State of the Game: Fall Edition

sotg

Been a while since I did a round up. It’s also been a while since I’ve talked video games around here. Yeah, Football season means I make my By the Numbers posts, but I know very little people who are all that interested in those. I keep doing em to chronicle my view points of the games and circumstances. Helps me to remember details as well. It’s been my blog for almost 12 years now, so why should I stop writing shit that nobody cares about? Indeed, I shall carry on with the frivolity.

The big changes this time around are that I’ve been spending most of my free time with my girlfriend, or playing Magic with my buddy. I suppose the girlfriend part isn’t much of a surprise because I’ve mentioned that a time or two.

I guess the part about playing Magic isn’t that surprising either, since I’ve made a few posts on the subject already. I have also done more playtesting as evidenced above, where I have made some additional tweaks to my White/Black deck, and have a package (that was supposed to arrive today but didn’t) coming with some finishing touches for a Black/Blue Zombie deck that I think is going to be a ton of fun to play. The other night when I took the above photo, my friend and I played a few rounds with some of his very ancient decks and that was a blast from the past. A bunch of cards I hadn’t seen since my high school days were present. Really makes me miss the cards I used to have, but I’m hoping to get a chunk of that collection back when I go visit family over Thanksgiving. Apparently one of my friends whom I used to play with says he has some of my cards in a box in his garage, and said I could come pick them up, and I intend to do just that. Plus it will be a nice excuse to see him as well. So rest assured, The War Report will be an ongoing series. I have more playtest reports, more deckbuilding to do, and in a few short months the latter portion of the Kaladesh block will release so there will be more theorycrafting to do. I can’t wait.

Moving on, back to the video game front. I cancelled my subscription to World of Warcraft. Yeah, it’s silly that I bought the game in the first place. The hype train for Legion took off, I jumped on board and thought I’d give it a go, and after some disappointment with my inability to just jump right in with a level 100 boosted character, I rolled some alts and started leveling. I was subbed for 3 months and managed to get one character to 40, along with getting my artifact weapons on the boosted toon. These MMOs just don’t grab me like they used to, despite my repeated attempts. Shit, I still need to play Destiny… I’ve had that for months. So I’m basically back in a holding pattern waiting for Crowfall and trying to work on some of this backlog that is ever-present and always haunting me. These are the fickle waves that I go through, and well, sorry not sorry.

I’m still playing SMITE almost daily. I have nearly 30 Gods mastered. I’ve chosen Loki to be the God I take to Mastery level 10. I’ve been experimenting with the other game modes as well. For a time, my friend and I would only play Arena and Joust. I started playing Assault regularly enough to get the trophy for 25 matches played. The Odyssey quests drove me to play a few rounds of Clash and I’ve grown to love it. I also played in a rare group of 4, where my friend had another friend who had another friend and we played some Siege, which is a 4v4 game mode. That was a blast, and makes me wish I knew more folks who played the game on PS4. If you do, I’m Built4Sin82… send me a friend request and a message!

I didn’t pick up Civilization VI on its release date, but I was paid the following week and then picked it up. The first day I played some multiplayer with a friend (and a friend of his) and that was fun but I wasn’t able to play for very long. I ended up starting my own game, playing as America and going for a (typical) domination victory. So far I’ve gone near 500 turns and have wiped a couple of Civs off of the map but there’s still a long road ahead. I laugh as the enemy civs strive for more culture or convert my cities to their religions over and over again, when none of those efforts count for anything. Ha! Then I systematically destroy them and their ancient military technology! I have a ton of screens and more that I want to share I just haven’t had a spare moment to start a write up. That will be here eventually.

Lastly, I was gifted a copy of Shadow Warrior 2 for my birthday last week, and though I haven’t played much yet, I can report that it is very much a direct sequel to the original remake. Does that make sense? So the original was by 3D Realms, creators of Duke Nukem. It came out during that era and played pretty much the same. The remake came out a couple of years ago, and I shared a bunch of my experience via the blog. In October, the sequel to the remake came out. This is the game I’m speaking of. Is that more clear? Anyway, the game looks great, runs smooth (and defaults to ultra if you have a decent rig) and plays similarly to the last one. There are some UI changes that are interesting, and a loot system of sorts where instead of just getting upgrades to your basic weapons, you find new versions of the weapons. For instance, I picked up a sweet sort-of lightsaber that also shoots energy beams within my first hour of play. It’s pretty awesome. And of course, there’s the signature Lo Wang shit talking throughout. This game speaks to me. If you like story based shooters, you’ll probably enjoy it.

That’s all I have for now. Happy gaming, where ever you find yourself.

