This is an English translation of the latest Chinese Wild meta report from He Zong Lian Heng of NGA.CN
. Decklist images can be found here
thanks to u/Glormagic
|Tier ||Score ||Deck 1 ||Deck 2 ||Deck 3 |
|1 ||96 ||Odd Demon Hunter || || |
| ||95 ||Odd Paladin || || |
| ||92 ||Jade Druid ||Discard Warlock ||Pirate Warrior |
| ||91 ||Secret Mage || || |
| ||90 ||Galakrond Warrior ||Reno Priest || |
| || || || || |
|2 ||89 ||Odd Warrior ||Reno Quest Mage ||Mecha'thun Warlock |
| ||88 ||Reno Secret Mage || || |
| ||87 ||Reno Hunter || || |
| ||86 ||Quest Mage ||Big Priest ||Kingsbane Rogue |
| ||85 ||Togwaggle Druid || || |
| ||84 ||Linecracker Druid || || |
| ||83 ||Even Warlock ||Reno Warlock ||Odd Rogue |
| ||81 ||Token Druid ||Cube Warlock ||Even Shaman |
| ||80 ||Murloc Paladin || || |
| ||76 ||Reno Mage || || |
| ||75 ||Mech Paladin || || |
| ||70 ||Albatross Priest (estimate) || || |
| || || || || |
|3 ||60 ||Treachery Warlock (estimate) || || |
As Quest Mage has been nerfed, the pressure of the meta has decreased. This meta report lists multiple decks, including decks that are low in popularity. Note...
Meta overview: Ashes of Outland
- This wild meta report is based on the authors' perspective through many matches and historical experience and through the analysis of ladder deck specialists on the Chinese server.
- This wild meta report pertains to the MMR range corresponding to players with 9 bonus stars and above and ignores MMR less than 9 bonus stars as that meta is insufficiently competitive; decks there are less refined and less worthy of analysis. If you have less than 9 bonus stars pick a strong aggro deck and climb out of that meta.
- This wild meta report is planned to be updated monthly. In extreme circumstances extensions may be necessary but we still plan to update it monthly.
- This wild meta report may be less accurate soon after a patch; as time passes it will become more accurate, but owing to the limits of individual perspective and the lack of sufficient data, accuracy is not guaranteed.
is receiving its second "legal hearing". After Quest Mage received its "last meal" of Evocation before its upcoming execution (nerf), it learned that it was only to be demoted. Odd Demon Hunter was similarly demoted but its punishment was more akin to a fine. But relatively speaking, Quest Mage survived, while Darkest Hour Warlock was hauled to the chopping block. That deck that terrorized for more than a year was hauled off of its high horse. Mecha’thun Warlock also did not escape punishment (with the Bloodbloom nerf).
The second round of nerfs was targeted at Quest Mage, Darkest Hour Warlock, and Standard Demon Hunter. But the nerfs to Bad Luck Albatross and Sacrificial Pact cannot be ignored. The nerf of the former relieves pressure from highlander decks, while that of the latter means that Warlock and Demon Hunter will be less susceptible to Zephrys the Great. The nerf to Kael’thas Sunstrider was targeted at Standard Druid but also hit Wild Druid. With regard to Wild format, the biggest effect of the nerf was to weaken Quest Mage while Odd Demon Hunter was not crippled and continues to dominate ladder. The nerf to Darkest Hour Warlock was inconsequential as after Shadow Word: Ruin was added to Zephrys’ Discover pool, the deck ceased to have heavily favored matchups. Losing Darkest Hour Warlock did not significantly change the other decks in the meta.
The widely feared Quest Mage is no longer as consistent after the nerfs. Flamewaker Quest Mage now needs an excellent starting hand to complete the quest; in the past it was possible to complete the quest without a good hand, but now it is more difficult to do so, indicating the deck is weaker to aggro. Reno Quest Mage is also weakened as it now needs more turns to generate additional spells to complete the quest. On the whole, both variants of Quest Mage have been hit hard by the nerf and their popularity has nosedived, leading to a meta in flux. Decks that were previously suppressed by Quest Mage have resurfaced. Among these are Hemet Mecha’thun Warlock and Reno Priest demonstrating decent popularity, which fare well against decks not Quest Mage. Like Quest Mage, the aforementioned two decks have OTK potential, albeit less reliably. Reno Priest relies on drawing Raza the Chained and Shadowreaper Anduin and cannot OTK before turn 8. Quest Mecha’thun Warlock can win as early as turn 7, and usually around turn 10. Relatively speaking, Mecha’thun Warlock has supplanted Quest Mage as the sharp blade that suppresses slower strategies. The decline in popularity of Quest Mage can partially be attributed to its replacement by these other combo decks. It would seem that slower decks struggle in this meta, but that is not the case.
As the saying goes, combo decks counter control. But in the case of Reno Priest that is not entirely correct. Reno Priest can struggle against the pressure of midrange and control but it fares better against some aggro. The deck is simply a highlander control deck in the guise of a combo deck; its combo potential is a case of “buy one get one free”. Mecha’thun Warlock rather counters control, but its weaknesses are evident. It fears Dirty Rat, it fears Loatheb on its combo turns, and it must watch its health total. Older Mecha’thun Warlock lists that included Voidcaller or quest were less susceptible to Dirty Rat as the only target was Mecha’thun itself. But the current deck also has as its Dirty Rat targets Dollmaster Dorian and Kael’thas Sunstrider, without either its combo is impossible. Once a control deck has Dirty Rat in hand, it has a higher chance of disrupting the Mecha’thun combo. As a result, neither Reno Priest nor Mecha’thun Warlock have become the killers of control decks. If you want to play a control deck, in theory, you do not need to take into account the existence of Reno Priest nor Mecha’thun Warlock.
In spite of this, the wishes of players for a “control meta” are unrealistic. This is because control decks are not inherently strong. If one wants to count on Dead Man’s Hand Warrior, N’Zoth Reno Mage, Reno Shaman etc. being popular, that is clearly impossible. Weaker control decks have not resurfaced, but some mid-control decks have. The classic examples are Reno Hunter and Big Priest. Soon, we may even see Reno Warlock and Even Warlock reappear.
While control decks may not face pressure from combo decks, the current meta environment is full of aggro decks, such as Even Shaman, Odd Paladin, Pirate (Token) Druid, Murloc Paladin that rely on flooding the board; lacking a board clear can mean being snowballed to a quick defeat. There also exist aggro decks like Secret Mage, Odd Demon Hunter, Galakrond Warrior that rely on early tempo combined with direct burn; taking excess damage from an early board can result in a dangerous position. Aggro decks are becoming gradually more well-rounded and are able to reliably construct strong early boards, access burn strategies, and maintain pressure without running out of resources. This means non-aggro decks must have the full suite of counter strategies, including small board clears, large board wipes, single target removal, and healing. As it is hard to have all of the above, this indicates that non-aggro strategies will be unfavored. By Hearthstone’s nature, aggro dominates, unless the non-aggro deck is extremely broken, like Quest Mage before its nerf.
