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By: Tribal Apocalypse, Tribal Apocalypse
Feb 06 2015 1:00pm
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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. The Top 10 FRF Creatures
  4. Announcement Time!
  5. What's Next

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

by Kumagoro

 There's quite a number of news and changes to discuss this time around, so I'm going to divide this section into 4 distinct subsections, for your ease and clarity.


 The MTG rule manager, Mr. Matt Tabak, has issued a lot of Oracle changes with the latest Fate Reforged update. You should go and read them all, but in particular, there are three subtype variations that actually matter where Tribal is concerned.


 Total variations: Human -1, Anteater -1, Warrior -1, Soldier +1. So we can say goodbye to the Anteater tribe, since with the disappearance of its only instance, the tribe doesn't exist anymore. It was never legal in Tribal Apocalypse, of course (even back when the Changelings actually worked online), so we can just be glad they got rid of one of those silly anomalies featuring overly specific subtypes that they never intended to fully turn into a tribe. Besides, a pangolin is not part of some larger class of anteaters, pangolins and anteaters don't even belong to the same order. Then again, we're talking a game where lions and tigers are considered "cats".


 That's right, the Fate is being reforged as we speak, with Sarkhan saving the cheerleader Ugin to save the world. Gatherling already has the cards in the database, the Creature Types Table has been updated, RexDart (who just made 11th at a StarCityGames open with this deck. Congrats, Chris!) wrote his traditional New Creatures Top Ten, and you can also read my Tribal Evaluation here. Tribal-wise, Dragons are of course the focus of the set, getting an unprecedented 11-member boost; I doubt all those odd-colored Dragons will cause much fuss in Dragon tribal decks, but we may see a couple of those around (I know I'm going to try some of them for sure), especially Atarka. The tribes that most benefited from the new set (which, interestingly, has no Wizard or Spirit, on top of missing Elf, Merfolk and Angel for flavor reasons) are in my opinion three. The first is green Elemental, which gets these two great guys:


Yep, they're both essentially green.

 Then we have the up-and-coming Orc, which also gets two amazing mythics, but judging from the total roster, is not quite there yet, and may need more support from the third Tarkir set (those old Orcs are really, really out-of-date). I'm sure it will be tried, though, these cards are just too good:


Too bad they're hardly at home in the same deck: 5-color Orc? Eh.

 And most importantly, Monk, which was already a strong tribe, but now it's going over the top with these new additions:


C'mon! Did they really need to be both Monks?

 Which brings me to the next point. But not before mentioning that ConstructGolem and Myr decks also got a nice new card. You know which one.


 First of all, as already announced, Goblin Lackey returns to the banishment zone from where he came. It was fun (?) to have him free to roam for a while, now it's time to end the killing spree. Especially with the current double offer of Regular events per month.

The Elves lobbied for this outcome, for losing Umbral Mantle

 Mind you, this change only affects Regular events, since: in Underdog, Goblin can't be played to begin with; in Singleton, there's no ban list at all; and Pure events will have to purify the Lackey next time a Goblin deck will end undefeated (something that hasn't actually happened since March of the last year). You can check the updated ban lists here. As you'll see, every subformat has its own ban list, so don't assume something is banned in a subformat, only because it's banned in another.

 The big change of the week, though is that, in the light of Fate Reforged's additions, Monk is no longer Underdog tribe, and has been moved to Major League, effective immediately. It had already become too strong a tribe for Underdog, ending undefeated 5 times over the past 11 events. And adding both Monastery Mentor and Soulfire Grand Master to the mix, that's really too much. It's pretty blatantly NOT a tribe that can be called Underdog anymore. This kind of evolution is bound to happen sometimes. Strangely enough, I'm now wondering if Dragon really deserves Major League status. It only won a couple of events due to Dragonstorm shenanigans. Maybe we could just ban Dragonstorm in Underdog and bring the Dragons there, the same way we did for Kor and Horror by banning their broken combo cards? Dragons are way dorkier than, say, Angel and Demon, and even harder to break than Sphinx, which are Underdog.

