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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Apr 13 2018 12:00pm
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 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse!

   Table of Contents 

  1. Last Week on Tribal Apocalypse...
  2. The High Price of Winning
  3. Announcement Time!
  4. What's Next

Check the full archive for the "Diaries of the Apocalypse" series


THOUGHTS OF A TRIBAL HOST
by Kumagoro

 So, we had 6 players showing up last week (and it's not the first time). We must face it: Tribal Apocalypse is losing attendance. It's crucial not to panic and do everything we can to reverse this trend. Starting from this: if you're a regular, and if you care about Tribal Apocalypse not dying, think about what you're showing to new players. They need to feel the desire to come back and play in the tournament again. But they won't feel that if their first experience was to lose a match in two minutes without getting the chance to play their deck. It's just basic psychology: most players might have fun losing, but they won't have fun not playing.

 Everybody knows I advocate diversity and dislike the idea that combo decks are against "the spirit" of Tribal Wars. It's not about that, in fact. There are combo decks that ruthlessly crush the opponent when they start doing their thing, but they won't start doing their thing by turn 2 or 3. For instance, if they're not stopped, Cloudpost decks will overwhelm the battlefield eventually, but that won't happen before the opponent has had a chance to play, even if their plays were entirely inconsequential. So what I'm saying is, play what you want, but if you care about this PRE, and about the format it represents, and that would become completely extinct should Tribal Apocalypse ceased to exist, well, if you do that, make sure you don't win before turn 4, ever.

 In fact, I might decide to ban everything that leads to this kind of situations (starting from fast reanimator), as much as I'd rather not have an overlong ban list if possible. In the meantime, I think we should focus on the subformats where this can't happen by design. The new Pure Tribal is one of them, and I intend to put it in the rotation each month, maybe even twice per month if it's well-received. Formats that don't require a very expensive mana base could also be prioritized. It was brought to my attention that PREs with budget-friendly construction rules are thriving. We can experiment with Standard Tribal Wars and Pauper Tribal Wars. Maybe Legacy Tribal Wars should become one of the forms of the event, rather than the basic one. At the same time, Vintage Tribal Wars might show up in the calendar a couple times per year, to pander to people who have full collections and not enough outlets for Vintage cards. (We might be done with Singleton, instead, since even the most vocal supporters of the format didn't show up for the latest Singleton event.)

 Expect calendar changes starting next month. Spread the word. Play responsibly.


LAST WEEK ON TRIBAL APOCALYPSE...

  • Event Number: 8.13, Week 378 BE
  • Date: April 7
  • Attendance: 6
  • Rounds: 3
  • Subformat: Underdog
  • Winner: AJ_Impy with Dinosaur
  • 1 Loss: Generalissimo with Shapeshifter, Nagarjuna with Phoenix
  • Up-and-Coming Prize: AJ_Impy with Dinosaur
  • Underdog Prize: lovetapsmtg with Crocodile
  • Tribes: Crocodile, Dinosaur, Insect, Phoenix, Scarecrow, Shapeshifter
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 Dinosaur won its first event! Thanks to AJ_Impy, and reanimation techniques. Which is essentially what they used in Jurassic Park, too.

 

 In the meantime, Generalissimo concocted a changeling deck where all the Shapeshifters trigger Dragon Tempest, keep around Mark of the Oni and are immune to Crux of Fate.

 

 Nagarjuna was into Phoenix this week. But also into hate permanents like Blood Moon, Chalice of the Void, and Trinisphere.


THE HIGH PRICE OF WINNING

  

 Here's the prices of all the featured decks, courtesy of the amazing Deck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of April 13, 2018):

  • AJ_Impy's Dinosaurs: $243.87
  • Generalissimo's Shapeshifters: $35.32
  • Nagarjuna's Phoenices: $477.54

 The Top 10 Cheapest Decks that Went Undefeated

  1. mihahitlor's Warriors, $1.95, 1st place on Event 233
  2. morpphling's Vampires, $2.25, 1st place on Event 285
  3. morpphling's Goblins, $2.35, 2nd place on Event 102
  4. JogandoPelado's Berserkers, $2.80, 1st place on Event 248
  5. kokonade1000's Berserkers, $2.95, 2nd place on Event 354
  6. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.32, 1st place on Event 154
  7. MisterMojoRising's Insects, $3.55, 2nd place on Event 201
  8. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.58, 1st place on Event 169
  9. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.70, 1st place on Event 145
  10. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $4.12, 2nd place on Event 141

 The Top 5 Cheapest Non-Goblin Decks that Went Undefeated

  1. mihahitlor's Warriors, $1.95, 1st place on Event 233
  2. morpphling's Vampires, $2.25, 1st place on Event 285
  3. JogandoPelado's Berserkers, $2.80, 1st place on Event 248
  4. kokonade1000's Berserkers, $2.95, 2nd place on Event 354
  5. MisterMojoRising's Insects, $3.55, 2nd place on Event 201

 NOTE: not adjusted to current prices; data collected since Event 85.


