7 Binary Options – Step 2 Wealth

Nintendo Switch Reviews: Game Compilations

Here's the games I have reviewed so far on the Nintendo Switch in this genre, from best to worst. Note: If multiple games have the same score, they will be sorted alphabetically.
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Game Compilations

Game Genre # of Players Games in Collection Score tl;dr
Mega Man Legacy Collection Compilation / Action-Platformer 1, Online Leaderboards Mega Man, Mega Man 2, Mega Man 3, Mega Man 4, Mega Man 5, Mega Man 6 A+ Mega Man Legacy Collection is a collection of the first six NES games in this series of Action-Platformers. Two of these games are absolutely legendary, one is just as good if a bit less-iconic, and the other games here are all at least worth playing. Pair that with an absolute wealth of options and bonus content and a very reasonable price tag and you have an absolute must-have collection that any fan of Action-Platformers should own.
Mega Man X Legacy Collection Compilation / Action-Platformer 1, Online Leaderboards Mega Man X, Mega Man X2, Mega Man X3, Mega Man X4 A+ Mega Man X Legacy Collection is a collection of the first four games in this series of Action-Platformers. Every one of the included games is excellent, with the first in particular being a must-play game that still stands tall as one of the finest in the genre. What's more, this package includes a huge wealth of bonus content. Fans of Action-Platformers should absolutely have this game in their collection.
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove Compilation / Action-Platformer 1-2 Co-Op (Local), 1-4 Competitive (Local) Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope, Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows, Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment, Shovel Knight: King of Cards, Shovel Knight Showdown A+ Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is a collection of the Action-Platformer Shovel Knight and all four of its expansions, including Plague of Shadows which is not purchasable separately. Shovel Knight was already a must-have game, but this collection is so jam-packed with value it makes the entire package one of the best games to get on the Nintendo Switch. Unless you have this collection on another platform, you need to get it on your Nintendo Switch.
Castlevania Anniversary Collection Compilation / Action-Platformer 1 Castlevania, Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, Super Castlevania IV, Castlevania: The Adventure, Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge, Castlevania: Bloodlines, Kid Dracula A- Castlevania Anniversary Collection is a collection of Action-Platformers that includes eight of the great games from early in the series (well, six great games plus two crappy Game Boy games). This collection gives players a wealth of options and bonus content, and is... actually pretty ideal for a collection of some of the best Action-Platformers ever made. This title is a must for fans of the genre.
Collection of Mana Compilation / Action-RPG 1-3 Co-Op (Local) Final Fantasy Adventure, Secret of Mana, Trials of Mana A- Collection of Mana is a compilation of 3 classic Zelda-style Action-Adventure games, two of which are phenomenal titles with superb music and great co-op gameplay that have withstood the test of time and are arguably two of the best games the genre has ever seen (and Final Fantasy Adventure has its good qualities too). However, the lack of extras and absurd price tag makes it hard to give this collection the enthusiastic recommendation it would otherwise deserve.
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster Compilation / Turn-Based JRPG 1 Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy X: Eternal Calm, Final Fantasy X-2, Final Fantasy X-2: Final Mission A- Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is a compilation of every game in the Final Fantasy X saga, with improved graphics and an optional remastered soundtrack. Final Fantasy X alone is an absolute must-play game that makes this compilation worthwhile, although none of the other content here quite measures up to it. If you're a fan of JRPGs, however, this collection is worth it for that one game alone, and the other content here ain't too shabby either.
Hotline Miami Collection Compilation / Top-Down Action / 2-Stick Shooter 1 Hotline Miami, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number A- Hotline Miami Collection is a pair of solid Top-Down Action games with a colorful 80s-inspired presentation and intense action that makes players consider their plan of attack. It's a solid experience, although the first Hotline Miami game is clearly the better of the two, thanks to the more cohesive story and better level design.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy Compilation / Visual Novel / Graphic Adventure 1 Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Justice For All, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trials and Tribulations A- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy is a collection of the first three games in this series of investigation and legal drama games that lies somewhere between a Graphic Adventure and Visual Novel. This is a fantastic collection of three superb games with memorable characters and wonderful gameplay, but $30 for three games that are nearly 20 years old seems a bit much, even if you're not likely to find a better deal on these games elsewhere.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy Compilation / 3D Platformer 1 Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage, Spyro: Year of the Dragon A- Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a collection of the original three PlayStation Spyro games, family-friendly 3D Platformers that have withstood the test of time and are presented here with absolutely gorgeous graphics. While there are a few elements that haven't aged well, like the camera, on the whole this is an absolute joy that fans of platformers should consider a must-have.
The Jackbox Party Pack 3 Compilation / Party Games 1-8 Competitive (Local) (4 Recommended) Quiplash 2, Trivia Murder Party, Guesspionage, Fakin' It, Tee K.O. A- The Jackbox Party Pack 3 is a Collection of Party Games that includes five games that players play using their Smartphone instead of a controller. Of all the Jackbox collections so far, this is my favorite, with three of the games here being absolutely fantastic, and even the worst game here still has some excellent qualities. On top of that, there's a lot of variety in this package, and some truly great presentation in some of the games here. In short, this is a must-have collection for fans of Party Games.
Bleed Complete Bundle Compilation / Action-Platformer / 2-Stick Shooter 1-2 Co-Op (Local) Bleed, Bleed 2 B+ Bleed Complete Bundle includes Bleed and Bleed 2, both excellent Action-Platformers with 2-Stick Shooter gunplay, and both also extremely short and extremely overpriced games. Much as with the individual games, if you can get this collection at a discount, absolutely do so because the games are immensely fun. However, even with the savings this bundle provides, it's still horribly overpriced at its normal price.
Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle Compilation / Arcade Brawler 1-4 Co-Op (Local, Local Wireless, Online) Final Fight, The King of Dragons, Captain Commando, Knights of the Round, Warriors of Fate, Armored Warriors, Battle Circuit B+ Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle is a collection of seven Arcade Brawler games originally released in arcades from 1989 to 1997. These games range from average to very good, with some of the best games in this collection never previously released on consoles. This collection has some good extras, and a good price. If you're a fan of the genre, or just looking for a decent action game to play in co-op, this game is well worth getting.
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy Compilation / 3D Platformer 1 Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, Crash Bandicoot: Warped B+ Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is a collection of the original three PlayStation Crash Bandicoot games, family-friendly 3D Platformers that have been given a glorious makeover here. The gameplay is still excellent as well, though it has aged a bit in places - the restricted level design and unforgiving gameplay can be a cause for frustration. However, overall this is a superb collection well worth having.
Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition Compilation / Turn-Based Monster Collecting JRPG 1 Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth, Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Hacker's Memory B+ Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition is a collection of two Pokemon-style Monster-Collecting JRPGs set in a slightly-futuristic Tokyo where players dive into a virtual reality/internet to fight with monsters and get to the bottom of the game's mysteries. This is a solid alternative to Pokemon, and different enough from those games to distinguish itself, although it's not without its flaws.
Indie Gems Bundle: Explosion Edition Compilation / Bullet Hell Shmup / Roguelike / 2-Stick Shooter / Match-3 Puzzle 1-4 Co-Op (Local), Online Leaderboards NeuroVoider, Steredenn: Binary Stars, Transcripted B+ Indie Gems Bundle: Explosions Edition is a Compilation of three Action-packed games, each of them ranging from good to great. If you're a fan of Shmups and 2-Stick shooters, you're bound to find something to love in this package, even if the savings over purchasing these games individually is minimal.
Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 Compilation / Action-Platformer 1, Online Leaderboards Mega Man 7, Mega Man 8, Mega Man 9, Mega Man 10 B+ Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 is a collection of the seventh through the tenth numbered games in this series of Action-Platformers. These games are all pretty good, but none reach the heights of the earlier games in the series, there's less bonus content than in the first collection, and it's $5 more. However, it's still a solid collection of great Action-Platformers with a good amount of bonus content, and fans of the genre would still do well to give it a look.
The Jackbox Party Pack Compilation / Party Games 1-100 Competitive (Local) (4 Recommended) You Don't Know Jack 2015, Drawful, Word Spud, Lie Swatter, Fibbage XL B+ The Jackbox Party Pack is a Collection of mostly Trivia-focused Party Games that includes five games that players play using their Smartphone instead of a controller. Two of the games in this collection are phenomenal, and only one of the games here isn't worth trying. Plus, many of the games included here represent some of Jackbox's most iconic series, making this first collection one of the best packages they've released. All in all, this is a fantastic Party game well worth getting.
The Jackbox Party Pack 2 Compilation / Party Games 1-4 Co-Op (Local), 2-8 Competitive (Local) (4 Recommended) Fibbage 2, Earwax, Bidiots, Quiplash XL, Bomb Corp B+ The Jackbox Party Pack 2 is a Collection of Party Games that includes five games that players play using their Smartphone instead of a controller. Two of the games in this collection are fantastic, and only one of the games here isn't worth trying. Overall, the games in this collection aren't quite as good as what was in the first Party Pack, but there's more variety here and this is still a superb collection of Party Games.
Trine Ultimate Collection Compilation / Puzzle-Platformer 1-4 Co-Op (Local, Local Wireless, Online) Trine Enchanted Edition, Trine 2: Complete Story, Trine 3: Artifacts of Power, Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince B+ Trine Ultimate Collection is a Compilation that includes all four games in the Puzzle-Platformer series about three characters with different abilities using their unique talents to fight enemies and solve puzzles. This is a treasure trove for anyone who enjoys the genre or is looking for a top-notch Co-Op collection for their Switch, with most of these game being visually-stunning as well.
Gunman Clive HD Collection Compilation / Action-Platformer 1 Gunman Clive, Gunman Clive 2 B Gunman Clive HD Collection is a pair of solid action-platformers with a unique cel-shaded "hand-drawn" look. Although the gameplay is fairly simple and straightforward, the game's stages and bosses can be amusingly creative at times. Definitely worth a look.
Sega Genesis Classics Compilation 1-2 Co-Op / Competitive (Local, Online), Online Leaderboards 51 Games (full list in review) B Sega Genesis Classics has a lot of stinkers, but it also has some truly great classic games, and at $30 for 51 games, even with only about a fourth of the games here truly worthy of being called a “classic”, that's still a good number of games and some great bang for your buck.
The Jackbox Party Pack 5 Compilation / Party Games 1-6 Co-Op (Local) 2-8 Competitive (Local) (4 Recommended) You Don't Know Jack: Full Stream, Split the Room, Mad Verse City, Zeeple Dome, Patently Stupid B The Jackbox Party Pack 5 is a Collection of Party Games that includes five games that players play using their Smartphone instead of a controller. This is probably the most average collection Jackbox has produced, with five games that are all good but not great, or else games that could have been great, but are held back by a flaw that renders them “decent but could have been better”. Even so, if you're looking for a good Party Game collection, this package is all around well worth playing.
Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection Compilation / Shmup 1-2 Co-Op (Local) Scramble, Twinbee, Nemesis, Life Force, Typhoon, Haunted Castle, Vulcan Venture, Thunder Cross B- Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection is a collection of mostly Shmups that includes eight games that are mostly pretty good (and also mostly punishingly difficult). This collection gives players a wealth of options and bonus content, and on the whole this is a solid collection of games for Shmup fans
Contra Anniversary Collection Compilation / Action-Platformer 1-2 Co-Op (Local) Contra (Arcade), Super Contra (Arcade), Contra (NES) (NA), Contra (NES) (J), Super C, Contra III: The Alien Wars, Super Probotector: Alien Rebels, Operation C, Contra: Hard Corps, Probotector B- Contra Anniversary Collection is a collection of super-difficult Action-Platformers that includes ten great games from early in the series (well, if we're honest, it's more like five games, given that they're including multiple versions of the same games as different entries). These games are absurdly unforgiving, but they're still solid classics, and there's a good amount of bonus content here as well. This collection is worth a look.
A Ch'ti Bundle Compilation / Puzzle-Platformer / Platformer / Music-Rhythm 1 Ethan: Meteor Hunter, Inside My Radio C+ Ethan: Meteor Hunter is a mediocre Puzzle-Platformer, but Inside My Radio is a decent Platformer with Music-Rhythm elements. However, since you can get Inside My Radio separately, you're probably better off just doing that.
Card Game Bundle Vol. 1 Compilation / Card Game 1 Frost, Monster Slayers C- Card Game Bundle Vol. 1 is a collection of Frost and Monster Slayers, both different types of Card Game. Unfortunately, Frost isn't very fun, and Monsters Slayers is already in another better bundle. There's simply not much reason to get this bundle when you have multiple better options.
Cooking Tycoons 3-in-1 Bundle Compilation / Arcade 1 Food Truck Tycoon, Burger Chef Tycoon, Pizza Bar Tycoon C+ Cooking Tycoons 3-in-1 Bundle is a Compilation of three Arcade-style restaurant-themed games where players rush to fill the correct orders. It's decent, but Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! offers more depth and variety in one game than all three of these combined, and at the same price.
Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King Compilation / Platformer 1 Aladdin (Genesis, Genesis (Final Cut version), Genesis (Demo Version), Game Boy, Game Boy (Colorized)), The Lion King (Super Nintendo, Super Nintendo (Japanese version), Genesis, Game Boy, Game Boy (Colorized)) C+ Aladdin and The Lion King are a pair of classic Platformers, each with visuals and animation that have aged extremely well, but the gameplay hasn't been quite so lucky. They're presented here in a package that includes multiple versions of each game (though you'll likely only want to play one version of each), and with a huge assortment of options and extra features, but at a ridiculous price. This is a package that should please fans of the original games and those looking for insights into graphic design and animation, but everyone else is better off staying away from this one.
Framed Collection Compilation / Graphic Puzzle 1 Framed, Framed 2 C+ Framed Collection is a pair of puzzle games where you're moving around frames of a comic to make sure the hero survives the story. It's a great concept with an amazing presentation, but the gameplay makes it frequently frustrating and tedious.
Nerdook Bundle Vol. 1 Compilation 1-2 Co-Op (Local Split-Screen), 1-2 Competitive (Local) Monster Slayers, Reverse Crawl, Vertical Drop Heroes HD C+ Nerdook Bundle Vol. 1 is a collection of three games from developer Nerdook, each in a different genre, but all of them sharing a similar presentation. Unfortunately, that presentation is fairly forgettable, and while each of the games in this collection is decent, none is truly spectacular and two of them are actually very similar to other, much better, games. If you want to save money this collection is okay, but you may be better off looking at those better games instead.
Sega Ages Columns II: A Voyage Through Time Compilation / Match-3 Falling Block Puzzle 1-2 Competitive (Local / Online), Online Leaderboards Columns, Columns II: A Voyage Through Time C+ Sega Ages Columns II marks the first time this 1990 arcade Match-3 Falling Block Puzzle game has been released stateside, and what's more, it comes with the original Columns and a slew of game modes and options. This is a phenomenal port, but sadly it's a fantastic port of two mediocre Puzzle games. Fans of the genre and collectors may find some interest in this release, but others are better off looking to better games in the genre.
SNK 40th Anniversary Collection Compilation / Arcade 1-4 Co-Op / Competitive / Team Competitive (Local, Local Alternating) - Mostly 1-2 Co-Op (Local) and 1-2 (Local Alternating) 32 Games (full list in review) C+ SNK 40th Anniversary Collection is a selection of 32 classic SNK games released prior to the Neo Geo, mostly arcade games with a few Nintendo Entertainment System games as well, with the games being mostly 2-Stick Shooters, Shmups, and Top-Down Action games. There's a lot of trash to wade through in this collection, but there are a handful of real gems too, and a healthy helping of game options and bonus content. If you're a fan of classic games, specifically the genres I named above, this collection may be worth your while.
Indie Darling Bundle Vol. 2 Compilation / Puzzle / Metroidvania / 2-Stick Shooter / Action-Platformer 1-2 Co-Op (Local) Bleed 2, Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut, The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human C Indie Darling Bundle Vol. 2 is a collection of three games by publisher Digerati, ranging from average to pretty good. However, two of the three games can already be found in other bundles, and only one game here, Bleed 2, is truly stand-out. Unless you're looking to complete a collection or specifically interested in these games, you're probably better off skipping this collection.
Indie Puzzle Bundle Vol. 1 Compilation / Puzzle 1 Glass Masquerade, Letter Quest Remastered, Pipe Push Paradise, Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut C Indie Puzzle Bundle Vol. 1 is a collection of four Puzzle games that are all in the average-to-decent range, and all provide a good amount of variety. Having said that, there's no truly stand-out games here, and even saving $10 on the cost of buying these games separately still makes for a steep price. If you're a fan of the genre and this game has a good sale it may be worth getting, but otherwise steer clear.
Namco Museum Compilation / Arcade / Various 1-4 Competitive (Local) Dig Dug, Galaga, Galaga '88, Pac-Man, Pac-Man Vs., Rolling Thunder, Rolling Thunder 2, Sky Kid, Splatterhouse, Tank Force, The Tower of Druaga C Namco Museum features a collection of games that includes some true classics. Unfortunately, when you compare this to other game compilations, even prior Namco Museum releases, the $30 price tag is a huge rip-off for only 10 games, 9 of which were released over 25 years ago. For shame.
Planescape Torment and Icewind Dale: Enhanced Editions Compilation / RPG 1 Planescape Torment: Enhanced Edition, Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition C Planescape Torment and Icewind Dale: Enhanced Editions are two classic Western RPGs from 1999 and 2000 that are finally playable on a console for the first time in this release. Unfortunately, the awkward controls in this release make it seem like the game was a poor fit for consoles in the first place, and this problem is made worse by horribly dated graphics. On top of that, the basic game design here is very user-unfriendly, even for those who can get used to the odd controls. The story and voice acting in both of these games is still excellent, but only the most patient players will find it worth suffering through this archaic mess to enjoy that story.
Syberia 1 & 2 Compilation / Graphic Adventure 1 Syberia, Syberia II C Syberia 1 & 2 is a compilation of two Graphic Adventure games that were once celebrated but now really show their age, with dated graphics, confusing puzzle design, and occasional interface issues. There's still some real quality work here, but it's buried under a decade and a half of dust.
The Jackbox Party Pack 6 Compilation / Party Games 1-10 Competitive (Local) (4 Recommended) Trivia Murder Party 2, Role Models, Joke Boat, Dictionarium, Push the Button C The Jackbox Party Pack 6 is a Collection of Party Games that includes five games that players play using their Smartphone instead of a controller. While this isn't the worst collection of games Jackbox has put out, it is still a pretty terrible selection of games with little that stands out. I recommend you get one of the other Jackbox collections instead.
30-in-1 Game Collection Compilation 1-4 Co-Op / Competitive (Local), Online Leaderboards 30 Games (full list in review) C- 30-in-1 Game Collection has a handful of decent games in among the stinkers, but even the best games here are lacking the options and could have used time to develop into a complete experience. Also, the collection unfortunately forces you to play through the stinkers to unlock all of the games. There is fun to be had here, but you have to sift through a lot of crap to find it, and the fun won’t last long when you do.
Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Editions Compilation / RPG 1 Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition C- Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Editions are two classic Western RPGs from 1998 and 2000 that are finally playable on a console for the first time in this release. Unfortunately, the awkward controls in this release make it seem like the game was a poor fit for consoles in the first place, and this problem is made worse by horribly dated graphics that make the game an eyesore. On top of that, the basic game design here is very user-unfriendly, even for those who can get used to the odd controls. The story and voice acting in both of these games is still excellent, but only the most patient players will find it worth suffering through this archaic mess to enjoy that story.
Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 Compilation / Action-Platformer 1, Online Leaderboards Mega Man X5, Mega Man X6, Mega Man X7, Mega Man X8 C- Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 is a collection of the second set of four games in this series of Action-Platformers. These are the worst games in the series, and four of the worst games in any Mega Man series, and while there's a healthy amount of bonus content here, a lot of it is the same bonus content already included in the first, and far superior, Mega Man X Legacy Collection. In short, this is a collection only for the most die hard of Mega Man fans.
Uni Compilation / Arcade 2 Competitive (Local) 40 Games (full list in review) C- Uni is a collection of 40 mini-games that can only be played with 2 players. Most of these games are outright terrible, but there are a handful of pretty good ones mixed in here, and if you can get this collection on discount they might prove to be a good distraction. However, even the best games here are seriously lacking content and options needed to hold your interest for very long.
Zen Chess Collection Compilation / Puzzle / Board Game 1 Zen Chess: Mate in One, Zen Chess: Mate in Two, Zen Chess: Mate in Three, Zen Chess: Mate in Four C- Zen Chess Collection contains four "games" that are all variations of "Mate the opponent in X moves". It has a nice presentation, but the lack of variety and options here is really disappointing.
Arcade Fuzz Compilation / Arcade 1 TTV3, Warpzone Drifter D+ Arcade Fuzz is a compilation of two Arcade-style games, TTV3 and Warpzone Drifter. TTV3 has players avoiding obstacles and trying to reach the edge of the screen, and Warpzone Drifter has players steering an out-of-control car to various points on the screen in a time limit. Unfortunately, both games have frustrating visual design that doesn't convey necessary information to the player, resulting in frequent, frustrating deaths that sap the fun out of these games.
Dead Fun Pack Compilation / Auto-Runner / Arcade 1-2 Competitive (Local) Mutant Alien Moles of the Dead, Run Run and Die D+ Dead Fun Pack is a compilation of two games - a terrible Auto-Runner, and a decent Wack-A-Mole game. There's just not much here to make this package worthwhile.
The Jackbox Party Pack 4 Compilation / Party Games 2-16 Competitive (Local) (4 Recommended) Fibbage 3, Survive the Internet, Monster Seeking Monster, Bracketeering, Civic Doodle D The Jackbox Party Pack 4 is a Collection of Party Games that includes five games that players play using their Smartphone instead of a controller. Of all the Jackbox collections so far, this is my least favorite, with three of the games here being absolute trash. If it wasn't for the brilliant Fibbage 3 being in this collection, it would be a complete waste, and since you can get the earlier Fibbage games in Party Pack 1 and 2 (along with other good games), there's little reason to get this one unless you've exhausted those and absolutely need more Fibbage.
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2019 Offseason Review Series: Day 18 - The Carolina Panthers

