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CardShark Content - Patrick Sullivan (8/12/2003)

Pre-tourney jank

Well, well, my last big tournament of the year. After doing so poorly at Worlds, I’m happy to give one last kick at the can at competitive play. I’m not sure exactly who will be in attendance. The only ones I know of for sure are Peter Sundholm, Alan Sagan (hopefully with his girlfriend), the Freedom brothers and John ‘King of Scrubs’ Curran.

The weekend consists of various level events in Standard, Open and Towers Formats. The big day is Saturday which is a big cash event that will take most of the day and is in Standard format. The night before, there is something called a cash warm-up tournament in Towers Block. Also on Friday is a last-man standing tournament where you keep playing until you get beaten twice. Last one standing wins two boxes of boosters!

So my philosophy has changed somewhat after watching Mike Dalton win two back-to-back conventions with the same deck. I used to change decks completely between every single local tournament as well as major con. I figured it would keep me on my toes for the various strategies and keep me fresh. But Dalton seems to play very similar decks from con to con and show true mastery at them. When he managed to beat a Moria deck 2 games out of three against the best Moria player in the world, Pat Malboeuf, at Worlds, I was convinced right then and there that I need to find decks that speak to me and just stick with them. Then after they do well or don’t do well, I’ll simply fine tune it by replacing up to 20% of the cards in the deck. Hopefully this will work. Anyway it’s my plan once I attack the new base set, Return of the King.

So originally, Brochu and both Malboeufs were going to consider coming to this event but one after the other backed out and I find myself going all alone L But heck, it’ll still be blast cuz the guys from B.C. and Washington State are the best. John Curran who was key in organizing the event, has promised to show me the town and we plan on hitting the casino first thing Thursday evening!

So what decks am I bringing? For Standard (the big-money deck), Dalton has convinced me that Rohan is viable against Moria. And with the new We Left None Alive, Dunland is less problematic. Plus Hretel seems to be a natural strength nine for 2 twilight! That is crazy. I’ve asked Enrique if that’s right and am still waiting for an answer. I’ll be sure to let you know a little later. As far as I can tell, it’s the same principle as Son of Drogo so I don’t see what I can’t heal a woundless minion for a plus three strength boost. So I am going for a pure Rohan deck with an Aragorn ROTN thrown in for good luck and a Greenleaf in the event of Dunland. My shadow is heavy Uruk beats.

My Open deck is the same one I brought to GenCon that lost only to Will Cruse. It is a huge fellowship pile that is teched against Uruks and sets up quickly through it’s moria-shadow counterpart. Plus the four cave trolls help to slow down my opponent’s fellowship.

Towers Block? Well I’ve been knocking myself on the head ever since GenCon because the deck I had brought was the same one that Robert S (from Colorado) played and placed second behind Matt Olsen. Which means I would have most certainly qualified on Day Two because I had the right deck! Instead I played in Standard format and went 5-3. So I got so mad after I saw Robert’s decklist and noticed it was the same as mine, that I dismantled it quickly and built a direct damage deck similar to Olsen’s beast. I’ve been playtesting it Online and I even manage to bypass sanctuary at site 6 against Uruk Archery and survive! What a deck!

So with these three weapons, I hope to win some cash at Spokane but if not, then I most certainly plan on having a grand old time with a bunch of really cool friends.

Day Zero – Thursday, August 7th, 2003

Well I get up around 8 in the morning and don’t have to leave until 11 for the airport so I hop on the computer and try to find some opponents in the LOTR Online game. No one’s around so Battlefield 1942 it is. I shoot up a bunch of Germans and Japanese and feel less stressed afterwards J

So off to the airport and a really expensive breakfast L. Plane takes off late which sucks because I’m meeting my uncle and cousins in Calgary during my 2-hour layover between connecting flights. On the flight I get to watch Finding Nemo which was totally hilarious. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud on numerous occasions.

Get to Calgary, spend some valuable time with family I haven’t seen for 2 years or so. Eat a Subway sandwich and jump onto a 16-seater airplane for Spokane. It was the smallest airplane I’ve ever seen. Those props are loud! Anyway I found the flight to be pretty darn stressful cuz of all the movements and thunderstorms and such. By the time I get to Spokane, our flight was crazy late and I had picked out most of the hairs of my beard.

