The Thrones Weekender – Tournament Report

We were somewhere around the middle of March when it became clear what had to be done. A combination of poor organisation, communication and pure luck meant that the two most Northern regionals for Game of Thrones fell on the same weekend.

Knowing that Stockton had a larger player base, far better facilities for hosting a tournament and much more passion for Thrones from store itself, getting people to come to Manchester was always going to be a tough sell. If our Store Championship attendance was anything to go by, you could probably just have turned up at the Regional and be guaranteed a playmat.

When Wedge joined the Manchester meta, a plan started to come together. With two potential houses for Thrones players to stay at, the possibility that we could make a long weekend of Thrones out the two tournaments really fell into place.

With a minibus coming down from Edinburgh, a car full from London and a few other Thrones stragglers from all directions, the Thrones Weekender was born.

This was honestly one of the most fun weekends of my life, which probably says more about my other weekends than anything else. I’m going to try and get as much of the shenanigans as possible into this report, but inevitably, something will be missed. Before we go any further, I’ll leave you with this:

Don’t trust your narrator, he was drunk. And Withnail along while you read, if you dare.

Friday

It was fat Friday in the office, which meant a lengthy pub lunch (the Bull’s Head in Handforth) and a pint (Stella). Start as you mean to continue. And so after work, I sank a swift one (Heineken) at the Pointing Dog (Cheadle Hulme), while keeping an eye on the time for the imminent arrival of my first guest for the weekend, Dave Bamford.

Dave and I have played each other quite a lot. He smashed me in my first ever tournament joust game, and has beaten me just about about every other time since then, apart from a few weeks previously at the Stoke regional, where he forgot Jaime was ‘No Attachments” and made the pro play of Mel’s Favor’ing my Penny.

Anyway, Dave was slightly delayed, but thankfully arrived at mine just in time for us to drive to Piccadilly station to collect co-conspirator number two, Josh Chambers, who was coming over from . Little did we know at this moment, that Josh was playing the wrong Ser Arys Oakheart.

Within seconds of arriving back at mine, it was time to raid the drinks stash. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that if you throw the party, you buy the booze.

banter booze

Camel cigarettes tee in the mirror. I don’t even smoke, just approve of selling cigs to kids.

From here we began our evening of merriment, Josh told us the tale of his success in Conquest nationals, there was brief discussions about the other games that don’t matter Netrunner, Lord of Rings, Cthullu, Star Wars.

Ben and Sam rounded out the guest list for the night, partook in the drinking (several bottles of export, exponentially stronger gin & tonics, shots of apple sourz, gin & fanta, and finally a gin & banter (gin+fanta+apple sourz) and it was time for some deck testing, and lots and lots of drinking. The only game I can really remember was against Bamford when my Bara AaA rush deck went to 8 or 9 plots against his Targ 222, and then lost. Silliness.

We left it way too late to order food, but got a Godfather’s Pizza delivered by Just Eat anyway. Josh fell asleep in his kebab and disappeared. Sam also went to bed, because he wasn’t as hammered as everyone else. Dave and I talked in depth about the UK tax system, whether I actually had to pay taxes on my freelance earnings (I do), and some other nonsense.

It later transpired that Josh had snuck into my wardrobe, ready to jump out at me for maximum banter when I eventually went to sleep. The problem came when Josh fell asleep in the wardrobe. Sam sums the rest of the events quite nicely on his blog, also well worth reading that for a TR that doesn’t go to 1000 words before even mentioning anything about a tournament.

Anyway, Josh then stumbled from the wardrobe to the bed that had been reserved for Ben, as tomorrow’s TO, but I don’t think anyone can really blame him for that.

Around early AM, I decided it was time to sleep, but instead of sleeping I thought I’d have a heart to heart with my best friend (Sam) about life, careers, Thrones and everything else. He wanted to sleep. Neither of us were thrilled with the others behaviour.

Saturday

I’ll be honest, when I woke up, I felt fantastic, fantasticfantastic. So fantastic in fact, the only real option was to have a cheeky can of Carling in the garden. It was legit. After rousing the troops, we all piled into Ben’s car and made our way to Fanboy. Which was closed, obviously. So we went for breakfast at Subway. I got away with buying a footlong sub for the price of a six inch, I knew from there that

Round 1 – Josh Chambers – Lannister Aloof and Apart – Pentoshi Manor

Okay, I have no idea what happened in this game. To be honest, I’m not positive it was Josh that I played against. On the way back from Stockton I made a list of all the people at the tournament and used a process of elimination to work out who I played in the first round, and the last name on that list was Josh.

