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Alliance Chapter 4
Wow this post is late! The semester started back up, and the fun surrounding that delayed things a little.... I tried to address some of the comments I got about the Lappa, please let me know how I did! Y'all always have such cool perspectives and it gives me ideas for future nonsense.... First Previous Next This is the worst idea you’ve ever had. Well, technically it wasn’t my idea. Seaman O’Rourke came up with it, and then the diplomats got all excited about it, and then I approved it. Which was a terrible idea. At least no one had been killed or maimed yet? Murphy’s law, the moment I had that thought a pair of players went crashing into a bulkhead. The ball shot out of the winded Z’lask’s grip and into Kahuanui’s waiting arms, who in turn was flattened by a charging Z’lask, who fumbled and enabled O’Rourke to steal, turn, and shoot. Flyball. The noble sport. The zero-g, full-contact pastime of choice on all ships in the black. Some of the younger sailors, with all the judgement skills exercised by eighteen-year-olds in a bunch, had challenged the crew of the Courage of Z’raa to a friendly match. Once I had explained that flyball was not, as the highly-offended Z’lask originally thought, the human equivalent of a mock-war, and that therefore my guys’ invitation was not a challenge to their honor but a gesture of friendship, the Z’lask were only too eager to play. I’m not sure how many gestures of friendship this alliance can stand. I darted a glance at Commander First Rank Zeran H’laath, our new sister ship’s captain, who was watching the game in a state of high puzzlement. The idea of “offsides” was a very foreign concept to the Z’lask, as it turned out, a fact I was plotting to use to claim that the game ended in a tie, since I was fairly certain this alliance also could not stand one side losing. Yay diplomacy! The Z’lask keeper blocked O’Rourke’s shot with his tail and winged the ball back into play. It disappeared into a knot of viciously grappling humans and Z’lask, as a vindictive O’Rourke flew past to slam into the Z’lask keeper. Ramirez, who I had voluntold into refereeing, was studiously looking the other way. Definitely the worst idea you’ve ever had. Somehow, the game ended without any major injuries, and the two teams accepted the pronouncement of a tie with a reasonable imitation of sportsmanship. As far as I was concerned, this rendezvous was going fantastic. The diplomats, however, were fretting. They were convinced that unless the two crews became best of friends during the three days allotted for the purpose, we would spontaneously decide to slaughter one another on arrival at the Council. In an attempt to avoid such poor optics, we were supposed to be playing flyball, listening to music, and having nuanced discussions about one another’s history. Which actually was, to a certain extent, more or less happening. The sharing music point, as I predicted, was going the best. The green-eyed Z’lask had been correct when he said that the Z’lask got the same things out of our music as we did, and they were turning out to have as broad a range of individual tastes as humans. I supposed the cliché about music being the language that transcended languages was holding true. Funny how much of diplomacy seemed to be clichéd: keep your friends close and your enemies closer. If you want peace be prepared for war. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. “Captain,” H’laath had snuck up on me, looking down on me in both senses of the word. He really seemed to be one of those Z’lask who was having a lot of trouble with the idea of “shamed” not being a human category. He was standing as far away from me as he could, and angling his body backward, as though he thought he was going to catch it. It was minorly hilarious. I smothered a smirk and looked politely interested. “Our crews seem to be getting along.” He didn’t look entirely convinced that that was a good thing. “Yes, they do,” I said, in my diplomatic voice. “This is going to be a significant adjustment, it’s good to see that they’re approaching it so eagerly.” And they actually are. Thousands of years of adherence to the Code had made the Z’lask starved for novelty, and their curiosity about even the most mundane aspects of human culture had…endeared them to the crew. It made it feel unique, interesting, exciting, just to be human. More people than not were engaging with our former enemies, and more people that not seemed to be willing to attempt a wary sort of friendliness. I was sure we were going to have problems with the “not” portion of the population eventually, but I was holding out hope that what good manners couldn’t accomplish, fear of a new cold war might. The Lappa had gotten a little pushier in the Council about reining in our acceptance to the wider galaxy, and the UN was starting to think they’d found their next external threat against which to unify the squabbling nations of humanity. “Mm.” The Z’lask, with their clacking language, could make a sound of doubting ambivalence more cutting than duratitanium. And H’laath managed to somehow put distaste into his as well. “I wonder if the Lappa shall feel that way.” So he’s thinking about them too. I didn’t know how the Z’lask felt about the Lappa’s attempts to ostracize us, it would be useful to find out. “I didn’t know they made judgments based on emotions,” I said. “I thought they did everything logically.” If you want the right answer, say the wrong one. H’laath flicked his tongue, a gesture that just fell on the right side of being impatient. “They are…inexperienced when it comes to the human idea of diplomacy. They are frightened—they are confronting the unknown and for the first time their instruments tell them nothing, their theories are unable to guide them. They do not know what to do.” H’laath flicked his tongue again, this time in their equivalent of an eye roll. “They act like hatchlings.” “Why would they be afraid of us?” I was genuinely confused, they’re supposed to be vastly our technological superiors. And if they’re so logical, shouldn’t they long since have learned to coexist with drastically different species? There was no shortage of odd inclinations in the galaxy, I would have thought that before now they’d have encountered a species so different as to be mystifying. H’laath’s eyes brightened to resemble amber warning lights. “It is my personal belief, and that of many others in the Fleet, that the Lappa have gone soft, become used to peace. They have no Code to keep them strong, to remind them that even if no enemies present themselves, honor demands constant readiness.” God these guys are weird. “Without a Code to demand they test themselves, several generations have gone by wherein no Lappa was forced to endure insecurity. When confronted with the specter of it now, they have lost their heads.” He curled his tail in a gesture I’d never seen before, but had read indicated disdain. “We never considered them worthy allies, their unconcern for honor disqualified them from that distinction. However, their disgraceful recent behavior has made High Command determined not to attempt to appease them.” And he swept his tail to the side as though brushing away something unpleasant and unsubstantial. Martinez and Adams were now attempting to teach a few Z’lask to dance. It was true that dancing could be a beautiful showcase of grace and athleticism, a wonderful expression of human art. That was not true of this particular group of dancers. “I have been meaning to ask you something,” H’laath snapped again. “Are you familiar with the Z’lask conception of the status of those who become prisoners of war?” You’re a direct son of a bitch. “I am.” I made eye contact and smiled with my teeth showing. It took five one-thousands before the jaundice-eyed moron looked away. And the record for staring contests with lizards stays perfect! That was not the way to think right now. I took a breath. “I recognize that this must very difficult for you, the Code rarely demands such quick, drastic changes. But I see that your crew is adapting admirably.” I nodded at a pair of young Z’lask who were attempting to imitate Martinez’s moves, to general hilarity. H’laath looked consummately unconvinced. “Look,” I said, resigning myself. “I’m not here to try to change your mind. I’m here to transport these diplomats to the Council, and to represent my species well while I do it. Like you said, the Lappa are thinking of making themselves a threat. Therefore, my first priority is the completion of my mission, followed closely by doing it in such a manner that the Lappa become convinced that the Human-Z’lask alliance would be an unsuitable adversary. Somewhere way down the list is worrying about—and I say this with great respect, Commander—what you think of me. Think whatever you damn well please, as long as you don’t let it interfere with our mission.” H’laath’s eyes got even brighter, and he drew himself up so I had to tilt my head back to maintain eye contact. I smiled at him again. I had counted to seven-one-thousand when he suddenly flung his tail above his head, then brought it slicing down to ring against the deck plating so loudly people turned to look. “Very well, I think we shall get along nicely.” His eyes went back to a conversational shine. “Huh?” I said. Damn it, damn it, you said it again! H’laath looked…relaxed? “During the war, I escorted convoys. I had the opportunity to observe the tactics of human stealth ships, of a variety of nations, hunting both singly and in packs. They frequently employed tricks that the Code deemed dishonorable, but that nevertheless exacted a heavy toll. I thought of these devices as merely the cunning of beasts, before I observed the lengths to which humans would go to assist other vessels in distress, and before I heard reports of human warships taking aboard shipwrecked Z’lask. The revelation of your Geneva Conventions cemented for me and for many a new conception of your species: as our equals in honor, if not in technology or civility.” H’laath paused to pull a face. “And yet, you were still different from us in every possible way. So different, that I doubted those differences could truly exist. The Code said you were our brothers, so how could you be so dissimilar? Surely it must be an act, another human silliness of deception like you so loved to employ.” H’laath’s eyes were flickering, a sign of agitation. “I considered chief among these ‘deceptions’ to be your insistence that you did not recognize shame. I had no idea what purpose such a charade might serve, I was not interested in taxing myself to attempt to divine it. So I was quite surprised when I learned that it was no falsehood that you had been a prisoner. A shamed in command would be unthinkable even to a lunatic—no Z’lask could endure such a fate, and return still able to assume responsibility for the lives of others.” H’laath paused again to shudder theatrically, and I began fantasizing about smacking him. “But, evidently, for humans, it is possible.” He wiggled his tail, like he was trying to dislodge ants. “I believe that this phenomenon is due to your development. It was deprived of a Code, so you became capable of many actions which a Z’lask could never even contemplate. Often this results in criminal behavior. But, here we see a useful example of something uniquely human. Therefore, it shall not trouble me. It is simply another thing which makes you human, like your dull hide or, with great respect, your disgusting teeth.” “How in the galaxy are our teeth disgusting?” I was indignant. My parents paid for two rounds of braces, I wanted a damn good explanation of why my teeth were “disgusting.” H’laath flipped his tail. “They are far too large for your mouths. They overlap one another grotesquely. And the fact that as hatchlings you lose them and then grow a second set is—is gruesome.” “What in…you people shed your whole skins.” I said, outraged. “Under what rational system of judgement is losing teeth more disgusting that losing your entire damn skin.” “The time of shedding is a time of spiritual renewal, coinciding with the trees’ shedding of their leaves.” H’laath responded, with great dignity. “One strips away the trials and transgressions of the previous year, and emerges pure and strengthened for the coming year.” I flashed a big winning smile. H’laath flinched. “Disgusting teeth for the win,” I said happily. H’laath flexed his jaw, probably grinding his stubby little not-teeth. “What in Z’aa’s name are they doing,” he asked irritably to change the subject, pointing a claw at Martinez’s knot of admirers and imitators. “The individual in the center is dancing,” I explained. “Moving to music. Everyone else is attempting to copy his steps, or making up their own.” “Are…are they supposed to look as though they have been afflicted with disorders of the nervous system?” H’laath actually appeared faintly alarmed. I stifled a laugh with great difficulty. “Er…not really, but…dancing can be difficult for beginners, with a little practice they should look…much more coordinated.” I managed to deliver that with a straight face. H’laath nodded slowly, imitating the human gesture, while still looking extremely unconvinced, but at least he didn’t look unhappy anymore. For not the first and probably not the last time, I gave up trying to understand what the fuck was going on inside the Z’lask’s heads. A pair of very perky diplomats came up, inquired how we were getting along. A further area of common ground appeared to be our mutual low tolerance for overeager diplomats. Once the pair had departed H’laath turned back to me, his warning-light eyes beady again. “What have you been told of the Lappa’s grievances?” I decided to like H’laath—he didn’t fuck around. “I’ve been told they find humanity’s execution of scientific development unacceptable,” I said carefully. I’d already heard his rather strong opinions on their foreign policy, so I imagined that he felt even more strongly about whatever perceived wrongs motivated them. H’laath clicked shortly, soaking more derision into one sound than most people could muster in paragraphs. “That is true. But it is deeper than that. They believe that your ‘unacceptable’ actions stem from an unacceptable nature; that you are innately and inherently uncivilized. Therefore, whether you want to or not, whether you are taught to or not, you will always behave like animals.” H’laath’s yellow eyes glowed evilly. Is he actually angry on our behalf? “One of their representatives, a Shar Diplomat, has even issued a challenge, for someone to produce ‘just one example of human nature causing anything other than bloodshed.’ They are beginning to add structure and specifics to their generalized, philosophical arguments. They are alleging that many of humanity’s past crimes, or actions, or technological developments, were crimes not merely against other humans but against the order of the galaxy, and therefore against every member of the galactic community. As yet, their arguments have been met with the ridicule they deserve, but the High Command worries that, with their influence, the Lappa could win over a species or two, and begin to make life difficult for us.” “You said technological developments?” I was very confused, that was an illogical level of fear to have, and they shouldn’t fear our tech, theirs was so superior…. Oh. “They’re not scared, they’re jealous.” I realized. H’laath’s eyes flashed like radiation warnings. “I don’t know anything about their history, but I’m willing to bet anything both of us can do, we did faster. I think they’re jealous. They’re trying to cast everything about us, even what we claim to be ‘good,’ as wrong in execution or origin if not in outcome, and contaminate everything we do. This isn’t just about fearing a result, this is also about being jealous of an ability.” H’laath was flicking his tail, slowly from side to side, like a cat considering whether to pounce. “Perhaps you should answer Mr. Diplomat’s challenge,” he said slowly. “I certainly would be interested to know what you have to say for humanity on that point.” I opened my mouth, intending to object, to plead that I was much too busy, but before I could the proverbial stroke of inspiration struck me a nasty blow. “It looks like the diplomats are ready for this little gathering to end,” I noted, watching our crews start to separate. “I’ll think about it this evening. If I get something written up, I’ll send it over.” H’laath eyed me. “I await your response to Mr. Diplomat’s charges.” With that he rounded up his crew and returned to his ship. I found myself writing my reply in my head as I set Lt. Levy to supervising the cleanup of hangar B, which had endured a flyball game, and cargo bay #2, which had endured interspecies diplomacy. By the time I got back to my cabin, my fingers were itching. I sat down at my desk, snatched my datascanner, and started typing. To Shar Diplomat, I am writing in response to your challenge to present “just one example of human nature causing anything other than bloodshed.” I decided to take your proposal one step further, and attempt to find a facet of human nature, in this case the innate refusal to accept that “this is just the way things are,” improving human society. Here is my submission to you: “The Thirty-third World Health Assembly, on this the eighth day of May 1980; Having considered the development and results of the global programme on smallpox eradication initiated by WHO in 1958 and intensified since 1967;
DECLARES SOLEMNLY THAT THE WORLD AND ALL ITS PEOPLES HAVE WON FREEDOM FROM SMALLPOX, WHICH WAS A MOST DEVASTATING DISEASE SWEEPING IN EPIDEMIC FORM THROUGH MANY COUNTRIES SINCE EARLIEST TIMES, LEAVING DEATH, BLINDNESS, AND DISFIGURMENT IN ITS WAKE AND WHICH ONLY A DECADE AGO WAS RAMPANT IN AFRICA, ASIA AND SOUTH AMERICA;
EXPRESSES ITS DEEP GRATITUDE TO ALL NATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS WHO CONTRIBUTED TO THE SUCCESS OF THIS NOBLE AND HISTORIC ENDEAVOR;
CALLS THIS UNPRECEDENTED ACHIEVEMENT IN THE HISTORY OF PUBLIC HEALTH TO THE ATTENTION OF ALL NATIONS, WHICH BY THEIR COLLECTIVE ACTION HAVE FREED MANKIND OF THIS ANCIENT SCOURGE AND, IN SO DOING, HAVE DEMONSTRATED HOW NATIONS WORKING TOGETHER IN A COMMON CAUSE MAY FURTHER HUMAN PROGRESS.”