I was crazy happy to see John Curran waiting for me at the airport. So nice to not have to worry about getting a cab and figuring out where the heck the hotel is. So I jump into John’s gigantic Caprice station wagon and we drive out to the Oxford Suites. My room is like totally huge (4 beds in two rooms) and John managed to get me it for 50 bucks a night which is too cool. The room comes with free breakfast and two free drinks at the bar a day. You have to go and get coupons at the front desk and everytime they ask me how many people in my room, I say four and they give me coupons for 8 free drinks! (even though I’m all by myself in the roomJ So this means I’ll be buying drinks for Peter Sundholm and Dave Hymas hopefully on several occasions!

So John and I decide to blow through the free drinks right away and hit the bar. I try the Merlot which is terrible but not as terrible as the bartender’s casual conversation skills. He goes on and on about how his trying out a Psychic hotline turned into a very expensive fiasco. I told him to rent Punch-Drunk Love and he’ll really eat it up.

So then John and I drive out to the local card shop, GameQuest, where his brother, Dan is trying to win the first Standard tournament ever held at the store. I get to meet their friend, Cody, and witness Dan getting a win over a Dunland deck by using Dalton’s worlds deck. Touch match-up but Dan pulls it off somehow and wins the tournament.

So we tell Cody and Dan to follow us in the car and meet us at the hotel bar so that we can hit the casino later on or something. John and I then drive back to the hotel and hit the bar. This time I try the White Zinfindel (my mother’s favourite wine) and it is even worse than the Merlot. But not as bad as another round of listening to the Bartender’s awful stories. Dan and Cody have not shown up and John says screw it, let’s go see my new apartment. Sounds good to me. I wanted to meet his gf, Sarah.

So John has just moved into this new apartment so we take off and drive over there where I’m greeted by Sarah who offers me some no-name cola beverage. I think it was Special K cola or something. She then sends us on errands to get cat food and MacDonald’s for her, the cat and her friend Erica.

So once again, John and I take off in the over-sized Caprice and hit up THREE different grocery stores in search of the elusive rare cat-food (the only one the cat won’t throw up). We can’t find it and my system is starting to crash cuz of a combination of jet-lag and really crappy cola. I’m constantly clutching my chest wondering if I’m going to have a heart attack or a diabetic seizure from the cola while we drive around town hitting every grocery store in Spokane. Finally we just settle on some cat food and hit the drive thru of MacDonalds. At this point I’m no longer hungry so we just get food for the girls. This Macdonald’s happens to have 3 drive thru windows and John completely misses it this first time thru. I yell THAT WAS IT, and he hits the brakes as if there were a kid in front of the car. The caprice comes to a screeching halt and we back up to the window where the drive-thru clerk greets us with an incredulous look on her face. We sheepishly take the food and take off and then remember that Sarah wanted Sweet and Sour sauce or we wouldn’t hear the end of it. So John doubles back to the MacDonalds and once again completely misses the drive thru window but this time he sees it himself that he missed it and once again SLAMS on the brakes to a screeching halt. We back up to the window and I’m just too embarrassed for words. Keep in mind that the whole time I’m on this crazy sugar rush from the crappy cola and am constantly clutching my chest trying to relax my heart rate. Quite the evening.

So back to the apartment to drop off the food and then we (John and I) drive back to the hotel and find Dan and Cody (who we had completely forgotten about) camped out in front of my hotel room door. They had been waiting for 90 minutes while John and I went joy-riding on our cat food crusade.

So they get to playtesting and I can’t even finish sentences anymore at this point so I close the door and fall asleep listening to Cody and the Curran brothers playtesting and dancing until 3 or 4 in the morning.

Day One – Friday

I wake up at 5:30 in the morning since it is 8h30 in the morning back home and I can’t sleep anymore. So I see that Dan Curran has decided to crash on one of the beds so I try to quietly shower and get downstairs for 6 just in time to be the first to cash in on his free hot breakfast. Sausages, eggs and raw potatoes seem to be the menu of the day (oh and bad coffee (Sagan agrees). So I wolf in down and decide to walk around town a bit.

Let me say that Spokane is, so far, the most beautiful city I’ve been to play cards in. Cheasapeake was the worst. Columbus, ohio a close second. Milwaukee was fairly awful as well but I was pleasantly surprised by Indianapolis and Vegas. However, Spokane really takes the cake. A river runs right thru the downtown area surrounded by a park area where cars cannot pass. So you can walk around the downtown area along the river and not see or hear any automobiles. It’s pretty amazing.

