Horse Racing Betting Guide | Beginners Guide to Horse Racing

Horse Racing Betting Guide and Terms to Know for Beginners

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Choosing The Right Flavor of Shadow: Grixis, Mardu or Esper.

"choose you must, options many have you" *yoda voice
The infamous one mana 13/13 has been inserted into many shells over the years. From splashing green for the powerful two mana Tarmogoyf or blue for one of the best counterspells in the game. Most recently Death’s Shadow has seen a splash for white for the powerful Ranger-Captain of Eos with his searching and silence abilities. Death’s Shadow has seen many variations over the years to yield new and powerful decks. Yes, all these decks are centered around Death’s Shadow but all play and win very differently.
Mardu:
Mardu Shadow was once a clunky deck containing Bedlam Revelers and Lingering Souls. Essentially, it was Mardu Pyromancer with Death’s Shadow injected into it. Recently, Mardu Shadow has arose and was created to combat the graveyard and Hogaak decks of this past summer. With the banning of both Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis and Faithless Looting, graveyard decks are on the downtick. Mardu Shadow is still powerful using both the speed of Temur Battle Rage with the grind value of Ranger-Captain of Eos. Now, what are the pros and cons of Mardu Shadow?
Pros:
Cons:
Esper:
Esper has been known as the dark horse of the shadow realm. Esper has always been a fan favorite of many players who want to try something new with their shadow deck. With the printing of Teferi, Time Raveler in War of the Spark and Ranger-Captain of Eos in Modern Horizons, the deck now has more tools to compete. Esper Shadow enjoyed brief success in this past summer before being pushed out by Hogaak. Esper takes a more midrange strategy, leaning on Ranger-Captain of Eos and Teferi, Time Raveler to generate maximum value. It also utilizes Thought Scour when it scours away Ranger-Captain of Eos, allowing them to unearth Ranger-Captain of Eos for maximum value.
Pros:
Cons:
Grixis:
The mean, lean, tempo machine. Grixis Death’s Shadow went from being called “the blue jund” to landing a Gurmag Angler on turn 2 with stubborn denial backup ready to start smashing face. The classic mixture of Grixis colors helps the deck plenty, providing the speed and aggro of red with cards like Lightning Bolt, Temur Battle Rage, Kolaghan’s Command; the discard and removal of black such as Thoughtseize, Inquisition of Kozilek, and Fatal Push; and the cantrips/counters of blue with Thought Scour, Serum Visions and Stubborn Denial. Grixis Shadow has enjoyed plenty of time in the spotlight but recently it had been on the downtick with decks like Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis being popular. With the banning of Faithless Looting and Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis the deck has shot back up in popularity and is putting up the numbers at big events.
Pros:
Cons:
Shadow Decks in the current meta game:
The meta game has drastically shifted since the most recent ban. Before the banning’s, we were in a format that relied heavily on sideboard games and jamming sideboard cards to try to out hate or slow down the opponent’s decks. Now, with the unbanning of Stoneforge Mystic and the printing of Wrenn and Six, Death’s Shadow is at a midrange focused format with value around every corner. Which version of Shadow is key to taking advantage of this format? That is what is going to be discussed in this article.
On a side note, I know many of you are probably asking where Jund Shadow is. I know Matt Nass recently piloted an interesting list at a GP but I do not have enough content for this specific build or material in order to take a good analysis nor have I had time to buy the pieces of the deck to build and play the deck. The same goes for 4c Traverse builds.
Midrange Decks VS Death’s Shadow
Midrange decks are decks that grind out incremental value and generally just play value cards in order to win the game somewhere in the middle of the game. These decks generally have good top decks and can grind the game to a halt all while putting a strain on the opponent's resources. Generally, the decks that are considered midrange are decks like Jund, Jeskai Stoneblade and Rakdos/Mardu Midrange. These decks, especially Jund, have been showing up lately and have no intention of going away.
How Does Grixis Fight this Matchup?
Grixis colors offer powerful controlling options that compete with some cards found in Jund, such as Bloodbraid Elf and Wrenn and Six, but these options, such as Liliana the Last Hope and Kolaghan’s Command, are usually found in the sideboard. Grixis’s best way of winning this match is to go underneath the Midrange deck before it has a chance to set up its game plan. Landing a Gurmag Angler on turn 2 will threaten them immensely. In these matchups it is imperative to protect your threat with your counterspells. Falling behind on board could potentially mean disaster if the midrange deck can start pressuring your life total. In games two and three your sideboard can help shore up the weak points in your deck. Make no mistake, do not try to out grind the midrange deck because they can grind better than you can. Go under them and be the aggressor.
How Does Esper Fight this Matchup?
Esper is in a unique position. It probably is the most midrange out of the three Death’s Shadow decks. Esper can attack the midrange players hand with discard and focus heavily on removing any creatures on board that are pressuring their life total. Esper can sometimes land an early threat but most builds are moving away from Gurmag Angler and focusing on Ranger-Captain of Eos as their primary creature to find Death’s Shadow. Due to this, they are not going to have any board presence until at least turn three. Because of Ranger-Captain of Eos, Unearth and blue cantrips, they are able to play a longer and more successful game 1 with grinding out value. Esper struggles with planeswalker and artifacts. Unlike Grixis, it does not have access to Lightning Bolt, Kolaghan's Command or Dreadbore, therefore, their only way of dealing with a planeswalker is countering it or attacking into it. Post sideboard cards like Hero's Downfall and Celestial Purge can clean up problematic planeswalkers found in Jund. Lingering Souls can be a large problem for most midrange decks as well. It makes their spot removal weak and gives Esper a string a chump blockers as well as flyers that largely cannot be blocked.
How Does Mardu Fight this Matchup?
Mardu is often compared to Esper for the inclusion of Ranger-Captain of Eos but Mardu, in this matchup, should act as a hybrid of Grixis and Esper. Having a chain of discard spells, as well as Tidehollow Sculler, puts pressure on the opponent's hand until you can play Ranger-Captain of Eos into Death’s Shadow on turn four. Like Grixis, you do not want this game to go long. Your deck can go longer than Grixis because of Ranger-Captain of Eos but minimal cantrips, along with a low threat count, can spell disaster most of the time. You do have cards like Lightning Bolt and Temur Battle Rage which can downright steal games. Overall, try to get game one over with as quickly as possible. Focus on taking removal out of your opponent's hand and utilizing Ranger-Captain’s sac ability to protect your threats because you don't have the access to counterspells that Grixis and Esper do. You can improve sideboard because you have access to Celestial Purge for problematic walkers, Wea/Tear for pesky artifacts and/or enchantments and Lingering Souls for general value. All are stellar in these matchups and should be boarded in to help you grind a little bit better if the game should come to it. Mardu can grind but just like Grixis you shouldn’t get into a grindfest with a midrange deck.
Which Deck is the Best in this Matchup?
Advantage goes to Esper. It was a close race between Esper and Grixis. Grixis can apply a very quick clock and punish the opponent for stumbling but sometimes this can be fragile, especially if the opponent can top deck better than you can. Esper is slow but safer in this matchup.
Aggro Decks
Aggro decks are simple and straightforward. They do not care what you’re doing, what creature/spells or cool cards you have in your deck. They are looking to finish the game as quickly as possible and will often ignore anything you have on board and come after you instead. These decks thrive in the early game and can run out of steam in the mid to late game. Aggro decks often can pressure your life total as quickly as possible. Think of decks like Burn, Infect, Mono Red Prowess, Humans and Hardened Scales. All these decks can be very tricky for Death’s Shadow decks to deal with.
How Does Grixis Win this Matchup?
Aggro decks, on paper, seem like a bad matchup for Grixis. I remember being a burn player in 2017 and playing against Death’s Shadow for the first time and thinking to myself “this is going to be easy!” I was promptly destroyed. Grixis players know their key to victory is letting your opponent do the damage and use that against them by playing a Death’s Shadow with Stubborn Denial to protect it and Temur Battle Rage to close out the game in a hurry. Furthermore, Grixis Death’s Shadow can play a big threat on turn two and out pace the aggro decks. These decks that usually rely on fast and smaller creatures now must contend with a big 5/5. Burn is lopsided and if Grixis manages to find a threat with a Stubborn Denial to back them up, it's usually lights out for the opponent. As far as Humans, Hardened Scales and Infect, these creature-based decks rely heavily on having a board presence to win the game. In those matchups, your main goal is just to kill everything the opponent plays and push through with threats of your own. Use your removal where it counts and force them to either chump block or take large amounts of damage.
How Does Esper Win this Matchup?
Whereas Grixis in this matchup can be the aggressor, Esper often cannot push out a big threat in time so they are forced into playing defense. Esper must try to hold out on the first couple of turns in the game in order to let the opponent burn out their resources. They can then utilize that with Ranger-Captain of Eos into Death’s Shadows. Esper can sometimes be too slow early in the game trying to find key pieces of removal or counter spells. In this match up, Esper often can stumble quite a bit and be punished too quickly for only relying on Ranger-Captain of Eos. In the post board, Esper does get some extra help with extra counters against burn and more removal for the creature heavy matchups. These tools can help stabilize quicker and force the opponent to play a slower game in which Esper is favored.
How Does Mardu Win this Matchup?
In this matchup it seems Mardu is either amazing or heinous. Against creature aggro decks Mardu has plenty of main deck removal to remove their board while at the same time attacking their hand. After that, Mardu can land big their big Death’s Shadow to finish off the game. Temur Battle Rage helps push past chump blockers. When it comes to spell based aggro decks like Mono Red Prowess or Burn, Mardu struggles immensely. They don’t have any counters in the deck and are forced to take every burn spell. Most burn players will often attack their Death’s Shadow opponent relentlessly after realizing they are up against Mardu over Grixis or Esper. Sideboard does little to shore up the match. Collective Brutalities can come in to help stabilize their life total, but it’s more about hoping you can find a Death’s Shadow with a Temur Battle Rage before it is too late. Opponents know this and will bring in spot removal, like Dismember and Path to Exile, to take away that line for you.
Which Deck is the Best in this Matchup?
