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Now that the excitement has simmered down a bit, let's discuss the expansion as a whole. The main thign I liked about this expansion was the theme and the design of the set (and by design, I do not necessarily mean balance, but we will get to that). In fact, many things I really liked.
The cards that give you constant trickle effects while order is not used is really cool.
Evolving cards are a very interesting design. With the Order cards mentioned above, you have a dynamic that encourages patience for a bigger payoff.
Devotion, much like highlander, gives deck-building options that diverge from the usual, something I am a big fan of.
Expanding on underused and underepresented like Firesworn and Wild Hunt were fleshed out to the delight of many. Infact, Wild Hunt is one of the cooler archetypes I have seen in Gwent.
Echo is a really cool design that allows you to use the cards in R1 or 2, instead of hoarding it.
Veil is great new status.
The card art is ABSOLUTELY GLORIOUS. Kudos to the guy who did the art of Smuggle and Dies Irae. That's some Renaissance goodness right there!
So, the ideas were good. Many were great, in my opinion. The theme and feel of the expansion is fatastic. However, the execution was far less optimal. The seasonal tree is probably one of the worst I have seen thus far. Quests like playing 45 bombs or winning rounds by 20 points do not encourage certain aspects of deck building and isn't something you can just do easily as the season goes by. What ended up happening is that players specifically designed stupids decks to get those nodes out of the way, which is not fun. The next issue is the severely skewed balance, giving the impression that many things were not fully playtested. Skellige is probably the worst offender with CDPR stubborny holding on to Second Wind (and other double play abilities), despite it being shown time and time against that they break the game. Scenarios and arguably poison are still as oppressive as before and many of the old binary interactions still exist, despite CDPRs promises to remove those. Some factions really got the short end of the stick in some aspects. For example, Viraxas seems to be the least used and useful of all the evolving cards, Firesworn as an archetype has many design flaws and Echo cards like Dies Irae and the Frost card are very underwhelming compared to the glory of Amphibious Assault and Blood Eagle. Gaunter's Ultimate Challenge is a decent idea of paper that encourages players to explore different factions, and after CDPR reworked the quests, they are also doable by newer players. This part is cool. However, yet another economy nerf, which went unannounced overshadowed that. While CDPR did introduce the daily RP gain, verdict is still out on whether it was a genuine move or a "sorry we got caught" one. In either case, this represents a major problem that has been evolving, which is the growing distance between CDPR and the players. Communication is sorely lacking, changes come unannounced and many of the statements are PR statements. This comes in addition of player feedback being regarded as less relevant, instead referring to algorithms for balancing, which has been shown to be a bad idea. To sum up my thoughts, the ideas, themes and aethetics of the expansion were fantastic and extra kudos to the artists and art design team. However, while the spirit was there, the execution was lacking, both on a technical level, as well as balancing. While the unique situation we are in definitely accounts of some of the issues, I feel like poor practices are taking root and communication is receeding. Once glaring balancing issue have been dealt with, I am sure the expansion will be fine. I am enjoying it so far. But I am becoming increasingly worried about the future and I hope and the Cyberpunk release, as well as Covid are responsible for most of the missteps. Let's your your thoughts of the expansion. And please, be civil and constructive.
How I imagine a "Very Good End" to be [spoilers for the endgame]
[WARNING:This post containsSPOILERSfor the ending of GreedFall -- please stop reading here if you don't want to be spoiled on the endgame!] So we all know that there is a "good end" and "bad end" for GreedFall, depending on whether or not you choose to kill or join Constantin. Both endings create a very strong narrative, and while I have my own thoughts and feelings over each ending, those could very well go into their own separate post, lol. But here I'd like to explore the possibility of a 'very good end'. In my first playthrough of GreedFall, I wasn't aware of the binary ending choice, and was trying very hard to get a "happily ever after" where de Sardet gets along with all the factions, helps all her companions, has a fulfilling romantic relationship, and Constantin is happy and safe. This means, of course, I sunk many hours into completing all the companion and faction missions to get everyone to "Friendly". But all that effort is for nothing, if you choose the 'bad end' of joining Constantin. Because of how I interpreted de Sardet's character, in the end I couldn't bear to raise a hand against my beloved cousin and forsook all my other bonds and relationships that I took ages to build, all so that Constantin could be preserved. Which brings me to how I imagine a 'very good end' to be, where if you play the game right, you don't have to sacrifice anything. CONDITIONS:
Complete all companion missions; all companions at least at "Friendly" level
Complete all faction missions; all factions at "Friendly" level
Duncass as High King
Via dialogue choices, foster reconciliation between the renaigse and natives of Teer Fradee using all the knowledge you gained during the side quests (i.e. Theleme and the Natives becoming allies after learning of San Matheus' connection with en ol mil frichtimen; Congregation acknowledging their past colonization of the island; etc).
Have the right companion 'equipped' at each conversation to facilitate the alliances/reconciliation
All this would unlock the option to talk Constantin out of his plan. Constantin realizes all the good that de Sardet has done in the world, and how he can achieve his goals of toppling corrupt governments, freeing Teer Fradee from bondage and evil, and breaking the power-cycle of cruelty and manipulation via de Sardet's peaceful way. But then there's the catch: Constantin must learn to "give back" to the world that he and his ancestors have taken so much from. He acknowledges that he is the last descendant of the royal Congregation bloodline who first pillaged Teer Fradee, and he takes it upon himself to make amends for the crimes of his forebears. He offers himself to en ol mil frichtimen, and in doing so, becomes one of EOMF's "thousand faces". Constantin's physical form is forever interred into the sanctuary in the heart of the volcano, but his psyche lives on in the island. He doesn't become a "god" himself, but becomes one part of the infinite facets of Teer Fradee's god, creating a bridge between the trauma of the past and the bright hope of a changed future. EPILOGUE:
Lady de Morange reinstated as governor of New Serene;
Teer Fradee becomes an example for the Continent to follow is terms of diplomatic relations, and a more transparent and compassionate government;
A cure for the malichor is discovered after Natives travel to the Continent and teach how to heal the earth;
Aphra becomes founder for the science of Anthropology, and devotes the rest of her life to educating the rest of the world about Native culture;
Petrus facilitates the alliance between Theleme and the Natives, in Arelwin's memory;
Vasco influences changes in the ways the Nauts handle recruitment -- the "sea-given" are now recruited purely on a voluntary basis;
Siora learns from observing de Sardet as a legate, and incorporates what she learnt into her role as doneigad, further strengthening diplomatic relations with the renaigse;
Kurt takes up the responsibility of improving conditions within the Coin Guard with full support from the Congregation, Bridge Alliance and Theleme;
Prince d'Orsay has trouble accepting what happened to his son at first, but is convinced after seeing proof from the island, and listening to testimonies from his court and allies that it's all for the best;
de Sardet lives in peace on Teer Fradee, occasionally making visits the Sanctuary at the heart of the volcano, becoming the first legate in history to have political advantage coming from personal ties with a god.
This way, Constantin and de Sardet will be the agents of positive change they wanted to be. I know this ending might be too "Disney" for some. And I understand how the current bad/good endings create more powerful narratives compared to my tame "happily-ever-after", but I thought this would be a decent payoff for getting everything "right" in your playthrough.
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Because of the Reddit character limit, I am posting this separately. Episode IX - Balance in the Force: If The Force Awakens was a bad premise executed incredibly well and The Last Jedi was an incredible premise executed badly, The Rise of Skywalker is a terrible premise executed horribly. I disagree with the popular notion that Rian cornered J.J. because TLJ screwed everything up. I have many problems with The Last Jedi, but Rian took what could have been a visionless carbon-copy of the OT, and gave a new bold direction, an inspiring purpose for this trilogy to exist. It opened up so many possibilities for Episode 9, but J.J. took the easiest soulless path. Episode 9 should never have been the plot conclusion that reverses from The Last Jedi and attempts to be a thoughtless fan service finale that ties up the Prequels and the Originals by redoing Return of the Jedi. Episode 9 should have been the thematic conclusion that wraps up the motifs of the Prequels, the Originals, and The Last Jedi. The Rise of Skywalker failed to answer the questions that the trilogy has raised. I am not talking about J.J.'s mystery boxes. Sure, I would have liked to learn how Maz got Luke's lightsaber and who Max von Sydow's character was, but I am talking about the thematic questions. What should the Jedi be and where should the Jedi head toward? What should the galactic government be after the failures of the New Republic? What is the will of the Force? What is the balance? Why is Kylo Ren's path wrong? What is the permanent solution to the chaos that has been repeated again? Despite branding itself to be a finale that attempts to unify the whole saga, The Rise of Skywalker answers none of these because killing Palpy again, this time he is 'dead' dead, solves every problem of the galaxy. The movie fails to wrap up the 42-year franchise, it fails to wrap up what The Last Jedi has set up, it fails to answer The Force Awakens's questions, only raising more questions, it fails to be a fan-service movie, and it even fails to be a fun popcorn movie as its own. This is Spectre of Star Wars. It bafflingly misunderstands what the essence of Star Wars is. As the title suggests, this new story is about our heroes exploring what balance in the Force means. Balance is not just killing Palpy again and be done with it. Here are the basic ideas. Let's continue The Last Jedi's message about the power of myth and everyman. EDIT: I have incorporated EmperorYogg's idea. Crawl: The flames of resistance burn brightly! Word of mouth about the heroic act of Jedi Master LUKE SKYWALKER has spread from planet to planet and inspired the galaxy anew. To suffocate growing unrest, Supreme Leader Hux has silenced all communication between neighboring systems. Defiance is punishable by death. As the First Order struggles to maintain their systems, Lord KYLO REN rages in search of all records of the Force and anyone associated with it, determined to destroy any threat to his power....
The camera pans down and we see common people talking about the legend of Luke Skywalker as they look up the night sky. Then the montage of the word of mouth about Luke Skywalker's heroic sacrifice spreading among the common people throughout the galaxy. Even the FO troopers who witnessed the event at Crait talk about this in secret.
It has been two years after The Last Jedi.
The FO has blocked all civilian communications, trades, and movements between systems. People are only able to travel if they have permission.
Finn has become one of the Commanders of the Resistance.
Kylo dreams of his uncle returning to his mind and pulling him to the light. He dreams of Luke over and over.
Kylo reigns the FO as a Lord. He continues his "kill the past" mentality to the extreme. Kylo wants to remove all record of the Force and those associated with it from the galaxy. He massacres the suspected Force users and destroys the ancient Jedi and Sith relics. He hopes to maintain power as the leader of the FO by gatekeeping such knowledge as he has become fearful that he might lose his authority at any moment. This makes Kylo a thematical opposition to Rey, who wants to spread stories and knowledge of the Force to recruit the Jedi.
After the death of Plagueis, Supreme Hux has been obsessed with the Sith and the Jedi and wants to become a Force-user. Unlike Kylo, who destroys all records of the Force, he has been collecting the lightsabers and ancient relics. He beheads the traitors and captured Resistance fighters on the public square by using the lightsaber he has collected to show off. Despite wanting to become a Force-user, he has no knowledge nor cares to understand it. Only for his power. To beat Kylo Ren out of his power. Basically, Hux is an Indiana Jones villain. This makes Hux an opposition to both Kylo and Rey and gives him an interesting dynamic with Kylo.
As Kylo and the Knights of Ren massacre another group of Force worshippers (Not the Jedi nor the Sith. People like Chirrut who do not fall under any side), Kylo discovers some sort of a key. They return to Coruscant and examine it, discovering it is a key to the World Between Worlds from Rebels. He tries to destroy the key at first but chooses to venture there alone, determined to close this place once and for all so no one can access it. He then dreams of Luke again in his nightmare.
NandovMovies's idea on Chewbacca is pretty fantastic. Chewbacca and C-3PO (translating the Force worshippers' words for Chewbacca) are with these Force worshippers in the intro as Rey is trying to find all the Force-related relics to rebuild the Jedi, but Kylo and his Knights of Ren came in. The Force worshipper contacts Rey through the Force to alert her. We see Rey in her hideout on Kijimi, floating with the Force. There are many new recruits beside her. Rey tells them it is time to go.
Kylo demands the Force worshippers to join him, but they refuse. Kylo and his Knights massacre the worshippers. Before Chewie gets captured, he does something to C-3PO. He captures Chewbacca, C-3PO, and his Falcon and brings them to Coruscant.
The FO attempts to extract information from C-3PO, but Chewie mindwiped him. However, Kylo notices additional modification for C-3PO with the parts that are made with Ajan Kloss steels, meaning the Resistance base is on there. The FO then tortures Chewbacca to get information, but he will not open his mouth. Finally, Kylo arrives. Chewbacca looks away. Kylo interrogates Chewbacca to gain information about where the Resistance and Rey are and what this key is about. Chewbacca resists and starts remembering his happy days with Kylo and Han Solo, and Kylo relieves these moments. Chewbacca watching the marriage... Leia holding her newborn baby... Ben's Jedi training... and Ben killing his father. Kylo tries to suppress it, killing the past but it keeps haunting him back. Despite Chewie's effort, Kylo obtains information regarding the key and Rey and the Resistance's location.
The stationed Republic troopers raid Rey's hideout on Kijimi, but they were already gone. Rey and her Jedi and Rebel recruits escape. Her new recruits comprise of diverse living beings from Kijimi, from teenagers to elders, from humans to aliens... Rey has been recruiting those who wanted to be the Jedi and the Resistance through the stories. In the last hope to preserve the Jedi's legacy, Rey grows from student to teacher and shares the sacred texts to everyone who wants to be Jedi. She has been printing and researching the texts.
We get a chase scene in the village. Rather than Rey killing every enemy in her sight unlike Luke did in Return of the Jedi, she tries more peaceful solutions. Instead of slashing trooper's head, she Force-throws objects and cuts off the bridge, etc. The villagers cheer for the Jedi and block the troopers' way. She protects her pupils and escapes without killing anyone. Connix reveals herself with the hidden Resistance ship and helps them escape. Rey tells her they are new Jedi recruits.
In the road to regroup with the Resistance, Connix thanks Rey for alerting the Resistance. The Resistance has retreated again (As Kylo extracted information about the Resistance base) and she is angry that the Resistance cannot keep running away. They are now bigger than before and this is time to fight back. A new volunteer says that time might be closer since people are resenting the FO rule and the blackout was the last straw. They talk about the sacrifice of Luke Skywalker and how it has inspired people. He asks if Rey is Luke's daughter. Rey gives a bittersweet smile and tells him she is not. She still wants to be someone's daughter.
