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Home - 2020 Region 8 Head Start Conference
YFS programs are moving to the next phase of reopening. Beginning September 8, additional classrooms will be opened and additional children will be served in the infant/toddler and preschool classrooms at our Child Development Center and in the Rapid City Head Start program. Northwest Community Action Partnership (NCAP) Head Start and Early Head Start Programs cover the counties of Box Butte, Cherry, Dawes and Sheridan. There are a total of 7 home base rapid city head start - head start. 5758 river rd nw rapid city, mi - 49676 910 (231) 947-3780 Learn about the History of Head Start. South Dakota Head Start programs are federally funded with no State funds appropriated for support.Programs are monitored intensively to assure quality and adherence to provisions of the Head Start Act. 20% of the total funding for Head Start programs must come from the community. 90% of children enrolled in Head Start must meet Federal Poverty guidelines ... South Dakota is proud to host the 2020 Region 8 Head Start Virtual Conference. The Conference is Going VIRTUAL! Watch for more information REGISTER TODAY! College credit and Hours of Training Certificates will still be available. All current registrations will be changed over and applied to the Virtual Conference. All paid participants will ... Monroe Site - Head Start. 410 E. Monroe St. Rapid City, SD - 57702 (605) 342-4195 Early Head Start programming provided for pregnant women, children ages 0-3, and their families. Head Start and Early Head Start are federally funded, no-cost, parent-focused programs that serve low-income children, ages 0-5, and their families. Rapid City Head Start in Rapid City, Michigan (MI). Read parent reviews and get the scoop on the school environment, teachers, students, programs and services available from this preschool. We're an independent nonprofit that provides parents with in-depth school quality information. • Rapid City Head Start recognizes the parent as the child's primary teacher, educator and advocate. • Parent involvement is a strength of Head Start and parents are encouraged to be actively involved. • YFS has sponsored Head Start services in the Rapid City area since 1984. We accomplish this through educational programs: Early Head Start and Head Start programs, and the Ateyapi role-modeling mentorship program in elementary, middle and high schools in Rapid City. Additionally, an elementary school Ateyapi Lakota language program was also begun this year. Get directions, reviews and information for Youth & Family Service Head Start in Rapid City, SD. Youth & Family Service Head Start 410 E Monroe St Rapid City SD 57701. Reviews (605) 341-6448 Website. Menu & Reservations Make Reservations . Order Online Tickets ...
Hotspot-seeking cameras to help Utah detect wildfires
2020.07.17 17:16 kjonesatjaagnetHotspot-seeking cameras to help Utah detect wildfires
Wildfire detection system was developed by the smart cities team at Utopia Fiber A beta test of a wildfire early detection system which aims to ‘significantly’ reduce emergency response times and potential fire damage is underway in three Wasatch Front cities, a metropolitan region in north central Utah Utah is one of the most wildfire prone states in the US and wildfire season is upon it. Thermal imaging cameras The Edwin project (Early detection wildfire imaging network) uses three tower-mounted, AI-enabled thermal imaging cameras to detect and report hotspots to area fire departments, saving critical time for first responders. The system was developed by the smart cities team at Utopia Fiber (Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency) in conjunction with a Brigham Young University Capstone project. The test was launched simultaneously in Layton, Murray, and Woodland Hills, and leverages Utopia Fiber’s ultra- beta fast fibre network to instantly transmit video and other data to authorities when just a small hotspot is detected. “The Edwin project thermal imaging cameras are so advanced, they can detect a hot spot down to a pixel,” said Roger Timmerman, executive director, Utopia Fiber. “Once the cameras detect temperatures exceeding 300 degrees Fahrenheit, data is instantly transmitted through Utopia’s fibre lines to the fire department which can review and respond.” For decades, Salt Lake Valley fire crews have depended largely on residents dialling 911 when they spotted smoke. In many instances, these calls come in too late to prevent the rapid spread of fire, especially during dry and windy conditions. According to Utopia the Edwin project is programmed to automatically alert crews to developing hotspots well before smoke is visible, significantly cutting down response times and potential fire damage. To quantify, each minute of response time that is reduced is estimated to prevent between $44,000 and $215,000 in economic loss (including $3,029 in firefighting costs), depending on topography and population density.
The total annualised cost of US wildfires is $24bn (NIFC: National Interagency Fire Centre), primarily driven by the cost of homes, infrastructure, air pollution, and firefighting. Utopia Fiber’s smart cities team will track response times and compare that data to records from previous years to quantify reductions in significant wildfire events. “We’ve seen first-hand how devastating wildfires can be,” added Alex Jensen, Layton’s city manager. “Now, with earlier detection, we can prevent a small problem from becoming a large one. Having a headstart will save lives and property. Layton City is proud to be part of the Edwin project’s beta test for the nation.” Originally published by Smart Cities World News Team July 17, 2020 Smart Cities World
2020.07.05 03:04 AugmentedJusticeJust finished the Greed Island Arc and holy crap...what a show.
I don't know why I decided to post my thoughts now considering I loved all previous arcs, especially my favorites, Heaven's Arena and Yorknew City but I suppose I wanted to give the show a bit more time and the half way point seems appropriate. This is more of an appreciation post really. Likely gana be all over the place and long as hell. TLDR version. The show is pretty f**king amazing. I love it. Now onto the next arc. The end. Thanks! Osu! Ok. Hunter exam arc The hunter exam is definitely imo one of the best openning arcs ever, and when it REALLY starts, it just pulls you in and keeps you guessing at what's next. It never lets up, and every challenge felt fresh and it just makes you invested, due in part ofcourse, to the great chemistry and likable personas of the 4 mains As well as other interesting characters. Gon and killua vs netero was very funny. I love it when weaker characters have to try and take on a stronger one 2 v 1. Very fun and Gon got him to use his right hand in the end proving he is tenacious and never gives up and his resourcefulness using his shoe was clever. Still the gap between the boys and netero is gapingly apparent. Trial island was a better and much more interesting hunger games. Just awesome. And Hisoka.... oh man... the first example of a character whose shown to be on a completely different level than the mains and almost everyone. Ilumi....woah, what are his goals, what is his connection to hisoka, is he stronger, how strong is he? Hmmm... burning questions i love it. Could talk for hours about this arc alone as i am sure i forgot a ton of stuff. Great first arc. Killua's family arc..Zoldycks?? I think that's how you spell it. A good arc that helps flesh Killua out and introduces us to his big assassin family. Hate his mom but his dad and grandfather seem cool. I love the mains having to train with weighted vests just to get the "front door" open, that was great. And killua reuniting with gon and friends was emotionally satisfying. Solid arc short and sweet. Heaven's Arena My personal favorite arc I think. I am a sucker for fight tournaments and Sushi!! He's one of my favs. I mean Zushi. OSU! He's a lil trooper. When he was matched with Killua i thought okay he is tough but now he's gotta fight Killua. Oh man tough break. killua is on another level and is just destroying him easy but how tf is he still getting up? Killuas inner monologues i love. Then Zushi went into his Ren stance, cue one of the shows best tracks, and the look on Killua's face as the feeling reminded him of illumi. I knew shit was about to get real and Zushi knows something we don't. Then Rip headphone users Wing stops him loudly. We then get a passionate killua wanting to learn nen from wing so, now we are introduced to Nen but not quite, with a brief example being a display of wing's aura. I did like how killua turned into spiderman for a few seconds hanging from the walls. I did find it interesting when Wing said that nen shouldn't be taught to just anyone. As it carries with it risks and abuse in the wrong hands and providing an even more awesome example of its power potential when he sliced zushi's juice with paper. Poor Zushi, loses to killua and loses his juice in the same day. I loved him apologizing lol its fun seeing a lighter side of wing. Anyway. When we are introduced to the real deal just wow....One of the most interesting and most complex power systems ever, which just opened up a whole new universe within hxh and that was merely basics!! So richly diverse and gets even deeper as the show progresses and gon and killua picked it up so quick!! 1 in 100mil indeed. Hisoka...holy crap i did not expect him to show up. I legit thought it was illumi causing that aura at first, then the lady appeared, and i thought she must be a fighter? Or must be being controlled? then the card appeared and impaled the floor and i thought NO WAY. IS HE HERE??. Hisoka then appears behind her. And my face lit up big time. That was genius the way they did that. He is the kind of character who instantly shakes things up when they are around, and his mysterious and weird bad motherf**ker vibe just adds to this. He is just a game changer. He's so weirdly unhinged yet at the same time he's not. And this was the arc that made me fall in love with him. I also love his salsa theme. I might have possibly danced along with it whenever it played. Kastro vs hisoka. A great battle and display of wits, and who is superior. I legit really thought kastro had a shot of beating hisoka until he lost his advantage and was defeated. Bungee Gum. He freaking had me. I thought him losing his arms were like a trick or something since hisoka didn't seem to care, and glittery stuff came out of them instead of lots of blood. Anyway what a genius hatsu. Nen Stitches?? further showing the power of nen and introducing us to a member of the phantom troupe reminding us that its the same group Kurapika is after. And Hisoka is posing as a fake member hmm?? Shit keeps unraveling and getting more interesting. Learning Gyo and breaking down hisoka's fight. Killua and Gon wiping the floor with those three idiots who thought kidnapping Zushi as a threat would not come back to bite them on the ass. That was satisfying. Hisoka vs Gon!! What a fight. And gon getting a punch to the face and them some and returning the badge was a great callback. The best animation in the show up to this point. and Hisoka continues to prove he is a one of a kind character and im not even going to try to explain his freakish and weirdly strange "behavior" and thoughts (lets just call it that) towards Gon. And not to go unannounced. Killua and Gon's friendship very subtly growing stronger throughtout this arc and their competitiveness with each other was great to see. I know some probably pass this arc off as just a means to an end pit stop, with it just being a place to teach us and the mains nen and is a weaker arc but i think it is so much more than that. I wana know who tf the floor masters are by the way. Who else HAS BEEN, a floor master? Who created heaven's arena? Wing and Zushi though as two new characters, i loved them, and wish we got more of them. They were only in 9 episodes with a brief phonecall but they left a lasting impression on me, especially Zushi, instantly lovable, he was very endearing, humble and quite funny, i even found myself saying Osu around the house much to my dog's displeasure. And everytime Gon and killua learned a technique quickly, when zushi had to train months for it, he would be so animately dispondent.. He really did fit in well as a temp main i think, hanging out and training with killua and gon, he was a good addition, even if he did still have his baby teeth coming in. I think he's definitely a goldmine of potential..., strength and character wise honestly, and in the future i think he could fit in well as one of the mains, and as a manipulator to round out the group. And I just really wana find out what hatsu he creates!! as it is an odd one for him being a manipulator but also a cqc fighter. I want to have his character expanded upon aswell like, where is he from, where tf are his parents, how and when did he meet wing? did wing abduct him? is he actually an orphan? What was his upbringing like? When did he start training? what are his goals and ambitions?, could zushi pass the hunter exam on the spot now that he knows nen? Why did wing choose zushi as a student and why is he teaching him nen? Is wing pro child labor? does Zushi get all of his winnings or does some go to wing? Did wing end up replacing zushi's juice? was zushi able to finish that book with a page missing? I also think the contrast of zushi(hardwork) compared to gon and killua (raw talent) was interesting. It showed us different paths to achieving milestones and how even irl, some people are just born with a headstart with freaky genetics, and some have to train hard just to reach that level. I respect when a series draws parallels like that even in a series that isn't entirely based in reality. It would really be a cool payoff to see eventually Zushi catching up to and even surpassing gon and killua one day to prove that yes, hard work can match and even trump raw talent. I really hope he comes back in the future. I also like that Zushi saying Osu! Stuck with Gon and Killua to the point where they adopted it fitting in perfectly as wings two new students. To my other favorite arc. Yorknew City!! Man...KURAPIKA. This entire arc was Kurapika's show and proved easily that he could be, THE MAIN, and i mean a SOLO MAIN. He was that compelling. and that he can carry an Arc by himself, not that this arc needed carrying like..at all. Im very sure he also elevated himself up everyones favorite character list after this arc. There is so much to take in with this arc. Easily the biggest one so far with lots of juggling of characters, and plot points etc. Gon and killua meeting up with leorio again was satisfying minus kurapika. Finally the Introduction of the phantom troupe and how they added a whole new fresh layer to the show as antagonists, they hadn't even displayed their combat skills yet they already give off a "bad mfs" vibe. Kurapika getting a job as a mafia bodyguard as a cover to hide his true intentions was interesting and also introduced us two several new characters, one being melody! More on her later. After an awesome and brief little fight in the mansion we meet the head of the mafia security. Kurapika gets a job and he is on his way to finding out more about his peoples scarlett eyes. I loved this direction as it not only gives furthers kurapika's purpose and motivation that was revealed at the start of the series, but it brings it back and puts it front and center. Uvogin vs the mafia. the first phantom troupe member to show us a level of power rivaling hisoka's. Which is fitting even if hisoka is a fake member. But to see Uvogin brutalize mobs of mafia men and tank conventional arms and sniper fire like its nothing is perhaps the most impressive display of domination and power in the show so far, showing us...this is just one member of the troupe. Awesome animation throughout and the rest of the troupe just non-chalantly playing cards was a nice comical touch. Melody calming Kurapika once he found out he was a member was a neat way to show us her special nen abilities. The shadow beasts were interesting but were a letdown after their initial "we got you uvogin" moment. They never had him really. Then holy crap uvogin gets taken by kurapika's chain. We know kurapika learned nen but to the extent of coming up with an ability to restrain a troupe member?? That was a cool moment. Machi's nen tracker just another example of the genius that is nen and being creative with it. That cloak attack on nobunaga was funny. It kind of reminded me of piedmon's cloak attack from digimon adventure. Hisoka hiding in plain sight as a fake member of the troupe is awesome. They have no idea. Kurapika striking a deal with hisoka after a lengthy dialogue detailing how the troupe functions as a unit. Don't know if i mentioned this but one of the hxh's strongest aspects are the characters and the dynamic between characters. And i could listen to hisoka chat idly all damn day. I loved the money making antics with gon, killua and leorio who then all were serious when they figured out that the troupe is behind attacks on the auction. The show is perfect at changing the tone on a dime, and it always feels natural. Fast forward to Kurapika absolutely annihilating Uvogin after explaining why his chains are so strong and that even more he is a SPECIALIST when his eyes turn SCARLETT!! That was a holy shit epic moment . Introduction of Zepile. Another likeable character who was kinda disappointingly shortlived and only makes a few more appearances here and there. Gon and killua tailing machi and nobunaga was tense. One more thing this show does extremely well is tension. Especially when they get made by two members who were tailing THEM without them knowing. Although i suspected that there were more troupr members around than just two. Considering how fast and strong, gon and killua are shown to be up until this point, there encounter and trying to escape the troupe was a scary wake up call that they are just no match for them and are completely out of their league. Killua's little "fight" with phinks by the way was awesome. Killua's display of resourcefulness and superior fighting ability to gon shines if only for a few seconds. Phinks by the way. He's looks really cool. That tracksuit....man he's got some style. Looks like it could be a gucci tracksuit. Another thing that should be mentioned is character head monologues. They are great. Especially killua's. And especially in tense situations like this. I love getting into a characters head and knowing what they are thinking. Hxh does this often and very well. Gon and Killua finally meeting the troupe and with Hisoka there, i thought yep killua knows to play dumb but when gon yelled out HEY! i thought oh no, gon you idiot! But he pulled off a good save pointing out him recognizing murasaki. But the real tension came with pakunoda revealing she can and has read their memories which was crazy, so naturally i thought shit they will know the chain user is kurapika. The fact that an ability that can read just a simple memory, can provide such lethal information and through just the sheer luck of not knowing kurapika is the chain user, saved kurapika. I really liked nobunaga as a character to the point where he comes off as much more honorable than the rest of the troupe which makes me think why he is even a member of such a bad crowd. Gon and killua's escape using ostomy was a nice callback to Zepile teaching them. Zeno and Silva being brought in to take down the troupe..holy crap does the show tease! After they showed up i was clamoring for them to show us how strong they are coming from the assassin world and how they measurr up to the troupe. Then my clamoring abruptly stopped after the entire scene where the phantom troupe display their amazing power and work together as a cohesive unit with devastating results slaughtering hundreds upon hundreds with the sound being drowned out by the amazing music and chrollo monologuing, topped off with stellar animation. What a fantastic scene. Hisoka not partaking in any of it was interesting. Fast forward and FINALLY. We get a reunion kind of, over the phone with killua gon and kurapika, minus leorio. I knew when this happened that this is was the beginning of all the characters converging together. Then holy shit....Zeno and Silva vs Chrollo. I was giddy as hell for this fight. Sure we didn't know a lot about all 3 of these characters but that was part of the excitement. What are they capable? We had only seen some of chrollo's power up to this point and holy shit was it making me question, damn so he might be stronger than hisoka. and we knew he had to be mega powerful to be the leader and then some. Zeno and silva only have their rep as assassins and that is a great rep. we have seen nothing of their abilities but for silva to have fought chrollo before and to go up against him now even after telling killua to never face a superior opponent shows that silva is definitely a bad mf. Then there is zeno who has bad mf slapped onto his forhead and he is the father of silva. Yep. I knew this was gana be an epic fight. There is a certain vibe some characters bring to a scene the moment they show up. And these three in the same room are no exception. And shit it delivered. Gotta be my favorite fight so far. It didn't have this long build up but it didn't need to. Zeno and Silva entering through different doors was the perfect entrance. Zeno and silva each with a focused stare, fixed on Chrollo whilst chrollo's face is devoid of expression all while ominous music plays. This show sets the stage(no pun intended) for fights perfectly. the way they walk forward toward each other and then a split second later begin moving moving around at rapid speed, shows neither is screwing around. Straight to the action and what an incredible short exchange. Silva and zeno's teamwork is excellent, chrollo is a freaking beast dodging and blocking both of them and even managing to graze silva's face at the end of the exchange. Both sides are the real deal. At this point i start to think shit...chrollo got the upperhand after that exchange. Is stronger than both of them?? Zeno immedately breaking down and figuring out how exactly chrollos abitlity works and the conditions he must meet without even seeing it in action and only after a brief fighting exchange shows what an absolute master zeno is. Zeno basically straight up saying to silva, "when i pin him down, kill us both, i don't care yolo". What an old badass mf Zeno is. To sacrifice himself so readily that is a warrior right there and to think he's only apeared in a handful of scenes in the show. More Zeno please. That nen dragon zeno summoned was just epic but for chrollo to evade it and track silva at the same timep, makes Chrollo a beast. A 2v1 and he's still managing to keep up with them until he gets trapped in the nen dragons jaws. And jesus those barrage of punches from zeno right to the faaace of chrollo!! then cueing silva to use what i can only describe as a ren version of some type of ki blast wave like from dragonball. Whatever its called it is f**king awesome. This type of raw display of offensive nen power from both zeno and silva is the most impressive so far and i thought no way, i mean sure this could kill him but doesn't hisoka still need to fight him surely hes not dying?? And then....ILLUMI. holy crap. Doing hisoka a solid. Silva and zeno end the assassination and share an interesting exchange of words. What stuck out was "it would be a different story if you were actually trying to kill me" don't know what he really meant there. That stare exchange though between silva and chrollo as silva exits. Rematch please. And yep. everyone parts different ways, even through different doors as if nothing happened and chrollo lives to fight another day assuming had the attack actually got him? But it was kinda unclear. They didnt show it. They just emerged from the rubble. Anyway chrollo holding his own against two pros at once though. Makes me wonder if he could take silva in a 1v1 this time? Another time maybe. Anyway epic fight great animation. Very intense. Chrollo napping after was great. Cut to Kurapika and everyone buying into the nen corpses of the troupe. An extremely lovable character i haven't addressed yet... i absolutely love Melody. Constantly consoling and checking on kurapika's wellbeing. Stopping him multiple times from making reckless decisions and their overall chemistry together is really elevated this arc even more. She is also too damn sweet and precious to be in this show and when she told kurapika her story, I felt soo damn bad for her. I really want her to get a happy ending because she deserves it. And her warm comforting smile and soothing voice. Her nen ability. What a perfect fit. She is arguably one of the biggest mvps of the yorknew arc absolutely and is by far the nicest and most wholesome character in the entire hxh universe. Love her. Also leorio and zepile hanging out like they have been friends for ever after just meeting for 5 minutes, as i knew they would get along was great. Ofcourse they have natural brochemistry. And i did think it was funny killua pointing out how leorio isn't old enough to drink reminding us that even though he looks late 20s early 30s intentionally so, hes still in his late teens lol. Finally in person, the OG mains are back together again, it felt like yesterday when they made that promise to meet up in yorknew city. Anyway reunions like this and with these characters, i can eat it up all day. Even if it was shortlived and straight to business soon after. Kurapika saying how he wishes he could say the same about leorio's presence and that it hasn't any gotten stronger that cracked me up. Poor Leorio lol. Kurapika telling the rest of the mains about her nen contract and the troupe situation was very important, but considering as far as they know the troupe is dead, i was selfishly hoping for a little bit of downtime with the 4 of them. I like Pakunoda's ability being brought up again as an ongoing threat and how dangerous memories and information stored in someones head can be, and how screwed everyone would be if she read them again. i wonder what else she can do HMMM... I loved the fortune reading scene. Any phantom troupe scene is gold really. the interplay between the members and specfically when there is tension. I often wonder what the phantom troupe heirarchy after chrollo is, if there is any besides, members having specific roles. Seems like there is some, sometimes.Nobunaga sort of challenging chrollo was interesting. Just wanted to point out more than 60% of this show is dialogue between characters and i wouldnt have it any other way. I watch this show and love it for a lot of reasons but mainly for the characters and the dialogue is made even better because of this. It was nice to see kurapika calm and kind of content among friends, but his finding out the troupe's bodies were fake from hisoka was a big YES!! moment. His motivation is back but at what cost? Its been compelling watching his character walk the path of revenge but at the same time i don't want the troupe to get killed because i kind of like them. Im rooting for both of them i guess but i also am dying to see hisoka vs chrollo to. hisoka could have given him a heads up the bodies were fake way earlier by the way. Phantom troupe are from Meteor city?? I hope we get to see this place for real. And how does leorio know so much about it. The world of hxh keeps getting bigger. Its tricky to keep up sometimes!! Hisoka has the best pokerface ever. And when he changed his fortune on a dime and the way he micromanages every little detail so things go the way he wants. Goddamn he is sooo cool. He thinks of everything. And nobunaga drawing his sword on hisoka...i would love to have seen this fight. He didn't seem the least bit concerned when nobunaga threatened him or when other members have. This could be just his pokerface at work but we have never seen a serious hisoka. And we haven't seen much of nobunaga at all. My money is on hisoka though. Hisoka geniusly controlling the fortune narrative was risky but paid off taking the heat off him and getting chrollo to stay, but i wonder, the way chrollo stares at hisoka, i often wonder if he can see through his act, or knows of his plan and that he wants to fight him. Killua reminding gon of the real reason they are here which is for greed island, also reminded me! The mains now teaming up against the troupe. Kurapika explaining how his chains work and gon saying "im not sure what any of that means" was quite funny as that is so me sometimes. I love it. i also loved Killua and Leorio sneaking back in to overhear everything despite the risks. You are damn right they did. They are all in this together. Kurapika saying he has been blessed with great friends.. right in the feels. This was a great moment and a much needed one. Kortopi is an interesting little guy and his ability to create 50 fake hideouts is pretty damn impressive aa well as being able to traclk any and all fake copies is just insane conjuring power. Melody being brought along as a temp main to aid killua is really cool. Supporting characters getting time to shine im all for. Stakes getting really high now with all of these characters converging. I really liked killua and melody's dialogue exchange as they were trailing the troupe to and melody being able to distinctly differentiate each person's footstep is amazing. Kurapika's disguise is great. Really pulls it off well for obvious reasons. That split second of kurapika and gon running into the 3 troupe members so quickly whilst they had gyo activated and gon and killua giving themselves up covering for kurapika but getting caught themselves. Well thats gon and killua for you! Squla's death was sad. It didn't have to happen. I hope those dogs end up okay. Pakunoda finding out kurapika is the chain holy crap things keep getting worse and pakunoda having the ability to shoot memory bombs to transfer memories reveals another layer of clever nen abilities. The entire hotel scene was just excellent and full of tension and excitement. Leorio actually being useful and giving killua and gon a coded messenge disguised as leorio being leorio to adjust to the dark ahead of time was smart and the way killua dislocated his joints so quickly to escape. Dude is a beast. Their escape was brief but it provided that 1 second gap kurapika needed who managed to pull off such an incredible chrollo heist in that time. I would love to have seen it from kurapika's pov. Just insane. So the troupe has the boys and the mains have chrollo. A stalemate. The entire phone negotiation between them was excellent and melody continues to prove her abilities are awesome as well. Phinks joking around and getting pummelled by machi and nobunaga was funny. Its nice to see a lighter side of the troupe if only for a brief moment. Kurapika also happens to be an expert negotiator and i have to say i have loved the recent focus on pakunoda's character and i actually started to feel a bit sorry for her. Also seeing the troupe bicker when chrollos gone was interesting and i was starting to think, they aren't really gana turn on each other are they?? Cue shizuku knocking out nobunaga for the best. I would love to see phinks vs nobu though. Kurapika thinking of every possible contingency for this deal. And hisoka asking illumi for help?? and saying he's known him a little longer than chrollo. I'd love to see flashbacks to all this. I wana know what illumi's goals are and where he fits into everything. I guess ill find out in the future. It was very intense when kurapika was outlining her demands and i kinda felt sorry for pakunoda just looking so dispondent. She wants more than anything to get chrollo back. And melody definitely conveyed this perfectly with her inner monogue. Chrollo losing his nen though...damn. hisoka's gana be pissed. Troupe once again fighting amongst each other over what they should do and its totally understandable. But phinks and feitan don't know what pakunoda knows and i loved when gon of all people explained to them pakunoda's reasonning and got pissed about it. Gon doesn't get angry often but when he does he has a good reason for it and he means it. I love that about him. I do love shalnark's constant analysis. He seems like such a nice guy. Too nice to be hanging around with the troupe almost. And franklin telling them like it is was great. They are a team in the end. I did love phinks and gon throwing shalnarks device back and fourth and him yelling don't break it lol. Hisoka showing up once again is always fun and Hisoka having illumi stand in