World's Report from Brian "No Cheeze" Wong

My girlfriend, Anne, and I arrived in Montreal on Thursday amidst poorly 
planned street layouts and crazy drivers - a scary combination indeed.  
Luckily, I brought my "No Cheeze" hat along with me to protect me from brain 
damage.  Some would say that it's already too late.  ;-)  We stayed at Jimmy 
Chen's place in downtown Montreal along with Josh Grace and Andrew Sitte.  
Jimmy was an excellent host for the week that we stayed there.  He just 
needs to learn to get used to alcoholic drinks that actually taste like 
alcohol.  ;-P

On Friday, Jimmy and Josh played in the Open Qualifier for Worlds while I 
played in the Dutch sealed deck, generously run by Arco den Boer.  It was 
great meeting all the participants and putting faces to the names that I've 
received so many questions from... over... and over again.  Right Charles 
J.?  ;-P  Many of the players appeared older than I expected... much older.  
But that's all good.  This way I could expand my available "vocabulary" for 
the weekend.  ;-)

I had a blast with the awesome deck I pulled in the Dutch sealed deck.  I 
had corruption cards and cave-drakes coming out of my ears.  The best 
combination I had made Luc's eye's pop out of his head: late game Elrond and 
the Elves of Lindon.  I know there have been bigger sealed deck combos 
before but this one had cool and powerful written all over it.  I won all my 
games against Wim, Bill Kenyon, and Luc.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to 
play Simone whom I came in second behind.  I had a blast anyways!

The Drinking Game followed that same night.  Anne was pretty excited since 
she hasn't played MECCG for over 3 years.  I tried to prep her as best I 
could on the plane and on Thursday night.  I think she just wanted to drink 
me under the table, which most anyone can.  Her wish didn't come true that 
night but Bill Kenyon got his.  I paired up with him the first round.  I had 
definately used up all my pack-luck during the Dutch sealed deck earlier 
because I had an aweful deck.  I was able to keep the game close with Bill 
because his deck was pretty bad too.  It came down to the last turn when he 
moved all his companies to my site thinking of initiating CVCC.  A well 
timed Lost in Free-Domains took care of that ugliness.  I would have 
conceded the drink-a-thon right from the start and faced the music.  If he 
could, I think Bill would have taken another shot just to force me to drink 
to try and cancel his CVCC initiation.  Not this time Bill.  ;-P  4-2 for me 
I think.  After this game, I was too drunk to remember how my second game 
went with Takao.  I think he won though.  I also recall him really knowing 
his drinking rules well.  He must have practiced previously!

Saturday brought on the Semi-Finals for Worlds.  All my room-mates made it 
in except for Andrew because he showed up late from his professional baby 
sitting stint.  We decided to drive since the 20 minute walk estimation from 
Jimmy ended up to be 45 minutes the day before.  We continued our tradition 
of playing Crystal Method's "High Roller" song before we started playing.  
 It really pumps you up!

First round with Brian Satterly from North Carolina and his hero stuff:
I had the joy of playing Brian my first and only time at my first North 
American Nationals appearance in Florida many moons ago.  He was my only 
loss in the semi-finals there when he influenced away Target-Boy in the last 
turn.  I remembered him.  ;-)

Well, there was no Target-Boy for him to influence this time because I was 
playing a Balrog burn deck inspired by Jason Klank's Nationals deck from two 
years ago.  I helped him test the deck a lot back then so I knew the deck 
well and also what changes I felt it needed to be even more competitive and 
reflect my own cheezeless style.  Unfortunately for Brian, he hadn't 
playtested against this style of deck and was pleasantly shocked when I 
burned down Bree (very cheezy place) for 5 points (Tempest of Fire & Burning 
Rick, Cot, & Tree) as well as discarding his Rangers of the North faction 
for an 8 point swing.  Soon enough, he decided to leave my massive trolls 
alone and spend most of his time running and trying to get points where he 

