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Charles Evans 25's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 7,280 posts (10,142 including aliases). 16 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 70 aliases.


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News from UAE not good for Cook's team. 0-2 thrashing by Pakistan as Cook's team failed to score fast enough on the last day in the first test match to snatch an improbable win, and then their batting hit self-destruct mode in at least one innings in each of the last two test matches.

Currently looking better news for Australia in their current test series against New Zealand. Potential opportunity to force New Zealand to follow-on with half the match still to go.
Nothing like losing a test series to a side like Cook's during an English summer to put some fire into an Australian side. Looks like they might be aiming to whitewash Cook's side 5-0 next time they come calling in Australia...

I feel that I should clarify that most of my comments to date assess the preconstructed decks in the context of multi-player situations. It's belatedly occurred to me that for one-on-one situations, some of them should possibly be rated differently.

On to 'Eternal Bargain':
Again, in multiplayer situations, this deck looks a bit weak on aerial and early-game defence. It does have a few sufficiently silly cards (including Nevinyrral's Disk, which combo's with other cards for reusability) to give a moderately good account of itself, the deck's recommended commander aside.
With the deck's recommended commander taken into account, the deck neatly makes itself the number one target in a lot of multiplayer environments, because if the other players don't pull the deck down and bury it, it has the potential to run up some hideous advantages.
If whomever at Hasbro designed Oloro thought that it was not going to be in most situations advantageous to a deck to have a commander who increased your life count simply by sitting in the command zone, doing nothing, then that employee requires their head examining.
And once the great lump is in play... every time the deck gains life, the player has an option to pay a point of mana to turn it into an additional card draw for themself and life-loss for all opponents...

<Wanders off to look for 'Rain of Gore' from 'Dissension' and other life-gain nerfers...>

Correction: 'Nature of the Beast' also features, in the flying department, 'Eternal Dragon'. Since it's another casting cost 7 double-points-of-white creature, it's as unlikely as 'Archangel' to save the deck from being mauled for the first half dozen or so turns by all manner of faeries and vampires with the odd 'Zombie Drake' or 'Goblin Balloon Brigade' thrown in.
The deck seems built around going on a late-game offensive with 5/5 (or larger) creatures but has the problem that it has little defence against being knocked out in the early game by an aerial offensive, aggravated by the fact that the sight of Mareth, the deck's 'designated' commander, in the command zone invites other players to gang up to take the deck out as fast as possible.

'Nature of the Beast' from the 2013 Commander preconstructed decks has some interesting cards as far as breakdown value goes (including one 'Wrath of God') but has problems as a deck. Apart from one 'Archangel' it seems to be wide open to being attacked by creatures with flying, and at more than half non-basic lands it's in potentially trouble if a turn two 'Dwarven Miner' hits the table.
Slightly surprised 'Venomsprout Brackus' didn't make the deck list, given that in common with a couple of the deck's themes it's a 5/5 beast - and it actually would be able to do something about low toughness fliers attacking you.

LazarX wrote:
EntrerisShadow wrote:

But the WORST, WORST part was the resolution between him and The Master, for two reasons:

1. Here are two characters that are supposed to have a complex love-hate relationship, unsure of what to do without the other. The last time the Doctor met the master, he begged him to give it up and come with him. He cried in agony when he watched him die. This time? Meh. Complete indifference.

2. The Doctor doesn't kill. Discounting the old series here - look at Who since the revival in 2005. For nearly a decade, we've been sold on a character who will choose mercy over justice every single time. Who understands there will always be more justifications and more justifications. Yet all of that goes out the window, and no more is said of it. The Doctor gets to keep his 'pacifist' cred on a technicality because the former director of Unit killed The Master first. The end of the episode sets up the next big conflict being the fact he and Clara lied to one another when they promised not to.

1. That's never been always true. The Master has frequently tried to kill the Doctor (succeeding in one occasion!) He'd prefer to get revenge on his one-time friend, but won't hesitate to kill him.

2. The 11th Doctor was ready to kill "The Beast Below" on Starship UK. and the War Doctor obliterated both the Daleks and HIS OWN PEOPLE...including billions of innocents who had nothing to do with the evil of the Time Lords themselves. The only reason that's not true any more is because of 11 mucking with his own timeline.

Also, it's better said that the Doctor is a Technical Pacifist. While he may not kill himself, he's been very adept at turning his allies and commpanions into weapons themselves. The 11th shared that quality with the 7th. He did it a lot with Ace, and Rory was one who called him on it more than once...(while still succumbing to the effect himself)

It's not that simple a character.

