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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
May 03 2013 1:07pm
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 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse, the PRE where greatness is never forgotten.

   Table of Contents 

  1. Last Week on Tribal Apocalypse...
  2. The High Price of Winning
  3. RexDart's Show and Tell
  4. The Top 10 Dragon's Maze Creatures for Tribal Wars!
  5. Announcement Time!
  6. What's Next

 Let's not waste any time talking about anything else, like if there's anything happening tomorrow on MTGO that's more important that HAM ON WRY II, guys! The gigantic, one-of-a-kind, history-making PRE dedicated to the memory of the sorely missed Erik "Hamtastic" Friborg is back, more amazing than ever. Here's why you should just go and register a deck in it, pronto:

  • there's a load of prizes! Seriously, there's more prizes than in premiere events: look at the breakdown, you essentially get 2 tix only for playing, 12 tix only for doing decently! More than 1,755 dollars of pledges, and counting.
  • it's even endorsed by Wizards of the Coast! You ever see another PRE endorsed by those guys?
  • It's linked to your beloved Tribal Apocalypse! That's right, we'll do our part, MTGO Traders has pledged its fair share of big tix, and SBena_Bot is giving 20 tix (TWENTY TIX) to the guy who will do better with a Classic Tribal Wars deck. Which, by the way, just means a Classic deck with one third of creatures sharing the same type and no sideboard (yes, you'll be the crazy guy going into a Classic event without sideboard! But hey, you can do that Hermit Druid tribal deck you always dreamed of!)
  • on top of that, Tribal Apocalypse will take part in the Hamtastic Marathon, the series of events happening the same day in a row, starting from Eurodrive! at 12:00 GMT, then TribAp exceptionally starting at 15:00 GMT, then Ham on Wry at 18:00 GMT. Complete this amazing journey through the eternal formats by playing each round of each event, and you'll get 1 ME booster! (The one with Force of Will in it! Up to 4 Marathoners will be awarded the prize, unless we'll get other pledges before tomorrow. Boosters not assigned will go directly to Hammybot.)
  • the Classic format is funnier than you think. It's not really Vintage (so far), and it doesn't have the PRO-analyzed meta of Legacy, so it's more prone to host weird decks, or the super-powered version of decks from other formats.
  • it's for Erik!

 And now, before looking forward to what will happen tomorrow, let's have a look at what happened in Tribal Apocalypse last week, shall we?


  • Event Number: 3.16, Week 121 BE
  • Date: April 27
  • Attendance: 16
  • Rounds: 3
  • Special Rules:  Pure Tribal (no off-tribe creatures, no Big Shot Tribes nor T9 cards allowed)
  • Winner: justcanceled (Shaman)
  • Other undefeated: romellos (Kor)
  • 1 Loss: mihahitlor (Vampire), Malum (Merfolk), _Kumagoro_ (Shaman), Gq1rf7 (Merfolk), Nagarjuna (Eldrazi), Robin88 (Sliver)
  • Special Prizes: Underdog Prize to AJ_Impy (Avatar)
  • Tribes: Avatar, Dragon, Eldrazi, Elemental, Kor, Merfolk (x3), Shaman (x2), Sliver (x2), Vampire (x2), Warrior, Zombie
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 Fun fact: with this event, Avatar, Dragon and Warrior hit their 10th appearance in two and a half year. I'm not surprised about Warrior, because we know people like to play Human decks better, and Avatar is kind of a fringe tribe anyway. But isn't Dragon supposed to be a very popular creature type? The whole reason why they keep printing at least one of them in each set? That doesn't seem to be true for the TribAp crowd, at least. By the way, I reorganized the Underdog rule page, and now all the tribes that AREN'T Underdogs are marked as well, so it's easy to tell what you are or aren't allowed to play in Underdog events. I called them "the Major League". They're 37 tribes, and by looking at them, one really gets the sense they're the top-tiers, doesn't they?

 Anyway, justcanceled took his second victory in last week's Pure Tribal event with this Shaman deck I especially loved, despite being sorely beaten by it (while piloting another, different Shaman build):


 In the final playoff round, the explosive Shamans faced and overcame a great challenge (documented as always in RexDart's feature, with deck techs, game replays and audio commentary): romellos' Kor deck.


 That's some classic romellos build with Stoneforge Mystic and blades, which was actually kind of born out of a mistake on my part: I should have top-locked the whole package after romellos went undefeated with it last week as well, albeit with a different tribe and building rules. I did it now, so rom, no blades for you for the next 4 events! (Nice meta-call with Kor Firewalker and double Sword of Fire and Ice, anyway.) 

