Binary options trading strategy that generates 150% return.
Binary options trading strategy that generates 150% return.
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Selling your Covered Call - Thoughts on How to Select Your Strike and Expiration
Congratulations! You are a bag holder of company XYZ which was thought to be the best penny stock ever. Instead of feeling sorry, you consider selling covered calls to help reduce your cost basis - and eventually get out of your bags with minimal loss or even a profit! First - let's review the call option contract. The holder of the call option contract has the right but not the obligation to purchase 100 shares of XYZ at the strike price per share. This contract has an expiration date. We assume American style option contracts which means that the option can be exercised at any point prior to expiration. Thus, there are three parameters to the option contract - the strike price, the expiration date and the premium - which represents the price per share of the contract. The holder of the call option contract is the person that buys the option. The writer of the contract is the seller. The buyer (or holder) pays the premium. The seller (or writer) collects the premium. As an XYZ bag holder, the covered call may help. By writing a call contract against your XYZ shares, you can collect premium to reduce your investment cost in XYZ - reducing your average cost per share. For every 100 shares of XYZ, you can write 1 call contract. Notice that that by selling the contract, you do not control if the call is exercised - only the holder of the contract can exercise it. There are several online descriptions about the covered call strategy. Here is an example that might be useful to review Covered Call Description The general guidance is to select the call strike at the price in which you would be happy selling your shares. However, the context of most online resources on the covered call strategy assume that you either just purchased the shares at market value or your average cost is below the market price. In the case as a bag holder, your average cost is most likely over - if not significantly over - the current market price. This situation simply means that you have a little work to reduce your average before you are ready to have your bags called away. For example, you would not want to have your strike set at $2.50 when your average is above that value as this would guarantee a net loss. (However, if you are simply trying to rid your bags and your average is slightly above the strike, then you might consider it as the strike price). One more abstract concept before getting to what you want to know. The following link shows the Profit/Loss Diagram for Covered Call Conceptually, the blue line shows the profit/loss value of your long stock position. The line crosses the x-axis at your average cost, i.e the break-even point for the long stock position. The green/red hockey stick is the profit (green) or loss (red) of the covered call position (100 long stock + 1 short call option). The profit has a maximum value at the strike price. This plateau is due to the fact that you only receive the agreed upon strike price per share when the call option is exercised. Below the strike, the profit decreases along the unit slope line until the value becomes negative. It is a misnomer to say that the covered call is at 'loss' since it is really the long stock that has decreased in value - but it is not loss (yet). Note that the break-even point marked in the plot is simply the reduced averaged cost from the collected premium selling the covered call. As a bag holder, it will be a two-stage process: (1) reduce the average cost (2) get rid of bags. Okay let's talk selecting strike and expiration. You must jointly select these two parameters. Far OTM strikes will collect less premium where the premium will increase as you move the strike closer to the share price. Shorter DTE will also collect less premium where the premium will increase as you increase the DTE. It is easier to describe stage 2 "get rid of bags" first. Let us pretend that our hypothetical bag of 100 XYZ shares cost us $5.15/share. The current XYZ market price is $3/share - our hole is $2.15/share that we need to dig out. Finally, assume the following option chain (all hypothetical):
Purely made up the numbers, but the table illustrates the notional behavior of an option chain. The option value (premium) is the intrinsic value plus the time value. Only the $2.5 strike has intrinsic value since the share price is $3 (which is greater than $2.5). Notice that intrinsic value cannot be negative. The rest of the premium is the time value of the option which is essentially the monetary bet associated with the probability that the share price will exceed the strike at expiration. According to the table, we could collect the most premium by selling the 110 DTE $2.5 call for $0.95. However, there is a couple problems with that option contract. We are sitting with bags at $5.15/share and receiving $0.95 will only reduce our average to $4.20/share. On expiration, if still above $2.5, then we are assigned, shares called away and we receive $2.50/share or a loss of $170 - not good. Well, then how about the $5 strike at 110 DTE for $0.50? This reduces us to $4.65/share which is under the $5 strike so we would make a profit of $35! This is true - however 110 days is a long time to make $35. You might say that is fine you just want to get the bags gone don't care. Well maybe consider a shorter DTE - even the 20 DTE or 50 DTE would collect premium that reduces your average below $5. This would allow you to react to any stock movement that occurs in the near-term. Consider person A sells the 110 DTE $5 call and person B sells the 50 DTE $5 call. Suppose that the XYZ stock increases to $4.95/share in 50 days then goes to $8 in the next 30 days then drops to $3 after another 30 days. This timeline goes 110 days and person A had to watch the price go up and fall back to the same spot with XYZ stock at $3/share. Granted the premium collected reduced the average but stilling hold the bags. Person B on the other hand has the call expire worthless when XYZ is at $4.95/share. A decision can be made - sell immediately, sell another $5 call or sell a $7.5 call. Suppose the $7.5 call is sold with 30 DTE collecting some premium, then - jackpot - the shares are called away when XYZ is trading at $8/share! Of course, no one can predict the future, but the shorter DTE enables more decision points. The takeaway for the second step in the 2-stage approach is that you need to select your profit target to help guide your strike selection. In this example, are you happy with the XYZ shares called away at $5/share or do you want $7.5/share? What is your opinion on the stock price trajectory? When do you foresee decision points? This will help determine the strike/expiration that matches your thoughts. Note: studies have shown that actively managing your position results in better performance than simply waiting for expiration, so you can adjust the position if your assessment on the movement is incorrect. Let's circle back to the first step "reduce the average cost". What if your average cost of your 100 shares of XYZ is $8/share? Clearly, all of the strikes in our example option chain above is "bad" to a certain extent since we would stand to lose a lot of money if the option contract is exercised. However, by describing the second step, we know the objective for this first step is to reduce our average such that we can profit from the strikes. How do we achieve this objective? It is somewhat the same process as previously described, but you need to do your homework a little more diligently. What is your forecast on the stock movement? Since $7.5 is the closest strike to your average, when do you expect XYZ to rise from $3/share to $7.5/share? Without PR, you might say never. With some PR then maybe 50/50 chance - if so, then what is the outlook for PR? What do you think the chances of going to $5/share where you could collect more premium? Suppose that a few XYZ bag holders (all with a $8/share cost) discuss there outlook of the XYZ stock price in the next 120 days:
Person A does not seem to think much price movement will occur. This person might sell the $5 call with either 20 DTE or 50 DTE. Then upon expiration, sell another $5 call for another 20-50 DTE. Person A could keep repeating this until the average is reduced enough to move onto step-2. Of course, this approach is risky if the Person A price forecast is incorrect and the stock price goes up - which might result in assignment too soon. Person B appears to be the most bullish of the group. This person might sell the $5 call with 20 DTE then upon expiration sell the $7.5 call. After expiration, Person B might decide to leave the shares uncovered because her homework says XYZ is going to explode and she wants to capture those gains! Person C believes that there will be a step increase in 10 days maybe due to major PR event. This person will not have the chance to reduce the average in time to sell quickly, so first he sells a $7.5 call with 20 DTE to chip at the average. At expiration, Person C would continue to sell $7.5 calls until the average at the point where he can move onto the "get rid of bags" step. In all causes, each person must form an opinion on the XYZ price movement. Of course, the prediction will be wrong at some level (otherwise they wouldn't be bag holders!). The takeaway for the first step in the 2-stage approach is that you need to do your homework to better forecast the price movement to identify the correct strikes to bring down your average. The quality of the homework and the risk that you are willing to take will dedicate the speed at which you can reduce your average. Note that if you are unfortunate to have an extremely high average per share, then you might need to consider doing the good old buy-more-shares-to-average-down. This will be the fastest way to reduce your average. If you cannot invest more money, then the approach above will still work, but it will require much more patience. Remember there is no free lunch! Advanced note: there is another method to reduce your (high) average per share - selling cash secured puts. It is the "put version" of a cover call. Suppose that you sell a XYZ $2.5 put contract for $0.50 with 60 DTE. You collect $50 from the premium of the contract. This money is immediately in your bank and reduces your investment cost. But what did you sell? If XYZ is trading below $2.50, then you will be assigned 100 shares of XYZ at $2.50/share or $250. You own more shares, but at a price which will reduce your average further. Being cash secured, your brokerage will reserve $250 from your account when you sell the contract. In essence, you reduce your buying power by $250 and conditionally purchase the shares - you do not have them until assignment. If XYZ is greater than the strike at expiration, then your broker gives back $250 cash / buying power and you keep the premium. Early assignment - one concern is the chance of early assignment. The American style option contract allows the holder the opportunity to exercise the contract at any time prior to expiration. Early assignment almost never occurs. There are special cases that typically deal with dividends but most penny stocks are not in the position to hand out dividends. Aside from that, the holder would be throwing away option time value by early exercise. It possibly can handle - probably won't - it actually would be a benefit when selling covered calls as you would receive your profit more quickly! This post has probably gone too long! I will stop and let's discuss this matter. I will add follow-on material with some of the following topics which factors into this discussion:
Effect of earnings / PR / binary events on the option contract - this reaction may be different than the underlying stock reaction to the event
The Black-Scholes option pricing model allows one to understand how the premium will change - note that "all models are incorrect, but some are useful"
The "Greeks" give you a sense about how prices change when the stock price change - Meet the Greeks video
Position Management - when to adjust, close, or roll
Legging position into strangles/straddles - more advanced position with higher risk / higher reward
Open to other suggestions. I'm sure there are some typos and unclear statements - I will edit as needed! \I'm not a financial advisor. Simply helping to 'coach' people through the process. You are responsible for your decisions. Do not execute a trade that you do not understand. Ask questions if needed!**
Three ways to play earnings without getting IV crushed
Sup nerds. Tomorrow is my birthday and I’m probably waking up to a nice fat 4 digit red number because I dared bet against a company so badass as to have a one letter ticker. So my birthday gift to all of you is the gift of knowing how to lose money like I do. If you’ve tried to play earnings with options though you’ve probably experienced IV crush. The stock moves in your favor but you lose money anyway. So I thought I’d give a quick rundown of what IV crush is and some simple strategies to avoid it. Skip ahead to number 2 if you already know what IV crush is. (Yes there have been some posts on IV crush over the past few months but as far as I can tell they’re all huge walls of text, don’t give enough clear advice, and aren’t specifically about earnings, so here you go.)
1 . What is IV crush in relation to earnings?
It’s easiest to think of it in terms of “expected move.” Implied volatility (IV) is how much of an "expected move" is implied in the current options price. Add up the price of the ATM call and ATM put, and this is how much of a move the market has priced in. Example: $W today at close: $134 5/8 call = 11.80 $134 5/8 put = 11.00 Expected move between now and expiration: 22.80 Naturally, after the earnings report is released there will be a much smaller expectation of movement over the remainder of the week, so the expected move will go down no matter which way the stock goes. This is another way of saying IV is going down, i.e. IV crush.
2. Strategies to play earnings without getting IV crushed:
a) Buy Deep ITM calls/puts
Deep ITM options get the majority of their price from their intrinsic value (what you’d make if you exercised the option today) as opposed to their extrinsic value (IV and theta) so there’s a lot less IV for them to lose, assuming you get a good fill. You want to pay as close to intrinsic value as possible. Strike - Stock price = intrinsic value Example: $160 put - $134 stock price = $26 intrinsic value So if you’re buying the $160 put on a stock trading for $134, pay as close to $26 as possible. You’re gonna have to pay a little over but don’t just hit the ask, as the bid/ask can be wide on these.
b) Sell naked options or spreads
Get on the right side of IV crush. Personally I like to sell naked options, but spreads are good if you are a scared little baby or if your fake broker doesn’t let you sell naked options. i) ATM vs OTM I like ATM the best because you collect the most premium, and if the stock trades flat you still win because IV crush works in your favor. OTM does offer extra protection from the stock moving against you. Keep in mind as you move OTM you are moving toward smaller wins and bigger losses, but also a higher win ratio. Pennies in front of the steamroller. ii) Spread positioning Position the outer leg (the leg you’re buying) as far OTM as possible to increase your profitability if the stock trades flat and improve your odds of winning. Or make it a narrower spread to make it closer to a binary event. If the stock is trading at $134.50 and you sell the $134/$135 put spread for $0.50 (half the width of the strikes), that’s basically a double or nothing coin flip. If you have a high degree of confidence in which way the stock is going, that's pretty good leverage.
c) Use options to be synthetically short/long shares
If you want to gamble on direction in a way that is more leveraged than shares but completely free of Greek headaches, this is for you. To go long: Buy the ATM Call, sell the ATM put To go short: Sell the ATM call, buy the ATM put If you buy an ATM call and sell the ATM put of the same strike, your position is exactly the same as being long 100 shares. The greeks from the long and short options cancel each other out. The same is true if you buy the ATM put and sell the ATM call. Your position is mathematically the same as being short 100 shares. The beauty, though, is that it uses about half as much buying power as buying or selling shares on margin. Just for example, based on numbers at market close today, buying an ATM call and selling an ATM put on $W uses $3716 in buying power, as opposed to roughly $6700 to buy 100 shares on margin. ii) If your fake broker won’t let you sell naked options You can just buy a wide leg. So if you’re going long just buy the ATM call, Sell the ATM put, and buy a deep OTM put. If you're going short, buy the ATM put, sell the ATM call, and buy a deep OTM call. That's it I think. Hopefully someone found this helpful and it wasn’t just a bunch of obvious shit you all already know. I’m gonna get started on drinking some wine and eating some edibles and contemplating how fucking old I am. Feel free to ask any questions or add any thoughts.
