Start Competing: Harlequins Tactics

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Are you ready to get down with the clown? Then welcome to Start Competing: Harlequins! In this article, we’ll cover the ways you can get the best out of the servants of the Laughing God, and show that you’re all about that Juggalo life.

Despite only having about 8 units in the book, Harlequins make great use of almost all of them – it’s a small but perfectly formed unit list. We’re going to go through each one of them in detail and discuss why you do or don’t want to include it in your Harlequins lists. We’ll also run through Masque forms, relics, stratagems, and Warlord traits.

Back in May 2020, Harlequins received a significant update in White Dwarf 454 in a pseudo-Psychic Awakening release similar to the one that Deathwatch got. Unlike Deathwatch though, they got a proper update with a ton of new content. This included new ‘pivotal roles’ that replace, or even add to, abilities units already had, a small suite of excellent new stratagems, and some new relics including a couple that became near auto-takes. We’ll cover all of this in the relevant sections, and flag which ones are from the WD update.

To start us off, let’s take a brief look at the key strengths and weaknesses of the Harlequins:

Army Strengths

  • High mobility
  • Army-wide 4+ invulnerable saves
  • Excellent, high quality units
  • Cheap, powerful characters
  • Excellent stratagems

Army Weaknesses

  • Most units are expensive and fragile in isolation
  • Mostly short-ranged
  • Tiny unit selection

Competitive Rating

Very Strong

Back in 8th edition we had Harlequins rated as a ‘Weak-Medium’ army, one which showed up in strength in some soup lists but rarely did much on its own. This changed basically overnight with their White Dwarf update and even more so with the transition to 9th edition – Harlequins are excellent at playing the kind of game that 9th encourages, and their points barely changed in Chapter Approved 2020, leaving them relatively stronger against armies which got chunkier increases. The smaller board size also helps – it’s just big enough that they retain their mobility advantage over slower armies, but small enough that their need to get into close range with pistols and close combat weapons can be easily accommodated. They’ve proved their worth with a string of excellent tournament results, capped at the beginning of October 2020 with a 1-2 finish at the 100+ player Hanseatic Open. One of the factions to watch.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Special Rules

There’s three key special rules which apply to almost all Harlequin units, outlined below:

Rising Crescendo

Allows models to Advance and charge, and Fall Back and still shoot and/or charge. A hugely useful ability, which adds to the high mobility of Harlequins and also allows them a lot of freedom to join and leave combats at the right time.

Flip Belt

Flip belts give Harlequins models a pseudo-FLY ability, allowing them to move over enemy models and terrain (but not charge AIRCRAFT) in the Movement phase. They can also move over enemy models in the Charge phase, where the ability to leap over enemy screens can be key to reaching out and hitting the target you really wanted to get to.

Holo-suit/Holo-fields

This is the rule which gives the army-wide 4+ invulnerable save referred to previously. The only exception is the Solitaire, which has the “Impossible Form” rule for a 3++ instead.

A group of Death Jesters

A group of Harlequins Death Jesters. Credit: Corrode

Masque Forms

There are six Masque Forms available to the Harlequins. In the standard format for 8th edition codexes, each of them has an associated ability or “trait”, a relic, a Warlord trait, and a stratagem. The nice thing in the Harlequins book is that they’re all pretty good, with something to recommend each of them. Previously some people were experimenting with ‘Ynnariquins’ as well, as one of the few builds that really got a lot out of what Ynnari has to offer, but in the world of 2020 that army suffers a lot from what it loses out on and doesn’t really gain enough to make it worthwhile.

In the same order in which they appear in the Codex, the Masque Forms are:

Midnight Sorrow
FormMove D6” extra when Falling Back, and consolidate up to 6”.
StratagemNo Price Too Steep – 2 CP – when a MIDNIGHT SORROW CHARACTER dies, it can fight as if it were the Fight phase. If the character is a SOLITAIRE or was slain by a CHAOS unit, it adds 1 to its Strength and Attacks for resolving this.
RelicMidnight’s Chime – once per game at the beginning of the Fight phase, you can activate the relic and all MIDNIGHT SORROW units within 6” increase their attacks by 1.
Warlord traitNemesis of the Damned – Each hit roll of 6+ for your Warlord scores 2 hits instead of 1. Against CHAOS, add 1 to hit rolls for your Warlord.

 

Veiled Path
FormAt the start of each Fight phase roll 2d6 and discard the highest. Until the end of the phase, any of your opponent’s matching hit rolls are rolls are discarded.
StratagemCapricious Reflections – 1 CP – Use at the end of your opponent’s Charge phase. Select a VEILED PATH unit, which can immediately perform a Heroic Intervention as if it were a CHARACTER.
RelicThe Mirrorstave – Shadowseer only relic which improves the miststave. It gains a 12” Assault 6 profile with AP-1 D1, or a melee profile with AP-1 and Dd3. Instead of Strength, the stave wounds on the target’s unmodified BS (Shooting phase) or WS (Fight phase) – so a BS/WS2+ model is wounded on a 2+,, BS/WS3+ is wounded on a 3+, etc.
Warlord traitWebway Walker – Set up your warlord in deep strike, and you can use Webway Assault twice

 

Frozen Stars
Form+1 Attack on the charge
StratagemMalicious Frenzy – 2 CP – Use before a FROZEN STARS unit fights in the Fight phase. Until the end of the phase, add 1 to wound rolls that target INFANTRY, BEASTS, or BIKER units
RelicThe Ghoulmask – The wearer of the Ghoulmask can deny a psychic power, or if it’s already a psyker it can deny one extra power. Also gives +1 to Deny the Witch tests.
Warlord traitOur Kin Shall Rise Again – Roll a D6 when a model from a unit within 6” of your Warlord is slain, on a 6 they don’t die. 

 

Soaring Spite
FormModels that can FLY or in a transport which can FLY treat Pistols as Assault when they advance, and ignore the penalty for advancing and firing Assault weapons
StratagemSkystride – 1 CP – use when an INFANTRY unit consolidates. Instead of consolidating towards the nearest enemy model, they consolidate up to 6” towards the nearest SOARING SPITE transport and may immediately embark if they can all get within 3”. You can do this even if you disembarked earlier in the turn.
RelicFaolchu’s Talon – While the wearer is embarked on a SOARING SPITE TRANSPORT, the transport can move an additional 6” in the Movement phase. Additionally, if the transport is destroyed while the wearer is being transported, it doesn’t explode and no models are slain getting out of it.
Warlord traitSkystrider – Your Warlord can disembark from a transport even after it has moved

 

Dreaming Shadow
FormOnly one model must flee when a unit fails a Morale test, and on a 4+ a model can shoot one weapon or make one melee attack on death
StratagemAn Example Made – 1 CP – Use in the Shooting phase. Each successful hit roll by a DREAMING SHADOW CHARACTER counts as 2 hits, or on a 6+, 3 hits
RelicCurtainfall – Death Jester only, replaces the shrieker cannon with an upgunned version. The new shrieker profile is Assault 1, S7, AP-3, D1 and the shuriken profile is Assault 3, AP-2, D1. Additionally, a wound roll of 6+ is now AP-4. Both profiles gain 6” of range to go up to 30”, and the shrieker profile retains the D3 mortal wounds effect for slaying an INFANTRY model. Intriguingly, the -2 Ld debuff that normally only applies to the shrieker shot is extended to the shurikens here too, meaning that if you’re fishing for the debuff but you’d rather not play the odds of missing with the shrieker round, you can fire the shurikens instead and still get it.
Warlord traitWarden of the Dead – Add 1 to your roll to fight/shoot on death for units within 6”, or add 2 if there’s any NECRON units on the battlefield

 

Silent Shroud
Form-1 to Ld for enemy units within 6”, and your opponent rolls 2d6 and discards the lowest for Morale tests taken for units within 6” of this ability
StratagemThe Silken Knife – 2 CP – Use at the start of the Charge phase on a SILENT SHROUD unit; enemy units cannot fire Overwatch against that unit in this phase
RelicThe Scintillant Veil – Troupe Master or Shadowseer only. Increase the range of all aura abilities by 3”.
Warlord traitThe Final Joke – If your warlord is slain in the Fight phase, roll a D6. On a 2+ the unit that killed your Warlord suffers D3 mortal wounds. On a 6, they suffer D6 mortal wounds instead.

That’s a lot to unpack! Previously there were arguments for almost every Masque form or for running mixed detachments, but in the current edition there’s a lot less of that. What we’re seeing most commonly with 9th edition lists (which we’ll come to in more detail later on in the lists section) are the following:

  • Soaring Spite, by far the most common pick. This has huge advantages as it allows the Harlequins to get the most out of their mobility – your units can Advance all over the table and still fire, and the Warlord trait allows you to send your murder-happy Troupe Master straight into the fray. The stratagem is also great for allowing a unit to pop back into safety when needed
  • Frozen Stars, which appears in a couple of lists – taking the already very punchy Harlequins and adding even more attacks on the charge is a great way to maximise your close combat potential, as is being able to add +1 to wound to a variety of important targets (native S3 hurts a lot less when you can wound a lot of key targets on 4+ re-rolling wounds!) and a super-FNP in the form of Our Kin Shall Rise Again

There is still potential for fielding mixed detachments to take advantage of stratagems like No Price Too Step in soup, but for pure Harlequins Soaring Spite and Frozen Stars have surged ahead as the key picks for competitive play.

