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New player - Buying advice on Initial purchase


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As the title says i am about to start playing malifaux and am in need of some advice.

I do not plan on playing competitively in the beginning mostly just for fun casual games.

But I do like to have stuff that works and synergizes.

I am on a somewhat limited budget but I was wondering if the Rasputina box does pair well with December acolytes or the Silent ones. Or would that mix make very little sense?

This is all based on that I love the look of both the boxes and the main thing from the crew box I like is the ice giant and wendigo. 

My second crew box (when there is money for it) will most likely be Ironsides since I really like that one aswell but have read its a tricky one to start with. 

Second question would be does ironside pair well with any of the mentioned ones aswell or is it on the complete opposite end?

Thanks in advance and really do appreciate any help I can get, its a little bit hard with info on the units so scarce without a book or experience hehe

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Rasputina is a fantastic master and doesn't need a whole lot else from the rest of the faction. The rest of her thematic crew is: December Acolytes (can start the game further up the board and have harpoons to make enemies slow or pull them out of position), Silent Ones (mini-Rasputinas with nasty spells), Snow Storm (Rasputina's henchman and a great support piece), Blessed of December (a  very fast, hard hitting Beast), and soon the Ice Dancers (Fantastically mobile ice mirror nodes for Rasputina/Scheme Runners). Either December Acolytes or Silent Ones are wonderful for Rasputina. December Acolytes are also very useful in other Arcanist crews as well. I can't speak for Ironsides specifically but December Acolytes are good with just about everyone.

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Welcome aboard!

Rasputina was my first master back in 1.5 and I have barely purchased anything new for her since M2E hit. She just works so well with her little core group of models so I rarely ever feel the need to expand with her. That being said, I did/do find her "thematic" crew to be on the slow side for the most part and it makes running certain schemes difficult. This will all change once the ice dancers come out, but it's something you should be aware of when playing her in theme. Schemes are what separates this game from many others and while she can lay a beating with the best of them, you need to be focusing on schemes in order to win games. 

I have been running Ironsides a lot recently and I will definitely admit I struggled with her at first. She's not strait forward and her card can lead you to believe she's a melee monster and in reality she's not. Her strength lies in her versatility and knowing when and where to apply her strength will give you the best results. I also find with Ironsides that knowing your opponents crew is also vital in achieving success. She's very good at doing certain things, but she can get herself in trouble if you don't know what your throwing yourself into. Don't let that discourage you though because she's an absolute blast to play, competitively or not. 

I play with all the Arcanist masters and I would have to say that the absolute best bang for your buck would be the Ramos box set. Not only are get getting a ton of value per point cost (it's one of the highest SS crew box in the game) but the models themselves are some of the most versatile the arcanists have. Ironsides, Kaeris, Colette, Mei Feng, and of coarse Ramos can all run these (and often do) models in their list and synergies quite well with them. The only one's who may not bother would be Marcus and Raspy as they are very tied to their own themes and tend not to venture outside often. 

Other than those models, I would have to say the mech rider is about the only other model that is universally liked by just about every master. The only downside is that you'll need to buy additional models to act as her summons. 

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Ironsides wants to surround herself with M&SU models; Gunsmiths, Large Arachnids, Union Miners, Johan. Unfortunately that doesn't overlap with Frozen Heart - Ironsides and Raspy are probably the most tightly themed masters in the faction.

That isn't to say don't get them - they play very different, very rewarding games. It's just not the cheapest way to get into the game.

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7 hours ago, admiralvorkraft said:

Ironsides wants to surround herself with M&SU models; Gunsmiths, Large Arachnids, Union Miners, Johan. Unfortunately that doesn't overlap with Frozen Heart

So if I understand this right I could get more out of my money in the beginning by going for ramos and raspy or ironsides and ramos since they overlap more and work better with each other than ironsides and raspy?

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Breaking down what your thinking of getting out side of masters

Raspy box:

Ice Golem- hard hitting melee for anyone but synergizes best with Frozen Heart

Ice Gamin- Decent cheep all around minion again extra Frozen Heart synergy, rather slow


December Acolyte- Arcanist staple cant go wrong in any list

Silent Ones- Also amazing, one of few models that can heal anyone and they can cast into combat without randomizing so Ironsides likes them. Lots of extra Frozen Heart synergy but good with any master


Ironsides box:

The Captain- you need to be careful to understand this guy to get 10-13ss out of him but he is brilliant in a raspy crew to help push your slow crew into place early on then switch moving the enemy or smashing them with a hammer.

Oxfordian Mages- Hard hitting spell casters not much synergy with Raspy

Honestly while Ironsides will be a little short in this deal you can toss in Willie next and she'll be solid. The only thing you lack is a quick scheme runner but if you grab Ice dancers your set there. Like people have said the Ramos Box is also a solid buy for lots of reasons, good master and all around useful models to boot, but you can make that your third box if you want to wait. He was something like my fifth master for Arcanists.

