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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Aug 16 2013 5:58am
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 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse, the PRE where regular doesn't mean what you think.

   Table of Contents 

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

 It has been asked: does it make sense to call the events where there's no special rules "Regular", if they just happen one quarter of the times? Maybe not, but they're still "regular" in the same sense of when you don't see nothing special in something. Here's another issue I'm concerned about: maybe it's the summer, maybe are the capricious stars that keep aligning in the wrong way, but the regular events are losing attendance. Do you guys like the other events better? I hope so, sincerely, but that doesn't bode well for those who would lobby for a return of more "regular" events over the course of the month. We'll keep doing this rotation until the end of the year anyway, and then we'll have to interpret the numbers like they were sacrificed animal entrails.

 Something else came up with this event: a tribe reaching the top for the first time, therefore emancipating itself from the Unhallowed List! Let's put our hands together for the Illusions conquering a regular event!


 This brings us a dilemma, though: is it right to exclude Illusion, a tribe that's not that small (73 members online), has been played enough (14 times) and has now won 1 event, from the Underdog crowd? I mean, it fits the criteria, but if you look at the other 39 tribes in the "Major League" (the tribes that can't be played in Underdog events), Illusion doesn't really feel at home. We're talking Ally, Angel, Artificer, Assassin, Bird, Cat, Cleric, Construct, Demon, Dragon, Druid, Eldrazi, Elemental, Elf, Faerie, Giant, Goblin, Golem, Horror, Human, Imp, Kithkin, Knight, Kor, Merfolk, Rogue, Scout, Shaman, Sliver, Snake, Soldier, Spirit, Treefolk, Vampire, Wall, Warrior, Werewolf, Wizard, and Zombie. They all seem very popular and very powerful (even something recently added like Imp, it just makes for a killer reanimator deck).

 I'm thinking of this in light of what will happen next, because except possibly for Beast, all the tribes that are Underdog only because they never won an event don't look like "major league" material to me. Take the Insects, for instance, that Rex and I are painfully trying to build in a way that might have a chance at getting a 1st place. What if they do? Then they find themselves out of the Underdog, the place that definitely defines them best? We need to come up with a way to salvage some tribe for this fate. And when I say "we need", I'm actually mean "I need", but suggestions are welcome!


 Before delving into last week's decklists, let's talk for a moment of the next and final (for this year) Duel Week, Man vs. Machine, which is due for next week (August 24; tomorrow is Singleton's turn). In the last article's comment section we had a little debate about what to ban for the event, to avoid the Machine to be crushed under a ton load of hate cards. Upon further meditation, I think I'm currently oriented towards these rules:

 Give or take some card. Nothing will be written in stone (see what I did there?) until next week's article, anyway. And mihahitlor is officially my co-host for the event.


  • Event Number: 3.31, Week 136 BE
  • Date: August 10
  • Attendance: 17
  • Rounds: 3
  • Special Rules:  Regular Tribal (just plain old Legacy Tribal Wars)
  • Winner: slug360 (Illusion)
  • Other undefeated: romellos (Human)
  • 1 Loss: Robin88 (Shaman), ChNidox (Bird), Deonmag (Zombie), justcanceled (Dragon), mihahitlor (Vampire), pk23 (Human), brettmemphis1989 (Merfolk)
  • Special Prizes: Underdog Prize to CruelHellraiser (Chimera), Up-and-Coming Prize to slug360 (Illusion)
  • Tribes: Angel, Bird, Chimera, Dragon, Goblin, Human (x2), Illusion, Merfolk, Rogue, Shade, Shaman, Sliver (x2), Snake, Vampire, Zombie
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 Going back to the "are Illusions worthy of the Major League or not?" dilemma, one must admit that this Illusion build by our more and more fearful slug360 (at his 6th victory this year), looks powerful enough, doesn't it?

by slug360 - 1st place and Up-and-Coming Prize
4 Gossamer Phantasm
4 Krovikan Mist
4 Phantasmal Bear
4 Phantasmal Image
3 Fathom Seer
3 Illusory Angel
4 Lord of the Unreal
26 cards

Other Spells
4 AEther Vial
4 Cryptic Command
4 Force of Will
12 cards
14 Island
4 Mutavault
4 Wasteland
22 cards

Phantasmal Image


 So, jury's still out: we're definitely going to create some special exemption to keep tribes like Insect in Underdog even after they'll win an event; but should Illusion specifically be granted this chance too?

 Anyway, the final playoff round saw slug and his imaginary friends up against romellos and his well-tested Humans.


