Heals and Feels!

Hello, Dearest Reader. I know it has been almost a month and I sincerely apologize. I have been a bit busy with an existential crisis, an idea for a book, crochet, as well as a lot of soul searching. If you have been following along, you are aware that I never understood the part feelings play in our lives.

For years I wanted to be numb. I wanted to be a sociopath. I didn’t want to feel anything at all because I was so tired of hurting. I was so tired of opening myself to people and being burned in the process. I was tired of everyone around me trying to tell me how to live my life. I needed to find myself and I needed to unpack a lot of painful memories as well as pre-conceived notions I had about men. I hadn’t realized how misogynistic I had become.

Once the feelings started to flow, it jump started my creativity in a way I had never known. I started writing a book and I am not far at all. I have no idea when or if I will ever finish but I feel a pressing need to write so I write.

I was verbalizing my emotions, coming to terms with my past, and finding closure on old wounds. I was able to let go of a lot of grudges and after I started to really feel my emotions I began to heal.

Anyone that knows me can attest to my substance abuse when I start feeling things.

The Boyfriend asked me to pick up some Crown Royal. It has to be whiskey. Canadian whiskey, no less! I finish my shopping and I drive home. I put a pizza in the oven while he’s emptying the shopping bags. He picks up the bottle and reads the label.

“Oh, it’s a blend.”

“I’ve never had Crown Royal. Only Mist and Reserve.”

“Yuck. That’s the cheap stuff. You want to try it?”

No. “Sure!” I am in a controlled environment with my boyfriend. It’ll be okay.

We eat our pizza and he pours me a drink. “This is a grown mans drink right here.”

I pick up my glass and take a sip. I immediately began to cough and I could the burn. How did I ever drink this stuff?

He turns his head over his shoulder and says, “Don’t choke.”

Just like that I am a child. I felt like a kid whose parent just gave them a sip of whiskey. What happened to the girl that could drink a pint to herself in a weekend? What happened to the girl that just drank more when she was hungover? Now, I’m full grown and feeling like a child in my own kitchen. It was in that moment I realized two things;

I have a young heart/soul.

I’m a terrible heathen.

Once I started unpacking my internalized feelings I realized that I am highly emotionally intelligent. I realized this is where I belong. These things come naturally to me and it seems so silly to think that I was even attempting to run from my natural state of existence.

I didn’t need whiskey because I wasn’t afraid anymore. Relief flooded my soul. I realized it had been 10+ years since I had a drop of whiskey and there were times, usually under stress, I felt like I needed a drink. I had two shots and I didn’t enjoy either of them. It was strong and smooth. It wasn’t a bad whiskey. I just reached a point in my life where I see for myself that alcohol was never the answer.

I don’t have to wonder and I don’t have to worry about falling off the wagon because I have this experience now. I can say to myself, “Remember what happened last time?”

I have successfully removed a harmful crutch I never knew I didn’t need. I wasn’t an alcoholic but I easily could have been. Looking back, I realize I have built a wall of denial around myself.

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Fundamentals!

I never knew there was a name for the belief system that was shoved down my throat as a child.

Fundamentalism

For years I have struggled to undo the psychological damage this upbringing has caused. I have dug inside my brain and worked very hard to change my views and attitude toward the opposite gender.

Growing up in this environment taught me that women were under everyone and everything. We didn’t matter and were meant to breed and serve. Over the years this mentality has caused severe confusion. Exploring these ideas, asking questions, and trying to understand usually ended up with the same arguments:

“You’re convinced all men are the same…but they’re not.”

“You’re close minded and immature.”

“Misogyny goes both ways, you know.”

A friend of mine was kind enough to mention fundamentalism and when I googled it, my mind was blown. There was an immense burden lifted from my heart and soul. The more I read, the more I realized this was exactly what I experienced.

The monster inside my subconscious had a name.

This was a name. A thing. A well-documented thing. This was something I could read, learn, study…and then reprogram myself with logic and truth.

This was a concrete concept I could use to heal myself of this psychological damage.

I have had many discussions at great length with many people over the years. I could never understand their offense at me trying to learn and understand myself. I didn’t know this was a thing. I didn’t know this was a genuine belief system. I didn’t know I could use this word to find like minded individuals that can help me conquer these demons…once and for all.

I always viewed motherhood and marriage as a life of nothing but slavery. Nobody takes care of you. Nobody cares about you. Nobody will do anything to help you….while you’re expected to do everything for them.

I remember being a young woman and learning sex education in school. I would go to church and watch the pastor preach, while his wife and children were attentive in the first pew. I couldn’t help but laugh inside because who are they kidding?