I won the game though, probably with the Knight of Flowers. That guy is legit. You know who’s not legit though? The wrong Ser Arys Oakheart. Josh was playing him and I’m absolutely sure that if he was playing the right one he would’ve won this game.

Round 2 – Vince – Greyjoy Old Way – Naval Escort

I’m not entirely sure where the Bellsprouts joke came from. But someone thought boats sounded like Bellsprout (as well the implication that anyone playing boats is a bellend), so from now until the end of time anyone playing a deck with loads of boats is a Bellsprout.

Vince however is not a bellend, but a very good Thrones player who I’ve not had the chance to play before. This game was a classic encounter of stall versus rush. I dominated in the early game, and got to about 14 power by turn three. However, I made the decision to hold one last bomb character (I think it was Robert Baratheon (fat)) back, just incase I didn’t make the win that turn, and could recover from the Valar.

This plan didn’t work, after Vince’s reset, I top decked badly and couldn’t recover or protect my lead and I died a slow death by bellsprouts. 1-1

Round 3 – Mike Clarke – Targaryen Song of Fire – Daenerys Targaryen

I was interested to see how a Song of Fire deck played, having tried it out of Lannister and decided that No Agenda was just better. Dany was the predictable choice for restricted card, but Mike got unlucky and didn’t see at all in our relatively short game.

Stannis got Flame Kissed and some other burn early doors, but that was fine as I was winning most of the Bay of Ice battles between Mike and I, keeping a steady card advantage and just throwing more characters down than Mike could possibly hope to burn. And then I was at 15 power, and it was lunch time.

Lunch – Cheeky Nandos – Piccadilly Gardens

It was lunch time, and with Wamma, Mike and Becky already in Nandos. Sam and I decided to join them. I wasn’t that hungry, but I was thirsty and upon seeing that the rest of them were drinking, I dabbled in, as a wanker might say, a cerveza and some fancy olives. Sam got a healthy salad.

Round 4 – Dave Bamford – Martell No Agenda – Venomous Blade

Continuing the theme for the day, I only got paired against people who were staying at my house that night. None of them had the decency to throw the game outright, except Josh who was playing the wrong Ser Arys Oakheart.

I wasn’t expecting an easy game against Dave, but I also wasn’t expecting the absolute battering I received. If there’s one deck that can go toe to toe in terms of speed with Baratheon Aloof and Apart, it’s Martell No Agenda. Especially not one that has Quentyn and a Flea Bottom Scavenger in hand turn one. Dave correctly predicts that I’ll open with Retaliation, sees my Bay of Ice and we have a Retaliation off, I think.

Dave also got Ellaria Sand out early on, who was really rather annoying against my Knight of Flowers, essentially negating his renown for the entirety of the time she was on the board.

Anyway, Turn 2 Dave uses Summoned by the Conclave for the right Ser Arys Oakheart, and discards my Willas Tyrell. Turn 3 he flips To the Spears, drops a card into shadows turning off my Knight of Flowers and then marshals The Red Viper. There’s no recovering from that.

Swift One – Dry Bar – Oldham Street

Mine and Dave’s game was over so quickly that we had time for a cheeky one. I think Dave was a little jealous of the fact I’d had a beer at Nandos and wanted to get back on it. I was not going to deny anyone that.

After a brief foray into Allotment, which is lovely, but not the kind of place you want quick, cheapish pint, we settled on Dry Bar, as its where Wedge and I drink after Thrones every Wednesday. We even managed to secure mine and Wedge’s booth.

While we were in the pub, I was getting some text updates from Ben about some unpleasant scenes happening off screen. Sam had been on fire all day, and here he was in round 4, utterly smashing some unknown player by the name of James “JCWamma” Waumsley.

This match was so one sided in fact, on the way back to Fanboy, Dave and I stopped in Travelling Man for Dave to get the latest Star Wars chapter pack., and we picked up a Sansa Stark badge to give to Wamma. AYOOOOOO.

Round 5 – Becky – Lannister Aloof and Apart – Something

By this point, I’d procured a plastic bottle, and started on the cans of gin and slimline tonic I have in my bag, cleverly avoiding the venues strict no alcohol policy, because I am a badass and a rebel. Becky was also drinking from a hip flask, having had a can confiscated earlier in the day.

This game is hazy, but I know I won it quite quickly. Maybe I setup a Street of Silk but perhaps I didn’t. Possibly it was a Bloody Gate, I honestly don’t know. I spammed dudes and won with renown and unopposed.

