zaterdag 31 augustus 2013

Summer Holidays have gone by

And thus august comes to an end, and monday the big rush starts again, as millions of kids return to school.  And how odd it is to say for a 35 year old... I'm joining in the rush.

I've decided to completely overhaul my life, and finally go and study to do 'something' with computers.  I've spend the past 5 years in a fun job, but unfortunatly also a rather high risk one, and in consideration with my parents, my girlfriend, the fact there is a munchkin running around and I ended in hospital last year purely due to stress, I waved the career byebye.

So now I'm going to study for (hopefully) 1.5 years, to cram three educations for a total of 6 years together in what is going to become a braincracker, but IF all should go well and I'd pass all my exams in the end, I'd be a Computer Operator, a Network Operator, a Web Designer AND... *drumroll* a Game Designer.  Just in case to have all options open... and be armed for any opportunity that should come by.

Oddly enough, reading around on the internet, the 'shortest' course, Game Design, is actually the one with the heaviest endwork ratings, including such a detail as designing and writing a complete game...

Currently, I actually have two ideas floating around in my head.  The first would be Tattoo Artist, kind of a drawing game / program, in which instead of paper, you get 'skins' with all their tones and textures, and you have to 'draw' a design on it.  The better the colours and the lines match with the 'clients' intentions and adapting to his skin, the higher your score would be.

Maybe I should talk to my real life tattoo-dude to become a playtester ;-)

The second idea is Kaiju! Kaiju!! where you play, well, a Kaiju and you score points for levelling down cities and smashing innocents.  Carmageddon *deluxe* with genetically enhanced lizards?

Now, let's dream for a moment... in no way in hell am I ever going to start on my own again (very bad memories and still in processes due to having once done that one) desing studio, but the ultimate 'wet dream' is to get something published through the Playstation Network or such, as they actively support the Indy market.

How cool would that be...

But that is a far far away dream still, as monday, let's start modestly by packing my lunchbox and carrier and go for the first time to class.  On a more realistic note, I would love to settle in the department of some big, secure job company career like the IT dept. of a hospital or such.  You know, those guys that tinker all day with the system, yet in the end nothing seems to work.  Or even better, in some cellar with some other geek *enter the IT-Crowd theme music*

donderdag 29 augustus 2013

The Playstation Challenge: part 8 of 12

Another month gone, as the competition is now entering it`s finale stage.  Two thirds of the way down and truth to be told, Team AnRoDr are going to put in some extra effort before victory escapes from their grasp and Lady Defeat welcomes them in her cold embrace.

This was also the last month I had `full game time`, but even though I managed to give a decent blow to the opposition, I`m leaving for school come monday.

This resulting in being out for studying on mondays, wednesdays and thursday evenings, combined with homework and a lot of expected programming on the horizon, the best I`ll be able to do the comming months is, well, damage control.  And to streak out during school holidays.

Programming and Game desing.  At least I have working titles for the very wrong ideas in my mind, being either Tattoo Artist or Kaiju! Kaiju!! we`ll see in the end.

So let`s move on to the scoreboard for August 2013

Deciding the winner:

Less then a gap of 8400 is a victory for me, more then 9000 points gap is a victory for Andy, and in between those two extremes it becomes a draw

The oversight of gained spoils, updated after every monthly update post.

Last update: 29st of August 2013


Points: 56.235 + 4.515 points
Level: 17 - 2% + 67%, + 1 level

Platinum Trophies: 15 + 3
Gold Trophies: 145 + 12
Silver Trophies: 429 + 29
Bronze Trophies: 1841 + 135

Games played: 330 + 13
Games Beaten: 39 + 5


Points: 53.940 + 2.670 points
Level: 16 - 74% + 34%

Platinum Trophies: 15 + 2
Gold Trophies: 138 + 6
Silver Trophies: 411 + 22
Bronze Trophies: 1766 + 74

Games played: 222 + 9
Games Beaten: 30 + 2

This means Andy starts the year with a lead of 8670 points, currently the gap is - 2295 (WIN TOMSCHE)

So I totally outscored Andy over the whole line this month (okay, thruth be told, this month it has mainly been my team doing the scoring), even for the first time in Platinums, and I *know* I`ll be adding 3 more to that tally in the comming month.  To many games down to one or two trophies for a platinum at the moment, so it is just a matter of focus and popping them.

