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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Sep 06 2013 11:46am
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 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse, the PRE where... oh, who cares. Let's talk about Greek myths!

   Table of Contents 

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


 Theros is near! Repent! Or better, stay ready for the full Ancient Greek experience. (Those were the times!)

 We currently have 108 cards spoiled out of 249 (20 of which are the usual basic lands), which means we're at more than one third of the road from unveiling the entire truth. But we've already unveiled a lot of the mythics and other juicy cards. For instance, we know the face of all the three planeswalkers on duty...


 Yeah, the third Elspeth is a bit slow at 6 mana but not bad; token generation with a + symbol in front is always good, and so is the ability to remove threats (especially the big flyers that the Soldiers wouldn't be able to chump block). Of course, the planeswalking Satyr, Xenagos, is all the people are talking about these days, as he's very, very strong. A dual-colored Gaea's Cradle effect, plus token generation (with haste!) for 0 loyalty, and un ultimate that's not that hard to reach and give a pseudo-Genesis Wave. What else Gruul could want for 4 mana? And Xenagos is the central character in Theros story, the rebel Satyr who wants to challenge the established Gods, overthrow them and ascend himself (cue rumors that we'll get his God version in later sets of the block), and use "the monsters" to achieve his goals. And since Elspeth has been called to Theros to face the monster situation, the two of them will clash (see how Elspeth attracts people to fight with her and sweeps away big monsters?).

 And then there's Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver, a new 3-mana walker who's fascinating because... well, because of the backstory more than anything, because the actual use is very situational (no impact in the first turn, only random chance to do something afterwards, except for contributing to a mill strategy). As for the backstory, well, Ashiok comes from nobody knows where, is nobody knows what, and is possibly the first androgynous planeswalker, which ties well into the Theros source mythology, and has been captured excellently in the rendition by artist Karla Ortiz. The full background story (or lack thereof) can be read here (don't ask me where it comes from; some promo material, perhaps?), and I also detect a touch of Neil Gaiman in it.

 But big shots aside, we know a lot more about the cards of Theros now. We know what the dual land cycle looks like, for instance (not great, but better than Zendikar's 1 life land).



 But fortunately we also know of the lands every monocolored deck will want to play from now on (the devotion mechanic is a really good design):

 We also know this cycle of self-hating cards (some of which will be seen a lot in sideboards. Gainsay is actually a reprint).



 Note that the white one deals with indestructible things. Speaking of which, and to introduce a tribal aspect at last, the most rumored cycle was the God cycle. And now it's completed and fully spoiled (at least for what concerns the ones from the first set, Theros pantheon has to be larger than 5. Possibly 12 like the Olympians?).



 The blue one is my favorite, as it's the only one that doesn't even need to reach the devotion threshold and turn into a creature to be useful (plus, it's the only one that can be sneaked directly into play by Zur the Enchanter). The black one comes right after. All of them will be great additions to any deck that can support them, anyway: you don't say no to indestructible finishers with abilities for 3-4 mana. The Gods have all signature artifacts, which are also enchantments (still working on the flavor of this: isn't redundant?), so they can be searched in multiple ways and affects the field in multiple ways. But mostly, they're good cards in and of themselves, with special interactions with their namesakes, of course. We haven't seen all of them yet, but I'm already liking the hammer.


 But what about the more tribal side of things? Yeah, the Gods are a tribe, but unless they retcon something else to the God type (AJ and I were talking about Karona, the Myojins and the Spirit Avatars from Shadowmoor), they're currently almost entirely unplayable as a tribe, since they're monocolored creatures that ask for a strong presence of their color. Which other tribes are particularly featured, then? Well, for one, we have the return of Satyr, of which none have been added so far since last week, if you exclude Xenagos himself (which unfortunately doesn't count in a Satyr tribal deck). More luck had this week their bigger, wilder cousins the Minotaurs, which got not one but TWO lords!


 Not a fan of the red one (as I rarely like lords that just exist to pump the team), but it's a new, strong low-cost member in the tribe, and that's useful. The Rakdos one gives haste, and that's always good in my book. A creature type I particularly like, and was announced as flavorfully relevant, was just given a new, strong member:

 Yay for a new playable Golgari Gorgon! (Even if the art isn't great. Let's hope there's a promo). Wait, do you need a translation from the Spanish spoiler? Okay, she's called "Reaper of the Wild" and has "Whenever another creature dies, scry 1." and "B: Reaper of the Wild gains deathtouch until end of turn." and "1G: Reaper of the Wild gains hexproof until end of turn." Not too bad, uh? Also good is the new member the Cat tribe got (like they needed one), the smallest and probably strongest monstrosity user so far:

 Yeah, that's strictly better than Watchwolf, I'm afraid. We also have another brand new tribe after God, and it's Nymph, so far only used as a poster for the bestow mechanics. I also can't tell why they couldn't just be associated with the Dryad tribe (the green one is, in fact. Maybe having non-green Dryads would feel weird).



