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By: Tribal Apocalypse, Tribal Apocalypse
Sep 25 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. Show and Tell
  4. Announcement Time!
  5. What's Next

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

by Kumagoro

 So, we did our 4th Kaleidoscope event, nobody missed Oversoul of Dusk, but now Knight won 3 out of 4 (Goblin won the other one). These guys are just too powerful.


 What should we do now? We don't have any more Kaleidoscope events in calendar. I personally lean toward pulling them from next year's rotation, then forget about the format for a while, but I'm open to suggestions for further fixing. I think Knight of New Alara should go, it was a mistake allowing it to begin with, since that ability is so clearly meta-related. When something aggressive that's supposed to be situational is made absolute by a specific format (e.g. Extinction, Anathemancer), that's when you should take notice.

 Anyway, and speaking of multicolored, let's prepare for the imminent coming of Khans of Tarkir (which might even change Kaleidoscope Tribal a bit). I've compiled my usual Tribal Evaluation, that you will be able to read here, in probably one day from when you read this. May the (dead) dragons roar!

You rang?


  • Event Number: 4.37, Week 194 BE
  • Date: September 20
  • Attendance: 16
  • Rounds: 4
  • Subformat: Kaleidoscope
  • Winner: mihahitlor (Knight)
  • 1 Loss: romellos (Soldier), Gq1rf7 (Goblin), arcbounddaylabor (Soldier), ML_Berlin (Goblin)
  • Tribes: Angel, Centaur, Elemental, Elf (x2), Goblin (x2), Human (x3), Knight (x3), Minotaur, Soldier (x2)
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 And here's the Knight super-deck (featuring a robust contingent of allied Cats) with which mihahitlor broke the romellos/MisterMojoRising chain of victories (going on since 7 weeks), by defeating romellos himself in the last round. It takes a titan to kill another.


 Stating the obvious: Glare of Subdual is an important card in the format.

 And this is what romellos almost brought to the win: still a strong build, but of the Soldier variety.


 The highlight of this list is certainly Iroas (part of a package of legends fetched by Captain Sisay). The Boros God hasn't seen much play in Tribal Apocalypse so far, but it should be properly reevaluated, because it's a powerhouse. His epithet is a mission statement in Tribal Wars.

 Trying to face these extremely organized army men is hard for any other tribe (except for Goblin, as both Gq1rf7 and ML_Berlin can witness). Centaur, as piloted here by LeilaPari, appears well-positioned in the meta, albeit a little too centered around CMC 3. Still not enough.


 I had fun for the first time building for Kaleidoscope, once I decided to try and use the versatility of Humans to put a dent in the usual suspects' plans, while at the same time intentionally avoiding to use most of the more obvious options.


 The first thing to say here is that Teferi's Moat wins games by itself in the format, because you can always set it to cover most if not all of the opponent's creatures, and the only flyer that shows up consistently is Stillmoon Cavalier. I'm actually surprised it hasn't been used more often (AJ_Impy ran it in the very first Kaleidoscope event back in March, then again this time with his Angels; and only two other players followed his lead, m4vis with his Trolls in the past event, and Dwarven_Pony in this other Human decks from last week).

The only case where the banning of the actual Moat doesn't matter.

 Of course, the problem with Teferi's Moat is its cost: by the time you hit 5 mana on your own, the Knights will have probably already crushed you under the hooves of their armored steeds, or at the very least will only have to finish you with a (Lighting Helix) or something. That's why I tried to ramp into it, which is something the format is very terrible at doing (another reason why I don't like it very much). The only consistent early ramp tool at our disposal is Trace of Abundance, but this is a format that forces you into extreme efficiency, so you don't have the luxury to draw into any potential dead card, which is what Trace becomes after the first few turns. Human has a couple good mana dorks, though, in both Steward of Valeron and the undervalued Zhur-Taa Druid. I chose the latter, with Deathrite Shaman as an off-tribe backup, because I didn't want to have any damn Knight around.

All that green mana is bad for someone else's health.