Though truth to be told, I`m going to rest on my laurels come september with the damage control mode, going to play most of my Gundam games further, something I severly neglected during the summer holiday period.  And play Saint Seiya rotten when the new one arrives in december... after the exams... during the final holiday week of the year...

Andy is now in the not so enviable position that in order to win, he needs to outscore me 11.295 points in 4 months, giving that I don`t score a single point anymore.  This means about 2.825 points a month, or roughly 705 points a week.  That is either 2 PSN games or 2/3rds of a `full game` to complete a week.

I *think* I`m entering the safezone now, just a final bump in the calmer first weeks of september and then, sorry Andy, I fear it is going to be a done deal...

woensdag 28 augustus 2013

Skylanders: Giants - the 15th Platinum

For the second time in just as many months, I've pulled alongside Andy on the number of Platinum trophies, hopefully longer then 1 day this time.  It also catapulted me into level 17 on the Playstation Network, sweeet...

Skylanders is an 'interactive toy game' on various systems, consisting of toy figures you place upon a 'Portal of Power', and then the model is transferred to your television screen.

A mighty fine piece of technology if you ask me, because your figure, no matter which you play with, is actually spoken to with it's given name, instead of just 'Skylander' or so.

I played the game all with one model (while the munchkin quickly lost intrest, preferring Wonderbook.  No problem kid, your going to platinum that for me this weekend hehehe, you just don't know it yet, Trigger Happy, a furball out for gold and using one large gatling gun to do so.

Then I found out it needed to be completed on 'Impossible' level as well, and I was stuck with one level 15 and a train (7 to be precise, it is advisable to enjoy the game to the fullest, you have at least one of each color / element) of Skylanders between level 1 and 4...

Now, I just went for it, and it did take me almost thirty game hours to complete AND level up all the models to adequate levels to get through the harder levels.  These are bar the final Boss fight, most importantly the three levels ending in an Arena fight.  Gamer addict opinion, no way the 'target audience' can ever platinum this.

But in the end I got a second Skylander, Flashwing, to level 14 and while Happy did most of the job in the final boss fight (he and the little crystal dragon being the only ones actually making it there through the level), she did manage to finish the boss off with her 360 degree attack range and more imporatantly, self healing power.

Truth to be told, more luck then skill, if that final shot missed, I would be dead at my 4 remaining hit points and it would be the whole level over again...

But it is a GREAT and ENJOYABLE franchise, even for grown ups, and with my pre-order in for the third instalment in october, I guess I can still score some trophies on the first volume as well, a game which the munchkin plays at my home.  Thats what you have with two PS3's and a Vita, keep the crowd pleased and the trophies spread.

Divide and Conquer Andy, but I guess you better put it in a higher gear...


zondag 25 augustus 2013

Sunday Ramblings: The Geek Life episode 11

Hello, remember me?  A few weeks ago, I was featured in this report, straight build from the box...

Well, know my owner has given me an overhaul, and painted some details on me, so now I look far more presentable.

Talking of Gundam, I've been trying to sort my japanese trading card collection by series in my binders, armed with volume 4 of the card guide.  Let's keep it at the fact that the Japanese can make things immensely complex, with starter sets, then Expansion boosters that 'spread' their cards over VARIOUS starter en base sets, only to round it out with more esxpansions on expansion sets like the Dramatic sets, who distribute again over the previous sets.  All with different icons to boot...

I got half the cards still in Limbo to figure out where they have to go, but at least I can make a more or less fresh start with the 'evolution' of the game into Nex-A, also by Cardass Cardmasters, but with more and easier to access checklists to be found online.

What Have I Been Tapping?

Just the FNM, resulting with a slightly tuned deck in another 2 - 2 like last week.  The deck seems to work, bar against Jund whose Thragtusks are to much to overcome.  They also cycle out in 4 weeks, so that is one problem I'll just have to live with, but the only other loss was against a green elven deck, due to having to mulligan twice to 5 cards on the play.  Wins where against an RDW deck, and a Sliver red green aggro deck.  I drop life fast against those, but can stabilise and retaliate big time before they can kill me off it seems.

Talking Magic, with the GP Antwerp end of october, I joined a side-bet with already 3 other Outpost players.  We're going to compete with identical decks (I'll post the decklists when they are ready), and the person to end the lowest of them all has to pay the final evening all the beer.  I'm going to do my best not to be the payer, but I'm already counting myself lucky it's a school holiday the week after, cause I fear I'm going to sport one heck of a hangover...