Anyway back to the hotel for 10 in the morning for the double-elimination standard format tournament where the winner gets two boxes of either Towers, Helm’s Deep or Ents.

Let me say that double-elimination may seem like a fun format to play in but I highly recommend against it unless you are EXACTLY 8 or 16 players. Anymore, and it becomes a very very long day. We were 13 players which is just enough for 3 byes to be given out each and every round pretty much.

Round One

Me and my Rohan/Tracker deck versus THE BYE.

FW +3 / 3

Round Two

Mike French playing the Robert S. deck from Colorado

Good: This was basically the Worlds finals all over again so I knew I had the advantage.

Mike is a great opponent and he constantly cracks me up. We like pitting the Canadians against the Americans often and this was a fine example of a match up.

Bad: I was fairly teched against his shadow

Result: Full win getting a shadow kill at site 9

FW +3 / 6

Round Three

Dave Kitzman and his Moria-Ent deck

Good: I got frying pan and fortress never fallen out before site 6

Bad: I doubled each and every turn 1-3-5-7-9 Why did I double to site 7 when he was at site 3?!

Ugly: I forgot the Cavern Entrance game text and took needless wounds.

Result: FW site 9 fellowship

FW +3 / 9

Round Four

Ryan French with his HIDAN/Moria

Good: Ryan is just a capable opponent as his brother and is crazy polite.

Bad: Ryan playing Moria is a very slow and meticulous process. This lead to the game timing out.

Ugly: Cave troll with chain and hammer VERY often appearing in this game.

Result: Timed Win and site 8. I really don’t know if I could have pulled off a full win or not. It was a pretty tight match.

TW +2 /11 actually I really shouldn’t be keeping track of victory points because all that matters in double elimination is not losing twice. So far I’m undefeated thus earning my way into the finals.

Round Five (Finals)

Dave Kitzman again with his ents-moria

John Curran decided to make the finals non-timed which caused our games to go VERY long. At least an hour long. I thought Ryan French was slow but this guy takes the cake.
Going into this game was cool because he already had a loss so I only had to win one game. If I lost then we would play again for elimination and crown a winner.

This game was so damn long that I can’t remember anything that happened.

Result: Full loss site 9. I got the Sneak bomb played on me. I had Frodo and an UNWOUNDED sam with Frying pan and ATAR. But he had FOUR Armories on the table with a Guard Commander and tons of pool. I just couldn’t get the win.

Round Six (finals – sudden death)

Dave Kitzman Moria-Ents

Good: The sexiest cheerleader Matt “w00t” Hilderman was in my corner.

Bad: This was also quite slow

Ugly: I won the bid and decided to go second (I figured I’d be all smart like Dalton was when he made Malboeuf does second in the semi-finals of Worlds).

Ugly: Mike French J

Result: I almost pulled out some mad tech of using the Snakes & Ladders move of making my opponent slide back to site 1 when they advance to site 9 but it didn’t work.

Full Loss Site 9 his fellowship outran mine no problem at all.

So I lose the double elimination tournament and while Dave gets two boxes of boosters, I end up with 6 or 7 booster PACKS of Helm’s Deep (yuck) J

Next was the Open tournament. Because I had to wait for the loser’s bracket to resolve before playing in the finals with Dave Kitzman, I had time to play in an ENTIRE 4-round Open format tournament. So essentially I played in two tournaments at the exact same time. It was pretty wild. I felt like on of those chess gurus that can play two games at once.

Open Format tourney (I’m playing for the final time my KFC deck from Worlds)

Round One

Chris with his Moria-Ents-Gandy-Gorn deck

Good: Our decks were really well matched up

Bad: I had to run against the Cave Troll with all his toys

Ugly: New Balrog with Spear is awful to face. I forgot that 18 power is double my stength 9 boromir with armor, Horn and Blade so he dies for NO reason.

Result: Full Loss at site 9 his fellowship runs against my crappy moria.

FL +1 /1

Round Two:

Dan Curran! With his Gollum Corruption/Gandy Shirefolk with toys

Good: Dan is a really fun opponent and we had a crazy relaxed game

Bad: Well I bid three to start (which proves that I didn’t scout) and he gets Gollum out alone at site 2 which STOPS me after adding a burden! Boromir couldn’t defeat the little stinker.