Team: The Carolina Panthers

Division: The NFC South

It’s that time of year again! After a season that could best be described as “a hangover you don’t deserve”, we watched the Panthers soar to a 6-2 record. After a beatdown of eventual playoff caliber Baltimore, It finally looked like we were poised to shrug off our non-consecutive winning streak habit. But it was not meant to be. A combination of shallow defensive depth and a lingering shoulder issue for Cam Newton saw us collapse down the stretch, and we ended 7-9 winning only a single game. After watching the sharp downturn of our fortunes, questions surrounding our QB’s health and a major exodus of our most tenured veteran talent, one could be forgiven for a glum outlook on the franchise’s future going into this offseason.
But despite the spirit in which we entered it, this offseason has been a resounding success. And one that leaves little doubt that we’re an improved team despite our more prominent losses. What follows is a point for point breakdown in how we made the transition from collapsed contender to potential comeback story.

Coaching Changes

None whatsoever.
From both the commentator sphere and other fanbases, the Panthers were pretty roundly rebuked for hiring offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Despite alarms being raised over 7 step drops and an over reliance on deep shot, Turner was a revelation for our offense. He apparently meant every word of emphasizing high completion throws and taking pressure off of Cam, and we began to see looks for our QB that were totally absent in the Mike Shula era. He’s now had a chance to throw dump offs, and to have reliable comeback options. Cam, prior to breaking down, was enjoying one of the best seasons of his career and despite the shoulder injury, still finished with a career high completion percentage. Christian McCaffery, our other offensive mainstay, saw his rushing efficiency go from 3.7 YPC his rookie season to 5.0 yards in year two, with his total scrimmage yardage upticking from 1,086 to 1,965 in Norv’s new passing and blocking system. Turner’s tenure thus far has been an unmitigated success and a refreshing change of pace from the stale, dull system we fell into under Shula.
The other transition, from Steve Wilkes to Eric Washington at defensive coordinator, yielded decidedly more mixed results. Washington, simply put, was not good in his transition from the DL coach. In over his depth. He struggled all year, culminating in Rivera assuming defensive playcalling down the stretch. The turnaround in our defense once he did was remarkable, though by that point, Cam was falling apart so visibly that what happened on that side of the ball no longer mattered. Washington has been retained for the upcoming season, but Rivera’s going to keep the playcalling duties.
And captaining the ship is Rivera himself. Despite a call for his head among our fanbase’s more frustrated elements, Rivera was kept for 2019. And I’m glad for it. All or Nothing (though I’ve not had a chance to see it) provided a window into his management style, vindicating some like me who pushed back against narratives that he was a dispassionate robot. And while I’m a bit higher on Ron than many, I don’t think it’s unsafe at all to say that none of the coaching hires would have represented an obvious upgrade. At the end of the day, Rivera lead a squad to 6-2 before his QB’s season derailed, which is not really on him. He could maybe be criticized for letting Washington fail for too long, but at the end of the day, few of our woes from last year can be solely attributed to him. While this is certainly a put up or get out year for Rivera, I have little doubt that he’ll be leading the gang come 2020 as well.