Where’s the best place to live in light of collapse?
Ok we are 323 comments in on the collapse post and 98% didn’t bother to make even a slightly thoughtful answer. So... i guess i will be the change i want to see in the world First off, If you are the fatalistic nihlistic type you can just go where you think it will be nice to die, maybe that is with friends and family, maybe it is on a beach in mexico, or feeding your body to the last polar bear. For everyone else that still has the instinct and drive for self-preservation….
What are the best places to be leading up to or during collapse?
First let's question the question.
What difference does it make to know "What are the best places to be leading up to or during collapse"? The answer is dependent upon your own personal situation. Your personal situation has limiting factors.
Imagine you are a goat herder in Somalia during a multi year drought and there is no grass for feeding your animals. You have to sell them for dirt cheap because everyone else is also trying to sell off everything they can to get money thus depressing the goat prices further. Now the price of food is skyrocketing because there is no grass and the farmers crops failed, everyone is trying to buy up a hoard of food because everyone knows it is going to be a hard year. You manage to get the equivalent of $120USD in cash after selling practically everything you own but held onto one breeding pair of your healthiest goats you plan to use to regain a livelihood after the drought is over.
Imagine you are a billionaire with a fueled up superyacht, a helicopter, and a private plane. You have practically unlimited money, friends who are rich and connected in other countries, and a whole slew of passports, visas, and secondary citizenships, all else failing you can buy citizenships in most countries for less than $2million investment and pay a teams of specialists to expedite the process.
Your personal Limiting Factors constrain you usually somewhere between those extremes, everyone has different options. If we assume you are asking the question "What are the best places to be leading up to or during collapse" because you want to have the best standard of living available for as long as possible or simply survive the incoming population bottleneck, then the practical question becomes ...
"What are the best places to be, leading up to or during collapse, that i can get to, and establish myself in such a way that I can maintain the best standard of living possible for as long as I can or simply increase my probability of surviving the incoming population bottleneck."
It is important to ask this question to constrain the search space to the possible. It makes fuck-all difference if a somali goat herder knows about the ToP SeCret ElitE mULtibiLLioNaIre New ZEaLand sOUth IsLaNd ReDoUbt BuNkeR CoMmUnITy It is not going to help him and should not be in the search space as a survival strategy. TL:DR Constrain your search space to what is realistically achievable for you.
Start with your baseline probability of survival and increase it.
Don't let a search for "best place" stop you from achieving "good enough place" or "better than where i was previously place".
You are just trying to be an early adopter of increasing your survival probability stats before the non collapse-pilled masses.
Think of surviving bottlenecks like surviving a charging bear attack, you don't need to be able to outrun the bear, you only need to be able to outrun the slowest people in the group up to the point the bear's appetite is satiated.
What are the best places to be, leading up to or during collapse, that i can get to, and establish myself in such a way that I can maintain the best standard of living possible for as long as I can or simply increase my probability of surviving the incoming population bottleneck."
Ok now lets question the new question some more...
In order to answer this we need to untangle some of the subjective and objective elements. The objective elements of human survival are well known.
Optimizing location is a series of subjective trade-offs. There is no perfect place, they all have advantages and disadvantages. So you must decide your personal preference of which goods and bads you most desire and what your scenario expectations are of the future. Your personal preferences and collapse expectations mean the “best area” is specific to you. What you can achieve and what do you desire, find the overlap between the two, then do research to find the place that gives you the most goods with the least bads and increases your probability of survival and standard of living. One of the best strategies is to adapt yourself to your local circumstances to take advantage of the advantages, and plan ahead to mitigate the disadvantages, it is really all most people can do for themselves. Do you like not living in unbearable heat, maybe moving to greenland is NOT a better option than just buying 400watts of solar panels and attaching it to a small efficient AC that keeps one room of your house cool even during summer electricity blackouts. Most problems have multiple solutions, it is worth it to take time and think about things from an economic perspective and different time horizon perspectives. Increasing your optionality is better than narrowing it when it comes to survival, rather than the binary thinking, of “go way out into the northern mountains, farm and live in a bunker” versus “be a full time yuppie and ignore collapse issues”. Getting 2 acres you can put a cheap used rv camper on and go do permaculture on during weekends, near enough your place of employment/where you live, is probably a better plan. Indeed the small dacha’s and country gardens helped many people survive the collapse of the USSR. They would spend weekends and haul potatoes/veggies back to the city with them on the bus. Hedge your bets to cover the most scenarios including the most likely scenarios like losing your job or getting in a car accident. Survival and thriving always has and always will involve dynamic adaptation. Here is a very short list of some of potential trade-offs that you may need to think about and some brief descriptions of how they can affect things. This is NOT meant to be a systematic or exhaustive analysis, this is just me stream-of-conscious flowing on strong coffee to help others start thinking about it for themselves. There are unlimited variables
Hot versus cold
A lot of people in the forum think they it is somehow optimal for them to move to canada or greenland. Someone in eastern kansas moving to canada is not necessary, remember even in RCP8.5 business as usual scenario kansas by the end of the century still won’t be as hot as texas is currently. If there are already people living in hotter dryer areas now, then it doesn’t make a lot of sense to pack up your shit and move to the arctic, just enjoy the longer summers. At least base it on something scientific like the expectation of when that area will cross the 35C wetbulb survivability threshold, so if you live in Bandar Mahshahr then yes move somewhere else now is time.
Do you have children?
Moving somewhere may not be needed if you can live out your expected natural lifespan before things get too bad, especially with the climate. If you have children you may want to move to account for the expectations during their future lifetimes.
Wet versus dry
Wet places usually have more disease and insect loads for people and crops. In dry places it is harder to raise food, net primary productivity is usually lower, except where irrigation is available but there are usually less pests including plant fungal diseases like powdery mildew. There are Europeans living in certain parts of africa whom can only inhabit those areas currently because of antimalarial drugs, pesticides and mosquito nets. The native populations are full of people heterozygous for sickle cell which gives them resistance/immunity to the malaria, just a long view consideration.
Seasonality of rainfall
if you get all your rainfall in the summer you usually live in a region where the muggy wetbulb temps are higher and will be getting higher. You are more likely to get floods during the growing season. If you get rainfall mainly in the winter like mediteranean climates you will usually have dry summers with low humidity so deadly wetbulb temps should not be a problem but maintaining summer vegetables requires irrigation. If using rainfed agriculture you will have different crop choices, which areas grow the types of food you like?
Sunny versus overcast
Sunny areas are great for some dark skinned people and needed for vitamin D production in post collapse scenarios unless you have a good dietary source, black people in dim areas get Vitamin D deficiency diseases like rickets and have higher mortality in a hard enough crash. Gecko skinned gingers thrive better in overcast areas. Lots of people currently exist in environments they are biologically maladapted to, they are only able to live there because of modern fortified foods/supplements and medical care. Bright sunlight destroys folate (needed for reproduction) in pale people and causes skin cancer. Some people get S.A.D. and commit suicide in the gloomy winters of the pacific northwest USA. Just because a place is good in lots of other ways, you should not consider it if it will leave suicidal.
Growing season, long versus short
Long growing season usually means more heat for longer, more times to grow crops but usually less optimal conditions. Short seasons means you have to compress a lot more work in a shorter amount of time. It also means trees grow slower and growing your own fuel supply takes more land footprint while you simultaneously need more heating fuel. Places like iowa have moderate/short growing season but the high lattitude makes for long daylength which increases productivity during the moderate/short growing season. Rainfall is concentrated during the summer and soils highly fertile but it is practically one giant biocide saturated monoculture of death. It doesn’t matter if the you live in a fecund area if your future children die of bluebaby syndrome from the nitrate pollution in the well-water or end up mentally retarded from the chlorpyrifos spray drift bioaccumulating and destroying neural development in utero.
Let's be real here, most of you need to have employment to live, even as things crumble in a slow crash the vast majority will be dependent on employment and purchasing in the marketplace that which they need for subsistence. Cities are almost always better for employment. Keep in mind recently and historically, even prior to the industrial revolution, people were more often moving to cities to escape collapse scenarios in real life. You can look at africa and the middle east today. The reason is the city with its dense network effects can command food from a diversity of sources and the economics incentivize shipping surplus to cities. In times where the economics don't incentivize it governments usually seize it and send it to the cities. There is lots of historical precedent showing this, despite the general ruralist zeitgiest among collapsniks thinking that they need a homestead in the country. Employment or entitlements has been and will be the primary way people meet subsistence needs even in most collapse scenarios. Even in 3rd world areas that are experiencing famines, war, full infrastructure breakdown and conditions that are equivalent to 1st worlder visions of total collapse, people still wake up, go to work pulling weeds for the local land baron, get paid and then go buy a bowl of millet from the store.
High versus low wages.
some areas have low wages but this can come with benefits like low cost of living and people being pre-adapted to living through cooperative social behaviors and "ghetto rigging" improvisation. Last time i was in some shithole parts of arkansas i noticed just about every rural person had a decent sized garden, more than any other state i've been to. They feel compelled to share unlike some high-income places where people are clawing for money to pay rents or status seeking in a dog eat dog competitive environment. I have lived in quite a few homeless encampments and one thing that surprises people is how everyone gives away all surplus among each other, this is a paleolithic variance smoothing strategy, it is supernaturally effective and feels natural once you do it. I see it re-evolve over and over in poor people.
Education levels and sociability of the population
Is the area culturally acceptable to you? Are you acceptable to the people of the area?
There are places that may have all sorts of good qualities but they are filled with ignorant racist meth head bible belt sociopaths who will torment you out of sheer boredom. Some places get full of these people and they reinforce the ignorance and shittiness into a dominant culture that you will be fighting against if you move there. When moving to a place where you are an outsider and the community is hostile to allowing assimilation that can reduce your survival odds. See various historical genocides.
Distance from food sources
Being close to a food source like right on a farm you grow on is great but if you have crop failure you may have no draw to bring in the food. Distance should be measured multiple ways including the strength and reliability of the transportation networks and the energetic distance for transport in energy descent scenarios. Think of the number of connections in the network you can draw from. In a city there are many stores each store sourcing from thousands of farmers, if a few farmers or stores fail there are still plenty of options. Some small rural towns depopulate once the single local walmart closes. Do you trust the local weather and your own potential self sufficiency more than markets/entitlements and transport resilience? Across what scenarios and time spans?
Legal rights and entitlements availability
Solid legal rights and strong property law is great if you are part of the ownership class but when you are dispossessed, lack of legal enforcement can give you a higher standard of living because you can build shelter and do side hustles things without having "the man" come slap you down. In a place like western Europe you may have recourse to welfare entitlements and unemployment insurance payments to buy food in financial crashes and slow crash scenarios, in some countries things like this are not available, this is more important than most people think. Indeed most recent famines occur where food is present but people just have no way to buy it because they are brokeAF, you don't see rich people in those areas starving.
Water flows towards money. Just because there is a stream nearby doesn't mean you will be able to take water from it, you may need water rights while government is still able to enforce such edicts. Alternatively you may have impeccable senior water rights but the government enforcement is defunded and someone with zero water rights is upstream from you sucking the entire creek dry during a crash. Rainfall vs irrigation. rainfall allows a form of independence but having reliable irrigation can smooth out catastrophic variance in rain shortfalls. Don’t forget irrigation management was a major factor in the formation of early oppressive states.
Even prior to the industrial revolution, in cities that had Sea Ports, the population in those cities had higher survival rates than those living in the countryside during famines. Transportation is critical. More transportation modes plane, train, automobile, bikepaths, all different roads, rails, canals, rivers etc. These transports allow goods to flow, which generally helps satisfy regional shortages. Some people judge the main threat to be people taking what they have, usually it is governments doing the taking in the historical record but many are concerned with mythical hordes. If you subscribe to this paranoia about people robbing your homestead you may enjoy being as minimally connected as possible to the transport system. You must determine based on your own preferences and expectations. Good transport is a double edged sword, it means food/resources can also be shipped out of your area towards money/powerful people, remember ownership norms and enforcement rarely disappear during collapse-like periods, indeed the ownership class still sends supplies to the highest bidder which may not be you, see Irish Gorta Mor for example.
