Hello there, since I found it very helpful to see what recruiters ask nowadays, I want to share my experience of looking for a job during covid. So first of all, covid did not influence the recruitment process (well, no on site meetings) and there were enough job offers for me to choose from. I was looking for web dev jobs in Sweden. Specialized myself in Angular, but am capable to fully create a web app from design mockups to database management, CI and hosting. I started in July and wrote approx. 30 applications. Some companies never answered, some politely declined and some were interested in me. The companies that gave me a coding test (like in school) where I had to solve arbitrary matrix and array calculations in any programming language to show them my abstract problem solving skills got a straight meme back and I questioned their interview process and that a company who values such skills is not a company I value. Seriously, those tests show nothing. Not your competence in the web department, nor the skill you need during the job. Then there were the interesting code assessments which I shortly want to summarize:
Create any web app with the GitHub API. Just be creative. Provide a GitHub repo link and describe what the app does. Don't make it a fully fledged app so that during the interview process there is something to work on in a pair-programming session.
Create a movie finder app using any movie db API. Use React. Should have a search field, a table for results. Make it possible to set movies as "watch later" and "favorite". Provide enough tests. Should work on Desktop and Mobile. Include posters and trailers. Provide a demo website and a GitHub repo.
Reddit Clone. This one was super fun to do and complex as well. Create a feed displaying the entries from a sub reddit JSON feed (hardcoding possible) . There should be 10 entries per page and there should also be paging functionality. Optional addons: show comments of post, display them in a threaded structure. Change the limit option. Add a subreddit search field.
In general, those projects showed my skills with the chosen technology. It was fun to work on and in the end it is something you can continue working on, since the solution should be something you are proud of before handing it in. The key "puzzle" during the reddit clone was to implement the pagination, because the reddit API doesn't provide the ordinary page=3&limit=10 functionality but before & after which was quiet tricky to grasp first. Also I had to do quiet a lot of personal questionnaires and IQ tests where you have to identify and recognize shapes and patterns. In the end I settled with a cool company in Stockholm and the Reddit clone did it for me.
Ranting about every single SSBU character - Day 37 : King Dedede
SSBU is agreed to be the most balanced of all the smash games, so naturally all the characters are broken beyond comprehension and I hate them all. Keep in mind that this is not a serious post, I am not directing this at anybody, this is just for fun and to relieve the immense amount of salt I've accumulated Day 37 : King Dedede As a Hammer main in Monster Hunter, I really wanted to like King Dedede. But I just don't gel well with zoning styles. Wait, why am I being kind? I don't fucking like camping, is what I'm trying to say. Why did I bring up Monster Hunter? I'm just beyond hyped for Monster Hunter Rise. Generally, changing a single move isn't going to have a massive impact on a character, unless that move was a mainstay in their playstyle (Corrin's Pin comes to mind). But, in my opinion, it was a huge mistake to make Inhale a reflector. I can already feel the ground quaking from all the Dedede mains rushing in to defend their monarch, but we'll get there when we get there. Dedede's playstyle is all about having a Gordo out and about as much as possible while they run in whirling their hammer. It's a very linear and dull plan, but you can't really fault them here, since their slow speed spells a death sentence if they attempt to engage in fisticuffs. "Wait, is this the right series?" you may be asking, "This is rants, right? When did you start lactating the milk of human kindness?" Let me finish. Gordos have a huge weakness that even I can't be mad about, because it's one of those rare instances where a move is properly balanced and thought out. In return for their solid stage control, they can be reflected by any move dealing at least 2%, which is literally most jabs. Previously, Dedede would have to keep an eye out for a returning Gordo, and airdodge or side B at the right time to throw it back, which was a pretty good strategy play. Do they pressure, or do they be wary. Now of course they get Inhale to reflect, so as soon as their yeeting animation is over they just have you stand there, mouth gaping like an avian Sarlacc pit, waiting for you to hit it in. It's absolutely stupid because either you hit it and get it reflected into your eye sockets or you try to get around and, which they can punish. This has now become the standard Dedede gameplay, and it's sad to see what it has devolved to from 4. Outside of this, Gordos are especially frustrating when you're offstage since they can just toss them forever, and if you manage to grab to ledge, they keep a Gordo out while they charge a smash. This is, according to Dededes, a tight ledgetrapping game, because as everyone knows they were the first to ever discover that an independent projectile is excellent for forcing ledge options which they can punish with wide range smashes. Just Mensa level IQ, these guys. Dedede mains, having a not entirely unexpected lack of understanding of how much to use a joke, will crouch on you at whichever chance they get, which, why would the game not let you taunt online but then leave that in? The Dtilt comes out real fast too, so you're not gonna be able to curbstomp them for being little pricks. The crouch helps Dedede mains convince themselves that a BMI greater than a regular national income is somehow attractive, because you can see them memeing their character in every Smash comment section and vicariously trying to live out these fantasies through a fat penguin. Dedede's airspeed is slower than a quadriplegic in honey, so most Dededes will simply hover in place, waiting for you to come close, before fastfalling with a fair or bair. Uair takes just long enough for me to consider if there are any upcoming games that can save my Switch from being snapped over my knee. Thanks to his weight, multiple jumps and armored, long distance Up B, Dedede is going to be living longer than most bloodlines. You thought KRool was hard to kill, wait till you do absolutely everything to a Dedede and they just come back and continue tossing Gordos. His Fsmash is the go to for Dedede's top level higher thinking process ledge gameplay, and this move, once it starts charging, comes out deceptively fast. And it's one of the strongest Smashes in the game, which doesn't really check out for a wooden hammer being swung by flabby flippers, but alright. There's nothing much to say about Usmash and Dsmash, but for some reason, nearly all the time after a Dedede does a Smash they immediately Dtilt. I don't really understand why, seeing as most of the time I'm well out of the way, but then I wasn't blessed with the intelligence to figure out that more hitboxes at the ledge = better coverage. Jab allows him to draw you in so he can cancel out and get a grab. I think that covers it all, really. Dedede just isn't that memorable for me, since most Dedede players have a crippling lack of imagination, having used up most of their brain cells figuring out ledge strategies and memes that sing the glory of the only fictional character they could identify with, a rotund, incompetent despot. Hmm? Jet Hammer? People actually get hit by that? Oh my, um, sure... Jet Hammer bad Index of the previous rants
Dark Souls 2's infusion system, while much more streamlined than DS1 or Demon's Souls, is still a frequent source of confusion. Hopefully I can break down not only what each infusion does, but when they're beneficial and with which weapons.
Elemental (Magic, Fire, Lightning, Dark)
Elemental infusions work very differently depending on whether the weapon you're infusing already has natural elemental damage. Infusing an elemental weapon with a matching element will cause the base damage and scaling for that element to increase and the physical base damage and scaling to decrease. The elemental scaling shown in the stats is almost always about a letter grade higher than it looks, that B is in reality more like an A. It's not advisable to infuse a weapon with a non-matching element. It does funky things to the damage calculations. Infusing any other weapon causes it to lose a portion of base physical damage and gain a large amount of base elemental damage, usually equal to the now reduced physical base damage. Unfortunately, doing this also wrecks the scaling. The actual values for both physical and elemental scaling will be about half of what the letter grades would lead you to believe. In practice, it shares a lot in common with the Raw infusion; a quick and dirty damage boost that may not be able to keep pace at higher levels. The difference being that physical damage is almost always good, but you'll pretty regularly run into enemies that have high resistance to any given element. There is another angle, though. Buff spells like Magic Weapon and Sunlight Blade are significantly more powerful on weapons with an elemental infusion than those without. This means that if you're capable of casting a buff, infusing with an element is almost certainly the best choice until you run into something with very high resistance TLDR: Elemental infusions are good on weapons with high base damage and low scaling or that already have elemental damage and are at their most effective when you can further boost their damage with a buff.
Enemies inflicted by poison will take roughly 1000 extra damage over the space of 20 seconds, making it able to kill most normal enemies and take large chunks off of the health bars of even the healthiest bosses (unless they're immune). Weapons infused with poison lose some of their base damage and scaling to gain poison damage and scaling. Unlike elemental infusions, the amount of poison damage they gain is not proportional to the damage the weapon does, and in fact is usually the same, regardless of weapon class or damage. Since most weapons, from daggers to great hammers will inflict the same amount of poison per hit, the most effective poison weapons are ones that can hit a lot of times in a very short period of time. Channeler's Trident and Ricard's Rapier are generally the best at this, but daggers, fist weapons and claws are pretty good too. Weapons that have natural poison damage are rare and highly varied, so I'll take them on a case by case basis.
Mytha's Bent Blades - Can't be infused.
Spotted Whip - Highest poison damage per hit when infused. Infuse it.
Manslayer - Uninfused, it's a perfectly good weapon that occasionally poisons tanky enemies on long fights. Infuse if you want, but it's good without.
Black Scorpion Stinger - Same as the Manslayer, but it's better with a Raw infusion.
Sanctum Mace - The only weapon in the game that both has inherent poison damage and can be buffed with Rotten Pine Resin. Don't infuse.
TLDR: Powerful, but only really useful on very specific weapons.
Bleed infusions work similarly to poison infusions with the main difference being that bleed fucking SUCKS. Okay, that's not entirely fair. Filling a bleed meter inflicts 200 extra damage on the enemy and cuts their stamina bar in half for a short time. This can be very scary in pvp, especially low levels, but since NPCs don't actually use stamina it's basically useless for pve. Generally a bleed infusion is only useful in three very specific situations.
Inflicting bleed with a backstab in pvp causes a glitched recovery animation that takes much longer than normal and effectively gives you a second free backstab. Unlike most pvp exploits, this takes basically no skill to do and just feels cheap in general. Don't do it unless you like getting hackusations.
The Forlorn weapons actually get better when bleed infused. For whatever reason, it actually increases their dark scaling more than a dark infusion does and barely harms the base damage. Since they also have very high bleed damage, you're pretty likely to bleed someone in just a couple of hits. Unfortunately, you have a hefty damage penalty if you use them and aren't completely hollow, making them pretty much worthless anywhere but the arena.
Trying to fight Vendrick without any Giant Souls. 200 damage every 20-30 seconds is pretty terrible, but it's better than anything else when you're fighting someone with 96-100% resistance to everything other damage type.
TLDR: Bleed is bad.
Raw infusions severely reduce a weapon's scaling values, in some cases completely removing them. In return you get a boost to base damage. On weapons that don't have scaling, you lose nothing and gain quite a bit. On a few other weapons, you get a pretty decent damage boost if you don't plan to go over the minimum requirements for the weapon. It's not always clear which ones will be good and which ones won't so I suggest checking Soulsplanner before you commit. TLDR: Straight upgrade on weapons with no scaling. Sometimes good on others that you only want minimal stats for.
Much like Raw, the Enchanted infusion heavily reduces existing scaling. Unlike Raw, it does nothing to a weapon's base damage. Instead it adds new scaling that's based on Intelligence, but unlike a Magic infusion the damage it adds is purely physical. It's a very strange infusion and unfortunately not very useful. The problem is that the scaling is so low that in 99% of situations you need extremely high Int (80+) to outperform a Raw infusion, so it's mostly restricted to 99 Int meme builds. The one other situation where it's useful is with the Moonlight Greatsword. An Enchanted infusion converts all of its damage into physical, while still retaining pretty decent Intelligence scaling. It's a surprisingly strong weapon, but it makes the wave motion beams deal no damage so it's not really an upgrade so much as a niche option. TLDR: To be fair, you need a very high IQ to make it not suck.
A very strange infusion. It removes normal scaling and cuts base damage in half, but adds a new type of scaling that's based on your lowest stat. You have to level every stat evenly to get more damage. Now, you may have seen clips or guides on how to make Mundane OP, but those were from before the nerf. At launch, Mundane was completely, utterly, stupidly broken. To fix that, it was patched so that daggers, crossbows and Santier's Spear lose 90% of their base damage with Mundane, making it a straight downgrade. Nowadays, it's just an interesting gimmick and can take terribad weapons like the Broken Straight Sword and Handmaid's Ladle and bring them up to kind of OK. The stats necessary to get decent damage out of Mundane are enough to get better damage out of a Dark build. TLDR: Fun-ish gimmick, no longer OP.
FAQ and tips
It's important to not think of infusions as upgrades so much as specializations. A trap a lot of new players run into is infusing a weapon just because they can. You can remove and replace infusions whenever you want with no drawbacks, as long as you have the required souls and infusion stones. No, there's no infusion that improves physical scaling. If you're doing a Strength, Dex or Quality build, you're probably better off leaving things uninfused and using resin when you need a damage boost. Magic scales with Intelligence, Lightning scales with Faith, Fire scales with either one and Dark scales with both (you have to level them equally). Poison scales with Dexterity and Adaptability. Bleed scales with Dexterity and Faith. This does not mean they'll do more damage, it just means they'll be inflicted faster. Shields can be infused with elements and status effects. This improves how well they block that element/effect but reduces their effectiveness against everything else. It's possible to check how your overall AR will change before you commit to an infusion. Equip the weapon before you talk to McDuff, then before you select a weapon to infuse, press Y or Triangle or whatever to adjust what stats are shown on the right side until it shows the AR of held weapons.