Departures

Thomas Davis, LB - Now we get into the stuff that hurts. And this one really, really hurts. I understand it. We needed to figure out whether Thompson could stand on his own like, yesterday so we can decide his long term potential. Davis, while still playing at a high level, is an old man for the position he plays. Letting him walk was a logical decision. But none of it changes the fact that Davis has been the soul of this defense for over a decade, and was easily one of the most beloved players and leaders over the 14 years he spent with us. He will be missed, both for his play and his spirit.
Julius Peppers, DE - Speaking of franchise staples, long time DE and future Hall of Fame inductee Julius Peppers’ watch has ended. Unlike Davis, who we simply allowed to leave, Pep has called it a career. And what a career it was. Though almost every single article about our defensive adjustments leads off with “With Peppers retiring, the Panthers no longer have anyone who can rush the passer”, the reality is that Pep did far less than his opposite in Mario Addison to that effect. Though he came back to us in 2017 with a monster 11 sack season, that number was always misleading given how few pressures he accomplished it on. Last year, he came back down to earth. It was time, and while I wish we could have given Pep one last, Super Bowl winning hurrah, a new direction was needed.
Ryan Kalil, C - Ryan Kalil rounds out our list of beloved departing veterans. The anchor of our offensive line for 12 years has hung up his cleats. Of all the offseason changes, this was by far the scariest, as the difference between Cam with and without a good center of the course of his career has been stark and terrifying. Kalil was a damn good player right up to the end, though the rash of injuries he suffered between 2016 and 2018 clearly took their toll on his performance. And while we have replaced him (and debatably upgraded), Kalil was both a locker room leader and a damn good contributor that will be missed by all.
Devin Funchess, WR - We now get into the departures who will be less missed. Funchess, admittedly, gets a bit of a bad wrap from our fanbase who often talk about him as though he were trash. While not trash, he is at least very replaceable. In fact, Funchess replacement began well before the expiration of his contract, as he had been fully supplanted by rookie DJ Moore and sophomore Curtis Samuel down the stretch last year. By the end, he was a healthy scratch. While I’m sure he’s going to put up numbers in Andrew Luck’s offense, Funchess is no sort of elite talent. He’s a big body who fails to gain separation and who inconsistently leverages his size to his advantage. I view his upside as a Brandon LaFell type of guy. And that type of guy is no longer a fit for what we’re trying to do.
Matt Kalil, OT - If the Carolina fandom is ambivalent about Funyun’s departure, we’re positively giddy about this one. Cut with a June 1st designation, Kalil saved us the money that allowed other moves to be possible. Though the shine has come off the diamond that was Gettleman’s tenure with us, the man often doesn’t get the credit he should. He did do a great deal for us, particularly his completely unheralded building of our OL (No less than 3 of our 5 starters this coming season will have been Gettleman acquisitions). But by far the biggest mistake in his tenure was the massive albatros of a contract he doled out to Matt Kalil, who could not have failed more spectacularly (or predictably) to live up to it.
Mike Adams, FS - I speak on behalf of the fanbase when I say that we have nothing but respect for Adams. He was a solid player and a veteran leader who spent his last two years giving lift to a secondary that hasn’t seen a great safety tandem since the Clinton Administration. But your eyes don’t deceive. We really were running his 37 year old ass out there as a free safety. And that simply could not be allowed to continue. I wish Adams the best, but it was time to move on.

Arrivals

Matt Paradis, C - Here’s the fun stuff. After losing Kalil to retirement, we signed former Broncos safety Matt Paradis to replace him. At only 29, Paradis represents a significant youthening at the position, and for a guy whose upside is top 5 at the position, we got him at a significant discount. Obviously that discount was due to medical risks, which prompted his release by the Broncos in the first place. But Paradis’ has been fully cleared from day 1 and avoided the PUP list. By all accounts, he’s in tip top shape. We’ll obviously see how that holds up as the season gets underway, but Paradis is definitely one of the steals of the 2019 free agency period and I could not be happier to have him. His arrival is enormous for our prospects, and has turned our biggest positional question mark into an area of strength.
Daryl Williams, OT - It’s a bit disingenuous to call Williams an arrival, as he never actually left. But that he never left is nothing short of remarkable. After a 2017 All Pro season, Williams suffered a major setback of an injury in 2018 training camp that eventually turned into a season ending injury after he tried to rush back. Still though, the League is constantly hungry for All Pro level OT talent and I was sure Williams was going to get scooped up. Instead, he signed a 1 year, $6 million deal to come back to us, and short of black magic I’m not entirely sure how Marty Hurney pulled it off. Williams is a terrific player who can play many parts of the OL. He can slot in at LG if rookie OT Greg Little can win the LT job, but also provides insurance at LT if he can’t. He and Moton playing opposite one another represents the best OT tandem that Cam Newton has ever enjoyed.
Gerald McCoy, DT - Awwwww yeah! My all time favorite Tampa Bay Buccaneer is now a Carolina Panther. McCoy is a rock solid DT who truly needs no introduction from me. How we plan to use him is a bit murkier, but use him we definitely will. I suspect to see McCoy playing DT opposite Kawaan Short in our 3-4 looks (more on that in a minute), to line up next to him in our 5-2 looks, and to work with him on pass rushing 4-3 sets. He adds more juice to a pass rush that already saw a healthy injection of talent this year, and is more consistent in the run game than some of the other DL on the roster, which was a notable area of weakness last season. He fits the versatility first mold that’s going to allow Rivera to mix up our defensive looks as transition fully to a hybrid, and is a terrific leader in the locker room besides. Our beat writers have described him as “joined at the hip” with Kawaan Short, and I fully expect the pair to make one another better.
Bruce Irvin, OLB - Perhaps the first real signal that this wasn’t going to be the Carolina defense of yesteryear, Irvin is a vet leadership, change of pace signing. In moving to a hybrid defense, we acquired a number of rookie talents to complement OLBs like Marquis Hayes. Irvin rounds out that group, and provides us with a valuable cog in pass rushing sets and a good leader for the younguns. Though he’s not as disruptive as he once was, Irvin is a rock solid player who provides us with quality depth and leadership.
Chris Hogan, WR - A graduate of the Patriots Random White Guy Academy, Hogan flashed serious potential for his first couple of years in New England before getting gradually phased out of the offense. I’m not expecting much, but he has the potential to help us on deep balls and it’s generally never a bad thing to have more talent at WR.
Aldrick Robinson, WR - Robinson does one thing and one thing only, which is catch touchdowns. Conveniently, that’s one thing we struggled with last season. But with Greg Olsen now fully healthy and a sudden wealth of other options at WR, I would give Robinson long odds of making the roster.

Draft

Pick 1.16: Brian Burns, DE/OLB - I am still in shock that Brian Burns was available at pick #16. I wanted him very badly, but I was certain he’d be an Atlanta Falcon. Instead, people allowed him to fall all the way to us and I couldn’t be happier. Burns is the apotheosis of what we’re trying to accomplish with our defensive transition. He’s a guy as comfortable upright as he is with his hand in the dirt. While he lacks strength as a run defender, he has incredible burst off the edge and a ludicrously high ceiling as a pass rusher. I think he landed on a terrific team to turn that potential into reality and I’m extremely excited about what he can do with us.
Pick 2.37 Greg Little, OT - Every description I’ve ever read of Little has described him as “Pro Ready”, and the team clearly drafted him with an eye on starting at LT. Luckily, we’ve hedged that bet a bit with the Daryl Williams signing, but Little still projects as a talented young player with a high floor and a well rounded skillset. If not the LT starter this year, he’ll almost certainly have the job to himself next season.
PIck 3.100 Will Grier, QB - Boy did this piss people off at the time. Though cooler heads have since prevailed, this pick was seen by one group of reactionaries as an indictment on Cam’s health, and another as a wasted pick on a player who will never produce for us. The reality is neither. While Cam’s health is in good shape (put a pin it), we were put in a position last year in which he needed to rest a clearly deteriorating shoulder, but we had no faith in the men behind him to win games. If that’s the state of your backup, you need a better backup. This is a team that has seen playoff runs hinge on a game or two that Derek Anderson filled in for. So even as high as pick 100, Grier was a worthy investment. In terms of his playstyle, Grier slots as an accurate QB with a good deep ball and a cerebral style, but average arm strength and mediocre release.
Pick 4.115 Christian Miller, OLB - Like Burns, Miller projects as a do-all DE/OLB who can play either upright or down low. He’s an athletic prospect whose game is a bit raw, but who checks all the measurable boxes. Likely a top 50 player before injuries kept him out of the pre-draft process, Miller represents a hell of a value at 115. I suspect we’ll see he and Burns as long term staples of the pass rush.
Pick 5.114 Jordan Scarlett, RB - This was a bit of an odd one, but I’ve warmed to it over time. Scarlett is a bruising, violent running back who I’m almost certain was drafted to lend a hand in the red zone. As a change of pace to CMC, the two could not be more different. But coaches thus far have raved about his conditioning and power, so the pick may not have been as crazy as it looked at the time. Having said that, while I don’t think anyone should ever get upset over a 5th round pick, I do think we could have found better value at this position. Scarlett wasn’t likely to be gone by the time we selected our next player.
Pick 6.212 Denis Daley, OT - I like this pick quite a bit. Daley had a rough statline in terms of sacks allowed when facing a veritable who’s who of elite college pass rushers (Jachari Polite, Josh Allan, Clelin Ferrell among them). But in spite of that, scouting reports consistently cite both his physical gifts and his improvement as the season went on. If he can cut down on his most egregious habits (most notably his overeager lunging at edge rushers), he has legit starting potential.
Pick 7.237 Terry Godwin, WR - Godwin’s whole game is predicated on speed and football IQ. At 5’11, it’s certainly not coming from his physical measurables. But he was by all accounts a high work ethic, smart players who contributed admirably in his four years as Georgia starter. Godwin’s ceiling is likely a Curtis Samuel backup, but his early rapport with Cam makes me think he’ll stick on the roster despite his late draft spot.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Offense - With Cam’s health reportedly looking good (particularly his ability to throw deep; something he was never capable of throughout Camp) and the team adapting so well to Norv Turner’s system, I think offense as a whole is a good place to start. Though I said it last year, only to be hilariously wrong, Greg Olsen is operating at 100% as well, which provides a boost to our red zone effectiveness that is difficult to measure. By the end of last year, both DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel appeared to be on the cusp of a major breakout, both proving themselves so reliable that Devin Funchess was a healthy scratch by week 17. Those two should continue to grow, and Jarius Wright has proven to be a valuable slot receiver. And, of course, there’s CMC, who will continue to be our best offensive weapon not named Cam Newton. With good health and plenty of diverse options, I suspect the good times to continue to roll as we enter year two of Turner’s stewardship.
Offensive Line - I can’t emphasize this enough, but our offensive line is nasty. With Williams’ return, we now have an All Pro OT to pair with breakout sensation Taylor Moton, which makes for an excellent tandem. Matt Paradis replaces, and if we’re being honest, provides an upgrade over Ryan Kalil, and Trai Turner is as effective a RG as ever. LG will likely be manned by whichever of Williams or Little doesn’t win LT, and Greg Van Roten (who’s performed admirably at the position) is still in the building as well. This is a very solid group of players, and a massive upgrade over what we had to work with last year.
Pass Rush - This was a major area of concern last year, but I’m happy with where we’re at now. The transition to a hybrid defense was the right call for our personnel set, and between the draft and free agency, we’ve upgraded across the board. McCoy is a huge boost to our interior pressure and Brian Burns should contribute immediately. Efe Obada will likely continue to grow, and the new system is a much better fit for talented sophomore Marquis Hayes. Irvin is solid rotational addition as well, and Mario Addison is as stalwart a pass rusher as ever. All in all, we’ve gone from an extremely one dimensional pass rush to one that is versatile and capable of throwing multiple looks at our opponents. We will be hard to predict and hard to stop when we come at the QB next year.
Weaknesses
Run Defense - Though I’ve seen little attention paid to it, I’m very concerned about our run defense this year. Although we’ve beefed the hell out of the defensive front, few of these pieces excel in run defense. McCoy has mostly staked his reputation on being a 3 tech. Hayes, Miller and Burns were all flagged as prospect that lacked run support talent. Poe was miserable in defending the run last year, and it’s never really been Short’s bag. In terms of yards per carry, we finished 8th overall which sounds good. But this was mostly on the strength of changes when Rivera took over the playcalling, as backs tended to run over us consistently early in the year. As long as we have Luke, our run defense will be solid. But I do worry that with so much (needed, mind you) emphasis put on rushing the passer, we’ve left off this part of the game.
The Secondary: As always with us, the secondary is a concern. It is, to be fair, less a concern than in previous years. Donte Jackson and James Bradberry both enjoyed very solid campaigns last year, and the former has allegedly done a lot of growing over the previous season. Eric Reid represents a good, solid strong safety. But free safety is, as ever, a mess. The job is going to sophomore player Rashaan Gaulden, but I think his capturing the position unopposed has less to do with what coaches see in him, and running out of money after doling out contracts to Paradis, McCoy and Williams. Our secondary, while improved, was inconsistent last season and was the primary reason we finished in the middle of the pack.
And honestly, that’s about it. This is one of the strongest rosters Carolina has fielded in the Riv-Era, at least on paper.