From the advent of the Wild format aggro has been king. Even when there have appeared extremely strong combo decks, the counters that arise are aggro decks. The current meta lacks ridiculous combo decks, so the aggro deck that beats the other aggro decks must be the strongest deck in the format. Last patch those decks were Even Shaman and Galakrond Warrior. No aggro deck clearly dominates the others in the current meta, but based on popularity, Odd Demon Hunter at 20% of the “meta slave” meta (not exactly sure what this means) may be the strongest. But the deck is not perfect and has many inherent weaknesses, and counters may arise in future. Once the deck’s popularity drops, the meta will be shaken up again.
Currently, the meta has not stabilized. Any change in a deck can have a butterfly effect. There are many decks with undeveloped potential. In the near future, many decks can either find new life or drop in popularity. Popular meta tech cards:
There is no doubt the popularity of certain tech cards can be used to gauge meta conditions.
|Card ||Explanation |
|Blowtorch Saboteur ||As Odd Demon Hunter comprises 20% of the "meta slave" meta, this card enjoys high popularity, even in the mirror. |
|Mindbreaker ||Like Blowtorch Saboteur, this card targets Odd Demon Hunter, but it also affects one's own hero power. Thus, it is commonly ran in aggro lists that do not rely on its hero power, such as Galakrond Warrior and Token Druid. |
|Glacial Shard/Frozen Shadoweaver ||These two cards serve the same purpose: to slow down one of Odd Demon Hunter's key turns can lead to victory. But owing to their mana costs, it is usually ran only by Odd Demon Hunter for the mirror. |
|Secret EateChief Inspector ||Secret Mage is increasing in popularity. As long as that deck exists, so will these two tech cards. |
|Skulking Geist ||The meta is not lacking in crucial 1-cost spells. Quest Mage relies on 1-cost spells to finish its quest, Jade Druid will often concede after this card is played, and both Odd Warrior and various Warlock decks use 1-cost spells. A well-timed Geist can swing a victory. But owing to its high mana cost, this card is typically only played in control decks as it fits poorly in a mana curve. |
|SpellbreakeIronbeak Owl ||Silence is often directed at Voidcaller and Mech Paladin's buffed mechs, but owing to the decline in popularity of Voidcaller and the near disappearance of Mech Paladin, these two cards are less important. |
|Maiev Shadowsong ||Maiev's not merely another Spellbreaker. It can be used to neutralize a large minion for two turns and gain the tempo advantage. But when used to bypass taunts, yes, it is another Spellbreaker. |
|Acidic Swamp Ooze/Gluttonous Ooze ||For a while, weapons have been among the stronger types of cards in Hearthstone. Weapons tend to be stronger than minions and spells of the same cost. As the Wild format contains must-remove weapons, Oozes will always see play. |
|Dirty Rat ||Dirty Rat saw little play when Quest Mage was the premier OTK deck. But now that (Hemet) Mecha'thun Warlock has taken that crown, Dirty Rat is very effective tech against that. |
|Nerub'ar Weblord ||Nerub'ar Weblord is played in Even Shaman and Token Druid. As many key minions, such as highlander minions, rely on battlecries this card is effective against those. But its effect is a double-edged sword and thus it is limited to the aforementioned decks. |
1, Odd Demon Hunter
Following two rounds of severe nerfs, Odd Demon Hunter remains strong. Demon Hunter has many strong individual cards; despite the nerfs to Imprisoned Antaen, Aldrachi Warblades, Skull of Gul'dan, and Battlefiend, it retains Priestess of Fury and Warglaives of Azzinoth. However, the nerf to Battlefiend weakened Demon Hunter's early game. Demon Hunter was not destroyed by the nerfs; though the nerf to Altruis, the Outcast removed the class's ability to wipe the board in the middle to lategame, Priestess of Fury serves a similar purpose. However, Demon Hunter is not perfect; the deck has many weaknesses. Odd Demon Hunter is unable to deal with a large minion or multiple mid-sized minions. The deck is carried by the strength of its individual cards and its suitability to the meta. Its cheap silence in Consume Magic targets the format's powerful minions (Voidlord, Even Shaman's totems, Mech Paladin's mechs). Mana Burn limits the snowball ability of other aggro. Odd Demon Hunter's early minions are not strong, and do not seriously threaten opponents, but Priestess of Fury compensates for this. After the second round of nerfs, Vulpera Scoundrel saw increased play and is included in the most popular lists. The Pirate package has begun to be abandoned and replaced with Beaming Sidekick to strengthen early tempo. As for tech cards, there exist Blowtorch Saboteur, Glacial Shard, Frozen Shadoweaver, and Chief Inspector, with the former being the most popular for the mirror.
2, Galakrond Warrior
For a long time, Galakrond Warrior was built around a Pirate shell, with N'Zoth's First Mate allowing the deck to gain early tempo. This is why the deck is good in Wild but only mediocre in Standard. At times, builds that eschewed the Pirates for Eternium Rover and bombs also saw play. As highlander decks are stronger and thus more prevalent in Wild than Standard, the bomb package, despite being low in tempo in both formats, sees more play in Wild. Pirates retain a place in Galakrond Warrior, but the nerf to Bad Luck Albatross leads it to be ejected in favor of the bomb package to target control. Thus, Pirate bomb Galakrond Warrior is the optimal build, with the Pirates able to combat aggro while the bombs disrupt control. The deck is very popular and has few counters. How many bomb cards or tech cards to include remains a question. Possible tech cards include Blowtorch Saboteur, Maiev Shadowsong, Mindbreaker, and Spellbreaker. These tech cards are of two uses: to bypass taunts or to target even/odd decks.
3, Odd Paladin
Though Paladin's popularity is low, it is undeniable that data from Netease Hearthstone Box (tracking Chinese server) and HSReplay demonstrate that the class has the highest winrate. At the very least, it can be said that the class is not weak, and Odd Paladin is the strongest of its decks. Post-patch, the meta is more suitable for Odd Paladin as Odd Demon Hunter is now an even more favorable matchup. But, Odd Demon Hunter's popularity has not dropped and it continues to suppress Even Shaman and slow Warlocks (Odd Paladin is not unfavored versus slow Warlocks and the latter's decline in popularity means that Odd Paladin can afford to cut a tech card), indicating that Odd Demon Hunter has created an optimal meta condition for Odd Paladin. Though Odd Paladin's popularity is only so-so, it is already a very strong deck. Still, the deck retains its drawbacks. Despite suppression by Odd Demon Hunter, Even Shaman still sees play. The rise of Pirate Warrior also signals trouble for Odd Paladin. Odd Paladin's cards seem out of place in the explosive Wild format. Stable, unlikely to clog the hand, and smooth tempo all seem not to be characteristics a Wild deck should have. With regards to deckbuilding, there are many ways to build Odd Paladin. Fungalmancer and Faceless Corruptor compete for the 5-cost slot. Unidentified Maul and Rallying Blade vy for the 3-cost position. There are many differences in potential 1-drops. Brazen Zealot is unsuited for the aggro-heavy meta but the Pirate package is. Libram of Justice being changed to cost 5 mana renders it a candidate for inclusion, but it is at best a tactical soft removal that is poor at acquiring initiative. Moreover, with the nerfs to SN1P-SN4P and Darkest Hour Warlock, decks that can build tall and wide boards, Libram of Justice seems only better than nothing. For gaining tempo, Faceless Corruptor appears superior.