 The interesting cards in this upcoming set are too many to just mention all of them here, but one thing that is clear is that, despite the power level being good, the flavor has informed a lot of the choices, Innistrad-style. Look at these cards:


 And yeah, they're not just there to represent their source mythology: They're great cards with great flavor! I mean, Chained to the Rocks isn't just about Prometheus, it's also about a 1-mana Journey to Nowhere for Boros decks. And Curse of the Swine sure channels Circe, but it's also an unprecedented way for mono-blue to deal with multiple threats. Rescue from the Underworld is the story of Orpheus and Eurydice? Yes, but it's also a nice reanimation variant, at instant speed with a bonus Flicker effect. And what about our resident Cerberus? Isn't it a brilliant, awe-inducing design that at the same time will turn into one of the chase mythics from the set?


  • Event Number: 3.34, Week 139 BE
  • Date: August 31
  • Attendance: 25
  • Rounds: 4
  • Special Rules: Pure Tribal (no off-tribe creatures, no Big Shot Tribes nor T9 cards allowed)
  • Winner: Robin88 (Faerie)
  • Other undefeated: endless_nameless (Demon)
  • 1 Loss: Edison_88luckyplayer (Sliver), Nagarjuna (Angel), filegott (Bird), ML_Berlin (Soldier), mihahitlor (Construct), slug360 (Insect)
  • Special Prizes: Underdog Prize to Chamale (Specter)
  • Tribes: Ally, Angel, Beast, Bird, Construct, Demon, Dragon, Eldrazi, Elemental, Faerie, Insect (x2), Kor, Mutant, Praetor, Sliver (x3), Soldier (x2), Specter, Spider, Troll, Wurm, Zombie
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 All right, let's go from the future of Ancient Greek homages and back to the present of a tribal environment still deprived of gods and heroes. Faerie won their 4th event (and Robin88 his 3rd)! They're one step away from Big Shot-dom! All thanks to this deck:


 ...which beat in the final this other deck, a Demon reanimator build by returning champion endless_nameless:


 Among the most successful others (and get ready to behold the Insect deck by slug360, in the Insect section), there were a few timeless classics like Sliver, Ally, Angel reanimator, an excellent Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas Bird build by filegott, and even a 12-post Construct by mihahitlor (I wonder if it was this the first time for him with this kind of thing).

 But I don't care about success, because speaking of putting a new spin on old stories, AJ_Impy was applying a well-tested Cabal Coffers shell to the Praetor tribe, resulting in this strange build:


 And I, for one, was doing kind of the same thing by taking a Cloudpost base to try and put some Wurms into the battlefield, by all means necessary.


 Both of us didn't manage to end in the money, but there were some great games with Ebon Praetor, of all things, dominating the battlefield, or Worldspine Wurm flashing out of nowhere to save the day. Good times. Not consistent times, but good nonetheless.


 Also known as: how much do the top decks cost? As of September 6, 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, Robin88's Faeries: $479.46 (nonland cards: $211.18; tribal base: $116.00)
  • 2nd place, endless_nameless's Demons: $584.08 (nonland cards: $91.99; tribal base: $71.92)

 Two expensive builds at the top this week. Of course, high-profile Faeries are always expensive, like that $116 tribal base clearly proves. And there's not even a full playset of Vendilion Clique in there. Robin88's singleton style of building prevented the land section to really go over the top, since Wasteland is currently approaching 80 tix, and the Zendikar fetches are spiraling out of control as well. I remember the time when Polluted Delta was the most expensive fetch land; now the ZEN ones laugh at him. Poor Jace, the Mind Sculptor is also not that hot anymore, since he's currently sold (in his FTV incarnation) as little more than one third of an uncommon, that uncommon being Wasteland, of course. The crazy cost of the Demon build was also due to the current insane price of the fetches and some of the duals, particularly Underground Sea. In the rest of the deck, Griselbrand is obviously the star, both effect- and cost-wise.

