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By: Tribal Apocalypse, Tribal Apocalypse
Apr 07 2017 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

 First of all, Gatherling was down yesterday (with an alarming message of "account suspended"), due to an issue with the payment of the server. Thanks very much to longtimegone who took care of that, and now the site is up again, with all the records intact. By the way, the server is $40 per year, and I think we should set a Paypal account where everybody (not just from Tribal Apocalypse) can pledge a little something until these costs are covered. Longtimegone already does free maintenance on his own time, he shouldn't also lose money over it.

 And then, let's talk about Worldgorger Dragon that came crashing on Tribal Apocalypse last week.  That's a gift of DCI, which unbanned the combo Dragon more than two years ago now. It took that long for someone to try the combo in tribal, but now it's happened, and it's a very nasty, very early, easy to set combo that's also annoying as hell to watch resolve. So I don't think I'm surprising anyone announcing that, yeah, that's about it for us. Worldgorger Dragon has had its chances, has had its fun, now it's saying goodbye again. Banned effective immediately in all Tribal Apocalypse formats except for Singleton (which by the way will come back on April 29).

Such a silly, one-trick-pony card it is.


  • Event Number: 7.12, Week 325 BE
  • Date: April 1
  • Attendance: 20
  • Rounds: 4
  • Subformat: Underdog
  • Winner: DrPringles ( Nightmare)
  • Runner-up: Armont (Spider)
  • 1 Loss: TLR (Kor), Robin88 (Dwarf), stash86 (Wolf)
  • True Underdog Prize: DrPringles ( Nightmare)
  • Up-and-Coming Prize: DrPringles ( Nightmare)
  • Tribes: Aetherborn, Berserker (x3), Dryad, Dwarf, Fungus, Hound, Kobold (x3), Kor, Nightmare, Rat (x3), Scarecrow, Soltari, Spider, Wolf
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 So, a Nightmare of an event. On April Fools' Day, appropriately. But nobody made a fool of DrPringles. More like the opposite.


 Armont tried very hard to oppose the Combo Dragon of Doom with his Living End Spiders, even managing to take one game out of the finals. But, alas, it wasn't enough. It has to be said, Nightmare also makes for the perfect tribal shell for Worldgorger combo (certainly more than Dragon). It seems right that it's because of it that Nightmare got its first event win. Now we'll see if it'll be able to do it again without such big help.


 Amidst all this combo carnage, here's a nice little $1 Wolf deck from newcomer stash86, who managed to end 3-1, losing only to Armont. Woof, I say.



 Here's the prices of all the featured decks, courtesy of the amazing Deck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of April 7, 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

 The Top 5 Cheapest Non-Goblin 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. JogandoPelado's Berserkers, $2.80, 1st place on Event 248
  4. MisterMojoRising's Insects, $3.55, 2nd place on Event 201
  5. Gq1rf7's Assassins, $4.18, 1st place on Event 147

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


 Just to remind you of a few things:

 The Ishkanah Prize: The first player to win a match with a Spider deck by activating Ishkanah's lifedraining ability for a lethal strike of at least 4 damage, will get a 3-tix credit certificate from MTGO Traders. Spider lovers, or simply ticket lovers, start building!

 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 New Kids on the Block Award: When a new tribe is introduced in the game, or reaches enough members to be played as a proper tribe (i.e. at least 3 members, so you can build a deck that features 4 copies of each plus 8 Changeling creatures), the first player to score a match win with it will get a 3-tix certificate from MTGO Traders. You'll need a hard win, not a BYE or a win by no-show of your opponent. The tribes currently eligible for the award are Gremlin and Monkey.

 The Hamtastic Award: The Biodiversity Prize dedicated to the memory of Erik Friborg rewards each player who registers 10 different tribes (except Human, Elf and Goblin) during the year with a 3-tix certificate from MTGO Traders. You can go on and win the prize multiple times in the year, but you need to keep playing different tribes! (So if you manage to register 50 different tribes in one season, you can get up to 15 tix!)

 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):

  • 7.13 (Week 326 BE), on April 8: Regular
  • 7.14 (Week 327 BE), on April 15: Pure
  • 7.15 (Week 328 BE), on April 22: Regular
  • 7.16 (Week 329 BE), on April 29: Singleton

Check out all the rules for the sub-formats!

