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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Aug 10 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. Show and Tell
  4. Announcements
  5. What's Next

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

by Kumagoro

 Enjoy the top two players from last week (Generalissimo and I) in a discussion about each other's deck, accompanied by a video of their matchup live-commented from the point of view of one of them (Generalissimo)! Don't miss all of this in this week's Show and Tell!

 Also, I updated the Restricted to Tribe list to include two more usual bogeymen (slash bogeywomen slash Phyrexian monstrosities), Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite and Blightsteel Colossus. It's not like they were abused much often as off-tribe presence, but it seems coherent with the rest of the list. (By the way, the Modern list is shorter because Stoneforge Mystic is already banned there by DCI and True-Name Nemesis is not legal to begin with).


 I think the list is a useful tool to characterize the tribal scene better and a good way to keep problematic creatures (and their tricks) around by having their tribes be their mandated outlet. It could help those tribes being played more, and it forces deck builders to find different, less traveled roads elsewhere. The only risk is to soft-ban these creatures because they're not actually viable anymore as in-tribe presences. I don't have this fear with the Colossus, which in fact has been largely played in Golem decks already (but this way, it can't be played by any other Cloudpost shell); I have it more about Elesh, because Praetor is much rarer, and harder to build.

 As I mention in the discussion with Generalissimo, I wouldn't dislike the idea of putting Dryad Arbor on the list, to make it unique to Dryads, so maybe they'll become a more appealing tribe (I think they're very underplayed). She is kind of a no-brainer inclusion for decks running Green Sun's Zenith, and I think Birds of Paradise and Wall of Roots should be the broader, universal solutions for early acceleration, since they seem to carry minor specificity. Same as Acidic Slime as an answer, which feels defensive compared to options like Sylvan Primordial, Woodfall Primus and Terastodon, all of which have been added to the list recently.


  • Event Number: 8.30, Week 395 BE
  • Date: August 4
  • Attendance: 10
  • Rounds: 3
  • Subformat: Underdog
  • Winner: _Kumagoro_ with Plant
  • 1 Loss: Generalissimo with Naga, Bandit Keith with Rat, sheaj31 with Wolf, under_a with Kor, Nagarjuna with Ape
  • Underdog Prize: lovetapsmtg with Homarid
  • Repopulation Award: lovetapsmtg with Homarid
  • Tribes: Ape, Centaur, Homarid, Horror, Kor, Lhurgoyf, Naga, Plant, Rat, Wolf
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 Congratulations to me for winning an event since more than three years! (In my partial defense, I had long periods where I didn't play at all). This is also the first time Plant conquers the first place (out of its nine times) without being either Wall-Drazi Junior or a Natural Order build aimed to win through off-tribe finishers. The Plants actually attacked for the win! 


 As mentioned, down on Show and Tell you'll find a deeper analysis and video evidence of both my Plant deck and the Naga build piloted by Generalissimo that I faced in round 2 and ended up second in the final ranking. As you can see from the video, our match was quite monumental. And one of the games culminates in a Vivien Reid's grand assault, in occasion of her official Tribal Apocalypse debut! I love our new monogreen overlady.


 Also seen in the video: Wolves by sheaj31...


 ...and Kor by under_a. Welcome back, Swords of X and Y. Kor is certainly a tribe where you rightfully belong. And of course Nahiri is there, but not in her most celebrated version, although it's the version that makes more sense in the deck.



 Here's the prices of all the featured decks, courtesy of the amazing Deck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of August 10, 2018):

  • _Kumagoro_'s Plants: $75.18
  • Generalissimo's Nagas: $15.98
  • sheaj31's Wolves: $3.62
  • under_a's Kor: $258.04

 The Top 10 Cheapest Decks that Went Undefeated

  1. SirFalcon2008's Goblins, $1.54, 1st place on Event 289
  2. mihahitlor's Warriors, $1.95, 1st place on Event 233
  3. morpphling's Vampires, $2.25, 1st place on Event 285
  4. morpphling's Goblins, $2.35, 2nd place on Event 102
  5. JogandoPelado's Berserkers, $2.80, 1st place on Event 248
  6. kokonade1000's Berserkers, $2.95, 2nd place on Event 354
  7. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.32, 1st place on Event 154
  8. MisterMojoRising's Insects, $3.55, 2nd place on Event 201
  9. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.58, 1st place on Event 169
  10. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.70, 1st place on Event 145

 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.


 First of all, here's Generalissimo's video detailing his deck tech and live-commenting his progress throughout the tournament, with matches featuring the other three decks featured above.

 And here's both my deck and his deck's presentations, followed by some back and forth.