They have children and some people are lucky enough to impregnate on the first try but for the most part, most adult couples do it more than once before getting pregnant. Then, they all dress up and come to church looking so prim and proper. I began to wonder about things my young mind had no business wondering about…

Do pastors wives enjoy that sort of activity?

Is it a chore for them?

The girls at my lunch table have already done it and it’s not a big deal to them…so why is it a big deal to us?

Are Christian women allowed to enjoy sex?

Do our husbands think less of us if we do enjoy sex?

What if they’re total freaks and we don’t know it?

This was when I began to realize everyone was dressing up and playing make believe. This was when I began to realize everyone was trying to outdo each other in how believable they could make their illusion to everyone else. I realized I didn’t want any part of this.

As a young woman, I was molested by my stepfather and when my mother found out, one of her favorite reminders to me was,

You’ll have to find a husband willing to forgive you for your impurity. You’ll have to ask his forgiveness before you can marry.

My soul was crushed and I was filled with so much dread and anxiety over this…and then I was angry. I think this was a real defining point in my life because it was from this anger I began to free myself.

Once the weight and gravity of what she said settled in, I thought to myself,

No, I don’t. I don’t even have to marry a Christian man; how about that, Mommy Dearest?

My anger turned into shock and awe at this newfound realization. I didn’t have to do this anymore….and I started rebelling hard against everything I was taught. I would purposely find contradictions in the Bible to rope the Pastor and deacons into arguments and questions they couldn’t answer.

Then, I started getting bold.

“Hey, Pastor. God created monkeys.”

“God created everything.”

“Some monkeys are homosexual.”

The point I was making was if God created monkeys and they practiced homosexuality, then gay people should be left alone.

It was a controversial topic that was brought up a lot. The adults would stand around and talk about hot button issues I would quietly slip in there and wait…wait for them to get nice and deep into the conversation. When there was a lull in the conversation,

“God gave us free will. Everyone knows there are consequences to their actions. If that’s what they want for themselves, you can’t really stop them.”

I thought it was so stupid and lame to stand around and talk about groups of people that have no bearing on your life whatsoever. It was so dumb how they would tear apart abortionists, gay people, Pokemon and whatever else they deemed “evil” at that particular moment.

I realized it was all non sense. When I grew up, I wanted to be free and independent. A take charge kind of girl!

As luck would have it, I hate taking charge and being lonely sucks. I was right back where I started – I believed everyone should be free so why did I want a boyfriend? I researched feminism and started getting into it but it was a bit…extreme and fragmented.

I was railing against fundamentalism but genuinely feel much safer and a lot more confident when I can say, “I have a boyfriend.” I like the security and protection of my boyfriend but feminism railed against this 100% while this fell in line with fundamentalism.

Where did I fall on this scale between these two extremes?

Right smack dab in the middle.

I like big and tall men. I like what I refer to as “classic men.” Classic in the sense that they fix stuff and do all the dirty jobs. They save me from all the creepy crawlies, vermin, and whatever is making that god awful smell in the trash bin.

They can reach that top shelf of the kitchen cupboard and aren’t squeamish about getting their hands dirty. Also, good money manager. Because I’m terrible with money.

I’ve done it on my own for years and was doing it wrong for so long. Here comes the boyfriend to save the day. But wait a moment…

Am I less of a woman because of the type of man I like?

No, I am not because I had the room, the freedom, and the independence to learn who I am, what I like, and what I need from my life. I wasn’t following a script or an ancient text telling me how I should live my life. These were my own decisions based on my own personal needs and there isn’t any shame in that.

I did what I set out to do and that was to find myself. Explore myself. Attend to my needs. Be my own person and make up my own mind. It really bothers me that around every corner there is always someone telling you who you are, who you should be, and how you should behave.

I definitely believe in respecting other people, common courtesy and etc. Beyond that, you do you, boo.

As for whether I am a fundamentalist, or a feminist, I am neither.

I am quite simply Gwyneth. I am nothing less, and nothing more. I do not choose to ally myself with any kind of group or political organization because I know all too well the toxic narrow mindedness such limited thinking can bring.

All of that being said, I am jump starting this new year by…

Continuing to explore myself and do what I enjoy, and what makes me happy!

xoxo,

Gwyneth

Is Zul’jin Overpowered?

I finally had a chance to open all of my packs and I received a lot of Hunter cards I wanted. I did have to disenchant some stuff to craft Zul’jin. When this card was first revealed there was a lot of concern surrounding this card. As a fan of all things Hunter, I was genuinely excited to see such a powerhouse added to my arsenal.

