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Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.3

 Post subject: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.3
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:17 am 
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All, here is the latest and hopefully a much more refined version of the Eldar Harlequin list following on from the earlier version here.

The list has been very difficult to develop because it has been almost impossible to create a list that reconciles the attributes ascribed to the Harlequins with units and formation that are both still fun to use and play against, and a list that is relatively balanced in a wide variety of situations.
However this goal is now very close indeed, if not actually achieved, so there is every prospect that the Eldar Harlequin list could be considered for approval, PROVIDED the number of ‘special rules’ are considered appropriate and acceptable.

The units and formations
The superior close assault abilities of the Harlequins and Mimes are now represented as a cross between the Howling Banshees and Striking Scorpions. They are more potent than the equivalent Eldar and Dark Eldar units, though fewer in number and more expensive.
(Note, the Howling Banshees are notorious for being sub-par relative to the other Aspects, so although these Harlequin units are more powerfull, I no longer believe they are vastly over-powered.)

The Death Jester retains RA5+ to justify the 50 point cost and encourage the player to take it to boost formation numbers. The Solitaire is the ‘daemon prince’ of the Eldar world, with both blinding speed and extraordinary power represented in its abilities and costs.

Venoms have been reduced to the stats and costs of the Dark Eldar and greatly enhance both the mobility and combat capability of the Harlequins. They can be added to the Mimes, but are less advantageous, removing the key ability to teleport.

The four leaders provide a spectrum of abilities and are necessary, but at a cost. So a troupe of 6 units including one Leader, a Death Jester and LV Transport will be 450.

The Harlequin Jet Bikes are as fast as Dark Eldar jet bikes, but more suited to Close Combat. However they also have two attacks making them very potent if limited in numbers, which is reflected in their cost.

Special Rules
These are designed to present the character and skills of the Harlequins together with their enigmatic and mysterious nature
  • Nomadic reflects the restless nature of the Harlequins, who do not stay long in one place.
  • Speed reflects enhanced abilities of the Harlequins. The player may choose to attempt to attack with dazzling speed, and all Harlequins that fail their initiative test must withdraw out of harm’s way
  • Masters of the Webway allows all Harlequins greater use of the limited webgates available to the Eldar. Combined with speed, this mimics the Harlequins ability to ‘vanish’.
  • Veil of tears can cut down the size of an opposing formation and reflects the conflicting nature of the descriptions from survivors of ‘total Harlequin massacres’.
  • The Mirror of the Great Enemy represents the confusion caused by the other Eldar God, Cegorach.
  • The optional rule, Assassination, is provided to help the Harlequin player when using the Harlequin Grand Masque without any other allied units.


Using the list
Although the Harlequin list could possibly be used by itself it is designed to be used in conjunction with other Eldar or Dark Eldar lists. There are certain synergies that can be exploited, notably webgates, and the Farseer ability of the Shadowseer. However, the Harlequins are generally more expensive and less reliable than other Eldar, melting away before the end of the game, and the limited number of webgates are potential a liability.
When used as a Harlequin Grand Masque without any allies, the list has many weaknesses lacking long range shooting, AA, aircraft, Titans, WE, TK weaponry etc. These weaknesses are offset to a limited extent by the special rules and mobility, though by no means completely, so it will always struggle against most enemies. Consequently the optional Assassination rule has been presented to provide both some balance and different challenges (and a bit of fun).

Finally, please could you take some existing Eldar lists and try adding some Harlequin allies as a thought experiment, and see what you come up with. Do these lists fell overpowered or not.

Edit
Following comments, I have corrected various typos in version (a) of the list, and clarified the layout
Please let me know if you find any more issues.


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NetEA Eldar harlequin 4.2.3.pdf [524.9 KiB]
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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.3
PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2018 11:17 pm 
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So two months have passed, ~590 people have read the post, the list has been downloaded 64 times. But no comments. At all. :(
“Reading between the lines” this indicates that people cannot find anything wrong with the new list and broadly agree with the sentiments expressed, though are equally not that interested in using this list for whatever reason.

