Worlds' Report from Andrew Sitte

I'm finally getting settled in after a great time in
Montreal, and the memories are still fresh...

I landed just after midnight on Friday night - I
couldn't get off of work to be there for the day, so
no open qualifiers for me.  I caught a quick cab to
Jimmy's place, but as expected everyone was still at
the Drinking Game, which I was also sorry to miss.

Saturday, August 25

The next day made me forget about what I'd missed -
right from the start it was great to be meeting so
many people from the list for the first time.  Since I
hadn't pre-qualified for semis, I went for sealed
deck.  1 starter, 1 TW booster, and 2 TD boosters left
me with a pretty good deck - Siege and The
Mithril-coat being my best 2 pulls.  I was happy to
get the Beorn fixed pack, even though the wizards
aren't great.

My first game was against one of the local players,
Francois.  Right from the start, there were problems -
5 characters bounced, leaving him with Pippin, Sam,
and Mablung, and me with Merry and Annalena.  I was
much luckier though - his first turn he played Bard
Bowman, on mine I played Beorn.  My next turn I played
Gimli, and the next my wizard.  Gimli came in at home
for the dwarves, then died trying to leave.  While I
did manage to get hung up on my own Siege for 2 turns,
having only his wizard with prowess greater than 3
meant that my hazard wreaked havoc, earning me a clean

The 2nd game was with Mark, who had slept in and had a
bye the first round.  It was only his 6th or 7th game
ever, but he still did a pretty good job.  On my side
of the table, though, everything was going right. 
(Except for Gimli getting snakes instead of the
necessary 3 for Iron Hill Dwarves).  I even Ringlored
a Dwarven Ring :).  Pallando died to an enhanced
auto-attack, and Boromir ran away with the Palantir of
Osgiliath on the last turn, helping me pull off
another 6-0.

After a quick lunch, we were back into it, and I was
up against Jean-luc, another local player.  I had been
sitting next to him during the first game, and heard
that he had pulled an Assassin, but his luck went much
deeper than that - Mouth of Sauron, Southrons, Return
of the King (and of course Aragorn), and The Balance
of Things.  Still, it was incredibly close the whole
game.  The final score was 23-21; if my Shadowfax had
lived, his Quickbeam wouldn't have doubled, and I
would've won 22-21.  This game was still a highlight
for me - I pulled both Beorn and Skin-changer, and
this was the only game where I used it.  Beorn the
bear killed 2 creatures before going back to my hand -
and the company was on the way to his house, so he
rejoined them the next turn.  2-4.

My last game put me up against Nate Gershanek, who I
had played many times online, but had never met
before.  We also had the same fixed pack, but he got
Thorin II in a booster, so I got Beorn.  Gimli
bounced, Nate played him first, and my Alatar
influenced him away while he was carrying Rescue
Prisoners.  Unfortunately, Alatar then died on his way
to steal the Beornings.  His hazards were hitting me
hard, but on my last turn I grabbed Woodmen and
Quickbeam to cancel both of his doubling, and to get
the 4 points to pull ahead 17-14.  4-2

Jean-luc ended up winning his last game 6-0, leaving
him with 22 points and me with 18.  Considering the
fact that this was my first tournament ever, I was
shocked to do as well as I did.  Jean-luc got a full
set of German Nazgul, and I nabbed the Burglar Baggins
puzzle and the Dutch The Iron Crown (5 cps, 0 mps! 

Sunday, August 26

The next day, Josh, Jimmy, Brian, and I showed up just
in time to start - Brian in the worlds finals and the
rest of us in NA Nationals open.  HUGE props to Chad
for putting so much work into getting Nationals done,
especially considering so much of his prize support
was straight out of pocket.

My first round, I paired off against Patrick Cochran. 
He was using Target-boy, but since my dwarves spend
90% of their time at Free and Border-holds, I have 3
FiF instead of 3 Assassins.  He was using Fog for
drakes and Lure of Nature - horray for dwarven
immunity to that!  My Unexpected Party got to do what
it wanted to mostly, since I took care to avoid 3x
wilderness (including moving through Nurn once, one of
the only regions that wasn't Fogged into wilderness,
and praying that he didn't drop MiA).  On the other
hand, both Gandalf and Gimli were killed on their
first move.  Ugh.  Thankfully, he wasn't getting as
many factions as he would have liked, helped both by
Foolish Words and poor dice rolls.  On my last turn, I
was up by 5 points (after -5 from Gandalf) but I
decided to go get the Men of Dorwinion anyway.  4
wilderness in the site path, but I was bursting with
hounds and steeds, so I figured I'd be okay.  Instead,
with a hazard limit of 7, he played 7 drakes.  3
True-fire, 1 Winged-cold, 1 Were-worm, 2 Rain-drakes. 
2 pets died, and Wormsbane was stolen, leaving me with
1 point less than him.  I thanked my luck that he
didn't Uvatha Were-worm back like he could have, grab
the faction, and win 33-31.

My next game was with Patrick Karcher, who I had done
business with before but met for the first time when
the pairings were announced.  He was using a fun
Galadriel deck that had managed to win his first game,
but I did better against it.  I own 1 Beorning
Skin-changers, but it worked 3 times against him, as
did Baduila and a couple Rivers (I wasn't playing
roadblock, but the few roadblock cards I had did
wonders).  I wasn't doing a lot of damage, but I was
able to slow him down a lot, and when time was called
my dwarves had done just about all they possibly
could: 46-26.

