Much like last year, I decided back in November that I would do another tournament style poll. This time I wanted to know what the community’s favourite hero was, since there was little use in doing another scenario competition like last year as not a lot of new quests were released between now and then. The tournament had 100 candidates, including two heroes that had been announced, but not yet released, Saruman and Lothiriel.
The tournament had two stages in order to find out what the community’s favourite was. The first stage was made up out of 8 rounds of Swiss style 1v1 matches. These divided the staples from the bike-spoke cards, and allowed us to have an idea on what heroes we had to include in the finals. The matchups were random at first, but as the rounds progressed, the matchups became tougher and tougher, as heroes of the same level of popularity were pitted against each other. This led to a spread of 100 heroes ranked, with any ties sorted out through several other factors. The full list of the 100 heroes can be found here:
From this selection of 100 heroes, the top 16 heroes progressed to the second stage. I could have done the top 32, but that would have caused a more rushed schedule, which wasn’t optimal for me. Instead, I went with the top 16, which meant that Erestor and Beorn barely missed the boat. Sorry Seastan and Beorn, but your heroes are the best of the rest.
The second stage was a bracket style 1v1 matchups until only 1 hero remained. In this top 16, we had a few newer heroes that managed to sneak past some older staple heroes. I was surprised to see Radagast so far on the list and love seeing Grimbeorn the Old making it this far as well. Other than those, the rest of the heroes were top tier heroes from older cycles and saga expansions.
Top 16 -> top 8
In this first stage of the finals, we lost a good number of heroes that are pretty good, but mostly in specific decks. Celeborn and Dain Ironfoot are excellent heroes in their own deck, but outside of their trait, there is little use for them over the other heroes. This led to some landslide victories like the 10-90 outcome between Dain and Elrond. The heroes at this stage are all great heroes, but some are greater than others. There was a tie at this stage where Lore Aragorn v Sam Gamgee was split 50/50. Because of the initial ranking during the Swiss rounds, Sam advanced. This means that the shared 6th places go to the following heroes:
- Haldir of Lorien
- Leadership Dain Ironfoot
- Spirit Beregond
- Lore Aragorn
- Grimbeorn the Old
- Leadership Denethor
Top 8 -> top 4
In the quarter-finals, tough choices had to be made to find out what heroes had to fight at least two more battles. At this point, some matchups were very difficult to decide, such as Arwen vs Eowyn. All four heroes that stranded at this stage are top-tier heroes and are very common in decks. Still, there were four others that were more popular. This means that the 5th place is held by the following heroes:
- Arwen Undomiel
- Spirit Eowyn
- Cirdan the Shipwright
The semi-finals decided who advanced to the finals. We had two matches of four top-tier heroes, but only 2 could advance. Tactics Eowyn took on Sam Gamgee, the winner of the 2016 tournament. In this battle, Eowyn managed to beat Sam and send him to the bronze finals 68-33. The other match saw Galadriel against Gandalf. This battle was a lot closer, but with 57-43, Gandalf the Grey moved to face Tactics Eowyn in the finals while Galadriel went to the bronze match.
It has all led to this. The final match to determine the winner of this year’s favourite hero tournament. Tactics Eowyn is the most recent hero that has managed to get this far, but she faced the toolbox-style hero Gandalf. After 3 days of battle, with over 40 votes cast, the winner ended up being Gandalf. I was surprised that it didn’t end up being Eowyn, as she is much easier to splash into decks, but I cannot deny how fun some Gandalf decks can be. Eowyn did get both her versions in the top 16, so she has nothing to complain about.
In the bronze match, the battle between Galadriel and Sam Gamgee took place. The results ended up being a little more one-sided than the finals, but in the end, Galadriel won out. Sam lost with a rather large margin, putting him at 4th position, just off the podium. But considering he still managed to make it to the semi-finals after winning a previous tournament, he still has a large fanbase, and rightly so. Galadriel and her toys just beat out Sam, now that other Leadership heroes are starting to appear with low threat and useful abilities, like Frodo and Gildor Inglorion.
This means our top 4 looks like this:
- Tactics Eowyn
- Sam Gamgee
With the tournament now behind us, we can look forward to a new, regular poll that will last throughout the month of January. I am building up towards an ultimate poll between the top scenarios of each cycle, so I will have to go through some cycles that I have not yet polled. And where better to begin than the first cycle?! So for january I want you to list your top 2 Shadows of Mirkwood scenarios in the poll that you can find in the side-bar or at the very bottom of the page for mobile users. I will release the results towards the end of next month and will continue the polls throughout the rest of 2020.