They regroup on the asteroid world of Opuchi in the Unknown Regions like Polis Massa. The Resistance, now significantly increased in size, has just fled from Ajan Kloss. Opuchi is the last place they have. The Resistance has become a more proper military now, but there are plenty of civilian vehicles modified into the warships. They have been gathering local resistance forces and unifying them under the rebranded name of the Alliance of Free Planets.
While I agree with the Rey Sue criticism in The Force Awakens, people who still complained about Rey being Mary Sue even after TLJ's release seem to misunderstand her character. Rey's character flaw (Yes, it does exist) was that she was so gullible and naive, and The Last Jedi challenged this in an interesting way. Rather than continuing Rey being another Luke Skywalker-type hero, which would not work because of her OP set-up in TFA, Rian made Rey's story as someone with innate power already present with no direction on how to process it and how to find her place in the galaxy. You know, sort of like Superman. If you view through this lens, every Rey's 'want' fails. Her Jedi fantasy gets crushed, her optimism about turning Kylo to good shatters, and her hope about her parentage is torn to pieces. To continue her arc, in REDONE, Rey is no longer a naive optimistic character as she used to be. She is jaded, stressed, and lashes out when she sees students doing something wrong. Not only Rey has self-doubt if she will be able to lead the new generation of the Jedi, but she is also disillusioned and feels that the Jedi's way is wrong.
The Resistance has no idea what to do amidst the communication blackout. The blackout is working for the FO. The Resistance is completely cornered and has no way out. However, R2-D2, who is with Leia, tells that the Coruscant Jedi Temple has an old communication system from the Old Republic that can send a universal signal. (If you have read my ROTS REDONE, R2-D2 was the one who transmitted Obi-Wan's warning message. Even if you take the movie canon, R2-D2 was Anakin's droid, and Anakin already knew where the Temple beacon was, so I do not think it would be big of a stretch that R2 knows about it.) The FO cannot stop it since it far predates the FO, the New Republic, and even the Imperial tech. Leia plans on using it to get allies for possibly the last strike against the FO. "It will go out across all system comm channels and will be inserted into the public holonet. Trillions of beings will soon hear my voice. This is a galaxy-wide call to arms. We can no longer fight in isolation. Together, we will restore hope."
Luke's Force ghost visits Rey after she trained the recruits. Luke: "Another hard day's work?" Rey ignores Luke and says, "Leave me alone." Although Rey has come to terms with Luke, her relationship with Luke is not smooth. Rey talks about how she is not ready for such a task. She does not feel like she has what it takes to be a Jedi and cannot live up to everyone's expectations. Luke says, he has just visited Ben, in his dream, and tells her that Ben is going to the World Between Worlds. A place described in the Jedi texts as a place of balance. The texts tell where the key is. Luke tells Rey that he sensed Ben can be saved thus Rey can bring balance to the Force. However, Rey asks if Kylo is worth saving anymore. If Rey re-establish the Jedi Order, the same thing is bound to happen and the cycle of suffering continues. Rey: "Balance? The dark suffocates the light, light extinguishes the dark. Over and over and over again. How is that balance in the Force?" Luke: "I know that anger. My father had it too." Rey: "So says my master and his master before him. A thousand masters so eager to tell us how to live." Regardless, Rey decides to have a dangerous journey alone. Although Rey doubts about it, Rey still feels the need to try. Leia and Finn doubt it.
Finn then talks about Kylo. He says, "He can't change. It's too late." Rey says, "It's never too late to change. You taught me that." This sets Finn's character arc that he needs to learn people can change as he did.
Maz is with Rey. Maz talks about the former Jedi who found Anakin's lightsaber. "The former Togruta Jedi" did not follow the Jedi's principles, yet was still able to do good, proving you can still serve the Force without inheriting the way of the Jedi.
Rey tells Leia that she does not feel she belongs with the heroes like Leia, Finn, and Chewie. She feels unworthy. Leia brings some senses to her. "You're not like my father or my brother. You're new. Whatever happens, remember the Force chose you, Rey. Your story isn't written by anyone else." Rey's arc in Episode 9 is about learning to stop relying on other people (or things) for validation and learn to start relying on herself. She doesn’t have to be told her place in the Galaxy, she has to find it herself and she can still be a hero despite coming from nothing.
Finn tries to persuade her not to go. The Resistance and the Jedi recruits need her. If she has to go, Finn will go with her. Rey refuses, but Finn begs her to take him. Rey uses the Force mind tricks on him, but it does not work as his spirit is too strong. Rey runs away with R2-D2 and leaves Finn without a proper goodbye.
R2-D2 wants to meet Kylo again, as he has always been with Ben until he became Kylo Ren. Rey hesitates, but Leia tells her to bring him.
Leia's mission is to gather many armies as possible for the final confrontation against the FO on Coruscant. Nien Nunb tells where Lando is and she meets Lando in his casino at Canto Bight. She asks him to join the fight but Lando refuses. What's the point of fighting when the same thing repeats. This conversation leads to Leia's decision at the end of the story. Leia gets disappointed and leaves the casino. Lando feels guilty for not helping Leia.
For Finn's arc, u/withoutamartyr seems to be ideal. Finn's mission is to get into Coruscant through the FO freighter and transmit Leia's message. Wedge is said to be there. Before they depart, R2-D2 and BB-8 come together. R2-D2's prod connects to BB-8 and gives him the map of the Jedi Temple, passing down the torch.
Finn, BB-8, and his squad, disguised as the migrant workers, are sent to one of the agriworlds in the Outer Rims. This can be Ertegas or Taris. They go through a checkpoint, which is about to close today. Only Finn gets accepted as the last migrant for today. One of the troopers recognizes Finn's face and about to detain him, but a sergeant trooper comes out and takes Finn away. The trooper takes out his helmet to reveal Wedge Antilles.
Wedge guides Finn and BB-8 to Babu Frik, who lives hiding in the migrant settlement. Babu Frik modifies BB-8's shell into the FO BB unit. Wedge talks about how people on Coruscant are starving due to the blackout as Coruscant has little to no farm. Finn has to get into the freighter loaded with bread-powder rations (The powder Rey used to grow bread in TFA), resources, and the weaponry. Here, Finn asks, "How'd you do it? How did you defeat an Empire with almost nothing?" Wedge responds, "We had each other. That's how we won."
With the help of Wedge, Finn hides in the bread-powder container and loads into the freighter while disguised BB-8 is already in the freighter and hacks the scanner examining the loads. They successfully get smuggled into the freighter which heads to Coruscant.
Among the troopers are Elite Troopers, who have been highly trained with high moral.
In the road to Coruscant, Finn, covered in bread powder, gets out of the container and sneaks into the vents. In the vent, water drops fall onto Finn and loaves of bread grow out of his skins and clothes. He gets detected and captured. The FO captain tries contacting other fleets, but BB-8 jammed the freighter, cutting off any communication from the ship. The captain says there must be a droid spy and orders them to find BB-8. BB-8 must have the Resistance location. The captain is giggling, thinking he will get promoted for killing infamous Finn. When Finn is ordered to be executed, the troopers refuse the order and shoot their captain. They take off their helmets, a boy, a 16-year-old child soldier as the FO has lowered the conscription age, and his older sister, Jannah. They are alien characters, Zabrak, Twe'lek, Chiss, Pantoran, Togruta, Mirialan... It does not matter. They say, "We all know your name." Soldiers do not know what they are fighting for anymore and their morale is an all-time low. Finn and the troopers start a breakout, and more troopers get inspired and do the same. The defected group gets larger and creates a massive mutiny and overthrow their superiors. Finn and the deserters take control of the ship before the officers were able to alert the HQ.
Jannah tells her backstory. She enlisted to the FO because they promised to give equal society for non-humans after two decades of brutal humanist rule of the Empire. Until she realized she is no different from a stormtrooper. Finn asks what was the last straw. She says it was him. It is because of the story of Finn that made her turn. She says Finn is the legend among the FO troopers and fangirls over Finn. She tells Finn's defection and myth have already caused several mutinies within the FO. "We are not alone. Good people will fight if we lead them."
The freighter of Finn and his army of the deserted Republic troopers gets into Coruscant. Coruscant is surrounded by the shield blockade like Scarif from Rogue One, reinforcing the notion that societies are isolated from each other. Large stations hover over the cities. Coruscant is no longer a vibrant city. Because of the embargo, citizens are poor and many have become scavengers. We learn of the FO's status in the galaxy and how the people feel about it. The public has turned against the government, but they cannot rebel due to martial law. They surround Hux's gigantic sky palace that is floating behind the abandoned Senate building. Like how Wallace corp. is built right behind Tyrell corp. in Blade Runner 2049. They fool the guards using the Republic trooper disguise (as the deserters are literally the Republic troopers) and go into the Jedi temple, marveled by its history and architecture.
Chased by Knights of Ren, Finn, and BB-8 restore the power of the Temple and successfully transmit Leia's inspiring message to people all over the galaxy to join the battle of Coruscant. "The First Order has continued the pretense that they would end social injustice and corruption. On the surface, their policies may seem to be aimed at righting the wrongs imposed by the tyrannical Empire. But their true goal has always been no different from the Empire: The subjugation of the thousand thousand worlds and the enslavement of all galactic citizens. They rule by fear rather than by consent. They state that all beings are equal citizens while they carry out missions designed to destroy whole populations." [...] "For too long we have watched the heavy hand of the First Order strangle our liberties, stifling our freedoms in the name of ensuring our safety. No longer. It is now time for action. Despite the First Order's threats, despite the Supreme Leader Hux himself, I have no fear as I take new action. For I know I am not alone. Beginning today we stand together as people. Today, we all vow to free the galaxy once more, and today the galaxy will indeed be free." [...] "We ask much of you. The fate of the galaxy rests in this one decisive fight for freedom. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The time has come to stop hiding and face tyranny one to one. This is our most desperate hour. Help us, everyone. You are the galaxy's only hope. Let the stars sing! Let the planets shout! May the Force be with all of us." A montage of people in the galaxy hearing her message, including Lando's casino where every droid there projects Leia's message. Even R2-D2, who is with Rey, projects Leia's message. Rey realizes the assault has begun.
In his journey to the World Between Worlds, Kylo meets Rey and fights her. However, Rey overwhelms Kylo and cuts his limbs out. He falls to the ground, tumbles near the lava. Kylo discovers he has transported to Mustafar, and in front of him is Obi-Wan, delivering his lines from ROTS. Kylo tries climbing up, but the fire catches up to his clothing. Kylo feels immense pain as fire burns his skins. Then he wakes up and his limbs are fine. An illusion. Kylo thinks this is a trick of the Force this place has set, trying to keep away intruders who aren’t worthy of possessing its power.
He meets the Force ghost of Anakin Skywalker. Anakin could not contact Kylo for a long time as Plagueis has been blocking that contact. This would be a fantastic opportunity to redeem Hayden Christensen with competent direction and dialogues. Kylo at first resists Anakin and tries to destroy him. Anakin persuades him to realize errors of his power obsession and 'kill the past' mentality.
In TWBW, Kylo experiences the history of the Sith as he sort of time travels like Bran. Showing that Kylo's path is not so different from Darth Vader and other Sith. They spend a long time as these two having a journey together. Imagine Cade Skywalker meeting Anakin from Legacy. Kylo also meets his old self, deformed and scarred with deep sorrow, the inevitable fate if Kylo chooses to go down this path.
Hux finds a Sith relic. I am undecided about what this relic should be or how he found it yet. He could have sent Pryde after Kylo to TWBW and learn about it. Regardless, Hux meets the Sith ghost of Plagueis. Plagueis tells Hux that Kylo killed him, not the girl. Now, Hux has a reason to turn his military against his despised tyrant boss for treason. Hux assumes himself as the 'Lord' and promises Pryde to promote him to the Supreme Leader if Pryde kills Kylo. Kylo has lost the power he so much adored. This humbles Kylo and changes his character.
Plagueis promises Hux that he will gain the immense Force power if he lets Plagueis borrow his body. Hux can be a Sith he has so desired. Hux can live forever. Hux denies.
Rey needs to learn about the true meaning of balance to the Force and her self-worth in the journey. Her journey also needs to come together with Kylo. Maybe Rey arriving at Tython, the ancient Jedi homeworld, to find the key to the World Between Worlds, and in that process, she witnesses how the Jedi Order has changed and perverted by dogmatism. Or she goes to Lothal and goes through the Painting of the Mortis gods. Or, a more interesting one, she goes to the homeworld of Celestials. Celestials have had such immense Force powers that Jedi and Sith legends suggest that they may have merged with the Force itself, and are actually the 'guiding' part of The Force. Unlike Jedi or Sith, they did not view the Force as light and dark. To them, the Force was only the Force. They saw the Force as a single thing. They recognized the Force had more than one aspect to it, more precisely sides to it. While the Jedi see any use of the Force that breaks what they define as being natural, as being an abomination in the Force. Basically they call it an unclean and impure use of the Force that brings nothing but death and destruction. To a Jedi, the light side is the only side. The true nature of the Force. While obviously the Sith saw things at the opposite end of the Jedi. In a way, the Jedi broke up the Force and were responsible for the creation of an imbalance in the galaxy as well as the Sith. Seeing they themselves are out of balance for they only see the Force as they want to see it and not as it is. Rey finally realizes the balance. She obtains the key and goes to the World Between Worlds. The challenge here is to integrate Rey's external challenge in this part. Like Rey just wandering around the ancient relics, learning things, and exiting is boring. There need to be stakes here, and I do not know what could that be. Maybe the Knights of Ren chase after both Rey?
Another alternative is Rey arrives at Lothal first and goes through the painting to reach the TWBW. Rey goes through time and space and discovers Celestials.
She encounters Kylo. Kylo and Rey fight, as he promised to Luke that he will destroy her, but Rey tries persuading him, using the knowledge she just gained. Trying to convince that Kylo's way is wrong. To Rey, the whole dark side/light side thing is drawn out, and clearly both have major flaws. In anger that he has lost his power in the FO, Kylo defeats Rey. However, Rey manages to turn Kylo to good. However, I am not sure what triggers Kylo to turn at this moment yet. Maybe Anakin and Luke intervene and tell Rey and Kylo that both Luke and Anakin were affected by the Jedi's inability to prepare them for the darkness they would feel.
Another argument to refute Kylo is that he is wrong that he can stop the Force. He cannot stop the Force and his determination to destroy those who can use it only furthers the Force's calling.
Or you can have a moment where R2 projects the recording of Anakin Skywalker on Mustafar. "I have brought peace, freedom, justice, and security to my new empire!" If you want a movie canon, R2-D2 shows Anakin choking Padme, which parallels Kylo killing Rey. Urging Kylo that he is no different from Anakin and the Sith's path. Kylo decides not to kill Rey but has not turned yet. Pryde and his Elite Troopers die.
