The Notorious Webway Portal (WWP)

If there is one single piece of Wargear that has more potential impact on the game of 40K than anything else, I would argue it is the Dark Eldar Webway Portal.

Costing 7 MBs, this simple piece of gear can be taken by DE Archons, Succubii, and Hameonculii. Provided the model is in Reserves/Ongoing Reserves, then it gains the ability to Deep Strike without scattering. Additionally, it any unit that the WWP is attached to also gains “scatter-less” Deep Strike, which is the really amazing part of this Wargear (this also includes any transport that the WWP bearer and his unit is embarked upon!).

Now, the new FAQs have slightly nerfed the allied application of the WWP, since the DE characters can no longer embark on allied transports before the game begins/in Reserve (i.e. Eldar Wave Serpents, Corsair Falcons, Harlequin Star Weavers, etc.), but even with this there are numerous tactical applications for the WWP and its bearer on the tabletop.

Just off the top of my head, here are some of the best units two join a WWP toting Dark Eldar character to:

–DARK ELDAR (PURE)–

1 – Court of the Archon with multiple Medusae — Being able to put numerous S4 AP3 templates EXACTLY where need them means you can basically eliminate an entire infantry unit of your choice on the turn you arrive from reserves, provided they don’t have a 2+ save or solid Invul save (i.e. the vast majority of non-vehicle units in the game). Basically, think of this combination as an infantry “assassin” type unit.

2 – 3 x Grotesques with Liquefier Guns in a Raider — Not only does this get the Grotesques up close and personal so they can put pressure on the enemy firing lines and set up close combat in subsequent turns, but the multiple Liquefier Gun templates are not to be ignored, especially if they happen to roll AP2/1. Combine this with a strong combat DE character (like a tricked out Succubus, who benefits from majority T5) and you have a real CC threat that the enemy cannot easily afford to ignore.

3 – 20 x Kabalite Warriors with 2 x Blasters, 2 x Dark Lances, and a Blast Pistol on the Sybarite — If you want to put down a ton of Poison shooting at close range and/or seize objectives with a big “blob” of cheap Dark Eldar, this is the unit to do it. Not only can it threaten pretty much any non-vehicle unit because of Poison, but with 5 x S8 Lance shots (two are Snap Shots, unless they are standing still), this unit can reliable hurt vehicles and heavily armored infantry as well.

4 – Dark Artisan Formation (1 Haemonculus, 1 Talos, 1 Chronos, all forming a single unit) — With a WWP on the Haemonculus, you can put 2 Monstrous Creatures anywhere on the board, with no scatter, starting turn 2 of the game. Add is -1Ld for enemies within 12″, plus solid shooting and deadly close combat ability and you have a potential “spoiler” unit here that can greatly disrupt enemy plans and pull attention away from the rest of your army.

–CRAFTWORLD ALLIES–

1 – 10 x Fire Dragons from Aspect Host formation — With 10 BS5 Fusion Guns that can be placed exactly where you want them, there is almost no vehicle (and very few MCs/GMCs) out there that can survive the shooting from this unit, so basically this is your “trump card” unit to surgically remove a selected enemy Super-Heavy, Lord of War, or other uber-unit in a single turn.

2 – 5-10 Wraithguard with either Wraithcannons or D-Scythes — Either weapon option is tremendous, with the Wraithcannons bringing “full-up” Destroyer shots at guaranteed close range and D-Scythes providing ridiculous AP2 templates. While not a cheap battle group, this one is much more durable than many other alternatives and can bring game-changing firepower to bear exactly where you want it, thus mitigating the two Wraithguard weaknesses of short-range and poor mobility.

3 – 20 x Guardian Defenders with 2 x Shurikan Cannons Warlock Leader and attached Farseer — Not only can this unit put out 42 Bladestorm shots a turn at 12″, but the Warlock and Farseer can buff the entire unit in multiple ways and/or debuff enemy forces, making it even more effective (imagine Invisibility on this unit to make it very difficult to target). Finally, if the DE character bearing the WWp also has the Armor of Misery relic, then enemy units within 6″ have -2Ld, meaning the Farseer can use Psychic Shriek and other Leadership shenanigans from the Telepathy discipline quite effectively.