Basics (Attack speed, movelist, etc.) Feat and Perk selection Theory and Execution, playing 1v1s Your place in 4v4s Your Match-ups (Simplified) Fighting With Centurion Closing Thoughts Hello everybody, LimbLegion and QueueKaye here to bring you another in-depth guide, this time on all the things you could possibly want to know about For Honor’s resident punching machine, Centurion. His rework - as well as the CCU as a whole - generally made Centurion a character who forces you to play his game effectively, with a focus on quick pokes and low damage, but a high stamina pool to sustain his offense and lead up to a big reward. If you like to take your fights the way you want to, and end them the same way, Centurion is the character for you. Engage in peak male fantasy today! Editor's note - if you dislike most of this guide, LL did most of the guide. - QK
Default Guard Direction
Off Target Enhanced Attacks
Lock on Speed
2.25m/s F**, 1.75m/s S, 1.25m/s B
Forward Dodge Recovery
Chains: Lion's Claws: L, L, L Lion's Fangs: L, L, H Lion's Jaws: L, H Imperial Might: H, H (Any of the above, replace with Jab after opener) *Below average **Average ***Above Average Centurion boasts one of the fastest forward lock-on walk speeds and highest stamina pool in the game. Special Properties
Centurion has variable timed heavies, when uncharged his opener heavies will be 700ms and his finishers will be 600ms, but they can be charged up to 966ms and 1200ms respectively. All heavy speed and damage values are identical between guard stances. These variable timings to release make them extremely unsafe to parry or defend against.
All of Centurion’s fully charged heavies result in a pin on his opponent. Pins lock the opponent in place, reset damage reduction, and can guarantee extra damage from allies. Pins also result in precious frame advantage on beginning his Jab mixup.
Centurion can chain off of a whiffed Legion Kick with his 600ms heavy which, can be feinted or fully charged making his neutral bash game far safer than most other characters. The feint is very fast if buffered, and renders him practically immune to being GB’d after a whiffed kick, making dodge bash punishes somewhat harder to use against him as well.
Centurion has Lion’s Roar, a stamina drain punish option off of GB. By doing light inputs quickly after grabbing, he will bash the pommel of his weapon into their heads up to three times resulting in a 15 > 15 > 35 stamina damage distribution. He can also throw after x2 Lion's Roar, making his stamina damage 15 > 15 > 20. Lion's Roar is enhanced by haymaker, causing his wallsplat GB punishes to always be increased by +15 in the current build.
Centurion can, instead of performing a chained light or heavy, perform a Jab instead. Jabs have variable timings, like his heavies, and reward different damage depending on whether a bash was uncharged/partially charged, or fully charged. Fully charged Jabs gain Uninterruptible Stance and knock opponents down, guaranteeing his Unbalanced punish.
Centurion can soft feint his heavies into a Guard Break. Careful use of this ability makes him near impossible to GB, as he can soft feint on reaction to a GB startup and CGB instead.
Centurion’s Zone Attack can be feinted after the first and second hit, and every hit can be target swapped. Centurion gains frame advantage on opponents after the first hit and second hit, so feints will still give you your turn. The final hit is disadvantaged.
Centurion’s Parry Counter can wallsplat opponents, and links directly into Jab to allow for a confirmed fully charged Jab on wallsplat.
Centurion’s throw branches into a Kick, the Kick can be dodged however.
More will be said about these in a moment, as all of these are somewhat critical for understanding how to effectively play Centurion in a 1v1 or a 4v4 setting. Before that, though, we will detail Centurion’s Feats and Perks, as they are fundamental to any character in team modes.
Feat and Perk Selection
FEATS: T1 - Body Count, Bounty Hunter, Rush T2 - Inspire, Haymaker, Centurion’s March T3 - Second Wind, Pugio, Sharpen Blade T4 - Catapult, Stalwart Banner, Phalanx Centurion has access to a mix of fantastic and terrible feats, while he does have some real holes when it comes to selection, he nonetheless has a very strong list that you can't go wrong with either way. Recommendations: Bounty Hunter, Haymaker, Pugio, Phalanx Body Count, Haymaker, Second Wind, Phalanx/Stalwart Banner Bounty Hunter, Haymaker, Second Wind/Sharpened Blade, Phalanx/Stalwart Banner To explain why these loadouts are ideal - Centurion’s first slot is pretty self explanatory. Centurion isn’t amazing in teamfights, but is generally a very strong ganker and duelist. First Slot
Works well as often he will be landing the kills himself, and does not struggle in a 1v1 at all due to his safe and mixup oriented kit. I [Limb] take this pretty much every game, and probably will unless Body Count is buffed to a reasonable state again.
Has been nerfed one too many times and is now no longer a necessary pick, but can still be taken to hold the mid-lane line as Centurion. He is primarily a mid defender rather than a mid clearer, his zone offers pretty good clearing and is very safe out of lock, but Cent generally doesn’t burst clear fast enough to push the lane on his own. It really comes down to preference, but I [Limb] generally recommend taking Bounty Hunter over Body Count.
A reasonably good option to rotate faster or get to team-fights in dire situations, but it doesn’t speed you up for long enough to really make it worth taking over either of the sustain options. Centurion's sprinting speed is fine, and in regular matchmaking where perks are enabled, Galestorm allows you to take Bounty Hunter. Being able to rotate more often due to having more health through Bounty Hunter is why it's the better option, perks on or off. Second Slot
Far from a bad feat, and can be used in many situations to help with team-fights, push midlane, and is generally a very favourable pick in both teams on Breach. While there are better heroes to use Inspire on, it's far from useless, and is never an actually bad feat.
Uh, well, let’s just say a feat better left unpicked unless you feel like you really want to screw over a Jormungandr for whatever reason. This feat is insanely useless that I [both] can only imagine picking it as a meme or for the aforementioned reason, I [both] highly recommend never taking this. The reason is self-explanatory, Centurion has 160 stamina, Cent March gives infinite stamina for 15 seconds. You can basically already do this as Cent, move on.
Centurion’s best T2 feat, generally outperforming Inspire even if it solely benefits him. It adds damage onto absolutely every single move he has that involves a strike without his blade, be it kicks, punches, pommel strikes, throws, knees, anything. +5 damage on every melee move on the most melee centered hero in the game is simply a must pick. The extra damage also doesn’t feed extra revenge. I [both] never really take any other T2 than this personally. Third Slot
Has obviously been nerfed, but is still a useful healing feat as it can cleanse DOTs, making Cent able to avoid Shaman ganks with good timing, survive a Fury Flask, or just last longer in a fight due to his lower than average health pool. Good feat, never a bad choice.
Self-evident as arguably the strongest projectile feat in the game in terms of potential damage, as it is a 300ms startup pinning projectile that guarantees not only Centurion’s charged heavy pin, but ally damage as well. Amazing feat for Centurion’s purpose in a team comp, and surprisingly versatile as it isn’t really bad to use in other situations as well, such as a clutch 1v1 situation or to interrupt in a team-fight if necessary. This is generally my [both] favoured option, however before the CCU, I did take Second Wind about as often, it’s all preference, but Pugio generally performs best. The pin is for 2000ms.
Generally the weakest of all the options but isn’t really bad either. It is borderline awful against Second Wind abusers, but any DOT is really. Can be good to deal extra damage, but generally not worth picking even if it has some redeeming qualities. Fourth Slot
Utterly mangled, terrible, borderline useless. The only purpose Catapult serves is being uniquely worse than any other AOE “team nuke” T4 feat in the game. It is horribly slow, unsafe to use, and doesn’t even have a large enough AOE to justify the sheer awfulness of its use. It can clear mid-lane, I guess, on an exorbitantly high CD for how badly it does. It can maybe meme kill somebody, but never ever pick this feat unless for some reason you are banned from using Centurion’s only good T4 options.
This was generally the most consistently useful T4 pick that wasn’t Fire Flask in terms of non-uniques, and it is still useful even now that it has been nerfed. A good way to keep yourself and allies in a fight, healing in team-fights or contested zones is never weak, just be aware that as it is a Flag type feat, you make yourself vulnerable to damage placing it. It can also be used pre-emptively to dissuade Fire Flasks, though you will still take the direct damage, and negate the burn. Overall, a very solid feat, but not quite as useful as the next option.
One of the best defensive feats in the entire game, it gives a near full HP (100) shield to all allies that are currently alive, and yourself, for 10 seconds on a 3 minute CD. I don’t really need to say too much about why this is good. While it isn’t as ungodly ridiculous as Black Prior’s Umbral Shelter, it is a very consistently useful pick with no range limitations, versatile applications, no downsides whatsoever, and can also be used to intentionally trigger the Revenge Shield Bug in a situation where an ally is in Revenge to swing the fight even further in your favour. Basically, between this and Stalwart Banner, there are not any bad choices, but I [both] personally favour Phalanx.
The selection of feats Centurion has cover a mix of selfish buffs to his own combat prowess, and solid supportive tools, making his feat selection surprisingly versatile for a mostly one-track character. Pick as you see fit, avoid the bad options, and you’ll generally never have made a bad choice. PERKS: Grey/Gray: Galestorm, Devourer, Early Reaper Blue: Endurance Purple: Survival Instinct Orange: Crush Them Mint: Head Hunter Centurion, despite being a hybrid, has purely offensive perks. These perks are generally as straightforward as the character himself, and shouldn’t be too hard to make choices on. Recommendations: Galestorm, Endurance, Head Hunter Devourer, Endurance, Galestorm Devourer, Galestorm, Head Hunter
A generally “eh” perk, but having extra movement speed after killing - which is 99% of what Centurion wants to be doing - is not a bad choice no matter how you look at it. It helps with rotations, helps with getting back to healing points if you were fighting off point, helps to escape ganks if the opportunity presents itself, and is generally just useful, but has less impact than other options.
Just extra health on executions, which is always nice, and Cent gets executions pretty easily, really not much else that needs to be said here.
A “win-more” kind of perk, as Centurion already has the most stamina in the game, but as CCU has made offense involving lights slightly more expensive which is an overall nerf to anybody who uses lights a lot, Endurance is more favourable than it was pre-CCU, again this is not a bad choice, but will become more personal preference when lights will cost less Stamina on the 27th.
Greatly helps Centurion as he not only can get executions more consistently than some characters, but he also has below average health, making this option very notable.
Centurion generally has 4 perks that can be switched out with each other mostly as you like, Endurance being the easiest one to swap out as it is the sole option that is mostly redundant and competes with more generally useful perks.
Theory and Execution, playing 1v1s
Centurion is a somewhat calculating but not complex, aggressive style character with an emphasis on pokes, and conditioning. Whilst full consensus from Competitive Players in Duels is generally not well known, as Duels is simply not a competitive mode, the general feeling from pretty much everybody is that with only one particularly notable weakness, Centurion is a very strong duelist , with an unreactable bash mixup, extremely safe neutral bash, variable timing heavies, the most stamina in the game, and a very strong parry counter with environment taken into account. Centurion also has strong OOS pressure and stamina damage, which can serve to open up new options whenever an opponent is low on stamina or made OOS, on top of Centurion’s already very high potential damage output. Despite his previous reputation as one of the biggest turtles in the game, he is now a highly aggressive character, who forces his opponents to play his game whenever he gets his offense rolling. No option is a catchall against him, as with any variable timing bash based character, Cent always has an option to counter your response, offering a cerebral focus to his game-plan. I’ll begin to explain what Centurion’s mixup centers around, and cover each individual option that he can perform, and what each option counters. Editor's Note - Only minor cleanups and syntax changes in this section. Limb's writing here is entirely untouched by my opinions. -QK No. 1: Legion Kick This is generally Centurion’s engage tool, an extremely safe on whiff, reasonably long range, decently tracking bash that chains into a chain light or finisher heavy on hit, and a finisher heavy on whiff. The heavy is never confirmed, but has a purpose. Centurion generally should look to start fights with this move, as throwing lights and heavies isn’t quite as effective as actually landing attacks to start his game, since he does not have Enhanced Lights, and his heavies whilst variable are still blockable attacks save for his chain finisher heavies. What makes this bash uniquely safe is the aforementioned ability to chain into a finisher heavy even on whiff. This is useful because it covers numerous options:
It beats a dodge GB attempt, as it will only lose to a prediction dodge as the heavy has 100ms GB vuln due to being a chained attack. It will beat the GB on uncharged and charged timing, so you’ll generally be getting (as per current values) 30 damage on somebody attempting to GB you on a reaction dodged kick.
Can be feinted, thus can beat slower dodge attacks on reaction dodges. Particular examples being Kensei’s Swift Strike, it will also beat dodge attacks that are delayed to the maximum to avoid a potential empty dodge into parry. Depending on how slow the dodge attack is and how delayed the input was, it is also possible to parry some of them, but generally an instant feint will result in blocking the majority. (You will never be able to block vs a prediction dodge attack however.)
Dodge into parry is generally risky due to the heavy being variable, however, the opponent can simply block, avoiding the possibility of being hit by a heavy immediately, but they will still have to be patient and wait until the heavy is released. Generally, with very few exceptions, most people aren’t going to reliably parry variable heavies outside of reads.
No. 2: Uncharged Jab (UC) Off of any blocked or landed light or heavy, Centurion can perform Jab. Jab is an 800ms bash when uncharged that chains into a light, thus allowing the bash to loop into itself. Jabs are never guaranteed under any circumstances besides a parry counter wallsplat, but we’ll talk about that later. Uncharged Jab can be feinted 300ms at the earliest point. Uncharged Jab will beat the opponent attempting to dodge later to potentially avoid Fully Charged Jab, and generally is impossible to interrupt if done from finisher heavy hit/blockstun. It will lose to backdodge and early dodges in general, but can be feinted into a kick to catch backdodges, and if they try to roll you can feint into Eagle's Fury. No. 3: Partial Charge Jab (PC) Not too much else to list here, Partial Charge will catch early dodges, but is riskier against prediction and fast reaction dodges as you will be more likely to be GB’d. Can be feinted to GB/parry/block/kick/whatever just like Uncharged Jab. No. 4: Fully Charged Jab (FC) Big funny incredibilis setup [sic]. The biggest damage payoff Centurion can get. This will catch early dodges, and mistimed dodges off of finisher heavy hit/blockstun. It can muscle through anything they throw at you if you did it from a finisher heavy, and lead into the Eagle's Talon punish. This move is best used when an opponent REFUSES to dodge late or keeps trying to interrupt you. Conditioning your opponent is key here, and as with all other options previously mentioned, this can be feinted as well. The feint has forward movement which may catch panic dodgers, allowing you to GB them. Fully Charged Jab is also your most important ganking tool. No. 5: Eagles Talon Eagles Talon is Centurion’s high risk, high reward payoff move. As most of his kit revolves in easily accessible, but low damage pokes, you chip away at your opponent until they make a critical error that allows you to get Eagle's Talon. Eagle's Talon can be done on almost any knockdown in the game, with only a few exceptions, those being:
Nuxia’s Zone Trap,
Shugoki’s Demon Ball,
Shugoki’s Demon’s Embrace.
