vrijdag 31 januari 2014

Happy New Year (to meeee!)

The chinese New Year has arrived, and this year it is 'my' year or chinese zodiacs turn, the Horse.

So that would mean I'm the Equuleus saint, or 'Little Horse', the brother constellation to Pegasus. It also means I'll be either turning 24 or 36 this year, but I'm still not out of that decision ;-)

Introduced during season 2 of Omega, this cloth is currently worn by former Steel Saint Subaru, the boy that wants to become a God and defeat Pegasus Koga.  Inheriting the cloth from Celeris, he can now harness his imposing Cosmo (it is considered, going by the intro of the series, he is actually a reincarnated God) and as such can launch the Equuleus's ultimate attack, the Supernova Explosion.

Not to shabby to be born under, though that other part of the Equuleus cloth, a curse that those who wear it die in battle protecting those he loves, seems a bit of a let-off hehehe.

Soooo... Williams huh?

The first test sessions of a new season aren't the best of indicators for the comming season, as it is literally the first time the new cars get to the track and they have to do installation laps and such.

But a few things did become clear for now: there is an issue with Renault's turbo engine, as all three teams had serious difficulties during the past 4 test days, and spread over all the days could barely put in the amount of laps a GP takes, due to technical issues.  That isn't good news for Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Caterham!

On the other hand, it seems the Mercedes engine is the powerhouse of the moment, as all the german powered teams put down strong and consistent times, Mc Laren topping the days two out of 4, and today... Massa in his Williams.

Williams has been on the top spots during the whole test session, wether it was Bottas or Massa at the wheel and it seems they are set for a strong season.

Ferrari took the top spot on day one and has been rather consitant as well, but as I said, it is all way to early to get any true indications and ideas of what the season will bring.

Finally there is the Marussia 03 that only arrived in Jerez yesterday, but apart from being elegant, the Ferrari powered machine seems to have some 'good vibes' as with only half a test in length compared to the other teams (2 vs 4 days), Bianchi outdid Sutil in the Sauber today... it seems my beloved Lotus Caterham is going to be in for a tough year again, and it seems Virgin Marussia is more porne to finally make the leap to the lower midfield... ouch.

Ant-eater nose vs vacuumcleaner ducknose?  That fight is still undecided as well... but I do prefer the latter as the lesser of two evils though.

donderdag 30 januari 2014

I looted my first epic today...

... and I guilded up.

Okay, so I said I wouldn't do that last part, but I got a whisper BEFORE the ninja invite, pondered, talked and had a look and thought 'oh heck, why not'.

The guild, Viridis Gathering, is a "young" one in Warcraft terms.  Oh well, so we're old, that is basically all that means, as with my break I am far from raiding ready.  They are starting up a Raid team, so I'll volunteer to be a 'bencher' though once I struggled through the PVE areas and did some instances to twirk with my rotations.  They also have intrest in the older content, which is where my game intrests just happen to lie...

And they sport a lovely, lively green guild tabard...

The epic in case is Gaarn's Leggings of Infestation, not really a pure lock orientated piece of Cloth armour, but one Cerulean Spellthread later it is more then good to go.

Now to somehow find a reputation Cataclysm cheap weapon vendor epic to pop that achievement still...

woensdag 29 januari 2014

3D FigurePrints of your WoW Character

Okay, this is sheer awesomeness, the ability to have astolp with your character on your desk, and tailorable to not have to go for the hotch potch armour and gear you collect over your questing life.

The models are made by FigurePrints in association with Blizzard, and feature a scenic base with the name of the character on it.  With the WoW 10th Anniversary (and Lÿn 'turning' 8 in februari), this seems like an opportune moment.

My creation if I can amass the funds would be Arena Season 4 armour and toting the Rod of the Blazing Light, mounted on the Rune base.

It's not that cheap though, I believe 130 euros for the model as far as I could see plus shipping, but then that is as much as one of my better anime statuettes costs, so I found a goal what my models are going to be traded of for.

This is just THE BOMB!!!

dinsdag 28 januari 2014

Formula 1 in 2014 - the challengers

And with the first test day at Jerez (Spain) today, formula one has taken off again.  In what is to become a radical new season with the new regulations, the biggest one being the change to v6 Turbo engines, it is staring into the desert to see where everyone stands.

