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By: Tribal Apocalypse, Tribal Apocalypse
Feb 20 2014 1:00pm
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 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse, the PRE where it's the calm after the storm. Or not.

   Table of Contents 

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

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


THOUGHTS OF A TRIBAL HOST: GIANT EDITION

by Kumagoro

 So, Legacy Tribal Wars was gone, then back again. It all happened so fast that I bet some of you didn't even realize what was happening. The thread in the WotC forum that contains everything you need to know is here (and yeah, the mothership published a tribal article this week, ironically). Bottom line: the Tribal Wars filter is still out of the client, but it'll be back, hopefully soon. Let's keep that thread alive to remind them that we need it asap. In the meantime, we'll play Tribal Apocalypse as always, just making tables under the Legacy moniker. So nothing changes for us. Except for the things that do.

 In fact, it's renovation time in Tribal Apocalypse! (That's what I  was going to say last week, before that little "Tribal Wars is dead!" incident exploded in my face). I recently looked at the current system of sub-events and rulings, and while the core of it is good (the monthly rotation is what sets us apart and keeps the tournament always fresh), I realized there's a few things that don't sit well with me anymore and gave me pause. A couple occurrences in particular made me want to tweak a little the way things are structured.

 One of these occurrences was the ban of Sylvan Primordial in Commander. That to me was the proof of how subjective a ban can be, how we always run the risk to generalize a threat that only exists within a specific meta; on the other hand, we might only look at some card's dangers in a vacuum, when in practice they don't create much fuss, if at all. As a host, I'm trying to avoid these mistakes as much as possible, which is the reason I'm using an "innocent until proven guilty" approach to everything. That's why I unbanned all those power cards last year, and I consider that a big victory, because none of them (I'm talking of the ones from the Watch List) had any impact whatsoever on the tournament, except possibly one (more on that below). One of those never even showed up at all in the 85 events since the unban, and a few others just had a couple showings.

The most irrelevant of all bogeymen.

 Another recent, interesting fact: the answers to the survey about the Swords (with Batterskull as their designated partner in crime). I was surprised to learn that 67% of the 36 players who took the poll want the Swords gone, with a 50% asking for them to be banned EVERYWHERE. I'll put the decision up to scrutiny (more on that later), but it seems like we might end to a place where we'll get rid of the Swords. For as much as I'm saying that I want as few bans as possible, I feel legitimated banning the Swords on account of them being the next best tool after Umezawa's Jitte in a creature-based format. Tribal Wars might not be the same thing to everyone, but one thing we can objectively say is that it definitely is a creature-based format, regardless of the way you play it. As such, bans like Umezawa's Jitte or Glimpse of Nature are hard to object to. The Sword hate stems from the same kind of concern. (As a side note, I also agree on the reasoning that some Legacy cards invite "metagaming", to adopt the expression used by Aaron Forsythe in that excerpt AJ quoted last week. That's why stuff like Doomsday, Helm of Obedience, or Goblin Charbelcher, that don't even use creatures as combo pieces, will go away if abused – so far so good, as they haven't been yet.)

 The Sword ban, if finalized, will generate a ripple effect. For one, Stoneforge Mystic will be free to be back in non-Kor and non-Artificer decks, while Kor and Artificer decks themselves would lose a good amount of their power. This brings us to the main topic of this overly long section (there's a recap below if you want to skip all the theorizing): the reorganization of the tribe groups.

 I'm getting complaints about Underdog and Pure becoming essentially the same event. Despite my attempt at negating it, I have to be honest: It's sort of true. And it wasn't meant that way. Originally, Pure took the place of a second Regular event in the monthly rotation. It was just meant as a Regular event where you couldn't play off-tribe creatures. Then we added the ban of the Tribal 9 (honestly, I can't remember the reasoning behind that move, it was probably just because we established the more abused noncreature nonland cards via Vantar statistics, and it felt cool to use them as a restriction). Then we said, "Let's not play the usual stuff here, like Human, Goblin, and Elf". So I created the Big Shots, defined as the tribes who won 5 events or more, because at the time it was a good shortcut for the intended goal. That, in hindsight, was a mistake. It got out of hand. Now we have 12 tribes that can't be played in Pure, including some strong but fair and diverse ones like Shaman. You can play those tribe only in Regular events, turning Regular events more and more in a bloodbath, where honest decks with one of the Big Shot tribes would just get annihilated into oblivion. Just because some deck was being successful, we blamed and punished an entire tribe, essentially pushing some of them out of the meta. And creating a vicious circle where more and more fair tribes are winning events because the cutthroat tribes aren't there. At some point, we would have to reset the 5-win limit for Big Shots, which makes the whole thing feel contrived, unnecessarily complicated, and ultimately pointless.

 The same is true of Underdog. We have 3 year's worth of data now. We can safely say that we know which tribes are "Underdog". Even if one of them will win an event (which is, again, inevitable and self-defeating, considering only the Underdog tribes can win Underdog events), or if a 51st member will be printed, or if they'll get played one time too many (and seriously, tribes played 5 times in 3 years aren't more popular of tribes played 3 times!), their power level won't change: They are and will remain Underdog. So, this is it: Tribal Apocalypse Season 4, time for the Underdog list to be frozen. From now on, these will be the Underdog tribes, forever – or unless the meta for one of them changes in a dramatic way, of course. When a new tribe is created (like it recently happened with God and Nymph, or with the recent boost of Satyr, Octopus, Siren, and Badger), they will enter the Underdog list, then will be properly evaluated over a sufficient number of events. We won't have the three separate categories anymore, but the Underdog Prize will still look at size, popularity, and success to award the prize (I have an automatized thingamagoogle for that).

  

 I took the occasion to re-evaluate the Underdog lineup, bringing back Giant, Scout and Horror (with a ban caveat: see below), and if the Swords interdiction will be ratified, Artificer and Kor. Artificer was originally banned because of Thopter Foundry, which is long gone, then stayed banned because of Stoneforge Mystic's interaction with the Swords (and Batterskull). If we take them out, Artificer isn't beyond the power level of other tribes in the Underdog planet. Kor is a bit trickier, but it's another case where it's nothing but a couple cards to keep the tribe out. The Kor become too nasty if they're allowed to build themselves as Cephalid Breakfast or, to a lesser extent, Quest combo. So, that's easily dealt with: Underdog events will ban Cephalid Illusionist and Quest for the Holy Relic. Done and done. Now we can have a strong but honest Kor equipment deck with Stoneforge Mystic fetching, I don't know, Loxodon Warhammer, and Kor Outfitter trying to equip it. I feel confident this won't be too dangerous. Keep in mind that we aren't trying to play with weak decks here (it would be absurd), we're just trying to avoid the same power combos every single time, and that's what the Swords would do to any attempt at an equipment deck, which is what the Kor should be the best at.

