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Frisco Del Rosario writes about chess960, women's basketball, minor league baseball, unsupported collectible card games, lettering in comic books, and Golden Age movies

I finished Black Widow: Forever Red and Daredevil vol. 5 #11-18 on the same day 04/13/2018

screenshot-from-2018-04-13-02-20-30By coincidence, I finished reading the collected Daredevil vol. 5 #11-18 a few hours before competing the audiobook Black Widow: Forever Red.

I began reading Daredevil comics off the drugstore spinner rack with #113, late in 1974. By 1977, I had worked for two different comic book dealerships, and completed a Daredevil collection #1 to the mid-140’s.

That done, I sold ’em to buy a tennis racket’and a bicycle. That’s what Daredevil was worth in those days, because Frank Miller hadn’t come along yet (that happened in 1979) to turn the character into something great.

In the mid-’70s, Daredevil was such a C-list Marvel Universe character— with a gallery of enemies like Stilt-Man, Man-Bull, and Leapfrog— that they paired him with the Black Widow for a few years, putting her in the masthead: “Daredevil and the Black Widow”, though teaming them up didn’t do anything to help either hero. Look at the cover of #106: They tried guest appearances by the great Jim Starlin character Captain Mar-Vell, but nothing helped that book. On most of those covers, Natasha is a hostage. Not Joss Whedon’s Natasha, you bet.

It wasn’t until Frank Miller found the recipe for success by setting Daredevil against the Kingpin in a Batman-Joker kind of relationship that’s been in place for almost 30 years. The Black Widow didn’t come into her own until Joss Whedon plus Scarlett Johansson made Natasha an absolute badass in “Marvel’s The Avengers”.

Now they’re both A-list characters. The first season of the Netflix Daredevil series met with my approval. I have not watched season 2, for I felt like quitting while I was ahead. (I never watched the Ben Affleck Daredevil movie, and never will.)

Daredevil as a good broadcast series, and the Black Widow has two novels (there were two Daredevil novels, one of which was a Choose Your Own Adventure story, and the other — Assassin’s Smile by Christopher Golden — was forgettable).

The first of the Widow novels, “Forever Red” by Margaret Stohl, is aimed at the “young adult” market. As ever, the Disney machine follows the money; the young adult market produced the “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games” series, which I can’t complain about, since the “Twilight” movies kept the lights on for my future wife Anna Kendrick.

Because Forever Red is designed to appeal to teenaged girls, it did one thing that absolutely smack of cosmic-level reboot: It introduced Ava Orlova, whom Natasha Romanoff describes as her “Mini-Me”. Orlova is such a Black Widow Mini-Me that she has Natasha’s mind inside her head, and a code name “Red Widow”.

I think this says: When Scarlett Johansson is nearly done playing superheros, they’ll introduce the Red Widow in The Avengers’ timeline, and they’re set for the 2030’s.

Forever Red does another thing, one that had me asking: “Is this canon? Is this canon? Really? This has Marvel’s OK on it as canon?”. They gave Natasha a young brother.

I borrowed Black Widow: Forever Red hoping for the Widow to kick lots of ass, but it’s mostly an origin story for the Red Widow with a romantic teenage angle. Natasha spends 1/3 of the book being grilled by the feds, an an expository device.

When I figured out what was going on, I lowered my expectations, so Black Widow: Forever Red was OK. The sequel sends Natasha and Ava out as a team. Maybe Natasha dies. I’m just speculating, but you can see they’re planning for this inevitability.

For a while, I didn’t want to read the comics that comprise Daredevil vol. 5 #11-18. They moved Daredevil to San Francisco, which was an incredibly lame move that also happened in the ’70s. Was it Gerry Conway who wrote those? Matt Murdock belongs in New York, beating up bad guys in Hell’s Kitchen, and running into Spiderman on the rooftops.

The way Mark Waid tells the story, though, it makes sense for Daredevil to move. His secret identity has been completely blown in an arc that took years to develop and unfold, and in celebrity-obsessed California, Matt puts that to commercial use.

Mark Waid’s initial Daredevil stories made him my favorite Daredevil writer, ever. That’s saying a lot, right? I’ve been reading this comic since I was a kid, and this writer has emerged from 500 (or is it 600?) issues as the best of them, in my view.