Grixis. It brings the right elements of a fast clock, counters and lots of removal to be prepared for all types of aggro decks. Grixis can often out pace the aggro decks and disrupt their plan too quickly for them to recover. Stubborn Denial is amazing against most spell based aggro decks and Temur Battle Rage helps finish the game before they have a chance to reload. Granted, Humans has historically been a bad matchup for Grixis, it has gotten much better due to the printing of Plague Engineer. Esper takes too long to get their footing in the matchup and Mardu has no way, outside of discard, to deal with copious amounts of burn spells.
Control/Combo Decks:
These decks can contain many disruptive elements that can be very hard for Death’s Shadow decks to deal with. At the same time these decks can also be immensely punished by Death’s Shadow decks because both control and combo are sometimes too slow. Decks like u/W Control function great in the mid to late game but can be very vulnerable in the early game. Grixis Whirza can have some nut draws capable of a quick combo but most of the time they will have to take some time to set up their combo. With Stoneblade entering the meta most white based control decks have included her in her deck to act as a finisher alongside their planeswalkers. Whirza relies heavily on their combo to win the game and has few methods of finishing the game besides that.
How does Grixis Win this Matchup?
Much like the midrange matchup Grixis can go underneath the control deck before they have a chance to assemble their full gameplan. The keys to this matchup are discard and counterspells. Grixis can push out that infamous big fish on turn two, therefore threatening the opponent’s combo with ferocious for Stubborn Denial being activated. UW Control/Stoneblade are going to be torn with either countering your discard or your threats so it is imperative you attack them on all fronts. You cannot out grind the control deck. They are going to be able to drown you in value with their card draw and eventually naturally draw into their combo. Be as quick as possible, hit them hard and you will be victorious. In post board, usually the bulk of removal gets boarded out for either more hand disruption or counter spells.
How Does Esper Win this Matchup?
Esper wins this match through discard and counter spells. As mentioned before, Esper does not have a fast clock and cannot race the opponent. So, against control, Esper needs to utilize their discard and counter spells at key moments thereby forcing the control deck to decide what they need to counter and what they can let resolve. Furthermore, once Esper can start chaining Ranger-Captain of Eos with Unearth it usually means you can start to push forward and knock the opponent out of the game. Combo decks, like Whirza, rely on their non-creature spells resolving to act as finishers for them. If they are delayed, even by a few turns, it can spell doom for them. Ranger-Captain of Eos is your best card against control and combo and should be utilized to its fullest ability. Snapcaster Mage helps you re-buy your Unearths thus re-buying your Ranger-Captain of Eos. Main deck Teferi, Time Raveler in this matchup is a house because it basically nullifies your opponent’s counters.
How Does Mardu Win this Matchup?
Mardu does not have the counter spells that both Grixis and Esper have and can be slow coming out of the gate. For Mardu it’s their discard, Ranger-Captain of Eos and Temur Battle Rage that will win for them. Again, just like the other Shadow decks, having a quick clock is key in this matchup. Ranger-Captain of Eos can completely time walk the opponent in many cases. Since Mardu does not have access to counter spells, Ranger-Captain of Eos acts as an insurance policy against many control decks to force your threat to resolve. Against combo it is the same. Use discard to ride your opponent of key pieces and save Ranger-Captain of Eos to sac it for the correct time. Post board there are not a lot of tools Mardu has access to for these matchups besides more discard or artifact hate cards like Stony Silence and Wea/Tear. Granted Stony Silence is basically a slam dunk against artifact combo decks, you are still weak to other combo decks who can fight through your discard.
Which is Best for this Matchup?
Grixis. The ability to interact with your opponent on all levels of the game here is key. Combo decks usually dread Death’s Shadow because their ability to mess up their hand as well as as a Stubborn Denial their game winning spells. Control decks can beat shadow in the mid to late game, but nonblack control decks often have to hope Grixis doesn’t have discard spells, a Death’s Shadow, and a Stubborn Denial lurking. Many of their counter spells cost two or more while Grixis’s counter spell costs one. Esper lacks the speed necessary to close out the game and Mardu does not have blue which is huge when it comes to countering key spells on the stack. While Ranger-Captain of Eos is great, you need extra back up when you can’t find him.
Big Mana Decks:
These decks cheat on mana with Tron lands and/or Eldrazi Temple or rely on ramp into land in order to play huge creatures or planeswalkers that wrap up the game quickly. Decks like this are Eldrazi Tron, Mono Green Tron, Titan Shift and Amulet Titan. Big mana decks can be just as explosive as Shadow decks. They often attack with large creatures or tick up their big threats before the opponent has played more than a few spells.
How does Grixis Win this Matchup?
The difference between their big threats and Shadow’s is that Death’s Shadow only costs 1 mana. The key to this matchup is tempo and this will often save us from annihilation. As always, it is key to present your threat as early as possible. Don't be afraid to just throw in a Snapcaster Mage without flashing anything back to start getting in early damage. Discard spells and counterspells come in strong against the Tron decks. Having a Stubborn Denial to stop the game ending planeswalkers from coming down is essential. Don’t expose your threat to a Karn downtick without having a Stubborn Denial ready.
Temur Battle Rage comes in great in this matchup often ending the game suddenly. Furthermore, discard should aim at taking the creatures you can't deal with. Big creatures are something Grixis sometimes struggles with such as Wurmcoil Engine, Primeval Titan, Endbringer (etc). These creatures are monsters and win games. In the post board, Grixis gets counter spells like Disdainful Stroke and Ceremonious Rejection. Alpine Moon naming Valakut is also a great sideboard against Titan decks but can be risky with Blast Zone in the format.
How Does Esper Win this Matchup?
Esper once again must morph into a more midrange/control deck. The access to counters and hand disruption is key here. Being able to elongate threats on the stack for one mana with Stubborn Denial is fantastic. Furthermore, unlike Grixis, most Esper lists run some number of Path to Exile which feels great against their big creature cards. Wurmcoil, Titans and Eldrazi all fall to the glory of Path to Exile. For what Esper lacks in speed with not having Temur Battle Rage, it makes up for it with having the best removal. With Ranger-Captain of Eos helping to find your threats, Esper can leverage a slow and steady version of victory. Post board they get access to nearly the same tools as Grixis in which they can bring in Ceremonious Rejection and Disdainful Stroke. They can also bring in more spot removal if need be.
How Does Mardu Win this Matchup?
Mardu does not have access to the counters that both Esper and Grixis have, therefore, its only hope with interacting with the opponent is through its discard spells along with Tidehollow Sculler. Ranger-Captain of Eos can find your shadow and then you can sac it to time walk them while hopefully playing a Temur Battle Rage to wrap the game up quick. Mardu must race. Path to Exile can clean up many of the big creature threats but you’re still left vulnerable to planeswalkers. In the post board, your best bet of slowing down the opponent is through cards like Alpine Moon or Fulminator Mage.
Best Deck for this Matchup?
This one is close. I would like to give it to Grixis because Stubborn Denial countering Karn feels great and is often a huge tempo swing. Also, if you have threat on board you can continue to swing in and wrap the game up quickly. With that being said, big creatures like Wurmcoil Engine can be extremely problematic for Grixis to deal with. With Esper they aren’t that big of a deal with Path to Exile being one of their main removal spells. Esper gets access to great counterspells in the sideboard which shores up the match up even more. Mardu’s biggest problem is containing no counters for the big game ending planeswalkers that many big mana decks run. Heavy discard helps a ton but you can’t discard the top of their deck (minus the kolaghan's command trick that feels sweet!)
What is the Best Shadow Deck Right Now?
While Mardu was not favored in many of these matchups, if the graveyard becomes a big problem again, Mardu is the go-to Shadow deck for sure. Its ability to have white exile-based removal along with the power of red is tremendous. I am in no way saying that Mardu is a bad Shadow deck. I just think it’s designed for a more specific meta. It can hold its own against many of these decks and if you want to play it, go ahead and do so! I’ve have had many close games with Mardu. With that being said, I feel like blue based Shadow decks, especially Grixis, combine the right elements of disruption, removal and big threats to close out games. It can perform both in fast meta’s and slower meta’s, which is key for the deck’s survival. Esper feels like it thrives against other midrange. Ultimately, Esper falls victim for not having that red reaching power or quick speed that Grixis Death’s Shadow has. The best shadow deck now is what is right for your meta and what you play. In general, I believe that Grixis Death’s Shadow is the best shadow deck right now. Part of playing the Shadow archetype is realizing when which version is good and which version is lackluster at the moment. I was trying to pilot Grixis during Hogaak summer and I realized it just wasn’t good enough so I picked up Mardu instead.
Side Notes:
If any of you guys have any interest in me doing a beginner’s guide for Mardu Shadow, Esper Shadow or a more in depth advanced guide for Grixis Shadow, please let me know! Also, I’m thinking of starting a podcast where we discuss all things Shadow/Modern and answer questions that you guys may have so please let me know in the comments below if you would be interested!
My Twitter Handle: @rakdos77
Great Shadow Players to Follow and Reach Out Too:
As always, the shadow community is full of knowledge and skilled players who are constantly honing their skills and posting updates so here is a list of people who post regular and even offer some coaching!
Dylan Hovey @Grooveyhoovey
Michael Rapp @RappaciousOne
Ben Jones @BenJonesMTG
Ari Zax @argzax
Russell Lee @_imnotrussell
Ben Friedman @40cardfriedman
Sam Pardee @Smdster
Ryan Overturf @RyanOverdrive
Matthew Baxendale @MTGForest90
Teddy @TeddyFBBBolt
David Calf @halfie44
‪Zack Kanner @zkannermtg
Mardu Death’s Shadow Lists:
https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/2290778#paper
https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/2267435#paper
Grixis Death’s Shadow Lists:
https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/2290763#paper
https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/2267378#paper
Esper Death’s Shadow Lists:
https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/1989525#paper
https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/2098116#paper
This article was edited by:
@JManthey03
submitted by BigBoyAngler to ModernMagic [link] [comments]

