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By: Tribal Apocalypse, Tribal Apocalypse
Aug 07 2014 12:00pm
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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. Announcement Time!
  4. What's Next

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

by Kumagoro

 It's full August, and things are quiet and sleepy these summery days. Or not, as V4 is still making everyone's blood boil, apparently. Not mine, though, as confirmed by this article you might or might not have read, now coming with an associated forum post where I make some updates on the things that need fixing about V4.

 MTG people are also already starting to look forward to the next block, Khans of Tarkir, but that "dragons and Mongolian hordes" set is still almost two months away (the paper release date is September 26), and the only thing we know for sure is that it will include this guy:

He might suffer from microcephaly; he might not care.

 Well, actually we also know a lot of details on the background. You might want to read Oliver Law's great recap on everything Tarkir, if you didn't already. And one of those details is that the red-based clan, which Zurgo leads, includes Orcs, who Zurgo is. And while he's not immediately super-playable in an Orc deck, unless you really hoarded on all those Plateaux and Scrublands from VMA, the presence of the tribe in such a prominent role is good tribal news, because it could mean the Orcs will get the Lorwyn treatment and finally become a serious contender in Magic, after 21 years of languishing at the margins. Maybe WotC finally gave up on the idea that Orcs (and Dwarves for that matter) are too conventional fantasy creatures, or whatever was the rationale for their neglect.

 Looking even more forward, we started having spoilers for Commander 2014, too. In fact, we had more spoilers for that one, weirdly enough, despite the release date says November 7. Two spoilers, to be precise, one of which got a lot of attention already, so I'm sure you've seen it, but I'll still feature it, just because.

Yeah, yeah. It's Teferi. Yeah, yeah, it's a commander, too.

  I'm more interested in focusing on the other C14 spoiler, which is also a character we already know. We're about to welcome Innistrad's Gisa to the world of Magic that actually exists on Magic cards.

Isn't she a lovely, crazy necromancer?

 As the flavor text alludes, Gisa is the sister of Geralf, he of the famous messenger. The two crazy siblings (mentioned in quite a few cards already) are both necromancers, with Geralf being more of a Dr. Frankenstein, therefore blue-aligned, while Gisa is a traditional, black-mana-and-shovel kind of reanimator (reanimatress?). They stage huge zombie battles for fun, they assaulted Thraben and killed Mikaeus, they met Liliana, so probably she and Gisa exchanged tips on how to look good in black. As a card, Gisa is maybe a bit overcosted, but mechanically solid, as turning a creature into twice its power's worth of Zombies, at instant speed, is bound to be useful, and in general she's a pretty solid sacrifice outlet, if not a fast one (then again, she's meant for Commander). She could also easily lead a Zombie deck or a deck featuring all kinds of sacrifice shenanigans, even if the competition from the Golgari siblings, Jarad and Savra, is a steep one there. I realize she was already a popular character, whose unique looks and fun attitude already spawned re-imaginings like this one, which is actually from two years ago and entirely inspired by the material released during Innistrad block:

Art by homoseptimus

 Or this, more recent one, which take her 1920s veil and lace dress and her trusty shovel from the official Karla Ortiz art into a different style entirely:

Art by ymira

 There's also already a  particularly gorgeous full art alternate:

 Now I fully expect Geralf to get his card, too. Spoil on, C14!

 By the way, remember when I said, last week, that I would close the damn voting for the Swords of X and Y already, by asking each player in the event and make it stick? Well, I forgot! On my defense, it was the smaller event of the year, so we probably should wait for one with a 4-round attendance at least.


  • Event Number: 4.30, Week 187 BE
  • Date: August 2
  • Attendance: 13
  • Rounds: 3
  • Subformat: Tribal Underdog (only Underdog Tribes allowed)
  • Winner: romellos (Monk)
  • Other undefeated: Gq1rf7 (Minotaur)
  • 1 Loss: MisterMojoRising (Berserker), AJ_Impy (Siren), _Kumagoro_ (Insect), brettmemphis1989 (Kor)
  • Special Prizes: True Underdog Prize and New Kids on the Block Award to AJ_Impy (Siren)
  • Tribes: Berserker (x2), Centaur, Insect, Kor, Minotaur, Monk, Myr, Orc, Rat, Rebel, Siren, Vedalken
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 We got so very close to singularity this week! We ended just a duplicate Berserker short of having all different tribes. Anyway, Monk won again (third time in 8 Underdog events this year), again piloted by romellos. Have they "become" too good for Underdog? But how comes that only romellos is playing them?


