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PCG, a second shot at riding 11->18+ on bankruptcy exit
EDIT: JUDGE JUST RULED, DISMISSING ABRAMS MOTION, WE GOING TO THE MOON BOIIIISS, NO DELAYS ON EXIT! Hey all, here to share the last chance you have at getting PCG cheap before all the catalysts the next two weeks make it run like Usain Bolt to the mid-high teens This past week there’s been a few good posts on PCG—thanks u/veritasinvestments and u/hjkoivu. Credit to mgr4 and others who helped contribute to this DD through discussion and research I’m sure most of you degenerates are too lazy to read them, much less figure out what’s going on, so feel free to skip to the tl;dr. But for those of you who care, here’s my take on things. I wanted to post because this is a rare good opportunity on WSB, and also because it needs to be explained more simply, with greater examination of the details, so that my fellow gamblers can understand. I told people to buy PCG back in December almost six months ago https://www.reddit.com/wallstreetbets/comments/e7h72m/pcg_growing_more_and_more_likely_to_exit/ when it was under 10$ and looked like a potential bankruptcy exit was possible. It ran to 18$ by February on the idea that PCG would exit bankruptcy and made mucho tendies. If you played this and made money, great, if not don't fret, you got another shot rabbit, don't choke this time Just this morning Barclays upgraded to overweight, earlier UBS upgraded to 15$ PT based on exiting bankruptcy likely Today we got a once in a lifetime do-over thanks to COVID where we are at the final precipice of bankruptcy exit, its priced at 11$ (and rising with upgrades each week), the final votes are the next two weeks and things are all looking positive. TL;DR PCG going towards 20$ by end of June, Shares = free $$, 5/29 calls near 14.50/15 are high risk targets, 6/19 calls towards 15$ are less risky and mucho money, september 20C are free money, buy, sell on run up next 6 weeks and IV spikes PCG - A Load of Hot Shit PCG is a CA power company that did a bunch of naughty things and some homes / people burnt up (CA is a tinderbox come summertime). This resulted in PCG having to account for huge insurance claims, which obviously sent them into bankruptcy. The share price understandably plummeted: https://preview.redd.it/4vir721wnxy41.png?width=773&format=png&auto=webp&s=a0c47db89008359b791a0d1765969f4c52d4a433 Now, the more observant among you may also note rather large spikes in volume in Jan 2019 and December / Jan 2020, followed by the share price rising significantly. What caused these spikes, you may ask? Well, the chance that PCG could come out of bankruptcy in a manner that would be beneficial to the shareholders of PCG’s equity. However, both times the plan was delayed, resulting in lower confidence and the share price dropping. Clearly, if these had been actual exits, PCG would have skyrocketed—we’re seeing the price hit $17-20+ on proposals and rumors alone. That’s because PCG is monopolistic in California, and would be an absolute beast given two things: 1. It could exit on semi-favorable terms and 2. It could ensure, in some way, that it wouldn’t get fucked over by a fire yet again through enforcement of measures to reduce risk (and a nice tidy 20B+ wildfire fund that the state provides to help utilities reduce the burden of paying for fire liabilities). Simply look at the following screenshot of its income statement these last few years, and imagine what it would look like if “unusual items” (give you one guess as to what those are) were removed: https://preview.redd.it/i2r4y3vxnxy41.png?width=660&format=png&auto=webp&s=d86e04b205546dcce59fcc720a0ab11bce57082d Good news, degens! The bankruptcy exit plans are underway again, and they do the two major things mentioned above. PG&E is allowed to remain solvent and continue generating huge revenues ($4.3 billion + in Q12020 and even more in Covid times as people stay home). Second, assuming PG&E exits by June 30th—a provision designed to help speed the process along—they’ll have access to $20+ billion in protection from a CA fund for future wildfire liabilities. So why will the bankruptcy exit occur now, when it didn’t in the past? Well, as Sir John Templeton once said when noting the four most promising words in investing, “This time it’s different!” A Phoenix from the Ashes For detailed past context on this whole process, read this article, it's great https://www.ft.com/content/582dd6e7-2ea5-4520-ae4c-d50c00c3799e Here’s a timeline of the bankruptcy exit process. The two key dates are today, the 21st, and the 27th, which are when the victims' votes and the CPUC approval vote will be in, respectively, and when judge will confirm bankruptcy exit plan assuming everything positive. I’ll explain these terms soon, but just know that if both of these pass, PCG will almost certainly exit, resulting in mucho (California term) tendies when judge confirms bankruptcy exit: https://preview.redd.it/mz45y0uynxy41.png?width=257&format=png&auto=webp&s=fbd24b8306a61de087f8d2a2c87f7686fbc7edb8 What are the chances of these votes passing? I’ll address the CPUC vote first. The California Public Utilities Commission is basically in charge of regulating utilities like PCG and therefore of approving bankruptcy exit. They are influenced mainly by their commissioner and by the governor. Gov. Slickback (Newsom) has already approved of the current proposal, and will urge the CPUC to approve it. In fact, the previous Gov. was largely ousted in part because of how he handled the PG&E situation. The CPUC commissioner also approves, and CPUC members are doing everything they can to see that this passes, including waiving a $200 million fine against PG&E. They’ve essentially approved already. Basically, if the people vote yes, CPUC will vote yes too. And the people of California have been voting overwhelmingly in favor of the plan—we’re talking around 97+% of the votes that have been cast are “yes” votes. The plan needs only 2/3rds of those who bother to vote to vote yes. Further, the votes mentioned below account for a huge portion of those who can possibly vote (~70k max claimants and far fewer than that will vote). If you aren’t grateful for me wading into 60 pages of legalese to find this, fuck you (and yes, I didn’t just trust the seeking alpha article). https://preview.redd.it/cl9loyn0oxy41.png?width=470&format=png&auto=webp&s=8465086d456c2e93fa6ba22128a8892fa5a526b9 Additionally, in this video, a lawyer representing several thousand more claimants mentions that his clients' votes are overwhelmingly in favor of the plan. There’s only one issue in all of this, and it’s not even a real problem. A man named William Abrams is essentially alleging that a small proportion of the votes are invalid for conflict-of-interest reasons; Abrams wants these votes to be thrown out or wants the lawyers involved to initiate a re-vote with more disclosures. The WSJ picked up on this, causing algos to drop the PCG share price earlier this week. The motion can be read here and is, in my opinion, largely BS. This is true on a purely mathematical level. From what I understand, the total debt owned by wall street firms is around $20 million dollars out of a $100 million credit facility. This hardly seems a conflict of interest when the facility is fixed-rate, and the creditors to Mr. Watt’s law firm have no say over him. Further, Watts’ law firm may make up to $1 billion from settlement, which is not considered by the court to be an issue (after all, contingent settlement fees are what align clients and attorneys’ interests, allowing victims to get compensation in the first place)! The $20 million pales in comparison and is a red herring. Abrams actually has an alternate motivation himself: to get PCG to admit liability for the Tubbs wildfire, which destroyed his home. This is blatantly obvious when you consider the letter he filed to the court in August of last year. Abrams has a totally understandable motivation, but his claims are not legally legitimate. Further, he’s positioning himself as an advocate for victims, whereas in reality he’ll be screwing over the only company which could provide them with remuneration, as well as causing payments to be delayed by years and years. Take a look at the response which was filed to Mr. Abrams’ motion: short, no-BS, and compelling. It doesn’t seem like the big boys think he’s worth worrying about. Also worth noting is that the Judge, Dennis Montali, really wants this thing to go through. He’s taken Abrams’ claim “under advisement,” which essentially is necessary for PR and optics, but is largely ceremonial. If he was keen on delaying the vote he’d have done it at the hearing on the 12th. Since then he's moved forward with confirmation protocol and vote staying same. Consider the advise, dismissed. Lastly, Governor was supportive if the CEO steps down as well as the BoD is replaced https://www.wsj.com/articles/pg-e-ceo-to-step-down-after-tumultuous-year-11587564703 is stepping down mid-June, his job was to navigate bankruptcy exit, he's done that, time for new CEO BoD is being replaced except 3 people https://www.wsj.com/articles/pg-e-promises-board-shake-up-as-it-pursues-californias-approval-on-bankruptcy-exit-11580535837 So who else knows this? I’ve done enough DD for you already. Go look at the involved players betting on an exit: Centerbridge, Elliot, Apollo, etc. Serengeti Asset Management is a bankruptcy focused hedge fund that often profits when firms exit bankruptcy, and they have nearly 10% of their portfolio in PG&E. More will pile in once the bankruptcy exit is confirmed, and still more when the company emerges from bankruptcy (many institutional investors have mandates to hold off until such things happen). There's over 80% tute ownership, billions in a company in Ch11 currently. What happens when they exit and have liability protection for future fires and can truck on to a proper PE valuation? Big money inflow is what Further, dark pool data shows buying at every slight dip: https://preview.redd.it/uvvz2062oxy41.png?width=1879&format=png&auto=webp&s=155826b7029b6a00e31046a96e8d36a9aa0c0f5e For Dark pools, read this article https://www.investopedia.com/articles/markets/050614/introduction-dark-pools.asp Because of the aforementioned issues, PGC’s stock price has been depressed. While I’m not going to lie and say that I could accurately value it going forward, I will note that a ~3x NTM PEG is standard for utilities. If you want to compare metrics further, Edison International is the closest peer at 2.7x. In any case, the process of PCG’s depressed stock price recovering towards a more normal ratio should begin this month, and rapidly accelerate. I’ve seen longer term targets from $15 (UBS just raised their target to this, and they’re definitely still being conservative because of the hearing) to $25+. See below for a lazy comp set, and mess around with the numbers yourself: https://preview.redd.it/dmsdj9t3oxy41.png?width=788&format=png&auto=webp&s=154ca45cd6aa48f03f8ae8d0e1b9398afd1c6540 There are two bear theories that are uncertain.
Fires can happen in summer. If this happens PCG sells off just by fear of fires. My play involves selling before end of june on run up and then just wheeling PCG. Definitely not holding through entire Summer
August 29th according to settlement plan is when PCG must deposit settlement money which is half cash and half issued as new equity. How much dilution will occur is uncertain as it must add up to 6.75B, but the idea is that this is undervalued and will normalize to 20s when exiting bankruptcy and be less dilution than expected. It'll get into a trust that sells shares in 18 months to return victims money.
Ultimately, the point is that smart money is betting on this play. Because we’re all single minded degenerates, that might be a turnoff, but it’s a vital piece of the puzzle. There are other attractive things about PCG, too, particularly in this environment: it’ll actually be helped by more people staying home, it has no chance of falling in recession as utilities are safe havens (and this is massively undervalued), etc. But I’ve written enough. I’d encourage you to do your own research, and to look into all these interesting points. TL;DR for you illiterate fucks. PCG go up. Call good. PCG May 29th $15 Call (13-14.50 if you want to play it safer), June 19th 15$ Call, Sept 18th $20 Call. Enjoy IV kicks along the way up until the ruling on the 27th. Also literally first time in 2 years Barclays made it a Buy vs a Hold https://preview.redd.it/6lnbmpjfvxy41.png?width=765&format=png&auto=webp&s=49cf278e2dcd7477a8a460cf45f5a1e7bf6bd179 My Positions http://opcalc.com/7Pz I hope to exit some of it near term positions around 14$ next Friday else on IV spike near judge ruling, depends how catalysts make it run next week https://preview.redd.it/m5bwoaw4oxy41.png?width=1603&format=png&auto=webp&s=9d65fcf5a11308b985a9761e62db24dd39f712b9 I also have around 90K in shares on PCG
Your Tendie Stimulus 2: Playing SPY, QQQ, VXX During MoreNegotiation
UPDATES ON MOVES WILL NOW GO UP HERE: in previous DDs people complained it made things too confusing, but I’d rather have that than people miss big updates like when I posted on the open $GRMN was back online so I was sticking with CRWD and SPOT but ditching the GRMN puts. I’ll try my best to keep things organized and time stamped. Super sorry for the confusion. I’ll keep further reading/news edits at the bottom. Also I'll break down how each day went, and that day's pertinent news. UPDATE- Just sold out of positions on CRWD. Probably gonna leave a little money on the table, but DISCIPLINE is key; at over 100% profit in 24 hours on that play. It’s time to cash in my chips. UPDATE- 6:30 AM EST 7/28 moves on open- SPOT out, reinforcing position CRWD UPDATE- 6:30 AM EST 7/27 Bounced out of my $QQQ and $SPY positions on the open I bought Friday (happy to get out with a quick 25% on the QQQ) Moved into CRWD 8/7 103c and SPOT 170 8/7c With mixed reports on their outage being over, I stayed away from $GRMN ——————————————————- An update on what happened last week, what's coming this week, and my autist thoughts on how that may play out in the market. Edit: forgot to mention FOMC thanks u/lethalposter for the reminder! I expect a decent fake pump off this into Thursday because although people are acting like it could be a surprise it really isn’t. Zero interest rates, continued easing seems to be the foregone conclusion but market loves suspense games. Quick postmortum of Tendie Stimulus 1 Congrats to those of who you rode with me on that VXX play--the timing and accuracy worked out so well I'd be lying if I said even I wasn't shocked. If you went with the 32/34 plays you still saw some profit, but the 30c on 7/24 strike was where it was at. I updated in the comments on the first post about the switch to 30c on Wednesday and here on my Twitter --sorry if you didn't see it at the time, I'll try to put updates to call/strike on here too at the top this time, not just Twitter (i actually have a real job now, too, unfortunately, that requires me from time to time :() We got a big assist from China on the volatility, and in my trading I am trying to remember that mean ol' Mr.China is not going anywhere this week. If I'm being honest, I think it was a bigger factor last week than even the floundering negotiations. So, to a certain extent, I can only take so much credit for that call. Please remember China retaliation is coming if you're still committed to trading both indexes and volatility, and be more conservative in your approach for a bit. That said, this week is set up to be another bumpy ride. Things have been a little confusing, so Here's an update on what's happening with negotiations: Republicans, who have not done a thing about the HEROES act until this past week, were busy the past 7 days fighting among themselves for the first offer to make to Democrats. Them getting this starting point out on Monday is in no way a victory for the process; this was actually supposed to be done by last Tuesday. The noteworthy tidbits:
Donald Trump demanded a payroll tax cut, supported by Mnuchin, early last week (think of this as like a temporary easing measure which allows both individuals and employers to gain an extra 1-3% in their check). Senate Republicans pushed back, and the WH surprisingly capitulated on the demand.
