Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dark Eldar Harlequins - Themed Army Considerations

It's no surprise to anyone (or at least I hope not) that Harlequins are featured in the upcoming Dark Eldar codex, available as an Elites choice. Identical in all respects to the stats in the Eldar Codex, they're dancing to a familiar tune.

Iggy has been busy painting 30 Harlequins (I am having nightmares with checkered designs for sure) in an attempt to put together a Dark Eldar Harlequin themed army, ready to rock as soon as the Dark Eldar Codex hits the shelves in November. Already you might get an idea of the kinds of strengths and weaknesses that we'll see with this kind of list, which should be obvious if you've taken a look at the leaked rules that are permeating the web.

Weaknesses Iggy? How utterly pessimistic of you. The sky is falling in? Not quite so grim, but if you want to make a Harlequin themed Dark Eldar army like me, you'd better be prepared for some hard truths...

The BIG one. Psychic powers
One glaring issue you'll have to deal with is that you'll have no Farseer support to boost their offensive power or keep up their defenses in return. No Doom/ Fortune is sad news indeed - rending takes a bit hit, not to mention their basic str3/4 attack, as we come to rely on whatever damage we can get from a single unbuffed charge. Of course the lack of Farseer support was going to be obvious, but consider the fact that there seems to be little to balance this weakness for our clowns in the Dark Eldar Codex.
You don't have to reroll 10 failed cover saves only to pass them all to realise just how worthwhile Fortune is for keeping our clowns alive. On the upside, I'm sure we can find other means of cheating death, and already I can see some nice opportunities presenting themselves with some Webway trickery.
As for Doom being out of the books, it's not necessarily a bad thing. With the multitude of anti-psychic abilities out there, it's probably better that we don't have to spend points on something that may or may not work for us. Now we can move on to options that we can rely on, and get that Mathhammer rolling.

Veil of Tears
VoT will still be hot as ever, and will provide interesting ways to use our brand new ICs in the 24" bubble. That's great and all, but what does it mean for the rest of the army - the non-Harlequin units?
VoT means that anything that can be shot will be shot, so I'll be looking at the Codex to see what kinds of exploits will be possible to mitigate or avoid damage. In the Eldar codex, Rangers and pathfinders were popular options, using cover save trickery to survive against impossible odds.

No Transports
Venoms ironically won' t be available for Harlies as a dedicated Transport, but I don't see this as much of an issue considering the fact that using those flip belts to bounce around terrain would offer much more protection than the rather light paperweight skimmer. Not to knock on the Venom too much - in fact I think it's a rather awesome addition to DE, but they wouldn't offer much protection to such an expensive unit upon which the army is based on that would have to take 5++ saves upon suffering a Vehicle Explodes! result. Not to mention that sticking Harlies in an open-topped light transport will be priority target 101...

Foot may not be such a bad thing for our clowns. In fact, I see some nice tricks ahead with Webway Portals - if you can get them into a desirable position, you'll be able to pounce with your Harlies at specific points with a kind of Surgical Strike manoeuvre. Forcing the opponent to deal with the Harlies where you want will open a rage of possibilities not allowed by the current Eldar codex. We can buy time for our scoring units to move in and take objectives, and cause a lot of damage while we're at it too.

Scoring units and Antitank
2 out of 3 missions are objective based, so careful consideration will be required in troop setup. First of all, they need to survive the game - particularly the shooting phase, as VoT means they'll be prime targets for enemy long range support.

Retrofire jets will be an interesting upgrade for your vehicles, allowing them to Deepstrike, disembark passengers, deploy Webway and perhaps allow your scoring units to make that sneaky dash towards objectives at the later stages. Very sneaky, very eldar.

Finally, what is certainly evident from the upcoming codex are the great options for antitank with lance and melta around every corner, but given what we've considered about VoT, we'll need to make sure we can get the most bang for our buck by keeping our antitank options in the game for as long as possible until we've forced the enemy on foot where we want them.

Certainly this army will be difficult to play correctly, not withstanding the fact that DE themselves are a finesse army, I think it's safe to say that this one will push it to the extreme. Here come the clowns. Watch this space...

Iggy out!


Unknown said...


What about a 'counts as' all harlequin army? Put some harlequin riders on the jetbikes, paint up the raiders like a circus performer, archon=great harlequin, lelith=solitaire, put some splinter rifles in the hands of some harlequins with death jesters carrying the heavy weapons and BAM! you have an all harlequin list. It is sounding tempting to me.

Iggy said...

I was considering something like that as soon as I'd heard there was no 'update' for the Harlies in the DE dex.
But it would be a shame not to use them as they were intended. I'm sure there will be a way to make them work, roll on the new codex!

Stormy said...

More importantly than nerfed units, can you get your Eldar stuff up to Limerick this weekend cos you missed a weekend of debauchery in Dublin. There's a pile of us crashing in UL cheap-cheap if you want in?