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Portland 2014 Regionals Recap (w/ pics) Updated 6/15

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#1
Yipe

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On June 7th, 16 brave souls fought over the fate of all humanity - or at least over prizes, bragging rights, and a piece of cake.

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The prizes...

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And the cake!

I'll be adding more pics and a report of my deck building, preparation, and matches as the week progresses.

For now, here are the top 8 results after 5 rounds of Swiss (no cut):

1. Gavin 5-0
"Dead Never Die" (Mono-Yog / Interstellar Migration)

2. Ryan 4-1
"Feed Me" (Cthulhu-Yog / Khopesh of the Abyss)

3. Chris L. 4-1
"Monster Mish-Mash" (Cthulhu-Shub / Khopesh of the Abyss)

4. Matt 3-2
"Sleight of Hand" (Hastur-MU / Alternative Historian)

5. Drew 3-2
"Surf n' Turf" (Cthulhu-Shub / Khopesh of the Abyss)

6. Joshua 3-2
"Made Men" (Mono-Syndicate / No Restricted)

7. Nick 3-2
"Rewriting History" (MU-Yog / Alternative Historian)

8. Katherine 2-3
"Moon Over Marin" (Mono-Syndicate / No Restricted)

A breakdown of all the decks:

x3 Cthulhu-Shub
x3 Mono-Syndicate
x3 Mono-Shub
x2 Hastur-MU
x1 Cthulhu-Yog
x1 MU-Yog
x1 Mono-Cthulhu
x1 Mono-Silver Twilight
x1 Mono-Yog

I was surprised at all the mono-faction decks - 9 out of 16. I anticipated a fair amount of mono-Syndicate and practiced against it accordingly (it's a solid build for beginners, made even stronger by the DotU expansion), but I definitely wasn't expecting so much mono-Shub. I shouldn't be surprised though as it's also a great build for newer players due to cost reduction, strong characters, and the all important support card destruction (which turned out to be a good idea with several Khopesh decks floating around).

More to come so stay tuned!


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#2
HomerJ

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Why can I only like this ONE TIME!?

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#3
Yipe

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From left to right:  The first round sees Ryan (2) vs Gavin (1) in a serious slugfest.  In the background:  A mono-Syndicate match-up between one of our returning veteran players, Grant, vs a brand new player, Joshua (6).  Grant hasn't been able to play regularly in well over a year, but said he was determined to bolster our numbers vs those Kentucky cultists down in Louisville!

 

Our opening round unknowingly pitted the top 2 finishers against each other, with Ryan's Khopesh + Fthaggua + The Thing from the Shore steam-roller vs Gavin's Yithian Mill + Nikola Telsa deck.  It was a tough loss for Ryan as Gavin successfully milled him out.

 

I can't imagine what it's like for either new or young players to square off against the Y-train, though it has to be demoralizing.  Watching your opponent trigger 6-10 complex responses off a single arcane struggle without fully understanding what's happening or having any avenue to strike back must feel like getting curb stomped.  However, Ryan was able to score 2 stories against Gavin - the most of any opponent - and later on that would give him the edge he needed to secure the 2nd ranked spot in a tiebreak vs his dad.  Ryan also bounced back from his initial loss to go undefeated for the rest of the tournament, beating players who were 4x his age (myself included).  Way to go buddy!

 

Here's Gavin's first-place deck:

 

DEAD NEVER DIE

1st Place 2014 Portland Regional (5-0)

 

Faction (Yog-Sothoth)

 

Character (33)

Keeper of the Great Library x3

Struggling Artist x3

Yithian Scout x3

The Sleepwalker x3

Nikola Tesla x3

Professor Nathaniel Peaslee x3

Scholar from Yith x3

Scientist from Yith x3

The Dunwich Horror x2

Hideous Guardian x2

Visiting Author x3

Local Sheriff x2

 

Support (5)

Sentinel Hill x2

Dark Passenger x3

 

Event (15)

Mists of Lethe x3

Studying the Void x3

Interstellar Migration x3

Return to Yith x3

Lev'l 15:13 x3

 

Conspiracy (2)

The Ritual Conspiracy x2

 

Total Cards (55)

 

Synopsis:


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#4
Yipe

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From left to right: Round 2 pits Dominic vs Ryan (2), with Nick (7) vs Grant in the background.

