Yearly Archives: 2007

Today is a good day to nuke your XP install

I’m not sure why I keep trying to get the Ubuntu + XP dual boot thing working. I don’t really need it, I can do most of the things I want to do in XP. And I can’t really play games in Ubuntu (I don’t really want to bother with all the crap Wine puts you through). Still, every so often I’m hit with some sort of geek envy where I just want to have an Ubuntu installation handy so I can try out some cool stuff like Compiz or whatnot. After all, I can enjoy both worlds with a dual boot – I can always go back to XP when I feel like it.

Yeah, well not if I somehow manage to screw up such that XP refuses to read from my NTFS drives. See this thread for all the sordid details. Long story short, I’m stuck with Ubuntu again for a while.

Or at least until I get the craving for Civ 4 again.

Pack Rat Mentality

Every year I do an end-of-year cleanup of my stuff. (I try to at least) Somehow there always seem to be so many CDs/DVDs/books/comics to sort up and shelf or sleeve or whatnot. I’m growing tired of it all.

The other day I was planning to backup everything on my computer to DVD when I realized I was just adding more to the pile. I’m not sure if there’s any important reason to backup all the episodes I’ve been watching to DVD when I’ve already watched them all. Of course the argument can be made that it makes it easier to lend out to people, but truth be told there are a lot of people I know who already have such copies so my keeping backups is just redundant. And it’s not like the world would end if someone wasn’t able to borrow the last season of Heroes off me.

I’m especially wary now about committing stuff to optical media; going through all the discs I had I encountered quite a few that were already beyond recovery. I’m considering reburning some of the older stuff from CDs to DVDs, both to conserve space and to make sure I can still access those old files later on. But I’m unsure now how to dispose of the stack of dead CD in an environment-friendly manner.

So, am I too much of a packrat? I dunno, like I said I know people who have loads more stuff on CDs/DVDs than I do, and they’ve never watched them all. At least I’ve managed to consume at least 90% of the stuff I archive. I guess it’s a geek thing, to want to have access to “historical data” and stuff. Organizing all of it is probably a geek thing too. Heck, I’m trying to think of a way to have everything be searchable.

I’m considering buying something like a 250 GB external and just using that as a backup. Eventually it would run out, but by then something like 1 TB drives might be common enough. Tempting…

Magic Stats! (And Year in Review)

I believe that this year, I have managed to improve my Magic-playing a bit (despite the abundance of embarassing mistakes).I also believe I’m slightly better at Limited than I am at Constructed. TO back up these beliefs, I could point to my DCI ratings. But as a programmer who loves stats, I compiled additional stats for my own pleasure:

My Playing Stats

.

A bit of background: I’ve been playing Magic on and off since Revised, but only gotten into the tournament scene seriously in 2006. I’ve played in a few Limited tourneys before that, but I guess I took them with a different DCI number as they don’t reflect on my ratings history. In particular I remember placing 2nd at a Team Sealed event at BCI Makati back during the Invasion block era. And I’m pretty sure I went 4-0 at an Onslaught prerelease, as I have the shirt to prove it.

As can be seen in the stats page though, this was the year I started taking it seriously. I devoted more time to Magic, studying my own technical play for faults and missteps, struggling to learn from every mistake. I read more articles online and tried to practice on Magic Online more to improve my game.  I joined more tournaments (31 this year versus 18 the previous year), and got 9 top 8’s this year as opposed to 2 last year. (Granted, some of those were for Prereleases :p) I managed a GPT top 8 and a PTQ top 8 this year, my first ones ever!

Still, I have a long way to go towards improving. I was disappointed to find out my match win percentage was under 60% (although I have no idea how much higher the match win percentage of top players would be.) For next year I hope I can push that win percentage even more, make fewer misplays and get more PTQ top 8s (although I doubt I will be able to play in the extended season…maybe Block Constructed). My goal is to stabilize my rating in the top 75 of the Philippines so that I can play in Nationals without having to go through those horrendous qualifiers.

Wish me luck 😀

The Importance of Having a Team

A couple of weeks ago, just before the last PTQ of the season, I was thinking of quitting Magic. Not because I’m tired of it or anything, but because I’ve run out of people to play with. Unlike last year where we had enough players in the office to occasionally have an 8-man draft, this year most of the Magic players have either switched to WoW or moved to a different company/country.

