Getting Settled

First off, Happy New Year to all!

It’s the last day of the month and the last day of 2018, and as I mentioned, I wouldn’t be able to keep up my normal posting regiment, mainly because I had a big move that occurred this past weekend. The last of my boxes was emptied today, but we still have my son’s room to tackle tomorrow. I have yet to hook up my computer either, so this post is being written on my phone, so it’s not going to be very long.

Long story short, the move went well but my lady and I are still out of work for the time being, which means after the new year we have to go into full time job hunting mode. It’s stressful, but I’m already happier here than I was in my last living situation.

I should be able to get back to business as usual in the coming month, so expect more posts to come. I’ve started a new playthrough of Civilization VI as my father gifted me a copy of the expansion for Christmas and I’ll have some thoughts to share on that soon. Also looking forward to the next expansion coming in February, along with the next episode of The Walking Dead which is due out in January.

Nevertheless, hope you all have a fabulous 2019. Happy gaming, wherever you find yourself!

TWR: The Year In MTG 2018

2018 was a good year for Magic: The Gathering. There were some ups and downs as far as product releases went, as well as ups and downs with my playtime. In January our playgroup sort of disbanded. During 2017, we had a solid three players and an occasional fourth, but by the end of the year we were down to just us three again. At the beginning of 2018 our third moved to Las Vegas, so it was just my roommate and I most of the time. We played quite a few times throughout the year, but 1v1 Commander games just aren’t the same. As such, we made sure to hit up Pre-Release events and also attended a few Commander based events at one of the local game stores. Despite having moved out of state, our third managed to come down to visit us a couple of times and we had all day shenanigans, and of course we saw him at the GP.

The biggest events were covered in detail below, with my favorites being the Battlebond Weekend along with Grand Prix Las Vegas.

Live Events:

Rivals of Ixalan Pre-Release
Commander Event
Commander Event #2
Commander League
Selling Cards
MTG Arena
Battlebond Preview Weekend
Grand Prix Las Vegas
Guilds of Ravnica Pre-Release
Playing at Home

When I’m not actually playing MTG, I spend a good chunk of time creating new brews. Some of these decks come to fruition and others were built just for the sake of seeing what I could come up with. I do a lot of the leg work for this blog — I create a build and then it generates a blog post, and then I don’t think about the deck ever again. In other cases, I’ve written about decks that I had already built and how I’ve improved them, or about decks that I’m super excited to build. My latest completed deck from this list is Zombies 3.0, where my original Zombie deck led by Gisa & Geralf (Dimir [Blue/Black]) was later transformed into a Scarab God (also Dimir) deck and has finally been changed into a Varina (Esper [Blue/Black/White]) deck. I received the final cards needed in the mail this week and now it’s ready to test out. Anyhow, here is a list of the builds I came up with over the year:

Custom Brews:

Dinosaur Tribal – Completed and adjusted since this point.
Oloro Pillowfort – In progress.
Reaper King – Retired.
Kess, Spellslinger – Never built, Kess was put into Inalla.
Prossh Food Chain – In progress.
Selvala Group Hug – Playable, but needs upgrades.
Gonti Theft – Never built.
Boros Goodstuff – Never built.
Budget Knight Tribal – In progress.
Inalla Wizard Tribal – In progress.
Jodah and Friends – Completed and tuned.
Monk Voltron – Completed.
Budget Grenzo – Never built.
WUBRG Warriors – In progress.
Atraxa Infect – In progress.
Doran Defender Tribal – Completed.
Izzet Chaos – Never built.
5-Color Spirits – Never built.
Bolas Flipwalker – In progress.
Mono Blue Mill – Never built.
Ninja Tribal – In progress.
Tuvasa Enchantress – In progress.
Zur Tier 1 Build – Completed. Technically still need a Marsh Flats and Mana Crypt.
Estrid Stax – In progress.
Tawnos Artifacts Matter – Playable, but needs upgrades.
Zombies 3.0 – Completed.
Lazav Toolbox – In progress.
Niv-Mizzet Wheels – In progress.
Arachnophobia – In progress.
Karador Tier Build – In progress.
Daxos 3.0 – In progress.
Aminatou Blink – In progress.

