Hey guys Cavalier here, co-host of Splintermind the Dark Eldar podcast and commission painter for Frontline Gaming. This time exploring playing a Reborn Harlequin force!
Like I mentioned in my previous Ynnari article the playtesting process for new Ynnari was very extensive and one of my biggest takeaways was how good Harlequins are in a Reborn warhost. I think the limited range of models and the efficiency packed into each unit shows the youth and modernity of the Harlequins as army, similar to Drukhari. Whereas their Asuryani counter-parts are a much older army and model range with units, options and weapon profiles that often times are relics of previous editions.
The great thing about Harlequins is that they are excellent dedicated close-combat army, so when you go to build up your battalions, you are investing points in units that are taking massive advantage of the Ynnari special abilities from word go. Yet rather than speak in the general lets get right into specifics.
In my experience the Troupe Master is the lynch-pin of any Harlequin force. Not only are the Troupe Masters fantastic melee characters, their 6″ re-roll wounds aura in the fight phase is indispensable. If you are running Harlequin Troupes you need a Troupe Master. The Harlequins are not cheap (nor are they too expensive IMO) and they are fragile. Even a 4++ on a T3 model with a single wound will not hold up for long, so you need do as much damage when you make contact as possible- The Troupe Master makes sure this gets done. Straight re-roll of wounds is one of the most powerful buffs you can get in the game, which most of the time is generated via expensive Stratagems or high Warp Charge psychic powers. The fact that this guy is just kicking out that aura all the time (albeit in combat, but you are playing Harlequin Ynnari so thats exactly where you want it) is a massive perk. This allows you to save your re-roll wound Stratagems and Psychic powers for freelance units like Skyweavers or other allied units giving you great flexibililty in dolling out the re-roll’s to wound which Ynnari have a number of routes to access. He’s also very cheap at under 90pts .
Whether you are playing your Harlequins at Patrol or Battalion level I’ve found at least 1 Troupe Master is mandatory. When combined with the Visarch the two of them together and your army benefiting from Strength from Death your Harlequins will be effectivley re-rolling all hits and wounds in the Fight phase
Warlord Traits + Strats+ Relics:
The Troupe Master makes excellent use of one of the best relics available to any Aeldari faction, namely the Hungering Blade. With this weapon the Troupe Master replaces his power sword with this weapon is +3 Strength, -3 AP and a flat 2 damage, causing mortal wounds on a roll of 6 to wound. So with that the Troupe Master is swinging 5 attacks, at Str 6, AP -3, Dmg 2 (plus a mortal wound on a 6) re-rolling all wounds (and with the Visarch nearby hitting on 2’s re-rolling 1’s). Give him the Master of Death warlord trait where he gets exploding 6’s when he rolls to hit and you have an absolute monster of a melee character on your hands, that is also dramatically increasing the efficacy of your core unit the Troupes.
You can make him the Warlord as per usual, or use the 1 CP strat to give him a Warlord Trait. He’s also an ideal recipient for the Back From the Brink strat where for 2 CP you can resurrect him on a 4+. This is especially helpful since it was clarified in the Big FAQ that unless he stays dead, you aren’t giving up Warlord if you resurrect.
This is a unit I’ve got a lot of experience with. I’ve run him with the Hungering Blade, Master of Death and a Fusion Pistol and simply terrorized my opponents. He makes a fantastic assassin that thanks to the new FAQ can jump screens and get at juicy targets. I really like using him to go after the enemy Warlord and then playing the Souls of the Strongest strat for 1 CP so you’ll be benefiting from Strength from Death the rest of the game. Speaking of which when benefiting from Strength from Death in prolonged combats he’s particularly deadly since he’s swinging first if your opponent doesnt target him right away and with either the Hungering Blade, or even a Harlequin Kiss and a Fusion Pistol re-rolling all wounds in the Fight Phase is a deadly prospect.
