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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Dec 06 2013 11:29am
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 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse, the PRE where... hey, did I forget to write something here last time?!

   Table of Contents 

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

Check the archive for the "Diaries of the Apocalypse" series


 As we're approaching the end of the year, it's the right time to talk about the past and the future.

 The past for Tribal Apocalypse is slug360 winning the Invitational last January against all bets. Then becoming one of the strongest and most successful players in the event. The future is the last few scenes in the battle for the title of Player of the Year for 2013, where romellos is closely followed by Robin88.

 The past for this corner of MTGO (my corner!) is the Sphinx Week that's just ended. The future is a bizarre Classic event called The Art of War (that I'll introduce in an article featuring a lot of artist talk and that will be published soon enough). But also the next Theme Week, that this month starts on December 23 and is all about planeswalkers (aren't they Christmas-y?)

 The past for me is that, come tomorrow, I'll have been alive for 40 years. It's been a good ride, even with all the heartbreak. I had fun being a young man for so long. The future for me is that I won't be a young man anymore, technically, but I don't care. I won't stop doing the exact same things I've been doing, which is running with whatever the life throws at me. The future for me is that I don't know what the future holds for me, and I've learned to be much happier that way. See you all in the rest of our lives.


  • Event Number: 3.47, Week 152 BE
  • Date: November 30
  • Attendance: 18
  • Rounds: 3
  • Special Rules: Pure Tribal (no off-tribe creatures, no Big Shot Tribes nor T9 cards allowed)
  • Winner: pk23 (Zombie)
  • Other undefeated: ellmaris (Soldier)
  • 1 Loss: Misterpid (Golem), AJ_Impy (Sphinx), _Kumagoro_ (Sphinx), longtimegone (Merfolk), Edison_88luckyplayer (Sliver), Robin88 (Faerie), Bazaar of Baghdad (Hydra)
  • Special Prizes: Underdog Prize to Dawwy (Boar)
  • Tribes: Angel, Beast, Boar, Faerie, Golem, Hydra, Merfolk, Sliver (x2), Soldier (x2), Sphinx (x2), Spirit, Zombie (x4)
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 So, Zombie is a Big Shot tribe now, thanks to pk23! And Gray Merchant of Asphodel. And Birthing Pod, because we're talking pk23 here. And how who reads my other article series knows, the Pod has a lot more of applications other than those Modern combo decks. Anyway, here's the list that gave the shambling dudes their 5th victory:


 Also notable: the interaction between the Pod and Grave Pact. And Geralf's Messenger makes for a great Pod station. I experimented with it myself in Modern builds heavily based on black. I think Erebos might do well in this deck, too. And by the way, Oubliette? Wow, that's hardcore!  

The Zombies defeated in final this heroic Soldier deck by ellmaris (I assume there's a joke in the name of the deck, but it totally went over my head):


 As I mentioned earlier, last week was Sphinx Week, so as announced I played my classic Living Death build, and AJ_Impy followed my lead:


 See those Curses of the Swine? I played them, too! (That, I didn't announce. I couldn't give away everything, could I?). Great minds, uh? It's of course a strong card in general and particularly useful when you don't want to send the opponent's creatures to the graveyard. But the main reason you HAVE to play it is this:

That's sooo cuuute!!!

 You can see a few games from the two Sphinx decks (including the mirror match!) and my and AJ's comments in the Show & Tell section below. And yes, AJ won against me because he was running this damn thing and I wasn't:


 Yes, Vedalken Shackles is a strong card. You happy, Bazaar of Baghdad? :P (I'm talking to the player, not the card. And about our exchange in the last comment section). But if I never ran Shackles is because I never owned them (didn't even realize that now their price is not astronomical anymore). Plus, I would need a better mana base to make it work, and currently I'm still in the early phase of my collection rebuilding (I play three eternal formats, and mostly green-based decks, so Underground Sea has a really low priority in my shopping list). But it's in the list of stuff I will acquire to improve the build. And by the way, both AJ and I ended Top 5 with our Living Death Sphinges! You see, Bazaar? It works! :P

 I'm just jealous of Bazaar this week because of his Hydra deck.


