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Coulrophobia Part 2

Image result for harlequins 40k images

Embrace Your Inner Geek here again with the second instalment of my Harlequins Codex review. Up this time, Masques. 

Masque forms, are the Harlequin equivalent of “chapter tactics”. There are 6, and all have associated Enigmas (what Harlies call their Relics), Warlord Traits and Stratagems. In this instalment I’ll deal with each of the Forms, and discuss their associated rules. They’re not all great to be honest, but there are a couple of really good one.

Midnight Sorrow

Masque Form. Midnight Sorrow units (all units, not just infantry) move an additional d6 when falling back, and consolidate 6”, not 3”. I got really excited about this Form, before I realised that consolidate is not pile in (!). A 6″ consolidation is good, but a 6″ pile in would have been amazing! Still, this is the Form for “dancing” through gun lines “tagging” units so they fall back and can’t shoot. With this Form, a Solitaire “in your base, killing your dudes” becomes even more terrifying. 

Stratagem – No Price Too Steep. If a character dies, he can fight again for 2CPs. If the Character is a Solitaire, or was slain by a Chaos unit, he gets +1 Strength and +1 attacks when he fights again. Again, good for a Solitaire.

Warlord trait – Nemisis of the Damned. Sixes to hit give you an additional hit, and +1 to hit against Chaos units. This would have been amazing on a Solitaire, but sadly Solitaires can’t be your Warlord. It’s OK on a Troupe Master, but not great.

Enigma – Midnight Chime. Once per battle increase the attacks of any unit within 6” by 1. OK, but there are better Enigmas.

When I first posted this review on FLG, some people thought I was underestimating this Masque. Maybe. But while a 6″ consolidation is good, it’s limited by the need to end your consolidation closer to the nearest model, and by only being able to charge units within 12″. It will make “taking a prisoner” easier (i.e. locking in a model that can’t fly), and will make it easier to do so with Skyweavers, given their bigger bases, but I still don’t think it’s as good as other masques.

 

Veiled Path

Masque Form. At the start of the fight phase roll 2 dice and discard the highest. If your opponent rolls the number on the remaining dice when rolling to hit, that attack misses. Hmmm …. not gonna lie, this is a bit rubbish. If you discarded the lowest dice it would be good, but otherwise it’s just too random.

Stratagem – Capricious Reflections. Any unit can heroically intervene as if it was a character. Again, not the strongest stratagem. 

Warlord Trait – Webway Walker. You can set your Warlord up in the web way and deep strike him. You can also use the Webway Assault Stratagem twice. This is more interesting, allowing you to put your Warlord, and up to 4 other units in the web way (costs you 4CPs though). Not really persuaded it’s worth it however.

Enigma – Mirrorstave. This replaces the Shadowseer Miststave, giving it a shooting profile. It gets 6 shots and -1AP doing 1 damage. The “funky” thing is that it wounds on a roll equal to the targets BS, so if the target’s BS is 2, it wounds on a 2. It’s the same in assault, but wounds against the targets WS instead. I actually quite like this, giving your Shadowseer more of an offensive role, but again, there are better Enigmas.

One of the weaker Masques. It might work for a Shadowseer, letting you deep strike her where she needs to be to cast a power, but there are stronger options.

 

Frozen Stars

Masque Form. All units get +1 attack. Simple, and strong, giving your basic Players 5 attacks each!

Stratagem – Malicious Frenzy. For 2 CPs you can add one to your wound rolls. Pause for a moment and think about what this means. It means your basic T3 Player, with no upgrades, wounds a marine on a 4+ and a Dawneagle Shield Captain on a 5+. And it stacks with the Troupe Masters re-rolls to wound. So 5 basic player, with no upgrades are putting something like 9 wounds on that Shield Captain (most of which he’ll save of course). Upgrade them all with Embraces and he’s probably taking 4 wounds. Upgraded them with Kisses, for a total unit cost of just 100pts, and he’s dead!!

Warlord Trait – Our Kin Shall rise Again. Provides a 6+++ against losing your final wound on any model within 6”. Not the strongest Warlord Trait.

Enigma – Ghoul Mask. Your warlord can Deny the witch as if they were a Psyker, and gets a +1 to the roll. OK, but again there are better ones. 

This is one of the stronger Masques. I makes me want to take a unit of 12  “naked” Players on foot, and just run them across the table with a Troupe Master. Cast Veil of Tears, and use Lightening Fast Reflexes for a -2 to hit, and then use Prismatic Blur for a 3++ (we’ll come to these stratagems shortly), for a pretty survivable blender unit. 

 

Soaring Spite

To me, this is the stand our Masque, particularly if you want to run Troupe’s in Starweavers.

Masque Form – Pistol Weapons become assault when they’re in Starweavers, and all assault weapons don’t suffer the -1 to hit penalty when they advance. So, you just added 6” to the range of your Fusion Pistol Drive Bys. Effective range just became 28”, double dice at 25”. And all your Shuriken Cannons Haywire Cannon and Prism Cannon got an additional 6” range. For all those Harlequin players who’ve been praying for an extra 6” (stop sniggering at the back!), this is a fantastic Form. 

