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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
May 10 2013 4:21pm
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 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse, the PRE where bad can be good.

   Table of Contents 

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

 Underdogs ahoy! In the day of Ham on Wry II and the Hamtastic Marathon (name was never so appropriate, it's been a MTGO PRExtravaganza running non-stop for 16 hours straight!), our event devoted to the lesser critters had a remarkable attendance of 25 players, with a few True Underdog in the mix. Tribes played very rarely. Mostly, because, you know, they're not very good. But also just out their very existence being entirely forgotten. But a few brave players didn't forget them! And so we got our 3rd appearance ever (since the beginning of the Blippian Era) for Bat, Djinn, Dwarf, and Unicorn, and the 2nd appearance for both Cyclops and Frog. And how did these strange fella go? Well, a few of them, actually not so bad. Let's take a look...


LAST WEEK ON TRIBAL APOCALYPSE...

  • Event Number: 3.17, Week 122 BE
  • Date: May 4
  • Attendance: 25
  • Rounds: 3 (to accommodate the beginning of Ham on Wry II)
  • Special Rules:  only Underdog Tribes allowed 
  • Winner: RexDart (Bird)
  • Other undefeated: justcanceled (Berserker), mihahitlor (Soldier)
  • 1 Loss: romellos (Advisor), slug360 (Illusion), milegyenanevem (Unicorn), vantar6697 (Cyclops), AJ_Impy (Specter), SBena (Rebel), Gq1rf7 (Myr), PinGGHypnotic (Bird), Robin88 (Rebel), Coolcat1678 (Berserker)
  • Special Prizes: True Underdog Prize to milegyenanevem (Unicorn), Up-and-Coming Prize to RexDart (Bird), Special Hamtastic Prize (highest-ranked monored deck) to vantar6697 (Cyclops)
  • Tribes: Advisor, Bat, Berserker (x2), Bird (x3), Cyclops, Djinn, Dwarf, Frog, Illusion, Insect, Mutant (x2), Myr (x2), Ooze, Rat, Rebel (x2), Soldier, Specter (x2), Unicorn
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 First of all, let me give a warm welcome back to the good ol' Google spreadsheet engineer, vantar6697! Who ended in the money (unusual occurrence for him!) and even won a brand new Boartusk Liege with these Cyclops!

 

 The big boar rider was for honoring Hamtastic's favored color, running the highest-ranked monored deck which was also a True Underdog. Congrats! But same kind of kudos, or even more, have to go to another member of the Team Tribal Apocalypse (seems that everyone except me shined!), our deck analyst RexDart, reaching the 1st place mark after a double playoff, first against mihahitlor's classic Soldiers (one of the shortest lists I ever processed, made of only 11 different card names including Plains, but with an interesting use of a few Soldier Allies); then against justcanceled's dangerously cascading Berserkers. The deck piloted by Rex all the way to the top was one he tried to break already in the past, namely this Bird build based on Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas.

 

 But I mentioned  the number of True Underdogs we got, and this one is the Truest: milegyenanevem with his Unicorns, also unpredictably ended in the money!

 

 But the life of the True Underdog can't be always rainbows and Unicorns, can it? Otherwise, they wouldn't be called Underdog to begin with! So, there's a (nice) decklist which didn't do so well, but deserved more: Frog by SekKuar Deathkeeper.

 

 And that's it. Except it's not...


LAST WEEK ON CLASSIC!

 Congratulations to Gonzzy for piloting the highest-ranked Classic Tribal Wars deck on Ham on Wry II! Here's the decklist that earned him 20 tix on SBena_Bot in virtue of being the most successful Classic deck with at least 20 creatures of a single type and no sideboard:

 

 And look at Deathrite Shaman working his way even into a Goblin list! No Goblin Recruiter, though? Seems a missed occasion to use the very forbidden card that's only viable within a Classic pool. (Btw, I'm planning to do a Classic Tribal Wars event at some point down the line, maybe next year in occasion of the 200th Tribal Apocalypse of the Blippian Era.)

 And by the way, kudos to our Ultimate Champion slug360 as well, who ended all the way up to Top 8! (With this Delver Gush deck.) Also worth mentioning among the Tribal Apocalypse aficionados: romellos (10th place), Frenzy277 (14th), Robin88 (23rd), and grapplingfarang (25th). I ended 41th (4-3) with a Survival of the Fittest/Recurring Nightmare build, an old favorite of mine that's only playable in Classic since a few years. Could have done better, but the event was a ton of fun nonetheless. Thanks to the fearless BlippyTheSlug for pulling it off with absolute no care for his own mental and physical health!


