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Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.1

 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.1
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 2:59 pm 
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Kyrt wrote:
Ginger I believe you are assuming that harlequins wear armour (and would therefore keep 5+ AND an invulnerable save). My understanding is that they in fact have no armour at all other than the holofield, as graf spee noted if something gets through the holofield they should be taken out.


Precisley. Same protection vs any attack no discrimination to the actual type. Of course in cover they gain also the cover save additionally, as normal for any unit without save.


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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.1
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 8:54 pm 
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Ok, thanks for the clarification.
In summary, this would make all Harlequins marginally more resilient than other Eldar infantry. They become just as vulnerable as normal Aspects to barrages and 'normal' fire, though they can survive MW / TK fire as well. They also become as vulnerable as the weaker Aspects when assaulting anything that they cannot kill in First Strike.

So in comparison
Five Harlequins become slightly worse than eight Howling Banshees which die horribly in most assaults.
Five Mimes become worse than eight Swooping Hawks, since Mimes cannot support other assaults or strike targets beyond 30cm.
Five Harlequin Bikes are slightly better than six standard ones but cost much more.

Certainly worth trying, though I suspect that this would make everything even more 'binary' than before. That said, this is what the discussion is all about.

If we go down this route I suspect we would need to make some significant changes in compensation including
- The five strong formations would probably need to be increased to at least six and possibly more,
- All formations would need a cost revision,
- Harlequins and Mimes would possibly need to boost their FF capacity,
- We would probably need a revision to transport options for speed and protection.

Guys, I am not rejecting this interesting suggestion, but could we test the list in its current incarnation before trying this alternative, not least because I believe it would need a lot more thought. I might add that I do have other thoughts about potential changes which will be presented in due course.


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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.1
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 9:00 pm 
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Agree, let's test the list as stands. Get some battle reports up and then see how over or under powered it is. 222


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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.1
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 10:31 pm 
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My issue with the armour isn't related to balance (which a batrep might address), just the feel.

Ginger wrote:
In summary, this would make all Harlequins marginally more resilient than other Eldar infantry. They become just as vulnerable as normal Aspects to barrages and 'normal' fire, though they can survive MW / TK fire as well. They also become as vulnerable as the weaker Aspects when assaulting anything that they cannot kill in First Strike.

Yes all of this sounds appropriate. In 40K they don't have a great save, but it is invulnerable (so they still have the save vs heavier weapons). By contrast to marines, who have a much better save but lose it with the heaviest weapons. I also agree it means it is important to ensure they are able to win the assaults, which is what I thought you were trying to do with all the first strike, seer rule etc.

Quote:
So in comparison
Five Harlequins become slightly worse than eight Howling Banshees which die horribly in most assaults.

Not exactly, they have 2 attacks each so more (and exactly the same average kills), but not all of them are first strike.
Quote:
Five Mimes become worse than eight Swooping Hawks, since Mimes cannot support other assaults or strike targets beyond 30cm.
8x4+ vs 10x3+, half of which are first strike macro? Not sure about that.
Quote:
Five Harlequin Bikes are slightly better than six standard ones but cost much more.
Quite a bit better IMO (again, 10 attacks...) but yes, more expensive. Though they are probably better than (and more comparable to) wild riders which are 250.

Quote:
If we go down this route I suspect we would need to make some significant changes in compensation including
- The five strong formations would probably need to be increased to at least six and possibly more,
- All formations would need a cost revision,
- Harlequins and Mimes would possibly need to boost their FF capacity,
- We would probably need a revision to transport options for speed and protection.

[/quote]
Let's not overstate it: it's only three formations. But yes, I agree some changes would be in order, then price accordingly. Especially with the harlequins. They are already poor value compared to mimes but I agree a formation of 6 would be better. You could also/instead move the first strike onto the unit stat, this would make them absolutely fearsome, with a good chance of killing all or most of the enemy's good units before they can attack back. Then they would compare favourably to banshees and be certainly worth their points. Yes they would be a polarised list, but this is really what they should be like is it not?

Don't think anything needs to be done about FF really, they are min-maxed specialists and adding some minor firefight is not going to affect the game significantly but would make them more expensive than they need to be.

