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Feb 27 2014 1:00pm
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 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse, the PRE where everything is flux.

   Table of Contents 

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

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

by Kumagoro

 Yeah, Heraclitus would have appreciated the current status of Tribal Apocalypse, because the changes I introduced last week didn't settle down yet. A few players weren't satisfied, and I wasn't either, at least not entirely. My main goals were accomplished: having just two streamlined categories of tribes, the Underdog and the Major League; and establishing a clear difference between Underdog events and Pure events, while reopening the latter to those tribes that over the course of the last year had been prevented to take part in them. However, Pure events could still use some tweaking.

 The report from last week's event, which, case in point, was the first Pure event under the new world order, shows a dominance of Major League tribes. This isn't at all surprising, nor a bad thing per se, especially since there was only one Elf, while the two undefeated tribes were both Shaman, which I still consider a more creative and fairer tribe than "the usual suspects". And Pure was always meant to have a power level akin to Regular, after all.

 Still, something felt missing to me. An element that would really justify calling the last event of the monthly rotation with another name. So I had a summit with the "leader of the opposition", as I like to think of Bazaar of Baghdad, whose challenging positions are actually doing me good in making me second guess all my choices. I introduced to him an idea I just had (in a dream? Maybe) to further fine-tune Pure Tribal. And since the idea passed the BoB Test, and given that there's now more than a month before the next Pure event (which is March 29), I hereby officialize it, as follows.

 It stems once again from the distinction between Underdog and Pure I want to push the most: the former being the sub-format were tribes are banned (in fact, 36 tribes are banned there: the entire Major League group), the latter being the sub-format where cards are banned; in particular, all the supporting off-tribe creatures are banned in Pure. The problem is: some major tribes don't really care about off-tribe creatures. In their more typical builds, Elf might use them occasionally, but don't really need them; Goblin and Merfolk never even use them. So this restriction doesn't actually punish the tribes that should be punished if we aimed to lower the power level a little compared to Regular events. Same goes for the T10 cards, at least to some extent. Is Goblin without Lightning Bolt all that different?

 This is where I thought: let's not ban ANY tribe in Pure events. Let's not punish the big tribes only because of a few strong builds you can do with them. Let's punish THOSE BUILDS, instead. You know, when a build is too strong, and you ban the whole tribe as a consequence, you're creating a lot of collateral damage: all the other builds you could do with that tribe, including all the fair, quirky, creative ones. That's definitely bad. Hence my idea: what I called THE PURIFICATION PROCESS.

 It's defined through two new rules for Pure events:

  1. No tribe will be ever banned in a Pure event (not even Human or the last winning tribe, as we tentatively did last week);
  2. When one of the Major League tribe ends undefeated in a Pure event, one of the cards defining that build will be banned.

 The second point is the Purification Process itself, and demands some further clarification. First of all, the card to be banned needs to be both specific of that tribe (something that tribe especially exploits), and crucial for the build. A strong card that just works as a tool, like say Force of Will, will never warrant a "purification ban" (after all, we already banned the most abused tools in the form of the T10 cards.) Ditto for power cards that work with many tribes, like Natural Order. The ban will only punish the power builds of that tribe, and that tribe only, in order to encourage different builds with it. Also, I'll make the call myself most of the times, but there might be decks where the key card will be ambiguous, or hard to establish. In those cases, I'll ask the opinion of the Four Riders before proceeding. What's more important is: for some undefeated decks, a ban won't even prove necessary, because the build will be fair enough as it is, despite its success. That's when the Purification Process will have borne fruit.

 Here's an immediate example for you, which also constitutes the very first step of the Purification process, because it's the case of last week's undefeated tribes. Both of them were Shamans. The first was a Dark Depths build. The second was a typical Shaman power build with Rage Forger as its centerpiece. Therefore, these are the first two cards that will be banned from Pure events. Now, Dark Depths, which relies on the combo with Vampire Hexmage, could have been built with Vampires, too. So, in a way, the Vampire tribe gets punished with no cause here. This might happen, and I think it's an acceptable level of collateral damage: Vampire is a Major League tribe as well, and Dark Depths is historically more linked to the Shamans, because a build that tries to combo with it is better off exploiting the versatility of the Shaman tribe.


