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Fresh outta college, one of those stereotypical, bumbling jobless "journalists" wanting to become a "vidya gaems jarnalist". And so the hunt for a job he likes begins! And no, he's not going back to school to become a pharmacist technician, like his mom nags him to be.

I also have a YouTube channel (above image). Self-taught video editing! I'm still unemployed you know, potential hirers!

~ Favorite games
- Red Dead Redemption
- Shadow of the Colossus
- Psychonauts
- Mass Effect 2
- Yoshi's Island
- Pokemon
- Monday Night Combat
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
- Super Mario World

Also, twitter

Introduction post

10 things about me

Another goddamn 10 things about Strider

~Front Paged
- Downloadables: Every night is Monday Night Combat!
- eSports: Someone you know is hype
- Relaxation: Secretly training
- I calls dibs on Gaige!
- Let's explore space! My top 10 space games

~FAP Approved!
- A discussion about Catherine with my girlfriend
- So I applied for an internship at X-Play...
- Being Social: Cal State Long Beach's Gaming Club
- Persona 4: Ultimate and 4 other fighting games you probably don't know
- A new return to 3rd Strike Online part 1: Picking a main
- Top 6 somewhat natural disasters in gaming
- Villains: For me my dear, it was merely a Tuesday
- Let's talk about Phoenix Wright and Nova in UMvC3
- How I gave my girlfriend Tetris DS and loved every minute of it
- Let's talk about Rocket Raccoon and Frank West in UMvC3
- Xenophilia: The Universal Language of Mecha
- Asura's Wrath might get panned and I'm ok with that
- Acquisition: Solid Snake signed your what?
- A Valentine's Day reflection: two great loves
- Skullgirls and the art of combos
- 6 reasons why you should check out Legend of Korra
- Today, I thought about oversexualization
- Hype: Japan Time
- Objection! The story of an impossible gift for that special someone
- Cultural identity and Sleeping Dogs
- Finn and Flame Princess' big Disney Adventure Picspam
- FTL: Recovered diaries from a derelict spaceship
- Retaliation: Your guide to fighting the Collectors
-Handsome Jack, the father, the hero, the asshole
- Before StriderHoang, there was Marcel Hoang
- Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! You're not all that mathmatical
- Ralph wrecked his way into my heart
- The sixth generation wishlist from five time Pokemon Champion, Marcel
- Strider's big, fat, ride through 2012
- Being the best predator you can be
- The Striderhoang series Dtoid Trading Card Roundup
- Strider's top 10 Kirby powers

~Friday Night Fight Replays!
- 09/02/11
- 09/09/11
- 09/23/11
- 09/30/11
- 02/07/12
- 02/12/12

~The Write Stuff! Get to writing!
- 06/30 - The Beginning!
- 07/06 - Line breaks
- 07/13 - Tone
- 07/20 - Commas
- 08/06 - Balance
- 09/03 - Crossposting
- Write Stuff of September - Pride

~ The Cblog Fapcast!
- XCOM or bust!
- The show must Smurf on!
- ScottyG is on the line
- Hobo extraordinaire, Manchild
- The sorry game
- Girlfriend caps
- #1ReasonHow
- Holiday Revengeance
- My Hairy, Downstairs Fapcast
- bbreaking nnews
- Strider alone
- Oh the Injustice!

Also, check me out on Bitmob!
Player Profile
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Phew! I've been making these for nearly two weeks as a minor hobby in between work and school. But finally I feel satisfied with what I set out with these Dtoid Trading Cards: make cards for the community members who probably would never set foot on the forums and therefore would never have their shot at a trading card.

Marche has made around 36 cards over a period since the thread started. In a little over two weeks, I've addicted myself to making around 33 cards! So without further ado, here is the StriderHoang Series Trading Card Set!

Remember! If you have any ideas for cards, don't be afraid to make some yourself! And if you can't work any photo manipulation software, you can still leave behind a recommendation and their move set!

Move set by Usedtabe

Moveset by The Artist Formerly Known as Blue Lion

Moveset by That Darn Blue Lion

Description by Luna Sy

It seems there's always more to learn about your fellow Dtoiders. In addition to the new meat coming out of the word work to post theirs, a lot of people who have done the top 10 lists are also returning for 10 more things. So why not? You've read 10 things about Strider. Now read about 10 more things about Strider!

1. Due to our long distance relationship, me and my girlfriend make a date every month.
It's tough being in a long distance relationship. Zodiac Eclipse can probably attest to that. But other times I think to myself at least it's not as far away as her example. We all probably know at least one military couple, so those situations must be worse. At least I can drive to my girlfriend but the once a month frequency is due to the cost.

The drive to see my girlfriend of six years is four hours long. Approximately 2 hours through classic Californian highway arteries through Los Angeles and another two hours northbound on the 5, cutting through the Santa Clarita valley before being dumped like a log ride into the massive flats of the Central Valley like Bakersfield and Delano. At first, the whole ordeal was exhausting but eventually I gained a routine that makes the drive seem short(in retrospect).

I always take a rest stop halfway through, usually somewhere in the valley. And the years I've spent driving up and down this 220 mile marathon has really opened up my taste in podcasts. Listening to podcasts is easily what keeps my sanity on the drives.

2. We've been together for six years
I mentioned this earlier but I've heard a range of answers to me saying that we've been together for six years, from what're you waiting for to what's wrong with you? I've mentioned a few times in my Striderisms that we're simply not independent enough to be able to afford housing together, let alone jobs we can apply for that'd work in such a scenario. It's hard enough in this economy to find a job but two jobs that line up for two people? We're closer to finding jobs relatively closer and simply reducing the time to see each other. Anything can improve a four hour drive.