as a double was clever but i would have liked to have seen how the switch was done without anyone noticing. Exchange was quick and easy and without much hassle save for hisoka's little request. Oh man poor hisoka and his facial expression was hilarious. Pakunoda's walk back in the rain and her saying meow back to the cat was really sweet. Naturally im starting to really like her a lot. Her last words and death were really sad and well done. Shooting the founding members with her bomb as a final fairwell. And seeing the troupe member's reactions and with the music . Really great scene. Now back to getting greed island! Gon, killua look fresh in their suits and zepiles back! and man did i let out a big OH F**K when feitan and phinks spotted them. The way gon and killua gtfo'd even with a headstart and how feitan and phinks caught up to them so quickly like it was nothing was hilarious. Phinks revealing a little too much after feitan gives him a look. And ofcourse theres people than can remove someone elses nen inside another. Chrollo saying east it is..., is meteor city that way? Or somewhere else. Hmm. Pakunoda's memory scene with gon and killua popping up in phink's head and gon and killua explaining why they just don't run. Saying they don't want their friend to become a murderer and phinks saying paku was thankful to both gon and killua hit all the right notes with me. Its moments like that, that make me love the characters and the show. Cue an epic freeze frame and the very last time we will see and hear that epic outro. Fantastic arc. Now for greed island. I have probably the least amount to say about this arc. Straight off the bat the main crew going their seperates was sad but ofcourse they will meet again right! Leorio telling melody to look after kurapika was so sweet. Leorio plays it cool but he really cares. Gon and killua starting to develop special techniques was exciting it was about time though and ofcourse killua's is electricity based. Very epic and symbolic of his childhood, and how hes turning the abuse he took into a weapon. and a very awesome if brief return of wing and zushi!! Zushi looks to be on the 100th floor now. Thats great and all but how about taking the training wheels off and catching up faster come on zushi. Wing giving gon advice though was really cool. Its just great seeing old characters return and i do hope both of them return in the future, i want to see an older zushi!! and i want bisky and wing to reunite!! Now Greed island overall was a very good and extremely fun arc. I am a gamer but am not the biggest rpgist, and i was initially disappointed that it seemingly was all about card collecting. i soon realized NOPE. So much more to it than that. The reveal of greed island being a real place didn't suprise me. I suspected it might be real but wasnt sure since gamey elements like npcs were inside but considering that when people die inside, they really are dead, that told me that with real consequences like rl death, greed island must be real. If it wasn't, why would people who die in a seemingly virtual game, die for real. Wana get this out of the way, i think genthro was the worst villain in the series. The whole bombers thing, i think if you were to take them out, it would be an improvement. Im trying to think if you took them out, would it effect the story. And really it wouldn't. I just couldn't bring myself to care about him anyway. He really just reminded me of fma 03 kimbley. Thankfully the arc wasn't about him really at all. To me it was about gon and killua's relationship and how they rely on each other. They carried this arc really and bisky to(oh and i will get to her) gon saying killua was glad he's here and that even better, he's glad he met him in the first place hit me right in the feels. Killua brushing it off as he does and then monolguing saying gon's got it backwards, and that he's glad he met HIM, hit me right in the feels even more and it hit home with me because i know exactly what he means when he says that. Meeting gon was the best thing to ever happen to him. Because he met gon, he is living a life that is better than it ever could have been as an assassin. Just a fantastic moment that strengthened their bond even more. Now to bisky. I thought here we go, im gana not like her, she looks like a typical girly anime character, thats going to be annoying or useless. How did she even make it into the game. But nope. Complete opposite of all that in the best way possible. I love her short temper. I must have loved her after just a couple of pieces of dialogue came out of her mouth really. Finding out she was WING's master??? Awesome. Flashback to this would be awesome!! Anyway gon and killua's training under her was definitely one of the best things about this arc. Bisky just made this arc even greater. I loved her. Such a chaotic personality and a perfect foil for killua who constantly gets put in his place which never happens really. I must have lost count the amount of times she punched them into the air. Bisky's display of power as well was just insane. Another character on another level who happens to be their 2nd master. Bisky is definitely badass but how much hmmm. The intense training session and the reveal of even more types of nen. Just fantastic. Might have to brush up on it all though! seeing gon and killua get progressively stronger was satisfying and bisky testing them constantly to see how fast they can read the nen number with gyo and instructing them to do push ups like a drill sargeant was funny. Her teaching methods sort of reminded me of toph's from avatar. It was also great to see gon and killua bring back saying Osu! Zushi and wing would be proud. Not to mention when killua went back to do the hunter exam like a high level character returning to the start area, and proceeded to one shot everyone INCLUDING ZEPILE. And got a license on the spot. That was funny. Killua did my man zepile dirty. One of my favorite parts about this arc though, not counting gon, killua and bisky, is hisoka joining the mains and the entire dodgeball part. I loved every second of that. I can't even begin to describe how fun and intense it was. Hisoka, gon and killua's teamwork was just tremendous. I could watch the three of them teaming up all damn day. That creative 3 person combined team attack strategy of theirs was just awesome! I was thinking a few times though. could hisoka probably win it all by himself? Just seeing hisoka in such a fun setting with the main characters gave me the biggest smile on my face.. Seeing gon's official attack finally was amazing. such a cool moment. He has come so damn far. And progressed so much. Fast forward to them taking on the bombers. bisky showing her true form. It's Extremely bizaare and unexpected but badass! And crap she's even stronger than her nen form form which is strong as hell by default. But how strong is true form bisky?? I would love to see a five way fight with hisoka, zeno, true form bisky, chrollo and silva. Holy crap though...she's 57 but uses nen to look young. I wonder if this puts stress on her body though and if she maintains it all day everyday and has maintained it ever since she used nen to make her self appear younger for the first time. Hmm. Gon outsmarting genthro and beating him was satisfying. He deserved worse but gon know's best. Anyway Gon wins the quiz and gets to the palace. Finding out the name of greed island comes from ging and his friends names and that gon gets to keep and bring back three cards...wow. i immediately thought get the ACCOMPANY card man until it was said only specified slot cards only but wait... I thought it was a nice reveal that they were both his dads friends and the name greed island comes from the letter in their first name. The fact that ging brute forced his name change was quite funny. Ging kinda sounds like sort of a dick after hearing that and he did leave gon behind as well. Anyway. I loved bisky once again being left out of killua and gons conversations and her hammering them for it. her voice actor nails the yell voice. The other reveal of nigg being ging and coming to greed island with gon was interesting but at what point did he decide to leave gon after greed island. Did ging intentionally bring gon to greed island knowing and predicting that future gon will figure it all out that he was there with his dad originally, and that, nigg was the clue to finding him. Gon telling killua hes gana introduce him to his dad and telling him hes his best friend was sweet. Killua getting flustered and brushing it off is always funny. And bisky crying. Im really going to miss her. I was seriously let down when bisky turned down coming with them. I would LOVE to have seen her stick to being a main and helping them find gon's dad. So that sucked. We better see her again. But i wonder where she would go though, her work in greed island was finished so... Im thinking heaven's arena maybe to help wing train zushi....ive no idea really what else she would do and where she would go. Don't know much about her at all sadly and would have liked to have seen her stick around. She better come back. Anyway her saying goodbye to them was great and one final osu! She was for damn sure proud of them. Overall a really good arc that served as a fitting breather after the YNC arc. And carried brilliantly by gon, killua and bisky with an assist by hisoka. Who's hopes of fighting chrollo are in the hands of a nen exorcist. That fight is going to happen and i can't wait. I was also actually suprised with the phantom troupe showing up that they didn't once run into gon or killua in GI. Not that they needed to though. What else is there to say that hasn't already been said. This show has been a revelation and has been pretty damn tremendous so far. Its not perfect but even masterpieces aren't flawless and its on its way to that territory. The vast array of lovable characters, each of them fleshed out to varying degrees, each with their own goals and motivations. The dialogue and writing. Hisoka hisoka hisoka!! Leorio's charm, Kurapika's earnestness, killua's and gon's broship, the dynamic between the mains, the phantom troupe who are compelling villains. the fleshed out world building. The nen power system. The incredible art and animation. Togashi's art is just excellent. And his character designs are among the best, so unique, so diverse and so eye popping and memorable right down to Zepile's epic eyebrows although Zushi's eyebrows give Zepile's a run for their money. The phenomenal soundtrack elevating every moment whether big or small. Light or dark. Exciting or intense. Triumphant or hopeless. The narrarator who i just love! Somehow he makes it work with the narraration. And the dub voice acting is just excellent across the board. Ive gone through 70+ eps but it doesn't feel like it at all. Its been a breeze to watch. 60+ eps left and im at the point where i realize, ill never be able to watch this for the first time ever again. I don't expect anyone to read this much text this is merely just an appreciation post with my overall thoughts thus far and i noticed it turned into a recap as well oh. I think of this post as me just scrawling on a toilet stall wall. Now its onto the next arc! If you made it this far i envy you! Thanks, Osu!
2020.05.03 22:36 InnerSawyerAliens came to Earth yesterday, but none of you remember
They came to Earth yesterday. The aliens, I mean. You just don’t remember. I don’t blame you for forgetting, even if it was only yesterday. If anything I’ve come to accept it’s how things are now. I would complain more, but to be honest this is probably something closer to penance for what I’ve done. I’ll do my best to tell you what happened before I’m kicked off this library computer. Who knows, maybe it’ll jog your memory about the aliens you’ve forgotten about. There exists an organization unknown to the public with the secret and singular purpose of contacting extraterrestrial life. Dubbed the Epsilon Project, the program is really just a relic of the 40s alien craze, its assembly made possible through a conspiracy of the most paranoid of politicians in that era. The powerful and expensive equipment that fill Epsilon’s halls are due to a budget that derives its funding under the “Miscellaneous” section of the US Defense bill. You didn’t think those Tomahawk missiles really cost a million a pop did you? The decades have gone by, and noone’s the wiser. To really understand why things turned out the way they did, you might want to understand what Epsilon was. At Epsilon, we didn’t just look through telescopes searching for refractions of light caused by hydrocarbons suggesting the mere possibility of life on a planet. That’s an admirable strategy, one based in a science we understand well too, but honestly it’s akin to using a magnifying glass to find a specific grain of sand at the beach. What’s familiar to us humans is also barely visible on the vast canvas that is the knowledge of the universe. Instead, our methods were referred to as “purposefully exotic”. Behind closed doors, our lead scientists conducted experiments that nobody fully understood other than them. You see, us secondary staff got pieces of the puzzle, a single test tube to fill, a data set to crunch, but never the full picture. It didn’t take a genius to see that what we were doing was of dubious legality and the gossip around the office often revealed disturbing information. One guy mentioned having to vet a group of people for an experiment. People? For an experiment? No one in the break room had any idea what you’d have needed human test subjects for at Epsilon, but I guarantee you whatever test was conducted wasn’t FDA, ACA, FBI or any-combination-of-letters approved. Besides the occasional rumors though, no one said or did anything. The one very golden rule at Epsilon was silence. For a simpler diagnosis, I’d refer to Ken’s name for us; “Crackhead NASA”. Obsessive about a single purpose, often unproductive, and unhinged from reality. “We’re also expensive,” Ken would add, “Like a crack addiction.” Anyway, my name is Isaac and I used to work with them. Pleased to meet you, sorry for what we’ve done. Those of you who have had an event in your life filled with regret will know what I’m speaking of when I talk about the numb hell. It occurs often when you are alone and often when you are tired. Where perhaps another person would find solace in the quiet you find a screaming silence. For me, its during those times I am transported to the day I helped kickstart the invasion of Earth. It was 7PM in Epsilon HQ and I was staying late, again, watching Ken finish analysis of what he called “the most promising coordinates yet”. To be clear, each new set of coordinates was the most promising yet to Ken. “Contact with alien life!” Ken boomed. We sat alone in his cubicle, and other than his own echoing voice, the light tapping at his keyboard was the only sound in the office. We were the last two in the office, as usual. “Ken, just saying it out loud doesn’t mean it’ll happen” I said tiredly,“Trying is one thing, but getting this excited every time?” “I’m practicing for when we’re at the podium announcing our discovery,” he replied, swiveling to face me with an impish grin and a wagging finger, “And anyway, don’t say that too loud or we’ll be out of a job!” Every day I get a random assortment of planets to create biological profiles on. After some analysis, I sent the latest, most promising results to Ken who then uses his own classified method to attempt to contact extraterrestrial life. “Oh man, getting fired. That would be a dream come true.” I turned and yelled into the empty office. “Let me outta hereee!” Ken chuckled, giving a final press on his keyboard before springing out of his seat. “Regardless, we’ll see when the results come back. Who knows, it could pay us a visit tomorrow!” I smiled, grabbing my coat off my chair, “I’ll never get how you have so much energy doing this job. Must be whatever goes on back there.” I motioned at the sealed doors that led to a corridor containing each lead scientist’s laboratories and secret experiments. Referencing the lab was a pointless joke I did with Ken; I would always point it out, and he would always politely, but per protocol totally ignore how I acknowledged its existence. “Doing a whole lot of work for no significant results is how I got my PhD. And anyway, you’re one to talk since you’re still here too, Isaac. Maybe you’re more motivated than you let on?” I shrugged, “Didn’t you promise a Christmas bonus for every alien found? I’m here for the money.” The conversation ended with the abrupt, red glow from Ken’s terminal. I tried to read the text on the screen, but Ken had immediately dashed back to his terminal, blocking the screen when he did so, his back to me. “Uh, what’s up? We getting the bonus?”, I spoke. Ken didn’t react to my words. Still hovering over the terminal, he quickly switched to his phone, rapidly swiping down to refresh a browse page. “Isaac, I need you to check the news,” Ken muttered. “What?” “Check the news in the breakroom, go!” Ken raising his voice was all the signal I needed. I ran over to the breakroom, snatched up a remote and tapped the power button as I pointed it towards the TV. The channel was already set to the news but the quality was terrible on the breakroom TV. “-Massive fire in dowtown Manhattan,” blared the fuzzy broadcast, “The impact of the meteorite and the resulting fire have already caused untold damage. Officials announce-” “Oh,” Ken had followed me into the room just then, “they’re saying it’s a meteor.” I had never heard his voice so flat before that moment. Ken was chipper in even the most stressful of situations. “Ken, what is going on?” He shook his head. “No I just… if it was a meteor then we would have anticipated it. We should have caught on to its trajectory before it landed” I came up with various explanations, perhaps we had missed it, or our tools weren’t sophisticated enough to catch all the possible meteor trajectories with Earth. Ken’s response was muted, filled with silent nods. He never stopped looking between his terminal, his phone, and occasionally the breakroom TV. Ken and I didn’t sleep that night, and the rest of the staff ended up being 24/7 on call, sleeping at their desks between monitoring and analyzing the destruction from afar. We studied the impact site extensively, but the more information we gathered the greater our concern grew. First, it was clear that the fire was highly unnatural. Even with nothing flammable to burn, it would spread. Water, concrete, stone, metal, it all lit up like wood and tinder. We even had field operatives set up flame retardant devices designed not to burn at any temperature, and we watched as it lit up like a Christmas tree. The other disturbing observation we had was the consistency at which the fire grew; in perfectly circular form regardless of terrain type or the wind speed and direction. We observed and recorded as the physical laws of nature were casually ignored in front of us, and in the end we had no less questions and no more answers. Then, one day, the fire began to recede. The way it looked, it was as if a giant invisible hand began slowly turning down the heat on a stove, having finished cooked its meal. Puzzled firefighters mixed with the raucous cheering of crowds. Then the meteor stood. The first thing I realized was that the alien was humanoid. Long, thin stalks resembling legs held up a blobish and comparatively smaller torso. Its arms were similarly oversized- they hung down to where its knees would be, if it had them. Shockingly, its overall shape resembled the big-headed, black-eyed alien from science fiction, with a couple of notable distinctions. The first was that it wasn’t some little bugger, it was half a skyscraper’s size. The second, well, that’s a bit harder to explain. Dimensionally abstract and clearly beyond the limit of human observation, its skin would appear gray initially but shift form, transparency, and color, constantly forcing one’s eyes adjust to different distances and to spectrums of color that didn’t feel fully observable to the beholder. This interaction we found went beyond just our ability to see, as viewing the alien for even a short amount of time invoked high amounts of stress and disorientation. The longer you looked, the more damaging and lasting psychological pressure you were exposed to. Things had long ago stopped feeling like science. One of our leads theorized that its skin was allowing us to peer into other dimensions. No one ever learned if it was one way or the other. One thing for sure though, behind the waves of heat and despite lacking any features other than a mouth it had a clear expression. A curved line had formed where it’s mouth should have been, a huge, eyeless smile on its face had appeared. “What does it mean Isaac?” It was a late day at the office again, but this time it certainly wasn’t empty as our director Shannon Allen was here. Shannon was one of those seriously rare individuals who knew her shit when it came to her field of study, but was also extremely skilled in business settings. I didn’t even know you could get a PhD and an MBA until I met her. She acted as a liason between the actual government and our weird, pseudo-illuminati branch of the government thing we had going on. Not just smart and competent, but she was also totally charismatic and gorgeous, and found respect and admiration from peers in almost any setting she was in. She was also married to Ken, an event he and I both agreed must have been just slightly more likely than the chance of finding life on another planet. “Not sure what you’re saying Isaac. You literally wrote a thesis on human behaviour and how it pertains to animal insticts. I get that this is a new situation, but that’s the point of our mission. This isn’t the time to build information, there are people in the White House you may have heard of that want to know what the hell is happening right now.” I don’t think I can recall a time I was more uncomfortable. I went from “searching for aliens”, to this in a matter of weeks. “Well I didn’t want to say this, because frankly I have very little data and- “ “Isaac, we’re listening. No one expects you to have a citation with an article attached, we just know you probably have the best guess as to what’s going on”, Shannon was tough but fair, if only because she wanted efficiency and the best results from her subordinates. “I think it’s hostile, I said abruptly. The whispered murmurs and speculation stopped as the room of Epsilon scientists gave me full attention. “Not to contradict myself, but why do you think that?” Shannon posed cautiously. “We’ve already brought up the destruction of Manhattan. But that alone could be construed as bad luck; likely the alien could have landed anywhere…. what I think confirms its intent is the smile.” I was nervous in a different way now. Not because of the situation, but because of what this meant for all of us. I remember wishing to never be more wrong about something in my life. “Have you heard of the Japanese Macaque?” “No Isaac, I haven’t.” Shannon said impatiently. “It’s a type of primate you can find in certain places in Japan,” I persevered, “They’re generally friendly, but the locals will always tell you not to smile at them. They take it as a threatening sign, ‘baring your teeth to fight’ so to speak. Many animals share this connotation with smiling” “So, you’re saying it wants to fight, this is some sort of primal instinct?” Ken proposed, confused. “Sort of... I’m saying it’s not a natural thing that we find smiling to mean friendship. The act of smiling is not universal, it’s a cultural and learned interaction that is relatively unique to human beings. Anything this evolved wouldn’t just somehow “know” to smile.” “What’s your point?” Gary asked, interrupting me. “So it’s doing this because what?” Gary was another lead, and one who always got on my case. He hated how unlike almost all the staff, I had gotten in despite lacking proper credentials and thought it must have been my connection to Ken. Unfortunately, he was an important figure at Epsilon, and commanded a lot of authority. He was a constant critic, even in crisis. I inhaled sharply. “Because it doesn’t make any fucking sense that something as evolved as this, as intelligent as this, that has studied us enough to understand our cultural cues, lands right on a city on a planet where 90% of its surface area is completely uninhabited, and, likely understanding this situation it chooses to smile at us!” I threw my hands up, exacerbated. “Of all the things it must have learned about human beings, it landed on one of the most populated cities on the planet and then fucking smiled! it doesn’t make sense-” “It doesn’t make sense unless it’s hostile,” Shannon interrupted, quietly. The chattered debate in the room came to a conclusive silence. Even Gary was quiet. It wasn’t certain, even I could admit that, but the logic was undeniable. It was the simplest explanation we had, and the most likely. Occam’s Razor is a bitch like that. We didn’t have to wait for long to know for sure. “Hey-... Hey something’s happening!” we heard someone yell from the break room. The team quickly crowded into the room, staring at the tiny rec room TV we had. We watched, helpless, as world leaders from across the globe began approaching the crater where the alien had landed. Presidents and dictators, they all wordlessly assembled despite the desperate pleas of their cohorts who tried to pull them away to no avail. I can’t fully explain to you how evolved it was. We really didn’t have a chance in hell; its biology had at least several millenia of a headstart on ours, and as a result the alien had extensive telepathic and psychophysical abilities. In short, the alien could make you a passenger in your own body, a witness to the actions you commit: Mind control, though one wanted to say it out loud. It could also physically manipulate objects with its mind, effortlessly moving many different objects at once and at will. Most terrifying, though, was it’s omnipresence in one’s consciousness. As simply as reading a book, it could invade your thoughts, determine your deepest intentions and secrets, and even edit these at will. Deleting memories, adding motives, with enough attention it could fully rewrite your personality. The first thing it made them do was strip their own clothes off, and bow to it. They gathered around it, shuffling through rubble until forming, yes, a perfect circle around it. Then it, well, it just burned them all alive. Just set them on fire, no gasoline or anything, it was as if it snapped its fingers and they turned into balls of screaming flames. Easier than that, even. The unfortunate cohorts that followed them ran over themselves trying to escape, and these ones it was more creative with. Some had blood gush out of their eyes, nose and mouth, something have imploded within their skulls. Others ran away frantically, before suddenly tripping and twitching before ceasing all movement. I saw some have their limbs and appendages physically ripped off as if by invisible fingers and hands-... that was the last of it before the broadcast cut. No one said anything. All that bullshit about animal and human behavior; it was obvious what the alien was doing at this point. This was how it told us it owned us. This was how it said “Yes you were right, I’m God. And I hate you.” Anyway, the last thing I remember, I could swear I saw its fucking smile widen on the crackly television during the close-up. I thought that night, before I slept, that it must have been my imagination. That what I saw wasn’t the beginning of something worse, but just a horrific accident. Later, though, Ken would confide in me that he saw it too.
2020.04.22 18:25 rusticgorillaThe 26 pandemic warnings that Trump ignored
Thought it'd be a good idea to have this list all in one spot, instead of spread out across my coronavirus response threads. This list focuses on warnings. I also wrote about the teams that Trump disbanded and programs Trump defunded that would have helped us be more prepared in this article. If you enjoy my work, I have a Patreon, PayPal, and Venmo.
2003-2015: As evidence that part of the government’s failure to respond to the coronavirus outbreak is systemic, there were at least 10 government reports on ventilator shortages that pre-date the Trump administration. In 2003, the Government Accountability Office warned that “few hospitals have adequate medical equipment, such as the ventilators that are often needed for respiratory infections ... to handle the large increases in the number of patients that may result” from an infectious disease outbreak.” In 2015, DHS and CDC modeled a scenario in which a high severity influenza outbreak would “need approximately 35,000 to 60,500 additional ventilators, averting a pandemic total 178,000 to 308,000 deaths."
Edit to add: Though this pre-dates Trump's inauguration, it's just one example of a large body of research that was in place and available for the incoming administration in 2017. The point is that Trump was not starting from scratch. Additionally, contrary to Trump's attempts to shift blame to Obama, an investigation by ProPublica found that the Obama administration attempted to update/improve the equipment in the Strategic National Stockpile, but the Republicans in Congress denied the necessary funding.
To briefly rebut another lie: Trump claimed that Obama left him with "broken tests." Fact check: The CDC couldn’t have bad tests left over from the Obama administration, because the coronavirus test didn’t exist until this year. More details here
Under the Trump administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stopped running models to simulate the effects of a pandemic on U.S. society and infrastructure. Since 2005, a team inside DHS worked with analysts and supercomputers to analyze the consequences of a pandemic and “guide policymakers toward areas that would demand their attention in the event of an outbreak.” However, in 2017 the program was brought to an end when Trump administration officials disputed the value of the work.
One 2015 DHS report, based partly on data produced by NISAC, warned that America’s public and private health systems might “experience significant shortages in vaccines, antivirals, pharmaceuticals needed to treat secondary infections and complications, personal protective equipment (PPE), and medical equipment, including ventilators.” ...Some of the predictions in the July 2015 DHS report were eerily prescient about the kinds of issues that the U.S. has faced in recent weeks because of the coronavirus; the report said that “a severe influenza pandemic could overwhelm the Healthcare and Public Health Sector in as little as 3-6 weeks” and warned that healthcare facilities in cities could be swamped.
A former DHS official criticized the agency for being “singularly focused on border enforcement” under Trump and neglecting to properly plan for other threats, like a pandemic: “We should not be surprised that a department that has for the last 3½ years viewed itself solely as a border enforcement agency seems ill-equipped to address a much greater threat to the homeland,” Juliette Kayyem said. Following the government’s realization that the coronavirus outbreak poses a serious threat, some Trump officials have requested that DHS try to dig up these old modeling reports and analyses. “Nobody even knew where any of the documents were anymore,” one of the former officials said.
In 2016, the National Security Council (NSC) created a “pandemic playbook” based on lessons learned from the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, meant to instruct future administrations on the best strategies to respond to an outbreak. The contents have been revealed to be especially relevant to the coronavirus pandemic, addressing almost every problem the Trump administration has struggled with so far:
...the government should’ve begun a federal-wide effort to procure that personal protective equipment at least two months ago. “Is there sufficient personal protective equipment for healthcare workers who are providing medical care?” the playbook instructs its readers, as one early decision that officials should address when facing a potential pandemic. “If YES: What are the triggers to signal exhaustion of supplies? Are additional supplies available? If NO: Should the Strategic National Stockpile release PPE to states?” Other recommendations include that the government move swiftly to fully detect potential outbreaks, secure supplemental funding and consider invoking the Defense Production Act — all steps in which the Trump administration lagged behind the timeline laid out in the playbook.
