Drafting Iconic Masters

I often wonder what my worst Magic skill is. I win a lot of game ones, but two and three I struggle. So sideboarding could likely be one. I also have trouble with mulligans, especially when a hand is “playable”, even if it doesn’t have a plan.

Iconic Masters released yesterday so my Friday Night Magic did a draft. You kept the rare and foil from the pack (they were returned to you afterwards) to disencourange rare drafting. “Luckily” I opened shit. Well, pack three was a Cryptic Command so I kind of got value out of the draft.

I have played a bunch of limited but have generally done poorly. I went 3-0 last night.

I started with a few good red and green cards, but green dried up fast. I tried looking for White after getting a Lightning Helix, but I noticed white was slim pickings while cheap, red creatures and burn were being passed my way.

My deck was fast. New set and everyone was playing to go big. I just went to kill them with cheap creatures as fast as possible. And it worked. I don’t even think I lost a game.

I don’t know if I improved my drafting skills last night, but I did get a better idea of how to go with the flow of what was being passed my way. And it worked out this time.

Prize was a foil token. Yay. Wizards sure screwed up FNM promos.

The Clock

I lost a match to the clock in Magic Online.

That always hurts. Because it it means I am playing slow. And I have things to learn. And that I could be better.

But I have to accept these losses and know that I will be better if I just keep trying and just keep building up the skills.

That is how skills work.

Sauce Boss

Went and got wings in Osaka.

¥1500. All you can eat. You get a drink. I had to drive a bit though, so nothing alcoholic for me. That's fine. I wasn't there for the beer.

Good wings. Well done, nice chicken meat. The all-you-can-eat plan lets you choose from five different typs that apparently rotate weekly. This week didn't offer anything I would call a "hot" wing. There was a chilli and lime wing that was on the spicier side, but the rest were just varios flavors. All good. None that I would call my favorite wings, but it was solid.

I'll definitely have to go back and get some straight-up hot wings some night. But ¥1500 all you can eat was good. I had a lot of wings. It's been a while, but I sure put them away.

Let's not think about how many chickens that was.

Drinkin'

I had some alcohol tonight.

Yes, tomorrow is a workday, but there were reasons to celebrate. And I had some booze. I don't do this much so it felt good to unwind.

Ah, life.

Icecrown

Although I have turned to Magic for the majority of my gaming, I still occasionally boot up Hearthstone. It did get me back into the card game mindset, afterall.

I am sure the competitive level is actually quite competitive, but the random parts of the game turn me off enough that I don't feel like dedicating myself to the game like I do with Magic. I still like the Solo Adventures quite a bit.

Figuring out what card combinations are best to take out these clearly cheating bosses (I mean, the game says so) is quite the challenge. It can be frustrating due to the randomness but so far I have completed most of them. Why? The reward for beating the boss with each class isn't exactly exciting, but I feel motivated to do it.

Blizzard did a fine job with this, even though it is frustrating, it is sticky. I want to finish this.

Team Legacy

Three players versus three players. Three decks. No decks can contain cards that are in the other ones. Go.

The format was Legacy. I was on Grixis Delver. I was lucky enough to find two other people who needed a third. They had MUD and Griselbrand Storm. Nothing really lapsed over. We were good. I practiced Legacy a lot last week.

2-3

I went 2-3, my team went 2-3. Sigh. It seems to be my standard record. I lost to BUG Delver, beat Elves, lost to Eldrazi, lost to Miracles and then beat Death and Taxes.

The Elves match has a good story. I'll get into that more tomrorrow.

But it was a fun envent. A little different, and got people playing different things. And it just felt friendlier than a normal tournament. I liked it a lot.

The next Grand Prix in Japan is in Kyoto during March, and I hope I cna find a team for that. It is Team Trios, which means Legacy, Modern and Standard so the overlapping rule is not in place. Still, you can consult with your teammates which is a dynamic that adds quite a bit to the game.

Oh yeah, we needed a team name at the last minute so I said Team Legacy. My teammates went with it and we were the only one who did that silly joke.

Night moves

It was 9:30 PM, so I don't know what I was expecting.

But I was tired. And I wanted to do other things with my night. So I kept the lights on, set a half hour alarm, put my phone a good distance from me and put my head on my bed.

Next thing I knew it was 3:30 AM and my phone was close to my bed.

So I got up, turned off the alarm and went back to bed. I have no memory of this at all. I don't feel like I slept particularly well either. Should I have just done something until "bedtime" and then gone to bed and gotten perhaps better sleep? I don't know.

I did walk a lot yesterday, so I was exhausted. 9:30 isn't a terrible bedtime execpt I tend to sleep six hours and then naturally wake up so 3:30 was hey, not the bet of times to be awake.

There might be a lesson here. I am not entirely sure.

