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By: Tribal Apocalypse, Tribal Apocalypse
Oct 16 2015 11:00am
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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. Announcement Time!
  4. What's Next

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

by Kumagoro

 We made 26 players last week, equaling our best attendance of the year (which is one of our best ever: we equaled it only 10 times, beat it only in 3 occasions, with a 27-, a 28-, and a 32-player attendance: event 114, March 9, 2013).

 2015 is already shaping up to be one of our most successful years. I still wonder why we did so poorly in 2014, attendance-wise. Maybe it was due to the new client. I guess we'll never really know.

 Anyway, the interviews with this year's Tribal Champions are finally here! Woot! Invitational winner MisterMojoRising is here, and player of the year romellos is here. Go have a peek at their lives and their Magic tinkerings!


 Battle for Zendikar has also arrived, but it's not on yet, so please use placeholders and notes in order to register decklists featuring the new cards. Thank you!


  • Event Number: 5.40, Week 249 BE
  • Date: October 10
  • Attendance: 26
  • Rounds: 4
  • Subformat: Regular
  • Winner: Robin88 (Human)
  • Other undefeated: mihahitlor (Human)
  • 1 Loss: fliebana (Human), Bazaar of Baghdad (Human), Golden_Lin (Goblin), Armont (Goblin), Yokai_ (Goblin), _Kumagoro_ (Insect)
  • Underdog Prize: AJ_Impy (Processor), ScionOfJustice ( Lhurgoyf)
  • New Kids on the Block Award: AJ_Impy (Processor)
  • Tribes: Eldrazi, Faerie (x2), Goblin (x3), Human (x10), Insect, Lhurgoyf, Merfolk, Minotaur, Myr (x2), Processor, Vampire, Warrior, Zombie
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 Big event, big winner: former player of the year Robin88, who is now the third most successful player in Tribal Apocalypse history, after mihahitlor and romellos. Congrats, Robin! And his Izzet Humans!


 The Top 8 ended up looking like this, tribe-wise: 1. Human, 2. Human, 3. Human, 4. Human, 5. Goblin, 6. Goblin, 7. Goblin, 8. Insect. Pretty boring, uh? But hey, that Insect is me! (All right, that came out wrong). I always like to bring this Hornet/Purphoros extravaganza for a ride, and it never disappoints.


 Now, let's skip altogether the whole Human/Goblin connection, and focus on the Underdog of the week. The first is from the player who's currently and confidently leading the ranks for this year's run: ScionOfJustice, who brought us a rare instance of Lhurgoyf. I guess, once you own a set of Tarmogoyf, why not, right? (Still, they didn't perform strongly enough overall. Tribe needs reinforcements).


 And of course, new tribe comes out, AJ_Impy is there to christen it. This time is Processor, and it's fast out of the blocks, because it already earned the New Kids award for winning their first match, and then some (well, two matches, but still). Welcome welcome, Eldrazi workers!



 Here's the prices of all the featured decks, courtesy of the amazing Deck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of October 16, 2015):

 Robin's decks brings us back to the really expensive area we were missing lately, due to cards like Wasteland, Snapcaster Mage, Daze, Scalding Tarn and Flooded Strand. As for Scion's lists, well, one card alone is responsible for half that price, and you know all too well which one it is.

 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. JogandoPelado's Berserkers, $2.80, 1st place on Event 248
  4. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.32, 1st place on Event 154
  5. MisterMojoRising's Insects, $3.55, 2nd place on Event 201
  6. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.58, 1st place on Event 169
  7. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.70, 1st place on Event 145
  8. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $4.12, 2nd place on Event 141
  9. Gq1rf7's Assassins, $4.18, 1st place on Event 147
  10. mihahitlor's Goblins, $4.22, 1st place on Event 240

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


 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 fourth quarter of 2015. The quarter will end December 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 last quarter's 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 December 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, Generalissimo!

 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):

  • 5.41 (Week 250 BE), on October 17: Regular
  • 5.42 (Week 251 BE), on October 24: Pure
  • 5.43 (Week 252 BE), on October 31: Halloween Special
  • 5.44 (Week 253 BE), on November 7: Underdog

Check out all the rules for the sub-formats!

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2015!

Vote for your favorite Board Sweeper on the Topdeck Awards!



Intimidate by ComixWriter at Sat, 10/17/2015 - 14:30
ComixWriter's picture

After reading "The High Price of Winning," and watching some Regular matches today, I am glad I had some difficulties that prevented me from attending. It'd have been a slaughter.

With Swords of X and Y flying around, cast by multiple dual lands and wielded by Legendary creatures, I don't think I can financially compete with the current builds. Sure, any given deck on any given day COULD win. Things like mana problems or poor execution of triggers on the stack could work to my favor. Does anyone really think a new player is going to be more adept on navigating success with either of those issues than the current regular winners?

For me, I guess it comes down to a "Have" vs "Have Not" mentality. In no real world would multiple achievements be unlocked in events like today: No vanilla deck has hope, and few 1cmc decks would stand a chance. I had difficulties with adding new cards from BFZ, but there's probably a work around that I don't know.

Maybe if there were ever a pauper tribal event, MAYBE this could level the playing field. In a way, the glamour of tribal washes from my eyes. It's more about which particular tribe can equip a cool sword that, really, has absolutely zero to do with the core tribe. It's more about dropping a spiffy ramp land that does more tricks than a lot of common or uncommon creatures. Let's stop pretending that tribes matter for Regular or Pure events- its about how the most powerful cards can fit into any given tribe. Maybe a core shell of Wastelands, Lightning Bolts, Swords to Plowshares, and Swords of X and Y should be defaults for everyone; just build a deck that takes advantage of those core shell cards, be they weenie soldiers of a league of mythic rare Avatars.

