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CardShark Content - Patrick Sullivan (4/12/2003)

Joliette, Quebec, Canada
Saturday, April 12, 2003
5 rounds ¡V 10 players ¡V 1 survivor

The very first Standard Format tourney is taking place is Joliette, Quebec and only 10 players show up! Apparently, the interest in the game must be tailing off so tournaments in this town will become quite sparse as they move into Race to Mount Doom to try and shoot some life into the game. There¡¦s no way I¡¦m driving an hour to get to a Race to Mount Doom league play when I won¡¦t even drive 5 minutes to Quantum Cards to participate. I just hope Alain (store owner) decides to still have sanctioned tourneys time-to-time. I¡¦m certain he won¡¦t disappoint.

So I wake up at 7h30 and drive on out to Joliette for 9. Stopping at Tim Horton¡¦s to pick up coffee and toast and read the local paper as well as transferring out an English promo Faramir and switching it with an unknown language Faramir which I just won in a GamePlayersNetwork contest! For a website with relatively low readership amongst LOTR players, it¡¦s truly amazing how many contests Tim McKnight organizes. That guy totally rocks. I¡¦ll have to buy him yet another beer when I see him at Origins¡K

Anyways I hit the store at 9 (half an hour early) and wait outside in BEAUTIFUL weather for once. Alexandre Leblanc also arrives early and tells me the TD can¡¦t make it (Carle Berard) cuz he just got in after a long night of partying or something. No problem. Too bad, though, cuz he¡¦s one of my favourite opponents.

So the ten players consist of:
Me (1885)
Alan Marchand (1639)
Alexandre Leblanc (1768)
Yannick Salvas (1518)
Philippe Bolduc-Perreault (1603)
Benoit Mirandette (1565)
Serge Loiseau (1617)
Eloi Robichaud (1562)
Eric Paquette (1608)
Vincent (1603)

So, as usual, I appear to be the heavy favourite with little to gain and everything to lose. But these players are all great sportsmen and I love playing up here in this small town. Great way to spend a Saturday morning.

Today I¡¦m playing my converted Open deck. It is Uruk Archery with a Gondor/Elf archery fellowship. The fellowship is fairly fragile because now it has lose 6 cards that were all essential to choke. My shadow has only lost the 4 Savageries which were easily replaced with Ambitions. I¡¦m under the impression that this deck will easily win today because no one will be able to choke out my archers which is their only weakness. Let¡¦s see what happens¡K

So off we go,

Round One
Me (1885) vs. Philippe Bolduc Perreault (1603) ¡V Dunland with crazy pumps / Gondor/Elf with crazy pumps
Philippe is easily the top competitor. He wants to win SO bad it¡¦s amazing. He is constantly trying to avenge his older brother who constantly loses to me badly. I¡¦ve beaten his brother 3 or 4 times in a row and this is my second game to Philippe (our first game ended with a large victory for myself). He¡¦s a real good sport and knows his cards inside out. He¡¦s never lost a game of YuGuyOh! And has moved to LOTR as he finds it to be a more challenging game. Anyway I bid 0 and he bids 1. He makes me go first. Uh oh. I hate that because my fellowship is too fragile. I draw up 6 shadow cards with a Double Shot and an Elven Bow. It doesn¡¦t seem to bad, especially considering I got to start my riddermark so I keep my hand instead of the obvious mulligan I should probably do. I play the Bow on Arwen and get Aragorn King in Exile (foil, cough¡K) by exerting Greenleaf and Arwen. Off we go to Site 2 giving a total of 9 pool. He plays the Village which is another 3 pool. That¡¦s twelve against Dunland and all my archery is good for nothing. He gets out a Hillman Horde which I block with Aragorn. He plays a small pump which is enough to kill Aragorn. Damn. This ain¡¦t good. I stop. He moves and I play two Weapons of Isengard. Good start for me. He stops. I move to three where he plays the Arsonist. He plays a +4 Sanctuary pump and kills Arwen with the Bow. DAMN. I stop. Greenleaf will heal up and then I¡¦ll show those Wild Men who their Daddy is. He moves to three giving me nothing. He stops. I move to four and he plays Saruman alone. I stop. He moves to four and I get out more Weapons of Isengard preparing for my site 5 surprise. He stops. DAMN. I play Haldir and 4 Gondor Bowmen (big deal, where¡¦s Faramir?!) and move to Site 5. He gets Saruman with Deeping Wall and plays a Hides to draw a card. Out comes an Arsonist. THAT¡¦s IT! Sweet. Only two pool left. I exert Greenleaf and he removes two. I then exert him again and he ditches Hides. I then play Double Shot and he takes the wound on Saruman. I block the Arsonist with Haldir, I pass and he plays one +2 pump and then exerts Saruman. Bye-bye Haldir. He then responds to his win and plays a free minion that usually costs 2. I think it is a robber (power 7, spot a man to control a site if you win). This dude is damage +1 so I can¡¦t really block with Frodo (too risky) so I block with Greenleaf who is riding Asfaloth. He then exhausts Saruman by exerting to kill Greenleaf. Frodo is all alone. PLUS, he then takes my Riddermark into his control area. This is really not looking good. I stop. He moves to five and I play a ton of stuff. He only has 4 companions and I send seven archery. He exhausts everyone and then wins all the skirmishes (even against Lurtz twice) with 101 different elf pumps that I haven¡¦t seen for a long time (+4 against an archer!! WTF?) So I don¡¦t kill anyone and Frodo will have to move to site 6 by his lonesome. I am holding a Severed his Bonds and a PATHS (he has ZERO Hides) so I¡¦m thinking I can survive this. I give him a total of FOUR pool and he plays Wulf. Oh man, Two Vitality makes my Paths useless and Wulf being naturally Fierce makes my portable Bounder equally useless. I lose and it¡¦s my first loss ever in Joliette (there was a Timed Loss once but that¡¦s another story)
FL +1 / 1
Good: Losing to the guy that has wanted to beat me for months now. The entire room exploded in jeers and applause right after Philippe yells out his victory. My flawless record has been tarnished forever and I couldn¡¦t be anymore relieved. Whew¡K
Bad: Dunland ate my guys for breakfast. Those pumps never stopped coming.
Ugly: He was playing 4 of those +4 vs Archer pumps and that ain¡¦t good against my shadow (especially now that Savageries are gone)