So what have we been through together in six years? We've both been to each others' college graduations, she's gone through two teaching gigs, I've gone through probably over four different part-time jobs, we've been to places like the Santa Monica pier, Little Tokyo, Disneyland, several different zoos, a couple of media events, she's taught English in South Korea for a year, inadvertently eaten at several historic locations, and we've had countless fights. But we're still together and love dreaming up of different child names (I'm partial to Olivia or Nico for a girl).

3. I have a black belt and quirky immunity related to that
I attribute my adult confidence and general transition away from being an awkward, shy teenager mainly to learning hapkido during my high school years. I was probably at the peak of my health due to my regular exercise and practice. I could leap over eight to nine crouching adults and my legs became finely tuned whips. Like riding a bicycle, you never really forget how to get that snapping sound from the perfect kick.

Between practice I also learned a degree of Brazilian jujitsu due to my master being proficient with both. If there's one thing you need to know about jujitsu, its that it teaches you the weak points in the human body and just how stupid whatever god was at designing us. If I were to use a joint lock to make a point in public, it'd be the simple wrist lock. Your wrist can only go in a certain direction so far before you're just trying to force it out of its joints. I, however, have freakishly flexible hands. Double jointed thumbs, rubbery finger joints, and a wrist that gives me a very high tolerance for extreme range. The wrist lock isn't a complicated move but while I generally win our stupider arguments with it (no, I won't play that new mobile game you found), she can't get me to tap out when she does it to me. Any attempt to exploit the mechanical weakness of my wrist generally ends with me yawning and maybe having a small grimace on my face.

4. This year was my second anniversary of working at Disneyland
California Adventure to be exact but it's been a big thrill ride it has. I've dealt with entitled jerkbags, adorable babies, lost children, lazy co-workers, remarkable co-workers, and seen what happens to the park when everything shuts down for the night.

I've picked up specialized skills like working the hat writing machines, stock running merchandise, and just recently how to work the Games of the Boardwalk, effectively satisfying my dream of being a carny. I've checked people into the parks and been a savior for their Disney day, from close friends, acquaintances, friends of friends, friends of my girlfriend, and everything marginally related to me before selling it out. Hell, I sold Oscar De La Hoya women's clothing before. Man are black cards cool to hold.

It's cool and also unglamorous. It's a cool job but ultimately still a job, particularly one near the bottom of the totem pole in terms of skill. When summer picks up, I may work shifts until 2:30am. Grad season is upon us soon and everyone will be praying about getting or avoiding dreaded grad shifts that can take you from 10pm to 5am.

I still have fun though. I get plenty of perks to enjoy the park myself like steep discounts and easy date plans with my girlfriend and in the end, I work at Disneyland, which is apart of a massive global company. There's opportunity somewhere for me here.

5. I'm always up for new kinds of food
Ever since The Avengers became a smash hit comic book movie, I've enjoyed a shawarma. You never appreciate food diversity until you realize just how common burgers, Chinese, and Mexican food is. One of my few favorite places closed down, leaving me with just one really nice place to get a good shawarma, Zankou Chicken. But shawarma is just one food. I also appreciate diverse pizza flavors. The kind of pizzas that share menu space with BBQ chicken. I've had Thai peanut pizza, taco pizza, chicken-peach-gorgonzola, and shrimp pizza. I've learned that Peruvian food does not skimp on the potatoes in their dishes. And I love both kinds of curry, soupy and katsu.

Of course, I've already mentioned how late I work. The most common food I grab after work is a burrito combo from Del Taco. A lot of places in the Anaheim hotel district are open 24 hours to accommodate the variety of guests and employees but Del Taco is always convenient. You won't believe how long a drive-through line for Jack in the Box can be at 1:20am. But Del Taco's always speedy for the guy who wants a bite to eat but doesn't want to stay out any longer than they have to.

I have writer's block right now so the next idea I had to expand upon was to talk about me and Pokemon, so hear it goesWHOOOOOAAAA!

Legendaries have a lot of weight in why I love certain generations and I swear I'm not being topical but Ruby/Sapphire was my favorite generation. Groudon and Kyogre are my favorite legendaries because of the old school nature of their rivalry, land vs sea. My favorite Pokemon is Aggron and when he was announced to have a mega evolution in X/Y, I knew I was building a team centered around him since Aggron himself is rather situational in use. I've had a lot of fun using Mega Aggron as a bulky, hazard setter but Greninja has proved to easily fit many gaps I have with it's solid power as a lead scout and momentum grabber. Other favorites to come to mind are Metagross, Blastoise, Togekiss, and Ursaring. The first shiny I ever caught was a Rhyhorn in Emerald's safari zone.

While it's certainly way easier to construct teams based around an anchor built to sweep and a supporting cast to him it, most of my fun comes from the defensively oriented teams I've constructed using the likes of Trevenant, Mega Aggron, and Tangrowth.

My favorite uber is Kyogre and my favorite move is a toss up between Aqua Jet and Bullet Punch. I also forfeited to Brightside in the first Dtoid XY tournament because I simply did not have any time to dedicate to trying to line up a match with him. If I end up doing the second tournament due to Brightside being burnt out on doing them, I'm making Skype and auto-sign on a pre-requisite to joining.