 

 As for the other tribes reinstated, Giant is a large tribe, but it was played only 8 times in 3 years and had the misfortune to have won 1 event. Guess which event was that? The Fattie Week! See how self-defeating these rules were? Same goes for Scout (and I was actually the one who won with them once!). While the Horrors, well, they became scary only because they're the go-to tribe for dredge builds (due to Ichorid). Since I'm quite happy to remove dredge builds altogether from Underdog events, let's add two tribe-related bans more with Bridge from Below and Dread Return, so the dorky Horrors can be back where they belong.

 In general, I want to borrow a page from the Modern management: reset the meta and collect fresh data on elements that were kept away for enough time that we can't really tell how they're going to play in the current environment. I'd like to collect new data on the Werewolves, too, but that's tricky. On one hand, they were banned mainly because they were winning too many Underdog events (especially at the hands of one particular player, and I can't really ask him to stop playing them, even if I know he would comply); yet banning them in Underdog caused them to disappear almost entirely from the tournament, which is a shame. Their power level is high but not excessive, and comparable to one of similar tribes like Kavu or even Hound. But they're popular, so they'd probably push those other tribes out of the competition. So for now, they'll stay out. Also out with no regrets: Ally, which is too explosively linear for Underdog; Assassin, which is built-in creature removal in a creature-based environment; Eldrazi, which would inevitably take the spot of Leviathan, Wurm and alike as the go-to fattie tribe; and Imp, which encourages an easy and too consistent reanimator build.

   

 Looking at the 36 Major League tribes, I notice that Demon was actually Underdog until Innistrad pushed their number beyond 50. Their power level didn't change much these days (by the way, it's Heaven & Hell Week! Check the Demonpedia!), but it seems more or less fair for them to be considered Major League. I'd say the weakest of them is probably Cleric, which could be Underdog material, especially considering they're not played much; but a 250-member tribe would just feel wrong within the Underdog ranks.

 As for Pure events, I think the way they're conceived right now is a bad design, and needs fixing. Going back to the confusion I mentioned, I want to clearly establish an intuitive difference between Underdog and Pure. I'm thinking of this: the tribal decks have two main components, tribal base and support, okay? Underdog is the event where the tribal base is affected: you can only play with certain tribes. Pure is the event where the support is affected: you can't have creatures as support. The T9 restriction fits this description, so it'll stay. But the Big Shots are another subset of tribes we don't need. So those are going away. But don't panic, there will be a few exceptions (I used a Rule of Four: 4 cards banned in Underdog, 4 tribes banned in Pure), determined in a way I find particularly interesting because it connects with the Invitational. In fact, there's another thing that's born from this reform: I hereby create the TRIBAL COUNCIL. The Council is made up of the 4 finalists of the latest Invitational event (which this way will get one prize more), the Four Riders of the Apocalypse. Therefore, the current members are: AJ_Impy, slug360, mihahitlor, and pk23. They're your councilmen (not elected: they conquered their position through battle, like it should be!). And they will be called to decide on several matters. As the Ultimate Champion, AJ is the president and gets two votes, so his decisions can only be countered if all the other three members disagree with him. I'll call for the Council to decide on some matters, like the bans. They'll also determine which tribes will have access to each Pure event, as explained in the following recap, and will seal the fate of the Singleton events, a process which is also detailed below.

 And here's the first call for voting for the Council: considering the majority of the players that made their voices heard asked for a ban, do you sanction the Swords of X and Y and/or Batterskull to be banned from all Tribal Apocalypse events (except Singleton, which doesn't use a ban list)? Or just for non-Regular events? Or just for Underdog? Councilmen, deliberate.

 To recap, this is what will happen now, effective as you read it:

 Underdog

  • Underdog is defined as the format where the tribal base is restricted, the support cards aren't.
  • In Underdog events, you can only play tribes for the Underdog list.
  • The Underdog list is established once and for all (for reference, the old list is here). It won't change again if not via banning.
  • The Underdog Tribes are the ones that have access to Underdog, the Major League tribes are the ones that don't; as far as Tribal Apocalypse is concerned, there's no further classification other than this one.
  • When a new tribe is created/made legal by WotC, it will enter the Underdog list, pending evaluation.
  • Only 4 Changelings are allowed in Underdog decks except in tribes with 3 available members (that can have up to 8) and in Shapeshifter decks (that can have any number).
  • The following cards are banned in Underdog events: (Cephalid Breakfast), Quest for the Holy Relic, Bridge from Below, Dread Return.

 Pure Tribal

  • Pure Tribal is defined as the format where the support cards are restricted, the tribal base isn't.
  • In Pure events, off-tribe creatures are not allowed. All the creatures in your deck must share at least one type.
  • The T10 cards (the old T9 with the addition of Aether Vial) are banned in Pure Events. (The Swords and Batterskull will be probably banned too, if they're not banned everywhere already).
  • Human is never allowed as a tribe.
  • The tribe that won the most recent Pure event is not allowed in the following event.
  • Two more rotating tribes, one chosen by the reigning Ultimate Champion, one by the other members of the Council, are not allowed. Tribes that were banned in the most recent Pure event can't be nominated.

 This way, we'll have Pure events that play like restricted Regulars, giving players an additional outlet to play their favorite tribes, but without the risk of seeing too many Elf or Merfolk (which are deprived of Aether Vial for the occasion) winning, or even playing, in a row. The Council has some degree of power over the proceedings, but their next choice has to be different from their previous choice, so a tribe can't be shut down entirely. I thought to ban only Human decks permanently because the huge range of the tribe, that encompasses many different secondary types, gets around the rule of not having access to external creature support, thus trumping the very Pure concept.

 The first Pure event of the new deal is Saturday, and in addition to Human, the tribe banned for being the latest winner in this case is Berserker. I'll need to get the Council bans before 9 AM GMT (8 hours before the event, when I'll send the weekly newsletter announcing them), otherwise they won't be sanctioned for this first event.

 Singleton: a challenge! 