By The Numbers: Week 11, 2016

bythenumbers

It’s been a very long time since I can remember genuinely feeling like the Packers might miss the playoffs. They’ve been in tough spots before, particularly the recent season when Rodgers broke his collar bone and missed a long stretch, and where they barely made the playoffs with an 8-7-1 record. Even with that record and up-and-down season, I had full faith that they would make it to the playoffs, which they did. This year it doesn’t feel as good. These losses are getting harder to brush off. I will never turn my back on this team, but at the same time it’s starting to feel like we might be packing it in early. The last time this happened was 2008. It’s been a good long while competing near or at the top of the heap, so I suppose I had to know this time was coming. Not all is lost just yet though, as the Vikings have lost something like 4 straight games and the Lions are right there with a middling record. Were the ship to be righted, there’s still time to take the crown in the North. That’s where my head is at. Just get some wins, and get them quick. Maintaining the lead in the division will at least see the Packers going to the playoffs for the 7th or 8th year in a row. I can live with a January defeat. I really don’t want to hear it from everyone if we miss the playoffs altogether. Anyway, here’s my picks for the week:

Saints 27, Panthers 21
Bengals 21, Bills 19
Steelers 34, Browns 7
Cowboys 30, Ravens 20
Lions 24, Jags 17
Titans 21, Colts 20
Chiefs 27, Buccs 24
Cardinals 28, Vikings 23
Giants 31, Bears 14
Rams 20, Dolphins 9
Seahawks 26, Eagles 20
Patriots 38, 49ers 13
Packers 26, Redskins 19
Raiders 23, Texans 16

By The Numbers: Week 10, 2016

bythenumbers

At the midway point of the season, a familiar tale rears its ugly head. The Packers are 4-4, having lost to some of the better teams in the league and having bested some of the worst, we don’t have a lot to be proud of. Keeping things close during the losses is testament to the strength of this team, despite the staggering amount of injuries. It seems to be a similar story each year, where the team starts off alright but is marred by injury and then makes the playoff push at the end of the season. We were 10-6 the last time we won the Super Bowl, so I’m not too worried just yet. However, we have 3 road games on the horizon and those are typically harder to win. This next week better be a win, as the Titans are chumps and I’m sick of losing. Maybe we’ll get some of the playmakers back in the coming weeks and the ship will be righted. But for now, I’m just going to make my picks for the week and shut up. Just like this election, it’s easier to just wait and see than make dramatic statements. But if Trump ruins the world, I blame all of you.

Ravens 27, Browns 10
Chiefs 21, Panthers 13
Texans 20, Jags 16
Broncos 28, Saints 24
Rams 21, Jets 10
Falcons 31, Eagles 27
Buccs 16, Bears 9
Packers 28, Titans 10
Redskins 26, Vikings 20
Chargers 31, Dolphins 17
Cardinals 30, 49ers 7
Cowboys 26, Steelers 21
Patriots 32, Seahawks 19
Bengals 23, Giants 19

The War Report: Playtesting

mtg

This past weekend I managed to get some more games in with my friend, and did some serious playtesting. Not only did I find that the improvements to my deck were working wonders, I also found that it seemed that I could make a few more tweaks. The Aetherflux resevoir that I built this entire deck around wasn’t helping. He plays some pretty fast decks, so it was seeming that getting a life total of 50+ was going to be near impossible. That also meant scratching that other card I had thought about adding, mainly because its win condition of 40 life wasn’t going to be all that achieveable either. I also wanted to get copies of some of the singles I had, along with removing some of the cards that sounded cool but weren’t really doing all that much for me (like Angels).

I played two best of threes against my buddy, and used this White/Black deck the whole time. I easily destroyed his Blue/Green deck but that is his less powerful one. His deck that gave me the most trouble before, the Red/Black is fast, but my deck has enough sustain and slow down potential that it actually counters his aggro style. I managed to win that best of three as well. He was a little on the butthurt side, because he had played that deck against other friends and always won. Just goes to show that nearly anything can be countered given the time and resources. I’m also glad that it works against multiple types of decks.

Some additional tweaks have been made since. I’ve made sure that every card now either has some form of life gain, control or allows me to bring units back from the dead. I also managed to find more singles that fall in line with this deck though I wanted to buy another Angel of Invention and those are out of stock right now at Troll and Toad — very unfortunate. Here’s how my deck stands now (changes in bold):

Lands:
x2 Forsaken Sanctuary
x1 Unknown Shores
x1 Crumbling Vestige
x1 Blighted Steppe
x1 Warped Landscape
x8 Plains
x8 Swamp +1

Creatures:
x4 Aerial Responder +1
x4 Fairgrounds Warden +1
x2 Zulaport Cutthroat
x2 Restoration Gearsmith
x2 Lone Rider
x1 Demon of Dark Schemes
x1 Sengir Vampire
x2 Night Market Lookout +1
x1 Gonti, Lord of Luxury
x1 Kambal, Consul of Allocation
x1 Thalia, Heretic Cathar
x1 Thalia’s Lancers
x1 Sujugator Angel
x1 Angel of Invention
x1 Aegis Angel
x1 Serra Angel