–HARLEQUIN/CORSAIR ALLIES–

1 – 12 x Harlequin Troupe of Player with Fusion Pistols and special CCWs, plus an attached Shadowseer — Not only does this set up the 12 man Troupe for getting into combat on the other end of the board (which is where it excels, but has difficulty getting, since the Starweaver transport can only hold 6 troops), but you can the Fusion Pistols to bring some serious heat (pun intended!) against enemy vehicles, MCs, or elite infantry before the Harlequins charge. Finally, the Shadowseer can protect the Troupe, debuff the enemy, or even snipe out enemy Psykers with Phantasmancy and Telepathy powers.

2 – Corsair Balestrike Band with Jetpacks (for Relentless and JSJ) and massed Dark Lances — This gives you the option to put massed Lance Fire on the table wherever you need it, whether to bring down vehicles or tough infantry/MCs, plus once you DS in with no scatter, you still have solid mobility due to the Jetpacks on the Corsairs. Basically, think of this as a longer ranged, more mobile, but not quite as destructive against vehicles version of the Fire Dragon battle group described above.

 

Clowns and Panzers — Harlequin/Armored Battle Group Alliance

Another unorthodox alliance that I think can actually be competitive is using a Harlequin Masque in conjunction with an Armoured Battle Group allied detachment. Consider the following:

HALEQUINS

-Pros — Highly mobile, powerful psychic options, exceptional in close combat and solid short-range firepower

-Cons — Expensive, fragile, lacking effective long-range shooting, lacking anti-flyer options

ARMOURED BATTLE GROUP

-Pros — Highly durable, multiple effective long/mid-ranged shooting options, Objective Secured AV14 units, effective AA shooting

-Cons — Expensive, slow, highly vulnerable in close combat, no Psychic options

As you can see, in may ways these two armies are mirror opposites of one another: one is close-combat focused “glass cannon” force and the other is firepower-based “anvil” type faction.

Because of these differences, I think the two forces compliment each other quite well. Establish a firebase with the Armoured Battle Group to begin impacting the enemy turn 1 and tuck the Harlequin units in behind the wall of AV14 and AV12.

If the enemy tries to out-shoot you, slowly advance your Leman Russes/sheltered Harlequins while pouring on the firepower of the Armoured Company. Then, once you are within range (say turn 2, 3, or 4), have the Harlequins dart out from behind their tank shield and use their 6″ move + D6″ run + 2D6″ charge (all with Fleet) to get into the enemy gun line and chop it up. This can be highly effective against Tau, Astra Militarum, shooty Necrons, Skitarii, Cult Mechanicus, shooty Astartes (of all variants), and even some versions of Eldar (i.e. footdar, gunline Eldar, etc.).

Alternately, if your opponent moves in close to either try and assault your tanks and their vulnerable AV10/11 rear armor (i.e. Tyranids, Orks, Khorne Daemonkin, Grey Knights, Daemons, assaulty Necrons, etc.) and/or use close-ranged anti-tank shooting against them (i.e. Melta Vets, Fire Dragons, Fusion Blaster Crises Teams, Tyrranocyte Zoanthropes, Drop Pod Marines, D-Scythe Wraithguard, CSM Combi-Melta Terminators, etc.), then your Harlequins can “bubble wrap” the vulnerable Leman Russes or, better yet, pre-emptively charge your opponents, thus keeping your tanks safe/still shooting and also tearing them up with your highly potent Harlequin close combat abilities.

Either way, with skillful integration of these two factions, you place your opponent in a dilemma and can combine the best attributes of both factions into you battle plan.

In support of this Harlequin/Armoured Company Battle Group concept, here are what I consider some of the best units to take:

ARMOURED BATTLE GROUP

1 – Command Tank (HQ)/Commissar Tank (Elite) — Both have BS4 and access to special Tank Ammo, the best of which is the Monster Hunter ammo (S8 AP2, Small Blast, Instant Death) on Vindicators and Infernus ammo (S8 AP3, Ignore Cover) on normal Leman Russ Battle Tanks. The Command Tank can also issue orders, the best of which enables friendly tanks to target an enemy and force them to re-roll successful cover saves, and they both can take upgrades like Aritificer Hull for +1HP. Overall, these make for strong anti-tank and/or anti-infantry shooting to lead your force, as well as more AV14 saturation.

2 – Siege Tank Squadron (Troops) — 1-3 Demolishers, Executioners, Punishers, and/or Thunderer Siege Tanks (basically a turretless, cheaper Demolisher) in a squadron. With tremendous firepower (i.e. S10 AP2 large blasts or 3 x S7 AP2 small blasts or 20 x S5 Ap- shooting), AV14 in the front and AV11 in the rear, plus Objective Secured for being a Troops option, this squadron type can relentlessly advance, protecting harlequins behind it, and pound the enemy while doing so.