I felt it necessary to include all three statements, and to call your attention to the fact that when they were made, the First Cold War was still quite icy, with the potential to turn quite hot. It should be self-evident, Mr. Diplomat, that the impact of humanity is determined by the individuals exercising their humanity. You cannot hold up a person or a party or even a nation and declare “they were evil, so too is their race” any more than you could use such an example to claim us a species of saints. For all your logic and your lauded ability to follow where your data leads you, you seem utterly unable to grasp the principle of self-determination. At risk of giving offense, I shall presume to attempt to further explain it to you. It is true that individuals are shaped by their surroundings. It is true that psychology is based upon physiology, and that there are certain stimuli which are irresistible. It is true that some human beings, by reason of insanity, coercion, or other such exceptional circumstances, are deemed to not be in control of their actions. However, this is—as stated—exceptional, and not true of the vast bulk of humanity. From this fact proceeds human morality. Under our morality, it is more important to be right than to be logical. Herein lies the difference between our two species. We will have to somehow construct a bridge over this divide, somehow explain why it is that that which is logical may not always be right. Our foundational legal documents, upon which all other systems hang, recognize that while humans themselves are sacred, nothing made by them is. Therefore, a human being has value, has rights, has responsibilities above the mortal creations of logic or laws. It is for this reason that “human rights” are not declared to proceed from a government, but from, as it was once quaintly put, “nature and nature’s God.” Therefore, while it may be logical that the entire world shares guilt for one man’s crime, he nevertheless must answer for it. He took an action, and he must be responsible for his actions. This, then, is on display in the war crimes tribunal at The Hague: the sorting out of facts, the assignation of culpability, the rendering of judgment. It is holding human beings responsible for their actions. It therefore transcends, in certain respects, logic. It therefore will not appear wholly logical, because it is not. It therefore will irk the Lappa, who recognize no higher force than logic. We, however, wish to submit to you that this…deficiency of logic will not make us intolerable neighbors. You argued that our inability to apply logic meant that we were not in control of our actions—that we would behave irrationally, and that such irrationality would take the form of crimes, destruction, and violence which beggared your imaginations. As I have stated, the project of human civilization, and the very recognition of the concept of humanity, contradict this conclusion. To be sure, our institutions are not perfect, but this is no different from any other species in the galaxy. Therefore, you need have no fear of us. Human beings are responsible for their actions. If you still find interaction with us to be uncomfortable, we will accommodate you. We would not dream of causing undue distress to another species. If, however, you choose to disregard our human rights, we will not appease you. We have far too much experience with the consequences of appeasement to permit it to be our policy. You, too, may wish to familiarize yourself with those consequences, and the innovations, as you would term them, that were created to overcome them. I do not point to our history as a threat, as it is so often assumed, but as data, as information for you to study. Insanity is often defined by humans as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I imagine that the Lappa would concur with this assessment, and would agree that to view the outcome of an experiment, and then believe that running that same experiment would somehow yield different results, would be insane. Surely a race as enlightened and successful as yours can adapt itself to the accommodation of a species that bears no ill will toward you, even though it is alien to you. Yours very sincerely, Capt. Charlotte Sorensen, USN I sat back. That was probably a little strong. I should definitely edit it down a little before sending it to H’laath, but it was a good enough start. I wanted the Lappa to see that we, as a species, were not a threat, either to their existence or to their self-perception. Their project would always be research, and while many humans would share that conviction, passion, and devotion, the species as a whole would not. The Lappa would always be able to claim it as their distinction; humanity had a different pursuit. I hoped I could indicate it, communicate it, make it apparent enough to the Lappa so that they could do the mental gymnastics to see us not as competitors, but as participants in a different event, who might demonstrate some similarities in skill but who sought a different goal. I was suddenly furious. We’d already fought one war, already wasted hundreds of millions of lives and ruined hundreds of millions more. So fucking much had been destroyed, lost, sacrificed to repel the Z’lask. All because the High Command made a stupid decision. And now the Lappa, the supposed most intelligent race in the Council, were falling head over heels to do the exact same stupid, stupid thing. Was there any way we could induce the Lappa to see that? Was there any way that what I had to contribute to that discourse could be a meaningful contribution? I’d done it before, but I’d had help…. Oh, fuck. There was precisely one Z’lask I could think of who might be able to assist with changing the minds of an entire species. I’d just hoped never to have to talk to him again. What are you, afraid? I was always afraid. I just never let it stop me. Hee hee hee, guess who will be back! What did y'all think? And who REALLY won the flyball game? Y'all stay safe out there!
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We are facing one of the ASUS gaming laptops, it has almost everything! Processor: Intel Core i7-8750H RAM memory: 16 GB Hard Drive : 512GB SSD Screen: 15.6 ″ Inches Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels Graphics card: Nvidia Geoforce RTX 2060 best cheap gamer laptop See Price With this Asus GL504GV you will be able to enjoy next generation triple A games without loading and viewing worries. Specially designed for demanding graphics, as it incorporates a 6GB Nvidia Geoforce RTX 2060 , which will provide all the sufficient support for the 15.6-inch Full HD screen to reproduce views of up to 1920 x 1080 pixels. As if that were not enough, the screen is prepared to resist high light contrasts and its margins have been reduced to enjoy a wide field of vision. The data processing of this ASUS GL504GV is exemplary, it integrates a powerful 8th generation Intel Core i7 6-core processor , which together with its 16GB RAM and 512GB digital storage, no game can resist. Important gaming features of this Asus gaming laptop: IPS display with up to 144 Hz refresh rate, 300 cd / m² brightness The HyperCool thermal system with two 12V fans. IPS screen with up to 144 Hz refresh rate, 300 cd / m² brightness. The HyperCool thermal system with two 12V fans. Aura Sync Technology: Keyboard and screen illumination. It is equipped with two side speakers In short, if you are looking for a gaming laptop and no game can resist you, this Asus gaming is one of the best options for less than 1500 euros. ADVANTAGE Excellent cooling system Powerful graphics card Great backlight system Powerful RAM and processor DISADVANTAGES High price
MSI GS73 Stealth
Connect this MSI gaming laptop to next-generation external monitors, think no more, get one now! Processor: Intel Core i7 RAM memory: 16 GB Hard Drive : 256GB SSD / 1TB HDD Screen: 17.3 ″ Inches Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels Graphics card: Nvidia Geoforce GTX 1050Ti 4GB cheap gamers laptops See Price Although this cheap gaming laptop incorporates a less powerful processor but its excellent external connections to high quality monitors will provide an incredible experience to every gamer. As we say, thanks to its 7th generation 6-core i7 processor and its 16GB RAM memory , you will avoid problems when running and loading games. On the other hand, it is equipped with a large storage capacity for documents, multimedia content and files from games thanks to its two hard drives, a 1TB HDD and a 256GB gold SSD. MSI GS73 Stealth incorporates a 17.3-inch Full HD screen that supports high-quality resolutions (1920 x 1080). That is, when we start playing, we will not have any problem with overloads and display speeds, thanks in part to its 4GB Nvidia Geoforce GTX 1050Ti. Additionally, this gaming pc incorporates the MSI Matrix Display application supporting up to 3 + 1 external screens simultaneously HDTV with 4K output and incredible resolutions up to 3840 x 2160 pixels. We are definitely not talking about the best gaming laptop on the market, however, for less than 1200 euros, fun is guaranteed. ADVANTAGE Great quality price Excellent resolution Powerful processor and RAM DISADVANTAGES Improvable graphics card
Acer Predator Helios 300
We are facing one of the best Acer gaming laptops with a Premium technical service in less than 72 hours Processor: Intel Core i7 RAM memory: 8 GB Hard Drive : HDD 1.3 TB Screen: 15.6 ″ Inches Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 best gaming laptops See Price The Acer brand also strives to pocket gamers. Gross power and premium service. By having a 15.6-inch screen and a Full HD resolution of up to 1920 x 1080 pixels, we can say that almost per inch we will have 180 pixels. If we add that the graphics card ( Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 ) will process and transmit data at a fluid speed so that the screen reproduces quality visualizations. That is when we will understand that getting this Acer is a good investment. Acer Predator Helios integrates an 8G RAM memoryand capable of storing digital content of up to 1.3 TB . Additionally, it will support and run all kinds of games thanks to its seventh generation i7 processor. Some features that may interest gamers are its 72-hour Predator technical support, the excellent AeroBlade 3D metal dual fan cooling and the red illumination of its keyboard. The best of all is its price, as it has recently been lowered and does not exceed 1000 euros. ADVANTAGE Cheap gaming laptop Premium technical service Powerful processor Great cooling system DISADVANTAGES Upgradeable RAM The graphics card should be more powerful Comparison of the best cheap gaming laptops Once you have seen the list of our ranking of cheap Gaming laptops, find here all of them included in this comparison table. Note: if you use your mobile, slide the table with your finger to see all the columns. NO. MODEL INCH T. GRAPHICS PROCESSOR RAM CAPACITY AMAZON PRICE one MSI Leopard 17.3 "(1920 x 1080) NVIDIA GTX 1600 CoffeLake i7 16 GB 256GB + 1TB See price two MSI Stealth Thin 15.6 "(1920 x 1080) NVIDIA GTX 1600 CoffeLake i7 16 GB 512 GB See price 3 ASUS ROG Strix 17.3 "(1920 x 1080) NVIDIA GTX 1660Ti Intel Core i7 16 GB 256GB + 1TB See price 4 MSI Raider 17.3 "(1920 x 1080) NVIDIA GTX 1600 Intel Core i7 16 GB 256GB + 1TB See price 5 ASUS GL504GV 15.6 "(1920 x 1080) NVIDIA RTX 2060 Intel Core i7 16 GB 512 GB See price 6 MSI GS73 Stealth 17.3 "(1920 x 1080) NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti Intel Core i7 16 GB 256GB + 1TB See price 7 Acer Predator Helios 15.6 "(1920 x 1080) NVIDIA GTX 1060 Intel Core i7 8 GB 1.3 TB See price If you still have doubts, here we have another run on cheap gaming laptops. Cheap gaming laptops comparison Lenovo Legion Y530 Acer Swift 3 Lenovo Ideapad 330 MEDION ERAZER P6705 HP Laptop 15 Acer Nitro 5 Acer Aspire Our recommendations for the best gaming laptop If you are really interested in buying a cheap gaming laptop, here are the recommendations of our expert gamers. Best price-quality gaming laptop: Lenovo Legion Y530 best gaming laptops See Price It has been difficult to decide which would be one of the best quality gaming laptops currently on the market. However, we have found it and it is the Lenovo Legion Y530. We are facing a laptop with a good and cheap graphics card. It incorporates a 15.6-inch Full HD screen with resolution capabilities of 1920 x 1080 pixels . Although the graphics card (Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 with 4 GB GDDR5) is less powerful than that of the gaming computers described above, it will provide enough speed and fluidity to the visual elements of your games. The Intel Core i5 processor is high-power, has integrated 4 cores, and although it is not the latest generation, it will meet the expectations of any gamer, unless we are in the elite and we are going to make a lot of use of triple A games at the same time as, for example, Startcraft II or Assassin's Creed: Syndicate. Additionally, the 8 GB RAM memory and 1TB of digital storage will proactively help prevent us from running out of space to store all content, data and files from games. Other important features that might interest gamers are: External connections: USB Type-C, Mini-DisplayPort, USB 3.0, HDMI, RJ-45, AC adapter, Kensington lock connector DirectX12 functions White backlight. If you are one of those who care a lot about value for money, this Gaming pc will give you a great experience for less than 950 euros in the official Amazon store. Getting cheap gamer laptops is now possible! Best cheap gaming laptop: ASUS TUF Gaming best gaming laptops See Price We will hardly find a cheap gaming laptop with great features like this one. That is, this Asus TUF is a great option for beginner gamers with its only 2.3 kg of weight and 2.5 centimeters of thickness. It has a high resolution since its screen incorporates 15.6 inches and is capable of reproducing visualizations of up to 1920 x 1080 pixels , which together with its 4 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX1050 graphics card will help to offer fluid graphics for your games. On the other hand, even if we want to run and install large capacity games, its 6-core Intel core i7 processor and 16GB RAM will ensure that there are no problems. This Asus TUF incorporates two hard drives, one 128 GB SSD and another 1 TB HDD to store all the data, files and content from the games. Additionally, it has a great cooling system, ADC and Fan Overboost. Thanks to HyperCool technology . On the other hand, you can enjoy a 7.1 surround sound system due to its powerful acoustic system that combined with its red backlight you will not want to stop playing. Therefore, if we are beginners in the world of computer games, and we have a somewhat tight budget, for less than 800 euros we will be forced to buy this gaming laptop. Possibly the cheapest gaming laptop. Best gaming laptop for games for less than 1000 euros: Acer Nitro 5 best gaming laptops under 1000 See Price The average price of gaming laptops would be close to 1000 euros, we consider that this Acer Nitro 5 has unmatched features at an average market price. As for its technical data processing characteristics, it has a 6-core i7 processor, highly recommended for the fluidity and loading speed of most games. Additionally, its RAM and 8GB memory and the two 1TB and 128GB HDD and SDD hard drives respectively will do the rest. In order to enjoy demanding graphics and high quality resolutions, it integrates an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card , which will help the 15.6-inch screen to reproduce 1920 x 1080 pixel displays . Definitely, if you want to have 1000 euros to get a gaming pc, this may be your best option. Since you can also enjoy acoustics ( Dolby Audio Premium ) and excellent cooling system thanks ( Acer CoolBoost ). Buying guide What are the best cheap gaming laptops? There are already many users who receive the title of gamers , and recently the gaming industry is growing in an exorbitant way. Due to this, there is a great need to choose the gaming laptop that best suits our needs. Therefore, if you want a laptop to play games, here