Some require strict timing, but that just requires practice, the vast majority of knockdowns allow for an Eagle's Talon. Eagle's Talon does 40 damage at the time I [Limb] am writing this, and fully restores you and your enemy's stamina bar whenever it is used. This can be a blessing and a curse, and occasionally, unless your Talons will outright kill somebody, an OOS opponent may best be pressured instead of simply handed their stamina back. A few examples on how to apply this knowledge:
Opponent dodges on UC Jab timing: Fully Charge Jab. Risky against JJ and Tiandi who can feint their dodge attacks into backdodge if needed, but will often land if they do not backdodge. Becomes harder for them to avoid if used from finisher heavy.
Opponent Dodge Attacks on UC Jab timing: Immediately feint into a parry or block. A lot of dodge attacks will not be used like this as they are light parry punishes, but, it will occasionally happen. If used from heavy hit/blockstun, fully charged jab will still beat this but you will trade, so don’t use it if you’re low enough to die.
Opponent Tries for an interrupt: Releasing Jab on UC timing will generally stuff most interrupts as long as they were hit beforehand, or from finisher heavy block/hitstun. Much like the above, from finisher heavy blockstun, Fully Charged Jab will beat light interrupts, but lose to bash interrupts that are 500ms. If you can’t muscle through, feinting to block or parry is the best option.
To apply pressure properly, these are your options: Kick + Light > Heavy finisher > Uncharged Jab if they aren’t dodging immediately Kick + Light > Heavy finisher softfeint to GB if they know to try and parry it Light + Jab (repeat ad nauseam until opponent finally decides to dodge) Kick + enemy dodge + buffered heavy finisher (charge or not) to counter GB Kick + enemy dodge + buffered heavy feint into parry vs slow reaction dodge attacks Kick + enemy dodge + buffered heavy feint into block Kick + enemy dodge + buffered heavy softfeint to GB to catch parries
Identifying and Dealing with your main weaknesses
I keep getting interrupted trying to go for jabs.
Generally unless you landed a finisher heavy, opponents have much more wriggle room to interrupt you from neutral. You can also avoid this with kick into light, which usually dissuades interruptions. Just always be aware that because you can feint jabs, most interrupts can be fairly easily defended against and even parried on read.
I don’t do much damage at all outside of charged jabs and wallsplats.
This isn’t really much of a weakness but it can feel like it if you’re used to easily accessible, big payoff moves. Centurion’s damage potential rewards conditioning a player to make them hang themselves with their own rope. A good understanding of attrition, poking game, and being as unpredictable as possible, are key to getting the most damage with Centurion. Cent doesn’t struggle to get damage by any means, but you do need to be somewhat creative in your approach. He does damage over time, making up for his low health and lower numbers by having excessively long turns.
Whenever I get my opponent low enough, I can’t finish them off.
Despite Centurion being able to kill people very quickly with the right reads, a sufficiently turtle-y opponent can still prove irritating to finish off. Centurion’s kick, while not reactable to the same degree it used to be, is still easy for fast reaction time players to dodge. Combine this with the strength of dodge bashes, Cent can struggle to land attacks. Your best bet may simply be to try and catch panic parry attempts with variable timing heavies. If this fails, try keeping your opponent OOS as long as possible throughout the fight, as Talons isn’t always worth it if your opponent can’t fight back.
Everybody keeps parrying my lights!
Centurion’s lights are visually distinct enough that people may still be able to consistently parry them on reaction. On top of Cent having a notable audio queue for his heavies. If this happens, honestly, constantly chipping at your opponent with your heavies, delaying them and changing your timing whenever possible, is probably not the worst option to deal damage to an opponent who is constantly looking for light parries. Remember that blocked heavies still give you a chance to Jab.
Your place in 4v4s
Centurion has generally not changed in his role in 4v4’s. The only thing that changed is that now, while his opponents have more counterplay to him, he also is a significantly better character, and at that he can also win 1v1’s due to his dueling prowess increasing significantly. What is Centurion picked for? Centurion is picked to be a supplementary mid-clearer, a ganker, and a duelist. Ganker and supplementary mid-clear are his best roles, dueling not being always feasible, but it is something he is very capable of doing. His team-fighting is lackluster, but not entirely awful, mainly limited by his linear hitboxes and bad health pool. However, Jab can now be target swapped and kick is a strong interrupt tool. His feintable zone being target swappable is also decent, but less effective now that the damage on it has at the time of writing this, been utterly mangled. His zone and light hitboxes are deceptively large and off to the side of him. Centurion’s feats, as mentioned before compliment him perfectly, giving him a mix of strong offensive benefits and supportive tools, along with one of the best gank feats in the game. Need to interrupt somebody at a crucial moment or just in general? Kick them. Need somebody to REALLY die right now but they’re a little far? Pugio. Need this one guy on the point to die really fast when you have an ally with you? Pugio. Ledge nearby? Pugio and kick them off the edge. Team getting low and maybe a Fire Flask was thrown? Phalanx/Stalwart. Need to hold mid for a bit? Body Count. Really prefer to roam around and sustain that way? Bounty Hunter. Need DAMAGE? Haymaker, always. Now that you know what Cent CAN do, what CAN’T he do? Cent can stall about as well as any character if piloted well, but his lower than average health, no dodge attack, and relative weakness to bashes makes him pretty poor in a situation where he has to hold out. Cent generally should always have somebody nearby or ready to assist him at all times. His ability to anti-gank has been improved, somewhat, but he should not be left alone. Centurion also cannot team-fight effectively due to the limitations of his kit, his hitboxes are not amazing, his zone is okay but very low damage, and all of his high damage requires him to open himself up to possibly dying due to very long animations. Also, his mobility is not exactly amazing either, so being caught in a bad situation will often spell death. Centurion’s ganking strength is twofold, ally bashes and GB’s can setup pins, his Kick can set up ganks, and his charged Jab will often result in death or close enough for anybody who is sufficiently led into it. It is on the Centurion to pin off of allies, and allies to guarantee his charged jab. Frequent practice and communication is necessary to get good ganks off as Cent, just as with any other ganker hero. Don’t expect much out of your teammates in solo-queue however.
Your Match-ups (Simplified)
Centurion generally has a host of good matchups, with a few he struggles with. Nothing too polarizing, as even his bad matchups aren’t unwinnable. Hyperarmor Heroes Centurion doesn’t struggle incredibly hard with Hyperarmour characters as 70% of his offense is bash based, however this will stifle you if you are trying to use lights or heavies to start up your game-plan. Shugoki in particular is the most likely issue you will have, Hito’s HA is a complete joke and you won’t have a problem here, Highlander actually has good lights now so you may find yourself trading with him more than previously would have. In short, if you are playing against HA characters, using Kick might be your best bet, most of them can’t punish bashes very well, and least of all Centurion’s Legion Kick due to its generous safety net. Heroes that Dodge Tiandi, JJ, Kensei, and to some degree Conq and the Ward/Monger’s will be somewhat problematic, Gladiator as well. Centurion’s kick is most feasibly punished with dodge bashes, Tiandi, JJ, and Kensei have the best dodge attacks in terms of avoidance, but Kensei cannot feint his, so he is vulnerable to being read into a parry. Tiandi and JJ simply don’t have to commit whatsoever and opt out of any chain pressure Cent could have except heavy softfeint to GB. Conq, Ward/Monger, and Glad all have reasonably strong dodge bashes. Warden can backdodge SB almost anything you do, which is not fun to play against and feint to kick will at least deal with it, but it still will be a problem. Warden can also sometimes be beaten depending on what timing of SB he uses if you let the chain heavy go after a whiffed kick, this will eventually get predictable and the Warden can simply feint and parry you if you buffer in the un-delayed heavy. Warmonger can side dodge UB or side dodge bash, but is surprisingly GB vulnerable, so again heavy softfeint to GB will beat her options consistently. Glad for once has a good use for his dodge bash, and the extra stamina drain on it since CCU will be quite annoying to play against. He at the very least cannot do guaranteed damage to you after it. Heroes with Bashes Centurion’s biggest struggles will usually come from heroes who have strong bash offense. Conq, BP, Warlord, and to a lesser degree Tiandi are the general culprits here. Tiandi is generally not punishable with a GB no matter what you do anyway, so he is a significantly easier case of this, as all you have to do is wait for what he does after a whiffed bash, unfortunately though as you have no dodge attack yourself, you cannot punish him reliably. This problem is an echoed one for all the others I [Limb] listed, Conq, BP, Warlord are all only really reliably punishable with a dodge attack, Conq and Warlord are GB’able on prediction or very fast reaction dodges, but I wouldn’t count on it as being a consistent thing unless you are VERY confident in your dodges. BP is probably the absolute worst matchup for Centurion either in general or in this list, as BP can not only stifle your own offense with Bulwark Counter - though not infallible as you can read this coming fairly easily - but he has the generally safest bash in the game, even if it isn’t as good for tracking as Conq’s, or as hard to see coming as Warlord in top guard stance Headbutt. All in all, the heroes you can expect to struggle with most are as listed here. Centurion Matchups - Extended Editor's Note - Limb did not write these extended matchups. I did. I am less active in the game by this point so take my notes with a grain of salt by comparison, but I went off of some of Limb's notes from the simplified matchup and what I know of the character. For this section alone you can take up your issues with me. If the link goes down, let Limb know. -QK List of Individual Matchups
Fighting With Centurion
Having a Centurion teammate is like being given all the best goodies for murder, up there with Shaman. Centurion is your friend, you and Centurion like blood, and shouting negative IQ non-sequiturs at your enemies as you kill them from near full HP with very little that the enemy can do about it. Doesn’t that sound great? [sic] When playing with a Centurion ally, you are generally expected to make sure his big fist makes contact with the enemy. In order to do this, when you see Centurion charging up a Jab, apply heavy or light blockstun - heavy preferably, as light blockstun might feed less revenge, but it will allow dodges most of the time - to guarantee the Jab will land. If you have good timing, you can hit a Jabbed opponent with a heavy opener while Centurion is flying through the air to call them weak and carve out their chest cavity, allowing your a followup finisher heavy as well. This is usually going to near 100-0 any character in the game, Kensei and Shaolin and Berserker have 100-0 ganks with Centurion, but some are significantly more complicated and will require a video to explain easier. General knowledge applies though, GB for Cent’s Unblockable finisher, blockstun for Jab, GB for charged opener heavies, and all will be golden. Make sure to cover for Cent whenever possible in group fights as while he might have decent damage and interrupts, he is very squishy and will die easily if too many mistakes happen - one or two, honestly, with the way damage currently is - and generally struggles to do much of anything in crowded situations. Shadowing a Cent whenever possible is the safest option. His very weighted feats can massively turn the tide of battle, Pugio/Phalanx/Stalwart Banner, so don't let him get choked out quickly with his low HP.
As to be expected, Centurion has a well rounded kit with meaningful strengths and trade-offs for them. He is a cerebral but straightforward character who rewards good reads, mind-games, and a strong sense of how to apply pressure. His numerous options can seem overwhelming at first, as most of the time you will always go for the highest guaranteed options, but always be aware that you can legitimately toy with your victims instead to make it an even more resounding defeat. His low HP and damage are a price to pay for extremely powerful, constant pressure. Centurion’s feats all compliment his gank heavy, supportive combat role and don’t require too much finesse to get working. All of them are very comfortable picks, and the bad ones just don’t get picked so you never really have to think too hard about it. Centurion gets 5/5 broken jaws and cringe Ex Deo montages. Primary Guide Writing: LimbLegion Editing, Revision, Preparation for Reddit: QK Editor's Note - This shit was a nightmare to put together. See this picture. -QK For clarifications of opinion, comments on changing the guide, etc. contact LimbLegion on Reddit or QueueKaye on Discord (QK#3576) to do so. Comments in the post will still be read, but those are the faster ways to get in touch with us. If you enjoy the guide, let us know, and there may be more on the way.
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'Will Essendon or Essington show up this week' has been a meme around here for a while, and of course we're sitting at the top of the 'Which team can you just never tip right' comment thread. But my hunch is that the popular notion is a little out of date, and we've actually been relatively predictable lately: a middle-of-the-road team which, sure, has some absolute shockers and plays out of its skin occasionally, but mostly beats the bad teams and loses to the good teams. I'd love to see proper stats comparing our predictability to that of other teams. But in lieu of that, I took the lazy option and simply checked how well you would have done in 2019 by tipping all Essendon games according to the then-current ladder positions (or, in the case of round 1, the previous year's ladder positions). The result: by my count you would have got 17/23. Not perfect, but far from a shambles; it's the same result you'd expect from backing a $1.44 favourite 23 times. The 'upsets' included a game where the teams were separated only by percentage, as well as two other games where the teams were only 3 ladder positions apart. And three of the six 'upsets' corresponded to the eventual ladder positions at year's end. If anyone wants to do other teams for the sake of comparison, or redo the whole thing in a less simplistic way, that would be great. But until then, I declare this myth debunked. Essendon isn't mercurial, it's more like lead: unspectacular, sure, and it weighs you down after a while, and direct contact might cost you a few IQ points, but... where was I going with this again?
I replayed (almost) all Metal Gear games... Here are all my thoughts on them!
