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CardShark Content - Carl Craig (6/12/2003)

Well this tournament was basically our own version of a Territorial. Due to the expense of hosting an official Territorial, none of the retailers in my state of Queensland here in Australia were even slightly interested, But after a little thought I came up with an idea of having our own tournament and calling it the QLD titles.

Our QLD Titles constructed standard tournament was kindly hosted by Paul Quinn of FastBreak – A great guy with a great store, he had recently changed the look of his store which I must say was an improvement, and his stock levels are at a high.

We had a turnout of 11 players (with a couple of full night on lookers) – which is great considering the steady decline of players recently. About 8 of the 11 players are kinda veterans’ and have been playing fairly steadily since around the games initial release. We do have a heap of newer players playing the Race to Mount Doom league, but their not interested in competitive play – so tournaments don’t draw them unfortunately.

With 11 players, you can already see why it wouldn’t have been viable to host an official Territorial, we would have had to charge at least $20 for 10 players just to break even and that’s before any prize support, as it was we each payed $15 AUD which got 30 Helms Deep boosters and a Pippin polystone bust worth $100+ AUD, + many other prizes I either sourced for free or paid for out of my own pocket (I had to, to try and keep this game alive), which I wasn’t seeking reimbursement for.

We had a slight delay due to the L5R players running an hour overtime – but it did give some of us time to tweak our decks, trade, play and/or just talk about stuff ;-)

I helped set the scene by playing Ralph Bakshi’s version of LotR on the TV – which was to be the prize for the Ring-Bearer at the end of the tournament. The Chase the Ring event, is easy to tie into any tournament, basically you choose someone at the start of the tourney to be the Ring-Bearer (usually has something to show this, eg. I had made a One Ring Necklace using the common version of the card for the bearer to wear ;-), if they lose the ring gets passed to the winner, if they win then they keep it till its lost of they finish with it and so on……
I also asked a few Middle Earth related Q’s and A’s – correctly answered question’s got them spot prizes like stickers, tattoos etc…
And then it was into the first round.

I was up against Sheree, who’s only 12 yrs old. I had also helped to make her deck before the event, which meant our game wasn’t totally fair BUT being really new to the game meant she was kinda in the deep end…… so I treated our game as a kind of tutorial…. She was playing a 3 hunter + unbound hobbits/warg deck VS my gondor+elf/nazgul deck. I simply pointed out things that would help save her companion’s (eg using quick as maybe, defend it and hope to stop my enquea from using his maneuver ability as effectively) and let her take back her phases if she forgot something OR if I thought she maybe able to do something else. I drew the game out as much as possible, trying to point out things and make her feel as comfortable as possible in the tournament scene as possible so that she’d be doing at least a little better in the next 4 rounds. As it was I won (only just) so then it was onto the 2nd round

Next I was up against Adam, who is definitely a veteran to the game and Decipher in general – he used to play star wars from its birth and opted for LotR once Decipher lost the license for SW. Adam came at me with a multi culture classic Trust Me/Isengard Archery deck. The game started quite even and it looked like my nazgul weren’t going to be slowing him down enough.. with him starting too it was putting him in the lead, so I decided to take an extra move….. this would prove my downfall, as his shadow side strengthened with his good draws and weapons of isengard – I was taking too many wounds by site 9 and frodo died. Well with feeling a little down about losing (not really, I didn’t mind it was a lot of fun) I decided to indulge myself into food…… It was now time for our 8 pizza’s to be devoured. We had a lot of great talking and I asked some more Q’s and A’s before getting onto the 3rd round ;-)

Now I was going to be up against a new guy I’d never met… Craig Maquet. He was playing an unusual blend of gondor ringbound rangers with elves/ dunland+easterling deck. It so happened that both of us were having poor FP draw’s which left little twilight for our shadow sides… after about site 3 though my draws got a little better, whilst his weren’t which resulted in a fairly quick win for me. He had a great friendly personality and a cool shirt (apparently only the movie crews were given them in NZ, said he found a place he could score 1 in NZ and grabbed it ;-) so after talking with him during the tea break and after this round I had already decided that he was going to be receiving the sports man award – which was a hard cover Two Towers visual companion book, he loved it ;-)

4th round was up against a good friend of mine, Paul Twomey –who was playing a deck I was dredding to come up against, as his FP side was the same as mine and strong against my nazgul, but his shadow side of Sauron direct damage with bulk condition’s I was at a loss, cause I couldn’t get rid of all of his conditions as I only had 1x company of archers in my deck + his added archery with orc bowmen hurt me a lot. As with Adam I decided to try and get to the end first, but this proved my downfall once I got to site 9 he had too much archery for me to deal with…..looks like a pattern of shadow archery starting to cause a few problems for my deck aye? ;-)

The last round saw me going up against Rob Waugh, who’s also well known to me – as he was one of the first city guys for me to teach the game too and has been hooked ever since ;-) He had been undefeated for the whole tourney and with my slight losing streak I doubted that I was going to break it. He was playing a hunter, unbound hobbit with gandalf too/moria swarm deck. I started off well, by being able to get out powerful nazgul early which resulted in the loss of his pippin, thus his FP side took a little while to get off the ground after that, But it was his moria deck that would totally wipe my FP side off Middle Earth as we know it ;-)
It was a basic swarm, but with Dark Places to ensure that he got his own underground’s when needed for his cavetroll’s – I lost 2 companion’s to 1 cavetroll with his hammer just before I lost, nasty stuff! This would have to be one of the best deck’s I’ve seen in a while – I may have lost but I had a lot of fun watching him play it ;-)

The final placing’s looked like this:

#1 Rob Waugh (QLD Champion)
#2 Adam Polkinghorne (The Ring Bearer)
#3 Natalie Frost
#4 Paul Twomey
#5 Matt Green (thanks for making the trip from the Sunshine Coast Matt - hope to see you at the league and pre-release ;-)
#6 Myself-Carl Craig
#7 Sheree Quinn (She nearly beat me ;-) lucky too cause i helped her out with that deck-LOL)
#8 David Hartwig (thanks for being consistent with your turnouts man and thanks for the insight into the 2nd Matrix movie ;-)
#9 Craig Maquet (First time i played this guy - thanks for turning up man ;-)
#10 Thomas Nilsen
#11 Bryan Gagen (Thanks for the commitment to the game man, sorry you had to leave after the 2nd round, but thanks so much for turning up ;-)

Apart from the regular booster prizes that got given away buy Paul Quinn from Fastbreak - we also had.....

TT movie poster for 1st (courtesy of myself)
TCG poster for 10th (courtesy of Decipher)
Pippen Polystone Bust (valued at over $100) went to Paul Twomey as a random draw (courtesy of Paul Quinn)
Set of 3x Two Towers banners went to Craig Maquet as a random draw (courtesy of Harper Collins)
Hardcover Two Towers visual companion book (courtesy of Harper Collins) went to Craig maquet for sportsman award
Lord of the Rings' original Ralph Bakshi video (courtesy of myself) went to the Ringbearer, which was Adam Polkinghorn

Everyone also got their share of stickers, foreign cards and fierce tattoos through the Q's and A's through the night ;-)

As a token of appreciation I also presented Paul Quinn with a set of TT banners for him to display in his store (or whatever ;-) - thanks again for the support Paul, our game wouldn’t be happening without it ;-)

When/If I find out spec’s for some of the decks played in this event, I’ll post them up with their permission and link them to this article for those of you interested ;-)

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