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