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Your Pre Market Brief for 07/20/2020

Pre Market Brief for Monday July 20th 2020

You can subscribe to the daily 4:00 AM Pre Market Brief on The Twitter Link Here . Alerts in the tweets will direct you to the daily 4:00 AM Pre Market Brief in this sub.
Updated as of 5:00 AM EST
Stock Futures:
Friday 07/17/2020 News and Markets Recap:
Monday July 20th 2020 Economic Calendar (All times are Eastern)
News Heading into Monday July 20th 2020
Upcoming Earnings:
COVID-19 Stats and News:
Macro Considerations:
Most Recent SEC Filings
Morning Research and Trading Prep Tool Kit
Other Useful Resources:
The Ultimate Quick Resource For the Amateur Trader.
Subscribe to This Brief and the daily 4:00 AM Pre Market Brief on The Twitter Link Here . Alerts in the tweets will direct you to the daily brief in this sub
It is up to you to judge the accuracy and veracity of these headlines before trading.
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Your Pre Market Brief for 07/20/2020

Pre Market Brief for Monday July 20th 2020

You can subscribe to the daily 4:00 AM Pre Market Brief on The Twitter Link Here . Alerts in the tweets will direct you to the daily 4:00 AM Pre Market Brief in this sub.
Updated as of 3:00 AM EST
Stock Futures:
Friday 07/17/2020 News and Markets Recap:
Monday July 20th 2020 Economic Calendar (All times are Eastern)
News Heading into Monday July 20th 2020
Upcoming Earnings:
COVID-19 Stats and News:
Macro Considerations:
Most Recent SEC Filings
Morning Research and Trading Prep Tool Kit
Other Useful Resources:
The Ultimate Quick Resource For the Amateur Trader.
Subscribe to This Brief and the daily 4:00 AM Pre Market Brief on The Twitter Link Here . Alerts in the tweets will direct you to the daily brief in this sub
It is up to you to judge the accuracy and veracity of these headlines before trading.
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Oscars 2021: An inside look (like, really inside) to 50 possible contenders in the next awards race

