Tag Archives: PC Gaming

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.

Console Look Back 2020: A Year in Gaming

Introduction

In this “final” week of 2020 here at 2 Guys Gaming, we’re starting with a familiar refrain. Similar to mobile two weeks ago and tabletop last week, I’m going to do a console look back 2020. I put final in quotes because I currently don’t have anything planned for next week. That may change depending on how motivated I feel after the holidays. However, I’ve been really good about updating this page for this year and especially the last few months.

I deserve a little R&R.

Besides, I have to get ready for the re-relaunch of the podcast and the re-re-re(?)-relaunch of the YouTube Channel. Also, who else can stream myself playing terrible games while making equally terrible dad jokes? I know that some can do either, but I’m confident that I’m the only one who can do both. Be on the lookout. 2021 is going to be 2 Guys Gaming’s year. Oh crap, we weren’t supposed to say that. Never mind.

Ah, who am I kidding? I will get some ridiculous idea or another to fill next week and we’ll all be here to do it all again. Perhaps I’ll review some of the new games we get for Christmas (even though that is tentatively on the schedule for January). Maybe I will convince the family to try Dungeons and Dragons again (if I can ever find my adventure I wrote). Oh, actually, I’ve got it. But, now, you just have to wait in suspense to find out what it is. For now, let’s dive into the console look back 2020. Note: I’m going to include PC in this as well, but the titles are already getting too long for my SEO optimizer.

Diablo 3

Long time readers of th epage know that I have a love/love relationship with Torchlight 2. It is even the topic of a now lost (thankfully in retrospect) episode 2 of the original podcast. I played Torchlight 2 far more than any of the Diablo games. Until Diablo 3. I think I bought it after Chris and I did some couch co-op at his place.

At first, it took some time to get used to the XBox controls. I also played the Marvel ARPG, Marvel Heroes, a ton on the PC. The controls on the PC for these types of games are just so intuitive. Easily and fully customizable, too. You can customize your build on the XBox, but the controls are not. They take some getting used to. I nearly stopped playing the game altogether because of the controls.

I kept playing. The story hooked me and we all know I’m a sucker for good story. The loot impressed me. I’m not usually one for loot, but Blizzard does a good job with their loot and cosmetics. I kept playing. Then, one day, something clicked. I enjoyed the game. The controls no longer kept me from doing mega damage with my rotation. I still have to finish the game, but that’s only a matter of time.

Minecraft and Minecraft Dungeons

These are two very different games. Minecraft is what it has always been. As I heard it described by some boomer reporter years ago, “You mine. And you craft.” As simple as it is, that’s literally all the game involves. How can it possibly be so popular then?

I can’t speak for anyone else. However, in my experience, the game is fun because it is one of the few modern games I can play with my kids. We have all spent countless hours on survival worlds mining entire mountains and crafting more than one nether portal. Sure, not that impressive to the Minecraft pros out there, but always an achievement when we finally get the experience of dying on another plane.

Quinn and I started a new world recently. Well, he started it and I joined it one day. Within the first hour of playing I had already fished up an epic fishing rod and several strong bows. We’ve both died in the nether and lost more than one of those epic rods in the weeks since. He built a villager farm that one day vanished. All in all, we are in it for the long haul on this one. In fact, he just ran another plan by me earlier this evening.

We haven’t played Minecraft Dungeons recently. For a few weeks over the summer, it hooked us both. I liked the Diablo like gameplay. He enjoyed the Minecraft setting. I logged in a couple of weeks ago to see they updated the game in many ways. We will be sure to play this one over break.

Hearthstone

What would a PC/console article be without me swearing about our favorite CCG that we all love to hate. Yes, it’s true that more often than not, the love/hate relationship is cemented firmly in hate. That is not the case this time. Plus, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t partially include Hearthstone on the console look back 2020 list just to make the mad nerds mad.

You might have heard about the kerfuffle surrounding the release of a “battle pass” for the game about a month ago. I, personally, didn’t see what the problem was. The mad nerds, though, attacked Blizzard, streamers, and even each other for not being mad enough nerds about it.

In spite of that, I come not to bury Heartstone, but to praise it. I genuinely like the latest expansion, Battlegrounds is a fun time waster of a mode, and I will even play a game of Duels now and then. Someone wrote an article that Hearthstone is the healthiest it’s ever been. Like Magic, you can argue if you want. But, I agree. The game is so much fun.