 What happens under this system, then, is that the Major League tribes will be more and more defanged. Imagine Merfolk ending undefeated and losing Lord of Atlantis. Then another lord. Then another one. At the end of the process (which isn't as fast as one might think: there's just a dozen Pure events per year, and many, many key cards and major tribes to hit), we'll have a Merfolk tribe that won't be playable as the archetype we all know anymore. But it still is playable, which is more that you could say if we just banned it, like we used to do so far.

 BoB's party was also missing the challenge of actively working towards the goal of putting tribes out of Pure events. Which, if you think of it, was a pretty dark goal, because it meant preventing other players to play their fair version of those tribes. Now it's possible to set sights on a power card and make that your target for annihilation, instead. Cephalid Illusionist? Boom. Grindstone? Killed. All without damaging other people's less extreme builds. And it's all flavorful, too, in some way: the more of these power cards we exclude from the event, the more it'll feel "purified".

 This is it for now, but there's still a point to be revisited down the line: the Swords. Now that Pure events will become more and more safer than Regular events, while at the same time providing an outlet for all the major tribes, and at least initially, in the same way Regular events do, it might feel right to give Regular events a natural "anything goes" status. Which means restoring the Swords and Batterskull there. I'm not doing it yet because I first want to understand what Underdog events with Stoneforge Mystic look like. I'm considering leaving the Swords banned only in Pure events, as part of the purification idea. But that means re-banning Stoneforge Mystic elsewhere, since I don't like issuing specific bans for Underdog, which should be the event where cards bans aren't performed – the only four exceptions being all cards that are banned exclusively to allow certain tribes to be played. The Swords don't have a specific link to any tribe, so they can't have that kind of status. Let's play next Saturday's Underdog without Swords, then, and see what happens.


  • Event Number: 4.07, Week 164 BE
  • Date: February 22
  • Attendance: 19
  • Rounds: 4
  • Special Rules: Pure Tribal (no off-tribe creatures, complete rules here)
  • Winner: Bazaar of Baghdad (Shaman)
  • Other undefeated: pk23 (Shaman)
  • 1 Loss: MisterMojoRising (Elf), Gq1rf7 (Goblin)
  • Tribes: Beast, Elf, Giant, Goblin (x3), Merfolk, Rogue, Shaman (x3), Sliver, Soldier, Spirit, Vampire, Zombie (x4)
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 As mentioned above, two Shaman decks triumphed over the renewed, major competition, and the first place one was piloted, coincidentally, by old-Pure advocate Bazaar of Baghdad (after a first, failed attempt a few weeks ago). Here's his build, that caused Dark Depths to be the first card to end "purified".


 And this is the other Shaman build, by pk23, with Rage Forger as a classic key card for the tribe, and the second purification target.


 A this point, we might as well do a Shaman special: this was the third Shaman deck of the event, played by fliebana (whose interview, to celebrate his first time win from last week, you'll find below). The main peculiarity of this build is: had it ended undefeated, nothing would have been "purified" in it, as nothing in it "makes" the deck. (Not even Liliana. Plus, you can't purify Liliana, can't you?)




 Also known as: how much do the top decks cost? As of February 27, 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 Shamans: $588.97 (nonland cards: $102.86; tribal base: $43.75)
  • 2nd place, pk23's Shamans: $178.28 (nonland cards: $36.81; tribal base: $34.15)

 Bazaar's build ends up being one of the most expensive we saw recently because of the crazy amount of pricey lands (including Dark Depths, which is currently sold at almost $20 apiece after a recent spike in price). Shamans in general have a not-extremely-cheap tribal base, anyway, the big money card there being, of course, Fulminator Mage.

 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.



 WHO: My name is Francisco Liebana, I'm 44 years old (am I the oldest of the regular players?), and I'm Spanish. My regular job an office work in the Spanish public administration. My screen name, fliebana, is just the initial of my name followed by my surname. It's as simple as that.

