40K: Harlequins Flip Into 8th

Games Workshop is back with another Faction Focus and this time they are sending in the Killer Clowns – It’s the Harlequins!

When the Harlequins returned to the tabletop, they were an odd army. You really had to ally them with either Eldar or Dark Eldar to get any real milage out of them. You could try to run them solo but they were a very glass-cannon type army. If they got the right combo of shooting or melee charges off, they could break just about anything – but they definitely had a resilience problem when taking return fire. But it sounds like GW took those lessons to heart and have tweaked the army in some very interesting and thematic ways:

via Warhammer Community

The Harlequin armies in the new Warhammer 40,000 are true close combat masters and will be bouncing around the field with their flip belts, which allow them to ignore terrain and other models when moving. The other half of their incredible mobility comes in Rising Crescendo, which allows them to advance and charge, or charge even after falling back. This makes them extremely mobile when combined with their Move characteristic of 8”.

That’s right folks, the Harlequins will be in-and-out like a fast food restaurant. Most armies are going to have a rough time keeping them contained. Rising Crescendo is a great faction ability as leaving combat during the movement phase, then shooting and then charging right back in will be super deadly! Keep in mind chargers strike first now – that means Harlequins will almost always be striking first on their turns. And as you’ll see, it’s going to leave a mark…

“[The Solitaire] is a blender made manifest. He moves 12” normally and has 8 Attacks. He can either swing with his Harlequin’s Caress which does 1 wound at Strength 5, AP -2, or his Harlequin’s Kiss which does D3 Damage at Strength 4, AP -1. He also has a 3+ invulnerable save, which is extremely good and pretty rare to find on such a fast-moving unit. However, the truly juicy ability he has that sets him apart from the rest is Blitz. The Blitz ability allows you to move an extra 2D6” and gain 2 Attacks once per game. With the fact your army can advance and charge, that’s a potential 30” move! Combined with the ability to leap and flip through enemy ranks, he can easily charge past screening units and mince vulnerable backfield support characters.”

This is just one example of the type of damage the Harlequins can bring. The flip belts allow the Harlequins to move through terrain and other models during their movement – the Solitaire will be taking advantage of that obscene movement to bypass all the chaff units and go right for the heart of your forces. Did you have an important character hiding in the back giving out auras and buffs? That’s cute. Deal with the Solitaire’s fury! And don’t think the meat-and-potatoes units are push-overs either…


The “basic” troupes are fast enough to get to combat, deadly enough to take out their targets, and tough enough to take a round (or two) of return fire. That 4+ Invulnerable save is no joke! Plus if you have a character like the Shadowseer nearby providing them with Shield from Harm, “which makes your opponent subtract 1 from the wound rolls for any attacks made against friendly Harlequin infantry units” – suddenly these “squishy” clowns aren’t getting knocked down very much!

Now, at this point I’m sure everyone is thinking, “yeah, that sounds fast…but there has to be a better way to get them across the board besides running.” Yep – enter the Starweaver.

“The Starweaver moves 16”, has Toughness 5, 6 Wounds, a 4+ invulnerable save and the ever-useful Fly keyword. Fly on an open topped transport equates to greatness and is the envy of the lesser races’ transports which crawl along the ground and get bogged down. The thing that keeps this vehicle alive though is the Mirage Launchers, which make your opponent subtract 1 from any hit rolls made against this model in the shooting phase.”

If you aren’t aware, Fly allows units to Fall Back and still shoot. So if you think you can just “pin it” in close-combat you’re sadly mistaken. The Starweaver will simply pass on by and shoot you on the way out (and probably the folks riding inside, too). That speed and evasiveness combined with the Mirage Launhers -1 to hit rolls and a 4+ invulnerable save will make those 6 wounds last a lot longer than you might expect. Sure, you could concentrate your fire on it to blow it up – but that’s just ONE transport. The rest of the clowns are coming to rip your face off.

If you’re “lucky” you might be able to re-attach it…results may vary.

What do you think of the “new” Harlequins? Are you ready to “send in the clowns?”

  • Is it just me or someone else thinking that the Shadowseer is just a Shadow of his former glory?
    (pun intended more or less)

    • Dan Brugman

      he’s more of a supporting character now (play pun intended) which is what a shadowseer aught to be.

      • Karru

        So that’s what we are doing? Bad puns?

        Get your act together.

        • Dan Brugman

          Don’t be an antagonist, we haven’t hit the climax yet.

          • Karru

            Your pun sounds a little staged. You should work more on your word play.

          • euansmith

            There is always another theatrical pun waiting in the wings.

          • EnTyme

            I’ve never scene so many bad puns!

          • Walter Vining

            you people need to get your act together

          • Karru

            I would say for you to go and break a leg, but with your puns, I don’t think the cast will suit you.

          • Moik

            Yeah stop clowning around.

          • polyquaternium7

            It ain’t over until the fat lady sings!

