cheddercaveman
First, here's the direct rundown of the draft just to see what happened. Jaden won the roll and opted to be first in the draft. We're playing on map 6 Cobblestone which hasn't been updated yet in the official documents that I could find. The important pieces is that it has 3 total shrines, 1 soul pit, Dor'gokkan, Ashtooth and a Random Monster.

Jaden bans Doenrakker
TheGuardDog bans Allandir
Jaden picks Thorgar
TheGuardDog picks Marcus

Jaden bans Xyvera
TheGuardDog bans Sharn
Jaden bans Brok
TheGuardDog bans Skye
TheGuardDog picks Kogan
Jaden picks Skoll

TheGuardDog bans Istariel
Jaden bans Haksa
Jaden picks Kvarto
TheGuardDog picks Zhonyja

TheGuardDog bans Fazeal
Jaden bans Styx
Jaden bans Bastian
TheGuardDog bans Zaffen
TheGuardDog picks Kruul
Jaden picks Svetlana

Jaden bans Loribela
TheGuardDog bans Nephenee
Jaden picks Piper
TheGuardDog picks Gendris

Jaden: Thorgar / Skoll / Kvarto / Svetlana / Piper
TheGuardDog : Marcus / Kruul / Gendris / Kogan / Zhonyja

Non-Participants:
Bale / Sarna
Barnascus
Jaeger
Rakkir
Saiyin
Thrommel
Viktor
Zaron

Let's take a bit of a look then at how the draft unfolded sort of going by section, then at the end I'll maybe say a thing or two about the warbands and additionally about who was left out of the draft.

Jaden bans Doenrakker
TheGuardDog bans Allandir
Jaden picks Thorgar
TheGuardDog picks Marcus

Here's how the draft started off. There was absolutely zero surprise to me that Jaden started off with a Doenrakkar ban. In general Doenrakkar changes what you need to draft around because suddenly you KNOW that you are going to want to have something that can do anything about a 20+ HP, RES 3, Regen Defender sitting wherever you want. Plus, his fate ability can really make things rough on 1" melee folks. Now, add onto that everyone knowing how much GuardDog likes his Minotaurs and it was a pretty obvious ban. TheGuardDog decided to go for an Allandir ban to start off, that one is a bit more on the curious side, but Allandir is very consistent and probably has the easiest time applying the Fire condition. If he was aiming to get a couple Minotaurs or Dwarfs in the draft might have also informed this ban.

Jaden decides to take Thorgar with his first pick, which I thought was pretty interesting. I expected to see a Defender picked up here, but instead we got trusty Thorgar. Now, the positive side on this is that there is no draft strategy betrayed here whatsoever, Thorgar basically can fit anywhere you want. Also, you're ensuring that you have a fate-light, consistent aggressor in your warband. TheGuardDog decides to grab Marcus as his first pic, also a small amount of surprise from me since I expected he would aim to grab a Minotaur here to ensure that Jaden didn't just massively ban him out of them. That said, Marcus is probably one of the most consistent Defender's in the game so no surprise that you'd take him at this point to lock in your Defender as well as a deny pick for your opponent.

Jaden bans Xyvera
TheGuardDog bans Sharn
Jaden bans Brok
TheGuardDog bans Skye
TheGuardDog picks Kogan
Jaden picks Skoll

Here's where things get spicy! Jaden does go right ahead and does do one of the things that above that I suggested he would and bans out Xyvera. I was a bit surprised he took her out that early, but GuardDog is particularly adept at using her and definitely not much bad comes from limiting the Soulgazer pool. Jaden also with a ban on Brok, which to my read is that he's looking to not really give him any consistent fate-light melee hero here. GuardDog gets bans in on Sharn and Skye here, which is forcing Jaden to have to pick a Defender next or risk being banned out of them with 4 of the 6 taken at this point.