X Factors

Cam’s Health - Those of your who frequent nfl have likely seen my refrain on this many a time, but Cam’s health is not as dire as last season made it look, and the Andrew Luck comparisons have always been, frankly, crazy. In 2016, Cam tore his rotator cuff. He rushed his recovery in order to play in 2017. This created a buildup of scar tissue which, when coupled with a minor bone spur, caused a great deal of swelling this year that put Netwon in pain and limited his range of motion. It’s one of those injuries that, while not terrible by any means, does require either surgery or a great deal of rest. Cam, by virtue of being alpha and omega to this team, had the luxury of neither. The swelling persisted until he could barely throw. While that looks scary, the actual diagnosis was not that grim, and a simple shoulder scope as cleared the damage. By all accounts, he’s 100% and even making throws that he was incapable of these last two years. Bill Voth, who was the first (and for a long time, only) writer sounding the alarm on Cam’s strength as far back as 2017, has said that he’s making throws that look like his old self routinely.
However, we are putting him on a pitch count. This like likely vet maintenance rather than a source of genuine alarm. But after the last couple of years, he does make you sweat a little.
OL Health - The major fly in the ointment when it comes to Carolina’s optimism over its OL is that big if healthy caveat. If healthy, Paradis is a top 5 Center. If healthy, Williams has All Pro talent. 4 days into camp, however, neither is participating in serious pass rush drills and only today suited up in pads. It is possible that they’re just being eased along. They did avoid the PUP list, which we were almost sure was going to get Paradis at the very least. So they appear to be alright. But if they’re not, or they reinjure again, we go from being an extremely strong team to a fatally flawed one. A great deal is riding on the health of those two players, and the entire house of cards could fall apart quickly if they’re unable to deliver.
Greg Olsen - The one health flag that I do have complete confidence in is tight end Greg Olsen. Suffering a series of foot breaks, he is now moving around at 100% capacity and has been medically cleared for all activity for months. Bone breaks are, when all is written, temporary injuries that often heal stronger when they actually get a chance to heal. Our most trusted beat writers, Voth and Rodrigue, have both been crystal clear that he looks like his old self and that his connection with Newton is as faithful as ever. What I’m less clear on is his role in the offense. For years, Greg Olsen was the pivotal piece of our passing game. But with his largely being sidelined with foot injuries over the last two years, the game has moved on. Curtis Samuel and DJ Moore are both going to receive plenty of targets, and McCaffery will be a critical element to the passing game. Greg will undoubtedly be our principle red zone threat, but the growth of other options has downgraded his loss from catastrophic to merely unfortunate. What role he carves out, and what boost he’s able to give our offense, will be very interesting to watch.
4-3 No More: Much has been made of the Carolina's transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 this offseason. And most of it is crap. We aren't exactly moving in a direction that binary. IN the past, we have strictly been a 4-3 team throughout the Riv-Era. That is about to change, but not to a 3-4. What Rivera showed last year is a willingness to mix and match personnel sets. There were 3-4 looks, 4-3 looks and even 5-2 looks. What we're moving toward is thus not a single, codified base, but a hybrid defense that can throw out a number of formations and switch between them quickly. We want players who can play OLB and DE. DTs who can play DE. LBs who can drop into coverage and rush the passer. A modern defense is one that doesn't limit itself, which is why such a premium has been put on players with positional versatility. On paper, our personnel set is very well built for this. How it pans out in practice remains to be seen. It's a very radical transitioning happening over a short period of time, and while I think our defense has the potential to be excellent, there will doubtless be some growing pains as we navigate the transition.

Positional Battles

Very little to speak of. The premier battle is going to be between Greg Little and Daryl Williams at LT. Apart from that, the timeshare that forms in different defensive sets will be intriguing. But for the most part, the roster is set.

Win Loss Predictions

I hate this part, particularly since the NFCS is a murderers row at present. The Panthers have a shot at a serious playoff run if all the chips fall right, but the Falcons are likely going to be resurgent (god you have no idea how much it hurts me to type that) and the Saints aren’t going anywhere. The Buccs I’m sure will do their best.
That alone makes pinpointing what our season looks like in terms of Ws and Ls difficult. But this year, we’re also playing the equally enigmatic AFCS, whose teams look like contenders or middlers in turns. Even our other divisional draw, the NFCW, is difficult to find the pulse of.
So rather than pretend that I know what each game is going to look like, I’m going to do what I always do; Likely wins, likely losses, toss ups.
Likely Wins: TB, @AZ, JAX, @TB, @SF, TEN, WAS
Likely Losses: LAR, @NO, @IND
Toss Ups: @HOU, @GB, ATL, NO, @ATL, SEA
So that’s 7 likely wins, 3 likely losses and 6 toss ups.
If that seems like an unusually high degree of uncertainty, that’s because it is. Last year started off strong and fell apart for reasons that are both obvious and cautiously behind us. We’ve only improved over the offseason and should be formidable. But the schedule is grueling and many questions are yet unanswered. I said in my last offseason review that last year was likely going to be a tough season, and should be viewed mainly as a proof of concept for the new ideas we were incorporating via Turner’s offense and our gradual move away from a 4-3 defense. Well, it was a tough year for reasons of which I had no inkling at the time, and it was a proof of concept. And for the most part? The concept was proven sound. So this offseason, we’ve built on it and patched over the holes that developed in it.
I know that “This offseason is a major turning point” is one of those things that gets thrown around a lot. It’s like how every Presidential election gets described as historic, as though choosing the leader of the free world could ever be anything but. But in a very real sense, this franchise has hit a turning point. Cam has to bounce back this year or he’ll face major doubts about his future contract. Rivera has to bounce back this year, or he’ll be out of a job. GM Marty Hurney has done an excellent job restocking the cupboards, but we’ve been down this road of defensive transition and an offense that eases things on the quarterback before. Last year, both ideas mostly worked, but this is the season where we must commit to them and see them through if we want to succeed with the parts we have. Thus the Panthers find themselves where we always seem to. We are a team that is as capable of going on a deep playoff run as we are forcing a total rebuild in the next two years. But for what it’s worth, I think it’s going to be a strong, “Eureka!” type season where everything finally comes together. For the sake of Rivera and company, I hope it does.
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[OC] Building an NFL Draft Model using Machine Learning

Happy Sunday nfl. Like most of the users here, I get draft-obsessed every February when the Combine comes around. Well, this year I decided to do something about it by building a draft model. If you're not interested in the details, you can stop right here and click the links below.
 
Model outputs from validation can be viewed here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1-ooQ4UTafyFOTWDtbYGmPgdHfspY8bci45tUS6I5-LU/edit?usp=sharing
Album of select draft prospect profiles: https://imgur.com/a/SCdkLj1
I've created some simple player visual dashboards which present position-specific percentile rankings in performance and athleticism. Each of these refer to either neutralized statistics, or engineered features, so "Tackles" is more accurately "Neutralized Tackles per Game" and "Speed" is actually "Speed Score". If anyone has requests to see other players, let me know and I'll try to cover all of them.

Research Goal

To build an NFL draft model capable of producing meaningful player predictions. I had originally planned to do so using a fuzzy Random Forest trained on NFL Combine and Pro Day physical measurements, individual and team college statistics, and engineered features. The model produced superior results when treating physical measurements as crisp rather than fuzzy, which was surprising but nonetheless forced me to change my approach.
Random Forest model is appropriate for this dataset because of the relatively small number of observations (roughly 250-300 players per draft class) and the highly non-linear relationship between the input and output variables. Random Forests are fairly robust against overfitting, which is a concern when modelling noisy data.
Player performance is impacted by round and team selection in the draft - first-round selections receive more opportunities than seventh-round selections, different schemes fit some players better. Because of this the model performance can be greatly improved by including some regression to draft selection or, in the case of test data, public rankings.

Model Output

I've decided to take the novel approach of using player ratings from EA Sports' Madden video game franchise as a proxy for player production, skill, and value. This is beneficial for a number of reasons. The first is that these ratings provide continuous output on a consistent scale across both years and positions; a player rated 99 overall is considered to be elite at their position, regardless of the unique responsibilities or challenges in quantifying performance specific to that position. The second reason is that Madden ratings predate modern quantitative evaluative metrics like those provided by Football Outsiders or Pro Football Focus.
Madden ratings explained - https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/madden/#
Overall ratings are calculated using position-specific formulas that weight individual attributes like speed, strength, and tackling. Ratings are updated each year through a Bayesian-like process of weighing new information to update old. To aggregate ratings for each player, I use a 5-part mean which includes ratings in Years 1-4 and Peak rating.
NFL rookie contract length is 4 seasons (along with a fifth year club option for first-round picks), while the average career length in the NFL is less than 4 years. As such, when building a draft model is makes sense to only consider production accrued during the first 4 years of a player's career.
Year 1 represents the Madden rating given to each player following their rookie season. For this reason, the final year for which complete data is available is the 2014 draft class (with Madden 19 providing Year 4 ratings). This decision was made to better capture NFL success, as rookie player ratings are highly dependent on draft order. For example, in Madden 2008 rookie #1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell was awarded an overall rating of 82, just 1 point lower than #3 overall pick Joe Thomas. The next year, Russell's rating was 83, while Thomas was a 97 overall. By Madden 2010, Russell was given a rating of 72 overall, while Thomas maintained his 97 overall rating. Year 3 and Year 4 ratings have been given double weight for the same reason, with the added effect of lowering the ratings of players who were not able to stay in the league for at least 4 years.
While this metric on the whole does a good job of ranking player talent and production, it is blind to players who peaked later in their careers or those who had short careers. Notable examples of each include Eric Weddle (84.6 rating, eventual 2x All Pro, 6x Pro Bowl) and Jon Beason (95.4 rating, 1x All-Pro, 3x Pro Bowl). Weddle did not reach his peak until after re-signing with the Chargers as an unrestricted free agent prior to the 2011 season, and could have presumably reached his peak while playing for another team. Beason suffered an Achilles injury during the 2011 season and eventually lost his job with the Panthers, starting in only 26 games in the years following his rating window. Beason would have been eligible to sign as a free agent following the 2011 season had the Panthers not offered a contract extension.
In the NFL, the drafting team maintains the exclusive right to employ each player for 4 years following their selection, thus it is incumbent upon the team to select and develop players who provide the most value during that period. For that reason I stand by the decision to evaluate draft selections only on a player's first 4 years in the league.

Dataset

I wrote several web scraping programs to pull data from NFL Draft Scout (an excellent resource for Combine data, and the only source I'm aware of that includes Pro Day data), Pro-Football-Reference, and CFB Reference (both Sports-Reference-operated sites, easily the best sources for football statistics in the NFL or FBS).
The dataset covers the 2006-2014 draft classes and includes players who were ranked in NFL Draft Scout's top 300 in their draft year. I have removed all quarterbacks, kickers, punters, long snappers, and fullbacks due to the relatively small sample sizes or extreme specialization that each position requires. It might be valuable to evaluate these positions later – particularly quarterbacks – but for now the model focuses exclusively on 13 "skill" positions, bucketed into 7 position groups.
The dataset restrictions exclude some notable players ranked outside of the top 300, both drafted and undrafted, who went on to varying degrees of success in the NFL. At the top extreme are 4-time All Pro Antonio Brown and Super Bowl LIII MVP Julian Edelman. But while many players on this list never played a down in the NFL, it is important to be aware of which players are excluded and it may be worthwhile to expand the dataset in the future.
I have removed players from the dataset whose NFL careers were cut prematurely short either voluntarily or involuntarily (due to injury, not ability). These players' ratings (or lack thereof) are not representative of their production and thus only serve to complicate the dataset and confuse any modeling attempts. Examples include Aaron Hernandez, Gaines Adams, and Chris Borland. The list is as long as it is depressing.
There is also a subset of players who drastically changed position upon entering the league. This is contrary to less extreme position changes (tackle to guard, cornerback to safety), which occur frequently. These players have been removed because their college statistics create noisy data. Examples: Denard Robinson, Devin Hester, J.R. Sweezy.

College Statistics

College statistics have been collected and cleaned at the FBS level from Sports Reference. Using college statistics is important because they provide information on a player's in-game performance. However, college football styles vary greatly among teams and have changed over time. Therefore we must control for differences in pace and style of play when considering college numbers. Rather than attempt to fit a model on raw season total statistics, I've decided to use neutralized per game statistics under the following parameters:
 
 
To illustrate this point let's look at Calvin Johnson and Michael Crabtree, who were both highly productive college wide receivers selected early in the first round.
 
 
The two statlines appear very similar without context. It's easy to make this distinction empirically, but little effort has been made to translate college statistics into more informative data. Johnson and Crabtree put up similar overall numbers, but Crabtree did it in an air raid style offense that relied heavily on passing while Johnson played on a more balanced offense.
 
 
When we neutralize both players' statistics, we can better compare each player's level of production.
 
 
Compare those numbers to each player's NFL career statistics:
 
 
This is a cherry-picked example but it does well to show that while raw statistics are not to be trusted, college data when put into the proper context can be made more predictive. On a larger scale, we can compare RMSE of the model when including raw college statistics compared to pace- and schedule-neutralized statistics. Controlling for strength of schedule does not improve the predictiveness of the model, but controlling for pace and style of play does have a significant effect.
 
Neutralization RMSE
Raw per Game 8.065
Pace-Neutralized per Game 8.029
Pace- and Schedule-Neutralized per Game 8.058
 
Here's the full stat list, with a few notable performers:
 
Offensive Statistics
 
Defensive Statistics
 

NFL Combine and Pro Day Measurements

The final major inputs of the draft model are the physical measurements taken at the NFL Combine and university Pro Days. Pro Day measurements are harder to come by due to their decentralized and often scarcely reported nature. Fortunately, NFL Draft Scout has maintained a database of reported Pro Day measurements spanning the years in our dataset.
There is an enormous benefit in using Pro Day measurements in a model like this. It allows for a larger training set by including data on players who were not invited to the NFL Combine, but also provides much more complete data because not all players who attend the combine perform the full slate of workouts. This lessens the need for imputation and reduces uncertainty.
However, there is bias observed in Pro Day measurements. Pro Days are typically scheduled in the weeks following the NFL Combine, giving players more time to train for the specific physical events. Furthermore, they often take place at the players' home campuses in environments in which the players feel more comfortable. Lastly, many events (most notably the 40-yard dash) are hand-timed at Pro Days, leading to better reported times than the electronic times at the Combine. Each of these factors contributes to improvement in every event among the population of players who participated both at the NFL Combine and at their university Pro Day.
 