Another Oscar ceremony happened, and we got our fair share of joy and disappointment. After Parasite surprised the world and took Best Picture, it seems like the game has changed for the awards race, now that non-English speaking films can actually fight and be recognized as well as classics as… Green Book. The Oscar race is still full of pain and glory, and even though the year has barely started, we have a bunch of movies that are fighting for air. And here’s 50 of them. Yes, I had some free time in my hands and this is a cool hobby, so I took the liberty to introduce most of the movies that will have Film Twitter entertained for the following 12 months. I say most, because there are always contenders who come out of nowhere later in the year, so this is the starter set. Here we go.
-Annette: Since Parasite’s road to the Oscars started at Cannes, it seems fair to talk about a movie that is circling a premiere in the world stage that is set in France. After delivering weird, indie classics like Mauvais Sang and Holy Motors (yes, the kind of movies that make you seem like a snob when you recommend them to people), Leos Carax is making his first movie spoken in the English language… and it has a musical screenplay written by the cult rock duo of Sparks. Recently robbed Adam Driver and previous Oscar winner Marion Cotillard sing in this tale of a stand-up comedian and a famous soprano singer who rise and fall in Los Angeles while their daughter is born with a special gift. It seems like a wild bet, but we already know that Carax is a master with musical moments, so this is one of the most intriguing question marks of the year.
-Ammonite: It’s time to talk narratives. On the one hand, we have Kate Winslet, a known name who hasn’t been very successful in the Oscar race since her Oscar win for The Reader over a decade ago (with the exception being her supporting performance in Steve Jobs, where she had a weird accent). On the other, we have Saoirse Ronan, a star on the rise who keeps collecting Oscar nominations, with 4 nods at the age of 25, including her fresh Best Actress loss for Little Women. What happens if we put them together in a drama set in the coasts of England during the 19th century where both of them fall for each other? That’s gonna be a winning formula if writedirector Francis Lee (who tackled queer romance in his acclaimed debut God’s Own Country) nails the Mary Anning story, and Neon (the distribution company founded three years ago that took Parasite to victory) is betting on it.
-Benedetta: We know the Paul Verhoeven story. After isolating himself from Hollywood for over a decade, he took Isabelle Huppert to an Oscar nominated performance with the controversial, sexy, dark and funny thriller Elle. Now, he’s back with another story that perks up the ears, because now he’s covering the life of Benedetta Carlini, a 17th-century lesbian nun who had religious and erotic visions. If you know Paul, you already can tell that this fits into his brand of horniness, and a possible Cannes premiere could tell us if this has something to carry itself to Oscar night.
-Blonde: With a short but impactful directorial credits list that takes us from Chopper, to The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford to Killing Them Softly, Andrew Dominik is back with a film about Marilyn Monroe, a woman who has transcended the ideas of fame and stardom, in ways that are glamorous and nightmarish at the same time. After failing to launch with Naomi Watts or Jessica Chastain,the rising Ana de Armas takes the lead in the retelling of Monroe’s troubled life based on Joyce Carol Oates’ novel, which is said to be covered in the screenplay as somewhat of a horror movie. We don’t know what that means yet, but Netflix is gonna push hard for this one, especially considering how the Academy loves throwing awards to stars playing previous stars, and that also can possibly include co-stars Bobby Cannavale and Adrien Brody.
-Breaking News in Yuba County: While he hasn’t gone back to the heights of his success achieved by the box office and award success of The Help (a movie that did not age well), Tate Taylor is still enjoying himself economically due to recent thrillers like The Girl on the Train and Ma. For his next movie, he’s made a dramedy that once again reunites him with Oscar winner Allison Janney, where she plays a woman who has to keep appearances and a hidden body when she catches her husband cheating on her, and then he dies of a heart attack. With a cast that also includes Mila Kunis, Regina Hall, Awkwafina, Samira Wiley, Wanda Sykes, Jimmi Simpson and Ellen Barkin, this could be a buzzy title later this year.
-C’mon C’mon: You may love or hate whatever Joaquin Phoenix did in Joker, but you can’t deny the benefit of playing the Crown Prince of Crime in an Oscar-winning performance. The blank check that you share with indie directors afterwards. Now that Joaquin’s cultural cachet is on the rise, Mike Mills gets to benefit with this drama that stars Phoenix and Gaby Hoffmann, with him playing an artist left to take care of his precocious young nephew as they forge an unexpected bond over a cross country trip. We only have to wonder if A24 will do better with this movie’s Oscar chances compared to 20th Century Women.
-Cherry: After killing half the universe and bringing them back with the highest grossing movie of all time, where do you go? For Joe and Anthony Russo, the answer is “away from the Marvel Cinematic Universe”. The Russo brothers are trying to distance themselves and prove that they have a voice without Kevin Feige behind them, with a crime drama that’s also different than their days when they directed You, Me and Dupree or episodes of Arrested Development and Community. To help them in the journey, they took Tom Holland (who also needs to distance himself from Spider-Man, lest he ends up stuck to the character in the audience’s eyes) to star in a crime drama based on former Army medic Nico Walker’s memoir about his days after Iraq, where the PTSD and an opioid addiction led him to start robbing banks.
-Da 5 Bloods: After bouncing back from a slump with the critical and commercial success of BlackKklansman, Spike Lee is cashing a Netflix check to tell the tale of four African American veterans who return to Vietnam to search for their fallen leader and some treasure. With a cast that includes Delroy Lindo, Clarke Peters, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Paul Walter Hauser and Chadwick Boseman, this sounds like an interesting combo, although we still should remember the last time that Spike tried his hand at a war movie, with the dull Miracle at St. Anna.
-Dune: If you are on Reddit, you probably know about the new film by movies’ new Messiah, Denis Villeneuve. While the epic sci-fi novel by Frank Herbert is getting a new chance in the multiplexes after that David Lynch movie that was forgotten by many, some are hoping that this will be the beginning of a new franchise (as seen by the release date of December 18, taking the spot of the usual Star Wars opening), and a return to the whole “remember when stuff like Return of the King or Fury Road were nominated for Best Picture?” question. Timothee Chalamet will be riding a lot of hope, and sandworm.
-Everybody’s Talking About Jamie: As you start to see, there are several musicals that are gonna be fighting for attention over the next year, and Annette was the first one. Now, we also have this adaptation of the hit West End production, that centers around a gay British teenager who dreams of becoming a drag queen and get his family and schoolmates to accept his sexuality. With a cast that mixes young unknowns, familiar Brits (Sharon Horgan, Sarah Lancashire and my boy Ralph Ineson) and the previously nominated legend that is Richard E. Grant (who is playing a former drag queen named Loco Chanelle), the creative team of the stage musical will jump to the big screen with the help of Fox Searchlight (sorry, just Searchlight), who has clear Oscar hopes with a release date right in the middle of awards heat, on October 23.
-Hillbilly Elegy: Even though the Parasite victory gave many people hope for a new Academy that stops recognizing stuff like previous winner Green Book… let’s be honest, the Academy will still look for movies like Green Book. This year, many people are turning their eyes towards Ron Howard’ adaptation of J.D. Vance’s memoir about his low income life in a poor rural community in Ohio, filled with drugs, violence and verbal abuse. If this sounds like white trash porn, it doesn’t help to know that Glenn Close, who has become the biggest living Oscar bridesmaid with seven nominations, will play a character called Mamaw. And if that sounds trashy, then you have to know that Amy Adams, who follows Glenn with six nominations, is playing her drug-addicted, careless daughter. I don’t want to call this “Oscar bait”, but it sure is tempting.
-I’m Thinking of Ending Things: After his stopmotion existential dramedy Anomalisa got him a Best Animated Feature nomination at the Oscars but at the same time bombed at the box office, Charlie Kaufman is getting the Netflix check. This time, he’s adapting the dark novel by Iain Reid, about a woman (Jessie Buckley, who is on the rise and took over the role after Brie Larson had to pass) who is taken by her boyfriend (Jesse Plemons) to meet his parents (Toni Collette and David Thewlis), in a trip that takes a turn for the worse. If Kaufman can deliver with this one, it will be a big contender.
-In the Heights: Yes, more musicals! This time, it’s time to talk about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first Tony-winning musical, that was overshadowed because of his other small play about some treasury secretary. Now, his Broadway ensemble tale about life in a neighborhood in Washington Heights is jumping to the movie screen with Jon Chu at the helm, following the success of Crazy Rich Asians. This Latino tale mixes up-and-comers like Anthony Ramos (who comes straight from Hamilton and playing Lady Gaga’s friend in A Star is Born), names like Corey Hawkins and Jimmy Smits (who is pro bits), and Olga Merediz, who starred in the Broadway show as Abuela Claudia and who could be the early frontrunner for Best Supporting Actress, if Chu allows her to shine like she did onstage.
-Jesus Was My Homeboy: When looking at up-and-coming Black actors right now in Hollywood, two of the top names are Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield, who already appeared in the same movie in Get Out, which earned Kaluuya a Best Actor nomination. This time, they share the screen in Shaka King’s retelling of the story of Fred Hampton (Kaluuya), an activist and Black Panther leader… as well as the story of William O’Neal (Stanfield), the FBI agent sent by J. Edgar Hoover to infiltrate the party and arrest him. With the backing of Warner Bros, this will attempt to make an impact with a clash of actors that will have to fight with an August release date, not the ideal time to release an awards movie.
-King Richard: Starting with Suicide Squad, Will Smith has been trying to prove that he’s back and better than ever. Some attempts to get back to the top of the A-list (Aladdin, Bad Boys For Life) have worked, while others (Gemini Man, Spies in Disguise)... have not. But Will is still going, and now he’s going for his next prestige play as he plays Richard Williams, the coach and father of the tennis legends Venus and Serena, who pushed them to their full potential. While it’s weird that the father of the Williams sisters is getting a movie before them, it does sound like a meaty role for Smith, who has experience with Oscar notices with sports biopics because of what he did with Michael Mann in Ali. Let’s hope director Reinaldo Marcus Green can take him there too.
-Last Night in Soho: Every year, one or two directors who have a cool reputation end up in the Dolby Theatre, and 2020 could be the year of Edgar Wright. After delivering his first big box office hit with Baby Driver, the Brit is going back to London to tell a story in the realm of psychological horror, which has been supposedly inspired by classics like Don’t Look Now and Repulsion. With a premise that supposedly involves time travel and a cast that includes Anya-Taylor Joy, Thomasin McKenzie, Matt Smith and Diana Rigg, Wright (who also co-wrote this with Krysty Wilson-Cairns, who was just nominated for Best Original Screenplay for her work in 1917) is making a big swing.
-Let Them All Talk: Every year there’s more new streaming services, and that also means that there’s new players in the Oscar game. To secure subscribers to the new service, HBO Max has secured the rights to the next Steven Soderbergh movie, a comedy that stars Meryl Streep as a celebrated author that takes her friends (Candice Bergen, Dianne Wiest) and her nephew (Lucas Hedges, again) in a journey to find fun and come to terms with the past. The last time that Soderbergh and Streep worked together, the end result was the very disappointing The Laundromat. Let’s hope that this time everything works out.
-Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: Now that Netflix got the deal to adapt August Wilson’s acclaimed plays with Denzel Washington’s production company, the next jump from the stage to the screen is a meaty one. Viola Davis is playing blues singer Ma Rainey in this tale of a heated recording session with her bandmates, her agent and her producer in 1927, with a cast that also includes Chadwick Boseman, Glynn Turman and Colman Domingo. The Tony nominated play talked about race, art and the intersection of the two, and it’s gonna be explosive to see that unfold on screen, even if director George C. Wolfe’s previous filmography isn’t very encouraging.
-Macbeth: In a shocking development, the Coen brothers are no more. Well, just this time. For the first time in his career, Joel Coen is making a movie without Ethan, and it’s a Shakespeare adaptation. Denzel Washington is playing the man who wants to be king of Scotland, and Frances McDormand is playing his Lady Macbeth. While this just started filming and it will be a race to finish it in time for competition in the awards race, the potential is there, and this project has everybody’s attention.
-Mank: After scoring 24 Oscar nominations and only winning 2 awards last Sunday, Netflix has to wonder what else must they do to get in the club that awards them. They tried with Cuarón, they tried with Scorsese, they tried with Baumbach, they tried with two Popes, and they still feel a barrier. Now, the big gamble for awards by the streamer in 2020 comes to us in the hands of David Fincher, who is basically their friend after the rest of Hollywood denied him (Disney dropped his 20,000 Leagues adaptation, HBO denied the US remake of Utopia, and Paramount drove World War Z 2 away from him). In his first movie since 2014’s Gone Girl, David will go black and white to tackle a script by his late father about the making of the classic of classics, Citizen Kane, with previous Oscar winner Gary Oldman playing the lead role of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz. Will the Academy fall for the ultimate “power of da moviesshhh” story?
-Minari: Sundance can be hit or miss with the breakout films that try to make it to the Oscars. However, you can’t deny the waves made by A24 when they premiered Lee Isaac Chung’s new drama there, ending up winning the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award in the US Dramatic Competition. If Parasite endeared Academy voters to Korean families, Steven Yeun hopes that the same thing happens with this story, where he plays a father in the ‘80s who suddenly decides to move his family to Arkansas to start a farm. Even though the reviews have been great, we must also remember that last year, A24 had in their hands The Farewell, another Sundance hit about an Asian family that ended up with no Oscar nominations. Let’s hope that this time, the Plan B influence (remember, that’s Brad Pitt’s production company, of Moonlight and 12 Years a Slave fame) makes a difference.
-Next Goal Wins: It’s a good time to be Taika Waititi. Why? Taika Waititi can do what he wants. He can direct a Thor movie, he can win an Oscar for writing a comedy set in WW2 about a Third Reich boy who has an Imaginary Hitler friend, or he can pop up in The Mandalorian as a droid. Taika keeps winning, and he wants more. Between his press tour for Jojo Rabbit and his return to the MCU, he quickly shot an adaptation of a great documentary about the disgraced national team of American Samoa, one of the worst football teams known to man, as they try to make the cut for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Everybody loves a good sports comedy, and Searchlight bets that we’ll enjoy this story led by Michael Fassbender as the new (and Dutch-American) coach in town who tries to shape the team for victory.
-News of the World: Seven years after their solid collaboration in Captain Phillips, Paul Greengrass and Tom Hanks reunite for more awards love in what seems to be Universal’s main attraction for the Oscars. This time, Hanks stars in a Western drama based on Paulette Jiles’ novel where he plays a traveling newsreader in the aftermath of the American Civil War who is tasked with reuniting an orphaned girl with her living relatives. With a Christmas release date, Universal is betting big in getting the same nomination boost that 1917 is enjoying right now, and the formula is promising.
-Nightmare Alley: Following his Best Picture and Best Director wins for The Shape of Water, everybody in Hollywood wondered what would Guillermo del Toro do next. Well, as Del Toro often does, a little bit of everything and nothing. Some projects moved (as his produced Pinocchio movie on Netflix, or his Death Stranding likeness cameo), others stalled and die (like his proposed Fantastic Voyage remake). But now he’s rolling on his next project, a new adaptation of the William Lindsay Gresham novel that already was a Tyrone Power film in 1947. This noir tale tells the story of a con man (Bradley Cooper) who teams up with a psychiatrist (Cate Blanchett) to trick people and win money, and how things get out of control. With a cast that also includes Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Rooney Mara and more, this could play well if it hits the right tone.
-Nomadland: There’s breakout years, and then there’s the amazing potential of Chloe Zhao’s 2020. On the one hand, after making Hollywood notice her skill with the gripping story of The Rider, she got the keys to the MCU kingdom to direct the next potential franchise of Kevin Feige, The Eternals. And just in case, she also has in her sleeve this indie drama that she wrote and directed beforehand, with two-time Oscar winner Frances McDormand playing a woman who, after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad. If Chloe nails these two films, it could be the one-two punch of the decade.
-One Night in Miami: Regina King is living her best life. Following her Oscar win for Best Supporting Actress in If Beale Street Could Talk and the success that came with her lead role in the Watchmen show on HBO, the actress is jumping to a new challenge: directing movies. For her big screen debut, she’s adapting Kemp Powers’ play that dramatizes a real meeting on February 25, 1964, between Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown.
-Over the Moon: After earning praise and Oscar nominations with I Lost My Body and Klaus, Netflix will keep its bet on animated movies with a film directed by the legendary Glen Keane. Who? A classic Disney animator responsible for the design of characters like Ariel, the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Tarzan and more](, and who recently won an Oscar for Best Animated Short for Dear Basketball, which he co-directed with the late Kobe Bryant. Now, he brings us a musical adventure centered around a Chinese girl who builds a rocket ship and blasts off to the Moon in hopes of meeting a legendary Moon Goddess.
-Passing: It’s always interesting when an actor jumps behind the camera, and Rebecca Hall’s case is no exception. For her directorial debut, Hall chose to adapt Nella Larsen’s acclaimed novel set in Harlem in the 1920s, about two mixed race childhood friends (Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson) who reunite in adulthood and become obsessed with one another's lives. With a premise that explores tough questions about race and sexuality, it looks like a tricky challenge for a first timer, but it would be more impressive if Hall manages to rise over the challenge.
-Prisoner 760: An interesting part of following the awards circuit is looking at when it's appropriate to talk about touchy subjects in recent history. I’m saying that because this next movie tells the real life tale of Mohamedou Ould Slahi (Tahar Rahim), a man who, despite not being charged or having a set trial, is held in custody at Guantanamo Bay, and turns towards a pair of lawyers (Jodie Foster and Shailene Woodley) to aid him. Based on the famous journal that the man wrote while he was being detained, the movie (that also counts with Benedict Cumberbatch) is directed by Kevin Macdonald who, a long time ago, helped Forest Whitaker win Best Actor for The Last King of Scotland. Could he get back in the race after almost 15 years of movies like State of Play?
-Raya and the Last Dragon: This year, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ bet for the Oscars is a fantasy tale set in a mysterious realm called Kumandra, where a warrior named Raya searches for the last dragon in the world. And that dragon has the voice of Awkwafina. Even though they missed out last Oscars when Frozen II got the cold shoulder by the Academy in Best Animated Feature, this premise looks interesting enough to merit a chance. One more thing: between last year’s Abominable, Over the Moon and this movie, there’s a clear connection of animated movies trying to appeal to Chinese sensibilities (and that sweet box office).
-Rebecca: It’s wild to think that the only time that Alfred Hitchcock made a film that won the Oscar for Best Picture was with 1940’s adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s psychological thriller novel, more muted and conventional than his more known classics. Now, Ben Wheatley and Netflix are giving the Gothic story a new spin, with Lily James playing the newly married young woman who finds herself battling the shadow of her husband's (Armie Hammer) dead first wife, the mysterious Rebecca. The story is a classic, and we have to see how much weird Wheatley stuff is in the mix.
-Red, White and Water: Between 2011 and 2014, Jennifer Lawrence was everywhere and people loved it. She was America’s sweetheart, the Oscar winner, Katniss Everdeen. But then, everything kinda fell. Those X-Men movies got worse and she looked tired of being in them, her anecdotes got less charming and more pandering to some, she took respectable risks that didn’t pay off with Red Sparrow and Mother!, and some people didn’t like that she said that it wasn’t nice to share private photos of her online. Now, she looks to get back to the Oscar race with a small project funded by A24 and directed by Lila Neugebauer in her film debut, about a soldier who comes back to the US after suffering a traumatic brain injury in Afghanistan. Also, Brian Tyree Henry is in this, and it would be amazing if he got nominated for something.
-Respect: You know what’s a surefire way to get Academy voters’ attention? Play a real singer! Rami Malek took a win last year for playing Freddie Mercury, Renee Zellweger just won the gold after portraying Judy Garland, and now Jennifer Hudson wants more Oscar love. Almost 15 years after taking Best Supporting Actress for her role in Dreamgirls, Hudson will try to get more by playing soul legend Aretha Franklin, in a biopic directed by first timer Liesl Tommy that practically screams “give me the gold”. How am I so sure? Well, see the teaser that they released in December (for a movie that opens in October), and tell me. It will work out better for Hudson than Cats, that’s for sure.
-Soul: Unless they really disappoint (I’m looking at you, The Good Dinosaur, Cars 2 and Cars 3), you can’t have the Oscars without inviting Pixar to the party. This year, they have two projects in the hopes of success. While in a few weeks we’ll see what happens with the fantasy family road trip of Onward, the studio’s biggest bet of the year clearly is the next existential animation written and directed by Pete Docter, who brought Oscar gold to his home with Up and Inside Out. The movie, which centers on a teacher (voice of Jamie Foxx) who dreams of becoming a jazz musician and, just as he’s about to get his big break, ends up getting into an accident that separates his soul from his body, had a promising first trailer, and it also promises a score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, as well as new songs by Jon Batiste. The only downside so far for the marketing was the fact that the trailer reveal led people to notice a suspicious trend involving black characters when they lead an animated movie.
-Tenet: When Leonardo DiCaprio finally touched his Academy Award, an alarm went off in the mind of a portion of Internet users, who have made their next crusade to give themselves to the cause of getting Christopher Nolan some Oscar love. And his next blank check, an action thriller involving espionage and time travel, could pull off the same intersection of popcorn and prestige that made Inception both a box office hit and a critically acclaimed Oscar nominee. It helps to have a cast of impressive names like John David Washington, Elizabeth Debicki and Robert Pattinson, as well as a crew that includes Ludwig Goransson and Hoyte van Hoytema. In other words, if this becomes a hit, this could go for a huge number of nominations.
-The Devil All the Time: As you may have noticed by now, Netflix is leading the charge in possible Oscar projects. Another buzzy movie that comes from them is the new psychological thriller by Antonio Campos, a filmmaker known for delivering small and intimate but yet intense and terrifying dramas like Simon Killer and Christine. Using the novel by Donald Ray Pollock, Campos will follow non-linearly a cast of characters in Ohio between the end of World War II and the beginning of the Vietnam War, with the help of an interesting cast that includes Tom Holland, Sebastian Stan, Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, Eliza Scanlen, Bill Skarsgard, Jason Clarke and Riley Keough.
-The Eyes of Tammy Faye: After being known as a sketch comedy goofball because of The State, Wet Hot American Summer and Stella, Michael Showalter reinvented himself as a director of small and human dramedies like Hello, My Name is Doris and The Big Sick. For his next project, he’s gonna mix a little bit of both worlds, because he has before him the story of the televangelists Tammy Faye Bakker (Jessica Chastain, who has been really trying to recapture her early ‘10 awards run to no avail) and Jim Bakker (Andrew Garfield, who was previously nominated for Hacksaw Ridge, instead of Silence, because why). With a real life tale that involves Christian theme parks, fraud and conspiracies, this is the kind of loud small movie that Searchlight loves to parade around, especially as an actors showcase (Jojo Rabbit being the most recent example). The first image looks terrifying, by the way.
-The Father: It’s weird to be in the middle of February and say that there’s already a frontrunner for the Best Actor race at the next Oscars. After its premiere in Sundance a couple of weeks ago, every prognosticator pointed in the direction of Anthony Hopkins (recently nominated for Best Supporting Actor in The Two Popes), who delivers a harrowing portrayal of an old man grappling with his age as he develops dementia, causing pain to his beleaguered daughter (recent winner Olivia Colman, who also got praised). With reviews calling it a British answer to Amour (in other words: it’s a hard watch), Florian Zeller’s adaptation of his acclaimed play not only benefits from having Hopkins and Colman together as a selling point, because it was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics, a distributor with experience in getting Academy voters to watch adult movies with heavy themes. If you don’t believe me, watch how they got Julianne Moore a win for Still Alice, as well as recent nominations for Isabelle Huppert for Elle, Glenn Close for The Wife, and Antonio Banderas for Pain and Glory. They know the game, and they are going to hit hard for Hopkins and Colman.
-The French Dispatch: If you saw the trailer, we don’t need to dwell too much on the reasons. On the one hand, we have the style of Wes Anderson, a filmmaker who has become a name in both the critics circle and the casual viewer, with his last two movies (The Grand Budapest Hotel and Isle of Dogs) earning several Oscar nominations, including Best Picture for the one with Gustave H. Then, we have a long cast that goes from the director’s regulars like Bill Murray to new stars like Timothee Chalamet, and also includes people like Benicio del Toro. The only thing that could endanger the Oscar chances for this is that the story, an anthology set around a period comedy with an European riff on The New Yorker, will alienate the average Academy member.
-The Humans: There’s the prestige of a play, and then there’s the prestige of a Tony-winning play. Playwright Stephen Karam now gets to jump to the director’s chair to take his acclaimed 2016 one-act story to the big screen, and A24 is cutting the check. Telling the story of a family that gets together on Thanksgiving to commiserate about life, this adaptation will be led by original performer Jayne Houdyshell (who also won a Tony for her stage performance), who’ll be surrounded by Richard Jenkins, Beanie Feldstein, Amy Schumer, Steven Yeun and June Squibb. If it avoids getting too claustrophobic or stagey for the cinema, it will be a good contender.
-The Last Duel: Always speedy, Ridley Scott is working on his next possible trip to the Oscars. This time, it’s the telling of a true story in 14th-century France, where a knight (Matt Damon) accuses his former friend (Adam Driver) of raping his wife (Jodie Comer), with the verdict being determined by the titular duel. It’s a juicy story, but there was some concern when it seemed that the script was only being written by Damon and Ben Affleck (who’ll also appear in the film). A rape story written by them after the Weinstein revelations… not the best look. But then, it was revealed that they were writing the screenplay with indie figure Nicole Holofcener, who last year was nominated for an Oscar for her script for Can You Ever Forgive Me? Let’s hope that the story is told in a gripping but not exploitative way, and that it doesn’t reduce the role of Comer (who deserves more than some of the movie roles that she’s getting after Killing Eve) to a Hollywood stereotype.
-The Power of the Dog: We have to talk about the queen of the indie world, we have to talk about Jane Campion. More than a decade after her last movie, Bright Star, the Oscar and Palme d’Or winner for The Piano returns with a non-TV project (see Top of the Lake, people) thanks to Netflix, with a period drama centered around a family dispute between a pair of wealthy brothers in Montana, Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George Burbank (Jesse Plemons), after the latter one marries a local widow (Kirsten Dunst). According to the synopsis, “a shocked and angry Phil wages a sadistic, relentless war to destroy her entirely using her effeminate son Peter as a pawn”. Can’t wait to see what that means.
-The Prom: Remember the Ryan Murphy blank check deal with Netflix that I mentioned earlier? Well, another of the projects in the first batch of announcements for the deal is a musical that he’ll direct, adapting the Tony-nominated show about a group of Broadway losers (now played by the one and only Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Andrew Rannells and, uh, James Corden, for some reason) who try to find a viral story to get back in the spotlight, and end up going to a town in Indiana to help a lesbian high school student who has been banned from bringing her girlfriend to the prom. The show has been considered a fun and heartwarming tale of acceptance, so the movie could be an easy pick for an average Academy voter who doesn’t look too hard (and you know that the Golden Globes will nominate the shirt out of this). It’s funny how this comes out the same year than Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, and then it’s not funny realizing that Film Twitter will pit the two movies against each other.
-The Trial of the Chicago 7: After getting a taste of the director’s taste with Molly’s Game, Aaron Sorkin wants more. For his second movie, he’s tackling one of his specialties: a courtroom drama. And this one is a period movie centered around the trial on countercultural activists in the late ‘60s, which immediately attracts a campaign of how “important” this movie is today’s culture. To add the final blow, we have a cast that includes Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jeremy Strong, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Frank Langella, William Hurt, Michael Keaton and Mark Rylance. If Sorkin can contain himself from going over the top (and with that cast, it would be so easy to surrender to bouts of screaming and winding speeches), this could be one of the top contenders.
-Those Who Wish Me Dead: Having made a good splash in the directorial waters with Wind River, Taylor Sheridan (also known for writing the Sicario movies, the Oscar-nominated Hell or High Water or that Yellowstone show that your uncle raves about on Facebook) returns with yet another modern Western. For this thriller based on the Michael Koryta novel, Angelina Jolie stars as a survival expert in the Montana wilderness who is tasked with protecting a teenager who witnessed a murder, while assassins are pursuing him and a wildfire grows closer.
-Untitled David O. Russell Project: Following the mop epic Joy, that came and went in theaters but still netted a Best Actress nomination for Jennifer Lawrence, the angriest director in Hollywood took a bit of a break (it didn’t help that he tried to do a really expensive show with Amazon starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore that fell apart when the Weinstein exposes sank everything). Now, he’s quickly putting together his return to the days of Oscar love that came with stuff like The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, with a new movie that is set to star Christian Bale, Margot Robbie and Michael B. Jordan. Even though we don’t know many details (some people are saying the movie is called Amsterdam) except for the fact the movie hasn’t started shooting yet, David is a quick guy, so he’ll get it ready for the fall festival circuit. If there’s one thing that David O. Russell knows (apart from avoid getting cancelled for abusing people like Lily Tomlin, Amy Adams and his niece), it’s to make loud actor showcases.
-Untitled Nora Fingscheidt Project: When Bird Box became one of the biggest hits on Netflix history, the streamer decided to keep itself in the Sandra Bullock business. Sandy’s next project for Ted Sarandos is a drama where she plays a woman who is released from prison after serving time for a violent crime, and re-enters a society that refuses to forgive her past. To get redemption, she searches her younger sister she was forced to leave behind. With the direction of Fingscheidt, who comes from an acclaimed directorial debut with Systemsprenger (Germany’s submission to the last Academy Awards), and a cast that also includes Viola Davis, Vincent D’Onofrio and Jon Bernthal, this will also hopefully try its luck later this year.
-Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Project: We don’t know if this movie will be ready for the end of the year (although last time, he managed to sneak Phantom Thread under the buzzer and earn several Oscar nominations, including Best Picture), but PTA is apparently gonna start to shoot it soon, with the backing of Focus Features. After several movies with prestige locations and intricate production design, Film Twitter’s Holy Spirit will go back to the San Fernando Valley in the 1970s, to tell the story of a high school student who is also a successful child actor.
-Stillwater: Tom McCarthy’s recent career is certainly puzzling. After delivering the weird lows of The Cobbler, he bounced back with the Best Picture winner that was Spotlight. And following that, he… helped produce the 13 Reasons Why series. And following that… he made Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made, a Disney+ original movie. Now, he’s back to the award race with a drama starring Matt Damon, who plays a father who rushes from Oklahoma to France to help his daughter (Abigail Breslin), who is in prison after being suspected for a murder she claims she didn’t commit.
-West Side Story: To close things, we have to see one of the possible big contenders of the season, Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the iconic musical that translates Romeo and Juliet to the context of a street gang war in 1950s New York. While the decision to adapt again something that has been a classic both in Broadway and in movie theaters almost 60 years ago is a challenge, the idea of Spielberg doing a musical closer to the stage version with Tony Kushner as the writer is too tempting for the average Academy voter, who is already saving a spot in major categories in case Steven nails it in December. However, there’s two question marks. First, how well will Ansel Elgort and newcomer Rachel Zegler stand out in the roles of Tony and Maria? And second, will In the Heights steal some of the thunder of this movie by being, you know, more modern?
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Watching ONE Championship’s Top 5 P4P fighters video on YouTube made me wonder: What would a hypothetical main card for a cross-promoted event with the UFC look like? What are the Top 5 fights I’d want to see of ONE vs UFC fighters?

