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Oct 02 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: The Top 10 Creatures of Khans of Tarkir
  4. Announcement Time!
  5. What's Next

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


THOUGHTS OF A TRIBAL HOST
by Kumagoro

 So, another month passed, another Pure Tribal event unfolded, which means a new chance of a Purification Process. This time we had two undefeated tribes, Vampire and Soldier. Before the tournament, I pointed out that the Purification Process is not mandatory for any Major League tribe that ends undefeated in such an event, as we can picture the case of an undefeated deck that didn't use any particularly "nasty" card, or better any card that would elevate the build on its own, and dial down its power a notch if removed from the equation. That was exactly the case of the undefeated Vampire deck of the week. I could have maybe chosen to purify Vampire Nocturnus if it was there. But it wasn't. The remaining cards are good, but none of those seem over the top enough to justify the punishment. The one that gets close to be a tribal lord is Bloodline Keeper, that if left unchecked can lead to a very degenerate board status, but it requires time and work to get there.

This guy is an honest worker.

 Things are similar on the Soldier front, since the undefeated build only uses support cards like Boros Charm and a few planeswalkers (as a guideline, I'll try not to purify planeswalkers or removals). The tribal component includes a few legends, plus Champion of the Parish, that is more suitable for purification in case of Human (and even there, I wouldn't be entirely sure), and Precinct Captain. Now, the Captain seems strong and influential enough, so it's the candidate for purification here, but I'm still waiting to hear more opinions on the matter, because it doesn't look like having the same impact on Soldier builds that all the previous purified cards had on their tribes. What do you think?

Thumbs-up or thumbs-down?

 In the meantime, Khans of Tarkir is here, so it's time to hear from RexDart (who's getting married as we speak! Congrats!) about the Top 10 Tribal Wars-worthy Creatures of the new set. And if you like, you can compare its opinions with mine. And speaking of non-creatures, with an Underdog event coming up this week, I give you the card I think can have a big impact on a couple of those underloved tribes:

+1ing Season!

 You just have to consider what it does for these guys...

   

 ...and these guys:

   

 And while Mutants can most notably be built as a Living End shell, Spikes only have to rely on their counter-friendship to get going, so Hardened Scales will be particularly relevant there, even not considering the mad shenanigans it generates the moment you start moving counters around.


LAST WEEK ON TRIBAL APOCALYPSE...

  • Event Number: 4.38, Week 195 BE
  • Date: September 27
  • Attendance: 18
  • Rounds: 4
  • Subformat: Pure
  • Winner: ScionOfJustice (Vampire)
  • Other undefeated: romellos (Soldier)
  • 1 Loss: MisterMojoRising (Beast), mihahitlor (Warrior), ML_Berlin (Human)
  • Underdog Prize: DownByTheRiverside (Minion)
  • Tribes: Beast, Elf (x2), Faerie, Goblin, Human (x2), Merfolk, Minion, Myr, Rogue, Shaman, Sliver, Soldier, Vampire, Warrior, Zombie (x2)
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 So, Vampires won an event after a very long time. Actually, they won a "normal" event for the second time since, wow, Event 29 from July 2011, when mihahitlor and Mlittle1988 took 1st and 2nd place sucking the blood of their opponents. After that, the other vamp wins amounted to 3 Singleton events, 1 Halloween event, and 1 Slugapalooza (they're currently in the Top 7 of the most successful tribes thanks to this). Until last week, that is, when ScionOfJustice piloted this elegant build all the way to the top:

 

 Our Three Kings followed suit, as they did all year, with romellos undefeated until the playoff with this Soldier deck, and MisterMojoRising and mihahitlor ending with 1 loss thanks to these Beasts and these Warriors, respectively. ML_Berlin, who's silently ensuring a place in the top tier for himself, also finished in the money using these Humans.

 Fighting with Berlin for the 4th place in the season (and currently only 3 points ahead of him) is Gq1rf7, he of the complicated username that's just pronounced "Daniel". And last week was also the week that ended the third quarter of 2014, with Daniel winning the Hamtastic Award for the second time by playing 11 different tribes, in this order: Kor, Elf, Goblin, Elemental, Minotaur, Vampire, Human, Kithkin, Rogue, Rogue, Berserker, Beast. Congrats, Daniel.

