Well things didn’t work out so well for me at the Toronto TOC (I placed 3rd after being bested by my buddy Pat Malboeuf and Canadian-extraordinaire Alex Kuriliak (sorry about the name butchering)). So I really need to win my bye today because I’ve already bought my badges and hotel reservations for both GenCon and Origins. If I don’t qualify today, then I’ll have to drive 4 hours to Syracuse and try my luck there. Which I will only do if I absolutely have to because that’s the day Sean Smallman comes on his Black Rider tour to my favourite local card shop, Quantum Cards.
So many of you are already familiar with the type of competition I’ll be facing at the Montreal TOC. I’ve heard through the grapevine than Mathieu Brochu and his gang of cronies are going to make the 3 hour trip from Quebec city. I’m also expecting (hopefully) a gang from Toronto (including the infamous Josh and his two little hobgoblins, Malcolm and Julien). I tell you if that Malcolm hasn’t lifted the sanctions he’s placed on his younger brother, Julien, I’m going to throw him through a window!
Hopefully as well some players from Ottawa will show up. Burlington, Vermont used to have a player community but they don’t hold tournaments anymore so hopefully there is still a player or two left that might drive up. Our final LOTR location is Sherbrooke where a small gang still plays and they had better drive up for the occasion.
I don’t expect any of my good friends from Joliette to drive up but it would be real sweet if they did (I miss those dudes).
So the tournament is being held at Carta Magica. Every city has their favourite local card shop and their least favourite card shop. For me, Quantum Cards of course is my favourite. Reasonable prices, promotion of sportsmanship and a great playing atmosphere all around reinforced by perpetually nice-ladies Jill and Kathy. Carta Magica is the complete reverse. Complete rip-off prices for singles (people always say yeah but at least they’ve got a great selection. Anyone who charges what they charge will always have a good selection cuz there won’t be any buyers). Also some of the employees there are quite hostile and are clearly in co-hoots with some of the local players. It makes participation in tournaments at this location very wary. On the good side, there is this great little shop across the street called Pourquoi Pas? Which means ‘Why Not?’ It is this Lebanese guy who serves up the meanest chicken salad sandwich you’ve ever had. Good coffee too. And cheap!
So what deck am I playing today? Well the only two decks that beat me in Toronto were both Moria so I figure I might as well play Moria like everyone else (Moria is what got me to place 11th at last year’s worlds too (cough..cough…)). So I am playing traditional BadBeef with a Vida-inspired Moria. Boo to me for unoriginality but I will throw in one twist to go mad-Sullivan-style. I am so cocky that my freeps can survive anything while my shadow does the killing, that I have decided to play with the common ring. Why the heck not? Hopefully Uruk Archery decks won’t get very far against my deck. After all I’ve got new rare Pippin with Treebeard to drive my opponent bananas. My fellowship is actually surprisingly tough and I am very tempted to go first but I better not. I really need Cavern Entrance to work it’s magic. However, I’ll have to decide if I should be double moving if my opponent double moves so as not to lose them. I’ll have to play that one by ear I suppose. I hope everyone techs against Uruks today and not Moria (I’m playing 4 Foul Creation so that should help a lot).
I’m really quite baffled by these new Moria decks in the standard format. I’m specifically talking about the ones that were used in Delaware and the Netherlands. These fellowships are designed to go first from the looks of it. Why would you ever want to go first when playing a dedicated Moria deck based on Site 7 kill? I had to think long and hard about it and concluded that in Standard format, you don’t have to fear the Uruk Bomb at site 5 nor do you fear Nertea. So you can stop at site 2 and hopefully the opponent will bypass you into the Golden Hall. This way you allow your opponent to reconcile once and hopefully get his weapons set up so he just loses them at site 3. Also the main reason these decks go first is that they give a RIDICULOUS amount of twilight at site 2. So you don’t want your opponent to reconcile once and then set up a nasty shadow hand for your small fellowship. I miss the days of the Buckleberry Ferry where none of this mattered. But alas…
Anyway that will be the death of me today perhaps. I will hopefully be going second and then giving a massive amount of twilight at site 2 and perhaps moving into a nasty bunch of Uruks, nazguls or Dunland men. We’ll just have to hope for the best I suppose.
At last year’s TOC in Montreal, first round was against Dominic Gaudreault where I lost terribly after being tricked numerous times into skipping my regroup phase and not Stinging when I should have been. Luckily I’m a much more seasoned veteran at this game and will not be so easily fooled. If someone tried that crap on me today, I’ll simply burst into a deep deep laugh (à la Jabba-the-Hut) and state that their puny mind tricks will not work on me.
