26 February 2019

The Pirate Curse!

I was a bit skeptical joining in the game with Noah last night. He had a galleon open with two of his friends and had an open slot; the plan was to take down a skull fort so Patibo could get some loot to pay for a new set of sails. My plan had been to explore a couple of uncharted islands where I'd found mermaids before. But, their boat had already spawned and they needed an adult in the room, so what the heck, I did it.

Things actually went exceedingly well. I sailed the boat over, found a good parking spot, and the boys set to attacking the fort while I nervously watched a couple of sloops lurking in the distance. The sloops obviously planned on trying to steal our loot but I have freakin' Pirate Keyser Soze on my boat...none of us were too worried.

A brigantine thought it was worth their time to come over and mess with us. I called the boys off the island, angled the boat for a fight, and loaded the cannons for battle. The brig used the time tested technique of ramming us while taking cannon fire from two cannons. As soon as they got close, Noah jumped on board, killed all three of them, Patibo went below to repair and I ran up to the crow's nest to get an explosive barrel. Turned out we didn't need the barrel. Noah kept killing them while they sank. Patibo repaired the boat and we were done.

After the "battle," Noah decided it was time to take care of the one remaining sloop in the distance. He shot himself over there yelling out that he was with the Brigantine that had just been sank and needed some help. He boarded and nobody was there, so he raised the anchor and ran them into a rock to sink them. Swimming back to our ship, he saw the sloop guys trying to board us. So he killed them.

That should have been a warning to everyone. We are deadly!

Of course, we finished the fort right as the sloop came back (ships respawn on the same server). They made the mistake of sailing right up to us, I hit them with a million cannon shots, sank them while Noah killed both guys. But one of them spawned back right before the ship sank and hid on the island. I had tried to kill him but I kind of stink at PvP combat so he got away. This will be pertinent later!

Our team loaded all the treasure onto a rowboat to bring to the boat while Noah swam over with the mega barrel (an explosive barrel that can sink any ship), right as he got to the boat, the hidden sloop dude shot the barrel, exploded it and sunk our ship, killing everyone on board. But we had all of our loot on a rowboat! Those two guys started rowing away, hoping to hide out while we sailed our respawned boat back. We had to sail upwind back to the fort while they rowed around getting lost.

When we finally got back they were nowhere to be seen! They had rowed to the wrong island exactly where the freaking sloop was! The sloop dusted them, stole the loot and turned it in. The two rowboat dudes called it a night but Noah and I weren't done with the sloop. We made haste down to the outpost where they turned it in and got in a stupid fight as a two man galleon (not easy to do).

Noah boarded them, killed them both, while I circled around trying to get cannon fire on them. And, of course, right then a Megaladon spawned, took a bite out of our boat and almost sank us. I had to repair, leaving Noah to fight two dudes on his own. He died while I was desperately not saving the ship. Right as he got back on, the megaladon took another bite, knocked us both off while our boat sailed away filling with water.

We were done. We'd lost our loot, our friends and our boat. These two sloop-fools had gotten the better of us. But I had one more trick, pulling out my megaphone and yelling at their boat as they sailed away, "You have won today, but on my honor I curse you, you will never win another pirate battle!" And then to mess with their heads, I added "Backstreet's back, oh yeah!"

Noah burst into my office and asked what the heck that meant so I told him. The curse was that they'd always wonder...they would always wonder. Backstreet's back, oh yeah!

24 February 2019

Solo Slooping without a Sloop

My first stream went without a hitch! Except my stream crashed after 40 minutes. And a mean ass skeleton sank my boat before I could even attack him back!

I had a message in a bottle quest that said to go to Shipwreck Bay and solve a puzzle to dig up my chest. Of course I've been to this island before and "knew" that if you got in close enough the skeleton cannon wouldn't be able to target you, giving me time to run up and blunderbuss him to death. So, I sail in full steam, right up to the beach, taking cannon fire, drop the anchor and go running up the hill, sword at the ready!

By the time I get to him, my boat had sunk! If I'd had crew, that would have been easy to keep repairing while getting cannon-pummeled. But, alas, the life of the solo slooper. Never fear, I'm a mother-effing Pirate, I had loot to secure. So I solved the puzzle, killed all the skeletons guarding the chest (a marauder's chest FYI), and sat down to contemplate life.