In places like london way back when they still burned wood as cooking and heating fuel there were estates just outside the city that were highly organized coppice producers that fueled the city. Wood is heavy and only so much could be carried in a cartload considering they relied on animal traction. There was a distance where bringing the wood to london to sell would not make you any money even despite you getting wood for free because the cost of the journey feeding yourself and animal took the entire value of the wood. These effects are worth thinking about across different transport scenarios. Assets become stranded and likewise things can become uneconomical to ship to you when you need things produced in the city. The wood producing estates outside london were well off financially and smaller estate size could provide higher income than the much more distant estates that were an order of magnitude larger. Transport matters, markets and trade continue to exist in practically every collapse and even in supermax prisons, expect to use markets as a survival strategy, it is more likely than you living some isolated mountain man scenario.
(the older a soil is geologically X how much rainfall it gets) is what generally determines how fertile it is. The best soils are those that are relatively new and have been subjected to just enough rainfall to match the evapotranspiration rate, this minimizes nutrients leaching out, these are the mollisols/chernozems of the prairies. Because the water is just-enough in those zones they are also right at the edge where they can have major droughts with even slightly less rainfall. Wetter areas generally have less inherent soil fertility because of more leaching of nutrients but have more room for rainfall variability without plants meeting water deficiency.
your social ties family friends locations
Having a positive social environment with people you love while just getting by, is better than doing well financially and being socially isolated, for most people. Don’t abandon good family and friends if you can avoid it, it is usually not worth it. “Social capital” has always been a key to human flourishing. Many people in the collapse of the USSR survived on “blat”, not by relocating. A real world social network for altruistic reciprocity is a survival tool.
Proximity to imperialist countries with militaries that may want/need your resources for themselves or their people
Places like ukraine, some of the best farmland in the world, a country may seem optimal in many ways but historically this advantage was noted by outsiders and it has been at the crossroads of empires which means they suffered tremendously in war. The devastation of war and imperialism negated much of the natural benefits of the area when it comes to survival rates. This is something to consider. In parts of africa there is more conflict in abundant zones with more food, outside of famine zones because paramilitaries are supported from the land there and controlling the food supply is used as weapon of political power. Concentration of resources can make areas more dangerous, it makes attacking them economical.
So I have a lot of open positions of various options strategies geared mostly towards bullish directions. I have been steadily closing out as much as I can, but I have made a few high risk bullish bets, that I believe now is the perfect time to get in them and I want to stick with these positions. With the upcoming trade deadline on Dec 15th, I believe it will be a binary event that has risk of blowing up even sooner. I think either we go up modestly and then continue nicely through the end of the year, or all hell breaks loose and the market implodes. So what would be your recommendations to hedge the SPY/SPX? I'm thinking maybe puts or probably leaning more towards using a bear call spread on the SPX but I am not sure about the best way to structure these. I am hesitant with some strategies I've been playing around with balancing the upfront outlay and risk with enough payout to balance things out. I feel like I am going to do something where the market doesn't sell off enough, or I don't put enough down to properly hedge my portfolio.
In order to create an account on BitMEX, users first have to register with the website. Registration only requires an email address, the email address must be a genuine address as users will receive an email to confirm registration in order to verify the account. Once users are registered, there are no trading limits. Traders must be at least 18 years of age to sign up. https://preview.redd.it/0v13qoil3cc41.jpg?width=808&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=e6134bc089c4e352dce10d754dc84ff11a4c7994 However, it should be noted that BitMEX does not accept any US-based traders and will use IP checks to verify that users are not in the US. While some US users have bypassed this with the use of a VPN, it is not recommended that US individuals sign up to the BitMEX service, especially given the fact that alternative exchanges are available to service US customers that function within the US legal framework. How to Use BitMEX BitMEX allows users to trade cryptocurrencies against a number of fiat currencies, namely the US Dollar, the Japanese Yen and the Chinese Yuan. BitMEX allows users to trade a number of different cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Monero, Ripple, Tezos and Zcash. The trading platform on BitMEX is very intuitive and easy to use for those familiar with similar markets. However, it is not for the beginner. The interface does look a little dated when compared to newer exchanges like Binance and Kucoin’s. Once users have signed up to the platform, they should click on Trade, and all the trading instruments will be displayed beneath. Clicking on the particular instrument opens the orderbook, recent trades, and the order slip on the left. The order book shows three columns – the bid value for the underlying asset, the quantity of the order, and the total USD value of all orders, both short and long. The widgets on the trading platform can be changed according to the user’s viewing preferences, allowing users to have full control on what is displayed. It also has a built in feature that provides for TradingView charting. This offers a wide range of charting tool and is considered to be an improvement on many of the offering available from many of its competitors. https://preview.redd.it/fabg1nxo3cc41.jpg?width=808&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=6d939889c3eac15ab1e78ec37a8ccd13fc5e0573 Once trades are made, all orders can be easily viewed in the trading platform interface. There are tabs where users can select their Active Orders, see the Stops that are in place, check the Orders Filled (total or partially) and the trade history. On the Active Orders and Stops tabs, traders can cancel any order, by clicking the “Cancel” button. Users also see all currently open positions, with an analysis if it is in the black or red. BitMEX uses a method called auto-deleveraging which BitMEX uses to ensure that liquidated positions are able to be closed even in a volatile market. Auto-deleveraging means that if a position bankrupts without available liquidity, the positive side of the position deleverages, in order of profitability and leverage, the highest leveraged position first in queue. Traders are always shown where they sit in the auto-deleveraging queue, if such is needed. Although the BitMEX platform is optimized for mobile, it only has an Android app (which is not official). There is no iOS app available at present. However, it is recommended that users use it on the desktop if possible. BitMEX offers a variety of order types for users:
Limit Order (the order is fulfilled if the given price is achieved);
Market Order (the order is executed at current market price);
Stop Limit Order (like a stop order, but allows users to set the price of the Order once the Stop Price is triggered);
Stop Market Order (this is a stop order that does not enter the order book, remain unseen until the market reaches the trigger);
Trailing Stop Order (it is similar to a Stop Market order, but here users set a trailing value that is used to place the market order);
Take Profit Limit Order (this can be used, similarly to a Stop Order, to set a target price on a position. In this case, it is in respect of making gains, rather than cutting losses);
Take Profit Market Order (same as the previous type, but in this case, the order triggered will be a market order, and not a limit one)
The exchange offers margin trading in all of the cryptocurrencies displayed on the website. It also offers to trade with futures and derivatives – swaps.
Futures and Swaps
A futures contract is an agreement to buy or sell a given asset in the future at a predetermined price. On BitMEX, users can leverage up to 100x on certain contracts. Perpetual swaps are similar to futures, except that there is no expiry date for them and no settlement. Additionally, they trade close to the underlying reference Index Price, unlike futures, which may diverge substantially from the Index Price. BitMEX also offers Binary series contracts, which are prediction-based contracts which can only settle at either 0 or 100. In essence, the Binary series contracts are a more complicated way of making a bet on a given event. The only Binary series betting instrument currently available is related to the next 1mb block on the Bitcoin blockchain. Binary series contracts are traded with no leverage, a 0% maker fee, a 0.25% taker fee and 0.25% settlement fee.
BitMEX allows its traders to leverage their position on the platform. Leverage is the ability to place orders that are bigger than the users’ existing balance. This could lead to a higher profit in comparison when placing an order with only the wallet balance. Trading in such conditions is called “Margin Trading.” There are two types of Margin Trading: Isolated and Cross-Margin. The former allows the user to select the amount of money in their wallet that should be used to hold their position after an order is placed. However, the latter provides that all of the money in the users’ wallet can be used to hold their position, and therefore should be treated with extreme caution. https://preview.redd.it/eg4qk9qr3cc41.jpg?width=808&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=c3ca8cdf654330ce53e8138d774e72155acf0e7e The BitMEX platform allows users to set their leverage level by using the leverage slider. A maximum leverage of 1:100 is available (on Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash). This is quite a high level of leverage for cryptocurrencies, with the average offered by other exchanges rarely exceeding 1:20.
BitMEX does not charge fees on deposits or withdrawals. However, when withdrawing Bitcoin, the minimum Network fee is based on blockchain load. The only costs therefore are those of the banks or the cryptocurrency networks. As noted previously, BitMEX only accepts deposits in Bitcoin and therefore Bitcoin serves as collateral on trading contracts, regardless of whether or not the trade involves Bitcoin. The minimum deposit is 0.001 BTC. There are no limits on withdrawals, but withdrawals can also be in Bitcoin only. To make a withdrawal, all that users need to do is insert the amount to withdraw and the wallet address to complete the transfer. https://preview.redd.it/xj1kbuew3cc41.jpg?width=808&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=68056f2247001c63e89c880cfbb75b2f3616e8fe Deposits can be made 24/7 but withdrawals are processed by hand at a recurring time once per day. The hand processed withdrawals are intended to increase the security levels of users’ funds by providing extra time (and email notice) to cancel any fraudulent withdrawal requests, as well as bypassing the use of automated systems & hot wallets which may be more prone to compromise.
BitMEX operates as a crypto to crypto exchange and makes use of a Bitcoin-in/Bitcoin-out structure. Therefore, platform users are currently unable to use fiat currencies for any payments or transfers, however, a plus side of this is that there are no limits for trading and the exchange incorporates trading pairs linked to the US Dollar (XBT), Japanese Yen (XBJ), and Chinese Yuan (XBC). BitMEX supports the following cryptocurrencies:
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Ethereum Classic (ETC)
Ripple Token (XRP)
EOS Token (EOS)
BitMEX also offers leverage options on the following coins:
5x: Zcash (ZEC)
20x : Ripple (XRP),Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Cardano (ADA), EOS Token (EOS), Tron (TRX)
HDR Global Trading, the company which owns BitMEX, has recently announced a partnership with Trading Technologies International, Inc. (TT), a leading international high-performance trading software provider. The TT platform is designed specifically for professional traders, brokers, and market-access providers, and incorporates a wide variety of trading tools and analytical indicators that allow even the most advanced traders to customize the software to suit their unique trading styles. The TT platform also provides traders with global market access and trade execution through its privately managed infrastructure and the partnership will see BitMEX users gaining access to the trading tools on all BitMEX products, including the popular XBT/USD Perpetual Swap pairing. https://preview.redd.it/qcqunaby3cc41.png?width=672&format=png&auto=webp&s=b77b45ac2b44a9af30a4985e3d9dbafc9bbdb77c
The BitMEX Insurance Fund
The ability to trade on leverage is one of the exchange’s main selling points and offering leverage and providing the opportunity for traders to trade against each other may result in a situation where the winners do not receive all of their expected profits. As a result of the amounts of leverage involved, it’s possible that the losers may not have enough margin in their positions to pay the winners. Traditional exchanges like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) offset this problem by utilizing multiple layers of protection and cryptocurrency trading platforms offering leverage cannot currently match the levels of protection provided to winning traders. In addition, cryptocurrency exchanges offering leveraged trades propose a capped downside and unlimited upside on a highly volatile asset with the caveat being that on occasion, there may not be enough funds in the system to pay out the winners. To help solve this problem, BitMEX has developed an insurance fund system, and when a trader has an open leveraged position, their position is forcefully closed or liquidated when their maintenance margin is too low. Here, a trader’s profit and loss does not reflect the actual price their position was closed on the market, and with BitMEX when a trader is liquidated, their equity associated with the position drops down to zero. In the following example, the trader has taken a 100x long position. In the event that the mark price of Bitcoin falls to $3,980 (by 0.5%), then the position gets liquidated with the 100 Bitcoin position needing to be sold on the market. This means that it does not matter what price this trade executes at, namely if it’s $3,995 or $3,000, as from the view of the liquidated trader, regardless of the price, they lose all the equity they had in their position, and lose the entire one Bitcoin. https://preview.redd.it/wel3rka04cc41.png?width=669&format=png&auto=webp&s=3f93dac2d3b40aa842d281384113d2e26f25947e Assuming there is a fully liquid market, the bid/ask spread should be tighter than the maintenance margin. Here, liquidations manifest as contributions to the insurance fund (e.g. if the maintenance margin is 50bps, but the market is 1bp wide), and the insurance fund should rise by close to the same amount as the maintenance margin when a position is liquidated. In this scenario, as long as healthy liquid markets persist, the insurance fund should continue its steady growth. The following graphs further illustrate the example, and in the first chart, market conditions are healthy with a narrow bid/ask spread (just $2) at the time of liquidation. Here, the closing trade occurs at a higher price than the bankruptcy price (the price where the margin balance is zero) and the insurance fund benefits. Illustrative example of an insurance contribution – Long 100x with 1 BTC collateral https://preview.redd.it/is89ep924cc41.png?width=699&format=png&auto=webp&s=f0419c68fe88703e594c121b5b742c963c7e2229 (Note: The above illustration is based on opening a 100x long position at $4,000 per BTC and 1 Bitcoin of collateral. The illustration is an oversimplification and ignores factors such as fees and other adjustments. The bid and offer prices represent the state of the order book at the time of liquidation. The closing trade price is $3,978, representing $1 of slippage compared to the $3,979 bid price at the time of liquidation.) The second chart shows a wide bid/ask spread at the time of liquidation, here, the closing trade takes place at a lower price than the bankruptcy price, and the insurance fund is used to make sure that winning traders receive their expected profits. This works to stabilize the potential for returns as there is no guarantee that healthy market conditions can continue, especially during periods of heightened price volatility. During these periods, it’s actually possible that the insurance fund can be used up than it is built up. Illustrative example of an insurance depletion – Long 100x with 1 BTC collateral https://preview.redd.it/vb4mj3n54cc41.png?width=707&format=png&auto=webp&s=0c63b7c99ae1c114d8e3b947fb490e9144dfe61b (Notes: The above illustration is based on opening a 100x long position at $4,000 per BTC and 1 Bitcoin of collateral. The illustration is an oversimplification and ignores factors such as fees and other adjustments. The bid and offer prices represent the state of the order book at the time of liquidation. The closing trade price is $3,800, representing $20 of slippage compared to the $3,820 bid price at the time of liquidation.) The exchange declared in February 2019, that the BitMEX insurance fund retained close to 21,000 Bitcoin (around $70 million based on Bitcoin spot prices at the time). This figure represents just 0.007% of BitMEX’s notional annual trading volume, which has been quoted as being approximately $1 trillion. This is higher than the insurance funds as a proportion of trading volume of the CME, and therefore, winning traders on BitMEX are exposed to much larger risks than CME traders as:
BitMEX does not have clearing members with large balance sheets and traders are directly exposed to each other.