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2017!



I'm not a big fan of the by Bazaar of Baghdad at Fri, 04/07/2017 - 17:47
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

I'm not a big fan of the Worldgorger ban. It defeated two other combo decks, and 0 instant-speed removal cards in five rounds. It lost four games in five rounds. Whoever doesn't like the combo iteration doesn't have to watch; the opponents can concede at their leisure once the loop is demonstrated. The combo is disruptable by any instant-speed graveyard or creature removal or counterspell, or Wasteland (at least where Marsh is concerned). It needs access to one of four Dragons, one of eight graveyard-access spells (or discard to hand size), one of eight reanimate spells, and one of five combo kills (Marsh and/or Oona). It also has to utilize several other slow, janky cards within the Nightmare tribe. That's not exactly super consistent, even though the winner prevailed this time. There are much more consistent combos available, even in Underdog. Bans in regular and Pure (where Entomb is banned and Oona is off-tribe) are even harder to understand. :/

I'm sure I'll come to regret by Generalissimo at Sat, 04/08/2017 - 16:06
Generalissimo's picture

I'm sure I'll come to regret saying this if I ever have to face the deck but I tend to agree with Bazaar. It might well be too powerful and deserving of the ban but to do it after only a single event seems way too hasty to me.

Helm+RIP is a 2-card combo, by Bazaar of Baghdad at Sat, 04/08/2017 - 17:17
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

Helm+RIP is a 2-card combo, with Enlightened Tutor being redundant copies of either. Worldgorger, as we've seen, is essentially 4 cards. Worldgorger, actually involves a creature. In the two games of the finals I saw, "Beasts" won with Helm+RIP without a single beast on the board. Worldgorger is disruptable by Wasteland, counterspells, instant-speed removal, instant-speed enchantment removal, graveyard hate, and even etb lifegain triggers (Auriok Champion, Essence Warden, etc.). Helm/Line is susceptible to counterspells, instant-speed enchantment removal, and Pithing Needle effects only. Sure, Dragon can cost as low as 2 mana, where the Helm/Line turn is usually 4-5 mana, but by the time Dragon is usually set up the actual turn number is probably easily negligible. Helm/RIP is extremely streamlined and can use its slots for searching and/or removal, as the designer deems best.

I'm NOT asking for a Helm/RiP ban. I am saying that leaving a Dragon banning over this is hypocritical.

Maybe not hypocritical but by Paul Leicht at Sat, 04/08/2017 - 20:32
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Maybe not hypocritical but perhaps short-sighted, or knee-jerk. Scarily oppressive games can really tilt people (I can attest to this personally.)

I phrased it such a way as to by Bazaar of Baghdad at Sat, 04/08/2017 - 22:41
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

I phrased it such a way as to preclude "knee-jerk." I didn't say "banning Dragon" was the problem, I said "leaving a Dragon banning." I guess "short-sighted" is a matter of vision, but I would love to hear Kuma's compare/contrast argument to the contrary.

Fair enough by Paul Leicht at Sun, 04/09/2017 - 00:02
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Fair enough. I think after so many years of doing the TO/hosting duties there may be some information most of us don't see that Kuma does but I feel like I agree with the sentiment that it is early to ban based on one tournament a deck that's been available for a while now.

That said I totally hate helm/line and its variants. I much prefer in tribe combos to those that feel like shoe horns and there are so many great players/builders in TWL that there doesn't really need to be a combo like helm/line to put pressure on the aggro players. But it exists and is probably one reason (among many) I don't find the tourney enticing.

OTOH I am a staunch conservative about bans in magic formats. I'd much rather people communally decide for themselves whether or not to play the game that way. Like imagine if LD were suddenly the du jour deck and Stone Rain was the common factor, would we then be banning Stone Rain? or Ice Storm? or Armageddon, Boom/Bust or Cataclysm? It is easy to ban ourselves into oblivion with no really great choices in certain archetypes/tribes because of it.

Helm RIP Combo by MichelleWong at Sun, 04/09/2017 - 01:49
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I recommend taking no action against the Helm/RIP combo. Keep it legal in my view.

