Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse, the people's PRE.
Table of Contents
- Last Week on Tribal Apocalypse...
- The High Price of Winning
- RexDart's Show and Tell
- The Tribal Survey: first results
- Gatecrash is coming!
- Announcement Time!
- What's Next
First of all, a preliminary announcement that some people were waiting for: the second season of the Tribal Achievements has started! You can find the new list here (which is where the old one used to be. The latter has been stored here for future memory, along with past editions of the Hamtastic Award.)
There's an important new rule for the Achievements, which is meant to push achievers to find different ways to do things (you'll see this kind of "let's shake up things" approach in the new list itself as well). The Prime Rule is as follows: "Achievements will not count as unlocked if your deck will include one or more of these cards: Dream Halls, Omniscience, Enter the Infinite, Dread Return, and Cephalid Illusionist".
Other than that, good achieving, and congratulations to Chamale, our Season 1 Master Achiever with 20 Achievements unlocked. His prize: an achievement he designed is bearing his name, and he will not be able to unlock it. Yeah, that's right, his prize is not being able to unlock one of the new achievements. Tricky, uh? But we also have another winner to celebrate, which is gbagyt, getting the last possible achievement of the old list (and 1 tix on SBena_Bot) i.e. "I Made This Myself!", since his submitted achievement has been voted the best by the Clan Leys committee. And the achievement, which has been included in the new list (together with other submissions we liked), is this one:
"Who's a Creature Now?": Attacking with Gideon Jura without activating his third ability
Solve this, perform it in-game, win 2 tix. Enjoy.
LAST WEEK ON TRIBAL APOCALYPSE...
- Event Number: 3.05, Week 109 BE
- Date: February 2
- Attendance: 21
- Rounds: 4
- Special Rules: Underdog Week
- Winner: Nagarjuna (Sliver)
- 1 Loss: Robin88 (Rebel); romellos (Sliver); mihahitlor (Soldier); Ayanam1 (Plant)
- Special Prizes: Endangered Prize to Robin88 (Rebel); Semi-Virgin Prize to AJ_Impy (Elephant); Up-and-Coming Prize to Nagarjuna (Sliver); Topical Prize to _Wolf_ (Wolf)
- Tribes: Ape, Beast (x3), Bird, Dauthi, Druid, Elephant, Gorgon, Illusion, Leviathan, Myr, Plant, Rebel, Samurai, Sliver (x2), Soldier (x2), Specter, Wolf
- Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is
So, people were asking for it, RexDart had tried it, and now Nagarjuna did it: the Slivers finally won an event (after more than 2 years of attempts!), therefore they're no more Underdog-legal.
Compared to last week's permission build by Rex, this Sliver host returns to the good ol' (and so far, unsuccessful) muscle build, with a critical mass of the Slivers being lord to each other. Of course, this automatically means going back to the red and green Slivers. They could do it, after all.
Another Sliver's attempt to, well, take them out of the Underdog events for good, was executed by romellos, with slightly less luck, as RexDart documents in his video feature for this week.
Two things come to mind looking at this list: 1. The WU control elements are very trendy these days, and 2. whoa, rom, your collection has made some giant leaps forward recently! In light of the debate from last week, are we really going to see tons of Force of Will like it was Lightning Bolt? My concerns still stand, especially considering what we can take from the survey's answers: the divide between "money players" and "budget players" is going to become huge, threatening to break the tournament apart.
Another case in point: this otherwise interesting Rebel build by a recent TribAp addition that already showed great potential, Robin88.
It's a strange-looking deck, close to a Singleton build for reasons that seem to go beyond the idea of a toolbox deck (I still have to find the use for that Savannah, for instance). But it's been highly effective, thanks to the Rebel staple Training Grounds for sure, but you can see there's another almost full playset of FoW there. Anyway, I'm monitoring its presence in the Watch List. Let's see what happens. Does it really make the difference? I wouldn't have really expected that (my concerns aren't related to the power level), especially considering that Robin didn't face any combo deck, where FoW would be at its most useful, and lost to Nagarjuna's aggro Sliver, which also beated romellos' more control-oriented build (with FoW) in their Sliver mirror match. (Yeah, Naga with his 34 creatures faced, and won against, a total of 7 Forces of Will, which is not surprising in the least.)
