Dave M's Guide to Finvarr
In this series, we will give you a quick breakdown of each champion. This is geared mostly towards people who have not played with this champion much, so it’s not an in-depth tactical treatise. This is more of a quick breakdown and assessment of the champion.
We will grade each champion’s offense, defense, support, mobility, and control. We’ll explain each grade and then give you a quick vision of a dream activation for that champion.
In a separate series, Grumpy has written about how champions match up with each other. Here are the matchup evaluations for Guardians, Maelstroms, Slayers, and Shapers.
Here is the grading scale for each category:
Finvarr is an strong all-rounder and 'jack of all trades': having reliable match ups into most champions and only one bad scenario (Death). I wouldn't rate him as bad in any category: he's good in most and close to outstanding in a couple. Not unlike Styx, his skills and influence can be quite subtle and it may take time to come round to Finvarr. But once you do he can offer you a huge amount - Grumpysarn has written an excellent article about what he can do. Finvarr will always be reliable and flexible - he'll never be a liability, but sometimes (with his ultimate) he'll be absolutely amazing.
There's only two things that stops me taking Finvarr more: he offers you very little on Death in a SFG4 format, and because he is an all-rounder, Finvarr rarely leaps out as a must-pick or a counter for your opponent's warband.
Here are Finvarr's cards:
His offense isn't why you take him and isn't good enough to make him work on Death, but he offers you solid damage options. Between his passive and Void Weapon, he can offer a 6/6 attack, but sometimes may only offer a 4/5. The former attack profile is pretty good, the latter pretty bad. He can work into high dodge and low armour, but offers you very little into high armour. Further, his limited attacks creates one of his only weaknesses: cutting through chaff, such as Retchlings.
The Shadow Sentinels, however, offer a bit more offense. Being fast and only needing 2 in a hex to have a 5/5 basic attack, they are excellent for pursuing champions that like to hang back, such as Keera or Shayle.
Look, he's not quite Rhodri or Halftusk, but he's close, really close. No other champion has a combination of high armour and high dodge, and therefore Finvarr is most likely to experience chip damage, from which he can recover with Life Blade. Between this, Protect, and his follower's Life Trade, his warband can be quite persistent and frustrating for opponents.
The only risk is that he's quite vulnerable to being one-shot if a big slayer attack, such as Rangosh's, gets lucky (or an accuracy boon) and sneaks past his dodge. Likewise, his followers have little protection against the likes of Titus or Blackjaw's firestorm.
Finvarr's crew has a subtle but effective support game, with the Protect being one of the best supportive follower abilities going. It works well have 2 Sentinels on offense and 1 hanging back to use Protect or Shadow Snare. Likewise, combined with Finvarr's control abilities, Shadow Snare is another tool in their toolbox to protect banners.
Part of Finvarr's flexibility comes from his being the fastest guardian and therefore also offering the most potential to crush banners, alongside general guardian duties. Particularly as his speed comes in the clash phase, and can be augmented in the plot, he can therefore threaten banners in the clash, whether he is going first or second.
Likewise, the Shadow Sentinels are similarly fast, which can help a pair of them hunt champions. This means they can also body block banners more reliably, plus their passive trait gives them more maneuverability options alongside using their full set of skills. You can, for example, attack an opponent with a 5/6, before then using their trait to move them to further block your opponent's champion.
His control ability is generally good, if unspectacular, but can be outstanding and game-winning with his ultimate. Shadow Snare and Shadow Ward, and sometimes Mirage, offer you solid banner protection options. But his ultimate is the one to look out for: on big turns, such as turn 3, or on a scenario such as Quest, it can be decisive.
Consider the below. It's turn 3 on Change. Let's say Styx ult won you turn 2. Your opponent has understandably opted for you to go second, as Kailinn can get a safe banner and Skullbreaker can realistically get any banner in the middle.
Here, Finvarr can ultimate his and Styx's banners to safety, also denying a safe banner for Kailinn. You're guaranteed 2 banners and therefore, unless your opponent gets a safe banner on the other flank or somehow stops Styx and Finvarr crushing Skullbreaker's banner, you are guaranteed the turn and the game. No matter how much Kailinn and Skullbreaker kill here, even if they both used their own ultimates, with Finvarr's ultimate the game is in your hands. Finvarr can essentially single-handedly win you the game here - so much so I forgot to even include the Shadow Sentinels in this scenario!