 Minotaurs got the final playoff this time, with this build of opposite colors (from Bant to Rakdos) by Gq1rf7:


 However, list of the week is AJ_Impy's Siren deck, which gave the tribe their first match win, therefore the New Kids on the Block Award, while simultaneously achieving True Underdog status (sort of a consequence of being such a debuting tribe), and ending in the Top 4. Congrats, AJ! (He even rightfully brags about it in this week's podcast).

by AJ_Impy - Top 4, True Underdog Prize, New Kids on the Block Award
4 Alluring Siren
4 Chorus of the Tides
4 Cloaked Siren
4 Hypnotic Siren
4 Siren of the Fanged Coast
20 cards

Other Spells
4 Control Magic
3 Homarid Spawning Bed
3 Opposition
3 Propaganda
3 Web of Inertia
16 cards
24 Island
24 cards

Alluring Siren


 All the non-tribal cards are enchantments. Propaganda and Web of Inertia make opponent's attacks harder; Control Magic (playing into Hypnotic Siren's own ability) and Opposition neutralize threats, and this very old, very unusual card from Fallen Empires turn mediocre beaters into many many tokens, to fuel the Opposition plan to the extreme.

Yep, this deck somehow turns sirens into crustacean larvae.

 The Sirens also managed to unlock for AJ the Blue Thunder achievement (reinforcing AJ's position as the lead for the 25 tix prize that awaits at the end of the year), by being a monoblue deck with no instants or sorceries. They were (almost) unstoppable!

 In the meantime, I was playing Insect, of course. Couldn't resist trying Hornet Nest right away.


 The 2-1 result is deceiving, because the deck felt strong all the way through and ready to take over an event. The interaction between the Nest and Earthquake is obvious, but powerful. And there are a variety of different angles of attack, like Crop Rotation into Gaea's Cradle to cast an early Hornet Queen out of a bunch of tokens generated via the Nest and its progenitor Broodhatch Nantuko, then Natural Order into Craterhoof Behemoth for the win, or just into a Queen for mad board domination. And the plan B (or maybe it's plan A, they're more or less equally likely) is winning through token generation activating Purphoros (who, you know, is the source of those earthquakes), with Goblin Bombardment producing infinite triggers when hitting the Nest. Yeah, it's all about seismic movements driving the poor hornets crazy.


I won a game by putting a hornet nest directly onto that goblin catapult. How flavorful is that?

 Maybe I should drop Vorapede, though. I wanted a honest midrange presence, but it felt cumbersome at times. Man, it's really hard to find a home for that toothy caterpillar. Whereas Xantid Swarm was there as an early presence that could escape Earthquake and be sacrificed to the Bombardment to start triggering the Nest. And it did its job, its ability even proving useful in making sure my turns always went undisturbed.



 Also known as: how much do the top decks cost? As of August 7, 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):

  • Top 4, AJ_Impy's Sirens: $5.97 (nonland cards: $5.97; tribal base: $2.32)

 We already know that Monk build is expensive from when it won two months ago, while the Minotaurs seem cheap enough (after all, you can tell Gq1rf7 is the Master of Budget, by just looking at the list below). So let's give a look at the overperforming Siren list, instead. And well, it is extremely cheap (it would belong to the list if it ended undefeated), thanks to an all-basic mana base, and the fact that there's not a single card worth more than $0.50. Yet another accomplishment.

 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. 


 Just to remind you of a few things:

  VMA and M15 cards are now on Gatherling! No more placeholder shenanigans are needed!

 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, too! Be the first to win a match with freshly promoted to tribes Cockatrice or Badger 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 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. And of course this will happen only as soon as the Changelings will work on V4 as promised.

 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!


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

  • 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)
  • 4.33 (Week 190 BE), on August 23: Tribal Commander (read the rules here)
  • 4.34 (Week 191 BE), on August 30: Pure Tribal (no off-tribe creatures, complete rules here)

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2014!

Vote for your favorite Card Drawing on the Topdeck Awards!