Stratagem – Skystride. After you fight, you can consolidate 6” towards a Starweaver, and if you finish within 3”, can get back in. Another one to think about. Because you consolidate after you fight, and before your opponent gets to fight back, with some careful placement, you can jump out your ‘weaver, fight and jump back in, before your opponent gets to swing. It’s the same stratagem Red Grief witches have, but they get back in a Venom, which will just die. You get back in a Starweaver, that can have a 3++ save and be -2 to hit. But it also mean you (sort off) get the benefit of the Midnight Shadow form. You don’t need to get back in the Starweaver! So, to paint the picture, you want to assault 2 units that are 9” apart. Your Troupe jumps out their ‘weaver and lines up an assault on unit one. Your ‘weaver moves beside unit 2. The Troupe charges unit 1, but also declares against unit 2. The weaver assaults unit 2. The Troupe fights unit 1, but then consolidates 6” towards the Starweaver, meaning some of unit 1 probably can’t swing at the Troupe. Now you trigger the “fight again” stratagem, and pile into unit 2 and fight it as well.

Warlord Trait – Skystrider. Your warlord can get out his weaver, even after it has moved. This just extended a Troupe Master’s charge range by 22”, which would allow him to get within 6” of the Skyweaver unit you boosted across the board. Or it allows a Shadowseer to move 22” in her ‘weaver, get out 3”, move 8”, advance and then cast a power. You’ll never need to worry about getting within 3” to cast Twilight Pathways ever again…….! It’s just a pity the Solitaire can’t be your Warlord!!

Enigma – Falchu’s Talon. When the bearer is in their ‘weaver, it can move an additional 6”. In addition, if it’s destroyed it never blows up. And this is how your Trope Master can pull of a 52″ charge. First his Starweaver moves and advances 28″, the Master jumps out 3″, moves 8″, uses Warrior Acrobats to advance 6″ and then charges 2d6 (say 7″), for a 52″ charge.

Expect to see a Soaring Spite battalion in pretty much every list.

 

Dreaming Shadow

This is the Masque to take if you love Death Jesters!

Masque Form. You only ever lose one model when you fail a moral test, and when you die, on a 4+, you can either shoot again, or make 1 attack. Not going to lie, this is a bit rubbish. Typically you will run 5 Player Troupes, and with leadership 8, you’re not really troubled by moral tests. And getting to shoot again when you die isn’t that big a deal – Harlies aren’t a particularly shooty army. And the final bit of “rubbishness” is that you only get to make one attack in assault. Now if you could make all your swings, that would be good, but it’s only one!

Strat – An Example Made. Touched on previously. Every hit becomes 2 hits, and a 6 becomes 3 (only applies to characters). The obvious target is the Death Jester as explained previously, but it can also give your Troupe Master a 2 hit Fusion Pistol. It’s OK, but not great.

Warlord Trait – Warden of the Dead. Add 1 to any roll to see if a dead unit can shoot/fight again. As I said, would be amazing if you got all your attacks in combat, but you only get one.

Enigma – Curtainfall. This is the buffed Shrieker Cannon for Dreaming Shadow Death Jesters I mentioned under the Death Jester unit review.

You might see this if somebody has a “thing” for Death Jesters (maybe in a Vanguard detachment, with a Solitaire) but it’s not the strongest Masque.

 

Silent Shroud

Masque Form. Minus 1 leadership for any enemy model within 6”. If that unit needs to take a moral test, roll 2 dice and discard the lowest. There are some really interesting things you can do with leadership in this codex, and when you combine elements from DE and CWE, it becomes a bit crazy, potentially taking leadership down to 1 …. but that’s a whole other post!

Strat – Silent Knife. For 2 CPs a unit can’t be overwatched. Again, pause and think about this. A 12 Player unit stretched out in front of a Tau gun line, charing “everything within 12” with impunity. Or better still, a maxed out unit of Skyweavers that have just boosted 44” across the board (with the assistance of Twilight Pathways) doing the same thing. And then of course the rest of the army follows up. An amazing Strat, sadly only available to this Masque.

Warlord Trait. On a 2+ any unit that kills your Warlord suffers d3 mortal wounds, and d6 if you roll a 6. There are better options.

Enigma. All aura abilities are increased by 3”. This might be useful with the Troupe Masters “re-roll” wound aura. Combine it with Webway Assault, and you can Deep Strike a Troupe Master and have his aura work on a unit that’s in assault (or going to be in assault) 9” away, getting around the problem of a 6″ aura and the need to have him 9” from an enemy model when he comes in. Again, OK, but there are better Enigmas.

 

Conclusion

IMO, the clear winner here is Soaring Spite. Its Form is strong, and it synergises well with all the other elements. Frozen Stars is also good, as is Midnight Shadow. I suspect people will take Silent Shroud for he Stratagem alone, but also for the leadership de-buffs. The others are “patchy”, but Dreaming Shadow Death Jesters will be a popular (but not optimal) choice. 

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