Tag: Mobile Games

A Shining Blast from the Past

A Shining Blast from the Past

With the latest Tag Duel Tournament ending in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links soon, I wanted to take the chance to talk about something regarding the event I’ve been interested in since it started.

It has nothing to do with the event itself, as I quite like how Tag Duels work in balancing two duelists fighting on the same team.

No, what I’m interested in is the new reward cards that came from the event. Namely, this one:

Say hello to Elemental HERO Shining Flare Wingman.

This pretty cool looking card right here, for all intents and purposes, is kind of useless when you give it a critical eye. It’s attack and defense stats are okay, but underscored by the fact that it’s a fusion monster that requires a second fusion monster just to summon it.

That’s a fairly difficult summoning condition for the uninitiated, as it means you need three different monster cards and two copies of polymerization just to get him out. His inherent abilities do help him stand out, as he gains at least 1200 attack instantly from all of the HERO monsters in the graveyard just required to summon, then everything he beats over inflicts damage once sent to the grave…

But still. The summon is a tough sell when he has no real protection from any kind of destructive spells or traps.

I’m not here to discuss the merits of this card as a viable battle strategy, however. Even if seeing him added into Duel Links has inspired me to try building a deck around him.

I’m here to discuss the reason why seeing Shining Flare Wingman brought a huge wave of happiness and nostalgia running through my system. Check this out:

Welcome to 2006, where a young nine-year-old Jason vaguely interested in Yu-Gi-Oh! card collecting decided to buy this magazine because the monster on the front looked so god damn cool.

I mean that too, I don’t think I ever seriously read through this thing. I just loved looking at the cool monster pictures on it and inside of it.

To this day, the Shining Flare Wingman edition of Beckett’s Yu-Gi-Oh! magazine is still the only one I own, and seeing his arrival in Duel Links brought the memories of it flooding back. Luckily it just took a quick dig through my 2006-ish era comic books to find the thing.

But those are a story for another day.

Now that I’m older and actually interested in the world of media, I actually perused the magazine with a more analytical eye.

As it turns out, Beckett is an online marketplace for card games and their accessories. Primarily sports cards, but also other trading card games like Yu-Gi-Oh!

That’s probably not a surprise to many of you, but I seriously never bothered to look it up before now. I just always thought of this magazine as “The Yu-Gi-Oh! monster thing.”

At its core, the magazine as a whole is just a conduit to show off what cards are available for what prices online.

In 2006 anyway.

Obviously that’s not all that useful for me anymore. So instead, the really fascinating thing about this magazine is what they fill the rest of this thing with.

It’s 88 pages long, and honestly a perfect feature-writer handbook for how to built an interested following with content related to what’s being sold.

Seriously it’s got everything. News about the card game:

Profiles on cards and decks, much like the Shining Flare Wingman deck that’s advertised on the cover:

But then there’s the more fun stuff that shows how interested whoever put these things together was in not only the card game, but the culture surrounding it.

There are articles all about things like the anime throughout the magazine, which I’m sure appealed to me because the anime was my route into Yu-Gi-Oh!

Top tens and episode reviews.

Seriously, this thing is like the perfect analog representation of exactly what you’d expect to see from fandom-driven sites online today.

It’s like Buzzfeed before Buzzfeed. Except all about Yu-Gi-Oh!

And much more my speed.

Of course there’s also other magazine mainstays, like this section all about reader-submitted fan art:

Shout out to Michael from Utah for truly capturing the anime mood.

Seeing this part of the magazine in particular reminds me a lot of the old Highlights magazines, those book-centric ones everyone would get from book fairs in elementary school.

All it needs is a few hidden object games and I would be 100 percent down.

On the bright side, in place of those kinds of games, this magazine also talked about Yu-Gi-Oh! video games.

So hey, it’s got my best interest at heart.

Most of the rest is just advertisements and and pages upon pages of sales figures for individual cards.

While those are interesting in their own right just to take a glimpse back at early 2006, as it seems these things came out bimonthly, I definitely think my biggest takeaway is how awesome all of the extra surrounding content is.

Seriously, looking through how much fun the creators must have had pulling together all of these feature-y articles kind of inspires me to be a bit more interested in the features side of the journalism spectrum.

And all because a mobile phone game dropped a somewhat useless monster that gave me a rush of nostalgia 12 years after a seminal moment in my youthful development.

Isn’t life just a crazy thing?

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Scattered Fangs, Shattered Dreams

Scattered Fangs, Shattered Dreams

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If you missed part one of this two-part posting session on the Fire Emblem Heroes updates this week — which are frankly only connected by coincidental timing and the fact that I’m bringing it to your attention up top — check out the Version 2.6.0 update post through this link!

Whenever Heroes updates, the developers tend to package that update together with a new summoning focus and story missions. Version 2.6.0 was no exception, as it brought us new heroes from the Blazing Blade.

Except retroactively put ‘new’ in quotes because not all of them are new.

But I’ll discuss that as soon as I get through my discussion on the merit of these new units!


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NinoPale Flower

Skill Set:

  • Giga Excalibur (Might = 14 / Range = 2)
    • Grants +3 Speed. If unit’s Speed > foe’s Speed, boosts damage dealt by 70 percent of the difference between stats (Maximum bonus of +7 damage, combos with Phantom Speed).
  • Moonbow (Cooldown = 2)
    • Treats foe’s Defense or Resistance as if reduced by 30 percent during combat.
  • Swift Sparrow (A Skill)
    • If unit initiates combat, grants Attack and Speed +4 during combat.
  • Aerobatics (B Skill)
    • Unit can move to a space adjacent to any infantry, armored or cavalry unit within two spaces.
  • Speed Smoke (C Skill)
    • Inflicts -7 Speed on foes within two spaces of target through their actions after combat.

Analysis:

Nino has been one of my favorite units in Heroes since the game first came out. I never played Blazing Blade, but when I summoned the green mage for the first time I loved the way her art looked and she quickly become a unit I used so much that she was the first I ever upgraded to a five-star through hero feathers. She was also the first unit I built-up with skill inheritance.

While that should theoretically make me more excited to see this new Nino… It’s kind of the opposite, honestly. That’s not because of her skills. If anything, she’s got a weapon with a dope animation (though the effect just seems okay at best) and has some effective power behind a glass canon speedy attacker build. Plus Aerobatics feels like it would be broken on a physical unit, if somewhat situational on a mage.

What really bugs me about her is the fact that she’s continuing a trend of units getting alternate forms outside of holiday events. First came cavalier Eirika, then Kinshi Hinoka. While I was willing to blow all my orbs on Hinoka because she was a dope new alternate, as a whole I find I really dislike the practice of taking the slot of fan-favorite characters who have yet to be introduced into the game and giving them to units who already are. During special occasions like holidays it makes sense, but the main banners should be reserved for new units like promised.

It just kind of feels like Intelligent Systems is hoping to pad out how long they can milk this game… Even though there are 20 billion units waiting to be introduced, and at the rate of three-to-five units being added every other week it certainly doesn’t seem like they’re close to drying up anytime soon.

But that’s enough ranting for now, we have two other heroes to discuss.


KarlaSword Vassal

Skill Set:

  • Vassal’s Blade (Might = 16 / Range = 1)
    • Accelerates Special Attack trigger (cooldown -1). If unit’s Speed > foe’s Speed, boosts damage dealt by 70 percent of the difference between stats (Maximum bonus of +7 damage, combos with Phantom Speed).
  • Draconic Aura (Cooldown = 3)
    • Boosts Attack by 30 percent.
  • Wrath (B Skill)
    • At the start of a turn, if unit’s Health ≤ 75 percent and unit’s attack triggers a Special Attack, grants Special Attack cooldown -1. Deals +10 damage when Special Attack triggers.
  • Even Speed Wave (C Skill)
    • At the start of even-numbered turns, grants +6 Speed to unit and adjacent allies for one turn (Bonus granted to unit even with no allies adjacent).

Analysis:

I’ve heard lots of people calling Karla just a weaker version of Ayra, a unit we’ve already got that is considered one of the most broken in the game. I suppose I can’t argue with that, since I don’t have Ayra to compare her to, but at the same time I think Karla appears to do the job she’s been given exceedingly well based on her skill set.

Both Vassal’s Blade and Wrath are clearly focused on increasing the power and activation timing of her Special Attack, Draconic Aura. Though I imagine there are far better Special Attacks to give her out there, most if not all of them will likely be impressive. On top of that, Even Speed Wave is a nice buff to a team’s stats in a form that has thus far only been seen with Ishtar.

Long story short, I like the cut of her jib.


LegaultThe Hurricane

Skill Set:

  • The Cleaner (Might = 12 / Range = 2)
    • Adds total bonuses on foe to damage dealt during combat. After combat, if unit attacked, inflicts Defense and Resistance -7 on target and foes within two spaces of target through their next actions.
  • Glimmer (Cooldown = 2)
    • Boosts damage dealt by 50 percent.
  • Swift Strike (A Skill)
    • If unit initiates combat, grants Speed and Resistance +4 during combat.
  • Attack Tactic (C Skill)
    • At the start of a turn, grants Attack +6 to allies within two spaces for one turn. Granted only if number of that ally’s movement type on current team is ≤ two.

Analysis:

In my opinion, Legault feels like he’s just on the outskirts of being the greatest dagger-wielding unit in the game.

His weapon The Cleaner just needed to have its text slightly adjusted. Instead of buffing Legault’s damage by the bonuses tacked onto the foe, it should have given him damage buffs based on the bonuses on his person. It should have been a Blade Tome Dagger, in other words.

Without it, Legault is rather basic with Glimmer, Swift Strike and Attack Tactic. There really isn’t anything special about him. I seriously just don’t have anything to say about the guy, he’s the lowest on the totem pole of units I want to summon on this particular banner.


To be totally blunt about this banner right off the bat, I probably won’t be spending a lot of time or orbs on these three units. After Legendary Ryoma quite literally bled me dry for nothing, I’m not exactly looking to spend anything on any unit until building my stockpile up again, to be fair.

But these three specifically don’t excite me that much on top of that. Like I said before, Nino would have been top of the list for my emotional connection to her in Heroes at least, but I’m internally protesting the practice IS has been using by not pining after her.

My orbs will probably be better spent either on the 2018 brides banner (which I still haven’t gotten anything out of) or on whatever summer-themed banner I’m sure will inevitably be coming out in the next few weeks.

