Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Introducing: The Mockingbird

A Harlequin Razorwing er, I mean Mockingbird!
As my harlequin army has grown, and as I have gained some experience playing them, I have found that they have been lacking in one crucial area. long range firepower. most of my army not only excels at close combat, but relies on it to keep from being shot to pieces. unfortunately the longest range anti-tank shots I have are only 18" blasters.

In order to be slightly more competitive, I needed to find a way to get some long-range fire into my list. unfortunately, I have basically exhausted the set of units that have a nice one-to-one relationship with a model or unit from the old harlequin army.

After looking through some old fan codexes I found at some point along my quest to create a harlequin army, I found a unit that could at least provide some inspiration. One fan codex introduced the Mockingbird, a vyper/venom with a vibrocannon strapped to the back of it. So how could I get this concept into my current list? read on to find out

I'm not real sure where the original idea for the mockingbird could have come from. Looking at the eldar codex, that's slapping the least used gun in the eldar army onto the least used vehicle chassis... not exactly promising. but it gave the harlequin list something it was lacking: long range mobile fire that could hurt both infantry and tanks.

Obviously, the dark eldar codex has nothing like a vyper with a vibrocannon on top. But you know what? that's ok. its not like the original idea was harlequin canon anyways. If I'm making my harlequin army, I am going to claim some artistic license in what I can choose to put in my army!

Games Workshop hasn't updated the fluff for the harlequins in many years. So it has been up to those who love the army to fill in the blanks and try to grow their own background for the army. if I'm going to make a (even partially) competitive army, I will need to fill a few gaps.

So I have the name, and I know I want a unit that can give me some good ranged firepower on a mobile platform. luckily, the dark eldar codex has plenty of stuff that can fit the bill. the trick is finding one that can fit into an army and not take away from the theme I have been crafting for the last year. there are three options I played with over time: ravagers, scourges and the razorwing.

ravagers just didn't fit the bill for me. maybe its because everyone is using one (or 3...) and I would rather not just copy others. partly its because the model just doesn't look like like something I could customize into a harlequin model of some kind. there's nothing to base it on, so I can't swap in an old model, and the ravager/raider model just looks too Dark Eldar for my conversion skills to change. 3 dark lances would be cool, but I don't think I could make this one work.

Scourges would be cool (and I know that a lot of people are enjoying them, both Caldera and darkwynn have had many good things to say about them in serious games), but I am having trouble fitting them into the list conceptually. if I could come up with some way to make winged/hovering harlequins with heavy weapons fit, I would totally use them. at one point I thought of using them for death jesters, but later settled on trueborn as a much more logical choice. in a harlequin army, death jesters should be the primary heavy infantry. I doubt the scourges (as cool as they are) will see play in my army.

Which leaves the razorwing. in fact, I love the razorwing for many reasons. it offers some long range fire against tanks (lances) and infantry (4 large blasts at S6?! yes please). On top of this, the model is amazing! I saw one picture of it early on, and knew I wanted one as soon as it came out. the model is sleek and sharp looking, but not overly spiky and cruel looking.

The softer side of the dark eldar...

So with all that said, I am adding a razorwing to my army. I played around with some conversion ideas, but I don't think any of them actually improved the look of the model at all. its a really beautiful piece of plastic. It might not fit the fluff perfectly, but I can look past that. to tie it in with the rest of the army, it's all pimped out with colors, diamonds, and other designs. I will be working up some fluff for it in the near future to make it tie in fully with my army. for now, I just know that I want to make it work. It fills a hole in my army, and after building the model I fell in love with it.

I apologize to all of you truists out there who don't want to see the core fluff of the harlequins changed. but I feel that it is time to expand. there is only so far I can run with the fluff that GW gave me and the codex I am working with. without making a new codex with house rules for wargear etc, I can't expand my army's abilities. the Dark eldar codex offers so many units and rules that are just so well done it would be a shame to pass them all up. this model also conveniently bumps me up from 1850 to the 2000 point level that our club is currently playing.

for those of you reading this blog, what do you think of the razorwing? is it worth taking? does it fit the harlequin play style at all?

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