Blackrock Mountain Wrapup

I haven’t posted anything about Hearthstone’s Blackrock Mountain adventure since it came out and I think it’s about time I got around to that.

The adventure was a lot of fun. The bosses had their own little quirks that you had to work around to win, but none of them were too hard.

The Mage class challenge was awesome and I have replayed it a bunch of times. The deck you get is a solid 30 Unstable Portals!

Unstable_Portal

I’ve tried my hand at a few of the Heroic bosses and beaten three of them. My decklists and a glimpse of how the decks work are available on YouTube at these links: Grim Guzzler, Emperor Thaurissan, and General Drakkisath.

Now that the adventure is over and I’ve collected all the cards, which ones are the best and most fun?

Hungry_Dragon

Hungry Dragon stays a favorite for me. You get a good creature and your opponent gets something useless or something that completely messes you up. Shieldbearer is one of my least favorite minions to pop for my opponent even though its usually trash.

Volcanic_Drake

Volcanic Drake is pretty good in Arena and might make mid-range Hunter much more viable. The Drake combines well with Unleash the Hounds. Drop the Hounds, wipe your opponent’s board, and then play the Drake for free.

Blackwing_Corruptor

Blackwing Corruptor is pretty much an auto-include if you’re building a dragon tribe deck. The Battlecry effect is just so strong. Get a decent sized minion and probably eliminate one of your opponent’s minions as well. Awesome card.

Drakonid_Crusher

Drakonid Crusher is another winner for Arena. 6 mana for a 6/6 isn’t bad. It’s only got 1 worse health than Boulderfist Ogre. And Drakonid is a dragon so it can activate the Battlecries of Blackwing Corruptor and other similar cards. Best part is that if you’re already winning and you drop Drakonid, you get a 9/9. Even bigger than a giant! Solid draft in Arena. Not so good in constructed because you usually need things other than huge creatures in constructed.

Dragonkin_Sorcerer

Dragonkin Sorcerer is terrifying when a Paladin plays it. It’s stats are average for its cost, but if the Paladin drops a buff spell on it, look out. And its a dragon for that dragon synergy as well.

Emperor_Thaurissan

Emperor Thaurissan made a lot of combo decks much more viable. Specifically Freeze Mage and Combo Druid. If the cards necessary for lethal are all 1 mana cheaper then the combo can be pulled of in one turn instead of two if needed or at an earlier turn thatn previously possible. Thaurissan is a great card.

NefarianMajordomo_Executus

Nefarian and Majordomo Exectus both underperformed my expectations to be honest. Nefarian often gets you spells that are completely useless in your current situation. Exectus is often a liability because becoming Ragnaros reduces your health to 8. In what situation would you want your health to go that low? Usually if its already that low. And if it is that low, then your opponent will just deal damage to you instead of Exectus.

Resurrect

Resurrect is one card that I’m excited to see more of. I’ve heard that it combos well with Injured Blademaster because it comes back at 4/7 instead of 4/3. I’d like to see if slightly modifying a Preist deck could make this card awesome, but I don’t play that much Priest anymore. I’ll give a try sometime! Maybe for the Heroic bosses.

Imp_Gang_Boss

Imp Gang Boss is a really nice Warlock card. Demons are getting better and better as Blizzard releases more of them. Imp Gang Boss is chock full of demons and quite difficult for your opponent to fully remove. Pretty much a solid card in any situation.

Lava_ShockFireguard_Destroyer

Lava Shock and Fireguard Destroyer are the two new Shaman class cards. Lava Shock is definitely cool. There are a few Shaman decks I’ve wanted to try out in the past, but Overloading too much stopped those decks from working. Lava Shock could fix that. And Fireguard is just a good card for its cost. It will almost always be worth the Overload cost you pay for it, just like Crackle.

Druid_of_the_Flame

Druid of the Flame is a good Druid card and it counts as a Beast to combo with Druid of the Fang. I once had Druid of the Fang, Druid of the Claw, and Druid of the Flame all out at the same time and I felt very naturey. You’ll almost always play the Druid of the Flame in 2/5 form just like Ancient of War, but its a good card regardless of the false choice.