 Anyway, you can look at the new Underdog/Major League separation here.


 The Achievement race, formerly sponsored only by AJ_Impy, has now gained a new benefactor in the person of vantar6697, who offered to finance the prize with an equal amount of tix as the former Ultimate Champion. So now if you clear more Achievements than everyone else, you can win 10 tix per quarter!


  • Event Number: 5.04, Week 213 BE
  • Date: January 31
  • Attendance: 26
  • Rounds: 4
  • Subformat: Pure
  • Winner: Japa_ (Human)
  • 1 Loss: slagel79 (Vampire), ScionOfJustice (Elf), mihahitlor (Warrior), AJ_Impy (Warrior), milegyenanevem (Human), fliebana (Ally), DrunkenSailor15 Scarecrow
  • Underdog Prize: vantar6697 (Boar)
  • Tribes: Ally (x2), Boar, Dragon, Elemental (x3), Elf (x3), Goblin, Human (x3), Kithkin, Knight, Kor, Kraken, Scarecrow, Sliver, Snake, Vampire, Warrior (x2), Werewolf, Zombie
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 A big welcome back to longtime Tribal player Japa_, who after all these years decided to pay us a visit in order to win his very first Tribal Apocalypse event. Congrats! Here's the quasi-Ninja, Delver-based, unusually monoblue Human list that gave him the long overdue honor, and in the largest event we've had since more than one year, even (I guess 2014 was just a bad year for Tribal?)


 Ironically, the player who went closer to threaten Japa_'s undefeated finish was running Vampire, i.e. Japa_'s signature tribe from back in the time. Here's slagel79 version of the bloodsuckers, with a slightly midrange feel (yay Olivia Voldaren!) and tons of discard.


 Japa_'s Human win also means we still haven't got rid of the Infect Elves. Builds (like this one by ScionOfJustice) that maybe aren't consistent enough to end undefeated all the time, but are capable to wreak a lot of havoc along the road nonetheless. Why do Elves always have to be so annoying?

 Moving on, I promised brettmemphis1989 I won't mention the fact that he managed to end 2-2 with this Elemental deck entirely due to BYE or no-show, without winning a single game. So I'm not mentioning it, okay? I'll feature a tribe that's been rarely seen, instead. Indeed, it's a tribe that was played only twice before last week: Kraken, here in the interpretation of Underdog lover m4vis.


 And speaking of players who always run tribes outside of the safe box, m4vis's Underdog Prize streak was stopped by another comeback: that of historical Tribal Apocalypse landmark and Achievement patron vantar6697, who challenged the room with his all-in Boars, actually pretty lethal.

by vantar6697 - Underdog Prize
4 Brindle Shoat
4 Flinthoof Boar
4 Gore Swine
4 Gristleback
4 Zhur-Taa Swine
2 Festerhide Boar
22 cards

Other Spells
4 Rancor
4 Vines of Vastwood
3 Become Immense
3 Titan's Strength
1 Domri Rade
15 cards
11 Forest
7 Mountain
4 Rootbound Crag
1 Kessig Wolf Run
23 cards
Gore Swine




 Here's the prices of all the featured decks, courtesy of the amazing Deck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of February 5, 2015):

 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. MisterMojoRising's Insects, $3.55, 2nd place on Event 201
  4. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.58, 1st place on Event 169
  5. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.70, 1st place on Event 145
  6. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $4.12, 2nd place on Event 141
  7. Gq1rf7's Assassins, $4.18, 1st place on Event 147
  8. Trickerie's Golems, $4.31, 1st place on Event 138
  9. Gq1rf7's Vampires, $4.38, 2nd place on Event 188
  10. arcbounddaylabor's Goblins, $4.46, 1st place on Event 111

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

by RexDart

 It seems recently that I've had to struggle to find a lot of playable cards in recent sets. There will always be a few marquee cards, but the depth has been lacking. Creatures are still fairly powerful these days, but the things you look for on a creature in a Legacy-based format aren't the type of things that define "power" in Standard, or are redundant with already-existing effects. You can pull up any mythic four-drop these days and easily see how it would win you the game, but you may already have tons of options to fill that role in your deck if you are building for a popular tribe, and you don't need very many cards in that deckbuilding slot to begin with.

