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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Nov 29 2013 12:01pm
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 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse, the PRE where...

   Table of Contents 

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


 So, after last week's thoughts and subsequent debate, Entomb has been added to the T9 cards in place of Dark Ritual, just in time for the next Pure event tomorrow.


Gravedigging out, obscure practices back in.

 I'll give Aether Vial one last Pure event, instead. We can put that in the T9 list, making it "T10", the next time.

 And this ends the business part of this section because IT'S SPHINX WEEK! Woot!

 Did you read RexDart's article about the History of the Sphinx in Competitive Magic? And CottonRhetoric's casual fun with Sphinges? And my own Sphingopedia? (Well, no, you didn't read that one yet because it's going to be published right now!). You can also check this link to see all the articles of the week... tomorrow.

 I like Sphinx a lot. It's been the tribal deck that gave me more satisfactions in all these years, always ending with a positive score, and several times Top 4 (weirdly, I never happened to win an event with it). Therefore, I give you... the Deck Tech of Sphinx Tribal! Well, of this Sphinx Tribal, in particular. Ready? Go!


 4x Living Death: This is a Living Death build, so resolving Living Death is what my battleplan is mostly about. The great power of this card resides in sweeping the opponent's side board while, hopefully, populating yours. You must be careful not giving your opponent any advantage from it, which is why I run bounce spells in place of removals and bring a couple Bojuka Bogs along. But unlike with regular reanimator builds, the Sphinx base allows me to be effective even with the B-plan or just hardcasting Sphinges then turning them sideways.



 4x Conundrum Sphinx, 4x Vexing Sphinx, 4x Sphinx of Lost Truths: Conundrum Sphinx is the best all-around Sphinx under CMC 5, and acts as the main line of stable defense while the Living Death plan is still underway. Vexing Sphinx and Sphinx of Lost Truths are two amazing discard outlets that also dig into my deck looking for a Living Death if I don't have one in hand. They're the reason I built Living Death with Sphinx to begin with. Vexing comes so early and is so scary as a 4/4 flyer in turn 3 that he sometimes attracts removal, also trying to prevent me from discarding and, especially, drawing cards out of him. His natural life cycle is just 3 upkeeps anyway: I drop him, next turn I discard 1 card to him, then 2 cards the turn after, then I let him die and draw 3 cards (because he gets 1 age counter at the beginning of his last upkeep). And at that point he might well have inflicted 8 damage! By the time Sphinx of Lost Truths comes, instead, I'm probably ready to Living Death the battlefield. Sometimes he'll die before I do that, so he'll come back in his un-kickered version, which makes me draw and discard more cards, possibly setting a further Living Death down the line, if that's the case.



 3x Consecrated Sphinx, 3x Sphinx of Jwar Isle, 1x Sphinx Sovereign, 1x Sphinx of the Steel Wind: These are the reanimation targets. Consecrated Sphinx is just amazing, and Sphinx of Jwar Isle is a very solid beater, hard to deal with. Plus, he combos nicely with Conundrum Sphinx. The singleton Sphinx Sovereign and Sphinx of the Steel Wind are there to have some high-profile stuff, even if they're difficult to hardcast (especially with my current, suboptimal mana base). The blue 6-mana Sphinges are more hardcast-friendly, instead, and oftentimes I just happen to drop one of them on the battlefield that way.

 Notable Sphinges I don't run: Chancellor of the Spires, because I don't feel like I need to play stuff from the opponent's graveyard after a Living Death: they will mostly be removal, and hopefully I won't have anything to remove at that point (plus, the less I mess with Living Death cycles, the better); Enigma Sphinx, because it only works if you hardcast her; Magister Sphinx, because I can do plenty of damage with the faster Sphinges, so the 10 life deal might not amount to much, or even prove counterproductive; Medomai the Ageless, even if in a Living Death group, it'd mean for the first assault to be lethal in most of the cases: it seems a bit of a win-more, though, and to make it consistent, I should run more than one copy of him, and I like the other beaters better; Prognostic Sphinx, because Lost Truths is just better, Conundrum is faster, and I don't want to lose any finishers to make room for this; Sharuum the Hegemon, because bringing her back with Living Death is a nombo.