I am very much aware that a cross-promotion involving the UFC is astronomically unlikely, but I think the thought experiment is interesting. The UFC would absolutely be the host, so I’ll use their structure of a 5-fight Main Card and a Featured Prelim. Filling out a full Prelim Card would go deeper than I really want to though.
I have also been fairly lenient with weight classes, since ONE has all their weight classes shifted up 10-20 lbs. This is all just fun.
Featured Prelim
ONE Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon vs Sodiq “Super” Yusuff UFC
Battle of the Featherweight Prospects to cap off the Undercard.
Garry Tonon is probably the most well known ONE prospect among Western fans, and especially Jiu Jitsu fans, but he’s essentially untested against quality competition. He has 5 Fights and 5 finishes including a 3 different submissions from 3 different positions and grappling entries (an RNC, a Guillotine and an Outside Heel Hook) and 2 TKO’s. Garry Tonon is one of the most prized BJJ players in the sport right as perhaps only Rodolfo Viera, Gilbert Burns, Ryan Hall and Mackenzie Dern hold better BJJ resumes.
Yusuff on the other hand is a heavy-handed power puncher who recently entered the UFC Featherweight rankings at 15 following a decision win over Andre Fili. Yusuff holds an 11-1 record, 4-0 in the UFC with 2 TKO’s and 2 decisions. The win against Andre Fili should truly put him on every fans radar. Fili is a sneaky gatekeeper for the Featherweight rankings as his only UFC losses have come against Yusuff, Michael Johnson, Calvin Kattar, Godofredo Castro and Max Holloway (Castro is the only one who has not been a ranked UFC featherweight). That’s a bigger win than most fans probably recognised at the time.
Ryan Hall or Kron Gracie would also have been an interesting fight for Garry here, but they may as well just take their gloves off and grapple. Plus you can find Kron vs Garry in BJJ on YouTube right now if you want.
Main Card
Fight 1
ONE Martin “The Situation-Asian” Nguyen vs Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski UFC
This ones for the Aussie’s. I’ll admit to being biased on this one, but it’d still be a kick-ass fight.
Martin Nguyen, the first Australian to win an MMA belt in a major promotion outside of Australia, versus Alexander Volkanovski, the current Australian UFC Champion. I’m just indulging myself, but it would probably also be a barn burner.
Nguyen is 13-3 for his career 9 TKO’s and 3 Submissions. Martin is a Double Champ in ONE, having held the Featherweight and Lightweight titles, and also made a run at the Bantamweight strap but narrowly missing out on the vaunted TRIPLE C after losing a split decision to Bibiano Fernandez.
Volkanovski is the favourite and current UFC 145lb Champion. Volk is, to use a common Aussie phrase, a nugget. A former Rugby League Player, the Champ didn’t start MMA until age 22 in an effort to stay fit for Rugby. He competed in Greco-Roman Wrestling at 97kg (214 lbs).
Volk made his amateur MMA debut at Middleweight standing just 5’6” (168cm). For context, current MW Champ Israel Adesanya - Volkanovski’s current teammate - is 6’4”, 10 inches/28cm taller. Nonetheless, Volk went 4-0 as an amateur MW before abandoning Rugby and turning Pro.
As a Pro, Volk won the strap in minor Australian promotions at 170, 155 and 145 before entering the UFC, where he debuted as a lightweight in 2016, just 7 years after starting MMA. He is a perfect 8-0 in the UFC with 3 TKO’s and 5 unanimous decisions. His only career loss came almost 7 years ago with a TKO loss at AFC 5.
Both fighters are capable on the ground and on their feet. This would be a great fight.
Fight 2
ONE Roman Kryklia vs Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya UFC
Hear me out.
This is a Kickboxing Matchup.
ONE is a very different organisation. Not only do they have MMA fights, they also hold Muay Thai and Kickboxing fights interspersed within their events, and have reigning Champions for those sports.
Roman Kryklia is the ONE 225lb LHW Kickboxing Champion. The Ukrainian has a 45-7 Kickboxing Record with 24 KO’s. He is a Ukrainian Master of Sport in Kickboxing and, at 28, is entering the prime of his career. Standing at 6’ 6.5”, Kryklia is a towering HW with hard hands.
Adesanya was one of the best Kickboxers in the world before making the transition to MMA. He holds a 75-5 Kickboxing record with 29 KO’s. This includes multiple KO wins at Heavyweight. Adesanya is also a perfect 19-0 in MMA, 8-0 in the UFC with 3 KO’s and 5 decisions. His full Kickboxing record is difficult to find, so I can’t say just how many HW fights he’s had, but video of some impressive KO’s at that weight can be found on a YouTube.
This honestly isn’t fair for Israel. Roman is much bigger, and Israel - brilliant as he is as a striker - hasn’t been a specialised kickboxer in 3 years. He has fought at HW, but would need time to get back to that size and to train for a specialised Kickboxing fight again. Betting lines would be skewed towards Israel because of the media hype and public money, so this would be the place for the gamblers to make their money betting on Roman.
Fight 3
ONE Xiong Jing Nan vs Weili “Magnum” Zhang UFC
These women would square off for the title of best fighter in China.
I weighed up putting Angela Lee in here, who ONE promotes to the moon and back because she looks like this, as wel as being the ONE Atomweight (115 lb) Champion. But given how Lee faired when she went up a class to fight Xiong for the ONE SW belt, I feel Xiong would be the more well matched fighter to meet Weili’s physicality.
It would surprise most to look at her and say that Xiong Jing Nan hits like a truck, but she does. She is 14-2 in her MMA career with 10 KO’s. Since joining ONE she is 5-1, with her only loss coming against Angela Lee for the ONE 115 lb AW belt, losing by submission. This fight was an immediate rematch, however, of a fight that Xiong won at 125 lb SW - her third successful defence of the belt.
On the other side, Weili Zhang is the Straw Weight Queen. Coming off one of the greatest fights I’ve ever seen against Joanna, she is all heart, skill and determination. She would and should be an overwhelming favourite in this matchup, because I don’t see a single woman at that weight who can stand with her.
After losing her first Pro fight, Zhang is on a 21 fight win streak dating back to April 2014. She is 21-1 with 10 KO’s and 7 Submissions. The first Chinese UFC Champion captured the title with a spectacular KO win over Jessica Andrade in front of her native crowd, and followed it up with the greatest WMMA Fight of All Time, a split decision win over former Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
ONE “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang vs Daniel “DC” Cormier UFC
Aung is a veteran of the game. The Champ-Champ at 205 and 225 - the Middle and LHW limits at ONE - Aung has 37 Pro Fights with a 26-10-0-1 record. However since joining ONE, he has gone 11-1, and avenged his only loss to Vitaly Bigdash in an immediate rematch to capture the MW strap.
Aung is on a tear at the moment with a stream of 6 straight finishes, including most recently against current ONE HW Champion Brandon Vera to defend his LHW strap.
Oh yeah, Aung defends both belts simultaneously. He has 3 defences of the MW belt and 1 defence of the LHW belt, fighting at both weights in 2018 and 2019. He also has a win against Alain Ngalani who, though not a great fighter, is absolutely terrifying, and anyone who dares to stand in front of him should be commended.
DC would obviously be the red hot favourite here though. However Aung is well rounded with skills on the ground and on the feet. I think this would actually be an excellent fight. Or it could totally blow as DC wins in a blowout.
Only one thing would stop it from being the Main Event......
Main Event
ONE Demetrius “Mighty Mouse” Johnson vs Henry “Triple C/The MessengeKing of Cringe” Cejudo
This one writes itself.
Mighty Mouse, the super-skilled, dominant P4P Great, against the Champ-Champ-Champ, the man he lost his belt to before being shipped out of the UFC in a revolutionary MMA trade. Dana’s red-headed stepchild is gone for good...
Or so we thought...
Mighty Mouse is back for revenge. And this time, it’s personal. He’s eyeing off the King of Cringe, the Triple C, the man who took what was rightfully his: Henry Cejudo.
This would absolutely have to happen in our imaginary Cross-Promotion, and it should Headline the show. With a storyline that juicy, every Combat Sports fan in the world would tune in.
That’s my Hypothetical Cross-Promotional ONE-UFC Card. I would expect the UFC to take out 4 of these 6 fights, with Roman and Mighty Mouse taking 2 home for ONE. But these would be fun and competitive fights, for the most part, or at least fights that would get the Asian market to tune in for the UFC - the ultimate aim of a cross-promo.
Surely the fights would have to be commentated by Rogan, Anik, Cruz and the GOAT Michael Schiavello.
What fights would you have on this hypothetical card?
How does Conor McGregor fit into all of this?
Should Dana vs Chatri be the Real Main Event?
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ACS | May 19th, 2020 | Patton Oswalt