Choosing The Right Flavor of Shadow: Grixis, Mardu or Esper.

"choose you must, options many have you" *yoda voice
The infamous one mana 13/13 has been inserted into many shells over the years. From splashing green for the powerful two mana Tarmogoyf or blue for one of the best counterspells in the game. Most recently Death’s Shadow has seen a splash for white for the powerful Ranger-Captain of Eos with his searching and silence abilities. Death’s Shadow has seen many variations over the years to yield new and powerful decks. Yes, all these decks are centered around Death’s Shadow but all play and win very differently.
Mardu:
Mardu Shadow was once a clunky deck containing Bedlam Revelers and Lingering Souls. Essentially, it was Mardu Pyromancer with Death’s Shadow injected into it. Recently, Mardu Shadow has arose and was created to combat the graveyard and Hogaak decks of this past summer. With the banning of both Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis and Faithless Looting, graveyard decks are on the downtick. Mardu Shadow is still powerful using both the speed of Temur Battle Rage with the grind value of Ranger-Captain of Eos. Now, what are the pros and cons of Mardu Shadow?
Pros:
Cons:
Esper:
Esper has been known as the dark horse of the shadow realm. Esper has always been a fan favorite of many players who want to try something new with their shadow deck. With the printing of Teferi, Time Raveler in War of the Spark and Ranger-Captain of Eos in Modern Horizons, the deck now has more tools to compete. Esper Shadow enjoyed brief success in this past summer before being pushed out by Hogaak. Esper takes a more midrange strategy, leaning on Ranger-Captain of Eos and Teferi, Time Raveler to generate maximum value. It also utilizes Thought Scour when it scours away Ranger-Captain of Eos, allowing them to unearth Ranger-Captain of Eos for maximum value.
Pros:
Cons:
Grixis:
The mean, lean, tempo machine. Grixis Death’s Shadow went from being called “the blue jund” to landing a Gurmag Angler on turn 2 with stubborn denial backup ready to start smashing face. The classic mixture of Grixis colors helps the deck plenty, providing the speed and aggro of red with cards like Lightning Bolt, Temur Battle Rage, Kolaghan’s Command; the discard and removal of black such as Thoughtseize, Inquisition of Kozilek, and Fatal Push; and the cantrips/counters of blue with Thought Scour, Serum Visions and Stubborn Denial. Grixis Shadow has enjoyed plenty of time in the spotlight but recently it had been on the downtick with decks like Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis being popular. With the banning of Faithless Looting and Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis the deck has shot back up in popularity and is putting up the numbers at big events.
Pros:
Cons:
Shadow Decks in the current meta game:
The meta game has drastically shifted since the most recent ban. Before the banning’s, we were in a format that relied heavily on sideboard games and jamming sideboard cards to try to out hate or slow down the opponent’s decks. Now, with the unbanning of Stoneforge Mystic and the printing of Wrenn and Six, Death’s Shadow is at a midrange focused format with value around every corner. Which version of Shadow is key to taking advantage of this format? That is what is going to be discussed in this article.
On a side note, I know many of you are probably asking where Jund Shadow is. I know Matt Nass recently piloted an interesting list at a GP but I do not have enough content for this specific build or material in order to take a good analysis nor have I had time to buy the pieces of the deck to build and play the deck. The same goes for 4c Traverse builds.
Midrange Decks VS Death’s Shadow
Midrange decks are decks that grind out incremental value and generally just play value cards in order to win the game somewhere in the middle of the game. These decks generally have good top decks and can grind the game to a halt all while putting a strain on the opponent's resources. Generally, the decks that are considered midrange are decks like Jund, Jeskai Stoneblade and Rakdos/Mardu Midrange. These decks, especially Jund, have been showing up lately and have no intention of going away.
How Does Grixis Fight this Matchup?
Grixis colors offer powerful controlling options that compete with some cards found in Jund, such as Bloodbraid Elf and Wrenn and Six, but these options, such as Liliana the Last Hope and Kolaghan’s Command, are usually found in the sideboard. Grixis’s best way of winning this match is to go underneath the Midrange deck before it has a chance to set up its game plan. Landing a Gurmag Angler on turn 2 will threaten them immensely. In these matchups it is imperative to protect your threat with your counterspells. Falling behind on board could potentially mean disaster if the midrange deck can start pressuring your life total. In games two and three your sideboard can help shore up the weak points in your deck. Make no mistake, do not try to out grind the midrange deck because they can grind better than you can. Go under them and be the aggressor.
How Does Esper Fight this Matchup?
Esper is in a unique position. It probably is the most midrange out of the three Death’s Shadow decks. Esper can attack the midrange players hand with discard and focus heavily on removing any creatures on board that are pressuring their life total. Esper can sometimes land an early threat but most builds are moving away from Gurmag Angler and focusing on Ranger-Captain of Eos as their primary creature to find Death’s Shadow. Due to this, they are not going to have any board presence until at least turn three. Because of Ranger-Captain of Eos, Unearth and blue cantrips, they are able to play a longer and more successful game 1 with grinding out value. Esper struggles with planeswalker and artifacts. Unlike Grixis, it does not have access to Lightning Bolt, Kolaghan's Command or Dreadbore, therefore, their only way of dealing with a planeswalker is countering it or attacking into it. Post sideboard cards like Hero's Downfall and Celestial Purge can clean up problematic planeswalkers found in Jund. Lingering Souls can be a large problem for most midrange decks as well. It makes their spot removal weak and gives Esper a string a chump blockers as well as flyers that largely cannot be blocked.
How Does Mardu Fight this Matchup?
Mardu is often compared to Esper for the inclusion of Ranger-Captain of Eos but Mardu, in this matchup, should act as a hybrid of Grixis and Esper. Having a chain of discard spells, as well as Tidehollow Sculler, puts pressure on the opponent's hand until you can play Ranger-Captain of Eos into Death’s Shadow on turn four. Like Grixis, you do not want this game to go long. Your deck can go longer than Grixis because of Ranger-Captain of Eos but minimal cantrips, along with a low threat count, can spell disaster most of the time. You do have cards like Lightning Bolt and Temur Battle Rage which can downright steal games. Overall, try to get game one over with as quickly as possible. Focus on taking removal out of your opponent's hand and utilizing Ranger-Captain’s sac ability to protect your threats because you don't have the access to counterspells that Grixis and Esper do. You can improve sideboard because you have access to Celestial Purge for problematic walkers, Wea/Tear for pesky artifacts and/or enchantments and Lingering Souls for general value. All are stellar in these matchups and should be boarded in to help you grind a little bit better if the game should come to it. Mardu can grind but just like Grixis you shouldn’t get into a grindfest with a midrange deck.
Which Deck is the Best in this Matchup?
Advantage goes to Esper. It was a close race between Esper and Grixis. Grixis can apply a very quick clock and punish the opponent for stumbling but sometimes this can be fragile, especially if the opponent can top deck better than you can. Esper is slow but safer in this matchup.
Aggro Decks
Aggro decks are simple and straightforward. They do not care what you’re doing, what creature/spells or cool cards you have in your deck. They are looking to finish the game as quickly as possible and will often ignore anything you have on board and come after you instead. These decks thrive in the early game and can run out of steam in the mid to late game. Aggro decks often can pressure your life total as quickly as possible. Think of decks like Burn, Infect, Mono Red Prowess, Humans and Hardened Scales. All these decks can be very tricky for Death’s Shadow decks to deal with.
How Does Grixis Win this Matchup?
Aggro decks, on paper, seem like a bad matchup for Grixis. I remember being a burn player in 2017 and playing against Death’s Shadow for the first time and thinking to myself “this is going to be easy!” I was promptly destroyed. Grixis players know their key to victory is letting your opponent do the damage and use that against them by playing a Death’s Shadow with Stubborn Denial to protect it and Temur Battle Rage to close out the game in a hurry. Furthermore, Grixis Death’s Shadow can play a big threat on turn two and out pace the aggro decks. These decks that usually rely on fast and smaller creatures now must contend with a big 5/5. Burn is lopsided and if Grixis manages to find a threat with a Stubborn Denial to back them up, it's usually lights out for the opponent. As far as Humans, Hardened Scales and Infect, these creature-based decks rely heavily on having a board presence to win the game. In those matchups, your main goal is just to kill everything the opponent plays and push through with threats of your own. Use your removal where it counts and force them to either chump block or take large amounts of damage.
How Does Esper Win this Matchup?
Whereas Grixis in this matchup can be the aggressor, Esper often cannot push out a big threat in time so they are forced into playing defense. Esper must try to hold out on the first couple of turns in the game in order to let the opponent burn out their resources. They can then utilize that with Ranger-Captain of Eos into Death’s Shadows. Esper can sometimes be too slow early in the game trying to find key pieces of removal or counter spells. In this match up, Esper often can stumble quite a bit and be punished too quickly for only relying on Ranger-Captain of Eos. In the post board, Esper does get some extra help with extra counters against burn and more removal for the creature heavy matchups. These tools can help stabilize quicker and force the opponent to play a slower game in which Esper is favored.
How Does Mardu Win this Matchup?
In this matchup it seems Mardu is either amazing or heinous. Against creature aggro decks Mardu has plenty of main deck removal to remove their board while at the same time attacking their hand. After that, Mardu can land big their big Death’s Shadow to finish off the game. Temur Battle Rage helps push past chump blockers. When it comes to spell based aggro decks like Mono Red Prowess or Burn, Mardu struggles immensely. They don’t have any counters in the deck and are forced to take every burn spell. Most burn players will often attack their Death’s Shadow opponent relentlessly after realizing they are up against Mardu over Grixis or Esper. Sideboard does little to shore up the match. Collective Brutalities can come in to help stabilize their life total, but it’s more about hoping you can find a Death’s Shadow with a Temur Battle Rage before it is too late. Opponents know this and will bring in spot removal, like Dismember and Path to Exile, to take away that line for you.
Which Deck is the Best in this Matchup?
Grixis. It brings the right elements of a fast clock, counters and lots of removal to be prepared for all types of aggro decks. Grixis can often out pace the aggro decks and disrupt their plan too quickly for them to recover. Stubborn Denial is amazing against most spell based aggro decks and Temur Battle Rage helps finish the game before they have a chance to reload. Granted, Humans has historically been a bad matchup for Grixis, it has gotten much better due to the printing of Plague Engineer. Esper takes too long to get their footing in the matchup and Mardu has no way, outside of discard, to deal with copious amounts of burn spells.
Control/Combo Decks:
These decks can contain many disruptive elements that can be very hard for Death’s Shadow decks to deal with. At the same time these decks can also be immensely punished by Death’s Shadow decks because both control and combo are sometimes too slow. Decks like u/W Control function great in the mid to late game but can be very vulnerable in the early game. Grixis Whirza can have some nut draws capable of a quick combo but most of the time they will have to take some time to set up their combo. With Stoneblade entering the meta most white based control decks have included her in her deck to act as a finisher alongside their planeswalkers. Whirza relies heavily on their combo to win the game and has few methods of finishing the game besides that.
How does Grixis Win this Matchup?
Much like the midrange matchup Grixis can go underneath the control deck before they have a chance to assemble their full gameplan. The keys to this matchup are discard and counterspells. Grixis can push out that infamous big fish on turn two, therefore threatening the opponent’s combo with ferocious for Stubborn Denial being activated. UW Control/Stoneblade are going to be torn with either countering your discard or your threats so it is imperative you attack them on all fronts. You cannot out grind the control deck. They are going to be able to drown you in value with their card draw and eventually naturally draw into their combo. Be as quick as possible, hit them hard and you will be victorious. In post board, usually the bulk of removal gets boarded out for either more hand disruption or counter spells.
How Does Esper Win this Matchup?
Esper wins this match through discard and counter spells. As mentioned before, Esper does not have a fast clock and cannot race the opponent. So, against control, Esper needs to utilize their discard and counter spells at key moments thereby forcing the control deck to decide what they need to counter and what they can let resolve. Furthermore, once Esper can start chaining Ranger-Captain of Eos with Unearth it usually means you can start to push forward and knock the opponent out of the game. Combo decks, like Whirza, rely on their non-creature spells resolving to act as finishers for them. If they are delayed, even by a few turns, it can spell doom for them. Ranger-Captain of Eos is your best card against control and combo and should be utilized to its fullest ability. Snapcaster Mage helps you re-buy your Unearths thus re-buying your Ranger-Captain of Eos. Main deck Teferi, Time Raveler in this matchup is a house because it basically nullifies your opponent’s counters.
How Does Mardu Win this Matchup?
Mardu does not have the counter spells that both Grixis and Esper have and can be slow coming out of the gate. For Mardu it’s their discard, Ranger-Captain of Eos and Temur Battle Rage that will win for them. Again, just like the other Shadow decks, having a quick clock is key in this matchup. Ranger-Captain of Eos can completely time walk the opponent in many cases. Since Mardu does not have access to counter spells, Ranger-Captain of Eos acts as an insurance policy against many control decks to force your threat to resolve. Against combo it is the same. Use discard to ride your opponent of key pieces and save Ranger-Captain of Eos to sac it for the correct time. Post board there are not a lot of tools Mardu has access to for these matchups besides more discard or artifact hate cards like Stony Silence and Wea/Tear. Granted Stony Silence is basically a slam dunk against artifact combo decks, you are still weak to other combo decks who can fight through your discard.
Which is Best for this Matchup?
Grixis. The ability to interact with your opponent on all levels of the game here is key. Combo decks usually dread Death’s Shadow because their ability to mess up their hand as well as as a Stubborn Denial their game winning spells. Control decks can beat shadow in the mid to late game, but nonblack control decks often have to hope Grixis doesn’t have discard spells, a Death’s Shadow, and a Stubborn Denial lurking. Many of their counter spells cost two or more while Grixis’s counter spell costs one. Esper lacks the speed necessary to close out the game and Mardu does not have blue which is huge when it comes to countering key spells on the stack. While Ranger-Captain of Eos is great, you need extra back up when you can’t find him.
Big Mana Decks:
These decks cheat on mana with Tron lands and/or Eldrazi Temple or rely on ramp into land in order to play huge creatures or planeswalkers that wrap up the game quickly. Decks like this are Eldrazi Tron, Mono Green Tron, Titan Shift and Amulet Titan. Big mana decks can be just as explosive as Shadow decks. They often attack with large creatures or tick up their big threats before the opponent has played more than a few spells.
How does Grixis Win this Matchup?
The difference between their big threats and Shadow’s is that Death’s Shadow only costs 1 mana. The key to this matchup is tempo and this will often save us from annihilation. As always, it is key to present your threat as early as possible. Don't be afraid to just throw in a Snapcaster Mage without flashing anything back to start getting in early damage. Discard spells and counterspells come in strong against the Tron decks. Having a Stubborn Denial to stop the game ending planeswalkers from coming down is essential. Don’t expose your threat to a Karn downtick without having a Stubborn Denial ready.
Temur Battle Rage comes in great in this matchup often ending the game suddenly. Furthermore, discard should aim at taking the creatures you can't deal with. Big creatures are something Grixis sometimes struggles with such as Wurmcoil Engine, Primeval Titan, Endbringer (etc). These creatures are monsters and win games. In the post board, Grixis gets counter spells like Disdainful Stroke and Ceremonious Rejection. Alpine Moon naming Valakut is also a great sideboard against Titan decks but can be risky with Blast Zone in the format.
How Does Esper Win this Matchup?
Esper once again must morph into a more midrange/control deck. The access to counters and hand disruption is key here. Being able to elongate threats on the stack for one mana with Stubborn Denial is fantastic. Furthermore, unlike Grixis, most Esper lists run some number of Path to Exile which feels great against their big creature cards. Wurmcoil, Titans and Eldrazi all fall to the glory of Path to Exile. For what Esper lacks in speed with not having Temur Battle Rage, it makes up for it with having the best removal. With Ranger-Captain of Eos helping to find your threats, Esper can leverage a slow and steady version of victory. Post board they get access to nearly the same tools as Grixis in which they can bring in Ceremonious Rejection and Disdainful Stroke. They can also bring in more spot removal if need be.
How Does Mardu Win this Matchup?
Mardu does not have access to the counters that both Esper and Grixis have, therefore, its only hope with interacting with the opponent is through its discard spells along with Tidehollow Sculler. Ranger-Captain of Eos can find your shadow and then you can sac it to time walk them while hopefully playing a Temur Battle Rage to wrap the game up quick. Mardu must race. Path to Exile can clean up many of the big creature threats but you’re still left vulnerable to planeswalkers. In the post board, your best bet of slowing down the opponent is through cards like Alpine Moon or Fulminator Mage.
Best Deck for this Matchup?
This one is close. I would like to give it to Grixis because Stubborn Denial countering Karn feels great and is often a huge tempo swing. Also, if you have threat on board you can continue to swing in and wrap the game up quickly. With that being said, big creatures like Wurmcoil Engine can be extremely problematic for Grixis to deal with. With Esper they aren’t that big of a deal with Path to Exile being one of their main removal spells. Esper gets access to great counterspells in the sideboard which shores up the match up even more. Mardu’s biggest problem is containing no counters for the big game ending planeswalkers that many big mana decks run. Heavy discard helps a ton but you can’t discard the top of their deck (minus the kolaghan's command trick that feels sweet!)
What is the Best Shadow Deck Right Now?
While Mardu was not favored in many of these matchups, if the graveyard becomes a big problem again, Mardu is the go-to Shadow deck for sure. Its ability to have white exile-based removal along with the power of red is tremendous. I am in no way saying that Mardu is a bad Shadow deck. I just think it’s designed for a more specific meta. It can hold its own against many of these decks and if you want to play it, go ahead and do so! I’ve have had many close games with Mardu. With that being said, I feel like blue based Shadow decks, especially Grixis, combine the right elements of disruption, removal and big threats to close out games. It can perform both in fast meta’s and slower meta’s, which is key for the deck’s survival. Esper feels like it thrives against other midrange. Ultimately, Esper falls victim for not having that red reaching power or quick speed that Grixis Death’s Shadow has. The best shadow deck now is what is right for your meta and what you play. In general, I believe that Grixis Death’s Shadow is the best shadow deck right now. Part of playing the Shadow archetype is realizing when which version is good and which version is lackluster at the moment. I was trying to pilot Grixis during Hogaak summer and I realized it just wasn’t good enough so I picked up Mardu instead.
Side Notes:
If any of you guys have any interest in me doing a beginner’s guide for Mardu Shadow, Esper Shadow or a more in depth advanced guide for Grixis Shadow, please let me know! Also, I’m thinking of starting a podcast where we discuss all things Shadow/Modern and answer questions that you guys may have so please let me know in the comments below if you would be interested!
My Twitter Handle: @rakdos77
Great Shadow Players to Follow and Reach Out Too:
As always, the shadow community is full of knowledge and skilled players who are constantly honing their skills and posting updates so here is a list of people who post regular and even offer some coaching!
Dylan Hovey @Grooveyhoovey
Michael Rapp @RappaciousOne
Ben Jones @BenJonesMTG
Ari Zax @argzax
Russell Lee @_imnotrussell
Ben Friedman @40cardfriedman
Sam Pardee @Smdster
Ryan Overturf @RyanOverdrive
Matthew Baxendale @MTGForest90
Teddy @TeddyFBBBolt
David Calf @halfie44
‪Zack Kanner @zkannermtg
Mardu Death’s Shadow Lists:
https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/2290778#paper
https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/2267435#paper
Grixis Death’s Shadow Lists:
https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/2290763#paper
https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/2267378#paper
Esper Death’s Shadow Lists:
https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/1989525#paper
https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/2098116#paper
This article was edited by:
@JManthey03
submitted by BigBoyAngler to DeathsShadow [link] [comments]