My last turn is what Brian will remember best.  I sent The Balrog to the 
Under-leas with a few scrubs in tow to get the Ancient Black Axe.  He 
thought a long while about whether to play any hazards on that company.  He 
finally decided not to, even after reading the site card.  He figured that 
it wouldn't be worth it to let my guys beat up more creatures for the fun of 
it since the site card only said that minor items were playable.  I shrugged 
and said, "Ok".  I knew that his jaw was going to drop when I played my 4 
point item during the site phase... and it did.  He almost pulled out his 
hair when he showed me his hand: 3 Nameless Things!  The "Thangs" would have 
kicked my butt at the Under-leas.  Oh well.  I told him to blame James Kight 
for not teaching him the ways of the Rog properly.  ;-)  Regardless of the 
result, Brian and I had a great time.  He's a great opponent and I hope he 
doesn't retire from the game like he told me he planned to after Worlds.  
5-1 for me.

Second round with Stephane P. from France and his big pyromaniac 
This had to be one of the best games I have ever played of MECCG.  Stephane 
is an incredibly fun opponent.  We were laughing and roleplaying the entire 
game in English and French.  His artistically modified cards were 
interesting to say the least.  You haven't truly played MECCG until you've 
played Stephane.  I'd clone him for a personal playing partner if I could.  
The best part of our game was when he set me up for his big hazard beat 
down.  My trolls were quite big already with at least two I'll Report You's.

He first served up an appetizer of Dwarven Travellers.  They were quite 
tasty but wouldn't even fill up the loneliest corner of a trolls stomach.  
Fortunately, this bon garcon immediately followed up with an entree of filet 
de Saruman.  Mmmm....  He had a tasty prowess but the body was difficult to 
digest.  Buthrakaur roared for another and the witty waiter obliged with 
another fine cut of Maia.  Again, quite tasty but too much gristle for 
Ulkaur's liking, no tongue and all.  Sweating from the fear of receiving a 
bad tip from my gang of uglies, Monsieur Stephane came flying out of the 
kitchen with the creme de la creme... Elf-Lord Revealed in Creme Anglais.  I 
cried, "Mais non!  How could I possibly accept such a glorious dish after 
all you've done?"  Stephane cleverly replied, "Mais oui, Monsieur Big and 
Ugly!  It is but WAFER-THIN!"  With such sweet words, how could I resist.  
After a little jealous jostling amongst my trolls, one of them earned the 
right to indulge himself in Elf delicacy.  Satisfying to the last drop.

I believe dessert consisted of Ent in Search of Ent Wife pudding.  My 
company of trolls wore most of their dinner on their clothes.  This gourmet 
meal concluded with me eating 5 tournament points worth of goodies and a 1 
tournament point tip for my favourite garcon, Stephane!

Third round with Yasuhiro from Japan and his hero One Ring thingy:
Yasuhiro had an interesting starting company.  Cirdan, Bilbo, another 
hobbit, and Forlong.  Forlong?  Oh well, I suppose he had some special trick 
planned that I've never seen before.  My trolls got big really fast again so 
I decided to pay a visit to Cirdan and the two hobbits at the Barrow-Downs.  
Luckily for me, he didn't play any big Barrow-Wights on me.  That would have 
been really bad.  I initiated CVCC but he cancelled with a Dark Quarrels.  
The same thing happened the next turn too.

So after a couple of stalled turns for us both, his hobbits decided to join 
forces with the mighty Forlong while Cirdan became a card engine.  My trolls 
did their pyro-thing while the mighty Forlong company discovered their 
phobia of bears.  After a couple of Beorning Skin-Changers, he finally 
reached Goblin-Gate to find Gollum.  The strange thing is, just before this 
round, the Japanese contingent asked me at lunch, "What's the most cheeziest 
thing?".  "Snowstorm/Roadblock", I replied.  Well, a couple of turns later, 
Saruman arrived at Isengard.  We all know that of all the wizards, he's the 
one most afraid of bears.  I tried to hide under my "No Cheeze" hat's brim 
as I recycled a few more examples of our great Canadian wildlife.  All his 
companies went running for cover from my hairy friends so I graciously took 
my 6-0.  Yasuhiro is a quiet player but very friendly.  Too friendly towards 
Forlong I think.  ;-)

Fourth and final round with Wim Heemskerk from The Netherlands and his hero 
maybe One Ring thingy:
Wim and I have known each other since Worlds in Barcelona but this was 
actually the first time that we had ever played each other in a constructed 
game.  We laughed about how Chad would be the only person who could make 
rulings for our game.