 I live in Jaén, a small town in the south of Spain (in the Andalusia region). You can see it and walk through it here. (For those of you who like to play "Where's Wally?", two things to see are the Renaissance cathedral and the medieval Castle of Santa Catalina.)

Visita Andalucía!

WHAT: I'm a Timmy player. And among the stereotypes of Timmy players, I would be a "power gamer". That's the reason why one of my favorite tribes is Eldrazi. I love casting (or cheating into play) big, mana-expensive creatures and sending them attacking into the red zone. An example of this approach is the Plant-drazi deck that I played in the latest Underdog event. Another one is the deck that I played in last year's Halloween event: half an hour before the starting time, I had no clue about what to play. But then I remembered something that I read somewhere when Omniscience was printed: that it allowed Rune-Scarred Demon to do a very good Squadron Hawk impression. So I took an old Eldrazi deck by Nagarjuna (credit where it's due: it was this one) as my starting point. In it, he used Eureka and Show and Tell to cheat the big Eldrazi into play, so I ended up playing this combo Demon deck.


Timmy's paradise.

 Also, as I started playing online when Zendikar and Worldwake were in print, Allies have been my pet tribe since then. Here's an example I've used in a Pure event.

 WHEN: I discovered Magic around 1996-1997. At that time I was a videogame enthusiast, and one of my favorite games was Transport Tycoon by Chris Sawyer, published by Microprose (I still play it from time to time). I remember that while surfing the web looking for other Microprose projects/games, I read that they were working to bring to the PC a card game named "Magic", and that it was being developed by Sid Meier. I was a big fan of Sid Meier and loved his Civilization games. So I read the rules of Magic, and liked how, apart from the pure luck aspect of a card game, it also involved a strategic element. Later, after talking about it to some friends, we discovered a small hobby store that was selling boosters packs and intro decks. So we bought some paper cards and started playing, albeit very very casually. To give you an idea of how casually we played, all my paper cards(including rares) are still stored in a shoebox. I think I still own cards from 4th Edition, Chronicles, Ice Age, Mirage, Visions and Weatherlight, and that my most valuable paper card is an Enlightened Tutor. About one or two years later, we stopped playing because of real life, and we forgot there was a fun game called Magic: The Gathering.

 Well, it's still worth 10 bucks!

 Fast forward to January 6th, 2010. I remember that day because it's when here in Spain we celebrate "The Three Magi Kings Day", when the Magi arrived bearing gifts for baby Jesus. Traditionally, children receive gifts on this day, brought by the three kings. That day I was bored, when surfing the web I saw a box of Magic cards, and wondered about how the game might have changed since the last time I played it. So I Googled "Magic: The Gathering" and found of the existence of MTGO. I tried some free games and immediately remembered how much I had liked the game, so I decided to give myself a little gift in the Magi day: my own MTGO account. It ended up being a big mistake because since then, I've been hooked!

 WHERE: As I said before, I've stopped playing paper Magic, so it's MTGO only for me. I like all formats, and I'll play any of them as long as I have enough cards to be competitive (or at least, semi-competitive. Which for me would mean to build a deck minus some staples.)
 As I'm pretty clueless, I have to confess that I usually do a lot of stupid mistakes while playing (as a lot of people reading this can surely confirm), so the times I tried playing in some serious events (pre-release drafts, etc.), the results have been absolutely lackluster. That's why I play in almost all the Player Run Events that have a reasonable starting time for Europeans. It's my hope that this will help me to improve my gameplay, while at the same time preventing me from spending a fortune in pay events (and of course, the occasional win of some tickets, from time to time, doesn't hurt).

 However, I have an exception: I don't play any Standard event since when the Titans rotated out of Standard two years ago, and I decided to focus my budget on getting Modern, Legacy and Classic staples. I still have to get a lot of them for my collection, but I'm getting there.