Ugly: I then draw into my ONLY Sam, Son of Hamfast at the next site (my deck is like 88 cards too).

Result: Full Win my fellowship at site 9

FW +3 /4

Round Three

Dave Hymas and his anti-ally uruk bomb with Gondor-Choke archery

Good: I managed to get out a troll at site 8 thanks to Wizard’s Vale

Bad: Choke was really making it hard for me to get out a decent swarm.

Ugly: Not much. It was a real good game. He played a Stalker at site 2 clueing me into his shadow strategy so I just discarded Filibert, Albert, Bounder, Barliman when they came up.

Result: Full Win site 8 shadow kill with the troll

FW +3 /7

Round Four

Nicholas Nelson and his Rohan-Gandalf/ Sauron Swarm

Good: I really wanted to discard one of my three goblin runners that I drew into before site 3 but I decided to keep them in case I get lucky (like I do against Brochu) at site 4. So all three runners come down at site 4

Bad: nothing

Ugly: 30 pool at site 4 with a guard commander and ONE orc on Frodo.

Result: FW shadow kill site 4

FW +3 / 10

So I come in 3 place overall and then go and get defeated by Dave Kitzman in the Standard Double elimination tournament.

However, I have brought a killer deck for the Towers Cash tournament at 7pm.

So even after getting defeated by Kitzman, I’m confident enough with my Towers Block deck that I can pull it off tonite.

Before the tournament tho, I have time to have a couple beers with Peter Sundholm and Dave Hymas at the hotel bar. Moments like those are what the cons and tournaments are all about for me and I’m happy to know that Peter is on the same page as me. So we just relax and kick back and by the time the towers tournament is starting, I’m pretty soused.

Round One

Chris and his Rohan-Dunland (YES!) deck

Good: I am MASSIVELY teched against Dunland

Bad: His Rohan deck is ONE culture so my 4 orc insurgents are a waste of space

Ugly: He gets out Grima CC against my four cultures and smiles. I then smile back and play Fury of the White Rider wounded Grima twice as my first maneuver action.

Result: Full Win site 9 fellowship

FW +3 / 3

Round Two

Dan Curran again! J and his Ring bound rangers and Dauntless Hunter ?!

Good: Dan is such a fun opponent. And we both ran like hell.

Bad: We are starting to get pretty tired and are laughing at everything

Ugly: Nothing. It was a really fun game.

Result: Full win site 9

FW +3 / 6

Round Three

John Curran! And his Dunland / Rohan-Gorn deck

Good: John the king of scrubs curran playing Dunland against me. How can I possibly lose? J

Bad: I don’t draw into any of my 4 Roll of Thunders before site 6

Ugly: He manages to control a site at site 5 or 6 and at site 7 he gets out a decent group of Dunlendings. My Lorien Swordsmen won’t last long against those men so I block using my beefy Frodo and Sam with swords. I block something big with Frodo and he plays one of those plus four pumps. I then play Severed His Bonds and say TAKE THAT SUCKA! He then plays another plus four pump and Frodo dies passing the ring to Sam. Sam is power 5 against a Hillman Tribe (power 9). I pass and he plays ANOTHER plus four pump. Game

Result: Full Loss shadow kill site 7

FL +1 / 7

Round Four

Ryan French

Killer Uruk Archery/5 culture fellowship

Good: at site 5, I play as much of a swarm as possible and say that’s it. We then move to the maneuver phase and I realized I forgot to use Evil Smelling Fen’s gametext to get someone from my discard pile. I ask for a takeback and Ryan is nice enough to let me do it. So I exert Gollum twice to get an Orc Insurgent and exert twice to add 6 pool and draw 6 cards. Out comes 6 more orcs and BAM, game. LOL

Bad: I felt so bad about that takeback which instantly resulted in Ryan’s elimination.

Result: Full Win Shadow Kill site 5

FW +3 /10

So John Curran goes undefeated to win the whole thing and I place second. Not too bad. Ryan and I agree that none of this nonsense will happen tomorrow if we get paired up.

So after 14 hours of straight gaming (it is now midnight), Alan Sagan arrives with his gf, Sheri and other Canadians as well (A.J. and Sean). But I am so darn tired that I just go up to bed and fall asleep in two seconds.