I got cake

When Friday Night Magic was done and I was practicing Modern with someone (I am on Grixis Control now. I can’t pick a deck in Modern or Standard to stick with...) and suddenly I was given a piece of cake because my birthday was this week.

That means a lot to me. Since leaving my family and my divorce I have felt lonely. But I do have friends.

Things will be okay.

Games I beat in 2017 #19: West of Loathing

My goal this year was to beat twenty games - and I did! Magic has eaten away at my video game time in a big way. But I am still playing some games.

I go to a monthly meetup in Osaka. It's filled with people in the gaming industry, translators and people interested in games. I talk to a guy, Ben, quite a bit about indie games. We have had some conversations, let me tell you. He said I should play West of Loathing. He actually gifted it to me. So I played it. And I beat it.

As someone who has made a few games that are, well, let's be honest, ugly, it kind of upsets me to see a game that is ugly in a good way. West of Loathing is just black and white stick art, but it full embraces its style and is not only consistant but good at being ""bad"". I am kind of jealous.

But it ""makes up"" for that with a solid soundtrack, lots of laughs and a decent battle system. It takes the "wild west" theme, adds some cow-based demons and rolls with the weirdness. Cultists, skeleton petting zoos, drunk horses. Mechanics-wise, there's nothing new in this game, but it takes open world RPGs embraces the mechanics while not being afraid to poke fun at them. You get XP for flushing toilets. Flush enough (all of the?) toilets and you get a perk that boosts your Muscle (Strength).

I am sure I missed a lot of content - such is the way of an open world RPG, but I did lots of side quests. They ranged from weird to hilarious. Dealing with hippies to get jelly beans back or climbing through a giant cactus finding ways to please goblins. (Whose language I managed to learn early which made encounters with them not always the combative type) so I could get to the top and... I think this was also part of the jelly bean sidequest? That was a long one. Helping the jelly bean man leads to him helping your main character in a useful way.

Anyway. As you can tell there's a lot to it. You get a "pardner" who will show up in the opening area of dungeons and towns and will remind you of the main quest and any side quests you're taking part in. I was either not paying attention in the beginning or they designed it well enough that I thought I was getting the only possible pardner whereas there are actually a few. And you get achievements for clearing the game with said pardner.

I doubt I'll go back and try it a different way, though.

Because while I had enough fun, it felt like there was too much to the game. There was a whole "day" system. You could consume only a certain amount of stat boosting food, alcohol and drugs each day and sleeping would clear the boosts as well as empty your body so you could put more in. I ignored this system almost except for a few parts where I needed enough of a certain stat to do something to complete a quest. Other than that my inventory was just overfilled with all these foods, booze and drugs that I was never going to look at.

Which I suppose is fine. I imagine they expect some players to play that way.

It managed to overwhelm me like most open world games do, but it was short enough that I actually finished it. I did abuse a fountain of snakes (i.e. unlimited combat) where I could finish the battles quick enough to get enough experience to get my stats where I needed to do side quests and then just get on with the game. Not the most fun method, but it was effective and that is something we as humans tend to do. We'll take the easiest path even if it's not the most fun.

In a game.

Human psychology is weird.

Anyway, it was fun enough, and I will at one point gift it to someone else so they can experince the weirdness on their own. I applaud the team for making such a big game with such a weird but enjoyable world.

That grind

Team Legacy on Sunday, so I've been practicing.

I am bad at Magic.

But one of the benefits of streaming myself play is people watching and commenting. Then I get to hear things I could have done differently, talk it out a bit (it's not as if the viewers know what my opponent has) and learn. I learned a bit today

  • I play too fast.
  • I take notes but don't reference them enough or keep track of them properly.
  • I take risky shots "hoping my deck will give me what I need" instead of playing with what I have.

I am bad. But that is okay. I am going to work to get better.

Hurt

I have had Johnny Cash's version of Hurt stuck in my head for the past few days.

In part I would like to think there is something significant about me turning thirty-five, but it is just another day of the year. I treated myself to some packs of Magic. I know it's not the most cost efficient way, but there is that dopamine hit when opening a pack. Maybe it's an addiction thing. I know to limit myself though. And what is life without the occasional bit of self-spoiling.

What was that quote my Agent Cooper? Do something nice for yourself every day? Don't plan it. Just do it. Well. I got lucky and pulled three Vraskas. For a card that's rising in price, I did pretty well statistically. That won't always happen, of course. I need to remember that so I'm not pulling the slots over and over again as it were.

I wish my luck was as good when playing the game. Well, no. I make mistakes. I am learning that. I am still bad at resisting tilt when I draw the fourth land in a row when just anything to interact with my opponent would be good.

Gotta work on not tilting. Gotta work on just enjoying play and slowly getting better. Getting angry won't get me there.

I hurt myself yesterday

My feet hurt.