 Although nothing in Fate Reforged stands out to me as an all-star, there were actually well over a dozen that looked playable. The new commitment to re-vitalizing the Orc tribe is especially welcome. So let's dig in! As usual, the cards are ordered by rarity from mythic to common, and the order does NOT reflect a power ranking between the cards that made the list.

 1. Soulfire Grand Master. Rarity: Mythic. Types: Human, Monk.
 This card clearly wants you to be in red and use burn spells, but red and white are the most popular colors in Tribal Wars by a wide margin, so this isn't asking much. The base stats aren't embarrassing for a lifelinker, but in order to make this superior to either tribe's other options, I think you want about 8 cheap burn spells in your deck. Lightning Bolt is extremely popular, and Lightning Helix or Flame Slash seems great with this too. In the late game, you can use this to buyback a spell each turn, which works just fine with any sort of removal. The ability amounts to a 5-mana Capsize in conjunction with Vapor Snag, which would be terribly annoying to face with any midrange deck that taps out for large threats. That's nice added value, but the biggest reason to play this is simply to gain a leg up in the aggro mirror, which constitutes a large percentage of the matches in Tribal Wars.

 2. Brutal Hordechief. Rarity: Mythic. Types: Orc, Warrior.
 Hellrider almost single-handedly made Devil a force to be reckoned with in Underdog events. Could it do the same for Orcs? Orcs don't quite have the mana curve just yet to maximize this, as the tribe lacks any reasonable one-drops for an aggro shell. This could change with the next set, or really any time in the future if Wizards continues printing new Orcs. Since the Hordechief does not itself have haste, it's much weaker than Hellrider if you lack an army already on the field. But while we wait for the Orc tribe to flesh out a bit, this is a nice curve-topper for Warriors. That tribe has several good options already, but of those options this one is probably the best pick in an Orzhov variant.

 3. Whisperwood Elemental. Rarity: Mythic. Types: Elemental.
 The natural home for this is in an aggressive Elemental deck, where the Loxodon Hierarch-ish ability really shines. This seems particularly sweet with Voice of Resurgence, leaving you AT LEAST a massive army plus one huge token to recover from a board sweeper. If any of the manifested cards are creatures, this is just insanely good. Alongside the other new Elemental we review below, perhaps there are the tools for some sort of aggro Bant Elementals deck?

 4. Soulflayer. Rarity: Rare. Types: Demon.
 Within the Demon tribe, it's pretty easy to get flying and trample out of this. Lifelink, deathtouch and first strike are also possible. But I don't think this is what a Demon deck is looking to do. On the other hand, this would make a nice offtribe addition for an aggressive deck built around evasive hexproof creatures, where it would represent a formidable threat in the midgame. Spirits and Beasts would work well for that angle of attack. Several aggressive tribes feature haste, first strike and lifelink, which would be a fantastic combination.

 5. Atarka, World Render. Rarity: Rare. Types: Dragon.
 Combined with Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund, this will win the game in a single attack step. In a Dragon deck, you can cheat both out at once with Defense of the Heart or Tooth and Nail. Granted, there are better options for decks built around those spells, but if you are avoiding offtribe creatures then you could look in that direction. Even without such shenanigans, this immediately provides a bonus to any Dragons already on the field. Since Dragons typically have flying, getting this into play should lay an immediate hurt on your opponent if you have even one other Dragon on the field.

 6. Mardu Woe-Reaper. Rarity: Uncommon. Types: Human, Warrior.
 A 2/1 for one is a rate that both these tribes can already meet or exceed. But the stats are good enough to get Woe-Reaper's foot through the door, and he offers some nice fringe benefits. Incidental lifegain is great in Tribal Wars, and the ability to disrupt some forms of graveyard combo decks is valuable in an aggro deck that might otherwise be soft to that sort of thing. If you are sticking to Orzhov Warriors, rather than building around Wild Nacatl as your leadoff hitter, this should definitely make the cut in your deck.