    • Dennis J. Pechavar

      It’s no longer a lvl 4 psyker that it was in 2nd so yeah it’s less than it was.

    • AX_472

      The wound reduction makes up for the low psyker power usefulness. played my first game of 8th the other day. Shocked to find my shadowseer now costs more than a farseer but casting 2 blocking 1 and having smite and one other power added to the wound reduction bubble effect and a shadowseers decent combat stats makes it worth the points. I also blitzed with my solitaire for the first time, it was blissful. I was also playing ynnari so he soulbursted and attacked twice that turn. 20 attacks on two units as he consolidated into another unit after killing the first. 🙂

    • J Mad

      Nope, they are indeed better, every Harlequin player will be taking 2-3 for sure.

      -1 to hit and -1 to wound is extremely strong, especially when you have a 4++

  • Dan Brugman

    It’s not mentioned in the article, but Troupe Masters got a huge upgrade as well and are a lot more reliable as a warlord choice than before. They are no longer a unit leader and got bumped up to 5 wounds.

    • Defenestratus

      All W3 characters got bumped up to W5. At least in the Eldar range anyways. He’s really not better anymore than any other model in the Eldar range.

      • Dan Brugman

        He was 2 wounds and not a solo before

  • mrbleak

    I have an unrelated question but can´t find an answer anywhere, maybe someone here knows.
    Do Ork Ammo runts and Squig Bombs take up transport capacity?

    • Karru

      Yes. They are separate models these days.

      • mrbleak

        Thank you, though your answer made me sad 🙁

        • euansmith

          I’d love to see other forces getting support characters like the runts. So Space Marines could have servants following them in to battle in a nicely grim dark manner.

          • Xodis

            Like the Inquisitors and their bullet sponges? Seems very Imperiumish lol

          • euansmith

            “Discard 1 Loyal Servant to either ignore a wound or re-roll failed Shoot Dice.” 😀

          • memitchell

            Primarus Marines could let their runt Space Marine brothers tag along.

          • euansmith

            😀 😀 😀 Oh, you.

          • PiotrekEtoo

            I believe they can take cherubs in this manner

          • Crevab

            Just the ammo runt in the Devastator squad

  • Heinz Fiction

    Harlequin Troupes might probably be the best troop choices for Craftworld Eldar. They have no syngery with them as they don’t benefit from warlock or farseer psychic powers but still outclass all the other underwhelming native troop choices…

    • Xodis

      Except Troupe models are 15 points before gear, while Dire Avengers are only 10, Guardian Defenders 8, and Storm Guardians only 7.
      You pay for that outclassing.

      • Well, Avengers with gear cost 17 too and are still not overly impressive for 17 points…

        • Xodis

          No, but there is a lot more they can benefit from in their army too. Plus Overwatching on a 5+ and Battle Focus are pretty awesome.

          • I wouldn’t call Battle Focus “pretty awesome”, but it’s better than nothing, sure. Overwatch on 5+ looks OKish, but I’d prefer to move away from assault units and keep shooting them instead of relying on a 5+ overwatch.

          • Xodis

            I would. Being able to count as stationary with every weapon except heavy is a boon and allows them to keep that coveted 3+ BS skill. Not even Marines can say that.
            With a 7″ movement and the ability to advance and still shoot you have that ability thanks to Battle Focus.

          • Marines don’t have that many Assault weapons anyway to benefit from such.

          • Xodis

            True, but the ones they do have would really wreck face if they could “Battle Focus”.

          • Defenestratus

            And they still will wreck face – with a 4+ to hit instead of a 3+. Not all that much of an advantage, but that’s 8th edition for you. Mediocrity presented as Excellence in every regard!

          • Xodis

            Eh, making a Marine shoot like a Guardsman seems like a big hit IMO.

          • Yea, but surely not Dire Avengers though 😉 If everyone could move full 6″ as in 7th, then maybe. But that randomness just isn’t great. And not being able to move after shooting hurts them even more as they want to get away and not closer.

          • Xodis

            I think it works out perfectly for them.
            Enemy advances> Move DA away to maximum weapon range (18″) and you have 8-13″ to play with which is on average more movement than any other non-Eldar/non-Vehicle models. On the off chance its a unit loaded in a vehicle or something just DS right next to you they have the 5+ overwatch to make them think twice at least. Nothing for the equivalent points of a DA squad is going to make it in one piece.

          • Heinz Fiction

            Overwatch on 5+ won’t help them against anything that threatens them in CC and battlefocus only offsets their low regular weapon range.

          • Xodis

            Overwatch is there to help prevent being in CC in the first place, literally doubling their chances. Battle Focus also allows you to Kite those CC units you worry so much about.

        • disqus_IOCtT5297e

          I don’t know if I’m correct, but I think the Exarch is free now, and his weapons are 4 points only, so for 82 points you can have 4 dire avengers and a exarch with a power glaive or dire sword. It’s cheaper than in 7th and a good compromise between shooting and melee.

          • The Exarch did lose 2 attacks on the charge though which is a huge drawback.