BitMEX does not demand payments from traders with negative account balances.
The underlying instruments on BitMEX are more volatile than the more traditional instruments available on CME.
Therefore, with the insurance fund remaining capitalized, the system effectively with participants who get liquidated paying for liquidations, or a losers pay for losers mechanism. This system may appear controversial as first, though some may argue that there is a degree of uniformity to it. It’s also worth noting that the exchange also makes use of Auto Deleveraging which means that on occasion, leveraged positions in profit can still be reduced during certain time periods if a liquidated order cannot be executed in the market. More adventurous traders should note that while the insurance fund holds 21,000 Bitcoin, worth approximately 0.1% of the total Bitcoin supply, BitMEX still doesn’t offer the same level of guarantees to winning traders that are provided by more traditional leveraged trading platforms. Given the inherent volatility of the cryptocurrency market, there remains some possibility that the fund gets drained down to zero despite its current size. This may result in more successful traders lacking confidence in the platform and choosing to limit their exposure in the event of BitMEX being unable to compensate winning traders.
How suitable is BitMEX for Beginners?
BitMEX generates high Bitcoin trading levels, and also attracts good levels of volume across other crypto-to-crypto transfers. This helps to maintain a buzz around the exchange, and BitMEX also employs relatively low trading fees, and is available round the world (except to US inhabitants). This helps to attract the attention of people new to the process of trading on leverage and when getting started on the platform there are 5 main navigation Tabs to get used to:
**Trade:**The trading dashboard of BitMEX. This tab allows you to select your preferred trading instrument, and choose leverage, as well as place and cancel orders. You can also see your position information and view key information in the contract details.
**Account:**Here, all your account information is displayed including available Bitcoin margin balances, deposits and withdrawals, and trade history.
**Contracts:**This tab covers further instrument information including funding history, contract sizes; leverage offered expiry, underlying reference Price Index data, and other key features.
**References:**This resource centre allows you to learn about futures, perpetual contracts, position marking, and liquidation.
**API:**From here you can set up an API connection with BitMEX, and utilize the REST API and WebSocket API.
BitMEX also employs 24/7 customer support and the team can also be contacted on their Twitter and Reddit accounts. In addition, BitMEX provides a variety of educational resources including an FAQ section, Futures guides, Perpetual Contracts guides, and further resources in the “References” account tab. For users looking for more in depth analysis, the BitMEX blog produces high level descriptions of a number of subjects and has garnered a good reputation among the cryptocurrency community. Most importantly, the exchange also maintains a testnet platform, built on top of testnet Bitcoin, which allows anyone to try out programs and strategies before moving on to the live exchange. This is crucial as despite the wealth of resources available, BitMEX is not really suitable for beginners, and margin trading, futures contracts and swaps are best left to experienced, professional or institutional traders. Margin trading and choosing to engage in leveraged activity are risky processes and even more advanced traders can describe the process as a high risk and high reward “game”. New entrants to the sector should spend a considerable amount of time learning about margin trading and testing out strategies before considering whether to open a live account.
Is BitMEX Safe?
BitMEX is widely considered to have strong levels of security. The platform uses multi-signature deposits and withdrawal schemes which can only be used by BitMEX partners. BitMEX also utilises Amazon Web Services to protect the servers with text messages and two-factor authentication, as well as hardware tokens. BitMEX also has a system for risk checks, which requires that the sum of all account holdings on the website must be zero. If it’s not, all trading is immediately halted. As noted previously, withdrawals are all individually hand-checked by employees, and private keys are never stored in the cloud. Deposit addresses are externally verified to make sure that they contain matching keys. If they do not, there is an immediate system shutdown. https://preview.redd.it/t04qs3484cc41.jpg?width=808&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=a3b106cbc9116713dcdd5e908c00b555fd704ee6 In addition, the BitMEX trading platform is written in kdb+, a database and toolset popular amongst major banks in high frequency trading applications. The BitMEX engine appears to be faster and more reliable than some of its competitors, such as Poloniex and Bittrex. They have email notifications, and PGP encryption is used for all communication. The exchange hasn’t been hacked in the past.
How Secure is the platform?
As previously mentioned, BitMEX is considered to be a safe exchange and incorporates a number of security protocols that are becoming standard among the sector’s leading exchanges. In addition to making use of Amazon Web Services’ cloud security, all the exchange’s systems can only be accessed after passing through multiple forms of authentication, and individual systems are only able to communicate with each other across approved and monitored channels. Communication is also further secured as the exchange provides optional PGP encryption for all automated emails, and users can insert their PGP public key into the form inside their accounts. Once set up, BitMEX will encrypt and sign all the automated emails sent by you or to your account by the [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) email address. Users can also initiate secure conversations with the support team by using the email address and public key on the Technical Contact, and the team have made their automated system’s PGP key available for verification in their Security Section. The platform’s trading engine is written in kdb+, a database and toolset used by leading financial institutions in high-frequency trading applications, and the speed and reliability of the engine is also used to perform a full risk check after every order placement, trade, settlement, deposit, and withdrawal. All accounts in the system must consistently sum to zero, and if this does not happen then trading on the platform is immediately halted for all users. With regards to wallet security, BitMEX makes use of a multisignature deposit and withdrawal scheme, and all exchange addresses are multisignature by default with all storage being kept offline. Private keys are not stored on any cloud servers and deep cold storage is used for the majority of funds. Furthermore, all deposit addresses sent by the BitMEX system are verified by an external service that works to ensure that they contain the keys controlled by the founders, and in the event that the public keys differ, the system is immediately shut down and trading halted. The exchange’s security practices also see that every withdrawal is audited by hand by a minimum of two employees before being sent out.
BitMEX Customer Support
The trading platform has a 24/7 support on multiple channels, including email, ticket systems and social media. The typical response time from the customer support team is about one hour, and feedback on the customer support generally suggest that the customer service responses are helpful and are not restricted to automated responses. https://preview.redd.it/8k81zl0a4cc41.jpg?width=808&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=e30e5b7ca93d2931f49e2dc84025f2fda386eab1 The BitMEX also offers a knowledge base and FAQs which, although they are not necessarily always helpful, may assist and direct users towards the necessary channels to obtain assistance. BitMEX also offers trading guides which can be accessed here
There would appear to be few complaints online about BitMEX, with most issues relating to technical matters or about the complexities of using the website. Older complaints also appeared to include issues relating to low liquidity, but this no longer appears to be an issue. BitMEX is clearly not a platform that is not intended for the amateur investor. The interface is complex and therefore it can be very difficult for users to get used to the platform and to even navigate the website. However, the platform does provide a wide range of tools and once users have experience of the platform they will appreciate the wide range of information that the platform provides. Visit BitMEX
The formula for a shmup is a pretty simple one. Have a ship, add enemies, makes the screen auto-scroll and voila! And yet, there have been shmup games that are simply superior to others, some of which even reach a legendary status. Behind one of the most legendary games is a legendary developer: Treasure. Ikaruga is a name you probably have heard multiple times, and for good reason. Since its original arcade release, Ikaruga has been brought to many other platforms throughout the years such as the Gamecube, Steam and even mobile. There is a reason an 18 year old game is still relevant, and that reason is that Ikaruga might be the greatest shooter ever made, bar none. Developer: Treasure Platform: Nintendo Switch Release date: May 29, 2018 Price: $14.99 Ikaruga is a 2D vertical sidescroller shmup with a unique twist: polarity switch.
In this game the bullets will come in 2 different flavors: black and red or white and blue. Your ship will always be in one of the two polarities, with a button designated to toggling the your polarity. Switching is fast and seamless, which is totally perfect considering how much you will be doing it. Your polarity has offensive and defensive benefits. By being the same polarity as the bullets, you will absorb them and fill a special gauge. At any time you can release all the stored energy in the gauge to unleash a homing barrage attack. On the other hand, you will deal extra damage to enemies of the opposite polarity. I want to say it’s double the damage, but I don’t have the exact numbers to confirm this. Additionally, enemies will return fire when they are killed by their same color. This is your reward for beating enemies with the color that actually does the less damage to them. Of course, this all goes down the drain on hard mode where ALL enemies return fire regardless of color. Good luck with that!
CONNECT 3 SHIPS
The other core mechanic of Ikaruga lies in the chain counter. If you destroy 3 enemies of the same color, you will gain bonus points and increase your chain by 1. The chain counter is not time constrained in any way, so you are entirely free to kill 2 enemies, and kill the third one much later, as long as you didn’t break your chain in the meantime. The chain can only be broken by killing an enemy of the opposite color before completing the chain, or by being hit. It’s hard to paint the picture of everything that the chain counter entails. While it isn’t complex or hard to understand in any way, it does open up a rhythm to the gameplay. Rather than taping your finger to the fire button, you are now actively looking at the enemy formation and mentally creating blocks of 3 fighters in order to increase your chain. By doing so, you also begin to notice the effort that was put into the enemy fleet. Ikaruga isn’t just throwing more fighters than you can handle, it is giving you a canvas in which you can paint your own path to maximize your score. The more I think about it, the harder it becomes for me to try and put into words how masterful this mechanic is to the core game. I have played hundreds of Ikaruga runs in more than 4 different platforms, and the game is still evolving with every run, or rather, my understanding of the game is evolving. With every single playthrough, more patterns emerge and different ways of keeping track of chains of 3 emerge. If you ever watched Dragon Ball Z, think of this as the part where they explained that the fighters were moving so fast that they were imperceptible to the untrained eye, but as you became stronger you would be able to follow the action.
YOUR OWN FLAVOR OF GAME
What makes Ikaruga such as masterpiece is that neither of the above systems are necessary at all. You are free to play Ikaruga on your own style, and can explore other styles as you progress or become better at the game. Are you the type of player that only wants to shoot at enemies? Great! You can go through the entire game just killing every enemy in sight without worrying about chains or polarities. You can even forego the entire polarity switch mechanic and just focus on one color of bullet to dodge through the entire game (disclaimer: level 3 and 5 have section which will inevitably kill you if you don’t switch, so at least do it on those sections). Are you an intermediate player who wants to make the most of the mechanics, but without learning to be proficient with them? That works too! Go forth and absorb bullets to unleash devastating barrages on enemies of the opposite polarity. Are you a score junkie that wants to shoot for the leaderboards? Awesome! You can try and find all the formations that will increase your chain and go for high scores! Are you more of a fan of surviving complex bullet patterns? We got those too! You can go through the entire game without shooting a single bullet to earn the coveted “dot eater” rank. The way every system was built on Ikaruga opens up endless possibilities for the player, but none of them are forced into the playing experience. Ikaruga manages to be a shmup, a puzzle game and even a lesson in movement finesse. If you ever wondered why was it that Ikaruga gained its legendary status, it is because as a game, it keeps presenting new ways to play to the player in subtle ways. Every new mode feels like a discovery to the player, and we all know that everything is 100% better (legit numbers, by the way) when it feels like we discovered it for ourselves. Ikaruga is a game that will never become stale or obsolete, simply because one game feels like 10 different games, and each of them is a gem of its own.
