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By: Tribal Apocalypse, Tribal Apocalypse
Jan 27 2015 9:06am
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 That time of the year has come and passed again, and this means a special issue of Diaries of the Apocalypse to properly report and celebrate the 4th Annual TRIBAL INVITATIONAL! Along with its winner, our fourth and current Ultimate Tribal Champion, the player who spent all year trying to beat romellos and did it at last (albeit indirectly) right when it mattered the most. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you... MisterMojoRising

 (Click this one, or alternatively you can listen to this)


 Let's take a step back, though, and see what happened exactly. First of all, 6 of the 16 qualified players didn't attend, for a reason or another (most of which, I don't know the first thing about). Most notably one of the Top 8 wasn't there, namely the #3 ranked player of 2014 and 2012 Player of the Year, mihahitlor. And we also had very few reserves available online (only three, as it happens, although two of them were the more closely ranked: #17 and #18 of the leaderboard), so we ended up having to use BYEs for the first time. Read and learn, people: you showed up, you would have earned a place in the Invitational, and relative prize (the Top 4 won 20 tix, 10 tix, 7.5 tix and 5 tix respectively, but all the Top 8 got at least 3 tix and even the players defeated in round 1 were given a 1.5-tix door prize).

 This was the final board of 16 (in brackets, the respective ranking from the 2014 leaderboard).

  1. romellos (#1)
  2. MisterMojoRising (#2)
  3. Gq1rf7 (#4)
  4. ML_Berlin (#5)
  5. _Kumagoro_ (#6)
  6. AJ_Impy (#7)
  7. ScionOfJustice (#8)
  8. fliebana (#9)
  9. Deonmag (#11)
  10. brettmemphis1989 (#15)
  11. m4vis (#17)
  12. arcbounddaylabor (#18)
  13. Zoltan (#37)

 Qualifed players who were no-shows:

  • mihahitlor (#3)
  • smawatts (#10)
  • Bazaar of Baghdad (#12)
  • Robin88 (#13)
  • justcanceled (#14)
  • milegyenanevem (#16)

 This means the three highest-ranked players of the board got a BYE in round 1. Speaking of which, let's start delving into the thick of things, with the precious help of smawatts' live commentaries (Shawn was qualified but forfeited playing; instead, he did the great live reportage you'll see!)

 Round 1 was an UNDERDOG round. Here's how the board appeared when the battle royale began.

 Due to the BYEs, we only had 5 tables. In the more balanced one, ranking-wise, fliebana ran his well-tested Plantdrazi deck to defeat Deonmag's Centaurs. My Insects lost to arcbounddaylabor's Devils, making me the first of the Top 8 to miserably fall (I sincerely think that my event-winning Insect build is strong enough, but most of all, I thought, "Either I go through riding the Insects, or I go down. The latter occurred).

 ML_Berlin had the deceivingly easier table with Zoltan, who joined the event at the last minute as the #37 of the ranking. But as I said, appearances deceive, because Zoltan is a very capable player who had a relatively low ranking uniquely because he played only two events last year, in both of which he ended 1st place! As a proof of his valour, his white weenie Kor (a weird build with no equipments at all) managed to oust Berlin's tough Berserkers.

 In the meantime, a tragedy was unfolding: reigning Ultimate Champion AJ_Impy, running his proud Nagas, lost the round – and the title – to reserve-turned-protagonist m4vis and his ruthless Myr, earning m4vis the moniker of Kingslayer.

 At the last table, ScionOfJustice with a proper Kor deck defeated brettmemphis1989 and his Soltari.

 Not actually played because of the BYEs: romellos's Monk, MisterMojoRising's Spider, Gq1rf7's Berserker.

 Featured tribes: Berserker (x2), Centaur, Devil, Insect, Kor (x2), Monk, Myr, Naga, Plant, Soltari, Spider.

 And here's smawatts' commentary for the round:

 Round 2 was the BEST DECK round, i.e. the round where the players had to use one of the decklists they had used when they achieved their best result in the 2014 season (Singleton and Kaleidoscope events excluded – next year I think I'll just turn this into a round played with Regular rules, it's easier to handle, and players who happened to have won just one event won't be forced to outright reveal what they're going to play).

 Still the highest-ranked player around, romellos used this Bant Human deck to defeat fliebana, who chose to actually play the Singleton Elf deck with which he achieved his only undefeated result of 2014 (he could have used a 3-1 deck instead).

 Table 2 had the Clash of the Reserves, and this time Zoltan, even piloting his favorite and highly successful tribe, the Kithkin, couldn't stop the Faerie Furies (so to speak: it was actually a permission deck) brought by arcbounddaylabor, who by this point of the night was shaping up to be the revelation of the tournament.

 Down one table, Gq1rf7 faced his first living opponent of the event in m4vis. However, the latter's well-known Rat Rack deck with his mischievous Ensnaring Bridges wasn't enough against Gq's classic Goblin build.

 Finally, MisterMojoRising started his victory march by fighting and defeating ScionOfJustice's Vampires with his notoriously deadly red Elementals.

 Featured tribes: Elemental, Elf, Faerie, Goblin, Human, Kithkin, Rat, Vampire. All different choices: not bad for an event where every deck was a past event winner!