 Kumagoro: The thing about this Plant build is that, while it includes the (alas, off-tribe) Overgrown Battlement ramp, it doesn't actually need the ramp, since it doesn't want to cast Eldrazi or other big finishers, it actually cares about the defenders because they're the ones that'll win via either Assault Formation or the latest "defenders matter" card, Arcades, the Strategist. So when I was selecting the defenders, I discarded classic staples that don't remain on the battlefield like Tinder Wall and Wall of Mulch; Wall of Blossoms and Wall of Roots were a given, being basically two of the best green creatures ever printed; Tree of Redemption is the most natural finisher with an Assault Formation battleplan. And if I had any doubt about Sylvan Caryatid, adding Arcades without having blue sources within the land base made it necessary. Plus it's an accelerator and early blocker the opponent can't easily mess with. So basically I was left with just one tribal slot, and I chose Jaddi Offshoot because it's the cheapest presence on the board and also provide some life.


 Then the deck uses Green Sun's Zenith as an engine. Again, I didn't want to sacrifice my Plants, so Natural Order wasn't a good fit; plus, it's slower, I have to pay 4 mana plus whatever I paid for the sacrifice creature in order to maybe fetch a 2-4 CMC creature; not a good deal. Once GSZ is in, you want at least a bit of a toolbox, but I kept it to a minimum, just one Acidic Slime to answer occasional problems, and one Eternal Witness for recursion. The other off-tribe creatures are Nylea, God of the Hunt and Verdant Sun's Avatar, but they both tie into the deck's plan, the former making the Trees of Redemption non-chumpable, and the latter giving me the massive lifegain I may need to survive until I find a Formation.

To round out the list, I have one Vivien Reid, mostly just because I recently acquired her, but we can see in the video how powerful her ultimate is, and she's a multi-purpose answer, to boot; and one Nissa, Voice of Zendikar, because the Vorthos in me can't build such a "nature's revenge" list without putting at least one Nissa in there; plus Voice of Zendikar is the one who creates Plants. She's totally not necessary, but I'll totally never resolve to take her out (I never drew her during the event, anyway).

 Generalissimo: My deck was pretty much built just to be able to play with Sidisi, Brood Tyrant, which I think is a super fun card, but fortunately Nagas also got some more decent self-mill payoff cards from Amonkhet in Ramunap Excavator and Tah-Crop Skirmisher (and Champion of Wits, but I'm not paying for that while its price is inflated by Standard).


 There's still not quite enough powerful graveyard synergy within the tribe, though, so Gurmag Angler and Tasigur, the Golden Fang are pretty important for the deck to be able to quickly put some beef onto the battlefield. The rest of the deck is basically just self-mill cards and a bit of creature-based ramp, which is useful for making sure I've got the late-game mana for activating Tasigur, embalming the Skirmishers and casting a bunch of things with Vizier of the Menagerie, but it also lets me cut down on lands and keep the creature-count high to make sure Sidisi spits out Zombies as consistently as possible. Also, my mana-base is... not great, but I complain about that plenty enough in the video.

 Kumagoro: My base is fine, I think. I decided to keep at least a set of real fetch lands (Verdant Catacombs, because Golgari is my favorite color pairing), and most of the Alpha duals are so cheap these days. I didn't have any Tropical Island, though, which made hardcasting Arcades a bit awkward. I've purchased a couple now, and one Arcades more, because he really is a super-lord for Plants (and of course Walls). But I don't know what to take out. I might just go up to 61 cards, even if I already run only 21 lands. Then again, I never had mana issues, the curve in this deck is insanely low, with 28 nonland cards costing 2 mana or less, and several of those providing mana themselves.

 Generalissimo: My only real question for your deck is "why no removal?" The Plants do a great job of clogging up the ground but it seems like just a few Swords to Plowshares would do wonders to take out evasive creatures that can ignore your defense or break up creature-combos that would overwhelm you.

 Kumagoro: Mostly because I wouldn't know what to take out to make room for it. But I've gotta be honest, the main reason is I don't like much to play Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile just because they're strong. The only removal I always happily play are the Golgari ones (Abrupt Decay, Maelstrom Pulse, Pernicious Deed) when I'm in Golgari colors, because that feels like part of the deck and tribe, while white exilers on a essentially monogreen deck? It feels "wrong". So, Vorthos reasons, basically.

 But also, when I'm swinging with a 13/13 trampler, easily made larger by ramp mana dumped into Assault Formation or Nylea, I don't really care what you're blocking with. And when in defense, I try to gain massive amounts of life asap, so I don't care much about taking occasional evasive damage either. Plus, I actually have some minor degree of removal: Vivien Reid kills flyers, Acidic Slime kills artifact creatures. Also, Arcades block flyers up to power 4 and has vigilance. So I'm not entirely exposed. I could run some silver bullet like Stingerfling Spider or Silklash Spider, maybe. If it was a Plant, I would probably run Traproot Kami in place of Jaddi Offshoot. That guy could become large in this deck.

