I hate Jaxis the Troublemaker

Usually when I hate a card in a card game, it’s because I hate playing against it. Jaxis is special because I hate playing her. Let’s back up a minute for a bit of context.

I’ve been doing streams on YouTube where I make Historic Brawl decks for MTGA. Specifically for every legendary creature in Streets of New Cappena. If you haven’t played Historic Brawl, the format is effectively paper magic’s commander format, with two differences. First, the card pool is limited to MTGA cards, obviously, but second you can use planeswalkers as commanders.

That’s not relevant to this discussion, though. No, this discussion is purely about Jaxis, and why I hate trying to play her as a commander.

So instead of continuing to rage and throw my matches, I’m going to quickly go over why I hate this card, and why I hate her as a commander.

So let’s start with the simplest one: She’s monocolor. Historic Brawl has a much smaller card pool than regular commander, and the easiest way to take advantage of her ability is copying cards with strong “Enter the Battlefield” abilities or strong “When this creature dies” abilities. But surprise, surprise, red doesn’t have a huge number of those abilities, and many of them are on higher costed creatures.

Being monocolor isn’t a death sentence, though. Magda, Brazen Outlaw is monocolor, and one of my favorite Historic Brawl commanders.

The second issue with Jaxis as a commander is speed. Jaxis is a 4 drop without haste. (Yes, you can blitz her, but ignore that for a moment; we’ll come back to it.) This means that the fastest she comes out is likely turn 3 off either treasure, or a mana rock. In addition, the fastest she’ll copy something is turn 4, but her activated ability costs mana, meaning even if you hit your drop you’ll only copy another 4 drop. In addition, since her ability can only be activated at sorcery speed, you can only do it on your own turn, and it’s only useful prior to combat in most situations.

Compare her to Magda for a second. Magda comes out on turn two, can generate a treasure on turn 3, and can immediately come back on turn 4 even if she gets removed. Magda also provides her ability to generate treasure with dwarf tribal the second she comes into play. A fast Jaxis doesn’t do anything until turn 4.

Now, some people here are going “Well, you’re completely ignoring her Blitz mechanic!” Okay fine.

Blitz is a good mechanic. I like it a lot in draft.

But its an absolutely terrible mechanic to put on a commander, and it becomes downright horrible on a mono-color commander with a limited card pool. There’s no easy way to dodge the sacrifice trigger, meaning that even if you blitz her in early, the second she dies, you’re not playing her again until turn 6. And her ability costing mana means even if you hold her, she costs 3 mana to make a copy of another creature.

But are highly costed cards unplayable? Hardly. Lets take a look at a card that isn’t in Arena, and is effectively just a better version of Jaxis.

Kiki-Jiki is effectively just a much better Jaxis. This is despite having a much worse stat line, and higher mana cost. So why is he better?

Well, there’s a bunch of reasons. Kiki-Jiki inherently has haste, meaning you can use him the second he comes into play. So Ii he resolves, he’s at least going to do something. Secondly, even though he doesn’t make you draw any cards, his activated ability doesn’t have any costs associated, so he can also copy a six drop.

And perhaps most important: YOU CAN USE HIS ABILITY WHENEVER YOU WANT. You’re not limited to sorcery speed activation, meaning that he can function offensively and defensively, and can be held until the needed moment.

So, in conclusion, here’s why I hate Jaxis in a nice list.

  • High mana cost, without immediate ability to have an impact on game state when played, meaning she can get removed without doing anything.
  • Blitz makes her useful at high speed, but as a commander, it mostly just makes her die super fast, and runs her cost far up past what a red deck can support
  • Small card pool limits ability to manipulate her blitz ability, or provide powerful targets to copy
  • Ability timing is highly conditional, making it only useful as an offensive tool, and relatively heavily costed when compared to equivalents.

I’m going to go do a stream with the deck I did make for her now, and just going to accept that I don’t have a good way to use this card.

Lost Ark has a Customer Support Problem

Customer support is the Satan’s asshole of white collar jobs, along with any job prefixed or suffixed by “Quality Assurance.” I want to lead with this statement because I want to make it clear who I’m pissed at when I write this, in case some bigwig at Amazon reads this.

Lets be clear Mr. or Ms. Imaginary Bigwig: the problem is not your customer support “team members” or their leadership. Your customer support does not need additional morale support, or to all be fired and replaced. What they need is something that only you, upper management, can give them, and that is tools to actually be able to do their fucking job.