 All good but, hey, we also have a Singleton problem, don't we? Something else we need to fix. What happens is that, according to the previous poll, a group of players really loves Singleton, while another group of players, of roughly the same size, really hates it. A serious pickle for me, because I can't make one group happy without making the other unhappy, and I can understand the position of both of them: Singleton is cool, but it's also a very different format that plays in an almost extraneous way, and may be a stretch to have it in calendar 11 times per year. And guess what, the reigning Ultimate Champion, AJ_Impy, is one of the most vocal elements of the hate group, while the two highest-ranked Riders, slug360 and mihahitlor, are both Singleton enthusiasts (I'm not sure where the fourth Rider, pk23, stands on the issue. Let's say he's neutral). So, here's what we'll do: we'll involve the Council once again, but we'll have some fun with the whole situation. 

 So, Singleton events remain in calendar by default. But AJ and his party will have a chance to turn half of them into Regular events. After any Singleton event, AJ can challenge slug and/or miha to a single game of Tribal Emperor, where AJ and the challenged player will be the emperors. If AJ's team wins, the next scheduled Singleton event will be replaced by a Regular event. Otherwise, or if the challenge isn't issued, the calendar will stay the same. Both parties need to be able to form a 3-player team to play Emperor, which is a multiplayer team format. If AJ's party fails at that, the challenge will be considered lost. Whereas if AJ's party manages to assemble a team, but the other party doesn't (for instance because neither slug nor miha are there to respond), the challenge will be won. The Singleton team has two captains, so that's an advantage in that regard: more chances that one of them will be there. As a host, I'm neutral, so I can be asked to join any team, but only as a 6th player, i.e. after one team is complete while the other misses a player. In that case, I'll join the team which is at a disadvantage. Also, the anti-Singleton team plays with regular tribal decks, the pro-Singleton team plays, of course, with Singleton decks.

 This isn't strictly necessary, mind you. But it's an alternative to just leave the Singleton events in calendar. Plus, it's a fun side event with some stakes. I'm sure AJ will be glad to do it, because he loves challenges. And hates Singleton!

 Finally (God, you're still reading this?!), the poll also established that for the special event we have scheduled for March 22 (March being a month with 5 Saturdays), the vast majority voted for "Something we never did before". So, in homage to one of the recently killed formats, I give you...

TRIBAL KALEIDOSCOPE!

Which I don't even know how many tribes support, but we'll find out. Only bans: Human, just because I don't want everybody to go there without thinking of anything else (that's what Human does to the format. I keep saying it's not even a type anymore, it's a supertype). And Anathemancer, which was in the Kaleidoscope ban list (there was also Glittering Wish, but I think we can safely say that it won't create any problem in Tribal Wars.)

 

 We made it to the end of this section! Woot! I hope you'll understand and appreciate the changes. I'm particularly excited to put the Council at work. Remember you can choose one of them as your representative and ask them to lobby on your behalf. It's like Washington DC, now!


LAST WEEK ON TRIBAL APOCALYPSE... 

  • Event Number: 4.06, Week 163 BE
  • Date: February 15
  • Attendance: 16
  • Rounds: 4
  • Special Rules: Tribal Singleton (only one copy of each card except for basic lands)
  • Winner: fliebana (Elf)
  • 1 Loss: mihahitlor (Human), romellos (Knight), Heureka (Vampire), Bazaar of Baghdad (Human)
  • Tribes: Eldrazi, Elf (x2), Faerie, Goblin (x2), Human (x3), Knight, Merfolk, Shaman, Soldier, Vampire (x3)
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 Believe it or not, this is fliebana's first win in Tribal Apocalypse! Our Spanish friend has been around for so long, and always playing at the top, which I was kind of sure there was a 1st place under his belt already. It was in the making, though, if the missed final of two weeks ago is any indication (the final was actually re-played one week later, with mihahitlor's victory confirmed on the field). At this point, an upcoming session of Who/What/When/Where/Why starring fliebana becomes necessary. The long-awaited win came through Singleton Elves, of all formats and tribes, also marking the first Elf victory in 60 events, since the last one (incidentally, by mihahitlor himself) was in the Christmas event of December 2012 (incidentally, a time when I was defining the monthly rotation for the first time. It's all cyclic, see?)

 

 As fliebana was the only undefeated, we can look around for decks that weren't Vampire nor Human or a subset thereof. Which, eh, only leaves us with AJ_Impy's 5-color Eldrazi...

 

 ...and ellmaris' mono-blue Faeries...

 

 I wanted to mention ellmaris, though, because it gives me the chance to support the efforts of a fellow PRE host: ellmaris has recently launched an awesome Modern league in Gatherling, and it's a lot of fun. It's called Modern Ascension League and can read everything about it here. I'm playing it and it's a budget-friendly and creative environment. Give it a try.


THE HIGH PRICE OF WINNING

  

 As always, doing the price math for Singleton decks doesn't really make sense, so see you next week for that!

 The Top 10 Cheapest Decks that Went Undefeated

  1. morpphling's Goblins, $2.35, 2nd place on Event 102
  2. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.32, 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.


SMAWATTS' WAR REPORT

 Hello again all! Smawatts here, back with another tournament report.
 [It's from Event 162, but smawatts skipped last week's event, so next time we'll catch up – Editor's note]

 My second TribAp event was a Regular event and having played a lot of Death and Taxes builds I decided to play a Human white weenie deck. Round 1 I play against Bazaar of Baghdad, who beyond being a very good player is playing a Dark Depths Shaman deck which I just had no game against at all.

 Round 2: our opponent ellmaris is running kaleidoscopic Goblins for an achievement, which makes our protection guys just sort of unstoppable.

 In Round 3 we get to play against Kumagoro, the host of this fine event, and his green Elementals. Our Humans work the best they did all day in this match-up, while he gets sluggish starts both games. [Yeah, those games were terrible for me. And sorry for the delay at the beginning, something probably came up with a player not being there or such. – Kuma's note]

 Round 4: my opponent Gq1rf7 is on mono-red Goblins, which to be honest is probably my personally favorite tribe because nothing is more punishing to even the smallest stumble. Though being on the other side of the table from them makes the little green guys less endearing.

 Final thoughts: Again 4 very different decks, as even the two decks that shared a tribe felt very different, and I do love the feeling of not knowing what
deck my opponent is playing from their first land drop!


SHOW AND TELL

 

 Due to an unfortunate incident in content deletion, the scheduled RexDart's Born of the Gods evaluation was lost in the Blind Eternities. We're only left with his challenge. (But you can always check Kumagoro's evaluation, if you like.)

