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CardShark Content - Patrick Sullivan (4/21/2003)

Team Quantum invades the Toronto TOC !!!
Hey everyone! Nothing really big has happened since Vegas. Sure a Standard Format was cool, and the Sprint Race for the Continental Bye was amazing (I lost by the way because of one stupid card), but nothing has got our engines revving (literally) until this first TOC in our region (ish..).
We’ve decided to make the 6 hour drive (which I vow to complete in under 5 hours) to Toronto from Montreal this Saturday morning in order to arrive in plenty of time for the Toronto TOC held at Nexus X.
Who are we you might ask? Well together in full force for the first time ever is Team Quantum, consisting of:
1. Myself, Patrick Sullivan (1883, ick…)
2. Patrick Malboeuf (2094)
3. David “BadBeef Junior” Malboeuf (1866, no where to go but up)
4. Our newest member, Jonathan “Starfury” Verall (1633, haha! This is the guy that won the Quebec Sealed Deck Sprint. My congratulations to this man. He deserves it SO much. However, I still remain the King of Sealed Deck as well as… The FALCONER)
And while not a member of Team Quantum, we’re lucky to have him with us. Presenting our official fifth wheel and honorable Roadie of Team Quantum:
 Steven Judge (1613), my good friend and loyal playtester.
Before I begin, I have to give many thanks to Ariadne MacGee as well as Steve Judge for helping me playtest my Open Deck for today’s TOC. I have decided to bring a deck very similar to Ryan Jones’ Vegas winning deck. My heart has always been with the Dunlending dudes and I’m glad Ryan has shown me the way. Also the X-List has served to show me that Choke decks really are overpowered and making a dedicated choke deck with common Faramir (I’ve decided not to bring my foreign language version because I’m too chicken about the judges being dummies and giving me deck list warnings because of it). So my deck is Choke-Dunland and I am really hoping to place Second in today’s TOC.

Needless to say, Team Quantum’s objective is to put two of the team into the finals. That would be the best as it would send our Toronto friends hope early enough to watch Gilmore Girls (is that on Saturday night? I’ve no idea).
We’re hoping to just get in and out as fast as possible (hence, why we’re not driving up the night before and staying at some hotel) because Toronto seems to be hosting quite a numerous amount of SARS cases (you know, that respiratory affliction). I’ve already got shoddy lungs so I wouldn’t really last very long if I caught the bug. But hey, it’s certainly worth risking one’s life to earn a bye into Day Two of the Continentals and Worlds, right? Exactly…
So the plan is to get up at 5AM pick up Jonathan at 5:15, pick up the BadBeef brothers at 5:30 (that’ll be a real challenge) and then pick up Steve in Hudson at 6:15. This should get us on our way to Toronto and hopefully arrive a little bit before noon. The tournament is scheduled to start at 1pm and will most likely run until 8 or 9pm where the five of us hop back into my Civic Coupe and drive 5-6 hours back to Montreal. OUCH.

Okay everything you’ve read up until now I had written before the tournament. Now I’m going to finish up the rest...
So here’s what happened:

Saturday, April 19th, 2003
My cat, Hershey, swipes my face with her claw to wake me up because the alarm has been going off for 7 minutes now but I’ve slept right through it. I had crazy trouble falling asleep last night because I was so excited for the TOC in Toronto (I could bet heavily that I’m going to have a great time). So I’m supposed to pick up Jonathan at 5:15 so I skip the shower (in true gamer-style), throw on my Team Quantum shirt, grab a couple of Foul Creations for Patrick and jump into Molly (my Honda Civic Coupe) and take off for Verrall’s. I had no idea how far it was finally and I don’t get there until 5:20. All the lights are off and there is no sign of my team mate. I knock quietly at both of his doors to not wake up his family but to no avail. I finally resort to ringing the doorbell twice since it is now 5:30 and no answer. I’m all pissed-off that he’s not answering so I jump into the car and start to leave. I then spot him in my rearview mirror with some serious bed-head and he says, ‘didn’t you get my e-mail?’ Of course not, I wasn’t at work on Good Friday! So he has to move stuff out of his late grandmother’s house so I say that’s cool, he says no it’s not and I take off to pick up my remaining three team mates.

