And so it comes that the newest Magic: The Gathering set is upon us, completing the very atmospheric Innistrad block.
I went to play in both pre-release days at my local `card fixer` store, Outpost Gamecentre in Antwerp. My plan before those two days where to play two colours and throw in as much Soulbound and Miracles as I could get, just to find out how the mechanics went, it was a pre-release after all.
Choice would depend on colours Rare, and day 1 I picked my beloved Blue and filled out with White, as I had the Silverblade Paladin. This bloke gives Double Strike is Soulbounded to both creatures, and is a very good card, potentially game winning.
I went a very decent 3 wins 4 losses, and apart from one game where I had complete manascrew (I laid off 5 lands combined over both rounds...) had a fighting chance in each and every round. The other rares I fielded where the Blue Deadeye Navigator to blink my biggies, and the Angel of Glory`s Rise, not to exile zombies (which will become rare I fear these days with the mass of anti-zombie stuff) but to bring all my by then died humans back on the battlefield.
84 players on day 1... and still that ain`t much, because if Return to Ravnica is going to prove to be as popular as it`s predecessor, people are estimating numbers around the 200 - 300s!!!!! Remember GP Hasselt where WotC needed to go shopping around locally for booster displays because they just didn`t brought enough product for the unseen 1600+ players that set...
Second day I decided to go green / red no matter what, and as I received my pool I had no less then 3 rare reds (Vexing Devil, which will be getting pricey due to his sheer power for standard format. A 4/3 for one red mana which your opponent can only counter by paying 4 life if you have him in your opening hand, the Burn at the Stakes, whom I like but didn`t got a chance to play, and the 4/4 Flying Haste bounce back Archwing Dragon - another card which for it`s 4 mana cost is going to get mighty popular) coupled with the Moonsilver Spear.
Day two was a bit calmer with around 50 players, due to the Outpost quiz having taken place the night before and RL obligations do rear up some times...
After two rounds (I wanted to do it after the first, but didn`t have time) I threw out the green again and cycled in my beloved Blue, as I didn`t even get a chance in those first two rounds, and since that point it went more uphill, resulting still in a decent (for my doing) 2 / 4.
Didn`t get to play any Miracles though, as over none of the days I had one in my pool.
So what did we learn of the new set? Soulbound makes that you don`t have to search for the particular synergy between colours, as you pass on abilities to each other, making even mono colour AND triple colour perfectly viable. It where a 4 colour and a 3 colour decks competing top places over both days in the end.
People can think what they want, but Blue is by far the best colour in this expansion in my opinion. You don`t have the fast attack of red, the big nasties of green or the legion of flying angels of white, but you can alpha strike like hell with the huge amount of bounces and blinks in their range. You will need a second colour for good creatures unless your a purist, but like `in the good old days`, blue is once more the number one pick for secondary colour, they even have a counterspell again for 2 mana for the mid-game in Second Thought.
My plan this whole set is already made up now, I`m drafting blue no matter what, filled out with the colour of a decent rare or uncommon that opens up in the boosters.
And as an extra bonus, the Library of Blue has already 1/3rd of the new cards in it, and I managed to stroke of about a dozen more of the wanted list since pre-releases are a lot of new faces and potential trade exchanges.
So the Hellvault opens....
... and what a disappointment it was. You got a 20-sided dice, a flip token Angel / Demon, and an oversized card of one of the 5 angels. Well, it`s nice promo stuff just `to have`, but they hyped it WAY to much compared to the actual contents.
My loot after the weekend as such where two dice, 3 tokens, and the red white and blue white angels, both donated to a mate`s girlfriend as she is designing a sleeve tattoo using Magic angels.
But I did find and buy this neat little thingie. It`s a special version of the Japanese edition of Jace vs Chandra duel deck... with anime style artwork. I`m still indecisive wether to actually open it or not (yeah yeah, I`m gonna open it, who am I kidding), and I think I might play an `Anime Jace` in my Legacy deck, just because he looks so bloody cool that way...
Well, time for the rematch against those humans I lost so gravely to with 4-0 a few weeks ago. Now, we both had an exact match in team rating at 118 each, so that would mean we`re going into the arena fairly matched.
