Hello all, and welcome to a special recap post. Last week, we saw GoonGoon answer the call and secure an upset win, and a spot in the grand finals, off the backs of the Sioux. Today, instead of going over one game, we’re gonna take a look at the entire Grand Finals series between him and Mitoe. This is a long one, so if you only got time for one feel free to scroll on down to the final game. I won’t be mad. Oh and there will be spoilers, so if you have somehow come here not knowing who took home the bulk of the $1000 prize and you would like to watch the games and get the full experience, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0q5vBtoH6L4
Back? Great. Let’s begin.
Game 1: Mirror Mirror
It began in Kamchatka. The players elected for a China mirror, Mitoe spawning in the north in his trademark teal, GoonGoon to the south in red. The ever unpredictable GoonGoon surprises everyone by playing a completely standard opening, racing up to Fortress in the classic China Fast FF. Mitoe opens with his own patented, Strategy Wall certified no 700c fast FF. At first, it seems Mitoe’s made a mistake. GoonGoon gets to Fortress before Mitoe even clicks up, and GoonGoon promptly applies pressure to Mitoe in the form of Intervention Redcoats and Steppe Riders and meteor hammers.
But Mitoe does what China does best, and spits out a whole lot of units in very short time. A banner army, Intervention army, and 10 Arquebusiers show up in the teal base and if it was not a pre-meditated trap it was at the very least an accidental one. GoonGoon’s straggling army, distracted with throwing torches at the pretty buildings, is not in a position to fight. He sounds the retreat and begins to rebuild his force, mixing in lots of heavy cavalry.
Mitoe does the same, but unlike GoonGoon he does not get aggressive. He’s content to sit tight and upgrade his economy and remacro, sending his villagers off to find new hunts. They run straight into GoonGoon.
What begins as a disastrous raid in the north turns into a pitched battle as a timely shipment of Changdao Swordsmen allow Mitoe to catch GoonGoon before he can pull away and force the issue. Again, positioning wins the day for Mitoe. His swordsmen deal with the cavalry and swing the fight in his favor. He chases GoonGoon across the river and, seeing how far behind he fell, GoonGoon resigns. 1-0 Mitoe.
Game 2: Can’t Be Stopped
Down early, GoonGoon immediately calls on the civ that took him to the finals: The Sioux. By my count, he was at least 3-0 with the Sioux in the tournament going into the finals, delighting me (and iwillspankyou) in answering the call from my first post and trusting the highly mobile and unconventional Sioux to come in clutch. Mitoe’s Dutch are essentially the opposite. While they do have speedy ranged cavalry of their own, it’s clear that this game is going to see Mitoe on the defensive from the start.
The game begins with some impeccable herding by both players, a great example of the famed ZutaZuta box theorem. Mitoe opts for the slower Bank Wagon build. (As someone who likes to pretend he can play Dutch, I would’ve gone 700w. But hey, who’s playing in the finals? Not me.) GoonGoon grabs two trading posts and constructs a sneaky forward stable. Mitoe’s pikes and skirmishers wander around hoping to run into some bow riders.
The Canadian Wonder would say later that the only game he was prepared for was the mirror in game 1. That lack of preperation showed early on here, as it seems he wasn’t sure what to do against GoonGoon’s roving, raiding cavalry. He allows GoonGoon to take down his trading post uncontested, and Axe Riders prowl around for villagers without fear of running into Mitoe’s highly immobile army. Nevertheless, his base construction is excellent and GoonGoon can’t immediately find a way in.
Both players build up their forces, then GoonGoon swings in from the east and strikes Mitoe’s hunt. The battle is hard fought, Mitoe’s base was built perfectly for the fight, but the Sioux army is too strong. They power through the Dutch force and reinforcements and in terms of numbers, win the day. But Mitoe does enough damage to avoid collapse. GoonGoon doesn’t have enough survivors to carry on the siege and so he has to pull back, age up, and come back later.
When he does return, he runs into a wall.
Bodyblocking with Veteran Hussars, Mitoe scores a decisive win against GoonGoon’s army and pushes him back all the way across the map. He seizes the initiative and plays the aggressor, chasing GoonGoon away from a mine and harassing villagers. For a moment, it appears that Mitoe has broken GoonGoon’s run of undefeated Sioux play. But he’s still got a card to play. GoonGoon takes out Mitoe’s forward force with a new batch of cavalry and storms into his base.
