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Jul 24 2014 11:00am
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 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse!

   Table of Contents 

  1. Last Week on Tribal Apocalypse...
  2. The High Price of Winning
  3. Smawatts' War Report
  4. Top 10 Creatures for Tribal Wars: M15 Edition
  5. 5 Questions with a Tribal Player: M4vis
  6. Announcement Time!
  7. What's Next

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


THOUGHTS OF A TRIBAL HOST
by Kumagoro

 All right, after the third Kaleidoscope event, we can be honest: this format is a mess. It's so restricted that only a handful of tribes are really playable (in his interview, AJ_Impy lamented the fact that Singleton excludes so many tribes from the pool entirely, but isn't Kaleidoscope excluding even more? There are lots of Underdog tribes that will never have 5 multicolored members, let alone 5 good ones). What's worse is that essentially only three tribes are top tier: Knight, Goblin, and Elf. And mostly because of these guys:

   

   

All the allied-color Lieges are Knights, by the way.

 A couple other cards are also so good that you find them pretty much everywhere:

  

Oversoul of Dusk is really half a Progenitus in this format.

 So, we need to ban/change something, or the list of the 3-1 and 4-0 decks of every K-scope event will look like the one you can see below, which is discouraging. Problem is: I don't really know what to ban. All the above cards? The Knight tribe? The Knight creature type as a whole? Any off-tribe creature? I welcome suggestions, but as it is, the format is clearly jammed.

 On other news, we still have to decide the special event for next month's additional week, August 23. I tentatively wrote Commander in the calendar, as we haven't done a multiplayer event in a lot (find the rules for Tribal Commander, including the special "tribe combinations", here; the list of commanders and types is here). Is this appealing to most? 


LAST WEEK ON TRIBAL APOCALYPSE...

  • Event Number: 4.28, Week 185 BE
  • Date: July 19
  • Attendance: 17
  • Rounds: 4
  • Subformat: Tribal Kaleidoscope (only multicolored cards and lands) 
  • Winner: Robin88 (Knight)
  • Other undefeated: pfirpfel (Knight)
  • 1 Loss: ML_Berlin (Goblin), milegyenanevem (Goblin), Gq1rf7 (Goblin)
  • Special Prizes: Underdog Prize to vantar6697 (Kavu)
  • Tribes: Cleric, Elf (x3), Giant, Goblin (x3), Kavu, Knight (x3), Rat, Spirit, Troll, Wizard (x2)
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 See? Elf, Goblin and Knight made more than half the event, and the final standings look like this: Knight, Knight, Goblin, Goblin, Goblin. Not very exciting. Here's the winning Knight list by Robin88.

 

 And this is the other undefeated one by newcomer pfirpfel. Kudos to him for almost winning an event at the first try!

 

 And this is what a typical Goblin list looks like.

 

 And this is what a typical Elf list looks like.

 

 You can see how in this format, the mana base easily allows for 5-color decks, what with all those playsets of Pillar of the Paruns in every deck. Unlike me, people don't even bother using Cavern of Souls and Reflecting Pool!


THE HIGH PRICE OF WINNING

  

 Also known as: how much do the top decks cost? As of July 24, 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, Robin88's Knights: $316.29 (nonland cards: $37.46; tribal base: $7.63)
  • 2nd place, pfirpfel's Knights: $178.64 (nonland cards: $41.72; tribal base: $19.52)

 Robin's deck would have been way more expensive before VMA made all the original dual lands so cheap (seriously, Plateau, Savannah, Taiga and Scrubland are all in the 2-3 tix range!). To keep the price relatively high there's a copy of Ajani Vengeant and Gaea's Cradle (and both cost less than they used to do early this year), and several fetch lands, most notably the more and more over the top Misty Rainforest, which is now one of the most expensive cards in the game (it's in the same price range of most Moxen!). As for pfirpfel, his build stay lower because it loses all the above mentioned money cards, but its tribal base is made more expensive due to Wilt-Leaf Liege still being sold for more than $3.50 apiece, which is however still cheap compared to its price from last February.