At 3-2 I was fairly sure I wouldn’t make the cut, so I thrashed through some more cans of gin. And then I filmed the links for the sexy video that appears (will appears) at the top of this post. Then when Ben announced the cut, somehow I’d snuck through in seventh place. My top 8 game was starting, and I was out of gin, but thankfully Josh was going out to the shop and very kindly bought me some more cans, just so I could properly concentrate in my highly important match against…

Sam Wilson – Lannister NA – Castellan of the Rock

One of the (numerous) unwritten rules to mine and Sam’s friendship is that when we play Thrones casually he wins. And when we play in tournaments, I win. But given that Sam had been taking scalps all day, I wasn’t too confident going into the match.

Being somewhat familiar with Lannister, I had a feeling that the longer the game went on, the more it tipped the balance in Sam’s favour. So my only real option with the deck was to rush. Which I did, quite successfully, until turn 3 when my board got Valar‘d and I hadn’t held any cards back, because that kind of thing is for squares.

Sam was also looking at an empty hand, and neither of us had any draw on the board. So the next few rounds were weird, with us both just seeing what we top decked and hoping it was good. For a few turns, it wasn’t and luckily for me, it wasn’t for Sam either.

Then I saw Stannis Baratheon and Brienne of Tarth, and I was going first, and I was going to win the game. Until Sam dropped King Joffrey’s Guard, and I saw that a 2 claim military challenge that I had no way of opposing was coming my way. Charlie, managed to capture this moment beautifully.

CIDPD2BWwAEtQ8B

So that was me out of the Top 8, can you guess how I celebrated? It was more gin.

Saturday Night – Dee Dee Na Na Na

Seriously, did this video really need a HD remaster? I think we’re going bulleted here, because sentences are hard (like your dad was when he read this blog post).

  • We went to Dry Bar, because its ace.
  • But first I lead an expedition party back to mine to drop stuff off.
  • Then we went to a pizza place, that everyone else said was well hipster, but really for a Northern Quarter restaurant barely even registered on the hipster scale.
  • Back to Dry bar!
  • People started getting tired, so I used my magic app to send people home in a taxi for £5.
  • Unfortunately by the time I wanted to use the magic app, my phone was dead. So I had to pay full price for a taxi. Madness.
  • Then we continued drinking at my house.
  • And this happened, since then I have also accidentally left Shireen in my shirt pocket when it went in the wash. So now she’s been sacrificed to the Drowned Gods. What is dead may never die and all that bellsprout nonsense.

Sunday

I woke up at around 7.30, quite hammered and knowing we needed to be on the road in an hour or so. I took an early shower, cracked a can, and started waking people up for another day of Thrones.

Worryingly, one of the last people to wake up was Dave, our driver for Stockton. But as Josh was also in our car, and he was TO’ing the Stockton tournament, we were pretty confident they wouldn’t be starting without us. If I can give you one bit of advice for not being late to Thrones’ tournaments, its to keep the TO your house the night before.

Due to popular demand, and my own laziness, part two STOCKTON will follow later.

Stoke Regional – Top 8 Tournament Report – Exodia the Forbidden One

I’m back with a tournament report! One that’s definitely going to get published, and won’t just languish in the drafts folder around the 1200 word mark when I’ve ran out of steam for making dick jokes about Game of Thrones.

house-of-dreamsThe Deck

After a brief fling but ultimately doomed fling with Targaryen in the Netherlands, which you can read all about here1. I decided to go back to my roots, and play Lannister again. But I wanted to do something slightly different, somewhat janky,  but also just use all the boring efficient Lannister cards that everyone else does.

Around the same time as this, Sam and I were supposed to build each other a deck for the London regional, which I did not get round to attending because I went out drinking the night before and overslept. Oops. But one of the jokes we had while building a deck for the other person in secret would be to make a House of Dreams deck, but make it ambiguous about which location to dream about.

In fact this made me chuckle quite a lot, and the more I thought about it, the funnier the deck seemed. Then after our weekly Thrones session, Wedge and I were in Dry Bar, and I laid out my plans to have a HoD deck with 6 possible locations, all of which are on a similar power level, and just as an added twist, make the opponent pick the location at random. He laughed a lot, and said I had to build the deck, just to see people’s reactions to it.

So we discussed the locations the potential locations that could be used in a deck, threw out the ones that are crap and what might work. Then I went off, put a list together and brought it in the next week for testing. Initially I’d gone way overboard with economy, fearing HoD setups. And while the Increased Levy‘s did mean I could mostly get 5 cards out, the deck was still a tad unbalanced.