Players who participated in both NFL Combine and Pro Day
Measurement Combine Pro Day n Sigma Adjustment
40 Yard Dash 4.80 4.70 831 0.076 + 0.07
20 Yard Split 2.79 2.71 733 0.065 + 0.06
10 Yard Split 1.68 1.62 739 0.057 + 0.04
Bench Press 20.0 reps 21.7 reps 254 2.556 - 1.2
Vertical Jump 31.7" 33.6" 593 2.342 - 1.3"
Broad Jump 112.9" 115.2" 481 4.356 - 1.6"
20 Yard Shuttle 4.46 4.42 424 0.155 + 0.03
3 Cone Drill 7.34 7.22 342 0.223 + 0.08
 
In order to correct for this bias, I've (somewhat arbitrarily) chosen to shift recorded Pro Day measurements by 70% of the mean delta. Even when we correct for some of the systematic bias observed in Pro Day measurements, we must also recognize that most physical measurements aren't static. Some players aren't performing at maximum physical capacity on the day of the Combine, occasionally players injure themselves during their workout, and the measurements aren't always recorded with perfect accuracy or consistency.
A dataset with this much uncertainty lends itself well to fuzzy set theory. In simple terms, this will allow us to consider not only a player's recorded 40 yard time of 4.40, but will also consider some probability that their "true" speed is 4.39 or 4.43. So when the model attempts to predict NFL success given a player's 40 yard dash time, it's not based on a singular number but rather a distribution of times centered around that number.
Fuzzy Set Theory explanation - https://www.doc.ic.ac.uk/~nd/surprise_96/journal/vol4/sbaa/report.fuzzysets.html
My approach is to generate a random forest model on the discrete data, then fit n iterations on randomly shuffled data to generate a distribution of outcomes for each player. This "shuffling" will occur randomly for each measurement using a normal distribution centered around the discrete number, with sigma equal to half of the standard deviations recorded above.
In a single random forest, data is crisply split by decision trees based on discrete information. But with enough randomly shuffled iterations, the trees are no longer binary decisions but rather probabilistic ones centered on each measurement's distribution. This is particularly relevant for players who may have measurements near decision tree boundaries. Two players with sprint times separated by mere hundredths of a second are not appreciably different in speed, but a random forest might classify them as such. The purpose of shuffling is not to fundamentally change each player's physical characteristics, rather to acknowledge measurement uncertainty. My belief is that this will improve the model outputs over a large enough number of trials.
We have a wealth of NFL Combine and Pro Day data but not every player has participated in every drill, so we'll need to fill in missing values. Because many of these physical measurements are correlated and most football positions require some degree physical specialization (size, speed, etc.), I've chosen a k nearest neighbor imputation method. The belief is that if Players A and B are similar in terms of position, size, speed, and quickness, then the two players will also have similar strength or jumping ability. The exceptions are draft age and wingspan, which can be reasonably predicted using population means.

Engineered Features

Perhaps the most essential component of a machine learning model is feature engineering.
Modern feeling toward physical measurements taken at the Combine is highly dubious, and I agree that each measurement taken in isolation cannot alone adequately define athleticism, much less predict success. However, there exist more complex metrics which can better perform both tasks across a large enough sample.
 
Body Mass Index (BMI)
 
Speed Score
 
Height-Adjusted Speed Score
 
Vertical Jump Power
 
Broad Jump Power
 
Quickness Score
 
Weight-Adjusted Bench
 
Catch Radius
 
The models also include several features designed to summarize the collection of college statistics being used.
 
Offensive Usage
 
Defensive Disruption
 
S&P Market Share

Cross-Validation and Tuning

I've tuned the model using stratified k-fold cross validation, leaving out each draft class as OOB observations. As a result, every player has been included in both the training and validation sets. Each position group has been fit with its own unique hyperparameters to optimize predictions.
 
Hyperparameters by Position Group
Position Number of Trees Max Depth Max Features Min Leaf Samples
WR 100 5 10 3
FS 250 5 10 1
CB 50 10 20 2
SS 40 10 10 2
ILB 30 15 5 2
RB 40 10 10 1
TE 20 10 3 2
EDGE LB 50 5 10 2
EDGE DL 250 15 10 2
C 50 5 5 3
DT 100 3 10 1
OT 20 5 3 2
OG 20 10 5 2
 
Additionally, the model performed best when aggregating predictions from 3 randomized sets, as shown in the plot below. However, this fuzzy approach failed to outperform discrete features during cross-validation. I expected the opposite, but it seems treating each measurement as precise leads to the best fit.
 
RMSE Using Various Methods
Method RMSE
Discrete 8.027
1 Random set 8.122
2 Random sets 8.069
3 Random sets 8.063
5 Random sets 8.098
10 Random sets 8.115

Results and Further Research

By and large the model does surprisingly well considering the lack of more traditional evaluative inputs. NFL teams have the resources of scouting departments providing more detailed player evaluation, experienced coaching staffs evaluating personnel fits, and front offices to balance financial considerations and positional value. Each of these factor into draft decisions and improve ranking methods beyond the scope of this model.
 
Model results by position
Position RMSE n Most Important Features
WR 7.523 314 Underclassman, Usage, Age, Srimmage Yards, Total TD, Receiving Yards
FS 7.621 128 S&P Share, Age, SOS, 20-Yard Shuttle, Height, 40-Yard Dash
CB 7.604 292 Age, Quickness Score, Height-Adjusted Speed Score, S&P Share, Height, 20-Yard Dash
SS 7.437 107 Run Stuffs, BMI, Defensive Disruption, Quickness Score, Tackles, TFL
ILB 7.649 291 S&P Share, Age, Tackles, Height-Adjusted Speed Score, Vert Power
RB 8.121 194 Rush TD, Rush Yards, Age, Total TD, Scrimmage Yards, Height-Adjusted Speed Score
TE 8.097 139 Scrimmage Yards, Receiving TD, Receiving Yards, Offensive Usage, Hand Size
EDGE LB 8.846 90 S&P Share, Disruption, Catch Radius, Tackles, Weight, Age
EDGE DL 7.445 190 Age, TFL, Weight, Height-Adjusted Speed Score, Quickness Score, Underclassman
C 8.948 82 3-Cone, Weight, Broad Jump, Quickness Score, Hand Size, Age
DT 7.823 211 S&P Share, TFL, Tackles, Disruption, Run Stuffs, 3 Cone
OT 8.882 222 Age, Vert Power, Arm Length, Speed Score, Weight
OG 8.819 140 Adjusted Bench, 20-Yard Dash, Catch Radius, Quickness Score, Age, Weight
 
When properly optimized, the model can achieve RMSE below 8 during cross-validation. Unsurprisingly, it struggles most with offensive linemen, who lack individual statistics. In particular it struggles with centers, whose responsibilities in the NFL are as much mental as physical. Interestingly, NFL teams have had great success evaluating centers, as 4 of the 5 first rounders were named to All-Pro teams in their careers, and all made the Pro Bowl at some point.
As mentioned in the introduction, the model could be improved substantially by including draft selection or consensus rankings. Furthermore, team-specific random effects could likely explain some of the residuals. I may eventually explore these research questions, but my short-term priorities are on visualization and presentation of data.
 
If you've made it this far, check out my github for the source code: https://github.com/walt-king/NFL-draft-research
This was created using Python for web scraping, data collection, modelling, and visuals. I used R to create the player dashboards. Comments, thoughts, and feedback all greatly appreciated.
submitted by dataScienceThrow1 to nfl [link] [comments]

[JVerse] Rebirth Chapter 12, A Flash of Green

So to update you all on things, my hernia surgery went well and my intestines are back where they belong. Sadly I didn't have as much time to write as I would have liked, (pain meds will do that), but I managed to finally get chapter twelve done in time to give you all an extra dose of JVerse once you have finished our lord and savior's most recent chapter.

