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CardShark Content - Patrick Sullivan (5/15/2003)

Nothing like a nice basic Standard Format tourney at my favorite store to calm things down the day after an intense TOC. The TOC was Open format and today’s local tourney will be standard.

So far I’m stinking it up at Standard Format like never before. I haven’t been able to win a single tournament nor have I even come close. I have been packing Grima CC into all my decks and no one has even come close to 4 cultures. I’ve found this most frustrating so to frustrate my opponents even more I am going to play 5 cultures today. I’ll just take my chances and hope for the best.

I have been avoiding playing Nazgul because it was so the obvious choice to play in Standard Format. But so far after scoring a big zero in trying everything else, I do believe I’ll try on the powerful Black Riders and see what kind of damage I can cause early on. My deck is most definitely designed for a freeps win but I am certain that a player hoping to keep up with my freeps will double against my Nazgul and pick up an early death for Frodo. My freeps is incredibly powerful and I have no fear of Enquea for I am running Eowyn. The only problem would be Grima because I have a ton of possessions and a ton of cultures. All the more reason to double EVERY SINGLE turn in hopes of them not drawing him up in time.

If I were to name this deck, I would paraphrase the great Jonathan Verrall himself and call it ‘No guts, No glory.’ Can you imagine how frustrating it will be for my opponents when I have a pumped up Arwen, Gandalf, Faramir and Aragorn all on the table laughing at him? What are you supposed to against that?

Anyway it’s a huge risk but one I’m willing to take because nothing else seems to be working for me and Origins is right around the corner.

Now, a personal note before I start getting to the good stuff, I have to announce that this is sadly my last Tournament Report (not my last tournament, tho, I’m still playing). These things take a lot of time for me to write and although I really really enjoy doing it, I just don’t think it’s worth it. I feel like writing these things gives me nothing to gain and yet everything to lose. In numerous of my previous reports, I’ve discussed moments of letting players have massive take backs or pointing out to a player who is about to make a colossal mistake what he should do instead. Teaching players to get better is one of the best moments in this card game. However, even with all that great sportsmanship and generally fun camaraderie I’ve insisted on putting into my matches, I make one mistake and am brought down immediately. My first PSQ I participated in was at this very same card shop. I made a mistake in judgment during the fourth round against this guy that won the whole thing in the end. Please note that I did not cheat. I’ve never cheated and will never cheat at this game. Having fun is too important. Winning is truly a secondary concern for me. Anyway I get a call from Dan Bojo from Decipher giving me an official warning for my unethical action. Now the most important thing that I realized was that this wouldn’t have happened had I not written my TR. My opponent was not upset at all at my CLEAR mistake and never called over the judge. The judge HIMSELF saw the error and never called me on it because it was up to my OPPONENT to say something. And because of this ONE mistake, I get a frickin’ warning from Decipher. The DGMA Player of the Year is a known unethical player who uses scare tactics to rush his opponent’s through phase after phase. Decipher has never called him on this. So I just find the whole thing so damn frustrating that I’ll stop writing TRs, but will remain a fiercely fun opponent and hopefully people will still look forward to playing against me in the future. I will still write TRs for Origins and GenCon, tho, because we have to record those incredible moments in time. I want to thank the entire community at Decktech and GamePlayersNetwork for always being very supportive and for always giving me great feedback on my TRs. I’ll promise to make the next two ones true masterpieces. Anyway, enough of the drama and on to the actual TR:

So my friend Steve calls me at around 10 in the morning and is close to my house and is wondering if I want to go for breakfast with him and my girlfriend, Wendy. Well of course I say yes (I think that breakfast is the best meal to eat in a restaurant). So we head for my local breakfast place called Quoi de N’Oeuf? Which means What’s new? But it is a play on words because Oeuf means Egg. Anyway it’s owned by a bunch of flamboyantly gay men and is a really hilarious place to hang out in. They are all the nicest guys in the world and crazy friendly towards their regulars. It’s fun to go with Steve because he’s a little uncomfortable in that environment. But we have great coffee and stuff and finish up early and head back to my house. My house by the way, is above this old tavern built in 1885 and we’re throwing a HUGE party with tons of local bands on Saturday May 31st. We brew our own beer so you don’t have to bring anything except your own fresh meats (which we get this professional barbeque guy to cook up for you out back). So if you’re anywhere near Montreal on May 31st, make sure you swing by for a pint and some great music. But don’t bring your cards, though. 

