An old deck in a new meta – grinding ladder with Demon Handlock


As the month and the season come to a close, I get back to grinding on the Hearthstone ranked ladder to try and achieve Rank 5 and earn the maximum ranked rewards for the season.

Unfortunately, this is a little bit more difficult than I anticipated because of the new Grand Tournament expansion that came out yesterday. I ended up getting defeated a lot by cards and combinations I didn’t even know existed.

I started the stream session off at Rank 10, and did well and shot up to Rank 8. That’s when the downfall began, and I plummeted right back down to Rank 10 before taking a break.


The Grand Tournament is here!


Hearthstone’s fifth expansion, The Grand Tournament, went live today.

I opened the 50 packs that I had preordered, and had decent luck. Supposedly you’re supposed to see one legendary every 22 packs, and I opened three in my 50.

I was going to try and do some calculations on the distribution of cards I opened, but I realized that doing so would probably take an absurdly high amount of tedious work, so I decided to pass and just post the video.

It seems like 50 packs is nowhere near sufficient for building some good TGT decks, but luckily, I play mostly Warlock and a lot of the new cards exclusive to Warlock don’t really seem that great.

Wrathguard seems like a pretty strong card for zoo decks, but I’m afraid I will face a warrior who will man­age to get 30 armor, use shield slam on my Wrathgard, and one-shot my face. Once I overcome that fear, I will probably include it in my deck.

As for the other cards, a lot of them don’t really seem worth running, but most of them are demons. This is more a buff to Bane of Doom than it is anything else, so I may consider including Bane of Doom in my demon decks.

And finally, as you may have figured, I will definitely be crafting a golden Wilfred Fizzlebang. Un­for­tu­nately, at this time, I am nowhere near the dust requirement, so that video will probably be coming much later on.


Two games of Zyra mid against Fizz and Katarina in LoL

I played two games of mid-lane Zyra yesterday, one against Fizz and the other against Katarina. Both of these match-ups are considered unfavorable for Zyra (and favorable for the opponent).


Match history:

With the recent changes to AP items, I decided to pull Zyra mid back out and try it out again in some low-level League of Legends ranked play.

Before these changes, I felt as if Zyra was sort of in an in-between, where if she built high-damage, she was too vulnerable to death, but if she built items that synergized well together and well with her kit, she would just barely not have enough damage.

Because of the damage increases on most of the AP items, which allows flexibility in terms of build choices, Zyra’s build that just barely didn’t have enough damage before is now sufficient.

I use that build in this game and perform somewhat well. The post-game stats showed that I outdamaged our marksman by over 50% of her damage. This game also shows that no matter how badly your allies are doing (jungler on a dying spree, your top laner with a third of the enemy’s farm), as long as you keep up team morale, you should be able to carry if you’re good enough.


Match history:

After the successful Zyra mid game earlier in the day against Fizz, I play her again in a new game, this time laning against Katarina.

I bravely picked Zyra even though the enemy team had Malphite, Master Yi, and Katarina, three champions that can capitalize easily on Zyra’s weakness of poor mobility – and it worked out pretty well.

I ended the game with a score of 17/4/21, with 45k damage dealt to champions, 83% more than my marksman. I ended with only 162 farm because, not only am I bad at last-hitting in general, but my team started grouping up pretty early and I had to share lane minions.


Nova is devastating if you can’t spot stealth

Back when I first played Heroes of the Storm, I played quite a bit with Ed, who you may know as Grainy­rice.

This was during a Nova free week, and Ed appeared to have fallen in love with Nova. He played her every game.

Not long after, Ed stopped playing Heroes of the Storm. Because of this, I will most likely remember him as the Nova player.

Unfortunately … he was awful.

He would come to my lane, sit inside a bush, and wait for the perfect moment. The perfect moment obviously didn’t come, because he needs to take the initiative to set up a situation and reposition himself to deal damage. So, because the perfect moment didn’t happen, he would just walk away.

A minute or so later, he would come back, and do the same thing. Sit in the bush, do absolutely nothing, then go to a different lane.

I eventually got so infuriated at his stupidity that I told him to always do something when he comes to my lane, and never to just sit there in stealth doing nothing.