What have I Been Collecting?

Got myself a very nice collectible card case from the Crusade Saint Seiya game.   These where handed out to store tournament winners in japan, so people who see my collection can also think I won one.  Not by far, but it is a cool must have.  Add to that a fresh promo for my collection, and we keep getting closer to the completionist goal.

I've been adding all my saints and mecha to a Facebook album as well labelled Collection Intervention, which can be found here.  When strolling, feel free to add me as well if you like.

Another cool thingy I received this week, waiting for a tune up and repaint, are these Heroclix mecha models

What Have I Been Watching?

Formula One... Belgium... most boresome local GP of the last years actually, I didn't enjoy it one bit bar Alonso managing to go to second place.  Vettel passed Hamilton in the first corner, and that was it for the tension of the whole race, there wasn't even a bump or a tug in the first corners, on La Source or on the Radillion.

What I have enjoyed though, is a DVD of The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers.  Even after 30 years, the cartoons are enjoyable, definitly better then the crap they play on Nickolodeon these days, and Niko is still hot.   Though I doubt I'd ever want a psychic girlfriend, dirty mind and such things you know...

What Have I Been Gaming?

Past night I did manage to platinum X-Men Destiny (see the post under this), but truth to be told, my team has been doing the most work, mostly on The Smurfs 2.

On the other hand, PS4 has been announced and will be available in Europe even sooner then expected.  Even so, I did place and had confirmed a series of pre-orders, being Marvel Lego on both the Vita and the PS3, the new Skylanders Swap Force (yay, yet another Portal of Power), AND I have confirmation of the Play Asia well received order for Saint Seiya Brave Soldiers.  Bar the munchkin receiving Disney Infinity for his birthday next month, that means end of the line for PS3 games I'll be getting, I'm already getting rid of most of my games now before they go the PS2 route in three months.

What Have I Been Reading?

Another instalment of Episode G, issue 9 this time ( I had taken that one along and leaving issue 8 at home by accident, well, some retroreading comming up then).  A heavily wounded Shura and Aiolia are attacked but saved by the golden Taurus Saint Aldebaran, who ignored the Pope's orders of non fighting by the Gold Saints.  An order he revokes immediatly afterwards.  Further in the story, the Titan Oceanos is engaged by Aquarius Camus, and reveals the grand scheme as Chronos wants to regress time, in order to go back to a time before humans and their gods existed, giving the Titans a free reign.

Well, that's it for another small overview this week, let me just point out the following upcomming event next weekend, where the 'local watering hole' closes down their street for two days of game initiations, workshops and the likes.  If weather allows, I'm going to drop by with the GF and the Munchkin, to help them further upon the path of corruption ;-)

Ciao ciao for now!

X-Men Destiny: The 14th Platinum

Are you an X-Men, or do you side with the Brotherhood?

When during a mutant peace talk in San Francisco, the rally gets attacked by what seems to be Magneto, all hell breaks loose.  Soon however, you start to learn the truth and find out that Bastiion has returned.

In the form of a computervirus, controlled by satellite, Bastion has taken over the mind of Luis Reyes, a mutant equality human activist, and created the MRD and the U-men to eradicate all humans.

When a young mutant gets killed, Pixie (not in the comics though, there the scottish teleporter lass is still alive and errmmm flapping), you have to make the choice.

X-men Destiny has received sabbling down critiques, but I must say, I quite enjoyed the game.  There are two ways to go to the platinum, either start at the hardest level and having to finish the game once, or do as I did and play through the whole storyline three times.  I personally think my method, though time consuming, is a better way to go at it, as you carry over your mutant powers and costumes from playthrough to playthrough, so when I started, I had the very good `Shadow core powers` maxed out.

You get to choose from three characters and three sets of core powers, I went with Grant Alexander, a college football player, and the Shadow powers who have the great benefit of even though doing the least damage, the skilltree has two powers that render you invunerable. 

Not bothering with `X-Mode` when you take all the genes AND costume of one of the many `familiar` faces, I went for Wolverines offensive and defensive powers (damage over time with better crit chance and a healing factor) and Psylocke's Utility gene (fills up your M-power meter faster, and I could use the handy Dark Vapor power more).

That said, the Juggernaut / Magneto boss fight on X-Treme difficulty must be some of the hardest boss fights I came along in quite a while in games, as it is lengthy, does a lot of damage, and you have precious few healing.

