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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Jan 17 2014 1:00pm
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 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse, the PRE where when the going gets top, the top get going.

   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


 Tomorrow is the day! The annual battle royale between the Top 16 players of the previous year. Specifically, these 16 guys:

  1. Robin88
  2. romellos
  3. slug360
  4. mihahitlor
  5. pk23
  6. justcanceled
  7. _Kumagoro_
  8. Gq1rf7
  9. Nagarjuna
  10. AJ_Impy
  11. RexDart
  12. milegyenanevem
  13. endless_nameless
  14. ML_Berlin
  15. DirtyDuck
  16. SekKuar Deathkeeper

 All of them but DirtyDuck confirmed their presence (where are you, Dirty? If you read me, knock!), while two of them aren't 100% sure to be there, so dear reserves, show up and you can get a place in the sun! (Everybody who was ranked last year is eligible as reserve, in order of ranking).

 The Invitational is a single elimination tournament (two enter, one leaves) with pairings strictly based on seed, tennis-style (meaning the Top 4 players will meet only in semi-final, if they keep winning), and special rules for each round, as explained here at the bottom. To recap, round 1 will be an Underdog round where the T9 cards aren't allowed, like we do in Pure events. This is a particularly apt way to open the dance, because this way one can't just bring their most successful deck right away – that's what they'll do the survivors in round 2. Then in round 3 they'll have to play something new (but no Big Shots), and in the finals (including the final for 3rd place), the deck will be created on the fly, based on elements chosen by the opponent (last year we did the "opponent chooses two colors for you" routine; I can tell you we'll do something different this year but what exactly will only be revealed at the last minute – this is sort of an advantage for me, but I doubt I'll make that far, given the level of the competition).

 As for the prizes, I can't announce them yet, but they'll be progressive round by round, starting from the first one, so every player who actually takes part in the competition – reserves included – will get something. The actual Top 16 already got 3 tix courtesy of mihahitlor as a reward for their accomplishment, anyway – if you haven't already taken them, you'll find them waiting for you on SBena_Bot.

 Good luck, everyone! Myself included!


  • Event Number: 4.02, Week 158 BE
  • Date: January 11
  • Attendance: 21
  • Rounds: 4
  • Special Rules: Regular Tribal (just plain old Legacy Tribal Wars)
  • Winner: Bazaar of Baghdad (Merfolk)
  • 1 Loss: romellos (Merfolk), SBena (Merfolk), MisterMojoRising (Zombie), SekKuar Deathkeeper (Zombie), Gq1rf7 (Elemental), _Kumagoro_ (Elemental)
  • Special Prizes: Underdog Prize to KhantheWarlord (Dauthi)
  • Tribes: Ally, Angel, Dauthi, Elemental (x3), Goblin, Human (x3), Illusion, Merfolk (x3), Sliver (x2), Soldier, Wizard, Zombie (x3)
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 And here's how Bazaar of Baghdad provided the public service of getting rid of Merfolk on Pure events, by finally bringing them to the 5-victory threshold which makes them the 11th Big Shot tribe (that's becoming quite a large crowd, isn't it?).


 Bazaar's fish were the only undefeated tribe of the event, but look at that ranking: Merfolk, Merfolk, Merfolk, Zombie, Zombie, Elemental, Elemental? That doesn't look good, does it? I still think the recently unbanned Aether Vial doesn't make the Merfolk considerably more likely to win an event, but the thing is: it makes them more appealing (and now you can add True-Name Nemesis to that column, too). Or better, they weren't played as much as they should have before, because somehow a player would think, "Merfolks without Vial are mutilated Merfolks", and look into something else. Which is unfortunate. Then again, now the Merfolk-Vial combo is only playable one week per month (plus Singleton, but it doesn't really change much there), so the issue might solve itself. We'll see. Regular events will smell fishy more and more, though, that's for sure. We can even note how this time there was only one Goblin deck (that didn't end in the money) and no Elf decks at all. Trends, I guess.