I congratulate those who played- you are far braver, far richer, and far more skilled than I am. At this point, I don't think I will be participating in future events. I just don't see a level playing field at this time. Thanks, everyone, for being quite welcoming, though.

ComixWriter: you should read by Tribal Apocalypse at Sat, 10/17/2015 - 15:08
Tribal Apocalypse's picture

ComixWriter: you should read the High Price of Winning for past weeks. This week, as said in the article, has been peculiar, at least for what the trend has been in recent times. From the cheapest winner list you can see how you can win an event with as low as a $2 deck. In fact, all the most powerful tribes come in mono-colored, cheap builds.

Possible Fix? by ComixWriter at Sat, 10/17/2015 - 15:09
ComixWriter's picture

I offer a suggestion, based on observations:

If tribes are the most important part of playing Tribal Legacy events like this, perhaps restrict the MTGO financial cost of non-tribal cards.
Tribal= 20+ tribal creature cards* which means that at least 40 other cards likely compose the deck. Subtracting costs on non-basic lands, the cost of the remaining cards in that deck cannot trump the tribal costs.

For example, a deck sporting a bunch of inexpensive soldiers may find themselves with only about $2.00 to build the rest of its deck. A deck with a lot of Legends might be costly, but also drops those expensive non-tribal cards, too.

*- Out of curiosity, if tribes matter, why can't non-creature spells that create a tribal member be counted as part of the tribe shell? In a way, a deck that used copies of "Raise the Alarm," "Even the Odds," etc. but didn't have at least 20 type:Creature (soldier) wouldn't count? Wouldn't wizards use spells in unique ways to build their army in unconventional ways, like using sorceries, instants, or enchantments?

Finally, while I like the restrictions imposed on winning decks, I think a firmer opportunity may open the playing field. What if all weekly winners must aim for an unlocked achievement? Let's face it- it's not that one really cool rare card that helped someone win- it was their access to it and other potential powerful cards. If you faced a millionaire each week, would it matter if they were locked out of a handful of bomb-rares or insanely powered cards? I submit that winners need more than money to build a deck; make winners prove their durability beyond their account balance by forcing more diversity, more creativity, and more balance. How many decks made for today's event qualify for an achievement unlock? Did anyone even TRY to unlock an accomplishment in a Regular or Pure event?

Here's a tongue-in-cheek new achievement for your consideration:
"Daddy Warbucks" - register a deck with the highest financial cost. This can be unlocked multiple times by multiple people. Just keep a rolling total of the current cost as the most expensive deck list that season.

In order (please number your by Tribal Apocalypse at Mon, 10/19/2015 - 17:58
Tribal Apocalypse's picture

In order (please number your questions next time so it's easier to do this).

1) No to any financial math on the decks in registration. Gatherling won't do it, it's a nightmare to do it, and I'm also opposed in principle (see below).

2) Creatures matter. Noncreature tribal spells are not creatures. The rules devised by whom first created this format were concerned about your quota of creatures in the deck, not your quota of any other type of spells. Tribal spells have also been officially retired now (as we can see from the fact that BFZ didn't feature Eldrazi spells anymore), so it's not even going to be a relevant factor in the future. But the client wouldn't recognize them anyway, so we wouldn't be able to play with the Legacy Tribal Wars format in the game. Same for the DCI official ban list for LTW, which is partially silly, but we have to accept it as it is.

3) To put it simply, my mandate goal is to widen the player base, have more and more players come to the event every week. The achievement crowd and the Spike crowd are different crowds, with very rare overlapping. Forcing the latter to do something that only the former cares for would only push them off the event.
Not being able to play the same undefeated decks for more than once every 5 weeks is punishing enough, trust me.

4) I don't like to reward expensiveness. First, it's a fleeting idea, and second, I'm very opposed to shame people for having expensive cards in collection (it's the reason why for a little while we had a list of the most expensive decks along the cheapest ones, but then we dropped it). This leads us to my next consideration below.

Please, drop this "millionaire" concept you're having. There's no millionaires here. In fact, if you bother reading the interviews to the annual champions, you'll find that most of them don't put any money into MTGO, have bad collections, and possibly struggle to put together a new deck because they lack funds.
And people with a good collection are mostly people who play since a long time and love this game so much that they keep the cards that they've put together over as many as 10 years, by winning, trading, and other means of income you have here (my collection has been entirely put together by writing articles and hosting events). They might have put hard work and sweat to put together their collections, it might have taken YEARS of their life. There's no reason to come and shame them for that. It's commendable, instead.

So, no millionaires here, but most importantly, it doesn't matter, because the most successful player, mihahitlor, last year Ultimate Champion, MisterMojoRising, and many other Spikes that make the difference here never play with decks that cost more than 10 bucks, and they still win most of the events.

ComixWriter, in Tribal you by mihahitlor at Sat, 10/17/2015 - 15:22
mihahitlor's picture

ComixWriter, in Tribal you can make a competitive deck with less than 10 tickets. You can't make every possible deck that you want, but you can make lots of different aggro, midrange and control decks for not a lot of money that will have a solid chance at winning.