 Here are the rules for the Robin and the Nine Hoods Deckbuilding Challenge:

  1. Your tribe must be Archer.
  2. Your deck must include one copy of at least 9 different Archery Theme cards from this list: Bow of Nylea, Nylea, God of the Hunt, Crossbow Ambush, Slingbow Trap, Viridian Longbow, Arrow Volley Trap, Arrows of Justice, Avenging Arrow, Borrowing 100,000 Arrows, Hail of Arrows, Infused Arrows, Serrated Arrows, Archery Training, Hankyu, Heavy Arbalest, Viridian Longbow, Wolfhunter's Quiver.
  3. You must include at least 3 copies of one Legendary Archer to play the role of Robin Hood and lead your upstart band of rebels to victory. (In Singleton events, this requirement becomes a single copy of 3 different Legendary Archers).
  4. You must enter Tribal Apocalypse with the deck and achieve at least 2 match victories, not including byes or forfeits. 

 Only one prize is available and it is handled and assigned by RexDart (so not Kumagoro nor MTGO Traders). If two or more players both achieve the challenge in a single week, the player with the most match wins will take the prize. If the players are still tied, the player with the most unique number of cards from the Archery Theme card list will take the prize.

 The prize will be one Mercadian Masques non-foil copy of Bribery, so that you can rob the rich of their best creature and give it to the poor... or just give your opponent a nice face-smashing!


ANNOUNCEMENT TIME!

 Just to remind you of a few things: 

 The New Kids on the Block Award is active again: Remember that Born of the Gods boosted two tribes into legality, Badger (now with 3 members online) and Siren (which passed from 2 to 5 members, so directly past the special Changeling treatment in Underdog.) First player to win a match with those will get 1 tix.

 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 has started the first quarter of 2014. 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: The new list of achievements for the 2014 season is here. Unlock the most of them by the end of the year and you'll share a 25-tix Jackpot.

 The Champion's Challenge: AJ_Impy, our reigning Ultimate Tribal Champion, has issued a running challenge of his own: play with a deck featuring 4 copies of a card he'll nominate, and win 3 matches with it during a single event, and AJ will reward you with 1 tix (which you'll keep as eternal memento because it's the tix the Ultimate Champion gave you). You'll be required to prove through a screenshot (or calling either me or him as witnesses, but only if we're not playing!) that you actually played the card and/or activated the card's abilities at least once during the event. And the first chosen card is... Sunforger! Good luck, folks!

 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!


 WHAT'S NEXT

 The upcoming Tribal Apocalypse events of the Blippian Era (every Saturday at 17:00 GMT):

  • 4.07 (Week 164 BE), on February 22: Pure Tribal (no off-tribe creatures, check the complete rules)
  • 4.08 (Week 165 BE), on March 1st: Tribal Underdog (only Underdog Tribes allowed)
  • 4.09 (Week 166 BE), on March 8: Regular Tribal (just plain old Legacy Tribal Wars)
  • 4.10 (Week 167 BE), on March 15: Tribal Singleton (only one copy of each card except for basic lands)

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2014!

Take the survey about the Swords and the next Special Event!

Vote for your favorite Titan on the Topdeck Awards!

SEE YOU ALL IN THE TRIBAL ROOM!

37 Comments

AJ_Impy's picture
5

Right then, to business. Firstly, I hereby support the banning of the swords and Batterskull. I accede to the will of the majority in this matter, particularly because in this case, they're right. The stronger the equipment, the less relevant the creatures: We saw what happened with Jitte and Skullclamp back in the day, and that remains the case here.

I nominate Sliver as the first recipient of my Pure veto. I will invite suggestions and debate as to future nominees, seeing what people wish to play or not to play against.

"I'm sure AJ will be glad to do it, because he loves challenges. And hates Singleton!"

Sadly, this is not something I can take part in, especially not with four round events as the norm, and the challenge taking place only on singleton weeks, as singleton games have a tendency to take longer. Emperor games take a long time to resolve as well, and my Saturday evenings post Apocalypse are already set aside with family and friends. I do not have the time for this particular solution, but it would be a damp squib to just sit back and let all those singleton events clutter up the calendar. Can you think of a less time intensive option?

Alternately, we can do this grudge match stylee, a separate event coterminous with Singleton weeks.

All right, what about this by Tribal Apocalypse at Thu, 02/20/2014 - 15:13
Tribal Apocalypse's picture

All right, what about this (as also suggested by Mr. Patryk Kujawski, alias Dawwy): you just have to show up at any time during a Singleton week (even if you didn't play in it), assemble the team, set a time and day for the challenge if there's an opponent (otherwise, you just win the challenge when I end the event with the final salute). You don't need to actually play at that time. As long as the challenge is played at least one week before the next scheduled Singleton.

And you can nominate a willing proxy captain if you want, but you still need to show up to do it.

Sliver banned for Saturday.

Works for me, it's just the by AJ_Impy at Thu, 02/20/2014 - 19:19
AJ_Impy's picture

Works for me, it's just the post-apocalyptic time slot I couldn't do.

Wait, what?Why are slivers by longtimegone at Thu, 02/20/2014 - 23:22
longtimegone's picture

Wait, what?

Why are slivers suddenly banned from pure? I've been working on a fun slivers combo deck to try and claim an achievement for the past month waiting for the next pure event. Are you saying that the tribe is now banned out of nowhere and I've wasted my time trying to play in this event?

Isn't part of the point of a pre-announced rotating schedule to give people time to build decks and get ready for alternate format events? It seems that if a change is going to happen that will invalidate decks people have been working on, it shouldn't be announced 2 days before the next event.

I agree. These changes need by Paul Leicht at Thu, 02/20/2014 - 23:25
Paul Leicht's picture

I agree. These changes need some kind of threshold after the announcement before they go into effect. Not that pleas about how someone built a particular deck should hold sway but it should be a matter of giving good notice. We don't want to imitate WOTC.

Sure, my complaint isn't that by longtimegone at Fri, 02/21/2014 - 00:32
longtimegone's picture

Sure, my complaint isn't that the format is changing so that I can't use a deck any more, it's that it's changing before I ever get a chance to play it at all after I've been working on it since the last pure event.

With challenges in particular, it can take some time and planning to assemble a deck for an event. One method that seems reasonable to me would be to simply make sure there is one unchanged event after any announced change before the change goes in to effect.

This would allow anyone who is already planning and building for a specific event to get to play the deck they are building, while still allowing changes to be made in a timely manner.

As Kuma noted below, The ban by AJ_Impy at Fri, 02/21/2014 - 15:51
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As Kuma noted below, The ban has been rescinded. Go do something amazing with them. :D

Doh, I missed his update by longtimegone at Sat, 02/22/2014 - 14:05
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Doh, I missed his update about the rules change until it was an hour too late to actually play in the event. I only had the one pure deck built, so once it was off the table I was going to have to sit the week out.