On the 'technical pacifist' count, Davros pretty much accused the Tennant Doctor of being that in the Journey's End episode.

Mind you, a different Doctor, the Tom Baker one, did do his best to keep one of his companions, Leela, from solving problems by creating a trail of bodies...

Ick. From the look of the trailers for the next season, looks like both Clara and the 'Mistress' Master (or should that be 'Master' Mistress?) are all over it.

Turin the Mad wrote:
Chapter 7 was all home-brewed, good (Sir) Charles. I put in a LOT more work than I used due to the "they have 3 sessions, max, to do-or-die against Sorshen".

Reading about it again, I just picked up that the Arboretum/Menagerie area was apparently 'multi-level', which by the sound of it should have offered lots of scope for strategic positioning of characters/monsters.

It seems almost a shame when a detailed location only gets one brief - albeit for an epic fight - outing.
Ah well.

And just to mix things up, in the last two matches of the one day series neither team batting first is able to score enough runs for their bowlers to be able contain the other side.
Morgan's team win match number four.
Then Morgan's team finish their last innings of the five match series as they started batting in the series, with a lemming-like rush to give away their wickets, interspersed with Morgan himself being retired from the crease by a quite nasty ball.
Australia knock off the runs asked of them in the last match, and wallop their opponents once more to take home the trophy.

Progress report for Morgan's team on the fifty over match front... mixed, at best. Won some matches well in home conditions, lost others equally spectacularly, and lose the series 2-3 in the final match.
Unclear, as of yet, if any significant long-term improvement trend developing in Morgan's team.

Been away (bar the odd cricket post) on other websites for a while, and only just caught up with the grand finale.
As a matter of curiosity, Turin, were you inspired by something else with the 'sets' for the last leg, or did you map and furnish them all (waterfalls, lewd statues, and so on and so forth) yourself?

A concert which happened in the UK over the summer, some of which Radio were nice enough to put on youtube: *link*
(Alas, I only became aware of this one 'after the event' on the 'watch again' version on the BBC website.)

Hmm. So, Australia bat first in the first two fifty over matches, and win thumping victories; Morgan's team bat first in the third match and win a thumping victory. Pattern emerging here of 'bat first and win'?

Morgan's team win their 20/20 match, and then proceed to imitate a herd of lemmings rushing off a precipice in the first fifty over game, down at Southampton. They were keeping up with the run-rate, they had wickets in hand, and then proceeded to throw away a succession of wickets and control of the game with a succession of needless shots.

There's playing 'positive' cricket, and then there's playing 'reckless' cricket.

Morgan's team nine down and heading for defeat at the time of this post, in a game that earlier it looked like they had an at least outside chance of winning.

Inexperienced players or, if that cannot be used to excuse them, utterly brainless.

And the Southern Stars complete formalities and wrap up the women's Ashes series with one match still to go. They're simply too good for Charlotte Edwards' team in the shorter forms of the game - once the England women lost the test, that was always going to be it, for the England women.

Well. That was unexpected. The Southern Stars' undefeated 20/20 run finally comes to an end at the hands of the England women...
England women still unlikely to save the series (that would require two more wins out of two matches) but the Southern Stars showing that they're not completely invincible in the current shortest format of the international game.

Could be partially a consequence of the multiple changes of personnel on the management/coaching side of things, I suppose, with regard to the fragility of Cook's team.
That and a shortage of international level, experienced, 'team player' test batsmen.
Bell seems to be in decline right now, Root is okay, Cook is touch and go whether he has a 'good' match with a bat in his hand at the moment.
And I have the impression of a revolving door with regard to other batsmen in Cook's team right now. In for a few matches, fail, fail, maybe score big once or twice, then out again, and someone else comes in...

GeraintElberion wrote:

Too many Ashes series' in a row.

If each side had spent two years sorting themselves out, rather than eight months, it would have been less scrappy.

Okay, they've had a year less between a test series 'down under' and the subsequent one in England, but they've still had eighteen months which would be the traditional gap between a series in England and the following one in Australia.

And Cook's team, at least, have had considerable changes of personnel since the 0-5 thrashing they were handed on the 2013-2014 tour.
Too much cricket (due to the world cup over the winter) might be possible, if there weren't differences between the one-day and test squads. (Cook, for a start doesn't even play the short stuff at the moment.)

And Cook's team do their best to prove it was pure fluke that they won this series, by being hammered by an innings by the Australians in the last test at the Oval.

