Games I beat in 2017: #7 Lifeline

When the Apple Watch released I heard about a game you could “play” on it, by responding to text messages. My good buddy Alex messaged me a while back and asked me if I played Lifeline. I hadn't and he wanted someone to talk about the game with. I said I was holding off on making frivolous purchases, but heh was kind enough to gift me a copy. So I played it.

The watch idea was cute enough, but it ended up being a little too much scrolling at times. Playing in the app was easier. I guess that was the destiny of the Apple Watch. Only to succeed where things are easier. And some things are easier. But not playing Lifeline.

The gimmick enough wouldn't have made it worth playing, but it has a neat story. You assist Taylor as they (their gender status is never mentioned, so use your) try to survive after their spacecraft crashes onto a planet.

It's a bunch of simple branches. You choose one of two options and the story plays out. Not everything is good advice, and you might end up killing Taylor by giving some poor advice. It can be a bit frustrating when you there are two choices, neither of which you deem appropriate. I didn't feel like being snarky to this poor lost person. But sometimes it was either snark or pushing them in a direction I didn't like either, so it could be hard to choose.

But choose I did, and Taylor only died once in my adventure. At this point I was able to “rewind” to any spot and disable the “real-time” waiting.

Oh yeah, so I suppose that’s another gimmick. It's “real-time” in that if Taylor says they are going to walk for an hour, it'll be an hour before you hear back. Which is interesting. It takes some pressure off of the game and you go and check the status like you'd keep off and on touch with a friend throughout the workday. Only this friend is stranded on a planet.

Of course it gets a little wonky when there is a split second decision to be made and you ignore Taylor for a day or two. But it's a game and the designers put gameplay above realism, so Taylor will wait, no matter how important the choice will be.

There’s a sequel, Silent Night which I picked up because I enjoyed the first one well enough. So that's my praise for the game. It’s a neat story told in a neat way.

2017.05.13

Finished watching Riverdale. It was... Frustrating. I know teenagers are annoying at times. That made it hard to watch. Perhaps it was remembering doing stupid things myself. Perhaps it was the show being a bit corny from time to time. But, hey. Give me a decent mystery and I'm there.

Comparisions to Twin Peaks could be made. I got that vibe. I have no love for the comics this is based off of. Just the passing cultural knowledge. But it sure did a few good cliffhangers. I don't regret watching it, even if I had to turn the volume down for some of the singing segments. I still get embarrassed for others. Weird how that happens.

The Fiesta is fast approaching. I'm getting ready. I'll never not be nervous, though. I want people to enjoy this event. They seem to quite like it. You never want to let your fans down. Ha. I have fans. That's hard to believe. But everyone enjoying the Fiesta is what really makes it. I just write some code and run some MYSQL. But we all have fun. And that's a nice thing.

Games I beat in 2017: #6 Final Fantasy Mystic Quest

Games I beat in 2017: #6 Final Fantasy Mystic Quest

There was a twelve hour challenge two months back. It's an interesting idea. Spend twelve hours learning how to speedrun a game. I decided to participate, but I couldn't do a solid 12-hour chunk, nor could I do it around the time. Who cares. I decided to spend twelve hours learning the Final Fantasy Mystic Quest speed run. And I got it. Not a ""respectable"" time, but I finished it and had some fun replaying a game I claim to like a lot.

And I still like it a lot.

There are a few bugs in the game, mostly doing with under and overflows because you can buy 0 of an item in a shop. A simple miss on the part of the programmers, but with this someone figured out that allows you to bypass a chunk of the game.

It’s these sort of things that remind me how human the “mythical beings" behind making games are. It reminds me to lower my own standards a little bit. Mistakes may be there, and they may just let people enjoy the game in a different way!

Goodbye, Marvel Unlimited

Canceled my subscription to Marvel Unlimited. It was a neat service, but I don't have the time and should not be spending the money right now.

Marvel’s site fucking sucks. For whatever reason it was loading slow as hell during the whole process. To cancel your account you have to first say why, then on a separate (also slow) page enter your password to confirm.

I didn't have a password.

Even though I use a password manager, I just used their option for signing in via Google. I'm not up to date on whether that is a problem, but it's what I did a year ago.

So you don't have a password. I set one in the account, log out and try to sign in. It rejects my information. I submit a password request and they let me know my account name. Which wasn’t my email address. Why do places still do this?

By the way, I wrote this whole thing while the pages were loading to perform my cancellation. I have no idea why Marvel’s site is so slow. Japan, maybe? I could browse other sites fine and download stuff while Marvel just chugged along.

2017.05.07

People chang9ing plans on me at the last minute bugs me more than it probably should. I suppose I just like having things decided and the sudden "freedom" throws me in a spin. I like planning things out.

I suppose I made the best of the day. Grabbed lunch with a friend. Took the train so I got to play some games. Played Kamiko on the Switch. I've completed the game three times now, once with each character. Pretty fun. I could see this being a game people like speed running. Not sure if I could do it. Action's not really my thing.

Booted up Zelda. Was stuck on a dungeon. Still not a fan of this game. Not sure why I keep trying and don't just sell it while the buyback price is good. Stubborness, I suppose.