That or I’ll just fill my coffers with orbs and feel better about myself. Having a security fund in this game is a magical thing, honestly.

Because I’m not planning on summoning too much here, I don’t have a section about my summoning experiences to share. So instead, let’s jump right into some story, because it’s a quintessential example of my favorite FEH meme:

Feh Plot Meme


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With a story chapter and mission both named ‘The King’s Demise,’ there’s no way we aren’t getting some plot all up in here.

Following the defeat of Helbindi in Chapter 9, the Order of Heroes continue to make their way into Múspell with hopes of defeating King Surtr once and for all. In general, the aesthetic of the land of fire isn’t my favorite when compared to the beautiful tundra environments and glassy castles of Nifl, but it’s serviceable and well done.

I do like Surtr’s throne room in particular, it reminds me of something I might build as an intimidating throne room with my friends in Minecraft. But that’s beside the point — we’re a long way away from his throne room at the start of the chapter.

Things kick off with the team conversing on how to best get to the King. Form’s youngest sibling offers her advice to move through the forest to get there having heard to do so from her prior captors.

I do still subscribe to the theory that Ylgr is actually the shapeshifter Loki in disguise,  as her extensive knowledge of the area might help suggest, but the game doesn’t really drop any more hints regarding that through this chapter. So we’ll see.

That resolve becomes a motif throughout the chapter, however.

Somewhat…

See, during the first and last missions it’s referenced quite a bit. Those are typically the most important parts of every chapter, after all.

The middle three tend to just be brief introductions to the characters who have been added into the game.

The Blazing Blade units feel like they were shafted somewhat in that regard. Besides the funny coincidence of their game’s name having ‘blazing’ in it, the added characters feel a bit out-of-place in the hellish land of Múspell and don’t get too much time to converse, something which may have helped otherwise.

There is a nice little continuity of throwing all the other members of the Black Fang into the missions to fit with Nino and Legault… But Karla feels very out-of-place as a result.

I don’t know, maybe my feelings toward the units in general colored my opinion of their appearance in-game, but I just wasn’t a huge fan of this one in that regard.

So instead I’m just going to focus solely on the conflict with the King.

When the Order clears out Legault on the first map, he drops some mad foreshadowing.

Then once the Blazing Blade units have all been routed, the Order makes it to his castle, ready for battle. It’s a battle that has been built up for 10 chapters now, with the game showcasing all of Surtr’s brutality through cutscenes and invincibility through battles.

It’s a battle that has been 10 chapters in the making through the quest for the Rite of Ice that brought about conflict in Nifl, the death of Gunnthrá and some strange sickness in Fjorm.

In other words?

It has been the progenitor of maximum lore.

That hope, it is revealed, is the magical power granted to the player character’s summoning gun weapon (because yes that’s still a thing) granted through the Rite of Ice.

When it’s utilized, the protection spell that brings the king invincibility disappears:

With the battle made more fair, Surtr is finally defeated.

There’s a pretty hilarious dissonance at this point in the game, for me at least, watching the all-powerful lord of flames who has been built up for so long finally be defeated…

By a level 40 unit that has a weapon triangle advantage while he’s sitting at about level 15. In one hit. With him unable to do anything in return.

Gotta love when game mechanics usurp plot armor.

Granted he is much tougher in the lunatic-level fight, but that’s a different story.

Once Surtr is defeated, the Order celebrates.

But wait.

There’s more.

Apparently, the Fire ritual that gave Surtr his power also prevents him from dying.

Because sometimes plot armor has to usurp game mechanics as well. God bless the push-and-pull of game development.

If I had to inject my own theorizing into the game’s story, I’d say the revival of Surtr (and some other details yet to come) are indicators of us only being halfway through Book II. Following a proper hero’s journey — because that would be fitting for FEH, wouldn’t it? — this is the halfway point where all seems hopeless before we find a way to build up to the ultimate climax.

Because Surtr’s description indicates he’s a descendant of the Fire Dragon, I’m under the impression we’ll eventually get to fight that dragon.

Plus there are other plot points that have yet to be resolved:

  • Where did Veronica go? Obviously she’s still summoning units for Múspell, but they said they would be using her as a ritual sacrifice. Will that be the next major plot device?
  • Is Ylgr secretly Loki? Also, what is Loki’s plan in all this? The bridal Tempest Trial indicated she’s the mother of Laevatein, so is she just in it for the king and her daughter? Or is that a lie and she has ulterior motives?

There are more, but we’ll get to that.

When Surtr is revived, the team is distraught and forced to retreat.

Yeah… He’s kind of a dick, too.

A very, very overconfident dick.

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Foreshadow?

Perhaps. Time will tell in that regard.

After that retreat, the scene cuts away to a post-battle discussion between the king’s daughters that serves to set up where everything seems to be going next.

So we’ve got that going for us.

These two dialogue boxes alone are rather interesting in my opinion. The first is a reference to the way Fjorm treated Laegjarn so amicable when she was captured following the battle in Nifl (featuring Chrom and the two Morgans).

If my shipper’s heart is to read into it… I’m led to believe Laegjarn might just have a crush on the ice princess based on that. Though it could just be a mutual respect and admiration. But I’d giggle if it were the prior.

The second seems to set up that the final Nifl sibling will become relevant to the plot from here on out.

Perhaps the next Legendary Hero will be a surprise appearance from the eldest Nifl royal? That or he’ll simply arrive in the story to help lead a charge against Surtr once the next path to weakening him is discovered.

I just hope he’s a more well utilized character than Celica’s brother in Echoes, who was a cool masked cavalier that felt wasted once he was actually turned into a unit… Like… three-quarters of the way through the game.

That’s right, #EchoesShade. Don’t @ me, gamers.


With the story fading to black from there, leaving our heroes on a low note that makes it seem as though all is lost — but throwing in a glimpse of hope to cut through the darkness — I’ve officially run out of things to say.

Overall I appreciate the hero’s journey that has been set up in the long-term, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the developers do with it.

How do you feel about the way the story is developing?

Plus, let me know what you think of the brand new heroes from Blazing Blade in the comments down below!

Fire Emblem Heroes Version 2.6.0: Masks and Menu Mayhem

Fire Emblem Heroes Version 2.6.0: Masks and Menu Mayhem

There ain’t no weekend like a Fire Emblem Heroes update weekend!

This Thursday afternoon, Heroes received its 2.6.0 update, which was followed up with a brand new summoning focus based around Blazing Blade characters that night.

While I usually try to condense this stuff into a day after post, the band-related stuff I took part in yesterday kept me busy enough that I really wasn’t able to commit the time I wanted to this. So I figure I’ll split the version update and the new summoning banner into different posts today and tomorrow to fill my writing quota.

That said, if you’re seeing this well in the future when everything is already available, you can check out the post on the summoning focus here.

But for now, let’s jump into what’s new with version 2.6.0!


Home Page Changes

Alright so the most obvious and somewhat jarring change that came with this update is visible as soon as players open the game:

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That’s right, the hub area now has red ribbon labels over each function.

That’s pretty much literally all there is to say about that. Apparently the point was to make them more obvious but I wouldn’t say they were necessarily hard to discern in the first place.

Ah well, we’ll get used to the new look eventually and it probably won’t even matter.

Next!


Accessories

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Coming straight out of the world of Fire Emblem Fates, Heroes is adding a bit more customization by implementing an accessories system.

Again, there isn’t all that much to say about this feature. It’s rather self-explanatory.

Outfit pieces can be unlocked in various ways, and players can attach those pieces to their heroes to give them a bit more personality when facing off against opponents in the Arena.

Or just for the sake of making them look cool. That’s also an excellent reason to do it, let’s be honest.

A few accessories were given out when the game updated as the reward for a retweet event a couple of weeks back, so everyone who plays has started off with something to put on already.

 

Naturally I dressed up Eirika first, since she’s arguably my most used unit and the protagonist from my favorite Fire Emblem game.

Or at least the protagonist that I own in a game with two main protagonists.

Doesn’t she look frickin’ cute in that hairpin? I think so.

At the moment there are only five accessories to utilize, so not too many characters can take advantage of them. Most of those five are also locked behind missions to complete:

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Luckily they’re easy to complete. And we have 40 days to do so.

If nothing else I’m thankful that the Mysterious Mask Lucina wears when she cosplays as Marth is one of the first costume pieces available. I’ll be spending quite a bit of time trying to decide who’s the best person to wear that thing.

I hope they frequently add in more accessories, because one day I’d like to make my characters as baller as I made Beruka back in my Fates days.

Cool Beruka

Classic.


Ally Menu Adjustments

While the addition of more stand-out labels to the home page were the most immediately striking change visually, this one is arguably going to screw with players the most in my opinion.

Or, at least, it’s going to screw with me for a long time. That much I can guarantee.

Long-time players of Fire Emblem Heroes are likely to flip to the game’s misc. setting tab when they want to look at the Hero Merit their units have accumulated or to see the progress made on their Hero Catalog.

Like me, they probably had to do a double take when discovering those options are no longer under that tab.

That’s because the Ally tab has been completely reinvented to offer just about anything and everything related to working with units in one place.

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Contrary to what many of you may be thinking, the plus signs aren’t actually something players can interact with.

They do, in fact, indicate that there’s an extra menu under those options to expand out. However the actual icons don’t open up or have smaller icons pop up underneath. They just open up a separate page with a number of options to select in each.

For Ally Growth:

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For Change Equipment:

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For Interact with Allies:

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See, that’s where the Catalog and Hero Merit List are hiding now.

In the same change category, the game has also highlighted two other quality of life additions to the Ally menus.

First is the ability to automatically spend as much SP as a character has accumulated on their skill upgrades all at once, rather than having to do them one-at-a-time like a savage.

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Considering how many people inherit skills that wouldn’t want their SP spent on certain skills they aren’t looking to use, I can’t imagine this option will be widely used by competitive players.

But for people who are more casually picking up the game once in a while it’s probably a nice idea.

I sort of fall into the prior category though so… We’ll see.

Second is the addition of more favoring options in different colors, that way players can more aptly organize their heroes however they want.

I can see this one being much more useful for me… As soon as I figure out exactly what I need this many divisions for.

Perhaps I’ll try to separate out heroes that are good for skill inheriting, or better indicating who has better IVs.

I’ll experiment and get back to you on that.


New Weapon Refinements

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Four heroes have been given new life with new weapon refinements.

To be completely honest, the Tiki improvements are the only ones I really care about, and even there it’s just for young Tiki.

