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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Jan 25 2013 11:54am
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 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse, the PRE where slugs are kings.

   Table of Contents 

  1. Last Week on Tribal Apocalypse...
  2. RexDart's Show and Tell: Invitational Special!
  3. The (Almost) Winner's Tale
  4. Announcement Time!
  5. What's Next

 Drum roll and triple trumpet blast for the 2012 Ultimate Tribal Champion!

 That's it, at the end of the Invitational tournament, our Spanish Wonder slug360 made it, starting from an amazing 10th seed (with only one 1st place during the whole 2012 run)! And all the Four Horsemen of the Tribal Apocalypse changed name, actually (this time, as represented in the classic woodcut by Albrecht Dürer).


 After slug, the 2012 Number 1 Player mihahitlor replaced last year's Number 1 Player NemesisParadigm (confirming the fact that the Number 1 Player can reach the final round), then Nagarjuna replaced DirtyDuck and gbagyt replaced, well, me. And the first three players are from Europe this time (Spain, Slovenia, Germany)! Woo-hoot! The All-Time ranking for the four them are, respectively, 12, 1, 5 and 11. Yeah, slug did a real exploit here, overturning any prediction. If you want to know more about him, and about the Number 1 Player mihahitlor as well, stay tuned on these frequencies for some upcoming interview features with more videos and audio commentaries from the two of them.

 In the meantime, let's have a look at how the royal rumble went down...


  • Event Number: 3.03, Week 107 BE
  • Date: January 19
  • Attendance: 16
  • Rounds: 4
  • Special Rules: Invitational
  • Top 4: slug360 (Devil, Snake, Illusion, Elf); mihahitlor (Soldier, Goblin, Warrior, Human); Nagarjuna (Rat, Ally, Rogue, Human); gbagyt (Pirate, Human, Illusion, non-submitted)
  • Tribes: Ally, Demon, Devil (x2), Efreet, Elemental (illegally), Elf, Faerie, Goblin, Golem, Horror, Human (x3), Illusion (x2), Minotaur, Mutant, Pirate, Rat (x2), Rogue, Sliver (x3), Snake, Soldier (x3), Sphinx, Warrior
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 The 2012 Invitational was a seeded single elimination tournament between the Top 16 played of the 2012 ranking, i.e. these ones:

  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.)

 All the players showed up for the event, but as secondary sponsor via SBena_Bot, SBena decided to leave his spot to a reserve. The highest ranked one in the room was ellmaris (seed #26), so the first round board looked like this:


 Here's what happened then.

 The first round was played with Underdog tribes, and the "T9" cards (the most abused nonland noncreature ones in Tribal Apocalypse) were banned.


 And it was a high-seed massacre. The #2 of the ranking, romellos, the #3, DirtyDuck, and the #5, Ranth, all fell, against Malum, RexDart and gbagyt (with a great Pirate deck!) respectively. Dirty and Ranth both had Sliver decks, as had the proud reserve ellmaris, and not a single one of them managed to pass the turn: a true Sliver hecatomb. Other notable elimination: last year's Ultimate Champion Ayanam1, running a Golem deck, had to immediately resign his crown against one of the most brilliant 2012 additions, Chamale; and tribal legend AJ_Impy also abandoned the fight early on, facing the soon-to-be Champion slug360: AJ's recently acclaimed Minotaurs weren't enough to stop the fury of slug's Devils. Finally, Nagarjuna beated _BIG_BROTHERS_ (despite the Elemental deck he was running was illegal in Underdog: my bad for not having noticed it in time) using his Rat-animator deck from some weeks ago; and I passed the turn myself, after re-enacting the classic Living Death Sphinges vs Living End Mutants which has to be the nightmare of raf.azevedo by now.

 The players had to use the deck (without any major change) with which they achieved their best result in 2012. (You'll find the original decklists linked. The new ones are here.)

