Binary Options Demo

The Meta Unicorn - Diana Invoke

The Meta Unicorn - Diana Invoke

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A Pre Note

I am not a top-100 player, as given the inevitable RNG of effects, matchups and draws in card games, and the lack of rewards for ranking up in LoR, I simply don't see the point in painstakingly grinding up to such a level. The highest I've climbed is low Diamond, but considering the above knowledge, I believe that at a certain skill level (perhaps at around Platinum), it's more about how much time one can put in than how skilled they are. HOWEVER, considering all this, I have the absolute conviction that this deck is a top-100 worthy deck.

Introduction

This is the only deck that I've played since Day 1 of Call of the Mountain, with various modifications, and I believe that it is a completely undiscovered meta unicorn. I've never faced a similar deck on ladder, and my deckbuilding experiments with any other archtypes have left me completely unsatisfied with the lack of interaction and agency, as well as the sheer counterability of the vast majority of tools currently out there.
A lot of people are frustrated with the current meta - a lot of points of which are covered by BruisedByGod in his recent video critique. To summarize his main points:
  1. Most answers are completely outclassed by threats
  2. Sheer lack of healing options locks out deckbuilding choices
  3. Most top-tier strategies prey on lack of interactivity (Pirate Burn, Lee Sin OTK, Star Spring)
This is a Control deck which, while originally devised to prey on the inevitably popular Aurelion Sol and Troll Chant and abuse the broken, flexible toolbox of Invoke on Day 1, also manages to both answer all 3 of these problems efficiently.

Card Choices

Early Tempo/Nightfall

Simply the best available early-game that an Invoke Targon deck could hope to muster - Diana functioning as both early game and late-game removal (we have just enough Nightfall Synergy) for practically no investment, Pale Cascade being legitimately one of the most broken cards currently in the game, and the ping cards also serving a modicum of uses at all stages of a match.
Spacey Sketcher has been severely underrated so far - providing critical tools for certain matchups and/or providing early game minions without needing to actually run them (a fundamental weakness of faster decks top-decking late). Its 'discard-replace' synergy with our late-game, as well as Duskpetal Dust and meta-call flex cards is just icing on the cake.
Finally, note how every early game card I've chosen scales well and still plays a role as the game goes later; as removal, Elusive blocking, tool-building, Burst-speed Nightfall, pings and cantrip Combat Tricks. This is an often overlooked but fundamental difference between Control early-drops, and aggro early-drops (such as Precious Pet).
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Removal

These two cards, combined with any generated Obliterates, form the only proper removal this deck has - and were the catalyst for me creating this deck in the first place. All three of these removal types leave almost NO room for the opponent to interact with them, and I believe that is the sole condition for a high-cost removal spell to be playable in the current game state.
NOTE: Ruination is easily and always played around at a high-level of play - and leaves the opponent with ALL of the agency/choice to play around it/bait it exactly how they wish, instead of you (whose only options are to play the card too early and get out-tempo'd afterward, use more than 3 mana elsewhere to catch-up at which point it becomes unplayable, or lose the game to a sudden-attack completely at your opponent's discretion) - the ultimate NO-NO for this deck: I never even considered putting it in.
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Meta Call Flex Spots

At times I feel as if this card could be cut to 1 copy, but right now 2 feels great against the current meta, and drawing into at least one is almost necessary in order to compete with Star Spring (Obliterate is conditional and too great a tempo loss early on). In other metas previously, I've experimented with 1 copy of Passage Unearned, as well as 2 extra copies of Lunari Shadestalker.
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Literally Everything Else One Could Ever Hope to Need

I still believe that Invoke is one of the most broken mechanics currently in the game. This is one of the heaviest late-game decks I can possibly imaginable, yet the only cards above 5-mana we run are removal, and our mid-game minions and healing straight up provide whatever early OR late-game tools we might possibly need in any matchup - it's simply overly flexible (flexilibity in card games being a MUCH bigger deal than most people give it credit for) and not enough of a tempo/stat sacrifice IMO. I think that Invoke as a mechanic is even stronger when ran in bulk, and especially in a Control deck - as the game goes on slowly you generate a toolbox that can handle just about any dynamic situation that meta decks can throw your way.
The spell-mana nerf to Living Legends has balanced it out quite a bit, however the same-nerf to Cosmic Inspiration still hasn't convinced me that it isn't in the top 5 least healthy effects that a game based on carefully stat-balanced of minion trading could ever have (hit me up with your Cosmic Inspiration hate!) - a large proportion our games are won by this disgusting effect.
Solari Priestess and Starshaping need no introduction as some of the most popular, utilitarian Invoke cards, however Mountain Scryer and Moondreamer (not so much Lunari Priestess) really put in the work, and I've never seen anyone else play these cards. The former provides crazy mana-advantage as the game goes on given our huge focus on Celestials (it's a shame we can't afford to push its Invoke chances even higher), and the latter has juuussst the right stat distribution at 3/5 to blockade most midgame tempo plays out opponent might go for.
NOTE: Aurelion Sol is straight up unnecessary to compete late-game, is always burdensome and clunky draw, ruins our surprise factor (though that doesn't exist anymore with this post being made), and we often outvalue decks running him anyway (don't forget that the original premise of this deck was 'How can I best remove Aurelion?').
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Matchups/Strategy (Order Based on Mobalytics Tier List)

Lee Sin (60/40)

A somewhat favored matchup - although more recent lists that have cut Bastion in favor of Nopify may be a bit more in their favor (a proper Ping Counter). Hard mulligan for Spacey Sketcher, Sunburst and our pings. Generating Silence (Equinox) for Mentor of the Stones/Zenith Blade is our main early game goal. Our Mid-to-Late game goal is removing all 3 Lee Sin's at the expense of practically everything else (the rest of their deck is pretty much completely irrelevant, but rushing them down is also pretty much impossible) - after which our win is basically guaranteed.
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Swain/TF (80/20)

I believe that we are very, very heavily favored if played properly (although it's a VERY nuanced matchup to play right), and most of our losses come from bricking our early-game draws and/or not drawing/generating a single Starshaping/Golden Sister as their burn damage inevitably builds up. Hard mulligan for all 1/2 cost cards (only keep 1 Pale Cascade with a 1/2 cost minion).
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Pirate Aggro (55/45)

We are much more prone to bricking on draws here than Swain/TF, as we need quite a specific hand to deal with their onslaught - This is probably our most draw-dependent, low-agency matchup by far - as face-deck matchups tend to be. In addition - Captain Farron is much more effective against our removal strategy than the likes of Leviathan. Nonetheless, from my experience I think that we're still every-slightly-so favored in this matchup - often winning by the skin of our teeth. Starshaping/Golden Sister are mandatory late-game, and not bricking by not drawing/generating either is also basically a loss. Hard mulligan for all 1/2 drops, and keep a single Sunburst for Gangplank if your hand is already looking great.
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Warmother's (25/75)

A very unfavored and binary matchup (see below as to why) that has luckily become rarer recently. Mulligan for Removal/Invoke cards.
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Trundle/Asol (75/25)

This deck was basically created on Day 1 specifically to destroy Trundle/Asol. Sadly though, even at 75/25 the matchup is worse than it should be due to the nature of Invoke RNG - if one player draws into Cosmic Inspiration and the other didn't the match is over, full stop + the occasional shenanigans involving The Great Beyond uninteractibly going face and non-stop Living Legends value. Mulligan for Sunburst, Vengeance and pings.
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Discard Aggro (80/20)

I don't know why this deck is considered competitive - maybe because our matchup here is basically as favored as TF/Swain except without any gameplay nuance required on our part. Mulligan for 1-2 drops. Keep Solari Priestess/Sunburst if hand is good. Only necessary statistical losses to bad early draws against an aggro archtype.
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Fiora/Shen (70/30)

Another draw dependent, but quite favored matchup. Quite difficult to play though - you need to balance maintaining some modicum of tempo whilst also being able to deal with their crucial threats. Mulligan for 1-2 drops ESPECIALLY Pale Cascade/Pings, and Removal.
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Scouts (60/40)

Basically the Pirate Aggro matchup but a tad bit slower and with no burn - giving you more leeway to make up for bad draws both early and late.
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Leona/Lux (80/20)

Basically the Trundle/Asol matchup except with no 'must remove ASAP' threats giving you more leeway to make up for bad draws. Celestial RNG and especially Cosmic Inspiration still give them a chance to win as usual.
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Shyvana Dragons (50/50?)

I surprisingly, haven't faced too much of this deck yet personally, but looking at it's cards compared to ours, I think the matchup would be about 50/50 (an otherwise favourable looking matchup affected a bit by their high tempo removal and guaranteed Cosmic Inspiration in the form of Kadregrin).
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Ashe/Sejuani (70/30)

This matchup is dependent on whether we draw removal for Ashe somewhat on curve, how much tempo they manage to build early on and whether we draw good enough to afford to play around Reckoning. Mulligan for Sunburst, Solari Priestess, Pings and Diana (only if you've already drawn support) as our other standard early drops are all pretty ineffective against theirs.
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Endure (85/15)

Probably our most favored meta-deck matchup, and unfortunately rarer recently. Their win conditions - Kalista, Blighted Caretaker tempo, Neverglade Collector and They Who Endure simply don't stand a chance against our toolbox. Most losses come from unanswered Blighted Caretaker tempo. Mulligan for Spacey Sketcher, Sunburst and Pale Cascade.
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Deep (0/100)

The biggest downside and sheer impossible matchup of this archtype. Maokai manages to pack even less interactivity/inevitability than we do, and the nature of our deck gives us no chance of out-tempoing Deep early OR late. Auto-concede.
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Diana/Nocturne (75/25)

A simpler aggro matchup than the others. Mulligan for 1-2 drops - especially Spacey Sketcher and Diana, as well as Sunburst.
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Tahm-Kench/Soraka (70/30?)

Another matchup that I haven't faced too much of just yet. Mulligan hard for Divergent Paths and Solari Priestess - Once we remove their uninteractive element trump-card in the Landmark win-condition, if we can survive their early tempo, the rest of the match should be a cinch given our heal/health-ignoring conditionless removal for their Champions.
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Conclusion

Thanks for reading up to this point, and pardon my formatting, the ridiculous length and the sheer pomposity of it all.
I still think Invoke is flexible to the point of being broken and the only reason the matchup spread is so good. I also think that with the release of this guide - more people will come to recognise this archtype and the element of surprise affecting enemy mulligans against an assumed more aggro, Nightfall-focused Diana archtype will be lost. People will also know to play around less common cards such as Sunburst, and I expect winrates to fall somewhat across the board.
To conclude this guide, I'd like to say that this is this is not a healthy deck. At the deepest level, this deck is fundamentally about removing agency from your opponent and giving it to yourself, as well as securing the critical boon of having inevitability over your opponent in a game with the nature of LoR. If all decks were like this, LoR would completely cease to be fun.
What else do I think is unhealthy right now? - Simple: anything removing interactivity from your opponent - ESPECIALLY as a win condition; Maokai, Star Spring, Cosmic Inspiration, Lee Sin. The avenues through which these cards can be interacted with are way too limited right now.
A lot of the metagame nowadays is about having an uninteractable win condition, or focusing damage to face so fast the opponent has no chance to react - another form of non-interactivity. Here's hoping that the meta in the near future heads back in the direction of the close but fair midrange board battles we all came to love back in vanilla LoR.
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(slinx4)
submitted by poklipart to LoRCompetitive [link] [comments]

Subreddit News, Tournaments, and some CCU Mythbusting

Greetings Warriors!
Now that the (green) smoke has settled from the Y4S2 and the CCU landing, we thought now would be a good time to do a quick subreddit news post, as there are a few things to catch you up on - before Y4S3 arrives and there is more news to take the sticky post slot!

Upcoming Tournaments

First up, there are a number of tournaments happening in the next few weeks. Slayscion Gaming are returning with 4v4 and 2v2 tournaments on PC, in EU and NA regions in the next few weeks! And if you didn’t get chance to watch the last 4s tournament, you can watch the VOD of The Arena’s cross region dominion tournament last weekend here. Remember to keep an eye on Battlefy.com for upcoming For Honor events! Ubisoft have announced that the PC Dominion Series will be starting up next season, so now is an excellent time to get into competitive tournament play, and practice for the big tournaments on the horizon!

New Mods

Next, I’d like to welcome two new mods to the team, u/SenpaiKaplan (SenKa) and u/DaniUsagi. I’m sure regular readers will recognise these two, as they are both frequent contributors to the sub, with many interesting tech posts between them. We’ve been seeing a big increase in viewers and posts since the CCU, and their help and expertise will be much appreciated! Please give them a warm welcome!