The way this series has gone, day one has been decisive - whomever had the fortune to win day one, the other side lacked the capacity to seriously fight back from that. Day one of each test match has basically been a knock-out blow, that either side, when on the receiving end of, has proven incapable of coming back from.
Neither side has been able to show the resilience to turn a game around after a bad start.

England women currently being hammered at Canterbury.
Lost the toss, had to field, with one of their leading bowlers out injured couldn't bowl the Australians out, and are now having their batting line up blown away by the Australian attack.
Well, there go the women's Ashes.

Cook's team, who nobody was expecting to beat the Australians have done so, handily, and the England women, whom I'd have thought were at least even to retain them, are currently going down in smoke and flames, being mercilessly demolished in even the format of the game (test matches) that they're supposedly best at.

That's cricket for you!

Didn't Roald Dahl write stories like this? I'm thinking in particular of his Two Fables collection, although it's been some time since I read it, and I may be misremembering. I think one of the stories in that had a Princess so dazzlingly beautiful that people driven crazy by it threw themselves onto the pikes of her guards, if she went out in public.
She came to a bad end, which she brought down on herself, of course...

The 8th Dwarf wrote:
There is no such thing as cricket anymore..... Hello rugby and New Zealand aren't undefeatable. :-)

Cheer up! Australia are darned near invincible across the shorter forms of cricket, of late, in both the men's and the women's game, or at least versus England (although Charlotte Edwards' squads have tended to do slightly better in such formats against Australia than their male counterparts).

And yes, congratulations on the rugby.

And that's it...
One match to play, and Cook's team go 3-1 up in the Ashes, winning the fourth test with two days and two sessions unused, and doing it by an innings.
Cook's team regain the Ashes.
Still an opportunity for Australia to show some fight and maybe try out some new players in the last test, mind you, and to get another match back.

This being after Cook's team were thrashed 0-5 down under in the previous Ashes series, and having only drawn a test series only a few months ago in the West Indies where many pundits were pronouncing that Cook's team would marmalize the West Indies.
At the moment Strauss and Bayliss seem to have managed a remarkable turn around of Cook's team, since they took over the management after the West Indies tour...

The 8th Dwarf wrote:

The Australian strategy is clearly to let Cook's team get out in front a little bit, so that they feel all over-confident and off-guard, and then the Australians will come speeding up from behind and *CRUSH* them. :D

Err, Clarke does know, though, that this is only a five test series, doesn't he?
He might have put himself under a bit of pressure if he was planning on winning it four tests to Australia to three to Cook's team.

And even if the Australians fail to win the test series, they're pretty good against Cook's team in the shorter form of the game. Except I suppose it's Morgan's team in some of those matches. Still, might not make that much difference to the end result, surely???

thenovalord wrote:
Possible refund needed for my day 4 + 5 trent bridge tickets

Might go to Day 4 if Cook's team manage to bat a decent amount of time, and the Australians dig in and bat for something like two days in their second innings.

Or if it rains. A lot.

Pretty good bowling figures for Broad. 8 wickets for 15 runs in nine and a half overs...
Not bad from Finn (1 wicket for 21 runs in six overs) or Wood (1 wicket for 13 runs in three overs) either, in that they chipped in too.

And 'Extras' was the highest scorer for Australia - at 14 runs...

And that surely must have been the first time in a while that Cook's team has had a field set for a batsman with six slips???

What the heck was that??????
60 all out?????!?????
By Australia, and all out before lunch?
Ah well. Cook's team (at the time of this post) still have to bat. Let's see how they do, before any conclusions get drawn.

My apologies to the Australian wicketkeeper: That should have been 'Nevill', not 'Neville'. I imagined an 'e' on the end, where there wasn't one!

Hmm. I was just looking for the Round 2 rules of the last contest, but they seemed to have disappeared (presumably so contestants for this one ('season 9') don't read the wrong set.)

I was looking since I have a feeling that the Round 2 rules of the last one said one thing, then the judges proceeded to do something entirely different when marking the round, which rather put me off (well, that and the moderator deleting a post I made to try and cheer up someone to whom the judges had delivered a darned good kicking).

Oh well...

[Treguard voice] Oooh, nasty! [/Treguard voice]
Cook's team finally work out that it's actually rather a good idea to ask your groundsmen to prepare a pitch which is good for your best bowler.
Then Australia compound their problems by winning the toss, and apparently figuring it's another pudding of a pitch and batting first on it as if it were a pudding in their first innings, going on to then lose in consequence by eight wickets inside of three days.

