2017.10.31

Paragon beta Sparrow Halloween Feline Queen Sparrow
Halloween

Halloween costume Gamora spontaneous Hamlet

The Cooley Halloween party moved to the Tonkers' place due to special circumstances, but it still had costumes, pizzas, and beers. Jessica's Gamora costume won best of the night, (another) Chris's beekeeper won worst.

Fantasy football

Madden Football Khalil Mack Raiders
Paragon

Paragon game PS4 Sparrow Steel screenshot

I've gotten a few more Paragon sessions in. I'm finding the equipped cards are crucial to success along with, unfortunately, voice comms. I'm curious what the timeline is for it getting out of beta and, obviously, their feature roadmap.

MTG

Time Warp
Source.

So Corey moved from Dominion to Hearthstone to, now, Magic. Having a little experience with it 20+ years ago I thought I'd check it out as well. They've done some interesting stuff with the game, beyond just expanding the card sets. Primarily, we play either:
Fork
Source.

Since I was actually tackling some site changes that will hopefully someday be done, I created a deck dump capability because... I'm not really sure why... pretty pictures? Oh well, it was really just lacing together some functionality that was already in my github.
Ixalan draft

We did a draft at Barrel Harbor. The box was Ixalan - the newest set with Pirates, Merfolk, Dinosaurs, and Vampire Conquistadors (uh huh). I was pretty set on going dinosaurs because dinosaurs. This means either red/white or red/green, I went with the latter. Managed to go 2-0, 2-0, 1-2, although they weren't always fair fights.
Raptor Hatchling Otepec Huntmaster Nest Robber Deathgorge Scavenger
Ravenous Daggertooth Storm Fleet Arsonist Grazing Whiptail Raging Swordtooth
Goring Ceratops Thundering Spineback Ancient Brontodon Commune with Dinosaurs
Rile Sure Strike Pounce Repeating Barrage
Slice in Twain Star of Extinction Unknown Shores Unknown Shores
Prying Blade Thaumatic Compass Pillar of Origins Hierophants Chalice
Vanquishers Banner

Source.

Mana cost histogram
7
4
3 3 3
2
1
0 0
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Cards
Ancient Brontodon
Commune with Dinosaurs
Deathgorge Scavenger
Goring Ceratops
Grazing Whiptail
Hierophant's Chalice
Nest Robber
Otepec Huntmaster
Pillar of Origins
Pounce
Prying Blade
Raging Swordtooth
Raptor Hatchling
Ravenous Daggertooth
Repeating Barrage
Rile
Slice in Twain
Star of Extinction
Storm Fleet Arsonist
Sure Strike
Thaumatic Compass
Thundering Spineback
Unknown Shores
Unknown Shores
Vanquisher's Banner


I did two stupid things I knew would be stupid:

1. I put Star of Extinction in. It's an expensive board wipe, it really doesn't make sense in 40-card decks built on the fly. But, y'know, dinosaurs and comets. I'm a romantic, after all. Turns out I used it a few times really effectively. Dinos are pretty slow to get out (they're costly), so what ended up happening is I cleared the board and then had enough mana to start putting in heavy hitters against weak stuff. I expected to yank this thing from my deck after the first game, but I left it in.

2. Goring Ceratops. Maybe it's his crazy frill colors, maybe it's the fact that his art has him about to murder some helpless dino, but it's probably the 'gives all creatures double strike'. I've never been able to resist this card and going red/green wasn't about to stop me. The two Unknown Shoreses (more expensive any color mana) and Pillar of Origins (any color mana if it's casting a dino) made this almost feel reasonable. I replaced a forest and a mountain with plains, figuring that if I didn't have at least one of my main colors on the initial draw I would mulligan anyway. Once again, it didn't end up hurting me and actually won me a game.

Repeating Barrage turned out to be incredibly useful. Once I got lands out and had 1-2 card hands, I was able to recast this thing to pick off the many smaller creatures characteristic of decks that don't use dinosaurs. Similarly, Pounce was great, particularly at instant-speed - this would be a good commander card. Storm Fleet Arsonist was a waste.