GuardDog grabbing Kogan isn't a huge shock, I think if Kogan wasn't taken here he's going to be banned in the next section of the draft. Kogan is light enough on fate, is a decent aggressor, and is an obvious comfort pick for GuardDog. Kogan also gives a bit of an edge if Jaden decides to go the route of getting a lot of RES heroes. For Jaden, as mentioned, he's looking at a situation where he has to pick a Defender here or he may be playing with out one. Skoll and Thrommel are all that remain, so he goes with Skoll. I think at this stage in the draft I'd have grabbed Skoll as well. Keeps things light on fate still, Bulwark is an amazing bit of defensive tech and there are just a lot of things that Skoll can do. Thrommel on the other hand, who I'll talk more about later, I think you have a bit more investment on your hands to use in a warband. 

TheGuardDog bans Istariel
Jaden bans Haksa
Jaden picks Kvarto
TheGuardDog picks Zhonyja

I talked about comfort picks a couple of times above here, but I feel like now I'm going to talk about a comfort ban. GuardDog bans Istariel I think is probably just words that he utters in his sleep because he's played so many Minotaurs for so long. That said, I think it was a fine ban here, starting to restrict some of the Aggressor pool. Also, he already has Kogan who she's pretty good at taking down, and Marcus doesn't like his armor being ignored either. Jaden decides to ban Haksa. I'm not sure that there is a lot of depth to this ban, with a lot of the consistent fire gone from the game, not letting through one of the best healers is probably a wise move. Haksa is also just fantastic in general, so a fine ban here.

Jaden grabs Kvarto, which at the time I didn't really see since there was no particular synergy with him in the warband, but Telekinesis definitely does give a good measure of Shrine and Monster control at the bare minimum, and then further Mind Control on Thorgar is still just fine. Also provides some options for putting the Fire or Poison conditions out there. GuardDog grabs Zhonyja, which I think is a fine pick. I know that he dislikes grabbing 1" melee aggressors and that put him in a position that I think at this point he needed to get her or Fazeal. Zhonyja definitely can make things dead when she needs to, as long as her dice don't completely decide to fail, so definitely can't fault this pick here at all either.

TheGuardDog bans Fazeal
Jaden bans Styx
Jaden bans Bastian
TheGuardDog bans Zaffen
TheGuardDog picks Kruul
Jaden picks Svetlana

Another big section of bans. GuardDog takes this opportunity to further squeeze down the Aggressor pool. He removes the aforementioned 2" melee aggressor of Fazeal, and then takes out the last obvious ranged aggressor in Zaffen. The Zaffen ban was probably much more critical here because Jaden has Kvarto and you likely don't really want Zaffen sitting in the back hitting you with 3 ballista shots a turn.

Jaden looks out there and decides to remove the strongest supports of Styx and Bastian. I was a little surprised to see him remove Bastian to be honest, with having Skoll who loves him a Bastian, as well as Thorgar who's plenty happy to have Bastian, I think that Bastian could have been a strong pick for Jaden potentially, GuardDog really only has Kogan for ranged at this point to threaten him too. Conversely, the Styx ban was very strong here in my opinion. Kogan being able to be setup for his gun with Ethereal Passage, or the additional monster control that was currently in Jaden's favor would give him game here. Great ban at this stage in the draft given what was out there.

GuardDog grabs Kruul here, nothing fancy about this pick up, he's one of the standby soulgazers in the game. His changes also put him in a place where there are times that he can just put out a lot more DPS than one might expect of him. Furthermore, he heavily influences the draft because he basically tells Jaden that if he's not getting a true soulgazer that he's not really going to do well with a bunch of Soul Harvest 4. Saiyin here would have been fine, but I think Kruul manipulates the draft a lot more.  Jaden does read this though, or maybe had planned it all along, and decides to grab Svetlana. Again, Saiyin might have been alright here, but Svetlana ensures that he has even more control over monsters on this map, and there are some good ones to throw at GuardDog.