As you can see, that’s a bunch of decks but very few are actually being played. That’s because I spent most of my disposable cash this year on making Zur a true Tier 1 deck, and as such his price tag is around $900 alone. All of the “in progress” decks also are in varying states of completion, as I do have a bunch of cards for quite a few of them. That’s how Tawnos and Selvala ended up “playable,” because I just threw in stuff I had lying around, despite not being exactly how I want them. The decks that are listed as “never built” were those that I thought about and could become decks in the future but I decided to cut down on the amount I was trying to build at one time. I typically focus on one deck at a time, but when sets like Ultimate Masters release and have cards that I need for multiple decks I will filter them into the appropriate ones. New standard sets oftentimes contain cards that I can use in these brews as well, so they will be adjusted accordingly. Whatever the case, I clearly spent a lot of time on the hobby this year, and I don’t see that stopping in the future.

I’ve done a little research and found a local game store that does have EDH nights on Thursdays in the town that I’m moving to. So I should be able to find a new playgroup there (fingers crossed). Also, my sister and her boyfriend have been playing EDH for a little while now and also know about their local spots, though they are about a 45 minute drive from where I am, so I won’t be going that way as often. Perhaps I’ll be able to convince them to come to my house on occasion.

I’m looking forward to what 2019 brings to the Magic side of my life.

Games Played 2018

2018 is quickly coming to a close and I typically do year in review style posts like the rest of the community. This year I don’t really have a game of the year that I want to nominate or even a list of the best games of the year. I don’t have movies or music that I want to talk about. I do however want to talk about things that I did during the year as a sort of wrap up. As such, I have this post and another where I’ll talk about my year in Magic: The Gathering. For this post in particular, I’d like to go over the games I played throughout the year to sort out what I actually did.

At the tail end of 2017 I started working on my backlog in ways I hadn’t in the past. Due to Steam sales, Humble Monthly and Playstation Plus I’ve managed to acquire a huge amount of games and with limited time to play them, that list continued to grow to a point where I knew I needed to get focused and do something about it. This means that a bunch of what I played throughout 2018 didn’t release this year, but I do want to notate games that I finished and how I spent my gaming time. I’ll break things down with a monthly summary, and at the end of this post I’ll list out what games were completed with links to those posts.


At the beginning of the year, I was playing some Everquest II (having been gifted a copy of the latest [at that time] expansion for the game in late 2017). This didn’t last too long (as most of my trips to Norrath have gone) but I was enjoying things nonetheless. I was looking for ways to play games with my girlfriend because she had shown some interest in spending more time with me by gaming together. As such, we spent some time playing a digital board game called Antihero on PC, along with some Don’t Starve Together on the PS4. Telltale gave us the season of their Batman game for free via Playstation Plus and I got started with that towards the end of the month. Street Fighter V saw a big update (Arcade Edition) that I made some commentary on, and I also played a bit of the game Has Been Heroes which is a neat rogue-like title.


I was still playing Everquest II in February and had moved into the Kunark Ascending expansion. I had started Bioshock: Infinite in January and saw its completion during the second month of the year. I ran through The Order 1886 during the course of the month as well and thoroughly enjoyed it. The other game I managed to complete was the Batman series I mentioned starting in January and loved it enough to pick up the second season. Lastly, I picked up a copy of Monster Hunter World due to the hype train surrounding it, and though I talked about it positively in this post, I ended up not playing it for very long.


At the beginning of March, I picked up a copy of the new game from the makers of Faster Than Light, which was called Into The Breach. It was pretty cool, but not something that I spent a lot of time with. As I mentioned, I wasn’t that into Monster Hunter World, and since it was still a pretty new game I was able to trade it in and picked up copies of the Shadow of the Colossus and Crash Bandicoot remakes. I also managed to complete Shadow of the Colossus. Another title I was able to complete was a game I hadn’t touched in a couple of years, Shadow Warrior 2, which was a great game and I don’t know why I didn’t finish it sooner. I picked up Batman: The Enemy Within as I mentioned, and also completed it within March. I grabbed a copy of Dying Light for myself and my best friend and we got started with that during the month, and we also played some more Killing Floor 2, and during that session I managed to get the Platinum trophy for it. Lastly, my girlfriend managed to get me an SNES Classic, and I jotted down some thoughts about it.