we have prepared a quick guide made by experts where you can find out about the most important factors when buying a gaming laptop. cheap laptops Factors to consider before buying a gaming pc A good gaming laptop must meet a series of minimum requirements to be able to support the requirements of the latest generation video games. Processor and RAM Computer games have large amounts of data and graphic requirements. Therefore, if we are going to buy a gaming laptop, it is recommended that it have at least one i5 processor . However, to avoid problems when playing heavy games, it is best to have the latest generation i7 processors with 6 cores. Like the processor, the integrated RAM is of vital importance, since we are talking about a perfect symbiosis so as not to have problems when playing games. Therefore, it is best to choose gaming laptops with 8 or 16 Gigabit RAM. Graphic card The graphics card is an essential component for the smooth and correct display of games on your computer. So much so, that they account for 60% of visual success when playing. Generally, a minimum graphics card must contain 4 GB and it is recommended those of 8GB if we will use super demanding graphics games. However, if you already have a PC and you are short of a graphics card, you can connect an external one. Take a look at this article for the best graphics cards. The two most recognized brands are Nvidia and AMD. cheap gaming laptops Nvidia has three main ranges GeForce RTX 20 series and GeForce GTX 10 and 16 series. RTX is the most advanced range and the one that we recommend for gaming. On the other hand, we have the AMD brand with innumerable models which you can consult here. screen Within the screen we must take into account several important points that will affect our experience when playing and enjoying games, movies or use in general. We highlight the resolution, the technology or type of panel and the refresh rate (Fps): With resolution we mean the quality of the image on the screen. It is defined by the number of pixels that are both horizontally and vertically on the screen. If we are looking for a good balance in terms of performance / quality, the ideal resolution that we will have to look for in Gaming laptops is FullHD or 1080p. With a lower value, we will notice a loss of image definition and a higher resolution would affect performance by demanding more information from the graph. Although the new laptops are already including very powerful graphics where 2k resolution would not be a problem, but they start from the disadvantage that they have abusive prices. The type of panel is very important when choosing the best gaming laptop. Its image quality will depend on the technology of the screen itself. Colors, viewing angles and response speed, among others, are several of the elements that may be affected by the type of panel we choose. We highlight three types: Panel TN: It is one of the oldest technologies. They stand out for having great fluidity capable of generating up to 240hz rate (240 images / second). But they have the downside of not having the best image quality, poor viewing angles, and dull colors. They are still perfect for competitive gamers who want the maximum refresh rate in their games and get a certain edge. IPS panel : They offer us high-quality colors, sharpness and viewing angles , but its weak point lies in the low refresh rate and the high response time. They are very good if you are going to play triple A titles since they do not need a high level of FPS to enjoy them. Panel VA : A few years ago they were the most used by professional users due to their high refresh rate reaching 144hz, very important for the competitive world, but today they are being replaced by TNs although they are still widely used. Ideal if you play competitive titles occasionally and what you are looking for is fluidity of movement in your games. best IPS laptops Differences between panels Refresh rate Now looking at the refresh rate, we define it as the number of images per second that the screen is capable of displaying. For a better understanding, let's say it's the quality of the movement. This gives us certain advantages, especially in competitive games. Currently most gaming laptops have 60hz screens but a large number of 144hz models are entering the market that despite the price, they are the best option available. In the photograph on the right we can see the great difference between 60hz and 144hz panels. 60hz or 144hz gaming laptop Storage Hard drives are an essential element in a gamer laptop. They are in charge of storing all the information that we save and sending it to other components of the computer for further processing. To choose the best hard drive for your gaming laptop, we must take into account two fundamental factors: Storage capacity : It refers to the amount of information that we can save. One of our main purposes when we are going to buy a gaming pc is to be able to save our favorite games without having to skimp on which one to install. Today's video games demand a large amount of memory, the heaviest ones even occupying about 50GB. Therefore, we recommend going at least for a 1TB (1000GB) hard drive so that we can go with memory to spare for all our content. Data transmission speed : It is the other fundamental element so that the loading of the operating system, programs or video games takes the least time possible. A slow hard drive can greatly affect our gaming experience, even waiting for several minutes. We distinguish three types of hard drives, each with a specific technology, which will offer us one performance or another. Next, we will explain what are the characteristics of each one: HDD - Also known as solid state hard drives. Made up of several CDs, they use magnetic systems to store the information on them. They are the cheapest, but also the slowest . They are a good option for those who want to have a large storage at a good price and do not mind loading times. SSD: they use microchips to store information, including small processors to manage the information. They reduce charging times by more than half compared to the previous ones and have a lower consumption. which hard drive is better ssd vs hdd Although one of its main disadvantages are its high price and its somewhat more limited storage. Ideal for those looking for speed on their pc. Best brands for gaming laptops. Msi vs Asus Due to the fact that there are countless brands dedicated to the manufacture of this type of notebook, we wanted to indicate here the ones with the most experience in the sector. Coincidentally, the two that we have selected are of Taiwanese origin, being MSI and Asus. Which are the ones that make the best gaming laptops on the market. cheap gaming laptops Best brands for gaming laptops. Msi vs Hp Omen When we consider the purchase of a computer to play games, it is normal that doubts arise about which brand to buy or which model will best suit us. One of the best brands in this sector with a higher growth has been the company Hp , which with the line of Omen gaming laptops, has placed itself in the first positions of a very competitive market, reaching the same level as leading brands such as Msi or Asus. Therefore, to make your task easier, we bring you a small comparison to help you choose whether to buy an msi laptop or an hp Omen. HP Omen Gaming Laptops are the gaming series of hp laptops and one of the market leaders. They come already prepared to give maximum performance, reliability and mainly intended for long gaming sessions. They all have state- of-the-art graphics cards and an excellent cooling system that will ensure low temperatures. All these models have at least 8GB of Ram and latest generation processors with the ability to apply Overclock (OC) to slightly increase their performance. Its only disadvantage is its slight cost overrun compared to msi. Although it should be noted that it is a very good investment if we want a laptop that will last us for years. laptop msi or hp msi vs hp omen On the other hand, Msi laptops stand out for being very robust equipment with a wider variety of equipment, offering models of up to 3,000 euros. It is a brand dedicated to high-performance laptops, which is why they have been in the market longer. They have materials of a lower quality than the Omen but in terms of hardware it is excellent. If you have a tight budget and want a laptop for everything, this is your brand. It will allow you to compare between a wide variety of models to find the one that best suits your needs. As a negative point, many users have reported excess temperature levels that affect the gaming experience. What kinds of video games do gamers play? In the world of gamers, certain terminologies are often used to refer to the different computer games that currently exist on the market. Additionally, there are numerous computer games, both mythical and legendary such as League of Legends , or new ones that come onto the market such as Starcraft II: Best Chest or Star Wars Battlefront To differentiate these types of games, the meanings of Triple A and Triple I are used. Triple A Refers to video games distributed and produced by a major vendor. The AAA games (known as Triple A ) are risky bets Pore their creators in terms of budget and return. 8 years ago the term AAA + began to be used to describe AAA games with additional income, such as MMOs or the use of software as a service (SaaS). Triple I Triple-I (or also known as Triple-i) is used to refer to games with extensive independent funding behind for their design and configuration. They are trying to come up with the budgets for triple AAA games, let's say they are beta projects. What is the best cheap gaming laptop for you? Before launching to buy a gaming computer, it is necessary to know what we are going to use it for and in this way we will better adjust the product to our needs so that our purchase is as efficient as possible without spending too much for something that we will not take 100% advantage of. According to the games : The best purchase for a gaming laptop will be given by the type of game that we use the most. If we are going to prioritize FPS or competitive games where the refresh rate is important, we will have to go for a 144hz or 240hz gaming laptop. The ASUS GL504GV model can come in handy for you. On the contrary, if we want to play games with a story, in the third person or those with powerful graphics; the best thing is to buy powerful gaming laptops but with a 60hz screen. The Acer Predator Helios would be a perfect fit for these needs According to budget : You have to take into account that the minimum recommended to buy a cheap gaming laptop would be around 800 to 1000 euros . Below that quantity, the quality will be poor for today's gaming requirement. Even so, there are some models that can be a very good option. An average budget where we will find the best quality-price gaming laptops would be between 1000 to 1300 euros . We can find very good models with a power to spare for all the activities that we consider. A laptop like this MSI would be a very good option. From here, we will find the best models on the market for gaming enthusiasts who want to have the best in their hands. Where to buy the best laptops for gamers at the best price? This niche of products (gaming laptops) are characterized by having high prices, since their technical characteristics must meet minimum power requirements to be able to support video games with a large amount of data. Although a Gaming laptop is generally above 1000 euros we can find some models of brands somewhat cheaper. We can always go to video game stores or department stores to find this type of laptop . However, if you prefer to buy online, using this method, you can find cheap or second-hand gaming computers. We always recommend the official Amazon store , you will find a wide variety and exceptional customer service. Frequently asked questions before buying the best cheap gaming laptop. What should we take into account to choose a good gaming laptop? There are 5 fundamental aspects that we must look at before buying a good gaming laptop: - Your graphics card should be the most important element. The most recommended graphics for laptops are Nvidia's RTX series, specifically the 20 series (high-end) and the 16 (mid-range). - The next component to take into account will be the microprocessor. Our team of experts recommends the Intel I5 for medium-high performance and the i7 for high performance. With the latter, you can make the most of any type of game. Although it should be noted that the AMD Ryzen is postulated as an alternative almost at the same level as the Intel, where the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 are the best options available. - For RAM it will be optimal to choose between 8-16 GB, although if we dedicate ourselves to video editing we will have to go for 32GB of RAM. - The storage capacity or hard disk is perhaps the least important although it is still important. At 256GB the laptop is perfectly functional but will run out of space in no time. Ideally, choose 1TB or 512 ssd for fast load times. It is more expensive, but in the long run it will be well worth the investment in a good hard drive. - The screen will also be of vital importance to be able to see the full power of our computer expressed. A 1080p 144hz screen will be the ideal for a perfect gaming experience. Cheap gaming laptop for graphic design or video editing? If gaming laptops stand out in one thing, it is in their raw processing power. Keep in mind that most design and video editing programs consume a large amount of resources that not all computers are capable of handling. Gaming computers comfortably have all these necessary requirements for an optimal functioning of these programs, being able to handle large projects, extensive renderings or heavy video editions without having to delay long waits or unexpected crashes. Therefore, if you are also looking for a computer for this type of task, do not hesitate and make it twice as useful.
Thought Process Behind Building a PC. For Beginners, by Beginners.
Disclaimer: I wrote this out of boredom, and to put every knowledge I gathered this last months somewhere for everyone to see. I do not claim any authority nor will take any responsability for whatever you decide to do with this guide. I guarantee that all I wrote, I wrote in good faith. I would really love to be criticized and corrected. Thank youu/buildapcfor your help! Hello fellow /builder! You are probably here to ask for help about your dream pc build. I know I did. For hours. Weeks, actually. I have put together my system about a month ago. Rather than simply sharing my story and showing off my build (I'm not showing because cable management is b a d, ugh), I'd like to give something back to this wonderful community. So here it is, a guide for beginners, in layman terms, without unnecessary technical information.
In order to even begin to request help for building your pc, first you need to know what your computer is going to be used for! There's 3 orders of information priority: Primary informations:
Target resolution: the most common being 1080p/1440p/4k and ultra wide variants
Target refresh rate: 60hz/75hz/144hz mostly
Intended purpose: workstation, gaming, rendering, etc.
If you can't provide these, nobody can really help you, at best they can make educated guesses. These informations relate directly to the parts responsible for your performance: CPU, Graphics Card, RAM, and indirectly to Motherboard. If you own a monitor, you need to find out its specs either by googling the model name, or in Advanced Display Informations. To find details about your monitor, head to Settings > System > Display and scroll down and click on “Advanced Display Settings”. If you are going to buy a monitor, you should always have resolution and refresh rate in mind when picking one. Budget and intended purpose are self explanatory! Secondary informations:
Preferred gaming titles
High average ambient temperature concerns - ie: living at the equator or in a tropical area
Country of residence: mainly for parts scarcity or known overpriced parts
Preferred thermal solution: air or water?
