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CardShark Content - Patrick Sullivan (2/2/2003)

Pre-Tourney Junk

Joliette is about an hour¡¦s drive from Montreal so I had to get up at, like, 7:30. This is the time I get up 5 days a week but this time I was smiling when the alarm went off cuz I didn¡¦t have to go to work.
So I decide to take off right away skipping breakfast (I usually always get sick if I eat before a tournament, no matter how small and insignificant the tournament is).

So it¡¦s like almost 30 below zero, temperature-wise, and my car almost doesn¡¦t start. It takes like 20 minutes into the trip before the heat really gets going so I¡¦m driving down the highway wearing my gloves and my Homer Simpson tuque (that¡¦s a wooly headpiece for you Californians). It¡¦s a nice relaxing drive listening to the O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack and thinking over my deck selection.

The deck I chose to play with was a ¡§B¡¨ deck. Meaning all my good cards had gone into another deck (a fellowship block deck I had constructed because there was going to be a Fellowship Block tourney a month later in Montreal and I had to practice my old skills). So I was playing a fellowship of Men coupled with an updated Moria Swarm (including 3 Cave Trolls but no Cavern Entrance because my fellowship would be slaughtered). Decks with a Moria Swarm Shadow are generally going for killing the ring-bearer. However, mine was going for a fellowship win. I had trimmed the deck down to almost 60 cards (I think it was like 66) so this way I could cycle and get ALL my fellowship set up as early as possible to run. It ended up working very well and I couldn¡¦t believe my Moria still managed kills.

I arrive way too early, like half an hour before go time. There isn¡¦t a soul around and the store is locked. Keep in mind it¡¦s like 30 below so I speed-walk a couple blocks to the Tim Horton¡¦s (that¡¦s a Canadian Dunkin Donuts but better (not as good as Krispy Kreme, though)). They got a special of a medium coffee and muffin for $1.98. Can¡¦t beat that so for once, I actually eat some food before a tournament. As I sit there relaxing, I try to remind myself that today I¡¦m going for fellowship wins as opposed to a shadow kill, like I usually do when I play Moria. So I have to be aggressive (like double pushing to site 5 against Uruks, which invoked the question later that day, ¡§Is that really a good idea?¡¨)

Anyway so I arrive at Les Mordus (card-store name) and they¡¦ve moved over a couple storefronts. They are now a corner store with windows EVERYWHERE so it is much less dungeon-like than the previous place. I see all the old players from Joliette that I hadn¡¦t seen since before Christmas. I get so happy seeing some of the guys that one of them I give a big hug (I barely know this guy, I must have freaked him out). I also spot Jean-Luc Simard who is a hard-core Play-Tester from Montreal. He¡¦s always intimidated to play me but he really shouldn¡¦t be. He¡¦s a much better player than he thinks he is.

So 18 people ended up showing up for this local tournament in a small rural town miles and miles from anywhere. Let me mention that in Montreal (population of 3 million), local tournaments OFTEN have fewer than 8 people show up. Joliette is to Montreal as Plattsburg is to New York. I¡¦m not kidding. I¡¦ve never seen such a concentrated bunch of player-ship in one area.

Anyway, here are the game synopses as best as I can recollect. I have quite an awful memory and I don¡¦t know how the hell players remember the details that they do. Remember Patrick Malboeuf¡¦s report from Germany. Days of World Cup and two days of Premiere Series and he remembers EVERY game and pretty much EVERY name. UNREAL. I don¡¦t know how he does it. I can¡¦t remember what I had for lunch today¡K

Game ONE
My Fellowship of Men/Moria Swarm vs. some really nice young fellow (no IDEA as to his name).

All I remember is that his shadow side was Easterlings and I bid 3 without starting Sam. So with his Easterling Captain, he was able to dispatch 3 or 4 of my companions at one site. However, this was not enough and I think I made it to site 9 (although my Moria MAY have swarmed his Frodo, I can¡¦t say for sure).
FW 3-0

Game TWO
Me vs. Francis Arsenault (1750)

I¡¦m a little worried right off the bat because I¡¦ve never played against him and I know he¡¦s a decent player. He doesn¡¦t usually play in Joliette so I¡¦m a little surprised to see him. This was the toughest match-up of the day. He was playing Uruk Bomb. I got my only Sting in my opening draw and not one fellowship phase went by where I didn¡¦t Sting him and see a Saruman KOI in his hand. So much for double moving. I had 2 armors, archery, orophin, and blade of Aragorn but nothing to deal with Christopher Lee himself so I had to be careful. He was also playing Enquea and Nertea who came out all the time (I had six companions on the table most of the time). However, Frodo had O Elbereth on him the whole game so I saved it for a site 9 double push. However, we didn¡¦t make it that far because my swarm pulled it off somewhere between site 4-7. I can¡¦t remember.
FW 6-0

Me vs. The guy I hugged with glasses playing Uruk (Battleground focus)

So I go first and out comes Uruk Camp. I have NEVER known how to read this card. As far as I can tell it either means the guy is playing Uruk Site-Control or his fellowship is anti-Uruk (or maybe both?). Turns out there¡¦s a new possibility. This guy is playing ALL battlegrounds without site control. He¡¦s playing with those Uruks that boost each other at battlegrounds (Rear Guard, etc.). Anyway I don¡¦t think Saruman showed up once and my fellowship made it to site 9 with Sam showing up at site 8 to remove the burdens before moving to his site 9, which removes 2 burdens to play minions. Poor guy. Never really got a chance.
FW 9-0