Its been interesting to see a recent splash of Harlequin detachments hitting the tournament scene, even large mobs of Frozen Stars Troupes running around on foot! Ive thought since being involved in the play-testing of that dex and in all the experience playing them I’ve found them to be a phenomenal unit. Their 8″ movement, advance + charge and the fantastic weaponry available to them make them great in a standard Harlequin army, and exceedingly potent in a Ynnari force.
The Troupes get so much out of fighting in a Ynnari force, perhaps more than when fighting in a standard Harlequin force when benefiting from Strength from Death. The +1 to hit is phenomenal enough, Harlequins hitting 2’s re-rolling 1’s with the Visarch nearby and easy access to re-roll wounds via Stratagem, Psychic power or the mere presence of the Troupe Master has been reason enough for me.
Yet the Fights First from Strength from Death gives them a phenomenal form of defense, not to be found in any other Aeldari sub-faction. Learning how to trap units in melee is an essential part of getting this level of defense to work but once you learn how to do it in a variety of different ways (whether standard trapping methods, or using Drukhari Wych allies with Shardnets.) This can really save spare your Harlequins from your opponents return fire which tends to be their downfall in your opponents shooting phase, but it gives you a chance to maul your opponent again in combat before they get to swing, and then simply use your Harlequin flip belts to bounce out of combat in your turn, go after other targets or simply charge again afterwards.
Also remember this really helps when you are on the receiving end of a bunch of charges when your vehicles get busted and your fragile Harlies are dumped onto the battleflield. Against armies like Orks, or Genestealer Cult this is a dramatic hard counter to what they do best and can dramatically swing a devastating charge from your opponent into a route in your favor.
On top of the fantastic melee options, these guys also have access to Fusion Pistols which I heartily recommend. With Harlequins you are always going to be right in the mix typically amidst your opponents ranks where all sorts of targets of opportunity are around. Rising Crescendo and flip belts you can very easily jump screens position yourself next to a tank (or character) and actually can really help them take out stuff way above their weight class in the melee arena. Stuff like Daemon Princes, Primarchs or just really nasty characters that you dont want to tangle with.
I love Harlequin Troupes and they have rewarded me game after game. They are challenging to play but they work great if you can support them and sick them on prime targets.
Harlequin Troupes are pretty self-sufficient, especially when benefiting from Strength from Death, but the one area they can struggle in depending on the load-out of your wargear, is getting those wound rolls to go through. Luckily in a Ynnari army you have multiple routes to that highly coveted buff. The first is the Troupe Master who I highlighted. I really game plan around the Troupe Master and Troupes working together and multiple Troupes to get those re-roll wounds (for which reason I recommend 2 Troupe Masters so you can spread the Harlequin love and kisses across the board). Yet even without a Troupe Master Ynnari Psykers can cast Unbind Souls which is WC 6, 18″ range spell that allows re-roll wounds in the Fight Phase. There is also the Inevitable Fate strat for 2 CP which also allows you to re-roll wounds in the Fight phase, as well as the Great Enemy which does the same for 1 CP against Slaanesh keyword units.
The Visarch also gives a lot to Harlequins especially when benefiting from Soulburst where they are hitting on 2’s, re-rolling 1’s. While not great, the Visarch can help thin the squads they are fighting, so as to minimize return attacks.
The last one to mention is the United in Death stratagem which when fielding an army with Reborn Asuryani, Drukhari and Harlequins you get an army wide +1 attack when benefiting from Strength from Death for a measly 1 CP. This sounds fantastic, making your Troupes Frozen Stars for 1 CP, yet I have yet to make a cohesive list the features all 3 sub-factions given the HQ tax.
Skyweavers are one of the best units in the game. Causing mortal wounds to vehicles on a 4+ to wound (d3 mortal wounds on a 6 to wound) with each haywire cannon chucking out D6 shots per bike is amazing. They are an unholy terror to Knights and vehicles of all kinds. Yet even when not looking to capitalize on the Haywire rule, at Str 4 Ap-1 D6 shots this is a very good anti-infantry gun in its own right!