 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.


WAR REPORT
by Smawatts

 As this was my first Kaleidoscope event, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I knew the format would be more powerful in general because gold cards are more powerful than single-color cards. Not knowing what to expect overall, I just built from what I already had, which basically left me with only the options of Wizards, Humans, or Shamans. I decided to go with Wizards in Naya colors to get Bloodbraid Elf and Lightning Helix while having a mana base that would allow me to cast Boros Reckoner with ease.

 I am very unhappy with my deck in retrospect. I knew protection would be a more powerful ability due to the nature of the card pool, but I think I under-estimated how powerful it actually was. Not running Branching Bolt, Gruul War Chant or Selesnya Charm left me with no outs to two of the most difficult to deal with creatures in the format: Stillmoon Cavalier and Oversoul of Dusk. I also had to mulligan in more games than not, and from not having enough land, which means I ran too few. I think 23 is probably the number I should have gone with.

 Round 1: Against mihahitlor with Knights. Game 1 I mulled to 5 and didn't see any hands that could cast spells, so I conceded without casting a spell turn 4. I have to admit this start may have tilted me a bit for the rest of the day. Game 2 he steadily built out a board that had protection from my team and I was never able to find an opening.

 Round 2: Against Deonmag with Elves. All I can say is Boros Reckoner plus Qasali Pridemage is a very powerful board presence.

Round 3: Against RexDart with Clerics. Very lopsided games. I got steamrolled game one by a flying Geist of Saint Traft. Game two he got mana screwed, and game three was a hard fought battle.

 Round 4: Against vantar6697 with Kavu. I have to assume he got viciously flooded both games as he casted like 3 spells per game.


TOP 10 CREATURES FOR TRIBAL WARS: M15 EDITION
by RexDart

 

 Magic 2015 is the most intriguing core set since the debut of the Titans in Magic 2011. There are four brand new planeswalkers for the first time. There's a cycle of legendary creatures at rare, and the Soul cycle at mythic. There's a fun artifact subtheme for limited play. And you even get one more bite at the Sliver apple.

 Before I talk about the Top 10, I want to briefly discuss those two cycles. Only one creature from them makes my list, but they are interesting in terms of what direction they indicate for the game. The Legendary Cycle at rare heralds the return of popular characters Avacyn and Ob Nixilis. It's very cool to see Wizards bringing these favorites back, and especially interesting to bring them back at a lower rarity with these new versions. Now kitchen table players will have the chance to own an Avacyn for $3 instead of $30. In the old days, CCGs based on popular IPs such as Star Wars or Lord of the Rings would often have lower-rarity less-powerful versions of popular characters, because they realized that those characters were a big selling point for the game and wanted to expand access to them. Budget or casual players couldn't always afford the best Luke Skywalker or Frodo Baggins, but they could afford at least one version of them. With Magic, the flagship characters are all planeswalkers, which must be printed at mythic for various well-justified reasons. Moving forward, it seems like a great idea to print popular non-walker characters in a recurring role at rare, and I hope they do it again.

 

 The rest of the cycle, not to be ignored, includes three fun build-arounds. I don't think these should be pigeonholed as "intended for Commander". I could see semi-competitive homebrews at a Standard FNM built around Jalira and Yisan, and possibly even Kurkesh if he gets some support. Overall, an awesome job on this cycle from the design and creative teams!

  

 The Soul Cycle, on the other hand, is highly underwhelming. It feels as if they were trying to print "fixed" Titans. While these are 6/6 creatures for 6 mana that can still give you value if they are killed, the value proposition isn't that great. You spend 11+ mana to trade your creature for their 2 mana removal spell and you net a minor spell effect such as Call of the Herd or Searing Blaze out of the deal. If these abilities were on planeswalkers, they would be powerful -2 or -3 loyalty abilities, but on a creature they just don't impress. Likely they would have been oppressive at lower mana, but they are just bad at higher mana, and so the cycle feels like a failure to me. Only Soul of New Phyrexia feels mythic, thanks to the mystique surrounding indestructibility held over from the Darksteel days.