3 – Vendetta Squadron (Fast Attack) — 1-3 Vendettas provide excellent anti-tank, anti-flyer, and anti-Monstrous Creature shooting at long range to round out your Harlequin/Armoured Battle Group task force. Not cheap, but can be your “ace in the hole” unit in many games.

4 – Collossus Bombard Battery (Heavy Support) — 1-3 Collosus Mortars that eahc put out a S6 AP3, Large Blast, Barrage, IGNORE COVER shot per turn. Obviously, this is death to any MEQs, Necrons, Eldar Jetbikes, Wraithguard, Nob Bikerz, Tau Crises Suits, or basically anything without either a 2+ save or a transport to ride in. If you are facing an enemy “gunline” force, then this is one of your best compliments to the tank/harlequin foundation of the army and, even if you are facing an assault-oriented horde opponent (like Ork green tide or Black Templar black tide army), then these mortars can even scale. Finally, they even have utility against medium enemy armor, since they are S6 Ordnance and Barrage (meaning they hit side armor), which can be quite potent against things like a Space Marine Battle Company spamming free Rhinos/Razorbacks.

HARLEQUINS

1 – Solitaire (Elite) — Normally considered somewhat mediocre, in this list I think he shines. As a single model that can easily hide out of LOS behind advancing Leman Russ platforms, he cand wait for the opportune moment, then dash out 12″ (or even use his Blitz ability, if appropriate), then run another D6″, then charge another 2D6″ to single-handedly tie up (or even destroy) an enemy squad. In this he maximizes his excellent close-combat abilities and also serves as an effective “economy of force” unit for you army (i.e. if he ties up a squad of TWC about to multi-charge your expensive Leman Russ Executioner squadron and rip it to shreds, then he has basically made his points back already). Don’t forget he has I10 (so can basically auto-win Sweeping Advance rolls) and Hit and Run, so he can charge, beat up a unit, then H&R out to allow him to charge another unit next turn.

2 – Shadowseer (Elite) — Another great froce multiplier unit, with each Harlequin Troupe probably needing one of these psykers attached to it for Veil of Tears if nothing else. Combining an AV14 armor wall to block LOS with Veil of Tears (for any enemy units that are fast enough to zoom up the flank and actually get a bead on the Harlequins) on each Troup and you can all but ensure that the enemy will not harm them until you are within charge range for your deadly clowns (which is where you want them, of course 😉 ). Also, the Shadowseer can “defang” critical enemy units like FMCs, Centurions, Superheavies, etc. with powers like Fog of Dreams (basically “reverse Invisibility” cast as a malidiction on an enemy unit and forcing it to Snap Shoot and only hit on 6+s in combat for a turn) or, alternately, combine the Mask of Secrets Relic (-2 Ld on nearby enemies) with Psychic Shriek power to inflict signficant witchfire damage on even very tough enemy units.

3 – Harlequin Trooupe (Troops) — Your “bread and butter” close combat unit. If take on foot in squads of 8-10 with the right close combat upgrades, then sheltered behind friendly armor/with Veil of Tears until they can charge, this squad can hit well above its weight and provide exceptional close in protection for your slow, lumbering, vulnerable-to-assault tanks. Personally, I think the Harlequin’s Caress is the most versatile upgrade option, making them Troupe a threat to infantry, MCs, and vehicles alike and combining quite well with the supporting firepower of the Leman Russes and Collosus Bombards at range.

4 – Skyweaver Jetbikes (Fast Attack) — With all the advantages of Eldar Jetbikes (i.e. ridiculous mobility, making them tremendous for grabbing objectives), plus the option to either take ranged Haywire shooting or lots of ranged Shurikan Cannon shooting, plus the ability to become potent close combat units on the charge (i.e. 4 x S5 AP2 I6 attacks on the charge with Zeiphergalive upgrade and the option to Hit and Run out of combat to “rinse and repeat” this tactic), Skyweavers bring an element of hyper mobility and specialized shooting/close combat that really compliments Harlequins Troupes on foot and massed Imperial Tanks. Consider these guys your QRF (i.e. Quick Reaction Force) which can dart around the battlefield and do whatever role you require of them, be it grap objectives, assault an enemy shooting unit far from you DZ, or add specialized shooting to support the firepower of your Leman Russes and artillery.

