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Everything posted by -A-

  1. You wouldn't have Aberdeen in the top 4 clubs?
  2. A lot of the memorable recent West Ham teams played a more attacking than normal style of football. The 2006/2007 season the team came up and pretty much kept playing the same way. Benayoun and Reo-Coker at their best, Marlon Harewood scoring an inexplicable number of goals, Dean Ashton looking like a bargain signing. Pardew never really played timid football and that season was one of the most exciting. Next year was the Tevez/Mascherano fiasco, but the football that season was pretty good. Not glamorous, but more positive than a newly-promoted team would be. Likewise with the 'too good to go down' relegation team. Di Canio, Kanoute and Defoe, Joe Cole and Trevor Sinclair. Maybe not world-beating attackers, but the team played the 'attractive' football these kind of fans are obsessed with. The same kind that Pardew seems to want to play at Newcastle
  3. Yes, I think they're just not in a position to want to spend £25m on a left back. Could also be that they've enquired and he's just decided he wants to go to United or Chelsea.
  4. I guess that when there are two categories and people can't decide which guy they prefer they split the difference.
  5. Yes, according to Opta. Palace now the only team not to have done so this season.
  6. Agreed. I'm usually of the opinion that they could do with fewer ex-pros as pundits, but those two are amongst the best I've seen.
  7. My plan is to play more and get better at the game, so it definitely would be a good opportunity. I'll see who's going from the shop since I barely know these guys. The launch party next week's a good opportunity because people come from further afield (especially since the closest other shop recently shut down.) It seems like competing at the level where you can make money is pretty expensive (even if you aren't building fun decks or collecting cards that aren't intended for competition.) Ever have any good paydays? Even getting a plane ticket's an awesome prize and it still seems hard to get back what you pay.
  8. Hmm, the phrase was 'guaranteed entry' so I guess they have some kind of proviso in case a thousand inexperienced players turn up off the street? I think it's a step too far at this point. I'm still completely in danger of making critical errors. Maybe next season!
  9. Just got back from the Dark Ascension pre-release party. Was fucking amazing! Only my second ever tournament and out of 40 runners I came tied for 1st on 5-1-0 (though I was 4th because the guy that beat me finished pretty low.) It was a Sealed tournament and I didn't even pull anything particularly good. Best creature was a Blue/Black Legendary Zombie but my blue and black cards were very weak so I couldn't even play him. Ended up picking a Green/Red Wolf/Werewolf deck that worked incredibly well. I splashed a tiny amount of white, but I think that was un-necessary in retrospect. By far the star was Increasing Savagery which single-handedly won me at least 3 games. One of the guys I beat is in the top 10 in Scotland and I placed above 2 more guys in and around the top 20. Definitely made one or two errors (that I noticed) but only one major error and that didn't even cost me a game. Sure there are other mistakes I didn't notice, though! When I opened my packs I thought for sure I was going to get murdered since I don't really know how to go about building this kind of deck and I didn't have any great pulls. In the end I think I made some really good, tough decisions. If I go back next week they have a similar tourney and if I place around the same area then I'll already have automatic entry to the Pro Tour Qualifier in my area in a month. Actually playing in that event would be impossible because I don't have a remotely competitive Modern deck, but it would be really interesting to go. Top prize in that is a trip to Barcelona to play in some even bigger tournament!
  10. Except they signed Suarez in the same window. They lost N'gog and Torres and they signed Suarez. They had very little to play for for the remainder of the season and they had a big money signing coming in to potentially replace Torres. No-one cares about N'gog either way. Liverpool didn't sign Carroll for sporting reasons, they signed him because the owners were desperate to avoid the PR mess that selling Torres to Chelsea would have created. They have money to spend (as has been clearly shown since) so they don't even want to start the rumblings of 'more Yanks here to grind out a profit like the Glazers.' They're in for the long-term and I think they're aware how important it is to keep the fans and the media on their side. It's OK to have an expensive flop (what big club hasn't had one?) but it's a slippery slope if you allow people to start mumbling about their financial motives or resources.