5:45 I arrive at Patrick and David’s apartment building and it’s one of the funniest sites you’ve ever seen. Both of them are in the alcove lobby just staring out of the window like zombies waiting for me. They told me later that there were there for almost 20 minutes and didn’t exchange ONE WORD. They are on 90 minutes of sleep and have a 22-hour day ahead of them. This is going to be hilarious. They get into the car with their pillows and fall immediately asleep. I drive out to Steve’s in Hudson.

6:30 arrival at Steve’s.

Steve is in front and hops into the car and we’re off. I get out deck lists for the BadBeef brothers who have yet to fill in their deck lists and that takes up a couple hours worth of the trip. The trip goes along fairly uneventful. I am frequently pulling over for Tim Horton’s coffee and pee-breaks. One thing worth mentioning is that Patrick and David convinced Steven to remove his only Orc-Bane from his deck. Keep that in mind as you read the type of decks I played later on... (I kept my Orc-Bane just in case).
We hit ZERO traffic on the outskirts of Toronto for the first time ever and I take the Bathurst St. exit to drive straight down into the store entrance. I am supposed to take the Avenue exit because it’s faster to drive south on but I figure what the hell, make it simple. As soon as I hit Bathurst street, I remove the Cruise Control from my car (since I’m city driving now). The cruise Control has been the best option ever for me since I am notorious at getting speeding tickets. Hell, I’ll even use it to back out of my driveway just to be safe. So I know full well that Bathurst has a speed trap 24 hours a day in the same place but I forget. I see this guy in a navy blue uniform and hat wave to me and I blast past him and I figure it was a crossing guard telling me I just ran over 7 of 10 crossing children. If that were the case, I’d swing around the car, hit the accelerator and try to pick up the spare. But unfortunately I realize with the guy waving his hands in the air in my rear-view mirror that it is a cop. DAMN. I pull over and reverse right up to him. I roll down the window and he starts yelling at me for not pulling over when a police officer tells me to do so. I tell him nervously that I didn’t recognize the uniform and that in my province they wear brighter clothes. He sees I’m nervous and tells me to not worry about it but get out the license. I tell him it’s in the trunk and ask if I can get out of my car. He says sure. It’s here that I realize that he has a strong British accent and that my irish name is going to most likely get me the bum treatment. As I get out my license we start up a conversation as to why I’m in Toronto. I tell him about the tournament and before you know it, he’s wishing me good luck and reducing the fine from 175$ and 3 Demerit Points to a 40$ slap-on-the-wrist and zero demerit points. I count my lucky stars and finish off the last 2 minutes worth of driving to get to the store.

11:55 arrival at Nexus X, Toronto, Ontario

Well I’m immediately warmly welcomed by Malcolm Daligesh, Bill (the TD) and Lance (store-owner). I’m crazy happy to see Malcolm once again (him and his younger brother, Julien are the two cutest little hobbits you’ve ever seen) but am very disappointed to hear that Malcolm has imposed sanctions on his brother to keep him from playing. I find this very weak and have authorized Josh to remove these said sanctions by any means necessary. A Toronto tournament without both Daligesh brothers is not tournament I wish to attend.

I am very happy to see Bill once again. I haven’t seen him since last year’s TOC at Toronto and he’s looking as young as ever. I identify greatly with Bill because we are both great admirers of Tim Horton’s coffee and enjoy the game for the fun of it only. We exchange many jokes and are genuinely happy to see each other (something I don’t see often from players that bump into each other at big events).

Who else is there? I am happily surprised to see two other fellow Montrealers that I was not expecting to see at all:
Pierre-Francois and Steven MacNamara. Two guys from a local store, BD Cosmos. Pierre-Francois is playing Easterling corruption (you rock!) and Steven is playing his Dunland deck that inspired me to play Dunland from the beginning.