I did have my 3DS with me as well, which I suppose is excessive. Played a bit of the first Mega Man game for the Gameboy. Surprisingly hard. I abused the savestates. No shame. I'd rather redo a part time and time again until I get it right with a bit of leeway. Hey, the technology is there.

And that's Golden Week. We are done. Now it's time for the long stretch of no days off and students slowly dreaming of Summer Vacation and not wanting to be in school. Probably the toughest time of the year. I've done it nine times before, though. It'll get done.

2017.05.06

Went to get ramen with a group of Magic players. I feel extra sleepy now.

I went to two tournaments today. Don't feel like I did that well. First was an eight person Grand Prix Trial. Limited. Six packs. I hardly got any creatures. Any two color combination gave me twelve or thirteen characters and not the best spells. So three colors it was. I tried to balance the best I could, but I got screwed hard. I did at least take round one so I got three extra prize packs. Woo.

Then I got me some lunch (delicious curry) and headed off to another tournament. Lots of driving. Lots of podcast listening. I think it clears my head.

I made some tweaks to my deck from FNM but it just wasn't working. Well, I had some mana screw as well. Just some bad hands that I figured could curve all right if I hit a land drop. And the chances should be good! But they weren't. Perhaps mulligans are something I need to work on. Or maybe it's just time for a different deck.

Super sleepy. Ramen is salty and salty sleep is beckoning me.

Random thoughts for 2017.05.05

Golden Week has ended. Well, not really, but the extra days off are over with. I am glad that I get them and that my job doesn't hve any "emergency" situations that would make me lose my vacation days. Godd stuff.

Sadly, I haven't been feeling that well. Spent most of the days in bed, feeling awful. Although I did get up enough energy to take the boy bowling. He even threw the ball on his own this time. As opposed to using the ramp-thing that they have for kids.

Even though I haven't been feeling "well" I don't think I'm sick. I have a hunch it's exhaustion from everything going on lately. So I made my way out to Friday Night Magic.

The banning of Felidar Guardian meant I needed a new deck. And that I was playing something I was unexperienced with. Well, I took white out of Four Color Saheeli, put in 4 Glorybringer, two more mana dorks in the form of Channeler Initiate. Fiddled with the mana a little bit.

It went okay. I lost to Sultai Control which just had answers for everything and then was recurring any Torrential Gearhulk I destroyed. I beat a black deck that was trying to use delirium. Then I lost 1-2 to a Red-White deck that was just playing a bunch of good stuff. I scryed with the new Nissa a few good times but couldn't find anything to close out the game. So I lost. Oh well. It happens.

The deck feels interesting and using Saheeli Rai to copy a Glorybringer is gross. Plus, her scry along with Nissa can lead to some interesting interactions. The deck just needs something else other than Whirler Virtuoso and Rogue Refiner. There might not be anything else though. Perhaps it is time to look elsewhere. It was an interesting night, at least.

Then I drove home. I drove the speed limit. This pissed off two cars who sped past me at a red light, running it. Thankfully there was no accident, but I find it hard to believe that it was that important to get past me in a non-passing area, while running a red light. But they wanted to get somewhere fast.

Games I beat in 2017: #4 & #5 Hidden my Game by Mom 1 & 2

They are free games. Here, I’ll even link you to the first one and its sequel.

The developer has a few other games out which are equally quirky, but these two are the best. They are absolutely worth completing because the endings are so worth the time spent.

Unfortunately, since the games are free you know there’s a catch. And that is the occasional fullscreen ad. Or animated ad that “has” to play out. I put that in quotes because a tap in the upper lefthand corner closes it out. Hidden close mark, I suppose. I can't blame the developer. It’s hard to make money off your games. I know that first hand.

These two games are “tap on the things to see what they do” mechanics-wise, but they rely on quirky humor to make its simplicity all the more fun. Your mother has hidden your gaming device. Where is it? It could be as easy as opening a drawer, or as complex as finding a string of items to solve a devious puzzle.

This leads to lots of game overs. But you want the game overs sometimes because they are humorous. Sometimes I walked right into a trap and as soon as I saw it I laughed. How could I not? It was so obvious and yet worth it.

A bit of “brute forcing” gets you through any puzzle that doesn't make sense. Only so much screen to tap on. But nearly all of them “make sense”.

I'm writing this up months after playing it, but I still smile thinking about it. They are worth your time. And you might even earn the dev half a cent.

Ham Man

Ham Man fumbled for the object on the ground. He knew he dropped something, but his pink hands grasped at nothing. His eyes half closed, he continued to reach. Leaning back for a breath of air, he then lunged forward again. No luck grabbing the item. It was there. He knew it. Ham Man had a thing. Now he no longer had a thing. But what could he do without the thing?

Ham Man closed his eyes. An eternity passed. It was about sixty seven seconds long. He opened his eyes. The thing! He must get the thing! He reached down again but the thing was not where his hands were. Ham Man smelled the air. He smelled of ham. But the thing was not ham. He was the source of the ham smell. But what was the thing?

The train conductor steps over Ham Man’s umbrella as he walks by. Ham Man sees this. Umbrella! The word comes to his lips. He lunges. Umbrella is now in hand. Ham Man was successful. Now for sleep. Ham Man will sleep.