And I am pissed at you, the upper management, for not fucking doing that.

Let’s back up for a moment. I’ve been playing a shit ton of Lost Ark recently, and one incredibly frustrating thing that I’ve encountered at least twice is the game mishandling instance clears and loot rewards. There are multiple things in the game that use an MMO reward system, where you can only clear them once a day/week. And if you crash after clearing one of these events, but BEFORE getting the loot, you’re just straight up locked out, because you already racked up a clear.

And if you try to contact Lost Ark support, be it via Amazon’s own customer support service, or via a forum ticket, you will be told albeit in a slightly more polite tone, to pound sand.

The thing about customer support, and the Customer Support Representatives who have honor of serving as a combination punching bag and mouthpiece for whatever cosmic horror corporation they work for in exchange for a barely living wage, is that they don’t have much ability to help you outside of the prescribed boundaries that have been set for them.

Ed Note: this is also why you shouldn’t be a dick to CSR’s. They have nothing to do with whatever inane policy has you frothing at the mouth when you try to contact them. Being polite and patient with someone is far more likely to result in them trying to see what tools they have at their disposal to assist you. Being a dick means they’ll feel no guilt about maliciously complying down the path of least resistance, which is canned emails and deflecting responses.

Thing is though, right now it seems like Lost Ark customer support doesn’t have any tools whatsoever. It should not be difficult for a gamemaster to look at a player’s gameplay logs from less than 24 hours ago, check the state of an event, and then check if loot was acquired. If it wasn’t, run a script that grants the appropriate loot for said event.

Ed Note 2: Okay, so maybe actual RNG drops and stuff would be a bit much to ask T1 support to generate, but I’m talking specifically here about an event that gives out ONLY event specific currency, and the exact amount of it each time. Adding 200 Winter Coins to a player’s inventory IS something your support team should be able to do.

Being told “We’re sorry the game broke” is frustrating in most games. Maybe I’d tolerate in a fresh release MMO, but this isn’t a brand new game. It’s a four year old game that Amazon imported to publish and localize. It’s also a game where progression to new content in the late game is heavily time gated behind limited run content. It should be obvious that things like this would occur, and they should have had a plan in place to resolve them.

Running a live-service game is more than just (poorly) localizing game text, hiring a few voice actors, spinning up an AWS instance and raking in the money. They need customer support teams, and gamemasters that can take action to address problems. They need to empower those folks to be able to address problems.

Amazon as a company has a reputation for stellar customer service with their online shopping, and it’s surprising to see that they do not seem to value it in their games division.

Or maybe not all that surprising. I mean, of their games, we’ve had one cancelled, one released then unreleased, and then a MMO that lost most of its player base over duping bugs and and economy that was mostly currency sink. We’ll see if Lost Ark has staying power, or if Amazon Games just sucks at making and managing games.

Lost Ark Ghost Ship Guide

TLDR: Failing a Ghost Ship uses your clear attempt for the week. You can only enter a Ghost Ship once a week. You can only enter a Ghost Ship whose level is at or below your item level. While on Ghost Ships, you will be afflicted with a massive fucking debuff to your movement and attack speed, but this debuff can be removed by using the ship Eiberns Wound with the Crew Member Berald. Without this, you will likely be killed by an instagib mechanic. The three ghost ships are available at 460, 960, and 1370.

Getting Eiberns Wound

  1. Complete Bleak Night Fog at Least Once

The Eiberns Wound ship is a reward for completing all tiers of the daily quest “Bleak Nights Fog”.

In order to complete Bleak Night Fog, you need to do the following:

  1. Accept the Daily Quest
  2. Use the item the daily quest gives you with F5
  3. Enter a Ghost Ship and defeat a Ghost Ship Captain of any tier. For safest results, targeting the 460 Ship for this is suggested.

2. Complete Bleak Night Fog 11 More Times and get Eiberns Wound

Once you have completed Bleak Night Fog once, you can complete it with Una’s Task Instant Tickets.

The quest requires a total of 12 completions to unlock Eiberns Wound. If you don’t use instant completion tickets, this means it will take you 12 weeks, assuming you clear the ghost ship each week.

It is advised you do not do that.