Since time was short, there was only time for one more
round, and it put me up against Jim Montanus.  He was
using hobbits (not to dunk) and I, being terrified of
a dunk, had Lobelia, 2 Nobody's Friends, and 2 Pilfer
Anything Unwatched in my deck straight up. 
Skin-changers got recycled again, Foolish Words did
their thing, and Fatty got Pilfered.  His corruption
hazards had me scared - an early Greed on guard made
playing Durin's Axe later a horrifying moment for me,
but luckily that on guard card was a bluff.  Right
near the end, he did corrupt away Thorin, with
Wormsbane and 2 pets.  Still, when time was called, I
was 15 points ahead, I had a Pilfer in my hand, and he
had no factions (I had about 11 points of them).
His turn:  He plays Aragorn, moves with Gandalf to
Minas Tirith.  Return of the King, Palantir of Minas
Tirith, The White Tree.  The hobbits move to Druadan
Forest.  I roll Pilfer for Bilbo, who is carrying
Jim's only ally.  OF course, it comes up a 3.  He gets
the Woses.  We tally up points, and it's a dead tie:

With only 12 points, I figured I didn't have a chance,
but it turned out that only Jim (13) and Josh Grace
(18) had more than that.  There was a 3-way tie with
12s, but the tie-breaker put Dave Stegman and me into
the finals.  Everyone went to dinner at Nick & Marios
for the awards ceremony, where I had a great time
talking to more people and learning to pronounce Luc's
name.  Afterwards, it was decided that 1 round would
be played that night, and the other 2 would be the
next morning.  Chad said that we could change decks if
we wanted to, but we didn't have much time.

Since Josh and I were both staying with Jimmy, we went
back and started up.  I knew what Josh's FW deck did,
and decided that my minion deck would be better
against it (I had my hero for against it during the
open, but since we were allowed to switch decks I
designated my minion for vs fw).  I was expecting to
get crushed, but instead he just beat me mercilessly. 
On my first turn, I moved to Moria (I know, I know). 
He played Khamul, tapped to send 5 hazards to his
discard - Uvatha came out, and grabbed Durin's Bane
from his discard.  Woo!  Luckily, that's all he had,
and Dwalin survived his body check (Bombur wasn't so
lucky).  Even though Tiger-Radagast using Bold Thrust
was wounded by a Cave Worm, Josh was able to quickly
recover and by the time he called, even my Chilled
Elf-lords didn't do much.  3 Rivers on my last turn
kept him ahead, but only for a 2-4.

Monday, August 27

The next morning, I started off being paired with Dave
Stegman.  I was terrified of this match, because I had
heard that he was using Maladies.  He was, and it
hurt: 4 characters were Maladied, including Thrain II
and Balin.  2 characters were killed, and 1 was
corrupted - at the end of the game, I had ONE
character point.  Oin RULES - he survived all 6
strikes from 2 assassins!  Still, I was able to slow
him down a lot with Rivers, CvCC, and a couple
creatures that got through his defense, and ended up
killing Elerina and one other character, as well as
prevent him from getting any allies or factions.  At
the end, I had 11 faction points that were doubling,
but with almost no other points I only got 18 total -
with his 12, just enough for a 5-1.  This game was
easily the most tense one that I played the whole time
I was in Montreal, and that made it more fun too.  I
completely changed the way I played the deck because
of the Maladies, and that made success even sweeter.

The last round put me with Jim Montanus again.  Things
went very smoothly for my deck, while I was able to
keep him down for the most part, with Beorning
Skin-changers and Drowning Seas being recycled to slow
him down and take out his Scroll of Isildur.  When
time was called, we each had one more turn to take - I
was going to call the council and not bother with my
last turn (and risking corruption) since I had nothing
left to play, but I decided to go for another turn
anyway.  Another Foolish Words stopped him from
pulling in the Southrons.  All I did on my turn was
play Dain II, but he was the 2 points that pushed me
to a 41-20 6-0.

After the last game was over, we went outside for the
awards.  Josh got a silver One Ring and a full set of
German promos - lucky him!  The rest of us received
silver rune rings with 'Council of Lorien' written in
runes, as well as a bunch of foreign rares.  Mine
included German Fatty and Tom Bombadil, and Japanese
Wild Fell Beast and Mouth of Sauron (sorry Brian,
you-know-who said NO).

Later that day, Josh, Jimmy, Francois, and me played a
game of booster draft without any starters, just 1
booster box of METW.  I ended up with a slew of
worthless spells (no wizard) but I also had some nice
stuff: Elrond showed up, but he ran away with only a
Burden of Time on him - I had to laugh.  Jimmy got
Paths of the Dead and Army of the Dead, but of course
no Aragorn.  He also got both Narsil and Anduril, but
had passed on the Reforgings that were passed around
earlier - too bad.  My best pulls were in my hazard
side though - Smaug, Agburanar, Leucaruth, and a
Dragon's Desolation, plus Akhoarhil, Adunaphel, and a
Fell Beast.  Too bad we got bored with the game after
one round, where I never got to use either combo...

Worlds was an incredible experience, especially for
someone like me who played more games of MECCG with
the cards that weekend than I had since the game came
out (I play mostly NetMECCG).  I'm already looking
forward to next year!
Congratulations to Brian, and many thanks to the