Before Waid came along, Brian Michael Bendis and Ed Brubaker wrote some of the darkest Daredevil stories imaginable. Waid said he felt like crying after reading some of those, and he set out to restore the fun to Daredevil. Not only did he make Daredevil fun again, he told good adventure stories, to boot (Waid’s Legion of Super-Heroes stories were also outstanding; that guy writes really good comic book stories).

*And* Mark Waid remembers who Matt Murdock’s real love is: Karen Page.

Frank Miller turned Daredevil from C-list to A-list, but he had to retcon Elektra into Matt’s history, as his college girlfriend— *before* Karen. It’s canon, and I accept it as canon, but I have never believed that the retconned Elektra was a greater love for Matt than Karen.

In Daredevil vol. 5 #11-18, Matt’s got a new girlfriend, a deputy district attorney who’s a badass. It’s critically important for Matt’s girlfriends to be badasses, because otherwise they just die or go insane. That’s a big part of the narrative, Matt worried about having this relationship because his girlfriends always have unhappy endings.

Also, Foggy Nelson has terminal cancer. In Daredevil #1 back in 1964, there was Matt and Foggy and Karen. In the late ’60s or early ’70s, Karen was “put on the bus”, written out of the book. Then Frank Miller and Kevin Smith retconned her move to California as her turning to acting in porn films and turning to heroin. And Kevin Smith killed her. THANKS A LOT, WRITERS. (Clearly, the Netflix Karen is NOTHING like the retconned comic book Karen.)

So it’s only Foggy who survives since #1, and he’s dying. I didn’t want to read those issues, but I did, and they’re pretty good. I wish Waid hadn’t moved on to other projects.

Listening to Black Widow: Forever Red and reading Daredevil vol. 5 #11-18 on the same days reminded me of how far the characters have come: None of the writers want to remember that Matt and Natasha were ever together. It’s like those lame comics — from a time when both characters were almost extinct — have been retconned out of existence.

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Categories: media

Sandbagging: The capitalist way to compete 04/10/2018

In the late ’70s, while the US Chess Federation was sufferinscreenshot-from-2018-04-10-20-17-34g a sort of Fischer Boom hangover, the ratings system fell far behind, as much as six months. That meant if your performance was very good or very bad at the time, your rating wasn’t going to reflect that for a while.

The Fischer Boom also meant greater interest in chess, and a greater demand for larger-than-ever cash prizes.

It was an ideal situation for sandbaggers, who dropped games and rating points in cheap, small neighborhood events before taking that false rating to big cash tournaments (whose organizers hadn’t yet implemented anti-sandbagging measures that are still in place).

Here in the Bay Area, there was a string of strong Filipino players who got off the boat and won money in the unrated sections of chess tournaments. One of my favorite stories is about the pair of Filipino masters who allegedly showed up as unrated players at a big tournament, and noticed that the unrated section already had its share of sandbaggers. So they flipped a coin, and one entered the Under 1400 section as an unrated, while the other joined the Under 1600 section. They won.

One of my best friends in the Filipino-American Bay Area chess community told me that some of us didn’t have another way off the islands than playing chess, then treating open Swiss tournaments as seed money to start a life.

Sandbagging is a serious problem among South Park Phone Destroyer players.

I understand where they’re coming from: No matter where you are ranked, to climb more run on the ladder will be easier if your cards get stronger. Rather than grinding away with opponents who are equal or better, these SPPD players drop matches and ranks, then more easily win cards against a series of weaker opponents.

This happens at every level, because there are players at every level who witness this simpler way to better their cards, and adopt it themselves.

The sandbaggers don’t see the problem. Enjoy your free wins, they say.

Competitors don’t want free wins, they want to compete, against opponents who are virtually sitting therend for the minute it takes to lose a match — there’s a method that enables one to throw lots of matches in a jiffy.

This isn’t fun for the other players, who want to compete, but instead go through the motions until the other new kid goes down for the third time. This is tedium.

Then you have to play against them while they’re moving back up. Their losing on purpose in order to win more easily later results in two mismatches for the other players, and it is not fun.

The adventure-themed event last weekend encouraged sandbagging.

If you’re earning special event awards by earning some number of points per match won, you begin performing arithmetic in the last 12 hours. I had 55 event points left to earn the next award, and I had to ask myself if I wanted to try to win 11 matches at five points each, or 14 at four points each.

It didn’t matter. I reached that event threshold with hours to spare because every fourth opponent was losing on purpose. They performed the same calculation, and figured it was easier to win X number of matches against much weaker opponents than Y against equals or better.

