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Apr 18 2014 11:00am
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 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse, the PRE where it's Week 10 since the Legacy Tribal Wars format was removed from MTGO then promised to be reinstated. Never forget. 

   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

by Kumagoro

 So, this is it: Kaleidoscope lives! We reached a verdict, and the winning option was to reshape the third week of the month into what I now like to call "Specialist Week", with Kaleidoscope and Singleton taking turns over the course of the year, 6 events each. During the remaining months of 2014 we'll have 4 more Kaleidoscope events in May 17, July 19, September 20, and November 22. Tomorrow's event is still Singleton as scheduled. Here's the final tally:

 Pro-Kaleidoscope: romellos, Gq1rf7, mihahitlor, AJ_Impy, justcanceled, RexDart, Winter.Wolf, brettmemphis1989, smawatts, ChNidox, endless_nameless, BlippyTheSlug, Bazaar of Baghdad, SBena, Leys7
 TOTAL: 15 votes

 Pro-Singleton: MisterMojoRising, Dawwy, ML_Berlin, Gonzzy, longtimegone, arcbounddaylabor, Robin88, Deonmag
 TOTAL: 8 votes

 Abstained: Lord Erman
 TOTAL: 1 vote

 TOTAL VOTES: 24 out of 30, majority reached

 Now we can proceed with another decision: the fate of the Swords of X and Y (and cousin Batterskull). I've already decided to bring them back in Regular events, because I want those to be as closer to official Legacy Tribal Wars as possible. So now the question for all of you is this: Do you want the Swords and Batterskull back in Underdog and Pure events as well? Answer YES or NO. I choose to keep the fate of the Swords in Underdog and Pure consistent, because I don't want to create more confusion as to what's banned where. Either they come back in both the "safer events", or they don't (luckily, both Singleton and Kaleidoscope aren't affected by the change, since the former already gave access to every card not banned by DCI, and the latter already prevented all these cards to be played on account of not being multicolored). Also note that wherever the Swords will be back, including Regular, Stoneforge Mystic will return to be playable in Kor and Artificer decks only. Swords and universal Stoneforge Mystic can't be allowed to co-exist in the same format.

 The change didn't produce any significant variation in deckbuilding where equipments are concerned. The Mystic wasn't exploited in the least, and the absence of the Swords didn't cause a reduction in popularity or success of the tribes who are most likely to include them. I'm personally ready to welcome them back, after all, if that's what most players want.

 On other news, Journey into Nyx is entirely spoiled now, so we know how the tribal side of things is going to be influenced come May 9 (when the prerelease events will start, and the new cards will begin to flock into collections and lists). Namely, we'll get more of the tribes that the block's Ancient Greece setting focused on, like Satyrs, Minotaurs, Sirens, Nymphs, Chimeras, Hydras, and Centaurs. For the latter of which, we even get a nice lord:

That's a lot of bonuses.

 I'll make a complete set review as usual (eventually), but the first thing to note has to be the fact that we get another serving of obscure, unlikely tribes. We saw a Nautilus and a Starfish last week, both tribes that had just 1 member before. Leech had 9, but last time we saw one of them was back in Invasion, i.e. 14 years ago.

Look, it's a non-evasive Nightmare! Yay?

 But how not to mention the second Sheep ever? A sheep, you guys! (Well, it's actually sort of flavorful, isn't it?)

And you know what? It's not even a bad creature. It's the Sheep of the Gods!

 There's also a brand new tribe: Lamia.

Directly from the Greek myth, of course.

 Last but not least, it's worth mentioning this tribal-friendly artifact: every color gets its own Honor of the Pure now.

Will it be played? Time will tell.


  • Event Number: 4.14, Week 171 BE
  • Date: April 12
  • Attendance: 18
  • Rounds: 4
  • Special Rules: Regular Tribal (just plain old Legacy Tribal Wars)
  • Winner: MisterMojoRising (Elf)
  • Other undefeated: romellos (Merfolk)
  • 1 Loss: mihahitlor (Goblin), endless_nameless (Construct), Robin88 (Human), smawatts (Vampire)
  • Tribes: Assassin, Construct, Druid, Elf, Goblin (x2), Human (x2), Kor, Merfolk, Myr, Sliver (x2), Vampire, Wizard (x2), Zombie (x2)
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 MisterMojoRising was a new name at the beginning of this season, but he has already won 4 events so far (of which, two consecutive ones), piloting 4 different tribes: Myr, Goblin, Soltari, and now Elf.