 I mentioned my own Shaman deck, so here it is. A Golgari build with emphasis on discard, and the life you can gain out of it with Sangromancer, even late game when you'll make them discard lands. Did you know that the insanely powerful Hymn to Tourach is just 1 tix now? (Why am I telling you this? I don't want to face Hymn to Tourach! It's nasty!)


 Finally, this is the Eureka Eldrazi build by Nagarjuna that keeps scaring a lot of players, despite never going past the two wins. I guess when you're the guy against whom Emrakul occasionally comes Turn 2, you may feel powerless.


 And that's it.


 Also known as: how much do the top decks cost? As of May 3, 2013, here's the answer (MTGO Traders prices; mtgGoldfish charts and analysis; the cheapest version of each card is always used; basic lands count zero):

  • 1st place, justcanceled's Shamans: $104.81 (nonland cards: $24.01; tribal base: $22.30)
  • 2nd place, romellos's Kors: $484.02 (nonland cards: $203.76; tribal base: $6.68)

 The peculiar nature of justcanceled's deck, which is a parade of 13 different Shamans, for a 31 count total, makes it reasonably cheap, especially when you consider that most of its tribal price comes from the 3 copies of Deathrite Shaman, which is hotter and hotter (just look at that chart.) All those Wastelands, Vindicates, Scrublands and high-profile equipments (especially Batterskull, which is back at nearly 25 tix) obviously keep the Kor's deck over the top, instead.



 Welcome back to Show & Tell, my ongoing audio/video deck tech and replay series covering Tribal Legacy Wars and the Tribal Apocalypse PRE!

This week was Pure Tribal, the variant where you cannot splash off-tribe creatures, and where your creatures actually get to rest in pleasant graveyards when they die rather than become farmers or turn into basic lands.

Two of Tribal Apocalypse's best players came up just short of the finals with decks right in their wheelhouse. Last year's regular season points champion, mihahitlor, put up a solid 2-1 finish with mono-black Vampires. With both the 1-mana exilers on the sidelines for Pure Tribal, he chose to move into his other trademark color with Grasp of Darkness and Go for the Throat carrying the spot-removal suite, backed up by a few copies of Damnation, Gatekeeper of Malakir, and some midrange fliers to finish the fight. Meanwhile, Nagarjuna was also back in familiar territory with a deck full of Eldrazi and a way to cheat them into play. The weapon of choice this time was Eureka, an old favorite from Legends (that was worth way too much money even in 1994 when you had nothing worthwhile to put into play with it.) Three copies of Show and Tell help out as well. With 4 copies of Ancient Tomb, 2 copies of City of Traitors, and some Lotus Petals, the action can get going as early as Turn 1. Nagarjuna's decks are powerful, but prone to some do-nothing draws, and an X-1 finish has become typical for this archetype.

 At the top of the standings, we had justcanceled with Shamans taking 1st place. He had a deck capable of explosive starts by virtue of Burning-Tree Emissary and Bosk Banneret. Spilling one's hand into play and following it up with a Rage Forger — especially in a week with far less 1-mana instant speed removal than usual — can instantly crush an opponent with a slow or clunky draw. If the brute force method fails, he can fall back on Fauna Shaman, combined with Masked Admirers, to grind out incremental advantage and build towards a win in the long game. Take a look at his full decklist and the choices he made in this week's deck tech video:

 In Round 1, he faced up against slug360's Grixis control deck with Elementals (only made to grab the Slow & Steady achievement). In game 1 (not featured in this video) justcanceled lost by playing too conservatively in fear of a board-sweeper, so in games 2 and 3 you will see him bring the beats hard and fast.

 In Round 2 he went up against Kumagoro's Shaman Rock deck. An amusing hand of 4 (Elvish Visionaries) gets Maelstrom Pulse'd before Rage Forger can come down to wreck some face. Justcanceled then has to throw a few creatures right into a Pernicious Deed on board, needing to put enough pressure on the board to force Kuma to pop it. Finally, the third wave of pressure is enough to finish the game off, along with some burn in hand. Then Round 3 saw him up against Malum's UB Merfolk deck, which wasn't able to get much going. See both Round 2 and Round 3, with my audio commentary, in this video:


 So justcanceled advanced to the final game to face the other 3-0 player from the Swiss rounds, romellos, who was on a WB Kor build using the light black splash for Vindicate, Lingering Souls' flashback cost, and to mitigate the life loss caused by Dismember. In this video, romellos appears to halt justcanceled's hot start with Lingering Souls and a Sword, but Cunning Sparkmage and Vithian Renegades swing things quickly back in justcanceled's favor and he is able to close out the game and take 1st place. Congrats to justcanceled and the Shaman tribe!  