But I pulled through tonight.  The past platinum I stood on equal level with Andy for exactly 1 day, then he went on and scored two plats in quick succession leaving me (on platinum numbers at least) trailing behind.  With my school career starting the week after the comming one, I decided to spend those last 5 or so gaming full time chances to try and score as much of the remaining platinums that I can, usually of games one or two trophies `away` from the full package.

We`ll see how it fans out, but this was at least another nice bumper for the Challenge, and one of about 300 points swift and smooth (okay, so it took like 2 years to finally round out the game, but heck, it`s done at last...).  Now to try to finish both Dynasty Warriors 6 (yeah yeah, 8 is out in the meantime, I know) and the Lego batman on the Vita before the end of the week when I`ll be posting the challenge score for august.

maandag 19 augustus 2013

From My Vault: A very special Ironhide for sale

Yes he is ugly.  Yes he transforms as simple as yawning.  Yes, he seems to be quite rare being a toy tied in with the second movie, and comming with a Quick happy meal (Quick being something french / belgian McDonalds like).

Yes, he is looking for a new home, so intrested people, just drop me a line and an offer.

zondag 18 augustus 2013

Sunday Ramblings: the Geek Life episode 10

Is the book better then the movie?  An often heard statement, and in many cases this is true. 

Take the new smash hit film Pacific Rim.  I loved the movie, and bought the (dutch) movie adaption book.  The story is literally, scene by scene the movie, but the power of the pen is everywhere.  In a 300 page novel, you have much more space for 'background' then in a 2 hour screenplay.

So yes, you get more 'personal thoughts' or small scale backdrop information (for one, the russians are actually a married couple that like Ukranian Hardhouse music), triffle information not overly important for the movie storyline, but it just adds that little extra touch.

Or that Pentacost is a british, not american, officer!

And the book is inserted with after every chapter a personel file, jaeger tech file, or 'newsclippings' about Kaiju.

So is a book better then the film?  Not in the case of Pacific Rim, it is just a bit more spiced up.

What Have I Been Reading?

Pacific Rim isn't the only book I have been reading though this week, as I devoured episode 5 in the manga series of Saint Seiya: Next Dimension - Le Myth d'Hades.  This is the 'official' prequel to the beloved anime series, drawn by Kurumada himself, instead of The Lost Canvas which was only 'watched over' by him.   The result though is a very conflicting set of Gold saints, and I must say so far I still prefer The Lost Canvas - sorry sensei.

In this volume, we learn about the 18th century Gemini saint, being the evil Abel and noble Cain, though this seems more a schizophrenic, hair colour changing saint, like Saga used to be, instead of the fallen and the exiled twins of TLC, while the Cancer saint, Deathtoll, is a cowardly, gravecasket making comical relief in the series.  I'll go with Manigoldo thank you.

But the story overal though is strong, as it details how Shun (and Ikki) went with Saori in a portal through time to try and save Seiya from Hades's curse.  Taking into account Omega, they apparently will succeed, but that won't ruin my reading fun though.

What Have I Been Tapping?

Only the Friday Night Magic, and I stood back pretty amazed.  The 'Fireworks' deck I posted last week, but still needed some tuning (which I haven't done yet) of replacing black for blue... actually worked quite well, taking along a 2 - 2, ironically my best result the past weeks.

In round one it easily swiped an Izzet deck powered by Ral Zarek of the table under 10 minutes, round 2 it barely lost to a Selesnya deck with Smithers and Voices, round 3 it was 1 draw away of beating a Gruul deck, only to win again fast in round 4 against an RDW.

Okay, it takes some thinking of when to burn creature or player, and to sacrifice or not the tokens compared to the smash smash smash haste deck, but it seems I have touched upon something here.  Some more tuning to go and then we'll see how it ends.  Heck, maybe, very maybe it all falls into place and I get a chance at the promo of this month, a Dimir Charm.

I'll let you'll know next sunday, with the updated decklist.

What Have I Been Gaming?

The girlfriend finished the 400 days DLC stories for the Walking Dead, and let me tell you, and hope she doesn't read this, she is a psychotic killer in the making.  She just had poor little (hot) Steph shot, she covered smashing the old lady's brain in to her husband, had an elderly couple executed... and negotiated with an iron hand of slavery, resulting that only cowardly Wayne and cold turkey'ing Bonnie joined the camp in the making.  This looks promising for the audience when season 2 comes out.