Overall all of the above can be revealed by testing, but I see no reason it can't be done. If Dark Eldar can win assaults with no armour whatsoever I don't see why harlies can't. A key factor is the webway rules, as it could well be that they don't need the same survivability as normal formations which spend much more time on the table.

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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.1
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:48 pm 
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Guys, the First Strike and EA elements of their stats represents of the 'awesome speed' of attack, while the higher armour value also represents the difficulty of hitting the Harlies during assaults. The issue that is being highlighted actually addresses their vulnerability to shooting, where I agree they possibly might be weaker. This is one of the compromises in E:A over WH40K.

In the dim and distant past similar debates raged over the Howling Banshees, and people even suggested trying to find mechanics for each. Here for example this might be addressed by having a 5+ 'assault armour save' in addition to the 'normal' 5+ Inv Save.

Again, I am not rejecting any of these suggestions as they are all equally valid. However, the real issue is getting some games in to try to establish whether RA formations are OTT or Inv Save formations too weak. Put another way, 'Armoured' or 'unarmoured', can the formations
- Survive on the table long enough to get into assaults?
- Survive an assault and be usefull afterwards?
- Work in isolation, or do they need assistance through upgrades, transport / gates or supporting formations?
And are the costs appropriate . . . ?

So, nothing trivial then :D


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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.1
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 12:44 am 
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Ginger wrote:
So, nothing trivial then :D


Clearly this is all simple. We expect a perfect working draft by tomorrow noon. Chop chop! ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.1
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 12:54 am 
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Kyrt wrote:
My issue with the armour isn't related to balance (which a batrep might address), just the feel.

Batreps will sort out the balance eventually, it's just a completely orthogonal question that's all. I'm sure you could balance guard with 4+ armour, they just might not feel like guard is all. If instead you think the only issue with RA is to do with susceptibility to shooting then fair enough, it just isn't the only issue I am highlighting.

I'll still keep looking in to see how things are going, it will be interesting to see some games.

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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.1
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 1:43 am 
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'Feel' is an important element as well, hence the attempts to portray 'the dance without end', the transient nature of their presence etc.

What other issues do you feel that need highlighting?


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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.1
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 7:41 am 
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"You could also/instead move the first strike onto the unit stat, this would make them absolutely fearsome, with a good chance of killing all or most of the enemy's good units before they can attack back. Then they would compare favourably to banshees and be certainly worth their points. Yes they would be a polarised list, but this is really what they should be like is it not?"

Good idea. ;) If we find the main troupe undercooked this could be well worth trying out.

In terms of Holofields and reinforced armour, theres already units in the game that have high armour or reinforced armour due to their difficulty to hit. i.e Vypers have 4+ save due to speed and manueverability, whilst Wave Serpents, hard to get a direct hit on due to their energy fields, get reinforced armour.

Saying your Dark Angel Bikes/Speeders have the 'walker' rule does feel strange but it gets the job done...

The only real point of having an Harlequin list is if it does play and feel very different from standard Eldar. This will mean 'very strong advantages' in certain ways if they're going to be different.

Once we've tried some games we'll have a better idea.

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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.1
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 10:48 am 
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I was able to get a couple of test games in against E-UK squats. The intention was to test the Grand Masque list as a pure list, and one with Eldar allies, to review a number of aspects of the list.

The first game as a 'pure' Grand Masque list is here

The second game as a Grand Masque list with Biel Tan allies is here

Initial Conclusions
As a Grand Masque, the list needs to be played very carefully. In most games it is likely to start out-activated, and where poorly positioned or rushed, formations will be easily destroyed through FF assaults and to some extent though long-range shooting.
However, if the Grand Masque formations are able to concentrate and use their special rules, their CC assaults are likely to become much more successful and may well destroy the defenders before support fire can be brought to bear. In this respect the list is still quite binary.
Further as a Grand Masque, even after successful assaults, the list will face an up-hill struggle to control objectives due to the limited number of mobile formations.

I had hoped to test / review the use of formations and multiple wraithgates, but the Storm Serpents did not survive long enough. However this did illustrate the difficulties of using them.