ANNOUNCEMENT TIME!

 Just to remind you of a few things:

 The Underdog Prize: During any event of the regular rotation (but not during the one-time special events), all players who are running an Underdog Tribe are eligible for a 1-tix credit certificate from MTGO Traders. The tie-breakers are first the number of Underdog categories (for instance, a tribe that's simultaneously Endangered and Unhallowed will take the prize over one that's only Endangered), then the points achieved in the final standings. During Underdog events, only the True Underdog tribes are rewarded (those are the tribes belonging to all three categories of Underdog at once).

 The Up-and-Coming Prize: When a tribe wins an event for the first time ever (losing Unhallowed status), its pilot will get a 3-tix certificate from MTGO Traders.

 The New Kids on the Block Award: When a new tribe is introduced in the game, or reaches enough members to be played as a proper tribe (i.e. at least 3 members, so you can build a deck that features 4 copies of each plus 8 Changeling creatures), the first player to score a match win with it will get a 3-tix certificate from MTGO Traders. You'll need a hard win, not a BYE or a win by no-show of your opponent. The tribes currently eligible for the award are Camel, Hippo, Hyena, Monkey.

 The Repopulation Award: Some tribes get played only once (to get the New Kids on the Block Award) and then forgotten. Never again! Register one of the following tribes three times in different events, then play all rounds of those events with them, and you'll get a 3-tix certificate from MTGO Traders. The list of these tribes, established May 5, 2017, is as follows: Antelope, Atog, Crocodile, Goat, Homarid, Incarnation, Leech, Licid, Monger, Nightstalker, Orgg, Ouphe, Rabbit, Salamander, Slith. Already cleared: Jackal, Manticore, Metathran, Moonfolk, Octopus, Ox, Processor, Siren.

 The Hamtastic Award: The Biodiversity Prize dedicated to the memory of Erik Friborg rewards each player who registers 10 different tribes (except Human, Elf and Goblin) during the year with a 3-tix certificate from MTGO Traders. You can go on and win the prize multiple times in the year, but you need to keep playing different tribes! (So if you manage to register 50 different tribes in one season, you can get up to 15 tix!)

 The Top Players Lockout: Every time a Top Player (either a Google Era Top 8, an Ultimate Champion/Tribal Player of the Year, or a seasonal Top 8) will end undefeated, they will not be allowed to register the same tribe and deck again for 5 events (i.e. they'll have to register a different deck or decks 5 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.

 Wanna test your deck? Tell us when you're online, and look who else is there and when! All of this here!


 WHAT'S NEXT

 The upcoming Tribal Apocalypse events of the Blippian Era (every Saturday at 17:00 GMT):

  • 8.16 (Week 379 BE), on April 14: Regular
  • 8.17 (Week 380 BE), on April 21: Pure
  • 8.18 (Week 381 BE), on April 28: Regular
  • 8.19 (Week 382 BE), on May 5: Underdog

Check out all the rules for the sub-formats!

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2018!

SEE YOU ALL IN THE TRIBAL ROOM!

2 Comments

I want to elaborate on that by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 04/13/2018 - 16:55
Kumagoro42's picture

I want to elaborate on that opinion section.

Simply put, I'm not talking of a problem with grabbing a new player's interest longterm. I'm talking of the first impact, the first 5 minutes a new player experiences on Tribal Apocalypse. We say, "Come play in our event, it's fun! It's not cutthroat Legacy, it's a format with creatures!". Then they reg a list, whatever that could be, and face, as it happened, a deck that goes Entomb, Lotus Petal, Reanimate, Iona, good game. And then it does it again game 2 (or maybe it's a turn later), so they've spent the entirety of their match watching the opponent briefly play a few cards. Which doesn't really feel like playing. So they say, "This is what your idea of fun is? All right, thanks, not my cuppa, goodbye", and they drop at the end of round 1 and never come back.

This is not a hypothetical scenario, it actually happened. And I can't find that player and explain that it's not always like that, that that kind of deck sometimes jams and doesn't always draw like that. Because I can't even guarantee that it'll be true for them. It's a matter of luck. One may spend hours building and fine-tuning their deck, a deck that has some chances of winning some matches, but never an event, and they're perfectly fine with that; and then they face a "win in turn 1-3" decks and don't draw into the one card that could save them, so they never actually get to see how their deck does, lose interest in the whole thing, go do something else with their time.