Round Two
Me (1885) vs. Alan Marchand (1639) Nazgul/RBR
I decide that one of my mistakes in the past game was going first (or being forced to go first). So I bid two here and win the bid and choose to go second. He throws down Faramir and a Ranger of Ithien. I know right away this fellowship will be giving me a hard time because I eat Unbounds for breakfast. I am sending over archery but I can never win the skirmishes. He has his swords out early. Alan throws down a twilight Nelya at site 2 and makes me pay for bidding two. 3 Blade Tips hit the table right away and before I know it Aragorn, Arwen and Greenleaf all have Blade Tips on them by site 3. Greenleaf dies. Thankfully my Aragorn is healing Arwen each turn so that¡¦s keeping her alive. Unfortunately, it isn¡¦t doing much for him and he is getting closer and closer to death. I end up stopping at site 2 although he tells me after that he had nothing in his hand. I also stop at site 4 after he plays a fourth blade tip with no minions. He tells me after the game, again he had no minions. At Site 5 I stop because I really want to draw into my Company of Archers so that I can get rid of that pestering Blade Tip on Arwen. Again, Alan had NO MINIONS in his hand. So to summarize, I have blown three different opportunities for a free move. I move into six after drawing my Company of Archers and attempt to play it during the Archery phase. I then notice that Arwen is the only elf on the table and I need to spot two. DAMN!. I double to 7 and Arwen dies. Because of all my single moving, I have kept tremendous pressure off his fellowship which has been ahead of me single moving. When I stopped at site 7, Alan was there too. I have already been through my two Enqueas (Alan kept his fellowship to five). At site 7 he plays three new companions and I¡¦m all out of Enqueas. He doubles to 9 after receiving 7 archery and then killing my minions in the skirmish phase. I reconcile and draw into an Orthanc Champion just to rub it in (no unbounds ever). Seeing how he is my only minion against 8 companions, I extend my hand in congratulations. The room bursts into disbelieving laughter.
FL + 1 /2
Good: Alan is also one of my heavy local favourites and seeing the look on his face when he realized he won was a moment I won¡¦t soon forget. Try to remember that these guys in Joliette really see me as an unbeatable LOTR player (or at least they used to)
Bad: Why couldn¡¦t I ever get the courage to double move. By site 7 Faramir was all set up to eat Nazguls all the way to site nine. That¡¦s the reason I lost.
Ugly: Alan made my Archers roaming until site 13 or something. Lurtz didn¡¦t stand a chance. And those 6-power crossbowmen certainly didn¡¦t either.

Round Three
Me (1885) vs Vincent Otis (1603) Isengard Orcs/Gondor mixed with Smeagol
Vincent used to be their heavy favourite but he doesn¡¦t play as much anymore. I¡¦m happy to see he¡¦s playing the Isengard Orcs because I beat my friend Steve Judge¡¦s deck of those with this deck last Thursday night. I bid two and won so I made him go first. I get an excellent start for my shadow and start wailing on his fellowship like no tomorrow. So much that Frodo finds himself alone at site 5 with nine burdens. Somehow (I wish I could remember how), he manages to survive until site 8!! I kept single moving, waiting to get the easy kill but his Frodo kept surviving out of crap luck (I would draw into an Orthanc Champion with a bunch of Archery events and conditions, for example). What was sad for him is that he had 3 or 4 really good Faramir support cards in hand and was waiting to draw into Faramir. Had he done that, he might have beaten me at site nine. But he didn¡¦t and Frodo dies to a Solo Ranged Commander at site 8.
FW +3 / 5
Good: I broke my losing streak
Bad: My Uruks couldn¡¦t finish their meal at site 5 like they¡¦re supposed to.
Ugly: It must have really sucked for him to limp around for 3 sites waiting for Faramir to show up.

