So, I finally got to try out a Freakshow list in two 3000 point games a few weeks ago. I don't have time to write full battle reports on each one so below I'll just share some observations/highlights, as this was my first time using Harlequins as well as using Freakshow tactics.
The crux of my list was a Ld/Psychic Deathstar consisting of a Harlequin Cast of Players with a Shadowseer equipped with the Mask of Secrets, a Succubus toting the Armor of Misery and a WWP, and a Farseer rolling on Telepathy for Psychic Shriek. This was backed up by a unit of Coven Grotesques joined by a Haemie carrying a WWP and the Archangel of Pain. I also brought a Comms Relay to ensure that the Cast of Players and the Grots came in on the same turn. In both games I played against a combined Space Wolves and Eldar army. The Space Wolves portion consisted of multiple Thunderwolf Cavalry squads, Drop Pods, and Rhinos with Grey Hunters/Flamers, while the Eldar portion had the Aspect Host formation with Dark Reapers, Warp Spiders, and Fire Dragons, Scatter Bikes, a Farseer, and Vaul's Support Batteries with Shadow Weavers.
1. So, the first thing I learned is that against CWE, Leadership debuffs + WWP + Archangel of Pain is ridiculously good. So good, in fact, that I won't be bringing it in friendly games anymore. On turn two in both games, when my Harliestar and Grots came in I basically wiped out or effectively neutralized about 700 - 1000 points of CWE just through Psychic Shriek, Mask of Secrets, Armor of Misery, Freakish Spectacle, and the Archangel of Pain. Using the WWP allowed me to place both the Harliestar and the Grots to ensure that I had multiple units within range of the Archangel of Pain (-2) AND within range of the Mask of Secrets (-2), Armor of Misery (-2), and/or Freakish Spectacle (-1). It was basically like setting off a nuclear bomb in the CWE ranks. It was glorious. My opponent used the following terms to describe the effect this had on him: "soul-crushing", "devastating", "disheartening", well, you get the idea.
2. The next thing I learned is that the Death Jester also complements Freakshow quite well, as I was able to run a 10 man squad of Warp Spiders and a unit of Dark Reapers off the side of the table, and was also able to wipe out two squads of Grey Hunters that the Death Jester caused to fall back just by declaring a charge against them with the Harliestar as they failed to pass their regroup test after the charge was declared thanks to the Armor of Misery and the Mask of Secrets.
3. Psychic Shriek + Death Jester + Leadership modifiers are an effective way to neutralize Thunderwolf Cav by being able to whittle them down and move them out of position to be effective once they fall back.
4. Harlequins die to a stiff breeze. Not exactly a revelation, I know, but I was caught off guard by how easy it was to kill them. They managed to kill what they charged in the first game but in the second game, they were so depleted by the time they made it into combat that they were almost useless. In both games, my opponents flamer's were the bane of their existence. So, while I was impressed by what the Shadowseer and Death Jester could do, the actual Troupe left me quite underwhelmed by their performance, especially for their cost (I gave them all Kisses and the Troupe Leader a Caress).
I ended up winning both games, but the first game would've been a draw had we ended on Turn Five. In the second game, it was pretty much over on Turn Two, when the Harliestar came down and wiped out two squads of Scatter Bikes, a Dark Reapers squad, and killed two Thunderwolf Cav before causing the unit to fall back 17 inches.
Thanks to Jimsolo for his articles on the Freakshow list. I'm now a believer in how strong it can be.