Jaden bans Loribela
TheGuardDog bans Nephenee
Jaden picks Piper
TheGuardDog picks Gendris

Heading into the final section sees Loribela banned out by Jaden. No real shock there, she's been getting a lot of press, and she's one of the few remaining heroes that has options for Shrine/Monster control that could have been grabbed. She can also become a terror when paired up with Marcus and all around is just a strong pick that makes sense to remove. GuardDog decides to ban Nephenee, which I don't think a ton of thought was put into. I read this ban that he went through his head of aggressors that were left (since at this point Jaden only has one) that weren't picked and removed the one he saw as the strongest. I don't actually think she was the best pick for Jaden at this point, because GuardDog actually did have a lot of RES 1+, but Nephenee is always great so no complaint here on the ban.

Jaden picks Piper. This was something of a surprise actually, but by no means do I think this was a bad pick. At this point Jaden sort of needs to get a bit more damage into his warband and was faced with only 1" melee options basically, and one other strategy he might have tried (more on this later). Of what remained I think I personally might have expected Rakkir to be the nod here though since he's one of the best Aggressors in 5s and definitely of what remained. That said, what Piper does is basically gives him the last remaining model with strong control elements between his survivability and Mage Hand. Additionally, he can also put out a pretty good amount of damage if he's getting Back Stab off.

GuardDog assesses his options at this stage and realizes that there is a Minotaur that somehow survived to this point and he had to take her. He did weigh a few of his other options but ultimately he didn't really have anyone who was great at holding a point other than Marcus, so putting her in made a pretty solid amount of sense I'd say. She's also a good comfort pick for him, and while some folks might read my usage of that term to be a bad thing I think its anything but. When you're in a situation like this there is basically no way that you are going to play all 32 heroes in the game at a high proficiency, so being able to get 2 or more heroes that you have a decent amount of table time with is huge.

Jaden: Thorgar / Skoll / Kvarto / Svetlana / Piper
TheGuardDog: Marcus / Kruul / Gendris / Kogan / Zhonyja

Those are the warbands that the players ended up with. If I had been assessing them in a vacuum I'd definitely say that GuardDog has the most sort of "standard" Warband with a pair of aggressors, a support, defender and soulgazer. Really, not much of odd ball strategy out of any of that either, just a lot of straight-forward Judgement there.

Jaden's warband at first look is sort of all over the place. You have Kvarto with really no one in particular that he synergizes with. You have Skoll, but none of the typical Skoll support models. Piper, who's fine, but you might have expected to be in a different warband. Svetlana and Thorgar who are always just fine. However, when you look a bit deeper at it, what you see is that he created a strategy where he has a lot of control over the table, and actually quite a bit of survivability. The only hero that doesn't have unique ways of moving something around on the table is Skoll, and he frankly can do just about everything else anyway. Its a pretty unique approach, and since I'm writing this in hindsight, it worked out well for him.

Non-Participants:
Bale / Sarna
Barnascus
Jaeger
Rakkir
Saiyin
Thrommel
Viktor
Zaron

There are a lot of strong picks still left in this section. Saiyin has long reined as the top soulgazer so seeing her neither banned nor picked is a bit surprising. Rakkir not getting picked or banned on a 5s map seems kind of crazy to me too. Not entirely surprised to see Bale/Sarna didn't get the nod, they're still very new and sort of a risk in the draft if you don't know what you're going to do with them. Jaeger, Viktor and Zaron are all definitely not weak either. There's almost an entire viable warband that someone could make out of these 8 models.

The last two I want to talk about in a larger context actually. I'm not too shocked to see that Barnascus and Thrommel are in the end here. Further, if you look between the warbands there is only one Dwarf being played out of the 10 models, 2 of them making it to the end and then 3 were banned (Brok, Zaffen and Loribela). I also would not have in the least bit been surprised if Svetlana had been in this last section instead of Saiyin and I think more often than not that would happen. I'm not entirely sure if this is alarming, but there definitely has been a trend that players don't seem to want to include Dwarfs or at the very least don't want to include more than a token Dwarf in their warbands. Something to keep an eye on to be sure.

So there we have it, break down of the draft from the finals. We'll spend a quick second congratulating Jaden on his win, and well played by both players from the bits that I saw and reports that I heard!
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Judgement - The 54mm scale, MOBA inspired, table-top miniatures game

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