 Then we have a deck that's dear to my heart (despite having kicked my ass: by the way, I was playing the two-time winner Snake ramp deck, and this time, with the same exact build and without making particular mistakes, I ended with a discomforting overall score of 1-6! Time to change something in that deck. I had some ideas.)


 Yeah, that's my favorite deck of the week because it's a Recurring Nightmare deck! With Dragons! I did the Kokusho trick myself once with Spirit, but it never occurred to me that it was feasible as a proper reanimator deck with Kokusho (and family)'s other creature type. All in all, I tip my hat to justcanceled. And I'm already building my own version!

 Let's close the gallery with another nice deck, this Bird build by ChNidox. It's been a while since I saw  Aven Mimeomancer and the "flyer lord" Pride of the Clouds. And I think Skymark Roc is making its (late) debut here, at least in a top deck. I always thought it was severely underrated.


 And that's it.


 Also known as: how much do the top decks cost? As of August 16, 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, slug360's Illusions: $710.66 (nonland cards: $399.58; tribal base: $9.34)
  • 2nd place, romellos's Humans: $824.18 (nonland cards: $379.81; tribal base: $92.28)

 Bada-boom! These, sir, are two bloody expensive builds. Of course, both running a full playset of Wasteland, which is currently sold at the crazy price of over $71, is a good start. The Human build is chocked full of duals and fetches, of course, and Noble Hierarch single-handedly turns the Human base into one of the most expensive (except, you know, Lhurgoyf; and our old friend Tarmo is there, too, as off-tribe support). The Illusion price is relatively more surprising because it's a monocolored build. But when it happens to be the color of Force of Will, all bets are off.

 And now, a reworking of my research from last week, that'll become a permanent feature: the Top 10 cheapest decks (prices not adjusted to current prices) that ever reached 1st or 2nd place since Event 85.

  1. morpphling's Goblins, $2.35, 2nd place on Event 102
  2. arcbounddaylabor's Goblins, $4.46, 1st place on Event 111 (cheapest event winner)
  3. ellmaris's Goblins, $6.52, 2nd place on Event 103
  4. mihahitlor's Goblins, $10.24, 1st place on Event 100
  5. mihahitlor's Vampires, $17.50, 1st place on Event 87
  6. AJ_Impy's Hounds, $24.26, 2nd place on Event 129
  7. brettmemphis1989's Merfolks, $25.35, 2nd place on Event 130
  8. AJ_Impy's Cats, $28.41, 2nd place on Event 129
  9. mihahitlor's Vampires, $28.72, 2nd place on Event 111
  10. mihahitlor's Vampires, $30.46, 2nd place on Event 127

 And these are all the decks that went over the $500 mark and whose price was calculated.

  1. RexDart's Faeries, $870.65, 1st place on Event 125
  2. romellos's Slivers, $865.71, 2nd place on Event 109
  3. RexDart's Birds, $837.62, 1st place on Event 122
  4. RexDart's Slivers, $672.18, 2nd place on Event 108
  5. RexDart's Faeries, $588.95, 3rd place on Event 100
  6. romellos's Humans, $586.94, 3rd place on Event 106
  7. Winter.Wolf's Humans, $555.58, 2nd place on Event 98
  8. filegott's Slivers, $553.07, 2nd place on Event 120
  9. DirtyDuck's Giants, $543.30, 1st place on Event 90
  10. DirtyDuck's Cats, $526.64, 2nd place on Event 106
  11. romellos's Humans, $519.72, 1st place on Event 91
  12. romellos's Humans, $515.96, 2nd place on Event 101



 Welcome back to Show and Tell. It's been 8 months, you know what I usually do here by now, let's skip the introduction.

 Last week saw a showdown of two of the best Legacy Tribal Wars players of the year: slug360 and romellos. Slug took the victory with his Illusion deck, making good use of the recently unbanned Aether Vial. His opponent, romellos, was playing a standard GW Human deck with the usual Maverick-style mix of hatebears and efficient creatures. The most interesting development in the list is that romellos has abandoned playing a mix of Swords in his equipment package in favor of just using Sword of Light and Shadow, with 2 copies of it.

 In game 1, romellos has a nice early board presence, but slug's flyers take over the game:

 In game 2, romellos again looks like he's having a huge board presence, but slug's use of Aether Vial to bring in Illusory Angel, and then copy it with Phantasmal Image, makes the blue air force overwhelming once more.

 And now...


