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By: Tribal Apocalypse, Tribal Apocalypse
Apr 13 2015 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

 It happened in 2015, too: yours truly managed a 1st place! Woot! And with a monoblack Avatar deck that I had already used a few times before but never did particularly well (except for an undefeated 2nd place in Event 57, but that was a 3-round event). Also, it's a deck that, as the Show and Tell analysis below will prove, needs a good deal of fixing from the played list in order to be at its best; still, it was enough to score 2-1 four times in a row, and take the placement. Good job, Demigod of Revenge.

 So this is my 9th time at the top. I used 9 different tribes (well, I do constantly change), i.e. in chronological order: Shaman and Scout in Season 1; Demon and Wolf in Season 2; Snake in Season 3; Centaur, Insect and Human in Season 4; and now Avatar. What next? I'd like to add Sphinx to the list, since weirdly, Sphinx is the tribe with which I've got the most top 4 results (five of them), yet I never won an event with them. And they even make use of Living Death in a more effective way than my Avatar. We'll see.


  • Event Number: 5.13, Week 222 BE
  • Date: April 5
  • Attendance: 16
  • Rounds: 4
  • Subformat: Underdog
  • Winner: _Kumagoro_ (Avatar)
  • 1 Loss: Golden_Lin (Minotaur), Sagratho (Soltari), Yokai_ (Berserker), DrunkenSailor15 (Hydra)
  • True Underdog Prize: Dawwy (Homunculus), vantar6697 (Skeleton)
  • Tribes: Avatar, Bat, Berserker (x2), Homunculus, Horror, Hydra, Minotaur, Rat, Rhino, Skeleton, Soltari (x2), Vedalken, Weird, Wurm
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 So, here's my winning Avatar build, which I'll discuss and demonstrate below.


 And these are Golden_Lin's Minotaurs that I faced in round 4 for the win. They did a great job themselves in the event.


 Honorable mention for DrunkenSailor15's 8-post Hydra deck, ended in the money, which Hydras rarely do.


 And this is a rare Homunculus deck (the second ever, indeed), courtesy of Dawwy. Hey, most players don't even remember Homunculus is a tribe!



 Here's the prices of all the featured decks, courtesy of the amazing Deck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of April 10, 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. 



 So, monoblack Avatar is the name of the game. The card that pushes this choice (and makes the deck) is, of course, the uber powerful Demigod of Revenge, a beater that has everything: evasion, haste, recursion, resilience to bolts, a clock of 4 successful attacks.

 The Demigod could also mean red, or even monored (I had a nice "big red" build in Modern centered on him, back when Seething Song was legal), but there are more interesting Avatars in black than in red. And the moment we turn the 5 colored mana in his cost into black only, we'll open the way to the black mana accelerators, so while Cloudpost and Grim Monolith aren't good here, Cabal Coffers and Dark Ritual definitely are.


 I feel like the Ritual is underestimated in Tribal Wars. Granted, it's a one-time deal whose fruit might get answered with removal, which would result in a self-inflicted 2-for-1, whereas the Monolith can be reused later, or even untapped in several ways. But it's still the closest we get to an early Black Lotus acceleration. As for the Coffers, this is the first time I dare to use a full playset, and I'm happy with it. To feel safe, you'll need at least 3 copies of Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth (now a considerably less scary proposition due to the new Legendary rule); ideally you drop an Urborg among your first two lands, so then a turn-3 Coffers is able to generate regular mana, and set up a fourth turn where you'll have 5 mana available, which is ideal for Living Death.


 Because of course the very nature of Demigod of Revenge suggests a graveyard strategy, in particular one fueled by Buried Alive. But I think the deck ends up being solid, and more so than in the past, because it's able to provide two different ways to play your big Avatars, either from the graveyard, or just by ramping via Coffers. Which is why I think I should maximize the 5-black-mana Avatars (i.e. the Spirit cycle from Shadowmoor and Eventide) over the more expensive ones, because they can potentially hit the ground very early, thanks to Rituals and Coffers, and they're even all in all better creatures. Maybe less so in the case of Deity of Scars, but I should make room for full playsets of Divinity of Pride and Ghastlord of Fugue (the latter of which I had used in the past, but left out in this build to try different things), in addition to the Demigods.


 They're both straightforward: the Divinity gives you life, the Ghastlord is sure-fire damage, plus some disruption, albeit probably not fast enough to be always relevant. One thing I need to fix from this build is the idea that I would even use Buried Alive on anything but 3 copies of Demigod of Revenge; none of the other Avatars would be as effective a choice. And I especially have to dispel the notion that Avatar of Discord is a good card. It really isn't.

