Sandeep Desai, Arcanist Master


Born in Guild-occupied India, it didn't take long for the talented Sandeep Desai to move to Malifaux and join forces with the Arcanists. In-game, he has a multitude of Ca actions, ranging from dealing damage to summoning new models - including his lethal totem Banasuva. He can even let other models in his crew take his Ca actions, making him a very versatile master.


A standard Wk of 5", plus his 3AP as a Master, let Sandeep get around when he needs to. He can push to get out of engagement or through severe terrain with his (0) As Your Deed, So Your Destiny. Alternatively, his (0) The Path To Salvation offers an impressive place (not push!) within 6", making Sandeep hard to pin down.


Sandeep's base card offers a mixed bag of offensive abilities. At first glance, his Gada looks rather weak for a Master, though it becomes significantly more potent with either of his Limited upgrades. His ranged Ca attack, Arcane Storm, is your go-to damage option, dealing a respectable 2/4/5 damage with a trigger to get additional positive flips to the damage flip.

His third attack action, The Mind Among The Senses, can push enemy models towards him. This has a variety of uses, from dragging enemy models out of synergistic auras to pulling them off strategic areas such as Turf War or Reconnoiter.


Sandeep's main defences lie in his Arcane Shield and Impossible To Wound abilities. Since other models can use his Ca actions through Beacon, it's quite easy to leave Sandeep's activation until late in the turn to make the most of Arcane Shield. He can also heal off of the trigger on his The Mind Among The Senses action, and with a decent cache of 4 soulstones he can take a surprising amount of punishment before he has to start worrying.


Sandeep is a master who will almost always take one of his Limited upgrades. Both of them open up the option to summon a minion Gamin model for (1) and attach a mandatory upgrade, and increase the power of his Gada - To Command Another Plane increases the damage track, while To Behold Another World lets him Paralyze models who he hits for moderate or severe damage. As of Ripples Of Fate, the list of Gamin Sandeep can summon stands at:

Fire Gamin
Ice Gamin
Metal Gamin
Poison Gamin
Wind Gamin

His Unaligned Sage upgrade opens up additional hiring options, letting you take models with the Academic keyword regardless of faction. As of Ripples Of Fate, this stands at:

Sanctioned Spellcasters (Guild)
Student Of Steel (Resurrectionists)
Student Of Sinew (Resurrectionists)
Student Of Viscera (Resurrectionists)
The Valedictorian (Resurrectionists)
Freikorps Librarian (Outcasts)

Sanctioned Spellcasters are a good way to add in cheap models, and can offer some really confusing action sharing since they can use Sandeep's Ca actions from Beacon and he can spend an AP to make them take an action from The Collar. The Valedictorian is always a solid melee choice, and particularly as she can take the Recharge Soulstone upgrade to help Sandeep keep his cache replenished. Unaligned Sage also adds some additional flexibility to your Academic models, allowing them to use Beacon regardless of line of sight. If you're on a terrain-heavy board or intend on taking a lot of Academics, this upgrade is well worth the cost.

Arcane Reservoir is always a good choice, and the extra card in hand is useful for a lot of Sandeep's actions and abilities - it increases the chance of drawing a 12+ to summon Banasuva, or even if you just draw an ace it's still a low card to throw away for Student Of All to give Sandeep an extra action.

Tactics and Tips

As well as having the usual 3AP available to a Master, don't forget Sandeep's ability Student Of All, which gives him an extra AP each turn as long as a friendly model takes advantage of Beacon (and let's be honest, that should be happening every turn!) with a tome in the final duel total.

One of Sandeep's main strengths is his unique summoning. Both of his Limited upgrades let him summon a minion Gamin (Wind Gamin, Fire Gamin, Ice Gamin, Metal Gamin, Poison Gamin, or his deadly totem Banasuva), though he then has to attach one of three 0ss upgrades to it. Each upgrade gives the summoned Gamin two new abilities, so it's important to bear these upgrades in mind and consider how they will affect the Gamin when summoning.

Do be careful to note the wording of Beacon - once a friendly model has used one of Sandeep's Ca actions via Beacon, the action can't be used by any other model in the crew until the next turn when using Beacon. This doesn't stop Sandeep using them, but only one extra copy of each of his 4 spells - so it's worth considering their use wisely!

Leading a Crew

Sandeep tends towards a crew of Minions and / or models with the Academic keyword - the more models you have, the more options you have for who will use each of Sandeep's actions through his Beacon ability.

Strategies and Schemes

Sandeep has quite a toolbox of actions, and so is quite well-suited to most strategies and schemes. His (0) As Your Deed, So Your Destiny is ideally suited to Stake A Claim, since the The Mantra Of True Self trigger lets you take the Interact action while engaged. Since another model can copy this via Beacon, you can use it to control two claim markers for (0) actions in one turn regardless of engagement. Plus, the trigger is on a tome, and so will activate Sandeep's Student Of All ability. Similarly, his The Path To Salvation lets him (or another friendly model, if used via Beacon) jump around for a (0) - perfect for getting a marker down each turn in Stake a Claim, or claiming two squat markers in one activation in Squatter's Rights.

Building a Crew

Sandeep ideally likes his Academics and minions, but can usually get mileage out of almost any model. He does tend to burn through soulstones quite alarmingly fast between the mask for summoning Gamin and the various triggers on his on-card actions, so taking a self-reliant henchman - such as Joss or The Valedictorian - with Recharge Soulstone can help to mitigate this somewhat.

Playing Against Sandeep Desai

If you can separate Sandeep from the rest of his crew to prevent them benefiting from Beacon and to prevent him benefiting from Student Of All, this can lower his power somewhat - though with his plethora of movement tricks, Sandeep may not find it that hard to move back into position. He's also easier to target if you can either out-activate his crew or force him to activate early via Pandora's Mood Swing condition, since Arcane Shield won't prevent damage after Sandeep has activated.

Don't forget he's Impossible To Wound, too, so attacks with high minimum damage will be your best bet - nothing worse than flipping a weak damage of 1 that can't be cheated, and is promptly stopped by his Arcane Shield!

Finally, be careful if you bring along Mr Tannen or a Lightning Bug for their Leave It To Luck - remember that this affects all models, both friendly and enemy, and there's little Sandeep would love more than adding +2 to each Mask card he flips or cheats, given that the TN to summon Banasuva has a Mask in it...

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