Harlequins Codex Review – Part 2

Embrace Your Inner Geek here again with the second installment of my Harlequins Codex review. Up this time, Masques. Check the Tactics Corner for more great articles!

If you missed it, catch part 1 in this series, here.

Masque forms, are the Harlequin equivalent of “chapter tactics”. There are 6, and they all have associated Enigmas, Warlord Traits and Stratagems. In this part 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 ones.

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 excited about this Form, before I realised that consolidate is not pile in (!). This is the Form for “dancing” through gun lines “tagging” units so they fall back and can’t shoot. But don’t get too excited, it’s restricted by the rule that you must consolidate toward the nearest model, and that you can only charge a unit if it’s within 12″ of the charging unit.
  • 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. Midnight Sorrow run good Solitaries!
  • 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. Good, but there are better relics.

One of the stronger Masques, but not the strongest. It would be good for a Solitaire. 

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  not the strongest Form. If you discarded the lowest dice it would be OK, 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 onto the table. 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 6CPs though). Not really persuaded it’s worth it.
  • 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. 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 exactly where you need that crucial power cast, without spending CPs, but there are stronger options.

Frozen Stars

  • Masque Form. All units get +1 attack. Simple, and pretty strong, giving your basic Players 5 attacks each!
  • Stratagem – Malicious Frenzy. For 2 CPs you can add one to your wound rolls. This 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 causing something like 9 wounds to the Shield Captain, most of which he’ll save of course, but upgrade them all with Embraces and he’s probably taking 4 wounds. Upgraded them all with Kisses, for a total unit cost of 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 he were a Psyker, and gets a +1 to the roll. OK, but again there are better Enigmas. 

This is one of the stronger Masques. It 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 reasonably 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 penalty to hit when they advance. So, you just added 6” to your Fusion Pistol drive buy range. The 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. An interesting Stratagem. 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 get, but they get back in a Venom, which will just die. You get back in a Starweaver, that probably has a 3++ save and is -2 to hit. But it also means you (sort off) get the benefit of the Midnight Sorrow form. You don’t need to get back in the Starweaver! So, to paint the picture, say you want to assault 2 units  9” apart. Your Troupe jumps out their ‘weaver and lines up an assault on the first unit. Your ‘weaver moves beside the 2nd unit. 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, (probably meaning some of unit 1 can’t swing at them). Now you trigger the “fight again” stratagem, and pile into unit 2.
  • Warlord Trait – Skystrider. Your warlord can get out his weaver, even after it moves. This just extended a Troupe Master’s charge range by 22”. This is a really interesting Warlord Trait. For example, it would allow the Troupe Master  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 22″, rather than 16″. In addition, if it’s destroyed it never blows up. So that’s a 50+”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 isn’t great. 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, unlike Marines where their Banner is really effective. 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!
  • Stratagem – 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 in part 1, but it also gives your Troupe Master a 2 hit Fusion Pistol. It’s good, 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 …. but that’s a whole other post!
  • Strat – Silent Knife. For 2 CPs a unit can’t be overwatched. So, a 12 Player unit stretched out in front of a Tau gun line, can charge “everything within 12” with impunity. Or better still, a maxed out unit of Skyweavers that 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. A really strong 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 is useful with the Troupe Masters “re-roll” to wound aura. Combine it with Webway Assault, and you can Deep Strike a Troupe Master and have his aura work on a unit in assault (or about to be in assault) 9” away, getting around the need to have him 9” from an enemy model when he comes in. Again, OK, but there are better Enigmas.


IMO, the clear winner here is Soaring Spite. Its Form is strong, and synergises well with all the other elements. Frozen Stars is also good, as is Midnight Sorrow. I suspect people might take Silent Shroud for the Stratagem alone, or for leadership bomb armies, allied with Drukhari and Craftworld. The others are “patchy”, but Dreaming Shadow Death Jesters may be a popular (but not optimal) choice. 

Read part 3 of this review, here.

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



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4 years ago

So how does a troupe master get out of a transport in the psychic phase?

4 years ago
Reply to  EYIG

You said that the unit moves+advances and then gets Twighlight Pathways cast on it to move+advance again, and then the Master disembarks. But if you’ve cast Pathways, it can’t be the movement phase anymore.

4 years ago
Reply to  Blight1

^This. Soaring Spite is neat, but you can only disembark in the movement phase. It’s definitely good, but I think you’re giving it too much credit.

I also think you’re underestimating Midnight Sorrow. 6″ pile-in is huge, it lets you do all kinds of shenanigans.

4 years ago
Reply to  abusepuppy

I would love an article devoted just to consolidation shenanigans you can pull off with this.

4 years ago
Reply to  Blight1

Yeah, that is what makes Homrgants so damn good. You can pile in to tons of units and screw up their movement and shooting phases.

I know many people feel assault is underwhelming in 8th but the truth is that assault is incredibly powerful if you know what you’re doing.

4 years ago
Reply to  Reecius

Absolutely it is. A lot of the top armies right now (Chaos Marines/Daemons, Blood Angels, Tyranids, etc) live mostly in the assault phase.

Rising Crescendo
Rising Crescendo
4 years ago
Reply to  Reecius

EYIG, you don’t have to consolidate towards closest model, you just need to end your movement closer. Now it doesn’t sound like much, but is a big difference. That combined with flip belts is insane. The absolute best protection against shooting is to be trapped in combat, and you can trap models in CC pretty easily with midnight sorrow. 3 models at 120 degree angles around the base is enough to trap a model.

4 years ago
Reply to  Reecius

I think you’ll be able to pull more shenanigans with skystride (albeit only on one unit). As pointed out, you can consolidate before the opponent gets to swing back, so you can hit something and fade away back into a transport.

A more subtle way to use it though would be to position your transports in ways to “pull” your troupes in directions you wouldn’t otherwise be able to go in. Charge that screen, advance the transport over it, and then pull your harlequins over the screen and into the next unit before the remnants of the screen even get to attack back. It’s also a 6″ consolidation, so it’s comparable to the 6″ pile in from Midnight Sorrow. Better, even, as you can control the direction of the move.

David Alastair Hayden
4 years ago
Reply to  abusepuppy

For now, Midnight Sorrow and Frozen Stars are my favorites for pure Harlequins. Silent Shroud is third place, but my favorite when I think about what my Hemlocks could do for a Harlequin army.

I’ve never been impressed with loading up Starweavers with fusion pistols.

4 years ago

One thing I love about the harlequins is their bikes. Since they don’t put out the damage output of a kitted up troupe that costs less, I believe they get overlooked. With the new haywire cannon they can put out good fire against most any target and can hold their own in combat. While great with soaring spite, I am starting to love them in dreaming shadow as well. It makes more use of being able to fire again. They do great with the strategems as well giving them 3++ with an -1 to hit or -2 with reflexes makes them hard to kill. Also they are one of the best units to make use of cegorachs jest. While they can fall back out of fusion range, chances are they aren’t falling back out of haywire. So with getting multiple opportunities to pump out d6 shots per model by death in dreaming shadow and jest, not counting what they do on your turn, I find them highly valuable.

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