Leia's forces drop out of hyperspace and face the FO navy on Coruscant. The Resistance is hopelessly outnumbered. Now, there is no going back. Leia trusts in hope and believes people will come together.
People on Coruscant get inspired by Leia's message and the space battle above Coruscant and start rebelling against the FO. The soldiers are dispatched to suppress the riots. Hux detects where the message is coming from and sends the troops into the Jedi temple. Finn and the deserted Republic troopers escape the temple and return to the freighter to leave Coruscant.
At the most desperate moment, the civilian reinforcements led by Lando from across the galaxy to join the battle.
In the freighter, before Finn decides to leave Coruscant, he looks out the window and witnesses the space battle above Coruscant and the soldiers suppressing the revolution. Instead of running away, he decides to broadcast his message to all troopers on Coruscant through the radio. Similar to the scene from The Winter Soldier, Finn accepts his status as a legend. "Troopers, I'm Finn. You know me. You've heard my story. Make my story yours." They don't know if it works until the FO forces halt and massive mutinies take all over them. Finn hears many voices from the radio, "We hear you, Finn.", "We are with you,""We all have heard of you! " We see a long slow-motion montage of Republic troopers, who took out their helmets, joining the crowd. Finn leads the charge into the government buildings. The revolution has begun. 'People' overthrow the FO. Very much like Les Miz and Metropolis imagery. With this, Finn concludes his arc. This reinforces the theme of rebellion reborn, the power of legend, and the theme of people versus the FO.
During the chaos, Chewbacca and C-3PO escapes and flies the Falcon to assist the revolution from the sky. We get a chase sequence on the cityscape. The Falcon destroys the planetary shield gate from inside to help the Resistance fleet coming into the planet.
Meanwhile, Plagueis once again asks Hux to borrow his body. Realizing Hux has no way out, he lets Plagueis. Plagueis possess Hux and revives by obtaining the body of Hux.
During Pryde's attack, the World Between Worlds gets destroyed. In the World Between Worlds, Rey teleports herself to Coruscant to face Hux possessed by Plagueis. (As you can teleport space and time in TWBW)
Rey arrives at the sky palace and faces Plagueis, but is too weak to fight him. Rey is defeated and can do nothing. Plagueis laughs and says it matters not that the FO fall. He will flee to Unknown Regions and return someday to avenge to rule the galaxy, and the cycle will continue. Plagueis uses the Force to control the sky palace and launches it into the sky, away from the planet. (Or the palace works like a ship and has a flying function) He says he will train Rey in the ways of the dark side to make her another Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. The Resistance attacks the palace, but lasers won't penetrate.
Before the sky palace lightspeeds, the palace pauses as if something is holding back. It is revealed that Ben Solo on the ground is holding the sky palace to stop escaping. Everyone on the ground is shocked to see Kylo Ren and sees his Force stopping the sky palace. However, Ben's power is not enough and the palace continues fleeing.
In the sky palace, Rey hears the voices of the past Jedi. The Force flows within Rey and everyone.
Just as Ben loses his grip on the sky palace, a boy comes out and extends his hand toward the sky palace. Others follow. Masses of the crowd gathers and reaches for the sky palace, including Finn and his band of deserters. Together, they stop the sky palace and Plagueis escaping. Here, Ben has a realization that the Force cannot be stopped. This is a payoff to the theme of everyone can be a Jedi.
Ben Force-pushes out of the wreckage and enters Hux's throne room. Rey also wakes up, keep hearing the voices of the Jedi. Plagueis's dark ghost leaves Hux's body, saying he cannot die. The Force ghosts of the Jedi appear and put their hands on Ben and Rey's shoulders. They then extend their hands and the light comes out as Yoda did in Episode III REDONE. However, it does not work and Plagueis overwhelms them still.
Rey represents the light and Ben the dark. Ben tries to help Rey by shooting out light with her, but it still does not work. Plagueis says the light cannot match the dark. Rey realizes something and encourages Kylo to find balance within the Force. They embrace balance. Rey and Ben extend their hands and the light and the dark come out. They do what Jacen Solo did in the Unifying Force and achieve complete oneness with the power of the Force. The light and the dark mix together and shoot out grey. The balance in the middle. Strengths and weaknesses of both sides. Rey and Ben obliterate Hux's body as well as Plagueis's soul.
I am not sure if 'grey' is an optimal option when the theme is about abandoning the light and the dark dichotomy. The scene is somewhat too cheesy in my taste, but so far this is the best way I can think of to go about it for now until I can think of a better solution.
There is a cool concept art of Treverrow version where Rey reaches a place of the Force beyond what we know and meets the Force ghosts of the past Jedi like Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Luke. The gray gets to Rey and she arrives at the sand field, where sand is black and the sky is white. Not heaven nor hell, a limbo. From the fog, hundreds of the Jedi walk out before her. Yoda reveals Rey succeeded where they failed. "You choose to abandon the light and dark dichotomy of the Force. To find the balance within."
The FO collapses and the Resistance assumes the control of Coruscant. Leia now sees it was corrupt out of touch bureaucracy of the Old and New Republic that birthed the Empire and the FO. In the half-destroyed Galactic Senate, instead of establishing the New New Republic, Leia declares there will not be a central galactic government. She will let each system to secede and declare independence.
Ben Solo turns good at the end, but is not 'redeemed'. I like Stephan Krosecz's idea. On Tatooine where Anakin was born, Ben defeats the FO remnants and stands before the mass grave where Ben ordered his men to slaughter the villagers and killed Mon Mothma. He is directly facing 'the past' and owning it. Ben tells Anakin's Force ghost that he will reject the surname, "Solo", as he feels he does not deserve his father's legacy and wander the galaxy alone to atone for his sins by helping people. Anakin tells him to carry that name. Solo is who you are and you should not bury it. Ben agrees and decides to carry that name in his journey to repent for his wrongdoings. This would be a far interesting angle for his character. This works with the theme that we should change for the better without forgetting the past. Acknowledging that people he has hurt should not feel obligated to befriend and accept him.
Yoda calls Luke "Master Skywalker" as a payoff to Yoda calling Luke "Young Skywalker".
In the end, Rey achieves balance in the Force by what Lucas has revealed in his interviews during the Prequels: "...The Force has two sides, the good side, the evil side, and they both need to be there.", "It is not a malevolent or a benevolent thing.", "Too much light or dark would be the undoing of life as you understand it." The prophecy is not the light side reigning the galaxy as the Jedi have thought, nor the dark side reigning the galaxy as the Sith have thought. It is about incorporating the pros of both sides and be better. After the victory, Rey gathers her pupils on Ahch-To, where everything began. Finn and Jannah are among them. Rey gives a speech.
She establishes the Jedi Academy, not the Jedi Order, that embraces the legacy of the Jedi but learns from the failures of the past Jedi Orders and erases rigid dogmatism that ultimately doomed her parents and the Jedi. The light side, the dark side, these are outdated binary concepts. It only becomes a cycle of reaction: the light side rules, which births the dark side, which births the light side. The cycle that only creates pain and suffering. As George said, "It rhymes." Rey believes there is a healthy middle ground. We should allow all human emotions and encourage the worshippers of the Force to follow their feelings and live to the fullest without a petty dogma controlling their lives. Rey announces the new Jedi code: "Emotion, yet peace. Ignorance, yet knowledge. Passion, yet serenity. Chaos, yet harmony. Death, yet the Force." It sends the opposite message to the original Jedi code and emphasizes a true balance. Rey believes it is important to accept these emotions rather than overcoming them or acting like they do not exist. The latter leads to Jedi falling to the dark after years of suppressing emotion and feelings that are natural and perhaps necessary to be compassionate and selfless as Jedi are. Emotions and passion exist because we are living beings. Rey allows people to express their darkness to others, not hide it away until it takes over them. We are all ignorant of some things which drive us to educate ourselves. Rey lets the students interpret the ancient texts freely as interpretations of religion to evolve as time passes, democratizing the Jedi. Individual Jedi can practice the Force in their own way they believe in. She recognizes this will not lead to the perfect world, but it is a step in the right direction. "Because we must try to be better." Rey breaks the cycle of pain and re-invents the Jedi for future generations. The story ends with Rey igniting her now white lightstaff, with the Jedi flag attached, and raising skyward, and her hundred students following her as Force-ghost Luke, Yoda, and Anakin, watching and smiling at the new generation finally bringing balance to the Force.
I was trying to figure out whether I'm Transgender or NB, and I came out too early. It's destroying my relationship.
Update: We are separating for an indefinite period of time. This was just a catalyst for other issues, mainly her overwhelming anxiety and depression, and our mutual codependency. I'm in a crisis, and I need to write this. Questions at bottom. I'm AMAB, and started experimenting with transgender thoughts around age 14. I mostly forgot about how serious it was until recently, about 14 years later. In that time, I've come to understand transitioning and transgender people much better, and it hit me hard because for the first time it seemed like a real option. I'm at an age and point in life where I'm doubting everything about myself, and feel like I'm close to "locking in" a future. I need to know what to do with these feelings. So I started questioning. Saw a therapist, shaved my beard and legs, and played around with the idea. Had to see if it felt right. Started training my voice to see if I could. Need to know if I'll pass. If I wouldn't pass, what's the point? I hate my body, I hate the way I look and talk, is that dysphoria? Or is that just my depression? How much of this is anxiety and how much is dysphoria? I am motivated to take care of myself for the first time possibly ever, and I hit the gym and diet. I'm down 10 lbs. After a couple times seeing my therapist, she says some things that didn't really stick with me until later. First, she suggests that being trans isn't necessarily the only thing that these feelings indicate, that being non-binary is also on the table. At this point, I'm not sure and I continue to wallow in questioning anxiety and panic. Fast forward a few weeks, and I can't take it anymore. My girlfriend of 5 years can tell something is going on with me, but she doesn't know what. I am stressed beyond belief and it's leaking out. So we get coffee and I come out with it, hoping that she's understanding enough to support me through the process. I drop some lines that I think extra fucked me over: I said that based off some kind of imaginary "checklist" I meet like 90% of the criteria for trans. Even worse, I explain how I'm worried about the clock running out on a viable passing transition and I could regret it 10 years from now. I'm still questioning, but I've heard that cis people don't think about it like this at all. It starts supportive and confused, but the focus turns instead to how she's going to "lose" me. Uhoh. She cannot see herself attracted to women and knows it won't work. This is going to be a breakup. She's already having a difficult, stressful time in life prior to this, and losing one of her biggest supporters is too much. She lives with her parents, and when we separate for the night they see her devastated. I learn a couple days later they already didn't like me and while they don't know exactly what we talked about, they don't want her to see me again. I get to dwell on all this with little sleep for about 24 hours. Panic attack for most of it. However when I calm down, I start to consider some things my therapist said to help me figure out what I want. They're simple, but they're questions I don't often ask myself:
What do youwantin your future?
Would transitioning make you significantly happier than not transitioning?
What about yourself, right now, feels wrong?
Things finally start to click. Perhaps the shock of all this got me into a more constructive mindset. Being male means nothing to me other than a series of assigned privileges. I don't like the male body aesthetic, but that doesn't mean I'm not male. I may not adhere to stereotypes, but even at my girliest I wasn't wanting to feminize much. Being female wouldn't change most of the faults I find with myself, or drastically change the way I want to socialize. It's just extra work and stress for little payoff. Being a better and more complete me doesn't have to include changing everything about me. I imagined myself as an old father with my wife and child. I said it's something I wanted but I never really put myself in the role. I realized the thing I needed was just a goal. The best thing about leading up to transition was the drive to finally start taking care of myself, but transition doesn't need to be the motivator. I can just do it for myself, with what I've been given. And that would be enough. I think I can be happy knowing I'm somewhere on the NB spectrum, maybe opening myself up to things I'd write off due to repression. Maybe I'll pierce my ears or something, dye my hair, get creative. I'll grow out my hair anyway, cause why not. Okay questions
How will I know if I'm coming to a NB conclusion to repress further transition? It's an anxiety thing but I have a hard time trusting my own judgment. How can I know that I won't change my mind later? I love my girlfriend more than I love myself and while I don't feel it now, future me could regret my actions now.
Can I even be Non-Binary if I'm presenting as my AGAB? For me this feels more like an internal acceptance thing than a presentation thing, but it almost feels like stolen valor or something.
How the hell do I start repairing my relationship? She's still super confused and hesitant to talk to me, but after some loooong texting sessions it sounds like a non-binary partner is not out of the question for her. I don't know how I'm going to face her parents, they think I'm basically a deadbeat and no good for her at this point.
Thanks for listening. Update: We are separating for an indefinite period of time. This was just a catalyst for other issues, mainly her overwhelming anxiety and depression, and our mutual codependency. ADDITION: I want to make clear that my experience does not reflect on the experience of anyone else, and if I end up not being trans it does not mean your feelings aren't valid. I suppose we can only decide for ourselves.
Genre: 2-Stick Shooter / Roguelike Players: 1-4 Co-Op (Local), Online Leaderboards . Review: Note: This game is included in Indie Gems Bundle: Explosions Edition along with Steredenn: Binary Stars and Transcripted. NeuroVoider is a 2-Stick Shooter with Roguelike elements that has you playing as a human brain taking over a robot and rampaging through hordes of other robots, collecting the spare parts your destruction leaves in its wake, and using them to upgrade your machine. This game's visual presentation is good, with solid pixel art graphics that actually change how your character looks based on each part you swap out, and with visual effects that are nicely varied and feel very satisfying - when you get a really good new weapon, it does a great job making you feel like a bad ass. However, while the visuals are good, the sound is wonderful, with a techno/chiptune "dark synth" soundtrack by Dan Terminus full of digitized vocals that gives this game a great futuristic cyberpunk feel. This is complimented by weapon sounds that only add to the fun of shooting off volleys of ammunition, with the payoff of a delightful popping sound every time you bring down an enemy. The gameplay here is every bit as fun as the presentation, with a wide variety of weapons and other parts to give players a lot of freedom to customize their own personal death machine. Players start out by picking one of three classes and a special ability, but as they progress through their run, they'll be collecting a huge number of components to adjust the stats and payload of your machine, and there never seems to be a shortage of good options. The game does a good job rolling all of this into the 4-player co-op too, having players share a screen during the fighting, but then splitting up the menus so everyone can manage their own parts in-between levels. There's also a daily challenge for those looking to best the scores of others online in a mode where the otherwise-randomized levels are locked-down into one configuration per day. There are a few complaints I can make, though. Firstly, because the stage design is randomized, there doesn't seem much rhyme or reason to it, resulting in a lot of wandering around until you stumble into the reactors you need to destroy to finish the level. This can at times result in the reactor spawning laughably close to your starting point, something that becomes even more annoying when you wander off in the opposite direction in search of it. The other issue with this game is I found it to be a bit on the easy side, thanks in part to enemy AI that isn't very bright - you quickly discover that the easiest way to get through levels is often hit-and-run tactics and hiding behind cover, inching out until you get a few more enemies blindly rushing towards you, and then jumping back to safety. However, despite these flaws, NeuroVoider is still an absolute blast to play, with a huge amount of variety and customization paired with a wonderfully visceral action-packed experience. If you're a fan of Two-Stick Shooters, Roguelikes, or even just good Action games, you absolutely should play this game. tl;dr - NeuroVoider is a combination of Two-Stick Shooter and Roguelike that has you fighting an army of robots, stealing their parts, and then using them to upgrade your own capabilities. It's an incredibly fun game with great co-op, a fantastic presentation, and tons of variety and customization. The randomized level design and enemy AI could have used a bit of work, but on the whole this is an absolutely fantastic game that should be owned by anyone who enjoys a good Action game.