Games I beat in 2017 #3: Hotline Miami 2

This one took a while. The macOS version would crash at the end of some levels. Why? It was looking for data in a folder. The Steam folder. I had the GOG version. As you can imagine, things did not work out well.

There is this level on a boat. And it is a long level. And I would beat it. And when I would go to finish it, the game would crash. And since almost every level in Hotline Miami has this “get out” part, the level isn't over until it is over. And the level would crash before saving my progress.

I liked the first one a lot. It took me a while to beat, but it was bizarre and twitchy. Hyperviolent, sure. Made me feel a bit awkward to be playing it? Sure. That seemed to be the point. And it stuck with me. That awkward feeling. I shouldn't be enjoying this. Yet in some way I am.

The sequel had some of that but there was an extra layer of frustration. Part of it was the bugs, but then you have some sequelitis going on. It wanted to be “bigger and better” but that went into the map design. Hotline Miami had tight maps that I did my best to learn as soon as possible. 2 had these wide maps that made it feel like I was getting shot from a distance without anything I could do about it. Was the game trying to make me feel helpless?

I checked in on the game once in a while. I found out someone fixed the bugs. It turned out I didn't have much left to complete. But I was already down on the game and the remaining levels didn't change much of that.

The other 472

I was 473 out of 2719 players in Grand Prix Shizuoka. That means I performed better than 2246 players. And yet I can only think about the 472 who did better than me.

This is not healthy. This is bad. I made mistakes, and I acknowledged them. I tried to have a fun time. But with a desire for perfection comes a problem of stressing out over failures.

This is a card game.

I am hoping that I can take these experiences from my fun time and turn it into a better life for me. Because I did better than 2246 players. Some of that was luck. Some of that was skill. And that’s why 472 were better than me. Luck and skill. And I have to acknowledge that the dice will lay will they will.

There’s a part of me that doesn't believe in luck. Thinks I should blame myself for each part. I rolled a two on two six-sided dice? Well, it was my fault for letting go the second I did. Grabbing the dice the way I did. Breathing the way I did. And these things are true. But there’s gravity. The air. The other people around me. Things outside of my control. And I have to try my best to remember they exist. Or I am going to lose my mind.

I have to be better in all ways. Both card games and life.

Grand Prix Shizuoka

This was a weekend of mistakes. And learning. When friends said they were shooting to arrive at 8, I figured 8pm the night before the event. They meant 8am the morning of. I should have looked at the hotel reservations closer. It was only one night. Not two! I thought the price was good. So when I went my own way because I thought people were taking off at 12 (pm) and not going to work on Friday, whoops!

So I arrive in Shizuoka at 7:30pm Friday without a hotel. Luckily a friend was also there and let me crash at their place. Otherwise that would have been a silly night. It’s been a while since I slept on a floor, but it worked out okay.

Saturday I start with two byes, but didn't want to pay the ¥2000 extra to “sleep-in”. I don't get why that was an option. Yes, in general the Grand Prix was cheaper than Chiba. But Chiba also offered free water and snacks on top of a no-charge sleep in special. They also had a working pairing app, but we’ll get into that later.

I was playing a Four Color Saheeli from someone I had chatted with at GP Chiba and on Reddit. It was a good list that I had practiced with online and felt confident about. The side was ready for Mardu Vehicles, but was luck going to be on my side?

Day One

Round One and Two: Byes

Round Three: Mardu Vehicles (0-2 : 2-1) Ouch. <a data-preserve-html-node="true" class="simple" target="new" href="https://deckbox.org/mtg/Gideon, Ally of Zendikar”>Gideon smash. I wish I could say there was some mistake that I made that I could learn from, but all my notes point to that they had it. Mardu does that. Just smashing away.

Round Four: Jund Control (2-0 : 3-1) Another die roll loss. I feel luck coursing through me. No mulligans for either of us these games, but I manage to squeak the combo through both times. Game two I was down to two life, but I kept putting out board pressure. They had to deal and I had the combo at when they were out of answers.

Round Five: Mardu Vehicles (1-2 : 3-2) Noticing a pattern? This one was all on me, though. Luck could have played a part in the end but I definitely lost because I made a mistake. Or did I? I should have called a judge.

After I’m shuffling game one, a judge standing behind me asks me to come and talk with him. Now I’m nervous. I tend to shuffle in a weird way. I table shuffle in strange patterns to try to set the cards all around and then I riffle shuffle like a madman. I’m gentle with my opponent's cards, though.

The judge asked why I shuffle my deck pointed towards me while I shuffle my opponent’s deck face down. I said that I wanted to avoid seeing any of my opponent’s cards by accident. Also that I found shuffling with the cards upright while looking away easier to do with my own deck. He seemed satisfied, but I got nervous. I missed a trigger game two for energy from a Bristling Hydra. Somehow I confused the rule of “not mattering until you notice ” with this. Judge says I missed it. So you’d think I’d be more careful.

