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Sault

Sandeep Desai and a terrible time

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This is going to be an airing of grievances about this master. 

I got to play against this master this weekend and I won't lie it was one of the worst malifaux experiences I have ever had. It had nothing to do with the player as we are good friends. It's all Sandeep.

There are number of problems when it comes to balance with this master.

Normally every master has something they can not do. For example Lillith/Viktorias can't do attrition. Pandora/Collodi are not fast/good at controlling the board. Sandeep has no downsides. 

He has a very good ranged cast that doesn't have Projectile so you can not benefit from cover or being tied up in melee. Normally I'd counter this with blocking line of sight. However he has an relatively easy to get cast teleport to move around to find LoS. Also Arcane storm has a Tome built in so anytime you use Beacon to cast it you get an extra AP on Sandeep.

Ok so he can hit hard this doesn't seem that bad. So my next thought is just dig in and kill him. This is next to impossible to do. The combination of Impossible to Wound, Arcane Shield, and 12 wounds mean you are going to need to invest a large amount of your forces. 

Now put on top of this he is a master with a cache of 4. So you can with just his card alone effectively have 16 wounds assuming only flipping week on prevention flips.

It's just too much. Two things need to happen to him.

1) He need to have Impossible to Wound changed. Even it down to Hard to Wound that means it's possible to chew through the Arcane Shield and 12 wounds with 1-2 dedicated high skill models. He'll still have Soulstone to make him tough as nails which is fine but not insurmountable like he is now.

2) Arcane Storm needs to have a Projectile added to his attack. He can't use this action as part of a charge anyway so all it does it make it so that you can gain cover from his attacks and that you can get some respite from ranged attacks when he is engaged.

 

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He is rather silly, agreed. At minimum his Cache should be 1.

That said, first games against him are especially rough. He is incredibly complex to prepare for so it really takes some experience to grok what he can do and try and prepare. Once you get the hang of him he isn't quite as bad though still too powerful, IMO. But he isn't an autowin or anything.

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13 hours ago, Sault said:

 

Normally every master has something they can not do. For example Lillith/Viktorias can't do attrition. Pandora/Collodi are not fast/good at controlling the board. Sandeep has no downsides. 

 

Not sure I agree. Collodi can trigger it's push trigger on every friendly attack, pushing insane distances. Along with how scary the attack triggers are (also on a ranged attack ignoring cover and engagement) I find it dictates how I play against it.

Haven't faced Sandeep but he sounds bonkers so far.

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3 minutes ago, Ludvig said:

Not sure I agree. Collodi can trigger it's push trigger on every friendly attack, pushing insane distances. Along with how scary the attack triggers are (also on a ranged attack ignoring cover and engagement) I find it dictates how I play against it.

Haven't faced Sandeep but he sounds bonkers so far.

I agree with you Ludvig, you can push collodi quite far with every friendly attack, but this costs your flips and AP which is a pretty "low" price, but it is a prie. Sandeep doesn`t have to dod any of that. He can stay back, give out actions to his minions, summon more gamin, attack from afar and if there is danger...swoosh. Teleported! All of that comes to nearly no price at all. And i still dont get his mechanic that you get more AP when others are lending your nevrtheless powerful actions...it is a win-win for master and minion...that just seems weird.

And yes, the thing with sandeep is that he has no obvious downside. I will try and face him this week with rasputina. Last time with marcus i destroyed his emissary in turn 1 with marcus and neg. flips as the emissary was a beast and the help of a blessed of december. From there on it was easier to gain control of the beard.

Maybe don`t go for Sandeep, but go for his companions.

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7 minutes ago, Ludvig said:

Not sure I agree. Collodi can trigger it's push trigger on every friendly attack, pushing insane distances. Along with how scary the attack triggers are (also on a ranged attack ignoring cover and engagement) I find it dictates how I play against it.

Not to mention that Pandora can move up to 20" in her activation without spending an AP on Walk Action. She's probably one of the most mobile masters. But this does not invalidates Sault's point that Sandeep is probably too good in too many things.

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Yup, Sandeep seems a tad too flexible in my (relatively unfounded and biased) view. Not sure he has that much of an edge vs Collodi though. Lots of free ap there to.