 The other deck capable of an undefeated run was another timeless powerhouse of Regular events: Merfolk, as piloted here by romellos.


 Among the other hard-hitting Regular monstrosities, here's a Construct build by endless_nameless, a classic Metalworker and Cranial Plating affair that we hadn't seen in a while, and whose opponents now wish not to face again anytime soon.


 Finally, to celebrate the return of his War Reports (welcome back, Shawn-Michael!), here's smawatts' Vampire list, one of those fast and furious budget builds that were especially popular during the Zendikar era, but never entirely went out of business, and to good reasons: they can generate such a massive initial onslaught from which it becomes really hard to come back.




 Also known as: how much do the top decks cost? As of April 18, 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, MisterMojoRising's Elves: $8.72 (nonland cards: $8.31; tribal base: $5.07)
  • 2nd place, romellos's Merfolks: $972.11 (nonland cards: $491.13; tribal base: $177.26)

 Once again, a deck worth less than 10 bucks defeated a deck worth almost $1,000. A ratio of 1:100. It happens in Tribal Apocalypse. Especially when on one side you have a combo deck whose most expensive card, Quirion Ranger, is just half a tix, and on the other side you have Forces of Will, Tundras and True-Name Nemeses.

 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, $3.58, 1st place on Event 169
  4. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.70, 1st place on Event 145
  5. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $4.12, 2nd place on Event 141
  6. Gq1rf7's Assassins, $4.18, 1st place on Event 147
  7. Trickerie's Golems, $4.31, 1st place on Event 138
  8. arcbounddaylabor's Goblins, $4.46, 1st place on Event 111
  9. Coolcat1678's Elves, $5.13, 2nd place on Event 149
  10. ellmaris's Goblins, $6.52, 2nd place on Event 103

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

by Smawatts

 Hello! All things have finally settled down for me after moving across country, so I'm back. For the most recent event, I wanted to play something outside my normal range, and decided to play a suicide black style Vampire deck.

 First round I played against another mono black deck piloted by Winter.Wolf. He was focused on Tangle Wire as his disruption, and using
mana Myrs to leap ahead while his opponent was tangled. My Vampires were just too fast for him, and fortunately for me none of my removal was dead against black.

 In round 2 I faced our host Kumagoro, who was on mono-black Zombies "splashing" green for Birthing Pod. We had some super close games, speed vs. power. 

 Come round 3 we got to play against mihahitlor. He had a screaming horde of Goblins. Mono-red was a bad match up, and we needed to draw well to have any real chance. 

 In the last round we played Leys7 who was piloting a mono-green enchantress style deck that attempted to create giant monsters by covering Druids in enchantments. Awkward draws + Hymns decided the match. 



 Very last chance to try the Robin and the Nine Hoods Deckbuilding Challenge! (This time is true! RexDart wanted to give the unclaimed challenge the opportunity to get Singleton as the last attempt, given that Singleton is a particularly favorable environment). Here are, once again, the rules:

  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 one copy of at least 3 Legendary Archers to play the role of Robin Hood and lead your upstart band of rebels to victory.
  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 second quarter of 2014. The quarter will end June 28. 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):

  • 4.15 (Week 172 BE), on April 19: Tribal Singleton (only one copy of each card except for basic lands)
  • 4.16 (Week 173 BE), on April 26: Pure Tribal (no off-tribe creatures, complete rules here)
  • 4.17 (Week 174 BE), on May 3: Tribal Underdog (only Underdog Tribes allowed)
  • 4.18 (Week 175 BE), on May 10: Regular Tribal (just plain old Legacy Tribal Wars)

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2014!

Vote for your favorite Burn spell on the Topdeck Awards!



No on the Swords. It's a by AJ_Impy at Fri, 04/18/2014 - 11:33
AJ_Impy's picture

No on the Swords. It's a creature based format, good equipment is disproportionately powerful. The swords themselves generate too many 'oops I win' game states. One event a month with them in is one too many.

Also, there was a Leech in Time Spiral.

I guess, the Swords poll will by romellos at Fri, 04/18/2014 - 11:50
romellos's picture

I guess, the Swords poll will pass by majority. But, my thoughts about them for Tribal games is still same. So, No for the Swords...

I vote for the unbanning of by mihahitlor at Fri, 04/18/2014 - 15:15
mihahitlor's picture

I vote for the unbanning of the Swords.

I vote yes to unbanning by RexDart at Fri, 04/18/2014 - 16:13
RexDart's picture

I vote yes to unbanning swords of x/y. I also think Batterskull is completely innocuous in an environment with no SFM, it's just a nice one-of for control or big mana artifact decks.