3. Getting Berald

Berald is an Eibern’s Wound Exclusive Crew Member, and cannot be used on any ship other than Eibern’s Wound. He comes in 3 rarities. The lowest rarity will completely cancel out the debuff. The higher rarities are better value for the coins you will spend on them, and buying them instead is heavily suggested.

The locations to buy Berald are as follows:

RARITYLOCATIONCOST
RelicExchange – Tideshelf Path – Spearfish Hunting Guild Vessel80,000 Pirate Coins OR
8016 Sun Coins
LegendaryExchange – Nameless Valley – Plumpcrab Fishing Vessel
Stronghold – Trade Merchant
Stronghold – Gador
4000 Pirate Coins OR
7870 Raid Seals
Epic Exchange – Starlight Island – Favreau2004 Septrums Coins

Costs pulled from Lost Ark Sailor Setup List

Clearing the Ghost Ship

The fight on the Ghost Ship consists of two parts. First, there is a large amount of Trash to be cleared. This portion of the fight presents no issues, even with the debuff.

The second is a fight against the captain of the Ghost Ship. This part is hard.

KEY POINTS

  1. IF THE CAPTAIN OF THE GHOST SHIP KILLS YOU, HE WILL HEAL. DO YOUR BEST NOT TO DIE.
  2. The Captain of the Ghost ship has an attack in which he will spawn circles on the floor. These circles will do heavy damage, and knock-up. Because of the knock-up, if you get caught by a circle, it is possible you be chain stunned and die.
  3. The Captain of the Ghost Ship will enter the center of the ship, then attack with a rotating laser. It does a massive amount of damage, and if it hits you, and you are not shielded, you will likely die. If you die to the rotating laser, wait until the attack pattern is finished before you res, or you risk dying multiple times to the same attack.
  4. You can drink non % based potions during this fight. Chug those motherfuckers like an insecure freshman on pledge week.
  5. JOIN A PARTY FOR THE FIGHT. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, JOIN A PARTY.

IN CONCLUSION

Screw this fight, and screw the lasers, who the fuck puts an instagib mechanic in a 30 person, once per week or you’re fucked raid.

If you believe I have made a mistake, please contact me on discord. My username is EricKyleGeorge#5790. Please identify that you are attempting to share information to update this guide, and not one of the 10,000 bots attempting to convince me to invest in cryptocurrency.

Also, if you’re on Adrinne, join the Adrinne Discord.

Don’t Buy Repacks – Card Game Rant

Collectible Card “Repacks” are marginally less garbage then people who sell them. Which is to say they’re still pretty garbage.

Time for another card based rant, because nothing fills the content drought like rage and fluff. But it’s not like anyone is going stop me, so I’m posting anyway. Today we’re gonna talk about the absolute garbage that is a repack.

I’ve spent a non-zero portion of time browsing stuff on various sales apps recently, and there’s something that appears a lot of that drives me absolutely insane: repacks masquerading as either singles or actual packs.

Let me say something very simple: REPACKS ARE WORTHLESS. NEVER BUY THEM. If you think that someone is actually going to repack a very expensive chase card into one of their boosters and then sell it under its market value, you have a far more charitable view of human nature then I do.

There are other reasons that repacks are worthless as well. They tend to offer a very low number of cards, and it’s better value to buy singles, or if you really want that lottery ticket experience, to buy actual sealed boosters.

Now, ignoring everything else about why repacks are garbage, there’s something important to understand about why buying repacks from your fellow players is a bad idea. It has to do with the price to buy cards, either sealed, or as singles.

Brick and mortar game stores generally buy products for 50% of the retail price that they sell it to you for. This means that if a booster box is selling for about 130-140 in a game store, the store selling it to you bought it for likely around $70 from the publisher.

The absolute cheapest I have ever seen a booster box sell for is $80. This was a somewhat under the table deal the store had with an individual who supported the store extensively and helped to run events for the game
the box was for. That still had a bit of margin built in, as small as it was (LGSs are businesses after all).

In any case, when you buy a repack, you’re likely buying it from one of two places:

  1. A fellow player/collector of the game who bought so much shit they’re trying to make money back by selling all the chaff and other things that they don’t want.
  2. A LGS that cracked boosters, took all the good stuff out to sell to their customers, and was left with a bunch of loose commons no one will ever buy.

In short, you are paying money for the trash someone else doesn’t want, and is now trying to offload.