Linde’s refinement to Aura allows her to gain +5 Attack and Speed if she’s within two spaces of a magic unit or cleric. That is a great power boost, but Dark Aura is also a powerful upgrade that she’s had for some time now.

To be fair Merric’s refinement to Excalibur has the exact same effect. But he’s a unit that desperately needs a boost like that from what I understand, even though he also has access to Dark Excalibur. That one just happens to be less useful than Dark Aura.

Tiki’s stands out more to me, mostly, because she was one of the first units I ever summoned and has been a staple on my teams ever since.

Her personal base weapon is absolutely garbage, however. So terrible that everyone replaces it with Lightning Breath almost instinctual.

However, now she has access to Breath of Fog rather than just Flametongue. And Breath of Fog is way better!

Not only is it effective against all dragon units, the Breath restores 10 Health every other turn and ensures her damage goes by the foe’s lowest defensive stat if from a distance. Plus it does 16 base damage and that’s great for a dragon attack!

The only problem with this is the fact that you need to inherit Distant Counter to utilize the Breath fully, whereas Lightning Breath has a two space range built-in.

I don’t know, I suppose I’ll see if it’s worth getting rid of distance in place of power by messing with it. But just know I certainly feel like it could be worth it.


Smaller Changes

Many of the changes made through this update are relatively small things, so I figured I’d lump them all together here.

I’ll be honest, neither of these changes in particular mean much of anything to me.

They’re cool I guess, but they’re such minutia that I can’t be bothered to provide any sort of well thought out, philosophical commentary at like… 2 a.m.

In fact I’m just going to take the easy way out and show off the ‘other changes’ listing before wrapping this sucker up.

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If it wasn’t obvious, I basically wrote this post in two sittings. One during the day, in the middle of sitting around at the RUHS band banquet. The other was during the early, early hours of today where I was a bit too tired to really focus on anything.

Yet I decided to finish this anyway just for the sake of having it out at a proper time. Even though I easily could have waited and gotten this out later in the day.

My brain is stupid like that sometimes. I just love torturing myself.

That said, hopefully you got a good grasp of what this update entailed for the game going forward! If so, let me know what you think is the best part of the update.

In the meantime, I’m going to go pass out. Stay tuned for tomorrow (as of this posts publishing) for part two of this session regarding the new summoning banner!

Making up for lost time

I had a fun day with my friends yesterday. Chilling for the first time this summer, playing games late into the night, watching dumb internet videos and eating pizza.

Because I got lost doing that, I unfortunately didn’t have the chance to write a blog post. I don’t imagine anyone is going to fault me for that necessarily, but I still personally feel bad for dropping the ball on my goal, so I wanted to write something extra today to make up for it.

It won’t be nearly as gargantuan as my Yu-Gi-Oh!-themed post from this morning, as I spent large chunks of the last week working on that.

Also yes, I know I could have just rescheduled that to post yesterday and completely circumnavigate this internal turmoil.

But I didn’t think about it until today so shush.

I’ve just finished doing another edit for Boom, this time on a piece about the impact of Mexican migrants on the history of soccer’s popularity in the United States as we approach the 2018 World Cup. However, like with the Kennedy piece from the other day (which is online and can be read here), I don’t necessarily have much to say about this one because it’s not available to read so I can give full credit where it’s due.

So instead I figured I would talk about some of the highlights from my friend hangout yesterday.

We played Minecraft for a hell of a long time. It’s something we’ve been doing through online connections and Skype chats for the past couple weeks, so getting to do it in person was a lot of fun.

In fact it was also an excellent showcase of the power of the Nintendo Switch to be a great multiplayer console. While mine was plugged into the large TV we have upstairs that way I could play split screen with Juan (who doesn’t own the game), both Tiana and Mitchell were playing on their personal consoles at other parts of the room, since they’d both brought them along.

Then on top of that, we were also playing with Jonathan, who’s still up at UC Davis finishing off his school quarter. Luckily he had the time to spare, since our main world is hosted on his console. We even called him on Skype, and he basically stayed in the loop for the entire day, which was pretty cool.

Sometimes it’s nice to appreciate how miraculous technology can be in terms of keeping us all connected.

I would share some photos from our time playing, but I’m still working on a more reliable way to pull photos off the Switch that don’t involve needlessly posting them ALL on Twitter, so that’ll have to wait for another time.

For now enjoy this reference Minecraft made to Heavy Rain that was just convenient enough to be hilarious:

After our (admittedly somewhat bloated) play session of Minecraft came to a close, we had some pizza and watched dumb internet videos. Memes, vine compilations, video game-related things. All that good stuff.

One such video was Long Long Man, which is a series of Japanese gum commercials that you need to watch right now if you haven’t seen it.

We introduced my sister to it and this was her reaction when the big reveal came at the end.

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I’m not kidding, watch it. It’ll change your life.

Here you go. Thank me later.

We also watched the first episode of Aggretsuko, a slice-of-life anime about anthropomorphic animals who work in a modern-day office setting.

Also the main character deals with misogyny and other headaches by sneaking off to sing death metal in secluded places.

It’s an odd show and I’m not sure I can necessarily give a full scope of my opinions on it having only watched one episode. However, my friend Kaleb did write an extended piece about the show from a more knowledgeable platform that I would recommend giving a read.

One other particularly notable thing from last night was our experience with Fire Emblem Heroes. As I’ve talked about before, one of the reasons I stick with the game so adamantly is because we all play it together.

It hasn’t exactly been kind to me recently, however. I was rather eager to go after one of the red units on the Legendary Ryoma banner, to the point that I started spending a lot of orbs.

However, lots of time and orbs passed, and I wasn’t getting anything.

Eventually it was concerning how I wasn’t able to pull a single five-star unit on the initial eight percent banner.

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It got pretty bad. Even my last-ditch effort to buy some orbs when I ran out failed, despite the fact that I imagined having everyone around would make it more likely that the game would take it easy on me.

The game didn’t take it easy on me.

The Ryoma banner is gone now, and all of my orbs have gone to waste.

It’s not an encouraging feeling. Especially considering Tiana decided to summon on her eight percent chance just to test whether or not it was my luck.

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Turns out it was all my luck.

Hallelujah.

That disappointment aside, it was a pretty amazing moment when she literally pulled the unit that had been avoiding me for so long just in a whim.

All-and-all I’d say that aptly describes what makes our hangouts so fun. Doing things that would otherwise be a good time alone, but become that much better when we’re together because of how we can play off each other.

That said, I really don’t have too much more to say, so I think I’ll leave it here.

Hope everyone has had a nice Thursday! Look forward to my posts that will wrap up this week about the RUHS band banquet tomorrow night and whatever updates we’ll be seeing in FEH in the next few days.

‘Dark Magic Destruction’ deck profile — Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links

‘Dark Magic Destruction’ deck profile — Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links

Duel Links has kind of fallen out of favor in my phone app priority list for some time now.

It’s not that I don’t still love the game. I do. But Konami has a tendency to… Power creep a little faster than I’m comfortable with as a free-to-play user.

By power creep, I mean they add a new box of cards about once every two-to-three weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand why that’s the decision they’ve made. New boxes mean a host of new cards that redefine the Player vs. Player metagame and keep the community thriving with new strategies.

It makes sense and is arguably a good business decision.

But because I don’t pay to buy the new boxes out, I wind up still stuck using a slowly accumulating set of gems to buy out older boxes while people are kicking everyone around with the newest stuff. While I still love the game for the computer-driven content that’s also constantly being added in, having myself be stuck in place on the PvP ladder because I can’t get past the newest, strongest card combinations without dumb luck is frustrating.

The PvP is half the draw of Duel Links, as it’s the real place to test out decks and earn good rewards. So it’s a shame that being so frustrated with it has taken away some of the fun of the game for me right now.

However, in the face of that frustration, I’ve decided to take a different approach than just giving up.

On April 26, the character level cap for every Legendary Duelist in the game was increased from 40 to 45. This meant a number of things for the game, but most notably: More gems and a new character-specific card for each duelist.

Many of the new level-up cards are just okay at best in my opinion. But two of them specifically stood out. Yami Yugi and Arkana both received a new support card for the Dark Magician archetype.

Seeing those two additional cards and remembering how much fun I used to have playing my Dark Magician/Dark Magician Girl combo deck inspired me to try to play a fun, nostalgic deck again rather than a purely meta-driven one.

Thus, my ‘Dark Magic Destruction’ deck was born.

It’s not the best deck in the world, but it has a bunch of super fun combo pieces that I’ve been enjoying playing more than most everything else since counter-fairies got a short-lived buff a few months back.

Because I’ve been having so much fun with the old DM, I wanted to bring back something from the days of old on my blog: Deck profiles.

I only did one about a year ago for a Bakura-driven fiend monster deck that I used during the 2017 World Championships. Seems fitting to have that format return now that I’m hitting the 2018 World Championship Qualifiers with a brand new, classic deck.

I’m looking to write a lot over the summer, and I’m going to  try new things with this post in particular using the knowledge of formatting I’ve accumulated via Fire Emblem posts and using my newfound video powers.

So perhaps deck profiles are something that can see a return more frequently with new decks I try out over the next few months. Let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in seeing!

For now, with that prologue about my current Duel Links journey out-of-the-way, let’s jump in.


The Basics

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Welcome to the dark carnival, everyone.

Obviously this isn’t your daddy’s Dark Magician. No no, this is the special red Dark Magician, utilized by Arkana the Rare Hunter during Yu-Gi-Oh!’s Battle City arc in the original anime.

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For all intents and purposes, red Dark Magician is exactly the same as the original Dark Magician. Same stats, same description, same level, everything. The red guy is basically an angsty, cool teenage reprint of the classic monster.

A cool reprint with probably one of the best play mats in the game. Just saying.

So why use him instead of the classic, iconic DM?

Well… This version of the card has a special animation when summoned by Arkana specifically. And we’re using Arkana today, not Yugi.

See Arkana has a special skill called ‘Master of Magicians’ that helps grease the combo wheels of this particular deck. It allows him to draw one of three cards from outside of the deck (Dark Magic Attack, Thousand Knives and Dark Magic Expanded) after losing half his life points.

As you’ll see, it works perfectly with Dark Magic Curtain, one of his signature cards.

Now that you understand the skill helping drive the deck, let’s break down the actual cards making up that deck.


The Monsters

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How could I start with anyone else?

