Sunday, April 6th, 2003
9 players – 4 rounds – 1 survivor
So I set my alarm for like 7AM because I want to drive over to my cousin Alex’s house for some playtesting first thing Sunday morning. He’s asked me to arrive for around 8 am giving us 3 and a half hours to drink coffee and play LOTR. Upon waking up, I’m quite perplexed at how much sunlight there is at 7 in the morning and then it hits me... I’ve forgotten once again to account for Daylight Savings. So I just got up and I’m already one minute late to get to my cousin’s house which is 20 minutes away.
SO I bolt out of bed, scaring the hell out of my pet cat, Hershey, but the gf stays silent. She’s pretty exhausted after staying up to watch Jiminy Glick with Tom Hanks (must have been hilarious, I was too tired to stay up). I caught Bernie Mac on SNL but it kinda stank so I went to bed early.
Anyway I arrive at Alex’s house with my 2 Open decks and 1 Standard deck. We playtest a few times and his deck is quite decent and manages to beat out my Uruk Archery shadow on his second try. My other open deck managed to take him out for breakfast as well. Speaking of breakfast, my Aunt, Beth was kind enough to whip me up a Café Latté first thing. I tell ya, there is NOTHING better than playing LOTR in a sunlit dining room with a giant Café au Lait. It’s pure paradise and I look very much forward to it everytime Alex decides to come to a tournament.
His friend and playtester, Guillaume seems to have decided to leave the game. No, not because of standard format or because of a lack of money but rather because of his GF. One of those decisions that many gamers end up facing at one point in time. Although I don’t agree with Guillaume’s decision, it is certainly one we can all understand and respect. In the meantime, I hope Alex picks up his rares for a good price as Alex is quite a good player (not as much as Guillaume but he’ll get there fast enough).
So Alex only manages to beat me once out of 3 or 4 games so he has helped my confidence hit a high and I’m quite ready to attack today’s tournament with great vengeance and furious anger.
But first... Tim Horton’s. Alex and I swing by at 11h40 for coffee, donuts and coffee cake drizzled in caramel. Sounds good? It wasn’t.
We arrive at our favourite store in the world, Quantum Cards, to see 7 other players ready to rock and roll (so to speak). Today’s willing partipants are:
1. Fred Côté (1644)
2. Me, Patrick Sullivan (1885 sigh...)
3. Alexandre David (1616)
4. John Bernatchez (1614)
5. Peter Wilson (1616)
6. Mark (1500)
7. Paul Glickman (1593 how can that be?)
8. Jonathan Verall (1633)
9. Matthew Mitchell (1500 first constructed deck after 1 Pre-Release and a Booster Draft)
So let’s examine those ratings. Ouch. I really stick out like a sore thumb don’t I? This means if I win (like when I do in Joliette), I’ll only be chastized by my peers in that I won against a bunch of scrubs. However, if I lose, I’ll only be chastized by my peers because I was only playing against a bunch of scrubs. I just can’t win. Well I’m sure more of you have experienced this before but in case you haven’t, RATINGS MEAN JACK. And to point it out best of all, look at my rating. How in God’s good name I managed to pull off a rating like that with my constant crappy decks is beyond me. I have got to the point that I fear the non-recognizables (Ryan Jones? Who’s that) to playing against big names (Hayes Hunter, etc.). So walking into a tournament against 8 players like this bunch leads me to believe that in terms of rating, I have nothing to gain and everything to lose.
Luckily, I’m just playing for the fun of it in my favourite store against my buddies so that whole speech is moot.
Today I’m playing the same deck that won me last week’s Open format in Joliette and went 3-3 in Vegas Team tourney. It is a very strong Uruk Archery mixed with a really crappy Gondor-Elf archery attempt at choke. I’ve never had much faith in this deck (why am I playing with one copy of Faramir’s bow when I’m only playing ONE Faramir (that I’m not starting)?)
Round One (Bernatchez gets the Bye haha)
Me (1885) vs. Fred Côté’s (1644) Uruk Archery/Dauntless Choke)
The only thing I’ve ever seen Fred play correctly is Uruk Archery so I’m quite certain he’ll be running that against me. Luckily I have stupidly chosen to play with the blue ring foil (cough, cough) along with only 6 companions with 1 Athelas and no other healing options. Uh oh. I decide to bid zero, he bids two and makes me go first. I better single move EVERY TIME I guess. When the pairing was named off I knew I’d be facing Uruk Archery and I knew my Blue Ring would kill me so I figured I’d better kill his fellowship bad. He then flips over his fellowship and he has a dauntless choke on the table with discardable hobbits. This is easily my deck’s WORST POSSIBLE MATCH-UP. And Fred is a much better player than he used to be. Crap. Well the game is fairly uneventful until site 7. I was stupidly hanging on to my Weapons of Isengard and Savageries instead of discarding these unplayable cards (note that I am playing ZERO ambitions). At site 6 I played Thrarin (bringing my culture count to 4 within Grima CC range (something my pal, Steve, missed Thursday night at our playtesting session), I then move to 7 and he gets out an impressive amount of archers. I have a bunch of exhausted companions and I decide that I don’t need Thrarin just yet. DUMB. I forget I have the worst ring in the world (foil, cough...cough...) and I lose all three of my elves (greenleaf, arwen and haldir). I stop. He then moves to 8 with a very healthy fellowship of five and stops at 8 (I’m surprised). I then move to 8 with an exhausted Aragorn, Thrarin and Frodo and he plays a Ranged Commander and an Orthanc Assassin. He sends 2 archery over killing Aragorn and Thrarin and Frodo faces up to an easy overwhelm.