 4x Vapor Snag, 2x Whirlpool Whelm, 2x Voyage's End: As said, I try to avoid putting the opponent's creatures in the graveyard, or I'll just end up bringing them back. So bounce is the way. Vapor Snag is the strictly better Unsummon. Whirlpool Whelm is a card that I discovered while tweaking this deck, and I find amazing: in a deck filled with high-costing stuff, there are good chances to put the target on top of the opponent's library, and it gives me a scry 1, anyway. Granted, the opponent gets the scry too, which is why I'm experimenting with Voyage's End lately, but I'm more inclined to not care and run the Whelm as the superior card. I used to run Brainstorm in these slots, but I felt like I needed more bouncing. I've also run Into the Roil for a while, but then I would always use it for 2 mana, so I switched to things that give me some bonus in the process.


 4x Coalition Relic: This used to be Mind Stone, to cycle them away when they weren't needed anymore. But a turn 3 accelerator is still okay because they mainly serve as a way to cast Living Death turn 4, and Coalition Relic also gives me the chance to hardcast the 6-mana Sphinges at that point.


  • Event Number: 3.46, Week 151 BE
  • Date: November 23
  • Attendance: 9
  • Rounds: 3
  • Special Rules:  Slugapalooza (only Slug decks or decks with only lands, your tribe and at least 8 non-Changeling Slugs)
  • Winner: Robin88 (Vampire)
  • Other undefeated: ML_Berlin (Beast)
  • 1 Loss: SekKuar Deathkeeper (Slug), Deonmag (Slug)
  • Tribes: Beast (x2), Slug (x6), Vampire
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 So, this was our own "happy birthday, BlippyTheSlug" (a bigger one would take place a few days later). It didn't see a lot of attendance, but it was fun enough. And, as it happens, the only two non-Slug decks ended up taking the two top places. The unstoppable Robin88 won once again with these Slug-adjacent (not really) Vampires, and is now second in the Seasonal Leaderboard, at just 9 points from the leader romellos (who's currently busy relocating to another country: come back soon, rom! Instanbul looks like the right place for some Magic!).


 Finalist against Robin the always solid ML_Berlin, who in place of Slugs was running their smarter cousins, the Beasts.


 Finally, I want to feature deck that's notable for being a last-minute replacement (due to a misunderstanding/ruling failure) AND for managing to unlock not just one but TWO fancy achievements (as documented below): Kingritz's Primal Surge Slug deck.


 Note: Mirror Gallery to have 4 Niv-Mizzet on the battlefield together; Body Double in case one achievement guy had died in the meantime; and Liliana Vess as a tutor, since in a Primal Surge deck you can't afford to include other non-permanent cards. (Also, Sluggishness just for kicks and flavor). And that's it.


 Okay, these lists were so absurd that it doesn't make any sense to do the math of their prices. Trust me, you won't see or build these decks ever again.

 The Top 10 Cheapest Decks that Went Undefeated

  1. morpphling's Goblins, $2.35, 2nd place on Event 102
  2. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.70, 1st place on Event 145 (cheapest event winner)
  3. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $4.12, 2nd place on Event 141
  4. Gq1rf7's Assassins, $4.18, 1st place on Event 147
  5. Trickerie's Golems, $4.31, 1st place on Event 138
  6. arcbounddaylabor's Goblins, $4.46, 1st place on Event 111
  7. Coolcat1678's Elves, $5.13, 2nd place on Event 149
  8. ellmaris's Goblins, $6.52, 2nd place on Event 103
  9. Heureka's Weirds, $6.53, 3rd place on Event 140
  10. kokonade1000's Rats, $7.55, 2nd place on Event 140

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



 Here's how Kingritz unlocked two of the remaining achievements of the season (guys, there's still quite a few to unlock! C'mon, don't you like tix? And glory?) with his Primal Surge deck. First, here's "Peace Talk": Having 5 different Guild Leaders from Return to Ravnica block on the battlefield at the same time. The five chosen Guild Leaders are: Niv-Mizzet, Aurelia, Trostani, Zegana, and Isperia. The opponent is Gq1rf7.


 Then, from the same match, "Dracogenius at Work": Two copies of each version of Niv-Mizzet on the battlefield at the same time (if tailed in the previous game because of Molder Slug accidentally killing Mirror Gallery. Ah! Those Slugs!).