 But let's talk unsuccessful builds, for once. One list that I particularly appreciated was this Myr combo shenanigans by m4vis:

 

 The deck wasn't blessed with the best luck, but still managed to beat my own Shaman Vraska shenanigans:

 

 I tried to make everything Doubling Season friendly, while also ramping, while also controlling, but the tribe was probably not the right one, or at least needs severe fixing. Still,against Deonmag's Zombies (now with 100% less Gray Merchant of Asphodel) I was able to do this...

 ...which got neutralized, then again the following turn (note the loyalty on Garruk)...

 ...and still lose the game! Now, that's an accomplishment!


THE HIGH PRICE OF WINNING

  

 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 October 2, 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.


SHOW AND TELL presents:
THE TOP 10 CREATURES FOR TRIBAL WARS: KHANS OF TARKIR
by RexDart

 

 Hey everybody, I'm back once more for a look at the exciting new creatures you might be playing in Legacy Tribal Wars in just a couple of days!  While I'm writing, I'm three days away from my wedding, so I'll be taking a break from MTGO, but hopefully will return with more chances to play over the winter now that wedding-planning and all the related travel obligations will be behind me.

 Khans of Tarkir heavily features the three-color "wedges". WotC development feels comfortable printing undercosted effects in multicolor sets, because the color requirements are considered a drawback in Standard. But in Legacy environments, those color requirements are often much easier to manage. This gives us a great shot to find playable cards. Unfortunately, in the case of Khans of Tarkir, WotC seems to have decided that tri-color cards have an inherent complexity that hadn't been deemed important back during Alara. Why is Avalanche Tusker a rare?! It's a Craw Wurm with pseudo-provoke, if it were monocolor you would expect it to be common. It's not as if it would break Limited play for this to exist at uncommon, either.

 Despite some cards at perplexingly high rarities, there is a great crop of cards spread from mythic to common that I think could see play in Legacy Tribal Wars. Indeed, this is the first time since last fall that I've included any mythic rare in my Top 10 list. In case you don't know how I do these lists, here's a refresher: I'll cover the best 10 creatures in the set for the format, what their tribes are, and why I think they could see play. The cards are NOT presented in order of best to worst or vice versa, this is not a "ranking", I will merely present the 10 I've selected in order of descending rarity. Here we go!

 1. Anafenza, the Foremost. Rarity: Mythic. Tribes: Human, Soldier.

 As my longtime readers know, I have an almost fanatical hatred of graveyard strategies in our sideboard-less format. From reanimator to manaless dredge, all-in graveyard strategies are particularly hard to fight in Tribal Wars, and will pop up every so often to blow through an event with as little meaningful interaction or real gameplay as they can get away with. For this reason, I especially like it when a very powerful creature has incidental graveyard-hate strapped onto it. Anafenza is a total beating, even if your opponent isn't exploiting the graveyard. A 4/4 for 3 mana is already very solid, with that critical 4th point of toughness to dodge most of the red removal spells. Alongside any other creature to pump, she is effectively attacking for five, then six, then seven, and may leave behind a few counters even if she's dealt with on a later turn. She is easily slotted into the Junk -- or if you insist, Abzan -- Humans hatebears decks that already see some play in this format. Cast by her fellow human Noble Hierarch, she comes down on turn 2, easily fast enough for her disruption to be relevant against all but the quickest reanimator draws. Manaless dredge and Living End strategies are shut down cold. This is, by a wide margin, the card from the set I am most likely to play in an event.

 2. Wingmate Roc. Rarity: Mythic. Tribes: Bird.

 Birds are a swarm tribe, and have many ways to punish an opponent who wants to trade one-for-one with removal spells. Add Wingmate Roc to that list. Thanks to the tribe's natural evasion, it should be easy to get the raid trigger. And if you're going wide with tokens and Squadron Hawks, the life-swing from its attack trigger could be significant. As with Anafenza, the 4th point of toughness is huge in this format. Only the mana cost, at 5cmc, is a potential stumbling block. I can see it as a curve-topper within the tribe... but perhaps for the mana, you'd rather have an anthem effect, or an Ajani to pump the team -- see #5 below.