The Trump administration was told of the playbook in 2017 but according to a former U.S. official, “it just sat as a document that people worked on that was thrown onto a shelf.” One person was interested in the playbook - Tom Bossert, then-Homeland Security Adviser and chief of the department’s global health security unit. Though Bossert “expressed enthusiasm” about using the lessons to create an official strategy to fight pandemics, Trump fired Bossert and disbanded both the Homeland Security global health team and its counterpart in the NSC.
2017: The Defense Department created a pandemic influenza response plan that specifically referenced the possibility of a dangerous coronavirus outbreak. The plan foresaw the medical supply shortages we’re now facing: “Competition for, and scarcity of resources will include…non-pharmaceutical MCM [Medical Countermeasures] (e.g., ventilators, devices, personal protective equipment such as face masks and gloves), medical equipment, and logistical support. This will have a significant impact on the availability of the global workforce.”
June 2017: A study by the CDC advised public health agencies to “stockpile critical medical resources,” warning that the Strategic National Stockpile “might not suffice to meet demand during a severe public health emergency.” On Wednesday, DHS officials said the emergency stockpile was “nearly exhausted” of medical supplies like masks and gloves. While there are reportedly about 9,500 ventilators in the stockpile (see more below), governors and experts predict the nation will need tens of thousands more in order to keep infected patients alive and breathing.
In January 2017, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned incoming members of Trump’s administration about the inevitability of a "surprise outbreak" of a new disease.
"There is no question that there will be a challenge to the coming administration in the arena of infectious diseases," Fauci said during a speech at Georgetown University, adding, "the thing we're extraordinarily confident about is that we're going to see this in the next few years." ..."We do need a public-health emergency fund. It's tough to get it ... but we need it," Fauci said. "Because what we had to go through for Zika — it was very, very painful when the president asked for the $1.9 billion in February and we didn't get it until September." But the Trump administration did not create such a fund, and instead cut spending for federal agencies responsible for detecting and preparing for outbreaks.
2016-2019: Three times over the past four years, the Department of Health and Human Services ran an exercise simulating a real-world influenza pandemic and testing agencies on their response. The first took place in 2016 under the Obama administration, using the lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak. Then, during the transition to the Trump administration, outgoing Obama officials put incoming Trump officials through the exercise to prepare them for the possibility. Among the officials who took part - Rex Tillerson, John Kelly, Rick Perry, and Tom Bossert, all of whom became casualties of the administration's high turnover. Lisa Monaco, Obama’s homeland security adviser, coordinated the exercise and said she was impressed with how seriously the now-former officials took the lessons.
“We modeled a new strain of flu in the exercise precisely because it’s so communicable,” Ms. Monaco said. “There is no vaccine, and you would get issues like nursing homes being particularly vulnerable, shortages of ventilators.”
The most recent pandemic exercise was run just last year and involved twelve states and over a dozen federal agencies, including DHS and NSC. The scenario was eerily similar to the one we’re living through now: a pandemic flu that originated in China and was exported via humans on airlines. The symptoms, also similar: fever, dry cough, low energy. It became immediately clear that federal and state officials did not know how to respond, confused about everything from shutting down non-essential businesses to how to orderly handle medical shortages.
Confusion emerged as state governments began to turn in large numbers to Washington for help to address shortages of antiviral medications, personal protective equipment and ventilators. Then states started to submit requests to different branches of the federal government, leading to bureaucratic chaos. The United States, the organizers realized, did not have the means to quickly manufacture more essential medical equipment, supplies or medicines, including antiviral medications, needles, syringes, N95 respirators and ventilators, the agency concluded.
Last year, the Trump administration defunded a position inside the CDC’s China office that would have provided a headstart in responding to the coronavirus outbreak before it reached the U.S. Such a specialist on the ground “could have provided real-time information to U.S. and other officials around the world during the first weeks of the outbreak, when they said the Chinese government tamped down on the release of information and provided erroneous assessments.” Nevertheless, "more than a dozen U.S. researchers, physicians and public health experts, many of them from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were working full time at the Geneva headquarters of the World Health Organization as the novel coronavirus emerged late last year and transmitted real-time information about its discovery and spread in China to the Trump administration, according to U.S. and international officials."
The presence of so many U.S. officials undercuts President Trump’s assertion that the WHO’s failure to communicate the extent of the threat, born of a desire to protect China, is largely responsible for the rapid spread of the virus in the United States.
2019: Last fall, the White House Council of Economic Advisers published a report estimating the health and economic losses associated with a potential influenza pandemic. In the most serious scenario, the report determined that over half a million people could die from a pandemic in America and warned that “healthy people might avoid work and normal social interactions... incapacitating a large fraction of the population.” Critically, the report cautions against conflating the seasonal flu with a pandemic disease, which is exactly what Trump did as the coronavirus spread across the country.
Trump tweet on March 9: "So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”
US intelligence agencies were tracking the coronavirus outbreak in China as early as November, offering multiple early warnings about the potential severity of the pandemic now spreading throughout the nation. Trump was informed of the threat posed by the coronavirus on January 3, when the intelligence collected by the National Center for Medical Intelligence was included in the President's daily briefing.
"Analysts concluded it could be a cataclysmic event," one of the sources said of the NCMI’s report. "It was then briefed multiple times to" the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s Joint Staff and the White House. Wednesday night, the Pentagon issued a statement denying the "product/assessment" existed. ...From that warning in November, the sources described repeated briefings through December for policy-makers and decision-makers across the federal government as well as the National Security Council at the White House. All of that culminated with a detailed explanation of the problem that appeared in the President’s Daily Brief of intelligence matters in early January...
The Trump administration was warned about the specific threat posed by the coronavirus at the beginning of 2020. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was officially alerted by the CDC on January 3. In the weeks that followed, U.S. intelligence agencies issued consistent warnings that the outbreak in China was more severe than the public realized. Yet publicly, Trump and Republican lawmakers minimized the threat and insisted that the outbreak was under control. Despite these ominous warnings, “Trump’s advisers struggled to get him to take the virus seriously.” Azar tried to discuss the matter with Trump in early January, but could not get through to the president until Jan. 18. Finally, with Trump on the phone, Azar attempted to bring up the warnings but the president “interjected to ask about vaping and when flavored vaping products would be back on the market.” In late January, aides convened regular meetings in an attempt to get Trump to understand the severity of the threat, but “Trump was dismissive because he did not believe that the virus had spread widely throughout the United States.” Some officials even foresaw the shortages of coronavirus test kits, calling for a more forceful response, but Trump again resisted. According to The Washington Post, Trump dismissed his own intelligence officials and chose instead to believe China’s President Xi Jingping.
Some of Trump’s advisers told him that Beijing was not providing accurate numbers of people who were infected or who had died, according to administration officials. Rather than press China to be more forthcoming, Trump publicly praised its response.
Early January: “In a report to the director of national intelligence, the State Department’s epidemiologist wrote in early January that the virus was likely to spread across the globe, and warned that the coronavirus could develop into a pandemic… The early alarms sounded by Mr. Pottinger and other China hawks were freighted with ideology… And they ran into opposition from Mr. Trump’s economic advisers, who worried a tough approach toward China could scuttle a trade deal that was a pillar of Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign.” * “Mr. Trump took a conciliatory approach through the middle of March, praising the job Mr. Xi was doing. That changed abruptly, when aides informed Mr. Trump that a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman had publicly spun a new conspiracy about the origins of Covid-19: that it was brought to China by U.S. Army personnel who visited the country last October. Mr. Trump was furious, and he took to his favorite platform to broadcast a new message. On March 16, he wrote on Twitter that ‘the United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus.’”
Mid-January 2020: At a March 30 House Oversight Committee briefing, “HHS admitted that the Department knew as early as mid-January based on 2015 models that the United States would not have enough N95 respirator masks to respond to an infectious disease outbreak.” Also mid-to-late January, HHS Secretary Alex Azar - who oversees the CDC and FDA - hired a "trusted aide with minimal public health experience to lead the agency’s day-to-day response to COVID-19."
The aide, Brian Harrison, had joined the department after running a dog-breeding business for six years. Five sources say some officials in the White House derisively called him “the dog breeder.”
The agencies under Azar and Harrison "wouldn’t come up with viable tests for five and half weeks, even as other countries and the World Health Organization had already prepared their own."
January and February 2020: National security adviser Robert C. O’Brien and his deputy, Matthew Pottinger, were pushing for “strong action” earlier than others in the administration. Pottinger, who lived in China during the SARS crisis, knew that the Chinese government was underplaying the outbreak in their country and, with O’Brien, “repeatedly pressed other top [U.S.] officials to take the threat more seriously.” According to the Washington Post, then-acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were among the officials who were not convinced.
For instance, on Jan. 18, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar first briefed Trump on the threat of the virus in a phone call.
On Jan. 27, White House aides met with then-acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to try to get senior officials to take the virus threat more seriously, the Washington Post reports. Joe Grogan, the head of the White House Domestic Policy Council, warned it could cost Trump his re-election.
Jan. 28: Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and former NSC Director for Medical and Biodefense Preparedness Luciana Borio published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal titled “Act Now to Prevent an American Epidemic.” The pair called for expanded testing and isolation, increased efforts to vaccinate for the regular flu to reduce the load on hospitals, a massive operation to provide hospitals with medical supplies like masks, and immediate prioritizing of vaccine development. Their recommendations were spot on - the U.S. is still unable to widely test for the virus and hospitals are having to rely on makeshift masks and gowns.
Trump on Jan. 29: “The risk of infection for Americans remains low, and all agencies are working aggressively to monitor this continuously evolving situation and to keep the public informed.”
On January 29, President Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro, wrote a memo warning the White House that the coronavirus could claim more than a half-million lives because it was much more serious than the seasonal flu:
“The lack of immune protection or an existing cure or vaccine would leave Americans defenseless in the case of a full-blown coronavirus outbreak on U.S. soil,” Mr. Navarro’s memo said. “This lack of protection elevates the risk of the coronavirus evolving into a full-blown pandemic, imperiling the lives of millions of Americans.”
One day later, on Jan. 30, Trump said of the threat: “We think it’s going to have a very good ending for it. So that I can assure you.”
Jan. 30: Dr. James Hamblin published an analysis in the Atlantic titled “We Don’t Have Enough Masks,” warning that already at the end of January the supplies of protective equipment were running out. “This threat of shortages of basic medical tools extends well beyond masks. In a serious pandemic, the U.S. is not prepared to be isolated for long,” he wrote.
Trump on Jan. 30: “We think we have it very well under control… We only have five people. Hopefully, everything's going to be great.”
Feb. 3, 2020: The Daily Beast reported: “An unclassified briefing document on the novel coronavirus prepared on Feb. 3 by U.S. Army-North projected that ‘between 80,000 and 150,000 could die.’ ...if the White House had heeded an Army warning nearly two months ago, it might have prompted earlier action to prevent an outbreak that threatens to kill more Americans than two to four Vietnam Wars.”
Feb. 4: Gottlieb and Borio published another piece in the Wall Street Journal, titled “Stop a U.S. Coronavirus Outbreak Before It Starts.” They warned that Trump’s Chinese travel ban was inadequate to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the U.S. and implored the CDC to change its testing guidelines to include all individuals, not just those who visited China recently.
Trump on Feb. 10: “I think the virus is going to be — it’s going to be fine.”
Feb. 5, 2020: Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar asked the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for $2 billion to buy respirator masks and other supplies for the depleted Strategic National Stockpile. The request turned into a “shouting match” on Feb. 5 between Azar and an OMB official, who alleged that Azar improperly lobbied Congress for money for the stockpile. The White House cut the $2 billion down to just $500 million in the final budget request sent to Congress.
More details: In February 2019, the White House was planning for a presidential executive order on preparing for a potential flu pandemic. HHS requested a more than $11 billion investment over 10 years for [the stockpile]...some of those funds would go toward “better protective devices, manufactured faster.” But the executive order issued by Trump in September 2019 did not include that money.
Feb. 5, 2020: While Azar was trying to secure funding via the White House OMB, he was simultaneously denying additional funding from Congress. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted on Feb. 5 about a coronavirus briefing he had attended, saying “Notably, no request for ANY emergency funding, which is a big mistake. Local health systems need supplies, training, screening staff etc. And they need it now.” In an interview last week, Murphy explained that numerous lawmakers demanded to know why the administration wasn’t asking Congress for funding for medical supplies. “Their position was that this wasn’t the moment to start panicking, staffing up and buying supplies,” Murphy continued.
More details from WaPo: “Crucially, several lawmakers were already telling administration officials that ‘our local public health systems were fundamentally just not ready,’ Murphy told me. ‘States were beginning to grapple with some of the most thorny questions, and it was clear the administration didn’t understand the scope of what was going to be necessary.’”
Yahoo News: “Had we appropriated money in February to start buying re-agent, we would be in a position to do many more tests today than we are,” Murphy said. ”It was just so clear to us that the administration didn't think this was going to be a problem. We begged them in that meeting to request emergency funding from the Congress and they told us ... that they had everything that they needed on hand, which was false.”
Feb. 12: Gottlieb and Borio participated in a Senate Homeland Security Committee meeting to sound the alarm that the actual number of coronavirus cases is “much, much higher” than reported and “very concerning for a pandemic.” Gottlieb told senators that the U.S. desperately needed to expand testing and predicted: “We’re going to see those outbreaks start to emerge in the next two to four weeks.” Trump administration officials were asked to participate in the Senate hearing, but they refused.
On February 23, Navarro sent a second memo (directly addressed to Trump) that warned of an “increasing probability of a full-blown COVID-19 pandemic that could infect as many as 100 million Americans, with a loss of life of as many as 1.2 million souls.” He urged the task force, which had been meeting for nearly a month, to spare no expense to “get the appropriate protective gear and point of care diagnostics [read: rapid COVID-19 tests].”
Feb. 24: Trump says: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. … Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”
Feb. 26: Trump says, “When you have 15 people — and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero — that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”
Despite Navarro’s advice to start buying personal protective equipment (PPE) and developing rapid COVID-19 testing methods, the Trump administration didn't start making orders for bulk production of that gear until the middle of March.
Feb. 25: The most significant warning from within the administration came from senior CDC official Nancy Messonnier, who alerted reporters that Americans should be prepared for “community spread” of the coronavirus within the U.S. “Disruption to everyday life might be severe,” Messonnier said. Rather than take heed of her warning, Trump called Azar and complained that Messonnier was scaring the stock markets. UPDATE: The WSJ reports that Trump called Azar and threatened to fire Messonier for her statement. In apparent retaliation, Trump had Azar demoted from leading the coronavirus task force the next day.
Trump on Feb. 27: "When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done."
Late February: The Daily Beast reported: “A high-ranking federal official in late February warned that the United States needed to plan for not having enough personal protective equipment for medical workers as they began to battle the novel coronavirus, according to internal emails obtained by Kaiser Health News.”
March 16: Trump finally acknowledges the severity of the pandemic. During the coronavirus task force briefing, Trump announced national social distancing guidelines (without forcing states to enact such measures and whlie frequently undercutting his own government's advice).
Of course, Trump "taking it seriously" only lasted a couple of weeks. He has since been agitating to "reopen" the country regardless of the numerous expert warnings that it is dangerous to do so without a dramatic increase in testing capacity.
2020.04.01 03:27 displacedindavisHow have the most successful teams in terms of league titles performed in other domestic competitions around the world?
This has been something I've been studying for a while but been having a very difficult time trying to convey and hopefully I've found the right way to do so. I get it: of course teams that win a lot of league titles also tend to win a lot of domestic competitions. This post isn't going to dispute that, it's more of just a "hey, this is interesting to know" kind of thing. It might have been more interesting to look at clubs that have won domestic competitions and not league titles but truthfully, that list is going to be exceptionally long. But that doesn't take away from what teams like Wigan, Swansea City, Zaragoza, Leverkusen, Parma, Rennes, Braga, Rostov, and Vitesse have accomplished in this respect. It's true that such competitions may be secondary (ex. FA Cup) or even tertiary (ex. EFL Cup), but that doesn't mean one should discredit the work that went into winning these. These pieces of silverware are nothing to hold your heads down over. I was going to do more Asian and African nations but sadly, I'm suffering a bit of a burnout looking at stats so please forgive me there. I welcome any suggestions in the comments. Without further ado, here we go. Albania (Tirana):
Albanian Cup: 16 (1st), last won in 2017 (3-1 a.e.t. over Skënderbeu)
Albanian Supercup: 11 (1st), last won in 2017 (1-0 over Kukësi)
Andorra (Santa Coloma):
Copa Constitució: 9 (1st), last won in 2018 (2-1 over Sant Julià)
Supercopa Andorrana: 7 (1st), last won in 2019 (2-1 over Engordany)
Argentina* (River Plate):
Copa Argentina: 3 (1st, T-Boca Juniors), last won in 2019 (3-0 over Central Córdoba)
Supercopa Argentina: 1 (every team that has won has only won once due to this competition being so new), last won in 2017 (2-0 over Boca Juniors)
The other two league cups only had their debut last season so although River Plate has never won either, it's quite understandable why
Armenian Cup: 8 (1st), last won in 2015 (3-1 over Mika)
Armenian Supercup: 9 (1st), last won in 2015 (3-0 over Mika)
Australia (Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC, w/Perth Glory if you count just premierships)\*:
FFA Cup: 1 (2nd, T-Melbourne City and Sydney FC, Adelaide United 1st w/3), last won in 2015 (2-0 over Perth Glory)
FFA Cup: 1 (2nd, T-Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory, Adelaide United 1st w/3), last won in 2017 (2-1 a.e.t. over Adelaide United)
FFA Cup: 0**
*Australia and New Zealand have a system where the best regular-season team is awarded a premiership and a knockout tournament winner is awarded a championship. Both Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC lead the way in championships and championships + premierships, but Perth Glory own the most premierships taken as a separate category.
**The FFA Cup is a very new domestic trophy so don't give them a bad time about this
Austria (Rapid Wien):
Austrian Cup: 14 (2nd, Austria Wien 1st w/27), last won in 1995 (3-1 over Admira Wacker Wien)
Azerbaijan (Neftchi Baku):
Azerbaijan Cup: 7 (1st), last won in 2014 (1-1, 3-2 penalties over Gabala)
Belarusian Cup: 3 (1st, T-Shakhtyor Soligorsk, Dinamo Minsk, Belshina Bobruisk, and Dynamo Brest), last won in 2015 (4-1 over Shakhtyor Soligorsk)
Belarusian Supercup: 7 (1st), last won in 2017 (3-1 over Torpedo-BelAZ Zhodino)
Belgian Cup: 9 (2nd, Club Brugge 1st w/11), last won in 2008 (3-2 over Gent)
Belgian Super Cup: 13 (2nd, Club Brugge 1st w/15), last won in 2017 (2-1 over Zulte Waregem)
Bosnia and Herzegovina (Željezničar and Zrinjski):
Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Cup: 6 (1st, T-Sarajevo), last won in 2018 (2-0 1st leg, 4-0 2nd leg over Krupa)
Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Cup: 1 (3rd, T-Orašje, Slavija, Borac, Modriča, Olimpic, Radnik), last won in 2008 (1-2 1st leg, 2-1, 3-1 penalties 2nd leg over Sloboda)
Copa do Brasil: 3 (3rd, T-Corinthians and Flamengo, Cruzeiro 1st w/2018), last won in 2015 (0-1 first leg, 2-1, 4-3 penalties second leg over Santos)
Bulgarian Cup: 20 (2nd, Levski 1st w/25), last won in 2016 (1-0 a.e.t. over Litex Lovech)
Bulgarian Supercup: 4 (1st, T-Ludogorets Razgrad), last won in 2011 (3-1 over Litex Lovech)
Canada (Toronto FC and Forge FC*):
Canadian Championship: 7 (1st), last won in 2018 (2-2 1st leg, 5-2 2nd leg over Vancouver Whitecaps)
Canadian Championship: 0, but the CPL started just one season ago so don't blame them
*Toronto FC represents the MLS while Forge FC represents the CPL. Teams from both leagues can qualify for the Canadian Championship. Toronto FC has won 1 MLS Cup while Forge FC won the inaugural CPL.
Copa Chile: 12 (1st), last won in 2019 (2-1 over Universidad de Chile)
China (Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao and Liaoning):
Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao
Chinese FA Cup: 2 (4th, T-Liaoning Whowin, Shangdong Luneng Taishan 1st w/5), last won in 2016 (1-1 1st leg, 2-2 2nd leg on away goals over Jiangsu Suning)
Chinese FA Super Cup: 4 (1st), last won in 2018 (4-1 over Shanghai Greenland Shenhua)
Chinese FA Cup: 2 (4th, T-Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao, Shangdong Luneng Taishan 1st w/5), last won in 1986 (1-0 over Beijing Guoan)
Chinese FA Super Cup: 1 (4th, T-Guizhou Renhe, Jiangsu Suning, Shangdong Luneng Taishan, Shanghai SIPG, Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao 1st w/4), last won in 1999 (4-2 over Shangdong Luneng Taishan)
Colombia (Atlético Nacional):
Copa Colombia: 4 (1st), last won in 2018 (2-2 1st leg, 2-1 2nd leg over Once Caldas)
Superliga Colombiana: 2 (2nd, Santa Fe 1st w/3), last won in 2016 (2-0 1st leg, 3-0 2nd leg over Deportivo Cali)
Croatia (Dinamo Zagreb):
Croatian Football Cup/Yugoslav Cup: 22 (1st), last won in 2018 (1-0 over Hajduk Split)
Croatian Super Cup\*: 6 (1st), last won in 2019 (1-0 over Rijeka)
*It seems like this trophy is only awarded in years when a team doesn't win a domestic double (the Croatian First Football League title and the Croatian Football Cup)
Cypriot Cup: 21 (1st), last won in 2015 (4-2 over AEL Limassol)
Cypriot Super Cup: 14 (2nd, Omonia 1st w/16), last won in 2019 (1-0 over AEL)
Czech Republic (Sparta Prague):
Czech Cup/Czechoslovak Cup: 14 (1st), last won in 2014 (1-1 a.e.t., 8-7 penalties over Viktoria Plzeň)
Danish Cup: 8 (2nd, AGF 1st w/9), last won in 2017 (3-1 over Brøndby)
*The Copa Ecuador has had only one edition so far and Barcelona didn't win, but don't give them a hard time over that
Egypt Cup: 36 (1st), last won in 2017 (2-1 a.e.t. over Al Masry)
Egyptian Super Cup: 11 (1st), last won in 2019 (3-2 over Zamalek)
England (Manchester United):
FA Cup: 12 (2nd, Arsenal's 1st w/13), last won in 2016 (2-1 a.e.t. over Crystal Palace)
FA Community Shield: 21 (1st), last won in 2016 (2-1 over Leicester City)
EFL Cup: 5 (3rd, T-Aston Villa, Liverpool 1st w/8), last won in 2017 (3-2 over Southampton)
Estonian Cup: 7 (2nd, Levadia 1st w/9), last won in 2016 (3-0 a.e.t. over Sillamäe Kalev)
Estonian Supercup: 10 (1st), last won in 2020 (2-0 over Narva Trans)
Faroe Islands (HB):
Faroe Islands Cup: 27 (1st), last won in 2019 (3-1 over Víkingur)
Finnish Cup: 13 (1st), last won in 2017 (1-0 over SJK)
France (Saint-Etienne, and Marseille if you count their amateur title):
Coupe de France: 6 (3rd, T-Lille, Paris Saint-Germain 1st w/12), last won in 1977 (2-1 over Reims)
Trophée des Champions: 5 (3rd, Paris Saint-Germain 1st w/9), last won in 1969 (3-2 over Marseille)
Coupe de la Ligue\*: 1 (5th, T-Gueugnon, Lyon, Monaco, Montpellier, Nancy, Nantes, Sochaux, Reims, Paris Saint-Germain 1st w/8), last won in 2013 (1-0 over Rennes)
Coupe de France: 10 (2nd, Paris Saint-Germain 1st w/12), last won in 1989 (4-3 over Monaco)
Trophée des Champions: 3 (4th, T-Bordeaux and Nantes, Paris Saint-Germain 1st w/9), last won in 2011 (5-4 over Lille)
Coupe de la Ligue\*: 3 (3rd, T-Bordeaux, Paris Saint-Germain 1st w/8), last won in 2012 (1-0 a.e.t. over Lyon)
*Competition ends after this season
Georgia (Dinamo Tbilisi):
Georgian Cup: 13 (1st), last won in 2016 (spring, 1-0 over Sioni Bolnisi)
Georgian Super Cup: 7 (1st), last won in 2015 (1-0 over Dila Gori)
Germany (Bayern Munich):
DFB-Pokal: 19 (1st), last won in 2019 (3-0 over RB Leipzig)
DFL-Supercup: 7 (1st), last won in 2018 (5-0 over Eintracht Frankfurt)
Gibraltar (Lincoln Red Imps):
Rock Cup: 17 (1st), last won in 2016 (2-0 over Europa)
Greek Cup: 27 (1st), last won in 2015 (3-1 over Xanthi)
Magyar Kupa: 23 (1st), last won in 2017 (1-1 a.e.t., 5-4 penalties over Vasas)
Icelandic Cup: 14 (1st), last won in 2014 (2-1 over Keflavík)
Icelandic Super Cup: 5 (3rd, T-ÍA, Valur 1st w/11), last won in 2014 (2-0 over Fram)
Deildabikar: 8 (1st), last won in 2019
Ireland (Shamrock Rovers):
FAI Cup: 25 (1st), last won in 2019 (1-1 a.e.t., 4-2 penalties over Dundalk)
President of Ireland's Cup: 0, but this competition didn't start that long ago so don't bash them
League of Ireland Cup: 2 (5th, T-Drogheda United, Galway United, Sligo Rovers, Waterford United), last won in 2013 (2-0 over Drogheda United)
Hazfi Cup: 6 (2nd, Esteghlal 1st w/7), last won in 2019 (1-0 over Damash Gilan)
Iranian Super Cup: 3 (1st), last won in 2019 (3-0 over Esteghlal)
Israel (Maccabi Tel Aviv):
Israel State Cup: 23 (1st), last won in 2015 (6-2 over Hapoel Be'er Sheva)
Israel Super Cup: 6 (1st), last won in 2019 (1-0 over Bnei Yehuda)
Toto Cup: 6 (1st), last won in 2019 (2-1 over Maccabi Haifa)
Coppa Italia: 13 (1st), last won in 2018 (4-0 over Milan)
Supercoppa Italiana: 8 (1st), last won in 2018 (1-0 over Milan)
Japan (Kashima Antlers and Sanfrecce Hiroshima):
Emperor's Cup: 5 (2nd, T-Gamba Osaka and Tokyo Verdy, Urawa Red Diamonds and Yokohama F. Marinos 1st w/7), last won in 2016 (2-1 a.e.t. over Kawasaki Frontale)
Japanese Super Cup: 6 (1st), last won in 2017 (3-2 over Uruwa Red Diamonds)
J.League Cup: 6 (1st), last won in 2015 (3-0 over Gamba Osaka)
Emperor's Cup: 3 (5th, T-Kashiwa Reysol and Shonan Bellmare, Urawa Red Diamonds and Yokohama F. Marinos 1st w/7), last won in 1969 (4-1 over Rikkyo University)
Japanese Super Cup: 4 (2nd, T-Tokyo Verdy and Uruwa Red Diamonds, Kashima Antlers 1st w/6), last won in 2016 (3-1 over Gamba Osaka)
J.League Cup: 0
Kazakhstan Cup: 3 (2nd, T-Astana-1964, Kairat 1st w/9*), last won in 2016 (1-0 over Kairat)
Kazakhstan Super Cup: 5 (1st), last won in 2020 (1-0 over Kaisar)
*Astana is a very new club formed in 2009 while Kairat has been around for much longer, meaning they got a headstart in Kazakhstan Cup titles. The Kazakhstan Super Cup, however, was founded just 1 year before Astana was formed meaning Astana got the head start there.