When I played Zul’jin for the first time I was flabbergasted at the sheer power of this 10 mana hero card. The text clearly states

The Art of Losing

December 1st marked the beginning of Season 57 in Hearthstone. My highest rank in season 56 was R16. Just a few stars shy of R15! When S57 started I was dropped down to R20. I am definitely confident I can make it to R15 this season. Rastakans Rumble released this week so I plan to capitalize on the instability of the metagame.

Grinding the ladder has taught me so much about my competitive spirit. I’ve learned that, unfortunately, I can be a bit of a sore loser.

I am not above cursing at the game, force closing the app, or even rage quitting on a few occasions. One match in particular really drove me over the edge.

If you watch this replay all the way to the bitter end, you will see this Priest high rolls Hadronox from Weaponized Pinata and summons ALL of their taunt minions that died during the match!

I was so livid about this match that I didn’t play for a few weeks! Instead of being appreciative of such a rare occurrence and accepting the fact that RNG just bit me in the behind, I temporarily rage quit the game!

When I calmed down and started playing again, I realized the true meaning of good sportsmanship. Good sportsmanship isn’t about emoting a “Hello, ” or issuing a “Well-Played” at the end of every match. Contrary to popular belief, good sportsmanship starts with my attitude. It starts with me learning to enjoy the competition. It starts with me learning to enjoy the grind.

“Ladder is just the same pool of net-decks over and over again.”

There is a nugget of truth in this statement but I feel it is way too general. When I reach floors 20, 15, 10, and 5, and Legend, they are locked. I cannot drop any lower than those ranks. This means once I reach a locked floor, I can blow off steam. I can play any deck I like without having to worry about losing rank. I have a moment to refresh and continue the grind at my leisure.

Learning to play well is only part of being competitive. The second part of being competitive is learning to be a good sport. You can climb as high as you want but if you’re rude or obnoxious people will not like you. Players will admire your skill but you’ll be considered a real jerk. Players will talk like, “He’s good at the game but good luck trying to be his friend.” Players will just find someone who is equally skilled and much friendlier to follow!

One of the biggest complaints in Hearthstone is the toxic players. There are all type of toxic players out there but imagine my absolute shock when I realized I was one of them! Toxicity starts inside me and spreads to the external parts of my life. This can, and often does breed more negativity over time. Next thing you know…

You don’t have to be a troll to be toxic.

When it comes to Hearthstone it is up to me to determine my play experience. Sometimes I visit the forum and read complaints about netdecks in casual or players insulting other players. I used to jump on this bandwagon and accept it as part of the Hearthstone experience.

I was failing to accept my own responsibility.

I may not befriend opponents just to insult them but I’ve been tempted! There have been quite a few occasions I’ve found myself cursing at my opponent. I’ve found myself wanting to throw my phone due to nerd rage. (The price tag is what stops me!)

I may not act on these angry impulses but I do internalize these feelings and carry them with me to the next match. “Oh, it’s a rogue so it must be burgle. Probably going to get my kill command and upgraded emeralds.” This mentality makes for a negative experience but it isn’t external: I am internalizing these negative thoughts and emotions.

Instead of laughing at the high rolls of my opponent or being empathetic to their bad luck, I find myself cursing them or rejoicing a little too much in their misfortune. I learned that my negative feelings were fostering a certain sense of superiority as I gained ranks.

Being a competitive player doesn’t give you a free pass to be a dick.

Just because I started playing ranked doesn’t give me the right to be a dick to my opponents. I am not any better than anyone else and nobody else is better than me just because we play different formats. When I’m faced with a toxic opponent, I find myself slinging my own toxicity right back at them!

I’ve engaged in roping, emote spamming, force closing the app, and issuing a snarky “Well-Played” when my opponent makes a wrong move. I am honestly ashamed of myself. I thought I was above this!

Toxic behavior just breeds more toxic behavior.

This is a cycle that will endlessly loop and feed on itself. I don’t want my opponent to think I am a jerk. I don’t want to be rude to people or enable their own toxic behavior. I want to spread optimism and positivity. I want Hearthstone to be exactly what the title suggests:

A sturdy hearth

Engaging with other players should be a fun and pleasant experience. It should be educational, informative, and positive. I understand that some people will always be toxic and there is nothing I can do for them. All I can do is stay positive and have fun. I like to think that this will make a difference.

Competition shouldn’t make me a jerk. In fact, it should be teaching me the opposite. I like to use visualization to help me deal with stressful situations. This is a little exercise I like to use when I am climbing ladder.