4, Hemet Mecha'thun Warlock
The nerf to Bloodbloom was a severe blow to Mecha'thun Warlock. The deck that should have received the torch from Quest Mage now was nowhere to be seen. Ever since the release of Kael'thas Sunstrider, a deck running Hemet, Jungle Hunter that relied on Dollmaster Dorian + Plot Twist + any cheap spell + Cataclysm to initiate the Mecha'thun combo had appeared. That deck could combo quickly, but it was slower than, and heavily unfavored against Quest Mage. After the Quest Mage nerf, Mecha'thun Warlock has begun to see more play; the Hemet version now fully displacing the quest version. Hemet Mecha'thun Warlock's speed and power have yet to reach the heights reached by Quest Mage, but it is still remarkable. A Hemet played on turn 6 is a countdown to the opponent's defeat. Though the deck is fast, it is heavily reliant on drawing Hemet. If Hemet is not drawn early, the deck can have trouble surviving: because it lacks Aranasi Broodmother for healing, this variant of Mecha'thun Warlock faces more pressure on its life total and is weaker to aggro.
Despite Kael'thas Sunstrider being able to replicate the effect of Bloodbloom, the nerf to the latter still has an effect on lists that run Emperor Thaurissan. Drakkari Enchanter is used to allow for Thaurissan to discount one's hand twice. Now, Bloodbloom is replaced with two cards, Kael'thas and Drakkari Enchanter instead of one, making for a clunkier deck.
4.1, Quest Mecha'thun Warlock
Though Quest Mecha'thun Warlock has almost completely disappeared, that does not mean it is unplayable. Its advantage is that it can sometimes work miracles after quest completion. The inclusion of Aranasi Broodmother means it can heal with Plot Twist, making it better against aggro than the Hemet variant.
It must be noted that Quest Mecha'thun Warlock should include a copy of Drakkari Enchanter to duplicate the effect of Thaurissan. Kael'thas Sunstrider is superfluous. It is important to be able to combo even without Dollmaster Dorian. Playing Dorian and Plot Twist with 7 mana can let the deck flood the board and survive for longer. Thus, Dorian allows the deck greater flexibility.
5, Even Totem Shaman
Ever since its inception at Saviors of Uldum
(with the release of Splitting Axe), Even Totem Shaman has been recognized as a tier 1 deck. Through its subsequent widespread promotion during Descent of Dragons
, the deck failed to attract the attention of game designers. A "forever god" (referring to a meme about Chinese League of Legends
player Uzi) had been born! The arrival of Demon Hunter in Ashes of Outland
quickly dispelled that myth. Even Totem Shaman needs to keep its totems alive to snowball, but Odd Demon Hunter clears totems with ease. Even if the totems are buffed with Totemic Might or Totemic Surge, Warglaives of Azzinoth or Consume Magic make short work of the Shaman board. It is natural for a deck to have counters, but when a heavily unfavored matchup, Odd Demon Hunter, comprises 20% of the meta, Even Totem Shaman will struggle. Moreover, the counters to Odd Demon Hunter such as Odd Warrior and the tech card Blowtorch Saboteur also pose problems for Even Totem Shaman.
Thus, even without being hit by the nerfs and with a weaker overall meta, Even Totem Shaman has fallen from the strongest deck to a weak deck. Deck strength is relative; it is impossible to discuss the strength of a deck apart from the meta it exists in.
The deck is hard to refine owing to its cratering popularity. Even Totem Shaman stagnates in the previous patch, and it is hard to find any strong individual cards to slot in.
6, Odd Warrior
It can't be left unsaid that Odd Warrior is the champion to counter the meta. Even after the second round of nerfs, Odd Demon Hunter makes up 20% of the meta. As the meta is unsettled, other aggro decks (Pirate Warrior, Discard Warlock, even Murloc Paladin) ready to make trouble are trending up in popularity. Jade Druid and Cube Warlock are popular but not overly so, allowing Odd Warrior an opportunity.
With regards to deckbuilding, pre-patch Odd Warrior could afford to exclude Coldlight Oracle, as it did not improve the matchup against Quest Mage and worsened the ones against aggro. But in this meta, the milling murloc is a must, in more and more matchups.
7, Odd Rogue
The second round of nerfs has had wide-ranging consequences, the most important one being a meta shift to a more midrange and tempo-based environment. In this environment Odd Rogue thrives. Actually Odd Rogue is already suited to the meta and has definite strengths, but the meta shifts in the short time since the second round of nerfs do not show it. In the future Odd Rogue may make a comeback, but it won't be too big of a splash.
Owing to its low popularity, innovation has stagnated. The Magic Carpet package is a given, but the details of said package and other cards are uncertain. In this tempo-dependent meta, the authors recommend reinclusion of two copies of SI:7 Agent at the 3-cost spot, and two copies of Faceless Corruptor at the 5. As for other cards, it is up to your own preference.
7.1, Odd Galakrond Rogue
The Galakrond package has been tried many times in Odd Rogue but its results are average at best, with its only purpose being to counter Odd Warrior. Otherwise it is useless.
8, Secret Mage
Secret Mage is an offensive deck that focuses on disrupting the opponent. It is not a brainless aggro deck that relies on direct damage to win. Nowadays in the Wild format there are two lines of thought for offensive strategies: one relies on its cards' abilities (weapons, burn etc.) to prevent the opponent from securing board presence while whittling away at their health with its own board until it can find the kill, the other floods the board and hopes the opponent cannot clear. Secret Mage's game plan is the former. It uses cheap Secrets and Secret-synergistic minions to disrupt the opponent's board or prevent them from clearing your own, finally finishing off the opponent with a combination of minion damage and burn. But there is a flaw common to this type of aggro-control, and that is that one's board is not large enough to resist board clears. Secret Mage does not have enough minions and it runs out of cards quickly, so it easily loses tempo if its minions are cleared. Galakrond Warrior, Odd Demon Hunter, Odd Rogue, and other similar decks have more minions than Secret Mage and will not face the same problem. But Secret Mage excels at disrupting the opponent and can easily win if the opponent cannot counter this strategy. Thus, Secret Mage shines against opponents who are unskilled or unfamiliar with Wild. Against better opponents, however, Secrets lose effectiveness.
Secret Mages will often opt to include the new Secret, Netherwind Portal. Otherwise, it is little changed.
9, Big Priest
Bad Luck Albatross was nerfed, Zephrys the Great is losing IQ, Open the Waygate was severely nerfed: to Big Priest, this is like three happinesses knocking at its door. As the pressure of the meta has decreased, it is even possible to exclude Convincing Infiltrator for greedier resurrect and Shadow Essence targets. Big Priest is inherently favored against aggro and control, but it is kept in check by combo. As combo decks are collapsing, Big Priest is seeing an unstoppable ascent.
10, Togwaggle Druid
The new expansion added Ysiel Windsinger, which, paired with Aviana, allows for the casting of many expensive spells. Of the combo druid decks, Togwaggle Druid is the most reliable. But, combo druid is still low in popularity, so when matched against druid, Jade Druid must be considered first.