Quick_Shot

Quick Shot is the latest upgrade to the Face Hunter deck. Out of cards? Why not deal damage and draw more cards! Plus it allows for more burst from the hand to surprise your opponent with lethal when they thought they were safe. Good card.

That’s all the new cards that stuck out to me. I’ll be posting more YouTube guides to beating the Heroic bosses as I manage to do it!

-GoCorral

New League of Legends Map

So pretty!!!
So pretty!!!

As some of you may have heard, League of Legends is coming out with a new map for next year.

The new map will be replacing Summoner’s Rift. It’s more of a visual update with additional changes to the Jungle that Riot makes every year.

First things first though! I’ve played the map and it is in fact quite pretty even on lower graphics settings.

One of the goals of the new map is to visually differentiate every zone of the map. The two bases should FEEL different.

Blue base uses a lot of straight right angles while red base uses a lot of curves. The blue minions wield hammers while the red minions wield axes.

The jungle quadrants are also differentiated. The whole upper left side now looks corrupted due to the Baron’s vile influence on the terrain. The left blue side is rocky and barren. The top red side is dry and desolate. The right blue side is ancient and mysterious. The bottom red side is lush and green.

At least in theory. My experience was that the top and bottom sides felt noticeably different than each other and different from the blue sides. Unfortunately, the two blue sides did not feel different from each other.

The jungle minions have been changed as well. The four basic old camps consisted of Wraiths, Wolves, Golems, and the Wight. Now those are Birds, Wolves, Golems, and a Big Frog. Riot gave them some madeup names that I probably won’t ever use.

The buffs have also changed. The Blue Golem is now called the Sentinel and the Red Lizard is called the Brambleback. The Sentinel is almost the exact same as the old Blue Golem. His little lizard buddies have been replaced by smaller rock buddies though.

The Brambleback looks quite different. It’s more like an animated thorn bush than a Lizard Shaman. Its little buddies have been similarly changes to little thorn bushes.

Another change was to the walls. Riot made it so the width of a wall is roughly matched by its apparent height to give you a clue on whether you can jump the wall with an ability or Flash. If its too high, you can’t! Pretty simple addition for clarity’s sake. Riot loves clarity.

Those are all cosmetic changes. Maybe they changed the buffs that Nunu gets from minions as well, but I don’t know yet. The true gameplay changes come at Baron and Dragon.

They both fight a lot differently. If you played Ascension then you already got a glimpse of where Riot hopes to take boss fights. The Ascendant Xerath had attacks with zones you could dodge out of with good reflexes. The same is true for Dragon and Baron.

Plus, both have a knockback now which will make it harder to sneak these objectives over the wall. They’ll knock you into the river at some point and the opposing sides wards will see you there if they weren’t granting vision of the pit.

Overall, the map was a great visual upgrade with very few gameplay changes. There are more gameplay changes coming, but right now those are restricted to the PBE. We’ll have to wait and see on those! Or you can check out videos on Youtube like I have.

I’m excited for the new map and I hope you are too!

-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

Trying to Beat Maexxna

Giving my standard Rogue deck a try against Maexxna and failing miserably.
Giving my standard Rogue deck a try against Maexxna and failing miserably.

I’ve been playing around with beating the Heroic version of one boss in Hearthstone’s Curse of Naxxramas.

The boss is called Maexxna and she is a giant spider.

The normal version was easy to beat, but the Heroic version is way harder.

She starts off with effectively three spider minions to your zero. Plus, if you kill one of those minions they turn into two other spiders.

She also has an ability she can use every turn for free to throw two of your minions back to your hand.

The best way to beat her seems obvious for Hearthstone veterans, play a deck with a bunch of minions that have effects when they’re played from your hand.

For example, there’s one minion that deals 1 damage when it is played. She returns it, but then you get the free damage once again!

There’s another few that heal you up. Play one of those every turn and she can’t bring you down as quickly.

Maexxna has a tendency to flood her side of the board with her weak spider minions. She can only have seven total and there’s a way to take advantage of this as well.

The best strategy I’ve heard so far is to play a minion who restores six life every turn. If Maexxna’s board is filled with seven minions that can each only deal one damage, then you’re only taking one damage per turn total.