So he did. He came to my lane, sat there for an extremely long time, watched me fight and still did nothing … then sniped a minion, mounted up, and left my lane.

I was a little upset when Ed stopped playing Heroes of the Storm because I had one less friend with whom I can play the game and gain 50% bonus experience for my matches.

But then I think back to these matches, remember how awful Ed was at Nova, and then my sadness all goes away.

Fast forward a good amount of time and I start playing Heroes of the Storm a lot more seriously, grinding my way up to Level 40 and Rank 1.

During my journey, I encountered a lot of Novas, but most of them were also terrible. They would walk out of the bush to gank me, but I would see the shimmer of their stealth, hit them with a skillshot to reveal them, then pummel them with ten times more damage than she dealt to me. Nova was basically ganking her own self by coming to my lane.

So, as you can imagine, I’ve always had a pretty bad impression of Nova. I assumed she just wasn’t really that great of a hero.

… Until I started playing her myself.

If you can spot stealth heroes, Nova doesn’t really become much of a problem when you’re just regularly laning. But, when you’re already engaged in a fight, it becomes a lot harder to keep track of her because you’re so focused on trading damage and using abilities. That’s when Nova can go in and get the kill.

If you can’t spot stealth heroes, then you’re basically screwed in the hands of a skilled Nova. There isn’t really much more to say about that.

During early- and mid-game, when I play Nova, I stomp on most people. I keep track of who can see stealth and who can’t, and target those who can’t. Once I’ve devastated them enough that they hide behind their wall of turrets, I go to those who can see stealth and be a little bit more patient, waiting for them to be distracted by something before going in.

But I always encountered a problem. My late-game performance always went downhill. I could barely as­sas­sinate anyone for some reason, and I couldn’t figure out why.

But then, I discovered the importance of clones and the clone-related talents.

I’ve always thought that using her clone was a waste of mana. Why not just go in, use your damage, then walk out? What’s the point of the clone?

Well apparently, a lot of people don’t realize that Nova’s clones don’t have markings on the mini-map, and a lot of people focus down and try to kill the clones. On top of that, once you get the damage talents, the clones do enough damage to make up for the small bit of health with which your victim would have otherwise survived.

I started using my clones more intelligently, placing them down first and/or revealing my stealth at the same time as my clones so three Novas pop up at the same time, and the confusion factor has really been helping me out. The clone damage is just a bonus on top of that.

Since taking clone talents and managing my clone ability usage, my Nova performance has increased drastically.

I took a pretty funny screenshot of Quick Match grouping me with three supports.

Nova with three supports

(Click to enlarge)

Although I haven’t been streaming or uploading videos of any Nova games because I consider them practice games and I’m still learning Nova, I think I’m going to get there soon.


Battle Boss Blitzcrank – new unreleased skin preview on LoL PBE

Source: is down, which means I can’t play any Heroes of the Storm or Hearthstone … so I decided to hop on the League of Legends Public Beta Environment to test out some more new skins.

Even in my eager excitement for the upcoming Heroes of the Storm patch, I still managed to focus enough to perform well and go 9/1/16 by the end of the game at 25 minutes.

There’s a pretty humorous backstory to this game.

As of today, the only game mode available on the PBE is Team Builder. So, I was forced to pick a role and queue up.

I queued up as a mid laner, and waited in queue for about 18 minutes before I realized this would be a perfect moment to use the “Why can’t I hold all these mid laners?” meme with the PBE server featured in the photograph.

I decided to switch to support, and queued up as Blitzcrank. I (literally) instantly found a game, but it was empty apart from myself and the team captain.

The other roles eventually filled up one by one, but there was one role that remained empty for about ten minutes.

Which role was it?

You got it, middle lane.

The lane for which I was sitting in queue for 18 minutes.

After I left queue, there was suddenly a scarcity of mid laners.

But it wasn’t the end of the world – we ended up finally finding a mid laner. But that would be too easy. Now our marksman Vayne had to complain about the fact that I was taking Ignite instead of Exhaust, because she wanted to take Ignite herself.

I obviously didn’t care at all and kept my Flash/Ignite combo, but the entire team started complaining and fighting with each other about summoner spells. People tried to force Vayne into taking Heal, but she settled on Exhaust.