You’re walking down the road and come upon a brick tavern. The hinged sign hangs on a vertical pole: Hearthstone. Smoke floats from a chimney. You approach the double doors and push through them. Boisterous laughter and upbeat music fill your ears. The aroma of sweet bread and ale fill your nostrils. You look around and find an empty table. You take a seat. Ale and sweet bread are served to you. A stranger takes the seat across from you.

“Greetings, Traveler.”

I always imagine my opponent and I are in a tavern surrounded by people. I am sharing a public space with my opponent and there are rules on how to behave in public. Going into a play session with this mindset totally changes how I view my opponent. There is a real live, breathing person sitting across from me. While this perspective tends to romanticize something so trivial the end result has fascinated me.

“It shouldn’t matter what internet strangers think of you.”

The internet has replaced a severe amount of human interaction. These days everything is accomplished online – college, shopping, social networking, gaming, etc. Instead of viewing the internet as an anonymous place to be a jerk just because I can, I prefer to view the internet as a public space we all share. I know a lot of people think this concept is stupid because we all pay for our internet. We should be able to use it how we want…but this how I choose to use my internet.

This is me writing about how I choose to treat the internet strangers I encounter via the world wide web. If negativity breeds more negativity then it would be safe to assume that positivity would create more positivity. I can’t control the internet and I most certainly cannot stop trolls or control how other people behave.

I can only control myself. I can only control my behavior. I’m not naive enough to believe I can change how the internet is used or that I can stop players from being sore losers. All I can do is opt out of being a sore loser.

Refusing to participate in this toxic behavior will help me become a better player and have a much more enjoyable gaming experience. Nobody likes to lose but there is a way to gracefully acknowledge your loss and take it in stride. I want to be a good sport. I want to have fun while I climb. I want to engage with other players and provide a fun experience for us all.

I think that being a good sport is way more impressive than reaching legend.

Have you ever encountered a sore loser? How do you handle toxic players? How do you resist the temptation to be toxic?

Good Luck and Happy Gaming!

Gwyneth

Rastakhan’s Rumble

Next month is Rastakhan’s Rumble expansion pack for Hearthstone. I made a vow to be immune from the hype. Nope, the hype train was not going to get me….until I saw this thread on the forum. I found myself searching the website to see what else was in store for hunter…and now I am the conductor of the hype train. I have assembled the Hunter class cards as well as new beasts that have been revealed so far. (Image Source)

Choo-Choo!

There has been some debate on this card due to archetypes like Deathrattle Hunter and Spell Hunter. Obviously, this card will not fit into either of those decks. Even as a late game card draw it isn’t worth replacing any of the other 3 slot cards such as Terrorscale Stalker and Spider Bomb. Stalker and Bomb are essential to Cube Hunter. However, all is not lost.

Masters Call would be fantastic in a Midrange Beast Hunter deck. A traditional beast hunter is definitely what the doctor ordered. I love vying for the board. I miss the days when my opponent and I are top decking to see who draws their answer first! Also, there are some excellent beasts for nearly every card slot as well as some decent death rattle beasts like Savannah Highmane. Speaking of felines…

First, the card art is gorgeous. Typically, cats are difficult to train so to see such fierce felines in Rexxars arsenal stays consistent to his identity as a true beastmaster. Secondly, a 1/1 Rush that adds a second 1/1 Rush to your hand is a fantastic deal! This will cause opponents to think twice before dropping some of their one drops…if they want to keep them! Spring paw could be utilized in the mid game as a target for Dire Frenzy, Houndmaster, or even food for Scavenging Hyena! This is a flexible card and if you dire frenzy it, you could produce an army of big kitties! It is perfect for so many buffs that can make this little kitty perfect for contesting the board. Also, if you have enough lynxes that can trade into a bigger minion plus you can revive them!

This 2 mana spell might not look like  much but you can slip this into Spell Hunter and quite possibly turn the board into your favor. I would definitely pair this with Springpaw for sure. I could also use this bad boy to trade a Highmane, get my hyenas, and then revive my Highmane! It could also bring back a Tundra Rhino! It definitely has a spot in Beast Hunter but in a Spell Hunter deck, I’m not so sure. None of the beasts summoned have rush unless….could this spell bring back zombeasts?!