Cegorach
This is a really fascinating concept. By placing him on the table, the Harlequin player is indicating where the main thrust of his assaults will take place. This gives both players interesting game choices, whether to concentrate forces in the area or to retreat, and especially how to exploit the situation.
Grand Masque formations under his influence will retain even if they have a BM, while enemy formations become more likely to fail to activate leaving them stranded and liable to assaults

The Shadowseer
Given the nature of the list, having a unit specifically designed to preserve enemy units is distinctly quirky and quite fun. It is also a double edged unit.
  • Placed incorrectly, it can remove enemy units from combat rendering the associated assaulting units ineffective. Placed correctly it reduces the number of active enemy units without reducing the effectiveness of the other units in the attached formation.
  • Attaching the Shadowseer to a Mime formation allows that formation to influence a nearby assault where the Mimes are otherwise unable to provide any support.
  • While it can remove key enemy units from an assault, these units survive to fight later.
  • Having the Great Harlequin assume the Shadowseer role when near Cegorach seems to work and is relatively easy to remember since his formation is likely to be working within Cegorach's sphere of influence.

Death Jester
We did not see the Death Jester in action in either game, which was instructive by his absence. Although the unit is very potent inside 30cm, that is also the assault range for all the Harlequin formations. This alone means that the Death Jester is less likely to be used for shooting, though OW fire could be a usefull deterrent.

Recommendations
  • The Shadowseer needs Farsight (he is a ‘seer’ after all). Without this, a pure Harlequin army cannot triple retain which seems inappropriate.
  • The Shadowseer needs Teleport (to allow Mimes to Teleport with an attached Shadowseer).
  • The Shadowseer effect should be reduced to D3 units, not D3+1.

For consideration
  • The Shadowseer influence could possibly be reduced to 10cm to reduce its effect.
  • The Shadowseer probably needs Infiltrate to enable it to advance with or ahead of the other Harlequin / Mime units.
  • Troupe Leader probably needs Inspiring both to match Eldar Exarch, and also the Maser Mime.
  • It is unclear whether the Great Harlequin should gain Farsight when near Cegorach.
    At present I do not think this is right as Farsight is a physical ability, while the Great Harlequin is only adopting a different role using his story telling abilities to ‘enthrall’ the target audience.
    That said, without a Shadowseer (or a Farseer from an ally) on the table the list loses a key Eldar ability, while buying both the Great Harlequin and Shadowseer upgrades is 225 points, the equivalent of a formation in many armies.


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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.1
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 11:17 am 
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I don't think I would ever take the death jester, he just doesn't fit with what I would want to do with the formation so I'm never going to spare the points on him ahead of anything else. In general, firefighting with the harlie formation is madness, FF6+ is not going to suddenly make me decide to firefight something, if I need to do that I'm already counting on bonuses to win the assault and/or desperate. Would rather just forget about firefight values and get them slightly cheaper.

Easier to make the shadowseer a character rather than add all the different abilities to him? makes sense for him to have farsight too but in general it would be good to try to keep the cost down. he could already be too much despite his abilities. Not sure what you mean about gt harlequin gaining farsight? doesn't he just gain the veil of tears ability?

Troupe leaders are not worth their points, yet you are sort of "forced" to take them in harlequin formations that don't have the great harlequin. Feels frustrating when building the list. Inspiring would sort that out (even at 50 points), and also address the imbalance with master mimes.

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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.1
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 11:58 am 
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Thanks for the comments.

The Death Jester is there as much for fluffyphiles; I agree that the unit is probably a waste of points in most cases, though it may come into it's own in larger point battles.

Making the Shadowseer a character, thereby reducing his points to 50 (or possibly 75 at a pinch) seems a very good idea, not least because it keeps the formations small.
This also helps with the question on the Great Harlequin. Facilitating formations to have a Shadowseer reduces the issue over the lack of Farseers on table in a pure Harlequin army, which in turn removes the possible need for the Great Harlequin to gain Farsight when he assumes the role of Shadowseer.