With a few polite suggestions from Wedge, and small tinkering from testing, the final list ended up looking like this:

Parts of Exodia the Forbidden One (6)

1x – The Iron Throne (Left leg of the Forbidden One)
1x – Lannisport Brothel (Right leg of the Forbidden One)
1x – The Mander (Left arm of the Forbidden One)
1x – Lannisport Tourney Ground (Right arm of the Forbidden One)
1x – The Westerlands (Head of the Forbidden One)
1x – Volantis Inn (Throbbing bell end of the Forbidden One2)

Plots

1x – King’s Landing Coup
1x – City of Soldiers
1x – City of Sin
1x – A City Besieged
1x – City of Spiders
1x – Cersei’s Scheme
1x – Valar Morghulis

pokemonCharacters

3x – Mountain Refugee
2x – Charmander3 (Weaponsmith)
1x – Bulbasaur (Moneylender)
1x – Squirtle (Councilor)
1x – Doubting Septa
1x – Penny
1x – Zollo
1x – The Hound (the bouncy one)
1x – Mord
2x – Tommen Baratheon (the draw one)
1x – Ashemark Councillor
1x – Ser Balon Swann (the shadows one)
1x – Syrio Forel
1x – Janos Slynt (stand draw)
1x – Arbor Guardsman
2x – Enemy Informer
3x – Castellan of the Rock
1x – Varys
1x – Qyburn
1x – Ser Arys Oakheart (Mercenary hate4)
1x – Margaery Tyrell (Melee/kneel)
1x – Tywin Lannister (No kneeling)
1x – Cersei Lannister (No kneeling)
1x – Ser Jaime Lannister (Stand at beginning of the phase5
1x – Tyrion Lannister (Shadows)

Lesser Locations which, on the suggestion of my solicitor, are in no way associated with the Forbidden One

3x – Sunset Sea (Oddly located freckles of the Forbidden One)
3x – The Goldroad (Increasingly prominent grey hairs of the Forbidden One)
1x – River Row (Urine tract of the Forbidden One)
1x – Street of Steel (Sweaty lower calf of the Forbidden One)
1x – Street of Sisters (Sweaty upper calf of the Forbidden One)
1x – Shadowblack Lane (Unfashionable sideburns of the Forbidden One)
1x – Street of Silk (Grazed kneecap of the Forbidden One)
1x – Kingdom of Shadows (Unkempt, but still sexy bed head of the Forbidden One)
1x – The Kingsroad (Pierced left nipple of the Forbidden One)
1x – Golden Tooth Mines (Ostentatious breakup tattoo of the Forbidden One)6

Attachments

1x – Enslaved

Events

3x – Harry the Riverlands
2x – A House Divided
2x – Condemned by the Council

lannisportRound One – Ryan Kelly – Baratheon Knights of the Realm – Mel’s Favor

So here we were, ready to give Exodia its first outing. Wedge had hyped my deck up to Ryan a bit to be something really janky, and I think the random HoD selection was a tad disappointing in the end. Anyway, I got the Lannisport Brothel, which I was quite pleased with. In my hand after setup I also had Jaime, Tywin and a Castellan, so sensed I could probably rush out a quick(ish) win early doors.

I dropped Jaime turn one, because he’s a knight (the only one in the deck, but still, a bit of added pressure) and because I also got Volantis Inn out for mega lols. Unfortunately I lost the Castellan to intrigue claim, which wasn’t ideal, but I still had a Squirtle, Tywin and the Ashemark Councilor in hand. T2 Ryan flips The Aftermath, and I go for a City of some kind. I decided to marshal Tywin and the Squirtle and try and push a win through. Ryan has drawn a card extra than me from his agenda every turn, and with two renown guys and the Prized from Aftermath, I thought I could make it.

But, then Jaime ended up in the Black Cells, which meant one less power for me. And then Valar Morghulis hit the board and two of my big hitters were gone for good. From here, I kept trying to stall out the game, mainly using a lot of kneel and the Iron Throne to stop Ser Arys Oakheart standing anyone. But I got some bad draw, and Ryan’s board presence just kept growing. My power level dripped away, just as Ryan’s was increasing and he closed the game out in style.

In hindsight, I think I should’ve saved Tywin for one more round, and used the Prized dude. That probably wouldn’t have forced the Valar and I might’ve been able to make it with a little more patience. That is to take nothing away from Ryan, who played very well and continued to do all day (as his performance in the Swiss will testify7)

harryRound Two – Dave Bamford – Baratheon Conquest Lannister – ???