Another change that has a big impact is the lowering of the nose height, and this has resulted in one of two design philosophies: either a 'broken' flat nose that bends down heavily towards the front, or an 'ant-eater' style small middle nose section.

It seems though the 'broken nose' way is the way to go, as the top-3 teams of last year, Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari took that route.  And then there are Lotus and Caterham with completely different designs, that could either be a hit or a big failure...

The best looking car to be presented has been the Red Bull, Adrian Newey did a spectacular job and the nose is elegant compared to the other two big teams.  Something tells me they are once again going to be the team to beat.

The second most beautiful car for me, and first of the 'ant eaters' is the Sauber.  I always had a soft spot for the swiss team, being a small operation going strong.

Third in looks, the Lotus.  It's nose is rather different from anyone, even though it still has to go 'live' as they are absent from the Jerez test.  Using a split fork style, and elegant curves, this might be an outsider, or sink in the midfield.
At first this afternoon I thought it was hideous, but for some odd reason the past hours the design has been 'growing' on me.  Caterham took a complete different approach then most teams, combining the ant eater nose cone with the stepped bodywork of past season, and together with the striking green livery (I guess the yellow will follow?) and the fact I loved them ever since they came back in F1 (for me, they are still the real, original Lotus risen from it's ashes) I adored their cars.  On the PS I even won a GP in one ;-)

On the other hand, I cried when I saw the car of Il Cavalino Rampante, my beloved Ferrari's.  even though Kimi topped tables today, it is still a LONG way to go before a decent idea can be formed how competitive everyone is.  But the broken nose is just to bend, it looks like an elephant went down to sit on it...

Both McLaren and Mercedes have the more classic style as well, and especially the nosearray of the McLaren is different then most other teams.  The livery probably will be painted on later, but I wouldn't be suprised it will be their last season in silver as they return to Honda power next year.  Return of the infamous white and red colours?

Of the other teams, I think the Williams looks the best with only a short small cone at the front. 

Torro Rosso now really looks different then it's bigger brother, even though it is the first year they are also Renault powered like Red Bull instead of using Ferrari client motors.  This means they will have 4 sets of data to analyze (let's not kid anyone, we all know they will be working together as they are one concern) and makes Red Bull even a bigger favorite for me.
They can now actually compare the aerodynamic features of both sorts of nose that have been developped!  Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I'll bet if one nose proves better then the other, BOTH teams of the red bull logo will be mounting the same one come the GP of Australia.

Force India (the former Jordan) has been a consistant midfielder the past seasons, and they'll probably be that again as Hulkenberg is a good move (though I would never have swapped 'reliable' DiResta for the 'all or nothing' Perez) , but I'm not that wild of their switch from white to black in their livery
Which leaves us only with one missing car: the Marussia, who hasn't been able to make the tests yet due to a technical glitch discovered earlier this week.  But I can only hope Caterham can make the jump at last and leave the now Ferrari powered other 'new team' (if that is still relevant, as both go into their 5th season!), and I wonder how the balances have been reshaken.

If day one of testing is anything to go by, nothing can be learned as only 8 drivers went on track and Lewis put his Mercedes in the wall, causing a red flag... but still held second place.  For the rest there where HUGE gaps between each posting as special tests where performed, Caterham only doing a maiden lap for presentation for one, Red Bull only outing shortly, and Bottas showing some good starting pace.

1. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1m 27.104s, 31 laps
2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes , 1m 27.820s, 18 laps
3. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1m 30.082s, 7 laps
4. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1m 33.161s, 11 laps
5. Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, 1m 36.530s, 15 laps
6. Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, 1m 42.257s, 7 laps
7. Sebastian Vettel , Red Bull, No time, 3 laps
8. Marcus Ericsson, Caterham, No time, 1 lap

The comming days might learn more, but it is still 45 days before the real test: Melbourne...

zondag 26 januari 2014

My first in-game dilemma...

Nearly two weeks we're (occassionally) running around in the World of Azeroth again, and the first dilemma is turning up.  Or make that multiple dilemma's actually...