11, Reno Quest Mage
Although Open the Waygate was heavily nerfed, it still has a definite power level. For Reno Quest Mage, it can finish the quest, but the extra turns required means it must survive longer. This is not a problem against control but rather aggro. The Bad Luck Albatross nerf is a good thing for Reno Quest Mage. Though it now takes longer to complete the quest, it is now also easier to survive before quest completion. Opponents will no longer disrupt Reno Quest Mage with Albatrosses. Both nerfs considered, Reno Quest Mage is weaker in absolute terms but stronger in relative terms. The deck is still a slow killer.
With the quest requirement increased from 6 to 8 spells, it is more important to consider tempo and quest completion. The Dragon package is recommended. Eschewing Dragons can grant more sources of spell generation but to survive it is recommended to run Arcane Breath and Malygos, Aspect of Magic. As the quest is harder to complete, Sorcerer's Apprentice is necessary to discount the mana cost of generated spells, such as those created by Banana Buffoon, Cobalt Spellkin, or Evocation.
12, Reno Priest
Following the revert of the nerf to Raza the Chained, Reno Priest walked the way of explosive OTK deck construction. But before the Open the Waygate nerf, Reno Priest was helpless against Quest Mage and, following a brief post-revert burst of popularity, almost disappeared from the meta.
Even after the second round of nerfs, Quest Mage and Reno Quest Mage can still pressure Reno Priest. The good news is that Quest Mage has its own weaknesses, the power level of the meta has dropped, and Bad Luck Albatross was nerfed too. Reno Priest finally has a chance to become a mainstream deck.
Though Reno Priest is decent at clearing the board and healing, it is not heavily favored against aggro owing to its weak board presence. After clearing a board, it cannot seize initiative but instead lets the opponent redevelop. When matched against Galakrond Warrior or Odd Demon Hunter, decks with burn, Reno Priest's surrendering of initiative renders it vulnerable to being killed by a well-timed Loatheb.
Highlander decks have a diverse pool of card choices, and Reno Priest is no different. Generally there are three different flavors: Dragon, OTK and N'Zoth. The OTK variant is the most popular.
13, Flamewaker Quest Mage
Though Open the Waygate was nerfed, this does not affect Flamewaker Quest Mage with a perfect draw in the slightest. When miracle mage has enough luck, Eloise (Sorcerer's Apprentice) paired with Evocation or Mana Cyclone can complete the quest in an instant. But excluding situations with uncanny luck, miracle mage now faces an significant increase of difficulty in completing the quest. Before the nerf, it was possible to easily finish the quest with Violet Spellwing and Licensed Adventurer. After the nerf, it is necessary to have Sorcerer's Apprentice to reliably complete the quest. Thus, the deck now fares much worse against aggro. It is now very reliant on drawing Evocation or Mana Cyclone combined with Apprentice. On the bright side, with a lucky draw, the nerf does not affect the deck at all. But without luck, the deck can now be beaten to death.
14, Cube Warlock
As Odd Demon Hunter firmly dominates the ladder, conditions are miserable for Cube Warlock. Previously, the deck's advantage was that it could counter the popular meta decks, but now it is heavily unfavored against Odd Demon Hunter and its ladder position is not ideal. Before the second round of nerfs, Cube Warlock could at least tech against Odd Demon Hunter with Sacrificial Pact and it could seem like both decks countered each other. But now Odd Demon Hunter can use Mana Burn to block key turns where Cube Warlock wants to play cards like Voidcaller, Skull of the Man'ari, or Carnivorous Cube. Consume Magic can deal with cards like Voidlord. As Cube Warlock lacks healing, the matchup is now very one-sided. But the meta is volatile, and if Odd Demon Hunter drops in popularity, Cube Warlock will shoot back.
Despite the nerf to Bad Luck Albatross, it is still a viable inclusion in Cube Warlock, but its popularity has dropped as players have disenchanted the card, and it is predicted that the card will not regain its popularity. As for Cube Egg Warlock that relies on Nerubian Egg to counter board flood, that strategy is also unpopular. Nerubian Egg can help gain tempo, but it does not protect the warlock's life total. Differing from the popular Prince Taldaram and Egg build on the Chinese server, foreign servers favor running two copies of Dark Skies for a more controlling style. Dark Skies can clear the opponent's board and limit incoming damage. Perhaps control Cube Warlock is the best suited for the meta.
15, Jade Druid
At the end of Descent of Dragons
, Jade Druid received Kael'thas Sunstrider, allowing for explosive midgame turns. Even if Kael'thas was drawn later, it could reasonably solve the issue of the difficulty of playing Ultimate Infestation. But following the second round of nerfs, Kael'thas' mana cost was increased by one. This may seem minor, but as druid lacks AOE, giving the opponent another turn can be hard to bear. In the later stages of the game, Kael'thas is also more awkward to play. It is now impossible to play Kael'thas and combo with a 3 mana and a 1 mana spell. If one insists on playing him, it is recommended to also run Bogbeam.
Though the Kael'thas nerf weakens Jade Druid's midgame tempo, the deck still has its use. Current aggro decks are unable to deal with Jade Druid's Spreading Plague and high armor gain. Against Hemet Mecha'thun Warlock, Jade Druid's mortal enemy, it is possible, but unlikely, to mill a combo piece with Naturalize.
Variants that have appeared include dragon, Kael'thas, and King Phaoris. No variant has proven superior to the rest.
16, Pirate Aggro Druid
No matter how the meta changes, this deck's gameplan never deviates: hard mulligan for Embiggen, and win from there....
Frenzied Felwing was nerfed and is no longer ideal. Other card choices are little changed. As Odd Demon Hunter is running rampant, consider running Mindbreaker, and excluding cards with two (or less) health.
17, Kingsbane Pirate Rogue
The popularity brought by the revert of the Raiding Party nerf has scattered to the winds. The deck now enjoys low, but stable popularity. Kingsbane Pirate Rogue is not weak. Ship's Cannon is strong against aggro, Southsea Captain buffs the board, and Fal'dorei Strider can develop presence quickly. All can tilt victory in one's favor. The deck has no hard counters but its real enemy is itself. It relies on luck, whether that be for Ship's Cannon pings, drawing Kingsbane, or drawing Fal'dorei spiders.
Secrets are worthy of inclusion.
18, Pirate Warrior
The addition of Corsair Cache is truly a cache of riches for Pirate Warrior. For this deck, Corsair Cache is clearly better than Forge of Souls. Even if Corsair Cache were 3 mana, it has the same weapon-drawing effect as Forge of Souls plus Upgrade!, but in one card instead of two. The choice of weapons is typically two copies of Wrenchcalibur and Ancharrr, the latter being core and the former being good tech against highlander strategies or just for more face damage. Against aggro, Pirate Warrior has long been on the upper echelon. N'Zoth's First Mate, Ship's Cannon, and Skybarge can crush opponents. As Corsair Cache has increased the deck's reliability, in the future meta, the deck is not lacking in potential and may become popular.