Anyway Steve offers to drive me to the tournament today. I hate not having my car with me because in the past, there have been so many times that I’ve wanted to leave a location but because I’ve accepted a lift from someone, I’m stuck there. Having a car gives you so much freedom it’s awesome. Anyway I don’t see the harm in accepting a lift from Steve because he usually leaves right after tournaments end just like I do.

So we arrive at the store (after swinging thru the Tim Horton’s drive thru for a coffee (which Steve bought because I still don’t have any cash on me ). And arrive at the store early.
Matt Mitchell is just in front and informs me that his lady-friend will be bringing me either my first Krispy Kreme coffee later on (the first one just opened in Montreal and I’m dying to try the coffee) or more likely, a Tim horton’s coffee. It ends up being the latter because there was a 3-hour line up at Krispy Kreme (they just opened up and Quebecers are mad for good donuts). So chalk up one more free coffee for me.

So the following people show up:
Me. (1873)
Steven Judge (1637)
Fred Cote (1644)
Matt Mitchell (1508)
Jonathan Verrall (1657)
Peter Wilson (1607)

So how many is that? Six. How many do you need to be sanctioned? More. Damn. I immediately regret not bringing my car because I know that Steve will want to stick around and play casually while I would rather go home and spend time with the GF (since I’m going to Syracuse this weekend and Friday night is the Black Rider tour in Montreal). So boo to me for once again screwing up and not bringing my car. However, Jill (store owner and TD) announces that she’ll organize a non-sanctionned tourney and give away 7 booster backs of Two Towers as prize support. Cool! So I figure it’s not a total loss and I’m happy to play my buddies.

She doesn’t assign first round pairings and lets us decide. So I immediately snatch up Matthew Mitchell because we never get to play in sanctioned tourneys (due to the fact that I usually win my first round and he loses so we get further and further apart in potential pairings).

Round One.
Me (1873) and my rainbow/Nazgul vs Matt Mitchell (1508)’s Isengard Mix/Lorien Swordsman – Rohan
This is exactly when I get the Tim Horton’s delivery so I’m all set to go. Matt’s deck is really cool and well thought out. Putting Horse of Rohan and Brego on Lorien Swordsmen and playing with lots of pumps. It’s pretty original. So he outbids me and goes first. He moves to my Wold of Rohan where he squares off against Ulaire Toldea. His companions are naked and consist of simply Eowyn and a Lorien Swordsmen. So I’m all happy he didn’t get his equipment set up and am assuming he’ll be less two companions at the next site. He blocks twice with the Lorien Swordsman playing a Defiance and the a Valor to live thru both skirmishes. Damn. At least I got a Blade Tip on that exhausted Lorien Swordsman. He stops. I double past him and fall straight into the golden hall losing my Gwemegil, Aragorn’s Bow and Sword of Gondor. He then plays an Isengard Smith and I’m not able to wound him twice so he gets rid of the rest of my possessions. Namely Asfaloth and Armor. Damn. All my companions are naked now! He then moves to three and after losing his elf to the blade tip, I manage to get out Attea who then overwhelms Eowyn and Frodo.
FW +3 /3
Good: Matthew’s deck was really cool. He got out the perfect shadow cards at the perfect time to really hurt my fellowship. I would have been in rough shape moving into Deep of Helm.
Bad: We never got that far.
Ugly: All those elf pumps robbed me a devastating site 2.

Round Two
Me (1873) vs. Steven Judge (1637)’s Sam-Smeagol-Frodo/Uruk Archery
I’ve played against this deck a few times and it’s always a close match. I bid 2 to his 0 and go first. I was single moving to play it safe against those pesky Uruk Archers. He is right behind me and decides to double past me into site 3. He then reaches my site 5 first and I was lucky with my hand. I was being choked like crazy but thanks to two morgul gates, I got out Witch King and Attea. OUCH. Sam dies and Smeagol dies at the next. Site. Frodo doesn’t do so well without those guys. But Steve pulls Boromir out with Aragorn so that he can live a little longer. At this point he has 9 burdens or so and I get Enquea on the table. Bye bye Boromir. And the rest is history.
Good: Steve’s the best in the biz. And has big guts to play this deck.
Bad: I don’t think Steve won one game with that deck all day so I’m glad that he realized it’s only strong in casual play.
Ugly: This means he’s going to construct a monstrous deck that I’ll have to deal with at the next Standard format. I hope he tried Moria or Nazgul instead of Uruk Archers. Those guys drive me bananas.