 After 8 months of producing this series on a weekly basis, I will be going on hiatus for an indefinite period of time. My schedule this fall is going to make it very difficult to keep up with the event, and I need to devote what writing time I have to the development for my new bi-monthly series covering competitive Classic and Legacy, Eternal Warrior. Being a weekly contributor to this article has been a great experience, and I love the Tribal Wars community. I'm not leaving the tribal crowd, but I have to accept that my schedule is making it more difficult for me to be a weekly fixture in it than it had previously been. I had hoped to keep going, but even with a reduced level of content, a weekly commitment is just too much at this time.

 I will continue to produce occasional content for Diaries of the Apocalypse, including my mini-reviews of new sets. And I will continue to play in the events when I'm available. I will also continue to offer the deckbuilding challenges — if you liked what I do, don't worry, I'll still be around.

 I hope that what I've done over the past year, starting with my Archetype Series last fall and continuing weekly with Show and Tell, has been helpful in some way to some of you in the community. I didn't do it for any personal compensation at all. I did it because I love this game, I love this format, and I want to support this event and its players. Also, because I love to hear myself talk. Hey, I'm a lawyer, it's what I do! I've always thought this article series was one of the great features of the event. Doing well, or doing something interesting, you can be featured in Diaries of the Apocalypse and have your name in the digital spotlight for a deck you created. You can see what's happening week to week, stay connected to the event and its players even when you were gone a little while.

 Anyhow, I hope you guys have gotten something out of my work, and that you enjoy the more limited contributions I make from here on out.

 This is also the FINAL WEEK for the Army of Telim'Tor Deckbuilding Challenge. As previously announced, the Singleton event is your last chance to win the prize. If nobody wins it this week, the challenge will be retired. I will continue to offer deckbuilding challenges, even though I am putting Show and Tell on hiatus for a while, so whether or not anybody wins it this week, there will be a new challenge that I'll submit starting with the Pure Tribal event at the end of the month.

     Here's the rules:

    1. Build a Knight tribal deck.
    2. Every creature in the deck must have the flanking ability.
    3. You may NOT use any card that turns itself into a creature (i.e. Jade Statue or Gideon Jura), "animates" a noncreature permanent into a creature (i.e. Living Lands or Animate Artifact), or creates a creature token (i.e Spectral Procession or Beast Within), unless the resulting creatures or tokens also have the flanking ability (such as the token created by Riftmarked Knight).
    4. Your deck must include at least 3 copies of Telim'Tor, if allowed (it won't be allowed during Singleton events, of course: in that case, you'll only need the one allowed copy).
    5. You must enter a Tribal Apocalypse event with your deck and obtain at least 2 match wins, not counting forfeits or byes. 

    The prize is still one nonfoil, digital copy of Wilt-Leaf Liege, worth almost 8.5 tickets on MTGO Traders!

     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 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.

    Thanks for reading all these weeks, it's been a pleasure. Good luck next event, and so long for just a while!

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


      Rex's current unavailability puts The Insect Project on temporary hold, too. But don't worry, this won't wait for him to come back, the Insects are just reckless that way. A different solution for the feature is being frantically developed by the worker ants in my head. They'll let you know as soon as they'll work their way out through my ears. In the meantime, the previous episodes of the series can be found 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. We're at the middle of the road, and some of the players with 4 tribes played just gave up and reset their sequences, letting justcanceled and slug360 take the lead with 5 tribes.

     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 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.

     Videos: Send RexDart replays of your games and we'll feature them in these articles! 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):

    • 3.32 (Week 137 BE), on August 17: Tribal Singleton (only 1 copy of each nonbasic land)
    • 3.33 (Week 138 BE), on August 24: Duel Week: Man vs. Machine (play with a Human deck with no off-tribe creatures, and a "Machine" deck, which is your choice of either Construct, Golem or Myr, and can have the other two tribes and Artificers as off-tribe support. Massive artifact hate will be banned for the event.)
    • 3.34 (Week 139 BE), on August 31: Pure Tribal (no off-tribe creatures, no Big Shot Tribes nor T9 cards allowed)
    • 3.35 (Week 140 BE), on September 7: Tribal Underdog (only Underdog Tribes allowed)  

    Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2013!

    Take the Quick Survey about the ban list and the event rotation!

     See you all in the Tribal room!



I missed last week as I was by AJ_Impy at Fri, 08/16/2013 - 08:04
AJ_Impy's picture

I missed last week as I was busy with taking people to airports and other family matters. I'll be missing this week because Singleton (And also some family stuff) but should be back for Man Vs. Machine. If you want a hand with insects, I'd be happy to step in.

Next week, will we play at by romellos at Sat, 08/17/2013 - 06:21
romellos's picture

Next week, will we play at our usual hour? There will be also Blippy's annual Modern tournament (Modern's Second: A Birthday Bash) 1 hour later after we start.