Poll Posts have been disabled

Since Reddit added the new Poll option on posts, we have seen a big influx of these posts, and unfortunately 90% of them have been very low effort, normally just a title and a binary choice, which we have had to remove. Adding a “no low-effort polls” clause to rule 6 hasn’t helped with that situation, so we have decided to disable the option entirely. If you do still want to do poll the readers here as part of a discussion post, or want to gather data to find opinions on a specific question, you are welcome to include links to external survey sites (like surveymonkey or google forms) in text posts - we are only trying to cut down on low-effort posts, not genuine use of poll for interesting content.

Info Hub Update

The Info Hub has been updated with all the changes from the CCU and the follow-up patches, including the 3 new executions, new punishes, balance information on each character, and an All Attack Properties sheet which allows you to compare attacks across the cast, and contains lots of data that doesn’t fit on the individual character sheets (like hit reactions for example). We are still in the process of revamping the General Info sheet, and an update to the Viability Tables is also in the works, now that there has been a decent amount of time since the CCU for the meta to stabilise. Also planned is addition of frame advantage sections on some moves for which it is particularly relevant.
If you spot any errors, outdated info, or have requests for information you’d like to see included in the hub, please let us know by commenting on the hub itself, messaging me or the mod team as a whole, or contacting one of us on discord.

Some CCU Mythbusting

Since the CCU update, I have seen a few persistent bits of misinformation floating about, and I’d like to take this opportunity to bust a few of these myths:
That’s all Warriors, thanks for reading, and see you on the battlefield!
submitted by The_Filthy_Spaniard to CompetitiveForHonor [link] [comments]

Should you try shooting sports?

 Many people who get interested in guns and start shooting soon find out that there are a number of shooting sports out there. A lot of those shooters wonder whether that kind of shooting is for them. Maybe they’re not good enough? Maybe it’s only for the really hard core shooters? Maybe it’s super expensive? Maybe you have to be invited, or know a member of the club, or be former military? Do you have to be a really competitive person to enjoy it? Should you delay getting into the game until you are “good enough”? This post is intended to answer some of those questions. The short answer is that if you’ve been shooting long enough to safely handle a gun around others, know how to generally operate your firearm(s), and can hit where you are aiming at least some of the time, you can start playing shooting sports. At least in the United States, that is – the barriers can be higher in some other countries. But there are robust competitive shooting communities in a lot of countries around the world, including most of western Europe and other places you might not expect. Let’s run down some of the reasons people delay or avoid trying their hand at a gun game. 
• I’m worried I’m not good enough.” Good enough to WHAT? To win? You’re NOT. Not good enough to WIN against people who have been playing these games for years. But that’s OK. Nobody would expect a new guy or gal to show up and win. What competitive shooters care about in terms of the new participant is: safety; attitude; safety; willingness to learn and help; and safety.
OK, you get it. By and large, when a new shooter shows up to a match/game/field/whatever, the existing players don’t wonder “how good is he going to be?” They wonder “how safe is he going to be?” If you are a safe gun handler, you’re about 85% of the way home. If you’re interested in learning about the game, generally pleasant to be around, and, if needed, willing to lend a hand to keep the match going, chances are really, really good you will be welcome REGARDLESS of how you shoot.
• “I just want to wait until I’m a little better.” Guess what? No matter how long you wait (or practice on your own), you’re probably not going to get good enough to show up and dominate out of the gate. Do you think you’ll get better faster by practicing alone, in isolation, with no learning sources except youtube and a subreddit? Or by meeting lots of really experienced shooters, getting to watch what they do up close, getting to ask questions of them, getting objective feedback on how you’re doing, etc.? Right, the latter. Wherever your shooting skill is right now, if you start competing tomorrow, you’ll be a better shooter this time next year than if you wait and start competing in a year.
• “I’m not really a competitive person, and I don’t like super competitive people, trash talking, people trying to wager, etc.” Don’t worry. A lot of people who shoot the gun games do it because they LOVE TO SHOOT and gun games offer the most interesting shooting challenges… not because they feel the need to dominate others. There are actually relatively few intensely competitive people in many of the gun games – and they’re not going to be trying to flex on the new guy or gal. Sometimes you’ll overhear some good natured ribbing among friends, but shooting sports people are overwhelmingly encouraging to others while being very hard on THEMSELVES. There are lots of people who have shot for years and never won a darn thing. But they’ve made a lot of friends, learned a lot, had a lot of good times, etc. Competitive outcomes are secondary for a LOT of people.
• “I’m worried it’s too expensive.” OK, this one does have a tiny kernel of truth, depending on the game. There are a small number of gun games where even the entry level gear is pretty expensive, but in most gun games the gear is either not that impactful on outcomes or there are equipment divisions that keep things under control and create some relatively inexpensive options. If you’ve got a service-grade/field-grade gun, chances are good there’s some game you can use it in where you’re not just taking a tricycle to a motocross rally.
The more significant aspect is that people who get into gun games tend to shoot a lot. You will find shooting in games is more fun than static range work, so you’ll want to shoot matches. You’ll also want to improve (and you’ll have good ideas and information about how to do it), so you’ll want to practice more. It varies by game, but if you fall down the rabbit hole on, for example, USPSA, you might end up shooting 10,000 rounds in a year and be far from the highest-volume shooter in your immediate circle! But that’s self-directed/driven. If you can afford to shoot 500 rounds a month for the pistol games or the shotgun games, or half or a quarter of that for the accuracy-oriented rifle games, you can play and make progress. But you will end up spending more on ammo. That’s one reason so many competitive shooters take up reloading!
• “I’m worried my gear isn’t legal.” Possibly. But it’s probably legal for some game, or can be traded for other gear that is legal. Although plenty of people get into competitive shooting and end up buying specialized competition gear (guns and other stuff), most gun games don’t have a whole lot of crazy rules designed to keep people OUT. Most of the gear rules are to control stuff that would be a competitive advantage, not set some minimum floor of baller-ness. In my preferred game (USPSA), you can rock a Hi-Point if you want… but not a binary trigger.
• “Do I have to be invited?” In the United States, generally the answer is no. Most of the more popular games are open to anyone who pays the appropriate match or other fees, agrees to abide by the rules, is legally allowed to possess firearms, etc. That goes even for a lot of matches that are held at otherwise-private, member’s-only facilities. The national governing organization for most of the sports will help you find local matches/events and contact information for the people who run them. You can then easily email, call, or message those local folks, and they’ll be happy to tell you if the match is open to the general public – chances are very, very good it is, and that they will want you to come!
• “I’m worried I won’t like anyone, and they won’t like me.” There are no guarantees, but the minute you show up, you’ve got a big plus in your column – you’re also someone interested in guns and maybe the game everyone else there already loves. In most of the gun games, there is quite a bit of standing around and talking, and you’ll get to know people quickly – but because there is a game going on, there’s no painful small talk. You can just talk about the sport! It’s super easy social interaction, even for introverts. “I’m worried it will just make going to the square/lane range kind of boring by comparison.” That one’s true, just like scuba diving the great barrier reef makes swimming laps in the pool kinda boring.
So if those are the big reasons for people not to try shooting sports, what are the reasons to try it?
• It will make you a better shooter. • It will make you a safer shooter. • You will almost surely make new friends. • It will launch you on a new hobby and journey of discovery.
“Eh, I’m still on the fence.” OK. Go watch one of the gun games. Most of the sports are perfectly happy to have people watch a match and talk to participants. These aren’t really big spectator sports, but most of us will gladly explain what’s going on, what gear you need, the basics of the rules, etc., to someone who shows up and is just curious.
“OK, that sounds kind of interesting in the abstract… how do I know which game to try?” That’s another post. If people want it, I’ll be happy to post that, too, in a few days.
submitted by Madeitup75 to Informedgunowners [link] [comments]

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Swaps* (*But Were Afraid To Ask)