Now, there’s one other group of folks who might look at these repacks, and potentially see them as a good deal: parents buying cards for their kids. This is the group that’s being taken advantage of here.

I don’t have kids, so I’m not going to make any statement on the difficultly of trying to raise children. Most parents probably have better things to do with their time than to try to understand the minutiae of cardboard cutouts with magic animals on them.

The thing is, if these folks did understand what they were buying, they could still get a better deal for their money. Based on my experience, I cared about two things about a card when I was a kid.

  1. Card is shiny.
  2. Having as many different cards as possible.

If these parents wanted to get the most value for their cash, they could just go onto TCG player, buy a bunch of jank GX/EX/V’s, find a bunch of cards at about a 1$, buy two copies of 10 of those cards, and bam, 20 Ultra Rares for $20. 1 copy for the kid to keep, 1 copy to trade.

Of course, they don’t do this, because they’re more concerned with things like food, shelter, and the ongoing worldwide disaster we’ve been living in for the last two years than cardboard animals.

So when their kid asks for Pokemon cards, and they can’t find any at the store, they go on to whatever digital marketplace they happen to use, search for Pokemon Cards, see these shitty repacks, and go “Alright,” buy them, and then go back to other far more important things.

Anyway. The point is that repacks are scummy, people who sell them are scummy, the “Target audience” is folks who don’t know better, and repackers are bad and should feel bad.

Screw repacks.

MetaZoo – Why I’m Skeptical

Don’t buy into the hype without reading this first.

I wasn’t quite sure what to title this article. I’m still not sure even as I write it. In any case, the general purpose of this article is mostly to warn anyone who, like myself, has found themselves curious about buying into MetaZoo.

So for starters, let’s quickly define what MetaZoo is. This is a bit difficult, because MetaZoo wants to be a lot of things, but its core is a TCG (Trading Card Game), named, unsurprisingly, Metazoo. It’s this TCG and the elements around it that currently make me nervous about wanting to get involved or buy anything MetaZoo related.

If nothing else, there’s a single massive factor that has turned me off of MetaZoo so far: the several times I’ve actually sat down and tried to play the game, I didn’t actually have very much fun. And I consider that a really bad sign, because I really like card games and trading card games. I’ve played a ridiculous amount of Magic, Pokémon, and Yu-Gi-Oh, both in paper and in those games’ digital equivalents. And even when I’ve gotten stomped, even when things have gone wrong, I’ve still had fun. MetaZoo hasn’t been fun.

(A brief aside: MetaZoo, generally speaking, plays like a combo of Pokémon and Magic, using parts of Pokémon’s attack based combat, and Magic’s resource system and life points.)

This is the root of my skepticism of the game. From there, my skepticism grows when I start to look at everything else around the game’s ecosystem. Right now MetaZoo feels like it cares more about making as much money as feasibly possible than trying to grow and become a fun game.

There are a lot of examples of this, and so I’m just going to go through them in no particular order.

The MetaZoo NFT

There’s an official MetaZoo NFT. Because of course there is. Here’s the link to the OpenSea page. And here’s the link to the page the token was sold on. The long and short of it seems to be, “There’s a plan in the future to use these to give exclusive access to discounts and presales on future products!” For reference, each of these tokens cost a minimum of 0.3 ETH to mint, and CoinBase has Eth listed at about $4,500 for the date this was going on. But if you bought during the presale, “During the minting process, certain errors occurred! These error tokens include a damaged Jersey Devil Purple token, a double stamped Mothman Gold token, and other eccentricities that are significantly rarer than their properly minted counterparts. These error tokens will only be circulated during the presale event.” So, lets be clear: A MINIMUM of $1500 for the potential future ability to… purchase a blind box T-Shirt at presale. And maybe other undetermined benefits!

What incredible fucking value. They sold 2300-ish of these things.

Blind Box… Everything

You know those blind box T-shirts that the token above got you presale access to? Yeah, so, those are $50 a box. Each box contains… 1 T-shirt and a Promo card. I could almost understand getting a specific T-shirt and random Promo, but why would I buy a random T-shirt I don’t even want? And a single promo card? They also had blind box pins and promo cards available at one point. Oh, and “1 out of every 40 boxes contains a Super Rare T-shirt and promo card featuring the Nightcrawler and all 6 iconic MetaZoo characters!” You may be starting to see a pattern here: limited exclusivity everything, with lots of hidden and random promos, at ridiculous prices… but if you don’t buy now, they might sell out!

