Hello again, Folks! NoName1 here to weather the anti-Eldar angst and talk about the *other* Eldar…
No, not those ones (great picture though) – these ones!
Although they haven’t been D-eemed worthy of the same D-ismay as some other, unname-D releases, Harlequins are still new kids on the block, and I’ve been slowly collection and playtesting mixing them with Craftworld Eldar. As Allies, they already had some interesting effects on my Eldar armies, but now since the new Codex dropped, a few other combos have jumped out at me already-
Combo 1: The Banshee Mask
The new Banshee Mask wargear in the Eldar Codex now makes their unit un-Overwatchable (sp?). It’s standard on Howling Banshees Aspect Warriors, but can also be found on two Independent Characters in the Codex who can spread the love throughout an army!
Incidentally, that also makes these some of the only units in the game that would ever want to charge the dreaded D-Scythe Wraithguard.
So, where to put one?
First, Troupes. Harlequin Troupes are, despite their obvious fragility and cost, one of the more dangerous Assault units in the game, because of their high Initiative and variety of S6/Auto-Wounding/Auto-Hitting/AP2 attacks. And unlike base Eldar assault units, they do have fast-moving delivery options in either their own Starweavers or Allied DE Raiders/Venoms.
That said, Troupes are most vulnerable on their way to the charge, and arguably most of all when they expose themselves to actually make a Charge roll and have to weather Overwatch. One solution? Take Phoenix Lord Jain Zar (the Howling Banshees Phoenix Lord) and add her to the unit. She grants the unit Fearless, offers up some 2+ Saves to tank a little, and adds her own considerable combat prowess to the unit. Last, but not least, her Banshee mask negates enemy units’ ability to fire Overwatch AND drops units in combat with her by -5 to Initiative and Weapon Skill. With that kind of gut-punch to WS, the Troupe don’t even need Fear to get the Defensive/Offensive bonus in CC. In return, Jain Zar gets a bodyguard unit that can keep up with her through terrain, and can offer better punch than the gentle S3/AP3 attacks of her Aspect.
Throw in a Shadowseer for the added defense of Veil of Tears, and your unit is now far more survivable than it would have been, and much more dangerous in combat once it gets there. It’s not cheap, and it takes an HQ or Formation slot to pull it off, but if you want to run Harlequins on foot, it’s not a bad choice.
Side note- Another reason to go with Jain Zar is her ability to add 3″ to her Run/Charge moves, making her one of the only IC’s capable of running with Harlequins on foot without potentially slowing them down as they completely ignore Terrain penalties.
The other combination that jumps out at me is an Autarch, on a Jetbike, with the Shard of Anaris, Banshee mask, and Reaper Launcher if you’re feeling saucy. Pop that bad boy in a unit of Skyweaver Jetbikes with Glaives and Shuriken Cannons, and he grants them Fearless (from the shard), a little extra oomph, a Character to handle those Challenges – and, of course, immunity to Overwatch. He, in return, gets slightly tougher bodyguards than Shining Spears (albeit more expensive) with a *lot* more threat at range, a little more teeth in combat (thanks to the AP2) and the ever-popular Hit & Run. Oh, right, and Fear.
The Autarch of course also works with Shining Spears at a discount, but with fewer wounds, less Dakka, softer punches, and no H&R.
Is either of these combos great? Hard to say. They’re no slouches, but they’re still fragile and mind-bogglingly points-intensive. However, with careful play, they can do some serious work. And, they’re not something most players would ever expect to face.
Combo 2: Leadership-based Attacks
The sheer number of ways Eldar and Harlequins have to mess with Leadership makes me want to make an entire army devoted to attacking Leadership. I ran some numbers the other day, and between Eldar and Harlequins, you can nail a unit with a Morale/Pinning test at -9 Ld. Negative NINE. In short, if it’s not Fearless, it’s failing.
1. Hemlock Wraithfighter – the Hemlock’s Mindshock Pod now – wonderfully! – only affects enemy units, and so you don’t need to position it as carefully. The Mindshock Pod’s updated rules give enemy units within 12″ a -2 penalty to any Pinning/Morale tests.