Again, Mitoe seems to not be fully prepared. Caught in indecision, he moves for a moment to make a base trade, but a base trade against a Sioux player with a headstart and siege dance is suicide. When he realizes he’s not going to get a base trade, it’s too late. Perhaps GoonGoon’s Sioux simply can’t be stopped. 1-1.
Game 3: A Classic
It’s GoonGoon’s turn to take the Dutch against a Warchief civ. This time it’s Mitoe’s Aztecs.
What followed was the best game of the series.
As before, the Dutch player goes with the Bank Wagon build and the Warchief player places a forward military building, in this case a war hut. The tone was established straight from the start. GoonGoon, wary of the mighty Aztec cavalry, opens with pikemen for some reason. Mitoe piles on the early pressure, without any fear of retaliation from range. (And with the pikes’ 8 melee damage, not much fear of retaliation from hand combat either.) Within ten minutes, Mitoe’s torn his way into the Dutch base. But Macehaultin are not Bow Riders. GoonGoon’s skirmishers do just that, keeping out of range and picking off what few anti-cavalry Mitoe brought to the fight. Once those are taken care of, he brings out the Hussars, and that’s enough to scare Mitoe away and make him spam Coyote Runners.
Once he’s got enough, Mitoe pushes back into the Dutch town, but this time he screws up his positioning. He allows GoonGoon to run over his Macehaultin with cavalry and his Coyotes get picked off by light infantry. The Dutch Republic again fends off the attack, but GoonGoon isn’t safe yet. His army is small, and he still has a bank or two to build before he can explode onto the map. Mitoe is relentless, and keeps pushing GoonGoon’s base, even if he wields a less-than-stellar-for-Aztec Aztec army. GoonGoon allows a bank to fall to buy himself time to make a counter attack of his own. A detachment of Dutch Hussars heads for Mitoe’s base, picking off villagers along the way. Meanwhile, Mitoe’s attack still struggles to make progress. Then again, it’s hard to play Age of Empires when you’re asleep.
“Zzzzzzzzzzz.” - Mitoe
Feeling confident with his cavalry-heavy army, GoonGoon tries to provoke a fight, and Mitoe carefully falls back to the safety of his forward base. The armies do that little dance, neither player willing to take the fight just yet, and both of them pouring in reinforcements. It gives Mitoe time to finish the nap he was apparently taking and come up with a plan of attack. He swings in from the south, a poor little group of Dutch hunters getting to be target practice. GoonGoon is forced to bring in the army in an attempt to recoup his economic losses with military gains, and it’s chaos, pathing made complicated by a mine. Tactically, it’s a minor victory for Mitoe. But neither player won much of an advantage here.
Mitoe tries to snowball the win at the mine into a larger advantage by again attacking GoonGoon’s base. It’s actually GoonGoon that provokes the next fight. Perhaps feeling starved out, as he had never been able to secure the resources for Fortress, and thinking he needed to break the contain to get to age 3, he takes a bad fight by Mitoe’s warhuts and it does not go well.
Game 4: Mitoe gets Weltschmerz
I’m not gonna leave you in suspense on this one. As the title implies, Mitoe rolls with his favorite civ and loses. He gets off to a poor start, allowing a small raid from GoonGoon (playing Spain) to scare him into garrisoning villagers and calling minutemen. Play by play caster SirCallen thought everything was fine. It was a clever trap from Mitoe, he said. As he watched the “trap” result in a bunch of dead Uhlans and no Spanish Hussars, color caster Chrisie10101 then said “I was about to ask, (a good trap) for whom?”
Playing like it’s 2005, GoonGoon levies the classic Spanish straight FF into huge early pressure and Mitoe falls behind quickly. His plan it seems, was to play a merc build. But his decision to ship Black Riders quickly reveals itself to be a mistake, as GoonGoon goes skirmisher heavy. Still, the presence of the Black Riders keeps GoonGoon from being too aggressive. For a moment.
Mitoe begins the traditional German mine hunt and moves his coin gatherers a little bit away from home. And that’s exactly where GoonGoon brings his army.
