A Sneaky Little Victory - by little ghost
Editor's Note: Recently, the community experimented with a tournament format in which players selected a list of four champions who all came from the same origin. In the event that the origin did not yet have four releases, the player could pick any champion from the missing class. It was widely speculated by pundits like myself that a goblin team would struggle. This was proven spectacularly wrong when little ghost won the tournament with Sneaky Peet, Jeen, Jaak, and Lilly. This is little ghost's account of the tournament.
Hello there, fellow humans! I certainly didn’t expect to be writing here after my first ranked tournament, and I don’t think anyone expected goblins to come out on top either - but if you think about it, isn’t an unexpected victory as such perfectly fitting for them?
The tournament in question would be the Clash of Origins, a standard SFG4 tournament, except that all four of your champions were restricted to a single origin (with one freebie of the missing color for the goblins and orcs.) I took this team partially just because I like goblins, but the I think main reason was that I hadn’t gotten to play either Jeen or Lily much, and I wanted to learn how to use them better.
Goblins? Working well as a team??
Everyone tells you that having all goblins doesn’t work well, but I think I’ve proved that questionable at best. Sure, they can have trouble crushing banners, but not as much as you might think. Even if you have to go second, there are things you can do to mitigate it. Jeen and Jaak’s speed boons come in real handy, as do their followers’s push effects, and there’s always the Peet and Jeen ults to keep up your sleeve. Even Knowledge, the one notorious for being bad for goblins, isn’t so bad as you might think. Say you’re set up like this, it’s the plot phase and you have to go first:
Jeen can just plant her banner behind her, do a Bladestorm or Polearm Sweep and sit tight. Either Blackjaw plants, uses his ult, and *maybe* gets to crush your banner, leaving his exposed, or he plants and stays there so you both get your banners. Best play for him is probably to Hotfoot, plant, and hope to kill your Shrikes in the clash phase as a last activation, but there’s a lot that can go wrong within that time.
Or maybe the scenario is Death - just sit one of your goblins on each objective cluster, and even with a speed of one they can reach any banner placed next to them. Construction is probably one of the hardest for them, just because there’s SO many objective hexes, it’s difficult to place yourself in a position to reach all of them - but don’t forget you can use that to your own advantage as well!
Apart from their speed, goblins are often claimed to have trouble scoring kills in the clash phase. Once again, this is true, but not as true as you’d think. All of the followers have excellent abilities for setting up the champions, and the champions themselves get to attack just like in the plot phase (or kind of, in Jeen’s case.)
For the Cronies, a high accuracy movement effect and dodge blight are very good, especially with Jaak’s low accuracy. Half the purpose of the Stabbers is just to set up Peet anyways, and an accuracy blight is always welcome. The Shrikes are actually more valuable in the Clash than the Plot phase, despite their being goblins without attacks. The movement effect and speed boon on them is just so good.
One final note on the goblin team: I’m a strong believer in winning turn 1, and I think playing all goblins who love to go second really drives home how good it is. Say you win turns 1 and 2: either you win turn 3, or you have the upper hand and can choose to go second going into the final round 4. If you lost turn 2, then you have the advantage to mitigate their chances of winning turn 3. Now if you win, your opponent has to win the next two turns in a row in order to win the game, putting you at a strong advantage.
All that said, I never actually used all three goblins at the same time in the tournament. Lily was undoubtedly a massive help - not only is she one of the strongest and most versatile champions in the game, but she pairs extremely well with the goblins. All her best abilities are in the clash phase, and her excellent 3/3 speed is incredibly helpful for crushing things when the goblins can’t. Jaak can heal her to offset her 4/1 defense while having lots of room with her high health, Jeen can speed boon her if she didn’t do it herself, Lily can move people out of the goblins’ very slow way or up to Peet for a Backstab… everything just works so well between them! It’ll be very interesting to try this again once I can actually use all goblins…
Round 1 on Death: Vs Deadinsidegaming with the Undead
Oof. The undead really struggle as a team, with the highly matchup dependent Mournblade, unusual Grimgut, and a very weak Morrigan without even anybody to boon her. I’m sure it also didn’t help that the person playing them was on their fourth game ever. Regardless, I dropped Jeen as she didn’t have too many good targets. Peet was having a loads of fun, with his only bad matchup here being Morrigan who was dropped.
This match was one of the few times I’ve used Lily’s ult. It’s an odd one, probably one of the things I’m still least sure how to use. Used it turn one to block off the objective cluster on my left side, which Dead never removed or tried to clear the Thornlings off of, leaving me with a very secure planting spot for the rest of the game. Still don’t know if it was a good move though.
Round 2 on Chaos: Vs enigma818 with the Dwarves
Luella, Luella, the bane of half my favorite champions. I dropped Peet since he has no good targets into the dwarves except Nia, and I figured Nia wasn’t likely to be taken anyways, which she wasn’t. I got about as good matchups as I could hope for though, with Jeen against Maxen on the left objective cluster and the other four on the right. Lily is great into the dwarves for obvious reasons, and while Luella can score in droves against the Cauldron Cronies, Jaak has some serious counterplay into her with frequent 4/6s and speed blights.
In hindsight, it was probably a mistake to focus Jaak on Rhodri as much as I did when I could have focused on Luella. Enigma won round 2, and very nearly won round 3 - I ended up using Jeen’s Overrun with the sole purpose of moving her one extra hex, putting her in range to kill a Gearhawk which won me the round. Enigma had banked hard on winning the game there, with a low health Rhodri running away and now unable to plant, and everyone else’s position little better, leaving me with a very easy clean up on round 4.
Round 3 on Change: Vs urzzyy with the Orcs
This was an interesting one! I knew I had to had to take Jeen with the sheer volume of followers the orcs have and their low defense, and while I didn’t expect to drop Jaak in any game, Peet felt like a better pick than him here as urrzzy had Skullbreaker, Jaak, and Blackjaw for him to target. Urrzzy dropped Jaak, and Blackjaw still has an overall advantage to Peet, but I was still pretty happy with the matchups.
In the game there were a couple times urrzzy was in a strong position, and I expected him to castle up with his banners, but he was very focused the whole game on, as he said, bringing the fight to me. I won round 1 and used a plot Overrun to let Lily move enough to crush two very far away banners for round 2, but lost turn 3. I wasn’t too confident going into round 4, but ended up having plenty of room to plant and kill things in my plot.
Amusingly, my normally very reliable Peet could barely kill anything this game, while Jeen killed in droves! Lily next to Rattlebone was quite interesting as well, with every blight I put on her just being spat back on me.
Round 4 on Construction: Vs DicedHam with the Wilds
A very fun game for the finale. We both had a pretty easy decision dropping our maelstroms, with Kailinn struggling on Construction and Jeen having far too few decent targets. Thanks to Ham, there’s actually a recording of the match you can watch here: https://youtu.be/-IXoWj5FVMI?si=C_4rP9FIFh8e6Fkw
Round 1 was an easy enough win with two plants, and while I got two very secure banners in round 2, he had three and got more kills. He then put me in a tough spot on turn three with a Thorn Wall blocking me from planting in my little castle, but I managed to pull through and win rounds 3 and 4 for the game.
Soooooo, yeah! Thanks to enigma for running the tournament and grumpysarn for asking me to write this. Good games to everyone I played, and I’ll see you all soon!