Tribal Apocalypse's picture
By: Tribal Apocalypse, Tribal Apocalypse
Aug 21 2014 12:00pm
Login to post comments

 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. Announcement Time!
  5. What's Next

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

by Kumagoro

 Attendance-wise, this is not a good year for Tribal Apocalypse. In fact, at this point in the season (19 events to go over 52 overall) this is the worst year ever in the Blippian Era. Here's where the attendance figures were at this same time in the past:

  • 2011: 580 players
  • 2012: 597 players
  • 2013: 680 players
  • 2014: 566 players

 Of course these aren't particularly worrying data, generally speaking. Yet they are the moment you compare them with those from last year, which was certainly (and for mostly obscure reasons) a great year for tribal play, resulting in the current attendance being down 114 players. That's a lot of lost players.

 We may still have a great Autumn, for as much as we know. But there have to be some factors behind this negative trend. One of those may be the change of client, of course. We had meager attendances since the switch. But I can't really believe this to be a major cause, when the Modern event  I run on Thursdays routinely scored 20+ players in the past month. Granted, the player base is very different there. There's only minimal overlapping between the two events, and the profile of the Tribal Apocalypse player is also different. We've talked about this in the past: the Tribal Player comes to Tribal Apocalypse with precise expectations based on their own idea of what Legacy Tribal Wars is, or should be. The Modern Player comes to Modern Times expecting a honest-to-God Modern event, and nothing else. They know the rules, they know the drill, it's freaking Modern. Nobody would ever want a Modern PRE to be anything else but a tournament where you play Modern. It's very simple. Sometimes, for a host, refreshing: although this approach only asks for the host to be a pairing machine, it also prevents the host for being a real factor in the event's success.

 But does this mean that the average Tribal Player whines a lot more than the average Modern Player? It's possible, but it doesn't seem fair. I can't think the switch from V3 to V4 affected players differently based on the formats they use to play more. (Maybe there's actually something to this, but it's still an inconclusive thought).

 Besides, we didn't lost 114 players in a month. You can look at the 2013 calendar and compare it to this year's. We had events with 24 to 26 players in May 2013. And in January. And in February. And in March, where we made a 32-player event that seems impossible now. We also had a 9-player event in November, while this year at least we never went below 12. That event was the latest Slugapalooza, which we won't repeat this year: it was fun once, but after a while it lost its charm and became shenanigans for the sake of shenanigans, to which very few players responded. Here's the thing: I'm aware Tribal Apocalypse is a complex event with multiple sub-formats, that requires web pages, an article series and a newsletter to be properly followed. But that's not new. If anything, it was more complex last year, with more special events that I tried to minimize in the current calendar. So that wasn't the issue.

We also had a full year's serving of Singleton events, and we had up to 26 players in those. Kaleidoscope was most definitely a mistake (which most definitely will disappear almost entirely from the calendar next year), but was reducing Singleton as a whole a misguided act, too? Despite what its detractors think, Singleton is popular.

 I can't really think of anything else, honestly. Top players dominance? We had that last year, too. If anything, we have less combo players around this year, and those are more likely to cause long-term disaffection in the average player. Banning? I can only think of the Swords of X and Y, but can those really be such a decisive factor? I'll solve the long-standing voting on them this week, but the fact that the opinions on the matter have mostly ceased to be expressed tells me they can't be that relevant. I didn't even see them played a lot in Regular events, to be honest, and if so many players missed them elsewhere, we would witness a surge in their presence where they can be played.

 I think Regular events might be a factor, though. They have always been everyone's go-to events, capable of reaching the highest attendances just in virtue of being Legacy Tribal Wars. This year, they've been among the most anemic. Is it a result of being more and more perceived as the events where the result is already established and Elf or Goblin or Human win them all? In this sense, bringing back a second Regular event per month, for maybe half the months, might be a good idea, something to experiment and see the results of.

 What does everyone else think?