Now, the gate was an indication of what was going to follow, I brought along 8000 fans (rolled 3), he... 4000 (rolled a 2) so I even had Fame +2. That was, for those people brave enough in what would turn out a long boring game with no action at all.
You see, we both managed to block rather smoothly, but neither managed to beat many armour rolls. Over the whole game, there where 2 human vs 1 hobgoblin KO`s, a Human Blitzer ended with -1 AV due to an injury, and I suffered one badly hurt Hobgoblin and one Dawi that`s missing next game. And the blitzer was caused by the crowd to boot, so that means only 5 players suffered something above stunned today... Nothing that gets a crowd warm hehehehe.
The game was basically one big clutter along the midline, only halfway first half he managed to score with his thrower, the only player on his side at that moment not lying down, but managed to escape with a dodge and make the one and only goal in the game.
I had a few chances during the second half to equalize, but I just couldn`t catch or pick up the ball (trying at one time no less then 5 times in a row as it kept scatter bouncing between two players). People might wonder why i throw a Quick pass over a hand off to my players, but the throwing part (with a Hobgoblin) hasn`t been the issue. It`s the catching with a Bull Centaur that is causing issues, as Hobgoblins are to lightly armoured to make the dash over the field as they can`t outrun a Human anyways. The modifiers for an accurate pass or accepting a hand-off are the same anyways, but even with re-rolls I just can`t roll that 4+.
Pity, but we`re still in the upper half of the League table with 6 points now out of 4 matches, one more to ge the required minimum and after that we`ll see where we end. I doubt the play offs can be managed, but on the other hand I still have almost all my games against the `lower` teams still in the pipeline so there should be some points to be gained perhaps to at least compete for the 4th spot, as three teams are as good as gone to catch up with.
Skill wise a Dawi lineman gained Guard, as he was chosen for the second time out of 4 games as the MVP, resulting in now having two of those little `Cans of Doom` with that skill, a fresh (and last) Hobgoblin was added to the roster (I named him Luke... as my coach is Dwarf Vha`Dur hehe) and the first 20k went into the bank to buy that minotaur for completing the roster.
I should have a game lined up against Feet of Flame in two weeks if their coach can get to the club, curious how my Violators are going to hold out against two treemen and a bucketload of Halflings flying over their head...
Well, signing on might be a little overstated, pressed into service or being tossed into the forges would have been a better description of the choice of the newest Hobgoblin on the Vongalazthag Violators roster.
ChubChub is a Hobgoblin who tries everything to copy and be like his superiors, even going as far as having tried to grow a beard like his Dawi Zharr masters. He proudly shows off the little bush of plush on his shin, thinking this makes him the better and flashier player. His racial companions have whispered into his ear that wis a beard like that, he is the perfect Hobgob to block Ogres out of the match...
This guy brings the roster to the 14 players and all the staff I currently field at painted, now to find a hole in the paint schedule to complete the `planned` team, being yet another Hobgoblin and a Minotaur, and then to see if I can scrounge together 150k for those two players over the comming matches bar replacing any dead blokes. Should get the team ready should we manage by some miracle to qualify for the play offs, though if tomorrow, when I`ll have the rematch against those humans were everything went wrong against goes like last game... he won`t even have a team left to play on in the League like the Vampires whom are pulling back officially now.
It might not come as a suprise, but I gamed this one through a month non stop to gain the Platimun trophy, which I finally obatined this evening.
So, that might only be the second platinum I score so far, but these kind of `Koei` games (a contraction between KOnami and toEI) is my cup of tea on the PS 3. Which probably isn`t a suprise either seeing my love for japanese anime thingies.
Yes, I bought this game twice. I ordered the limited european Myth
cloth edition, but as this would be released almost a month after the
basic game, I couldn`t wait and bought the standard one as well upon
No, I`m NOT getting a Pikachu tattoo!
This game has two sorts of trophees, the fast ones you score almost immediatly on the first run and lets you unlock most of the characters, and the long grind ones like getting A rankings, which include God level missions for shich you need to grind a character to nearly the maximum.