And as far as the playing field not being even - that's much more a function of different player types and deckbuilding styles (it's a very diverse crowd), and not so much of them not being financially able to make decks that have good winning percentage.

At its own time by ComixWriter at Sat, 10/17/2015 - 15:34
ComixWriter's picture

Yes, some of the inexpensive decks can win. These happen during Underdog events, most often.

I'm specifically targeting the Regular and Pure events, for cost evaluation. What were the costs of today's winning decks? How many of them sport expensive dual lands? How expensive was their NON-tribal cards? I think it's odd that I can't play Knights as effectively because their leader was purified, but how many winning decks have Loci in play? How many non-tribal cards cost close or above 10 tickets? Is it tribal, or a bunch a tribal creatures that abuse dual lands, artifacts, or other expensive cards?

When soldiers swing with a neat sword,
...and merfolk swing with that same neat sword,
...and zombies attack with that same sword,
...and spirits hack with that same sword,
...while their controller drops Wasteland -

let's stop pretending this is about tribes: it's more about who can equip said sword first for what-was-my-tribe-again? Can "Wastelanders" or "Swordsmen" be new tribes, because that's what I've been seeing. Again, this is just my casual observations. I'm not asking for the format to change; it's my choice to join or not, and again, everyone has been pretty cool with my ramblings and respect. My comments are just my observations about the cost of the format, and an indictment that tribal wars in regular or pure events is less about a tribe, and more about how a few select, repeated, and relatively expensive cards rule the format, with like-colored creatures asked to perfect the use of said select power cards.

Would anyone be willing to post a competitive vanilla deck that would have hung with today's matches? How about a 1CMC deck to play against today's challengers? Face it- they wouldn't stand a chance. When this happens, for me at least, this game becomes about getting super-expensive cards, but tribes are an afterthought.

Seriously, though, what cards constitute a shell? If I sport a white deck without a Swords to Plowshares, or a non-Lightning Bolt red deck, do I have a prayer? Given all of the non-basic lands, be sure to add a playset of Wastelands, too, since they're what all the cool kids use.

We talk about the impact of All is Dust, and here it is again. We question the use of Cloudposts, yet here they are again. When a card is a staple in the format, but isn't part of thee format theme, it seems like an odd inclusion. Sure, Cloudposts are "only" a nickel at, but those of you familiar with Standard Pauper will remember that Delver of Secrets was either the deck you played or the deck to whom you lost. I'd hate to think of Tribal Wars as a shell game of certain core cards flung at an opponent's head, while some critters of inconsequential value also run around on the board just to use those certain specific cards.

Yes, I can spend less than 2 tickets to sport a competitive deck. Yes, a simple Naturalize - a common and inexpensive card - could easily destroy a Sword, for example. There's always an answer to any given card. Without sideboards, player's would have to pack hate for a very select choice of common targets, thus thinning their tribe. In contrast, the Sword player needs only to worry about their swords being equipped, thus gaining card advantage and using the sword to handle whatever else their opponent's play.

Again, you're wrong, Goblin by Tribal Apocalypse at Mon, 10/19/2015 - 18:00
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Again, you're wrong, Goblin and Elf decks are monocolored deck without dual nor other expensive cards, and they've won the most Regular events (duh, they're not even allowed in Underdog). Same goes for Kithkin, Soldier and other WW builds.

TBH, I think your perspective by mihahitlor at Sat, 10/17/2015 - 15:49
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TBH, I think your perspective on Tribal is quite inaccurate. I would advise you to play in some events to get a better feel for what gets played, what is overpowered etc. Today I played against a Sword, but before that I don't remember when was the last time I did. It is banned in most of events anyway (and in my opinion it is not a particularly problematic card anyway - it costs you 5 mana before it *potentially* does something)

My comment about price also stands for regular and pure. Actually, I think if anything underdog is a format that comparatively requires higher investment to get higher winning percentage, because non-tribal cards are more important in a format with weaker creatures.

Was this the same game in by ComixWriter at Sat, 10/17/2015 - 16:13
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Was this the same game in which I also watched a sword-wielding germ swing for final damage in Round 3+ today?

Nope, in my game, by mihahitlor at Sat, 10/17/2015 - 16:18
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Nope, in my game, sword-wielding Siege Rhino swinged for final damage :)

Oddly, you just strengthened by ComixWriter at Sat, 10/17/2015 - 16:46
ComixWriter's picture

Oddly, you just strengthened my point. Now we know that at least TWO spiffy swords helped whatever tribe win their match. Siege Rhino comes in at under two bucks per copy. Pretty much, they claims of building a competitive deck for under 10 tickets has a harder time to justify that position when a playset (less, actually) of just two cards already eats up that price tag. Yup- two cards win. Another Sword won another match. What tribe was it? Does it matter?

I dont understand your by mihahitlor at Sat, 10/17/2015 - 17:15
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I dont understand your argument. A tribal deck doesn't need neither Siege Rhinos nor Swords to be competitive, so pointing out that the playset of the rhinos costs almost 10 tix doesn't weaken my position that you can build a competitive deck for under 10 tix. There are literally thousands of different cards that people win their Tribal matches with.

My argument mirrors by ComixWriter at Sat, 10/17/2015 - 17:36
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My argument mirrors JMS':

NON-tribal cards are the key to winning TRIBAL events.

With the "Banned 9" cards, the format recognizes how certain popular non-tribal cards disrupt the format. I suggest that there are more than these 9 cards that do damage to the spirit of the game. If non-tribal cards do NOT grossly unbalance tribal play, then use your logic and unban those 9 cards for next week.