 Anyhow, thanks to yet another set with a mythic creature cycle in a bad tribe, this will be the second consecutive Top 10 not to feature any mythics. As always, cards in my list are sorted by rarity, not overall power. With that in mind, here we go!

 1. Chief Engineer. Rarity: Rare - Types: Vedalken, Artificer
 I've played and enjoyed both Vedalken and Artificer decks in the past. Both tend to be focused around big artifacts. Vedalken have the advantage of also being artifacts themselves in many cases. Chief Engineer could produce Affinity-esque explosive starts in such a deck. The question is whether it can compete with Vedalken Engineer and Etherium Sculptor for a slot in those decks. Vedalken Engineer produces more mana on its own, and Sculptor may potentially produce more mana overall over the course of the game and without forcing you to tap down creatures. However, Chief Engineer's convoke ability allows you to produce colored mana to cast colored artifacts. If it sees play over those alternatives, that will be the reason. In Artificer decks, you are most likely using Goblin Welder to cheat artifacts into play, so you would be less interested in Chief Engineer there.

 2. Genesis Hydra. Rarity: Rare - Types: Plant, Hydra
 Both Plant and Hydra are typically built as ramp decks. Plant will make the mana with its creatures and use off-tribe finishers, whereas Hydra will rely on mana-ramping sorceries or enchantments. Each tribe faces an issue with using this card. For Plants, casting this for seven mana is fairly easy, and in theory it is nice to have an in-tribe fattie. Unfortunately, your density of reasonable threats may not be very high, and with X=5 you could find only a Sylvan Caryatid that is useless at that stage of the game. Hydra have a different problem entirely. You really don't want to find one of the X-cost Hydras this way, because X will be treated as zero. However, Kalonian Hydra, Hydra Broodmaster and Polukranos, World Eater are all reasonable to find off this spell. I would at least consider this in a Hydra deck with enough ramp that it could reasonably expect to cast this for X=5.

 3. Chasm Skulker. Rarity: Rare - Types: Squid, Horror
 Yikes, those seem like some bizarre tribes to work with, don't they? And yet... did you know Horrors have a card-drawing subtheme? You get Phyrexian Rager, his doubled-up brother Phyrexian Gargantua, and Thought Gorger to power this guy up. You can also add in Psychosis Crawler to ding your opponent for these extra draws. And if you like, Horrors have some cheap sac-outlets to let you convert your Skulker into a horde of islandwalking baby-squids with ease. There are enough synergies here to build some kind of deck around, though as is the case with all death-trigger creatures, you run the risk of cheap white removal spoiling your fun. Really the most likely reason for this to see play is the fact that it's the fourth Squid ever printed, and you basically have to play it if you are one of those folks who likes to play those super-tiny tribes.

 4. Goblin Rabblemaster. Rarity: Rare - Types: Goblin, Warrior
 I'm not sure why this had to have a drawback, even one that is relatively mild in Goblins. The card seems reasonable without it. Anyhow, it fits well in the already-powerful swarm aggro plan of most Goblin decks. It provides two bodies, one with haste, and will spit out more tokens if not dealt with immediately. Perhaps the best ability is the one that mimics Goblin Piledriver. At one point, I would have called this as a sure bet to see play just as a budget replacement for Piledriver, but Piledriver himself is down below 3 tickets per copy right now. Nevertheless, a playset of Piledrivers exceeds the entire cost of many winning Goblin decks, so this remains a factor. The tribe is very popular with format newcomers and low-budget players, and for that reason I still suspect this guy will see play, optimal or not.

