Killing Floor 2: Nearly a Year Later

So the other day I randomly noticed that Killing Floor 2 got a new update. It’s actually had several updates, but I hadn’t played the game since last summer so I hadn’t paid much attention. I mentioned this to my old roommate and we both decided to download the update and get our Zed killing on!

Things have changed. Bits and pieces of the UI have been improved. I feel that there are noticeable differences here, and though it’s subtle it’s a nice touch. Besides some visual upgrades, the newer build has included a number of updates to the game, most recently is “Endless Mode,” where you guessed it, you’ll fight endless waves of Zeds until your party dies. This is more reminiscent of Call of Duty’s Zombies mode, which I have had a lot of fun with over the years so I was game. When we played this mode we decided to use our level 25 perks, and I selected hard difficulty which I thought would be easy. It was not. We managed to make it to wave 13:

Still, wave 13 is three waves beyond what a normal match contains so that’s pretty good for a first run. We also has a couple of low level classes playing with us (this does seem like an optimal way to level up other perks) so that may have affected our efficiency. Also my friend is dead weight, sitting at the bottom of the leaderboard (LOL!). Featured in the above screenshots is one of the new maps that was added between now and the last time we played. It was called DieZone, and was narrated by the Patriarch himself. There’s some good comedic relief in there, and the music is still metal as fuck and awesome. There were three other maps also added to the game in that time, we haven’t yet played any of those but they look great.

Another new feature added to the game is this “Dosh Vault” which actually rewards you for accumulating Dosh (the in game currency). This is presumably for people who already have max level characters or perhaps those like me who still have a few to level, but still having another progress bar to watch is a nice bonus. The RMT stuff in this game is pretty awful, so getting some more boons periodically is nice. It’s always cosmetic stuff you’re unlocking anyway, so not really necessary.

I’m not sure why I got it, but there was a new character available when I booted up, along with some new skins for him. Like the other characters, it really just amounts to a skin for when you are playing and other people get more of the benefit of it than you do — but it was free so why not be a robot for a while?

That seems to be all that has been added but it’s instant value for the game. Having something else to do and keeping things fresh is the only way games like this survive, and I’m glad this developer is committed to adding new content (and mostly for free no less). I know with the original title they were adding stuff in for a long time, so I hope they keep this pace going!

The War Report: Free Hugs

Each time I feature a deck in this series I try to either stay relevant to current releases (i.e. building a deck around a new legendary creature that was a recent release, (think things like Locust God or Temmet) or showcase a new style of build (like building a life gain or spellslinger deck). In this edition of The War Report I wanted to take a look at a new brew I’ve thrown together in the style of “Group Hug.” Typically Group Hug decks tend to feature a general that has some sort of ability that benefits your opponents. This sounds counter-intuitive, but I assure you that you can use this false sense of security that you’re giving to your opponents to your advantage. The idea behind Group Hug decks is that your opponents won’t want to eliminate you first, mainly because you are providing them with some sort of benefit — be it card draw, donating permanents or the like. Because of this, many people don’t feel like Group Hug decks can be very competitive and in truth I felt the same way, but I figured that there had to be a way to win out of nowhere, especially if I empower my enemies and they leave me alone long enough. Let’s take a look at our general so you can get a taste of what I mean:

There are several commanders that have been labelled as group hug generals, and Selvala is one of them. She ended up being the one I chose because I not only enjoy her ability but I also see the potential for combos using her. She’s also an Elf, so an Elf tribal subtheme is present as well. Her ability, Parley means that each time I tap her, everyone reveals the top card of their library, gets to draw a card as well, and I get green mana and life for each nonland card revealed. So clearly, I benefit the most, but I’m giving card draw to everyone and for that they will likely leave me alone for a while. This will give us time to establish our board state.