Game three I use Harnessed Lightning on a Gideon token. Attune with Aether, drop a Whirler Virtuoso. Get out a Marvel Aetherworks. I am getting attacked with Gideon, Heart of Kiran and a 3/2 dwarf. When I go to spin Aetherworks I notice I only have five energy. I should have six. But I forgot to tick up my energy count for the earlier Harnessed Lightning. Whoops. Now I thought this was a trigger thing. But later when talking with the same judge, he said that should have been a thing noted by my opponent. Whoops. I think we both would have gotten warnings or maybe the game state was too far advanced. Either way, I was much more careful about my energy for the rest of the day.

Round Six: Four Color Good Artifacts (2-0 : 4-2) It feels like an insult to not know what my opponent's deck was. This of course comes when I win, and I sure did. He was dropping big artifacts and powerful spells like Unlicensed Disintegration. I kept applying board pressure each game. Game one I win with the help of Chandra, Torch of Defiance and a board of creatures. Game two he gets out a Tezzeret the Schemer and I deal via Chandra and Thopter tokens. At one point he has to tap out to deal with my board and I have the combo ready to finish him off.

Round Seven: Four Color Saheeli (2-0 : 5-2) This is when the day starts to become a blur. I know I got the combo off game one thanks to Aetherworks Marvel. He had Shock for my <a data-preserve-html-node="true" class="simple" target="new" href="https://deckbox.org/mtg/Saheeli Rai”>Saheeli. I had six energy. Spin the wheel and I got a second cat in response to his Shock. He scoops. I remember worrying that the mirror match was where I had to shine. I wanted to focus my energies on the toughest matchup in Mardu Vehicles. Game two I just go hard on creature beats and wiping his board.

Round Eight: Green Black Energy (2-1 : 6:2) Game one he just thrashes me. Creature after creature into a Verdurous Gearhulk. I had Saheeli poking at him while he had a Walking Ballista up so he was not worried about anything but reducing my life to zero. Game two he mulligans twice and I take advantage of this with an early combo. Game three he just doesn't see a Ballista or any removal and when I drop the combo he shows a hand of land and a Gearhulk. Whew. I’m definitely in day two, now. I hope for a good round nine so I can go in 7-2

Round Nine White Black Revolt (0-2 : 6-3) Well, so much for that 7-2 record. I just got smashed. Super smashed. Remember when I said not knowing my oppenent's deck felt like an insult? Not this time. Game one he plays a turn one Shambling Vent and I’m thinking Mardu Vehicles. Turn two he plays Hidden Stockpile and I’m starting to wonder what the hell is going on. Turn three I drop Saheeli, cat in hand, mana ready to go. He holds mana up, but I have a hand full of creatures and planeswalkers. So I drop the cat, ready to be playing stuff bigger than his 1/1s if he has the answer. He does. Then the next turn comes Gideon. It’s not going to go well. Another Hidden Stockpile comes. Then a third. Even though I kill off Gideon with Oath of Chandra and Chandra he drops another. He makes an emblem and is ready to make 3 2/2s a turn. I say it’s time to go to game two.

Now it feels like I'm playing against a different deck. He drops Yahenni, Undying Partisan after a 1/1 Walking Ballista. He then holds off until I over extend a little and then blows up the board with Fumigate except, whoops. Yahenni just became indestructible until end of turn. Great! Gideon comes down next turn and things just end.

But I’m 6-3! So that means I get to go on to Day Two.

Day Two

Round Ten: Temur Dynavolt (1-2 : 6-4) These were good games. It’s hard to complain. But I still can! In game three I spin Aetherworks Marvel into a creature, two lands and all my artifact hate. And he has two Torrential Gearhulk out. I could have used that Release the Gremlins, although who knows if he would have had a counter or not for it.

Round Eleven: Mardu Vehicles (0-2 : 6-5) My notes just show my life totals at 8 for each game. I didn't even bother to write down the -1 after Gideon and Heart of Kiran finished me off both games. Consistency makes for good decks and Mardu Vehicles sure is that.

Round Twelve: Black Green (2-1 : 7-5) I have “Combo Win” written down in columns of two and three. Game one I couldn't find an answer for his Ballista and he pummeled me down. Games two and three I just had the combo early and enough stuff to push through his answers and defend it.

Round Thirteen: Mardu Vehicles (2-1 : 8-5) No, that is not a typo. I beat Mardu Vehicles. Once. It felt good. It felt like revenge after the previous three losses. How did I do it? Game one he tapped out when I had the combo. Now, he had a field full of good stuff. He just didn't have removal for the combo. Game two I sided into the Bristling Hydra and Skysovereign package. But since he saw my Aetherworks Marvel he put in Release the Gremlins. And had one for each of my two Skysoverigns. It was hard to come back from those losses. Turn four game three I had a Tireless Tracker, and a Clue token. He drops a Ballista on his turn. On my turn I tap out for five and Release the Gremlins on his Ballista and my Clue token. Thanks to the rules, I still get two gremlins. Then I bring the beatdown.

Round Fourteen: Mardu Vehicles (1-2 : 8-6) Game one he gets me down to seven but I push through the combo. I do a total of three damage to him over the next two games. Guess who showed up a lot? If you said Gideon, congratulations. Go have a cookie.

Round Fifteen: Four Color Saheeli (2-1 : 9-6) He seemed to be on a more aggro version with Tireless Tracker in the main deck. Game one and three I got the combo through his answers. Game two he straight up turn four got me when I didn't have an answer. We played the combo. I just happened to get it twice.

