Brawl of the Week: Duel of the Death Knights

This week’s Tavern Brawl was a new one that was centered around the Frozen Throne celebration that is going on. Not sure why they are doing it now, but it’s still cool. Duel of the Death Knights pits all the “Death Knight” versions of heroes. You start out with that particular hero, and a deck full of random cards, featuring the Frozen Throne, and other classic cards as well.

I went with Frost Lich Jaina, not even realizing I would start the match as her “dead” version. If you have ever played the card, (or against it) you know how tough that can be. It was pretty fun to start out like that, and I’m not going to lie, I got many “concedes” because people didn’t want to invest a good chunk of time seeing if they could beat me.

I will say that after my first match, the win percentage went way down. It’s still heavily dependent on RNG, and if you don’t get some good cards, even Frost Lich Jaina won’t save you. In fact, Bloodreaver Gul’dan is pretty tough as well.

I got my free pack in my first match, and I was pretty happy. I did use this brawl to do a bunch of quests, and it’s been fun, though frustrating when you need a Tavern Brawl win (or 5). So get in there and grab your free pack. You also should get a chunk of gold (300g) for completing other Frozen Throne quests. Have fun! I will see you next week.

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Learn to let go

Learn to let go

9-23-18

Cold night for September

Full moon looking down

Warm thoughts I remember

In the feelings I drown

Reality slips on by

Fantasies rule my head

In a dreamlike state

I sail on instead

I’m here getting older

Bad choices I’ve made

The cards seeming colder

I’ve run out of plays

I’m down but I’m not out

My back’s to the wall

If I can steel my focus

I’ll be standing tall

The road is cold, and rocky

I’ve got to go on alone

The voices fade as the years pass by, I’ve got to learn to let go

I’m not a young man anymore

I feel so old inside

It’s not the years, it’s the mileage, and I’ve run out of pride

The road is cold, and rocky

I’ve got no one to hold

The faces blur as the years pass by, I’ve got to learn to let go

The road is cold, and rocky

I know that I’m on my own

The laughter fades, as the tears fall down, I’ve got to learn to let go

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1st and 5

The NFL season forges on. Week 3 is upon us. All kinds of shenanigans broke out on Saturday as Josh Gordon was traded to the Patriots after telling Brows officials he strained a hamstring outside of practice. Let’s dip our toes into the free agent pool, shall we?

QB: Andy Dalton, Bengals: I had a feeling Dalton was poised for a come back year, so much that I actually had AJ Green targeted in the 2nd round. He went a pick or two ahead of me, but I ended up with Jordan Howard (who I also had targeted in round 2). He and AJ have the connection; they also have a couple decent WRs, and a solid tight end. Their line seems to be keeping Dalton upright.

RB: Austin Ekeler, Chargers: Many of you already have him on your rosters. He seems to get action even with Gordon off to a hot start. Gorden got a little nicked up on Sunday, so feel free to pop Ekeler into his place, if he’s a “no go”. He might also be a decent flex play if you are down at the position.

WR: Tyler Lockett, Seahawks: I’m not sure what’s going on in Seattle, but Lockett seems to be getting some consistent targets, and is a threat to score from anywhere on the field. He’s probably gone in most 12 team leagues, but he seems to be available in 10 team leagues. Go get him.

TE: Jesse James, Steelers: James has been on my radar for a couple years now. With Brown “flaking out”, he might even be more of a target. The Steelers aren’t winning on defense these days, so they will need to outscore their opponents.

D/ST: Dolphins are getting it done early on. If your D is under performing, or you have a bye coming up, go get ’em.

K*: Dan Bailey was signed to a contract with the Vikings on Monday. I actually drafted Bailey in my league but cut him before the season started because Dallas did the same thing. Bailey should have lots of opportunities, and will enjoy kicking in a dome for a good part of the season. You could do worse.

*I usually stay away from kickers, because kickers, but I felt this was too juicy to pass up.

 

 

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Brawl of the Week: Pick a Hand, Any Hand

This week’s Tavern Brawl is a new spin on a previous brawl. Pick a Hand, Any Hand starts you off with picking 7 cards from your entire collection (Wild rules). Your deck is then filled up with Unstable Portals.

I thought I had something going on early, but the RNG was strong and people were playing some good decks. I was facing mages early, which was extra frustrating.

As you will see, changes up strategies with the mage, but none of them really worked.