This is a bit of a come down from the activity on the previous version of the list, and rather disappointing considering that the changes were made in response to the comments on that thread. It basically leaves me looking after a reasonable, but pretty defunct list, since no-one seems that interested in using it or (gasp) getting it to an approved state.
:-\


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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.3
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:52 pm 
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My initial reaction to the Harlequin list is that there's too much going on. While trying to understand all the rules is quite a lot of work, the real issues comes when you have to explain them to the person you're playing against.
I think this list needs to move more towards abstraction and using existing game concepts rather than making bespoke rules for everything... Which is not to say that there can't be special rules at all, but that you've got to save them for the stuff that's really important.

I think for example the Laughing God mechanic is pretty interesting, while for example the Shadow Weaver could probably be represented by existing rules.

An other thing I think would be interesting would be to have Harlequins always fight as part of a larger force. In Epic, this seems like the most natural way for them to behave. One idea would be for them to be able to choose from a selection of allies from one of Dark Eldar, Eldar and/or Corsairs.

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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.3
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 7:18 pm 
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Hi, and thanks for being brave enough to be the first to comment on the list.

You are of course correct that there is “a lot going on”. The original list (from ~2007) was far simpler and totally OTT. This is effectively the fourth attempt. Much effort has been made to tone the list down to the point where the units are playable while retaining the feel of the Harlequin ‘fluff’.

Most of the special rules are an integral part of this evolution, both limiting and focusing the power of the Harlies. Veil of tears and Cegorach are the only rules that are more for ‘fluff’ oriented, and even these rules have other functions to focus the player and address the balance and power of the units.

The idea of working with allies is new to the E:A lists, and at least one suggestion is the abandon this in favour of a “Harlequin” stand-alone list, which would probably be easier to balance in the long run while others have suggested using Harlequin units as additional Aspects, or updates to Eldar formations which would be “interesting” to balance. The main problem with linking the list to others is the potential for unbalancing the other list.
In the ‘fluff’, the Harlies are associated with other Eldar races, so I don’t know if they can be allied to the Corsairs. But the list is already written to be associated with Dark Eldar and Biel Tan, and the player can choose whether to fight as either Harlequin army with allied formations or an army with some Harlequin formations. I might add that the fewer Harlequin formations used, the fewer ‘special rules’ that are in force. For example Cegorach is not available to other races using Harlequin allies.

That said, you are right that there are a lot of extra rules which together with the list design using allies may result in the list remaining a purely “fun” list - unless there is a lot more interest and help in developing things. And being “fun” allows people to do whatever they want, as long as they discuss it with their opponent. So if you want to try out the Corsairs as allies, you never know, it may work well. Equally you can drop some or all of the special rules. ;)

Have a go with the list and tell us the result.


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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.3
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:32 pm 
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I wouldn't link the list to other lists, it would probably be better to write them into the list itself. Harlequins don't have a great number of units to begin with, and if the special rules could be fewer / easier to handle I think there's plenty of space in the list for that. Never been a huge fan of having to juggle several documents, not to mention the risks of building in dependencies that could break when the other list changes.

I think this craftworld could be an interesting starting point for Corsairs, Eldar and Harlequins. http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Lugganath

Also happens to be the craftworld that the Eldar Titan list heralds from.

I might have a go doing something with this, but I've already got a lot on my plate.

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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.3
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:41 am 
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Mrdiealot wrote:
I think this craftworld could be an interesting starting point for Corsairs, Eldar and Harlequins. http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Lugganath


Actually....

(I already wrote a Corsairs list mostly based on the 40k corsairs list from IA11, it's at a very early point but it's pretty faithful to the source material units-wise, although I'm sure everyone will like a nice argument over the stats and structure....)

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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.3
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:14 am 
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Thanks Kyuss


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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.3
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:12 pm 
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kyussinchains wrote:
Mrdiealot wrote:
I think this craftworld could be an interesting starting point for Corsairs, Eldar and Harlequins. http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Lugganath


Actually....