The Verdict

The console look back 2020 shows that this aspect of our gaming wasn’t as varied as mobile, certainly, but also tabletop. Nevertheless, the games I played were fun. Quinn and I have to continue that world we started. I need to finish Diablo 3. Hearthstone will continue to occupy my time until I finish the reward track. What about the new consoles? I’m glad you asked. Join me on Wednesday for that discusssion.

Hearthstone Duels Beta: Great, Good, Decent?

Introduction

What the heck is Hearthstone Duels Beta? Well, we are faced with yet another task as (unpaid) Blizzard beta testers. About a year go, Blizzard released Battlegrounds in response to the rise in popularity of auto battlers like Auto Chess, Dota Underlords, and Teamfight Tactics. As soon as I saw the gameplay for Battlegrounds at the event they put together to showcase it, I knew that I made the comment that I would play that mode almost exclusively.

I mean, who doesn’t want to watch cards smash into each other?

The same can’t be said for Hearthstone Duels Beta. The concept intrigued me. Blizzard took the Dungeon Run concept and made it PvP. That sounds interesting. However, instead of enhancing my interest in the game mode, watching the game play actually decreased my interest. Then, I received a drop from Twitch to early access to the game mode.

The mode is now in full beta, so I’m no longer special. However, I write this web page, so I am special here. You obviously read the page, so I think you’re pretty special. Let’s discuss among our special selves if this game mode is any good or not.

The Great

Do you love Dungeon Run? I do. Do you not know what Dungeon Run is? I forgive you if you don’t. Let me give a brief explanation. And, yes, I realize that almost nothing I ever write is brief. How about I promise to keep this one under 100 words? Deal? Deal.

Dungeon Run is a mode Blizzard introduced as an adventure in one of the expansions. You start with a deck. Then, as you proceed through the “dungeon” and defeat bosses, you get to choose random “treasures” and cards to add to your deck. Honestly, it’s a fun mode and I used to think that I wanted more of it. 59 words.

He’s on fire!

After playing Duels a few times, it turns out that I just wanted more Dungeon Run. Duels lets you build your starting deck. I don’t care. It lets you play against other people. Without some sort of chat feature, I don’t care whether it’s a bot or a person. Duels does retain the treasures (though most of them are garbage) and card selection, which is great.

The Good

Remember when I said that I don’t care about building your own deck. That was mostly for show. Even though most of the time, because it’s a competitive mode, you will build the same deck, that’s starting to change some. Blizzard has already released new class treasures and hero powers that promote some variety in deck building.

Because I don’t have the whole collection on many of my accounts (yes, I have multiple accounts and play all 3 regions on all of them), I have to be creative with my deck choices. Yes, creative there is a euphemism for bad decks. But, sometimes those bad decks will catch an opponent off guard because they’re not looking for the “creative” card choice. And, since it is ultimately “no risk, no reward”, that’s good.

The Decent

This game mode is ridiculously imbalanced. Granted, it is a beta. Also, it is Blizzard and their idea of game balance has infiltrated MTG. make extremely imbalanced cards, make your money from selling them, and then nerf them (ban them in the case of MTG). Sometimes, this strategy is employed multiple times. Since it’s introduction earlier in the year, Demon Hunter has been nerfed 4 times.

They have proved time and again that they are not prepared for proper card design. Eh, eh, Illidan? Not prepared? Achievement Unlocked: Lame Dad WoW joke.

So, expecting Duels to be completely balanced right out of the gate is a tall order. I wasn’t joking in the beginning when I said that Blizzard expects us to be their unpaid beta testers. In the case of the new heroic mode, you are paying them to be beta testers. God bless this brave new world of gaming.

However, Hearthstone Duels Beta is way out of balance. If you can high roll a certain treasure or card selection, you are guaranteed to breeze through to a high win total. I was watching a streamer last night who had two runs where he was dealing 20+ damage per turn starting on turn 4 or 5. In a mode where your starting life is a maximum of 40, that’s ridiculous.

The Verdict

Hearthstone Duels Beta has some fun aspects. I do like that I can build my starting deck. Dumbing into one of the ridiculously overpowered runs is fun as hell. The rest of the time, it is just as frustrating as regular Hearthstone with the addition of even more randomness and frustration of potentially low rolling your way into oblivion. I play standard for the rewards (though they stealth nerfed them) and Battlegrounds because it can be legitimately fun. I don’t see myself playing Duels unless they include it in a quest.

