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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Jan 11 2013 10:38am
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 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse, the PRE where 2013 is indeed the Year of the Snake.

   Table of Contents 

  1. Last Week on Tribal Apocalypse...
  2. The High Price of Winning
  3. RexDart's Show and Tell
  4. Ahmet's Game Bazaar
  5. 2012 Invitational!
  6. Announcement Time!
  7. What's Next

 So, the official 3rd Blippian Year of Tribal Apocalypse just started! Woo hoot! And it did under the sign of the Snake, which is the real Chinese Zodiac sign for 2013! (Ok, the actual Chinese year will begin only on February 10, so we're technically still in the Year of the Dragon, but still. Hey, somebody should bring a Dragon deck to 1st place before then, the big lizards never even got a Top 4 placement in 2012.) For the first time since 1953, this year will specifically be consecrated to the Water Snake, and what a better way to celebrate this than with two very different, Simic-based Snake decks in the Top 4?


The Simic Combine would be proud


  • Event Number: 3.01, Week 105 BE
  • Date: January 5
  • Attendance: 20 
  • Rounds: 3 + playoff
  • Special Rules: Underdog Week
  • Top 4: RexDart (Snake, undefeated); AJ_Impy (Minotaur, undefeated); slug360 (Snake, undefeated); Ranth (Mongoose, 1 loss)
  • Special Prizes: True Underdog Prize, Semi-Virgin Prize and Up-and-Coming Prize to AJ_Impy with Minotaur
  • Tribes: Avatar, Beast, Bird, Kavu, Minotaur, Mongoose, Nephilim, Ooze, Rat (x2), Rebel (x2), Scarecrow, Sliver, Snake (x2), Soldier, Specter, Volver (x2)
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 Yeah, great parade of quirky tribes overall (including Mongoose, guys! Mongoose!), which of course is mainly due to this starting week being an Underdog event, i.e. an event where only the tribes with fewer members (Endangered), the less played ones (Semi-Virgin), or the less successful ones (Unhallowed) were playable. Ironically, Snakes were only admitted as a Semi-Virgin tribe, since, believe it or not, only 3 players had played them within the last 2 years. And now that they've been played two more times, they're not Underdog-legal anymore (they have 52 members available online, and they had already won an event). Well, at least they really went out in blaze of glory, didn't they?

 But look, in the end, it were the reptiles of our editorialist Chris Wynes aka RexDart the ones that took the first win of the year! Congrats to the Diaries Team! (Which is something I just totally made up but could even become a thing down the line.)


 Rex will tell you everything about this deck in his feature, but can I say that I just LOVE it? Of course, that might well be because I recognize in it some of my own ideas that I had offered to Rex back when he first tried the Snakes in Event 92. Namely using my favorite Sachi (one of my first 3-0s on TribAp was with a Shaman ramp deck into Tooth and Nail powered by Sachi), and Skyshroud Claim as the 4-mana ramp of choice (search for 2 Tropical Islands and put them onto the battlefield untapped? They really don't print cards like that anymore. The only conceivable alternative would be Hunting Wilds, that doubles as a finisher in late game). Maybe also Hornet Queen comes from me? It's a board-seizer/finisher I'm always glad to use. The presence of Elesh actually moves the deck into Bant colors, but that's the only white card in the build and, well, she's really an unparalleled powerhouse in Tribal, the go-to creature for the end of any mid-range, creature-based ramp.

 By the way, since I partially co-designed this deck, I feel authorized to play it myself in the future. Simic power! (Need to save enough to buy those cobras, though.)

 In the playoff round, Rex's deck had to defeat two other 3-0 decks, including fellow Snake pilot slug360, who coincidentally was using the same build with which he had won Event 82. Battle of the Winning Snakes!


 Badass Opposition tokens are badass, and slug had defeated every opponent so far, including the mighty DirtyDuck, who this week was going aggro with Slivers.

 But let's change vertebrate with the other cool protagonist of the week, AJ_Impy and his Minotaurs (Rex talks about this deck too, check it out.)