I'm on the brink of hitting the new maximum level, being level 90, and will be 'dinging' within half an hour next time I get to start this game up as I only need less then a million XP and by tuesday will be 5 days worth of resting in place.  And sitting here at my girlfriends with her old laptop that doesn't run wow and looking at her doing paperwork, I am quite bored at the moment.  Envy to the Nemesis who could put in 10 hours yesterday, but at least the scroll of ressurection has netted me an extra mount.

This will open a heap of new ventures I will definitly be looking into, like the Timeless Isle for one, and the faction reputation grinding can start, but then the questions start to arise.

With Warlords of the Draenei on the horizon, I got this gut feeling The Burning Crusade is going to get hit like 'vanilla wow' was with Cataclysm.  That made Zandalar and Shendo'lar obsolete for one, and now I wonder if it is still worthwhile investing time in the old expansion.  I still need to get some factions there to the higher level, but I'm also wondering about my dadda's... mounts and pets.

There are two that should be solo-able at this level in Heroic mode (Setthek was that already at 80) and maybe I should dedicate some daily time to do Heroic Setthek Halls and Magister Terrace runs to try and obtain both the Raven Lord mount and the White Hawkstrider mounts.  Both raid mounts will be out of reach as long as I don't get either a guild or Nemesis to join in my hunt.

I am especially fond of the Hawkstrider... suits a Sin'dorei like myself in her regality...

And as an Angler, I should really start investing time in fishing.  Three of the crocs of Old Man Barlow's daily fishing quests still elude me, as well as Mr Pinchy.  I never even fished up his box before... but drop rates apparently have improved the past years.  And Mr Pinchy is needed to get a better shot at the Salty title.

A second dilemma is to wether or not get the paladin in motion as well again, and resume his job as auctioneer / miner / skinner to feed my main her needed resources.  In doing this, I could also abuse him to do the pet battling requirements to get those pet beasties up some more...

Oh, and then there is this of course... of which I still need a good amount of mounts and pets, and in doing so might get the Sunreavers to exalted to buy an extra pet and two mounts from them as well.  But all that does cut big time into the Pandaria experience and with my for the moment very limited in-game time, this is going to be some though nuts to crack.

Because somewhere down the line, I should restart working on the Molten Front as well, the patch where I left of from the game years ago... but I also should like to get my professions all to their maximum 600 range.

That PC really needs to be transferred...

vrijdag 24 januari 2014

The Lost Canvas Chronicles volume 4

In the latest instalment of this series by Shiori Teshirogo, that details adventures of the 12 golden saints of The Lost Canvas anime, the spotlight goes to... MANIGOLDO!

Yes, the incarnation of the Cancer saint of the 18th century, and on the contrary to later and other editions, this guy ain`t a sadistical murderer.  He is rash, he is arrogant, but he is also fiercely loyal to his master, the previous Cancer saint and now Pope of the Sanctuary, Sage.

In this volume Manigoldo and Pisces Albafica have been sent to Venice to investigate a criminial organisation called Nero.  However, when facing them, it turns out that their mysterious leader Avide can use the same techniques as the Cancer saint, and it is revealed he is the former student of the Altar saint Hakurei, twin brother of the Pope.  They encounter also a mysterious boy, Gioca, and are faced by black saints from Death Queen island, namely silver editions this time with the Whale, Crow and Hound saints, as well as an undisclosed one we don`t get to see his armour from but whom had been dispatched by Albafica.

Avide himself wears the black version of the Altar cloth, and after Manigoldo does his `dramatic entrance technique` (appearing out of thin air and dropping on the table like he did with the Twin Gods in the anime) he reveals to the young crab that while his master dedicated his life to serving others and restoring their armours in Jamir, he wanted to serve only himself by gathering money and souls, the respective currencies in the normal world and the afterlife.

Gioca in the meantime is revealed to having a strong cosmo and turns out to be actually a girl in disguise, and a last decendant of Death Queen Islands warden line that guarded the world from the black saints by enthralling them with a mask, the same mask Guilty, the master of Phoenix Ikki, wore.  In the end the mask is returned to the Island but without Gioca, so we can conclude she isn`t related to the later cruel master of the badass bronze saint.

While Albafica deals with the black silver saints Crow, Hound and the undisclosed one, Manigoldo, having swiftly dispatched the Whale, faces and defeats the leader of the organisation, but at the edge of the Pit to Underworld, and having faced his master Hakurei, Avide throzs himself voluntarily into death as he regrets nothing of all the things he did.