With a natural -1 to hit a 4+ invulnerable save which can be boosted to 3++ in a standard Harlequin force they are very difficult to dislodge with 3 wounds, especially when you start dancing away with Fire and Fade.
Sadly the Ynnari version dont have access to that tasty Prismatic Blur strat which grants you a 3++ which is a massive loss. However using Word of the Phoenix psychic power (WC 5) which heals wounded bikes, or ressurects them when there is no one to heal is an amazing advantage that Ynnari Skyweavers have over their standard counterparts. Sticking a Farseer Skyrunner in the midst of a unit of Ynnari bikes, with a re-rollable psychic test which is a standard power on a WC 5 spell, dedicated to resurrecting them and bringing back each bike which is ~50pts a pop is a truly winning tactic, especially when you take multiple squads of bikes. That Farseer can also use Ancestors Grace to grant them re-roll 1’s hit in both shooting and melee which normal Harlies dont have access to.
Speaking of melee, playing Skyweavers in a Ynnari force dramatically bumps up their combat prowess. I’m a massive fan of the Zephyr Glaives. They are only Str 4, but AP -2, and a flat 2 damage and each biker having 3 attacks each, hitting on 2’s when benefiting from Strength from Death means you can be very aggressive with them when you need to be.
Fights First is also a fantastic form of defense for them. Whether getting caught out by your opponent or simply getting to swing first when stuck in combat it can really help to keep this vital unit alive especially when multiple charges are taking place against you.
The most obvious stratagem for support is Lightening Fast Reactions which will grant you an additional -1 to hit. Fire and Fade is also another must (which has been FAQ’d to 1 CP) to keep these guys away from your opponents guns and melee until a time of your choosing. But Inevitable Fate for re-roll wounds (2 CP) in melee is another very important one. I think you are really not getting the most out of these guys in a Ynnari build if you aren’t looking to use their prowess in combat. They’ve got the speed to pretty much go anywhere and you should look to send them into spots your Troupes and Troupe Master cant get to, like ferreting out units way in your opponents back line, or to help repel a big enemy offesnive. So having a stratagem to simply lay down the re-roll wounds buff in combat where and when you need is very clutch. Obviously you need to be extremely careful with this unit when committing them to melee, but when you need to commit to combat definitely save some CP to get those re-roll wounds to help guarantee your commitment to combat proves successful.
Also the psychic powers are really good for these guys. Word of the Phoenix WC 5 to heal/resurrect them is incredibly clutch. Ancestors Grace to re-roll 1’s in both the shooting and fight phase is super important to get the most out of this very expensive unit. Also Unbind Souls for re-roll wounds in combat is also there should you need it.
These 3 units get a ton out of the Ynnari rules set. They tend to have less defense due to the loss of Prismatic Blur and some of the standard Harlequin relics and Warlord Traits, but they make up for that with some fantastic advantages in combat from Strength from Death, multiple routes to re-roll wounds, as well as the powerful resurrection spell from the Revenant discipline.
I really love these guys in a Ynnari build. They are challenging (but Harlequins are always are) but if you can get your list balance just right, they can be an absolute bear to deal with once you sink your Harlequin kisses into them. The Fights First from Strength from Death is also a great counter to Orks and Genestealer Cults that is quiet unique amongst all the other Eldar sub-factions who can get swept aside from a mass charge. Like I said it is a challenge, but one that if you can master can be relentless in the combat phase.
If you are interested in more Ynnari discussion check out our podcast: Splintermind for exclusive Drukharii and all things Aeldari news and discussion. We’ve already done our solo break down of the new rules, but have an episode with with Lawrence Baker from Tabletop Tactics and Wes from D6 Evolution coming up that features an in-depth breakdown of Ynnari highlighting all our favorite combinations and units. If you are interested in following my painting exploits check me out on Instagram! Thanks for reading and stay tuned!