I've been pretty out of touch over the last couple weeks with anything 40k, tied up with exams, and some house renovations. But that's all finishing up so I had a chance to check out some of the normal sites. Low and behold, I find more Dark Eldar rumors on BoLS.
Not alot that I'm overly surprised by, although the melta/lance weapon could be crazy, but I am kind of perturbed by the harlequin stuff. I admit, it's alot of me just being uppity, but it's because it generates concern in my mind.
So first, the acknoledgement. Harlequins have a great theme to them, and lots of people love the idea of death clowns. Are they enough to make an entire armybook out of, probably not, but you could make a PDF style army list out of them. With the current design philosophies, I doubt we'll see a PDF style armylist. So we are more likely going to see them added to an existing armybook. We saw this a little in the Eldar codex, but they almost seemed like an afterthought. They were stuck in as an elite choice in an army that was already chalked full of elites. Honestly in my mind, they fought for the same role as Banshees and Scorpions, who could arguebly do the job as good or better depending on the rest of your army. We saw a few people use them, mostly because they loved the theme, Fritz most noteably, and I can empathize with that as a Dark Eldar player.
So here's where my concern comes up. In the current game, wyches are generally on par or better than harlequins. So if that same harlie unit gets dropped into an elite slot in a new Dark Eldar book, they are immediately competing with wyches to perform the same role. Only wyches are going to be troops and a better overall selection. Harlequins fall into the same problem as the Eldar book. That's not what GW wants to see, harlequins are great models and could generate some great sales. So we'll see one of three things happen in my mind; first, harlequins are changed to be better than the Eldar equivalent, this will just further the codex creep screams and the continued one upmanship of codices; second, wyches will be nerfed to make harlequins better, this will basically turn wyches into either the current version of warriors, or worse eldar guardians; the last option that I see, is incorporate the harlequins as is, and maybe add a few other thematic units and include an HQ that makes them troops.
So the first and second options basically destroy any theme for existing players and their armies. Harlequin players are dangled a piece of hope to be dashed again, or Dark Eldar players are forced to use a very un-thematic unit to fill in the spot of nerfed wyches. The third option is probably the best, but I'm not sure that it will happen. While the Ork, and Marine books made good use of these kind of characters, the last few books have sort of left this by the wayside unfortunately.
Only time will tell at this point. But as much as I want a new codex, I've always been most afraid of them ruining the theme they currently have, even though it is very sparse.