Their next internal squabbles had to do with the Extended UI benefits (I'll get to that in a minute)
The big breakthrough this weekend was committing to another round $1,200 Stimulus checks, and an extension on the eviction moratorium (this is HUGE for the housing market)*
So, what's important here?
The payroll tax rebuff against the White House orders was important because the GOP knew the Dems wouldn't have it, so they wouldn't add it. Senate Republicans already ceding ground on an issue that was key to the President. As much as McConnell postures, this would indicate that Republicans understand how sensitive they're re-election chances are to the outcomes here and Momma Pelosi kinda has them by the short and curlys.
Repubs came out on Thursday saying two key things: 1) UI extension would fall from $600 to $100 a week in their proposal and 2) they were willing to apply a "temporary" extensin of UI benefits as a stopgap measure; with benefits enhancement set to expire this coming week. PELOSI SAID HELL NO TO THE TEMP EXTENSION. Again, Dems know they have them cornered. Republicans this weekend started throwing out raising the weekly to $200, up from $100, and since this is the starting point of negotiations I think the Republicans know they may have to bend over all the way to $350 or $400 weekly, even, and are trying their best to come in low enough to get out with $300.
\Side note: the eviction moratorium is a huge win for Dems, but it's also a win for staving off what was clearly a coming housing crisis. I believe there is another win wrapped inside this win; at some point down the road, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next month, but sometime in the next year, a mortgage/rent relief program is going to be floated. They already introduced a city-wide lottery here in Los Angeles where you can have your missed COVID rent paid by the government if you can prove you lost employment due to COVID. There is just no way they can be expecting all the people who got a free ride to be saving and pay back lump sums of multiple thousands to landlords once this all clears up. I guarantee there is a nationwide rental credit or something in the future, it's economically unfeasible not to. The hard part will be figuring out how to not punish the people who scrimped and did things right and used their UI/COVID check to pay rent on time, while rewarding those that didn't* So, what will happen in the coming week
People are dancing over the $1,200 stimulus check announcement--and yes, I think it will provide a healthy boost for the morning session tomorrow. I hope so, at least, given I'm holding a 7/27 323c on SPY and a QQQ 7/31 160c (which I'm actually not terribly happy with myself for buying). But please remember, that's only a part of what is the beginnings of the new package negotiations. One thing I will say is that the market actually cares way less about UI than the Stimulus checks--the $1,200 covers the midle class working folks if it's up to $75,000. Extended UI is also for survival with a cherry on top, the $1,200 affects retail, travel, tech, etc. That said, this week will still be volatile
Pelosi is going to say, probably Monday afternoon/evening after Republicans send theri package that it's a no. Markets will get nervous because they will act like they're surprised by this, and freak out that a deal won't get done in time. Rhetoric around a no deal will get ratcheted up.
There are still probably at least two full back and forth draft cycles between both sides before we see a deal
China is still going to retaliate
All the tech CEOs are being brought to the hill (moved from Monday to Wednesday). They are speaking in front of the Democratic house rather than the Republican Senate. I don't expect it to be kind, particularly in light of recent Bezos hate, Zuckerberg Civil Rights issues, and Papa Elon's recent shenanigans (though he won't be there).
Non-partisan take: Republican or Democrat I think it's pretty clear Pelosi is going to win this one. a) COVID is getting worse, and the Republican platform largely centered around it being better b) Republicans frittering away off-session time not making any progress is bad optics c) they're already capitulating on key offers d) this is going to THE issue of the coming election--aside from COVID, which Donnie has botched
How I'm playing it Honestly, I'm a fucking QQQ addict, and even I will be staying away until EOW if I can dump these 7/31 calls for a profit Monday morning/early afternoon. It's just not time yet. This week is a week to play invididual equities, not indexes. If you hit on an index you're not gonna hit THAT big, and if you lose you're going to lose big and be like yeah, I pretty much could see this coming. So, if things generally are unfolding as I think; Monday Dumping: my QQQ calls and my SPY 7/27 once/if I see a profit in the morning session. Moving into: GRMN* 90p 8/21, CRWD 105 8/21c**, SPOT*** 300c 8/7 or 8/21 depending on how it is PM EDIT: u/hospitalchurn brought up ZS here too in the comments, which I didn’t know much about. At first glance looking like as strong as a play as CRWD if not even stronger. Tuesday If we haven't tanked and VXX has reset to sub 29 VXX: 7/31 29c (dumping likely Thursday) Wednesday Sitting on my hands but that's a god damn lie because I'll probably have found some rididulous YOLO on the daily thread and will move my GRMN put money into it Thursday Dumping VXX, reassessing, and likely putting a bunch into 8/7 and 8/10c's anticipating a done deal and a bounce back from a beating this week. Will load up on QQQ as well as I think tech hearings will be a bottom of sorts Friday Updating this DD on why I did none of this and instead put my bank account and heart into the bank of Su Bae. But hopefully not lol. AMD has to come down. I'll most likely be staying in the SPY and QQQ call game for 8/7 Notes: *GRMN is going to get WAY worse; similar situation have seen stocks drop by the 20% to 30% range in the immediate aftermath. The fact that they are doing TERRIBLY at communicating with their customers is a godsend because it means they have plenty more bad news to trickle out in pieces next week. They were cucked, yes, but as always happens in these situations, their lack of honesty, proactiveness, and trasnparency is going to cuck them way more. Forward guidance during their earnings call will be poopy, and there was already talk that they were honestly topped out at 100 a share. **CRWD has kind of taken a beating this month, and cloud security is going to be a big winner as the GRMN story breaks more. ***Erbody that know whatsup knows SPOT is going to hit 300 sometime soon. Their roster is just too off the charts, I expect their forward guidance on the earnings call to set them over the top. I'm also reall scared of earnings this season though, so my thoughts may change on this. TLDR: The $1,200 check is only a starting point, and not the bread and butter of coming, tense negotiations this week around UI benefits extension. With shuttle negotiations coming up and lots of doomsday rhetoric around them, China acting a fool, and the tech hearing coming on Wednesday, it may be best to play individual stocks based on your research and some discounts than dive back into indexes just yet. GRMN puts and CRWD calls should print at least Monday, VXX back in play later in the week, SPY and QQQ calls on Friday __________________________________________________________ As always, updates will be a hodge podge of here and my Twitter of the same name. Also as always, I know politics as I am a fundraiser for political campaigns, non profits, and foundations, but I am NOT a financial expert or somebody who works in the field, so don't bet the farm on anything I write if something doesn't align with your own Crayola drawings. We're all just playing hunches and doing our best to justify them; I'm on a streak now, but all streaks end lol. Edit: further reading on upcoming tech hearing https://www.theverge.com/2020/7/24/21335735/tech-antitrust-hearing-apple-amazon-facebook-google-preview Monday Update 3:00 PM PST Positions CRWD (B+) turned out to be a solid move, up 3.5% on the day. Not an A because GRMN didn't move down with it, lending less credence to the theory that GRMN's fall was the catalyst for CRWD's rise. Can't really ask for much more than a 3.5% day though SPOT (C+) pretty much stagnant at about 1.5%, but bought somewhere around there during PM. Such slow movement right before earnings is worrisome, but hoping for a big day tomorrow. If it's not moving PM, I may dump it. GRMN (DNC) didn't end up buying it because I saw they were back online before open. Would've been a big ol' F. News This is a pretty good summary of what Republicans are proposing in the HEALS act, their answer to HEROES: https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/27/politics/stimulus-negotiations-republican-plan/index.html -The key changes: the additional $500 for dependents from the first CARES act would now be for all dependents, not just those under the age of 17 -The $600 will be replaced with $200 for extended UI benefits, higher than the initial $100 Republicans floated on Friday. Look for this to end around $350. In October, it will be replaced with a 70% of current worker salary cap, up to $500. How I'm moving Not doing much, for now. If SPOT doesn't move much in PM I'll ditch it most likely. Due to the recent Under Armour news I'm thinking of long puts. For right now I like where I'm at with cloud security and will be searching for new plays tonight. If you have any recommendations on what to look into hit me up, please. Obviously if I add it here I'll tag you. If we're green tomorrow--depending on how green--I may (gasp) consider some QQQ puts. SPY puts were tempting, but then I remembered we have the FOMC announcing Wednesday that they will continue with zero interest rate and quantitative easing.
Learn from my mistake. Greed/cockiness and stupidity has caused a stressful week
Hey my favorite sub reddit. Hope you all are having a better week than me! I am a little stressed right now. I should have listened to you all. For the last 4 weeks, I switched from selling straight naked puts to OTM put credit spreads on high dollar value stocks like; SHOP, GOOG, AMZN. I would have just sold naked on these stocks if I could, as, I love them all and would have no fear of holding them but you need a pretty damn large account to take assignment of stocks worth over $1000-$3000. It was like free money these past 4 weeks selling 4-5% OTM put credit spreads on these high dollar tech companies. And, I started selling weeklies (which I never used to do, always stuck to 45 days out but I figured tech only had so much further to run and thought I was being safer betting that these stocks won't drop 4% in a week rather than a month and a half) I literally made well over 20k Canadian just off those 3 tickers in 4 trading weeks all from spreads At first I would close these spreads out at 50% profit. Then, I realized they always would end up expiring way OTM and I got mad I was "leaving so much money on the table" so I started riding them to expiry. I had sucha good 4 weeks, on Friday I opened up wayyy more spreads on SHOP,AMZN and GOOG than I would be O.K. with losing because I got over confident. I could have closed them all out on Monday when they ALL hit 52 week highs but 40-50% over a weekend returns were not enough for my greedy ass There is still a good chance at least some of these spreads will be winners. I may get lucky and all of them are BUT, I may be in for a massive loss that will wipe up all my last months gains. I have accepted it and am staying positive as I have plenty of cash on the sides and will be able to make it back. This has been a very humbling learning experience. I am going to be MUCH safer after this, even if I end up somehow coming out ok on all of these I wanted to make this post to state not only the obvious, which, is only create spreads that if you end up needing to take a loss, it won't hurt and the second one DO NOT OPEN ALL YOUR SPREADS IN ONE SECTOR. I had been only sticking to 3 or 4 big name tech stocks because they were the "safe havens" I knew it would not last forever and I still risked it. I thought "one more week and I am done with these weeklies and going back to naked puts" I hate spreads because you cannot roll them unless you take on even more risk by widening the strikes. Puts are SO easy to roll for a credit and each time you roll it brings your cost basis down. I may roll some of these for a debit if I have to as I do believe they will rise, esp as earnings approaches but I am not going to take on more risk by widening the strikes I do not think tech is dead, but, it is strange how much it is lagging. I thought with Covid getting worse, people would be rushing to the "safe haven" stocks more but seems value is the winner lately TLDR: Do not get cocky and sell tons of spreads without asking yourself if you lose on every single one, can you stomach that loss? #2, do not sell all your spreads/puts in the same sector. #3 do not sell weeklies EDIT: It is Thursday night and it looks like I am nicely fucked. SHOP plummeted, AMZN too. I just lost all my gains plus several thousand more from the YEAR in one WEEK. I used to laugh when I saw stories like mine on WSB. Like, some guy was up 1million and is now in the red, Now, I understand. Greed is real. When you just keep winning and winning its easy to get over confident
A PC-User's Purchase "Guide" (it's not...just the ramblings of an idiot) to High Quality Audio on your system.
Hello friends, today I'd like to talk about an aspect of our glorious systems that get overlooked a lot: our audio experience on our battlestations. Thanks to paoper for formatting. Again disclaimer that I am an idiot, so take this post with a grain of salt. Better info and more accurate info from people way more knowledgeable than I am is readily available from /audiophile/budgetaudiophile and /headphones, this is just a start-up guide for the beginner. NOTE: The monster I gave birth to has become too long. I felt that instead of a short list of things to order, I needed to give context as high fidelity is really all about what sound is like in your experience. Also a fun read if you are interested. Feel free to skip to the actual list (ctrl+f active speakers, passive speakers, headphones, subwoofer, amplifier)! I have limited the price range of the products, because this is after all just food for thought and not even a proper guide; real audio purchases will require elbow-grease and research from your end to see if the product's sound signature will match your preferences in music and sound. If your product is not here, do not worry. I have put in products that I have had experience with and those that were recommended by multiple reviewers I hold in high regard (with the exception of a 2.1 system you will see later), and I had to consider the endless number of headphones/speakers vs the ones that are worth your hard-earned cash (and products vs how they compare to my current setup which includes both "high-end" and budget options).
I've been building systems for myself and others since I randomly took a buildapc course in middle school (currently 28) and enjoy music very much (I grew up on linkin park, dre, biggie smalls, 3 6 mafia, tupac, ac/dc, red hot chilli peppers am fond of electro and dubstep and various genres of music). I have 2 decades of experience playing saxophone, clarinet, and the electric guitar, and have performed in jazz bands, rock bands, and an orchestra. My ear is highly trained from raw musical performance and not just listening to speakers from home, as well as having the nuance to differentiate between good speakers. I have owned many many forms of audio gear (instruments, speakers, headphones, studio monitors).
So wtf is this?