Dark Magician is a normal monster that typically requires two monster tributes to summon. However, given the fact that it became the de facto mascot for Yu-Gi-Oh! as a whole through its use by the original protagonist Yugi Muto, the card has received a heaping helping of support throughout the years that makes it a still viable boss monster to bring out.

In Duel Links, that support has slowly come out through things like the level-up rewards for Yami Yugi and Arkana, as I mentioned before, as well as in part through support via Tea Gardner and Yugi Muto.

Most of the strategies he uses involve cycling through spells that both allow for easier summoning, for drawing cards and for dealing with the opponent’s board.

My deck is something of a mix of all three.

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Skilled Dark Magician is one of the newer cards added for Dark Magician through Arkana level-up rewards.

He’s an effect monster that can be immediately summoned with a fairly chunky 1900 attack and 1700 defense point spread that allows players to tribute him off when three spell counters are placed on the card (via separate spell cards being used while he’s on the field) to summon DM from the hand, deck or graveyard.

It’s the ‘deck or graveyard’ part of that statement that makes our skilled friend here so special. In a deck that utilizes combining and chaining spells for large plays, it’s rather easy to build up those three counters in the right circumstances, which means you can have a powerful unit early duel that has utility and revival capabilities late in the game.

Trust me, when I explain how the spells work together, you’ll see why he’s such a good card. I do wish there were three available, but two is a solid amount for now.

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Now THIS is the real combo-maker of the deck. Magician’s Rod is a fairly unique support monster for the Dark Magician deck that facilitates a lot of different things because it has a number of effects — more than making up for the somewhat slim 1600 attack and downright disgraceful 100 defense.

First and foremost, summoning the Rod allows players to pull a spell or trap from the deck that lists ‘Dark Magician’ in some capacity. In my deck specifically there are three spells that do so, and each are important at different points in the duel.

In other words, this is the card you want in your opening hand to start working a bunch of different combos, but when late game comes he becomes more of a liability due to that low attack.

The secondary effect is less useful, but it has potential to help. When Magician’s Rod is in the graveyard, if a spell or trap is used during the opponent’s turn (except during the damage step), the player can tribute one of their monsters to add the Rod back into their hand.

There’s some synergy to this effect in conjunction with the next card on my list, Blue Dragon Summoner. However, more often than not one use of the Magician’s Rod will lead to the exhaustion of most of its combo-making cards, so there isn’t a whole lot of point adding it back to your hand when there are no more cards to draw with it.

In other words, don’t be dumb like me and accidentally tribute your Dark Magician during your opponent’s turn to leave yourself open for the kill. Bad idea.

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As I mentioned before, Blue Dragon here has some synergy with Magician’s Rod because of its primary effect: allowing players to add a normal monster (Dragon, Warrior or Spellcaster) from the deck to the hand when it’s sent from the field to the graveyard.

Obviously Dark Magician is the target for this effect. Being able to add that sucker to the hand is more often than not a benefit because it gives you a boss monster to summon and thins out the deck — or gives you cards not during your draw phase, thus making it more likely to draw other cards during said draw phase.

Yu-Gi-Oh! is a game of statistics, man.

What makes Blue Dragon special is that the drawing aspect works for both battle destruction and card effect destruction. Thus you can get a Dark Magician by using the Summoner as bait for an attack just as easily as you can get one by making him tribute fodder for something like Mgician’s Rod.

Theoretically Legion the Fiend Jester could also be an apt card to fill this slot over Blue Dragon, as he has the same draw effect and an extra assistance effect for tribute summoning.

But I have a soft spot for Blue Dragon, he’s an old favorite of mine. Plus his 1500 attack allows for a little more battle utility than Legion’s 1300.


The Spells

In this Dark Magician deck, there are three spell cards that are useful specifically for the Magician himself, those that can be drawn out by Magician’s Rod. I’m going to go over those first in the order that I’d argue they’re useful to have throughout the duel.

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Another Arkana level-up exclusive card, Dark Magic Curtain is a magical (pun slightly intended?) playmaker to have in your opening hand for a duel.

By paying half of their life points, a player is able to summon Dark Magician from the deck. However, for the rest of that turn, no other summons can be conducted — though monsters can be set.

If it’s turn one and this card is available, not only can you thin your deck one card by pulling out a Dark Magician, you can instantly summon it and start the duel with a 2500 attack monster on deck.

On top of that, this card is the primary reason to run the Arkana-varient of the Dark Magician deck. The average 2000 life point cost (half of the 4000 starting point) is just enough to activate his ‘Master of Magicians’ skill, which instantly adds an extra card into one’s hand.

As amazing as all of this sounds — and frankly is through proper execution — there are downsides. For one, if all of your Dark Magicians are already in the hand or on the field, Curtain becomes an instantly dead card unless somehow the boss monster gets shuffled back into the deck.

On top of that, not being able to summon for the rest of the turn kind of sucks. It means players need to choose between using the Curtain or playing a number of other combinations at once. Though Blue Dragon is a good card to set, to be fair.

Long story short: If you have this card starting out or can use Magician’s Rod to grab it right away, you’re golden. If it’s stuck at the bottom of the deck until its time has passed, it’s worth nothing.

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This card is the newest Yami Yugi level-up reward that essentially inspired me to make this whole deck in the first place.

With Dark Magic Inheritance, players can banish two spell cards from the graveyard to add a ‘Dark Magician’ or ‘Dark Magician Girl’ centered spell or trap from the deck to the hand.

Because of how many spells are in this deck, it’s not hard to get two of them in the graveyard. Until you manage to do so it’s a dead card, but the second it isn’t a dead card it becomes a great way to thin the deck given that it’s a quick play spell, allowing one to activate it easily during whichever phase of the battle they prefer.

In my experience, the best practice with Dark Magic Inheritance is to summon DM using Curtain, then either activate the spell Arkana draws through ‘Master of Magicians’ or use an Enemy Controller, and afterward you’ll be able to draw out Dark Magic Attack from the deck for more deck thinning and the chance to wipe out the opponent’s field.

Unfortunately, the window to use Inheritance is a bit small considering there’s only two other cards in the deck it can draw, but that’s more on my personal decisions for what to include than on the card itself.

If you want to add more DM cards into the deck, it becomes wildly more useful. Nice returns on investment.

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Honestly there isn’t much to say about this card. When you control Dark Magician, you can wipe out your opponent’s back row of cards. Every spell and trap they control.

Simple. Clean. Effective.

So effective, in fact, that I decided to use this instead of the similar monster-based equivalent, Thousand Knives. That spell allows you to destroy one monster on the field, which has much less utility in the long-run than a board wipe in my opinion.

Sure there are cases where the opponent can still activate their spells and traps in response to this wipe and mess with your turn, like using an enemy controller to stop you from attacking. But in my opinion, forcing those kinds of plays rather than letting them utilize the cards at an opportune moment is always preferential.

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Now we’re into the spells that aren’t necessarily Dark Magician-specific.

Even if for the purposes of this deck, Ancient Rules may as well be.

Level-up rewards from Seto Kaiba’s younger brother Mokuba, Ancient Rules simply allows the player to special summon a level five or higher normal monster from the hand. Have a Dark Magician in hand? Well now it’s on the field. Plus you can normal summon that Skilled Dark Magician you’re holding onto for a totally fatal knockout.

Again, simple. While it may be another card that’s ‘dead’ with no Magician in hand, the deck has enough drawing power in my experience to make up for that.

Though I will admit at this point in the profile that a lot of the deck’s contents can be considered dead cards. Which is a seemingly unfortunate reality of playing around a single big boss monster.

So this card is here to help mitigate the risk:

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I’ve talked about Enemy Controller a few times now, and that’s because it’s essentially the staple card that can be placed on any and all decks in Duel Links.

Few other cards offer as much utility as this. Change your opponent’s card to defense or attack position when desired. Tribute your own monster to steal an opponent’s monster. Complete either task during basically any part of the battle due to the quick play aspect of this spell.

It’s just endlessly useful for protection and offensive strategies. Always a good choice when thinking of something to add into a deck.


The Traps

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Champion’s Vigilance is another card that’s essentially dead when not used in conjunction with Dark Magician… But I love it so much that I couldn’t not include it.

When you have a level seven or higher normal monster on the field, anything your opponent does can be negated once.

They summon a monster? Negate and destroy it.

Activate a protecting spell card? Negate and destroy it.

Try to lower your attack with a trap card? Negate and destroy it.

I’ve had so many clutch moments where a field wipe with Dark Magic Attack leads to an immediate victory because you know the first thing they do next turn, likely summoning a monster, will just be a waste.

I do understand how unfortunately limited the card’s utility is, however. Not only is it a dead draw without Dark Magician available, but even if he’s available you still need a turn of placed face-down waiting before being able to activate it.

That’s why I only included one, to mitigate the risk of starting with three Champion’s Vigilance in an opening hand.

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The last card on my list here is another solid, generic defensive card.

When Wall of Disruption is activated, every face-up attack position monster your opponent controls loses 800 attack points for each monster they control on the field.

Though that means defense position monsters are safe, anything not in defense position can lose up to 2400 attack, which will neuter essentially everything in the game. That includes any monster that would negate directly targeting cards, since the Wall is non-targeting.

So take that White Night Dragon.

I mostly just have one of these here since Dark Magician being the strongest thing on the board is a risky thing more often than not.


Gosh, that was a slog to write out. Hopefully it’s just informative and explanatory enough to help anyone who doesn’t regularly play the game, though!

As I briefly mentioned way up at the top of this mountain of words, part of the reason I went through with this small project was discovering the ability to upload videos to YouTube for my own personal use here.

But not just that. In this case, I also figured out a way to record what’s happening on my phone screen.

As a result, please enjoy this sizable duel that I recorded as an example of the Dark Magic deck succeeding:

Though I didn’t have the opportunity to utilize my 1-2 combo of Dark Magic Inheritance in this match-up, I was able to pull off the Skilled Dark Magician tribute, which is a much more rare occurrence in my book.

Plus it’s a good example of Enemy Controller coming in clutch and saving the day.

Of course the magic of editing and selection means you all don’t have to see the many, many loses I accumulated before getting this successful match-up. As I noted throughout this post, many of the Dark Magician-specific cards are dead draws if their combo pieces aren’t available.

Despite those loses, I still think the deck is a lot of fun. And boy is it fantastic when you happen to draw just the right opening hand to demolish an opponent.