Artifacts:
x1 Aetherflux Reservoir
x2 Scrapheap Scrounger
x2 Prakhata Pillar-Bug
x1 Noxious Gearhulk
x4 Filigree Familiar

Spells:
x2 Diabolic Tutor
x2 Shamble Back
x3 Fumigate +1
x2 Skywhaler’s Shot
x2 Authority of the Consuls
x3 Fortuitous Find +2
x1 Campaign of Vengeance
x1 Collective Effort
x1 Gideon’s Reproach

I’ve maintained the same sort of theme, but removed cards that wouldn’t give me some sort of life, and added a few that would. Many of the changes were for cards I already had in my stash, but I did spend another $10 on Troll and Toad for singles. I still want to add another Angel of Invention to the deck, and will as soon as one becomes available.

The next project is making more decks, and then attempting to do this process of elimination over again. I have a Red/Blue that is focusing on artifacts and control/burn spells. I also have a mono-Black zombie deck in the works. Trying to decide what to do with Green, as I have a planeswalker there, but don’t know if I want to do mono or dual colored. More to come as that happens. Thanks for reading!

The War Report: Deckbuilding

mtg

In my last War Report entry, I spoke about how I had haphazardly thrown together a deck and went up against a friend who not only had played the game in the more recent past, but also had a head start in coming back to the game. As such, my decks were no match for his, though they did put up a bit of a fight and a general theme started to emerge. I was centering around life-gain, with a mix of control spells and creatures. However, the main weakness became clear: not enough creatures, and not enough power to end a game despite at one point having a massive life total lead.

I have since spent about $20 on singles and have revamped the deck. I was just using what seemed best out of the cards I had at the time, and now I’ve focused on shoring up the weaknesses. This deck is still not 100% where I’d like it to be, and I’ve already found another card that I need to get in this deck called the Felidar Sovereign, which gives a win condition if you have 40 or more life during your upkeep. It’s another win condition outside of the Aetherflux Reservoir.

I would also like to get more copies of a few cards, and whittle down the amount of singles, but I have several legendaries and cards that play off of one another that it feels like having all of them there is a win/win. Here’s the deck list for my current White/Black set up:

Lands:
x2 Forsaken Sanctuary
x1 Unknown Shores
x1 Crumbling Vestige
x1 Blighted Steppe
x1 Warped Landscape
x8 Plains
x7 Swamp

Creatures:
x3 Aerial Responder
x3 Fairgrounds Warden
x2 Zulaport Cutthroat
x2 Restoration Gearsmith
x2 Lone Rider
x1 Demon of Dark Schemes
x1 Sengir Vampire
x1 Night Market Lookout
x1 Gonti, Lord of Luxury
x1 Kambal, Consul of Allocation
x1 Thalia, Heretic Cathar
x1 Thalia’s Lancers
x1 Sujugator Angel
x1 Angel of Invention
x1 Aegis Angel
x1 Serra Angel

Artifacts:
x1 Aetherflux Reservoir
x2 Scrapheap Scrounger

Spells:
x2 Diabolic Tutor
x2 Shamble Back
x2 Fumigate
x2 Skywhaler’s Shot
x2 Authority of the Consuls
x1 Fortuitous Find
x1 Campaign of Vengeance
x1 Collective Effort
x1 Gideon’s Reproach

For lands I have a couple of the dual lands (give white/black mana of your choice), a couple of lands that give colorless but can be used to create other colors, along with some that allow you to search for a basic land. This means I’m always covered no matter how bad the top decking is.

Creature wise, I’ve focused on shoring up the size and utility. Adding 3 Aerial responders is a nice touch, as they have flying vigilance and lifelink for a cheap casting cost. I’ve also found some legendary creatures that have various effects including being able to search for other legendaries. My big dogs are the angels, and they feel like a great fit. Mainly, most of the creatures have some way to help me gain life, and in some cases also cause damage to my opponent. This helps with the theme of the deck, and goes hand in hand with the main artifact, Aetherflux Reservoir. The other two artifacts are the Scrapheap Scrounger, which can come back from the dead over and over again. Speaking of which…

My spells are mostly for board control, but I have a few others that allow me to search for any card (Diabolic Tutor), or give life and bring things back from the dead. The combination of white and black has allowed me to find these sorts of spells and creatures in each color, so theoretically unless they have a super aggro deck, I should be able to out sustain just about anything. And I have a few fumigates for board clear if necessary, along with spells to bring my own creatures back from death. I can’t wait to try this out, and am supposed to meet up to play this weekend. Will be back with that report next week. Until then, happy gaming everyone!