Killing Wraithknights part 3…. Dark Eldar and Harlequin Assassin style

Continuing to look at how each different army deals with the new Eldar Wraithknight and its Gargantuan Creature/LOW status.

Dark Eldar have taken a significant hit in this category, since all their poisoned weaponry are reduced to wounding on 6+s (and the Wraithknight has FNP), so they have to rely on Dark Lance/Blaster spam to deal with T8 Gargantuan Creatures (and even this takes tons of focused fire and may not even succeed).

One way to mitigate this is to take an allied Harquin formation, specifically the “Cast of Players” formation, which consists of the following:

-One Death Jester

-One Shadowseer

-One Harlequin Troupe

The entire formation gets Crusader USR and hands it out to allied Dark Eldar within 6″, so not a bad bonus. Also, the Death Jester and Shadowseer must remain attached to the squad, but they are useful enough and the overall points cost of this formation is low enough ot justify taking it without detracting too much from an overall Dark Eldar force.

Now, here is where the the “synergy” comes in. Take 12 Harlequin Player and equip the entire Troupe with Neuro Disruptors (the Shadowseer as well). That’s 13 Neurodisruptors total. Also, take Telepathy and Phantasmancy on the Shadowseer for access to Psychic Shriek and Veil of Tears as the Primaris powers. Finally, take the Mask of Secrets relic on the Shadowseer.

Next, attach them to a Dark Eldar HQ equipped with a Webway Portal and a Blast Pistol (Archon with a Shadowfield could work well). Finally, starting Turn 2+, having them DS without scattering right within 12′ of the target enemy Wraithknight.

From there, in the Psychic Phase, hit the Wraithknight with Psychic Shriek to try and strip some wounds off (average 3D6 roll is 11 and Wraithknight, after -2 Ld from Mask of Secrets, has Ld 8, so that 3 wounds with no saves, reduced to 2 unsaved wounds by FNP).

Following that, in the shooting phase, hit the Wraithknight with 13 Neuro Disruptor shots…. at BS4 and with AP2 and Fleshbane, that should translate into 7-8 wounds…. after the Wraithknight gets its FNP rolls, the end result shoul dbe about 4-5 unsaved wounds. Throw in the BS5 Blast Pistol and you might even get one more unsaved wound.

Now, between Psychic Shriek, the Neuro Disruptors, and the Blast Pistol you should be able to be able to, in a single player turn when the squad comes in from Deep Strike, inflict an average of about 7 unsaved wounds, which results in one dead Gargantuan Creature Lord of War for your opponent and a dramatic shift in combat power in your favor in a single turn.

Of course, the Shadowseer can also cast Veil of Tears in that same turn in order to make the squad MUCH more capable of absorbing enemy return fire after they assassinate the Wraithknight, in turn allowing them to be set up to move, shoot again, and hopefully charge the following turn, thus contributing even more to your overall game plan.

Psychic Assassination … Shadowseers, Succubus, and Grotesques

So, this is a way to combine Harlequin and Dark Eldar allies to make a resilient, very hard hitting unit that can drop in and precisely assassinate a powerful character, then continue contributing the rest of the game.

The battle-group is as follows:

-2 x Harlequin Shadowseers  with PML(2), both using Telepathy Discipline; one has Mask of Secrets.

-DE Succubus with Archite Glaive, Armor of Misery, and Web Way Portal.

-Max unit of Grotesques, with Liquefier Guns as appropriate.

Entire unit squads together, then uses Web Way Portal to deep strike in turn 2+ with no scatter, putting both the Mask of Secrets and the Armor of Misery within 12″ of the intended target (let’s say it is a Tau Riptide, just for example). That means that the target already has -4 Ld, which means, on a Riptide with base Ld9, it is operating at Ld5. Next, both Shadowseers use Psychic Shriek (primaris power, so guaranteed) to target the Riptide… on average, each Psychic Shriek that gets through is inflicting about 5-6 wounds, so a total of about 11 wounds if they both go off, which in turn means about 7-8 unsaved wounds after the Riptide 5++, killing it and any drones in a single volley. If you really want to have some insurance, bring Neuron Disruptors on the Shadowseers and a Blast Pistol on the Succubus so you can dish out some more AP2 goodness in the Shooting Phase and finish off the target (if required).