Round 3
Me (1873) vs. Jonathan Verrall (1657)’s Naz/Elves
Ah, a Team Quantum match up. Jonathan stole my sealed deck sprint bye from me and I think it’s convinced me to never let him beat me again in any format. So now I’m a man on a mission (enter music…) and nothing’s gonna stop us now.
Ok enough of the Mannequin soundtrack.
So this is another single moving game in which I went first against. He bypasses me at some point and stops at 6. He is pretty beaten up at this point with only 2 or 3 companions remaining. I’m also in very rough shape and have stopped at 6 right behind him. Nazgul are killing both our fellowships quite nicely. I regret discarding my Grown Suddenly Tall at the beginning because these Blade Tips are going to be the death of me. He then moves to my site 7 and is surprised to see I have chosen the Hornburg wall. I have a really killer hand but decide to make it truly killed by only playing Grima and Lemenya. Leaving 9 in the pool. He blocked Frodo with Lemenya and I failed to transfer a Black Breath which would have acted like a pump and won me the game. Damn. So I force him to double move. I play a bunch of Naz and all that’s left is Frodo with 2 burdens. Beauty. Unfortunately now it’s my turn to move to the Hornburg wall. Luckily he doesn’t do enough damage and can’t make me move again. So he moves to Palantir Chamber after playing Arwen and a Lorien Swordsman (nice man!) and I play Enquea, Toldea and 2 burdens get me Lemenya. That’s game.
Good: I’ve started a new undefeated record against Jonathan. I shall not lose.
Bad: I didn’t realize how good Lemenya was. Transferring a Black Breath is so money.
Ugly: Making him move again into a pile of Nazgul hungry for blood.

Round 4.
Me *(1873) vs Peter Wilson (1607)’s Isengard Orcs (snicker)/Rohan-HIDAN
So the only guy I won’t get to play today is Fred Cote. But that’s okay because I play him every Thursday night at the Race to Mount Doom. Plus I love playing against Peter and his ‘perfect’ shadow decks. I was lucky enough to kill Eomer with a Blade Tip/Black Breath combo early on. My fellowship is really strong and moves to site 7 King’s Room. I play the Lady of Rohan as a splash card and she isn’t supposed to live that long but she did and thanks for that. Peter follows me to his own King’s room with Boromir and Frodo. Boromir has to exert (haha) and I play 2 Nazgul to end the game.
Good: Peter played nice and quick against me. I hope that’s a new habit
Bad: Nothing really
Ugly: Peter’s deck.

So I would have won the tournament perhaps had it been real! Damn. Anyway I win two booster packs and pull out Valleys of the Mark with a Desert Legion. Ick. Oh well. It was real fun to play casual like that yet in an organized format. Perfect. Steve gives me a lift home and our fun day ends.

• Jill for providing prize support. She rocks.
• Steve for giving me a lift and driving out for an early breakfast. This must become tradition says I.
• Jonathan for being the only other Team Quantum to show up in true colours.
• Peter for showing up (even if he plays slow, I don’t care, just keep coming cuz you’re a fun guy)
• Matt Mitchell for being more and more dedicated to LOTR. His decks are getting very interesting.
• Matt’s lady-friend (I wish I could remember her damn name) for getting me free coffee.
• Oh ya, more props to Steve for buying my Tim Horton’s.
• Oh yeah (I almost forgot) Steve for buying Wendy and I breakfast (even though we fought for the bill like cats and dogs in front of the waiter) too funny…
• Fred Cote for showing up.

• The BadBeef brothers for not showing up
• Ariadne for not showing up
• John Bernatchez for not showing up.
• Me for not bringing my car (although, in a way, I’m happy I didn’t because I wouldn’t have played cards but prolly ended up hanging out with my GF and her crazy annoying friend)

So that’s it. Thanks guys for reading all my tournament reports and for being supportive and stuff. Thanks to Tim McKnight for making a TR contest which got me into this whole thing in January. I’m off to Syracuse next week for the TOC so check out DGMA to see if I win. Either way, I hope to see all of you at Origins and I’ll be sure to write a TR for that trip (Team CardShark will consist of myself, Patrick and David Malboeuf, Mathieu Brochu (who will be bringing his GF!)).

Happy gaming…

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