Day Two, Saturday, the DPC

I wake up and head downstairs to try the breakfast again. This time, the eggs are totally overcooked and the coffee is even worse than the day before. So I decide that tomorrow I’m going to a decent breakfast place (free breakfast be damned). I walk around town once again and pass a really cool university campus and other nice landmarks and get totally relaxed for the big Standard cash tournament today.

Unfortunately only a couple dozen people show up (we had capacity for 120) so the cash prize will only be 160 bucks to the winner. Oh well. Spending a day playing cards with Peter Sundholm, Alan Sagan, Mike and Ryan French, John and Dan Curran is a pretty decent way to spend a Saturday afternoon says I.

Round One

Sean from B.C. and his Uruks-corruption / ent deck

Good: My shadow totally pulls it off (which I never thought it could)

Bad: The play was really slow going and I got really stressed out for a timed win

Ugly: Out game almost timed out but I rushed thru site 8 and got him to move to site 9 first

Result: Shadow kill site 9. Saruman SOTE is the best card ever

FW +3 /3

Round Two

Dave Kitzman and Moria-Hidan

Good: Tough match but I’m glad both my fortess never fallen came out early

Bad: No frying pan all game

Ugly: Time was once again my enemy (Dave is a crazy slow player as well) so I was forced to not play my gorgeous hand of minions at site 7 so that I could move to nine with my fellowship before time ran out.

Result: Full Win and site 9 with my fellowship

FW +3 /6

Round Three

PETER SUNDHOLM (I’ve been looking forward to this for sometime now. We’ve never been matched up ever)

Deck: The perfect meta against my deck. It is a mega out-wound deck with Anti-multi culture (orc insurgent), moria archery with trolls and desert lords and plenty of enqueas. Fellowship is a Dauntless Wingchow that plays FOUR PATHS

Good: Peter is the best opponent and this must have been my favourite match of the weekend even tho it was tough as nails for me. I haven’t had the privelege to see Sundholm’s game-face yet but I was pretty confident it would be as laid back as he is usually. However, there is one difference. Once Peter sits down and pulls out his deck and move token, out comes these HUGE reading glasses that are totally Uncle Junior (Sopranos)- style. It’s hilarious cuz they add about 100 years to poor ol’ Peter. But he has such a great sense of humour that I think I would have been laughing along with him even if I didn’t have the glasses to laugh at J lol

Bad: I have to say that I don’t care much for the Water Ring when you’ve got 9 archery coming at your fellowship and zero burdens on frodo.

Ugly: I’ve got 6 exhausted companions and Peter plays Enquea, Desert Lord and Orc Insurgent along with a bunch of crappy little Archers. Frodo suddenly finds himself alone in a sea of dead companions and I haven’t even hit the assignment phase yet. With a Desert Lord, Enquea and a ton of Orcs foaming at the mouth, our little hobbit doesn’t get to see Mount Doom this time around.

Result: Full loss site 8 shadow kill

FL +1 /7

Round Four

A.J. from BC with his Moria / rohan-gondor

Good: He is wearing one of those awesome Canada jerseys from the last winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The shirt is mad tech against strong patriots like Mike French and others

Bad: AJ mistakenly blocks an Uruk Runner at site 2 in the fierce skirmish with Frodo (the runner has a Broad-Bladed sword) and thus 12-6 overwhelms Frodo. Luckily Sam is around to grab the ring.

Ugly: I got Saruman out at almost every site when he needed to show up. Mostly SOTE with Staff. Ouch.
Result: FW shadow kill

FW+3 /10

Round Five

Dave Hymas with Wingchow 4 paths DH – Moria Archery

Good: He forget Elrond with Vilya to heal before moving to site 8 Valley of Saruman where he gets discarded.

Bad: I get to see two enqueas back to back and it ravaged thru my fellowship

Ugly: he has 2 paths at site 9 against a very smartly played shadow phase. I really thought I had him, oh well.

Result: FL his fellowship at site 9

FL +1 / 11

Round Six

Ryan ‘dick’ French and his Moria-crappy fellowship made up of Gorn and Rohan

Good: All is well with the world because of the takeback he allowed me yesterday, Ryan gets to exact his revenge on me and ends up winning the entire event and the 160 bucks

Bad: That darn moria is always giving me a hard time. I doubled far too often and moves to site 9 unprepared. The next two cards were Sam and Aragorn.