I'll agree that literally thousands of cards can compose a winning deck. That's not up for debate. What I challenge is the reoccurrence of a select few cards within those pools.

Not all boys are named "Steven," but many people named "Steven" are boys. We can agree on the first piece of logic: any deck can win. Where I am failing to clearly communicate is that within that given set of thousands of cards, many winning decklists will be 1) diverse (we agree on this point), but also 2) have many of the same non-tribal cards that do not care about a tribe to be able to win, and win well.

So, we can have a zillion different merfolk decks.
...and a zillion goblins,
...and a zillion cats,
...and a zillion goats (well, maybe not a 'zillion'),
but if they all use Scepters and Wraths and Wastelands, how in the world is this a tribal game anymore?

Reporter: Here we are with the winning tribe after their match! Tell us, how did you pull off the victory today?
Green Elves: Scepter, with Lightning Helix imprinted
Next Week's Winning B&U Merfollk: Ditto
Next Week's Winning Red Soldiers: Ditto
Next Week's Winning Cockatrice: Ditto

See? It doesn't matter what creatures wield a sword, or scepter, or whatever- these select few cards win games regardless of the tribe. If you have 'em, some players can build a deck in 2 minutes (even if Gatherling were offline for 90 seconds of that time) because they needn't worry about which tribe to even pick- just creatures that can use those other power cards.

I contend that a core shell of cards (ie: power 9 banned in Pure Tribal, plus more). I am merely repeating JMS' observations that Tribal Wars really isn't designed to take advantage of creatures, but more how creatures are mere fillers for after-thought considerations. Tell me that most players wouldn't use a full playset of Wastelands if they had 'em, regardless of the deck. The only times Wastelands wouldn't be played is because of boredom or tips about an evolving metagame against Wastelands. Soldiers + Wasteland? Sure! Foxes + Wasteland? Why not? Humans + Wasteland? This deck would be a "Win More" deck.

In the spirit of fairness, some deck builders may want a unique challenge. Perhaps they eschew their Wastelands to focus on unlocking an achievement. How well would any vanilla deck have faired today, in a regular format? Being so open to so many cards, this event would likely bring the most cards to consider. Would you care to pilot bears without some swords? Could you, and still expect to WIN?

I will say the apocalypse by Paul Leicht at Sat, 10/17/2015 - 19:50
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I will say the apocalypse tourney has come a really long way from the early days. (ShardFenix started it in 2010 iirc.) Back in the early days I was bringing decks that were practically singleton because that was how my collection was geared. I'd have 3-4 of some tribe members and lots of 1-2 of others and while I won it was often the case that the winners were mainly Goblins and Elves players.

Now at least the spikes bring some real artistry to their deck lists. No longer do you see all red burn or elf combo. And that is progress. Sadly it is hard to shift the meta once really good players join. The spiking up of the skill levels to building and playing decks makes the bar that much higher for everyone else.

I think this is somewhat encouraged by the beginning of year invitational because it encourages players to want to not just grab the top prize each week but to win as many weeks as they can as to get better seeding. The higher your seed the more likely you are to be invited. And many more good players have joined the ranks since the days when it was me, Shard, Flippers, AJ and 3-4 others.

"if they all use Scepters and by Tribal Apocalypse at Mon, 10/19/2015 - 18:21
Tribal Apocalypse's picture

"if they all use Scepters and Wraths and Wastelands"

But before leading this crusade (coming from a person who NEVER PLAYED, which, allow me, doesn't give you the best of perspectives vs. people who play almost every single week) did you actually bother to check the statistics for the cards you mention? Or any power noncreature card, really?

You can do it easily via I can't link to an individual research, but just click on Deck Search, put Tribal Apocalypse as "series", and type the name of a card and it'll give you how many times that card has appeared in Tribal Apocalypse since Jan 2013. Also, the ending score of those decks.
For instance, Isochron Scepter has appeared in 47 decks (over a total of 2699, you make the % of that), 24 of which were Robin88's (who's a fan of the card, but typically includes only 1 or 2 copies of it). Of those 47 decks, only 3 ended undefeated. So Isochron Scepter's overall impact on the 146 events since Jan 2013? 2.05% of success.

I'm sorry, but I'll have a discussion only based on real actual data, not on a pool made of a couple of events from which biased conclusions get extrapolated.

Have things changed in 9 by ComixWriter at Sat, 10/17/2015 - 16:12
ComixWriter's picture

Have things changed in 9 years since this was written by Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar?

"Suddenly, Spikes and prize-sharks swooped onto the Tribal scene. You know what they realized besides the fact that [edit: certain block sets' tribes, like Onslaught] were the most competitive?

They realized that you could actually use twenty creatures as a necessary evil to win in non-creature ways.

Tooth and Nail became a Tribal staple as did Goblin Charbelcher, Isochron Scepter and Lion’s Eye Diamond’s ability to feed Auriok Salvagers.

Tribal decks seemed to be winning tournaments without any real focus on creature combat or creature-type themes. To me this simply wasn’t the point of Tribal Wars."

Have things changed? Since you were even named in the article (here:, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the evolution of the game, Bazaar of Baghdad. How many Isochron Scepters did you see today?