FL +1 / 1
Good: Fred’s first win against me. Great way for him to start his tournament.
Bad: I should have used Thrarin at site 7 to keep one more companion alive but that isn’t as bad as...
UGLY: I AM PLAYING with the WRONG ring. I had decided long ago that IB was WAY better than ATAR but have neglected to make the switch in this deck for some reason I can’t remember.
Me (1885) vs. John Bernatchez (1614) Dauntless choke (kill me now) / Uruk Anti-Ally Bomb (a vegas favourite)
I love getting squared off against John. You know, for a guy that seems to get on everyone’s nerves, I, for one, would really miss him if he wasn’t there. John has mastered the Isengard Death March music (DA DA DAAAAAAAA) and he SMILES all game long. PLUS he NEVER cheats. What’s wrong with that? Nothing in my books and I’m glad to get this match up even though Dauntless Hunter hitting the table is worse than using a condom as a move token. Fortunately for me, the only ally I play is Thrarin and I know better than to throw him away when Tower Assassins and Uruks are working in tandem. I would like to call this game the Grima tease. John outbid me and made me go first. I quickly got 3 cards on my aragorn and arwen and then he plays Saruman’s Power getting rid of my Splendor and Last Alliance. Next turn Grima Worm comes out. Too little too late haha. I wasn’t doing too much damage against his fellowship but John refused to take the lead and stayed behind my fellowship the whole way. If he had doubled, I think he could have won perhaps cuz his fellowship is nasty against mine. However, for the first few sites, all I played was Weapons of Isengard and set up some new site 4 and 5 madness. John throws a Chief Counsellor in the discard pile the turn before I decide to play my Thrarin at site 7. Too close for comfort. I then double move to 9 losing Thrarin carefully in the first skirmish at site 9 but killing his Stalker with Aragorn first and foremost. It was a RAZOR thin victory. If he had a better pull at site 9 he would have won. All he played at site 8 was Saruman KOI with a Ravager (I think). I really needed to exhaust Saruman so I directed archery as much as possible to try to get him to prevent wounds which he did. My Gondor Bowmen then did very well at the next site but more importantly, I was able to kill the Uruks in the first skimish without him keeping them alive. Very close. Very well played on both sides.
FW +3 /4
Good: Beating a Dauntless Choke and getting to play Bernatchez in pretty much every tourney we attend.
Bad: John is not allowed to sing anymore in the store. I miss those sweet sultry tunes...
Ugly: Teasing Grima like that. I was just being mean.
Me (1885) vs. Peter Wilson (1616)’s Uruk Archery (oh NO!)/Rohan/Gondor (Oh YES!)
At this point I started bidding one because bidding zero was getting me nowhere. I really didn’t want to go first anymore. But Peter outbid me and went first (I think). Peter’s a pretty fun guy, he ended up getting into an argument later on against a game with Bernatchez. I don’t know what the issue was but Peter certainly seems to be getting into a lot of arguments lately. Anyway not in our game thankfully. I was fairly confident against a Rohan/Gondor mix that all that exerting was going to get him nowhere real fast. So I stayed behind his fellowhip, letting him exert a lot and by the time he reached site 9, It was Frodo with 3 exhausted companions and Frodo waltzing into the Palantir Chamber with 7 burdens. I remove 2 burdens to get Enquea leaving me with.... 5 burdens and 4 exhausted companions (including the ring-bearer). Three exertions later leaves Frodo all by his lonesome. I didn’t want to risk a PATHS in his hand so I sent over 4 archery to corrupt him just to be safe. Peter then shows me the PATHS he was saving and I’m thankful that I didn’t get cocky, kid.
FW +3 / 7
Good: 7 burdens in Palantir Chamber is like Movie Magic.
Bad: Frodo with ATAR against Uruk Archery is one scared hobbit under the control of one scared Patrick.
Ugly: All those red tokens on the table at site 9 was pretty fancy stuff.