Result: Full loss at site 9 shadow kill

FL +1 /12

So I end up going 3-3 overall which is almost as pathetic as Mike French’s 2-4 !! What happened to us? In Standard format, I once heard that Nazgul are quite powerful. My fellowship would have eaten Ringwraiths for breakfast but I didn’t get to see ONE all day long. Plus if I had stuck with my trusty nazgul shadow instead of the crappy trackers, I would have had way more shadow kills for sure.

Anyway congrats to Ryan French for winning the whole thing. It was great to see him win.

So after I’m out of the competition, it is like 6 pm or so. I have a bunch of drinks with Alan Sagan and Dan Curran and the gang and then hit up a nice restaurant for a great meal. I follow that by going to see 28 Days Later once again just so I can see the alternate ending. Let me say that it is the worst alternate ending in the history of alternate endings. If you are thinking of going just for that (like I did ) DON’T. You’re better off flushing your money down the toilet.

Day Three, Sunday

Well as promised I cross the street and try out another breakfast place. Ripples on the Water, it’s called. I’m tempted to try the Eggs Benedict but just go for a real basic breakfast and it’s 10 times better than the free breakfast at the hotel. However, the coffee is even WORSE. So I go back to the hotel and hit the fancy coffee shop at the front desk and get a Breve (which I’ve never had). Best coffee I’ve had in months (in fact I think I’ll get another one right after I’m done this tournament report).

After breakfast, I hit the Business Centre of the hotel and decide to write us this tournament report (well at least right up until this very point.) I’ll finish the rest when I get home tomorrow…

…okay I’m home now, so lemme finish up this already lengthy report J

Charity tournament. 4 rounds 11 players. 1 survivor

I’m playing the same Rohan-Tracker deck I’ve been playing all weekend. Peter Sundholm and Dave Hymas left last night so I won’t have to deal with their tough moria archery deck so perhaps I can win a tournament today…

Round One

AJ from BC going for revenge

Deck: Uruks with Rohan-Gandalf mix

Good: AJ gets another kick at me this weekend

Bad: My firefoot got speared at site 2 (exactly what I did to AJ our last game J

Ugly: I have Arrow Slits on the table and AJ plays an Uruk with a Spear and then gloats that he will get rid of my last two mounts. I’m kinda laughing cuz I think he hasn’t seen my arrow slits yet so I say, ‘watch this’ to my friend who was watching and then AJ plays Saruman’s Power to get rid of my Slits. Then he spears the rest of my horseys…

Result: Full loss shadow kill site 8

FL +1 /1

Well this is starting off fabulous, no?

Round Two

ALAN SAGAN! And his ComicCon day One deck (I think it was the Dalton day one deck too)

Good: Alan rocks and we both have bounties placed on our heads so the winner gets a bunch of raffle tickets.

Bad: Nothing

Ugly: I’m about to move to site 9 with a pretty beat up fellowship but before I do, I play Sam PP and Hretel. Poor Alan…

Result: Full Win site 9

FW +3 / 4

Round Three

Nicholas Nelson and his Gandalf-Rohan-Tracker deck

Good: Nick was a really fun opponent

Bad: At site 2, Nick gets out Ugluk and friends along with a Saruman AND a Lurtz. Ouch.

Ugly: I have the EXACT same situation with the Arrow Slits / many mounts on the table / Uruk Spear and this time Nick gets out a Black Traitor to get rid of my Arrow Slits and thus all my horses get speared.

Result: Full loss site 9 his fellowship beats mine.

FL +1 /5

Round Four

My last game all weekend and I get the BYE

Full win +3 /8

The prize support is really cool. I get a page of foils (9 different ones) along with a bunch of rares and more foils)

So I went 2-2 (after going 3-3 yesterday). Wow, what a terrible performance. I was on such fire Friday and that fire got quenched pretty quickly….

So I go and have a nap for an hour and come back down for the raffle draws. Because I had pre-registered for all the events, I got double tickets. Peter Sundholm would have also had a lot of tickets but he left yesterday so my chances are pretty good at picking up some stuff.