Playing Card Kickstarter

So, with the world in the absolute shitter, and supply lines being what they are, if you actually want to play MetaZoo, it’s a bit difficult. The first MetaZoo Kickstarter raised about $18,000 to do the print run of the cards. So the MetaZoo team recently ran a second fundraising campaign to… print playing cards.

It has raised, at time of writing… $1,520,596. Let’s be clear: this isn’t for copies of the actual TCG cards, it’s for decks of normal playing cards with art from the MetaZoo game/franchise on them. Of course, these decks also come with special blind box boosters, and if you pledge at the $1150 tier, you’ll get a special promo, one of only 250!

You can’t though, because all those slots are already taken.

Other Concerns

Rapid fire mode:

Ebay partnership promos for buying certified cards through eBay. Channel Fireball unique promos. Convention promos for exclusive convention plushies. A twitter account that seems to mostly retweet box breaks, giveaways, pulls and stats about card grading.

The point I’m trying to make here is that this company and community currently seems more interested in capitalizing on fear of missing out, impulsive collectors, and maintaining hype in the secondary market than their actual card game.

The Actual Game

Okay, so that’s enough about MetaZoo for now. Let’s talk about Magic: The Gathering for a moment, and some of the worst designed Magic cards ever printed. Specifically, the set of cards known as the Power Nine. These 9 cards are banned in virtually every format, and the only format that they can be played in, Vintage, only allows you to use a single copy of ONE of them in your deck. They are obscenely powerful with no downside, and have massive format warping potential. It’s actively admitted that it was a “Mistake” to print cards at this power level by the game’s designers.

Because of this, these cards have never been reprinted, exist in fairly small amounts, and are also some of the most expensive magic cards ever. For reference, at time of writing, the “Cheapest” Black Lotus on eBay is about $15,000. (Interestingly, a brief look at some older price guides show how much the cost has gone up. One price guide from 2002 has it at $300 at the time.)

In short, the Power Nine are incredibly valuable, while being toxic to the game of Magic if ever used in play. They are the poster child of “Cards you do not print” while designing a Magic-like card game. Of those 9 cards, 6 are mana rocks. These are the Moxes, and Black Lotus.

So why am I harping on about poorly designed early Magic cards in a article about MetaZoo?

This is why.

I mentioned up above that MetaZoo in many ways plays like a combination of Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering. And one of the things it takes from Magic is Magic’s resource system. You can play one “Aura” card per turn, you “fatigue” it to generate resources, and you “unfatigue” it at the start of your turn, just like Magic’s lands.

MetaZoo has a cycle of zero-cost cards for each element that look like this.

There’s one of these for each “Color” that can be played in MetaZoo, but they all function the same. A zero cost card that taps for 2 Aura.

Now, if you’re looking at this, and going “Wait a minute, that’s more or less just a cycle of strictly better Moxes,” then you’re thinking the same thing that I was when I when first saw them.

And this is another major reason I’m skeptical of the intentions of the MetaZoo team. Magic is close to 30 years old, and in those 30 years, the Power Nine have not been reprinted. While you could argue this is because of collectors, or fears of sullying the market, I’d argue that the core reason is different: the Power Nine ruin the game.

So if you’re making a brand new card game, why would you create more powerful versions of some of the worst designed TCG cards ever made? I can think of two reasons. Reason one is because you’ve never played another collectible card game before.

Reason two is because as you release your brand new card game, you want to immediately invoke FOMO by referencing the most infamous and expensive cards from the world’s most popular TCG.

From what I’ve written in the rest of the article, you can likely see which one I think is more likely. (Although neither are confidence inspiring)

This the vibe that seems to permeate MetaZoo for me. Underneath the wonderful artwork and 90’s video game box art vibe there’s a persistent drumbeat of “Fear of Missing Out,” “It only goes up,” and “Buy now! Limited edition!” This doesn’t feel the work of a team trying to create the most fun game that they can. It feels like someone trying to create a new version of the Beanie Baby craze, or Pokemon that they can cash in on.

And it’s why I’m currently very hesitant of engaging any further with the game or brand. If you’re looking at MetaZoo and going “Huh, that seems neat, I wonder if I can get some boosters,” I urge you to reconsider.