Psychic Powers

Harlequins have their own unique psychic discipline, Phantasmancy. Like other 8th edition psychic lores, this includes six powers to choose from, as below:

PowerWCEffect
Twilight Pathways6Select a friendly HARLEQUINS unit within 3” and visible to the psyker; that unit can immediately move as if it were its Movement phase.
Fog of Dreams6Select an enemy unit within 18” and visible to the psyker; until your next Psychic phase that unit subtracts 1 from hit rolls that target HARLEQUINS INFANTRY units.
Mirror of Minds7Select an enemy unit within 24” of the psyker. Both players roll a D6; if the Harlequin player rolls equal or higher than the target unit takes 1 mortal wound. Repeat until the target is destroyed or the enemy player rolls higher than the Harlequin player’s roll.
Veil of Tears7Select a friendly HARLEQUINS INFANTRY unit within 18” of the psyker; until the start of your next Psychic phase, subtract 1 from hit rolls for attacks made against that unit.
Shards of Light7Select an enemy unit within 18” of the psyker and visible to it. That unit takes D3 mortal wounds and subtracts 1 from its Leadership until your next Psychic phase.
Webway Dance7Until the start of your next Psychic phase, any friendly HARLEQUINS unit within 6” of the psyker has a 6+ FNP.

Phantasmancy is a bit of a grab bag. Twilight Pathways is an excellent mobility power, allowing you even more manoeuvreability. It has an important secondary use, too – by doing it you can double up on using Prismatic Blur to give multiple units a 3++ – doing this on, say, two units of Skyweaver Jetbikes makes them extremely tough to take down, especially in combination with their native -1 to hit and the -1 to wound aura from a Shadowseer (which can be extended to all units, not just INFANTRY, with the The Foes of the Mind).

Fog of Dreams and Veil of Tears can equally be excellent for adding protection to your units, though their utility is a little weakened by 9th edition’s cap on hit modifiers – especially in your early game, when you’re likely to be putting forwards a united front of -1 to hit vehicles and bikes. An appropriate and more infantry-focused build (which we’ll talk about when we look at Malik Amin-Rubio’s soup list later) can make good use of them though.

Shards of Light is an ok pseudo-Smite – its warp charge is prohibitive, but the -1 Leadership effect combos nicely with the Shadowseer’s own weapon, and Harlequins are one of the factions which can effectively stack Leadership modifiers without too much trouble so they might actually matter.

Finally there’s Webway Dance – not bad for keeping your clowns alive just a little longer – and Mirror of Minds, which our own Chase absolutely loves for its high potential and I think sucks because of its high casting value and likelihood of doing nothing at all.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Stratagems

We’ve covered the faction-specific ones in the Masque Form section, but there are a number of other key stratagems available which are generally applicable. We’ll start wit hthe ones in the codex:

  • Great Harlequin – 2CP – one TROUPE MASTER can be given the GREAT HARLEQUIN keyword which gives him the Will of the Laughing God ability, i.e. re-roll hit rolls of 1 in the Fight phase for units within 6″. Quite pricy, but potentially worth it if you’ve gone melee-heavy. B
  • Webway Assault – 1/3CP – the standard Aeldari stratagem, for 1/3CP you can put 1 /2 units into the webway and jump them out in deep strike. You can only do this for INFANTRY or BIKERS, so the main use here is probably hiding Troupes off the board before dropping them onto objectives. B in this codex just because you have so many other great ways to get units around starting on the board – but tactically relevant in some situations.
  • Enigmas of the Black Library – 1/3CP – get 1 or 2 extra relics. You almost definitely have two relics you want and possibly a third, so yeah, you’re going to want to spend CP here. A because your relics are good.
  • Prismatic Blur – 1CP – after a HARLEQUINS unit has Advanced, you can use this to give them a 3+ invulnerable save. The big win here is that you can do this twice a turn – once in your Movement phase, once after you Twilight Pathways a unit in the Psychic phase. Great for making Jetbikes even more annoying to get rid of, but also valuable on Starweaver buses when they fly right up in your opponent’s face. A+ you will see this used routinely.
  • Heroes’ Path – 2CP – at the start of a Movement phase, pick up a DEATH JESTER, SOLITAIRE, and a SHADOWSEER who are all within 6” of each other. At the end of the phase, set them up again more than 9” from enemy models. Fun and thematic, this can be handy if you need to emergency redeploy right now, but it takes a bit of set-up to achieve. One to have in the back pocket – every so often a situation will be just right to pull this off usefully, or you can plan your game around using it. One thing that is worth noting here is that it’s the start of “a Movement phase” and not “your Movement phase”, so you can use this in your opponent’s turn – handy if you want to try out an aggressive deployment, or if for some reason you have this combo of characters stuck out in the open and you really don’t want them to be. B+
  • Cegorach’s Jest – 1CP – when an enemy unit falls back, and assuming there’s no other units within 1”, play this and your unit that they fell back from can shoot. Has the potential to be hilarious if a vehicle tries to fall back from some Jetbikes or someone foolishly falls back to a position within 6” of a unit of guys with fusion pistols. B
  • The Hundred Swords of Vaul – 1CP – at the start of the first battle round, before the battle begins, redeploy one unit anywhere within your deployment zone. Somewhat outshone now by the White Dwarf update adding Polychromatic Storm which does the same thing but better for 2CP, but helpful if you really just have one unit you want to change. B+
  • Torments of the Fiery Pit – 1CP – bonus strength and attacks for a CHARACTER which has been wounded this round. Strong in the right situation. B
  • Vessel of Fate – 1CP – a Shadowseer can cast one bonus power in their Psychic phase. Shadowseers can potentially know two good powers and Smite and want to use all of them, so it’s great to be able to get in everything you want to use on a key turn. B 
  • War Dancers – 3CP – a hefty price tag for a possibly hefty reward. At the end of the Fight phase, a Harlequins unit can immediately pile in and fight a second time. You potentially have a lot of great-quality melee in the army, so this can really change a game. A
  • Fire and Fade – 1CP – as with other Aeldari factions, for 1 CP you can move a unit 7” after firing with it, but can’t charge. Handy for sneaking onto objectives, slipping out of Line of Sight, or, if you’re using fusion buses, getting within 3” of a character to fusion them and then scooting out of Heroic Intervention range if you don’t stick the landing. Alternatively, you can go the other way – shoot with the transport and use Fire and Fade to move 7″ closer to your target. Great if you couldn’t quite get there with movement alone. A
  • Dramatic Entrance – 1CP – a HARLEQUINS CHARACTER can heroically intervene 6” instead of the normal 3”. Another one that’s handy against a forgetful opponent who carelessly gets within 6” of a Solitaire or Troupe Master who’s feeling ready to ruck. B+
  • Warrior Acrobats – 1CP – an INFANTRY unit can auto-advance 6” instead of rolling. Much like the Craftworlds version, this is dead handy for when you really need to get to a specific objective – but don’t sleep on this one for when a vital charge would be helped out significantly by your guys getting a 14” move. Also useful on a Solitaire who’s somehow survived the initial rush – using this gets them a base move of 18”, which is nearly as good as Blitzing. A
  • Shrieking Doom – 1CP – give a shrieker cannon’s shrieker profile or Curtainfall +1S and d3 damage. Has not been FAQed to work with the new relic, though. Handy for improving a Death Jester’s potential from ‘light infantry clearing’ to ‘murder Primaris.’ B
  • Isha’s Weeping – 1CP – at the end of any phase, pick a HARLEQUINS unit which took casualties this phase and improve its invulnerable save by 1 (to a max of 3+) until the end of the turn. One more way to make your guys stick around that bit longer, but the timing can be tough – great if your opponent has knocked off a model or two with incidental shooting though. B-
  • Mirthless Hatred – 1CP – when your unit is chosen to fight, play this and you can re-roll failed hit rolls and failed wound rolls against SLAANESH units until the end of the phase. WIth Slaanesh units becoming more common in general, this has more utility than it used to, and since it works until the end of the phase it combos with War Dancers if you really need that extra bit of kick. Overall quite narrow, though. C
  • The Labyrinth Laughs – 1CP – use when a Webway Gate from your army is destroyed. You can immediately set up one unit that was waiting to come out of the gate, within 3” of the gate and more than 1” from enemy models. Since you won’t have a Webway Gate in your army, who cares? F
  • Lightning-fast Reactions – 2CP – shared with their Aeldari cousins, use this to make a unit -1 to hit for a phase. Less important than it used to be purely because your army already has quite a lot of built-in -1 to hit and you can no longer stack it. B
  • Haywire Grenade – 1CP – throw a plasma grenade at a VEHICLE, make one hit roll, if it hits you do D3 mortal wounds. Useful for getting a bit extra out of Harlequin shooting, and potentially a points saver if you plan to use this instead of a fusion pistol on one guy. Troupe Masters are also great targets for this with their BS2+. Its main drawback is not being able to fire it out of a vehicle, which is what you’re probably planning to do with guys who have plasma grenades. C+
  • Webway Ambush – 1CP – for some reason this is stuck at the end of the stratagems, not even co-located with The Labyrinth Laughs. Choose either 2 units to both emerge from the Webway Gate rather than just 1, or deploy 1 unit but it can set up anywhere more than 1” from enemy models. This is the one conceivable use of a gate, but since you still have to deploy within 3” of the Webway Gate itself, the likelihood is that your opponent has to be very bad or very careless for you to get anything out of this. Still not enough reason to take one. F

