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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Jan 03 2014 12:09pm
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 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse, the PRE where something wicked this way comes...

   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

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


 It's 2014! A whole new year! I know, that's not exactly a deep notion, but something/quite a lot should/might change in 2014 for Tribal Apocalypse. It'll be a brave new world! Maybe. Look, I don't know yet, things need to be confirmed. In the meantime, we'll do the first two events as usual, then the 2013 Invitational on January 18. Speaking of which, the 3rd Season of Tribal Apocalypse just ended! Woot! Last year has seen a record 1014 players of total attendance (for comparison, we did 910 in 2011 and 889 in 2012 – putting the average attendance per event during these 3 years at 18, which isn't bad), and the following final ranking in the Seasonal Leaderboard:

  1. Robin88, China, 256 pts.
  2. romellos, Turkey, 245 pts.
  3. slug360, Spain, 223 pts.
  4. mihahitlor, Slovenia, 219 pts.
  5. pk23, USA, 178 pts.
  6. justcanceled, USA, 168 pts.
  7. _Kumagoro_, Italy, 160 pts.
  8. Gq1rf7, Hungary, 157 pts.
  9. Nagarjuna, Germany, 146 pts.
  10. AJ_Impy, UK, 141 pts.
  11. RexDart, USA, 132 pts.
  12. milegyenanevem, Hungary, 96 pts.
  13. endless_nameless, USA, 93 pts.
  14. ML_Berlin, USA (?), 86 pts.
  15. DirtyDuck, USA, 86 pts.
  16. SBena, Italy, 64 pts. (NOTE: SBena leaves his place to the next player, who happens to have the same points anyway)
  17. SekKuar Deathkeeper, UK, 64 pts.

 So, congratulations to Robin88, joining the likes of NemesisParadigm and mihahitlor as the Top Player of the Year!

 One might feel like Robin's final rank was influenced by the fact that romellos had to stop playing in the last two months due to his relocation to another country, while mihahitlor quit Magic altogether over the year (expect some coup de theatre about that, by the way). But just looking at the ranking by number of first places in the season reveals Robin's ultimate worthiness:

  1. Robin88, 7 wins
  2. slug360, 7 wins
  3. endless_nameless, 4 wins
  4. mihahitlor, 4 wins
  5. pk23, 4 wins
  6. RexDart, 4 wins
  7. Gq1rf7, 3 wins
  8. justcanceled, 3 wins
  9. Bazaar of Baghdad, 2 wins
  10. Nagarjuna, 2 wins
  11. romellos, 2 wins
  12. _Kumagoro_, 1 win
  13. arcbounddaylabor, 1 win
  14. brettmemphis1989, 1 win
  15. Chamale, 1 win
  16. DirtyDuck, 1 win
  17. Edison_88luckyplayer, 1 win
  18. milegyenanevem, 1 win
  19. SBena, 1 win
  20. Trickerie, 1 win

 As you can see, the only player who equaled Robin's wins (who also had 2 other undefeated results, as you can see from here) is slug360, although he too suffered from a slow end of season of his own. Both Robin and slug equaled NemesisParadigm's number of wins in 2011, while romellos is still the player who managed more first place results in a single year with 8 in 2012. Nevertheless, slug had an amazing year following his somehow surprising victory in the last Invitational: you just have to consider that he had qualified for that one with just 1 win under his belt, and now he has 7 more. Great debut year for pk23 as well, as was expected from one of the most successful players in the Modern PRE scene, who slowly but assuredly transitioned to the wilder and more unpredictable Tribal Wars format.

 We'll find out more about Robin, the first Asian player to reach the top spot in a Tribal Apocalypse season (after an American in 2011 and a European in 2012), in an interview I plan to do after the Invitational. For now, let's just add that his 7 victories were achieved with a fair amount of different tribes. In chronological order, we have Kor, Shaman, Faerie, Rebel, Spirit, Vampire, then Kor again (but a different build).