Background: Given the current state of the US and the world as a whole, it is not a good time to be a college student. Academic institutions have stopped to a grinding halt and have uncertain plans for the upcoming school year. Despite this, I have had no shortage of things to do. Even though I just finished my summer classes, I still have a lot to do. I continue to work remotely for my school's IT department and also do research with my professor in artificial intelligence (yes, Metal Gear influenced my career choice). My intent is not to flex my credentials or anything, but to explain my motivations. I realize how lucky I am to work on the things I love and build my career when many others can't at this moment. Still, I occasionally feel like I'm more active than I'd like to be. This is where Metal Gear comes in. I grew up with the series and haven't touched many of them in years. I was planning on revisiting the series for some time now too. Since I was at home and needed a way to destress, I said fuck it and decided to revisit all the games. I'll be explaining my thoughts with some version notes and the difficulty I played on in release order. I hope this is an entertaining read! Metal Gear (PS3 HD Collection), Difficulty Played: Original The one that started it all. IIRC, Kojima started development on a shoot em' up inspired by Commando but had to change direction due to the MSX2's limited hardware capabilities. Instead of fighting enemies, your objective is to avoid them. Simple, but a brilliant solution. Thus Metal Gear was born. I feel like this game has aged surprisingly well. It's not incredibly refined, but it definitely has that arcade charm and gameplay. Tactical espionage action at it's simplest. You can even see the origins of many modern MGS classics like the cardboard box, radio team, etc. This game is in desperate need of a Resident Evil-style remake though. The game's design leaves a lot to be desired. There's meaningless backtracking and the way ID cards work to open doors is absolutely moronic. And sometimes it's not really clear how to progress in the game like obtaining the bomb blast suit for example. Guards can only see in lines and the bosses are uninspiring. And despite 30 years of retcons and plot developments, the story is still vague and underdeveloped. FOXHOUND commander Big Boss sends Solid Snake to infiltrate Outer Heaven, also commanded by Big Boss (retconned as Venom Snake) to rescue Gray Fox and spread misinformation to the West (retconned as the Patriots) by... getting captured? Killed? Acquiring a false report? Not clear. And what kind of misinformation? To keep up appearances? To report Metal Gear isn't nuclear armed? Fake Big Bosses' death? Also not clear. Still, it's a humble beginning to a beloved franchise and should be appreciated. Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (PS3 HD Collection), Difficulty Played: Original This is where Metal Gear really becomes Metal Gear. MG2 is an improvement over MG1 in every way. Graphics are better, gameplay is a lot better, and most importantly, it has a coherent story. It's incredibly impressive how this was developed for the same MSX2 system as MG1. And this is where Metal Gear adopts its quirky, goofy yet serious identity. You have dumb shit like "poisonous Zanzibar hamsters" juxtaposed with strong, anti-war themes. Absolutely brilliant. For an 8-bit game, it's very concise and articulate with this message. This game was so good, that the story and gameplay for MGS1 reused many of the ideas present in MG2. I think that if MG2 was remade, it would be better than MGS1 since they are the same game, but MG2 has a more interesting premise. Big Boss as the main villain is already reason enough. Not all is perfect though. The game design suffers from the same issues present in MG1 with unnecessary backtracking, the crappy card system, and confusing progression. I really think that everyone should give this a game a try since it is often underappreciated and overlooked in favor of the later games. Metal Gear Solid (PC Integral), Difficulty Played: Extreme If MG2 created the modern Metal Gear identity, MGS1 perfected it. Kojima and the team really outdid themselves when making this game. This game set a groundbreaking precedent in attention to detail and cinematic storytelling not just for future MGS games, but all video games that came after. To this day, I still think that MGS1 has one of the best atmospheres in gaming. The characters in this game are incredible and in my opinion have the best performances in the entire series. Every single one of them is iconic and memorable. As Otacon says though, "it's just like one of my Japanese animes." Revisiting MGS made me realize that the entire series is basically a long-running, edgy shonen anime based in video game form. You have all the iconic tropes like: a giant mecha, technobabble, superpowered characters, excessive chit-chat with villains and too much dialogue in general, every character having some sort of tragic backstory, some life lesson as a theme, and so on. None of this is bad though. In fact, it enhances the charm. The love of American action movies combined with the oddities of Japanese storytelling is what makes MGS so memorable. Unfortunately, some of the writing in this game is really jarring. MGS has really bad writing at times, but for some reason it was much more painful in this game for me than the others. The romantic elements were cringeworthy, the twists were handled poorly, and Liquid Snake, despite allegedly having an 180 IQ, has no grasp on basic genetics, among other issues. The gameplay isn't much of an innovation over MG2 either. It's just the same thing, but rendered in 3D. It added first-person mode, but that's about it. Regardless, this game is a classic. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PS3 HD Collection), Difficulty Played: Extreme My personal favorite of the series. Once again, it innovates on the gameplay. Although the controls take an unwieldy, maximalist approach that uses way too many buttons sometimes, it presents you with a lot of options. It's very slick and versatile once you master it. I've seen some people on this sub say that the camera is not conducive with the game design for an enjoyable experience, but I think this is exaggerated BS. I played on Extreme with no radar and did fine. You're given all the tools you need to succeed. The bosses of this game are insane though. Even the more exploitable fights like Vamp and Solidus can still be tricky. The RAY fight on Extreme has got to be my favorite boss from any video game though. It's was incredibly tense with so many opponents who could potentially one-shot you. A single mistake could be fatal. The gratification I had after decommissioning 20 of those assholes can't be described with words. As for story, I can understand how some may not like the postmodern, artsy, almost pretentious approach the it takes, but I love it. MGS2 parodies MGS1 in the most brilliant way possible. It's an amazing deconstruction of sequel expectations and many of its ideas regarding society and technology are becoming more and more relevant. I also liked Raiden as a protagonist because of how well he contrasts with Solid Snake. He also has more noticeable character development. I would like to point out that I was still a baby when this game came out in 2001. Therefore it was impossible for me to get memed by Kojima's bait-and-switch. When I first got into the series, I already knew that Raiden was the main playable character. I can understand why many were/are frustrated with this change or simply just don't like Raiden. But I think the writing just works better in this game than MGS1. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of examples of bad writing and questionable narrative choices in this game. However, while bad writing hurts MGS1, it actually strengthens MGS2. All the incongruities and ridiculousness present in the game build on its message that there is no objective truth. Seriously, MGS2 makes me question everything that I believe in. I've never been more terrified of a video game than the entire Arsenal Gear segment, and this isn't even a horror game. Resident Evil zombies and Silent Hill fog monsters will never hurt me. But censorship, authoritarianism, and misuse of technology can. The real terror is reality. And for that, I treat this game like the Bible. I will say that my veneration of this game is a recent development. It was actually my least favorite until a few years ago. It was after seeing several analyses on this game that my opinion shifted. And since I'm older now, I naturally have a different perspective on life than I did before. MGS2 definitely gets better with age. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PS3 HD Collection), Difficulty Played: Extreme Over the years, I've had a growing sentiment that MGS3 is overrated. I was glad to be proven wrong. I still like MGS2's existential edginess more, but I concede that this game is the best MGS experience overall. This game deserves every word of praise that it receives. This entire game is an adorable homage to James Bond and other spy thrillers. Seriously, listen to that opening! The story is also the most sensible and best-written in the series. At first glance MGS3 doesn't seem to do anything bold, appearing to be very orthodox and conventional. Despite this, it never failed to excite and maintained that signature MGS personality the entire time. Additionally, the characters are all so likeable. Despite looking and sounding exactly like Solid Snake, Naked Snake has his own distinct personality. He's much more of shit-eating jokester and is a lot more social. And despite the mission he's sent on, he's super unprofessional and I love it. His characterization really adds to the atmosphere of blissful naivete this game goes for. And his chemistry with the rest of the characters is great. You have the radio support team who are also a bunch of lovable, unprofessional jokesters. Then there's EVA, who is an equally awesome female lead. The romance and sexual tension between EVA and Naked Snake actually feels natural, like normal people. It's not painfully awkward like Meryl and Solid Snake or artificial like Raiden and Rose (although that may have been the point with them). Then there's the Boss, who is one of the best supporting female characters in gaming. The contribution her powerful, motherly presence has on the story cannot be understated. The Cobra Unit was pretty shallow to be honest, but they were still memorable and were a fun collection of superpowered weirdos to fight. They didn't really need more than that. Oh, and Ocelot being retconned as a Snake fanboy is hilarious and fitting. There's too many good things about this area of the game and I need to go on. Once again, gameplay innovations! It still has the awkward MGS2 controls, but now you can use them to their full potential. While MGS3 is a super linear game, the number of strategies you can use are limitless. Look at James Howell's FOXHOUND guide on YouTube. He demonstrates multiple methods of entering and exiting the SAME room. Seriously, the dude shows like four different ways to defeat the Ocelot unit and that's barely scratching the surface. Every obtainable item can be meaningfully and that is brilliant... I need to move on but this game fucking rocks. Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (PC Emulated), Difficulty Played: Normal I gotta say this right of the bat. This shit was not fun to play. I don't really mind if a game has bad graphics, but bad performance makes me want to DIE. 20 FPS physically hurts. Literally. The choppiness gave me a few headaches. I could have increased the framerate, but I read several user reports say that it messes up cutscenes. Plus, I figured I should suffer playing through it in its pure, unadulterated form. The game controlled like garbage and the recruitment mechanic sucked. Still, it's impressive that the development team ported the Snake Eater engine to the PSP. That is an achievement that deserves to be commended. Story wise, it's standard Metal Gear. It's a good time, but I don't really like the direction it took. The inclusion of Gray Fox and Campbell was kinda random and didn't meaningfully develop their characters. They were just there for the sake of being there. Not a good or bad thing, but they could have been totally new characters and the roles would be exactly the same. I also didn't like the implication that Big Boss got the idea and resources for Outer Heaven from Gene. It just rubbed me the wrong way. And what I really didn't like was retconning the entirety of Operation Snake Eater as some elaborate assassination ploy by the CIA because The Boss was "too charismatic" or some BS like that. Like, why? She was loyal to the end. Her being a threat to the US is not consistent with her character. It implies that obtaining the Philosopher's Legacy, destroying the Shagohod, and keeping the Khrushchev administration in power is not enough justification for the US to sacrifice the Boss. It's an unnecessary complication of the story that sets a bad precedent for using "the Bosses' will" as a convenient MacGuffin to explain character motivations or conflicts. Good thing the game is considered semi-canon so I can pretend these parts didn't happen. Still, I appreciate it for what it is. It's proof that a Kojima-less Metal Gear can still be Metal Gear. Not to mention, "Calling to the Night" is an incredibly underrated theme. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3), Difficulty Played: The Boss Extreme The greatest movie game I've ever watched. It's such a shame that this game never got an official port outside of the PS3 because this game is stunning despite the meh performance. The 30 FPS didn't really agree with me, but it wasn't headache inducing like Portable Ops. I have a pretty beefy PC rig so I could've used the custom RPCS3 build to play it at 60 FPS, but I wasn't willing to gamble on the program's stability especially when the cutscenes are so long. Just like Portable Ops, I had to experience it in its raw, unadulterated form. I really wanted to hate this game for being a fanservice disaster... but I couldn't do it. This was the first Metal Gear I completed start to finish. This is the game that got me into the series. I was like 11 or 12 at the time and I had no idea what was going on, yet every little piece of lore kept me wanting to know more about the rest of the series. Nostalgia aside, this game is the most endearing trainwreck I've ever experienced despite the clear disdain and borderline self-hatred Kojima put in while making this game. MGS4 was always going to happen, but Kojima’s involvement was uncertain. I’m genuinely curious what direction this game would’ve took if he quit the series back then. MGS2 alone is already hard to follow up on, and by also having to relate all the events in MGS3, Kojima inadvertently placed the story into a position where writing successive games would become very difficult. I wonder how Murata or whatever writer would approach the story without Kojima’s input. Would it be more or less of a clusterfuck than what it is now? Who knows? Regardless, I think MGS4 is a worthy conclusion to the series. It hits every emotional chord it needs and gives a sense of closure. It really hits you with a feeling that this is indeed the end. The “war has changed” speech gets me every time. In many ways, I feel that MGS4 is as much of a critique on gaming industry trends as it is on the military industrial complex (although it is ironic since this game features so many licensed firearms). Think about it. Forcing Snake (Kojima) back into a life of battle (video games) not because they want to (MGS2), but because they have no choice. The nature of warfare (game development), has shifted from ideology (the messages he tried to tell in MGS 1-3) to profits (fan satisfaction, corporate responsibilities, etc). The war economy strengthens this point by demonstrating how war has infiltrated ever aspect in the MGS universe, like gamer’s seeming obsession with war games like MGS. And the fact that MGS4 demystifies everything with nanomachines or some bloated conspiracy relating back to The Boss is a big middle finger to everyone who clamored for explanations. Kojima was probably like “You couldn’t think of an explanation yourself? Okay, I’ll give you an explanation appropriate for your handicapped intelligence.” In a way, it’s just as postmodern as MGS2 if not more. The metanarrative has always been MGS strong suit after all. But this is one extremely expensive art project in that case. I realize that I also need to be objective in this retrospective. Once you get into this mode of thinking, a literal pile of shit can be interpreted as a gold mine. I am not likening MGS4 to a pile of shit by the way. I’d say that MGS4 did well given what it was tasked to do. All the loose ends are tied up and it (mostly) deals with its characters very well. The characterization of Old Snake is so well done. His depiction as a fallen legend from a bygone era seeking peace is so tragic and powerful. And I really liked Raiden too, but not for the typical reason. I thought he was a good representation of the fans who failed to understand MGS2. Rather than move on and become a better person, he becomes a parody of those who just want to be “cool” and “edgy.” It reverses the dynamic in MGS2. Now that Snake is a decrepit senior citizen, epic ninja dude Raiden is the guy that everyone wants to play as now. And Meryl was excellent too, representing people who were able to mature and move on. She’s all grown up and has found her own purpose in life. It was sad seeing how far she’s moved on from Snake. The whole “marry me Johnny uwu” part was awful, but I suppose it adds to the point of moving on. Liquid Ocelot was a real treat to watch in this game as well. I thought the whole cast was pretty strong. The only character I thought was bad was Naomi. None of her actions make any sense. Even fucking Revolver Ocelot makes more sense than her and he is the king of convoluted conspiracies. She did a total 180 from her MGS1 self for no real reason and she killed herself because? Sniper Wolf and Gray Fox nostalgia? There’s a ton of cheap fanservice in this game but most of those are minor, have some purpose to the plot, or aid characterization. This instance was none of those. And in her debrief video after the virus upload, she never bothered to tell Snake that the new FOXDIE replaced the old one and he could live the rest of his life. Like seriously? This dude almost shot himself to prevent a now nonexistent threat. Plus her hot British accent is gone which is big sad. Also, Sunny contributing to FOXALIVE was kind of jarring. I understand her entire character is to show the new generation inheriting the ideals and problems of the old, but it’s just so random to have a seven-year-old prodigy. She should’ve been a little bit older. She was 11 in Rising and I was totally chill with that. Minor gripe I suppose. As a self-contained narrative, the game isn’t that confusing. However, the way it fits with previous games is super awkward. Big Boss appearing at the end of the game is also very random and has got to be the biggest violation of the “show don’t tell” principle I’ve ever seen anywhere. But given how the Japanese dub literally reconciles real-life father and son, it’s nothing short of beautiful. I prefer this over the original execution ending. Snake has suffered enough. He’s been punished since the day he was born. Personally, I will contend that the twist that the Patriots were the MGS3 support cast isn’t that bad. The identity of the Patriots has been hyped up so much that the answer could never be that satisfying. Would it really be better if they were new, original characters? Considering that they would most likely all be dead anyways, I doubt it. The hive-mind, collective consciousness that MGS2 depicted them was good, but the MGS community has proven itself incapable of abstract thinking after not understanding MGS2 in general. The whole thing would’ve worked better if Major Zero acted more like Colonel Campbell in MGS1, a “trusted” friend who knows more about the operation than he seems and is actively lying to you. The Paramedic, Sigint, and rest are whatever, but Zero wasn’t fleshed out enough to have this huge role. Hindsight is 20/20. They had no idea the plot would go this way. But shoehorning the Bosses’ will as a motivation for everything is stupid. Like I said for Portable Ops, it just became a convenient MacGuffin. There’s a sort of irony here. I could see how Zero’s world government can be traced back to the Boss with “the world can be one again”, but aside from a few throwaway lines he barely has a connection to her. What, did he really hear her entire speech from Snake’s radio? On the other end, I don’t understand how Big Bosses’ warmongering mercenaries can be interpreted from the Bosses’ ideals and he is the one who has a fleshed-out relationship with her. This is where I go “bruh moment” on the writing. Yeah, Liquid Ocelot was also stupid, but the writers had no choice and that kind of shenanigan totally makes sense for his character anyways. This is just an objectively bad cop-out. Gameplay is pretty good. Just the same as MGS3 but now it doesn’t handle like a Rube Goldberg machine. Unfortunately, you don’t really get an opportunity to use the mechanics to their full potential. The game is super cutscene heavy and only act 1 and 2 are truly conducive with experimentation. Overall, I think this game gets shit on too much and I love it. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PS3 HD Collection) This was actually the first Metal Gear game I ever played. My Dad got it for me on PSP close to when it was released. Unfortunately, 10 year old me was shit at video games and rage quit at the Hind boss fight so I put it on hiatus until the HD release came out. Online co-op came in clutch. I don't know why I found this game so difficult back then because now I find Peace Walker to be the easiest game out of all the Solid titles. Even the red skull vehicle missions aren’t too bad as long as you’ve grinded for the appropriate equipment. I have to mention that it was here where I was started to feel burnout from cycling through so many games so quickly. This one took me a bit longer to complete because I needed to extended breaks between sessions. But this game was still a treat. I was really confused with the plot because it seemed like Snake totally forgot about EVA’s debriefing and misremembers his fight with the Boss, but once I realized this game was about him coping with the truth rather than learning the truth, it finally clicked. For me, it cleared up a lot of the baggage left from MGS4. Outer Heaven is less of an interpretation of the Bosses’ will than it is an active rejection of it. When finally accepts the title of Big Boss, he refuses to resign himself to the same fate. That makes a lot more sense to me. Additionally, while it didn’t do that good of a job in this regard, it showed the origins of the alleged conflict between Zero and Big Boss that MGS4 mention. It also did some cool foreshadowing of the Patriot AI. I must mention that this game came out at a super awkward place. It’s post-MGS4 yet it chronologically takes place towards the beginning of the timeline. I also really liked the characters in this game. I was shocked to see how lively and colorful the entire cast was. You could tell they had a great time in the recording booth and most of it was just optional tapes! Unlike Campbell in Portable Ops, Miller is a much more realized character and has depth. He has great business acumen but is also as much of a dipshit as Snake. Then you had the bisexual chad Strangelove. I’m studying computer science, so her tapes were super interesting and relevant to me. I’d love to have her as a professor in real life. Even Cecile, a totally unimportant throwaway waifu, has some great moments in optional tapes. And it’s all very well acted too. Sadly, Hot Coldman was very uninspiring, lame villain. He was just kinda there. But it seemed clear that the real focus was the Boss AI and Cipher. Unfortunately, I don’t like David Hayter’s voice in this game. The Old Snake aesthetic doesn’t suit Big Boss. It sounded too forced to me. I’m not a big fan of Portable Ops, but they should have given Hayter the same voice direction. I am very satisfied with how they decided to expand this “Big Boss arc.” I know many don’t like how they continued the series, but I think this was a meaningful contribution. Although this is when the tech in Metal Gear got weird. Strangelove made an AI that replicated the Bosses’ thought patterns from brief personal experience and a bunch of documents. The best we have in real life is Alexa. It’s too advanced. Sure, there were always nanomachines and nuke tanks but that was all speculative fiction. I didn’t have a problem with the AI bosses. I think they were all fun and engaging. All of you who wished for human bosses are a bunch of homicidal maniacs. Although the breadth of vehicle missions suck. They’re not hard if you grind for equipment, but they are very tedious. And the grinding itself is a huge problem. So much of it is the just the same repetitive junk to farm soldiers or wait out development time. Good thing it’s only side content. I also understand that this was initially developed for the PSP, but the missions are way too short even if they are supposed to be bite-sized. Most of them can be completed in five minutes or less. But I appreciate the effort needed to put this much content into the game. Peace Walker is a great game. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PC), Difficulty Played: Hard This whole game is a meme and I live for it. This is the only hack-and-slash I’ve ever played so I don’t consider myself super qualified to talk about its merits. But with what I’m given, I’ll say that the gameplay is slick and well-polished. Very fun to play and on top of the power-metal soundtrack, it was an adrenaline high the whole way through. It momentarily cured me of my burnout. Rising also made me to buy Devil May Cry for more of the same. Eventually I will get around to playing those games. I felt like the writing of this game was weak. To me, it was so unfocused with what it wanted to do. It went all over the place from child soldiers, free will, patriotism, and a whole bunch of other things. This game touches on a lot of interesting topics but it’s so haphazard with how it deals with it. It’ll mention some new topic and then barely develop it. It’s a shallow ocean. And it seems like the writers weren’t really sure what they wanted to do with Raiden. His “Jack the Ripper” persona is so inconsistent when it manifests. He’ll be totally normal in the game but then you call the codec and he’ll do this gravelly voice and talk about how he loves fighting or vice versa. He just has this weird multi-personality disorder that I don’t think was fully intended. But considering that this game is spinoff and a parody of the series, I give it a free pass. Raiden’s character development from MGS4 may have been completely invalidated, but since it was so over-the-top and wasn’t afraid to make fun of itself, it doesn’t offend me. All the characters from Raiden to Armstrong were all so colorful and lively. Even the radio support team has a ton of good codec moments that give a good laugh or provide good worldbuilding. It’s a blast to experience it all. And I think it’s all because Platinum nailed the tone for this game. The level of edginess in Rising was the perfect balance of both cringe and cool. And come to think of it, it barely has anything to do at with the rest of Metal Gear aside from Raiden and Sunny. Yet, it perfectly uses that Metal Gear aesthetic and fits into the universe. It feels like it “belongs” in the series. I seriously want a Rising 2. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (PC) I skipped this game at launch because even 14-year-old me knew it was a cash grab (and I had no money anyways lol). Funnily enough, I finally played it in like 2018. There’s no way to sugarcoat it, this game is just tech demo. An excellent tech demo, but a tech demo nonetheless. The Fox engine is a marvel in both graphics and performance. Easily one of the best game engines in recent years. And I’m not sure how, but I have over 30 hours on this game recorded on Steam. I probably idled the game overnight on accident, but I’m not sure. Still, it has a deceptive amount of content. I’d say it’s about the same as your average DLC. As for story, it’s a good transition from Peace Walker to MGSV. It effectively establishes the tonal change between the two games. And I really liked the little “side quest” of collecting Chico’s tapes. The way the plot unraveled itself even after you complete the main mission is a neat storytelling trick. And obviously I have to address the huge change that occurred in this game... The voice actor change. I like Kiefersnake. As much as I love David Hayter, Kiefer Sutherland’s voice really suited the character in my opinion. He sounds much more natural and gives a better impression of a non-accelerated aged man. I’ve heard some people say that it just sounds like Jack Bauer to them. This wasn’t a problem for me since I don’t watch 24, but after watching some clips of it I think this is a totally valid frustration. Anyways, decent game. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PC) I call this one “Blue Balls: The Video Game.” I love this game. In fact, I’ve 100%ed it twice. However, my franchise fatigue got really bad at this point. I wanted to be done. My burnout was so bad, that I just skipped missions non-essential to the story. And the fact that I was able to do this what I think is the game’s biggest weakness. Many of the missions are inconsequential and only tangentially related to the main story. I really wish the whole story followed the example of missions 28, 29, 30, and 31, which comprise the segment where you meet Code Talker, cure the parasite outbreak, and then confront Skull Face. You had a little bit of cutscene and exposition before the mission, and then a little bit of cutscene and exposition afterwards. Sometimes there isn’t even a helicopter ride in or out. It doesn’t even have to be that much, just enough to ensure that a consistent and comprehensible story can be told. Basically, just follow Peace Walker’s example. If it were up to me, I would restructure the story entirely. I would have most of chapter 1 hype up this bombastic, lofty, hate-filled crusade against Cipher and Skull Face. Then, missions 28, 29, 30, and 31 happen as they did normally. Huey still kills Skull Face. I think that a boss fight with him misses the entire point of what this game was going for. The end of chapter 1 should remain dissatisfying and anticlimactic to preserve the message that revenge is a wasted effort. Then chapter 2 is where you put all the mundane missions like mission 10: rescue some guy or mission 15: get rid of these Walker Gears. Juxtapose these basic “job” missions with all the misfortunes like the second outbreak, Quiet’s sacrifice, Eli stealing Sahelanthropus, etc and you strengthen what chapter 1 was going for. After the characters get their “revenge,” life just goes on for them. The major threat is gone and all there is to do is to keep doing more jobs. And that’s when you realize that they really haven’t solved anything, and nothing has changed since this new state of normalcy. And finally, you learn the truth after becoming far too entrenched in the body double ruse to ever find a way out. Not to put myself on a pedestal since this is my idea, but I think this is a better way to tell the story. It preserves the writer’s intent but reordering it in such a way that it’s not a disjointed mess. It’s such a shame since I think that MGSV has a cool story with a lot of great ideas but is hampered with a botched presentation. All that stuff about language really grabbed my attention. It really got me thinking. And where MGS4 had too many cutscenes, MGSV had too little. Which sucks since the cinematography is so well done. Not only that, but I don’t like how the tapes were handled. In Peace Walker, they were entirely optional and provided additional context or characterization while the voice actors goofed off in the recording studio. Now, some of those tapes hold important plot points that easy to neglect due to the formatting. And when you do listen to them, you’re probably half paying attention since you’re also doing a side op at the same time and then you get Ocelot’s daily reminder to hide from a chopper or some other distraction. You could listen in the ACC or on base, but that hurts the pacing of the game since it forces unnecessary inactivity. And a lot of this information should’ve been better integrated into the cinematics. But objectively, the content of the tapes are interesting and well-performed. But again, botched presentation. This “audio diary” method works best in games like Bioshock that make heavy use of atmosphere and environmental story telling. MGSV was not well-designed with those in mind given the open world. And it really failed to capitalize on the cast’s talent. Especially Kiefersnake who was such a wasted opportunity. He doesn’t need to be super talkative, but I would’ve liked a little bit more than what we got in the game. The characters are a weak point in general. Kaz is a one-dimensional. Ocelot is still a devil’s advocate kinda guy but it’s a lot more subdued. Quiet was alright. And Volgin, Liquid, and Psycho Mantis honestly didn’t add anything meaningful. Huey and Skull Face were fantastic though. Huey being an absolute piece of shit actually enhances the Otacon and Solid Snake bromance. It gives them a shared trauma of wanting to absolve the sins of the father and illustrates how much better they are than their predecessors. Plus, despite how despicable Huey was, many of his accusations towards Diamond Dogs were very valid. So even is the good guy anymore? And Skull Face was epic. He is an amalgamation of many MGS villain traits. He’s got Volgin’s cruelty, Ocelot’s cunning, Solidus’ charisma and idealism, etc. He’s a delightful cocktail of evil. Too bad he didn’t show up more. Kojima claiming that his absence as well as other things to enhance the “phantom pain” just comes off as an excuse to me. I also really like the body double twist. I made a comment on another post addressing this so I’ll just copy paste it here: MSGV’s ending is not an acknowledgement to the fans and is a brilliant inversion of MGS2’s ending. In MGS2, Solid Snake encourages Raiden to break free and form his own identity separate from the Snake persona as well as the player. In MGSV, Venom Snake’s identity is completely erased and replaced with that of Big Boss. The title of “Big Boss” is extended to Venom and is depicted like some kind of “gift.” What kind of deranged, mentally ill person would accept ever accept a gift like that? 9 years and your entire identity lost while becoming a human shield just to get some lousy recognition. Big Boss has to carefully word himself so you don’t completely lose your mind. While Raiden became his own man independent of the fans, Big Boss and Venom (you the player) are now one in the same. You’re just an expendable tool doomed to a life of eternal warfare. I think it’s Kojima’s way of saying “Thank you for you contributions... Wait, you’re not satisfied yet? Here, you can be Big Boss too. You get no peace now, keep fighting these meaningless proxy wars (video games).” I interpret it as a final “fuck you assholes!” that Kojima disguised as a compliment and I love it. The dude has always had a tumultuous relationship with fans. But again, we must do an objective analysis. My only problem with it is that I feel like it wasn’t incorporated well into the story and it’s somewhat obvious from the beginning. In comparison, MGS2’s twist is handled with a lot more care, with it slowly unraveling throughout the whole thing rather than character creation, a couple throwaway lines, and then boom you remember the prologue differently. And in general, the reveal itself is not handled well. Mission 46 is exactly the same as the prologue aside from the beginning and end of it. I wish there was more effort to differentiate them from each other. Maybe play as Ishmael? The overall mission would play out the same, but it would be enough difference to justify replaying it. Anyways, gameplay is easily peak of the series. If you let go of tranquilizing everything and start formulating weird, unorthodox strategies you can have a lot of fun with this game. It sucks to have to budget your resources, especially with the higher tier equipment, but it’s manageable. The main ops are all pretty good, just wish that they hall had perfect stealth, subsistence, extreme, etc. But thank God for PC modding. The side ops a trash though. Peace Walker’s had issues but at least they had variety. MGSV’s are all the same thing. Overall, I think the game was too ambitious. The gameplay is phenomenal, but the story comes off as a less elegant MGS2 to me. Still like it though. They tried. Metal Gear Survive (PC) I actually skipped this game on release and have not played it until now. I actually planned on stopping at TPP, but this game was like $7 on Steam sale and I wanted to experience all its shitty glory for myself. It's not great..., but not terrible either. Just very mediocre. I don't know why I should invest my time into this game when I can go play Resident Evil or Fallout instead. The story is meh and the characterization is laughably terrible. I chuckled when Nicholas said he would miss Dite if we left, as if I had any attachment whatsoever to the location or characters. I had a soft spot for Miranda though since she looks and sounds like a girl I used to date, but that's about it. And you thought Venom didn't like talking? I think the Captain says less than five words the entire game. The silent protagonist thing doesn't work well here. Admittedly I spent way too much time making the player character look like me. Finally, a Filipino video game protagonist lmao. Anyways, the gameplay itself is not satisfying. I found it boring and repetitive. Doesn't help that the world is uninteresting and a pain in the ass to explore. Everything looks the same and the way that the map works is an inconvenience that doesn't add any challenge or depth. It was also depressing to see all MGSV assets so blatantly and lazily reused. I screamed when I saw Luftwa Mansion. And nanobot zombies is such a stupid and novel idea, so why didn't the devs at least have fun with it? This game had some serious potential to be a hilarious meme loved by the community like Rising, but it's too lifeless and dull to come even close. I don't know why the game was directed this way. I could see how this game could be a good co-op experience, but the underlying experience is so unimpressive that I don't want to invest more time into it. A total waste of the FOX Engine and the team's talent. It's such a shame since the intro of the game hooked me by showing the aftermath of Ground Zeroes. They should have made a game where they followed MSF remnants continuing operations in Central America, a sort of Peace Walker-lite. Or they could have made a game following XOF with Reeve as the main character. Anything above those lines would have been better.