Dancing Tier List S: Should be nerfed, insanely good A: Very solid card, put in almost all decks B: Good card, but there are reasons to drop it C: Eh. There are reasons to run it, but also reasons to not D: Bad, but has at least one thing good about it F: The letter says it all S A Disco Dance Floor: Very good in dance decks, since damage is almost guaranteed. Disco-naut: Even though it got a nerf, all that did was make it more balanced. Now it's just very good instead of being insane. Flamenco: The main finisher in dance decks, you'd be insane not to include this in your dance deck. Line Dancing Zombie: Very flexible, makes good trades or almost guaranteed 6 damage, players always have to be aware of this card when they're playing against grave decks. Synchronized Swimmer: Very good in almost all situations, various combos that work well. Valkyrie: All the nerf did was, like disco-naut, make it a little more fair. It's still very good and fares well against other decks as a combo/aggro deck. B Aerobics Instructor: Massive potential, can be a bit hard to pull off the ability, though. Binary Stars: The payoff is very rewarding, but it's vulnerable the turn played and is pretty slow. Headhunter: Very good, especially with the evolution, can be cut for faster options, though. Moonwalker: Very solid card that is ran even in non-budget decks. C Loudmouth: Outclassed by hover goat, although this has better timing and can be used on itself. Unlife of the Party: This starts off very weak, but can quickly get out of control and force your opponent to pay attention to it. Can be a pretty solid option in zoo decks too. D Backup Dancer: Sure, it's a 1 1/1, but it has two tribes, even if one of them is pretty bad. B-Flat: Pretty bad removal, better on budget. Bonus Track Buckethead: Bad just like buckethead, but if you run into a lot of bonus attacks, this will be kind of relevant. Conga Zombie: The one damage is sort of low value, but in the right circumstances, this can be pretty good. Cosmic Dancer: Bad stats, much better on budget. Disco Tron 3000: Right after flamenco, the things it makes are pretty useless, at least it's decent at swarming. Disco Zombie: Kind of bad, but has decent synergy with unlife. Jester: Not bad, seeing as most graves hate being fronted, but this is chip damage at best and doesn't do much. Pied Piper: Very low value, but value nevertheless. F Blowgun Imp: This is one of the reasons BMR sucks, the traits are kind of like Laser base alpha: play it with big cards, it's deadly, play it with small cards, it's strikethrough. You get what I mean. Note: Why is this in dancing? Drum Major: Outclassed by many cards, it's bad, end of story. Monster Mash: Too slow, even outclassed by leftovers. Orchestra Conductor: I question why this was made. Dragon Tier List S Snapdragon: Insane, good value, 3/3 is just ridiculous. A Dark Matter Dragonfruit: Despite what many people think, DMD is not insanely good, it's just regular good. It does what the price suggests. As always, thanks for reading, and if you have any disagreements, post them down below. The next tier lists will be gargantuar and flytrap. Bye!
Dear Reader (including the poor Biden staffers who have to white-knuckle their armrests when not sucking down unfiltered Marlboros every time Joe Biden gives an interview), If you’ve never heard the Milton Friedman shovels and spoons story, you will (and I don’t just mean here). Because everyone on the right tells some version of it at some point. The other Uncle Miltie (i.e., not the epically endowed comedic genius) goes to Asia or Africa or South America and is taken on a tour of some public works project in a developing country. Hundreds of laborers are digging with shovels. Milton asks the official in charge something like, “Why use shovels when earth moving equipment would be so much more efficient?” The official replies that this is a jobs program and using shovels creates more jobs. Friedman guffaws and asks, “In that case: Why not use spoons?” The story might not be true, but the insight is timeless. Here’s another story: When I was in college, we were debating in intro to philosophy the differences between treating men and women “equally” versus treating them the “same.” At first blush, the two things sound synonymous, but they’re not (indeed the difference illuminates the chasm of difference between classical liberalism and socialism, but that’s a topic for another day). I pointed out that there were some firefighter programs that had different physical requirements for male applicants and female ones (this was before it was particularly controversial—outside discussions of Foucault—to assume there were clear differences between sexes). Female applicants had to complete an obstacle course carrying a 100-pound dummy, but men had to carry a 200-pound dummy, or something like that. A puckish freshperson named Jonah Goldberg said: “I don’t really care if a firefighter is a man, a woman, or a gorilla, I’d just like them to be able to rescue me from a fire.” A woman sitting in front of me wheeled around and womansplained to me that “you can always just hire two women.” I shot back something like, “You could also hire 17 midgets, that’s not the point.” (I apologize for using the word midget, which wasn’t on the proscribed terms list at the time.) But here’s the thing: Sometimes it is the point. Whether you’re talking about spoons or little people, the case for efficiency is just one case among many. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s an important one, but it’s not the only one. Sometimes older children are told to bring their little brothers or sisters along on some trip. They’ll complain, “But they’ll just slow us down!” or, “But they aren’t allowed on the big kid rides.” Parents understand the point, but they are not prioritizing efficiency over love. Or, they’re prioritizing a different efficiency: Not being stuck with a little kid who’s crying all day because he or she was left behind. One of my favorite scenes in the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer is when the chess tutor Bruce Pandolfini, played by Ben Kingsley, tells the chess prodigy’s parents that they have to forbid their son from playing pickup chess in the park because he learns bad chess habits there. The mom says “Not playing in the park would kill him. He loves it.” Kingsley replies, accurately, that it “just makes my job harder.” And the mom says, “Then your job is harder.” I love that. I love it precisely because it recognizes that good parents recognize that there are trade-offs in life and that the best option isn’t always the most efficient one. This is one of those places where you can see how wisdom and expertise can diverge from one another. The Unity of Goodness Efficiency can mean different things in different contexts. In business, it means profit maximization (or cost reduction, which is often the same thing). In sports, it means winning. Always giving the ball to the best player annoys the other players who want their own shot at glory, but so long as he can be counted on to score, most coaches will err on the side of winning. Starting one-legged players will wildly improve a basketball team’s diversity score, but it’s unlikely to improve the score that matters to coaches—or fans. I’ve long argued that there’s something in the progressive mind that dislikes this whole line of thinking. They often tend to find the idea of trade-offs to be immoral or offensive. I call it the “unity of goodness” worldview. Once you develop an ear for it, you can hear it everywhere. “I refuse to believe that economic growth has to come at the expense of the environment.” “There’s no downside to putting women in combat.” “I don’t want to live in a society where families have to choose between X and Y,” or “I for one reject the idea that we have to sacrifice security for freedom—or freedom for security.” Both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were masters at declaring that all hard choices were “false choices”—as if only mean-spirited people would say you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Saint Greta Nowhere is this mindset more on display in environmentalism. Everyone hawking the Green New Deal insists that it’s win-win all the way down. It’s Bastiat’s broken window parable on an industrialized scale. Spending trillions to switch to less efficient forms of energy will boost economic growth and create jobs, they insist. I’d have much more respect for these arguments if they simply acknowledged that doing a fraction of what they want will come at considerable cost. Consider Greta Thunberg, the latest child redeemer of the climate change movement. She hates planes because they spew CO2. That’s why she sailed from Sweden to a conference in New York. As symbolism, it worked, at least for the people who already agree with her. But in economic terms, she might as well have raised the Spoon Banner off the main mast of her multi-million-dollar craft (that may have a minimal carbon footprint now, but required an enormous carbon down-payment to create). The organizers of this stunt had to fly two people to New York to bring the ship back across the Atlantic. And scores of reporters flew across the Atlantic to cover her heroic act of self-denial. Her nautical virtue signaling came at a price. The organizers insist that they will buy carbon offsets to compensate for the damage done. But that’s just clever accounting. The cost is still real. And that’s not the only cost. It took her fifteen days to get to America. In other words, she actually proved the point of many of her critics. Fossil fuels come with costs all their own—geopolitical, environmental, etc.—but the upside of those downsides is far greater efficiency. If you want to get across the Atlantic in seven hours instead of two weeks, you need fossil fuels. The efficiency of modern technology reduces costs by giving human beings more time to do other stuff. The Conservative Planners The unity of goodness mindset has been spreading to the right these days as well. The new conservative critics of the free market see the efficiency of the market as a threat to other good things. And they’re right, as Joseph Schumpeter explained decades ago. For instance, just as earth-moving equipment replaces ditch-diggers in the name of efficiency, robots replace crane operators, and the communities that depended on those jobs often suffer as a result. I have no quarrel with this observation. My problem is with the way they either sell their program as cost-free, or pretend that the right experts can run things better from Washington. They know which jobs or industries need the state to protect them from the market. They know how to run Facebook or Google to improve the Gross National Virtue Index. Many of the same people who once chuckled at the Spoons story now nod sagely. I don’t mean to say that there’s no room for government to regulate economic affairs. But I am at a loss as to why I should suspend my skepticism for right-wingers when they work from the same assumptions of the left-wingers I’ve been arguing with for decades. Embracing Trumpism to Own Trump Instead I want—or I guess need—to talk about another trade-off. I’ve been very reluctant to weigh in on the Joe Walsh project for a bunch of reasons. The biggest is that I am friends with some of the people cheering it on. But I think I have to offer my take. I don’t get it. Oh, I certainly understand the desire to see a primary challenger to Trump. I share that desire. And I understand the political calculation behind the effort. It’s like when one little league team brings in some dismayingly brawny and hirsute player from Costa Rica as a ringer. The other teams feel like they have to get their own 22-year-olds with photoshopped birth certificates in order to compete. My friend Bill Kristol is convinced that Trump must be defeated and that Walsh is just the mongoose to take on the Cobra-in-Chief. I try not to recycle metaphors or analogies too much, but this seems like another example of a Col. Nicholson move. As I’ve written before, Col. Nicholson was the Alec Guinness character in The Bridge Over the River Kwai. The commanding officer of a contingent of mostly British POWs being held by the Japanese, Nicholson at first follows the rules and refuses to cooperate with his captors in their effort to use British captives as slave labor for a bridge project. But then his pride kicks in and he decides he will show the Japanese what real soldiering is like, agreeing to build the bridge as a demonstration of British superiority in civil engineering. [Spoiler alert] It’s only at the end of the film that he realizes that building the bridge may have been a kind of short-sighted moral victory, but in reality he was helping the Japanese kill allied troops because the bridge was going to be used for shipping Japanese troops and ammunition. When this realization finally arrives, he exclaims, “My God, what have I done?” Walsh’s primary brief against Trump is that Trump is temperamentally unfit for office and a con man. Fair enough. But he has to focus his indictment on Trump’s erratic behavior. Why? Because he’s a terrible spokesman for much of the rest of the case against Trump. I may not call myself “Never Trump” any more, but I was in 2016. And back then, the argument against Trump wasn’t simply that he was erratic. It was also that he wasn’t a conservative, that he happily dabbled in racism and bigotry, and that he was crude, ill-informed, and narcissistically incapable of putting his personal interests and ego aside for the good of the country. I’m sure I’m leaving a few other things out. But you get the point. Walsh may be sincere in his remorse over all the racist and incendiary things he said in the very recent past. He may regret supporting his anti-Semitic friend Paul Nehlen, though I haven’t found evidence of that. But none of that history should be seen as qualifications for the presidency, the Republican nomination, or support from conservatives. And yet, it is precisely these things that make him attractive to his conservative supporters. Trump is an entertainer who trolls his enemies with offensive statements for attention, so let’s find someone who does the exact same thing! Walsh may have been a one-term congressman, but his true vocation was as a shock-jock trolling provocateur. It’s ironic. As I’ve argued countless times, much of Trump’s bigotry in 2016 stemmed less from any core convictions than from a deep belief that the GOP’s base voters were bigoted and he needed to feed them red meat. Trump's reluctance to repudiate David Duke derived primarily from his ridiculous assumption that Duke had a large constituency he didn’t want to offend. He may have believed the Birther stuff, but he peddled it because that’s what his fans wanted. And Joe Walsh was one of those fans. It may also be true that Walsh never really believed most of the bilge he was peddling and that he was doing the same thing Trump did—feeding the trolls—on a smaller scale. But if that’s the case, then he’s a con man, too. I don’t want to beat up on Walsh too much because, again, his epiphany may be sincere. There are lots of people who pushed certain arguments too far only to recognize that the payoff was Trump and the transformation of conservatism into a form of right-wing identity politics. There are a lot of Col. Nicholsons out there. And I have too much respect for Bill Kristol to believe that he would lend his support to someone he believed to be as bigoted as the man Walsh seemed to be a few years ago. But from where I sit, the prize we should keep our eyes on isn’t defeating Trump; it’s keeping conservatism from succumbing to Trumpism after he’s gone. This isn’t easy, and no tactic is guaranteed to be successful. We’ve never been here before. My own approach is to agree with Trump policies when I think they’re right—judges, buying Greenland, etc.—and disagreeing when they’re wrong. My own crutch is to simply tell the truth as I see it, regardless of whether it fits into some larger political agenda or strategy. Truth is always a legitimate defense of any statement. But for those who see themselves as political players as well as public intellectuals, I think this is a terrible mistake. Intellectually and morally, the case for continued opposition to—or skepticism about, Trump cannot—or rather must not—be reduced to simple Trump hatred. But by rallying around Walsh—instead of, say, Mark Sanford, or Justin Amash, or, heh, General Mattis—that’s what it looks like. Because you can’t say, “I’m standing on principle in my opposition to a bigoted troll and con man as the leader of my party and my country and that’s why I am supporting a less successful bigoted troll and con man for president.” Walsh isn’t a conservative alternative to Trump; he’s an alternative version of Trump. And his candidacy only makes sense if you take the “binary choice” and “Flight 93” logic of 2016 and cast Trump in the role of Hillary. Let’s imagine the Walsh gambit works beyond anyone’s dreams and Joe Walsh ends up getting the GOP nomination (a fairly ludicrous thought experiment, I know). If so, I have no doubt that my friend Bill Kristol will say, a la Col. Nicholson, “My God, what have I done.” Various & Sundry Canine Update: It’s good to be home. The beasts were delighted to see us. Everything is settling back to normal, except for one intriguing development. I think Zoë has finally had enough with Pippa’s tennis ball routine. The other day on the midday walk with the pack, Kirsten managed to film Zoë putting an end to the tennis ball shenanigans. She took the ball and buried it. It was, to use an inapt phrase, a baller move—and she was unapologetic about it. Maybe she just didn’t like all the commotion with the other dogs, because she’s tolerant of the tennis ball stuff again. Or maybe she was being protective of her sister given that many of the other dogs in the pack are known thieves. Regardless, they’re doing well and having fun. If you haven’t tuned into The Remnant lately, please give it another try. The first episode of the week was with Niall Ferguson and the feedback has been great. The latest episode is with my friend and AEI colleague Adam White on all things constitutional. Word of mouth is really important in building up audiences, so if you can spread the word about The Remnant or this “news”letter, I’d be grateful.