I did get into a pretty good battle with a player using a Rogue deck. I’ll be darned if he didn’t dig that weapon about about 4-5 times. Personally, he should have used a different weapon, but I got what he was trying to do.

Finally things started to swing my way. Of course, dude concedes. At least they didn’t try to sit there and drag it on.

Reno was a ‘no-go’ due to all the portal cards, but I didn’t need him in the end.

This battle is good, in that you have some control, and also cool because you get the portals, I’m sure by the time I hit publish, all kinds of nasty decks will be out there. So, good luck, have fun, and grab your free pack. You never know what you will draw! See you next week.

I had to include my spoils: Malygos, Faceless Manipulator, Sword of Justice, and we’ll throw in a Mind Control Tech. This is by far the best pack I have opened! Hope your luck is as good or better!

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1st and 5

Well, here we are. The 2018 NFL season is underway. Hopefully you drafted well, and don’t really need to pick anyone up. It’s always good to keep your eye on certain players, or positions. Let’s see what we can ‘dig up’.

QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buccaneers: I’m pretty sure no one saw this performance coming. 417 yards, and 5 TDs? Fitzpatrick has played with a half a dozen teams, and usually it was the same result: Have a good game, then start throwing the ball to the other team. He’s only filling in for Winston while Jameis is suspended for 3 games. However, Tampa’s GM has said nothing is guaranteed. If Fitz keeps lighting it up in the bay, he might just play himself into a starter position. Tampa has some decent weapons, you could do worse.

RB: James Conner, Steelers: Le’Veon Bell may have played his last game in the Steel City. Connor did his best Terminator impersonation as he sliced his way into the Steelers future. He did everything you would expect Bell to do, at a fraction of the price. If Bell holds out for the first 8 games, this is the guy you want on your squad.

WR: Quincy Enunwa, Jets: I forgot about Enunwa, and so did the Lions. I thought Darnold would be a big flop, because he didn’t have anyone to throw to. Turns out, he’s one of those dudes that throws to the open dudes. I didn’t see any highlights, but it looks like Enunwa will be a “go to” guy for Darnold. That being said, Darnold is still a rookie, and rookies are consistently inconsistent. See also: Philip Dorsett, Patriots: Again, didn’t see the highlights, but Dorsett seems to be a Julian Edelman clone, with possibly more speed. He might be more of an impact until Edelman gets back, or he could continue to be a solid contributor to the Patriots offense.

TE: Eric Ebron, Colts: Andrew Luck hooked up with him in preseason and I knew he would likely do it early and often in the regular season. If anything, he will be a Redzone threat. A big target for Luck to toss softballs too. Might not get huge yardage totals, but he should be a TD machine.

D/ST: Bears. If you had doubts about what the Bears D/ST could do, have no more. I took them before the Vikings, and Broncos went in my league. They lived up to my lofty expectations. They will be a fun defense to watch as long as they stay healthy. If they are gone, go get the Jets D/ST. It’s early, but it looks like Darnold will not be the liability I thought he would.

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Nagy, Bears blow 20 point lead, waste Mack’s epic debut

Well, the ‘return of the Mack’ was everything we hoped it would be, and maybe a little more. The high priced defensive end lived up to every expectation–even helped to knock out Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, for a little. The Bears dominated the majority of a half of football then the wheels fell off.

I can only go back to preseason week 3 (game 4 for the Bears) when coach Nagy announced his reasoning behind not playing the starters at all. While most of the league plays their team into the 3rd quarter. I didn’t like it then, and I like it even less now. I had very strong feelings about this, I even said I was worried it would have ramifications in the Packers game. It did. The players were not ready. Clearly.

Pick your poison. Whether it was mentally, or physically, the Bears couldn’t finish. Perhaps it was both. The first team offense and defense had not played live action since going to Denver 3 weeks ago. What bothers me is the arrogance the coaching staff (mainly Nagy) had in telling us that 2000 practice snaps were more important than a few (20 to 30) snaps in a preseason game. He had the audacity to bring that up in his press conference last night. It’s unbelievable. So unbelievable.

“Our guys didn’t get a lot of reps in preseason,” Nagy said.