So, triggers. Gotta remember triggers. Got to not get nervous when a judge asks me a simple question and I don't even get a warning. Making day two in my second Grand Prix was exciting. If Wizards’s site was not shitting the bed at the moment I would tell you what place I got.

I have to say that the GP did not feel as well run as Chiba. The online pairing system just didn't work. When my byes were up I noticed the announcements were saying not to check the app. They would show up a few minutes into the round. (I found this out as I had to wait for an opponent once since a person with the same name sat down in front of me instead.) There was also only one list printed out. I get that there are lots of people, but I do not understand why they made it harder to check our seatings. I’m sure the app had server issues or something. It happens. But it sure sucked.

This was a bit cheaper than GP Chiba, but. I didn't get a playmat. They were only available to the first 1800 people who signed up. There was no free water or snacks. The app didn't work. Hell, I’ll even say the tables sucked. That’s because I got lucky and sat at the end where the bars for these folding tables bumped into my knees. This happened many times in a row.

But I had fun. 9-6! Next Grand Prix is Modern in Kobe. Oh goody.

Crushing Finality

I have been translating with one company for two years. I was lucky. I hold no ill will to the work drying up. That’s the freelance gig. But it came as a shock. I was lucky because they helped me out at the perfect time. But now I do not know how much work I will get from them. So if you happen to know of places that need freelance Japanese to English translators, hi.

Now to return to rambling about Magic: The Gathering!

The reason I bring this news up is that I had a stressful day at work on Tuesday so I figured I'd relax by playing some Modern. Well, I got the unfortunate email a bit before the tournament started. So I was in a bit of a weird mood, but I found myself focused on the games of Magic. I won rounds one and two without much stress. Round one was against a new-seeming player with his own mill deck. It was pretty brutal to lose 13 to 26 cards in a turn due to Archive Trap. But he didn't have the resources to deal with my beats and I took him out in two games. Plus, Snapcaster Mage and Gurmag Angler like full graveyards.

Round two was Jund. I just played the Delver game hard and finished him off. Game two was a bit more interesting after siding because I decided to take out Delver of Secrets. He sided to defeat Delver, though. This gave him a hand of useless removal while Tasigur, the Golden Fang and an Angler tore him apart.

Round three I drew lots of lands. Lots of lands. I could have dropped a Snapcaster Mage recuring nothing to kill an early Geist of Saint Traft. I should have. It might have bought me some time. But I shocked my opponent when around turn 8 I played a Delver. See, I had lots of lands. He thought I was on control. Game two was similar, although I don't think I made a mistake. I just didn't draw anything to go with my counters other than cantrips and land.

And that left me feeling how I felt about my translation gig. Helpless. But I can take actions. I already did today and have found a little bit of work. I do hope one day I just have one thing I’m doing to pay all my bills. But it doesn’t feel like that’s how the world works these days.

Games I beat in 2017: #2 Anodyne

What a weird game. What a beautiful game. Anodyne feels like a Legend of Zelda game made by those who wanted you to question why video games are things.

I have a haunting feeling that I already wrote about this. I can't find the blog post. Was it a lost draft? I cannot find that either, and I am usually good about keeping track of those sort of things.

That haunting feeling sums up Anodyne. It feels familiar, but new. It’s some sort of dream that’s halfway towards being a nightmare but you've already woken up. Or have you? It’s a movie cliche except you're enjoying yourself. Until you're not sure what exactly is going on.

It breaks my heart that a dull game like Undertale can get so popular while a little gem like this passes by unnoticed. Well, for me at least until I get gifted a copy for Xmas.

If you like Zelda games (And I mean real ones, not the 3D disasters.) then I suggest you play this. You will enjoy yourself.

Net Decking

Ah, net-decking. A “hot topic” amongst card gamers because “There's no creative spirit!”

I don't mind it.

I mean, I think about it. What is the best way for me to proceed? I net-deck because then I know it’s on me. The playing part, at least. The deck is out of my hand.

So I took a modified Black-Green deck to last week's Friday Night Magic. I went 1-2. Round 1 was against an Abzan Revolt deck. I had thought about this exact kind of deck, but I didn't know the best way to build it. My opponent was also in a testing phase because the deck didn't seem to work too great. All the games were a grind, but I managed to pull out ahead.

Then I lost to Copy Cat and the mirror-match. The Copy Cat games were hard. He just had answers and draw. Didn't see my draw, although Copy Cat sure packs more. Mirror match was similar. He saw things that I didn’t. This is the problem with little events like this. I’m not sure if I misplayed or not. I think it was just a little bit of bad luck.

And I’ve got to roll with that.

I would walk a quarter mile

I am fat.

Okay, I’m not fat. That is a rude thing to say. But I am not happy with my weight. I could blame The Medication. If anything, though, I have had less of an appetite ever since going on the medication for depression. Perhaps it is just a lack of exercise. That bastard, exercise.

Who am I to call exercise a bastard. Perhaps it was born in wedlock. Again, I am apologizing a lot today.

But I walked the other day. And my thighs are now b-b-burning like a hunk of love. Except replace love with pain. And hunk with eternal. “Burning like a eternal of pain.” That is some shitty grammar.