For example, this other duel I happened to save:

On the one hand I feel bad about how quickly I was able to demoralize this Bonz.

But on the other hand… God what a satisfying victory.

Also, side note, amazing how both videos wound up with the same thumbnail image. Totally didn’t plan that out or anything.

With that said, I suppose that wraps up my thoughts and advice on using an Arkana Dark Magician deck in Duel Links. Hopefully someone out there found this interesting and helpful, and if you did please let me know in the comments down below!

At the same time I’m interested in doing some more of these, so if there are any decks or cards anyone out there wants to see utilized in some way, shape or form, I’d love to take a crack at it. Any and all suggestions would be appreciated!

… So long as I actually have those cards, of course. But I’m sure you knew that.

If you made it this far, thanks so much for sticking with me! Hope you have a great rest of the day.

 

Lauding the Legendary Lobster

Lauding the Legendary Lobster

Normally I try to have this kind of Fire Emblem Heroes post out early in the morning, but after exploding all over Pokémon news yesterday I couldn’t bring myself to stay up late to write more.

So enjoy this later-than-average look at the Legendary Lobster himself: Supreme Samurai Ryoma.


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RyomaSupreme Samurai

Skill Set:

  • Raijinto (Might = 16 / Range = 1)
    • Unit can counterattack regardless of foe’s range.
  • Glimmer (Cooldown = 2)
    • Boosts damage dealt by 50 percent.
  • Kestrel Stance (A Skill)
    • If foe initiates combat, grants Attack and Speed +4 during combat.
  • Bushido (B Skill)
    • Deals +10 damage when Special triggers.
  • Guidance (C Skill)
    • Infantry and armored allies within two spaces can move to a space adjacent to unit.

Clearly not wanting to be upstaged by his younger sister, the crown prince of Hoshido is here with his first alternate form since the game was released. Instead of being a grounded samurai warrior, he has taken to the skies on a legendary Kinshi mount to bring swift destruction using his legendary electric blade.

As our seventh Legendary Hero, Ryoma brings all water-blessed allies +3 Health and +4 Defense when they enter battle during a water season. Something particularly interesting about the banner this time around is that it actually laid out exactly how legendary hero stat bonuses work:

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This, by extension, also just about confirms that there are only going to be 16 Legendary Heroes all together. Unless they do something like add more elements of course, but that’s a bridge we can cross when we get to it.

I quite like the chart. It’s succinct and shows pretty neatly how the developers have begun to plan things out.

Next presumably is a fire element Legendary Hero with a Resistance buff, and I’m interested to see who they choose to fit that role.

But we’re not here to discuss future content. Let’s discuss current content.

Many of you who know Fire Emblem fairly well like I do probably thought the same thing:

Why the hell is Ryoma a flying unit?

It’s rather bizarre seeing him take a Kinshi mount, because it seems like the only Legendary alt that’s somewhat out of character. Sure, Kinshi are great mythical beasts associated with the Hoshidan royal family, but Hinoka made far more sense riding one than her brother does here.

If anything, I would imagine Ryoma to fit the archetype of someone like the Black Knight better. A hulking armored unit with samurai gear turned up to 11, stomping around like an impenetrable tank that fires back from all distances with his Raijinto.

Would’ve been pretty dope if I say so myself.

Even though that isn’t what we got, what Legendary Ryoma is certainly isn’t anything to scoff at. Sword-wielding fliers are a rare unit type in Heroes, and even if I have a personal bias for the Elincia that has served me so well, the Hoshidan crown prince is imposing to say the least.

Stat-wise he’s near perfect based on what we can see in his legendary battle. Attack and Speed stats that are both around 50 while still having a baffling high defense stat for a flying unit. Even his resistance isn’t so bad, so he’s well-rounded enough to take a hit and retaliate.

In fact, that’s essentially what his base skills are meant for. If he can tank that bow or that magic attack, not only can Ryoma counter attack from a distance, but his attack and speed are buffed by his A Skill and he deals an insane critical hit thanks to the signature Bushido B Skill.

With it, his distant counter Raijinto also acts like a Wo Dao weapon. It’s kinda nuts.

I’ve seen some buzz talking about how Ryoma may just be the strongest Legendary Hero we’ve ever gotten, and I can’t say I disagree. I had expected a complete glass cannon based on his flying attribute, but those defenses don’t lie.

However, he isn’t the only thing available on this summoning banner. Also in the eight percent pool are:

Being blunt about it, the red stones are the only ones I truly care about in this pool of focus units.

Ryoma is obviously the chief goal, but Sigurd and Tiki are both solid options to summon for me as well. Both units are perpetual projects of merging that I tend to be working on, and both are frequently in use in my army. Plus, Tiki is about to get a new legendary weapon, so she’ll be even more fun to see in action.

Beyond that, I already have both the Legendary Nifl sisters and Legendary Grima — though I do find it interesting that Legendary Lyn is not on this banner given the fact that she’s the last one we saw implemented.

The Christmas and New Years units that are returning aren’t exactly my favorite either. I already have Azura and probably wouldn’t bother with anyone from the Christmas side but Tharja.

Though if they brought Tharja back she would be in three different summoning banners at the same time right now… So I can understand the restraint.

The non-special units, Hardin and Innes, just seem kind of random honestly. They’re both good of course, but not necessarily good enough for me to bother pulling them.

So that means we’re just sniping the red orbs fellas, where are those-

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… Oh I see.

Yeah that has been a bit of a pattern for me on this banner so far, just pulling singular red stones. In the case above, Ares was a cool compensation unit since I didn’t have him before, but beyond that I haven’t had a whole lot of luck.

This time I swear I’m going to keep my orb counter above 50, I won’t break that promise. There are still brides waiting in the wings for me somewhere, I hope.

That said, orbs are available through Ryoma’s legendary battle.

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Except if you’re going to try that, you should know it’s a little…

Intense.

The dude basically surrounds himself with long-ranged units so he can wear you down before coming in for the kill. I’ll admit that the map does a great job showcasing why Ryoma is so powerful, but boy that Infernal difficulty hurts when you need to get through so many waves of reinforcements.

Oh well. Even with the Tempest Trial cleaned out for me, hopefully I’ll be able to stock up on some more orbs somewhere or another.

Beyond that I don’t have too much more to say about this Legendary Lobster. What do you think about him? Is he too overpowered? Or just overpowered enough?

Let me know in the comments below, and while you’re at it let me know who you think the next Legendary Hero is going to be! I’m down to start taking bets.

Bridal Heroes bring bouquets to battle once more

Bridal Heroes bring bouquets to battle once more

Hard to believe it has been an entire year since the first June Bride banner came out in Fire Emblem Heroes.

Even harder to believe that we’ve gone an entire year since then and Charlotte still hasn’t been released as a regular unit in-game, to be fair. But hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

Right off the bat, I will say I’m somewhat less enamored with the three new brides than I was with the first four — Cordelia, Charlotte, Caeda and Lyn. Obviously Tharja is a huge plus right off the bat, and I do like some of the skills these heroes are packing… But I may have given myself a case of high expectations this time around.

When the silhouettes teasing these heroes were released, I was dead-set on seeing Faye in the game.

Like sure, NOW we know that Faye isn’t here… But you can’t tell me the outline on the left doesn’t look remotely like her:

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Image courtesy of behindthevoiceactor.com

Based on the hair if it were not in ponytails, if nothing else.

Seriously, how great would it have been to see an Alm-obsessed Faye in-game doing imaginary wedding stuff?!

Okay I’m getting pretty weird right away with this one. Let’s just jump into examining the new heroes and see what they’ve got.


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NinianBright-Eyed Bride

  • Skill Set:Fresh Bouquet (Might = 12 / Range = 2)
      • At start of turn, if unit is adjacent to an ally, grants Speed +4 to ally and adjacent allies for one turn.
    • Dance (Range = 1)
      • Grants another action to target ally.
    • Chill Attack (B Skill)
      • At start of turn, inflicts Attack -7 on foe on the enemy team with the highest Attack through its next action.
    • Drive Speed (C Skill)
      • Grants Speed +3 to allies within two spaces during combat.
  • Analysis:I’ve seen lots of people getting very excited about Ninian more than anyone else on this special banner. Personally I don’t have quite as much of a connection to this manakete since I haven’t played her game, so I’m not very gung-ho about summoning her. Her skills are pretty sweet though, making her a nice supportive unit overall. She’s our second flying dancer, and though I’m more attached to Azura, a flying mage unit that also dances is a wonderful combination — especially when she can grant an ally +7 speed and neuter the opponent’s strongest attacking unit each turn. Ninian is probably my lowest priority, but I respect her.

SanakiApostle in White

  • Skill Set:Nifl Frostflowers ( Might = 14 /  Range = 2)
      • Grants Attack +3. During combat, boosts unit’s Attack and Speed by the number of allies within two spaces x2 (Maximum bonus of +6 to each stat).
    • Draw Back (Range = 1)
      • Unit moves one space away from target ally. Ally moves to unit’s previous space.
    • Attack/Resistance Bond (A Skill)
      • If unit is adjacent to an ally, grants Attack and Resistance +5 during combat.
    • Defense/Resistance Link (B Skill)
      • If a movement Assist skill (like Reposition, Shove, Pivot, etc.) is used by this unit or targets this unit, grants Defense and Resistance +6 to unit and target ally or unit and targeting ally for one turn.
  • Analysis:Compared to Ninian, I like Sanaki a lot. Even if I haven’t played the Radiant games either. She was one of my first five-star units in Heroes, and even though I don’t use her very often I quite enjoy throwing suns at people. Bridal Sanaki seems to be creating quite the controversy given that she’s… Something like 10 to 13 years old in canon, which is an issue I’m not really going to touch here. I’m mostly enjoying her appearance for the memes:

    As far as Sanaki the fighter goes, I do like her as a green flying mage better than Spring Camilla, another unit I barely use. Having a legendary weapon name-dropping Nifl is cool, though I prefer Tharja’s variant overall. However, Sanaki really shines thanks to her A and B skills, which grant huge buffs all around for using Reposition and other cool assist skills. I love that, and it’ll probably be worth getting her for it alone.

