The Objective Hex Open II Results
I won the tournament, but that's the least interesting thing about it.
This was a small tournament of only three rounds with only seven players. I went 3-0, so that's cool. What's really interesting, though, is how folks did with the new format we were pioneering here.
The format was to draft two lists of five unique champions (no mirrors). After that, each player got to ban one of the opponent's drafted champions. Each player then simultaneously revealed the three they would use in the game.
I liked it! The players were kind enough to share their draft results for seven of the games which took place, and I'd like to share those draft results with you.
The column on the left is the draft of the player who had first pick; the column on the right is the draft of the player who had second pick. Each column shows the player's draft in descending order. The champion in red was banned by the opponent, the champions in gray were left inactive by the player who chose them, and the champions in green actually saw the table.
If you want to view the original spreadsheet instead of this image, you can do so here.
There are some important and revealing trends. Raith'Marid, Keera, and Shayle were drafted in every round. In six of the seven rounds reporting, Jeen, Mourneblade, and Rangosh were drafted. Finvarr, Luella, and Lorsann were each picked five of seven times. If you want to know who folks think the top champions are, that's not a terrible list, although I'd add Grimgut and Titus.
Speaking of the top champions, the most banned, by a mile, was Raith'Marid who was banned six times. Soggy Wyrm was picked every time but only actually saw the table once. Shayle was banned three times, Rangosh and Keera twice, and Grimgut once.
One round which is a bit of an outlier in the patterns is also a matchup between two gents who have to be considered top players. Ellio and mbauers are both very tough players and, unluckily enough, were paired against each other by BattleLadder in round 1. Their draft was fascinating.
mbauers vs. ellio
mbauers gets first pick and chooses Keera; ellio chooses Raith'Marid. Although Raith was chosen in every round, he was only chosen first overall three times. Perhaps mbauers anticipated that ellio would pick Raith and figured that Keera would be a good counter to her. If so, I agree. Keera has the threat ranges and damage dice to target Wet Dragon most anywhere on the board. Still, mbauers is showing a lot of comfort playing into Raith here.
Next, mbauers takes Shayle and Ellio counters with Rangosh. Shayle is versatile and powerful, but I like Rangosh into Shayle because his high dodge allows him to get past Landslide and squish the wizard.
mbauers takes Jeen next, which is logical because she is excellent in general, and good into followers like the bandits who have somewhat low defensive stats. Ellio follows with Finvarr, whose followers are tough to kill for someone like Jeen. This pick feels like it may have just been because Finvarr is a fast, durable, flexible champion rather than a particular counter to anyone, though.
mbauers picks Lorsann next, setting up a wonderful double slayer situation. Lorsann seems like she is not there to kill Finvarr since her attacks do chip damage which Finvarr can heal, but she is a solid overall choice with speed to burn and good attacks at long range. Ellio counters with Grimgut. I can tell you from first hand experience that Ellio is very good at using Grimgut, so this is logical. mbauers counters Grimgut with Sneaky Peet, who can leap over the walls of retchlings to get flags, I suppose. Ellio counters with Luella, who is custom-built to destroy high dodge models like Peet and his Stabbers.
Next, mbauers shows his comfrot playing Keera into Raith once again by banning Grimgut instead. Ellio responds by banning Shayle ( a popular choice). This was the only match in which Grimgut was banned and the only match in which Raith was not. mbauers's confidence in this matchup payed off, though, as he pulled out a three round win.
Reflections on the Experience
I enjoyed this tournament; everyone was an extremely courteous and fun opponent. The online community has gone through a bit of a lull (including from yours truly). I enjoyed this format, as it led me to shake up my choices a bit. I only played my usual double slayer configuration once, and found myself using a double Malestrom lineup for the first time in round 3. I may use it again.
In general, I found myself counter-picking a lot. When I didn't have the chance to pick Raith, I banned him. It was nice not to see Damp Drake for awhile. Some people may react negatively to bans (I want to use my toys), but freedom from a particular model is as pleasant as freedom to use that model.
Going forward, I think a ban is a nice feature to include in tournament formats. If I were to run another tournament in this pattern, I would probably force the player picking first to go first on round 1. In general, I think drafting second is advantageous, but the ban changes this a bit because the player drafting first can choose someone they expect to be banned and thus turn the tables.