It was a great read and a bit `different` from the first three instalments, as this focusses even more on the master / student relationship like the Degel instalment, but bridges the three way connection between the twins and their respective students, one a loyal Gold saint and dedicated follower of Athena, the other a fallen promise out for personal gain.

donderdag 23 januari 2014

Mega Bloks: Valoren, Blood Elf Priest

A small set I got through the post today, this is one of the `charatcer sets` of the World of Warcraft license range produced by Mega Bloks.

Like all `not` Lego, the parts are compatible, but I really like the minifig of the set, and the sets are dead cheap, not even 5 euros incl. postage for this fellow, you just have to have a look around.

But the set has been VERY inspiring though, I`ve spend most of my game time today in and around Silvermoon City taking snapshots. 


Because when the Guilds of Historica book II challenge hits Avalonia - the guild of mostly classic fantasy settings like forests, elves, unicorns etc - I`m going to try and recreate a Blood Elf building in Lego.

I have enough Lego figures to build Sin`dorei (helmetted though I fear, I lack in the hair and yellow pointy ear department) suitable models, and have a bucket full of yellow and red bricks to go with white buildings.

But first I`m going to use the LDD tool I think, just to be sure if it is feasible to recreate the organic style with my limited palette of skills...

woensdag 22 januari 2014

My first week back in WoW

One week we're back cin the club of 8 million, and it has been a relaxing experience so far.  Having not really clocked any game marathons in, nor did any instances, I have been mostly getting used to the new start and collecting the Horde flightpoints that haven't faction changed with me.

I only completed a dozen achievements, the most notable already bumping Archeology to 600.  I just love that profession and I'll be doing it in the between to go for the Professor title (currently I'm Assistant Professor, the previous highest rank to be gained in that profession).  Others where mostly common achievements like the pet catching (and unlocking the 150 pets achievements for the Celestial Dragon pet), the start of the pet fighting mini game, things like that.

The comming time I get to play I'm not going to be rushing either, though at current with level 88 I might go for the 90 just to be able to buy the Flying in Pandaria skill.  The first comming focus will be the 50 Coins of Ancestry needed to buy the Enchanted Lantern pet now that Lunar Festival is going on, but apart from that I'll probably be busy doing the Ice Crown Argent Tournaments dailies to complete the mounts found there (I got a feeling that part is going to be closing down with the new expansion) as well as trying to finalise the Molten Front arc (where I had left off before halfway through) to add some more mounts to the collection.  The goal is the 150 mounts, currently I'm at 103 but I still need to buy all the new basic ones like the Pandaren Turtles and such.

And do some fishing in between... Nat must become my best friend after all ;-)

maandag 20 januari 2014

Inspirational LEGO: Gotta catch 'em all!

Keeping in spirit with both my bargain hunt find yesterday and the new mini game of pet catching, training and battling in World of Warcraft, I thought it the appropriate time to post these pictures I found on the net and share them with the world:

Lego build Pokemon (Pokego?  Legomon?)!!!!  I personally like the Psyduck the most (he has been my favorite Pokemon in years long gone by) though I think they are all quite cute for sure!

zondag 19 januari 2014

Bargain Hunting Finds

Truth to be told, I didn't even went on an actual bargain hunting spree yesterday.  When we went to the local supermarket, a Carrefour megamarket, it turned out there was a lot of their toys at -30 to -70 discounts.

So while the GF and the munchkin went to rummage through the various boxes and shelves stacked around, and 'stocking up' already on birthday presents for the various kids in the families, the munchkin also buying a Darth Vader Lego led keychain for -30%, I found this little gem:

From the Megablocks range of Dragon Universe, a small Dragon kit (it's like 8 pieces or so not counting the cannon... which I didn't use as I can use this beastie in some fantasy builds) for only 3 euros, and it came (what I had my eye on in the first place) with a large plastic 'dragon egg container'.  That I can use for a certain project in the far off mind starting with an L and might drive the GF nuts...  she can blame Fred for that.

Another nice find was rather accidental, this Ultrapro small size card binder for only 1.77 euros.  I don't care if it has a Pokemon image on it, it is good enough to transport cards around and way cheaper then buying it normally...