 As for the Zombies, they're always popular, and potentially they have always been strong. A good characteristic they have is that you can build them in a number of different ways (whereas with Merfolk, eh, you usually see the same, basic build over and over again). They can be fast aggro, they can be midrange, they can be combo, they can be reanimator. Lately, though, the one guy who constantly shows up is a certain pasty Greek merchant, like in this build by SekKuar Deathkeeper (featuring zero non-creature spells)...


 That's even more true of Elemental, of course. They span all five colors, with strong representatives in each of them. Mono-red burn Elemental decks are popular, like this one by Gq1rf7, but what about Reveillark decks, like this one by Winter.Wolf? Or decks based on evoke, that are typically Dimir? Or even this mono-green thing I played and lost only 2 games with:


 It started as a way to play Natural Order now that that sweet promo made it possible to buy a set for less than the price of a single regular one. I like Natural Order as a way for green to get both card advantage/deck selection and a mana boost, but it became corrupted and dull once it was exclusively turned into a way to cheat Progenitus into play. In this deck (whose nature theme is also represented by Nature's Lore and Wall of Roots), I made a little toolbox for it with singleton copies of 4 bigger Elementals, but I found myself not needing that much to kill flyers with Tornado Elemental or create a bunch of blockers with Avenger of Zendikar (the deck doesn't provide many ways to turn all those Plants into an endgame). And even Regal Force in the end was just giving me a few cards to use later, when at that point in the game I should have dropped a scary threat on the battlefield.


 Now, Gaea's Revenge is more like that threat (and also perfectly in flavor; I still can't tell why a tornado is mono-green, even if I'm grateful for that), so I think in future iterations of the deck I'll just run 4 of it. But the creature I mostly found myself fetching, despite being present with a full playset, is Vigor. (And if you think of it, that means 4 mana of Natural Order + 2 mana of, say, Wall of Roots = pretty much like having a Summoner's Pact and paying for Vigor, only across 2 turns, but at the cost of 2 cards and without the protection of Cavern of Souls. All in all, it's fair enough to me).

 The burly Incarnation is a severely underrated card. It's dealt with by any removal, true. But if it's not, it becomes really hard to stop its team, or even attack into it. And you know what comes earlier in this deck and pretty much ensures that the opponent will have used up their removal by the time Vigor shows up? Omnath, of course. On paper, the legendary Locus of Mana is there to provide ramp for the more expensive Elementals that follow (in this sense, it's great its interaction with Wall of Roots, that boosts Omnath twice, once in your turn, once in the opponent's turn); but in practice, Omnath gets killed on sight before it grows too big (it's a threat on its own after all, especially when equipped with Rancor), or before gets to fuel too much stuff.

 The deck is fun and solid, perfectly embodies both my favorite color's strengths and my typical midrange style (fast is boring!), and also features Vengevine (recently lowered into relatively affordable territory) in the most straightforward role it ever had, since it's not that likely to come back from the dead over and over again when you only have 4 creatures that cost less than 3 mana. But it's still solid as a 4-powered hasty critter for 4, isn't it?

 And just because it was the only Underdog tribe present, and to complete this weirdly 100% mono-colored installment, here's the Dauthi deck with which KhantheWarlord won the namesake prize by just showing up with a bit more fantasy (or bravery) than the average player:


 And that's it.



 Also known as: how much do the top decks cost? As of January 17, 2014, 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, Bazaar of Baghdad's Merfolks: $290.08 (nonland cards: $180.24; tribal base: $158.10)
  • Top 8, _Kumagoro_'s Elementals: $187.11 (nonland cards: $106.05; tribal base: $67.36)

 Would you believe you could make two mono-colored decks this expensive? Well, they're not crazily expensive, but still. The Merfolk's main wallet-slayer is currently True-Name Nemesis, of course. But Lord of Atlantis isn't cheap either (look at that tribal base! More than half the price of the entire deck!). In the land department, Mutavault keeps being a pain to acquire, for obvious reasons.

