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Off the Meta | Harpie Lady and her Sisters

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Hello and welcome back everybody, last week was a bit of a hiccup, but I can't let that get in the way. Some things came up and got in the way, but that's all in the past now. I come before you once again to present the magnificent: Harpie Lady Sisters!

Harpie Lady Sisters, unlike their single sister, are good for one thing: manipulating blockers. Each and every one is built to change how your opponent blocks, be it by limiting their options, forcing them into a bad choice, or punishing them for playing conservatively. That said, she's a very costly character to bring along with your team both in terms of both purchase costs and fielding costs. If you want to make use of her, you're going to need some energy to burn, meaning she fits in perfectly with any sort of Kobold team. Harpie Lady Sisters is the character you want to go to when you're having problems with your opponents wall and have the energy to spend, but don't want to clutter your bag and she fits that niche perfectly. She can also punish your opponent for blocking too conservatively, so she makes a good character to pick up the later the game goes on in an effort to draw your opponent out.

Harpie Lady Sisters - Triple Scratch Attack
Starting us off, we have a 5- purchase that's going to take 2 blockers to keep it from swinging through. This is a very interesting ability to have on a character, but nowadays, it's just not competetive. When D&D released, it brought us Frost Giant - Lesser Elemental who has the same cost/effect, is a bolt character, and has higher attack at the cost of lower defense. That kind of outclassing of a character doesn't happen often, but when it does, it leaves someone in a very bad position. Presently, Harpie Lady Sisters just doesn't have a lot going for her in comparison. The current goal of focused teams (exempting the Hulk) is ti build up a few attackers, throw overcrush into the mix, and use your fist energy to pump with Anger Issues or Cone of Cold. The ability to attract more blockers doesn't really fit with that unless you have another big character to do all that with and throw Harpie Lady Sisters in as an added threat on the side. That simply costs too much energy and any competent opponent will have you beat down while you try to build up. If you really want this kind of effect, pick up Frost Giant and you'll do that much better with focused removal to clear out the pool of potential blockers.

Harpie Lady Sisters - Triangle Ecstasy Spark
Despite the grandiose name, they have a mediocre effect. If they are blocked by just one character, you opponent takes 2 damage. This is useful if you have other ways to manipulate blockers such as Relentless or the up and coming Ultron global, but it's difficult to make work. you have to rely on your opponent blocking you with a single character, a condition that can be thwarted by a single extra sidekick. If you do happen to add overcrush to the mix, you don't get much bang for your buck. Your opponent already had a good incentive to block you with multiple characters, and overcrush relies on that not being the case. Another way of leveraging her is to pair her with heavy AoE such as a dragon or two. That's going to allow you to cull your opponent's field to the level where he won't have the blockers to effectively stop the incoming damage, making it easy to shut him down from there.

Harpie Lady Sisters - Trio of Terror
The final iteration of the Sisters is the most expensive, but also the most interesting to me. Her effect is unique in that it flips the normal order of things. When you attack with 1 or 2 characters, your opponent is usually content to send out a pair of walls/chump blockers and take his turn. However, Harpie Lady Sisters punishes him for not bringing his whole board to bear with damage for every non-blocking character. This is very useful against teams that want to keep certain characters like Human Torch or Firestorm fielded for long periods of time, working similarly to Toad, but without the guaranteed removal and adding in an option to opt-out by paying life. However, the real trick comes in when you don't give your opponent the chance to block. If you use an action like Pick your Battles, Villainous Pact, or Dimension Door, you can severely hamper your opponent's ability to block in the first place and deal an incredible amount of damage all at once. As mentioned previously, this is most effective against burn teams that require multiple characters on the field to function, but it's still a viable strategy since every team, no matter the theme, needs to field characters (most of the time). Add the Summoned Skull global to the mix and your opponent is going to be hating life.

Depending upon the version and the support, your goal varies between flooding the field with potential blockers, or limiting yourself to a strong core of essential/strong characters. If your opponent has heavy AoE along with the uncommon, it's best to stick to the big boys and avoid wasting energy on easily knocked out weenies. You'll be able to effectively block most of the time and while you may eat a bit of damage, you should be okay if you're dedicating to a specific win condition. If your opponent has the rare, you need to make sure you get some sort of protection like Lord of D. Ring to make sure your opponent can't force you into bad blocks/taking extra damage. Chump blockers are only going to work against you, so beware not to give your opponent the option to deal extra damage for free. If they bring the common, sidekicks are always a good blocking option, but be careful if they hold an overcrush die in reserve. They get to assign action dice after you declare blockers, so they may take advantage of weakpoints in your blocker assignments, consider bringing along Smash! in case they lack global protection.

Harpie Lady Sisters are very effective attackers that demand a response or a change in playstyle from your opponent. They're going to heavily tax your energy supply when purchasing or fielding them, but the impact they can have is well worth the investment. If your opponent fails to respond appropriately, he can very quickly find himself in a dire pickle that's very difficult to dig himself out of. This is because Harpie Lady Sisters prey upon what is fielded and once they're active, they're difficult to deal with due to their high stats. Be wary that you don't try to dedicate too hard to the Sisters since that's going to leave you open to a large amount of early aggression and you won't have many resources left over to deal with whatever threats your opponent is rounding up. Consider Harpie Lady Sisters a useful win condition or alternate win condition and play accordingly.

I apologize for missing out on the later end of my usual schedule last week, but I should be more accountable going forward and I just might have a special surprise for you come next week, so keep an eye out and thanks for following along everybody!
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