A GAME POLISHED WITH EVERY RELEASE
Part of the beauty of re-purchasing Ikaruga is that it isn’t quite the same game you might have purchased generations ago. The gameplay is intact, and remains a masterpiece, but extra options and features are always added that push the quality of the package through the roof. One of the earliest inclusions was free play. The first time I beat Ikaruga, was on the dreamcast. Back then I vaguely remember that the game rewarded me with extra continues the more I played, with 20 continues being when I finally defeated the final boss. Now we don’t have to do that, as free play is one of the additions that was been parted of a revamped package. A lot of the fun in shmups games is to push though in order to finally reach the final level, but there’s also great game that deserves to be enjoyed by all. You don’t need to completely toggle free play in order to complete the game, you can tweak other setting to create an experience custom built for you. Adjusting the score requirement for extra lives is one of these settings. You can also increase your continue count if you wish to give yourself better odds, without completely eliminating the risk of defeat. One of the better features are the replays. You can finally have the game record your best runs, just so you can remember that amazing run you had the other day. Replays are only available for default setting, so it will only record when you are playing with 3 lives and no continues. For more hardcore players, there are global leaderboards in many different categories for you to compete. And for those of us with dreams of grandeur, we can download replays from the leaderboards just to be amazed at the movement and strategies of top players. There’s also achievements! I know some people hate them, but personally I love them and always take any chance I get to share their existence for some games. You can even make it so they are displayed on the in-game HUD to wear as your badges of honor! Or you can just not display them, we don’t shame anyone in here.
THE BEAUTY AND THE STYLE
Aside from being a fantastic game to play, Ikaruga is also beautiful to the rest of the senses (except maybe smell). While the game is a 2D shmup, everything is a 3D model. The enemies look great and the backdrops are jaw-dropping. It is thanks to the camera shifts from stage intros, bosses or random mid-stage sequences that we truly appreciate the depth of the background. Shoutouts to level 4 where we were battling on top of the boss all along and we didn’t figure that out until the final explosion. Perhaps my favorite touch is how stage intros are displayed after playing the stage for a while. These intros feature camera shifts and a short description of what is going on through the pilot’s mind. As always, I don’t understand the narrative of most Japanese shmups, but on its own those phrases still evoke that necessary dose of heroism in a hero’s journey. Due to how short shmups generally are, Ikaruga has few songs. But what is lacking in quantity, is more than made up with the quality of every song available! Shoutouts to the music from the first boss which might be my absolute favorite track. I bet you must be wondering where the joy of the tact sense is coming from. Well, we can thanks the wonder machines we call joy-cons for that. HD rumble is so great because it always feels natural with what is going on in the game. The intensity of every explosion is captured with the HD rumble, just don’t leave your handheld Switch on a glass table while the boss explodes.
LAST WORDS… MAYBE
With all that’s being said, it is quite clear that Ikaruga is by far the absolute best shmup game you could play on the Nintendo Switch. There isn’t even any unannounced contender for the throne, so rest assured your purchase would be an extremely safe one. The reason I put off on doing this review for the longest time is because I don’t think I can make justice to how good Ikaruga actually is. Even with all the praise I gave if during this last 1658, I think there is a lot more magic to cover, but I’ll let you guys discover this on your own. The fact is that as of now, Ikaruga stands right there along the god-tier of shmups games.
THE RANKING SO FAR:
Steredenn: Binary Stars
Sky Force: Reloaded
R-Type Dimensions EX
Shikhondo – Soul Eater
Aero Fighters 2 (ACA Neogeo)
Lightening Force: Quest for the darkstar (Sega Ages)
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The reputational damage has led to significant financial loses, with the stock of L Brands, Victoria’s Secret’s parent, falling more than 28% from the start of the year.
Victoria’s Secret is lagging behind competitor brands, such as American Eagle Outfitters, ThirdLove and Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty, whose marketing strategies revolve around inclusiveness and comfort.
Victoria’s Secret, the largest lingerie retailer in the US, has been one of the most iconic apparel brands since the 1990s, not least because its sexually charged imaging set the industry’s standard for decades and exerted a strong influence on body image norms. But since 2015, the shares of its parent company L Brands have been dropping as sales keep taking hits from shifting consumer tastes, executive turnovers and emerging competition. The Victoria’s Secret brand, built on skinny girls and scantily clad lingerie, is now largely perceived as inadequate for a time when consumers’ preferences have moved away from sex appeal and towards empowerment, inclusiveness and comfort. To many, the brand’s traditional marketing strategy, which bets on fashion shows where supermodels walk in stiletto heels and angel wings, seems tone-deaf in the era of #MeToo, which condemns all forms of objectifying women and imposing hard-to-achieve beauty standards. The Victoria’s Secret Angels, once considered symbols of sexiness, have now started to alienate consumers: a recent study found that 68% of them like the brand “less than they used to” and 60% feel that Victoria’s Secret is “forced” or “fake.” Demand for its products has cooled as up-and-coming rival brands have become more attractive by promoting themselves through unedited images featuring women of more diverse shapes and sizes. The retail giant reported that it will close 53 stores in North America this year, citing a “decline in performance.” The brand itself admitted that it relied on hypersexualised imaging for far too long and it needs to rethink its identity. At L Brands‘ recent investor day, John Mehas, head of Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, asserted that the company needs to evolve and to reconnect with consumers by launching new products, hiring new executives and using new marketing strategies. An essential part of the narrative shift would be a more diverse group of models, improving the merchandise, replacing the brand’s marketing chief and “rethinking” its annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show, the only fashion show regularly broadcast around the world, whose ratings keep falling. The brand hinted that network television would no longer be the “right fit” for the event, which has been criticised for being focused on empowering the models who walk in it instead of trying to relate to consumers. Inclusivity, Diversity and Epstein Many specialised fashion publications and business outlets embarked on questioning how the once-beloved brand managed to garner such a bad reputation. Analysing the media conversation around Victoria’s Secret in the top-tier English language publications from October 2018 to September 2019, we found that the most often discussed topics were body inclusivity, the company’s ties with Jeffrey Epstein and gender diversity: The strongest coverage drivers for both the “Body inclusivity” and “LGBTQ+ diversity” topics were the comments which 71-year-old chief marketing officer Ed Razek made in a 2018 interview with Vogue that quickly went viral. Razek, who reportedly has final say over who’s in the televised fashion show, said that he didn’t think Victoria’s Secret‘s fashion event should include transgender or plus-size models because it is supposed to be “a fantasy”. “Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should,” he said. “Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is. It is the only one of its kind in the world, and any other fashion brand in the world would take it in a minute, including the competitors that are carping at us. And they carp at us because we’re the leader.” The remarks prompted a strong backlash from consumers. As with the most severe social media crises, Victoria’s Secret was embroiled in an outrage cascade — outbursts of moral judgment which start to drive the conversation around brands, their products and their corporate messages. In these cases, the virality of moral judgements is facilitated by the fact that most of the content on social media feeds and timelines is sorted according to its likelihood to generate engagement. The fact that fashion brands in particular face a growing number of crises could be explained by the supposition that fashion items are often taken to be markers of cultural and social identity, and thus are susceptible to be perceived as controversial across social networks. For instance, designers often draw inspiration from other cultures’ traditions, which has recently given rise to accusations of “cultural appropriation”. Razek later used the company’s Twitter account to issue a formal apology, saying that his remark “came across as insensitive.” In August 2019, Razek retired just days after the lingerie brand hired its first openly transgender model for its teen label PINK: Brazilian Valentina Sampaio. The hire was generally welcomed by commentators – for instance, Kendall Jenner, daughter of trans icon Caitlyn Jenner, posted “celebrate trans women” to her 98 million Instagram followers. Meanwhile, media monitoring organisation GLAAD, which deals with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, said Sampaio’s move comes as transgender people are becoming more visible in advertising. Examples of the trend include recent campaigns by Calvin Klein, Gap and H&M, while Playboy’s first transgender Playmate appeared in 2017. Another strong coverage driver within the ‘Body inclusivity‘ topic was the protest outside Victoria’s Secret‘s store on Oxford Street in London, in which protesters stripped to their underwear and held signs demanding more diversity in fashion. To address such concerns, the latest investor meeting saw Victoria’s Secret deciding it will no longer rely on a small group of supermodels to promote its sexy lingerie, in a bid to use more inclusive marketing. An example of this new strategy was an Instagram post of model Barbara Palvin, which was celebrated for being more body-inclusive, as social media users perceived Palvin to be curvier than the other supermodels. The post received over 780,000 likes in two days, generating 4.2 times the average number of likes, with users commenting that the model looks “normal” and “healthy”. But the brand wasn’t that successful in managing another crisis:the widely publicised tiesbetween L Brands founder Les Wexner and financier Jeffrey Epstein, an accused child sex trafficker who committed suicide in jail. Although Epstein didn’t actually work for Victoria’s Secret or L Brands, he had control over Wexner’s finances and personal life, according toreporting byThe New York Times, and used his connections with Victoria’s Secret to facilitate his alleged crimes. L Brands tried to distance itself from Epstein, saying it had cut ties with him nearly 12 years ago anddisclosing that it had hired outside counselto review the case. Wexner said: “Being taken advantage of by someone who was so sick, so cunning, so depraved, is something that I’m embarrassed that I was even close to. But that is in the past.” In many media reports, the ‘Epstein ties‘ topic was closely related to the ‘Sexual harassment‘ topic, which was dominated by a petition urging Victoria’s Secret to take a stand againstsexual harassment and violence. Theopen letterwas addressed to Victoria’s Secret CEO John Mehas and signed by more than 100 models,many of whom have worked with the brand in the past, and also by the Model Alliance, an advocacy organisation in the fashion industry, and the Time’s Up movement against sexual harassment which was founded in response to the Weinstein effect and #MeToo. The petition cited “numerous allegations of sexual assault, alleged rape, and sex trafficking of models and aspiring models”. Several of the company’s photographers have been accused of misconduct, on top of the links with Jeffrey Epstein. A Victoria’s Secret spokesperson said the firm has beenin conversations with the Model Alliance “for some time”: “We are always concerned about the welfare of our models and want to continue to have dialogue with the Model Alliance and others to accomplish meaningful progress in the industry.” Crisis mode Ed Razek‘s aforementioned controversial comments regarding transgender and plus-size models made him the most often quoted spokesperson in the discussion around Victoria’s Secret: Razek’s dominance in the conversation underlined the crisis of perception the brand suffers: his remarks were taken by many media outlets as a sign that the brand is unwilling to adapt to the current sociocultural climate. Models who have previously worked with the brand and who had a relatively large share of voice in the media conversation were quick to criticise him. For example. Karlie Kloss and Lily Aldridge posted a photo reading “Trans and GNC [gender non-conforming] people are not a debate” to their Instagram stories. Karlie Kloss was one of the most vocal critics: she recently told Vogue that she had decided to terminate her relationship with Victoria’s Secret because the image was not “truly reflective” of who she was and the “kind of message I want to send to young women around the world about what it means to be beautiful.” Model Tess Holliday was harsher, leaving a message to Razek on Twitter following his Vogue interview: “Who needs VS anyway? They never supported plus ladies & now they are trying to dis my trans sisters? Hell nah. Kiss my fat ass, [Victoria’s Secret].” The majority of media reports on Razek’s retirement announcement cited these remarks as one of the key points in his career and highlighted that he was one of the main figures in the highly sexualised beauty ideal put forth by the brand. The crisis of perception was also emphasised by the fact that L Brands CEO Les Wexner, another major corporate spokesperson in the conversation, was quoted primarily in relation to the Epstein scandal. However, some of the spokespeople portrayed Victoria’s Secret in a positive light. Adriana Lima, one of the best-known Angels, quit the label after two decades and 18 fashion shows with the brand, sharing the news on Instagram with a heartfelt caption: “Dear Victoria, Thank you for showing me the world, sharing your secrets, and most importantly not just giving me wings but teaching me to fly.” And while she presented the brand positively, some media publications reminded their readers of a an interview she gave to Grazia in 2011 in which she outlined the physical challenges she went through in order to be in shape, especially after her pregnancy. Angel Behati Prinsloo tried to defend the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show against the criticism for its lack of transgender models and diverse body types. In an interview with Elle, she explained what the show stands for: ‘There’s a lot of talk about everything but I think people need