  • Event Number: 4.32, Week 189 BE
  • Date: August 16
  • Attendance: 18
  • Rounds: 4
  • Subformat: Tribal Singleton (only one copy of each card except for basic lands)
  • Winner: romellos (Knight)
  • 1 Loss: smawatts (Goblin), arcbounddaylabor (Goblin), MisterMojoRising (Goblin), Robin88 (Shaman), AJ_Impy (Cleric)
  • Tribes: Beast, Cleric, Goblin (x6), Human (x3), Knight, Shaman, Sliver, Vampire, Zombie (x3)
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 Romellos, romellos, romellos: that's three wins in a row, and now our champion from Instanbul is leading the seasonal scoreboard 254-247 over MisterMojoRising. They share the same number of victories, 7, but romellos now is only 2 wins away from the 19 of all-time winner mihahitlor (who's 3rd place with 229 pts. this year). Last year romellos had to leave the title of Player of the Year to Robin88 following a crucial streak of missed events near the end of the year, when he was relocating. Will he be able to make up for it this year, or will newcomer MisterMojo deny him the delayed triumph? The next few months will tell. In the meantime, here's the Knight deck that ended up the only undefeated in this Singleton event (not conceding a single game!), thanks to a number of clever meta-calls.


 For the rest, 6 out of 18 registered decks were Goblin, which lead to (albeit not directly) 3 out of 4 top decks being Goblin as well. We'll listen to smawatts talking about it during this week's War Report, so here's his 2nd place list.


 Shaman is another favorite of Singleton builders, and this time was Robin88's turn to do well with it, thanks to a Birthing Pod-inspired build like many of his, lately. I can never argue against Pod-inspired builds!


 Finally, just for kicks, this is once again what AJ_Impy was playing as an act of protest against Singleton's very existence. And yes, it is legal.




 Here's the prices of all the featured decks (wait for more in the following weeks, pending technical developments), courtesy of the amazing Deck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of August 21, 2014):

 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. Gq1rf7's Vampires, $4.38, 2nd place on Event 188
  9. arcbounddaylabor's Goblins, $4.46, 1st place on Event 111
  10. Coolcat1678's Elves, $5.13, 2nd place on Event 149

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

by Smawatts

 I was going to say why I thought Goblin was a great choice for Singleton, but 33% of the field was the green menace so I think everyone knows. I mostly played Goblin because I had the deck built and its been a busy week. Oddly I think the reasons Goblin is so strong is because of how bad the mana is in Singleton.

 Round 1: Against Gq1rf7 with Humans. I think that in general in Singleton Human and Goblin are actually attacking from a similar direction, but burn better supplements that plan, and Goblins have a deeper card pool for the effects you want.

 Round 2: Against romellos with Knights. I think my reaction in game one to Mother of Runes, Kor Firewalker and Silver Knight says it all. This is a very powerful metagame deck. I don't think I could beat this deck once in ten matches, Goblins just don't interact well with first strike.

 Round 3: Against Gonzzy with Goblins. Gonzzy's take on Goblins was a little higher curve, and little more Red Deck Wins-like. But still a mirror or close to mirror is always going to be close and hard fought.

 Round 4: Against RexDart with Vampires. A fairly close match against RexDart's Vampires. I got lucky in a few spots and he got unlucky in a few others.


 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! 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):

  • 4.33 (Week 190 BE), on August 23: Regular Tribal (just plain old Legacy Tribal Wars)
  • 4.34 (Week 191 BE), on August 30: Pure Tribal (no off-tribe creatures, complete rules here)
  • 4.35 (Week 192 BE), on September 6: Tribal Underdog (only Underdog Tribes allowed)
  • 4.36 (Week 193 BE), on September 13: Regular Tribal (just plain old Legacy Tribal Wars)

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2014!

Vote for your favorite ETB Creature on the Topdeck Awards!