At the top of today’s podcast, Adam shows Bryan and Gina a trio of the more disturbing commercials that he’s seen lately, and how commercials have changed since everyone went into quarantine. The guys then go on to discuss stupidity vs evil, and a message from Obama that coincides with something Adam’s been saying for years. Dave Mason then joins the show and the guys talk about the return of real sports, and with it, a bunch of exciting new betting action. Before the break, the guys chat with callers about Coronavirus testing, and flying remote control airplanes and jets.
Patton Oswalt is on the line at the top Part 2. The guys talk briefly about the obsession of race car drivers, and then Adam asks Patton about crafting his new standup special. They also talk about how the quarantine has been impacting the standup comedy business, and Adam asks Patton about the new HBO Docuseries about his first wife helping to catch the Golden State Killer before she died. Later, Adam asks Patton about meeting the woman who would become his second wife, and the guys also chat about some classic Man Show sketches. Gina then reads news stories about new guidelines for opening California back up, Bob Dylan’s new song ‘False Prophet’, and a tourist arrested in Hawaii after posting pictures of himself breaking quarantine laws. Adam also asks Patton about his film ‘Big Fan’, and the show wraps up with a conversation about Patton’s new standup special, ‘I Love Everything’.
Patton’s standup special, ‘I Love Everything’ is out now. You can also follow him on Twitter & Instagram @PattonOswalt.
Also visit http://BetOnline.AG and don’t forget to use code PodcastOne.
PLEASE SUPPORT TODAY’S SPONSORS! enter code ADAM for $20 off any 3+ month supply enter ADAM
Skrewball Peanut Butter Whisky
BetOnline enter PODCASTONE
Patton Oswalt on The Man Show: Museum of Annoying Drunks
UK Says NO MORE | Domestic Violence & COVID-19
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Feeling like I'm not improving the more I practice is the most frustrating part of this game. It just feels challenging but not rewarding. What do you think?

Improving at games the more you play them is what makes them addictive and fun for many people. In any game, not just video games, the rewarding part of it is doing better than you did before if you practice hard enough.
What it is that lets you know you're improving is dependent on the type of game and there are many ways to do it, here are some examples:
MW currently offers none of these but implements a skill based matchmaking system that resembles what a ranked competitive system would do as you rise and fall through the ranks.
If I could see what that rank was and could know for certain that I'm improving at the game I would feel more rewarded for playing and practising. In it's current state, every good game is bittersweet because:
  1. I know that I was placed in an easy lobby because I must have had a bad game or two beforehand. The win and good stats feel like I cheated because the opponents were all obviously worse than me.
  2. I know the next couple of games are going to be much more difficult because I "overperformed" in the last game and there's no chance I'm going to be able to complete any of the difficult challenges I have left.
  3. There's no benefit or reward to me playing in a more difficult lobby, I suppose it feels more competitive but not in any measurable way, not even an indicator, emblem, or a sign of progression, all it does is make the challenges more difficult to complete.
Before anyone tries to say that I just want to stomp on noobs, that's not what I'm saying, I love nail-biting competitive games. I just want to know if I'm getting better or not and the old metrics used to figure that out, KD and SPM, are now meaningless. My KD has been steadilly declining from day 1 as has my SPM and I can't tell if it's because I'm getting worse, all players are getting better or if I'm going up or down a ranking system. It should be the other way around unless I'm shown what bracket I'm in which might explain why!
In my opinion IW made this game challenging but forgot that it should also be rewarding.
What do you think? How should IW make MW feel more rewarding?
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Material Differences Ch 43