(Story is continued in the comments)
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<First><Previous><Next>
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Date Point: 3 months, 2 weeks, 5 days A.V.
Unnamed system
Planet 4 ring system
Requiem
Michael Kepler
"God damn I missed this," Michael said, flipping the Requiem around another asteroid, testing the limits of the inertial compensators.
They had gotten lucky and found the perfect system to test out the newly retrofitted Requiem. The system in question turned out to be a binary system with some rocky bodies and a truly gorgeous blue gas giant that sported a system of ice rings that were just perfect for running the old girl through her paces.
Michael gave the main thrusters all they could take, slipping through two asteroids seconds before they collided. There was a muffled cheer through the comms from the rest of the crew back onboard the Dawn. He had set up cameras all over the Requiem so his crew could watch. Right now only himself and Hephaestus were crazy enough to fly a ship built from scrap through one of the densest ring systems on record. Even Ralthin wasn't that crazy, having said that he'd rather shoot the rocks instead.
They dodged, dived, and weaved their way through the belt for another half an hour before Michael got a comms ping. He angled the ship "up" and rocketed out of the belt so he could answer without having to dodge rocks.
"What's up," Michael asked, angling the ship so he was cruising parallel to the rings.
Goralin's face showed up on the screen, "We just synced with Haven's network, and you've got a message from Gabby."
Before they had left Haven Michael had signed them up as Gabby's new security force. To keep in touch in case of an emergency Michael had purchased an FTL comms array and had set it up to sync with the local network on Haven every week. Of course, if there was an actual emergency he had spent a small fortune on a pair of quantum entangled arrays for instantaneous recall. The fact that Goralin's ears had a mischievous tilt meant that this wasn't an emergency. Meaning that it was probably the favor he had asked before they left.
"Alright, prep the hangar bay. I'm gonna test the emergency recall drive," Michael said, cutting the thrusters and letting the ship coast.
"Copy that Michael. Wait to jump until we give you the signal," Goralin said, closing the channel.
Michael switched over to the intercom, "Sorry Hephaestus, looks like we're gonna have to cut this short."
"It isss fine," Hephaestus said with the barest hint of a chuckle, "If the messsage isss from Gabby I can only think of one reassson. We are going hunting!"
"Cool your jets, we still haven't heard it yet," Michael said, running the ship through the pre-jump sequence, "All set to jump?"
One other little upgrade they did was to configure a jump drive onboard the Requiem so they could get back to the Dawn in a hurry. The only downside was that the hangar bay had to be depressurized so the sudden appearance of the Requiem didn't create a hull rupturing pressure wave.
"All sssyssstemsss are green," Hephaestus said back through the comms, "Ready for jump."
It was only a few more seconds until Michael got the comms ping signaling that the hangar bay was ready.
Michael's finger hovered over the button, "Jumping in three...two...one."
He pushed the button and the ship was inside the Dawn, perfectly centered in the hangar bay. The docking clamps engaged and the bay was pressurized in minutes. Michael ran through the shutdown sequence, unstrapped himself from the pilot seat and met Hephaestus in the airlock. They double-checked the atmospheric readout on the panel before opening the outer door. Even though Michael was wearing his armor and had no fear of stepping into hard vacuum, Hephaestus was basically naked, so it paid to be careful. They made their way up to the bridge, stopping by the mess to apologize for cutting the show short and so Michael could grab a quick snack. One downside of his new armor was that he burned a lot more calories than he ever did wearing his old suit. He walked the rest of the way up to the bridge with Hephaestus in tow.
When he opened the door to the bridge Goralin turned around in the copilot's seat, "You enjoy yourselves," he asked with a slightly mischievous tilt to his ears.
"Yeah!" Michael said enthusiastically, "and I gotta say, yinz missed a hell of a ride."
"I'll have to take your word on that one," Goralin said with a chitter, "Anyway, while we were waiting, I went through the files that were attached to the message and it looks like she sent us a good one."
"Oh," Michael asked, interested, "she send anything else?"
"Just a few video files," Goralin trailed off.
Michael looked around to see the rest of the bridge crew barely able to hold back their chittering.
So they were those kinds of videos…
Michael sighed, "Put the important one up on the main screen. I'll take a look at the rest later."
Goralin flicked his ears in amusement and brought up the message file.
Gabby appeared on the main screen, thankfully wearing her work outfit, with a cqcq cigarette in her hand, "Long time no see," she said, taking a hit and blowing the smoke off-screen, "I had my contacts do some digging and they found a good one. There's no bounty, sadly, but I don't think you'll have a problem with that. Everything you'll need should be in the files I sent along with some...other things I know you'll like," she winked at the camera, "Hoping to hear back from you soon."
"Did she send a location," Michael asked, turning toward Goralin.
"Already punched in," Goralin said with a pant-grin.
"Good man," Michael said with a gentle clap on Goralin's shoulder, "Prep the ship for warp, I'm gonna head to my quarters to uhh…review the other files she sent and get a reply together to send over during the next sync."
Michael left the bridge to sound of barely contained chittering from the crew and made his way back to his quarters. When he reached the mess heard raised voices coming from inside. So he stopped to eavesdrop just outside the door.
"For the last time Jilink," Guln said, "I have absolutely no interest in your insane delusions. No matter how...impressive you may find the humans in their mating practices!"
"Oh come now," Jilink said dismissively, "You seriously cannot believe that the way our species handles reproduction is good for our long term survival can you?"
"What other choice do we have," Guln asked, "we have long since passed the point of being biologically able to reproduce, but that is beside the point," he lowered his voice, "it was simply proposing the idea of reverting back to biological reproduction that made you one of the few Corti that had their banner status stripped all the way down to yellow."
"That was just because those in the Directorate are too narrow-minded to see past their own hubris," Jilink said angrily, "it was only when I started unlocking and splicing genes that had been previously bred out that I started to question their rhetoric. If you would just let me-"
"No! I will not hear of it. Mess with your own genetic code all you want, but I will not have you turning myself and Kilnq into genetic freaks," Guln said, moments before storming out of the mess. He ignored Michael and headed off toward the med bay.
Michael poked his head into the mess and saw Jilink sitting alone, forlornly picking at a plate of steamed mushrooms and cqcq.
She looked up as he walked over, "If you are going to play at eavesdropping you might want to consider that we can feel your every step through the deck plating," she said with a shrewd look.
"So what was your banner status," Michael asked bringing over a chair that could support the weight of himself and his armor. He sat down and took off his helmet, placing it on the table in front of him.
"No remorse and straight to the point I see," she let out a deep sigh, "Before I began...experimenting...on myself, I was a silver banner."
From what Michael knew about Corti social structure, Jilink had been next to royalty. To give all that up...
"Fuck," Michael said, recovering from his jaw practically denting the table, "Why the hell did you give that up?"
"To advance my species of course," she said, her eyes boring into Michael's, "we may be the most technologically advanced in the galaxy, but as a species we Corti have fallen behind tremendously. I may be too brazen in saying this, but we are on the brink."
"On the brink," Michael asked, "the brink of what?"
Jilink's expression hardened, "The brink of terminal decline, and unless something is done my species will fade into obscurity."
"And that something was playing with your own genetics," Michael asked, confused.
"Not playing," Jilink said, waving one finger back and forth, "Improving. As we are, the Corti are far from ideal. Intelligent and quick-witted yes, but we lack the physicality to endure as a species for much longer."
"And that has to do with what Guln said about the way yinz reproduce," Michael asked, even more confused, "you mean yinz don't have kids naturally?"
"As a matter of fact, we do not. Every Corti is grown in a birthing tank," Jilink said matter of factly, "there hasn't been a natural birth for millennia."
"Well that's all kinds of fucked up," Michael said, shaking his head, "and they kicked you out for wanting to go back to the way things are supposed to be?"
"Precisely. You see, reverting back to biological reproduction would necessitate drastic changes to our biology. It is also the reason why I am so fascinated with how other species reproduce. I have been able to get a wealth of medical data on the subject, but the one thing that most species lack is information on how to make the act more enjoyable. Your species, however," she pointed at Michael's chest, "seems to excel in that regard."
"I can see your point," Michael said with a chuckle.
"Needless to say there are some practices that simply watching recordings cannot fully explain. You do not mind answering some questions do you," Jilink asked excitedly.
Michael shrugged, "I got time. Ask away."
Jilink pulled a small tablet from her set of pouches and tapped in a few commands, "I'll start with something that has perplexed me for some time now. Tell me, what is the exact purpose of a bukkake?"
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Ten thousand kilometers astern of the Radiant Dawn
Whispering Breeze
Agent One Six Two
Something was wrong.
He had been trying to link to the infrared module that was hidden next to the engine cluster on that accursed human's ship for over [an hour] only to receive no response. He double and triple checked that his ship was aligned correctly and found not the barest hint of any discrepancy. This left two possibilities, either the module had malfunctioned, or it had been taken offline. Given the extremely stable nature of current solid-state electronics, the latter of the two options seemed the most probable.
He was now forced to consider alternative plans to get the information he needed. One option was to take over one of the human's crew, but the chances of finding one of them alone long enough for him to adjust to the new sensory input were astronomical at best. There was always the option of simply biodroning all the implanted crew, but with the proven combat capabilities of the human and his pet abomination, there was no guarantee of successfully taking over the ship. That left only one option that had any probability of success.
Once the human's ship was out of the system and had no hope of detecting him, One Six Two punched in the codes for the only jump beacon that the human had deployed.
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Date point: 4 months, 2 weeks, 5 days AV
Sol system
Earth
Allegheny National Park
Daniel Mackovich
After the Vancouver incident life had gone on pretty much the same as always. As much as he hated to admit it, Daniel wished the aliens had caused more damage. As it was now, people had already moved on. Of course, every news outlet on the planet had milked the story dry within a week, but since nobody other than the aliens had died the story that humanity was no longer alone in the universe had been replaced by the same old shit. Shootings, trouble in the Middle East, China violating human rights, the usual stuff.
Both he and David were sick of it. So they had planned a little something to get away. That little something happened to be a camping trip out in Allegheny National Park. Not the biggest excursion by a long shot, but it seemed a couple of days out in the woods was just what the doctor ordered.
The first night was just perfect. No rain or swarms of mosquitos, just hours of watching caveman TV with a good meal cooked over the fire to finish out the night. They had been watching the weather and had made sure that there wasn't the barest hint of rain, but it looked like the curse of his old Boy Scout troop had followed him. It had started raining shortly after lunch on the second day. Thanks to a few tricks he'd learned in said cursed Boy Scout troop, Daniel was able to get the fire going, even though all their wood was soaked, so they were at least able to cook their dinner under the tarp David had rigged up over the fire pit.
"Well, it wasn't what we were expecting," David said, looking out of the tent, "but I can think of worse ways to spend the evening."
"My old scout troop was called the Rain Makers after all," Daniel said with a chuckle, snuggling a little closer to David, "At least the company's better this time around."
They sat and watched for a while, listening to the gentle sound of the rain on their tent.
David turned around and rummaged around in his bag for a few moments before turning back and locking eyes with Daniel.
"Well...I was hoping for a better opportunity but," David trailed off.
Daniel looked down at what David was holding in his hand and his breath caught in his throat.
"Daniel, will you marry me?"
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Date point: 9 months, 1 week, 2 days AV
Far Reaches
Cimbrean
Radiant Dawn
Michael Kepler
They had made the trip out in astonishingly good time thanks to the black box drive on the Radiant Dawn. Fast as their ship was it had still taken them around six months to reach this little speck of nowhere. However, the extra time gave Michael the chance to work out some armor for his Gaoian crewmates. They had to stop and resupply before they could manufacture any of it though. It seemed that they had burned through most of their supplies for the nanofac with the Requiem's retrofit.
The armor they had worked out was much like Hephaestus' in the way that it relied heavily on lightweight composite plates instead of heavy alloys like Michael's. The plus side was that Hephaestus had worked out a composite that could take multiple hits from a heavy pulse cannon before failing. Not that the Gaoians would be taking much fire though, each one had a portable cloaking generator to make the best use of their natural talent for sneaking. There was one problem with the suits though, they had to be kept loose to accommodate the Gaoians' fur. Which meant that they would have to rely on shield harnesses for protection against the vacuum of space. Not the best prospect in Michael's mind, but they didn't seem to have the aversion to relying on forcefield tch like he did.
And since Michael wanted some semblance of a uniform for his new band of mercs, the chest plate and helmet had kept as much of the standard Mandalorian looks as possible. The helmet was kinda tricky, considering that the Gaoians had much longer noses than humans, as well as ears that came out of the top of their heads.
In the end, Gaoians had to deal with the minor discomfort of having their ears squished down, but it was worth it if they wanted to have their heads protected. As for the stereotypical "T" shaped visor, Michael settled on a shortened version, ending just above the Gaoians' snouts with a protrusion to cover their nose and mouth. It also had the benefit of allowing the Gaoians to personalize the lower portion, and once one of them had painted fangs on his, the rest had followed suit. Michael had to admit, it looked totally badass.
The extra time also gave them the chance to develop their arsenal. The standard pulse guns were ditched in favor of coilguns. Most of the Gaoians went with something like an AR-15. They were lightweight, with a variable power setting so they didn't over-penetrate their targets if they were inside a ship or station. The real treat was what the brownies came up with though. The crazy fuckers had amped up their coilguns to a heavy machine gun type thing that could send a withering hailstorm of slugs at whatever unfortunate thing that happened to be on the receiving end. However, it seemed that all of the Gaoians took a liking to Hephaestus' fusion claws and had added their own to finish out their already terrifying array of weapons.
They had spent three of the local days cloaked in a high polar orbit mapping the planet and trying to find the location of the palace that was supposed to be here. The only reason it took that long was that they were using passive scans to prevent the discovery of their ship. Since they were stuck in orbit Michael had left it up to the bridge crew to notify him when they found anything. To pass the time and get a better feel on things he had been going through the files on their target. After cross-referencing them with the data from the Twisted Suns it seemed that this particular fucknut had an affinity for ordering Rickytics and Vizkiticks among a smattering of a dozen other species.
It couldn't be...could it?
Michael dug deeper into the records until he found the right entry. Shit.
"Ship," Michael said as he got up from his desk and stretched, still marveling at just how flexible his new armor was.
He got a response ping.
"Where is Irk?"
"Irk is in hydroponics," the ship said through his room's intercom in a perfect replica of Cortana’s voice. Michael didn't know why, but using Cortana's voice for the ship just felt right.
Michael grabbed his helmet and locked it in place.
"Send him a message that I'm on my way. There's something I need to talk to him about."
Michael went to hydroponics and found Irk in his personal corner behind their crop of cqcq minding his bonsai garden. He had originally got the idea from watching Karate Kid of all things. When they had stopped at Haven Irk had purchased a bunch of seedlings from all over the galaxy. As it turned out most of them had the same reaction as Earth trees when they were root-bound inside a small pot. With a little help from some space magic in the form of time acceleration fields, he had more than a dozen perfectly healthy miniature trees. With careful management, Irk had produced some truly fantastical shapes. Hell, he even had one "pot" that was levitating with trees growing out of both the top and bottom.
When Michael walked over Irk turned around, "Ah, Michael. You have something you wanted to speak to me about?"
"Yeah," Michael said, taking off his helmet and setting it down on the table next to the levitating bonsai trees, "It's about our target."
Irk gave him a quizzical look, tilting his head slightly to the side.
Michael took a deep breath, "There was a bit of a mix up on the part of the Twisted Suns. Your lifemate and child were actually supposed to be shipped here."
"But...the Hunters," Irk trailed off.
"That's not all," Michael said, shaking his head, "I really don't have a good way to say this...but it looks like the scumbag we're after wanted you and your family specifically."
Irk slumped to the deck, lost for words.
"I did some digging into the data we got from the Twisted Suns," Michael said, bringing up the file and sending it to Irk's tablet.
It pinged and Irk pulled it out of its pouch with shaking hands. He hesitated for a moment before opening it. Delicately, he tapped the icon and read the file. Irk put the tablet back into its pouch and was silent for a few moments before he gathered his legs under himself and stood up to his full height.
He looked directly at Michael, "I have only one request."
"Name it," Michael said, locking eyes with Irk.
"Bring the bastard to me alive," Irk said with enough bile dripping off the borrowed human curse word to make Michael flinch.
No sooner had Irk walked out of hydroponics did Michael receive a notification from the bridge crew. He put his helmet back on and answered the comms.
"Yinz found something," he asked, exiting hydroponics and making his way up to the bridge.
"Yeah," Goralin said through the comms, "and you're gonna want to see this."
"On my way," Michael said, breaking into a run for the hundred-ish meters to the bridge.
He exploded into the bridge and skidded to a halt right next to Goralin. Michael was a little out of breath, but it wasn't too bad considering the weight of his armor. Practically living in the suit had its benefits sometimes.
Goralin eyed Michael with a hint of amusement "Excited?"
"Damn right," Michael said with a chuckle, "we've only been orbiting this dirtball for three days. What'd you find?"
"See for yourself," Goralin said with a pant-grin, bringing up what looked like a palace on the main screen.
Michael let out a long whistle, "Damn that had to cost a pretty penny."
What was on screen was possibly the most egregious display of wealth that Michael had ever seen, aside from his own ship of course. Camera tech was really something else out here, they had to be at least a hundred and fifty kilometers up, but the pictures were clear enough that Michael could see the contents of the gardens surrounding the enormous palace complex. He'd read the specs when he had the sensor suite overhauled, but the fact that their ground facing camera was in the hundred gigapixel range never quite hit home until he had actually used it.
"Cost a what," Goralin asked, tilting his head slightly.
"Oh, sorry," Michael said, a little embarrassed, "it's an expression for a fuckton of money."
Goralin chittered, "Well the palace isn't the only thing that cost a pretty penny. We found something else too."
The next thing that came up on the screen left Michael totally speechless. Not too far off the coast was a yacht so big it was practically a floating island. Hell, it even had football-field sized space in the middle that was containing a miniature forest.
"Well if they're anywhere, our target's probably on that yacht," Michael said, gesturing to the screen.
Goralin zoomed in on it, "It looks like there's a landing pad big enough to land the Requiem near the back."
"Well, it's our lucky day then," Michael said, turning back toward the door, "get an assault team ready. We're dropping in an hour."
"An assault team," Goralin asked, his ears going slightly back.
Michael stopped and turned back around, "Rich fucker like that's gotta be able to afford some really good security, and not the average Chennash mercs either."
"Right," Goralin said, "I know Ralthin's gonna be damn happy to finally get a good fight for once," he finished with a slight chitter.
The next hour flew by in a flurry of activity as the assault team got the message and scrambled to get into their armor. Thankfully they didn't need to load any cargo into the Requiem, and they already had all their extra weapons stored onboard. Michael made a stop by his quarters to grab his coilgun and its barrel attachments. On a whim, he dug out his antique revolver and strapped it to his hip. He had to stop and laugh at the absurdity of carrying a black powder revolver that was made in eighteen seventy-six, but something just felt right about bringing the old girl along.
He made it to the hangar bay just as everyone was getting situated. Hephaestus was already onboard the Requiem running through the preflight checks from his station near the quantum stacks so all Michael had to do was wait for the rest of the assault team to show up. When everyone was strapped in and had their gear stowed for the drop he stepped out to the open space in the middle of the Requiem's cargo area.
"Alright," Michael said, running his eyes over the seated Gaoians, "it's our first mission and from the looks of things, it's not gonna be an easy one. We're going in blind and this fucker's probably paranoid enough to have hired some decent security. They won't be like the pirate scum yinz are probably used to. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if there's a company of Allebenellin mercs waiting for us."
Michael paused and let that sink in for a moment, "The main problem is that the yacht we're gonna be landing on is fucking huge. So the plan's pretty simple myself, Hephaestus, Ralthin, and the brownies are gonna raise hell so all the rest of yinz can use your cloaking fields to the best advantage. Sweeping the ship for any other hostiles while looking for our target."
That got some chittering out of them.
"As for our target," Michael said, starting to pace back and forth in front of the seated Gaoians, "he's a Robalin with some… strong opinions on other sentient life. Apparently, this guy acquired his fortune thanks to some kind of breakthrough in medical tech and bought the palace at an auction when the previous owner's trading company went under thanks to some very poor business deals and Hunter raids on their ships. Ever since, he's lived a comfortable life on Cimbrean buying slaves from the Twisted Suns for God knows what reason," Michael let out a long sigh, "And as much as I'd like to end this guy the second we find him, Irk wants him alive. It seems that this fucker is the one that got Irk's family captured by the Twisted Suns."
"An that's why we're not just gonna blast the boat," Yeg asked.
"Exactly," Michael said, pausing to congratulate him, "there also might be slaves still on board, so any we find get to come back with us. Any questions?"
"Yeah," one of the other brownies spoke up, "when are ya gonna quit talkin' so we can have some fun?"
Michael laughed, "Alright alright, I get it," he said, vaulting up the ramp to the cockpit, "hold on to your tails, it's gonna be a bumpy ride."
Michael entered the cockpit and closed the door behind him, and once he was in the pilot seat he opened the intercom, "We ready to go?"
"The ssship isss ready to depart Michael," Hephaestus said back eagerly.
Michael gave the signal to the hangar crew and waited while they depressurized the hangar bay and opened the outer door.
Michael opened a channel to the bridge, "Yinz keep an eye out while we're planetside, we might need to come back in a hurry."
"Just make sure you don't die down there," Goralin said with a slight chitter, "We'll be waiting for you."
"We'll make sure to come back in one piece," Michael said with a chuckle, quickly running through the preflight checks. Hephaestus had already done them so all he had to do was to glance at the display and be sure that all systems were green, "but if yinz are that worried, I'll broadcast the view from my helmet cam."
"You know," Goralin said, "I was gonna suggest the same thing. It'll make for good entertainment."
"You got that right," Michael said entering the command to release the docking clamps, "Undocking now," Michael said closing the channel and backing the ship out of the hangar bay.
Once he was clear of the ship Michael angled the Requiem toward the planet and threw the throttle all the way forward.
"Uunngfhhh...Fyu's balls," Ralthin growled through the comms, "I forgot about that."
"Yinz okay back there," Michael asked, pulling the throttle slightly back.
"Other than bein' crushed inta our seats we're fine," Ralthin said back with a forced chitter.
"Hey, I said it was gonna bumpy ride," Michael said with a smirk.
They made the rest of the trip down in silence and before long they were punching a hole through the atmosphere leaving a flaming trail of plasma behind them. The yacht appeared on the radar when they were still twenty kilometers up, not that Michael needed sensors to find the thing, he could already see it. Floating island was right, the damned thing had to be nearly as big as the Dawn.
When they were about ten kilometers out the comms panel lit up. Out of curiosity, Michael opened the channel.
"Unidentified vessel you are appro-"
Michael closed the channel, his curiosity stated for the moment. No use talking with them anyway. He closed the rest of the distance gradually slowing down so they wouldn't overshoot.
When they got within a kilometer Michael had to admit that the yacht was a truly beautiful ship. It had three hulls connected together by an expansive main deck that swept into a sharp point at the bow where the main hull was cutting through the waves. The most prominent feature being the forest in the middle of the ship protected from the elements by the telltale shimmer of a forcefield.
The landing pad near the stern was suspiciously empty, but when Michael brought the Requiem closer he noticed that it had some kind of door in the middle. No doubt it was used for bringing whatever landed down into some kind of hangar. There was no way the Requiem would fit into said hangar, but it looked like the pad was just large enough to set the ship down. Strangely, the yacht seemed to be holding course, almost inviting him to land.
He activated the inter-ship comms, "Looks like they're actually gonna let us land. The second we touch down I want the brownies out first. Shoot first, ask questions later."
Michael flipped the ship around so she was hovering just above the deck and matched speed with the yacht. He lined it up using the docking camera and set her down with a gentle thump. The very next thing he did was take control of the nose turrets, aiming them at the only door in the aft section of the yacht.
He set the ship in low power mode instead of completely shutting down just in case they needed to make a quick getaway, and watched through the turret camera feed as the brownies stormed out of the ship and took their positions. Sloppy by any kind of military standards, but it didn't seem like there was anyone to greet them.
Michael unstrapped himself and grabbed his coilgun from the rack next to the door. Walking down the ramp was always tricky thanks to the gravity weirdness, but thankfully he didn't stumble when he stepped off into the planet's own gravity.
"No one to meet us," he said, stepping out into the sunlight.
Ralthin glanced back at Michael over his shoulder, "I don't like this at all. Even through this helmet, it smells all kindsa wrong."
Hephaestus came up behind Michael, "Thisss feelsss like a trap."
"Couldn't agree with you more buddy," Michael said, walking forward to the door.
"What'd ya wanna do," Ralthin said following close behind.
Michael glanced at Ralthinand smirked, "Spring the trap."
submitted by Asikar_Tehjan to HFY [link] [comments]