After the tournament Ryan told me playing against Dominic was his favorite match, and that Dominic flooded the board with characters faster than any other opponent he faced that day. Here's Ryan's deck:

FEED ME
2nd Place 2014 Portland Regional (4-1)

Faction (Cthulhu / Yog-Sothoth)

Character (30)
Degenerate Serpent Cultist x3
Brood of Yig x3
Dreamlands Fanatic x3
The Thing from the Shore x3
Fthaggua x3
Professor Nathaniel Peaslee x3
Sebastian Blake x2
Blood Magician x2
Hungry Star Vampire x2
Cannibal Ghast x3
Seeker of Mysteries x3

Support (11)
Sword of Y'ha-tallo x2
Flooded Vault x2
Called by Azathoth x2
Khopesh of the Abyss x3
Rite of the Silver Gate x2

Event (9)
Pulled Under x3
Deep One Assault x3
Pushed into the Beyond x3

Conspiracy (0)

Total Cards (50)

Synopsis:


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#5
Yipe

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DSC_0014_zps9eaed915.jpg

From left to right:  Chris M. vs Chris L. (3).  It looks like Chris M. has a first-turn Flooded Vault out, and Chris L. has played a first-turn Negotium.  In the background:  Ian's mono-Silver Twilight battles Drew's (5) "Surf n' Turf" deck.

 

Chris L. is our 2014 Store Champion and one of our best players/deck builders overall.  I felt that Chris L. brought one of the more interesting decks to regionals with his "Monster Mish-Mash."  He capitalized on the newly unrestricted Negotium Perambulans in Tenebris (which surprisingly no one else brought) and combined it with monster-themed cost reducers, Dark Quagmire, and Slenderman for control.  He also used a variety of support cards and the Flooded Vault for a toolbox approach, fetching what he needed depending on his opponent.  It's an effective deck that can usually drop the conspiracy on turn 1, or turn 2 at the latest.  From that point it kills any 3+ cost characters and stalls out the rest, utilizing Red-Gloved Man's investigation to seal the deal.

 

Even more important than building great decks and being a top-notch competitor, Chris L. is an amazing mentor to new Cthulhu players.  He taught his son how to play (who came in 2nd), and then convinced his niece (who placed 5th) to enter the tournament, even though she had never done anything like this before.  They made the long drive to Portland (reading Lovecraft short stories along the way to get in the spirit), and the 3 of them all landed in the top 5.  In fact, Washington state took home 4 out of the top 8 spots.  Impressive!

 

Here's Chris' deck:

 

MONSTER MISH-MASH

3rd Place 2014 Portland Regional (4-1)

 

Faction (Cthulhu / Shub-Niggurath)

 

Character (31)

Ol' Lazy Eyes x2

Red-Gloved Man x2

Priestess of Bubastis x3

Black Dog x2

Albino Goat-spawn x3

Savio Corvi x2

Slenderman x2

Ghoulish Worshipper x3

Jaguarman x3

Y'Golonac x2

Innsmouth Troublemaker x2

Dreamlands Fanatic x3

Guardian Shoggoth x2

 

Support (11)

Dark Quagmire x2

Called by Azathoth x3

Flooded Vault x3

Khopesh of the Abyss x3

 

Event (5)

Pulled Under x2

Deep One Assault x3

 

Conspiracy (3)

Negotium Perambulans in Tenebris

 

Total Cards (50)

 

Synopsis:


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#6
Yipe

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*click*

*click*

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*click*

*click*

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Why can I only like this ONE TIME!?

 

Thanks, Homer!  I'm glad you like the thread so far.  I'm just starting out, and I'll be adding more information, deck lists, and photos incrementally throughout the week.  There's a lot of stuff to process and pics to edit, but in the end I hope to provide an in-depth perspective on a big Cthulhu regional.

 

As for deck lists, I'll be putting up the top 8.  For the time being, here are a few more photos to tide you over:

 

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My first round opponent, Dominic, playing his "Mi-Go-You-Go" mono-Shub deck.  You'll notice we have selected - yet not revealed - our starting resources.  In the background:  Nick (7) playing "Rewriting History" MU-Yog Yithian Mill/Telsa deck vs Derek's mono-Shub "The Young and the Darkness" deck (which gets my vote for best deck name of the event).  Derek put Dark Rebirth (a card I've actually never seen played before) to good use vs a milling deck.  He made it night and successfully brought back all of his discarded Dark Young/Servitors not once, but twice in one game!