      • Heinz Fiction

        A harlequin will likely be at 21 points with gear, a dire Avenger is 17 (Ranger is 20 as well). This is about in in the same range. The fire output of Avengers is about the worst of any troop choice in the game thats dedicated to shooting, While the harlequin is pretty deadly in CC.

        Guardian defenders are a joke since 5 Editions now with their 12″ pistols that pretend to be assault weapons and when you finally think they’d at least get free choice of their antigrav weapon now, with splitting fire and such, they get punished with -1 to hit if they take anything other than a shuriken cannon.

        Storm guardians are terrible fighters but if you want to make a fearless tarpit unit in rage of your Avatar, they might have a purpose…

        • Xodis

          Harlequin with gear is 16 points, but thats just a Shuriken Pistol and Basic CC weapon.

          I wouldnt say being able to Overwatch on a 5+ makes anyone the worst dedicated shooting unit. Not to mention an 18″ Assault 2 weapon puts them in a category above even the NuMarines in mid distance shooting.

          Special Weapons are what makes the Guardians worth taking, Shuriken Cannons are good enough I wouldnt worry too much about it anyways, plus anything else is better to keep at a distance and wont be moving much.
          Storm Guardians might make a good suicide squad with a couple Fusion guns, but Tarpit works too.

          • Heinz Fiction

            I said LIKELY 21 points because you would LIKELY swap out the harlequin blade which does nothing for a harlequins embrance which is essentially a power sword with +1S.

            And Dire Avengers only look like good shooters if you don’t factor in the points. If you do factor them in you realise that almost anyone outtrades them in firefights. And really this overwatch thing is a gimmick I wouldn’t even pay 1P for. So, nice you cause ~1,5 wounds more if anything charges you? Guess what? You still die.

          • Xodis

            Still have to catch them. 7″ Movement, +1D6 Advance movement still firing at 3+ with an 18″ range.

          • Defenestratus

            No ability to reroll that 1D6 means that most of the time (in my case) they’ll be moving 1″ extra. woohoo. It was one of the things I was worried about with Eldar in this new edition. Fleet/Battlefocus is going away and they needed to have a movement stat that reflected that. Unfortunately 7″ is still pathetically slow compared to the standard marine movement. Combined with the DA’s lack of armor and toughness they’ll be a hard sell to use as a troops choice.

            It’s ok. We Eldar players, up until 7th edition have had to deal with terrible troop choices. It appears the neckbeards who playtested this joke of an edition thought to put us back into the realm of mediocrity in that regard. No Matter – I won’t complain endlessly like a Chaos Marine player about it. I’ll just keep playing my Asurmen host and have a good time… just… with all my dudes in wave serpents.

          • Xodis

            I happen to play both CSM and Eldar, and stay as positive as possible lol.

            Sure there will be times when you only get that 1″, but thats still 2 inches further than Space Marines and you can double tap them more often. Stay outside a 12″ charge range, and if they do get extremely lucky you have 5+ Overwatch to fall back on…its not hopeless, but its not really specialized like 99% of Eldars other options. Plus all of this is cheaper than most other Elite Armies troop choices.

            And I liked my Troop Wraithguard back in 5e.

  • Arianod

    Flippin’ Harlequins, amirite?

  • Maciek Kiliszek

    They lost power weapons…

    • Weidekuh

      Nope, troupe master still has it just as before. For only 4 points.

      • Maciek Kiliszek

        I think previously they all had PW’s…. :/ sure they can take other things but still

        • ledha

          no they didn’t

  • Dennis J. Pechavar

    Send in the clowns indeed! Love it!

  • foulestfeesh13 .

    Stop calling harlequins clowns they are two completely different things

    • euansmith

      But these guys are hardly the normal Harlequin, are they. More like Mr Punch on steroids. 😉

    • Moik

      They totally are!

      Notice how ‘Clowns’ are one of the characters in the ‘Harlequinade’?


      • foulestfeesh13 .

        Look up the definitions in a dictionary they are different. Plus Wikipedia isn’t a very reliable source of information.

        • Moik

          Why does everyone keep saying that?!?? LOOK AT THE SOURCES THEY LINKED. IT’S NOT ‘FROM WIKIPEDIA’

  • NikosanPrime

    One quick comment is I have 120+ Halequins (a lot are RT ones) and I am definitely dusting them off and buying some vehicles to go with them!

  • Vachones

    A year ago I took a Harlequin army to a tournament and lost every game. This year I think I will take that same army to the same event. Who’s laughing now punks!?!

  • eMtoN

    Love it. Killer clowns ftw

    • Me

      Killer Klowns from Outer Space no less…

      IMHO, that movie was so bad it was good. Every time someone calls Harlies clowns, it is what I think of.

  • LaffingGod

    When did S3, 0AP become ‘deadly’ ???

    • mark

      since they will always take a special weapon which makes them far better

  • mark

    ordered 2 more Starweavers….ready to get them going!