It always happens when we go Underdog (or, once upon a time, Endangered): as soon as the usual suspect tribes go away, a whole world of tribal diversity is opened before our eyes. With the exception of some dominating tribes that quickly got banned (Kor, Werewolf, Imp), these events always gave a chance to shine to pretty much anything. Here, a Berserker deck won for the very first time. Both Thrull and Hound, which ended 3-1, were "Orphan" tribes, that is they never even made a single Hall of Fame point before (you can see the list in the bottom right corner of the Hall of Fame's main tab. There's still 63 of them. We should make a contest out of clearing that list.)
In a gigantic installment of his weekly feature, RexDart describes in detail most of these decks and shows the replays the players kindly sent to us (thanks, players! Do that again, please! Here's how.) This releases me from the need of coming up with meaningful things to say, so I can just be vague, silly and inconclusive. Let's do it!
LAST WEEK ON TRIBAL APOCALYPSE...
Event Number: 3.09, Week 113 BE
Date: March 2
Attendance: 25 (that's a record for Underdog/Endangered events! Take that, Elf party!)
The other undefeated player was Robin88 with his tried and tested Rebels, slightly revised since Event 109, but still built a bit Commander-style (I haven't figured out yet the use for that damn Savannah):
Rat (as well as Myr) used to be banned in Endangered events, until I decided they're not that broken after all. Nagarjuna piloted the little rodents to a solid 3-1 with a reanimator built that put them in competition with the late Imps, but I still believe they're a safe, if strong, presence in the Underdog roster.
Next it comes a truly brilliant Mutant graft/evolve deck by Malum (who, it's worth noting, entirely operates without expensive dual lands.) He even unlocked the Biovisionaryachievement with it. So Simic, so appropriate. (Have both this deck and my current work-in-progress I'm playing in Modern PREs been inspired by thisWinter.Wolf's fine article?)
On other news, JaceWind tried his hand at a Myr deck simultaneously fueled by both Locus and Urza lands. And despite achieving a 1st place in the past, and generally doing good every time they show up, the Kavu are still not played very much: romellos brought them among us for the 6th time overall, and kicked some more ass with their fast aggro flair.
But my Choice of the Week has to be this mini-enchantment toolbox (love it!) Thrull deck by Ultimate Champion slug360, who won nearly every special prize available due to them belonging to all categories of Underdog (they're a small tribe, rarely played, never successful), and even being Topical in virtue of their current Orzhov totemic status.
Moving on, while Ayanam1 finally (at the third attempt) managed to win the Miststalker Challenge with his Beast deck ended 2-2, there were several decks from tribe you don't see often (which is and should be the whole point of Underdog event), like Bringers by misterpid and Carriers piloted (is that a pun?) by bdgp009. I choose to feature this Dauthi deck by BrotherSpoon, particularly because it gave a hard time to my underwhelming Living DeathAvatars (Sepulchral Primordial isn't as effective as it says on the box). Also because it uses thinking man's GTC favorite Immortal Servitude, and unusual cards like Temporal Extortion (which, granted, it's just cute, but at least it's different.)
So, Berserkers fairly cheap, especially when you take out the dual lands; Rebels fairly expensive, even not considering the amount of (sometime unnecessary) dual lands that Robin88 included: yet the high price is actually due to the 3 copies of Force of Will, which take almost $200 of that total. So there's still a Training Grounds/Countermagic Rebel semi-budget deck to be built somewhere in the middle.
Welcome back to Show and Tell, my ongoing audio/video series covering the decks of the Tribal Apocalypse PRE through weekly deck techs, features, and replays. Although I was unable to play in the most recent event, I was nevertheless blessed with a cornucopia of content this week. So let's get right to it!
First of all, congratulations to Ayanam1 for winning the Miststalker Deckbuilding Challenge! My first own deckbuilding challenge of the year required you to finish with 2 match wins or better using a deck featuring Uril, the Miststalker and following a few deckbuilding guidelines. Ayanam1 did it with a Naya Beast deck that features the aura theme but doesn't put all its eggs in that basket. Naya Beasts have all the tools for a powerful midrange deck, with big under-costed bodies and excellent incidental lifegain, making them a great option in an aggro-heavy metagame. In this first video I have a deck tech of the Beasts, and stay tuned to the end where I will introduce the next deckbuilding challenge! (For complete rules of the challenge, see the bottom of my section.)