Rastakhan’s Rumble introduces a new mechanic called “Overkill.” This is not only a good spot removal but it can be used to summon a 5/5 devilsaur! While 3 damage doesn’t seem like much, it can definitely bring a large taunt down to killable health if they choose to trade. I really like this card because of how much decision making is involved. This spell definitely has potential but I also feel it is situational. For example, it is susceptible to a discounted flame strike followed by Jaina’s ping. (Go home Glyph: no-one likes you!) The best case scenario is you clear a minion, summon devilsaur and next turn DK Rexxar!

This is an amazing card that I think will be underrated. I plan to slip this into a Midrange Beast/Secret hybrid. Now, I understand Hunter has some bad spells but we’re an adaptable bunch. I think that most of Hunters spells are useful and I want to see if I can pull some extra Kill Commands, Emeralds, or maybe a trap for Eaglehorn Longbow. For 3 little mana you receive a free spell AND a 2/4 body. If nothing else, it is a minion to lay on board if your board has been cleared. I can’t complain.

Masked Contender is another 2/4 body that nets you a second secret should you need one. I am definitely seeing this as a staple in secret package. Sometimes I play a Secret and then draw an Emerald. If I play Masked Contender, I have a secret to activate my Spellstone! I hope this provides the consistency I need for my wolves. Again, this is a 2/4 body that has an awesome battle cry. However, all these 2/4s are susceptible to Mossy Horror and I have a sneaking suspicion a spellslinger will be receiving a spell specifically countering these 2/4s…

Okay guys T4, I am dropping this bad boy with a 1 drop, preferably Springpaw. I see a lot of smorc potential with this card, or buffing beasts to make trades. I love the cheap cost, the +2/+2 buff and its a 3/4 body. Paired with Springpaw you receive a 3/4 with a Rush 3/3; not bad. You can even coin this out on T3! Also, you could pair this with Dire Mole for a fat 3/5 mole to tear up your opponents lawn!

This is an excellent late game taunt that can buy a turn or two to gain some tempo, board control, or even trade into something big. Paired with Candle Shot, you could take down anything with 6 health and maybe survive. It’s definitely a nice juicy taunt that will be added to the beast pool. I like it!

Well this looks like King Crush time traveled from the future. If there aren’t any better legendaries revealed, I am definitely after this sexy beefcake. Now, if you’re a Beast Hunter, and you’re still in the same match, it isn’t looking good for you, friend. Oondasta to save the day….maybe. The 7/7 definitely makes it a beast that is going to need to be dealt with. However, if you were to pull this from Kathrena, receive the overkill bonus, and you are granted the Amani War Bear…just to have your board Psychic Screamed, haha!

(Eye twitches)

I could definitely see this squeezing its way into a Deathrattle Hunter deck. This handsome legendary has multiple uses for any deck that utilizes death rattle minions. My only concern with this legendary is Priest. Priests ability to summon multiple copies of their minions make this card a serious threat in Priests’ arsenal. However, I think with Zola this card could definitely fit into quite a few decks that might give Priest a run for their money. If you happen to play Wild, Hunters Deathrattle discount cards could definitely up Hunters game. Could you imagine being able to Cube Da Undatakah and then using Play Dead? Obviously, this is a late game set up but it could happen. Theoretically, your opponent kills off a devilsaur egg. You cube the devilsaur, and then the cube dies. Da Undatakah would produce 3 devilsaurs when it dies. This is provided that it isn’t silenced.

Or, you could cube a charged devilsaur so that would give you a 5/5 devilsaur from egg, and two charged devilsaurs from cube. Then, you Zola the Undatakah and repeat…holy cow! Depending on the consistency of the death rattle combinations, this legendary might be a target for a nerf.

I think this legendary might be a neutral staple like Leeroy, Genn, Baku, Lich King and so forth.

A cute little 1 drop that cheapens a random beast in your hand. The little baby! I have to admit that I am loving the card art for this expansion. This hatchling is not only adorable, but it also discounts a beast in your hand! I definitely do not have any complaints on this baby dino.

Do the scarab’s have the beast tag? If so, this could be slipped into an egg hunter deck. It’s a bit underwhelming so I’m not sure where it would fit. If you play a bunch of eggs, Void Ripper and then Infest…it could refill your hand with random beasts.

Wow! This is definitely a fantastic card. I could see myself playing this with Infest or Cyberchip and refilling my hand not once but twice. Also, paired with Scavenging Hyena…oh man! Drop Hyena, drop Halazzi, and then trade all your 1/1s to buff Hyena. Hit face with Hyena…lots of tempo with hand refill!

This could be run in just about anything. I see this card being a staple in any Hunter deck that runs beast. It is still susceptible to Void Rippers and board clears but any buffs you receive make it worth slipping this into your deck.