The general advice in these games is to pick one you like and level him up hour after hour, now most websites recommend Phoenix Ikki for this, as he levels the most important statistic, Attack, very fast and has a good ranged attack, but I opted for my childhood favorite, Cygnus Hyoga, as well as for the tag teams Cancer Deathmask and of course the DLC character Unicorn Jabu. Yeah, for games like these I do buy ALL DLC content... Otaku you know....
He has all three ranged attacks, two being a tube shaped icestorm and one short ranged cone ice attack, which is handy to freeze opponents and then catch your breath.
And now this one is pulling me alongside Creepy Andy again and our battle continues now 6 months in the going.
He`ll loose, he just doesn`t know it yet though ;)
Now, off to finally sort through my tower of games, and see to get rid of all those non-anime ones I collected over the years, i`m not going to bother playing them through anyways probably hehehe.
Onwards to the next platinum, probably Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 IF I can still find online opponents for a game 3 years old now...
Every tattoo should have a story, and mine is the following:
This july I`m turning 34 (but will continue looking 27 yupyup). When I was 14, my mum bought me my very first Citadel Miniatures on my birthday, in a store called The Lonely Mountain in Antwerp, now no longer in business.
Those very first models where... the Chaos Dwarf Swivel Gun and Mortar blisters. Hell, did I know that 20 years down the road I still have them (the mortar was featured half a year ago already repainted) and would multiply beyond proportions of the sane wargamer (okay, contradiction in termini there).
So to commemorate my 20 years of dedicated (okay, it has hiatusses, but they are like the only game / models I actually kept during all my career) service to the Bull Headed God, I went to the tattooshop (the same one of my Enterprise) and came home with this on my left forearm:
So that`s tattoo number five, three more on the planned list... when i turn 35 I`m going for the golden Crab of my constellation on the chestbone, when I complete the Library of Blue it will be the Blue `drop of water` icon from Magic The Gathering below this one (yes, my arm will tell my gaming life lol) and when the `Sword of Damocles` evaporates (long story, lots of money involved, my `entourage` knows what it is about, the rest I ain`t telling) the huge angelpose of Strike Freedom on the back (as I`ll be able to spare a few thousand euros then)...
Week 7, loss 7... but this is a damn sour one. Not because I think it was undeserved that my opponent, Old Coast, took the full points, but because we had been, right until saturday morning, on a draw, me being at times 2 or 3 votes on top, then he.
And I lost with 1 vote out of the draw range (less then six votes) as the round ended at 231 - 237, a difference of 6 votes and as such 1 measly vote above a draw. But in the end they did me porud and I managed at least to get the maximum `votes recieved` points, I think I should have cleared the dreaded red lantern now for certain, especially since I`m about 300 votes in the lead in the current running round that started yesterday. It seems honour might be saved...
But on the bright side, this is what the LPL is about for me. After almost a year since I painted my first Gold saint, and a second one a few months ago for the BSL in 2011, I finally completed these little bottlecap gemstones and now have the full set of Athena's Mighties Warriors ready for... I don`t know what or when they will be on the gaming table, but they do look mighty fine in the closets.
So let`s have alook at all 12 models, mind you, before painting they looked like this:
They are 35mm soft plastic monocolour models by, whom else, Bandai. Bases where removed, as was the cloak of Camus for balancing issues. Pity Aiolos wings where to bend to straighten out still, but heck, in the new Omega series the Sagitarrius wings flutter around like mad as well.
The 12 temples and the Athena statue where snatched of eBay ages ago for about 60 dollars, a nice investment if you ask me as it makes it all look the real deal...
Mu of Jamir - Aries Saint
Aldebarran - Taurus Saint
Saga, the False Pope - Gemini Saint
Deathmask - Cancer Saint
Aiolia - Leo Saint
Shaka, Closest Man to God - Virgo Saint
Dohko, the Old Master - Libra Saint
Milo - Scorpio Saint
Aiolios, the Greatest Saint - Sagitarrius Saint
Shura, the Loyalest Warrior - Capricornus Saint
Camus - Aquarius Saint
Aphrodite - Pisces Saint
There you have them, all 12 Golden Warriors of Athena, the elite of her Saints.
The tale of a yellow rodent that farts lightning bolts out of his ass...
So, the pilgrimage has passed and we`re back from the Salute show in London. What we did there was play on my Playstation, attend a Magic event and rummaged through mountains of miniatures. Who ever said you can`t keep on with your normal life when abroad?