I didn't know that, that's by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 08/17/2013 - 11:28
Kumagoro42's picture

I didn't know that, that's unfortunate, we'll already have reduced attendance due to the Duel Week nature.
We could start 2 hours earlier, but wouldn't that cut the American players out of the event?

If you want strong evidence by Bazaar of Baghdad at Sat, 08/17/2013 - 20:14
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

If you want strong evidence that Illusions is powerful enough for the big time, consider not merely the win but the fact that it was done with 26 illusions. I assume this was done intentionally for power reasons, but even if chosen to save time and/or expense, the fact that he used six beyond the minimum evinces the depth of the tribe.

Frankly, a rule not upheld by AJ_Impy at Sat, 08/17/2013 - 21:32
AJ_Impy's picture

Frankly, a rule not upheld weakens all the others. Illusions are plenty powerful and won quite a few events pre-Kumagoran/Blippian eras. I see no grounds for an exception here. It's a good tribe. Are you trying to pin the victory on the Aether Vial/FoW/Cryptic/Mutavault/Wasteland/Ooo look at me I can slap you in the face with my wallet? Because whilst people would despise playing against those cards, the general rule of your reign has been that greed is good, and absolute power cards are perfectly fine.

I concur. The logic of this by Paul Leicht at Sat, 08/17/2013 - 21:45
Paul Leicht's picture

I concur. The logic of this is unassailable.

I am not sure that greed IS good nor that power cards are all fine but that is a very subjective judgment no matter who the judge. We shouldn't be picking on one subset of cards just because it is a wealthy player only set. (the Aether Vial/FoW/Cryptic/Mutavault/Wasteland/Ooo look at me I can slap you in the face with my wallet set that is.) If you want that then run heirloom tribal events.

Illusions are extremely good and that no one previously proved that during the Blippian era might have more to do with the general anti-control feel of the tourney. With super aggro decks running supreme, control has to struggle even with awesome tribes like Illusions. When the aggro tribes are merely aggro, they lose to such power.

It is best to follow the precedents set by the previous events rather than change rules that are inconvenient just because we don't want to deal with the consequences. Illusions (finally) earned their status.

Bazaar: there's not 26 by Kumagoro42 at Sun, 08/18/2013 - 15:11
Kumagoro42's picture

Bazaar: there aren't 26 Illusions in that deck. Look closer.

AJ: I don't understand where your vehement response comes from. Did I say that Illusions, and specifically Illusions, should be granted an exception? No, I didn't say anything of the sort. I raised a question about a quite serious issue: over time, inevitably, Underdog will lose those members that aren't Endangered and have been played enough, only in virtue of a single win. If Insect, like we wish, will get there some day, they will be banned from the event where they most belong and have a chance to compete. This is clearly wrong. The Underdog criteria need periodic reassessment to keep their rank populated, but that could still not be enough for some tribes that might slip through the cracks of the system. A system that's been purposely created for those tribes, such as Insect or Drake or Shapeshifter, that didn't have access to Endangered but weren't strong enough to compete in Regular.
The Illusion win was just the trigger of this discussion, whether they are rightfully in the Major League now, or not.
I don't see how and why the money value of a specific deck could or should have a role in all this.

Speaking of Insect, thanks for the offer AJ, but I was working towards the previous offer by slug360 himself, who expressed interest in the Insect discussion in these comments a few weeks ago. He just confirmed he'll replace Rex (or will join him, if Rex will still find time to contribute at any point) on the Insect side of things. Of course, the Insect discussion doesn't need to be a weekly feature: at some point, it'll be just a matter of report results and discuss new avenues, and that very likely will coincide to the articles following Pure and Underdog events.

"This brings us a dilemma, by AJ_Impy at Sun, 08/18/2013 - 15:54
AJ_Impy's picture

"This brings us a dilemma, though: is it right to exclude Illusion, a tribe that's not that small (73 members online), has been played enough (14 times) and has now won 1 event, from the Underdog crowd? I mean, it fits the criteria, but if you look at the other 39 tribes in the "Major League" (the tribes that can't be played in Underdog events), Illusion doesn't really feel at home."

There really isn't a dilemma here. Saying that there is is holding up illusions as an exception. They shouldn't be, it's a really good and powerful tribe with some impressive tribal support. I could not work out why you were seeing them as weaker than the other Major League entrants.

