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Got to Vegas on Friday afternoon. Checked in at The Orleans and waited for my boys to show up. I hate the drive to Vegas from L.A. (okay, so it’s not that far, but I’m a wimp), so I opted to fly. Mike Garland and Garrhet Noda showed up, then we ran into Matt Worland in the casino. We hung out, traded some, and watched as all the guys without points showed up for the last chance tournament Friday night. Saw fellow Cali players Mark Evans, Tyler Trafas, John Patchell, Ryan Jones, and a few other familiar faces. Also saw that Vegas resident trouble-maker Matt Berta (har har!).
I was happy to find out that there would be a Towers draft that evening that players with premier points could play in. So I opted to play. I’ll spare you the gory details, and just tell you that I got a sucky Dunland deck that was so bad, I only went a pathetic 1-3. Some dude from Toronto kicked the crap out of me, and then was like, “Do you have a point for tomorrow?” I said yes, and he made a strange look, and then asked me where I got my point. When I told him it was from the 59 player So Cal PSQ, he looked surprised. I guess he just thought I was a girlfriend of one of the players or something. At least I did a lot better than him when it mattered :-). But I don’t want to think about the draft anymore… not having Hides in a Dunland deck SUCKS, especially when there’s only two pumps in the entire deck. My Dunlendings were OWNED every game.
Anyways, we traded some more, then me, David Chafin, Matt Worland, Mike Garland, and Garrhet Noda headed back upstairs to get prepared for the big day. We swapped some Wars cards with Matt, and then I crashed on one of the beds while the guys were still playing the Wars. Last week was pretty nuts and I didn’t get too much sleep after playing cards with Chafin, Garland, and Mike Mendoza, so I was just DONE.
I got up first, took a shower, and forced all the other guys out of bed so that we could have all our crap ready and we could grab some breakfast before the tournament. We were pretty early, got our decklists turned in, and waited for everything to start. As always with a big tournament, things were running a bit late. I was running my Moria w/Elven Allies, Men, and Gandalf. I threw in a Horn last minute since I had so many allies, but it wasn’t really built to be a Horn deck. I apologize for lack of game details, but it’s all a blur to me. Anyways, without further ado, here goes…
Brandon Erwin (1827)
Brandon’s one of the Utah boys, so I’m pretty sure this is gonna be a tough game. I bid 3 to his 1 and make him go first, to ensure the Caverns come out. He starts Gandalf FotSF and runs a Southron archery / Hate deck… I thankfully get set up quick, getting Faramir, Boromir with Horn, and Elrond. I take some archery from the Desert Lord at site 2 and stop. Poor Brandon just never gets set up, and I get out a mini-swarm at site 4, overwhelming Eowyn, and get the full win at site 5, pulling out two Goblin Scavengers and a Troll’s Keyward. After the game he quietly confessed to me that a vital part of his deck was missing…as in a major companion for whom he had support cards in the deck. D’oh!
Better luck next time Brandon… Just a little advice--next time make the decklist ahead of time, and not in the middle of the night! I was so paranoid that something like that would happen to me, I actually typed my list before we left.
Highs: Winning my first game.
Lows: Brandon for doing his decklist in the middle of the night.
Dan Clark (1881)
Dan’s from Michigan and I haven’t heard of him before so I really don’t know what to expect. He starts Faramir/Merry and we roll. CRAP! He’s playing the Uruk Ally Hate deck. No GOOOOOOD. Elrond and Galadriel (both exhausted) die to a Tower Assassin on the same turn, going into site 4. Then Rumil shoots him down. When Dan moves to site 5, he is forced to sack Defendergorn, leaving him with a very weak squad of Gandalf and Frodo. I see a Stalker and some dudes at site 5, but I handle them easily, and stop. It’s all over for Dan at site 6 as I draw up 4 runners and drop the squad on him. Poor Frodo is incredibly overwhelmed.
Highs: Undefeated after two games!
I’m on a roll! I knew my deck was solid, but I hadn’t expected to go 2-0 to start, with the high level of competition. Round three is about to begin, so I go in for the pairings.