Now, people often wonder why I don`t take heaps of tourist shots, well guess why, I`m not a tourist by heart, but just so they can see that I actually was in London, here is one picture:
As you can see, our scale 1:1 naval wargame demo game is progressing quite nicely, thank you...
The FNM event was a cozy affair, 34 attendants and they just act like your own of the boys, even though your a foreigner crashing their party one-time. It`s handy to have that sort of hobbies around to literally drop in and play instead of wandering aimlessly around and sitting in a hotel room. Though the `5 minutes walk` turned out to be a 1.5 hour walk along the borders of the Thames in the pouring rain...
But, let`s get to the main thing... it`s time for SALUTE.
This year, I learned from mistakes of the past. I didn`t buy a quebuster card, as the mass is just to large to be effective, and went to have a seat at one of the many coffeestands with my Playstation Vita. Doors opened at 10.00, and I got up there at 10.15, walked straight in with the ques well in motion now, and still have my goodie bag and all.
Lesson learned? I didn`t have to just stand there, well, standing for 1.5 hours like many others. And managed to score two more trophees for Disgrea 3 in the process...
Now, people I talk to have at times problems imagining the sheer size of the Excel complex, so here is a shot of it`s central hallway. I`m standing at the western terrace, in the far, far distance you see the eastern entrance and on each side are about 10 halls the size of the `Sportpaleis`, Belgiums biggest event hall... it`s in other words BIG
Just like the show itself, I had the impression attendance numbers where about the same as last year, but business was running a lot better this edition from hearing some traders like `JimBibbly` of Oshiro talking at the LAF meet up. Mostly Gripping Beast (SAGA must have been the best selling single item of the show I think) and Forge World seemed to have the biggest crowds all days at their stalls.
The picture right above is the actual Bring and Buy at around 12.30... it`s insane, I`m not even bothering to go and take a peek there, even if this could mean I missed some great opportunities. Life before limbs and the likes you see...
So, let`s start with the real eye-candy, a tour along the various tables. I *think* I might have gotten them all, sorry if I missed out one. Not good with names and clubs though, never have, never will with my swiss cheese for brain, but I`ll throw in soem quirky comments here and there just to break up the monogamy. If you see yourself or your game, feel free to post about it below though!
The small scale 15mm ACW catched my fancy early on, it`s a period thing, but in the end compared to last year there wasn`t that much American Civil War on show. I expect this to be different in the next edition with the 150 years Gettysburg (and last year 150 years of the start of the war) though.
Critical Mass`s 15mm range in full swing over three different demo tables. A trend I spotted this year was more and more smaller scale games on tables of about 48 by 48 inch with a slightly above skirmish scale level of engagement. Which I think is a good thing, as huge battles tend to wind down at cons to a static display in the end.
Marie-rose de Flandres went for world war 1 trench warfare, as always I loved their quality of the game.
The naval and land combined game was just awesome to behold!
Gruntz 15mm was luverly. I follow the blog, don`t had a chat though, I`m not someone in the process of disrupting people during shows.
I did have some chats with a lot of blogger collegues and fellow LAF members during both the Rejects and the LAF meet ups. It`s nice to see people like Angry Lurker, Wargamer Girl, Captain Blood, Elysium64 and other nicknames actually getting a face now - though in some cases, it was scary. They probably thought the same thing, as I stood in front of them with one huge hang-over and a Pikachu hat, you`ll probably see those popping over the blog-o-sphere in the comming time, but heck, people instantly DID know who their beloved Il Directore was now. Also made the first steps for Ray`s love babies.
"Bit short for a Storm Trooper"
This had a neat little addittion. The smoke contained little flashing lights, looking as if it where actual gunlines firing.
The Ginger-bread man, one of the coolest concepts on the blogosphere I`ve been watching in the build up to Salute, and now finally got to see in real life.
SAGA, the goldmine of this years show. I did manage NOT to buy it though, as you`ll see on my loot list later on, I didn`t do ANY impulse buys and am very proud of myself for it to boot!
Our very own TSA demo / participation game, more on this one a bit later on.
A huge Warhammer 40k Apocalypse game, nice paintjobs to boot!