“Nope nope nope nope nope nope nope.” - Mitoe
Caught between a rock and a Spanish army, Mitoe makes an emergency evacuation which saves his villagers at the cost of his entire army, sans his Black Riders which never made it to the fight. At this point, he’s lost. He makes an attempt at a Boneng-style comeback, but GoonGoon easily evens up the score. 2-2.
“Well. That was terrible.” - Mitoe
Game 5: GoonGoon’s Gambit
All knotted up at 2 a piece, the finals then turned to Alaska. GoonGoon turned to the historically accurate Russia. Mitoe, historical accuracy be damned, went with India. Neither of them turned to the ocean for their gameplan. The only sea based card either player had in their decks was a 2 caravel shipment for GoonGoon. Not that he was planning on using it.
He was all-in on a rush.
GoonGoon did not send distributivism, 700w, 5 cossacks, or 4 cossacks. He went straight to 13 strelets, selected his army, and right clicked Mitoe’s base, which had nothing besides an Agra fort to defend itself. Always a bit unpredictable, GoonGoon had reigned in that tendency until this moment, and he caught Mitoe completely by surprise. But would it be enough? India still has its elephants and Sepoys to come, albeit with a controversial 10HP nerf.
Like last game, Mitoe finds himself sending villagers on an emergency evacuation. Unlike last time, he’s successful and throws down a consulate and carav cavar caranvanser stable. Meanwhile, GoonGoon hits every house he can find, in an effort to keep Mitoe pop-capped and unable to reinforce.
Even still, the gamble did not pay off.
Mitoe did not lose a single villager, and killed three times as many Russians as he lost. GoonGoon did not send a single eco card or make a market and quickly falls behind. An attempt to create a timing push with Boyars and Cavalry Scouts fails when GoonGoon runs right into a far superior Indian army that makes quick work of his weak units.
Game 6: Macroeconomics 101
In the beautifully designed Thar Desert, game 6 wound up an India mirror. Immediately their plans begin to differ. Apparently not disheartened to the idea of aggressive play, GoonGoon conducts a 10/10.
“This... this is nuts.” - SirCallen
However, GoonGoon isn’t all in this time. He ships both his wood trickles behind this, and eeks out an eco advantage in the early game, forcing Mitoe to invest resources into defense. (It’s a similar build, in my opinion, to Aizamk’s famous Portuguese 10/10. One of my favorites.) The two of them both sit tight for several minutes building their forces. Mitoe invests his next shipments into resources, GoonGoon into military upgrades. They each hit critical mass around the same time and both players send their armies out to flank their opponent’s town, but Mitoe chickens out. It proves to be a good call, as GoonGoon soon shows up in the west. Mitoe’s quick reaction saves almost all of his villagers and shoos GoonGoon away for a moment, and then the armies collide.
As the battle begins, it seems game 6 will come down to micro. But that’s not the case in the end. While Mitoe’s army pulls out a win in open combat, what strikes the casters more is that GoonGoon has mis-macroed. He’s sitting on over a thousand food and no coin, while Mitoe’s lined up his resource production perfectly. Mitoe, of course, had no way of knowing this. So perhaps he was surprised to see GoonGoon resign after the battle. It wasn’t that decisive a win for Mitoe, after all. But GoonGoon had no chance to bounce back with the resources he had.
The exchanging of wins now broken, Chrisie10101 compares it to breaking serve in tennis. Mitoe now wields match point, and the advantage of picking his civ second in game 7.
With his back up against the wall, GoonGoon calls on the Sioux once more.
Game 7: Immortality
Mitoe surely knows this is the best chance he’s gonna get to put GoonGoon away this series. If he loses, he will have to pick first next game and hand the advantage and momentum back to GoonGoon. He is in full control of the series now, with immortality lying tantalizingly close at the other end of one more win. But to get it, he has to do what no one in this tournament has managed to do. Something he failed to do earlier that day: Beat GoonGoon’s Sioux.
“Damn Sioux.” - Mitoe
He takes his time on his pick, and the call goes to the French.
The players make their openings and I don’t know if it was nerves or a spur of the moment plan, but Mitoe decided it was time for a gamble of his own. He was not going to play a standard build.