A few years ago i bought some ATM calls 1 or 2 days before expiration on a stock. Stock happened to be trading through a break of lower Bollinger Band and looked due for a bounce after trending lower steadily. Payoff was enormous when it rallied 3% the next day. It was in the order of several hundred percentage points as the option was so cheap (no theta cost, extremely high gamma that moved delta to 1 very quickly, no vega worries). What are your thoughts on this strategy? I'm thinking of redeploying regularly on weekly Os.
This is a continuation of the discord project to rate every card in the game on two main criteria: playability and flexibility.
Category 1: Playability
How good is the card in the decks it fits in? S: Best of the best. The card should probably get nerfed in the state it's currently in because it's just that good. You're going to play it all the time in the decks where it works. A: Very strong. Not something you'd see nerfed, but still a very strong card that you want to play every time. B: Good. A very strong option in the decks, but it can theoretically be gone without for one reason or another. C: Decent. It can be worth playing, but there are reasons to drop it as well. D: Bad. It's really not worth playing, though it at least has some merit one way or the other. F: Terrible. There's absolutely no reason to play this card.
Category 2: Flexibility
How many decks can this fit in? S: This is a good option in basically any deck of the class. Top tier crafting material. A: This is a good option in at least 3 different decks. B: This is a good option in at least 2 different decks. C: This is a build around card that itself enables a deck, but doesn't really fit into anything else. D: This is a good option in only one deck. F: This card just doesn't have a deck where it fits in, either because it's just that outclassed by other cards for the deck it wants to be in, or because it wants to be part of a deck that simply doesn't exist. Finally, since there are two key factors that these criteria do not cover, there are two extra modifiers that can be added onto each rating: *: This is a tech card, and can move up or down significantly depending on whether or not you run into what it counters a lot. #: This is a budget card, and moves up in the respective category if your resources are limited. Backup Dancer: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: Fun fact, this is the only basic 1/1 that doesn’t have a card strictly better than it due to it having a mustache. It’s also the one you’re most likely to see due to dance off. It’s also still complete and total garbage, and I’m only writing this because it doesn’t need a justification and I’m bored. Bungee Plumber: Playability: B Flexibility: B Justification: While it is a main removal card that doesn’t really run into much competition, it runs into the issue of competing with mission in aggro and not removing anything bigger than a 1 drop (most of the time) and thus falling off way faster than something like berry blast which consistently deals with cards above cost, leading to it being a bit less flexible and a bit more cuttable. Disco-naut: Playability: A Flexibility: B Justification: Still a 2/1 bullseye that lets the cards that need it most ignore the mechanic designed to slow them down, which is a mechanic so powerful that this has gone through 2 nerfs and still remains uncuttable in anything remotely aggressive. Grave Robber: Playability: C Flexibility: D Justification: Not really a bad card in a vacuum considering it’s a 2/2 bullseye, but competing with Disco-naut and having an ability that is very hard to use effectively due to crazy’s lack of good gravestones and sneaky having a better payoff for gravestones leaves it in a very mediocre spot, even if going for pirate synergy. Loose Cannon: Playability: D# Flexibility: F Justification: Block charger incarnate. Trading poorly and charging block when it’s not trading leave this card in a very poor spot on average, with its main application being it being okay in budget imps from being okay with Imp Commander. Mystery Egg: Playability: D# Flexibility: F Justification: RNG does not lend itself to good cards, and this is no exception. In the most budget decks this can be a decent combo with Unlife of the party, but it falls off in usefulness quite fast. Quickdraw Conman: Playability: A Flexibility: S Justification: From S/S to just not quite S/S, conman remains an absolute monster of a card that you need a very good reason to ever consider cutting due to being easy chip on a very durable body. The only thing that could make this better is if plants had good draw for it to punish even harder. Tennis Champion: Playability: D# Flexibility: D Justification: 4 damage for 1 in aggro, but becoming a heavy block charger afterwards leaves it with very few applications compared to something like bonk choy, especially with differences in phases. If it was a 2/1 with +2 attack on turn of play it would be about 20 times better, but as is it’s mainly just a budget card. Trapper Territory: Playability: D Flexibility: F Justification: Too low value to really see play anywhere, and with PoTG gutted it doesn’t even have it’s moderate usefulness as an anti-cyclecap tech. Unlife of the Party: Playability: C# Flexibility: D Justification: While very weak initially, if it can be set up a bit it snowballs quite hard. Its main weakness is not being playable solo on 1 like you would want to with most 1 drops you run which makes it weaker in non-budget aggro, but it’s still playable and quite useful in Zoo Z-mech decks which can grow it incredibly fast. Aerobics Instructor: Playability: B Flexibility: D Justification: Solid snowballing card for dance decks, and though moderate inconsistency at actually doing anything can make it mildly cuttable, you usually want to run it anyway from massive potential snowballing and not losing stats for it. Barrel of Deadbeards: Playability: A Flexibility: D Justification: It’s a bit awkward to play, which leaves it quite inflexible, but in valk decks or very specific impfinity decks (that are quite a bit weaker with the BoB nerf) it’s an absolute all star for being able to clean up youyour opponent’s board respectively and leaving behind a very good body. Conga Zombie: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: Trades like a 3/2 or occasionally a bit better, but the one damage is unlikely to kill and it’s not good at pushing due to poor stats, which leaves it with much better alternatives. Cuckoo Zombie: Playability: D# Flexibility: F Justification: If left unchecked, Cuckoo Zombie will absolutely clock your opponent, so they better watch out, but on the second hand, its low health and poor timing means it won't last a minute against an average defence making it a poor play on the average day. Disco Dance Floor: Playability: A Flexibility: D Justification: An absolute all star card in aggro and dance that will usually generate at least 6 damage and often more if you can get a good fusion off. Generally not worth it elsewhere due to not trading at all. Explosive Fruitcake: Playability: A Flexibility: B Justification: In a weird spot as a removal control sometimes doesn’t want to run because it’s an inherent -1 but also aggro doesn’t want to run because it’s a bit too slow. Would be amazing in midrange as a massive tempo card if crazy midrange was more of a thing, and is a staple in valk and trickster since they’re combo decks and don’t care as much as control decks about the card advantage, along with being a sometimes inclusion in control if you can stomach the card disadvantage. Final Mission: Playability: B Flexibility: D Justification: No longer S thanks to costing a reasonable amount, but still a very solid finisheremoval for aggro and valk decks since you will inevitably have fodder lying around for it. Meteor Z: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: If you really need a buff, just play sugary treat, but you probably shouldn’t need either of them since they really don’t help all that much from not providing (much) more survivable trades and automatically 2 for 1ing yourself. Newspaper Zombie: Playability: D Flexibility: F Justification: Too much investment for something too easy to shut down, running into the same problem Hibernating Beary had where you invest into it to become good but a lack of other targets for your self-hurt means it gets shut down and you’re left lost. Quazar Wizard: Playability: A Flexibility: A Justification: Midrange, Aggro, and Valkyrie absolutely love this card as it’s an easy to activate body that produces a super at the loss of a single stat point. Control can also think about it, though lack of activators can sometimes lead to problems. Generally just a fantastic card you want to run most of the time. Space Ninja: Playability: C Flexibility: D Justification: This card has some very sick combos you can set up with it, but they’re incredibly unreliable and with the Barrel of Barrels nerf even slower than before. It does have the advantage of being a 2 cost 3/2, but with the ability rarely if ever going off it doesn’t see much play. Sugary Treat: Playability: D Flexibility: F Justification: A pretty poor buff card due to a lack of health provided which makes it unlikely to compensate for the inherent dangers of buff cards, being massive potential to get 2 for 1d and being useless without a target. Can at very least be okay at pushing damage, but generally there are better options for that too. Zombie’s Best Friend: Playability: C Flexibility: D Justification: The randomness of the ability means the body generated will often be useless, so it’s very important to run this in a deck with final mission and that really wants lots of fodder. That leaves valk, in which it can be a decent option, but valk has a LOT of decent options so it can also often be cut. Abracadaver: Playability: D Flexibility: F Justification: This card runs into a major problem with the current gravestones, which is that there is no gravestone that meaningfully punishes you for fronting it with a small card. That means that most gravestones will be fronted with small cards, and this will die for free. If it had any chance of getting through on its own it would be at very least decent, but right now the situations counter it too perfectly. Disco Zombie: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: Poor body that produces a body that will more often than not weaken your board state. There is always better things to run. Exploding Imp: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: Suffers from the same problem as abracadaver (will be fronted by its exact counter most of the time) with the added problem of additionally being garbage on its own too. Fireworks Zombie: Playability: B* Flexibility: D Justification: A cheap, 1 card method of disrupting swarm while putting out a body, along with being decent on its own as well for finishing off anything heavily damaged from combat. The more swarm you see the better this gets, and if you don’t see much it’s more cuttable. Gizzard Lizard: Playability: D Flexibility: F Justification: It competes with fireworks while being significantly worse due to requiring a sacrifice to do anything and not really helping much more against swarm. Jester: Playability: D Flexibility: D Justification: Theoretically, this doesn’t run into the same problem as Exploding Imp and Abracadaver because it wants to be fronted by small cards. However, the reward being mediocre chip at best and outright block charging at worst leaves much to be desired, so the main application of this is to evolve headhunter, which can simply be done by better cards. Moon Base Z: Playability: C Flexibility: D Justification: Can be a decent damage pusher for aggro but reliance on having another card and being generally a bit slow make it often not the best option. Can combo with cards that trigger upon hitting the plant hero, but that’s even slower and less useful. Unexpected Gifts: Playability: D Flexibility: D Justification: Has mild merit due to being the only direct source of card advantage in crazy, but the card quality is questionable and it’s very unlikely to provide cards you want to advance your gameplan. Zombot’s Wrath: Playability: D Flexibility: D Justification: If it hit for 6 more often than once a year, then it would maybe be a better card. As is, it’s just a bit too expensive to be worth it since aggro has final mission and control decks have other small removal. Cakesplosion: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: Add fruit and make it cost 2 less and do more damage, or just run wrath instead because basically nothing relevant has 4 health. Cosmic Dancer: Playability: D# Flexibility: D Justification: Too expensive for what it does normally, but can be an okay budget option for dancing decks. Headhunter: Playability: B Flexibility: D Justification: Restricted to only dancing decks but quite a good card in them. Solid body unevolved that can help open up the block meter for a flamenco, or evolved on any of the fodder you have lying around a massive body that provides free damage. It also crosses the 4 threshold with its evo, so you can strategically avoid either hammer or shamrocket depending on your matchup. For some variations of dance it’s too slow and can be cut, but a lot of the time it’s good to have around. Orchestra Conductor: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: This card’s existence is a misconduct. Stupid Cupid: Playability: D Flexibility: F Justification: Comes down in the wrong phase, like old cryo yeti. If it had gravestone, it would become ridiculously better, also like cryo yeti. As is, it’s complete trash. Tankylosaurus: Playability: B Flexibility: D Justification: The subject of a sort of build around in impfinity that was massively hurt by the BoB nerf and already kind of inconsistent as is since this card can hit face. Still an okay deck that can completely demolish some plant decks though, as long as you can get around hitting face constantly. The Chickening: Playability: D* Flexibility: D Justification: The massive lack of swarm decks right now really hurts this card. If they ever come back this will be a solid option for control, but as is it’s simply not necessary. Valkyrie: Playability: A Flexibility: C Justification: Formerly S/S, the cost nerf took it out of usability for everything not built around it since it’s no longer completely busted. Still an amazing build around card that enables an aggro/combo deck, which is an unorthodox and good combination since it doesn’t run into the normal problems combo decks have of being overwhelmed early. Binary Stars: Playability: B Flexibility: D Justification: Very combo reliant to be useful and is thus quite inflexible, but has the strength to back it up if you do have the synergy for it due to straight up doubling your damage output. Flamenco Zombie: Playability: A Flexibility: C Justification: The dance finisher that is basically the entire reason you play dance because it can semi-consistently kill on 5 and very consistently kill on 6/7. Not much else to say here, it’s a dance card through and through. Foot Soldier: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: This would probably still be bad even if it didn’t have the play restriction. As is it’s god awful. Frankentaur: Playability: C Flexibility: F Justification: As of now it actually has stats to be playable, but it just really doesn’t have anywhere to fit into since the stats are really all it has and unlike Supernova Gargantuar it can’t also break through blockers to be a 1 card threat. So it’s just in a kind of purgatory where it’s technically playable but it doesn’t have a deck to be playable in. Gargantuar-throwing Imp: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: I’m as shocked as anyone that the massive 1 strength buff this got wasn’t enough to make it anywhere near playable. Which is to say, not shocked at all. Hippity Hop Gargantuar: Playability: D Flexibility: F Justification: Kinda just clogs lanes, so it’s outclassed by Frankentaur at whatever the niche of being a good crazy 5 cost garg is. It’s not exactly a niche in high demand. Imp-throwing Gargantuar: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: Kinda funny that Crazy got the first two throwing cards, meant to synergize with the self hurt they have going in fireworks and barrel, and they got the two that aren’t playable in any form while Gargantuar-throwing Gargantuar is a high tier finisher and Imp-throwing Imp is the best card in its deck, and they don’t even have the synergies. Poor crazy. Anyway, this card is bad, it’s always been bad, and it’s beaten out by pretty much every card in the game in usefulness. Don’t play it. Disco-tron 3000: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: Swarm the field the turn after your finisher can come down with bodies that would barely be relevant 2 turns ago. It’s really bad, and becoming a gravestone way back when didn’t help it all that much, though it got a bit better, it’s still unplayable. Gas Giant: Playability: B Flexibility: F Justification: By all rights this should be a good card, and it is, but crazy has no midrange deck to use this as a finisher in, so it just doesn’t go anywhere. Solid body with 1/4 of your opponent’s health down the drain when it dies, while also functioning as a board unclogger to help get other threats down and get them through chump blockers. Gargantuar’s Feast: Playability: D Flexibility: D Justification: The Mt. Everest of control finishers. Getting to it is the game winning pinnacle of the game, but actually getting there is a massive ordeal that fails most of the time and is too impractical to be a good idea. If you'd like to have your voice heard on these tier lists, feel free to join the discord, where we have these discussions on the cards, or to make a comment, which I will try to respond to as well explaining why a card was given a certain rating. The next class we're covering is Smarty.
