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By: Tribal Apocalypse, Tribal Apocalypse
Jul 15 2016 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

 So, possible unbans (and one restriction) based on mihahitlor's suggestions, and my own comments. Let me know what everyone else thinks about it, I express verdicts but I haven't decided anything yet nor modified the ban list in the least.

1. Unban Goblin Lackey in Regular events

 I think Goblin Lackey is a case of, you bring it in, it's one too many; you take it out, it's one too few. We've gone back and forth with it already. The crux of it all is that it helps an archetype, Goblins, that doesn't need help. I don't know who, except an avid Goblin players, would wish for Goblins to make MORE of an impact in the meta. Besides, we unbanned the Lackey once and for a full year or so, it resulted in a constant stream of complaints about it being overpowered. Which it is, and its potential is not even fully tapped yet, because Goblin is a subtype we can always expect more powerful instances come a new expansion set (especially the mana-intensive ones the Lackey loves, since they'll be designed for Standard).

 Incidentally, I have to disagree with miha about the current Tribal Apocalypse meta being all about combo. It's a common impression that is not supported by statistical findings, that have linear fast aggro decks still winning more events than any other broad archetype and, even more importantly, amounting to the larger share of any given event (due to a combination of factors: budget-friendliness, relaxing and straightforward playing, reliability, adherence to the elusive "Spirit of Tribal"). There are combo decks all right, particularly brought to the forefront by a couple of combo-oriented regular players who are having a very successful season this year. I think it's a good think that the meta presents successful and varied instances of both aggro and combo (keep in mind that the excessive repetition of the same one combo would result in a ban, of course). But if we wanted to keep combo in check, it wouldn't be through Lackey, i.e. encouraging people to play more Goblins decks with broken turn-1 plays. It'd be like fighting fire with gasoline.

 So my verdict for bringing Lackey back is a resounding NO.

2. Unban Swords of X and Y in Underdog and Pure events


 The argument by mihahitlor is sound: the swords aren't especially broken cards per se, especially in a Legacy environment. They aren't fast, requiring 5 mana to start doing something, and easily resulting in massive loss of tempo when the opponent is ready to remove the creature you're going to equip. Plus, you never know if the protections are going to do anything versus your current opponent. Still, the counter-argument makes sense as well: we got rid of them to begin with not as much because they were overpowered as because they kept showing up everywhere and their hosing effect could be randomly killer, which is a needless way to enhance the luck factor.

 So, all in all, my verdict is: MAYBE?

3. Unban Moat (possibly in all type of events)

 First of all, let's keep in mind that we NEVER had Moat in Tribal Apocalypse during the Blippian Era (so since January 2011), since it was (and still is) in the DCI official ban list for the Legacy Tribal Wars format. Technically we should respect that list, but we know that it hasn't been maintained in years, and now that WotC made us the "gift" of forcing us to play with the Legacy filter, we were able to throw it all away. So far Moat has not been freed from its cage, but I, for one, see the appeal: it would single-handedly create, or reintroduce, a whole archetype, the flying tribe-based control deck. And we know that control gets the short end of the stick in Tribal Apocalypse, so it actually needs help (as opposed to Goblins!).

 On the other hand, it's an expensive card, currently selling for more than 27 tix apiece, and Bazaar of Baghdad noted how that would lead to "rich players getting richer", in a way. My verdict is a tentative YES, but I wish they reprinted it soon.

4. Restrict Griselbrand to the Demon tribe only

 This seems pretty much a no-brainer. Griselbrand (which is also an expensive fella, by the way) has been the go-to off-tribe presence in every successful reanimator build in recent years. In fact, he greatly contributed to the success of the archetype. By limiting his use to Demon decks only, we accomplish two things: we help the Demon tribe, which is not exactly high in the list of event winners; and we force reanimator players either to find a replacement that's less broken and, hopefully, more diverse, or to rely uniquely on their tribe's strengths.

 So the verdict here is clear: ABSOLUTELY. I will have to hear some seriously convincing argument to stop me from going on with this restriction next week (for tomorrow's event everything will still be as usual).