 As AJ himself wrote in the last Freed from the Real, the deck was able to "spitting out turn 3 Minotaur Aggressors, donating Illusions of Grandeur with Zedruu, and bouncing Etherium-Horn Sorcerers  in and out of play. Didgeridoo got a whole lot better the past year or so." The weird instrument, that for some reason belongs to the Minotaur tribe (along with, you know, some Shapeshifters), goes often forgotten for this very reason (also for being a 4-cent uncommon from, good Lord!, Homelands), but it's really one of the most powerful creature-based cards in the game. The Commander and Planechase pre-cons gave us two powerful Minotaurs (I like Zedruu's trick of getting life and card advantage out of giving perfectly useless Journeys to Nowhere and Oblivion Rings to the opponent). The tribe's aficionados should always stay on the lookout for more members to exploit via Australian ethnic music.

So, is that Aborigine producing low harmonics to summon an angry Minotaur... who will then proceed to beat the shit out of him to shut him up?

 Here's AJ defeating SBena's 5th-place Rebel deck. And here's the soundtrack.

 Last (of the Top 4) but absolutely not least, let's all salute the very first showing of the pariah Mongoose, thanks to Ranth (who this way took home the first Mongoose Pride Prize ever!)


 Yeah, of course the deck tries everything it could to help the little critters (which, I never tire of emphasizing, are far from being the worst tribe you could play.) There's the Punishing Fire/Grove of the Burnwillows combo, even further enhanced by Sylvan Scrying ; there's a lot of sweepers; there's  Solitary Confinement fetched by Enlightened Tutor. There's even Mikokoro, Center of the Sea, which is a high-profile land we've rarely seen played. But nothing is too much to vindicate our neglected suricates. Too bad they didn't get to epically fight any of their natural preys (they successfully faced Kavu and Nephilim and got stomped by the Minotaurs). Like, you know, Snakes. Or Rats. And we got those, too, thanks to this build by Nagarjuna, that ended 2-1:


 Who said that only Imps are good for reanimator? Rats have enough built-in discarding abilities (using Pack Rat to discard a fattie is definitely sublime), are fast, and got a few powerful supporting members like the pauper-star Crypt Rats.

 To wrap up the week, let's acknowledge a couple debuts of cards from the Watch List. This Avatar deck by Ayanam1 brought to us the fearful Sneak Attack, although without much luck.


 You can see the typical 20-land, Ancient Tomb-featuring Ayanam1 build here. And by the way, he already showed up in the previous week's Commander event, but now we can announce that Ayanam1 is officially back on the prowl, just in time to reclaim his title of Ultimate Tribal Champion in two weeks. So, welcome back, Josh! And welcome back Sneak Attack? Well, maybe not.

 Ironically, the only deck that Ayanam1 managed to defeat with his Avatars was this Scarecrow's build by grapplingfarang, featuring both the  Painter's Servant/Grindstone combo, for the first time since when it was unbanned, and its enhancer Lion's Eye Diamond, that was also never played so far in the Blippian Era.  


 For the records, yes, the full playset of Force of Will, the half a playset of LEDs, and the 3 Wastelands make this deck the most expensive we ever saw around these parts: a monstrous $1,077.63. Not sure what kind of record this is, but there's that.


 Also known as: how much do the Top 4 decks cost? As of January 11, 2013, here's the answer (MTGO Traders prices; the cheapest version of each card is always used; basic lands count zero):

  • 1st place, RexDart's Snakes: $281.54 (nonland cards: $100.24; tribal base: $65.93)
  • 2nd place, AJ_Impy's Minotaurs: $148.98 (nonland cards: $15.55; tribal base: $10.41)
  • 3rd place, slug360's Snakes: $403.40 (nonland cards: $131.57; tribal base: $38.58)
  • 4th place, Ranth's Mongooses: $213.79 (nonland cards: $47.22; tribal base: $10.32)

 So, slug360's Snakes are almost 50% more expensive than RexDart's ones, mainly due to the presence of Noble Hierarch and two money lands like Mutavault and the very crucial Gaea's Cradle, that Rex didn't use. AJ_Impy's Minotaurs are fairly cheap instead, considering their proved power level. Hey, Boros lovers, Plateau is currently only 6 tix. Just saying.



 In this week's episode of Show and Tell, I continue my week by week look at the top performing decks from Tribal Apocalypse. As always, the videos include both an in-depth analysis of the deckbuilding behind the top performers, and some replay videos to show them in action against other interesting decks from the tournament field.