Who's ready for a middle of the night posting?! Woo! It's back faster than last time! And while I don't usually say too much about my personal life I'd just like to say whatever narrator is in charge of my day to day is a real jerk! Last friday my car died. The day after that my bike broke! The day after that I injured my foot! Leaving the house is apparently treacherous for this eagle! And after finally getting my car back on this recent Friday it's broken again! Joy!
Anyway, before I get stuck in another terrible workweek without transportation I had to crank out this chapter! So I hope you all enjoy!
My Stories
Material Differences Wiki
Chapter 1
Chapter 42
“So Jaeger what kind of porn do you watch?” Jaeger groaned into his helmet as Brandy-Lynn asked that and shook his head slowly. Rather than answer he considered the terrain ahead of them. They were nearly through the old Hive spa and the plateau beyond looked to be fairly desolate in the moonlight. Here and there were a few scraggly trees, and some ruins and wrecks for the war but it should be easy hiking to the Galileo crash site.
“Is that really the best you’ve got? No lead in? Just straight to asking me about porn? That’s lazy even for you.” He shot back.
“I mean you know how it goes. When we walk we talk! Our old list of topics doesn’t really work. There aren’t any new movies, you haven’t got the slightest idea what politics are like these days, and all new music blows. That leaves porn. I mean… what else have we got? I mean between you and weebie mcgee here I’m the only one who watches sports!” She huffed.
“Hey I caught the local sportsball game recently.” Figs countered. “When our star player made that great play, and the rookie showed their worth. Or when our rival made a crucial error. Goooo local sports team!” Figs cheered as he gave his usual routine anytime someone mentioned sports.
“I watch sports. But… mostly just my children at the learn making institute. And… I’m slightly distracted by selling inebriants to the other parents.” Kuv weighed in. “But it is highly entertaining at times to watch them fail!”
“How about we talk about nothing? Why not just enjoy this perfectly nice night and take in the scenery?” He suggested as they kept walking, with Spike in the lead to make sure nothing was ahead of them.
“Yeah that’s boring.” Brandy-Lynn replied after all of a second of trying out his suggestion. “If you won’t talk porn that leaves… Oooh! Who would win in a fight!”
“Nooooooo…” Jaeger groaned out even harder then when she had asked him about porn.
“Oh I had one!” Figs quickly spoke up. “Teddy Roosevelt against Mahatma Gandhi.”
“This is contest?” Kuv asked, obviously confused. “Gandhi was pacifist, and Teddy was soldier. Is not contest.”
“Ah now wait. How much prep time does Gandhi get?” Brandy-Lynn asked.
“This is why I hate these stupid fucking questions… Prep time is not fucking magic! Gandhi doesn’t go on some fucking movie montage training session to become an ultimate yoga warrior or some shit!” Jaeger didn’t know why he was even speaking. It wasn’t going to sway them. He just couldn’t help it.
“Yeah but Gandhi was obsessed with nuclear weapons. So if we consider prep time while he was prime minister of India then he might have access to a nuke, in which case he would win.” Figs pointed out.
“What?” Jaeger yet again wished he could just reach through his helmet to rub his face as he had to listen to the absurdities that came out of his comrade’s mouths.
“He was pacifist… why would he want nukes?” Kuv asked.
“Ah see but that’s what most people don’t know. The guy had a serious hard on for nuclear weapons. And… enemas I think… Anyway I think it had something to do with his desire to cleanse the world of sin in a baptism of nuclear fire. So yeah, with prep time I think Gandhi wins.” Brandy-Lynn nodded.
“I… did not know this.” Kuv nodded slowly as he considered the new information.
“Because it’s bullshit.” Jaeger huffed.
“Oh yeah, what do you know mister history expert?” Brandy-Lynn shot back.
“All I know is the two of you are fucking retarded and anything either of you says about history needs to be taken with a grain of salt the size of my fucking fist.” Jaeger growled back. “And that’s not how who would win in a fight works! Gandhi doesn’t get magic fucking prep time nukes! How the hell does he use that in a one on one duel! Jesus fucking Christ how did I get dragged into this?” Jaeger shook his head as he wondered why he could never avoid this sort of talk when out on missions with his team.
“Well at least it got us talking.” Figs shrugged.
“Shut up.” Jaeger immediately ordered. “Spike we should be far enough away from town, ping for local steggies to group up.”
“Didn’t the junior nerd say that they're more like dimetradons?” Brandy-Lynn reminded him even as Spike chirped an affirmative and began to ping.
“Fuck… Uh… We need a new name I guess… The… Dimas?” Jaeger suggested, unsure about how it sounded.
“That’s the new name the girl gave Stacy. What about… Dimmies?” Figs tried.
“That makes them sound… dim.” Jaeger reached up to scratch his chin only to stop when he reminded himself he was in his armor. “What about just… dimes?”
“Works for me.” Brandy-Lynn shrugged.
As they walked along Spike chirped up that he had gotten a reply and bounced the signal back to Jaeger. While the others kept talking he ignored them and looked at a map overlay that came up in his HUD. The bots in the area had the plateau well mapped and had established a base of operations in the wreck of the VNS Nimbus, a long range escort frigate that had been part of the Galileo’s protection detail. It shouldn’t be far from the wreck of the Galileo itself.
However when they began to list engagements and kills over the last decade he spoke up once more. “Uh… who was it who activated the bots when we downed the Galileo?”
“That would be me.” Brandy-Lynn answered.
“What… did you set them to when we left?” Jaeger glanced her way as he asked but she just shrugged.
“Fuck that was… twelve years ago? Eleven? Uuhh… Just whatever the standard is. Vigilance mode, area denial?” As soon as she said that he sighed.
“Brandy-Lynn that kills people!” Jaeger shook his head as he said that.
“What? No it doesn’t.” She looked over at Figs who just shrugged back.
“Yes, it does. What you wanted was sentry mode, access denial. Vigilance opens up first strike ROE and area denial means they’ll kill anyone found in the AO.” Jaeger glanced over the list of casualties that the bots had inflicted upon “insurgent forces.”
“Oh fuck off!” Brandy-Lynn would likely have thrown her hands up in the air if she weren’t holding her gatling gun. “You can’t pin this on me! Why did no one check my work? This is on you and Leona for not checking my work when we left!”
“Excuse the fuck out of me but how is this not your fault? You set it up!” Jaeger growled.
“She’s got a point.” Figs spoke up. “I mean… why would you ever trust her to set up something like this? It’s like trusting Tabori to not be weird at a party. Or… ever. You just know he’s going to be weird. And you know Brandy-Lynn will fuck up something techincal.”
“Yeah! Figs is right! This is your fault! Also fuck you Figs.” Brandy-Lynn shifted her gatling gun to flip Figs off who just flipped her off right back.
“I’ve missed you guys. I’ve missed this camaraderie. It’s nice to be back.” Kuv sighed wistfully.
“Did you hear anything about rogue warbots up here killing people?” Jaeger asked Kuv since he lived in the region.
“I had heard a bit. But there are stories from all over about rogue warbots! The usual tactic is to ignore them and not go hiking. It works for me.” Kuv shrugged.
“Wait, does this mean I get to add these people to my kill count?” Brandy-Lynn realized.
“If it’s my fault then that means they’re my kills.” Jaeger muttered.
“Ah fuck… mmhhh… Take the blame and the kills or not...” Brandy-Lynn seemed to need time to consider how to proceed while Jaeger just shook his head. Whatever good feeling had felt earlier in saving the teens was gone by now.
“How many… Dimes? Is that the name we settled on? How many dimes are active?” Figs asked thankfully giving Jaeger something else to focus on.
“Looks like two dozen functional.” Jaeger looked over the list that Spike was streaming to his HUD. “It seems like that one the girl earlier saved was isolated and never made it into the neural net. But the rest have been active for a decade together so… they might be some of the most elite bots we have.”
“A decade of combat without memory resets. Let me be the one to tell Ham! I wanna see his face go all twitchy as he freaks out!” Brandy-Lynn was practically giddy at the idea.
“I swear he’s going to have an aneurism by the end of this. Even if he is a synth!” Figs snorted.
“Anyone got eyes on the Nimbus?” Jaeger hoped that at least some focus on the mission might get them into a more professional mindset.
“I think that’s one of the solar clusters a click up north north west. Just past the ridge.” Figs called out. “We can have the dimes activate an IR signal.”
“We’re likely not alone out here. If we can see it Titan can see it.” Jaeger reminded him.
“Think they’ve learned how to man the ship’s weapons platforms?” Brandy-Lynn asked.
“Now I’d pay good money to see that. Imagine a bunch of robo-dinosaurs operating the heavy guns, carrying ammo in their mouths. That’s a mental image to cherish.” Figs giggled at the thought.
“No Brandy-Lynn I do not think that the bots have somehow learned to walk upright and man the weapons platforms.” Jaeger knew he couldn’t keep them focused for more than a second.
“Is this unconceivable? Absolute Dynamics feature best of best in both bots and auxiliary personnel. And sometimes miracles happen! Like Brandy-Lynn surviving after messing with carefully laid explosives on Bermuda 7.” Kuv snorted.
“That was all your damn fault! You didn’t leave me a way out of there!” Brandy-Lynn growled back.
“Guys, I know being your usual retarded selfs is fun and all but I think those are spotlights in the distance.” Jaeger pointed out two beams of light cutting through the night far ahead of them. It seemed to be a good sized vetall slowly searching the area. Though it hadn’t found the Galileo or Nimbus yet.
“We’re in smart cloaks they can’t see shit.” Brandy-Lynn scoffed.
“Yes, but who would be looking out here right now? Titan. And if anyone has the gear to see us it would be them. Pick up the pace.” Jaeger insisted and the others actually did pick up the pace. Kuv was soon falling behind though as the others were in power armor and he had to compensate by simply running faster.
“You out of shape over there Kuv?” Figs asked as they jogged.
“Fuck… You… Kuv… Neighborhood… Fun Run… Champ… It’s this suit… No time for… talcum… riding up… crack… chafing…” The xeno was soon gasping out.
“I don’t need that mental image…” Jaeger sighed. Even so they soon crested the ridge that the Nimbus was crashed up against and saw the wreck was decently in tact. With the solar clusters seemingly functional it made sense that the bots had used it as a nest to recharge. Nest? Den? What did dinosaurs settle in? Either was Jaeger pushed the thought from his mind as they began to carefully descend the ridge to get into the wreck itself as the vetall lights came closer.
Spike was already waiting atop the wreck and chirped at him that it had intercepted transmissions. “Let’s hear them.” Jaeger commanded and soon heard a voice pick up in his helmet.
“-By grid. This is the only place that could be referenced in the files. Even if we’re out here all night.”
“Sir, I think we’ve got a debris field.”
“Follow it up. Sweep across all spectrums. Command thinks Revenant are still out here.” It wasn’t clear if their gear was good enough to spot Jaeger and the others but he didn’t want to take any chances. He was quickly waving the others into a hole in the side of the old ship. As they entered he paused a moment, noticing all the eyes peering back at him. The dimetrodon bots were spread out around the inside of the ship in what did look like little nests. The old 3C hub at the center of the ship was a mix of wires, vines, flowers, and knick-knacks it seemed.
Was this part of their programming? If someone came across the wreckage their first thought might be that it was some sort of giant bird nest, not a base of operations for rogue warbots. “Got a bigger wreck up ahead.” Looking back out of the hole he saw the searchlights sweeping closer.
“Defensive positions, minimum exposure.” He called out as the bots began to scramble around along with Figs, Brandy-Lynn, and Kuv as they all looked for good spots to take cover and watch the opening into the ship.
“I’m picking up… something inside. It’s faint… several signatures though… Two dozen possible?” Jaeger sighed as he heard that. Their sensors were very good then…
“Right… There can’t be that many Revenant… Signal the two Hurricanes on deck, send in boots. Command wants confirmation before anything else. They’re trying to avoid civilian collateral.” Jaeger cursed once more. Hurricanes were heavy ground assault vetalls. This was bad… The wreck gave them some cover but if they knew they were in here they could just sit back and level it.
He watched the spotlights ahead level out as the spotter vetall lowered close to the ground and six figures hopped off as they began to approach on foot. “Wait until we’re spotted for sure then we need to push out immediately and open up on the spotter. If we’re lucky the won’t have as good sensor equipment on the Hurricanes.” The figures moving closer weren’t in power armor but they did look to have new model commando suits. He didn’t recognize their guns.
Jaeger took a bead on the lead commando watching them get closer. “Wait!” Brandy-Lynn called out and he looked over in surprise. “I have an idea!” She jumped up then, out in full view. As soon as the commandos entered the wreck they’d likely be able to see her.
“What?!” Jaeger hissed back, confused.
“Disco dance party protocols engage!” She cheered out and all the bots around her stood up as bright lights suddenly began to twirl around their bodies as their camo coats went wild and loud music began to play.
“Brandy-Lynn! What the fuck?!” Jaeger yelled at her over the music.
“Dance sarge! Dance like your life depends on it!” She replied as she quickly started to twirl around and dance, her smark cloak going wild with her in a torrent of bright neon colors. Figs was quick to jump up and join her, and even Kuv was soon wiggling around as his bright tail opened and closed. The Jipasi never missed an opportunity to strut their stuff and dance. Jaeger glanced at the outlines of the commandos approached the wreck and finally got up as he started to try and dance. Though it was mostly just him flailing around wildly. “You call that dancing? You’re going to get us killed man!”
“Brandy-Lynn I swear to god…” Jaeger hissed a moment as the commandos finally entered the hole, only to stop hard as they collectively gasped and clutched at their eyes.
“Fuck!” He heard over the intercepted comms. “My eyes! The fuck is this?! Sensors are going wild… Is that music?”
“Ah… Please repeat that Two one.” He heard the vetall pilot.
“Uh… Two actual… It’s… I think it’s a bunch of teens having a… rave?” The commando replied as they looked around obviously confused. With all the lights and dancing bots swirling about Jaeger realized their optics must be going crazy. Strap some ultra light sensitive cameras to your face and see how they like a rave… “Uh… Hey kids! Turn that music off!” The commando in front called out.
“Fuck you old man! You can’t tell us what to do!” Brandy-Lynn called back, not needing to even pretend to sound exactly like a petulant teen.
“Yeah, Two actual, I’ve got some… sort of rave thing… The lights are playing hell with our night optics. This music is awful… I think it’s a bunch of stupid teens. Permission to sweep and clear?” Were they seriously asking permission to try and kill what they thought to be a teen rave?
“That’s a negative two one. Command wants minimal collateral. This isn’t the Galileo anyway. Return for dust off.” The vetall pilot ordered. Jaeger kept flailing around in as close an approximation of a dance as he could get while watching the commandos. Brandy-Lynn threw in a few blasts of an airhorn from… Somewhere? He wasn’t sure where she got it. Maybe she just… carried one with her?
“That’s… affirmative Two actual. Returning for dust off.” The commandos slowly backed off and then turned to jog back towards the vetall as it swung around and nestled against the ground to pick them up. Once they were out of sight Jaeger stopped dancing, but the others all kept it up even as the vetall lifted off and began to move on.
“Marking secondary site and proceeding with grid search.” The pilot announced to whoever was on the other end.
“They’re gone. You can stop now.” Jaeger announced but as he watched the others just kept dancing to the songs. “Is this a playlist? Brandy-Lynn did you add all this to the bots programming?”
“Maybe!” Jaeger couldn’t even yell at her as her stupid plan had actually worked just fine.
“Okay well good job. Now knock it off.” As the second song ended she finally turned the music off and they stopped dancing. Jaeger looked around and shook his head slowly. “I can’t believe you installed a disco dance mode on warbots… and I can’t believe it was useful.”
“Remember that the next time you make fun of my addons.” Brandy-Lynn replied and he could practically hear her sticking her tongue out at him from inside the helmet. As Jaeger looked around the bots slowly moved in, clustering around them. Considering they’d been out on their own for over a decade they looked to be in pretty good shape. Though… he noticed some of them had odd paint splotches and...
“Spike, why does that one have a tiara?” He pointed at a bot that seemed to be… bigger? He realized after a moment it had some extra armor and what looked to be comms gear strapped to its sides. The… queen dimetrodon bot was quick to sing that they had undergone cosmetic differentiation for easier visual distinction upon the battlefield. And that particular unit had been designated comms hub without a LARD in the AO.
“That sounds right. We do it all the time with bots.” Figs pointed out.
“They’ve never done it to themselves far as I know.” Jaeger mentioned and then shrugged it off. “Will the pack assimilate into the command structure? It’s an offer… not a question. I respect you’ve all been here for a decade… if you’re tired of work… You don’t have to. But if you will… I’d like you to join us.” That was the real question. Though they had answered all pings, hadn’t shot them when they approached, and had even danced to Brandy-Lynn’s songs he remembered that just recently Bertha had been questioning orders. Of course she was also a more sophisticated bot.
However even as he asked the various bots around them opened up in their encrypted song to signal their joy at being brought back into the fold. Jaeger wasn’t exactly sure about if joy was just a preprogrammed response or not. Looking around he noticed that they were all distinct in some way. One had a rubber duck on its head? They had bits of paint on them, and other trinkets to make them all distinct. The war had made a mockery of the Shanghai accords and he wasn’t sure how that would impact bot rights going forward. Especially as they slowly reconnected to the lost worlds beyond the broken gates. Or what he was doing. That too.
“Two dozen dimes ready to go! And look at these cuties. They really are perfect tens. I think they took after my sense of style.” Brandy-Lynn was rubbing the head of one of the bots which wagged its tail in response.