I saw an Isochron Scepter by ComixWriter at Sat, 10/17/2015 - 16:59
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I saw an Isochron Scepter imprinted with Lightning Helix today. I forget what tribe was being played, just noting the artifact in play. As time worn down the defenses, it was the artifact - not creatures - that helped save the player (who lost, eventually, iirc).

You have a good point. One by Paul Leicht at Sat, 10/17/2015 - 17:17
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You have a good point. One reason I don't waste my time on Saturdays anymore is I have no desire to chance facing legacy decks disguised as Tribal (Aka Shoehorns. I don't care if the tribe is relevant to the combo or not, if it is mainly about winning with the combo it is going to irk me as it sidesteps the whole idea imho.) It irks me that the format is so open to abuse. BUT I don't think it is fixable. Kuma has certainly done a pretty decent job of making it as fixed as it gets. Blippy and before him Flippers and Shard all struggled with this issue. Broken formats are broken.

And the vast variety of options available means you can face any number of things that are hard to prepare for and can just win out of nowhere. Eternal magic sure is fun isn't it?

If it was Tribal Wars Vintage, ironically I'd be more tempted since then I could bring full power and play the decks I like on a competitive footing (because power allows for all kinds of flexible builds) vs being unable to bring consistently competitive decks because of the very variety that makes up the meta.

Scepters aren't really a problem card imho compared to many of the offenders. And Lightning Helix is pretty innocuous as a use of it. There are certainly more broken ways to use Scepters.

Swords aren't either. Because if they show up too often people start hating out Artifacts. Batterskull would be pretty nasty (because it largely ignores much of the hate) if people played it but its price tag large keeps it out of the tourney. The thing about the broken equipments is they keep combo honest because a sword on anything can be an end game bringer. Making aggro more likely to get ahead.

Aggro already has a pretty nice hold on the meta with Goblins being near the top alongside cheap humans and elf combo. Elementals (red only) and Berserkers seem to be popular and winsome.

Midranged decks seem to struggle the most since it is very easy to kill someone quickly enough that the stall tactics of the slower decks don't get time to turn on and become effective. If they do, the tables quickly turn. Which is why I guess, aggro is so popular. That and it tends to be budget friendly. If 90% of your deck costs less than a ticket combined then yes a sword or two does make a $10 budget feasible.

Thanks, Paul. I appreciate by ComixWriter at Sat, 10/17/2015 - 18:01
ComixWriter's picture

Thanks, Paul. I appreciate your insight into the vast formats available and experience. I also liked how you remained very respectful to the hosts of these events, even in light of format problems that may be broken.

Swords and Scepters aren't the only guilty party. Like you and others indicate, these cards aren't the worst things to play against. Moreso, they are a snapshot of the game I watched online today.

In some ways, I feel like Tribal Wars are masquerading as something else. "Shoehorns," as you said, Paul. If a new player came up to someone experienced with Tribal Wars and asked for some deck suggestions, those suggestions shouldn't imply getting a full playset of those banned nine cards from Pure Tribal Legacy. If a new player came into the event without at least one of those cards that would be available, we can assume a few things, maybe:

1) This person just wants to have fun watching their Giants try to stomp some elves. What a mature outlook this is in an aggressive-capitalist environment.
2) This player has faith in their creature tribe so well that they plan to exploit some new tech that makes stuff like Swords to Plowshares redundant, for example.
3) The player has no idea what the metagame holds and is foolish, or at least less competitive, by choice for not adding said cards. Sure, they CAN win, but winning the tournament is far less statistically probable.

I think your final comment was very telling of the format. I may field every creature in my deck for less than a ticket. They may have some great synergy, but what helps them win is that $9 remaining on my $10 balance to get some swords or other power cards; tribe identity be damned.

Unequal by ComixWriter at Sat, 10/17/2015 - 16:36
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Let's assume that JMS' advice was headed, and that none of the top qualifying decks sleeved-up copies of Scepters or Charbelchers (but I already know this to be untrue; humor me) or their ilk.

Let's say I wanted to try Soldiers as a tribe. Soldiers are an ALPHA tribe, meaning they have quality cards to support them. Let's try the Vanilla achievement, trying to field a tribe without any additional qualities beyond power/toughness. Maybe CMC could be an advantage in some way. Some easy grabs may include Valiant Guard and Elite Vanguard.

Tell me an Alpha-worthy tribe, such as vanilla soldiers, would be competitive without Wrath of God, Wastelands, Swords, Scepters, etc. In no way would the soldiers' other spells be enough to compensate. Tell me that my non-tribal cards - cards that have absolutely zero affiliation with my tribe - won't cost more than my entire tribe. Tell me that Legacy Tribal Wars has headed JMS's suggestions about his observations of the format that artificially restrict entry by new players. Tell me that the playing field is balanced in favor of tribes, not bomb rare non-tribal cards who whore themselves to the weakest tribe at a pretty penny cost.

If the point of Tribal Wars is to use the best non-tribal cards by whatever tribe I can afford, I think to focus of "tribal" wars seems misleading. When suggestions about a deck improvements offer more non-tribal support than in-tribe support, either the tribe is less playable than anticipated, or the format bows to a select few special universal cards that are not only cost-prohibitive to new players, but dilutes the spirit of tribes in the 1st place.

Not to be too argumentative by Paul Leicht at Sat, 10/17/2015 - 17:26
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Not to be too argumentative but: So what? Yes the entry is a little hard for a brand new player. That is true of every format for a variety of reasons. Even Pauper. Even Heirloom. Every format has the more pricy cards dominating. That's because they become pricy when they are in demand (because they break their respective formats.)