These informations are optional, but might help tailoring your build to your exact needs. Let's say you like Cities Skylines and are going to play that title 90% of the time. Now whoever is helping you, is going to recommend up to 32 gb ram and a slightly overpowered CPU to handle that. Let's say you want to play e-sports only, you might be able to scale down the project and save something on your budget. It's not an everyday occurrance to find someone who is going to play a couple of titles only, but it's less uncommon than you might think! Knowing this specific piece of information can make a measurable difference. If your intention is overclocking, then it's a good idea to say so in your build request. Not every piece of hardware can be overclocked, and not every motherboard can support overclocking. Nevertheless, if you need this guide, then I kindly suggest you do not oveclock. About ambient temperature, it's only really a concern at the high spectrum of the curve, but it might force you to pick a thermal solution. More on thermal solution later. Tertiary informations:
And pretty much anything cosmetic
These informations are merely cosmetic. Some people are obsessed by RGB, some are not. If you don't mention your cosmetic preference, nobody is going to care. Function is always over form when building a pc, particularly with a budget in mind. Most people prefer a brand - I know I do - but most will settle for something else as long as it's better for their needs. If you are a die hard brand loyalist, you should mention that before someone figures out a build for you only to scrap it because you'd rather have a nVidia Graphics Card or Intel instead of AMD CPUs. It happens mostly when upgrading, but sometimes people want their build to end up in their dream (or old) case. If you are in this position, you should mention that because of space constraints. More on this later. So, here's an example of a terrible build request:
pls help I need help for a new pc for under 1k, help?
And here's an example of a good build request:
Hello, I own a 1440p/75hz monitor, I want to play AAA titles at ultra and my budget is about 1200€. I prefer AMD, want RGB (unless it's over my budget), and have a mid tower UL7R4 C00L PC case themed red. I also need some advice on water cooling. Signed: a gentleman and a scholar
Doing your research
Sometimes, you just want to figure out things on your own. Good. Here's what I did, starting with basics. This is the list of parts directly tied to performance:
This is the list of parts that support your performance:
This is the list of parts that handle your system safety and are indirectly tied to performance
How do you even begin? Let's see first what these parts do. CPU The Processor... processes. Want to open a Chrome tab? Process that! Discord in background? A core will take care of that! Preparing a frame for your GPU to render with lights, textures, shadows? That's exactly what your CPU is for. Explaining how and what a CPU does is over the scope of this guide, so here's what you really need to know: core clock, and core count. And that's it for the most part. These two concepts are interrelated. You could have 64 core to work with at a low core clock and it could handle a ludicrous amount of processes, while unable to handle a single process that takes up to 4 cores but requires from each of them a high core clock. Such is the case with videogames, which mostly work off a limited number of cores and will perform better the faster each used core is. More cores ain't going to help, because the game ain't going to use it unless it is programmed to do so! Manufacturer usually take care of this for the consumers, by splitting their hardware portfolio in processors for servers and for consumers. AMD server CPUs are called Epyc and have a consumer equivalent (read: from the same generation) called Ryzen. Intel has Xeons for servers and their i3/i5/i7 line up for consumers. Every generation of CPUs has its own fitting socket. You physically can't put a CPU in a socket that was not designed for that CPU. A CPU socket is a part of motherboards. If you are going to pick a Ryzen CPU, it is a good idea to check what RAM capacity and clock it works best with. You can find benchmarks online for that. Some CPUs are integrated with Graphics Card. These are referred to as APUs, and I'm not going to talk about them because I'm uninformed. Tip: when picking a CPU, check console hardware. I'm not joking. Consoles are meant for gaming and are the common denominator of hardware progress for gaming. PS5 and XBox X are going to have 8 core CPUs, of which 2 are reserved for the system, thus 6 cores for videogames to play with. It's a reasonable expectation that the new standard for CPU core count is going to be 6 in the years to come. Graphics Card If you're a gamer, you want to pay close attention when picking a good GPU for your build. The GPU market is not as segmented as CPU market is, and you can easily find benchmarks for each of them at any mainstream resolution tier. Thus, picking a GPU is commonly the first step of your build, because it is directly tied to the resolution and refresh rate of your monitor. You need not to worry too much about the specs of your GPU. Benchmarks are pretty accurate at predicting their performance, but picking an aftermarket card (sometimes referred to as custom cards) can be tricky. Every Graphic Card design is reinterpreted by different manufacturers, offer different software and bios support, different thermal solutions and features. Here's some of them:
Max clock: some GPUs are factory overclocked, mostly depending on their thermal solutions.
Length: while it's mostly a concern for space constraints in your case, a longer card has generally better heat dissipation because they can fit two or more fans.
I/O shield: basically, the number and type of ports on your GPU.
0DB fans: some cards fan will not start spinning until a target temperature is reached. Neat!
About I/O shield: this is generally a concern for multi monitor setup, but you should always double check that the graphics card you are buying has the correct port for your monitor, be it HDMI, Display Port, DVI or VGA. Adapters exist, but are unreliable. AMD and Nvidia have their own V-sync function, which must be supported by the monitor in the first place in order to work. AMD has Free Sync, and most monitors have this. Nvidia has G-Sync, and most monitors do not have this. Good news for Nvidia, though. They finally caved in and added support for Free Sync, but your monitor needs to have both Free Sync and Display Port 1.2 (well, most of them do, and you should always double check that). Resources:
Motherboard The motherboard is the lymphatic system of your build. It draws power from the PSU to be carefully administered to your other components. Some people think that cheaping out on Motherboard is a good idea. To a degree. As long as your motherboard can handle your CPU power draw, is compatible with your RAM, has enough SATA ports for your storage, has a good number of USB ports and a decent BIOS, it is good to go. Easy right? ...well. Here's some research you can do on your own:
First, google your motherboard name and manufacturer, then click on Specifications
CPU Socket: it has to fit your CPU!
SATA, USB, M.2 storage support, all of these can be inspected in the Specification page under Storage, Features or I/O Shield
RAM compatibility: In the main spec page there should be a general indication such as "Supports DDR4 3200+(OC)". Further, In the page of your manufacturer, look for "Support" or "Memory Support". For Ryzen, you need to know what architecture your CPU is (Summit Ridge, Pinnacle Ridge, Matisse, etc.), for Intel, the generation should be sufficient. Now look for "Memory QVL" or "Memory Support". This should open a list of RAMs split in brands and frequency. Those rams have been tested and are known to work at the declared frequency on that specific motherboard.
BIOS: This one you must research opinions for. A good BIOS lets you overclock or regulate your CPU and RAMs accurately. A good BIOS could be fundamental or entirely optional, depending on what type of user you are. It's not strictly for overclockers, a good BIOS helps recovering, monitoring, and troubleshooting your PC.
Fan/waterpump headers and fan control: yup, a motherboard with multiple fan headers will allow you to upgrade and control the airflow of your case. The water pump header is a necessity in case of water cooling.
Handling of CPU power draw: this one is a bitch. Motherboards draw power from the PSU and give it to your CPU. This process might incur in two issues: capacity and thermal limitations. Any given motherboard can only draw so much power for your CPU, and it gets hot while doing that. This process is regulated by VRM, Power Phases and Power Chokes. What you need to know is that CPUs with high core count and/or power draw (measured under TDP) are harder to handle and will require a better Motherboard with good dissipation and more power phases to operate well. When it comes to low to low-mid range CPUs, this is not a big concern, but the more power the CPU draws, the better the Motherboard has to be.
Motherboard power draw is very hard to investigate, you need to rely on trusted reviewers (such as Buildzoid, Gamer Nexus, Hardware Unboxed) or tier lists on popular forums/sites/reddits. Note that if you plan to overclock, you must have a good Motherboard. Tip: the bulk of your work can be done automatically byPCPartPickersystem builder. Pick your designated CPU, compatible motherboards will be already filtered. If you pick both CPU and motherboard, RAMs will also be filtered for compatibility. Resources:
RAM While PCPartPicker exists, picking a compatible RAM is easy. Picking the right RAM is something else entirely. First things first: do never, ever, buy a single stick of ram. You want 2 sticks of RAMs, which should be bought in pairs. I can't advice against buying 4 sticks of RAM, but make sure motherboard supports them or do some in depth research because system stability is at stake. Nowadays, 16gb of ram, rated 3200 to 3600 mhz, with a Cas Latency (CL) of 16 is the norm. Ryzen CPUs are particularly sensitive to RAMs. As a rule of thumb you should get 3000-3200 mhz CL16 rams for Zen+, and 3200-3600 mhz CL16 rams for Zen2. You can get better rams, but there's no guarantee they will be stable if they are terribly overpowered for your Ryzen CPU (a good motherboard and a good overclocker might make anything stable with little compromise nevertheless). Lower latency RAMs usually cost more than higher frequency rams, but will not incur in such issues. Here's benchmarks for 2 of the most popular CPUs:
Bottleneck Bottleneck is what happens when in a particular task, one of your component (RAM, CPU or GPU) is at the limit of its performance, while the others aren't. Let's cut to the chase: you can not avoid bottlenecking entirely. Bottleneck is hardware, software and settings dependant. You can not make the perfect match, you can only avoid a bad match.
Avoiding hardware bottleneck:
This is extremely dependant on target resolution and refresh rate. CPU has the same workload at either 1080p or 4k. Meanwhile, a given GPU might give you perfect 144 fps at 1080p, and struggle to reach 75 at 4k. The higher your resolution is, the better your GPU needs to be. Conversely, if you know you are playing at 4k and can push 75 fps at most, CPU might aswell be slightly cheaper, because you ain't ever going to use it to its full extent. With consideration for the target resolution and refresh rate, the rule of thumb is: within a given generation of hardware, same range components will not bottleneck each other (a lot).
Avoiding software bottleneck:
Let's say you are playing Cities Skyline at over 100k population. While not much really changed for your GPU, at that point your CPU is probably gasping for watts. Ouch.Let's say you are playing AC:Odyssey. Your GPU is probably working at breakneck pace while your CPU is scheduling her counseling (yup, graphics cards are a she). The same CPU and the same GPU took turns bottlenecking each other, because the workload for each of them was uneven in each title. This is why if you play only a handful of titles it is a good idea to keep them in mind while you request help or figure out your build.
Avoiding user settings bottleneck:
This is corollary to the previous point. Some specific settings are CPU and/or GPU intensity, and lowering them will make a big difference. This is just here to remind you that you do have some influence over bottleneck, and figuring out a sweet spot where both your CPU and GPU are working close to the same pace is a good idea. Resources: You can crosscheck CPU/GPU bottleneck with this site but always keep in mind this is at best a rough estimate that feeds off algorithms, and you should never ever obsess over bottleneck unless you're breaking the rule of thumb (same generation, same tier, with resolution and refresh rate in mind): https://www.gpucheck.com/gpu-benchmark-comparison Thermal Solutions Air or water? The answer is: budget. Air is cheap and reliable, meaning that in the worst case scenario a fan stops spinning and you replace it for 10-15€. Air has diminishing returns, meaning that throwing money at it is only going to help so much performance wise. When buying an air cooler, you need to check for its height to make sure it fits in your case and doesn't touch any other component (mostly happens with RAMs and rarely with Motherboard heat sinks). Water is expensive, powerful but potentially unsafe. A bad installation, a loose bit, spilled water on a running motherboard, the recipe for disaster. Let's be clear here: water cooling your CPU is a perfectly valid solution (it's the best!), as long as your budget is right. You can't cheap out on a water cooler, because if it breaks or fails it will potentially kill your whole build. If you are going to buy a modest water cooler, my personal recommendation is to go for air instead: you are going to spend less and have literally the same performance. If you can spare more of your budget for water cooling, go ahead. Water cooling has a higher performance ceiling, which means less diminishing returns, which means that as long as you keep throwing money at it, it will get better. TL;DR: low into mid range Air cooling wins, mid range to high range Water cooling wins. This is an example of a benchmark between various air and water coolers: https://www.gamersnexus.net/hwreviews/3573-zalman-cnps20x-cpu-cooler-review-benchmark-vs-noctua-nh-d15-others What do high and low temperatures really mean for your hardware? Every single piece of hardware is rated for a specific temperature. When it approaches that temperature, the hardware will start thermal throttling until eventually shutting down. You could call throttling underclocking but, at its core, it's a safety measure to prevent irreversible damage to your components. Most pieces of new hardware nowadays also have a "Boost" feature. This feature is effectively a dynamic, factory overclock, meant to push your hardware to its limit while the conditions (read: temperatures) are right. The lower your component temperature, the more it will boost. Technically speaking, a CPU or a GPU boosting for less while temperatures are high, does not strictly qualify for throttling, but this is merely semantycs. The thing is, that not only your parts are safer, more stable, and will last longer while their temperatures are low. Your parts will also be undeniably faster. A good thermal solution is the safest overclock you can get! PSU Your entire build is at the mercy of the reliability of a single component: the PSU. There are standards that you should always look up to when buying a PSU, and the following is written with exactly those standards in mind, and with the intent of teaching you about them. Before picking a PSU, you first have to figure out the peak power draw of your whole build. This figure is meant to represent how much power your system is going to use under a full synthetic load, while every component is stressed beyond what constitutes normal and even stressful non-synthetic operation. Figuring it out can be tricky and each part has its own caveats. The baseline is always CPU + GPU + a realistic static figure meant to represent the rest of the components. Let's see each of them:
While TDP is a decent baseline, it doesn't exactly refers to the peak power draw. TDP means Thermal Design Power, and it refers to the maximum amount of heat generated in Watts, which might or might not coincide with peak power draw. It's good practice to check for power consumption benchmarks of the CPU you are going to buy, although most of those benchmarks are done with the entire system power consumption figures. The real peak power draw of the CPU under extreme circumstances is rather nebulous. A good bet if you just can't find benchmarks is adding 50% to the TDP to account for synthetic benchmarks, and up to 75% to account for both synthetics and overclock (this figure might not hold up in extreme overclocking). This is a very conservative figure that will most likely cover the vast majority of CPUs. Still, some TDPs are hilariously underrated. I can not stress this enough: you must look for benchmarks for your CPU power draw. Even if you stumble upon a system power consumption, you can use that as a baseline if the build is anywhere near your own.
