Even since I started fencing, I wanted to be a Harrier. It just sounded fun to fun around on my own and mess with the other team. With a lot of practice, I’ve learned a thing or two about what makes an effective harrier and if done well, can make a huge impact in any melee.

What is a Harrier?

To start out, there’s usually only one Harrier on team. The definition of a Harrier, stated by the dictionary, is: “A person who engages in persistent attacks on others or incursions into their land.” While incursion means: “An invasion or attack, especially a sudden or brief one.” So, by definition, a Harrier is expected to go out and engage others, briefly and suddenly, on their own. This is a harrier’s role in a fight.

Even knowing the definition of a Harrier, there’s a misconception that a Harrier is really only a “distraction” for the other team and I disagree with that. Distraction isn’t the right word to describe a Harrier. I would declare that a Harrier is meant to be a Threat. We ignore distractions all the time, but a threat is something the other team can’t ignore. That leads to the following question:

How can you be a threat to the other team when you’re only one person?

Finding the answer to that question is why being a Harrier is so difficult to do well. There is a lot that comes into play when you want to be a threat to an entire team. But here are the things that I have found to work for me:

  • Be Confident
  • Stay Alive
  • Position Yourself
  • Be Smart

Be Confident

To be an effective Harrier, you have to be confident. You can’t expect to leave your team and fight the other team solo if you’re not confident that you can accomplish the job. Many people find this difficult and it keeps them from being a threat and a good Harrier. The other team can smell fear on a Harrier and won’t take them seriously. On the other hand, a Harrier that oozes confidence becomes a threat. Who wouldn’t be scared of someone, confidently standing before a group, believing that they could survive the ill-favored odds?

Stay Alive

It is more important to stay alive as a Harrier than to get kills. You can’t be a threat if the other team knows they can kill you like that, *snap*, and send you back to your team with your tail between your legs. This is where the brief and sudden attacks come in. Be fast, move in and engage with an opponent briefly and then disengage. If multiple people come after you to end your reign of terror, don’t engage them head on. Defend yourself and back off. Continue to be a threat because the longer you’re alive, the longer they are worrying about you and not the full scenario. You don’t have to kill your opponents to be a good Harrier.

Position Yourself

Be mindful of where you position yourself on the field. Where you are, physically, on the battlefield can greatly increase or decrease how much of a threat you are. It’s much more than just trying to get behind the other team’s line. You want to be in a position where they know, given a moment’s opportunity, you could become more than just a threat. You could become a serious problem. Your positioning can also depend on the positions of the other fighters. Is it advantageous to be threatening the more experienced fighters or the newer members?

Another thing to keep in mind, is whether or not to make your position known. There are times to be sneaky and go for a couple death from behinds, but there are other times when it’s much better to let the other team know where you are. It’s like telling them that if they don’t pay attention to you, then they’ll pay the price. Sometimes this can lead to some serious panic on their part.

Be Smart

Take your time and be smart about what you’re doing. Making wise decisions are critical in accomplishing you’re goal. A Harrier should always be assessing the battlefield and looking for advantages. They should assess who they are fighting and what can be done. A Harrier knows when to fight and when to run. How to move and gain an advantage. You, as a Harrier, have learned how to assess the odds and what to do to tip them in your favor. Be smart and be wise in your efforts.

Goal of a Harrier

You may start to be wondering what’s the point of it all? Why do we even need Harriers in the first place? Can’t we win a battle without them? Those are good questions and you’re right. Harriers aren’t necessary pieces in a Melee and Melees can be won with only Line Fighters. With a Harrier, though, comes the possibility of some worthwhile advantages.

Done well, Harriers cause mayhem for the opposing team. Now they’re not only working to win a scenario, they’re worrying about how to neutralize your efforts. Splitting their focus just makes their job more difficult.

Another advantage that can occur is when they send fighters to chase after you. They just sacrificed X number of people to go after you. This leaves them with less people to fight against your team. So for a Harrier, the more people who are chasing you, the better.

Thirdly, sometimes a scenario can be won by the quick thinking of a single unit. Having a lone soldier away from the main battle may lead to a sudden victory.

How to Neutralize a Harrier

For those of you who are wondering how to beat a Harrier, here’s a little trick: Shadow them. Be a threat to them. All it takes is one person, it doesn’t matter how experienced, to follow a Harrier around and keep him busy. You do the exact same things to him that he’s trying to do to your team. Be confident. Stay alive. Have good positioning to remain a threat and be smart about it. All you have to do is be the person who harries a Harrier and you can neutralize his efforts. It’s super annoying, but it works.

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