 Smawatts' commentary coming up:

 Round 3 was the NEW DECK round, played with Pure rules (note that we were applying all the rules as they are now, not as they were during 2014, so some deck changes could have been necessary, especially for round 2).

 So, there's the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse! (I will spare you the silly picture this year). Three of which were the first three ranked player of the tournament, maybe helped a bit by that BYE in round 1, but mostly confirming their value. The surprise was arcbounddaylabor, coming from a #18 ranking (now, it's true that ranking is earned through participation other than results, but playing a lot of competitive tribal during the year is a way to hone one's skills).

 And arcbounddaylabor's surprises keep coming, because, what do you know, he ended up being the one to exclude romellos himself from the final! Thanks to an Underdog deck, no less: these burning Satyrs, against which even romellos's lightning-fast Soldiers had to concede defeat. Price of Progress was a nice meta-call against him.

 At the other table, MisterMojoRising reached the rightmost spot of the board by successfully piloting a Restore Balance deck based on Beast against Gq1rf7's own Elemental burn.

 Featured tribes: Beast, Elemental, Satyr, Soldier.

 And that's what smawatts had to say about this:

 Finally, Round 4 was the ON THE FLY round, where finalists had to build a deck in 20 minutes using construction rules they didn't know in advance, and were influenced by their opponent's choices. This year, each player had to call two letters, and those letters were the initials of creature types that couldn't appear at all in the match, neither as tribe members nor off-tribe cards of any kind (not just creatures: calling "E" would eliminate both All Is Dust and Gilt-Leaf Ambush), and for both players.

 For the 3rd place, Gq1rf7 was paired with romellos. As for type-banning letters, Gq chose M and S, romellos chose the more obvious G and E. To better appreciate which creature types these choices would hinder, you can look at the alphabetical list of all the tribes. (Also note that the players took turns calling the letters, with the highest-ranked one, in this case romellos, going first). The resulting decks were a Warrior build for romellos (also featuring the Cat, Giant, Human, Vampire, and Zombie types), and a Vampire deck for Gq (also featuring Rogues and Warriors). You can see how it ended from the board above, and the replay below.

 The final-final saw MisterMojoRising facing a very pumped arcbounddaylabor. Their choices, respectively: K-G and Z-B. These were some unexpected calls, allowing arcbound to build a dangerous, Izzet-colored Human deck with Ninjas, Monks, Shamans and Wizards (most notably, Delver of Secrets, Grim Lavamancer and Young Pyromancer). But they in turn allowed MisterMojo to run the extremely dangerous Elf type, which could have been crucial on its own if he decided to go with traditional combo Elves (all the bans were lifted for this special round, so he could even play his beloved Umbral Mantle); he instead opted to exploit the Elves only to fuel another favorite of his, a Living End deck, and that proved to be enough.

 And as before, smawatts recorded full live comments for both the finals:

 Tribe's final tally: Beast, Berserker (x2), Centaur, Devil, Elemental (x2), Elf (x2), Faerie, Goblin, Human (x2), Insect, Kithkin, Kor (x2), Monk, Myr, Naga, Plant, Rat, Satyr, Soldier, Soltari, Spider, Vampire (x2), Warrior. Which is an awfully good variance for an Invitational, with very few duplicates, Underdog tribes played even outside the Underdog round, and no Merfolk, Sliver or Zombie. Sign that our best players have started looking beyond the obvious and to the full extent of the tribal spectrum (well, sort of: nobody played Weird).

 All right, that's it. Congratulations anew to MisterMojoRising, and y'all stay tuned for an interview to both him, as Ultimate Champion, and Player of the Year romellos, probably to be released later next month, where we'll learn something more about the guys who keep beating us. I'll see you in one year for the 5th Invitational (will we make to 10 different winners in 5 years?), and tomorrow for another round of tribal mayhem!


 Just to remind you of a few things:


 Cockatrice Wants You! And Badger, too! Be the first to win a match with these new eligible tribes and you'll win a 1-tix certificate from MTGO Traders. 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 first quarter of 2015. The quarter will end March 28. 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 Achievements (sponsored by AJ_Impy): Unlock the greatest number of Achievements from this list and AJ will grant you 5 tix per quarter! The current quarter will end March 28. Players with the same number of achievements will split the prize. 5 more tix will be given at the end of the year to that whole season's Achievement Master. Good luck!

 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):

  • 5.03 (Week 212 BE), on January 24: Regular
  • 5.04 (Week 213 BE), on January 31: Pure
  • 5.05 (Week 214 BE), on February 7: Underdog
  • 5.06 (Week 215 BE), on February 14: Regular

Check out all the rules for the sub-formats!

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2015!

Vote for your favorite Flyer on the Topdeck Awards!



AJ gave me a heads up to come by Paul Leicht at Fri, 01/23/2015 - 14:10
Paul Leicht's picture

AJ gave me a heads up to come in and get a seat but honestly I didn't feel I had proper decks for the event. Being that you needed 3 decks + whatever for the 4th round it seemed like a waste of time. I didn't realize there was a door prize but even had I known, not sure I would have joined. I felt that at #40 something I just had no place at the table.

Sorry you had to use byes.