Who else is there? Josh Hornburg-Putt. Arch-rival of fellow team mate, Pat Malboeuf. Josh and I have always got along for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we never get paired up and secondly, we understand each other. Josh in real life is very much a nice guy. But in game life, he takes the game VERY seriously. I would tend to believe too seriously. I think players that show consistent results and are excellent players are permitted to take the game as seriously as Josh (for instance, if someone with a track record of Pat Malboeuf, Mathieu Brochu or Mike Dalton was a complete jerk in every game, I could totally understand them because they are just taking a game they’re good at very seriously). However, Josh really isn’t all that great at the game (in my opinion). He’s excellent by Ontario standards but in the great scheme of things, placing 8th in the worlds is as much as fluke as my placing 11th in the worlds. Although this may seem like I’m being harsh towards Josh, I’m actually trying to be more of a friend. I think he's actually a nice guy and more importantly funny (you should see this guy wail on the Daligesh brothers) and I think his personality should come out more when he plays his games. That would be much better than the current ‘game-mode’ he seems to go into which is a win-at-all-costs type of attitude. I think that attitude only fits people that actually win all the time. On anyone else it is just a waste. Once again, I’m not trashing Josh here, I’m just making a friendly suggestion on how he should be playing the game to have more fun for him and for his opponents.

Anyway I’m really happy to see Josh because it means there will most likely be one or two really funny stories coming from this tournament afterwards. And there were. One of which was the story of Josh and the Daligesh brothers daring each other into hypothermia at the Vegas frozen pool. The other was the match-up between Pat Malboeuf and Josh. I will be joking about that game for months and months to come. Imagine if you will, the Jeopardy finals and right in the middle of Final Jeopardy one of the contestants pauses his stop-watch and says, ‘Pardon me while I go to the bathroom.’ That stuff doesn’t happen for many, many reasons.

So that’s enough pre-tourney jank. Let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this event:

6 rounds – 24 players – 2 Survivors

Round One

My Dunland-Choke (Mr. Jones) vs. Anthony’s Massive Archery / Moria
I can’t say much about this opponent. There wasn’t much personality involved. Perhaps he was just putting on his game face but I really could get a smile out of him no matter how hard I tried. I think it was my own fault when I asked him to shuffle his deck in front of me (because he just put the deck down without shuffling). He must have figured I was a jerk or something. I thought that all these guys that are used to playing Josh will think that I am the Mother Teresa of LOTR. Instead they just assume everyone is like that and are very careful about making mistakes. I guess it’s kind of flattering when I think of what the player base of Quantum Cards (my home base) is like. Friendly, joking and better and better players all due to the influence we’ve had on each other. There isn’t one bad apple at Quantum Cards. And for those that think that there are, they haven’t sunk their teeth into a REAL bad apple yet like all of us circuit players have at some point.
Anyway back to the game. I bid zero to his one and he makes me go first. I have a really stupid fellowship strategy when it comes to Moria. I’ve decided that even the dumbest opponent can swarm a good player so if I allow that Moria player to set up, I’m finished. Therefore, since I am playing with ZERO condition removal, I’ve decided to RUN like mad against a Moria player that I believe to be sub-par. Against someone that I know is an excellent Moria player (bad beef brothers, etc) I shall single to nine no matter what. So I assume that Anthony isn’t a good Moria player and I double every single chance I get. He gets out two trolls on me before site 7 but I manage not to lose any of my 5 companions (I’m only playing with five). At site 7 (Cavern Entrance) I play an Orc Bane and machine gun down most of his Orcs. He points out that I missed one and I apologize and then pull out a Defend it and Hope to show no mercy. I laugh, he doesn’t. All that is left is a Cave Troll and Aragorn can take him once. I then make a move that surprises my opponent. I decide to sacrifice a perfectly healthy Boromir instead of my exhausted Merry. I did this simply because I wasn’t my Talent for Not Being Seen to remain in effect. He seemed surprised by this and I just chalked it up to his inexperience. Afterwards I thought back on this and realized he was quite right and I made a really really stupid move. My Dunland couldn’t do jack against his fellowship. Too much archery. I still managed to control two sites but couldn’t pull any of my 3 Hillman Hordes. Good thing I was ahead or his fellowship would win easily. Instead I move to site Nine with 2 burdens and a PATHS in my hand. That’s all I needed.
FW +3 /3
Good: I’M glad to know my fellowship can run against Moria while choking. Not too shabby
Bad: My Dunland is ALREADY beginning to disappoint.
Ugly: Orc-Bane with a DIAH at Cavern Entrance. Poor Anthony...