 And remember, the Old Fogey Deckbuilding Challenge is still available! There were no attempts last week, so the prize of one non-foil, digital copy of Sylvan Library from Master's Edition, valued over 3 tix on MTGO Traders, is still up for grabs! This challenge will remain open at least until the end of May if nobody claims it before then. It's Underdog week, so why not bust out your Orcs and Thrulls and give it a try? Here's how to win the prize:

  1. Construct a tribal deck using ONLY cards that were originally printed (in paper Magic) in one of the following sets: Alpha/Beta/Unlimited, Arabian Nights, Antiquities, Legends, The Dark, Fallen Empires. (Because these sets were not released online except in Masters Editions and other reprints, please be sure to use the Gatherer online tool to check legality.)
  2. Your tribal identity may NOT be Human or Soldier.
  3. The following cards are BANNED from this challenge: Crusade, Bad Moon.
  4. You must enter a Tribal Apocalypse event with your deck and obtain at least 2 match wins, not counting forfeits or byes.

 Good luck!

 DISCLAIMER STUFF: Only one prize is available. In case multiple players accomplish this in the same event, the player with the greater number of valid match wins takes the prize; if two or more players are still tied, the player whose tribe has the fewest lifetime Hall of Fame points will take the prize. If the players are still tied, a random choice will award the prize. Also: please note that the winner will be determined by reviewing decklists AFTER the event. This means that the winner will not be officially chosen until the announcement is made on the following Friday, within this article here on PureMTGO.com. If you are the winner, you may collect your prize from me by messaging RexDart on MTGO after the winner is announced.

 But since it's also time of prerelease, let's review the...

(in no particlar order)

 Once again we have a new set to play with, and once again we have to see if anything from the new set is likely to make the cut in the Legacy Tribal Wars format. Just like last time, I will be covering what I think are 10 creatures that could have an impact in our PRE. These are not in any particular order, and I try to include cards at all rarities in my mini-reviews, but I am considering only each card's applications in the Tribal Wars format.

 Without further ado, here are the top 10 creatures I expect to potentially see play, enhancing the strength and/or flexibility of their tribes:

 1.  Blood Baron of Vizkopa — Types: Vampire. The most relevant text on this creature is the first line, "Lifelink, protection from white and from black." The second-most relevant is the toughness: 4. Protection from white on any creature that is reasonably costed is OUTSTANDING in this format, because of the heavy reliance on white removal spells. Furthermore, being un-Boltable makes this immune to the top 4 removal spells in Tribal Apocalypse. Pro-black is decent, though black decks tend to run more edict effects that would ignore this protection. This card has a likely home in the popular midrange/control Vampire lists, alongside Malakir Bloodwitch, if you are willing to splash white for it... and I think you should be.

2.  Savageborn Hydra — Types: Hydra. I think Hydras have some definite untapped potential, and I see this guy getting them closer to the critical number of decent creatures needed to make it work. The Hydras with "X" costs allow you a lot of flexibility, and you can make optimal use of your mana every turn. You can also drop them early and use Natural Order to fetch Progenitus — the big-daddy finisher that's only legal within his tribes in Tribal Apocalypse. I can easily see Savageborn Hydra fitting into a RG ramp/control hybrid deck, perhaps with Natural Order plan as a "combo" kill.

 3.  Blood Scrivener — Types: Zombie, Wizard. As a Wizard, he is outclassed by Bob in most decks that would want him. But as a Zombie he can really shine. Sligh-aggro BRx Zombie lists could easily find themselves going hellbent and taking advantage of this to draw into the burn spells they need to close out the game, much the same role Bob plays in the BR burn decks of the Modern format. As a 2/1 (again like Bob), he can also poke in for damage early on. You could also work him into a Haakon deck, as those decks often employ methods of dumping one's entire hand into the yard for value.

 4. Lavinia of the Tenth — Types: Human, Soldier. There are two kinds of Soldier deck. One is the new mihahitlor-style fast aggro WW deck. The older version of Soldiers employed more 3-4 CMC creatures, played tribal lords, and focused on developing a dominating board. That latter style of deck tends to create some board stalls, and detaining your opponent's board gives you a free alpha-strike with no fear of counterattack (other than haste creatures.) Her pro-red and decent body are also quite nice. I also see her fitting into Human midrange decks, and if you can find ways to repeatedly use her ETB ability she can totally lock out most aggro opponents. She's even in the right colors for a Venser deck.