For the second game I got drawn against Dave, and we got ourselves a nice big table next to two of the Norwich guys. After I revealed my agenda, I shuffled down my 6 locations and told Dave to take his pick. Mind blown.

I got the Tourney Ground, which I think a lot of people underestimate as a location. It certainly did a lot of work whenever I got it in play, and an extra kneel a round or someone going out of their way to defend an intrigue challenge is always good, especially if you can get the Prized monocon out turn one, and a Harry the Riverlands.

Turn two I was left with a choice between A City Besieged on Bitterbridge or City of Soldiers on an annoying Marya Seaworth. I chose to get rid of the stand and put the pressure on with the 2 claim. Dave however, saw this coming, and Marya (his only one strength character) got Marched to the Wall, along with my Tommen, and one of my starter Pokemon bit the bullet on from the city plot. Ouch.

Dave then flooded the board with characters, including a copy of Melisandre. I had a few good characters in hand, but I also had 3 more of Exodia’s limbs (The Iron ThroneLannisport Brothel, and Volantis Inn). With my 4 gold, I decided to not play any more characters and just set up the Throne and the Brothel, and weather the storm until next turn, where I could Valar and come out stronger in the long game.

This plan pretty much worked, but I did end up losing Volantis Inn to intrigue claim, which meant I wasn’t going to get all the parts of Exodia into play this game. After the Valar I got 3 unopposed 0 claim challenges through.  quite lucky, as Dave only seemed to draw into Lannister locations, and nicely marshalled a Golden Tooth Mines for me to Besiege next turn for a tasty Prized 2.

I can’t remember exactly what I played on the ACB turn, but I’m fairly sure it was something along the lines of Ser Arys Oakheart, Tywin Lannister, and a Castellan of the Rock. Which was enough to close out the game. I also drew into the other parts of Exodia and managed to get 5 of the locations out, with sad Volantis Inn sat in the discard pile. This was one of the few times all day I was really sad that I’d taken Kevan Lannister out of the deck.

TywinRound 3 – Wedge – Lannister Aloof and Apart – Pentoshi Manor

In testing I’d played against Wedge and this deck a lot. I think I beat it once, so things weren’t looking great for me. My HoD location was the Brothel, which isn’t always the best for Clansmen, but I knew it could do some work against Tyrion who’s pretty key to the deck.

Wedge set up 3 one cost dudes, I was holding A House Divided which I knew would be useful against the bigger Clansmen fellas, an Enemy Informer but no Harry the Riverlands. Until the draw phase.

Wedge and I were tied for initiative with his Retaliation facing my King’s Landing Coup, luckily I won coin flip and made Wedge go first. I bounced the first four cost Clansman to hit the table with the , and then when Tyrion dropped, I had a decent target for my Informer. Between this and the two events I’d taken 5 of the 6 characters Wedge played over setup and turn one, and left myself in a decent position to defend the lone 2 claim challenge from the standing Painted Dogs.

I think I got all three of my challenges through, and kept Tyrion knelt with the Brothel. The following turn I blew up a Pentoshi Manor with ACB, and Wedge took out my Brothel with a Rally Cry. Wedge dropped Timmett, who I think fell victim to a Castellan of the Rock. With Wedge mainly having weenies standing on the table, I made it through the challenges relatively unscathed.

With Tyrion and Timmet poised to give me grief, the easy option was just to keep them knelt with City of Sin, and chance my way through another turn. I was building my board nicely, I think I had Arys and Margaery centre stage, with Cersei and Tywin waiting in the wings.

.The next round I got the most phenomenal stroke of luck. Still terrified of Tyrion and Timmet, I knelt them both with the one gold repeat City plot. This meant that both survived the Valar, but would be knelt anyway. Then on my one gold plot I top decked Zollo and a Street of Steel. Wedge had an awful draw and left three gold in his gold pool. I rubbed my hands, and stole it all. When I played Tywin, Wedge conceded.

So I’d just won two games against people who usually beat me, using a frankly silly gimmick deck. This was a strange day, and I was sure my luck was going to run out soon…

informerRound 4 – Lol Craven – Greyjoy HoD Thunderer – Search and Detain

Despite going to a lot of the same events, I’d never played Craven before this tournament, nor had I ever really spoken to him. Which was a real shame, as he’s both a top player and a gentleman. I was concerned about the Thunderer deck, but this ended up being a pretty much perfect game for me.