This is a beautiful 2 drop weapon that will allow Hunters use their health as a resource to make a trade or push for extra damage to the face. You can pair this with a spring paw and gain an extra charge! With 3 weapons in Hunters arsenal, it will be hard to ooze them all! 

I could see myself pairing this with Bestial Wrath. So, I could do Springpaw+Wrath+The Beast Within. This will buff up my kitty for sure while clearing a minion…or at least doing enough damage to clear it with my weapon while my kitty remains intact…

Zuljin is a hero card but his battlecry limits the spells you’d want to run. Also, surviving to T10. If you can survive to T10, you receive a nifty little hero power…

The theory is that Hunters hero power becomes targetable! Hunters can ping minions! If they live long enough to play Zuljin…

I think that the new cards are both pushing aggro and control type Hunters. Based on the cards revealed, Hunter is gaining a strong package. I am…cautiously optimistic about Zuljin. We shall see what happens!

This is my take on the new Hunter Class/Neutral cards coming out this December for Hearthstone. You can view the entire collection here.

I am genuinely excited to see what I open on launch day. I am definitely going to try and push for my Golden Hunter portrait before DK Rex rotates in April.

Overall, I’m genuinely excited about Hunters new class cards/beasts. I think this expansion is a step in the right direction. I hope that in the new year, Blizzard will have it together and these expansions build on one another. Then again, this could be wishful thinking.

What decks are you looking forward to playing? How hyped are you for Rastakhans Rumble? Let me know in the comments below!

xoxo,

Gwyneth

Emotional Impact of Hearthstone

I recently took a break from Hearthstone and it was good and bad. It was good because I needed a break but it was bad because I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t having fun. Is it the metagame? Am I bored with my decks? How do I rekindle the spark?

I had a quest to win three games with a Hunter/Druid deck. I put together a budget Druid Token deck but it was slow and definitely not gaining me wins. Discouraged, I logged out of the game and gave up on the quest. I did some research and realized Frozen Throne Token Druid wasn’t the same as current Token Druid. I missed flooding the board with Violet Teacher Apprentices and using Savage Roar to buff them for raw face damage after swiping their board.

The light bulb clicked on and I realized I love aggro decks. (But aggro decks are brainless.) I filtered golden spares in my collection and realized I had more than enough to craft some new toys.

Now that I had Baku….I needed a Baku deck…

I managed to scrape up enough dust for the Vilespine Slayers as well as Leeroy Jenkins. I took my new Odd Rogue to ladder and jumped from R23 to R19 in a single session! I cannot even begin to tell you the amount of satisfaction I received using Vilespine Slayer or that feeling when I play Leeroy for the finishing blow.

I always promised myself that I would never play cancer decks…but I cannot help myself. They’re fun, fast and they work. According to some members of the Hearthstone community aggro requires zero skill. You just play cards on curve and wait for the combo cards to turn yellow. It isn’t nearly as interactive or thought provoking as The Almighty Control deck.

Well, dear reader, I call bullspit. When it comes to Odd Rogue it is a tempo and numbers game. How can I use these cards to output as much damage as possible while removing big minions? How do I know when its safe to extend? How do I not miss lethal? There are a lot of decisions to be made and there is a lot that can go horribly wrong.

I have played a lot of Priest throughout my Hearthstone career. I can play my priest decks on autopilot. I’ve played them so much that I am intimately familiar with all of their interactions. When I’m familiar with my deck it is much easier to pilot. The learning curve for aggro decks seems to be smaller than the learning curve for control decks.

But they both have learning curves!

Going from control to aggro is a bit tricky because I am accustomed to hoarding my resources. This is an issue when I need to play for tempo and damage. There isn’t any wait time. There isn’t a next turn or chance of recovery. I have to keep track of my resources and maximize them as much as possible. There isn’t an opportunity to sit back and hoard cards. I can’t sit back and take damage until I’ve assembled my combo pieces or my aoe cards. I can’t sit back, collect cards and throw down large taunts.

I have to play what I can when I can. I have to be selective with my limited removal. It is a matter of knowing what to do and when. I have to know what is in my deck and what I’m likely to draw next. I think that deck familiarity plays a huge part in learning any archetype. Once I’m familiar with my deck then its a matter of exposing myself to anything and everything the current metagame has to offer.

Aggro players are often stereotyoed as brainless degenerates but does this mean the level of my intelligence is determined by the deck I pilot? If I switch from Odd Rogue to Dragon Priest does my IQ suddenly skyrocket? What does this really say about my playstyle?

