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Stoovie's 2008 Australian Continental Championships Report

by Matthyas Kiraly, Australian OP Coordinator

9th July 2008

27th-29th of June 2008

What a week. What a weekend. A mix of beer, little sleep, "your Mum" jokes, and some great games. I’ll cut to the chase, a big congratulations has to go to the winner, Lee Clarke. He and his rrother drove up from Canberra (future home of one of Earth’s Vulcan Embassies) and put all those cocky West Australian boys in their places. Not to mention the Sydney guys, lead at the front by eventual Runner-Up, Kieren Otton. Here is the final ladder for the weekend, with deck information (Top 8 have their respective Day 2 decks listed)

Day 1
RankNameNicknameProvinceDay 2 DeckRankDeck
1stLee ClarkeLCJKACTDominion Defiant Solver1stVoyager Integrity
2ndKieren OttonHonestNSWTNG Integrity6thStarfleet Solver
3rdChris ClarkezodojatsACTBorg Solver2ndCadets Solver
4thMatthyas KiralystoovieWABorg Solver8thDefiant Captain’s Log
5thRobert DawsonTBTWA[PA] Klingon Solver3rdKruge + [PA] Klingons
6thPatrick LawrencespacecaptainrobertsWABorg Solver4thVoyager Integrity
7thMike NugentDarth ManveruNSWTOS Solver5thTOS Solver
8thDaniel HydezephremWAMad TOS/Romulus Josephs Discard7thTOS Weenies
Peter HillleonardmccoyNSW9thTNG Solver
Clayton WaltonWorf Son of MorgNSW10thVoyager Solver
Luke RobertsVon LuthuisNSW11thDS9 Earth Solver
Daniel WallerWal20NSW12thMaquis Solver

But this ladder doesn’t tell the whole story. Oh no, it’s what happened outside of the games that was really interesting. I gotta start from the beginning. Yeah that’s right, the beginning. Strap yourself in baby, this is gonna get ugly.

NB: If you are under 16 or your name is Hoskin, please be advised that this report contains adult themes and may not be suitable for you. Please switch off now and go play hop-scotch. You have been warned.

Thursday

Our plan: get to Sydney Thursday morning and leave Monday morn. Daniel and Robert flew in by Virgin Blue, and I by Qantas. Suffice to say, I had a much more comfortable trip, but I’m just a spoiled brat. We rocked up at the Burwood Bed and Breakfast at 6:45am. Check-in was 10am. Amongst stories of how we all got drunk on our respective red-eye trips over, and how the minimum dress standard on Virgin was thongs and a singlet, we finally got our room, and crashed. We were completely knackered from a rough week leading up to the event, and not having slept in 36 hours really took its toll on some of us.

Anyhow, we had our priorities right. Beer. Then snacks, then energy drinks, bottled water, a sack of potatoes for Robert ( ;) ) and then finally me grabbing a copy of Super Smash Brothers: Brawl. Yep, Australian release date. Yep, first in line. Yep, only one in line. None of that freeloader crap for me either, I was only up for the Australian release. Meanwhile, Robert and Daniel went for, in Robert's words, "an incredibly healthy breakfast"...

Back to our room, we crashed for a while, exhausted. By 3pm we decided it was time for the mandatory trip into the city for a few photos of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. While it was dark by the time we actually rolled around to Sydney's two most famous landmarks, it did give us an opportunity to take some cool night shots with our respective compact digitals.

Suffice it to say, Robert's photography skills sucked hairy tennis balls in comparison...

This is him actually trying to take that shot. So much work, so little reward.

Robert + Camera = n00b :lol:

Burwood for some much needed drinking... I mean sleep. Some deck testing too.

Friday

Most of Friday involved decktesting and strategy discussion. We all knew what we were playing and were speculating on what the Sydneysiders would be playing. I continued to warn both Robert and Daniel that despite the Brothers Clarke from Canberra only recently picking up the game again since Call to Arms, they were almost certainly going to be some good competition that weekend.

We roll up on Friday afternoon, not being too hopeful of our chances to draw a crowd for the Nationals (which was scheduled as a Dangerous Missions Draft). One of the new guys at GGB is Paul. He informed us there was no Dangerous Missions in stock and after another search of the shelves, nothing. Plan B. I whipped out my Transwarp decks and we went for a 5-6 booster draft. Other than us three WA players, only one other turned up, Daniel Waller, a local who travels nearly two hours to get to the store.

Daniel (Waller) is a great sport and a very funny guy. :)

We went for three rounds, with Robert coming out undefeated. The winner of the Nationals wins one of those famed “Super-Byes” into Round One of Day One. Since Robert already had one from our local Regionals, it passed down to second place Daniel (the WA Daniel, not Daniel Waller).



Saturday

There was a reasonable turn-out of Sydney players for Day One, in fact, there were exactly as many as I expected. In total we pulled in twelve players: two from Canberra, four from Perth, and six from Sydney. Unfortunately, as usual, there were the few that had not yet finished (or even started) their decklists. After an hour, we started the six-round qualifier at 11am. We managed to get through the day pretty smoothly, although the German Tournament Software I had was not operating as it normally does, so I went old skoole and did everything exclusively on paper. ;)

Saturday evening was great as we found out that the Canberra guys were also staying at the Burwood B&B, so we all hooked up for a meal at a local club. Great food, although the bouncers were bloody massive, all wearing shirts that looked three sizes too small for them. The guy at the door looked like the freakin’ Hulk. Scary stuff, man.