7. You never forget how to ride a bicycle and I never forget to play a fighting game
Ever since the post-modern revival SFIV did in the early 2008 (which is crazy to realize was six years ago), fighting games have been in my blood, sweat, and tears. Blazblue has a special place as being the first game to seriously teach me how to fight at an above-average level. I'm not saying I'd sweep a tournament but I've left Wrenchfarm and SuperMonk4Ever a shell of their former selves at games like Persona 4 Arena and Injustice.

I also had many occasions to improve myself in social circles since I had a circle of friends who were very much into fighting games in college. I watched them play fighters like Brawl on a Japanese Wii and KOF2003 before joining them on addictions to challenge like SFIV and Marvel 3. When I presided as president at Cal State Long Beach's Gaming Club (now the eSports Club I believe), I made a conscious effort to improve the visibility of video games to the primarily tabletop gaming club, with a biased focus in fighting games. I had an unfair advantage in experience but I also enjoyed just sitting back and watching the button mashers play too. I still mourn the loss of Arcade Infinity. In fact, I dragged my girlfriend to come with me to a lot of arcades back in the day.

I also hate the loser's mentality, sometimes known as a gentleman's honor. If you've found quotes and philosophies floating around describing players waiting for their opponent to get up in a fighting game, these are not gentlemen but salty scrubs who'd rather criticize their better's skill than aim to improve themselves. Even in cheap situations like spamming tatsus in the corner and extreme fireball tossing, I never bitch about my opponent and only live to improve my ability to overcome obstacles. If you're not doing something built in and intrinsic to the game like OTGs or air juggles, you obviously don't want to win. You play a fighting game to win, not replace the meta with some scrub mentality.

The fighters I've been profecient with in no particular order asides from series are Jin and Iron Tager (Blazblue); Rufus mainly, with Zangief on the side, and a bit of Dhalsim on the side (Street Fighter IV); Double as a single, occasionally using Cerebella as a doubles partner. I think I'm gonna try Squigly though (Skullgirls); Metaknight in Brawl but if there are objections I just as easily play Diddy Kong (Brawl); I played Falco in Melee though; Green Arrow with a side of Green Lantern (Injustice); Kanji mainly but I delved into Labrys and Akihiko (Persona 4 Arena); Makoto (Third Strike); any team with Spencer as an anchor or even a lead. Team mates I prefer include Nova, Hawkeye, and Frank West. Ironically, I didn't play Strider Hiryu much due to his high risk/reward playstyle (Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3).

8. I only recently got into PC gaming
I've never owned really great computers for gaming. Its only been recent where my school gave me a decent laptop capable of running something as simple as even FTL without chugging like a fat guy chasing a shawarma truck.

It's also introduced me to the concept of shopping for insane deals as if it were a stupid game with real life consequences. I already have Super Meat Boy on my 360 but I bought it for my Steam account when it went up for $3 on Steam. It's hard to even find time for all the games I've acquired for my library since I'll either play something I'm familiar with like FTL first or my 3DS. In fact, I haven't touched my 360 in a while for purposes of playing video games. It's been used mostly for streaming lately. Persona 4 Ultimax is looking mighty appealing though.

I've put some hours recently on Rogue Shooter but also Don't Starve since it went on sale a few weeks ago and I'm enjoying that survival bit. I also have sizable hours logged on FTL, Prison Architect, and of course TF2.I heard good things about Fistful of Frags. But since my background in gaming is on console gaming, I don't have the muscle memory to play FPS games on mouse and keyboard really well.

9. You should watch Kill La Kill
Well you should.

10. My first console was the NES but it really started with the Genesis
I got into gaming too late to appreciate the beauties of the NES. But I did get on to experience the power of blast processing with the Sega Genesis. You could say Super Mario World was a turning point for me but Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was my brain turned on and realized the beauty of video games.

Sonic one through three plus &Knuckles, Ecco the Dolphin, Vectorman (when's he coming back?), Altered Beast, Aladdin, Golden Axe, Gunstar Heroes, and freaking Earthworm Jim. Childhood was pretty good.

Of course, I think what I appreciate most is Legend of the Mystical Ninja for the SNES but that's for another time.
Photo Photo Photo

After finishing Kirby Triple Deluxe, I came to the realization that not all powers, at least in Triple Deluxe, are made equally. Sure, that's always been the case but now more than ever do I see the Fighter power being nerfed and the Archer power being insanely flexible to serve a variety of uses. Kirby has never been about difficulty but rather whimsical charm, colorful design, and of course, creative powers. If anything, we enjoy Kirby to see what sort of crazy powers he can copy then use to decimate the unsuspecting local fauna. While not a definitive list acknowledging all of Kirby's titles and powers, these are some of my favorite powers across several console generations' worth of Kirby games.

Sword (literally every Kirby game ever)
Starting the list is one of Kirby's most classic powers and the de facto workhorse for simple hack 'n' slash damage. You can never go wrong with the sword with its easy-to-use grounded slash and aerial spinning slash. Over the years, the sword has gained new moves, becoming more sophisticated, and yet it's still as easy as ever to simple walk up to fools and chop them to pieces.

Sword is notable for always being present during a Kirby games' recurring boss fight: the duel with Metaknight. This chivalrous on-again, off-again anti-hero always presents Kirby with a sword to use for honorable, one-on-one combat. Hell, you even get the chance to play as Metaknight in some games and of course, you'll be using a permanent, enhanced sword power.