A shame Cook may not get away with that again this summer, with Anderson out injured.
Still, it was fun whilst it lasted.
(And good rearguard act from Neville.)


Gah! England have no answer, apparently, to Meg Lanning, or at least not in the fifty over format.
Oh well, well played to Australia. England having to hope that they get some points out of the 20/20 games from rained off/drawn matches, and can win the test. Doesn't look too good for them otherwise. Lanning simply too fast a scorer.

Ooh. And the Australian women fight back, to level the series. Good opening stand by England, chasing a big Australian score, but they fell away after that - in particular having a disastrous late-innings power play.

Charlotte Edwards and company have got their campaign to win the Women's Ashes off to a good start with a (at times slightly nail biting) win. :)
Some good run outs to apply pressure on the Australian team in the Aussie innings.

Mr. Agnew interviewed Ed Balls (former chancellor of the exchequer) in the lunch-interval on TMS today!

And in other news, Cook's team resumed normal service with a near-record thrashing (of them) by Australia.

Still, Charlotte Edwards leads her team out against the Australians later this week, in the women's Ashes.

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And that's over for another year (at least for the convention-goers...)

There was an announcement during PaizoCon UK this year that the organisers are looking at 22nd-24th July for the 2016 convention. (Nothing nailed down yet.)

Not sure how Australia lost that one. All they had to do was bat the two days out, and they could/should have won, or come darn close to it.
97 for one, they were looking good. Then Moeen got Warner and Broad made inroads, and the game started to slip away from Australia until the Johnson/Starc partnership for the seventh wicket. Which turned out to be not enough, in the end.
Maybe if Australia hadn't missed Root early in his innings on Day 1 we'd be looking at an Australia win instead of one for Cook.

Oh well, no doubt the Australians will bounce backand do their darnedest to win the next one.

Hmm. That worked well for Cook's team. Or perhaps not as remains to be seen.
Having ordered up what the TMS commentators described as a pudding of a pitch, Cook's team managed to recover from a near catastrophic 43 for 3 to 430 all out.
The bad news for Cook's team is that at 36 overs into the Australian first innings, Australia are 145 for only 2(!)
Could be a looooong time in the field for Cook's team.
Maybe they'll hang on for a draw.

Or rain might strike!

Umm. Some help there from the rain and a reduced target to chase. England might have run out of wickets if they'd been after the original target...
I would have liked a proper run chase, minus the weather interference, to have a clear result.

Andrew Flintoff ludicrously blase about the forthcoming Australians in Test Match Special in one of the rain breaks; apparently apart from Smith, all the Australian batsmen are past it, and Mitchell Johnson is not much different a bowler from Trent Boult!
I suppose that's in character for Flintoff, though...

Okay, that one went better for Morgan and company. Series level.
One match left (rain permitting) to clarify which team plays the better 50 over cricket.

GeraintElberion wrote:

Well, that was more like it.

We can do this one-day stuff...

New Zealand certainly can do this one-day stuff.

Starting to look like Morgan's team gambled heavily in the first match and had a day where for once every piece of luck of note went their way.
Since then Morgan's team have lost one match to a rain-break and Duckworth-Lewis (though even without the rain-break breaking momentum that chase would have been a tall order) and another one to those old familiar flaws of not batting their overs out and then dropping catches left, right, and centre.
Mind you, promising bowling debut from Woods.

And thus concludes another campaign...

Ah, and Cook's team are back to that 'good old England' standard that we all know and love (or something - loathe, maybe?).
Inadequate bowling and chances missed, game lost, series with New Zealand leveled at one all.
Bring on the Australians!
(I estimate, assuming no Aussie injuries, that Cook's team have about a one in six chance of not losing the series, and about a one in nine chance of actually winning it.)

That was... unexpected.
An improbably good bowling performance by Alistair Cook's side, including by Anderson and Stokes, and New Zealand couldn't quite hang on.
Cook manages a win and the next 'coming of a NEW BOTHAM!!!!' bandwagon starts rolling, with Stokes this time being proclaimed as 'The second coming of Beefy!'

4th day at Lords, and Alistair Cook has managed to lead something of a rearguard action. If he can last long enough on the morning of the 5th day, England might be able to amass too many runs for New Zealand to get a win in whatever overs are left.
Chances of a draw looking much better for Cook than they were 24 hours ago.