19, Reno Warlock
As Quest Mage and Bad Luck Albatross have been nerfed, Reno decks will return to the sight of the playerbase. However, Reno Warlock is still in a state of chaos and it needs more time to be refined. The current list runs half of the cards of Cube Warlock in addition to Reno Jackson for healing. Compared to Cube Warlock, this version of Reno Warlock fares better versus aggro. Besides, Reno Malygos Warlock also exists to some extent. Reno Warlock needs some more time to ferment before it can be revived.
20, Prismatic Lens Murloc Paladin
Following the meta changes and releases of new cards, Murlocs are now more numerous and well-rounded. Wild Prismatic Lens Murloc Paladin first appeared in Uldum
and it cycled as quickly as a combo deck, but it was not strong. It was countered by SN1P-SN4P Warlock and Secret Mage, but now the latter no longer dominates and control warlocks have declined in popularity. As a result, relying on Prismatic Lens to win is now possible. Where the Wild deck differs from its Standard cousin is that the aggro decks in Wild are stronger, so it cannot afford to falter in tempo before Prismatic Lens is played. The good thing is that Murloc Paladin has strong, overstatted early minions with snowball potential. If an opponent is unable to clear or contest the early board, they will be dispatched by the Murloc Paladin by turn 4 or 5.
20.1, Divine Favor Murloc Paladin
Excluding Prismatic Lens in favor of Hand of A'dal, Crystology, and Divine Favor is also a viable strategy. On the whole, both builds of Murloc Paladin have shown sprouts of popularity, but whether they can put down deeper roots remains to be seen.
21, Mech Handbuff Paladin
Mech Handbuff Paladin invariably loses to other aggro, whether it is Even Shaman, Odd Paladin, Odd Demon Hunter, Pirate Warrior, Discard Warlock, or Murloc Paladin. However, it has shown success for short periods of time, and its low crafting cost makes it suitable for newer players. Mech Handbuff Paladin is unsuited for the current meta. But if one insists on playing it, it is not bad as a training tool on a budget.
22, Reno Secret Mage
For a long time, Reno Secret Mage failed to stand out because it was not fast enough to compete with Quest Mage. After the Quest Mage nerf, Reno Secret Mage is now favored against other aggro decks, and its popularity has rebounded some.
In terms of deckbuilding, Reno Secret Mage has a plethora of options. There are two different ways of building the deck: to make it more like Secret Mage, or more like Reno Mage. Adding more low-cost cards can gain tempo, with the drawback of running out of resources more quickly. Adding more high-cost cards mitigates that problem, at the risk of having clunky early hands.
23, Reno Hunter
In the quest to counter Odd Demon Hunter, players gradually uncovered Reno Hunter. The deck has two bad matchups: Cube Warlock and Quest Mage. The current meta has decreased the strength and popularity of those counters, and Reno Hunter has been gradually strengthened. Reno Hunter has experienced popularity at high legend, and may serve as a fuse to change the meta. Reno Hunter's cards have a high chance of not curving out, but none of its curve plays are weak. If it can curve out, then it will be strong.
24, Even Warlock
Even Warlock's targeting of Odd Demon Hunter has seen success. Mountain and Molten Giants pose a headache for Illidan. Even Warlock has always feared the Quest Mage matchup, with Ray of Frost stalling until quest completion. But the recent nerfs now make Even Warlock favored, as it can now pressure the Quest Mage's life total or build a wall of taunts. In other matchups, Even Warlock is not heavily disfavored either. It is now more suited for the current meta, but its popularity hovers around zero. The release of this meta report may make a difference.
In terms of deck construction, whether it is full highlander, partial highlander, or traditional even, all variants have their merits. But in terms of deck strength, traditional even and partial highlander are recommended. Owing to the prevalence of Odd Demon Hunter, it is not recommended to run Voidcaller and Enhanced Dreadlord, but rather the traditional Vulgar Homunculus and Hooked Reaver.
25, Reno N'Zoth/Luna's Pocket Galaxy Mage
Despite Reno Mage not being extremely strong, the nerfs to Quest Mage and Bad Luck Albatross have unleashed Reno decks, with Reno Mage showing a definite rise in play owing to its committed playerbase. Whether it is the N'Zoth or Luna's Pocket Galaxy variant, the deck has definite strength. The overall decline in OTK decks is a major factor in the reappearance of slower decks. In future, other slow decks may also reappear.
26, Discard Zoo Warlock
The evolution of Discard Zoo Warlock has led to the deck becoming another form of zoo. The discard cards are overstatted; Fist of Jaraxxus and Silverware Golem also secure tempo. Hand of Gul'dan allows for refill while the Sacrificial Pact nerf improve the matchups against warlock and highlander. In all, the deck is decently popular, but its random elements repel some players. Unlike quest mage that needs a good draw, Discard Zoo Warlock does not need to get lucky but rather not get unlucky
to avoid snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Darkglare is a potential inclusion. Discard Warlock is now viable; the pieces of the puzzle have been assembled and Shenron can be summoned.
27, Mecha'thun/Linecracker Druid
Refinement has long progressed Linecracker Druid beyond a meme. The deck is similar to Jade Druid. Mecha'thun is a must, as it can bring victory even if one does not acquire 1000 armor. The increased prevalence of Skulking Geist in the meta bleakens the outlook for this deck.
(Originally posted to my profile which confused me to no end because interwebbing is hard. So hopefully this is not a double post on the sub) submitted by
2017 in Shadow Black, Recaros, Sync 3
Driver assists added: Blackview DR650s front/rear dashcam, Escort Max360 radalaser detector
Changes made: Black lugs, black valve stem caps, Steeda clutch spring (suspension brace pending install), ceramic tint, white stripes removed
3 stage detail and PPF applied - full nose, A pillars, mirrors, roof, door edges, quarter panels, trunk entry. cQuartz on all surfaces, 4 coats of cQuartz Reload applied as a topcoat
Pics and short comments
Departure: Friday, Oct 5 at 2:22PM PT
Return: Friday, Oct 12 at 11:15PM PT
Distance: 3500.7 miles
Oil consumption: ~ 1/2 quart
Avg MPG: 20.4
Cost of 91/92 octane: $640.22
Cheapest gas: Chevron at 3.34/gal, unknown city, Idaho
Most expensive: Chevron at 4.42/gal, Boomtown, Nevada
Avg $ spent per fill up: $23.71
# of fill ups: 27
Avg distance between fill ups: 129.6 miles (range is 300 miles)
Hotel stays: 4
Cosmetic wear and tear: Minor rock strikes intercepted by the PPF, mystery scuffs on the driver side fender
Malfunctions: A/C fall down go boom. Known issue with 15-17 S550 platform.