Mirror (Kirby Superstar)
Mirror looks like a palette swap of Beam but Mirror is potentially more useful in application. In Superstar, Mirror allows not only for constant DPS with its primary mirror wave attack, but projectile reflection with the same attack. Mirror also changes Kirby's dash to be a sort of graceful, floaty skid across the floor, which is mostly cosmetic but fits with another attack you may have spammed a lot, the dash attack. Splitting Kirby into two images forwards and backwards of his trajectory, it does decent damage, has good range, and it unaffected by stage geography, letting you attack through walls!

It's a shame Mirror was only in Superstar and that your copy partner was so ugly. But great balance in both offense and defense, you can't go wrong with Mirror. Unless you read further along for my absolute favorite Superstar power.

Rick the hamster + Stone = Balancing Boulder (Kirby's Dreamland 2)
Stone has always been a double-edged sword type of weapon. The ability to crush foes under the weight of a massive rock has always yielded results known scientifically as totally rad. But leaving your rock form while enemies or bosses were standing around was problematic. Enter Rick the hamster, Kirby's first animal friend. By using rock together with Rick, you evolve the base form stone to its next form: a boulder.

By turning Rick into a huge, circular rock, Kirby can continue to move by balancing on Rick while you steamroll everything in your path like some nightmare out of Wile E. Coyote. True to the stone ability, you fall like a rock off of high places because, well, you're a rock. Also, Kirby isn't a rock, so flying and leaping enemies can attack Kirby like, "Fuck this rock crap. I'm hitting the weakest link!"

Course, you can leave rock mode and just jump and start the whole process, complete with a crushing pressure that your enemies will surely either go to a doctor or a morgue for.

Bomb + Cutter = Exploding Ninja Stars (Kirby 64)
Kirby 64 makes all the sense in the world. Combine fire and ice and you become a melting ice cube! While mixing bomb with cutter gets you deadly, explosive ninja stars. Wait, huh? Ok, nevermind, that's pretty fucking sweet.

And it's not just a matter of simply throwing these babies and having them explode mere seconds after sticking to a target. Kirby has been a ninja in at least two separate games so he's capable of throwing these things so fast, they pretty much disappear from sight until they stop in their target.

I like a lot of bomb-based power combos in Kirby 64 but this one takes the cake for sheer speed and range. Also, they're fucking ninja stars.

Nago the cat + Cleaning = Cleaning Cloth
Those little broom guys have always been, literally, a powerless enemy. You couldn't copy anything useful from them. Then in Dreamland 3, you can finally copy their amazing ability to sweep floors and clean stuff! It was truly a turning point for the series. *Editor's note: no, it was not.

In Dreamland 3, a new friend in the form of Nago the cat joined Kirby's land based Aquaman antics, showing his gratitude to Kirby's friendship by holding him beneath his paws like a ball. Swallow an agent of cleaning and Nago will flatten Kirby into a towel that he rides and cleans like something out of an anime. You know, that trope where Japanese teenagers gain character and experience by laying down a towel and pushing it along a wooden floor to clean. These same teenagers probably kicked themselves when mops or Swifters were introduced to temple cleaning closets the world over but that's neither here nor now.

The Cleaning Cloth solves three problems at once: it gives you forward locomotion, it destroys enemies in your path, and leaves behind a clean sheen free of the blood and entrails of your foes you just vanquished.

Suplex (Kirby Superstar)
This power, only available by kicking Bugzy's ass in single combat (or two-on-one if you bring a friend), is absolutely my favorite power from Superstar. Though limited in use against boss enemies, Suplex sends Kirby hurtling forward, eager to grab any hapless enemy stupid enough to think things will turn out differently then before.

After latching onto Kirby's victim, you can proceed to slam them in any of four directions, so long as you also jam afterwards. Every time I decided to slam and jam, I usually used the backwards Big Suplex or the forwards Pile Drive but you can't go wrong with the Torrent Lariat or Back Breaker. I mean, Waddle Dees have backs to be broken, right?

Even against bosses, this power has its use by slam jamming debris from the boss into them, doing as much damage as a normal redirection attack. So if you wanna slam, copy Suplex. If you wanna jam, copy Suplex. Slam, jam, thank you ma'am, get on the floor and jam. Hey DJ, turn it up. Etc. Etc.

Beam (Several Kirby games)
Beam is another staple power that's been around like Sword. It takes the simple concept of energy projection, which aims to destroy everything in its path, and puts a cute hat on it. Think Scott Summers if he wasn't such a perpetual dick. I mean, no matter what alternate reality it is, Scott is always a dick. What is this? A universal constant?

Beam has come a long way from simply having Kirby wave his hand down and seeing sparks come out. In Superstar, Beam gained a ton of new moves like many attacks. Most notable was the charge blast, ramping its damage up considerably. The dash attack was underwhelming at first but became much more powerful in its most recent iteration in Triple Deluxe. But my favorite application was the dashing, jumping attack, where Kirby sprays the ground with a barrage of energy spheres.

Beam is like good old fashion vanilla. Simple but effective tactics. And what more do you want? Anyone can become a wrestler I suppose. Can you shoot energy beams out of your fingertips? If yes, please record yourself on YouTube and title it, "Not a fraud. THE REAL THING! BEAM FINGERS!"

Ninja (Kirby Superstar, Kirby Triple Deluxe)
The Ninja power was introduced in Superstar and proved to be a a complex but rewarding power. It has a great mix of effective ranges, from tickling enemies from afar with throwing kunai, to close range slice and dice using dashing strikethroughs and slashing shock waves. It even has a divekick, which everyone knows is a game breaking power.

The ability to attack from far from safety and to attack up close with much stronger attacks allows Kirby to either push his luck or keep on surviving. He even explodes after taking damage, providing a defensive measure with the ability.