 

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Our host Red Castle Games of Portland, Oregon.

 

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From left to right:  David playing a Dreamlands-themed Cthulhu-Shub deck vs Jefferson's "Dogs and Cats Living Together" mono-Shub deck.  In the background:  Katherine (8) piloting her mono-Syndicate "Moon Over Marin" deck vs Greg's Hastur-MU success token machine.


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#7
Yipe

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32ed303f-e3c3-4c83-86a3-c24c96fa98ad_zps

From left to right:  Me (4) getting crushed by Gavin (1) in round 3.  My lips are blue from sheer terror!  Okay, it was the cake.  It turned everyone's lips blue for the day, which was pretty funny.  In the background:  Drew (5) going toe-to-toe with Jefferson's mono-Shub deck.

 

I'll provide a more in-depth analysis of my deck a little later, as well as a recap of my games.  For a basic summary, my deck strips terror icons so I can drive characters insane and then discard cards from my opponent's hand.

 

I wanted to bring something different to this tournament.  I haven't seen anyone play a deck designed to attack the hand competitively, so that was my primary theme along with cancellation, event recursion, and rush investigation.  If things worked out, I could generally discard 3-4 cards from a players opening hand, cancel their events/character abilities (such as DOA or Nathaniel Peaslee), and finally flood the board with cheap investigation for a quick win.  Sadly, it didn't always work out.

 

Here's the list:

 

SLEIGHT OF HAND

4th Place 2014 Portland Regional (3-2)

 

Faction (Hastur / Miskatonic University)

 

Character (31)

Prepared Alienist x2

Dr. Carson x2

Bruno Carioli x2

Alternative Historian x3

Professor of Folklore x3

Lucas Tetlow x3

Whitton Greene x2

Deranged Diva x2

Dangerous Inmate x3

Stealthy Byakhee x3

Jeff Harsen x2

Victoria Glasser x2

The Marked x2

 

Support (3)

The Rays of Dawn x3

 

Event (16)

The Greatest Fear x3

Binding x3

Hamu XX 14:15 x2

The Unspeakable Oath x3

Hali's Directive x3

Apeirophobia x2

 

Total Cards (50)

 

Synopsis:


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#8
Yipe

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I've updated the thread with the 3rd and 4th place deck lists.



#9
GrahamM

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That's a really exciting Yithian deck list. Struggling Artist! I love it



#10
Jhaelen

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I can't imagine what it's like for either new or young players to square off against the Y-train, though it has to be demoralizing.  Watching your opponent trigger 6-10 complex responses off a single arcane struggle without fully understanding what's happening or having any avenue to strike back must feel like getting curb stomped.
:( :( :(
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#11
Yipe

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That's a really exciting Yithian deck list. Struggling Artist! I love it

 

Gavin is our best player (having placed in the top 3 of every tournament he's entered) and one of our most innovative deck builders.  While I personally don't like to play Yithians, I think his "Dead Never Die" version of Yithian mill is pretty nifty.  Note that it doesn't include Lost Oracle, a staple of the Y-Train.  Instead, he branches out into some new cards, such as Struggling Artist and the Sleep Walker.

 

I especially like how Gavin has a transient sub-theme (out of faction I might add) going on to play some of his higher cost characters that are in the deck for added control (namely Hideous Guardian to protect against the Khopesh and The Dunwich Horror to combo with Peaslee).  Of course, the transient cards then help trigger Telsa for his backup win condition if the mill isn't working.  All in all, an excellent deck that was piloted to perfection over 5 rounds.  Nicely done, Gavin!



#12
Tusk

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I always enjoy going to the tournaments to see what new and exciting decks people bring.  Although the Yithian deck took first place, it was my brother Matt's (Yipe) Sleight of Hand deck that definitely wins the prize for most innovative deck, and when I faced it, most devastating!  

 

This deck was just pure genius as it completely stripped my hand of anything useful on turn 1 and rendered everything I played useless.  I only placed two success tokens the whole match against him!  

 

Matt is the best deck builder I have ever met.  Where it usually takes me weeks of preparation and play-testing to hone my tournament deck, he built this deck from scratch the night before the tournament, tested it a couple of times, and then totally trounced me!  Way to go!


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#13
Yipe

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Matt is the best deck builder I have ever met.  Where it usually takes me weeks of preparation and play-testing to hone my tournament deck, he built this deck from scratch the night before the tournament, tested it a couple of times, and then totally trounced me!  Way to go!