1 trunk organizer holding jumper cables, battery charger, tire inflator, coolant, extinguisher, first aid kit, basic tool kit, reflective parka, 2 gal water, 12 individual water bottles, 1 AMMO sprayer, 12v carvac from Amazon, 1 ammo can holding 2 quarts of 10w50 & funnel
2 stuff sacks holding 1 sleeping bag, 2 med blankets, 2 sm blankets, 2 travel pillows
1 tent and 1 inflating pad
1 bag holding coffee, french press, utensils, plastic bowl w/lid, JetBoil
1 tote bag holding misc food including the all important double choc brownies
1 camera bag holding a Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70 f2.8. Additional images taken with iPhone
1 20L cooler holding milk, fruit, water, coke
1 bag holding detailing lotions, potions and goops
1 bag holding the world's supply of microfiber towels
1 6 gal bucket holding 2 collapsible buckets, 2 grit guards, 2 wash pads
1 small box holding dish soap, scrubbing thingamajobs, shop towels, toiletries, water heater
1 backpack holding clothing and sandals
Craters of The Moon National Monument (Idaho)
Yellowstone (Idaho and Montana)
Prius Coast Highway (WA to CA)
The words, and plenty of them
I had planned this trip since spring but hadn't gone due to work constraints. A window opened up in September, but it quickly closed due to life getting in the way. And then it happened: Early October, nothing holding me back. I was ready to go, to clear my head, to get away from work and you. Yes, you - the guy who swerves in and out of traffic at speed. And you, the lady who cannot stay off her phone. And don't think I've forgotten about you, bro - I see you hiding back there - the guy who literally ignores BSM. What better cure for driving frustration than to go.. driving. Or something.
Tramlining and then it got cold
I left San Francisco on Friday afternoon, taking 80 east to Reno. This was well planned, nothing left to chance except for the most common sense thing: weather reports. There's an app for that, of which I have 3 and of which I used 0. This was not the smartest move as would be apparent this night and later in Montana, but for now all was well. Weather was warm, pavement dry and I'm moving at a good pace through Sacramento and into the Sierra Nevada range. The mountain section of 80, specifically the right lane is in terrible shape. I'm tramlining all over the place for too long, in too many sections, a constant jerky right, left, left, left, right, right fight on the wheel. Despite this I'm determined to stay right except to pass.
Its getting pretty cool out, and about 8PM I pull into the Truckee rest stop to discover its cold, 38 degrees. I know thats not cold to you Midwest and East Coast people. Kinda balmy. But to a coastal CA guy that's just about below freezing. I make a mental note about the Michelins not being rated for this temp, brush my teeth in the parking lot (classy is how I roll) and go to bed or rather recline the seat. I wake at 3AM and its time to move.
Leaving Truckee I discover tramlining is not done and it's another fight. And then the squeaking started from somewhere in the dash. Its a heavy grating noise and not a rattle; loud and obnoxious like my nephew. I'm pressing on the dash, the gauges, the vents - the usual places but nothing changes. Ten minutes later it's gone and does not return. Took the Boomtown exit and hit up Chevron. Go inside for coffee and pay for gas, pretty mundane but then I ran into a change scam. Some Eastern Euro guy was behind the counter. I give him 40 and he tells me he'll put 35 on the pump, and to come back for change. Not what I asked for but whatever. Returned for the change and - lets call him Uri - claims there's no change to be had. Its 3:30AM and I'm in no mood to get into this. Enjoy the $3 bro.
Coffee, water and no rest areas. Also, LTE coverage is terrible
Back on the road and passing Reno AKA the drab copy of Vegas. Detector warns of 2 KA alerts but the signal is weak and I exit Reno without issue. Kept going east to Winnemucca, turning north on 95. The problem with 95 - other than being a long stretch through flat arid country - is the lack of rest areas combined with tidal pool-sized coffee cups and water. You know what this means and yes, I marked my territory in several places.
This stretch of nothing leads to the first of far too many LTE signal cuts and corresponding loss of Waze GPS updates. Through most of NV, and really, really long stretches of ID and MT there is no signal. Which I completely understand since ATT
is a discount carrier a small mom and pop telco its really hard to relay signals over flat terrain its 1996 and cell phones are still a novelty
. Signal loss in WA and OR along 101 - that I understand, and it happened frequently given the terrain. But issues in flatlands especially Idaho's more populated state routes - that I don't get.
And here's where I took the first acceptable picture of the car. Its a farming community, maybe a half mile of 25 MPH with a gas station, coffee house, cafe and sheriff's station. And one thing I found interesting, the Sahara Motel. 50s or early 60s design; sharp angles, cracked windows and peeling paint on the doors. The last paying guest was a long time ago and it makes a good backdrop.
The Rag Company mission aborted; Shelby meets buttocks at Craters of The Moon
I'm off to Boise to find a hotel and stop by the Rag Company. Missed their store hours and tomorrow's Sunday, with Monday a holiday so.. no Rag Company visit. I chalk it up my usual level of masterful planning and stay the night at the Holiday Inn in Meridian. if you find yourself there someday stop by Beto's 24 hour Mexican place. The chicken chimichanga (fried burrito) is outstanding.
With sunrise it was time for my first destination open whenever - Craters of The Moon National Monument. Never been, never heard of it, just a random find when looking up Idaho tourist destinations. Taking 84 SE was unremarkable, but connecting to 20 was another story. Going up to 4k elevation, golden grass on the hills and plains, fall colors on the trees. Beautiful, with some fun stretches of road interrupted by people who dr.ive. ve.r.y. s.lo.w.ly.
Passed through Carey which is another livestock community with the requisite aroma d'odure. Up to this point I've mostly seen F150s, RAM 1500s and the occasional minivan. But here comes this kid in his JDM Civic, Idaho plates, red with all the toppings - wing, different colored bits here and there. Didn't check the rear but you know there were fart cans attached. Flat bill cap tied it all together. What I remember most is the look on his face as he passed, staring at my car like that guy on what show was it? The guy with the wild hair who says "I'm not saying its aliens..". Yeah. He had that look on his face. Stay strong, brosef, you're the outlier in the land of the lifted.
Keep going and the route takes you over Silver Creek which is famous for fishing, something I didn't know. Also didn't know that with fish come bugs and a lot of them. I know how to describe these because I took Entomology 101: big ole brownish-yellow, low-flying squishies with lots of guts. Stopped to carefully clean it off but there's too much bug juice, a full wash is needed later.
About 2:30PM I rolled in to Craters of The Moon. It looks like the name, kinda bleak and barren and perfect. Wide, cloudy skies from here to where the flat earth ends and vaccines aren't needed. I stop by a small hill and walk up to the crest; hidden behind is another crest. Decent pictures. Coming down I see some tourists standing around the car. Some guy is leaning his posterior on the hood and having a picture taken. This excites me a wee bit and I leg it to explain the finer points of no touchie; I know its complicated. They are French (not the Quebecois variety); explanations were offered, much hand gesturing ensued, apologies made and Trans-Atlantic relations were preserved (you're welcome, America). I keep rolling albeit with a blood pressure higher than normal; I like this place minus butt guy.