So occasionally while answering questions on this subreddit (mainly on why new builder's systems aren't posting, or what components they should get, or just mourning with fellow builders for systems that have passed on as well as celebrating the birth of new systems and fellow pc builders who take their rite of passage of building their own system with their own two hands) I would come across the occasional "what speakers/headphones are best under $xx" and with the state of pc products being "gaming rgb ultimate series XLR" or w/e, it's hard to discern what audio products are actually worth your money. Note that if you are using just "good enough" cheap speakers, any of the speakers/headphones on this list will blow your mind away. Get ready to enter a new world of audio.
Why should I bother getting better speakers/headphones?
I have owned $20 logitech speakers, I currently own $1500 speakers. I have owned varying levels of headphones. The first half-decent (to my standards) speakers I had was a hand me down stereo set from an uncle. This thing was massive, but this thing was good. It's difficult to explain to you the sensation of music enveloping you with great speakers. Speakers are meant to reproduce sound, as in the sound of the instruments in the song. So great speakers and headphones can literally make you FEEL the music like at a rave or a concert or performance in the comfort of your home. This is why Home Theaters were so popular in the 80s/90s. Upgrading will GREATLY enhance your music, netflix and gaming experience. In fact with passive bookshelf speakers, you can not only use them for your desktop setup, but also chuck them together with a tv and you've got a fine starter home theater system in your hands. You can even upgrade down the line incrementally, one speaker at a time, to a 2.1, 3.1, 5.1, 5.2, 7.2 Dolby Atmos Home Theater Setup where your movies make you feel like your in SPARTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. I currently live in a small apartment with my TV right next to my battlestation, and when i want to sit down on my couch and watch TV, I simply move 1 speaker from my desk to next to my TV, turn my AVR on and I have an easy 5.1 home theater in my tiny apartment. Move the speaker, revert back to 2.1 (or 5.1 if i choose to but i dont because of badspeaker placement when I'm sitting at my desk) amazingness at my battlestation. Consider this an investment into massively improving your experience of playing video games, watching netflix, or listening to music. You think those 4k graphics and ULTRAWIDE monitor is giving you more immersion in your game? Shit...having great speakers or headphones can make you feel like you're IN NORMANDY BEACH DURING THE FUCKING LANDINGS
General considerations (or feel free to just skip ahead to the list)
Now, I totally understand using simple logitech speakers due to budget/space/easy-access from best buy or not knowing about the wider audio world. So I am here today to give you a perspective on what audio components are TRULY worth your hard-earned cash. I have owned $20 logitech speakers in college, I have owned guitar amps as well as studio monitors/other speakers ranging from $100-$1500. Do know that all of this information is readily available in /BudgetAudiophile/audiophile and /headphones . I am merely condensing all of it into a single list, and attempt to sort of explain it to the pc builders, or just an idiot rambling. If you would like more information on specific speakers, I would check out reviewers on youtube like zerofidelity, steve guttenberg, nextbigthing (nbt) studios, and thomas and stereo. For headphones, metal751, innerfidelity, Ishca's written reviews, DMS. Z reviews is okay and he reviews everything from amps and dacs to speakers and headphones, but he gives 90% of his products good reviews, and has affiliate links to every single product he reviews....so you see where my dislike of him as a reviewer comes from. He is still an expert audiophile , he just chooses to not use his knowledge and ramble on in his videos, plus the shilling. Great place to start for audiophiles, as he is still a professional. I just think many move on to other reviewers. Also with speakers, speaker placement is extremely important. Get those speakers off your desk and the woofers/tweeters to your ear level NO MATTER THE COST. Stack boxes/books, buy speaker stands/isolation pads from amazon, at worst buy yoga blocks from amazon. Put your speakers on them, get ready for even better audio. General rule of thumb: dont buy HiFi at msrp. There are ALWAYS deals on speakers/headphones to take advantage of at any given time (massdrop for headphones, parts-express, accessories4less, crutchfield, adorama, Sweetwater, guitar center, etc). Speakers will get cheaper over time as manufacturers have to make room for new products/refreshes of the same models just as with headphones. If theres a particular headphone model you want, check to see if massdrop has it (website where users of the website decide what niche products the website will mass order, and both the website and you the users get reduced pricing). Now this list is just simple guide. Obviously for $150 budget, theres probably like 10 different speakers to choose from. You will catch me repeat this many many times but sound is subjective, I don't know what genres of music you enjoy and what sound signatures in headphones/speakers you would prefer (warm sounds? bright? aggressively forward? laid back sound signature? importance of clarity vs bass?) So consider this list with a grain of salt, as this is after all, the ramblings of an idiot on reddit.
So I will be splitting this list into 4 categories:
And before I start, bass depth and low end does not fucking equal bad boomy bass. I absolutely detest low quality boomy bass like in Beats headphones and general "gaming speakers" or w/e. Also the budetaudiophile starter package is the dayton audio b652 + mini amp combo from parts-express. All the speakers that were considered were basically compared to the b652 before making it on here (and whether they justified the price bump over the b652)
Active vs. Passive (crude explanation)
So when a speaker plays music from your pc, the audio is processed by the audio card on your motherboard, which is then sent to the amplifier where the signal is amplified, and then finally is sent to be played on your speakers. Active speakers like logitech speakers that have a power cable running from the speakers directly to the wall socket have built-in amplifiers to power the speakers, whereas passive speakers require a separate amplifier to amplify the audio signal and feed the speakers power. Active vs passive, no real difference as both types of speakers will have good audio quality depending on how they are made and which ones you buy, but in the ultra budget section of speakers (under $300) actives tend to be cheaper than their passive counter parts. This is due to the manufacturer cutting corners elsewhere. Take for instance the Micca MB42X passive speakers($90) which also have a brother, the Micca PB42X ($120) powered speakers. Same exact speaker, but built in amp vs the amp you buy. Obviously the mb42x will sound marginally better purely from the virtue that the amplifier is not inside the goddamn box. But the mb42x + amp + speaker wire will probably cost you anywhere from basic $130 to $200 with difference in amplifier and whether you use bare speaker wire or banana plugs/cables. Cabling aesthetics and management will be greatly affected, with sound quality affected to a lesser degree, or more (but at what cost?). Amp choice to be explained later. Now generally speakers should be recommended based on your music/audio preferences and tastes as speakers and in a larger part, speaker brands will have their own unique sound signatures that some will love and others will hate as sound is such a subjective experience. But since this is meant to cater to a wide audience, note that my list is not the ALL inclusive, and again is only the ramblings of an idiot.
If you want to add bluetooth capabilities to your wires active or passive speakers, simply buy the esinkin W29 wireless bluetooth module, plug your speakers in, connect to your bluetooth on pc/phone/w/e, enjoy.
Simply connect to your PC or TV via 3.5mm (or the occasional usb). Note: you may experience a hissing with active speakers that may annoy you to no end even up to the $400 mark. This is a result of the amplifier being built in to the speaker in close proximity, as well as sometimes the manufacturer cutting corners elsewhere. Passive speakers do not have this unless you buy a really shitty amp. Note that while bigger woofer size does not necessarily indicate better quality/bass, this does more often than not seem to be the case as manufacturers put bigger woofers on the higher stepup model. Note that while I have included 2.1 systems here, I would always recommend you get good bookshelves first, save up money and buy a subwoofer separate.
Cyber Acoustics CA-3602FFP 2.1 $40. This is the I'm broke af but I need speakers route. 2.1 setup for 40 bucks. We do not have the luxury of options here. Enough said. Amazon
Okay, for under $100 for good quality active speakers, there really is no other choice here besides Edifier speakers on amazon. In fact, their entire lineup is pretty solid all around ranging from the 980T for $70 to the S350DB which is a 2.1 system with 2 bookshelves and a sub for $300. Differences in the models are basically bigger woofers/tweeters as you go up in price, resulting in better bass performance and clarity (again crude explanation). If you don't want to research much and want simplicity, any of the edifiers are the way to go, with the 1700BT being the goto 2.0, or the 1850db which as a sub-out so you can add in a subwoofer into your setup later.
Micca PB42X: $120- The active version of the popular MB42X passive speakers. Very good performance for price.
Mackie CR3/4 $90/$140- Now normally I don't recommend these, but they are okay/meh speakers and have that razer aesthetic going on, and aesthetics are big part of speaker choice, so if you like the black/green color scheme, I guess these are passable.
Klipsch Pro Media 2.1: $150- the only 2.1 system I'd recommend under $200. The thing about adding in a subwoofer to a 2.1 system under $200 means they have to cut corners elsewhere. This is the main difference of 2.1 systems vs bookshelves. While the subwoofer will allow your music to hit the lower notes in frequency resulting in deeper and more bass, this will usually come at a cost of audio quality in the mid and upper ranges in the music. If you are a BASSHEAD then yeah you probably want a subwoofer, though bookshelves under $200 also have decent bass. Note, ALWAYS BETTER TO BUY BOOKSHELVES AND SUBWOOFER SEPARATELY, but this will be pricier. Klipsch Website Direct or amazon.
Fluance ai40/ai60: $200/$300- nice looking speakers that come in white and walnut and black that also have good clarity and quality. Their bass is surprisingly okay as they are rated to go a little bit below in the lower frequencies than speakers in similar price. I have listened to these before shortly for 2 hours, and would recommend. IIRC the ai60 has a subwoofer out. Mind the size of the 60s, quite big. Fluance direct or amazon.
Kanto YU4: $270 Direct competitor to fluance ai series. Comes in white as well.
Audioengine A2+/A5+ :$270/$400. I have no experience with this lineup, but lots of love/hate dynamic with this brand over on budgetaudiophile. Good and bad thing.
JBL 305P: $300 - maybe the endgame speakers of this list. These are very famous and respected studio monitors that music artists and producers use often. They are sold $150 per speaker, and you will need to get 2. Hooking them up requires separate cables, as these are standalone speakers with it's own volume control on each speaker. Simplest way is to buy a 3.5mm to dual TS Cable. Set both speakers to same physical volume level via knob, and adjust volume using windows settings (having a volume knob on your keyboard helps immensely here). Or buy a separate in line volume control from amazon ($20 bucks or under) and connect via 3.5mm to rca. Being studio monitors, these are meant to reproduce sound neutrally (they will have no external flavoring like how Beats adds muddy boomy bass to its headphones to use as a bad example) and may not sound alive or bright or to your tastes. They can be demo-ed/tested out at guitar center if you have access to one in this pandemic.
Logitech G560 RGB Gaming Speakers: $200 (yes, you read that right): Okay, now normally I'd be crucified for recommending a logitech speaker in the other audio forums. But I have used these speakers briefly for about 3 months when I got them cheap from a friend. The sound quality of these satellite speakers are....surprisingly not bad? Might I dare to say that these are even....decent for it's price? Now these are $200 speakers for a 2.1 system. This means that it's either this or Klipsch 2.1. Honestly my vote here goes to the logitechs. I owned the Klipsch promedia 2.1 for about half a year. I can definitely say I prefer the clarity of the logitechs vs the boomy bass of the Klipsch. The subwoofer on the 560 does NOT have its own control knob, so you would need to adjust bass settings through logitech eq. Note, these speakers will not sound good out of the box. You will need to go into the eq settings via logitech software, and change the settings to match your tastes. Honestly the fact that you have to tweak the eq through shitty logitech software to make these sound good is pretty bullshit. Note that I am not recommending the z623/625. Don't get those. I used these in college in my apt in brooklyn, and while boomy bass, I'd definitely go with the B652 + mini amp, klipsch 2.1, or the g560 over the z623/625 FOR SURE.
Second-hand market: okay, let's say you are determined to get quality speakers but you do not have the budget. Look around on the second hand market for stuff from KRK, Emotiva, Ascend, HSU. Make sure to demo them out for as long as you can until the seller gets pissed (please don't), so that you can test to see if you like the sound.
These speakers will require you to buy a separate amplifier, as well as separate cables. But the passive route allows you to have a modular audio system that allows you to upgrade parts as you go along in your life (yes I said life for once you dip your toes into high fidelity, you will get hooked onto a great lifelong journey searching for the perfect setup), or even just add parts in altogether (like having a miniamp on your desk for your passive speakers, having a separate dac or bluetooth module for your speakers so you can connect the passive speakers via USB or bluetooth wirelessly, stacked on top of a headphone dac/amp combo, stacked on top of a preamp, etc). Amplifier list to follow later. Passive speaker specs to pay attention to will be their impedance (measured in ohms) and their sensitivity (measured in xx db/1w/1m). Speaker ratings in wattage are measurements of how much power can be driven to them (higher watts, higher volume...once again crude explanation). A 20 watt x 2 channel amp (measured in 4 ohms) is enough to power 4 and 6 ohm speakers rated at 100 watts to moderate/decently loud listening levels on your desktop. Now the sensitivity thing. A speaker with a rating of 85db/1m/1w means it will produce 85 decibels of noise at 1 meter with 1 watt of power. Now this not linear....to make the same speaker go up to 90 decibels may require 10 or 15 watts of power depending on other variables. Depending on how loudly you play your music and what impedance/sensitivity your speakers have will result in your choice of amplifiers. More on this later. The thing about passive bookshelf speakers are that you can use them in your desktop setup, AND with your TV as a legitimate starter 2.1 home theater setup (which you can upgrade to 3.1, and then 5.1/5.2, just buy a used receiver from craigslist for 50 bucks, ez)
What you will need for passive setup:
Note that passive speakers and amp require you to purchase speaker wire separately (fairly cheap) and strip them (youtube video will guide you, very easy). Or if you like clean cable management and easy setups, banana plug cables from amazon will set you straight, and while these banana plugs and cable are nice and PURELY OPTIONAL, they will add up in cost as your buy more of them for frankenstein 2.1 cabling. Also a 3.5mm to rca cable will be required. The connection will be your pc -> 3.5mm->rca->amp->speaker wire-> speaker wire->speaker. (replace speaker wire with banana plug if going that route). Subwoofer connection will be explained in subwoofer section.