So Team Quantum is doing well so far. Patrick and David both got paired against girls and had a bet on who will kill their opponent first. David won. I thought they were a little silly going into the first round that cocky. You never know when a Lisa Gansky is going to come along and knock your socks off. Steve got paired up against Josh and lost. Steve hadn’t played against Josh ever before nor had they ever met. Judging by Steve’s comments about the game, he got a good taste as to what playing Josh is like.

Round Two
Mr Jones vs Alex’s Dunland/Rohan-Gondor
I’d have to say that I was initially quite impressed with Alex both as a player and a person. He was a perfect gentlemen through and through. It wasn’t until after the tournament that I learned that in the semi-final game versus David Malboeuf, Dave allowed him a take back and then Alex did not reciprocate later costing Dave the game. That’s pretty weak in my opinion. You can say what you like about it being his right and all but I’m not arguing the rules here, I’m arguing about being a man and the whole do-unto-others stuff. Anyway in my game, he was one cool customer and I look forward to playing him again. He was also nice enough to mention that he really enjoys my TRs. I hope that’s still true...
So in this game, take-backs were a non-issue because we both played PERFECTLY. I really mean it too. There was a lot of tough tough strategic calls at different moments and we both rose to the occasion each time. His fellowship was so untouchable it was intimidating. Unfortunately Alex chose not to double from 5-7 which would have most certainly won him the game. I chalk that up to his inexperience because this was his first big event. He won’t make the same mistake again. I am continually amazed at how many players AUTOstop at site 6 regardless of the situation on the table. Do players know that you are, in fact, allowed to skip the sanctuary? Anyway I CHOKED his Dunland SO BAD, I felt like I was almost creating an NPE. But we were both happy with the outcome when I moved to site nine and survived. Congrats to Alex for keeping his fellowship intact. The game should have been his.
FW +3 /6
Good: My fellowship’s choking ability is really quite something. I think I gave ONE twilight for site 7 along with 3 or 4 for my fellowship. That HURTS.
Bad: Alex not double moving was unfortunate for him but lucky for me.
Ugly: Once again, my Dunland fails to impress.

Steve wins his game! Hurray! Patrick wins his game! I won my game and David... I can’t remember, I think he won as well.

Round Three
Mr. Jones vs JOSH’s BadBeef/Vida
I wasn’t expecting to play Josh this soon. I knew his deck and bidding strategy pretty well but couldn’t decide if I should go first or second. I knew he was an excellent Nazgul player but didn’t know if he was any good at Moria. I knew he played Saruman Black Traitor which in my opinion is that mark of a poor Moria player. So I decide that I don’t mind going first and bid zero to his two. Oh wait, before that, Josh takes about 10 minutes to shuffle his deck after time has started. He explains to me that he has his own clock and that he has cleared it with the judge. So I think fine, I’m glad to know that someone has full control of the time issue so I don’t have to worry about it for once. Anyway he makes me go first and I decide that I will double move as much as possible to outrun his Moria-Setup. He doesn’t pull into his Scimitars until much later so that was a good call I guess. My Dunland guys grab a site at site 5 and then on the fierce skirmish I Over the Isen on Gandalf and kill him. It’s at this point that I start to think that his fellowship might have a slight Dunland weakness and I start to regret double moving so much. I also regret not bidding three and making him go first. DARN. I then move to Site 7 with 3 Defend it And Hopes and one Gondor Bowman. If I had single moved, I would have had more including my Orc-Bane which was coming up. I kill off two orcs and then there is one extra orc left. That is two on Frodo and the stength is 12-6. CRAP. This is my first ever experience at Cavern Entrance. I then realize how nasty it is. I didn’t realize I was dead until I tried to use Merry’s ability to help out Frodo. That is one nasty site text.
FL +1 /7
Good: Josh was a really great opponent and he managed to smile quite a few times in our game.
Bad: My Dunland finally starts to work but in this game, I went for a quick fellowship win. Bad move
Ugly: I underestimated Josh’s Moria skills and learned a valuable lesson on how to play properly against Moria. I guess you really need to set up first.

