Worlds 2008 - Tournament Report

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Smaug
Posts: 259
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2007 10:30 am
Location: Germany

Worlds 2008 - Tournament Report

Post by Smaug » Wed Aug 06, 2008 9:15 pm

Hi guys,

due to the lack of time I only write a report about the final four on Sunday.
Sorry for skipping all the exiting tales that happened at the semi final on Saturday ;-).
Really hard and exciting games! On the last round I think more than 10 people had still a good chance to reach the final. I think the strongest MECCG worlds ever played.

Especially the tough games against the former two world champions Marc Alvano (I lost 2-4) and Augustin (I won 4-2) would have been really worth mentioning.
Perhaps even more worth would have been writing about my final round game when I crushed Marc Rocca’s Balrog deck, “Burning valleys of Anduin” ;-)
With the massive attack of saruman, alatar and once again saruman I managed a 6-0 (his only defeat in the whole semi final, for example he defeats Marc A. the round before).
The massive Maya attack was too much for even for his strong starting company (Bolg, Buthratkaur and two small guys)
Anyway crushing his entire company in turn 1 makes everything much more relaxing in that deciding final round ;-). So in the end I won the semi final .
Nice, my 4th consecutive participating in the final and only the first place open, I really hoped that I could fix that ;-).

There was like always a drinking game in the night. Really fun, Marc & Marc and Wolfgang started eating cards in the final round (think I got last) in order to win. Marc R. eats the cards just for fun!!!
True story: End of the organisation phase: Marc A. plays the new side card and wants to reveal it, but Marc R. takes it ! eats it ! and says with smacking voice: “Where ever this guys wanted to go, no one will ever know!” The other and me were lying on the ground laughing, ready to die!!!

There happened a lot more exciting and fun stories during Friday and Saturday (for example the “Gin contest” on Friday night, but they have to be told at an other time,…..

Sunday, Final Four:

After the hard semi final and because the drinking game took until 03:30 a. m. there was not much time for bigger deck changes left. So I decided to play the red hill deck, that I had already build at home but only once play tested before. Marc A. designed it first, I believe.
I play it with (only) two leaders (Buthrakaur, Bolg) and in addition Radbug. This makes it possible to play any leader (e.g. Shagrat, Azog or Umagaur) who pops up in the first round by controlling Radbug with him. In that case Buthrakaur controls Bolg (mind 6 with the help of the binding ring!!!) so both are at least at power 8 (9 with one i´ll report you!!!) for a the most only dangerous travel to the red hills. Additionally I play two Swarm of bats in the deck to make early burning easier and the trip to the hills saver. In case I draw one swarm in the first round has to Radburg move together with the Buthrakaur and Bolg. This is only a problem if Umagaur pops up as well, than you have to decide depending on the other Cards you draw ;-).

Concerning my opponent I guessed that at least one would play a FW deck. So I put 3 ire of the east and 2 blind to the west directly in the hazard deck against Wizard and FW, knowing from playing FW by my own, that this cards are really nasty because they cancel long bottoms, dark trysts, stealth, flatter of foe… what ever short event you can imagine;-)
Unfortunately  no one played fallen wizard, so in effect I had 5 useless hazards against the two hero decks of Mikko and Alfons (two unabated in m., one searching eye and two other cards I do not remember, think two nazguls to shuffle in sideboard hazards).
This was bad enough against Mikko´s short rest deck, against Alfons´s hobbit deck it was even more bad because of his hobbit deck hazard limit of 2. This makes cycling in hazards by halving the hazard limit no fun, because it gives him a more or less free ride for a scoring round (daelomin at home I used very early and may be I wrongly decided to sideboard searching eye instead of shadow of mordor at the beginning of our game, who knows).
Anyway, you never know it before and against FW decks my chosen strategy would have been excellent meta game, so it was really bullshit ;-)

First round against Mikko:

Mikko played a rivendell short rest deck with Cirdan and Strider as main characters. I played against the same deck type already in the semi finals (against Marc Alfano) and I lost 2:4, so I was more than forewarned but poor forearmed ;-) (with 5 useless hazards in my deck ;-)).
I was lucky to kill Cirdan early in the game (round 1 I think?). I love the corsairs;-). Furthermore I had a amazing first turn (I was able to rebuild the red hills, play a makers map there and finally burn it !!! and additionally the balrog pops up at the undergates ;-).
After this dream start everything looked pretty much like an easy win (in fact I was dreaming about a 6:0 or at least a 5:1). But dreams seldom become reality and in the following turns things did not continue that nice like they started .
In turn 2 and 3 didn’t get a single resource (including one of my two get shadows) even after I draw 8 cards with a ork tracker with the help of mikkos 2 short rests on the table.
Meanwhile Mikko manages to catch up with marshalling points and the “easy” game became very close.
When I finally got my resources mikkos hazards worked quite well (of course, there was enough time to prepare ;-).
At Mikkos last turn my lead was down to 37 : 30. I played rolled down to the sea in his movement/hazard phase with one single character company (Elrohir?) left to move and saw that he will get only 6 marshalling points if he does not manage to kill something or draw some additional marshalling points.
So I decided to leave Elrohir unharmed (I could have played 2 sell swords, but that was a too high risk of loosing one kill point) and hope the best.
Mikko made the six points like guessed. His last chance was to draw the alliance of free people in his end of turn for victory (with a more or less a complete deck after the cycle the bets were on my side ;-)), but he wasn’t lucky (like me later in the tournament, you will read about later) and I won 37 to 36.
This was a hard game, puhhh. An other close 4:2 victory after last years game in the finals (25 to 23 if I remember right). Sorry mikko, think next time is your time ;-)

Second round against Alfons:

Alfons won his first round against Bert 6 – 0. This put some pressure on me. This game was (but is wasn´t , as you will later read) something like the final decision game.
Mikko of course was still with intact chances of becoming world champion. For Bert the chances left were poor after the 0-6 defeat.
It was not the final deciding battle like between Agus and me had last year (I will never forget that game, Agus you earned the win ;-)) but anyway exciting. Alfons was playing a hobbit dragonland deck.
He started and I liked that with skinchangers in my hand (;-)). But luck was not on my side, Alfons got one promptings of wisdom in his starting hand.
Very important for him and unlucky for me ;-). Anyway I was still confident to win that game. I think I never lost against a hobbit deck in a 2deck tournament before because my hazard deck usual works normally perfect against that type of deck.
Ok, this time two unabated, one searching eye and two nazgul were missing (as mentioned before), five cards that really hurt hobbit decks. But so what, I rely on my searching eye, dream of killing sam and then river and/or beoring skin changers again and again ;-). That strategy work several times in the past, so why not in this game!?
At least I got a nazgul in my starting hand and tapped it to shuffle in a second searching. Unfortunaely I never saw them until the last round, when it was already too late . Alfons hobbits went first round to gomeglon and I thought about splitting my company and send Bolg and a Hilltroll hunting them. May be it was not the right decision not to do so, but I had no cancelers for the dragon auto attacks and additionally no resources to play there.
Generally speaking I think hunting is often a good strategy against concealment decks, because the defender often runs out of cancellers, but for the red hill deck I needed bolg and the I will report on him for burning the red hills.
Additionally I was still optimistic my hazards would stop Alfons or at least slow him down because of the two searching eyes. This proofed to be wrong especially because on the hazard side Alfons used the witchking very effective to stop me two rounds (or even more?) from burning .
For sure the witchking is one of the few hazard cards you have to fear when playing red hill (I will adjust the deck, at least put the witchking myself directly in the deck and even think of playing with (more) voices, a card, that I not that important for red hills).
Things develop quite good for Alfons. On my last turn he had a 37 – 30 lead (more or less, did not remember exactly). So I needed at least 8 points for victory. The only way I still could become world champions without relying on other results!!!
Normally not that much (I had two or even three (?!) burning cards and ancient shield in my hand, that makes 11 points, furthermore the possibility to draw one or two one point cards (forgot which). The main problem was that I had no voices in hand and alfons had the witchking in his hand. I knew that, because he recycled him before he exhausted his deck.
I had Ancient Secrets in my hand, but that helps only against a witchking already on the table .
So I decided to use the ancient secrets to cycle in the black ancient axe and a second card (forgot which) and left the red hills to burn bree and going to the underlears with the balrog company hoping for a miracle (drawing voices at least to cancel the effect of the witchking and additionally the axe, and even better one more one point card (e.g. great bats) for victory. Even I dreamed about killing an elflord (silly, but who knows).
In all that excitement I forgot that bree could only burned once, so the dream of burning it twice was completely sense free, hahaha, stupid.
When I moved to bree Alfons had 3 rivers in hand, but he decided to let me arrive (I had 3 rangers and the chances that the Hill troll burns Bree were at least 50%) and played instead the 3 rivers on the underlears, leaving me no chance to enter (it was maybe a little mistake from my side not to play more rangers with the balrog, but 3 rivers, who thinks of that ). Anyway I did not draw the voices, so the witchking would have done his job anyway. In my eyes this was brilliant played by Alfons, leaving me really no chance for winning, hand clapping!!!
So the game ended with a 4:2 victory for alfons and there where very few people left, that would have bet money on someone other becoming new world champion!!! esp. because Bert and Mikko played 3:3, means mikko needed to win against alfons 6:0 to become WC (and hoping that I win not higher than 4:2 against bert).
I had to keep me fingers crossed for my friend mikko winning at least 5:1(Thanks again, mikko, I will reward that at an other Worlds ;-)) and me winning 6:0 or 5:1 if mikko win 6:0.