 WHY: I've been playing in Tribal Apocalypse since the moment I started playing online. Back then the host was ShardFenix (who was then followed by Flippers_Giraffe, BlippyTheSlug, and now Kumagoro... a big thank you from me to all of them!). The event gives me the opportunity to play against many great and talented players (I have to confess that when the pairings are announced, I'm always afraid to play against a lot of you!). Also, as it's the only Legacy-based PRE that exists today, I can use in it some of the cards that have in my collection and can't play elsewhere (and that's why I'm against the banning of the Swords and Batterskull in our events.) [You can still play them in Modern, flie! :P – Kuma's note] Besides, although I'm not a very good deckbuilder, it gives me the chance to try my skills in that area too, like with my last Shaman deck. And hey, it's a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

by Smawatts

 This week, for the first Pure event under the revised restrictions, I selected one of the most classic of tribes: Goblins. Robust card selection, blazing speed, and low price point. Who doesn't love the little green men?

 It is always sad to see a civil tribal war and Goblin on Goblin violence is no different. Round 1 I played against ML_Berlin running a more midrange Goblin deck. A close game 3 was decided by some back-breaking Homelands technology; An-Zerrin Ruins.

Second round my opponent was Deonmag and he was on a Zombie plan. Best plan to deal with Zombies is speed, before they overwhelm you in an endless tide of rotting flesh.

 Since the days of the ancients there have been two tribal enemies with which there can never be peace: Goblins and Elves. MisterMojoRising had rallied a pointed-eared army under his banner and my green-skinned menace met a glorious end.

 In the last round my opponent mellofello23 was prowling with blue-black Rogues; Goblins and Faeries working together. It was blazing speed against ruthless cunning.



 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!


 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 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!


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

  • 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)
  • 4.11 (Week 168 BE), on March 22: SPECIAL: Tribal Kaleidoscope (all cards must be multicolored or lands)

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2014!

Vote for your favorite Titan on the Topdeck Awards!




I must raise my eyebrow at by Bazaar of Baghdad at Thu, 02/27/2014 - 13:23
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

I must raise my eyebrow at banning what is fundamentally a Grey Ogre. Not that I care, either. Banning Dark Depths (or even the threat of Dark Depths), on the other hand, is exactly what this sub-format needs. I'm glad I could help.

Plus I'm certainly no "leader of the opposition" - I speak for no one else but me (if I speak louder than others, just chalk it up to boorishness).

I also don't want to give anyone the impression that I bless this purification system, though I find it much better than the system outlined in last week's column. It at least seems to work until the inevitable reset far in the future.

Thanks for considering returning the Swords for regular events.

I won't be around this week, as I'm taking my kids to a chess tournament. I hope to see some good lists from the regulars. Cheers!

Rage Forger isn't a Gray Ogre by Tribal Apocalypse at Thu, 02/27/2014 - 15:02
Tribal Apocalypse's picture

Rage Forger isn't a Gray Ogre at all. It's the go-to card for Shaman builds, always have been since it exists. You're actually the only one who ever played Dark Depths, I believe (if not, one of two or three). Pushing Shaman builds towards something else is important.

I don't see any reset inevitable at all. Pure will stay pure. It'll also take YEARS before all the Major League tribes will be actually defanged. And that a point, the scenario will still be more fertile and open than what we had.

I fail to understand how the past, unforgiving, destructive, doomed system that used to kill a tribe for everyone because one player did well with it could be preferable to this. Rationally, it's not. Irrationally, well, some people also like pain, I guess. :P

The deck I played last week by Bazaar of Baghdad at Thu, 02/27/2014 - 16:31
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

The deck I played last week won a couple of times on turn 3, before you could even cast the Forger. People should be able to design their decks without having to worry about me or anyone else bringing the combo.

At three mana, Rage Forger might deal 1-2 damage per game extra than the average replacement, though it might deal more. It dies to a Shock, for crying out loud, with no immediate board impact at all (even if the attack step is only one phase ahead). Bad value there with marginal upside conditioned upon having other creatures alive when cast and all of them sticking around, no great assumption in a format with tons of removal.