Round Four
Mr. Jones for Walter’s Gondor-Rohan/Uruk Bomb
Finally, a shadow where I can really kick some butt. Enough with the Moria already. Walter was easily the sloppiest player I’ve ever faced. Tokens were flying around everywhere and companions that should be exhausted were suddenly healed for no reason, etc. Walter is a little over-confident as well. But he’s a pretty nice guy so I’m not going to say anything. It was the weirdest fellowship I’ve seen in a while. Every site, he would completely exhaust each companion so as to not let me get a site. He would then heal so much I was astounded and then move and do it again. I managed to kill off his allies easily enough and he didn’t get his Horn until all the allies were pretty much dead. I eventually get one site but my fellowship has pulled ahead and is doubling to site 9 with 2 DIAH and 2 archery. If he hadn’t played anything at site 8 (MEGA CHOKE) he would have had a fighting chance at site 9. But he played a little bit at each site (the mark of a true amateur) and I doubled with great ease.
FW +3 / 10
Good: Walter’s fellowship was really something else. I especially liked the part where he would exert the Rohan allies to pump his Gondor companions with HIDAN. I don’t THINK SO Mister.
Bad: How many times is my Dunland going to disappoint?
Ugly: Four DIAHs in my deck plus a mega choke makes Saruman’s fighting Uruk-Hai cry like babies...


So people recommend George’s BBQ. Which is one of this great Greek greasy-spoon Toronto places I’ve heard so much about. I order the BBQ chicken and am most impressed. Patrick got sick as usual and David had lunch sitting in front of a mirror conversing with himself. Most of the other players went to Poppers (a local pub). I wish I had done that instead. I then go to Second Cup and break Tim Horton tradition and get one tasty coffee. YUMMMM. I get into a good discussion about Patrick’s upcoming match against Josh and how it is two different Moria strategies. Patrick believes the Palantir of Orthanc adds great value to a moria deck. Josh does not. Josh believes the Black Traitor with staff is the way to go. Patrick disagrees. I wish I could watch this match.

Round Five
Mr. Jones vs. Mike’s Moria/Horn
Let me say very clearly for the record that Mike is EASILY the best opponent I had all day long. In fact the best I’ve seen in quite some time. Not only is he a great player but he is the NICEST guy ever. GREAT sense of humour and a newlywed to boot (sorry ladies). If I come across half as nice as this guy in a game, I’d be quite pleased with myself.
It was a perfectly beautiful game. Once again, no mistakes were made on either side. After my Moria trashing from last time, I was happy his fellowship was in the lead. Considering I play 4 War Clubs with 4 Dunland Warriors, I am fairly confident I will take his fellowship to the graveyard. It is going fairly average for my shadow but I am stacking a perfect site 7 hand for my freeps. Orc Bane with a couple DIAHs should do the trick nicely. I arrive at site 6 first and stop. Don’t want to push my luck. Mike is at site 5. He Stings me and looks at my hand. I’m immediately impressed with his skill because he is looking at my freeps cards much closer than my shadow hand. Very few of even the good players do this. He sees my hand and moves to six and gets bloody nose. He then makes the smartest move I saw all day. Even though it means companions will die and possibly Frodo, he decides to move again, forgoing his site 7 but keeping himself in the game by not handing over the chance for my fellowship to arrive at site 9 first (which it most certainly would have). What sucks for me is I draw into total crap and only play an extra Hillman Horde. I only kill one companion. I then single to 7 and stop (I don’t want to forgo my Ring of Isengard). I then reconcile into No Retreat which is HUGE. I play No retreat at site 8 and leave a ton of pool to ensure my two dudes will live until regroup. I then top-deck Constantly threatening and make him double move and fetch my Hillman Horde to ensure we skip the archery phase (he has a healthy Greenleaf along with two bows). That’s game.
FW +3 /13
Good: Playing against this guy was the highlight match of the day for me. Mike had also scoped the BEST seats to play in the house. Near the door in the sun. Wonderful.
Bad: Poor Mike stung into my beautiful orc-killing hand. What a nasty sight for him.
Ugly: Mike was forced to double move to site 7 with an exhausted Aragorn, Greenleaf and Faramir all of which were archers each to shoot down some Dunlendings.