I could:

  1. abandon my loot and take a mermaid back to my respawned ship, leaving my precious loot for someone to possibly steal, or
  2. swim it to the outpost to turn it in and risk getting eaten by SHARKS, or
  3. find a rowboat and row it home, turn in my loot and become the wealthy ass pirate that I am destined to be!
I chose 3. I put the d@mned chest in my rowboat and headed to the outpost. I, of course, didn't have the situational map awareness that I should have had, so I just stared heading toward the island that I thought was the outpost. One cool part about the game is that it does this foreboding ominous warning of the island's name as you approach.....dum dum dum....The Crooked Masts. Umm, crap, that's not where I was going! So I cheated, looked at another monitor, saw where my island was and turned the boat 90 degrees!

Luckily, I had a perfect landmark to shoot for.....the skull fort was right behind my outpost! So I kept rowing toward the giant skull, landed on the island and anti-climatically turned in my loot for something like 300 gold.

I started a new quest, where I was supposed to go dig up a chest on an island full of skeletons. And, as I was sailing there, my game crashed because I haven't really figured out the streaming software. My fault but I got 40 minutes of my first stream in and have exactly one viewer to my credit. Of course, it was me on another computer but still, I had a viewer!

Tune in Wednesday and Sunday nights at 6PM Pacific for more adventures of the SS Whazzzzuuuuppppp on Twitch!

Streaming Sea of Thieves (and writing about it)

I have to start this post with a complaint...you raise the sails when you want to sail, drop them when you want to stop. Not in this game with its ridiculous square rigging and crap. It's teaching landlubbers the wrong terminology and confusing the h3ll out of me! My son, NoahWK, will yell out raise the front sail when he really means drop the jib. But we work through it. Until we decide to sail DIRECTLY INTO THE WIND!

But I deal with this game because it is insanely fun AND because we get to be pirates. We dig up treasure, we cannonball skeletons, we carry pistols and swords...just like pirates of old.

And it gives Noah and I a chance to sail together, something not done since 2007! So we have a slightly different dynamic than we did back then. I still sail the boat and worry about safety but he's now my muscle! When I'm solo slooping, I slink around the seas trying to avoid all the bad guys, scared to death of these guys and their cannons and PvP skills. When I have Noah with me, we go after those fools.

He's like Keyser Soze, laying waste to every pirate, sinking their ship and leaving no survivors! One time, Noah, his friend Patrick and I were all attacking a skull fort. A sloop and a brig came in and attacked us, killing Patrick and me while sinking our ship. Noah was left there by himself while we hurried back to the fort to "save" him. As we were getting our new ship going, he calmly said, "no hurry, I killed both teams and sunk their ships, I'll get the loot organized." Glad to have him on my side.

The goal is loot. I don't spend mine, Noah does. He decks out his ship, his clothes and his quests. All I did was get a tattoo, an eye-patch and some shiny boots because I was worried about stubbing my toe on deck with sandals on. It's that kind of game.

We plan to stream the game every Wednesday and Sunday night at 6PM Pacific. You can watch dual points of view by seeing both of our streams at the same time. And see a unique Son of a Son of a Sailor Man video game extravaganza!

EVK4's stream for the squeamish fear!
NoahWK's stream for the action!
Don't miss out!

22 August 2017

Rising from the ashes....the bad ass ocean going sailor (BAOGS)

Someone once got a tattoo of a phoenix to symbolize her rising up to be bigger and better than before.  I doubt that person had this in mind but maybe, just maybe, her new tattoo also symbolizes my bad ass ocean going racing career rising from the ashes where it has sat dormant on the bottom of the Pacific.

Holy crap, that's good news to my scores of readers!  And me, it's good news for me too.  Maybe not for the boat and crew that's stuck with me on board but they don't know that yet.

So, I'm going to put my name on the Pac Cup crew list, see if I can wrangle a boat some other way and hopefully 10 or so months from now set forth to Kaneohe the slow way.

It's not like I'm not prepared.  I dusted off the old life jacket a few weeks ago to sail around the Bay with my cousin and his friend Joe.  I used some nautical terms, I pulled on some lines, I peered intently at the windvane, and lamented the wind shadow of Angel Island.  Just like the old days.

Ah, the old days.  After deciding to relive my youth, I took a stroll down memory lane by looking over pictures  --  when I was young, exceptionally good looking, sailing to Hawaii and wearing a cool racing watch.

Umm, where the h3ll is my racing watch?  It did cool things like count down to the start, keep really good time, wake me up every four hours whether I wanted to or not, match my suspenders (no, wait, that's a harness), and immediately identify me as a part of the cool kids club.

This might be the only thing that can keep me from sailing to Hawaii again.  I need a watch, my fitbit will only depress me as I fail to hit 10,000 steps on a 40-50 foot boat.  So, my first order of business will be to go shopping.  Then put my name on the crew list.  Then make myself indispensable for my future Capitan.  Then sail to Hawaii.

