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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Jun 01 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

 Discussions of change abound in the #TRIBAL room lately. One thing we established: Standard Tribal Wars is a go for June 30. And another thing is that right after that, we'll change the rotation. How, it's still up in the air (I'll create a consulting mailing list with prominent players in it to help me figuring it out), but Legacy Tribal Wars as we know it, i.e. as the format we play in Regular events, will have to change a bit, because it's become too much of a normal Legacy thing right now.

 After all, consider this: Tribal Apocalypse has existed since almost a decade now (we'll celebrate the 10th anniversary on September 2019), and the Tribal Wars format goes much further back. I can't find a specific origin point right now (I'm sure AJ_Impy will have a source at the ready), but you can see how Aaron Forsythe would talk about it on the motherboard as an ongoing format in March 2003 already. (I think Legions kicked it off earlier that year). The point is: it's an old format, older now than the game itself was when Tribal Wars first appeared, and WotC abandoned it along the way, so it wasn't given any proper maintenance in a long time. It used to have Classic as its card pool, and that format doesn't even exist anymore. It adopted Legacy in 2010. And I don't want to say that Legacy itself changed in the past eight years, except it kind of did, if only because in the meantime eight years of sets have been added to the Modern format, which means it's large enough to support all the major tribes and most of the minor ones, and in fact, with creature tech improving more and more in recent years, the Legacy-only creatures are becoming increasingly rare in current lists. So who's to say that WotC wouldn't have switched the main Tribal Wars pool from Legacy to Modern at some point? It's a definite phenomenon, actually: the more the years go by, the more the Modern card pool becomes the larger share of the overall card pool. The non-Modern-legal sets from Arabian Nights to Scourge are 29; the Modern legal sets from Mirrodin to Dominaria are 49 (not counting core sets and ancillary sets). Soon enough, there will be twice the Modern-legal sets than the non-Modern-legal sets. Did you ever think about that?


 I'm not saying, let's abandon Legacy and switch to Modern. But we will definitely have Modern as a monthly feature in the rotation. I remember I didn't like the idea years ago, I thought Modern Tribal Wars would be all about a handful of tribes, like Elves and Kithkin; later I thought, well, Modern creatures are already what we play the most in Legacy Tribal Wars, so what's the point? But there's a point, actually. There's a serious argument about Modern over Legacy for a format that wants to be even slightly more casual than the regular thing. Modern is heavily curated, and its main principle is to have games guaranteed to last more than three turns. Modern can be cutthroat, don't get me wrong; competitive Magic always finds a way. But it's a more welcoming format. And more importantly, it's more about creatures than Legacy is, so there's fewer aberrations lurking at every corner.


 I've always maintained that Legacy Tribal Wars is a form of Legacy, so we shouldn't be scared by Legacy strategies and combos and builds. But now I'm thinking, does that really make sense? Why should we invite strategies from a format that's not the format we're playing, and whose pool we're using only incidentally? Yeah, now I'm thinking, why are cards like Helm of Obedience in the format at all? Why did we tolerate Helm of Obedience all this time? To feel more like "real" Legacy? But out of the words in the name "Legacy Tribal Wars", should we really focus on the "Legacy" part rather than the "Tribal Wars" part? Get this, on gamepedia.com, there's an entry for "Tribal Wars", and it says, "players may build decks using Standard, Modern, Legacy or Vintage deckbuilding rules". Indeed, Standard was one of the two DCI-sanctioned flavors of Tribal Wars back in the time. Legacy wasn't even considered, as Classic was a stand-in for Vintage. Did we get it wrong all these years? Was there a "True Spirit of Tribal" all along, and I missed it?