 The Top 10 Cheapest Decks that Went Undefeated

  1. morpphling's Goblins, $2.35, 2nd place on Event 102
  2. Trickerie's Golems, $4.31 1st place on Event 138 (cheapest event winner)
  3. arcbounddaylabor's Goblins, $4.46, 1st place on Event 111
  4. ellmaris's Goblins, $6.52, 2nd place on Event 103
  5. mihahitlor's Goblins, $10.24, 1st place on Event 100
  6. mihahitlor's Vampires, $17.50, 1st place on Event 87
  7. AJ_Impy's Hounds, $24.26, 2nd place on Event 129
  8. brettmemphis1989's Merfolks, $25.35, 2nd place on Event 130
  9. AJ_Impy's Cats, $28.41, 2nd place on Event 129
  10. mihahitlor's Vampires, $28.72, 2nd place on Event 111

 NOTE: not adjusted to current prices; data collected since Event 85.



 Special guest for Show and Tell this week: the Insects! As played by Insect brewer slug360 (more on that right below). First against ChrisMH77 and his Allies, in Round 3. This is game 1:

 And here's game 2.

 And this is slug battling against Chamale's Specters. Game 1 coming up:

 And finally, the second game in the Insect-Specter showdown.

 Check the complete archive of Show and Tell here.


  Previously on The Insect Project: Kuma and friends set themselves a preposterous goal: giving the Insect their first event win ever. The previous episodes can be found here.

 After all this talk, finally someone actually played an Insect deck in an event! And it was slug360, who ended 3-1 (lost to Slivers, beat Ally, Specter and another Insect deck by Trickerie — which were the odds?), with this tentative build:


 And here's the resulting conversational debriefing.

 SLUG: This was the first time I tried Insect, and even though I had a few ideas about what to do, I ended up building the deck about 2 hours before the event. After some rumination I thought to try and build something around Brood of Cockroaches and maybe Oath of Ghouls or Oversold Cemetery,
but I just didn't have enough time to fully go there. So the resulting deck it is a mess of ideas and although the cards have good interactions between them, it is not very focused. Lot of 1-of nonsense such as Batterskull (put it in there just in case I needed some lifegain, but I don't think it's worth it), Gleancrawler (never needed it or cast it, too slow) or Pernicious Deed (which combines well with the planeswalkers, but erases my board too. Not sure about this one).

Pictured: Needs some more effort to implement.

 KUMA: Yeah, I can see that it's a very rough build, and definitely couldn't tell how Batterskull figured in the proceedings. Plus, some of the cards
seem to be there just to try them out and see how they did, which isn't a bad thing to do when starting to test the waters on a build. This said, the sacrificial theme is cool and I think it might work. It reminds me of a Savra Commander deck I built once, with lot of effects that capitalize on sacrifices.
 You would definitely need more fuel, though. Blood of Cockroaches need to go up to 4 for sure. I also like the first draft of an attempt at a Diabolic Intent toolbox, which might be a great thing to try and break.

Such a cool card!

 SLUG: I liked all the low-costing Insects, though I'm not sure about the numbers, but they sometimes didn't work very well with (Bane of the
Living) (which I should probably play 4 of), especially with Nantuko Shade, since you don't have enough mana to pump the Shade and use Bane at the same time. Although, you could just morph Bane for BB or hard cast it, I guess.

 KUMA: Honestly, I don't like mana-intensive stuff in this build. I'd try to cut all of that and make it quicker and deadlier. As you said, Gleancrawler is way too slow and interact with less things than one might think, since for one the Cockroaches don't need it. Shade is again something that wants you to tap all your mana, but you need mana to keep replaying the Cockroaches, activating stuff and so. I'm conflicted about Bane: it can be a great play, but it's also so greedy, and if you don't exploit the ability, then it's just a 4/3 vanilla for 4-5 mana, which is awful.

Then again, it's board-sweeping on a stick.

 SLUG: Attrition is a very good combo with Brood of Cockroaches and Ant Queen, could also work with Grave-Shell Scarab, but I am not sure about the numbers since you don't want to have too many in case you face Vampires or Zombies.

 KUMA: Well, you won't meet Vampire or Zombie in Underdog and Pure events!
 Despite what I just said about reducing the costs, I want to give a thumb up to Ant Queen as a top-of-the-curve critter, but in no more than 2 copies probably. That's a use of your mana that plays well with everything else, and can easily go out of control if left unattended. On the other hand, one Scarab might be enough. The thing this deck might be missing is a way to interact with all the stuff that you put into your graveyard, except for what naturally comes back (like the Cockroaches), so it seems there's very few value in dredging away your deck.
 I know it's my personal passion talking, but if the toolbox really materializes (more on that below), at least a singleton Recurring Nightmare might be warranted.

