Nanoindentation of three metastable dual-phase high entropy alloys (HEAs) was performed to obtain their inherent elastoplastic deformation responses. Excellent combination of hardness and elastic modulus in as-cast condition confirmed that, their inherently higher strength compared to other HEAs reported in literature, can be attributed to alloy chemistry induced phase stability. Further, hardness of 8.28 GPa combined with modulus of 221.8 GPa was obtained in Fe-Mn-Co-Cr-Si-Cu HEA by annealing the as-cast material, which is the best hardness-modulus combination obtained to date in HEAs from nanoindentation. On the other hand, although Fe-Mn-Co-Cr-Si HEA showed lower hardness and modulus than Fe-Mn-Co-Cr-Si-Al and Fe-Mn-Co-Cr-Si-Cu HEAs, the former alloy exhibited the highest strain rate sensitivity, as determined from tests performed at five different strain rates. The three alloys also had subtle differences in incipient plasticity and elastoplastic behavior, while retaining similar levels of hardness; and nanoindentation response showed microstructural dependence in friction stir processed, annealed and tensile-deformed specimens. Thus, the study highlighted that while higher strength was achieved by designing a class of HEAs with similar composition, any of the individual alloys can be tuned to obtain enhanced properties. © 2019, The Author(s).