GVG Meta Shifts

The meta has been shifting in Hearthstone which is predictable after the release of a new set. GVG is shaking things up just like Blizzard wanted.

So what are some of the biggest new decks? Well, Mech Mage is one of them.

The expansion came with plenty of new minions to flood the board early such as Clockwork Gnome, Mechwarper, Micro Machine, and Snowchugger for Mages.

Chugga-Chugga-Chugga!
Chugga-Chugga-Chugga!

For the mid game there’s Piloted Shredder, Madder Bomber, Bomb Lobber, and Goblin Blastmage. Each of them brings a decent body of their own along with an ability that will usually trade with an opponent’s minion while still leaving your minion alive, either through a damaging battlecry or the Shredder‘s deathrattle.

What are you doing with that stapler and an Arcane Missiles card? Stay back!
What are you doing with that stapler and an Arcane Missiles card? Stay back!

Add in the normal strong spells of a Mage and the deck is quite solid. What makes it devastating is the new Spare Parts cards. They’re cheap and the deck has Clockwork Gnome, Tinkertown Technician, and Mechanical Yeti to create them.

Flip-flop! Now my deck's on top!
Flip-flop! Now my deck’s on top!

The cheapness is wonderful. They can activate Mana Wyrm to pump it up. They can activate Gadgetzan to draw cards. They can activate Antonidas to create three Fireballs on the turn you drop him. They also work with the new legendary, Gazlowe, to create tons of mechs for you to play.

Mage also got a new toy with the epic spell, Echo of Medivh. The spell is used in the old Freeze Mage Giant deck which focused on freezing out their opponent and drawing cards until they could play giants and Duplicate them. Well now you can duplicate them another way!

I don't really know who or what Medivh is.
I don’t really know who or what Medivh is.

Say you’re at 10 life. You feel safe because you’ve got two Molten Giants that you gave taunt to on the board and you have an Ice Block secret. Now throw in Echo of Medivh and suddenly you have two spares of one of the most powerful minions in the game! Day9 has a video where he fills his board with 6 Molten Giants in one turn using this trick.

The deathrattle aggro decks that Warlock, Priest, and Hunter run all got some improvements with Clockwork Gnome and the Piloted cards. Mechwarper and Micro Machine also help out with mech aggro decks.

Ramp Druid got some new tools. Grove Tender helps them ramp up faster while also providing a body. Tree of Life allows a full reset of life when you’re facing an aggro deck.

Handlock got Mal’Ganis, so now your opponents can’t even rush you down if you drop that. Fortunately, some cards were added to counter Handlock and any other oppressive control matchup. Goblin Sapper and Clockwork Giant are perfect against decks that like to stock up on lots of cards.

There are tons of other cool cards that have slightly altered existing deck. Shrinkmeister and Voljin for Priest. Muster for Battle, Quartermaster, and Bolvar Fordragon for Paladin. Gahz’rilla for Hunter. A slight Murloc focus for Shaman along with Crackle for burst based decks. Rogue got some awesome new mech cards along with the means to possibly create a viable pirate deck. I haven’t seen one yet, but I’ll bet its coming.

So lots of new cards to try out! I’ve only just now finished spending out all my gold on Arena runs to learn the new cards in that mode. Now I have to see how what I have works in Ranked. I just got a Mal’Ganis for a Demonlock deck in my last Arena run. Maybe I’ll give that a try!

-Mister Ed

League of Legends Meta

I'm the blue one in the middle on the right. Yeti to the rescue!
I’m the blue one in the middle on the right. Yeti to the rescue!

My previous post outlining League of Legends was forever ago. I posted League of Legends Map Part 3 on March 22nd.

Today I’m going to talk about the League of Legends meta.

In the everyday usage of the word, meta means something that is self-referential. But meta means something different when you’re talking about video games.

The meta of a video game refers to specific strategies used to play against other people.

The meta of a game evolves out of the rock-paper-scissors mechanics that most games use.