There is pain. Which is life, I do suppose, so I’ll just remedy that with what I can. Drink your water, children. It'll get that body hydrated. Sweet, sweet hydration. Important even during the winter months.

Which I have to say other than being fuck-cold this year have treated me well enough. No colds. I think my last one was around a year ago. I binged Archer when I could not get out of bed. So that was a pretty good cold as far as colds go.

We are in the last half of February. Time for shit to get warm. Then it will get too hot and I can can complain about that, but for now I can look forward to “Not too hot”.

Ah, life.

Game Day(s): 2017.02.12

I wrote this up on Sunday, but then life stopped me from posting it until now.

I heard it was going to be a big one, but the cold must have kept people in. Fourteen players, the smallest amount I saw this weekend.

I wasn't sure whether to go GB or Copy Cat, so I flipped a coin. It came up Copy Cat but my gut said GB so I went with that

Round 1: Temur Eldrazi 2-0
Gonti, Lord of Luxury stole two Thought-Knot Seers game one. So luxurious. Then my opponent rammed Reality Smasher into Gonti. This confused me. But they had not realized everyone's favorite Lord of Luxury has Deathtouch. Whoops. Game two I stole yet another one but he dumped his hand so fast there was no value. I did clear the board and then drop a Winding Constrictor, pump up my Walking Ballista and then swing for a hell of a lot. Ballista blows to face. Good game.

Round 2: GB Aggro 2-0
My poor opponent. He got mana screwed twice. Game one he just called it after a mulligan and I went turn three Rishkar onto a Snake. Game two went longer. But I stole a Blossoming Defense with Gonti, Lord of Fucking-Your-Shit-Up. Then a Swamp protected my Snake from his Fatal Push. The amount of faking out you can do with Gonti's grabs is just too good. He dropped another Fatal Push the next turn, but the beats just began coming too fast.

Round 3: Abzan Control 0-2
I broke the cardinal rule about not tilting. I missed an opportunity to at least buy myself some time. Although when your opponent draws Ob Nixilis and Gideon off of Ajani Unyielding… While you have been top-decking lands for the past five turns... It is easy to forget that your Walking Ballista could ping Ajani to prevent him from doing his ultimate. An ultimate which in turn makes Gideon's token a 7/7 and gives an Ob Nixilis emblem. That is pretty much a lost game. The amount of answers I had remaining in the deck makes me want to cry, but that is Magic. And speaking of Magic...

Round 4: Aetherworks Marvel 1-2
Fucking Ulamog gacha-gacha. Fuck. That's the game. Sometimes there's some random shit to it and sometimes your opponent just gets the shit they need. Oh, I had answers. But then Ulamog slammed 20 of my cards into the exile and hey, look, the first one was an answer! Oh well.

Made top 8. Got another promo. Yay? Someone actually bought the store out of Aether Revolt packs so our prize pool was Kaladesh. Yikes. Nothing good in the pack I got. Oh well.

The event was over early and the day was mine! So I went to another one nearby. Entry was free! So hey, that's cool.

Round 1: BR Dredge 2-1
Ah, game one I got him with the combo but game two just dragged on. I couldn't hit a sixth land. Trying a version withoutAnticipate this seems to be a potential problem. Thing is, I just hate Anticipate so much. Putting removal instead to deal with aggro decks is a good idea. But it just doesn't work out if you don't draw the stuff at all.

Round 2: Jund Vehicles 0-2 Just smashed. I didn't have enough time to get anything going, and Unlicensed Disintegration stings hard. Both games were similar. Mulligan a one or no-land hand and then try to play stuff but nothing happens.

Round 3: BR Discard 2-1
This one was just annoying. My opponent seemed to have a mishmash of cards. Game 1 was a lot of little creatures that I didn't see games two or three. What he did have was a lot of discard and Goblin Dark-Dwellers to recur it. I had to stabilize each game. Twice I did, once I didn't. He made me discard Gisela early game three but later on when he was down to topdecking I found Bruna. That ended things.

Round 4: UR Control 2-1 All games involved us making our land drops and not doing much else. Until one of us made a push and then the counter wars began. He was playing Baral, Chief of Compliance, who seemed not so great. Yeah, he got some filtering off. I also had to count his mana for the potential spells that he could play. But Baral died to Harnessed Lightning or Immolating Glare the few times he did attack. I just had to save counters for his big spells and counter wars.

Then I somehow made top 4.

Top 4: Aetherworks Marvel 2-0
This felt like revenge. Now to be fair, my opponent whiffed with Marvel game one. I put out a Saheeli Rai followed by Nahiri, the Harbinger. Then it was just a game of "try and protect my board best I could with counters" until Nahiri used her ultimate to get a cat. He scooped. Game two was similar except I there was a conundrum. Do I cast Nahiri turn 4, leaving him the option of dropping a turn five Marvel? He didn't have much energy, and would have to wait to dig into the gacha-gacha anyway. I decided to go for Nahiri. He did have the Marvel, but he never got it off. I just plussed my planeswalkers, kept up mana for counterspells. When I used Nahiri’s ultimate he just showed me a hand of lands and two Ulamog.

