Zyekian here once again to highlight an unsung gem from the webway: the Harlequin Solitaire. He (or she?) can be a fantastic addition to your list and not just among the pointy-eared xenos. Read on to find out why this little nightmare has a place in your army. And as always check the Tactics Corner for more great ways to make your army hum!
“The first the foe knows of the Solitaire’s onset is a shimmering blur of light and color streaking through their ranks. Then the killing begins. Soldiers fall, eyes widening as heads are severed, throats opened, and hearts pierced. Blood falls like monsoon rain in the wake of a killer too fast to be seen. Only when he pauses for a moment amid the slaughter do his victims get a glimpse of their executioner – a domino field swirling around his lithe form, his grotesquely masked head tilted at a curious angle as he regards those he hunts.”
Solitaires are the strangest and most terrifying of all Harlequins. Treading the Path of Damnation with their souls already doomed to Slaanesh, they laugh nonetheless, donning a twisted mask in mockery of She Who Thirsts. It is said that Solitaires are gifted insight into the Fall of the Eldar by the Laughing God himself, not of a final battle to end the Eldar race but of a final jest, tricking Slaanesh not into destroying the Eldar but freeing them.
Solitaire packs a bucket of tricks for just 145 points. His 12″ move gives him a large threat range while a flip belts means he ignores terrain for movement and assaults, striking on initiative even without grenades. And the Solitaire’s stat line is impressive.
WS9, BS9, S3, T3, W3, I10, A6, Ld10, character (unique)
- Blitz – Once per game instead of moving normally, roll a number of D6 according to the turn number for how many inches he may move. When moving in this manner ignore terrain and intervening models. Then raise the Solitaire’s attack characteristic to 10 this round.
- Impossible Form: 3++ invulnerable save
- The Path of Damnation: Can never be joined by another character, can’t have a warlord trait.
- Prismatic Blur – The Solitaire may move up to 12″.
- Deep Strike
- Eternal Warrior
- Furious Charge
- Hit & Run
- Precision Strikes – Rolling a 6 to hit also auto-translates to an AP2 wound for some nasty precision death (see below)Also….
- In a Masque Detachment the Solitaire gains the ability to run and still assault. Along with a base 12″ move and fleet, that is a major threat bubble. Starweaver transports can be taken in the FA slot to give the Solitaire even more mobility.
- In a Heroes’ Path formation the Solitaire gains Stealth, Shrouded, and Infiltrate.
- Harlequin’s Caress: A vicious melee weapon shrouding the Harlequin’s hand in a power field, allowing them to pluck hearts right through power armor. Any to-hit roll of a 6 automatically converts to an AP2 wound or against vehicles, a glance. Taking the to-wound and armor penetration steps out of the mix is powerful.
- Harlequin’s Kiss: A model equipped with a Kiss resolves one of its attacks at S6 AP2 with instant death on a 6.
- Flip Belt: The unit ignores terrain for the purposes of movement and always attacks on initiative.
- Haywire Grenades: +5 points. Always get this for the anti-vehicle shot. Otherwise the Solitaire has no shooting phase.
- Cegorach’s Rose (relic): +15 points, master-crafted, shredding Kiss. Makes him considerably more effective against MCs and multi-wound models. Not mandatory but if you have the points pick it up.
This is a whole lot of rules to keep track of on the table for just one model. For the casual reader this boils down to a highly mobile assassin who can bounce between combats dropping precision AP2 strikes where they need to go. He’s particularly good with a bit of backup diverting attention away from him while he challenges out enemy characters. Assaulting with a nearby Troupe at his side or a unit of allied Coven Grotesques will scare the space pants off just about anything not sporting death star shenanigans.
A word on Knights. A Knight near a Solitaire is already dead, he just doesn’t know it yet. When facing an Imperial Knight you should have your Solitaire constantly watching for an opportunity to take the giant down. The Solitaire throws a haywire fastball on the way in, then blitzes his way in for 12 attacks. That’s 12 chances to roll those sixes to auto-glance. A damaged Knight just exploded right there. Avoiding the stomps is easy enough as long as they’re not squishes, then repeat, hitting and running back and forth as needed. Solitaires love fighting Knights.
The Solitaire’s weakness is that of all Harlequins: massed small arms fire. T3 and 3++ save even it’s invulnerable means a fair amount of fragility so expect him to tolerate no more than 20 bolt gun shots before vanishing in hail of glitter. Eternal Warrior will make him an unattractive target for low volume large weapons though so don’t sweat the big stuff. Or grav. And as we’ll discuss in a moment, the Heroes’ Path formation will grant the Solitaire a 2+ cover save in terrain which is extremely good. Suddenly he’s fairly durable against most shooting in the game.
The Solitaire’s best defense against shooting is being in combat during the opponents’ shooting phase. With choice targets and a bit of luck it’s possible to pull off matches where he spends almost all shooting phases safely tucked into assaults, finishing them in the opponents’ turn or using hit and run to dash out of combat for yet another assault. The Solitaire can easily cross the table with this trick, as a 3D6 hit & run move + 12″ move + D6 fleet run + 2D6 fleet assault is a roughly 36″ maneuver (potentially 48″). And I guarantee your opponent will not see that coming.
A secondary weakness the Solitaire possesses is high-volume melee attacks that can overwhelm his defenses. Given his mobility and ability to pick his battles this isn’t too much of a problem though. And remember that with WS9, most opponents will need to roll a 5+ to even hit. And don’t forget to use precision strikes to eliminate the most effective combatants before they can swing.
A Solitaire in your List – And the Path of Heroes Formation
He’s an obvious choice for a Harlequin list, filling an elite slot in a Masque Detachment. And you can squeeze him into Eldar, Dark Eldar, or Corsairs, right? Yeah you can, and the dynamic threat be brings can be very useful, especially in a meta shifting toward rapid assault and counter assault. He’s got the weight of an entire assault unit himself as well as an invulnerable save, something those armies are often short on.
Harlequins are Allies of Convenience with the Imperium, and that means the Heroes’ Path formation is nice and accessible to a wide array of armies. It’s just three models: the Solitaire, a Death Jester, and a Shadowseer, all granted stealth, shrouded, and infiltrate by the formation. The drawback is that each model must walk alone, never attaching to another unit. The Solitaire adds a dimension of speed and long-range assault that those armies lack, while the Shadowseer can bring a Mask of Secrets relic for a -2 leadership bubble against enemy units, extremely useful for Shriek-brarians. The Jester brings a nice BS5 shuriken cannon to the table with the potential to make enemy units fall back in the Harlequin player’s direction of choice. It’s worth considering the Heroes’ Path where you’d use an Imperial Assassin – or in addition to it, especially if you’re using other psykers to pool up with the Shadowseer.
The Solitaire is a blast to play and matches well to his fluff background: a swift and expert killer capable of wreaking havoc in the enemy anywhere on the table. Give him a try and you’ll be hooked!
What are your thoughts on the unit? Worth taking in a competitive setting or not? Be sure to leave a comment down below!
Frontline Gaming will buy your used models for cash or store credit!