My backlog work seemed to slow down a bit in April. I didn’t complete any games this month but I did get started on some new ones. I started up Prey, but it ended up being more challenging that expected so I have still yet to complete it. Another title that I had owned for years but hadn’t played was Pillars of Eternity, but shortly after getting started realized that I don’t really care for this style of game anymore and didn’t want to put in the hours to complete it. New games I started were The Council and Hellbound: Survival Mode. The former is another narrative adventure game but one not made by Telltale, and the latter is a game that ended up being Kickstarted, but was giving out this sort of demo mode for free on Steam. It’s a throwback to 90’s shooters (very heavily influenced by DOOM) and this survival mode was just an endless wave-based game where you try to survive as long as possible. The Kickstarter promises to bring a single player campaign and other features that will probably be out in the next couple of years.


Another slow month for gaming, I didn’t write about much that wasn’t MTG related. I picked up a copy of the game ELEX on sale, but didn’t get too far into it before shelving it — I did like what I saw though. I had written about Battlechasers: Nightwar in one of my round-up posts earlier in the year, but gave it its own post in May. It’s an excellent JRPG style game based on a comic book series and I’d highly recommend it. I go back to it here and there but have yet to finish it, but I should hopefully do so in 2019. Another game I had written about several times in years past was The Forest, which finally left Early Access after a few years. It’s a great game and one of my favorites in the survival sandbox genre and now it’s actually complete.


June was another month that I didn’t complete any full games, but I did complete the Fallout 4 DLC Automatron. I had resolved to finish up all of the DLC for the game because we had learned during E3 that Fallout 76 would release in November and I wanted to finish off the previous title to be ready for the new one. Another boon coming out of E3 was the announcement that Quake Champions would be free for a couple of weeks, so I ended up grabbing that too. It’s a game that’s supposed to be free to play once it comes out of Early Access, but you had to buy-in to play it early. I did end up spending some money on it because they had a pack where you open up all of the existing characters and future ones as well so it was a good deal (on sale during that week as well). Speaking of Early Access, the creators of SMITE and Paladins decided to jump on the Battle Royale bandwagon and release Realm Royale in an Alpha state. I checked it out and said that it was one of the best BR style games I had played (though that is not true at this point due to some others releasing later in the year). Finally, I began a playthrough of Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, the sequel to the reboot from a couple years back.


In July, I quickly turned things around and completed The New Colossus. It was excellent and because I had played Wolf 1 and 2, I decided that I should also dive into The Old Blood as we learned at E3 that another title in the series, Youngblood would be releasing in the future. I finished The Old Blood rather quickly over the course of the month — It was shorter, the graphics not as sharp and not as fun but was completed nonetheless. I got started on the next Fallout 4 DLC, Far Harbor, but part way through it, decided that I was no longer interested in playing through these DLCs and scratched that goal off of my list. Lastly, I got started with The Banner Saga 3, a game that I Kickstarted and finally released. Just like its predecessors, it was excellent.


Though not strictly game related, we saw Blaugust Reborn kick off in August and it was a successful event. As such I pushed myself to try more games to have things to write about for the challenge. I won’t waste time and write more thoughts on these titles, but instead list them off so if you are curious you can follow the links and check them out in more detail. I tried out Idle Apocalypse, Chasm, Tooth & Tail, Questland, Starcraft: Remastered, Legend of Solgard, Defiance 2050, and StormboundAs if that wasn’t already quite the list, I also spent some time trying to get back into ESO, and started playing TellTale’s final season of The Walking Dead. I finished The Banner Saga 3 that I mentioned at the tail end of July as well. This was also the month that we first heard about Torchlight Frontiers, a new Action RPG slash MMO being published by Perfect World Entertainment. Another notable occurrence during August was that I was able to get free hosting for my dead podcast, so Couch Podtatoes was put back online. Definitely one of my busier months of the year.


I continued dwaddling about in ESO for a bit in September before calling it quits. Destiny 2 was one of the free titles via Playstation Plus for the month, so I convinced my best friend to download it and we started playing strictly together as to keep at the same level through the game. I tried out another Early Access title that didn’t require any sort of payment called Zeal, but given the state of it I doubt it will get very far. It had a Kickstarter but I don’t think that it was funded and I’m too lazy to check right now. It seems there is still ongoing development but it is sort of meh. One big announcement on the hardware side of things was when Sony revealed the Playstation Classic (undoubtedly due to the success of Nintendo’s NES and SNES Classic consoles). I wasn’t really impressed with the announcement lineup (which wasn’t the full lineup) and still wasn’t that into it once we knew all of the games included. For someone who wasn’t around to experience the PSOne, it’s probably a great buy, but for those of us who were there, it’s not amazing. To boot, most of the PSOne classics were available on PS3 (of which I bought a few) and are now available via PSNow. So probably something to skip for most.