I don’t know where we go from here, but as I mentioned at the time, if they ended up losing to Green Bay, the honeymoon would be over. Sadly, the events played out the way they did, and it was clear the Bears were not conditioned enough to play a 60 minute game with one of the best teams in the NFC. The coach has to own up to that. Oddly, he didn’t. We heard about patience (even though he has said repeatedly they are ready to “win now”).

The whole thing is skewed because despite all that, they were up 20 points, and had the star QB going to the locker room on a cart. I’m pretty sure any high school coach could figure out what to do the rest of the way. I think in most scenarios the recipe would be to run the ball. Jordan Howard is the kind of dude that gets stronger as the game goes on. I don’t know how many rushes he had at halftime, but I can guarantee it wasn’t enough.

Khalil Mack was brilliant. He had several pressures, a sack (or two), forced a fumble, intercepted a pass and returned it for touchdown. I mean, immediate return on investment. He played like a defensive player of the year. The rest of the Bears line took advantage of the attention Mack would gather.

If the Bears would have gone up to Green Bay and played hard for 60 minutes, and lost 24-23, it would have been awesome. They were up 20 to nothing. Zero, zilch, nada. The offense sputtered, in part because of certain play calls, in part because they haven’t played in 3 weeks. Superman came back from the locker room in the 3rd quarter, his cape blowing in the Green Bay wind. He calmly lead the Packers to 3 scoring drives before the Bears could muster a field goal. By that time the crowd was roaring. The Bears lost in unspectacular fashion. We have seen this movie before. Lovie Smith, Marc Trestman, or John Fox. It all played out the same. I think that is the worst part about it.

I wanted to see some anger, some remorse. Some accountability. All I got was the same sad excuses. This coach stood up at the podium, with a smile on his face, with the calmness you would expect to find after a preseason loss. He might get more patience from the media corps that covers the team week in and week out. He’s not getting it from me. Especially after how the preseason played out.

 

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2018 NFL predictions: Bear Down edition

We are only a few days away from the 2018 NFL kickoff. What better time to sit back and take a look at your team, and dream about what lies ahead. I will be honest, prior to landing one of the best defensive players in the league, I was a little luke-warm on the Bears chances this season. 7-9, 8-8, mayybe a fighting chance at the playoffs. Now? Let’s just say I have a little pep in my step, a little strut. Let’s see how things could go down in the city.

 

Week 1– Bears at Packers: Having not seen much from the first team offense, I kind of downgraded my expectations in this Sunday night matchup. Aaron Rodgers has been pretty tough on the Bears, especially in the post-Lovie Smith era. Gone are Brain Urlacher, Lance Briggs, and Charles Tillman. Those are some tough cleats to fill. If you haven’t heard, the Bears landed Khalil Mack from the Raiders over the weekend. This guy is off to a Hall of Fame start. His new friends will introduce him to Mr. Rodgers on Sunday. Hopefully multiple times. I’m not predicting a win, but I like their chances a lot more than I did last Friday. I’m still a little concerned about the Bears offense. Result: 24-20 Packers.

Week 2– Seahawks at Bears: Seattle lost a few pieces on defense. Gone is loudmouth Richard Sherman, and former Pro-Bowler Jimmy Graham. They still have a nifty Russell Wilson, but he will be running for his virtual life. I see this as the defense coming into form. They will be especially mad if they lose up in Green Bay. The offense will be one more game into the new system. Result: 38 to 23 Bears (2 defensive TDs for the Bears).

Week 3– Bears at Cardinals: If quarterback Sam Bradford is still starting, the Bears front seven will be licking their chops. He is a statue in the pocket. Things could get nasty. I believe Bradford only played the first half the last time he played against the Bears. I predict they will knock him out of this contest, maybe end his season. I don’t see the Bears doing a whole lot against a tough Arizona defense, but the defense will keep the score low. Result: 16 to 12 Bears.

Week 4– Buccaneers at Bears: The Bears will either face journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick or Jameis Winston fresh off suspension. Rumor has it there is “no guarantee” Winston will win back his position. I’m going to guess Fitzpatrick will either be treading water, or injured, and Winston will be back in the saddle. Either way, I think the Bears defense will once again dominate a game. I also think both QBs will play due to a combination of production and injury. An early TD on defense will set the tone on their way to a rout. Result 29-9 Bears.

Week 5– Bye.

