The Middle-earth tournament had less than sterling turnout. While there are a fair number of players localy (and at least 10 at the con), only 3 people were registered for the tournament. So that it could have at least 4 people and thus be official, the two ICE Crown Guard reps participated as well (someone else was running the tourney). The person who organized the tourney was not aware of the Council of Lorien rules until a few days before the con, so the format was single elimination (ugh). Since there were 5 players a bye was given in the first and second rounds.
The deck makeup was:
I faced the 2nd place deck first. My normal first turn is to head from Rivendell to Ovir Hollow and grab a major hoard item, hopefully with a Master of Wood, Water, or Hill played by Ioreth in Rivendell. Unfortunately, I had no MPs in my hand but a Noble Hound but I went to Ovir Hollow anyway to see if I could draw something. With my four hazards I was hit by The Moon is Dead, Sleepless Malice, and two Chill Dousers. Gamling the Old fails his roll by 2 and is killed, Sam Gamgee is killed on a 10 for body. He plays a Barrow- wights which is cancelled by MoWWoH. Next turn I didn't have any MPs either, but I drew some on my opponent's second turn. By this time he had gotten a couple major items for 2 MPs. He tried to convince me that taking -3 against Neeker-breekers was a modification to the prowess and since the rulebook says prowess and he's technically got more power, so I let it happen. He didn't get the point anyway and the only difference would have been a tapped Celeborn, but it was obnoxious to find that I knew the rules better than an ICE guy. I was slowly getting MPs (Alatar had teleported in against another Chill Douser) and he had Tom Bombadil and Radagast. Radagast was moving on his own to get factions (Hillmen and Hobbits) and I managed to Call to Home Glorfindel with Tom (he forgot to use Tom). I still hadn't drawn a faction until I went to Lorien to heal and play Elladan. When I arrived he got a couple more points called the council at 21, I had 16. I placed Elladan, Theoden healed and passed the Horn to Alatar and I split Beorn/Elladan and Alatar/Theoden and headed off in a last ditch effort. Elladan managed to get Orcrist and Alatar brought in the Men of Dale (my opponent had stopped playing creatures after he killed two characters and I killed one Douser). I now had 23, but woe! I had 14 from items, giving him the win. Had I had a faction in my first hand I could have won :-(
The other game was the Wake of War deck against the other ICE guy. The Wake of War player called the council and then realized that the ICE guy had killed 4 creatures, so he got the win there. Second round was the Dragonslaying/ Undead deck (played by Aaron Brasket who's occasionally on this group) vs. the King Under the Mountain deck. The ICE guy managed to kill most of Aaron's guys (he had dragons as well as Nazgul and corruption) and Aaron ended up with 2 or 4 MPs. Meanwhile, the Wake of War guy and I played a game that was later decided to be for third place. I had a better shuffle and draw and managed to slow him down with Rivers, Calls of Home, and Siege (he stopped me for three turns with a Seige of his own). I ended up winning 27-23 so I got third place and a silver Council coin.
The final was won in two turns due to a perfect draw. The Return of the King guy played Daelomin at Home on the other ICE guy's first turn. He then moved to Lorien and got Gandalf. Second turn he headed to Dancing Spire, killed Daelomin with a SacForm and Old Thrush, gave Thrain KUtM, Wormsbane, and then untapped him with Cram and brought in Returned Exiles. With 6 character MPs, he called the council.
The prize was a box of Dark Minions plus the standard wizard's ring and gold council coin. Since he already had so many cards (he gave me two cards to get much closer to my DM set and completed Aaron's Dragons set) we split the box amongst all 5 of us. We also each got a map kit and the two of us without Dragons Player's Guides got them too. We also got the wizard pins, theoretically for the wizard we played but I managed to get a Pallando. In all it was fun and profitable, though I think Swiss (maybe even each player against each other since we had 5 people) would have been much better. I was later informed by ICE that, since a Crown Guard rep can't win a prize, I was to recieve the Wizard's Ring. Alright!
One reason I played a dragonslaying deck was because it's not a standard tourney deck and I figured people wouldn't pack dragons in their decks. I was expecting the undead decks and built my deck to only hit one shadow-land just once or twice and had the Masters. I was expecting more Slayers, Assassins, and roadblock cards but I turned out to be the only person with any of those (save Seige). The three dragonslaying decks surprised me, as did the fact that there were 2 Returned Exiles and 4 Wormsbanes floating around. The lack of Indy, coastal, and Gondorian was also a surprise.
For next time:
I've decided I'm not too hot on METW tourneys. Sure, they give you a chance for lots of strategy but there was NO roleplaying going on which is one of my favorite parts. I also play two-deck almost exclusively because I think it is a FAR better game that way. Perhaps next time we can have a scenario tourney or a two-deck (we thought about it, but people had decks built for one-deck and vetoed (I was all for two-deck and had a deck that could go both ways)). I think the deck for next time will be my old White Tree deck, though Lidless Eye will probably change all that.