want Kandara for all of your Academic crews and a single Oxfordian Mage will be common when healing is needed.
  • (RECOMMENDED) M3E Box – Kaeris Core Box: If you want to focus on a fire build of Sandeep, you’ll need the Fire Gamin from this box (and you’ll get another master as well).
  • (RECOMMENDED) M3E Box – Burning Bridges: For a fire build, you’ll want the Fire Golem from this box.
  • (RECOMMENDED) M2E Solo Boxes: The following models are all worth having: Wind Gamin, Metal Gamin, Metal Golem, Poison Gamin.
  • (UNNECESSARY) M3E Box – Cold As Ice: If you want to summon Ice Gamin and an Ice Golem, you’ll need this box, but skipping these elementals is fine.



Hoffman Box

Master: Charles Hoffman

  • Master in an exoskeleton that commands robots..


  • Hoffman empowers his keyword models with power tokens. Most of them can spend these tokens to add suits or positive flips to their duels.
  • Hoffman can make constructs fast, heal them, and make their armor impossible to ignore.
  • The augmented models are all armored, deceptively mobile, and typically deal high damage.

Complexity: Low

Beyond the Master Box

  • The Hoffman core box has not been released for M3E yet so you’ll have to find the old M2E models to play the crew.
  • (MUST) M2E Box – Of Metal and Flesh: You’ll need this old M2E box for Hoffman and his totem. The other models in the box are useful in different circumstances, but are not must takes for his crew.
  • (RECOMMENDED) M3E Box – Support Staff: Both Joss and the Medical Automaton are good models to have for the crew.
  • (RECOMMENDED) M3E Box – Crime and Punishment: Even though you won’t need executioners, the Wardens are fantastic models for only 5ss.
  • (RECOMMENDED) M3E Solo Boxes: The Mechanical Rider is very useful to move Hoffman around the table.
  • (RECOMMENDED) M2E Solo Boxes: The following models are all worth having: Steam Arachnid Swarms, Peacekeeper, Soulstone Miners, Watchers.
  • (UNNECESSARY) M2E Solo Boxes: The following models are more niche picks in my mind: Howard Langston, Riotbreakers, Union Steamfitters.



Marcus Box

Master: Marcus

  • A former professor that genetically manipulates himself, his followers, and the beasts of Malifaux with the traits of other creatures.


  • Marcus attaches upgrades to beasts and his keyword models which give them additional abilities.
  • Marcus and Myranda (henchman) can command beasts to take additional actions.
  • The chimera models tend to favor speed over survivability, but the mutation upgrades can often help cover model weaknesses.

Complexity: Low

  • Must learn how to use your mobility to engage the enemy on your terms since some of your models can be removed from the table quickly.

Beyond the Master Box

  • (RECOMMENDED) M3E Box – The Ten Peaks: The Blessed of December and the Hoarcats are both beasts worth adding to your crew.
  • (RECOMMENDED) M2E Solo Boxes: The following models are all worth having: Paul Crocket and Sabertooth Cerberus.
  • (UNNECESSARY) M3E Box – Altered BeastsVogel has a few abilities that are nice, but neither him nor the Scorpius are staple models for the crew.
  • (UNNECESSARY) M2E Solo Boxes: The following models are more niche picks for the crew: Slate Ridge Maulers, Razorspine Rattlers, Moleman.



Rasputina Box

Master: Rasputina

  • Rasputina is the host for a powerful godlike being of winter, December.
  • Rasputina leads December’s cannibalistic cultists and uses his power to command creatures of ice.


  • Rasputina is a control master who punishes enemies who are to close together with attacks that force the opponent to waste cards or gain debilitating conditions.
  • Rasputina and her crew utilize ice pillars that hinder the opponents movements and allow her specifically to take actions through them; extending her range and sight lines.
  • The December models are all beasts and cannibals that can eat the corpses of friends and foes to heal themselves.

Complexity: High

  • Must learn how to effectively use Rasputina to disable the enemy crew which often doesn’t include killing them.
  • Many of her models rely on debuffs and avoiding attacks to survive and your crew can quickly fold with a few bad choices.