Why? Because Tribal Apocalyspe has so many powerful combos (and powerful cards in general), and so the power level overall in this event is very high. If you play in this event, you must expect your opponents to do very "unfair" things to you, whether its by generating huge amounts of mana via 12 Posts, or by reanimating powerful threats with trivial amounts of mana, or by using Hymn to Tourach + 8 Rack, or with extremely streamlined aggro decks that have access to 4 x Fireblasts, 4 x Lightning Bolt, 4 x Chain Lightning etc. This event is not mainly about centaurs fighting badgers in a fair fight, not that you implied it is but it is worth noting nonetheless.

As for the argument that the RIP/Helm combo is not an "in-tribe" combo, note that Grindstone (as an example) is allowed in any deck, not just a Constructs deck, which means that in all events except Pure events, one can simply add 4 x Painter's Servant and 4 x Grindstone to a deck which is completely unrelated to constructs, say an Elf or Wizard or Zombie deck. And this objection applies to any non-creature combo in this game, of which there are a litany.

Also, if you ban Helm of Obedience, players can just switch to Rest in Peace + Telemin Performance combo instead. And round and round we go.

In addition, this combo currently occupies such a small part of the meta, you can hope to dodge it completely. And if you fear the Helm/RIP combo and if it one day becomes very popular, then you can play hard control and you will likely defeat this combo easily. At very least you will have all the tools to defeat it with consistency.

Telemin does not auto win by Paul Leicht at Sun, 04/09/2017 - 03:47
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Telemin does not auto win with RIP/leyline because "Target opponent reveals cards from the top of his or her library until he or she reveals a creature card. That player puts all noncreature cards revealed this way into his or her graveyard, then you put the creature card into play under your control." The creature card never hits the graveyard to be removed by the offending enchantment.

So no banning helm does not make an easy replacement. Though against a creatureless deck Telemin is pure gold.

As for Grindstone/Servant I think this one is an equally offensive offender as it will and if one combo is banned the other one must be as well. (I think there IS a painter's servant replacement but I am not positive it works as well.)As an aside PS is a scarecrow not construct but similar idea and that does not negate your argument which is sound enough.

As I said before bans lead to really stunted formats if you over do it. TWL already has a huge list of banned cards without any additions from the Apocalypse.

And the beauty/ugly of TWL is that you have to decide upon your strategies to deal with potential blow out cards and combos before you finish building your deck because no sideboarding is allowed. Which means being great at meta calls rules the format. It also unfortunately means the match ups luck you experience largely determines whether you get to fight for your win/loss or have it handed to you.

Keep finding ways to tweak the format without removing too many options. Legacy is an ultimately broken format, very closely aligned with Vintage. It is not surprising that people find ways to abuse card interactions that sometimes seem like they are killing the soul of the game. Such is life and magic.

Telemin by MichelleWong at Sun, 04/09/2017 - 04:03
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Kindly noted Paul regarding Telemin Performance and the scarecrow creature type on Painter's Servant. by Bazaar of Baghdad at Sun, 04/09/2017 - 10:10
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture I think you need to improve your examples (Grindstone) and revisit your argument in light of this.

Grindstone by MichelleWong at Sun, 04/09/2017 - 13:07
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Hi BoB, the Grindstone example can be replaced with the Dark Depths + Thespian's Stage combo. Dark Depths is only banned in pure Events, just like Helm of Obedience is banned only in pure events. Whilst the 20/20 Marit Lage token is a creature, the removal which can deal with it is limited. The Dark Depths combo is not able to be disrupted by counter magic nor by enchantment hate nor by some prominent discard spells such as Thoughtseize and Inquisition (all of which stop the Helm/RIP combo), and the Dark Depths combo is considerably more mana efficient (say 4 mana in aggregate vs 7 mana in aggregate which is a huge difference). The Dark Depths combo also has the benefit that 4 out of the 8 cards in the combo (Thespian's Stage) are lands which come into play untapped and which can be tapped for colorless mana, thus placing a lesser tax on the deck's resources. Further, the Dark Depths combo can be tutored for easily due to Crop Rotation, Sylvan Scrying and Expedition Maps. Plus, Vampire Hexmages can be added to the combo in regular and underdog events for extra potency. In short, there is a reason why this combo forms the heart of a Tier 1 Legacy deck to this day.