With the series on the line, Mitoe takes a page from Aizamk and goes for the 8 Hussar start.
“Ohhhhhh no that’s bad!” - SirCallen
A little poke at GoonGoon does nothing. And soon GoonGoon makes a raid of his own, taking down a villager and denying a barracks before it can finish construction. Smelling blood, GoonGoon ships Axe Riders and storms through Mitoe’s town again. On the defensive, Mitoe grabs Great Coat and ships crossbows but things do not look good for him.
GoonGoon’s army is faster, stronger, and just plain better.
Mitoe sneaks up to age 3, just managing to mass enough of an army to discourage GoonGoon from attempting a full on attack. Then, he plans to beat the Sioux at their own game.
GoonGoon moves in. The French native scout sounds the alarm and is promptly killed. It’s just enough of a heads up for Mitoe to take a risk. He sends his cavalry away from home and leaves only his infantry force behind to hold off the powerful Sioux force. GoonGoon is happy to engage, but it’s a distraction.
To the south, Mitoe’s cavalry get off a huge raid at an unprotected mine. As fast as the Sioux cavalry are, they are engaged in a fight at the other end of the map. 8 villagers go down before the raid is finally dealt with. It is a huge blow to GoonGoon’s economy, but he still holds the military advantage. He’s not done yet.
Both players transition their military. GoonGoon starts to go Axe Rider heavy, Mitoe makes the classic goon/skirm. Neither player makes an attack for a while, which works in Mitoe’s favor, having gotten off that huge raid earlier and leapt out to an early eco lead. An idle army is a bad army, especially when it comes to the Sioux. Tired of dancing around, and needing to do something to get back what he lost, it’s GoonGoon that attacks first. Mitoe’s army was away at the time GoonGoon moved in, and he rattles off a raid of his own to regain his losses and even the score. Mitoe moves his army back as quick as he can, but the Sioux just gallop away. Mitoe tries to make an attack of his own, and Goongoon just races back to the French town and wreaks havoc.
The French villagers are unprotected and cut off from safety. They scatter. Mitoe’s forced to send in his dragoons on their own just to save himself, leaving his infantry to catch up. They arrive just in time to save him from complete disaster, but he’s not in good shape. Chrisie10101 floats the idea of Mitoe just going for an all in push with villagers.
It won’t be necessary.
Finally, Mitoe is able to corral the Sioux cavalry back through his town, forcing them to take lopsided trades as his Dragoons keep up a sustained fire. GoonGoon’s explorer fell in the last big fight and so at last the French army is able to keep pace, taking away GoonGoon’s greatest strength. He chases the depleted Sioux army back across the map, straight into a group of gathering villagers, who are so far away from safety even the Dragoon penalty towards villagers doesn’t matter. They all go down.
For the first time in the entire tournament, GoonGoon’s Sioux is holed up in its base.
Mitoe, sensing victory, sieges the town center. And he leaves his infantry exposed to a shipment of Axe Riders. They arrive as the rest of the Sioux army come charging in, everything hanging in the balance of one battle. Mitoe falls back but micros down the Axe Riders, and once they fall, GoonGoon’s once dangerous Bow Riders are outmatched by the French dragoons. Reinforcements come for Mitoe, and soon it’s all over.
Mitoe had won.
The Sioux have had their day. But as France’s star rises, their sun now sets. As does the sun of some of AOE3’s greats. _H20, LordRaphael, and Aizamk, the winners of the past three tournaments, were all spectators for Mitoe’s coronation. But all reigns end. And the sun will always set. It is only a matter of when. For now, Mitoe can enjoy his moment on top of the Age of Empires world, as well as his prize winnings of course. But the story will continue. It always does.
ESOC now turns its eye towards the Spring. Where the story goes from here is anyone’s guess. Will Mitoe make a title defense? Will titans like Blackstar_OP and _H20 return to fight for what used to be theirs? Will GoonGoon get his revenge?
As they say, stay tuned.
If goongoon was the Indian instead of Russian in G5, he could've done the elephant gambit I guess
CurassierAndCurassier wrote:carav cavar caranvanser stable
This gave me a good laugh. You have no idea how many times I've noped out of that word and said stable instead while casting...
AOE 3 in spanish - AOE 3 en español