Dayton audio b652+ mini amp combo on parts-express for $60/70. Two combos, two separate mini amps, one from lepai (china) and one from dayton. Same shit. It LITERALLY does not get better than this for under $100, maybe even $150. CHIEF THIS IS IT, i cannot stress this enough. This is the budgetaudiophile 101 starter pack. I'd recommend these over the active Mackies, Edifiers (up to the 1700), and any and all logitech/creative pebble/cyber w/e EVERYTHING systems (except for the g560). These are very BIG speakers and hence will deliver good sound and good bass due to its big woofers. If you have less than $100 to spend on the ENTIRE audio setup, go get these and speaker wire/banana plugs no questions asked. gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
Dayton Audio B652 AIR $70- The difference between the AIR and the normal 652 is in the tweeter. The AIR tweeter on this speaker costs as much as the entire b652 speaker. This tweeter upgrade gives even more clarity and quality in the treble range (middle upper sound frequency). The next best thing for under $100, though doesn't come with the mini amp combo.
Sony SSCS5 Bookshelf Speakers. $150 msrp, $120 on amazon/bestbuy until recently, and sometimes goes on sale for $75. These are 3 way speakers with woofer, tweeter and supertweeter. The strength of these speakers lie in its unmatched clarity in the highs and upper mids. I still have these in my collection, and VERY WORTH though my opinion of these is skewed as I got them for $75/pair. If you appreciate bass, you will need to add a subwoofer with these (or generally any speaker below $500....some people would say you cant listen to music on bookshelves without subwoofer) as they sound a bit thin compare to the b652s (a bit less bass because smaller woofer) but better sound quality (though this is just my SUBJECTIVE thought after listening to the cs5s and b652s). These have 5 in woofers and have okayish small form factor.
Micca MB42X $90- the passive version of the powered PB42X in the active list. The difference is between the amplifier built into the PB42X vs the one you're going to buy separately to power the MB42X. Obv the MB42X route is going to be better because the amplifier in the PB42X will be shit compared to the one you're going to buy ($30/50/75/150 options to follow later)
Micca RB42X $150 - Amazing small size speakers. For under $200, either this or the cs5s. The rb42s have a bit more bass.
Elac Debut 5.2/6.2 ON SALE NOW FOR $230/250. GET EM WHILE IT LASTS. Normally $280/350. These are speakers highly acclaimed by many of the speaker reviewers I consider the best (imo zerofidelity, steve guttenberg, nextbigthing (nbt) studio, thomas and stereo). Great bass, warm sound signature. Just go, what are you waiting for. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Q Acoustics 3020/3030i $230/400. Highly acclaimed by reviewers, look VERY NICE in white, and have a warm sound signature with lots of bass clarity and bass depth. These speakers are big, which is why they have great bass. Check the dimensions. Their size is the only downside to these fantastic speakers.
PSB Alpha P5 $400: Great speakers for nearfield listening, aka at your desk, excels in this department more so than the other speakers (better at low volume, etc). Just all around amazing. Get these if the Q Acoustics ones are too big.
Triangle BR02/03 $450/550. Coming from across the atlantic, these french speakers made a splash last year destroying its competition in the below $1000 range. Highly acclaimed to the point where some see them as overrated (too much hype out of nowhere in such little time). If you have the space in your setup as well as in your wallet for these, they are the way to go. Comes in black, walnut, white.
Obligatory Klipsch R15/R51/RP600 post: you've heard of klipsch. They're widely available audiophile speakers, and so sometimes get the "overrated" hyped up treatment. They are good speakers but their have their own unique aggressively forward sound signature with the horn style tweeter. These were designed to make you feel like you're at the rock concert direct, may not be for everyone (much so not for me).
Okay here is where we need to get into specific numbers. Active speakers have built-in amplifiers so they are exempt. But passive speakers will require separate amps and so you will need to pay attention to certain specs. In speakers you will need to pay attention to their impedance (measured in ohms) and their sensitivity (measured in xx db/1m/1w). The typical mini amplifier will be class D (small form factor amps for desktop use) and their wattage per channel will be usually expressed in 4ohms. Take for instance the popular SMSL SA50. This is an amp that delivers 50 watts to its 2 channels, rated at 4 ohms. Speakers will have impedance of 4, 6, or 8 ohms usually. 50 watts at 4 ohms can be 25 watts at 8 ohms, but is probably more like 20 watts at 8 ohms, refer to product specs for specific wattage ratings at specific ohms. Speakers with high sensitivity (85-95 db/1w/1m) that have 6 ohm impedance are easier to drive with lower wattage. But here's the thing, an the smsl sa50 will not deliver 50 CLEAN watts. Somewhere in the 30-40w range distortion will start to appear. But for reference, 30 clean watts is enough to drive sony cs5s to uncomfortably loud levels in an apartment (the whole apt, not just your room) so listening on your desktop, you only really need 10-15 clean watts (only after turning up your preamp input to maximum volume, which in this case is your youtube/windows10 volume level). Do note that if you have the space, a used $60 AV Receiver that will just shit out watts and have 5.1 surround will be the best, but these things are massive.
Lepai 2020ti (LEPAI and not Lepy be wary) $25. 20 watts in 2 channels. Budget
SMSL SA36 $62: SMSL's 2x20w.
SMSL SA50 $72: The most bang for buck amp that's also decent. 2x50watts.
Topping MX3 $130: Speaker amp, headphone amp, dac rolled into one. Allows for your speakers and headphones to be connected via USB and Bluetooth.
SMSL AD18 $150: SMSL's answer to the MX3. This one is probably the goto. It's got 2x80w at 4ohms, has USB connection, has subwoofer out, has bluetooth connection, headphone amp, coaxial and optical connection.
If you need more watts than the AD18, you're gonna need to get a class a/b amp that just shits out watts for cheap, or get a used av receiver. If you want a new one, the best budget option is the DENON AVR-S540BT 5.2 channel AVR from accessories4less.
Good subwoofers are expensive, and cheap subwoofers will hurt your listening experience rather than improve it (muddy boomy shitty bass). Your best bet may be to simply find a used subwoofer from craigslist or offerup, just dont get the polk audio PSW10, this is a very common sub you see on the 2nd hand market, because it is a shitty sub and so people get rid of it. Now as to whether you need a subwoofer. If you are in a dorm, don't get a subwoofer. Because.... if you live in a dorm, do not get a fucking subwoofer. Now if you live in a small apartment, fear not, proper subwoofer management will save you noise complaints. A good subwoofer will produce good quality low end you can hear and feel without having to turn up the volume. You want to look at the subwoofer's lowest frequency it can go to. That will show you how "tight" the bass will be. Now, low volume levels on a good sub will produce that bass for you without vibrating your walls (though subwoofer and speaker isolation as well as PLACEMENT (refer to the sub-crawl) will do more for getting the most sound out of your speakers without having to turn up the volume....and just turn off the sub after a reasonable time) Now as to how to add a subwoofer to your system will depend on what setup you have and the available connections. If your speakers or amplifier has a subwoofer output, simply connect that to your subwoofer, set the crossover freuency (the frequency at which the subwoofer will start making sound) to 80hz, or lower depending on how low of a frequency our bookshelves can go down to. If your speakers/amp do not have a subwoofer out, you will need to find a subwoofer that has high level speaker inputs. You will need to connect your bookshelves to the speaker outputs on the subwoofer via speaker wire/banana plugs, and then run speaker wire/banana plugs from the subwoofer input to your amplifier, ending with rca to 3.5mm connection to your pc.
Dayton Audio SUB-800 $100: The cheapest one, don't go any cheaper. Enough said. Get from parts-express. If you need cheaper, 2nd hand market.
Dayton Sub-1000 $120: The bigger brother. This thing is 10 inches, be prepared for a BIG box sitting in your room.
Bic Acoustech PL-200 $300: Has good bass, goes down to 22hz. Very good bang for buck "good" subwoofer. A BIG step up from the daytons.
Okay, I keep saying headphones and not headsets right. But you ask, Kilroy, you're an idiot. You're posting on buildapc for PC gamers and builders but you're talking headphones and not headsets. How idiotic are you? Pretty big, but friends hear me out. Now I used to live in South Korea, where PC Bangs (internet cafes) set the nation's standards for computers. All the places had to get the best bang for the buck pc gear to stay in business and remain competitive (all 100 computers at these places had like i5-6600k and gtx 1080 in 2015 or something I don't remember, along with mechanical BLUE SWITCH FUCCCCCCKKKKKKKK (imagine 100 blue switch keyboards being smashed on in a small underground area in Seoul) keyboards and decent headsets. So I have tried MANY MANY different headsets, here is my conclusion. Just get proper headphones and get either get an antlion modmic, or V-MODA Boompro mic both available on amazon. (short list of mics later) or get proper headphones and usb mic. Okay, I have seen the headphone recommendation list, and the only one I would give any (if at all) weight to in the usual pc websites that our subreddit goes to, is the list from rtings. These guys mainly measure monitors and tvs (very well might i add) but the writer for their audio section is lacking it seems. Please dont get Astro AXX headphones or corsair rgb xxxxxx w/e. Please for the love of god, take your good hard earned cash and get yourself a NICE pair of cans my fellow PC users. The mic part is secondary as GOOD headphones will forever change your PC using and music listening experience FOREVER The TWO EXCEPTIONS that I have observed to this rule are the Hyperx Clouds and Cooler Master mh751/752.
Hyperx Cloud CORE/1/2/ALPHA (please find prices on amazon). So these headphones are a rare instance of when a gaming branded pair of headphones was actually a good no bullshit product. These are hyperx reskins of OEM Takstar Pro 80, a pretty damn good pair of cans from china for under $50 (no longer available on aliexpress but Seoul had a SHIT load of these) with a mic attached to it. Chief, this is it. Reasonably good audio quality from headphone drivers for their price, and you get a mic for discord needs.
Coolermaster MH751/752 $90/110. Now beware, on amazon there are the mh630/650/670 series headphones that are in the same...product "selection" styling part of the product page. Do NOT GET THESE, these are the typical bullshit gaming branding and are pretty bad. Now, the mh751 and 752s are coolermaster's copycat of the hyperx clouds. They are coolermaster reskins of the Takstar pro 82, another good pair of headphones. I cannot comment on this one, as I have not used either the takstar variant nor the cm variant. But the pro 82s are just as good as the 80s. If i had to guess, different styling (headband) and maybe slightly different sound signature. Difference between the 2 is the dac (the block thing in between your headphones and the wires to your pc). The dac the mh752 is most likely inferior to the dac on your mobo's build-in soundcard. Get the 751, unless you have a laptop, then the 752's dac may be better.
Audio-Technica ath-m40x $80: You may have heard of the ath-m50/x. Now these headphones are looked down on, on the headphone forums or reddit. The m40/x is the bass reduced, aka the neutral version of the m50x for cheaper too. Great headphones for under $100. Now, I have owned the m50 waay back, and I think if you enjoy bass, then go for it. After all, they are YOUR fuckin pair of headphones and ears, who are others to say shit?
Sony MDR7506 $100: I remember these were $75, but I guess everything changed when the coronavirus attacked. Anyway, these are the venerated mdr7506, the industry standard for headphones in the professional audio/music industry. Great quality, cheap price. They just, dont have anything going on in the looks department. These are it for pure price/performance.
BeyerDynamic DT770 (32, 90, 250 ohms) $150: Amazing pair of cans, very comfortable. 32 ohm version if simply plugging into your motherboard. The higher ohm versions may require separate headphone amp. Generally more amps=better audio quality, but differences are NEGLIGIBLE to nonexistent with low output amps (this is like the difference in sound of the same 100w speaker powered by a $30 smsl amp vs a $5000 Mcintosh amp at the same volume levels, very subtle and small but it's there)
Sennheiser 650/6xx from massdrop/660 $220-$400. The legendary series of headphones from sennheiser. Highly venerated.
HifiMAN DEVA with Bluemini Receiver $300: Interesting set of open-back planar headphones that came out recently that also allow for usb connection, as well as 3.5mm, but the bluetooth function is a separate module (with a built-in mic) that you connect to the side of the headphones. So it's actually a wired set of planar headphones, but the separate bluetooth module also allows for wireless connection. The module only has enough battery for 5ish hours, so while that is charging you will have to use the wired connection. This is a usb dac/amp/bluetooth module rolled into one. Very stylish and interesting design.
Audeze Mobius $400: "Gaming" wireless headphones from Audeze, a high end audiophile grade planar magnetic headphone manufacturer. If those words don't mean anything to you, these are wireless headphones with a detachable mic made by an extremely respected audiophile headphone manufacturer. If you want wireless headphones, I would also suggest these or the hifiman deva. These are closed-back headphones vs Hifiman's open back. These headphones also have an onboard dac for usb/3.5mm/bluetooth connection.
Now obviously, there's other choices. A metric fuck load of them. But I had to account for how much you should be paying (price range) for upgrades in sound quality and performance.
Example options (Wireless headsets)
Okay. Wireless headsets, now let's think why do you need a wireless headset? Do you want to walk around your house while on discord? Maybe you want to keep the headset on while having to afk real quick for a smoke break or whatnot.
TaoTronics 5.0 Bluetooth transmitter+receiver unit $30. It's a small device that can either A: give your non-bt PC bluetooth capabilities by acting as a receiver, or give your wired headphones wireless connectivity to your pc by acting as a transmitter. This thing is battery powered (like a wireless gaming headset) up to 10 hours. You just plug your wired headphones in, put the thing in your pocket and leave your pc.
See Hifiman Deva above.
Still here? Fine then. Steelseries artis 7. I put this....thing on this list mainly for true wireless headset inclusion. Still would recommend other headphones.
Other wireless recommendations: Sennheiser pxc 550 and Sony wh1000xm2 and Bose QC35.