THE HIGH PRICE OF WINNING

 Also known as: how much do the top decks cost? As of May 10, 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, RexDart's Birds: $837.62 (nonland cards: $343.93; tribal base: $44.60)
  • 2nd place, justcanceled's Berserkers: $101.54 (nonland cards: $92.11; tribal base: $1.26)
  • 3rd place, mihahitlor's Soldiers: $21.16 (nonland cards: $21.16; tribal base: $3.40) 

 The final round wasn't only the face-off of the undefeated but also a veritable challenge between the two basic game philosophies of aggro vs. control (RG and WW aggro vs. UB control in particular) which doubled as a confrontation between budget decks vs. money decks.

 RexDart's build, like every deck packing a full playset of the notorious Force of Will and 13 among the most pricey fetch and dual lands (Polluted Delta and Underground Sea being the reigning Scrooge McDuck-sanctioned ones in their respective categories), is almost at the most expensive you can get in Tribal Wars. On the other hand, justcanceled's is fairly cheap for a deck that still features a rich mana base, while mihahitlor's is the proof that all you need to succeed in this format is just twenty bucks to spare.


REXDART'S SHOW AND TELL

 

 Welcome back to Show and Tell, my (as in RexDart's, not Kuma here!) ongoing audio/video deck tech and replay series covering Tribal Apocalypse and the Legacy Tribal Wars format.
 
 This week's event was Underdog, and I was fortunate enough to get my second win of the year, this time with a Tezzeret Control deck built around artifact Birds. I'm very pleased to be having such a good season at this point in the year. I've been able to play in 8 events, not counting the Invitational, and have finished the Swiss portion undefeated in 4 of those events. That 50% success rate is only matched by newcomer justcanceled, who is also having a great run, and whose deck we will see a little later in today's coverage.

 I ran this identical deck one time before in Tribal Apocalypse 112, finishing a solid 3-1 with it. (You can see the deck tech for it in Episode 8 of Show and Tell.) This time around, I didn't even drop a single game until the 5th match. The deck is powerful, but is a good example of a deck that you need a bit of practice with in real tournament situations. Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas is an extremely hard planeswalker to play with, giving you powerful options but leaving you with hard decisions to make. I thought I did a better job this second time around with understanding the flow of the game and deciding how best to use Tezzeret. I still made my fair share of play mistakes, many due to my unfamiliarity with using Sensei's Divining Top, a card I have only ever played with in this deck.... I'm not much of a control player at heart, really.

 In Round 1, I went up against raf.azevedo's Living End deck. I've played against Living End many times in Modern, and raf was regularly playing this deck when I first began playing regularly in Tribal Apocalypse, so needless to say I understood this match fairly well. In game 1, he goes for a small Living End when I struggled with early mana (was he baiting me or hoping I was just screwed and he could steal a quick win?). But thankfully I had two Force of Will in hand and a steady stream of cantrip-Birds to keep my hand stocked with blue cards to pitch. In game 2, we got to play out the fun version of the Living End match, where he battles me with honestly-cast Street Wraiths and Deadshot Minotaurs. This usually only happens against things like Chalice set to zero, but I guess he just didn't draw his cascade spells.

 In Round 2, I had a very interesting match against another Bird deck! Misterpid was playing the more traditional mono-white Bird list, using the tribal synergies from Onslaught block. He also had some clever tricks involving Jinxed Idol, and a deceptively powerful Lightning Greaves put me in a tough spot on more than one occasion. The fact that his cards often affected ALL Birds, even mine, was certainly relevant -- though this was not always bad for him. I reaped the benefit of his (Soulcatcher's Aerie), but he was better enabled to take advantage of it, and he also got to grow his Soulcatcher (the creature, not the enchantment) when my Birds died.

 Round 3 pitted me against 2013 Invitational Champion slug360 with Illusions. I had watched slug360 play Illusions as part of my live coverage of the Invitational, so I had a decent idea what to expect -- pretty much Legacy Merfolk, with Illusions playing the role of little blue men in the Merfolk's forced absence. It certainly helped that my deck had the equivalent of 8 Silvergill Adepts (my cantrip creatures) to keep the deathtouchers coming and my hand stocked. Slug had a couple Fathom Seers, a Big Jace, and two Cryptic Commands to try and generate some card advantage. But I always seemed able to run him out of threats and take over the game.

