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By: Tribal Apocalypse, Tribal Apocalypse
Feb 09 2016 12:00pm
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 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse!

   Table of Contents 

  1. Last Week on Tribal Apocalypse...
  2. Announcement Time!
  3. What's Next

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

by Kumagoro

 So, it happened: a player already listed among the All-Time Champions wrote his name on that list... again. Congratulations to mihahitlor, 2012 Player of the Year and now 2015 Ultimate Champion!

 This means we already did an interview with him back at the time, but maybe we could do an update chat, after we'll have digitally met the reigning Player of the Year, ScionOfJustice.

 In the meantime, let's see how miha managed to grab the throne: It's time for some Diaries of the Invitational! (the full board is here; you can also browse all lists, pairings and results following these links: Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, Finals).

 First of all, let's look at the 16 invited players, the ones who placed at the top of last year's leaderboard.

  1. ScionOfJustice
  2. mihahitlor
  3. ML_Berlin
  4. AJ_Impy
  5. Golden_Lin
  6. Robin88
  7. romellos
  8. Gq1rf7
  9. MisterMojoRising
  10. Bazaar of Baghdad
  11. Lordpipas
  12. _Kumagoro_
  13. Generalissimo
  14. Yokai_
  15. Deonmag
  16. JogandoPelado

 All of them were present at the beginning of the hostilities, except for the #2 seed ML_Berlin and the #16 JogandoPelado, who unfortunately couldn't join us. They were replaced at the bottom of the board by two high-ranked reserves, #20 Armont and #24 Dawwy. So the board for Round 1 looked like this:

 Round 1 was Underdog. At the top table, Player of the Year and (consequently) #1 seed ScionOfJustice was facing the second reserve, Dawwy. Scion was piloting a powerful Archon reanimator, while Dawwy's Kor deck was more likely expecting red or black aggro. A meta-call that didn't pay off, unfortunately.

 At the other side of the board, the first reserve, Armont, did indeed bring monored Berserkers. Still, it wasn't enough against mihahitlor's Plant shell for a Natural Order/Defense of the Heart build. So far it looked like the small, fast, usual guys were losing to some Timmy-esque big cannons.

 AJ_Impy cleared the round, too, thanks to his well-known Energy Field/Web of Inertia 5-color God concoction. Deonmag's monogreen Centaurs couldn't stop such enchanted behemoth.

 Seed #4, Golden_Lin was the first high-ranked player to fall, his Minotaurs not a match for Yokai_'s Kavu list.

 Another unusually Timmy-flavored reanimator for Robin88 too, who defeated Generalissimo's Kor featuring Stuffy Doll combo, with these Wurms. It was definitely a good day for fattie tribes.

 Not a lucky day for me, though, since my poor Insects were crushed almost instantly by romellos's uber-powerful Valakut Scouts. Oh well, more time to properly host, I guess.

 More luck for the very similar Insect build by Lordpipas, who was facing Gq1rf7 with a Plant deck designed to beat Lordpipas's usual strategies of... I don't really know what that deck was meant to counter, but I see Gq named it after his prospective opponent.

 Finally, in what was probably the most high-profile Round 1 fight, Bazaar of Baghdad took immediately out of the competition the reigning Champion, MisterMojoRising. The match was between two combo decks: Painter/Grindstone Scarecrows and Restore Balance Apes. The former found the combo more consistently, as they're meant to do.

 Here's the board after Round 1:

 Entering the round where players had to play one of the decks that gave them their best result last year (in some cases, as we saw, it was a fairly predictable choice, adding strategy to the mix), we had only lost seed number 4, 7 and 8. However, Round 2 would make a veritable carnage of most of the remaining Top 8s.

 First to fall was the #1 himself, ScionOfJustice, against a very combative Bazaar of Baghdad. Scion chose his Eldrazi reanimator list as his best of the year, and it didn't match well with BoB's Delver-style Wizards.

 At the next table, Yokai_ started to assert himself as the breakout player of the tournament, sending home Robin88 and his Vedalkens, thanks to a redeeming performance from the Berserker tribe, so thoroughly defeated in Round 1.

 Table 3, the classic romellos vs. AJ_Impy match went to the latter, his Abzan Humans not managing to stop AJ's signature Cloudpost Eldrazi (Cloudpost builds are one of many AJ signatures, of course). It turns out hardcasting Eldrazi is more Invitational-effective than reanimating them.

 Last but not least, mihahitlor kept marching on by defeating Lordpipas's Berserkers with his own Warriors, a very red-colored quarter-final.

 So this is what was left after Round 2:

 Semi-finalist seeds: #2 vs. #3 and, more surprisingly, #9 vs. #13. Regardless, these 4 guys are now our reigning Riders of the Apocalypse, so let's salute them properly: mihahitlor from Slovenia and AJ_Impy from England were at the European Table; Yokai_ from Brazil and Bazaar of Baghdad from the USA faced off at the Americas Table.

 Round 3 used Pure construction rules, and the decks needed not to be anything with which the players won something last year. In the end, miha bested AJ's Golems with his recent, successful Shaman list, a Natural Order/(Recurring Nigthtmare) build that, once again, reminds me of a more streamlined take on my typical brews (hence my assertion that mihahitlor, who's recently started to branch out of monocolored, is turning into a more capable and successful version of myself).

 At the transatlantic table, Yokai_ confirmed his brilliant form by beating the formidable Bazaar of Baghdad in a very warlike affair: Warriors vs. Knights (and Atarka's Command vs. Dromoka's Command).