I’m sad that my friend and playtesting buddy, Steve Judge, will not be able to attend (he has to attend a BBQ at his father’s franchised frozen food shop. Poor guy). Well there is a Standard tournament tomorrow and hopefully he’ll be bringing his surprisingly resilient Frodo-Sam-Smeagol deck.
Anyway enough of the pre-tourney jank. Let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this event.
I wake up at 8 a.m. and jump into Molly (my green Civic coupe) to go and fetch Josh and Malcolm at the bus station. They are there on time and even arrived early so they jump and we drive off the Carta Magica. I’m disappointed that Julien isn’t there but oh well.
So we arrive way too early at the store and Pourquoi Pas isn’t open yet so we sit around and then decide to go and walk on over to the Tim Horton’s. Josh and I can seem to follow simple directions so we get lost and I walk into a shop and ask the guy where Tim Horton’s is. Josh and I both then realize that we’ve walked into a gourmet café and have most likely insulted the owner by asking him where I can find the closest café franchise that is wiping out his business. He tells me where but I’m too embarrassed to go to Tim Horton’s after that so I tell him I’ll just have one of his coffees. So he makes me this amazing Café Latté and I dig into my pocket and come up with ZERO cash. I have no money on me and this guy doesn’t take Debit or Credit cards. Josh starts to pull out a twenty to bail me out and then they guy offers me the coffee for free. Josh tries to insist on paying but he wouldn’t have it. So I walk out of there with a free latté after accidentally insulting the guy and everything he stands for. Josh is in disbelief on how I pulled that one off. And frankly, so am I.
So we get to the store and walk in and I’ve warned both Malcolm and Josh about the employee being a real jerk. Josh asks him if he can go upstairs to write out his deck list and the guy rudely says no with no explanation. I then ask if I can leave my bag behind his counter because I want to go get Malcolm at the Tim Horton’s and he just shakes his head at me telling me no. This guy never changes.
So after fetching Malcolm, by the time I get back to the store, the display of top level gamers is amazing. Brochu has come up from Quebec with 3 of his buddies including Francis DeSenneville. A gang from Repentigny has come up. Josh and Malcolm from Toronto. Martin from Ottawa with his girlfriend. And of the local players, Dominic Gaudreault with his sister and girlfriend, Mikael Lane, Yannick Lapointe. But no badbeef? So I go and use the store phone to call them up at 10h15 (the tournament was supposed to start at 10) and I wake up Pat Malboeuf who answers the phone. As usual they thought the tourney was at 1 or something so him and his brother David (the three of us form Team Quantum for the day with our cool polos) rush to the store in time for round one.
I don’t know how I’ll come across when I say this but I truly believe the Montreal TOC is the toughest one in the entire world. We were only 24 players but you should have seen the top tables. There were always 10 players of incredible caliber playing at any given time. I will count myself very fortunate if I can pull off a 5-1 today. Hell even a 4-2 will require great luck and tremendous skill.
So round one pairings are called…
Me (1873) and my BadBeef/Moria Vida vs…. it’s creator! Patrick Malboeuf (2118)’s Sauron/Shoulder-to-Shoulder Bad Beef
Well there’s some bad luck right out of the starting gates. I figured I’d have to face off against this leviathan at some point but this early? While my nerves are all shot? This ain’t good. I haven’t been able to pull off a victory against Pat since ROTEL came out. He already has the bye so if he beats me it isn’t the end of the world but it wouldn’t help either. So He bids 4 to my 1 and goes first. Good. This was the most mistakes I’ve ever made in a game today. I forgot to get TreeBeard at site 2. And I only remembered Grey Pilgrim’s game text ONCE (twice if you count the one takeback I requested). I didn’t see ONE copy of my They Are Comings (I’m starting to think 3 is the right number). At Cavern Entrance Pat’s fellowship ran into ONE orc. He singles to 8 after that and I have now set up an incredible hand (and I mean incredible). I decide to play nothing and go for a better swarm at the Palantir Chamber because he’ll have 3 burdens by then. It was a good move too because he would have Secret Sentinels awayed my conditions. So at site 9 I let hell loose. 9 minions against 6 companions (and Thrarin). He has Greenleaf and Rumil but I’ve managed to get our a Forget and Warrior to cancel the archery specials. There is 8 left in the pool and I have the Palantir of Orthanc out. I can’t generate any more pool so I proceed to remove 8 of his 9 cards. He states that the game will come down to this. I tell him which card he can keep, he then flips it and it is Quick as May be. I can’t prevent the wound to my Forger so that’s game. It was probably the best game of my LOTR career so far (or at the very least, easily the best site 9 showdown)
FL +1 / 1
Good: Even with all my mistakes I almost pulled it off. One more twilight would have won me the game.