 So, what now? Well, for one, the 16 players in the final ranking automatically get a 3-tix Good Job Prize, courtesy of mihahitlor (who, yeah, is giving them to himself, too. Stranger things have happened). You can already find the tix available on SBena_Bot.

 Then we'll do an Underdog event tomorrow and a Regular event next week. In the meantime, check the rules for the Invitational. Most of the qualified players have already confirmed their presence, but a few of them might not make it in the end, so if you're a high-ranked reserve, you better show up, because you might be able to play. And unlike the Good Job Prize, any prize awarded during the Invitational (the specifics are still up in the air at the moment, but every round will be associated with a different prize, including the first one) will be given only to the players who actually took part in it.

 And you can check the 2014 Calendar already. As you can see, for the moment the Singleton events are still there. In fact, I just closed the poll about them, and the results were quite puzzling. While the question about the possible new bans had a vast majority (33%) of answers saying "don't ban anything", which is quite easy to process, Singleton was nominated simultaneously as the most liked and the most disliked format of the rotation.

 I'm opened to suggestions there, but keep in mind that I want 2014 to be the Year of Simplicity. Yeah, like the New World Order, except not really, because Tribal Apocalypse will still be an overcomplicated beast, but as you can see from the calendar, I only left 3 Special Events (on March 22, May 24, and August 23, the nature of which is still to be determined – maybe we can do a poll about those), plus the beloved Halloween event. Let's put a stop to the proliferation of gimmick events where the rules were messed up or unclear. The bulk of the year has to be a fixed, reliable monthly rotation, and the events in the monthly rotation have to be distinctive and unambiguous. We can't do "Regular but without Goblins" or "Underdog but with these five cards banned". The rules for each of the 4 events have to be set in stone, and each of them has to be different enough from the others to feel self-descriptive. Regular is where you play everything. Underdog is where you play with minor tribes. Pure is where you play without off-tribe creatures. And Singleton, in this sense, always felt as a perfect companion, as it's actually the merging of two formats, so it's immediately clear what its deal is. If you do that with other existing format, you'll get things that are either too narrow, like Tribal Commander, or too broad, like Modern Tribal (which, duh, is what most players already play in Tribal Apocalypse almost every week) or Pauper Tribal, which I honestly think is just a terrible format.

 We'll talk about all of this again, of course. For now, I just leave you with a quick reminder of a new oddity of mine, the Topdeck Awards (the ballots for best midrange creature are still open: go vote your favorite!), and I wish you a great, new tribal year.


  • Event Number: 3.51, Week 156 BE
  • Date: December 28
  • Attendance: 15
  • Rounds: 3
  • Special Rules: Pure Tribal (no off-tribe creatures, no Big Shot Tribes nor T9 cards allowed)
  • Winner: Robin88 (Kor)
  • Other undefeated: longtimegone (Merfolk)
  • 1 Loss: SekKuar Deathkeeper (Advisor), Nagarjuna (Sliver), Heureka (Elemental), ML_Berlin (Soldier), AJ_Impy (Elemental), Gq1rf7 (Elemental)
  • Special Prizes: Underdog Prize to Deemed (Vedalken)
  • Tribes: Advisor, Bat, Elemental (x3), Fungus, Kor, Merfolk, Samurai, Sliver (x3), Soldier, Treefolk, Vedalken
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 What better way to celebrate Robin88 becoming Tribal Player of the Year than with his latest victory? And while piloting his beloved Kors, no less. Which have now achieved Big Shot status! Woot! This build isn't graced (?) by the presence of the Cephalid Illusionist/Nomads en-Kor combo that gave so many satisfactions to Robin and so much grief to his opponents, but there's a singleton Helm of Obedience backed up by a few Rest in Peace, just to be evil.


 The Merfolks also end the year with great pomp thanks to this undefeated ending by longtimegone (who's one of the people behind Gatherling.com, by the way, which gives me the chance to thank Gatherling for making my hosting life easier!). Why nobody ever use the good guy version of Sygg?