Big List of Resources: Websites, Books, Podcasts, and All Things to Help Handicapping

As we approach 10k subscribers, it was suggested to have a central thread for all the helpful resources we have used as handicappers. I have not read all of the listed books and I am not a regular listener of all the podcasts listed. This is just a giant list of resources you can use to help you start, improve, and refine your game. Please feel free to contribute any the resources which have helped you.

Books:

If you are a beginner, a few members recommend reading the first 5 books in order.
Ainslie's Complete Guide to Thoroughbred Racing by Tom Ainslie
Beyer on Speed: New Strategies for Racetrack Betting by Andy Beyer
Betting Thoroughbreds for the 21st Century: A Professional's Guide for the Horseplayers by Steve Davidowitz
Picking Winners: A Horseplayer's Guide by Andy Beyer
Exotic Betting: How to Make the Multihorse, Multirace Bets that Win Racing's Biggest Payoffs by Steve Crist
Handicapping 101: A Horse Racing Primer by Brad Free
The Winning Horseplayer: An Advanced Approach to Thoroughbred Handicapping and Betting by Andy Beyer
Modern Pace Handicapping by Tom Brohammer (this one is really helpful but very difficult to understand if you are a beginner. Can be hard to get through even as you become more advanced).
Bet With the Best 2: Longshots features authors from many of the books above. Some of the chapters are outdated but it was helpful enough for me to recommend.
The Skeptical Handicapper: Using Data and Brains to Win At the Racetrack by Barry Meadow

Podcasts:

The Matt Bernier Show - Can listen on Youtube, Soundcloud, iTunes, and Spotify (Matt Bernier no longer does this podcast. He has a few good shows in there but most of his shows revolve around picking the biggest races of the weekend and deep diving the biggest weekends of the year. You can watch his analysis on TVG).
TimeformUS Pacecast featuring David Aragona (Morning line-maker for NYRA) and Craig Milkowski (Chief Speed Figure Maker)
In the Money Players Podcast, formerly known as the DRF Players Podcast featuring Peter Thomas Fornatale and Jonathon Kinchen. They recently started subsets of their podcasts featuring shows specifically for breeding/pedigree and NYRA
Out of the Gate featuring different segments, best bets, and races of the week
At the Races with Steve Byk - Listen live on Sirius. Archived broadcasts found on the website.
Racing Dudes
The Public Handicapper Podcast featuring the editors of The Public Handicapper, 3 have qualified for the NHC a combined 25 times.

Websites/Other

Explanation of Dosage by Brisnet - helpful for understanding pedigree
How Speed Figures Are Made on the Paulick Report
2018 BCBC Wagers for All Contestants - What are you doing right? What are you doing wrong?
Public Handicapper - A place to keep yourself accountable for your picks. The run contests for free pp's and an NHC seat
submitted by Murphey14 to horseracing [link] [comments]

Beginner's Guide: Zelda - Breath of the Wild (BOTW) [Reposted]

