Warhammer 40,000 Faction Focus: Harlequins
Harlequins are one of the most flavourful factions in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. They’re the Aeldari followers of Cegorach, the Laughing God. Arch-enemies of Chaos, they represent hope for the future of the Aeldari, recruiting from all factions of their race and remaining safe from the hunger of Slaanesh. They’re also defenders of the webway and the Black Library*, ensuring that the priceless information held within never falls into the wrong hands. In the last edition of Warhammer 40,0000, using a Harlequin army could be pretty tricky – they tended to be a glass hammer, hitting very hard but with no ability to take the punches back.
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”.
Harlequin Troupes individually are the equal of other faction’s heroes in melee, but their real power comes in the synergy they have with their characters, such as the Shadowseer. This model has 5 Wounds and packs a punch, with his Miststave granting +2 Strength, -1 AP, and D3 Damage. But the real reason you take this beast is for his ability Shield from Harm, which makes your opponent subtract 1 from the wound rolls for any attacks made against friendly Harlequin infantry units. This makes those Toughness 3 models vastly more resilient and means even a Lascannon needs a 3+ to wound a basic Troupe member. Combine that with the fact your entire army has invulnerable saves thanks to their holo-suits, and you’ll find these warrior-dancers can prove surprisingly resilient.
Next up we have my personal favourite Harlequin hero, the Solitaire. This character 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. If your opponent isn’t careful, the Solitaire will leave a trail of destruction in his wake.
Lastly let’s talk about what I feel is one of the, if not the, best transports in the game. 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. These vehicles put your deadly Harlequins where you want them on the table and are surprisingly resilient.
Harlequins are one of the strongest armies I have played in Warhammer 40,000. They move so fast and hit like trucks in close combat while also packing a surprising close ranged sting in the shooting phase, too. I hope all of you have been practising painting diamonds, as Harlequins will be a tremendously fun army to play.
The full rules for Harlequins in the new edition of Warhammer 40,000 can be found in Index: Xenos 1. If that has inspired you to give these Guardians of the Black Library a go on the tabletop, start your army off with a Troupe of Harlequins, who are, quite unsurprisingly, a Troops choice in a Harlequins army…
*The one that’s in the webway, not the guys who make books in Nottingham – Ed.