HEADPHONE AMP/DAC (digital to analogue converter)
My knowledge/experience with headphone amps and dacs are...extremely lacking, I'm more of a speaker guy. But, here is a list for you guys.
SMSL M3 $85 - has usb and spdif connections and line out rca. good starter dac/amp combo.
Schiit Magni $99- probably the most popular one here. This will drive anything but the most power hungry of headphones. The Schiit stack with the Magni and the Modi is the goto stack for small form factor amp+dac.
Micca Origen G2 $110 - DAC/amp combo that has usb and fibre, and has a switchable pre-out for powered speakers. Accepts 3.5mm and 1/4''
V-MODA BoomPRO $30: this is a mic with a 3.5mm that plugs in to your headphones that have a removable cable, simple.
Antlion modmic $50: yes the modmic. You've probably heard of this.
Fifine K669B condensor mic $46: simple mic on a stand that plugs in via usb. Imo has better recording quality than Blue snowball.
Blue Snowball $57: Yes, you've most definitely heard of this.
Other mics? Yes, but are they worth the extra $$ for marginally better audio recording? You decide.
Cool. Stay safe in these dark times brothers. Have a glorious day.
You're converting your CS:GO sensitivity wrong, here is why.
UPDATED: This new FOV method is the ONLY way to achieve a near-perfect 1:1 conversion between both games, providing you are willing to loose (or gain in some situations) a little bit of screen real-estate. This will match your games' FOVs in terms of screen distances by taking advantage of Valorant's locked FOV. This is now my preferred method, and I'll leave it at the top. I've left the old post below if anyone can't handle loosing some screen real-estate. In the following few paragraphs, most use-cases are covered. I will create a set of custom resolutions to run Valorant at below. These should all be scaled 1:1 by your video card on your monitor (No Scaling, aka, no pixel stretching). If you have stretched CSGO, you are screwed, see the next paragraph. 4:3 non-streched users can rejoice, as can 16:9 users. 16:10 users can't use the FOV method, but get a reasonable multiplier, and aren't entirely screwed, but its not as good news as the 16:9 and 4:3 non-stretched users who get heaps of options. For non-streched users, these will all use the standard 3.18 divider for your CSGO sensitivity, as we have matched FOV, and we can happily match 360 rotations AND achieve perfect on-screen distance for aim. If you don't want to have any black bars on the horizontal, just match the vertical resolution to the same as CSGO. I believe this will give you some vertical sensitivity error though (eg: instead of using 3622x2038 in Valorant in the first example in the resolution list below, I could just use 3622x2160 and accept some vertical error, but only take on side black bars, with no top and bottom black bars. Valorant will look a little more distorted though too). If you can't figure it out with other weirder CSGO configs, feel free to request, and I can give it a go, but I have already spent a lot of time on this and would rather let people start reporting them in. If you really can't figure it out, ask and let me know. STRETCH USER: Note to users who take a CSGO 4:3 native ratio/resolution and stretch it out to fill a 16:9 or 16:10 monitor: TLDR: Stretched CSGO users are screwed. Nothing can be done, and as I said near the bottom of my original post, this is your punishment for sweating over fat terrorists your whole life. It is IMPOSSIBLE to salvage the same FOV in valorant. You have an hFOV of 90 in CS, stretched out to take up your whole screen real-estate. You need to somehow get Valorant's hFOV from 103 down to 90. You can't. You would have to somehow superscale the game past the edge of your monitor, and clip its wings, loosing much of your HUD, and I also have no idea how you could even render it like that. For these users, either use the original 3.18 value, or 2.53 if you want your horizontal distance to match. See my footnote for stretched users way below (2.53 will FUBAR your vertical sens for Valorant, and give you radically wrong 360 motion.). There is no ideal solution for stretch CS users. For most stretch users, I would recommend the 3.18 value as a starting point and learning the new sensitivity. Any data I presented was based on Non stretch conversions. Stretch conversions has the same kind of error gradient that emerges, but radically worse. CUSTOM RESOLUTIONS FOR VALORANT TO MAINTAIN A 1:1 FOV CONVERSION WITH CSGO: CSGO NOT STRETCHED, 1:1 implies pixel perfect scaling. Pixel doubling would also be ok (using resolutions half the amount of your monitors native). If you are not 1:1, or 2:1 with pixels, it might still work as long as the ratios are the same, depending on how your graphics card behaves. Not listed below? If your CSGO VERTICAL resolution is listed below, then pick any one that has the same vertical res as you, regardless of horizontal, and find the valorant conversion. They all become the same, because csgo just clips your horizontal anyway. Simple formula!!!: Take your csgo vertical resolution (the 1080 in 1920x1080 for example): Times by 0.9428793 = new Valorant horizontal res Times by 1.67622932 = new Valorant vertical res Thank you to x_Delirium in this following post for the math (I adapted his math to figure out the vertical constant without needing to use mouse-sensitivity.com): https://www.reddit.com/VALORANT/comments/fw5nb9/guide_how_to_get_valorant_103_fov_in_csgo/ Common list already done for you, rounded to nearest whole and even numbers: CSGO: 3840×2160 1:1 16:9 -> Valorant: 3620x2036 1:1 CSGO: 2880x2160 1:1 4:3 -> Valorant: 3620x2036 1:1 CSGO: 2560x1440 1:1 16:9 -> Valorant: 2414x1358 1:1 CSGO: 1920x1440 1:1 4:3 -> Valorant: 2414x1358 1:1 CSGO: 1920x1080 1:1 16:9 -> Valorant: 1810x1018 1:1 **\* CSGO: 1440x1080 1:1 4:3 -> Valorant: 1810x1018 1:1 **\* CSGO: 1366x1080 1:1 ??? -> Valorant: 1810x1018 1:1 **\* CSGO: 1280x960 1:1 4:3 -> Valorant: 1610x906 1:1 CSGO: 1024x768 1:1 4:3 -> Valorant: 1288x724 1:1 CSGO: 1280x720 1:1 16:9 -> Valorant 1206x678 1:1 CSGO: 960x720 1:1 4:3 -> Valorant 1206x678 1:1 CSGO: 640x480 1:1 4:3 -> Valorant 804x452 1:1 **\* See how if you use a blackbar res that isn't 4:3, you can get 1:1 with valorant by finding a res above that matches your csgo VERTICAL res, here, that res is 1080. A decent guide for custom rez creation: https://appuals.com/how-to-create-custom-resolutions-on-windows-7-8-or-10/ 16:10 Native USERS CSGO: Any 1:1 16:10 NATIVE Resolution -> Valorant IMPOSSIBLE. You only have 100.39 degrees of FOV in CSGO, and you have no more monitor horizontal space to work with to give Valorant room to breathe. It is the same fundamental problem the stretch users are facing. If you use 16:10 on a monitor natively, but somehow have horizontal black bars (this would be weird and unlikely) then it might be possible to do something. For 16:10 users, your best bet is to just use 3.18 or 3.037 (based on my original post's logic) as your sens divider, and see what you prefer, or use something in between. Fortunately for you, 3.037 is a decent multiplier that won't fuck your vertical sense, or 360 too badly. It is pretty much as good as the 3.370 multiplier that 16:9 users who don't want to match FOV can use. 16:9 USERS NOT WILLING TO CHANGE THEIR SCREEN REAL-ESTATE TO MATCH FOV The divider value I originally posed as being better than 3.18: 3.370 Not everyone will agree, no problem. Consider 3.18 to 3.37 as the sensitivity region you may like. If you pick one, and something feels wrong, try the other. Yes, my original claim about 3.18 being the downright wrong choice is alarmist. Some people will reasonably prefer one or the other, and there are merits to both choices, as I pointed out all along. Now back to the ideal FOV changing method, and how this ideal FOV matching method works: CSGO maintains a variable horizontal FOV depending on resolution ratio width, and at 16:9, it is 106.260205, and maintains 73.739795 vertical FOV, LOCKED. At more boxed resolutions/ratios, the sides get sliced off, and you loose hFOV. You never lose vFOV Valorant maintains a tight 103 horizontal FOV, and ~ 70.5328 vertical FOV. BOTH locked. I've tested this in game by wildly changing ratios and custom resolutions. The game image will always distort to maintain the H and V FOV. We can use this to our advantage to distort Valorant into a screen space that matches what those angles and distances would be in CSGO. Valorant is basically just a slightly zoomed in image compared to CSGO, so now we are going to zoom it out on our monitor a bit to match it. I originally did some incorrect math to convert this (didn't use trig...). There is a simpler way using the mouse-sensitivity website. I'll run through what I did for my screen (2560x1440). This should be correct providing the mouse-sensitivity equations are correct behind the scene, and I do trust that they are. (This is redundant now. I used the trig to get the constants. See near the res list to the easiest method possible). Select CSGO as your game. Set sens and DPI. Set res to 2560x1440 (or your native res of CSGO). Start to adjust the 2560 number until it closes in on 103 degrees actual hFOV at the data readout. 2414 pixels is the spot... We just found out what our horizontal res needs to be for valorant (with some small black bars) to match perfectly to csgo, seeming valorant will lock at 103 hFOV no matter what. You could stop there, and it would be pretty good. Horizontal aim and 360 degree matching is now near pixel perfect. I haven't proven this, but I believe your vertical aim will still be off though. So let's do the same for vertical matching: Now, convert to Valorant as the output. Set the above horizontal res number just found (2416) as your Valorant res. Now adjust the Valorant vertical res number, until Actual vFOV output closes in on 70.5328. This is taking advantage of what I believe is actually a bug on the Valorant data on the website: it thinks valorant's vFOV can change, even though it can't, so we can use it to figure out what pixel count will salvage our smaller vFOV with black bars. I believe for me, 1358 is that number. If they fix this, we will loose the ability to easily match this using the website (redundant now, we can just use the trig derived constants instead of the website. See above the Res list). Redundant: However, it will still be possible to do by matching it until the vertical distance based sensitivities are the same as the 360 degree rotation sensitivities, but it won't be quite as precise or easy, and will require payment on the site. It is plausible that the vertical component of this is slightly off, but I can't see how or why, and if it is, it would be a tiny deviation. If anyone wants to do the math manually to check, please do. We now have a new resolution 2414x1358. Set this with NVIDIA control panel, (or AMD, not familiar with it though) as a custom res, and use it in valorant. Divide your csgo sens by 3.18, or use the default (and free) 360 match on the website (it is doing the same division, just more decimals), and use that. Set scope multiplier to 0.747, or set/leave to preference (see closer to bottom of my original post far below). I still use 0.747. A near perfect 1:1 experience between both games is now achieved within a tiny and imperceptible margin of error. All we have done is matched Valorant to fill 103 degrees of CSGO's 106.26xxx screen real-estate on the horizontal (talking from a 16:9 perspective), and 70.5328 degrees of CSGOs 73.73xxx on the vertical. You may have lost about 11% of your screen real-estate. Effectively, it is like playing CSGO with a little bit of the top, bottom and sides of your screen sheered off. The benefit is a near perfect match in horizontal and vertical behaviour at both the aimer, all the way through to 360 degree movement, a 1:1 match. If you just do the black bars at the sides, your vertical sensitivity will be the same as when using the 360 method, so slightly off, but you've salvaged your horizontal sens completely. Add the vertical black bars, and it should be perfect all-round. If you use a 4:3 CSGO native resolution, you will GAIN screen real-estate in order to match FOV. A few notes. This does NOT significantly distort Valorant from a native 16:9 (providing you are coming from 16:9 CSGO). Things look absolutely fine. You will almost certainly need to run on Fullscreen mode for it to function well. Windowed mode would work too, but leave your desktop in the wings. Fullscreen Windowed doesn't work for me, it just stretches it back out to full screen. Are there any negatives to the FOV method in terms of perception and aim? Well, your perception may hinge somewhat on the moving region of the screen being identical in both games. However, I think it most likely that matching FOV, and distances on your monitor, sitting roughly equidistant at all times, and having everything else perfect, will be by far the most successful method for the vast majority of users transitioning between games. I personally have also clipped CSGO now to give it 103 FOV on the horizontal instead of 106.26 (giving me the same vertical black bars between both games) for the utmost consistency. So the only difference between the two games is Valorant has some horizontal black bars. Doing this of course didn't impact my sensitivity in CSGO at all, it just clips the image at the sides a little, giving me some black bars. Remember, CSGO's horizontal FOV is variable based on resolution. My CSGO res: 2416x1440 native black bar ~ 103x73 FOV blackbars on sides My valorant res: 2416x1358 ~ 103x70 FOV blackbars on sides, top and bottom. Hopefully that makes sense. If you refuse to loose a bit of screen real estate, this is my original post below which uses a different divider that prioritises screen distance instead of 360 degree rotation as the method of matching sensitivities between both games. Both my number below, and the original 3.18 number (without doing what I propose above) will have significant errors, in different parts of your aiming. I argue that my number is better if you want to match your aim. It won't feel right for everyone, and some still preferred 3.18, which is perfectly reasonable. I personally now will be using my above method of matching FOV for a 1:1 match, making this entire section obsolete. THE ORIGINAL POST WITH THE ORIGINAL VALUES THAT CAN RECOVER SOME OF YOUR AIM IF IT WAS FEELING OFF, FOR THOSE NOT WILLING TO LOOSE SOME SCREEN REAL-ESTATE: IMPORTANT EDIT: This new number can change depending on your game window ratio. If you are not using the simple 16:9 to 16:9 conversion, proceed with caution. This is largely, although not just, due to how valorant distorts to maintain its 103 hFOV. However, it should be ok if neither game is distorted. So black bars 4:3 CS is ok, as long as valorant is 16:9. I encourage you to head to mouse-sensitivity.com to get a more reliable value using 0% horizontal distance as your match if there is any deviation from these norms. It will cost $3. To anyone I recommended a value to NOT using 16:9, it may be wrong. Apologies. I have a caveat about stretch to non-stretch conversions in a footnote you need to be aware of if deploying this. TLDR: The normal method is to divide your CSGO sens by 3.18. This doesn't actually give you correct aim, only a correct abstract sense of movement in the world. Divide by the below instead: 16:9 CSGO to 16:9 Valorant (Native to native): 3.370 4:3 CSGO blackbar non-streched to 16:9 Valorant: 3.370 4:3 CSGO STRETCHED to 16:9 Valorant (Don't fuck with valorant here, it won't behave how you hope): 2.53 PEOPLE USING STRETCHED CONVERSIONS, SEE THE FOOTNOTE BEFORE ASKING QUESTIONS PLEASE :) TLDR IS THAT ALL OPTIONS SUCK AND YOU REALLY MAY WANT TO JUST STICK WITH 3.18. Ideal, and common scope multipliers are given at the bottom in the scope footnote. For any other weird options, again, pay and go do the work at mouse-sensitivity.com Yes, using 3.370 will 'feel' a little slower to get around in Valorant now compared to 3.18, at worst about 6% slower in fact, but your aim is more likely to be left in tact. Use whatever you prefer though. Just giving people another option and some stats to what the difference is. Keep reading if you want to know why these proposed