First off, welcome to the Zeldaverse! Lol this is my favorite series and I've played almost every game in the franchise.
If you're looking for a beginner's guide you are in the same boat as EVERYONE else playing BOTW for the first time. It's totally different than every other Zelda game in the timeline. And it is brutal. Especially at the beginning. Here are my recommendations.
1) Start with Shrines. Spirit orbs are your best friends. I, personally, ALWAYS level up my stamina first. Usually two or three extra before my first heart upgrade. Stamina gives you so much more freedom. *climbing is large aspect of the game. Have more stamina really allows more of the game to open up.
2) Abuse the stamps you have in your map. You get 100, which you may never use all of them. Mark locations you find good weapons, areas you find a lot of food, or ingredients that are rare.
3) I recommend finding, marking, and using the following items constantly in meals: Hearty Durians (increases maximum hearts) + really any ingredient that boosts maximum hearts (usually they say "hearty"); Armoranth, Fortified pumpkin, Armored Carp, ANYTHING that can boost your defense to level 3; fairies, they will revive you if you die. Also, just kill everything. You get so much meat stacked up it's just ridiculous. *Pro tip: have you ever seen those Dragons in the sky? Mark their spawn locations if you can. If you shoot their HORN... Well. I don't want to spoil it, buuuut... It's really good for cooking.
4) Did you know there are certain beings that can improve your armor? If you haven't heard that before, I would go search around the Karkariko shrine forest...
5) if you need money, I've got a solution that has a double benefit. You know Lizalfos? The TEEM around Zora's Domain and their parts are very valuable when compared to other enemies: Bokoblins/Moblins aren't worth much, and Lynels are time consuming. Lizalfos are perfect. But! Any Lizalfos you kill in Zora's Domain ALSO give you a min. of ×5 arrows as well. So when you're broke and out of arrows: Go to Zora's Domain!! *Pro tip: start at the shrine and leave Zora's Domain through the entrance, working your way backwards down the mountain and you'll be rich in no time.
6) I agree with the majority of users. Don't rush the game! Enjoy it! However, have you found the colosseum? It is a great place to pick up weapons early on. But, the weapons the enemies carry WILL CHANGE with the story. How? Everytime you gain control of a Divine Beast the quality of their weapons upgrade. This is helpful in the late game. *Weapons also gain special abilities (i.e. extra durability, etc.) the further into the story you play!
7) Like I just said, don't rush. Half of this game is just exploring. There actually is a HUGE benefit to finding Korok seeds! There is absolutely 0 reason to find ALL of them except for the world's most disappointing achievement, but finding enough of them is VERY beneficial. *Pro tip: Find Hetsu.
8) Some shrines have challenges to test your strength. The enemies here carry Ancient weapons that do a lot of damage, especially against Gurdian-type enemies.
9) There 2 Laboratories. Find both. One has a shop that is VERY useful. *Following the story will lead you to both.
10) You may know this by now, but I didnt on my first play through for about 50% of the game: when jumping off an edge, if you draw your bow, time will slow down, allowing you to get head shots in that do double damage. *the time you can do this depends on your stamina. Another reason to upgrade it!
11) You probably already know this, but certain armor types give additional stat bonuses when worn in a set. ... But usually they have to be upgraded. Better find those "beings" mentioned above!
12) Learning to "Perfect Dodge" can be very helpful! It really comes in hand in the "Test of Strength" shrines I mentioned, but also are very practical everywhere! Mastering a "Perfect Parry" --- swinging your shield while L-targeting at the perfect moment --- will block enemy attacks and will do 0 durabiliy damage to your shield! *Pro Tip: you can actually use this to your advantage --- Perfect Parrying will actually reflect Acient Guardian beams!
13) This is a more advanced tip, but Ancient Items have the HIGHEST durability and damage in the game. Some Lynel weapons do more and have similar durability, but Ancient Weapons can have the most buff to strength in the later game. Get your hands on these weapons when they become available. *Elemental weapons are also very helpful in innumerable situations. These are your next best bet.
14) Having a horse really helps too when adventuring to new places. Hint: solid colored horses are harder to tame, but they are the strongest and fastest. Again, another reason to upgrade your stamina!
Enjoy the game. Take your time. It's ok to mess up. Planning raid schemes is actually a mejor component of the game! Have fun with it. I didn't want to look anything up, so I figured out everything on my own. So, if you have any further questions DM me and I'd be happy to help you out. Good luck!
submitted by Giea_Prince16 to Breath_of_the_Wild [link] [comments]

An Elementary Introduction to the Qi of Tea
By Gao You Cheng

An Elementary Introduction to the Qi of Tea<br>By Gao You Cheng


Lu Tong was a tea scholar in the Tang Dynasty. He has been called a "celestial harbinger of tea" for the depth and elegance his poetry conveys. It is obvious that even so long ago tea masters where intimately aware of the movement of Qi within the body when appreciating good tea. His famous poem "Seven Bowls of Tea" limpidly captures the change towards subtler perceptions as the tea session continues:
"The first cup moistens the throat; The second shatters all feelings of solitude; The third cup deans digestion; The fourth induces perspiration; With the fifth cup, the body sharpens, crisp; And the sixth cup leads to heaven; The seventh cup sits steaming - it needn't be drunk, as from head to feet one rises to the abode of the immortals."
Lu Tong's fifth through seventh cups are describing the movement of Qi through the body. Some experts believe that the Qi is already in us, and that the tea only inspires it to begin flowing. However, most tea lovers these days pay much more attention to the fragrance, liquor, taste and sensations (chayun) their teas offer. Maybe, some would feel that Lu Tong's poem is too abstract or perhaps beyond the experience of an average person. In the beginning, when I first started enjoying tea, I also held such reservations. Some friends often spoke of the movement upwards of Qi, ultimately reaching the back of the head in an explosion of bliss called "Qi Da Bai Hui". I thought the idea farfetched. Even intellectually the words seemed too intangible for me to understand.
Recently, I joined a symposium on "The Way of Tea" (Cha Dao). I found that the more experience I gained drinking good teas, and the more I learned, the more my body became capable of experiencing. I found that almost all of the people there had developed sensitivity enough to feel the movement of Qi in their bodies. I hope that by sharing my experience here I may help others to begin to sense and recognize the subtle sensations in the body when Qi is in motion.
How to Prepare Oneself to Experience Cha Qi
* Adequate Time
One must be sure to allocate enough time for the tea session. This is especially important for beginners like myself. One of the lecturers at the meeting stressed how difficult it is to recognize subtleties if we don't set all our worldly concerns aside. He mentioned that all people have this capacity - we let go of our concerns when we have enough free time to actually relax. Before we began drinking the teas, we all shut off our cell phones, relaxed and tried to let our cares drift off.
* The Environment
Traditionally, most tea rooms were always decorated in a simple yet elegant way. The light should be soft and dim, and the room should be quiet. It is also better if one's tea room is properly ventilated and comfortable. Decorations that inspire relaxation, like bonsai trees, flowers or some nice calligraphy are often preferable, as long as there aren't too many. Many tea lovers will play some gentle and soothing music, like the Gu Qing, to help inspire peace. While many masters gravitate towards simplicity in teaware, as well as decor, it is only important that the teaware not cause too much distraction. The ambience should have an overall sense of serenity. Even before the symposium, I had visited several tea houses that made me feel peaceful and calm almost right away. The more untroubled the body and mind are, the easier it will be to recognize the subtle sensations in the body.
* Preparing the Body
It often helps to wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothes. Our house clothes often help us to relax just by association. Many times, we will eat a light snack before the tea session. It is best to approach the tea with neither an empty nor a full stomach. Drinking tea on an empty stomach might make one feel some slight discomfort, and a full stomach dulls one's ability to taste, smell and of course feel the sensations cause by the Cha Qi. A clear sense of one's body overall is a great place to start from. The organizers of the symposium also mentioned that their years of research have shown that a vegetarian diet allows one to perceive the subtleties of Cha Qi much easier and even more lucidly. A vegetarian diet is not required, but one may wish to experiment and see if it affects one's own tea sessions.
* Quiet
Perhaps the most important aspect of learning to feel Cha Qi is that the tea session be conducted in quiet. Our minds are already a tempest of thoughts, doubts and worries - chatting only stimulates the mind to focus on external events, rather than concentrating on the body. Furthermore, many of the old Puerh teas that inspire the greatest Qi in our bodies are extremely rare and expensive. In the future, such precious teas will be unavailable. It is therefore very important that they be appreciated fully while they still last, and that cannot happen if those drinking them are not concentrated. The reverence of the tea and focus on it exclusively are paramount to the appreciation of Cha Qi.
The Tea Session
After one is more relaxed the brewing may begin. We use a smelling cup (wen shiang bet) to appreciate the tea, including Puerh. According to my personal experience, the smelling cup serves three important functions: Firstly, it slows down the entire process, inspiring ease and tranquility. Relaxation occurs more fluently when the session is slower. The second reason for the smelling cup is that it adds another dimension to the tea experience. Why wouldn't one want to appreciate the tea with as many senses as possible? It would seem that even those that are uninterested in Cha Qi would still want to enjoy their teas in this way. While it is possible to smell the liquor directly in the cup, or if one is alone, in the pitcher or teapot/gaiwan lid - still, none of these methods offer nearly as much fragrance as the smelling cup. There is actually some science to their design. Much of the wonderful aromas offered by teas are related to the oils in the leaves. When the hot liquor is poured into a smelling cup and then quickly transferred to the drinking cup, these oils evaporate, leaving behind the pure smell of the tea. DifFerent shapes of smelling cups also improve the duration of the smell, just as long, thin cups are to appreciate the smells of wine. The third and final reason for using the smelling cup is that it increases one's ability to perceive the Cha Qi. Take a long and slow draught of the tea's aroma and release it in an equally unhurried manner. One will quickly find that the body and mind are both becoming calmer. The Qi in a good tea can right away pass through the nasal cavity and hit the center of the head, called the "Bai Hui" Practice inhaling the tea three or four times each steeping. It will become apparent that one's sensitivity is increasing with each pour. It also helps to close the eyes as much as possible during the session, which guides the attention inward, towards the sensations in the body.
After appreciating the fragrance of the tea, one can begin drinking. Try not to finish the cup all at once. It is best to sip the tea in halves or even thirds. Try to feel the Cha Qi rising to the top of the head. After swallowing, a chewing motion and clicking of the tongue on the upper palate helps one to taste the tea. Try to feel the sensations on the upper palate and throat. Focusing on the grosser sensations will lead to more concentration, sensitivity, and ultimately the subtle flow of Qi. There will definitely be a temperature change in the throat, esophagus and stomach. While breathing slowly, try to feel the warmth in the body. Concentrate on the elbows, palms and fingertips as they all have more nerve-endings and are consequently easier to feel. One may begin to perspire, tremor or have any other form of gross sensation. Try to concentrate on these sensations. They aren't the movement of the Qi, but the more centered the mind becomes the easier it will be to recognize the Cha Qi.
All at once, the tea-drinker will begin to feel a kind of flow of particles in the palms or fingertips. Some have described this as tingling or slight prickling. It feels like an energy moving around. It could be on the surface or within. Teas that have strong Cha Qi will quickly envelope the entire body in such tingling awareness, usually rising in some pattern towards the center of the head (Bai Hut). After finishing a few cups, it helps to have a break of ten minutes or so between steepings. One can rest one's palms gently on his or her legs facing upwards. Breathe deeply, relax and focus on any changes happening in the body. Not all teas have Cha Qi, but if a tea does, one will quickly begin to feel the subtle flow of energy in the palms or fingertips, moving over them like water. Try not to focus too much on the thoughts that arise in the mind. The more centered the mind is in the body, the more perceptive it will be. At the symposium, we repeated this process a few times a day, and by the third or fourth session I was amazed that I could actually feel the subtle vibration of Cha Qi moving in my body. My whole body began to tingle and vibrate, as if melting. It was a rather blissful experience, changing the way in which I would experience tea from then on.
The methods mentioned above are merely suggestion. They are the ways that one large group of tea veterans have used to teach several hundred tea lovers to approach Cha Qi. They aren't laws carved in stone. Feel free to alter any of them to suit the situation. After all, a person knows their own body and mind better than anyone else. What relaxes one and how to focus one's mind on the tea will be slightly different for everyone.
Kinds of Cha Qi
Generally, the Cha Qi. will manifest in one of several overall patterns. Each session, even if the same tea is drunk twice, will have slight variations. In the beginning, I was overwhelmed by my ability to even feel the Qi, but as the symposium went on I was amazed when I began to detect slight discrepancies in Qi that I had previously felt as being the same. My sensitivity was really increasing.
On the Head
  1. The Qi may go straight up to the "Bai Hut', forehead or the back of the brain if it is strong enough. This will cause a kind of fullness or numb feeling to follow.
  2. Sometimes one may feel an itchy, hot sensation in the cheeks. This often leads to a kind of massage of the eyeballs, eyebrow region or the acupuncture point called the "Tai Yang Xue".
  3. The Qi may revolve around the head in spirals.
On the Body
  1. Usually, the Qi moving through the body follows two different patterns: The first is when it moves backwards to forwards in waves of subtle sensations; sometimes this might feel as a spiraling around the body. The second is a kind of delicate pulsing or rhythm inside the body.
  2. One may feel a movement akin to a hiccup, either with or without sound.
  3. A feeling of rising sensations up the spine; often beginning at the "Du Mai" acupuncture point.
  4. Sometimes people will have some blockages, caused by unhealthy parts of the body or poor diet, when they open it could mean perspiration or even sharp pain in the acupuncture points. After a few passes this should reside.
  5. Sometimes the initial reaction might cause emotions to surface. Several participants wept when they first recognized their Qi and were unable to explain why afterwards.
  6. Sometimes the Qi will pass over the skin, other times through the flesh. If the tea is strong enough, the whole body will be enveloped in a warm vibration of energy that feels like tingling.
On the Hands and Legs
  1. The Qi is easier to feel moving down the elbows towards the palms and then fingertips. It often causes them to feel slightly numb. It may cause an ever-so-slight sting in the fingertips that isn't uncomfortable, but is useful for concentration.
Kinds of Qi: Soft Cha Qi
This kind of Cha Qi makes one's mind calm and generates a peaceful, light feeling. It is elegant and often results in the cottony inner rhythm mentioned above. The gentleness can increase gradually, but even when perception is consumed by it, this kind of Cha Qi remains feathery and light. This energy is Yin. It is soft and comfortable. Through experimentation using the blind comparison of several tea drinkers who recorded their perceptions, we have found that the following teas have such Yin Cha Qi: Xia Tuo Cha from the 1970's, 70's 7562, 60's Zhu Tong Xiang Hao, and even aged Oolong from the 1970's. The teas that we found to rise in strength over the duration of the session, while still maintaining a kind of delicacy were: 1920's Long Ma, and Bai Nien Hong Zhi (100-year-old loose leaf).
Kinds of Qi: Strong Cha Qi
The stronger kind of Cha Qi often hits one after the first sip, or smell even. Some of the teas rose right to the top of the head in the first sniff of the smelling cup, causing a numb feeling similar to that felt just before fainting. This potent Yung Qi sometimes even bursts forth like horses from the starting gate. This type of Qi often causes grosser sensations like perspiration, heat, faster heartbeat or pulse. However, after these pass and blockages are cleared, this Qi usually leads to an overall sense of comfort.
We found that the stronger, Yang Qi tends to follow two general patterns. One is lower in density, causing a sensation that feels almost as if there are gaps between the atoms of the body. The movement or pulsing is slower with more space between. The second variety moves more rapidly and feels like a strong current of too many small particles to really distinguish any one. This kind of Cha Qi is higher in density and often merges the whole body into a mass of particles that are vibrating briskly. The bliss that results when the whole body opens is indescribable. Among the teas we found to have this Qi are: 1950's Hong Yin, 50's Lan Yin, and many others like Song Ping Hao and even some old loose-leaf teas.
The Variations of Cha Qi
Every person will feel something slightly different than those around them. It was amazing enough to find such a concordance in the patterns of Cha Qi we have described above. Even the same tea will be different each time. No two sessions are the same, and as we grow in experience we are more able to recognize the discrepancies, however subtle. Here arc some of the personal experiences of those that joined the symposium:
* 1930's Hao Ji Cha
The Cha Qi went up to my forehead, bringing sensations of heaviness, faintness and fullness in my head. My mind felt empty, beyond thought and my body slowly became more and more comfortable.
* 1970's Lao Shui Xian Wuyi Yen Cha
The Cha Qi of this tea was very unique. Immediately after the first cup, it caused sensations on my scalp - it felt like a kind of numbness there, without any heat. My body felt slightly cool when I closed my eyes. From the third cup, there was a stronger numbness all throughout my head.
* 1970's Xiao Tuo Cha 100g
This tea was mellow and smooth. The Cha Qi was delicate and steady. It relaxed my body immediately and opened all the pores. I quickly drifted into a meditative state after just a few cups.
* 1940's Independently Ordered Tie Beeng
Wow, this tea should have been named "Without a Moment to Lose." The Cha Qi went straight up to the Bai Hui immediately, immersing my body in a strong wave of tingling sensation that was rather blissful.
* Tian Xin Hao
The Cha Qi had a rhythm that was wavy, causing coldness as the pores of the body opened. The Qi was delicate, yet penetrative. It reached through the inside of the body rather than remaining on the surface. It gradually spread out until the whole body was open. This then lasted for several hours.
* Bi Nian Hong Zhi (100-year-old loose leaf Puerh)
This tea had a slight fragrance of fruit. The Cha Qi was harmonious - seemingly Yin and Yang at different times. The Yang sometimes burst into the forehead like a volcanic eruption, pouring over the rest of the body; and the Yin other times felt like I was floating gently with my cars just below the surface of the ocean - silence deep and endless.
* Tong Xin Hao
In the beginning, the Cha Qi rose upwards in spirals. Later on in the session it spread to the limbs and poured out of me. It turned around the acupuncture point called "Gao Mang" repeatedly. And it left behind a cool feeling there. This then spread to the whole body. It was very peaceful. Conclusion
A complete experience of any tea must involve fragrance, liquor, taste, sensation in the mouth and throat (cha yun) and Cha Qi. The Cha Qi is often discussed less amongst tea connoisseurs who appreciate it because it is more subjective. However, after years of drinking tea quietly and then comparing notes afterwards, some experts have found that certain patterns emerge. All of the other aspects are affected by the constitution of the tea drinker as well. Some tea lovers may feel intimidated by the notions of Cha Qi and think that it is something "mystical" or unapproachable to the ordinary person. I also once felt this way. However, Cha Qi is as perceptible as any other gross sensation like heat, pain, itchiness, etc. It is a tangible and real movement of subatomic particles or energy through the body. Perhaps this vibration is always there and the tea only serves to increase our sensitivity; or maybe the tea stimulates the movement - whatever the case, Cha Qi is more than theory for those, like me, that have felt it concretely.
Since ancient times, Chinese medicine has focused on the movement of Qi through the body and stipulated that illnesses are often caused by the obstruction of this flow in a certain portion of the body. Acupuncture is a healing technique meant to release these blockages. The fact that Cha Qi can also pass through the body so fluently means that it too has a similar healing power. Thus by appreciating good tea in quiet one is in effect cleansing the body, making it a proper vessel through which Qi flows. Through its arched gateway, we may return to a time before all of the external stimuli of televisions and computers - a time when people knew themselves better. By drinking tea in quiet and focusing on the flow of Cha Qi we can return to our souls, riding the windy currents within ourselves to the "abode of the immortals" Lu Tong spoke of so long ago.
submitted by UMITEASETS to u/UMITEASETS [link] [comments]

