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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Aug 24 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

 Let's talk about Underdog for a moment or two. I admit I was almost ready to let that very old subformat go. Underdog has been basically the first Tribal Apocalypse variant implemented by Blippy, back in the ancient times of Event 13, on April 2, 2011. It was still called "Endangered" back then, and except for a one-time and not very successful experiment with Heirloom on Event 4, it was the first case of Tribal Apocalypse being anything different than Legacy Tribal Wars (and just a few months earlier, i.e. until December 2010, it would have been Classic Tribal Wars instead).

 Since that first time, every first Tribal Apocalypse event of each month has been an Endangered event, later renamed as Underdog. That's a lot of events, and next week I want to write down the full history of the tribes that won those tournaments, to see if there is some Underdog that needs promotion into the Major League. For now, I'd like to focus on the opposite task, instead: are there Major League tribes that have no reason to be excluded from Underdog events?

 Currently, the tribes that can't take part in Underdog are 39. A first group is made of the big linear types and other truly classic tribes with amazing lineups, for which there's no question they shouldn't come near Underdog events by ten miles:

  • Cat
  • Eldrazi
  • Elf
  • Faerie
  • Goblin
  • Human
  • Kithkin
  • Knight
  • Merfolk
  • Shaman
  • Sliver
  • Soldier
  • Spirit
  • Vampire
  • Wall
  • Warrior
  • Wizard
  • Zombie

 Druid gets necessarily added to this list because it's just Elf by another name, and Cleric because they can tap into a lot of Human members, and they have a huge roster anyway. Construct, Myr and Golem are the most effective choices for colorless Cloudpost builds, leaving Underdog to play that kind of archetype with other suitable tribes that would never be played otherwise, which is the whole point of the format.
 A second group of tribes is still strong, but somewhat belonging to a lesser tier compared to the previous ones.

  • Beast
  • Bird
  • Elemental
  • Illusion
  • Rogue
  • Snake

 Bird (though there's no building Aluren decks with it anymore), IllusionRogue and Snake can certainly be explosive. But I wish there was a way to separate red-based Elementals from green-based Elementals, because the two main branches of the tribe really can't compare to each other. And I'm not sure about Beast. Played straight, they have never been particularly effective, as all their fast members are essentially vanilla, so they play similarly to Centaur. The few good results they had in Tribal Apocalypse history (just three first places overall) were achieved with Living End or Greater Gargadon builds, which however might be concern enough to keep the whole tribe away from Underdog.


 After this, we have a group of powerful midrange tribes.

  • Angel
  • Demon
  • Dragon
  • Treefolk

 Angel and Demon would probably push other similar tribes out of the Underdog meta, but are Dragon and Treefolk that much stronger than, say, Sphinx? Do we worry about Dragonstorm, maybe?


 Finally, these tribes entered the Major League specifically because of their results in Underdog.

  • Ally
  • Archon
  • Assassin
  • Imp
  • Monk
  • Werewolf

 Ally should have been Underdog's Sliver, but over time proved to be just as good, if not even better. Monk is also able to put together an amazing lineup these days. Assassin and Werewolf are sad cases, because they might be too good for Underdog, too weak for other formats. In fact, they disappeared from the overall meta once they weren't allowed in Underdog anymore. And Archon and Imp are banned only because they were excellent reanimator shells (one because of the targets, the other because of the enablers). Now that fast reanimator has been nerfed across the board, it seems safe to readmit at least Imp to the fold, doesn't it?


 Thoughts? Anything that seems safe to you to allow in Underdog?


  • Event Number: 8.32, Week 397 BE
  • Date: August 18
  • Attendance: 13
  • Rounds: 3
  • Subformat: Modern
  • Winner: Bandit Keith with Goblin
  • Runner-up: AJ_Impy with Angel
  • 1 Loss: Goblin_hero with Goblin, Socanelas with Human, Nagarjuna with Human, totalhate with Eldrazi, MontanaSteev with Human
  • Underdog Prize: CruelHellraiser with Pilot, lovetapsmtg with Slith
  • Tribes: Angel, Eldrazi, Goblin (x2), Human (x4), Pilot, Slith, Vampire, Vedalken, Zombie
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 So, tons of Humans, none on top. That place belongs to Bandit Keith's Goblins, demonstrating the overwhelming power of Goblin Piledriver on their unfortunate enemies. That card is getting played much less than it should, especially for being less than 1 tix apiece now. I guess most Goblin players like to build their entire deck for the cost of a Piledriver playset.


 At the opposite end of the tribal spectrum, AJ_Impy's Angels aimed to control the board and then win on the back of Resplendent Angel and the tokens she makes thanks to pretty much everything else in the list. By the way, while we're talking prices, Gisela, the Broken Blade is 1 tix the playset these days.


 Modern Tribal Wars is unveiling the full power of its combos. Socanelas discovered two thirds of Vizier of Remedies, Devoted Druid and Duskwatch Recruiter share the Human type.


 And this is what Eldrazi look like now that they can't count on Eye of Ugin anymore, as piloted by totalhate. I like the Serum Powder. It interacts with Eternal Scourge, which is also great with Moorland Haunt. I guess this proves the Eldrazi have souls.



 Here's the prices of all the featured decks, courtesy of the amazing Deck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of August 24, 2018):

  • Bandit Keith's Goblins: $128.43
  • AJ_Impy's Angels: $104.56
  • Socanelas's Humans: $299.10
  • totalhate's Eldrazi: $102.04

 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.


 Show and Tell


 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):

  • 8.33 (Week 398 BE), on August 25: Legacy
  • 8.34 (Week 399 BE), on September 1: Underdog
  • 8.35 (Week 400 BE), on September 8: Standard
  • 8.36 (Week 401 BE), on September 15: Modern

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.


Nagarjuna's picture

Imps and Treefolks?

I was thinking the same by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 08/24/2018 - 13:48
Kumagoro42's picture

I was thinking the same thing.

Discord Channel by Nagarjuna at Sun, 08/26/2018 - 02:58
Nagarjuna's picture

Hello all,

we set up a Discord-Server:


Let's hang out there to talk, brew and test decks together!