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1 hour ago, Stur said:

So if I understand this right I could get more out of my money in the beginning by going for ramos and raspy or ironsides and ramos since they overlap more and work better with each other than ironsides and raspy?

You can go whichever route you like as there are no "bad models" in this game. I just find that Rasputina likes to play within her own frozen heart models and there isn't much reason to go outside her theme (unless you just want to for fun). 

Ramos boxed set works extremely well with Ironsides. It also works well with Kaeris, Mei Feng and Colette if you ever decided you wanted to try them out. So if your looking to stretch your money as far as possible, then my recommendation would be Ironsides and Ramos. I find that the Ironsides box is a bit restrictive on it's own and really benefits from having access to models from the Ramos box.

However I certainly wouldn't want to discourage you from Raspy because she's a fantastic starting master (much better than Ironsides IMO) and requires very little investment in terms of what you should be buying for her.

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I'm not a fan of either Joss or Langston, but that puts me in a tiny minority here. Everything I want for either Raspy or Ironsides comes outside of a crew box (of course the stuff in their own crewboxes works well). The only overlap I can think of is the Silent Ones, Ironsides likes the healing and the non-randomizing shots into combat.

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Alright, thanks for all the fantastic help so far :D! 

Now I just need to make up my mind on wether to go for raspy or ramos/ironsides hehe.

But in the mean time I do have some other questions. I have been reading some on pullmyfinger and man is there a lot of information there. But considering I have yet to read all of the rule book and play a game some I can not quite theory craft fully since I have no idea how it works hehe.

Would it be completely insane to have any combination of blessed december, snow storm and ice golem in the same list? Mostly thinking about it since it is rather expensive about half a 50ss crew.

Is it worth it to invest in essence of power and use it instead of wendigo? Feel like the wiki tells me that wendigo is subpar except for if you want to use 3 spells or something like that.

Given the scale of this game with very few models, would it in most situations be better to have a more diverse list where you have 1x ice gamin and 1x acolyte, or can it be beneficial to have more of the same cheap guy for example 2x ice gamin?

Again just want to thank you all for the help, been real great, I had forgotten how hard it can be startin in a miniature game haha!

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With Rasputina I regularly take Snowstorm and The Blessed, ether of witch could be replaced with the Ice Golem or Arcane Emissary. I wouldn't take more than two of those in most cases.

The Wendigo is great, a cheep significant minion who can support Rasputina by devouring something she paralyzes with freeze over. I've not used the Essence of Power much but it clearly works well with her casting focus.

There is nothing wrong with taking all three Ice Gamin, They are cheep minions that can pad out your activations give you more ice mirrors and even boost damage for frozen heart models. Same for taking both Silent ones, it's the December Acolytes that start getting expensive to take more than one or two in an already elite list.

My list might be


-December's Pawn, Shattered heart, Seize the Day (6)

Wendigo or Essence (3)

Snow Storm (11)

Blessed of December (9)

2x Ice Gamin (8)

2x Silent Ones (12)

One stone left over for a Cache of 4

This gives you plenty of models to play the activation game while having some hard hitting stuff. Cache is a bit low but could be increased by grabbing a cheaper upgrade than Shattered heart. Might swap a Silent One for an Acolyte or grab more upgrades for Snow Storm and the blessed if show of force is in the scheme pool. Just don't get stuck on one list, make sure to adapt it to each match, but this is a base all around list that I've used to great effect.

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6 hours ago, Stur said:

Would it be completely insane to have any combination of blessed december, snow storm and ice golem in the same list?

Absolutely not. On the contrary, those models work very well together. In fact I generally won't even take an Ice Golem unless I have snowstorm in my list because snowstorm fixes one of the biggest issues with the golem - his speed. The blessed is almost always great because she is lightning quick in an otherwise very slow crew.

6 hours ago, Stur said:

Is it worth it to invest in essence of power and use it instead of wendigo?

Essence is a great totem, especially with Raspy and Silent ones. However the Wendigo is truly awesome and in my opinion one of the best totems in the game. A 6Wd, 3ss significant minion that can cast one of Raspy's spells is just too good to pass up. Not to mention being able to eat certain models with it's Ml8, and giving Raspy fast in the process. I think you can make either totem work, but I've yet to find a reason not to include the Wendigo in every Raspy list.

6 hours ago, Stur said:

Given the scale of this game with very few models, would it in most situations be better to have a more diverse list where you have 1x ice gamin and 1x acolyte, or can it be beneficial to have more of the same cheap guy for example 2x ice gamin?