“Psh. They clearly favor a more modern art style. If anything they take after their ol’ Uncle Figs!” Figs insisted as he struck a pose.
Brandy-Lynn turned to him as she raised a hand. “Well I-”
“Shut the fuck up both of you. This isn’t becoming a thing. Mission.” Jaeger reminded them as both Revenant slumped a moment, deprived of whatever competition they were no doubt about to issue. “Spike, any update on the intercepts?” Spike gave a chirp and Jaeger brought the feed back up.
“-Wreck alright. All units this is two actual. Pinging grid. Converge on location.”
“This is command. All units sound off on convergence. Make sure we aren’t missing anyone.”
“One actual, oscar mike.”
“Two actual, on station.”
“Three actual oscar mike.”
“Four actual oscar mike.”
“Hurricane one one, oscar mike to provide CAS.”
“Hurricane two one, oscar mike. Interrogative, am I to sweep the secondary site with the rave?”
“Negative hurricane two one. Once objective is secure we want a snatch and grab for local intel.”
“Affirmative command. Hurricane two one providing CAS.” Jaeger looked back at the others after the chatter died down.
“One of those vetalls had six Titan commandos so we’re looking at two dozen of them, possibly more if the others are bigger… I’m unsure if they’re bringing in reinforcements from elsewhere. Going to be a fight.” He tried to think about how to do this.
“Two dozen of them against two dozen of us. We’ve got this easy.” Brandy-Lynn replied full of her usual confidence.
“There’s twenty nine of us if you’re counting us and the bots.” Jaeger corrected her.
“Even better. They’re totally fucked!” As she said that she wiggled her gatling gun while thrusting her hips.
“Yeah the two Hurricanes complicate matters.” Jaeger pointed out.
“How did you get 29? 24 bots, three of you.” Kuv asked.
“And you, and Spike.” Jaeger explained as he brought up a map of the region to see the crevice up ahead where the Galileo was and try and figure where they’d position the commando teams.
“Do not count me in this! I said before I blow up women, children, and conscripts up away from distance! I only fight up close if things have gone wrong!” Jaeger rolled his eyes as the Jipasi complained.
“Well, then I need you to figure out how to kill a Hurricane without dedicated AA. Do that and I won’t throw you at the commandos head first.” Spike was updating the map with possible vetall locations as he watched.
“How am I supposed to do that?!” Kuv protested.
“Figure it out. You’re the best xeno auxiliary Absolute Dynamics ever hired right?” He trapped Kuv with that one and the Jipasi no doubt glared at him through his own mask.
‘I am. So I shall do this… Because I am great. I need an inventory of everything useable in this wreck!” He ordered and one of the bots seemed to materialize besides him, a data slate in its mouth which it held up for him to take. “Mh… that was fast… Ah… What is this?” He asked and held the slate out as Brandy-Lynn leaned in to look.
“Oh. It’s one of those… uh… Figs what were those like… hover bikes called that they had? That kept trying to flip over all the time that were fast but total deathtraps?” Brandy-Lynn began to snap her fingers as she tried to remember.
“Uh… oh! Uh… weren’t they just called hover bikes?” He asked. “I just remember calling them flippy bois.”
“No they always had stupid names for everything. It was the Cyclone.” Jaeger reminded them while he kept watching the map as dots appeared with Spike’s best estimate of the Titan forces as they spread out over the wreck.
“Yes! Right! The Cyclone! Well… it’s a hover bike Kuv.” Brandy-Lynn shrugged.
“Mmhhh… And I need to take down two Hurricanes?” Kuv checked.
“One. Brandy-Lynn can then focus the other. You’ve still got Hellfire loaded in that trident right?” He checked.
“Fuck yes I do!” Brandy-Lynn once more wiggled and hip thrust her gatling gun.
“Then it is all coming together… I will need some time… But I shall kill a Hurricane with explosives and things not meant to kill vetalls. Because I, am great.” Kuv insisted, his hands on his hips as he let his tail unfurl to show off.
“In the meantime we’ll move in on the wreck. Figs, I want you to approach engineering. You’re better in the close quarters. Brandy-Lynn get to this point overlooking the wreck and the moment Kuv kills the first Hurricane you light the second one up. I’ll make my way into the central cluster where I’m betting the code fragment is and then…” Jaeger paused as he looked at the bot with a makeshift tiara. “Uh… Princess, you have your… pack descend upon the wreck then. Stay out of sight until we’ve begun to engagement since your camo isn’t as good. Everyone got that?”
There was a series of confirmations as the pack of dimetrodon bots all began to funnel out of the wreck. Jaeger watched them trot on by, their reptilian shapes seeming to meld into the night the moment they left the flickering lights of the wreck. Once he switched his visor over to tag friendlies however the night lit up with their signals. “Spike lets go.”
Jaeger, Brandy-Lynn, and Figs all split up as they headed off towards the wreck of the Galileo. In the distance he could see the spotlights slowly moving around in the sky, focused on the wreck below them no doubt. Spike outlined the two Hurricanes as they slowly patrolled the area waiting for any signs of trouble. Now that he was alone with the night, and his thoughts.
What the fuck was his plan after all this? He realized that he was so far just reacting to everything else going on. He was out to stop Marque, and Alvarez from getting the Absolute Dynamics code simply on the principle that they were both obviously fuckheads who shouldnt have it. Sure he wanted to use it himself to make things better for his kids but… What the hell did he really know about the Pact? He’d spent the last decade in self-inflicted isolation and didn’t really know much at all about the government.
He knew he hated whatever policy had let that corrupt sheriff into power. Not to mention Titan seemed to be a breeding ground for corruption itself. But was that the Pact as a whole? Who was in charge? What were their policies like? What were their plans for the future? Obviously the government couldn’t be totally bad, because he knew they’d been making great efforts to end the starvation, and widespread healthcare issues created by the war. So was it a case of good intentions and poor local control? He needed to do some research.
As he got closer to the Galileo he focused once more, creeping up on the edge of the depression in the plateau where the ship had crashed. Or rather… it was the scar carved up by the crash itself. The Galileo wasn’t a warship, but it had been a sizeable research vessel in its day. Jaeger could see a few heat signatures moving around the outskirts of it but they were weak, and small. Their commando suits must have built in heat dampening, but his armor’s sensors were better.
Jaeger watched the spotlights on the vetalls for a few minutes before he crept in closer, aiming for a big rock at the edge of the crash site. However as he drew near Spike chirped a warning and he threw himself flat besides it, his cloak blending him in with the ground as a light flashed over him. “Uh… Three two this is three actual. I’ve got… something on sensors… Uh… too big to be a rodent… some kind of animal maybe… Check it out on beacon. How copy?”
“Solid copy three actual. Three two proceeding to beacon point.” Jaeger kept himself pressed flat to the earth as he tried to look around a moment and saw two of the heat blobs heading his way. He slowly and carefully pulled his rifle up as they got closer. He hadn’t expected their sensors to be quite so good… And no doubt Clover was being careful. Soon he didn’t just see the heat blobs coalescing into people, but hear the crunch of boots on the dirt. They didn’t have padded soles like the Revenant armor.
His breathing became slow and measured as he waited and watched. They were getting close… They stopped just next to him as he saw the two commandos more clearly. He still didn’t know their guns. Something new from the end of the war? He could be wrong but they looked like high capacity medium calibre rifles. Were they going to spot him? His cloak was the best there was before the war, but if someone watched carefully they might see it shimmer in a breeze. “I can’t see shit.”
“I told you to not fuck with the night optic settings.” Jaeger still watched them carefully as they spoke.
“If I leave it on standard it kills my fucking eyes. How do you deal with it?” The first commando shifted his mask around as he spoke.
“I ignore the pain until we’re allowed to take them off. You think I’m fucking around with my gear with Clover around? That fat bitch scares the shit out of me.”
“Well… Do you see whatever the fuck Higgins is talking about?” Both commandos went quiet and looked around the area for a few seconds.
“No… I think they’ve got the sensor sensitivity cranked way too high. Everyone is jumping at their own shadows and pissing themselves at the thought of Revenant.”
“Aren’t you worried?”
“Fuck no. Revenant are last war’s trash. Just pussies in fancy armor.” They both chuckled as Jaeger slowly tucked his rifle back and drew a knife instead. “Three actual this is three two. That’s a negative on contacts. Resuming patrol. How copy?”
“Solid copy three two.” The two commandos turned to start walking back towards the wreck as Jaeger carefully and quietly rose. Before they could get more than three steps away he moved in behind them.
“You hear something?” Before they could look around he drove the knife through the brain stem of the first commando and grabbed the other by the face with his free arm, pulling him into a big bear hug, crushing him against his chest until he could yank his knife free of the dead man’s neck and then drive it up under the struggling commando’s chin and deep into his brain. As the body in his grip sagged and went slack he reached down to pull the other one up, carrying them both before him as he walked towards the wreck.
Their heat would dissipate but for now he’d just look like two commandos walking back in to patrol the wreck. Though… he could already hear their bodies voiding their bowels as he used them as puppets. Nothing he hadn’t suffered before. “Uh… This is three actual… Anyone else reading… a… vehicle approaching?”
“Shit.” Jaeger looked back a moment. Were they about to call back to the men he’d just killed? Could he fake their voices? Not likely…
“That’s… affirmative Three actual. It’s some… sort of… is that a motorcycle? Is that coming from the secondary site?” Jaeger could see some of the searchlights starting to sweep out across the desert.
“That’s coming in fast… Hurricane one adjust patrol to intercept.” Even as the bigger vetall rumbled by overhead he looked out and saw Kuv’s signal approaching fast. Very fast. The Hurricane would intercept it shortly. What the fuck was the Jipasi doing?
“I am the greatest!” He heard screeched out over comms a moment before Kuv suddenly flung himself off the cyclone and then… It was a bit hard for Jaeger to process what he was witnessing, but the cyclone seemed to… explode? But only a little as it launched up into the air right into the vetall which tried to veer off at the last moment, but it was far too late as then the cyclone exploded a second time and the night lit up with a massive fireball that consumed the entire vetall as the comms erupted.
“What the fuck-”
“Hurricane one is down!”
“Holy shit!” Then he heard the familiar buzz of Brandy-Lynn’s trident as red tracers ripped through the sky and into the second Hurricane as it tried to adjust. His attempted ruse with the dead commandos was made entirely unnecessary and he dropped them as he rushed the wreck site instead.
“All sides! What the fuck!”
“Bots! Low to aaaugh!”
“Christ he was ripped apart! Taki-”
“Sustained fire! Get around! Get around! Fuck engine three-four! Fuck!” Small arms fire had picked up all around him as the bots opened fire on targets they weren’t close enough to charge and rip apart with teeth and claws. He saw a flash as the second Hurricane spun out of control and crashed beyond the Galileo.
Raising his rifle he took aim on the nearest hatch as he saw two heat blobs just inside. When the commandos came rushing out he opened up, dropping the first with three rounds to the chest, but the second was quick to turn towards him and open fire. Jaeger threw himself down as he heard a stream of bullets whistle over head. The commando just screamed and kept firing, likely blinded by explosions and muzzle flashes all around. Jaeger adjusted his aim from the ground and fired, noticing that the special Revenant rounds blew fist sized chunks out of the man, but didn’t completely pulverize him. Their armor was better than most. Still not good enough.
Jaeger climbed up once more and finally made it to the wreck of the Galileo. Spike was already scurrying forward, pinging the corridors to give Jaeger an echo of what he was looking for. He wasn’t even sure what it was exactly he needed to find. Combat was still raging outside from the sound of things. Something told him he needed to be careful however and he slowed down, rifle up and at the ready as he picked his way forward.
“Spike… overlay Galileo schematics… try and locate central prototyping.” The bot chirped at him and he began to follow a path that Spike was laying out for him through the twisted and broken hallways of the ruined ship. Outside there were more explosions but he muted the open channel for now, trying to keep his ears open for anything around him. Central prototyping was the largest chamber at the center of the Galileo. He could see bot chassis strewn about from the wreck in various stages of completion. The top of the hull was riddled with holes and through it the explosions from combat flashed, momentarily lighting up the chamber.
“Jaeger Jaeger Jaeger.” He froze as he heard his name called out like that. In the center what he had thought to be a big bot frame turned around, revealing itself to be a suit of power armor. This was not good. He tucked himself into the corner of a bulkhead and eyed the suit. Had they seen him? “I know you’re here! I have no idea how you managed to take down my Hurricanes so easily but I know it’s you.” It was Clover.
Jaeger waved at Spike and transmitted through the bot’s speakers instead of his own as it crawled under the grating in the room to make it hard for Clover to track him down by sound. “Feel free to surrender any time Clover.”
“So you can take your time slowly torturing me to death? Not a fucking chance.” She spat back, slowly turning around in place. There was some kind of light autocannon in her hands from the looks of it. He didn’t doubt it was designed specifically to punch through Revenant armor.
“That was always more your thing Clover.” He countered.
“I have reinforcements coming. You won’t make it out alive if you stay. Run now Jaeger and you might just make it.” She changed tactics.
“I’ll take my chances.” As she slowly kept turning he leaned out, rifle raised and fired a short burst. Even as the first round blew a small fragment off the back of her power armor he pulled back and ran down the hall. Sure enough as he ran the hall behind him was turned to swiss cheese as her high powered autocannon roared and punched straight through the internal plating.
“Is that how it’s going to be Jaeger! Hit and run! Come out here! Face me!” She screamed at him, though the voice was scratchy and slightly distorted. He must have knocked out one of her speakers. “Lets do this like it should have been done back in the parking lot!” Jaeger found another bulkhead that faced the chamber and peered around the corner a moment, ready to jump back or dive forward if she was watching it.
“Yeah?” He asked through Spike as the bot scurried around beneath the turning Titan agent.
“Yeah!” To his surprise she dropped the autocannon, and raised a massive knife suitable for her power armor. “One on one. A duel. Done proper. Like that alleyway in Blinksiya! We were interrupted so rudely before we figured out who is better! Just you and me Jaeger!”
Jaeger rolled his eyes, and then saw friendly signals moving close all around him. Princess and some of her pack had pushed through the perimeter to join him it seemed. “I don’t think so Clover. That sounds pretty stupid. I think I’ll just have my friends kill you. Like I said before I’m much better at making friends than you are.”
The bots began to advance on her, ready to openfire if they had to. But against that armor the small calibre rounds on the guns built into them wouldn’t do much. They’d need to get in close with teeth and claws. “Is that what you are Jaeger? After all this time I thought I had the measure of you… But really you’re just a coward? Can you live with the shame?” She asked, looking around as the bots closed slowly. Though she didn’t try to grab her autocannon just yet.
“I can live with that. So long as you don’t.” Jaeger muttered.
“I’m actually kind of glad it came to this… I know how much you Revenant love your precious warbots. Well I’ve got something to even the score.” He saw her raise a… button in her other hand? A switch of some kind. He frowned and signaled for Princess to hold as the Dimetrodon bots stopped advancing. “It’s a little something I bet even you didn’t know Absolute Dynamics made. It’s to scramble bot IFF sensors. They’ll all go wild as they turn on each other. And you! A real bot frenzy!”
“You think you’ll survive either?” Jaeger asked, as he looked up the hall at Princess. The bot was watching him, waiting for a command to strike. He thought about shifting his rifle to aim at the bot but up this close she’d close the distance too fast.
“Let’s find out.” She taunted a moment before she pressed the button. All around Jaeger saw the green signals suddenly turn red. Even Spike. All the bots slowly looked around, eyeing each other, sizing the others up. Then Spike let out a negative Chirp and to his surprise turned green once more. He looked back at Princess and she flashed back green. Then all around the other bots also flashed green leaving Clover as the sole red figure in the room. When the bots didn’t turn on one another or Jaeger she hit the button a few more times. “Why isn’t it working?”
Princess let out a sound that he had to admit was a downright feral dinosaur growl as she lunged past Jaeger, no longer waiting for an order to advance as the others also rushed towards her. Jaeger just watched as Clover turned and tried to jam her blade into the head of the nearest bot, but it ducked back, drawing out her attack as a feint it seemed. While that happened another lunged at her from behind, snapping at her leg. “Fuck!” She turned back trying to draw her sidearm while swinging out with her knife again.
But the bots had been hunting together as a pack for a decade. A lone target, even a veteran in power armor didn’t stand a chance. They would snap and dodge, keeping her from getting a clear shot before another would attack where she couldn’t defend. Jaeger didn’t bother firing another shot as he just watched Princess and her pack pick Clover apart. Teeth and claws tearing at her armor piece by piece. Soon she was flailing at them wildly, her sidearm firing at the half hidden bots as they lunged at her from the shadows.
“Jaeger! Jaeger stop them! Jaeger!” He just watched, silent as the Titan agent was soon screaming in pain, brought down under the tide of robotic dinosaurs.
“Figs, Kuv, Brandy-Lynn… Give me a sitrep.” He turned away, not interested in witnessing her final moments.
[Continued in comments]
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S2E34 - Tanning Bed