It is only a bot of a shame it didn't have any of the World of Warcraft constructable sets, but for the intressees, it did have a lot of Spider-Man, Transformers and Bakugan toys as well in the big boxes.

zaterdag 18 januari 2014

Anime review: Valvrave the Liberator season 2

Or part 2 of season 1, however the japanese rate their series as it comes with mid-season breaks of usually 2 x 12 episodes with a half year space in between them.

Now, as I said with the first part, I don't actually get it why this series is so hyped.  Okay, so every mecha series is in essence the same, a mental unstable kid gets the power to control a huge uberrobot and smithes whomever is the enemy of the series.  That's the genres staple, so you have to look past that stereotyping (school love intrest, warrior babe, jock turns brawler hothead etc etc) and look at the series.

I really digged the twist from the first episodes, in that the mecha, the Valvrave, is actually vampiric in nature, and literally 'connects' with his controller.  But for me it went downhill after that as they uncovered more of them during series one (the brawler, the defender, the shooty mech... you know the drill).

The second season is darker in essence thoguh, and even stirred a controversy about rape at one point and how lightly it was handled, but overal I thought the series hanging a bit together by loose treads.  I can't exactly put my finger on it, but I had a bit of an unfulfilled feeling.  The series follows a bit (and is often compared to) like Gundam SEED (which on the contrary to many gundam fans I really liked) but in a far more scifi setting.  Cities are space 'town' ships instead and that sort of details.

What I did like though was the 'look' of the general mecha, usually a an upperbody strapped to a lower part spaceship, looking as a love child between a space shuttle and Optimus Prime.  It's an odd description, I know, but it is something you just can imagine more 'plausible' in the far future of happening then the purely uber agile humanoid mechas of the Valvrave's... who are 'born' instead of build.

Overal, it IS an enjoyable series for mecha genre fans, but I don't think it is that super high quality mega series it is sometimes portrayed for.

But never the less, the 24 episodes don't feel like a waste of time, so have a look at them, it's a good entertainment.

Of course, to end the review, there has to be the traditional fanart fanservice... ;-)

Ciao ciao

dinsdag 14 januari 2014

New (Re)Beginnings

Well, it has happened.  I'm back to playing World of Warcaft after nearly 2.5 years of a break.  In the end, restarting painting just didn't work out, I couldn't focus anymore and this weekend I donated all my brushes and paints to my 12 and 10 year old cousins, may they splatter paint over the floor to their heart's desire.

So after some costumer chatting today (very helpful from Blizzard, if that moderator ever comes to Antwerp I'm buying him a few rounds) because I can't for the love of Athena remember my secret question I set up way back in 2006. 

But we're in, and we have a first look around, toggled a bit with the changed skills / talents / traits system (doing as always my own will, not what I *should* do), faction switched to the Horde and transformed Lÿntaria into a Blood Elf.  As she was RP'd, she has always been one after all now, wasn't she Nemesis ;-)

The reason for this?  According to Wowheroes, Moonglade has 662 Horde players at the moment oppossed to 5547 Alliance ones.  Since I don't wanna guild up yet, this allows me a calmer, non stressy environment.

Another big change: the pets now have a mini game in the Pokemon style, catch critters and train them up...

Well, the only minor change is to the yearly planned goals, I dropped the 20 models to paint, and am going for 1000 Achievements errrm, achieved.  When I quit, there where slightly over a 1000 total, now just over 2000, so I'm aiming to end at a score around 50%, currently toggling at 33%, or 697 Achievements.

And now, off to bed with a bloody cold, ciao snuffle ciao

zondag 12 januari 2014

I'm feeling restless

It's, well, just a rant actually.  Because I'm restless, and feel like ranting and drama queening and shuffling left to right through the living room.

Here I am, sitting.  Yes, just doing that, sitting and listening on the background to some woman TV channel about home interior decorating.  I've been home four days now with my 'long weekends' due to my school roster, and most of this I've been tinkering with laptops of people.

My cousin's, my niece's, my aunt's and my girlfriend's laptop have all passed through my hands the past two days.  Ranging from 'simple' register clean up jobs and data transfers to speaking the last rites over one that has really giving the ghost and is terminal.