Next up, we have a supremely Simic creation from Malum, who finished 4th place with this Mutant deck. Combining the old Simic "graft" mechanic with their new "evolve" mechanic gave Malum some powerful synergies. Cloudfin Raptor can put a lot of pressure on an opponent early, and both the Raptor and the unblockable Elusive Krasis provide him with evasive bodies for one of his other tricks: Stolen Identity! He has some reasonable ETB effects to exploit, as well as just getting the chance at extra evolve triggers... or you can always copy that Biovisionary, as we will see in the replay. The video begins with a short deck tech looking at many of the cool interactions present in Malum's design, then moves on to the replay of a game against misterpid (who was playing Bringers, though I only saw a Gnome in the video and misidentified the deck, sorry misterpid!)
Current Ultimate Tribal Champion slug360 ended 3-1 with his Thrull combo deck. Enduring Renewal was one of the very first popular combo decks in the 90s, and its reprinting in Time Spiral lured a whole new generation of experimental deckbuilders to give it a try. Enduring Renewal combos can vary from quite simple to quite complex depending on the format and the tools you have available. The basic idea of slug360's combo is to sacrifice Blood Pet for one black mana, returning it to your hand each time with Enduring Renewal, and recasting it with the black mana you made. With that loop in place, all you need is some way to turn that into a kill, such as Blood Artist. Apart from that game-winning combo, slug360's deck contains several other powerful interactions you will see in the video. The video starts with a short deck tech on the Thrulls, followed by three game replays sent in by slug360 himself. The replays feature games against Ayanam1's Beast deck (discussed above), Kumagoro's Avatar deck, and AJ_Impy's Phoenix deck.
These final three videos are replays of all three games from last week's final playoff round. Robin88 is taking this PRE by storm in 2013, going undefeated once again, this time with UW Counter-Rebels. Opposing him was justcanceled, piloting an aggressive Gruul Berserker deck.
Robin88's deck is capable of quickly assembling some nigh-unbeatable board states, if it can untap with a Lin Sivvi in play. The Rebels can finish off the opponent quickly with the help of Mirror Entity, who seems to be a constant companion of these UW Rebel decks in Tribal Apocalypse.
But the Berserker deck has ample removal to disrupt Robin88's plan, and is capable of some very fast starts. In the end, Berserkers on the play are too much for Robin88 in game 3, and justcanceled takes it down, with Robin88 falling just short of his second tournament win once again.
Now that Ayanam1 took down the Miststalker Deckbuilding Challenge, it's time for my second challenge of the year: The "All Poxes Great and Small" Deckbuilding Challenge! The prize of one non-foil digital copy of Cursed Scroll, valued at nearly 5 tix, is up for grabs.
Here are the rules:
Your deck must include at least 4 copies of either Smallpox or Pox (or any combination of those cards, such as 3 Smallpox and 1 Pox, for example.)
Your deck's tribal identity may NOT be Vampire or Dauthi, but you may include creatures of those types within other tribal decks as you wish (for example, if you want to include Kalastria Highborn, you would have to either play Shamans or play her off-tribe).
You must enter a Tribal Apocalypse event and finish with at least two match wins (byes and forfeits not included.)
Tiebreaking procedure: There is only one prize available; if more than one person accomplishes this during the same week, the one with the higher match win total will take the prize. If one or more players are tied on match win total, the prize goes to the player with the highest total number of Pox and Smallpox cards in his deck. If they are tied on total copies, the winner will be determined randomly.
Check the complete archive of RexDart's Deck Techs here.
The Rules: we 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 13 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.
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! Return to Ravnica is not the latest trend anymore, so we embraced the Gatecrash flavor. The Tribes eligible for the 1-tix Topical Prize (remember: you need to win at least one match with one of them, and be the highest-ranked to do that at the end of a TribAp event) are the ones represented in the Keyrunes of the Gatecrash's guilds: Thrull (for Orzhov), Horror (for Dimir), Beast (for Gruul), Soldier (for Boros), and Crab (for Simic). Note: in the case of Beast and Soldier, that are way stronger tribes than the other three, 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 5th edition, and it's back to its original roots: be the first to run 10 different tribes in a row and you'll get 5 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.
The Bringer Challenge is on! A new, crazy pentacolored challenge has been issued! After Elder, Kirin, Nephilim and Volver, it's time for a true heavy weight, the kind I like best: be the first player who'll win a proper match (no byes, no opponent forfeiting) with a Bringer deck featuring 4 copies of each of them, and you'll win 1 tix and admiration, both from me!
C'mon, this time is alluring!
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.