Middle of Birmingham is increasingly resembling a maze, with fences all over the place. At present it's difficult to get out of New Street Station for a direct line of travel to Aston University. Miss a gap in the fences and it's the looooong way around or a case of having to double back.
Will try to keep an eye on developments in the situation. It might be improved by July...

(Travel from Snow Hill and Moor Street to Aston, for foot traffic, is currently less impeded by fences, men and women in fluorescent jackets and hard hats, and beeping construction vehicles.)

Well, on the positive side for Cook and his Merry Mummers there's always an outside chance that due to the British weather this coming summer, the Australians might not be able to whitewash them 5-0. :D
On the negative side, the 134 run first innings lead that New Zealand ran up in the current test doesn't exactly inspire confidence of Cook and company providing sufficient resistance to even tie the upcoming Ashes series against the Australians. :(

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It's perhaps a touch religious in places, but:


When a knight won his spurs, in the stories of old,

He was gentle and brave, he was gallant and bold
With a shield on his arm and a lance in his hand,
For God and for valour he rode through the land.

No charger have I, and no sword by my side,
Yet still to adventure and battle I ride,
Though back into storyland giants have fled,
And the knights are no more and the dragons are dead.

Let faith be my shield and let joy be my steed
'Gainst the dragons of anger, the ogres of greed;
And let me set free with the sword of my youth,
From the castle of darkness, the power of the truth.

*Wikipedia link*

Nice to see James Anderson highlighted for England's man of the series. He's tried, and done his best to win the series for England, at every opportunity. Series might have been a West Indies win, without Anderson.

And West Indies come back and level the series, needing only three days to win the third and last match.
One statistic which has jumped out at me about this last test:
Buttler (English batsman/wicket-keeper) has scored 38 runs in total in this third test. In the second innings of this test, after Buttler missed a chance to stump Blackwood when Blackwood was on only 4 runs, Blackwood went on to score a total of 47 runs. Buttler has scored a total of five less runs in the match than a man he failed to get out made in the second innings made after Buttler missed a chance to remove him.
Now granted that Buttler was not out in both his innings, but if England are going to play a batsman-keeper who misses chances to get opposition batsmen out, maybe he should at least be playing higher up the order to try to score more runs to offset those misses?

Generally speaking, Trott seems to have fluffed too many of his lines this series, and on a pitch which turned in this third test England's selected spin-options seem to have been ineffective for too many overs (if not outright inexpensive at times).
Bell hasn't exactly covered himself in glory in the match either - two ducks. (Didn't do much in the second test either, but maybe he was still tired from his big century in the first innings in the first test.)

England still strike me as a team on the way down, or at least bumping along the bottom, whilst the West Indies (credit to them) seem to be finding some spirit/fight and on their way back to being at least one of the better, if not the best, teams in the world.
Unless Graves and Strauss (the latter rumoured to be appointed to England management soon?) can get a grip on things, England men's outlook not good for the summer. Wonder if things will get desperate enough for a recall of Pietersen to the side? (Even if the latter doesn't happen, by failing to win this series, England have certainly left it open as a topic of speculation for the summer.)

On 'Anderson and Broad tire themselves out', that seems to me inevitable given the summer coming up, unless they rest them from, say, the New Zealand Test series. (But could this England team beat New Zealand without Anderson and Broad???)

Ahem. Well that was a new point in recent humiliations for the England men's test team. Going by the result of a 'draw' in the first test of their current Caribbean tour, they are now about as good as the West Indies.
Oh what that would have meant three or four decades ago.
Oh what a different thing it means now.

Low scores yet again for Cook. Trott failed to impress on his recall. (Personally I think they recalled Trott a season too soon.) Bell scored in one innings but fluffed his lines in the other. Oh, and the much trumpeted England bowling attack couldn't manage to take twenty West Indian wickets. (Only bright point on that latter count is that they did manage to get Chanderpaul out twice.) And in the meantime, apparently the selectors can't make up their minds which spin-bowlers to play, wanting another one out in the West Indies, but not being willing to send one they're not currently using back home.
The Australians are going to eat this lot on toast, come the England summer, unless they pull their socks up fairly sharpish.

The 8th Dwarf wrote:
Vale Ritchie Benaud you were Marvelous.

<brief respectful silence>

A funny piece of Harry Potter fanfiction that I've come across is 'The Inner Eye of Harry Potter'. It only goes up to year five at the time of this post, and that last year is somewhat 'smutty' (Harry is very much a hormonal teenager) but for outrageously over-the-top situations it's quite good.
And if you live in the UK, BBC Radio 4 is repeating its serialisation of 'Good Omens' this week.

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