But that doesn't destress me.  Yes I got to play Magic, but three hours out of 4 days isn't enough to blow steam out of my troubled brain pathways.  I miss my computer.  I know, this sounds rather nerdy and pathetic, but it is the truth.

I got a lot of ideas lined up, I want to get back into some online gaming because, well, I've enjoyed that for the past 15 years or so (long gone are the days of Freelancer MODs online... God I loved that), and even though as I said before I won't be gaming it full time, no life style as in the days past... I just need to have something nerdy to do, even if it is the mindless daily quest grinding.

I did it this morning.  I've unfrozen my World of Warcraft account, I'm going to get the old Warlock back out.  I am now pondering wether or not she has been a 'chinese farmer' victim while I was gone, if she still has her gear... but on this old laptop with it's 2 RAM and it's 2002 edition of Windows XP it is highly doubtful I can run the program and open it to have a look.

I wouldn't even cry a river if it turned out she was cannibalised, my mounts and pets are soulbound so they are there anyways, and if that has happened like 'my Nemesis' once had years ago (and who is pondering to jump in as well again) I'd probably just change her from Gnome to Belf and grind through the lower levels to gear her up again steadily and build up a gold reserve again. 

Nothing fancy to that, an extra chance to enjoy the storyline 'from the other sides point of view'.

I've also won a raffle at the local watering hole giving me 1000 GP and 7 days premium for World of Tanks, but I'm reluctant actually to enter the code already, no idea if I can get 'max value' out of the premium days, I'm going to have to plan that on the calendar and probably enter it tuesday evening to have a thursday, friday and next week tuesday benefit, as it has to be entered within a fortnight.

This all may sound as trivial and silly things though, but for a gamer, they are about as important as a writer with writer's block.

You see, I've always thought the RPG gamer as needing to be able to tell a 'story' in his games (I never was a man to do research on raid gear or pvp tactics), even though the particular story usually is one only he himself hears.  A story that pushes back all the every day stresses and frustrations and changes them into epic stories of might and magic.

Yes, that is what one calls a geek.  You got people that go out to play sports to empty their minds, that need to build a party and have a few pints and a dance.  Some people can relax by doing pottery, flower arranging, solving sudoku's... but as a gamer and a geek, I relax by playing... geeky games.  Simple as that, nothing to be ashamed about, it's just, well, something of the person I am.

It is still going to be around 45 days average before I can move my machine over to my GF's place and to be honest, I fear the moment she is able to return to work in two weeks after her Multiple Sclerose attack of past summer.  The deep black abyss is looming in front of me, afraid of the evenings when she has the late shift and I'll be just, well, kicking heels until I can emerge myself again in virtuality.

I know this all sounds very odd to explain, but I've never been the kind of person that can talk such issues directly to someone else, especcially not the girl I love with all my heart.  Because they don't have a feel with the virtual world, no connection with their PC bar seeing is at a tool for accessing social media.  For someone like me, a PC isn't a tool, it's an extension. 

It has my stories, it has my geeky series I still need to watch (the laptop can't support my Crunchy Roll connection), it can't turn the required graphical software to have my series popped on usb and watch here as it all 'blocks up' the screen then... and the small experiment I once ran her for playing World of Tanks ended in a 999 ping rate.  On minimal graphic requirements.

Oh well, end of rant, I'm going to grab an ice cold shower now and free up the brain connections that way, and give her a good hug because it even a kind of jubilee today, another month we pulled through as a couple and still going strong ;-)

zaterdag 11 januari 2014

FNM draft report - 10 / 01 / 2014

For the first time since the 23rd of August last year, I went out to play Magic, and as I said I was only going to be playing Limited in the forseeable future, I entered the Draft.

The pool for this night was 8 players drafting, the most preferring Standard to prepare for a GP, and before we begin I must say, I hadn't even seen nor read a single Theros block card so far, so I would be all in noobish mode and expected a 0 - 3 defeat.

But, the first booster I cracked revealed The Reveller, a good Planeswalker for aggressive play, so I started to pick reds and greens all ready.  Normally dedicating to soon isn't that a good idea, but it only got better in booster 2.  Here I opened the red God, and received a Temple of Abandon AND a Mistcutter Hydra.  The guy on my left clearly wasn't draftin in my colours...
Booster three I opened a Spear of Helios, but passed this on, I didn't want to go in a third color for that thing.  Luck being with me tonight, a Sylvan Carythad came my way, so to the left, no green player.  Okay, I never saw that wall during the whole event, but heck.