Me vs. Jonathan Bolduc (1500) Uruk Archery
I¡¦ve never seen this guy before in my life. I¡¦ve heard that he is the new power rising out of Joliette. He¡¦s been playing for like 3 weeks and hasn¡¦t been defeated once. He and his younger brother are YuGuiOh! Champions so all that tells me is that he must be a decent deck builder (cuz that¡¦s all you need to win at YuGuiOh!). So I see this game as a real challenge for me (in a good way). I¡¦m basically the flag-bearer of Montreal up against Joliette¡¦s featured warrior. Turns out he¡¦s playing Uruk Archery. Uh-oh, I have trouble against these guys). It took me only until site four before I realized that I should be able to win with my eyes closed. Bolduc, unfortunately, hasn¡¦t quite mastered the rules (especially dealing with phase action timing). So he made newbies mistakes like exhausting his minions with Covering Fire and discarding his Weapons of Isengard to send over 9 archery fire. Trouble is, I have a perfectly healthy Greenleaf and Aragorn with his bow. So 2 or 3 exertions later, all minions are dead and archery falls to zero. I tried explaining this to him several times because I felt it was important that he doesn¡¦t do it again. He makes the same mistake later with Desert Lord and begins to understand. Anyway I always think the best way to understand the game quickly is to make many mistakes early on. My first game ever was in London, England where at Site one I added 8 twilight to the pool with Gimli, Dwarf of Erebor. Next site, Witch-King and Attea come to play and I¡¦m send back to Canada with my bags packed. I quickly understood how the twilight pool works. Anyway, back to the game, my fellowship runs to site 9 facing off against Lurtz and somebody who can¡¦t take my fellowship¡¦s archery fire. What a nice irony that my Fellowship archery decimated an Uruk Archery deck.
FW 12-0

{Editor¡¦s Note: The lack of minions does not nullify the effects of Archery additions from Weapons of Isenguard¡Kand Covering Fire does not exhaust minions, Cloud of Arrows does, but like Weapons of Isenguard the minion total for Archery remains. The default archery is zero, so cards that add to the total archery do not need minions in play to keep the archery numbers up. TT Starter Rulebook , Pg. 26}

Me vs. Carle Berard ¡V Tournament Director (1757) Moria Swarm
I THINK he was also playing Moria Swarm. I could have sworn I playing against a Nazgul deck, I just can¡¦t remember who it was. Oops. Anyway, he had A LOT of trouble setting up his shadow. So I make it to site 7 and it¡¦s the Cavern Entrance. Thank the Lord for Secret Sentinels, Archery and Elendor¡¦s Valor. So I survive the Cavern, while his fellowship¡Knot so much. His fellowship was following very close to mine all game and when they poked their heads in the cavern entrance, I was quick to remove them. I think the decimation was so severe that only Frodo survived. Weird huh? I then move to site 8 next phase and he concedes. Rightly so. He would have needed like 15 minions at site 9 and about 8 Goblin Armories. He is a great player with really good deck ideas. I look very much forward to our next match-up in two weeks where I believe he¡¦ll be trying a Gondor fellowship (Boromir, Aragorn and Faramir). By the way, I was playing with Boromir, LOG and having great results with him against Uruk decks! I haven¡¦t seen him played in so long. But I slapped an armor, Last Alliance on him and then Elendor¡¦s Valor in the maneuver phase and he was making my second moves a cinch!
FW 15-0

So undefeated with my B DECK!! I don¡¦t believe it. To be honest, it certainly helped that the Bad Beef brothers didn¡¦t show up. But due to diplomatic blunders mostly on their part, they won¡¦t be making any more trips to Joliette. I¡¦m thankful I¡¦m not as outspoken as they are. If I had opened my big mouth, I wouldn¡¦t be going up to Joliette anymore either. Anyway, I have already thought of ways to greatly improve my deck (like adding Gandalf and losing the Cave Trolls and adding Cavern Entrance). But for now, I think I¡¦ll try this deck a little longer to understand the weaknesses. I still don¡¦t know how I¡¦ll ever be able to beat Patrick Malboeuf¡¦s current deck design. It is a real beast.

Anyway that¡¦s it, I had an amazing time. Everyone was real nice. I spent WAY too much money on singles but now I bet the store owner, Alain, will be even happier to see me next time ƒº

- Joliette players for being so into LOTR
- Joliette players for being happy to see me even if they think there is no way to beat me (they¡¦re quite wrong about that)
- Jean Luc Simard for driving up from Montreal (too bad we didn¡¦t play but his fellowship had a Moria weakness and I was sure to capitalize on it)
- J. Bolduc ¡V this guy has serious potential. I can¡¦t wait for him to become the teacher and I, the apprentice.
- Alain for bringing his store into daylight

- Lousy Quebec weather. Too damn cold!!
- Tobacco companies. I quit smoking quite a while ago and was still jonesing for cigarettes during my lunch break (everyone smokes in this province!!)
- Me for hugging that dude (what was I thinking?!)

On a side-note, I took off right after my last game without waiting for everyone to finish his or her game (Carle and I are crazy fast players). I feel bad for not sticking around but I want to get home to my girlfriend. By not spending an excessive amount of time at tournaments, I can get away guilt-free by going to places like Vegas, DecipherCon, GenCon, etc. The only time I¡¦m away from my GF is when I¡¦m playing cards or working. This is how I figured out how Mathieu Brochu won the Worlds. His GF is a hard-core player, which means he gets to play 100% of the time. More play testing = more consistent wins.

Hope you liked my TR. I think I¡¦ll start writing these on a regular basis. They¡¦re fun to write. So let me know if there¡¦s anything I should be talking about more in a TR so I can make them better and more fun for you guys to read.

Booster Draft next week! I¡¦ll be sure to write a TR for that one. It¡¦ll be hilarious talking about the mistakes I make while drafting.
Patrick Sullivan (1924)

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