Beyond the Master Box

  • (MUST) M3E Box – The Ten Peaks: The Blessed of December and the Silent Ones are staple models and the Hoarcats are good cheap schemers
  • (RECOMMENDED) M3E Box – Cold As Ice: Though I never use Ice Gamin and the Ice Golem, many people swear by the golem for a december crew.
  • (RECOMMENDED) M3E Solo Boxes: The Mechanical Rider is a staple for Rasputina because she is slow and greatly benefits from the rider moving her around.
  • (UNNECESSARY) M3E Box – Center Stage: If you going to play Colotte anyways then get it, but I don’t think the Ice Dancers are good enough to buy this box just for them.



Mei Feng Box

Master: Mei Feng

  • Oriental martial arts master with a crew of rail workers and metal elementals.


  • Mei Feng can do combo attacks of attack, push, attack with a single action.
  • Crew is deceptively fast because they all can “jump” from scrap marker to scrap marker when they walk.
  • Many members of the crew can create hazardous terrain auras that harm enemies models moving and taking actions near them.

Complexity: Low

  • Must learn about ability timings since Mei Feng’s abilities trigger off each other.
  • Must learn to setup rail walking lines with your scrap marker generating models.

Beyond the Master Box

  • (MUST) M2E Solo Box: You need Metal Gamin and the Metal Golem for their scrap marker generation, otherwise your ride the rails ability will be limited.
  • (RECOMMENDED) M3E Box – Explosive Material: The effectiveness for his soulstone cost makes Neil Henry a staple model in most Mei Feng crews.
  • (RECOMMENDED) M3E Box – Bayou Engineering: All three models from this box are solid options and Sparks‘ “bomb on your belly” ability makes him a near auto take for a foundry crew.



Ironsides Box

Master: Toni Ironsides

  • Street Fighting master who leads the legitimate branch of the Arcanists, The Miners & Steamfitters Union.
  • The crew is comprised of folk that keep the soulstone mining operations in Malifaux running from day to day.


  • Ironsides is a tough master who draws enemies near her and forces them to either deal with her and be punched back or to attempt to ignore her, but become inefficient.
  • The M&SU crew likes to stick together since they enhance each other’s defenses while near each other.
  • Many of the M&SU models become more effective when they are at half-health (called grit).

Complexity: Moderate

  • Must learn how to position crew to effectively cover the battlefield while still benefiting from your defensive abilities that require them to be somewhat close.
  • Must learn to avoid and watch out for models that hit multiple models at once with blasts or shockwaves.

Beyond the Master Box

  • (MUST) M2E Solo Boxes: You’ll need a box of Gunsmiths for the crew since they add much needed ranged attackers that can stay in the defensive auras.
  • (RECOMMENDED) M2E – The M&SU: Your “big beater” model for the crew is Howard Langston and you’ll want him to pick him up from the old Ramos crew box. You’ll also get the added bonus of steam arachnids which can be magnetized to use them as independent models or a swarm.
  • (RECOMMENDED) M2E – Backdraft: Unfortunately the only place to get Fitzsimmons right now is in this old box which includes a bunch of models you probably won’t need. His abilities and auras are quite useful though.
  • (RECOMMENDED) M2E Solo Boxes: The Union Steamfitters ability to bonus action drop scheme markers means you’ll get a lot of work out of them.
  • (UNNECESSARY) M2E – Troubleshooters: While The Captain is not a bad model, he is niche enough that buying the old Ironsides box isn’t worth it for just him.



Colette Box

Master: Colette Du Bois

  • Colette Du Bois is the owner of the Star Theater, which entertains the hard working folk of Malifaux with the song, dance, and illusions.
  • The Performers are assisted on stage by dancing constructs as their counterparts.


  • Colette is a master of illusions who can disappear and reappear in different areas of the battlefield while distracting and repositioning enemy models.
  • The performers excel in mobility and placing scheme markers where they need them.

Complexity: High

  • Must learn that many models in the crew are easy to kill under the right circumstances and you need to position them accordingly.
  • Must learn to focus on quickly scoring and denying enemy scoring without always killing, due to overall low damage output.