Attendance is down...because by Paul Leicht at Fri, 08/22/2014 - 00:39
Paul Leicht's picture

Attendance is down...because it is. No predictor indicates who will show up and when. Don't put too much weight on any single factor. There may be a certain amount of ennui associated with some sub formats and others like myself may just find their priorities have shifted away from Saturday mornings. (Yes I know it is technically afternoon but for me to be able to attend I need to be awake in the morning and that isn't really my idea of fun.)

Imho Slugapalooza should not be about slug tribal which is clearly one of the most hated tribes in existence based on WOTC R&D output. If you want to honor Blippy go back to the first rule of having a slug in your deck. That made a lot more sense to me without totally derailing individual creativity.

I like Kaleidoscope. I like Ktribal. I haven't shown up because of the greater inconvenience to me of the time slot. (Yes I know, I am a terrible person.) It may be that the format needs a few more cards before it gains the flexibility to be viable without falling into specific tribal ruts.

The same can be said for Tribalton. Goblins were predominant? Shocking! Not so much, though I was surprised there was no Angel representative. Angels seem to shine in singles.

Just keep doing what you are doing. There will always be ebbs and flows. Don't blame yourself for the tides of change.

Oh, I don't really blame by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 08/22/2014 - 10:48
Kumagoro42's picture

Oh, I don't really blame anyone and anything, and I'm positive it's mostly just random shifting (on the bright side, I'm pretty sure we had about a 50% change in the player base since one/two years ago, maybe even more. I mean, even the contender for 1st place is a newcomer this year). But I have the duty to interrogate myself, and the community, about what's happening, or if something is, in fact, happening.

Maybe the Khans of Tarkir block will give more fuel to K-scope Tribal.

And Singleton is definitely healthy. Goblins were predominant this time. Of course they're popular, they always are, everywhere. But Singleton has had a number of different tribes at the top so far.
Sometimes it's just about what the top players choose (the top players also include the most successful budget players). They would maybe win with a different tribe, too, but they chose that one, and sometimes they stick with it because they like the deck.

K-scope tribal needs a shot by AJ_Impy at Fri, 08/22/2014 - 11:26
AJ_Impy's picture

K-scope tribal needs a shot in the arm. Looking at it, there are a number of extant issues:

*Oversoul of Dusk. Protection is strong in the format, triple protection even more so. I advise limiting it to its tribes.

*Knights, Goblins, Elves. The big three have a critical mass. I might suggest benching them for a session, seeing what people come up with, or identify lynchpins. Maybe remove cards that have been banned in Modern.

I like the idea of doing by m4vis at Fri, 08/22/2014 - 11:40
m4vis's picture

I like the idea of doing regular tribal twice a months on some months. Regular tribal is something we all like to play, it's why we are here. So you would be putting a format everyone likes in place on one that a lot of people don't like.

Amusingly, that statement is by AJ_Impy at Fri, 08/22/2014 - 13:52
AJ_Impy's picture

Amusingly, that statement is true whichever format gets replaced.

My view by Ranth at Fri, 08/22/2014 - 14:10
Ranth's picture

I cant really speak for others but I mostly quit playing due to the constant rotation sub formats and then the tribe based lockouts for only specific players.
Between the two the format just wasn't nearly as fun for me anymore.

Re: attendance issues, I know by RexDart at Fri, 08/22/2014 - 17:26
RexDart's picture

Re: attendance issues, I know I've been pretty scarce this year, but I've had to be out of town a lot for personal reasons. When I was in town, and had nothing else going on, I was playing in the event, even when it was a format (like Singleton) that I really don't like. Nothing about the event has gotten worse for me. The time, mid-day on a Saturday for us in the US, remains horribly inconvenient for me, but I've just dealt with it up to this point. I do know the time is a factor for some other American players, when I would suggest the event to somebody in the Casual room, and tell them the time, they'd be "oh, no way I could ever make it for that." But obviously it works better for our Euro players, and we've had a diverse population through the years.