 Part One covers my own first place Snake Ramp deck. I discuss the options for building ramp decks in tribal, referring back to my video last fall covering the ramp archetype, and show how those principles went into designing my deck. Big credit goes to Kumagoro for his help in making an important card selection for the deck that helped my deck improve from a 1-2 performance last time out to a 5-0 performance this week against numerous past TribAp winners and event-winning decks. Part One also includes a replay video of my Snakes in action against Kumagoro's Ooze Combo deck.

 Part Two begins with a look at the 10th place deck, grapplingfarang's "Painted Stonecrows".  Usually the Show and Tell feature will cover the Top 4 only, but I couldn't let this one pass without comment. Coming in at more than $1,000 to build and packing a game-winning combo protected by a set of Force of Will, it looks like a future champ in the making, and a potentially divisive one if and when it takes the crown at a Tribal Apocalypse event.  Last but most certainly not least, I take an in-depth look at AJ_Impy's Minotaur build, who put Didgeridoo to better use than anyone has, excepting perhaps jazz funk legends Jamiroquai on their debut record Emergency on Planet Earth. AJ also manages to revive, in minotaur form, an old extended combo from over a decade past. I comment on two replays of AJ's deck in action, one using the Zedruu/Illusions combo, and one where he grinds out a win with big Minotaurs and hot funky Didgeridoo action.

 Check the complete archive of RexDart's Deck Techs here.


 Nothing this week, sorry. See you soon!


 It's that time of the year again, the time when we take the Top 16 players of the Hall of Fame Ranking and we have them fight each other for the title of Ultimate Tribal Champion. And, well, prizes.

 The 2012 Invitational will take place on January 19, and will be a seeded single elimination tournament where each round will be played with different rules (see below). The 16 qualified players are:

  1. mihahitlor (858 pts.)
  2. romellos (788 pts.)
  3. Nagarjuna (704 pts.)
  4. DirtyDuck (696 pts.)
  5. _Kumagoro_ (621 pts.)
  6. Ranth (621 pts.)
  7. AJ_Impy (430 pts.)
  8. Ayanam1 (312 pts.)
  9. Chamale (300 pts.)
  10. slug360 (297 pts.)
  11. raf.azevedo (283 pts.)
  12. gbagyt (258 pts.)
  13. RexDart (228 pts.)
  14. _BIG_BROTHERS_ (221 pts.)
  15. Malum (194 pts.)
  16. SBena (193 pts.)

 They all already won a special prize (to be revealed soon), courtesy of MTGO Traders. Semi-finalists and finalists will get additional prizes, courtesy of SBena_Bot and MTGO Traders. Some of these players still have to confirm their participation by answering the invite that was sent via email. Please do it!

 Reserves will take the place of any qualified players who shouldn't show up. They will be seeded at the bottom of the ranking, based on their respective seed. So, if the #11 spot will be vacant, the whole ranking will move up one position, and the highest-ranked reserve present will take the #16 seed. The players ranked between the 16th and 32nd place are all invited as reserves, and will have the chance to play in case a qualified player will not be there.

 Here's the rules for each of the 4 rounds. 

 The players must use an Underdog tribe with the following additional bannings: Swords to Plowshares, Path to Exile, Oblivion Ring,
Counterspell, Brainstorm, Dark Ritual, Lightning Bolt, Punishing Fire, Green Sun's Zenith.

 NOTE: this group of 9 cards is what I called the "Tribal 9" (or, you know, T9). They're statistically the most abused noncreature, nonland cards in Tribal Apocalypse, and will be used as an additional banned list in special events where we want to push players into using something different. I made a couple changes from the actual Top 10 list: I removed Wrath of God, because forcing to use Day of Judgment instead (or Damnation, or any other available sweeper) doesn't make any real difference; and I replaced Honor of the Pure, that felt too specific, with Dark Ritual, because I wanted a powerful, generic low-cost black card in the list.

  The players must use the deck with which they achieved their best result in 2012. Decklist should be more or less the same as the original deck, unless you don't own those cards anymore OR if there's some clear improvement over it which doesn't bring the deck to another place entirely (e.g. more dual lands that you owned at the time.) Submit the decklist to me beforehand if you're not sure and I'll validate it.

 The players must use both a tribe and a deck different from those with which they achieved Hall of Fame points in 2012. The Top 16 Tribes of 2012 (Human, Elf, Goblin, Wizard, Wall, Kor, Werewolf, Faerie, Vampire, Assassin, Merfolk, Kithkin, Ally, Spirit, Zombie, and Knight) are excluded.