><

One thing in the K-scope by BlippyTheSlug at Thu, 02/20/2014 - 13:53
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5

One thing in the K-scope banned list that isn't/wasn't on mothership list: Destructive Flow
This was added shortly after K-scope changed to the Legacy card pool, and announced in the weekly blog (on 4/20!)(2011), but never changed on the website.
http://community.wizards.com/comment/37044456#comment-37044456

Noted. Anathemancer and by Tribal Apocalypse at Thu, 02/20/2014 - 14:56
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Noted. Anathemancer and Destructive Flow.
(Boy, the fringe formats' banned/restricted list on the mothership is really untrustworthy).

My position regarding the by mihahitlor at Thu, 02/20/2014 - 14:07
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My position regarding the Swords is that they aren't ban-worthy, but that is not relevant. Considering the poll, I vote for ban everywhere except in Regular events. I think that's the fairest compromise for both sides (ie. the side that wants them completely gone, and the side that doesn't want them gone/doesn't want them gone completely).

The nomination is Merfolk.

Okay, essentially, it's like by Tribal Apocalypse at Thu, 02/20/2014 - 15:11
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Okay, essentially, it's like that: as the president with 2 votes, if AJ finds another one that supports the total ban of the Swords, that will be it.

For the secondary tribe to ban in Pure, you need one support vote for Merfolk. But let's just establish this to make it simpler: if only one of the 3 members that need to choose expressed his vote by the time I close voting, I'll use that choice. So Merfolk is first in line to be the 4th ban for Saturday after Human, Berserker and Sliver.

Evil BoB states for the by Bazaar of Baghdad at Thu, 02/20/2014 - 16:53
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Evil BoB states for the record that he disagrees with just about every premise/rationalization/conclusion in the article (which at least is a backwards compliment since I liked what you had very much). I will comply with what you guys choose, however.

P.S. I already have 3 very vastly-more-powerful-than-the-average-Underdog Scout decks.

Yeah, considering doing some by AJ_Impy at Thu, 02/20/2014 - 19:26
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Yeah, considering doing some mad scout action myself, Melira and her combos, (Safehold Elite is on-tribe) Saffi and hers, Goblin guide to lead the way...

Care to elaborate? You liked by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 02/21/2014 - 16:18
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Care to elaborate, BoB? You liked what we had before but the only thing I essentially changed is that now the Underdog list is clearer and gives access to a handful of tribes more? And Pure has its own identity again, and is back to its roots. What was so fascinating before?

And yeah, do your worst with Scout. For some reason, I doubt you'll play Scout every single month from now on. If Scouts were so strong in a, "Oh thank God Scouts aren't in Underdog, they would crush it!" way, why have they been played by more or less nobody so far? (6 times in 3 years, and I'm one of those.) Chances are they will be played by you once, AJ once, then essentially nobody again. Big deal. But if we get more options, it can only be better.

Again, Underdog is not "the week where we play with bad, weak, stupid tribes". It's "the week where we play with the tribes we don't play in other weeks". And we don't play Scout in other weeks, that's a fact.

1) Serpents will never be by Bazaar of Baghdad at Sat, 02/22/2014 - 00:11
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1) Serpents will never be competitive now (current card pool). Under the old system, where decks were forced to one day graduate, Serpents were guaranteed to have their day under the sun. You killed Serpent-Day (and any analogous wimpy tribe)!!! Also, it would have been fun figuring out which tribe would be the next to graduate. Also, it was fun liberating certain decks from underdog status, like my winning Dwarf and Scarecrow decks (once other requirements were met). Now you voided those victories from meaning. "My idea is to call this the Underdog Week, a tribute to all those tribes that struggle to emerge among the top tribes..." - kumagoro42 @ http://puremtgo.com/articles/diaries-apocalypse-tribal-weeks-83-84 I don't like your above characterization of "the week where we play with the tribes we don't play in other weeks". I don't play Serpent in Underdog, because tribes with the power level of Scout still exist. Now thanks to this I'll never play Serpent. If I had wanted to play Scout, I still could have in other formats.

Yes, one day will require a reset, but that assumes we're still around in five years, and even if so, what's the big deal? Not a reason to kill a format.

2) Council is so arbitrary. Like I would totally vote for every single person on this current council, but how are they more qualified than the person who lost in the top 8? If you get a decent round of scumbags (me, if you want) in next year, what are you going to do but arbitrarily change the rules again? Even among the councilmen, how to split power was pretty arbitrary (you would accord power based on who might have had less mana screw?).

3) Pure decks felt VERY different to me. Different meta, different card pool, different design constraints. Now you want to define what is a pure tribe by arbitrary decisions. Pure was the minor league - professional, but free of the major tribal players. Perfect. Now I can quite likely play the same power-level Goblin deck two weeks in a month, with regular (maybe Elves/Merfolk instead, depending on the votes).

4) I originally voted no to singleton - having two events under my belt, I have come to appreciate it more. If it goes, I won't cry, but it's definitely different enough, with enough variety among the top tribes for now. In general, I like it.

5) You think Cleric is the weakest non-Underdog????

6) Why desire to reset the meta? We have about 30 games in a given format a month! That's not stale, but it's definitely not solved.

7) I think you give too much emphasis to a "winning" deck. You seem to think that if I or another can't power Scout to a first-place finish it shouldn't be barred from the same card pool as the true underdogs. The deck can still seem unfair to deckbuilders building with other tribes even if it doesn't 4-0. Scouts and a few others clearly have more resources. I don't even particularly want to play Scouts, so I may not even try to prove the point. They have efficient beaters, color-hate, ramp spells that other decks would kill for as it effectively gives them 4 more Legacy-quality spells, and 2-3 cards involved in two-card oombos. And yet, if a deck doesn't win, it takes another month to prove the point, and yet everyone has to metagame against the stupid scout-or-whatever deck. After having typed all this, I will state that I might even agree with you, that Scouts MIGHT NOT be too overpowered. But, so what? There was a criteria for advancing them to the next stage, they passed it, and scouts could easily be played in Pure. You seem to interpret NOT PLAYED as NOT POWERFUL enough. There's only a few of us, and even if we didn't have pet decks, it's entirely reasonable that we would skip on scout or something for months. No reason to send it back to Underdog.

8) Now the Demons best chance of winning is to have to try to beat a full-Legacy-powered Goblin or Merfolk deck (or other Major League tribe)? You're a Demon-Hater too! Why couldn't the old Pure format stay where they (and tribes of similar power) were sure to gradually bubble to the top again!? Seriously, your old system was perfect, and you ruined it.

