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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Jan 26 2018 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

 Another year, another Invitational, another winner! Congratulations to the 2017 Tribal Apocalypse Ultimate Champion, Nagarjuna!

 It's been a very troubled Invitational, due to technical difficulties. You see, Gatherling.com is undergoing a major update and some redesign, which is a very good thing, but it temporarily created a bug that would cause cards from Modern Masters 2017 to be rejected by the system. And yeah, that's a lot of very popular cards. The glitch is now fixed, but the good folks at Gatherling (namely, longtimegone and Silasary) could get to it only after the event was over, which means, for the duration, players had to rely on proxy registrations to circumvent the problem. So a special thanks goes to Relentless Rats for being such a reliable, catch-all proxy. This event couldn't have been completed with you!

And thank the gods you weren't reprinted in any Modern Masters set.


  • Event Number: Special, Week 367 BE
  • Date: January 20
  • Attendance: 15
  • Rounds: 4
  • Subformat: Invitational
  • Winner: Nagarjuna (Praetor, Angel, Eldrazi, Berserker)
  • 2nd place: ML_Berlin (Berserker, Human, Merfolk, Rat)
  • 3rd place: Golden_Lin (Kobold, Human, Sliver, Rat)
  • 4th place: AJ_Impy (God, Construct, Elder, Dinosaur)
  • 5th-8th place: Generalissimo (Scout, Spirit), Deonmag (Scarecrow, Golem), Bandit Keith (Rat, Kithkin), Robin88 (Rebels, Human)
  • 9th-15th place: Yokai_ (Praetor), AEFabricio (Fish), BoozeMongoose (Fish), TLR (Fish), lowman02 (Rebel), mathguy31415 (Rat), Socanelas (Berserker)
  • Tribes: Angel, Berserker (x3), Construct, Elder, Eldrazi (x2), Fish (x3), God, Golem, Human (x3), Kithkin, Kobold, Merfolk, Praetor (x2), Rat (x4), Rebel (x2), Scarecrow, Scout, Sliver, Spirit
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, Finals

 So, let's see how this final table, with the all-German final fight of Nagarjuna vs. ML_Berlin, came to be.

 First of all, the 16 qualified players according to last season's leaderboard were seeded as follows:

  1. Golden_Lin
  2. Socanelas
  3. AJ_Impy
  4. BoozeMongoose
  5. Deonmag
  6. TLR
  7. ML_Berlin
  8. Generalissimo
  9. Yokai_
  10. mathguy31415
  11. Bandit Keith
  12. Armont
  13. AEFabricio
  14. Nagarjuna
  15. MisterMojoRising
  16. littlefield

 Seeds #12 Armont, #15 MisterMojoRising, and #16 littlefield were unable to take part in the event, so they were replaced by two reserves, seed #17 lowman02 and #22 Robin88 (a former #1 Player, so that's some luxury reserve), and by a BYE, which went directly to the #1 Player of the 2017, Golden_Lin, as a nice bonus for an amazing season.

 Round 1 uses the Underdog rules, so the players can't rely on a powerful tribe to push each other out of the competition. Still, we saw some of the most successful Underdog tribes going to battle, but with unexpected results. Most notably, all three Splinter Fish lists (like this one by BoozeMongoose) were defeated, and so were all the Brazilian players, including #2 seed Socanelas, one of the most feared players in the event, as well as 2015 Invitational finalist Yokai_. #4 seed BoozeMongoose was the first victim to Nagarjuna's victory march, which started with one of his beloved cheat-big-stuff-into-play strategies, specifically Praetor Reanimator.


 So Round 2 had 8 players left. And now it was time to unleash their most fearsome deck of the season (from the regular rotation's subformat: so Regular, Underdog, Modern or Pure Tribal). Some of the contenders had only one clear option, having scored their maximum amount of leaderboard points with only one deck. It was the case of Bandit Keith, whose trusty Kithkins couldn't ultimately overcome one of AJ_Impy's top decks, namely 12-Post Constructs.