to also understand that it’s a show. It’s not saying negative or positive about any body type, it’s ‘this is who they are’.” In the meantime, Barbara Palvin was named as a Victoria’s Secret Angel after the successful Instagram post which customers perceived to be more body-inclusive. She announced the news to fans also via Instagram and her hire was generally interpreted by the media as a sign that the label is finally starting to listen to its critics. CEO John Mehas‘ comments about the brand’s marketing shift were met with similar enthusiasm, especially his plans to include messaging that responds to the #MeToo movement. But the most warmly welcomed move was the hire of Valentina Sampaio: although some publications suggested that the brand’s first openly transgender model came too late, most commentators said that the retailer has finally moved in the right direction. Lingerie wars While Victoria’s Secret is caught up in a fierce discussion, L Brands‘ other flagship label, Bath & Body Works, a personal-goods retailer, continues to report strong earnings, supporting its struggling parent. Many reports on Victoria’s Secret‘s controversial reputation outlined this development, making Bath & Body Works the most frequently mentioned brand in the conversation: While L Brands is firmly focused on the Victoria’s Secret turnaround story, Bath & Body Work is perceived as staying relevant with updated stores and new product tests, maintaining a wholesome image as “America’s sweetheart of beauty brands.” Its loyal core consumer base of millennial women is boosted by fan blogs and YouTube accounts dedicated to sharing new products. The brand also plans to ramp up volume by having a digital makeover for the first time in India. Investors have even started pressuring L Brands to make Bath & Body Works a standalone company which would not be associated with Victoria’s Secret. Hedge fund Barington Capital, whose CEO James A. Mitarotonda was one of the few corporate spokespeople in the conversation, sent a lengthy letter to L Brands CEO Les Wexner arguing for a spinoff. But after Bath & Body Works posted its first unchanged quarter of store traffic in five years during 2019’s second quarter, Jefferies analyst Randal Konik suggested that the best days for the bath and candle retailer may be over. Konik also said that the teen brand PINK is the next sore spot for L Brands, with sales falling by low double digits in the fourth quarter, as the label is “without fans and rudderless.” ThirdLove, American Eagle Outfitters and Savage X Fenty were identified as the main competitors which have capitalised on Victoria’s Secret’s reputational struggles. ThirdLove, an online bra startup which was launched in 2013, was perceived as coming head to head with Victoria’s Secret as it focuses on inclusive sizing and marketing, which have helped its annual sales to grow at a rate of 180% for the past four years. The brand opened its first pop-up store in New York in July 2019, putting itself in direct competition with Victoria’s Secret as the lingerie giant had a store less than a 10 minutes’ walk away. ThirdLove also joined the discussion around Razek’s comments, taking out a full-page ad in The New York Times, in which co-founder and co-CEO Heidi Zak said she was appalled when she read them: “I’ve read and re-read the interview at least 20 times, and each time I read it I’m even angrier. How in 2018 can the CMO of any public company — let alone one that claims to be for women — make such shocking, derogatory statements?” When asked whether Victoria’s Secret was worried its customers might now be looking for something different, Razek mentioned ThirdLove: “We’re nobody’s ThirdLove,” Razek said. “We’re their first love. And Victoria’s Secret has been women’s first love from the beginning.” American Eagle Outfitters was also viewed as one of the main companies to break Victoria’s Secret‘s grip on the apparel industry by offering fitting bras and using messaging which pitches inclusiveness and comfort over sex appeal. Its activewear and lingerie brand Aerie has built an image of an “anti-Victoria’s Secret” label with untouched ads featuring models of all shapes and sizes. Kyle Andrew, American Eagle’s CMO, said the company’s success is due to its willingness to experiment and find ways to better listen to its teen customer base. Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty recent show, streamed on Amazon Prime, has been making headlines everywhere, with commentators saying it was everything that Victoria’s Secret’s annual runway show wishes it could be by featuring models of all shapes, sizes, and ethnic backgrounds, with a clear focus on body inclusivity and acceptance. Meanwhile, retail corporation Target also tried to capitalise on Victoria’s Secret’s struggles with a strategy similar to ThirdLove, American Eagle Outfitters and Savage X Fenty: it launched a new bra and underwear brand called Auden with a campaign featuring women “in all different shapes and sizes.” Nike was mentioned as one of the brands which have gotten ahead of the curve with their socially-conscious marketing efforts featuring ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who had participated in racial justice demonstrations during national anthem ceremonies. Fast-fashion brand H&M got involved in the discussion for selling a $199 bra similar to Victoria’s Secret’s $1 million Fantasy Bra as part of its collaboration with Moschino. Victoria’s Secret‘s reputational woos come at a time when the fashion and apparel industries occupy a central place in the extensively covered #MeToo movement and play a major role in ongoing media discussions around gender and identity. Since such issues naturally polarise consumers, brands which are dealing with products directly related to them are regularly caught up in fierce debates. The growing importance of the debates around gender in the fashion industry has also been highlighted in the accelerating gender-neutral trend. The latest seasons have seen luxury brands like Gucci, Saint Laurent and Haider Ackerman combining menswear and womenswear runway shows, Others, such as Proenza Schouler and Rodarte, have started showing women’s pre-collections or women’s ready-to-wear during the back-to-back menswear and couture calendar. Meanwhile, fast-fashion labels such as Zara started releasing ungendered collections with models of both sexes dressed in the same clothes. There are also a growing number of new brands like the Phluid Project, Agender and Rebrand which are built around the concept of non-binary dressing. Beyond fashion houses, the trend has also been recently reinforced by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), which added a unisex/non-binary option for New York Fashion Week. Spokespeople for the CFDA explained that this decision came as a response to “a growing number of designers whose collections are not delineated by gender”, which “reflects the cultural momentum.”
I've been farming Colossal packs recently, for two reasons. For starters I want a fair amount of the cards in it, but secondly, and perhaps more importantly, two of its' super rares were nerfed into the ground and are relatively unplayable, essentially netting 1,000 sparks every time you get one (fire weed and sunflower seed). I've gotten pretty lucky with getting them, and have saved up over 21,000 sparks. I've been thinking quite a bit about what I should craft, constantly rereading this list and its' individual card ratings. I have lots of ideas on what I should craft, based on all sorts of different things like viability and how much fun they'd be to use, etc. Since I'm rather indecisive and tend to just sit on things rather then make a choice myself, I'd love to hear some second thoughts on what I should get. Keep in mind, I'm not always interested with competitive viability. I have a tendency to get lots of fun with really bad gimmicky decks as well, since I'm not too concerned about losing outside of ranked battles. Here's what I'm thinking of crafting thus far, in no particular order: Lima Pleurodon: This card is one of the major reasons why I've been farming Colossal packs. It's incredibly useful all around, as the card tier list clearly shows. It would also finish my first strategy deck, Face blaster 9000, which is my favorite strategy deck, even though it is just a poorly shambled together cyclecap deck. It'd support Smarty aggro as well, which is something I've been playing a lot recently (for some reason beta carrotina/citron keep being picked as ticket heroes for me). My only major issue with crafting these is that I only have 1 of them at the moment; crafting the other 3 would cost a whopping 12,000 sparks! I feel like I could get a lot more fun out of 3 sets of super rares then 4 lima pleurodons, regardless of however less viable they may be... Stompadon: Just a really fun card to mess with, random battle event or not. I luckily managed to get another one in the last pack I opened, so I only need 1 more now. I feel like I could have a lot of fun experimenting with 4 of them (I'm even thinking of making a gimmicky pet deck with them). The only things really holding me back from crafting the final one is the cost (that's still 4 super rares), and that I'll likely open some more colossal packs in the future, but given its' taken me this long just to get 3 stompadons, that's no guarantee at all. Line Dancing Zombie: I really feel like I'm missing out with this one. I love messing about with strikethrough, and this one is arguably one of the best strikethrough cards there are. I don't have any at the moment, and I don't feel like investing in premium packs to shoot for them (I already did that a lot in the early days, and the pool of cards in premium packs are so huge! Even amongst the super rares, the odds of getting any single card is so low!). Tricarrotops: Another legendary that I only need 1 more of to get 4. A lovely all around card that's basically a necessity in root decks (one of my favorite horrible deck archetypes). The reasons behind me not rounding it out are basically identical to those for Stompadon (already farming Colossal packs, and I could buy 4 super rares for the price of 1 legendary), but this card is far more viable and aggressive, which could support my aggro Beta Carrotina deck, even if only by 1 more card. Three-nut: This is one of the biggest reasons I've been farming colossal packs, but frustratingly, I've never even unpacked one! The potential for this card is extreme; essentially being a far more flexible but less powerful version of onion rings. I've always had a soft spot for the peanut plants, even way back when PvZ2 was there only home, and the potential for super aggressive decks is simply off the charts! There are only two super rares from colossal I've yet to get, and I'm really sad that this of all cards had to be one of them. I'd love to just cash out for them, but I'm worried my next pack opening might end up with three of them, given my luck with some of the other super rares :Y Mixed up Gravedigger: This card has so much potential, both for zany wacky goof decks and for effectively ending games, that it's simply staggering! I already get some pretty good use out of encrypted, so being able to do that to a whole board just screams with the potential for amazingly fun decks. The only thing is, it's a legendary, and I have 0 of them; getting 4 would cost 16,000 sparks, which is over two thirds of my current savings! Even getting just 2 of them would take a significant chunk out of my savings, but not having 4 would make it harder to construct decks around this card... Cursed Gargolith: Another reason I've been farming colossal packs, and the second super rare I've failed to get even a single copy of! This card is essentially the cheaper and more limited version of mixed up grave digger, but also opens up loads of potential for gargolith decks as Neptuna, one of my favorite heroes. I'd love to get more options to mess around with the sneaky-hearty class combo, and this seems like a pretty good one. Although I'd still need to invest in... Gargologist: I only have 1 thus far, and it's obviously the best gargantuar enabler. It isn't even half bad as a standalone card as a 2/3 for 2, even if it's ability is your only reason for playing it. The issue with this one is, it's an event card; as far as I know, it could be next weeks event card, and I would have wasted precious sparks on a card I could have easily gotten for free! It's not quite as flashy as far as cards I'd like to get, but I feel like garg synergy just isn't worth shooting for without it. Zombology Teacher: I love rustbolt. Rustbolt loves tricks. This card is a match made in heaven in that regard :3 I have 1 at the moment, and would love to get 4. This does however, also fall into the trap of being an event card, which could very well make it free at some point. It gets even worse though; Zombology teacher costs 2,000 sparks instead of 1,000, so the investment would be a much bigger sink then most other event/super rare cards. The dream of spamming piles of free tricks and/or achieving the infinite going viral loop are very, very tantalizing though... I'd love to have this card! Planetary gladiator: A cheap 1 drop blocker with 3 health and armored, an extremely fast version of soul patch that can more easily be buffed/invulnerable, a great super cheap sports card alongside zombie coach and mascot imp, a way to delay into the mid/late game for more stall/control/stupid gimmick decks... There's a lot going for this card for me, even if it can be block chargy at times. It's a shame I don't have any, despite my brief obsession with galactic packs. Cat lady: The second enabler of pets, and arguably one of the most potent. What other 1 drop can reliably become a 6/4 on turn 2? Pets is a lot of fun for me, but immediately falls apart when I don't get zookeeper, or my zookeepers are immediately nuked off the board by cheap removal or chump blockers. I feel like cat lady is an extremely important piece of the puzzle that turns pets from a silly gimmick into a true aggressive playstyle, and that I'm really missing out on it (I have 0 of them)... Hover Goat: It's a nice card in general, and could be a real beast in science. But there's also that goat synergy!!! No really, I'd love to build an awful gimmick deck around goat synergy with more then 4 goats in it, that just sounds awesome :3 Yet another fun little card stuck in event card limbo for me. Hunting Grounds: Apparently one of the few viable environments (and one of the few I have 0 of). I like environments, so thats' already pretty tantalizing. The fact that it's the only one to trigger pets and would fit well in a pet deck only makes it more so. Other then that, I'm not sure what qualities it's good for compared to area 22, even after reading up on it. I'm more curious then anything... Rocket Science: I love rustbolt. Rustbolt without this card is threatened by runaway growth/buff cards. Rustbolt with this card simply nukes those things and moves on. A card I'd love to have more then 0 of, for all sorts of decks, silly or not. Teleport: I have 0 of them. And if I don't invest in them after saving up loads of sparks, I might never them, given they're a premium legendary and the card pool for premium legendaries is so large. Falls into the same trap as lima pluerodon; it's undeniably an amazing tool for loads of decks, I'm just not sure if it'll feel like it was worth 16 super rares worth of sparks... Disconaut: I only have one. Which is truely a shame, being able to spam worthless nonsense onto the field without giving the opponent