Myself, I finished the storyline for Monsters vs Aliens this week.  Of all the animation movie tie-in (crap) games, this one was actually quite enjoyable.  You rotate between your 3 heroes in a sort of Obstacle race with Ginormica, a bash many monsters fight with the Missing Link, and use B.O.B. to go through puzzle and maze levels.

I will definitly go back to that game to score some more trophies in the future, though I doubt I will do a second complete playthrough for the platinum.  Never say never though...

What Have I Been Collecting?

This uber cool promo card for Saint Seiya Crusade...

This is one of the two saint seiya cards that came with the Kero-Kero Ace magazine, the May issue of this year, and in Japan, they still have those great magazines like Inquest and the likes.  I loved those kinds of magazines, but then Magic got to big and the internet to dominant, which is in a way a bit of a shame.

Apparently though, high tech crazy Japan is also just as paper mag crazy, and still gives around their promo cards with the booklets and all, so thanks to that internet that got to big, I can expand and complete my collections.

What Have I Been Bricking?

All about Marvel for me this week, as I build the Daily Buggle set, as well as the promotional set of Iron Man I still had lying around.

I didn't actually have any intention of getting one of the bigger Marvel sets, but then a local toy store had it marked at half price as it was the one and only set they had received in the series, nor it seemed they would be supplied anytime soon with more in that series as they are about to move soonish.

No jiffy, I'll save it from oblivion hehehe.

Well, that's the ramblings for this week, now I have to go and research some internet sites about that Disney Infinity set comming out the 22th.  Skylanders with Disney, and the munchkins birthday a month away, is going to make 1 + 1  = 3 (birthday + release = munchkin happy, my profitting from it)

From the man-cave, I salute you.  To Infinity, and Beyond!!!!!!!!

zaterdag 17 augustus 2013

Something starts to loom at the horizon

Okay, it's time to grow up.  Well, a little perhaps, because doing things to extreme results in psychotic breakdowns, de-geekinization and other, not for innocent human minds, horrific results.

No, there hasn't been a proposal yet.  Yes, parental and partner pressures are rising (okay, just kidding here mom, it's only the GF pressuring me.  Love you mom.  Sponsordeal?)

Truth of the matter is, every geek reaches an age when hobbies get pushed more and more to the backside, while real life things like careers, growing up munchkins, living together and such things keep on getting more and more to the front of the lifecycle.

So yes, it is starting to become that time that I'm going to do more cuttings in the hobby budgetting, and start saving more in the savingsaccount for things from the not so far future, being in our case a marriage in a few years (like, perhaps, one or two) and a house with a garden (wise lesson learned here after the heat wave of past july and august).

Just sayin'

Practically, this is going to result in playing Magic in only one type except spending good money on trying to build not working Modern and Legacy decks.  And try to get a decent price for the leftover cards.

Maybe I should cut down my PS addiction to actually first finishing the immens backlog of games I still have, and refrain from emptying the PSN Store at sales weekends.

No way in hell though that I'm touching or stopping with collecting Saint Seiya models, but I might as well stop with the 'not 100% but they are just I must have them' side collections I've been gathering over the years like Transformers or such, not sure there which ones will make the cut.
I got summer cleaning comming up in two days under the watchful eye of the godlike being called 'mom' in my hobby room over at the parental house.

And perhaps it would be wise to use Trade Cards Online to trade around various cards to ultimately reach the goals of the series I actually WANT to complete (and the munchkin's one to boot).

Just sayin'

Many decisions to make as such in the comming weeks, and preferably before I go back to school as I will need a really clear head for that, it IS a very heavy combination of courses I'm going to take after all.

And to try and make sense of my mind into the GF's mind, that'll be the harder part, as the oddjob might sound just a tat more oddjobby when trying to sound less oddjobby.

Now to make some budget for something...

Just sayin'

dinsdag 13 augustus 2013

Planeswalker Points Season 1 - 2013/14

The first season of the new year has gone by, running from the 18th of March until the 11st of August, but more importantly, it is also the first season of new yearly cycle of Magic, running until the 1st of June 2014.

Even with not to much games under my belt the past season, I did manage to score a modest 168 points.  Not my best season, but compared to about a year ago where I scored around 40 points a season, improvement is apparent.

With the current one running until the 15th of December, and including the GP Antwerp (Modern, but I'm going to battle there with a slightly modified Type 2 deck I think), my aim is around 250 points for the comming 3 months, which might be do-able, and if not, yeah well, not then...  But then I already have a fat margin to be allowed to participate in next years WMCQ's.