In other 1 Loss news, we had mihahitlor with a Soldier deck and Ayanam1 paying homage for the first time to his old enemy NemesisParadigm with a Plant-Drazi build. Elsewhere, AJ_Impy didn't disappoint with an Elephant build able to win the Semi-Virgin Prize (go Terastodon!). But the deck I want to highlight is this straightforward but competent Wolf build by a newcomer named... _Wolf_, which is something that I find cool for silly reasons. And he got the Topical Prize, possibly the last one of the RTR era. Welcome to Tribal Apocalypse, _Wolf_!
And that's it.
THE HIGH PRICE OF WINNING
Also known as: how much do the Top 4 decks cost? As of February 8, 2013, here's the answer (MTGO Traders prices; the cheapest version of each card is always used; basic lands count zero):
- 1st place, Nagarjuna's Slivers: $303.74 (nonland cards: $12.43; tribal base: $5.96)
- 3rd place, romellos's Slivers: $865.71 (nonland cards: $473.81; tribal base: $4.59)
Sliver build comparison, and the one that cost almost one third of the other is the one that won the mirror match and ended undefeated! Yay! Also, boom!, new price record for a deck in the Top 4. Impressive in a not-so-sure-I-should-celebrate-this-thing way. But impressive nonetheless.
REXDART'S SHOW AND TELL
When I first saw Slivers on the Unhallowed list, they seemed too good not to have won an event. I was apparently not the only one to notice, and several people have given a try at knocking Slivers from the ranks of the Unhallowed, and thanks to Nagarjuna's 1st place performance this week, this powerful tribe has finally taken its seat at the big kids' table. Nagarjuna hit the winning formula, at least for this event, with his 4-color build utilizing the more aggressive red Slivers to power up the solid core of Bant Slivers I talked about in last week's video. While I considered Slivers mostly to be an aggro-control tribe, Nagarjuna's build dispensed with the disruption to pack his deck with 34 hard-hitting combat-ready Slivers. Aggro-control Slivers were still present in romellos' Bant Meathooks build, but they lost the mirror match to Nagarjuna in Round 3. Nagarjuna then finished it off by taking down Counter-Rebels in the finals. In Part One, I cover the winning list in my deck tech.
Next up is Game 1 of Nagarjuna's Round 2 match against DirtyDuck's G/B Specter deck. Watch as a triple Muscle Sliver draw puts away the game quick and easy.
Finally, we have Game 2 of the same match, in which the Specters put up a much better fight. But ultimately, Nagarjuna's endless stream of power-pumping lords eventually overwhelmed DirtyDuck's spot removals.
And remember, the Miststalker Deckbuilding Challenge is still open! The prize is one non-foil digital copy of Angelic Destiny, worth over 4 tickets! To win the prize you must:
- Build a Beast tribal deck for the event.
- Include at least 3 copies of Uril, the Miststalker.
- Include at least 6 beneficial auras (i.e. Armadillo Cloak counts toward the total, but Pacifism does not.)
- Enter Tribal Apocalypse with the deck, and finish X-1 or better.
Check the complete archive of RexDart's Deck Techs here.
IT'S DEMOCRACY IN ACTION
Well, not really, since we're talking about the result of the TRIBAL SURVEY here. And, you know, I sure did read all the entries very carefully, but it's not that I'm going to change anything based on those responses (or am I? Then again, you can say that's exactly how democracy really works!)
Anyway, we reached a significant amount of submissions, so here's what the first batch of answers tell us. (Keep taking the survey, guys, we'll do another report at some later point.)
SECTION 1: GENERAL TRIBAL APOCALYPSE STUFF
How frequently do you play in Tribal Apocalypse?
- As much as my real life allows: 47%
- I'm basically there every single week: 21%
- About twice a month: 21%
- No more than a couple times per year: 11%
- About once a month: 0%
How would you describe your current degree of satisfaction about Tribal Apocalypse?
- I'm very satisfied about the tournament: 47%
- I'm mostly satisfied, with minor quibbles: 37%
- I'm conflicted about it: 11%
- I'm not satisfied at all, it's a mess: 5%
Which are the things Tribal Apocalypse could do to improve your overall experience? (Multiple percentages)
- More prizes to more players: 27%
- More special events and side stuff like the achievements: 27%
- Ban some problematic cards or tribes: 27%
- Keep in check the cutthroat approach of some players: 20%
- Cut the crap of the special events and just go with regular events most of the times: 13%
- Other: 27%
What special event do you like to play in the most?
