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By: Tribal Apocalypse, Tribal Apocalypse
May 08 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

 Tribal Wars is, in the opinion of many, a way to check what a specific creature type, or "tribe", is able to do when it has to rely exclusively on its own strengths. This is a maybe idealistic principle, and there are as many players who don't really believe in it, or at least prefer to see the format as a "no sideboard" Legacy variant with a 20-creature rule. The truth, as it happens, is in the middle: the idea of self-sufficiency is often challenged by the fact that certain tribes aren't capable of build to an endgame without the aid of off-tribe creatures (e.g. Wall); more so, some of them are purposely designed toward an endgame strategy based on off-tribe elements (e.g. Artificer). We should also not fool ourselves in thinking that tribes really ever win on their own (Elf and Goblin do, but then they have been engineered that way for 20 years), and what are, say, planeswalkers if not off-tribe support?

 This said, I typically try not to bother too much the Melvin and Vorthos in me, by building tribal decks with inclusions that feel "wrong" (it's important to note that they, strictly speaking, aren't; we're mostly discussing aesthetics here). But Melvin and Vorthos are bothered by xenophobic excesses, too, which is what I tried to address when the Pure format, which is the symbol of the idealistic principle I mentioned above, was allowed to include particular off-tribe creatures. Because, for instance, it wouldn't made sense to Melvin and Vorthos that Gods would have to appear uniquely in God decks, since Gods are by definition worshiped by non-Gods, and the only time they join forces to fight a battle as an army is Ragnarok or something.


Pretty sure Bears and Weirds worship one of these two, respectively.

 Aside from the clearer cases when an off-tribe creature is actually a stealth member of a tribe because it's that tribe's little (or big) helper (e.g. Lord of the Unreal), which includes most Artificers (but not Stoneforge Mystic in artifact creature decks, I only gave a pass to Gods as allowed, all-purpose "auxiliaries". It'll stay that way, for the sake of simplicity, but in other sub-formats, I found myself tolerating other type of off-tribe inclusions that don't hurt my Vorthos sensibility. The Familiar cycle from Planeshift, for instance, or other little rampers like Birds of Paradise and Wall of Roots. Or other beings that might well have the God type as well, like the Eldrazi Titans (which, however, tend to feel a bit "unfair" for other reasons), certain Elementals, Avatars and Incarnations, or Magic's own Godzilla. And, last but not least, the Phyrexian Praetors, and in particular Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite.

She of the weirdest hat.

 What strikes me of very universal about Elesh is that she's a bad guy, because she's a Phyrexian and Phyrexians are everyone else's bad guy, but she's also mono-white, so she can work with tribes that are, nominally, about law and order. And what she does is helping your team while punishing the opponent's, which is in a nutshell Tribal Wars' basic MO.

 All this was just a very verbose way to say, "Hey, I made a Wall deck with Plants (because it was an Underdog week), using Assault Formation and Elesh Norn as finishers, and look how cool it was by watching the Show and Tell replay!"


  • Event Number: 5.17, Week 226 BE
  • Date: May 2
  • Attendance: 17
  • Rounds: 4
  • Subformat: Underdog
  • Winner: ScionOfJustice (Kor)
  • 1 Loss: ChNidox (Insect), Sagratho (Berserker), JogandoPelado (Berserker), Generalissimo (Myr), Deonmag (Bat)
  • True Underdog Prize: AJ_Impy (Elder)
  • Tribes: Archon, Bat, Berserker (x3), Elder, Hound, Insect, Kor (x2), Minotaur, Myr, Plant, Rebel, Rhino, Satyr, Wurm
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 It was a while since the Kors won an event, and more notably, this is the first time they do it without resorting to the (Quest of Holy Relic) combo (favored by SBena) or the Cephalid Illusionist combo (favored by DirtyDuck and Robin88). None of the above: ScionOfJustice piloted the albino guys at the top by just using what Kor likes best: equipments. Which warrants an appearance of the Queen of the Equipment herself, the original Stoneforge Mystic, Mother of Swords and Breaker of Eldrazi: Nahiri, the Lithomancer. Although, I suspect the key of this victory in a Regular week would be Kor Firewalker, also known as Red Deck Loses.


 Surprisingly well did ChNidox's Insect build. Is Infect Insect actually viable? (The deck had been already played, with less success, earlier this year).


 Sometimes we have a case where a minor tribe (even for Underdog standards) gets adopted by one player in particular, who keeps tweaking their build until it becomes a solid contender for money placements. Which is exactly what Deonmag did for Bats. See? You don't need to play Berserker to succeed!


 And finally, AJ_Impy tried an Elder concoction exploiting the significant improvement of the new Elder Dragons over the old ones (seriously, comparing Dragonlord Ojutai with Chromium isn't even funny). AJ also gave us a couple replays of the deck in action, as you can see below.



 Here's the prices of all the featured decks, courtesy of the amazing Deck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of May 8, 2015):

  • ScionOfJustice's Kors: $187.63
  • ChNidox's Insects: $99.90
  • Deonmag's Bats: $93.75
  • AJ_Impy's Elders: $210.77

 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.



 Now, Assault Formation is a very cool card, isn't it? Under Assault Formation, Tinder Wall becomes one of the best one-drops, and Wall of Blossoms one of the best two-drops (Elvish Visionary? Ah!). So I knew I wanted to make an Assault Formation deck, and I'll do again and again. And while building, I wondered what other creatures, besides defenders, stand to gain the most from the toughness-as-power deal. I was also seeking something splashy to exploit the Plant's moderate ramp, and in the end I landed on Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. Do you ever find the fact that she strikes for just 4 is her greatest weakness? Not anymore!


Pictured: Unexpected friends.

 Anyway, I had to drop early on, so the 1-1 score isn't very significant, but here's a great match my build played against LordPipas's Rebels. In game 1, I somehow botch a Chord of Calling because I couldn't convince the client to let me sac the Tinder Wall after I tapped it as part of the convoke cost. Dunno if it's a bug or I simply timed it wrong. I was going to fetch Overgrown Battlement anyway.

 These are instead the two games where AJ_Impy's Elders faced Golden_Lin's Minotaurs. In game 1, you can see the main engine of the deck, in the form of the very appropriately named Dragon Arch (such a great card). In game 2, Pyrokinesis proves to be a good use for all those cumbersome, partially red cards.


 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):

  • 5.18 (Week 227 BE), on May 9: Regular
  • 5.19 (Week 228 BE), on May 16: Singleton
  • 5.20 (Week 229 BE), on May 23: Regular
  • 5.21 (Week 230 BE), on May 30: Pure

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!