Ninja changes slightly in Triple Deluxe compared to Superstar but retains much of its flexibility. Kunai from afar and this time, a sword for close range with significantly more range to his melee attacks. Triple Deluxe adds two new area of effect attacks but arguably the biggest change was to its defensive measure: instead of exploding automatically, after taking damage, Kirby can pre-empt damage by guarding at the last second to perform the classic kawarimi technique where ninjas swap their position with a mundane log to misdirect attacks. When Kirby does this, he's effectively invincible while the log holds his position for a finite amount of time until he reappears.

Archer (Kirby Triple Deluxe)
Easily the most flexible and easiest to use ability in Triple Deluxe is the bow and arrow he uses for his Archer ability. Kirby is capable of charging and shooting high powered arrows and can hit virtually any spot on screen by positioning himself and aiming up or down as he charges. The ability to charge and aim lets Archer snipe enemies, mid-bosses, and world bosses regardless of the situation.

The Archer also has two other notable moves. By running and jumping, Kirby can unleash a quick barrage of three arrows downwards to throw down very respectable, mobile damage from the air. Like a similar move from the Beam power, it also hikes Kirby upwards a bit, able to keep him aloft shooting downwards for an extended amount of time. Kirby can also utilize camouflage and allows almost all attacks to pass through him harmlessly. He can even shoot sneak attack arrows from his hiding spot. Kirby can't phase through all attacks though, particularly attacks where a large boss rams Kirby with their size but it's useful to avoid complicated pattern attacks. Kirby even has a CQC option by dashing and attacking, slashing twice with an arrow. It has an elongated animation, leaving Kirby vulnerable but it's great in a pinch.

Fire + Spark = Match Spark aka the Human Torch
We all know that despite Kirby looking all cute, he is actually a badass. He can do it all after all, assuming he consumes his enemies. Here's a real power to really drive home your strength to your foes though. You think you're hard? Trying lighting yourself on fire and running into people to set them on fire.

We're not talking Human Torch stuff exactly. Human Torch is ok with being on fire because that's his special power. Kirby's special power isn't exactly to set himself on fire but just careful fire manipulation. So the kid gloves come off and he decides, "Fuck you're couch. I'm lighting myself on fire and taking you with me!"

After generating enough static electricity with towel, he sparks into a regular California brush fire, running around like a mad man, obstacles and monsters be damned. Get in his way? You can't hurt him! He's already burning his flesh off just to hurt you. You think he gives a damn son?

There are tons of powers I decided to leave off the list from Kirby 64's Triple Missile's, to the classic Cutter, to even a redundant Copy power which produces a partner that can copy powers like Kirby but these are some of my favorites from my many years of playing Kirby games. What are some of your favorite Kirby games and why?
Photo Photo Photo

Iíve plugged countless hours into FTL and I still donít consider myself good. While beating the Rebel Flagship is a challenge to most people it still seems like a dream to me, or at the very least a set piece you can never win against. Despite that though, I continue to play and have encountered a lot of the new content in the Advanced Edition and it continues to feed my addiction to seeing how far I can go. While I can attest to my ability by the fact that Iíve never beaten the Flagship, Iíve still picked up some tips along the way to really use a lot of the new Advanced Edition content. It should at least really help considering that as a rogue-like spaceship game, youíre probably having trouble picking up a lot of the new stuff.

Manning doors and sensors: giving your mantis something to do
The first major change you should realize for Advanced Edition is the ability to give sensors and doors a manned bonus. Manning these subsystems give them an instant +1 to their rank, potentially saving on scrap for upgrades. Imagine playing the Torus and saving on a mandatory door upgrade by sending crew to the doors. The Torus doesnít start with important weapons anyways!

To go along with this change, these two subsystems also have a special 4th upgrade thatís only obtainable if the subsystem is fully upgraded and manned. While crew wonít gain any experience for running these subsystems, they also provide a flat +1 to subsystems regardless of previous experience. So depending on the ship, you can juggle crew between these around these subsystems as needed. Got a mantis but have no teleporter? You might as well make him your communications officer and put him in sensors. Flying through a nebula? Sensors are useless anyways so send your communications officer to doors as security. As youíll realize, youíll also have someone ready to repair these subsystems whenever they hit by stray shots.

Keeping your crew fluid to in the gaps is important. Using the Torus as an example, its only starting weapon is a fast charging ion cannon that doesnít get much from a manned bonus. Since your entire crew is engi, setting one to the doors in case of boarding parties is important. But if no boarding party comes during an encounter, go ahead and give one engi experience as a weapons officer.

Mind Control: enemies amongst us
Probably my favorite new system in the game, mind control scrambles enemiesí minds and turns them to your side. You canít give them orders though, so theyíll generally follow enemy AI routines except on your allegiance. While you need some kind of line of sight to use mind control, it is one of the most flexible active systems, capable of fitting on a variety of ships from defensively outfitted ships to even boarding specialists.

First things first though: since you need line of sight, youíll need to upgrade your sensors or have someone man them for a +1. Slugs have quickly become one of my favorite races since they let you track life signs whenever sensors go down. While nebulas can render mind control useless, slugs keep them relevant regardless of the situation! Keep in mind that slugs are useful to use in conjunction with mind control but are immune to it as well.