Round Five was also where Pat Malboeuf got paired up against Josh. I couldn’t do the explanation justice of what transpired but I strongly recommend you read Pat’s TR because I can vouch that it is very accurate.

So because Patrick was undefeated, in kinda screwed up the pairings enough so that there is now a clear semi-final match-ups round. Which I find really, really cool. David Malboeuf gets paired up against Alex. The winner of which will face the winner of...

Round Six
Mr. Jones vs. Pat Malboeuf’s home-grown BadBeef/Vida
I have faced this beast in the past but never when it mattered this much. I could actually eliminate Patrick from the running for the bye and move on to most likely face his brother. That would be SUCH AN UPSET but yet remain true to the Team Quantum finals. Luckily by playing Josh (a near-identical deck) I knew what to expect. So I wanted to go second and I wanted to single move. I want to kill his Frodo more than anything. So being the idiot that I am, I bid zero purely out of habit. WHAT AM I THINKING?! Luckily for me, he bids zero as well. Man do I need to win this die roll. We both roll the same number. Damn. We then both roll the same number again. Damn Damn. Finally I roll a 9 to his 6 and make him go second. PHEW.
This game was a single-moving slaughter fest. I highly recommend once again that you read Patrick’s take on the game for it was really funny what kind of crap my fellowship was pulling off. Patrick’s recount of the match is 100% accurate except for the bid. Anyway my fellowship which followed his site for site was giving a TOTAL of 3 twilight with 2 Betrayals on the table (*snicker*snicker*). That must have been frustrating for our hero. As for our proud Dunlendings, not a site would go by where there was not AT LEAST one death. I must have killed a total of 168 allies and companions throughout the match. Right on Down to the last child. I spared no one. I burned his lands. I took back what was ONCE MINE.... (sorry, I’m getting all rabble-roused).
I really thought I was going to kill his fellowship until site 7 turned things around. He singled into seven after playing Haldir (he tried playing Galadriel again after I had killed her at site 2. I didn’t realize how stressed I was until this happened because I instantly yelled out SHE’S DEAD SHE’S DEAD in French. Wow! Where did that come from?). Anyway I finally controlled two sites and was really looking forward to grabbing a game-winning third site when Haldir exerts with ELROND to liberate two sites. It is at this point that some guy from France suggests that I don’t play the CauseWay anymore because it is a battleground and Haldir can use it to liberate sites. I wish I could repeat what David Malboeuf then said as to the usefulness of that guy’s comment. But there are children reading this so I’ll keep it to myself.
Anyway I single to seven giving him ONE TWILIGHT for the site and he obviously has to double move to 9 to try and win. Unfortuntely he plays Aragorn ROTH, Sam Proper Poet and Filibert. CRAP CRAP CRAP. I try my gosh-darndest to do what I can but at site 8 I ask Treebeard to mind his own damn business but he refused and cock-slapped my Hillman Tribes back to the stone-age. Pat then doubles and I top deck my constantly threatening. I fetch a Warrior to take care of filibert but Wulf is my only fierce skirmisher since I only control ONE DAMN SITE now. Where was Over the Isen?! So without my three sites, none of my regular guys are fierce and I can’t get to Frodo because Aragorn and Sam can block all my big guys. A real blood bath but a great victory for Pat earning him a place in the finals and putting me into third place overall.
FL +1 /14
Good: Pat and I are very good friends and we both knew that this match meant a lot to both of us. Yet, not ONE awkward moment arose. I don’t think take-backs were ever an issue and we both fought like men... like warriors... like Scotsmen... and won our freedom (wait a sec, I’m in the wrong movie here...)
Bad: I realized too late what the appropriate anti-Moria strategy was. If I had tried this same game out on Josh, things could have been a wee bit different (but I doubt it. Josh is a damn good player)
Ugly: That ugly Treebeard should really mind his own damn business and let Frodo take care of himself. On the drive home, I’m gonna chop down a bunch of trees out of spite.