conversions (really just the 3.370 one) are technically "better" than 3.18: This is the bulk of my original post: ORIGINAL POST AND PROOFING: People are under the impression that they should be converting their sensitivity from CS:GO by dividing their CS:GO sensitivity by 3.18... People think this will give them the same sensitivity, thus muscle memory, between the games. They are (kind of) wrong. This will only give you the same sense of traversing the game world, as it matches the amount of distance required to move your mouse for a 360 degree rotation. BUT, due to the FOV difference between the two games of 3.26 degrees, you will not have the same feeling of SENSITIVITY. Here is the result of some math as to why. How far do I have to move my mouse, in order to get from where my crosshair is, to where that enemies head is on my screen? You can only achieve a perfect conversion between the two games at ONE point on your monitor. ONE distance. And I can tell you, the 360 degree rotation conversion is wildly off, unless you intend to do a few rotations first in order to hit someone in the head. I ran the math, and the correct point to calibrate to on your screen is almost certainly 0%, right at the crosshair, making subtle movements at the crosshair (in order to target enemies near your crosshair) perfect between both games. Many may already be aware of this, but it is interesting to understand why. Ok, if we use the 0% conversion, we end up with a 1:1 SENSITIVITY match between CS:GO and Valorant AT THE CROSSHAIR. Great, but what about points AWAY from the middle of my screen? Well, things gradually get worse the further the distance, and I will provide the percentage of deviation from a perfect match between the special 0% mark, and the very edge of your monitor, if you set at this 0% mark, and I include the error in doing a 360 too. %distance from edge of screen to crosshair with 0% reference: % error in ideal conversion from CSGO at 0% reference What do we notice? Perfect conversion (within a few units of error not shown) within a full 15% distance from crosshair to edge of your screen. And very low error, less than 1%, all the way up to 50% distance to edge of screen. This is the hot spot region of aiming. If you are flicking to the VERY edge of your screen, 100% of the way, you have a 2.89% error. Achieving a 360 degree rotation has a 6.02% error, so moving around the game world will feel a bit slower compared to CS:GO, but your aim is comparatively left in tact. A 180 will have about a 5.78% error according to my best calculations. To compare, lets check the error at each aiming location using the 360 degree as our baseline, the common method where one divides their CS:GO sens by 3.18... %distance from edge of screen to crosshair at 360 rotation reference: % error in ideal conversion from CSGO 360 rotation reference We can see, our 0% distance from edge of screen naturally carries the most error with this method. The aiming hotspot is the WORST translated region. Only a 360 spin is well conserved, NOT your aim. Even aiming to the edge of the screen at 100% carries a (slightly) higher error of 2.95 compared to matching your aim to the 0% mark (2.89% error). At 120% distance from your crosshair (heading offscreen by 20%) the methods switch place, and the 360 degree method becomes less error prone compared to 0% matching. So, unless you intend your muscle memory to be all about matching for flicking to targets OFFSCREEN, you should absolutely NOT be using the default division by 3.181818.... Match instead to 0%, and divide your CS:GO sensitivity by 3.370 (This is accurate to +- 0.001 units of Valorant sensitivity). This will give you a cleaner conversion in the region of your monitor from 0% to about 115% off your screen, with the MOST conserved sensitivity region being closest to your crosshair. What is better... for your near-crosshair aiming to carry a 5.68% error? Or a 180 spin to carry about the same amount of error while your key crosshair region carries between none to 1% error. You get the latter with the division I provided above. It seems to me a no-brainer as the better option. SCOPE FOOTNOTE: As for your scope multiplier? Unfortunately, at this time you can only correct for one zoom level. I use the 2.5x zoom, to correct the scopes to the same 0% level of my valorant sensitivity, and if you correct as I have said, using the superior 0% CSGO conversion, you will also end up with your scopes behaving the same between CS:GO and valorant. Otherwise, they too will carry the error over from the 360 degree conversion. These values are below (assuming you use 3.370 as your division initially, things get wonky if you want to keep to your 360 degree rotation conservation, yet want your scopes to somehow match). These are independent of your sens. I think the default of 1.0 in Valorant is equivalent to calibrating all of them to the edge of your screen, 100% by distance. This is, at least, a consistent behaviour. I personally still change it to 0.747. SCOPE: To correct the 2.5x valorant scope: 0.747 This = ~ 0.82 from CSGO. Specifically0.818933 A note about scope multipliers: The ideal provided above is for matching your scope movement to distance via the exact same logic as presented for matching the two games, at 0% distance. A few other common scope mulits that people like: CSGO 1.2 = 1.142 Valorant CSGO 1.0 = 0.927 Valorant ALL these values are dependent on using 3.370 as your primary sensitivity divider, and not 3.18. Otherwise, your scopes will carry the error of the primary sens. If using different stretched values, these scoped values should still work ON THE HORIZON. Remember, stretched conversions cook your vertical sensitivity, and you can't do anything about it. Hopefully Valorant releases the ability to tune every scope/ADS level individually, because right now, every other ADS will be a bit off compared to the ideal 2.5x scope. But still closer than the default 1.0 value. For example, the 1.25x ADS of the vandal etc should be set to 0.870, and will be a bit slow with the 0.747 setting. Yes, scope values can, although not always, change if you deviate from the default 16:9 to 16:9. STRETCHED GO TO VALORANT FOOTNOTE (or vice versa, non-stretched to stretched): Converting from stretched to any Valorant can COOK your vertical sens. Nothing can be done, this is your punishment for sweating over fat terrorists your whole life. The divider for 4:3 stretched to Valorant is generically 2.53. Any divider that deviates from 3.18 will increasingly add error to your 360 degree movement. This means that the with a stretch value you end up with a much greater error ramp through the distances, even though your 0% and nearby is correct. I don't have the percentages of error, and I can't be bothered running them, but expect it to be awful. Not to mention, you can't salvage horizontal AND vertical sens anyway with thiscombination, so it still won't feel right. My recommendation for these users is to match to the 360 or nearby (divide by 3.18), tune to personal preference, and learn the new sensitivity, sorry. If you are doing more bizarre conversions, go pay $3 and figure it out at mouse-sensitivity.com using 0% horizontal monitor distance as your hipfire conversion method. Or tune to 3.18 manually, because just like the above, you can't salvage your old sensitivity with varying stretch conversions to any point that won't feel awful on the vertical and 360 movements. BETTER DATA: For the data folk, this much more complete and accurate set of data will give you the error to each point of the screen given a calibration at a specific point. You'll notice at the bottom, all multipliers to use said distance is provided. You'll notice I've used actually the 15% distance as the default, this is because it is a simpler number (3.37) and it actually will give you, almost 100% of the time, the exact same sensitivity as 0% anyway (3.374). However, if you want to have minimum error across the whole visible space, then you actually want to use 50% as your target point (3.334) BUT the error around the crosshair, at 0-15%, is no longer negligible, even though, in reality, across the whole screen, you could consider this the best choice. Sum of the error is of course absolute values. 360 Rot is provided for comparison of error in these regions against the default 3.18(2) method. https://preview.redd.it/z9yz28m5nm451.png?width=602&format=png&auto=webp&s=5e8e88596e7c77faae03c7caf112deef96b0605f DISCLAIMER: I made extensive use of the mouse-sensitivity.com website for gathering all data points involved in these calculations. I did not do any of the math to generate those data points myself, just the analysis. Check them out, and consider giving them some cash if any of this ended up making things better for you. It's a great site.
Why Stupid Horse is a criticism of capitalist America and the American Dream
Stupid Horse is the 5th song on the hyper-pop duo 100gecs’ debut album: 1000gecs. 1000gecs was released on May 31st, 2019, and received heavy approval from the underground and PC music scene. Considered very bombastic and loud, 100gecs received critical reviews from many, who didn’t consider it real music. But as of their sophomore album: 100gecs and the Tree of Clues, 100gecs is beginning to receive more widespread attention and acceptance. Stupid horse is at its base a highly critical analysis of capitalism and American culture. This biting criticism is demonstrated through absurdist lyrics following the assault of a horse jockey by an aggravated horse derby better. This criticism is played through an upbeat mix of Ska and electro-pop. The song begins with the narrator talking about how they were in attendance of a horse race and bet their money on a horse. This titular “stupid horse” did not place as well as they had anticipated, so they lost their investment. It is implied that the sum of money that the narrator betted on the horse was incredibly high, as stated in a later lyric: “Lost all the money in my bank account (oh no!).” The duo wastes no time in beginning their criticism of capitalism and American culture. Betting on horse racing has been a beloved American pastime since the establishment of the first horse racing track in Long Island by British colonizers in 1665. The narrator is immediately quite aggravated by their unfortunate luck, and blames the horse, calling it stupid. This burst of outrage is common in American sports, especially when money is on the line. The narrator is so outraged in fact, that they go onto the track and assault the jockey in an attempt to quote, “get my [their] cash back.” Take a look at the following lyrics in the first verse of the song: “Bet my money on a stupid horse, I lost that So I ran out to the track to get my cash back I just gotta leave this place with a big bag So I found the fuckin' jockey and I grabbed that (pick it up!) Pushed him down to the ground and I Punched him in his face (in his face!) Yeah, I stole his phone, that put him in his place (in his place!) Me and the horse, we ran out of the place (the place!) Then we took my Porsche back to my place” The narrator expresses their initial intent to leave the horse race with a quote, “big bag”. This hope is immediately torn to shreds when the horse they had placed a bet on performed poorly. The narrator physically assaults the jockey not just out of revenge, but seemingly out of spite as well. This is shown in the 8th line: “Yeah I stole his phone, that put him in his place.” This lyric clearly characterizes the narrator as a borderline maniac, who views the jockey as lesser due to his poor performance. The narrator proceeds to steal not only the jockey’s phone, but also his horse, in an assumed attempt to recoup the narrator’s financial losses. At the end of the first stanza, there is an interesting metaphor that is introduced. The narrator and the horse return to his home in a Porsche. I will delve into that a little later. What proceeds after the first verse is the chorus of the song. It is as follows: “Stupid horse, I just fell out of the Porsche Lost the money in my bank account, oh no Stupid horse, I just fell out of the Porsche Lost the money in my bank account, oh no Stupid horse, I just fell out of the Porsche Lost the money in my bank account, oh no Stupid horse, I just fell out of the Porsche Lost the money in my bank account” This chorus just further solidifies the narrator’s distaste of the racing horse, as they believe that the horse is responsible for their loss. The chorus also contains the cryptic line: “I just fell out of the Porsche.” This is a callback to the first verse of the song where the narrator apparently gets into their Porsche with the horse, which would be very difficult considering that an average racehorse weighs 1,100 lbs (__ kg) and are quite large in size. The narrator is apparently pushed out of their Porsche, causing them to subsequently insult the horse again, calling it stupid. This chorus leads me to question the sanity of the narrator, as any sane person would use proper equipment to transport a horse. It is especially strange considering that if anyone knows about the transportation of horses, it should be someone who observes and bets on horse races often. The apparent insanity of the narrator is the base of 100gecs’ criticism of capitalist and American culture. The narrator is a well-to-do upper class citizen (which is apparent due to their possession of a Porsche), who wants to further their upper class status by betting a large sum of money (presumably their entire life savings) on a horse race. The satirical bite is incredibly evident, as the narrator is an exaggeration of the 1% in America, who can afford to spend their time betting extravagant amounts on horses while the working class continues to labor and many struggle to survive paycheck to paycheck. The song’s second chorus, this time sung by Dylan Brady wraps up the satirical song in an incredibly satisfying way: “Stupid horse and a swordfish dancer (Pick it up) Bet my money on a fishnet carousel Go, go, go, go, go so fast now Go, go, go, go, go so fast now Racing horses at the derby Why am I never getting lucky? I never have any money I never win any money” This verse is largely self explanatory besides the first two lines. At first, the idea of a “swordfish dancer” confused me to no end, but after pairing it with the second line, I was able to piece together two possible conclusions. My first take of the two lines is that the narrator was conditioned into a life of betting and money at a young age. By making reference to a “fishnet carousel”, he indicates that as a young child, he would bet on the winner of a carousel race. The third and fourth lines sound like the chanting of a child as he encourages his desired animal (a swordfish) to go quickly and win the race. The irony of this statement is that carousels are fixed, spinning on a vertical axis, they have no winners or losers. This absurd betting at an early age further characterizes the narrator as a person with questionable sanity. My second theory is similar to the first, but instead of the narrator betting on a carousel at an early age, he is an adult with an addiction so severe that he is willing to bet on anything, including a children’s carousel ride. This theory again, paints him to be an unstable person with an addiction to betting. Which is fairly common in the United States. Either way, the song paints the portrait of a deranged upper class citizen who seeks to up their status at any cost. The American Dream, although encouraging, can lead to many focusing on monetary success over everything else. The narrator is an example of exactly that. They bet their entire savings on a singular horse race with the hopes of making it big, and instead they lose out, sinking all their funds and emptying their bank account. With this song, 100gecs are trying to illuminate the stupidity and absurdity that come with this type of blind bid for status, while bringing attention to wealth disparity and the United State’s unhealthy obsession with monetary success, as well as the ultimate futility of the American Dream. I wrote this as a joke because I was very bored, but feel free to dissect and counter argue. I’d love to hear what points you guys have to make.