BoB:1) Allow me to say this by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 02/22/2014 - 01:13
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BoB:

1) Allow me to say that this example is absurd. Serpent would NEVER be competitive, because for them to be, you need a scenario where 90% of the entire tribe system was out of Pure weeks. We would have never even remotely got to that point. And I believe you're making confusion here (QED), because you're mentioning Underdog. Underdog didn't have the "graduation system". That was Pure. Underdog would have always had all the tribes with less than 50 members in it, no matter how many times they would win. Even by never resetting the 50-member quota (which would have eventually moved back), it would have taken about 20 years for tribes like Sphinx or Leviathan or Ooze to end up out of Underdog. Similarly, Dwarf and Scarecrow would have never been out of Underdog in our lifetime. You got it all wrong.

2) Council is no more. But it wasn't arbitrary. I'll let AJ explain why to you, if he likes, as I don't care anymore. (Just this: I'd like for people to have more of a sense of humor about things. I know Magic players almost never have, and the sky is constantly falling, except it never does. But I'd like for MY Magic players to have it. I might even require it).

3) Did you play in the original Pure events? I'm not sure but I don't think so. Well, the original Pure event was the second Regular event of the month. And the day I said, "Hey, you know what? Let's turn the second Regular event into something a little bit different", people became angry because I was taking away their second Regular event, and there were already too many gimmicky events in a month. This was Legacy Tribal Wars, not "The Muppet Show Presents: Let's Play Magic!". Some longtime players even stopped playing Tribal Apocalypse because they only wanted to play Legacy Tribal Wars and not the Muppet version of it.
So you can see how it's always a lose-lose situation (which is just a win-win situation looked at from the wrong side).
And again, the current Pure was an aberration, because it wasn't created with the idea of banning tribes left and right. I blame myself for having allowed it to get so out of hands. I get that you liked "killing tribes" out of the meta, but if you think of it, that's an aberration, too. It's having a goal where the end result is less options for everyone. I have several fun builds with tribes that were out of Pure because they got lucky once, and were played 4 times. 4 times! That's insane, you'll agree. One of my goal is to push variety, how could take it out be a good thing?
I also have fun, Johnny builds for Major League tribes. I want two chances per month to play with them. And I'm sure this sentiment is shared by the kind of player I represent (I actually know it for a fact). Demonizing tribes because of how some players use them is very very wrong. How am I supposed to set a good example with them if I'm not allowed to? Pure was a trap, it was evident by now.

4) Singleton events aren't going anywhere. There's a chance for 4 of them out of the 10 in calendar to turn into Regular. I'd say it's a fair bet that only a couple of them will go.

5) Do you have another candidate?

6) I don't get your math. 30 games?
I'm not resetting anything. I'm fixing, mostly managing lists. There were too many different sub-categories, people were going mad tracking what was what. Your confusion about Underdog and Pure is proof enough. Some players were more confused than you. I know that because I'm the one who spends 45 minutes before each event explaining stuff in PM to confused players. Allow me to want a solution for that.

7) Again, Scout was N-O-T played! Wanna bet that Scout won't dominate the Underdog? And if it does, wanna bet what will happen then? Ask the Werewolves. They'll tell you. You all should think of me as wearing a t-shirt saying, "SAY NO TO PREEMPTIVE BANNING!" with a rear saying, "SAY NO TO DEMONIZATIONS BASED ON THEORETIC SCENARIOS!"

8) Didn't you just say it's wrong to put too much emphasis on winning? Let me get this: Scout and Giant should be left into the oblivion of never being PLAYED, yet Demon needs to be ensured an outlet for WINNING EVENTS? (And by the way, Demon did win events without much help, thank you very much.)
Also, do you realize that winning with Serpent in a meta where only tribes worse than Serpent exist don't actually amount to much?
I think I'll use one of the next special events to do "Crappy Tribes Week", selecting the very worst of the Unhallowed, so that one of them will finally get to live the dream of winning.

I dislike the whole "ban by Paul Leicht at Thu, 02/20/2014 - 19:57
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I dislike the whole "ban this" concept. I don't think discouraging people from homogenous builds by banning parts is the way to go. Instead as AJ said last time, incentivize the originality you want to see.

Paul, you know I don't like by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 02/21/2014 - 14:50
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Paul, you know I don't like bans. In fact, I actually unbanned more than I banned. Bring back Artificer and Horror by banning Illusionist, Quest, and dredge enablers means: 4 cards out, 173 cards in, +169 cards in the pool.

Unfortunately, originality can't be prescribed. 1-tix incentives don't do much (and we don't have resources to give more than that). Do you think that a player with 4 Wastelands really care to win 1 tix? They don't. They want to play their Wastelands and win tribal matches with them. Because they can, and it's their rights to do it.

Plus, philosophical question: as a host, I need to care more about originality or more about happiness? If the majority of players are happy playing their Goblin or Soldier decks, do I have the right to be unhappy? (And for all the constant talk about power and money cards, it's the $0.08 cards the ones that define this meta).

This round of changes wasn't even about "artistic" or general improvement, it was about cleaning the house and restoring and salvaging what it was lost over time. To serve this principle: EVERY TRIBE MUST HAVE AN OUTLET. And that was definitely false before (Scout didn't have one, Giant didn't have one, etc.), it's a bit more true now.

A reason why I agree bans don't work in general (exceptions aside): I have my dorky mono-green Elemental deck. It's a fair deck, all things considered. But I can't play it if not in Regular events. And in Regular events it's even worse, because it faces all the Big Bads at once, all the nasty tribes that have been forbidden elsewhere and now clog up Regular events (to the point where it's become impossible to assign Underdog prizes there, since nobody even thinks to play Underdogs in Regular events anymore).
Originality, you say. Well, say I want to do an original Goblin build. A deck with all the expensive Goblins and none of the usual ones. Well, guess what, I couldn't play it. The event all but forbade me to play it and pushed me to play aggro Goblins instead. That's bad.

Pure was envisioned not as much as an incentive to play different tribes (that's Underdog), but to play tribes differently, because at the very least you're forced to avoid off-tribe support and all those cards that you're used to put in the deck as first choices.

I get it, and let me by Paul Leicht at Fri, 02/21/2014 - 22:17
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I get it, and let me reiterate that you've done a great job shaping the events into something interesting and fun for most. So thanks for that. As much as I admire, Shard, Blippy and Flippers they didn't accomplish that to the same degree.

Swords of X & Y are very by romellos at Fri, 02/21/2014 - 11:47
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Swords of X & Y are very powerful and I agree about their power comparison with Jitte. As currently, Sword of Fire & Ice has replaced Jitte in the Legacy decks.