 Between the two of them, I could realistically cast a Moat by turn 3, and a couple times I did, and that was good game. Or at least should have been, because I soon realized my build was short in a crucial aspect: finishers. I had a lot of ways to slow down the game, like Thundersong Trumpeter and Giltspire Avenger, but then the battlefield would become clogged with blockers (even if a couple times I surprised myself by managing to play the fast aggro role, thanks to Burning-Tree Emissary), and Tajic isn't exactly the best at swinging past blockers. Tribal Kaleidoscope is a slow format where often opposing midrange beaters look at each other from the trenches, and the bigger ones win after a war of attrition. With my deck, I ended up having the damage from Zhur-Taa Druid as my main offensive weapon. Which, sure, that's damage that's very hard to avoid (it even bypasses Leyline of Sanctity), but it's painfully slow to get to 20 that way, even with Deathrite Shaman's assistance (there was often not a lot in the graveyards, since everything was just frozen on the battlefield). Sooner or later, they're bound to draw into Pure/Simple or Maelstrom Pulse, get rid of my Moat, and smirk from behind the two hundreds spears of their knights.

 If we'll play Kaleidoscope again, I might revisit this build, but I'll definitely add some flyer. Even a small one would have made a world of difference. A set of Lyev Skyknight (over Tajic and Giltspire Avenger, that's sort of useless when your battle plan involves stopping attacks) would have probably made me win 3-4 games more by itself.

Stupid Knights. They always have to be the best.



 Here's the prices of all the featured decks (wait for more in the following weeks, pending technical developments), courtesy of the amazingDeck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of September 25, 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. 



 More like "show in suspenseful silence", because this is the crucial, tense match between mihahitlor's Knights and romellos's Soldiers. Enjoy.


 Just to remind you of a few things:


 Cockatrice Wants You! And Badger and Naga, too! Be the first to win a match with these new eligible tribes 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 5 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):

  • 4.38 (Week 195 BE), on September 27: Pure Tribal
  • 4.39 (Week 196 BE), on October 4: Tribal Underdog
  • 4.40 (Week 197 BE), on October 11: Regular Tribal
  • 4.41 (Week 198 BE), on October 18: Tribal Singleton

Check out all the rules for the sub-formats!

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2014!

Vote for your favorite Human on the Topdeck Awards!



I don't think any of the by romellos at Thu, 09/25/2014 - 16:28
romellos's picture

I don't think any of the Knight Lords (Wilt-Leaf Liege, Knight of New Alara) are any issue to beat Knights. But only, Stillmoon Cavalier as protection in K-scope format is a huge element.

I'm not saying we should ban it as there are few ways to kill it, like Golgari Charm, Void, Firespout or Savage Twister. Limited, but still exist.

I'm only pointing this to understand the real power behind the Knight decks. It is just the protection advantage. Previously, we have to pass Oversoul of Dusk & Stillmoon Cavalier. Now, only Cavalier.

These are my humble opinions for this case.

I'd say it isn't any one by AJ_Impy at Thu, 09/25/2014 - 20:25
AJ_Impy's picture

I'd say it isn't any one knight lord: It's all of them. There's a critical mass of knight lords (Plus the Cavalier, and KotR, which is powerful enough to see play outside of kaleidoscope and even outside its tribe) which make the deck as a whole a step above the rest of the format. That isn't healthy.

I agree with Romellos that by mihahitlor at Fri, 09/26/2014 - 06:42
mihahitlor's picture

I agree with Romellos that the most powerful knight is Stillmoon Cavalier. Still, I wouldn't ban it, because there are enough ways to kill it (UR, RG, UG (you can play Snakeform in any blue or green deck)), not to mention mass removal of course.

Knight of New Alara is strong, but it's main problem is that it competes for a 4-drop spot with much superior Wilt-Leaf Liege. That's why I only played 3, and probably that's one too many - you definitely don't want 2 of them early on. It's also bad on it's own and more vulnerable to removal, as compared to the liege. So I strongly disagree that Knight of New Alara is the most problematic knight (if that was your point, Kuma) or that it is in general too powerful for the format.

I believe Knight decks have been so successful because players didn't play many good control decks (which are definitely possible in this format). With Oversoul of Dusk now being gone there is even less reason to not make a deck filled with spot removal and mass removal and wreck the knights (URG/UBR/URW/BRG combinations are all fine). If players fail to do so, that doesn't make the knights too strong in general, but it makes them too strong in an environment where players don't adapt (which might still be a legitimate reason for banning, depending on one's philosophy).

