Category Archives: Digital Playground

From 8-bit to whatever-the-hell-bit we are in right now, plug in and take a ride with us.

Hearthstone Barrens Part 5: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

Hearthstone Barrens Part 5 brings us, at last, to the end of our journey into Horde territory. It represents an arduous week and a half long trip through dangerous terrain. During our last entry, we fought against sneaky rogues and shaman wielding the very power of nature itself. I’m proud of our successes. We will learn from our failures. Overall, the journey made us stronger.

Nietzsche was a notorious ass, but this quote is pretty dope.

The final leg of our trip looks at Warlock and Warrior cards from the set. While I hate Rogue and Shaman, I always loved playing Handlock. Plus, any version of Wallet Warrior gives me a big happy. Neither of those archetypes appears in this set. However, wild exists. Maybe some cards from the set make it into those decks.

Speaking of Wild, I play that format almost exclusively. You think I’d (a) be better at it and (b) build decks around my favorite cards in the set. Let me answer in order. (a) I don’t care enough about the game to git gud. (b) That’s actually a good idea. Maybe after I review the new MTG set this week, I will revisit that idea. Thanks, random reader! For now, lets finish this set with Hearthstone Barrens Part 5.

Warlock

Decent: Broken record time. Look! Another ranked spell. This one is especially awful. Even if you get the fully ranked version, maybe you’ve exhausted all of your opponent’s removal. Highly unlikely, but that’s the only hope you have if you’re running this card. Honestly, the outfitter isn’t all that terrible, but this feels much more like they included it in the game to put it into Battlegrounds.

Good: A sub theme of Shadow spells for Warlock here. Similar to the sub theme of elementals for Shaman in the last article, I slacked on research. Therefore, this may be a strong archetype with other cards in the format. I will say that I haven’t seen much evidence of that. Who knows? Maybe they’re setting it up for a future set.

Great: As I mentioned, I loved Handlock. I tried playing Discolock a couple of times and performed terribly. Zoo is always there when I want to finish a Warlock quest quickly. But, my all time favorite deck was probably Mecha’thun Warlock. This strategy plays right into that deck. Another reason to revisit these cards in Wild.

Having played a mill strategy in both Hearthstone and MTG and also realizing that I said in my last article that I despised mill strategies, especially in Hearthstone, I find it funny that Blizzard forced Warlock into a mill strategy in this set. Yikes, how’s that for a run on sentence? I’d hate to diagram that almost as much as I hate mill strategies. On that note, I probably won’t ever play this deck. Oh yeah! How’s that for a transition? Ready for another, less smooth one?

Warrior

Decent: Okay, I won’t even say it this time. Instead, join me for story time. Once upon a time, Paladin utilized a strategy known as Hand Buff Paladin. I’m confident in your ability to figure out the base line of that strategy. These cards read like a worse version of that deck.

Good: Unlike some of the more recent classes, the good cards for warrior share little synergy. Perhaps I need to rethink my assessment of these cards. Honestly, it makes little difference. However, if I want to be taken seriously, I have to take myself seriously. When I redo my ranks in a few weeks, remind me to reevaluate Warrior more seriously.

Great: Blizzard pushing me to build a possibly terrible Frenzy Warrior deck. I’m more than willing to take that bait. It seems that others have, too. I faced more than one Frenzy Warrior during my recent play tests.

This deck combines Rush with Frenzy and the one taunt minion from above for some late game protection. It also is a deck that I shamelessly stole from Hearthstone top decks. The originator of the deck is Dekkster. Sorry for that, but I wanted to get this article done. 9/10 ain’t bad and you get at least one good deck from this all.

The Verdict

Hearthstone Barrens Part 5 wraps up the review of the set. Overall, I’m happy with how the new format worked and I may try it with my MTG Strixhaven review, hopefully starting tomorrow. MTG sets have many more cards, so I doubt I’ll include every card in the review, but I’ll try. Okay, off to swear at Hearthstone. I have some new decks to play!

Hearthstone Barrens Part 4: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

Hearthstone Barrens Part 4 brings us 2 of my least favorite classes. I both hate playing and playing against Rogue and Shaman. It hasn’t always been like that. When the game first released, I enjoyed playing Shaman. I’ve never been able to figure out Rogue. I remember watching a stream and asking the streamer how to survive hitting everything with my face. Warrior and Druid both have armor to mitigate their attacks on minions. Shaman has healing. Rogue…has aggression? I guess. Kill the other player before you kill yourself.

Rogue started to annoy me with Kingsbane and the fact that everyone who plays Rogue in wild chooses mill. Hearthstone mill annoys me even more than MTG. At least in MTG, you have the option to recur your cards from the graveyard. When they’re milled in Hearthstone, they’re gone. So, yeah, screw Hearthstone mill.

Aggro Shaman became a deck a few years ago. Then, evolve Shaman burst onto the scene and continue to annoyingly bubble up into the meta. Finally, battlecry Shaman with Shudderwock made me want to claw the skin off of my face. While I don’t react as viscerally to Shaman, it still ranks at the bottom of my list of classes. Let’s get this Hearthstone Barrens Part 4 review out of the way.

Rogue

Decent: I suppose that Yoink! can have some utility, depending on the hero power choices you get and the situation. Oil Rig Ambusher is overall terrible unless maybe you combo it with Shadowstep? Even that feels underwhelming.

Good: Wicked Stab deals 6 damage at top rank. Field Contact might work in the right deck as a pseudo miracle effect, but it dies far too easily to removal to be consistent. And, the Octo-bot has a good Frenzy effect that might actually trigger. Frenzy pops when the minion first survives damage. It just doesn’t fit my “Poison Rogue” build I made.

