Quantum Cards, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Saturday, February 22nd, 2003
So after pre-registering on dgma.com a few weeks ago, the day has finally come for the BOHD Pre-release. I put ZERO thought and preparation into today. I briefly looked over the two starter deck compositions and came to the conclusion that the Legolas starter had the better shadow (direct damage Southrons with wound prevention, ambush and Mumaks, looks good to me) while the Eowyn starter had a far superior fellowship. I didn’t really think the elves would do that well in the skirmish phase (those Elven bows had better come out fast!).
So I got stuck in the end with the Legolas starter which I was initially pleased with. After seeing all those Elven bows, I had figured I’d be all right (especially in a mirror match). I open my 3 boosters and get fairly hosed in terms of rares:
1. Eye of Barad-Dur. Nobody is going to be revealing cards in my hand at any point in the game so this card is KAK.
2. Shakru. Well I’m certainly pleased that one of the Warg players didn’t pull this booster. Nice negative drafting! But he certainly isn’t worth playing with (even though I drew 2 Wargs).
3. Berserk Slayer. Now we’re talking. I’m quite happy with this pull. He’ll be my Balrog. Strength 12 with +2 strength for each wound on a character in a skirmish (including him!). Nice for 7 twilight.
So 25 people show up including one or two guys that haven’t really ever player before (that’s always fun). Everyone is pretty much the same age with one notable exception: young Chip. This guy is about as tall as my femur but knows every single card. He’s really quite adorable as he stands up during all his games and leans over the table with one arm folded on the table and the other supporting his chin (like the Thinker). I really hope we get paired up today but alas, no. He ends up getting paired up later against this guy who rushes him through all his phases even though Chip wants to play skirmish boosts for his minions (it made me a little mad, actually). His mom ended up showing up later on to pick him up and she’s going to try to get into the game to play with her son (lucky kid! Trying to get my gf to play would be like pulling teeth). Other players include (along with sealed deck ratings):
• Ari McGee (1570) playing with Jelly Beans as wound tokens (chomp, chomp, chomp)
• Jonathan Verall (1594). Wargs. He was so inspired by the Wargs and new Grima that he’s designed a deck posted on DeckTech that’s quite impressive. I hope I don’t get paired up against him today, though, because it’s his turn to win.
• Paul Glickman (1547) another lucky chap who has a parent who plays the game. Where can I get one of those?
• Jonathan Marchi (1536) who brought his lovely gal-pal,
• Julie Robertson (1534) I haven’t seen these two since DecipherCon I think...
• Brian Macdonald (1516) who was cool enough to bring along a whole bunch of guys from Ottawa (2 hours away!). I played in Ottawa quite a bit during the spring and summer and was happy to see some of these familiar faces.
• Mathieu Boies (1580) who will be 1st judge. Jonathan Verall will be second judge and I’ll be third.
• Alexandre David (1607) my cousin who I playtested with a bit in the morning.
• Guillaume Noisseux (1560) my cousin’s friend who has a new GF
• John Keene (1573) one of my favourites. You will never see this guy without a smile on his face or a hat on his head. This guy is oozing charisma. Brings a real fun presence to tournaments. They’re not the same without him.
So I’m all pumped to go. Round one pairings are called and we’re off!
Round one (DING DING)
Me, Patrick Sullivan (1686) vs.... THE BYE!
AH CRAP. I got the bye right off the bat! This turns out to be a blessing in that I really didn’t put much thought into my deck construction. I was playing like 14 companions including knights and Ents whom I had no support cards for! So I trimmed it down to 32 cards featuring 9 companions taking out ALL Gondor and Gandalf culture cards as well as all Rohan companions and support (save for the allies who will make nice site 4 speed bumps). Now I’m down to Gimli with a slew of support events and LOTS of elves. So I’m starting Plains of Rohan which fetches Gimli and would like, naturally, to win the bid to go First. That way, I could start Legolas with an Elven Swordsman (money). However, ALL day I couldn’t get a hold of what to bid. In the beginning, I was bidding 2 (play Sam later on to remove one with Frodo) so I could enter the Palantir Chamber from site 7 giving 100 twilight or so and not be too scared. However, it seems in the end that going First is rather critical so I was bidding as high as 7 towards the final rounds. But I was getting really punished by those high-vitality warg-riders and wishing that my fellowship was behind. All day it was like this, I just couldn’t get a foothold on proper bidding strategy and it showed in my inconsistent play. I kept losing focus and not being able to decide if I was running to site 9 or going for the shadow win. When this happens to you, you’ll find more often than not that your hand is regularly getting clogged with minions. I often held onto 8 shadow cards without knowing for sure if I was actually going for a shadow win! I don’t think I discarded one card in the regroup phase ALL day! I still don’t know why I was playing so badly.
So I got my deck down to 64 cards and I was faced with one last decision. Do I start Smeagol or no? I ended up deciding against because I didn’t want the additional burden of playing him out of the fellowship phase (where Frodo would remove the burden). In the end, I think I should have started Smeagol as he is key in double moving.
So after a delicious coffee from Deli-Pat (local convenience store), round two is ready.
Me (1686) vs. Paul Glickman (1547)
Paul is a very good player so I knew I’d have to be careful. He is able to ascertain everything on the table without missing a beat. For instance at site 5, I was sure I was overwhelming Frodo but it was Helm’s Gate and the Hobbit Sword made him strength 8 so I wasted a pump. Paul doesn’t miss stuff like that. Anyway I ended up losing the bid 4-2 and going second. I was then very stressed in trying to keep up with his fellowship that was flying through my Mumaks like crazy. I pulled it off in the end and for the life of me, I can’t remember what starter he was playing. I didn’t write down much stuff after the tournament like I usually do so details will be pretty sketchy for this report. I’ll do better next time.