Wim's starting party and tournament record had me worried about his dunking 
prowess.  I thought that it would be either him or me that would make it 
into the finals depending on whether he dunked or not.  I began the game by 
sideboarding madly for anti-One Ring cards.  Luckily, one of those cards was 
Rolled Down to the Sea.  I was able to play it soon after sideboarding it 
and figured out that he wasn't dunking.  The MP race was on!  One key point 
was when I was able to see his hand again for some reason.  In it, I was 
able to see a major undead beat down coming.  My trolls were moving to get 
another fix for their pyromania while The Balrog and his gang of losers were 
going to the Under-leas again to get themselves a sharp play-thing.  Wisely, 
I moved the big uglies first to draw out his hazards and weathered the rain 
of undead with reasonable ease.  The Balrog had clear sailing from then on 
and I clawed a 5-1 victory from Wim.  Bedunkt, Wim!  =)

So, I made it to the final 4.  I achieved my goal but since I was there, I 
might as well go for it all the way.  But first, Le Dragon Rouge medieveal 
theme restaurant.  After more than a little bit of being lost due to second 
guessing our directions, we arrived to a small restaurant with a lot of 
atmosphere enhanced by hungry Tolkien gaming fans.  Wow!  What a rush!  Food 
and drink were consumed, new cheezy strategies were revealed, and waitresses 
were oggled (not by me of course).   A good time was had by all.  It was 
another triumph by the Montreal Organizing Committee!

Unfortunately, I missed the Sunday brunch with the rest of the players due 
to a desperate need for sleep.  Also, I needed the extra time to 
anti-Joe-ify my deck.  ;-)  I really didn't make many changes since I 
usually do poorly in finals when I do.  The Jimmy Chen's Room contingent 
arrived just in time for the Worlds Finals and the North American National's 
Opens.  While I wiped the meatball sub sauce from my face, I prepared to 
face my first opponent .

First round with Nicolas a.k.a. "Big Red" of France and his Balrog Pyro 
Hey!  That's my deck!  Oh well, at least we didn't bounce characters.  I 
knew that a good Balrog deck didn't need The Balrog to win but it sure 
helps.  I hoped that the deck cuts were favourable for me but they weren't.  
He got the Hog and he started breeding losers almost immediately.  
Meanwhile, I burned down the free people's homes as fast as I could even 
while combatting a Plague or two.  My two accompanying loser died but my 3 
big guys did fine.  My factions rolls were less than favourable but I was 
able to slow Big Red down by eating some of his characters with Bairanax 
Ahunt.  It didn't matter much, he had a cloning machine in the under-deeps 
anyways.  The game was close and it came down to the last turn with me 
attempting to influence his only faction, Orcs of Moria, so that mine would 
double.  I even had +2 to my roll, but a 4 with the moose dice wasn't 
enough, nor was my revealing of two unique cards.  27-31  (2-4).

Btw, I call him Big Red because on the first day, he wore a very red shirt 
and he's very big.

Second round with John Yost of New York and his hero "Surprise!  It's really 
a One Ring deck" deck:
John started with Elrond and two elf rangers, a potential big elf beat down 
company.  Hmmm.... I went first and with no prowess helpers besides a Swift 
Strokes in my hand, I stayed at Moria and played chicken.  He used his first 
turn to go to Carn Dum and play.... (I'm thinking Cheezecrist or Cheezebane 
but not)... Scroll of Isildur?!!!  Aha!  The sharade was over and my trolls 
felt ever so confident now.  They shed their Depends and went merrily about 
burning everything down.  Weeee!