Now, my measly 168 points did score me a 247th Place in the season (and as such, as well in the Yealry ranking for the new year) within Belgium, but neither ranking within Europe and the World rankings, where the last place on the site, nr 1000, has respectively 418 and 2107 points.

Unless I'm going to go GPing, GPTing and PTQing more regularly, I doubt I'll ever make those marks, so I'm not lying awake over them yet because...

I have a long term plan!

As I have now a decent 1080th place in Belgium on Lifetime Points, needing at the moment 825 to drop into the top 1000 of All Time (and I admit, that is my Magic goal).  I currently stand on 734 Lifetime points, not to shabby considering I scored my first point (he, 4 actually lol) on... 11 / 11 / 11... how's THAT for a date to start playing competitive Magic.

Well, off to go and prepare to score hopefully the very first point of the new season comming friday... with that oddball deck I posted past sunday.

zondag 11 augustus 2013

Sunday Ramblings: The Geek Life episode 9

Let me tell you some little secrets...

Last week, I was building some Monster Fighters sets, and they advertise it with 'glow in the dark' parts as cool stuffsies in the sets.

But these have been by far their original glowparts.  As I restored an older set, from the Castle range somewhere in the later 80s, you can see those ghosts that glow in the dark where already present...

Two weeks ago, when I made the playstation challenge overview, I told the world I had to be careful still for Andy.  It was a lie.  I'm actually been playing cat and mouse on purpose, trying to match his points tally on a daily basis, and then score like one bronze more.  I could strike the finishing blow if I wanted to, but I don't...  I'm being sadistic at the moment

Last week, I was in high hopes that my revised Rakdos deck would be able to have a fighting chance this weekend on the Game Days.  The chance was that big, that I just have disassembled it completely and build something totally different, totally otherwise...

Game Day was a disaster on both days, I haven't even reached my 'goal' of 25 planeswalker points over two days, as I kept flunking with mana issues, usually of the non showing black variety even though I played 11 black sources.  The decklist can be found in the disaster of GPT post of last saturday, with the added modifications I said I would be doing.

Saturday: Game Day M14, the first one

Round 1: I faced Kenny and a mono red aggro deck of Barrage of Expendables / Young Pyromancer build, and had to start with a mulligan to 5.  However, in game 2 I managed to topdeck a Ratchet Bomb, cleaning his tokens, but alas in game 3 the 'where is my black mana' curse started to kick in.  A sign of things to come...

Round 2: A green Ooze deck, and with his oozes on the table, and 2 Dreadbores in hand in both rounds, guess what didn't shown up...  I flooded red mana and had only a Loyalist to play.

Round 3: Bye.  Points.  Period

Round 4: Another regular red decker, Sven, beat me 2-1.  I won a round he flooded, I lost two while... yep, you guessed it, that makes 5 GAMES IN A ROW with 11 sources in the deck...

Round 5: Shocklands and Control.  He milled me in game 1, enter 4 Burning Earths from sideboard, and I took home the win in the end.

A 2-3 record, not great, but for my doing not to bad...

So onto the second Game Day on sunday and the juicy loot.  There where only 13 players, so Top 8 and the Diplomats promo should have been doable.

Heck, maybe if I got lucky, I could have a shot at the game mat...

So I started round 1 as a rocket against Jund.  In game 1 he got stuck on mana and my Haste weenies finished the job swiftly.  Game 2 after sideboard, 2 Burning Earths did the rest...

Awright, 3 rounds to go and only 1 needed to be won to be almost sure for the top 8

Round 2 made me face red black green aggro, and to give an illustration on how it went, even with him having no basic lands and me 2 Burning Earths on the table, I couldn't draw any removal to cope with the Major of Averbruck, nor draw any of my 31 beasties to block his wolves.

Round 3 Control.  Mill, mill, mill, mill.  The only game I won was the second with the hasters, but when you see the Drownyard mill you for six and then see 3 out of 4 of your Burning Earths pass by...

So it all rocked on the final round and a Sliver deck.  Easy, I've haven't gotten any problems with those decks before, I tend to outhaste him and surgically remove some 'key slivers'.  Round 1 I stuck on 1 land, round 2 I stayed on 2.

No top 8 for me.