 The finalists (both for 1st and 3rd place) will have 20 minutes to build a deck based on rules established by their opponent (the exact range of these decisions will be disclosed only at the last moment.) 

 Good luck, everyone!


 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: there's only a few weeks left to complete the first round of Tribal Achievements! After the Invitational (which is obviously achievement-free), a new list will be launched for 2013, with new ways to have fun within Tribal Apocalypse, challenge yourself to do all kinds of strange MTG feats, and make some tix in the process. The current list is here, with 10 achievements still to unlock. Some of those that will still be unlocked after January 19 will be back in the new list (also, some of the ones proposed by the players, with one of them getting the "I Made This Myself" achievement from the old list), along with some of the more popular ones. But expect new, wild stuff too. 

 The Mongoose Pride Prize!  As the last tribe standing after everyone else had been played at least once, Mongoose has become the protagonists 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! As we have returned to Ravnica, we said goodbye to Avacyn Restored's star tribes, Angel and Demon, and we embraced a whole new set of tribes for the Topical Prize. It's five tribes, each representing a different guild as portrayed in their relative keyrunes: Bird (for Azorius), Elemental (for Izzet), Devil (for Rakdos), Insect (for Golgari), and Wolf (for Selesnya). You don't necessarily have to play them in their guild's colors, but that gets bonus points for style and topicality.

 The Hamtastic Award: the Biodiversity Prize dedicated to the memory of Erik Friborg is 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.

 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. This week both bdgp009 and JerkBurton77 tried it, but unfortunately without success (bdgp's win vs. mihahitlor was due to forfeit.)

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 get lucky.


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

  • 3.02 (Week 106 BE), on January 12: regular event. 
  • 3.03 (Week 107 BE), on January 19:  2012 Invitational. The battle of the Top 16 players of 2012. Invite only.
  • 3.04 (Week 108 BE), on January 26: Small Time event: regular with no Big Shots tribes (currently: Elf, Human, Goblin, Wall, Cat, Wizard).
  • 3.05 (Week 109 BE), on February 2: Underdog Week.

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2013!

Take the Tribal Survey!

 See you all in the Tribal room!


1. Although I think Kuma ran by RexDart at Fri, 01/11/2013 - 11:20
RexDart's picture

1. Although I think Kuma ran Hornet Queen in an insect deck last year, I got the idea to run it from one of the legacy specialists on Team CFB discussing Hornet Queen as an option in his Nic Fit deck. (Nic Fit is the legacy deck that sort-of-ramps into Grave Titans with Veteran Explorer -- whereas most legacy ramp decks use 12-post/Candelabra and don't really look like normal ramp decks.)

2. Ayanam1's avatar deck was pretty solid, but when you're playing ramp decks you have to love sitting down across from the guy with Show and Tell :-) The system only recorded one of our games in Round 3. He did nearly race me in game 2 with a S&T'd Progenitus, but I put Hornet Queen into play off his S&T and was able to follow it up with Elesh Norn to pump the bees (Hornet Queen is 16 flying power with Elesh Norn) to race the nearly un-raceable Proggy. On any given week, I would expect Ayanam1's decklist to be among the favorites for going undefeated, but people do play weird stuff on Underdog week so you never know.

3. As both an instrument and a magic card, glad to see the didgeridoo get the love it deserves at long last.

1. Ah, Nic Fit! I was by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 01/11/2013 - 13:47
Kumagoro42's picture

1. Ah, Nic Fit! I was coincidentally looking at that recently, because as you saw I happen to have playsets of all the expensive pieces now (Pernicious Deed, Scavenging Ooze, Bayou, Liliana), and it's a nice solid Legacy deck that doesn't care about Tarmogoyf. In the game vs. you didn't show, but Scavenging Ooze is really really powerful, I can see why it's overshadowing Tarmo in more than one pro player's opinion.
Is Hornet Queen used in place of Deranged Hermit then?

3. And yet, you don't have them in your collection! :P (You also have some terrible, white-bordered Wraths of God :P)

4. I'm building my own version of the Snake ramp for future use. Mana fixing aside (I do have Windswept Heath, and also 1x Savannah, but only 1x Tropical Island, so I'm going to use Breeding Pool and maybe Reflecting Pool), I'm going to replace Pendelhaven with Gaea's Cradle (you didn't use it out of budget issues only, or there's some other reason?) Then maybe I'll try and find some room for a Regal Force. Did you consider it?