Mind controlís best overall utility is aimed at the pilot. By turning the pilot, you drop enemy evasion to zero, you have someone damaging the helm, and reduce other bonuses by peeling crew away from their positions to deal with the turned pilot. A secondary target is anyone trying to repair damaged systems. This way, you delay their repairs and again, sow general chaos among the ranks. Another factor is mantis crew, who automatically become an asset with their increased attack power. Youíve hit the jackpot if the enemy pilot is a mantis. Lastly, mind control is a great defense against enemy boarding parties if youíre crew isnít prepared well for them. While you canít control them, you can easily manipulate them to your advantage. For example, in a two boarding situation, one can be turned to gang up on the other, then deal with him afterwards when the control wears off. In situations of one boarder, you can observe where he wanders off while brainwashed then vent the oxygen of his room, killing him with little trouble.

So the order of priority according to whatís present should be mantis crew, the pilot, repairmen, then boarders if you need the assistance.

Hacking: digital warfare
Efficient use of system energy usually means you either invest heavily in either weapons or drones. Of course, this means youíll be sitting on a small hoard of drone parts if you donít use them at all. Hacking is not only a great use of those drone parts, itís a great way to bolster your offensive presence. If mind control is mostly about disrupting enemy ranks, hacking is about disrupting ship systems and debuffing it.

When you first activate hacking in battle, youíll be able to target a system then have the option to initiate the hack right away or at a later time, plus the doors will lock to enemy crew like blast doors. You can only launch one hacking drone per battle though, so make it count! While hacking the helm or engine room will drop ship evasion, youíre often better off using your hacking for more direct means.

I recommend hacking either shields or weapons, where their respective energies are drained, giving you a timed advantage. Shields is useful on later sectors where enemies can have two or more layers of shields and cuts out the difficulty of piercing them. Hacking weapons can be vital in stalling for time before they launch their own salvos. There are of course other viable targets for other purposes. Hacking oxygen can make asphyxiating the enemy crew a very real possibility. Hacking the med bay can make boarding ships a breeze as itíll damage enemies and heal your boarding party! And probably the last thing worth mentioning is the synergy together with mind control. With hacks working to lock doors, your possible priority ladder on mind control opens considerably as they can be left to do more damage in one room without intervention. Mind control the weapons officer, lock the doors, hack the weapon systems, and give yourself a huge boon of time to work safely without fear of retaliation.

Clone bay: less fear, more bodies
The clone bay changes up how you approach dangerous situations altogether. Instead of sending crew to the med bay to keep them healthy and alive in a defensive posture, the clone bay encourages aggressive movement by creating a steady supply of bodies regardless of the dangers. While you canít heal conventionally, your crew does heal a moderate amount after every jump, with upgrades reducing the cloning time and increasing the health recovered per jump.

The clone bay is of course, the perfect companion to boarding parties. With little to fear from death, you can send out your most potent aliens to fight in strange and uncomfortable alien ships. Theyíll receive a skill penalty on death, but mantis and rockmen have little to fear from other aliens as long as theyíre not also mantis or rockmen. With a clone bay, you can send your crew into the jaws of danger such as putting out raging infernos and repairing hull breaches devoid of air.

Probably the best application of the clone bay is in handling random events. Lost someone to a science lab lit aflame? Clone bay. Distress beacon full of giant alien spiders? Clone bay. Slug ambush take out your chief engineer? Clone bay! Iíve even survived situations that wouldíve been a game over. My two person crew was not ready to deal with a mantis boarding party, so I did the only reasonable thing I could do in that situation and vented my whole ship of its oxygen. After dying predictably, the mantis died just moments afterwards. But after a few seconds of eerie silence, (and after closing my doors and letting the oxygen circulate) my two crew popped out of the clone bay good as new.

Of course, managing your clone bay is a different affair from managing your med bay. While med bay power can be strategically routed and rerouted back depending on the need, the clone bay is vulnerable during one critical stage: the cloning process; If the clone bay isnít on when crew dies and if it gets powered off during the cloning process, your crew will die permanently. This makes upgrades important more for increasing its system health then the actual upgrades, since a stray shot during the cloning process can mean certain doom for incubating clones unless the DNA Bank augmentation is installed.

Also be aware that a select few random events will still keep crew members from being properly clones. The mining colony plague event for example will cause your crew to stay behind in quarantine, making it unethical for you to make his clone. †And speaking of unethical clones, you can't clone someone who was sold into slavery. What a gyp!

Backup power: giving her more than sheís got
Iíve only recently learned that Iíve been upgrading my systems all wrong, at least under general circumstances. Upgrading both the system and reactor is costly so in order to meet the demands of space, you must upgrade systems and juggle energy channeling. But with the backup generator, juggling got a little bit easier. The best part is that the backup generator requires no power to use. Thatíd be pretty redundant! The backup generator is a subsystem that, when activated, immediately grants two bonus power for you to use as symbolized by red outlines, or 4 bars after an upgrade. This extra energy lasts for 30 seconds before it shuts down and recharges for 45 seconds.

Itís obvious that extra energy is great whenever you need upgrades desperately but lack the reactor power to keep pace. Quite possibly the most important way its an asset though is in nebulas, where you will sometimes encounter plasma storms that cut your reactor energy in half, though your backup battery is unaffected.

Youíre not going to want to use this energy for weapons or shields though, as 30 seconds to power them can mean those systems can shut off at inopportune times during charges. The backup energy is best saved to power engines or the various life support systems in a pinch. You can also strategically over-upgrade and use your backup energy at crucial moments.

The Lanius: oxygen is overrated anyways
If engis donít hit that robot itch youíre looking for due to their dependence on something as stupid as oxygen, thereís always the lanius with their unique quirks. They donít need oxygen and like hipsters, they reject it to the point of draining all of it from a room. If you want one guaranteed, you can ask a lanius merchant about their translation device, which turns out to be the lanius itself that happens to know English.