Yes, the deck was already prepared for 'post rotation', and I fear the loss of my Vexing Devils, Searing Spears, Pillar of Flames and most imporantly Falkenrath Aristocrats has cost me dearly.

What Have I Been Reading?

Zero Sum Game, a novel from the Star Trek Typhon Pact series written by David Mack.  Together with Peter David and JM Dillard, I always thought he wrote the best novels for Star Trek, as they read smoothly and have some unusual twists.  In this one, Bashir and former 'Jack Pack' member Sarina Douglas set out on a covert mission for Starfleet Intelligence.  They have to destroy a slipstream drive prototype the Breen are building,  and we learn that the Breen are actually also a multispecies federation instead of just a single race.  And that Section 31 still has plans for Doctor Bashir...

A good read, not the very best of Star Trek novels out there, but worth having a look at if you are into these kind of Star Trek meets James Bond stories.

Another thing I've been readin was the Orion Pax saga of Transformers Prime, compressing three episodes in a graphic novel.  Though 'graphic' is said to much, they use stills of the TV show and added textballoons.  I didn't enjoy this one, it was to 'straight from TV'.  It'll end up for trade for something else me thinks, like most of the Prime material I have lying around.

What Have I Been Watching?

A single picture says more then a thousand words in this case...

What Have I Been Bricking?

Thanks to Bricklink, I'm one (actually, two) steps closer to owning the complete Pharaoh's Quest line.  I tracked and got the two promo sets, still sealed and for only a few euros each.  One came from the UK, one from Sweden, and now I'm still waiting for the Flying Mummy Attack to arrive, leaving me only the big set, Scorpion Pyramid, to go.

But that isn't all I build this week.  I got myself that stagecoach I've been drooling over from The Lone Ranger range.  I haven't seen the movie yet, but the sets look amazing, bar perhaps the train chase as that set is almost only rails, rails and more rails.  Now, I'll probably end up trying to complete the series when they drop in price, like hopefully the Prince of Persia range did (and which will be the next on the goals to complete after the mummies).

What Have I Been Collecting?

My Lunamaria Hawke collection has been expanded with two more ubercute Chibi models.

What Have I Been Gaming?

Of course, to be able to play Cat and Mouse with my victim, I have had to finsih some games.  I managed to complete career mode on F1 Race Stars, but more importantly I managed to 100% Duels of the Planeswalkers in less then 8 hours and a half, on the hardest level.  With the Illusion deck mostly, as flyers are always nice.  And somehow build an 'Awesome' rated deck in Sealed.

So why does this never carry over to the hard table?

So that is about it for this week, which has been mostly Magic heavy in the report.  To finish, let me show you the build I'm now working on, as I closed the story on my Rakdos deck, called lovingly The Bordello, and am now going for this Red (and more black after sideboard) 'Fireworks' deck.

The initial idea is simple: Pyromancer makes tokens and Guttersnipe shoots to kill, while I cast removal and burn spells to creature and opponent alike.  It still needs some tuning but I haven't gotten quit all the cards in my possession; some trades to go still.

In the end, the 3 Toil and Trouble (just to annoy those Sphinx decks) are going to be cleared out and replaced with one each of a Mindsparker, Young Pyromancer and Molten Rebirth, causing probably the Rakdos's Returns to move to the sideboard afterwards.

Fireworks by Tomsche Murrath

Creatures - 9

3x Young Pyromancer
4x Guttersnipe
2x Boros Reckoner

Enchantments - 6 

4x Burning Earth
2x Barrage of Expendables

Instants - 12

4x Shock
4x Electrickery
4x Skullcrack

Sorcery - 13

4x Mizzium Mortars
4x Flames of the Firebrand
3x Molten Rebirth
2x Rakdos's Return

Land - 20

4x Blood Crypt
5x Swamp
11 x Mountain

Sideboard - 15

3x Mindsparker
3x Toil / Trouble
3x Rakdos Charm
3x Dreadbore
3x Doom Blade

Yes, it is still extreme, and yes, I still need some kind of extra defense build into it, but it is what it is, a rough, first draft... we'll see how it goes between now and Theros...

There are still some cards I'm contemplating to include, like more Barrages, or Showstopper (for some reason, I love that card) and if all else fails, to make it a random nuthouse with Possibility Storm.

IF I can convince the girlfriend with HUGE eyes that I can go out and play comming friday evening to give it a first go and get an impression...

But for now, I can only say bye bye to you all and until next week