Gonna have to disagree, pretty strongly there. I think there is a fundamental disconnect in your post between how Malifaux is thought of, and how it actually plays. And to be clear I don’t think it’s on you, I think it’s a common misconception.
The issue is the disconnect between master AP and how they use them. I would argue that, actually, giving up a master AP to make something fast is actually more often than not a better action to take than if the master just took an action itself. Yes, there are factors that could upend that, range, resource requirements, targeting restrictions, but in general I’d argue the proposal that actually giving out extra ap is one of the strongest actions any model can have. Not only on masters, but especially on masters.
The reason for that is that Malifaux is at its most bedrock, fundamental, a game of resource management. You have a limited number of resources in AP and cards. You must do the best job you can during the game to spend those resources to buy victory points. At the same time also spending them to prevent your opponent from buying more vp, either by actually preventing their ability to buy vp, or to spent your resources to deny them more than you spent. So the ability to directly “give” another model your resources is stupidly powerful because of how efficient it is.
AP in Malifaux become better and more useful to more you have. Consider this, imagine we had a model with a melee attack stat of 26. That would mean if this model attacked a model with Df 7 and that attacked model flipped or cheated the red joker, this imaginary model could flip anything except the black joker and still hit, and cheat the dmg. Now imagine this model was properly costed for that ability but they had 1 ap, how often do you think the model in question would get hired? I know the analogy breaks down pretty easily given all the unknowns of the rest of the model and rules, but it is a helpful example to illustrate how the actions a model can take in themselves are not in and of themselves predicative of usefulness to winning the game. So saying giving their AP to another isn’t really a master level action is hopelessley blind to how good that actually is.
The more actions any one model in particular has, the better that model is going to be. That was a major point of concern in the changeover to 2e. In Wyrd’s own explaination for some of the problems with 1e, they pointed to the overprevelence of models with extra ap. In 1e at a certain, relatively low point cost, if you didn’t have nimble, or casting expert, or melee expert, or instinctual you were just a garbage model. That was not only because it increased the general pool of resources a player had by taking it, but also because the actions a model has become more useful the more ap they have to spend.
If you have a melee beater model they become even more of a monster if you give them fast. If they aren’t in combat it increases their threat range to put pressure on models that would not have otherwise been threatened. If they are in combat with something, giving them an extra ap makes them better by increasing the likelyhood they will kill or cripple the model they are engaged with, and even possibly having ap left after killing it to pick up a head, or move to lock out interacts in space, or to move to engage or threaten other models.
For support or scheme based models it’s the same thing. If your leaping scheme runner is engaged, giving them fast allows them to still use two interacts by leaping, interacting, walking, and interacting. Or it could allow them to get to targets they wouldn’t have been able to normally have gotten to. Consider giving a model with a 6” walk and nimble fast. If we assume they deployed 6” forward, that means they can be in the opponent’s standard deployment zone on the first turn.
That’s because giving out ap is iterative work enhancement. Consider how much of the game is spent in trying to make sure the models we want to do actions with spend as little of their own actions doing things other than what we want them to be doing. How often have you heard people complain that it feels like they are wasting their model’s ap if they have to take a walk action. How often are we using lures to pull models closer to or beaters so they don’t have to spend their AP walking to the target and can just use them to attack. How often are we hiring models to move our other models around so they can use their ap in a more efficient way. All of that is encapsulated in actions that give other models fast.
The true power of a master doing it lies in the fact that it allows that model to have a greater board presence than they actually would normally have. If Nico gives fast to Archie, it’s like Nicodem just took an attack action that is ml 6 min dmg 4. If he gives a walk action to a crooligan he allows it to interact, walk, interact -activate Always On The Move, and place 5”. If he gives fast to a model he just summoned inside his Death’s Whip Aura, and he has Love thy Master in the crew, his newly summoned model can activate immediately after his activation ends and go with 3 AP. Consider even if he summons a punk zombie on one wound in that situation that punk zombie could charge a model and then attack them again for 3 total attacks. It could flurry and then attack a model it was summoned into engagement with for a total of 4 attacks. It could slice and dice 3 times, and all that before you even got a chance to take an action to kill the zombie. And critically all of that work compression occurs without Nicodem needing to be in any of the areas affected. He doesn’t need to be engaged with whatever Archie is engaged with to make that attack, as he would if he had a melee attack instead. He doesn’t need to be up the board where the crooligab is to give it more ability to successfully do its job. He doesn't need to be where the corpse marker is located, just close to it, to make his summons absolute nightmares. And he can do all three of those things from the same position on the board. That is not weak by any stretch of the imagination.