While You Attack
Something to always keep in mind is their stronghold, which can boost each defending characters up by one no matter how you are attacking. By far one of the better stronghold abilities, especially combined with...
They win the defense, they get the ring effect. Right now they are Keeper of Air - a solid choice as honor loss is a victory condition that they can contest, so you won't see more than one Earth province. If they wind up becoming Seeker of Earth though, this becomes a real danger. Regardless it should make us cautious about sending out a scout to flip provinces, especially once we flip one or two without finding it.
During Dynasty Phase
What's to worry about a little Eager Scout? 0's in all stats, he's just a warm body eating up a turn they could be passing to get an extra fate... right?
Way of the Crab lets the Eager Scout (or other cheap Dynasty phase character) help clear the board for your opponent. You should not be playing high value characters onto the board while sacrificial characters are out for the opponent, nor should you be putting them out without some chump willing to die for them if they have to. Yet more incentive to not plop out a +2 fate Altansarnai on the first turn.
Yes, they can Assassination / Way of the Crab as a combo to try and clear the board, but Assassinate can only be used in combat, so it won't clear the board early, fortunately. It is still a rough thing to deal with.
Speaking of combat:
If you see Hida Tomonatsu flip face up during the Dynasty Phase, that is your cue to not overspend fate on dynasty characters. Because she is able to blow herself up after winning a defensive conflict (and Crab is very good at this) to put a character on top of the deck, she can really disrupt a character we wanted to hang around for awhile, like Ide Trader. At least she can't affect named characters.
The Crab Clan Champion is also something to keep an eye on, as his ability of blocking the first Action as long as the Crab player hasn't lost a conflict works for every single conflict, and keeps working until they lose. Have a plan to burn an Action if there is something you need to do.
Thank goodness the Crab don't have any 3 Fate nastiness in their Conflict deck, unless they've sneaked it in from somewhere else. They still have some 2 Fate tricks though:
3 MIL for 2 fate, but to top things off it can thump one of your characters and knock their fate off, condemning them to leave you at the end of the turn (though you get the fate back). This hurts, especially when you want to be using the character for multiple turns. Like Ide Trader. Why can't they just leave the Trader alone?
Again, not over-investing in our characters is the way to deal with this. We can splash in Let Go from Dragon, which will help with this (and other good attachments Crab has).
Surprise! It's 5 MIL worth of angry for 2 fate, and the loss of someone who's already bowed without any fate on them. Able to crack a province all by themselves, or turn a quick, cheap attack into a difficult to beat defense. This guy can just show up and make life difficult late in the round.
At least he can't really do much in a POL conflict.
Surprise! It's 2 MIL / 2 POL for 2 Fate. Well, that's over-paying a bit... but what isn't being over-payed is the Ambusher shutting down a character's abilities. Anyone's abilities, in or out of the conflict. This can really disrupt our cavalry's ability to ride in to dominate a winnable conflict.
And Crab have a bunch of 1 Fate tricks up their sleeves as well.
Ugh. You know how our best gimmicks involve conflict cards? This is really, really good for messing our day up. 1 Fate for +1 MIL / +1 POL, and a reaction that makes honor melt away when cards are played. If you went Dragon, this is what you really want to save those Let Go's for. If we splashed Crab, this is what we splashed them for. That honor loss is not to be sneered at.
We do like having First Player most of the time. Not as much against the Crab, because of this guy. The Mountain Does Not Fall lets a defender stay upright after defending, either to then attack or to defend again. Really nasty when played with whoever has a Watch Commander. Between it and the next card, means that Crab doesn't have to invest large amounts of fate in their characters to use them efficiently.
Not so much something to watch out for, but more something to be aware of, as big name Crabs can hang around even after they've run out of fate. After we've loaded up on Watch Commanders, this is what the rest of our Crab splash would be. Worth burning a Let Go if it means taking a Clan Champ off the board. Very worth stealing if we went with Scorpion for our splash.
None of the 0 Cost are really all that worrying, minus the Way of the Crab.
One final thing to be aware of, with Crab's other character removal abilities is this: Fallen in Battle lets them win a military conflict on either attack or defense and then kill off our best participating character. Protect that Ide Trader!
Anything I'm forgetting? Tell me in the comments below.