So Alex beats David by not letting him have a simple take back (after David allowed him a take back) and moves on to get his hiney kicked by Patrick two quick games in a row.
I receive a really cool pin and ugly binder and common foil. I then wait and wait... and WHERE’S THE REST? 20 Bucks and this is my prize support? Man alive.

Bill is really happy to announce that I placed third overall and I am really surprised that a 4-2 record places third! I’m really happy though as I have a new pin to add to my Decipher token velvet bag.

I then make fun of the players that are wearing Maple Leaf shirts and shout out GO PHILLY and run out of the store. I say my goodbyes and ask Pierre-Francois to take some HILARIOUS pictures out in the alley and then begin the long drive home. We make it to Napanee (Avril’s home town yo) where the BadBeefs are dying of hunger. We stop at Pizza Hut and quickly realize that we are all really really exhausted. I unintentionally make the waitress wait two minutes while I decide if I want lemonade or iced tea. Patrick and I then argue about salad dressing and scarf down some mediocre pizza. And now, ladies and gentlemen, your moment of Zen....

Patrick and I are at the cash waiting for my credit card to go thru. I then spy a framed picture with this half-retarded guy with a tie smiling. There is a gold plaque underneath with his name and some other writing I couldn’t make out. I then tell Pat at the top of my voice, ‘You see Pat, if you work hard and stay in school, you might just one day end up like this guy.’ Of course I assume that he is the Manager of the Week or some crap like that. Patrick then goes to read his name and notices that the wording is not ‘Employee of the Month’ but rather ‘In loving memory.’ It’s at this point in time that I notice the waitress, cashier, manager and a couple of patrons are GLARING at me with the stinkiest of stink-eyes you’ve ever seen. And here I am stuck waiting for my God-damn credit card to pass. It finally does after an eternity, I give a great tip and get the hell out of Dodge. Steve and David are outside having a smoke and I’m all like, ‘GET IN THE CAR GET IN THE CAR.’

And that was your moment of Zen.

• Steve Judge for joining us on his first ever big tournament. I really hope he comes to GenCon as well. He complements our group perfectly and I would really miss his laugh if it wasn’t there.
• Patrick Malboeuf for winning the whole enchilada and knocking me out of the running in good form. He did it on very little sleep (make that NO sleep), very little food in his belly (that he didn’t send back up too many times) and with a real chip on his shoulder from last year’s TOC. Way to go guy. Road trips with you and your bro are really the highlights of the month.
• David Malboeuf for being the funniest guy ever. And another prop for not killing anybody at this tournament. I don’t know how he managed to not fly off the handle in that game with Alex. That was such an important match too! Anyway David’s dancing in the Pizza Hut will stay with me for weeks to come. The Running Man!!!
• Bill for being honestly the best TD ever. His tournaments run smooth as silk and he always has that Canadian smile on his face. You just gotta hug that guy (or poke him in the belly Pillsbury-style)
• Malcolm for being the very first Torontonian to greet me.
• That police man for reducing my infraction. You ROCK.
• Pierre-Francois and Steve MacNamara for driving up as well (although I don’t think they did it in one day like we did)
• Stephanie and her fellow Leaf fans for being crazy supportive of their team.
• Mike for being my favourite Toronto player (and easily on my top 5 list for World players)
• Ari and Steve for helping me playtest.

• Malcolm for sanctioning his own brother who we all really want to see play
• Josh for taking the game WAY too seriously. I can understand Mike Long or someone else that has ZERO personality but you’re actually a pretty fun guy a that should really come through more in your gameplay.
• Alex for screwing over David in the semi-finals. That’s just not cool.
• Steve and Malcolm for arguing over location of site-path. Give me a frickin break.
• I wish my 22-hour day would have yielding a WEE BIT more prize support for twenty bucks.

That should do it. I do believe that Pat Malboeuf has beaten me for once in writing a much better (and funnier) TR. I must be losing my edge.

OPEN PSQ at Quantum Cards next Sunday!

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