Cards I Love: Hearthstone darkmoon Faire

Introduction

Come one, come all to the Hearthstone Darkmoon Faire! If you’re thinking what I’m thinking then you’re thinking, “Didn’t we just have a Hearthstone expansion? ” Yes, it appears as if the Hearthstone developers have taken a page from the WotC handbook. They are releasing expansions once every 3 or 4 months now. That’s good to keep things fresh.

It is not goo, however, for my bank account.

Yes, in spite of my machinations to the contrary, I am still playing Hearthstone. Hell, Reno even screwed me in a game a couple of days ago. Those of you who are regulars remember that’s why I swore at the game and swore off the game. It’s another card game to keep me somewhat sane through this pandemic.

The Hearthsone Darkmoon Faire, as much of the Hearthstone card base does, takes inspiration from an even of the same name in World of Warcraft. Towards the end of my WoW career, I became an achievement hunter. The Darkmoon Faire filled far too much of my time as a result. But, the Hearthstone equivalent has a twist. Similar to MtG bringing the Eldrazi to Innistrad, the old gods spread their own twisted corruption into the Faire.

Demon Hunter

Felsteel Executioner: Speaking of corruption, our first card has one of the new keywords for this set. The corrupt triggers when you play a higher cost card while the card with corrupt is in your hand. It offers versatility. Honestly, though, it’s one of the weaker keywords.

Throw Glaive: Speaking of keywords, this is just “Echo” with more words. I’ve heard from several programmers who would know that Blizzard is infamous for their “spaghetti code”. Hell, even as an extreme novice to programming, I can see that their stuff is not optimized very well. Regarding this card, it’s gonna be situationally awesome.

Druid

Guess the Weight: In keeping with the faire theme, the name of this card is hilarious. The effect is pretty great, too. I like that Blizzard is willing to take the chance that they make an absolute trash card in order to give us something that we’ve never seen before.

Kiri, Chosen of Elune: At first glance, this card looks like garbage. After all, it does to lightning bolt. Mind you, that’s never stopped me from picking a card to be featured. However, I don’t think this card is garbage. Those two cards have synergy with druid and could lead to some fun combos.

Hunter

Mystery Winner: There was some talk about Hearthstone getting rid of the discover mechanic. I think that would be a very bad idea. Discover is probably the best mechanic to come out of this game. I think they wanted to (and eventually have) do away with the cards that have the ability to iterate the discover process infinitely.

Trampling Rhino: So, they use the keyword in the card name, but then write an entire phrase to explain what that keyword mean in the card description. Perhaps this is the only card that they have planned with this ability and they don’t want to waste the resources. Who knows?

Mage

Grand Finale: I love the elemental mage archetype. I’m not sure there are enough cards to support it in standard. But, I enjoy playing Wild better anyway. Give me all of the broken cards.

Deck of Lunacy: Can you play this card and all expensive spells to get a deck full of Pyroblast? Is that how this works? Well, I guess there’s also Puzzle Box of Yogg Saron. Either way, it’s dumb fun.

Paladin

Redscale Dragontamer: I picked this card because art is hilarious. Yes, Paladin cards this expansion are an absolute joke.

Snack Run: Hey, it’s got discover. That must mean you love it. Well, yes, discover is fun. However, it feels like any time I play the other card that has a similar effect, I get nothing but 1 and 0 cost spells to choose.

Priest

Insight: I think this is the type of card that they were envisioning when they developed the corrupt keyword. It is a decent card by itself with crazy upside if you decide to corrupt it. Compared to this, most of the other corrupt cards feel like an afterthought.

Palm Reading: In addition, this is the kind of discover card that I love. You discover something, plus you get a guaranteed good outcome. This is just a solid and fun card. Priest continues to get strong support cards.

Rogue

Swindle: 2 mana, essentially draw 2? Plus, it is targeted draw in both cases. Looking at the card now and thinking about it, I’m surprised they made it combo and not corrupt.

Tenwu of the Red Smoke: I’m about to go Johnny Combo on you here, but there’s gotta be a way to play this with either the new or old C’Thun to be able to cast the old God multiple times per turn. In fact, I think I’m going to workshop that deck once I get finished writing this article.

Shaman

Magicfin: This guy will fit quite nicely into my wild murloc shaman deck. What do you want from me? Like Paladin, the Shaman cards in this expansion are garbage.