 5. Hornet Nest. Rarity: Rare - Types: Insect
 This ability fits the theme of several other Insects, particularly Saber Ants and Broodhatch Nantuko. I think this provides enough redundancy to make some sort of Insect deck based around Blasphemous Act. Having a board-sweeper as part of your combo is a pretty sweet way to play combo in a creature-oriented format.

 6. Ob Nixilis, Unshackled. Rarity: Rare - Types: Demon
 Do Demons need another six-drop? Well, not really. But I think this has an outside chance to see play despite the crowded field. The punisher mechanic here is so ludicrously over-the-top that it's very nearly just a one-sided Mindlock Orb, turning off opposing fetchlands at the least. In the best case, this is also shutting off opposing utility spells such as Green Sun's Zenith or finishers such as Natural Order. And in a deck with a reasonable amount of removal — such as, I don't know, every black deck ever played in Tribal Wars — this is likely to be a pretty big trampling flier in short order.

 7. Diffusion Sliver. Rarity: Uncommon - Types: Sliver
 Worse than Crystalline Sliver? Yes. Strictly worse? No. For one thing, it doesn't require white, and if you aren't interested in playing the 12-Lord variant then you might be happy to cut that color out. You also get the benefit of being able to target your own Slivers without paying this tax. If Umezawa's Jitte were legal in Tribal Wars, this would be definitely be enough incentive. Is there a Sliver deck that wants to target its own creatures? Not at the moment, but this opens up some potential new angles, and would see play if the deck moved in that direction. Or you may just want Crystalline Slivers 5 through 8, in which case, here you go!

 8. Quickling. Rarity: Uncommon - Types: Faerie, Rogue
 Bouncing your own Faeries to reuse their ETB effects has been discussed before in the context of Faerie Impostor. But where that card failed to impress, this one has a real chance thanks to flash. Not only can you re-buy the effects of a Spellstutter Sprite or Vendilion Clique, but you can save your high-power fliers from removal at instant-speed. Definitely playable in Faeries.

 

 9. Reclamation Sage. Rarity: Uncommon - Types: Elf, Shaman
 There have been creatures in these tribes that did one or the other, but never both. The flexibility this offers is great. Of course, with most of the powerful equipment presently banished from Tribal Wars, it's not likely you want to play three or four of these. As a one-of in a deck with a Green Sun's Zenith package, it's exactly what you want. This is basically a lock to see play.

 10. Generator Servant. Rarity: Common - Types: Elemental
  This wasn't on my original draft of the Top 10 list, but I gave this card a harder look after my paper pre-release. It was easily my favorite card in my deck all afternoon. How do I like my five-drops? On turn three with haste, please! Could this be constructed-playable? I think the answer is yes, but it has an unfortunate creature type. Elementals are traditionally built as a Sligh aggro deck, and this calls for inclusion in either Big Red — where it would clash with the typical board sweepers — or a Gruul ramp strategy. The best five-drop to pair with this in-tribe would be Malignus, which I admit is pretty awesome, but after that it drops off dramatically. At six mana you have the Lorwyn Incarnation cycle, Vigor and pals, but there's nothing particularly back-breaking about giving them haste. It could be that this is best suited to usage off-tribe with something like Dragons or Giants, tribes with huge creatures and powerful trigger-on-attack abilities. This gives you a turn 4 hasty Titan with no extra help. I believe this is playable in the format, but somebody will have to work a bit to find it a home. 

 NOTE: Also check Kuma's own Tribal Evaluation of M15, with all the new creatures but not focused specifically on Tribal Wars. And Rex's match against AJ_Impy from the Kaleidoscope event (videos not yet available on Rex's Channel, "cjwynes").


FIVE QUESTIONS WITH A TRIBAL PLAYER: M4VIS

 Let's meet first time winner m4vis, who earned his first tribal honors two weeks ago.

 WHO: My name is Matt, I'm 26 years old born and raised in the USA. I just recently finished my enlistment of 6 years in the United States Air Force, and am currently enjoying some down time happily unemployed :) I play quite a bit of magic, but I'm also into board games, casino games, and pretty much all games.