I noticed that Zillow's been discussed a lot on here, so I thought I'd give my own analysis on the platform. Perhaps this can be helpful for all of you looking for new marketing and business strategies.
The platform was founded by two ex-Expedia guys back in 2005. So that's the context + mindset they brought to this (making marketplaces). At the time, they had just sold off Expedia, they were looking to buy a house and couldn't get the info they needed to make informed decisions. So they're like, “Yo, why not just solve this problem?” Initially, Zillow started off as a place to just find super-local listings and connect with a real estate agent and a mortgage broker. This is all they were for a long time. In as early as 2006, they started collecting data from agents on the homes they sold. By 2020 they had data on 110 million homes - selling price, home details, neighborhood deets etc. They use all this to create an estimated home value for any home in the US - called Zestimate. They also use these to programmatically make instant offers on homes that they then flip for a profit (called iBuying). This is a lot of data. Now, with that being said, just how big is Zillow? In 2019, the website reached 8+ Bn user visits a year across all it's online properties. Not only that, it had $2.74 Bn revenues in 2019 -- about half of this is from Internet business (46%), about 50% is iBuying, and a little bit is SaaS (Software as a Service) revenue in the Mortgage industry.
Ways Zillow Makes a Profit
How does Zillow make money? Ads, iBuying, and some SaaS. Ads: When you check out a property on their site and hit Contact to get in touch with an agent, agents pay big money to Zillow to show their face right there, and to get your contact info. Zillow sells your info to them as a "lead". This makes up 46% of their revenues. Other brokers, property managers etc also pay Zillow to get leads. It's always free to list your property though, and this is further explained in the attached YouTube video (look above for the link). iBuying: people want quick cash. To capitalize off of that, Zillow uses Zestimate to quote these people an offer to buy their house below market value, and then flip it for at or slightly above market value. It does this in 22 markets as of now (2019), and, conveniently, it does not come visit your house or demand fixes etc. This process makes up almost 50% of their revenue in 2019. Currently, they are betting big on this to grow to 20Bn in revenues in the next few years. Right now Zillow's iBuying program still results in a net loss (they didn't sell as many houses as they bought - I can go into other concerns around iBuying in a separate post if you guys want and I'm making a breakaway video about this, will post when ready). Mortgage revenue: it does NOT underwrite mortgages. It just does the paperwork for you and then sells your info to brokers. Plus they bought a SaaS product used in the mortgage industry that makes them a little bit.
Ways They Can Improve
Even then, there are several things that Zillow could be better at. For example, they're losing their grip and focus on their cash cow. Even today, about half of their revenues and over 90% of their net profits comes from their agents who pay them for leads and ads. This is their cash cow. But ask any realtor and they'll tell you how much they hate Zillow (I can go deeper into this in a separate post). They need to focus better on the one part of the business that's making them their profits and is giving them the cash they need to slowly diversify their revenue streams. (I'm making a breakaway video about this, and will post when ready). Zillow also spends a lot of money ($714 million in sales / marketing costs in 2019) on making sure homebuyers and homesellers visit Zillow to get insights on their properties. And realtors argue Zillow’s data on these properties, including Zillow’s proprietary Zestimate, is outdated and not nearly accurate. This puts realtors in a difficult position with their clients who are getting conflicting information from different sources. Zillow acknowledges the issues with their Zestimate and has mentioned that they’ve updated their algorithms in 2019. The reflected so with an increased spend on technology in 2019. Not only that, Zillow only updates MLS feeds once a day, whereas the market is so dynamic that properties and availability changes by the minute. Their revenue stream relies on visitors spending time on listings so they can be connected with 'Premier Agents' - outdated data directly hurts this and erodes visitor trust when agents have to do bait and switch after being contacted about a property. Going off of that, Zillow drives leads away from the listing agents and towards any agent who pays them more for ad placement. However realtors posit that most of these leads aren’t even quality leads / or qualified leads. Basically, they charge a lot, do not provide enough value, and create problems by confusing potential customers - making it harder for realtors to earn a living. To pull off making real money from advertising you need to either have a large user base or a super-engaged user base. Zillow has the former - a large base (remember the aforementioned 8Bn user visits a year). They went a long time relying on just one revenue source - ads. But they knew this can dry up any time, like in a recession; basically, it's not predictable and it's not stable. So they are now diversifying. If your primary revenue source is not stable / predictable, think about that too.
Things to Consider
Zillow is able to continuously own more and more of the lifecycle of their user (who's in the market to either buy, or sell, or rent, or get a mortgage etc) because they have been able to establish a relationship of trust with the users (by using things like Zestimate and other data on the property level that's hard to discover elsewhere). Investment in data is paying off big time. It's important to know which type of data to have and how to use it. Not all data is useful. But when a real business use case is found, data can literally be an inimitable wall that protects your margins and allows you to grow safely. Thanks for reading! For more info in video format: https://youtu.be/4TVHLySAjWc
2020 r/baseball Power Rankings -- Preseason / Week 1: They May Take Half Our Season, But They'll Never Take Our Desire to Rank
Welcome back to baseball Power Rankings, 2020 Edition!
Eight years ago, naaahhman created this project and for the last seven I've shepherded a diligent team of voters, past and present, to bring you the longest running feature of this great subreddit. If this is your first rodeo, we employ 30 voters taken from each fandom / team subreddit. No one person has more influence than another and my own fandom does not enter the equation. This 2020 season is a chaotic one, but you will normally see this feature published on Monday between Noon and 2 PM Pacific -- so, we'll meet again next Monday, July 27th. Every voter has their own style / system and, while there are normally voting rules for guidance and numbers for analysis, this Preseason Vote called for a personal interpretation of what may transpire this season. Note: Are you a fan of the Phillies or Whitesox? We are seeking new representation for these teams. Please see this comment for details. Thank you to all voters who have left this project -- your work has been incredibly appreciated. TRANSPARENCY: this link will show you who voted each team where and has added neat statistics! If something is a little messed up, just chalk it up to general rustiness but feel free to pester me let me know. Total Votes: 27 of 28. The delta change somewhat irrelevantly refers to the last Power Ranking of the 2019 season for funsies.
It doesn't matter that the seasoned is shortened. It doesn't matter than summer camp was brief. It doesn't matter that the Astros cheated or that we came close. All that matters this season for the Dodgers is winning the whole damn thing. Anything less will be a disappointment.
Have you been watching preseason baseball? Because I have. I love that our HR leader is Kyle Higashioka and SO leader is Jordan Montgomery. This is going to be the year of AAAA allstars, and boy am I ready.
Bang bang. Now that that's cleared out of the way, let's get to it. Obviously, the Astros lost Gerrit Cole over the offseason, but are still blessed with a solid 1-2 punch in Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke. Lance McCullers Jr. will make his long awaited return from Tommy John surgery, and if he can stay healthy, he should emerge as one of the best #3 starters in the league. Offensively, the team should still be in great shape. All in all, it would be foolish to assume the Astros will compete for anything less than the AL pennant. Even with this offseason's losses, they are still an incredibly powerful team.
107 - 55
It's finally time for Twins baseball! The Bomba Squad is a force to be reckoned with this year, with the aquisition of Donaldson, Maeda, Rich Hill, and others to support a deadly offense that is arguably the best in the majors. The bullpen is a bona-fide strength this year with the expressive set-up men Romo and May to support the laser-focused Rogers. With a strong rotation of Berrios, Odorizzi, Maeda, Hill, and Dobnak, look for the Twins to repeat as 2020 AL Central Champions!
101 - 61
Quentionable offseason manuvering? Check. COVID hotspot? Check. Warm water? Also check. The Rays come into 2020 with the burden of expectations after last year's playoff appearance, and look poised to make it back. There have been several Rays-ey depth additions with the likes of Manuel Margot, Jose Martinez, and Randy Arozarena, with the headliner of Hunter Renfroe. Yoshi Tsutsugo also joins from the NPB. All of these additions seem to hinge on the hope they reproduce parts of past seasons, but given the FO's track record there's reason to be optimistic. The downside is the departure of arguably last year's best position player in Tommy Pham, and letting Travis d'Arnaud go in free agency in hopes of a Zunino bounceback. Everyone else is back and ready to roll. The most important thing is that the pitching staff remains largely the same, with the only notable loss being Emilio Pagan. The short season combined with Kevin Cash's pitching antics is where the optimism for the season really comes from, with the 1/2/3 of Morton/Snell/Glasnow + one of the top bullpens in baseball. In short, raise those Chois and flap those bois, baseball is back!
96 - 66
As fast as it began, our relationship with Yasiel Puig was "licked" by a positive COVID-19 test. Speaking of positive/COVID-19, the best first baseman in baseball has returned from his quarantine and is "feeling great!" We still have a hole to fill against lefties with Kakes opting out of the season. Look for a heavy platoon in the OF for now, but I imagine we revisit Puig if he can have the required 2 negative tests. If not, it might pave the way to the Show for Pache.
97 - 65
The 2019 World Series Champion Washingtion Nationals begin their title defense against Gerrit Cole as the only team to have beaten him in the last calendar year. Expect a high-flying yet low-scoring opening series against the Yankees as the Nationals will hand the baseball to three different pitchers who received 2019 Cy Young votes (Scherzer, Strasburg, and Corbin).
93 - 69
Before the end times, the A's were 1st in the cactus league. Our owner made a rare public statement- a mea cupola, after refusing to pay our minor league players. The local Sierra Club protested the organization's plans to build a new stadium, and they have good points. For a team that needs to win in this contention window to keep the franchise local, the shadow-boxing over the next labor agreement was less than ideal. Across several generations, the A's have been a second half team. Will this lead to a hot streak, or dissapointment?
97 - 65
THANK GOD Baseball is finally, finally being played again. An abbreviated season, but ball and bat all the same - and that means that in these strange times the only thing that matters is who gets hot and stays hot. I don't have a real guess how this season will go, I'm only glad that it's here.
91 - 71
The Cubs are as perplexing as ever. While the core that won them a World Series in 2016 is still intact, their lack of pitching depth and hitting consistency may once again be the deciding factors for this team. Hopefully Cubs fans will see some redemption for the abysmal collapse last fall. They are one of the few teams with no players testing positive for the coronavirus, but who knows how long that will last. Let's play ball for as long as we can!
84 - 78
Will Pete Alonso or Jeff McNeil avoid a Sophmore slump? Will Jacob deGrom contend for a third straight Cy Young? Will Brodie Van Wagenen be able to traverse the Cursed Dungeon of Glamdor to retrieve the fabled glowing amulet to finally lift the curse that has been placed on Jed Lowrie? I'm ready to find out, but I know more than anything, I'm ready to get hurt again. #LFGM
88 - 76
I think Milwaukee had the most transactions of anyone in the offseason, but none of these transactions brought a true impact player. The best thing this team has going for them is positional versitility. More than any other team Milwaukee can navigate losing a key player for multiple weeks in this short season.
89 - 73
The Tribe heads into 2020 well-poised for another 100-win 37-win season. The loss of aces Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer stings, but with a top-three of Bieber, Clevinger and a reportedly healthy Carlos Carrasco, the rotation is in great shape. The bullpen, headed by Brad Hand, Nick Wittgren and preternatural K machine James Karinchak, looks to put up another strong season. The lineup features at least six guys with 30-dinger power and two MVP candidates in Lindor and Ramirez. With no real weak spots and plenty of depth, look for Cleveland to be at the top of the division in a short season.
93 - 69
It feels good to be back. Am I confident that the season will (or should) be played to completion? Well now's not the time to talk about that. But am I confident in the team that Dick Williams and co. have assembled? I think so! The Reds have arguably the best top of the rotation in baseball with Gray, Castillo, and Bauer. They also brought in some free agent hitters you may have heard of. The defense could be ugly this year, especially if Nick Castellanos insists he's not a DH. On the whole, this Reds team really feels like they can do great things this year. I'm ready to get let down.
With 2020 NL MVP Ketel Marte leading the charge, a team of good-to-very-good players across the diamond has a chance to be a serious contender in this shortened season. This is a team with a decent amount of depth and moving parts, one that plays excellent defense and does the little things right--even on the nights the Snakes lose, nobody in the MLB is going to look forward to playing the D-backs.
85 - 77
72 - 89
81 - 81
In February, I don’t think I was alone in dying to see the season start. The Pads come into 2020 with a new manager, new faces in town, and of course best of all, big beautiful brown, jerseys. Given current events, and all that’s happened since, I wouldn’t blame anyone for not carrying that same enthusiasm with us to opening day, nor would I blame anyone for being skeptical of a season even finishing. What I can say, is I’m glad we’re back. The club comes in harder to predict than ever. My gut says the 60 game schedule against only west opponents will help, as well as one of the best bullpens in baseball. The infield should back our pitchers up, if their complimenting bats are alive and awake, then we could make some noise this year. The starting staff is still the biggest question mark on the team, as it relies on a young Paddack being consistent, a bounce back year for Richards, and overall health and improvement for the squad. I see the Pads starting slow, and picking up midseason, reaching a final record of 32-28. That would be the first winning season since ‘10, but likely still keep us out of the playoffs, which we haven’t reached since ‘06.