Somewhere between September and October, we learned that Telltale Games was basically going out of business. They canned most of the projects they were working on and laid off most of the staff. There were a few things they were still working on, but I was most distressed about the fact that the final season of The Walking Dead wasn’t going to be finished. Thankfully, Skybound (a company owned by the creator of TWD) formed a games division and was set to finish off the series. It has been announced since that the third episode will release in January next year. As I mentioned earlier, Zeal created a Kickstarter for their game, but as I said I don’t know if they were successfully funded. I checked in on League of Legends, after a very long break from the game, and was happy to see that things have been successfully chugging along in my absence. I’ve played it off and on since, but without the dedication I once had for it. We heard news of a revival effort for Hellgate: London, a game I hadn’t played in about a decade. I was interested to check out its revived Steam version, but after initial reports suggested it was a buggy mess, I decided to pass. Lastly, I tried to pick up where I left off in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, but after a few sessions I decided that I was better off spending my time elsewhere. It’s not that it was a bad game — far from it — it’s just that rumors surrounding a proper sequel (Borderlands 3) sprouted and I’m honestly more interested in a brand new next generation title than one that is a few years old (and running on their old engine).


Another month, another Battle Royale game released. Such is the story of 2018. However, this particular title resonated with me more than any other BR title before it, or since. Battlerite Royale went into Early Access on Steam around this time and I couldn’t resist the siren call. The combination of MOBA mechanics with Battle Royale gameplay is simply tits. This would be my game of the year if was actually in a full release state, despite other huge titles releasing throughout 2018. I was gifted a new piece of hardware for my birthday during the month, and wrote about it here. I was invited to the Torchlight Frontiers alpha and participated in the first weekend test — It looks promising, but there’s much to be added before it’s a proper game. I wrote about a couple of titles I picked up on sale on the cheap, Iron Crypticle and Sunless Sea — two games that are nice time wasters but not too deep. I jumped into a new free to play title on PS4, though it’s not a new game (just new to consoles) which is a FPS with multiple modes (including Battle Royale) called Warface and shared some thoughts. Lastly, I found a new mobile game that has held my interested to this day, and will likely remain in my rotation for the foreseeable future — it tugs on nostalgia strings and has fun gameplay. SEGA Heroes is the game, and it is currently the only game installed on my phone besides Clash Royale.


Speaking of Clash Royale, the big December update patch came out and with it a number changes and additions that made things different, for better or worse. I checked out another mobile game called Knight Story, but it has since been removed from my phone. It was decent but not enough to hold my waning attention span. Another major franchise jumped on the Battle Royale bandwagon, this time it was Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Not only did they change the entire menu system, but the new Danger Zone game mode introduced Battle Royale to one of the longest running and most successful FPS franchises on Steam. The final episode of The Council released this month and marks the last game I’ll finish in 2018. It was a great series and I’d recommend it if you are into these sorts of games. Lastly, I picked up a copy of the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection and shared some thoughts on it here.

Games Completed in 2018:

Bioshock Infinite
Telltale’s Batman
The Order 1886
Shadow of the Colossus remake
Shadow Warrior 2
Batman: The Enemy Within
Wolfenstein: The New Colossus
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
The Banner Saga 3
The Council

I suppose ten games being completed during the course of a year isn’t that great, it’s not even an average of one per month, but considering the bulk of these were finished during the first half of the year I suppose that’s pretty good. I also know that I spent a bunch of time spread about dozens of other games and spent a good chunk of my time on my other hobby (MTG) and on real life obligations, so I don’t feel so bad about it. Perhaps in 2019 I’ll do even better, or perhaps things will stay the same. Either way I feel decent about the way the year went, and I’m looking forward to more awesome experiences in the year to come!