The White Dwarf update added another 9 stratagems:

  • Pivotal Role – 1CP – use before the battle. Select one TROUPE MASTER, SHADOWSEER, DEATH JESTER or SOLITAIRE model from your army. That model gains a Pivotal Role ability and does not have to replace another ability. Each model can only have one Pivotal Role and you can’t duplicate Pivotal Roles. The most common use of this is for your Shadowseer to retain Shield From Harm and also get Veil of Illusion, but there’s other uses too. A
  • Polychromatic Storm – 2CP – use at the start of the first battle round but before the first turn begins. Select up to 3 Harlequins units that are on the battlefield and redeploy them. You can use abilities or Stratagems that allow them to be set up in a different location (so e.g. you can put a unit into Webway Assault). One use only. This is an excellent stratagem, allowing the Harlequins player great flexibility in their deployment. A
  • Murderous Entrance – 2CP – use in the Fight phase, the first time a Harlequins unit from your army is selected to fight that phase. Until the end of the phase, add 1 to the Damage characteristic of melee weapons in that unit. Another great stratagem which allows Harlequins to punch well above their weight against Primaris Marines and the like – and can even allow them to punch out Gravis units. Notably this last to the end of the phase, so you can fight twice with War Dancers and carve a bloody path. A
  • The Curtain Falls – 2CP – use this in the Fight phase, when a Harlequins unit would consolidate. Until the end of that phase, that unit can Fall Back or move (but not Advance) as if it were your Movement phase. Enormously flexible, allowing your Harlequins to hit and run – slightly expensive at 2CP but another great stratagem to have in your back pocket. B+
  • Twilit Encore – 1CP – use in your opponent’s Movement phase when one of their units within 1″ of a HARLEQUINS TROUPE unit makes a Fall Back Move. After that unit has moved, that Harlequin Troupe can consolidate up to 6″, and must end that move closer to that enemy unit or the nearest enemy model. Oh you thought you were going to fall back from the Harlequins who charged you? Think again. Great for keeping your guys in combat and safe from bullets. A
  • The Foes of the Mind – 2CP – your Shadowseer’s Shield From Harm ability affects <MASQUE> units within 6″ instead of <MASQUE INFANTRY>. I.e. it affects anything. An enormously powerful defensive tool for keeping your bikes and Starweavers live, especially when combined with the Shadowstone relic. A+
  • Mythic Role – 1CP – use before the battle if your army includes a Shadowseer. Select one AELDARI unit from your army. Each time that unit is chosen to shoot or fight, you can re-roll one hit roll or one wound roll for those attacks. You can only use this stratagem once. Good strat with broad applicability thanks to keying off AELDARI. B
  • Eye of Damnation – 1CP – use when a SOLITAIRE from your army is destroyed by a melee attack. That model’s unit suffers D3 mortal wounds, but you cannot use No Price Too Step as well. Fine, but Solitaires aren’t quite the force they were. Still potentially neat in the right situation. C+
  • Virtuosos of the Webway – 1CP – use at the end of your Movement phase. Pick one HARLEQUINS INFANTRY unit that is not within 1″ of any enemy models. Remove that unit from the battlefield and at the end of your next Movement phase, set up that unit anywhere on the battlefield more than 9″ from enemy models. A neat redeploy trick – great for rapidly seizing a distant objective, dropping a model in to score Deploy Scramblers, or just protecting a unit for a turn. B+

 

Relics

As for the stratagems section, this will cover the generic relics – for the faction-specific one, see the Masque Forms section above.

  • The Mask of Secrets – +1 Leadership for your character, -1 Leadership for enemy units within 6” of your character. The idea here isn’t totally terrible, since Harlequins have a surprising number of Leadership tricks, but there’s vastly better choices than this. C
  • The Storied Sword – discussed briefly above, this is a power sword with +1 Strength, AP-3, D3 damage, which allows you to re-roll failed hit rolls. Nice combined with the re-roll wounds that Troupe Masters already have, but redundant if you already paid for Great Harlequin  (which with WS2+ is effectively the same thing). Severely outclassed by the Twilight Fang now.  C
  • The Suit of Hidden Knives – a funny choice against an Ork or Cultist horde or similar. Each time an enemy model targets the wearer of this and rolls a hit roll of 1, you roll a D6 and on a 2+ that model’s unit takes a mortal wound. Less good now that you can’t stack hit modifiers to make them kill themselves outright, and will merely be able to do 1/3 * 5/6 mortal wounds back at them. B-
  • Crescendo – a relic shuriken pistol. Much better than the Craftworlds version, being D6 shots, S4 AP0 D2 (with the normal shuriken roll), but still not worth ever actually using. C
  • The Starmist Raiment – as previously, 3++ invulnerable save and immune to Overwatch if the bearer Advanced. A potentially great pick for a Troupe Master, though the first guy is better off with the offensive power of the Twilight Fang and a second one probably doesn’t justify the CP to take this. B
  • The Laughing God’s Eye – friendly Harlequins within 6” auto-pass Morale, and get a 6+ FNP against mortal wounds in the Psychic phase. Morale is rarely an issue for small units of Ld8 guys, and the over-restrictive FNP is just ok – there’s two different versions of a 6+ FNP that don’t require a relic slot to take. C
  • Cegorach’s Rose – more relevant than ever against the plethora of 3-wound INFANTRY making its way onto tables, mostly restricted by the Solitaire being a bit whatever. May make a comeback if Gravis, Terminators, and Custodians become the majority of the meta. B

White Dwarf added the following:

  • The Shadowstone – SHADOWSEER only, add 3″ to the range of abilities and psychic powers. An excellent relic, since it makes your Shield From Harm bubble a mighty 18″ in diameter, just as it becomes more important than ever for protecting a big chunk of your army. This is unsurprisingly showing up everywhere. A
  • Cegorach’s Lament – DEATH JESTER only. Replaces a shrieker cannon with a weapon which is either 1 shot at S6 AP-3 D3 or 3 shots at S6 AP-3 D1. The ‘wail’ profile (the one shot version) retains the normal shrieker ability of doing d3 mortals if it kills a model and inflicting -2 Leadership. Damage 3 makes it perfect for punting into Kataphrons, Gravis troops, etc. B+
  • The Twilight Fang – TROUPE MASTER only. Replaces a Harlequin’s blade or power sword with a melee weapon with S+2, AP-3, D2. Each time the bearer fights, it makes additional attacks equal to the battle round number. A stupidly good weapon, perfect for carving up 2 wound infantry and giving the Troupe Master a sickening number of attacks in later rounds. A
  • The Veil of Tears – The first saving throw the bearer fails each turn is auto-passed instead. Fine. You’re probably not going to pick this over your other options. C+
  • Domino Shroud – Once per battle, the bearer can essentially teleport 12″ at the end of any phase, ending anywhere outside 1″ of the enemy. They cannot charge in a turn they do so, but can use it in a turn they already charged. This had more fun implications in 8th (where you could charge a close by and distant unit, and then ping from the near to the far unit and still fight them) which have been shut down by 9th. There’s a lot you can do with this but again, the question is what utility it offers over your other, more standard choices. B
  • Destiny’s Jest – Select one of the following effects during deployment, or roll randomly for two (re-rolling duplicates). A funky and interesting pick but it’s unlikely that doing this is better than just taking one of the more consistently good picks from the list. C
    • +1A
    • +1S
    • +1T
    • +1W
    • +3″ M
    • +1AP to all melee weapons

Warlord Traits

As previously – check the Masque Forms section for the faction-specific ones! The generic 6 are:

  1. Luck of the Laughing God – your Warlord can re-roll hit rolls, wound rolls, and damage rolls of 1. B
  2. Fractal Storm – your Warlord has a 3++ invulnerable save against melee weapons. B
  3. A Foot in the Future – add 2” to your Warlord’s Move characteristic. Additionally, add 1” to the distance every time your Warlord Advances, Falls Back, charges, Heroically Intervenes, piles in, or consolidates. B-
  4. Player of the Light – re-roll failed charge rolls made for your Warlord and any friendly <MASQUE> units within 6”. B
  5. Player of the Dark – each wound roll of 6+ made for your Warlord’s attacks in the Fight phase does one mortal wound in addition to the normal damage. C
  6. Player of the Twilight – once per battle you can re-roll a hit roll, wound roll, or save roll made for your Warlord. In addition, each time you or your opponent uses a Stratagem, roll a D6. If the result matches the number of CP used for that stratagem exactly, you gain that many Command Points. A

Luck of the Laughing God at first glance seems a bit pointless since your main platform here is a Troupe Master and they can already grant hit and wound re-rolls for most of their relevant fire – but if your Master is going to be toting a fusion pistol around, this suddenly becomes super relevant, particularly the damage roll. It does also have some interesting play with a Death Jester. Not necessarily your first pick, but one you can potentially build to utilise well.