Last round against Bert

Bert played a arthedain hiding wolf deck with two companies and 2xfoul smelling paste as starting items. A nightmare!!! To beat this type of deck is hard, to win 6-0 is next to impossible!!!. I started worrying about not winning the final for a 4th time in a r.
My only hope was my really strong hazard deck against that type of deck (3xDwarven travellers, Mayas and 2x Arthedain rangers, in addition 3x headless). This proofed to be only partly right, it slowed bert, but still he was able to recruit some wolf allies (3 wolfes, the warg king and stinker, if I remember right) I only killed some not so important characters (the paste proofed excellent for playing diversion and healing after that ;-)). But lets start from the beginning.
In the character draft the nightmare starts. No Burthrakaur, no Bolg, This of course hurts bert as well, but for me it is harder because it makes burning much harder, the key for the success of the deck ;-)
Next nightmare: I started, but unfortunately only the card number 9 and not the number 8 was the Balrog. My chances of becoming WC sank next to 0 right from the start, because bert showed me his balrog of his starting hand with a smile.
Luckily I got an early way all things so I was able to sideboard prone to violence. On extra option if things would not work as you want.
It often saved my ass in the past ;-) That is why I love to play with strong balrog companies against minions.
The next 3 to 4 rounds is not that much to tell about. His hazard deck strategy works very well (Witchking, Undead creatures and some headless) allowing me to play only two makers maps and burn once.
My hazard strategy was as well, but not as good as I thought. He hides in dark places with one company and the hazard limit of the other was only 2.
So I couldn´t play all my hazards . In addition I was really bad in body checks, so his characters heal with the help of the paste. At least I manage to let him fail to recruit the orks of moria. Before the last round bert had already 7 ally points (stinker, warg king and 3 wolfies) and a lot of character. Furthermore he already sideboarded for the palantir (?) and the axe (?) Means he was at 14 to 24 points depending doubling his allies (I did not draw great bats until than) and additionally her had the final turn!
Each one of the potential items would give him at least 18 points, even without a few recruits).
Furthermore witchking was on the table and no sages and/or voices in my hand . So no burning at red hills. The obvious thing I could do was staying at the red hills, playing an other makers map and an item (blasting fire) and move with my other company to the underleas pretending to play the axe if he does not tap the witchking (the axe was of course still in my sideboard ;-) because this prevents him of course as well to play the axe in his last turn. This could allow me to play the great bats there or at the red hills (if he does not tap the witchking).
So lets count:
3x makers map 6 mp
1x burning 3mp
1x blasting fire 1mp (may be doubled
10 mp character points (I think I had exactly)
= 21 MP the best, if he taps the witchking
If he does not tap him I did not calculate because Bert is first: a very good player and second: can count as well ;-). Tapping the witchking would have given him a very likely success because his allies double and he wins the game even without playing any items. I didn´tcount on killing at least all wolfes with my arthedian rangers and the maya I had in hand (one hiding and the game was over) on berts last turn.
So what to do? I decided to attack, even at this point not sure if it was my final turn (time was at the edge for an additional round, waiting one turn was for that reason too risky!!!).
I played prone to violence from my hand (on the on hand a very big mistake, because it goes away when the deck is exhausted, on the other hand psychological brilliant because it cost bert a long time for deciding how to react, which ensured that it was really the final turn. So as always, you never know before, sometimes to do the wrong at the right time is the right). Of course attacking as well seemed a helpless last despaired attempt for most spectators since I had neither factions nor allies ;-), may be it was but for sure the only chance to become world champion!!!
Unfortunately I reached his main company only with all characters tapped so he could assign strikes. He chose umagaur (I was lucky that Umagaur was untapped, otherwise he did not need to assign a strike to him (I has to, right?!, anyway he did ;-) and the best I could have got out would have been to two kill points for the wolfes) against radbug which gave him plus +3 or even +4 (sorry, did not remember) on the dice roll
Second a warg against my other not that strong character (+3 for me I think) and 2 no point characters for my big guys (+ one million plus for me, but no kill points ).

