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By: Tribal Apocalypse, Tribal Apocalypse
Jan 29 2016 1:00pm
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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

 Here we are, this week's Invitational time! Let's type down the names of the 16 brave tribal warriors that conquered a place among the wannabe ultimate champions over the course of 2015:

  1. ScionOfJustice, 343 pts. (9 event wins)
  2. mihahitlor, 258 pts. (6 event wins)
  3. ML_Berlin, 257 pts. (3 event wins)
  4. AJ_Impy, 193 pts. (3 event wins)
  5. Golden_Lin, 187 pts. (1 event win)
  6. Robin88, 174 pts. (4 event wins)
  7. romellos, 172 pts. (7 event wins)
  8. Gq1rf7, 172 pts. (2 event wins)
  9. MisterMojoRising, 154 pts. (2 event wins)
  10. Bazaar of Baghdad, 147 pts. (3 event wins)
  11. Lordpipas, 130 pts. (1 event win)
  12. _Kumagoro_, 127 pts. (1 event win)
  13. Generalissimo, 122 pts. (0 event wins)
  14. Yokai_, 99 pts. (1 event win)
  15. Deonmag, 98 pts. (0 event wins)
  16. JogandoPelado, 88 pts. (2 event wins)

 (non-qualified event winners: Japa_, DrunkenSailor15, Chamale, The_Sensei, arcbounddaylabor, Socanelas.)

 The list above show how the Invitational rewards consistency, not just sheer winning: players like Golden_Lin or Gq1rf7 didn't put together as high a number of event wins as romellos, and others like Generalissimo or Deonmag never even managed to get to 1st place one single time, yet they all qualified out of doing good results in a larger number of events. The other side of the coin in this regard is that players that don't have that many undefeated results to choose from will find themselves at a disadvantage in Round 2, when the rules say you have to field one of the decks that performed best during the year; for our #1 Player ScionOfJustice that means potentially getting to choose between 10 lists (his 9 wins plus another undefeated). To avoid any doubts, and also help strategize (it's part of the Invitational, after all), here's what each qualified player can use in Round 2. The event numbers identify the exact lists, that you can retrieve by clicking on the "week" column from this table (also linked from the Invitational document, under Round 2 ruling), or you can look at the results that awarded most points in the seasonal leaderboard. On the list below, "3-1" denotes decks that didn't end undefeated; and where not otherwise specified, the decks are Regular.

  • ScionOfJustice: Goblin (210), Elf (216), Kor (226, Underdog), Vampire (228, Singleton), Wizard (238, Pure), Vedalken (239, Underdog), Vampire (243, Pure), Goblin (250), Eldrazi (255), Elf (258)
  • mihahitlor: Soltari (214, Underdog), Goblin (221, Pure), Warrior (233), Human (236), Goblin (240), Human (249), Zombie (258), Elf (260, Pure)
  • ML_Berlin: Human (220), Soldier (224), Berserker (231, Underdog), Human (232)
  • AJ_Impy: Shapeshifter (223), Scarecrow (231, Underdog), God (239, Underdog), Eldrazi (247, Pure)
  • Golden_Lin: Sliver (217, Pure), Elf (223), Sliver (229), Elf (259)
  • Robin88: Human (212), Monk (216), Human (242), Vedalken (244, Underdog), Human (249), Wizard (254)
  • romellos: Monk (209, Underdog), Human (215), Elf (225, Pure), Merfolk (230, Pure), Human (250), Ally (251, Pure), Scout (253, Underdog)
  • Gq1rf7: Elf (219), Human (241, Singleton)
  • MisterMojoRising: Goblin (217, Pure), Goblin (228, Singleton), Goblin (246), Beast (256, Pure)
  • Bazaar of Baghdad: Wizard (234, Pure), Bird (237), Human (241, Singleton), Human (245)
  • Lordpipas: Berserker (257, Underdog)
  • _Kumagoro_: Avatar (222, Underdog), Elemental (230, Pure)
  • Generalissimo: Myr (226, Underdog, 3-1), Ally (227, 3-1), Merfolk (233, 3-1), Snake (245, 3-1), Myr (251, Pure, 3-1), Elemental (255, 3-1), Human (259, 3-1)
  • Yokai_: Berserker (235, Underdog), Berserker (257, Underdog)
  • Deonmag: Bat (226, Underdog, 3-1)
  • JogandoPelado: Human (246), Berserker (248, Underdog)

 You can see how for some players it's pretty easy to foretell what they'll play (or be forced to play) in Round 2. This is deliberate, part of the requisites for becoming an Ultimate Champion: during a season, you have to be able to win multiple type of events with multiple tribes.