Fractal Storm is ok, helpful for a Troupe Master who’s likely to want to rumble, though you might be better off just taking the Starmist Raiment.

A Foot in the Future has a lot of good stuff about it, but ultimately it caters to a kind of foot Harlequin playstyle that isn’t very common – you can achieve basically the same thing by taking Skystrider, which just works better in a Soaring Spite boat-focused build.

Player of the Light has a lot of upside, but seems to rarely show up – with smaller boards and units with giant move distances, you rarely have crucial charges to make that make a re-roll critical.

Player of the Dark is merely ok, and probably the weakest trait here – fishing for 6s for a single mortal wound is a bit whatever given your other choices.

Player of the Twilight is great for something like a Shadowseer or even a Death Jester who isn’t intending to run face-first into the enemy, and can pay off big if it goes off on the right stratagem. RAW it doesn’t quite work in 9th edition, since you’re restricted from gaining more than 1 point back per turn and this hasn’t been fixed to override that, but it generally seems to be played the way the text suggests it should work. 

The main weakness of Harlequin Warlord traits is that a lot of them are pretty good, but you can only access one at a time, and so the one you pick has to be either key to your plan (usually Skystrider from Soaring Spite on a murder master) or applicable in all situations (Player of the Twilight). A multi-trait stratagem would unlock a bunch of the more marginal ones to use.

Pivotal Roles

Pivotal Roles provide three new options that each type of character can take instead of one of their regular datasheet abilities. Each Pivotal Role can only be taken once per army. You can also spend 1 CP to add one of these in addition to the datasheet ability instead of replacing it using the Pivotal Role stratagem, similar to Craftworld Exarchs.

Troupe Master

Troupe Masters can replace their Choreographer of War  ability (6″ re-roll wounds in the fight phase aura) with one of the following:

  • Prince of Light: 6″ bubble of re-roll charges for <MASQUE> units. If they could already re-roll, give them +1 to the roll instead.
  • Darkness’ Bite: After this model fights, pick one unit it attacked and deal 2MW to them. Not hit. Not wounded. Just attacked. Nice.
  • Twilight’s Grasp: The model always wounds on an unmodified 2+ against anything that isn’t a MONSTER or a VEHICLE.

All of this is fine, but Darkness’ Bite is what we’re mostly seeing in the world. An automatic 2 mortal wounds is great for just punking out Marines and the like, or finishing off something you didn’t quite kill, or whatever else – and you can of course combo it with War Dancers to unload 4 mortal wounds in a phase. Prince of Light is good but you can get re-roll charges elsewhere if you really want it (and see the previous commentary on Player of Light), and Twilight’s Grasp is a marginal sidegrade vs. the Choreographer of War ability.

Shadowseer

Shadowseers can replace their Shield from Harm ability (6″ bubble of -1 to wound against <MASQUE> INFANTRY) with one of the following:

  • Veil of Illusion: 6″ bubble that forces opponents shooting at <MASQUE> units within it to effectively subtract 6″ from their weapon’s maximum range.
  • Gloomwake: 6″ bubble of cover for <MASQUE> units.
  • Agent of Bedlam: Enemy units within 6″ subtract 1 from their attack characteristic (to a minimum of 1).

Addressing the worst first – what the fuck is Gloomwake, huh? An absolutely minuscule use case, which you can swap for one of the best abilities in the game. No thanks.

Agent of Bedlam is kind of fun, but the real spice you want here is Veil of Illusion – a lot of units become a lot worse with 6″ off their ranges, even against Harlequins who want to operate up close. Can really help you in the go-second situation, as 24″-36″ weaponry struggles to get range (Eradicators, anyone?) It is unlikely you’ll want to actively replace Shield from Harm, so get ready to pay 1CP to get both.

Death Jester

Death Jesters can replace their Death is Not Enough ability (select the first enemy model that flees from a unit they targeted) with one of the following:

  • Harvester of Torment: Triple this model’s shooting hits when it targets units with 6+ models. Does not stack with An Example Made or any other ability that adds hits.
  • The Jest Inescapable: +12″ range, ignore cover, deal a MW on an unmodified 6 to wound.
  • Humbling Cruelty: When this model hits an enemy unit, that unit is pinned till the start of your next turn, subtracting 2″ from its movement and losing the ability to fire overwatch.

Death is Not Enough is a middling ability against many units, and the possible replacements here are generally stronger. Harvester of Torment and Humbling Cruelty are both showing up a lot – the former is great for machine-gunning light infantry units off objectives, while the latter lets you dictate some movement and remove even the possibility of overwatch.

Solitaire

Solitaires can replace their Blitz ability (once per game move and attack boost) with one of the following:

  • Shocking Emergence: The Solitaire can deep strike, and rolls 3d6 discard the lowest for charges on the turn they arrive.
  • Chromatic Rush: The Solitaire auto-advances 6″, and can consolidate an extra 3″.
  • Unnatural Acrobatics: Attacks against the Solitaire are at -1 to hit.

Blitz is pretty core to the function of the Solitaire, but there’s potential in utilising these other abilities to make them do something other than just hope to missile out first turn and deck something. Shocking Emergence is fun for keeping the Solitaire off-table and ready to show up in a key area and bash a weak unit off an objective or similar, which is the main utility in not just taking Blitz.

Credit: Robert “TheChirugeon” Jones

The Weapons

There’s a bunch of weapons which are common across several Harlequins units which we’ll talk about here to save repeating them in each unit entry. These are:

Ranged weapons

Shuriken weaponry – both the pistols and cannons are in here; identical to the Craftworlds versions, these are AP 0 guns which on a 6+ to wound become AP-3 instead.

Fusion pistol – a tiny little melta gun, with a mere 6” range but the same S8 AP-4 Dd6 and two-dice-pick-highest-in-half-range punch. These didn’t get the damage buff from the Space Marines update that happened recently, since they’re fusion and not melta, see?

Haywire cannons – did you ever look at the haywire blaster and think “I need this, but more?” The haywire cannon is the answer – 24” range, Assault D6, S4 AP-1 D1 and the haywire rule which does mortal wounds to vehicles on a 4+.

Melee weapons

There’s four core melee weapons in the Harlequins army, which provide a range of possible profiles for output depending on what you need the unit to do.

  • Harlequin’s blade – S: User, AP0, D1, 0pts
  • Harlequin’s caress – S: +2, AP-2, D1, 6pts
  • Harlequin’s embrace – S: +1, AP-3, D1, 5pts
  • Harlequin’s kiss – S: +1, AP-1, Dd3, 6pts

Broadly the blade is for keeping things cheap, the caress is excellent for clearing out hordes since you’ll then be reliably wounding on 3s and applying exactly enough AP to get through their light armour, the embrace is intended to clear out elite infantry (although mathematically it works out a little worse than just taking a caress, since most elite infantry are T4 or better, but it is also a point cheaper) and the kiss is for punching through multi-wound units. All four have shown up in lists, with the blade being common for keeping your points costs down, and the caress and kiss being next-most common, with a small number of embraces showing up in some lists.

The Units

There’s a mere 8 units plus a terrain piece in the Harlequins range, which is quite a limited selection all told. We’ll go through them one by one, talking about their strengths and weaknesses. It’s worth noting right up top that apart from the Solitaire which moves 12”, all the other infantry have a base 8” move – this really is an army that’s all about mobility!

HQ

There’s two choices here, the Shadowseer and the Troupe Master. Broadly, the Shadowseer is a psyker, and the Troupe Master is a combat character, but they both offer a lot more than those descriptions suggest.

Shadowseer

There’s a lot going on with Shadowseers. They’re ok in melee, toting around a miststave which makes them S5 AP-1 Dd3, although they only have 3 attacks. They’re decent psykers, knowing two powers plus Smite and being able to cast 2/deny 1. They have a shuriken pistol by default or can trade up to a neuro disruptor, which is 5pts more but gives them AP-3 and damage d3 which is a decent upgrade (though it only works on non-VEHICLES – against those, they’re back to D1).

They also tote around a hallucinogen grenade launcher, which is a mere 1 shot at 18”, but instead of having a Strength or AP value does D3 mortal wounds to its target instead as long as you beat their Leadership on 2D6. This combos nicely with Shards of Light – a Shadowseer is a great option to burst down a screening unit on their own. Vessel of Fate, which allows them to cast an additional power – so they can conceivably fire off a unit with Twilight Pathways and still use Shards, Smite, and the hallucinogen grenade launcher to fire out a potential 9 mortal wounds (or even 15, if the Shadowseer is DREAMING SHADOW and uses An Example Made for a potential 2 or even 3 hits, though expecting 15 mortals from a single Shadowseer in a single turn is getting well into the realms of improbability). The grenade launcher being Assault usually means the Neuro Disruptor isn’t worth taking, as it’s a pistol so you can’t fire both,

The other cool thing here is Shield from Harm. Attacks against friendly <MASQUE> INFANTRY within 6” of the Shadowseer are at -1 to wound, which is a big deal on your squishy little T3 guys. Suddenly lasguns wound you on 5s and the unit of Guardsmen rapid-firing at you is looking a lot less certain. As highlighted in the Stratagems section, this combos really well with the Shadowstone and the new Foes of the Mind stratagem to extend significant protection to most or all of your army. 