The Warlords`s Scarlet Thunder care chase game. I like their ideas each year, not very run of the mill.
The Russian HIND. I always loved sleek lines...
Okay, so this game I LOVED, didn`t get a chance to play it, but it is right down my Otaku alley. Giant monsters battling it out in a cityscape Godzilla style!
Super Dungeon Explooooooooooore
When Warrior meets Virginia...
Mini-Blocks (it`s a kind of Lego) Doctor Who game
Yarr me mateys, shivver me timbers and walk the plank!
Crooked Dice put on another great show this year, this little company is a serious event runner if you ask me, very neatly taken care of games and delicious bootbabes to errrm boot. All in the typical 70s style.
Oshiro`s splendid japanese game and terrain.
And then the memory card of my camera spelled the words of doom... Memory Card Full!
So luckily, onwards now with the smartphone equipped camera, it always pays to have a back up ready x-D
World of Twilight, I keep liking the style of models of the range, it`s the ones I did the wildlife with for this years LPL.
A very lovelly and impressive VSF game
Frothers Babylon 5 game, very nicely done and brought me back to memory lane, we played that setting to the bone for years.
Hail Hashut!!! Not a gaming table, but deserving an honourable mention is this fellow Chaos Dwarf Online member. I have his range, it is a great set of models with very characterful models. You must buy them now if you didn`t yesterday, the Father of Darkness commands it!
For some reason, I kept looking for a girl in a blue robe with a peppermill gun, a cat and a Queen with a uniform of hearts in this one. The paperbuildings and style so remind me of the Alice: Madness Returns video game.
Mammoth hunting, a nice little game and a `period` not often see
Now how is this for effective use of LED lights and sheer eye candy?
And that`s the tour I have of the gaming tables of this years edition of Salute. I must say, I really enjoyed the day and the stuff to see, but it seemed to my own opinion a bit `undecided` this year, as there was no real theme running through the convention. On one hand, that is a good thing, lots of different things to see, but on the other hand makes it harder to compare games and stuff and say `I loved that above all else` and such.
But remember I had something more to say about our TSA game (our being the rest of the team, I`m just the tag-along picture bitch). This was the fourth year we put on a game at Salute, and the third trophee we`re taking home, this time for Best Scenery.
As our club president has the honors of posing with it next to the table, still in action. Definitly not marathon material though. Well, perhaps the Battle of Marathon...
So then, the one million dollar question... the LOOT
As I proudly stated, I didn`t do impulse buys, so there`ll be nothing to be thrown out in the future. I sticked to the list and... then some... lots some... hehehehe oops, it was stronger then myself...
I got my Blood Bowl Minotaur from Heresy Miniatures (8 pounds discount, almost all their models where between -40 and -60% on show it seemed), some suitable 15mm models for HoTT Chaos Dwarfs (no handguns found though) from both Magister Militum and 15mm.co.uk and then...
... it went downhill big time.
I went to the Forge World stand for the new warhammer Forge book. That was already sold out, but this was the only downside of my decision not to que for hours. I can live with that, they invented Mail Order for those things.
But 320 pounds later I walked away with four of the Chaos Dwarf war machines and 30 Infernal Guards and a command group.
Off to Mantic Games to see for some small sets of their `Abysmal` Dwarfs... and went off with the large army deal.
Only thing I bought not on the list was from a books trader 5 novels of Magic the Gathering I still lacked. Besically as they where 2.5 each, I got one for free as I needed to lay down only a 10er. Nice find, as I would pay a lot more on postage alone if I scoured the net.
This all amounts to about 500 pounds spend on the day, so leaves me with a LOT of GBP left over to change back for euros and go bonanza on Myth Cloths and the likes in two weeks at the Antwerp Convention for comics and anime. No impulse buys, no exurbirant spending... first convention ever I can label as a budgetary success!!
Downside though is that this means my `bought` counter is going up with a spectacular... 196 models.
What I didn`t find, and as such will have to order one of these days: some handgunners and full plated 15mm dwarves to serve as blunderbusses, I`ll sort to Irregular for those and some (large, 40-50 man) movement trays.
That`s it, now I`m gonna put that yellow rat back in it`s cage, cheerios all!