 7. Battle Brawler. Rarity: Uncommon. Types: Orc, Warrior.
 Not too much to say here, but you are almost certainly going to be in either red or white in either of these tribes, so this is consistently a 3/2 first striker for two mana. It's easily the best Orc at this spot of the curve. In Warrior decks the two-drop slot is much more crowded, but this matches up well to anything the opponent is likely to play in the early turns, so it shouldn't be overlooked.

 8. Frost Walker. Rarity: Uncommon. Types: Elemental.
 As mentioned earlier, I think we're nearing critical mass for an aggressive Elemental deck in colors that haven't had that potential before. The "Hell-a-mentals" deck, mono-red aggro built around cards such as Hellspark Elemental and Hell's Thunder, has been the most successful Elemental incarnation for several years in this format. Opening up the tribe to other colors feels positively liberating. Frost Walker doesn't fight anything else particularly well, but in a blue aggro deck you would have some countermagic and bounce to clear his way. Blue won't get you all the way there with this tribe, but there are plenty of great Elementals from Lorwyn block across all five colors that almost never see play, so you have plenty of options here.

 9. Merciless Executioner. Rarity: Uncommon. Types: Orc, Warrior.
 This effect has a solid pedigree in Tribal Wars, with Fleshbag Marauder already seeing a fair bit of play. Zombies offer more value from the sacrifice trigger than either of Orcs or Warriors, though this does work nicely with Mogg War Marshal and -- if you want to go really deep -- Kresh the Bloodbraided. But even without great tribal synergies, this effect is just good enough on its own. At a minimum, it's a 3 mana edict effect that fits in your tribal creature slots and frees up room for other spells.

 10. Mardu Scout. Rarity: Common. Types: Goblin, Scout.
 The dash ability works best when you are facing primarily sorcery-speed removal. Instant-speed removal is all over the place in Tribal Wars, but there are some decks that rely heavily on board sweepers and won't have a great way to interact with this guy. This card is efficiently costed either way you choose to play it. I've been talking a lot about cards with aggro applications today, so let's explore a little way off the beaten trial with this last guy. As one of the cheaper dash creatures, Mardu Scout works for entering-or-leaving-the-battlefield triggers somewhat like Undiscovered Paradise does with landfall -- it's a renewable and surprisingly affordable way to trigger those abilities every turn. Repeatedly steal your opponent's best guy with Confusion in the Ranks? Kill something with Death Match every turn? Wipe your opponent's board over and over with Spreading Plague and Scuttlemutt? Something far less crazy and more competitive than those ridiculous things? Or maybe just attack with him for 3 and love it because he's a wicked sand-surfer.


 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 and vantar6697): Unlock the greatest number of Achievements from this list and AJ and vantar will grant you 10 tix per quarter! The current quarter will end March 28. Players with the same number of achievements will split the prize. 10 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):

  • 5.05 (Week 214 BE), on February 7: Underdog
  • 5.06 (Week 215 BE), on February 14: Regular
  • 5.06 (Week 216 BE), on February 21: Regular
  • 5.07 (Week 217 BE), on February 28: Pure

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!






You neglected to mention I by m4vis at Fri, 02/06/2015 - 15:54
m4vis's picture

You neglected to mention I lost Ouch. And dear god how about those monks? I made a monk deck for tomorrow but now that it's not underdog I'm not sure if I'll play it.

Monk can easily win Regular by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 02/07/2015 - 07:32
Kumagoro42's picture

Monk can easily win Regular events now. They haven't been played there so far only because Monk players (especially romellos) used to play them in Underdog, then played something else in Regular.

Easily seems like a bit of an by Paul Leicht at Sat, 02/07/2015 - 15:09
Paul Leicht's picture

Easily seems like a bit of an exaggeration considering how hard it is for ANY deck to win.