Harlequins are one of those rough subjects for me. They are a unit that I pretty much dismissed from the get go. However I have recently found that they really do give Dark Eldar a unique position in the elite slot. I think to figure out where they stand, and their role, you really have to get on the tabletop. Not just with the harlequins, but with the other units that are also in the elite slots of your list.

Play with Incubi for a while, fire up your trueborn and send in those bloodbrides. First off, I am not going to talk about the one way people tend to validate Harlequins in the codex. That as a simple webway delivery system that cannot be shot at. It has valid points, but its a waste of the harlquins unless your archon is carrying the webway, which I also do not think is the most efficient use of an archon. 

Harlequins do not like transports apparently. So they should be using the webways to get where you need them. In fact, I now enjoy using harlequins out of a webway. Here are the facts on them that I believe make them a valuable asset in your lists.

1. They ignore difficult terrain. Woot, no need for grenades here, as they ignore it. (people forget this one often when you assault).

2. They have Melta. S8 AP1. Now this is cool, even though it is only 6". Harelquins are the one unit running around in your army that is not afraid to get in close to dreadnaughts. Where else do you find melta in the Dark Eldar? clue FA slots only.

3. They have Rending. Yes, if you are deploying them into the lines of the enemy, give them rending. You will need it. I know 22pts a model makes people cringe when they think equalling the cost of incubi is wrong. Bull. Harlequins can go through cover, incubi strike last in cover. Harlequins can break a dreadnaught, or hit and run if it fails, Incubi just get stuck and die.

4. Hit and run. You want to see how freaking fast you can hit a unit, and then be up to 18" away. Boo yah!. Look, I just moved 3d6" at the end of your assault phase. Now I get to move my 6"+ fleet+ 6" assault somewhere else. If there are still a couple models left alive after your close combat, good, leave them. Let someone that can use a pain token get the kill.

5. Finally, Veil of Tears. The one thing that Dark Eldar Excel at, is wiping out all units where they hit. The next problem is always, now that I killed everything here, how do I survive getting to my next target. Normally its called "I don't". Harelquins excel at surviving because you roll 2d6x2 in order to be able to see them during shooting.

Lets look at the role of the elites and compare.
Hekatrix. Cannot survive a shooting phase of bolters, WS4 (harlequins are 5)

Incubi. OMG there are bushes over there. Assaulting in cover is trouble, no grenades. No high strength weapon to deal with that dreadnaught.

Mandrakes. Oops not an assault unit (no grenades), still a shooty unit without the guns til the Haemonculi brings them.

Trueborn and Grotesques. These are completely different roles, and not really comparable.

Use your harlequins as shock troops, especially when coming out of a portal into enemy lines and flanks. They will exceed your expectations. Especially if they are backed up, and supported. For me that support comes in the way of Talos, Grotesques, and of course my favorite HQ Vect.

12 Comments:

  1. Thank you for the appreciation for the Harlequins...I love the clowns.
    I like to run them as Vect's mandatory groupies in his pimped ride. Granted it is 704 pts for a full boat...but if you are taking Vect...might as well bring the pain.

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  2. I've been looking at Harlequins lately, but haven't tried them out, yet. I think I might now.

    I must admit, though, that the original models leave a lot to be desired. I might make my own out of wyches.

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  3. Are you insane? The harlequin models are 10 times nicer and cooler than the Wyche models.

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  4. I've also had tremendous success using Harlequins as a fire magnet. A minimum squad with no upgrades aside from a Death Jester and Shadowseer.

    Drawing fire with T3 models is insane you say? With Veil of Tears at long range not so much. The trick is keeping them over 21" away so that the average roll can't reach them.

    In the meantime, I use their ability to move through cover to sweep in an arc to get side shots on transports. 3 x S6 shots usually stuns a vehicle so Wyches assaulting from the Webway can take it out with Haywire Grenades or a Talos can rip it up. I prefer the Wyches though because they can usually use their Fleet to surround a transport entirely and wipe out the squad inside when they blow it up.

    The cool thing about using Harlequins in this way is it dramatically increases the survivability of the whole army since units that miss their spotting distance can't target another unit, thus resulting in a lost shot. It was great robbing an entire Hydra Battery of all their shots! MUAH-HA-HA-HA!

    You just have to beware of vehicle mounted Hvy. Flamers moving towards them, but most players don't want to move TOWARDS a Webway portal.

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  5. Just be aware that the vehicle needs to be immobilized to get auto hits, vehicles that are stunned still require a hit based on previous movement. pg63

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  6. Thanks for the interesting ideas on Harlequins. I may consider them rather than incubi. One list I was going to try out was 8 incubi in a raider, but for 16 more points I could have 10 Harlequins including a Shadowseer, 2 fusion pistols, and 5 kisses.

    Looking at their entry again I didn't realise they had furious charge making them a good jack of all trade unit. Good horde control with 4 attacks each at high WS, can kill a tank with melta or str rending attacks, and can even kill heavy infantry through rending.

    I'll have to give them a go.

    Rathstar

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  7. Yea, the things I did not really mention were that Harlequins come with Furious Charge, are leadership 10 with a troupe master(9 otherwise), and Initiative 6(S4 I7 on the charge with rending).

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  8. My only issue is that they suffer from the same issue as incubi in that they are slow without a ride. Plus they are fragile if the enemy is fast enough to close on them and open fire (only 10 models, T3 with 5+ save).

    The Harlequins compete with hellions (that can be troops) and beastmasters who both have more wounds (ie. resilance) and don't need a ride to charge 19-24".

    For 250 points (the cost of the 10 man unit I mentioned in my previous comment) I can get 5 Beastmasters, 8 Khymeras & 6 Razorwing Flocks.

    The fusion pistols are nice, but I think the beastmaster unit will put out more damage in combat and is faster than harlequins on foot.

    Charging attacks from the harlequin unit I suggested has 20 str 4 & 20 str 4 rending against the beastmaster unit's 10 str 3, 32 str 4 & 36 str 3 rending.

    The harliquins do have higher ld, WS and I, so I'll have to try them out, but the beastmaster units seems to win out overall (unless I'm desperate for the AP1 melta).

    Rathstar

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  9. @Rathstar: Why not have both? ;)

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  10. Because I find I run out of points for non-troop combat units after I've bought 3 ravagers, 5 meched troop choices and a cheap HQ at 1750.

    I was dithering on spending the last 250 on either:
    A large incubi squad on a raider
    A small mounted incubi squad and a small 6th troop choice
    A beastmaster unit
    A harlequin unit

    All cost around 250 pts. In 2k I could take two. The only one I think is iffy is the large incubi unit and at the moment beastmasters are my top pick, but i'll have to try them all out.

    Rathstar

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  11. @Rathstar: Right, in that case Beastmasters are probably the best pick. I'd guess Harlies would need one or two webway portals as well – beasts have enough speed to do without.

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  12. I think the greatest benefit of Harlequins compared to Beastmasters and Incubi is that they provide attacks that can hurt heavy armour and also strike first, when charging into cover, without the help of an Archon/Baron.

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