 

Wow, thanks amigo.  I don't know what to say other than you're the best big bro ever!

 

Oh, and my therapist thanks you, too.



#14
Yipe

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b70e3232-c1a5-4df1-8ad2-6280e8214c7b_zps

From left to right: Drew (5) gearing up for the second round and showing off her cool Lovecraft T-shirt.  In the background: Greg is faced with tough decisions vs Ryan's (2) increasing board presence.

 

Drew is a brand-new player.  Not just to Call of Cthulhu, but to card games in general.  Somehow my brother convinced her to take the plunge and enter her first-ever constructed card game tournament.  The two of them trained relentlessly, practicing against several deck archetypes until her resourcing and opening hand decisions were muscle memory.  All that training paid off at regionals.  She came very close to landing in 2nd place (just one Khopesh hit away on a then tokenless Nikola Tesla), and walked away with a respectable 3-2 record and a very cool looking play mat.  Congrats Drew, we hope to see you again!

 

Drew named her deck "Surf n' Turf" for its mix of Deep Ones and land-based Shub characters.  It's a straight-forward killing machine, with lots of toughness, high skill characters, and of course Khopesh of the Abyss.  It also floods the board quickly through Dreamlands Fanatic, Hungry Dark Young, and Harvesting Mi-Go (those two in combination are especially effective).  The Flooded Vault allows her some flexibility vs different deck types, fetching Altar of the Blessed, Ghoul Taint, or the Khopesh depending on what kind of control she needs, while DOA, Thunder in the East, and Burrowing Beneath provide her with reliable support card hate.  As a finisher, Drew would use Calculated Mutation for surprise investigation icons to close out the game.

 

SURF N' TURF

5th Place 2014 Portland Regional (3-2)

 

Faction (Cthulhu / Shub-Niggurath)

 

Character (30)

Black Dog x2
Albino Goat-spawn x2

Ghoulish Predator x3

Harvesting Mi-Go x2

Hungry Dark Young x3

Y'Golonac x3

Degenerate Serpent Cultist x2

Innsmouth Troublemaker x3

Emerging Deep One x2

Lord of Y'ha-nthlei x2

Backwater Deep One x3

Dreamlands Fanatic x3

 

Support (11)

Altar of the Blessed x2

Ghoul Taint x3

Flooded Vault x3

Khopesh of the Abyss x3

 

Event (9)

Burrowing Beneath x1

Thunder in the East x2

Deep One Assault x3

Calculated Mutation x3

 

Conspiracy (0)

 

Total Cards (50)

 

Synopsis:


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#15
kamacausey

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Yipe, thanks for the report! It is awesome as usual! And congrats on the year over year increase in players! You deep ones are doing something right to draw in the locals! I say it's the cake! ;-)



#16
Yipe

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Yipe, thanks for the report! It is awesome as usual! And congrats on the year over year increase in players! You deep ones are doing something right to draw in the locals! I say it's the cake! ;-)

 

I have 3 more decks to post, then write up a brief synopsis of each deck's strengths, and finally put up my round-by-round recap.  Whew, I'll get there eventually!

 

And it's gotta be the cake, though this year we had several players on Gluten Free diets so they couldn't partake.  I might have to switch up my poison.  I've used free beer before (which really, really works to boost attendance), but that doesn't help with our GF players either.  What about tequila shots?  There's no gluten in tequila, just good times.

 

Anyway, I'm hoping your Louisville Ghouls beat us on attendance this year as nothing would be better for Cthulhu.  And if you do, you can count on the Deep Ones to continue our rivalry in 2015!  Perhaps next year a little side bet between T.O.s is in order, eh?


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#17
kamacausey

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Y'alls(that's right, I said y'alls, that's how we Kentuckians speak) attendance is going to be hard to beat! We will try though!


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#18
dreamwarrior

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Raise a glass of Marker’s Mark to the Louisville and Portland Cthulhu LCG groups, and may the best cult win!


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#19
Tusk

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MY CTHULHU TOURNAMENT BOOT CAMP
 
Matt mentioned earlier about preparing new players for the tournament, so I thought I'd write about our experience.  
 