As to making Tribes the focus of your deck, that is what some of us strive for. We look for ways to make our tribes matter. And sometimes we succeed. Aj is a pastmaster at that as are a few others. Goblin players and Elf players do so by force.

Soldiers imho are a 3rd rate tribe. They sort of echo the way goblins work but not as effectively or efficiently. They have lords but the lords tend to be high costed.

Kor on the other hand are much better at the same job and are superior in basically every way. I'd never claim that you can't win with Soldiers but they struggle pretty hard.

I can accept this criticism, by ComixWriter at Sat, 10/17/2015 - 18:16
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I can accept this criticism, Paul. You seem to play devil's advocate here, than actually belittling the comments or idea, and this is helpful.

If I had to spend money on tribal cards, then so be it. As other have written, and history shows us, some decks win well with almost spare change.

What I lament is the pursuit of non-creature cards to make a creature deck. Sometimes, financial cost isn't a burden, since some of these cards only cost a single virtual penny. To me, a format about creatures should STAR the creatures, not a select few re-occurring cards that happen to be in the same color as the whatever-it-is tribe.

What would happen if decks had to ONLY use creature cards, or cards that made their tribe (ie: Raise the Alarm for Soldiers tribes)? Sure, some current tribes would fall away due to attrition, but wouldn't this really make the events and format overall MORE tribal? I'm sure I can't have been the 1st person to offer this solution, so I ask- what happened to that debate? If the expressed goal of Tribal Wars is playing and celebrating diversity and skill of a player's creatures, why has the focus been off creatures in pursuit of holy grail non-tribal-specific cards?

Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar addressed this same concern almost 9 years ago, and it seems his findings remain to this day with little change. This is no fault of the hosts- it seems to be the way of the format, not individual guidance. Also, it seems that we may be in the minority of feeling distanced from creatures in tribes, Paul.

Taking 'only creatures' by AJ_Impy at Sat, 10/17/2015 - 19:56
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Taking 'only creatures' literally, Dryad and Construct are the clear winners on the back of memnite, dryad arbor, vine dryad and the like. 'Only creatures and lands' means that protection from creatures rules the roost, with Riders of Gavony a backbreaker. That and creatures that kill creatures, such as assassin or zombie.

I was there the day they first tried to kill tribal. I was there, posting in the threads, rallying support, sending correspondence to Aaron Forsythe. I was playing it for years before and all the time since. I've written at length on the topic: JMS was just passing through as was his wont. (We played together a few times, mainly Emperor).

The best card is one that blindsides your opponent. Something unexpected, devastating, attacking them through an angle they hadn't considered. Those are usually obscure and thus cheap. I fight against shoehorns and those who take the easy option every single week, on the strength of my own deckbuilding. I could just go for an easier way, a good goblin deck is amazingly cheap, but I fight, lose and occasionally win upholding my ethos.

Don't get hung up by cost. The best of us could wreck folks on less than a ticket without raising a sweat, using generic and fairly dull tribes just to get things done. If you want me to demonstrate, poke me in the client.

Yep, I echo AJ's analysis. by Bazaar of Baghdad at Sat, 10/17/2015 - 21:45
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Yep, I echo AJ's analysis. My solution, Comix, is for you to design two or more tribal decks that you think are competitively balanced that you think exemplify the spirit of the format. Then hit up some of us with bigger collections, ask us to play some matches using one of your lists (maybe being open to slight decklist modifications), and we can sling some digital cardboard together. It's not an event with prizes on the line, but sounds like it could be fun.

I'm in and you all can email by Paul Leicht at Sat, 10/17/2015 - 22:49
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I'm in and you all can email me if I am not online. gando.thebardATgmaildotcom

I have a wide variety of weak to strong tribal decks.

Nothing Changes by bingobongo at Mon, 10/19/2015 - 03:49
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The discussion here has been going on for the beginning of this event

People are different, we all see things differently, so the spirit of the event is different to different people

IMO what i can't understand is why the format has not changed to Modern
yeah you lose a lot of power cards but these tend to be non creatures

Why not changed from legacy?

Good question by ComixWriter at Mon, 10/19/2015 - 10:06
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This is a good question, bingobongo-
Has anyone done an analysis of what would change as a result of dropping Legacy for Modern?
Immediately, what cards would you fear losing in this format? What would you be happy to no longer see or play against?

If you're playing to win then by Flippers_Giraffe at Mon, 10/19/2015 - 14:23
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If you're playing to win then you bring cards that can do the job, which is the case for any tournament.

You don't need to spend a fortune to have a good deck, you need to have a deck that is flexible enough to deal with artifacts and enchantments etc. If you build a deck with an extra Legacy combo built in, sure it means some games you can combo off but in others you may find you play someone who can counteract your combo and you didn't have enough space left in your deck to deal with it.

Playing different formats helps shake things up every now and then, we could have Modern which would drop a lot of the big combo decks, Pauper, Standard even is possible but is limited depending where in the block cycle you are.

If a certain card is deemed as too powerful and is used in a lot of decks that win then it goes onto the banned list.

