Saturday, February 28, 2015

New 7th Edition Harlequins Codex Review - Part 3 of 4 - Elites

In this penultimate part of the Harlequin codex review I'm going to cover the Elites section of the book. As I've already mentioned there aren't tons of options here, in fact, this is the only section where you really need to make any decisions on what units to take. Fortunately you can take up to seven Elites choices in the Masque detachment. This section really feels more like an HQ section in any other codex but I can understand why GW has done it this way as it prevents the use of CADs and Allied Detachments. I can't say I like it but I at least see why.

Death Jester
These guys have seen effectively a massive increase in points. They used to be a 10pt upgrade for a Harlequin but now cost more than double that. For that extra cost you now get extra BS, initiative, leadership plus an extra wound and attack. Throw in Independent Character and Precision Shots and you're starting to see why they're more expensive. They've always been a weird unit really. They're effectively a heavy weapons upgrade for a squad but since the shrieker is an Assault weapon they don't hamper the combat abilities of the unit.

Speaking of the shrieker cannon it now has two fire modes. The first is identical to a shuriken cannon whilst the second is a single 2+ poisoned shot that had the potential to cause further wounds. Unless the enemy unit is particularly bunched together you're probably going to go for the normal shuriken cannon option but the shrieker version could be great against cheap units like guardsmen. Having Precision shots is great for sniping models too.

Finally, the Death is Not Enough rule is what is really exciting. You only have to cause a single casualty to force a morale check at -2 leadership. It's not clear if this modifier is cumulative with other effects but the Mask of Secrets is tempting as it would make Ld10 into Ld6 if they do stack. Let's not forget the Armour of Misery in the DE book too for a further -2 to Ld. That would mean anything Ld8 would flee on anything but a snake eyes. Not only that but you choose the direction of the first fall back move. Obviously this is situational but if you're on your own table edge it would be fun to make an enemy unit flee the board! Bear in mind that the Mask can only be taken by a Shadowseer though so you'd need one in the same unit or nearby.

Shadowseer
On the face of it he seems pricey for a T3 5++ save psyker, when compared to the SW rune priest, who costs the same. He does have WS6 though and I7 with an extra attack over the space wolf so would do pretty well against said rune priest in a challenge. Like the Death Jester his stats are much improved over the old ones in line with him becoming an IC.

That comparison is perhaps unfair though because the main reason you need a Shadowseer is for the excellent Phanstasmancy (bit of a mouthful) discipline. The main reason for this is that the old Veil of Tears power is the Primaris. That power alone makes up for the frailty of the other units and justifies the cost of the Shadowseer. Although remember this doesn't work from a transport unfortunately. Since you've got seven Elites slots I don't think it's unreasonable to take 3 or more Shadowseers so that each of your Troupes (and possibly an allied unit) has the benefit of the Veil. Let's take a look at the rest of the powers too:

Dance of Shadows - combine this with Veil and a unit could be incredibly durable. Nothing to stop you using it to boost a nearby vehicle's Jink save either.
Peal of Discord - reasonably effective Nova power but the main bonus is Concussive which helps reduce the initiative of an MC or similar before combat. Of course that's assuming it matters since your Harlies are I6+.
Shards of Light - Blind can be useful at times and there's the potential to seriously deplete a GEQ unit.
Fog of Dreams - sort of an inverse Invisibility. Difficult to say which is better. Invisibility makes one unit very durable but doesn't stop your enemy shooting something else. WC2 though which could be tricky if you roll low on your warp charge generation.
Laugh of Sorrows - potentially extremely devastating particularly for single model units and works on Fearless units too.
Mirror of Minds - kind of a buffed Mind War but with potentially limited warp charge it might be tough to make it Focussed.

You're going to want to cast Veil with all of your seers a lot of the time though so I think ML2 is a necessary upgrade if you want to cast anything else with any of them. With access to Telepathy I think the best option is to simply take the primaris from each giving you Veil and Psychic Shriek. That's a pretty awesome combo and without many warp charge dice it will mean your seers are likely to be able to cast two powers each as both are WC1. Of course Psy Shriek is best on the Seer with the Mask since he'll reduce enemy Ld by 2. So you could happily roll on Phantasmancy for your other Seers but having several Psy Shrieks can be devastating. Don't forget that two Seers in the same unit can't both cast it though.

Let's look at the Shadowseer himself some more though. His grenade launcher is fairly pointless against most targets. It can't hurt anything above T4 and at best will cause a couple of wounds. Interesting that the Pinning test is automatic rather than needing to wound though. The staff on the other hand is much better as it will be S6 on the charge giving him a chance of damaging some vehicles although wasted against anything else since it's Fleshbane. Concussive is again of debatable use since your army is likely striking first anyway. I'd consider a neuro disruptor to give him a bit of punch on the way into combat but again if you're running to get there it's a waste. I'd say keep him cheaper as you'll want more than one.