 After the awarded BYE prevented him from playing his Kobold list in Round 1, Golden_Lin warmed up by beating Generalissimo in a battle of Men vs. Ghosts. At the other side of the scoreboard, a similar WW Human listML_Berlin's, was sending its 3-colored brethren to bed along with their master, Robin88.

 All while Nagarjuna was vanquishing yet another over-seeded opponent, this time reanimating Angels and launching them against Deonmag's Golems.


 And this gave us our finalists, the Four Riders of the Apocalypse: Golden_Lin (seed #1), AJ_Impy (seed #3), ML_Berlin (seed #7) and Nagarjuna (seed #4). Based on seeding, Socanelas and BoozeMongoose were expected to be there, but ML_Berlin was still a Top 8 player, and if Nagarjuna was comparatively lower-seeded, it's actually only because he came back into the event only later in the year.

 The first semi-final saw Nagarjuna paired up against Golden_Lin, and this was the "break it or make it" moment for both. Round 3 asks for a Pure Tribal deck that wasn't successful in the previous season. Golden_Lin tried a Sliver build, while Nagarjuna worked Eldrazi into a Show and Tell/Omniscience shell, and in the end the unspeakable beings from the Blind Eternities prevailed over the little metamorphs, and Golden_Lin failed to become the first player to hold both the Player of the Year title and the Ultimate Champion title in the same year.

 Elsewhere in the Show and Tell department, AJ_Impy debuted the improved Elder tribe post-Rivals of Ixalan; but even the combined awesomeness of Dragons and Dinosaurs (together at last!), wasn't enough to oppose the sheer efficiency of ML_Berlin's (borrowed) Simic Merfolk list. But still...


 And that's how that ending happened. One year prior, AJ_Impy and ML_Berlin would face each other in the 3rd place final; this time, Berlin upgraded to the major final, leaving AJ_Impy to fight, and lose, against Golden_Lin, while Berlin would end up doing the same against his fellow countryman and soon-to-be Ultimate Champion, Nagarjuna.

 The Final Round had an undisclosed deckbuilding rule: this year was simply to build a Pauper Underdog deck on the fly. This was the very first time we ever tried Pauper Tribal, and to mitigate the Elf & Goblin Effect, I chose to add an Underdog requirements. Resulting in two of the most effective monocolored Underdog tribes, red for aggro/burn with Berserker, which was Nagarjuna's choice; black for control/disruption with Rat, as played by both ML_Berlin and Golden_Lin. AJ_Impy, as is his wont, took a different route, remembering the Urza lands are Pauper-legal, which gave birth to another Dinosaur-filled deck, unfortunately marking two losses out of two showings for the big guys. They might well use the consolation prize of being featured.


 So that's what went down in the 2017 Tribal Apocalypse Invitational. We'll hear from both seasonal protagonists Nagarjuna and Golden_Lin in their solo interviews next month; better luck next year to everyone else, and see you all tomorrow in the Tribal room!


 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 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 Camel, Hippo, Hyena, Monkey.

 The Repopulation Award: Some tribes get played only once (to get the New Kids on the Block Award) and then forgotten. Never again! Register one of the following tribes three times in different events, then play all rounds of those events with them, and you'll get a 3-tix certificate from MTGO Traders. The list of these tribes, established May 5, 2017, is as follows: Antelope, Atog, Crocodile, Goat, Homarid, Incarnation, Leech, Licid, Metathran, Monger, Nightstalker, Octopus, Orgg, Ouphe, Processor, Rabbit, Salamander, Slith. Already cleared: Jackal, Manticore, Moonfolk, Ox, Siren.

 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):

  • 8.03 (Week 368 BE), on January 27: Regular
  • 8.04 (Week 369 BE), on February 3: Underdog
  • 8.05 (Week 370 BE), on February 10: Regular
  • 8.06 (Week 371 BE), on February 17: Pure

Check out all the rules for the sub-formats!

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2018!