So, if the ban is one based on power, I don't follow your logic. If it's based on stats, then that just means we have a ton of either bad or casual deckbuilders on here, neither of which is good reason to ban a card.

You're comparing a combo deck by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 02/27/2014 - 18:10
Kumagoro42's picture

You're comparing a combo deck with an aggro deck and concluding that your combo deck is able to end the game sooner when it goes off. I'm the one who doesn't understand your logic. (And your math is very wrong. 1-2 damage per game? You should watch past replays of that deck against tier-1 tribes before calling pk23 a bad deckbuilder.)

And you keep not understanding in the least my criteria for bans, and the purpose of them, but I'm not going to repeat myself for the billionth time, because if you still don't get it, there's nothing I can do. So let's just say we speak different languages entirely and leave it at that.

Oh, dear. If an aggro deck by Bazaar of Baghdad at Thu, 02/27/2014 - 23:11
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

Oh, dear. If an aggro deck cannot really compete 50-50 with a legal combo deck in the format, it is either casual or bad, by definition. This is a Legacy card pool. Tier one builds of just about any major tribe have nothing to fear from Rage Shaman. If they have that much board presence, they're likely winning anyways. Sometimes, Rage Shaman provides the extra oomph to get over the hump, sometimes it fizzles. It's nowhere near as broken as Dark Depths. Yes, 1-2 damage per game. Sometimes it is -1 to -2 damage per game, because the opponent has a Shock, whereas the Rage Shaman could have been a 3-toughness guy and would have done more damage. Sometimes it'll do more damage, and even way more damage than available substitutes, but 1-2 extra is not beyond the question.

You said you ban things because it is a "go-to" card. You go to something because it is powerful. You also said that "fair builds" don't even need bannings. That's power-related thinking. You also said the bans will affect the "power builds" - that's also power-related thinking. It is very evident you have misstated your intent, or I grasp it quite lucidly. But even if I did not, I made a catchall and that can sum up your "go-to card" comment as "stats" (a variety of reasons that add up). A reason for playing a card for other than power is for casual reasons.

Rage Shaman is clearly not powerful enough for the top tier of an Eternal format, as it provides no disruption, removal, card advantage, or engine, and it can easily lose mana as it trades with most 1-mana removal spells. It's potential over other three-drops is dependent on having a pre-existing army, an army that can attack, and an army that will continue to attack. That's a lot of ifs. Other three drops are often more consistent.

It's a casual card, which is fine, and I commend pk23 for playing it, and I don't call him a bad designer for including it - that's unfair and irresponsible for you to put those words in my mouth.

You say you don't ban fair builds - pk23's is the epitome of a fair build, and should have been left alone, in my opinion.

My honest impression is that you would do well to play more Classic/Legacy so that you could understand this basic card analysis better.

Coming from anyone else that by Paul Leicht at Thu, 02/27/2014 - 23:32
Paul Leicht's picture

Coming from anyone else that last bit would put you in the category you declared yourself in before, boorishness. Condescension isn't how to argue this. You do know legacy/classic better than most tribal players because that is your metier however Kuma and many others who play THIS format understand how the power works here. It isn't at all the same as those environments even if you can shoe horn builds in.

I happen to agree with you that Rageforger is a fair card undeserving of banning but it isn't so much that any direct damage and removal can kill it. LOTS of cards fit that category and many are rather more unfair than Rageforger imho. Goyf on an empty board with no other cards in the yard dies to a shock. But I think many people will agree that Goyf is far more broken than Rageforger.

On the other hand in the right shamans build Rageforger should rack up more than a few points of damage assuming it remains on the table (like any creature has to pass that test.)

The real question is: Is that the "go to" card for the Shamans deck? I don't think so. I think PK had a good day with a decent deck and he's an amazing player. As I pointed out in my previous comment, Flamekin Harbinger is just as important as Rageforger (maybe more so in a toolbox variation of the deck.)

Kuma's point though was to remove a card from each undefeated deck regardless of whether there was anything driving the deck, thus making it harder to repeat the performance and that seems sound/fair.