Kosovar Cup: 5 (1st), last won in 2018 (1-1 a.e.t., 5-4 penalties over Vëllaznimi)
Kosovar Supercup\*: 9 (1st), last won in 2016 (2-1 over Feronikeli)
*It seems like this cup is automatically awarded to any team that earns a double (Football Superleague of Kosovo champions and Kosovar Cup winners)
Latvian Cup: 7 (1st), last won in 2017 (2-2 a.e.t., 6-5 penalties over Riga)
Lithuania (Žalgiris Vilnius):
Lithuanian Football Cup: 13 (1st), last won in 2018 (3-0 over Stumbras)
Lithuanian Supercup: 7 (1st), last won in 2020 (1-0 over Sūduva)
Luxembourg (Jeunesse Esch):
Luxembourg Cup: 13 (1st), last won in 2013 (2-1 over Differdange 03)
Malta (Sliema Wanderers):
Maltese FA Trophy: 21 (1st), last won in 2016 (0-0 a.e.t., 5-4 penalties over Balzan)
Maltese Super Cup: 3 (4th, T-Hibernians, Valletta 1st w/13), last won in 2009 (1-0 over Hibernians)
Copa MX: 7 (2nd, Necaxa 1st w/8*), last won in the 2019 Clausura (1-0 over Juárez)
Supercopa MX: 0, but this competition didn't start a long time ago so don't hate on them for this
Campeón de Campeones: 6 (2nd, Guadalajara 1st w/7), last won in 2019 (0-0, 6-5 penalties over UANL)
*If you don't count amateur wins, then América is 1st w/6 compared to Necaxa's 4th
Moldovan Cup: 10 (1st), last won in 2019 (1-0 a.e.t. over Sfântul Gheorghe)
Moldovan Super Cup\*: 7 (1st), last won in 2016 (3-1 over Zaria Bălți)
*It seems like this trophy is only awarded in years when a team doesn't win a domestic double (the Moldovan National Division title and the Moldovan Cup)
Montenegrin Cup: 1 (3rd, T-Čelik, Lovćen, Mogren, and Petrovac, Rudar 1st w/4), last won in 2017 (1-0 over Grbalj)
KNVB Cup: 19 (1st), last won in 2019 (4-0 over Willem II)
Johan Cruyff Shield: 9 (2nd, PSV 1st w/11), last won in 2019 (2-0 over PSV)
Northern Ireland (Linfield):
Irish Cup: 43 (1st), last won in 2017 (3-0 over Coleraine)
Northern Ireland Football League Cup: 10 (1st), last won in 2019 (1-0 over Ballymena United)
North Macedonia (Vardar):
Macedonian Football Cup: 5 (1st), last won in 2007 (2-1 over Pobeda)
Norwegian Cup: 12 (1st, T-Odd), last won in 2018 (4-1 over Strømsgodset)
Meisterfinalen\*: 3 (1st), last won in 2018 (1-0 over Lillestrøm)
*This is a fairly new competition that started in 2009 and has actually only been held 4 times due to a hiatus between 2011-16 and a weather-related cancellation in 2019.
Copa Paraguay\*: 0
*This competition has had only 2 editions so Olimpia is easily forgiven for not winning yet
*Both of the domestic cups only have had one iteration each so far so Universitario not winning either shouldn't really be a surprise for now
Poland (Ruch Chorzów and Górnik Zabrze):
Polish Cup: 3 (5th, T-GKS Katowice and Amica Wronci, Legia Warsaw 1st w/19), last won in 1996 (1-0 over GKS Bełchatów)
Polish SuperCup: 0
Polish Cup: 6 (2nd, Legia Warsaw 1st w/19), last won in 1972 (5-2 over Legia Warsaw)
Polish SuperCup: 1 (4th, T-Jagiellonia Białystok, Polonia Warsaw, Widzew Łódź, Wisła Krakow, Wisła Płock, Zagłębie Lubin, Zawisza Bydgoszcz, Lech Poznań 1st w/6), last won in 1988 (2-1 over Lech Poznań)
Taça de Portugal: 26 (1st), last won in 2017 (2-1 over Vitória de Guimarães)
Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira: 8 (2nd, Porto 1st w/21), last won in 2019 (5-0 over Sporting CP)
Taça da Liga: 7 (1st), last won in 2016 (6-2 over Marítimo)
Emir of Qatar Cup: 16 (1st), last won in 2017 (2-1 over Al Rayyan)
Qatar Cup: 7 (1st), last won in 2020 (4-0 over Al-Duhail)
Sheikh Jassim Cup: 14 (1st), last won in 2019 (1-0 over Al-Duhail)
Cupa României: 21 (1st), last won in 1999 (2-2 a.e.t., 4-2 penalties over Rapid București)
Supercupa României: 6 (1st), last won in 2013 (3-0 over Petrolul Ploiești)
Russia (Spartak Moscow):
Russian Cup/Soviet Cup: 13 (1st), last won in 2003 (1-0 over Rostov)
Russian Super Cup/Soviet Super Cup: 1 (5th, T-Dynamo Moscow, CSKA Moscow 1st w/7), last won in 2017 (2-1 a.e.t. over Lokomotiv Moscow)
San Marino (Tre Fiori):
Coppa Titano: 7 (3rd, Libertas 1st w/11), last won in 2019 (1-0 over Folgore)
Super Coppa Sammarinese: 5 (1st, counting Trofeo Federales as well), last won in 2019 (2-1 over Tre Penne)
Saudi Arabia (Al-Nassr):
Kings Cup: 6 (4th, Al-Ahli 1st w/13), last won in 1990 (2-0 over Al-Taawoun)
Saudi Super Cup: 1 (2nd, T-Al-Ahli, Al-Fateh, Al-Shabab, Al-Hilal 1st w/2), last won in 2019 (1-1, 5-4 penalties over Al-Taawoun)
Scottish Cup: 33 (2nd, Celtic 1st w/39), last won in 2009 (1-0 over Falkirk)
Scottish League Cup: 27 (1st), last won in 2011 (2-1 a.e.t. over Celtic)
Serbia (Red Star):
Serbian Cup/Serbia and Montenegro Cup/Yugoslav Cup: 24 (1st), last won in 2012 (2-0 over Borac Čačak)
Slovakia (Slovan Bratislava):
Slovak Cup/Czechoslovak Cup: 20 (1st), last won in 2018 (3-1 over Ružomberok)
Slovenian Football Cup: 9 (1st), last won in 2016 (2-2 a.e.t., 7-6 penalties over Celje)
South Korea (Pohang Steelers):
Korean FA Cup: 4 (2nd, Suwon Samsung Bluewings 1st w/5), last won in 2013 (1-1, 4-3 penalties over Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors)
Spain (Real Madrid):
Copa del Rey: 19 (3rd, Barcelona 1st w/30), last won in 2014 (2-1 over Barcelona)
Supercopa de España: 11 (2nd, Barcelona 1st w/13), last won in 2020 (0-0 a.e.t., 4-1 penalties over Atlético Madrid)
Svenska Cupen: 14 (1st), last won in 1989 (3-0 over Djurgårdens)
Swiss Cup: 19 (1st), last won in 2013 (1-1 a.e.t., 4-3 penalties over Basel)
Turkey (Galatasaray or Fenerbahçe depending on how you start the count*):
Turkish Cup: 18 (1st), last won in 2019 (3-1 over Akhisarspor)
Turkish Super Cup: 16 (1st), last won in 2019 (1-0 over Akhisarspor)
Turkish Cup: 6 (4th, Galatasaray 1st w/18), last won in 2013 (1-0 over Trabzonspor)
Turkish Super Cup: 9 (2nd, Galatasaray 1st w/16), last won in 2014 (0-0 a.e.t., 3-2 penalties over Galatasaray)
*This is a pretty controversial situation. Most people have begrudgingly accepted the TFF's count from 1959 but the TFF kind of just decided to erase history for reasons I'm not completely aware of. I feel the need to acknowledge the pre-1959 titles because it just feels like the right thing to do. Nevertheless, I'll also take into account those who strongly believe pre-1959 titles shouldn't count which is why both Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe are included. Beşiktaş, unfortunately, didn't make either cut, sorry :-(.
Ukraine (Dynamo Kyiv):
Ukrainian Cup/Soviet Cup: 20 (1st), last won in 2015 (0-0 a.e.t., 5-4 penalties over Shakhtar Donetsk)
Ukrainian Super Cup/Soviet Super Cup: 11 (1st, T-1st w/Shakhtar Donetsk if just Ukrainian Super Cups), last won in 2019 (2-1 over Shakhtar Donetsk)
Supercopa Uruguaya: Peñarol (1st, only 3 editions so far and each team that has won has only won once), last won in 2018 (3-1 over Nacional)
United States (LA Galaxy):
Supporters' Shield\*: 4 (1st, T-D.C. United), last won in 2011
U.S. Open Cup: 2 (4th, T-FC Dallas, Chicago Fire and Seattle Sounders 1st w/4), last won in 2005
*In America, the system is very counterintuitive in that the Supporters' Shield, given to the best regular-season team, is actually the secondary prize and the knockout tournament (MLS Cup) is the primary prize.
Copa Venezuela: 5 (1st), last won in 2013 (1-2 1st leg, 2-0 2nd leg over Deportivo Táchira)
Wales (Barry Town):
Welsh Cup: 6 (3rd, Bangor City 1st w/8*), last won in 2003 (2-2 a.e.t., 4-3 penalties over Cwmbran Town)
Welsh League Cup: 4 (2nd, The New Saints 1st w/9), last won in 2000 (6-0 over Bangor City)
*I have not included teams that are currently playing in the English football league system in my counts
2020.02.25 18:58 DeerTriviaOptimized Bounties for 2/25/2020
Listen up, good people of the city! The new season is dropping on March 10th, which gives us just two weeks to prepare. If you’re still trying to reach Season Rank 100, keep doing what you’ve been doing. If you’re still trying to reach Season Rank 200, keep doing what you’re doing. But if you’re a no-lifer like me that got that triumph a while ago, then you aren’t going to get much value out of turning in bounties right now. So instead, I’m going to go over some of the do’s and don’ts of banking bounties for next season! Saving up bounties and turning them in on Day 1 can give you a big head start on leveling your rewards track.
Prioritize Planetary Bounties, unless Bungie gives us reason to believe we shouldn’t. Last season Bungie mentioned in a TWAB that they were reworking some of the Crucible bounty requirements and rewards. As a result, all of the Crucible bounties I’d banked in advance of Season of Dawn just disappeared on day one. Planetary Bounties are almost certainly not getting tweaked any time soon, so they’re the safest thing to keep around. Edit: do not bank Tangled Shore or Dreaming City bounties.
Do not bank any Gambit bounties. Back before Opulence dropped, Bungie figured out that we could stack enough Gambit bounties to get 3-4 Powerful drops, and with Crown of Sorrows dropping the same day the season began, turning in a massive amount of bounties for four quick Powerfuls was not something they wanted players doing. Rather than simply expire those bounties, though, they essentially made any infamy gained from bounties ‘poison’ your rank ups until your next reset. If you gain infamy using a bounty from last season, all of your Gambit rank-up drops will be non-powerful until your next reset.
Banking weeklies is great for XP, less great for Bright Dust. For example, if you bank four Vanguard weeklies and four Crucible Weeklies, that’s 80k experience. But if you turn in bounties for Bright Dust on the first day of the season, and Zavala/Shaxx are offering those same bounties that week, you can’t take them again that week. So it’s a tradeoff – XP for a headstart in exchange for maybe losing the chance to earn more Bright Dust. Your call on whether or not that’s worth it. Banshee Weeklies are safe, though.
Leave at least one slot open for the Seasonal Artifact Quest. We had to do a quest to get the Lantern from Osiris, so assume we’ll have to do a quest to get the doodad from Rasputin this time around. And on that note…
Do not turn in any bounties until you have the Seasonal Artifact.
Don’t save any Obelisk or Saint-XIV bounties. Fractaline is a seasonal currency, and any bounties awarding seasonal stuff are almost certainly disappearing when the new season starts. EDIT: I went back and checked, and did not see anything from Bungie about expiring seasonal bounties, so I may have remembered wrong. I still think it's a risk, but you can try banking these for a huge boost of Weekly XP.
With a Guiding Light Shell and the double XP buff from it being reset day, you should be able to gain a decent amount of levels right from the get-go! And now, bounties! Step 1 - Forgive me for missing the Gambit Weekly specifics. At a work thing right now, Discord pals provided me with Zavala/Shaxx Weekly Info, but still missing Drifter’s. If anyone wants to fill me in on their specifics, I can edit them in later! Step 2 - Pick up the following Dailies and Weeklies! Tower Bounties:
Zavala Weekly – End the Ritual – 3 Strikes, Kill 1 Hive Boss
Zavala Daily – The Harder They Fall – Kill 10 Challenging Enemies in Strikes
Zavala Daily – They Were the Champions – Kill 5 Champions in the Ordeal
Shaxx Weekly – Combat Drill – Play 5 Matches, Fewer With Kills
Shaxx Daily – By the Code – Defeat 10 Opponents in Crucible
Shaxx Daily – High Energy – 5 Energy Weapon Kills in Crucible
Shaxx Daily – Into the Light – 1 Super Kill in Crucible
Shaxx Daily – The Art of Demolition – Win 1 Offense Round in Countdown
Play one Countdown match. (10 minutes) If you need another match to clear bounties, one more of any gametype. (10 minutes)
Play one-to-two Gambit Prime matches. (10-20 minutes)
Fly TO THE MOOOOOOOOOOOON, grab Eris’s bounties, and clear two Public Events. (10 minutes)
Total Non-Elemental Non-Weapon-Specific Bounties Cleared: 13 Dailies Total Time: 45-65 minutes Rewards:
78,000 XP (unmodified)
10 Vanguard Tokens, 2/8 Zavala Weekly Challenge
20 Crucible Tokens, 4/8 Shaxx Weekly Challenge
1 Enhancement Core, 1/8 Banshee Weekly Challenge
15 Helium Filaments
Extra Weapon/Elemental Bounties: I figured some people could use an extra XP boost in the final weeks of the season, so I’m going to start tossing in a few easy weapon/element specific bounties at the end here.
Eris has a fusion rifle bounty, which you can use to clear her energy kill bounty.
The latest chapter of the "Paloma" saga. "Do you want me to find your apprentice?" Ivy asked with slight confusion. "Not yet," Paloma declared, "First, I must tell you why I am here. They are coming. The Blood Moon is upon us tonight. Dark forces are on the move, and they will attack Wyvernbourne. The Chaqugos is a curse, just like my face." "Are you done degrading yourself?" Ivy interrupted, "you have extreme self-esteem issues." "I'm serious," Paloma said, "I know the dark side of magic all too well. Even you being blind was probably some sort of price you had to pay for your abilities." "I was born blind," Ivy corrected. "Exactly." With that one word, Ivy's expression loosened, and a brief moment of silence and understanding commenced between the two masked women before making their way to the city. Paloma had the option of flight, but chose to walk with Ivy instead, who led the way despite her not being the sighted one. When they entered a clearing from out of the woods, Paloma was able to see the walls and spires of the city from miles away. Paloma stepped in front of Ivy, and nearly tripped her as she knelt down. "What are you doing?"Ivy asked as she regained her balance. "Get on," Paloma replied. Ivy felt around until she realized that Paloma was kneeling down so that she could climb onto her back, which she did. Before Paloma could tell Ivy to hang on, Ivy interrupted her and said, "Just go." Paloma extended her wings upward, and squatted down as she jumped up and swam toward the sky with a powerful flap of her wings. Ivy didn't even scream. As they rapidly approached the city, Paloma landed in a shadowy alley of the city's crowded marketplace just past the Eastern Wall. The vines loosened, and shrunk back into Ivy's bracelet as she stepped forth from the shadows and told Paloma, ". I know a tavern where they just let anyone in, and I mean ANYONE. We can hide out there, and we can talk about whatever your dilemma is." Paloma replied in a soft, timid and almost child-like whisper, "Okay." The two managed to blend in with dense crowds on the way to a sleepy tavern known as The Raven's Tail. She was captivated by the sign, which featured a black eagle with its wings spread, sitting on top of a skull. Paloma stared at the sign for nearly a minute, until Ivy brought her back to reality. "Are you coming in? Or are you waiting for the rain?" Paloma blinked, and took one last glance at the sign before walking in behind her new friend. She stayed with Ivy as they crept through the crowded place, filled with people from all through the lands, drinking and laughing together.
There was even a group gathered around a storyteller off to the side, and it caught Paloma's attention, because she recognized the tales being told. The stories were about her and Roque, and their many adventures together in the wilderness beyond Panark. Paloma drifted off to hear the old man talk about her without mentioning her by name as Ivy made her way to another group by the bar, a small group of men in black and red militaristic uniforms; Prime Guild members. Ivy ordered a special drink called The Demigod's Ale, and as she waited, she caught the eye of one of the members. He was very tall, with an elegant build. He was bald, and his skin was dark. His eyes were like two hooded garnets, and his smile was so prominent, that Ivy almost could hear it. "So, " he began in a smooth, deep voice, " are you a hunter?" Ivy took an extended swig, and replied as she set the drink down to catch her breath, "What kind of ice-breaker is that?" The man laughed, "I just figured you to be a hunter. I see you're clearly an archer. You carry a quiver with arrows, but i don't see a bow. Do you... throw them?" "What do you want?" Ivy sharply interrupted. "There's a fat bounty for a certain magical beast we can't really name. From what we heard, it's some sort of fox dragon or something. Half of these imbeciles behind us believe it to be some sort of spirit," the man laughed as he mocked the drunken men who didn't hear him, or even care to listen. "What importance is a creature like this to you? And why would you want me, of all people, to hunt it?" "We need it alive," the man explained, "We're adding it to a new exhibit at the Mystical Zoo, you'll get paid a hefty amount... and you'll be cleared of all charges, Lady Paradox." Ivy gasped as she attempted to stand up, until the man said, "Please don't make any sudden movements. I have men in each corner of the place, who have all had a scepter aimed at you from the moment you and your friend walked in." "Don't worry, we don't care about your friend," the mysterious man explained, "And you're not under arrest. Not yet." "What do you want?" Ivy shivered, out of repressed growing rage rather than fear, though the tone was indistinguishable. The man let out a sinister chuckle as he grinned and told her, "I just told you. We want to make this deal to clear your name. You bring us the creature, you are no longer deemed an outlaw by the court of The Prime Guild. Leave your friend here, tell her nothing. Go alone. You have until dusk." "I'm blind," Ivy reminded the stranger, "how am I supposed to know when it's nightfall?" "We'll come after you," the man answered, "and if you don't have the creature, we'll arrest you. If you kill the creature, we'll kill you. If you try to involve your friend, we'll kill you both. Pretty simple rules to the game, right?" The man placed a hand on Ivy's bare shoulder, a hand that would've been broken beyond use if not for the mages in the corner, all aiming scepters at her with glowing gems that blended in with the many faded lights in the place. "If you leave right now, you can consider it a headstart."
Without making a scene, Ivy calmly got up and made her way to the door. Paloma was still captivated by the stories about her, listening just as avidly as the rest of the crowd. Paloma took no notice of Ivy's departure until she herself was ready to leave nearly an hour later. By then, even the Prime Guild members had already made their exit as well. Paloma was alone in the tavern with a bunch of strange people who had no suspicion of who she was. So far, nobody had even noticed her wings, let alone her being the exact build of the masked woman they talked about. Paloma never once tried to correct the man as he told his tale, and she was so captivated that she didn't notice the short, pale old woman staring at her from nearby. Paloma glanced at the old woman, and her purple eyes met the old lady's golden ones. The old woman wore a scarlet cloak, with a purple dress underneath. Her skin was the color of snow, her long braids and matching lipstick were the color of midnight, and her smile was nearly demonic. "What is your name, child?" The old woman spoke after a whole minute of uninterrupted eye contact, in the gentle tone only an elder would possess. Paloma hesitantly whispered, "My name is Paloma." "There are many 'Palomas', believe it or not," the old woman politely stated, "surely your name could be more... distinct." "Halcyron," Paloma said with more confidence, "My name is Paloma Halcyron." The old woman nodded as her grin remained. Her yellow, snake like eyes slowly shifted toward the storyteller, who was going on and on about Paloma without even knowing that she stands among the crowd in the flesh. All except for this mysterious old woman, who fixed her somewhat hypnotic gaze back on Paloma. The old woman's smile began to unsettle Paloma, who was nearly expecting to hear some sort of laugh. Instead, the old woman got up, and began to walk toward the back door, surprisingly walking with more youthful energy than one would expect. Paloma followed. "How do you feel after hearing such tremendous exploits of yourself?" The old woman asked as she opened the door to reveal what looked like the inside of a cabin, nearly reminiscent of the one Paloma once lived in, only smaller. As Paloma stepped in, she looked around in amazement as the old woman made her way over to a desk beneath a shelf in the furthest corner of the room. On the desk was a giant book, surrounded by scrolls and vials containing colorful fluids. "I would ask for you to have a seat," the old woman jokes, "but I question how you're able to, what with bones and feathers on top of your ass." "Excuse me?" Paloma wasn't offended at the remark right away, but rather surprised with the old lady's choice of words. The old woman turned around to smile at Paloma with a face that suddenly began to grow less wrinkled by the second as she removed her cloak, condensing it into a transparent wisp of red smoke with the snap of a finger. "Ah, I know that look in your eye," the strange woman said as she yet appeared younger. Paloma was petrified, and at a loss for words. "This is the part where you ask me who I am, and what I want, correct?" When Paloma nodded, it was then that the stranger let out a squeaky cackle that sounded even more terrifying than Paloma had imagined. She removed a pouch from her belt, and slowly began pouring a sparkling white dust into the palm of her hand as she slowly walked towards Paloma, though she appeared to float rather than walk. "I want," the woman paused as she clapped her hands together, turning the dust into a solid, sand-like sphere as she continued, "you to have this, Paloma Halcyron." The stranger gently blew on the sphere, releasing only a small cloud of dust as the remainder formed a human skull. Paloma shielded her eyes as the dust quickly cleared, and once she finally looked at what had been crafted for her, her mind instantly shifted to the image of the tavern sign that had mesmerized her to no end. "What is this?" Paloma asked as the stranger held the skull up higher. "A beacon," the stranger answered, "a soul beacon. It will tell you when you or anyone else you know is in danger, and you'll know where to go. It will also amplify your spells." Paloma looked at the skull, and then back at the stranger, who had made her way back to the desk to take a seat. "I'm... just trying to see something. Try it on." "How?" The stranger nodded down as a signal for Paloma to look a the skull once again. The skull Paloma held now had two long purple ribbons falling from the base. She felt the ribbons, simply knowing that they were not there a second before.
Paloma started to question whether anything that was happening was real at that point. The stranger tugged at her belt, and Paloma took it upon herself to tie the skull around her waist, right above where her wings rested. Paloma looked down at herself, and then back at the stranger in confusion. "Now what?" Paloma shrugged. "Now you leave," the stranger quipped as she sat down and began writing in the large book with a pen she conjured from nowhere. Paloma was unsure whether the lady was being serious. "Who are you?" The stranger ignored her. "I told you my name, it's only fair that you tell me yours." The stranger stopped, set her pen down, and slowly turned to grin at Paloma with a hint of chaotic sneakiness in her expression. "My name is Belladonna." "There are many "Belladonnas"," Paloma shot back. "Yeah, no there aren't," Belladonna responded, "There is only one with last name of Warlock." As Paloma attempted to continue the formalities, Belladonna threw up two fingers, and the door swung open behind Paloma as she was yanked outside by some unseen force. She fell to the ground from what appeared to be 3 stories, flapping her wings a few strong times to break her fall and glide to a smoother landing. She looked up, and noticed the cabin she fell from was floating in the air like a balloon, with a thick rope tying it to a tree stump. She continued to look around, and found herself in an uncharted part of the wilderness near the base of the great mountains that distanced the two cities. In the distance, she could see the small village of Panark, still thriving and even preparing. Paloma was unsure whether she was ready for Roque to see her again, despite how badly she wanted to return. Her amethyst colored eyes scanned the world from where she stood, and when they reached the sky, she began to notice the faint hues of pink and orange beginning to set in, revealing the beautiful twilight hour. It wasn't until the moment where she questioned the time where she realized that she had forgotten about Lady Paradox. They never discussed their plan for the Blood Moon, which would be soon to come. Paloma jumped from the nearest boulder, and began to soar upward towards the clouds, gliding through the mountain range and back to Wyvernbourne. Paloma unknowingly flew past Ivy, who was crouching low in a vast field of crops nearly as tall as her.