I don't know how you could look at this week's results and conclude Singleton was a worthy format. There was an absolutely ridiculous volume of Goblins decks, to the point that the winning deck had to be heavily metagamed against them. I think the correct way to play Singleton going forward is to build pro-red Tivadar's Crusade.dek and just hope to play Goblins all day long. I was playing one of the most uninspiring, generic, spikey decks I've ever played in this event in a desperate attempt to snag some invitational points in my little time remaining to play this year, and I still had very little hope when paired against Goblins. You're either playing the Goblin deck or you're playing a devoted anti-Goblin deck, or you're going to have some troubles in Singleton.

I would suggest bringing back a second regular event and cutting Singleton. If nothing else, it reduces complexity. Maybe Singleton could be a one-a-year thing in a month with 5 saturdays.

Yeah that is my feeling as by Paul Leicht at Sat, 08/23/2014 - 03:38
Paul Leicht's picture

Yeah that is my feeling as well just from watching events/games and stats. Goblins are really pretty much top dog in Tribalton as the rules stand. Unfortunately the only good fix is to just ban them. And then something else becomes top dog.

Tribal is hard enough to find parity since people have different access levels to cards and it is much easier for new players to play the budget tribes that have a good chance of winning rather than invest some amount of tix on cards they won't use elsewhere (unless they are me or AJ) and risk not winning anything.

Tribalton adds to the complexity by reducing consistency of the tribes that are not ubiquitous and thus making Goblins and their ilk the favorited choice. Not to say they can't be beat without heavy metagaming but the chances are not great to start with. Pile on top of that skilled players playing them and the odds become very low indeed.

So, Skill does play a part (a good thing) but mostly to shut out other tribes. That sounds like a format in need of serious repair or sidelining.

As much as people seem to dislike KTribal I don't think it has the same level of problems and the problems it does have can be fixed by WOTC printing more cards for it. That can't really be said for Tribalton.

On the other hand as another poster said, just bring back more regular events and see how people respond to just playing Vanilla. If the lack of flavor is boring to them, there will always be some spikes willing to play x.dec (whatever boring flavor of the year is in vogue) vs y.dec (whatever boring flavor of the year was in vogue, prior).

With this logic, you can look by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 08/23/2014 - 14:43
Kumagoro42's picture

With this logic, you can look at a recent Regular event where everybody was playing Elf, Goblin or Human, and conclude that Regular is not a worthy format. These are anomalies. We had Singleton events that almost achieved singularity.

I don't believe that we have by romellos at Sat, 08/23/2014 - 05:55
romellos's picture

I don't believe that we have a major Goblin issue in the Singleton events. Yes, there were 6 goblin decks last week, but that was independent from previous meta trends.

I remember that, there were some serious talks about banning Vampires from singleton during the first 3-4 events, as they were so dominant. Then meta shifted to new possibilities and the waters calmed.

Some major tribes like; Zombies, Goblins, Humans, Elves, Walls, Shamans, Knights, Soldiers, Wizards will always attract the spotlights. All we have to do is, find a way around them and shift the meta. Isn't the continuity of MTG about that?

More Regulars by Robin88 at Sat, 08/23/2014 - 10:25
Robin88's picture

Paul: Agree with your point, Singleton is either Red Deck Wins wGoblins or ProRed hate deck. So would be good to change that back to regular, since the format is Legacy Tribal Wars.

I think more regular events can attract new players since all the other varieties are so complex it scares away new comers.

You would think that the by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 08/23/2014 - 14:46
Kumagoro42's picture

You would think that the complexity scares away newcomers. I thought that would be the case myself. In reality, it doesn't. We had more newcomers coming to the event since when we had a steady rotation of subformats. Hell, we had 2 newcomers today alone!

Besides family issues by Bazaar of Baghdad at Sat, 08/23/2014 - 10:56
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

Besides family issues cropping up on Saturdays at times, two items have largely kept me away.

1) The deckbuilding screen in the new client.
2) I lost over 100 Tribal decks (about 98%) when my automated online backup system ( - boo!) permanently deleted my hard drive copies when I deleted the online copy (apparently a known bug). I haven't had the heart to recreate all the work yet, though at least some is still saved on Gatherer.