There’s a slight variation for some. Considering that the player who wins the first bar wins 7 of 8 matches (in my experience), they went all out for the first bar by spamming everything they could in the first 10 or 15 seconds. If that succeeded in taking the first bar, they were well positioned to play to win event points. If that immediate rush didn’t succeed, they stopped playing and moved on.

South Park Phone Destroyer is in trouble. Some social media users are already talking about it in past tense.

They’ve made at least world-altering decision the worst possible time: ruining the green theme *days after* promoting the new green Cupid Cartman card, which prompted many players to make a bigger investment in the theme.

The upgrade system is horrible. It costs so much— with no method to recoup your bad investments if you’re wrong— to improve and acquire uncommon cards that we’re stuck playing with and against the same common cards in every match.

Imagine beginning this game at rank 0 with the starter set of blue cards, and your first matches are against assholes who sandbagged down from 10 or 15, who’ve acquired Mecha Timmys and Moon Stans along the way.

I’d say that if South Park Phone Destroyer fails, I’ll never play another Ubisoft/RedLynx game again, but the fact is I’ll never player another mobile game of the type again. I’m here for the South Park theme.

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Richmond 5, Trenton 2 04/06/2018

screenshot-from-2018-04-05-07-09-46

Richmond beat host Trenton 5-2 Friday to tie the series.

The Flying Squirrels scored four runs in the 5th, including an RBI triple by top prospect C Aramis Garcia (when Posey retires, will Garcia still be in the system, or will they trade him for a suspect veteran?) and a bases-loaded walk (“Sacks are full of squirrels” was my favorite call by original Squirrels broadcaster Jon Laaser).

Squirrels 1B Jerry Sands made two nice 3-1 assists to different pitchers. That is my favorite “routine putout” because I don’t think it’s routine — the pitcher sometimes has to make the putout while racing the runner to the bag, and the 1B often has to turn back toward the bag before judging his short throw (which is perilous like a short putt).

It was Brandon Belt’s work on 3-1 fielding plays that helped cement my opinion that he would be a good major leaguer, besides hitting California League pitching for .450 at the time.

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Categories: baseball

Basic Knightmare Chess Endings #7: Guardian

screenshot-from-2018-04-05-11-28-46King plus one pawn vs. king is essential chess knowledge, else one can’t win or draw games with the smallest  possible material imbalance remaining.

The serious student becomes familiar with the rook-pawn-plus-wrong-colored-bishop endgame early, because while one is learning K+P vs. K, teachers like to mention the unusual exception where an extra bishop won’t help:

diagram-4

White can’t gain control of the queening square, and the game is drawn. Its most famous occurrence was from the Fischer-Taimanov candidates match in 1971:

diagram-3

Black could draw by 1…Nd3 plus 2…Nf4 to stop the pawn, and if the white king moves to f5 to kick the knight, Black abandons it with …Kd6! then reaching h8.

The unusual nature of the wrong-bishop-plus-rook-pawn endgame makes Guardian interesting. A practical application in the first diagram: White wins by playing Guardian, combining a2-a3 plus Ba1-a2, changing the bishop to the correct-colored square. Then Ba2-d5 and a3-a4-a5-a6-a7-a8Q.

A more likely situation for Guardian is in an ending with bishops on opposite-colored squares. Most of those are draws, even when the strong side is ahead by several pawns. For example:

diagram-1

If White plays 1. a7, Black’s white-square blockade is bulletproof, and if 1. b7, then 1…Bxb7 draws. Guardian turns the game into a win for White because 1. a7 is accompanied by Ba5-a6!

Opposite-colored bishop endgames are common. I played this yesterday:

diagram-2

If my opponent playing Black held the Guardian card, he could play …Bg4-e6-d5, then Guardian to enable his bishop to counter mine, and win. I’m glad that didn’t happen.

Card text: Move one of your pawns forward (you may move two squares if the pawn is on the second rank). Your piece which was just behind the pawn may follow, so it remains directly behind. Your pawn is thus protected from en passant capture.

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Categories: Knightmare Chess

South Park Phone Destroyer losing casual players for unfair matches, experienced players for too little variety 04/05/2018

layer-81

RedLynx is losing 20,000 Galaxy users per month. That’s just the Galaxy users.

You know how I know a game is dying? When I begin running out of things to say. I was NetRunner’s most prolific writer, but by 1998 —  well after Wizards of the Coast abandoned its product — I was writing wretched, bottom-of-the-barrel topics.