Electrolyze kills Stillmoon Cavalier and Knight of New Alara (and bunch of 2 drops) and nets you a card. Prophetic Bolt kills any knight and nets you a card. Terminate kills any knight except for Stillmoon Cavalier for 2 mana, giving you tempo advantage. Snakeform ambushes every knight and nets you a card. Supreme Verdict clears the table. Teferi's Moat prevents most knights from attacking you. Etc.

I find myself arguing against bans in practically all of these discussions, so it might be just my "anti-ban, let the players figure out the solutions" bias at work, but I truly believe that most "problematic" cards are evaluated wrongly by the "pro-ban people" (I have to include AJ_Impy as my complete opposite in this group, since I don't remember you ever disagreeing with proposed bans, haha).

Anyway, while I disagree that the knights are powerful enough to be banned, and am in this sense against their ban, I don't *really* care if they're banned or not (the same as with other cards that were banned before). It won't make the format any less fun for me (not to say that Kaleidoscope is particularly fun) if there is a small additional restriction.

Certainly a good control deck by MisterMojoRising at Fri, 09/26/2014 - 06:48
MisterMojoRising's picture

Certainly a good control deck is possible in the format. Pernicious Deed and Supreme Command together make for a powerful control shell. The problem I see with the control strategy is that it doesn't have any synergy with the available tribes. Also Pernicious Deed is so expensive that no one will bother purchasing them for the events.

The lack of disruption (how much does Rishadan Port cost?), synergies, combos, and powerful one-mana spells turn the format into a slog. It's not going to be anything other than mid-range creatures versus other mid-range creatures.

That and the distorting effect of the hybrid mana cards make for an uninteresting format.

Personally, I hate kaleidoscope and hope we never do it again. Maybe if they come out with another three or four multicolor sets, and do some reprints of the more expensive cards, that would open it up enough to make it a viable format, but as things stand I don't think it's something I would ever want to play again.

I'm almost always opposed to bans. I would prefer to see a stable metagame. If people know what they're up against, they can adapt to it. That's true in normal formats, but in Kaleidoscope there are so playable cards that everyone is going to converge on the same things regardless. It's almost like a block constructed event. There are so few cards to choose from that everyone chooses the same ones.

FWIW, I think you should give by RexDart at Fri, 09/26/2014 - 11:53
RexDart's picture

FWIW, I think you should give K-Scope tribal another shot with Khans in the format, and just ban knights/Humans. There are a ton of potential decks in this format with a wide variety of tribes, I've brewed up several myself, but almost nobody is playing anything other than the easiest builds of the most obvious decks.

These specialty formats are all prone to this kind of problem. Singleton has been won this year by: Elf, Goblin, Knight, Goblin, Knight. And the last Knight deck was playing a ton of anti-Goblin tech and three Goblin decks in that event went x-1 right behind it. Singleton has a Goblin problem the way K-Scope has a Knights problem.

I would suggest giving both K-Scope and Singleton a short break and trying again in the summer, just running extra regular tribal events in the meantime.

I'd agree with RexDart on by AJ_Impy at Fri, 09/26/2014 - 18:04
AJ_Impy's picture

I'd agree with RexDart on both points. As much as I love the potential that Kscope has, giving it a few months off and a haircut might help freshen things up.

That's exactly what we'll do. by Tribal Apocalypse at Sat, 09/27/2014 - 15:12
Tribal Apocalypse's picture

Well, that's exactly what we'll do. :)

I will keep swinging ideas by m4vis at Mon, 09/29/2014 - 11:50
m4vis's picture

I will keep swinging ideas until I hit something. I feel like doing something new and different could open up all kinds of possibilities. Of course, I haven't been around as long as all you vets so I don't know which ideas you have already tried. With that in mind....What about an unhallowed tourney? But just not taking off the winner from the unhallowed tribe list. Speaking from the perspective of a person who has almost exclusively played unhallowed tribes in every tourney, it's pretty fun trying to make bad tribes work. It would solve a lot of the deckbuilding complaints about singleton and kaleidoscope, because you would still be able to use all the noncreature spells you like.

The underdog tourney is by Paul Leicht at Mon, 09/29/2014 - 14:07
Paul Leicht's picture

The underdog tourney is mainly about using unhallowed tribes. But even so, your thought is not entirely without merit. The main thing is: We don't want/need a format where the creatures are overshadowed by the nontribal elements. That is one of the major complaints about all the various formats. And no solution has been applied that satisfies the complaints to date.