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2 hours ago, Math Mathonwy said:

3 hours ago, Math Mathonwy said:

He is rather silly, agreed. At minimum his Cache should be 1.

I never really understood the majority of cache choices on Book 4 masters. They are with few exceptions, some of the most powerful masters in the game before you even consider their cache and yet they generally all also have High cache numbers as well? The vast majority of them should be 2 or lower.

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30 minutes ago, Fetid Strumpet said:

2 hours ago, Math Mathonwy said:

I never really understood the majority of cache choices on Book 4 masters. They are with few exceptions, some of the most powerful masters in the game before you even consider their cache and yet they generally all also have High cache numbers as well? The vast majority of them should be 2 or lower.

I think its mostly Nellie (she`d be ok with 2, 3 max), Sandeep (1-2) and Asami (She should have 2 but I don`t think she`s that problematic).

 

I think Sandeep was a super surprise as I think everyone was underestimating him for after his release but it turned out he has wayyy too much stuff. 

The OP forgot to mention he usually has a 3/4/5 melee damage spread and a summon ;)

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I was surprised that he got a cache of 4. I could see him at less.

That said, he does need his stones. He is very suit dependant, his teleport needs a suit that is not baked in, as does his summon (both :mask) and if you want the trigger for Arcane Storm, you better have or buy a :ram.

He also is vulnerable once you have a beater at him, he has no defense trigger, ItW does not help against high weak damage and Arcane Shield is not always available. As to prevention, see above.

He is very good, especially because he has that great flexibility, but he is by no means unbeatable.

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2 hours ago, trikk said:

I think Sandeep was a super surprise as I think everyone was underestimating him for after his release but it turned out he has wayyy too much stuff. 

I've seen this claim a couple of times but I dunno how accurate it is. I don't remember people underestimating him on these forums and he was used in Avatars in the Gencon he was released at and the person playing him came second. Unless by "underestimating" you mean that people didn't think he was OP back then? Which, I suppose, is a form of underestimating him :P 

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Just now, Math Mathonwy said:

Unless by "underestimating" you mean that people didn't think he was OP back then?

This. We have to however remember he was tested under gg16 ;)

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1 minute ago, Fetid Strumpet said:

What system he was tested under is irrelevant. 

Its not entirely dependant but isn't irrelevant.

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19 hours ago, Sault said:

Also Arcane storm has a Tome built in so anytime you use Beacon to cast it you get an extra AP on Sandeep.

Just casting Arcane Storm via Beacon isn't enough to get the extra AP. You need to hit with it for Sandeep and then you need to discard a card.

 

19 hours ago, Sault said:

2) Arcane Storm needs to have a Projectile added to his attack. He can't use this action as part of a charge anyway so all it does it make it so that you can gain cover from his attacks and that you can get some respite from ranged attacks when he is engaged.

I'm pretty sure that the intention is that Arcane Storm can be used to trigger Beacon so that Sandeep can cast The Sight Beyond and remove randomization.

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5 hours ago, trikk said:

I think its mostly Nellie (she`d be ok with 2, 3 max), Sandeep (1-2) and Asami (She should have 2 but I don`t think she`s that problematic).

As a Nellie fan I've never felt her cache really mattered that much, one way or the other, to what she wants to do.  I find Asami is often card starved and she's probably the most physically frail of the book 4 masters, so shrinking her cache seems cruel and unusual to me.  Titania is usually in the thick of it, so cache 4 seems reasonable.  Can't really comment on Zip or Sandeep.  With Reva, I'd say cache 4 is fine if you're actually moving her up and not just hiding behind a wall of corpse counters.

Anyhoo, just looking at Sandeep's stats I'm not seeing what makes him such a terror.  Solid, sure, but it's not like he inflicts blasts, or has Ca 7.  Other than turning one model incorporeal he doesn't do anything to protect his crew and copying his spells seems a lateral upgrade at best for most Academics.  Do I really want a Shastar Vidiya copying his spells when its own melee attack is better?

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10 minutes ago, Clockwork_Fish said:

As a Nellie fan I've never felt her cache really mattered that much, one way or the other, to what she wants to do.  I find Asami is often card starved and she's probably the most physically frail of the book 4 masters, so shrinking her cache seems cruel and unusual to me.  Titania is usually in the thick of it, so cache 4 seems reasonable.  Can't really comment on Zip or Sandeep.  With Reva, I'd say cache 4 is fine if you're actually moving her up and not just hiding behind a wall of corpse counters.