Peter Sundholm (1802)
I remembered Peter from Comicon, where he got his Aragorn overwhelmed at site 2 by my boy David Chafin. That’s the sweet stuff right there! Plus how can you not notice Peter’s mullet? I can understand he’s into the 80s music or whatever, but jeez! :-) Sigh… I’m just messing Pete. I’m just bitter you won. ;-)
So Peter’s the only one that beat Ryan day one, and pretty much the same thing that happened to Ryan happened to me. Peter dropped 8 companions (including Ranger of the North and Eomer w/Firefoot) by site 4, so there was really nothing I could do to stop him. He pretty much walks the whole way, while I try to cycle into a Nertea (which never happens). I guess you could say I got “LOTR’d.” but Peter also got some huge God draws against me. I couldn’t really double on his Uruks, so I just had to hope I’d get some really good draws. That never happened.
Highs: Peter was a nice opponent. Very talkative and funny, which was nice.
Lows: Peter getting 8 companions out that quickly.
Shon Jones (1833)
I know Garrhet beat Shon down in the Utah PSQ, but I’m not too sure what he’s playing. Turns out he’s playing Dunland. He’s got loads of archery and I know I’m gonna have to save the Warrior combo for late in the game. We had a bit of a disagreement early on, where I thought he passed on maneuvers, but things ended up alright. He’s a good guy. I just wanted to check with a judge to make sure that things were done correctly. He said “Maneuvers?” I thought that meant he was passing, so I said pass. Then he tried to play Defend it and Hope, and I said that I thought he’d passed. Kendrick ruled that Shon actually needed to say “I pass” for him to be considered as passing, but whatever. It ended up alright once we got back to playing.
I made a fatal mistake at site 8, playing my hand because I thought I’d have him. I came up 1 strength too short on Frodo, dropping the anti-archery combo AND the Snow Bomb. If I’d waited until site 9, I could have used Palantir Chamber to get Nertea and a few extra guys, and played the anti-archery combo and the bomb. But I misplayed it. Thought I could get out enough to kill him at site 8. He has an easy walk at 9, and I lost my second straight game.
Highs: Getting the Snow Bomb and Anti-archery combos down at the same site.
Lows: Playing it too early. This game should have been mine.
Yannick LaPointe (1874)
Yannick was one of the top 16 qualifiers at the PS Atlanta. Lucky for me, I didn’t find this out until after the game or there might have been a bit of an intimidation factor. He was easily the most gentlemanly player I played all day, very friendly, and shaking my hand as soon as I sat down. I bid 3 to his 5, and he opted to go first. The best part of this game was Black Traitor tech. He came out at site 4 to get rid of Last Alliance. Then at site 6, Nertea pulled him again to get rid of O Elbereth. Getting rid of O Elbereth cut Frodo down to a strength 3 for site 7, since Yannick was playing ATAR. I dropped just enough guys for Frodo to have to fight, and then die to a Goblin Runner with a scimitar.
Highs: Beating a good player; Black Traitor OWNS! The French-Canadian squad for being so darn cute.
Between rounds it was kinda funny. Lots of people were coming up to me and asking if I really beat Yannick. I can’t lie… the attention was very cool. :-)
Clint Hays (2013)
Whoa. This was a surprise. I didn’t think that with two losses I’d be facing Clint. His reputation definitely precedes him. He was one of the finalists in the World Cup last year, so I figured this would be a tough game. It was rather amusing though, he told me his record against chicks in tournaments was something like 8 wins, 17 losses, so I figured I might have a shot. ;-)
I make him go first (we tied, both bidding 4, and I won the dice roll), which is good because I don’t have any companions. This was also the only game all day that I took a mulligan. He also took a mulligan. When I reconcile, I have a Scout and They Are Coming, so I play them. I glance over, and notice he’s got no archery, no defender +1 guys, and he’s using ATAR. He moves into three unscathed, and I play nothing. I play Elrond and draw some cards, but still no companions. I do however have a nice Shadow hand. Two Scouts (they’ll be free with Galadriel down), a Scavenger, and a Forger. As he moves into four, I know I have to drop my hand. Having no companions is NO GOOD. I drop the Scouts, the Forger, and the Runner. Wait a sec… I’ve got three cards in hand… and he’s only got 4 guys to my four minions. I ditch the cards (GOOD ONES, Ranger’s Sword, Brand, and Boromir) to grab the Scout I played earlier. I set the five guys down in front of his 4 companions and he just stares. Looks up, then shakes my hand.
Haha, did I just beat Clint Hays? I think I did. :-) After the game Matt Worland came up to me and was telling me that people were ragging on Clint constantly for losing to a chick. I guess you win some, you lose some. I got really lucky, but… That’s just the nature of Lord of the Rings TCG.