  • Event Number: 6.27, Week 288 BE
  • Date: July 9
  • Attendance: 21
  • Rounds: 4
  • Subformat: Regular
  • Winner: Bazaar of Baghdad (Construct)
  • Other undefeated: Yokai_ (Warrior)
  • 1 Loss: AJ_Impy (Eldrazi), Golden_Lin (Eldrazi), CleberCaroni (Goblin)
  • Underdog Prize: Generalissimo (Weird)
  • Tribes: Ally, Construct, Demon, Eldrazi (x2), Faerie, Goblin (x2), Human (x5), Knight, Plant, Rebel, Vampire, Wall, Warrior, Weird, Zombie
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 Bazaar of Baghdad is one of the players I was mentioning who are having a great, great season, and he proved it once again with this Construct build, which defeated Yokai_'s Warriors in the playoff round, even while forgetting a certain card got updated about 5 years ago.


 And then, they were Eldrazi. Boy, after Battle for Zendikar, Eldrazi have become a force to be reckoned with, haven't they? Remember when they either came in the form of cumbersome reanimator decks (with the titans not even able to be easily raised from the dead), or as "Drone and more" builds? Not anymore. We already featured similar Eldrazi decks this year, but it's useful too look again at their diversity and effectiveness. First with AJ_Impy's Cloudpost-less build (it looks like Chalice of the Void is becoming a big answer to fast aggro)...


 ...and then Golden_Lin's. Eldrazi players: remember to read ALL of Endbringer's rule text.



 Here's the prices of all the featured decks, courtesy of the amazing Deck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of July 15, 2016):

 The Top 10 Cheapest Decks that Went Undefeated

  1. mihahitlor's Warriors, $1.95, 1st place on Event 233
  2. morpphling's Vampires, $2.25, 1st place on Event 285
  3. morpphling's Goblins, $2.35, 2nd place on Event 102
  4. JogandoPelado's Berserkers, $2.80, 1st place on Event 248
  5. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.32, 1st place on Event 154
  6. MisterMojoRising's Insects, $3.55, 2nd place on Event 201
  7. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.58, 1st place on Event 169
  8. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.70, 1st place on Event 145
  9. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $4.12, 2nd place on Event 141
  10. Gq1rf7's Assassins, $4.18, 1st place on Event 147

 NOTE: not adjusted to current prices; data collected since Event 85. A separate non-Goblin Top 10 is in preparation. 


 Just to remind you of a few things:

 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 certificate from MTGO Traders. The tie-breakers are first the number of Underdog categories (for instance, a tribe that's simultaneously Endangered and Unhallowed will take the prize over one that's only Endangered), then the points achieved in the final standings. During Underdog events, only the True Underdog tribes are rewarded (those are the tribes belonging to all three categories of Underdog at once).

 The Up-and-Coming Prize: When a tribe wins an event for the first time ever (losing Unhallowed status), its pilot will get a 3-tix certificate from MTGO Traders.

 The Hamtastic Award: The Biodiversity Prize dedicated to the memory of Erik Friborg has started the third quarter of 2016. The quarter will end September 24. 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, 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.

 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):

  • 6.28 (Week 289 BE), on July 16: Pure
  • 6.29 (Week 290 BE), on July 23: Regular
  • 6.30 (Week 291 BE), on July 30: Singleton
  • 6.31 (Week 292 BE), on August 6: Underdog

Check out all the rules for the sub-formats!

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2016!



I can have my moats back? by AJ_Impy at Fri, 07/15/2016 - 12:24
AJ_Impy's picture

I can have my moats back? Yay! I've missed them since before the Blippian era!

Agree on Lackey and Griselbrand, sound logic. For the equipment, I'm on the 'No' camp because powerful equipment is disproportionately strong in a creature-based format.

Moat unbanned? I might have by Paul Leicht at Fri, 07/15/2016 - 12:40
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Moat unbanned? I might have to force myself to get up early just to play an event with moat in it. Saturday is way too busy for me as it is but hey...Moat unbanned!