 WHAT: I would like to think of myself as a good player, I am always having random deck ideas and combos. Normally I will push every avenue for unique ideas I have until I either make something that works well or find out my idea isn't so good, in which case I will most likely examine the metagame and play whatever deck has the best chance of winning and is fun to play, within my budget of course. I haven't played much Tribal Wars, my schedule is hectic week to week. I am interested in playing Underdog tribes the most, I don't plan on sticking to any one tribe week to week. The decklist I'm most proud of is my only winning deck, The Rat. My loss in the first tribal tournament made me realize that the format is much more competitive and versatile than I thought. So instead of finding a tribe to build a deck around, I started looking for decks to build a tribe into. I happened to have a pretty good the rack/discard deck already made and realized I could swap out some creature kill and straight discard spells for Rats that cause people to discard, and not really lose any consistency. I'm not sure how that will affect the future metagame, part of the reason I think I did so well was that people weren't really sure what to do against my deck. The Rats are basically a distraction/stall until I can get out Ensnaring Bridge, and The Rack or Shrieking Affliction, while keeping their hand low.

  

 WHEN: I started playing MTG back in 2001 in junior high school, and played until just before Champions of Kamigawa came out. I stopped playing for a few years when I basically invested most all of my money into building my favorite deck, perfect Arcbound Ravager. The day after I acquired a full set of foil Skullclamps and Ravagers, WotC decided to ban just about every card in my deck :) So I made an MTGO account and have played on and off ever since.

 WHERE: My favorite format is Sealed Deck, it's enjoyable to make decks from scratch like that and then acquire a bunch of cards in the process. I have played in a few different tournaments, back in the day I played in a few paper Magic Junior Super Series as well as local small town tourneys. On MTGO I have mostly played drafts and sealed decks as well as some 1-on-1 tourneys, mostly Pauper. That is until I discovered PREs a few months ago and have been dedicated to them ever since. I am on a pretty small budget, so any decks I build are budget decks or used from cards I already owned. My goal when I started playing PREs was to build the best budget decks I could for each format I could find, and play them all. My favorites so far are Modern, Tribal Wars, and Heirloom, but I play them all if I have the time.

 WHY: I play Tribal Apocalypse because it's free and fun. I also like the idea of giving a deck a specific theme, personifying a tribe and then battling other people's tribes. Tribal Apocalypse is structured well, with lots of the same players from the various other PREs and in general has the relaxed-but-competitive vibe that I enjoy. This format and the other more obscure formats are something that I hope grow bigger as a community and hopefully more PREs and/or support from WotC come from it. Competitive magic shouldn't just be restricted to people who have infinite money! :) 
 


ANNOUNCEMENT TIME!

 Just to remind you of a few things:

 VMA Cards are not yet on Gatherling: Due to the recent change of Gatherer architecture, the data import of the latest set into Gatherling is taking long than usual (the code needs to be rewritten). In the meantime, you can regularly use the cards, but you need to "trick" Gatherling by putting a placeholder in the list, then specifying in a note what VMA card you're actually playing instead.

 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! And Badger and Siren, too! Be the first to win a match with freshly promoted to tribes Cockatrice, Badger or Siren, 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 third quarter of 2014. The quarter will end September 27. 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):

  • 4.29 (Week 186 BE), on July 26: Pure Tribal (no off-tribe creatures, complete rules here)
  • 4.30 (Week 187 BE), on August 2: Tribal Underdog (only Underdog Tribes allowed)
  • 4.31 (Week 188 BE), on August 9: Regular Tribal (just plain old Legacy Tribal Wars)
  • 4.32 (Week 189 BE), on August 16: Tribal Singleton (only one copy of each card except for basic lands)

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2014!

Vote for your favorite Card Drawing on the Topdeck Awards!

SEE YOU ALL IN THE TRIBAL ROOM!