Great: Once upon a time, Rogue ran a weapon that received +1 durability when you played a card from another class. Usually, you only put one in your deck because the other cards synergized so well that you went infinite with the weapon. Well, other than the fact that everyone else played rogue, too, and nullified the effect. Okay, what does this “Poison Rogue” that can’t quite go infinite look like?

This deck might actually make me change my mind about playing Rogue. It looks like a lot of fun. The cheap spells and topping off at 5 mana with Secret Passage ensures that there might be some crazy lethal turns out of nowhere. I might have overdone it with the removal and probably should have Eviscerate instead of Brain Freeze since it can go face. Especially since I have Ironbeak Owl and Coerce already in the deck. Now that I read it, I think that might be a change that I have to make. Join us in a month or so when I revisit these decks to see if I actually do that.

Shaman

Decent: Once again, the effects of the “Decent” cards look and feel too situational for me to consider them for my deck. At least for Shaman, they synergize pretty well. I with that Chain Lightning worked like The Lurker Below, but that would be busted as hell.

Good: Elementals! Elementals everywhere! Not really. There’s only 3 in this set and I’m not sure how many others in Standard right now. And so my laziness, and frankly stubbornness perhaps, you are stuck with murlocs instead. Let’s see the murlocs!

Seeing that murlocs in Standard are currently grossly underpowered, this deck is sure to lose more than it’ll win. I can’t even promise you that you’ll have fun as you’re losing. Why build this deck then? Why? Mglrlgglrlrlrlrlg!

That last statement translates roughly to “Eff Shaman, that’s why.” I jammed all possible murlocs in the deck. Put in some buffs, a bit of removal, and viola! We have a deck. Mgrglglglrlglglrgl!

The Verdict

I said that Hearthstone Barrens Part 4 brings two of my least favorite classes. They might even be my least favorite. The rogue deck actually makes me want to play the class more this expansion. The Shaman deck makes me laugh because it’s so terribly bad and I’ll never play Shaman other than if my random number generator makes me for Tavern Brawl. As I am trying to get back on track with my articles, hope to see you tomorrow for the finale, Part 5!

Hearthstone Barrens Part 3: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

Hearthstone Barrens Part 3 covers Paladin and Priest cards. Slowly, but surely, we are making our way through the new set. So far, I’m happy with the new format. Sure, I often build terrible decks with either no synergy (or too much), but that’s part of the fun of the page. Once again, you can find meta decks at a variety of pages. Where else can you find ridiculous decks and occasional self deprecation?

In this day and age, there’s plenty of that to go around, too…Picture found here.

Once upon a time, in the recent past, I loved Priest. Blizzard unleashed the scourge of Demon Hunter on Hearthstone. I found a Galakrond Priest deck that absolutely destroyed them, so I played that exclusively for the last half a year or so. I never loved Paladin. It stems back to the PTSD caused by Secret Paladin. I never forgave the game for that meta. Even today, unless absolutely necessary, I refuse to play Paladin even to complete a quest.

More recently, Libram Paladin haunted me to the point that I automatically conceded every game against Paladin. I mean, Demon Hunter has become the new hotness in classes nobody wants to play. But, Paladin (and sometimes Priest) are the OGs when it comes to annoying archetypes. Hell, even now I play Galakrond Priest more than anything else and I still concede quite often because I’m in Priest ELO Hell. Let’s see what Hell Blizzard unleashed with our Hearthstone Barrens Part 3 review.

Paladin

Decent: Oh look, another terrible ranked spell and a worse Survivial of the Fittest. I considered Sermon for the “Good” section, but too many other good cards in the set reduced it to “Decent” status. Rank is a new mechanic and often times, they take a set or two to come up with some good cards for a new mechanic. Perhaps the next time they design ranked cards, they’ll come up with some better ones.

Good: To be fair, these cards might not all be better than Sermon. I just put them in this section because the synergy made me consider building a “Holy” deck instead of a secret deck. I nearly lost my mind when I thought that secrets might be “Holy” spells. Thankfully, they have no spell type, so that saved me from having to make too many decisions about my deck. Maybe I will revisit the “Holy” Paladin deck in a future article.

Great: I already talked in the introduction about the old Secret Paladin. Because this deck hasn’t annoyed me nearly as much as that deck, I’m willing to give it a chance and build it myself. I especially like the effect of Cannonmaster Smythe. I played it a few times and it was so much fun. What does this deck look like?

This deck has it all. There are secrets that are versatile, but hopefully won’t trigger immediately so that we can take advantage of Smythe. Both Fordrings can sync together if you draw Alex before Taelan dies. We need to search for Mankrik’s wife, which is a fun little Easter egg for those of us who played way too much World of Warcraft 5 years ago. Finally, Kazakus makes a return.

Priest

Decent: Both of these cards are very situational. I could see Soothsayer’s Caravan being good in a meta with high spell focused decks. Power Word: Fortitude only works with a high concentration of spells. Even then, consider what other spells it beats in any of the mana slots.

Good: Void Flayer fits in with that spell heavy deck I just discussed. However, the stat line is just good enough that it might be slotted in to some Priest decks as additional removal. Serena Bloodfeather is funny because it makes players do math, something that I’ve found CCG players to be surprisingly bad at. Hey, look! A ranked spell that is in the “Good” section. How did that happen? I was going to joke that this could have gone in the “Decent” section and what rule meant I couldn’t have 3 cards there? Instead, I’ll grudgingly admit that the card is pretty good late game.