The deck that took first place only contained one Isochron Scepter, imagine if he used four with four copies of Orim's Chant

"The deck that took first by Bazaar of Baghdad at Tue, 10/20/2015 - 16:49
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"The deck that took first place only contained one Isochron Scepter, imagine if he used four with four copies of Orim's Chant"

He may have then drawn multiple Chants instead of business spells, proceeding to lose a winnable match. It's not so correct to put 4 Chant-Stick into every deck in Tribal. Warning: it's typically bad against flash decks and burn decks, and Kuma's caterpillars eat up Scepters for breakfast. But, given that caveat, you're probably right, that more Shark-leaning decks should insert the combo. Certainly, to the extent All Is Dust is a problem (Kuma, here's your trump card for now on the All Is Dust debate), No Chant has that easily covered.

Balance by ComixWriter at Tue, 10/20/2015 - 11:14
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Got it loud and clear:

I. No millionaires.

II. Best ways to win:
A) Play.
B) Build a card pool over decades of play.
C) Build a non-traditional deck to confound the typical meta-game answers, especially knowing no sideboard substituted answers to a non-traditional threat.

III.. Achievements don't mean as much to some players, based on how they define fun.

I also apologize, because I think some replies seem angry. When I got married, I knew I'd be a step-parent to a child with some special needs. These challenges can interfere with every aspect of life, including basic self-care, and can consume a lot of time. This weekend, I wasn't as free as I had planned, and thus missed this week's Tribal Wars and Sunday's Standard Pauper dance.

I hoped to play a Leviathan deck on Saturday. Here are my thoughts about this deck:

1) I have a disposable $10 budget for a deck. This seemed the common price range for competitive decks, by suggestions.
2) I wanted non-land, non-creature spells to reflect my devotion to the creature type.
3) I will need a way to play very mana-intensive creatures, some of whom cost 9cmc.

My deck:
Grab 20 leviathans. There are few of them, and they seem to offer no synergy outside of having a large cmc, but one leviathan offers to go fetch other 9cmc critters. Inn a way, it offers me card draw.
Outside of 20 creatures, and a default of 24 lands, this gave me 16 spots to fill, or 4 four-ofs. High Tide makes sense, to ramp mana. Whelming Wave is a one-sided board sweeper, although at sorcery speed. At "U", Quest for Ula's Temple should help grab a leviathan, and help me field these large creatures quickly. If I chose "Kraken," instead, I'd at least have a solid chump blocker on Turn One, a suspended creature, and could look into Clockspinning to target the suspension or the counters on the enchantment. I am not sure why I went with Leviathans over Kraken, but it's moot. To finish the deck, and knowing that some of my leviathans need islandwalk or flying to connect damage, I added four copies of Sea's Claim. Additionally, targeting a non-basic land of my opponent is preferable, and shuts down that land until otherwise solved.

Then, I looked at some matches. Granted, I wasn't watching matches very long. Based on what I saw, I don't think my leviathans would have ever hit the field. Do leviathans stink (they may, being more than a little "fishy")? Is the format skewed too hard against leviathans? No, I think they are slower, so anyone wanting to field bigger creatures has alternative means to get them into play; I have eight cards that help me cheat a leviathan into play.

To me, although leviathans may be a poor choice to play at any Tribal Wars event, this is the kind of deck I would want to play. I don't know if this makes me a "Johnny," or "Spike" or "Doubting Thomas;" just like some players don't care about Achievements, I don't care about what labels others may give my style. I tried to field 20 creatures that would mount a threat, with support cards that directly acknowledge their creature type or otherwise support what the creatures want to do. To me, suggestions about aggressive decks being the best threats, or a need for control spells, or a splash into another color to take advantage of XYZ off-color power spells, is less than what I hope for from Tribal Wars. Sure, I'd want to win. With a leviathan deck as outlined, I don't think I'd win one match, but probably have a lot of fun TRYING to win. What I'd dislike is playing against a goblin deck that burned me with lightning bolts, not goblin grenades. Goblin Grenades, I'd expect, and suits the purpose of a goblin-themed deck. Nobody would doubt the power of Lightning Bolt, but I challenge the aesthetics of using it over Goblin Grenade when fielding...I dunno..."goblins," maybe. Now, if Goblin Grenade were priced at an obscene amount, I could still encourage an expensive deck that used it, because of the flavor.

Does this make sense? Thanks in advance...

The term is Timmy-Johnny with by Paul Leicht at Tue, 10/20/2015 - 12:09
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The term is Timmy-Johnny with a strong helping of vorthos. Timmies like the big flashy plays like landing a 10/10 islandwalker and threatening imminent destruction. Johnnies like inventing unusual ways of doing things whether they win or not. Vorthos appreciate the story and the flavor of the game. They want their cards to have story related synergy. Thus goblin bomb is more important with goblins than the more spiky and efficient Lightning Bolt.

Also Mihi's advice is solid. A green blue Krakens deck could be doable with Kiora (#1) and Eureka and Worldly/Sylvan Tutor. It would probably be too slow still for a super aggro deck but might give slower controlling decks fits.

Leviathans and Kraken, great by AJ_Impy at Tue, 10/20/2015 - 16:45
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Leviathans and Kraken, great fun. :) Ula's Temple is very handy, you can also get some good mileage out of Torpor Orb and/or Sundial of the Infinite to negate the drawbacks of some of the more challenging leviathans such as Eater of Days or Sky Swallower. Ula's Temple-Proliferate gives you a solid game plan, or if you want to be nasty and sneaky, use Grozoth and all 9CMC leviathans (Plus, say, a singleton Darksteel Forge to make your Inkwells unkillable and a Nullstone Gargoyle to prevent retaliation) alongside Eureka (With Reliquary Tower to keep stuff from turn 3 to turn 4) to play your entire tribe at once before the critical turn.