Hello, dummies
It's your old pal, Fuzzy.
As I'm sure you've all noticed, a lot of the stuff that gets posted here is - to put it delicately - fucking ridiculous. More backwards-ass shit gets posted to wallstreetbets than you'd see on a Westboro Baptist community message board. I mean, I had a look at the daily thread yesterday and..... yeesh. I know, I know. We all make like the divine Laura Dern circa 1992 on the daily and stick our hands deep into this steaming heap of shit to find the nuggets of valuable and/or hilarious information within (thanks for reading, BTW). I agree. I love it just the way it is too. That's what makes WSB great.
What I'm getting at is that a lot of the stuff that gets posted here - notwithstanding it being funny or interesting - is just... wrong. Like, fucking your cousin wrong. And to be clear, I mean the fucking your *first* cousin kinda wrong, before my Southerners in the back get all het up (simmer down, Billy Ray - I know Mabel's twice removed on your grand-sister's side). Truly, I try to let it slide. I do my bit to try and put you on the right path. Most of the time, I sleep easy no matter how badly I've seen someone explain what a bank liquidity crisis is. But out of all of those tens of thousands of misguided, autistic attempts at understanding the world of high finance, one thing gets so consistently - so *emphatically* - fucked up and misunderstood by you retards that last night I felt obligated at the end of a long work day to pull together this edition of Finance with Fuzzy just for you. It's so serious I'm not even going to make a u/pokimane gag. Have you guessed what it is yet? Here's a clue. It's in the title of the post.
That's right, friends. Today in the neighborhood we're going to talk all about hedging in financial markets - spots, swaps, collars, forwards, CDS, synthetic CDOs, all that fun shit. Don't worry; I'm going to explain what all the scary words mean and how they impact your OTM RH positions along the way.
We're going to break it down like this. (1) "What's a hedge, Fuzzy?" (2) Common Hedging Strategies and (3) All About ISDAs and Credit Default Swaps.
Before we begin. For the nerds and JV traders in the back (and anyone else who needs to hear this up front) - I am simplifying these descriptions for the purposes of this post. I am also obviously not going to try and cover every exotic form of hedge under the sun or give a detailed summation of what caused the financial crisis. If you are interested in something specific ask a question, but don't try and impress me with your Investopedia skills or technical points I didn't cover; I will just be forced to flex my years of IRL experience on you in the comments and you'll look like a big dummy.
TL;DR? Fuck you. There is no TL;DR. You've come this far already. What's a few more paragraphs? Put down the Cheetos and try to concentrate for the next 5-7 minutes. You'll learn something, and I promise I'll be gentle.
Ready? Let's get started.
1. The Tao of Risk: Hedging as a Way of Life
The simplest way to characterize what a hedge 'is' is to imagine every action having a binary outcome. One is bad, one is good. Red lines, green lines; uppie, downie. With me so far? Good. A 'hedge' is simply the employment of a strategy to mitigate the effect of your action having the wrong binary outcome. You wanted X, but you got Z! Frowny face. A hedge strategy introduces a third outcome. If you hedged against the possibility of Z happening, then you can wind up with Y instead. Not as good as X, but not as bad as Z. The technical definition I like to give my idiot juniors is as follows:
Utilization of a defensive strategy to mitigate risk, at a fraction of the cost to capital of the risk itself.
Congratulations. You just finished Hedging 101. "But Fuzzy, that's easy! I just sold a naked call against my 95% OTM put! I'm adequately hedged!". Spoiler alert: you're not (although good work on executing a collar, which I describe below). What I'm talking about here is what would be referred to as a 'perfect hedge'; a binary outcome where downside is totally mitigated by a risk management strategy. That's not how it works IRL. Pay attention; this is the tricky part.
You can't take a single position and conclude that you're adequately hedged because risks are fluid, not static. So you need to constantly adjust your position in order to maximize the value of the hedge and insure your position. You also need to consider exposure to more than one category of risk. There are micro (specific exposure) risks, and macro (trend exposure) risks, and both need to factor into the hedge calculus.
That's why, in the real world, the value of hedging depends entirely on the design of the hedging strategy itself. Here, when we say "value" of the hedge, we're not talking about cash money - we're talking about the intrinsic value of the hedge relative to the the risk profile of your underlying exposure. To achieve this, people hedge dynamically. In wallstreetbets terms, this means that as the value of your position changes, you need to change your hedges too. The idea is to efficiently and continuously distribute and rebalance risk across different states and periods, taking value from states in which the marginal cost of the hedge is low and putting it back into states where marginal cost of the hedge is high, until the shadow value of your underlying exposure is equalized across your positions. The punchline, I guess, is that one static position is a hedge in the same way that the finger paintings you make for your wife's boyfriend are art - it's technically correct, but you're only playing yourself by believing it.
Anyway. Obviously doing this as a small potatoes trader is hard but it's worth taking into account. Enough basic shit. So how does this work in markets?
2. A Hedging Taxonomy
The best place to start here is a practical question. What does a business need to hedge against? Think about the specific risk that an individual business faces. These are legion, so I'm just going to list a few of the key ones that apply to most corporates. (1) You have commodity risk for the shit you buy or the shit you use. (2) You have currency risk for the money you borrow. (3) You have rate risk on the debt you carry. (4) You have offtake risk for the shit you sell. Complicated, right? To help address the many and varied ways that shit can go wrong in a sophisticated market, smart operators like yours truly have devised a whole bundle of different instruments which can help you manage the risk. I might write about some of the more complicated ones in a later post if people are interested (CDO/CLOs, strip/stack hedges and bond swaps with option toggles come to mind) but let's stick to the basics for now.
(i) Swaps
A swap is one of the most common forms of hedge instrument, and they're used by pretty much everyone that can afford them. The language is complicated but the concept isn't, so pay attention and you'll be fine. This is the most important part of this section so it'll be the longest one.
Swaps are derivative contracts with two counterparties (before you ask, you can't trade 'em on an exchange - they're OTC instruments only). They're used to exchange one cash flow for another cash flow of equal expected value; doing this allows you to take speculative positions on certain financial prices or to alter the cash flows of existing assets or liabilities within a business. "Wait, Fuzz; slow down! What do you mean sets of cash flows?". Fear not, little autist. Ol' Fuzz has you covered.
The cash flows I'm talking about are referred to in swap-land as 'legs'. One leg is fixed - a set payment that's the same every time it gets paid - and the other is variable - it fluctuates (typically indexed off the price of the underlying risk that you are speculating on / protecting against). You set it up at the start so that they're notionally equal and the two legs net off; so at open, the swap is a zero NPV instrument. Here's where the fun starts. If the price that you based the variable leg of the swap on changes, the value of the swap will shift; the party on the wrong side of the move ponies up via the variable payment. It's a zero sum game.
I'll give you an example using the most vanilla swap around; an interest rate trade. Here's how it works. You borrow money from a bank, and they charge you a rate of interest. You lock the rate up front, because you're smart like that. But then - quelle surprise! - the rate gets better after you borrow. Now you're bagholding to the tune of, I don't know, 5 bps. Doesn't sound like much but on a billion dollar loan that's a lot of money (a classic example of the kind of 'small, deep hole' that's terrible for profits). Now, if you had a swap contract on the rate before you entered the trade, you're set; if the rate goes down, you get a payment under the swap. If it goes up, whatever payment you're making to the bank is netted off by the fact that you're borrowing at a sub-market rate. Win-win! Or, at least, Lose Less / Lose Less. That's the name of the game in hedging.
There are many different kinds of swaps, some of which are pretty exotic; but they're all different variations on the same theme. If your business has exposure to something which fluctuates in price, you trade swaps to hedge against the fluctuation. The valuation of swaps is also super interesting but I guarantee you that 99% of you won't understand it so I'm not going to try and explain it here although I encourage you to google it if you're interested.
Because they're OTC, none of them are filed publicly. Someeeeeetimes you see an ISDA (dsicussed below) but the confirms themselves (the individual swaps) are not filed. You can usually read about the hedging strategy in a 10-K, though. For what it's worth, most modern credit agreements ban speculative hedging. Top tip: This is occasionally something worth checking in credit agreements when you invest in businesses that are debt issuers - being able to do this increases the risk profile significantly and is particularly important in times of economic volatility (ctrl+f "non-speculative" in the credit agreement to be sure).
(ii) Forwards
A forward is a contract made today for the future delivery of an asset at a pre-agreed price. That's it. "But Fuzzy! That sounds just like a futures contract!". I know. Confusing, right? Just like a futures trade, forwards are generally used in commodity or forex land to protect against price fluctuations. The differences between forwards and futures are small but significant. I'm not going to go into super boring detail because I don't think many of you are commodities traders but it is still an important thing to understand even if you're just an RH jockey, so stick with me.
Just like swaps, forwards are OTC contracts - they're not publicly traded. This is distinct from futures, which are traded on exchanges (see The Ballad Of Big Dick Vick for some more color on this). In a forward, no money changes hands until the maturity date of the contract when delivery and receipt are carried out; price and quantity are locked in from day 1. As you now know having read about BDV, futures are marked to market daily, and normally people close them out with synthetic settlement using an inverse position. They're also liquid, and that makes them easier to unwind or close out in case shit goes sideways.
People use forwards when they absolutely have to get rid of the thing they made (or take delivery of the thing they need). If you're a miner, or a farmer, you use this shit to make sure that at the end of the production cycle, you can get rid of the shit you made (and you won't get fucked by someone taking cash settlement over delivery). If you're a buyer, you use them to guarantee that you'll get whatever the shit is that you'll need at a price agreed in advance. Because they're OTC, you can also exactly tailor them to the requirements of your particular circumstances.
These contracts are incredibly byzantine (and there are even crazier synthetic forwards you can see in money markets for the true degenerate fund managers). In my experience, only Texan oilfield magnates, commodities traders, and the weirdo forex crowd fuck with them. I (i) do not own a 10 gallon hat or a novelty size belt buckle (ii) do not wake up in the middle of the night freaking out about the price of pork fat and (iii) love greenbacks too much to care about other countries' monopoly money, so I don't fuck with them.
(iii) Collars
No, not the kind your wife is encouraging you to wear try out to 'spice things up' in the bedroom during quarantine. Collars are actually the hedging strategy most applicable to WSB. Collars deal with options! Hooray!
To execute a basic collar (also called a wrapper by tea-drinking Brits and people from the Antipodes), you buy an out of the money put while simultaneously writing a covered call on the same equity. The put protects your position against price drops and writing the call produces income that offsets the put premium. Doing this limits your tendies (you can only profit up to the strike price of the call) but also writes down your risk. If you screen large volume trades with a VOL/OI of more than 3 or 4x (and they're not bullshit biotech stocks), you can sometimes see these being constructed in real time as hedge funds protect themselves on their shorts.
(3) All About ISDAs, CDS and Synthetic CDOs
You may have heard about the mythical ISDA. Much like an indenture (discussed in my post on $F), it's a magic legal machine that lets you build swaps via trade confirms with a willing counterparty. They are very complicated legal documents and you need to be a true expert to fuck with them. Fortunately, I am, so I do. They're made of two parts; a Master (which is a form agreement that's always the same) and a Schedule (which amends the Master to include your specific terms). They are also the engine behind just about every major credit crunch of the last 10+ years.
First - a brief explainer. An ISDA is a not in and of itself a hedge - it's an umbrella contract that governs the terms of your swaps, which you use to construct your hedge position. You can trade commodities, forex, rates, whatever, all under the same ISDA.
Let me explain. Remember when we talked about swaps? Right. So. You can trade swaps on just about anything. In the late 90s and early 2000s, people had the smart idea of using other people's debt and or credit ratings as the variable leg of swap documentation. These are called credit default swaps. I was actually starting out at a bank during this time and, I gotta tell you, the only thing I can compare people's enthusiasm for this shit to was that moment in your early teens when you discover jerking off. Except, unlike your bathroom bound shame sessions to Mom's Sears catalogue, every single person you know felt that way too; and they're all doing it at once. It was a fiscal circlejerk of epic proportions, and the financial crisis was the inevitable bukkake finish. WSB autism is absolutely no comparison for the enthusiasm people had during this time for lighting each other's money on fire.
Here's how it works. You pick a company. Any company. Maybe even your own! And then you write a swap. In the swap, you define "Credit Event" with respect to that company's debt as the variable leg . And you write in... whatever you want. A ratings downgrade, default under the docs, failure to meet a leverage ratio or FCCR for a certain testing period... whatever. Now, this started out as a hedge position, just like we discussed above. The purest of intentions, of course. But then people realized - if bad shit happens, you make money. And banks... don't like calling in loans or forcing bankruptcies. Can you smell what the moral hazard is cooking?
Enter synthetic CDOs. CDOs are basically pools of asset backed securities that invest in debt (loans or bonds). They've been around for a minute but they got famous in the 2000s because a shitload of them containing subprime mortgage debt went belly up in 2008. This got a lot of publicity because a lot of sad looking rednecks got foreclosed on and were interviewed on CNBC. "OH!", the people cried. "Look at those big bad bankers buying up subprime loans! They caused this!". Wrong answer, America. The debt wasn't the problem. What a lot of people don't realize is that the real meat of the problem was not in regular way CDOs investing in bundles of shit mortgage debts in synthetic CDOs investing in CDS predicated on that debt. They're synthetic because they don't have a stake in the actual underlying debt; just the instruments riding on the coattails. The reason these are so popular (and remain so) is that smart structured attorneys and bankers like your faithful correspondent realized that an even more profitable and efficient way of building high yield products with limited downside was investing in instruments that profit from failure of debt and in instruments that rely on that debt and then hedging that exposure with other CDS instruments in paired trades, and on and on up the chain. The problem with doing this was that everyone wound up exposed to everybody else's books as a result, and when one went tits up, everybody did. Hence, recession, Basel III, etc. Thanks, Obama.
Heavy investment in CDS can also have a warping effect on the price of debt (something else that happened during the pre-financial crisis years and is starting to happen again now). This happens in three different ways. (1) Investors who previously were long on the debt hedge their position by selling CDS protection on the underlying, putting downward pressure on the debt price. (2) Investors who previously shorted the debt switch to buying CDS protection because the relatively illiquid debt (partic. when its a bond) trades at a discount below par compared to the CDS. The resulting reduction in short selling puts upward pressure on the bond price. (3) The delta in price and actual value of the debt tempts some investors to become NBTs (neg basis traders) who long the debt and purchase CDS protection. If traders can't take leverage, nothing happens to the price of the debt. If basis traders can take leverage (which is nearly always the case because they're holding a hedged position), they can push up or depress the debt price, goosing swap premiums etc. Anyway. Enough technical details.
I could keep going. This is a fascinating topic that is very poorly understood and explained, mainly because the people that caused it all still work on the street and use the same tactics today (it's also terribly taught at business schools because none of the teachers were actually around to see how this played out live). But it relates to the topic of today's lesson, so I thought I'd include it here.
Work depending, I'll be back next week with a covenant breakdown. Most upvoted ticker gets the post.
*EDIT 1\* In a total blowout, $PLAY won. So it's D&B time next week. Post will drop Monday at market open.
submitted by fuzzyblankeet to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

Love May Be Blind, But It Blinded Me to a Problem Player

Act I: The New Girl

It all began back in November of 2019 (feels like it was ages ago). I was running a second pass at my first ever campaign, as the original group I had fell apart due to scheduling conflicts and interpersonal drama. This new group had started playing together in August and well... it was a rough start. I made the beginner mistake of taking in more people than I could manage, and by November 3 of those original players had dropped. Having this many players dropping in such a short time was a little disconcerting for me, and as such I tried to foolishly "recoup my losses". The next person I recruited was a pretty cool guy, but after two weeks he just stopped showing up/responding to messages on Discord. To this day, I have no idea if he was just too overwhelmed by school (we're all college students) or he died.
This disappearing player caused my anxiety over the stability of my campaign group to spiral further, causing me to open up my local university's DnD club Discord in desperation. That's when I found her.
Let's call her June. June was posting in the general chat, talking about how she was interested in joining a campaign since she had some extra free time. I then sent her a private message, and she expressed interest in joining my game. In this initial exchange, there was the first of many red flags:
Red Flag #1: She was incredibly inflexible with her character concept and was rarely willing to meet me halfway on things. The character she had in mind for my game was a Victorian-era Elf noble who hunted vampires. The "vampire-hunting" part happened to line up with the next arc of the campaign, but the "Victorian-era noble" part did not. The continent where everything took place did not have much in the way of "nobility", which was something I made very clear to her. Despite this, she would then proceed to reject any of my compromises for 3 HOURS until we both gave up and settled on something equivalent to a "lukewarm idea" concept-wise.
Another thing about the character she pitched to me was that the Elf noble had a retainer who was non-binary. That was totally cool in my book; however, besides the fact they were an alchemist, there was nothing else that was given to me regarding their personality. Remember this, it'll come back up later.

Act II: The Status Quo

After hashing out character details, June then proceeded to tell me that...
Red Flag #2: She couldn't make the day/time we met up for our campaign. Due to some other obligations she had, she wasn't able to make our regularly scheduled time. In all of my infinite wisdom I thought no problem, let's just get everyone to reschedule for this girl. Thankfully, this actually ended up working out and our day changed from Tuesday to Monday.
After June joined, I had become confident that the "balance" had been reset. June was a fantastic RPer and her character had served to be a great thematic foil to one of the other PCs. Until we all went on hiatus for winter break, things were moving smoothly. But in hindsight, it really wasn't.
Red Flag #3/3.5: Constant "below the table" messages and aggressive callouts. During sessions, June would send me Discord DMs constantly asking me questions about the game along with her comments on certain situations. This was highly distracting, and it eventually got to a point where I would ignore them. She would also make comments about encounters, saying stuff along the lines of "this is railroady as hell" or "x monstecheck is bullshit". I also tried my best to ignore these, but at some level, it did get to me.
Then there was winter break. That's where things escalated.