- Underdog/Endangered: 21%
- Singleton: 21%
- All of them: 21%
- Pure Tribal (no off-tribe creatures): 16%
- Other: 16%
- Slugapalooza: 5%
- Multiplayer (2HG, Commander): 0%
- Duel Week (Elf vs. Goblin, Angel vs. Demon, etc.): 0%
- Halloween: 0%
- Christmas: 0%
- None of them: 0%
Among the suggestions for new special events, Kaleidoscope was the format named more frequently. We also got some cool, if bizarre ideas like: Flyers Only; Creatures Only (no noncreature nonland cards); and Middle Earth Theme Week, which I'm not entirely sure what would entail (probably just a big brawl Elf vs. Kithkin vs. Treefolk, which isn't really something Tolkien would approve. But we can do it as a Duel Week maybe, so the good guys vs. bad guys feel would be preserved.)
Also: most of the Achievements suggestions have been incorporated in the new season (the name of the creator is listed). Thanks for the input, guys!
SECTION 2: CARDS
Which ones of the following cards do you think should be put on the Watch List? (Multiple percentages)
Of the current banned cards, which you think would be safer to bring back?
Are you fine with the idea of banning the "10 Most Played Nonland Noncreature Cards" during some special events like Pure Tribal?
- Absolutely fine, do that as much often as possible: 42%
- Mostly fine, do that but just once in a while: 37%
- Not really fine, I'd rather not seeing them banned: 16%
- Not fine at all, don't do that, ever again: 0%
If something were going to be done about Wasteland, what would you like to do with it?
- Leave it alone: 58%
- Restrict it to one per deck: 42%
- Ban it entirely: 0%
Quick comment: the Wasteland question is particularly interesting, in that the opinions about Wasteland seem to be really divisive within our community of players, possibly highlighting that divide I was talking about when discussing Force of Will. Also, I'll put Dream Halls in the Watch List soon (as a rule of thumb, I immediately took action when an answer was more than 50%).
SECTION 3: TRIBES
Essentially, every submission named a different favored and hated tribe, which is good, I think. The multiple named tribes were so few to be irrelevant.
Which ones of the following tribes would you like to see banned more frequently in special events? (Multiple percentages)
- Elf: 50%
- Goblin: 44%
- Human: 28%
- Wizard: 17%
- All of them: 17%
- None of them: 17%
- Wall: 11%
- Kor: 11%
- Merfolk: 11%
- Cat: 6%
- Vampire: 6%
- Ally: 6%
- Other: 6%
- Kithkin: 0%
NOTE: If it wasn't clear, this list included the most successful tribes in Tribal Apocalypse. (People hate Goblins a lot yet don't hate Kithkin in the least. Isn't that strange?)
SECTION 4: PLAYERS
A lot of different players got named as overall favorite. The most named ones were: AJ_Impy and Chamale. Congrat, guys! AJ_Impy was also elected as the most respected Top 16 player, All-Time and 2012. Everyone loves AJ.
There were several votes for every candidate as "the strongest Tribal Apocalypse player ever", but the two at the top were, if not by far, Ayanam1 and mihahitlor.
I will not disclose who was named "that guy" the most, but there were definitely a couple of recurring names there.
How would you describe the general level of fair play within Tribal Apocalypse?
- Good, I never really had any grudge with any of my opponents: 53%
- Amazing, they're mostly fun ad fair guys: 26%
- Ok, I guess: 21%
- Terrible. Too many cutthroat players who don't even bother to say, "Have fun": 0%
SECTION 5: THE FORMAT
When you think of the Tribal Wars format, you mainly think of...
- Johnny Tribal: the challenge of finding ways to have your deck do something while working around the 20-creature limitation: 21%
- Modular Tribal: just a way to play a less broken, creature-based Legacy: 16%
- Linear Tribal: decks with tribal creatures helping each other, lords, and such: 11%
- All of the above in equal parts: 21%
- Sometimes one kind, sometimes the other, depending on the deck, my mood, and the situation: 26%
- Other: 5%
When you build a Tribal deck, you always try to... (Multiple percentages)
- ...do something different from the last time: 61%
- ...use that new, cool card that I just got: 39%
- ...improve my last deck to make it better: 28%
- ...not add any creature that's not part of the tribe, because that would be against the spirit of the format: 22%
- ...find the best way to beat the current meta: 22%
- Other: 17%
What's the best thing about Tribal Wars for you? (Multiple percentages)
- The chance of playing with a lot of creatures: 42%
- Not having to worry about sideboard hate: 37%
- The challenge of making lesser tribes work: 37%
- Playing cards that you would never play otherwise: 37%
- Other: 37%
- Not having to worry about choosing the right sideboard options: 21%
- Having a safer environment that sill allows for an almost complete pool of cards: 16%
TEN GATECRASH CREATURES THAT COULD IMPACT TRIBAL
With the Gatecrash pre-release hitting MTGO this weekend, I thought I'd take a quick look at 10 creatures across all rarities that I believe could help strengthen new or existing decks in the format.