 Generalissimo: Fair enough on the removal; your results certainly suggest it isn't necessary. My only other thought would be then to add a Dryad Arbor to round out the Green Sun's Zenith package.

 Kumagoro: Ah, I forgot to address that. On one hand, it'd be correct, every GSZ deck comes with that pre-built, basically. On the other hand, I have more crucial targets for GSZ on turn 3 Overgrown Battlement and later, targets that I absolutely need to bring to the board (Nylea, Arcades), and silver bullets; plus, I need defenders for the battle plan more than I need mana. So if I don't have a Battlement first hand, I won't use GSZ for just untapping with three mana on turn 2, which I would be only able to exploit if I have a Wall of Roots anyway, because I don't really have three-drops. And at the same time, I dislike very very much to include lands that can't be tapped right away. Not to mention killed by any pinger.

 Generalissimo: True, Dryad Arbor being slow and vulnerable makes it pretty terrible in its own right but, personally, I'd still run it, even if you can't make much use out of 3 mana on turn 2, just because it makes opening draws with one land, a GSZ and a 2-drop into a functional hand.

 Kumagoro: That's true. As for your list, I think it makes total sense. Nagas have a strong self-mill theme, but unfortunately no delve creatures in-tribe, so the off-tribe elements are more than justified even to a purist's eye: the tribe's main mechanic must be put to some use (plus Tasigur and the Nagas have history). I think you want monoblack Sidisi and the Vizier in your list, but not too many, one of each seems the correct number. I can't see many other Nagas worth including, except the Champion of Wits you mentioned. Maybe Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper? She looks like a cool one to have as a one-of or something.

 Generalissimo: I did consider Ikra but she seemed generally a bit underwhelming and the decks I most want the lifegain against are also the ones I'm most likely to need to trade off my early creatures against, so I'm really not guaranteed to get much use out of her ability.

 Kumagoro: I think your black Sidisi should be given at least one go-to catch-all silver bullet to tutor up, like maybe Maelstrom Pulse. You could have taken away my Formations with that. And on second thought, considering the amount of fodder creatures you run, maybe his exploit is better than Vizier of the Menagerie's ability.

 Generalissimo: I was kind of unimpressed by Sidisi, Undead Vizier in the event but I think you might be right that the solution is to redesign my deck sightly to make better use of her ability. Tutoring for 1-ofs does lose a little bit of consistency when there's a chance I might mill them away, though.

 Kumagoro: Yeah, that's why I'd never have the guts to play a dedicated self-mill deck, I'd be constantly afraid of losing the card I needed the most, it'd be nerve-racking to me. Speaking of which, that first game of our match was quite silly, both of us basically goldfishing to reciprocally irrelevant positions. I won thanks to my lifegaining Dinosaur, I think. At one hour into the video, when I take my one Arcades back with Eternal Witness, I thought you would destroy my Savannah before I could play him, since I had no other non-green sources out other than that and the Caryatid, and I needed two for Arcades. Then again, you were holding that Fatal Push, so the problem sorts itself out.

 Generalissimo: You're right, destroying your Savannah would have been a good play; I was just too focused on saving the Field of Ruin to trigger revolt and I didn't notice you only had two non-green sources. I'm sure I made a whole host of misplays during that marathon of a match; it's very difficult to play tight when you're rushing to avoid timing out and when there are so many things on the board, it's especially easy to overlook something.

 Kumagoro: By the way, in reference as something you say in the video, Hornet Queen is restricted to Insect now, as most of anything else in the same "off-tribe stars" category, which is why I haven't any of the usual suspects targets in my list.

 Generalissimo: I thought it might be after I mentioned it, but I forgot at the time and I did remember seeing you search up Hornet Queen a lot in the past.

 Kumagoro: Only in Insect decks, though. :)


 Just to remind you of a few things:

 The Underdog Prize: During any event of the regular rotation (but not necessarily 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.

 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 and Hippo.

 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, Goat, Incarnation, Licid, Monger, Nightstalker, Orgg, Ouphe, Rabbit, Salamander, Slith. Already cleared: Atog, Crocodile, Homarid, 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):

  • 8.31 (Week 396 BE), on August 11: Standard
  • 8.32 (Week 397 BE), on August 18: Modern
  • 8.33 (Week 398 BE), on August 25: Legacy
  • 8.34 (Week 399 BE), on September 1: Underdog

Check out the ban lists and the event calendar

Art disclaimers. Revel in Riches art by Eric Deschamps; Show and Tell art by Jeff Laubenstein; Herald of Anafenza art by Aaron Miller.


SHOW AND TELL by Nagarjuna at Fri, 08/10/2018 - 13:19
Nagarjuna's picture

Love the SHOW AND TELL part, great work guys!