The state of CVs - Why the rework needs to be a massive change
CVs have always been a contestuous issue, and the changes so far certainly haven't diminshed that. Currently it seems that most people are extremely dissatisfied with having CVs in their game at all, while many CVs are dissatisfied with the power of AA. While community criticism often stems from a lack of information, I believe there is good case to think that both sides have a point this time. Here is a collection of issues with CVs and AA. CVs are balanced on a much higher power level than any other ship class This is a simple fact that many CV players don't want to acknowledge since it is seemingly contrarian to their own perception of AA being too powerful, but in reality both points are valid at the same time. As it stands, CVs are the number one class in spotting (by a laughable margin), dealing damage (even though a few individual ships like Conqueror are ahead... for averagely skilled players at least), and dealing killing blows. They dominate every statistic - they even lead in average XP by about 15%, despite having extremely diminished multipliers compared to all other ship classes. Without those multipliers, the difference in XP would be astronomical and would show much better how superior CVs truly are. Ultimately, CVs have a much higher impact on the win rate of their team than any other individual could have. CVs' biggest strengths don't even show up in the stats. While players generally fawn over damage numbers, win rates, and experience as measurements, spotting and zoning are concepts that are extremely difficult to quantify in World of Warships. DDs for example always were at the low end of all the usual stats, and yet were the most impactful class at the very least until radar became as powerful as it is now. That is largely because they give their team the spotting advantage, and because their torpedoes are an immense threat that force the enemy into suboptimal plays even if they never score a hit. You will frequently find superior forces turn around because noone is willing to push into the enemy destroyer who could both permaspot and torpedo them. But CVs, which already are at the top of damage, kills, and experience, also are the masters of spotting and zoning. This is why they are played even in competitive, which is filled to the brim with AA. They have the ability to threaten enemies with spotting and instant kills across the entire map. It doesn't matter which flank you're at, the single enemy CV can still threaten you. CVs enhance the radar problem While currently all community talk seems to be focussed on radars alone, the presence of a CV makes radars more potent. The frequent spotting of both torpedoes and DDs by planes makes it much easier for cruiser players to track the enemy DD's location. Carriers often force CVs to use their smoke to drop vision, which then makes them easy targets for radars. While in a CV-less game it is often possible to use the fact that enemy radar cruisers do not know when you are within their range for a while, this becomes exponentially more dangerous when there are planes on the map. And the same positions that you may use to evade enemy radars will often isolate you from your AA allies and therefore make you easy prey to a cross drop. The balancing of other ships is done without CVs in mind. CVs break the balance. This especially affects two factors: Concealment and AA. Many concealment-based ships like Shimakaze have virtually no counterplay to CVs besides falling back to their team, even though the entire gameplan of a concealment-based ship is designed around the polar opposite, of finding those far-up positions. This also affects many cruisers, as for example IJN or French cruiser players may gamble for non-CV games to use hydro for aggressive moves. The fact that CVs are exceptionally good at spotting enemy torpedoes adds insult to injury. These ships are perfectly fine in non-CV games (sometimes even on the weaker side still), but the presence of a CV just flat-out destroys their impact on the game. As for AA specialist ships, WG knows that these ships also have to be viable in non-CV games. And with ships like Montana, Des Moines, Worcester, and Minotaur they certainly accomplished this design goal. The problem is that this makes them ridiculously powerful in CV games (even though the fact that they're often stealth reliant counteracts it to some degree). Theses ships are often designed to be less powerful in straight-up confrontations as a payoff, but still have their tools and tricks to stay relevant when there is no CV to counter. And in a tragic twist for DDs, AA ships also often carry radar with them - partially because both radar and AA are commonly found on more modern ship designs, and partially because radar is also frequently balanced by the exact same payoffs that ships trade in for their AA. This falls back to the "CVs enhance the radar problem" point - DDs are truly fucked in those games. Active counterplay to CVs is awful. Since CVs already counter concealment based playstyles, your only option is to stick to other allies - which often leads to terrible lemming train games. The level of play it takes to spread across the map and be safe against CVs is far beyond random teams, especially since random and ranked battles have far fewer AA specialist ships than competitive. As far as evading an immediate drop goes, it's an incredibly shitty situation. Skill alone doesn't let you dodge a cross drop or dive bombers. Often even doging a CV will still get you killed as you are forced to broadside the enemy team while being spotted. This is quite unlike doging for example BB shells or torpedoes, as good players can prepare their positions in a way that angling against the incoming threat will also give them a save position against the rest of the fleet. As mentioned in the balance section, the CV presence affects some ships worse than others and forces them into severely diminished, powerless roles. There is no real way to counteract CVs with skill, only being close to AA helps. Your only alternative is to gamble on the enemy CV not being good enough to notice you at all, which is often a statistically viable approach but awful in terms of gameplay. It's pretty much like detonations: if you win your dice roll you are fine and get to play as normal, but if you lose it you simply die. AP bombs are some of the worst mechanics in the game. I mentioned some about counterplay, and dive bombers are even worse at this. While torpedo bombers allow for some degree of doging and minimising damage, dive bombers are pure clicking and there is no evading a capable drop. Now for the old USN monster HE bombs this already could get pretty ugly, but most players simply prepared for the inevitable 10k blast plus multiple fires. With AP bombs the ugly was turned up to 11. The fact that you can simply leftclick a ship and delete it on the spot is just ridiculous. Players get punished purely for bringing the wrong ship. Their total power balance is completely irrelevant, the design itself is awful and needs to go. CV divisions are absolutely broken. The main problem here is that only the players who division with the CV know for sure whether there will be a CV in their game or not. So they get to bust out the most insane AA they can find and get a guaranteed major advantage. No other type of division can reliably replicate the winrates that a good CV division can. But there are some even worse divsions by abusing tier differences. Some divisions "anchor" their surface ships by queueing with a lower-tier CV. A T5 CV with two T6 BBs for example is practically immune to getting T8 matches, so the BBs will never be bottom tier. Other divisions do the opposite: Queueing a T9 CV with T10 AA guarantees the AA advantage even harder, and will easily defeat even other CV divs. The only real counter to a good CV is another good CV. This is quite unlike any other ship class. No matter if you are in a destroyer, cruiser, or battleship, you have the means to impact any other enemy ship class, and therefore directly outcarry a good player on the enemy team. Unless that player is a CV that is. The most you can do to that is to deny a small area, if you even are AA specced to begin with. If you truly want to check an enemy CV's ability to spot and assassinate people at will, you need to be a CV yourself. The result of this can be seen in player winrates. CVs have the most hilariously lopsided winrates of all classes. There are almost no "average" CVs. The vast majority is deep in the red (an incredible part of it below 40%), and a significant part of the rest at super unicum winrates. Also WG already acknowledged the problem with the removal of manual drops on low tiers (however shitty of a "solution" that is) and by making CVs the first class that was perfectly mirrored in tier and number. And hands down, many games between two good CVs start by both devstriking a DD on the other team. Whether those DDs missplayed or not, this is still a level of influence far beyond that of any other ship class. So how can all of this be fixed? The answer most certainly would not be to simply increase AA or nerf plane health. CV players are right in their criticism that there is a huge amount of total death zones in the game already. CV gameplay is already unbearably binary between easy kills and no-gos. If WG were to maintain the fundamental CV mechanics, they would probably have to dramatically change CV loadouts. A few CVs are much less bad on the mentioned issues than others. Essex for example is unable to cross drop and relies on its dive bombers for damage, meaning its much worse at spotting. It's also more balanced towards an AA role than towards dealing damage, meaning that both CVs are less effective than usual. For a CV it is almost hilariously bad. But the solution here shouldn't be to bring Essex up, but to bring all the other CVs down to this level. To diminish their ability of spotting by making them rely on every single squad to deal damage. AP bombs should just be removed entirely. There is no reason to have them in the game. They make it strictly worse. They are not very enjoyable for most CV players either with how situational they are. CV queueing also definitely needs to be fixed. I am not sure why WG still allows for tier differences in divisions at all, but they should be removed for CV divisions at a minimum since these abuses are fairly common already. Another CV queue issue is the double CV matchmaking on low tiers. Having a T6 CV vs Saipan is one of the dumbest experiences in the game, especially since Saipan is already a hardcore sealclubber as T7 CVs are pretty much either premium CVs or total noobs. But of course WG announced a full-on rework. Speculations go towards a more "action oriented" playstyle that could revolve around closer micromanagement of fewer squads. First of all this would reduce the oppressive spotting power that CVs currently have. It could even go as far as CVs not sharing their spotting with other ships anymore, akin to spotting in a cyclone. But there could be other goodies in there that make patterns of counterplay clearer. For example the gameplay could revolve around having to strafe the enemy AA with fighters to make it easier to bomb them, which would give the target a clear warning and some time to improve their position. Or AA could be restricted in its firing arcs while being stronger when they do have a good angle, giving targets more options in positioning against incoming air attacks.
Plants vs Zombies Heroes Balance Survey: The Results: Part 9: Crazy
Crazy is next, and it was the most buffed and least changed class out of all of those on the zombie side. It got 115 changes split into 79 buffs, 15 nerfs, and 21 changes.
Foot Soldier Zombie (9):
Ability now works in environments as well as heights (1) No condition for dealing damage (1) Has gravestone (2) Stats from 3/4 to 4/5 (1) Health from 4 to 5 (1) Strength from 3 to 4 (1) Stats from 5 cost 3/4 to 4 cost 3/3 (1) Cost from 5 to 3 and works in environments (1) My thoughts: Giving it gravestone is probably the best buff here since the fix in timing is the main problem it has. Small stat buffs don't really change anything, nor does making the condition less restrictive, though both obviously help the card a bit.
Health from 1 to 2 (2) Ability from 2 or less to 3 or less (3) Stats from 2/1 to 1/3 and ability from 2 or less strength to others with 3 or less cost (1) Stats from 1 cost 2/1 to 2 cost 1/3 and ability from 2 or less to 3 or less (1) Stats from 2/1 to 1/2 and ability from 2 or less to 3 or less (1) My thoughts: I can't see what reason there is to buff cards that are already staple cards for entire classes of decks. Disconaut still being a staple is just a testament to how broken it was before it didn't give bullseye to cards with 3 strength, and it's still a great card now with no reason to be getting buffed.
Stupid Cupid (8):
Strength from 4 to 3 and has gravestone (3) Has gravestone (4) Health from 2 to 4 (1) My thoughts: The card is never going to be good without gravestone or completely insane stats. The question then becomes "is 4 attack on a 4 cost gravestone that shuts off a card for combat too much?", and I'm inclined to say yes for the time being (the difference between turn 4 and turn 5 is massive, which means the difference between this and cryo yeti is also massive as far as the effect goes), so I like making it a 3/2 along with it and then it can be buffed back if it's still bad.
Orchestra Conductor (8):
Strength from 0 to 2 (1) Health from 2 to 4 (1) Health from 2 to 3 (1) Stats from 0/2 to 1/3 (2) Stats from 0/2 to 1/4 (1) Stats from 0/2 to 3/3 (1) Has gravestone (1) My thoughts: This card is so bad I really don't have a suggestion here. It needs something massive though.
Cost from 4 to 3 (1) Cost from 4 to 5 (3) Ability from 2 strength to 1 strength (1) Can't do bonus attacks (1) My thoughts: Putting the card back at 3, where it' basically autoinclude because it's so easy to make overstatted, does not sound like a good idea. At the same time, making it cost even more also doesn't sound like a good idea because the deck, finally, has had enough of its broken cards hit that it's more or less fair. It can't kill until 7 now which gives plenty of time to establish a kill and doesn't have a broken aggro package that all but guarantees a kill even without valk. It's still a great deck because that aggro package can still take games without valk and valk can still kill, but it's significantly more beatable to the point where it's actually in line. As for the other changes, reducing the strength gain makes it unplayable, and making it not do bonus attacks is awkward though a good nerf if the card ever gets out of hand again to avoid killing it for other heroes.
Damage from 4 to 5 (4) Cost from 4 to 3 (1) Now has "gain a cakeplosion" (1) My thoughts: All of these changes are good and make the card much more worth playing. Increasing the damage means it hits that many more things and sometimes gains tempo, making it cost less means it can actually gain tempo by costing less than things it removes, and having it gain itself makes it the ultimate value tool for hard control decks to never run out of small removal.
Quickdraw Conman (6):
Health from 3 to 2 (2) Loses bullseye (2) Stats from 1 cost 1/3 to: 2 cost 2/3 (1) 2 cost 1/4 (1) 2 cost 1/5 (1) My thoughts: Honestly, I think all of these changes kill the card other than 2 cost 2/3. 1/2 for 1 is terrible stats that get traded cleanly by 90% of playable 1 costs, losing bullseye makes it a massive block charger, and 2 cost 1/4 and 1/5 are also terrible stats with the ability not being impactful enough at 2 cost to make it worthwhile.
Disco Zombie (5):
Health from 1 to 2 (3) Health from 1 to 3 (1) Strength from 3 to 4 and backup from 1/1 to 2/1 (1) My thoughts: I think the best buff to this is making the backup dancer less completely useless, so it having 2 strength at very least, which I presume some people intended for to affect this through buffs to basic 1/1s.
Imp-throwing Gargantuar (5):
Now throws: Random 1 cost imps (1) Random imps that cost 2 or less (1) Random imps that cost 2 or less and when an imp is played it (the imp) gets +2 strength (1) stats from 5 cost 5/5 to 4 cost 4/6 (1) Stats from 5/5 to 6/7 (1) My thoughts: There are two different lines of buffing here and neither one is a bad idea. 3 people decided to buff the cards that ITG throws so that the ability isn't a liability. Of those I think having it throw 2 cost or less imps (to mirror ITI) is the best idea seeing as at this stage of the game they won't really be anywhere close to too strong. The second line, chosen by 2 people, is to just overstat it to compensate for the fact that the ability is indeed a liability and justifies a higher power level elsewhere much like fruitcake and pumpking. 5 cost 6/7 would be good for that, maybe even 7/7 if that's not enough. You are making a ton of block chargers with it after all, and that's a much more tangible downside than giving your opponent a card or two that they're not going to have time to play since their deck is built to work with the cards they're going to get normally.