Bad: all my mistakes
Ugly: Team Quantum squaring off in round one is no good
me (1873) vs André Simard (1500)’s Uruk site Control Swarm/Gondor-elf archery choke
This was a single moving game. André was playing very carefully and so should he considering his Moria weakness. He moves to site 5 with 4 Gondor Bowmen on the table and is feeling pretty safe. André doesn’t know that the Isengard Warrior’s gametext cancels the Bowmen’s gametext. He will soon learn a valuable lesson. One of which I learned only a month ago. So even with all the potential archery, he can’t utilize the gametext and Frodo is overwhelmed (I love how the Palantir isn,t necessary because many people only play possessions and conditions to deal with stuff rather than events).
FW +3 /4
Good: André was a really nice guy and It was fun to see him learn that Isengard Warrior is a real pain.
Bad: nothing really.
Ugly: It is a real painful way to learn about a card when it involves your ring-beared getting overwhelmed during a TOC. There are better times to learn such lessons.
Me (1873) vs. Maxime Tremblay (1592)
I can’t remember what he was playing. This was a pretty stressful game. My Moria really didn’t want to come out. No Scimitars until site 5 or 6. Nothing for him at site 7. He was smart to double move against BadBeef because I couldn’t set up. I think he was playing Nazgul and I wasn’t able to keep up with his fellowship. Basically it all comes down to site 9 where I get out an impressive swarm. Maxime assigns my minions to his companions including to his Forest Guardian (who is unhasty). So at this point I call over the judge, Maxim Briand who is TD for the day (yay), and ask him if he has assigned his minions like that does that mean he’s passed his assignment action phase? At this point Maxime realizes he’s made a mistake so the backpeddling commences. Maxim judges that if I want to hold him to it then yes, he’s assigned like that and then Forest Guardian cannot be assigned. Maxime gets pretty pissed off at this point and tells me he plays for fun and isn’t here for this type of situation. I tell him if this were a local, I would have gladly allowed him to correct his mistake, in fact, I would have told him while he was making the error. I explained to him he’s made a mistake by the rules of the game and this is a TOC and I’m going to Origins and GenCon and he is not. He says fine and Frodo dies. We then play it out for fun assuming the Forest Guardian could have blocked and Frodo was still overwhelmed so It made no difference.
FW +3 /7
Good: I don’t feel bad at all for being a tight-a$$ because his friend (who defeated me in the Montreal PSQ a few weeks back) was TELLING HIM WHAT TO DO the entire match. Three times, his friend pointed out how to play by whispering (hence, knowing full-well he isn’t supposed to be helping out a player in a TOC). I didn’t say anything because I thought I was going to lose the game no matter what.
Bad: Having an uncomfortable moment in a TOC. Players should accept it when they make a game-losing mistake instead of whining and backpeddling.
Ugly: I hate it when on-lookers coach players. How illegal is that?! Mikael Lane and Dominic Gaudreault were going it as well during a match. I can’t believe players get away with this crap.
So off we go (Patrick, David and I) to Subway for lunch. I have no cash so David offers to pick up the tab. Thanks, dude. He points out that he and Patrick owe me money but I’m not stressed out about it. I only get stressed when players borrow cards from me. Patrick had asked me to lend him some Sauron cards the night before but he knew I was uncomfortable lending cards to people (last time in Toronto, I must have asked him 5 times for my Foul Creations back). So I’ve figured out a way to work out my stress while still getting Patrick his cards. He needed two Orc Patrols very badly at the beginning of the tourney. So I went into the store binder. Dropped 4 bucks for the cards and gave them to Patrick. Now he simply owes me money which I don’t stress out about. I’ve solved the riddle!
Me (1873) vs. Josh Cornwell-Moot’s (1871) BadBeef/Vida Moria with Saruman BT and the Palantir
I played against Josh’s deck at the Toronto TOC and decided to run against it. That was a mistake and I lost. So this time I figure I’ll single move the whole way. I had to enter the Cavern Entrance first and pulled it off with the held of Sam PP and Aragorn ROTN. Josh’s fellowship got a little beaten up at site 5 and 6 so his move into the Cavern ended the whole affair.
FW +3 /10
Good: Josh was a great opponent. He played perfectly. I just wish the game could have gone quicker.
Bad: Malcolm gets up in the middle of his game (played next to us) to go to the bathroom. What the hell is he doing?
Ugly: Nothing really. Moria against Moria makes for some long games.