Aggro vamps actually are among the worst performing decks in tribal wars history. When we used to track these things, Vampire Lacerator had the lowest win % of any popular card.

Smwatts deck was brutal vs my by Paul Leicht at Fri, 04/18/2014 - 16:43
Paul Leicht's picture

Smawatts deck was brutal vs my myr (never draw a 2 cost myr while it mattered, never drew perilous myr at all,). I got nothing off the ground both games because of his fast turn 1 dark ritual start. That said I do think he took a great risk since I am one of those known to play mass removal. I didn't have any in my deck in that match because it was a deck concept being worked on (Tangle Wire + Myr) but probably would eventually have had at least BSZ if not Massacre/Mutilation. So kudos to him for a single loss in the event.

my list at that event:

2 Myr Galvanizer
2 Masticore
1 Myr Sire
3 Gibbering Descent
8 Swamp
4 Tangle Wire
1 Myr Turbine
1 Shimmer Myr
3 Palladium Myr
1 Trading Post
2 Throne of Geth
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
4 Myr Retriever
4 Cloudpost
4 Vesuva
3 Perilous Myr
1 Myr Battlesphere
1 Eon Hub
3 Ichor Wellspring
4 Leaden Myr
1 Myr Propagator
2 Mycosynth Wellspring
1 Myr Reservoir
4 Glimmerpost

As you can see it was a post deck with swamps. Not actually a mono black deck as it appeared. The idea was slap down turn 1 locus turn 2 locus tangle wire and then proceed to get Gibbering Descent out to give myself a onesided eon hub effect. Unfortunately that idea needs a bit more tuning and hyper aggro vampires is just one reason the idea (like many in the format) doesn't work so well. Vs a slower deck it might have been reasonable.

I am torn on the swords.

On the one hand I hate bans of this nature. (They slow new blood into the format because of confusing and seemingly (informal) arbitrary rules. And they cause contention amongst those with limited collections which hurts the event further.) In my opinion banning cards makes the event hostile not friendly as intended.

On the other hand... Batterskull in particular is a heinous out of tribe creature that doesn't die as long as you are familiar with how it works. The swords can be annoying when someone plays a sub par tribe and shores that up with "protection from your whole tribe" items. I am of mixed feeling on that too.

So I am abstaining from voting for now. (I may change that later given persuasive argument.)

In general, I agree that bans by AJ_Impy at Sat, 04/19/2014 - 02:56
AJ_Impy's picture

In general, I agree that bans are best kept at a minimum. In specific, however, I'm against someone new to the event getting blown away by offtribe extras which are just there because they're good cards. It doesn't give a good representation of what makes the format enjoyable, and would likely lead to poor retention of new blood. The swords are the epitome of unfun, uninteractive experiences, sour memories and ill feeling. If you try to use an interesting monocoloured tribe and your opponent drops the right colour of sword on turn two or three, what are your options? There are answers, but finding answers that you can fit in your deck without detracting from its ability to do what it does and fight off everyone else is a substantial problem. If swords are legal, then why not Moat? A well placed sword can prevent attacking just as well and more besides.

There is considerable precedent for kicking out too-powerful equipment, with the elimination of Jitte and Skullclamp from the field by Wizards themselves. Given that creatures are mandatory and sideboards proscribed, this is a format where the benefits of running equipment are higher than ever. With that in mind, what equipment did people run? Any diversity or variance, or did those who would put in dominating off-tribe cards merely because they dominate choose the swords first and foremost?

As you know you get mad by Paul Leicht at Sat, 04/19/2014 - 04:06
Paul Leicht's picture

As you know you get mad respect from me and we largely agree on these points however it is a terrible idea to ban what we find distasteful. Just as I opposed Moat being banned (and WOTC never did see fit to explain that one) I am somewhat opposed to banning swords willy nilly. Restricting them makes more sense to me. OTOH if Batterskull is banned I won't blink.

Disclaimer: Below are my by Lord Erman at Sat, 04/19/2014 - 05:06
Lord Erman's picture

Disclaimer: Below are my personal opinions.

Just because something is hard to deal with doesn't mean it should be banned. In that case, why not ban all the hexproof creatures? Why not ban creatures with protection from creatures? It's a creature based format after all! Or why not ban that protection from you merfolk?

If you're playing a mono colored deck, you KNOW you will have some problems against certain cards. Mono Black can't deal with artifacts nor with enchantments, so if your opponent is playing an enchantress deck, you're pretty much screwed. You KNOW this before entering the tournament.