So I got lucky. Which I have to realize is part of the game for both players. If I hadn't taken advantage of his low energy situation to play Nahiri, he could have drawn something. A Lost Legacy or Transgress the Mind would have ruined my plans. I had to push, guessing why he hadn't played anything. He had bad luck, but if I had not thought to capitalize on it, I could have risked my own situation.

Top 2: Temur Eldrazi It was late. I knew my opponent from one of the shops I go to. A high school kid, so he was already looking at the clock, not having expected it to go as late as it had. I asked if he wanted to split. Someone gets the mat, someone gets the Planeswalker Points. He seemed fine with that. I didn't need the mat, and I want to get the points for Grand Prix byes. I “won” and then gave him the mat.

I know there have been bans for “bribery”. So I was careful about my language, although I don't think it matters. There was nothing on the line but the mat, which I didn't want and is worth more than the 6 Planeswalker points. Plus, I made a suggestion, not saying who gets what and he forfeited to me. I don't think that’s bribery. People seem to do it at Grand Prix Trials and the like all the time anyway in front of judges. Not to mention the stakes here are much lower.

Biggest flop of the weekend was Gisela. I sided her in so many matches and never saw her. I guess she just did not want to come out to play. So disappointing. I wanted to at least see what it was like to have her against vehicles and the like. Yes, they'd blow her up. But then I'd have a turn 5 play and a turn 6 play instead of just doing nothing on turn 4 because I had none of my removal. I think Anticipate has to be in the deck. The digging is just far too important. I don't like it, but it just seems to be the way it has to be. Negate is pretty good. Disallow can be costly, but countering something like Haunted Dead’s activation is devastating.

Gonti carried so much that I think I might focus on the Green Black deck more than Copy Cat. By the time Grand Prix Shizuoka rolls around things might change. Hell, there is a ban announcement five days before the event begins. So we’ll see. I'll be practicing with both decks.

I forgot my iPad

I have been using my iPad a lot for work this year. Yet somehow this morning for the first time since I bought it last year I forgot it. I meant to put it in my bag. But in my bag it did not end up.

So I get to work and realize that I am doing something every day that requires the iPad now. The students got used to it. Shit. What am I going to do? Well, I have my iPhone, but all my apps are on the iPad.

Except I have Xcode on my computer. And I have the projects for those apps. So I build them for my iPhone and they run. One needed a bit of a layout change but other than that they were up and running in seconds. And then I just used Air Play from my iPhone instead. Classes went great.

I just love a happy ending.

Game Day 2: 2017.02.11

It is a fucking holiday in Japan and I am going to play me some Magic, dammit.

I decided I needed a break from Jeskai Copy Cat and would play the Black and Green Aggro deck at the evening Game Day. I was going to need coffee for that one, though, as it started at 7pm and was going to run for five rounds and then cut to Top 8.

So for my sleep, Top 8 would not be ideal.

Round 1: ¿Superfriends? 2-0
I have no idea what this guy was going for with his deck. Is that insulting? I apologize. He had mana issues both games. He hardly cast any spells except for a Yahenni's Expertise game to kill two of my creatures. He then removed Winding Constrictor with Lost Legacy. I'm not sure Lost Legacy was good choice here. The beats I am delivering come in the way of Verdurous Gearhulk and Walking Ballista. Not that those can be selected, but that’s the point.

I only saw his deck thanks to Gonti. I pulled two black removal spells (Ruinous Path and Grasp of Darkness) game one. Then two Planeswalkers (Jace, Unraveler of Secrets and Ob Nixilis Reignited) game two. I played his cards against him. Gonti's good. Real good.

Round 2: UB Control 2-0
This was a nail. biter. Game 1 I just went nuts with Snakes and Ballistas. Then I stole a Disallow with Gonti. Then he tried to cast a Gearhulk. Whoops. I had his counter. Game me. Game two he had two Torrential Gearhulk when I hit him with a Transgress the Mind. But he also had Yahenni's Expertise. Not good for my board. Especially knowing he was packing Liliana. So I took that and tried making a board. He cleared me out and was beating me with the Gearhulk until I drew a Pokédex. Then it was on. That scry is amazing. I had all the lands I needed. I just kept drawing creatures and playing lands, drawing cards. Filled my hand back up and took over. Keeping watch for when an Expertise could waste me. But it didn't happen. I just kept stealing stuff from him.

Round 3: UR Control 2-1
Game one I did the thing. Game two was painful. He used Shock, Harness Lightning and counters on everything I played. I topdecked land. Didn't see a single Pokédex. Game three I did, but he countered it. He couldn't find red after his mulligan and I just took advantage with Energy Bob and a Servant of the Conduit. Push, push, push. Although I did not play a Fatal Push except for game 1.

Round 4: BG Aggro ID We figured the numbers out and it seemed like we'd both get in if we drew. So we did. I played the games but didn't think about my mulligans game three. How would had the match been on the line? I'm not sure.

Round 5: BG Aggro 1-2 I made a real big mistake here in game 3. I played a land before using the draw from the Ob Nixilis I stole. I ended up drawing a Swamp. This would have let me put in a Walking Ballista at 3 which could have killed their Tireless Tracker. It would have been at 1 to ready to receive glory from a Verdurous Gearhulk the next turn. I should have killed the Tireless Tracker even if I didn't draw that land. They just put my Gearhulk on the bottom of my deck and swung into Ob. It went downhill from there. Games 1 and 2 were many similar games from today, just beneficial for either one of us.