Solitaire
I'm in two minds about the new model (it's the horns I think) but the guy himself is pretty impressive; WS9, BS9 and 8 attacks at I10 on the charge is an insane statline. He may seem pricey for T3 but Eternal Warrior and 3++ helps. He'll need it though because, as his name suggests, he doesn't play well with others. To me that means you need to Deep Strike him in every game (that or put him in a Starweaver I suppose). It shouldn't be too difficult to get him behind some terrain so he can pop out and charge something the turn after he arrives though especially with his 12" movement and re-rollable run and charge moves.

As I've mentioned, that statline makes him a bit of an animal in close combat. The combination of Embrace Caress and Kiss is good too giving him a chance to wound anything (and at AP2 too) and the Kiss of Death attack gives potential to insta-kill something hefty. Precision Strikes is of debatable use since he'll often be in a challenge but it's nice to have when he isn't. I'd be very tempted by the Rose for truly awesome combat feats but I wouldn't bother with anything else.

I'd personally never make him my Warlord as although he's probably the easiest to keep safe you'd be wasting him and losing the opportunity for an excellent Warlord Trait. They may as well have just said he can't be your Warlord.

Finally, his Blitz move has potential to be a game winner. Assuming you use it on turn 5 you'd move an average of around 18"and still run and charge. Potentially he could move a huge distance but I wouldn't rely on it as he might end up moving less than he normally could. Still, the big thing is having 10 attacks (well 12 on the charge). That's enough to wipe out an enemy unit if he's even a little bit lucky.

Conclusion
If I wasn't excited about this book before, the Elites section has certainly got my mind racing. All three of the characters here have something to offer. The Death Jester is probably the weakest of the three but he could still be awesome with his Death Is Not Enough ability. Shadowseers are practically essential for the army and I use the plural deliberately. I can imagine the Solitaire being incredibly good but equally he could get shot down before doing anything at all. Even with EW he's still just 3 T3 wounds so he won't last long in the open. He just seems too much fun not to take though, if nothing else just for the look on your opponent's face when you explain his statline and rules.

It's funny really that the only optional bits of the book are the most exciting. As I say though, they've got my mind racing with the possibilities when combined with my Dark Eldar though. I really didn't want to buy any more models for a while but I might struggle to resist next time I'm at my FLGS.

Anyway, deep breath. The next post will be the last of this review where I'll talk about the formations in the book.

8 comments:

  1. Nice review. I like your style of writing these reviews, and find your insights very helpful :)
    I have just picked up my dex today, and am looking forward to seeing the combos to work with my DE.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words. I'm planning on writing a post discussing combining DE and Harlequins so look out for that.

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  2. Great review, and I agree with much of your assessment. However...

    - The Solitaire has a Harlequin's Caress, not a Harlequin's Embrace as you indicate.

    - I wouldn't bother with Cegorach's Rose on the Solitaire, as it is a somewhat expensive upgrade that replaces his Harlequin's Kiss and only sees use if he isn't using his Harlequin's Caress, so you are paying extra to make his included weapons basically obsolete. (General consensus from what I've seen is that he can use the Caress for most of his Attacks, but make a single Kiss/Rose Attack due to the wording of the Kiss of Death rule.) I see the Rose being much more useful on a Troupe Master, where all of its abilities can shine without paying a premium (you are replacing a Close Combat Weapon instead of a Kiss).

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    1. You're right about the Caress. I'll edit the post. I think the way you say it works is right. Nothing to stop you using both weapons. Obviously it's more expensive for a Solitaire than the Troupe Master but I reckon it's still worth it. The Solitaire needs to be winning combats and having Master-crafted and Shred will maximise his killing power. He's obviously still good without it but remember he's on his own so needs the extra punch in my opinion.

      I wouldn't give it to a Troupe Master. I think it'd be better to buy two more kisses for the squad. I don't think the Rose shines on a Troupe Master. He doesn't have enough attacks for it to matter that much.

      To be honest it's probably too expensive for both. When I've been trying to write lists I find points are at a premium once you'd met all the requirements of the formations or Masque detachment.

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    2. Agree on using the Rose on the Solitaire. Not worth it on a TM. The only upgrade for a TM I'd consider is cresendo, which makes use of his 3 attacks.

      I've also been struggling with a list for the Masque detachment that gets in everything I want with still 500 points of Dark Eldar, all under 1850. I can get it in at the 1850 level, but it is difficult.

      I have an idea for 3 Death Jesters riding around in a DE Venom, probably a complete waste of points, but I think it would be fun to do anyway.

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    3. yeah but he can use a signal kiss attack, and then all his other ones would be caress

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  3. On your Solitaire entry, Solitaires have the caress and the kiss, not the embrace. So no HofW attacks. The combo really works well, Auto wounds at AP2 on 6's to attack with the caress and the big bad kiss attack, especially with the kiss from the enigmas of the black library.

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    1. As above, I need to edit the post but it's still a great combo. See above for my thoughts on the Rose too.

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