2. Warlocks – on Jetbikes or on foot. Warlocks have access to the Terrify power, a -3 to Leadership Malediction power. Now that Warlocks are Brotherhood of Psykers (ish), a unit of them will no longer get duplicate powers, which increases the odds of getting any/all Warlock powers in a unit. So, a useful power that’s now more reliable to roll than ever. Not to mention, put them in the Seer Formation and they’ll Harness Powers on 3+! Granted, “more reliable than ever” is still no guarantee – this is the only element of this list that you can’t control and still have to roll for.
3. Shadowseers have access to the ever-wonderful Mask of Secrets, a 12″ bubble of -2 Leadership to all enemy units. Oh, and it makes the Shadowseer (and unit) Fearless.
4. The Death Jester’s “Death is not Enough” rule means that any unit that takes a wound from his shooting takes a Leadership Check at -2 Ld. And, for extra lulz, if they fail that check the Death Jester’s controller gets to choose which way the unit falls “back” to.
Add it up (with a lot of luck and careful positioning of course) and your maximum penalty to a target unit is -9 (2+3+2+2). Not to mention, if you screw up or get unlucky, that’s still Ld. Penalties all over the board. Sprinkle with Psychic Shriek, Mind War, Hallucinogen Grenades, or – heck – the Fear that all Harlequins come with stock.
If you’re playing in an event that allows 3+ Detachments, you can also always toss in a DE Archon with the Armor of Misery for an utterly absurd -11 Ld. on that test, and/or to just bring down enemy Leadership all over the board *even more.* Just remember to pack some punch to still deal with Fearless units and Vehicles as well.
Combo 3: The Shadowseer
This one is fairly obvious, the Shadowseer is an awesome addition to any army, most notably so for the Phantasmancy Psychic Discipline (to which it has exclusive access) and the guaranteed-if-you-want-it Primaris power, Veil of Tears. Veil of Tears is a Blessing that targets the Shadowseer and their unit, and forces any unit that wants to shoot at them to roll 2d6 and multiply the result by 2. If the number total is less than the range between the firer and their Veiled target, the firer doesn’t fire. At all. This power (if it goes off, of course) is amazing. It means, at worst, any unit more than 24″ from the Blessed unit won’t even bother shooting at them, while any closer unit takes a big risk in trying to shoot them, with the average distance on that (2d6)x2 being 12 to 16″. Also a base Shadowseer won’t break the points bank, so you could have several of them (Masque Detachment) in an army.
Units that come to my mind as powerful places to stash a Shadowseer are:
1. Dark Reapers. Reapers are unspeakably nasty shooters, with their re-roll to hit vs. Flyers, Ignoring Jink outright, and the option of S5 AP3 (two shots) or S8 AP3 (one shot). The only problem is they’re one-Wound, T3 Infantry that do their best work on foot and cost a bucketload of points. Sure, they’re solid in a Starweaver, but a Shadowseer with Veil of Tears makes them just that much less likely to go up in a red mist as soon as they step into the open. Their own 48″ firing range also helps here, meaning they could be well out of Veil of Tears range for most enemies and still contribute a lot of fire to the game.
2. Guardian Defenders. Backfield-camping (or not) Guardian Defenders, either a big blob of 20 with two Heavy Weapons, behind an Aegis Defence Line, or both. Guardians are very fragile, and if put in a Transport tend to die when it blows up on them. Throw a Shadowseer in there, it costs a little more than half as much as a Wave Serpent and actually has almost better odds of keeping them alive late into the game.
3. Wraithblades, Harlequin Troupes, Howling Banshees, etc. This one is obvious, all of those Assault units need to keep their strength up as they get in close, and dropping the threat of incoming fire, even a little bit, goes a long way towards getting a unit where they need to be, with enough bodies to make an impact. You do lose a little speed though, not putting them in a Transport, as Blessings can’t be cast while embarked on one.
Keep in mind here that every unit that can’t be shot at is extra firepower directed at your other units. So if you start using a lot of Shadowseers, be ready for your un-Veiled units to take a lot more heat than before, in a lot of games.
And that’s that! Anyone had the chance to put the new Harlequins through their paces? I think they’re being seriously overlooked in the current Meta, but my playtesting of them has been limited so far at best.