 I had originally envisioned this deck as more of a graveyard combo build, so Avatar of Discord would be some in-tribe discard outlet; but it's just terrible, it's always been. Consider this hand: Swamp, Swamp, Swamp, Dark Ritual, Avatar of Discord, Demigod of Revenge, Demigod of Revenge. Sounds keepable, right? Well, it's actually an awful hand. You end up trying to drop Avatar of Discord turn-1, dump the two Demigods to the yard, then end up with no hand at all, and your weird Avatar ready to be instantly killed by virtually anything but Doom Blade and Shock. In order for that discard outlet to be good, you'd need to use it in conjunction with a serious amount of excellent fatties; this is just not the case in this deck.

 Avatars I tried and was disappointed by: Sepulchral Primordial, Scion of Darkness. You would think that after a Living Death, you could add insult to injury by stealing the opponent's dead; but you won't win thanks to the random dude you grab from their graveyard (what are the odds it'll be a fattie?), and these two Avatars don't pose a big threat on their own, especially compared to the evasion provided by the Spirit Avatars. Scion of Darkness has always been in the build because it's able to self-dump to the graveyard, which makes for a more impressive Living Death resolution; but it's a 3-mana cycling, which, eh.


 Avatars I tried as 1-ofs and can be reasonably useful: Soul of Innistrad, Soul of New Phyrexia. Fetching the former in particular can be what a second Buried Alive should do, to take back one of the Demigod and trigger the return of the entire team. It's not a quick maneuver, but it's feasible, especially with Coffers help.


 Avatars I used in the past and should maybe bring back: Herald of Leshrac. This is an odd one, but the mana denial is nasty. Admittedly, it only works for 2-3 turns, because you can't expect to be able to grab 1+2+3+4=10 lands. But it disrupts the opponent's battleplan, and in the meantime, it flies and hits for a decent amount of damage. There might even be room for trying the full playset and a couple Zuran Orbs.


 I also used to include some copies of Avatar of Woe, which is a good card, but I'm not sure I need the killing ability after Living Death (of course it's always useful), and certainly the alternative cost will never be satisfied, you'd need a dredge deck for that, not just some Buried Alive.

 Anyway, here's all the matches the Avatars played – and won – last week. All of them ending with a 2-1 score, meaning it's not a super-consistent deck, as expected.

 Round 1: Against MisterMojoRising with Soltari. In game 1, early Avatar of Discord = bad idea. In game 2, the Buried Alive into Living Death routine is met by a very interesting Parallax Wave, which slows me down, but it's not enough. In game 3, the use of Living Death as a Damnation is illustrated, then Parallax Wave shows up again, Sepulchral Primordial demonstrates how little it does when it steals some random Soltari, and the match ends with a tense final section.

 Round 2: Against Deonmag with Bat. Game 1: Vindicate on Cabal Coffers = ouch! Bojuka Bog on my graveyard = double ouch! And Deonmag even packs Immortal Servitude against my Living Deaths. I felt like I was meeting my anti-deck. Then in game 2 I took a risk by using 2 Dark Rituals to power an early threat, which eats removal as expected; I'm also semi-screwed, and the game turns into a long, painful grinding (Bats are not up for fast finishes), until a Living Death turns the tide. In game 3, turn-1 Phyrexian Arena is subtly decisive. I think I'll put 4 Arenas in the revised build. It's the best use of an early Ritual, because the card-drawing immediately offsets the disadvantage, and they can't easily ruin your day by killing it.

 Round 3: Against ML_Berlin with Berserker. Game 1 is a perfect game: turn-3 Buried Alive into turn-4 Living Death, thanks to Urborg. 15 damage and 3 big flyers ready to seal the deal. In game 2 the Berserkers are just too fast; I could have ended up doing 5 damage more (no point keeping a defense up against Frenzied Goblin), but it was irrelevant. In game 3 I had a power hand again. Luck does count to end undefeated.

 Round 4: Against Golden_Lin with Minotaur. Game 1: 4-of-a-Demigod-kind! Game 2: Golden_Lin included Rakdos Charm in his build; I'm glad I faced several different anti-graveyard techs, and survived to tell the tale. Game 3: classic Revenge-filled finish again.


 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 June 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 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 June 27. 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):

  • 5.14 (Week 223 BE), on April 11: Regular
  • 5.15 (Week 224 BE), on April 18: Regular
  • 5.16 (Week 225 BE), on April 25: Pure
  • 5.17 (Week 226 BE), on May 2: Underdog

Check out all the rules for the sub-formats!

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2015!

Vote for your favorite First Striker on the Topdeck Awards!