My HoD location was The Iron Throne, which would be very useful against Wintertime Marauders and those annoying character based saves that Greyjoy have. I set up three cards, and kept in my hand an Enemy InformerEnslavedHarry the Riverlands and Castellan of the Rock. Not bad.

I won initiative, and with The Sparr already on Craven’s side of the table, decided to go first figuring the that 3 gold is better than two, and I had the Harry to cover any post marshalling kneels. So it went down like this, I dropped the Informer to kneel The Sparr, Craven then marshalled a Wintertime Marauders and Maester Kerwin.

I dropped the Harry on the Marauders, and then cancelled Kerwin’s cancel with the Iron Throne. Craven’s board was completely knelt, and I could get an intrigue challenge through, and get rid of the nasty winter Kingsroad with Condemned by the Council.

In turn two, I used City of Soldiers to kill The Sparr to lessen the choke effects. Craven chose to go first and played out quite a board, including a Carrion Bird. My first action in marshalling was to Enslave said bird, knowing that the stealth and kneel would be enough to push a military challenge through, and shuffle the White Raven away. I also pulled Victarion and Asha Greyjoy on a 2 claim intrigue challenge.

Turn three was an easy plot choice, ACB on Thunderer to take away Craven’s draw. Then I went about kneeling things, and dropped a cheeky Penny for laughs. Craven made a big play and dropped Euron in an attempt to turn things round, however it did leave him with no cards in hand. So Penny took care of him. And I closed out the game that turn.

This was the best the deck played all day, and I got very lucky with the cards I saw. I really didn’t fancy facing the decktype again though, as things could easily have gone far worse. So obviously in round 5 I got drawn against…

qyburnMarco – Greyjoy HoD Thunderer – Search and Detain

The pressure game, the winner of this match was most likely going to make the cut and the loser wasn’t. Or something to do with maths, Marco’s super bye probably meant he was making the cut win or lose. I dunno. Anyway, I got lucky with a god hand in the last game and a useful House of Dreams location. In this game I setup 2 cards and got Volantis Inn. Uh oh.

This game played similarly to the last one, except everything went marginally worse. My Castellan got discarded by a Wintertime Marauder, there wasn’t a valid target for a turn two City of Soldiers, my economy location kept getting discarded, and just about every character I marshalled got killed. My one decent play was keeping Qyburn in shadows for awhile, just to mess with the Distinguised Boatswain.

I never recovered from Marco’s Valar turn, where he kept most of his board through saves, and eventually I was facing down a board full of good characters, and I had nothing. Game over.

By the end of the swiss, I was part of a fairly sizeable group of players who were all 3-2. I had lost to the top 2, so thought my strength of schedule might be enough to see me through to the top 4, if other results went my way. Other results did not go my way. Bambi beat Rheece, and Rowan beat Ryan. And I came in 7th overall, so perhaps I never had a chance of making it. Got a playmat anyway, so that’s legit.

Afterwards – Cleanup on Aisle Bantz.

While the top 4 were playing, Rheece and I played my favourite game of the day. Where we essentially played each other’s deck as randomly as possible. Rheece was playing Dragonpit, but had 3 other unique locations in the deck, so Exodia’d that shit, and Dragonpit became HoD Meereen Tourney Grounds. Which admittedly, was better than HoD Khal Drogo’s Tent (Lite’s of the Hollow Hill).

This game mostly involved, me picking cards for Rheece to put into shadows, that he couldn’t bring out, because of the Iron Throne. And Rheece picking random 3 cost characters or 2 cost locations for me to play. It was a funny, and very silly game. I won it fairly comfortably. Rheece finished the game with about 10 cards in shadows.

Over on the serious tables, it was Marco and Bambi in the final. I was too busy giggling to see much of the game. But Bambi won. Because of comprehensive coverage like this, I’m now announcing my campaign to be the colour commentator on the Top Cut of the Blackwater Bay live stream.

My campaign promises are as follows:

  • I’ll be tipsy, progressing to full drunk by the final.
  • My understanding of the game, and card recognition is somewhat limited, so I’m sure to be informative,  educational, and entertaining.
  • I’ll be unremittingly bias as a commentator, based on little more than personal grudges.
  • I’ll wear a crown like Jerry “the King” Lawler.