FW +3 / 6
Highs: Paul is a great opponent and fun to play against.
Lows: I can’t remember anything about this game.
Me (1686) vs. someguy (can’t remember at all)
All I remember is losing the bid again and desperately trying to catch up to his fellowship, which I finally did in the end.
FW +3 /9
Highs: I’m sure it was a fun game or I would have remembered it not being fun.
Lows: My crappy memory.
I can’t figure out what to bid
So now I realise it’s going to be a long day. The tournament is easily going to 6pm at least. Darn, I wanted to do stuff today. So I cross the street along with Jonathan marchi and Julie and we eat at the terrible pizza joint (New Moon). I order a Grilled Cheese and Poutine (what am I thinking?) and am very disappointed in both. Jonathan and Julie both order Pizza-ghetti where the spaghetti is good but the pizza is a sauce-covered Calzone that looks like some sort of afterbirth. We scarf down our awful lunches and head back for 3 more rounds.
At this point, I feel quite confident that I’m going to win the tournament in that I have 3 Full wins (including the bye) and both my First games, my fellowship came out very strong (all my bows were out by site 4).
Me (1686) vs. Jonathan Verall (1594) Wargs...
For once, I win the bid and go First. I get a crap draw and then an even crappier mulligan draw. All game my fellowship refused to come out and set up and my minions were clogging hand like crazy (no wonder my fellowship wasn’t setting up!) because I refused to discard anything! Jonathan passes me at some point and moves on for the win at site 9. It was still a close game but I felt like I was losing from site 2.
FL +1 / 10
Highs: Verall for winning and being a great sport
Verall for forgetting that his Wargs were fierce at 3 different sites (including the pivotal 5 and 6!)
Slops: Me for not cycling properly.
Me (1686) vs. Jonathan Marchi (1536) Wargs again
Last match up between us was DecipherCon Day Two where I won. Today, my confidence is shot. I lose the bid on purpose (I decide it’s better to go second for some reason) and his fellowship is untouchable. I get my Beserker Slayer out at site 5, take on archery hit on him and then an exertion from a rider’s mount. He is up against his most powerful companion, a decked-out elite rider. Jonathan plays a pump to bring his elite rider to 13 against my 12-strength slayer. However the two wounds on my slayer bring his strength to 16 defeating his elite rider. Jonathan loses the rider for no reason and is visibly upset with the situation. I now feel in the same situation I was in a few weeks earlier with David Malboeuf (should I offer Jonathan a take-back in that he has obviously made a mistake?). I still feel it’s up to the player to swallow his pride and ask for a take back. Jonathan doesn’t so the rider dies and he is now at a disadvantage.
However, my elves keep getting the snot kicked out of them by those pesky warg-riders so Jonathan makes it to site 9 without much opposition.
FL +1 /11
Highs: Slayer being tough as nails
Both of us getting a laugh out of his mistake
Lows: Another awkward moment involving mistakes and takebacks
My hand getting clogged again but at least no site went by where he wasn’t facing 5 raiders with a ton of pool.
Me (1686) vs. Brian Macdonald (1516) Wargs Wargs Wargs
The best I can do at this point is 3rd place and 1st place was a BOX of boosters (darn). Brian is a really cool guy from Ottawa and he was lucky enough to pull a Warg deck. This was my favourite game of the day because there was ZERO stress. I knew I had lost the tournament so I had only my precious rating to defend. The guy I was playing, Brian has a tendency to say ‘Yeah, So anyways...’ everytime something happens in the game that is out of his favour. It’s actually really funny and added a lot to the gameplay experience. I was dominating all game making it to site 8 without too much trouble. Brian is at site 7 and decides to go for it and double to 9. I pull a FULL hand of Free People cards and he wins against only 3 or 4 minions. Good for him!
FL +1 / 12
Highs: Fun opponent
He was really happy to win
Winning against me gave him 3rd place overall and a bunch of boosters. Cool.
Yeah so anyways.... (Never gets old)
Lows: none, I played like crap and I didn’t care
So that’s it. I must have placed 4th or something. Who knows? I wish I hadn’t felt so sick all day. I was completely unable to concentrate because of my cold. I attribute this as being the prime factor why I wasn’t thinking straight and hanging on to 8 shadow cards in regroup phase when my fellowship is 2 sites ahead.
Having cold sucks. Now I know how Patrick Malboeuf feels like in his tournaments (he’s always sick). I end up giving almost all my cards to young, Mr. Chip and he’s really happy about that.
Props: Getting cool cards and starting my BOHD collection (new binder).
25 players. Wow
Ari for using Jellybeans as wound tokens
Jonathan Verall for getting 1st overall and the box of boosters
Jonathan Marchi for getting 2nd overall and getting a bunch of boosters and giving some to my cousin, Alex.
Julie for eating that nasty Calzone. How’d she do it?
Chip for playing LOTR at home with his mom.
John Keene for being the man with the yellow hat.
Slops: Me for playing like a newfish all day long
Me for considering playing with 14 companions.
Steve Judge for having to work
Nick Tregmallia for not having wheels of his own.
Peter Wilson for not showing up
My cousin Alex and his friend Guillaume for not getting to tournaments on their own.
Guillaume for dropping out of the tournament early to be with his GF.
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