 Unlike the previous round, all the seed-based predictions were respected. Chamale's dredge Horrors can't stop mihahitlor's Goblins. Our valiant RexDart revisited his famous Efreet deck, but fell under the late game of gbagyt's Soul Sisters Humans. My own Demons can't do much against the mad aggro power of Nagarjuna's Allies (I should have opted for my other best deck, Wolf). And after a great first round in which he managed to take down one of the favorites in romellos, Malum's dream was crushed by slug360, his Splinter Twin Faeries not able to overcome slug's Opposition Snakes.

 The players were called to run 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) were excluded.

 At this point, the Four Horsemen were established. It was a matter of seeing which of them would end up in the consolation final, and which would battle for the title of Ultimate Champion. Also, how the big prizes would be assigned. And when I say "big", I mean it. Welcome to 40 tix worth of goodies, celebrating the Human tribe being the most successful of the year with 7 wins (runners-up: Elf and Wall with 4):


On the left, 1st and 2nd prize, courtesy of MTGO Traders; on the right, 3rd and 4th prize, courtesy of SBena_Bot

 Unconventional aggro all around: on the top side of the board, mihahitlor smartly chose to run Warrior, remaining in the RDW/Goblin kind of build that already earned him round 2; gbagyt's Illusion deck didn't manage to stop the flood of burn. Illusions (with the help of some power cards like singleton Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Vedalken Shackles and a full playset of Wasteland) were promptly avenged by slug360, who bested Nagarjuna's Rogues.

  In a homage to last year's final battle between Ayanam1 and NemesisParadigm, where they had to build decks at the last minute because the submitted ones weren't legal due to some miscommunication, the finalists (both for 1st and 3rd place) got 20 minutes to build a 2-color deck from scratch. Each player had to choose his opponent's allowed color identity, taking turns in naming one of two colors; the fifth, unnamed color wasn't playable by either of them.

 The allowed pool ended up being Simic for slug360, Boros for mihahitlor, Azorius for Nagarjuna and Rakdos for gbagyt. The 3rd place final didn't take place anyway, since gbagyt never submitted his decklist and went AWOL, giving Nagarjuna a very anticlimactic forfeit victory. The two decklists submitted by the main finalists weren't particularly original, if perfectly representative of the highest levels of power in Tribal, mihahitlor choosing a monowhite Human build (with Master Warcraft as the required Boros card) and slug360 going with uber-classic Elves.


 Slug's list (with Edric, Spymaster of Trest as the Simic card) is actually more interesting, being a noncombo, toolbox build where Fauna Shaman, Green Sun's Zenith and Natural Order find both answers and endgames:


 You can hear RexDart's commentary on the slug360-Nagarjuna semi-final and the slug360-mihahitlor final, and watch some of mihahitlor's semifinal and final games from his own eyes. But here's a special bonus threat, too: the (at the time) live podcast commentary of the final by round 1 illustrious victims Ranth and AJ_Impy!

 And that's it!



 This week I took a break from the regular Show & Tell series to bring you audio/video coverage of the semi-final and final rounds from this year's Invitational. My audio commentary for these matches was recorded LIVE during the event. In the first two videos, I cover the semi-final match between slug360's aggro-control Illusion deck and Nagarjuna's Rogue deck featuring the Rest in Peace combo. The Illusion deck, packing solid countermagic, played very well against Nagarjuna's combo deck, naturally.

 Game 2:

 The third video is my pregame analysis for the finals betweenn mihahitlor and slug360, as I cover the color-pairing game and discuss strategies for how to approach it. As you'll hear, I thought mihahitlor had the correct overall strategy for the game, and the strategy most suited to his playing and deckbuilding style. (I still believe that, despite how it turned out.)

 The final three videos cover all 3 games of the finals. I thought putting mihahitlor's Humans into two of his bread-and-butter colors was a mistake, and it certainly seemed after Game 1 that mihahitlor's plethora of spot removal and aggressive swarm was going to be too much for slug360's Elves (which lacked much ability to interact with mihahitlor's army) to handle. But after a long Game 2 ended with Elves going over the top with Craterhoof Behemoth, Game 3 saw risky keeps on both sides. Slug360 kept a one-land hand with only Wasteland after mulling to 5 on the draw. Mihahitlor kept a one-land hand with multiple one-drops, including double Champion of the Parish and Mother of Runes, but apparently none of his one-mana white exile spells. Slugended up getting his green mana, his lords went untouched, and he was able to put the game away with a Sword of War and Peace.