Right, I think that’s all I’ve got to say but…

… I’m like seventy words off three thousand. So this is mainly filler text. Oh, Exodia out of other houses. That was something that came up a lot during the day. It probably is doable in every house. But I think it’s more difficult because the good locations are more varied in price. For example, if you’re playing Targ and get Meereen Tourney Ground as your HoD, somewhere in your deck there’s probably an Aegon’s Hill waiting to cost you two more gold.

Also it won’t really work out of any house other than Lannister, because Lannister are the best and all the houses are lame.

Notes

  1. Sorry about that,
  2. This isn’t in the Yu-Gi-Oh cardpool, but it probably should be.
  3. If you’re playing Pokemon and you don’t pick Charmander. You’re a fucking coward. Don’t give me any of that weak shit: “Oh he’s not as good against the first two gyms.” Grow up, and just kill a load of Pidgeys until Charmander just smashes that stupid Onyx. Seriously, if you pick anything other than Charmander, you’re worth less to humanity than the scum who race as Toad in Mario Kart.
  4. If you’re not teching against Zollo, you’re gonna be in trouble when you get to big stages like regionals.
  5. I love this Jaime, and he’s hilarious with Volantis Inn
  6. I can’t believe I just spent half an hour writing these. What is wrong with me?
  7. D-VON GET THE TABLES

Primavera Day 0

So, I’ve not even seen any bands yet, but I reckon I can crack out thousand words or so of embarrassing stories just on the trip over here. Imagine this as the awkward foreplay of a festival report, before the real action starts tomorrow. If anything, this is an awkward ping of a bra strap, that I’ve failed to unclip. Even my metaphors are now sexually frustrated… So here we are.

The first big panic of the Primavera weekend, was the disappearance of Jeff’s other dad, and a lack of cat sitter since Buchanan went AWOL.. He probably has a legit excuse, so I’m not going bawl him out on here (not that he’ll read it anyway) and my good friend, talented musician and highly intelligent friend Seb nobly took up the cause of feeding a neurotic gender/cat-dog confused kitten.

After resolving that issue, Wednesday was fairly plain sailing.. I went to Wedge’s house to play Thrones for ‘a bit’, then I was going to get the bus the to airport and wait there for my flight at 6.25. What actually happened is that Wedge and I played Thrones and drank gin till 4am. Which was a lot of fun, and I got to put my regional deck (it’s hilarious, but I haven’t got the time to talk about that now.

Anyway, after successfully getting on the bus, and arriving at the airport with plenty of time to spare. I rewarded myself with a pint of San Miguel (Spanish, innit) and some fairly good bacon pancakes. You probably already know this, imaginary reader, as you’ve seen my Facebook where I’ve posted it.

My excellent plan for the festival, and one of the reasons I booked an early flight, was that I’d stay up all night on the Wednesday, and then sleep for most of Thursday until the bands started properly at 8pm. However, this plan was scuppered, when I couldn’t check into the hotel until 2pm, and I couldn’t work the public transport system and got a bit lost, but that’s par for the course really. A titbit of advice I’ll throw out here without any further comment, if you’re using a toilet on a train, always make sure there’s enough paper BEFORE you sit down.

IMG_3784[1]

Anyway, by 12, I’d found my way to the hotel, but still couldn’t get into my room till two. So I decided to have a romantic walk down the beach with myself (not a euphemism), towards the Parc Del Forum to get my wristband to save queuing later on and killing an hour or two in the process. I also had the first major panic of the holiday, when I thought for a good 2 or 3 minutes that I’d lost my ticket. I hadn’t. It was just further back in my holiday folder than I initially thought.

I also saw this building that looked a bit like Kings Landing.  If House Besos were a bit more aggressive in their branding.

I also saw this building that looked a bit like Kings Landing.
If House Besos were a bit more aggressive in their branding.

Anyway, I got my wristband. On my left arm, and if you learn anything from this, always put the wristband on your weaker arm. You can thank me later.

IMG_3790[1]

Once I’d got my wristband, I had a lovely romantic walk back down the beach with myself (not a euphemism), but was still half an hour too early to check in. So I did what any sane, web developer who’s life got thrown into chaos when he got dumped last year would do, I went to the bar round the corner and sank three pints of San Miguel and had awkward, one sided sexist banter with the bar’s proprietor.

IMG_3792[1]

Then I got checked into my room, connected to the free wifi and wrote this very blog post. Rather than sleeping, because that’s what a normal person who hasn’t slept in 36 hours would do. Then I had a romantic walk down the beach with myself, then set off back to the festival to watch some bands.