The major glaring beacon of more than $700 worth of support for a $10 tribe playing for a $4 prize seemed the most likely reason for this to be brought up, with the implication being 'Illusions don't seem worthy of Major League status, so it must be the support cards'. With this reasoning, I asked if this was the case. (Extemporising with wallet-slapping perhaps wasn't helpful, but it seemed a natural fit given that this event's top two both jumped right into the top 5 of the most expensive Tribal Apocalypse decks since records began.)

Do you recognize that that by Kumagoro42 at Sun, 08/18/2013 - 17:20
Kumagoro42's picture

Do you recognize that that was a question, right? Which is different from a statement. And immediately after I started talking about the Insect.

Illusion is currently in the ban filter for Underdog, has been there since 5 minutes after the end of that event, and if you so much fear that they won't be there, for whatever reason, I assure you, they will be there. End of story.

And FOW+Wasteland make ANY deck's remaining price look irrelevant, whatever the tribe, the strategy, the success of the deck (in fact they don't guarantee pretty much anything).

Evaluating a tribe based on the expensive support cards they might or might not feature is preposterous. Thinking I was doing it is, sincerely, offensive. As is demonizing people because they play money cards. As far as you know, they own a FOW set but they don't own a car, or an expensive PC, or whatever else leisure money can buy. It's their right to choose how to spend their money, and where to seek a little joy in this life. It's not your call. You have your ideas, they have theirs. So I'll say once more: let's stop demonizing people who did nothing wrong only because they don't share our ideas (this applies to other people's deckbuilding choices as well). Intolerance will not be tolerated, paradox be damned.

If the price section is seen as a way to seriously point fingers, I will stop doing it. A good-natured joke is one thing; to actively incite intolerance is another. I won't be part of that.
I know for a fact that some of those people listed in the over-$500 list haven't put a single dollar in the game in forever. If they ended with great collections is only because they earned them by writing, trading, winning prizes, hosting PREs. Through hard work and talent, not some rich boy attitude. They earned the cards, they earned the right to play them as they please.

Btw, it wasn't the support cards. It was that slug is a good player, he had favorable matchups, his opponents made more mistakes than he did, and his draws were better than theirs. This is 90% of what it was, as, at the end of the day, always is. I ended 1-6 with the exact same deck with which I ended 8-2 a few months ago. Same deck, same pilot, different circumstances.

Fair enough. I don't see a by AJ_Impy at Mon, 08/19/2013 - 02:58
AJ_Impy's picture

Fair enough. I don't see a problem: If a tribe wins, it has won. It has earned its place in not being in the underdog event if it hits the other criteria. Underdog is once a month: So long as it isn't a big shot tribe, you can still play that deck in two out of the four events. If the tribe has more than 20 members (Or more than 11 if you don't mind being up to 45% changeling) then you can try and replace most of it with analogues and run it in Singleton for three out of four events.

Let's extrapolate. Which tribes are on the unhallowed list but not on the endangered list?

Beast - Constant presence just about every block, major tribe in a tribal block, support in all rarities including mythic.

Drake - Presence in most blocks, has support cards that produce tribal tokens. Currently unpopular.

Insect - Support in all rarities including mythic, presence in most blocks, has support cards that mention the tribe by name or produce tribal tokens.

Ogre - significant tribe in a tribal subtheme block, presence at most rarities, has support cards that mention the tribe by name or produce tribal tokens, enough legends to build an entirely legendary subtribal.

Shapeshifter - Houston, we have a problem. all rarities, significant tribe in a tribal block, presence in most sets... And enables every <3 tribe to appear in the event at all. If there's grounds for an exception this is it: Even then, I'd suggest we have the exception be "No 'shapeshifter' tribal can have more than sixteen shapeshifters."

Spellshaper - Tied to a mechanic, which was a major block theme. Showed up in multiple blocks. Enough legends to build an entirely legendary subtribal. Currently unpopular.

Wurm - Constant presence just about every block, support in all rarities including mythic, enough mythics to build an entirely mythic subtribal.

Since everything else is endangered, these seven are the only tribes that it would be possible to win their way out of the event, barring a tribe getting a major upgrade to 'Block tribal theme or subtheme'. With the exception of the Shapeshifter caveat I can see a case being made for all of them being allowed to do so under the current criteria. Each of them in their own way is big enough or powerful enough to be successful, and as such once they prove that they are capable of succeeding should be pulled out of the kiddie pool.

As an aside, Zubera and Yeti are missing from the 'endangered' list.