I convinced my son and recent college grad niece to compete in this year’s regional. In preparation for the tournament, we went through a Cthulhu Boot Camp of sorts to learn how to play our decks and prepare ourselves mentally for the big game.  In the end, all of our hard work paid off as my son ended up taking second place and my niece took fifth place, tying for fourth, on her very first tournament ever!  Here are the top 10 elements we worked on to prepare for the tournament:
 
1.  Build your deck with a clear means for success.
 
Ask yourself the following question:  how is my deck going to win?  Your winning play is your deck’s primary strategy.  It should be focused and specific.  In this tournament, my deck tried to win by using the Negotium Conspiracy to control the game tempo and my opponent’s ability to commit to stories.
 
2.  Build your deck with a secondary means for success.
 
You need to come at your opponent from different angles.  Your two routes to success should likely compliment each other.  In my Negotium deck, I also included character cost reduction as a sub-theme so that I could flood the board while my opponent stalled out.
 
3.  Build your deck with answers to the following deck types:
 
Investigation Rush, David Pan Skill, Khopesh Kill, Negotium Control, or a Yithian/Arcane Struggle Deck.
 
You don’t need to totally Tech-out your deck, but you do need cards that negate or protect yourself against these basic types of attack.  Some cards will even provide an answer to several deck types.  For instance, including a Prepared Alienist can render a whole host of nasty cards such as the Dreamlands Fanatic, Black Dog, or Master of the Myths powerless.
 
4.  Every card in your deck plays a part.
 
A Magic the Gathering friend asked me if it was a good idea to build his deck with “always to be resourced” cards.  I answered with an emphatic “No.”  Every card in your deck should either contribute to your deck’s winning strategy, disrupt your opponent’s deck, or control the pace of the game.  Deciding what to resource and when is where the real strategy of Call of Cthulhu occurs.
 
In preparation for my local Store Championship, I found myself resourcing the same cards over and over again and had concluded that they just weren't helpful to my deck.  Then my brother (Yipe) recommended that I make a point of never resourcing those cards to see if that was true.  After changing my playing style, I came to appreciate their true utility and ended up with a first place deck.  Make sure you test every card’s usefulness before accepting or rejecting it as part of your deck.
 
5.  Know your opening hand.
 
You should be looking for 3 cards in your opening hand that will allow you to come out strong on the first turn.  The only way to figure out which cards are your must-haves is by playing your deck over and over again.  You should know at a glance if your opening hand has what it takes to carry the game or not.  For example, if I drew the Negotium, a character destruction card, and the Dreamlands Fanatic, I knew I was off to a good start.
 
6.  Know when to Mulligan.
 
If you know what you are looking for in your opening hand, then you also know what not to accept. Most new players fret over whether to take a Mulligan or not.  Without hesitation you should know to play or pass on your opening hand.  Again, this insight only comes from knowing how your deck works inside and out.
 
7.  Know your deck.
 
You don’t need a complex combo deck with obscure card synergies to succeed.  The most important thing you can do is know what your deck does well, what cards you need to do that, and when to play those cards.  You need to play your deck enough times against a variety of deck types to develop a kind of muscle memory for your card combinations.  
 
8.  Know your closing cards.
 
Your deck should have a variety of cards that play well in the beginning, middle, and end of the game. The game ending cards are vital to sealing the deal quickly.  You need to know what these cards are and when it is time to play them.  For instance, once I had board control with the Negotium, the Red Gloved Man would bring a swift end to the game by adding his investigation.  He’s not the best play in the beginning of the game, due to his high cost, but once I have the resources, he’s a game finisher.
 
9.  Come out fighting!
 
Your deck should make a strong first turn impact.  Some players like all of the goodies a high cost card offers, but you simply don’t have time to “ramp-up” your deck as a strong deck can win in 3-5 turns. Take control of the game from the start and put pressure on your opponent every turn.  
 
10. Trust your deck.
 
Don’t let your opponent psyche you out just because you’re facing down the indomitable Y-Train.  There is a bit of luck in this game and a great opening hand can really make all the difference.  Before you start a round, ask yourself, “What do I need to succeed?” and then stick to your plan.
 
Of course, we couldn't have down it without my brother Matt, who was always a speed-dial away for advice, rules questions, and encouragement.  It was definitely a collaborative experience that ended in a great time!
 
If you're preparing for your first tournament, hopefully you found a morsel here to help prepare you for the experience.  Good luck and have fun!

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#20
kamacausey

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Great tips for new and old players alike!


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