Yet he did say that "What's by Bazaar of Baghdad at Fri, 02/28/2014 - 00:00
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

Yet he did say that "What's more important is: for some undefeated decks, a ban won't even prove necessary, because the build will be fair enough as it is, despite its success."

I can see how you can say the last sentence is boorish. In real life, I would have said it with my saddest, soberest tone possible, not snidely. It is my honest opinion, and one I would have even so kept to myself, except that my previous arguments have been exhausted over the weeks. Thanks for the call out.

I'm going to point out some by Bazaar of Baghdad at Fri, 02/28/2014 - 00:18
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

I'm going to point out some of the "casual" elements of pk23's Shaman build (listed in the article above), to drive home some that point.

First, lack of legacy duals. It's not really fair, since no one can be blamed for their collection, but shocklands (with rare exceptions) are considered casual in Legacy.

Second, 33 Shamans! Those extra 13 shamans have to be of comparable quality to the 13 extra real Legacy-level spells to not be considered casual. I've not seen any of the 13 weakest here see Legacy play. Casual.

Third, lack of 4-ofs. If a card is worthy to be played in a deck for competitive reasons, much more often than not it needs to be played as a 4-of. Major exceptions include legends, top-of-curve, searchable bullets, or redundancy in the card's effect. Many cards in this list fail that criteria. Only 3 Deathrite is probably the most glaring "error" (assuming he was trying to be competitive, not my basic assumption). Masked Admirers over the second Thrun seems to fail for similar reasons, 1 Burning-Tree Emissary over 4 or 0 seems wrong. I think there are many others, but the reasons would be too subtle for a general discussion.

Fourth, Spikeshot Elder with virtually no support. No search, so only a weak combo with Pendelhaven, and an ok combo with Kessig in the late game. Zero copies is probably correct, but making room for 4 Rancor would have helped the entire deck, but especially expand the reach of a deck using the Elder.

I like pk23's build. It looks like fun. But it is casual. If, and this is a big if, he thought this was a perfect-Shaman build, then that might be grounds for considering him a bad deckbuilder. Much more likely, even given that foolish assumption for this argument's sake. considering his very powerful blue/white tribal builds, it just means he needs more practice or better cards with these colors. My personal assumption is that he knew the power level of the deck fully, and was content to play with it as it: casual.

@Fliebana great to finally by Paul Leicht at Thu, 02/27/2014 - 15:01
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@Fliebana great to finally get some more details about you. :D I am not the eldest and I'm 4+ years older than you. (I think that title goes to BlippyTheElderSlug.) By the way you forgot the How. ('Who, What When, Where, Why and How' is the phrase as I remember it :d. But I know pedantry aside, how is a difficult one for this kind of thing. :p)

@Kuma, great article as always. As I have said before I am against banning cards but I am for you making and owning decisions. So I support your right and prerogative to do just that. I think Regular events should be just that. Regular. No fancy rules, no extra bannings. 3 weeks of the month you get to tinker, leave one week for the spikes. (They will do what they do anyway but hey at least if they get Regular events they might not feel the need to hog the limelight for the odd events.)

The purification idea has some merit but it makes me wonder what the end picture of the format will be like. The reason why some cards are more prevalent has to do with gravity and water. (Water always seeks the lowest point of gravity or some such. And as an analogy, spikes will always use the handiest tools to accomplish their mission: win at all costs.) And I don't think banning cards individually will be as effective at stymying that as you might think. We shall see. I hope I am wrong and everyone proves to have more creativity available to them than previously indicated.

@Bob, you are no more boorish than anyone else here. You speak your mind and stand by it and that is admirable. If you were to drone on and on about irrelevancies then you would be approaching boorishness. I agree about Rageforger, in that it is no combo piece. It has great synergy but so do most of the cards in that deck. Flamekin Harbinger is an awesome tutor for example, allowing pk to do something unusual in a toolbox approach (I applaud this btw.) Also good luck to your kids. I have played chess since an early age (about 42-3 years now) and it has served me well. Tell them to mind the clock.