I like slug360's choices of supporting creatures, actually (purists always turn up their noses at this, but choosing the right support for a ramping tribe, like you said in the video, is far from easy and may lead to a complicate balance in the deck). Craterhoof Behemoth is killer in his build. Would be good in ours too, but Elesh kinda covers that field, if in a less explosive way. Also, some kind of silver bullet, like, in his case, Nullmage Shepherd, or maybe Woodfall Primus/Terastodon might be warranted, even if I wouldn't know what to take out, since Elesh is out of discussion, and 2x Hornet Queens are something I really want to keep. Maybe just +1 Regal Force, -1 Swallower?

This leads me to the only real thing I'd change, which is Summoning Trap. I don't entirely like it (although the instant effect is sweet), possibly because I've a terrible history with it. I can think of two alternatives here, one lower in the curve: Natural Order; one higher: Tooth and Nail. Both would allow me to fetch for Regal Force or the hypothetical silver bullet, whereas your build can't. Do you think the 9 mana for Tooth and Nail make it too risky? Then again, you can fetch Elesh+Hornet at the same time. Or, if you have 7 mana and no finisher in hand, you can fetch 2 of them for 7 and play them in the next two turns. On the other hand, Natural Order would allow me to fetch anything but Elesh, very fast, putting pressure on the opponent with, say, a turn-3 Swallower. What do you think? Maybe 2 of each?

1. Hornet Queen was by RexDart at Fri, 01/11/2013 - 16:12
RexDart's picture

1. Hornet Queen was suggested as a possibility, but Nic Fit is one of those "pet decks" that certain players have, and there isn't much that is standard about it's fattie selection other than Grave Titan. But yes, in essence, I suppose it would be similar to the role Deranged Hermit used to play in Extended Rock decks.

3. The crappy white bordered Wrath of Gods were purchased for a UW Reveillark tribal deck I haven't run yet, and I'm pretty sure I bought them when I was low on funds so just got the cheapest ones available to playtest it. You can maybe tell from my deck history and comments in videos that I'm more of a Firespout kind of guy than a Wrath kind of guy. If they had the original Quinton Hoover art available I'd pay a premium to own that, but they do not.

4. If I were running the deck again, I would consider Woodfall Primus or Terastodon (or maybe the 6 mana guy from Scars block, can't recall the name) just to at least have one out against noncreature permanents.

Although I never ran Regal Force, I did try out Sphinx of Uthuun on the same principle, with the idea that it would dig me five cards deep into another fattie for the next turn. I tested Sphinx in several matches and ran one copy in the event last fall. The problem is neither Regal Force nor the Sphinx is something I can really count on to do much for me. They don't provide enough board presence on their own against the linear aggro decks, which is absolutely essential because there is no room for sweepers or spot removal. And they don't act as effective finishers, because of their vulnerability to Swords to Plowshares and other spot removal.

I am a pretty big fan of Summoning Trap to help increase the density of fatties, making sure I can always get one out ASAP. Summoning Trap basically acts as another copy of one of my good finishers. Eight fatties is generally considered enough to hit on Trap often enough for it to be worth it (for example, the old standard Valakut decks that ran 4 Primeval Titan, 4 Inferno Titan.)

If you didn't run Trap, I agree that Natural Order would be a solid Plan B. I would consider Worldspine Wurm as a target. It has an StP problem, but ok fine I'll gain 15, that buys me a few more turns. Empyrial Archangel would be legit in that deck too. I would either stay completely away from Tooth and Nail, or else go all-in on it and put an instant-win two-creature combo in there. I would also advise that in my experience playing this deck, it is not too hard to reach 6/7 mana but reaching 9 in the early turns doesn't happen quite so often.

Re: Gaea's Cradle, I've never owned one or played with one, so I sort of overlooked it until I saw it in slug360's build. I usually only buy money cards if it's the kind of thing I'd play in "real" legacy or in modern, and I always wrote that one off as an Elves card I had no interest in. Since my mana acceleration starts with a 2-drop, there would be some number of hands where my 2-drop gets killed and suddenly the Cradle is really awkward. But obviously it can be pretty explosive as well. If I had one, I would likely try it in place of the Pendelhaven. Cradle is much stronger in slug360's tokens build than it would be in my build.