Anyhoo, just looking at Sandeep's stats I'm not seeing what makes him such a terror.  Solid, sure, but it's not like he inflicts blasts, or has Ca 7.  Other than turning one model incorporeal he doesn't do anything to protect his crew and copying his spells seems a lateral upgrade at best for most Academics.  Do I really want a Shastar Vidiya copying his spells when its own melee attack is better?

The Cache on Nellie would basically make you -2 SS on her crew and since she usually has around 2 henchmen Cache 2 is way too low to play her so it would make her choose between a larger crew and a low cache.Like I said,

Asami might be the most frail but she also has access to easy heal and summons full wd models from thin air. Like I said, I`m not really sold on her being an issue.

Sandeep doesn`t look threatening until you realize he`s a pretty tanky support master with summons and a pretty good ranged and melee attack that does 4 AP per turn most of the time and can give 3 mages :+fate to attack from a summon.

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I was the Sandeep player in Sault's game. The 2/4/5 damage spread on a casting, no-suit-required, non-projectile ranged attack that often benefits from the + from a Commands in Wind'd gamin is brutal against someone relying on cover+incorporeal to keep their models alive, but it'd work well against just about any crew. His cache meant I had enough stones to do basically whatever I wanted all match, and there was never a time I felt like Sault could threaten Sandeep without exposing his entire crew...and maybe not getting the job done anyway. 

He's definitely an issue that needs to be addressed. 

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2 minutes ago, trikk said:

Sandeep doesn`t look threatening until you realize he`s a pretty tanky support master with summons and a pretty good ranged and melee attack that does 4 AP per turn most of the time and can give 3 mages :+fate to attack from a summon.

...and that he has a Lure that can be copied, as well as a (0) for placing and a (0) for interacting. It's not all about the attacking. He and his crew are solid controllers.

Commands Sandeep doesn't just have 2-3 beater vectors (including Sandeep himself), it has the potential to put a 50mm base minion with a 3" Ml6 and positives to attack in the middle of the opposing crew. Banasuva can copy that (0) to place to get around the fact he can't move or be pushed, or he can copy Sandeep's lure to pull things into him to keep them from being able to interact or do other things that require not being engaged, like shooting or charging.
With a Master that is an Academic and many interesting Academics to hire on top of the Oxfordian Mages, the Sandeep player can count on having their full push potential unless you shut off their triggers, which can be further combined with some of Sandeep's abilities and upgrades to allow them to use even their projectile attack into engaged models without randomizing and with a positive on the attack to bypass cover in the first place anyway.

He has a ton of things that he can do, and when I've dropped him on the table for players to see what he can do, my opponent often felt completely overwhelmed before the end of Turn 1, and nothing terrible has happened yet.

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I have yet to play against Sandeep, so I might change my opinion when I do, but after looking at his card, he doesn't seem any more powerful than other masters. Matter of fact, he looks like an Arcanist version of Seamus, and doesn't even look as strong as him. Seamus, like Sandeep, has 12 wds and impossible to wound, and can summon (though Sandeep's card on the website does not show a summon. An upgrade perhaps?). Sandeep has a place Action, which has much less range than Seamus' Back Door relocate Action, so it would be in line with other Master's push actions. Also, Sandeep's attacks have a weaker stat of 6, while most Masters have a 7. 

To me, I would see his Beacon ability as a strength, though it will be hard to win a duel with it at Ca 5 unless you are targeting a weak model. His Student of All ability looks nice, but at once a turn, it equates to Fast, which is common in the game. 

He looks like a decent master, but not the most powerful by any means. I've been obliterated by Wong and the Victoria's. I'd be more apt to complain about them than Sandeep.

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I struggle a little with tracking his Beacon action use - especially earlier in the day based on my caffeine intake.

Given he is common enough at tournaments I have made myself a small index card with the Beacon stuff - It's in a sleeve so I check off boxes as he uses the beacon stuff, follow along with the TNs, and wipe it clean at the start of the next round.

Perhaps something to be said for the fact that I hardly need to keep track of anything like that for anyone else but it helps me quite a bit as the "Gotcha" of my short-term memory not being able to keep up is probably the hardest part for me. YMMV.