New shoes. They are slightly too big. They rubbed against the back of my feet. I walked from Umeda to Namba. My socks had blood on them.

I used to wear size 13. Shoe sizes are changing or I am shrinking. Is this age? These size 12 shoes are slightly too big. I should have been more careful but after taking a stack of foil cards I am never going to use to Hareruya (and getting much less than I had hoped) I decided to "save money" and walk back to where my son was.

The south side of Osaka. I was in the north.

Exercise, sure, but my feet hurt this morning. I am actually awake at 6 AM now simply because I fell asleep basically as soon as I got home last night and have been struggling to "sleep" since 4:30.

My feet hurt.

More scrubbing

1-4 in Legacy. 2-1 in Standard. 1-1 in Mondern. I played a lot of Magic today. It doesn’t feel good because I’m not getting first place. But I can’t let that discourage me. I need to keep having fun and then just let the wins come. This is a game, not my job. I can’t let something I’m supposed to enjoy drag me down.

Scrubbin' Out

Did a competitive Legacy league tonight. And 0-5. Holy shit. And I thought I was doing good in Legacy. Maybe the online meta is different? Well, I know I made some mispresses that fucked me hard. Maybe they wouldn't have mattered, but I defintely learned a few things. Yikes.

Big Legacy tournament tomorrrow so hopefully I do better than 0-5.

I watched Blade Runner 2049

I need to think more about it. In fact, I probably need to watch the movie again. I watched Blade Runner twice in a row, actually.

I also found out my Grandfather had died after the first time I watched Blade Runner. It's something I can't separate from the film.

But 2049. I liked it. It was enjoyable. But I have to chew on it. It was a lot.

And I’m gettin old

Yikes. Less than a week until 35. Jesus, where does the time go.

Don’t have much to say today. Just feeling exhausted from work. Played a few rounds with my human standard deck. It seems okay if not a little heavy on lands. Fun st least. UB control is probably more powerful. But who knows.

Gotta practice legacy for Friday. Big tournament in Osaka.

Trying something new

I have been grinding UB control in Standard for a while now and it just seems that I am not good with the deck. I have not broken 2-3 on Casual leagues.

I was getting kind of tired of it. And running low on points to play in the tournaments. So I put together a deck based off of the core concept of one Standard deck and tried to use an idea that happened in Modern reecntly. I still have some tweaking to do, but it is interesting.

I am not a deck builder. I tend to just take one of the top decks each Standard and do my best with it. But for the past three Standards I have not found something I like. This deck I am working on is a bit on the goofy side, but seems to have something to it. I am going to keep playing with the numbers and see if I can't get somewhere with this. Maybe not.

Probably just will wait to the Pro Tour. But I really don't want to be playing Temur Energy. I just don't ilke it or Ramanup Red.

Eleventh Place

I practed hard for today's tournament. And I thought I was prepared. But I ended up eleventh. I don't think I made too many mistakes. I had some bad matchups and might have to work on my sideboarding.

But eleventhen out of 24. I guess that's top half. Still. I get the itch to just want to keep grinding Magic tournaments.

I wonder if I'm addicted.

I konw I'm growing tired of UB Control. I'm not sure if it's the time or place for it now. That's sad. I like the concept, but I just don't know if it's going to work out.

Big draftin'

Tonight I did what they called a "Big Draft" where we drafted out of four packs instead of three. This was interesting because everyone's decks felt much more focused and streamlined, but there was still that limited feel to it. I went 1-2, winning the first match with some good games, seecond was lost to some good games, but I got screwed round three the same way.

I really wonder if there is something wrong with my shuffling. I shuffle a lot. But when I am running a deck with a lot of two drops and I open up a hand with several, two lands and then do not see another land for six turns while my opponent is playing out stuff I just can't help but get frustrated.

Then we all pulled from the random prizes and I was the only one to pull three booby prizes. Everyone laughed, but there was a part of me that felt shame. Like I deserved it for being a bad person. I joking tossed them in the trash (They were later retrieved.) I kind of feel bad for doing that now. I was kind of just riding the moment of everyone finding it hilarious that I pulled three of the shittiest card. I mean, I kind of did too, but my reaction was to be "Fuck this!" and now I feel that was rude.

But it was a fun tournament and then I practiced some Modern. I took someone's UR Delver decklist that has a splash of White and it was doing pretty good against Living Dead, although my sideboard need some tweaking. Nonetheless, Chart a Course is good shit.

Read the damn cards

I lost a game tonight because I didn’t think when my opponent cast Unlicensed Disintegration on their own Scrapheap Scrounger in response to my Vraska’s Contempt.

What this meant was I was tapped out and a Lightning Strike finished me off.

Because for some reason I instinctively thought I would take the three damage. (They had another artifact.) but they would take it. So I could have saved myself. Damn.