It’s not a term everyone uses, but typically if you are playing a package of mana dorks like this, it’s called an Elfball. There are a variety of Elves here that provide one or two green mana by tapping, or have land tutoring ETB triggers. Two of them do some untapping for us, and a couple provide green mana per elf you control. There is one lone monk in there that isn’t an elf, but he can tap for white mana and that might be needed as well, as this is a G/W deck. This is the biggest part of our mana base, though I have included a healthy amount of lands along with some rocks that will help too, but many of our combos depend on these little Elves to get things done. Before we get to the combo section of this article though, first let’s look at some of the other group hug mechanics:

Group Hug:

Since we’re building Selvala in a Group Hug fashion, I wanted to make sure to include some cards that not only benefit me, but benefit others. There are many throughout Magic’s history but some of these cards I’d never play under other circumstances. Howling Mine and Horn of Greed are one thing, they just provide extra card draw for everyone and I can live with that. Cards like Hunted Wumpus or Iwamori of the Open Fist are harder to swallow — these allow people to play cards for free from their hand when I cast them. Granted, I am getting large creatures for a low mana cost but I’m also benefiting the rest of the board and don’t look forward to seeing someone get an Emrakul for free if you know what I mean. Other cards allow me and opponents to get creature tokens, or ramp a bit, etc. These cards aren’t here to win me the game, they are here to help keep people off of my back since I’m helping them out so much so that I can develop my gameplan. To win with this particular group hug deck, there are a number of combos and other ways, which I’ll go over now.


So, with any of the above Elves, and a minimum of 3 other mana dorks on the board, you can equip either Sword of the Paruns or Umbral Mantle to one of the big mana elves and essentially tap and untap at will to make infinite mana.

This combo is a little more convoluted, but still will produce infinite mana. You need an Elf that produces 3+ mana like the Archdruid here (and having enough Elves out at the time), which you will tap, then use Mirror Entity’s ability to turn your Wirewood Symbiote into an Elf. Return it to your hand with its ability (as it is now an Elf) to untap your Archdruid, which you can then tap to cast the Symbiote and rinse/repeat. So you can make infinite mana, but what are you going to use it for? And also, what if you can’t get all the pieces together quick enough for it to matter? I’ve included other win-cons in the deck as well, so let’s take a look at those.

Win Cons:

With infinite mana, we can win a game outright by throwing a bunch of mana into a Hurricane or Squall Line, though you will have to have more life than all of your opponents to do so. Via combat, we can use Beastmaster Ascension, Triumph of the Hordes and Ezuri’s ability to beef up our forces and do tons of damage. Alternatively, since we are gaining life often, we might flash in a Felidar Sovereign the turn before ours so that during our upkeep we win the game with a life total of 40 or more (more on how to flash him in later). Lastly, if we have a bunch of mana dorks out, we don’t really need land to cast spells, so a well timed Armageddon will wipe out everyone’s ability to respond to what we’re doing. Worst case scenario, if we can make a ton of mana we might be able to make an army of 4/4 Angels to do our dirty work with Luminarch Ascension.

Other Shenanigans:

These cards are the utility backbone of the deck. Giving all of my creatures haste is great for speeding up ramp, and there are some more untapping shenanigans as well. I added Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist because I actually wanted to build a deck around her, but find that she’s a good pillowfort tool in these colors. I’m sure I can find a way to keep her tapped and protect myself. Lastly, being able to flash in cards like Felidar Sovereign is important so I’ve added the Veldaken Orrery. This deck looks to be fun and unassuming but can theoretically pack a punch. Selvala is a Tier 2 general, so I think I should be able to find some consistency with her. I will report back once I’ve tested this one out!