I think this is a very good example to show us that Swords are not something that can be underestimated in the matter of power. They are only a little slower than Jitte and most of them are doing the same level crazy things.

It is no secret that I'm a great fan of equipments. But even that, I'm %100 supporting this full banning package for Swords to open doors to new possibilities.

Ahmet, as possibly the most by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 02/21/2014 - 14:54
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Ahmet, as possibly the most committed Sword player in the meta, I took your opinion as the last straw that pushed me to abandon any reservation and ban the Swords for good (also: a new batch of answers to the poll were ALL in favor of a total ban!)

FINAL DECISIONS FOR TRIBAL by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 02/21/2014 - 13:23
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Cumulative answers and NEW AND FINAL DECISIONS, also in the light of what half the council expressed privately to me.

longtimegone: I was going to announce the changes last week (we can thank WotC for that one, but in last week's article there was a mention of it and even the link to the new Underdog list). And if you read this column in the past years, you know I never do changes at the last moment.
However, once the new Pure was in place, it needed to be implemented asap as re-designed (with the 4 rotating tribes – Sliver was going to be banned only for one week, you got that, right?), otherwise it would only create more confusion with people asking, "Hey, I thought it changed! Why it isn't?" and the filter going back and forth two weeks in a row.

This said, I had feedback that made me review some of these changes, this way:

1. The Council idea is retired, the Singleton challenge is still in place.

2. Pure won't have additional tribes banned except for Human and the last winner, which this time is Berserker (this will avoid winning streaks). Sliver and Merfolk and whatever else is playable tomorrow.

3. The Swords of X and Y and Batterskull are banned, effective immediately. Stoneforge Mystic is back (she's still not playable tomorrow due to the nature of Pure events not allowing off-tribe creatures).

This should do. Thanks all for the feedback!

Technically, Kor or Artificer by AJ_Impy at Fri, 02/21/2014 - 15:50
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Technically, Kor or Artificer could still field her, but they could anyway. :)

Well. I 110% opposed banning by RexDart at Fri, 02/21/2014 - 22:01
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Well. I 110% opposed banning swords and batterskull, I would have preferred to leave SFM banned if it were that big a problem. But I guess people can play her with janky scrub equipment now, I'm sure everyone will enjoy that.

edit: OK, that's a little harsh, but I'm leaving it as typed. The fact is, there are a lot of mediocre tribes out there that are seriously improved by access to legitimately good equipment, by which I mean equipment good in most matchups and not merely as part of some gimmick. I enjoy playing with powerful and interactive cards, and that's what SOFAI was. There were plenty of ways to interact with it, it cost a bunch of mana to get active and could be blown out with one removal spell, but once you got it going it was sweet. It was better in Pure where the optimal 1-mana removal spells were banned, so if it was really a problem I would have banned it there, but they hardly need to be banned anywhere else. This just lowers the power of the format in a way that impacts minor tribes more than anything else.

not really tribal then by rayjinn at Fri, 02/21/2014 - 22:37
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but maybe the start of your very own format then, "Equipment wars".

I don't need a pithy comment by RexDart at Fri, 02/21/2014 - 23:30
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I don't need a pithy comment from somebody who knows nothing about this format. There are maybe 5 people at most who have been more involved with Tribal Wars than I've been in the past two years. I've recorded hours upon hours of coverage, commentary, and deck building theory about this format. I have a very solid understanding of both the practical and theoretical applications of equipment in the format. And I'm telling you, Swords of X/Y were and are perfectly safe in the format, and are a net positive for the potential of minor tribes to play competitively. I am firmly convinced that I am correct on this matter.

The idea that Swords just turned any old tribe into some "blah blah, cast a sword" tribe, was one that was floated when SFM was first quasi-restricted. I didn't agree with it then, but I lived with it. The way in which people have actually used swords since that time has proven that they are no danger, they do NOT homogenize the format into "equipment wars", and they have numerous answers that every deck plays.

This decision is just flat out wrong. It's not mine to make, and I totally respect Kumagoro, and I am sure he knows that. I don't always agree with him, but I am not the steward of this format, he is. I wish I could participate more right now, but I could never match the level of effort he puts into this, and I respect that 1 billion percent. But I know enough about the format that I don't need to qualify my opinion, it's just the wrong decision.

You and I agree on this but I by Paul Leicht at Fri, 02/21/2014 - 23:55
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You and I agree on this but I see the emotional impact a sword has on some players and I see why it (the group of equips) got the axe so to speak. I wish it were not so but then again I think banning the swords is equivalent to banning other high tix/high power cards like force of will.

I hope this is more of a cycle than a permanent "the way of things".

See, that's the problem. We by RexDart at Sat, 02/22/2014 - 00:13
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See, that's the problem. We shouldn't be catering to players who are offended by something as innocuous as a Sword of X/Y. It's a relatively harmless midrange card that, if you designed your deck well, isn't going to beat you on its own. Banning it just enables bad deck builders to continue being bad deck builders.

If you poll the public at FNM, I bet you could get 50% to vote that mythic rares should be banned from Standard. This isn't the way to make decisions.

I have gone to great lengths to provide deck building challenges and prizes to reward people on limited budgets and people who want incentives to play cards that aren't just the strictly best option. I pay those prizes out of my own pocket for no reason other than I want to encourage something cool to get played at the event. That is my way of helping format diversity, and I put my own tickets on the line for it. I've given away more than I've won from Tribal Wars. The "achievement system" Kumagoro spear-headed was another great way to do that. Bans are a *crappy* way to mix things up. It's just the truth.

The decks most impacted by the Sword ban are G/W/x hate bears and other midrange strategies. Under no reasonable system would those interactive, fun, and rewarding decks be the target of bans while things like Reanimator, Living End, and Splinter Twin exist on the combo axis, and boring two dollar aggro decks continue to place week after week with the same predictable suite of creatures and removal spells.

In my book, bad deck builders by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 02/22/2014 - 02:23
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In my book, bad deck builders are the ones who keep using the Swords because why not? The kind of build the Swords push is frankly the opposite of creative. I admire romellos' honesty about it.

There's a very solid theoretical reason for banning the Swords, and it's that we're dealing with a creature-based format, and they're Umezawa's Jitte #2-6. It's exactly what Aaron Forsythe called "metagaming": something that you play only to prey on what the other players are playing, as opposed to creative deckbuilding, which the Swords actively discourage. They also reward sheer luck, because without a cheap mean to silver-bullet them (= SFM), the Swords become, "Oh look at that, you're Golgari and I just happened to drew into my singleton Feast and Famine rather than my Singleton Fire and Ice or my singleton War and Peace!"