Oh and that "we don't have sideboards" is not an excuse. This is the nature of the beast. This is why playing artifacts and/or enchantments in this format has ALWAYS been powerful.

You just can't ban something because people don't pack proper cards to deal with non-creature permanents in their decks. If swords get banned, then what's the next step; ban all artifacts? Ban all enchantments?

Look, I know that the Johnny & Timmy participants of this event like to see lots of fun red zone actions in this tournament. I know that they pretty much hate powerful offtribe creatures. I know they'd like to see interesting tribes being played instead of just elves, goblins and humans. Like Antelopes vs Serpents on one table and Nomads vs Horses on the other and so on. I know these.

But believe me; as long as you don't ban Spikes from this tournament, that will NEVER happen. If swords get banned, someone will probably start annoying people with powerful enchantments until they get banned.

So, banning something just because it's hard to deal with, will only lead people to laziness in deck building. Artifacts, be it an equipment or not, have always been hard to deal with in the format. And there is no difference in my opinion between a sword and, say, Basalt Monolith. The cards to remove them both are completely the same.

Bottom line: I never support the decision to ban anything unless is completely stalls the format. In that sense, I never understood and supported the banning of Moat either. Not packing non-creature removal is a risky decision and sometimes it pays off not to dedicate those precious slots to such cards, but sometimes you hit hard to a wall and get slaughtered.

Again, this is the nature of the beast.


PS: I'm not participating regularly in the events, so do not take my opinions too serious. At the end, those who regularly attend know it better than me.

A few elements to better by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 04/19/2014 - 14:13
Kumagoro42's picture

A few elements to better understand the principles that inform my banning policies (others should already know it because I repeat them ad nauseam, but you've only recently come back).

1. It's never about the power level. It's about a combination of frequency AND annoyance. If a card is annoying but it appears about once per year, it won't be banned (e.g. Aluren). If a card appears every single week but it's just a tool, it won't be banned (e.g. Damnation).

2. No card ever NEEDS to be banned. The only exceptions are cards that were clearly the product of design mistakes, like Skullclamp or Big Jace in Standard.

3. A card's power level is not an absolute. Among the few cards we ban, there are some that just warp Tribal Wars because it's Tribal Wars (e.g. Glimpse of Nature).

4. The fewer cards you ban, the better.

In short, I do what Modern does. Bans are decided based on warped metas. Bans are never final. Bans don't try to "fix" the format, they try to fix the current meta. It's not an exact science.

Moat is a ridiculous ban. We would have never banned it. It's the proof DCI doesn't know what the Tribal Wars format is anymore, nor care to know.

And make no mistake, Tribal Apocalypse is for Spikes. First and foremost, because it's a tournament. Tournaments are for Spikes. And yet Spikes need rules. Because they're Spikes.

Pro Swords - No to by ML_Berlin at Tue, 04/22/2014 - 19:17
ML_Berlin's picture

Pro Swords - No to Batterskull

I really do not understand why the swords are in the same'pool' as Batterskull!

The ability of being returned back to hand counters all usal artifact destroying or even exile effects vs Batterskull. Even better as indestructable, because it prevents enchantments ,too.

The Swords are just normal equipments, powerful in their effect but vulnerable to ALL artifact destroying effects, there a dozens of critters who have that by entrance,sacrifice or abilty,besides the obvious spells, and mass destroyers like Nyrhill's(?) Disk, who destroys all artifacts,critters and enchantments.

THe only way to eliminate the Batterskull is having 2 artifact destroying spells on hand,and play the 2nd one after he wants to take it back on hand. And that is rather rare in a Tribal setting unless u really flooding your deck with it,...because of Batterskulls.

Swords unbanned doesnt change much in deck design for anybody.If you design your tribal decks,you decide if u put in anti-artifact effects. And if you decided yes, the swords are just normal artifacts and will be destroyed like any other.
To effectivley kill Batterskull u need 8 anti-artifact effects at least in deck, or even more.
If he uses 4 batterskull,almost half your cards needs to be artifact destroying.
I know there are other ways, like deck searching, but should the focuss in Apocalypse deck building really switch so much to an off-tribe critter which can be used in any deck?

Larry Niven's disk (aka by Paul Leicht at Tue, 04/22/2014 - 20:00
Paul Leicht's picture

Larry Niven's disk (aka Nevinyrral) (author of the Ring world series.) If you need a mnemonic for why it's spelled that way. :D