Its going to be tough to make by mihahitlor at Tue, 10/20/2015 - 12:04
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Its going to be tough to make a competitive Kraken deck, especially on a budget. By playing such a "bad tribe", you are automatically conceding lots of ground to other decks. Even if you wanted to make an expensive Show and Tell/Sneak Attack/Reanimator deck, there are better tribes for that kind of stuff.

I am not trying to sway you from playing Krakens, I just think that you should then be comfortable with the fact that your deck wont be exactly competitive. Maybe you can try to make it as powerful as possible given the limited parameters (krakens + 10 tix budget) and that could be a fun deckbuilding exercise. It is possible to make a budget reanimator or Eureka deck - such shell would be the best for a Kraken deck imo.

Thanks, Mihahitlor - Yup, by ComixWriter at Tue, 10/20/2015 - 13:24
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Thanks, Mihahitlor -

Yup, Krakens, Leviathans, etc. are going to be a pain to make competitive. We can agree that cards like Whelming Wave and Quest for Ula's Temple "help" their creature types, are specifically designed to help these decks be more competitive, but fall short in smaller ways. Yes, one Celestial Flare wrecks the deck, because I doubt 1) the balance of card tempo suits this slower blue deck; one big creature is going to come, in some way, and will be the only target of as much hate as my opponent sat on for X number of turns without my creatures in play; and 2) I have very little in the way of defense, save adding the blue common tap land that locks down an already-tapped critter. Icy Blast may also be neat.

This deck rolls in at under budget at about $6, so other change is possible. I was asked what kind of decks I thought could be fun to play, as a benchmark to my play style, budget, and then the metagame in hindsight.

With an eye to TWO achievements, I crafted this Satyr deck. I would hope to unlock the achievements about low-cost deck building and having twenty enchantments. Thankfully, two satyrs are ALSO enchantments with Bestow.

3x Boon Satyr...bestow and flash...he's an enchantment, too
4x Nyxborn Rollicker...bestow...he's an enchantment, too
2x Reckless Reveler...vs artifacts
4x Satyr Hoplite...Heroic counters grow it
3x Satyr Rambler...TRAMPLE!
4x Setessan Oathsworn...Heroic counters grow it

Enchantment (16)
4x Beastmaster's Magemark...Takes advantage of how bestowed creatures work
4x Call of the Full Moon...weak for its drawback, but a faster enchantment only needs to work spot-duty
4x Infectious Bloodlust...thins my deck and adds haste
4x Madcap Skills...another enchantment, and messes with blocker strategy

Sorcery (3)
3x Barrage of Boulders...clears smaller token armies and later, helps make my satyrs unblockable

Land (20)
8x Forest
4x Looming Spires...adding 1st strike to the deck is great! Most casting costs are sufficiently low-enough to have 4x tapped lands
8x Mountain

Instant (1)
1x Feed the Clan...backup lifegain outlet if poor draws or against aggressive decks. Good, with the option of being better in time.

This is a tribe that I'd really like to play. The deck 1) takes advantage of recent standard card pools, making these cards easy to obtain at lower prices; 2) really uses satyrs in ways a lot of other creature types don't have access to doing (bestow), but 3) I really dislike the enchantments I have available. Obviously, cards like beastmaster's magemark is there only because some of my creatures may be bestowed, so it takes advantage of a game condition: creatures who are enchanted. Infectious Bloodlust is there, as an enchantment, because it replaces itself in an odd fashion, thereby thinning my deck for better draws. Madcap Skills and Call of the Full Moon really have very little theme elemements, although the trample ability is nice and underutilized in the metagame, I suspect. Adding "trample" would be my surprise element, and since at least one satyr already has trample, support cards help make it nice. Would 1st strike enchantments be better than additional trample? Would it be better to use my budget to net more enchantments, or is throwing everything to enchantments/bestow a poor strategy? How much anti-enchantment hate is going on in main boards? Can a typical deck handle 23 enchantments? Even owning that 7 of those enchantments are also creatures, even a well-placed Wrath of God will still see my bestowed creatures survive to attack the next turn, too.

I welcome suggestions about
1) If the current satyrs are well balanced for their tribe
2) If the enchantments listed are the best to take advantage of the bestow mechanic AND the enchantment (note: not "aura") achievement
3) Keeping this deck below a $2 limit, but would entertain extraordinary ideas that still keeps things below $10 for the deck.
4) Keeping a theme, or showing said theme more prominently. For example, is this enchantment deck showing off a good selection of enchantments for the satyr tribe? Yes, Spirits and Nymphs also have easy access to bestow, but has anyone done much with satyrs in this way? Go big or go home, right?

If you're looking to do fun by AJ_Impy at Wed, 10/21/2015 - 06:47
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If you're looking to do fun things with heroic, check out Mark of Fury, a 1-mana haste granting aura that returns to your hand every turn.

Does "Bestow" work? by ComixWriter at Tue, 10/20/2015 - 14:31
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Odd question:

If I add, I dunno, 4 copies of an enchantment creature (say, Boon Satyr, for example), does my deck now have:

A) +4 creatures of the "Satyr" tribal type,
B) +4 enchantments, since I can cast "bestow" because of them, and its card type is also "enchantment"
D) Only A
E) Only B

Thanks in advance!

C) BOTH A & B by mihahitlor at Tue, 10/20/2015 - 15:22
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