And it's the reasoning DCI uses too: removing the ubiquitous card that prevents variety. The slots automatically taken by the Swords because they don't compare to anything else will be now divided into a plethora of different cards that fulfill the same role. Repeat with me: Variety uber alles. Power level is not the measure of everything. In fact, power level doesn't affect a meta per se.

Aggressive Rex: I invite you by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 02/22/2014 - 02:17
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Aggro Rex: I kindly invite you to calm down as I'm pretty sure rayjinn comment was just a tongue-in-cheek, good-hearted barb.

And since you seem to like the word "wrong" this round, I'll use it, too: you're wrong in your evaluation of my bans. I might have said it one million times already (so let's make it one million and one): they're never about power level. Three things I need to evaluate in the meta: frequency of play of some cards, happiness of the player's base, variety of builds. Hence I ban what embodies a combination of ubiquity, annoyance and laziness. The Swords were too frequent, hated by many, and pushed lazy builds in the kind of aggro decks that are dominant by a long shot. Still, as I say above, for as much as I support the ban, you can't blame it on me alone. (You can blame the un-bans on me, rarely the bans.)

You often make the mistake to look at this meta from the perspective of a top player. That's the minority, the 1%ers. Those who come with $500 decks and can't really have the right to complain about what the majority feels about them, their decks, and their cards. I respect them, but my mandate isn't about them. In fact, my mandate might be the opposite of caring for them, since they scare away the other players, make them unhappy and frustrated and angry. They're the equivalent of the overly loud guys in the bar I run.

The little guy with a deck that's worth less than a single Sword? Now, he gets all my attention. His complaints are often silent, but they are there. I can sense them, I sometimes ask for them, I see them reflected in pool answers and in lists. That's the people I work for, Rex, like it or not. More often than not, their complaints are all over the place (the typical "This card I just lost against is bah-roken!"). Sometimes they're not. But the moment they matter is the moment they cease to be single displays of frustration, and become shard by two, ten, thirty players. Players who, with their presence, "pay" for this event. If only the top players showed up, Tribal Apocalypse would have been long out of business.

The idea that the Swords helped small tribes is mere theory and wishful thinking. The registered lists show that it doesn't apply to reality. The same way, but in reverse, as the idea that the super-scary power combo cards are bad for the meta: true in theory, false when applied to the reality of the tournament where nobody plays them. And since reality is my business, it guides my decisions.

You know I almost never by Paul Leicht at Sat, 02/22/2014 - 05:53
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You know I almost never include swords outside of singleton and I am still against the ban on the grounds that who cares if so and so assumes SoF&I is good because there are 30+ goblin players?

Who cares if so & so draws their SoF&F instead of SoF&I because they got lucky when playing against Golgari? Sure that sucks for the Green Black guy but it should be part of the game.

Swords are by far not the most powerful cards played regularly. That said I respect your decision. It is on you what gets banned and when no matter what you may say about it being the voice of the people deciding this. You run the event and have ultimate veto.

If you want a format with only x tribes and y noncreatures I will ultimately support that despite not liking it. Hopefully, as I said we can revisit the issue in a while when we see how it works out.

Warhammer, possibly the by Bazaar of Baghdad at Fri, 02/21/2014 - 23:03
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Warhammer, possibly the 3rd-best "sword," is still legal.

The Loxodon clan is doing a by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 02/22/2014 - 01:14
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The Loxodon clan is doing a happy dance indeed.

I am for the first time ever by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 02/21/2014 - 23:45
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Rex: I am for the first time ever happy to have banned a card (or group thereof) because I really hate the lazy, lazy, lazy deckbuilding represented by the Swords, and the bad feeling that they generate on the board and is, apparently, shared by many players (and please stop with that "they can be dealt with" argument; Umezawa's Jitte and Skullclamp can be dealt with, too. So why are they banned?)

This said, I take no responsibility for this turn of events! The poll was really surprising in how harsh the "Off with their heads!" outcry ended up being. High-profile Sword players like romellos essentially said, "Let's remove the temptation to play with these things for the 1000th time and let's see if we can do something else instead". At this point, you can say they banned themselves!

(I admit I'm a bit less convinced about Batterskull, which if you don't have an active Stoneforge Mystic, is kind of clumsy. But SFM and Batterskull would become a fixed support package in many decks, and that would be annoying. So Batterskull is kind of a victim here, sacrificed to make room for the other equipments). (This, if SFM won't end up being everywhere. In that case, I might do the switcheroo between her and Batterskull).

Another point I have against by Bazaar of Baghdad at Sat, 02/22/2014 - 11:26
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Another point I have against this is banning Swords in regular events. If someone wants to try to play with Swords against full-powered Legacy Goblin, Elves, and Merfolk, let them. If so, it is not likely because of lazy deckbuilding, and even if so, they will most likely learn that Swords are not necessarily the best choice in that environment. And it would widen the gap between Pure and Regular, always a benefit.

I also don't agree with the by mihahitlor at Sat, 02/22/2014 - 12:40
mihahitlor's picture

I also don't agree with the "lazy deckbuilding" argument. It's not trivially easy to make the Swords work. You need to understand what are you trying to accomplish, how they interact with your overall plan and how they fare against the general field. As have been said, the Swords aren't really good versus aggro decks (as opposed to Jitte, which is a very different card that has strong defensive applications and really screws up combat both on offense and defense), and they also aren't good versus combo. They have potential VS midrange and control builds, and I think that is why they are perceived as too good by lots of players - because they play underpowered slow decks that aren't really effective in controlling the board. If you play slow decks in Legacy you need to be able to deal with threats.

I have thought about Swords a lot over the years, and I think where they would realy shine is in aggressive decks that have 8+ mana dorks, like Noble Hierarch. In such decks you have excessive mana to spend, you can equip the Swords sooner, and you can make your otherwise irrelevant creatures into threats. I wouldn't want to play them in most other aggro builds, because for 5 mana I can generally better impact the board through other means. I also wouldn't want to play them in control decks, because 20 threats is too much as it is, and I want to use precious free spots on spells that control the board. I don't know, I just think they are hard to use optimally, and the players who make it work are probably far from lazy deckbuilders. It might seem otherwise, but decks that don't play marginal and fancy cards and interactions aren't necessarilly uncreative. They might have took longer time and more mental power to fine tune than it took a "creative guy" to make some Kraken deck.

But anyway, it's water under the bridge. My midrange Vampires certainly have one thing less to worry about.