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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Feb 15 2013 1:47pm
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 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse, the PRE where it really is 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. Announcement Time!
  5. What's Next

 I did it, I did it! A first place after so many months! And in a regular event, which didn't happen to me since 2011! Well, to be honest, the Snakes did it. My associate co-design with RexDart, which already ended on top in the first event of the year, is positioning itself to be this year's Wall-Drazi. Except it won't, because both Rex and I lack the commitment to play the same deck over and over again. But we'll see if little Sachi and her pet Cobras will fuel another first place at some point down the line.

 But first of all, take a look at my Gatecrash Tribal Evaluation (which is the same thing I've recently done for Return to Ravnica.) I'm not sure if the article will be up while I write this, but it's submitted and ready at that address, so if it doesn't work yet, just try again later (or Monday.)


  • Event Number: 3.06, Week 110 BE
  • Date: February 9
  • Attendance: 23
  • Rounds: 4
  • Special Rules: none
  • Winner: _Kumagoro_ (Snake)
  • 1 Loss: romellos (Merfolk), Nagarjuna (Ally), RexDart (Shaman), Robin88 (Kor), Zoltan (Kithkin), SBena (Knight), AJ_Impy (Human)
  • Special Prizes: Endangered Prize and Topical Prize to _Wolf_ (Wolf)
  • Tribes: Ally, Beast, Elf, Goblin (x2), Human (x2), Kithkin, Knight (x2), Kor, Merfolk, Rogue (x2), Shaman (x3), Snake, Soldier, Spirit, Vampire, Vedalken, Wolf
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 So, here's my cute Snakes and their big friends:


 We debated for a while with Rex about improving this list. I was considering Natural Order (or even Tooth and Nail) in place of Summoning Trap, but in the end I went with the Trap and got over my past dislike for it (caused by bad experiences): it's a fun card and has a deep tactical value at times (the element of surprise!) Rex was veering towards putting some "solution fattie" in there, like Woodfall Primus or Terastodon, but that seemed to me more like an addition for a fetching build with Natural Order or Tooth and Nail indeed; as it is, the deck's not a toolbox, so you should just rely on the singleton permanent destroyer to show up by itself when needed, which isn't a plan. I also have a (still untested) Modern version of the deck, which replaces Skyshroud Claim with the slower but more versatile Hunting Wilds, and Hornet Queen with Avenger of Zendikar, which is a no-brainer.

 After me, all players with 1 Loss, the first of which was romellos who devoted himself to a very Legacy-worthy Merfolk build:


 Then Nagarjuna brought back a personal classic: the always effective Allies, this time in a pure Azorius build:


 In his feature, RexDart will show (and tell) the other 1 Loss decks: his own Shamans, Robin88's combo Kors, Zoltan's Kithkins (mihahitlor-style), and AJ_Impy's disruptor Humans. To cap this, I like to highlight the deck that took home the first two achievements of the year by going hyper-budget: Malum took "Prince of Paupers" (deck worth 2 tix or less) and "Minimalist Life" (all nonland cards have CMC 1) by winning at least one match (and actually two) with this Vampire monocost build that on the day of the event was worth only $1.93. Congrats!


 And that's it.


 Also known as: how much do the Top 4 decks cost? As of February 15, 2013, here's the answer (MTGO Traders prices; the cheapest version of each card is always used; basic lands count zero):

  • 1st place, _Kumagoro_'s Snakes: $233.05 (nonland cards: $69.29; tribal base: $39.89)

 In the end, the Snake Ramp isn't a very expensive deck, especially considering I was running a $40 Gaea's Cradle here, which isn't really necessary (then again, the deck would have needed full playsets of Tropical Island and Savannah to be perfectly built, but shocklands are ok.) The big, irreplaceable cost comes from the Cobras and Elesh, which currently all are at $8/9 apiece.



 This week saw a few familiar decks return to the top of the standings. Snake Ramp got its second win of the year already. It's a fun deck to pilot, and Kuma helped me with some of the tech that pushed it over the top, so grats to him for the win!  Since I already featured that list, I'm going to take a look at four of the x-1 lists from the standings.
 In Part One, I take a look at two relatively familiar decks, starting with Zoltan's mono-white Kithkin deck. This is at least the second time Zoltan has finished in the money with this popular white weenie tribe. Kithkin are all about fast, consistent early games, with the advantage that they fight well against other aggro decks. But they have a hard time racing combo decks, and need a solid plan to force through the last points of damage against midrange and control opponents. Zoltan uses Honor of the Pure, Spectral Procession, Squadron Hawk, and Kinsbaile Borderguard to make sure he always has another body or two to throw at you. Finishing up Part One, I look at romellos' UW Merfolk list. The white-splash for removal spells is probably the best choice available in the format, and his list has a great core of creatures in it. Though I do quibble with his card selection just a bit, it's a solid list, and a good place to start in developing UW Merfolk for future events.

