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By: Tribal Apocalypse, Tribal Apocalypse
Jul 03 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

 So, Magic Origins is almost upon us (prerelease on MTGO will begin July 24). By next week, the spoilers will be completed so I will be able to do a full Tribal Evaluation as usual, but we already know all the mythic rares and almost all the rares, so we can start discussing some elements. The most impactful of which for Tribal Wars is expressed through the transformer walkers



...turning into...



 The noteworthy aspect of this cycle (aside from the fact that now the Basic 5 are three girls and two boys) is that, from a Tribal Wars perspective, now a there's tribes with in-tribe planeswalkers. Which tribes, specifically? Well, mostly Human, of course (surprise, surprise!), which gets 4 out of 5. Elf gets Nissa, although it probably doesn't care much for her. The secondary tribes are also kind of broad, but if Wizard can use the looter Jace, and Soldier could definitely use Savannah Lions Gideon, it's Cleric and Scout the more interesting cases here. The former, because Young Liliana is a good creature whose planeswalker side pushes a specialized mechanic, reanimation, that Cleric can support (all Liliana were meant to be specialist walkers, despite Liliana of the Veil being used as a generic control/disruption engine). And the Scouts get a solid tribesmember, able to fetch up to 3 lands at once, and then easily turn into what's arguably the most powerful of the five origin walkers, mostly due to a striking plus ability. However, the basic forest clause of Nissa's human form would suggest a different Scout build than the classic Valakut-based one. We'll see what comes up in the next months, I guess (I'll certainly brew something with her). Stay tuned.


  • Event Number: 5.25, Week 234 BE
  • Date: June 27
  • Attendance: 20
  • Rounds: 4
  • Subformat: Pure
  • Winner: Bazaar of Baghdad (Wizard)
  • 1 Loss: Yokai_ (Beast), AmericanGaren (Soldier), ScionOfJustice (Goblin), mihahitlor (Human), AJ_Impy (Zombie)
  • Underdog Prize: Generalissimo (Eldrazi)
  • Tribes: Beast, Cat, Construct, Demon, Eldrazi, Elemental, Goblin (x2), Human (x2), Minotaur, Orc, Soldier (x2), Wizard (x2), Zombie (x4)
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 Only one undefeated deck last week, courtesy of returning champion Bazaar of Baghdad, which trampled the event with an essential fair Wizard deck. To the point I didn't find anything to purify. Snapcaster Mage is not a game changer, and Delver of Secrets is actually sort of bad in Tribal.


 I honestly was more eager to ban Restore Balance from Pure events, because it's become the go-to setting for Beast builds, thanks to the in-tribe presence of Greater Gargadon and Anurid Brushhopper (I might have banned the Gargadon itself, indeed). Alas, Yokai_'s deck fell one match short of undefeated status. You can see how brutal the combo is on this week's Show and Tell.


 Next, yet another intriguing build from Generalissimo, using Eldrazi tokens to bring bigger Eldrazi to the board with Cryptic Gateway and the mana from Mana Echoes, and drawing cards via Fecundity. The self-sacrificing Spawn tokens even interact with Tomb of the Spirit Dragon! Generalissimo's builds could really use a better mana base, though. Those taplands are painful to look at.


 Finally, ScionOfJustice's Goblin deck feature all the usual suspects (including upcoming Standard sensation, Goblin Piledriver), but it's worth featuring because of the total absence of fast bolt-like spells in favor of the inclusion of the not yet fully assimilated Howl of the Horde, to maximize the effect of high-damage bombs like (pun not intended) Goblin Grenade, Fireblast, and the often lethal Price of Progress.

 I, for one, died of a twice-forked Price of Progress, indeed. That was, like, 24 damage out of nowhere, as I was running a Cloudpost deck.



 Here's the prices of all the featured decks, courtesy of the amazing Deck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of July 3, 2015):

 Bazaar of Baghdad's deck returns us to the expensive kind of build that was routine in past years, and in this case is mostly due to Scalding Tarn's absurd price. The other featured decks feel closer to what we've seen around here as of late, in the era of cheap Legacy.

 The Top 10 Cheapest Decks that Went Undefeated

  1. mihahitlor's Warriors, $1.95, 1st place on Event 233
  2. morpphling's Goblins, $2.35, 2nd place on Event 102
  3. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.32, 1st place on Event 154 (cheapest event winner)
  4. MisterMojoRising's Insects, $3.55, 2nd place on Event 201
  5. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.58, 1st place on Event 169
  6. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.70, 1st place on Event 145
  7. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $4.12, 2nd place on Event 141
  8. Gq1rf7's Assassins, $4.18, 1st place on Event 147
  9. Trickerie's Golems, $4.31, 1st place on Event 138
  10. Gq1rf7's Vampires, $4.38, 2nd place on Event 188

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



 So, how does the Restore Balance Beast deck work? How efficient is it? The answer to both questions is: as follows.