I’ve got my eye on the complete set of rares from the first 5 sets of LOTR. I also want the two rook storage cases. I’d also like the set of Star Wars computer games (Rebel Assault I and II along with Dark Forces). Steve Jackson’s Munchkin would also be really cool.

Anyway, James is doing the raffle in a really cool way. He puts up three different prizes and if your number is called, you go up and pick one of them. The first 6 prizes are really lame (at least in my eyes) so my number is called up and I take the LOTR Roleplaying game which I end up putting back on the prize table since I really don’t want to ever roleplay ever again. I’ve done my time.

James puts up Steve Jackson’s Munchkin (which is a really cool card game you guys should see). One of the items (a card) is something called a Sneaky Bastard Sword and the picture is this little halfing warrior with a huge sword trying to sneak up on a hairy monster reading PLAYTROLL magazine. It’s a hilarious game. SO I’m really hoping my number gets called up and instead Mike French grabs it. Darn. He says he might sell it so I think about it.

Next item is the LOTR atlas. I win this item and Mike French trades Munchkin for it. HURRAY! Then I get the feeling that he might be regretting the trade a wee bit so I throw him 20 bucks.

Then James says let’s make things interesting and he puts up a Star Wars roleplaying guide thing and the complete set of LOTR rares. I am crossing my fingers and James says the first two numbers which are 27 (I own the entire series of tickets from 272-279 so as long as the next number isn’t 0 or 1, I’m the king). And he then says SEVEN and I scream like a little girl. I then run up to the prize table and grab the Star Wars book, hold it over my head and say YES!

Obviously joking, I chuck the book back on the table and grab the set of rares.

After that John Curran wins the Mount Doom league kit along with the Rook Steel case that housed my rare set of cards (which I really wanted).

So I end up winning the Munchkin game, set of rares, all the Star Wars computer games, a Rohan deluxe Starter and a Rook storage deck case. Not too bad!

I also won a bunch of really awesome star wars CCG cards (like Japanese foil rares and stuff) but everytime I did, I just gave them to Ryan French since he stills plays and I don’t and he’s a cool guy that gives me takebacks that win me games J

So after this, a whole gang of us head on over to Perkins for supper. I have this horrible milkshake with an even more horrible burger. But hanging out and chatting with Alan Sagan, Sheri, A.J., Justin and especially John and Dan curran was totally worth the experience. We then leave the restaurant, make it halfway back and Alan realizes he left Sheri in the bathroom. It was too funny.

I then say my goodbyes to pretty much the entire gang and just hang out the rest of the night with John and Dan Curran. We end up at the NorthQuest Indian Casino where I really feel like playing BlackJack.

We head towards the entrance and Dan (who is 17) realizes they are checking ID’s after his mom said they didn’t. So Dan’s stomach is knotting up and he is walking right behind me so he says, ‘start a conversation.’ So we start chatting and the old guard guy looks at me right in the eyes. Then I use the old trick of not breaking eye contact so he keeps his gaze locked to mine as I walk past him with Dan right behind me. All he could see of Dan in his peripheral vision was that Dan had facial hair like me. I am obviously older than 21 so he prolly grouped Dan in the same category and Dan gets in! Sweet. Right behind both John Curran and his gf, Sarah are getting carded. Too funny.

So I scope out the tables and most of the 5 dollar tables are free (to my surprise). However there is ONE spot at the three dollar table so since I’ve never played 3-dollar blackjack, I try that one out. I throw down 191$ on the table and the fat dealer gives me the stink eye and says ‘you want all that at a three dollar table?’ I’M all embarrassed so I pull back 100 bucks and wager just the 91. I can’t bring myself to wager only 3 dollars a hand so I keep betting 5. Before I know it, I’m down 20 bucks, then the dealer changes to cute old Rebecca and I’m up 65 bucks! Then they switch to Thomas and I’m down 40 bucks, then they switch to Evelyn and I’m even steven. Then they switch to Mike and I’m up 30 bucks. So I say, that’s enough silliness and I colour up thus making 30 bucks overall. Sweet! I should have wagered more per hand or at least played a 5 or 10 dollar table. These guys at the 3-dollar tables have no idea what they’re doing. Two guys split 10s! TENS! What the heck?