(I already wrote a Corsairs list mostly based on the 40k corsairs list from IA11, it's at a very early point but it's pretty faithful to the source material units-wise, although I'm sure everyone will like a nice argument over the stats and structure....)


I had a look at it after I wrote this, and it does pretty much what I had in mind. I think it looks really interesting. Maybe it goes too far in the opposite extreme when it comes to the Harlequin part of it (they ought to have *some* special rule).

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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.3
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:16 pm 
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Mrdiealot wrote:
I had a look at it after I wrote this, and it does pretty much what I had in mind. I think it looks really interesting. Maybe it goes too far in the opposite extreme when it comes to the Harlequin part of it (they ought to have *some* special rule).


yeah the thing was that I looked at the harlequin list and thought 'hrm these are meant to add some flavour, but with all the various rules and options will end up being the focus of the list' so I cut them back a bit, I wanted them to be a similar option to the dark eldar formation, a few options, some nice unique stuff, but as an addendum to the list rather than the formation that does all the heavy lifting

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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.3
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:28 pm 
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Quote:
I wanted them to be a similar option to the dark eldar formation, a few options, some nice unique stuff, but as an addendum to the list rather than the formation that does all the heavy lifting


That's how I see them as well. Harlequins is essentially a Kill Team sized force that barely make sense acting alone in 40k, never mind Epic.

And I see now that the Shadowseer has the Veil of Tears special rule, so that's something. I prefer to have all my special rules in one place tho, so might be an idea to add it to the Corsairs list too. Not so much of an issue if you have everything printed out, but when perusing PDFs on smartphones it just makes everything easier.

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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.3
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:57 pm 
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Mrdiealot wrote:
I wouldn't link the list to other lists, it would probably be better to write them into the list itself. Harlequins don't have a great number of units to begin with, and if the special rules could be fewer / easier to handle I think there's plenty of space in the list for that. Never been a huge fan of having to juggle several documents, not to mention the risks of building in dependencies that could break when the other list changes.

I think this craftworld could be an interesting starting point for Corsairs, Eldar and Harlequins. http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Lugganath

Also happens to be the craftworld that the Eldar Titan list heralds from.

I might have a go doing something with this, but I've already got a lot on my plate.
Writing the Biel Tan and Dark Eldar units and formations into a Harlequin list raises two conflicting issues. There are a total of 58 different units and 5 different characters used in 33 different formations, and that is without the 18 upgrades available. To add the entire lot to the Harlequins (7 units, 4 characters, 4 formations) would add a whole mass of extra documents duplicating what is already there.
However cutting down on elements of either list would cause other problems (which units / formations to cut out?) and inevitably displease advocates of these lists - precisely the people who want to use the Harlequins - and ultimately would end up trimmed down to those units and formations required for a stand-alone Harlequin list without any allies. This would not in itself be a bad thing, but would break one of the key parts of the "fluff" that the list is trying to recreate; the concept of using the Harlequins in conjunction with other Eldar races. And while one could create separate lists for each combination of Harlequins and Eldar, that would be a significant effort that I at least am not prepared to undertake at this point, especially since the current list has received little testing with any allies.

Hence the current approach of a Harlequin list that can be allied with other Eldar races.

The list presented by Kyuss uses the stats from the earlier Harlequin 4.2.1/2 list, (though there are a couple of errors which I will post there). As those stats are different from the latest version, could I ask you to look at the earlier version of the Harlequin list and could you tell me which you prefer and why.


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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.3
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:12 pm 
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Mrdiealot wrote:
Quote:
I wanted them to be a similar option to the dark eldar formation, a few options, some nice unique stuff, but as an addendum to the list rather than the formation that does all the heavy lifting


That's how I see them as well. Harlequins is essentially a Kill Team sized force that barely make sense acting alone in 40k, never mind Epic.