As a rule of thumb, I want to by Tribal Apocalypse at Thu, 02/27/2014 - 15:12
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As a rule of thumb, I want to ban ubiquitous lords of power tribes, as a solution to defang them without removing the tribes from the scenario altogether (which is what we were doing before). And in general, toolbox decks are creative, the tools to build them should never be removed.

"You forgot the How": Tell that to the Magic card I linked. :P

Thx Winter :). Well here's by fliebana at Thu, 02/27/2014 - 18:33
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Thx Winter :).

Well here's the HOW: I use an old AMD Phenom II X2 550 Processor, with 6 BG Ram and a 27 inches ASUS monitor... It's not the best in the market, but it gets the job done :D

2 Points against banning of by ML_Berlin at Thu, 02/27/2014 - 18:16
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2 Points against banning of swords:The swords help weak tribes, which have no chance without strong equipment. Top players just buy other 'killer' cards, so the banning damage casual players, like me, much more.

Batterskull RAm is a little different, as most of the time it is used as a creature and with the ability to be taken back on hand it is 'indestructible' in it's own way. The swords 'die' with any artifact destroying spell, get caught by any enchantment like Oblivion Ring, Faith's Fetters etc. could be taken over with any blue artifact or permanent stealing spell and so on. The swords are strong equipment,but as vulnerable as any other, while Batterskull Ram is extremly invulnerable. So for me, it is just not fair to pack both into the same poll. If the question would have been splitted A) Ban of swords B) Ban of Batterskull Ram , I'm sure the voting would have looked differently, at least it should. My vote would be A) No and B) Yes

I'll stop debating with BoB by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 02/28/2014 - 04:41
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I'll stop debating with BoB about this particular point because I've had enough of the drama. I know many Magic players like drama, I don't. If I wanted drama, I would watch me some Shakespeare.

The rule is clearly established up there: "When one of the Major League tribe ends undefeated in a Pure event, one of the cards defining that build will be banned." That's it. It will be done, not put up for debate. I'll consult with the Four Riders privately when I'm in doubt, and the moment the ban will be communicated, the consultation will be over.
I have knowledge of the meta. Everybody could have, but that would mean spending hours researching it. You can go on our Tribal Central on Googledocs, go to the Popularity page, look at the times Shaman has been played, then go to the calendar (this year, last year), click on the events, look at the Shaman lists, see how many different players played them, with which results, and what are the cards that appear the most in those decks, and why (the why is provided by replays in this article series). Do that, if you like, or just trust me.

I'm sorry I used the F world ("fair"), which is something Magic players should never do. Pk23's build is a "nice" deck, but there's a reason why there are so many creatures there. If one doesn't see it, it's no wonder Rage Forger looks unassuming. It's not. Nor the build was intended as just for fun and ended up in final out of sheer luck or something.
But the point is: this particular build is a "nice" version of a build that keeps showing up and winning matches through a certain Shaman lord procuring inevitable damage. For the Purification Process to make any sense at all, established winning patterns in the Major League tribes need to be broken, otherwise they'll keep coming back in the same form. I don't think this is a complicate concept, but of course it needs a supreme judge, and that's me. I repeat: it's not an occasion to debate on what a card does in a vacuum, or in a meta that doesn't exist in reality, and whatnot. Or if Tribal Apocalypse is more casual or more cutthtroat and what to do about that, et cetera. The sense is that under the past ruling, Shaman, with or without Rage Forger, with or without Dark Depths, with or without Sunastian Falconer, was not playable in Pure events. Now it is. But not exactly how it is in Regular events, or it wouldn't justify the existence of the Pure sub-format.

And that's all I have to say about that.

I agree with you about this by RexDart at Fri, 02/28/2014 - 14:49
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I agree with you about this Kuma, and I wouldn't even call it a "banning" of Rage Forger because it doesn't have the same connotations as a ban. It's more like you're picking cards to be added to the Tribal Ten on an ongoing basis to encourage deckbuilding diversity *within* tribes. That's an interesting approach. While I think it adds some "complexity creep" to Tribal, if the players can keep up with it then so be it. I also agree with your approach that things like FoW and Natural Order would be left alone, with a focus on altering particular tribal strategies not culling generally powerful cards.