Me (1885) vs. Jonathan Verall (1633) Moria/Horn
Can’t one tournament go by without me facing this super stud? First of all, it’s his turn to win and secondly it’s his turn to win. Also he has made two custom cards which I don’t think I could explain to do justice. One is a unique possession called Patrick’s Cloak. If you go to Quantum Card’s website, www.quantumcards.net you’ll see in the archives a picture of me, Patrick and David Malboeuf and we’re sporting our new Team Quantum polos that we wear proudly to all local tournaments (sponsors rock the house). I am holding up my shirt like a cape or cloak if you will. It reads, ‘bearer must be Patrick Sullivan. Skirmish: Exert Bearer Twice (or once if you can spot David or Patrick Malboeuf) to something, something, something. Can’t remember. What I really wish I could remember is the italized text underneath (you know, the lore) which said something to the effect of what nice guys Team Quantum consists of. I loved it. The other card was a picture (from same website) of all of us (9 players or so) that was a shadow minion called Troop of Geeks. And the keyword in bold (like Fierce) was ‘Lame’. Too funny. Anyway on to the game. Verall and I can’t go one tourney without squaring off and they are usually fairly intense games that thankfully never go to time. I don’t think I’ve played against Moria once with my deck but I know I have lots of archery, 2 PATHS, Sting and 2 Stealths so I should be fine. I wasn’t sure how successful his deck would do against my Uruk Archers so I decided to try my shadow on him first before resorting to plan B. He was up to 5 or 6 burdens at site 6 and I threw down Enquea able to take out Boromir (although I was VERY tempted by a pumped up Eomer). With the archery and more bad news at site 7, all that was left was Frodo and Aragorn. I then moved to 7 and his Dark places puts out the Cavern Entrance but he hasn’t really drawn into his Scimitars so I face little opposition but a Cave Troll is enough to stop me. I stop. He then moves to 8 and I get out some noise. He then has to decide to move again to 9 or stop. Looking at my fellowship of 5 with 4 Gondor Bowmen on the table, he wisely decides to press on ahead. I didn’t even need to use the Palantir Chamber to get a Ranged Commander. Frodo didn’t make it to the skirmish phase and was corrupted by all the arrows.
FW +3 /10
Good: always my favourite opponent. Jonathan has earned the right to join Team Quantum as a full fledged member. He will be a great ambassador to the store and will represent the game with courage and never-ending bravery (no guts no glory)
Bad: He’ll be forced to leave Team Alexis-Nihon to swim in bigger ponds.
Ugly: Team Alexis Nihon’s marketing budget.
So I end up going 3-1 as does Fred Cote and Alexandre David (my cousin!!). Fortunately for Fred, his only loss was in the last round giving him a slightly superior strength of schedule and a much-deserved victory. So Fred wins first place with me in second and my cousin in third. Patrick Malboeuf shows up around this time and is clearly confused by the concept of Daylight Savings Time. If I were a betting man, I would have bet heavily that this exact type of thing would happen to him today.
Next week there is a Sealed Deck BOHD tourney at Quantum Cards that I MUST win if I am to win the Sprint to get that bye into day two continentals. I MUST HAVE THE BYE because I might (just might) win the Premiere Series (and thus afford to go to Amsterdam with Pat!). If I don’t get that Eowyn starter this time, there’s going to be trouble. I don’t think Verall will be forgetting his Fierce phases this time.
• Fred Cote for his first win in a tournament ever. Well deserved. It was a great deck (with the correct ring)
• Jonathan Verall for earning the right to join Team Quantum and for being a great guy in general
• Bernatchez for always smiling even though he’s been muzzled from singing.
• Mark for being the cutest little kid ever
• Matthew for truly enjoying the game and playing a fun match against Pat Malboeuf for fun. Also props to his lady-friend for getting me a Tim Horton’s Large coffee in the match (you’d start to think that perhaps Tim Horton’s is my sponsor, no?)
• Paul Glickman even though we didn’t exchange a word, I can safely say that he deserves props for just being himself
• My cousin Alex for getting back into the game and hopefully sticking with it. Also for inviting me to his nice house first thing in the morning for coffee and cards
• Jill for being such a nice lady (I love that word) and for getting me those three or four rares I really need. Also for being an active sponsor for Team Quantum
• Kathy for showing up and not leaving Jill will too much work (which makes her cranky, especially when I fill out my own Tournament Record sheet
• The Quantum Cards’ dog for living so long
• Ari and her brother for not showing up
• Guillaume for leaving the game
• Steve Judge for not coming cuz of work
• Nick Tregmallia for not coming because of lack of wheels
• Patrick Malboeuf for constantly making mistakes like forgetting Daylight Savings Time
• That guy from Czech who decides to show up to Vegas to play for 2,000$ US but neglects to show up to my local tournament for a booster pack! What’s up with that?
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