Note: I am not making the argument that the Dark Depths combo is more powerful than the Helm/RIP combo (although that position could be argued), I am simply highlighting an example to defend the Helm/RIP combo.

If your sole argument is to by Bazaar of Baghdad at Sun, 04/09/2017 - 18:29
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If your sole argument is to take no action against RIP/Helm, then we are in agreement. I said as much up at the top of the thread, so no one is attacking the combo. My point was that a Worldgorger Dragon ban makes no sense next to leaving Helm/RIP alone. I don't see anything you wrote to address that argument - were you just starting a new thread? At any rate, even Dark Depths is vulnerable to CREATURE removal, so if you were trying to make a point about all combos being equally innocuous, I don't think you succeeded. Are you trying to say Worldgorger Dragon is as good as or better than RIP/Helm?

Honestly it's your argument by Kumagoro42 at Sun, 04/09/2017 - 19:47
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Honestly it's your argument that doesn't make sense to me, Ben. "This card shouldn't be banned because this other card is worse"? I doubt the "there are worse offenses around" is an argument that wins cases in court. (Or is it? :)

But let's do the comparison.
Do we have a Helm problem in the meta? No, we haven't. The combo doesn't show up too often, didn't win too many events, there aren't that many complaints against it (no more than against any other of at least a dozen different power combos).
So, should Helm be banned? In light of the above, the answer is no. (For now. Should the meta show signs of being warped by the Helm, we would ban it for sure.)

Let's do the same routine for Worldgorger Dragon now.
Do we have a Worldgorger Dragon problem in the meta? Yes, we do. All right, that's not exactly true. Let's rephrase it: is the latest success of Worldgorger Dragon threatening the meta, in a way that Helm never did? Yes. And here's why: as Michelle perfectly put, you can add Helm to any deck. It's not tribe-dependent nor strategy-dependent. You get beaten by it, then if you wish you can easily add it to the very deck that lost against it. Whereas Worldgorger invites to play both Nightmares as a tribe and reanimator as an archetype, therefore those tribes that excel at reanimator. This sounds like Helm is the more threatening card as a whole, but it's actually a zero sum game in the meta.

Could I have waited before removing Worldgorger from the equation after its first win? Yes, I could have. But what would have happened is that Nightmare would have become a thing out of nowhere, reanimator would have become the next best thing (and reanimator really doesn't need more publicity, as it's already a major force in the meta), more events would have been won via Worldgorger (we saw how easy it is, even against other major combos), and as a consequence a lot of complaints would arise. In fact, a lot of complaints have already arisen after the first win, made more bitter by the fact that most people didn't even realize Worldgorger Dragon was legal.
In fact, a major point is that it shouldn't necessarily have been legal. We can't unban stuff that is banned in Legacy, because then we are forced to use the Legacy filter in-client. But we're not required to unban whatever it's deemed worth of unbanning in Legacy, since Legacy is our pool, not our format. When Worldgorger was unbanned two years ago, I removed it from the ban list and (luckily) nobody really took notice until now. Had the Worldgorger unban happened now, we should have asked ourselves: do we want this card in our pool?
And do we? I don't think we do, because I don't think we need a power combo that never existed in the format, it doesn't do anything for the meta, it's not fun, it's not creative, it's not evenly accessible, and reinforces strategies that are already powerful and too common, while only adding more aggravation, more negative play experience. Plus, and be aware this is not the least of issues, it makes events last longer (because no, people won't just concede after the combo is demonstrated; we see people won't concede even when it's mathematically impossible for them to win; and in game 1, it's the correct play to make the opponent waste clock anyway). Longer events translate into a more tiring experience for me and the players, and push Asian players more and more out of the event due to the timezone constraints.

By the way, please don't assume I take knee-jerk decisions like some kind of emotional idiot that doesn't think things through. I've ran TribAp for a few years now, and I'd like to think I'm not known for this kind of behavior. As you can see, I did think this one through, quite a bit.