Lunch break. I run off to Harvey¡¦s with 5 of the guys and go for the Bacon Double Cheeseburger with Onion Rings. As usual, I can¡¦t finish the rings and Eloi steps forward to help me out. That¡¦s what friends are for (cue music).
I then run off quickly to Tim Horton¡¦s for a coffee but end up waiting 25 minutes because this place has the slowest service ever. I HATE THAT.

Round Four
Me (1885) vs Serge Loiseau (1617) Nazgul / Dauntless Choke
Serge is become my good buddy in Joliette as he and I along with his friend, Eloi, always do lunch together (like just a second ago¡K). Serge is undefeated with his deck and I¡¦m surprised to be paired up against him. But Alain always does the pairings to avoid people getting paired up twice in a tournament (which is actually permitted to happen for the bottom ranks). So stuff like this always happens in Joliette but it doesn¡¦t bother me in the slightest. We both bid 2 and I win the die roll and make him go first. Serge is playing a deck that he developed from an idea I told him about two weeks ago. Making a Dauntless Choke with fighting Aragorn, lots of Archery and most importantly, Elrond with his ring. I can¡¦t believe how frustrating it is to play against. I start off by playing my Weapons of Isengard for 8 at site 2 (I play two copies right away). I decide this is best because I didn¡¦t do this last week and lost to Dauntless Choke many times. I am completely concentrated on getting wounds on his fellowship as much as possible in the archery phase (forget skirmishes, I won¡¦t make it). I actually manage to be doing a lot of wounds to his fellowship (especially at site 5). The problem is at site 4, he got Elrond out with the ring. I had ambitions on the table and he sent them back to my hand. I didn¡¦t see the point in continuing to play this conditions so I concentrate on getting lots of minions out. It was having a very strong effect and I had him pretty much completely exhausted by site 7. The problem is my fellowship seems to really have a weakness to Nazgul. Twilight Nelya killed Aragorn very early in the game and blade tips were everywhere once again. By the time I drew into both my company of archers, Greenleaf and Arwen had died as well. Frodo and Haldir (with a blade tip, naturally) were alone moving behind his single-moving fellowship into site 7. Haldir only had one wound so I figure I can survive this site easily with Haldir taking the first skirmish, surviving and then taking it for the team in the second skirmish. So at site 7, Serge plays Cantea (no problem) and then plays Ferny. CRAP. I block Cantea with Haldir and he throws Ferny on to overwhelm. Frodo is alone to fight Cantea and his only defence is Bill the Pony. Cantea kills them both.
FL +1 / 6
Good: Losing to Serge is fine by me. He has never won a tournament and this victory should help his rating quite a bit. The room once again erupts in cheers and jeers once Serge announces he has killed me. It¡¦s a really fun and different tournament. I should lose more often.
Bad: My fellowship. REALLY BAD.
Ugly: I have to never bid two again. That twilight Nelya is killing me¡K

Round Five
Me (1885) vs Eloi Robichaud (1562) Wargs/Gandalf with lots of site 3 allies
I bid one (no more Nelya) and make him go first. He starts Friend of the Shirefolk and plays his Staff and moves. I am immediately confident since he¡¦ll never survive against my barrage of archery. Plus you should start this copy of Gandalf since he only gets powerful once your fellowship is all out. He¡¦s playing with the worst allies I¡¦ve ever seen, the Gandalf ally that denies pool when you play possessions, Silinde and best of all the one that reduces the strength of ORCS. He moves to seven and I play lots of Weapons of Isengard and an Uruk Crossbowman which he dispatches with Gandalf. He then says I can reconcile my hand so I do and draw into a Ranged Commander, an Elite Crossbowman and Lurtz. He then amazes me and double moves into the Deep of Helm. Frodo had front row seats to the biggest blood bath of the day.
FW +3 /9
Good: End on a high note
Bad: I actually wanted him to win but his fellowship really stank
Ugly: His starting fellowship was the second ugliest one I¡¦ve ever seen (Pat Malboeuf wins in this category)

I wonder if my rating will go up a lot because of today?

„« All the Joliette crew for being such good sports by really sticking my face right in it after I lost game after game. I thought it was really funny. Alain came and apologized for making fun of me so much but it was really fine. I prefer losing at these types of events because it really bolsters the confidence in the local players and it wakes me up BIG TIME into realizing how much my deck is garbage.
„« Serge for winning the tournament with my deck idea. I can¡¦t believe he actually listened to me. I really didn¡¦t know what I was talking about
„« Philippe for beating me. That was awesome
„« ALAN for beating me. That was certainly the surprise of the day.

„« Tim Horton¡¦s for not policing their franchises better. MacDonald¡¦s wouldn¡¦t get away with crappy service like that. No, sir.
„« My digestive system for not handling my lunch very well (yuck)
„« My crappy deck. Especially the fellowship.

Next tournament in Joliette won¡¦t be for a LONG time. I¡¦ll miss seeing those guys. I¡¦ll try to come up with a better deck, ya? Tomorrow is Sealed Deck at Quantum Cards which I desperately need to win to get the bye into Day Two Origins. Hope it goes better for me tomorrow¡K

Thanks for reading!

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