Act III: The Incident

On the night of Christmas Eve, I was browsing through Discord and saw on our campaign Discord a message from June. She appeared to be in distress and needed someone to talk to. I quickly responded and messaged her privately. She told me about the situation and I ended up talking to her and keeping her company until 5 A.M. on Christmas morning.
Now, the reason I mention this specific incident is that after this point we started talking to each other a lot. Sometimes it was every day for multiple hours at a time. At some point during those conversations, I began to catch feelings for her. This led to me eventually confessing to her in February. What was her response? Well...

Act IV: The Fickle Heart

In regards to my feelings, June told me she knew, giving me what equated to a "non-answer". I took this as rejection and carried on with my life. As for how June acted as a player, now that she had been in the campaign for a couple of months, some things were becoming painfully evident:
Red Flag #4: She took wayyyyyyy too long on every single turn of her combat. I get that some people need time to think about their turns, especially if they're playing a spellcaster. However, she was playing a FIGHTER and a BARD. Bard can have some complexity, but most of the fighter is running up and hitting things. She would spend 5 minutes of everyone's time figuring out that her best option was just to run up and hit something or cast an enchantment spell that would end up failing anyway because her bard saves were low.
Red Flag #5: She wanted homebrew, but her stubbornness kept me from coming up with anything for her. I tried. I really did. But when we discussed making homebrew modifications to her character or I gave her character a magical item, she would always complain about it. It didn't matter that I had spent literal hours of my time thinking about/discussing it with her: No, if it didn't fit the very exact flavor she wanted, it was bad.
At some point, I talked to her about these issues along with the issue of her character's NB retainer having zero defining character traits (besides being non-binary). In regards to my concerns, she genuinely felt bad, realizing that she was failing to respect both my time and position as the DM. As for the retainer, she stated that my characterization of them was "not what she envisioned" and that it was "regrettable" that she had introduced them as only being NB. This was true, but I gave up any further discussion of that due to red flags #1 and #5.
Remember that "non-answer" I had mentioned? Well when quarantine hit, I was finally given a response. June told me she had feelings for me and since I was still interested I decided to risk it and had her come over one night. The morning after I went to work, excited at the thought of being in a relationship (after being out of one for two years). However, she then sent me a text while at work telling me how she finally ended her relationship with her ex-GF (whom she was in an open relationship with). Given that I had been cheated on before, this triggered bad memories for me and I ended up breaking up with her right away after that. Even though we remained friends, both our friendship and my campaign started to take a turn for the worse.

Act V: The Fall

Outside of sessions, June and I began to get into fights more and 90% of what we talked about was the fact that she still loved me. She refused to quit my campaign, claiming she was "too invested" and I lacked the courage to kick her out, having just kicked out someone else a few weeks prior. So she stayed in the campaign and I tried my best to weather it out. But then I got a message from one of my other players, Sam, who told me...
Red Flag #6: She had a tendency to "hog the spotlight" with her character. Sam expressed frustration at how June's character was "stealing her character's thunder". Sam was playing a full-on bard, but as a person she tended to be quieter and more introverted than June. As a result, many of the chances that Sam could've had to shine as her bard were squashed by June. When I read this, I was pissed. Sam had been with me through the entire campaign: She showed up on time, told me when she was gonna miss a session far in advance, and overall was a wonderful person to play with. I immediately sent messages to June confronting her about this.
Jump to the final session of the campaign. This was it! The epic final battle against Orcus was upon my players. With a mega-session to accompany it, I invested all of my efforts into making it the most satisfying session yet. I had spent hours practicing my Orcus voice, recorded a "last time on..."-style audio reel recapping events from the entire campaign and meticulously crafted endings for every NPC that the party held near and dear to their hearts. However, despite all of this, June's actions caused the campaign to end on a sour note.
During the Orcus fight, June decided to use an item she had bought from a magic item shop (the Slice of T'pir Weir Isles from TAZ) to try and convince Orcus to trade it for his wand. I told her that Orcus had gotten a natural 20 on his Insight check to tell if it was a good deal or not (which made sense given the fact the party had unanimously refused his previous offers to cooperate with him). She got upset and immediately left the Discord call all of us were on.
This sent me into a panic as I frantically messaged her, begging her to come back. You see, I planned on having her character be a key part of the final vignette of the campaign and with no plan B in sight everything felt like it was falling apart. I managed to get her to come back, but her refusal to speak combined with the hostile energy caused me to have a panic attack. June announced to everyone that we should take 5, and I calmed myself down to continue.
Then, in a move that nobody could have totally predicted, on June's next turn she said to everyone "my character stabs herself and is now dead." At this point I was tired of it so I just let her be a moody bitch and continued on my way with everyone else. After defeating Orcus in his layer of the Abyss and returning to the Prime Material Plane, I attempted to retcon her suicide by saying that her character was with everybody to which she vehemently replied, "no she's not." I did my best to change the final scenes on the fly and once the session was over she left the call again and began messaging me, saying how she should've left when I kicked the last guy out and how I should've let her do the trade since "I reward people for doing OP shit." I remember sending her a message along the lines of "I'm not gonna put up with this horse shit" and then proceeded to kick her off of the server and block her.
TL;DR I fell in love with one of my players, she fell in love with me. After I found out she was still in a relationship, I broke it off, which caused her to be miserable and make my campaign worse for it. Before I confessed to her my desperation to have a new player join my game caused me to ignore all of her red flags as a "problem player" that manifested not only before she joined but ALSO as the campaign went on. Long story short... don't simp.
submitted by MrHackWack to rpghorrorstories [link] [comments]

Trading frame perfect inputs as method to make certain TAS-only tricks possible in RTA

I'd like to explain a general but in most games probably at most restrictively applicable method to effectively ''trade frame perfect inputs'' [which may sound strange and questionable at first if one hasn't heard of that concept before, but I'll elaborate on it below] that can be involved in (speedrun) tricks, for the purpose of transforming bio-mechanically (in the sense of the physical and speed related limits to the human hand) impossible (or at least extremely difficult) to perform TAS-only input patterns required for in-game tricks into more realistic or even decently executable new versions of input patterns for those tricks. I guess one could see it as a separate, advanced step in the same direction in which theory crafting goes for constructing setups that calibrate or normalize various parameters to make performing certain tricks easier.
The idea for this method is to add a suitable frame perfect input for pausing the game to the execution of a trick in order to allow to either simulate a frame perfect immediate button press release (of another input part of a trick) or to be given more time to switch the held inputs up and buffer them through unpausing the game.
If this method can at all be used in a game may depend on the following factors, among others:
° How pausing works in a game: Namely if pressing the pause button halts gameplay instantly or if gameplay is interrupted after a short delay (and in this case what the game's lag behavior is), provided pausing even is an option in the situation or even just in the game in general.
° How the game treats a trick that involves a longer gameplay process when it is interrupted by a pause in the middle of it rather than without a pause (since in some cases the game may react to pausing and continue in terms of game mechanics different than how it would without it, so that pausing doesn't solely delay gameplay).
A rather simple but good example for this that was already independently of my own separate theory crafting found in another community would be Wario World Super Jumps ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sN6iNne-B7E ), in which normally about 8 frames after initiating a Dash with an input the jump button has to be pressed, then released in the next frame and pressed again (and then can be held) in the next frame of this 60 Hertz game (for NTSC), in order to get the most jump height out of this (rather than lower jump heights with further off input timing). And to make this trick doable in this case, the frame perfect release of the jump button is avoided and instead a frame perfect pause is introduced in the same frame as the first jump press to create a longer time gap between the first and the second jump press. And while this version of doing the trick stays equivalent in terms of the count of frame perfect inputs, the advantage comes from not being forced to move the finger fast enough anymore for the 2nd jump press in relation to the first and the button release in between, but just having to press it at the right time and in isolation from the first jump press; and this ''de-coupling'' of frame perfect inputs in a chain of inputs is the crucial point here.
More concrete distinguished situations that may be resolvable with this method might be cases like the following ones:
° Cases where one is required to press a direction button in 1 frame and one has to steer away or press another button to input the complete opposite direction in the very next frame (rather than having the lenience for it to take more frames, or especially in cases where one is using a control stick with ''analogue'' inputs, i.e. a fine input field within which joystick positions are polled, rather than just a binary check for e.g. each of 4 different directions for if the direction is held or not) and is not allowed for the input polling to happen anywhere within the process of moving the control stick from 1 side to the other, resulting in the signal sending a value for an intermediate control stick position. And this also includes cases in which an immediate direction switch has to happen again immediately afterwards.
° Especially cases in games that run at very high frame rates like 60 Hertz or 120 or more Hertz, it can make a big difference to break frame perfect input chains required for a trick up (e.g. in a simple case that may be just two different positions of a control stick with 360° movement freedom in 2 consecutive frames), by turning a situation in which one would otherwise need to steer the control stick into another direction at proper angle and inhumanly fast into a situation via pausing the game at the right frame ahead of time or together with the first directional input (depending on how the given game's pause mechanic works, if one can even pause at the time), and then buffering the 2nd directional input through the unpausing process.
° Cases where an input needs to happen for only 1 frame but not longer, and in those cases pausing may allow to cut the active gameplay time off and allow to just press and hold that button input rather than having to release it after pressing it for 1 frame.
° Cases where one has a chain of inputs that need to happen in rapid succession within few frames, where the input chain would be possible to be executed up to some frame but continuing with what follows wouldn't manually be possible when one is forced to execute the 2nd part immediately afterwards; and where one would be able to execute the 2nd part on its own as well, provided one wouldn't be forced to execute the 1st part of it and interruption-less chain that into this 2nd part (because in that case, introducing a buffer time inbetween may be able to resolve this).
Disambiguation:
The purpose of the method I'm trying to help giving insights into - while it may also be closely related to other useful applications like providing audio cues or visual references for afterwards as side effect - is not about pausing for the purpose of gaining information or feedback from the game (that one then due to the game pause can actually process and react to in time for use of it later) e.g. to get a better orientation on one's position and surroundings while they are frozen in place or to know when (in relation to unpausing) the next inputs should occur, or if one should pause again (e.g. in a bufferable manner when possible) to let 1 or a few frames pass until one can unpause safely to be able to buffer the next input for a trick (outside of maybe the pause button presses involved in the trick, assuming the trick doesn't require pausing in and of itself, if perfect machine-like inputs are provided like in tool-assisted superplays). Neither do I mean to address cases where the pauseless execution of a trick was previously thought to be impossible but later turned out to be possible to be performed by someone else or with more practice, muscle memory, and different cues (without qualitatively changing the manner in which the trick is attempted to be done), or where the difficulty and associated inconsistency of getting a trick was just too high without pausing, for the plain purpose of separating the input chain (rather than for also getting visual or audible cues), which are their own separate cases. But instead, the sole point here is meant to address cases where the trick in question otherwise can manually just not be performed in general, for cases where this is due to the bio-mechanical limits of human hands, for example, where any amount of practice, cues, muscle memory or reaction times may lead to performances that may be close to successfully executing a trick but turn out to be still unsuccessful. This is the kind of ''dead end'' stuck situation I'm having in mind here, with this alternate method of approaching such situations.
In particular, while this ''input decoupling'' method, or ''frame perfect input trading for bio-mechanical benefits'' also involves pausing the game, it's purpose is not the same as for what's generally referred to as a plain Pause Buffer: ''Buffering a command out of a paused game. Runners can repeatedly pause a game to find the exact frame they want to execute an input on for frame perfect tricks''.
However, I think a method like this also presumably would only be worth considering (in a speedrunning context) for otherwise extremely hard or impossible to in real time execute tricks that at the same time would lead to significant time-saves by making a glitch/trick performable or making an extreme case of a speed-technique doable (like maybe certain backwards longjump setups in Super Mario 64 or something along those lines), e.g. in order to make a short-cut accessible, or to trigger ''game-changing'' effects that allow important new possibilities (like opening up a new category / speedrun branch for a game or making an existing one more extreme, for changes that aren't time-saves but change the category-defining limits of a category). Of course, a pause typically would also cost time and may in speedrunning contexts be part of the trade-off for making a trick possible and/or easier to execute.
For the game Super Metroid and a romhack of it there is in total (so far) 2 more situations for which I realized myself that this method can be very useful, and I'll go into one of them as example below:
Trick: Saturn Climb (named after a tool-assisted speedrunner): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LLwcB5-WcE
Here is a visualization (using the SNES TASing emulator lsnes) of the TAS inputs around the critical part of the trick (for which some of the inputs need to be as shown in the following screenshot, but not all):
https://media.discordapp.net/attachments/396448200447361024/737817960244183050/Saturn_Climb_TAS_inputs.png
For Super Metroid (running at 60 Hertz) on NTSC there exists this tricky walljump that is highly precise in the vertical and horizontal sub-pixel range for Samus' positioning from where the walljump has to be executed, as well as extraordinarily precise in directional input timing and the rapid changes of that. The critical part that appears to be impossible to perform in this manner are two immediately consecutive required instantaneous direction switches (from holding Right to holding Left within 1 frame and only for 1 frame, and holding Right again immediately after that, as one can see in the screenshot at the frame rows from 49600 to 49602).
Now (leaving out some details about previously also required frame perfect inputs which however would only need to happen in isolation from each other), by pressing Start about 1 second ahead of time (since in this game pressing Start doesn't pause it immediately) frame perfectly (which adds/introduces another frame perfect input that is not present normally), 2 new variants of this trick emerge from doing so, which would allow to overcome this rapid input hurdle:
(i) Either the earlier Start press makes the game enter the pause menu in the frame 49601, meaning that the gameplay frames relevant to Samus' movement end with frame 49600 (before frame 49601), in which case the first (frame perfect) Right (>) press can be held into the menu (which takes out the otherwise required frame perfect release of the button press), and from there one can buffer Left (<) through unpausing the game and then is only anymore required to instantly switch to pressing and holding Right (>) in the correct frame [which is a type of execution that has been shown to be doable on SNES controllers before].
(ii) Or the earlier Start press makes the game enter the pause menu 1 frame later, namely in frame 49062, and in this case after pressing Right frame perfectly, one would have to instantly switch to pressing Left at frame 49601 and can hold it into the pause menu, followed by being able to buffer holding Right (>) throughout all of the unpausing process in order to continue.
Also, when it comes to making precise tricks possible to execute, while games where initiating a pause makes the game stop instantly may in some cases have the advantage that the pause input can be pressed together with another critical input for a trick, so that doing both at the same time may come close to just pressing 1 button frame perfectly; games where initiating a pause happens with a delay may in probably more rare cases have the advantage that a convoluted input pattern doesn't get even more condensed with a pause input having to happen in the middle of it, because the pausing input can happen in isolation beforehand.
What I would hope could come from this would be the revisiting of previously as impossible to perform thought of tricks in games that were thoroughly tested for the respective input windows involved in them, for which this approach makes the difference, but also the same for tricks that haven't been looked into yet regarding the actual difficulty of performing them and associated input lenience windows for success, but are known to exist (e.g. from tool-assisted speedruns) already.
submitted by EternisedDragon to speedrun [link] [comments]