 In my Elemental deck, the tribal base's money level is raised by a few big spenders: Vengevine (which still is about 8 times cheaper than during its peak), Avenger of Zendikar, Regal Force, and Omnath himself. For the rest, the Verdant Catacombs, which make up one third of the deck's price, weren't really necessary, if not for Avenger of Zendikar's sake, but the promo Natural Order is 8 tix versus the 40+ tix of the regular version, which would have brought the total price of the deck way higher.

 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.



 I've already told about my Elemental deck, then I just need to show you. The first is a game against Gonzzy's Slivers, a matchup that should be really hard for a midrange build like mine. Gonzzy's deck was very cool, a control build based on Glare of Subdual and a lot of ways to make tokens (including Elspeth, Knight-Errant). Being slightly slower than your regular Sliver, though, allowed my Elemental to go through at least once (he ended up winning the other two games). This game shows the importance of Wall of Roots in any green deck. And also the relevance of trample, or lack thereof.

 Another round, another Sliver deck, this time piloted by Edison_88luckyplayer. I take the first game thanks to a Natural Ordered double-Rancored Gaea's Revenge. In the second game, Edison keeps a strong hand with 3 Swords to Plowshares but just 1 land, and gets punished by fate for that. Vigor shines all the way through.

 Finally, this is me against Deonmag's Zombies. Here's what happens when you don't have an answer to an early Omnath.


 Just to remind you of a few things: 

 The Underdog Prize: During any event of the regular rotation (but not during the one-time special events), all players who are running an Underdog Tribe are eligible for a 1-tix credit on Pennybot. The tie-breakers are first the number of Underdog categories (for instance, a tribe that's simultaneously Endangered and Unhallowed will take the prize over one that's only Endangered), then the points achieved in the final standings. During Underdog events, only the True Underdog tribes are rewarded (those are the tribes belonging to all three categories of Underdog at once).

 The Up-and-Coming Prize: When a tribe wins an event for the first time ever (losing Unhallowed status), its pilot will get a 3-tix certificate from MTGO Traders.

 The Hamtastic Award: The Biodiversity Prize dedicated to the memory of Erik Friborg starts the first quarter of 2014 in January 25. The quarter will end March 29. By that date, the player or players who registered the greatest number of different tribes will get a 5-tix certificate from MTGO Traders.

 The Tribal Achievements: A new list of achievements will debut on January 25.

 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):

  • Special (Week 159 BE), on January 18: The 2013 Invitational! (check your ranking, you may enter as a reserve)
  • 4.03 (Week 160 BE), on January 25: Pure Tribal (no off-tribe creatures, no Big Shot Tribes nor T9 cards allowed)
  • 4.04 (Week 161 BE), on February 1: Tribal Underdog (only Underdog Tribes allowed)
  • 4.05 (Week 162 BE), on February 8:  Regular Tribal (just plain old Legacy Tribal Wars)

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2014!

Vote the Topdeck Awards!



It appears we are not using by RexDart at Sat, 01/18/2014 - 00:53
RexDart's picture

It appears we are not using Gatherling for registration, since it's not on the site. So I will just see you guys in the tribal room about 30 minutes before kickoff. Didn't have as much time to prep as I'd have liked, since I have a jury trial next week and have articles to write for two sites going up Tuesday. I'm not even really that thrilled with my round 1 deck, but if I wash out I actually don't mind seeing some of these new guys have a good tournament. Last year slug360 used this as a launching pad and did great things for the tribal scene. So good luck everyone.

FYI, I will be resuming my series of deckbuilding challenges after the invitational. I also am hoping to be able to play in more events this spring, when the demands of wedding planning don't interfere :-) So here's to the start of a great 2014 for MTGO and keeping Tribal Wars strong!

Well that at least partially by Paul Leicht at Sat, 01/18/2014 - 01:05
Paul Leicht's picture

Well that at least partially explains why you never got back to me. Congrats in advance on your wedding to be.

We will be using Gatherling by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 01/18/2014 - 04:41
Kumagoro42's picture

We will be using Gatherling for registration, but I can't open registration in advance or random people will get in. Reg will open 1 hour before the event.