 3. Ankle Shanker. Rarity: Rare. Tribes: Goblin, Berserker.

 Aggro tribes are always on the lookout for ways to punch through a midrange deck's superior creatures for the last few points of damage. This is not as good as an outright Falter effect, but certainly punishes the opponent hard for blocking. A copy or two of this card might be fine in the Berserker deck that occasionally makes the rounds in Underdog, though it would be stronger in Pure Tribal where there's fewer cheap instant-speed removal spells. Maybe the biggest hurdle for this card is the mana requirements. Goblin aggro is typically a budget build in mono-red, and being able to play Price of Progress in that deck is a real incentive to keep it that way. The Berserker deck, however, often goes multicolor. If we return to doing K-Scope Tribal sometime next year, look for this to pop up there.

 4. Bloodsoaked Champion. Rarity: Rare. Tribes: Human, Warrior.

 Mono-black Warriors can now play Bloodsoaked Champion, Tormented Hero, and Vampire Lacerator. It joins Zombies as the only black tribes that can field twelve 2-power one drops in a single deck within the tribe. This is a critical number for mono-black aggro strategies to reach. A first-turn Dark Ritual in these decks can put six power worth of creatures on the board across three bodies, threatening to overwhelm the opponent very quickly. There are several decent options at CMC 2, and you can top out with the Vampire Warrior Gatekeeper of Malakir at CMC 3 to clear out a blocker. Mono-black aggro is not particularly popular, lagging well behind both Red Deck Wins and White Weenie, but the combination of fast mana and hand disruption has always made it a versatile aggro choice. The recursion ability on Bloodsoaked Champion is not as powerful as Gravecrawler, so Zombies may still be the superior choice, but Warriors are versatile and I wouldn't rule them out.

 5. High Sentinels of Arashin. Rarity: Rare. Tribes: Bird.

 This could get ridiculously large in conjunction with anything that can place +1/+1 counters on your entire flock, say Ajani Goldmane or Ajani Steadfast. Of course, if you're going wide, do you also need to go tall with one huge creature? Maybe not, but the cost isn't so bad, and -- as with much of this list -- it doesn't just fold to all commonly played removal, so I think it has a chance.

 6. Sagu Mauler. Rarity: Rare. Tribes: Beast.

 Sometimes, you just need a Simic Sky Swallower, and this guy fits the bill with a much more versatile tribe than Leviathans. If you're going to put work into ramping into something or cheating it into play, it's critical for your opponent to not be able to wreck your entire plan for one white mana spent on a removal spell. In a non-Beast ramp deck, Sky Swallower is probably still superior. But Beasts offer some juicy targets to a ramp deck, and 6 mana is slightly easier to ramp into than 7+, so keep an eye out for this guy. From my experience casting face-down Exalted Angels in this format, I think it will have a very short life span if you do cast it that way, so that ability is not likely to be relevant. Snarling Undorak is the only other Beast with morph that sits at a playable mana cost, so I doubt there's a Beast Wars Transformer theme deck waiting to be found. [Uh? What about Hystrodon? Or several others of these 25 guys – Kuma's note]

 7. Chief of the Edge. Rarity: Uncommon. Tribes: Human, Warrior.

 This new Lord for the Warrior tribe is aggressively costed. I was just singing the praises of the potential mono-black Warrior deck, but if you want to splash white, here's a darn good reason. If you want to maximize this effect, there are several cards that make Warrior tokens, mostly Elves like Rhys the Redeemed, and it may require a further splash for green. I must confess, I don't know if Hazezon Tamar's Sand Warrior tokens count as warriors [yep, they have the Sand type and the Warrior type – Kuma's note]... but I probably don't want a 7-drop in my Warrior aggro deck anyhow.

 8. Monastery Swiftspear. Rarity: Uncommon. Tribes: Human, Monk.

 This probably won't fit in any Monk decks, but mono-red Human aggro has been a popular choice over the years. In conjunction with some burn spells, this can bring the beats fast and hard. Having haste means that you can play another one-drop on the first turn, wait and play this on Turn 2, clear a cheap blocker with a burn spell, and be well on your way to victory.

 9. War-Name Aspirant. Rarity: Uncommon. Tribes: Human, Warrior.

 Another for the mono-red aggro variants, this one could fit with either of its tribes. A 3/2 for 2 is a fine rate, and the evasion ability definitely will come up against tokens strategies.