By The Numbers: Week 17, 2018

As the Packers season is pretty much over, it doesn’t really matter that they managed to get a win over the Jets this week. It’s a nice morale boost I’m sure, as they can feel good going into the last week of the season, but come January they will be sitting at home and that’s not something my team is used to. Whatever the case, I’m still trying to have a better season with my picks this year than I did last year, and that should definitely be doable because last year I managed to miss some picks for Thursday night games along with missing one week entirely, so I can probably say it’s a job well done already. Let’s see how I did this week:

Titans 21, Redskins 16 – Correct
Chargers 28, Ravens 21
Colts 24, Giants 10 – Correct
Dolphins 20, Jags 10
Falcons 20, Panthers 13 – Correct
Browns 23, Bengals 21 – Correct
Cowboys 27, Buccs 14 – Correct
Vikings 30, Lions 13 – Correct
Patriots 35, Bills 16  – Correct
Packers 27, Jets 10 – Correct
Texans 28, Eagles 23
Rams 35, Cardinals 21 – Correct
Bears 28, 49ers 20 – Correct
Saints 30, Steelers 27 – Correct
Chiefs 24, Seahawks 20
Broncos 17, Raiders 9

Weekly score: 11-5
Season score: 135-112

It was a pretty good week pick-wise, and my season score remains positive. Let’s make some picks for the final week. I’ll also make my picks through the playoffs and tabulate things after the season is all said and done.

Dolphins 24, Bills 21
Packers 27, Lions 20
Texans 28, Jags 17
Patriots 24, Jets 7
Saints 30, Panthers 21
Cowboys 23, Giants 20
Falcons 21, Buccs 14
Browns 21, Ravens 20
Chiefs 31, Raiders 13
Bears 27, Vikings 23
Steelers 23, Bengals 13
Eagles 20, Redskins 10
Chargers 17, Broncos 13
Rams 28, 49ers 10
Seahawks 20, Cardinals 17
Colts 21, Titans 14

I’ll check back in next week. Until then.

Thoughts on Street Fighter 30th Anniversary

Regular readers will know that I’m a big fan of the Street Fighter series and fighting games in general. I’m fairly picky when it comes to the games I like, but for the most part Capcom’s fighters have always been my favorite. So naturally when I learned about the impending release of the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection I knew it was something I’d have to pick up. When it released it was reasonably priced, but I still waited for a sale, and that happened just the other day so I was able to get a copy on the cheap. The game boasts a considerable line up from the history of the series:

Two things that stick out however, are that really you’re only getting 6 titles rather than the advertised 12, and also that these are Arcade ports rather than ports of the console versions. The reason I say you only get 6 games instead of 12 is because there are literally 5 versions of Street Fighter II here, along with three versions of Street Fighter III. The Alpha series is really the only one that could be considered separate titles, and the original Street Fighter didn’t have multiple iterations over the years. It’s also a little disappointing that these are Arcade ports rather than the console versions, mainly because I played most of these games on the consoles that were around at the time, and because they are less full-featured as a result. One of the main reasons I picked this collection up is because Street Fighter Alpha 3 is pretty much my favorite fighting game ever, and I absolutely loved the survival mode. I would play this for hours when I lived in my first apartment, and would play versus with friends endlessly. These bonus modes aren’t readily available, as when you hit start on the above screen, it takes you directly to character select. There are ways to play some different modes though, but they require particular button presses at the main menu of the title to do so, and they’re still not entirely what I remember. A shame, but I’m still glad to have this package.

Outside of the games themselves, there is a pretty impressive amount of information about the series. You can read details from each individual arcade title, along with seeing a timeline of the entire Street Fighter history. There are detail character bios, sketches and artwork for the games and little tidbits of trivia sprinkled throughout. It’s pretty cool if you’re a super fan, but most people will probably skip over these details.

Otherwise it’s still the same old Street Fighter that we know and love. You can play pixel perfect (a border surrounds and looks just like the old arcade cabinets) or stretch the size of the screen from more modern TVs. If you had a favorite version of Street Fighter II, it’s here and you can choose to play it over the others. Honestly it doesn’t make a huge difference but there are nuances like the speed in which the game plays or the amount of playable characters or even if there is an inclusion of a super move bar. Capcom is still doing this sort of thing to this day, as with Street Fighter IV there was a normal, arcade and super edition of the game, and Street Fighter V just recently added the arcade edition of the game (for free if you owned the base game) which I wrote about here. Another new feature is the addition of online matchmaking to some of these titles, though I believe this was already done for some of the games in the past. I know that you could have purchased Super Street Fighter II on the PS3 and it had online matchmaking, and a version of Street Fighter III did this at some point to. In this collection, you can only play Street Fighter II Hyper Fighting, Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Street Fighter Alpha 3 (I believe this is the first time you could play online with this one) and Street Fighter III 3rd Strike. I’m not sure what the population is like but I was able to play a few matches online so far with short wait times.

If you’re a fan of the series like I am, I’d recommend picking this up just to complete your collection. I’m happy with the purchase.