Once known as the cleverest of all the Green Lantern Corps, Sinestro grew disillusioned with the Guardians' distant approach toward enforcing their intergalactic authority. After attempting to sway to his cause the newest recruit into the Guardian's military service, the Green Lantern Corps, Sinestro betrayed the Corp and became the first Yellow Lantern in an attempted coup to overtake control of the universe. Note 1: Sinestro's power level seems significantly higher after donning his Yellow Ring, so feats occurring after that point are separated into their own sections Note 2: All feats under the Yellow Lantern section mentioning Hal Jordan involve a Hal who is massively amped by absorbing the entirety of the Oa battery core
"Oh yeah. It's all coming together." You know him. You love him. Kronk Pepikrankenitz is just your average Joe living in the Incan Empire. Part time evil henchman, full time cook, dedicated nature enthusiast, diplomat to Squirrel-kind. Kronk gets along with everybody, even the people Yzma's supposed to be paying him to kill. Key:
ENG = Emperor’s New Groove
KNG = Kronk’s New Groove
ENS = Emperor’s New School. # - # = Season - Episode
An “A” at the end of a link indicates it requires audio. Theme Music Strength:
Breha and Halcyon sat in the cockpit of the Nuno in the space between Skako and Skako Minor, as Ledia had instructed them. They had come out of hyperspace several hours beforehand, enough time for Breha to record her message for Ledia and subsequently restitch Halcyon's leg. They had scanned both planets but found no large signs of sentient life. Apparently everyone had packed up and went with Tambor on whatever crusade he had gone on. Now the two were simply staring out of the viewport at the stars, waiting for further instructions from Ledia. Breha looked over at Halcyon briefly. She still hadn't quite figured out what to think about him. His rise in Alderellian security hadn't happened long before he went to Malastare with Ledia to sort out whatever problems had happened there and she hadn't had much interaction with him since. She was administrator of the city, meaning she didn't have too much interaction with the security and military sides of things. He seemed...rough. Scarred. Like he was hiding something in his past. She didn't even know much about his past beyond that he was a native Corellian. Hopefully whatever lay ahead of them on this mission would help her understand him more. Her thoughts were interrupted when their scanners went off, detecting a new ship emerging from hyperspace nearby. Halcyon leaned forward in the co-pilot seat to begin flipping switches and determining what had arrived. Breha powered all of their systems back on and readied the ship to fly, whether it to towards or away from their new friend. "Is it Ledia?" she asked Halcyon. "No, I don't think so. Looks like a Corellian freighter, older than this one. They're heading for...Skako." "We should go to meet them, they're probably related to whatever Ledia is doing. If they want to meet us, they're probably a friend. If they run...they probably aren't." The Nuno sailed towards the new ship and it wasn't long before they were in range of the ship's scanners. "Moment of truth," Breha said, leaning forward in suspense. The ship sharply turned from its course and started flying away from them as if spooked. "Looks like they're calculating a hyperspace jump, we don't have much time," Halcyon said distractedly while working the ship's systems. Breha was torn for a moment on what action to take. She closed her eyes and blocked out the ship's noise to think for a minute. "Get the weapons online, I'll bring you closer and you can shoot to disable their engines." He looked up from the controls to stare at her. "Are you sure you want to attack?" "You heard me." He gave a little shrug and got the guns online as Breha brought them in. The other ship had a headstart and tried to swerve to avoid them but their ship was newer and faster. Halcyon soon fired their cannons and hit the other ship's engines straight on with remarkable accuracy. The other ship was dead in space. "I'm bringing us in to dock. Go get our blasters ready, we don't know how many people we can expect on that ship," she commanded Halcyon. Soon they were docked with the other ship. The two stood on either end of the door through the airlock. Breha had a blaster in her hand while Halcyon carried a pistol and his vibroblade. They locked eyes and she nodded. He opened the airlock and they both spun to face whatever waited for them on the ship. There was nothing. Evidently their friends hadn't come to greet them. They cautiously stepped through the airlock and boarded the freighter. The hallways were dark, but empty. Breha flicked on the flashlight on her blaster as the two crept down the dark hall. They both jumped at a rat at one point but otherwise they slowly worked their way to the cockpit without incident. The door to the cockpit was closed. Breha turned to face Halcyon. "Here we go." She blasted the controls for the door, causing it to open fast. There was a single figure in the cockpit, bent over the controls in an attempt to get the ship's engines back online. Halcyon fired his pistol rapidly at the figure, stunning him before he could do more than turn around and sending him crashing to the floor. The two ran forward and Halcyon lifted him up while Breha tied his arms to his side. He was wearing the same kind of mask that they had found on Crait. They perched him up against the wall of the room and Breha took a deep breath before removing the mask from the unconscious figure. It was Alistyr Kaj, the Chancellor's aide. Both of them stepped back in surprise, the helmet clattering to the floor. Breha immediately took out her comlink and called Ledia.
2019.02.07 03:19 Nerd_CommandoNew Gathering Nations Tier List
This tier list is talking about deity gaming with all kinds of victories enabled. Canada: Tier-Z. Unfortunately, it's more like “d'oh, Canada” here. While their favor bonuses are amazing and will probably result in the biggest favor generation in the game (Sweden being a close contender), diplomacy will begin to truly matter from the second half of the game and, before that, they're basically having no working abilities and they're greatly handicapped with Tundra affinity. Tundra farms sound nice but we're talking about basically plain Grassland tile that you have to spend a builder charge to get. Compare it to Peter's greatness that turns near-worthless terrain into a better Plains (for free!) and you'll see the difference. Extra strategics are probably the best part of that bonus but they're not so sweet when you're lacking the basic industrial power to simply build whatever they're necessary for (as that's what's gonna happen in tundra). To add to this staggered development, no surprise/city state wars means you won't be getting any boosts to your early economy. You'll have to be going the hardest way possible. The second brightest canadian spot are Mounties. They allow you to build Parks while bypassing the faith game altogether (which is good as you can't really afford religion – your early districts will have to be going into commerce/industry so you can build up some industry) and they'll also be your main way of generating tourism so it can get converted into favor. Still, they're at the Conservation and that's quite a late perk that you won't be getting swiftly – I just don't see the ability of this nation to be going heavily into culture. Cultural buildings take a lot of time to pay off and you're already very, very slow (which is a problem we already see in nations like France or Egypt). I think you're meant to beeline for Colonialism (only 17 civics, lol) and recover through the Ice Hockey Rinks – those will produce humongous amounts of Culture, thus setting you back on the proper pace. And then Mounties kick in so you're having lots of tourism without spending anything on either wonders, relics or great works. And then you win diplomatically. But that's still very vulnerable to any kind of early or midgame rush – through the most dangerous part of the game you'll just have to sit with your fingers crossed. Another thing I dislike about this nation is that you're supposed to be peaceful but, at the same time, you're having that double emergency bonus. And most emergencies are about nothing but war and city conquest. I already pity AI Laurier who will be constantly throwing himself under the bus. Another problem (purely design-wise) is that answering emergencies demands lots of mobilities – I mean, you can be asked to capture stuff on the other side of the globe, how do you even get there. But, obviously, you're receiving zero bonuses to that. Similarly to this, you're supposed to be participating heavily in Scored Competitions but those are all about industrial power, pretty much. Just the ability to churn out lots of stuff in a limited amount of turns. And Canada's industrial power is non-existent here. So, speaking about how they can buff this nation in the future (it'll need it) – one of these two issues has to be addressed. Something either Cyrus or Australia style in relation to emergencies/competitions is the laziest way to do it but it'll work. Eleanor England: tier-G. Ok, we all know how England plays so I'll be brisk here. While Eleanore is not this weak, she just has no business with England. If only because England is all about coastal development and Ellie is all about clusters of continental cities. England wants to be spamming Harbors and Industrial zones severely whereas Ellie is more about Theater Squares and Entertainment Districts. Ellie aims for the cultural victory and, after the loss of British museum, England has zero business with that. They're as incompatible as it can only get. So this entire two-civ leader is nothing but a cute gimmick. Eleanor France: tier-F. Now, don't get me wrong, I really like the design of her ability and I think it's gonna be fun to play. In a casual sense of things, however. The overall plan is pretty obvious: spam cities like no tomorrow, forward settling your neighbours heavily. Cluster those cities. Build Theater Square everywhere and, under Divine Spark pantheon, run their projects heavily. Build Entertainment Districts along your border and run their projects too. Laugh nefariously as your enemies' empires will get toppled like dominoes, falling into your lap one after another. That's very cool. That's also really, really greedy. Both Entertainment and Theater (especially Entertainment) are very greedy districts that pay for themselves rather slowly. You'll also be struggling with their upkeep as it's gonna be difficult to squeeze the Commercial Hubs fast, more so since you need to be spamming cities and so their positioning will be far from optimal and thus their growth too. This district problem is further accentuated by you wanting some Industrial Zones (you want to be having certain bookkeeping wonders and you're not doing those without Engineers) and, well, where do you sqeeze them? You also will have to be doing this as France and that means zero industrial bonuses and lots of inherent problems – everything but Catherine's ability is still really weak there. So, all in all, it's a very peculiar plan that's gonna be great to enjoy when that happens. Doesn't mean it's a good plan, however, and doesn't mean it's won't require some luck to happen. Sweden: Tier-E. TBH, Sweden feels too close to the Canada. Lots of late game promise that is soured by all the growing pains. But, at the very least, you're able to absorb city-states and to snipe enemy settlers and that alone is a whole world of difference. Your freebie favor is also coming much earlier – whereas tourism takes a lot of time to turn into more than a trickle, you're slamming dozens of turns worth of favor from the get-go. So even if there's nothing serious to be pushing towards to, you can trade it for some more immediate necessities. Or something. The worst part of their nation is their leader. Kristina is as good in this one as she was IRL (I guess thanks for the historicity, Firaxis). The thing is, before Rise and Fall, when eras flew by too swiftly, getting themed museums was a big deal. After the slowdown, however, it's not too difficult to be vacuum cleaning those artists left and right. Even outside of Kongo & Russia, Divine Spark + some projects make miracles. So, compared to your average cultural play, Kristina will have maybe 1 or 2 more themed museum or something. No more than that. And great works of art are not even producing that much tourism in the first place, and theming does not make that much of a difference. So we're talking about 1-2% of tourism increase overall – what a joy! And while Queen's Bibliotheque is very legit, you're building it instead of Intelligence Agency. Which is also very legit and capable of producing great works in its own special way. So it's less of a bonus and more of a tradeoff. In other words, Kristina doesn't really do much. Open Air Museums are weird. They're very similar to the Hockey Rinks in their function and positioning. But rinks are more sound in their function – here we have this nation that struggles culturally so let them have this recovery mechanism. Because of your Great People & theater spammage, however, Sweden will be drowning in culture anyways. So it's not really a bonus you need. I guess it's good for eventual touristic victory but are we not supposed to be winning diplomatically here? I mean, flexibility is awesome but mostly when it's being given at no cost. In this case, the bonuses are not too great in the first place and so having them divided between two competing goals is hardly helpful. I mean, it's not like 12 tourism per city (at best) is going to create a tourism victory on its own – as Mapuche's Chemamull development shows, you're gonna be needing a bit more than that. So they're nice but hardly impactful. Caroleans are also a bit problematic. With your Great People focus and Factory/University GPP bonus it's clear that you want to be reaching for Industrialization first. Well, too bad that your UU is sitting on a wholly different development branch. And the unit itself is rather decent because it's exactly what this greedy playstyle needs – strong defender to secure your borders. But this positioning is so problematic. I dunno, the best way to buff Sweden would be to move them to Square Rigging or Mass Production. Sweden's special projects also repeat Canadian emergency issues – they are all about having lots of industrial power and you're just having no bonuses towards that. So it's not even clear whom exactly they'll be helping. Well, ok, it's probably you as the AI is dumb but still, that won't be the easiest fruit to pluck. Phoenicia: Tier-C. The bonuses look amazing on paper and so we'll have to explain this from a different angle. Look, despite all the buffs, sea & coastal development is still very weak in Civ VI. And while there are certain nations that can make seaside cities strong, they're able to do that because of their inner advantages mostly. Indonesia, we're looking at you. If you have Kampungs then yeah, sure, it's the ocean of love for ya. Otherwise we're talking about developing pretty much barren territory that comes in packed with certain idiosyncrasies. Like how, for example, sea is very food-focused and yet coastal cities are straddled with housing penalty, thus making that food to be much less worth it. Sea is weak so what to we say about the nation that tries to build as much coastal colonies as possible? Now, true, sometimes quantity is growing in quality and that's why we're on tier-C here – the more or less average stuff. On a very good start (coastal river city on hilly forested plains) it will even perform a tier higher. But that's the major limitation here. All those 50% ship and settler bonuses are being applied to a quadriplegic economy. Besides, you're mostly building your ships from under Maritime Industries and you're mostly building your settlers with Colonization. So it's gonna be more like 25%/33% extra building speed. Still not bad but it's not 50. Also, rushing Cothons means that you're absolutely powerless against any kind of ground aggression – that's just how it is. So you're not simply gaining lots of coastal space – you're abandoning mainland for it. And while discount for Cothon itself also helps a lot, its only a half of district. Which isn't even that useful itself without Lighthouse that you'll have to be doing for its full price (that nerf did a lot to undo all the boosts they've tried to give to the sea). Likewise, the boost to settling maneuverability is truly delicious (the faster we reach our destination, the quicker our investment begins to pay off, the more we snowball) and yet what are we rushing for? To grab the bits of subpar land. Same goes for all that “move your capital, use colonial offices and Casa de” hype – yes, we'll be getting an excellent multiplier to our bogus domains. So all these bonuses are theoretically good. There are some quirky ones too – I guess another strong side here is the sheer amount of boosts you're getting. Well, Writing inspiration is negligible as that's mostly an automatic to receive. Biremes are good as a quick boost to your cities' defensive power but otherwise they're even more useless than Longships – at least those can pillage. It's just that on Deity the cities are quick to grow in power and so it takes some major luck to be able to capture anything with them. Perfect loyalty is somewhat overvalued – generally speaking, if you know what you're doing then even on deity you have to try especially hard to lose a city to loyalty. I'm not saying it's not without value and it may allow for some uber-cheeky settling but it's not as big of a deal as it's made to be. The entire loyalty thing is more bark than bite. +50% production towards district in your capital is nice but Plaza is generally your third districts so it's not like you'll be using that for that long. I guess you can try to rush out Plaza as first but I'm not sure that screwing your build order that much is worth it. And extra trade routes are always welcome. I guess being able to almost guarantee first golden age is pretty sweet – your both uniques will get done in the ancient era and fast scouting will result in a plenty of scoring opportunities. Free Inquiry is nice with all the Cothon spam and you'll probably supplement it by going into mass commercials as your second district. So if the sea is somehow receiving a major buff then yeah, sure, I can see Phoenicia being A or even S tier. Until then, however, they'll be wasting all their potential in the struggle against their preferred environment. Ottomans: tier-B. This nation is a rather sturdy domination player. Lack of any serious economical or scientific gains somewhat prevents them from reaching the true greatness and yet they're lean & mean & won't have that much trouble with grabbing the entire world by its tender parts. Their biggest asset is Ibrahim. Yeah, all the unique units and siegers may attract more attention but those are kinda slow. Janissaries are great, no doubt, but so are Conquistadors and who exactly is praising Spain? Catapult rush is a nice meme but even with 50% acceleration they're still worth 80 minerals (a lot) and Engineering is not that fast of a tech that can be very annoying to boost. And there's little reason to be spamming catapults as they will easily get massacred by most enemy troops. Sure, bombard & artillery corps/army rushes were a thing while Great Generals were stackable but that's a bit different – by late renaissance/early modern you would be 1-1.5 era ahead of your enemies both scientifically and culturally and that's what allowed you to ignore their anti-unit weakness. Also, AI is much less adept at mid-game fighting than in either early or late game so it was sorta exploiting the biggest breach in its defensive tactics. Anyways, mass catapults shouldn't be happening against any sort of decent opponent. No, Ibrahim is your man and your tactics are very simple. State Workforce, Early Empire & Plaza as your capital's second district will bring him into both Head Falconer and Serasker. I guess for the sake of timing it's gonna be falconer first and then, in the midst of fighting, Serasker. You won't be making much new colonies – only one and you'll forward settle your neighbour as rudely as possible. That's where you'll also drop Ibrahim. You see, unlike Victor, his +5 Attack bonus is more universal. And so it's akin to similar Defender of the Faith usage – create Defender city at the edge of their borders, fill it with archers, lure foes into their reach and massacre them while under defensive bonus. Then move in for invasion. And while you're having +5 instead of +10 attack here against units, Serasker will totally revolutionize your town sieging. It almost fully negates the inherent archer's vs district weakness, meaning that you don't even need those early catapults. Archers alone will suffice. And, since Ibrahim doesn't take much time to settle, you'll be simply moving him deeper and deeper and deeper into freshly conquered territory, thus carrying these vital bonuses to where you need them. It's not the fastest push ever (which is why no tier-A or S here) but it's still a fast push and that's what matters the most. Rest of this nation bonuses are more of a gravy. Like, as you can see, that siege buff is not even much needed as everyone is a siege unit for you. Well, you probably still want to get some, you just don't get too crazy about them. Better amenities/loyalty and no population loss on conquest is very pleasant as you'll be mostly conquering cities anyways – that's the entire point. Grand Bazaar is gonna ramp up those amenities even further. Strategic resources are a bit iffy here, however, but that's mostly because your key units are archers>crossbowmen>field cannons and Janissaries. And none of them require any. By the time late game arrives, better half of the world should be yours already and so this won't be much of a problem. But amenities are nice so yeah. Corsairs are difficult. I guess it's nice that they're medieval – means that Maritime Industries will be enough to produce them. At the same time, they're still very expensive and it's not like you're a naval nation. Since you're playing mostly from conquest, your cities will be wherever AI wished to drop them and not all nations are sea-loving. AI also loves to be dropping its port cities in places where there are no minerals whatsoever so good luck with producing anywhere there too. I mean, you can make some harbors of your own, ofc. But this unit, while decent, seems tackled on to this civ. Even if this logic is “conquer your continent, pillage another one in the meanwhile” you're not vikings and Cartography is definitely not your early goal. Maybe you spam harbor projects for Leif Erikson, finally making him useful? And, to repeat it once more, Janissaries are amazing. Their limitation isn't even limitating as you will have too much captured cities and, because of their cheap cost, they will be too easy to produce. Incan: tier-B. They're feeling like somewhat weaker Cree. But as Cree are pretty freaking strong (and probably one of the most undervalued civs out there) it's not that bad to be a weaker version of them. Sure, these food and industry bonuses are vanilla-flavoured - they're merely making you better and faster at everything. What a trivial thing, right. Wrong. Growth is amazing. Fast growth is amazing. And it's even better when there are some serious minerals to be working at. Bodymass science and culture get to matter a lot. Those “10+ population” civics are coming online. Additional districts become available. Sure, Tall is pretty weak in VI. But that's cause certain nations are supposed to be both Wide and Tall. It's pretty difficult to lose once you're getting 12+ cities with 50+ industry in each one of them. Now, of course, Incas are not having anything as crazy as Mekewap. Terrace farms are a bit more humble. And you have to be investing into Aqueducts to get that housing. On the other hand, basic Aqueducts are almost good enough – they're only a sliver away from being spam-worthy. And this +2 adjacency industry easily pushes them into that zone. So, coupled with fatty inner caravans (10+ food from your capital will probably be the norm), you'll be reaching the 10 pop marks in no time. Mountain production is also not too crazy but that greatly depends on the RNG patterns – it may get ridiculous in certain borderline cases where there are lots of hills nearby. Besides, the point here is that you're getting a highly favorable starting affinity (mountains provide some, erm, rock-solid defenses) while evading it's biggest disadvantage (mountains denying too much space for your economy). When your growth is high, space becomes a surprisingly serious concern. Which is why I consider Qhapaq Nan to be mostly a gimmick – it takes away 2 workable tiles and I don't think it will provide tremendous tactical advantage that often. This nation feels like it'll be more offensive than defensive. Which is another important distinction from Kree. Yes, your economy is not as good, but your UU is tectonic. We're talking about cheaper, faster, double-attacking crossbowman here. With crossbowmen already being really good. And yes, you're more of a glass cannon but that's until you reach Ambush. Which, given the double attacking nature, is all too easy to do. Ofc, you're also having range 1 instead of 2. But you're ignoring difficult terrain so that is less of a problem. If you're fighting in hills, you're having chances to be actually kiting your foes – step in, shoot, step back. Shoot twice if under a Great General. As you will be because classical generals are easy to get. And it's only 2 gold to support them so you'll be able to run lots of these bad guys. Now, your strong aggression won't last long enough to push you into Domination-zone so you'll follow the Cree example – by the time Warak'aq become outdated, you'll probably control most of your continent. Just ride this crazy good tempo to aim for the fast Scientific victory. It's easy to reach when you just have lots of cities, workers and industry. They'd probably be A if not for the RNG reliance – you can get bad mountain range spawns with few hills (which are more vital for your economy than they usually are) and bad aqueduct placements. And ideal spawns also won't happen too often. Mali: Tier-A. This one is bound to be the most controversial nation of the game. It offers lots of unique and potent rewards and, at the same time, creates a lots of obstacles to overcome. The primary being units and districts coming 1.5x as slow. That's, uh, not so cool. Or is it? The good news here is that you don't really have to be building much, well, buildings. It's easy to overlook, btw – buildings, not districts. You are very much fine with starting with nothing but holy site + Suguba combo everywhere. Holy site is the district with the cheapest buildings possible so the hurt is minimal. Suguba's buildings you're buying through faith. Something that's given to you almost for free and in way too plentiful of amount. And, whatever you need later, you'll just buy for gold. Units are also not as affected as they may seem to be. Everything vital you're building with policy cards that take a lot of kick out of that 30% penalty. Difference between 70% and 100% is half as impactful as between 120% and 150%, you know. So, actually, you're not as crippled as it may seem to be. First couple of turns of your production will be iffy but it'll get much easier after that. You don't even have to be going for God of the Forge pantheon as extra faith from Desert Folklore is way too important to you and you don't need as much help here as it may seem. I'm also speaking about Golden Age a lot but look, it's easy. You'll have fast city growth so you'll have ok-ish starting science through that. First Suguba will give you 4 points. First pantheon in the world (you'll start with 6 faith so yours will be the first) will give another 2. You'll do 3+ Holy Site into 4+ Suguba – that's another 6. 12 already. Then your religion is another 3. So it won't be that difficult to grasp the remaining 9. And once Monumentality is in play, your development will get rabid. Now, despite their incredible start, your cities will hit their development threshold soon. +6 Food per turn is nice and dandy, especially if there are some floodplains nearby, but it's to no avail if you work on the zero-produce Desert tile. Even if you do Petra, that's only one city. For the rest of them, it's gonna be very hard to reach past the 4 population mark. But that just means that we go fully into Infinite City Sprawl zone – forget housing and just spam as much desert towns as possible. They'll be producing enough value as long as they're able to do Holy + Suguba combo and they'll get to that stage fast. So who cares about the rest? Ofc, there's also culture and science to tend. Well, Culture can be rather easily fixed by going for Choral Music belief – that's your go-to belief, I think. Jesuit Education may fix our Campus districts buildups but I'm not sure it'll be easy to get necessary population for them. And, while we can get some cheap Warrior Monks out, those require lots of cultural power to stay relevant. Which we won't have without Choral Music. So that one seems unavoidable. We can get some science with Wat but it won't be the biggest amount ever. At least something, though. But keep in mind that Mansa can pursue either domination or religious victory easily. And, if you're religious, you don't even need science – just go for Holy Orders + Suguba Bonus + Theocracy. That's what, Apostles at 35% price? I'd buy that for a dollar. Given that the major challenge of religious victory is to be able to generate enough faith to buy enough apostles, Mansa with his high faith/cheap apostles combo seems to be ridiculous here. If we're going domination route, however, we'll just conquer lots of cities and get the Campuses of whomever built them. And it's more of an early game problem – later on we'll generate enough gold to be easily buying those Universities and Chem Labs outright. That's another reason why we prioritize Culture over Science a bit – early Theocracy is very good for us as that's military units for faith with 35% discount. Fast nationalism will keep our outdated boys and girls somewhat relevant. And then it's early Democracy to push us into 45% gold discount zone. Democracy is also what's pushing the mines change into a positive zone – without it, 4 gold for 1 industry wouldn't be that good of a change. With it looming over, however... Another beauty of having so much gold is that we'll be able to keep a humongous army. Upkeep? Hadn't heard that word. So you'll be buying dozens of troopers at a sale and then you'll be prevailing by sheer bodymass. That's also boosted by Mandekalu Cavalry not requiring any special resources, meaning they can be spammed very nicely. They're not much stronger than the Knight but the lack of this restriction is big enough, tbh. Ofc, this military approach will be somewhat annoying to play as you'll have to control lots of units. But, on the other hand, desert cities require much less builder attention (no farms or sawmills to do) so you'll probably save some micro right there. Ofc, later game domination will be annoying as you're having no serious combat bonuses there. But then, your army will get no less huge. In fact, your extra gold will only get more noticeable as later game units' upkeep is much less affected by the upkeep reduction policies. So maybe you zerg your way to the victory? Or maybe you conquer your own continent with lethal force and convert the other ones, going for a combined approach? What matters is that you're having the necessary economy to do either of these and it's not really RNG dependent. Seems fast&steady enough to reside in this tier. You're still somewhat vulnerable before classical or even medieval era and this is why it's not a tier-S nation, I think. Maori: Tier-S. In contrast to Mali, Maori are probably the simplest nation of this DLC. And quite brutally so. Their start is weird but, at the end of the day, it just means that you're getting to scout for a really good position without losing any time. It's even better on a slower difficulties where you'll essentially be getting a lot of a headstart – your first builder will take what, 15-20 turns to build on marathon? Well, I'll guess you'll settle down a bit faster than that. But even on online it'll be even trade at the very worst so it's fine. Then we're having free shipbuilding and global access which, combined with fast embarked scouts, will give our economy lots of various boosts. It becomes very easy to secure early Golden Ages as first circumnavigation is 5, first to contact all other nations is 5, lots of natural wonders to discover, lots of barbarian camps and tribal villages to grab. You're also finding city-states fast and that may also boost you rather pleasantly. This is one of the few things that keep Norway going and it gets much better at the hands of the actually capable civilization (sorry, Norway). Then we're having woods & jungle which are basically starting with lumbermills pre-built. Yes, their development potential is not as good (though it's only a 1 mineral difference at the end of the day) but there's just so much tempo here, you're just saving so much on the builders that it's not even funny. All that precious early industry will be put into a much more beneficial things. Then we're having a nice Fishing Boat bonus. And see, the big difference between here and Carthage is that Maori are not married into the sea. It's mostly the capital that will be minding the naval business and the rest of your civ can happily dwell inland. That's probably the best way to go here. Harvesting resources isn't even that fun with all the Magnus nerfs and writers are not as much needed when Marae is so adept at showering you with both Culture and Religion. And yeah, Marae is pretty cool. It's somewhat expensive to build but that's what are all those industrial bonuses for. Once it's done, however, you're getting 10+ faith and culture in each city and that's a fast tier-2 government and thus a fast Grand Master's chapel to accelerate your economy even further. Or it's even more profits from a rather guaranteed Monumentality – or maybe even both. And it's very pleasant to be settling rapidly when most of your improvements are “prebuilt” and so your fresh colonies will get high in no time. Toa are also pretty ridiculous. Now yes, they are balanced by some rather insane technological requirements. At the same time, they're pretty much an unholy crossbreed of Legionaries and Varu, only with much better forts. Because of that, they'll last well into Renaissance when spammed (just like the Varu do) and since you'll be getting fast Nationalism/Mobilization, that can extent well into industrial age. However silly that is. And they're very cheap for what they are. Another tremendous advantage of Maori is the amount of paths which are open for them. First, fast industry + discovery + Toa will create enough tempo to win your game in a domination push. Embarked mobility will also play a good role here as it'll be easy to sail straight towards enemy empires. Second, lots of culture everywhere means tourism and, at the same time, you're having enough faith for National Parks and they don't cripple your industry much. So Tourism is an easy go. Third, your religious game is also pretty strong and your apostles will profit a lot from fast global mobility and swift intercontinental movement. And since all these ways of victory rely on pretty much the same start (mass theatrics + a bit of holy sites), you'll be having lots of flexibility in your games – look at your surroundings, then think what you're gonna do. I think it's this particular side that elevates this nation into S-tier. It's just that you will always have beneficial surroundings and so your development will always be strong. Hungary: Tier-S. You know, all the Levy stuff is fine, nice and dandy but I think that even if it's denied to you, Hungary is still amazingly strong. Pearl of the Danube pretty much secures that single-handedly. For the most cities it means that your first two districts and all the buildings inside them are coming at half the price. And that means you'll be drowning in easy minerals. First, it rewards you with very cheap & fast religion. You're probably not spamming holy sites everywhere as you're not too religious but it's too profitable to not to be doing this with your first city. So Holy into Commercial there and just the plain Commercial into Campus everywhere else. Those discounts are especially important for Commercials as that means much faster Trade Routes for you – gold is your lifeblood so maximizing its gains is highly important. Returning a bit towards religion – that'll have two advantageous options. First and as always, you can get the dibs on the Defender of the Faith. That's always exploitable, especially when protecting your city-states from those pesky AIs. Second, you have the option to go into either fast Church Property/Tithe to generate lots of gold or to go into Religious Unity so you can get freebie Envoys. Given how much fast sovereignty matters for you, that might be a surprisingly efficient pick. Funnily, these matter much more than the core belief – you don't want to go to deep down this rabbit hole and so you'll pick the traditional lazy stuff, meaning either Work Ethic or Zen Meditation. Both are cool enough without much investment. After that, you'll be spamming science heavily. Your district discount makes it all very easy and leaves you with lots of tempo so even if you're unable to hire anyone (which is a heavily apocalyptic scenario), you'll just craft some troopers on your own. But, of course, the play you want to make is to hire some neanderthals and to genetically engineer them into super-soldiers in a blink of an eye. All while paying pretty much nothing. Getting 3-4 warriors for what, 60-80 coins on online speed, and making them into 40 attack 4 movement monstrosities will be the best investment you can only make. Keep in mind that if you're finding a city-state fast you'll probably even want to delay your religion and everything else and to go straight into Iron Working. In the meanwhile you'll be doing some warriors of your own, I guess, simply so you can harvest some barbarian camps to scavenge that gold. It's not that big amount of money, however, so, unless you squander it needlessly (which you won't), it won't be that hard to get. Ofc, further levies will become a bit more difficult but that's where your commercials and caravans will come in. Spoils of the war too – don't forget that peace treaty will squeeze a ton of cash out of your victim. Which will definitely pay for the next round of squeezing. Ofc, you need to be sovereign to levy but, after Amani's introduction, that just became way too easy. Amani + Mysticism will make you a sovereign in no time. And then the city will get rather uncontestable as each Levy will be bringing you more and more Envoys, tightly securing the state as your ally. Also, don't forget that the more Envoys does a city-state have, the more developed it is. So, by doing this, you're also securing it against potential invasions. Another upside of constant levies (once Foreign Ministry will arrive, you'll probably be able to run two at the same time) is that you're going to earn plenty of Era points. Probably not enough to push you into certain early golden age (you probably don't need that) but enough to provide them occasionally. Out of your unique units, Black Army is the more noticeable one. Given the mobility of levied units, it's gonna be at the 56-59 attack mark quite frequently and that's before adding the flanking bonus. That's pretty cool for its time of being. Huszar is a bit sadder, though, as you'll be naturally warmongering and it's difficult to get even one alliance that way and trying to get multiples is almost a pipe dream. But, well, you don't need them much – levied units are fine by themselves and you'll probably go into fast Stock Exchanges and Infantry that, under the very same levy bonus, will be quite game-changing. Ofc, your victory options are pretty standard – either just go all the way towards domination of conquer your home continent through technological advancement, then use that tempo for a scientific victory. Thermal Baths will be mostly used in this concern – you'll have huge empire either ways and so extra amenities will help to manage it. They're not too impactful but your core bonuses are so huge that it'd be criminal to ask for more.