 Game 2:

 Game 3:

 And now, a brief Tribal News item. If you haven't checked out Mark Rosewater's tumblr page, Blogatog, you should definitely give it a read now and then. He will answer questions from players, though he's cautious about spoilers. I spotted these two items of potential interest to tribal players. While most of the time our format is somewhat at the whims of the creative department, who assigns creature types in the absence of any gameplay mechanic or power-related issue that would require design and development to do it, the design team is aware that many players love tribal decks.  These two answers suggest the inevitability of traditional lords for Wizards and Minotaurs. Wizards already have some powerful creatures that care about other Wizards, but no traditional +1/+1 bonus lord.

 Minotaurs, on the other hand, were a long-neglected tribe that has seen a lot of new members in recent months. In addition to the newest additions featured in AJ_Impy's deck from a couple weeks ago, we also have two new Minotaurs coming in Gatecrash. The rare one, Boros Reckoner, has potential uses in aggro, midrange, and combo decks.

 Get your Didgeridoo now kids, the Minotaurs are coming!

 Check the complete archive of RexDart's features here.



 Here's a sample of how one of our two finalists made it! First we can see mihahitlor's game 1 of his semi-final against gbagyt:

 And game 2 of the same match:

 And here's the last, decisive game of the final:

 In the upcoming interview with miha, we'll also get his audio commentary on the decklists he used. And in slug360's interview, we'll see both his deck techs and his full path to victory, game after game, with audio commentary! 


 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: the first round of Tribal Achievements is over! Soon 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 past list had 8 achievements still to unlock. Some of those 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 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! 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 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.

 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):

  • 3.04 (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.
  • 3.06 (Week 110 BE), on February 9: regular week.
  • 3.07 (Week 111 BE), on Febraruary 16: Tribal Singleton.

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2013!

Take the Tribal Survey!

 See you all in the Tribal room!


Is there a list of by Chamale at Sat, 01/26/2013 - 02:22
Chamale's picture

Is there a list of achievements for the 2013 season up anywhere?

Not yet. Working on it. :) by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 01/26/2013 - 10:08
Kumagoro42's picture

Not yet. Working on it. :)

Nothing personal against by RexDart at Mon, 01/28/2013 - 14:27
RexDart's picture

Nothing personal against Chamale, but I am looking forward to some interesting achievements that don't involve Dream Halls :-) Dream Halls and the "mill my whole deck and then DR something" strategy seemed to be responsible for a huge percentage of the flashy achievements. Perhaps some of them didn't have any other consistent ways to pull them off, but a bit higher variance should make for a more challenging achievement.

I liked some of the deckbuilding achievements, and intended to go for the K-Scope one, but AJ did it the week before I was planning to. Maybe I'll find something to try for this season. I've already explored many (thought not all!) of the weird endangered tribes I've been interested in, so it'd be something else to spur a deck idea. They really have been a much bigger success than I thought they would be.

Dream Halls will essentially by Kumagoro42 at Mon, 01/28/2013 - 15:41
Kumagoro42's picture

Dream Halls will essentially be banned in the second round of achievements (also, less of them will be of the kind that Dream Halls would help clearing). But I'm sure Chamale will find other ways, he didn't do ALL of them with Dream Halls after all.

Oh I don't doubt he'll find by RexDart at Mon, 01/28/2013 - 17:58
RexDart's picture

Oh I don't doubt he'll find other ways, as will some of the other players, I'm just looking forward to seeing other creative solutions to these challenges. Dream Halls and the Cephalid Breakfast shell were just too easy, by virtue of being versatile enough to pull off several of the combos, sometimes being built to do multiple in the same event. There were probably multiple reasonable methods for some of those that we never got to see, and if nothing else the achievements should be giving us interesting things to comment upon :-)