Saturday, 28 February 2015

All the Millennium’s a Stage: Codex Harlequin Review

I haven’t purchased a Codex in a while but I bought this. GW’s release schedule for sixth/seventh edition has been insane, it feels like a new release every month. Having worked through most of the major Codexes GW is running out of armies from its regular stable to get onto the market. Because of this it has gotten too expensive to own every Codex but as an avid Eldar collector I had to have this book. More than any edition seventh embraces its legacy and all the seemingly forgotten corners of the Warhammer 40,000 universe seem to be erupting into the mainstream.
When Games Workshop let the Codex supplements peter out our dreams of books for Genestealer Cults, Madmobz, Legion armies or even Harlequins were done with. Thankfully that has not happened. However, Codex Eldar Harlequins is not a supplement it is a full blown Codex that contains a self-contained army that requires no units from other Codexes in order to function but which, thanks to the ally matrix, is able to join up with either Eldar or Dark Eldar armies.

Harlequins pre-date Craftworld Eldar as we know them, being the next type of Eldar created after the original Eldar Corsairs. Codex Apocrypha in White Dwarf #57 reprints the epic introductory tale of a Harlequin’s troupe’s performance of the fall that was originally printed upon their release. I highly recommend you check it out if it is something you have not read before. Also, you can find out more about Harlequins in part 2 of my history of the Eldar Line at Beasts of War

The book itself is beautiful. It is full of art, new full colour art. I do not remember a Codex that has had so much effort put into filling the pages with original artwork. One reason for this is that there is not much new art to fill a Harlequin book with, the majority of Harlequin art is black and white hailing from Rogue Trader days. Despite this the glut of pictures in the book really do a good job of showing off the fast and dynamic action of a Harlequin force at war.

To go with this new art is an expansion on the lore of the Harlequins. Again, this is necessary as to provide Harlequins with a purpose in the current era they need to be more than wandering travellers of the Webway. Cegorach the laughing god is most definitely not the Deceiver, he is a true living god with followers who enact his will and he has plans. Within the Black Library a crystal tome said to hold the writings of Cegorach has opened and the prophesies on its pages begin to come to pass. The Harlequins erupt from the Webway all across the galaxy to enact Cegorach’s plan, a plan to destroy Slaanesh and restore the Eldar and their Pantheon to their place in the galaxy.

This thread was first explored in Codex Iyanden and is followed here. The Craftworld Eldar may manipulate the various races of the Galaxy for their own benefit but they have nothing on the Harlequins who are now bigger players on the galactic stage than previously alluded to. As an Eldar player this is a good thing as there is hope of a future beyond a slow decline.

The format of the book is the same as was seen in Codex Necrons, lots of the line art figures that are used to show off uniform colour schemes, each with a blurb explaining the troupe it belongs to and their history which does a good job of differentiating the styles of these groups within the whole. There is a lot of fluff on show which helps fill the spaces where the bestiary section would go. With only seven units in the book there is room for this but it does shine a light on how thin on the ground these sections are in books that have to provide rules for a normal amount of units.

To fill out these areas you are presented with an abundance of formations which give you a ready-made force to include in your Eldar or Dark Eldar army. However on its own the Harlequin force is fast, elusive and hard hitting. There are no high strength low AP weapons you can rely on to win the game for you, instead there are a lot of exploding six effects that will cause a lot of damage to whatever they are aimed at.

This is a good book, as a creative effort and as a new army to add an extra dimension to the Eldar line. Unfortunately I cannot offer kudos to anyone in particular as the book’s writing and art is attributed to no one. I realise that they are trying to protect their staff from Matt Ward levels of trolling but it is a shame that those responsible for the work cannot be given their proper dues.


1 comment:

  1. Nicely written and good choice for the art work.