Meeting JB from Texas, AKA Walter Mitty
Back on the road and I pull over for gas at Picabo. Station appears to be closing; their coffee is lukewarm and does not look good. Made my way to a rest stop for Operation Caffeine Overdose ala Jetboil and French Press and yes, it was great, full bodied and delicious. Fully amped I drive east toward Montana and Yellowstone but I can't quite make it. 9PM rolls around and I stop at a random rest area, writing out notes on the day. There's a silver Mercedes roadster a few spots over, I'm guessing early to mid 90s (SLK? Not familiar with Mercedes). It looks really good, sleek, fast and small. Fender flares, looks like aftermarket wheels and the driver is staring at my car. I go back to writing notes and look up a few minutes later. He's still staring. Got out to rummage for food and that's when the driver walks over: JB from Texas. 6'4" or so and has about 100 lbs on me, in a dark parking area - but that's not the problem. Problem is he's a close talker. Protip for tall guys talking to strangers in dark places: Don't be a close talker.
I ask JB about his car and he says it was his first, got it new in 99 when he was 15. That's remarkable and I asked how he pulled it off. "My parents are the most senior judges in (whatever TX town he's from)." This was said emphatically and louder than you'd expect, but I figure it's possible, and wealthy families can buy expensive cars for their kids. After this point little things were said that raised some flags but nothing major, things like European cars being cheaper to repair than domestic. But then it got weird, with JB stating he's a retired Air Force General, and his wife a retired Navy Colonel (for those unfamiliar, there are no Colonels in the US Navy). JB doesn't appear old enough to make 04 much less General, so I ask how old he is and this produces a long pause- really long (he was doing the math, 15 in 1999 now its 2018.. this minus that, carry the 1, no wait just subtract, x = y and divide the ... and he got it wrong). Finally he says "40." Amazing. A 40 YO retired General, he must be a legend I've never heard of. I decide to leave before the inevitable JSOC story. There's always a JSOC story.
Yellowstone and KA bands
Morning rolls around and I awake at another rest stop. Get the jetboil going and its not long before 191 gets me to Yellowstone. Just before the park is the town of West Yellowstone and here the radar detector pays gives another assist. A few cars on the road and we're approaching a bend. KA alert is a sudden, strong signal and there he is, local Sheriff sitting just past the bend. He starts to follow after I pass but I'm in the clear. About a mile down I'm the only car on this stretch and just for giggles he lights me up. I get it, its a holiday weekend and no better time to get low hanging fruit like speeders and drunks, but come on, Deputy Dog. I innit stupit. Me gud drivor.
Yellowstone. Incredible driving roads but again no bueno to open it up, a fact reinforced by another Deputy exercising his radar skills (quite good, no alerts at all til I rounded a corner). If you like fly fishin' this is the place, and I made several hikes with one decent picture to show for it. That's my bad; arrival time (11AM) meant I had to wait awhile for acceptable light. Could be there's a pattern here.
I visit Ennis and find an El Camino for sale
Leaving the park I point the car to Ennis on route 287. This is a tourist-focused town. You like huntin', maybe fishin', little bit of hikin', you want it they got it. The main drag is several hundred yards of contemporary storefronts and they appear to have been designed by the same person. Quirky, but not too quirky with just the right amount of rustic, and nicely done enough to let you know its gonna be expensive shopping there.
Exxon was out of 91 on all pumps (or 92 in MT) but I found another station. In the gravel lot next door was a bright light shining through parting clouds, and I may have heard a chorus because there she was, a 1987 Chevy El Camino, 71k miles, 10k asking down from 12. Looked in good shape, badged SS and V8. I didn't closely inspect it, and I'm no expert in verifying SuperSport models from any era. At any rate trans isn't my thing. But still, good looking history on wheels.
Butte, where the rubber meets the road (or snow, in this case) and Georgetown Lake
And now I'm in Butte. I neither wrote nor recall much of this drive, my mind said write but my body said sleep. Made it in good time and got a room, and you know what? It's freaking cold. Like... dude. COLD, low 30s. Up to this point I still haven't checked weather reports because I'm a rocket scientist. Woke at 5AM and found a coin op car wash and yes, its cold and getting colder. I'm worried about the tire temp rating and this is compounded by a light dusting of snow. I realize my IQ has to catch up and GTFO to a warmer climate. S/SW is good but too obvious. N/NW is more my mongo style on highway 90; temp decreased to 28 degrees and snow had built up as a fine slush, but not frozen. At least there's no snowplows, that would be a bad sign. And then a few miles in there are snow plows, thankfully they appear to be pre-positioned and sitting there. This must be one of the first snows of the season, and my escape velocity is tempered by MPSS running well below threshold. Went gentle on the inputs, reduced speed and held it steady. No problems keeping it straight and thankfully stopping distance was not put to the test.
I self-flagellate for a number of miles, slowly building confidence and moving from light snow to rain. Stopped at a rest area to inspect the tires; no cracks or other issues found, nor did any appear during the trip. The air intake and grille had ice build up, good news is it was a fairly small area on either side.
I left 90 at Hensley Gulch, turning west on highway 1 AKA Pintier Veterans Memorial Scenic Highway. This was the most beautiful road of the trip, its scenic and then some. Rolling, gentle hills, mostly livestock and horses. More long sweepers with minor elevation changes, and then you get to Georgetown Lake, otherwise known as the place I'll buy when I win the lotto. Not been? Go, its worth your time. For me this was a pass-through, but I'll remember this drive for a long time, a little bit of paradise I had the privilege to observe.
Crossing back into Idaho, and the memory of what was
Back in Idaho; a light rain and miles of yellows, browns and greens. Cruise control country like most of the route so far. And then the song played; the one that takes you back to what was or could have been. The one you do and don't want to hear, so you bury it, ignore it but can't quite hit delete. The opening guitar conjures her face and you can feel her touch. It's good and real and bittersweet and you wonder why it ended, but you know why. some people wind up with the one that they adore in a heart-shaped hotel room it's what a heart is for the bubble floats so madly will it stay sky-high?
And suddenly I'm in Tel Aviv with her in that rundown motel by the beach. The faded yellow walls gave the room a golden light offset by dingy grey curtains and an ugly rug. Just her and I and this song playing on her phone. It was a long way from home, across borders, language, religious and cultural differences. It was also over but we didn't know it just then; better that way. She's married now. I put the memory back on the shelf, close the door and leave. and it's you and me in the summertime we'll be hand in hand down in the park with a squeeze and a sigh and that twinkle in your eye and all the sunshine banishes the dark
The A/C goes to the great condenser in the sky
A month before leaving I attempted to get some issues addressed: Rear panel gaps, unreliable A/C, front wheel well liner not flush and a poorly fitted passenger door. My dealership put their best guys on the job and the results were: Panel gap parts on backorder (understandable), unreliable A/C diagnosed as "normal," wheel well liner was "normal" and nothing can be done about the door. I was impressed and decided to find another dealer after the trip. But now the A/C decides its time to meet its maker. No A/C, no heat, no joy. Top men, Dr. Jones. Top. Men
Coeur D'Alene Lake: Flatbed hauls a totaled 911 and Camry
I arrived at Coeur D'Alene. Passed through a few times before but never stopped by the lake, and I'm glad I did. 50 square miles of water surrounded by hills with marinas interspersed along the shore. Twisty roads with some straights that reminds me of Skyline. Only here I take it easy, I don't know the roads so I run an inspection cruise along a 20 mile run: 1 cross, 7 deer in 2 groups, 2 school bus stops, 0 cyclists. Not ideal especially the school bus stops and deer, and local popo are running KA band. I drive it anyway, moderately. On the way out I see a flatbed loaded up with a wrecked white 911 (recent) and Camry (00's model). The Porsche's passenger door is off the frame and the roof looks partially caved.