Great: It appears that the theme for Priest this time is healing. Admittedly, not that inspiring of a theme. However, a timeless theme and less annoying that the theme they often unleash on unsuspecting Hearthstone players, resurrection. Accuse me of plagiarism if you must, but this deck will look a lot like the Blizzard deck in the Tavern Brawl preview for Forged in the Barrens.

As many of my Priest decks do, this one leans fairly heavily into the control aspect of the class. There’s ample removal, card generation, and finally healing to trigger the Xyrella for a big board removal. I might want to put in some of those annoying resurrection effects like Raise Dead, but Veilweaver and Palm Reading do give me a chance to add them to my hand. Hmm, come to think of it, Veilweaver might not be a good choice for this deck since the only trigger in the deck is Apotheosis. I will have to consider that for my revisit.

The Verdict

Paladin made out quite well in our Hearthstone Barrens Part 3 review. Priest is less fun as far as I can see, but I might be missing something. I have seen rumors of a Miracle Priest out there, but I didn’t see a ton of support for the cards I picked in my Great section. Then again, we’re not here to win games. We’re here to have fun and laugh at our ineptitude! Join us soon for Part 4.

Hearthstone Barrens Part 2: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

Welcome to Hearthstone Barrens Part 2. I decided in my last article to change the format of these articles. First, I changed from previews to reviews. That’s simply a function of me not being able to write the articles before the sets are released. Second, and more importantly, I decided to make a deck for the cards that I include in the “Great” section for each class. That leads into the final change. Lastly, I reviewed all of the cards from the set instead of just the cards that I found interesting.

I will fulfill my density as a Spike sooner or later…

Time to give the 2 Guys Gaming treatment to Hunter and Mage cards from the latest Hearthstone expansion, Forged in the Barrens. This expansion feels like the one that came after Naxxramas. Recently they introduced Old Gods into the same meta that contained Galakrond. The power level of Standard felt a little out of control similar to how Naxx released some severely overpowered cards into the Wild. (Was Wild even a format then?)

Forged in the Barrens now comes along and tries to bring balance to the cards. For the most part, they succeeded in that goal. I have yet to see a card from this set that causes me to automatically reach for the “Concede” button. Hell, not even Demon Hunters make me immediately rage quit anymore. Let’s explore together how Hearthstone Barrens Part 2 reduces the power level of Hunters and Mages

Hunter

Decent: What’s the best case scenario on that Legendary? Tracking, a secret, and Skill Command? That’s honestly not a bad outcome, but 5 mana is super expensive for such an outcome. But, hey if you have both of these on the field at the same time, you get quite the combo and the immediate gratification of a 2 hyena payoff!

Now that I said that, some Spike out there sensed it and brewed the ultimate deck to take advantage of that. The next time that deck will haunt me as a living nightmare until I have no recourse but to text Chris that I’m done with Hearthstone (again) and then immediately log back into the game to unleash my fury on solo adventures or Battlegrounds

Good: What do we have here? I 1 mana 1/3 with upside. Wait, but it costs two mana? What are you up to, Blizzard? Granted, that effect is still potentially hella powerful for 2 mana, but still. You can’t set a precedent and then break that precedent. It will cause pandalerium among the player base. Already, I feel my own grip on Hearthstone reality fading.

Piercing Shot might be overcosted, but I like any spell that has trample, so it gets upgraded to “good” status. Finally, Wound Prey is cheap and early removal. When I play, that usually means that I draw them at the most inopportune times. Pardon my French, but “C’est la vie.”

Great: Like druid, Blizzard often suggests Beast Hunter as the leading viable archetype. You can see from my card choices that I 100% took the bait once again. There’s that 1 mana 1/3 with upside. Two discover cards. Check. Surprise! An actual ranked spell. Honestly, it’s not that great, but it does have beast synergy, so I included it in the list.

Aggro Beast Deathrattle Hunter

I may have to rework this deck big time. As I assembled the pieces, I ended up doing what I often do. I got distracted by the fact that there are some pretty good deathrattle beasts in Standard right now. So, I jammed them into the deck with the other beast synergy. As a result, the deck contains no removal. It is strictly an aggro minion deck. If any class works with such a strategy, it’s Hunter. With that being said, I’m 99% sure that this won’t work with any consistency. But, it’s a first attempt.

Mage

Decent: Rimetongue is very situational. It has a similar effect as a treasure in Duels. Having played that treasure, I can say that the freeze effect is nice, but it doesn’t have a huge impact and it is easily removed. The luminary updates an old mage card used in a few decks. It may be again, especially since there are some elemental archetypes out there. I just doesn’t speak to me right now.

Good: All of these are decent cards in the right deck. I actually considered Runed Orb in my deck instead of Flurry, but Flurry just fits with the 4 drop. More on that in a minute. Refreshing spring water is just strictly better than Arcane Intellect in an all spell deck. And, in the right situation, the Oasis Ally has been a fantastic card.

Great: The first three cards in the list affect or respond to the effects of your hero power. The other two combine to give you a potential 4 mana Flamestrike, but with Frost instead of Fire. My first attempt at a deck uses only Mage cards. As with the other decks, I’m sure that it requires some tuning before it can be considered competitive. Nevertheless, we’re all learning here.

Check out this mish mash (or hodge podge) if you prefer of Mage cards thrown together as a deck. It might not even classify as jank. I defy you to find a consistent win condition. But, that’s not why we’re here. You want meta level decks to climb ladder with? There are plenty of places to find that. You’re here for inconsistent decks that might reward you with fun and unexpected wins, but will most likely frustrate you into deleting your client? Now, you’re talking. Get out there and and then come back to swear at me for leading you down the wrong path.