Revolve: First we had evolve. Then we had devolve. Then we had turn everything into murlocs. Now, we have this trash heap of a card.

Warlock

Wicked Whispers: The old gods are back. Their whispers have returned as well. If you’ve ever been involved in a random whisper encounter in World of Warcraft, you realize just how creepy that is. Regarding the card, zoo was already strong. This is just going to make it more so.

Cascading Disaster: Another card with a reference to an MtG keyword in the title. It also almost has that ability. This is the only card I’ve seen that has the repeating corrupt. Once again, I think they missed an opportunity to have more multiple corrupt cards.

Warrior

Sword Eater: What power creep? Years ago, they nerfed Fiery War Axe to 3 and now for one mana more, you get a 2/5 body with taunt. Sure, it’s a turn late and you may lose tempo. However, warrior has so much targeted removal that you might not.

Tent Trasher: I’m not sure how often you’ll get the mana reduction on a regular basis more than one or two, but I like this sort of effect. I wonder if they tested as each minion type played and found it to be too powerful that way.

Neutral

Old Gods and a Bunny: I remember there being something in World of Warcraft with the Rabbit. I don’t remember exactly what it was, but I think it was made into a battle pet after that update. Whatever the reason, this stuff is making me want to play WoW again. Must resist the temptation. Other than that and the old gods, none of the neutral cards are very interesting.

The Verdict (Hearthstone Darkmoon Faire looks fun)

I liked that Ashes of Outland introduced dual class cards. Even if most of the cards were garbage, it is a fun addition to the game that I hope they expand upon with future sets. The cards in Hearthstone Darkmoon Faire aren’t nearly as groundbreaking. What they are, though, is fun. That’s all I ask when playing these games.

Minecraft Review: Nether Update

Introduction

Welcome to our Minecraft Review: Nether Update. I feel like Quinn has been talking about this update for a while now. Some of the YouTubers he watches must have gotten early or beta access and were showing it off. Every couple of days when we loaded up the game, he would remark, “I wonder when we’re ever going to get the Nether Update.” Well, we finally have.

However, I have to admit that we haven’t been able to explore the nether as much as we hoped. We actually tried the other day and it ended quite poorly. First Quinn died with a bunch of good armor and gear. Then, I went to help him and I died with a bunch of good armor and gear. Rinse and repeat a few times.

So, we did discover one thing. Mobs in the Nether now spawn much faster than before. I don’t think that they are any tougher necessarily, but there are so many of them that you can become overrun very quickly. So, a word of warning there. However, bear in mind that our experience was in a Nether Fortress. Outside of the fortress, all we encountered were zombie pigmen and I think Quinn called them striders.

So, apologies that I haven’t been able to do my due diligence on this update just yet. File in under “U” for “unsurprising”. In the meantime, I will work on some recon and also the videos of worlds promised a few weeks ago. And stay tuned for an actual Minecraft Review: Nether Update soon.

M21 Notable Cards Gruul Edition

Introduction

Time for M21 notable cards Gruul edition. Of course, in the last article, I wrote about the white, blue, and black cards in the set. If you missed that one and you don’t want to go back to read it, I will give you the highlights here. There are a ton of cool reprints in this set. Teferi is blue and he does things at instant speed. I think that about covers it.

Actually, I do have a couple of other things to say. I like the set so much that I ordered both bundles on MTGA. I know that Chris is going to give me crap about that, but I like the game. It lets me play MTG, especially since I’ve had time over the last few months with the stay at home due to Covid. And, as I mentioned last month, there haven’t been any comics.

My other mention is that I went out of order this time. I like this set so much more than Ikoria that I skipped right over Ikoria to purchase my traditional box and bundle of M21. I will go back to buy Ikoria eventually. My completionist brain won’t let me not have that binder. However, for now, let’s see why I made this decision in the first place.

Red (Oh, you like your face? I like your face, too. However, let me rearrange it a bit for you.)

Fiery Emancipation: This card is stupid expensive and mono red will never see the payoff in traditional formats. However, in the right Commander deck, it could do some damage and potentially be tons of fun. I don’t know enough about Commander to know which decks, but I’m sure you nerds will find them

Subira, Tulzidi Caravanner: I have a terrible Alesha, Who Smiles at Death tiny leaders deck. I was inspired by Chris’s friends Darren and Jason. They’re the only “real” people I’ve played against besides Chris and randos at various prerelease events over the last few years. Plus, I really like the tiny leaders format. It’s fun. maybe I can do something similar with this card.