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1 hour ago, necroon said:

I struggle a little with tracking his Beacon action use - especially earlier in the day based on my caffeine intake.

Given he is common enough at tournaments I have made myself a small index card with the Beacon stuff - It's in a sleeve so I check off boxes as he uses the beacon stuff, follow along with the TNs, and wipe it clean at the start of the next round.

Perhaps something to be said for the fact that I hardly need to keep track of anything like that for anyone else but it helps me quite a bit as the "Gotcha" of my short-term memory not being able to keep up is probably the hardest part for me. YMMV.

 

I made myself a cheat sheet for Beacon. I printed it out and sleeved it and just check off abilities as I use them during the turn.  It's not pretty but it's functional,

YuxedTT.png

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3 hours ago, necroon said:

I struggle a little with tracking his Beacon action use - especially earlier in the day based on my caffeine intake.

I put a token with the name of each of his Beaconable spells beside him and remove them as I use them during the turn.  It's partly so I don't forget one's already been used, but mostly so my opponent knows what tricks I can still throw out there.

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16 hours ago, thatlatinspeakingguy said:

Not to mention that Pandora can move up to 20" in her activation without spending an AP on Walk Action. She's probably one of the most mobile masters. But this does not invalidates Sault's point that Sandeep is probably too good in too many things.

Correct Pandora is fast but the difference there is someone has to target her. I can't use that ability to regain LoS on a target after it has tried to hide.

15 hours ago, trikk said:

The OP forgot to mention he usually has a 3/4/5 melee damage spread and a summon ;)

Oh trust me I did not forget about that. I just didn't want to die on that particular hill.

 

14 hours ago, MuMantai said:

He also is vulnerable once you have a beater at him, he has no defense trigger, ItW does not help against high weak damage and Arcane Shield is not always available. As to prevention, see above.

He is very good, especially because he has that great flexibility, but he is by no means unbeatable.

I'm not saying he is unbeatable but you need make the intent of your game kill the Master and ignore everything else. Also the high min damage works until he teleports away (or his guards push him out of engagement). 

12 hours ago, WWHSD said:

Just casting Arcane Storm via Beacon isn't enough to get the extra AP. You need to hit with it for Sandeep and then you need to discard a card.

 

I'm pretty sure that the intention is that Arcane Storm can be used to trigger Beacon so that Sandeep can cast The Sight Beyond and remove randomization.

Fair point on the Arcane Storm/Beacon combo.

As for the intent of Arcane Storm. It may very well have been but it also creates a bag of other problems as I and others have stated. I am sure there is another way around it.

4 hours ago, Hot4Perdita said:

I have yet to play against Sandeep, so I might change my opinion when I do, but after looking at his card, he doesn't seem any more powerful than other masters. Matter of fact, he looks like an Arcanist version of Seamus, and doesn't even look as strong as him. Seamus, like Sandeep, has 12 wds and impossible to wound, and can summon (though Sandeep's card on the website does not show a summon. An upgrade perhaps?). Sandeep has a place Action, which has much less range than Seamus' Back Door relocate Action, so it would be in line with other Master's push actions. Also, Sandeep's attacks have a weaker stat of 6, while most Masters have a 7. 

To me, I would see his Beacon ability as a strength, though it will be hard to win a duel with it at Ca 5 unless you are targeting a weak model. His Student of All ability looks nice, but at once a turn, it equates to Fast, which is common in the game. 

He looks like a decent master, but not the most powerful by any means. I've been obliterated by Wong and the Victoria's. I'd be more apt to complain about them than Sandeep.

IIRC it is an upgrade that lets him summon. I didn't even start to analyze his upgrades when I posted this but I know there is some crazy BS in there as well. However Upgrades cost soulstones so I can't really comment without seeing them on the table.

Sandeeps teleport is stronger in that he can do it while engaged to get out of a fight he is somehow losing. Seamus can only do that when not in LoS (or with a corpse token on an upgrade need to double check this one)

He is very misleading on the Card. It was actually a joke in our meta that he was OP until @Snoutopus started playing him and now it's a known fact that Sandeep is an NPE.

Also Snoutopus was gracious enough to not slap me from across the table when I got pouty about feeling helplessly steamrolled. 

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