 

 That left three undefeated players, and I was in the first of the two matches. My other win this year also happened with me at the bottom of a 3-way playoff, yet both times this year that I was in simple 1v1 playoffs I lost. Mihahitlor's Soldier deck was a known quantity, and I consider this a favorable matchup for me. I'm openly skeptical about Doomed Traveler in a format this large, because the card's impact just seems too small despite the fact that what it does is definitely desirable in principle. Yet the little guy does a ton of work for mihahitlor, both against me and against AJ_Impy in a match we'll get to later. Still, control is the favorite against white weenie in this format -- though if white weenie players would adopt Armageddon strategies, I think that would even the matchup considerably. Against mihahitlor, my deck really doesn't care about his spot removal suite since my army is disposable and replaces itself, and he apparently isn't playing Oblivion Ring anymore to take out planeswalkers. So all I need to do is make sure my life total is high enough that I can cast Damnation and not lose to his follow-up plays, which I manage to do.

 

 That left the final playoff against justcanceled for 1st place. We were both hoping the match would wrap up quickly, because Ham on Wry 2 was about to begin. In game 1, justcanceled gets a good draw and a quick start from his Berserker deck, closes it out with burn spells and a Barbarian Ring I can't avoid, and it looks like I'll be making it to Ham on Wry with several minutes to spare! Game 2 sees me mulligan to 5, but justcanceled mulligans to 4 and fails to draw a second land, whereas my cantrip-creatures give me much better recovery from mulligans. Finally in Game 3, justcanceled gets a little land-flooded, and I'm able to stabilize, setting up and protecting Tezzeret, and using the ultimate to win.

 

 Elsewhere, there was one attempt at the Old Fogey Challenge (see below for full details). Gonzzy took a shot at it with Djinn, using a fun assortment of some of the greatest creatures in early Magic. This is the true spirit of the Old Fogey Challenge right here! 

 

 The deck came up short, only managing one match win. Yet Gonzzy was kind enough to send in a replay for me, and here you can see his Djinns go up against Malum's Mutant Evolution deck. Say what you will about creature power creep, but a turn 3 Juzam Djinn is still just fine, and Cloudfin Raptor needs some serious macro-evolution to compete with a Mahamoti Djinn.

 

 Finally, we close out video coverage with AJ_Impy's "Specter Capping". He's taken the discard theme common to Specters and added a series of "capping" effects (the name derived from the card Jester's Cap) to attack his opponent's library. These effects are fantastic against combo decks, and also against control decks that rely heavily on one card as a win condition -- if you "capped" the Tezzerets out of my deck, for example, I would have to beat you down with Birds to win, which is a good reason to always include an alternate win-condition. Unfortunately, the effect is far less powerful against aggro decks. AJ's deck uses Eradicate, which at least is removal in addition to a cap effect, and he also features the natural cap ability of Shimian Specter. The most interesting inclusion is Sadistic Sacrament: He can play it turn 1 off Dark Ritual, and this is a card that immediately beats many combo decks. It can only hit 3 cards that way, so it can't remove a full playset, but think about all the decks that rely on single copies of key cards for their combo, such as the Dread Return in Kor-phalid Breakfast. And if you ever get a ton of mana, you can pay the kicker and rip a full FIFTEEN CARDS out of their deck. If you maneuver them into topdeck mode before you do this -- and you're playing Specters, so this can't be hard -- the odds will be ever in your favor. In this replay, we have two good, very competitive games between AJ's deck and mihahitlor's Soldiers from Round 1.

 

 

 

 And remember, the Old Fogey Deckbuilding Challenge is still available! Gonzzy made a good, fun attempt at it this week, as documented in the previous videos, but he came up just short of getting the necessary 2 match wins to claim the prize. What prize, you ask? Up for grabs is one non-foil, digital copy of Sylvan Library from the Master's Edition 1 set, currently a 3.5 tix value at MTGO Traders! Gonzzy had to attempt it with an Underdog tribe, but this week is regular tribal and you'll have the full run of available tribes to make your attempt with, subject to the restrictions below.  Here again are the deckbuilding challenge rules: 

  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.

 And, FINALLY, that's all for this week. Whew!

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


ANNOUNCEMENT TIME!

 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. And the winner of the 5th edition, established during the Hamtastic Day was... romellos, winning with Berserker against runner-up slug360, who was playing Spellshaper (both tribes from their sequence, chosen by the opponent). Congrats, rom!

 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!


 WHAT'S NEXT

 The upcoming Tribal Apocalypse events of the Blippian Era (every Saturday at 17:00 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)
  • 3.21 (Week 126 BE), on June 1: Tribal Underdog (only Underdog Tribes allowed)

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2013!

Take the Tribal Survey!

 See you all in the Tribal room!

/strong