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Gresham High graduate wins Dreamblade tournament in Seattle

Chris McCreath travels north on a whim, ends up winning $2,000 top prize
by: Contributed photo, Chris McCreath says Dreamblade is a game of strategy, like a cross between magic cards and chess.

Gresham High School graduate Chris McCreath, 23, won the Dreamblade tournament in Seattle on Sunday, Dec. 3, scoring a $2,000 cash prize and notoriety after beating seven of the top Dreamblade players in the country.

McCreath, who graduated with a double major in economics and journalism from the University of Oregon in 2005, said the game, which he describes as a cross between chess and magic cards, caught his interest about six months ago at a gaming convention in Indianapolis.

'I used to play Mage Knight, and then that died off, and I didn't play anything for a while,' McCreath said. 'Then I decided to go to Gen Con with some friends, and I tried Dreamblade and did pretty well.'

He bailed out of the tournament the first day, after 10 hours of continuous play, because he wanted to spend more time with his friends. But his appetite for Dreamblade was whetted, and he began playing back home, spending time at Aloha's Rainy Day Games on the Tualatin-Valley Highway.

A tournament in Seattle seemed like a fun weekend and wasn't too far from his Northwest Portland home. So he and 10 buddies from Rainy Day Games made the trip, and McCreath surprised everyone by winning the tournament.

Wizards of the Coast produced the game and hosts more than 200 tournaments around the world, offering cash prizes for winners of the August-launched game. Wizards, a subsidiary of Hasbro Inc., also produced Dungeons and Dragons and Magic: The Gathering.

'Dreamblade is a very strategic game,' McCreath said. 'It's not a video game. It's played on a grid, face-to-face, and you move pieces around like in chess; you try and claim cells.'

About 50 people began the tournament at the Seattle Center on Saturday, Dec. 2. Repeated cuts narrowed the playing field. Players were eliminated based on their win/loss records.

McCreath made the top eight cut and was a relative unknown among the seven other top Dreamblade players.

He said a turning point came earlier in the tournament when one of the top eight players made a surprise move.

'One of the top players, he just beat me, like, I didn't even see it coming,' McCreath said. 'I took that and realized exactly how precise and carefully you have to play, and then I applied that to my playing.'

The experience was exciting, with crowds watching the final rounds, but McCreath said he doesn't know if he will continue competing on a regular basis. He will, however, go to Gen Con 2007 and if tournaments are held in Northwest cities, he said, he will probably go.

'A bunch of the top players, they're encouraging me to fly to lot of the tournaments,' he said. 'But I don't want to be a pro-Dreamblade player.'

For more information on Dreamblade, visit dreamblademinis.com.