Points-wise Shadowseers barely changed from 8th to 9th, which is good for them. Pretty much any Harlequins list or detachment wants at least one, but you also probably only want one, unless you’re doing something particularly wild. 

A Harlequins Shadowseer

A Harlequins Shadowseer. Credit: Corrode

 

Troupe Master

The Troupe Master comes loaded with a similar statline to the Shadowseer, though they benefit from 5 attacks instead of 3. By default their gear is pretty tame – a shuriken pistol, a Harlequin’s blade (yes, the “default close combat weapon” one) and plasma grenades. They do get a full suite of gear options, though – they can take either of a neuro disruptor or a fusion pistol to replace the shuriken, and any of the other three Harlequin weapons or a power sword to replace the Harlequin’s blade. This lets you tailor them to do whatever job you like. They also offer a really helpful aura – re-roll wound rolls in the Fight phase for friendly <MASQUE> units within 6”.

Additionally, you can spend 2CP on the Great Harlequin stratagem to buff one Troupe Master into giving out re-roll 1s to hit in the Fight phase. With no other sources of re-roll 1s to hit in the army, this can be a really helpful buff to squeeze that bit more out of your elite infantry.

There’s a couple of solid uses for Troupe Masters. The first one is obvious – throw them into melee! A Troupe Master with the Twilight Fang is a fearsome melee combatant, especially in Soaring Spite where they can fire out of a Starweaver and still move, charge, and fight. If you want to just point a model at an enemy unit and see it go away, well, you can’t ask for much more. Frozen Stars reduces their mobility a little, but ups their attacks on the charge.

Alternatively you can skip the melee side altogether, and use the Troupe Master to up the mobility of your fusion bus to really put the hurt on enemy vehicles. Equip them with a fusion pistol of their own, take them in a Soaring Spite detachment using Faolchu’s Talon as their relic, and fly around the board doing melta drive-bys at things.

Like Shadowseers, Troupe Masters were barely adjusted by 9th edition’s points – their body is cheap and their options are too, particularly the Twilight Fang guy who doesn’t even need to pay for a power weapon to utilise his relic.

Troops

Harlequin Troupe

Just one Troops choice here, the Harlequin Troupe. For basic infantry, the statline on these guys is pretty wild – they come with the standard elven WS3+/BS3+/S3/T3, but then on top of that they have the aforementioned 8” move and a whopping 4 attacks per Player. For “as sold in the box” purposes they come in units of 5-12. As standard, they come equipped with a shuriken pistol, a Harlequin’s blade, and plasma grenades, but like the Troupe Master they can pick from across the whole range of pistols and melee weapons (except, for some reason, power swords – there’s even one in the box but apparently that belongs to the Troupe Master so it doesn’t count). There’s no restrictions on this – if you really wanted to, you could take a whole squad of 12 with neuro disruptors and caresses or kisses for a ludicrous points cost per model, though I can’t say I’d recommend it.

Much like the Troupe Master above, what you need from these guys is to make a decision about what they’re going to do, and specialise accordingly. Are they going to run around on foot, utilising the Shadowseer and Troupe Master auras? Are you taking big squads to maximise buffs and stratagems, or small squads to ride around in Starweavers doing drive-by fusion spam? Build your list with these considerations in mind. Despite the range of gear, these guys aren’t really generalists – they’re often going to be very expensive if you try and take everything on them (though naturally a very strong list did exactly this, as you will see below).

A Harlequins Troupe

Harlequin Troupe. Credit: Flavivirus

 

Dedicated Transports

Starweaver

Another one-unit slot here (in fact HQ and Elites are the only slots where Harlequins have an actual choice of units). The Starweaver can be best described as “what a Venom wants to be when it grows up.” It rocks a 16” move and an automatic 6” advance, meaning that it can blitz around at a cool 22” per turn, and thanks to its Mirage Launchers and Holo-fields rules it’s at a baseline -1 to hit in the Shooting phase and 4++ invulnerable save. For some reason it also has WS3+(!) and BS3+, S5/T5, W6, and 3 attacks, which doesn’t sound like much but is actually pretty reasonable as a tertiary benefit of a flying, hard to kill transport. That said, their more relevant armament is a surprisingly punchy two shuriken cannons.

Most importantly though, Starweavers have a transport capacity of 6 <MASQUE> INFANTRY, and they’re open-topped. This allows them to load up on Harlequins and go flying around the table either delivering them into melee or, even better, popping pistol shots out of the top with reckless abandon. The capacity 6 gives you scope to throw in 5 guys and a character, which opens up neat tricks with reducing drops in deployment, or of course allowing a pistol-toting Troupe Master to ride into combat alongside some Players (sidenote: I really wish GW would review some of the “legacy” transport capacities in the game to allow this to be more common). 

Something worth noting here is that the Starweaver itself does not have a rule exempting you (and your opponent) from measuring to its base, but the guys inside fire from any point on the model. This opens up a neat trick of potentially allowing you to get into fusion pistol double damage range of a character without exposing yourself to a heroic intervention, particularly key when you remember that the melta benefit for fusion pistols kicks in at a mere 3″.

Other than that, there’s not much to say about them. Starweavers are cheap enough for what they offer, they do their job well, they’re surprisingly tough to get rid of, and they look extremely cool. 

A Harlequin Player

A Harlequin Player. Credit: Chucat

 

Elites

The other slot with choices in! Truly, Harlequins are magical.

Group of Harlequin characters

Harlequin characters. Credit: Corrode

 

 

Death Jester

Even after CA2020 Death Jesters remain very cheap at a mere 50pts. They have a profile which would be decent on most characters, with WS2+, BS2+, S3/T3, W5, A4, and of course the requisite 4++. As well as the standard Harlequins stuff, they have two additional special rules – Deadly Hunter, which lets them target characters even if they’re not the closest model, and Death is Not Enough, where if a Death Jester attacks a unit and that unit later fails Morale, the Harlequins player can choose which is the first model to flee – so if you really want rid of a Sergeant or special weapon or whatever else, then you get to just point at that guy and off he goes. The Jester itself is also a CHARACTER, so they’re relatively easy to protect, though harder in 9th than it was in 8th.

That’s all great, but what enables you to take advantage of this pile of rules? This is where the shrieker cannon comes in. This thing has two profiles, both with 24” range and the shuriken rule i.e. wound rolls of 6+ are AP-3. There’s a base shuriken cannon profile with the typical stats – Assault 3, S6, AP0, D1. Handy for piling wounds onto weak enemy characters like Warlocks or the various low-wound Genestealer Cults guys. Then there’s the shrieker cannon – S6, AP-1, D1, but if it kills an INFANTRY model, that model’s unit suffers D3 mortal wounds and is at -2 Leadership until the end of the turn. This thing is fantastic for picking off the kind of trash infantry units that might be holding up an out of the way objective – bullying Space Marine Scouts, Guard Infantry Squads, little units of Dire Avengers or Kabalite Warriors, etc. 

There’s another helpful generic stratagem, Shrieking Doom. This costs 1CP, and makes the shrieker profile +1S and D3 damage, bringing you up to S7 on a regular gun or S8 on Curtainfall. Extremely handy if, for example, the target you need to put some wounds on is a Primaris Marine. Dreaming Shadow Death Jesters can also make use of An Example Made, allowing you to spice up the shrieker cannon by multiplying one hit into two or three. The new relic gun, Cegorach’s Lament, is also a strong option.

One final thing to note is that a Shadowseer and Death Jester can potentially combo up to knock a lot of Leadership off a unit, opening it up for a bunch of mortal wounds from the Shadowseer’s gun – if your opponent has a seemingly impenetrable deathstar unit, these two can, in the right circumstances, do a lot to cut through their defences.

Credit: TheChirurgeon

Solitaire

The Solitaire is the polar opposite of the Death Jester. The Jester is a ranged hunter, best utilised as far away from the enemy as possible, sniping away at characters or bursting down infantry units to clear objectives. The Solitaire is a targeted cruise missile, aimed straight at the heart of the enemy army. Boasting a massive 12” move, WS2+/BS2+, and a mighty 8 attacks, and coming stock with a caress and a kiss, the Solitaire is a tasty prospect just at its baseline. In addition there’s Blitz; once per game, the Solitaire increases its Movement by 2D6”, and increases its Attacks to 10. You can’t do this if you cast Twilight Pathways on it in the previous Psychic phase, but the important thing here is that the 2D6” additional move applies for the turn, so what you can do instead is Blitz yourself next to a Shadowseer, then Twilight Pathways to move again – an average of 19”, but potentially as far as 24”. Alternatively, you can use the Twilight Pathways move to use Blitz – so you don’t have to risk the Blitz unless the power actually goes off. This, combined with the flip belt’s pseudo-FLY rule allowing you to bypass models, is enough that the Solitaire can get pretty much anywhere it wants to go.