Me (1873) vs. Mathieu Brochu (2046)
Well this is our first match up and I can’t believe I have to face the world champ in a TOC. And I really need this win because 4-2 will not cut it into the finals. He also needs this win because he’s already lost a game as well (against Francis DeSenneville) so this means everything to the two of us. I bid one to his zero and make him go first. He doubles to 3 and then I decide to do the same. I end up having to face Saruman with three uruks against Frodo, Pippin, Aragorn and Gandalf. I have to play this carefully because being careless could lose me the game. I end up screwing it up a bit and discard Pippin, lose Aragorn and I do believe I lost Gandalf as well. OUCH. Mathieu couldn’t believe how long I took to assign but I was thinking I could save Gandalf. Plus he’s playing a HIDAN deck against my perfect Moria shadow so I was quite certain I could beat him before site 7. He then moves to site 4 with his four companions giving me 10 twilight. I manage to get out 5 minions thanks to the Isengard Forgers. Plus I got out a Warrior which was money because he had Rohirrm bows on everyone (no archery special abilities!! YAY). So he assigns one each leaving me with a forger to assign. I see that there is a warrior on Frodo power 7-4. For some reason I think Frodo is already overwhelmed so I look at who else to assign the Forger to. It doesn’t seem to make to much of a difference so I look at throwing him back on Frodo. I then realize then 7 isn’t double of 4 and Frodo isn’t overwhelmed. My God! I almost missed that! So I throw the forger on Frodo and Mathieu extends his hand! WTF?
FW +3 /13
Good: Overwhelming the world champ at site 4. Too funny.
Bad: I almost missed it…
Ugly: When I get a clear upset like this, I customarily offer my opponent a coffee or soda or something. Mathieu accepts and we go across the street to Pourquoi Pas café. It appears the owner has sold his shop to someone else and I decide to get a latté just the same. I then realize I still have no cash on me and ask if they take Debit or Credit cards. He says no and I’m all embarrassed (I always have cash on me, this is a rare occurance). So Mathieu offers to pick up my coffee and buys himself a drink too. I think it’s pretty funny and am hoping he’ll just forget about it but naturally he doesn’t and posts my misstep on his home page for all to see. I can’t wait to offer him a free drink again and see what he says.
Me (1873) vs. Dominic Gaudreault’s (2056) Horn/Anti-ally uruk
Well kiss-my-grits if this isn’t exactly the same match up as last year’s day three deciphercon. I was paired up against Dom first thing and I was playing the exact same deck I’m playing today and he is playing the exact same deck he played that day too. It’s too funny! So naturally he is teched out against both Moria and more importantly against badBeef. He has Horn of Boromir and Ranger of the North right off the bat. I know this is going to be next to impossible. But my fellowship couldn’t get anywhere either. I managed to kill one of his companions and when he arrived at site 7 I knew it was my last chance because my Frodo was almost alone at that point. So he moves into the cavern entrance and all 4 of my scimitars draw up freeps cards. Crap. I then move into the Cavern and Frodo falls.
FL +1 /14
Good: It was cool to have another go at his deck again. I really needed to see what his deck was like so I know how to tech against BadBeef/Vida in the future
Bad: I really didn,t stand a chance. At least I didn't make mistakes like I did last year
Ugly: That knocked me out of the final confrontation and placed me 6th.
So dom plays Francis DeSenneville in the finals and beats him 2-0. Dominic wins the whole thing. I end up in 6th place and will have to give my deck another go in Syracuse. I really hope it wins there because I want that damn bye. Tomorrow there is a Standard Format tournament at Quantum so I’ll hopefully redeem myself there. I have built a fairly competitive standard deck for once and am anxious to try it out.
• Pat Malboeuf for playing such a great game in the first round and helping me get the jitters out of my system. Although I still managed to forget Grey Pilgrim’s free card most of the remaining day.
• David Malboeuf for making us laugh as always.
• Brochu and his buddies for making the long trip to Montreal.
• Josh for coming all the way from Toronto. I hope you do well in Michigan, dude.
• Malcolm for the same.
• Dominic for making a killer deck for a change.
• Dom’s sister for crushing out on Pat Malboeuf. It’s pretty cute…
• André Simard for playing in a TOC where he is hopelessly outgunned.
• Me for managing to get a free latté from the guy who owned that private café, then getting a free coffee out of Malcolm at Tim Horton’s, then getting free lunch from David malboeuf and then getting another free latté from Mathieu Brochu. Man, I’m a real charity-case. I’ll have to make it all back to those guys…
• Me for playing pretty well and placing 4-2 in the toughest TOC in the world.
• Carta Magica for hiring total jerks.
• All the local shops for not taking credit cards. It’s the 21st century!
• Players that coach other players when they are playing a game. I hope to nail some of you suckers at Origins. That is an instant DQ, dudes.
Get ready Syracuse, because I’m sick of losing!!!
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