The Verdict

Hearthstone Barrens Part 2 took far longer to write than I’d like to admit. I still have some hope of getting back on track with my plan of providing content 5 days a week, but this article put me far behind the eight ball. Now, I suffer some side effects from my 2nd vaccine dose.

None of that has anything to do with these cards. I think Hearthstone tried to reduce the power level of Standard with Forged in the Barrens. For the two classes discussed in this article, they succeeded. Mage, however, still has some powerful cards and effects and the class is a ton of fun to play right now.

Hearthstone Barrens Part 1: Great, Good, Decent

Introducton

For this Hearthstone Barrens part 1 review, I present Demon Hunter and Druid cards from the latest Hearthstone expansion. I tried to come up with ideas to make these articles more interactive. I can’t promise that I have been successful. However, I tried and I will continue to work to mold this page into my image.

It hasn’t been that long, but it has been 7 years. So, roughly 84 months. Hey, the joke works!

I came up with the idea to review all of the cards in the set instead of just cards that I find interesting. Additionally, I stole an idea from another page to build decks around the cards that I include in the “Great” section for each class.

Regular readers know that my decks are on the Johnny Combo (or maybe Timmy) side. They certainly aren’t Spike. When I shared with Chris that Star City Games is looking for writers, he responded, “You know you’ll have to become a Spike.” Luckily, though, they are looking for pop culture writers, too, and that’s much more in my wheelhouse.

But, I digress. Join me while I review Demon Hunter and Druid cards from Hearthstone’s latest set, Forged in the Barrens. If you like possibly fun, but most likely just terrible, decks, then you’re in for a treat. If not, perhaps my witty banter will be enough for you to return for the remainder of the review. And, so, join me for Hearthstone Barrens part 1 review of Demon Hunter and Druid cards.

Demon Hunter

Decent: Sigils got their start in this set with Sigil of Silence and Sigil of Flame (see next section). I suppose that Sigil of Silence has some utility against certain minions. However, there are so many ways to play around the card that the utility isn’t much.

Vile Call reworks several druid cards with a Demon Hunter theme. Like the Sigil of Silence, though, the demons are easily removed, you’d never get the benefit of the lifesteal. Maybe at 4 mana and give the demons rush. I’m not entirely sure how mana efficiency works in Hearthstone, so that might even make the card 5 mana. Then, it is again, unplayable. Oh well, I guess you need bulk commons in ever set, right?

Speaking of bulk commons. If I could set Fury on fire, I would. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the fel flame necessary and we are forced to live with this terrible, terrible card.

Good: This card mimics the Ilidan hero power from Battlegrounds. I struggled where to put this card. The outcast effect is nice and could provide decent early game removal. Even late game if the opponent tries to hide minions behind taunt and doesn’t play around the card. Otherwise, in most cases, this is just a 4 mana 3/4, which is pretty awful, especially for a legendary. Maybe I should have swapped this with Sigil of Silence.

A 2 mana delayed mass removal spell is pretty dang good. It also works like a Doomsayer by delaying smaller minion plays by a turn. Overall, a fun card with some potential.

Great: It appears that someone at Blizzard really wants to make Deathrattle Demon Hunter a thing. I tried my hardest to make those wishes come true. Alas, I came to the unfortunate conclusion that Deathrattle Demon Hunter does not currently have the support cards necessary to make it fun. Nevertheless, let’s analyze this terrible deck together.

Terrible Aggro Deathrattle Demon Hunter

Upon looking at the available deathrattle cards in Standard, I knew this deck would be severely limited. The best I found in this first iteration was a sort of aggro build that tries to take advantage of Teron Gorefiend. I included several tech cards against taunt and the deck absolutely folds to any kind of removal. Funny enough, because of that singular focus on taunt, I threw in two Sigil of Silence. In addition, I did try to include some Warblades as a secondary win condition, but that is equally as, if not more so, flimsy as the minion aggro plan. I guess it is fitting that Demon Hunter is finally given a strategy that won’t require 5 rounds of nerfs simply to make it overpowered instead of game breaking.

Druid

Decent: Both of these cards have decent stat lines and effects for their cost. They might be good in a wild control deck, but I just don’t see that happening for Druids in standard right now. I put together a decent beast aggro druid deck that is fun to play and that just feels like the direction that they’re pushing druid right now.

Good: Again, the 2 drop and the 7 drop are decent cards in a slower control deck. Maybe as a bonus, I will build that deck for a future article. I am trying to provide more content as part of the plan to boost views on the page here. Why not my trademark terrible decks?

Great: As soon as I saw these cards, I knew the direction of this deck. Beast druid represents one of the oldest and most consistent archetypes in the game of Hearthstone. And, so, behold my Beast Druid Deck!

Non-optimal Beast Druid Deck

This deck is similar to some of the other beast druid decks I’ve seen out there. I actually net decked one by fr0zen to finish a beast quest in the game. For this deck, I took the bones of that deck and tweaked it slightly. I call it non-optimal because I had to include Pride’s Fury, which took out the new Kazakus. That’s too bad because that’s a fun card to play. Also, I’m not sure that Solar Eclipse has a place in the deck, but it might lead to some fun combos.

The Verdict (Hearthstone Barrens Part 1 – DH :Bad, Druid – Good)

Demon hunter definitely got the short end of the stick during this expansion. As I said earlier, it’s about time that class come back down to earth a little bit. In the early iterations, I autoconceded against every single Demon Hunter I saw. Even recently, I break out in cold sweats and reach for the concede button when faced against a Demon Hunter. Maybe with this expansion, I will be able to heal from that hurt.