Stratagem-wise, there’s a ton of different things which enhance Harlequins melee. We covered most of them in the stratagems section previously, but two of the faction-specific ones are worth picking out now, since they might influence your Masque choice. The first is the Frozen Stars one again, Malicious Frenzy – adding +1 to wound against INFANTRY, BEASTS of BIKERS is very relevant for the targets Solitaires are most likely to be pointed at. A Frozen Stars Solitaire is also at a mighty 11 attacks, just for that extra bit of punch.

Alternatively, there’s Midnight Sorrow, and No Price Too Steep. For 2 CP a MIDNIGHT SORROW CHARACTER can fight on death. The Solitaire adds +1 Strength and Attacks when doing so, so killing one can often be even worse for your opponent than leaving it alive.

One other relevant stratagem here is Torments of the Fiery Pit for 1 CP; if a HARLEQUINS CHARACTER has lost any wounds this battle round, you can increase its Strength and Attacks by 2 until the end of the phase. Did your opponent chip off a wound on overwatch? Welp, guess the Solitaire is S5 A12 now. They can of course benefit from War Dancers, too.

With all that said then – not many Solitaires seem to be showing up in lists. They’re a little more expensive than they were, and also they need relic support to really have a lot of punch with Cegorach’s Rose, and you can get a fairly reliable unit for a lot cheaper in the Troupe Master, who brings his own re-roll wounds and better strength and AP. The Solitaire isn’t awful, but it’s not quite the powerhouse it once was.

Fast Attack

Skyweaver Jetbikes

Skyweavers put down an old foe

Skyweavers put down an old foe. Photo: Wings, Models: Wings & Flavivirus

After the brief excitement of the Elites slot, we’re back to a one-unit selection in Fast Attack. Luckily that unit is really good!

Coming in with a unit size of 2-6, the base profile on Skyweaver Jetbikes is WS/BS3+, S3, T4, W3, A3. Unlike most other Harlequin units they have an appreciable armour save of 4+, so they’re not totally dead in the water if hit with a Death Hex or Null Zone. They also share the Mirage Launchers rule with the Starweaver, so they’re always at -1 to hit in the Shooting phase. They come base with a shuriken cannon and star bolas each, but you can (and almost certainly should) swap the shuriken for a haywire cannon and the star bolas for a zephyrglaive.

Like all Harlequins units, they can advance and charge thanks to Rising Crescendo, which combines nicely with their 16” move and 6” auto-advance – you can bomb a unit of Skyweavers 22” across the table and pile into enemy units. At base these are just S3 attacks, but with zephyrglaives they go up to S4, AP-2, D2, which is a lot more threatening, particularly to units of Space Marines.

Melee isn’t the only, or even necessarily the main, reason to take them, though. The main attraction for a lot of players is the haywire cannon. As highlighted in the Weapons section, these things are money, and provide your best source of anti-tank from more than 3” away. Once upon a time when Doom worked cross-faction these were utterly ferocious, but even without that they’re still pretty good – sheer weight of dice should ease out the variance on their D6 shots.

Skyweavers are not cheap, and took one of the few significant jumps in the Harlequins list in 9th, but they are still everywhere, with 2 units of 5 (neatly Blast-proof) showing up in basically every list.

Heavy Support

Voidweaver

After the run of great units in the Death Jester, Solitaire, and Skyweaver Jetbikes, it’s time to cool down a bit with the Voidweaver. The Voidweaver is based on the same chassis as the Starweaver, and trades the Starweaver’s transport capacity for two shuriken cannons and a single haywire cannon, which it can swap for a single prismatic cannon. 

The Voidweaver is reasonably tough, sharing the same defensive stats as the Starweaver, and the same -1 to hit rule for its mirage launchers, and of course the 4++ invulnerable save.

The prism cannon is theoretically quite cool. It has three profiles at a 24” range, either Assault D6 S4 AP-2 D1, Assault D3 S6 AP-3 Dd3, or Assault 1 S8 AP-4 Dd6. The problem here is really that the range is too short to make it a useful backfield piece, and the output isn’t all that high. For 100pts+, that’s disappointing, and of course Skyweaver Jetbikes are right there and can also fight well and offer more or less the same shooting output. Inevitably someone has made them work, but for me I don’t see the point vs. what else you can take.

Ideally for me, you’d see these go down in points a bit, and/or change up something about the prismatic cannon to make it more attractive – whether that’s double firing, or ignoring line of sight, or some other alternative that meant the Voidweaver offered something unique to the faction instead of its current semi-pointlessness. They have the potential to be cool, and I like the idea of how they fit into the faction where even the Heavy Support option is a light skimmer which mostly flies around at high speed, but the execution doesn’t quite work here. T6 wouldn’t go amiss, either.

Terrain

Webway Gate

Like many factions in modern 40k and Age of Sigmar, Harlequins have their own unique terrain piece (which other AELDARI factions can also use). Hooray! Unfortunately it’s pretty pointless. Boo!

The Webway Gate’s main problem is that it does something nobody needs at a cost that nobody is willing to pay. It’s kind of tough at T8 W14 Sv3+ and a 5++ invulnerable, but not so tough that anyone equipped to kill a Knight will have any trouble taking it down. It’s also surprisingly hard to place – the prongs themselves are pretty big and are deployed 5” apart, and then you have to put it down anywhere on the table more than 12” from the enemy DZ or models, and more than 3” from any objective markers or other terrain. It’s not inconceivable that you could get to the table and struggle to even put it down anywhere useful, especially in 9th with its heavy terrain requirements and smaller board. Once it’s down, it can’t move or fight, and enemy units auto-hit it in the Fight phase. 

So what do you actually get out of this thing? Well, you can deploy AELDARI units off the table, and then deep strike one per turn out of the Webway Gate. For some reason this still has the same restrictions as normal deep striking – i.e. you have to turn up more than 9” away from enemy models, plus they have to be wholly within 3” of the gate. If the gate is destroyed before you deploy them, they’re dead too. In matched play, this of course means that you can get a maximum of 2 units out of it, since you can’t arrive before turn 2 or after turn 3.

“But don’t Eldar already have a dozen ways to deep strike their units if they want?” you might ask. The answer is yes. They even, thematically, use the webway. So what you’re doing here is buying a terrain feature which is hard to place usefully, which doesn’t add anything to your actual deep strike capabilities, which you can also replace with a stratagem common to all Aeldari factions. If this thing did something cool, like allowing you to DS less than 9” away (though, do see the stratagems section for more on this!), then it might be worthwhile. If it didn’t struggle so much to get placed on the table anywhere useful in the first place, that would be great. If it let you ignore tactical reserves, even better. But right now it’s just…. There. At least the model is kind of cool, although it desperately wants basing because the unsupported spurs will fall over every time there’s a light breeze nearby. Add one to your terrain collection, but do not under any circumstances put one in your army.

 

A Harlequins player consults her strataegms

 

Lists

There’s no better place to start looking at lists than with the two top lists from the Hanseatic Open, previously discussed in Competitive Innovations by our own Wings and quoted extensively here:

Michael Gemmeke’s Harlequins – 1st Place, Hanseatic Open

Army List - Click to Expand

Total Command Points: 9
Total Army Points: 2000
Powerlevel: 94
ITC Faction: Harlequins

+++ Harlequins Flying Fusion-Circus [94 PL, 9CP, 2,000pts] +++

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Harlequins[The Soaring Spite: Serpent’s Blood]) [94 PL, 9CP, 2,000pts] ++
Masque Form: The Soaring Spite: Serpent’s Blood

+ Stratagems +
Enigmas of the Black Library (1 Relic) [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Troupe Master [4 PL, -1CP, 70pts]: Choreographer of War, Stratagem: Pivotal Role: Darkness’ Bite, Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Blade, Relic: The Twilight Fang
. Categories: Faction: <Masque>, Faction: Aeldari, Character, HQ, Faction: Harlequins, Infantry, Troupe Master

Troupe Master [4 PL, -1CP, 76pts]: Warlord, Warlord Trait: Skystrider, Choreographer of War, Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Kiss [6pts], Relic: Cegorach’s Rose, Stratagem: Pivotal Role: Twilight’s Grasp,
. Categories: Faction: <Masque>, Faction: Aeldari, Character, HQ, Faction: Harlequins, Infantry, Troupe Master, Warlord

+ Troops +

Troupe [6 PL, 138pts] . Categories: Faction: Aeldari, Faction: <Masque>, Infantry, Faction: Harlequins, Troops, Troupe
. Player [25pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Caress [6pts] . Player [25pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Caress [6pts] . Player [25pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Caress [6pts] . Player [25pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Caress [6pts] . Player [19pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Blade
. Player [19pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Blade

Troupe [5 PL, 119pts] . Categories: Faction: Aeldari, Faction: <Masque>, Infantry, Faction: Harlequins, Troops, Troupe
. Player [25pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Caress [6pts] . Player [25pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Caress [6pts] . Player [25pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Caress [6pts] . Player [25pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Caress [6pts] . Player [19pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Blade

Troupe [6 PL, 138pts] . Categories: Faction: Aeldari, Faction: <Masque>, Infantry, Faction: Harlequins, Troops, Troupe
. Player [25pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Kiss [6pts] . Player [25pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Kiss [6pts] . Player [25pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Kiss [6pts] . Player [25pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Kiss [6pts] . Player [19pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Blade
. Player [19pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Blade