23 Comments

My argument to Kuma when we by RexDart at Thu, 07/24/2014 - 13:51
RexDart's picture

My argument to Kuma when we were discussing this in chat Saturday was basically this: pull out the Knights and you would see much greater diversity. There are plenty of viable midrange decks, but right now they're all just worse than casting Wilt-Leaf Liege and a bunch of G/W Knights with protection from almost everything.

Like many people, I initially played the Human/Knight thing because it was fairly obvious and I had less time to come up with something else. Since the first event, I've brewed up about a half-dozen decks for K-Scope Tribal, ranging from control to combo to aggro, and I think plenty of decks would be competitive. My midrange Cleric deck this week would have been pretty well positioned against aggro, with its copious volume of lifegain and solid bodies, and felt competitive -- but really it couldn't compete with the fact that my Knights opponent casting Wilt-Leaf Liege is just way better than my casting a Loxodon Hierarch.

Every midrange deck that isn't Knights is just a worse version of Knights. Likely every aggro deck that isn't Goblins is just a worse version of Goblins.

I believe this format has a ton of potential that just isn't being seen right now because those two decks are crowding everything else out. One solution would just be to ban Knights entirely, which I would be fine with.

The alternative solution I would propose is to ban all creatures with color protections. This would go straight to the core of the one problem that keeps popping up to make K-Scope less fun and interactive. Some format old-timers would consider the power of color protections to be the central feature of K-Scope, but I would call it the central failure, and the one thing the format would most benefit from having removed.

Rex, I'm not sure the Knights by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 07/24/2014 - 15:43
Kumagoro42's picture

Rex, I'm not sure the Knights are strong because of the protections. It seems to me they just smash with huge beefed up beaters. Some combination of Knight of New Alara, Wilt-Leaf Liege, Knotvine Paladin, plus Knight of the Reliquary who grows big on her own. Stillmoon Cavalier is the only consistently used Knight with protection (Robin only used 2 copies, with Galina's Knight as a meta-call against Goblin).

The thing is that the format is slow, the removal are slow and somehow clunky (several of those able to kill a large body are 3-mana sorceries), with little mass removal. So the knights just overwhelm you, the goblins just kill you before you can stabilize the board.

Solutions seem all problematic. If we ban Knight as a tribe, they'll just play Human with the Liege off-tribe, or Elves with New Alara off-tribe, or so. Banning the Knight type is a pretty awkward solution. And then we have to stop Goblins as well, or we would just hand over the format to them.

Goblins are presently losing by RexDart at Thu, 07/24/2014 - 17:44
RexDart's picture

Goblins are presently losing to knights, I expect they would lose to any other competent midrange deck but be favored against control... which is exactly the Rock Paper Scissors game WotC develops for. I very much doubt my cleric deck could ever have lost to Goblins.

Be careful to remember that by Bazaar of Baghdad at Thu, 07/24/2014 - 14:44
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

Be careful to remember that to the extent you water down the format, the stronger Depths/Stage combo becomes. Something to keep in the back of your mind.

Kaleidoscope issues by longtimegone at Thu, 07/24/2014 - 15:08
longtimegone's picture

This sounds like what I was saying back when we were voting on dropping some singleton events for Kaleidoscope.

When you take 2 restrictive formats and mash those restrictions together, how much room is really left for a healthy meta?

Let's remember, though, that by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 07/24/2014 - 15:26
Kumagoro42's picture

Let's remember, though, that Singleton wasn't half-dropped to make room for Kaleidoscope; it happened because more than 50% of the voters didn't want to play Singleton every week. Kaleidoscope was the easier, more immediately available option to fill the void left by half Singleton events. Next year, I might envision using those slots for something else, maybe just more of another regular event. (Since you pretty much already have to consult the calendar/read the newsletter/follow the articles to be 100% sure of what the next event will be, at this point half the Singleton slots might be devoted to a "rotation inside the rotation", adding one more of the other 3 events over the year, and maybe 3 K-Scope).