Troupe leaders (and Master Mimes) are required to control objectives. I suspect the lack of Farsight was an oversight in the original list. However, the main point about all the characters in the list is that it allows the player to create troupes for specific strategic purposes while also juggling with the costs in the list.

Finally Kyrt, I have not forgotten your comment about the confusing nomenclature. I am leaning towards the following:-
  • Referring to all the Harlequin army formations as 'xxxx' Troupe; so "Harlequin Troupe", "Mimic Troupe", "Promenade Troupe" etc.
  • Renaming the Harlequin units within the Harlequin Troupe to be "Players",
    (I would welcome any alternative naming suggestions.)
  • Renaming the 'Harlequin' special ability to be "Speed".
Doing this allows us to continue to refer to the units in general as "Harlequins", and the list colloquially as the "Harlequin list" or "Harlequin army", which in turn permits the reference of "Harlequin Grand Masque" to refer to the use of an army composed mainly or entirely of Harlequins, lead by a Great Harlequin. Do you agree?


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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.1
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:08 pm 
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With strategy of 5 a the cegorach doesn't look much of a conundrum for the harly player just stick it down where you're about to attack, win startegy roll and then attack (and daze opponent with list of special rules). Sure if you lose the strategy roll there may be some dilemma for opponent but the solution is probably something like go first and shoot all the quins.

The DJ makes no sense then - he's more killy than the fluff and consequently expensive and at odds with the rest of the formation. So just sad for people who have with great skill and self satisfaction added a dark reaper model to a harlie unit realising that taking him is a bad idea. Could you consider a restat something like the attack bike in an SM bike unit (a free one-for-one replacement upgrade that mainly gives a 5+AP plinking ability to a unit without one and minimal downside?)

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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.1
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 3:04 pm 
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Making the Shadowseer a character means that currently the DJ becomes the only cheap way of increasing the size of the Harlequin and Mime troupes, which actually makes the DJ a little more attractive.

Making the DJ another character to be added to the troupe, perhaps for +25, is also an appealing idea as it continues the theme of providing different characters for the player to work with.
However I also like your suggestion of making the DJ a replacement for another unit, though it would need to gain Teleport to allow addition to the Mimes.

As to Cegorach, the player must create an army that has more Harlequin formations than any other, and must also pay the additional 125 points for the Great Harlequin. These two constraints and the current costs mean that the player must buy at least six Harlequin formations for a minimum ~1900 points, which in turn constrains the size and use of the army.
Yes, Cegorach is a powerfull option, though not without several downsides, not least being to keep at least one unbroken Harlequin formation within 30cm of him in the face of later enemy activations, while also positioning formations to contest or control objectives.


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 Post subject: Re: Harlequin Grand Masque V4.2.1
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 4:09 pm 
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ffoley wrote:
The DJ makes no sense then - he's more killy than the fluff and consequently expensive and at odds with the rest of the formation. So just sad for people who have with great skill and self satisfaction added a dark reaper model to a harlie unit realising that taking him is a bad idea.
Being even sadder, I have found the following conversions fairly simple even for me, the least able modeler:-

Death Jester
Two figures to a base. (Apparently they stand apart from fellow Harlequins, at least according to the latest Codex)
Figure #1, take a Swooping Hawk, remove his wings and replace his head with a Harlequin head
Figure #2, Take a winged Exarch / Autarch, remove his wings and add the barrel from a Harlequin gun (see below) to the end of his gun

Shadowseer
Three figures to a base, including a Warlock and standard Harlequin
Take a Dark Reaper model and remove his gun.

Great Harlequin
Three figures to a base including two standard Swooping Hawks
Take a Swooping Hawk, remove the head and wings. Add a Howling Banshee head and Autarch wings (see above)

Solitaire
One figure to a base (obviously :) )
Take a Howling Banshee, cut off his gun arm and add the sword arm of a second HB. Replace his head with a Harlequin head.

Troupe Leader
Three figures to a base including two standard Harlequins
Take a Harlequin, remove his sword. Reposition his head and add the HB gun (see above) as the Harlequin Kiss.

Master Mime
Three figures to a base including two standard Howling Banshees
Take a Harlequin, remove the gun arm. Reposition his head and add the sword arm from a second Harlequin.


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