In my opinion, Heal is not a summoner spell designed for marksmen, and I have no clue why everyone except I take it. This is coming from someone who used to run Heal/Ignite with no Flash back on Season 2, but stopped doing that because Heal got nerfed from a powerful baiting tool into a support summoner spell.

Marksmen are far better off taking Exhaust for self-peel and survivability against assassins, or Ghost for assisting in kiting away from movement-speed-buffed enemies. Cleanse is also acceptable if the enemy team has high catch potential and strong hard crowd control. Ignite is fine for combos like Graves/Leona who need that extra tiny bit of damage to secure an early-game kill during an all-in.

But Heal? Make the support player take it; the other options are far more effective for marksmen.

(Sure, go ahead and say I suck; I won’t notice because I’ll be too busy winning more games with Exhaust and/or Ghost.)


Winning as Executioner in ToS is probably the most satisfying feeling

A few days ago, I posted about how I was having a lot of fun playing Town of Salem. I posted screenshots of winning my first games as jester and serial killer, and today I have one of my first victory as ex­ecu­tion­er.

Town of Salem - Executioner victory

(Click to enlarge)

That screenshot is taken at the end of the game, when I was one of the last men standing with the serial killer and godfather.

Although both the mafia and serial killer helped me lynch my target, I decided to side with the serial killer because she was the one who had a more significant vote during the final lynch.

As executioner, if your target does not die during the night and you successfully convince the town to lynch him, you will remain as a victorious executioner, maintaining your night immunity.

On top of that, once your target is lynched, it usually doesn’t really matter if you tell them that you’re the executioner, seeing as you’ve already won the game (and you keep your victory, even if the town decides to lynch you). The only reason you wouldn’t want to tell the town your true identity is if you’re secretly trying to side with someone, or if you just want to troll the players.

This puts you in a position of extreme power, and makes winning with executioner extremely satisfying. Earning your victory basically puts you above everyone else, and in return for your efforts, you basically get like a “cheat code” activation for the rest of the game.

I also have a screenshot of a later game, where I managed to get my target lynched on the second day, and earned an achievement:

Town of Salem - Executioner - Quick Execution

(Click to enlarge)

The strategy I used for that game is claiming that I was the lookout. I capitalized on Troll and Spence’s deaths. Spence’s will said that he had visited Troll, who had died to the serial killer. I stated, “I think that lame duckface is the serial killer, because Spence and lame duckface visited Troll last night.”

Luckily for me, lame duckface wasn’t that great in his defense, so it made it a lot easier for me. He seemed more confused than anything as to why the town was lynching him when he hadn’t done anything so far – it’s possible that he missed me calling him out.

Although Town of Salem isn’t as high-action and high-intensity as some other games I play, it’s a good game to relax with, and I will most likely continue hopping on once a day to get my win of the day and have fun tricking other people in-game.


Playing some more Town of Salem

Back in January of this year, Ed and I started playing Town of Salem, a browser game where you and a group of players live together in a town and try to figure out who the killers are.

There are townspeople, mafia members, and independent/chaos killers (like serial killers and arsonists). The townspeople need to find out who the killers are and lynch them (or kill them during the night if they’re a jailor/vigilante/veteran). The killers need to kill everyone not associated with them.

Members of the mafia know who other mafia members are; apart from that, everyone’s role is a secret.

Eight months later, I’ve gone back to this game, and I’m actually having quite a bit of fun with it.

I didn’t even realize this, but apparently, back when I played Town of Salem in January, it was still in beta. It seems like the game is now in its first regular release, as it’s available on Steam.

It’s normally a free browser game, but I decided to get it on Steam as well because I have so much fun playing it. If you buy it on Steam, it costs $4.99, but you get $5 worth of in-game currency (coins, I think they’re called) to purchase aesthetic/cosmetic character overrides and other items in the shop.

Recently, I had my first two victories as a jester. A jester is part of the independent/chaos killer group, and is a maniac whose dream is to get publicly lynched. If you succeed your goal, you get to rise from the dead and kill someone who voted against you and said you were guilty of being a killer.

I managed to deceive the town into thinking I was someone dangerous. As you can see from the second screenshot, the other people in the game were shocked and pretty upset they got fooled.