 This will all come down to scheme selection and overall model preference. With certain schemes it may be detrimental to include so many easy to kill minion models so you may want to go more elite with golems and blessed. Other times having more bodies to hold table quarters or deny the opponents schemes may be necessary. The short answer is that there is no hard and fast rule for hiring choices. Just take what you like, see if it works and refine from there. Over time you'll get your own feel for what you think is appropriate. What makes Malifaux great in my opinion is that no two games ever need to be alike and no one list will ever be truly competitive. There are just so many variables that keep this game from getting stale, so it's encouraged to experiment with new and ever evolving lists.

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I agree with what's been said.

Basically Raspy runs well with her box and other Frozen Heart models, the December Acolytes and Silent Ones have pretty solid application with many other Arcanist masters and the Blessed of December also runs strong with Marcus.  Otherwise its probably sub-optimal to run Snow Storm, Ice Gamin and Ice Golem with other crews, they can but there is better options.  Raspy is very self contained but equally does not spread terribly well, particularly her actual box.

Ironsides is an interesting, odd and challenging master who runs with anything MS&U.  Sadly really no cross over with Raspy, they are two good masters and crews but not much ideal cross over either way.

  • Ramos has great cross over with Colette (Joss, Howard and Spiders [with Mech Rider]) and Mei Feng (everything).  Also a summoner so not a cheaper master.
  • Raspy solid individually and her December Acolytes and Silent Ones are good anywhere, Ice Dancers are great scheme runners and Showgirls.  Otherwise poor cross over.
  • Marcus is the Beast Master, self contained and truly huge multi-faction crew selection (any Beast), to play he is self contained, many options and can be flexible if expensive if you get lots of Beasts.  Not much cross over.
  • Mei Feng is the Arcanist - Ten Thunders dual master (and the Arc's only current dual).  Foundry and construct's are her thing, so some cross over with Ramos and also Kaeris.  Kang her boxes henchman is TT so only usable in Arcanist's with Mei herself (as Foundry).
  • Colette is a tricky master and runs well with Showgirls and really any of the Arcanist heavy hitters (Joss, Howard, Mech Rider and Dec Acolyte are all amazing prompt targets.  Her cross over is not bad as the Performers are pretty solid in other lists (and mercs) and Cassandra may be the best Arcanist Hench(wo)man.
  • Kaeris is the flying burning babe, kinda the Arcanist 'makes you Icarus'.  Anything with burning is good for her and thus has some cross over with Mei, the Fire Gamin are also constructs and run alright with certain Ramos builds.
  • Ironsides is the MS&U enforcer and runs with any MS&U crew well so good with Ramos and OK with Kaeris.  She comes with three Oxfordian Mages who as Academics may?? have some real cross over with Sandeep.
  • Sandeep is the unknown his box has Kudra (henchman, maybe Showgirl? is likely an Academic) and three Poison Gamin (?could? be constructs [many but not all Gamin are] or even possibly Beasts [Poison and Marcus would seem possible]).

That is the master run down basically as I see it.  Also consider:

  • Scorpius as a Beast/Construct cross over with Ramos and Marcus.
  • The unreleased wave 4 Sikh swordsmen (may be Academics, possibly ??MS&U).
  • Arcane Emissary works with every master as a solid hitter and the Arcane Effigy brings a little cheap flexibility.
  • Mech Rider is a great horse(wo)man and brings great scheme running and some summons late game.
  • Gunsmiths are an MS&U ranged model with burning benefits so solid with most Arcanist masters but in particular have potential with Mei Feng, Kaeris and Ironsides.
  • Malifaux Raptors are fast, cheap and with high Df can be hard to kill, very irritating piece and particularly good with melee masters to spam your gunline builds and of course they are Beasts for Marcus.  Insignificant so can't scheme run but will really aggravate opponents scheme runners who are often not able to simply one shot kill them.

There are other Arcanist models (Union Miners, Large Steam Arachnids, Soulstone Miners come to mind) which all have use.

For mine Raspy can simply run by herself fine and some of her ancillary pieces work well anywhere.

Ironsides currently has the most box cross over with Ramos but may have some cross over with Sandeep in wave 4, we can't be certain yet.

Hope that helps.


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4 hours ago, dancater said:

Hope that helps.


Oh wow.. it most certainly does! Appreciate the effort from you and everyone else that has answered and helped me :D

Honestly dont think I have any other questions anymore haha, Thanks! :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am going with the following:



Dec acolytes 

Silent ones

Arcane effigy


Decided to dump a little more cash into it than i previously wanted and I do believe this gives nice variations for both masters and I just had to get the effigy since I like the model so much. I have read that it is probably a little bit more effective with Kaeris but I will probably get her eventually anyway :)

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