So most important was the Umagaur Radbug battle. Bert rolls a 3 (or 4) and I rolled a 8 or something, great, chances still intact.
The body check must be at least a 9 (leaves him only at 3 all points) better a 10 (gives me additional 3 MP killing points. I rolled a 10, YESSSSSS!!!!
Especially because it was more or less sure that Mikko would win either 6-0 or 5-1 against alfons.
Now the chances were not bad to become WC ;-). Additionally I killed the other wolf, that brings me to 11 MP plus character 10 MP = 20 MP round down. My other company went to the underleas and Bert taps the witchking (again YESSSS!!!, no axe for him in his last turn, of course no great bats for me as well.)
This means I must manage to kept him under 13 points to win 6 – 0 (I had 2 minus points in my hand (buthragaur and stinker if I remember right).
He was at 8 (skinker doubles! and 4 charater points round down) – 2 = 6, but every item or ally wouldt double and the character would count full, this would be hard!!!
I do not know which cards he draw but he did not move gorbag for the palantir (may be the right decision, because of my hazards) but decides to attack me at the underleas. Good decision, if he was able to fill my 2 point character there (uglik) and or the ill favoured fellow things would have changed immediately (only 7 or 8 character points means 14 to 16 in total) while he gets 2 to 3 kill points means (6 to 7 MP plus 6 to 7 character points, which means for me not more than a 4 -2 win).
But I was lucky, he did not manage the body check (The power was with me again ;-)) and so it was something like a 20 to 6 victory for me. Sounds high, but it was so close!!!!!!!!!

I finally made it, with all the luck you need for getting the title. Sorry alfons, he really would have earned it as well, but that’s the luck. The last three years it was not on my side, this time it was more than that.

Finally I want to thank bert, chris and mark for the great organisation. Middle earth still lives ;-). Thanks to all that congrats me for the title ;-).
Hope to see you all at next Lure!!!!

Bye, Heiner

Alter Tuk
Posts: 453
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Tournament Report

Post by Alter Tuk » Wed Aug 06, 2008 10:22 pm

Smaug wrote: Hope to see you all at next Lure!!!!
Hope to see you , too, and challenge the new World Champion! :D
[url=http://gccg.sourceforge.net/]Come to GCCG or die a lonely death.[/url]

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