The meta can shift so that more people are playing rock than any other symbol, but if that happens then inevitably more people will start playing paper because paper is good against rock.

Or maybe the game designers will notice that scissors is losing more games than it should on average. The designers give scissors a buff for fighting the other symbols. The buff results in more people playing scissors and then more people playing rock because it counters scissors and on and on and on.

So what is the meta of League of Legends?

Like I said in my previous posts, League of Legends has three different lanes that shape the map.

Each lane has a set of resources that give gold, the enemy minions. Killing minions gets you gold.

There’s also the jungle monsters inbetween lanes that give gold.

So four places to get gold, but five people on each team. Not quite enough to go around.

The jungle, top, and mid lanes are what you’d expect. One person in each collects resources from that lane.

In North America the current meta is a large champion who can take a lot of hits in top lane.

The mid lane usually has a champion that can’t survive a lot of hits, but can deal a lot of damage with their abilities.

A lot of different champions work in the jungle. The North American meta for League of Legends jungle champions has been shifting a lot lately, so I couldn’t say what really fits there. In the picture above I’m a tanky jungler who can take a lot of hits and slow the other team down by throwing snowballs at them.

The League of Legends puts two champions in the bottom lane.

Because there’s two in the same place, you can’t name the lane based on the position. Instead the two positions are called Attack Damage Carry (ADC) and Support.

The ADC is responsible for shooting arrows or bullets at people. They’ve got a lot of abilities that make their arrows or bullets hit harder or reposition themselves so they can keep shooting arrows or bullets at the enemy team, but that’s the gist of the role.

The support is supposed to keep the ADC alive and provide basic utility to the team as a whole.

For example, a friend of my is playing Nami in the top left of the picture above.

Nami is a mermaid support. Her abilities let her heal her allies, trap her enemies in a bubble of water, buff her ADC’s attacks to make them slow enemies, speed up her team, and create a giant tidal wave that pushes the enemy team away.

So if Nami’s ADC is jumped on by an enemy, Nami can trap that enemy in a water bubble to save her ADC.

If someone is running at her ADC, Nami can increase the ADC’s speed and allow the ADC to slow the running enemy with their arrows and bullets.

The support’s role is so focused around keeping the ADC healthy and alive that the support doesn’t even share the gold from minions in the bottom lane. It’s expected that the ADC will kill all of the minions and get all of the gold.

So that’s the meta in League of Legends right now. More League posts to come!

If you’re interested in playing League of Legends you can give it a try using this link. Feel free to message me in game if you want to play a little with me! My name is SoapySeahorse on the North American server.

-Mister Ed

The Other Room in D&D

D&D is typically played with everyone in the same room or on the same video call if you’re my group.

The DM plays out the action and all the other players interact with each other and the DM.

Sometimes a change is needed.

What if one PC scouts ahead and the DM doesn’t want the other players to share the information that PC gets?

You could trust the players to only act on information their characters would know, but its difficult to rely on that. It’s easy for the DM and the players to forget where the line between character knowledge and their own knowledge is.

The problem is easily solved by restricting such knowledge.

When a player scouts the next room in a dungeon without the others the DM will take him into the other room with his character sheet and dice.

The player then explores the room on his own.

If there’s a monster in there, he has to fight it on his own. He can still call for help to the others, but they won’t necessarily hear him.

If there’s treasure in the other room, the PC could claim it for himself and not tell the others what he found. Golden chalice? Sweet! Since the PC found it on his own, he doesn’t need to share.

At the end of this week’s session I took one of my players into the other room (separate video call).

His PC hadn’t gone into another room, but instead was taking a vacation separate from the other PCs.

Not as exotic as a fancy golden chalice in the other room of a dungeon, but it was still something we felt should be separate.

The other PCs wouldn’t know what happened there unless they are told. Additionally, watching it probably would’ve been boring for them and disruptive for the player whose PC was there.

That’s all for tonight!

-Mister Ed