1) Considering Devoid, not a by Bazaar of Baghdad at Fri, 07/15/2016 - 13:07
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

1) Considering Devoid, not a single colored card in the featured decks!
2) I hear you on Lackey-based Goblins, but anything that gives pause to Humans seemed decent in my mind. I've no strong feelings either way.
3) Did Thought Lash get perma-banned? It's on the banned page, not only in the "banned-until-fixed" outdated box, but also in the column of banned cards itself.
4) Darksteel = I'm such an idiot. The original deck name, Gort and Friends, was in reference to the original Metalworker art and a certain robot from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) - they look exactly alike, even down to their ray guns.
5) I think miha's comments about combo aren't so easily dismissed. While I haven't looked at recent results, and so I defer to your findings there, in some ways that's irrelevant. The fact that one could, and several players do, play one of several strong combos really constrains deckbuilding (but, to be fair, not as much as tribal burn decks constrain deckbuilding) and sometimes gives an unwanted feeling of helplessness (depends on the combo). I don't have a big deal with it - this is LEGACY (not modern) tribal wars, but it does constrain the tribes you can choose (for one oversimplified example, no Treefolk, unless you can somehow interact with the hand/stack). Again, no big deal: to the extent we fear it, we just have to play a lot of blue-based tribes, in general, with Force of Will; or hope we get there first with our weenie creations. Save Treefolk (etc.) for the cage matches. Personally, I find midrange on midrange kind of boring and random too, so I think combo is a good element to include, especially since the tools to defeat it are there (at the cost of deck constriction).
6) For better or for worse, I joined the 10-tribe winner threshold last week with my 10th different victorious tribe. From my count, I have miha with 15, romellos and robin88 with 11, me and AJ with 10. I love, love, love Tribal Wars because of the diversity it naturally encourages, and Tribal Apocalypse even better because you push that theme - thanks!

3) Thought Lash was announced by Tribal Apocalypse at Sat, 07/16/2016 - 12:52
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3) Thought Lash was announced unbanned and removed from the list that counts (the Gatherling filter) in occasion of the July 8 article.
It's now removed from the other list, too.

I don't have time to read everything by everyone right now, I'll do it asap. Thanks to all for all the contributions!

I joined the 10-tribe winner by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 07/22/2016 - 06:57
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I joined the 10-tribe winner threshold last week with my 10th different victorious tribe. From my count, I have miha with 15, romellos and robin88 with 11, me and AJ with 10

That's an interesting statistics I never thought of compiling. I might do it!

It is totally irrelevant if by ML_Berlin at Fri, 07/15/2016 - 20:41
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It is totally irrelevant if combos didn't actually WIN the event as much as aggro (I bet most of the combos that did not WIN, went 3-1, though). The point is HOW they win.
Tribal rules force all players to use at least 20 creatures, so it's very 'clever', some would say cheesy or unfair, to use a combo who doesn't care about any creatures used.

Combos are about winning the game, and not playing it. I'm a big fan of Tribal, because I want to see that creatures fighting each other, I want a game. There are zillions of formats where you can rely on combos, why the hell should be Tribal be just another one of those or more like Legacy !?!
Then WotC's decision to remove the Tribal filter was right in the end, only an irrelevant subformat of Legacy.

And the suggestion to always play with a big splash of blue and 4 Force of Will in deck to counter the combos is just a bad joke( I hope). Beside the obvious restrictions on deckbuilding (many tribes are just not playable anymore), it means an investment of 140-220 bucks at least:
4x 25 $ for FoW = 100 $
4x dual land with blue= 40 - 120 $
And that for a format, that you usally could play only once a week on a Saturday afternoon.