There are only two of us seriously playing now, so our card pool has become so much smaller. That also means less preparation for constructed formats as it’s harder to get serious playtesting done. Having a team and a shared card pool makes a huge difference. You can see this easily because so many of the players that repeatedly hit top 8 in the local tourneys are known members of a team.

I’m not  sure how I’ll proceed next year, but I’m not quitting. I love to play the game and will make do with what I have if I need to. I’m even contemplating playing in the Extended PTQs, although how I can gather the needed cards for that is still a mystery!

PTQ Kuala Lumpur #4

The last qualifier in the Philippines, held last December 16. I wasn’t able to attend the Gold Rush the day before due to prior commitments, so this was my last tournament for the year.

I opened a pool with a lot of removal:

1 Herbal Poultice 1 Briarhorn
1 Moonglove Extract 1 Fertile Ground
1 Bog Hoodlums 1 Immaculate Magistrate
1 Boggart Loggers 1 Kithkin Daggerdare
1 Colfenor’s Plans 2 Lace with Moonglove
1 Dread 2 Lignify
1 Exiled Boggart 2 Sylvan Echoes
1 Fodder Launch 1 Timber Protector
2 Footbottom Feast 1 Warren-Scourge Elf
1 Hornet Harasser 1 Woodland Changeling
1 Hunter of Eyeblights 1 Island
1 Marsh Flitter 1 Shelldock Isle
1 Prowess of the Fair 1 Vivid Marsh
1 Scarred Vinebreeder 1 Adder-Staff Boggart
1 Skeletal Changeling 2 Axegrinder Giant
1 Spiderwig Boggart 1 Blind-Spot Giant
1 Thieving Sprite 1 Faultgrinder
2 Weed Strangle 1 Fire-Belly Changeling
1 Amoeboid Changeling 2 Lash Out
1 Aquitect’s Will 1 Lowland Oaf
2 Deeptread Merrow 1 Rebellion of the Flamekin
1 Drowner of Secrets 2 Tar Pitcher
1 Faerie Trickery 1 Hillcomber Giant
1 Familiar’s Ruse 1 Judge of Currents
1 Merrow Reejerey 1 Kinsbaile Balloonist
1 Mulldrifter 1 Kinsbaile Skirmisher
2 Ponder 1 Kithkin Greatheart
1 Protective Bubble 1 Kithkin Harbinger
1 Ringskipper 2 Kithkin Healer
1 Whirlpool Whelm 1 Lairwatch Giant
1 Sentry Oak
2 Springjack Knight


I built some deck with Goblins and Giants:

The pool is pretty ok I think, but no Shreikmaw makes me sad.

My first round matchup is against one of the more veteran players. He’s playing some R-B-W combination, fast aggro stuff. I’m faster in game 1 and manage to play Colfenor’s Plans, attracting some onlookers who told me it was a deathtrap. I had read about some pros liking it and wanted to try it out. The logic being, if you’re out of cards anyway, and you can only play one spell per turn anyway (the one you topdeck), and you can win with just a bit more push, might as well grab the next seven cards immediately. As one of the judges pointed out, I didn’t need to play the plans, it was plain greedy, since my opponent was at six and I had a flier and two Tar Pitchers out.

Game 2, I hit Footbottom Feast targetting Spiderwig Boggart then I put the Boggart in my hand then said, “draw a card from feast”. I looked at the top card before my opponent could stop me. Oops, of course the Boggart was already the draw from the feast, so I got a warning for looking at extra cards and the judge shuffles my deck. I’m glad it’s not a game loss, but it doesn’t matter as I lose to an aggressive Blades of Velis Vel.

Game 3, I mull to five and am unable to recover.

Round 1: 1-2 loss. Yes, not a good start.

Second round is…some guy. Don’t recall what he was playing. I win in 2 games.

Round 2: 2-0 win

Third round is a guy I’ve been up against a few times before. His deck is black-green but light on removal. I power out Giants, he stacks Treefolk on his side to keep me from attacking, dragging out the game. (I hate fighting Black Poplars!) but eventually I take it in 2 games.

Round 3: 2-0 win

Fourth round is against one of the better limited players around, he plays fast so somehow I’m forced to match his pace. I don’t remember his deck, though it must have had blue because I remember getting countered. We trade the first two games, and I draw no gas for game three.

