Solitaires are a type of Eldar Harlequin. Incredibly powerful (even amongst the already crazy powerful Harlequins), the Solitaires are also an anti-psychic madhouse, inspiring psycho like Blanks do, and Eldar, who are all psykers, feel incredibly depressed in their presence. While not stated in canon, the probable reason for this is because without a soul, the solitaire is capable of using their psychic powers without restraint. Eldar psykers have to control their warp signatures as tapping too much power can cause them be suddenly molested by a Slaaneshi daemon. Without the threat of their souls turning into an "eat all you can" sign when they delve into the warp for power however, for Solitaires, their psychic potential is the only limit left.
The truth about their condition is, sadly, even more grimdark. Unlike the others, who are protected by their faith in Cegorach upon their death, the Solitaires are already doomed to be devoured by Slaanesh once they die. This is perhaps what allows them to play Her role in the Harlequins' performances. The only hope they have is Cegorach's last trump card, wherein He is allowed to challenge She Who Thirsts for their souls. He does not always win. However, every time Slaanesh wins, Cegorach was revealed to have lost on purpose, on account of him replacing the soul in question with a realistic blow-up sex doll while Slaanesh was distracted. As the Prince of Pleasure attempts to fornicate with it, it bursts open, giving him/her/it the coldest of showers that would spoil any excitement he/she/it has built up. It also warps in Khorne for a short while in his realm so he can relive his "Piledriving Slaanesh into oblivion" times during the fall of the Eldar, minus Khaine. Slaanesh, for some reason, keeps falling for it every time.
Because of their close combat nature, Solitaires are usually armed with weapons to go full Choppa onto an enemy's face. This includes the mundane Shuriken Pistol to the more exotic Harlequin's Embrace, Harlequin's Kiss or even a Harlequin's Caress.
An interesting note on their plays: only a Solitaire can play the role of Slaanesh, as attempts by anyone else results in insanity (according to lore this manifested as cannibalism, sometimes even while their victim was still alive, and psychosis leading them to attack any other Eldar around them). Generally loners even among the Harlequin, they do not usually travel with a Troupe permanently.
Want to Join the Harlequins? Then Fuck You!
It's not known if recruiting for the Harlequins is done actively, or if they just take in any dispossessed Eldar. And it's not known what sort of criteria they look for (e.g. you're under threat of death by the Autarch for having a genuine sense of humor, the Laughing God is strong with one, etc.). However, any recruit has to pass the trial to become a Harlequin, and it's one of their best kept secrets. A leaked bit of old and probably retconed fluff was that this trial involved becoming possessed by a daemon of Slaanesh and casting it off through sheer willpower.
Obviously, the attrition rate was pretty high, with many just getting killed by the process, and those who succumbed to the possession were euthanized with a Kevorkian shuriken pistol. However, back in those days, if anybody got possessed and exorcised, it made them untouchable by Chaos; and for the Eldar, this would mean Slaanesh would lose the claim on that Eldar's soul. Sometimes, however, this process would result in an Eldar losing his soul, but surviving nonetheless. These soulless, pants-shittingly terrifying individuals became the Solitaires. But y'know. Old fluff. This old fluff however is backed up by the Exorcists marine chapter who do the same thing of "possessed and exorcised" by Demons so demons can't see them.
On the Tabletop (a.k.a. the Ballroom Blitz)
For the younger players just joining us (hi! welcome to the game!) that might have only been introduced to the Solitaire in recent editions, know they are almost as old as the game itself. Seriously, these guys had an entry in the 1st Ed. Compendium. While they have always had a fairly standard space elf stat-line, albeit one with rather high weapon skill and initiative, the one thing that has always made them stand out is their signature Blitz ability which was introduced sometime after second edition and essentially turned the Solitaire into a tornado made of knives.
Previously, Blitz allowed a Solitaire to charge 12" rather then the standard 6", but the kicker was that they gained an extra attack for every inch of movement they didn't use, so if you charged something 8" away you gained 4 extra attacks. This allowed them to have 19 attacks (base 6 + 12 if you were practically humping your enemy's legs at the end of the shooting phase + 1 for duel wielding) on the charge, which has definitely got to be close to the record for "most number of attacks from one model".
7ed turned this into a "once per game" ability where you roll turn number X d6 dice and add them together to get your total movement distance for the turn. Which is fairly impressive IF you save it until turn 6 since the average move will be 21" with a maximum of 36", however the best part is the move ignores all terrain and enemy units, officially cementing the Solitaire as the 40k answer to Sonic the Hedgehog. In 8ed, it retained its "once per game" status, but changed to add a flat 2d6" to their movement value and 10 attacks for that turn. This, combined with Harlequin's universal 6" advance move and a Solitaire's default 12" movement value, can give them an absurd maximum charge range of 48" if you roll nothing but 6s. On average, it would be more like 32" which is definitely nothing to scoff at.
|Forces of the Harlequins|
|Command:||High Avatar - High Warlock |
Shadowseer - Solitaire
|Troops:||Black Guardian - Death Jester - Master Mime |
Mime - Troupe Master - Trouper - Warlock
|Vehicles:||Black Guardian War Walker - Black Guardian Vyper |
Jetbike - Skyweaver - Starweaver
Venom - Voidweaver
|Allies:||Dark Eldar - Eldar|