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By: Tribal Apocalypse, Tribal Apocalypse
Jun 12 2014 12:00pm
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 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse, the PRE where it's always doubling season.

   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

 Not much to say in this installment filled with video commentaries to watch. So just good watching, and of course good Vintage Masters drafting in the weekend! Speaking of which, what's with the dual lands having the old frame? Is that a bug?

What the hell?!


  • Event Number: 4.22, Week 179 BE
  • Date: June 7
  • Attendance: 16
  • Rounds: 4
  • Special Rules: Tribal Underdog (only Underdog Tribes allowed)
  • Winner: romellos (Monk)
  • 1 Loss: fliebana (Plant), Gq1rf7 (Berserker), Bazaar of Baghdad (Efreet), mihahitlor (Soltari)
  • Special Prizes: milegyenanevem Nightmare
  • Tribes: Bat, Berserker (x2), Efreet, Fox, Horror, Hydra, Leviathan, Monk, Nightmare, Pirate, Plant, Rat, Samurai, Soltari (x2)
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 Monks for the win again in Underdog after event 165, and it's romellos again the abbot of this bizarre congregation of Humans, Kors, Rhinos and things that mimic all of them and still took vows somehow.


 I believe I lamented in the past the use of off-tribe creatures with no synergy to the deck besides being strong stuff (cue my idea of allowing in Pure a set of off-tribe creatures that do, instead). I can see now that both Knight of the Reliquary and Baneslayer Angel at least fit with the religious theme, don't they? These monks can count on powerful defenders of the faith! As for Scavenging Ooze... heh, something that dwells in the sewers of the monastery?

 The other build that could end up undefeated this event was fliebana's Birthing Pod Plants. You can watch their matchup below, commented live by RexDart.


 For being such an old tribe, Efreet shows up so rarely (5 times in total) that is always worth highlighting one of their appearances, especially when they earn themselves a Top 4 spot like in this case, as brewed and piloted by (quite appropriately) Bazaar of Baghdad.


 This build exploits the Efreet's tendency to flip coins to get some mileage out of Chance Encounter. Did you manage to win a game with the Encounter, BoB? Because that qualifies as an achievement. Which remind us: there's 25 tix at stake in the achievement run, so you might all want to take a look at those in the second half of the year.

 As for me, I played Hydra, a tribe that I was saving tix to properly build since a long time (that tribal base is expensive!).


 A little deck tech. I recently acquired a set of Grim Monolith (since it's not in Vintage Masters), and I'm trying it out in many midrange-and-more tribes. And considering Hydra puts me in Gruul colors already, I had the idea of pairing the Monolith with Braid of Fire, a cool card that is always looking for the best ways to be exploited to the fullest.


It's a cute pairing, but effective!

 After a while, the Braid untaps the Monolith on its own at each upkeep, and after another while, all that instant-speed mana is bound to help Polukranos's activations or other Hydras with mana dump abilities. Of course, any Braid of Fire deck calls for instant-speed X-spells, and Starstorm was my conservative choice here (I can also cycle it with the Braid's mana in a pinch), although I might want to switch it for Comet Storm in future, since that gives me the option to convert an oversized Braid into direct damage to the dome.


Aren't these cards basically describing the same phenomenon?

 The tribal choices: the first part of it was easy, since we have now a golden triad of mythic super-Hydras that you just can't let out of any Hydra deck.


All-star Hydras.

 Kalonian Hydra is essentially a tribal lord, and it does insane things by just being on the battlefield. Primordial Hydra is more selfish, but even more effective at that, since it doesn't necessarily need to attack before it's ready to smash. And if you're not going against red, you can even drop it early on and see it grow over time (not recommended in a deck with that many damage-based sweepers, though, but if you're forced to chump block, Primordial can do that for you as soon as turn 3). Polukranos being legendary should advise against the full playset. But he's just so fast compared to the others, at least when you aim for a solid presence on the battlefield, and his ability can be so crucial at times, that you'll be better off running 4 of them. They'll try and kill him on sight anyway, and if they don't, it means you're winning, which is the basic concept behind most of the Hydras actually. With the new legend rule, you can even play a second Polukranos and keep the one that's not monstrous, if you absolutely need another round of monstrosity.