Town of Salem - First victory as jester

Town of Salem - Second victory as jester

(Click to enlarge)

I also managed to get my first victory as a serial killer. In all/any mode, which is the game mode I used to play with Ed in January, it’s possible for there to be multiple serial killers. However, in this game mode, where it’s “normal” and roles are controlled, there can only be one and you’re always on your own.

It came down to two townspeople and me. I managed to fool the doctor into thinking that I was the jailor and the other person was the serial killer. The doctor sided with me and lynched the jailor, leaving me free to kill the doctor the following night and secure the victory for myself.

Town of Salem - First victory as serial killer

(Click to enlarge)

I don’t know if I particularly like this game because I’m so interested in human psychology and crime, but I think it’s a pretty fun game.

Remember, it’s a completely free game – you can play it in your browser, and you don’t need to purchase it on Steam.

If you do choose to register and play, please don’t forget to put Parkzer as your referrer. If you make an in-game purchase with real-world money (or if you buy the game on Steam), I get referral points, and earn some cosmetics in-game.


Preview of Infernal Shrines, Kharazim, and Elite A.I. on HotS PTR

Yesterday, I went through a detailed overview of Kharazim, the new melee support hero on Heroes of the Storm. I listed off the abilities and talents, showed some of the skin variations, and expressed some of my initial thoughts on the hero.

Today, I have a video of Kharazim, as well as the new map and the new A.I. difficulty.


I wasn’t exactly too willing to buy Kharazim for $9.99 (because you can only make real-money purchases on the PTR). It’s not that I’m not willing to spend money on Heroes of the Storm; it’s just that Kharazim is a support hero and I most likely won’t really ever play him on the live servers.

Fortunately, one of my allies didn’t think the same way that I did, and I was able to watch Kharazim in action, as played by one of my teammates.

The video also shows Infernal Shrines, the new map being released during the Eternal Conflict. It is again another Diablo-themed map, where your objective is to activate shrines, defeat guardians, and release punishers that roll through the enemy structures.

And finally, this was all done in a Versus A.I. game, which shows the improvements made to the Elite bots. Apparently the Elite difficulty mode still isn’t even done in development, so I’m guessing that the bots will become even harder once the development is done.

As I mentioned in a previous patch notes reaction blog post, I’m glad they’re doing more with the Versus A.I. mode for the people who prefer PvE over PvP.

These elite bots are definitely a lot better than the bots we have now. On live servers, the bots will ba­sically tank everything you throw at them until they are at low health, but these elite bots will actually move out of the way of skillshots.


Kharazim, the Veradani Monk – Abilities, talents, skins, and thoughts

The hero revealed at Gamescom 2015 is now on the HotS PTR – Kharazim, the Veradani Monk, a melee support.

Kharazim, the Veradani Monk - Abilities

His abilities are:

  • [Trait] Pick Your Trait
    Choose between Transcendence, Iron Fists, and Insight from the Talent panel.
  • [Q] Radiant Dash
    Mana: 30, Charge Cooldown: 12 sec.
    Jump to an ally or enemy. Enemies are immediately hit with a basic attack.
  • [W] Breath of Heaven
    Mana: 60, Cooldown: 8 sec.
    Heal nearby Heroes for 108 and give them 10% MoveSpeed for 3 seconds.
  • [E] Deadly Reach
    Mana: 50, Cooldown: 10 sec.
    Your next Basic Attack increases your Attack Speed and Attack Range by 100% for 2 seconds.
  • [R] Seven-Sided Strike
    Mana: 77, Cooldown: 50 sec.
    Become Invulnerable and strike 7 times over 2 sec. Each strike hits the highest Health nearby Hero for 7% of their max Health.
  • [R] Divine Palm
    Mana: 50, Cooldown: 60 sec.
    Protect an allied Hero from death, causing them to be healed for 500 if they take fatal damage in the next 3 sec.

To put his second heroic option into perspective, Rehgar’s “OP Full-HP Heal” ability is:

  • [R] Ancestral Healing
    Mana: 80, Cooldown: 70 sec.
    After a short delay, heal an allied Hero for 600 Health.

