Thursday, February 26, 2015

New 7th Edition Harlequins Codex Review - Part 2 of 4 - Troops, Fast Attack and Heavy Support

As I've already covered, this is more of a cross between a supplement and a codex than a true codex in its own right. That means there aren't the same number of options to cover in these reviews as there normally would be. Today I'll cover Troops, Fast Attack and Heavy Support in one chunk with the Elites in the next post.

Troops - Troupe
Not difficult to figure out that "Troupes" are "Troops"! What we once simply called "Harlequins" are now "Players" and they've kept the same stats as before whilst dropping in points. Although nothing's changed on the statline it's worth reminding ourselves of it. WS5, I6, A2 and Ld9 is a formidable combination in combat. Coupled with Furious Charge that's 4 S4 attacks on the charge that will strike before pretty much everything. Crucially they've now been given grenades, not that it matters since the Flip Belt now ignores the penalties for charging through terrain.

You can now take up to 12 in a unit (well 11 players and a Troupe Master) which is handy when they come in packs of 6! As I just mentioned the Troupe Master is now rolled into the unit. This is both a blessing and a curse. It's great to have an Ld10 character in there, especially one with an impressive statline, but it's a shame to be forced to take one. The Players themselves can function perfectly well without a Master and they're a pretty pricey upgrade. The reduction in cost for the Players is almost irrelevant because or this. The codex is also geared to you taking these guys as Warlord. Not totally awful but a T3 W2 5++ save model wouldn't be my first choice as Warlord in any other codex. When Slay the Warlord is sometimes a game winner having a comparatively flimsy one seems risky. You could give him the Raiment to make him that bit more durable but it won't help him turn one. If you're going down the line of Troupe Master as Warlord, (and I still think you should) go for an allied DE character with a webway to keep him safe until he's needed. Anyway, I think a Kiss is a must for the Troupe Master for those challenges and perhaps even give them to a handful of Players too.

The Kiss is an excellent weapon. It may have lost Rending but what it gains instead is an S6 AP2 attack with the potential for Instant Death. Of course this attack might miss but that chance of killing something like a wraithknight outright is too tempting to pass up. The Caress is handy for anti-tank possibilities but I think the Kiss is better generally. The Embrace is interesting but since it has no AP value it's again difficult to chose it over the Kiss.

You can now have an unlimited number of fusion pistols and the new neuro disruptor but the former has increased in cost by 50% making it a pricey upgrade. Since you're likely to be running a lot I'd probably keep costs to a minimum and get your anti-tank elsewhere. Mind you, in the aforementioned webway set up, a couple of fusions could help you break open those steel boxes.

The problem is going to be getting your Troupe into combat safely but that's where the Starweaver comes in.

Fast Attack - Starweaver

It's difficult not to draw parallels with the DE Venom and the Starweaver. Both are AV10 with 2 HP and both have a 5++ save. Firepower wise the Starweaver is probably more flexible as it can be used to take on infantry and light vehicles alike but against high toughness targets the Venom obviously shines through. The Mirage Launchers are interesting though as they allow you to effectively Jink but without the Snap Shot penalty. They'll also help keep you alive turn one against those pesky Ignores Cover shots that are becoming more plentiful.

The Starweaver also boasts an extra space in its transport capacity. This is what I wish the Venom had as it's great for attaching a character. The transport capacity is an issue though. For starters you'll be torn between staying at range and shooting and blasting forward to get into combat. The cannons will come in handy for softening up assault targets though. That's assuming you make it there in one piece though. Turn one you blast forward so that you can move 6" turn two and charge. If you blow up it doesn't matter as, being open topped, you can still assault and having Run and Charge still makes that a possibility. Hang on though, if you get blown up (and you're more than likely to even with a Jink save) that's an S4 hit per model which will wound on a 3 and you've got to save it on a 5+. Realistically that's two models (or even three) down before you charge and then you've got to weather Overwatch which might claim another life. You're going to need more bodies I reckon. We're gonna need a bigger boat.