AMD ROCm / HCC programming: Introduction

About me: I'm a beginner in ROCm / HCC programming. But I've collected a bunch of reading material to help myself get started. It looks like an exciting set of technology from AMD.

What is ROCm / HCC?

ROCm / HCC is AMD's Single-source C++ framework for GPGPU programming. In effect: HCC is a CLang based compiler, which compiles your code in two passes. It compiles a x86 version of your code, AND a GPU version of your code.
Because the same compiler processes both x86 and GPU code, it ensures that all data-structures are compatible. With AMD's HSA project of the past, even pointers remain compatible between the codesets, allowing the programmer to easily transition between CPU and GPU code.
In effect, ROCm / HCC is AMD's full attempt at a CUDA-like C++ environment. While OpenCL requires you to repeat yourself with any shared data-structure (in C nonetheless), HCC allows you to share pointers, classes, and structures between the CPU and GPU code.
AMD's ROCm / HCC is poorly documented however. In fact, this Reddit post is one of the few guides available on the internet at all! Nonetheless, in my (beginner) opinion, the HCC Compiler and language features are simple and incredible. It seems like a superior framework compared to OpenCL, as long as you're willing to lock yourself down to AMD's platform.
AMD ROCm / HCC only runs on Linux and relatively recent GPUs / CPU combinations. ROCm requires PCIe 3.0 and a 400+ series AMD GPU (480x, Fury, 580x, or Vega). There's some support for Hawaii (R9 290x and R9 390x), but it isn't actively supported. There are a few issues with lower-end cards (like the 550), so check Github discussion for full compatibility. In general, if you have a "480" or above (Fury or Vega), as well as a recent AMD Zen or Intel Skylake CPU, you're all ready to go.

What is Microsoft C++ AMP? And how is it related to ROCm/HCC?

In 2010 or so, Microsoft started the C++ AMP project. Microsoft's VS C++ was able to compile (most) regular C++ into DirectX shaders (!!). This framework was called C++ AMP. After C++ AMP 1.2 however, Microsoft hasn't really moved forward with the project.
Although Microsoft hasn't talked about C++ AMP after the 1.2 release, it was documented extremely well. There are numerous blog posts about C++ AMP, guides on C++ AMP vs OpenCL or CUDA, and more! As such, early versions of AMD's ROCm / HCC was based on top of the C++ AMP 1.2 standard.
In many ways, AMD's ROCm / HCC is the spiritual successor to Microsoft AMP. ROCm 2.0 today now diverges in a couple of ways, but C++ AMP 1.2 remains the most documented way to learn about the ROCm / HCC feature set.

What about CUDA Support? AMD ROCm / HIP ?

AMD's HIP program is a trans-compiler from CUDA code -> HCC code. I haven't used it, but HIP may be more helpful to anyone coming from a CUDA background. Most of the Tensorflow porting was done with AMD's "HIP" framework.

Is ROCm / HCC really worth it?

This depends on your codebase. Maybe CUDA will remain the best, maybe OpenCL will remain the best. ROCm / HCC is locked to Linux 4.15 (or later) and AMD GPUs only. Finally, ROCm / HCC uses strong C++11isms, so you better be good with lambda-statements and atomics from the C++11 world. But if you're fine with that restriction, HCC seems like the best way to program for AMD GPUs.
Lets look at the SAXPY code for ROCm
#include  #include  #include  #include  // header file for the hc API #include  #define N (1024 * 500) int main() { const float a = 100.0f; float x[N]; float y[N]; // initialize the input data std::default_random_engine random_gen; std::uniform_real_distribution distribution(-N, N); std::generate_n(x, N, [&]() { return distribution(random_gen); }); std::generate_n(y, N, [&]() { return distribution(random_gen); }); // make a copy of for the GPU implementation float y_gpu[N]; std::copy_n(y, N, y_gpu); // CPU implementation of saxpy for (int i = 0; i < N; i++) { y[i] = a * x[i] + y[i]; } // wrap the data buffer around with an array_view // to let the hcc runtime to manage the data transfer hc::array_view av_x(N, x); hc::array_view av_y(N, y_gpu); // launch a GPU kernel to compute the saxpy in parallel hc::parallel_for_each(hc::extent<1>(N) , [=](hc::index<1> i) [[hc]] { av_y[i] = a * av_x[i] + av_y[i]; }); // verify the results int errors = 0; for (int i = 0; i < N; i++) { if (fabs(y[i] - av_y[i]) > fabs(y[i] * 0.0001f)) errors++; } std::cout << errors << " errors" << std::endl; return errors; } 
Count them: 50ish-lines of code for a SAXPY between the CPU and GPU. In fact, lets focus on the GPU code real quick:
 hc::parallel_for_each(hc::extent<1>(N) , [=](hc::index<1> i) [[hc]] { av_y[i] = a * av_x[i] + av_y[i]; }); 
This is probably the simplest syntax I've ever seen for GPGPU compute, maybe ever. The [[hc]] attribute is a bit magical / non C++11 but otherwise the concept is clear to any C++11 programmer out there. In effect: "parallel_for_each" causes the lambda-function to execute on the GPU, and the [[hc]] attribute tells the compiler to compile that code for the GPU-only.
hc::extent<1>(N) describes the "width" of the for-loop. In this case, 512000 elements will be processed by the for-loop in parallel, on the GPU.
As you can see, the vectors "av_y[]" are cleanly represented on both CPU (outside the parallel_for_each) and GPU (inside the parallel_for_each) code. There's an internal "completion_future" object being passed around by the way, but the programmer can capture it if you want to play around with a GPU-async paradigm.
ROCm / HCC supports the full feature set of AMD's GPUs. So that means not only the 16-bit half-floats of Vega64, but also the new permute / swizzle operators. Even AMD GPU-assembly is supported... for those insane enough to try it. You even have complete control to LDS / Shared_memory through C++ tiled_extent objects.