  Ah, I so want to play Hydra again! It's been more than 3 years since the last time I ran Cloudpost Hydras in Tribal Apocalypse (and now there's even a lot of better Hydras to cast! Even without involving NO-Prog packages). It was during the Flippers_Giraffe reign, I believe. So many good memories. We didn't forget you, Flippers!

 I might even do a little Hydrapedia within Diaries of the Apocalypse. Next week, maybe.


 Also known as: how much do the top decks cost? As of December 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, pk23's Zombies: $166.11 (nonland cards: $44.92; tribal base: $10.18)
  • 2nd place, ellmaris's Soldiers: $46.24 (nonland cards: $2.62; tribal base: $1.40)

 Two nice, strong, quasi-budget-friendly lists, with just the right amount of money lands (damn Verdant Catacombs is 20 tix now). That's all I have to say about that.

 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.



 Brace yourself for some Sphinx Action! Now with some sweet customized thumbnails, courtesy of Mike "Leviathan" Morales (who just explained to me how you do it). Here's my Sphinx deck versus Edison_88luckyplayer's Slivers. Soon-to-be turned into piggies.

 That was game 2 of the match, this is game 3, where Sphinx of Lost Truths demonstrates all the power hidden behind that absurd haircut. Also, more piggies.

 And here's what AJ says of his own version: "My build differed from Kuma in a couple of areas: More cheap fast Sphinges, a cheaper ramp artifact, and theft rather than bounce, using an all-Island land base to support Vedalken Shackles, which remain one of the least fair things a blue deck can do in a creature based format. Given the 8-pack of 4-mana fliers for 4, the ideal start was Signet into one of those turn 3 to get some good pressure on."

 I and AJ faced in Round 2, and this is how it went:

 Game 2 of the Sphinx civil war:

 In the end, I decided to try the stealing route myself. So next time I'll try this deck I'll take out the bounce spells and add the Shackles. I'll have to replace the dual lands, hoping Watery Grave won't cause too self-damage (as I said, Underground Sea is out of the question for now. I never even owned more than one even before selling my collection!). And also the 3 CMC mana rocks have to become 2 CMC mana rocks (so Coalition Relic out, Dimir Signet in), to better accommodate the curve.

 And by the way, remember when I wrote that I would buy Vedalken Shackles now that I see they're not that expensive anymore? Well, since then, I've actually done that! So tomorrow I'll play a good mono-blue Underdog build with Curses and Shackles. You're warned, opponents!

 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 leaders: AJ_Impy with 7 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):

  • 3.49 (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 (regular Tribal Wars with special gifts)
  • 3.51 (Week 156 BE), on December 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!


Note: for some reason I by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 12/06/2013 - 12:47
Kumagoro42's picture

Note: for some reason I forgot to add it to the list at the end, but the next event (tomorrow) is always Underdog as planned.

I should note that even I by Paul Leicht at Fri, 12/06/2013 - 20:00
Paul Leicht's picture

I should note that even I don't always comment on your tribal apoc articles this is one of my weekly must-reads. Curse of the Swine is great tech for Sphinges because the little porcine tokens don't add up to much vs the heftier Flying Cats. Shackles fits nicely because, islands. When AJ told me of his build I could only feel bad for his opposition. :D

The Zombies deck reminds me of the black pod decks I tried playing with a few years ago. Fun times. Interesting to see it win first place.

Any advice by rayjinn at Fri, 12/06/2013 - 20:25
rayjinn's picture

I'm thinking about picking up a deck and joining tomorrow.
Any advice on what to do/ what not to do?

First of all: welcome! And by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 12/07/2013 - 05:13
Kumagoro42's picture

First of all: welcome!
And then, I don't really know what to tell you. I'd say "Don't play Elves or Goblins", but tomorrow they're both banned, so. (If you click in the link at the very top of the article you'll see how every sub-format works, among other things.)
Don't try and use a sideboard because you can't? :)

It's a format, and in particular an event, where most of the players change deck every week, so the meta is hard to guess, which is what makes it so fascinating. So the best piece of advice could be: don't worry too much, build what you like. Tomorrow being Tribal Underdog is also the week where you're most likely to face Weird and Octopus.