12 October 2015

Burn the Frog

We went for a little change of pace in our battle yesterday, pulling out Bogles v. Burn.  I've heard this matchup described as two players running past each other and that is a pretty good description of our first game.  I was on Burn and Noah was on Bogles.

In the first game, I ran past him faster than he could run past me; being on the play was a huge advantage.  Then we had the discussion, Sideboard or not?  These two decks have tuned sideboards (unlike Twin) and both of them have tools for each other.  So, we decided to do it.

I brought in 3x Destructive Revelry and 2x Deflecting Palm.  He sided in 4 cards.

He mulliganed down to six and then decided to keep.  I held my breath and saw him play Razorverge Thicket and a Bogle.  No other cards?  Nope!

So I slammed down a mountain and a goblin guide, turned it to its side and held my breath again.  Top decked card was a hyena umbra!  No free land!

He started suiting up his Bogle but I was beating him down faster than he could respond -- I had him at 3 life when he played his Daybreak Coronet.  :( .  Casting it brought him to 1 (thanks Eidolon), swinging with it brought him back up to 7.  I didn't draw either of my sideboard cards.  My creatures couldn't attack into it without netting him more life and alas, I only had 6 points of burn in my hand.  Game two to the weird looking frog creature (the Bogle, not Noah).

I was pretty sure I had the only sideboard cards in my deck that would help me so I went at it with the same cards.  I drew the freaking perfect opening hand if this were game 1.  Grim Lavamancer into Eidolon with a ton of great burn.  He mulliganed to six!  I had a chance!

But then he put down not one but two Leylines of Sanctity as the game started.  I read Grim Lavamancer and realized I now had a 1/1 for 1.  I read Eidolon and realized I had a 2/2 for 2 that dealt me damage (not like that mattered when I realized I had a TON of dead cards that wouldn't even be cast).

Whatever...maybe I'd draw into my destructive revelry.  And then draw into another one.  Let's do this.

To keep his two leyline hand, it turns out he had to play without a bogle.  And that deck stinks at finding creatures when you need them.  So I was able to get out some creatures, force him to Path them, giving me a ton of lands  while I built up a wasted hand full of burn.

Then I read Skullcrack.  "Damage can't be prevented this turn."  I convinced myself that this meant leyline couldn't stop it, suspended a rift bolt and waited for my next turn.  Next turn I assembled lethal burn (including skullcrack) and cast it all.

When Noah was done laughing at me, he swung his bogle for lethal.  I made my case for "damage can't be prevented" somehow circumvents hexproof.  He pointed out that nothing prevented that damage happening to some legal target that doesn't exist.  So we settled on asking the online judge who of course said, "what about hexproof don't you understand" or something more diplomatic that I'm paraphrasing.

Bottom line, my only hope was to blow up his leyline and, failing that, accept defeat not quite gracefully.  Game, set and match to the Frog.

08 October 2015

Two decks in one

Regular readers of this blog and my twitter feed know that I'm obsessed with Splinter Twin.  Noah and I play almost every night and I'm trying to find ways to beat the deck.  And I mean beat it without the sideboard...I want game 1 wins.  This fits into his need to learn to pilot the mainboard deck and the fact that we haven't built a sideboard yet.

Then going through his binder cleaning out some stuff, we happened upon a playset of Delver of Secrets that were supposed to go into his standard Jeskai deck when it lost all of its cards to rotation, becoming a Modern deck.  A lightbulb clicked when the next page had three Young Pyromancers that were taken out of the burn deck when we got the Eidolons.

A sideboard is 15 cards....if we added four Delvers, four Pyromancers, a bunch of cheap cantrips to trigger those two, we could take out all of the Twin combo pieces and a few lands and have a Transformer deck.  Not just change Twin's style, change into a whole freaking other deck for game two.

You know the song:

The Transformers! Robots in disguise!
The Transformers! More than meets the eye!
The Transformers!
Of course, there are no robots in this story but the transformation is real.  It's probably a really bad idea since the same decks that beat Twin probably beat Delver.  Maybe what they sideboard in becomes a dead card (you get to ask them, "what's that Torpor Orb for?").  But the point is that it will be fun.

On my tennis team in high school we had an ambidextrous player (Marlon something) -- it was always fun watching his warmup to see the moment his opponent realized that this guy doesn't have a backhand!  Game 2 should be like that.  In my imagination at least.  The guy would say, "where does that Delver come from?  You can't switch decks!  JUDGE!"  And then turn two Young Pyromancer, turn three lots of spells, 3/2 flyers and little elementals doing crazy things.  It's a really fun idea.

