The best use for Harlequins in the current environment is as colorful objective markers.
It's hard to argue with that... but I'm gonna! You'll have to wait till the end to see if I make a cogent point though; read on, McDude, and let loose the clowns of war!
*oh, stomach ache*
JWolf's statement capped the comments from last post; frankly, I think most people agree with him. If I may be so bold, for the reasons I outlined last post... Fire Dragons are too important a unit to do without. Harlequins would see more use in the Fast Attack slot.
The Master Manipulator (every story needs one) and the Evil Homer both took stabs at creating a 1750 army using the restriction of 3 good-sized Harlequin squads and I think it's safe to say nobody is particularly pleased with the outcome. I created one as well, but it wasn't significantly different from the approach they took so I didn't bother posting it, nor will I do so here. There is a reason they all look alike. They all must overcome the same weaknesses.
1) Popping mech.
One of the choices every army needs to make is how it intends to deal with armor. With so much of the army tied up in Clowns, much of the rest of the force needs to address this issue. Fritz and the Master Manipulator (every store needs one) use Wraithlords in this role, while Evil Homer fits in two Fire Prisms. As you can see, just these two decisions, focusing on Harlequins and how to combat mech, force the army list in a particular direction, given other choices are (arguably) substandard.
2) Troops and the role they will play.
The other big choice an army must make is the investment in troops. This is easier for some armies than others; ork boys, for example, are an inexpensive and useful addition to a list, so it doesn't hurt to have to find the points for them. Given that many codexes are strongest in the Elites and Heavy Support slots - and the Eldar are no exception - sometimes its hard to want to spend any points beyond the minimum required on your troops choices. Don't get me wrong, I like the options the Eldar have, but which unit fits best with the theme and expectations of the Harlequin list? Fritz chose Pathfinders while Storm Guardians were used in the other lists. As an aside, I used Jetbikes in the test list I did; 4 squads of 3 with no upgrades coming to 66 points each, there only role being to hold/contest objectives. I'm not saying that's right or wrong, but obviously the choice dictates the play. Fritz will use pinning as a tactic during the game, while Evil Homer mentioned screening the Harlequins to reduce casualties. Regardless, this is a mandatory choice, and I believe an important distinction to make.
3) Tanks a lot (another awful pun).
Mech is obviously very important in 5th, being a combination of fast and resilient, but arguably the most important thing a tank can do is carry troops. The issue I want to speak to today is how many is too many and how many is too few? If you bring too much mech it can be difficult for an opponent to deal with, but chances are you don't have much in the way of soldiers on the field. Meanwhile, taking only a few tanks means being particularly vulnerable to the wide array of tank-busting options littering the fields of battle these days. These thoughts, while perhaps not codified in the way I've put it, had to play a hand in the decisions folks made when crafting their list. Fritz and the Master Manipulator (every store needs one) chose not to include tanks - a choice I believe will be more popular over the next year - while Evil Homer went the other way and included 5. There are a number of factors to consider here: a Rhino is much less expensive than a Devilfish, so the commitment isn't as great, just being one example. Two tanks are vulnerable, while five are much less so... but I'll let it go with that for now. Regardless, I believe these were the reasons you didn't see troop choices in transports in any of the lists.
To avoid the 'Wall of Text' as Mercer called it, I'm going to end this thread here, but I invite comments. This thread is in no way meant to disparage Fritz's list; I enjoy it, and believe it is a very original contribution to the sometimes similar themes we're all seeing, but I did want to address his question in fullness and hopefully use it as an example we can all learn from.
Oh, yea - JWolf's comment. I use exactly one unit of Harlequins in my Hybrid force because it fits a decision I was called to make. I use two squads of 10 Fire Dragons plus numerous Bright Lances, so I didn't need that last Elite slot for more Fusion Guns, but I did need a fast response unit to support my Avatar and a unit of clowns met this description perfectly. In that sense, I believe Harlequins fit the bill perfectly and I'll address this more in future posts on the subject of choices and decisions made during list creation.
That said, I don't miss the point he's making and I would invite him to comment further.
(Don't make me beg... that's a sad site...)
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