2019.01.04 16:41 demfrecklestho2018 End of the year awards: men's results (part 1)
Happy new year! With due delay and the 2019 season fast approaching (but it does not start until Omloop, right?), here is the first half of the results of the men's end-of-the-year awards. Here you will find the results of the non-racing categories as well as awards to nations, events and teams. As usual, I will publish the full results and the list of null votes (at the end of the second half of the results)
 Best personality
The results from this category were fairly similar to last year's. A lot of different riders (nearly 60!) got a mention, but consensus only grew towards a few candidates. And like last year, the winner is World Champion Peter Sagan! I'm sure I don't need to tell you why... there is no one like Sagan on the world scene: he is a real superstar. He has that "bad boy" attitude, but always comes across as respectful and nice in his interviews... and the most important thing is, he never fails to entertain the fans. Second place went to Tom Dumoulin- a huge improvement on last year: the Giro winner has certainly become a more familiar face this year, and people certainly appreciate his attitude. Wait. Did I say “Giro winner”? I did indeed, as I copy-pasted the description of this category from last year! The results were the exact same this year, with a lot of candidates picked but only a few getting a good number of votes; and as usual, Sagan generated a lot more consensus compared to everyone else, winning this award for the third year in a row. Chaves was third last year, whereas the 2018 bronze medal goes to Julian Alaphilippe who estabilished himself as one of the best liked riders in the pro peloton thanks to his “at long last” Fleche win but most importantly his attitude during the Tour. Compared to previous years, Mitchelton riders did slightly worse in this category- there was no BSP effect boosting them this time around…
 Most handsome rider
Before delving into this category’s results I’d like to preface something. A few people commented how this category was “inappropriate” or “useless”. Putting aside those who felt offended in their heterosexual pride by this question (reverse /TumblrInAction?), of course this award has always been done in a light-hearted spirit and a bit of a comic relief- there is no intention to objectify riders on my part, I expressed my views on this matter so many times (every time the podium girls debate comes out!). But I do value feedback, and if this question feels offensive (or just cheesy/tacky/pointless) be sure to let me know and I will adjust future polls accordingly. This said, like for the previous category, results didn’t change much compared to last year. /peloton’s husbando is once again none else but Tom Dumoulin! The Dutch ace won with a fairly good margin over Peter Sagan, who won in 2015 and 2016 and who was second last year as well. Quite interestingly, Julian Alaphilippe rose to third place in this category as well, meaning that more people have not just been exposed to his persona but also his looks? Amongst the funniest valid answers that were submitted were a vote for “Valverde but only if he has an helmet on, otherwise Kittel” and another one for “Fernando Gaviria’s penis” (which is oddly specific and mildly worrying, but it counted towards Gaviria, of course). Landa is the most attractive prong of the Movistar trident and Simon is the most attractive of the Yates twins.
 Best nation
This is usually a very well-balanced category: unlike women’s cycling, there is no country miles ahead of every other one, so votes tend to be well-spread out. However that wasn’t quite the case this year… winning all three Grand Tours with three different riders was an incredible feat, and for this reason more than half of the validly cast votes went to Great Britain! While GB lacked perhaps a rider capable of doing well in one-day races (people like Rowe, Stannard and Cavendish had an underwhelming season, for different reasons), they absolutely bossed stage racing all year long- a kind of sheer dominance by a single country unseen for a long while. There is a dark lining to this cloud, though, as Team Sky’s future is a big question mark with the title sponsor set to withdraw support after 2019 and with many smaller teams folding at the end of this season. The Netherlands were a comfortable second: the Orange country enjoyed plenty of success in many different fields, with Dumoulin proving his Giro win was no fluke, Terpstra enjoying a fantastic spring and Groenewegen finally estabilishing himself as a top-class sprinter- just to name the most visible riders. France wrapped up the podium: the country is perhaps lacking a big star at the moment, but its riders enjoyed many high profile results throughout the season, the performances of French teams are on the rise, both on the WT and Pro Conti level. This award went to Belgium last year, but the country was just fifth this year. As per usual there were a few “curious” votes and while we had no one picking Kiribati this year (disgrace!), people voted for Kenya, Mongolia and Vatican City.
 Best Grand Tour
This year, I decided to split the “Best stage race” category between two different awards- one for the GTs and one for shorter races, as the big three ended up dominating every year and I felt sad about some good races getting a bit trumped because, obviously, you can’t really compare what happens in three weeks with a week or less or racing. Some things change and some things don’t, though: the Giro d’Italia had won the Best stage race award for two years in a row… and this year was no different! The Italian corsa rosa won with an overwhelming majority, with over 72% of the voters picking it ahead of the Tour and the Vuelta- including blank and null votes! There isn’t much to say about the legendary race we saw this year. It looked like Yates was set to dominate the race… until he cracked in the third week and Froome rose from the ashes, winning the whole thing thanks to an unbelievable long-range attack on the third-to-last stage. It was a crazy race, just like it has been for the past few years. The Vuelta made second place… meaning that the Tour, despite having a lot more prestige than the other two races, was beaten by them for the fourth year in a row! Surely, many /peloton users have been very vocal in their dislike of Sky’s stranglehold tactics on this race, but personally I really enjoyed the 2018 Grande Boucle. Of course, with just three GTs there were no other events picked in this category.
 Best non-GT stage race
As anticipated above, here is finally a chance for the shorter races to shine! The results were very well-spread out amongst many different races… except for the winner, which had more than 3x the votes of the second-placed race. Third place went to the Tour de Suisse, the TdF prep race which made many fans hope that Richie Porte could be a serious contender for the yellow jersey, at long last (we all know how it turned out instead). Many of Porte’s rivals chose the Critérium du Dauphiné over the Swiss race… and so did most /peloton voters, as the French event placed second in this award! Thomas won the race en route to his historical Tour win (of course, the best thing about the race was Rolland’s 8th place in GC, but I won’t dwell on that too much). To find the winner, however, we have to go much earlier in the season… but not far away on the map: /peloton’s favourite short stage race was Paris-Nice! The route to the sun is a race that always delivers. While it doesn’t have the mountains of Tirreno-Adriatico (and thus not the same high-profile GC riders), it is always an extremely exciting affair, often coming down to the very last seconds. It had everything: a controversial breakaway win, a GC favourite suddenly crashing out, a great solo win in the mountains, and an incredible last stage with Marc Soler pulling a huge upset thanks to a ballsy, Contadoresque long-range attack. For the trivia nerds out there: the most voted non-WT race was the Tour of the Alps, while the most voted race outside traditional cycling countries was the Tour of California. The WT races which did not receive a single vote were just two: the Abu Dhabi Tour and the Tour of Turkey.
 Best one-day race
From past editions of this award, one thing is clear: /peloton loves its cobbles. De Ronde won last year, whereas Paris-Roubaix won in both 2015 and 2016. This year there was a clear-cut divide between a bunch of races which only got a few votes each and six public favourites. Nibali’s incredible attack at Milano-Sanremo ranked sixth; the Ronde van Vlaanderen was fifth, always a thrilling race but Terpstra’s solo attack wasn’t quite the same thing as the unbelievable Gilbert win from the previous year; the Innsbruck Worlds were fourth- certainly a tense and gripping race but perhaps the expectations were a bit too high. Moving onto the podium, Il Lombardia takes third! The last monument is always an exciting race, but this year it was even more enjoyable than usual, and it had a worthy winner and a feel-good story with Nibali getting second after having his Tour ruined on Alpe d’Huez. Speaking of crazy Italian races, Strade Bianche takes second with one of the hardest editions of the race in years. Tiesj Benoot won with an unreal performance, but people will also remember Romain Bardet’s completely unexpected second place and Wout van Aert’s even more surprising third place. These five races were all relatively close together… but Paris-Roubaix was far ahead of all of them. There’s nothing you can do- the Hell of the North is always a highlight of the year for our subreddit (even in relatively lackluster years such as 2015), and Dillier’s underdog story coupled with the win of a fans’ favourite like Sagan made for yet another unforgettable race. Sadly, we can’t forget that it was also a day of grieving, as Michael Goolaerts passed out after a stroke early in the race.
 Best non-WT stage race
Compared to previous years in this category, two trends stood strong. The first is: races in English-speaking countries get many votes, especially considering their (still) relatively low prestige. This is not surprising, considering we are an English-speaking forum with most users coming from English-speaking countries; and it is not demeaning, considering that those are countries where the sport is rapidly growing and thus these events are getting more and more interesting and competitive. It is no surprise, then, that the Tour of Utah made third place and the Tour of Britain made second. The Tour of Utah saw a surprising win from a complete underdog: Sepp Kuss delivered an outstanding performance and had the printers start printing massive quantities of “Next post-Lance American big hope” stickers; the Tour of Britain was very entertaining and saw a likable winner in Julian Alaphilippe who was enjoying the best summer of his life after his stellar Tour de France. Other races in English-speaking countries which did well were the Tour de Yorkshire and the Herald Sun Tour. But another thing that didn’t change from last year was the winner: the Tour of the Alps! The race held between Italy and Austria is once again a fan favourite, thanks to its simple formula: climbing, climbing, climbing… but with stages that usually open up to a variety of different possible outcomes. This year we saw breakthrough performances from the likes of Ivan Ramiro Sosa, Ben O’Connor and Mark Padun as well as a juggernaut-like performance by Thibaut Pinot whose worst result out of five stages was a fifth place! Other races that did well in the poll were the Tour of Croatia, the always entertaining Volta a Portugal and the revamped Deutschland Tour.
 Best non-WT one-day race
A lot of races were named in this category, but consensus grew only towards a few of them; namely, only three races gained more than ten votes. Third place went to Tro Bro Leon, a race that has been described as a mix between Paris-Roubaix and Strade Bianche. Perhaps you know it as “that weird French race where someone gets a piglet”… but it is so much more than that: it is a genuinely breathtaking affair through one of cycling’s “holy lands”, and it is consistently good year after year. This year, there even was bad weather! Second place went to a much more estabilished race: Paris-Tours Elite. It is probably the most important race (going by historical prestige) outside the World Tour, but it has never performed too well in this category as it is very often a sprinters’ classic, something that /peloton users seem not to like too much. This year, however, the race was shaken up with some gravel sections towards the end, and while reception by teams and riders was mixed, our voters seemed to have enjoyed it. But let’s move onto the big question: who won? If you read the women’s awards or remember the outcome of the Best one-day race category above, you might already know the answer. There is a non-WT race that has a huge headstart on all the others because of its importance, its pervasive coverage and its top-tier startlist: I’m talking, of course, of the World Championships. As said earlier, perhaps the Innsbruck course didn’t bring the carnage some expected, but it still was a very tense affair that had us glued to the screens given what was at stake! This was the second win in a row for the Worlds in this category. Fun fact: the fourth most voted race was Strade Bianche… which is, however, a WT event! All those votes could not be counted in this category.
 Best stage in a stage race
Let’s not build too much hype around this category as I am sure you all might have a good idea of the winner. Like it or not, there was an absolutely unreal stage that turned a whole race around with a never-before-seen achievement: I’m talking, of course, of the Giro d’Italia’s Stage 19, best known as the Colle delle finestre stage. Up until the previous day, Simon Yates looked like he was clearly in control of the race, whereas Chris Froome’s Giro had been underwhelming so far- save the Zoncolan raid he was a bit behind in GC, not where most would have expected him to be. But then… Froome just went. On a long range attack. A solo parade on some of Italy’s most celebrated climbs, and at the end of the day the pink jersey was his. It was one of the most dramatic days I have ever witnessed in cycling, and while no rider breaks this subreddit as Froome does, most users agreed that the Finestre attack was worthy of this award- if anything because of how ballsy it was. This stage received more than two thirds of the valid votes cast in this category; Stage 9 of the Tour de France, a.k.a. the Roubaix stage, was a very distant second- a glimpse of spring racing in the middle of the summer, with all the drama coming from having the GC riders face the cobbles and a very worthy winner in John Degenkolb. Another Tour stage wrapped up the podium- Stage 12, a.k.a. the Alp d’Huez one. It was a day marred with controversy after Nibali was forced to retire after hitting a fan’s camera strap up the climb, an incident which led many to criticize the reckless behaviour of many fans but also the way security was handled on the famous hairpin bends. The Giro is the first race to win this award twice: the first three editions were won by each Grand Tour once. The last stage of Paris-Nice was the most voted non-GT stage, whereas notable stages which did worse than I personally expected were the 65 kms long stage in the Tour (just one vote) and the Giro’s Zoncolan stage (no votes).
 Most surprising result
Preface: this is always a bit of a difficult category to award. For organizational reasons, I restricted the object of this category to races (either whole races or single stages) rather than riders (there are other categories for that); in case someone highlighted the performance of a specific rider in a certain race/stage, I counted that as a vote for the race in question. So the reasoning behind the picks might get lost in translation a bit (e.g. several people who voted Roubaix highlighted Dillier’s ride to second place rather than Sagan’s win, but this does not show in the results). This said, third place went to Milano-Sanremo. The classicissima di primavera saw a completely unexpected attack from Vincenzo Nibali atop the Poggio… and to make things even more surprising, the shark managed to stay away until the end! Then, second place went to the Tour de France. We haven’t really talked a lot about the Grand Boucle so far, but it’s needless to say that Geraint Thomas’ GC win was quite a surprising feat! And apart from that, some voters highlighted other unexpected performances, such as those from Roglic, Alaphilippe, Dumoulin… and, under a negative light, Quintana. But once again, poor G is overshadowed by his own teammate: the event which received most votes in this category was Chris Froome’s Colle delle Finestre raid on the Giro d’Italia’s stage 19! I have already described how much the events that unfolded on that day were something absolutely unique for the modern state of cycling- especially considering the attack came from a guy who has a (perhaps undeserved) reputation for conservative riding and strangling races. Many people voted for the Giro as a whole as well, and some highlighted the performances of other riders (Carapaz and Yates- both his rise and his late fall).
 Best team
This was a very closely contested category last year… but I can’t quite say the same for this year! Only three teams got more than 10 votes, and there is a 150+ votes gap between first and second place! Third place went to Mitchelton-Scott: the Australian team, winner of this award in 2016, had a subpar season in some regards (especially in the classics), but it finally managed to win a Grand Tour thanks to Yates winning the Vuelta (and getting reasonably close at the Giro, too)! Second place went to another past recipient: Team Sky, winner of the Best team award in 2015 and 2017. There is not much to be said here: two Grand Tours, Froome completing a rare triple crown and good results elsewhere especially thanks to Bernal’s massive season. The future is a big question mark for them, though, as Sky recently announced its intention to stop sponsorship after 2019. From sponsorship woes to sponsorship novelties… the winner in this category is Quick Step Floors which, after a long search for a title sponsor, will be known as Deceuninck-Quick Step from 2019 on. Do you remember the days when Quick Step was the laughing stock of the spring classics, because they had all the strong riders but always failed to deliver in big races? Those days seem like the distant past, as they were absolutely dominant both on the cobbles, with Terpstra enjoying the spring of his life, and in the Ardennes, with Alaphilippe finally taking Flèche and Jungels winning LBL. But the team enjoyed massive successes all year long, also thanks to Gaviria and Viviani’s sprinting prowess. They even did well in fields where this team has historically never done too well: Enric Mas delivered a massively surprising second place in GC at the Vuelta, for example!
 Most improved team
Two teams soared ahead of everyone else in this category. Second place went to Mitchelton-Scott: as discussed earlier, this was a very important season for the Australian team, as they finally managed to win a Grand Tour after several close calls in the past. This team won the Best team award in 2016, back when they were still named Orica-BikeExchange, but things had gotten a bit stale throughout 2017: Esteban Chaves couldn’t get back to his former self, the Yates bros didn’t seem good enough to effectively contend a GT and development in the sprinting and classic fields was also stagnating. Yates was certainly the main factor in Mitchelton’s good 2018, but good results came from other sources too- Trentin became the European RR champion, Kreuziger had a good Ardennes season, some of the youngsters showed promising signs of development (Power had some good wins in lesser races and a very impressive showing at Strade Bianche), and Simon Yates’ own brother Adam netted a couple of good wins at the Dauphiné and Tirreno-Adriatico. By a clear majority, however, this award went to Team Lotto-Jumbo! The Dutch team had been slowly but constantly improving over the last few seasons… until it finally exploded this year. Dylan Groenewegen became arguably one of the strongest sprinters in the peloton, and Primož Roglič kept quietly building momentum, starting off with an impressive win in Tirreno-Adriatico, following it up with GC wins in one-week races and eventually got very close to a Tour podium. Other teams which fared well in this award were BORA – hansgrohe (3rd) and Astana Pro Team (4th). The best non-WT team was Euskadi – Murias, which went from the Conti ranks in 2017 to a stage win at the Vuelta and a GC win in a WT race in 2018.
 Most combative team
Cycling fans love panache, that’s a well known fact. But does that mean that they will always root for the plucky little underdog? Not quite, as this category was won by one of the largest teams in the peloton- Quick Step Floors! The Belgian team has a reputation for being more of a buzzkill rather than a buzz, as we often see them on the front, pulling the peloton to catch breakaways in classics and sprint stages… but then, we have had countless examples of ballsy riding from QST all throughout the season- from Terpstra’s “Big risk big rewards” attacks in the classics to Alaphilippe’s polkadots raids at the Tour, we have seen lone wolves just as frequently as the wolfpack! And this year was certainly no fluke: Quick Step had won this award in 2017, too. Team Lotto-Jumbo was second- as we have stated many times, the Dutch team had a fairly good season and provided plenty of entertaining racing thanks to their attack-prone riders, although they weren’t as visible as other seasons during the classics. The race for third place was much more balanced with Mitchelton-Scott narrowly edging other teams out: I’m fairly sure that Simon Yates’ “all-or-nothing” riding style is all I have to reference! For the second year in a row, Wanty – Groupe Gobert was the most voted non-WT team in this category- once a classics breakaway staple, they have now been a TdF breakaway staple for two years in a row as well!
 Best non-WT team
Statistics often don’t tell the whole story… but if we take a look at this season’s UCI rankings and at the results in this category, it seems that /peloton and the sheer cold data nearly went hand in hand. Direct Energie won this category for two years in a row, but they stepped aside this year, having to settle for fourth place. The Vendée team had a solid season, but they lost Coquard and perhaps Calmejane and Boudat didn’t deliver as expected. The title, however, stayed within France’s national borders… and landed in the hands of Cofidis! The red-and-white team won this award for the first time ever, but it was a very deserved result: the team had a drastic change from 2017 to 2018- they signed the right riders, they stopped relying on Bouhanni as much as they did (and he still bagged them a GT stage) and they had Christophe Laporte step up his game massively. The other teams sitting high in the UCI rankings also fared well: Wanty-Groupe Gobert was second, with solid results in different fields. Some of the seasonal highlights for the Belgian team were Guillaume van Keirsbulck’s win at the Antwerp Port Epic and Guillaume Martin’s development as one of the most interesting young climbers of the peloton- and probably the team’s main argument when seeking their third Tour wildcard in a row. Androni, arguably the best team on the Italian scene, was fifth. The only outlier was Euskadi – Murias: the Basque team is not sitting very high in the rankings, but they scored high profile wins late in the season- a Vuelta stage and the Tour of Turkey GC (granted, the latter might not exactly be “high profile”, but it’s still WT and there isn’t much else going on at the same time) and thus made third place in the rankings. Amongst the disappointing teams: Fortuneo only got a couple of votes, while Vital Concept got none. Aqua Blue was second last year but- of course- they only collected a handful of votes this year (half of which were pity votes- Aqua Blue lol or Aqua Blue :(). A few Conti teams got named too, but none gained more than one vote.