1. I was thinking of the kind by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 01/11/2013 - 17:29
Kumagoro42's picture

1. I was thinking of this kind of deck (which is from 1 year ago). Legacy, not Extended Rock. Won a StarCity invitational. They use GSZ as a toolbox and they always have/had the Hermit in there.

3. The thing is: your crappy white-bordered WoG costs pretty much the same as a black-bordered 10th Edition one! I'm sorry, I can't condone the use of any white-bordered card, ever. :)

4. The 6-mana guy from Scars block? Brutalizer Exarch? That leaves a pretty lame body behind, can't be Legacy material. What would you take out for this slot, anyway?

Regal Force and Sphinx of Uthuun have different functions to me. The Sphinx digs for specific things you'd like to draw, it's a Fact or Fiction. And it's blue, which means you either draw into it or you need to have some particular fetcher like Chord of Calling, which I don't see happen (also because you would have, like, 100 better targets to fetch with that). At that point, it's better to run a real Fact or Fiction in her place (or, you know, a Jace). On the other hand, in the right deck Regal Force completely restores your hand. It's like restarting: what your deck did until that point, you're going to do it all over again. Time it well, and it'll creates an unrecoverable situation for the opponent. I don't think I ever lost a game where a Regal Force gave me 5-6 fresh cards. The body is just a bonus at that point, the fact that it's a creature only matters in that you can Natural Order it or GSZ for it and so. Being green makes it easier.

Think about your board position in our game. You did that whole explosive start, you filled the board with mana creatures, then you had one Simic Sky Swallower and an empty hand. If I had managed to activate the Pernicious for 7, you would have lost everything, and very likely the game. If you didn't have that single Swallower in hand, I would have swept the board next turn, and again you would have lost right there. But if at that point you had a Regal Force, or a mean to fetch it, that would have given you 7 fresh cards, which mean even if I had swept the board, you would have restarted your battleplan all over again while my resources would have been depleted.

Both Regal and Gaea's Cradle are used in Elf decks. But the thing is: those decks work in a very similar way to this one. You can learn from them and translate their tricks into new forms. The Cradle is just amazing in Tribal, everywhere. You just need two creatures on the board to make it good. People aren't using it too much because has become impossibly pricey. If it were 1-tix, you'd see it in every deck. Back when I bought mine, it was 10 tix or less. Then it became expensive and I never got to buy another one, also because one is great, two in a deck that's not all about abusing them can screw your starting hand. But every deck with 20 creatures is enough for the Cradle to be good.

I don't want to go the Tooth and Nail combo route with this deck. It would become a whole different deck really quick. You put 1x Kiki-Jiki and 1x Sky Hussar in there, then you'd need Brainstorm to shuffle them back if you draw into them, and so on. It'll change the deck entirely. This isn't meant to be a combo deck, I see it as more streamlined. Same goes for Worldspine Wurm. I like the Wurm very much, it's a great Natural Order target, possibly one of the top 3 now. But this isn't a Natural Order deck. What if I draw into the Wurm? It's a 11-mana creature, it would be stuck in my hand forever, and I don't have ways to shuffle it back. I considered Empyrial Archangel myself, but I just assumed you did too and discarded it because with Swallower and Elesh you don't really need her. Swallower is a better finisher. And what's the scenario where Empyrial does better than Elesh? If you are facing a horde of weenies, Elesh just sweeps them away. If you're facing stuff that Elesh can't sweep away, the Empyrial isn't going to last either. Plus, she's 8 mana with 3 different colors and double white.

All in all, I feel confident to try 2x Natural Order and 2x Tooth and Nail in place of the Traps. Looking at Tooth and Nail like a 7-mana tutors for 2 finishers, which occasionally works as 7-mana double Show and Tell, and occasionally as a 9-mana sort-of-endgame. You can easily do a noncombo endgame where you win 90% of the times fetching Hornet Queen and Craterhoof Behemoth. Except I still have Regal Force, Craterhoof Behemoth and Terastodon all competing for 1 slot which isn't even there yet. :) I think I'm going to add something as a 61st card.

If you want to run a variant by RexDart at Fri, 01/11/2013 - 18:57
RexDart's picture

If you want to run a variant of the deck, by all means make it your own, make it fit your playstyle. Just offering suggestions about your proposed changes.