TharjaObsessive Bride

  • Skill Set:Múspell Fireposy (Might = 14 / Range = 2)
      • Grants Speed +3. During combat, boost unit’s Attack and Speed by number of allies within two spaces x2 (Maximum bonus of +6 to each stat).
    • Rally Attack/Speed (Range = 1)
      • Grants Attack and Speed +3 to target ally for one turn.
    • Attack/Speed Bond (A Skill)
      • If unit is adjacent to an ally, grants Attack/Speed +5 during combat.
    • Speed Feint (B Skill)
      • If a Rally Assist skill is used by unit or targets unit, inflicts Speed -7 on foes in cardinal directions of unit through their next actions.
  • Analysis:As usual, Tharja is my main squeeze in this new summoning banner. She was my main ship for Robin back in Awakening, and positivity exudes from her character for me as a result. Also no that isn’t just because she’s obvious porn-bait. Don’t pull that with me. Even if the punk-black wedding dress is something special…
    I may not have gotten Christmas Tharja to really kickstart a Tharja-only team, but I’m going to very much be going after her here. Alongside Ishtar, this red mage infantry girl could help pull together a solid secondary infantry-only team. Plus, as I mentioned in the Sanaki segment, I love the Múspell-varient of her main weapon better. Though that’s mostly just due to how it looks compared to the Nifl flowers. Attack and Speed Bond is also much better than Attack and Resistance Bond in my opinion… Though she lacks a little from the Speed Feint compared to Sanaki’s Link counterpart.

All the eagle-eye viewers in basically every household were also quick to point out that Marth is hiding away in the battle map screenshot at the end of the preview video as an axe-wielding cavalier with a weapon that looks way too big.

Intelligent Systems has confirmed that Marth will be coming as a free-to-play unit in the next Tempest Trials run, which means we’ve got until May 25 to prepare for his arrival.

While cavaliers out of Tempest Trials have never been all that impressive, there are very few axe users in that category, so I’m interested to see if Marth is someone special to look out for. Especially given:

  1. This is Marth’s first alternate release, which is surprising considering he’s essentially the mascot for the series. God knows I always used the hell out of him in Smash Bros.
  2. While it’s the first time Marth has gotten an alt, it’s also the first time (with a sample size of two, granted) that we’re getting a groom on the bridal banner. That’s pretty neat!

Based on his appearance in the story missions, it does seem like Marth could be a decent unit with the right stat spread. An axe that grants +4 Attack to himself and his allies, Drive Attack to boost his allies further, a dual rally skill, distant battle protection through a Special Attack and Wings of Mercy.

Not too terrible honestly!

But we can’t really say for sure until he’s actually released to the public. So let’s talk about something I can have some input on for now: My summoning luck.

Though actually I don’t have too much to say on that particular subject. I only started with 60 orbs today and didn’t want to fall too far below that, even with the 12 orbs from the story missions getting added onto that.

I didn’t summon anything special with that frugal offering. The only actual summon of any note was this cute little combination:

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Four-star Chrom and Robin coming in together.

Cute? Yes.

Useful? Well…

Not so much.

Oh well, at least we have an entire month to grab these special bridal heroes. Honestly I’d be pretty happy to get any of the three, so I’m not too concerned. I just don’t want to walk out empty-handed.

In the meantime, was the story that opened the door to 12 extra orbs worth paying attention to?


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I’m going to level with everybody here. It has been far too long since we’ve had something simple, quick and pleasant to deal with in terms of story in Fire Emblem Heroes.

As much as I’ve been digging the hardcore main story progression we’ve seen recently, a little bit of fun with a goofy Paralogue isn’t so bad here and there.

This one certainly starts off goofy enough:

This particular part of the exchange makes me laugh pretty hard, honestly. My friend Jonathan was desperate to see a bridal Anna show up on this banner after the Order of Heroes siblings came back as special units in the spring banner earlier this year.

But oh well, I suppose that just wasn’t in the cards.

Just like how it wasn’t in the cards for Anna to get her way and stay home without having to get gussied up for the June Bride shenanigans. That push mostly comes from Sharena, who seems to insist she has a friend she wants to help catch the special wedding bouquet that’s a prize for this seasonal competition.

More on that later, however.

First we have to deal with Marth, who surprisingly has a lot to say despite being a character who will not show up until May 25.

Cute callback to Caeda being on the last banner, honestly.

I can totally see myself pairing up the wedding Marth and Caeda once he’s released into the game. It’ll be beautiful!

But not as beautiful as the character he’s hanging out with in this first match.

Too creepy again? My apologies… I just love the design Tharja got in this seasonal alt. If my adoration for shiny Mega Gardevoir wasn’t enough of an indicator, I think black wedding dresses are hella cute.

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Image courtesy of Bulbapedia.net

… I’m just going to move on before people start accusing me of liking weird things.

What’s that? Bride Sanaki is next?

Dramatic irony, you are a cruel mistress.

Granted, I will admit Intelligent Systems is playing a little fast-and-loose with the whole young girl thinking about her “feminine charms” thing… But come on people. The whole vitriol surrounding this decision is ridiculous all the same.

Especially because she’s so darn cute about it when you finish the match.

She cute, let’s be real.

I’m also continuing to not do myself any favors in the sounding like a pedophilic creep department. So let’s move into the final battle.

As usual, all four heroes again come together to face off, hoping to win the special bouquet.

Also as usual, they’re pretty easy to dispatch.

The epilogue following that final battle brings about an… Interesting set of circumstances, I suppose.

Just as quick as she’s willing to drag my good name into this argument, Anna also tries to pull the rug out from what she perceives as Sharena just trying to do a fake “for a friend” argument to hide her own self-interest.

I can’t fully recall if the Sharena likes your character plot point was something especially relevant earlier in the Fire Emblem Heroes canon, but it did feel a bit out of left field getting thrown in here.

Especially because she ain’t wearing no wedding dress, Anna. Give her that sweet black dress and we’ll talk.

Man this can’t get much worse for me, can it?

At least Sharena gives some credit to Anna’s claim by acting so suspicious about it. The whole “I can’t say for who” thing is a pretty lame work-around after all.


All self-deprecating humor about creepy anime video game obsessions aside, I suppose I don’t have too much to complain about with this new summoning focus.

The units look rather strong and have nice designs.

The paralogue story is a nice break from the hustle and bustle of all the fast-paced main story missions recently.

Memes are abound with people afraid to touch the Sanaki jailbait.

Plus, most importantly of all, everything was short. Which means I get to go to bed at a decent time so I can get up for my Managing Editor job interview with the Daily Titan later today. All feels right in the world.

What do you think of the 2018 bridal units? Are you looking to put any of them on your registry? Or is this a reception you’d like to pass on?

Let me know in the comments down below!

Dancing with the Genealogical God and Goddess

Dancing with the Genealogical God and Goddess

This post here is part two of my big two-part Fire Emblem Heroes update from the last week. I’m doing it all post-hoc since I’ve been heavily focused on the end of the school semester, but I didn’t want to leave things on the back burner forever.

If you want to see part one, where I talked about the Version 2.5.0 update, read all about it here.



I’ve had no qualms talking about the fact that I have zero history with many Fire Emblem games in the series’ long history. In a sense that creates a dichotomy with my Heroes posts between new heroes who I adore (See: Kinshi Hinoka) and new heroes who I have no connection with (See: The Thracia 776 heroes).

This post is going to be more of the latter. I don’t have much to say about these characters outside of whatever context I’ve gotten from heroes that joined the fray in the app before them.

However, despite my lack of in-game context, I do have a lot of positive things to say about their skills and my excitement to summon them. So let’s see what we’re working with!


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  • AresBlack Knight
  • Skill Set:
    • Dark Mystletainn (Might = 16 / Range = 1)
      • Accelerates Special trigger (cooldown count -1). If Special triggers before or during combat, grants Special cooldown count -2 after combat.
    • Draconic Aura (Cooldown = 3)
      • Boosts Attack by 30 percent.
    • Brazen Attack/Defense
      • At start of combat, if unit’s HP ≤ 80 percent, grants Atk/Def +7 during combat.
    • Seal Defense/Resistance
      • Inflicts Def/Res -5 on foe through its next action after combat.
  • Analysis:
    • Ares lives up to his name sake, the Greek god of war, quite well. His father’s Mystletainn was already a powerful weapon, but with the new upgrade it allows him to trigger Special attacks that have three-turn cooldowns (like Draconic Aura, for example) in a single blow. That’s kind of a scary amount of power for a unit with such high range as a cavalier, especially one that strikes hard when weakened against enemies he can weaken further. Definitely a powerful unit to grab.
  • LeneYearning Dancer
  • Skill Set:
    • Safeguard (Might = 14 / Range = 1)
      • If foe initiates combat, grants Defense +7 during combat.
    • Dance (Range = 1)
      • Grants another action to target ally.
    • Firestorm Dance
      • If Sing or Dance is used, grants Attack and Speed +3.
    • Sword Valor
      • If unit survives, all sword allies on team get 2x SP.
  • Analysis:
    • In all honestly, Lene is probably the weakest of the three in this banner. Or, perhaps it’s not fair to call her “the weakest” considering dancers are in a league of their own, but she’s the least valuable to pull in my opinion. The defense boost from her weapon is great to have considering a dancer’s frailty, and the multi-faceted boost given by Firestorm Dance is nice… Though arguably Performing Arts Azura had a better boost inherent to her weapon.
  • IshtarThunder Goddess
  • Skill Set:
    • Mjölnir (Might = 14 / Range = 2)
      • Accelerates Special trigger (cooldown count -1). If unit initiates combat, grants Speed +6 during combat.
    • Moonbow (Cooldown = 2)
      • Treats foe’s Defense and Resistance as if reduced by 30 percent during combat.
    • Swift Sparrow
      • If unit initiates combat, grants Attack and Speed +4 during combat.
    • Vantage
      • If unit’s Health ≤ 75 percent and foe initiates combat, unit can counterattack before foe’s first attack.
    • Odd Attack Wave
      • At start of odd-numbered turns, grants Attack +6 to unit and adjacent allies for one turn (bonus granted to unit even if no allies are adjacent).
  • Analysis:
    • Ishtar is, unapologetically, my current video game girl crush. That’s right I said it. But no, it is not just because she has a fairly provocative set of poses drawn up. As the inspiration for Reinhardt and carrier of a tome named after Thor’s hammer, it’s clear the developers wanted to have her live up to those namesakes as much as they did with Ares. She hits hard and gives herself massive boosts to both attack and speed quite often, which makes her a force to really be reckoned with. Plus, she can hit an opponent before they can kill her if she has a little health gone, which may just be a nice saving grace here or there. Long story short: She’s the one that I want (hoo, hoo, hoo).