 So, with 12 out of 20 slots firmly secured, the troubles came with filling the rest of the base. The tribe is just 26-member strong, but there are a lot of good options added in these past few years. And there's always Progenitus, of course, even if I didn't want to devote slots to Natural Order and wasn't sure how reliably I could have a green creature to sacrifice early on. I also ended up leaving out strong ones like Mistcutter Hydra and Hydra Broodmaster (that interacts with Braid of Fire; at some point I was keen on the idea of having a way to fill the battlefield in face of swarming assaults). Of the red-green ones, I considered Savageborn Hydra, which also grows with Braid mana, but in the end I went with the other mythic Apocalypse Hydra (you can build a Hydra deck with all mythics!), due to its removal properties. I still made room for a couple Heroes' Banes, which is the Hydra that most directly benefits from a mana ramp. And I completed the ranks trying out the mini-Hydra, Scourge of Skola Vale.


 My rationale for the inclusion was that Scourge can provide an early presence and then act as a guarantee that the counters of the larger Hydras wouldn't go to waste. In reality, Scourge was never able to block anything relevant (or at all), and it was constantly doomed to be swept away along with the enemy creatures come a Firespout or Starstorm. So this one is definitely going to be replaced, probably by more Apocalypse Hydras and Heroes' Banes, or even just by the straightforward yet effective Feral Hydra, which comes as fast as Scourge, but grows over time.

 In the Show and Tell installment below you can look at some of my best Hydra games (I ended 2-2, but that's mostly because mihahitlor kept drawing those damn Soltari protected from red in the first turns of both our games!).



 Also known as: how much do the top decks cost? As of June 12, 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, romellos's Monks: $510.35 (nonland cards: $69.96; tribal base: $14.37)

 We can compare the cost of this deck with the last time it won an event 3 months ago. As of March 6, the deck was priced $564.10, which means it has now decreased by $53.75. This despite the fact that Flooded Strand doubled its value since then, to a whopping 47 tix. The dual lands went down in face of the imminent arrival of the Vintage Masters supply, though. And it's also worth noting that the latest build renounced the always expensive Gaea's Cradle in favor of the cheaper Karakas (which currently peaked, nonetheless). The only other change was the experimental Iwamori of the Open Fist leaving for another copy of Chameleon Colossus, but that's definitely minor, price-wise.

 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

 For Underdog this week I wanted to try something a bit different from what I normally play in tribal, something more along the lines of a control deck. I ended up with a black-white Rat deck that used ETB Rats to try and strip my opponents hand, and then the rat bodies left behind to hopefully stabilize the board. For the record, I am pretty sure I was never attacked by a non-evasive creature all four rounds.

 I think this was actually a fairly bad deck choice in retrospect as it really only has game against fair decks, and is much worse against any other deck than a more linear deck would be.

 Round 1: Against Aleister with Soltari. Mono-white shadow dudes with Armageddon. I think this was a 50/50 match and a lucky draw on either side would make the difference.

 Round 2: Against magma728 with Horrors. This was a fairly interesting deck. The goal is filling the graveyard with Horrors that drain your opponent when they enter play (that counts to 20), with Living Death to bring them in.

 Round 3: Against fliebana with Kikipod. Let me say this: I love Birthing Pod, but beating an active Pod is a herculean feat. And can be immensely flustering. Though I have to give mad props to fliebana on the last turn of game 2, that was a line of play that took a good deal of skill to see through.

 Round 4: Against mihahitlor with Soltari. Very similar to round 1, except that the deck was more creature dense and ran Honor of the Pure, making it much faster, and turning Spectral Procession and Battle Screech into one-card armies.

by Kumagoro & RexDart


 KUMA: Here's a couple games where my Hydras did what Hydras do. First against Deonmag's Bats. When Kalonian Hydra remains unanswered (or is answered by something that Yavimaya Hollow can deal with, like Murder or Hero's Downfall), it's just a matter of a couple attacks, given that it's bound to duplicate the stats of any Hydra already there or that, like in this case, comes right after. The singleton Doubling Season was included just for kicks, but you can see it actually doubling the doubling here. Pretty insane.

 And here, against ML_Berlin's Berserkers, Doubling Season was actually crucial (so maybe it wasn't that silly an inclusion, after all! Did you notice that the Modern Masters version has a Hydra in the art?). The Berserkers had a great start with multiple Bloodbraid Elves, that I took care of with my sweepers, but not before taking damage down to 5. At that point, it has become that season of the Hydra year, and the last attack (which, again, my sweepers made sure would get through) features a pretty impressive 24/24 Heroes' Bane.

 And now, let's hear from RexDart, who commented live the decisive round 4 match between romellos and fliebana, which saw the former emerge as the only undefeated player of the tournament.