 Part Two examines two decks that tried to attack the recent trend of greedy manabases in the event. AJ_Impy ran a hard-to-classify monored Human deck, using four copies of Magus of the Moon and 4 Avalanche Riders to disrupt his opponents' mana. Some recently popular decks would be completely locked out by a Blood Moon effect, so it's a good metagame call. At a minimum, the Magus and the Riders could take an opponent off a color. He has an interesting choice of spells to close out the game, and naturally an assortment of board sweepers to help against the aggro decks that don't care about his attack on their mana. This part of the video then concludes with my discussion of the Shaman land destruction deck I piloted this week. The Shaman tribe gives me the tools to explode nonbasic lands with Goblin Ruinblaster and Fulminator Mage, plus Deathrite Shaman to ramp into land destruction spells and then use my opponent's blown-up lands for my own gain. The finishers are the criminally-underplayed Malakir Bloodwitch and a personal favorite, Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief. Fun note: a single Drana got me about 65% of the way to the "Hope You Kept Something in Reserve" achievement, by killing a double-digit number of Elves by herself in Round 2, during the long process of beating them down from 70 life to 0.

 Part Three is a short match replay of my Shaman deck in action against Robin88's Kor-phalid Breakfast deck. The combo deck was brought to popularity by DirtyDuck last year. Robin88's build is not quite precisely the same, but uses the same kill condition and has the same use of Stoneforge Mystic into Batterskull as a Plan B path to victory. The pressure on his hand and his mana slows him up just barely enough to let me finish him off.

 Quick note: remember, the Miststalker Deckbuilding Challenge is still available! Ayanam1 tried this past week, and I know he had a great list, but got some bad matchups. The prize of one non-foil digital copy of Angelic Destiny is still up for grabs if you: 

  1. Build a Beast tribal deck for the event.
  2. Include at least 3 copies of Uril, the Miststalker.
  3. Include at least 6 beneficial Auras (i.e. Armadillo Cloak counts toward the total, but Pacifism does not.)
  4. Enter Tribal Apocalypse with the deck, and finish X-1 or better.

 You won't be able to play it in this week's Singleton event, obviously, but that gives you a week to put something together. By the way, the next challenge is already planned out, and will not necessarily require multiple colors in the deck, so it should be even more budget-friendly and open to more deckbuilders — but this one needs to be unlocked first. Good luck!

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


 Just to remind you of a few things:

 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. Latest news: Malum was the first to unlock achievements from the new batch. Specifically, his super-budget Vampire deck got the returning "Prince of Paupers" (playing and winning at least one match with a deck worth 2 tix or less), which was unlocked by Chamale the last time around, and the romellos-designed "Minimalist Life" (Playing and winning at least one match with a deck where all nonland cards have CMC 1).

 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 so last week now, as we embrace the latest 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, in its 4th-edition shortened form (5 tribes in a row for 2 tix) was won by gq1rf7! Congrats! You can look at the final table here. (It's the archive of all the past editions.) Four players reached 5 tribes simultaneously last week (the other three being AJ_Impy, romellos and SekKuar Deathkeeper), and we had to do a playoff round between them using one of the tribe in their sequence as they wished (gq's Elementals defeated AJ's Elephants, while romellos' Humans sent home SekKuar's Kors, only to be beaten by gq in the final.) And now the prize has started again, for its 5th edition, and is back to running 10 different tribes in a row to get 5 tix on SBena_Bot. Remember: 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):

  • 3.07 (Week 111 BE), on February 16: Tribal Singleton: only 1 copy of each card except basic lands; no additional Banned Lists.
  • 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.
  • 3.10 (Week 114 BE), on March 9: Regular Week.

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2013!

Take the Tribal Survey!

 See you all in the Tribal room!


As requested, Rex: by AJ_Impy at Sat, 02/16/2013 - 04:38
AJ_Impy's picture

Part of the problem is you're falling into the Kavu Titan trap: If you keep something which has the potential to be bigger back until it can be bigger and only play it that way, then you lose a lot of its utility. Sometimes a bear is just a bear, sometimes a Kargan Dragonlord is just a quick beater, and if you're afraid to drop it as a 2/2 on 2, you're losing some of that utility. Some decks, particularly ones with a non-interactive mindset like elves, lack the spot removal to kill it quickly, and an unhindered Kargan Dragonlord can put your opponent in burn range in just a turn or two. It's attacking another part of the meta, and occasionally does an Ironclaw Orcs impression.

It's also worth using for the mind game. If your opponent holds back on removal mana, you can just swing without investing, making him take damage anyway, or spend the removal spell on an ordinary bear. Having gotten utility out of it, you can then invest with impunity or expand your board presence. Making him use his removal on the 2-drop can kill his ability to use it on the 3-drop, which with some of these mana bases would be game over. Your opponent can reveal a lot with how he responds to this one card, information you can then use.

As for the fireblasts, they are a highly efficient finisher burn. Also, when under the effects of Magus, they can get rid of your own nonbasics before casting Price to ensure that win isn't a draw. You'll note the deck is a bit landlight: With a Crucible out, a Fireblast can actually act as a point of mana acceleration as you tap, sacrifice and replay your mountains.