Then you play a minion that can attack on its first turn to deal 4 damage to Maexxna directly.

So once you get to that point in the game you’re only taking 1 damage for every 4 damage Maexxna takes.

I haven’t tried that deck yet and I’m it takes a bit of luck and skill to succeed with it. Given enough time I’m sure I can manage it.

There’s still a lot more bosses to go after Maexxna though! I’ll be looking forward to them after my vacation.

-Mister Ed

EDIT: I did the strategy I talked about above and it worked perfectly. Give it a shot with Paladin if you’re having trouble with her!

Hearthstone Streaming

A little preview of what my Hearthstone stream will look like.
A little preview of what my Hearthstone stream will look like.

So the big news earlier this week was that I have been working on a Heathstone stream, with a URL of http://www.twitch.tv/gocorral. I’ll be streaming tonight from 8-9PM Pacific time.

The current model is pictured above which I’ll be using to play tonight.

I tried to give the stream a consistent look with the game by taking all the extra pieces of the stream from Hearthstone.

The pack is a Hearthstone pack with the Hearthsteed on top.

The sign is taken from when the game is down for maintenance.

The Curse of Naxxramas art is taken from some of Blizzard’s own ads for Hearthstone.

The box surrounding the webcam image of my lovely face is taken from the main menu of the game.

I’m planning on streaming a playthrough of the new Naxxramas content once it is released. I’ll announce those streams as I get to them.

What is Hearthstone for the uninitiated? It’s an online card game put out by Blizzard, the same people who created Diablo and World of Warcraft.

Hearthstone is intended to be quite simple. They have an easy tutorial that teaches you how to play and each game takes about ten minutes or less.

If you’ve played any collectible card game before then its Hearthstone will be quite easy to pick up.

In the game your character is one of the main heroes from Blizzard’s Warcraft games.

Your hero has various spells, powers, minions, and weapons to help take out the opponent’s hero.

Both heroes start with 30 life which is slowly eaten up by the opponent’s hero and minions attacks through the game.

If you bring your opponent’s life down to zero then you win! There’s a celebratory image with ribbons and fireworks!

If your opponent wins then you can always play again.

I like the game a lot and would definitely suggest giving it a try. If you don’t like it, then you haven’t spent much time to learn that. If you do like it then we could play together!

My user name on the game is Jevaninada #1917. The game can be downloaded at http://us.battle.net/hearthstone/en/.

Again, my stream is July 20th (The night I’m publishing this) from 8-9PM Pacific time and the URL is http://www.twitch.tv/gocorral.

Thanks for watching!

-Mister Ed

League of Legends Map Part 3

https://i0.wp.com/ddragon.leagueoflegends.com/cdn/img/champion/splash/Nocturne_0.jpg

League of Legends Map Part 2

In this post I use the word champion a lot. A champion is the character a player uses within League of Legends. There are over a hundred champions to choose from. The picture above is of one of my favorite champions, Nocturne.

How do people actually play on the map for League of Legends? Why have I described all these turrets and minions and monsters?

The reason is the one of the in game currencies, gold.

League of Legends has three in game currencies, Influence Points (IP), Riot Points (RP), and gold.

IP and RP aren’t used when actually playing the game. They can get you new champions to play with or new looks for those champions. They also get you minor bonuses in game called runes.

Gold is used for purchases while actually playing the video game. Gold starts at 475 at the beginning of every game, enough for one small item.

For a bit of perspective, short games often end with each player having 6,000-9,000 gold. An average length game ends with each player having 12,000-15,000 gold. A long game ends with 15,000-20,000 gold for each player.

Gold buys items. These items can do tons of different things.

They all provide a few basic statistics, making your champion stronger in particular areas. Attack damage makes your attacks stronger, ability power makes your abilities stronger, armor and magic resist prevent a bit of damage to your champion. Health lets your champion take more damage over all. Speed makes your champion faster. You get the idea.

The big items also provide a few special bonuses. One of them lets your champion freeze in place for one second and ignore all damage during that period. Another gives extra strength to all the other players on your team. Another makes your attacks hit three enemies instead of just one. There are dozens of other cool little bonuses.