5. Varolz, the Scar-Striped — Types: Troll, Warrior. Alas, regeneration is largely useless in Tribal Wars, outside of the Pure Tribal week when Swords to Plowshares and co. get exiled from the event. But his other ability is great both in combo applications and when used just for extra value out of your dead guys. Phyrexian Dreadnought's new best buddy here can make something gigantic out of nowhere. That is obviously useful in the Troll tribe, which has hexproof beaters like Troll Ascetic and Thrun available. In Warriors, I prefer Naya colors, but Jund would be a close second, and this guy is a strong incentive to go black.

 6. Fluxcharger — Types: Weird. I don't really like the UR Weird tribal decks, but many players do, and this guy gives them a very legitimate threat. Any instant or sorcery you cast turns this guy into a 5-power flier — even, might I add, if you eat that spell with Nivmagus Elemental.

 7. Sin Collector — Types: Human, Cleric. There's nearly always a removal spell or Wrath-effect you can force them to pitch (or immediately use sub-optimally) with this. This also exiles the card so they can't Snapcaster it back. Humans likely have better things to do at this spot, but WB Clerics could use the additional disruption this guy provides.

 8. Rubblebelt Maaka — Types: Cat. One of the mainstays of Tribal Wars, the Cat deck is one of the best aggro decks in the format. In Tribal Apocalypse, it has often gone off-tribe for a set of Tarmogoyfs, a powerful addition but one that brings the creature count up to 24, a little high for a sligh-aggro deck. But what if 4 of those creatures were actually just Giant Growth in disguise? This is basically a Gray Ogre // Brute Force split card, which may not sound super-exciting, but in Tribal Wars you often need to work around deck-construction rules and creatures that act as spells are a great way to do it.

 9. Tithe Drinker — Types: Vampire. Remember back at the top when I talked about splashing white in your vampire decks? Some Vampire decks already play Child of Night, a card I think is just a little too weak for this format. But add extort to the deal, and now we may be getting somewhere. Try this as your low-end of the curve in a grindy, midrange, WB Vampire deck. The cheap removal spells you gain from adding white will help enable extort too!

 10. Zhur-Taa Druid — Types: Human, Druid. Druid ramp decks are surprisingly underplayed. Perhaps it's because you can do most of what they do with Elves (many of the best ARE Elves, after all), or because using Snakes or Shamans is more versatile — those tribes offer more than just mana dorks. But if you want some pure mana-ramp action, and can't or don't want to play Elves, Druids are a solid choice. This guy here fits nicely into a 2 to 4 to 6/7 ramp curve, while doing some incidental damage to your opponent. Once you no longer need the mana ramp, he can still ping your opponent once per turn, making him much less of a dead card than other mana dorks in that situation. The extra damage could easily shave a full turn off the number of swings your fattie has to do to reach 20, and that wins games.

 Honorable Mention #1. Ruric Thar, the Unbowed — Types: Ogre, Warrior. Dies to removal... but does 6 damage on the way down! Whether you kill this with an exile spell, a Doom Blade, or a Wrath of God, it still gets you for 6. And it's a 6/6 with vigilance and reach, good luck ignoring it, especially if there's a Kessig Wolf Run out. Now the effect is symmetrical, and for that reason I'm not sure Ogres can really go for this — they have relatively fewer playable creatures, and you will want to cast your support spells. But in Warriors, if you can spare some room for mana dorks (Radha, Heir to Keld can help out in-tribe), this might be a nice top-end guy.

 Honorable Mention #2. Nivix Cyclops — Types: Cyclops. He's a 4/4 attacker for 3 mana, provided your hand has fuel. Cyclops are fringe-playable as a tribe right now, and only a few have reasonable casting costs. This guy gets the tribe up to 5 solid playables, but you have to be willing to go 4 colors to do it.


 Didgeridoo Watch: Two new Minotaurs for you guys (by which I mean AJ_Impy) to Vial in at instant speed. Boros Battleshaper is the more expensive at 7 CMC, so more of a discount with the Australian noise-maker, but I'm not impressed with its ability. Blaze Commando, on the other hand, looks much more useful: those tokens don't go away at the end of turn, this is repeatable token generation as a bonus just for burning things.