I had been contemplating future deckbuilding challenges along those lines, to encourage people to play common tribes in unorthodox ways. For example, play Goblins without any 1 drops or burn spells, play elves without any creatures that create mana, and so on. What was holding me back with that kind of challenge is that those tribes were only legal once a month. It's nice that I could issue a challenge like that now.

"If one doesn't see it, it's by Bazaar of Baghdad at Fri, 02/28/2014 - 11:55
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"If one doesn't see it, it's no wonder Rage Forger looks unassuming. It's not. Nor the build was intended as just for fun and ended up in final out of sheer luck or something." Since you just reentered into the debate despite saying just above that you wouldn't, I'll.... shut up now.

By the way, can you please post the link to the ban-list. I could probably find it if it's fairly obvious, but it won't hurt to post. Thanks.

General ban list.Pure Tribal by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 02/28/2014 - 12:25
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General ban list.
Pure Tribal stuff.

In a vacuum by Rerepete at Fri, 02/28/2014 - 19:41
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I'm confused. Without being a long time player of Tribal, I looked at the T10 for the first time.

Counterspell is more problematic than Force of Will? Especially with Vial already on the list.

O-ring is more of a problem than Journey to Nowhere?

White spot removal is banned, but black sweepers are okay (Massacre and Black Sun's Zenith for example)?

Brainstorm is banned, but JtMS is okay?

Short answer, tribal is a by longtimegone at Sat, 03/01/2014 - 02:40
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Short answer, tribal is a *very* different beast. For the long answer, I'm sure kumagoro will be around sooner or later.

In the majority of cases, by AJ_Impy at Sat, 03/01/2014 - 05:51
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In the majority of cases, these are the cards at the top of the 'most used nonland cards' metric, a statistical analysis of every deck list going back through several years of this event.

But given that, wouldn't you by Rerepete at Sat, 03/01/2014 - 12:43
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But given that, wouldn't you think FoW would be higher if it cost the same as counterspell?

The concept of the T10 is to by Tribal Apocalypse at Sat, 03/01/2014 - 13:40
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The concept of the T10 is to push players into using different tricks, not to "balance" the power level of the tournament. They're all the more representative noncreature nonland spells of each color (you might also notice they're almost all 1-mana spells). Taking them out one event per month is not something we do because they pose problems, just to try and do something different once in a while. (Same reasoning for doing different subformats, among which Singleton: to have fun with them, shake things up).

The problematic cards, as far as I'm concerned are only 4 (plus those that DCI sanctioned, and not even all of them, but we don't have control over those): Glimpse of Nature and its clone Beck/Call, Thopter Foundry, Hypergenesis.
The debate on the Swords of X and Y (and Batterskull) is still active, and will be re-evaluated after April's Underdog.

FoW is not necessarily better by RexDart at Sat, 03/01/2014 - 14:29
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FoW is not necessarily better than counterspell in Tribal Wars. Because FoW 2-for-1's you, it's typically only wanted against combo decks, or in blue tempo decks that need to tap out and protect their threats early. It's typically a bad card against grindy midrange decks or simple aggro decks like goblins or soldiers. In those matchups, you'd probably rather have a counterspell, or just a removal spell instead of any countermagic at all. Most decks in Tribal Wars are decks that FoW isn't great against, I play it sometimes but just as a hedge against combo. It isn't even that great in my blue aggro decks anymore because of opposing Supreme Verdicts.

A good example of this is the by AJ_Impy at Sat, 03/01/2014 - 22:02
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A good example of this is the Invitational final, where the card disadvantage of force of will ended up being a significant factor when the opposition had more wrath effects than the control deck could counter. At least twice, it was force of will exiling another counterspell leaving the control player empty handed in the face of further counter or lose spells.