 REX: Hey everybody, welcome to Show and Tell – it's almost like old times again! I'm here today with coverage of the "finals" from Tribal Apocalypse last week.  Although I wasn't able to play the event, I showed up near the end of the tournament to deliver romellos his prize for winning my most recent deckbuilding challenge – a Garruk Relentless valued at over 4 tickets! If you missed the chance to compete for the last challenge, don't worry, I'll have a new one coming up near the end of the month, with a sweet prize as always, so keep your eyes right here on this column.

 Anyhow, romellos was back at it with his Bant Monks deck in Underdog once again. As long as aggro decks continue to be popular in tribal – and I don't expect that to end any time soon – this midrange creation will remain a powerful choice. With in-tribe mana acceleration thanks to Avacyn's Pilgrim, strong life gaining creatures, and the ability to quickly close out a game, romellos' deck is an excellent example of midrange deckbuilding in action. My only complaint would be that the Knight of the Reliquary seems a bit under-utilized, with only Karakas and Yavimaya Hollow to fetch up. It's a fine creature on its own, but has no particular synergies with the other creatures in the deck, so if I was going to include it just for raw power I would try to maximize its utility with either a set of Wasteland or a few more unique lands to tutor up. Anyhow, he's had a good run of success with this deck, so take that as a fairly minor quibble. The only other undefeated player after three rounds was fliebana with Plants. They faced off in Round 4 in what was effectively the final. I missed recording the opening turns of this match, but I was watching it and included a quick recap at the beginning of the coverage. 

 I obviously didn't have access to the decklists during the match, so fliebana's deck looked like it had tons of mana and basically nothing to do with it except for midrange value plays like blinking Wall of Blossoms with Restoration Angel. Turns out it's a Birthing Pod deck that just didn't get the chance to go off in this match, unfortunately. In porting Modern Kiki-Pod to Tribal Wars, there's not enough space in here to do much but throw up walls and try to live until you can combo off. It's a reasonable Plan A, but clearly it's more difficult to win with your Plan B when you don't have the stable of quality creatures that Modern Pod brings to bear in games where it doesn't draw the namesake artifact. While the deck was able to crush Gq1rf7's Berserkers in Round 3, it may have had more trouble if it had been forced to play the other X-1 aggro deck from Saturday, mihahitlor's shadowy and unblockable Soltari. But all credit to fliebana for bringing something kind of original to the Underdog event. Of the X-1 or better decks, all the others were frequent contenders showing up in their stock configurations, so it was nice to see a new direction for the Plant tribe, and it makes for a good pairing with the reliable old combo."


 Just to remind you of a few things: 

 Voting on Swords of X and Y Still Ongoing: Do you want the Swords (and Batterskull) to be unbanned in Underdog and Pure? (Remember they're not banned anywhere else, nor will.) We have collected 19 votes out of 30 so far. Current tally is here.

 Cockatrice Wants You! Be the first to win a match with (sort of) new tribe Cockatrice and you'll win 1 tix. Remember: only tribes with at least 3 members are effectively considered tribes in Tribal Apocalypse (since tribes that field an equal or greater number of Changelings than actual members count as Shapeshifter decks). Tribes with exactly 3 members, like Cockatrice, are allowed to play in Underdog events with 8 slots filled by Changelings, whereas nobody else (but, of course, Shapeshifter decks) can play with more than 4 Changelings in those events.

 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):

  • 4.23 (Week 180 BE), on June 14: Regular Tribal (just plain old Legacy Tribal Wars)
  • 4.24 (Week 181 BE), on June 21: Tribal Singleton (only one copy of each card except for basic lands)
  • 4.25 (Week 182 BE), on June 28: Pure Tribal (no off-tribe creatures, complete rules here)
  • 4.26 (Week 183 BE), on July 5: Tribal Underdog (only Underdog Tribes allowed)

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2014!

Vote for your favorite Equipment on the Topdeck Awards!



To answer your question, by Bazaar of Baghdad at Thu, 06/12/2014 - 15:43
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

To answer your question, kuma, I got the combo twice - my German friend let me (made me?) combo all the way out to the upkeeep win (my plan was to flip 100 coins), my last opponent conceded one game to the assembled pieces. Worship won another game, and I think I beatdown for the rest as I can't really recall anything special. It was a fun deck for the environment.

I marked down your by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 06/12/2014 - 17:17
Kumagoro42's picture

I marked down your achievement, BoB.