1. Duskmantle Seer: The tools have been there for aggressive Vampire decks at least since Zendikar, but Vampire Lacerator and pals have had a bad run in Tribal Apocalypse. The ability to play eight 2-power one-drops somehow hasn't been enough. This guy could put that deck over the top, helping to refill the aggro deck's hand (much like Dark Tutelage did in the standard version of that deck), and also providing the last burst of damage to an opposing deck with a higher average cmc (not to mention the 4 power flying body.) And yeah, those super-greedy 5-color goodstuff Wizard decks might want it too.
2. Obzedat, Ghost Council: I'm not sure if this will help out Advisors, though it does make a fine in-tribe target for Loyal Retainers. It certainly looks like a potential player in Esper and Orzhov Spirit lists, with a beefy body, immunity to Wraths and O-Rings, and ability to grind out a long game alongside other attrition spells such as Lingering Souls.
3. Boros Reckoner: Vialing this in with Didgeridoo is a nice combat trick, he fights well, and he punishes damage-based removal. But most of the discussion has been about his combo potential. Many of the combos look too clunky to be reliable, time will tell. At the very least, playing him with Blasphemous Act seems solid, as both cards are very playable on their own merits. He doesn't have much support in Minotaurs, but in Wizards you could use him alongside Nin, the Pain Artist.
4. Legion Loyalist: In Goblins, the battalion trigger gives your Piledrivers trample, which is a huge deal. It won't be quite as powerful in the newly-popular Boros Soldiers decks, but may still be good there in some aggro mirrors or to push damage past tokens. Battalion will be hard to assemble in this format, and haste creatures will be the key.
5. The Primordial Cycle: Avatar decks are usually built around cheating fatties into play. That deck wants its creatures to have either protection from removal, or powerful ETB effects. This cycle gives those decks solid new options. Additionally, when it comes time for Commander Tribal again, these guys should make some noise. There are multiple 5-color Avatar commanders available to let you max out on these if you want.
6. Rubblepelt Raiders: The Warrior aggro deck actually has gotten a lot of tools lately (Ash Zealot, anybody?), but had a problem at the 4-slot where its best creatures all depend on non-Warrior tribal synergies. If you're in Jund, I prefer Madrush Cyclops; and if you're the weirdo with the Raka (Wedge Red) Warrior deck, you probably did it just for Ruhan of the Fomori. Otherwise, this is likely to be your best choice. It hits hard and grows out of control if you can swing with it more than once. Whether that deck wants a 4-drop creature at all, rather than just running Koths or Elspeths as curve-toppers, is the question.
7. Spark Trooper: Boros Soldiers has become more popular in recent weeks, and this guy is an awesome tool for that deck. Against control, you can punish them for tapping out by coming in for the killing blow. Against aggro, this is a 12 point life swing... absolutely crushing. For all the reasons I love Blistering Firecat in Cats, I love this even more in Soldiers.
8. Duskmantle Guildmage: He's in two very powerful tribes and has a lot of combo potential. He turns Jace, Memory Adept into a 2-turn kill, makes Jace Beleren's ultimate TRULY ULTIMATE, and he doubles for Bloodchief Ascension in the Mindcrank Combo.
9. Cloudfin Raptor: Most competitive Bird decks have centered around 1/1 fliers carrying swords, but this guy rewards you for playing the larger Birds as well. Will we see the Bird deck evolve?
10. Shambleshark: He's a Fish Crab. A FISH CRAB. And his stats are about 1000% better than nearly every creature in either of those tribes. If you're making a Fish or Crab deck, you will almost certainly play him. Crab is on the Simic Keyrune and thus one of the "topical prize" tribes in the upcoming season, and when it gets played I expect it to be U/G/x at least partly on account of this guy.
Just to remind you of a few things:
The Rules: we now have a page with all the rules listed, so we won't have to repeat all of them before any tournament. Yay for time saving!
The Top 8 Lockout: since last week, every time a Top 8 player (either from this year's ranking or all-time) will end undefeated, they will not be allowed to register the same tribe and deck again for 4 events (i.e. they'll have to register a different deck or decks 4 times before coming back to the undefeated one). With "deck" is meant a specific, recognizable archetype (e.g. Wall-Drazi), which in some case will be linked to a specific combo card (e.g. Helm of Obedience). A list of the current lockouts is maintained here.