GPUs peak power draw are much more adherent to their rated TDP, but there's a reliable way to check it out. The Power Limit of every GPU is written in their own BIOS, of which we luckily have a database: https://www.techpowerup.com/vgabios/ Search for Vendor, Brand and Model. Sometimes the entire range of the Power Limit is provided (minimum, stock, and maximum power draw), here's an example: RTX 2060. Sometimes it's just a single entry of Power Limit, and an Adjustment Range somewhere in there for you to figure out the minimum and maximum power draw, here's another example: RX 5600 XT. In this last example, you can read a nondescript "Total" under Power Limit and under Adjustment Range you can read "Power: -50% to +20%". This also gives you an accurate estimate of the extra power draw resulting from a software overclock.
A realistic static figure
Motherboard, RAMs, storage, fans and fans controllers, RGB, Water Pumps, WiFi, everything draws power, but it might be less than you would expect. Motherboards draw at most 10W, the biggest RAMs barely reach 10W per stick, SSD/M.2/HDD are in the ballpark of 2-5W. The peak power draw of all components of your system, except for CPU and GPU, is at the very most 50W. And that's a conservative figure, meant to account for the impossible case in which you somehow can push every single thing in your system to its limit. So there it is, add up the power draw from CPU and GPU, then the static figure (50W), and that's your baseline. Well done! Now add about 25% and up to 40% to that figure depending on your anxiety levels, and that's the capacity you need to look for in your PSU. Not convinced? Check for power consumption benchmarks from reputable sources, they list the entire system setup, and then test the power consumption of the whole system at the socket. Even if the entire system is not exactly the same as yours, you can scale things up or down intuitevely researching those components. Now, let's move onto PSUs. PSUs have 3 main characteristics:
The rated capacity expressed in Watts refers to the stable point of continuous power delivery. In truth, most PSUs will handle much more power than that, this limit is commonly referred to as Peak or Maximum Power. For example, my PSU is rated at 550W, but benchmarks have shown it's peak power to be over 700W. Good PSUs are very efficient. 80 Plus has taken it upon themselves to test the efficiency of most of the PSUs ever made. 80 Plus badges range from White (ew) to Titanium (ow). A 80 Plus Bronze is the absolute least I would settle for, but it's not a guarantee that you're buying a good PSU. Gold is a good standard, and most PSU that come with that badge are pretty good. Quantitative data is not enough, not every PSU is born equal, and they will differ for quality. You can't possibly figure out the quality of a PSU without buying, testing, benching, and taking it apart. Luckily, some people on the internet have already done that for you. Refer to the resources down here to research for a PSU that fits your needs. Resources:
Revisioned with the unvaluable help ofu/GallantGentleman, the conversation took place here. Case A case is not merely cosmetic. A good case will support multiple fan configurations, have great cable management, and most importantly will fit all your components. Once you account for all of that, you can pick a case based on your taste. So here's what to consider before you even begin to care about aesthetics.
Motherboard form factor Motherboards come in different form factor. From bigger to smaller size. extended ATX > ATX > Micro ATX > Mini ATX. Cases specs will always mention form factor. It is a good idea to pick a roomy case, as it hugely helps airflow.
Number of fan slots and length At the very least, there should be 2 front fan slots, and 1 rear fan slot. If you opt for a water cooler, you should keep in mind the length and width of the radiator, because it's going to be mounted on fan slots.
Cable management This is a tough one. You need to rely on reviews because it's impossible to tell how good a case is at cable management without trying to build anything into it first.
GPU length Specs will often mention the maximum GPU length. Do never exceed that and don't get to close to the limit either.
USB support matching your motherboard Crosscheck motherboard and case specs.
A few words or airflow. Positive and negative pressure are a measure of how much air is getting in your case versus how much air is getting out of your case. If you push more air out, it's negative pressure. If you push more air in, it's positive pressure. Based on my own tests and everything I could find on the internet about it, I firmly believe positive air pressure is better than negative air pressure. Not only dust filters are going to keep your case dust free for longer while you have positive pressure, it is also that much better for GPU temps. Negative air pressure is still valid, I simply think it is inferior.
Now Build It!
Let's help the guy who requested help earlier.
Hello, I own a 1440p/75hz monitor, I want to play AAA titles at ultra and my budget is about 1200€. I prefer AMD, want RGB (unless it's over my budget), and have a mid tower UL7R4 C00L PC case themed red. I also need some advice on water cooling.
He wants to play AAA/ultra at 1440p/75hz. Let's assume he lives in Europe. A 2060 Super or a 2070 super will do him good. Let's check benchmarks: https://www.gamersnexus.net/hwreviews/3486-nvidia-rtx-2060-super-and-2070-super-review-benchmarks . Well, the 2060s could keep up with that for the time being, but if there's any budget headroom, a 2070 super would do him better. Now let's pair his GPU to a decent CPU. He needs to push at least 75 fps in the most demanding games. GPUcheck says R5 3600 will not bottleneck the 2070, which is cool, but gpucheck is good at a sight, you still need to check crossbenchmarks if you can find any, in this case you should look for the difference between 3600+2060s and 3600+2070s at 1440p. Here's something: 2070s + 3600 @ 2k*1440p (ultrawide) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0xdYMInuiA2060s + 3600 @ 1440p https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfc9cXWYtBk All fine. 2070s can handle 1440p/75hz like a breeze and will max anything you throw at it for the next 2-3 years. I'll just put the CPU and GPU in PCPartPicker, put a Tomahawk because it works with literally anything, and grab the best rams for a R5 3600 and the most reliable PSU I can find. https://de.pcpartpicker.com/list/BNfG8M There, within budget. Does it even matter that there's no case? I mean you can stretch a bit, right? Right? Revisioned on 21/07/2020. Some formatting fix, expanded Thermal Solutions, revisioned the entire PSU section with the help of u/GallantGentleman. Thank you all for the support, criticism, advices, and the awards! This guide is now over, and hopefully it will help anyone who stumbles upon it.
The Week 1 Experience: A Roadmap from a Complete Beginner
First off, I want to start by saying that what I am going to be suggesting are simply just my own opinions based on my short time with the game (I've spent close to 40 hours so far). This guide probably won't be super optimized and I'm not going to pretend I am an expert at this game. However, I do feel a post like this is necessary since I've found a lot of "beginner's guides" online to be either outdated (most are at least a year old) or overly complicated with terms/lingo that don't mean much for someone who has zero/very little experience with TCGs (Trading Card Games). My goal with this roadmap is to give a breakdown of what I feel will make learning the game both more simple and enjoyable despite having limited game knowledge and resources. Lastly, this guide will assume players are 100% F2P (Free to Play) and not willing to spend money on prebuilt decks or the starter bundles that include free legendary cards/crystals (premium currency). With all the formalities out of the way, let's get started: 1) The Morning Star - Story Mode The first thing you want to do after finishing the tutorial is going to the missions tab and CHECKING THE SOLO PLAYER MISSION BOX! Doing so allows you to complete daily quests without having to worry about dipping your feet online matches. You can always change this later of course and if a PvP mission comes up, it's easy to reroll it for a single player mission instead. Trust me when I say that I wish I'd had known this when I started the game. After that is done, I'd recommend everyone work their way through the story mode, and by work your way through, I mean at least work your way through Chapter 1. Each playable character has 14 missions, each give you 2 full sets of class exclusive basic cards (Mission 1 and Mission 6), 100 Rupees (in-game currency), and 100 Vials (currency used to craft cards not already owned). The later chapters in the story provide better rewards, but Chapter 1 does a really good job of providing an environment for you to get comfortable with the basic mechanics of both the game and the different classes (they are called Crafts in-game). This also allows you to sort of figure out what Craft is best for you. Personally speaking and as someone with zero experience with other TCGs, I immediately gravitated towards crafts that had more straightforward game plans, those both being Forestcraft and Swordcraft. Both of these crafts have a huge focus on board presence (Cards in Play) and allow you to overwhelm most opposition with both sheer numbers and consistent damage on the enemy leader. Forestcraft decks tend to focus around constantly summoning Fairy cards (a one point 1/1 follower), which synergies well with other Forestcraft cards, as they tend to be buffed based on either the amount of cards played in a given turn or the amount of fairies on the board/in your hand (not in play). Forestcraft also has the added benefit of being the "tutorial" deck you are first exposed to while the game is downloading it's massive update, so it's easy to gravitate towards that style of deck through the story. Swordcraft on the other hand focuses on summoning officer cards that can be buffed by playing commander cards later in the match. While keeping track of officer and commander cards sounds a bit more complicated than Forestcraft's Fairy mechanic, when you are mid-match, it's actually a bit more straightforward. This is thanks to a lot of Swordcraft cards coming with a multitude of added effects such as: Storm (allows followers to act immediately instead of waiting a turn), Ward (forces your opponent to attack that specific follower instead of your leader or other followers), Ambush (makes the follower unable to be attacked until they attack themselves), or Fanfares (effects that happen when you summon the given follower) that allow you to summon other officers or buff the entire board. All of these effects make it rather easy to maintain constant aggression while not requiring too much in terms of game knowledge. Of course, this is just my opinion. Regardless of which style of craft you prefer, you should play the story mode until you feel comfortable with at least 4-6 of the different crafts. When I say comfortable, I don't mean you need to be a master at using them or even like using them. You simply just need to have a basic understanding of what each craft's unique mechanic is and how it plays into their different deck builds. When I was at this point, I had finished the Chapter 1 missions for all of the classes except for Portalcraft, Dragoncraft, and Bloodcraft simply because I didn't really care for their given mechanics. If you do decide that you aren't crazy about a given craft, I'd at least use them up to mission 6 so that you can gain access to their exclusive full set of cards, as this will make the deck building process easier later down the road. Speaking of deck building, I'd recommend you NOT build a deck in the early parts of the story. I found the best way to learn a Craft is to either use their most recent prebuilt deck (the one with RECOMMENDATION all over it) or their default deck (second page of the prebuilt decks). Personally, I feel that default decks provide a better understanding of each craft's mechanics and core deck ideas than the recommended prebuilt decks, but the benefit of using the recommended prebuilt decks are that it better prepares you to use cards in the current rotation. What do I mean by that? I'm glad you asked... 2) Get in Loser, We're Going Shopping - Buying/Claiming Your Packs If you haven't done so already, now is the best time to claim your rewards for starting the game (Crate tab on the home screen). CYgames is very generous for giving you a total of 10 free packs for the 5 latest expansions (This is referred to as a Rotation), which gives you a total of 50 free packs for just starting the game. At the time of writing this, you also get a set of special legendary packs that gives you 3 guaranteed legendary cards, but I'm not sure if this is a timed promotion or not, so if this is the case, please ignore this claim. While it might be tempting to wait on these packs, there is little reason to do so. Since these cards will eventually be moved out of the given rotation and your given resources are... well, next to nothing, claiming these will give you an immediate boost in terms of potential for building a deck later. This also works for the longevity of your decks since expansions get rotated out of the current rotation every few months (aka, when a new expansion comes out), so some of these cards might end up becoming dead weight sometime down the road. Depending on when you start the game, I would still recommend saving your Rupees until the latest expansion comes out. Not only do a lot of these cards end up becoming popular in the latest rotation's meta, but it's also better in terms of getting the most bang for your buck. The latest expansions usually come with events that rewards you free pack redemption, which means more packs in the given expansion. However, if you start the game and the current expansion is say no more than a month old, there is no reason to not to roll on it. You can check the release dates of a given expansion by clicking the info tab on the game or by checking the Expansion Wiki Page. So you have claimed your rewards and you are getting comfortable with the mechanics. Hell, you even found a craft your super committed to building a deck for. Now what? Well, that all depends on you. Step 3 will be broken down into a route split, both of which depend on what you want to do as a player. This is the part of the guide that some veterans might disagree on, but again, this is mostly based on my limited experience with the game so far, so I apologize if this ends up being "bad advice". 