Alright so I’m trying a new layout for the character analysis here. Let me know what you think, because it’s a bit more labor intensive but I feel like it lays out on a page way nicer.

My more extensive standalone ‘analysis’ section for each character also lays out what I would usually fill this break with, so I can jump straight into my current summoning experiences.

They’re uhh… Not great so far.

In my first set of summons, I did pull a five-star red hero. Unfortunately…

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It was Soleil.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love Soleil. One of my favorite characters from Fire Emblem Fates. In fact, when she first arrived in the game, I blew all of my orbs just to summon her!

But then she got downgraded to summonable at four-star rarity. Since then, I’ve summoned her quite a few times.

Maybe I’ll make her my next merging project once I’m done with Cordelia… And Nino… And Eirika…

Yeah I’m working on a few.

That said, I can’t say I’m particularly excited to have pulled Soleil when there are two red heroes on this banner that are both worth getting — one moreso, but still.

In terms of summoning on this banner as a whole, I am a huge fan of how strong these units look so I’ll continue to spend some orbs. As far as how many, I’m not too sure. At the very least I’m going to try to keep myself above 50 orbs minimum, as the new calendar that came out recently confirms that special heroes are coming out on May 10.

Will we see more brides coming into the game? Who knows. All I know is I’ll try to save some orbs until then.

That said, the story section always nets me some orbs, and the plot is getting exciting overall. Let’s see what they’ve got in store for us this time around:


 

 

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“Hellfire” is a pretty apt name for the series of levels in which the Order of heroes finally leaves the frozen tundras of Nifl to walk into the volcanic landscapes of Surtr’s homeland, Múspell.

Even though for some reason we needed a few chapters as a transition where everyone walked to Nifl, but they just decided to whisk us to this new location through a portal.

But I digress, because I’m not here to discuss the clunky parts of the story.

When they arrive, Fjorm seems to still be feeling the aftereffects of the Rite of Frost (to a currently unknown end), but nobody has a lot of time to reflect on what’s going on.

 

Among the first strike party is a new significant character, Helbindi. He’s a general under Surtr who looks… Interesting, to say the least.

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Yeah. Not sure I even have to say anything about that face of his.

After you defeat him at the entrance to the Kingdom of Flames, he retreats back to his fortress where you find out just a little more about his actually kindhearted nature.

 

 

Oh yes, that’s right. Helbindi isn’t the only new character unveiled in this chapter. We also have Ylgr, the youngest sibling in the Nifl royal family (alongside Fjorm, Gunnthrá and their currently unseen brother Hrid). She’s cute, she’s kind of sassy and she brings out the best in this new villain.

So all-and-all a pretty great character, for just being introduced.

 

 

Gotta love that dysfunctional sister/brother Stockholm relationship we’ve got going on.

From there, the Order makes their way through the typical mission set of fighting our new Genealogy heroes in various configurations. No real plot relevance, just minor original game references to give them characterization.

My only real thought process throughout the three filler battles actually went back to a character we don’t see: Veronica.

Yeah that’s right, the good old princess of the Embla Empire. Obviously she was the one who would have made the portal between Nifl and Múspell, as well as the one who would have gone to get the Genealogy heroes.

But at the end of the last chapter, we found out that Surtr was going to bring her back to his Kingdom to use her as a sacrifice for a ritual of sorts. If so, why would they still be giving her the chance to possibly escape their grasp by going around signing contracts with new characters?

I don’t know, perhaps that’s getting too into the weeds when thinking about what’s going behind the scenes, but I’d like to see them show what she does in the background once in a while.

That said, the lull of thought dies off quickly when the final battle starts with a cutscene featuring our favorite new Stockholm brother/sister pair.

 

 

 

Things actually get fairly deep as Ylgr digs up some past details about Helbindi’s real sister, and how she must be the reason why he can’t bring himself to hurt the young girl.

Like I said before, for a couple of characters who just got thrown into the game, I quite enjoy how much development and intrigue is being put into their interactions.

 

The second battle against Helbindi goes rather smoothly, with a little bit of playful banter between him and Fjorm leading into it.

If you consider sizing one another up ‘playful,’ that is.

Once you win the fight, the fate of Helbindi seems vague:

 

On the one hand, it’s typical for a Fire Emblem death prattle to sound like this. Calling out to a loved one, saying they need more time to live.

But with Helbindi being such a fresh, interesting character, is Intelligent Systems really going to kill him off right away? Or will he slip away to find his sister, for us to find later?

Who knows right now, I suppose. Time will tell and all that.

Now is not the time to mull it over, because the plot quickly moves into a different beat.

 

 

Remember that she said this, it’s actually going to be important in a second.

Introductions go around, and Fjorm begins to cough again, which offers Ylgr an opportunity to show some of her good nature. As well as hint at the fact that she may be some sort of cleric if added into the game.

 

When the plan to move forward comes out, Ylgr asks to come along, but does not seem to get a very positive reception.

 

 

Then everyone agrees to bring the sister along, and chapter 9 ends on a… Sort of quiet note.

However, it’s the underlying details that make this scene as interesting as it is.

See I cut a few panels out that show Ylgr being introduced to almost everyone in the main circle of the Order… Except the player character.

Yet the player character is called out specifically. That, in a sense, has become the basis of a fan theory that my friend Jonathan pointed out to me. It seems as though Ylgr might actually be the shapeshifting trickster Loki in disguise.

After all, she’s shown off the ability to hide as almost anybody quite often before, and it would explain not only the convenience of a little girl escaping the clutches of an evil empire but also the convenience of her knowing that name without being told it.

Feh Plot Meme

Yeah it is, Feh.

I quite like this theory, and I can easily imagine it actually being where this plot is going, so I wanted to bring it up here.

While I’ll be disappointed if things go in such a predictable direction, I am impressed that the fanbase is so cognizant of such minor details that they’re able to extrapolate on them so quickly.

But I suppose we won’t find out whether or not this is the case until the next few chapters hit. With a special set of characters coming soon, however, there’s no guarantee that’ll happen for some time now.

So stay patient, everyone. You know I’ll be here to talk about plot as it’s developing.


That’s all I’ve got today I’m afraid. With this post I have officially caught up with everything going on in the game.

Until May 20 when the special heroes drop. Because you know, no rest for the wicked and all that jazz.

In the meantime, let me know what you thought about this two-parter in the comments. I know it’s really no different from just doing two posts a few days apart when they were first happening, but I like to think there’s something special about putting them under the same umbrella.

While you’re at it, let me know what you think of the new set-up I’m trying for establishing details on the new heroes added in a summoning banner. I think I’ll keep it up for the next few banners just to see if it sticks at least, but I’d love some feedback all the same!

Fire Emblem Heroes Version 2.5.0: The Aesthetic Update

Fire Emblem Heroes Version 2.5.0: The Aesthetic Update

I’ve been a bit busy throughout this last week finishing the Spring 2018 semester, so I wanted to make sure I spent the weekend talking about recent updates to Fire Emblem Heroes.

Because really what else do I do with my free time?

There was a large-scale update and a brand new summoning banner put out over the last couple days, so in today’s post I’m going to focus on the 2.5.0 Update and tomorrow I’ll focus on the latest Genealogy characters.

With that said, there’s a lot to cover, so let’s get into it.



The 2.5.0 Update is here, and it brings along a number of changes to existing game modes and aesthetics throughout the game.

There is not exactly a lot that’s “substantive” to this new version of the game, unlike previous versions that did things like add entirely new ways to play. As a result this update update (totally not clunky at all) will probably be on the shorter side as I just go through my thoughts on what is new.


Arena Updates

 

Easily the largest changes of the bunch came to the OG Arena.

BECAUSE NOW IT’S IN A DIFFERENT COLOR!

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That sweet, sweet dark tone really makes a true mirror to reflect the darkness in my soul as my units smite all others in their path.

Okay fine, that’s not actually the blunt of the update to the game’s Arena mode, but I did want to point out the fact that the assets were altered because… I’m really not sure why they were altered.

Were the original colors not visually pleasing enough?

Is this darkness what the developers wanted to reflect with their competitive mode all along?

The world may never know.

The actual major update to this mode is the shift from seven battle chains to five, and the subsequent item system that accompanied it:

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I do like the idea of making overall season chain necessities shorter, as well as adding an item for each battle in the chain to entice people to get a ranking at least once.

However, it does bug me that they decided to go from seven battles to five.

Seriously whose bright idea was it to take a game mode where the swords used to take part come in intervals of three and not make the overall requirements come out to some interval of three? It’s honestly kind of asinine and bugs me from a part of myself that I can’t readily explain in such a short timeframe.

Luckily they decided not to make me chuck my phone at a wall by also implementing Bonus Ally benefits for a season’s token heroes.

The Bonus Ally system, in which the characters specifically named get additional stat buffs if you use them, has always made Tempest Trials a great deal more fun. I still can’t get over the time when Christmas Lissa tanked everything during her Tempest Trial, or when Reinhardt did just a few weeks ago when his retrain came out.

Now that Arena characters get this same kind of boost, it makes everything feel so much more copacetic when it comes to summoning new banner heroes.

Now, not only do we get new characters for the catalog, but those characters are more likely to help us get better benefits in the Arena seasons. All things considered it’s a genius addition, and just about makes up for the whole lack of even numbering.


New Weapons

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A couple of beloved characters are finally getting the special weapon treatment they deserve.

It’s one of the things I really appreciate about how Intelligent Systems has handled updating their game over time, actually. While most units inevitably get power crept, more stuff is added to benefit the older heroes to ensure they still maintain relevance — either in battle or through skill inheritance.

The latest update brought three heroes back into the limelight. Two by granting brand new weapons and one by adding a special upgrade.