I think the subject here is by slug360 at Sun, 08/18/2013 - 20:39
slug360's picture

I think the subject here is to try and reach a solution about the tribes that win an Underdog event and therefore under the actual rules they become part of the "Majoe League" tribes and can no longer play in the Underdog events.
What about making it so they have to win 3 or more times to become part of the "Major League", or maybe find a way to downgrade tribes from the "Major League" to the underdog, like the least played ones or the ones with the worst records. Another option could be to close the "Major League" list of tribes or just let it be until all the tribes are "Major League" tribes...
A survey with the possible changes or whatever could be a good idea too.

Interesting discussion, I by RexDart at Mon, 08/19/2013 - 09:43
RexDart's picture

Interesting discussion, I wanted to add a few observations.

1. I don't think you can actually just slap 4 FoW, 4 Wasteland, 4 Vial into any ol' blue tribal deck and have success. For one thing, those decks have a natural predator that's present in significant numbers every week: mono-red aggro decks. My big huge expensive Fae deck (that didn't run FoW) very nearly lost round 1 to mono-red that week, and on previous attempts DID lose to quick aggro. But aside from that, especially with Vial around, you also need the tribe to cooperate in terms of mana costs, they can't be too spread out. Illusions have always been one of the better options for this, and slug360 had already "won" with them in the Invitational semi-final round so this shouldn't have been a surprise. The tribe is very strong, and easily outperforms something like Metathran or Cephalids slapped into the same shell of support cards.

2. The price section has always gone out of its way to praise people who did well with inexpensive decks. Kuma even poked fun at me last week, calling me the "Fool King" compared to the "Wise Kings" who did the most with fewer resources. I always assumed people enjoyed that section just as a bit of trivia, but whenever an expensive deck would win there would be the urge to sort of apologize for it, which shouldn't be necessary. There are ten billion PREs for budget formats every week, if people want to exclude every card that costs more than a pint of milk they have plenty of places to go for that.

If people could, in fact, slap any old tribe into a shell of 16 expensive support cards and win with it, perhaps it could be argued that certain cards make the event monotonous. But I don't think history shows that to be true. If any set of 16 support cards can be accused of having that effect, it would be something like 4x StP, 4x PtE, 4x other removal/disruption, 3-4 equipment/swords, which is often boring but highly effective, and in the grand scheme of things not ludicrously expensive. There's also the combination of any random fattie tribe with the cookie-cutter reanimation package, which has grown rather stale, but again the results show it isn't overwhelming the field and isn't particuarly expensive either (the tribal creatures might actually be more pricey in that deck.)

3. I would suggest a couple different options about all these sub-categories of tribes: how about the day after next year's Invitational, we do an "almost-total" reset on all the statistics for tribal success and popularity? We could go ahead and begin with Human, Goblin, Wizard and Elf in the Big Shots, and hand-pick some of the more obvious tribes to be banned from Underdog. Or we could "raise the bar" a little at that time, so that it takes 2 or 3 wins to fall out of "unhallowed" and 7 appearances to fall out of "unpopular". As the event continues, I do think you have to either raise the numbers or reset the totals, because a year or two down the road (assuming you're still doing this, or your successor keeps the running totals going) you'll have Underdog being exactly like old Endangered and a ton more tribes in the Big Shots club than likely you envisioned initially.

A lot depends on what we want by AJ_Impy at Mon, 08/19/2013 - 10:31
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A lot depends on what we want Underdog to be: Is it a refuge from ubiquitous tribes? A place where unsung heroes can shine? The three criteria as they are will trend over time towards matching the endangered list, since just playing an unpopular tribe will remove it from the list in short order, winning with one purges it from unhallowed, but only Wizards can alter the contents of the Endangered list. However, that 'over time' is considerably long. If every single Underdog event is won by an unhallowed at risk of dropping out of the event, presuming they lose unpopular in the process in the two cases where that's a thing, it will take us more than half a year to get to the point where 'unhallowed' no longer has separate relevance.

Anyone like to give me odds on every single underdog event for the next half year being won by unhallowed decks at risk of dropping out of contention?

I like Underdog to be as you by slug360 at Mon, 08/19/2013 - 11:54
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I like Underdog to be as you said, an event where you play with least played tribes and don't battle against the best tribes.
About your question maybe I don't understand or I am confused about how an Underdog tribe becomes "Major League", but doesnt happen that every time an Underdog tribe win an Underdog event become "Major League"?
Anyway, I like Rex suggestion about reseting totals, could be a good option.

Basically, there are three by AJ_Impy at Mon, 08/19/2013 - 15:10
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Basically, there are three criteria for Underdog legality. Any tribe that does not meet any of these criteria is 'Major League'.

