Faction Focus: Harlequins

Here we have the Harlequin faction focus article for 9th ed 40k, courtesy of the Warhammer-community team.

We hope that you’ve been practising your acrobatics because it’s time to take a look at the Harlequins of the Laughing God. Once again, we’re joined by the Aeldari expert, Matt Schuchman, to help your army get top marks both on the dancefloor and the battlefield.

Who Are They?

The Harlequins are the most enigmatic of all the Aeldari factions. They are warrior acrobats – battlefield performers who make no distinction between war and art. Their breathtaking feats of agility and violence make them the terror of all those they face. Using the hidden paths of the webway, the masques of the Harlequins strike without warning and kill without mercy. Wreathed in fractal illusion, supported by nimble jetbikes and deadly skimmers, the Harlequins unleash war upon their enemies before the foe has time to grasp that the battle has even begun.

How They Play in the New Edition

We’ll now hand you over to Matt Schuchman, part of the playtesting team for Warhammer 40,000 and regular at the big US tournaments, where he’s nearly always found on the top tables. 

Matt: In the new edition, Harlequins gain a huge amount of independence from their fellow Aeldari Factions – they can work both as an allied force and as a fully functioning army on their own. Every unit in the book has high mobility and will be able to take advantage of the smaller minimum board sizes in the new edition, as well as the updated terrain rules. Skyweavers with their haywire cannons (these are now Blast weapons) will not only continue to be amazing at dealing with enemy vehicles but will also perform fantastically at clearing large screening units.

Playing Harlequins in the new edition is going to be even more of a treat. You’ll be able to skip* the process of filling out multiple Detachments in order to maximize Command points. This means that you can spend more of your points on units that you really want to take. Harlequins don’t really need many HQs to perform well, so you’ll rarely need to go beyond a single Battalion Detachment. In fact, there will be cases where you can easily build a full army with just a single Patrol Detachment.

I personally like to field a Patrol Detachment based around Skyweaver Jetbikes and a Solitaire. The speed and power of the Skyweavers is incredible, and such a Detachment can easily be allied to a Craftworld, Drukhari or Ynnari force. Most Harlequin firepower has a range of 24 inches and, given the smaller board sizes and their high Movement characteristics, you’ll be able to apply the full force of your shooting wherever it’s needed. It will be nearly impossible for your opponent to stay out of range, and having the ability to fly or ignore most terrain with your flip belts will allow you to easily maintain line of sight to enemy units.

Key Units

Codex: Harlequins may only feature a small selection of units, but they are all deadly. To see which ones will benefit you most in the new edition, we’re going back to Matt.


Matt: One of my favourite tactics is taking a list that includes a Shadowseer to cast Twilight Pathways on a full Skyweaver unit. This allows them to move twice for a maximum base movement of 32 inches. This really lets them get almost anywhere on the board for some great early-game pressure.


Matt: Another unit that I expect to see more of is the Voidweaver. The two main weapon choices (the prismatic cannon and the haywire cannon) are both now Blast weapons, which gives this unit a more reliable damage output. With a 4+ invulnerable save, a natural -1 to enemy hit rolls in the Shooting phase, and a 16-inch Move characteristic on top of these weapon upgrades, the Voidweaver will prove very popular.

Thanks, Matt! The Harlequins will be dancing their way into the new edition of Warhammer 40,000 soon. Join us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram to let us know how you’ll be fielding the warriors of the Laughing God and don’t forget to tag your posts with #New40K.

* Or acrobatically manoeuvre around.

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