That's amazing! Time to recompile my program into the GPU...

Hold your horses fella. GPUs such as the Vega64 have a grossly different computational model compared to CPUs. Yes, the ROCm / HCC language allows you to more easily port code between the CPU and the GPU, but that doesn't make it a good idea.
You still have to think in terms of wavefronts / workgroups, and SIMD-width units of execution, if you want to extract high performance out of ROCm. In fact, I bet that most CPU code will be slower if you copy/pasted it into the GPU.
For the OpenCL gurus out there: yes, the parallel_for_each statement above sets either 128 or 256 to be the wavefront size. A lot of the crazy syntax / concepts from OpenCL have been hidden away by intelligent defaults and compiler heuristics. You CAN change these defaults if you know what you are doing, meaning ROCm HCC is "at least as powerful" as OpenCL.
And that's my overall experience with ROCm / HCC: a lot of "smart defaults" that hide away some complicated details and simplify the syntax... while retaining the power and control that experts desire.

Okay, I'm a n00b. What's a work group or SIMD-width? What do I study?

Good question. As I said before, I'm relatively a beginner in this subject. But I plan to write up my study guide and start the discussion into ROCm / HCC. For now, here's the important manuals.

N00b stuff bores me. What advanced references / tutorials can I see that push the limits of ROCm HCC?

Wait: I need to learn C++ AMP 1.2, HCC, and OpenCL to have a good understanding of AMD's environment?

Yeah. Its unfortunately how the AMD ROCm / HCC environment works right now. Hopefully, documents in the future will make the transition easier, but a lot of the information is dispersed. The innards get even more complicated, as AMD's ROCm is built on top of AMD's HSA Framework... and... more stuff.
As such, I recognize the difficulty in learning ROCm / HCC, and suggest to AMD that they should write up more beginner material for HCC learners. Nevertheless, I look at the promise of ROCm / HCC, and I really do think its one of the best frameworks designed for C++ style coding in the GPU environment.
"Lambda" functions that run on the GPU just makes sense. Representing that as an async "completion_future" supporting a .then(functor) is extremely clean. This really was a great API that Microsoft made, and it was a good idea for AMD to build on top of it. But documentation remains a strong weakness of the platform, and I hope this reddit post helps someone out there.
submitted by dragontamer5788 to Amd [link] [comments]