The Watch List: some particular, archetype-defining cards have been put into a specific Watch List, giving them Annoyance Levels based on how frequently they show up and their degree of success. Once a card gets to Level 3 or more, it'll be banned until enough weeks will have passed to make its appearance ratio acceptable again. So far, with 12 cards on watch, none of them reaches an Annoyance Level.
The Tribal Achievements: welcome to the second season of the Tribal Achievements! Find new ways to have fun within Tribal Apocalypse, challenge yourself to complete all kinds of strange MTG feats, and make some tix in the process. Fun fact: these are the 6 achievements from the old list that weren't unlocked (and they're back in the new one): "I'm Back" (Restart the game with Karn Liberated twice in the same game; it's been made easier in the new list); "The Last Battle" (Winning a game with Epic Struggle); "Top Achievement" (Winning a game with Helix Pinnacle); "Best Score" (Winning a game with Test of Endurance); "Random Stuff" (Winning a game with Chance Encounter); "Ignition!" (Winning a game with Darksteel Reactor).
The Mongoose Pride Prize! As the last tribe standing after everyone else had been played at least once, Mongoose has become the protagonist of a dedicated prize that will remember forever that you all neglected them despite Nimble Mongoose being featured in high-profile, tier-1 Legacy decks. The Mongoose Pride Prize will permanently award 1 tix (at SBena_Bot) to everyone who'll just... play Mongoose. That's right, you just have to play them and you'll get 1 tix, till the end of times. Well, there's just one clause: you have to win at least one match with them within the event (byes and forfeits don't count). Let's show them all what the mighty Herpestidae can do, shall we?
Hard to kill, hard to play (apparently)
Topical Prize rotation! We're nearly going to say goodbye to the first five guild totems (as portrayed in their relative keyrunes): Bird (for Azorius), Elemental (for Izzet), Devil (for Rakdos), Insect (for Golgari), and Wolf (for Selesnya) will get the Topical Prize for one more week (i.e. the highest-ranked of them with at least 1 match win will get 1 tix in any event). Then, effective February 16 (Event 111), the Topical Prize will rotate to the Gatecrash guild totems: Thrull (for Orzhov), Horror (for Dimir), Beast (for Gruul), Soldier (for Boros), and Crab (for Simic). Note: in order to get the prize with Beast and Soldier, your deck needs to include at least 20 cards of each guild color (gold and hybrid cards count as both).
The Hamtastic Award: the Biodiversity Prize dedicated to the memory of Erik Friborg has started again, for its 4th edition, in a shortened form: be the first to run 5 different tribes in a row and you'll get 2 tix on SBena_Bot! You have to play all the rounds of an event in order for the tribe to be added to your sequence. If you repeat a previous tribe, your whole sequence resets. Current status: AJ_Impy, Gq1rf7, romellos, and SekKuar Deathkeeper all have 4 tribes played; if more than one of them will get to 5 in the next event, the winner will be established through a challenge (each player may use any of the tribes in their sequence for the challenge.)
The Volver Challenge is still unclaimed! I'll give 1 tix out of my pocket to the first player who'll win a proper match (no bye, no opponent forfeiting) with a Volver deck featuring 4 copies of each of them.
And maybe in the process we'll find out what the hell is a Volver
Videos: Send me replays of your games, please! Don't know how? Read this quick guide in 6 easy steps and start saving your tribal feats for posterity!
And Slugs for all! To honor the memory of the one and only BlippyTheSlug (the longest-run host of Tribal Apocalypse), any new player can ask me for a one-time free treat: a full playset of any and all Slugs ever printed and available online (that is Spitting Slug, Molder Slug, Thermopod, and Catacomb Slug). Courtesy of MTGO Traders and SBena_Bot. The gift is meant for players who never took part before on a TribAp event, but I can grant it to recent players or budget players too, at my discretion. So just ask me for that, maybe you'll be lucky.
The upcoming Tribal Apocalypse events of the Blippian Era (every Saturday at 17:00 GMT):
- 3.06 (Week 110 BE), on February 9: Regular Week.
- 3.07 (Week 111 BE), on February 16: Tribal Singleton.
- 3.08 (Week 112 BE), on February 23: Small Time Tribal: no Big Shot Tribes allowed.
- 3.09 (Week 113 BE), on March 2: Underdog Week.
Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2013!
Take the Tribal Survey!
See you all in the Tribal room!