free super powers sounds absolutely wonderful! Would be great in the zoo + final mission focused decks I've been trying to make; only having one copy is really dragging those down a lot of the time. Binary stars: This card scares me. 90% of the time, when this card hits the field, I die. Horribly. The potential for this card, both as a finisher and as a very gimmicky late game aggro enabler are huge. I'd love to throw around 4 damage bungie plumbers and 8 damage final missions, but being a legendary I have 0 copies of, the cost of actually obtaining them is a huge hurdle... Black Hole: This card is amazing. It's in nearly all of my hearty decks. And I only have 2 copies. That's all I have to say; if I didn't have so many other intriguing options for my sparks, those last 2 copies would be instacrafts! Kitchen Sink Zombie: Much like binary stars, this is a card I envy for its ability to simply finish games on the spot. It feels like whenever I conjure it (even at full price), it swings the game a little in my favor, and I've been put in losing scenarios multiple times by it. And that's not even mentioning how hilariously gimmicky its' countless abilities are! Slapping it down on a Laser Base and making it untrickable sounds like a very entertaining goof of a deck to build! It also is a 2,000 spark cost event card though, so that's been holding me back thus far... Dr. Space time: I can already hear the comments; conjure is bad. Believe me, I'm in full agreement with you, in terms of winning games reliably, conjure is down right horrible. Even at a lower price, having to rely on random nonsense can effortlessly swing the game in your opponents favor. Trust me I know. But from the perspective of someone like me, who loves stupid gimmick decks and doesn't mind losing a few games here or there, conjure is great fun! I already run it constantly offline, and I don't even have any conjure "synergy" (I have 0 copies). I feel like this card could open the door to loads of wacky conjuring shenanigans, and be loads of fun, even if it never sees play on ranked :3 Pair Pearadise: Very entertaining gimmick environment that enables load of stupid awful combos. Again, it might never hit ranked, but oh gosh it'd be fun to mess about with this card! I only have 1 at the moment, so doing anything with it is pretty hard. Bog of Enlightenment: One of the biggest enablers of amphibious! And I don't even have any! Regardless of what's in that lane, it seems to benefit you, by buffing your cards, nerfing the opponents, or simply limiting the opponents plays! Seems like a great smarty card in general, and given my love of environments, it'd be nice to own one of, if not the only viable plant environments. Laser Cattail: Just seems to be so useful and general purpose all around. Is also cute! Would love to have these to fill out a deck, but I don't have any specific plans for them. Mixed Nuts: Any card that can turn wall nuts and sunflowers into aggressive killers sounds like great fun! Essentially being zoo keeper for plants, this card seems very easy to snowball into a big problem for the enemy! Even if it isn't viable in the slightest, it seems like it'd be loads of fun to play and build with! Like the other event cards, I'm cautious about spending sparks on it, since it could potentially be mine for free in a month or two. Shrinking Violet: Really good. Like, really good. At least as far as I've seen and heard; I own zero! Not much more to say honestly; I just want to try it out and see how I can build with it. Could fit pretty well in my gimmicky destroy decks I bet X3 Astrocado: Reddit noob: whats a good deck? Reddit: Solar flare + astrocado = yes Falls into the 16,000 spark pitfall like the other legendaries, but is also nice and aggressive and apparently is the current meta! Seems like a lovely finisher for my aggressive strikethrough decks, but that price is still a huge barrier... Haunted Pumpking: The literal king of aggro. The only things that could even theoretically be better then it on turn 1 is conman against a silly plant hero playing Holo-Flora and a cat lady with several goats, both of which are nigh impossible and easily countered! It falls into the trap of event cards, but I'm even more cautious with this one, seeing as halloween is slowly approaching. Exploding Fruitcake: Essentially an instant removal for 2, this card speaks for itself! It's only drawback is being an event card... Thanks for reading through all that! Here's a video of my current collection. Feel free to give me some more recommendations for what I could get, both for serious play and gimmicky fun!
There are many problems with vehicles and infantry balance in the game right now. Squad has tipped back and forth between making vehicles like the 30mm OP to nerfing infantry to making vehicles a bad investment again, several times over the history of its updates. After careful consideration, I'd like to present my thoughts to the community and propose an alternative to the devs, while seeking feedback and encouraging discussion on the nature of vehicles and non-infantry assets as a whole. For those wishing to TL;DR, just scroll to bottom of the post.
------------------------------ First Problem: Balancing Survivability ------------------------------
I'll address this first as I am encouraged by the recent recaps with regards to revamping vehicle play, and many things I say here might be already in the works. Vehicles have gone back and forth between being incredibly hard to kill, requiring 4 LAT shots in quick succession to prevent escape or return fire, to being entirely vulnerable to long range with TOW as well as short range with LAT's flanking to get rear shots on them. Adjusting their health, we see there is really no sweet spot without bumping into either problem. I think the answer to this lies in its binary state of effectiveness. Currently, if a vehicle is alive, it functions at the same potential whether it has 100% health or 1% health. Adjusting the health pool of the vehicle either makes it trivial or unfair to destroy. Essentially the effectiveness of the vehicle doesn't scale with its state of repair. From the dev recaps, I think they are aware of this issue. We have seen plans for vehicles to be update for module damage, such as disabling the engine, mobility kills, and other concepts. This represents the potential to completely revitalize vehicles. If infantry are able to reduce the effectiveness of the vehicle through successive hits, then increasing the total health pool of the vehicle also becomes a fair option. If you can get a single lucky hit and kill half the crew of the Stryker, or destroy its optic and require it to seek repairs, then making vehicles able to survive more total damage also makes sense, which in turn allows crew members to have more fun as they don't have to wait for their vehicle to respawn half of the game. Ideally, I'd love to see a copy of World of Tanks or similar games, where there are 5-8 modules you can knock out or damage, and the crew could either get out and temporarily repair it, or seek a repair station for full restoration.
------------------------------ Second Problem: Risk versus Reward ------------------------------
The first problem is on the road to being solved, but I have seen very little discussion of the cost of losing vehicles, and I think its actually the more important problem. As it stands, vehicles cost variable amounts of tickets. Big, powerful vehicles like the Bradley are ~25 tickets I believe, and small transport vehicles 5 tickets. With v12, we see good teams usually declining to take vehicles from main after losing one or two, if at all. When thinking about the purpose of vehicles, you start to run into a problem with the current system of tying vehicles to tickets. To think about this, I'm going to refer to something I'm calling the 'game state'. To define, I mean the abstract logic that governs who is winning or losing. In Squad the game state is entirely determined by tickets. There are numerous ways to affect the game state, but at its simplest, one has to pursue preserving your own tickets and draining the enemies. Now, with the removal of ticket bleed (whoever controls more flags drains tickets from the enemy) in v10, the incentive to play aggressively has gone down. With only 20 tickets gained on neutral captures, and +20/-40 on enemy flag captures, the incentive to spend more than 60 tickets on an attack is almost zero unless you are confident you can then regain those tickets by rolling the next few flags, or push the enemy to their main to activate mercy bleed. Your team has to maintain a positive KDR while attacking (quite difficult against competent defenders). Bringing it back to vehicles, this means that a powerful asset like a Bradley has to contribute 25 tickets worth of value to the team to make it simply break even. The most tangible way to do this is to kill 25 enemy infantry or several enemy vehicles. Intangibly, acting as a force multiplier by enabling your team to capture an objective or destroy an enemy FOB is just as valuable. But, when we think about the purpose of a vehicle, this meta doesn't make sense. Vehicles are designed to protect, support, and transport infantry. No matter what war, you can have overwhelming vehicle superiority, but if you don't control the ground with your average grunt then the vehicle isn't really doing anything. The average infantryman's life is actually far more valuable than any piece of equipment. Yet, in Squad, this is turned entirely on its head, because trying to best affect the game state dictates prioritizing destruction of vehicles over protection of infantry. Its simple math. 1 ticket = 1 life. 1 Bradley = 25 tickets. Therefore, 1 Bradley = 25 LAT player's lives. Do you want to take a bet on who wins? That's even ignoring the TOW! Therefore, it makes little sense to risk or expose vehicles in any way, and to spend significant amounts of manpower on destroying them. But, it doesn't make sense to spend that much manpower protecting them either, as then those players are not affecting the game state by playing the objective. (Plus, a single LAT is a lot harder to spot / kill than snapping a shot at a giant IFV.) So a smart player does the math and doesn't bring out the vehicle past what is barely necessary to speedily transport themselves or punish enemy teams for using their vehicles. As long as vehicles are tied to tickets, bringing them close to objectives is a huge risk with low chance for reward. Yet, removing all cost / punishment, or lowering it to a trivial level, would be a problem as well, encouraging reckless play.
------------------------------ Fixing the Problem ------------------------------
How do we encourage vehicles to move in close with infantry and risk themselves, without making them priority targets, or more valuable than the infantry they are supposed to support? Remove ticket costs from vehicles and limit the number you can bring in. Even better, tie all assets (FOBs, emplacements, vehicles) into a simple resource system to encourage players to manage and use them without directly penalizing them in the game state for losing them. I envision a second resource system, visible to the team alongside tickets, that would be the source for all non-infantry assets in the game. Call it something easy to understand. "Supplies" "Resources" etc. Each team gets a predetermined amount at the start of the round. Example: Fools Road V3. US Team gets 40,000 supply, Russian team gets 45,000. All vehicles cost variable amounts, making balancing them easier. A transport might cost 500 supply. A 30mm could cost 6,000. Tanks (eventually) maybe cost 10,000. These values are just ideas, and could obviously be tuned. I would see radios also costing a basic level of supply, maybe 1,000, and remove their ticket cost. Logi runs would draw from the same pool. 1,000 Ammo / 1,000 construction would drain your team of 2,000 supply. In the future, perhaps special abilities like an A10 strafing run, off map artillery, or cruise missile strike could cost a large amount of supply, 20,000+. I would also like to see no respawn times on vehicles, BUT they must be "requested" at main to respawn. IE: Losing your first tank the spawns at round start is free, but to replace it your squad lead must agree to "pay" for a new one. Why would this be a good system? First, it would improve the meta game, without directly penalizing a team for using their assets. Currently, you get doubly punished for losing anything that costs tickets, whether infantry, FOB, or vehicle. Infantry is fine as they are the core gameplay of Squad and are the most valuable asset in real life, so losing tickets on death makes sense. But, with all other assets that are designed to aid infantry, you risk not only losing the time investment, map control, and utility of the asset, but also pushing your team towards defeat. Lose a Stryker? Now your team must fight at a disadvantage as well as being directly punished in the game state. The system I propose would still require you to preserve and manage your assets, but would also encourage more liberal use of them because it would only represent a loss of effectiveness / potential, rather than also including a penalty towards your teams scoring. It would also present an opportunity to reintroduce a secondary point to objectives to replace ticket bleed, namely "resource gain". Gaining the mid flag could slowly replenish your resources, to the point where a team using their assets effectively could gain more momentum despite taking losses. This would incentivize teams away from passive, TDM style strategies because the other team would become richer in assets like tanks over time while they lose opportunities to counter the enemy team.
Vehicles and FOBs/emplacements risk tickets. Tickets directly affect winning or losing. Vehicles / FOBs are more valuable than infantry by tickets. It doesn't make sense to use them in close support. You get punished twice for losing them, first through loss of utility, second through loss of tickets. I propose a new system: vehicles and FOBs and logi runs cost a new secondary resource. Teams start with finite amount. First vehicle spawns are free. Replacing them isn't, but is instant. Holding more objectives than the enemy team could slowly refill your resources to encourage objective play rather than the v11 TDM. I believe this would encourage players to use all the tools at their disposal, without directly punishing the rest of the team for losing them. That's all, thanks for sticking with me if you read this. I'd like to encourage all discussion, ideas, and critique of this proposed system or the current system below.
Playing so many shmups to feature them on this ranking is very similar to dating. You go out with different people, you get to know them personally, all the good and all the bad. You create memories, some fade away over time, some stay with you forever. If shmups are like dates, you are bound to eventually go out on one where you might just say “damn, this might be the only one I want to date for the rest of my life”. So if shmups are like dates, then Devil Engine might just be “the one” for me. Publisher: Dangen Entertainment Platform: Nintendo Switch Release date: Feb 21, 2019 Price: $19.99 Devil Engine is a 2D side-scroller shmup. You play the AI ship Andraste with the goal of destroying the Devil Engine. The main game is divided between 6 main stages, each with its own style and enemy types. Blasting through this levels will be no easy task, so make sure you are prepared to take on the toughest enemies in the galaxy.