Singleton and K-Scope are two by RexDart at Thu, 07/24/2014 - 15:33
RexDart's picture

Singleton and K-Scope are two very different kinds of restrictive formats. There's a distinction between deck *building* restrictions, and card pool restrictions. K-Scope restricts which cards are in your pool, which is very much like the restrictions we deal with all the time in block constructed and standard. Sometimes in a limited card pool, a few cards or a single strategy is so much better than the others, it merits a ban. This happened very recently with Lingering Souls in INN/DKA block constructed.

Singleton's restriction acts to basically just undermine the entire process of creative deckbuilding by eliminating any attempt to make a deck do something coherent. There are a few tribes with enough redundancy to escape this, but they all do extremely straight-forward things: many Goblins are cheap attackers, many Elves make mana, etc. There's no way to do anything creative, build around something quirky, or so forth, because you just aren't going to see the build-around cards often enough. Why did EDH take off and replace Singleton as a casual format years back? Because having access to the General gave 100 card singleton decks an identity and a level of consistency that deckbuilders wanted.

Tribal Wars is already a deckbuilding puzzle in and of itself, and I think varying the card pool with things like K-Scope is a fun diversion. It just needs some tweaking.

Singleton, OTOH, is just fundamentally incoherent, and Tribal Singleton amounts to smashing two deck-building restrictions together in a way that doesn't work at all.

Strongly disagree about the by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 07/24/2014 - 15:48
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Strongly disagree about the lack of potential creativity in Singleton builds. You should study competitive Commander decks more closely: there are crazy consistent combo builds that just ignore the commander, choosing stuff like Sliver Queen just because they need access to all 5 colors, but rarely even playing her. Or Child of Alara for having an emergency reset button in case things go south, not because it's part of the intricate web of interactions those decks can build.

Problem with competitive Commander is that there aren't large quantities of available data to analyze. I do what I can with my article series.

I hate Kaleidoscope. by MisterMojoRising at Thu, 07/24/2014 - 21:45
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I don't have any interest in playing Kaleidoscope. I love Singleton. I think it's a lot of fun to get to play with cards we never play with any other time, and Singleton is where we get to do that. Kaleidoscope just lacks too many of the staple kinds of cards that we need to make the game work. And even some of the cards we have are probably stealth-banned by their price. The best deck probably has Pernicious Deed, Vindicate, and Rishadan Port in it, but it's not feasible to purchase those cards for a format that we only play six times a year. At least with Singleton, the new cards we have to buy for it are cheap.

I would replace Kaleidoscope with anything else. Anything. Maybe try some type of event where you can only run creatures. Or pauper underdog. I don't know what it should be, but I would much rather play another regular event than Kaleidoscope. I have a ton of ideas for cool regular decks, but I never get to play them because there's only one regular even per month.

I am inclined to agree. by Smawatts at Fri, 07/25/2014 - 05:01
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You actually hit a bunch of the issues I realized after playing one event. From a budget stand point its probably the most expensive of the formats since dual lands and fetches are basically required to get over the hurtle of playing three to five colors. Of the 4 decks that placed the cheapest mana base was 60 tickets.

I think a bigger issue at least for me is it really just isn’t much fun. The games played kind of like really broken limited decks. Since a lot staple cards are missing, removal is super awkward, instead of building synergistic decks these felt like just jamming powerful cards. Because tribal synergies and identities just aren’t there.

I also wouldn't mind doing more regular events. I do find it a little odd that regular events are only as once a month, but I am sure there is a reason.

MisterMojoRising & Smawatts: by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 07/25/2014 - 21:21
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MisterMojoRising & Smawatts: know that I agree with what both of you said.

As an Elves player in Tribal, by ScionOfJustice at Thu, 07/24/2014 - 23:18
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As an Elves player in Tribal, I've been waiting for Sage for years. I know engineered plague isn't legal in tribal but this card can even take that card out where as Viridian Zealot couldn't. An enter play naturalize really shows how the power level of creatures has been increasing. This card is great.