But how do you get more gold to buy items? There are four basic ways, killing things, having items that give gold, destroying towers or other large objectives, and just waiting (everyone gets a certain amount of gold per second no matter what).

First, killing things. If your champion gets the last hit to kill a minion, monster, or opposing champion, then your champion gets a certain amount of gold.

The amount of gold from kills is decided by how hard it is to kill the target. Champions give the most, followed by the big monsters at each monster camp. After that are minions, with the small monsters at each monster camp being last.

There are a few items that give you more gold just by having them. The ways they give you gold vary. Some give it when you are close to someone else who kills a minion, some give you more for each thing you kill, etc.

Destroying towers or other large objectives is the point of the whole game. Taking down one of those gives a bunch of gold to the whole team. Often the team of five people will gather up to take down a specific tower or objective.

What are the other objectives? Remember the Baron Nashor and Dragon I mentioned in a previous post? Those are the other objectives.

Baron Nashor and the Dragon are two large monsters that sit in their camps adjacent to the River. They are effectively as big as a turret and can deal nearly as much damage as one. Because of this the whole team or close to the whole team is usually required to take them down as minions will not be taking the laser shots like they do at towers.

Killing Baron Nashor or the Dragon gives the whole team a buttload of gold. Baron Nashor has the additional benefit of giving a buff to your whole team, increasing all of their statistics. This buff lasts for four minutes.

The Baron respawns after seven minutes while the Dragon respawns after six minutes.

A lot of the gameplay of League of Legends requires teamwork. I’ll describe how a team is chosen in another post.

If reading this has gotten you interested in League of Legends you can click this link to download the game for free. Doing so also gives me a little boost in game, so we’re both winners! League of Legends Signup Link

-Mister Ed

League of Legends Meta

League of Legends Map Part 2

https://i2.wp.com/img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20131205125131/leagueoflegends/images/4/49/Summoner%27s_Rift_jungle_map_with_monsters.png

League of Legends Map Part 1

Today the focus will be on a specific part of the League of Legends map, the Jungle.

The Jungle is the space between the lanes and the river. There are four different sections of the Jungle formed by the X that the River and the middle (mid) lane create.

Each of the four sections contains three monster camps. Each section has a few names in the game. The top section is called purple top because it is close to purple’s top lane. The right section is called purple bottom (bot) Jungle for the same reason. The bottom section is called blue bot and the left section is called blue top.

The sections have other names that are used more often that refer to the specific monsters within them, so lets take a look at those.

Purple top and blue bot are mirrored and contain the same three monster camps in identical places. The central camp is the Lizard Elder and his two Lizard buddies. The Elder attacks with his nasty sword while the little Lizards shoot fire from their staves.

When a player kills the Lizard Elder they get a buff that lets them deal a little bit of extra damage every time they hit a minion, monster, or another player. This buff has a visual effect of red runes circling the player who has it. This red effect is why the section of the Jungle with the Lizard Elder is sometimes called the red Jungle. The two different red Jungles are differentiated by calling them “their red side Jungle” or “our red side Jungle.”

The other two monster camps around the Lizard Elder are the Golems and the Wraiths.

The Golems are two big rocky brothers. One is an older brother and is thus bigger than his younger brother.  The Golems attack you by smashing you with their rock hands.

The Wraiths are four ghostly looking things. One of the Wraiths is bigger than the other three. The Wraiths attack by shooting out little ghost lights from their hands.

The purple bot and blue top Jungle sections are dominated by the Ancient Golem at the center who also has two Lizard buddies. The Ancient Golem is the huge father version of the two Golem brothers in the red side Jungle. The Lizard buddies are just like the two that hang out with the Lizard Elder.

When a player kills the Ancient Golem he receives a buff, just like with the Lizard Elder. The Ancient Golem’s buff has blue runes instead of red runes. The player with the blue buff can use more of their special abilities and can use them faster. The blue buff gives these sections of the Jungle their name, blue side Jungle. Just like with the red side Jungle, the two sections are differentiated by which side of the river they are on, our side or their side.

The two monster camps around the Ancient Golem are the Wight and the Wolves.