Troupe [5 PL, 119pts] . Categories: Faction: Aeldari, Faction: <Masque>, Infantry, Faction: Harlequins, Troops, Troupe
. Player [25pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Kiss [6pts] . Player [25pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Kiss [6pts] . Player [25pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Kiss [6pts] . Player [25pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Kiss [6pts] . Player [19pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Blade

Troupe [5 PL, 110pts] . Categories: Faction: Aeldari, Faction: <Masque>, Infantry, Faction: Harlequins, Troops, Troupe
. Player [24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts] . Player [24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts] . Player [24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts] . Player [19pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Blade
. Player [19pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Blade

Troupe [5 PL, 110pts] . Categories: Faction: Aeldari, Faction: <Masque>, Infantry, Faction: Harlequins, Troops, Troupe
. Player [24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts] . Player [24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts] . Player [24pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Embrace [5pts] . Player [19pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Blade
. Player [19pts]: Fusion Pistol [5pts], Harlequin’s Blade

+ Fast Attack +

Skyweavers [15 PL, 320pts] . Categories: Faction: Aeldari, Faction: <Masque>, Faction: Harlequins, Biker, Fly, Fast Attack, Skyweavers
. Skyweaver [55pts]: Haywire Cannon [15pts], Zephyrglaive [5pts] . Skyweaver [55pts]: Haywire Cannon [15pts], Zephyrglaive [5pts] . Skyweaver [55pts]: Haywire Cannon [15pts], Zephyrglaive [5pts] . Skyweaver [55pts]: Haywire Cannon [15pts], Zephyrglaive [5pts] . Skyweaver [50pts]: Haywire Cannon [15pts], Star Bolas
. Skyweaver [50pts]: Haywire Cannon [15pts], Star Bolas

Skyweavers [15 PL, 320pts] . Categories: Faction: Aeldari, Faction: <Masque>, Faction: Harlequins, Biker, Fly, Fast Attack, Skyweavers
. Skyweaver [55pts]: Haywire Cannon [15pts], Zephyrglaive [5pts] . Skyweaver [55pts]: Haywire Cannon [15pts], Zephyrglaive [5pts] . Skyweaver [55pts]: Haywire Cannon [15pts], Zephyrglaive [5pts] . Skyweaver [55pts]: Haywire Cannon [15pts], Zephyrglaive [5pts] . Skyweaver [50pts]: Haywire Cannon [15pts], Star Bolas
. Skyweaver [50pts]: Haywire Cannon [15pts], Star Bolas

+ Dedicated Transport +

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon [20pts] . Categories: Faction: <Masque>, Faction: Aeldari, Dedicated Transport, Fly, Faction: Harlequins, Transport, Vehicle, Starweaver

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon[20pts] . Categories: Faction: <Masque>, Faction: Aeldari, Dedicated Transport, Fly, Faction: Harlequins, Transport, Vehicle, Starweaver

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon[20pts] . Categories: Faction: <Masque>, Faction: Aeldari, Dedicated Transport, Fly, Faction: Harlequins, Transport, Vehicle, Starweaver

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon[20pts] . Categories: Faction: <Masque>, Faction: Aeldari, Dedicated Transport, Fly, Faction: Harlequins, Transport, Vehicle, Starweaver

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon[20pts] . Categories: Faction: <Masque>, Faction: Aeldari, Dedicated Transport, Fly, Faction: Harlequins, Transport, Vehicle, Starweaver

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon[20pts] . Categories: Faction: <Masque>, Faction: Aeldari, Dedicated Transport, Fly, Faction: Harlequins, Transport, Vehicle, Starweaver

The Standout Features

  • BIKES
  • AND
  • BOATS

Why it Works in 9th

…really, very good. Harlequins take down a major in style, with a list that goes if anything even harder on the boat club lifestyle than most, cutting out even some of the common character inclusions in favour of tooled up Troupes that can zip to wherever they’re needed on the table and do some damage. Whether to mix melee weapons and fusions within squads is a controversial topic within the Harlequin community, but this list definitely makes it work, and being completely unmoored from a reliance on buff auras to get anything done gives it an angle that some other clown builds don’t manage. With two astoundingly tooled up Troupe Masters ready to attend to any problems the rest of the army can’t handle, this list has the flexibility to react to any situation thrown at it, and that clearly paid off during Michael’s ride to the top of the pack. Not a tonne more to say about this – it’s an aggressive list that uses all the great tools available to Harlequins.

Matthias Bellmann’s Harlequins – 2nd Place, Hanseatic Open

Army List - Click to Expand

+ Command Points: 9
+ ARMY POINTS: 2000
+ Power Level: 105
+ ITC FACTION: Harlequins

++ Battalion Detachment -3CP (Aeldari – Harlequins) [105 PL, 9CP, 2,000pts] ++
+ Stratagems [-3CP] +
Stratagem: Pivotal Role [-1CP] Stratagem: Pivotal Role [-1CP] Stratagem: Enigmas of the Black Library [-1CP]

Masque Form: The Soaring Spite: Serpent’s Blood

+ HQ [25 PL, 475pts]+
Shadowseer [6 PL, -1CP, 115pts]: Shards of Light, Shield From Harm, Shuriken Pistol, Stratagem: Pivotal Role [-1CP], Twilight Pathways, Veil of Illusion

The Yncarne [15 PL, 290pts]: Gaze of Ynnead, Ancestors’ Grace

Troupe Master [4 PL, -1CP, 70pts]: Choreographer of War, Darkness’ Bite, Fusion Pistol, Stratagem: Pivotal Role [-1CP], The Twilight Fang (replaced: Harlequin’s Blade), Warlord, Skystrider

+ Troops [27 PL, 525pts]+

Troupe [6 PL, 120pts]. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress

Troupe [6 PL, 120pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress

Troupe [5 PL, 95pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade

Troupe [5 PL, 95pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade

Troupe [5 PL, 95pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade

+ Elites [3 PL, 50pts] +
Death Jester [3 PL, -1CP, 50pts]: Stratagem: Enigmas of the Black Library [-1CP], Cegroach’s Lament, Humbling Cruelty

+ Fast Attack [30PL, 550pts] +
Skyweavers [15 PL, 275pts] . Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive

Skyweavers [15 PL, 275pts] . Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive

+ Dedicated Transport [20 PL, 400pts]+
Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon
Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon
Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon
Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon
Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon

The Standout Features

  • Oh no.
  • At least this one has the Yncarne, so we can talk about that.
  • Single melee weapons in a few of the squads add a little bit of bite.

Why it Works in 9th

Europe is the clown continent now. This list neatly shows off another cool thing you can do with them – bring the Yncarne along and make your opponent’s already extremely difficult life even harder by making every attempt to kill one of your units a huge risk if done at the wrong time. They’re certainly expensive, but this is the second time we’ve seen the Yncarne put in a top table performance alongside the clown posse (for another version see below), and in skilled hands I think it’s one of the nastiest available loadouts and gives you an exceptional tool to mitigate any situations where the game starts to turn against you. The difference between armies that are good and great in 9th Edition is access to tools that can put you back into the game when you stumble, and the Yncarne combines with the general flexibility of the clown show to make this list excel at that. Great job to Matthias for making it through the ranks undefeated.

Matthew Truell’s Harlequins – 4th Place Vanguard Tactics Grand Series

Army List - Click to Expand


++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Harlequins) [103 PL, 1,997pts, -5CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Masque Form: The Soaring Spite: Serpent’s Blood

+ Stratagems +

Enigmas of the Black Library (2 Relics) [-3CP]

+ HQ +

Shadowseer [7 PL, 115pts, -1CP]: Hallucinogen Grenade Launcher, Miststave, Player of the Twilight, Shield From Harm, Shuriken Pistol, Smite, Stratagem: Pivotal Role, Twilight Pathways, Veil of Illusion, Warlord, Webway Dance

Troupe Master [4 PL, 70pts]: Choreographer of War, Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, The Twilight Fang

+ Troops +

Troupe [5 PL, 95pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades

Troupe [5 PL, 125pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades

Troupe [5 PL, 125pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades

Troupe [5 PL, 125pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades

Troupe [5 PL, 120pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Embrace, Plasma Grenades

Troupe [5 PL, 95pts] . Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades

+ Elites +

Death Jester [3 PL, 50pts]: Humbling Cruelty, Shrieker Cannon

Death Jester [3 PL, 50pts]: Cegroach’s Lament, Harvester of Torment, Shrieker Cannon, Mythic Role (-1cp included at top of list)

Solitaire [5 PL, 102pts]: Blitz, Cegorach’s Rose, Harlequin’s Caress, Harlequin’s Kiss

+ Fast Attack +

Skyweavers [13 PL, 275pts] . Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive

Skyweavers [9 PL, 165pts] . Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive

Skyweavers [9 PL, 165pts] . Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive

+ Dedicated Transport +

Starweaver [5 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon

Starweaver [5 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon

Starweaver [5 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon

Starweaver [5 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon

Included here largely because it’s the only army toting a Solitaire and the first Harlequins list that succeeded in 9th, Matt Truell’s list includes a bunch of the bread and butter stuff described above – Starweavers full of fusion, Skyweaver jetbikes, and the Twilight Fang Troupe Master.