On the other hand, druid gets a fun and viable archetype with all of the beast support cards. Granted, I’m biased because I enjoy playing beast Druid. Still, give the deck a try. Hopefully you’ll either find it entertaining or figure out ways to make it better. Thanks for reading my Hearthstone Barrens part 1 review. Join us tomorrow for part 2.

Cards I Love: Kaldheim Miscellaneous Edition

Introduction

In the first two articles of our Kaldheim review, we saw some underwhelming Esper cards and terrible red cards with a side of decent value greens. Now, we move on to multicolored and artifact cards. Sometimes I also choose land cards. Hence, the name Kaldheim miscellaneous edition.

Since we all know my aversion to Snow Covered lands, there will be no discussion of lands in this review

As I looked through the list of cards to write the article, I noticed multicolored sage enchantments. I texted Chris to ask if they existed before this set. He couldn’t remember seeing them before. Now, if someone paid me to do this job I might actually research this. Since nobody pays me, we have to live with my wild speculation and conjecture.

After all, isn’t that more fun? There are so many other pages out there that will give you accurate and helpful information. We here at 2 Guys Gaming pride ourselves in focusing on the fun aspect of nerd culture. Come have some fun with me analyzing Kaldheim miscellaneous cards

Multicolored (Saga!, Planeswalker that made people big mad, and a Tiny Leader)

Multicolored Saga I Love: I just lied. I don’t actually love this card. In fact, out of all of the sagas in the set, this one is probably the most trash. Truth be told, I don’t love any of the sagas in this set. I love the multicolored border. If they’re all trash, why not pick the most trash of them to highlight that fact?

Multicolored Tiny Leader I Love: I love this card. You may remember me saying in the past that I consider myself a Commander player who hasn’t played much Commander. I now own a couple of Commander decks now, at least. I have played quite a bit of Tiny Leader, though, and prefer that format. It’s just so much easier putting together a deck of 50 as opposed to 100 cards. Usually Chris does these Johnny Combo type equipment decks, but I’d like to give it a shot with this guy.

Multicolored Planeswalker I Love: Technically, I lied again. I don’t love this card. It’s fine and I’m sure it has a home somewhere. It’s just not my style of UW card. Too much damage and not enough fun police. I love that Niko is nonbinary and that irritated some people. With the Potato Head reaction, people are just way too concerned with the non-existent genitals of fictional characters.

Land I Love

The World Tree: Last time, I promise. I lied again. Looking at the artifact card, I found none that impressed me. Instead, I decided to look at the lands. But, not the snow covered lands. Eff those things. Somehow I forgot about this card in spite of the fact that I texted Chris about it when I first saw it spoiled. I said, “Put this in my ‘Potentially broken card that will get repeatedly played against me on MTGA and get full value every time”. See Sanctum of All.

The Verdict (Kaldheim miscellaneous cards finish the underwhelming review)

So far, other than for collecting, I don’t see a need to buy any Kaldheim product. I collect more than play at this point, so I will purchase my usual set/bundle combo at some point. Hearthstone is releasing a new set and I play that much more than MTG at this point, so I will buy some cards there first, pay for my March DCBS order, and then think about finally dropping money on Kaldheim.

Spoiler images courtesy of Mythic Spoiler. Check them out for all your MTG spoiler needs.

Hearthstone DarkMoon Mini-Set: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

I often want to brand January as “new year, new games” here at 2 Guys Gaming. Other than the previous article about my introduction to Pathfinder, this year’s theme has again been an utter failure. I hamstrung myself by taking the week in between Christmas and New Year’s to talk about Mario Kart and the new D&D adventures I purchased. Also, this year’s Christmas brought many fewer new games than in the past. Luckily, Hearthstone Darkmoon Mini-Set and Magic the Gathering Kaldheim arrive soon to save the day.

I guess Santa figured that since we only play Minecraft around here, we didn’t need new games.

Those of you who have been following the Hearthstone saga this year might be surprised to know that people still play the game. The decision to add a battle pass angered many players. They may have quit playing altogether. At the very least, they complained very loudly on Reddit. In spite of it all, Hearthstone survived.

Now, I won’t take full credit for that. But, I will say that I was a voice of reason within the chaos. Sure, streamers like Kibler also tried to talk our fellow Hearthstone players off the ledge, too. Let’s agree that it was a group effort. Everyone played a role. I never got to preview the Hearthstone Darkmoon mini-set. I just bought it with 2000 gold, though, so might as well do a review.

Dual Class

Yes, Virginia, dual class cards are back. I think that means that dual class is now an evergreen keyword. I remember having a discussion about echo and how a card used the echo mechanic, but not the keyword. Someone said, “Well, that keyword was from this expansion and this is the only card with that effect.” I shrugged. Never stops WotC from digging up old keywords to shove onto the latest mono green overpowered rare. I’m just waiting for the next Future Sighted card with banding or some nonsense. You know it’s coming. The point is, I don’t understand why a digital card game that can easily program tool tips for each keyword. Eternal does so. Then again, this is Blizzard and they aren’t exactly known for their efficient programming practices.

Great: Guidance is pretty amazing. Two spells for two mana? That seems like an autoinclude in any druid deck. The versatility alone makes it probable for Totem Shaman and maybe even Evolve. Nitroboost Poison looks good for a Pirate warrior or Aggro rogue deck. 1 mana with corrupt? That’s just unfair. I threw Barricade in as a border case. I will discuss the other possibilities now.

