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Five Simple Harlequin Mistakes

Submitted By: Date: August 26, 2005, 11:42:37 AM Views: 3481
Summary: The Harlequin army is one unlike any other. Many inexperienced players make simple mistakes. In an attempt to rectify this problem, here are four simple army-composition mistakes and one slightly more complicated tip for playing.

1.) Poor Wargear to Model Ratios

Many Harlequin players are awed by the power of Harlequin wargear.  However, don't use too much!  Harlequins are powerful enough as it is, and that extra Trouper might do more than that Rictus mask.

Rule: Don't use too much wargear!  I like to always have 10 Harlequin models for every 500 points spent—this is often a good minimum.

2.) Incorrect Death Jester Weapons

Death Jesters are the Dark Reapers of the Harlequin army.  However, just like the Dark Reapers they have some useless weapons.  Never use Hawk’s Talons or Firepikes.  This is a rare mistake, but a serious one nonetheless.  In every case, an EML or Bright Lance will perform better than them respectively.  The same applies for the underpowered Shuriken Cannon.  It is imperative that you always take Bright Lances.  Harlequins are very weak against vehicles, and Bright Lances help alleviate this problem.  An EML can also be very nice at taking out light vehicles/pinning squads.  However, don’t take 6 DJs, all with Bright Lances.  No matter what the strength, always mix and match to increase flexibility.  The Shrieker Cannon is an interesting weapon.  It has many great attributes, but in the end still has one shot with an AP value of only 5.  It is also hampered by its relatively short range.  The Shrieker Cannon above all else is a matter of personal experience--when to use this can't be granted by an article.

Rule: Don't use Firepikes, Hawk's Talons, or Shuriken Cannons.  Always try to have more Bright Lances than Eldar Missile Launchers.  Only use Shrieker Cannons in extreme situations.

3.) Incorrect Use of Bio-Ammo

Bio-Ammo is one of my favorite pieces of Harlequin wargear.  However, I often see it misplaced in footslogging squads.  Footsloggers must Fleet to reach the enemy lines.  Therefore, spending points on a shooting element to such a squad is inherently flawed.  Even if within range to both shoot and charge in the same turn, it is generally inadvisable to use the Explosive Bio-Ammo for two reasons.  First, it is often advantageous to use Fleet to get a better charge, more models in range, etc.  Secondly, if the shooting by the Bio-Ammo is dangerous enough for the targeted squad to fall back, you just lost an expensive Harlequin squad to next turn's shooting!

Rule: Don't use Explosive Bio-Ammo in footslogging squads.

4.) Incorrect Use of Solitaire

This topic is without a doubt the most researched for the Harlequin general.  The power of the Solitaire cannot be denied—from its fantastic Weapon Skill and Initiative to its disgusting number of attacks, it can certainly wipe out many units.  However, like any expensive character it must be used in a very specific manner.  The average Solitaire costs as much as seven Harlequin Troupers.  In almost any game below 1500 points, those seven Troupers will do much more damage than a single Solitaire.

Rule: Don't use a Solitaire in games under 1500 points.

5.) Wasting troops

One of the most common game-play mistakes made by the Harlequin player is wasting troops.  Harlequins are fragile by nature.  From my experience, Harlequins are over-powered in combat to counteract the number of models lost from shooting.  It therefore follows that if a player can reduce the number of Harlequins he or she loses, he or she is more likely to win the game.  Reducing the number of wasted models is the first step towards the goal, and can be brought about by care in two areas.

A. Don't be over-aggressive or over-confident!

Harlequins are aggressive, there is no doubt about this.  However over-aggression is the single greatest threat to the Harlequin army.  Sadly, over-confidence also leads to the same problems.

B. How to prevent these problems and analyze your movements:

i. First of all, calmly prepare yourself for the game.  This is the single greatest way to prevent over-confidence.  Some people meditate, others just sip a cup of coffee, and a couple sit on the toilet!  Use whatever method works for you—it will be extremely helpful.

ii. At the start of the game, develop your plan.  For example, in a Secure & Control mission, how many Loot counters am I attempting to?  By what turn do I want my forces to reach those counters?

iii. At the start of each turn, catalogue the threats your opponent has arrayed against you.  This should give you the basic outline of your moves.  You want to balance your own plan against preventing the worst of your opponent’s threats.

iv. Before moving each unit, think of the worst-case scenario for the move you are considering.  Can you live with this scenario?  If not, move to another candidate move.  Always keep your game plan in mind.  If you can live with this new move, look one level deeper for a better move.  Countless games have been lost because a mediocre move was made when more careful search would have revealed a brilliant one.  Below are a couple of guidelines and things to be wary of:

i.) Don't lose sight of your plan!  Keep with it until the very end of its life.  Meaninglessly switching plans will just confuse yourself and get nowhere.  Obviously, plan must sometimes be abandoned.  But first look for a way to modify it to fit a new situation.

ii.) Don't get bogged down in combat!  Swarm bases, Fearless troops, masses of Tyranids.  These units, never leaving your doorstep, will quickly break down your save-less Harlequins.  Avoid them at all costs, unless you know you have the strength to (almost) completely wipe them out.

iii.) Never massacre an enemy unit in close combat!  The shorter advance ranges in 4th Edition will make it extremely likely that your Harlequins will now just sit in the open, ready to be ripped apart by enemy fire.

6.) Rules are meant to be broken!

Don't take any of the rules given here as gospel.  Every rule has exceptions, and the mark of a true general is knowing when to use them.  Strive towards this goal, and use this guide only as an outline.

Recommendation: Rules are meant to be broken.  Learn when to break them.

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