Gargantuar-throwing Imp (5):
Health from 2 to 3 (2) Health from 2 to 4 (1) Now has gravestone (1) Stats from 2/2 to 3/3 (1) My thoughts: Who would have guessed that giving more attack to a card that doesn't care about attacking and instead wants to get hit as much as possible didn't make the card more playable? Evidently anyone but Popcap. These changes help the card a lot more. More health means you can get a better payoff when you apply self hurt cards to it like fireworks, or you can give it gravestone and have it be a punishing card for trying to front every gravestone with a small card (and it also happens to get it by cards like whack a zombie which are a massive weakness to an already slow card).
Explosive Fruitcake (5):
Ability from 7 damage to 6 damage (4) Ability from 7 damage to 8 damage (1) My thoughts: So we have 4 people who don't want fruitcake to hit Pecanolith and 1 person who wants fruitcake to hit Mirror Nut. Given that pecanolith is still an amazing card and mirror nut is still a mediocre one, I don't think this is an issue, and I don't think this needs a change.
Zombot's Wrath (4):
Cost from 3 to 2 and loses asinine condition that nobody ever triggered (1) Cost from 3 to 2 (1) Ability from all lanes to 4 lanes (1) Ability from all lanes to 3 lanes (1) My thoughts: There's a reason why they haven't made this 2 cost, and that's because zombie berry blast is too good as a function of the phases. That's why it even has the condition in the first place, since they know it's bad at 3 but too good at 2, so they made it 3 with upside. The problem is that the upside is impossible to use, and so it's still bad. Making it so you can actually trigger it in class by not requiring the water lane is a massive improvement.
Exploding Imp (3):
No longer damages itself (1) Now has splash damage 2 (1) Strength from 6 to 8 (1) My thoughts: Giving it splash is interesting but zombies don't need splash for AoE and it works worse than just using tricks for it, making its strength 8 is probably too much if you ever want to actually have gravestones that you don't want to front, and no longer damaging itself is probably the best change but does happen to kill the flavor. The alternative is making it have 2 health so if it happens to get ignored it can't be ignored a second time, or just having cards that give it a chance to get through by being gravestones that the plant hero wants to ignore.
Cosmic Dancer (3):
Cost from 4 to 3 (1) Health from 3 to 4 (1) Stats from 2/3 to 3/2 and both overshoots from 2 to 3 (1) My thoughts: Making everything overshoot 3 seems a bit overboard and provides dance with mayhaps too much fuel. Just putting it to 3 cost should be enough for it to at least be considerable.
Newspaper Zombie (3):
Health from 4 to 5 (1) Stats from 1/4 to 0/5 (1) Health from 4 to 3 and gets +1/+1 when revealed if there are no plants there (1) My thoughts: I don't like the idea of making it bigger when there's nothing there because that defeats the purpose of it actually trying to be a gravestone that thrives on being fronted by something small, which the game is lacking. It just needs to actually punish being fronted by a 2/2 instead of dying to it, so going to 5 health would be a great buff to it.
Health from 5 to 6 (1) Stats from 1/5 to 2/4 (1) Health from 5 to 4 and ability from 2 damage to 3 damage (1) My thoughts: This should remain primarily as a punish card for fronting gravestones with small things since the game needs those to help out the cards that don't want to be fronted by small things, and as such I'm inclined to be on board with increasing the damage out of borderline block charging range.
Meteor Z (2):
Cost from 2 to 1 (2) My thoughts: Maybe this becomes playable at this point for pushing a bit of damage in aggro. It's certainly not even close to playable right now, so it's worth a try at 1 cost to see if that helps enough (which I think is likely, but probably won't be broken either due to how restrictive it is as far as actually getting the damage goes).
Conga Zombie (2):
Health from 2 to 3 (2) My thoughts: Right now it feels like a 1 drop that costs 2, and giving it an extra point of health means it can actually do some mildly useful things like be a good punish for playing a 2/3 in front of a 2 cost gravestone.
Stats from 3/2 to 4/1 (1) Health from 2 to 3 (1) My thoughts: The former change gives it excavator stats, which is a bit of a buff but doesn't solve the core problem of it being fronted by small cards like most other gravestones. The latter change does solve the problem but in doing so breaks the card since it becomes a 3/3 for 3 with massive upside. I think the best way to go about this is to have playable gravestones that actually punish fronting them, and then Abracadaver naturally becomes more playable because it sometimes gets through and gets its massively impactful effect off.
Gizzard Lizard (2):
Gains 1 strength when evolved (1) Ability from 2 damage to 3 damage (1) My thoughts: This card is mostly fine as is, being a 3/3 for 3 with upside, it just doesn't have enough swarm to run into and goes off in the wrong phase, problems that can't be fixed by buffing it like this. Having it do 3 damage is additionally excessive in its own right.
Binary Stars (2):
Stats from 3/3 to 2/5 (1) Health from 3 to 4 (1) My thoughts: Binary is fragile for a reason. The ability it has is almost outright game winning if it manages to stick. As a result, it's very difficult to stick, because if you could do it easily and regularly the card is broken. It's also strong enough that it really doesn't need a buff right now.
Moon Base Z (2):
Cost from 3 to 1 and overshoot from 3 to 2 (1) Cost from 3 to 4 (1) My thoughts: So we have an insane buff and a strong nerf to a well balanced card that really doesn't need a change. Seems to cancel each other out.
Space Ninja (2):
Stats from 3/2 to 2/3 (1) Has gravestone (1) My thoughts: Neither of these changes really help the card that much, and neither of them need to since at the end of the day it's still an on curve 2 drop with upside, which will always be borderline playable by nature. It's probably fine for it to get either change or no change at all.
Mystery Egg (2):
Tribes from Gourmet to Gourmet Pet (1) Health from 2 to 3 (1) My thoughts: It really doesn't need a change, but neither of these are really changes either, so it works out fine. The problem Boog pets has isn't exactly a lack of 1 drops, and increasing the health of a card with an average lifespan of half a turn only serves to not have it die to like, banana bomb, which I wouldn't play on it anyway.
Final Mission (2):
Cost from 2 to 1 (1) Damage from 4 to 5 (1) My thoughts: I must have missed the part where this was a bad card. It was busted at 1 cost and still sees constant play at 2 cost. It really doesn't need a buff.
Cost from 4 to 3 (1) Strength from 2 to 3 (1) My thoughts: Both of these changes feel like a bit much. The strength increase makes it a 3/6 and a maybe a bit overstatted given the ability, though with how mediocre the card is right now I'd be willing to give 3/6 a shot and see if it's actually broken or just good. 3 cost is definitely too much, however.
Gargantuars' Feast (2):
Cost from 11 to 10 (2) My thoughts: This probably doesn't change anything since games rarely if ever get that late in the first place, but if zombies are to ever get good ramp this is probably a bad idea.
Aerobics Instructor (2):
Now has gravestone and ability from +2 strength to +1/+1 (1) Ability from +2 strength to +1/+1 (1) My thoughts: This is an absolutely massive buff to a card that is already great and is thus unnecessary. It also makes it feel less in class because it's moving away from the all in glass cannon style of crazy.
Tennis Champion (2):
Strength from 1 to 2 and ability from +3 strength to +2 strength (2) My thoughts: This is really all the card needs to be good. The problem it has is that it can just be tanked and then it block charges, and 2 base means it doesn't do that and can be the zombie version of bonk choy.
Flamenco Zombie to 2/2: Look, I see what you're doing here, but you need to go through the block meter with your finisher just like everyone else. It's not even that big of a problem to deal with. Disco-tron 3000 to 5 cost with bullseye: This is the kind of massive buff it needs to be actually considerable for dancing decks. When you're trying to end the game on turn 6, a 4/4, 3/1, and 1/1 don't really help you for 6. For 5 it can be moderately useful as a setup for flamenco. Zombie's Best Friend doesn't need to be next door to a zombie: Let's be real here. How often are you actually playing a deck that actually wants this card and doesn't have something out to trigger the effect. It basically never happens short of maybe specifically on turn 2 when your 1 drop got removed, and that means you're early in the game with other play options. This really doesn't change anything and is unneeded since the card is fine as it is. Gas Giant to 6/6: This is honestly unneeded. It has its play niche of being a finisher for midrange decks, it just has a problem where there aren't any other midrange tools in crazy. A stat buff won't do anything other than make it too powerful when you can build a midrange deck with it. The Chickening to 3 cost: I don't see the point here, it's a solid AoE for low cost cards, and it just doesn't see play right now because plants don't play swarm because their swarm isn't even great into decks without AoE right now. It's a tech card that doesn't have anything to tech against, and once it does it'll be good again. Unlife of the Party can't trigger in tricks: But why? It's not exactly a great card right now and having trick phase shenanigians for it is the main thing it can even do decently. But those are just my thoughts. Feel free to comment about your thoughts on these changes or comment about what class you want to see next, except we're down to 2 classes and I want to keep alternating so the next choice is Kabloom anyway.
Hello, I am Imbure and I will comment on most of the things in Gwent Homecoming giving my thoughts on it. To start off a little bit about myself, I like Gwent. Yeah, that’s about it. Special thanks to SirPumpkn for helping me with ideas, where some weren't fitting or just not well polished enough so I could rereview them with his assistance, thanks a lot! Since it takes a lot of time to go over it all and if some people are interested just to find the most interesting parts, I have it on google document with highlights to say which parts are more interesting / important. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1kG3gWspUD_VoV5l-pJbFwBJfJ2k0uQ95n_Aqs5a8QCw/edit?usp=sharing Before the whole thing, I do realize that this was PTR and will try mention as little of balance issues, bugs, wrong tooltips or poorly worded abilities, but rather problematic or lacking concepts when it comes to gameplay and I will mention some of which concepts are amazing. One more disclaimer, I do understand that some of these changes might require a big amount of time, that does not mean you need to instantly release them with Homecoming if think them worthy, at least those that require time, others could be looked at and patched in close future. Marketing I am not qualified in this field, so my opinion should not matter much, however, I think marketing is important, I do understand that you are not going to market the game as it has way different feeling to it compared to Beta, so if people join in now they’d be playing a different game and redownloading it in a few days, but when it does come out, marketing is crucial to have a big player base. UI and Visuals Now as the new patch hits a lot of things have changed and different mechanics have appeared in the game and players misplay a lot with them. Ability locked cards Cards that only acquire an X ability should have an indicator for two reasons. Even if players get better at the game, they will still make misplays here and there, it does not feel good and the victories against them often don’t feel deserved. Indicators Visuals like Lock, Adrenaline etc. had nice looking icons. I assume these ones are used as the card sizes changed and artists still have a lot of to do, but on an off chance it is not the case, please bring back those amazing looking effects! Before playing it, With the new abilities highlighting the rows that have abilities and give them different highlights. Deck / Graveyard Size Indicators Small graveyard card amount indicators for how many type of cards do you have in your deck, Artifacts, Traps, Spells and etc. so you wouldn’t need to do unnecessary counting, a quality of life change. Side of the Row Points Make an option that you could see your numbers on your left side and make the right side clean, so streamers could place their faces somewhere. Since it’s only optional, players would still be able to see it in the best way. Just a nice quality of life addition to the game. Weight of the Cards The cards have lost points and I think for the old players even 20 power plays won’t feel impactful, on top of that, placing a card doesn’t feel like doing something amazing. It would be immersive if cards felt like they had weight attached, as if the enemy should stutter upon seeing my THICC GERALT IGNI, instead of it falling like a piece of paper, even though it’s a card game, it doesn’t have to feel as one. Drag and Drop Drag and drop just feels better, as you actually play the card from your hand, CURSORS ARE EXTENSIONS OF OUR ARMS. Colors of the Board / Shadows Now the feeling of darkness is taken too literally. Even the torches don’t feel as if it was lighting up the area. Nilfgaard that has the sun as their symbol can barely have any light on them. Corners of some places are just too hard to see as they blend in within the darkness remaining invisible. The board itself is relatively lit, so that is visible, which is nice. The things can be dark, just make that we see something there instead of it being pitch black. Lacking ability to see something makes the game dark literally, that creates this weird Batman vs Superman movie problem, where they made the scenes hard to see without actually creating the darkness. Time Consumed on Animations Speed up the animations. Eithne takes a decent amount of time to go off, if you also add some artifacts which they often use to the mix, you start feeling bad for roping them when it’s out of your control. Deckbuilder When searching for cards, make it so looking for Da’o you would find it by writing Dao. That has been implemented in League of Legends champion select search and is a nice quality of life change. Excluding some bugs, where you switch some filters up and it still saves some of the previous filters, it’s still good. Twitch Tool Hovering over a card on Twitch so you could see what it does for Homecoming would be great for new players and old players to get a better feeling on the game. Gameplay - The Juicy Part Unrewarding Round 1 It always was that you would fight for the first round fiercely so you could bleed round two and go into round three, there was some strategy to it. Even though it was somewhat flawed to an extent that some cards would be just 20 power plays each and you have 2 of them, here it’s not exactly the case. Now you just barely commit in R1 and R2 because they feel unrewarding and committing for a round feels risk with close to no reward. This vacuum of space was left after we lost the spy mechanic, which was unhealthy, but it was one proper way to actually bleed R2. Suggestion for Unrewarding Round 1 - the player to win the first round gets an extra mulligan to their bank. It’s a subtle reward that pushes the players to utilize such a thing, however, it is not too big of a thing to make decks around it. You do not need to do it the same for second round, because if you play go to 3 cards in hand only then you start committing your 3rd round, before that you are still not committing second round if you are ahead, while second round going below 7 is considered committing and bleeding is also a thing, so it already creates initial tension on round 2. Provisions Maybe people play too much on golds now, but I think that’s just a balance thing and I have nothing, you have honestly outdone yourself, this system is amazing! Too Many Overlapping Abilities Some archetypes are crying for cards while others have 20 to choose from. I think a heavy overhaul on some bronzes with lack of oversight or being undertuned is not the worst that can happen. Archetypes Many of the archetypes are small packages that work with one other and that’s a whole new different thing to Gwent, where you have way more win conditions, instead of having 2. I like it as it adds more variance to the game, hopefully not too much RNG. Northern Realms Orders Without Charges - Seems underwhelming in power and lacking tools, even considered the fact that it would fit fine in a starter deck, something that has a leader and many cards based on it shouldn’t be just a starter deck, but also have some sort of playability. Northern Realms Charges It has a huge arsenal of tools, I would say probably more than any other deck and that is not necessarily bad. Some cards however are overlapping - Ballista and Reinforced Ballista is just the same card, but one is worse than the other. I know that this is meant for machine tag, but I would use some Humans then to make more Orders decks that fill the vacuum that armor left archetypes left off. Spies Where Are Thou? Reveal I am so funny. In its current form Reveal can be played two ways. You play a very few unit deck, where you are almost sure your reveal card will show greater strength card or you will add a lot of units and hope that you get to reveal Daerlan Soldiers. First example is a very niche deck with a small amount of variation. The second one has a wider