NSFW (Mild Language)
Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | PlayerFM
Kids are smart & dumb. Tax dollars. So many new podcast #1 episodes. Wedding speech advice. How we count on one hand. People turn to marble racing during no sports. NFL Free Agency moves & shake ups. Betting Strategies: The 2-1-2 Betting System. Suzanne Vega & the MP3.
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S2E35 - Cornhole Beef

NSFW (Mild Language)
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Boofer rants about bailing out people & companies due to the coronavirus, and his solution to the problem. Clothing brands from our youth. People are betting on NBA2K games streamed on Twitch. Gabby comments to which top ESPN8 The Ocho sports she would be willing to watch. We touch on the NBL Grand Final results and some NFL news. Top XFL players that could get NFL contracts and where.
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S2E33 - The Man Who Lost It All

NSFW (Mild Language)
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Some people aren't social distancing. Local businesses are hurting? NBA players' coronavirus status. Sports movies you to watch, and those Gabby hasn't. Tom Brady & Ryan Tannehill thoughts. Skim through the new 2020 NFL CBA. What's My Bank Roll? Sports betting strategies: The Martingale System. NBL talk. Break down of the possible Logan Paul vs Antonio Brown fight. Fury vs Wilder 3?
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Gunfight is the best thing about MW! I'd love to see it expanded upon.

IW is really onto something special with Gunfight and it's THE best thing about MW IMO.
Small, focused maps. Small teams. Quick rounds. Single elim no health regen. Random weapons. OSP etc. The matches are fast, fun and reward good decision making, teamwork and communication. And the addition of Tournaments was the icing on the cake. I think Gunfight could be expanded upon or even stand alone in the future as its own title. Imagine all the other interesting stuff they could do with it now (via large updates) or sometime later (via standalone game).
  1. Loads more maps. Imagine if we had 12 or so to start.
  2. Different team sizes. 1v1 through 4v4 could work. Maybe even a multi team 4 - 8 player FFA style mode?
  3. Ranking system and more tournaments. Constantly running and changing with lots of rewards.
  4. More variations of the base Gunfight mode. OSP is a start. Lots of possibilities here!
  5. Spectating mode. I'd genuinely watch random matches of Gunfight. It's got that appeal and it's easy to follow!
  6. Betting - I know slippery slope. But what if it was some "game currency" that was in no way related to real currency. Only earnable in-game. Players could bet before matches and use earnings to buy cosmetics. I'm sure there could be a way. Would be fun!
  7. Cosmetics/Skins. Allow players to apply skins they've earned to the weapons that come up in rotation or are picked up off the ground etc. Skins for players as well (of course).

Really think IW (or another CoD dev) could do something big here with Gunfight. Imagine Rocket League meets Halo 5 Breakout mode meets MW's Gunfight. Give me THAT gunfight as game and i'd play that non-stop. Could have big "e-sports" potential as well.
Is it just me? Anyone else really love Gunfight and want to see it become more?
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[Official] UFC Fight Night Sao Paulo: Brunson vs. Machida - Live Discussion Thread

Welcome to mma's live discussion thread for UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Machida, coming at you live from Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil! #UFCSP or #UFCSanPaulo
Please keep the fight discussions in here.
If you have something substantial to post about a fight that warrants its own thread, remember to keep spoilers out of the title and add the [Spoiler] tag.
Fight Card: (Fox Sports 5, FS1, or FXX - check your listings) @ 10:00 PM ET
Div. Fighters
MW Derek Brunson vs. Lyoto Machida
WW Demian Maia vs. Colby Covington
BW Rob Font vs. Pedro Munhoz
LW Francisco Trinaldo vs. Jim Miller
MW Thiago Santos vs. Jack Hermansson
BW John Lineker vs. Marlon Vera
Prelims: (FS2) @ 8:00 PM ET
Div. Fighters
WW Vicente Luque vs. Niko Price
MW Antonio Carlos Jr. vs. Jack Marshman
LW Hacran Dias vs. Jared Gordon
WW Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Max Griffin
Early Prelims: (UFC Fight Pass) @ 7:00 PM ET
Div. Fighters
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DISCUSSION Weekly update #65 - New partnership with Sorare for the upcoming eSport cup!

DISCUSSION Weekly update #65 - New partnership with Sorare for the upcoming eSport cup!
Hello Bethereum community!
For all of our Bethereans, we have lots of fresh news and updates from the past week, which was super busy and very eventful. So, without further ado:
Bethereum was chosen to pitch at SIGMA iGaming as one of the TOP 10 startups at the event, out of hundreds of applicants! SIGMA is considered to be one of the biggest iGaming events, with 15,000 attendees expected this yaer, from over 80 countries. SIGMA 2019 is taking place on November 27th - 29th at the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre in Ta’ Qali. The convention is positioned to attract the top deligates in the very competitive industries of iGaming and betting. Find out more here.
On another news, our partnership with The Daily Chain is already in motion! For the next months we will be working with them on content creation and marketing. You can already find the first article here.
Once again, we left the best for last. Special limited edition prizes are coming to the Bethereum community, with a new partnership with Sorare for our upcoming eSport cup! We are thrilled to announce the launch date of the 2nd Bethereum eSports Cup, a special event which will begin on December 5th, and will last until December 15th. For this event, for the first time, limited edition collectible Sorare football cards are up for grabs, on top of winning Bether tokens! Sorare is a fantasy football game, where you collect and build your dream team of players to compete for weekly rewards. The Top50 players on the leaderboard will win 8,000 BETHER tokens each, and those who will manage to rank at the Top23 will get IN ADDITION these exclusive collectible cards! So, Bethereans, bring your A-game to this event, and secure a spot on the eSport cup leaderboard to win some limited edition collectibles. Read the details on our blog.
We have new and exciting things all the time, so make sure to check out our Facebook, Twitter, VK and Reddit as well. Hope your week was just as fruitful as ours. We will be back next week with more!
Bethereum Team Because life is a game
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Gloomspite Gitz Unit analysis and report

Gloomspite gitz have been out for about a couple months now and I felt that it was time to talk about how the army performs, as I'm starting to have a fair amount of games with em under my belt, and managed to win two locals consecutively a few weeks back along a few others. I've been an avid player of night goblins since battle for skull pass launched, and played exclusively nightgoblin armies until the start of AoS (with quite the success, to me nightgoblins were the best greenskin army to play at the time, and certainly the most fun). I've been waiting impatiently for a moonclan faction revamp in AOS, hoping that the OG old nightgoblins models would not be replaced with new ones, seeing as I had hundreds of them already painted and lying around. When Gloomspite was teased, I knew I had to rebase everything I had, and I was therefore able to have an entirely painted army day 1 of the release.
I am going to review the units that performed well in my experience so far. If a few units do not appear in this list, it means I didnt use them, or that they underperformed and therefore are not really worth talking about 'of course there is a degree of subjectivity to be accounted for).

Also, pardon my english, I'm french.

Bad moon Loonshrine: Seeing as it is a free piece of scenery, there are litterally 0 reasons not to take it every game. First off, the model is absolutely massive, Dwarfing even a big Chungus like the glottkin. What this means is that the "loonatic courage" ability that lets gloomspite gitz autopass battleshock covers a lot of ground, meaning that you can easily fit two units entirely within 12" of the base of the model. Morale is not entirely an issue with gloomspite, with easy accesss to CP farming and therefore inspiring presence (tho we'll discuss that later), but having a backfield scenery that cannot be removed gives a lot of leeway when it is time to spread your army. Furthermore, free grots when a unit is wiped out is just brilliant. It makes Stabbas even more cost efficient than they are, effectivelly dropping their point cost by about 25%. Also, really nice thing to have near an objective, as your opponent know the losses he inflicts will reappear shortly at the same place.

Absolutely mandatory to take every single game.

Skagrott the loon king: A very decent unique character to have around. At 220 points, he is very reasonably priced for what he can do: able to cast twice per turn, with +1 to cast, means that he is only 60 pts over two madcap shamans for the same casting ability ( if you leave the once per game ability to cast twice aside). And these 60 pts are very, very juicy. First off, Skagrott is very resilient for a grot, with an ability to ignore wounds AND mortal wounds on a 4+, making him somewhat hard to snipe (for a grot, that is). His babbling wand ability also ensures that we will be able to farm a few CPs during the game, and those are CRUCIAL for gloomspite gitz to perform correctly, as they are heavily dependant on inspiring presence.

His own command ability lets hime have a degree of control over the course of the bad moon allegiance ability. I will not discuss the allegiance ability too much, as it is powerful but too unreliable to bet upon. Skagrott however makes it more reliable, you're most likely to use his once per battle command to freeze the bad moon on the center of the board, so it affects the whole table for two turns, making your army perform a lot better. You can also use it to bring the bad moon quickly to the center if it didnt move for a few turn, you could always bet that it will not bulge when you roll afterwards. Because it is a "one use per battle" command ability, you wont miss out on having an expensive HQ choice not giving inspiring presence every turn either.

Then, we have his missile weapon and his unique spell, meant to function together. His missile weapon profile alone is nice enough, potentially inflicting 6 wounds 28" away. However, it comes with a special ability, making every wound a poison hit that will harm for 1 MW at the end of each battle round. Ouch. also, there seems to be nothing able to stop this poison, as it does not end at the end of the turn, nor when skagrott dies. It will just slowly kill whatever was hit. All that with a 28" range. Then comes the unique spell "Nikkit", a 18" 7+ to cast spell inflicting d3 MW with the added effect of destroying an artifact of power if you targeted a character on a cast roll of 9+. with the bad moon and an arachnacauldron, you could go as low as on a 7+. with arcane bolt, this spell, and his missile profile, Skagrott is an excellent character sniper, usually able to remove most of the infantry characters in one or two turns, and the potential to nullify some of their usefullness when destroying their artifacts. the huge range of the stick means that you can target behemoths and reliably soften them up . Especially useful on stonehorns, as their ability to reduce damage will not apply to 1MW each battle round (sorry Antoine, if you're reading me).

The gobbapalooza; To me, by far the best box GW has ever put out. every model is gorgeous and different, with really rich content when it comes to rules. Overall the gobbapalooza is quite worth it, as it provides you with a good variety of buffs. Surprisingly hard to remove in combat thanks to their hallucinogenic fungal brews and slippery git abilities, as long as they hug other grots, which they should always do. pit them near netters to make them even harder to remove in combat.
Scaremonger: his ability lets a unit of moonclan grots nearby reroll charges and run rolls. It isnt bad in itself, as it will let you use his ability instead of precious command points to ensure a successful charge. However the models pays off mostly though his own profile: he is the most damaging unmounted grot in the whole army, with a profile very similar to a grimwrath berzerk. if he hugs nearby netters and the brewgit, he will be a nasty surprise to your foe at the measly cost of 48 points.