Honorable Mention (Gadrak, the Crown-Scourge): Speaking of tiny leaders. This guy qualifies. I have a feeling it would be quite easy to put together an artifact deck to make this guy work. I’m not the dragon guy, though. Chris is.

Green (You Want Lands? Well, here, play all the lands!)

Asuza, Lost but Seeking: I learned about this card during the Amulet Titan crisis of a couple of years ago. They sort of reprinted this in Theros Beyond Death with the Dryad of the Ilysian Grove and now it’s back in full glory. I just texted Chris that with both of those cards, you could play 4 lands per turn. I’m not entirely sure how to exploit that, but it will be fun to try.

Garruk, Unleashed: I am not a green guy. I’m a blue mage to my core. However, when playing cube, I often gravitate to Gx as my default strategy. Usually it is GB and there was a Garruk card that was always open. So, I’ve sort of adopted Garruk as my favorite green planeswalker. I’m glad there’s a Garruk in standard again.

Honorable Mention (Quirion Dryad): Hearthstone had a deck that was called Miracle Rogue. The same strategy has been tried in druid and maybe other decks. Druid and rogue were the two most popular, though. In digging, I found that the decks had roots in MTG with this card.

The Verdict

Thanks for reading my M21 notable cards Gruul edition. As with the Esper edition, there are some fun cards in this set. I think I get to open my product on MTGA tomorrow and then my paper product should be in the mail in the next week or so. Oh, and I can’t wait to see what this set does to the Cube in Arena. The power level is definitely going to go up!

Hearthstone Trial By FelFire Review

Introduction

Hearthstone Trial by Felfire just proves that someone at Blizzard is a frustrated poet. And that they want the entire world to know it.

Hey, I’m not one to cast aspersions. After all, I have written my own version.

What is all of this rhyming about? Keep reading and you just might find out.

The Great

Free: Normally there is a fee. This time, the adventure is free. I am glad there is no charge. I didn’t want to pay 20 large. sure, I could have used gold. However, using it for that instead of packs gets old. And so, I played. And discovered the true prize is the friends I made.

Packs: Actually, the adventure comes with a quest. And, what is there in that chest? For your trouble, you get three free card packs. They can be won without any hacks. Simply complete Chapter 1. There, now you are done.

The Good

Variety: There is a variety of fights. It isn’t all about might. Sure, some are a race. That require you just to go face. Others require a different tact. And, that is just a fact. Against one boss a fatigue strategy works well. After drawing his last card he faces the death knell.

Length: Even though this adventure is free. There is plenty in Outland for you to see. Four rounds of four bosses. Be careful for some may cause losses. Then, at the end. You face off against one who was a friend. In order to escape Outland, you must take a stand.

I was prepared…

The Decent

Reward: Other than the cards, all you get is a card back. Compared with other adventures, that’s kind of wack. Again, I realize that it’s free. But it just seems like to me–that they could give more. Instead they put a bundle in the store. Like a sucker, I paid. But it included some packs, so better decks can be made.

The card back isn’t even that good of a design.

The Verdict

Overall Trial by Felfire is fun. Even if you don’t do the adventures, you should try this one. The story is decent. You won’t be sad you went. To the plane of Outland. Just make sure you have a plan. You wouldn’t want to get lost. And captured by some demons and tossed–into a pit of despair. Or maybe they’d just set fire to your hair. So pay my warning fair heed. And get on over to this adventure via your trusty steed.

Felfire Festival Week 1 Post Mortem

Introduction

Felfire Festival Week 1 Post Mortem already? Surely, it isn’t dead. Well, yes and no. The week is technically over. However, the ramifications continue to reverberate through the game. At least, I assume they do. I thought I might play the game more now that it’s been updated.

However, I have not. I’ve tried playing a couple of times. I just can’t get into it. Battlegrounds is frustrating and boring. It takes almost all of the strategy out of a normal auto battler game. In most cases, that has worked to Blizzard’s advantage. Without a coherent strategy, the game just becomes ovals banging into each other.

The Great, The Good, and the Decent? No, just a verdict

No, I’m not even going to give lip service to these categories for this review. I could go back to the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly for one article, but that seems suboptimal. And, so, I will leave the reader to decide for themselves if it’s worth it to come back if you left. In the humble opinion of the writer of this article, it very much is not worth it.