Meanwhile, the elven parties departure from Carn Dum found themselves with 
an encounter with something smelly and it wasn't my Red Sock of Power.  Ren 
the Unclean attacked and Gildor stepped up to the plate, using "My" moose 
dice... wounded.  Body check with "My" moose dice... dead.  The Mouth then 
asked if Ren could come out and play again and he replied, "Heck, why not!"  
One of the elf brothers then stepped up to avenge Gildor with, , "My" 
moose dice... wounded.  Body check with "My" moose dice... dead.  Well well, 
Elrond's all alone now with the Scroll.  I wonder how long it is before he 
get's stupid too.  It wasn't long but it was after one of my loser Hill 
Trolls got wounded by an unenhanced Brigands using, yes, "My" moose dice.  
Man, they suck!  Well, after Elrond got stupid and ran away, there wasn't 
much for Radagast and his new pet Gollum to do.  6-0 for me.

Now with the final round looming, it was time for some serious math skills.  
What did I need?  What do they need?  Bah!  Just beat Joe!  That'll be too 
much fun in itself!  ;-)

Third and final round with Joe "Girly-Lips" Bisz of New York and his cheezy 
Fallen Pallando thingy:
We both knew a win was important so we both focussed intensely.  Thanks Chad 
for taking the rules questions away from me.  I'd been hearing that Joe 
rolls really high as opposed to "My" crappy moose dice so I decided to use 
his dice the whole game... good choice.  His movement engine got wounded on 
their first turn and died on their way back to heal with bodies of  9 and 8. 
  Nice dice!

As for my company, I received another "Joe hand" and got my trolls big 
really fast.  They did their pyro thing as usual and ignored CVCCing Joe's 
companies till later.  The trolls were also a bit busy swatting away the 
elves that Joe was throwing my way.  They were able to kill a Galadhrim to 
add to their list of kills for the weekend: Elf-Lord, Ent, and Galadhrim!  
So, as usual, later came sooner than expected and a lone Gloin with a 
War-Wolf was just asking for a visit from my uglies so I obliged.  Besides, 
I had the Warg-King in my hand to play anyways.  So much for him being able 
to cancel the attack the conventional way.  ;-)  Well, after some prowess 
boosters, I had +9 to each of my rolls and easily made a rug of the War-Wolf 
and Sacked Gloin Over the Head for some style points instead of kill points.

Joe's last turn heroics saw a lone Nain run to Himring for Durin's Axe but 
unfortunately, he's afraid of bears too.  He rejoined his only company which 
included a Fallen Pallando ready and prepped to influence 4 mps worth of 
factions.  Nain grabbed onto Pallando's ankles, quivered, and wimpered, 
"Hold me!  Please hold me!"  Pallando, the sap that he is for short hairy 
men, obliged and ended up doing nothing at the site.  The points were 
tallied... 29-15  (5-1 for me).

That put me at 13 tournament points, 12 for Big Red, 11 for Joe, and 0 for 
John, thus avoiding the possible 3 way tie for first.  Woohoo!  The Guild of 
Crippled Masters reigns supreme!  Jimmy Chen, the tounament coordinator, 
announced the final placings and an electric roar filled the room that I'll 
never forget!  Thanks guys and gals!

The Worlds Organizing Committee did a fantastic job of making sure everyone 
had a great time.  I certainly had a blast as expected.  All of my opponents 
were more of playing partners than opponents.  I learned lots of new tricks 
from Bill Kenyon as usual.  Congratulations to Josh Grace, another Guild 
Member, for winning the North American Nationals.  Congratulations to the 
U.K. team for winning the Country Cup.  Congratulations to everyone else who 
needs or wants congratulating.

The burden of The One Ring always comes with the obligatory Lure of 
Retirement.  All the former World Champions have succumbed to it but I have 
a lot more than a Friend or Three as Wim mentioned and have shaken that 
Lure.  Thanks to eveyone who sends their well wishes and congratulations.  I 
look forward to many years of MECCG and increasing my list of friends within 
this great community.  Now if only I can get rid of the Lure of a Fat Head.  

Your Cheezeless World Champion,
Brian "No Cheeze" Wong