And I see now that the Shadowseer has the Veil of Tears special rule, so that's something. I prefer to have all my special rules in one place tho, so might be an idea to add it to the Corsairs list too. Not so much of an issue if you have everything printed out, but when perusing PDFs on smartphones it just makes everything easier.
I would tend to agree with these sentiments as well, although there are apparently instances where the Harlequins led other Eldar forces into battle. The Harlequin list can be used on its own, but is definately sub-optimal except in a very few matchups because of the many tactical and strategic aspects missing from the list that are provided by other Eldar and Dark Eldar formations.

My preference is for the player to decide on the contents of his army, especially the number and type of Harlequin formations he wants to use. Personal experience suggests 2-3 is optimal at 3K, though that means a craftworld army with Harlequin allies (without a Great Harlequin leader). However, the synergies with Dark Eldar could allow more Harlequin formations . . . .


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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.3
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 4:02 pm 
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Quote:
The list presented by Kyuss uses the stats from the earlier Harlequin 4.2.1/2 list, (though there are a couple of errors which I will post there). As those stats are different from the latest version, could I ask you to look at the earlier version of the Harlequin list and could you tell me which you prefer and why.


To be honest with you, the main thing I like about the old stats is that I can take (almost) one look at them and understand what they mean. So much easier to explain to someone else too. The "Speed" rule could be made a lot simpler. I do like the "move twice" if forced to hold thing, but I don't think they should be forced to do it.

The Viel of Tears rule is really situational as well, and could actually end up hurting you when assaulting small units. I'd prefer if it was more similar to the "Veil of Tears" in 40k, where it makes them harder to target instead. In the Corsairs list, this would have the added benefit that one could combine the Shimmerfield and Veil of Tears into one rule (again, much easier to explain).

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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.3
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 4:11 pm 
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Another thing about the Veil of Tears rule: In its current form it's not really obvious if you get to attack in CC once you remove D3 guys from the combat, or if that may force you to use FF instead.

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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.3
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:42 pm 
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Mrdiealot wrote:
Quote:
The list presented by Kyuss uses the stats from the earlier Harlequin 4.2.1/2 list, (though there are a couple of errors which I will post there). As those stats are different from the latest version, could I ask you to look at the earlier version of the Harlequin list and could you tell me which you prefer and why.


To be honest with you, the main thing I like about the old stats is that I can take (almost) one look at them and understand what they mean. So much easier to explain to someone else too. The "Speed" rule could be made a lot simpler. I do like the "move twice" if forced to hold thing, but I don't think they should be forced to do it.

The Viel of Tears rule is really situational as well, and could actually end up hurting you when assaulting small units. I'd prefer if it was more similar to the "Veil of Tears" in 40k, where it makes them harder to target instead. In the Corsairs list, this would have the added benefit that one could combine the Shimmerfield and Veil of Tears into one rule (again, much easier to explain).
Interesting. The "special rules" section at the head of the document has the same rules as the earlier version, though they are reordered slightly, and I added bullet points in an attempt to make them clearer.

"Speed" was added to redress the loss of RA on most units, which brings these units closer to the stats of other Aspects and is effectively the only addition. There are two parts, the situational Invulnerable Save (borrowed from the Sisters of Battle), and the ability to Withdraw (rather than Hold) to allow the formation to get away from danger. Note, the two moves do not have to be maximum distance, so you can Withdraw as far or little as you wish.

Are you saying that you prefer the Harlequin units to have RA in smaller formations, and to drop these rules?

Veil of Tears is there to add "colour" and a little jest (appropriate to the Harlequins). You are right that the units need to be carefully positioned, otherwise the Shadowseer will remove the targets of the other Harlequins. Used correctly, this rule allows the smaller Harlequin formations to take on larger enemy formations. The Shadowseer only uses his FF stat against standard targets (he enthrals those in contact), but uses his CC stat against WE.
Would you prefer the rule to be simplified to a fixed number (three enemy units) rather than D3?

I am not really a fan of having a rule that increases the power of the 5+RA units. This would push them up to the level of Terminators (again, this was their original stat), which was really disliked in the past.
It could be changed to give them a 'situational' Invulnerable Save in this version of the list, though it would obviously cause problems in the newer version.


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