The tournament scene in Southern California has definitely found its stride. Thanks to the So Cal “Riders of Rohan” (Decipher’s Product Champions), LOTR TCG players now have an incredibly wide range of locations and playing communities to test their skills. Cities like Garden Grove, Tustin, Pasadena, Lancaster, Santa Barbara and San Diego represent just a few of the very diverse playing communities in So Cal, with players ranging from novice to veteran. The tournament circuit is fun, challenging and a great way to meet other LOTR fans as well as gaming fans (TCG, CCG, RPG and LARP) in general.

If you have never been to a tournament before, or if you are a new player and feel that the tournament scene is too intimidating or competitive for your taste – then here is an example of how fun a tournament day can be for you and for players of all skill levels:

Tournament Date: August 24, 2002
Location: Mile High Comics – Garden Grove, CA

What a great day for the tournament scene! The game welcomed 10 (out of 24) brand new players to the scene as well as three female participants! During the course of the tournament, each player competed in a total of five games – the Swiss Format of tournament play. Each victory and loss resulted in points earned to qualify for the next game and another chance to play against a completely different person.

The Uruk-Hai were out in force, as many deck designs relied on the power of Saruman and the savage minions of Isengard to acheive victory! The nine Nazgul thundered down from Minas Morgul as their thirst for the power of the one plagued the Fellowship from the very start. The relentless goblin swarms of Moria tried at every turn to overwhelm the Fellowship with their sheer numbers. And the prescence of Sauron was only briefly felt, yet problematic enough for the Fellowship’s defenses against his battle hardened army who marched forward waiving banners of the Eye, armed with vile blades and seething with hate.

As for the Fellowship, early Elven support as seen with Legolas and Arwen were among the more popular starting companions for their combination of direct damage and anti-Nazgul defensive strength. At the Prancing Pony, Aragorn was summoned early to defend the Fellowship with his unparalleled fighting skills and armaments. Remember, he knows what hunts you…

The competition was indeed fierce as each opponent tried their best to protect Frodo and the rest of the Fellowship from falling into shadow; succumbing to the forces of Goblins, Orcs, Uruk-Hai and the Nazgul. And then of course…there was the Balrog.

After five very intense and engaging games, veteran player John Patchell from Apple Valley, CA – on his birthday, won the coveted first place prize with a fantastic record of 5-0. Randy Simon, another local veteran from Long Beach, CA took second place. But the most surprising victory of the day – and the most inspiring for new players – was from Eddie McGovern; a brand new player who took third place in his very first tournament. Congratulations to all the players for a fun and exciting day of tournament play.

First time TD (Tournament Director) Ramesses DeLeon, a top-level player from Riverside, CA – ran a very well organized, fun and exciting day. The veteran players had a great time and the newer players – especially Eddie McGovern – really stepped up their games and gave many of the vets a pretty good run for their money!

For those of you who live near the Garden Grove area – Mile High Comics is a great place for all skill levels to come and try the tournament scene. And if tournaments aren’t quite your pace, but you still love playing the game – there is always league play in almost every playing community out there.

For more information on LOTR tournaments and league play in your area, please contact your local comic or trading card
retailer, or visit Decipher’s website at or check out the Decipher Games Management Authority (DGMA) at

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: The next tournament at Mile High Comics will be September 14, 2002 starting at 12:00 p.m. Please check out Decipher’s tournament boards for further details.

And if you are interested in the tournament and league playing community at Mile High Comics here is how to contact the store:

Mile High Comics
12591 Harbor Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92840
(714) 741-2096

Until next time…