Imagining a Cities:Skylines 2

So how’s your quarantine going? I’ve been playing a fair amount of C:S lately and thought I might speculate on what could be improved in Cities: Skylines 2. Besides, it’s not like I have anything better to do.
What C:S gets right and wrong
Besides great modability and post-release support, C:S combines an agent based economy with a sense of scale. It also has the kind of road design tools that SC4 veterans would have killed for. District based city planning for things like universities was one of the best innovations in the genre in years, and the introduction of industry supply chains, while clunky and tacked on, brought much needed depth to the game.
C:S suffers most notably from a lack of revisit rate to previously constructed things. Build a power plant: forget about it. Build a port: forget about it. Build a downtown: forget about it. The player isn’t incentivized to revisit old parts of the city to upgrade and improve them. The district system for universities and industry was a fantastic innovation that demonstrated how to do this concept well, and consequently they are some of the most fun and engaging parts of the game.
The biggest criticism of C:S, despite its powerful design tools, is that it feels like a city painter. The systems feel rich at first, but become very formulaic after a few hours. There are no hard trade-offs. Providing every inch of your city with maximum services will not bankrupt you, nor will an economy of nothing but the rich and well-educated collapse from a lack of unskilled labor. In the end, every city dies of boredom once the player exhausts the game’s relatively shallow well of novelty.
The biggest areas for Improvement
submitted by naive_grandeur to CitiesSkylines [link] [comments]

A guide to Battlecast Brawler Hyper Roll for patch 10.13

A guide to Battlecast Brawler Hyper Roll for patch 10.13

https://preview.redd.it/6auss91plw651.jpg?width=1209&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=eb1e07aee7f71aa96df8c52179dfa6d0bd8b2b64

This is a guide to a battlecast brawler hyper roll build I've been working on in patch 10.13. (Or HyperBeam HyperRoll as i like to call it)


Down below I've shown what the comp should look like at various stages of the game, as well as the general strategy and itemization.

Hyper roll builds have disappeared from the meta with the introduction of set 3.5, mostly to to the nerfing of key 1 cost units like Poppy and Xylah, the removal of the Void alliance, and level 4 rolling odds changing from 60% to 55% for 1 cost units.
However, I think with the massive buffs to Illaoi and the battlecast synergy and it's units, as well as the massive increase in odds for 3 cost units from 10% to 15% at level 4 make this build viable if you abuse those odds to find an early Cassiopeia, and get 4 battlecast online early after hyper rolling at stage 3-1. You're almost guaranteed to have her on round 3-2, often you will even find 2 copies or a 2 star Cassiopeia on your first hyper roll. I think by shifting the focus of hyper roll builds away from 3 starring a board of 1 and 2 cost units, and focusing more on abusing the 15% odds for 3 cost units, and focusing on 3 starring a few one cost units, and getting super early 2 star 3 costs who unlock important synergies, hyper rolling can be quite good again.
Anyways, here's the rundown of the comp:

The build focuses on building Illaoi and Cassiopeia as your carries. The compound effect of all the buffs to Illaoi and battlecast have made her tankiness and power increase exponentially, especially at 3 star. Combining the buffed heal from battlecast with the bonus HP she got this patch, 10% more armor and magic resist steal and the massive 50% increase from 4 second to 6 second steal duration, allowing her to stack up much more at a single time makes her a way stronger unit at 3 star than she was in 10.12. Combining this with the right set of items easily rivals Poppy in the golden days of the Candyland build. As for Cassiopeia, despite getting a nerf to DPS, the amount of damage instances she does is very powerful with the battlecast synergy. With Blue Buff and Morellonomicon, you'll be dealing 2 instances of tick damage on your opponents entire team very early into the fight, triggering tons of blasts/heals. When played in this comp, she is a way stronger carry than she is in the Vanguard Mystic build, despite being nerfed. The 4 battlecast synergy has been buffed enough that it can crush early game and carry you through mid, until you find Urgot later, and the 6 battlecast alliance has been buffed enough to make this build viable in the late/top 4 portion of the game. Buffs to Nocturne and Kog'Maw aren't huge, but still relevant. This comp also makes great use of spatula. If you can get battlecast spat, you can run 6 battlecasts at level 6, without needing to to wait all the way to level 8 to find Urgot. The 480 damage blasts/heals at earlier stages of the game will pretty much ensure you steamroll.
In summary, the comp wants to have long fights with an unkillable Illaoi and Malphite 3 star in the front, buying time for Cassiopeia's damage over time, and your battlecast procs to do work, while the combination of Ionic Spark and Illaoi's resistance reductions massively increase your damage output as your tanks run endlessly into the opponents units and debuff them to oblivion.

Super Early Game (Stage 1-2)

In the super early game, you should econ as much as possible. Focus on making interest at all times, and only deviate from this if it means picking up an Illaoi, Cassiopeia, Malphite, or Nocturne. You want to hang onto as few units as possible that don't go into the level 5 comp shown below. Holding onto one Kog'maw is a good idea, but 2 starring him before you roll down your gold at 3-1 isn't worth it. It costs way too much in interest gold and you will always be able to 2 star him very early with your hyper rolls, and having him 2 star isn't the most important thing. What really matters is having him for an early 4 battlecast synergy. If you can sell Cog'Maw to make interest it's generally worth it, as you can always find another copy during your hyper roll. You want to streak for maximum econ without ever breaking your streak, which usually means loss streaking until the crug round. This also ensures you get first/early pick at the carousel. Getting the right items, specifically an early bramble for your Illaoi, is important for this comp, so it's normally the best approach. I wouldn't recommend committing to win streaking unless you're entering the first PVP rounds with 2 star units and some solid completed items, or if you lucked out and got Cassiopeia on stage 1. Ideally you want between 40-50 gold for stage 3-1, at which point you hyper roll to 0 and try to 3 star Illaoi Malphite and Nocturne, while 2 starring Kog'Maw, and finding Cassiopeia 1 or 2 star. Consider holding onto Blitz crank and Vi during your roll, until you find the 4 battlecasts so you can play a 4 brawler start as a backup plan if need be.

Sidenote: picking up as many 1 cost and 3 cost units as possible while you're rolling down your gold will slightly increase your chances of 3 starring units and hitting Cassiopeias by removing some units from the pool. This isn't huge but it can be the difference between hitting a 3 star unit a round or two earlier, which does matter.

Early Game (Level 4-5)

Level 5
You want to get Illaoi to 3 star as your top priority, while looking for Malphite and Nocturne 3 star along the way. Kog'Maw 3 star is nice but it isn't worth the bench space and gold and will ultimately slow you down too much. Getting him to 2 star early is all you need. The other goal is to find Cassiopeia 2 star early during the hyper rolls, but never roll specifically for her, as a 1 star Cassiopeia is all you need early on, and you should get her to 2 star extremely early naturally with your hyper rolls now giving you 15% chance for 3 cost units in the early game anyways. The only 3 star unit that is absolutely crucial to the comp is Illaoi. Malphite makes the comp much stronger if you can 3 star him, but the comp can function without him. 3 star Nocturne is much like Zoe in Candyland; a nice bonus if you find him, and quite useful with his 4 second stun, but you don't need him 3 star. It's always worth the econ and bench to hang onto him though. Since this is a hyper roll build, you never spend money on exp until you are fully ready to go to level 6, where your odds for finding 1 cost units decrease drastically. Once you find Illaoi 3 star, you should go to level 6 if you aren't anywhere near finding Malphite and nocturne 3, but if you have 5 or more copies of either of them, and if the units aren't being heavily contested, it's worth staying at level 5 longer and rolling down again for 3 star on all your 1 costs first. Be patient with your gold, and try to econ up to 30-50 gold before rolling down each time, instead of rolling all your gold as you get it, unless you are dying and have no other option. You usually want to run the 5 units shown above, however if you failed to find 4 battlecast, you can run 4 Brawler instead, although this isn't as good. The other main thing to consider is running Zed instead of Malphite. Zed can be worth it if you ended up with a 3 star Nocturne, or if you somehow didn't find 2 star Malphite on your first hyper roll, which is incredibly unlikely. Otherwise the 2 Brawler front line with 4 battlecast is your best option.

Mid Game (Level 6-7)

Level 6
level 7
At this point, hopefully Illaoi and as many other 1 costs as possible are 3 starred, or 1-2 copies away from being 3 starred, and you have 2 star Cassiopeia. The best option at level 6 is to add a Mystic to further increase your units durability. Soraka is great, and her healing has great synergy with the innate tankiness of your units. Karma is also great to link to your Cassiopeia. If you can't find a mystic the option of throwing in a 2 star Zed or a Fizz is also okay. Running Infiltrator in the place of Mystic can actually be better up until late game if Nocturne is 3 starred. At this point in the game, you don't want to be rolling any more. Just econ up and pick up more brawlers, and finish 2 starring everything you can, and finishing 3 star units unless it becomes unrealistic to keep looking for them. At level 7, you want to add in two brawlers and take out the mystic, for 4 brawler 4 battlecast. Adding Vi and Gnar provides much more valuable front line to buy time and drag out the fight for your Cassiopeia and battlecast procs to do work, as well as providing you with lots of CC. If the game is going well, i prefer to econ up to 50 on level 6 and slowly pump gold into exp, while remaining at 50 gold, then pump all my gold into levels to jump strait to level 8 right after, but if you are being pressured it's fine to go to 7 sooner if you're taking too much damage.

Late Game (Level 8-9)

Level 8
Level 8 alt
Level 9
At level 8, add your Mystic back in (Soraka being the best). You don't have much to do here as far as your build, aside from trying to find Urgot and Viktor, if you don't already have him, to go to 6 battlecast. Once you find Urgot, either replace Cog'Maw with him (or Nocturne if you never 3 starred him) or take out 2 of your brawlers and go for 6 battlecast, 2 brawler, 2 mystic. If the game goes to Level 9, you can simply play 4 brawler 6 battlecast. If you're facing heavy magic damage lineups that don't require you to strengthen your front line as much (such as Gangplank/Riven and 6 sorcerers) you can consider 4 mystics instead of 4 brawlers. This is especially effective if you have dragon scale on Illaoi, and practically allows her to 1v9 against those kind of comps.