range of choices, but is widely based on RNG. I know that the old archetype was unhealthy in many ways and you are looking to replace it, but it should not be then switched into RNG playstyle or based on small niche deck. Instead of this, Reveal could switch between bronze units in your deck. Every unit that reveals could always show the top bronze card, take the top bronze card in your deck and switch it with the last one pushing every bronze card like an array switching places towards top. It might take some time to come up with an easy text, but as you have detailed explanations at the bottom, healthier gameplay will always beat complex text reading, especially because beginners won’t care about it and experienced players will know how the system works. Armor In live Gwent Armor is a whole archetype of cards, however, it does not have to be, removing the thing entirely is bad as you could do some less greedy plays with defensive opportunities. Potion that worked like Thunderbolt where you could give an allied unit some points and add armor to an unit, perhaps a charge too, so then Order + Charge decks would be viable or just in general some strategies. I assume it will be added with Redania, but now as a mechanic it doesn’t have to be deleted outright. Weather Decks We had decks like Dagon Fog and Eredin Frost, problem was that they were lacking balance in weather department and only some archetypes were viable as some didn’t have enough tools to them. You could make more cards that play weather, for example spying cards that apply X weather, cards that buff from weather and etc, it wouldn’t break the game but would still make the archetype a thing. Other thing is to make weather decks work with each other, it wouldn’t be just play a frost unit or play a fog unit or rain unit, a card would work when there is a hazard in general. Perhaps limit those to bronzes, so it doesn’t feel to oppressive to play against gold weathers. Considering its current form, it wouldn’t be a bad design choice as you’ve already made weather into a really balanced thing. New Witchers Archetype It’s a new addition that players have been waiting for a long time, it has a nice touch on the lore, nerfing Silver Witchers is most likely necessary, as I don’t know how it will be in the future, don’t nerf them in a vacuum, buff other Witchers. New and Old Mill Live Gwent Mill is really frustrating to play against and in most cases you either win or lose based on your opponent’s draws and your deck choice, whether it thins or not. New mill usually doesn’t mill to 0, unless you are Discard Skellige, but rather hinders your deck. Maybe the RNG on Viper Witchers is not good, but in the current form you can even give GGs to them! No More Proper Handbuff In its current form Handbuff if applied the same way to Homecoming would be game breaking, but instead you could just make them lower power units that have a different thing, not deal that much damage. Then carryover wouldn’t be as much of a problem, it was an interesting deck in ST that feels missing. No More Spellatell Deck used to be really unique and you could still make it work as you play less tutors in the game or even add a cap to how much the card could go up to. New Trap Deck It’s a great deck with proper synergies built in that require a good amount of skill to pilot and to play against, it’s all that Gwent is about, the archetype has a fine deal of cards and the new way you made Traps, that they are no longer unit is also great, as a lot of old trap design was: “If he played X, I have to play Y and win, however, if he played Z I have to play C to win, if I mess this up, I will lose, if I don’t, I win.” It used to be some sort of coinflip to an extent, you fixed it, good job. New Artifact Deck It requires skill to play around and even if it does feel oppressive sometimes, you can totally outplay it and artifact removal is cheap. Specters Cursed was transformed into an archetype that was based on a one card, but you had opportunity to have flexibility with your silvers and golds, now all of that is gone and Specters archetype rewards going all with Specters, due to its golds and bronzes abilities. Problem is you can’t build a deck anymore with it, excluding the Henselt combo, but it’s not exactly a specter deck. It feeds into a problem that I will mention that all decks have. Strengthening Archetype Considering that most cards are playing on low points the playstyle against and with that kind of deck might be quite boring, unhealthy and / or unbalanced, I do understand that it was either taken away forever or just placed onto a queue for future balancing. Kambi Rest in peace the mightiest rooster FeelsBadMan Lack of Card Archetype Supporting Cards This is probably one of more troublesome things. When a lot of cards were shown people instantly have noticed that many archetypes have been butchered. More experienced players instantly mentioned that CDPR, you guys, can add new cards to the game. First time we saw Alchemy cards we had to wait a long time until it saw playability, it was something around midwinter. There were more decks, but this is just an example. A lot of decks that we had to wait for to become working and we gave you a lot of time are now gone again. We already waited for so long, they became a thing, an actual archetype. We started having Moonlight and waited for new patches to make it into an actual archetype instead of small package. All of that was taken away and we are left with waiting again, that’s why overhauling some cards might be necessary, if not within the release of Homecoming, at least could be done with close upcoming patches. Flexible Tags Currently there is a trend on cards removing specific clan tags and etc. In its current form we have lost clan tags and gained Soldiers, Warriors and etc. These have positives and negatives, abilities like Muzzle and unlock that synergy with Soldiers would give a possibility to outplay, it also makes the arena better as the synergies are no longer only in one faction, however, the game becomes harder to balance as you don’t balance things in the vacuum. Considering that we have provision, cards shouldn’t be too hard to balance. Card to Add Card Shuffler: Bronze Card X Power, Y Provision. “Order. Add a mulligan to your leader.” You could add a shuffling animation to it as if it were a Cursed Knight, so it felt as if it was shuffling cards upon activating the order. Some leaders can’t have more mulligans like Francesca due to the fact that she’d be overpowered, but if she could work by adding some high provision cards for getting mulligans, you would not make that leader broken, but rather playable and I hope the game is all for that. Leaders I will mostly focus on the more problematic ones or the underwhelming ones when it comes to their ability rather power as most leaders can be fixed with adjusting their power or mulligan amount. I haven’t seen that many leaders in play, so can’t comment on all of them. Emhyr Van Emhrys Not only that the ability is somewhat underwhelming in power, it is also a boring effect that has no value. You started a lock archetype, it could work as: “Reset an unit, if it’s an enemy unit, lock it as well.” It might be slightly oppressive, but there are more oppressive things in the game than that, some of it won’t hurt too much. Usurper It is problematic that this leader could just build a deck that is not reliant on leaders and is more likely to win than any deck in that case. It is just not healthy for the game as well. I think the old leader ability might be a better choice, where you could create one. Of course it adds its own baggage as not being that much useful in the current form how leaders work. If you take the last mulligan away it would be a tech deck or work only in tournaments, but not sure even that is good. Eithne I have been playing Eithne myself and she is overtuned. I think changing the amount of mulligans shouldn’t be much touched on, since her ability is powerful due to how well you can align cards like Regis or Geralt: Igni. Considering that ST would need to a buff on every card or leaders to push for good synergies, as now ST is good as always at abusing neutrals. Changing Eithne could go as far as removing 1 power per turn or making a variety that you get X, Y and Z amount of pings through all 3 rounds, that it wouldn’t be too overwhelming playing her. In current form to make ST not broken and still work without overhauling all cards, it’s enough to just bump her down to 3 pings a turn. In the future it could be reworked, but it needs ST cards to be buffed as well. Adda She needs a rework to bonus a certain archetype or have an unique ability. Raw damage should not be a thing, that’s why Radovid was a bad choice from a design perspective as well, he didn’t fit into any archetype. Filavandrel Aen Fidhail Boost all non boosted units in your hand by 1. At the start of the round the effect resets. Then tutors like Witchers would not be affected and it would be a balanced leader, not an autoloss if players know how to play around that leader ability. Francesca Now she seems weak because she does not have enough mulligans. If you gave her an extra mulligan, she would be too strong most likely. So instead give her a chance to earn those mulligans with cards like Card Shuffler or winning round 1 and having an extra mulligan for round 3. Brouver Hoog It’s a bad card, movement with even a lot of damage would be awful. I think you could make it so it creates a few base copies of the same bronze card so it would synergize with Dwarves and Elves spam. It would be a great card for beginners that are usually looking for only one wincondition and could function as a learning leader. Handsize For now I think at start people don’t value the power of bleeding as many don’t know their decks, not even talking about opponent decks and since there are no spies, people should start thinking of winning 2:0 as everyone keeps mulligans or try to throw out non-efficient cards in R1 and R2 to instantly go to R3. That opens more 2:0s which are actually good to the context that enemies have to drop too many bad cards for the opponent to pick it up that the plays are inefficient. Blacklisting In the current state of Gwent, if blacklisting existed you could add a lot of golds, a few 4 provision golds and then you would be playing all golds. Bronze cards already feel like a hindrance to the deck, so if you give incentive to play low provision cards, people will pay even less attention to the bronzes than they do now. Don’t add blacklisting back. Card advantage Card advantage doesn’t matter as much anymore and you need to work for your cards. As now more removal exists, like Ciri, Ciri Dash, even for that you have to work, it used to be just dump a spy and you have Card Advantage. We are moving away from 1 card reward, which makes the game a tad bit more complex in a good way. Mechanics Order and Charge These give more control to the player, so the game feels more active, which is good, opens a new design space with artifacts, on top of that finishers can be played around and played around back as the order doesn’t activate instantly, but you could wait extra turns for it. Immune This is extremely hard to manage. We used to have gold immunity and we didn’t play too many cards that fight enemy cards, now as we do, immunity is just a more important gold immunity. It is a good mechanic to an extent if you look very carefully at it. If these cards became top of the meta, we are looking at distasteful playstyle of closed beta NR Gwent. Just be conscious of adding these type of cards within the future as mechanics should still exist for some decks to even work. Thrive Not sure if it’s that interesting of a mechanic, it will make for a powerful deck, but it might just feel like Tetris in the end where you barely interact with the opponent cards, as in Tetris, there is no opponent. In the future consider more interesting archetype cards that make you play around something. Conditions for Cards Artifact removal in some cards is genuinely very interesting - you have to have X amount of Bloodthirst in SK to remove an artifact. It is an interesting mechanic that ties into the archetype, a certain condition. It would be nice to see proper conditions, unlike ST: “Have an elf in your hand.” condition to trigger some. This idea with conditions with more bizarre requirements and rewards would also be interesting for the game and design field that could be explored even more. Lock No Longer Unlocking If you are playing a lock, you always lose close to no value. Both players usually have some sort of engines and if you’d be able to lock or unlock, locks would become close to an auto-include, now you are playing around enemy deck with those, instead of having ultimate card, an answer to everything. Wonky Combos There are combinations that are hard to pull, but if you do, you win the game. That I think is a genuinely good thing. Gwent for a long time has been a game of average card plays, especially when you look at Veteran decks. Combos that require a lot of work and have a big payoff are insanely great for the game as it opens different win conditions. No Short Rounds / No Topdeck Wars If you manage to get down to 1 card, have more mulligans than your opponent and your 1 card has more provisions, you are still more likely to win, so instead of having short rounds, you still play for the same strategy to bleed and go to round 2, but instead still draw a small package of your synergies. That’s great, topdecks is genuinely a bad idea to the game. Drypass Strategy It no longer exists within the game and as of late I am playing Spies (used to play a lot of ST and will still do so after Homecoming), my wincon is to pull Cantarella and use Menno onto it or just drypass and get a card advantage. This strategy was not healthy and made a lot of win conditions quite binary, that is not good to the game. If a strategy is available, if it’s unhealthy, doesn’t make the game better. Arena Live Gwent’s arena is dreadful, it was made like Hearthstone’s arena, where instead it should have been made in an unique sense, where you draw some cards, then you draw a package of a few cards that have synergy, can be wonky combos too, then some more cards in between, more packages and that would make an interesting arena deck. Of course the package amount had to be large, but having a big community to offer those packages wouldn’t have taken too much time. Moving on to new Gwent as we have lost a big pack of tags and replaced it with tags that work all across the game, we can build decks with synergy. However, building Arena decks might have another problem coming, Hearthstone Arena is balanced around the fact that it has mana curve, so even if you get these 10 cards that are insane finishers for 10 mana, you still need to play out your first 9 rounds. Gwent’s lack of mana curve should not make the player draw all randoms so players that want to have a huge amount of wins in a row, or just percentage wins should not just rely on good draws. If there was a number of provisions decided before the arena is drawn, the player does not know of the number that he gets, but it would be for the example a number between 165 and 200. Then every card you draw is randomized to an extent where you draw 25 cards by provisions without getting a broken deck or a deck that will never be able to win not because of your choices, but rather of how unlucky you were. This randomization is healthy to an extent as you still go into arena to find funny combinations and some game mods could break the stigma of arena, however the classic Arena should have a variance to it and shouldn’t feel like a boring experience. Achievements Requiring players to have a lot of : “Have 4 Phoenix Eggs on your side of the board.” “Use Scorch to acquire 100 point swing.” “Complete Arena run without a lose.” “Win 5 Arena runs in a row without breaking the contract.” and things like that. Extreme challenges are great for players that are trying to excel at a certain deck or funny combo that they try to pull and have this amazing aftertaste as if they just defeated a Dark Souls boss. It’d be just like Dark Souls. Starter achievements could be Scraps, Ore, Kegs and then Powder in the respective order, somewhere there arena tickets too, but most likely it’s best for newer player category as well so they would check on it and perhaps get hooked onto it, old players don’t need it as they have all the kegs in the world. Like that players that are deep within the game would actually get something that is relevant to them, as Powder and new players don’t yet need Powder, but need to fill the collection. Tutorial Make tutorials that actually teach all of the interesting mechanics and show more complex cards from the enemies or create an AI that has specific challenge to beat X deck with a Y deck, that is already prebuilt, where you have a narrow win condition, which is just disturbing enemy combination or something with a specific card. When new players will lose a couple times to interesting cards they will understand that there are interesting cards and you can disturb them. This clears up new players from playing raw number cards in the game as a lot of decks start off with point slam cards without knowing about the interesting stuff. Leaders could also be used for strong combinations. I really love designing cards and in general CCG development, so I gave my view on Homecoming, maybe one day I shall sit in CDPR’s studio thinking of new cards for you and how to balance them, so if you feel like my ideas are not good, don’t be afraid to critique them so I could defend the idea or change the idea if the idea doesn’t stand on its own. Thank you for reading Sincerely, Vilhelmas “Imbure” Stankevičius
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