The Wight is a recent addition to the Jungle. The company that makes League of Legends, Riot Games, updates the game all the time with significant updates at the beginning of every year. 2014 saw the addition of the Wight to the Jungle along with a few other things.

The Wight  is all by it’s lonesome in the Jungle. It is bigger than all the other Jungle monsters except for the Ancient Golem and the Lizard Elder. The Wight looks a lot like the Wraiths and attacks in the same way they do which is why the Wight is sometimes called the Big Wraith. I find this a little confusing because there already is a big Wraith in the Wraith camp itself. I’ll keep calling it the Wight and hoping that everyone else changes.

The Wolf camp has three Wolves, a mama Wolf and two baby Wolves. You can call the baby Wolves Romulus and Remus if you want. The Wolves attack by biting (obviously).

The monsters are a lot like minions, but different in key ways.

Minions walk down the lanes, but if attacked will follow the attacking player out of the lanes. The monsters don’t leave their camps. If you hit them and lead them away from their camp, the monsters will head back to the camp and quickly return to full health.

Minions spawn every thirty seconds. The monster camps only respawn if all the monsters in them are killed. The respawn times are 50 seconds for the Golems, Wolves, Wraiths and Wight, and 5 minutes for the Ancient Golem and Lizard Elder.

The monster camps do not respawn until all the monsters in them are killed. This allows a clever player to kill the Ancient Golem or Lizard Elder on their opponent’s side and waltz away with the buff, leaving the Lizard buddy scraps for the other team to have.

There are two more monsters on the map above, Baron Nashor and the Dragon. Those two are different than the other monster camps, so I will describe them another time.

There’s a lot more to tell you about how the map is played, so I hope you keep reading to learn it all!

If reading this has gotten you interested in League of Legends you can click this link to download the game for free. Doing so also gives me a little boost in game, so we’re both winners! League of Legends Signup Link

-Mister Ed

League of Legends Map Part 3

League of Legends Map Part 1

This is a map of League of Legends. I figured I’d bring it up to show you a few things about the game to help understand future posts.

The League of Legends map is split into two halves. The middle line is referred to as the River because in the actual game shallow water divides the map. This dividing line goes from the top left to the bottom right.

The two sides, bottom left and top right, are color coded in League of Legends. You can see the little icons on the map above are blue for bottom left and purple for top right. Because of these colors the two sides are always called blue side and purple side.

Each side has a corner deep in its territory where the base of that side is. To win the game your team must break into the opposing base and destroy the giant crystal there called the Nexus. The Nexus is represented on the map by the six pointed star thing.

The map is further defined by the three lanes. The three lanes are top lane, middle lane, and bottom lane. The lanes are marked by those helmet looking things you can see on the map.

Top lane runs the perimeter of the map from bottom left, to the top left, and then to the top right. Bottom lane runs the opposite perimeter from bottom left, to bottom right, and then to the top right. Middle lane runs on a diagonal across the map from bottom left to top right.

Every thirty seconds three groups of computer controlled minions spawn at each Nexus. One group goes down each lane. The minions of each side meet at the River and fight each other to a standstill. The actions of the people playing the game will tip the balance in favor of one side or another.

The goal of the game is to destroy the Nexus, but all those helmet looking things, called towers or turrets, protect the Nexus.

Each turret has to be destroyed in succession. An outer turret in one lane must be destroyed before an inner turret can be dealt any damage.

So why not just walk up to a turret and blow it up? Because it shoots lasers at you! That’s why!

The turrets prioritize their laser targets in a predictable way though. Taking advantage of this prioritization allows the turrets to be destroyed.

The first target of turret is always a player on the opposing team if that player is attacking a player on the turret’s team. The secondary targets are minions. If no minions are in range the turret will fire its lasers at any enemy players that come within range.

So the turrets are approached and destroyed by having minions going first and ignoring any opposing players that may be under the turret. This can be quite dangerous so a certain amount of strategy is required to accomplish it.

I’ll talk about those strategies in a different post though!

If you’d like to give League of Legends a try you can click this link and give me a little boost in game. League of Legends Signup Link

-Mister Ed

League of Legends Map Part 2