The problem with Regal Force is this: once you reach 7 mana to cast it, most of the cards you could draw are nearly irrelevant. At 7 mana, the only thing that matters is drawing into fatties, you don't care about the chaff. In the game we played, had you wiped my board, a fist full of Cobras and Sakura-tribe Elders wouldn't have won me the game. Only the fatties matter at that stage.

Look at it like this. Regal Force will not win you the game with its body against any decent opposition. If the Regal Force draws you into a creature that WILL win the game, which is the best case scenario, then you may as well have just replaced Regal Force with that creature in the first place. If it draws you a grip full of manadorks, then it was basically useless.

If you don't like the variance of Trap and want to try something else -- which I understand, although I consider a whiffed Trap to at least have put 7 useless cards on the bottom of my library, which isn't nothing -- I still think you should go all in on either NO or T&N rather than split, and then retool the deck accordingly. If you don't want to play an instant win combo with Tooth and Nail, it really isn't worth playing IMHO. If you're just fetching fatties with it, at sorcery speed, you're setting yourself a turn behind, and you may not have a turn to lose against some decks. If you're putting fatties into play, it's only really an improvement over just casting them when you have two fatties in hand. If you're entwining, that's great, but for 9 mana, which is much tougher than 7 in this deck, you should be instantly winning the game.

If I was ditching the traps, I would go 4 NO, cut a Sky Swallower for a Woodfall Primus, and call it a day. The only reason I suggested the green Exarch is that, even in a ramp deck, he's more realistically castable if he's in your hand than those 8 and 9 drop guys are. If I run the deck again, I will stick with Traps, but will replace one SSS with a Woodfall Primus.

Truth be told, I share your by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 01/12/2013 - 05:42
Kumagoro42's picture

Truth be told, I share your concerns about Tooth and Nail. I don't know, maybe I just like it too much, and want to see if the 9-mana barrier isn't worth it. You're probably right, though, and you sound like you ran simulations to find out that the average mana threshold of the deck is 7. And if, say, 80% of the time Tooth and Nail is going to be used in the non-entwined version, it's probably not worth it.

And the thing about 4 Natural Orders is that then I don't like the look of them. It makes it look too easy. You end up with 4 mana on turn 3, you do NO, you fetch a fattie with shroud. That's very nondescript, you can do that with every green tribe, it has nothing to do with the structure of the deck.

I'll probably go with the Trap version (which is, you know, the 5-0 version! :), maybe I'll like them better once I got the chance to use them more.

I really think you're looking at Regal Force from the wrong angle, though. It's not a fattie, it's a drawing spell that can be fetched with creature-fetching tools. I don't understand your example, if you think that drawing 7 cards in the deck equal to draw only mana dorks, then that's true of the opening hand too. How is drawing 7 new cards after downloading your full hand a bad thing? :)
But it's probably because you envision it as something you draw into when you'd need to draw into a threat instead. I envision it as something you fetch at the right moment. Of course, going back to the Trap build, Regal Force is semi-useless, since it would be only based on the luck of drawing into it when it's needed.

And at this point, this might be true of Woodfall Primus as well (or Terastodon; do you like the Treefolk better? I generally do, but Terastodon is probably more powerful overall, and I thought you would ditch the Primus because of the smaller body. Terastodon is more versatile in that you can use it as an overwhelming attack force when it has no targets, putting the surplus lands to use). If there's nothing to really fetch the solution when it's needed, you can't count on a singleton copy to show up right after the opponent has dropped the noncreature thing that's killing you.

Bottom line: if I go back to Traps, I won't change anything in the build but lands. :)

where Worldspine really by Paul Leicht at Fri, 01/11/2013 - 22:36
Paul Leicht's picture

where Worldspine really shines is when you can either discard it for value (assuming you don't NO it into play) or where you can sneak it into play somehow. I agree that it isn't something you want to try and cast straight unless you are playing some super ramp engine.

You've been testing some by RexDart at Sat, 01/12/2013 - 12:47
RexDart's picture

You've been testing some pretty big mana decks in standard, I remember you mentioned a Door deck, ever go big enough for Worldspine Wurm?

No, Worldspine is just a by Paul Leicht at Sat, 01/12/2013 - 19:04
Paul Leicht's picture

No, Worldspine is just a little out of the realm of reasonable so far. Though I did build a wurms breach deck for Modern. Main villain there is Mannequin which catches the wurm as it dies or is discarded.