Rasmus Valand Fredricksen’s Harlequins – 2nd Place, Invasion GT

The Yncarne. Credit: Wings

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Harlequins) [107 PL, 10CP, 2,000pts] ++

Masque Form: The Frozen Stars: Hysterical Fury

+ Stratagems +

Enigmas of the Black Library (1 Relic) [-1CP]

Mythic Role [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Shadowseer [6 PL, -1CP, 115pts]: Player of the Twilight, Shards of Light, Shield From Harm, Shuriken Pistol, Stratagem: Pivotal Role, The Shadowstone, Twilight Pathways, Veil of Illusion, Warlord

The Yncarne [15 PL, 290pts]: Gaze of Ynnead, Ancestors Grace 

Troupe Master [4 PL, 76pts]: Choreographer of War, Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Kiss

+ Troops +

Troupe [6 PL, 114pts]

. 6x Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade

Troupe [5 PL, 95pts]

. 5x Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade

Troupe [5 PL, 95pts]

. 5x Player: Fusion Pistol, Harlequin’s Blade

+ Elites +

Death Jester [3 PL, 50pts]: Cegroach’s Lament, Harvester of Torment, Mythic role

Death Jester [3 PL, 50pts]: Humbling Cruelty

Death Jester [3 PL, 50pts]: The Jest Inescapable

+ Fast Attack +

Skyweavers [15 PL, 275pts]

. 5x Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive

Skyweavers [15 PL, 275pts]

. 5x Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive

Skyweavers [15 PL, 275pts]

. 5x Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive

+ Dedicated Transport +

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon

Starweaver [4 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon

++ Total: [107 PL, 10CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Harlequins and the Yncarne continue to prove that they’re the pinacle of current elf technology.
  • Frozen Stars gives the list strong clutch melee punch from the bikes.
  • 3×5 Skyweavers and 3x fusion boats as the reliable Harlequin core.
  • Shadowseer buffed up such that it can plausibly cover the whole army with defensive buffs early on.

Why it’s Interesting in 9th

Harlequins have done very well out of the structural changes to 9th Edition. The smaller board makes it even harder than it used to be for enemies to hold back from them, and with one fewer game turn to play in tournament formats they’re much less likely to run out of gas towards the end of the game, as while they have some powerful defensive tricks out of their Psychic Awakening they’re still ultimately glass cannons. They’re also very resilient on Secondaries, with Headhunter being the only one this list gives up, and far from easily. The key 9th edition tool they don’t have is any sort of ObSec tarpit unit, so they need to be able to hit hard and fast to take objectives from the enemy rather than being able to take positions early and stay there.

This list leans into that very effectively – Frozen Star Skyweavers are excellent at clearing out high-quality infantry, and are especially great at scything down pretty much all the popular scout deploy options, their D2 glaives murdering both Primaris Marines and Nurglings alike. Fusion boats provide another tool that can throw out some pinpoint damage on demand, and in an emergency shoving one onto a backline objective will usually ensure it stays held until your next turn, especially if you layer a Death Jester behind one, as your opponent then has to kill the boat and kill the passengers with enough shots to spare for the Jester.

This is, of course, further shored by the Yncarne, like Matthias’ list above, as it means when you really need an objective to stay held then your opponent has to reserve enough firepower to shoot the Yncarne off on top of all that other stuff. It also makes pushing stuff off mid-board objectives without dedicated melee threats a really dicey prospect, as if you bring a shooting unit close enough to the objective to hold it before shooting some Harlequins off, you’re likely putting yourself in heroic range when the Yncarne bursts onto the scene, and they’re again excellent at cutting down popular units. Thanks to maxing out on Death Jesters and all the threats being super-fast, this list is also going to be all over the board once the mid game hits, at which point the threat the Yncarne presents makes selecting targets a complete nightmare even for a skilled opponent, and ensure that even in games where this list has fallen slightly behind there are tonnes of angles to take the game with a well timed redeploy. .

The only matchup I might have raised my eyebrows about for this list in 8th was hordes – but thanks to haywire cannons becoming Blast weapons in 9th that gets substantially shored up, as a guaranteed 30 shots from each unit will do a lot of work.

Harlequins in Soup

Soup lists have gotten a lot less common in 9th than in 8th, thanks to the penalties to taking multiple detachments and the growing number of abilities which only work if your whole army is purely from one faction. However, Malik Amin-Rubio decided all this was nonsense, and decided to roll out a Craftworld Eldar/Harlequins army at the Stay Safe and Play GT – and took first place for the privilege in a field of players that can only be described as ‘nightmarish’. It’s a significant achievement – here’s the list:

Malik Amin-Rubio’s Harlequins/CWE – 1st Place, Stay Safe and Play GT

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Aeldari – Craftworlds) [25 PL, 499pts, -2CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Craftworld Attribute
. *Custom Craftworld*: Hail of Doom, Superior Shurikens

Detachment CP [-2CP]

+ HQ +

Farseer Skyrunner [7 PL, 135pts]: 0. Smite, 2. Doom, 4. Executioner, Ghosthelm, Psyker (Farseer), Ride the Wind, Rune Armour, Runes of the Farseer, Shuriken Pistol, Twin Shuriken Catapult, Witchblade

Yvraine [6 PL, 120pts]: Kha-vir, the Sword of Sorrows. Gaze of Ynnead, Unbind Souls, Smite

+ Troops +

Guardian Defenders [12 PL, 244pts] . 20x Guardian Defender: 20x Plasma Grenades, 20x Shuriken Catapult
. Guardian Heavy Weapons Platform: Shuriken Cannon
. Guardian Heavy Weapons Platform: Shuriken Cannon

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Harlequins) [82 PL, 1,500pts, -3CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment CP

Masque Form: The Frozen Stars: Hysterical Fury

+ Stratagems +

Enigmas of the Black Library (1 Relic) [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Shadowseer [6 PL, 115pts, -1CP]: Hallucinogen Grenade Launcher, Miststave, Shards of Light, Shield From Harm, Shuriken Pistol, Smite, Stratagem: Pivotal Role, The Shadowstone, Twilight Pathways, Veil of Illusion

Troupe Master [4 PL, 65pts, -1CP]: 6: Player of the Twilight, Choreographer of War, Darkness’ Bite, Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol, Stratagem: Pivotal Role, The Twilight Fang
. Warlord: Warlord

+ Troops +

Troupe [9 PL, 174pts] . Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol

Troupe [9 PL, 174pts] . Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol

Troupe [9 PL, 174pts] . Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol

Troupe [7 PL, 128pts] . Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Kiss, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Caress, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol

Troupe [5 PL, 70pts] . Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. Player: Harlequin’s Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol

+ Elites +

Death Jester [3 PL, 50pts]: Humbling Cruelty, Shrieker Cannon

+ Fast Attack +

Skyweavers [15 PL, 275pts] . Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive

Skyweavers [15 PL, 275pts] . Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive
. Skyweaver: Haywire Cannon, Zephyrglaive

++ Total: [107 PL, 1,999pts, -5CP] ++

This list thrives on making highly effective use of terrain and causing the opponent just absolutely gigantic headaches. Eschewing the normal complement of transports cuts down on the list’s early mobility a bit, but means that pretty much all of its models can be easily hidden and also near-completely shuts down the usefulness of Eradicators, which were present in a very high number of lists at the time. Honestly pretty much any points that an opponent has invested in weaponry with good AP is kind of wasted, as even the Guardians are able to boost up to a 4++ using Celestial Shield. That ends up meaning that the only type of damage output that really scares this list is high-volume shooting, and since that tends to be shorter range it’s more likely to get switched off by Veil of Illusion out of the gate.

That should give this list the window it needs to move to the mid-board, and once it’s in position there the opponent has real problems. The units are fast enough to hit a large proportion of the table on demand, and thanks to Frozen Stars they’re extremely deadly to boot. Once they hit combat, many opponents are going to have trouble extracting themselves thanks to Twilight Encore, shutting down vital shooting threats and picking up even more units. If they try and play a more cautious game, the mortal wound output this list can throw down thanks to the Craftworlds detachment’s HQ choices will wither some of their better stuff away, and on turns two and three they have to worry about the threat of the Guardian bomb turning up and punting one of their key units. The bomb does some heavy lifting here in forcing the opponent’s hand – either they fan out to screen themselves and open up their outer layers to being charged by the Harlequins, or they stay bundled up and give the Eldar free rein to take out the target of their choice.

This list really hammers home just how powerful Harlequins are, as it’s possible to deviate substantially from the “standard” configuration, add in some different ingredients and still end up with an army that’s a complete nightmare to play against and thoroughly capable of racking up big wins, and it did so in a highly competitive environment.

Conclusion

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this guide, which now weighs in at slightly longer than the Harlequins codex itself! As ever, if you think we’ve missed anything, or got anything wrong, then hit us up at contact@goonhammer.com or over on our Facebook Page, and we’ll do our best to respond.

 

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