  11. Yeah, if we can hopefully get a good group of Azarenka, Sharapova, Williams and Kvitova winning Slams then the game will be much better. Wozniaki might have it in her, too. Stosur, Li Na and Zvonareva are pretty much at the peak of their powers. There have been too many disappointments in the last 5 years. No-one's come through and solidified themselves as number one since Henin in 2003. Even Sharapova has never made two GS finals in the same year. So many prospects were overhyped like Ivanovic, Safina and Jankovic as you mentioned. Kuznetsova and Dementieva, even Mauresmo all looked like they could maybe have squeezed a bit more out of their abilities. Top players have been injured or otherwise missed large chunks of time in a way that hasn't happened in the men's game.
  12. But Serena hasn't done enough in the last 12 months to prove she's playing better than Wozniaki. If the minor events aren't considered all that important, then forget them entirely and their records still aren't dis-similar. Serena missed the French, went out in the 4th round this tournament and at Wimbledon and lost to Stosur in the US Open final. Wozniaki made QF here, SF at the US, 4th round at Wimbledon and 3rd round at the French. Li Na and Stosur aren't better players than Wozniaki. Williams and Clijsters not only aren't playing in the small tournaments, they're missing (or losing in) the Slams, too. Yeah, it sucks that there was a perma-number one with no Slams, but this isn't a small tournaments vs. weak tournaments issue. It's because the women's game is in a dreadful state with no clear best player. Someone needs to put together a 12 month stretch of good performances and there are a few who are capable of it. Azarenka's just made her second ever SF at one of the Slams, so she'll be able to make a case for being the best over the next year. Sharapova's still young and seems to be back to some level of consistency. Kvitova also has the potential to win multiple titles. Wozniaki has her own battles to try and perform better in the big matches, but she's an excellent pacemaker for the rest. If they can't put together a season that surpasses her hugely consistent benchmark then they don't deserve to be called the best player either.
  13. If it's the 2012 version (that's the only one I've played) then I'd definitely say it's worth that. The single player mode is maybe a little bit repetitive (because you're really just playing game after game, albeit against different decks) but since everything's new to me that was no problem. It's nice because unlike the real-life game or Magic Online you don't have to know about absolutely every card in existence, it's much more user-friendly. There are something like 8-10 decks that you get access to and each time you win a match with one you unlock a new card. Each deck has 15 cards to unlock and you can then switch out whichever ones you didn't like using. For variety there are mini challenges and this crazy gametype called Archenemy. That's a 3 vs. 1 mode, but the guy on his own gets a random super-spell each turn that can completely ruin your plans. You can also play online and I found that a lot easier to get into than I thought. I'd played through the campaign and had seen most of the cards in action, so there were no confusing mechanics or totally unpredictable game-changing surprises. If you see someone playing with the Blue/Green deck, you know roughly how they're going to be playing from the very first turn and it's easier to plan. When I went to FNM I was up against all kinds of decks and had to ask to look at quite a few cards just to understand what they did. There are a few little problems that annoy more experienced players than me, though. There are some rules bugs that I haven't really noticed and the AI isn't all that great even on the top level. You don't get to pick which land gets tapped when you cast a spell that has a colourless requirement, which can occasionally be a bit annoying. Overall, as a way of getting used to playing the game of Magic I think it was pretty much perfect. You have a deck pre-built for you and you don't have a million head-scratching options. Cards are introduced to you slowly, one at a time, so you don't get overwhelmed. You can stop and take as long as you like to read a card or make a difficult decision. There's loads of gameplay in it if you want to try all the decks and the different strategies they have. I can see that it wouldn't have much novelty for an experienced player who already knows that cards and how to play, but it was perfect for me (having never played Magic in my life before getting it.)
  14. Paul Warhurst was a hero for my Leeds team in an early version of CM. He could play anywhere from CB to striker, I think. 4-3-3 with Shearer, Rod Wallace and Chris Bart-Williams up front. Maximum win bonus every game and the league was guaranteed!