There are plenty of other autobattlers out there for you to play instead. I would suggest either Autochess or TFT if you’re on mobile. Underlords is also on mobile, but I’ve found that it is a better PC experience. In any case, don’t waste your time on Battlegrounds.

Thanks for taking the time to read my Felfire Festival Week 1 post mortem. Some of you more astute readers might attribute my snark to salt. Honestly, you’re partially right. I’ve played 3 or 4 matches to try things out and I have yet to crack the top 4 in any of them. So, yes, I am frustrated. But, I also have many other things to keep me occupied. In any case, I hope next week is better!

Hearthstone BattleGrounds June 2020

Introduction

I was taken by surprise by yesterday’s Hearthstone Battlegrounds June 2020 update. But, I put together a quick article with my thoughts. It was close to dinner time and then we were maybe going to go to the lake. So, I didn’t talk about the minions because there were a good amount of them being added. We didn’t end up going to the lake, but I hung out in the front yard with Quinn and his stuffed Pokemon. Therefore, I’m going to take some time this morning to give my thoughts on the minions.

Hearthstone Battlegrounds June 2020 Minions

Deck Swabbie: Reducing your tier cost by 1 is huge, especially if you get it early. It’s like getting a token, but you don’t have to sell a minion to get the benefit. I think that this is going to be one of the strongest early game minions.

Scallywag: This isn’t as strong as the tier 1 murloc token because it doesn’t give the extra gold. However, 3/2 are good early game stats and trade well with almost everything.

Freedealing Gambler: A free 3/3 early game? Sign me up.

Southsea Captain: A bit of a whiff if you aren’t already in pirates and early game is too early to commit to a tribe of minions. This is probably the weakest of the tier 2 pirates.

Arcane Cannon: Aside from being the new tier 2 minion sure to be sniped by your opponent, this one is pretty good early game especially if you can get a token and guarantee first attack.

Monstrous Macaw: There are some decent early game deathrattles. Selfless Hero, Rat Pack, Harvest Golem, Kaboom Bot. Heck, even Ghoul is good against a low health board, but it could backfire against you, too.

Salty Looter: These types of minions are always a trap.

Bloodsail Canoneer: This is a strictly worse version of Deathwing’s old hero power. Hard pass unless you get it late and are already in pirates.

Yo-Ho-Ogre: This is a good card. The stat are insane. You’re virtually guaranteed to get at least 3 attacks from it. Late game, unless you get some buffs on it, it falls off, but this is a great tier 3 minion.

Southsea Strongarm: Stats are decent, but the battlecry is only good if you’re in pirates already.

Goldgrubber: Strictly worse Razorgore and honestly, that card isn’t all that great to begin with.

Ripsnarl Captain: Stats aren’t awful and could potentially get better. Similar to Waxrider and that card falls off quickly. I feel like this one would never get going.

Seabreaker Goliath: This one might be good enough to switch strategies. I guess it depends on how sold you are on what you have and what else is offered in the pool.

Cap’n Hoggar: Reducing the cost of pirates by 1 is pretty good. It’s like having a better Millhouse power if you are offered pirates.

Nat Pagle, Extreme Angler: I don’t know what a treasure chest does. I guess I could always check out reddit, since I got my answer to the digging for a golden minion. But, I’m just not in the mood right now.

The Tide Razor: These deathrattle fiesta cards are either good or bad, depending on what they pull. Right now, pirates aren’t strong enough to make this card any good, in my opinon.

Dread Admiral Eliza: Buffs are good, especially if they’re repeated. But, you’d have to be deep into pirates in order for this to pay off. I guess if you’re pulling a 6 star, you very well may be. Otherwise, this plus Megasaur with no murlocs and Nadina without dragons would be a huge whiff. I get that’s a single scenario, but I guarantee I’ll get it more than once with the luck I have

The Verdict

I don’t see anything in the Hearthstone Battlegrounds June 2020 update that makes me want to play pirates. They have a good early game, a decent midgame and then seem to fall off hard in the late game. I could be wrong. Often, I am. However, it still feels like murlocs, dragons, and even mechs are much stronger tribes. Granted, this is just the introduction of pirates and they have time to adjust or add new minions. See you on the Battlegrounds!

Note: All pictures taken from the official Hearthstone patch page. Please don’t sue me Blizzard. You’ve already taken enough money from my World of Warcraft habit and various pack bundles I’ve bought in Hearthstone.