Another thing to note is that you keep what you pick at the Outpost, but not the rares and mythics.  These go in a pot after the event together with two stacks of two boosters and a single booster, and starting the winner you get to take a pick.  This all the way round the pool, then start afresh so everyone has 3 rares in the end, and the top enders have 4 'picks'. 
This system to discourage money pickers is okay in my book, you always have a chance to get something decent instead of ending up with crap rares due to a bad draft or sucky initial booster packs.

Here is the deck I decided to play, and count to that the 5 rares listed above, this is a nice 'Gruul' aggro deck, with a killer combo with the Planeswalker and God together on the table: spawn 2/2 Haste tokens that do 2 damage to the opponent as they enter the battlefield.

My 'sideboard' aka other picks where these, as you can see I could pick nicely into my colors, and the rest was mostly removing flyers as they passed, as this is by far the most usefull ability in sealed play IMHO.

So, with zero knowledge of the setting and 5 months of rust on my skills, I went to face my first opponent, Bart F. playing a mono white devotion deck.

I started and won the first round thanks to Purphoros, simple as that, as he kkept shooting for 2 while I popped small critters and attacked when feasible. 
However, round 2 I lost, he was nearly gone when he could sacrifice his Ordeal and popped the life tally back to high to kill of again, but luckily in game 3 my killer combo hit the table and Xenagos and Purphoros just simple killed him.

Unexpected, but 3 points to the tally and safe from the shameful 0-3...

Then I got to face Chon Sie.  Now I know he is an aggresive player from the past, so no surprise he popped down his first mountain.  However, he then went on to plains, so I was facing a 'boros' deck.
Nevertheless, he had unfortunatly gone down by mulling to 5 in the opening round, and never recuperated.  Round 2 initially saw me having mana issues, but my Centaurs could stall, and then the mountains came.  And with them, the killer combo went back onto the table.  He did cast a Spear of Helios, but that was also destroyed by my instant, securing the game.

What is this, me in the finale????

Yes indeed, against buddy Kenny, who is the far better and more experienced player so I had little hopes.  And so it turned out, game one saw an initial mulligan, then nothing just wanted to come out of my deck and I lost to... yep, flyers indeed.  Game two was worse, only the weak beasties showed up, and Phuro did make an appearance when it was far to late, as well as me struggling with that new Devotion mechanic, not something I'm going to aim for again in future drafts.

So the finale was lost... but I ended 2nd none the less!  My best result ever in a draft and I scored my first ever FNM promo, the Warleader's Helix, without having to roll for it.

My 'loot picks' where as first pick two boosters (not opening those, they go in the trade batch), second pick was a Temple of Abandon (there where 3 lands for pickings still by then, so I just took the one I played with), third pick I grabbed Anax and Cymede and ended my fourth pick with Anthousa, Setessan Hero.

Topping it all off, I gained a total of 7 Planeswalker Points tonight from the 10 that could have been earned, so that is a step forward as well to qualify in the end for the Belgians... which I, as I type this, isn't sealed but constructed so I won't be playing that anyways, ooops.  Even though my very first ever victory was close tonight, it'll have to be postponed to a later date, but never the less I had a blast and am very glad to be back on the 'scene'.

Now the only thing to do is list the cards over at Trade Cards Online and see if I can get some exchanges done.

vrijdag 10 januari 2014

How to decide on a Hobby Budget?

Okay, as you could read the past year, real life has forced me to reduce all my hobbies and intrests.  Now, let's play a more or less open hand, and let me tell you where this sort of 'forced imprisoned geekdom' has come from...

I lost my job and went back to school.  

Great prospects for the future, but that does mean a serious reduction of revenue.  In all honesty, I now have a sort of scholarship, which after deducting loans (I loaned a lot from my parents years ago, when in a real deep waters, luckily mom isn't an high intrest loan shark), pensiunfunds, phone bills, medical insurance, and all that sort of things leaves me with about 400 to 500 euros "open" each month.  Of those come the foodstuffs, the other essential occassionals like birthdaygifts and the likes, my 'bad habbit' etc..., as well as putting some aside for the yearly weekend away with the GF that I tend to give her.  And I should try and top up the savings account.

