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40K Tactics: Leaping Over Your Expectations with Harlequin Troupes

4 Minute Read
Apr 14 2020

I’ll admit I came for the bikes, but I’ve stayed for the Troupes!  What began as a mere painting challenge, has turned into nearly half a year run with playing a patrol of Harlies in every list.

When I saw the nastiness coming down the road with Knights, agreeing to a Harlequin painting challenge with my co-hosts on our podcast was easy. I wanted those bikes and I wanted them bad. Since including a unit of 6 Bikes in almost every list, I’ve been blown away by them. Yet whats shocked me more is how deadly the Harlequin Troupes are, especially when led by the Troupe Master.

To be clear, I am playing them only as a Patrol allied into the rest of my army typically, Alaitoc and Flayed Skull. So I cant speak to how they operate solo (I’ll get there eventually). But man this Patrol has carried my army at times and while the bikes are amazing… its been the Troupes that often time go in there and cut the heart of my opponents army.

So here is my little patrol just for reference

Soaring Spite (@600pts)

Troupe Master- Kiss, Fusion Pistol, Starmist Raiment

Troupe x5- 3x Kiss, 3x Fusion Pistol


Skyweavers x6- Haywire x6, Zephyr Glaives x6



Battlefield Role

So led by the Troupe Master these guys basically have 2 jobs. 1 is to hunt down big nasty characters or monsters. The other is to lend a bit of anti-tank fire support against armies that don’t feature big scary characters.

So I’ve been playing against a lot of Chaos and Chaos Daemons lately with Daemon Princes coming in hot and heavy trying to go after my bikes or my Alaitoc firebase of Reapers and the like. I’ve been shocked at how easily Harlequin handle those dudes and anyone in their class.

So positioning wise, I usually send my Starweaver with the Troupe + Troupe Master around with my Flayed Skull Venoms + Warriors. Turn 1 The Venoms + Warriors will begin to hose down the hordes (the Starweaver pitching in as well) and on Turn 2 give one last barrage from the Venoms to finish off the hordes before I go for glory, jumping over terrain and other models in the movement phase and in for the kill.

Opening up with the 4-5 Fusion Pistols even on a Daemon Prince with a 3++ has just been amazing. The damage is just so deadly especially when you are within that 3″ range where you roll 2 choose the best. Even if you just sneak a few through you can close in again with the Kisses as the finisher. That multi-damage output and re-rolling all wounds in combat with the Troupe Master has just been amazing.


If you can manage to Fire and Fade your bikes out of LOS (provided your opponent doesnt have artillery) you can save Prismatic Blur and Lightning Fast Reactions for your Troupes and give them some real staying power. You can also use the Soaring Spite stratagem to jump the Troupes back into their transport and perhaps surround through consolidation your other assault units (Wyches, Wraithblades, Reavers, Incubi etc) to screen the Troupe Master.

A while back I had my Harlequins run through 2 Daemon Princes, a Chariot, 2 Sorcerers and Ahriman. I would not expect that kind of run again from a single squad and a Troupe Master but like I mentioned the Fusion Pistols and Kisses are just a deadly combination. Even with great saves, if you sneak just a few of those through there are not a lot of characters survive both the pistols and kisses.

Sometimes I do run into situations where they are bit out of their element, like against Imperial Guard but even then I’ve surprised at how handy they can be. Using the Starmist Raiment (ignore overwatch) you can tag a bunch of vehicles with Fusion Pistols perhaps going into nasty areas you dont want to send your other hi-profile anti-tank units. Then use the Starmist Raiment Troupe Master to go into another tank and try and wrap around with the Troupe unit and perhaps the Starweaver to prevent return fire. Not optimal but having those guys just bouncing around taking vehicles out of the shooting phase can be super useful.

So in conclusion, I’ve really fallen in love with using these guys. They are challenging to run, but super rewarding to play. The fun thing is its not a huge investment of time, painting or really points to give them a whirl. A Troupe Master and the Troupe come in a single box, just pick up the Starweaver and give them a go. Plus its an easy in to getting the bikes lol!

~Are you game for the Harlequin Patrol Challenge?


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