2018.09.12 09:13 TinyLittleFlameReturn to Shadowhaven [25 CE] [Ventara]
Author's Notes Since it has been quite some time since I last wrote about Ventara, especially outside of Interactions, I suspect most of you have forgotten a lot about this claim, and also we have had several new members since then. So I am going to write a bit of context/reminders so people don't feel out of the loop for this post. The Heart of Darkness is a rift at the center of the Shadowhaven, the ancestral home of the Sanions. The rift keeps the area for several miles in radius in eternal darkness. The Sanions being vulnerable to sunlight migrated en masse to this location after its discovery and made it their home until the Exodus when Grand Chief Turak led his people away from the Shadowhaven to MapleLeaf which is the Capital of modern day Ventara, a truly multi-cultural, multi-racial society inhabited by Sanions, Snowcats, Crownlanders and even the Bagheera Araneans. Whisperers are Sanion mages that have an affinity for darkness. They can manipulate darkness in both general and specialized ways, and can use it to enhance their perception of their surroundings tremendously. Read More Recap of the Whisperers plot: Turak, Kovira and Karak'Tai (aka Tai) were once friends. A gang of Whisperers. They split up after their friend Maleena faced a most tragic end. [Please read Exile of Karak'Tai if you haven't. It's some of my best work] Turak eventually became Grand Chief, sole ruler of Ventara. Karak'Tai was exiled and he eventually learned to weaponize the Bara'Seer, a fungal infection that attacked the neural systems and made people into crazed cannibals. He sold this to a nation at war and the weapon's use had a huge fallout and caused a major world crisis. After finding out Karak'Tai's plans Kovira exposed herself to the rift's powers in order to become stronger and pursue Karak'Tai. This didn't go exactly as planned. She developed an increased sensitivity to light and needs to be in darkness like a drug addict. If she is outside of darkness for a long time, she begins to experience withdrawal symptoms and her body crashes. She also began hearing voices in her head a lot. While the voices were helpful in bringing her insight that helped her in her missions, at one point she felt like she was going insane. She eventually found out the voices belonged to a pair of long-dead Whisperers: a little girl named Shards and a big burly man named Blaze. In times of battle, the two Whisperers aid Kovira by lending her their powers or even materializing and fighting along side her. Other times they are just a pair of annoying voices that won't leave her alone and remark on everything. While Kovira had anticipated her final fight with Karak'Tai and spent much mental frustration coming to terms with the fact that she'll have to kill her former best friend, the fight never came. He was brutally killed by a rogue group of Aranean Assassins (the Fida'i) as collateral damage during their incursion into Shadowhaven. No formal accusations have been made against the Araneans as there is no proof for this and Kovira and Turak only know of this due to a vision Kovira had. Start of Post "How did you ever keep on living here afterwards?" Asked Kovira. "I became Chief of my tribe soon afterwards," said Turak. "I couldn't just run away like you did." They stood outside the borders of the Shadowhaven, staring at the smooth black surface of the giant dome that kept their land in eternal darkness. The Sanions had not lived here in over a decade. The pair had only returned to their ancestral lands because of a vision Kovira had. "Shall we go inside?" Said Kovira. "Dawn will soon be upon us." "Wait, I need a moment," said Turak. "So many terrible things happened here." Terrible things have always happened here, whispered the disembodied voice of a little girl. Normally only Kovira heard the voices of the two long-dead Whisperers that accompanied her, but Turak heard them just fine thanks to his own status as a Whisperer. I was the first Whisperer, said the girl. The Sanions of the time did not understand my powers and killed me out of fear. "I wonder what changed that perspective," said Kovira. "We have always been revered for being Whisperers." That would be the second generation of Whisperers, came another disembodied voice, a very deep masculine one. During our time Ventara was invaded by humans from the West. My comrade and I were instrumental in the war that followed, earning much love and respect for Whisperers. "Sifraka," said Turak. "I didn't know that bit of history. They are allies now." They have always been a war hungry race. Do not be surprised if they invade once more. Treachery runs deep in their veins. We should be going, whispered the little girl. The Dark One awaits. Kovira stared up at the sea of stars overhead as she entered the dark dome and the stars vanished from sight behind the veil of darkness. It felt like stepping into a pool of water, feeling your surrounding become more tangible and viscous. The darkness welcomed them in her loving embrace. "Home," the Sanions murmured in unison. "Race you," said Turak smirking and then launched into a gigantic leap, his powers boosting his strength and agility in the darkness. Two could play that game. Kovira took a deep breath. It had been so long since she had been in such a deep darkness and her powers felt amplified by several magnitudes. With an exhale, she lifted herself off the ground and in an instant she was flying through the dark rapidly. Turak who had gained quite a headstart, was very soon a tiny dot behind her as she rushed past him towards the Heart of Darkness. By the time Turak had caught up with her, she had been standing in front of the Heart, staring into its impenetrable darkness. This was where it had happened. Where Maleena had died, and also where Karak'Tai was killed. Turak landed beside her, panting. "When did you get so incredibly fast?" She smirked, without taking her eyes off the Heart. "You're just getting old, Turak, and also fat from your years at a desk job." Before he had a chance to respond, the surface of the Heart rippled and from it emerged the silhoutte of a Sanion male. "Blaze, is that you?" asked Kovira. No that wasn't right. Blaze was very tall and muscular. This one was more lean. The shape slowly grew more defined and the face took a more recognizable form. "Tai!" exclaimed Turak. "Is it really you?" Tears began to glisten in Kovira's feline eyes. "Yes friends, it is I," said the body of darkness. "Friends?" said Turak, his temper flaring. "You are no friend of mine! Do you have any idea how many innocent lives were lost as a result of your actions? Whole nations have been ruined. Entire cities bathed in their own blood. If you were still alive I would have killed you myself!" "You never change, Turak. Still the self righteous hot headed oaf who fails to see the bigger picture." "Why you little-" said Turak readying to pounce but Kovira caught him. "Why did you bring us here?" she asked. Karak'Tai finally looked at her and his tone softened. "Kovira... I deeply apologize for everything you had to go through. I am glad it didn't end with your jaws around my neck." Kovira was glad as well. There was no way she could have let him live no matter how much she wanted to. "Tai, why are we here?" Kovira repeated her question. "Turak is right, my actions caused immeasurable harm," he said. "So now allow me to repent by saving our nation from annihalation." "What?" said Turak. "I was always a Seeker of Knowledge in life. Upon my death I was united with the Dark One, as all Whisperers are, and he shared with me much knowledge, of things you can't even begin to imagine." "Who is the Dark One?" asked Kovira. "He is the closest thing we have to a patron God. He created the Shadowhaven. The darkness of our world is his domain. All of the powers that we Whisperers possess are his blessings. We Whisperers are his chosen ones; the ones who develop a special bond with him that transcends our mortal lives." "You mentioned annihalation," said Turak. "What is the danger we face?" "You see, the Dark One is not from our world. Our world is but a mere fragment of a vast whole. There are an infinite number of worlds out there and an unfathomable void between them. The Dark One transcends these worlds as is a creature of the Void. He suckles our world like a baby, slowly consuming its light, giving us our beloved Shadowhaven. He means us no harm and is a very, very patient eater. In an entire millenium the Shadowhaven has only progressed so much. Yes it grows, far too slowly for us to notice, but it would not consume our world for several more millenia. Unfortunately, not all creatures are as patient. While the Dark One is a mere youngling at the age of a thousand Millenia, there are others there, out in the Void, much older and sinister, and one of them has taken a liking to our world. The Ancient One has many names, and is older than any living memory on any world. Those who have come in contact with her in Whend call her the Weaver." "The Weaver!" said Turak. "Is that not the name of the Aranean diety?" "Funny, I never thought you to be the religious type." "I am not. I did my research into that nation after the manner of your death." "And what did you find out? What has Kovira told you of my death?" "She told me about the Araneans. About what they looked like, what they wore, everything she could remember. From what I gather, they were the priesthood. But the priesthood does not reside in Ventara. It is said there are powerful Oracles in their ranks. I suspect they knew you would be coming here and planned to assassinate you for your misdeeds." "Once again, you fail to see the bigger picture Turak. They weren't here for me. No, I was just an afterthought. They were here for the Heart." "The Heart?" said Kovira. "What could they possibly want with the Heart? Their magic is very different from ours is it not?" "The Weaver is nothing like the Dark One. She is a devourer of worlds. She has consumed countless worlds before ours and now hungers for Whend. But she needs help, help from inside Whend. She is not the diety of the Araneans but she has decieved their priesthood into thinking so. Now they devote their efforts and their very lives to her cause. The Heart has been compromised. The Weaver will use it, like many other rifts, as an opening for her feeding frenzy. Ventara is in grave danger." "All of Whend is in danger!" said Kovira. "We need to put a stop to this." "Ventara comes first. We need to evacuate." "Evacuate to where?" said Turak. "Kovira is right. No place is safe if this thing attacks." "Things are in motion. There are those that have begun preparations to fight back. Whether they will win or not, I cannot say, but you need to get our people as far away from the Heart as possible. Even if we win, Ventara will be destroyed in the war. Have your people not seen enough war?" "Tai, you may not know this but we have become a huge nation with permanent settlements. We have got cities and towns. I can't just tell them all to pack up and leave." "Do not insult my knowledge, Turak. I know far more than you can ever dream of. I am telling you, your people need to leave. This place is no longer safe. The threat is not immediate, and may not strike for another decade. There is still time to act, you just have to be willing to do so." "It is no longer just Sanions who live here. What of the Snowcats and the Crownlanders? What of the Bagheera Araneans? This is no longer just my decision. There are far too manyh stakeholders now." "Find a way. You must. The survival of our people depends upon it, Turak." "Tai," said Kovira. "I want to join the fight." "Good. Then there are people you need to meet. Also, I suppose it's time the Dark One bestowed you with more gifts."
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2017.11.16 14:45 X-the-KomujinArmored Core: Project Phantasma Guide: The Beginning and the Arena
So, as we start, we should get some credits so we can start the story off decently well. I'd honestly make a quick recommendation for those that are new: Beginner: Do some Arena → Story → Complete the Arena Intermediate: Do the whole Arena → Story Expert: Story → Arena Since the Arena offers good parts and lots of credits, it can give you a headstart in the story. Do what you feel is best for you. Anyways, we select our name and the following shows...
Your objective is to raid the underground city compound, "Amber Crown". It is imperative that you successfully accomplish this goal. This is a very straightforward request but one that is shrouded in mystery. Prepare yourself, as another skirmish is about to begin.
Fairly simple. After you press X you are immediately entered into the Raven's Nest. In Armored Core 1, you had to do a mission, but now you do not.
As to be perfectly fair to others reading this guide, I am going to do this with a clean slate, no Human Plus, not a save file imported from AC 1. This is to be fair to newer players who may not have AC 1.
So, as we start, we can immediately hop right into the Arena. Screw that mission request for now. We got a name to build for ourselves! So, as you can immediately see, you start off in an AC identical to the one you start with in AC 1. You also have a rather generous 100000 Credits to start off with on top of what you can get in the Arena. I'll make recommendations, but I truly want newer players to find and experience their own builds that suit them the most, but I can understand if you may have trouble with those ranked near Necron. Anyways, let's get started.
One thing you might notice is that you can pick Arena maps. Some of these maps have specific quirks to them that might make battles easier or harder depending on your build. Map 1 This map looks like a normal forest, except it's littered with mines. This can actually make fights a lot easier, if not cheesy. It doesn't have any obstacles other than the hills so aiming won't be an issue. Map 2 This map is in a metropolitan area. It's quite dark and has lots of buildings for cover. Obstacles may be an annoyance to a newer player but it's still a pretty good map in and of itself. Map 3 This is a cave area. This is probably the easiest map in the game to get wins on. You fall straight into the cave upon starting and since the cave has no verticality it's much easier to aim, especially with a horizontal/wide FCS! Map 4 This is also a cave area, except this one has verticality. It's wide, open, and has stalagmites which will block your shots and provide cover for you, but other than that there's not much else to say. Map 5 This is an open grassy area. No mines this time, but there's a large hill on one side of the map and a ravine with a river inside on the other side. Both of these can help you get a positioning advantage against the foe. Map 6 You start off... on a floating hill. You can fall off the floating hill to a flat grassland below and you can boost back up to the hill any time. This map is the king of verticality. Map 7 Remember the Destroy Gun Emplacements mission in AC 1? This map is the same map as that. Open waters with a destroyed gun emplacement in the middle of the map for cover. Map 8 This map takes place in a factory area. Lots of cover and verticality is your friend here. You can either go on the offensive or stay on the defensive on this map and it's quite good. Map 9 Also a reused map from AC 1. Remember the Scout Factory Entrance mission? This is the same map. A lot of hills on a dark and snowy map which means a radar is highly recommended. It's decent for battling however. Map 10 Another metropolitan area with a different layout. Map 11 A snowy military base which has lots of buildings for cover while simultaneously being open in the center for fast battles. Map 12 A destroyed ship dock? A bit of verticality but otherwise a decent map. Map 13 You fight in a wide and open arena with no cover. I like this map but it tends to lag for me. Quite a shame, really.
Here are some premade builds you can try if you're having difficulty. I encourage you to try what you like best rather than immediately resorting to a predetermined build. Note: Some of these builds require parts which you obtain through the Arena. Replace the parts if you don't have them. Lightweight Rifle Head: HD-ONE Core: XXA-S0 Arms: AN-25 Legs: LN-501 Right Arm Weapon: WG-RFM118 Left Arm Weapon: None Back Weapons: Both M118-TD Boosters: B-VR-33 Generator: GBG-10000 FCS: TRYX-QUAD Optional Parts: SOP-ABS, SP-S/SCR, SP-E/SCR (SP-EG, SP-E+ SP-DEhf if using a Pulse Rifle). I made this and actually started a brand new data and beat Necron entirely with this build while making this guide. I like this because it's immensely fast while having decent DPS. You can also substitute the Rifle for a Pulse Rifle (WG-XP2000) against extremely bulky targets like Tiger and Tiamat. Middleweight Energy Defensive HD-D-9066 Core: XXa-S0 Arms: AN-D-7001 Legs: LN-2KZ-SP Right Arm Weapon: WG-XP2000 Left Arm Weapon: Not Equipped Back Weapons: Both M118-TD Booster: B-VR-33 Generator: GBG-10000 FCS: TRYX-QUAD Optional Parts: SOP-ABS, SP-S/SCR, SP-E/SCR, SP-EG, SP-E+ SP-DEhf. Similar to the Lightweight build, except this has exceptional Energy Defense. Unfortunately due to weight concerns it needs to equip a Pulse Rifle but this build still helps with opposing Energy weapons while simultaneously being very fast. Bulky Middleweight Head: HD-ONE Core: XCA-00 Arms: AN-863-B Legs: LN-SSVR Right Arm Weapon: WG-RFM118 Left Arm Weapon: LS-3303 Back Weapons: Both M118-TD Booster: B-VR-33 Generator: GBG-10000 FCS: TRYX-QUAD Optional Parts: SOP-ABS, SP-S/SCR, SP-E/SCR. Same idea but with a bit bulkier shell defense. This is moderately slower than the other builds but should be fast enough to dodge most attacks. If I'm going to be honest, I really think the Rifle and Pulse Gun are good enough to beat everyone including Necron with. The Rifle has good DPS while the Pulse Gun has negligible energy drain which is never an issue.
Rank 49: Danger
Reward: 6000 Credits Difficulty: 1 (out of 10) This AC is also a brand new AC with identical parts to yours. You should be able to beat him easily even with the base set.
Rank 48: Luke
Reward: 7000 Credits and the GBX-TL Generator Difficulty: 1 This AC is a quad legged AC with missile weapon arms. He can fire two missiles per lock on from his arms for decent damage, but if you pick a wide open map like Map 5 then you can strafe around him while his missiles constantly miss you. I beat him with the base set as well. Sell the generator that you get. It's seriously not a good generator and you need the cash. Build Update: Around this time I sold that generator and bought the CBG-10000 Generator the the high efficiency boosters (B-T2). You should have ~70000 credits left. Save them.
Rank 47: Roach
Reward: 8000 C Difficulty: 2 He has two high DPS laser cannon arms, but is otherwise identical to Luke. Fear not however, his build is so terribly bad that it has a high energy drain and he often goes into the Charging state which leaves him completely helpless. Keep clear of his energy blasts for a bit and he should go down quickly. I beat him with the starting rifle. Rank 46: Thorn Reward: 9000 C Difficulty: 4 Rather annoying compared to the last three. Thorn uses a Machine Gun this time which has decent DPS and doesn't rely on energy, however he can be quite inaccurate with it at times. Thorn is fairly speedy and can evade your Rifle shots, so don't be surprised if you need to resort to using Back Weapons to finish the job. If you changed your boosters at all, you'll have an easier time avoiding his Machine Gun. I beat him with the base Rifle and base Small Missile, just changing the Generator and Booster. Build Update: I sold the base Generator since I wasn't using it, the base Boosters since I wasn't using them, and my base Head and Radar. I purchased the HD-ONE Head Part instead which has a radar included. Here's my build so far: Head: HD-ONE Core: XCA-00 Arms: AN-201 Legs: LN-1001-PX-0 Right Arm Weapon: WG-RD35 Left Arm Weapon: LS-2001 Left Back Weapon: None Right Back Weapon: WM-S40/1 Boosters: B-T2 Generator: GBG-10000 FCS: COMDEX-C7
Rank 45: Snake
Reward: 10000 C Difficulty: 3 Not as difficult as the last battle. He pilots a Heavy Reverse Jointed AC, which also happens to wall your standard Rifle quite well. He can jump high but isn't very agile and doesn't have a good turning speed. You can use this to your advantage in Map 3. If you run out of ammo, go up and slice him a bit with your laser blade. He isn't very fast and doesn't have a laser blade equipped himself for some reason. His only real threat is his large bulk but even then he's not that bad. Build Update: Since we have enough credits now, I chose to sell the starting Rifle and get the upgraded version (WG-RFM118) for now. Pick whatever weapon you want to try.
Rank 44: Killer Rabbit
Reward: 12000 Credits and the WC-SPGUN Energy Slug Gun part. Difficulty: 1 Killer Rabbit is literally a toned down version of Thorn. As to why he's ranked higher, I don't know. He has the same old machine gun but is a bigger klutz than Thorn is and is therefore a pushover. You should have no difficulty taking Killer Rabbit down. As for the Energy Slug Gun, if you plan on using a heavyweight Quad or Tank, it's good, otherwise I'd just sell it.
Rank 43: Salamander
Reward: 14000 C Difficulty: 4 Salamander has one of the highest DPS weapons in the game, the 4 rifle machine gun Weapon Arms. Fortunately, he only fires them in bursts, which makes them slightly less devastating. Strafe left and right erratically and he shouldn't hit you too much. Salamander isn't particularly bulky himself and prefers to fight at ground level so this shouldn't be a terrible fight in and of itself.
Rank 42: Gear Crusher
Reward: 15000 C Difficulty: 1 Gear Crusher looks more difficult and intimidating than he is. He's just a rehashed version of Luke with less mobility and slightly more bulk. He'll go down quickly and won't pose much of a threat.
Rank 41: Neptune
Reward: 18000 C Difficulty: 3 If you didn't have trouble with Snake, you aren't going to have trouble with Neptune. Unlike what his Bio says, Neptune does not have a Sniper Rifle, rather he's just another HRJ with a Machine Gun. I'm pretty sure he's actually identical to Snake. He's a bit more mobile than Snake was, however. That shouldn't make him much more difficult, especially in Map 3.
Rank 40: Shaman
Reward: 19000 C Difficulty: 3 Shaman's bio doesn't lie this time. He actually DOES have a Sniper Rifle. He's a Heavy Bipedal with a Sniper Rifle, and he's surprisingly not difficult at all. He may intimidate in the first few seconds of battle especially as his Sniper Rifle will have quite a bit of knockback, but his turning speed is very poor and he is poor with energy management, which will let you dance circles around him damaging him while he desperately tries to lock on to you. Like Snake, his biggest threat is his rather large amount of AP and good armor, except this time, he actually has an even higher amount than Snake did.
Rank 39: Hilda
Reward: 20000 C Difficulty: 1 This AC is PATHETIC. Hilda only has a single Small Missile unit on her back. I'm not even joking. No Arm weapons. This battle is somehow easier than Danger.
Rank 38: Icarus
Reward: 21000 Credits and the M118-TD Magazine back part. Difficulty: 1 Icarus is a Caterpillar (Tank) type which only equips the basic Hand Gun, not even the scattershot ones. He has nothing else in his arsenal. While his Hand Gun can stagger a bit, that's really the biggest threat he poses.
Rank 37: Artillery
Reward: 22500 C Difficulty: 5 A quadruped with yet another false bio. He doesn't equip anything but the quadruple Machine Gun weapon arms. Artillery is more liberal with how he uses his Machine Guns and will give you less of a break than Salamander does. However, Artillery is less bulky as well. Artillery will pose a threat, but your main focus should be keeping on the move.
Rank 36: Slammer
Reward: 23000 C Difficulty: 5 Slammer is more or less a harder version of Salamander. The key difference is that Slammer equips the Gatling Gun weapon arms and is also more liberal with how he uses them. The Gatling Gun weapon arms give less ammo for slightly higher DPS. Anyways, Slammer is more mobile than Artillery is, but Slammer isn't particularly bulky either, so he'll go down quick with decent weaponry (I'm still using the base armor with the upgraded rifle).
Rank 35: Nobody
Reward: 24000 C Difficulty: 1 Nobody is a lightweight Tank model with a Bazooka. The problem with Nobody is that Bazookas are complete trash in the Arena, and you'll never realistically get hit with the Bazooka he has. That's unfortunately the downside to Bazookas in Armored Core. Keep clear of his shots and he'll go down quickly. Build Update: I switched my COMDEX FCS with the TRYX-QUAD FCS. A Sideways/Horizontal FCS can be more helpful in situations, especially in the Arena.
Rank 34: Gunner
Reward: 25000 C Difficulty: 1 Gunner is a Heavy Reverse Joint with nothing but the starting Rifle. I mean, his only distinguishing trait is his high amount of armor. He's not particularly mobile and he dislikes being airborne despite being a Reverse Joint. He won't be able to beat you unless you don't have a reasonable amount of ammo.
Rank 33: Striker
Reward: 26000 C Difficulty: 3 Striker, like Hilda, has nothing but a single Back Weapon. Unlike Hilda however Striker has a Chain Gun which can be devastating if he can keep a lock on you. Unfortunately he seems to have target acquisition issues based on what I've seen. His AC in particular isn't that bulky and he will run out of ammo eventually. If you're having trouble with him, just try to wait for him to run out of ammo.
Rank 32: Death Leader
Reward: 28000 C Difficulty: 1 Again, for some reason, this is an AC with nothing but a single back weapon. From Soft must have thought people would really struggle in the Arena. Anyways, Death Leader, unlike Hilda or Striker is a Tank and has more health than them. However, he has Small Rockets, which are also inaccurate, and as we've learned with Nobody, Small Rockets, like Bazookas, aren't good in Arena combat. If anything, Death Leader is easier than Nobody. His Small Rockets do a lot less damage even though they fire more often. Again, just keep mobile and you won't even be hit.
Rank 31: Spike
Reward: 30000 Credits and the HD-G780 Head Part. Difficulty: 6 Spike is a Tank model which only has the 4 barrel Machine Gun arms. If you haven't already noticed, there's two things that are incredibly popular: the 4 barrel Machine Gun weapon arms and only equipping a single weapon. Anyways, Spike sets himself apart from the others as his Tank is his bulk, which isn't too much higher than the others but can make him a bit more difficult when he has more time to attack you before going down. Keep mobile, strafe erratically like you did with the others, and you should win this with around 50% AP.
Rank 30: Brutus
Reward: 32000 C Difficulty: 6 Brutus is special, because Brutus is the first Human Plus AC you'll fight and the first seriously built AC in the Arena. Brutus pilots a Middleweight Bipedal and he is an extremely mobile fighter. He uses verticality to his advantage and that suits him well despite using a Sniper Rifle. Brutus however isn't very bulky and goes down quickly in Map 3 where there isn't verticality. Keep a steady aim on him and you shouldn't lose more than 50% for this fight either. Just make sure to stay away from him since he can fire blade waves at you at close range.
Rank 29: Jester
Reward: 33000 C Difficulty: 8 Jester takes it up a notch. Jester is yet another AC with, you guessed it, the 4 barrel Machine Gun weapon arms. Unlike the other ACs, Jester is a lightweight Reverse Joint with incredible mobility and he doesn't hold back either. He will completely spray bullets with his weapon arms without any breaks. Jester is also the first fully equipped AC as well, as he has Small Missiles and a Pulse Cannon, but Jester prefers to use his weapon arms before those. Jester is extremely mobile, but I don't feel he abuses verticality as much as Brutus does. He mostly slides along the ground trying to evade your shots while whittling your AP down and fast. If you need to, battle Jester on Map 3 but it'll be a difficult fight otherwise. If you need to, run a Heavyweight Bipedal build with a good Shell defense. You shouldn't lose to Jester more than once or twice, however. His weakness is that he takes arguably the most damage from attacks out of any Raven you've battled thus far and he will go down quickly if you keep a steady aim. The TRYX-QUAD FCS helps with this.
Rank 28: Roughneck
Reward: 34000 C Difficulty: 8 Roughneck is pretty much identical to Jester. Roughneck however utilizes verticality a lot more than Jester and Brutus does, and often tries to fight you from above. Use the same strats you used to beat Jester and Roughneck will be about the same difficulty. Roughneck is slightly different from Jester in that he uses the Gatling Gun weapon arms, a Linear Cannon instead of a Pulse Cannon, and Roughneck is a Bipedal, not a Reverse Joint. Fight Roughneck on Map 3 to limit his mobility if you have trouble with him. He won't last too long either.
Rank 27: Darwin
Reward: 36000 C Difficulty: 5 Darwin is a Tank type with Bazooka weapon arms and a Grenade Launcher and a Triple Missile launcher on his back. Darwin generally likes using his Grenade Launcher over his other weapons but he's not really a threat when using his Bazooka weapon arms. He likes to switch between the two often, but I find he uses a Grenade Launcher more than he uses his weapon arms, unfortunately. Ironically, despite his bio saying he's a long range fighter, keeping range is actually what makes him easier to fight against. Just keep a decent distance away and Darwin will eventually go down. Build Update: I finally got the cash to complete my AC. I got the Optional Parts which reduce the recoil from shell hits as well as the ones that reduce Shell/Energy Damage. I then bought a new Core, Arms, and Legs. Here's my build that I've been using. Head: HD-ONE Core: XXA-S0 Arms: AN-25 Legs: LN-501 Right Arm Weapon: WG-RFM118 Left Arm Weapon: None Back Weapons: Both M118-TD Boosters: B-T2 Generator: GBG-10000 FCS: TRYX-QUAD As to get a decent idea of how challenging enemies are, I'm using a Lightweight with the improved Rifle and two back magazines. I feel it would be biased of me to use something powerful because I wouldn't be accurately describing the difficulty.