Firstly, 'Endangered'. Any tribe with less than fifty separate members.
Secondly, 'Unpopular'. Any tribe that has been played less than four times in the Blippian era.
Thirdly, 'Unhallowed'. Any tribe that has not won in the Blippian era.

A tribe can be played in the event if it meets any one of those criteria. If a tribe which is not endangered and not unpopular wins the event, it becomes 'major league', since by winning it is no longer 'unhallowed'.

If a tribe is Endangered, Unpopular and Unhallowed (A 'true underdog meeting all three criteria) and wins the event, it will still be playable next time but will just be Endangered and Unpopular (Or just endangered if that was its fourth appearance at the event).

As it stands, there are seven Unhallowed tribes which are not Endangered, and of those two which are still unpopular. If one of those seven wins an event, it becomes major league. (Unless it is still unpopular.)

I don't believe it is worth our while changing the rules for those seven tribes. If they win and thus get major league status, that's fine. If they don't they're still playable in the event.

Ahhh ok ok thanks for by slug360 at Mon, 08/19/2013 - 17:30
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Ahhh ok ok thanks for clarifying. In that case if only 7 more tribes could make to the "Major League" it might not be that problematic, well maybe for some of these tribes when it comes to fighting with humans, goblins and what not but there will still be a good amount of Underdog tribes to chose from.
This changes things since before I thought changes should be made but now I don't, since the changes will probably make things more complicated for the players and much more for Kuma, vantar, Rex or whoever keeps track of the statistics and data, sorry dont really know who does it exactly XDD.

" There's also the by Paul Leicht at Mon, 08/19/2013 - 16:12
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" There's also the combination of any random fattie tribe with the cookie-cutter reanimation package, which has grown rather stale, but again the results show it isn't overwhelming the field and isn't particuarly expensive either (the tribal creatures might actually be more pricey in that deck.)"

Hey now I was making cookies with those spells/creatures long before cookie cutters were invented :p

CUMULATIVE ANSWER (sorry, was by Kumagoro42 at Tue, 08/20/2013 - 16:15
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CUMULATIVE ANSWER (sorry, was busy in the past few days)

AJ: Fixed the Yeti/Zubera problem (was about fishing for data on another sheet - the Creature Type Database - but not fishing deep enough).

Illusion issue: Settled, they're powerful enough, welcome to the Major League (I still think people will not play them in events where they can just play Merfolk, but oh well).

AJ and others: Yeah, only 7 tribes are at risk of leaving Underdog events. But the fact is that I care about those 7 tribes being in Underdog events. Nobody would seriously think of playing stuff like Ogre or Drake elsewhere (they hardly play them in Underdog!). The idea that they still could is a false solution: they do now, they always could, they rarely did. In fact, there's more to the issue: the entire switch from Endangered to Underdog happened (in my mind, and I'm the one who conceived it) EXACTLY because of those 7 tribes (but Beast) not being allowed in Endangered. The day those 7 would become Major League, the whole purpose of the Unhallowed List as it is now would become moot.
Unpopular doesn't help with that either, because in order to have one of them win an event, you need to play it more than 3 times for sure. Also, trying to have them win an event, like I'm doing for Insect, makes for a nice challenge, and shouldn't result in a "punishment" for the tribe. To fully appreciate their situation, one should consider two things:

1. Underdog has them in it so far, and is balanced, and certainly not unbalanced by their presence. Then what's the need to change it?
2. Endangered contains a lot of tribes that are inherently stronger than those 6-7 (give or take Beast, but there's stuff stronger than Beast as well). Doesn't make a lot of sense for the Underdog concept (which is exactly as it's been defined in this discussion) to exclude a tribe that won an event because of a focused, painstaking attempt, while keeping tribes that won multiple events effortless and regularly end X-1 or better.

Of the proposed solutions, I like slug's "close access to the Major League". If we concede that Illusion belongs there, then possibly that's it, and all the others should keep being playable in Underdog forever. Unhallowed would need a new definition, and would essentially only amount to the notorious 6-7.

Rex's solution of resetting the value next year is also good, but it would require some pondering. If we just raise the threshold to 3 wins, then we suddenly bring back things we're glad they're not allowed anymore, like Druid and Soldier (of course we could just ban those, but that's less elegant).
I could make a case for Beast to stay in Underdog, because while it's a noble tribe, and a win for it is more than overdue by now, we can see how is one of the Top 8 most popular tribes, and it still has to won. (It's more popular than Cat and Wall, that both won 8 times!) That tells me that its presence in Underdog isn't causing any concern to anyone, so far.