Round 4: 1-2 loss

And I am X-2 once again. Sigh, it has not been a good limited PTQ season for me.

Round 5 was fun. He’s white-green. Game 1 I’m losing badly to his early creatures, but then I hit Spiderwig giving Axegrinder fear (six damage), sac the Spiderwig to Fodder Launch one of his guys (+5 damage). End of his turn I footbottom the Spiderwig to give the Axegrinder fear again, dealing 17 damage in two turns to win from behind.

Game 2 I get hit by the early aggro rush again and am unable to recover. I don’t remember game 3, but my notes tell me hit was pretty bad for him as I took no damage at all.

Round 5: 2-1 win

Round 6, my opponent is a merfolk deck with Springleaf Drum, Falloysage and Veteran of the Depths, which gets annoying quick. I hold on for a long time in game 1 before succumbing to School tokens. Game 2 I keep a hand with Adder-Staff, 2 Lash Outs and another creature. I play the Adder-Staff and Lash Out his first two creatures, which I soon regret as his third play is a Veteran that goes all the way.

Round 6: 0-2 loss

Sigh, I’m not even getting prizes anymore. I tick “Drop” on the result slip, then change my mind and cross it out. I want to play the last round to at least get some practice…hopefully my play skill can improve just a bit.

Round 7: 0-2 loss. Bleah. I think my play was tight, but he just drew better cards. I remember he had an Epic Proportions that stopped my Lash Outs.

A 3-4 finish, how terrible. Before this season I had actually envisioned myself as a decent limited player. Obviously, Lorwyn limited is hard, I need to do so much to improve my deck construction and technical play.

Next: Morningtide Release Events? I won’t be able to play in the prerelease since I’ll be out of town…

PTQ Kuala Lumpur #3

Dec-2, Sunday. Lorwyn Sealed. The usual location of course, NG Galleria.


I find your lack of socks…disturbing

I played a couple MTGO drafts the day before but did not do very well, I hoped my luck would be better this time. But my day did not start very well as I found that I had forgotten to bring sleeves to the event. I had to buy some rough-backed Ultra Pros. I hate rough-backed sleeves, my hands are not very good with them. For some reason, I was also stupid enough to come in my sandals, wearing no socks. I know from experience that this is stupid, as my feet will get sweaty and I’ll be uncomfortable all day. Surely the above two whiny complaints are no excuse for the eventual beating that I get during the tournament (OMG spoiler!), but they couldn’t have helped.

I open the following Sealed Pool:

1 Moonglove Extract 1 Elvish Branchbender
1 Springleaf Drum 1 Elvish Eulogist
1 Thousand-Year Elixir 1 Fertile Ground
1 Black Poplar Shaman 1 Gilt-Leaf Seer
2 Boggart Loggers 1 Heal the Scars
1 Dreamspoiler Witches 1 Kithkin Daggerdare
1 Eyeblight’s Ending 1 Lammastide Weave
1 Facevaulter 1 Leaf Gilder
1 Final Revels 1 Lys Alana Huntmaster
1 Footbottom Feast 1 Spring Cleaning
1 Hoarder’s Greed 1 Sylvan Echoes
1 Oona’s Prowler 1 Vigor
1 Shriekmaw 1 Woodland Changeling
2 Skeletal Changeling 1 Island
1 Weed Strangle 1 Vivid Marsh
1 Amoeboid Changeling 2 Adder-Staff Boggart
1 Aquitect’s Will 1 Blind-Spot Giant
1 Ego Erasure 1 Boggart Forager
1 Ethereal Whiskergill 1 Changeling Berserker
1 Faerie Harbinger 1 Consuming Bonfire
1 Forced Fruition 1 Fire-Belly Changeling
1 Glen Elendra Prank

sters
2 Flamekin Harbinger
1 Mulldrifter 1 Giant’s Ire
1 Ponder 1 Mudbutton Torchrunner
1 Sentinels of Glen Elendra 1 Stinkdrinker Daredevil
1 Spellstutter Sprite 1 Sunrise Sovereign
1 Streambed Aquitect

s
1 Cenn’s Heir
2 Whirlpool Whelm 1 Crib Swap
1 Wings of Velis Vel 1 Dawnfluke
2 Goldmeadow Stalwart
2 Harpoon Sniper
1 Hillcomber Giant
1 Kinsbaile Skirmisher
1 Kithkin Healer
1 Plover Knights
1 Shields of Velis Vel
1 Surge of Thoughtweft
1 Wellgabber Apothecary
1 Wispmare