 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 third quarter of 2015. The quarter will end September 26. By that date, the player or players who registered the greatest number of different tribes will get a 5-tix certificate from MTGO Traders. Congratulations to the second-quarter winner, Generalissimo!

 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 September 26. 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 and congratulations to last quarter's Achievement Master, ScionOfJustice!

 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):

  • 5.26 (Week 235 BE), on July 4: Underdog
  • 5.27 (Week 236 BE), on July 11: Regular
  • 5.28 (Week 237 BE), on July 18: Regular
  • 5.29 (Week 238 BE), on July 25: Pure

Check out all the rules for the sub-formats!

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2015!

Vote for your favorite ETB Creature on the Topdeck Awards!



Taplands by Generalissimo at Fri, 07/03/2015 - 12:59
Generalissimo's picture

The taplands really aren't as bad as they might seem. The deck has exactly zero 1-drops and only Nest Invader as a 2-drop that you actually want to play on the second turn; I'm usually not missing out on anything by having the lands enter tapped and also the deck is really, really bad against aggressive decks with a decent draw, which the lifegain helps with a tiny bit. I'll probably try swapping them out for some scry Temples when Theros rotates out of standard though.

That being said, if anyone wants to donate some dual lands to me, I certainly wouldn't be opposed.

It's not just the early by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 07/03/2015 - 21:33
Kumagoro42's picture

It's not just the early turns. In fact, it's even worse mid-game. You draw a tapland as your 4th land, you can't drop the Kozilek's Predator that could stop your opponent's assault. You may just lose the game right there. Don't tell me it never happened.

I'd rather use all basic lands than taplands. Especially in that deck, where there's just one card that requires double color. And any fetch > any dual. Even Terramorphic Expanse, because at least you thin your deck, skip Wasteland, don't reveal your colors turn 1, and such.

In a deck with so many basics, the M10 checklands are functionally regular duals. Can't understand why people don't like to play those.

And Taiga is 2 tix, anyway. Can't get cheaper than that (or wider a gap with paper Magic!)

Sure, there's only one card by Generalissimo at Mon, 07/06/2015 - 14:42
Generalissimo's picture

Sure, there's only one card that requires double colour, but when you're cycling through the deck with Fecundity looking for something specific you need a lot of coloured mana to keep playing token producers and keep the chain going.

I actually do like the checklands a lot, the reason I didn't include any in this deck is because I had, I believe, 0.06 tix of bot credit remaining.

I think price of progress and by ScionOfJustice at Fri, 07/03/2015 - 14:57
ScionOfJustice's picture

I think price of progress and restore balance are probably the most underutilized spells in Tribal Wars.

For some reason I read that by Paul Leicht at Fri, 07/03/2015 - 15:04
Paul Leicht's picture

For some reason I read that as underbrutalized. Because I guess they can be totally brutal.

Well as Kumagoro said, he by ScionOfJustice at Fri, 07/03/2015 - 16:51
ScionOfJustice's picture

Well as Kumagoro said, he took 24 damage out of no where when I cast Howl of the Horde with raid followed by Price of Progress and if you watch his replay video you can see how brutal Restore Balance is.

Yeah that must have been a by Paul Leicht at Fri, 07/03/2015 - 18:43
Paul Leicht's picture

Yeah that must have been a pretty sweet moment for you. I've used price to kill people before but not with anywhere near that amount of damage.

Well, Restore Balance is for by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 07/03/2015 - 21:39
Kumagoro42's picture

Well, Restore Balance is for players who like RestoreBalance.dek. Your average tribal player, even when chooses to go cutthroat, prefers to go cutthroat by swarming with linear tribal creatures.

Price of Progress has been seen on occasion. But not usually for 24 damage (I believe it might have even been 30, I think I had 5 lands on the battlefield, and I don't have any basic in that deck). Not that it's needed, even in your case I think I was already closer to 0 than to 20, but it sure is splashy. :)

I've used both, I've lost to by AJ_Impy at Sat, 07/04/2015 - 01:48
AJ_Impy's picture

I've used both, I've lost to both, I've beaten both, they've seen a fair amount of play over the years. Restore Balance is a longstanding lynchpin of my landless 5-colour builds, and price of progress alongside Magus of the Moon were essential back when I won the invitational. If I see them getting too popular I'll run safeguards again: Gargoyle Ramp into a Nullstone Gargoyle or a well timed Orim's Chant really ruin Restore Balance's day.

I was surprised how bad my by Bazaar of Baghdad at Fri, 07/03/2015 - 22:04
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

I was surprised how bad my Magus of the Moon was last week; everyone had a ton of basics. I think I could add 2x Serum Visions for 2x lands in that Wizards build to help Delver not be as bad as you claim (he's fine, just not insane).