 Lastly, this is a more normal game (as normal as Primal Surge activations go) that Kingritz won against Nebacanezzar, after this latter brought him to 1 life.

 Check the complete archive of Show and Tell here.


 Just to remind you of a few things: 

 The Up-and-Coming Prize is now 3 tix! So go find a tribe that never won an event (the Unhallowed list) and try and be the first to break it!

 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 8th 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. Current leader: AJ_Impy with 6 tribes played.

 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 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 5 events (i.e. they'll have to register a different deck or decks 5 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 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):

  • 3.47 (Week 152 BE), on November 30: Pure Tribal (no off-tribe creatures, no Big Shot Tribes nor T9 cards allowed)
  • 3.48 (Week 153 BE), on December 7: Tribal Underdog (only Underdog Tribes allowed)
  • 3.49 (Week 154 BE), on December 14: Regular Tribal (just plain old Legacy Tribal Wars)
  • 3.50 (Week 155 BE), on December 21: A Regular Christmas (it's a regular event, but with gifts)

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!



A deck critique from the by Bazaar of Baghdad at Fri, 11/29/2013 - 13:33
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

A deck critique from the peanut gallery (one who has never played it):

Living Death makes little sense to me. Granted, in Pure events the white exile effects are gone, but Burn spells will be going to your face at that point, and opponents' Pacify-variants or bounce won't complement Living Death. Vexing Sphinx is the only crit that has a chance of cycling to the graveyard on its own. I don't really see, short of a few black removal spells, how you really plan to profit from them sufficiently enough to justify 5-mana potentially double-edged resurrect spells. If you don't find a Bog (another sub-optimal card in a 3-color, base-blue deck that has to be timed just right), it might even be a liability. Shackles raises much more difficult questions for the opponent, and isn't contingent upon anything else. Cryptic Command or Supreme Verdict are also solid options.

I gather you never saw this by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 11/29/2013 - 18:34
Kumagoro42's picture

I gather you never saw this deck in action. I'll be happy to put some videos of it for you next time. When I say that I never went less than 3-1 (or 2-1) with it, and I played it probably two dozen times, I'm not lying. There were also people claiming that Living Death should be banned, so your "Living Death? That does nothing" position is very welcome. :)

I don't get your concerns, though. Burn spell will go to my face? Um, duh? And as I explained, in that deck Living Death is never double-edged (barring late game, but at that point I'll have creature superiority most of the time: it's been fun playing this vs. a Living End deck), as I don't kill anything, so nothing comes back from their graveyard during the first Living Death, which 80% of the times is also the LAST Living Death. Do you really think you'll have your own answer to 3-4 Sphinges attacking you the next turn, some of which aren't even targetable? And did you answer my Vexing Sphinx and Lost Truths or you got damage from them before that?

If you replace Living Death with Damnation/Supreme Verdict, it'll be a dull deck, but also a less effective deck, because it'll leave me with an empty board too, and chances are the non-Sphinx deck will rebuild first from there. The battleplan is that I don't have to rebuild after a sweeper: the sweeper builds my side of the board for me.
Also, Vexing Sphinx and Sphinx Lost Truths are powerful creatures, but if you don't have ways to exploit the cards they put in the graveyard, then they're just massive looters that are hard to pull off.

I had missed the Lost by Bazaar of Baghdad at Fri, 11/29/2013 - 22:56
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

I had missed the Lost Truths-graveyard interaction to get Sphinxes in the yard. That might well make LD more justifiable over Supreme Verdict (though the extra mana could be crucial), and Command could stop some combo game plans you might be otherwise weak against, though I still stand behind Shackles as clearly more powerful than all.

Dryad Arbor is banned from by Bazaar of Baghdad at Sat, 11/30/2013 - 06:11
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

Dryad Arbor is banned from non-Dryad decks today (Pure), right?

Indeed it is. by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 11/30/2013 - 08:39
Kumagoro42's picture

Indeed it is.

Thanks! by Bazaar of Baghdad at Sat, 11/30/2013 - 09:21
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture


Awesome deck awesome cards by Feddz1234 at Sat, 11/30/2013 - 06:48
Feddz1234's picture

Awesome deck awesome cards simply one of the finest things out there and magic the gathering is just awesome!. - Feed the Children