Washington State expert editorial and heroin at the rest stop
I've never lived in WA but I'm nonetheless an expert with a viewpoint that applies to every resident, because I'm smart and stuff. They don't care for Californians because too many moved here, a PNW echo chamber that goes back decades and won't end, well, ever. Which is fine because no one ever moved to CA and drove up prices, in greater numbers and with greater consequences. They have a lot of tweakers, which CA also has a lot of. They share a coastline with Oregon and Canada that is hands down the most beautiful and inspiring you'll find anywhere. And their popo are a revenue generator force, more than most places.
Pulled in to a rest stop shortly after crossing the border. Camped out in the car and got the usual restless sleep. Up at 4AM to visit the men's room, and out walks Slim Shady's cousin with a red hat, red jersey of some kind, black basketball shorts and red basketball shoes. Slim left behind a syringe, one of those rubber hose things they use to tie off, an empty brown packet about the size of rubber packaging and some random bits and bobs. I return to the car thinking how sad it is this guy has a fix at the ready while preparing the jetboil and french press, and only later does the irony become obvious. As I said, I'm smart. And stuff.
Field testing AMMO NYC'S Frothe (hoseless wash)
I exited 90 beyond Snoqualmie Pass, fill up and decide to test AMMONYC's hoseless wash product. Disclaimer: I have no relationship with AMMO, and I paid for the product just as you would. There's a TA truck stop adjacent to the gas station and I park in between them, well out of anyone's way. The car has road grime, some bugs, the usual detritus but nothing too heavy.
I used the sprayer with water first to rinse, then added Frothe and got down to business except for one thing: Parking a Shelby by truckers is like throwing chum into a sea of dorsal fins. I'm getting my foam on when I get my first visitor, Mike, 61, trucker and retired diesel mechanic. Mike's a nice guy but his intro was, "What in the hell are you doing?" I explain the concept but he looks doubtful, then I get the car stories (this V8, and that one, and some other one). Good conversation but I gotta work on this so Mike and I part ways.
Next up was another trucker, I didn't get his name. Large guy, about Mike's age and he approaches close but doesn't say anything, just stares at the car. I break the ice and he says, "I'd give you a run against my Hellcat." I'm not down to measure manhoods or compare cornering so I don't. He inspects the car and doesn't like the PPF, doesn't like hoseless wash. He does like the shine but I get a blank stare when explaining what ceramic coating is. All this was fine until he decides to touch the paint: "Is that a rock chip?" I don't know what it is about paint but some people can't stop themselves from touching it.
Second and last visitor gone I continue with Frothe. Easy to use, lifting the dirt does take a fair number of towels (6 in my case) and that's fine, I've brought a lot. No visible scratches or swirls but I didn't go CSI on this, it's clean, it shines and I was careful to follow the lifting vs pushing method. Very happy with the results but the pictures don't do it justice. See the Seattle/Pike's Place pic for a good representation, it was taken not long after with a good amount of miles driven.
Speed, Karma & Laser
Continuing on 90 its flat agricultural land that reminds me of CA's central region with more rainfall. Traffic is very light, only a few cars and this Corolla - I'm thinking early 2000s model - comes up fast behind me. Really fast. What's remarkable is the great condition of the paint, this car is cosmetically well taken care of. I know because the driver, lets put him on the younger side of 18, passed at high speed and very close, swerving to lane change. I deploy the universal sign of disapproval and hope he learns his lessons before its too late. 20 miles down the road I see flashing lights and the state patrol is keeping him company. Karma, bro. It don't mess around.
On my last WA visit the city of Pasco (further south, not far from the OR border) had an aggressive ticketing posture. This time I didn't write down the name, no time to pull over - just a city between Snoqualmie and Seattle. KA band up ahead, and another a 1/2 mile after that. But they're not done, this is a pack operation. Mr. Laser Cop is parked after the 2nd KA cruiser, and its clear they mean (big) business. This was the second laser strike in WA during this trip. Thankfully I did not contribute to the register.
Seattle and Pike's Place
In my mind this was going to be a great picture, something to print. Low light, low angle, blazing Pike's Place sign in the background. Got there too late for that, about 10AM due to heavy traffic and the Frothe field test. No biggie. Only problem is I'm from SF where car break ins are rampant and my car is chock full of stuff. Leave it like this at home and you're coming back to broken glass so I keep the car in sight.
Lets see.. Starbucks, not my first choice and it looks like Disneyland with all the tourists. I find an indy coffee purveyor, enjoy my dose and buy some overpriced t-shirts. And then its time to leave, but I drive around and I'm reminded that Seattle is what SF used to be: Not too crowded and a little laid back. Locals will tell you otherwise and the COL is too high, and there's too many people from CA who moved here, and they're right and wrong. But its vibe is nothing like SF and I hope it stays that way. Seattle is its own thing.
Newport, Oregon and the awkward stop light
I'm driving through Newport, another coastal town and this one has a fine dining establishment I'm keen to visit, Taco Bell. You may have heard of them, may I recommend the 20oz Mountain Dew for optimal caffeine delivery. Leaving town I stop at a light, windows down because the Top. Men.
did such a great job with the aircon. A Chevy truck (older one, S10 maybe) pulls up alongside. The driver has a ball cap on backwards, dark sunglasses and a Tom Selleck mustache. "Hey man! I'm a Chevy guy but I really like your car, that back end is something! Love how you put it together!" The words form in my head and my mouth opens to speak but he's gone before I can say anything. So there I was, mentally constipated long before the physical effects of this value meal, unable to tell him with urgency and a longing for relief that no, its stock and I'm not a Ford engineer or modding genius. Frustrating.
I ordered pizza and met our Lord and Savior
I stopped for dinner at a town close to Eugene. Its time for something healthy, like pizza. Yeah. Pepperoni and a cold one will do. Nice enough place, nothing fancy and nothing you'd remember. Except the guy who took my order was Jesus Christ Superstar. Brown shoulder length hair and a full beard, neatly done. Semi-olive complexion and I'm wondering if my Aramaic is up to speed, or whether I should be his agent for the Broadway revival. Mostly I'm wishing my long hair days hadn't ended and I briefly wallow in envy. At any rate the pizza was good and Jesus was a nice guy. Good to know.
.. just kidding. I kept driving south, down to CA, following 101 as it looped in and out of the coast. It wasn't until Eureka that I was reminded of a specific subculture. The sun was setting as I drove through, and this is it, i knew it - The Walking Dead isn't fiction, its right here, game over and all I've got is a multitool. But it was only the patchouli and herb loving drum circle crowd and there were a lot of them coming out of the shadows. Maybe Phish was playing, but I think they broke up? Doesn't matter. Welcome back to California. I'm so excited to visit my dealership and have a really long conversation about the A/C, my feelings and unmet expectations and maybe a hug at the end. Nah, forget that. Time to find a dealer who will offer solutions and options. Wish me luck.
The real end
Don't know why you're still here. It's done. For real this time.
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