Kumagoro, I am pretty sure no by Paul Leicht at Mon, 04/10/2017 - 03:30
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Kumagoro, I am pretty sure no one thinks you're emotional or an idiot. But you do as any good Tourney Organizer, listen to the player base, which as a crowd CAN be very emotional. At least I assume you do.

Maybe if your reasoning was laid out in the article as articulately as it is in the comments there would have been no objections or accidental slurs to your esteemed character. I apologize for the implication that you are anything but erudite and rational.

I do happen to think laying out bans for scary cards is a very slippery slope full of pit traps. But maybe I am totally off base and the very existence of the card is a menace to society. I mean, on-tribe combos at least somewhat obey the spirit of the idea of Tribal Wars.

Of course without a sideboard they are hard to contain unless the meta shifts to deal with them but that same thing can be argued about staples like Goblin Burn and Combo Elves which have had their share of dominant metas before they were shut down.

But still they are on-tribe which is more than can be said for the ironically "more OK" Helm-line combo which I've seen go off turn 1/2.

All that said, your house, your rules. I bow to your expertise.

We're talking about by Bazaar of Baghdad at Sun, 04/09/2017 - 22:39
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

We're talking about legislation not prosecution, so yes, comparing undesirable behavior absolutely makes sense. We also don't have a Dragon problem in the meta. What complaints are we talking about relating to that deck? Why on earth would you think Worldgorger is threatening the meta? To the extent it does, people can just play RIP/Helm! Seriously, four cards and so easily disruptable. It just got extremely lucky in one event, and you axe it. I can't believe you think the power and consistency of that deck is so high (Tribal Wars generally has more removal than Legacy where it makes no splash whatsoever). He faced only two copies of Wasteland and two forms of graveyard removal (Round one Heap Doll) and no other removal. It's unfair to attribute such scant hate to proper deckbuilding. Everyone knows Reanimator is a big force in underdog (see Wurm's reanimation-style victory, still available and since unpiloted), so people not being ready for it have themselves to blame. I admit I didn't realize round times were a factor in your decisionmaking. We might want to start the event an hour earlier to accommodate the Asian players and their bedtimes, especially since other games in the round might easily go to time anyway, people won't concede, and apparently you expect people to play the deck with regularity.

The deck is fine, but probably worse than several other reanimator strategies. We should be celebrating a unique play experience for a cool card that couldn't prove itself in regular Legacy (because it's just not good enough) that found a sweet spot here. Instead we get this travesty.

To anyone that complained about Dragon combo, could you repeat the gist of your comments here please to help us understand and memorialize your beef?

Thank you for your reply and explanation.

We might want to start the by Kumagoro42 at Mon, 04/10/2017 - 11:29
Kumagoro42's picture

We might want to start the event an hour earlier

No, we can't. I personally can't. Tribal Apocalypse is in a sweet spot, timezone-wise, and has been for almost 10 years now.

Please stop obsessing over this ban, as you're the only one who seems to care ("a unique play experience"? C'mon, now you're reaching). Historically the Worldgorger wasn't in the tribal pool, and still isn't, end of story, case dismissed with prejudice.

There are lots of people who by Bazaar of Baghdad at Mon, 04/10/2017 - 14:36
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

There are lots of people who care about not having an overly long ban list in several formats. I haven't seen anyone here oppose a Dragon unrestriction and you're the only one who has advocated against it. You banned Dragon after one event where it was shown that the opponents didn't have the normal answer cards (lucky for the Dragon player), but you left SDT and Grindstone combos around for ages. You've ignored the power-level arguments, and have hung your hat on the because-opponents-won't-concede-and-some-rounds-may-go-to-time-while-others-won't-and-on-the-off-chance-someone-plays-this-again argument. A travesty of an argument, but as Paul said, "your house, your rules."

I hope slower control decks don't get banned because of time constraints. Is this something that the tribal community needs to be aware of that you are considering? Will players get banned for thinking too long? Do we need to shorten the time controls?

Thanks Kumagoro for your by MichelleWong at Mon, 04/10/2017 - 10:44
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Thanks Kumagoro for your helpful comments, and for taking the Asian player base into account in your decision making.