Kharazim’s traits are:

  • Level 1
    • Transcendence: Every 3rd Basic Attack heals the lowest nearby allied Hero for 40.
    • Iron Fists: Every 3rd Basic Attack deals 100% bonus damage.
    • Insight: Every 3rd Basic Attack restores 12 mana.
  • Level 4
    • Foresight: Radiant Dash reveals the area around the target for 3 sec. Only one area can be revealed at a time.
    • Overtake: Basic Attacks while Deadly Reach is active increase your MoveSpeed by 30% for 2 sec.
    • Healing Ward: Place a ward on the ground that heals allies in an area for 2% of their max Health every sec. for 10 sec.
    • Protective Shield: Shield an allied Hero for 15% of their max Health for 5 sec.
  • Level 7
    • Echo of Heaven: Breath of Heaven heals a 2nd time 2 sec. later for 50%.
    • Way of the Hundred Fists: Radiant Dashing to an enemy causes you to launch a volley of blows dealing 180 total damage instead of a Basic Attack.
    • Clairvoyance: Reveal an area for 10 sec. Enemies in the area are revealed for 4 sec.
    • Cleanse: Remove all stuns, roots, silences, and slows from the target and reduce the duration of their reapplication by 50% for 2 sec.
  • Level 10: Seven-Sided Strike or Divine Palm
  • Level 13
    • Quicksilver: Radiant Dashing to an ally gives you and the target 30% bonus MoveSpeed for 3 sec.
    • Spell Shield: Upon taking Ability Damage, reduce that damage and further Ability Damage by 50% for 3 sec. Can only trigger once every 30 sec.
    • Relentless: Reduces the duration of silences, stuns, slows, and roots against your Hero by 50%.
    • Fists of Fury: Increases Deadly Reach’s duration by 50%.
  • Level 16
    • Soothing Breeze: Breath of Heaven removes silences, blinds, slows, and roots.
    • Circle of Life: Increase Breath of Heaven’s healing by 10% for each other Hero in the cast range.
    • Blinding Speed: Decreases Radiant Dash’s cooldown by 2 sec. and increases the maximum number of charges by 1.
    • Blazing Fists: Every 3rd Basic Attack reduces the cooldown of Deadly Reach by 1 sec.
  • Level 20
    • Transgression: Seven-Sided Strike hits 4 additional times.
    • Peaceful Repose: Divine Palm’s cooldown is set to 5 sec. if the Hero does not die.
    • Storm Shield: Shield all nearby allied Heroes for 20% of their max Health for 3 sec.
    • Epiphany: Activate to restore 33% of your max Mana and refill 2 charges of Radiant Dash.

He currently has one skin available, Jade Dragon Kharazim. This skin, as well as a standard skin color var­i­a­tion, are shown in the screenshots below:

Kharazim, the Veradani Monk - Skin color variation

Jade Dragon Kharazim, the Veradani Monk

My initial impression of this hero is that he’s another support similar to Tyrande and Tassadar, where they’re more damage-oriented rather than support-oriented, but they’re classified as support simply due to the utility they bring to the team. However, there is one distinct difference.

Tyrande and Tassadar are generally used as damage-dealer substitutes, and most teams that carry Tyrande or Tassadar have a separate dedicated healer. The only options Tyrande and Tassadar have to heal are ei­ther very weak heal/shield abilities, or cheesy talents like Healing Ward.

On the other hand, Kharazim is much more dynamic, and can be used as a flex pick. If the player wants to use him as a utility support like Tyrande and Tassadar, that’s fine; if the player wants to turn him into a dedicated healer, the Transcendence trait actually works pretty well.

In comparison, Brightwing’s trait is Soothing Mist, which heals nearby allied Heroes for 30 every 4 seconds. Kharazim can actually heal more than Brightwing as long as he is continuously engaged in combat.

And of course, the two heroic abilities contrast very much – a damage Kharazim would take Seven-Sided Strike, which is great at ripping apart tanks (49% of your opponent’s health gone in 2 seconds during a 1v1 can be shocking and devastating), while a healing Kharazim can take Divine Palm and almost have an Ancestral Healing for an ally under certain circumstances.