 And, you know, the Merfolks have another reason to rejoice, due to some guy who recently joined their ranks:


Yeah, the Merfolk tribe really needed an over-the-top member.

 One of the most interesting and versatile builds of the week was the one proposed by SekKuar Deathkeeper, who managed to end Top 4 with these legend-heavy Advisors. Nice to see Loyal Retainers getting good targets in-tribe, for once. After Civilized Scholar discarded them, of course.


 And to celebrate the past Walker Week, here's AJ_Impy's take on a Tribal Planeswalker deck – or a tribal deck where the interaction between a creature and a planeswalker is the key to the victory. More on that in Show and Tell below.



 C'mon, we just began a new year, let's not worry about money for a minute! (Yeah, that's a shameless excuse for not doing the math this week. I can tell you that Gaea's Cradle went down after the draft, and that Fracturing Gust follows a mysterious, yearly cycle of going extremely up for some months, then extremely down – those are two things I just realized).

 The Top 10 Cheapest Decks that Went Undefeated

  1. morpphling's Goblins, $2.35, 2nd place on Event 102
  2. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.32, 1st place on Event 154 (cheapest event winner)
  3. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.70, 1st place on Event 145
  4. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $4.12, 2nd place on Event 141
  5. Gq1rf7's Assassins, $4.18, 1st place on Event 147
  6. Trickerie's Golems, $4.31, 1st place on Event 138
  7. arcbounddaylabor's Goblins, $4.46, 1st place on Event 111
  8. Coolcat1678's Elves, $5.13, 2nd place on Event 149
  9. ellmaris's Goblins, $6.52, 2nd place on Event 103
  10. Heureka's Weirds, $6.53, 3rd place on Event 140

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



 Last week was the holidays, but also Walker Week, and AJ_Impy celebrated it with this Elemental deck that hides an explosive, uber-cool, planeswalker-based combo. Here's what the man himself has to say about it:

 "For Planeswalker Week, I designed my deck around what is possibly the Timmiest two-card win-the-game combo of all time, wherein you exile all permanents except for an indestructible, undamageable arbitrarily large creature which you can then kill your opponent with. The cards in question are Quicksilver Elemental and Gideon, Champion of Justice.


 Gideon can make itself a creature as soon as it hits play, which lets the elemental copy all its planeswalker abilities and use them with impunity (the limitation on planeswalkers only being able to use their abilities once per turn is inherent to the card type and not the abilities themselves.)

 So, you end up with a Quicksilver Elemental which can put on as many loyalty counters as needed to match your opponent's life total, become an indestructible human soldier creature with that much power and toughness, and then exile everything else to prevent shenanigans.

 The rest of the deck was all about finding and protecting the combo, with Mulldrifters for draw, forgotten Odyssey common Hydromorph Guardian to hold off any spot removal, Plumeveil and Spitemare to make attacking a losing proposition, and a couple of Ajani Vengeants because it's Planeswalker Week and I wanted some utility. As Brainstorm and Swords to Plowshares were prohibited in Pure Tribal, I went with Azorius Charm and the commander enchantment Soul Snare as spot removal."

Check the archive of RexDart's time on Show and Tell  


 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: The Tribal Achievements are currently on hold. Stay tuned for new developments. In the meantime, congratulations to vantar6697, the Overachiever of 2013 with 9 unlocked achievements!

 The Hamtastic Award: The Biodiversity Prize dedicated to the memory of Erik Friborg will be back after the Invitational.

 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/Tribal Player of the Year, 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):

  • 4.01 (Week 157 BE), on January 4: Tribal Underdog (only Underdog Tribes allowed)
  • 4.02 (Week 158 BE), on January 11: Regular Tribal (just plain old Legacy Tribal Wars)
  • 4.03 (Week 159 BE), on January 18: The 2013 Invitational! (if you didn't qualify, check your ranking, you may enter as a reserve)
  • 4.04 (Week 160 BE), on January 25: Pure Tribal (no off-tribe creatures, no Big Shot Tribes nor T9 cards allowed)

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2014!