 Well, that's all for this week. If you are also planning on playing in Ham on Wry this week, good luck! I am told it's Classic format, which I never play, so I'll be there with something completely untested that will probably have Tarmogoyf and Force of Will in it, cram in whatever restricted cards are in my colors, and promptly lose to a white weenie deck in Round 1. It's a big community event, so come with what you got, play for kicks, and have a great weekend!

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


 Just to remind you of a few things:

 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 Hamtastic Award: the Biodiversity Prize dedicated to the memory of Erik Friborg has started again, for its 6th edition: 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. 5th Edition winner still pending: it'll be one between romellos and slug360, with the two of them facing each other during the Hamtastic Day on May 4!

 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)

 The Champion Challenge: challenge one of our Tribal Champions, and win an Egg of Tarmogoyf (aka a Future Sight booster, courtesy of SBena_Bot) and 20 points in the seasonal leaderboard! In order to do that, you must: 1) choose one of the Challenge Decks; 2) end X-1 or better with it in a Tribal Apocalypse event; 3) beat its creator in a challenge! Follow this link for the complete ruling and the decklists.

 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!

 The Top Players Lockout: every time a Top Player (either a Google Era Top 8, an Ultimate Champion or a seasonal Top 8) 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.

 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!


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

  • 3.17 (Week 122 BE), on May 4: Tribal Underdog (only Underdog Tribes allowed) — Part of the Hamtastic Day, with anticipated start at 15:00 GMT
  • 3.18 (Week 123 BE), on May 11: Regular Week (just plain, old Legacy Tribal Wars)
  • 3.19 (Week 124 BE), on May 18: Tribal Singleton (only 1 copy of each nonbasic land)
  • 3.20 (Week 125 BE), on May 25:  Pure Tribal (no off-tribe creatures, no Big Shot Tribes nor T9 cards allowed)

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2013!

Take the Tribal Survey!

 See you all in the Tribal room!


Makka = Hill Giant/Brute by Paul Leicht at Fri, 05/03/2013 - 14:40
Paul Leicht's picture

Makka = Hill Giant/Brute force. :)

AJ is not the only one who enjoys Minotaurs. I have been known to tinker with didgeridoo to the extent of writing articles about it.

Sadly Nivmagus isn't a weird (why not??) but yeah I agree that fluxcharger is a reasonable member of the weird family. Even if you don't like them.

Is regeneration totally irrelevant with people playing Day of Judgement (and other sweepers without the no regeneration clause) instead of Wraths?

In other news we need to talk sometime :)

Mmm, are you talking to me or by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 05/03/2013 - 21:54
Kumagoro42's picture

Mmm, are you talking to me or to Rex? Because all your comments were directed to Rex's stuff, but I'm guessing I'm the one who still doesn't talk. :)

Is it clear which part of the article is written by me and which one by Rex? I sometimes wonder if I should find a way to make it more evident.

In other news, the ME boosters available for the Hamtastic Marathoners are 5 now (thanks to Leys7 adding one), so there's that.

The talk comment was directed by Paul Leicht at Fri, 05/03/2013 - 22:14
Paul Leicht's picture

The talk comment was directed at you, about the pod cast thingee. Scheduling etc.

Moo, I wish you would allow by mihahitlor at Fri, 05/03/2013 - 14:47
mihahitlor's picture

Moo, I wish you would allow Soldiers to win one event before bannning them from Underdog, but I guess it makes sense from the power level (though on the other hand: if they were so powerful, they would win soon anyway, and if they wouldn't, then it's kind of hard to make a case that they are so much better than the other top underdog tribes)

Uh? Why shouldn't Soldiers be by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 05/03/2013 - 22:03
Kumagoro42's picture

Uh? Why shouldn't Soldiers be allowed to win one event? Nobody's banning them from Underdog, until they will naturally be no Underdog anymore and will join the Major League.

EDIT: Ok, now I see the issue was that Soldier got included in the Major League for whatever reason. It was a mistake. Fixed now (in the Gatherling filter as well, the list was the same.) Please check if everything else is ok, I only reorganized the listing, no additional banning whatsoever was meant to be. Guess the Major League is 36 tribes then, not 37.

I need to buy back my by AJ_Impy at Fri, 05/03/2013 - 15:49
AJ_Impy's picture

I need to buy back my didgeridoos, though the big cost there will be the manabase. And the reckoners. Still worth doing.

Black/white Vampires looks by AJ_Impy at Fri, 05/03/2013 - 18:42
AJ_Impy's picture

Black/white Vampires looks interesting, Vish Kal top of the curve, those two, not sure which would go best with them.