On the menu tonight:

Bands I like:

  • Giant Sand
  • The Replacements

Bands other people tell me I’d like, which instantly makes me dislike them (both the band and the person), but I’ll watch anyway…

  • The Black Keys,
  • Anthony and the Johnsons
  • Jungle
  • James Blake

 

Unfolding within yourself – The Art of Fielding

I’ve been re-reading The Art of Fielding this weekend, which is probably my favourite novel released in the past 5 years. I tend to read to coincide with the start of the MLB season for obvious reasons, but missed it slightly this year because in the move my original copy went missing. I re-ordered it from Amazon and of course found the original in a box later that day…

I got through about a hundred pages on Saturday and then just six in the same time on Sunday, something to do with copious amounts of alcohol.

While about baseball on the surface level, and I really wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who’s completely unfamiliar with baseball lexicon, the book transcends the limitations of the sport novel through numerous Moby Dick references both on a textual (Melville gave a lecture at the fictional college the plot takes place at, the sports teams are called the harpooners, the lead characters last name is Skrimshander) and a sub textual level (lifelong obsessions, depression, achieving perfection).

As well as all of this there’s a good dose of teenagers with dead parents which, when handled well, is a topic I’m always well up for, given my own life experience and the defining role that played in my teenage years (and n0w).

And of course, the baseball team has a league of some sort to win, and they have to train hard, believe in themselves and pull together to win it! (Spoilers: they do).

Early in the book there are some clunky references to iPhones and Facebook which will date the book quite easily in the future, but these grow less frequent as the plots and the characters get mixed up in each other’s lives.

Two phrases have really stuck with me so far from this reading, both straight from Melville (I think The Book is next on my to be read list):

Three weeks have scarcely passed, at any time between then and now, that I have not unfolded within myself.

Which gives us the title of this post, as unfolding within myself seems like something I’d really quite like to do at the minute. And:

No suicides permitted here; and no smoking in the parlor.

Which is just so gloriously dark and ironic. In the novel Guert has a custom piece of art work made with this line on it, and after Google proved unable to provide me with a real poster with this line on i

t, I think I’m going to get one made for my room to replace the Russ Meyer “Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” poster because while it is ace, it’s also a bit gross.

Development Workflow Changes – Brackets, WPPusher, Gulp

In November I attended Front End North, a conference about web development at MMU. While the whole day was generally interesting and insightful, the thing that has stuck with me most from all the talks was this:

Improve your workflow with every new project. Don’t try everything at once, just push yourself to learn something new, or improve on what you did before each time.

So when I went back to work, I kept that in mind, and luckily I got some new projects up and running, which meant a lot of new changes. In fact my development workflow has changed so considerably in the past 3 months that I thought now was a decent time to go over those changes.

Gulp

I’d been using Gulp before FEN, but it seems worth mentioning here. I tried Grunt, but couldn’t quite get along with it. Then I tried Gulp and it just seemed to fit with me, the same thing happened when I tried learning LESS, which didn’t sit right, but I found SASS just worked.

Anyway, once I got automating things, I couldn’t stop. I haven’t quite got a Gulpfile into all my old but ongoing projects yet, but as I revisit them my first action is usually to jump into the Command Line and run “npm install gulp –save-dev”.

WPPusher/Git

Because I’m terrible, I hadn’t really been that big on Git in the past. I didn’t get on with the Windows GitHub app, couldn’t find my way in BitBucket at all and while I was happy dipping my toes in the Command Line, I found using Git with it was a bit of chore.

This had to change though when I found WPPusher and my life was changed forever. Before WPPusher, I was quite guilty of cowboy coding over FTP. Very bad. But now everything is version controlled and sites get updated with Commit → Push → Update via WPPusher. This will hopefully be simplified even more when I convince work that I need the Pro version and can Push to Deploy.

WPPusher makes me feel like a better web developer. I can’t imagine working without it.

Brackets

For a long time, I used Notepad++ for my text editing. It was basic, but it did everything I needed it to do. I had tried some other programs but they didn’t fit. Then there was Brackets, and again everything changed. Transferring from Notepad++ was seamless, but at the same time a massive improvement.

I’m running quite light on extensions, just Brackets-Git to integrate with WPPusher, Brackets-Gulp for obvious reasons, although it can be a bit janky at times and doesn’t play well with other extensions and the Document Toolbar to switch between files more easily. I’ve also got some minor presentation extensions, and linting.

The new setup is not perfect, but it’s definitely the best I’ve worked since starting doing this full time. Revisiting old projects is now exciting, because I know the things that were a chore before are going to automated into oblivion now.