 10. Hooting Mandrills. Rarity: Common. Tribes: Ape.

 A 4/4 body with trample is respectable in this format. If you cast it for only one or two mana, this is a fantastic deal. Can the Ape deck stock its graveyard enough to pull that off? Well I wouldn't rock a full set of these, but once per game you might cast this at a huge discount without too much trouble. Between fetchlands, cheap burn spells, or pump spells, R/G Ape aggro could get 4-5 cards in the yard within a few turns rather easily.

 Honorable Mention: Highland Game. Rarity: Common. Tribes: Elk.

 I really want there to be an Elk deck, and will keep mentioning any marginally-playable Elk until they are so completely running amok we have to call in a brigade of toque-wearing Canadian hunters to cull their numbers.

 [No love for Siege Rhino? It was well represented in the Top 8 of the two SCG opens from last weekend. I think Tribal players will take notice. It's the new Obstinate Baloth, now with 100% more hitting power – Kuma's note]


ANNOUNCEMENT TIME!

 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 fourth quarter of 2014. The quarter will end December 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!


 WHAT'S NEXT

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

  • 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
  • 4.42 (Week 199 BE), on October 25: Pure Tribal

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!

SEE YOU ALL IN THE TRIBAL ROOM!

4 Comments

To boast, my Vampire deck, in by ScionOfJustice at Thu, 10/02/2014 - 14:35
ScionOfJustice's picture

To boast, my Vampire deck, in all five rounds played, didn't lose a game. :-)

On Siege Rhino, the problem by RexDart at Thu, 10/02/2014 - 16:22
RexDart's picture

On Siege Rhino, the problem was the black mana cost. Rhino tribal is solidly G/W, but usually wants a blue splash for Rhox War Monk. There's also Cliffrunner Behemoth pulling you towards red, though not as strongly as Rhox War Monk. RWM is almost mandatory to give the deck anything resembling a reasonable curve -- you probably have to play both RWM and Dauntless Escort plus 4-6 offtribe manadorks or else the whole thing is going to be far too clunky. And unlike the Alara Rhinos, Siege Rhino has no secondary types, so Rhinos is pretty much the only place to stick it. You certainly could play 4-color Rhinos, I suppose, maybe with BoP and DRS as the manadorks. It's tricky even with a full-power fetch/dual Legacy manabase, but do-able.

Somehow when I searched Gatherer, it only came up with 3 beasts that had morph. I thought I remembered more, but then I second-guessed myself and assumed Gatherer was right and that maybe I was just thinking of all those beasts with cycling.

I've never found Precinct Captain or Bloodline Keeper to be overly-threatening. They can both take over an empty board in a few turns if they live, though the weaker Captain needs to also clear out any blocker even so big as a 2/3 before he can do his magic. I suppose they are more powerful in Pure, with worse instant removal, you may take a tempo loss to deal with them if you can't ignore them. I'm no defender of white weenie, and it is so massively over-played that it could probably absorb the hit, but I don't see the need to purify Precinct Captain. If you have to pick something, I would suggest Champion of the Parish. Yes, it also goes in Human decks, but there's enormous crossover (sometimes 100% crossover) between mono-white Human and Soldier decks. I'd give Champion the boot if something has to go. For the vampires, I would boot Gatekeeper of Malakir, one of the most heavily-played creatures in Tribal Wars.

To clarify, Vampire will NOT by Tribal Apocalypse at Thu, 10/02/2014 - 17:26
Tribal Apocalypse's picture

To clarify, Vampire will NOT get a purified card.

I agree about the Captain.

I was picturing Siege Rhino used off-tribe, actually. You also keep that use in mind in the evaluation, no? I think every Pod build will easily play 1 Rhino over any other off-tribe 4-drop.

kuma, you may be happy to by m4vis at Thu, 10/02/2014 - 16:46
m4vis's picture

kuma, you may be happy to know that I could not stop myself from purchasing some expensive cards to attempt to build a working elk deck. I've been tweaking it every day, once I get a hold of a playset of highland game it might actually win some games on saturday. I'm also working on a good deck name, I feel like if I make a deck with a good name it softens the blow of my many, many losses :)