Spatula Variation

Level 6
Level 9
If you get a spatula, you can make battlecast spat and put it onto your Malphite. Malphite carries Ionic spark in this comp, so giving him the ability to output some magic damage is nice while hes tanking for you, but more importantly he has tons of hp to work with so he will survive on the front line for much longer with battlecast heals and keep that ionic spark aura up for longer.
With battlecast spat, you can add Viktor in at level 6 for the 6 battlecast synergy. The DPS increase to 480 for each battlecast proc at this early in the game is brutal, and also makes Illaoi unkillable with the increase heal. You can play 4 brawler 6 battlecast at level 8 now as well, and at level 9 you can play a mystic on top of the normal comp, while dropping one of your less useful battlecasts.

Items

Carousel Priority is Spatula > Chain Vest > Cloak > TeaRod > Belt/Gloves

It's essential that you prioritize getting Bramble first, Blue Buff second, then two additional tank items for Illaoi and Morellonomicon as a third priority, and lastly Ionic Spark or Rapid Firecannon are luxury items (they help you win more if you're ahead, but don't stabilize you if you're behind).

Basically, Bramble vest is the most important item in the comp, with Blue Buff being a close second. They are the only irreplaceable items. Bramble plays a crucial role in carrying you through all stages of the game. It's value on tanky units, especially at 3 star, is too great to ever pass up. It will do a ton of AOE damage, and it creates quite a lot of damage instances throughout the fight to fuel battlecast.

Ideally, Illaoi wants Bramble, Dragon Scale and Quicksilver. I believe these items best leverage her stolen resistances from her spell and increase her survivability.
The armor from vest, plus the negating of crits, coupled with 20% evasion from quicksilver, makes her very durable against physical damage.
The magic resist provided by Dragon scale and Quicksilver bring her magic resistance extremely high, and she ends up taking almost no damage when incoming magic damage is reduced by 50% by scale before even considering her resistances.
The immunity to crowd control from Quicksilver is very important on her as well, as it allows her to cast without interruption, and she can't be stunned before she has a chance to steal resistances. Stacking up a few casts in the first 10 seconds of the fight is enough to make sure she is always working with added armor and magic resist.
Getting these 3 items isn't imperative though, as long as you have bramble you can replace one of the other slots. Warmog's works fine in giving her more raw HP to leverage her mass stolen armor and magic res, and gives her more HP to stay alive and heal back up with battlecast procs. Titan's resolve is also an acceptable replacement as she is one of the units who can actually get it to 50 stacks and then stay alive and heal back up for a long time thereafter to make good use of the item to its full potential.

Cassiopeia wants Blue Buff and Morellonomicon. With this combination of items, she can dish out tons of damage over time as long as she has a tanky front line to buy time for the damage to do its work, as we've seen in builds like Vanguard Mystic and Mystic Protectors. Given two sources of tick damage on every unit that she casts on, not only does she melt entire teams, she goes rapid-fire with the battlecast procs, even managing to stay alive through rapid healing if she gets jumped on the back line.

The last item is Ionic Spark. This is best on Malphite 3 star, but can be on any Brawler. I don't recommend putting it on Illaoi because it offers less defensively and we just want to make her as tanky as possible with her 3 slots. Combining the magic resistance debuff aura and Illaoi stealing 60% resistances every cast from whoever she hits, your team will be able to easily melt enemies.

Almost all item components have good use in this comp, but BF Sword is quite a dead item. The best you can do is make a Zeke's Herald or GA with it.

Other notable items if you happen to get them:

Rapid Firecannon - Great on Cassiopeia, and allows you to position her as safe and far away as possible. Any Bows you pick up should go towards building this item. It didn't make the cut for the item build, but it would be the next best thing that isn't on the core 6 item list. Don't prioritize bows on the carousel over anything else for this item, but it's nice if you end up with one.

Protector Spat - Spatula should be built into battlecast spat, but if that ends up being impossible, or you pick up the full item on a later carousel, it can be great for Cassiopeia to perma-shield once you activate protector synergy with Urgot. Jarvin and Karma can be played until you find Urgot, to get protector and dark star.

Thief's Gloves - If you end up with extra Sparring Gloves you can just combine them onto Nocturne or victor to get some value out of them.

Frozen Heart - If you have spare chain vest and tear drops, this is a nice item to have on either a brawler, or on Nocturne.

ZZ'Rot Portal/Redemption - If you end up with these, they're nice on Nocturne, as he will jump to the back line, cause havoc, then give you benefits for dying.

Positioning

Depending on what brawlers you're using, there are two general approaches to positioning Cassiopeia. If you have all your brawlers up front, it's best to have her to the second row against one of the edges, with a brawler directly in front of her. If you're running Blitzcrank, you can put him in the corner with Cassiopeia next to him. This will give her a target to attack in between casting her spell. Since she only needs to hit once to gain full mana with blue buff, she should be able to distribute her poison to most of the enemy team from the safety of the back row before the pulled unit dies, forcing her to move up closer.

Malphite (or whoever ends up with Ionic Spark) should be towards the center to maximize the aura's effect. Illaoi should also be centered. Her and Malphite are the tankiest units assuming they're three starred, and it's also best to have her near the Ionic spark to ensure she stacks magic resistance reduction from Tentacle Smash and ionic spark onto the same units, helping your team burst down targets better.

Nocturne can typically kill off a target during his 4 second stun duration, so having him jump onto a key spell caster such as Lulu/Xeraph or a carry is important. In the top 4 and above, his positioning becomes increasingly more important as you can target specific players more easily.

Cow'Maw isn't the most impactful unit, so he should be positioned in such a way that he will tankenemy Blitzcranks.

In general, I prefer to play towards one side in the early game, to better help your units focus fire, and cause battlecast to target the same unit. later on, I typically prefer to spread out more.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

- Counters Vanguards and Mystics. Cassiopeia with Morellonomicon melts them, and Illaoi's spell turns their own strength against them, making her ridiculously tanky and stripping them of their alliance bonuses.

- Counters Protectors due to Cassiopeia 50% shield reduction.

- Not Super contested in general. Not many players are 3 starring these units, and with hyper rolls you can get your hands on the highly contested Cassiopeia before anyone has a chance to empty them out of the pool.

- Good in Trade Sector, Neekoverse, Star Cluster, Superdense Galaxies.

- Easy Top 4 if you get some 3 stars at a reasonable time, or hit your items on Cassiopeia and Illaoi

Cons:

- Easy Bottom 4 if you get unlucky with your hyper rolls

- Can struggle against Blasters with the 80% true damage from Giant Slayers against your High HP units, and heal reduction from Red Buff. If more than two players are going blaster brawler, you shouldn't go for this comp, as your units will be contested as well and 3 starring the important ones could become impossible.

- Can be weak against sorcerers. Burst damage comes in less, more intense damage instances, and doesn't let you proc enough battlecast heals. Their units often don't have much resistance to steal making Illaoi less effective and more vulnerable, as well as losing value on HP% burn from Cassiopeia since their units are fairly low hp.

- Bad in Binary Star and Galactic Armory. Risky in Littler Little Legends Galaxy. If you snowball early you can crush the game easily, but if you take a bit too long hitting your power spikes, you'll be in a rough spot.

That's it for the guide, thanks for reading! I hope you give this comp a try and have fun!

If you have any feedback or questions, feel free to DM me!
submitted by vice4862 to TeamfightTactics [link] [comments]

Escape from Tarkov New Player Guide 2.0: 75 Pages and packed with all the information you could ever need for success!

Introduction

Greetings, this is dumnem, also known as Theorchero, but you can call me Theo. I'm an experienced Tarkov player and I'm writing this guide to try and assist new Tarkov players learn the game, because it has one hell of a learning curve. We'll be going over a lot of different aspects of this guide, and it is going to be huge. Feel free to digest this in parts.
Additionally, this is a work in progress. I will write as much as I can in one Reddit post, but subsequent parts will be in additional comments. Google Docs Version (Note: Link is placeholder atm, but here is a sneak preview!)
Disclaimer: Tarkov recently updated to .12! That's a HUGE amount of information that I need to update. Please be patient! If there is anything I have gotten wrong or may have omitted, please let me know.
This is Primarily directed towards Tarkov Novices, but should be useful for even Tarkov Veterans. It hopefully includes everything you need to know to be able to go into a Raid equipped for success and to successfully extract with gear.
Want to play with friends? Want to have fun and learn Tarkov? Check out my discord here.

Changelog

3/9/20:
  • [Updated for .12]
  • Money making strategies completed.
  • Minor grammar adjustments, adding additional medical items.
  • Added additional resources, updated old ones.
  • Hideout section complete

Table of Contents

  • Tarkov Overview - What is Escape from Tarkov?
  • Tarkov Resources - Useful links
  • Tarkov's Maps
  • Tarkov's Health System
  • Tarkov's Hideout System
  • Tarkov's Quest System and Progression
  • Tarkov's Hotkeys to Know
  • Getting Started
  • Player Scavs
  • New Player's loadouts - LL1 Traders
  • What to Loot - How to get the most money per slot
  • Stash Management - How to combat Gear Fear
  • Tarkov Economy - How do I make money?
  • What now?

Tarkov Overview - What is Escape from Tarkov?

Escape from Tarkov is a tactical, realistic, FPS with MMO elements developed by Battlestate Games. It is currently in closed Beta. The game features several maps in which your primary character, your PMC, goes into Raids in order to find and salvage loot and useful equipment to survive and thrive in Tarkov. Death is very punishing in Tarkov. If you die you lose everything you had on you when you die (with the exception of what's inside your Container and your melee weapon) including any equipment you brought with you or what you found inside the Raid.
Enemies can be players (PMCs) or Scavengers ('Scavs') that are either controlled by AI or by players. Unlike many shooters, AI enemies in Tarkov are deadly - they can and will kill you on sight. They have recently been upgraded to act more intelligently, shoot more accurately, and react to situations on the map, such as investigating noise of gunfire or searching. It features beautiful and immersive environments, intricate and in-depth weapon modification system, a complex health system, dynamic and specific loot placement, and multiple options for engagement. Do you want to play slow and stealthy, to avoid fights, or set up a deadly ambush on an unwary foe? Or do you prefer raw combat, where only your quick wit, placements of shots, and tenaciousness determines who gets out alive? It's your Tarkov. You make the rules.

Tarkov Resources - Useful links

I take no credit or responsibility for any of the content in these links. To the best of my knowledge, these are updated consistently and are accurate, but user beware.

Quick-Reference Ammo Chart

An updated ammo chart can be found on the wiki.

Tarkov Wiki

Absolutely fantastic resource. You can visit them here.
It is a massive collection of everything that we players have been able to find.
They contain trades, user-created maps, lists of ammo, parts, weapons, loot, etc. If it's in the game, it's on the Wiki, somewhere.
I highly recommend opening the wiki page for the Map that you plan on raiding in.
Factory
Customs
Woods
Shoreline
Interchange
Reserve
The Lab ('Labs')

Map Keys and You

Huge collection of all the keys in the game. These are also on the wiki, but this page has them all on one page, and tries to inform the user if the key is worth keeping or using.
Check it out here.
This section is open to revision. Mention me in a thread (or in the comments below) about a resource and I'll see about adding it here.

Tarkov's Weapon Compatibility Guide

Pretty self explanatory. Also includes a Key guide and a Mod guide.
Check it out here.

HUGE Reference Bible by Veritas

Courtesy of Veritas (Send me his reddit username?), It's located here. (Open in new tab.) Contains: Detailed information about: Ammunition, Health, Firearms, Body Armor, Helmets, Rigs & Backpacks, Labs & Quest keys. Outdated! Needs to be updated for .12

Offline Raids - Player Practice

Offline raids is a feature added for testing and learning purposes for both new and veteran players alike. It is an incredibly useful tool.
In an offline raid, your progress is not saved. This means you don't keep anything you find, keep any experience 'earned' if you successfully extract, or lose any gear when/if you die. To access OFFLINE Raids, head into a Raid normally until you see this screen. Then Check the box indicating that you want to do an OFFLINE raid and you're good to go! You even have a choice on whether or not to add AI. You can also control how many AI enemies spawn, fewer than normal or a great deal more! You can even make Scavs fight each other. (Framerates beware.)
You can control how many scavs spawn (if any) as well as a number of other paramaters. New players should use offline raids as a tool to practice shooting, controls, movement, etc.

