Jack Harpster Talks Bringing Harlequins to the Art of War Streamhouse RTT

The Streamhouse RTT is an annual event run by the Art of War team in which their team gets together to play in an eight-person tournament on stream. We’re covering the event this year and previewing the players and lists taking part. Today we’re joined by 2023 ITC Champion Jack Harpster, who’s bringing Harlequins to the tournament.

The Art of War is holding an RTT to determine who’s the king of the stream house and naturally I had to throw my hat in. The guys at Goonhammer placed me as the #1 seed in the event, which meant I’d have the final pick in the army selection draft. This also meant I wouldn’t know what armies the other seven players had already claimed when I made my selection. The two strongest armies currently in my mind are some form of marines, either Dark Angels or Iron Hands, and Astra Militarum.

Now I was pretty sure Kasra had already taken Space Marines for his beautiful Ultramarines but I jokingly asked first to take Space Marines, just in case (They were taken). I had just done well at Cherokee with Daemons but they turned out to be taken as well. I figured Nick had taken them and I was correct. I couldn’t bring myself to play Guard so I didn’t even ask and instead submitted Harlequins and was told my pick was approved.

Harlequins were nerfed in the latest balance dataslate but I feel they still have a ton of power and they’ve performed quite well on stream since their nerfs. Crucially, they’re very fun to play and I love their current playstyle. The post-nerf build I favor for them is an aggressive Twilight boats build with multiple characters running around the board. Many armies cannot stop the speed and aggression of a well-played Harlequin army and even though the army doesn’t have any one unit that hits insanely hard, it does have a massive amount of units that go where they want and help kill units with damage by committee.  The one exception to this is Chaos Knights, a terrible matchup and one I may have to contend with after finding out it was John Lennon’s pick. Oh well, better hope that Quinton, Adam, or Richard can get the job done on that side of the bracket and keep the mean knights away from my fun clowns.

The List

In addition the blanket invulnerable save nerf, GW did restore some of the nuttier rules interactions in quins. Mirror Architect and the Harvester of Torment/Favor of Cegorach combo are both back to their  full glory. Even if they cost 60 and 40 points, respectively, they’re still worth it in my mind. The dual Shadowseers can either score warp ritual quite well or absolutely dump mortal wounds all over enemy armies or both.  The dual Troop Masters are an insanely fast scalpel that looks to either dive deep into my opponent’s army to scoop out specific threats and tie down vehicles or pick units off and then either be protected by Look Out, Sir or by jumping back in a boat. Finally I have the super Death Jester with Favor of Cegorach and Harvester of Torment spitting tons of shots downrange that can ride in a Starweaver and find lines of sight to important units or characters that he can pick off.

Rounding out the list is eight units of troupes in Starweavers. Every unit has two Fusion Pistols and five units additionally have one of each melee weapon to punch above their weight with stratagem support and the Twilight bonus attack. These units speed around the board hitting units, taking objectives and shooting alongside a storm of shuriken cannons from the Starweavers.  Harlequins don’t pack one overwhelming punch but attempt to sandblast their opponent with a million little sources of damage that all add up across every phase.  It’s a deeply fun army and one that significantly rewards good play.

The Plan

My matchups are generally favorable across the board, with the massive notable exception of Chaos Knights. My round one will be Kasra on his Ultramarines. I have to respect his shooting and will attempt to leapfrog my way up the board behind ruins before trying to jump him with my whole army at once. My army is fast enough to do this but I have to be careful to avoid his line of sight or his two Contemptor Dreadnoughts will hurt me really badly. Past that, Daemons and World Eaters both have zero shooting threat and I’ll try to fly all over the board and shoot them to ribbons with shuriken cannons and charge pinpoint targets in their army to pick them apart. Nick’s daemons list is hard to kill in shooting so I may find that difficult but I do pack enough attacks in combat to put the beatdown where I need it and without his flamers he has no good way to kill my transports.

Against Grey Knights and Eldar I should have the damage I need and the speed to apply it but with Eldar having a similar speed and Grey Knights being able to teleport I need to mind my Ps and Qs or I may find myself on the back foot. Tau are vulnerable to being swarmed if they come forward and I will try to force that by outscoring them with better passive secondaries. That said, Richard’s list hits very hard and is Bork’an, which makes my shuriken cannons significantly less effective.

That brings us to Chaos Knights. This matchup is a dumpster fire. I’m going to try my best to figure out how to beat them if it comes to that but with their wide spread of durable statlines they are generally too tough to get through at speed and with mass chaincannons and indirect guns they have no problem killing me quickly. Add in leadership shenanigans and Ravenous Pterrorshades I may find my army malfunctioning and dying on my turn.  Finally they can swarm objectives with 5 models Objective Secured and it is insanely difficult to do anything about it. My plan going into this event is to place my faith in John’s opponents to attempt to bring the spiky bad boy Knights down before I’ll have to play it.  He is on the other side of the bracket after all.  As long as I don’t play into John I feel broadly favored in most matchups and even if I do it is double elimination and one bad matchup isn’t the end of the world.  All in all I’m really looking forward to the RTT and I like my chances. It’ll all be streamed so we’ll see you there!

Tomorrow: Kasra Houshidar’s Ultramarines

And that’s the list!  You can find a video breakdown of my Streamhouse lists over on the Art of War 40k Youtube channel and if you want to see more of list testing in action along with tons of other high level 40k content, check out the War Room, which offers a free 3-day trial to test it out! And, of course, follow along with the Streamhouse RTT brought to you live by Joe from WarGames Live on the Art of War 40k Youtube channel March 31st to April 2nd.

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