Harpies always seem to fly under everyone's radar…including my own. Every single time I think about the theme and what the current competitive trends are I get confused as to why nobodyis playing Harpies. They've got an incredible Field Spell that shuts down opposing spells and traps with ease and it's readily available.

Harpie's Channeler is a themed Summoner Monk and it's now quickly searchable thanks to the addition of Harpie's Harpist, which has a pretty cool second effect that can bounce opposing monsters back to your opponent's hand. Harpies also have two incredible power cards in Hysteric Sign – which can search out every single missing card you need to win – and Hysteric Party – which almost always leads to OTK's.

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Outside of reliance on their Normal Summon, Harpies kind of have everything you could want built right into the theme, which is rare and means they're always worth a second look. And when your Normal Summon is successful, it's one of the few decks that always manage to pump out more monsters to follow up thanks to Channeler's effect or Elegant Egotist.

I wrote about the deck back in July when Harpist was still relatively new, so I won't go about breaking too much down on how Harpies function, but I will say that one of the missing pieces for the deck's success wasn't available up until recently: Elder Entity Norden.

Even Mai Valentine Would Have Used Instant Fusion
Instant Fusion and Elder Entity Norden take some of the weight off of the Normal Summon in this strategy, and give you the ability to bait out traps and effects with Harpie's Hunting Ground, only to slam down Instant Fusion, reviving a Harpie and triggering Hunting Ground yet again.

Norden's revival of any Harpie, namely Harpie Channeler, also adds to the utility of Harpie Dancer, which can bounce back any Wind monster to your hand. Reviving Channeler with Norden, returning it to the hand with Dancer and then Normal Summoning it back to the field with Dancer's effect lets you use its effect and bypass Norden's restriction. Elder Entity Norden lets Dancer take center stage, even when you're not using its effect to pick off multiple backrows with Hunting Ground.

Even further, and maybe more obvious; Norden can revive Harpie's Harpist from the graveyard for Rank 4 Xyz Summons, which can then put the Harpist back in the graveyard to trigger its End Phase search ability. Unlike other strategies, Norden doesn't just give you explosiveness here – it also gives the deck longevity and recovery with Harpie's Harpist.

With that short introduction out of the way, let's take a look at the list and examine how you can capitalize on each of the most popular decks of the format:

DECKID=103769The only card in the Main Deck I want to address before I break down the matchups is Speedroid Menko. The nifty little hand trap's essentially a Battle Fader that doesn't target and switches every monster your opponent controls to defense mode. That's extremely useful for breaking up OTK's and switching Kozmo spaceships into defense position, where you can then run them over, usually next to an Abyss Dweller to halt their graveyard triggers.

While Menko's effect is really goodand it's actually starting to see a rise in play, it's especially great here since you can revive it with Elder Entity Norden and bounce it back to your hand with Harpie Dancer to keep your protection. Will that play come up often? Maybe not, but that sort of interaction can win you games. Harpie Dancer's really useful with Norden, which is why I bumped up the count of it since July.

Breaking Down The Big Strategies
Harpies will win this format through their incredible Extra Deck. If you've noticed, I'm packing double Ice Beast Zerofyne and Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer. Both monsters are extremely good right now and even better together. Zerofyne negates every face-up card your opponent controls and then gains 300 ATK for each face-up card on the field. It gets big really quickly, but its negation has probably never been better.

The rise in Pendulums and the power of Kozmotown and Kozmo spaceships has proven troublesome, but Zerofyne combats them all since its negation lasts until your next Standby Phase. That means, even if you can't remove threats like Kozmotown or Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer, you don't have to, because your opponent won't be able to use their effects.

Those two Xyz are your key to winning the Kozmo matchup. Zerofyne will make every spaceship targetable, so you you can spin it back into the deck with Castel. If Kozmotown's on the field, that's a quick 4600 damage to the face, since Kozmos usually only have one ship on the field at a time early in the game. And the beauty is that Kozmotown's negated, so your opponent won't be able to "fix" their hand and search for an answer with its first effect. The play's super easy to accomplish: you use Harpie Channeler to Special Summon Harpie Harpist, combining them for Ice Beast Zerofyne. You then detach Harpist for its effect and drop Instant Fusion for Norden, reviving Harpist to Xyz Summon Castel.

You can unleash that deadly combo through Elegant Egotist as well, nearly every time you have Instant Fusion. And since Egotist is searchable from your deck or graveyard with Hysteric Sign, dropping two Rank 4's in one turn is a snap.

Those powerful Xyz are also why I've gone back to maining Icarus Attack. Not only can it handle Pendulum Scales beautifully, Icarus Attack can wreak havoc on Kozmo spaceships after a Zerofyne negation makes them targetable. If you've got an Abyss Dweller on the field you can use Zerofyne to negate all face-up cards and then Icarus Attack it away to destroy Kozmotown and a spaceship, so neither of them will trigger. Ice Beast Zerofyne's the entire show.

Pendulum strategies are even easier to handle. Not only can you blow the game open with a single Anti-Spell Fragrance, but Harpie's Hunting Ground is absurdly unfair.

Not only does Zerofyne make Icarus Attack viable against Kozmos, but the popularity of Majespecters are also ample reason to run Icarus Attack. Let's say your opponent has a few Majespecters on the field and you've got Icarus, Harpie's Queen and another Harpie. You can blow the game wide open by getting to Hunting Ground with Queen, Normal Summoning your other Harpie to blow up a backrow and then running over the other Majespecter.

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If you were unlucky and hit something like Majespecter Tornado with Hunting Ground, you can easily chain Icarus Attack to destroy your opponent's full Pendulum Scale or eliminate more spells and traps. That's a trade of two cards of yours for four of your opponent's, since they'll be forced to tribute a Majespecter as a cost. That trade can easily win the game, especially if you can recover with Instant Fusion.

Majespecter Tempest is also relatively useless, since you'll rarely play a Harpie effect before destroying it with Harpie's Hunting Ground and you don't need to inherently Special Summon against the deck. All of your Harpies are stronger than each of the Majespecters, so you can just force out your opponent's spells and traps and blow them out with Icarus Attack.

Instant Fusion adds so much to the deck and gives you a handful of alternate win conditions that are deceptively reasonable; note that I've gone on this long and haven't even uttered the words "Hysteric Party." The deck used to need it to win, but now you have Instant Fusion and Anti-Spell Fragrance to chalk up easy 'W's as well. Hysteric Party and Hysteric Sign aren't the be-all end-all anymore, which is refreshing and makes Harpies truly worth a second look. The constant End Phase searching you'll do in this version of the strategy makes you feel like you're always one draw away from winning the game. You can deftly fend off threat after threat with your solid trap line-up and win with your monsters.

The new Forbidden and Limited list was unintentionally all too kind to Harpies. The depowering of Nekroz, Qliphort, Shaddolls and Burning Abyss kicked the door wide open for these types of strategies and I hope you'll continue to take advantage of it while you can, because Breakers of Shadows is when "stuff" really hits the fan.

-Pasquale Crociata

Pasquale's from Long Island, New York, but has lived in New York City for nine years where he earned a BFA in Musical Theater from Pace University. Outside of the Yu-Gi- Oh! community he's a working Actor, Model and Singer. Those interested in keeping up with his Acting career can check out his website www.PasqualeCrociata.com, 'Like' his Facebook Page or follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

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