  15. How come you don't like shipping cards? I bought some singles after my FNM experience and they arrived today! Spent £15 to take my total on magic-related stuff to £50. I'm really averse to wasting money, but I don't mind spending a little bit if I'm going to be playing regularly enough. I don't think I'd need to spend much more on the deck I have at the moment, I don't need to have absolutely the best cards if everything's working.
  16. Magic Online looks interesting, I've been meaning to give it a try. I'm a bit worried about the idea of continuing to play IRL simultaneously and having to spend money on both to make them worthwhile since this seems like an expensive game. How does it work online payment-wise? I saw that there's a subscription, but do you have to buy packs to get decent cards? Is there any way to buy singles or pre-built decks?
  17. But how much of a transfer fee do they lose by doing that? £5m? £6m? Bolton just got £7m for (effectively) five months of Gary Cahill's services, how much is 12 months of Pavlyuchenko worth?
  18. Isn't there some ridiculous stat that he's created about 70 'goalscoring chances' (whatever that means) but had zero assists? I'm sure most of them will be mis-hit crosses into the box, but I think Liverpool's problems up front have made a provider's job much harder. Yeah, Suarez scores goals, but he seems to set most of them up himself. Kuyt's been anonymous in the games I've seen. No-one who could profit from Downing's style of play is scoring goals. Seems like madness for them to spend £20m to make something of a £35m error
  19. So, I'm 26 and I've just started playing Magic for the first time in my life thanks to my sister. When I was at school I had no interest in it whatsoever because I had no interest in art, generic fantasy or spending money on packs. We started playing DOTP12 on the Xbox and I absolutely love the strategy of the game. I'm not a gambler by nature so I still hate the idea of buying boosters, but after getting a deck for Christmas and playing a little at home I've really got into it. I've almost completely stopped playing the Xbox game because I bought a really fun mono white Human deck (the Innistrad Event Deck 'Hold the Line') and I played my first Friday Night Magic tournament last week. Finished 5th out of 9 runners and was one game away from finishing third, which I was really happy with since it was the first time I've played anyone except my sister. The game I could have won was against a really nice guy who had a seriously impressive RG deck, running Kessig Wolf Run (I think.) He said I scooped too early after he cast Day of Judgment on turn 3 or 4. We were at 12 life each but I didn't fancy my chances against him in the midgame. I have no cards that cost more than 3 mana and rely on Champion of the Parish, Elite Inquisitor and Mirran Crusader to finish my opponent early. I lost the next game and in my next match-up had frequent mulligans (once down to 4 cards!) and lost 2-1. I've changed my deck quite a bit after that, it was a good learning experience. Anyone still play? I've really enjoyed reading forums and columns on the game but it's a bit intimidating getting involved in when my knowledge is so narrow. If anyone's still following the game I'd really appreciate some tips!
  20. They're cofident they can find a buyer and an additional year on his contract increases the fee they can get for him. It also puts more pressure on him and his agent to agree terms with another club because they know another year of not playing (and getting older) decreases his chances of getting a good club with a good contract.
  21. That's really a product of who actually is winning the grand slam events. Stosur, Kvitova and Li Na are reigning champions and haven't done enough to justify being world number one, either. Kvitova is getting back to form but she had an incredible slump after Wimbledon that set her back. Clijsters and Serena are both top players, but on such limited schedules that they're not really in contention for best player in the world. It's not like they're rocking up and winning every major event, either - Serena hasn't won one since Wimbledon in 2010 and Clijsters has only last year's Aussie Open contributing to ranking points. If she doesn't win it again she'll lose ground. The ranking system is pretty good at the top end. If we don't have a deserved number one that's because there isn't one - the contenders are either part-timers, inconsistent or both. You can't justify being the best in the world from two weeks work.
  22. Why is that guy dressed like M Bison?
  23. I dunno, just that their only job is to throw the ball accurately, albeit between the legs and with two hands
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