Beyond the Master Box

  • (RECOMMENDED) M3E Box – Center Stage: You’ll really want Angelica from this box since she is a staple model in the performer crew.
  • (RECOMMENDED) M2E Solo Boxes: The performer constructs are really good in this crew, so you’ll want to hunt down at least one coryphee box and I recommend getting two so you can run a single Coryphee Duet and two Coryphee.
  • (RECOMMENDED) M2E Solo Boxes: Annoyingly the only way to get Mannequins right now are to buy the old performer box (showgirls used to be called performers, yes its confusing). You’ll need the Mannequins because your Coryphee replace into them when they die.



Kaeris Box

Master: Kaeris

  • Kaeris is hotheaded fire mage who is on the warpath to seek vengeance for the imprisonment of the former Arcanist leader, Ramos.
  • Kaeris is the leader of the illegitimate side of the Arcanists, who are considered to be terrorists.
  • The wildfire crew is full of arsonists who are assisted by fire elementals.


  • Kaeris and her crew are a high damage crew that focuses on applying the burning condition to themselves (enhancing themselves) and enemies.
  • The wildfire crew litters the battlefield with hazardous Pyre markers which will become troublesome for your opponent to avoid due to the sheer volume of them.

Complexity: Low

  • Must learn how to effectively position and use Pyre markers to hinder enemy models and to stack burning on your own models.
  • Must learn how to balance how much burning you need on non-elemental models because the burning condition, while useful on them, can still hurt them.

Beyond the Master Box

  • (MUST) M3E Box – Burning Bridges: While Elijah Borgmann is a good model, your buying this box for the Fire Golem which will be in every wildfire crew.
  • (RECOMMENDED) M2E Solo Boxes: I suggest hunting down the Neverborn model Iggy since he is now a wildfire model and adds unique abilities to the crew.
  • (UNNECESSARY) M3E Box – Center Stage: I think Carlos Vasquez is a solid model, but I wouldn’t buy this box if he is the only model you need in it.



Arcanists have some amazing versatile models that you’ll likely want to get ahold of to add to any of your crews. Here are my thoughts on what to get.

  • (RECOMMENDED) M3E – Crank In The Foundation: As non-arcanists players will tell you the Soulstone Miner is broken and while I disagree with them on that, it is still an incredibly useful model. The Saboteurs are not a bad anti-scheming model to have on your roster as well, but your not buying this box for them.
  • (RECOMMENDED) M3E Solo Boxes: The Mechanical Rider is a great model for most of  your Arcanists crews, especially with slower masters like Rasputina and Hoffman.
  • (RECOMMENDED) M2E Solo Boxes: Lets not kid ourselves, right now most Arcanist opponents are complaining about Steam Arachnid Swarms. They are strong versatile models that you should pick up if you can find the M2E boxes.
  • (RECOMMENDED) M2E Solo BoxesThe Mecharachnids are solid models that you will want if you play against crews with lots of defensive abilities such as Armor, Hard to Wound, or Hard to Kill.
  • (UNNECESSARY) M3E – Arcane Fate: If you have the extra money, then both the Arcane Effigy and Arcane Emissary are great. That said, I don’t think they are by any means necessary and I usually take keyword models over them in most games.
  • (UNNECESSARY) M3E – The Crossroads Seven: If you plan on playing these guys as a crew then go ahead and pick up this box since Envy is a great versatile model (and not a bad model to choose as the band’s leader). That said, he is in no way a necessary model for an Arcanist crew.
  • (UNNECESSARY) M2E – Backdraft: The Saboteurs are decent models, but they are pretty niche picks and you’ll likely only want this box if your planning on running Fitzsimmons for the M&SU crew.
  • (UNNECESSARY) M2E – Troubleshooters: While The Captain is not a bad model, he is niche enough that buying the old Ironsides box isn’t worth it for just him.


Alright, well that is my breakdown on all the Arcanist models. So let me know what you think about this article and if you disagree with any of my thoughts.