Out of which came the following deck:

1 Moonglove Extract

1 Springleaf Drum

2 Boggart Loggers

1 Dreamspoiler Witches

1 Eyeblight’s Ending

1 Final Revels

1 Oona’s Prowler

1 Shriekmaw

2 Skeletal Changeling

1 Weed Strangle

1 Amoeboid Changeling

1 Ethereal Whiskergill

1 Faerie Harbinger

1 Glen Elendra Pranksters

1 Mulldrifter

1 Ponder

1 Sentinels of Glen Elendra

1 Spellstutter Sprite

1 Streambed Aquitects

1 Whirlpool Whelm

1 Wings of Velis Vel

9 Island

7 Swamp

1 Vivid Marsh

Seems pretty solid right? No outright bombs or anything, but the deck looks like it came out of a draft. I would do well, or so I hoped.

Round 1: 0-2 loss vs Urw

Wow. Not a good start. His deck was pretty good though – two Peppersmokes and two Tarfires kept me behind in the early game.

Round 2: 2-0 win vs (don’t remember)

My opponent got a game loss for showing  up late. I won game two easily.

Round 3: 0-2 loss vs Mono(?) white Kithkin

Wow, this was one of those moments where I completely blew it. Impulsiveness made me throw away this game and I vow it will never EVER happen again. It was game one, I was dead to his next swing, but 3 of my guys were fliers and I drew into Final Revels. I quickly went for +2/+0 thinking I had enough damage to win the game. As he considered his options I realize the miscount and that he would live with 1 life, killing me the next turn with two Kithkin guys with no blockers. Oh man, what an idiot. I just saw the Final Revels topdeck and played it without thinking. NEVER AGAIN. I figure I’ll recover in game 2, but I draw no lands.

Sigh. 1 and 2 after 3 rounds. I figure I’ll play until I get the 3rd loss, maybe win some packs.

Round 4: 0-2 loss vs GWb.

Oops…so much for that plan. I keep him back on tempo with Whirlpool Whelms and faeries, but he eventually overwhelms me with critters.

Facing lethal damage in game two, I pick up the result slip and tick the “Drop” option.

Sigh, one more PTQ to go, last chance to go to Kuala Lumpur. I made so many bloopers this tournament, and my mental game was so off…must do better next time.

But first, next week: Standard.

Standard @ NG Galleria 24-Nov-2007

Yeah, I post these late, I’m a busy man. But I want to have a record so here we go. Same deck as

the last time

, except I removed the 2 grim harvests from the board and put in +2 sudden death (to improve the pickles matchup)

Round 1: My opponent had a BUw Mannequin deck, splashing for O-Ring and Blink. He obviously put the deck together at the last minute though.

2-0 win

Round 2: Table 1! UW control, but he has bad draws both games.

2-0 win

Round 3: B/G Elves. Manny totally crushes aggro decks.

2-0 win.

Round 4: MGA. Wow, this matchup is even better than the last one. But I get a bad draw in game two and almost lose to a Spectral Force before topdecking into the Damnation.

2-0 win.

Round 5: A 4-0 start feels good. A friend warns me beforehand that my next opponent is U/B, but turns out he’s wrong. He has Dreadship Reefs as storage lands so that’s where the mistake was made, but my opponent was none other than MUP – Monoblue Pickles. I win game one somehow and board in +2 sudden death, +3 Extirpate. I break the Pickles combo in both of the next two games, but sadly due to bad attacks and blocks on my part I still manage to lose to Teferi and an army of Factory Workers.

1-2 loss.

Round 6: Mannequin Mirror match here, but his build is new, as he shows me Ponder on the first turn. I lose game one to Profane Command. In game 2, 3 of the lands I draw are Faerie Conclaves…coincidentally he draws 3 Riftwing Cloudskates. I was behind on creatures and mana all day. Obviously, I need to figure out the mirror match…

0-2 loss.

Crash and burn after a good start, as usual.