https://preview.redd.it/2dop10q29nf51.png?width=1064&format=png&auto=webp&s=be86f87a94e74d0450723d59ede6a6c4aa8dbc50 S tier: Dima: Dima's kit is insane. He has the MAMBA which is if you don't know is an amazing gun that can kill really fast if you hit those and the AK which is all around a great gun that can compete with SMGs up close. His ability is really good at flushing out of positions and punishing. His perks are pretty selfish but great for carry players. Ronin: Her ability is really strong. She has the Katana which is my fav melee bcs of the extra slash dmg. She has the AK which is great (Dima description) and the MP7 smg. I think the SMG is ok, on Ronin the AK is definitely better. It's a great SMG on Scorch bcs he ability ups the dmg by a lot and with already high fire rate it becomes insane. However on Ronin you don't have that so it just feels weird sometimes. However her whole other kit makes up for it. A tier: Anvil: Anvil can do a lot with his shield. Block entrances, defend the spike or just hold a position well. With his insane Machine gun and his beefy perks it can be hard to take him out. His shotgun is a meme but let's be honest it's really fun. He has a C4 which can be inconsistent and very buggy but feels great when you catch someone running through it. Dallas: In Rogue Company i feel like close range combat is a lot more common and Dallas's guns are mostly long range. His pistol is great bcs it has high damage and can 2 shot with headshots. His dmr is absolute trash but his AR is pretty decent, slow fire rate but high damage. His perks are interesting, allowing him to be quiet while walking is amazing for flanks. If Dallas has a good close range weapon he might have been S tier. His ability is great for info but can be countered a lot by undetected. Overall i think Dallas is a pretty good Rogue with a lot of potential. Saint: Saint's ability is on paper S tier. However in Rogue Company you get finished quite a lot really fast even at times where you shouldn't be... However it can be round changing and his kid is pretty good. His scoped AR is decent and he has the MAMBA which i still think is amazing if you're good with it. I almost feel like Saint is a must bcs a lot of the time i get downed i can be revived by him, at least in my case. It's about positioning really. B tier: Lancer: Lancer can be annoying sometimes especially when she flanks you and you can't hear her. Being able to run super fast, quietly and being unable to be revealed can be really good. She's all about finding those flank routes and she has a lot of play and clutching potential. Her passive is imo insane and her kit is pretty good. I know that people hate shotguns but i legit believe that her shotgun is somewhat viable. Her SMG is fun to use bcs it barely has recoil or spread and has good dps. However she doesn't bring too much to the team, almost like a pub stomper Rogue. Very fun to play. Chaac: I hate Chaac. When i just started playing i had so many problems with him. Now i feel like he's just ok. His ability is good on paper, getting more hp before engaging and self revive can come in clutch sometimes. His SMG is imo the best if not one of the best weapons in the game. His shotgun is ok. Same as Lancer he doesn't bring much to the team and is really a pub stomper. However i feel like Lancer's ability has more potential while Chaac's arsenal is better. Talon: Talon is pretty interesting. His kit has a lot of improvement potential. His ability is decent and his passive is situational, but nice to use. Imagine having to walk all the way to the bomb to pick it up lmao. I like his SMG bcs it's low on recoil with just enough spread so you don't have to be dead accurate all the time, and it's silenced! A good Talon player will help the team a lot with good dart positioning, but other than that he doesn't do much. C: Glitch: Glitch ability is meh. It can be nice to locate people around you, but i find the hack pretty useless. It only disables the option to use abilities / gadgets but you can still shoot. He has ok arsenal. Nothing much to say about him. I'd love to see a rework to his ability, i think he's a wasted potential design. Trench: Trench's ability, the barbed wire, feels VERY awkward to use. I hate how low range it is and it's rarely helpful. I got slowed by my own Trenchs more than enemy Trenchs. However he can still sometimes help. His passive is pretty good. 3 Tear gasses is no joke. His weapons are decent. He has the slow firing AK for long range and a DMR that's pretty good. However i don't think you judge a defender based on their weapons but their ability a lot more. That's why he's very situational imo. D: To clarify, i see all 3 Rogues in D tier as OTPs Rogues, they don't really suck. Scorch: I wanted to place her S tier bcs i think she's really overpowered. She has a SMG with insane fire rate but low damage, however her ability makes up for it and turns into a melting machine. I hate this character with burning passion :) She's also immune to fire which is great. However she's placed in OTP bcs some players just can't play her right enough, miss shots and waste her ability. She's pretty skilled considering she's based on aim and in Rogue Company there are many ways to make someone miss shots. Phantom: She's either trash or insane. She has the potential to oneshot people or just land a body shot and finish with a pistol shot. Her pistol has insane damage drop off but it's pretty good imo, low ammo forces you to upgrade it early. Her DMR is trash, it's inaccurate and with 28 dmg it doesn't make up for it. Her ability is dumpster. It's literally just a smoke that doesn't cover well enough. You don't need more than 13 iq to understand that you can just not walk into it. Luckily her passive is useful. Same here i'd love to see her ability get reworked pls! Vy: My main, my fav, my bae. I'ma call her Viper bcs i think it suits her better than "vy", how do you even pronounce it? She's pretty similar to Viper from Valorant too, which i love, too. Anyways i always see people talking about her AR being insane. I actually think it's just ok. It can lose to SMGs up close as much as it can beat them, same for ARs in long range. It has low damage drop off but it already has low damage so that doesn't matter. It's like an SMG AR mix and it's just a decent gun. Her shotgun is trash, but fun. Can work. Her ability is the problem tho, it's why she's really weak probably the weakest if not 2nd weakest Rogue. Her ability feels very awkward to use. It has short range, a delay in the throw and it's SLOW. It has this bug where you can't see it's radius but when that gets fixed it's gonna be even weaker. It's more of an area denial ability, like a smoke. You can sometimes cheap hp with it which can be helpful once in a blue moon. If you're against bad players you'll destroy them with it. I once got someone to 70 hp... sad Scorch :( Her passive can make tiny differences in gun fights, but tbh in most of my gun fights i get enough hp to survive anyways. Once in a blue moon i'll get a close enough gunfight and enough hp from her passive that is already hard to get bcs you have to hit someone with your ability enough to gain enough hp to survive a gun fight if their weapon just has barely enough dps to catch you OMG IT'S SO SITUATIONAL IT'S INSANE. I'm glad she's getting buffed so now the rate of her passive is 2:2 instead of 2:1. Which means every tick will give you 2 hp instead of 1 however i still think her guns are weak. I love her perks tho. I really think she can be pushed to the S / high A tier without being too strong or op. Thanks for reading this. Keep in mind that this is just my opinion and i feel like this game is more opinion base than any other game.