I'm the guy who decided to by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 07/04/2015 - 14:44
Kumagoro42's picture

I'm the guy who decided to get rid of Blood Moon for good, because I would always, ALWAYS meet 3 monored decks in a row when running it.

Restore Balance by MisterMojoRising at Sat, 07/04/2015 - 00:17
MisterMojoRising's picture

I tried to make those Cascade decks work. I really did. I must have played decks based around those at least ten times, but I never won a single event with them. With more practice, I think I could have pushed my win percentage up a bit more with Restore Balance, but I eventually came to the conclusion that I wasn't ever going to regularly win events with the deck. When the price of Restore Balance and Living End spiked a few months ago, I took the opportunity to sell those cards and am now focusing on other things when I'm able to play Tribal Wars.

I have to disagree that Restore Balance and Price of Progress are the most underutilized cards in the format. Those aren't in the same league as Natural Order, Pernicious Deed, or Intuition. Those are three of the most powerful cards in the format, and they're very rarely played, whereas we see Restore Balance and Price of Progress played fairly often.

Maybe the most underutilized is Vindicate? I would love to Bloodbraid into Vindicate, but that's another card that's effectively banned in the format due to price.

Deed I've tried in quite a by AJ_Impy at Sat, 07/04/2015 - 01:53
AJ_Impy's picture

Deed I've tried in quite a few decks, but it runs into problems against Planeswalkers, ramp and reanimation. Good against swarms, but I usually look to O-stone if I need a 2 turn 3 mana kill everything, dependent on the deck.

Well, the budget is indeed a by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 07/04/2015 - 14:43
Kumagoro42's picture

Well, the budget is indeed a factor in a PRE event (or anywhere pros aren't involved). I use Natural Order when I can, but I made a rule to mostly use it in-tribe, and that's not a super-Spike approach (mostly it works with Insect to fetch Hornet Queen).

Prices of the mentioned cards are not as high as they used to, anyway, if not outright cheap.

- Pernicious Deed (promo!) $17.64 (wanna! Last time I checked was over $25)
- Natural Order (also promo) $9.01
- Intuition (TPR) $4.65
- Vindicate (AP) $13.75

I just played vs. a player who started very budget-conscious and now runs 4x Vindicate. I think there's also to consider Golgari is more popular and tribal-friendly than Orzhov, so you just use Maelstrom Pulse, or even better something instant. I never really liked sorcery-speed removal. Vindicate is a bit of an old-timer.

By the way, MisterMojo, I'm glad you're still following the articles even if you're not playing much at the moment. Did you see the email I sent you?

Is there a rule for how many by Bazaar of Baghdad at Mon, 07/06/2015 - 12:59
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

Is there a rule for how many times an underdog can win before it's no longer underdog legal? I find that there's a lot of interesting mana-intensive tribes, that can't hope to hang with average draws against Soltari/Berserker/Scarecrow which are all up to at least three wins now. Restriction breeds creativity.

The Underdog list (this one) by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 07/10/2015 - 02:39
Kumagoro42's picture

The Underdog list (this one) is fixed now. Or better, it changes only when the meta strongly demands it, like it did when Monk was reclassified to the Major League after the tribe got so many powerful additions that it made no sense anymore as part of the Underdog subformat. What we need to be careful about is to give each tribe a home. Some tribes are strong in Underdog, sure, but they wouldn't be played at all in Regular, either because they aren't strong enough overall, or because there's similar but better options there.

"Some tribes are strong in by Bazaar of Baghdad at Fri, 07/10/2015 - 12:44
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

"Some tribes are strong in Underdog, sure, but they wouldn't be played at all in Regular, either because they aren't strong enough overall, or because there's similar but better options there."

This is obvious, but I feel that by cutting three or so tribes from underdog, while those tribes would be effectively eliminated from a competitive standpoint from the Big Boy formats, you would be giving life to ten to fifty new tribes that aren't competitive in the Underdog event because of those three tribes that are too fast and streamlined.

-3 + 30 is good math for the format, in my opinion. Since that's apparently not yours, I thank you for at least having listened.

I get what you're saying, but by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 07/10/2015 - 21:33
Kumagoro42's picture

I get what you're saying, but I don't feel the same way. I would, if half of each Underdog event were made up of Soltari and Berserker decks. But it's not. It's pretty diverse, as I wrote in the article, both in terms of registered decks and winners. I don't feel like there's tribes that are pushed away by the presence of another tribe. If Worm isn't, then nobody is.

Besides, banning favorites is the path to alienate players, and Underdog is not in the condition to lose any player, because it's the less played of all our subformats.

This said, future will tell whether or not the mentioned tribes will graduate to Major League one day.