3A) Training Wheels - Finish All Single Player Content Even though you might have already completed Chapter 1, there is still a good amount of Single Player content to work through. As of writing this, there are 10 Chapters in the game, all of which give solid rewards, which includes more Rupees and Vials, allowing you to build up more resources. It's also a chance for you to refine your understanding of the game. While I have not finished the story myself, I’ve heard that the difficulty of the story spikes as you get further in, with later chapters proving to be quite hard based on what I've read online. The story isn't the only single player activity you'll want to complete. On the practice menu, there are 3 decks per Craft of Elite AI (Portalcraft Only has 2) you can battle against and winning these gives you a solid 200 Rupees each! That's a total of 4,600 Rupees, which equates to 46 free packs! If you find yourself struggling with these, the common tactics I've seen people say to do is use the default Swordcraft deck to rush them down. While I have beaten all of the Elite AIs, I did not use the default Swordcraft deck. If I didn't use Swordcraft and didn't finish the story, what did I do? 3B) Skipping to the Motorcycle - Budget Decks for Online This is the part of the guide that many would consider as "bad advice" and will require some explanation on my part, so here it goes: while I don't come from background of TCGs, I did grow up playing a ton of competitive sports and multiplayer games like Smash Brothers, Halo, and Pokémon, so the first thing I wanted to do after getting comfortable with the mechanics and finding a favorite Craft was play other people. After all, if you aren't playing other players, what's the point in calling it a competitive game, right… Right? Here is the issue with mentalities like mine and relating them to TCGs: Without decent cards and a proper deck, you are never going to experience a victory against another player, especially when you are just starting out. Most of the people you will be fighting online have either decent decks or copy/pasted decks they have taken from Tempo Storm Meta Snapshot or other Pro-Players/YouTubers. And unlike other games, losing won't just magically make you better. This might seem obvious to some people, but if you don't have a solid strategy, you aren't ever going to last long enough to "get better", let alone win a match or two. What's that? Despite all of these warnings, you STILL want to try your hands at PvP? Well my friend, I guess you and I aren't all that different. I too wanted to keep playing PvP and in my pursuit of victory, I found a solution: Unlimited Budget Decks (Current Rotation Budget Decks provided by Tempo Storm)! Unlimited is a format that allows every single card ever released to be used in a single deck, meaning that it's both the most flexible and cost effective in terms of making a solid deck with as little resources as possible. Not only is this great for new players due to a lack of any budget, but a lot of these decks are simple enough to quickly start getting better in terms of game knowledge, reactionary decision making, and confidence. Now each budget deck will vary in price depending on the Craft you prefer (DragonCraft is still expensive even on a budget), but the one I ended up going with was Zigurd's OTK WROACH Deck (decklist is in his description). Not only is it dirt cheap to create at 5,300 Vials, the deck is also super simple to understand and use. The singular goal of "playing and retreating Roaches until you can One Turn Kill the leader" allows you to use every card and resource available to you in-game. It also allows you to learn what it takes to construct a decent deck. Having multiple solutions to the problem of, "how do I get Roaches in my hand / in and off the field without leaving them in to die during the other player’s turn?" teaches you deck building techniques through osmosis. I might be reaching here, but I feel this deck's primary focus is on teaching the importance of both adaptive play and how to deal with the single common counter to this deck, that being cards with Ward. TL;DR - deck is solid for noobs that want to feel big brained while also being on the cheap. Once you find the deck you're interested in (hopefully they remember to provide a decklist link) from either YouTube or other sources online, all you need to do is paste the generated deck code from the website into the unlimited deck section of the game. Of course, no matter what budget deck you pick, you'll probably need at least a couple thousand Vials in order to craft it. The solution to this problem lies in the next step. 4) Taking Out the Trash - Liquefying Unnecessary Cards Depending on how much of a collector you are, this might be the hardest part of the entire process, but if you want to make any progress in making a decent deck without investing real money into Crystals, you'll need to liquefy cards. The game has a tab where it will automatically liquefy any spare cards you have available (anything greater than 3 is considered extra since it exceeds the max amount of a single card you can have in a given deck). Unless you got super blessed in your initial card packs with multiple copies of the same legendary cards, this will hardly be enough Vials to make a decent deck. Here are my tips when Liquefying cards: Firstly, Animated Cards earn you more Vials than static cards. Depending if you care about that sort of thing, choosing to liquefy these cards will give you more Vials then liquefying regular copies of a given card. Alternatively, you could dip into your regular stock of cards and keep your animated versions. Because there is a 3 card limit of a single card, having any more than 3 copies, animated or not, is precious Vials you could be spending on cards you'll actually use. Second, go through any crafts you don't plan on playing and clean out whatever you feel comfortable with removing! You can opt into keeping some of the legendary cards if you are really unsure about revisiting a given craft. To give a personal example, I ended up sacrificing all of my cards from Portalcraft and Dragoncraft while keeping my legendary cards from Heavencraft and Bloodcraft on the off chance I'd decide to come back to those crafts later down the road. Lastly and if you want to get even more Vials, go through crafts you're interested in, but don't see yourself playing anytime soon. This requires more research and time since you'll not only want to check each card individually, but also check and see if cards are important to meta decks you might want to experiment with later down the road. I wouldn't recommend going crazy with this since it's fairly time consuming and a lot of what makes a card "meta" can easily go over your head, but I personally ended up doing this for Runecraft and Shadowcraft since despite liking their mechanics, they weren’t my preferred crafts. The most I saw myself doing with these crafts was maybe copying some other decks online once I acquired more resources. DISCLAIMER: the only real benefit in liquefying cards like this is that it will allow you to created your desired deck faster! The game gives you enough resources through story mode, daily quests, and other events were going crazy with liquefying cards ISN'T NECESSARY to succeed in the game. If you are patient enough and willing to wait out for the needed vials, then you can skip the 2nd and 3rd tips. It costs more to gain back cards then it does to save them, so liquefy at your own discretion! So you've liquefied some cards and now you have a bit of spending power. What comes next? Once again, we have yet another route split, but there are three forks on this road. A lot of this will depend on how deep you want to get with the game or how involved you want to get with the community, but the next section will mainly focus on getting you ready for the final step, so pick whichever of these works for you! 5A) Trials and Tribulations - Experimenting with Take-Two While exploring different player guides online, one consistent issue newer players had, myself included, was grasping a basic understanding of how to go about building your own deck. I personally feel a lot of guides focus too much on teaching terms that ultimately mean nothing to players that might learn better by just seeing how a given deck plays. You can tell me the deck is a tempo, aggro, control, or combo deck all you want, but it doesn't mean much to a player when they don't even know what makes these types of decks different from one another. That being said, I think the desire to craft your own deck is expected. After all, a personalized deck handcrafted specifically for you is a huge part of the appeal when it comes to TCGs. While you could easily just craft decks and try your hand at unranked player matches, I find this to be super counter productive, especially if you are still learning TCG game knowledge. There is nothing more discouraging than losing to other people simply because you "aren't at their level yet", mostly in terms of resources and game experience. But what if you could eliminate the resource gap? This is where Take-Two comes into play. Take-Two is a PvP mode where each player drafts between two sets of two random rotation cards based on the Craft you entered with (the craft is selected as a choice between 3 randomized crafts). You repeat this process of picking between the two sets until you have a deck of 30. You play five matches and depending on how many times you win, you are given prizes like Rupees and even free Card Packs! The best thing about this mode is it forces you to experiment with cards you may not be familiar with while also learning basic deck building principles. Utilizing what you've gained from the single player or online matches, you'd be surprised how easy it is to end up with a decent deck. If you really like the deck you built in Take-Two, it's possible to even transfer that deck into the deck builder and build upon what worked and didn't work. While all of this sounds great, it doesn't come without some negatives. Depending on how experienced you are, you'll still probably lose quite a bit. Like the title suggests, there are some hardships in this approach. My first Take-Two attempt resulted in a score of 1-4 (win-lose), mostly because of how mismatched my deck was. Take-Two also isn't free to enter: You either spend Take-Two Tickets earned via story mode/events or 150 Rupees/Crystals (value of a card pack and a half) to even participate in a single run of Take-Two. Despite these drawbacks, I still think playing a couple runs of Take-Two will help players improve and can help establish a solid foundation when they attempt to build their first deck. 5B) Friendship is Magic - Private Matches For those that prefer to seek the help of others, private matches are a great way of learning the game, especially if you can arrange it with someone who is willing to teach you the ropes. You can even set up simulated Take-Two matches (at no cost), which allows both players to test their deck building skills. Private Matches also allow you to coordinate with another player to theory craft ideas for your own deck in terms of what works and what doesn’t. Hell, depending on how nice they are, they might even help you construct or recommend a deck for you to work with. Of course, the major downside to this approach is the reliance on other players. Not every player will be willing to put up with a noob and depending on how toxic/try-hard they get, may even put you off of doing private matches entirely (Good Old Xbox 360 days). Still, if you do decide you want to try and enlist the help of others, you can try both the Private Match Megathread here on Reddit or joining one of the many Discord Servers / Steam Communities. Watching a couple different Twitch Streams or YouTube Videos might also not be a terrible idea. The world is your oyster when it comes to seeking the help of other players! 5C) Honor Among Thieves - Using a Meta Deck If you don't feel like working on your ability to deck build and just want to win fast with little effort, "borrowing" a meta deck is also a valid option. Due to the amount of resources surrounding meta decks, both from sources like Tempo Storm and videos covering decks on YouTube, it's quite easy to learn the ins and outs of a given deck. A best example I can give in this current rotation (August 2020) has been Item Shop Rune and Control Blood decks. Granted, I'm speaking based on playing them in both unranked matches and up to D0 Rank in ranked, but I've ran into both of these decks a number of times and despite winning against a few of them, I still find them rather difficult to beat. Of course, the two biggest drawbacks to stealing a meta deck is their price and predictability. Even decks that are considered "budget friendly" can cost anywhere between 20,000 - 30,000 Vials to create, which is quite expensive given that beginners will most likely have nowhere near that amount required to build said deck. Meta decks also have a higher chance of being counter played by other players, especially if the given deck is popular enough. Lastly and despite what I said earlier during this point, it's quite easy to lose simply because you don't understand what makes a meta deck "good". I've watched plenty of players in ranks Beginner 0-3 that despite using Tier 1-2 meta decks, still lose to my experimental decks made of mostly basic cards simply because they don't understand how to use their decks properly. That being said, this will change as you go up the rankings and to be honest, it's not a terrible idea to save up for a meta deck while you finish up the single player content and completing daily quests/participating in timed events. Doing this will most likely be best bang for your buck. If you do decide to copy a meta deck, I'd highly recommend focusing on building an Unlimited Deck first and worry about a Rotation Deck later. While a Rotation might net you some success in the current season, they are highly susceptible to being made obsolete after an Expansion or two, making them inconsistent in terms of stability. On the other hand, Unlimited Decks don't change as much when a new expansion comes out, making them much easier to use when attempting to complete dailies and in-game events. Of course, the choice in which deck you steal is ultimately your decision, but as good thief knows: if it has no value, then what's the point in stealing it? 6) Wax On, Wax Off - Gameplay Loop Going Forward Now begins the part where you gain a little independence. What you do going forward is mostly up to you, but your best bet is to establish a schedule going forward and working towards a singular goal. If it is farming out currency so that you can go all in on the next expansion, optimizing a custom deck in private matches/unranked matches, or buying a meta deck to begin climbing the ladder on Ranked. Regardless of what you decide to do, checking in frequently is the key to success. If Gatcha Games have taught me anything, it’s the importance of keeping up with your daily quests and any in-game event schedules. This will net you a ton of resources and make it easier to build up a backstock for when you do decide to invest into a given expansion or deck idea. My personal routine has me doing two activities: grinding out Unlimited Ranked until the budget Wroach deck starts losing and using the remaining story missions I have left to complete my dailies. With the Add-On Expansion barely going live at the time of writing this, it is tempting to splurge a bit on buying packs, but I’m not sure about it just yet. After all, I’m also an ignorant noob. Whatever routine you decide to pursue going forward, I really hope this helped some of you get into the game. While it can be overwhelming to get a grip on what works and what doesn’t, the game is super gratifying to learn and has become my gateway into the massive worlds of TCGs. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I look forward to seeing you all online! PS: If there is anything I missed or got wrong, feel free to let me know and I’ll update this Roadmap as best as I can. Despite being a rookie myself, I’d like for this to hold a bit of merit for others that might be completely new to TCGs. Thanks in advance for any improvements anyone suggests. Cheers!
Understanding Sports Trading When you think about traditional bookmaking, it has been around for more than a century. Punters have been placing many bets on sports since years ago. It was also in the 1900s when online gambling came into the picture, and as is often the case when it comes to technology, it paved the way for the creation of a new way of sports betting. During the 2000s, Betfair was born. This is a betting exchange that facilitated peer-to-peer betting. Because of it, today’s punters can now find some of the best trading platforms to earn a profit. Through a trading platform, punters could take on the role of the bookmaker if they wanted to. They can set their own prices and wait for their selection to be matched. Sports traders are just like stock traders, but instead of buying and selling shares of a company, they instead sell bets on sporting events. If you now have a better understanding of sports trading, find a no fee trading platform, and you can make use of these trading strategies to help you out:
Do Your Research and Be knowledgeable – When it comes to trading, you must know about the sport and market you have chosen. This will give you an edge against the rest since you’ll know what will help you stay ahead of the curve.
Make Use of Back to Lay – This is one of the popular trading strategies, wherein you have to find a horse/team/player to back the price that will latterly fall for many reasons and then laying them at the new price so that you can guarantee a return despite the result.
Laying the Draw – This trading strategy is convenient for sports that have three possible results. By laying the draw, you should pay attention to the price for a draw that is fluctuating based on the action on the pitch.
Scalping – This strategy will require you to have a considerable bankroll to make price fluctuations and make the market work for you. It is trading minuscule odds movements.
Whichever way you go on about your sports trading strategies, make sure that you know everything regarding the sport and market. You also need to find a trading platform for beginners, especially if you are just starting out.