Good: I considered putting both Ivory and Deadeye in the Great section. However, with Ivory, you need another cheap spell to trigger the spellburst that turn. And, Deadeye is too easily removed to make it more than a single turn impact. The corrupt clause on the Hoarder is nice, but three mana to corrupt is a bit slow. Before, we had Mass Hysteria. Now, we have regular old Hysteria. Warlock and Priest get another board clear. How quaint.

Decent: Rally feels far too situational to me. I’m trying to think of the good minions for each class. I guess with priest, you have cleric and the bird man. But, you’d need follow up man with both. I got Resizing Pouch from a discover and never played it. I guess the Phoenix could be used for lethal set up, but I have yet to see it have an impact.

Class Cards

Great: 2 mana Consecration (most of the time)? Don’t mind if I do. The Racer combos with Frost Nova and Blizzard to be a board clear, especially if you have spell damage, which most mages do these days. X’anesh is a personal choice since I like playing Corrupt Priest decks. Outcast abilities are often ridiculous for their cost and this card triggers them automatically. The cheat feels like a power creeped Kirin Tor Mage. Likewise, they nerfed Fiery War Axe all those years ago, then gave us the 2/5 taunt guy who gives a free one and this is basically a 1 cost version. GG, Blizzard. Speaking of GG, 3 mana and 3 damage for 3 cards? Ye gods.

Good – Bola is removal and removal is always good. Drake, if corrupted, is solid stats for the cost. Some priest played Lightsteed against me and basically autowon the game with it. Celestial can be good in a combo with some bigger minions. Shenanigans are just that. Going to mess with card draw decks. Like the Wheel, this will almost always be a 4/6 and it is a battlecry, so persistent. Felsaber follows in the shadow of the Griffon (or Roc or whatever). However, being a DH card, it is naturally overpowered.

Decent: Anything with Treants is usually overcosted or just trash. This card is situational in token druid, I guess. Like Resizing Pouch, I discovered Biscuit. It’s delayed 2 mana. Good for cheap Spellburst, I guess? Libram of Judgement is an overcosted Truesilver Champion. However, it is a libram. I might be very wrong about this card. Mistrunner is normal Shaman trash buff. Rustwix is the randomness that Blizzard loves so much. And, Saddlemaster is typical trash Hunter random beast nonsense.

Neutral

Neutral – None of these cards merits too much of a discussion. There’s the undercosted 1 drop with 1/3 stats. A garbage murloc with some random keywords. Trash Legendary that will end up beating me at some point. I guess Blackwing is an answer to a solo Ragnaros on the board (which is something that I faced just the other day). Finally, Deathwarden feels like it could be fun in Battlegrounds. I wonder if they have any plans to make that happen.

The Verdict (Hearthstone Darkmoon mini-set is hopefully a nice change up)

I often give Blizzard a ton of crap. It is out of love. I can’t stand Hearthstone as a card game. More often than not, I end up swearing at the game in a way that I’m not proud of. Most recently, Demon Hunter was an error of epic proportions and they just keep piling on. Seriously, nearly every single Demon Hunter build is viable. It’s absurd.

However, they are willing to try new things and use the digital format to their advantage. I like Battlegrounds and will even try Duels every now and again because it is something different from other card games. This Hearthstone Darkmoon mini-set adds some new cards that will hopefully offer a change in the meta. Due to the fact that Blizzard mostly just supports Standard, the meta gets stale much faster than in other card games.

CFP National Championship 2021 Post Mortem: Great, Good, Decent

Introduction

Only a week late on this CFP National Championship 2021 post mortem article. You might say that means we’re getting back on track. While I won’t argue with you, I urge caution. I still need to start the gaming content for the new year. I took those weeks off to do comics and then college football and the NFL. I still have to write this article. Then, I will do the divisional round post mortem tomorrow. After that, I need to figure out my schedule for the rest of the month.

I bought some horror adventures to play D&D with the family. Also, I have been playing a ton of Minecraft. Both are games.

As mentioned in the caption above, I have a couple of games to get me through January. So, after this CFP National Championship post mortem and tomorrow’s divisional round post mortem, I will prepare some content for Minecraft, Dungeons and Dragons, and Mortal Kombat 11. In addition to the Aftermath story, I want to show off my new PC Minecraft world. The family actually gave me a chance to play D&D the other day. We played Clue two days in a row. Not really in the mood to play the second night, they asked me what I’d rather play. For a second, I considered mentioning D&D. Instead, I caved and we played Clue. Oh well, there will be other opportunities. Okay, apologies to those of you who are here for the college football. Let’s get on to the CFP National Championship 2021 post mortem.

Note: I will go through the preview article point by point and give my response to each of them.

The Great

Evil Empire is Back: Though I found myself actually rooting for Alabama (which, coincidentally, I think I mentioned might happen), they are absolutely the Evil Empire of college football again. Craig, who hasn’t responded to my apology for blowing off his invitation to join him for the game, texted me something about college football resembling women’s college basketball where only two teams can win. I think he’s right. The committee proved that the year that Alabama lost 2 games and still made it into the playoffs over other teams. Oh, they did lose Sarkisian. What? They’re replacing him with Bill O’Brien? Man, eff Bama.

Justin Fields: Fate chose him as the Bama slayer this year. He looked to be super human against Clemson when he took an absolute shot that left me horrified and wondering again why I watch this brutal display, especially with kids who aren’t even getting paid. Then, he kept the Buckeyes in the game for the first quarter before the Evil Empire unleashed the Death Star in the form of DeVonta Smith. Valiant effort, young man. I hope you heal so we can see what you do in the NFL.