Did I ever mention I really like this card?

 SLUG: Liliana of the Veil was amazing and I would had played 3 if I could go to the past, she works very well with several cards in the deck and she
always has an impact in a game.

 KUMA: You know I would play Liliana in EVERYTHING if I still had my pre-collection-selling copies. But one day, she'll be mine again! (Just wait until she rotates out of Standard and hopefully her price will go down from "absurdly expensive" to "reasonably expensive").

 SLUG: Garruk Relentless was fine but I am not sold on it, every time I casted it I just made a bunch of tokens.

 KUMA: I don't know if it was your first experience with Garruk 3.0 (was it?). I can tell you that he requires some getting used to, but he's truly amazing. You can see it as a Birthing Pod, essentially, only you kill one little critter a get some deathtouch Wolves in the process.


One of the most versatile planeswalkers, south of the Mind Sculptor.

 KUMA: Which brings me to the fact that Garruk is another piece that could lead to a sacrificial toolbox. I already see an utility Insect in the singleton Nantuko Vigilante. Bane could be another, so you don't have to run too many.  Otherwise, there would be a Cockroaches to take when you don't have one at hand, or a finisher at the right time. I sense potential here.

 SLUG: The removal package worked fine, Chainer's Edict was to combat reanimated, protected from black or shroud/hexproof creatures, while Maelstrom Pulse was a way to deal with any problematic permanent or hordes of tokens.

 KUMA: I don't particularly like Profane Command here (surely doesn't beat a good Damnation, or even Black Sun's Zenith to me). I like Attrition very much for the reasons already stated, but (Gravepact) might be asking too much to the engine. It's not that these Insects sacrifice themselves, like they were Thrulls. I like Consuming Vapors in general, as random as it feels. But cutting it and the Command in favor of faster removal would work in function of the goal of tightening the curve. Some other Edicts or maybe Dismember, against tribes that fill the boards with stuff they can sacrifice without thinking twice? (The deck faced Ally, Sliver and Specter so far, and they're all tribes that can't afford to lose any of their deployed creatures. I think the opposite case has to be more common.)

Vapors is so sexy, though...

 SLUG: I don't remember any mana issues, especially regarding color requirements, which was my main concern, even if the deck is pretty much a
monocolored deck. Swarmyard was quite impressive and I can see me adding a third one and removing the Phyrexian Tower, although it proved to be very helpful at times.

 KUMA: Yeah, Swarmyard is really one of the main reasons why one should try and play Insect.

Good for Squirrels, too.

 SLUG: Overall the deck performed better than I thought and there is a lot of room for improvement.

 KUMA: To recap, my proposal here is: cut the more expensive stuff (therefore 1-2 lands too), focalize on the sacrificial/toolbox aspects. Let's see if that's the route we can take with this build, which might become fast enough, compared to other versions.

 SLUG: Not sure If I'll develop this same idea for the upcoming Underdog event or if I'll try something else, I have yet to decide. What it's sure is that I
would be playing some Insect so bring your Insecticide to the battlefield, you might need it.

 KUMA: Same here. And it's Recurring Nightmare build for me tomorrow! Hurrah!



 Just to remind you of a few things:

 Meet a new Challenge by RexDart! "Hey everybody, I'm back with another deckbuilding challenge! Nobody claimed the Telim'Tor challenge, despite the high-ticket prize... I guess nobody else likes flanking as much as I do? That's okay, while the contest was ongoing I made 4 tix profit just sitting on that Wilt-Leaf Liege nobody won, and I can pass on the profit to you guys with another solid prize. So without further ado, I will introduce... The Unnatural Deckbuilding Challenge! Here's the rules this time:

  1. Your deck must include at least 16 total cards that are either green enchantments and/or green artifacts.
  2.  Your deck may NOT include any auras. If the challenge goes on long enough that cards with the new bestow mechanic become legal, those are allowed as they are not technically auras while in your hand.
  3. Colored artifacts are only permitted so long as at least one of the artifact's colors is green.

 The prize for this contest is one non-foil, digital copy of Mirri's Guile, valued at over 6 tix on MTGOTraders.com! Good luck!

 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.  Currently, slug360 is leading the race with 7 tribes played; justcanceled and vantar6697 are left at 5 tribes (justcanceled could have been at 6, but he dropped from last event, and you have to play all rounds to make it count). But now slug will be frozen due to the Insect Project (I won't reset his sequence but it won't progress either), so everything is still possible.