Anyhow, we all talked about everything from the good old days of DecipherCon in Virginia, to the First Edition scene in Australia in its hey-day, to what we can do to maintain Second Edition in Australia post-Decipher, and lots more. I personally found it a very enlightening experience talking to Lee as he has had a lot of experience in several Decipher games at all levels, from the Star Wars CCG and their Players Committee, to the Lord Of The Rings TCG and being Runner-Up at the Worlds. Great guy with much knowledge to purvey to us lowly n00bs.

We went back to our respective rooms at about 10pm and assumedly the Canberra guys did as we did and got straight into preparing for Sunday’s finals, as we were all in the Top 8.

Unlike the Canberra guys, our strategy talk and last-minute deck revisions also involved beer, dirty jokes, more beer, Badgers, and two-minute noodles in a toilet bowl. No, don’t ask.



Sunday

Sunday started a little early for us, as at 5am (okay Robert, yes it was five to five), I was awakened by the sound of coughing and, subsequently, the sound of some sort of fluidic mess hitting the floor. Lights on, and Robert was violently ill with what we suspect was a bout of food poisoning from the food the night before from that bar with The Incredible Hulk at the door. He was a mess. The floor was a mess. His bed was a mess. It was going to be a long day indeed. Robert had a shower and we found a bit more sleep before the Finals.

Thank heavens for the copious amount of energy drinks, coffee and Berrocca we had at hand.

I wore the second version of my Captain Jack Harkness get-up, complete with light-blue shirt and braces. Robert, on the other hand, went for this fancy number:

Bright orange shirt too small to button all the way to the top, and a well-creased, plastic, clip-on tie with a picture of a trout on it. Yeah, you can't spell "uncool" without "unco". ;)

11am we started the finals. I originally wanted to employ a version of the McIntire system of match-play that I had been working on, but due to time constraints, we settled on the fall-back plan: a two-section bracketing that on one side pitted 1st vs. 4th and 5th vs. 8th in a best-of-three elimination, and ont he other side saw 2nd vs. 3rd and 6th vs. 7th in a similar fight.

Mike, Daniel H. and I had a little three-way action going. Yep, three Sonic Screwdrivers. It was sad. And technically, one was a Sonic Pen. And my Sonic Screwdriver was bigger than Mike’s. Oh yeah! Put that in your TARDIS and smoke it!

Yeah, as I said, sad.

2pm we started the only side event we ran that day, the Dangerous Missions Draft. All but one of those who didn’t make the finals attended (and that one guy was going overseas so he couldn’t attend even if he wanted too). All the players that had been eliminated from the finals participated too, so the side event had good attendance. Kudos to Bad-Ass McRobert, who did a very good job running the event! Hurrah!


5:30pm and the final two were decided. I set up the cameras, got my “assistants” (I called them something else on the weekend, something normally associated with the poor little guy in prison showers...) to do the deck-checks, wished the top two good luck, pressed “record”, and off they went.

Meanwhile, back at the Dangerous Missions Draft tables, I got all the prizes sorted out for the twelve players. Damn, I didn’t realise that there was so much stuff! Boosters, foils, trophy frames for the top eight, DVDs, t-shirts, action figures, books,... oh yeah, and a Sydney player also donated a complete set of Second Edition Premiere to the prize pool, too. Score!

An hour and a half later, Lee Clarke was christened the new Australian Continental Champion. Cool, calm and collected, he took his trophy, foils, boosters, and very rare 2004 Territorial Open Championship t-shirt featuring Lore. I’d been saving that for a special occasion, and I couldn’t think of a more worthy person to receive it. Kieren the Klingon took the Regent Worf action figure, with a ton of foils and boosters. Then, making our way down the ladder, everyone chose which prize pack they wanted. By the end, there was an extra prize package left, which was then awarded to Daniel Waller, last place, who’d not won a game the entire weekend, but still attended every event enthusiastically despite a four-hour return trip to attend each day. That dedication just has to be rewarded. He scored himself three DVDs, a stack of boosters and foils, some gameplay advice from the weekend's best players, and a MegaMan t-shirt.

Funny thing though, of all of that, I think he was most excited about the notion of wearing the MegaMan t-shirt to the inaugural GenCon Oz in Brisbane the weekend after. :P

Everyone had to clear out pretty quickly as the store was meant to close an hour and a half prior, so we all said our goodbyes, the Brothers Clarke departed on their four-or-so hour road-trip back to the ACT, and after a little last minute trading, we all went our separate ways.

What a weekend.

Monday

I parted ways with Robert and Daniel at about 11am. Funny moment in the morning when Daniel called up for a cab to the airport:

Daniel: “We would like a cab to the airport please.”

Operator: “For how many?”

Daniel: “Three personnel.”

:lol:

Laughs from Robert and I resonated throughout the lobby for the next half-hour. It only shows how much we all were immersed into the Star Trek CCG environment these past few days... :roll: ;)

I am now typing this on my way on holiday overseas on the beautiful new A380 double-decker aircraft. I take away some great memories from yet another great Australian Continentals, and I can only hope this event will not be the last. I hope that the players who didn’t attend this year will do their utmost to come next year. These events are only as good as the players that attend, and while we had an incredible spread of players this year, there are a lot of players out there - you all know who you are - who would have made the event even better.

Here’s to the greatest game. 2009 and into the future.



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