That cold wind had whipped into my dreams all night. Which was frustrating, because I was hoping for some respite, seeing as all I’d been dreaming about was just how cold I’d been over the last week. I was wrapped in the sleeping bag, trying to spoon into my partner’s lounging form next to me – wanting to siphon and share any extra heat I could manage - as the tent rattled and bowed beneath each brutal, billowing buffet. Outside, I knew the trees were shivering as much as I was, and their leaves were audibly hissing in protest. My mouth was trying to offer its own hiss, by the sounds of it. But it just emitted as a shaking, shuddering, dithering rapid th-th-th-th-th-th. We were deep in the middle of nowhere; a place where only those stricken with the most outlandish – pun intended – madness would ever think of spending any time. And unfortunately, though I was of sound mind, my boyfriend was an absolute lunatic. And I mean that almost literally – he lived by the moon. The night. The shadows of life. The more weird and wonderful delights that this third rock from the sun offered were always the ones that drew him close – like a moth to a flame, like a dog to piss. He yearned for them. Each morning had been a trial within itself. The coffee, which was the only real nod to normality and civilisation, would be the only saving grace I’d savour during these days – but even that was dark, bland, bitter and weak. Still, the heat is what I loved about it most. It poured into my body, and as the caffeine invigorated me, the warmth soothed and hugged my frozen organs, thawing them out of danger and readying me, or rather, bracing me, for the day. I froze for a moment, in the semi-lucidity where my mind was waking, but my body was refusing to accept the reality. Outside, there was a mumbling. The words were stolen by the rustling leaves and the whipping gusts, but within moments, I saw a spark of orange bloom like a sudden sunrise, silkily blurred and orbed by the tent fabric. That meant it was morning, and within an hour, we’d be on the move. Finally allowing myself to come to terms with the circumstances, I quietly unzipped the sleeping blanket, revealing my thrice-layered body, and peeled myself up – graceless, rigid and moody. I struggled to the front of the tent, and slipped out quietly, sealing it behind me so as not to wake my boyfriend before his alarm. Somewhere, in the distance, the trees admitted a small suffusion of pale morning. It was duly suffocated, as it was even at noon; stifled by the thick, knitted canopy of the leaves. The trees that hugged tight (probably for warmth, too) were impossibly tall - giants in their own right. They towered above like natural skyscrapers, taunting me of the city I was missing. In there though, no office workers were busying about their duties, but squirrels, and owls and a legion of scuttling insects… probably poisonous. I could see little spills of colour dripping in, disclosing those secrets the night kept. But, I snapped my focus to the orange glow before me, and allowed a thankful smile as the budding fire bit hungrily at my goose-pimpled flesh, and toasted my clothing. “Morn’,” a friend of the guide, aptly named ‘Woody’, called, sickeningly chirpy. “She’s just gone to get the pot, I bet you’re desperate for a coffee?” I nodded meekly, as I waddled next to the flame – a little closer than I probably should, but after a night of near hypothermia, it was worth the risk. I hugged into myself, and breathed out to see my fogged breath burning with that same orange – instantly giving itself to the heat as it escaped the ice within. “You still struggling, mate?” he asked, knowing full well he was about to get the exact same response. A stiff and rigid nod, this time with a clenched jaw. That tickled him. “Don’t worry, if it’s the cold getting at you, the spelunking is much warmer. Most of the time.” In what world would the thought of spelunking be a remedy to anyone’s foul mood, I don’t know. But this little group that my boyfriend condemned me to were as mad as he was. And so, I gave one more curt nod, hoping that would be the last of any voice before the coffee was made. “Have you ever done it before?” he asked, either missing my clear refusal for conversation, or dismissing it. “No, no,” I admitted. “It’s never really taken my fancy to potentially get myself crushed alive.” He chortled at that. Chortled. Loosing a little trail of orange puffs, putting any old steam train to shame. The pale wisps floated and fizzled, submitting themselves to blissful oblivion. Unfortunately refusing to take me with them. “The odds of a cave-in are slim to none if you respect the structure- not structure, uh…” He clicked his fingers a few times, as if that would kindle the word into existence, “The uh… formation. That’s the one. Slim to none if you respect the formation, mate,” he finished, matter-of-factly. As if this was common knowledge to anyone that didn’t plummet as close to the earth’s core as they can get. “More people die from going off-track than they do from cave-ins. Gotta know the layout, or you’re basically hopping in a tomb.” “Oh, well,” I managed a shrug under my shroud of layers, “That’s a huge relief. Thank you.” Another chortle which I knew, in essence, was light-hearted. But to me, it seemed like the pinnacle of taunts. “I won’t lie to you, buddy,” he offered. Buddy? “I’d take a cave-in over getting lost. It’s so easy to do, too.” At that moment, I was saved by the entrance of the guide, Beth – the psychopath whose accolade was living like a mole, and knowing many of the land’s caves. Not quite the idol most would aspire to emulate, but there we have it. She was carrying her little silver, burn-flecked pot in her hand, and went about setting it up so that the liquid she’d extracted from some nearby water source was roiling away, turning murky with the bitter coffee granules. The promise of caffeine made things much more bearable. “What’re we talking about, boys?” Beth asked during the set up. “Was talking about cave-ins,” Woody answered, with a grin toward me. “Oooh, nasty that,” she said, then added quickly, as if to placate, “rare, though!” She flicked open the lid, gauged it, then stirred (with. a. twig.) and closed it back over. “It’s going off track you’ve got to worry about.” “I said that to him.” “It’s so easy to do as well, if you don’t know the lay of the caves.” She shuddered, but I knew it wasn’t borne from the chill – but from the annals of her thought. “You slip down the wrong crevice, and can’t get back up. And that’s it. All you can do is shout for help, and hope. Or you sidle down the wrong passage, take a wrong turn, run out of batteries or drop your torch… game over. May as well be your mausoleum.” “I said that, too,” Woody beamed, seemingly thrilled at sharing wavelengths. “Not in the same words, but essence is there.” I’d gone bone white at this point. The idea of spelunking was already pushing me to my extremes, even if we were taking the “beginner’s route”, but to add the irregular cave-ins, or the more regular possibility of entombing yourself? It was a bit much for me to handle. “Think you’ve scared him, Beth!” Woody laughed again. “Oh, don’t worry! I’ve done this one loads of times, it’s easy – there’s one jump, but even that’s just so you don’t get your feet wet in the stream. If you fall, you’ll go no further than your hips – and it’s not a fast stream when it’s not raining, either.” “Oh, well, that’s marvellous. Thank you for calming me.” “And, if you do get lost,” she leant in, dropping her voice to a whisper, “hungry, starving, drowning in darkness… you’ll probably go mad before you die, so you won’t even know after too long.” I stared at her, as her face offered nothing but severity. Then she burst into laughter. “I’m joking!” she placated. “You don’t need to worry at all.” “Yeah,” Woody chimed in. “It’s never happened with us. So far.” Honestly, I’d had enough. I knew they were enjoying themselves, teasing me for a sport. And oh, I don’t deny it was very twee on their behalf- but the anxieties of the entire trip were always at boiling point, and this just wasn’t helping. I’d tried to participate as much as humanly possible, for the sake of my partner, but I was hardly the little sunbeam of the group. “Alright, shush now and check the coffee,” I opted for. Not meaning to sound as demanding as I did. Beth checked the pot again, and cocked her head to the side, before nodding. “Sorry,” she said, and for a second, there was a flash of humanity. “It really won’t be an issue, so honestly. Don’t worry. This is basically an enclosed hike.” It was her turn for a rigid nod. But, my disposition soon lightened as she went about pouring that delicious brown liquid of life into the reusable plastic cups she stored in her five-storey bag, tucked into one another like babushka dolls. The conversation slipped into nothingness. The snapping of the firewood popped and cracked sporadically, offering a percussion to the sweet, melodic chirping of the hidden birds. I wanted so much to emulate that brightness – for Daniel to emerge from the maw of the tent, and see me chirpy and eager to start the day. But, seriously, for the life of me, I just didn’t see how any of this was compelling. We as a species have evolved from this. We’ve paid our ancestral dues, and, with ingenuity, monopolised the planet. We scoured these bosky landscapes in the name of comfort. We plant the food we need, we utilise the trees we fell… we’ve adapted nature to our will, and that is why we thrive and live in comfort! Daniel always says it’s important to respect and even fear nature, but, when my interactions with it are sitting in a well-kept park on a summer break, there’s not much to respect or fear. Why, oh, why, do people want to venture back to this? We once swam in the oceans, so would the next step be submerging ourselves for- I had to stop the thought. I didn’t even want to will it into existence in case Danny somehow intuited it, and began to press for it. Spelunking was one thing, underwater is where I drew the line. Every so often, the wind would demand audience – heralded by a sudden burst of the omnipresent rustling, and whistle its frisson through the groping branches. But, out here, protected by the glow of flames, I didn’t mind it as much. Within half an hour, more colour spilled into the darkness through the slithers and segments above, and I felt a duality of relief and dread – moving meant being one step closer to this nightmare ending. But, moving also meant moving, so… Within our tent, Danny’s alarm began to peel, joined seconds later by the alarm in the other tent. Six-thirty was the wake-up time, and seven was the time we set off every day. “You wanna go get your boyfriend?” Woody asked. “I don’t need to, he’ll be out in a-” Ziiiip. “’Ello, gang!” Daniel popped from the tent, somehow seeming wide awake and rearing to go within seconds. I spun around, to see him gleaming with wonder and excitement, before he popped out and tottered over to me, sitting down, and giving me a peck in exchange for my empty cup. “Would you mind, Beth?” he asked, offering it to her. “Never,” she said, matching his energy. She reached for the empty cup, refilling it. The steam was already fizzling in presence and potency, which means the coffee wouldn’t be hot. But, in honesty, Daniel was only asking for it because he knew I always wanted seconds. He wasn’t a big coffee drinker – seemingly waking up with sufficient energy, like some demonic superpower - but the first morning when he turned down her offer, I could have thrown him in the morning embers and harboured not even a mote of remorse. I was moody that whole day – which, to be fair, I have been since. But, Daniel crept over when the other three were a little further ahead, wanting to, ugh, speak… We had a quick debate, in which I mastered the plan of him requesting a cup for himself, sipping at it for a while, then passing me the rest. Yes, yes. Genius, I know. Daniel was much more extroverted than I was, at least in this setting and context. I’d taken him on a thousand meetings and dinners in which he had to wear a suit, act civilised, and feign interest as my colleagues prattled on about trivialities. And, though he seemed to manage it, I always knew it was forced and a favour. Somehow, he found skyscrapes and crystal flutes to be arduous. But here, beneath dappled sunlight and the demanding stench of earth, it was like this was his happy place! Inconceivable! Woody and Beth were quick to tell us that they’d known each other for years, and had been doing these little nature journeys nearly all that time. But, to see him with them, you’d think he was there from their first venture! It had only been just under a week, and already Danny had in-jokes, shared histories, synchronised personalities and even seemed to be part guide himself! The last member of our little Fellowship of the Deranged was a woman named Sajeeda, who, upon first meeting, I felt like there was a kindred spirit. She, like me, seemed a little more of an introvert, and nowhere near as comfortable with the hand we’d been dealt. And, whereas the others showed up ragged and ready, she seemed to be a tad more prim and kempt – even in her hiking garb. But that was the first day, in the little village we gathered, nearest to the hiking trail. The day we set off, however, it was as if this woman had transformed into a pro. To get to the entrance Bethany and Woody had established, we had to traverse a steep incline of land, and though I’d struck up conversation with her, clinging tightly onto the hopes of some burdened companion, it seemed that was where our bond severed. I stifled a groan as I processed the effort included in the incline, but Sajeeda, somehow shedding that guise of introversion, briskly walked ahead of us a few paces. “Up there, yeah?” she asked, grinning a flash of perfect teeth. “Yep,” Bethany nodded. “But after that it’s mostly level land, so don’t worry.” “Worry?!” Sajeeda repeated, distorting the word into what I, gratefully, perceived as disgust. Then, “Why would I worry? I’ve scaled mountains, that’s a ramp! A bump! Who wants to race? You!” she grabbed Daniel’s hand without warning, and half yank, half begging-shake, like a child wanting a toy, selected him from the group. “I’ve got chocolate! If you beat me you can have it.” “What if I lose?” “Then I win, and that’s enough for me.” She looked once more at the rise, then turned back, almost as if in the throes of pure ecstasy. “Okay, go!” And there she went, scaling what may as well have been vertical, with such ease and agility, that I was half convinced she’d been a goat in a past life. As she ran, her little boots kicking up clumps of disturbed mud, I realised that she was proof that insanity doesn’t discern based on beauty. Daniel shot off behind her, and though it was a valiant effort – she was a jet and he was a public transport… she still gave him chocolate, though. And, well-trained, he saved some for me. Daniel was expertly holding conversation with the other two, as Sajeeda’s tent shuffled and ruffled before she unzipped it and followed out. Her hair was a briar, complete with twigs and leaves. But, her countenance was pure contentedness. And even this morning, she still seemed to be as chirpy as she was that day. “Is the coffee cold?” was her greeting. “Lukewarm,” Daniel answered, then, masterfully, “That’s lukewarm, isn’t it?” he said, handing it to me. I gave a little hidden tickle to his thigh as thanks. Bethany, opened the little scorched pot. “I can heat it up before we set off?” “No, no,” Sajeeda said, whisking over with that same nimble grace. She took the cup from Bethany, and downed it in one. “C’mon, let’s get the tents down.” And, just like that, we began to break down the tents, clear away any rubbish, and prepare for the day. At this point, I preferred to do the clean-up, because the tents were stubborn and miserable – more so than I was – so I left that to Daniel. But he seemed to have a knack for it by now. “Are you feeling better today?” Sajeeda called over to me, as I was stomping on the dying flames. Last night I went to bed – I say ‘bed’, I mean my ice pack of a sleeping bag on the floor - a little early, having decided that edible nuts foraged by hand wasn’t the best supper for me. I told them I was feeling exhausted (also true), and slunk away. “Oh, me?” I said, as if it could have been for anyone, downplaying the dramatics. “Yeah! Thanks. Think I just needed a longer sleep for once.” “He woke up before the alarm today,” Woody offered, though no-one asked. “Think he’s finally warming to it!” “Warming definitely isn’t the right word.” “You missed the stories!” she said, as if this was actually a real-life tragedy. “We’ll catch him up,” Daniel said, coming over and nudging me