Take that combined with a Sword of Damocles over my head due to a rather sourly ended ex-relationship who screwed up my tax administration on purpose, forcing me to take an trader license so she could woork under the IRS radar, and a lawsuit against me was the result.  And has been dragging on for more then 5 years now...  If I lose, it will cost me 30k, if I win nothing.  Top all of this off with having to pay 22k "in the meantime" for the social security and the likes, based on those above numbers (and the irony being, in the 2 years I had been doing the tradin, I made a grand total of 425 euros...) which I might be able to recuperate IF I get cleared of all charges.  But that does mean 52000 euros are hanging in limbo, my life savings have been all drained and well, it all generally sucks lol.

Knowing that my scholarship stops the 1st of July 2014 even though the whole course will take a half to a full year longer, I'll be dropping down to a monthly income of 600 euros before costs, so I'll need to find a job really quick then, and either put the studying on hold for a year, or find a way to combine it after hours if feasible.  There you have it, the situation I need to decide my hobby budget for 2014 against.

What we have to take into account of remaining intrests is Magic: the Gathering, Lego and Saint Seiya. 

In Magic, I decided on only playing the Limited format, as I can trade off all cards then without the investment costs of 'updating' a deck to competitive standards, grab boxes of the new sets and "hot decks" cards copies.  Now, at the local watering hole, a draft costs 12 euros, a sealed event between 25 and 30.  Adding a few drinks, let's say a draft costs 25 euros.

Then we move to Lego, and with my MoC ideas and needed minifigs, as well as the remaining wanted Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit sets before they cycle out, I should come on a 60 euro monthly average.  The monthly polybag + the reductions of the VIP points and promotions should allow me to "recuperate" about 10 of that, so let's round out at 50 euros a month.

Then there are the Saints, and relevant conventions like FACTS.  On average, a new Myth cloth costs around 75 euros, older ones range between 25 and 250 euros depending the trader, popularity and other such typical collector factors.  But let's keep this at 75 euros a month for an average of a new one each month.
Every 4 months there is also the newest Crusade set of Saint Seiya cards, and this costs me for 5 booster boxes, postage from Japan and import taxes about 250 euros per set.  Or averaging 65 euros a month to be put aside.  Finally, averaging monthly a new manga comes out, so that is another 10 euros.

Doing the maths on all these "points of intrest" posts, I would come to a maximum of this:

Magic - averaging 2 drafts and 1 sealed event a month - 100 euro
Lego - 50 euro
Saint Seiya: 75 + 10 + 65 = 150 euro

Or a grand total of 300 euros each month

A grant total of 300 euros a month, and to be fair, a bit above what I can and want to afford in my current situation.  So I must shave down left and right.

I can probably cut down the most in the Saint Seiya posts, reducing the Myth amount and hunt for more bargains, dropping it perhaps as far as 50 euros on a bi-monthly basis.  Same with the cards, dropping to 3 booster boxes would reduce it by about 90 euros per semester, or 22 euros a month up and about, bringing the Saint Seiya budget estimate from 150 down to 75 monthly euros until better times have come.

The same goes for Magic.  As I've shown in 2012, that hobby can completely sustain itself for 90% easily ifr you stick to limited, using cards and price support boosters to use as trade value for, for example, extra Saint Seiya cards that got cut above.  So I can stretch that expense post down from 100 euro to 10 euro... basically the booze money.

So the new mathematics would look a little like this:

Magic - 10 euro
Lego - 50 euro
Saint Seiya - 75 euro

For a new grand total of 135 euros.

Rounding this nicely out, I've decided to put my hobby budget down to...

125 euros a month to spend during 2014 on my geeky issues!

Is this feasible?  Surely, IF I can resist my "impulse urges" that haunted me all my life.  Or otherwise, I'll just have to rob Fort Knox or something :-s

Wish me luck!

donderdag 9 januari 2014

New polybag additions

Yay, two new small promo sets for meeeeeee...

Now I only lack the newest Legolas one, but as it is still brand new and going on eBay and the likes for a sickly 20 euros, I`ll just wait some more until it drops in price.