I can agree on most of your points Kuma concerning the bans or un-bans, but I want to see action vs. the various combo decks. I want to see cornerstones banned.
I see absolutely no reason why a card like f.e. Helm of Obedience should be legal in Tribal! While the other part of the combo, Rest in Peace could
Why should we ban( or not un-ban) Goblin Lackey, while some combo decks didn't even lose a card in 'purification process' after winning the event.
Goblin Lackey may be overpowered( it usually is when you start the match with it, but already when the other player just starts the game instead of you, it is usally weak or mediocre and just a burden in Turn 5 or 6) ,however it is 100& tribal. It can be killed or blocked easily. The other player has 20 critters, too.
Goblins are ur-tribal.
But when the other just empty his whole library, with a cheap 3 mana enchantment, then automatically revives 4 blue spirits by their special ability for free, and then sacrifice 3 of them again for bringing the game-winning creature(via Flashback ability of a black card) from the graveyard(which contains the whole deck minus the hand) on the battlefield and win , then he may have had 20 creatures in deck, but I don't feel like he wanted actually to play a Tribal game.

If the combo decks will be still allowed to strike terror into the hearts of the true Tribal players, I definitely vote for unbanning Goblin Lackey.
After all, speed is what the combo players fear the most. Or a blue deck with 4 Counterspells, 4 FoW, etc.

What most people seems to ignore in their evaluations, is the fact, that Tribal has no sideboard!
That's the point which makes the combo decks so unfair in this environment. You brought your volleyball team but the home team plays basketball.

But the investment of Force by Bazaar of Baghdad at Sat, 07/16/2016 - 00:35
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But the investment of Force of Will can be used on other days of the week for Legacy/Vintage AND is pretty risk-free since Force should keep its long term value. Admittedly, you have to have the starter cash. But honestly, if more people would play Force of Will, combo would go away pretty fast, which would then allow control decks to pick a dedicated fight with aggro.

I think you make a good case for Goblin Lackey being free in regular events.

Mono-red burn is more of a limiting factor than combo, however. Base-black and base-blue control (and even aggro) decks are near unplayable with so much burn in the meta (from regular to underdog), and these would otherwise be great options to keep combo in check.

Force of will is terrible by Paul Leicht at Sat, 07/16/2016 - 01:38
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Force of will is terrible against aggressive decks like Goblins/Soldiers etc that don't try to squeeze a combo in. It is therefore a very risky include. There is no easy/good answer to this.

Of course, but those are by Bazaar of Baghdad at Sat, 07/16/2016 - 03:59
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Of course, but those are linear decks which can sometimes (often?) be stopped in large part by a single card, in which case a poor matchup for Force of Will is tolerable. Even in that matchup Force can protect your hoser.

"Incidentally, I have to by mihahitlor at Sat, 07/16/2016 - 10:37
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"Incidentally, I have to disagree with miha about the current Tribal Apocalypse meta being all about combo"

I didn't mean to imply that Tribal meta is all about combo*, and fighting combo is also not the reason why I would unban Lackey. I simply think Goblin Lackey is not as powerful as some of the other cards (some of them indeed being combo pieces) that are allowed, plus Tribal is a format that is very capable of dealing with a 1/1 creature on T1. Not so much with some other powerful cards which are consistently played by the most successful players. If Lackey was allowed, Goblins deck wouldn't be top 5 in terms of power IMO. Maybe they would be most played, but I have no problem with that.

*Though it has shifted to a state where it is significantly impacted by, let's say, decks that do "unfair" things. Those are not just combo decks - those are also Eldrazi decks, and Natural Order decks and various flavours of Reanimators, Cloudpost decks etc. They might not be dominating in terms of attendance, but if you look at the most successful players this year and what they are playing you will see that they are all mostly doing something that's consistently devastating and requires specific answers and that regular aggro and midrange decks just can't deal with. Only at 6th place of the leaderboard we find a player who is devoted to playing aggro decks, and he is accomplishing that with an extremely fast red builds that have some chance of racing top decks. If that isn't a sign of dominance of "unfair" strategies, I don't know what is. And unbanning Lackey wouldn't change that, so it's not proposed as a solution or anything. It just seems that he shouldn't be banned when so many more powerful and hard-to-deal-with cards are allowed.