Hornet Nest by Smawatts at Fri, 07/25/2014 - 05:08
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I think is my favorite card from m15. I love the idea of chord of calling in up mid combat and throwing it in front of an oncoming creature.

Why would you specifically by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 07/25/2014 - 22:26
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Why would you specifically want to chord-call in front of an upcoming attacker a creature that kills artifacts and enchantments? Unless the attacker was an artifact or enchantment itself, I mean. :)

Opps. by Smawatts at Sun, 07/27/2014 - 13:52
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I was talking about hornet nest, I put in the subject line, but not in the text because sometimes I am dumb.

Oh, I am, because it never by Kumagoro42 at Mon, 07/28/2014 - 20:52
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Oh, I am, because it never occurred to me to look at the subject!

So, we share the favorite card from M15!

My vote would be to by m4vis at Fri, 07/25/2014 - 18:51
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My vote would be to continually pool ideas and try new things month to month, and see if anything more mass appealing comes up. I personally would be interested in tribal pauper or standard. I don't dislike singleton or kaleidoscope, but I think other formats might be more enjoyable all around.

I agree, m4vis. Only, forget by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 07/25/2014 - 22:28
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I agree, m4vis. Only, forget Pauper Tribal and Standard Tribal. Those formats have been tried. They're terrible. :)
(Too restricted pools, too little variety).

I don't know what it's called by m4vis at Fri, 07/25/2014 - 22:42
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I don't know what it's called but we could do only creatures and lands, maybe even only 1 tribe and only creatures and lands.

How about a new tribal week, by ScionOfJustice at Sat, 07/26/2014 - 01:50
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How about a tribal week where the tribe is predetermined for that week. Everyone plays that tribe.

We do that for the Duel by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 07/26/2014 - 16:57
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We do that for the Duel Weeks. We can do more of those next year.
It's risky, though. The attendance is usually low on Duel Weeks because a good share of the player base doesn't really like to be forced to brew one or two specific tribes. Maybe they don't own the cards and don't want to spend for one event, or just don't like those tribes.

I think the only problematic by mihahitlor at Sat, 07/26/2014 - 05:59
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I think the only problematic card in Selesnya Knights deck is Oversoul of Dusk - the others are just good creatures that can be answered by removal 1-for-1. A deck that would sport lots of removal and card advantage (ETB effects, mass removal, card draw), would be a favourite against both Knights, Elves and Goblins. It is too soon too declare a deck broken based on the impression of previous results, we have only played 3 (or 4?) tournaments so far. I remember when Vampires were seen as such when Singleton started, but they turned out to be just an average-good tribe.

So if bans are to be made, Oversoul of Dusk I think is more than enough (and I wouldn't even necessary do that).

But anyway, I agree with the notion of some folks in the comments that it is time to change. I have supported the Kaleidoscope in the beginning, but now my position is that it's just not that fun of a format to be be played regularly. I would reserve these 6 spots in the year for more special events. We can also repeat some of the successful ones we had, so we don't necessarily have to come up with a new format every time. Some of the events that I would be interested in playing: Vintage Tribal, Commander Tribal, Build-your-own format Tribal (players choose x sets and build decks from those (though the legality wouldn't be possible to be automatically checked with Gatherling)), Loser Tribes tribal (only the Tribes that never won are eligible; or we can have an event where only tribes with, I don't know, less than 10 members are eligible), and others have suggested other possibilites.

Yeah, it seems a good idea. I by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 07/26/2014 - 16:56
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Yeah, it seems a good idea. I just wanted to keep things as simpler as possible (in fact, this year we did very little special events), but after a certain point, we have to consider that Tribal Apocalypse is a complicate beast already, and following either these articles or the newsletter or the GoogleDocs is required to prepare for the next event. (I should start sending the newsletter a few days in advance).
One or two of the events can still be K-Scope. But not 6 of them.