 Two quick notes about this, though: considering that Round 2 is played with Regular rules, next year we'll probably differentiate between best results obtained in other subformats, letting players to choose from their best Regular results, not the best ones overall (a suggestion made by Bazaar of Baghdad). This will mitigate the issue of players only winning Underdog, Pure or Singleton events being forced to play those lists versus the best Regular decks of other contestants. More so, Underdog-only winners will find themselves unable to play their award-winning Underdog tribe in Round 1, since they'll have to play a different tribe each round. Again, to me it's a price they pay for not being able to win elsewhere, but BoB objected that it perversely leads to rewarding players for NOT winning Underdog events, so a change might be in order there. This year, we still do it the current way, though.

 This said, since the rules allow for some degree of list modifications, be aware is perfectly legal to change back cards that weren't allowed in Underdog or Pure but aren't banned in Regular. For instance, a Pure event winner deck can replace, say, Unmake with Swords to Plowshares. The Round 2 decks are Regular decks, regardless of the source of the original list. Of course, Singleton decks can't be converted in non-Singleton. Also, Halloween and other one-time events (including Invitational itself) aren't eligible as Round 2 decks, therefore they are disregarded when listing the players' best results. Finally, the Regular ban list at the time of the win might have been different from the current one, but it's still legal to use cards that are currently banned if they weren't back then (the Gatherling filters might force you to put a placeholder and a note about it).

 Another little thing before wishing the best of luck to everyone involved. Of the 16 qualified players, 14 have confirmed their participation, while 2 of them (ML_Berlin and JogandoPelado) aren't 100% sure they'll be able to be there. We hope they will, but in case they won't, we'll need two reserves to step in. Except for fliebana, none of the players ranked #17-#24 gave me a clear answer as to whether or not they'll be available next Saturday at 17:00 GMT for reserve duty. Therefore, I hereby establish that past Ultimate Champions and #1 Players will be granted a perpetual #17 rank for all Invitational purposes. This means they can always step in as the first reserve (tie-breaker between them will be the seniority of their accomplishments: 2011's champions trump 2014's, and so on). I'm looking especially at you, NemesisParadigm, since you're the only past champion that isn't qualified for the Invitational but is currently showing up for our weekly events (Ayanam1 and slug360 are of course also welcome).

 And now, time to say it: Good luck, everyone! Myself included!


  • Event Number: 6.04, Week 264 BE
  • Date: January 23
  • Attendance: 16
  • Rounds: 4
  • Subformat: Regular
  • Winner: Gq1rf7 (Human)
  • 1 Loss: ScionOfJustice (Eldrazi), MisterMojoRising (Human), AJ_Impy (Eldrazi)
  • Underdog Prize: ChNidox (Lizard)
  • Tribes: Beast, Bird, Eldrazi (x2), Human (x2), Knight, Kobold, Lizard, Merfolk, Soldier, Soltari, Wall, Warrior, Zombie (x2)
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 Last week's kinda weird "fearful symmetry" results: two Human decks and two Eldrazi decks registered; two Human decks and two Eldrazi decks as the only lists leading to a positive result. And three of them were in strictly Orzhov colors (or sort of).

 Let's start with Gq1rf7, lone undefeated with an extreme curve-conscious list.


 Enter the Eldrazi reanimation squad of ScionOfJustice.


 The other black-and-white Humans (actually needing black mana), by MisterMojoRising.


 Finally, AJ_Impy's other Eldrazi. Guess the new Zendikar block was the confirmation we needed that Eldrazi need to stay in the Major League (we'll talk about what to take out of that list right after the Invitational).



 Here's the prices of all the featured decks, courtesy of the amazing Deck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of January 28, 2016):

 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! Be the first to win a match with the last orphan tribe and you'll win a 2-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 first quarter of 2016. The quarter will end March 26. By that date, the player or players who registered the greatest number of different tribes (except Human, Elf and Goblin) will get a 5-tix certificate from MTGO Traders. Congratulations to last quarter's winner, AJ_Impy!

 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.

 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):

  • Special (Week 265 BE), on January 30: Invitational
  • 6.05 (Week 266 BE), on February 6: Underdog
  • 6.06 (Week 267 BE), on February 13: Regular
  • 6.07 (Week 268 BE), on February 20: Pure

Check out all the rules for the sub-formats!

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2016!



That was a fun tribal champs by Bazaar of Baghdad at Mon, 02/01/2016 - 23:43
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

That was a fun tribal champs event, and thanks to kuma for all his hard work throughout the season.