Week 6– Bears at Dolphins: A refreshed Bears defense will look to torment veteran QB Ryan Tannehill. The Dolphins lost wide receiver Jarvis Landry, but gained ex-Patriots receiver Danny Amendola. They also lost menacing defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. The Bears defense will dominate early, but tire a little in the sultry Miami heat. The offense might have to take over. Result: 30-23 Bears.

Week 7– Patriots at Bears: Unfortunately, by this time Brady will once again survived rumors that he’s getting old, lost his touch, him retiring, and Belichick getting fired. The team will no doubt be a well-oiled machine. They will probably have their running game going, and Julian Edelman will be back, and have a few games under his belt. Oh, then there is that beastly tight end they call ‘Gronk’. This might be one of those Trubisky comeback games for the ages. Result. 27 to 24 Patriots.

Week 8– Jets at Bears: Rookie QB Sam Darnold will face a top 5 defense, and relentless pass rush, again angry after a loss. The defense should have their way with the young QB. The Jets don’t have much going on offense, and just might be shut out. Result: 16 to 0 Bears.

Week 9– Bears at Bills: The Bears will either be facing a rookie QB, or a quarterback who thew 5 interceptions in his first half of professional football. Either way, the defense will be salivating at this matchup. Defense travel, and the Bears D will be doing so in style. The Bears pour it on late, and run the ball down their throat. Result: 36 to 12 Bears.

Week 10– Lions at Bears: After 2 weeks of chomping on rookie QBs, the Bears face a solid QB in Matthew Stafford. Weather could be a factor. It could be sloppy. Reducing the stout Bears pass rush. I see this being an up and back battle. Might come down to a last minute field goal. Result: 26 to 23 Lions.

Week 11– Vikings at Bears: The good news is this is a home game for the Bears. The bad news is Kirk Cousins will be really comfortable with his new team. There is also the tough Vikings defense. No doubt this will be a slugfest. Will the Bears have enough offense to get it done? Result: 17 to 13 Vikings.

Week 12– Bears at Lions: The Bears roll into the Motor City for a Thanksgiving Day Matchup. They will be really, really angry after their first 2 game losing streak of the season. It’s a short week, so no elaborate game plans. This time the Bears D plays on a fast track, with no weather to impede them. They shut down the run, and beat up on Stafford all day in this revenge game. Result: 24 to 17 Bears.

Week 13– Bears at Giants: Eli Manning and rookie running back Saquon Barkley welcome the Monsters of the Midway to the big apple. The Bears might be a little flat after 3 straight division matchups. They will be well rested though after the extra days off from the Thanksgiving tilt. Saquon strikes early, and Odell Beckham Jr may hit the endzone. Look for this one to come down to the wire. Result: 28-27 Bears.

Week 14– Rams at Bears: Todd Gurley and the high flying Rams roll into Chi-town. December in Chicago can be a rough place to play for a running back used to artificial turf, and climate controlled environments. The Rams speedy wide receivers will have to adjust as well. I look for this to be a lower scoring game. Weather could be a factor. Result: 16 to 13 Rams.

Week 15– Packers at Bears: If the season goes how I hope it will, the Bears will only have a losing streak of 2 games, and get revenge on all of their losses within the division. Trubisky and the defense should both be rolling at this point. This is Chicago though, and December can be cruel. I see this as another low scoring game. Another one where the defense could dictate the outcome. 23 to 20 Bears.

Week 16– Bears at 49ers: Sunny California should be a welcomed change of scenery as the Bears head into the Bay City. Jimmy Garappolo should have a good command of his offense, but the Bears will be seeking a little revenge. Last season the 49ers embarrassed the Bears at home, and won without scoring a touchdown, on ex-Bear Robbie Goulds leg. This one could be a Trubisky breakout game, and Jordan Howard loves running all over the 9ers. Jordan Howard runs for 3 TDs. Result 42 to 22 Bears.

Week 17– Bears at Vikings: This time the match is played on the fast track up in the Twin Cities. Indoors. The Bears defense will be flying around. Their speedy receivers will be cutting up the rug. The playoffs, and division could be up for grabs at this point. Trey Burton will be a factor in this game. Trubisky and the defense hang tough. 24-16 Bears.

Record: 11-5, sadly that might not be enough to win them a playoff berth. The NFC has a lot of good teams. The Packers and Vikings are two of them. 11-5 might not even be enough to take the division. If the Bears do get into the playoffs, I like their chances. Especially if the defense stays healthy and Mack has the impact many think he will.

 

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