So 3-1-1. Should be enough to get into Top 8. And I was in fourth! So I got to pick to go first in the top 8.

Top 8: UR Control 1-2
And we have the reverse of the last time I faced this guy. Game one just got away from me, game two I took it quickly. Then I got screwed with mana.

Would I play the deck again? Heck yeah. It’s fun and Gonti is a champ.

Game Day 2017.02.11

Decided to play Jeskai Copy Cat for this event. I liked the three Immolating Glare I had put in, but was not a fan of the lack of removal for aggro, so -1 mainboard Negate, back down to 2 and then +1 Raidant Flames.

Round 1: Jund Vehicles 2-0
Got the combo both games. Lost one Saheeli to a shock but was able to recover by digging for another one when they tapped out. Both games were just looking for the opportunity to combo. Having Negate for Fleetwheel Cruiser was great. Saved Saheeli and let me combo next turn.

Round 2: Abzan Landfall Aggro 2-1
I'm not entirely sure what was going on here, but game three he overran me with Battle for Zendikar block enchantments that created 1/1s on landfalls and pumped creatures and did all sorts of things. Game three I managed to Gideon to face. The packing of Ballistas in this plus expecting some sort of dicard made me side into the Jeskai control variant, and that seemed to take out the board pretty well. This is a fine exampel of paying attention to board states. I put down the wrong land and was unable to cast Tireless Tracker on a Tireless Tracker that basically took game 2 for them with all the drawing they got out of it.

Round 3: Black Red Aggro 1-2
Oh, I digged. But then game three was a mulligan down to five and I just could not keep up with the recurring Scrapheap Scrounger. Fucking sucked. I sided in the Angel package to hopefully delay the game and get some life back. Didn't see them. Did see Gideon, who got his ass blasted. Perhaps I should not have dropped him without extra mana to protect him. That was a mistake. I could have probably lived a bit longer and maybe even won. But going down to five I got cranky and had already resigned myself to the loss. Bad mindset.

Round 4: Red White Humans
I felt bad for my opponent. I saw him earlier in the day and he seemed normal. By round four he wasn't speaking. Just pointing and making grunts. He squeaked out "Humans" after playing a Metallic Mimic. It seems he had some sort of pain in his mouth. He didn't seem entirely focused and drew poorly, or at least he seemed frustrated by his draws.
Both games ended with me doing the combo after draining his hand out with various Gearhulk beats.

Top 4: Four Color Green Goodstuff?
I don't know how to describe this deck. Other than it smashed me. Gideon, Avacyn, Walking Ballista, Sylvan Advocate, Felidar Guardian. I actually give on up on tagging that stuff. Way too much. That sounds mostly white and green, but there were red and blue lands of which I don't quite know he was doing. I didn't see it, but he didn't need it. Game one I open with a Gearhulk, two Anticipates, two lands a Glimmer of Genius and an Immolating Glare. So, hey, I think. This isn't bad. I play. Topdeck a land on turn three. Feeling good. Dig with thoser Anticipates. See a lot of Glimmers of Genius. Do not see land. Get stuck at four and while I can kill one or two things, he drops his sixth land with a Sylvan Advocate, I try to blow it up and he plays Avacyn. I scoop.
Should I have? I was at 13. He had a Ballista at 2, and was hitting me for a total of ten. I could have cast a Glimmer but then he would not have dropped Avacyn. So even if I got a fifth land and Fumigate, I was done for. Bad beats. It happens.
Game two went a bit longer but he plays a Rishkar and he almost plusses Rishkar, but then stops himself and plusses two creatures that don't have summoning sickness. I should have counted his land. Guess what he had next turn when I played Fumigate? If you guessed Avacyn, then you are right. I was without anything to counter Avacyn and his board was going to do me in next turn. This time I had no choice but to scoop.

Prize packs were Top Tier Garbage. The promo cards look cool, though.

I need to remember to look at my opponent's cards a bit more. I have gotten into a habit of asking how many cards are in their hand, but I am not counting mana often enough and thinking "What is their out?" instead of freaking out about what mine is.

But hell, I made top four in Game Day. Plus I won a GPT last week. My Magic playing is clearly imrpoving.

I hate Anticipate. For some reason I originally thought the card was put one in hand, one on the bottom and one on the top. That might be nice. There are times where it would be not nice. But always having to shove the other two cards on the bottom is not good fun.

Disallow does not feel great as I can deal with creatures that hit the board in other ways and I want to deal with them interrupting my board or trying to drop things. I may go down to 0 on this. Increase Radiant Flames main and go up on to a 3 Negates and 4 Immolating Glares. Immolating Glare has been great. Would Disallow have stopped Avacyn? Oh yes. Did I have Disallow or three mana at that time? I did not. So, I don't know what the answer is. More thinking? I did have Linvala, the Preserver in hand. I could have played that, had a Gearhulk, her and her angel buddy and then he likely would have slammed into me and dropped Avacyn to save his creatures. Then I could have wiped the board. Ah, hastiness. And hindsight being 20-20.