I was thinking about Dark Mage Craig. Great character in the cast, great card art, almost useless powers in game. What’s there to write about besides the same decks,  same buggy software, same questionable opponents. When I see positive development, love to write about that.

I thought to make Dark Mage Craig’s NK-reducing warcry helpful by sending fliers out, but my assortment of level 1, 2, and 3 cards didn’t live long enough against the rank 46 opponent to attempt the experiment. What fun.

It’s a primary flaw in the SPPD framework that it costs too much to try anything besides what you’ve locked yourself into. In terms of real cash, in-game currency, and in-game upgrade materials, it’s much too expensive to upgrade a level 1 card to usefulness.

RedLynx listened to users’ requests for unranked matches, so we might try new cards, but then they limited those matches to teammates. For the first three months of my four months in the game, I didn’t even have teammates.

They limited the unranked matches to teammates, but where’s the mechanism for notifying teammates that you desire one of these matches? It seems you’re limited to the team chat, and the communication tools are just crap. The team chat is the only communications outlet I’ve ever used in which I don’t try for correct capitalization and punctuation.

I think South Park Phone Destroyer is dying. It can’t be a good experience for new and casual players because there are sandbaggers at every level, with decks capable of wiping out an honestly-ranked opponent with one push. Experienced players are just bored as hell by facing the same cards again.

I think South Park Phone Destroyer is on its way out, but I’m thinking about putting some time into Hnefatafl. Like, learning to spell it.

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Trenton 5, Richmond 2

The hosting Trenton Thunder beat the Richmond Flying Squirrels 5-2 on Opening Night.

screenshot-from-2018-04-05-07-09-46Trenton scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch to move the runner to third, then a weak throw to the plate by Richmond 3B Jonah Arenado.

Arenado’s first at-bats in Class AA were miserable: three strikeouts, and one GIDP at bat. In the field, his highlight was a 5-3-5 double play.

Trenton reliever Eric Swanson got the win, striking out 6 in 3 2/3.

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Categories: baseball

How often must you get it before you’ve got it?

There’s nothing like a string of losing sessions to push you to change your cards or your tactics.

When things go well, you alter nothing. Like baseball players, maybe you eat the same dinner every night during the trend up.

When things go poorly, it seems your lineup and methods are modified with each loss (when you risk not recognizing when your deck is good, because you’re making changes in a frenzy).

I wrote weeks ago about the importance of the first card played in an SPPD battle. The first rock can run into immediate paper. The first scissors can be crushed by a rock.

layer-40I said it must be a reasonable idea to play a Butters at move one, because if they scarf him with rats, you’re somewhat compensated by the deathwish. Also, it can’t be bad at move one to deploy Nelly, because her area damage prevents them from overwhelming her with a group of small bastards.

Despite the fact that I’ve probably given more thought to this than my opponents, I lost match after match because they were winning the first skirmish, usually resulting in the first bar. First blood counts hugely. I found, by counting wins and losses accordingly.

When I win the first bar: 28-5-0. The freeze cards are built for winning  1-0; win one bar, then freeze the ball. But they’re very bad at coming back from deficits; if the opponents lead and aim to stop counterplay, the freeze kids don’t muster enough brute force to bash in.

When they win the first bar: 6-48-2.

Over 89 matches, that’s -19, a lopsidedness that makes you question everything (and also drops you four ranks), but primarily: “Why the hell am I losing so many first skirmishes and then first bars?!”

I think I’ve got the right idea. 4-1 is an impractically slight sample, but I think I think I might sustain a winning way.

Consider an SPPD match like a chess position. Competent chess players break down a position according to its imbalances. Imbalances in a chess position can hinge on as little as one pawn, or one square, but in the big picture, we consider force, time, and space.

When I say I’ve got a third-rate deck, I mean it. Program Stan pales against Moon Stan and Great Stan, two of the most effective cards in the game. Captain Wendy slays, Angel Wendy heals, and Shield Wendy is invincible — Ice Sniper Wendy ices them for four seconds. AWESOM-O isn’t in Zen Cartman’s league for effect on a battle, and loses to Sheriff Cartman on cost and damage. Powerfist Dougie deals much less damage than Barrel Dougie. Compared to Poison, Mind Control, and Lightning Bolt, Freeze Ray is a giggle.