As far as who would want to play against more Goblins decks: I guess all the players who now unsuccessfully play midrange and non-red aggro decks that have *no chance* against the current top decks. ML_Berlin plays a very solid white weenie deck and is in a top 8 but he literally loses like 95% of the time against me whenever we play, because he cant deal with Natural Order or some other broken card. Same probably holds true whenever he plays any other top 5 player and whatever powerful deck they are playing. So while unfair decks might not be dominating in terms of attendance they are very clearly dominating in terms of power level and success. And for a player who has ambitions to win those are the decks that are relevant.

In this context Lackey remaining banned doesn't have much sense to me. I also think times have changed and people would not complain about it nearly as much as they have in the past. Goblin Lackey decks are very interactive and more fun to play against than some of the current top decks.

But I of course understand if it remains banned. It is a polarizing card to say the least.

Talking about "unfair" by mihahitlor at Sat, 07/16/2016 - 10:53
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Talking about "unfair" strategies got me thinking: what about one Regular event being replaced with Regular where all combo, reanimation, ramp etc. strategies are watered down (via eliminating all of the best supporting cards) so you would have an environment of aggro, midrange, control and not-too-broken "other strategies" (basically the same as what Standard wants to accomplish, but with a much larger card pool). I think it would be fun once in a month especially for players who don't enjoy the broken aspect of Legacy Tribal so much (and there seems to be quite a few of them).

Could be interesting, but by AJ_Impy at Sat, 07/16/2016 - 11:06
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Could be interesting, but 'all' is very difficult. Take ramp strategies: Cloudposts, Overgrown Battlements, Cabal Coffers, Tron, Eldrazi Lands, Elvish Archdruid/Priest of Titania, and that's just off the top of my head, without going into reanimation or combo. We'd need a massive banned list, or to ban archetypes. Is there a straightforward way to create such a format?

I don't think there is, and by mihahitlor at Sat, 07/16/2016 - 11:12
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I don't think there is, and that is also the aspect of the idea that seems the most problematic to me. We would have to single out (probably through many events) every "problematic" card, which would really create a huge ban list. Which is not necessarilly a big problem, but it certainly is un-elegant.

So Modern tribal? by Paul Leicht at Sat, 07/16/2016 - 11:14
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So Modern tribal?

Not exactly, since Modern can by mihahitlor at Sat, 07/16/2016 - 11:17
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Not exactly, since Modern can also do broken stuff (especially in absence of sideboards), and there are many non-broken, non-Modern cards that would be missed in such format.

Modern tribal with the Legacy by Bazaar of Baghdad at Sat, 07/16/2016 - 18:23
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Modern tribal with the Legacy card pool for on-tribe (or maybe any) creatures is certainly a valid thought with regards to balance, and, I would hope, not too complicated to grasp.

Still breakable, but much by AJ_Impy at Sat, 07/16/2016 - 19:26
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Still breakable, but much less so. Nice and straightforward, could be worth trying.

Tribal with Modern seems by Procrastination at Sun, 07/17/2016 - 16:02
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Tribal with Modern seems pretty cool. The all (non-banned) Creatures are legal variant might be even better!

I think there is a lot less brokenness if you restrict the following to their own tribes:

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Those three for sure. Other possible exceptions:

Protean Hulk
Worldspine Wurm
Restoration Angel/Deceiver Exarch
Kitchen Finks/Murderous Redcap

There are still plenty of other infinite combos to deal with and the graveyard decks could be really brutal without sideboards. It's obviously impossible to shut them all down, but knocking out a few of the pillars could open it up to a balanced enough meta?

The other exception I would by Bazaar of Baghdad at Tue, 07/19/2016 - 15:48
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The other exception I would add to Modern Spells + Legacy (on-tribe?) creatures is the ten Alpha dual lands. No need to make people buy a whole new format's worth of lands.

Might as well expand it to by AJ_Impy at Fri, 07/22/2016 - 07:11
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Might as well expand it to all lands that produce at least but no more than one mana.