Tarkov's Maps

Tarkov features several maps - ranging from wide, beautiful vistas to ruined factory districts, to an abandoned laboratory where illegal experiments were being conducted. It is important to learn the maps you intend to play. In order to keep your gear, you must 'extract' at one of your designated exfiltration points. Not all extracts will be active every game, and some are conditional.

To see what extracts are available to you, double tap 'O' to show raid time and your exfils. If it has a ???? it might not be open.

Factory

Gate 3 Extract
A small, fast-paced map that was primarily created for PvP. Scavs spawn in all the time. Very close quarters, shotguns and SMGs tend to dominate here. PMCs can only access one Exit (Gate 3) without the Factory Exit Key. Good place to go if you need PMC kills as action is pretty much guaranteed. It is recommended NOT to bring in a lot of gear to Factory until you are experienced.
Factory Map in PvP is best played in Duos - due to the layout of the map, a Maximum of 6 PMCs may be present in the game. Due to the split spawn points, you effectively have 'sides' that have up to 3 spawn locations that are close together. This is why it is recommended to secure/scout enemy spawn locations. If you go in with a Duo, you at max have 2 players on your side for an even 2v2, and if played smartly you can eliminate them and know your 'side' is secure from aggression for the time being.
Upon loading in, scavs usually take a couple minutes to spawn, though this depends on the server in question and isn't super reliable. For new players, the best loadout in Factory is going to be a MP-153 Loadout - using just an MBSS (or similar bag) and ammo in your pocket to fight other players and Scavs. Scavs will often spawn with AKs and other 'vendorable' weapons, so is a good source of income.
Factory is also one of the best maps to Scav into, as Scavs can typically avoid the Exit camping strategy employed by a lot of weaker or newer players in order to secure gear, because they typically have extra exfiltrations whereas PMCs without the Factory Exit Key are stuck using Gate 3.
If you go in with a modicum of gear, it is recommended to keep at least a flashbang (Zarya) in your container. This will allow you to quickly slot it into an empty chest rig or pocket so you can throw it into the exit door, this will flash enemies and is cheap to do - the one time you survive because you flashed the 3 exit campers using shotguns will make this strategy extremely valuable.

Customs

Extract map
A fairly large map that was recently expanded and is expected to receive an overhaul within a patch or two, due to the choke point design of the map. Essentially, players spawn either on 'warehouse' or 'boiler (stacks)' side. If you see a large red warehouse ('big red') near you (Customs Warehouse), then you spawned on the warehouse side. If you don't, you likely spawned near Boiler side. Players can also spawn in several places in the woods North of boilers.
This map has the most quests in the game. Geared players often come to customs to challenge other squads over Dorm loot and to fight a Scav boss. New players are usually trying to do one of several early quests, such as ‘Debut’ which tasks them with killing 5 scavs on Customs and acquiring 2 MR-133 shotguns (pump shotties) from their corpses. Construction is also a popular hotspot as it has a lot of scav spawns as well as the location for the Bronze Pocketwatch, which is Prapor’s second quest.
Customs itself does not offer very much loot on average. There are several spots which can contain decent, but the vast majority is located in a couple different locations.
Dorms is the best loot location for Customs. It has two sets, 2 story and 3 story dorms. They each have their own sections of good loot, but the best is considered to be 3 story dorms, due to the presence of the Marked Room. The marked room requires a marked key to open, and has a good chance to spawn rare loot, such as keytools, documents cases, weapons cases, and high-end weapons. Due to the nature of the high value of this room, it’s almost always contested and it’s one of the best rooms in the game to farm, albeit with difficulty to successfully extract with the loot found. Note, though the key required has a maximum amount of uses, it is a fairly cheap key, and worth buying if you like to run customs and go to Dorms.
Dorms also has a ton of early quests (Operation Aquarius, for one) with some keys being valuable to use, but most dorms keys aren’t worth that much on the market. There’s too many to list here, but make sure to check the Map Keys and You at the top of the guide to determine what the value of a particular key is.
Checkpoint (Military Checkpoint) is also a decent loot spot, though not nearly as good as Dorms. If you have the key, it has a grenade box and 2 ammo boxes which can spawn good ammo. The jacket in the blue car also can spawn good medical keys as well as medical items. It is very close to the gas station, so I’ll include that here as well.
The Gas Station is one of the possible spawn locations for the scav boss. It has loose food items, a weapon box in the side room, with two keyed rooms leading to a safe and a med bag and box. Also contains a couple registers and food spawns on the floor. The emercom key can spawn on the seat in the ambulance out front.
North of the gas station is the Antenna, which contains 3 weapon boxes, a tool box, and a med bag. Possible location for scav boss spawn, albeit rarely, and also spawns regular scavs, like checkpoint and gas station.
Beyond that, there’s scattered loot around the map in different places, but usually not enough to warrant going out of your way for. There’s also scav caches, mostly around the middle road outside construction and around the boiler area.
The scav boss for customs is 'Reshala.’ He has 5 guards that have above-average gear and can be tough to deal with solo. The guards tend to be more aggressive than normal scavs, so they can be a lot to handle but are vulnerable to fragmentation grenades or flashbangs due to their close proximity to one another. Reshala himself has a good chance to have one or more bitcoin in his pockets, as well as his unique Golden TT, which is required for a Jaegar quest and used in conjunction with other Golden TT's to purchase a Tactec, good plate carrier. Reshala may spawn either Dorms (either bldg), New Gas Station, or rarely the tower north of the gas station. Scav bosses are dangerous enemies with escorts that have above-average loot (sometimes great loot) and are hostile to everyone, Including player scavs. Scav guards will approach a player scav and basically tell them to leave the area, and if they walk closer towards the scav boss they turn hostile.
The ‘official’ spawn rate for Reshala is 35%.

Woods

Woods Map with Exfil
A very large map that is mostly just a large forest, with the occasional bunker, and the Lumber Mill in the center. The Lumber Mill is the primary point of interest, as it contains a couple quest locations and is the primary location to farm Scavs, as Scavs killed on woods are a good source of end-game keys that are hard to find.
Since the map is so large and open, sniper rifles with scopes usually reign king here. You will see a lot of players with Mosin rifles as they are a cheap way to train the Sniper skill (for a quest later on) and are capable of killing geared players and scavs alike.
Overall, not usually very populated. An early quest from Prapor sends you here to kill a number of Scavs. A good map to learn the game, as although the loot is not fantastic, you can get experience with how the game runs and operates while fighting AI and possibly getting lucky with a key find off a scav.
As of .12, Woods now houses a Scav boss that acts as a Sniper scav. He is incredibly dangerous and usually carries a tricked-out SVDS. The 7.62x54 caliber is not to be underestimated. That caliber can and will wreck your shit through what most players are capable of wearing, especially early on in a wipe. He may also carry an AK-105, so he's going to be dangerous at both short and long ranges.
He has two guards, and he typically patrols the area around the Sawmill, and carries a key to a cache nearby full of goodies. His key is part of a quest for Jaegar.
Woods also has two bunkers, one of them being an extract and requiring a key. Both bunkers have some moderate loot in them, thus worth visiting, though not necessarily worth going out of your way for them. Several quests occur around the sawmill area, which contains a good couple keys that can spawn.

Shoreline

Shoreline Map, with Loot, Exfil, etc
A very large map, notorious for its FPS hit. Generally speaking, one of the better maps for loot. The primary point of interest is the Resort, but scavs spawn there, and is primarily occupied by hatchlings (players only with hatchet, ie melee weapon) and geared players. Resort has great loot, but requires keys to access most of it.
A great map to learn though from new players as the outskirts still contains plenty of loot and combat opportunities with AI scavs. You can hit Villa, Scav Island, Weather station, Docks, etc and come out with a backpack full of valuable gear fairly easily. The Village (Not to be confused with villa) contains a lot of toolboxes which can contain lots of parts used to upgrade your Hideout.
Location of many quests, including a large quest chain where players are required to kill many, many, scavs on Shoreline. For this and other reasons, probably the best map for new players to learn the game with.
A good loot route is to hit the village (caches in it), scav island (2 med bags, 2 toolboxes, 2 weapon boxes, 1 cache), burning gas station (weapon boxes and a safe), pier (potential extract, 2 pcs 2 safes and lots of filing cabinets), and weather station. Scavs may spawn around these areas, but most players just head straight for resort anyway, so you are much less likely to encounter them, especially if you avoid Mylta power (most players hit it on the way to or leaving from the resort). Excellent route as a player scav as well.

Interchange

Detailed map
Great, great loot area, but very complex map. Old computers might face unique struggles with this map. Features a mostly-binary exfil system like Shoreline, but.. kinda worse. Exfil camping is fairly common on this map, but usually avoidable. Huge map with multiple floors and many many different stores. Communication with teammates is a challenge on this map, but the map is also fantastically detailed.
This map features a lot of loot that depends on the kind of store you're in. It's a great place to farm rare barter materials which are valuable to sell on the Flea market or to use for quests or for hideout upgrades. An early quest (from Ragman) sends you here to kill a large amount of Scavs. I'd recommend getting Ragman to level 2 and accepting his quest asap when going to Interchange, as getting this quest done can take a while as it is and you want all scav kills to count towards progress.
Both the tech stores (Techlight, Techxo, Rasmussen) and department stores (Groshan, Idea, OLI) are the primary places to hit. There’s also Kiba (weapons store) as well as Emercom and Mantis. Players have different strategies, but this map is unique in the sense that it really rewards exploring. Most stores will have things you can grab that are worth quite a bit but are often overlooked. Very popular place to go in as a Player Scav.

Reserve

Brand new map, chock full of loot. Has more complex extracts than other maps, save for Labs. Excellent place to farm rare barter items, computer parts, and especially military hardware. PMCs have limited extracts, most being conditional, and the ones that aren’t require activation of ‘power’ to turn on the extract, which alerts the map the extract has been opened and can spawn Raiders (more on them below.)
Additionally, has a scav boss by the name of Glukhar, who has multiple heavily armed guards. He has multiple spawn locations and can arrive with the train.

The Lab ('Labs')

Here's a map.
DISCLAIMER: Labs, like much of Tarkov, is under constant development, so issues may be fixed or created without warning. Always check patch notes!
Labs is a very complex map compared to the rest of Tarkov. There is a great deal more exfiltrations but many of them have requirements or a sequence of events needed to be able to extract from them. It is recommended to read the Tarkov Wiki on Labs before raiding there.

LABS IS NOT LIKE OTHER MAPS. READ THIS SECTION CAREFULLY.

Labs is a lucrative end-game raid location, comparable to 'dungeons' in other games. They are populated by tougher enemies that give greater rewards. In order to go to labs, you need to acquire a keycard, this functions like mechanical keys but instead of opening a door, they unlock your ability to select Labs for a raid.
They may be found in-raid in various locations, most notably in scavs backpacks, pockets, and in filing cabinets. They may be purchased from Therapist at LL4 for 189K Roubles. Labs are populated by a unique kind of AI enemy, Raiders.