The Grotesques make everybody majority T5 and provide some major tanking (FNP and multiple wounds), plus can deal with hordes with their Liquefier Guns and multiple close combat attacks. If any of the Shadowseers get Invisibility, then you can basically make the formation invincible on the turn it comes in (or even later turns), giving it time to continue to put out more damage in both shooting and close combat. Alternately, if you get The Shrouding power, then you can combine them with terrain for very strong cover saves.

To get access to two Shadowseers you either need to take Masque Detachment or one of the Formations that include multiple Shadowseers, so there is a significant “tax” for this, but generally you can make the rest of the required Harlequins quite useful to your army alongside their dark brethren. If you ware fighting a non-fearless/non-ATSKNF army, then have the Succubus bring along an Archangel of Pain as well and pop that when you arrive from reserve… every enemy unit within  9″ will then have to a take a Ld test at -6 (so Ld 4 if they start with Ld10, Ld 2 for most units) and suffer a AP2, no cover saves allowed wound for every point they fail the Ld test by… given that average Ld roll is 7 and most units will be reduced to Ld 2, that means most units within 9″ will take about 5 unsaved wounds, on top of any shooting/Psychic Shrieks this battle group puts out afterwards.

Skyweavers and Farseer Allies… Harlequin/Eldar Integration

Looking for synergies with the new Harlequin Book, especially with their Eldar/Dark Eldar cousins. Right now, one of the best combinations that I can come up with is as follows:

-6 Skyweaver Jetbikes, all with Zypherglaive upgrade.

-Eldar Farseer on a Jetbike with Singing Spear and all powers taken from Divination discipline.

Based on what powers the Farseer gets, he can buff the Skyweavers appropriately:

-Prescience – The best power, improving both shooting and close combat (and guaranteed to have). With 24 x S5 AP2 attacks on the charge, all with WS5 and I5, the Skyweavers with Prescience on them will get an average of about 21 hits against normal WS4 opponents (i.e. MEQs), of which about 14 will wound, with no armor saves. That means this unit can wipe out an entire Power Armor Squad a turn, or about 9-10 Terminators before they even strike, or about 4-5 Hammernators before they can strike back (this doesn’t even account for the Hammer of Wrath attacks by the bikes and the Farseer’s attacks as well). Shooting-wise, with Prescience on, the Skyweavers can put out 18 S6 AP5 Bladestorm shots a turn, all at BS4 and Twin-linked… against MEQs, that’s about 16 hits, about 3 “quasi-Rends” and about 10 “normal” wounds, of which MEQs will fail another 3. Even against vehicles, 16 hits with S6 means the Skyweavers have a solid chance of glancing to death any vehicle with AV12 or less.

-Perfect Timing – Ignoring cover is great, especially with the multiple Shuriken Cannons the Skyweavers bring to the fight, whether shooting at infantry behind cover or targeting skimmers that can use a Jink save.

-Forewarning – Great ability that gives unit a 4++ (not just against shooting and not just once a game, like the Skyweaver Mirage Launchers normally allows). This is a significant improvement over the normal 5++ the bikes have from their holo-suits and reduces their inherent fragility.

-Foreboding – Decent ability that make charging Skyweavers (which most units will not be doing anyway) extra dangerous, especially allowing them to overwatch at full BS.

-Precognition – Allowing the Farseer to better tank wounds and inflict damage on his own (especially with his Witchblade), this is a decent ability that can support the overall Skyweaver unit in both survivability and close combat.

-Misfortune – A Malediction that causes all attacks against the selected target to have Rending… since the Skyweaver Shuriken Cannons already have Bladestorm and their close combat attacks are already AP2 on the charge, the main benefits of this power to the Skyweavers is enabling them to damage vehicles better (especially AV12 and above vehicles ) and to give them the ability to inflict wounds in close combat better in turns after their initial charge, where they are only S3 AP3. That said, still a very useful power, especially when combined with other Eldar and Harlequin units.

-Scrier’s Gaze – Not directly benefiting the Skyweavers, but still quite a boon to the overall Eldar/Harlequin task force in terms of reserve manipulation. A useful power to have on the Farseer in any event.

So, as you can see, almost all Divination powers on a Farseer make Harlequin Skyweavers much better, especially Prescience, which is guaranteed. Combining a large Skyweaver squad with a Divination Farseer can be quite an effective Tactic, especially if you integrate this fast-moving, hard-hitting unit effectively with the rest of army to provide supporting fire, target saturation, and redundancy for seizing objectives.