 This is how the board looked like entering into the final round:

 The construction rules for the finals are traditionally always different and always secret until the very last second; after the reveal, the players get 20 minutes to build whatever my twisted mind thought to make them build. This year I had the craziest idea yet: Freeform Tribal Wars! Only rules were: 1) Only creatures and lands allowed; 2) Mythic creatures not allowed. 3) The official DCI Legacy ban list still applies (or else we would get 40x Hermit Druid or Goblin Recruiter). Decks were still 60-card minimum, regular matches with 20 starting life.

 Here's the 4 decks that our Riders came up with.

Freeform Goblins
by mihahitlor - 1st place
12 Gempalm Incinerator
8 Goblin Lackey
8 Mogg Fanatic
7 Goblin Matron
4 Siege-Gang Commander
1 Krenko, Mob Boss
40 cards

Other Spells
0 cards
20 Mountain
20 cards
Gempalm Incinerator


 Cost of the deck: $3.05.

 Comments: I like that there's still a singleton Krenko in there, just like in miha's regular Goblin decks!

Freeform Shamans
by Yokai_ - 2nd place
30 Burning-Tree Emissary
10 Goblin Bushwhacker
40 cards

Other Spells
0 cards
20 Mountain
20 cards
Burning-Tree Emissary


 Cost of the deck: $2.30.

 Comments: As Yokai_ himself admitted, this idea works more in theory than in practice. It ends up emptying the player's hands lightning-fast, but without generating a very big punch, and miha's Incinerators would routinely get rid of at least a couple of Emissaries, thus effectively nullifying any lasting power.

Freeform Clerics
by Bazaar of Baghdad - 4th place
16 Benevolent Bodyguard
6 Vampire Hexmage
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Mother of Runes
30 cards

Other Spells
0 cards
7 Dark Depths
4 Marsh Flats
4 Temple of Silence
4 Thespian's Stage
3 Verdant Catacombs
2 Scrubland
1 Maze of Ith
1 New Benalia
1 Plains
1 Temple of Malady
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Wasteland
30 cards
Dark Depths


 Cost of the deck: $411.87.

 Comments: Yes, it's a combo deck, but it definitely looks like it's the fairest of the four. It's also, by a huge margin, the most expensive, which maybe should tell us something about Tribal's actual cost, considering Freeform sort of unleashed what's at the core of the format, which is part of why I wanted to attempt this Freeform experiment – the bigger part being just to drive the four finalist crazy while they would try and find what the most broken setup was, and then furiously go buying all those cards they didn't certainly own so many copies of. Which is exactly what AJ did here...

Freeform Vampires
by AJ_Impy - 3rd place
60 Chancellor of the Dross
60 cards

Other Spells
0 cards
0 cards
Chancellor of the Dross


 Cost of the deck: $2.40.

 Comments: And here it is, the deck everybody would jest about in chat rooms, the "what if..." brought up for laughs, this time seriously built for an event with prizes and all. Kudos to AJ for being the only finalist that remembered the old gag about "the deck that always wins by turn 0", the fastest conceivable killing machine in the game. "So, Black Lotus into Black Lotus into...". Nope. Just this guy. 60 times.

 And so that's it. Before sending you to check later this week for the report of the first post-Invitational event that was held last Saturday (sorry for the delay! Bad week!), and while congratulating mihahitlor again, as well as all the other players, for a wonderful event, here's the list of all the 32 tribes that's been played in the 2015 Invitational:

 Ape, Archon, Berserker (x3), Centaur, Cleric, Eldrazi (x2), Goblin, God, Golem, Human, Insect (x2), Kavu, Knight, Kor (x2), Minotaur, Plant (x2), Scarecrow, Scout, Shaman (x2), Vampire, Vedalken, Warrior (x2), Wizard, Wurm

 Can you believe it? Only one Human, one Goblin (the crazy one in the final), and no Elf at all! There's still hope for a better world, folks!


 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):

  • 6.06 (Week 267 BE), on February 13: Regular
  • 6.07 (Week 268 BE), on February 20: Pure
  • 6.08 (Week 269 BE), on February 27: Regular
  • 6.09 (Week 270 BE), on March 5: Underdog

Check out all the rules for the sub-formats!

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2016!



Congrats to Miha and the 3 by Paul Leicht at Tue, 02/09/2016 - 13:02
Paul Leicht's picture

Congrats to Miha and the 3 horsemen, especially Yokai for breaking through a crowd of old timers to take his place just under Miha and AJ for being the original thinking Tribal Demi God that he is.

I had 25 Dark Depths lying by Bazaar of Baghdad at Tue, 02/09/2016 - 17:29
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

I had 25 Dark Depths lying around from a prior investment opportunity so I thought I would put them to some good use. :) The Clerics just junk up a ground game and make sure Marit Lage connects. It was the best I could come up with on the spur of the moment, and I thought it would beat Goblins at any rate. I was pretty sure I was an underdog, though, against AJ.

I was pretty sure if someone by Kumagoro42 at Tue, 02/09/2016 - 21:57
Kumagoro42's picture

I was pretty sure if someone was going to remember the Chancellor deck, that would be AJ. :)

Freeform is a format that by AJ_Impy at Wed, 02/10/2016 - 06:50
AJ_Impy's picture

Freeform is a format that rewards insanity and edge cases. I couldn't resist going for the single most ridiculous deck to ever win money. :)

That goblin deck seems familiar by arcbounddaylabor at Thu, 02/11/2016 - 02:53
arcbounddaylabor's picture

The goblin freeform deck reminds me of the Taroo Taroo deck that was from an article I read quite some time ago in The Duelist about the need for variance and the 4 of limit. 22 mountain 12 goblin lackey, 12 Goblin War Marshall 8 reckless abandon and 6 trumpet blast if memory serves me correctly. It would open on lackey and turn 2 would put war marshal into play then sac him to abandon making 5 1/1s in play and opponent at 15 life for casting the follow up trumpet blast.