Since the game was over in under 10 minutes, I went and hung out with Mark outside and actually caught a few z’s on the couch. Good stuff.
Highs: Beating a well-known player.
Lows: None. This was FUN. It’s especially fun to win when someone thinks you’re a scrub.
Tim McKnight (1879)
There was nothing I could do this game. Tim got down the Horn and tons of companions right off the bat. I kept single moving, looking for a Nertea, but couldn’t find one the whole game. Basically the same thing that happened in my game against Peter happened here. He was at 5 companions and played Curse Their Foul Feet on me. I didn’t want to lose the Moria minions, so I ditched Enquea since I figured I’d draw a Nertea sooner or later if he did go over the 6 companions. Alas, that didn’t happen…and Tim dropped a couple more companions. I couldn’t do anything at site 7. On my turn, I doubled to site 8 because I figured it would be at least good to pressure Tim to make the double move from 7-9… But I didn’t account for the squad he dropped on my. Saruman and lots of Uruks = no good! I was down to just Frodo and Elrond after all was said and done. He moved into 8 and the announcement came that there was only 3 minutes to go. He started playing really quickly and looked pretty panicked, so when he went to move to 9 (though he really didn’t need to), I told him not to worry, I’d give him the full win. Considering I was down to Frodo and had only one scrubby Warrior in my hand, the game would have been his all day. I would have needed at least 14 guys down to get two on Frodo, and there was no way that was gonna happen.
Highs: Playing Tim, he’s really cool.
Lows: Discarding Enquea. That was really a dumb move on my part. Not getting Nertea. Boo!
Jeremy Commandeur (1859)
I know Jeremy from up north. At the No Cal PSQ he hooked me up with some sweet LOTR cards, for which I traded him a stack of Trek 2e. I knew he was pretty good too, so I bid 4 to his 3 to make him go first. He started Eomer and Pippin and we were off. This was the first time all day that I faced Uruk archery. I still don’t see that as being a strong deck, but somehow the guys in Northern Cali seem to make it work.
I singled every site and got some healing going when I ditched extra cards of my companions, so I wasn’t too worried. Boromir DoMT is great against this… he just soaks up the wounds and heals ever turn. :-) I just built my hand up, and then dropped a huge squad at site 5. Jeremy didn’t bother to assign, just said “I guess that’s game” and then shook my hand. Cool stuff. Jeremy later told me that was the only time all day that his deck had been beaten by the Shadow. Pretty nice to hear!
Highs: Beating yet another great player.
Lows: None, Jeremy is a cool guy. This was a fun game.
Well that’s that! I ended up 5-3. My boys Dave and Garrhet both ended up at 4-4, and Matt Worland ended up at 3-5 with his corruption deck (of note, he corrupted William Diniega in his second game, sweet!). Mike Garland finished at 6-2, but had three timed wins, putting him out of the running for Day 2. Three guys from the So Cali squad made it to Day 2: John Patchell, Ryan Jones, and Tyler Trafas. Ryan ended up winning it all. Definitely not a bad showing from Cali. Can’t wait until next year! Vegas is always the best.
*Chafin, Worland, Noda, and Garland for being cool roommates.
*Gabe Alonso for the trades and just for being a great source of amusement for me.
*Kyle and his “Pack Poker.” (I so owned him!)
*Tyler for winning a little money.
*Patchell for winning some more money.
*Ryan for winning a whole lot of money (he won some gambling the night before Day 2 as well! Talk about lucky!).
*The lobster/crayfish necklace.
*Alfred and his Dunland deck for going 6-0 in the team tournament.
*Everyone who traded me an Elrond.
*Matt C. for trading me Gollum, and for being a good TD. It was good meeting you!
*Matt Berta just cuz if I don’t put his name here, he’ll get all hurt.
*Yannick and the French Canadiens, just cuz.
*Andrew Howard for never introducing himself to me.
*Me for going 1-3 in the team tournament. What happened???
*Slot machines at the Orleans. Damn, they’re stingy!
*Me, Chafin, Worland, Noda, Garland for scrubbing out and not making Day 2.
*Garland for timing out three games. You nerd!
*Mike Mendoza for being a nerd and not coming to Vegas because he didn’t have a point. You so would have gotten your point if you’d come. :-P
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