So it’s now midnight and John, Dan and I wait around the parking lot while Sarah and Erica try to find a gas station cuz John doesn’t have enough in his tugboat Caprice to go looking for gas. So John, Dan and I are freezing our butts off waiting around with the security guys at the front door giving us dirty looks when I spot a plastic glass filled with water standing upright on the asphalt about 10 metres away. I start to walk past it all casual like with visions of Charlie Brown, Lucy and the football flashing in my head and then I turn around to start to run at it with plans to kick it and spray both Dan and John with it but as I turn around Dan already has me figured out and we both run at it at the same time. I walked too far away and Dan wins the race giving the cup a mighty kick and dousing me with whatever the heck was in that cup.

Luckily Sarah arrives soon after before we have time to do more stupid things like that. MTV should have had cameras around the parking lot and catching us for some Johnny Knoxville tribute or something…

John Curran drives us both home (me to my hotel) and I fall fast asleep.

Day Four, Monday, August 11th, 2003

My radio alarm goes off playing Norah Jones which puts me more into a deep sleep instead of waking me up. By the time I come to, I have 15 minutes before John is supposed to pick me up. I throw all my prizes in my bag, wash up and race downstairs in time for a quick Brevé as John is sitting in the lobby waiting for me. He’s nice enough to drive me to the airport (my personal chauffeur all weekend long!) and I make my flight to Calgary.

In Calgary, I have time for a Tim Horton’s lunch before my connecting flight but I have to go thru customs. I then get the same Q&A that we’ve all been through at least once in our CCG careers (if you travel between countries).

Q: Where you coming from?

A: Spokane

Q: What were you going there?

A: I was in a card tournament.

Q: A CAR tournament?

A: No, idiot. C-A-R-D. Card. As in ‘I’m going to shove this pack of Cards up your rectum if you don’t wave me through.’


A: (uh oh, I think I’ve said too much. Better try another trick…) …. I then wave my hand slowly through the air and state confidently, ‘These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.’

..you know how the rest goes.

Overall, it was the best LOTR tournament weekend I’ve ever played in. I heard they are planning on doing two of these per year. I look forward to next spring for the next one (I hope I get invited back as a Guest of Honour once again! J

Props go to:

James and Orion games for hosting such an incredible weekend of gaming. The prize support was the best I’ve EVER seen in my life.
John Curran for not only ORGANIZING all the events of the weekend but winning every single game he played in at the same time. I’m not sure how much longer my King of Scrubs title will hold water.
Dan Curran for laughing at ALL my jokes and being a cool guy to hang out with.
Alan Sagan for being a great opponent and driving down from Vancouver to have fun.
Sheri for beating Alan TWICE over the weekend at LOTR. Too funny.
Oxford Suites for being a really great venue for the event (free breakfast in the morning and free beer and wine in the evening. Can’t beat that!) Gamer’s paradise.
Spokane for being the nicest of the cities a LOTR event has been held. It’s so clean, you can eat right off the sidewalks.
AJ and Justin for ‘representin!’ and being really cool and fun guys
Peter Sundholm for being my favourite LOTR player. He’s certainly the one I identify with the most and I hope more players like us keep coming to these events.
Dave Hymas for making as many mistakes in LOTR as I do (oh, and for that beer we had together with Peter Friday evening)
Mike French for being so frickin’ hilarious and for the never-ending patriotic showdowns.
Ryan French for winning the whole thing and for that takeback with the hilarious reprecusions…
Nick Nelson for playing me so many times over the weekend and never losing faith (then beating me at the charity tournament!)
Dave Kitzman for being a great opponent (you just need to speed up, dude.) No one likes a slow player.


Air Canada for keeping me 60 minutes in the airplane waiting for a gate to open in Montreal. I so wanted to go home.
The word ‘Card’ which sounds too much like ‘Car’
The lady staying in the room beneath me that calls at 3 in the morning to complain of ‘dancing’ in the room above her when it’s just Cody tripping over himself.
Overcooked scrambled eggs.
The Blue Ring
MacDonald’s for having too many drive thru windows thus confusing the king of scrubs

That’s it, guys. More TRs next summer sometime. It’s been a great con season. Look forward to next year. For now, I’m going to concentrate on locals and try to prepare mentally for Return of the King.

If anyone is interested in buying the 1,000+ rares I got in Spokane, let me know. I have pretty much the full first five sets (I took only a few of them myself).

Thanks for reading. Look for articles from me on the DGMA sometime soon…

Patrick Sullivan

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