Preface Going into the 2019 season, the Patriots held very high expectations. The defense that had just shut down the high-powered 2018 Rams offense had arguably gotten better. Although the offense had lost Rob Gronkowski, the addition of first-round WR N’Keal Harry and free agent Demaryius Thomas seemed to at least keep their offensive options. Combining this with Sony Michel coming off a successful rookie campaign and 4 of 5 starters of a strong offensive line, with Trent Brown being replaced by 2018 1st round selection Isaiah Wynn, the offensive situation looked optimistic for New England. As the team progressed through the 2019 preseason and into the season itself, things began to look even better. Although N’Keal Harry injured himself in the first preseason game, the team was eventually informed that Josh Gordon would be reinstated, even being allowed to start Week 1. The defense showed its prowess throughout the preseason, especially against the Lions and Panthers, with the only bad game coming against the Giants, when the Patriots mainly played people at the bottom of the depth chart. To add to New England fans’ excitement, they saw their team sign WR Antonio Brown the night before the team’s debut against the Steelers. As New England embarrassed Brown’s former team 33-3, and then the Dolphins 43-0 it seemed almost inevitable that New England would become the first franchise to win 7 Super Bowls. However, that was not how the season progressed. Brown couldn’t handle himself even under Belichick’s control, and his decision to threaten the children of one of his accusers of sexual assault found him released from the team. Josh Gordon was injured Week 6 against the Giants, eventually being medically released and later found to have relapsed when he was on the Seahawks. The rest of the offense was riddled with injuries: Julian Edelman had nagging rib injuries, Philip Dorsett hurt his foot early in the year and also sustained a concussion, Mohammed Sanu sustained an ankle injury in his first game, early kick/punt returner Gunner Olsewski was injured in Week 7, Brady himself reportedly struggled with his elbow. The worst effects of injury came against the Offensive Line, as 4 out of the 5 starters sustained some injury, and this is not including the fact that C David Andrews missed the whole season because of pulmonary embolism. The most impactful injury out of this bunch was LT Isaiah Wynn, as the team had to deploy Marshall Newhouse to replace him, a role that Newhouse did not fill adequately, to say the least. Blocking also suffered when FB James Devlin suffered a season ending injury, followed by his backup Jakob Johnson also being put on IR only a few games later. Matt LaCosse and Ben Watson both missed multiple games, forcing the team to only roll with Ryan Izzo at tight end at some times. These many injuries, as well as a terrible TE corps, not only stunted the passing attack but also crippled the running game. Michel was often met and tackled in the backfield, resulting in a terrible YPC despite being the AFC East’s leading rusher. Despite these offense struggles, the team’s excellent defense performance, in combination with facing many subpar offenses, carried the team to a 12-4 record and the 3rd seed in the AFC. However, the offensive struggles were too great for the team; although the team’s defense held the red-hot Titans offense to 14 points and gave the offense multiple chances to pull ahead, the offense failed to perform when needed, unable to finish drives, even when on Tennessee’s 1-yard line. Sometimes you really do need an offense to win a championship. Pre-draft Notable Losses QB Tom Brady, FA, Buccaneers: The one loss that seemed unthinkable until it really happened. Even though we knew that Brady’s contract voided after this year, many fans thought he was still going to re-sign and finish his career here. However, New England really did not have the cap space to do so and build a satisfactory team around him, causing Brady to decide to sign with the Buccaneers, a team with high offensive potential and has a shot at the super bowl. The Greatest QB of All Time will be missed here in New England, as the team experiences uncertainty at the position for the first time in nearly 20 years. FB James Devlin, Retirement: When it was announced that it was a neck injury that sidelined Devlin for the rest of the season, his future with the team was in doubt. Once the team signed free agent Dan Vitale, it was almost certain that Devlin would announce his retirement sooner or later. James Devlin was an underrated part of the Pats’ success in the 2010s, where he proved to be a reliable lead blocker, bolstering the effectiveness of New England’s run game. His absence for most of 2019 was palpable as the team consistently struggled establishing a run game, and the Patriots have a tall task of finding an effective replacement for him. K Stephen Gostkowski, Released: Gostkowski’s departure represented another long-time Patriot staple leaving the team, although the Patriots had started to live without him as his season ended very early due to an injury that required surgery. The Patriots missed Gostkowski’s leg last year, as the team could not reliably score field goals longer than 40 yards, causing the offense to attempt 4th down conversions deep into enemy territory. LB Kyle Van Noy, FA, Dolphins: One of Belichick’s greatest successes in terms of correctly utilizing players that were previously viewed as ‘busts’ because their coaches could not use them correctly. Van Noy was acquired from the Lions for a measly swap of 6th and 7th picks midway through the 2016 season. Throughout his tenure with the Patriots, especially within the last two seasons, Van Noy became a staple piece in the team’s LB corps with his versatility and great fundamentals. Van Noy now joins his former LB coach Brian Flores in Miami, who will likely maximize Van Noy’s potential. LB Elendon Roberts, FA, Miami: Elandon Roberts joined his teammate Van Noy in joining Miami to be coached under Brian Flores. Roberts was promoted to captain for his final season in New England, and primarily played most of his defensive snaps as a run-defending thumping linebacker. Roberts also filled in as an emergency FB when both Devlin and Johnson were injured, and played decently well for a third-string FB, I guess. Roberts represents another role that the Patriots had to fill through free agency and the draft. LB Jamie Collins, FA, Lions: The Patriots added a familiar face in the athletic freak Jamie Collins heading into the 2019 season. Collins’ athleticism allowed him to flash in the early parts of the 2019 season, when he obtained a pick-six at Miami and almost blocked a Bills field goal attempt by broad jumping over the Bills’ line. Like Van Noy, Collins heads to a former Patriots defensive coach in Matt Patricia in Detroit. Unlike the Dolphins, the Lions front office did not watch the second half of the 2019 season, where Collins tended to lose discipline and become a liability in the defense, showing off some of his former issues. I highly doubt Lions fans will think Collins is worth his $10 million APY contract DT Danny Shelton, FA, Lions: Patriots North scoops up another Patriots player, what a surprise. Going into the 2019 preseason, Shelton seemed like he might be on the outside looking in for the Patriots roster. It looked like other tackles such as Mike Pennel had the ability to replace Shelton. However, Shelton impressed and was able to earn his spot on the team. The nose tackle’s primary role throughout the season was to be a run defender, a role he played quite well. Shelton will help add some strength to a Lions defensive front that played badly last year. DB Duron Harmon, Traded, Lions: Duron Harmon was a long-time player at the safety position, filling in the role of the third safety while working alongside McCourty and Chung. He earned the nickname of “the closer” due to his performances at the end of matches where he would end the game through obtaining an interception. The Patriots quickly found their replacement for Harmon, most notably adding DB/ST Adrian Phillips, so there really isn’t much worry for him leaving the team. OL Coach Dante Scarnecchia, Retirement: Arguably the greatest loss that the Patriots suffered outside of Tom Brady, the OL guru has again decided to retire. Scarnecchia is responsible for the Patriots having great offensive lines throughout his tenure and is a sometimes underrated aspect of their wild success. Unlike Scar’s previous retirement in 2014 where he was replaced by Dave DeGuglielmo, both Cole Popovich and Carmen Briscillo have experience being an understudy of Scarnecchia, which will likely help to soften the blow of his retirement. There were also rumors that Scar was still advising New England on scouting the OL position for the draft, so perhaps you can never keep this man away from this team. Additions, Extensions, Retentions, C David Andrews, Returning from IR: Although this technically does not fit this category, Andrews deserves to be mentioned. Even though Ted Karras played decently as he was thrust into the starting role, the Patriots felt Andrews absence, especially in the run game. Losing Andrews also likely contributed to the rest of the IOL (especially Mason, who played a lot of the season with a foot injury) not performing as well as they could have. Andrews' return will improve Jarrett Stidham’s performance, both through his protection as well as increasing the effectiveness of the Patriots’ rushing attack. OG Joe Thuney, Franchise Tag: Bringing back Thuney was a wise move for the Patriots. The star left guard will be instrumental to protecting young quarterback Jarrett Stidham as well as ensuring the run game operates smoothly. Although some consider IOL to be a low-value position, Thuney will help the team acclimate to the other changes that happened around the offense. Having a solid line is an important element of building a good offense, and Thuney will ensure that the left guard position will work reliably. DBs Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung: With Brady leaving, the Patriots found it valuable to keep long-time veterans around the team to maintain their team morale and culture while acclimating to the personnel change. McCourty has been a captain and locker room leader of the Patriots for quite some time and will be an important leader as the team adjusts to 2020. Both McCourty and Chung will feature in what should be a very strong secondary unit throughout the 2020 season. DB/ST Adrian Phillips, FA: Boy do the Patriots love versatility special teamers! Phillips has played well as a special teamer and also played in many positions in the Chargers secondary, and will bring his veteran experience to the Patriots secondary. He will likely play in the rotation of safeties with Chung and McCourty, filling in a similar role to Harmon, who was traded the day before Phillips was signed. DT Beau Allen, FA: The former Buccaneers DT will likely fill in as a replacement for Danny Shelton, who left the team to play for Detroit. Allen projects to play as a run-stuffing nose tackle that will ensure the Patriots can control the run. FB Danny Vitale, FA: Vitale is an interesting signing. While he is listed as a fullback, he probably will not be a straight replacement for the retired James Devlin. Devlin primarily filled in as a lead blocker and sometimes as a rusher, but very rarely was used as a downfield threat. Vitale has some decent athleticism and pass-catching experience that the Patriots will likely utilize. His versatility may mean the Patriots move him around a lot instead of just using him as a lead blocker, though he has decent experience at that position as well. LB Brandon Copeland, FA: Copeland was a signing the Patriots made to help account for the losses they had in free agency. The veteran LB recently played for the division rival Jets, where he primarily performed off the ball under Gregg Williams. Copeland brings some versatility and leadership as he has had to adapt from playing from the defensive line to off the ball. WRs Marqise Lee and Dameire Byrd, FA: Byrd’s main attribute is straight-line speed, though he really has never been able to convert it into a high amount of production, in part due to injuries. Perhaps it’s because Dorsett was on this team for three straight years, but I am not going to bet on Byrd producing just because he has speed. Lee is much more interesting, as he was able to produce solidly during 2016-17. However, Lee has not performed nearly at all in the last two years because of injuries. If Lee can return to his pre-injury form, (though not very likely), he could carve out a pretty decent role on this New England roster. The Draft: 2.37 Kyle Dugger, DB, Lenoir-Rhyne: It wasn’t a surprise to many Patriots fans that the team elected to trade out of their first round pick, though some that held up hope the Patriots would make a selection might have been disappointed. Many fans wondered where the team would go with their first pick, and when it was announced that the team chose a DB from a division II school, people were initially exasperated. Belichick’s record with 2nd round defensive backs is quite well known such that it has become a meme within the fanbase and around the NFL. His main success with the position in the second round was with Patrick Chung, and even he wasn’t very successful until his second stint. Obviously, we can’t declare a player a success or failure just because of prior trends or draft position and instead should look at the player himself if we are to make a judgement upon him. Coming out of high school, Dugger only received offers from DII schools because he was very undersized. As he eventually grew into his frame in Lenoir-Rhyne, he elected to commit to the school that recruited him. Dugger is a hard-hitting player who most likely will transition to playing in the box as a safety for the Patriots, likely eventually taking over for aging veteran Patrick Chung. What separates Dugger from many other defensive backs the Patriots have selected over the recent years is his athleticism. Dugger running a 4.49s 40, jumping 42 inches in the vertical jump and 134 in the broad jump while being 6’1” and 217 pounds presents a mixture of speed, size, and athleticism that is rare for a safety. The main aspect of his game that the Patriots need to work on is his transition to playing against NFL-level competition. Generally, the jump from a DI school to the NFL is quite large, the difference from DII to the NFL is even larger. It will likely take a year or two for Dugger to be ready to be a significant contributor on the defense as he adjusts to his new system. Adapting to these circumstances, the Patriots have ensured that Dugger will not have a lot of pressure to perform on defense early on through extending Chung and signing Phillips. Interestingly, Dugger’s coaching throughout his years at Lenoir-Rhyne has been inconsistent, he had to play under three different coordinators during his four years at the school. Hopefully with some great coaching and system stability with Bill and Steve Belichick Dugger can carve out his role as a future player in the secondary. Perhaps to the disappointment of some Patriots fans, Dugger’s contributions early in his career will most likely be on special teams. Dugger had experience being a returner in college, and I would not be surprised if that becomes his primary role early on in his tenure. Dugger’s athletic ability gives him the potential to become a future star on the team if he can adapt to the NFL. Only time will tell whether he works out or becomes another player too add to the list of failed second round picks. 2.60 Josh Uche, OLB, Michigan: Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio remarked that prior to day two, the Patriots had three players they had a priority on acquiring: Dugger was one of them, and Uche was the other that the Patriots were able to draft with their selections. Like Dugger, Uche is an explosive athlete with great speed as well as motor. Due to enduring an injury in the senior bowl, he was unable to participate in the combine. However, his athleticism shows up on film. Uche is a very versatile player, being able to play both on the line as well as off the ball and his efforts got him named the most versatile player by PFF in their 2020 draft guide. Michigan DC Don Brown said that he put Uche in nearly every position on the defense. I am sure Belichick was quite happy when he saw the 245 pound linebacker in coverage downfield against Penn State WR KJ Hamler. Amongst his versatility, his pass rush ability is what truly stands out. His 23.2% pressure rate and 28.2% pass rush win rate were second in both categories in the FBS. Uche achieved these great statistics through his incredible getoff off the line as well as good hand placement combined with his fantastic athleticism. Don Brown stated that Uche’s primary motivation was to become the best pass rusher in the country, and the dedication and work that Uche put in to be amongst the best in the country showed throughout the 2019 season. The primary aspect of Uche’s game that he needs to solidify in order to increase his role on the Patriots is increasing consistency with run defense. Uche marked the first of five consecutive selections the Patriots made that addressed pressing needs. Considering the amount of LB talent that left over the offseason, it is possible that Uche will see a decent amount of playing time on the defense, perhaps in a similar role to former Wolverine Chase Winovich, whom Uche now rejoins in New England. I see Uche likely being the second-most impactful rookie to play for the Patriots this season, helping to strengthen the team’s pass rush, resulting in a more effective pass defense overall. 3.87 AnferneeJennings, OLB, Alabama: Jennings’ selection serves as a nice complement to Uche’s. While Uche is this very athletic and undersized linebacker, Jennings better fits into the traditional, big, physical type of linebacker. Coming from Alabama, Jennings offers great fundamentals and football IQ that come from developing under Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban. While he may not be the most athletic or flashy player, Jennings will likely cement his role in the Patriots defense as a solid and reliable player, especially against the run. Jennings registered great production during his time at Alabama, leading edge defenders in FBS for run-stop rate at 12.6%. The Alabama product has often been compared to former Patriots LB Kyle Van Noy due to his ability to be a versatile piece across the line. Jennings is a very persevering player as well. In 2018 he suffered a worrying knee injury. Fortunately, the injury did not prevent him from returning to the field, but Jenninngs had to put in a lot of effort in order to return to his previous form. Saban also complimented Jennings’s dedication to improving himself in practice sessions. Jennings likely projects as an edge defender who will play very well against the run while also sometimes dropping into coverage. Jennings will likely see a fair amount of action as a rookie, especially on rushing downs. While he may not have a high ceiling, Jennings will likely be an anchor of the Pats’ defense as he progresses through his contract. 