Everything about the lanius revolves around juggling oxygen as a resource. They canít share rooms with crew because theyíll suffocate them and theyíll drain all the oxygen of a given space no matter how many doors you open to equalize the pressure. Given this quirk, there are a couple of jobs they can do.

- They can repair hull breaches no problem. They donít need air, remember?
- They can do extra damage in combat by adding the damage of suffocation to their regular combat damage.
- They can snuff out fires a little faster as their drain precious oxygen from fires.

Itís important to remember that they donít play nicely with other friendly crew unless theyíre also lanius. So while draining oxygen would be fun for enemies, it makes planning attacks complicated when you canít keep the lanius together with other crew. You can however keep them on deck as security, keeping important rooms devoid of oxygen and suffocating potential boarders who want to get at crucial systems. Even when outnumbered, you can drain oxygen from a given space by opening a few doors and creating a no man's land. Since boarders like to move to where the oxygen is most concentrated in most cases, you can either manipulate them into fighting your crew in the med bay or just suffocate them. Just be careful about using the med bay defensively with your whole crew. Upgrade it as much as you can to offset at least suffocation damage or just keep the lanius out of it for your crewís sake.

Miscellaneous equipment: all the other stuff you canít afford

Charge weaponry
Most weapon types have a new fire mode model called charge. These weapons share similarities with burst firing variants with a twist for the patient type. While weak individually, every time the weapon fully charges, it stores the charge in a bank. Like Mega Manís patented Mega Buster, the more you charge you weapon, the stronger the potential attack as it releases all its charged attacks.

Charge weaponry typically do weak damage individually but charge relatively quickly, giving you different tactical options to how big you want your burst to be. You can stock a 3-shot ion burst to strip 3 layers of shields immediately, then rapid fire single shots to keep it down. Or you can shoot a steady stream of 2-shot burst lasers. Thereís even a unique missile model called the Swarm which encourages full charge shots to fire 3 missiles at the cost of 1!

Although a new, rare occurrence on certain weapons, there are also variant weapons which are dedicated to stunning crew inside the ship. The most common weapon is the ion stunner, which combines the ion effect with stun.

Stun is pretty self-explanatory. Targeted crews are dazed and canít take any additional actions of any sort until they recover after a few seconds. It even affects crew manning the shield room if the attack only connects with the shield itself rather than the room. Probably the best utility to stunning is inflicting fires across the ship, stunning crew attempting to douse the fires. Theyíll be standing in a stupor in the middle of a raging inferno!

Chain weaponry
Chain weaponry have an interesting charge mechanic. Every time you fire it, the cooldown goes down to the point where the volume of your output becomes a massive asset. However, their initial charge times can be lengthy. In essence these weapons function like miniguns, needing time to rev up but once fully revved, will fire a rapid stream of destruction. One unique weapon, the Vulcan laser, is capable of shooting one laser every second after firing 5 volleys, trivializing shields!

There is also a chain ion weapon where its ion damage increases every time it fires.

A unique line of weaponry all in its own, flak cannons are like shotguns. Despite appearing as if it fires physical ammunition, it consumes no missiles and fires multiple fragments of debris in a moderate spread. Instead of seeing a crosshair when it locks, you see a red shadow showing the possible area the debris can hit, indicating that it can overshoot certain rooms. In fact, flak cannons are even more inaccurate than missiles. Theyíve been known to miss on ships sitting at an evasion percentage of zero.

Flak I fires 3 fragments while flak II fires an impressive 7 fragments. Like burst lasers, flak is useful for bringing shields down. In theory it works like burst lasers, shredding shields and hitting hull simultaneously. †In practice Iíve found flak unreliable on their own due to its extreme inaccuracy. Youíll be able to take 2 or 3 layers of shields down but the remaining damage on hull is low, if it even hits at all! Flak is better being compared to an ion weapon that can do damage.

Hopefully you go farther than I can. I actually have not recruited a Lanius yet nor have I unlocked the Lanius cruiser. Know that Lanius have interesting oxygen characteristics, draining oxygen from the room theyíre in and requiring no oxygen in return. This makes them interesting in boarding parties, extinguishing fires, and repairing hull breaches, but their ability to play nice with other crew members is a bit complicated seeing as how theyíll suffocate them.

Good luck out there and godspeed!
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Tired of the same old M-16/Barret 50 Cals/Desert Eagles? One of the main reasons I'm so attached to Mercenary Kings, a new so-called Borderslugs game, is because there are plenty of weapons which can then be mixed and matched with each other to create unique looking guns. Don't want to shoot a shotgun shaped liked a trombone for some reason? Then just attach the barrel/horn to the drum fed Striker and why not load from incendiary shot to boot?

But there are a lot of invisible values that aren't clearly explained, as well as concepts that will make your first few gun purchases far from maximized for their potential. Over time you can learn the invisible factors that make a good gun good and a great gun the best thing ever.

Range: hurt what you can't see
Range is pretty self-explanatory. The further the stat says it goes, the farther your bullets will go. What isn't immediately obvious though is how enemies spawn. Enemies will spawn ahead of you before you meet them and will respawn if you give them enough space. Often times, the initial opinion will be a sense of indifference towards range, since usually you will want to see what you're shooting and bullets will stop at walls. The important exception to this is the armor piercing ammo type.