Rank 26: Executioner
Reward: 38000 C Difficulty: 4 Executioner is a middleweight AC with the same Bazooka weapon arms as Darwin. The problem with Executioner is that he literally only uses his weapon arms, and that's what makes him particularly easy. Executioner has back weapons, he just chooses not to use them for some reason. Executioner however is extremely mobile and prefers to fight above you a lot, but his firepower is so poor you might not even have to fight on Map 3. Just keep a steady aim and don't waste ammo and he'll go down quickly.
Rank 25: Death Master
Reward: 40000 Credits and the WG-PB26 Grenade Launcher. Difficulty: 4 Death Master would normally be difficult but he has Rockets and he tends to be a bit overreliant on said Rockets. His weaponry includes a Pulse Rifle, which has decent DPS, if not a bit inaccurate, and a Laser Cannon, which is actually concerning, but he chooses to use his Rockets 70% of the time, his Pulse Rifle 25% of the time, and his Laser Cannon 5% of the time. Death Master himself is a middleweight Bipedal and he prefers to fight while aerial which further reduces his already questionable accuracy with his Rockets. Death Master's difficulty comes in actually hitting him and betting on the RNG that he'll use his Rockets most of the battle.
Rank 24: Eagle
Reward: 41000 C Difficulty: 3 Eagle is the bulkiest AC you have fought yet. Near maximum AP with absolutely tremendous Shell defense may want you to equip an Energy weapon. It's possible to beat him with Shell weapons but you'll be almost out of ammo... However, Eagle is actually a giant pushover. They screwed up his AI. He's almost entirely reliant on his Pulse Gun but tries to fight in mid-air against you. The thing is, he doesn't have Human Plus so he'll end up running out of energy, switching to his Slug Gun in panic, and kneeling to attack you which further worsens his situation. Overall, a bulky AC which will make you lose only due to running out of ammo, but his energy management is so poor that he really isn't a threat. Sometimes he'll try to hit you with his small missiles but they rarely hit either. Just make sure to bring a lot of ammo or an Energy weapon and he won't be too difficult.
Rank 23: Fire Crest
Reward: 42000 C Difficulty: 2 Again, yet another AC overreliant on Rockets, but this time this AC also has Missile weapon arms and a Slug Gun, but this AC doesn't have Human Plus. However, this AC is a Lightweight Reverse Joint and as such he will try to gain the advantage by flying high above you. Other than that he's really not a threat as his AC is paper and takes a hundred damage per shot from even a Rifle. Make sure your shots hit when he's near ground level and he'll go down quickly.
Rank 22: Sundown
Reward: 44000 C Difficulty: 2 This AC is pathetic. It's AI is also bugged. Even though Sundown has the quadruple Machine Gun weapon arms (like nearly half of the ACs you fought thus far...), he also has energy weapons on his back, namely Plasma and Laser Cannons which he likes to use. Funny thing, From Soft also wanted Sundown to be an aerial fighter, so he'll try to attack you with his back weapons while in midair, thus doing nothing because Sundown is a quadruped which needs to be on the ground to fire back cannons. Adding insult to injury is that Sundown also has very poor energy management; probably the worst we've seen thus far. His only real threat is the weapon arms, but that still doesn't discount the fact that he's a pushover.
Rank 21: Eliminator
Reward: 46000 C Difficulty: 5 Eliminator sports a Hand Gun which has annoying recoil, but he also loves to use his Small Rockets for some reason. He'll constantly switch between his Hand Gun and spamming Small Rockets at you and he's not a threat when he's using Small Rockets, but the recoil from the Hand Gun can usually let him net a few cheap shots on you. All in all, he's a fairly average AC. He has a Chain Gun too, but with no Human Plus he doesn't like to use it unless absolutely necessary. Since he's a middleweight bipedal, just make sure to out-DPS him and you'll beat him.
Rank 20: Bruiser
Reward: 47000 C Difficulty: 8 Bruiser is fairly intimidating at first glance. He's another Human Plus AC and he equips an extremely high DPS Laser Cannon weapon arm. Unfortunately for him, those same weapon arms have atrocious energy drain and even Human Plus can't stop him from constantly being drained of energy. Don't use a Heavyweight build against Bruiser. That's the first way to get sent to the scrap heap. Bruiser relies on getting a good introduction by scrapping a large fraction of your health away. Once Bruiser is out of energy, he resorts to firing Large Rockets at you. While these Rockets aren't particularly threatening, their explosions can catch you off-guard. Just make sure to be light enough to evade his first few shots and he'll be out of energy and trying to hit you with his rockets. There's your chance to take him down.
Rank 19: Burn
Reward: 49000 C Difficulty: 8 I mean, Burn is practically a carbon copy of Bruiser. He uses the same weapon arms and relies on rockets when his energy is up. Use the same strat you used to beat Bruiser and you'll beat Burn fairly easily.
Rank 18: Sadistic
Reward: 51000 Credits and the AW-DC/2 Weapon Arms. Difficulty: 4 Sadistic, like Sundown, tries to use his back Plasma Cannon while in midair, however since he tends to be slightly less aerial than Sundown, Sadistic will often get a few shots in on you with his Plasma Cannon. Sadistic will often drain his energy rapidly from firing the Plasma Cannon then switch to his Bazooka. As long as you can avoid his Bazooka then you don't have much difficulty with Sadistic, although I'll admit he does tend to be more accurate with his Bazooka than the previous encounters we've been.
Rank 17: Gepard
Reward: 52000 C Difficulty: 9 Gepard makes up what most newer players like to cling to for harder missions: A Tank with extremely high AP and two Grenade Launchers with Weapon Arms. While his Bazooka weapon arms aren't inherently dangerous, his Grenade Launchers have such high accuracy and their explosions make it immensely difficult to dodge. Don't use a heavyweight against Gepard, and make sure to dodge left and right erractically to throw off his Grenade Launcher shots. Make sure you equip a high DPS Shell weapon like the Grenade Launcher arms you just got. Gepard is the first legitimately difficult AC fight you'll have. Keep your distance most importantly of all.
Rank 16: Dill
Reward: 54000 C Difficulty: 9 Dill is similar to Burn and Bruiser in that he spams an energy weapon at you before switching to Rockets. Except Dill is made harder in that he uses the Karasawa laser rifle and he also has Human Plus with the Moonlight, which makes him extremely vicious at close range. He will not hesitate to hit you with blade waves at close range which means you need to be constantly moving in order to beat Dill. Equip some Energy resistant armor on a Middleweight and go into battle and Dill won't be too terribly difficult. Evading might not be an option since Dill can spam more shots for longer as the Karasawa doesn't have bad energy drain...
Rank 15: Slick
Reward: 56000 C Difficulty: 7 Slick is similar to Burn and Bruiser as well. He equips the Laser Cannon weapon arms and he'll start by spamming shots at you, but it seems like he's hesistant to ever switch weapons unless he runs out of ammo, so you don't have to worry about evading rockets unlike the aforementioned ACs. Slick however is a tank, and while he does have a lot of health and decent defenses, his mobility is trash as he can't manage energy properly so he can't use his boosters. Doing bunny hop circles around him will actually confound him in the long run as his turning speed isn't that great either.
Rank 14: Psychotic
Reward: 62000 C Difficulty: 7 Psychotic is identical to Slick in that he uses the Laser Cannon weapon arms with Dual Missiles on the back, but he prefers to use quad legs which help his mobility quite a bit. Unfortunately it doesn't help enough as like Slick, Psychotic is always out of energy and can't ascend into the air either, making the fight somewhat easier. Use the same strat you used to beat Slick and you'll beat Psychotic.
Rank 13: Seeker
Reward: 70000 C Difficulty: 3 Seeker again uses the Bazooka weapon arms which makes him a complete pushover. The whole reason he has a 3 in difficulty is because he uses the dual multi missile back part which can do a bit of damage but he almost never uses it and the times he does he tends to miss with them anyways. Seeker is rather mobile compared to the last few opponents and will try to hit you from above. Just keep a steady aim and keep bunny hopping and you'll beat him in no time.
Rank 12: Panther
Reward: 75000 C Difficulty: 5 Panther is only made difficult as he likes to spam his Laser Cannon at you, but otherwise his weaponry consists of Rockets, so he's not a big threat. Once he's out of energy, he's a sitting duck as he's in a slow Tank, which leaves him extremely vulnerable. Just keep firing at him and he'll go down quick. Just make sure to prioritize avoiding his laser cannon shots above all else.
Rank 11: Rabid
Reward: 81000 C Difficulty: 6 Rabid is very similar to Jester, but in ways he tends to be easier than Jester. Rabid is not quite as fast as Jester and Rabid has more than just his quadruple Machine Gun weapon arms, and that alone makes him easier to fight as he isn't pelting you with storms of bullets nonstop. If you didn't have too much trouble with Jester, you won't have trouble with Rabid. Just make sure to keep your distance. I used a Lightweight AC with just a rifle against him (the same build you see above), so he isn't that difficult.
Rank 10: Demise
Reward: 90000 Credits and the RZ-Fw2 Radar part. Difficulty: 3 Demise is a Quad legged AC which has Bazooka weapon arms but also likes to fight above you when he relies on his back weapons as well. So he'll fly in the air doing literally nothing while you pummel him. There's a good chance Demise is actually worse than Sundown but Demise does have better weaponry than Sundown, not like it matters when Demise never uses it. Just keep your distance in case he actually does use his back weapons, which include a Laser Cannon and a Grenade Launcher.
Rank 9: Tiger
Reward: 100000 C Difficulty: 5 Tiger uses a Bazooka as his right arm weapon and the dual back multi missile launcher. He also uses the Moonlight which keeps foes at distance especially when he can fire blade waves. Tiger isn't particularly difficult if you can evade his fire, however Tiger is probably the bulkiest AC in the Arena and shell rounds do pathetically low amounts of damage to him. I highly recommend using a Laser Rifle against Tiger. Other than that, there's not much else to say about him.
Rank 8: Lord Slayer
Reward: 120000 C Difficulty: 10 Why does Lord Slayer get a 10 in difficulty? Well, Lord Slayer uses a Plasma Rifle at his right hand weapon, has Human Plus, and actually switches between his Plasma Rifle and his Slug Gun frequently which always leaves him with lots of energy, as he's one of the only ACs which can properly manage energy, and on top of that his DPS is astoundingly high. If he isn't taking hundreds of AP a second with his Plasma Rifle, he's knocking you back or launching you into the air with his Slug Gun. The Slug Gun has the highest knockback of any weapon in the entire game and it does have the capability to literally knock you flying into the air. This knockback always throws your aim off as well. All of these traits make him an extremely formidable fighter. With that being said, you can either use an energy defensive middleweight or you can try to evade his shots through sheer skill with a lightweight, but it's difficult. Just make sure to use a shell weapon as you'll constantly be using energy boosting to evade his shots.
Rank 7: Entity
Reward: 180000 C Difficulty: 9 Entity has the same Plasma Rifle equipped as Lord Slayer and while he may have a lot higher defense and AP than Lord Slayer, he's also extremely vicious as he will attempt to fire laser blade waves at you with his Moonlight. These waves almost never hit so that's precious time wasted on his end. Make sure to stay close to him, but not too close. He'll also use a Chain Gun on his back as he doesn't boost much unlike the other Quad legged ACs. Entity prefers to stay at ground level. He has a Large Rocket but he just doesn't use it for some reason.
Rank 6: Shadow
Reward: 240000 C Difficulty: 8 Shadow is a lightweight bipedal which equips a Karasawa. He tries spamming you right into the fight but he immediately runs out of energy and he won't stop spamming his Karasawa until it runs out of ammo. He flat out refuses to use his back missiles for some reason. Anyways, he is also extremely vicious in that he will try to attack you with a Moonlight laser blade wave with every opportunity, and this can be abused especially with a lightweight AC to get more free time to attack Shadow. Make sure to unload on him once he runs out of energy, as he won't be able to boost. Since he's a lightweight, he'll go down quickly.
Rank 5: Rave
Reward: 300000 C Difficulty: 7 Rave doesn't have quite as much bulk as Tiger does, but Rave does have devastating back weapons that he loves to spam. Even though he has the iconic 4 barrel Machin Gun weapon arms, he prefers to use his Laser Cannon and Grenade Launcher instead. Keep a good distance and his back weapons won't hit you. However, do note that he uses a Narrow and Deep FCS so he'll be able to hit you from quite a long range. Anyways, he should go down decently quickly from shell hits.
Rank 4: Tiamat
Reward: 800000 C Difficulty: 8 Tiamat is difficult only because of his tremendous AP and amazing shell defense rivaling that of Tiger while simultaneously having mobility. Tiamat however uses a Bazooka and has trouble hitting mobile targets, which you can abuse. He also has dual multi missiles but he prefers to use his Bazooka for some reason. A lightweight AC with energy weapons will tear Tiamat apart.
Rank 3: Dark Rider
Reward: 1000000 Credits with the WM-AT Large Missile part. Difficulty: 10 Dark Rider manages to be every new players' worst nightmare in Armored Core: A fast, frighteningly accurate aerial Human Plus fighter with Grenade Launchers and Laser Cannon weapon arms. Don't even bother fighting him on any map other than Map 3. It's just not worth it. His greatest strength is his ability to constantly stay above you and barrage you with grenades with near perfect accuracy. It's borderline insulting how difficult Dark Rider is but a good thing is that Dark Rider at least manages to go down quickly due to being lightweight.
Rank 2: Milicona
Reward: 1200000 C Difficulty: 5 Milicona isn't particularly difficult because again he is another high energy drain Quad AC with energy weapons that also happens to try and use back cannons mid air. Barring all of that, he's not particularly difficult either as he uses the Plasma Cannon weapon arms which fire slow but highly damaging projectiles that are easy to avoid. If you're a lightweight or middleweight, you won't have much trouble with Milicona.
Rank 1: Necron
Reward: 3000000 Credits and the WA-Finger Machine Gun. Difficulty: 10 Necron is by all means insanely difficult but he's not insurmountable. Do NOT fight Necron on Map 3 as Necron will net a cheap shot on you with his Grenade Launcher. While Necron is unfortunately an aerial fighter, he's not quite as bad as previous fighters like Dark Rider. Just keep calm and stay away from Necron as that increases the chances of you avoiding his Grenade Launcher. Other than that he uses the 1000 ammo Machine Gun as his right arm weapon but he primarily tries to beat you with the Grenade Launcher. He's even more accurate than Dark Rider is but that doesn't discount the fact that Grenade Launcher rounds don't move terribly fast and can be avoided. If you manage to beat him, not only do you get the most overpowered weapon in the game, you also become a Nine Breaker in the Arena! Congratulations! By the way, I beat Necron with nothing other than the improved rifle. This is proof that you can beat Necron with any build. What do you guys think? I'll be starting missions soon.
2016.06.23 15:06 autotldrGoogle Fiber to add urban coverage and wireless with Webpass aquisition
This is an automatic summary, original reduced by 41%.
Google Fiber is acquiring Internet service provider Webpass to quickly increase its urban coverage and offer customers a combination of fiber and wireless delivery of high-speed Internet. For Google Fiber, which has typically worked with cities in planning and building a fiber network from scratch, the acquisition will give the Alphabet business a headstart in many markets, particularly in dense urban areas. Google is already working in San Francisco, where Webpass also operates, and is negotiating with property owners and managers in buildings near existing fiber infrastructure to explore connecting their residents to gigabit Internet. Google Fiber has earlier indicated that it would like to use wireless besides fiber for the delivery of Internet services to customers. In April, it obtained approval to test Internet delivery on 3.5GHz spectrum in parts of Kansas City that could result in fast, short-range wireless connections to serve areas not reached by Google Fiber. Webpass will help to further expand that coverage as it will remain focused on the rapid deployment of high-speed Internet connections for residential and commercial buildings, mainly using point-to-point wireless, Webpass President Charles Barr said in a blog post Wednesday that announced the proposed acquisition.
2013.10.03 21:21 XalteraxThe Journey to HQing Anything. (guide)
Hello! If you are reading this, then you are probably either A) A Crafter, or B) Considering Crafting You may have already come across the topic detailing the power of Hasty Touch with Steady Hand II and you might even be working your way up to 50 or even have a level 50 craft. If so you may have already tried some of those nasty 1 star recipies and found out how hard they are to HQ. Particularly if you don't start with a HQ ingrediant base, which can be expensive. I am here today writing this guide because I have 4 crafts at 50 now, and 3 more that are in the high 30s. I also have a 50 white mage, and 28 THM. I didn't start at 50, I started at level 1 in headstart. 0 assets. I worked my way up with a carefully selected path of progression, which I will now share in this thread. Without futher ado I present: How to HQ Anything - what to level, how to level it, and in what order First lets discuss the goal... Easily HQing ★ and ★★ recipies from 0 quality requires certain skills that you may or may not have. The below table will outline what we are after, in the order you would level the crafts to get to them. ======[ Suggested Craft Leveling Order With Actions ]======
What it does
+30 Durability for 88 CP, 10 per step for the next 3 steps. If used at 10 Dur, a non-dur consuming action must be used next
100% Quality, 50% Success Chance for 0 CP - That mom had it right, this is very powerful
Tricks of the Trade
+20 CP, can only be used when the condition is good/red - This keeps the durability going
Consumes your Inner Quiet Stacks to return some CP - This helps immensely for getting back CP for Standard Synth after 32
Steady Hand II
+30% chance to succeed actions for the Next 5 steps - This makes basic touch a 100% chance, and Hasty Touch 80%. Yeah.
Reduces Durability loss by half (5) per step for the next 4 steps for 56 CP - You use this to extend time on 40 Dur Crafts
100% Quality + 20% for each stack of inner quiet for 24 CP. Stacks with Great Strides AND Innovation. YIKES!
Reduces the level of the current craft to your current level for the next 5 steps for 24 CP - ★ and ★★, used at the end
Restores 8 CP per step for the next 10 steps for 66 CP (a 14 CP GAIN) - This is the last nail in the coffin to HQing 40 Dur Stars)
Careful Synthesis II
120% Progress with a 100% chance to succeed - I use this under Ingenuity to bring starred items to 100% Progress
+30 % Control for the next 3 steps for 18 CP - A very strong augment to Byregot's, and a very noticeable gain with enough stacks of Inner Quiet.
Reduces the level of the current craft to 3 levels beneath you for the next 5 steps - Pretty sure this with 360+ Craftsmanship can finish ★ Item with Careful Synthesis II
Waste Not II
Reduces Durability Loss by half for the next 8 steps for 96 CP - Big savings and can help with 40 dur 1 star base mats
250% Progress with a 50% fail chance for 0 CP - With Steady Hand 2 its a calculated risk. I'd probably still prefer CS II though.
The stuff in the bottom section of the table I don't have yet, and isn't necessary, but I would argue Waste Not II will give you more flexibility in having the 135/120 CP for the final Super Combo at the end. It has also been pointed out that Ingenuity II may make it possible to finish 1 star items with just 1 careful synthesis II and may also raise the quality a bit on the final combo for just 8 more CP. If the first part is confirm-able (the math adds up) then you'll have saved 15 CP from not having to do Standard Synthesis and can pay for it. Ultimately...you'll want everything at 50, eventually... When you get all of the above, you want good gear. What is good gear? 330+ CP, best in slot, with Materia. The ideal would see you meeting the requirements to make ★★ Items without the need to eat food, so 347 Craftsmanship, and 318 Control, respectively. With my current set structure I am sitting at 348 Craftsmanship, and 328 Control, with 342 CP. All of my jewelry is over-melded, and that is an expense you need to budget for. I will cover making money in this guide though, so we'll get to that. You won't be flat broke. All Pieces are assumed to be HQ. Disclaimer:I realize you can go with 4's instead of 3's on things as I do here and squeak out a bit more statistically, but that approach is ungodly expensive. 3's are fairily affordable by the average joe, and moreso by anyone attempting to make more than one set of primary gear. What's listed will get you by quite nicely and no longer require you to eat food to make ★★ Items. (though I probably would anyways...just...because) ======[ Gear (★★ Items) ]======
50 Quest Blue
Your Trainer Lv 50
+5 Craftsmanship x2 Overmelded
+4 Craftsmanship, +3 Control
+5 Craftsmanship x3 Overmelded
+4 Craftsmanship, +3 Control
Raptorskin Merchants Purse
+3 Craftsmanship Cross-classed!
+3 CP, +3 Control
+3 CP, +3 Control
+3 CP, +2 CP, +2 Control Double-OvermeldedCross-classed!
Red Coral Earrings
+3 CP, +3 CP, +2 Control Double-OvermeldedCross-classed!
+4 CP (the only 4 here), +2 CP, +2 Control Double-OvermeldedCross-classed!
+3 CP, +3 Control OvermeldedCross-classed!
+3 CP, +3 Control OvermeldedCross-classed!
This will get you to:
342 CP - MOAR BECAUSE MOAR!
348 Craftsmanship - ★★ req is 347
328 Control - ★★ req is 318
These numbers allow us to attempt ★★ Items without food, but more importantly give a needed boost to overall crafting output and make things generally noticeably easier to HQ. The materia I recommend is chosen based on price and the rate it can be produced - but more on that in the Making Money section later. ======[ Food (★★ Items) ]====== When attempting 1 stars I don't typically bother with food, however ★★ Items usually involve many hours worth of work in either money, or dungeon grinding for philo tomes. On ★★ Items I recommend eating some food. In general CP food wins out for what to eat due to the fact that all CP at the end of a combine is precious to your ending combo depending on how many goods you see. Your options are listed below from best to worst:
Bouillabaisse - CP + 10% (Cap of 34) With the above you will get the full 34.
Pea Soup - CP + 10% (Cap of 21) A cheaper option, but obviously not optimal.
Frumenty - CP + 10% (Cap of 10) You can buy this in any major city for cheap. Get as much as you like! Culinarian Vendor near the auction boards.
======[ 40 Durability Combines ]====== Your hope here is to get 3 Tricks of the Trade, more is better - less is worse.. You will also need to eat a CP meal : ★ - 10 CP, ★★ - 34 CP See above for names of these meals. The 34 CP Meal will allow you to manage this craft with 1 less ToT if you happen to get starved.
3 - CZ 1
Steady Hand II
4 - CZ 2
5 - CZ 3
5 - CZ 4 x1 Q
6 - CZ 5 x2 Q
7 - CZ 6 x3 Q
Tricks of Trade
8 - CZ 7 (By now at least 1, this leaves a 5 Dur remainder)
Steady Hand II
9 - CZ 8
10 - CZ 9 x4 Q
11 - CZ 10
13 - CZ 1 x5 Q
Tricks of Trade
14 - CZ 2 (Safe to assume at least 1 more)
Steady Hand II
16 - CZ 3
15 - CZ 2 x6 Q
17 - CZ 4 x7 Q
19 - CZ 5
Tricks of Trade
18 - CZ 6 (Usually you'll get 3, if not then this won't be ideal)
20 - CZ 7 x8 Q
Steady Hand II
21 - CZ 8
At ANY point after this, if you have 6+ Stacks of IQ and see an excellent, Byregot's on that should push you to 100%
22 - CZ 9 x9 Q
23 - CZ 10 x10 Q
26 (If you had at least 7/10 HT's pass, this will 100% you. Less and it may be close.
Steady Hand I
26 - 120ish progress
If you follow the above odds are you WILL 100% the ★★ base material and have no issues HQing the rest of your ★★ combine. ======[ 80 Durability Combines ]====== This is your standard Final (or for ★★) pre-final combine. If you got lucky and managed to get a HQ pre combine for a ★★ Item, or your ★ Item, then you'll start these at 15% filled, which makes this very simple to go through. If not, here's the pattern I follow when starting from less than 15% filled. My Goldsmith set (which is really just the shared jewelry and AF) has 336 CP, so I'll go with that since its easy to hit. In this pattern, ANY Tricks of the Trade are taken as they pop [Starting at 0-8% Quality -or- not full HQ Base Mats]
3 - CZ 1
Steady Hand II
4 - CZ 2
5 - CZ 3 x1 Q
6 - CZ 4 x2 Q
7 - CZ 5 x3 Q
8 - CZ 6 x4 Q
9 - CZ 7 x5 Q
Tricks of Trade
10 - CZ 8 (By now at least 1, lowballing)
Steady Hand II
11 - CZ 9
12 - CZ 10 x6 Q
14 - CZ 1 x7 Q
Master Mend II
15 - CZ 2
16 - CZ 3 x8 Q
Tricks of Trade
17 - CZ 4 (Safe to assume at least 1 more)
Steady Hand II
18 - CZ 5
19 - CZ 6 x9 Q
At ANY point after this, if you have 6+ Stacks of IQ and see an excellent, Byregot's on that should push you to 100%
20 - CZ 7 x10 Q
21 - CZ 8
22 - CZ 9
23 - CZ 10
24 - *(If you have it - if there's a good Byregot's that.)
25 (If you had at least 7/10 HT's pass, this will 100% you. Less and it may be close.
26 - 101ish progress
Quality Synth II
27 - 181ish progress
Quality Synth II
28 - 261ish progress (finishes even a ★★)
If you use HQ base materials except for the ★★ material on the ★★ pre-combine (80 Durability) the above will probably get you a 100% on the ★★ pre-combine (barring horrible luck) and then the final combine will start at 50% Quality (15% HQ Chance) and can be nursed up easily to 100% with no risk at all. ======[ References / External Links ]======
======[ Money and Leveling ] ====== For the most part leveling comes down to levequests and High Quality. Starting out High Quality will mean starting with, or High Quality hitting base ingrediants to simplify the final synth, or buying HQ results to speed up the process. I was going to post my own stuff about it, but another redditor came out with a great post about both. Rather than steal his thunder, I'm just going to link to his thread for this section as it's all pertinent and easy to follow: Making Money with Crafting 50 / All Levequests
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