[Let’s Build] 100 Library books

The list is finally finished! Thank you to everyone who helped for your contributions.
Any books you might find if you were to pull a random book off of a shelf in a library.
  1. “101 Ways to Cook an Ooze” - Interesting recipes include gelatinous cube cocktail, ochre apple jelly, and salted pudding
  2. “Physiologies of Magical Creatures” - Information on the biology of Beholders, Dragons, Unicorns, and more. Full of diagrams.
  3. “The Prophecies” - Tales of great adventures. Partway through, all the pages become blank
  4. “How to Spot a Mimic” - Tips such as listen for breathing, and see if it responds to being touched
  5. “Bordrick’s Fantastic Adventure” - Dwarven choose your own adventure book
  6. “Planeshifting” - Details different ways to travel between different planes of existence
  7. “On Monstrous Races” - Discusses whether monstrous races should or should not be allowed into society
  8. “The Outside” - A self-written account by someone you know who saw a vision of them self as a small plastic figurine on a table surrounded by a number of god-like beings after they talked to a group of adventurers
  9. “Human?” - Story about an ogre who, despite his incompetence, convinced everyone that he was actually a very tall human, became a king, then was discovered and beheaded.
  10. “Landmarks to Visit Before You Die” - Details a number of landmarks and monuments in a country or city you have never heard of
  11. “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Kingdom” - A book with not entirely inaccurate advice on “how to see the kingdom on less than 30 copper pieces a day”. The very first page contains only the words “Don’t Panic” printed in large, friendly letters.
  12. “Incredible Creatures and How to Kill Them” - Details weaknesses monsters are known to have. It is part of a five-volume set; the first volume is for beginners (level 1-4), the second for the somewhat experienced (level 5-8) and so on.
  13. “Magic for Dummies” - Explains what magic is and how it works in the style of “___ for Dummies” books. Does not teach one how to cast spells.
  14. “Wish It, Want It, Screw It” - detailed accounts of times the Wish spell backfired horribly.
  15. “So Long, and Thanks for All the Ale” - The story of Tarvish the dwarf, who had unpaid bar tabs worth a total of 10,000 gold all across the country before being arrested
  16. “Flumphs; the Pleasant Surprises of the Underdark” - A journal accounting some time that a researcher spent living with a cloister of flumphs. The author documented at least once every day for a month
  17. “Taming the Beast” - A perfect book for beginner beastmasters. Gives tips and tricks on how to win over wild creatures of all kinds. It starts with tiny creatures like frogs and crabs, followed by small creatures like eagles and fire beetles, medium creatures like giant badgers and giant frogs, large creatures like owlbears and bulettes, and finishes with huge creatures like elephants and some dinosaurs.
  18. “A Day in the Life of a Lemure” - A beginner demon/devil researcher decided to start his studies on the weakest of all fiend kind, the lemure. After summoning a lemure in a remote location, he watched its behavior for a day. After gathering the information needed, the author had the hideous abomination placed within a special containment vessel, alongside the many empty ones that would house the many other fiends. At the end of the book lies a map to the research facility. If the party decides to go there, they will find out that the author finished doing research on an imp, manes, and dretch as well.
  19. “The Spider King” - A fictional tale of an adventurer delving into the underdark to slay a fearsome giant spider.
  20. “The Bjernson Family Tree And Exploits” - The family tree of a nordic clan with all the males named Bjern Bjernson. This book helps tell them apart.
  21. “Rosaline And Mercutio” - A romantic tragedy by Bill Shaking-lance.
  22. "Pictures of Cats" - A picture book full of photos of cats dressed in cute outfits and doing cute things. It's about the size of an average dictionary.
  23. “I Can't Believe It's Not Harmless!” - A hefty guide of herbs, mushrooms and berries that surround the city where the book was found. It contains accurate annotations of the ailments due to consumption or touch, with descriptive drawings of people having diarrhea or throwing up.
  24. "Hit The Apple, Not My Face!” - A Detailed Guide to Archery" This book even includes instructions for constructing a simple bow and targets.
  25. "Baby Dragon Destroys the Village" - A truly heartwarming children's book.
  26. "AAARRGGHH!: A Barbarian's Guide to Clobbering Your Enemies" - The writing is messy and misspelled, and some of the letters are are backwards. What's more, the cover is splattered with blood on the bottom right corner, like someone was violently clobbered by the book.
  27. "The Three Little Goblins" - Three goblins set off to build houses of wood, straw, and enchanted brick and start new lives, but the Big Bad Dire Wolf complicates things.
  28. "Claiming the Crown” - An Experienced Guide to Assassinating Royals" - How to brew a poison, how to create a disguise, tips on wielding daggers, and more!
  29. “The Banshees I Have Loved” - A tragedy of five acts.
  30. “Phylomagenetics and the Herbalist” - A primer for the professional and newcomer alike.
  31. “Population Dynamics of Cryptosaurs” - A treatise on the ever-evolving age structures of dragons by region and plane.
  32. “Memoirs of a Goblin” - A dramatic, often erotic, first-person biography of a female goblin groomed to be a concubine in an exotic land. The author is a male elf.
  33. “How to Win Friends and Enchant People” - Despite the title, has nothing to do with magic, but it does have some good advice about how to make yourself seem more approachable.
  34. “The Dragon with a Girl Tattoo” - A psychological mystery thriller about a detective who befriends a shapeshifted silver dragon with a dark past, to find a murderer before he strikes again.
  35. “To Kill a Manticore” - There isn't a single manticore in the entire book, it's about a half-orc on trial for a crime he didn't commit and the halfling lawyer who represents him.
  36. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Adventurers” - A self-help book with an optimistic view of the steps a person must take to succeed as an independent contractor with a sword.
  37. “Eat, Summon, Love” - A married woman realizes how unhappy her marriage really is, and that her life needs to go in a different direction. After a painful divorce, she joins a cult of necromancers to "find herself". Based on a true story.
  38. “Bahamut Shrugged” - An action-thriller written by one of the world's most controversial philosophers, the novel is set in a dystopia where magic is tightly regulated and only Gon Jalt can liberate magic-users from the non-magical "parasites", i.e. everyone else.
  39. “Cockatrice Soup for the Soul “ - This book is so commonplace, it's a cliche that in every house where a woman of a certain age lives, there will be at least one heavily-read copy of this book with it's sappy stories and cloyingly sweet words of wisdom. It is beyond worthless.
  40. “The Origin of Magical Species” - Full title: On the Origin of Magical Species by Means of Supernatural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, is considered to be the foundation of understanding of how magic has shaped the evolution of the natural world. Although the theories presented inside are accepted as fact by nearly all universities and centers of learning, some religions regard it as heretical and have asked to have it banned.
  41. “The Geographica Gelatinousa” - 101 Oozes and How to Avoid Them
  42. “My Life as a Human Being” - A Dragon's Observation on Humanoid Culture
  43. "Harold Haversham's Holisitic Handbook of Healing" - At first it appears to be a beginners guide to crafting potions, however as the book progresses the author becomes more and more adamant that all ailments are purely mental. There is a detailed account in which the author was treating a man for a broken arm and healed it through weekly mental therapy sessions.
  44. “Wager like a Winner” - A Goblins Guide to Gambling by Grey ‘Greedy’ Gradnok
  45. “The Wizard of Odds” - Betting for Profit by B.M. Sawbuck
  46. “So You Want to be a .....series” - Illustrated beginner guides to becoming a Wizard, Druid, Ranger etc for children.
  47. “The Potion Diaries” - One Girl’s Intoxicating Adventures by Madame S. Ruth
  48. “Lost in Translation” - The Art of the Scribe by Thoth Gardiner
  49. “Fitting a Square Peg Through a Round Hole: The curious mobility of oozes”
  50. “Half Human, Half Horse, All Man” - A defense of carnal relationships with beast races
  51. "Halfling Histories" - An incomplete telling of the tales of the half-folk
  52. "The Orc's Cookbook: 101 ways to prepare an elf" - To make the hunt taste delicious
  53. “Every. Accomplished. Recognizable. Sentient. by Tommeltop the Gnome” - An encyclopedia of anyone who accomplished anything of moderate note ever, however most of each page is dedicated to greatly exaggerated, suitably cringy and oddly romantic paragraphs about how great each person's ears must have been. Any brave soul who actually reads the book through is suddenly able to recall in perfect detail the ears of anyone they've ever seen before,for no apparent reason. (Perhaps there are drawings and details of the pc's and their ears as well)
  54. “The Cantrip-bury Tales”
  55. “The Lord of the Rings” A historical fiction-esque set of books about an adventuring party ages ago in a material plane far, far away.
  56. "Names to Run Away From" - A collection of monsters, plant, fungus, magical phenomenon and other miscellaneous "things" that even the most accomplished - or desperate- of adventurers avoid - for they are easy to kill, but they are also a mighty pain in the behind and, even more importantly, in your wallet.
  57. "The Legend of Atlas" - A collection of the all the known myths and legends in the world from the beginning of the written to the present.
  58. "Merfolk Companions" - This book details how Merfolk capture and train seals as pets.
  59. "Forever and Always" - The future predictions of a historian who lived two centuries ago. His predictions continue on for another four hundred years.
  60. "Prince of Reality" - A philosophical book that tries to explain the true nature of reality.
  61. "The Common Woman's Guide to Royalty" - A guide on how every lady should act in society.
  62. "The Witch's Guide to Home brew Potions" - A series of tips on how to be the most successful witch you can be
  63. "Becoming a Paladin: A full guide to becoming the lawful good person you always hoped to be!" - This thick volume even includes how to protect orphanages and the correct means of smiting your enemies.
  64. "Being Familiar With Your Familiar: The book for casters who wish to bond with their animal companions" - A field guide to all common and some uncommonly seen familiars in the area.
  65. "New Technology: Summer Special Edition" - This information source gives details on many new forms of technology, such as reinforced crossbows, iron hunting traps, and many, many magic items.
  66. “The Tao of Earth” - Starts with philosophical musings about the importance of creation and stability over destruction and change. This book is written in an old dialect that most people (even magic users) have trouble reading. It occasionally goes on long-winded philosophical tangents.
  67. “The Tao of Water” - Starts with a note: lava and water is basically the same thing! don't try to use fire spells on it. If you fail to understand this basic, the Tao will forever escape you. This book is written in an old dialect that most people (even magic users) have trouble reading. It occasionally goes on long-winded philosophical tangents.
  68. “The Tao of Air” - Starts with philosophical musings on how a fickle thing like air is needed for (long-lived) living creatures to breathe. There is a 5% chance of an ancient erotic letter being found loose inside. This book is written in an old dialect that most people (even magic users) have trouble reading. It occasionally goes on long-winded philosophical tangents.
  69. “The Tao of Fire” - Starts with a strict warning to master at least one of the other 3 elemental books first, because while many people think playing with fire is fun, it's not worth dying over. This book is written in an old dialect that most people (even magic users) have trouble reading. It occasionally goes on long-winded philosophical tangents.
  70. “The Tao of Life” - This volume is the thickest, but somehow the least complete; it contains many anatomical diagrams, as well as several normative references to The Tao of Death. This book is written in an old dialect that most people (even magic users) have trouble reading. It occasionally goes on long-winded philosophical tangents.
  71. “The Tao of Death” - This volume is missing from most sets after a book-burning campaign, but its existence is well known. This book is written in an old dialect that most people (even magic users) have trouble reading. It occasionally goes on long-winded philosophical tangents.
  72. “The Tao of Secrets” - The existence of this volume is not widely known, and its veracity is debated among scholars; all claimed copies of this volume appear to consist entirely of blank pages, which nobody has ever manage to cast a spell to extract the information out of - thus suspicions that they're fake. But they do appear to be just as old as the other volumes ...
  73. Lolthlita
  74. “Fifty Shades of Drow” - Part history and part fan fiction starring Lolth.
  75. "The Summoning of Dragons" - A Celestial's guide to the methods and dangers of calling on the great reptiles.
  76. untitled book - this book contains no text, and has a small hole cut into the pages which contains something of value (coins, a key, etc.)
  77. “Keeper of the Keys” - Whenever a creature reads this book, they slowly fall asleep then “awaken” inside the book (their body remains in the real world). Living inside of the book is a half-man, half-dog extraplanar being who owns a copy of every key in existence, and whose only entertainment is reading books, but several of the books available for him to read are unfinished close to their ending. The party can enter the incomplete books to finish their stories (incomplete books could be a story of a great battle, a story where an assassin must be chased down, or something similar), and should they finish all of the stories given to them to complete, the Keeper of the Keys shall give them a key. Should they die inside of a book, a person will simply be ejected from it, rather than die outright.
  78. "Gnome means Gnome" - A beginner's guide to understanding the differences between the shorter races of the realm.
  79. "Sparing?" - An orc bandit slowly goes from blood raging pillager to being a member of society. A heartwarming tale of death, destruction, and love.
  80. "Deck of Limiting Things" - A collection of possibly true tales about people who used the deck of many things and the chaos that followed.
  81. “The Art of Procrastination and How to Perfect it” - A book filled with scribbles. It is only halfway finished
  82. “Forging for Dummies” - A book on how to forge weapons and tools, writen by a dwarf as a gift to his human pupil.
  83. "Diamonds in the rough"- A book on soul gems and their proper creation.
  84. "The very hungry Chimera"- A children's book detailing the complicated diet of a magical monster. It ends with the chimaera eating an adventuring party and falling asleep.
  85. "Guinness' Book of world records"- A book crafted over a lifetime by an adventurer named Guinness. It contains accomplishments such as "Worlds largest dragon" "Longest time spent in a beholders lair", "Fattest goblinoid" And "Most monstrosities slain in a day
  86. "How to capture your princess" - A collection of dating tips, advices and tricks, written by, for, and to men. Use it at your own risk!
  87. "Backstage" - Detailing the more mundane dangers of the adventuring life, like insufficient supplies, inappropriate gear, public reactions, illnesses and the common lack of money - with tips and advices how to prevent them (the second edition have humorous footnotes from the author).
  88. "You and Evil" - A promotional(?) book from the Nine Hells. Details most of the pros and cons to working for the infernal realm, with useful notes on the "gray zones". May cause surveillance by the temples of good.
  89. "Personal Care for Adventurers" - Tells adventurers how to maintain a clean, healthy look after weeks in the wilderness.
  90. "Berries and You" - Informs the reader on edible and inedible berries found in the wild.
  91. "Castle Architecture" - A book about how castles and the like are constructed.
  92. "Bardic Legends From Far Away Lands" - A book about legends often sung or performed by bards.
  93. "How To Waste Good Paper" - The pages inside this book are beautifully designed with colorful trim and a flowery layout. Other than the title, however, this book has no content in its pages. (Detect Magic: It is a spellbook written with magical invisible ink (or runes, etchings, message, mark, whatever) detailing only one spell to learn: Detect Magic)
  94. “Everyday Lives” - A compilation of the contents of journals which were obtained from ordinary people.
  95. Avatar: The Last Airbender” - A 3 volume set of books in which a young elemental monk learns to harness his his power so that he may bring peace to a hundreds years war.
  96. "Tic-Tic-Twang" - A detailed guide for creating clockworks, golems, animated items, and traps, rather easily. Restricted in most kingdoms, as its too valuble to outright ban and destroy its knowledge, despite the widespread collaterral damage after its first releases. The bounty for the authors is still valid.
  97. "Magic in the House" - The legacy of an archmage suffering from an obsession about cleanliness. Explains how to use the different schools of magic to help with the chores around your home. Apprentices around the world curse whoever thought its good for thier training that they need to do those chores manually.
  98. "Gary's Guide to Gathering Gold" - A story about how some guy named Gary wrote a role-playing game called 'Fiends and Fortresses' and made millions of gold selling thousands of copies.
  99. "Fiends and Fortresses - Player's Handbook" - A book on how the play the popular role-playing game “Fiends and Fortresses”, where players roll dice to fight fantastical creatures and adventure through fortresses while someone designated a “Fortress Master” tells a story.
  100. "Fiends and Fortresses - Fortress Master's Guide" - A book on how to lead players through a story and gameplay in the popular role-playing game “Fiends and Fortresses”
Thanks to u/RoboWonder for entries 11-14, u/buddychrist627 for entries 16-18, u/LordOph for entries 19-21, u/kysnou_ for entry 22, and u/NachoFailconi for entry 23, u/Brizzel_The_Lizard for entries 24-28 and 63-65, u/OrchardSun for entries 29-31, u/VoltasPistol for entries 32-40, u/Claytona500 for entry 41-42, and u/WetSpongeOnFire for entry 43, u/Shillyshelly for entries 44-48, u/KEM10 for entries 49-50, u/JustLikeFM for entries 51-52, and u/CinnamonEspeon for entry 53, u/Ten4-Lom for entries 54-55 and 73, u/coal_in_a_tube for entry 56, u/OptimumTurner for entries 57-62, u/o11c for entries 66-72, u/Hwga_lurker_tw for entry 74, u/Qozux for entry 75, u/sunpraise590 for entries 76-77, u/Scrubibi for entry 78, u/dms2k1 for entries 79-80, u/DraXus87 for entries 81-82, u/polo8m for entries 83-85, and u/coal_in_a_tube for entries 86-88 and 96-97, u/HistoricalSubstance for entries 89-92, u/summonern0x for entries 93 and 98-100, and u/Asparagon for entry 95
submitted by LunarSummit to d100 [link] [comments]

This is the Beginner’s Guide To Horse Racing where’s the easiest place to start? You ask? Newcomers to horse betting should start with a simple straight bet of Win, Place or Show. A straight bet is easy to do because you only pick one horse. It’s also cheap to do for beginners, it can cost you as little as $2. Horse Racing Betting Guide. As we all know, many horse races will let the gamblers bet on horses. The idea is to put money on whichever horse you feel is going to win the race. The betting idea seems pretty straightforward on paper, but if you hope to win, you should know the right tricks to stay on top of your game. Horse Racing 101 as HorseRacing.net provide you with a A Beginners Guide to Online Betting to help you bet on Horse acing in the USA Horse Racing 101 - A Beginners Guide to Online Betting. $100 BONUS WHEN YOU WAGER $500 . get offer get offer. New Customers Only,21 +,Opt-In Required So in this beginners guide to betting on horse racing, we will explain exactly how things work in the horse racing world. Some of the most frequently asked questions are answered, providing those of you who are looking to bet on horse racing perhaps for the first time, the best chance to be successful and make money from horse racing long term. Betting Guides > beginners guide for betting horse racing. The Beginners Guide for Betting Horse Racing Betting on horse racing, now more convenient than ever due to the advent of TwinSpires.com, is often viewed as complicated and too complex for a relative newcomer to understand.In reality, while there are number of ways in which to play an individual race, the basic wagers that have been the

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