Perhaps then the better option is the DE Raider. The Wave Serpent hampers your charges too much so we'll forget that. The Raider doesn't pack the same firepower but is 15pts cheaper, can Deep Strike and could be given Night Shields to make it the same cost as the Starweaver. You're now taking 10 models into the fight and therefore more into combat should the raider explode. To me, at least, it seems that the Starweaver should be a gunship rather than a transport. Use it like you would a Venom but remember you'll need to be closer than a Venom would. Of course you could put a small unit in there to make it a dual threat but I think it's safer not to.

Fast Attack - Skyweavers
Similar in concept to a Vyper but with a better execution I reckon. They play more like an attack bike than a Vyper too. They fit in well with the "fast but deadly" aesthetic that Harlequins share with DE. By default each one comes with a Star bolas which are a one shot S6 AP2 blast. It's frustrating that they don't get a 3+ save like Windriders but perhaps that's a sign of things to come for Eldar (like Holo-fields too perhaps). Still 4+ and a shuriken cannon isn't bad at all. They're probably more durable than a Starweaver and put out a similar amount of damage for slightly higher cost.

Upgrades-wise the zephyrglaiver is pricey but makes them into a nasty prospect in combat with 4 S5 AP2 attacks on the charge (plus Hammer of Wrath). Like for everything in the book, Hit & Run will be a godsend at times. I can't decide about the haywire cannon. It can't one-shot a vehicle so you'd need the squad to have them and that takes away some of the flexibility a shuriken cannon offers. I reckon DE Scourges are a better source of haywire but Harlequins aren't exactly spoilt for ranged anti-tank so don't necessarily ignore them altogether.

Heavy Support - Voidweaver
Speaking of anti-tank the Voidweaver is the Harlequins' answer for a pretty reasonable cost. I definitely think the prismatic cannon is worth the points. You can use it for killing off cheap objective grabbers, whittling down marines that are bunched up or perhaps even a cheeky vehicle kill if you're lucky. It shares the same frailties as the other Harlequin vehicles and 24" range doesn't help but hopefully the speed of the army will keep your opponent distracted. The rear mounted gun is an interesting idea and having two targets is nice but I think it won't get fired much.

There isn't much else to say about the Voidweaver. They're decent but not awesome. Mind you, for the points you can't really complain.

The biggest factor here will be the Masque detachment. Having only two fast attack slots means that if you want Starweavers you're going to need to take them as Dedicated Transports. That's assuming you're taking Skyweavers as your compulsory Fast Attack choices of course. If you don't fancy them, or are keeping points to a minimum then take a couple of Starweavers in Fast. It's debatable which is better mind you. Voidweavers are even more limited by the Masque. You can only take a single squadron of them so if you want more than one they'll all be firing at the same target. That's not so bad if you're hitting a vehicle as S7 or Haywire isn't awesome in a single shot but it's a shame you can't hit several infantry units with blasts. It's debatable how the aft cannon will function too. Does the whole squadron have to shoot the same rear target?

Reading back through my comments you might think I'm being negative but I actually like the units I've talked about here. Clearly though the Harlequins will need support from another race to be truly devastating. The Masque might prove to be a limitation there too as you have to spend a minimum of 500pts to fulfil the compulsory requirements. That's a fair chunk when you haven't even added upgrades yet. The formations will help here though.

As I said, tomorrow I'll look at the Elites section which is where this book gets really interesting....


  1. I played a game with the new harlequins the night the codex dropped. I used the masque formation, minus the void weaver. I had three star weavers as transports and four sky weavers, two with haywire cannons, and two with shuriken cannons. The MVPs were the three shadow seers, the solitaire, and the haywire sky weavers. They worked wonders opening up razorbacks, and taking out inquisitor henchmen squads. There was plenty of shuriken cannons with the three star weavers. I really appreciated the blast, haywire cannons. Next battle I would take six with haywire cannons.


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