Raiders

Raiders are the Labs form of Scavs, or AI enemies. However, unlike other maps, they cannot contain player Scavs. Raiders have a much tougher than your average scav, they are capable of advanced tactics (such as flanking) and throw grenades and use other consumables as a player would. Once 'locked' onto you, they are typically capable of killing you very quickly, even if you are wearing high-end armor.
In Tarkov, Raiders act like the avatars of Death. They are clad in USEC and BEAR equipment, as they are effectively AI PMCs. Many changes have been made to labs and specifically how Raider AI works and to prevent exploits to easily farm them as well as bugs where they could be deadlier than intended.
A general rule of thumb is not to fight Raiders directly. They can and WILL kill you. Raiders can spawn with 7N9, or 'big boy' ammo. This ammunition type is incredibly lethal to players, even those wearing the toughest armor. If you get shot in the head, doesn't matter what kind of helmet, face shield, killa helmet, etc you are wearing, you will almost certainly die.
Because Raiders are controlled by AI, they have zero ping. They may also end to immediately respond as if you were aggressive even if they did not originally know you were there - ESP Raiders effectively will prone and return fire even as you ADS and put them in your sights.
This is why engaging a Raider must be done very, very carefully. There are a few strategies that you may employ, most commonly some form of baiting them towards an area and then killing them when they arrive. Players may accomplish this by generating noise - gunfire, melee weapon hitting walls, crates, etc, player deaths, players Mumbling (F1 by default) can all attract Raiders to investigate your area.
Due to the high power of Raiders, players often go in with minimal loadouts and seek to avoid conflict with other players, especially geared ones. Most players avoid PvP in Labs, though a good portion of the playerbase thoroughly enjoys hunting down poorly-geared players after they kill a few Raiders for them.
As such, players will lay prone in a hallway, or crouch in a room, and attract Raiders to enter their domicile by opening the door, and immediately headshotting them. Few Raiders actually wear helmets (though some do) so most players specialize in 'flesh ammo' or, ammunition that foregoes armor penetration in favor of raw damage in order to kill Raiders more reliably, because Raiders have slightly higher head health than PMCs do.
Raiders spawn with a great variety of equipment, weapons, armor, and materials such as medication or hideout parts. They tend to have chest armor and may have different helmets. Their pockets can contain Labs keycards, morphine, Ifaks, cash, and other items. They're always worth checking.
Raiders are a good source of grenades, they will often have F-1's and Zarya's in their rig or pockets that you can use to fight off players and Raiders alike.
Recently, changes have been made to Labs to make them less profitable so that other maps are more appealing. The cost and rarity of keycards increased, as well as reducing the frequency that raiders spawn, so that they come in more infrequent groups but also tighter in formation, while also lowering the overall output of individual Raiders, so that they are less likely to have a bunch of extra materials, such as grenades and other items.
Experience Farming on Labs
Labs is one of the best places to farm experience in the entire game. Killing a Raider with a headshot awards 1100 Experience. This does not include any looting, inspection (searching bodies), examine, streak, or other experience.
Killing a large sequence of Raiders gives additional bonus experience in the form of Streak rewards, usually 100 bonus exp per additional kill.
Surviving the raid multiplies all of these sources of experience by 1.5x
Changes coming to Labs
Disclaimer: I am not a BSG developer or employee. This is what I have seen on this subreddit and heard elsewhere. Some might be purely rumor, but other points are confirmed by Nikita Labs is undergoing constant changes. Nikita and BSG take feedback seriously, and always consider what the players are telling them. It known that Labs will eventually be accessed via the Streets of Tarkov map, and will require you to enter that map, make it to the labs entrance, and then extract from Labs to return to Streets of Tarkov and exfil from there as well. This will likely add an additional layer of risk to being ambushed for your goodies along your way out, as well as punishing damage taken in labs more severely. Additionally, keycards will have a limited number of uses, and may open more than one room.
The full extent of the changes coming is not known.
Remember, you can load a map in OFFLINE mode to practice against bots or to learn the map without fear of losing gear.

Tarkov's Health System

Tarkov Wiki Article
Tarkov has a very advanced health system, and while it might seem overwhelming at first, you'll get the hang of it rather quickly. It features a very wide variety of effects and injury, including hydration, energy, blood pressure, blood loss, fractures, contusion, intoxication, exhaustion, tremors and more.
Not all of the Health System is implemented yet. Expect changes!
Your character (PMC, or otherwise) has a combined Health of 435. Each of his limbs have separate health. Taking damage to a limb that reduces it to 0 'blacks' that limb. Blacked limbs are a problem. They greatly impair the activities your PMC performs, and taking damage in a blacked limb amplifies the damage by a multiplier and spreads that damage among your other non-black limbs equally. You cannot heal a blacked limb without the use of a Surgical Kit.
Notes: Bloodloss applies damage to the affected limb and can be spread like other damage to a blacked limb. Treat immediately. Also causes significant dehydration! Bloodloss also helps level your Vitality skill, which in turn gives you experience towards your Health skill, which is necessary to reach level 2 of in order to improve your hideout.
Losing a limb applies additional effects. Fractures also apply these effects but not the damage amplification (Except for damage if running on fractured leg.) Fractures require specialized medical kits to heal.
Dehydration is what happens when your Hydration level reaches 0. You can view your Hydration level in your gear page, at the bottom left. Becoming dehydrated is extremely bad. You take constant damage. Taking dehydration damage can kill you if you have a black chest or head. Restoring hydration helps train Metabolism, which improves positive effects from food and drink.
Head/Chest: Bullet damage resulting in losing your head or chest is instant death. Note: Bloodloss resulting in your Head/Chest being black does not result in death, but any damage to them beyond that point will! A back chest will causes you to cough (much like your stomach!)
Painkillers: Prevents coughing that comes from your chest. Doesn't help otherwise.
Stomach: Massively increased rate of dehydration and energy loss. You must find liquids or exit the Raid soon. Additionally, your PMC will cough sputter loudly, attracting attention. A black stomach multiplies damage taken by 1.5 and redistributes that damage across your entire health pool.
Painkillers: Significantly reduces the frequency and volume of the coughs.
Arms: Makes activities like searching, reloading, etc, take additional time, as well as adding a sway, reducing accuracy. Arms have a .7x damage multiplier.
Painkillers: Reduces sway, removes debuff Pain.
Legs: Blacked legs cause your PMC to stumble and be unable to run. Blacked legs have a 1x damage multiplier.
Painkillers: Allows you to walk at full speed and to run.
WARNING: Running while your legs are blacked or fractured WILL DAMAGE YOU.
Health Items
Tarkov features many health items - 'Aid' items, which can be used to restore your characters health and to fix ailments or injuries he receives as the result of combat or mishaps. The two most important health conditions to consider are bloodloss and fractures, which have both been covered above. Some food items may have ancillary effects, such as losing hydration.
Since in the current patch the only ailments to worry about are bleeding and fractures, it changes which health items are most necessary. We'll go over them below.

Health Restoration

Medical Items on Wiki
AI-2 medkit
The newb's medical kit. You receive several of these when you start Tarkov - they'll already be in your stash. Available from Level I Therapist, they are cheap and effective way of healing early in the game. They will not stop bloodloss. Because of this, you also need to bring bandages or a higher-grade medical kit. Affectionately called 'little cheeses' by the Tarkov community. Using it takes 2 seconds, and because of how cheap it is, it's often brought in by higher level players to supplement their healing without draining their main kit (which is capable of healing bloodloss or sometimes fractures). Due to its short use time, it's often very useful during combat as you can take cover and quickly recover damage taken to a vital limb. They're also useful as you can buy them from Therapist to heal yourself if you died in a raid.
Bandages
The newb's bloodloss solution. Available from Therapist at Level I. A better version, the Army Bandage is available at Level II, after a quest. Mostly obsolete after unlocking the Car Medical kit, but some players value them due to the Car's overall low health pool. Activating takes 4 seconds, and removes bloodloss to one limb.
Splint
The newb's solution to fractures. Cheap, takes five seconds to use, and takes up 1 slot. Fractures are much more common this patch, due to them being added back in the game from standard bullet wounds, not just drops. Available from Therapist at Level I, no quest needed. Can be used to craft a Salewa.
Alu Splint
More advanced form of the normal split. Works the same, but has up to 5 uses. Recommended to carry in your container if possible, due to frequency of fractures from gunfire.
CMS (Compact Medical Surgery) Kit
New medical item added in .12, fantastic item. Allows you to perform field surgery, removing the black limb state and allowing you to heal it beyond 0 hp. Takes 16 seconds to use, and cannot be cancelled so make sure you are safe if you are using it! Will reduce the maximum health of the limb it's used on by 40-55%, but will effectively remove all negative effects incurred by having a black limb. Highly recommended to carry in your container for emergencies. Can be bartered from Jaeger LL1, and purchased for roubles LL2.
Surv12 field surgical kit
Same as the compact surgical kit, but takes 4 seconds longer, and the health penalty is reduces to 10-20% max health of the limb. Considering this kit is 1x3, taking up a huge amount of space, it's probably not worth using. It's just too large. Better this than nothing, though.
Car Medical Kit
The newb's first real medical solution. Available LL1 as a barter (2 Duct Tape) and available for Roubles after completing Therapist's second quest. Has a larger health pool than AI-2's (220, vs AI-2's 100), and removes bloodloss. Takes up a 1x2 slot, so requires to be placed in a tactical rig in order to be used effectively. Cheap and fairly efficient, takes a standard 4 seconds to use. Rendered effectively obsolete when the Salewa is unlocked.
Often kept in a player's secure container as a backup health pool, before IFAKs are unlocked.
Salewa
Good medkit for use in mid and end-game. Contains 400 total health and can remove bloodloss. More rouble efficient form of a healing due to its high health pool, costs 13k roubles. Same size as the Car medical kit, so requires a tactical rig to use effectively. Because Tarkov does not currently have effects like Toxication in the game at the moment, this kit is favored by most players who go into a raid with at least a moderate level of gear. With a high health pool and relatively low cost, it's also a more efficient way of healing damage sustained while in raids. Unlocked at Therapist Level II after completing a level 10 Prapor quest, Postman Pat Part II. Required as part of Therapist's first quest, Shortage. This makes Salewas very valuable early on in a wipe as it gatekeeps the rest of Therapist's quests, most of which occur on Customs early on. Can be crafted in your meds station with a painkiller, splint, and bandage.
IFAK
Fantastic medical kit, and is the one preferred by most players. Features 300 health and the ability to remove bloodloss and a host of other negative effects that are not yet implemented into the game. It does not, however, remove fractures. Taking up only a single slot, it is favored by players in all stages of gear, and it is recommend to carry one in your Secure Container in case of emergencies. Is available at Therapist Level II for a barter (Sugar + Sodium), and may be purchased for Roubles at Level III after completing Healthcare Privacy, Part I. It is a fairly expensive kit, but due to its durability, its small size, and ability to remove bloodloss, it is a very common medical item used by players of all levels. Can be crafted in Lvl 2 medstation.
Grizzly
The 'big daddy' medical kit, boasting an impressive total health resource of 1800. It is also a very large kit, taking up 4 slots (2x2) - in order to be able to use this quickly, it would require specialized tactical rigs that feature a 2x2 slot. It removes all negative effects (some costing HP resource), including fractures. Used by highly-geared players who intend on staying in raids for an extended period of time, or by players with additional Secure Container space available in case of emergencies. It is available for barter at Therapist Level II, and purchase at Therapist Level 4. Due to its price point from Therapist at just under 23k Roubles and its healthpool of 1800, it is by far the most efficient method of healing from raid damage, at a 1.3 roubles per health, dramatically lower than other options available. Can be crafted in Lvl 3 medstation.

Pain Management

Using any of these items results in your character being 'On Painkillers' which allows you to sprint on fractured and blacked legs, as well as reducing effects of fractures and blacked limbs, and removing the debuff Pain. Essentially, the only difference between most of these items are the speed of use, price, availability, and duration of the effect. Note that the Hideout has changed how some of these items are used, and because Tarkov is under constant development, it is very likely that these materials may be used to create higher-grade medkits or to upgrade your medstation. That being the case, it's best to hoard the unknown items for now as efficiently as possible until you know you don't need them.
Analgin Painkillers
The holy grail of pain medication. "Painkillers" have 4 total uses. The total duration is greater than Morphine and less risk of waste. Takes a short time to use, and is available from Therapist Level 1 for both barter and Roubles. Makes a loud, distinctive gulping noise. Can be used to craft Salewa kits.
Morphine
Quick application of painkillers. Favored by some highly geared players as it has greater usability in combat then it's typical counterpart, Painkillers. Has a longer duration, but only one use. It is required for a fairly early Therapist (and a late Peacekeeper) Quest, so it is recommend to hoard 10 of them, then sell the rest unless you intend on using them. They are worth a good amount to Therapist and take up little space so they are a valuable loot item. Available from Therapist for Roubles at Level 4, after completing Healthcare Privacy, Part 3.
Augmentin
Basically a cheaper Morphine. One use, 205s. Not recommended over Painkillers due to its cost. No current barter for this item, so usually it's just a fairly expensive, small loot item. Most likely a component of a medstation manufacturing process or upgrade. Keep it.
Ibuprofen
Powerful painkiller. Lasts 500 seconds and has 12 uses. This item is recommended as your long-term solution for painkillers. While it is valuable because it's used to trade for THICC items case, it's the cheapest component and is very useful as a painkiller. It has a long duration and a large amount of uses, so keep it in your container for use as a painkiller if your primary painkillers wear off. Don't use it completely up, though. Keep the 1/12 bottles for the trade.
Vaseline
Powerful medical item. Cannot be purchased from dealers. Has a maximum of 10 uses. Removes Pain, applies Painkillers for 500 seconds (8.3 minutes). Useful to keep in your container as an alternative to Painkillers, though it takes 6 seconds to use, which is longer than other painkillers. Used as part of a barter trade for the Medcase.
Golden Star Balm
Fairly useful medical item. It can remove Pain and Contusion (not a big deal of a debuff, goes away on its own shortly) and provides a small bonus to hydration and energy. It also removes toxication and Radiation exposure, both of which are not yet implemented into the game. Like Vaseline, has a maximum of 10 uses. Painkiller effect lasts for 10 minutes, and takes 7 seconds to apply. Recommended to take only if you are going on large maps and you have extra room in your container. Can be used with Ibuprofen and 5x Med parts to craft 7 Propital.

Continued below in a series of comments, due to character limit.

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