Beginner’s Guide to BitMEX

Beginner’s Guide to BitMEX

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Founded by HDR Global Trading Limited (which in turn was founded by former bankers Arthur Hayes, Samuel Reed and Ben Delo) in 2014, BitMEX is a trading platform operating around the world and registered in the Seychelles.
Meaning Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange, BitMEX is one of the largest Bitcoin trading platforms currently operating, with a daily trading volume of over 35,000 BTC and over 540,000 accesses monthly and a trading history of over $34 billion worth of Bitcoin since its inception.

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Unlike many other trading exchanges, BitMEX only accepts deposits through Bitcoin, which can then be used to purchase a variety of other cryptocurrencies. BitMEX specialises in sophisticated financial operations such as margin trading, which is trading with leverage. Like many of the exchanges that operate through cryptocurrencies, BitMEX is currently unregulated in any jurisdiction.
Visit BitMEX

How to Sign Up to BitMEX

In order to create an account on BitMEX, users first have to register with the website. Registration only requires an email address, the email address must be a genuine address as users will receive an email to confirm registration in order to verify the account. Once users are registered, there are no trading limits. Traders must be at least 18 years of age to sign up.
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However, it should be noted that BitMEX does not accept any US-based traders and will use IP checks to verify that users are not in the US. While some US users have bypassed this with the use of a VPN, it is not recommended that US individuals sign up to the BitMEX service, especially given the fact that alternative exchanges are available to service US customers that function within the US legal framework.
How to Use BitMEX
BitMEX allows users to trade cryptocurrencies against a number of fiat currencies, namely the US Dollar, the Japanese Yen and the Chinese Yuan. BitMEX allows users to trade a number of different cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Monero, Ripple, Tezos and Zcash.
The trading platform on BitMEX is very intuitive and easy to use for those familiar with similar markets. However, it is not for the beginner. The interface does look a little dated when compared to newer exchanges like Binance and Kucoin’s.
Once users have signed up to the platform, they should click on Trade, and all the trading instruments will be displayed beneath.
Clicking on the particular instrument opens the orderbook, recent trades, and the order slip on the left. The order book shows three columns – the bid value for the underlying asset, the quantity of the order, and the total USD value of all orders, both short and long.
The widgets on the trading platform can be changed according to the user’s viewing preferences, allowing users to have full control on what is displayed. It also has a built in feature that provides for TradingView charting. This offers a wide range of charting tool and is considered to be an improvement on many of the offering available from many of its competitors.
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Once trades are made, all orders can be easily viewed in the trading platform interface. There are tabs where users can select their Active Orders, see the Stops that are in place, check the Orders Filled (total or partially) and the trade history. On the Active Orders and Stops tabs, traders can cancel any order, by clicking the “Cancel” button. Users also see all currently open positions, with an analysis if it is in the black or red.
BitMEX uses a method called auto-deleveraging which BitMEX uses to ensure that liquidated positions are able to be closed even in a volatile market. Auto-deleveraging means that if a position bankrupts without available liquidity, the positive side of the position deleverages, in order of profitability and leverage, the highest leveraged position first in queue. Traders are always shown where they sit in the auto-deleveraging queue, if such is needed.
Although the BitMEX platform is optimized for mobile, it only has an Android app (which is not official). There is no iOS app available at present. However, it is recommended that users use it on the desktop if possible.
BitMEX offers a variety of order types for users:
  • Limit Order (the order is fulfilled if the given price is achieved);
  • Market Order (the order is executed at current market price);
  • Stop Limit Order (like a stop order, but allows users to set the price of the Order once the Stop Price is triggered);
  • Stop Market Order (this is a stop order that does not enter the order book, remain unseen until the market reaches the trigger);
  • Trailing Stop Order (it is similar to a Stop Market order, but here users set a trailing value that is used to place the market order);
  • Take Profit Limit Order (this can be used, similarly to a Stop Order, to set a target price on a position. In this case, it is in respect of making gains, rather than cutting losses);
  • Take Profit Market Order (same as the previous type, but in this case, the order triggered will be a market order, and not a limit one)
The exchange offers margin trading in all of the cryptocurrencies displayed on the website. It also offers to trade with futures and derivatives – swaps.

Futures and Swaps

A futures contract is an agreement to buy or sell a given asset in the future at a predetermined price. On BitMEX, users can leverage up to 100x on certain contracts.
Perpetual swaps are similar to futures, except that there is no expiry date for them and no settlement. Additionally, they trade close to the underlying reference Index Price, unlike futures, which may diverge substantially from the Index Price.
BitMEX also offers Binary series contracts, which are prediction-based contracts which can only settle at either 0 or 100. In essence, the Binary series contracts are a more complicated way of making a bet on a given event.
The only Binary series betting instrument currently available is related to the next 1mb block on the Bitcoin blockchain. Binary series contracts are traded with no leverage, a 0% maker fee, a 0.25% taker fee and 0.25% settlement fee.

Bitmex Leverage

BitMEX allows its traders to leverage their position on the platform. Leverage is the ability to place orders that are bigger than the users’ existing balance. This could lead to a higher profit in comparison when placing an order with only the wallet balance. Trading in such conditions is called “Margin Trading.”
There are two types of Margin Trading: Isolated and Cross-Margin. The former allows the user to select the amount of money in their wallet that should be used to hold their position after an order is placed. However, the latter provides that all of the money in the users’ wallet can be used to hold their position, and therefore should be treated with extreme caution.
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The BitMEX platform allows users to set their leverage level by using the leverage slider. A maximum leverage of 1:100 is available (on Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash). This is quite a high level of leverage for cryptocurrencies, with the average offered by other exchanges rarely exceeding 1:20.

BitMEX Fees

For traditional futures trading, BitMEX has a straightforward fee schedule. As noted, in terms of leverage offered, BitMEX offers up to 100% leverage, with the amount off leverage varying from product to product.
However, it should be noted that trading at the highest leverages is sophisticated and is intended for professional investors that are familiar with speculative trading. The fees and leverage are as follows:
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However, there are additional fees for hidden / iceberg orders. A hidden order pays the taker fee until the entire hidden quantity is completely executed. Then, the order will become normal, and the user will receive the maker rebate for the non-hidden amount.