If a player stays long enough, they'll understand that things don't work like that longterm, that linear aggro wins 75% of the times, as I always point out. (And it's not even that, losing to a combo deck that wins turn 10 is fun, even if you never had a chance, because at least you've got 10 turns of interacting with them, of building your own plan, as doomed as it was: it's not about winning, it's about getting a chance to play).

But if they don't stay because there are decks in our meta that are off-putting that way, and not because they win (again: not the problem here), but because they might win in such a way that doesn't let the opponent play one single spell, or at least not without knowing you've already lost anyway, then they never get to learn the ropes, and we lose them.

And we can't afford to lose them. We can't afford to say, "This is an event for serious Legacy players only", or "for people who don't get annoyed by things like Entomb/Reanimate". Because those players are not enough anymore. We're having 6-player events. In 13 events this year, the average attendance is 9. Those players are gone. Life changes, people can't be counted to play TribAp all life long (except maybe AJ), so new blood is needed. And PREs must compete with the leagues now (and MTGA soon, which might well be the end for all of us), most players won't probably care to come to us and be subjected to that kind of negative game experience, when they can play whenever they want in environments where that never happens, and you're sure to play a number of matches where your deck does actually play.

Penny Dreadful does 4 events per week, and they all have a 20-player attendance, I'm told. But those are decks with cards that don't cost more than one penny, so good luck winning turn 1 with those.
And I don't think it's about the budget. Players play $3 decks here and are happy. Every once in a while, maybe they'll scoff at the screen, but mostly they don't even care, as long as they can play their decks, but like, actually play them. You can do that against Cloudpost, against Aluren, against a lot of cutthroat combos, even against prison decks to some extent. But not against fast win builds. And reanimator is singled out because it's cheap to build, easy to pilot, popular, typically attractive (Nagarjuna says in the interview how it speaks to his Timmy side).

I don't event want to really regulate what can and can't be played. I never like to add stuff to the ban list. You want to play Entomb/Reanimate? Be my guest. Sooner or later you'll lose turn 2 to someone who's playing Rest in Peace, and it'll be negative game experience for you. (I personally think it's a very crude, very inelegant, not at all creative way to play reanimator. But I'm a Recurring Nightmare/Living Death kind of guy.)

But what I'm saying is, if you care about this tournament surviving, if you're not here just to try and grab some tix and run (which seems unlikely, since we have $300 decks winning 2 tix), then play in a way that won't push those new players away. Go crazy against veterans, not against newbies. Maybe even play your Entomb/Reanimate deck, but don't pull the trigger until mid-game. It could be a challenge to oneself, too. (I personally can't think of winning turn 1-3 as fun. You wait all week for a chance to play Tribal, then try to have your games end as quickly as possible?)

Bringing guns to a knife by Paul Leicht at Sat, 04/14/2018 - 05:59
Paul Leicht's picture

Bringing guns to a knife fight tends to put off the knife fighter. Bringing nukes to a gun fight tends to put off the gun fighter. Etc. The arms race is intolerable not just to new players but old.

The choice to really ramp up the cut throated (spiky) side of the format is part of what drove me off and I am definitely not the only one who had this cassus belli (I have talked to a number of older players who say things like "oh yeah...I remember that event. Was fun until..." and inevitably it was several runs of very bad match ups.

Another part for me was a sense of anti-sociability of my particular opponents that set me on tilt and made the probability of losing not even a little bit appealing. But that's a personal problem.

The last part of the problem for me is that to be competitive I would have to spend a lot more time on decks than I wanted to (I used to show up with about 15mins of prep time before the event sometimes.) The additional time requirement plus the (for me) inconvenient starting time has kept me away even though I sympathize with the event and want it to succeed. I help AJ test at times and I continually brew for the format but I rarely come up with a deck that I both want to play and doesn't just die to random match ups.

I am not sure the answer is curating a ban list to be more pro-active. There are tons of ways to break the game and without a sideboard there is no GOOD way to ensure good match ups.

The main solution might be to BE the ambassador for the format you want. (the chat lack of functionality really hurts you here.)

If you want new players to join then lower the arms race pressure by consensus and maybe emphasize winning as not being central to the prize structures. If you want to keep people, be more socially active. One of Blippy's most successful traits was his persistence and inexhaustible patience with individuals. I would not expect his level of activity but if you appoint more people to be involved this way then maybe attendance will pick back up again. With 6-12 regular players there are certainly enough core players to do this if done in an organized and consistent way.

I say all of this because at one time I really enjoyed the event and still love the format despite the huge hit of losing the filter. I hope you come up with something to help it survive.