Now, if Kharazim is selected as a dedicated healer, all this trait and heroic healing would be on top of the healing that Tyrande and Tassadar do. That is, Kharazim’s Breath of Heaven is like Tyrande’s Light of Elune (heal herself for 60 and an ally for 120 health) and Tassadar’s Plasma Shield (shield an ally for 200 health).

Unfortunately, because I am not a support player (I play specialists and assassins exclusively), I can’t really say with much confidence how strong Kharazim will be. However, just from theorizing with the information given, he will definitely bring a lot of different options to a team, and force the opponents to regularly check his talent selections if they want a chance at forming some counterplay.


Reactions to HotS PTR Patch Notes for August 10, 2015

Blizzard released a set of patch notes yesterday for the Heroes of the Storm Public Test Realm as a pre­view of what’s to come in the next patch:

Heroes of the Storm PTR Patch Notes – August 10, 2015 (via

There’s a lot of content in those patch notes, but I decided to go over the items that I liked or particularly caught my attention.

Items may now be purchased from the PTR Shop using real money.

I’m glad that Blizzard is including store purchases in their test realm, and compensating testers for their purchases by providing the same items for free on the live servers. This hints at the fact that this test realm is actually there for testing as many things about the game as possible.

This, of course, contradicts what I discussed yesterday about the League of Legends Public Beta En­vi­ron­ment – how bugs are often reported but rarely fixed, and make it to the live servers anyway, which sug­gests that the PBE exists as a showcase environment rather than a bug testing environment.

Add Diablo to Your Hero Collection

Something I heard about in a previous patch notes release is that bundles will become dynamic bundles, and you will be refunded for any heroes that you purchased twice as a result of purchasing a bundle.

Small things like this that are essentially insignificant to Blizzard (it’s probably irrelevant to them if they reward you with 10,000 gold so you can purchase another hero) can mean a lot to players.

I qualify for a few heroes in the dynamic bundle refund system, and I’m hoping that they do something similar to this Diablo update, where if you own Diablo III and Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, you earn Diablo for free. I’m looking forward to getting several thousand gold back so I can get closer to completing my entire collection.

Malthael’s Phantom

If you’ve read some of my previous blog posts regarding Blizzard games, you probably know that one thing I absolutely love about Blizzard games is how they’re all intertwined. For example, I played World of War­craft recently because I was able to get a free mount in Heroes of the Storm once I reached Level 100 on a character in WoW (again, not really a mount I would use, but as I said, it’s all about completing the col­lec­tion).

Malthael’s Phantom is another mount you can get by reaching Level 70 with a character on Diablo III dur­ing Season 4. This is probably the one update I’m most excited about, because this mount actually looks pretty amazing and I will most likely use it on a lot of heroes.

This also brings exposure to their other games and encourages players to try them out. Although I have a level-capped character on Diablo III with over 250ish Paragon levels, I still have no clue how the Season system works. Because of this in-game promotion, Blizzard has successfully given me enough motivation to try out that aspect of Diablo III when the next season rolls around.

New Portrait Rewards

These new portrait rewards are all about the goals. Sure, just playing the game is fun, but having these rewards as external motivators makes it even better.

These portraits take quite a bit of time to achieve. For example, playing 50 games will take quite some time and dedication, especially when it has to be done within the Eternal Conflict period. Getting Level 10 on two or three heroes will also take a substantial amount of time, and aren’t easy rewards.

I like that this increases the range of difficulty of rewards. Those who like short-term and easy rewards can just level heroes and get small gold rewards and skin color unlocks, while veterans and advanced players have these big goals to which they can look forward.

Versus A.I.

Finally, the last thing I’m somewhat excited about is the improvements to the Versus A.I. mode.

When I first started playing League of Legends, I played almost exclusively with Ed (who you might know better as Grainyrice), and he was particularly fond of playing bot games. Unfortunately, back then, bots were very basic in League of Legends, and it got pretty boring, pretty quickly.

I like that Blizzard is implementing A.I. improvements to HotS because it shows they recognize that some people just don’t really like PvP, and would rather work together as a team to take down a computerized opponent.

There is also a Versus A.I. section on the profile that is supposedly coming soon, so I like that they’re adding more diversity into the game with different game modes, and no matter what you choose to do in Heroes of the Storm, you can show off your achievements in your profile.