The Good

Covid Bowl: At the beginning of the game, I kept my promise to root for chaos. I hoped for a national champion with less than 10 wins. As mentioned above, DeVonta Smith ensured that wouldn’t happen. Faced with the futility of this particular wish, I accepted our reality and ended up cheering for the Evil Empire to just end it all and blow us all up.

No Fans: Reading the preview article, it surprised me how much I said about this topic. I guess I said it all, though, because I have no follow up for this article. I barely even noticed the lack of fans at the game.

The Decent

No Halftime Show: I thought I might miss the halftime show. I actually enjoyed a few of the CFP halftime shows. Maybe not more than the NFL as they have finally figured out their demographic for the halftime show and lean into it. As you probably figured out, I actually did not miss the halftime show. I barely even noticed the lack of a show. Instead, I enjoyed my extra time with Herbstreit, Fowler, and Des.

More of the same: I just want it known that I nailed this one. OSU played good ball for a quarter (I think I said they might be competitive for the first half) before Alabama’s talent took over and they blew the Buckeyes off the field.

The Verdict

Thanks for reading my CFP National Championship 2021 post mortem. Especially those of you who come here for gaming content. I promise it is coming soon. Just give me one more sports article tomorrow. Then, after that we will resume gaming content for the month until the weekend and the conference championship games. As far as this game, it went exactly as I expected. Even so, I enjoyed watching and I look forward to the draft and next year’s college season. Maybe Covid will be more under control by then.

Mario Kart 8: Games We Love

Introduction

I think I mentioned last week that we might take this week off. Then, I got an idea to talk about the games that we received for Christmas. Little did I know that this was the year that we only got Mario Kart 8 for Christmas. Oh, I did find Mario and Rabbids while I was organizing my closet, but I don’t think that one is going to be worthy of a post.

It’s only been three days and I already have a rivalry with this mofo. So, yeah, Mario Kart 8 is going to be heavily played.

Not so with Mario Kart 8. We’ve played several rounds every day since Christmas. Heck, Christine who barely plays games (I mean, she’ll bug me about a round of Mortal Kombat 11 now and then but that’s it.), jumped in for a couple of circuits with the boys last night. Then, she talked about playing again today after dinner.

Okay, now that I’ve started this article, I’m not sure how I’m going to structure it. Generally, I do a “Great, Good, Decent” review. However, I have branched off more into other formats like top 5 lists. I don’t know if I actually have 5 reasons that I love the Mario Kart series so much. But, let’s find out.

5 – Trash Talk

Before this version, the last time I played Mario Kart was at a faculty party in the basement of one of the staff at the time. This was probably 10-12 years ago, so the statute of limitations has run out. If that sounds sketchy, you’re not alone. As a 45 year old father of three, I’d definitely give younger me a smack bottom for that decision. So, what’s the point of this particular story?

If you are patient, I’m getting there.

As often happens with this game, I sucked the first few circuits that we played. It always takes me a bit of time to adjust to the strategies. Then, I start winning. That’s what happened here. And, I let everyone know it. Trash talk is just a part of that winning strategy in Mario Kart. Last night, for instance, I shouted, “Whoever just hit me, your mom’s a hoe.” Mind you, this is while I was playing against two of my sons. Luckily, the shell came from a computer player. Otherwise, that could have been more awkward than just my 9 year old laughing and repeating the line.

4 – Easy to Play (Hooks Non Gamers)

Actually, the easy to play line is a lie. The game is difficult and complex for new players. However, twice during this vacation, we got non gamers to play the game with us. The familiar characters and cartooony graphics fool people into thinking that it’s an easy game. Then, once they play, they have fun and eventually adapt their own strategy.

Hit them sick tricks, Noob, and pwn the competition.

My wife, for instance, who never plays video games (other than the aforementioned occasional round of Mortal Komat), actually asked to play this game again. Sure, some of that is because we have two teenagers and a preteen and family time together is precious. But, still, any game enjoyed by the whole family is a winner. We came close with Minecraft. And, I think she might have asked the other day for someone to teach her how to play that. So, who knows.

3 – Familiarity

I keep insisting that I feel no effects of nostalgia. And, yet, I keep listing nostalgia as a reason that I enjoy these games. Hey, you don’t come here for consistency in analysis? If so, I’m afraid you will be sorely disappointed. Just look at my various articles on Hearthstone for evidence of that.

I mean, the Reno game where he transformed sure lethal into random murlocs is just the latest of my salty rants that ended with, “This game is BS. I’m uninstalling.” That, of course never happened. And, actually, I think the tantrum that ended with my busted phone came more recently.

I don’t have burning nostalgia for having played Mario Kart as a kid with my brothers like I do with some games. I don’t even have fond memories playing in high school with friends like I do with other games. But, I do have my “frat party” memory. Plus, the characters are all familiar faces from my childhood. That’s where the nostalgia really kicks in for me.

2 – Supreme Memes

My kids figured out early that I don’t care much for the strategy of this game. I mean, I don’t care much for any game theory. That’s especially true in this game. I understand that different characters, vehicles, wheels, and parachutes have different abilities. I just don’t care.

Thanks to YoshiMan for the image

Instead, I try to look for the most ridiculous looking builds. That’s how I’ve landed on Dry Bowser on the standard bike with the roller wheels and Peach parasol. Last night I tried another meme with the teddy bear car and wooden wheels, but that turned out poorly for me. Back to the old stand by. It is truly the Supreme Meme build for me.

1 – Playing with Kids

I already eluded to this in my introduction. Since the entire family has been playing, this is one of those games that I’ve been able to play with the kids. Regular readers of the page know that’s my number one reason for enjoying games. Any time the kids show an interest, I will go crazy investing in that game.