I wish the champs had more rounds (even though I was lucky enough to play all of them; well, kind of, thanks to AJ! (wink)). Maybe we could try double elim next year? For example, here's a link to a bracket for a 16-player field: It looks like that would essentially be a 7-round event with an optional 8th round, if necessary. It would yield clear 1st-4th winners, a 5th-6th tie, 7th-8th tie, 9th-12th tie, and 13th-16th tie. Obviously, it's a bigger time commitment, but once a year with enough planning should mitigate against that. On the plus side, it prolongs suspense and playing time, and it mitigates against random bad luck due to bad draws and/or matchups. Some round formats, like Underdog, could be recycled for a second round in this scenario to relieve deckbuilding burdens. I, for one, would have even more fun.

Taking a cue from the NFL (American football) playoffs, reducing the field to 12 players might be cool too, as it really rewards those who placed well in the regular season with a first-round bye. It would likely increase the competition and deck quality as people try to get those byes, especially late season if close. As it is, the regular season is kind of devalued as lots of people make it relative to the number of frequently-playing seasonal participants. In the current format, some very strong mostly-inactive players may sneak in, giving some unfair early exits to the best seasonal players. Getting 20th (with some no-shows) may as well be as good as getting 1st.

On a different note, is it my understanding that Giant may be legal next week in Underdog? I'm not planning to play it either way (yet) but just curious. BoB

I have a post-apocalyptic by AJ_Impy at Tue, 02/02/2016 - 06:47
AJ_Impy's picture

I have a post-apocalyptic time commitment on Saturdays, doubling the length of the event isn't really viable. I look forward to seeing your last round deck vs me in next week's article. ;)

Fair enough. But because of by Bazaar of Baghdad at Thu, 02/04/2016 - 12:43
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

Fair enough. But because of your down-vote (thanks for the reply) and the lack of comments elsewhere, it seems probable that the present champs format will continue.

It's just that I was hoping to help the champs have some improved meaning in my eyes. While the prize increase means people will take it a bit more seriously than other weeks, I have a hard time believing that it is truly representative of who is the best player - some years it may work out, others no. As one example, though I was able to suckerpunch scionofjustice out of the tournament (along with a couple of bad draws of his), I still feel he is a much stronger player than I overall and this event failed in bearing witness to that. I'd rather just give all the yearly prize rewards to the regular season from now on - it feels vastly more worthy. This champs event feels remarkably like just-another-Saturday where someone happens to get more lucky than others on a given week. This is not a slight towards mihahitlor who is certainly among the worthy, but even his title could have been derailed perhaps with different pairings or different draws.

Certainly. I agree that there by mihahitlor at Thu, 02/04/2016 - 16:33
mihahitlor's picture

Certainly. I agree that there is a huge amount of luck involved in winning Invitational, I would say even more than going 4-0 in a regular event.

Even if you are 70% likely to win vs an average top 16 opponent (which nobody is), you are only going to win the event one times in four.

The luck aspect is just unavoidable in Magic in the short run. You can only reduce it somewhat. Double elimination would do that to some extent, but the chance would still have the biggest impact on who the winner would be (meaning, no player, no matter how good, would have 50%+ chance of winning the event).

That being said, I like the Invitational. For me it has some "specialness" to it that other events don't have, and winning it means something (despite realizing on a rational level that it was mostly luck). Bigger prizes also contribute to that exciting feeling of a special event, so I don't like the idea of simply giving them to the season leaders. That would be quite boring imo.

(And the season leaderboard is not immune to not sufficiently reflecting the quality of the players. If you are an average player and you play in all the events you are going to end very high. So it's a factor of both your attendance and skill. The best stat for determining the best players would be percentage of wins over the long run. And even that would have some problems (eg., the player who wins the most is not necessarily "the best", but maybe just plays the best decks in a tribal meta, while a stronger player might play worse decks, because he finds boring playing few top decks again and again).

Suckerpunching people out of by AJ_Impy at Thu, 02/04/2016 - 17:07
AJ_Impy's picture

Suckerpunching people out of the tournament is in some ways part of the strategy: The year I won it, I was facing Romellos in the second round, but I was fortunate that one of my best deck options had Magus of the Moon/Price of Progress. Romellos is a truly amazing player and will beat me seven or eight times out of ten, but most of his winning decks that year had exceedingly greedy mana bases.

You bested Scion fairly and earned your place as a Horseman. The number one player has never won that year's invitational, and no-one has retained the title, which to my mind is a large part of its charm. It's a special event, the regular season winner gets their recognition as well, but it adds an excellent coda to the Tribal season, a real showcase event.

Giant by Tribal Apocalypse at Sat, 02/06/2016 - 12:55
Tribal Apocalypse's picture

I see Giant are legal, did I already announce it officially? I sort of forgot about that, but I guess their re-admission was a no-brainer.