It says that I like variety. It says that I enjoy all archetypes and decks. It says I like to play a deck depending on the mood I am in at the moment. Also, time is a factor. I can’t always sit down for a 45 minute control vs control match. If aggro matches are so brainless, how is anyone losing to them?

Why does losing a match make me so angry anyway? I have the patience of Job when it comes to my Alzheimers residents but my opponent drops Keleseth on T2? Gwen Angry! Gwen Smash!

When I play matches with my friends emotes are welcome! A stranger greets me? Squelch! What has this stranger done to me to deserve this treatment? They have the same opportunity to mulligan as me. They draw one card per turn just like me. Lady Luck is fickle. She can be your best friend or a treacherous fiend. My opponent doesn’t have any control over their luck any more than I have control over my own luck. So, why am I being rude to them just because they got lucky? Why am I so angry when they capitalize on my misplays when I would have done the same thing?

How dare my opponent have cards! How dare they know how to play cards they shouldn’t have! How dare they high roll!

Of course if I was playing versus a friend and they high rolled Hadronox as a Control Priest I would have laughed until I cried! Or peed! Or both! When a stranger high rolls Hadronox as a Control Priest I stay mad for days and refuse to play for a week. (I’m an adult, I promise!) Why is it so difficult to appreciate my opponents high roll and good moments? Yes, I see lethal and concede before they can fire off their combo because I’m such a sore loser. In a digital card game!

Why am I on an emotional roller coaster every time I open Hearthstone? Why do I take losses so hard? Why do I act like a random stranger in a pvp game just killed my Grandma when they win?

The truth is, dear reader, I am highly insecure about my intelligence and my skill. I hit a losing streak and stop playing. Then, I complain I can’t climb ladder. It’s a pattern: a cycle that needs to stop. I don’t reach higher ranks because I lose and stop playing. Secretly, I oftentimes wonder if I’m just too dumb to play Hearthstone but I don’t think that is the case. I think that I’m a loser who fails to realize her subtle sense of entitlement.

I crafted this high win rate deck so I should be winning!

These decks have high win rates because pro level players spent hours fine-tuning, tweaking, studying, crafting, and perfecting these decks to share the best possible lists and instead of simply practicing these decks…

I crafted this high win rate deck so I should be winning!

I’ve recognized this vicious cycle within myself so how can I stop these thought processes? It seems like as soon as I log into Hearthstone all logic goes out the window and I turn into a spoiled five year old. Some five year olds can be the friendliest little beings on this planet. Two children can be playing in a sandbox and one has a shovel while the other child doesn’t have any toys. Some children will share their shovel. Some kids are happy to share and be kind.

And then there are kids in the sandbox like me…

This is MY sandbox! How dare YOU have a shovel in MY sandbox!

When I apply this visual to my attitude in Hearthstone, it is quite humbling. It really puts everything in perspective. My opponents are in this sandbox to have fun. I am in this sandbox to have fun. Who am I to poke fun at their sense of fun? If they want to build an elaborate sand castle who am I to say it’s the wrong way? If my idea of fun is shoving sand in my mouth who are they to say it’s the wrong way? (Please don’t eat sand: it’s just to illustrate the level of my nonsense.)

I wonder what would happen if I learned to treat every single opponent as my friend. I wonder what would happen if I celebrated their victories and their good luck when it happens. I wonder if this shift in my attitude could improve my own tolerance toward other players. Is this how players make friends? Gasp!

The source of all these misconceptions is The Forum. In the beginning I was referred to as an “R20 Scrub.” Every time an aggro deck hits the metagame pages of threads pop up about “brainless aggro decks.” I absorbed these ideas and ran with them. I am predisposed to believe everything negative that applies to me.

The first step to ending this nonsense once and for all is to accept that there is nothing wrong with me. I didn’t develop the game and I do not have the power to print cards. As a matter of fact, I despise Devolve and Shudderwock but this doesn’t mean that the players enjoying these decks are morally bankrupt degenerates. It simply means their idea of fun is different than my idea of fun.

Just because we are different does not mean one is better than the other.

If nobody is playing combo decks then what challenges control? If nobody is playing control decks then what would challenge aggro? We’re all in this together and like it or not other players are going to challenge me. My patience, my nerves, even my mentality.

Is it possible to change from a sore loser to a good sport? Do you prefer combo, aggro or control? How do you handle your losses?

Happy Gaming!

Gwyneth

Side Effects of “Crazy”

[I know this post is late and I sincerely apologize! I’ve been caught up in my reading this past week! Hope you enjoy!]