When Aiden and Quinn were into YuGiOh, I spent a stupid amount of money on cards for them that they really wanted. As often happens, that phase didn’t last long enough to warrant the money spent. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. Also, who knows. Their interests recycle, so there might be another YuGiOh phase in our future.

The Verdict

When texting Chris, I said, “I’m sure we’ll play Mario Kart 8 non stop during this break.” Sometimes I say those things and they don’t come to pass. So far, this one has. We’ve played at least 3 circuits once a day. I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Sure, we might slow down next week when school starts, but I have a feeling there will still be weekly Mario Kart nights to go with our board game nights.

Console Game of the Year 2020: Mortal Kombat 11

Introduction

How weird is it that our console game of the year 2020 actually came out in March 2019? I mean, if you’re at all familiar with our page, it isn’t that weird at all. We are nothing if not unabashedly retro in our sensibilities. Something about this year dragged me kicking and screaming into a more modern gamer. Chris, however, remains steadfast in his commitment to retro gaming and I love him for it.

I know that “No H” is not cool anymore and I completely agree. Is bromance still acceptable?

True to gaming in 2020, MK11 reached its “final form” over a year and a half after being released. In April, Aftermath came out to continue the story, gave us friendships and new stage fatalities, and added three new characters. More recently, Kombat Pack 2 gave us 3 more new characters. So, you could absolutely argue Mortal Kombat was better to us this year than last.

It feels like I just wrote the article in that last paragraph. Well, I have a couple of days to rework this article and get it published.

Console Game of the Year 2020: Humble Beginnings

If you told me last year that I’d pick Mortal Kombat 11 for this article, I’d not have believed you. I received the game as a gift from a friend. In a true dink move, I didn’t touch it for the first few months I owned it. Actually, it wasn’t a dink move. Not consciously at least. The XBox was upstairs in the game room that became Aiden’s room. I was busy with school, too.

You’re probably tired of hearing that. But, it’s true.

Finally, after those few months of gentle reminders by said friend, I logged into the game. Not entirely understanding how the game might be different from the previous few iterations, I played a few games. Yep, this is Mortal Kombat all right. For good and for bad. Little did I know how much this game would come to dominate my life over the next two years.

Console Game of the Year 2020: Familiarity Breeds Contempt?

Not at all in this case. My friend gave me the version that came with Kombat Pack 1 already included. All the fighters were there for me. Sure, in some cases, I had to download them. Also, Shao Khan and Frost both cost and extra 5 dollars. Now that I think about it, the Frost thing had to be a classic Ed Boon MK troll because you unlocked her simply by playing through the story mode. Everyone was there, though. All the classics like Johnny, Sub Zero, Scorp, and my favorite Liu Kang. Throw in some Newbies like Kitana and Jax. Finish with a sprinkling of the next generation, Cassie and Jacqui. It’s all wheat and no chaff.

5 bucks for Frost? GTFOH.

Getting back to that story mode. Eventually, it hooked me on the game. I don’t remember how or why, but I moved the XBox into our bedroom and started playing the story mode. I wrote a review for the story. That’s how impressive I thought it was. Once the game got me hooked, my friend mentioned that you could “AI” the towers. Once I discovered that, I played the game daily to get those sweet, sweet cosmetics.

Console Game of the Year 2020: Aftermath

As happens with any game, I grew tired of beating the same towers over and over again simply to rise in the ranks and get a single new skin for being in the top 5%. I rediscovered Diablo 3. Quinn and I started an epic world in Minecraft. MTGA grabbed more and more of my attention. Because of Covid, I spent more time obsessing over online learning.

I simply had no time for Mortal Kombat 11. Then, Aftermath released. I did two videos (two of three or four this year, so more than recent years!) reacting to the trailer and friendships. The new characters got me playing towers again to get new skins. A weekly Kronika quest kept me logging in on a regular basis.

Console Game of the Year 2020: Summer Lull and Kombat Pack 2

Eventually, I tired even of the regular loot from Kronika and the towers started to repeat again at a nauseating rate. I played more Pokemon Go and went for 2 hours walks to kill the time. Don’t forget Diablo 3 and MTGA. There’s only so much Mortal Kombat one person can take. My limit is apparently a couple of months before I start to stray again.

Clearly, Ed Boon realized that and released Kombat Pack 2. I reviewed this last month. Ever since the release, I’ve played daily again to get the last month of skins on the Towers of Time. Except for yesterday, I’ve been grabbing the Kronika vaults again. It just completely slipped my mind. Damn, I’m sad now. Oh well, maybe there will be another way to get the items. Or, maybe I just won’t sweat it too much. Okay, what was I saying?

Oh yeah, it seems like every time I get bored with the game, something new comes along. It’s similar to the CCG treadmill. They can’t keep this going forever on MK11. And, it seems like this last Kombat Pack might be the last unless there is a surprise announcement early next year. However, it just feels like they’ve milked this cash cow dry.

The Verdict

Mortal Kombat 11 has some new strategies to it. I’m not capable of executing many of them. Hell, I’m still stuck on the Raiden combo in the tutorial. But, watching more and more streams lately, I can see that they’ve included a deep and rich fighting engine. It’s no Tekken or Virtua Fighter. But, it’s better than bully your opponent into the corner and juggle cheese.

The inclusion of new guest stars have kept the game fresh. Plus, I still have to play through the Aftermath story. There’s enough to keep me going in Mortal Kombat 11 until at least the spring when the weather starts to get nice or I buy a PlayStation 5. Even though I played much more Hearthstone, Mortal Kombat 11 is, by far, the most fun I’ve had with a game in the last year.