Deposits and Withdrawals

BitMEX does not charge fees on deposits or withdrawals. However, when withdrawing Bitcoin, the minimum Network fee is based on blockchain load. The only costs therefore are those of the banks or the cryptocurrency networks.
As noted previously, BitMEX only accepts deposits in Bitcoin and therefore Bitcoin serves as collateral on trading contracts, regardless of whether or not the trade involves Bitcoin.
The minimum deposit is 0.001 BTC. There are no limits on withdrawals, but withdrawals can also be in Bitcoin only. To make a withdrawal, all that users need to do is insert the amount to withdraw and the wallet address to complete the transfer.
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Deposits can be made 24/7 but withdrawals are processed by hand at a recurring time once per day. The hand processed withdrawals are intended to increase the security levels of users’ funds by providing extra time (and email notice) to cancel any fraudulent withdrawal requests, as well as bypassing the use of automated systems & hot wallets which may be more prone to compromise.

Supported Currencies

BitMEX operates as a crypto to crypto exchange and makes use of a Bitcoin-in/Bitcoin-out structure. Therefore, platform users are currently unable to use fiat currencies for any payments or transfers, however, a plus side of this is that there are no limits for trading and the exchange incorporates trading pairs linked to the US Dollar (XBT), Japanese Yen (XBJ), and Chinese Yuan (XBC).
BitMEX supports the following cryptocurrencies:
  • Bitcoin (XBT)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Ethereum Classic (ETC)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Ripple Token (XRP)
  • Monero (XMR)
  • Dash (DASH)
  • Zcash (ZEC)
  • Cardano (ADA)
  • Tron (TRX)
  • EOS Token (EOS)
BitMEX also offers leverage options on the following coins:
  • 5x: Zcash (ZEC)
  • 20x : Ripple (XRP),Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Cardano (ADA), EOS Token (EOS), Tron (TRX)
  • 25x: Monero (XMR)
  • 33x: Litecoin (LTC)
  • 50x: Ethereum (ETH)
  • 100x: Bitcoin (XBT), Bitcoin / Yen (XBJ), Bitcoin / Yuan (XBC)

Trading Technologies International Partnership

HDR Global Trading, the company which owns BitMEX, has recently announced a partnership with Trading Technologies International, Inc. (TT), a leading international high-performance trading software provider.
The TT platform is designed specifically for professional traders, brokers, and market-access providers, and incorporates a wide variety of trading tools and analytical indicators that allow even the most advanced traders to customize the software to suit their unique trading styles. The TT platform also provides traders with global market access and trade execution through its privately managed infrastructure and the partnership will see BitMEX users gaining access to the trading tools on all BitMEX products, including the popular XBT/USD Perpetual Swap pairing.
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The BitMEX Insurance Fund

The ability to trade on leverage is one of the exchange’s main selling points and offering leverage and providing the opportunity for traders to trade against each other may result in a situation where the winners do not receive all of their expected profits. As a result of the amounts of leverage involved, it’s possible that the losers may not have enough margin in their positions to pay the winners.
Traditional exchanges like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) offset this problem by utilizing multiple layers of protection and cryptocurrency trading platforms offering leverage cannot currently match the levels of protection provided to winning traders.
In addition, cryptocurrency exchanges offering leveraged trades propose a capped downside and unlimited upside on a highly volatile asset with the caveat being that on occasion, there may not be enough funds in the system to pay out the winners.
To help solve this problem, BitMEX has developed an insurance fund system, and when a trader has an open leveraged position, their position is forcefully closed or liquidated when their maintenance margin is too low.
Here, a trader’s profit and loss does not reflect the actual price their position was closed on the market, and with BitMEX when a trader is liquidated, their equity associated with the position drops down to zero.
In the following example, the trader has taken a 100x long position. In the event that the mark price of Bitcoin falls to $3,980 (by 0.5%), then the position gets liquidated with the 100 Bitcoin position needing to be sold on the market.
This means that it does not matter what price this trade executes at, namely if it’s $3,995 or $3,000, as from the view of the liquidated trader, regardless of the price, they lose all the equity they had in their position, and lose the entire one Bitcoin.
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Assuming there is a fully liquid market, the bid/ask spread should be tighter than the maintenance margin. Here, liquidations manifest as contributions to the insurance fund (e.g. if the maintenance margin is 50bps, but the market is 1bp wide), and the insurance fund should rise by close to the same amount as the maintenance margin when a position is liquidated. In this scenario, as long as healthy liquid markets persist, the insurance fund should continue its steady growth.
The following graphs further illustrate the example, and in the first chart, market conditions are healthy with a narrow bid/ask spread (just $2) at the time of liquidation. Here, the closing trade occurs at a higher price than the bankruptcy price (the price where the margin balance is zero) and the insurance fund benefits.
Illustrative example of an insurance contribution – Long 100x with 1 BTC collateral
https://preview.redd.it/is89ep924cc41.png?width=699&format=png&auto=webp&s=f0419c68fe88703e594c121b5b742c963c7e2229
(Note: The above illustration is based on opening a 100x long position at $4,000 per BTC and 1 Bitcoin of collateral. The illustration is an oversimplification and ignores factors such as fees and other adjustments.
The bid and offer prices represent the state of the order book at the time of liquidation. The closing trade price is $3,978, representing $1 of slippage compared to the $3,979 bid price at the time of liquidation.)
The second chart shows a wide bid/ask spread at the time of liquidation, here, the closing trade takes place at a lower price than the bankruptcy price, and the insurance fund is used to make sure that winning traders receive their expected profits.
This works to stabilize the potential for returns as there is no guarantee that healthy market conditions can continue, especially during periods of heightened price volatility. During these periods, it’s actually possible that the insurance fund can be used up than it is built up.
Illustrative example of an insurance depletion – Long 100x with 1 BTC collateral
https://preview.redd.it/vb4mj3n54cc41.png?width=707&format=png&auto=webp&s=0c63b7c99ae1c114d8e3b947fb490e9144dfe61b
(Notes: The above illustration is based on opening a 100x long position at $4,000 per BTC and 1 Bitcoin of collateral. The illustration is an oversimplification and ignores factors such as fees and other adjustments.
The bid and offer prices represent the state of the order book at the time of liquidation. The closing trade price is $3,800, representing $20 of slippage compared to the $3,820 bid price at the time of liquidation.)
The exchange declared in February 2019, that the BitMEX insurance fund retained close to 21,000 Bitcoin (around $70 million based on Bitcoin spot prices at the time).
This figure represents just 0.007% of BitMEX’s notional annual trading volume, which has been quoted as being approximately $1 trillion. This is higher than the insurance funds as a proportion of trading volume of the CME, and therefore, winning traders on BitMEX are exposed to much larger risks than CME traders as:
  • BitMEX does not have clearing members with large balance sheets and traders are directly exposed to each other.
  • BitMEX does not demand payments from traders with negative account balances.
  • The underlying instruments on BitMEX are more volatile than the more traditional instruments available on CME.
Therefore, with the insurance fund remaining capitalized, the system effectively with participants who get liquidated paying for liquidations, or a losers pay for losers mechanism.
This system may appear controversial as first, though some may argue that there is a degree of uniformity to it. It’s also worth noting that the exchange also makes use of Auto Deleveraging which means that on occasion, leveraged positions in profit can still be reduced during certain time periods if a liquidated order cannot be executed in the market.
More adventurous traders should note that while the insurance fund holds 21,000 Bitcoin, worth approximately 0.1% of the total Bitcoin supply, BitMEX still doesn’t offer the same level of guarantees to winning traders that are provided by more traditional leveraged trading platforms.
Given the inherent volatility of the cryptocurrency market, there remains some possibility that the fund gets drained down to zero despite its current size. This may result in more successful traders lacking confidence in the platform and choosing to limit their exposure in the event of BitMEX being unable to compensate winning traders.

How suitable is BitMEX for Beginners?

BitMEX generates high Bitcoin trading levels, and also attracts good levels of volume across other crypto-to-crypto transfers. This helps to maintain a buzz around the exchange, and BitMEX also employs relatively low trading fees, and is available round the world (except to US inhabitants).
This helps to attract the attention of people new to the process of trading on leverage and when getting started on the platform there are 5 main navigation Tabs to get used to:
  • **Trade:**The trading dashboard of BitMEX. This tab allows you to select your preferred trading instrument, and choose leverage, as well as place and cancel orders. You can also see your position information and view key information in the contract details.
  • **Account:**Here, all your account information is displayed including available Bitcoin margin balances, deposits and withdrawals, and trade history.
  • **Contracts:**This tab covers further instrument information including funding history, contract sizes; leverage offered expiry, underlying reference Price Index data, and other key features.
  • **References:**This resource centre allows you to learn about futures, perpetual contracts, position marking, and liquidation.
  • **API:**From here you can set up an API connection with BitMEX, and utilize the REST API and WebSocket API.
BitMEX also employs 24/7 customer support and the team can also be contacted on their Twitter and Reddit accounts.
In addition, BitMEX provides a variety of educational resources including an FAQ section, Futures guides, Perpetual Contracts guides, and further resources in the “References” account tab.
For users looking for more in depth analysis, the BitMEX blog produces high level descriptions of a number of subjects and has garnered a good reputation among the cryptocurrency community.
Most importantly, the exchange also maintains a testnet platform, built on top of testnet Bitcoin, which allows anyone to try out programs and strategies before moving on to the live exchange.
This is crucial as despite the wealth of resources available, BitMEX is not really suitable for beginners, and margin trading, futures contracts and swaps are best left to experienced, professional or institutional traders.
Margin trading and choosing to engage in leveraged activity are risky processes and even more advanced traders can describe the process as a high risk and high reward “game”. New entrants to the sector should spend a considerable amount of time learning about margin trading and testing out strategies before considering whether to open a live account.

Is BitMEX Safe?

BitMEX is widely considered to have strong levels of security. The platform uses multi-signature deposits and withdrawal schemes which can only be used by BitMEX partners. BitMEX also utilises Amazon Web Services to protect the servers with text messages and two-factor authentication, as well as hardware tokens.
BitMEX also has a system for risk checks, which requires that the sum of all account holdings on the website must be zero. If it’s not, all trading is immediately halted. As noted previously, withdrawals are all individually hand-checked by employees, and private keys are never stored in the cloud. Deposit addresses are externally verified to make sure that they contain matching keys. If they do not, there is an immediate system shutdown.
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In addition, the BitMEX trading platform is written in kdb+, a database and toolset popular amongst major banks in high frequency trading applications. The BitMEX engine appears to be faster and more reliable than some of its competitors, such as Poloniex and Bittrex.
They have email notifications, and PGP encryption is used for all communication.
The exchange hasn’t been hacked in the past.

How Secure is the platform?

As previously mentioned, BitMEX is considered to be a safe exchange and incorporates a number of security protocols that are becoming standard among the sector’s leading exchanges. In addition to making use of Amazon Web Services’ cloud security, all the exchange’s systems can only be accessed after passing through multiple forms of authentication, and individual systems are only able to communicate with each other across approved and monitored channels.
Communication is also further secured as the exchange provides optional PGP encryption for all automated emails, and users can insert their PGP public key into the form inside their accounts.
Once set up, BitMEX will encrypt and sign all the automated emails sent by you or to your account by the [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) email address. Users can also initiate secure conversations with the support team by using the email address and public key on the Technical Contact, and the team have made their automated system’s PGP key available for verification in their Security Section.
The platform’s trading engine is written in kdb+, a database and toolset used by leading financial institutions in high-frequency trading applications, and the speed and reliability of the engine is also used to perform a full risk check after every order placement, trade, settlement, deposit, and withdrawal.
All accounts in the system must consistently sum to zero, and if this does not happen then trading on the platform is immediately halted for all users.
With regards to wallet security, BitMEX makes use of a multisignature deposit and withdrawal scheme, and all exchange addresses are multisignature by default with all storage being kept offline. Private keys are not stored on any cloud servers and deep cold storage is used for the majority of funds.
Furthermore, all deposit addresses sent by the BitMEX system are verified by an external service that works to ensure that they contain the keys controlled by the founders, and in the event that the public keys differ, the system is immediately shut down and trading halted. The exchange’s security practices also see that every withdrawal is audited by hand by a minimum of two employees before being sent out.

BitMEX Customer Support

The trading platform has a 24/7 support on multiple channels, including email, ticket systems and social media. The typical response time from the customer support team is about one hour, and feedback on the customer support generally suggest that the customer service responses are helpful and are not restricted to automated responses.
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The BitMEX also offers a knowledge base and FAQs which, although they are not necessarily always helpful, may assist and direct users towards the necessary channels to obtain assistance.
BitMEX also offers trading guides which can be accessed here

Conclusion

There would appear to be few complaints online about BitMEX, with most issues relating to technical matters or about the complexities of using the website. Older complaints also appeared to include issues relating to low liquidity, but this no longer appears to be an issue.
BitMEX is clearly not a platform that is not intended for the amateur investor. The interface is complex and therefore it can be very difficult for users to get used to the platform and to even navigate the website.
However, the platform does provide a wide range of tools and once users have experience of the platform they will appreciate the wide range of information that the platform provides.
Visit BitMEX
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