  • Event Number: 8.20, Week 385 BE
  • Date: May 26
  • Attendance: 8
  • Rounds: 3
  • Subformat: Regular
  • Winner: Yokai_ (Bird)
  • 1 Loss: Socanelas (Eldrazi), AJ_Impy (Eldrazi), _Kumagoro_ (Zombie)
  • Underdog Prize: lovetapsmtg Atog
  • Tribes: Atog, Bird, Construct, Eldrazi (X3), Spirit, Zombie
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 Moving that think piece here, another thing to consider is what exactly we banned in Regular events (by the way, the very name "Regular" is going to be retired soon, as it's misleading and likely going to become just plain wrong in the future). For instance, we banned Glimpse of Nature because it leads to an insane power deck with tribes like Elf. Makes sense. At the same time, we tolerated Aluren, that gives birth to a level-1 power deck with tribes like Bird, only because it wouldn't show up very often; but it's showing up more and more, and in Yokai_'s build here, so it becomes incoherent to stop Glimpse of Nature but not Aluren.


 Another hot case: Eldrazi is getting close to the trifecta Human-Elf-Goblin, success-wise. Half this event was made up of Eldrazi decks, and two of them ended up in the first three places (including Socanelas's). Both Elf and Goblin have been subjected to bans to limit their power (Human has too many forms to do that, it's never been just about one specific power list). Eldrazi should be taken down a notch, too; namely, following Modern's example, by getting rid of Eye of Ugin, which just makes for too fast a ramp now that Eldrazi has become an aggro build. Turn-1 Eye into turn-2 Eldrazi Temple or Ancient Tomb or City of Traitors (therefore a very likely follow-up) means you get to cast two 3-mana Eldrazi, for a total of six mana on turn 2. It's pretty insane.


 For a tribe of mindless walking corpses (it actually includes higher-level undeads, like liches), Zombie has certainly become a very Johnny affair. With its wide web of interactions, I think this deck is fun and solid, and showcases what non-Modern Tribal Wars should be allowed to do, like using Birthing Pod and exploiting Entomb in a fair way, without following it up with a fattie reanimation on turn 2. Vengeful Pharaoh is such an underrated card, his quiet menace managed to stop even Socanelas's Eldrazi from attacking!



 Here's the prices of all the featured decks, courtesy of the amazing Deck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of June 1, 2018):

  • Yokai_'s Birds: $203.07
  • Socanelas's Eldrazi: $402.78
  • _Kumagoro_'s Zombies: $55.98

 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. kokonade1000's Berserkers, $2.95, 2nd place on Event 354
  6. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.32, 1st place on Event 154
  7. MisterMojoRising's Insects, $3.55, 2nd place on Event 201
  8. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.58, 1st place on Event 169
  9. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.70, 1st place on Event 145
  10. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $4.12, 2nd place on Event 141

 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. kokonade1000's Berserkers, $2.95, 2nd place on Event 354
  5. MisterMojoRising's Insects, $3.55, 2nd place on Event 201

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


 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.

 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, Goat, Homarid, Incarnation, Licid, Monger, Nightstalker, Orgg, Ouphe, Rabbit, Salamander, Slith. Already cleared: Crocodile, Jackal, Leech, Manticore, Metathran, Moonfolk, Octopus, Ox, Processor, 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):

  • 8.21 (Week 386 BE), on June 2: Underdog
  • 8.22 (Week 387 BE), on June 9: Regular
  • 8.23 (Week 388 BE), on June 16: Pure
  • 8.24 (Week 389 BE), on June 23: Regular

Check out all the rules for the sub-formats!

Check out the full Tribal Calendar for 2018!



Kuma is, as always, correct. by AJ_Impy at Sat, 06/02/2018 - 16:24
AJ_Impy's picture

Kuma is, as always, correct. Here is the article that announced the birth of Tribal Wars. https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/wizards-invitational-2003-...

The decks you linked were the very first ones played in a competitive event, albeit a one-off, the Wizards Invitational which wound up giving us the Two-Headed Giant of Foriys avatar. That was what the format debuted in.

This year saw the fifteenth anniversary of it being played on MTGO.