Unpopular: A simple solution here is to stop using a threshold, replacing it with a position on the ranking. Like, Unpopular = the last 100 positions in the popularity ranking (currently that includes tribes up to 6 appearances). This way, no matter how the appearances keep piling up, there will always be 100 Unpopular tribes. (The separation point may be a bit awkward, since it might fall in the middle of a group of tribes with the same number of appearances, granting access to the ones that come last alphabetically).

AJ: "I'd suggest we have the exception be "No 'shapeshifter' tribal can have more than sixteen shapeshifters." Mmm, I'm lost here. Was one of those "shapeshifter" meant to be "creature with Changeling"?

Other topics entirely:

Rex: The "Fool King" remark was one of the good-natured jokes I was talking about. Hope it wasn't offensive. I wouldn't have said that if it involved a new player I didn't know. (Plus, you're a lawyer, so being insulted is occupational hazard :P). Given that doing well on a budget DOES constitute a merit, but doing well with expensive cards does NOT constitute a demerit, I might end up cutting the second ranking entirely and never mention it again.

Rex: "the cookie-cutter reanimation package" might be stale, but using it in conjunction with a fattie tribe you don't see often (like Insect, which I'll do) is still mildly interesting, because at that point it's not about the reanimation shell anymore, it's about evaluating the performance of those fatties. One could have chosen a safer fattie tribe, but by choosing a lesser one, they're saying that they care about playing with that particular tribe more than they care about winning with the reanimation package, or they would try and maximize its effectiveness. Meeting a turn-2/turn-3 fattie is part of the meta; if your deck can't deal with turn-2 Iona, that's excusable; if it can't deal with turn-2 Giant Adephage, you're either playing a risky deck yourself, and you get punished by such a match-up as it's in the nature of things, or you need to go back to the drawing board.

I like the 'popularity by AJ_Impy at Tue, 08/20/2013 - 16:49
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I like the 'popularity ranking' idea: One way around the dividing line issue is to have it be _at least_ the 100 least popular tribes, and lump in everything as unpopular as the 100th. The 100th tribe sets the threshold, everything at that threshold is allowed.

As to the shapeshifter idea, a legal deck with 16 shapeshifters maximum needs to have another card which isn't a shapeshifter to bring it up to the full 20, and requires that there are changelings enough to bring the deck up to legality. This allows people to play with Pest, Bushwragg and Dreadnought decks whilst blocking decks which consist of nonchangeling shapeshifters. It's a bit of a kludge, though. It may be simpler to have Shapeshifters be an always-legal option regardless of the criteria.

Maybe I'm slow, but I'm still by Kumagoro42 at Tue, 08/20/2013 - 18:27
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Maybe I'm slow, but I'm still lost. I don't understand if you want to allow for this deck:

4 Clone
4 Vesuvan Doppelganger
4 Morphling
4 Duplicant
4 Brushwagg

or this deck:

4 Chameleon Colossus
4 Taurean Mauler
4 Mirror Entity
4 Woodland Changeling
4 Brushwagg

The first one, I don't see why should be allowed. The second one, already is. It's a Brushwagg deck for the client, a Shapeshifter deck for Tribal Apocalypse statistics/awards. (It might be worth noting that you can replace one of those Changeling with Mistform Ultimus, which isn't a Shapeshifter, and the deck will still be a. legal, b. a Shapeshifter deck. The fact that the Changeling ability mostly appears on Shapeshifter creatures is a flavor choice of WotC, and we might see a batch of Illusion creatures with Changeling in the future - or any other tribe, including an entirely new one, they'll see fit to give Changeling to if they'll ever want to revisit that ability).

"blocking decks which consist of nonchangeling shapeshifters"
But why should we want to do that?

"But why should we want to do by AJ_Impy at Wed, 08/21/2013 - 01:56
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"But why should we want to do that?"

As and when Shapeshifter loses unhallowed and loses its eligibility under the current rules. We are agreed on Shapeshifter not being valid for Underdog being A Bad Thing, at least as long as <3 decks are considered Shapeshifter.

Ah, ok, I had lost track of by Kumagoro42 at Wed, 08/21/2013 - 04:53
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Ah, ok, I had lost track of the premise. :)

Underdog Prize by Cruel_Hellraiser at Fri, 08/23/2013 - 21:08
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Underdog Prize, What is that? I have not been here for a while.

It's a prize given every week by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 08/24/2013 - 02:17
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It's a prize given every week to the highest-ranked deck whose tribe belongs to most Underdog categories (you can check them here: http://tinyurl.com/TRIBALUNDERDOGS). The deck needs to win at least 1 match in the event.