Interesting to see another by RexDart at Fri, 01/03/2014 - 15:31
RexDart's picture

Interesting to see another Advisor reanimator build. I ran one way back in Spring of 2012, you can see in Tribal Week 61's article. Which it won't let me link because it thinks it's spam. Okay....

It was not a tribe I ever imagined to play in Pure tribal, because it's a lot of work to go through just to cheat a mediocre creature into play. I figured I would see Teysa in such builds going forward, but I guess SDK either didn't like her or didn't want to add black to have the chance of hard-casting her. My build was 4 colors (5 if you count the front end of Unburial Rites, but I was usually binning that with Intuition or Faithless Looting). The 4 color build had some consistency problems with its mana which I tried to fix with 3 BoP.

SDK's is not really a dedicated reanimator deck, and honestly none of his targets would be worth going to all that trouble. The thing he's benefitting from is that the Tribal Nine's notorious white exile spells are banned in Pure Tribal, so Loyal Retainers can be used fairly.

Grats to Robin88, I think I could have had a chance to match him if I'd been able to play the whole year, he was a pretty good rival early in the year. Maybe I'll see you in the invitational :-)

SekKuar only plays Pure decks by Kumagoro42 at Tue, 01/07/2014 - 07:59
Kumagoro42's picture

SekKuar only plays Pure decks even in non-Pure weeks. :)
Reanimator is only one soul of that build, which is polyfunctional. I believe he won more than one game riding on Azor's Elocutors.

nice work this week. by JXClaytor at Sat, 01/04/2014 - 13:15
JXClaytor's picture

nice work this week.

Apparently, this submission by Bazaar of Baghdad at Sun, 01/05/2014 - 09:51
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

Apparently, this submission (minus this here sentence) is triggering the spam filter from three different browsers - frustrating.

Hey, if we're going to return to 4-round swisses for the year, it's ideal to do it as soon as possible. As I understand it, others had a great advantage in the POTY standings last year since they were able to feast on points with the four-rounders for the bulk of the year, while I showed up late with mostly three-rounders. Just saying what's ideal, I realize this all depends on your generous time commitment. Thanks as always for hosting and reporting.

Quicksilver plus Gideon is by Leviathan at Mon, 01/06/2014 - 17:22
Leviathan's picture

Quicksilver plus Gideon is awesome!

I think that the by Misterpid at Sun, 01/12/2014 - 14:20
Misterpid's picture

I think that the Quicksilver/Gideon combo is actually a bug for Quicksilver Elemental.

In the article you say "...the limitation on planeswalkers only being able to use their abilities once per turn is inherent to the card type and not the abilities themselves."

But looking at the rules, it appears that the rules actually apply to the abilities and not to the card type. This is copied directly from the rules:

606. Loyalty Abilities

606.1. Some activated abilities are loyalty abilities, which are subject to special rules.

606.2. An activated ability with a loyalty symbol in its cost is a loyalty ability. Normally, only planeswalkers have loyalty abilities.

606.3. A player may activate a loyalty ability of a permanent he or she controls any time he or she has priority and the stack is empty during a main phase of his or her turn, but only if no player has previously activated a loyalty ability of that permanent that turn.

It looks to me like once the Elemental gains Gideon's abilities it should only be able to use them in the same manner that Gideon can use them.

That's a good catch. From by longtimegone at Sun, 01/12/2014 - 16:30
longtimegone's picture

That's a good catch.

From what you quote, it certainly does appear that the ability itself is what carries the limitation, regardless of what kind of card has managed to gain said ability.

Of course, good luck getting MTGO to address that kind of screwy specific bug.

My guess is that it was a lot by Misterpid at Mon, 01/13/2014 - 08:23
Misterpid's picture

My guess is that it was a lot easier to only program Planeswalkers to check the rules for loyalty abilities rather than having all permanents do it. There aren't many creatures that would be able to take advantage of this bug (Experiment Kraj is the only other one I can think of offhand) - so it probably isn't very high in the list of bugs to fix.