  • Camilla — Bewitching Beauty
    • Everyone’s favorite over-sexualized older sister (something the universe will have to remind me never to write out again) has a brand new weapon, giving her further utility than she was able to achieve with a Brave Axe. Camilla’s Axe has twice the might as a Brave Axe+ and grants her +4 Attack and Speed if there is a cavalry or flying unit nearby. While this does make her a more effective member of a flier emblem team, it might arguably be worse than a Brave Axe depending on who you ask. It is a cute reference to the fact that all of her siblings are on horseback, though.
  • Corrin (male) — Fateful Prince
    • Corrin is a unit that literally everybody has wanted to see get a cool upgrade in the Weapon Refinery. Yato was such a neat weapon in Fates that it’s not hard to imagine why. Though I personally think it’s a missed opportunity not to offer him three upgrade paths for the Yato based on the three paths it can take in Fates, the upgrade we got is a neat reference too. With the upgraded Yato, allies who have a support with Corrin gain +4 to all stats when within two spaces of him. Somewhat situational, but like I said a cool little reference. The scary part of this comes when, as my friend told me, you can have three upgraded Corrins provide +4 to every stat of an ally three times over… THAT is dangerous.
  • Clair — Highborn Flier
    • Like Camilla, Clair’s Silver Lance can now be upgraded into the Rhomphaia. Coming from Shadows of Valentia, the weapon adds one more might point and grants her super effective damage against armored and cavalry opponents. It’s simple. It’s effective. It’s just a great upgrade that makes Clair that much more viable. Unfortunately, it cannot be passed onto another unit. That’s really the only downside as far as I can tell.

While all three of these characters have been improved by their upgrades (except debatably Camilla), I’m not sure I’m more enticed to use any of them.

Perhaps if we get Scarlet to appear one day I’ll make her a perfect husband Corrin to turn her into the relentless beast she always deserved to be. But that’s a long shot at this point, so I’ll continue to dream…


Tap Battle and Rival Domains

The two images above essentially sum up everything that has been changes with these game modes. So I won’t break down the information, but I will briefly react to it all.

Tap battles have never been a game mode that I enjoy. For the most part I don’t like them because they’re seriously underutilized. Seriously Intelligent Systems, awards only once per level when there are four different ways you can play that level? With no benefits for completing all four varieties?

Plus, don’t even get me started on the fact that music repeats between versions of the game mode despite putting gaps between them.

In a way, the addition of hero merit boosting for heroes who participate does help. It encourages playing through those four different varieties of the levels at least.

But my issues, for the most part, do still stand.

Rival Domains, however, have had an improvement that I can get behind more readily. Not only have the selection of characters been pre-determined rather than randomized, which makes it easier to go through and learn how to properly be a stage, but they also made it easier to beat by restricting the ability of enemies to attack after warping.

Simple changes, but effective in terms of making things more straight forward and easy to defeat. Unlike with the tap battles, this actually makes it way more enticing for me to play the game mode.

Thus, I deem this section a success and a failure. Hopefully tap battles will eventually get better enough that I feel they’re worth bothering with more often.


Tutorial Adjustments

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So this is another category where there was a significant change that I frankly don’t have too much to say about.

Essentially, there have been adjustments to the game’s tutorial mode to bring it more up-to-snuff with how much the game has developed in the time since it came out. For veteran players like me, that means next to nothing. I did the tutorial a long, long time ago.

The developers knew this was the case for many of their players and offered up some extra awards.

As the picture above shows, most of the rewards were feathers and badges. A good amount of them too. But what really stood out was the character:

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When we played through the tutorial originally, the first hero everyone received after the original three members of the Order of Heroes was Virion from Fire Emblem Awakening.

Now players receive Takumi from Fates, who is not only a better character but a generally more relevant one. So veteran players got an extra Takumi too.

I appreciate the gesture, as well as the opportunity to give another unit close counter.


Additional Changes

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Alright, while this picture here sums up everything else that’s changed pretty succinctly, there were a few other things I noted that I wanted to point out.

First off, look back at the second bullet up on the list there. Apparently some options are available in the Sacred Seal Force that are new, but I have not been able to figure out what they are.

I sort of imagined that meant there were going to be new seals to forge but…

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Nope.

Oh well. Some should come eventually, right?

… Right?

Well, I digress for now. That’s a story for another day probably.

As I’ve mentioned here or there throughout this post, there are also a lot of aesthetic changes that came from this update.

For example, the main maps screen has a similar visual change to the arena screen.

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Then there are smaller visual tweaks, like the inclusion of an indication as to which units get bonus points in rival domains.

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But hey, none of these are as important as a single change that’s hidden away on the menu screen.

See this option?

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Well… Now we can do this.

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Isn’t it just beautiful?

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I could stare at it all day. *Insert crying tear here*


And that, ladies and mentlegen, is a not-so-short summary of everything new in Fire Emblem Heroes this week.

Er… MOSTLY everything.

As I mentioned at the beginning, there was also a new summoning banner dropped the other day. But this post is already getting a bit long in the tooth, so stay tuned for part 2 coming out tomorrow.

Or, if you’re reading this way in the future, just check it out through this link here.

In the meantime, let me know what you think about this update in the comments down below! What aspect of it do you think is the best? What part do you think is the most disappointing? I’d love to hear all about it.

Entertainment Beat Report – May 4, 2018

Entertainment Beat Report – May 4, 2018

My apologies for missing last week oh devoted(?) fanbase. Looking at terrible restaurants around CSUF took up a whole lot of my time.

But now that that’s out-of-the-way I have way more free time and a hell of a lot less stress. So let’s talk about some video game news, shall we?


Upcoming President of Nintendo wants to focus on Mobile

The eternal gaming juggernaut Nintendo recently announced that its current president, Tatsumi Kimishima, will be stepping down in June.

He will become an advisor to the company’s next president (assuming stockholders agree) Shuntaro Furukawa, according to Kotaku.

Since Kimishima took the helm of the video game world’s most recognizable company following the unfortunate death of Satoru Iwata, it was brought back into an upswing thanks to the transition from the unsuccessful Wii U into the quite well-received Nintendo Switch.

Interestingly enough, one thing I learned from Kotaku Features Editor Chris Kohler’s article here is the fact that the current executive is not only going to be the sixth president of Nintendo ever, but also the first to take over during a thriving period of the company’s history.

Furukawa is supposedly interested in not just keeping up the success of the mobile hybrid console currently printing money for Nintendo, but also looking to take more advantage of the iPhone and Android gaming market.

As someone who rather obsessively plays Fire Emblem Heroes, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links and has had stints with both Pokémon GO and Super Mario Run, I’m pretty interested in that choice.

Though I do hope a large chunk of their focus remains on the classic gaming model more than the free-to-start ‘gotcha’ games.


Nintendo Labo kits face mediocre sales

Sticking with the Nintendo side of the world, let’s talk about Nintendo Labo again.

It’s a subject I’ve discussed before because it’s an interesting experiment all things being equal. For those of you who are unaware, Nintendo Labo is a series of arts-and-crafts kits in which Nintendo Switch owners can build objects out of cardboard that will allow them to play mini-games.

As the video above shows, there are objects like fishing poles, motorcycles and even a backpack that lets you imitate the giant robot you always wished you could pilot.

That’s Iron Giant for me, I’d say.

I’ve spent a good amount of time thinking and talking about Labo around here because I’m honestly interested in the idea behind it. As a current fan of things like Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project (a podcast featuring the ex-Mythbusters star), I appreciate the benefits to encouraging kids with a creative making project.

On top of that, the early reception to Labo seemed rather positive. This article by Eurogamer writer Robert Purchase really sums things up rather well in my opinion.

In essence, he argues that Labo is expensive and somewhat cumbersome to pull together on top of being something that isn’t incredibly fun alone… But for kids, it’s rather magical.

However, despite the positivity surrounding these cardboard variety kits, they don’t appear to be selling well in Japan since launching on April 20.

Kotaku reports that of the two variety kits currently available, the cheaper variety kit has sold 40 to 60 percent of its stock while the more flashy robot kit has only sold 20 to 40 percent of its stock.

In my opinion, it would be a shame if Labo disappeared into the same failing obscurity of experiments like the Virtual Boy… But at the same time I don’t exactly have the $60 to throw at things that might be just below my age demographic and overall interest level.

So I guess I don’t exactly have any ground to stand on in terms of saying we should support it. I think we should, but I probably won’t own any cardboard anytime soon.


New Overwatch Hero already receiving adjustments for being overpowered

Brigitte, the Swedish mechanical engineer who acts as a mix of a healer/tank unit, recently took Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch by storm.

She’s already getting nerved for taking it a little TOO much by storm.

Just about a day after she got released into the game, Blizzard is already working on balancing the character who seems to be ruffling many feathers among tank-hero players especially, according to PC Gamer… And just about anyone else reporting on the subject.

Now I’m not exactly a regular player of Overwatch, so I can’t necessarily explain the importance and impact of making Brigitte’s ultimate skill only buff character armor by 100 rather than 150, or increasing the cooldown on her stun attack from five to six seconds.

What I can tell you is that my friends who still play Overwatch regularly have noticed her impact and have complained about her.

So good on Blizzard for staying so on top of keeping their game fair.


Harry Potter’s mobile game bows to player criticism

“‘Yer a mobile game, Harry.”

As I mentioned up above, I’ve become more of a fan of mobile games as of late. However… I actually wasn’t aware there was a game based on the Harry Potter novels that dropped toward the end of April.

Apparently that’s not such a bad thing, because the game apparently succumbed to the dreaded microtransaction plague. That’s to bad because I enjoy Harry Potter a lot and it’s a shame that the game is being held back by lousy money practices.

Or is it?

The game has gotten so much negative press over its microtransaction system that it has apparently cut them out down, according to this article by IGN. Or technically Eurogamer since that’s who they source. But I already used Eurogamer so… Diversity.

But wait, there’s more. Supposedly that discounted price has only been seen by some users. Not everyone.

Talk about drama!

I can’t exactly speak to the game’s quality since I haven’t played it, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if this controversy buries it or not.


Steam implements more controller use variety

Valve’s gaming platform Steam has added compatibility with the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.

That’s uhh… Really all there is to say on this subject, honestly.

It’s a cool idea, as Xbox controllers have become famous in part for being used on Steam, and this shows just another facet of the Nintendo Switch’s staying power overall.

But honestly what else can I add to that particular conversation? I don’t have a Pro Controller since I enjoy just using the Joy Cons. But if I did, I would appreciate being able to use it on my Steam games.

Probably.


That’s about all I have to say this week, and it may be almost everything I have to say altogether. If that makes sense?

I guess it wouldn’t unless you knew that next week is the last day of classes for the Spring 2018 semester. As a result, it will be the week that we get our beat reports examined by the professor.

I’m not sure if I’m going to keep up this experiment after the allotted time period. I do enjoy it, but I’m not sure it’s really my style right now.

If you’re interested in my keeping up this facet of my blog, feel free to let me know in the comments down below. I’d appreciate the input!

I would also appreciate knowing if there was any gaming news I missed, by the way. Because repeated ending phrase is repeated as always.