Rather than go through actual armor, AP lets your bullets cheat the world design by going through all level geometry. Since there's no actual concern on ammo, a particularly speedy King can fire his weapon with wanton abandon and kill enemies ahead of him, saving time and comfort. After all, the enemies aren't physically in the world yet so they haven't attacked you yet either.

AP ammo is the biggest reason to consider keeping your range long. AP ammo also makes certain enemies spawns easier to deal with, such as grenadiers lobbing explosives at the exit of a ladder you're climbing. Simply shoot him from behind a wall or beneath the floor and the job is done!

The smaller they are, the fiercer they come
It's easy to tell right away but magazine capacity has a huge impact on your damage per bullet. There's a difference between squeezing out 30 bullets at 50 damage each and firing 5 bullets at 500 damage each. Early on, you'll probably lean towards a higher damage per bullet because the advantage of a high capacity weapon isn't apparent. This changes as you reach higher ranks and unlock more weapons though.

Early on, your choices in automatic weapons is a bit limited and not as satisfying as say, the Dunali two-shotting shotgun or the big ass Razorback magnum. But when you unlock something like the Madragora or the Minigun, you'll soon have a legitimate choice in DPS.

Personally, I love weapons like the Minigun, which let me hold the trigger down and blaze a trail through large, somewhat slogful maps. However, these weapons have a weakness in dealing with weakpoint specific boss enemies. Since their damage comes from sustained fire, you won't be able to stack the damage as easily if say, you have to jump to hit that vital point. Weapons with higher damage per bullet like snipers however, are perfect for squeezing off 5 high damage rounds into an enemy weakness.

Accuracy? There's accuracy?
You may be asking yourself, "There's an accuracy rating? So it determines how straight my bullets fly right? That's dumb for a 2D shooter."

Hold up buckaroo, because there are some mysteries we have to delve into which have supporting evidence.

According to some peers, accuracy also determines invisible values that calculate your raw damage. As you shoot enemies, you may notice difference colors jumping out of your targets. Normal damage can be seen as white and you'll guess that red are random critical hits. You'll sometimes see grey numbers which do significantly less damage though. I have personal experience with this too. My Minigun has a low accuracy rating, spewing out bullets in a wide spray. With a 50% accuracy rating, I'm hitting much more than it suggests but a lot of my bullets are actually doing half damage with a stream of grey numbers. In that case, it's best not to skip over accuracy as you build your gun. You'll find rifles have high accuracy and therefore, high crit values. It's also rumored that magnum ammo have a naturally higher crit multiplier too.

Special bullets make special soldiers
There are four elementally charged ammunitions you can load into your gun, each with its own unexplained properties. To make things easier, caustic pierces armor that bounces your shots, electric generally does more damage to mechanical enemies, incendiary does more to flesh, and cryo has a chance to freeze.

Certain weapon parts carry bonus damage to certain elements. A barrel that carries a +10 caustic damage means that when caustic ammo is loaded, you'll do 10 caustic damage on top of the actual gun's damage. So building a gun towards certain elemental specializations will do you good. Having elemental damage built up only to not use it will be a waste.

At first you'll only be able to craft guns to use AP ammo or magnum ammo or incendiary etc. But later on you'll unlock ammo that is a combination of ammo types and elements such as incendiary shot or caustic magnums. All you have to do is progress a bit in ranks and the further you along you are, the more you can craft. The game gets more difficult after all and the game likewise rewards you with bigger and better parts.

Knife to a gun fight
Never forget you have a knife that is plenty formidable on its own. In fact, its possible to play a melee build by crafting the lightest possible handgun and focus on farming items to forge the best knives you can find. Given enough time, you can unlock the recipe and ingredients to craft a Steel Soldier knife which is basically a man-sized knife jutting out of your hand. Big melee weapons are easier to hit with, deflect bullets, and generally have more damage values.

Speaking of knives and handguns, your weight limit dictates your speed and general agility. Its bestto focus on either a heavy weapon or a lighter loadout with a better knife. Knives can also come in different elemental buffs as well, so picking a light weapon with a huge knife with elemental buffs can pay off in the long run when it comes to tighter timed missions.

Of course, you can always negate the problem of agility and just roll everywhere with a gun that weighs 10 kilos and a knife that's 1 kilo, not to mention the first aid and C4 you can carry. It may make the jumping difficult but you've got a big knife, a big gun, and probably big balls.
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Well, I'm sick. I've missed a couple days of work because of some weird Spring flu I caught. But my lack of shift hours in earning money doesn't mean you have to spend your own!

Since jumping into Steam head first and putting funds into my Steam wallet, I've been swamped†by coupons and free shit. I actually paid for trading cards, pennies by the card, to a few badges dedicated to my most played games, and came out in the end with a bunch of coupons I'm not going to use! I mean seriously, I can finally play FTL, let's not get crazy and assume I can run Strike Suit Infinity ok?

I realize a few of these things are items you probably already have. I mean, I think Uber got desperate one day and just gave everyone†copies to Super MNC. I get it Uber, you want to be taken seriously. I think everyone got coupons to Pixel Piracy too. Well, I don't want it, but I hate letting things go to waste too. Poor kids in India could use this shit. So might as well keep things internal and let it go to some other low to middle class privileged pc gamer!

Most coupons expire April 15 or 19. Also, ignore Monaco because that's been sent away for now.

If you want something, just comment below with what you want, your Steam name, and your personal†experience†with Steam Trading Cards. Do you not care? Are you as obsessed as I am? Have you spent dollars on the dime? Woojoowoojoowooboo? The meds are kicking!
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