3.91 Devin Asiasi, TE, UCLA: On the offense, New England desperately needed to do something with their TE situation. Matt Lacosse may be a replacement level backup, but Ryan Izzo is not an NFL-caliber player. With very little cap space to address the position in free agency, the Patriots looked to the draft to fill their TE position. By selecting Asiasi in the third round, it is the first time the Patriots have spent a day two or higher pick on a tight end since 2010, when they selected Gronkowski. Asiasi will likely become the Patriots number 1 option at the position. When looking at Bill Belichick’s 1991 scouting notes shared by Daniel Jeremiah, NBC analyst Phil Perry noted that Asiasi seems to fit the bill for the number one role. Devin Asiasi displayed great catching ability throughout his year starting at UCLA, only having one drop throughout the entire year. Asiasi also demonstrated great ability to run after the catch, averaging 5.6 yards in this category. Another ability that Asiasi brings as a TE that the Patriots sorely missed in 2019 is blocking. Even if Asiasi won’t perform as a great blocker (which is best reserved for #2 or #3 TEs anyway), it will most likely be better than the awfulness that was Patriot tight end blocking last year. Asiasi was suspended for three games in the 2018 season for undisclosed reasons by Chip Kelly. However, Bill Belichick and the Patriots are on good terms with UCLA head coach Chip Kelly, meaning that they were able to confer with Kelly and confirm that Asiasi would be a good fit with the team and his suspensions were nothing to.worry about. Asiasi also possesses high football intelligence, being able to run complex concepts such as option routes in Kelly’s TE heavy offense. Even though Asiasi is undersized for what people normally think of a #1 TE , only being 6’3” and 257 lbs., his athletic ability and smooth movement should translate well into the NFL. Although Asiasi will likely be the starting Y-Tight End for the Patriots offense, I would not bet on him to break the trend of rookie TEs having low production, though Asiasi will definitely contribute in blocking. 3.101 Dalton Keene, TE, Virginia Tech: The Patriots also repeated something that they did 10 years ago, which was taking two tight ends in the draft. Dalton Keene is an interesting prospect to project for the Patriots. His playstyle resembles that of an F or move tight end. Even Belichick admitted after drafting Keene that they would have work to do in terms of finding him a role on this team, since the role that Keene played in the Virginia Tech offense is nothing like anything the Patriots run in their offense. If Keene seems to be such a confusing fit for the Patriots, then what made the team trade back up into the third round in order to select him. The most defining feature that Keene exhibits through his play is toughness. He is a very dedicated and ruthless player, oftentimes toughing it out through injury and not playing with high regard to his health while on the field. The aggressiveness that Keene displayed both during practice and games caused his teammates to give him the nickname of “Rambo”. Keene’s offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen called him the toughest player he has ever seen. Keene has never produced that much in the receiving game, only racking up 341 yards in his most productive receiving season. Perhaps given his athletic talent it suggests that Virginia Tech underutilized his ability in the passing game, instead placing more focus upon his ability in the run game instead. Keene will be a versatile player and likely fill multiple roles as the Patriots’ second tight end, primarily being used as that F tight end, move tight end, or perhaps H-back. He may in fact share similar duties to FB Danny Vitale. I would be more than happy if Keene and Asiasi can combine for about 600-700 receiving yards and a few touchdowns in their rookie year. 5.159 Justin Rohrwasser, K, Marshall: Another need that the Patriots needed to fill during the draft or free agency was the kicker position. Many people expected the Patriots to take someone like Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia Southern kicker Tyler Bass, or Chase Vinatieri from South Dakota. When the Patriots selected Rohrwasser, a kicker who was so unknown that he didn’t even have a profile on the NFL’s website many people were confused. What caused the Patriots to select this unknown kicker from Marshall. Rohrwasser displayed great performance throughout the 2019 season, having a statistically better season compared to the other higher profile kickers in the draft. Rohrwasser made 18 of 21 field goals and 35 of 36 XPs. He was perfect on kicks greater than 50 yards out, even hitting a clutch field goal from 53 yards against Western Kentucky after being iced twice. Belichickj stated that the Patriots have watched over 250 kicks and were impressed by his ability to kick in clutch situations as well as poor conditions, something Rohrwasser will have to do often in the AFC East. It is unclear whether Rohrwasser will relieve punter Jake Bailey of his kickoff duties (thought I think it’s more likely than not). If there is any position I trust Bill to evaluate, it’ s the placekicker. Rohrwasser will likely be the most impactful rookie on the patriots, mainly because he is the only surefire starter out of all of them. If Rohrwasser succeeds, the Patriots will be able to not go for fourth downs deep in enemy territory again and have a good kicker on a cheap rookie deal. 6.182 Michael Onwenu, OG, Michigan: After addressing many immediate needs, the Patriots decided to take some shots at reserve linemen. Considering what happened in 2019, it is smart for the Patriots to add some young talent to the Offensive Line in order to account for things not going according to plan. The first thing that strikes people when they look at Onwenu is his size. This man is HUGE, especially for an interior lineman. Coming in at 6’3”, around 350 lbs (he actually weighed closer to 370 during the season at college), Onwenu is a very physically imposing presence. He is very good at doing his job of not letting defenders get by him. During his past two years at Michigan, Onwenu played 1198 snaps, Onwenu only allowed 13 pressures and 2 sacks. He plays with great power and if he is able to get his hands on the defender, then it is over. Onwenu also possesses decent movement ability for his size; he will be able to perhaps do downfield blocking a bit better than people expect him to. Also, according to Michigan’s OL coach Ed Warriner, Onenwu really doesn’t have the ability to go much lower than 345 lbs. Onenwu will start out on the team as a backup in the iOL, though more likely in his natural position of RG. Onenwu is quite different compared to New England’s other iOLs, he is 50 pounds heavier than the rest of our starting interiors. It will be interesting to see how Onwenu is able to execute the Patriots’ offensive scheme considering how physically different he is compared to Thuney, Andrews, and Mason. Either way, Onenwu will be a reliable depth piece that can protect Stidham if any of the starters go down. 6.195 Justin Herron, OG/OT, Wake Forest: The second lineman that the Patriots invested draft capital in was Justin Herron. Herron started 51 games for Wake Forest, exclusively at the LT position. Herron’s experience at the position will likely slot him in as the primary backup to Isaiah Wynn, who has spent a lot of time of his career injured. Herron did suffer an ACL tear in the first week of the 2018 season, but rebounded quite well in 2019. Herron, like Onwenu, is a great pass-blocker. In 2017, the season prior to tearing his ACL, Herron allowed zero sacks. In 2019, when he recovered from his ACL injury, he only allowed four sacks and 13 pressures. Some analysts raise questions about Herron playing tackle at the next level, instead projecting him as a guard. Interestingly, analysts made similar remarks about now-starting LT Isaiah Wynn. Considering that he only played left tackle during his time in college, I think the Patriots evaluated him and will use him as a tackle. If New England wanted an interior lineman, they likely would have selected someone else. Another concern that some have about Herron is his athleticism, which showed up at the combine, especially in his 8.41s three-cone drill. Scarnecchia often said the Patriots don’t care too much about athleticism in the OL, saying that they only needed to be athletic-enough. If the Patriots were that concerned about his athletic ability, he likely wouldn’t have been selected. Even so, it’s a great idea to grab a tackle who played solidly in college and will spend most of his rookie deal as a reserve player. This pick will be a success if Herron makes the team and can competently back up Wynn if he finds himself injured again. 6.204 Cassh Maluia, LB, Wyoming: In the midst of the Patriots grabbing multiple offensive lineman, the Patriots selected another linebacker to increase their depth. During the 2019 season, Maluia went relatively under the radar due to his fellow linebacker and 65th overall pick Logan Wilson. However, those who studied Wilson likely saw Maluia pop out on a few occasions and make great plays. Maluia is an athletic and undersized linebacker, weighing in at only 231 lbs. His athleticism showed up both on tape and on the field, where Maluia displayed versatility across the field being able to both be a thumper as well as a decent coverage player. Maluia’s biggest concern is probably his tackling form, as his aggressiveness caused him to miss a fair amount of times. If Maluia makes the 53 man, he will likely contribute mostly as a special teams player, though his athletic ability might allow him to play a few snaps at defense. 7.230 David Woodard, C, Memphis: With their final selection in the 2020 NFL draft, the Patriots threw a dart at another reserve lineman. Woodard played all across his the iOL throughout his college career, displaying the versatility that is desired in a backup lineman. Woodard does not have athletic testing available, though some analysts expressed concern about his athletic ability and his size, as Woodard only weighs 291 lbs. As detailed earlier, the Patriots generally concern themself more with technique than pure size and athleticism, and Woodard displays great technique. He graded out as the best run-blocking and second best pass-blocking center in 2019 through PFFs metrics. The Patriots will likely have to still improve Woodard’s technique to make him a future part of the team. Woodard projects as a reserve interior guy, particularly backing up C David Andrews if he makes the team. UDFAs Considering that a UDFA has made the New England roster for 16 straight years, I think it is appropriate to talk about some of the more interesting prospects in short. These are not all of the FAs the Patriots signed but some that I think are the most interesting and have the greatest chance to make the team. For the QB position, the Patriots signed Michigan State QB Brian Lewerke and Louisiana Tech QB J’Mar Smith. Lewerke initially showed promise but a shoulder injury he suffered in 2018 really derailed his career. Smith is more interesting, as he displayed his athleticism throughout his career, as well as possessing great arm strength and ability to make flash off-platform throws. He was suspended for a game, but in his 11 starts he went 10-1 and won C-USA offensive player of the year. Neither QB really poses much threat to Stidham, but if one of them shows promise (especially Smith, who reportedly had a few offers from other teams), don’t be surprised if Belichick makes space for them on the 53 man roster. For the WR position, which many people were surprised the Patriots did not take a shot at in the draft, the most interesting players are Auburn WR Will Hastings and Miami WR Jeff Thomas. Hastings was Stidham’s former slot receiver in college, racking up 26 receptions and 525 yards with the QB in 2017. Hastings tore his ACL prior to 2018, and Stidham missed his reliable option during the season. Hastings ran a 4.49s 40 and a blistering 6.64s 3-cone during his pro-day. Hasting’s connection with Stidham may allow for him to sneak onto the team. Thomas, on the other hand, mostly specialized as a deep threat for the Hurricanes. Even though he is undersized at 5’9 and 170 lbs, many scouts said he displayed draftable talent throughout his career. The aspect of Thomas that was more influential in making him a UDFA is his character concerns. Thomas has had an issue with nearly every coaching staff that he has interacted with, and got kicked off the 2018 team for attitude issues. If Thomas can pull himself together and realize that there are no more chances, he could transform into a future weapon for the Patriots. Arizona RB J.J. Taylor is another interesting pickup for the Patriots. He is very short, coming in at only 5’5” tall (never in my life did I think I would be taller than a Pats player), but still manages to pack 185 lbs. Despite his size, Taylor is quite talented, displaying some decent shiftiness as well as the ability to bounce through contact. Perhaps because of his size and elusive playstyle, he has drawn comparisons to former Patriots RB Dion Lewis. If Taylor can show enough ability throughout the offseason, he might be able to get the Patriots to replace a RB, primarily Rex Burkhead, who many Pats fans theorize the team will cut for a few years now. Ohio State TE Rashod Berry is another interesting player the Patriots picked up. He reportedly may change his position to OLB. Berry had some experience playing defense for Ohio State early in his career, though he did some snaps along the defense for a few games in his senior year. Many Ohio State fans say that Berry is a very athletic player who was underutilized by the Ohio State system. Wherever he plays, it will be interesting to see how his skill translates to the next level. On the defensive side of the ball the Patriots were able to sign Auburn EDGE Nick Coe after negotiations between him and the Bills fell through. Coe was one of the top ranked free agents after the draft talent-wise, as he produced well in his first few seasons at Auburn. He is a much more prototypical big edge player the Patriots generally use in their system, but also has the versatility to play off the ball. However, Coe seems happiest playing as an edge rusher off the line. Coe’s main issue is his off-the field issues, where he feuded with his coaching staff over his assignments on the team, and also did not put in as much effort as a result. Coe is a very high-potential signing, but he will have to accept whatever role New England gives him if he wants to succeed. The signing that gave the most guaranteed money went to Arkansas LB De’Jon Harris. Harris primarily plays as a thumping linebacker, which will likely be his role if he manages the Patriots. He has been theorized to fill a similar role to Elandon Roberts did last year (though likely not as a FB on offense). As a thumper, Harris’ best ability is tracking down and meeting the ball carrier, except he does suffer from some tackling issues. The Patriots somehow managed to convince Bill Murray to join the team, where he will slot in on the defensive line. The DT from William & Mary displays good ability to be disruptive along the defensive line, though keep in mind that this was against FCS competition. Murray also managed to block 10 kicks during his tenure, something that Belichick is surely proud of. He reportedly is also a guy who is great at making his teammates laugh, perhaps like his celebrity counterpart. Considering that DL is a weaker position on the Patriots, Murray has a real shot to get on the team with his talent. If I am going to talk about UDFAs that have a great chance of making the team, I am not going to overlook the secondary. The DB that the patriots signed this year was Washington’s Myles Bryant. Bryant is another undersized player, only coming at 5’8” and 183 lbs.. and primarily played free safety in 2019 after playing slot corner for the previous two years. Bryant showed good short-area quickness on the field as well as in athletic testing, running a 6.81s 3-cone. His greatest weakness is tackling, likely worsened by his small size. Bryant will need to improve his tackling if he wants to make the team. I also wanted to shout out 2019 UDFA UNM DB D’Angelo Ross, another undersized corner that showed some promise in the preseason prior to suffering a season-ending injury. I still don’t fully understand why Belichick spends so many premier picks on DBs when he can just pull great ones out of his rear nearly every year in the UDFA market. Roster Projection: Projecting the Patriots roster is especially difficult due to the amount of bodies at many positions such as OL, LB, and DB. This problem is exacerbated by the fact I haven’t seen anyone play yet or have the most recent updates on everyone’s health. I am not confident that this roster will be that accurate to the final roster that appears week 1. QB (2) - Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer RB (5) - Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, Brandon Bolden, Damien Harris FB (1) - Dan Vitale WR (7) - N’Keal Harry, Mohammed Sanu, Julian Edelman, Marqise Lee, Jakobi Meyers, Matt Slater, Jeff Thomas TE (2) - Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene OL (9) - Isaiah Wynn, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Marcus Cannon, Yodny Cajuste, Justin Herron, Hjalte Froholdt, Michael Onwenu DL (4) - Adam Butler, Beau Allen, Lawrence Guy, Byron Cowart EDGE/LB (9) - Deatrich Wise, Chase Winovich, John Simon, Josh Uche, Anfernee Jennings, Dont’a Hightower, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Cassh Maluia, Brandon King CB (6) - Stephon Gilmore, Joejuan Williams, Jason McCourty, J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Justin Bethel, S (5) - Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Adrian Phillips, Kyle Dugger, Terrence Brooks K - Justin Rohrwasser P - Jake Bailey LS - Joe Cardona KR and PR - Dugger Conclusion? The Patriots enter a time of uncertainty that hasn’t existed in my lifetime. This 2020 squad is very hard to predict because of all the unknowns that exist all over the team, most notably at QB. It is possible that the Patriots perform better on the offense this year due to the sheer amount of players that are now healthy, especially alongside the offensive line. Although it is most likely the Patriots will not be a contender this year, depending on how well Stidham and the rest of the offense perform and develop, the team could bring itself into contention as early as 2021. I anxiously, but optimistically, await this team’s future.
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