playfully. The thought of throwing him on the fire was rearing its ugly head once more. By seven-o’-five, we were ready to continue, and there was nothing but a few charred logs to say we were ever there. Bethany conjured a map from one of the apartments in her bag (no, I didn’t mean compartments), and Woody joined her with a rusty old compass. I paused as they tried to navigate the course, and tuned myself into the surroundings. Somewhere, far in the distance, if I focused hard enough… I could hear GoogleMaps sobbing. It was always a miracle to me that we were walking in any direction. I honestly believe that Woody and Beth could have just been leading us on concentric circles and I would never have realised. But, every hour or so, they would whip out their map, consult a compass, stroke their chins and deliberate before going on again. Little by little, the warmth refused by the treetops began to settle in, and though I was still dithering as I trod on, it was nice to have a gentle kiss of warmth to focus on. In fact, it was so nice, and I actually to a moment to appreciate, which is when I noticed Sajeeda staring at me. “Acclimatising?” she asked, with a grin. “No, no,” I said, shaking hands and head as if to shake her accusation off. “I’m happy there’s a bit of warmth.” She tottered over beside me, to peer through the same gaps in the canopy. The sunlight fell down in heavy beams, here and there a universe of dust peppered through. “Wanna know what my favourite thing to do when you find sunbeams like this?” she asked. I just stared at her, and thus, she decided her own reply on my behalf. Suddenly she directed her eyes to the floor, and then plucked up a leaf. There were little creeping patches of grown claiming the verdant canvas, meaning it must have recently fallen. Then, Sajeeda darted behind me, held it above her and let the sunbeam focus on it – like an offering to the mothership. “Warm a leaf up?” “Look,” she insisted, ignoring me. I did just that. “Do you see anything?” “Umm…” “Look,” she repeated, with increased enthusiasm. “See?” A pause. “Look at how it’s constructed. The shape of the blade is perfect – but none will be the exact same. Even if they look identical, none will be. We always talk about snowflakes because they’re rarer for us. We romanticise their scarcity. But every day we walk past millions of these, and never appreciate their complexity.” “Um…” “And look,” she said, this time pointing her finger to the centre and tracing it from top to bottom. “This is the midrib. It’s like the leaf’s spine. It supports the structure of the leaves, keeps it sturdy, allows it to stay flat out to eat in the very sunlight you just said you’re appreciating,” and before I was given a second to respond, “and look here!” She began pointing at the myriad little lines within the leaf itself. “These larger more prominent ones are called veins. Just like us. Every leaf has a complex network for its growth and longevity. And the even smaller ones, they’re called venules. Tiny little veins that, though look irrelevant and are easy to ignore… they’re just as important as the rest.” She gave the leaf to me, and I closed one eye and squinted the other to see the glowing green framework she was annotating for me. She continued. “It’s easy to look at a forest and just think, ‘oh yeah, trees’. Or even look at a tree and think, ‘Boring, trunk and branch and twig and limb and bough and leaves and that’s not interesting, next.’ But, look! Each leaf is magnificent. It isn’t sentient, but it’s alive- well, not this one. But still. They have their job. They survive. They are important! “I know you’re not loving this as much as your boyfriend, but, if you take a second to stop missing your spreadsheets and coffee breaks and comforts, you’ll realise that this is an adventure. And, this leaf is no different than you are… a complex, individual little wonder that, ultimately is important for a bigger picture. Try to relax a little. We’ll be at the cave today, Beth was saying yesterday. Then we’ll be done with that within two days, and you’ll settle back into your usual zone. But… just try to take something back with you. Even if it’s the seed of appreciation, okay?” Honestly… I was stunned. And I’m not exactly sure how to have taken everything she said. I’m unsure if it was profound, or just a lot of trivial information, but, it gave me pause, and that was enough to impress me. “I- I- uh…” “You don’t need to reply. I want them to tell you the story before it rains, which’ll be soon enough.” “Rains? It doesn’t look-” “It’s going to rain- not just that. But a storm. You’ll see,” she said, knowingly. Then, “Woody?!” she called with a booming voice. Woody, Bethany, and Daniel who had continued walking ahead through Sajeeda’s sporadic profundity paused to turn. “Come tell him a story from last night.” “Sorry,” Woody called back, noticing the gap between them and us. “Didn’t realise you had stopped.” Sajeeda and I pushed toward them, stomping over the dew-dropped grass and soft, clumping mud. She paused for a moment, inspected a tree, and then scratched her finger down the vivid lichen, before bringing it to her nose, offering it a quick inhale, then disappointedly, scrabbling her fingers to let it drop to the floor. “Which story do you want then, buddy?” Woody asked me. “Um, I don’t reall-” want any, is what I was going to finish with. “The Trog-“ Sajeeda squealed, “No, the Skinwalk- No! The Pale Ones! That was my favourite.” Daniel looked to me with a slightly bemused grin. Perhaps at their excitement to tell me the story, or because he knew it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. But, all things considered, if they wanted to talk for a little while, and give me rest from replying, or from having to think about the individuality of greenery, then… I guess it was a win/win. “Yeah, the Pale Ones,” Daniel confirmed. “Nice and topical, considering we might find one down there.” “Pale Ones, it is,” Woody said, and thus began his fireside story, devoid of the fire. We began to walk as a group once more. And, surprisingly, even though Woody had told this story the night before when I went to sleep my mood away, the others remained respectfully quiet. More than that, they seemed to be excited for the retelling. “Bethany and I have gone on a thousand walks and hikes like this,” he started. “We’ve seen a lot of things that don’t quite feel right. Y’know, some ragged clothes left in the middle of a forest. Big forests, too, in which walking that far in could take anywhere up to a day. We’ve seen patches of ground growing a certain type of mushroom which makes us think only one thing is laying beneath it. “We’ve seen carvings in trees. Satanic stars, strange runes, etchings of animals and creatures that seem otherworldly. And even though all of them make the skin on our back crawl… we can accept one constant. They imply that there was someone there. Some human left those traces.” He looked at me, to suss out my response, but, actually, I was intrigued. We hadn’t found anything, and maybe that would have made things a little more interesting. “However, in cave systems, it’s a different story. People don’t like caves. We adore nature for the life it offers, but caves don’t offer life for the likes of us. Caves are for cold-blooded creatures. They’re for bloodsuckers. Even the nocturnal animals we know won’t venture into the gaping mouth of a cave, because they, the creatures of the night itself, would perish when trapped inside. “You see, the ones that aren’t regularly visited. The ones that aren’t marked as explorer friendly, or haven’t been mapped and chartered to completion… finding anything there is terrifying. Because, off the trail, it’s unlikely that those people came back. If you see an etching scratched into the solid face of a cave wall. You may be reading the very last words someone managed before they succumbed to starvation or madness. “Jesus,” I loosed without realising. “Yeah, pretty grim, isn’t it? But that’s not the worst thing. Because, it can also mean that you may be near the nest of a ‘Pale One’.” In spite of my cynicism, I felt goose pimples tickle across every inch of my flesh, triple-layered and exposed, both. “And… what is a Pale One, exactly?” I ventured. As I asked the question, the trail seemed to darken drastically. I peeked up, at the shifting promontory, to see that the fissures of sunlight had began to grey, and the sunbeams of Sajdeeda’s musings had swiftly began to retreat. Once more, I shuddered. “Well, that’s the thing, mate,” Woody said with a defeated tone. “We’re not sure. But, what we do know is that they’re not just in one cave, or one country. They’re everywhere. All around the world. It’s hard to tell, because a lot of times, they’re initially mistaken as some mammal. “Most accounts and sighting are admittedly brief. It seems their temperament is skittish and flighty. If they’re stumbled upon, they shriek in terrible whoops of fear, whilst scrambling away. And, in some cases, people say they heard, somewhere lost in the suffocating depths of the cave, the same harrowing shrieks returned.” Bethany interjected, here. “When I heard this, I thought some of them may have been echoes. Echoes in caves can travel such amazing distances whilst retaining their volume and potency. There’re a stories in which rescue teams have been trying to recover a lost explorer, but had been searching in the wrong area for the first day because of where the echoes led them. But that’s a story for another day. With these: The Pale Ones; I’ve messaged a few people who have posted up their stories. But, three different people have messaged saying that they could distinctly hear the difference between male and female. One of them sent me footage. It didn’t have the pale one in it – mostly just their terrified panting and booming, ricocheting footsteps - but those whooping yells were honestly so chilling.” Woody picked up from Bethany. “Their eyes are a sickly yellow, laying in the middle of a darkened grey pool. In them, only pain, tragedy and frozen fear. They’ve been described as rabid- as primal- as hollow. Stuck in a state of eternal torment. And that’s not the worst. Their hands and toes have filthy, yellowing bones growing from them into thick talons. The clack and scrape of those is just as prominent as the slapping footsteps of their scrambling form. “Their bare flesh is pale white,” he shuddered. “Void of sunlight and sustenance. Pallid and sickly. An almost translucent substance, that clings to their bony and skeletal figures. A crooked spine protrudes from their back, and their ribs shudder in panic – hunched and haughty. “Down there, in the dank, eternal void of the caves, it’s only torchlight or matches that can aid the likes of us. So, even when they have been spotted, it’s been from the beam or glow of those. But, again, most sightings – completely separate ones at that – tell of a network of veins, an almost iridescent blue in contrast to the weak pallor on which they’re rooted. They seem to bulge from the creatures as a clear as lightning in a black sky. One person said they’re certain the veins reflected the layout of the cave, but I don’t believe that.” Which indicated he believed the rest. And that, I didn’t like. “Most people have stated that on their bodies, they have innumerable lacerations. Slices, scratches and scars that cross over one another in an echo of a frenzy. It’s possible they fight each other, or other creatures, or maybe even have come into contact with another person and either claimed their life of been fended off… but, apparently, some of the scars spell words.” “Words?” “Yep. Words. Because, if you haven’t pieced it together already. These things. These creatures. They seem to be… us. They’re not mythical. They’re not Wendigos or Mole People. They’re real people. Either a sub-species that, millennia ago, crept into the caves for safety, and bred, and bred, and bred until the outside was alien and different to them.” Bethany nodded at this, then said, “But, if that was the case… it doesn’t explain how some of them have been seen with ragged, threadbare clothes still clinging to their bodies. Or how, some of them, seem to have formed, through the guttural communications and grunts… a language. Our languages. Modern languages. Cries for help, or commands to leave. Broken prayers or laboured pleas.” “Oh, my god,” I muttered inadvertently. “People have theorised they are demons. Or damned souls that have found a way through the cracks of hell, and taken refuge in the cave – a kinder alternative to that diabolic plane. But I-” he looked the Bethany. “We think it’s something else.” My voice cracked. Matching Woody’s tone. “And- and what do you two think it is?” “We obviously can’t take all of this as truth. People like to claim they’ve seen things they haven’t, y’know, add to the myth. But… the stories of these go back generations. Long before us. And they’re not a super common tale, either. People stumbling in to a brand-new area of a cave, and finding a scrabble of them asleep. Or following some foul stench, to find the rotting, festering corpse of one with scribbles of, ‘Help’ and ‘This is my penance’, or even, ‘Tell blah blah I loved them’.” She cringed at that, clearly imagining the horror. “So, we reckon-” The world roared, and shook. The sheer force of it seemed to stun us into fright. I felt my heart beating rapidly, panicking. Daniel’s hands were already over my shoulders, as if to protect me against the sudden apocalypse. I noticed Bethany and Woody give each other a worried glance. But, Sajeeda? She seemed thrilled. “Told you it was going to-” and just before she finished it, the sky gushed forward such a torrential rain that I had never before witnessed, “rain!” “Are we going to make shelter?” Daniel roared, but it was almost impossible to hear him. The voice instantly drowned by the flood from above. “No!” Bethany yelled back, almost as ineffectual. “We’re not far! Come on!” As the pellets of rainwater boomed from the sky, and crashed into the floor in a constant, rapidity of thuds, the group of us, barely able to communicate through the clangour, began to sprint as best as we could. We were bogged down with supplies, and less agile from the hiking gear. The ground, now watered had an insatiable hunger, and seemed to try and swallow up our feet with each step. A few times one of us had stepped too hard into a soft puddle, our foot slamming through water and mud, and needing the aid of the others to pull us out. Although, from what I could see, Sajeeda seemed to skate atop the hazardous ground as if she were skating. But, through the hellish weather, we advanced. It felt like almost a year of drenched terror. The sky had turned as black as night with the volatility of the flash storm. And through squinted eyes, painful breathing, screaming muscles and immense effort, the five of us had managed to reach the mouth of the cave. All of us clattering to the floor in exhaustion, and waiting for our breathing to settle as the world outside snarled and boomed in protest to our escape. Pale ones or not, I never thought I’d be this happy to have stepped foot in the entrance of stony darkness. But for now, all I could do, was regain my breath. I really hate the outdoors.
Similar to our guide to NFL betting tips, we wanted to put together a little piece that explains some of the basic things you need to know about sports betting before putting your hard earned cash on a game. Sports Betting Tips For Beginners. How does a spread work? In games like football and basketball you’ll see two teams listed. There’s a glossary of sports betting terms, and an FAQ. Finally, there’s a collection of articles explaining all about the various types of bets and the different forms of betting. Everything that’s included in this beginner’s guide to sports betting is listed below. Beginners Guide to Sports Gambling. This is Sports Illustrated's Gambling 101, where we are teaching you the terms you need to know to help you win some more cash.When it comes to the big three ... A Complete Beginners Guide to Sports Betting Over the past few months, we’ve posted quite a few articles on sports betting. We posted three guides to cover the basics on handicapping baseball , basketball and football , but these didn’t nearly cover everything a beginner would need to know. The Mechanics of Sports Betting – How Betting Works. If you know how to place a sports bet, you can skip this section. However, if you want a complete beginners’ guide to sports betting, this is what you need to know. Sports betting allows you to place wagers on real life sporting events. If you correctly predict the outcome, you’ll win ...
Sports Betting 101: Top Beginners Mistakes in Betting the ...
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