70 - 92
In a way, the Sox got lucky. This is probably the worst Sox team we'll see in awhile, and we only see 1/3rd of the games from them. They've been devastated by injuries, lost free agents (mookie 😭), and years of horrible front office decisions. Thankfully, we've got Chaim Bloom on our side to save us from the terrible signings and to hopefully build a juggernaut farm akin to the Dodgers and Yankees. Until then though, I'm looking forwards to a low expectation/low stress Red Sox season.
84 - 78
Wear a mask. Wash your hands. As for my rankings, I tried to do my best here. Not sure how these 60 games are going to go but I think the teams with the better pitching might have an advantage but honestly not sure. Fuck the Astros.
78 - 84
The 2020 Homeless Blue Jays will be must watch TV, featuring a lineup comprised of young studs Bo Bichette, Vladdy Jr, Cavan Biggio. Hyun-Jin Ryu will take the ball on opening day, and the rotation should feature Fireballing Rookie Nate Pearson by the 2nd week in August. Sure, the government disowned them, and they aren't actually ALLOWED to play in the country, but they're still Canada's team. In a Pandemic Shortened Season, featuring an improved pitching staff, with a fiery young lineup, much of the fan base has to be thinking "Why Not Us?".
67 - 95
After an offseason that included a public war of words between Nolan Arenado and GM Jeff Bridich (and not much else) the Rockies will look to recapture their 2017/2018 magic. Your guess is as good as mine if they can in an abbreviated season.
71 - 91
Buster Posey isn't playing because he's a hero. Tyler Beede is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Brandon Belt has a foot injury. Evan Longoria has an oblique injury. Pablo Sandoval is fat again. Heliot Ramos has a leg infection. Billy Hamilton is still working his way back from covid. But at least baseball is back I guess? At least a short season means the Giants will only be bad for 60 games, as opposed to 162.
77 - 85
Bob Nutting didn't sell the team, but the offseason otherwise went about as well as you could hope as a Pirates fan. The front office was wiped clean after a disasterous 2019, and new GM Ben Cherington will be tasked with bringing a winner back to Pittsburgh. He'll be using to 2020 season to sift through the wreckage that was Neal Huntington's 2019 roster, which means the on-field product will still be pretty bad. This year, I'll be looking to see if the pitching staff can take a step forward and if some of the Bucs' top prospects can hack it in limited MLB time. At least with a shortened season, Pirate fans only have to watch Colin Moran take the field for 60 games instead of an interminable 162.
69 - 93
Honestly - I don't even know how to rank this season. I'm not even sure the season ends when it's scheduled to. This entire thing seems like a giant clusterfuck. But, on the plus side, Bobby Witt Jr. looks like a future star. Only issue is that he's facing the Royals pitching...
59 - 103
57 - 105
BASEBALL 👏 SHOULD 👏 NOT 👏 BE 👏 PLAYED 👏 THIS 👏 YEAR 👏
68 - 94
Last year was TankforTork, so this year is... GetKreamedforKumar? We might need to work on that one. What I do know is that this will be another painful year, but a year offering some glimmers of hope as Casey Mize and Isaac Paredes figure to challenge for playing time later on (if we actually finish the season). Miguel Cabrera looks as slim as he's ever been in a Tigers uniform (BSOHL!!!) in order to lessen the load on his back and knees as he heads into the twilight of his Hall of Fame career.
47 - 114
The season will be 60 games, the Orioles have the toughest schedule (based on teams records from last year), and the supposed opening day starter already has a sore arm. If you could bet that the Orioles will have more losses than any team will have wins in Vegas...I would take that bet.
🏆 1st Place In DoR 13: Lineup Explanations, Tournament Report, And My Philosophy In LoR
Hello, Agigas Here! I'm a master player since beta, with several #4 peak, and TSM/Blitz.gg LoR consultant. I write deck guides on Reddit but today I'm trying something quite different! I came out of this weekend as the NA Duels of Runeterra 13 winner, making me one of the 2 players to have won both EU and NA DoR, with freshlobster. I think it might be interesting to share some insight about my lineup, talk about how my tournament went, and share my philosophy when it comes to LoR! 😃 For those who've never heard of it, Duels of Runeterra is a free tournament organized by the community since the beta, with a cash prize! With a 500$ prize pool shared across regions every 2 weeks, it's the biggest open tournament to my knowledge. You have to register 3 decks with no shared region. The format is 8/9 swiss rounds in BO3 conquest with 1 ban before each match (you bring 3 decks, before a match you see your opponent's decks and ban one of them. The first player to get a win with both his decks wins the match). You play all the rounds of swiss but 2 on Saturday, and the rest on Sunday. At the end of swiss if you're in the 16 most successful players you get into the top cut, and the format becomes BO5 conquest single-elimination (no ban), using the same decks you used in the swiss rounds. Now that everything is explained, let's dive into it! 😄
For this tournament, the time to prepare a lineup was short and the meta was wild because of the patch note 1.6. I quickly figured out that, unless you have a very specific plan in mind, you had to bring Ashe Noxus. All the other Tier 1 decks got nerf in 1.6 and Ashe's bad matchups, burn and elusive, pretty much disappeared. With such little time to prepare, I decided to focus mainly on Ashe lineups. My version of Ashe Noxus. From that point, 2 lineups really stood out for me:
Ashe Noxus + Spooky Karma + Demacia variant.
Ashe Noxus + Ezreal/Karma + Demacia variant.
At first, the one playing Ezreal/Karma looked better to me for a tournament set up. The reason is that Spooky Karma is really bad against Ezreal/Karma, and I expected the second lineup to be quite popular. In both lineups, the Demacia deck will be weak to Ashe so I'm quite weak to Ashe Noxus + Ezreal Karma lineups. However, I decided to go against my assumption and register the Spooky Karma lineup for a few reasons:
Because Ashe Noxus + Ezreal/Karma was likely to be popular, I expected some players to target Ezreal/Karma with triple aggro lineups.
The Spooky Karma lineup is very coherent because all 3 decks are quite good against aggro, especially versus Demacia if I tune my own Demacia deck for the mirror. This allows me to target anyone with an aggro deck in his lineup.
While I'm very comfortable with Karma/Ezreal, Spooky Karma has been my go-to deck for both ladder and tournaments for a very long time, a legit love story. 💗
I'm currently writing a new Reddit guide for Spooky Karma so I wanted to get some more practice with it against good players.
My version of Spooky Karma, in-depth guide coming soon! Finally, I had to choose what Demacia I was going to bring. I wanted to have something that goes a little bigger than scout and with good tech cards for this matchup, but also fast enough to be able to beatdown slow decks. So I built my version of Scout to match my expectations, "Big Scout". It is basically an MF/Quinn Bannerman Scout deck with a good top curve (Cithria The Bold, Genevieve Elmheart, Back to Back) to be able to go bigger, and 2 Riposte to give me an edge against opponent's Genevieve or Cithria. I also avoided playing Bilgewater cards other than Miss Fortune because I'm not good with allegiance proc. 😂 My version of \"Big Scout\". Decklist for Spooky Karma, Big Scout, Ashe Noxus.
The first thing to notice is that, while this is a report about NA DoR, I'm an EU player. I also played in the EU DoR 13 this very same weekend, doing the big marathon. It basically means that I started playing Saturday at 1 PM until Sunday at 3 AM, with only a 1-hour break at 7 PM to eat between both tournaments, and started playing again Sunday at 1 PM until Monday at 4 AM! (EU time). The first day: I ended up the first day of the EU tournament with a 4-2 scoreline, which is good but not great. All players in 6-2 or better at the end of swiss were going to make it to top cut, and only a few 5-3 players. So to make EU top 16 cut, I needed to go 2-0 on the second day. At this point, I was debating to either get some rest or go on my NA smurf to give the NA tournament a shot too. What made me make the best decision in my weekend, is my love for Spooky Karma. I just wanted to get some practice with my Spooky Karma. I quickly picked up 3 wins in NA, then took my only loss of the tournament as my 4th game, and proceed to win my 2 other matches. I was supposed to play the 7th round of swiss but my opponent "g0blin" agreed to play it on Sunday, before the NA day 2 action. He had no interest to do it and it helped me a lot getting some sleep so I wanna give a big shout out to him! 😃 Overall my opponents banned either Ashe Noxus or Spooky Karma. The second day (swiss): Unfortunately, I have a very strict biological clock that always wakes me up at 7 AM, so I only got 3 hours of sleep. 😨 The bright side is that the excitement for the tournament (and a lot of tea) kept me awake alive the whole time. I didn't manage to make the top cut in EU as I finished swiss in 5-3 with bad tiebreakers. I was pretty upset at this point, but I was still confident in my decks and hyped about having a second shot to make it further in NA. I started the NA tournament with a win, then got up-paired against the only 7-0 player, "Annie Desu". Sometimes players in 7-0 don't play the following rounds of swiss because they already secured top cut so they go get some rest, but he wanted to play to keep his undefeated record and have some fun rather than rest. In the end, I managed to still get the win and secure my top cut spot as I was already 7-1! 😄 I also won my last round and got through the swiss as 3rd place with an 8-1 record. The top cut: Top 16: vs Szychu (Yasuo Swain + Ezreal Twisted Fate + Anivia zombies), 3-1. This is the only match I can clearly remember me doing a real misplay, as I forgot to play a unit on turn 3 as Big Scout vs Anivia zombies! 🙃 It didn't change the game a lot because I had not much to do on turn 5 so I could play the unit I forgot earlier "for free" but I missed 2 face damages for no reason. Spooky Karma got the first win against Yasuo Swain Despite Leviathan being a very annoying card. I lost the second game but I don't remember the matchup. Then, both Scout and Ashe won against Anivia zombies, beatdown style. Quarter-finals: vs Nunuyz (Demacia Elusive + Discard aggro + MF Sejuani), 3-2. I started with Spooky Karma vs MF/Sejuani. Spooky Karma is usually favored against aggro decks but this matchup isn't that easy because MF/Sejuani is quite inconsistent in my opinion, so when it does have a good draw it's hard to stop them. I lost the first game. Then Spooky Karma got the win in a very close and tense game against Discard aggro. I lost 3rd game as Ashe vs Discard aggro, bringing him to match point. I thought my run was going to stop here but Ashe AND Scout have good matchups against his Demacia Elusive version, allowing me to come back and win both games to win the match! Semi-finals: vs Annie Desu (Noxus allegiance splashing Vi + Elise Kalista Endure + Zed Garen Bannerman), 3-0. The rematch from round 8, without a ban this time! I started with spooky Karma as he banned it the first time we faced, and he started with Noxus allegiance. My decks all have a good matchup against this deck, and I won this game pretty convincingly. Then he kept queuing Noxus allegiance again and again and lost 3-0. I'm not sure why he kept queuing with his weakest deck. In my opinion, he should have changed decks to Endure to get a win and switch the momentum. Finals: vs Cephalopod (Ezreal Twisted Fate + Spooky Lux + Ashe Noxus). This game was cast by the tournament's stream so if you want to see it you can check the VOD! Start at 05:48. I wrote the games resume in spoilers so you're not spoiled if you wanted to check on the VOD. I lost a first long game as Spooky Karma vs Ezreal TF because of Ezreal killing me at burst speed. The second game my Spooky Karma got to express its true potential on stream and got the win against Spooky Lux. Then I queued my Big Scout into Spooky Lux and went wild quite fast to get the beatdown win. He then changed to Ashe, bringing us to an Ashe Noxus mirror. He played a lot of creatures that cannot block so I started putting a bit of pressure for a quick win that gave me the final win! 3-1.
My Philosophy In Legends Of Runeterra:
Play Chess, Not Poker.
I gotta admit I don't know anything about Poker but you get the idea! 😅 Don't take the risky bet, don't be like "he only has 1 Deny in his deck, what are the odds". 🙄 You should try to guess what cards your opponent has in hands from the way he plays, not from the number of cards left in his deck. Sure you sometimes HAVE to take risks, but you should not take them when you do have the choice. I like a lot the comparison with chess because like a chess player you should ALWAYS be ahead of the play. One of the things that define the quality of a chess player is "How many moves can you see ahead?". It is EXACTLY the same in LoR. The more you train this skill, the further you'll be able to see the possible outcomes of a play. I think like in chess this skill is a mix of thinking and pattern-recognition.
Don't Pressure Yourself.
If you play to win and don't really care about the current game outside of getting the W, you're doing it wrong. You'll easily tilt, rush plays, and you'll put pressure on yourself. Of course, there is nothing wrong about wanting to win, having goals. But your main focus should always be to improve. If you improve, you'll get the wins and succeed in your goals anyway. For example, I won this tournament when I just wanted to practice my Spooky Karma deck. I was tryharding for sure, but I wasn't just looking to win: I was looking to get better at the game. On the other side, I remember wanting to get my NA smurf to master before publishing my Ezreal/Draven guide, in order to have a better accomplishment with it. I was in a hurry because the patch was coming soon, so I put pressure on myself: my win rate dropped and in the end, I didn't enjoy the smurf climb anymore. I stopped doing this and published the guide while still being Diamond 2. Once I didn't have any pressure left, I got straight up to master without a loss. In the same vein, it's okay to be a bit tilted after a loss, but always take a step back after you calmed down and think about where things went wrong. A loss is often more valuable than a win.
You won't get anywhere by rushing your plays and not questioning yourself. If you have to rope every turn to double-check your decision, you should do it. Of course, if you go a bit quicker it's good too, but there is no interest in brainlessly throwing your cards on the board.
I hope you enjoyed reading this insight and you found something out of it, I personally had a great time writing it. This tournament was really an amazing run! 😄 This article is very different from my usual in-depth deck guides, so if you liked it please let me know! I'll answer every question in the comments. If you like my content and don't wanna miss out on anything, I started using my twitter account to share things and let people know when I publish a new article! By the way, an in-depth guide for my Spooky Karma deck is coming very soon! 😊
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