Brewgit: Not much to say here, worst profile of all gobbapaloozas, with a somewhat middling ability that lets grot heroes reroll hits. would be nice if it could be used on the loonboss on mangler squigs, but the keywords sadly do not match. let him hang around the scaremonger or a loonboss I guess.
Spiker: Not much to say there either, he'll make sure that even tho your moonclan grots hit on 5+, if they are more than 30 they will wound on 2s, rerolling 1s , making them even scarier. mediocre profile, on par with the brewgit. let him run along the scaremonger and a big unit of grots.
Boggleye: first of the two caster gobbapaloozas, however as they dont count as heroes, they do not know arcane bolt, mystic shield, and cannot take artefacts or choose lore spells. He is therefore limited to his unique spell that lets a unit of grots WHOLLY within 12 ignore battleshock ( be careful, you dont want your estimations to be off if you rely on him to carry you through battleshock), or lets an ennemy unit wholly within 12" fight last on a 6+. Another source of battleshock mitigation not requiring CP, always welcomed. Overall a solid spell no matter how you use it, but its range can prove lacking.
Shroomancer: second caster of the gobapaloozas, and by far the best one of the bunch. his melee profile is okay, better than most casters but worse than most heroes, sports one more wound, but his unique spell is absolutely brilliant: 6+ to cast, only 8" range, but the ennemy unit you target gets -1 to both hit and save rolls. It would have been a great spell if it did either of these things, but both, Oof. expect him to be a target if your opponent knows what he is facing.
Fungoid Cave Shaman: Overall a decent pick. only 10 pts more than a madcap shaman, for a beefier melee profile, the ability to ignore wounds and MW on a 4+ and the ability to farm a CP on a 4+ every turn. his own spell however puts him in a strange position, it is extremely short ranged, unreliably so, so it most often than now will only affect one enemy unit, if any. however give him the great green spite, call da moon or vindictive glare if you wish to dish out MW. Call da moon might seem worse than the others, but it doesnt have a maximum range other than line of sight. It can also cast twice a turn once per battle. If you have the points, prefer fungoid to madcaps.

Loonboss on mangler squigs: Proper centerpiece model, essentially a mangler with slightly more damage output thanks to the loonboss riding it, and a command ability that greatly benefit squig centric armies. these added benefit only cost 60 points over the vanilla mangler squigs, which might seem attractive. However, the loonboss melee profile is kind of forgettable, and these 60 points do not translate to a gain in ablative wounds, so you're only paying 60 pts for the command. Nonetheless, it is an extremly good choice if you plan on buffing large units of boingrots bounderz. If you dont commit to a lot of squigs, the vanilla mangler squigs are better.

Loonboss: To me is one of the most underestimated models in the whole range. Looks very unpromising at a first glance : average melee profile, bad save, bad mobility, but hey, at least at 70 pts he is cheap, right? Well I find that there is much more to this little guy than just being cheap. his ability of being -1 to hit is good, give him the cowl artefact and you got him at -2 to hit, pit him near netters and suddenly, you got a -3 to hit cheap source of insipiring presence, with a very annoying command ability that can easily boost the murder potential of a large mob of grots two or threefold. I include 2 to 3 in every list, as it is a tough and annoying threat the opponent will feel bad targeting instead of more obvious threats. The giant cave squig variation is beefier and hurts a lot, but is not as spammable. you're paying almost the price of two loonbosses for more hurt. Up to you.

Madcap shaman: Very cheap source of magic and dispelling. Can cast twice per turn once per battle at the risk of MW when you roll a double. His unique spell is useful when facing kharadron overlords, kurnoth hunter, enlightened and other shooty units. However, the moonclan lore is overall a very good lore.
-Vindictive glare is a straight up improvement upon arcane bolt, essentially old school arcane bolt. the range is shorter however, but it is a very nice spell to spam every turn.
-Itchy nuisance is a souped up version of the boggleye, albeit it can only make your ennemies fight last, not your gobs be immune to battleshock. the range is a lot better however, very useful to cast before a big unit of grots charges an ennemy.
-The great green spite makes your spell deal more MW if there are big units of grots nearby which, hey, there should always be. At 7+ , it is a very strong source of MW, and should be picked over vindictive glare if you are in a pinch, as it also has more range.
-The hand of gork is most likely our best spell. Teleporting huge units of grots around the battlefield is a tremendously effective tactic to grab objectives or outflank the ennemy. Can also be used to teleport what just came out of the loonshrine , for a truly unexpected and \sigh**-inducing surprise. There are a lot of powerful uses for this spell, and at times where you feel cornered, just remembering this spell exists will suddenly brighten your perspectives.
-Squig lure is a great spell if you focus on buffing your squigs with a greal deal of mobility. A must have if you go for a squig centric theme.
-Call da moon initally looks weak, but it is nice to have against backfield generals and other buffer units, as there is no restriction to the range.

the shaman also has access to the following endless spells:

-Malevolent moon is the bog standard "spell that moves around and deals MW", however this one moves 12" which is not bad, and gives nearby ennemy wizards negative modifiers to cast spell, up to -2 when the moon is very close. A nice spell that is certain to get the attention of your opponent, as it will hinder him in multiple ways. However, it does not hinder dispelling.
-Mork's mighty mushroom is an odd duck. It is quite easy to cast, not that expensive, and in the right circumstances, absolutely terrifying. you place the mushroom 6d6 away from the caster, which projects a 8" bubble where every models has to roll a d6, on a 5+ the unit eats a MW. Absolutely terrifying on infantry with 1 wound models, the issue is that it affects everybody (including your own army) and cannot be moved after the cast. It is really effective against hordes, and you are a horde army, so the spell can end up hindering your movement further in the game, and the random range can make sure you place it near your own grots. however, you could use hand of gork to move another shaman, then cast this endless spell with it the same phase, even turn 1. could make for a funny combo, especially since you could be in the light of the bad moon to help you cast hand of gork. or use the "cast twice" once per battle ability to have the shaman teleport himself and then cast mork mushroom. feels like a loss of hand of gork source and casting, but could be hilarious, and, in some cases, hilariously effective.
-Scrapskuttle's arachnacauldron got everyone really hyped up at first, as it gives cast and unbinding bonuses to the caster, as well as getting him access to every spell of the moonclan lore. However, the cauldron needs you to inflict d3 MW on anything within 3" of the caster, otherwise it will inflict them on the caster. not a big deal on grots, however for it costs you could get a 2nd shaman with wounds, presence, spells and not requiring you to sacrifice grots or getting your wizard in melee range, where he does not want to end up in most of the time. Depends on how hordy you want to go I suppose, the most grots you have, the more worthy this spell is. However, a worthy use of this spell is that it gives a sorcere every spell of the moonclan lore, even if the spells in question were already picked by another shaman. This makes it possible to have multiple shamans casting hand of gork.

Sneaky snufflers: really cheap at 70 points for 12 wounds with a meh melee profile, their real use however is in supporting your grots. They can decide not to move, and as long as they didnt lose anyone they can buff a nearby unit with +1 attack automatically, being one of the only two units (along sporesplattas) able to do so in the battletome. The bonus is very potent on a big block of grots, doubling the hurt they'll put plain and simple, while also benefitting the MW they would dish out with the loonboss command ability. their bonus is also very good on a big unit of Boingrot bounderz, as they have multiple melee profiles and therefore gains +1 attack to each of them. Their main issue is that they'll die quickly and will be a target of choice. however, point per point, they are more resilient than sporesplattas, and for half the cost give the same buff. A worthwhile unit to take to me, as they are both useful and expendable. Be careful of battleshock however,

Both breeds of fanatics: simply put, loonsmashas are great, sporesplattas are not. Loonsmashas have a far better damage output, being by far one of the most devastating units in the game , making wrathmongers look like pussies. Quite the achievement for a grot. can be used as countercharge shenanigans and as they are hidden until you release them, are fun to use because will lead to some mindgames as to what unit contains them. They are relatively expensive for such fragile models, but it is counterbalanced by the fact that when hidden, they cannot be targeted. they can charge the unit your stabbas didnt plan on engaging and 5 of them will decimate most things. On average, a unit of 5 will inflict 12 wounds at -2 rend. while it will not impress hordes, it is a nasty surprises for blightkings and the likes. They also fight first, so depending on what you charge, have a chance at partially surviving retaliation.
Sporesplattas on the other hand, have way too strange a role to be even remotely useful. First, they cost 120 points, less than the loonsmashas, but on par with 20 stabbas, who will have 4 times as many wounds, and twice the armor save. 120 pts for 5 wounds with a 6+ is not great. their melee profile is about half as threatening as loonsmashas, which is still decent. However, they cannot be hidden into units, and therefore have no way to mitigate how fragile they are. They try to make up for that with two unique abilities: the first lets nearby moonclan grots gain +1 attack, which puts them in competition with snufflers, that are about half as expensive and exactly twice as resilient for the exact same buff. the second ability lets them create a cloud of spores that acts as a LoS blocker, making whatever is behind them untargetable for your opponent if he requires LoS. the issue is that the unit is more expensive than most of what you could protect with them, and shooting off 5 wounds with a 6+ is a breeze to most armies anyway, and this ability does not prevent behemoths from being in LoS. Plus, their decent melee profiles seem to predispose them to melee, where their ability to hide other units is useless. Their random movement also goes against the idea that you use them as a well positionned screen. I honestly do not see any reason to use these guys, however nice they look.

Stabbas: the backbone, meat , nails and teeth of the army. Seriously this unit choice is by far the best battleline unit in the whole game to me (on par with skellies). First off, they are dirt cheap, you can drown the board in grots, as they cost 6.5 pts per grot, about 5 pts if you average it out with the loonshrines. the bigger the unit you take, the more worthwile it is to take pokin spears over stabbas. Stabbas are only better in minimum units of 20 grots. You could argue that it could be good to take in 40 grot units, as the loonshrine will bring em back as 20, but that's betting on a roll and on them doing most work in their weakest state. As discussed above , they are supported by a lot of things and greatly benefit from every single buff. snufflers and loonbosses especially, but they are not the only ones. they represent a lot of ablative wounds, and are all the more difficult to remove because of their rank and file bonus to give them a 5+ save, along netters. For 360 points, you have 60 wounds on the board with a 5+ save at -1 to hit in close combat. their rank and file bonus also makes their wounding rolls very reliable and ensure that even tho you hit on a 5+, most of what you hit will wound. Always take gong bashers as this will give em much needed mobility, and Bad moon icon bearers are better than moonclan flag bearers, you should not rely on their innate bravery to pass battleshock anyway, making them less likely to be hit by missile weapons is a lot better (especially when you consider the stormfiend anti-horde shooting weapons that are quite en vogue). Their main weakness however is bravery, should your sources of inspiring presence be too few or sniped off, the stabbas will crumble really fast. That's why the loonboss on foot is so powerful: he is cheap, resilient, and spammable. Stabbas are boring in a way because they will inevitably be used as comparing material when making lists, and they are almost always worth taking over other units, even if you already field 150+ of the guys. I expect them to get a substantial price bump.

Shootas: Do not. Rely on magic to shoot things off, and on stabbas to hold objectives. There are too few cases where shootas are worth it over stabbas, even at holding objectives on your side of the board, because hand of gork exists you could always hold an objective then quickly reposition your stabbas.

Boingrot Bounderz: Along stabbas, to me they are the only unit which feels "too strong" in the battletome. they are only 2 pts more per dude than squig hoppers, and are slower, but everything else they do, they do better than squig hoppers. Their bravery is 1 better, their save is a 4+, at 2 wounds each that makes them as tough as liberators, while being a lot more mobile and damaging. they each have 4 attacks with decent rend, hit, and wound rolls, with what will amount to 0.5MW per dude on the charge on top ogf having a bonus to wound with spears. Buffed by snufflers , a unit of 15 charging is expected to reliably wipe off every known behemoth and super unit, be it nagash or archaon, with plenty wounds to spare. Plus, they fliy so they can charge through scenery .

Mangler squigs: Manglers qithout the loonboss on top. They are worth it over the mounted variation if you dont commit to a bunch of squigs, as 60 pts is almost a loonboss on foot, a unit of snufflers or a shaman. Honestly the mangler squigs are a pretty straigthforward unit, they dont need a lot of support to be brutally effective. think of it as an oversized fanatic, kind of like in 8th. They are highly relying on RNGesus to get going, as they are I think the most potentillay damaging behemoth in the game, able to dish up to 49 wounds in a single fight phase (even though it does not mean it'll have the best damage output on average). Great point cost/damage ratios here, even though they do not have any damage mitigating abilities. However, their damage does not exactly degrade, as the manger squig are at their weakest when at half wounds, once you hurt them more past that point they start to get pissed off and get better, kinda like Skarbrand. However, random movements, and various random damage means that it is by no means a reliable model. Good value however and certainly fun and satisfying to use, about as much as they can be disheartening when RNGesus didnt take your side.
As you can see, I didnt comment on several units, namely troggoths and spiderfangs. As I had almost exclusively moonclan stuff lying around, and it is the theme that I prefer and that was most developped upon with the gloomspite gitz release, I felt I didnt really have to branch out of moonclan. I didnt comment on squigs either, because I find them quite lacking compared to stabbas. Didnt comment on artifacts, command abilities, traits etc either, as I also want to leave some to the imagination, and feel that these free things are where each player will try to manifest how they want to play the most usually, and I know some of my friends in tournaments lurk around here and I dont want them to see too many hints as to how I play the game.
Overall the faction feels solid to me, and tons of fun to play. In terms of fun factor, to me they are up there along Blades of khorne. As to their competitiveness, they have access to a lot of tools to mitigate their two main weaknesses ( mobility and bravery), and are hordy enough to feel at home in the metagame at the moment. I fear however that Stabbas are so good that there is not much point in trying to invest points into anything else, I hope there's be some balance pass to that. Most of the time when list building it feels like" Why am I not taking more stabbas instead?" is a reccuring theme. I'm still super stoked that this army exists.

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