My sideboard (unplayed, drafted cards) looked like this:
Skittering Heartstopper Vicious Conquistador Rigging Runner Nest Robber
Ruthless Knave Rummaging Goblin Looming Altisaur Admiral Beckett Brass
Storm Fleet Pyromancer Belligerent Brontodon Ancient Brontodon Sentinel Totem
Opt Dual Shot Commune with Dinosaurs Crash the Ramparts
Demolish

Source.

Mana cost histogram
7
3 3
1 1 1 1
0 0
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Cards
Admiral Beckett Brass
Ancient Brontodon
Belligerent Brontodon
Commune with Dinosaurs
Crash the Ramparts
Demolish
Dual Shot
Looming Altisaur
Nest Robber
Opt
Rigging Runner
Rummaging Goblin
Ruthless Knave
Sentinel Totem
Skittering Heartstopper
Storm Fleet Pyromancer
Vicious Conquistador


Highlight: A long, arduous game culminating in my opponent having a ton of little stuff out, me having a few dinos out. Neither could attack and give the opponent choice in what to block/kill. But I got out my Goring Ceratops and Thundering Spineback. This combination meant I could slowly create dino tokens and eventually send them in with double strike to end the stalemate.

Lowlight: Getting Vanquisher's Banner out for the first time and getting it immediately removed.



2017.10.24

Oakland Colisseum Raiders BART station Charles Woodson
Oakland

Lake Merritt Oakland California

Jes and I took a trip up to Oakland to catch up with the hometown crowd and see some Raiders football. There was a bit of haze from the Santa Rosa fires, but not, like, SD in '03 or anything:

Torrey Pines in 2003

X Wing miniatures TIE fighter A Wing

We played some X-Wing miniatures at Rob's sweet new digs, we stopped by the Beast Mode store, and we checked out the rather impressive Oakland museum.


The Raiders game can be summed up like this:


... really amazing seats but a regrettable result. Happily, the stop that the Oakland defense couldn't manage came the following Thursday in one of the greatest finishes in NFL history. Too bad we weren't there.


Oakland Raiders game panorama
Bachelor ride


Chase decided he wanted his bp to be a 100-mile manually-powered bicycle ride from Santa Ana to SD Old Town.

Cycling train ride

Since the metro section of Amtrak was out of commission for trolley construction, we had to leave a truck at Old Town and drive another up to Oceanside. From there we caught the 05:30 train to SNA.

Orange County cycling

The first stretch down to the ocean was mostly just riding alongside the Santa Ana "river", it was pretty easy going. The Newport-Dana Point section had some nasty hills, not killer, but rough knowing there was 80+ miles left.

Cycling tire change

San Onofre was the first of Dave's many, many tire changes. We ate in Oceanside (the 60 mile mark) where I grabbed Derrick's truck to meet them down in Old Town.
Paragon

Paragon PS4 screenshot beta Scorch laning

Since Battleborn is EOL, J and I have moved on to Paragon - an in-beta moba that supports PS4/PC crossplay. It has all the usual stuff - heroes, squishies, abilities, ranks, mmr, towers, cores. The only departures I've seen are no mercs and the addition of equippable cards that add a new dimension to character build.


Paragon PS4 load screen offlaner lore

Letha? Sorvukk? Not sure if they're trying to establish a lore or what. I can't imagine why.

At present, there's more or less one map. Three lanes, a bunch of jungle between with the npc xp farms. This may be a thing in non-HOTS games, but the lanes are asymmetrical.


Of course there are tanks, dps, crowd control, laners, healers.


As usual, towers defend the lanes, you need squishies to take the tower hits while you do damage. You have to keep an eye on your six so you don't get stuck between an enemy hero and a tower.


Everything inevitably culminates with a team battle on one or both cores. Staying in ranks and using abilities in unison is crucial.
Kafka considers being an elephant for Halloween

Dog weimaraner bunny toy elephant tusks