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By: Tribal Apocalypse, Tribal Apocalypse
Dec 18 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. Announcement Time!
  4. What's Next

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

by Kumagoro

 I assume everyone saw the spoilers for Oath of the Gatewatch by now. This whole block is going to be remembered as a very odd duck, isn't it? The Expeditions, for one, which with the release Oath next month will reach a point where you'll have absurdly sought-upon reprint lands like Wasteland or Horizon Canopy floating around, but they're not really part of the set, so it's like there's a Vintage Masters: Extra Content thing going on at the same time as the new set is being released.


 And then there's the whole Introducing: The Sixth Color of Mana thing. SaffronOlive wrote a good analysis of the pros and cons of this unexpected development, and I agree with most of what is said there, particularly about the very bad timing of its introduction within the smaller set of a block that already featured colorless cards with different, specialized mana costs. But otherwise I'm less worked up by the topic. At the end of the day, it'll just amount to colorless cards calling for specific requirements, which is nothing really revolutionary if you think of it. Sure, the tons of errata will be a nuisance in the paper world; on the other hand, it won't cause much of a fuss in the digital world (one reason more to be glad I only play Magic digitally these days). 

 Plus, let's be honest: colorless has always been the sixth color of mana (technically, an absence of color, but if we go with certain philosophies, or with mathematics, the absence of an element is, in itself, an element). We know it all too well in the Tribal environment, where colorless tribes are a common and accepted reality. But here's the thing: colorless was, in fact, the Cinderella of colors. It had its specificity, but not having devoted, exclusive mana sources meant that its tools could be used by anybody (and as SaffronOlive points outs, this also meant those tools, at least in modern Magic, needed to be kept in check more than anything else). Poor Constructs had to make peace with so many 4/4 dudes for 5 or even 6 mana only because, while Construct decks were mostly or entirely made up of colorless cards, colored decks could still cast all those cards for their nefarious uses.  Now imagine a Construct decks where those colorless cards can only be played with colorless mana: it would be the same effort for those decks, very hard to include in colored tribes, which can't really fill their mana bases with the above pictured Wastes, the new basic land. From a Tribal point of view, this is nothing short of a vindication for Constructs, and Golems, and Myrs, and all their cousins.

 My main criticism is that this change, which is mostly a reworking and fixing of several concepts that were already there since the beginning, should have happened already. And not just in Battle for Zendikar, or Origins. It should have happened many years ago. I argue, with the first Mirrodin block. I've not read any MaRo's recount of the whole thing yet, but I won't be surprised to find out that this is something he had wanted to do for a long time. It comes late, but it's not too late. Better late than never, I say.


  • Event Number: 5.49, Week 258 BE
  • Date: December 12
  • Attendance: 20
  • Rounds: 4
  • Subformat: Regular
  • Winner: ScionOfJustice (Elf)
  • Other undefeated: mihahitlor (Zombie)
  • 1 Loss: Robin88 (Human), JogandoPelado (Angel), Lordpipas (Human)
  • Underdog Prize: Golden_Lin (Badger)
  • Tribes: Ally, Angel (x2), Badger, Cleric, Elf, Goblin (x2), Horror, Human (x3), Pegasus, Rat, Spirit, Vampire, Vedalken, Warrior, Zombie (x2)
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 The season's winner is a done deal now. With only two events left in the year and being 82 points ahead of the second-place player, ScionOfJustice is already 2015's #1 Player. The official congratulations (to ML_Berlin, too) will be postponed to the proper time. For now, let's just note how the latest score was achieved by Scion via this Elf deck cum Colossi (and for all the hate they get, Elves weren't seen at first place since April).


 Also undefeated, and for the first time I believe, mihahitlor's work-in-progress Zombie deck. This brew and its evolutions really require an in-depth discussion with the author. Coming soon, I hope.


 Among the other successful decks, it's interesting to me how a midrange deck like Angel performed well again, thanks to JogandoPelado's list. It's a very different setup from Gq1rf7's version from last month, but still firmly on the less expensive side of the tribe.



 Here's the prices of all the featured decks, courtesy of the amazing Deck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of December 18, 2015):

  • ScionOfJustice's Elves: $74.32
  • mihahitlor's Zombies: $65.54
  • JogandoPelado's Angels: $7.58

 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.

 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!

 Wanna test your deck? Tell us when you're online, and look who else is there and when! All of this here!


 The upcoming Tribal Apocalypse events of the Blippian Era (every Saturday at 17:00 GMT):

  • 5.50 (Week 259 BE), on December 19: Regular
  • 5.51 (Week 260 BE), on December 26: Pure

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!



The timing on the by Generalissimo at Fri, 12/18/2015 - 19:59
Generalissimo's picture

The timing on the colourless/generic change is absolutely baffling. I can't even begin to see the line of logic that made them think the second expansion in a block was the best place to introduce this change; you're going to have a situation where cards from BFZ are errataed while they're still being used in the current limited formats. It's a guaranteed recipe for confusion and misplays and it's seems so incredibly out-of-character for Wizards, given how concerned they've become about making sure the game is as clear and accessible as possible for new players.

As for the change itself...*shrug*. It depends on the cards they print to make use of the new distinction, I guess; the idea seems fine but nothing about it inherently makes me excited to play with it.

I think you are by longtimegone at Sat, 12/19/2015 - 01:36
longtimegone's picture

I think you are overestimating the confusion.

We can pretty much bet that lower rarity cards that include the <> symbol will have a note saying it can only be paid with colorless mana, similar to the reminder text for phyrexian mana, and old cards clearly state when they make colorless mana.

If they made the change in the last set, then it would appear to be an equally confusing change, maybe more so since we would see no purpose to it at all.

legality question by Bazaar of Baghdad at Wed, 12/23/2015 - 09:59
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

Removed for stupidity (mine).