WHY DEVIL ENGINE
I’ll be the first to admit that Devil Engine wasn’t a game I was eagerly expecting. It wasn’t even one I knew existed until I saw the listing on the coming soon page! However, upon checking the shop listing I found numerous clues that hinted to a game that was as fast-paced and action packed as those first shmups I first fell in love with from my arcade and SNES days. When trying to describe how it felt to pick a relatively unknown game to me like Devil Engine and play it for the first time, I have to look back at my past. There is one other game where I felt this same sensation, and it is one game you might have heard about. That game was Axelay. It was until I played the first game that I discovered that I wasn’t wrong at all! Devil Engine doesn’t waste any time before throwing you into the gauntlet where only your best reactions will save you from the waves of enemies. All of this action embellished by a beautiful 32 bit art style and one of the most blood-pumping soundtracks I’ve heard in a long time.
EASY TO PICK-UP, DIFFICULT TO MASTER
Playing as Andraste is as simple as it gets. You have four main action buttons: fire, bombs, speed-up and burst. Contrary to being discouraged by a lack of nuanced sub-systems, I actually loved that the controls were as straightforward as possible. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy innovation such as Ikaruga’s polarity switches or Danmaku Unlimited’s graze and trance mode, but going back to the basics is a warm welcome. As expected from the genre, fire is your standard attack button. Devil Engine features 3 different weapon types which are Spread, Laser and Homing. There is a very discernible trend of keeping things simple, and this definitely allowed each weapon type to shine for its own specific purpose. Spread will be the main weapon you use when you want your shots to cover as much screen space as possible, but also to deal the most damage if you are brave enough to stand close to enemies. Laser is best when fighting long range against a specific target, it also deals a decent amount of damage. Homing is by far the weakest weapon, but it does the job of aiming for you so that you can focus on dodging. Each weapon has 3 levels of power which increases when you collect the same weapon you have equipped, or decrease when you die. Bombs are slightly different from what you would expect. In Devil Engine, they serve as a powerful attack to destroy your enemies. They only deal damage, so if you expect them to clear the bullets from the screen or serve as a get-out-of-jail free card then you are in for a rough awakening. Although they don’t work as panic buttons per-se, they do deal a lot of damage, so in a way you can use them to quickly kill bosses before you even get a chance to panic. There is a different bomb attack for each weapon, but they all follow the concept of their base weapon. Despite me saying that there weren’t complicated sub-systems, Devil Engine does feature a unique mechanic: Burst. Bursting allows you to erase the bullets in your vicinity, at the cost of your score multiplier and a small cool down. The bigger your score multiplier, the bigger the effective area of the burst. As you can expect, you should only use it when things are getting extremely complicated, or else you risk losing out on big score gains. The fact that there isn’t any real penalty for using is great at making it a valid defense mechanism if hi-scores aren’t your goal, but do keep in mind that repeated uses of burst will dramatically reduce their effectiveness are due to a lack of combo multiplier. Lastly we have the speed-up button. Andraste feature 3 different speed, so pressing X will increase your speed to the next level or drop it to the lowest if you are at the highest speed already. I’ll admit that I am not a fan of speed altering power-ups such as those from R-Type and Gradius, but I did think Lightening Force’s speed toggle was ok. Devil Engine’s toggle is that same as Lightening Force’s toggle, with the only difference being that there are 3 speeds instead of 4. I never got to master Lightening Force’s system because I wasn’t a big fan of the game when I played it, but I have taken my sweet time learning it for Devil Engine.
THE DANMAKU SHIP
As hinted by the game’s official site, there is at least another ship you can play as. I can’t pronounce the name very well so I’ll refer to it as the danmaku ship, but I can say that it plays differently from Andraste. Every button performs a different functions. For example, the speed-up button slows down your ship while you hold it and narrows your fire to a reduced cone in front of you similar to Shikhondo or any other TATE shooters that features focus fire. Your burst charges up to 3 levels, and each features giant attacks that erase bullets and deal heavy damage to enemies. Bombs are replaced by a lock-on beam which can target up to 6 enemies and gives you bonus points per enemy hit. Lastly fire is… fire. Even with the 10+ hours I’ve spent playing as Andraste, I gotta say I felt right at home when playing the other ship. The focus fire state gives you more control over your movement and makes bullet dodging a more enjoyable experience. It just feels right.
SCORE AS CURRENCY
Perhaps my favorite aspect of Devil Engine is the staggering amount of customization it offers and the ways to unlock it. I praised R-Type Dimensions’ customization options in 2D and 3D, but Devil Engine just took it to the next level! You can customize the way you see the game by applying filters which range from basic scanlines to a reddish style reminiscent of the Virtual Boy and even “Bad handheld port” which looks blurry and downscaled and I love it! As you progress through the game, more customization options will be unlocked such as changing the menu music, hot-blooded mode for intense explosions and even European Extreme, whose effect is so hilarious that I’ll just let you discover it by yourselves. What sets Devil Engine apart is the fact that getting new unlocks is related to your lifetime score. To put it simply, the more you play, the more you will increase your lifetime total score. Once your score reaches certain thresholds, new unlockables will be available to you! They can be the previously discussed customization options, upgrades such as increasing your number of continues, extra modes to play and even challenge stages which offer unique scenarios. The real beauty is that things will naturally be unlocked the more you play. There is an incentive to become a better player to maximize your score and increase the unlockables, but if you are playing in a more casual manner then that’s also ok! Things will naturally become available to you. The combination of unlockables through merit but without the pressure to perform is a breathe of fresh air into the way of approaching gated content.
PLENTY OF CHALLENGING MODES
As I mentioned, you will unlock challenge stages as you keep on playing. These challenge stages pose unique scenarios such as beating every single enemy, surviving a pacifist stage or even setting in motion the Final attack plan. The challenges are incredibly hard (especially the Final attack plan), so you will certainly keep coming back for more. They also hint at new strategies to use during your arcade runs such as bursting amidst high concentrations of bullets. You can also play an extra stage which features hellish bullet patterns to scratch that bullet hell itch. I usually don’t play so much in extra stages, but there is something unique about transitioning from arcade mode to a single stage designed to have you dodging as many bullets as possible Lastly there are even alternate ways of playing the arcade mode and give you rewards for it. One is playing without using bombs and bursts. Sounds simple, but the removal of your main defensive options and your most offensive one creates a gameplay that revolves around patient play and a timely offensive. The second one is a pacifist run, which means you can’t attack anything at all. As you play a pacifist run you will realize that bosses eventually flee, making the entire run possible. There’s even more ways to play, but I want to keep some things as a secret for players to discover. Most of what I’ve mentioned is present on the shop listing, but rest assured there is a lot more to discover!
A ROCKING SOUNDTRACK
Shmup games always have amazing soundtracks, but Devil Engine easily has one of my favorites. It is hard to describe why I love it so much, but the best I could come up with is that each track does a great job at pumping you up, while never becoming stale. I always favor soundtracks that resonate with my SNES days. My favorite track is by far the second boss’ battle theme, followed by the final battle. Sometimes I just go to challenge mode and leave the game at the score screen, just to hear the music playing in the background while I do something else. The soundtrack was composed by Hyakutaro Tsukumo, who is known for soundtracks such as thunder Force V or Assault Suit Leynos. Fun fact, I’ve never heard of anyone else mention Assault Suit Leynos, but Cybernator is a personal favorite of mine and that alone led me to experience Assault Suit Leynos.
THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS
If there is one thing which is extremely apparent for anyone who plays Devil Engine, is how much the developers understood the source material. Littered throughout the game are nods to other shooters and their history. Just by going to an untouched leaderboard you can see references to Styx and Rynex from Lightening Force. You can also find popular cultural references like the phrase “Stay hydrated” or the meme-ish “& Knuckles”. After every run or game over you will also be presented with random tips. They range from actually useful tips like how bursting can help you keep or increase your score to funny nods to classic strategies such as abusing bosses for hi-scores. Perhaps my favorite is the encouraging reminder that shmups are like sports, and a little practice every day can go a long way into your improvement. Apparently you shouldn’t be trying to play Devil Engine in TATE mode, so it’s a sad day for flip grips. It is very clear that the developers had fun making Devil Engine, but most importantly, they they went out of their way to bring in the best of the genre. Many creators don’t play their creations, but I’m willing to bet Devil Engine’s developers do play their own game on a regular basis, after all, they did make it 100% for the shmup fans.
THE DEVIL ENGINE
I would love to be able to explain the story, but like with most shmups I’m at a loss at trying to figure out what’s going on, and that’s ok by me. That’s not to say that there aren’t bit of lore here and there. I’m happy knowing that there is a huge confrontation going on and a big bad boss awaiting at the end of the journey. If you are interested, though, just know that you are an AI ship and apparently there is an alien force which almost wiped the human forces, which led to the creation of the AI for future combat efforts. You probably have to keep attention to the details to piece the story together. If you ever figure out the story, please let me know! I would be happy to learn it as well!
It might sound contradictory with all the praise I’ve given the game for its gameplay, presentation, even the tiny details, but I recommend waiting for a patch before purchasing this game. There are some loose ends which cause some unexpected behavior within the game. Some are pretty harmless like false unlockables, some are more devilish like incorrect game modes, but one is especially game breaking. I can’t pinpoint what is the deal with the false unlockables, but I’ve seen the game presenting me an unlockable that is nowhere to be found. Some examples are expert mode, which is still not available, and infinite continues, which aren’t working. For wonky behavior there are some unexpected transitions that feel like developer oversights. The easiest one to find is that quick restart always takes you back to the first stage. The issue is that when this happens, you only play with 2 continues as opposed to the number of continues you have gained through progression. A crazier scenario happens when you play as the secondary ship on boss rush and select quick restart. This caused me to go to the first stage of arcade mode with the secondary ship (which I haven’t unlocked for arcade play), while keeping track of my score on the boss rush leaderboard. As you might expect, this allowed me to get a crazy illegal hi-score on boss rush. It also unlocked the secondary ship for arcade mode and Andraste for the extra stage. At this point I don’t know if I’m supposed to have either of those options unlocked yet, so time will tell. Sadly there are 2 game breaking bugs which I’ve found. The first one is that shooting the blue laser and pausing the game will 100% crash the game if you select resume from the pause menu. The second one has only happened once, but my game crashed when I beat the 4th boss using Spread and spamming bombs. At the moment of this review, I was informed that there is a patch for Devil Engine ready and awaiting certification from Nintendo, so I’ll update this review with any new changes.
DEVIL ENGINE VS STEREDENN
One very important question remains. I’ve spoken very highly of this game, but do I think it is much better than the current #1 ranked game in this list, Steredenn: Binary Stars? The short answer is: Yes! The long answer is that I liked Devil Engine much more because it feels like a complete package. Everything from gameplay, enemy design, backgrounds and especially the game progression just feels smoother and more fun to play. I’ve had countless Steredenn sessions looking forward to that one run in which I might conquer the game. My issue was that I never felt like there was anything different between runs. There was no progression other than me getting better, different ships were unlocked but that was pretty much it. I did discover different weapons, but that was only relevant if I decided to play boss rush. I also fought secret bosses. Steredenn challenged me, and thanks to its random design it left a door open for me to come back to the game any time I pleased and get a brand new shooting experience. Devil Engine fixed every issue I had with Steredenn. I still felt the urge to have my victory on arcade mode, but while pursuing that path I was awarded with myriads of unlockables like filters or challenge mode stages. I knew that my goal was to beat arcade with 1 credit, but I still had other vastly different game modes to play like challenge mode or the extra stage. The game even acknowledged small milestones like letting me pick any level to start at based on how far I’ve gone through the game with 1 credit. This alone made me more than happy to restart runs to chase that elusive advanced starts to my arcade run.
I was not ready for Devil Engine. What I thought at first to be a fun little shmup turned out to be the most fun I’ve had with shooters on the Switch so far! With its mixture of tight gameplay, rewards system and extra content, there is a lot to keep you busy for the months to come. But what brings the package together is how much soul in contained within the game. I don’t know the developers of this game, but everything they did here just shows how much love they have for shmups and a deep understanding of what makes them amazing games. This really is an outstanding game and one that deserves to be in everyone’s collection. Devil Engine is a game that promises to be among the first to pop-up in your head when someone asks you: What is your favorite shmup on the Switch?
THE RANKING SO FAR:
Steredenn: Binary Stars
R-Type Dimensions EX
Shikhondo – Soul Eater
Aero Fighters 2 (ACA Neogeo)
Lightening Force: Quest for the darkstar (Sega Ages)
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