Round 7: U/W control. It’s my turn to be insane with the Riftwing Cloudskates here, grabbing lots of tempo off my opponent while bashing with Ironfoots. I take it in 3.

2-1 win.

One more win gets me into top eight…

Round 8: R/G Big Mana. 90% of the deck is really easy for me to beat, after all it’s creatures and burn, I’m removal and card advantage. I take the first game easily, but fumble on sideboarding – I certainly wasn’t aware of this matchup going in, so I had no idea. Bottle Gnomes? Extirpate? I just bring in 3 Vesuvan Shapeshifters to handle his Red Akroma and Hellkites. Game two, he shows me the other 10% of his deck that would give me fits: Chandra Nalar. My entire offense literally stops after Chandra takes down one creature and Incinerate knocks out my last one. I lose to the card disadvantage and proceed to search my board for answers to Chandra. I had none (I don’t own any Pithing Needles sir), so I just sucked it up and decided to try for a fast aggro kill. I had a good hand too – Faerie Conclave into suspended Cloudskate. But midgame he shows me another aspect of his deck – land destruction. I get hit by Avalanche Riders and Mwonvuli Acid-Moss and he even shows me his sideboarded card: Rootgrapple! I have mana problems up to the end, and he even gets Chandra out again. I didn’t get in a single point of damage for this game.

1-2 loss.

Final record: 5-3, finishing 17. Not so bad I guess, considering I finished 25th the week before and 37th the week before that.  At this rate, I figure next week I’ll be 8th or 9th. 😀

Next: PTQ KL #3

I Play Too Quickly

The first step is admitting you have a problem. I’ve thrown away games because I played spells without thinking and attacked without thinking. I go on autopilot far too often. It has got to stop.

What’s the preventive measure? I’ll count to 3 before making every decision.

Social Networking


“Robert suggested we create Facebook accounts, I think in an effort to establish that we were “down” with whatever “new jives” the kids were flexing on the mean streets. I refused. Gabriel buckled, and the bullshit that ensued verified my initial assessment: that maintaining Facebook would quickly constitute another job. Of which I already have several.”

— Tycho, Penny-Arcade

I never really bought into social networking (because I am of course antisocial) But lo and behold! I now have a Facebook account! And I discovered just now that I cannot link to it. You have to search for me there or something.

Social networking always felt so frivolous to me. And I was right, more or less. But as a friend told me, “At least it’s ala carte frivolous.” This whole facebook apps thing, if you’re not aware, means that any company can make apps that run inside Facebook. I don’t know if the competing networks like Friendster or MySpace have anything similar, but if they don’t they’re certainly not going to win. (Whatever it is these networks are supposed to win.) The facebook apps give the site a lot of random entertainment value, everything from internet memes to trivia questions to scrabble is available to waste your time. And as Tycho implied, it eats up a lot of time as well.

There was some brouhaha lately about Facebook and privacy, but it seems to affect only those people who purchase stuff from partner sites. I just wish I could disable all the emails it sends me and just let me subscribe to notifications through a feed.

Drama at the Manila Pen

I don’t particularly care one way or another whether Gloria falls out of power or not. I suspect a lot of people don’t. And a lot of people probably don’t give a hoot about Trillianes either. I am however of the opinion that he is an idiot.

What exactly did he hope to accomplish yesterday anyway? The only difference between now and Oakwood a few years ago is that since then he’s gotten the pity vote to actually be able to call himself a senator.

I suppose he thought he could be some sort of spark that could start some sort of neo-Edsa or whatnot. But he’s not good enough for that. I like to think the Filipino people have gotten better at judging the BS coming from the mouth of politicians. Trillianes statements yesterday, full of arrogance and naked ambition, would not have sit well with many, no matter how simple-minded they think we are.

A Manila Penn guard interviewed on TV today summed it all up: “Naapektuhan lang ni Trillianes trabaho namin. Ang dami nyang hotel na nadaanan, bakit dito pa sya pumunta?” That’s my general sentiment: “You’re being troublesome. Go somewhere else.”

Bonus:

There was a media segment during the live coverage where a reporter was describing the actions of the soldiers as they prepared to invade the hotel. He was telling everyone on live TV how the soldiers were hiding near the entrance of the hotel. Way to blow the operation details. What, are they thinking no one inside the hotel can watch television?