However, the value of five freeze cards is greater than the sum of its individual cards. When Program, Ice Sniper, AWESOM-O, and Freeze Ray work in succession, enemies can find that their only mobile unit is the one they just spawned (who is about to be frozen). The freeze cards control time, but are helpless against the power cards (force) and vulnerable to fliers (space). Against fliers, the freeze group is often reduced to frosting them in range of NK zaps), and Nathan, who works at a long distance (space).

At the beginning of a match, my deck starts from behind. If the first units clash in the middle, the power cards beat Popsicles, and if there’s a ranger behind their front line, it’s a winning advantage.

The only way to maximize my advantage in time is to sit back and wait. Wait to see which of them to doubleteam, wait to ambush their big charger with Hercules, wait for the Timmys, Bebes, and Nathans to reach the halfline to limit the damage they do while our guys are crossing the field to reach them.

In other words, when I thought my game plan was to go fast, sneak away with one bar, and use ice to hold on, it was plain faulty. The correct early-game scheme is probably like “hypermodern” chess openings: let them take the middle, then counterattack it.

When their Mecha Timmy comes out first and reaches the halfline, before they continue with a powerful group, they crush.

The hypermodern openers accept some brutal losses in which their counterplay never gets started. They understand if you play in that fashion, sometimes you can’t find a seam in their center formation, and they steamroll you. Which is how it looks on the SPPD field when four units trample the dead NK.

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My favorite offbeat Bronstein opening sacrifice 03/27/2018

Grandmaster Bronstein was the best player in the world in the early 1950s. He tied a world championship match in 1954, which he would’ve won if not for pressure he felt away from the board, perhaps unduly.

Bronstein had an artistic bent like no other world championship contender, and the kind of mind that produced stories like this: When it was suggested to Bronstein that he convert a tournament cash prize into goods that couldn’t be taxed upon return to Russia, Bronstein was seen at the airport rolling automobile tires, whereas others might’ve bought, say, a wristwatch.

screenshot-from-2018-03-27-01-23-11Bronstein’s openings ideas have been part of my play for 40 years. I’ll never fall out of love with the King’s Gambit, and in the Two Knights Game, will still employ the bishop sacrifice he sprung against Rojahn (in an Olympics game, no less): 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 Na5 6. d3 (as usual, Morphy’s move is simpler than the ‘standard’ 6. Bb5+) 6…h6 7. Nf3 e4 8. dxe4!?.

Chessplaying software fascinated Bronstein, seemingly more than it did Botvinnik, who was an engineer involved in early Soviet chess programming research. Bronstein was a regular at the man-vs.-machine AEGON tournaments in the ’80s, and in 1992, he visited Palo Alto to help test Deep Thought (the precursor to Deep Blue).

Against Deep Thought, Bronstein uncorked this exchange sacrifice in the Sicilian Wing Gambit: 1. e4 c5 2. b4 cxb4 3. a3 d5 4. exd5 Qxd5 5. Nf3 e5 6. axb4 Bxb4 7. Ra3!?.

Against a computer, it seems nuts to try such a thing, and Bronstein didn’t even get to experience a reaction. I’ve played this twice in tournaments, and the looks on their faces when they focus their eyes on what just happened is priceless. I beat a 1900, and lost to a 2200, though I was briefly ahead in that game, so you can’t blame the oddball rook sacrifice for that.

One of the things about this variation is that Black has to play smartly just to get to that position at move 7. 3…d5 is the best move because it equalizes in the center when White can’t play Nb1-c3 to hit the queen. Then 5…e5 wins the center. Most Sicilian players aren’t smart enough to make those moves at 5 and 6. Sicilian players aren’t cagey, they’re just fashion-conscious.

 

 

 

 

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Categories: chess

Harrström’s gambit strikes again 03/24/2018

My chess teacher would say this is the right kind of bad chess.

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Categories: chess

Learning by losing 03/14/2018

clydemyscardMy third-rate orange-plus-two-green deck helped me today to a personal best rank of 45. I think 45 is pretty good for a deck that doesn’t follow the “meta flavor of the day” approach.

I credit two things:

1) Finding a reasonable assortment of cards to deal with the popular power combinations, and;

2) Getting lots of tactical practice during last week’s team event, after reaching the individual cap of 850 special ribbons but playing on to 1300 to help the team earn another group bonus.