The Enemy Within – Episode 5

Another season of Telltale’s Batman series has come to a close. This series has been full of twists and turns and it was surprising to see how it ended. In all honesty, it was left as a cliffhanger ending (at least with my choices made) and it’s pretty clear that it was left open for a third season. There haven’t been many of the Telltale series that have made it that far though, so we shall see but the way it was written I imagine we’ll see more of Batman in the future. Here’s how things shook up with my relationships by the end of episode 5:

I like the amount of detail that was put into these choices and how they affected your relationship with people. Seeing the “your relationship with so and so has changed” really makes you think twice about the decisions you made throughout the season. If I was so inclined I could play through it again making different selections and I’m sure these relationships would have ended up differently, but surprisingly I made similar choices to most people, percentage wise. The big part of the story here was how your relationship with John Doe turned him towards being a vigilante, but of course being the mentally-unstable Joker means that he can’t be bothered with Batman’s “code.” As such, he still turns out to be a villain, particularly because he’s going after the Agency rather than real criminals. There are bits where it points to the Agency being no better than the bad guys though, so I had trouble walking the line between being John’s friend and doing what’s right. It was neat to see Joker-rangs and his silly grappling hook and other devices. What shocked me most was seeing Alfred leave at the end… and not really having any closure on the Joker front. Regardless, it was a great series and I look forward to more.

There were more tracked choices in this episode again which was warranted. A bunch of things happened that affected relationships and the story in this episode. The only one I’m really not happy with is the first, only because there was a timed response needed and I think I was distracted at that moment so I “hesitated” during the attack. I would have chosen to help the clown over the agent, only because he seemed like a scumbag anyway. Tiffany became a nightwing-esque character and that was interesting. As I said, I stood up for John when I could, and that pissed off Waller though we made our peace before the end of the line. I suppose I could have chosen to give up being Batman and maybe Alfred would have stayed, but how do you give up being Batman?! I defeated Joker and he ended up back in Arkham, but we all know he won’t stay there.

All in all it was a great series and I look forward to more!

TWR: Dominaria, Legendary Focus and Brawl

The next main set coming out for Magic: The Gathering is simply called Dominaria. The original plane from the beginnings of MTG, we have finally come full circle back to where it all began. Spoilers for the set were “accidentally” released a bit early, but we’re now in the official spoiler season for the set, and with it there have been some themes revealed and other special announcements.

The set releases on April 27th, featuring 269 new cards with a heavy focus on the Legendary super-type. Traditionally the word Legendary appears in front of the type of card you are playing with, and 99% of the existing Legendary cards are either Creatures or Planeswalkers (as the new legendary Planeswalker rules errated all existing Planeswalkers to be legendary). There are some legendary lands and artifacts, but that was the extent of it. This is important to EDH players like myself, as Legendary Creatures are the only ones able to be the Commander of your decks. With Dominaria, there was promised to be at least one Legendary card per pack, though they also added some additional types, like Legendary Spells. They have also added a new keyword called Historic, which now affects several types of cards. Legendary cards, artifacts and another new type of enchantment called a Saga. Sagas are like most enchantments, they are paid for and hit the board until they are dealt with, but they have an ETB trigger, then upkeep triggers that do different things. It was also announced that pre-orders for booster boxes have started, and the price is very tempting at $85 a box. The Buy-a-Box promo this time around is also an exclusive, meaning you can’t get the promo card anywhere else, which is a first. Here’s the card:

It’s not the most amazing card ever, but it is a new commander in boros which is sadly under-represented in most cases. I like the ability to make spells have lifelink, and I think I might actually brew a deck for these minotaurs. The added bonus of being able to Lighting Bolt creatures or players every time you gain life from a spell is nice too.

Another recent announcement had to do with a new format that Wizards is trying to start up. It’s called “Brawl” and it’s an EDH variant. Normally I get excited when I read about EDH variants but most of them are officially supported by Wizards, and thus they don’t get cards printed specifically for them. Kitchen table rules are a thing though, so we’re seeing Wizards themselves trying to add their own twist on the format. Here’s the rule breakdown:

  • Each player’s deck is exactly 60 cards. Other than basic lands, no card may appear in a deck more than once. Each card must be legal in the Standard format; cards banned in the Standard format can’t be played in the Brawl variant.
  • Before the game begins, each player designates one legendary creature or planeswalker card in their deck as their commander. This card begins the game in the command zone and the other 59 cards are shuffled up.
  • The mana symbols that appear on your commander dictate what cards may be in your deck. Mana symbols that don’t appear on your commander can’t be in the deck. For example, if the Dominaria card Firesong and Sunspeaker is your commander, your cards may have R, W, both, or neither, but no B, G, or U symbols may appear anywhere in your deck. This includes the card’s text box as well as its mana cost; for example, Pride Sovereign from the Hour of Devastation set can’t be in your deck if your commander has only G in its cost and rules text.
  • Each player begins the game at 30 life rather than 20. If you’re playing a multiplayer game (which we recommend for Brawl!), each player draws seven cards again on their first mulligan and the player who plays first draws a card on their first turn.
  • As long as your commander is in the command zone, you may cast it from there. Doing so costs an additional two mana for each time you have cast the card this way this game.
  • If your commander is countered or leaves the battlefield, you may put it back into the command zone instead of putting it anywhere else it would go.
  • The Brawl variant has no other rules for playing, winning, or losing the game. Have fun!

Here’s what I like about it: You can use normal everyday Planeswalkers as commanders for your Brawl decks. Under normal EDH rules you can only use the ones that have “this Planeswalker may be used as your commander” as your general. I’d actually be for this change in normal EDH myself, as there are a ton of Planeswalkers that are all Legendary now and that would open up a slew of new commander options.

Here’s what I don’t like: Everything else. Having a limited card pool just like Standard sucks. I moved away from Standard because I didn’t like the fact that you couldn’t play with the 25 years worth of cards that are out there. I also don’t like decks that are sub-100 cards. These decks will be 60 cards, and that’s not enough in my opinion. I’m even more turned off by the decks you build for pre-release events that are only 40 cards. I also think that this could potentially fracture not only the EDH crowd but also the Standard crowd… I mean we have a shitload of formats already I don’t think we need more. You can see the whole Brawl article here, but that’s my two cents.

Thoughts on the SNES Classic

We’ve known about the SNES Classic since it was announced last year, and like the NES Classic before it, I knew I had to have one. When the NES Classic released the year prior, I had a tough time finding one like most people. It turned out that Nintendo didn’t really expect (or purposely decided to under-produce) the demand so these beauties immediately sold out and people started selling them 3rd party and really gouging on the price. Despite retailing for $60 I ended up getting mine for double the price. I was still happy with the product, and wrote about it here.

The SNES Classic was priced a little bit higher with an MSRP of $80. This is probably due to the fact that this time around they included the second controller, whereas with the NES I had to purchase a secondary controller separately. Nintendo must have heard the message loud and clear this time around, as they seem to have produced more of these consoles. My girlfriend picked me up this one on Amazon for $106, which is still over the MSRP, but not marked up nearly as much as the original.

The two consoles are essentially the same size, both fitting in your hand and both are set up pretty similarly. They both output to HDMI and use a micro USB power adapter. They are interchangeable so in my case I used the existing power supply and HDMI to swap between the two as I see fit. The other cords I’ll likely use for when I lug them around. Packed in are 21 games, and there are some great titles here:

Contra III: The Alien Wars
Donkey Kong Country
Final Fantasy III (VI)
Kirby Super Star
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Mega Man X
Secret of Mana
Star Fox
Star Fox 2
Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
Super Mario Kart
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Super Mario World
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
Super Metroid
Kirby’s Dream Course
Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
Super Castlevania IV
Super Punch-Out!!

The interface is identical to the NES Classic as well, so users will find it easy to navigate right off the bat. You still have save game states which is great for those challenging games that used to induce rage due to the lack of saving. There are a number of titles here that I’ve never played or completed due to never owning an SNES (I was a Sega kid) so I’m looking forward to checking them out. Over the weekend the fam and I played some Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart, and I checked out a couple other games. I’m not a huge fan of Kirby, Donkey Kong or Star Fox, but I’d love to play through Zelda 3 and FF6 as I’ve never played them all the way through. I’ll report back when I’ve played through a title or two, but if nothing else I’m glad to have another console in the collection!