 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 us replays of your game 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):

  • 3.35 (Week 140 BE), on September 7: Tribal Underdog (only Underdog Tribes allowed)
  • 3.36 (Week 141 BE), on September 14: Regular Tribal (just plain old Legacy Tribal Wars)
  • 3.37 (Week 142 BE), on September 21: Tribal Singleton (only 1 copy of each nonbasic land)
  • 3.38 (Week 143 BE), on September 28: Pure Tribal (no off-tribe creatures, no Big Shot Tribes nor T9 cards 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!


Something got garbled when I by RexDart at Fri, 09/06/2013 - 17:46
RexDart's picture

Something got garbled when I sent the email to Kuma. I remember I accidentally hit the back button in the middle of the email, and apparently lost some edit I had made while typing up the challenge. So I want to clarify the rules right now:

* Point 3 should include the sentence: "No colorless artifacts are permitted".
* Like previous challenges, this one requires winning 2 matches, not counting forfeits or byes. the usual disclaimer stuff all applies.

The UB Walker by Dawwy at Fri, 09/06/2013 - 17:55
Dawwy's picture

Informations about this walker come from Doug Beyer's Tumblr.
I foresee minotaur tribal getting a lot stronger and more popular. I also foresee, with my oracle eyes, that didgeridoo may grow in price ;).

Adding the 4th Blood of by slug360 at Fri, 09/06/2013 - 20:08
slug360's picture

Adding the 4th Blood of Cockroaches seems fine if you include Diabolic Intent and as you said try to come with something.
The Nantuko Shade it is a dylema, since it doesn't combine very well with the deck, but it is a solid creature and there aren't that many 2 drop alternatives.
I agree with Ant Queen being the top of the curve and I would like to use Recurring Nightmare too but this first version I thought didn't need it.
About Garruk 3.0, yea I haven't played a lot with it and I see the potential, it was just that in the games I played it didn't shinny to its full potential.
I have to disagree with Profane Command, at the end of the event the first thought was to add another one. It has so many uses that I think deserves the slot. Damnation or Black Sun's Zenith seem redundant with Bane of the Living and Profane Command offers more options, I really liked it.
By the way, thanks for frozing my sequence, I had completely forgot about that.

"that many 2 drop by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 09/07/2013 - 06:18
Kumagoro42's picture

"that many 2 drop alternatives"
In a sacrificial deck, Necropede feels better. Also Broodhatch Nantuko, if you plan to go up to 3 Swarmyards.

I like Profane Command enough (like all the Commands, except maybe the red one), but it's another slow element in a deck that, to me, seems to want to be faster and more streamlined.

Garruk Relentless becomes better and better the more you use it. At first I was skeptical too.

(Where the hell did that bad line breaks come from? Sorry about that.)

The thing is that without a by slug360 at Sat, 09/07/2013 - 11:02
slug360's picture

The thing is that without a way to recur creatures, Necropede loses points, it doesn't offer much beside being a good defensive creature.
Broodhatch Nantuko it is more or less in the same situation as Nantuko Shade since it will get annihilated by Bane of the Living, but this could buy a lot of time too, chumpblocking, morphing and then making a bunch of tokens or just playing it faced up and maybe making your opponent afraid of combat.

"(Where the hell did that bad line breaks come from? Sorry about that.)" what do you mean by bad line break?

Our discussion has some lines by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 09/07/2013 - 15:59
Kumagoro42's picture

Our discussion has some lines that break randomly in between a sentence, bad word wrap for some reason.

"Yeah, the Gods are a tribe, by AJ_Impy at Sat, 09/07/2013 - 05:01
AJ_Impy's picture

"Yeah, the Gods are a tribe, but unless they retcon something else to the God type, they're currently almost entirely unplayable as a tribe, since they're monocolored creatures that ask for a strong presence of their color."

I'm working on it. There are ways to do this. I will play God.

I had originally a comment by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 09/07/2013 - 06:10
Kumagoro42's picture

I had originally a comment there: "(but of course this won't stop AJ from trying.)" :)

You know me well! I'm by AJ_Impy at Sat, 09/07/2013 - 09:38
AJ_Impy's picture

You know me well! I'm currently considering an obscure Kamigawa block rare to enable some shenanigans.

Thought I'll do something by Dawwy at Sun, 09/08/2013 - 08:52
Dawwy's picture

Thought I'll do something productive today. Then I saw this and decided it's a good time to search through all kamigawa rares.