“You’re over-reacting.”

Calm down.”

“It’s not that big of a deal.”

“You’re acting crazy.”

These are common phrases I’ve heard when I express my feelings. However, after hearing them so much I’ve begun to believe that I am a genuine crazy person. This internal belief has caused a lot of suffering to my inner self.

Emotional Intimacy

I want nothing to do with emotional intimacy. I don’t talk about my feelings and I internalize everything. There have been too many times I’ve opened up to people just to have it thrown back in my face.

“No wonder you’re bipolar.”

Bipolar? I tend to think I have a pretty good handle on regulating my emotions. I don’t throw tantrums and I use logic, critical thinking, and reasoning to resolve conflict in my life. I don’t wallow in misery. I figure why I’m not happy and make a plan to make myself happy.

How does this make me a crazy person? For many years I ran around thinking about diagnoses that were handed to me by lay people in my life. According to everyone I’ve met in my life, I suffer from the following:

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

I would research all of these topics and study them religiously. Then, I would try and dig for the reasons why people would say such things. This helped me to provide context. I was “diagnosed” with OCD because I was preparing chicken.

When it comes to handling raw chicken, you wash your hands before and after handling the chicken. If you have to touch something else besides the chicken, wash your hands, do what you need to do, wash your hands and go back to the chicken. Then, you wash your hands when you’re done handling the chicken.

Once this realization hit me my mind was blown. I’m not crazy; he’s just an uneducated idiot.

There was a time or two where I was “diagnosed” with Bipolar but in these instances I was grieving a loss in the family that I refused to share with my boyfriend. I refused to share because I didn’t want to be called “crazy, ” or earn another “diagnosis.”

Every time I wanted to resolve a conflict in a relationship versus breaking up, I would be “diagnosed” with Borderline Personality Disorder because of my “fear of abandonment.”

I do have anxiety attacks but you would never guess because I never show them and I only become depressed when I’m bored.

While I realize I’ve dated some idiots it has done some serious damage. I internalize my feelings and never talk about anything that hurts my feelings. There is that horrorifying fear that I will lose all credibility with that person. I can see how and why I was gaslit so much but I don’t know where to begin on repairing myself. Where do I even start?

Fear of Sexuality

One of the most common side effects of a crazy person is they’re promiscuous but don’t stick your dick in crazy! I enjoy sex…with my boyfriend. I like trying new things (within reason) and I aim to please. However, it takes a lot for me to even initiate the sort of activity. I am so afraid of being seen as a sexual person because too many times I’ve been called names, accused of cheating, and told that my nature results from “Daddy issues.”

What was supposed to be a fun, sexy, date night has left my make up running down my face from bawling my eyes out in my new lingerie. Growing up in a strict Christian home, I’ve learned the art of repressing such urges.

Drama

Crazy women love drama and if they say they don’t want any drama, it means they really want drama. There is a massive difference between drama and conflict! Conflict resolution is a very useful skill to have and in my experience addressing issues in the relationship means you’re creating drama. Wow, really? Addressing the fact that I pay for your room and board because you can’t keep a job means I’m a drama queen? Projection much?

I’m an analytical person and I’ve come a long way in healing myself. I’ve come a long way in ironing out a lot of issues I’ve had. I’ve ruined relationships, hurt peoples feelings and broken hearts. However, there is a serious amount of psychological damage that the Crazy Label does.

The biggest issue with it is it’s disrespectful to individuals who have a diagnosis of legitimate mental/mood disorders! There are tons of people who suffer from these things and lead happy, successful lives. The last thing they want is some douchebag making light of their struggle just to manipulate their girlfriend!

My exes loved running to all their friends and telling them how I was “crazy, ” or a “psycho.” Then we would break up and all these so-called “nice guys” would line up trying to get in my pants. It was a terrible time in my life.

I had enough so I came up with a plan. I cut them all out of my life and from that point on, if someone called me “crazy, ” I stopped talking to them. This was the greatest decision of my life. I stopped obsessing over what might be wrong with me and started enjoying my life. I found new hobbies and a wonderful man (going on 5 years!) We have two lovable dogs and just have fun together.

Reflecting back on this stigma I realized you can shed a label by getting rid of the people trying to label you.

I’ve learned to become vocal about my wants, needs and desires. I stopped being so hard on myself and learned to relax and have fun. If a hobby or a game isn’t fun, I just stop. I want to have fun and be happy. I’m sick of people trying to bring me down all the time.

Have you ever been gaslit? How did you handle it? What was your breaking point?

Gwyneth