When I set out to play with the freezing sci-fi cards, the deck looked like this:

Five base freezers
Freeze Ray
AWESOM-O
Program Stan
Ice Sniper Wendy
Powerfist Dougie

According to popular opinion, those are the third-best Cartman, the third- or fourth-best Stan, the worst Wendy, and a Dougie other than the playable Dougie. Like I said, a third-rate deck.

Astro Butters, a requirement in orange, I think.
Enforcer Jimmy. Storyteller Jimmy works against all the enemies, but Enforcer’s anti-charge specialty and lower cost won the coin flip.
Nelly, a neutral necessity.
Calamity Heidi, a blue must-have.
Lightning Bolt, because that’s a ton of damage to one enemy.
Smuggler Ike and Bandita Sally, quick hitters when the idea is to freeze them just long enough to sneak in an assassin.

That was fine for reaching 42, which was higher than I’d gone with the blue pirate crew.

Then the environment changed a month ago. When the development team decided to double the cost and reduce the effect of two vital green defensive spells, its orange enemies — mind control and poison — ran amok because there was nothing left to stop them.

The most-easily-replaced card in that set was Bandita Sally. I replaced Sally with Mind Control to fight fire with fire, but the mind control decks have three mind control cards to my one. I replaced Mind Control with Shaman Token, but learned with dismay that Shaman Token removes effects only to allies, and mind-controlled units are no longer your allies. After I’d lost 10 matches in a row to mind control decks, I quit the game.

With a day on the road to think about it, I decided if I wanted to keep playing, I had to play with the 2-cost Purify. And that meant replacing every blue card, when I’d only ever played with blue cards.

Lightning Bolt out, Purify in.
Smuggler Ike out, Gizmo Ike in (which was OK, since Gizmo is the cutest card in the game, and his charge power is worth the additional energy cost).

Which would substitute for Calamity Heidi and Bandita Sally?

I once read advice that if you think (or know) you’re up against mind control, but you have to play something, play a character that won’t hurt you too much if it turns. Applying that logic, I put in a swarm — if one member of the swarm was mindzapped, the others would take it out, and remain to fight on my side. Rat Swarm is the right group to attack Mecha Timmy, but Pigeon Gang is a more versatile defender.

The last card in was Hercules Clyde, whose warcry ability to rush and bind an enemy makes him helpful against Mecha Timmy and the suddenly-meta Stan of Many Moons. The Power Bind spell was the obvious answer to the Klingon Tokens and Sheriff Cartmans, but when I looked into my hand and saw Freeze Ray, Power Bind, and Purify, when I really needed someone who’d hit the snot out of the other characters, Hercules Clyde seemed an adequate middle measure.

Learning to handle all these cards is a challenge. Blue is easy — you send out blue, and let them clobber people. With green, Hercules Clyde still runs after an unintended enemy if I’m not careful, and applying Purify to two poisoned units takes a deft touch.

There was more to learn about the freeze units. I was limiting AWESOM-O to positions where I had a lead, and AWESOM-O could play “fat goaltender”. When I tried playing AWESOM-O in front, bunches of little assholes surrounded him, and down goes Cartman. To send AWESOM-O out to lead the troops, I found I needed two or more freeze cards behind him — Program and Ice Sniper on the field, and Freeze Ray in my hand. Those could hold off the little assholes while AWESOM-O kicked them away and built his own charge. I’ve learned to hold Program Stan back if possible, because Stan is the only card that does universal damage, so when the enemies come from both wings, it’s good to have Stan in hand. When dealing with an ememy Dougie, Freeze Ray plus Sniper Wendy is as good as having an assassin in hand. Freeze Ray is such a versatile card — during a melee, one Freeze Ray can result in their entire group being wiped out (for two less than Fireball!). If Terrance Mephesto or Cyborg Kenny is loose (and no Wendy for Terrance, and no pigeons for Kenny), Freeze Ray enables me to let them close in, before freezing and NK-zapping them.

I’d like to know why freezing Rogue Token in midair doesn’t cause him to shatter on impact, and why freezing Hookhand Clyde in warcry doesn’t break that stupid string of his.

I’m happy playing this third-rate set of cards, which might soon become the fourth-best sub-theme among orange. With the introduction of Robot Bebe, the Warboy/Astronaut/Hyperdrive speeders get another weapon, and if Robot Bebe’s speed turns out to be as dangerous as Buccaneer Bebe’s sheer power, well, that’s card we’ll each have to try.

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