Of course no idea is complete without taking it to an extreme so the next question is what other deck uses our blue / red manabase?  Storm!  But, alas, a good storm deck would have about 36 different cards to add, not quite sideboardable.

It does turn out that Delver isn't really that much fun to play compared to Twin but it did beat Tron once last night and Noah might just need some practice with it.  Until we have a proper sideboard, this is the strategy just to see if we get the reaction we're looking for!

06 October 2015

My favorite Magic the Gathering rule

When Noah and I started playing, we just jumped in.  To this day, I've never actually seen a rulebook but have heard there is something out there that is long and complicated.  RTFM?  No way.

Luckily, if you read the cards and start playing, most of the rules become pretty obvious.  Noah played in a few junior league tournaments and we saw the basics of: cast spell, attack, respond.  Things like that.

But Instants...those made no sense.  You could just cast them whenever, all willy nilly and they did things.  Doom Blade was the big one...it destroyed the freaking creature!  But, having no idea that something called the stack existed, it turned into a game of reflexes.  If I had a creature that had an enter the battlefield effect (say Thragtusk) and Noah had a Doom Blade, he would hold it in his hand and if he had it hit the table before my creature did I wouldn't get my 5 life.

It got to the point where we would be slamming cards on the table without even realizing what the other guy was playing in an attempt to get the instant's effect first.  There was no way that this could be right but it's how we played.

Learning the rules has made the game more fun and sensible but I do kind of miss the adrenaline rush of slamming cards on the table.

01 October 2015

Deceiver Exarch For the Twin!

Since Noah has turned into the King of Splinter Twin I've had a problem.  Patience.  I've either exercised too much patience or too little.  Here's the crux of the problem, he always has cards in hand and open mana.  ALWAYS.

So, what do I have to do?  I need to realize that he can combo off starting on turn 3 (for non-MTG'ers, combo off means play two cards and win) and keep any outs that I have in hand to stop the combo.  I also have to very carefully play around all of his removal and bounce effects.  And I have to put a clock on him (meaning do a certain amount of damage each turn).

But it never ever works.

Example.  I'm playing Tron and I think I have a lock on him by playing two spellskites.  These critters are nasty, they can redirect spells to themselves, keeping him from combo'ing and winning.  So, they sit out there looking mean and menacing.  Every time I try to get out a threat it's either countered or bounced back to my hand or something.  I finally get 12 mana and play a wurmcoil for 6, it gets remanded, so I tap the other 6 and it gets played.  I have a threat on the battlefield!  And he can't combo!  I tick up Karn one more and ready to exile Emrakul next turn, then ultimate him to restart the game with Emrakul on the battlefield after that.  It's a beautiful line!

Then Noah electrolyzes a point of damage to each of my spellskites and draws a card.  Uh oh, why would he do that?  Because he then bolts one of them, casts snapcaster mage, and bolts the other.  I shake my head and wonder aloud if I could have just redirected both points of electrolyze damage to one spellskite.  He casually shows me the other bolt in his hand.  Argh.

Next turn, combo.

Next game, on the play I get out a turn 3 oblivion stone on the off chance that he doesn't have the combo.  He does.  Of course, he does.  Before I had enough mana to blow stuff up...combo!

We play no-sideboard because we both want to learn  how to play the matchups.  But none of our matchups are good.  Our other decks: Tron, Affinity, Burn and Bogles.  None of those can withstand the Splinter Twin juggernaut.  I'm going to sneak some rending volleys into the main board for Burn and Tron (we run main board Galvanic Blast in Affinity and Path to Exile in Bogles) just to kill the freakin' Deceiver Exarchs but it shouldn't be this hard.

It's weird that killing a 1/4 is such an important thing.  First time I played Burn against him, I held up 1 red and 1 white mana thinking I had him.  He Gitaxian Probed me because I looked too confident.  He looked at my hand and immediately cast Deceiver Exarch.  I laughed, threw down Boros Charm and said, "busted!"  He asked if I was targeting him or myself; confused, I read the card.  Target player!

We had worked out a pantomime of the combo where he pretends to tap both cards back and forth a few times so he did that and it was back in the loser's bracket for me.

I know we have answers in our decks (well, everything but Burn does) but without sideboarding I just can't get there.  It's an amazingly frustrating feeling that the two of us are playing really amazingly good games of Magic but he's just a step ahead of me always.

I feel like I have to play like he has the combo and/or answer unless I have a clock on him.  When I do that, it gives him time to get the combo/answer.  When I go aggressive he does have the combo/answer.

It's not a 100% matchup for Twin, I have to win some time.  But I need to find that patience/aggro line and when to do each first.