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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Oct 19 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

 I realize that, with age, I'm turning more and more into a Vorthos (it's a painless process). Even to extreme, OCD-prone levels, like "a deck must look good when it's open in the editor". And I mean the way the CMC piles stack next to each other (of course you would NEVER sort the deck in any different way than by CMC). So I may take out a three-mana card to add a four-mana card just because this way all the piles are the same size. It's madness as an art form.

 Or I could make arbitrary considerations about a card's inner meaning. For instance, here's a dialogue between my inner Vorthos and my inner Spike about which sweeper to include in the monowhite Angel deck I'm building.

  • SPIKE KUMA: We should devote a few slots to board sweepers.
  • VORTHOS KUMA: Sure. I guess.
  • SPIKE KUMA: Yeah, we're bound to be outraced by faster tribes, we must be able to stop their proliferation while we wait for our bigger Angels to drop. In fact, we can do that without even disrupting our board, as now we can use Settle the Wreckage!
  • VORTHOS KUMA: Yay! Wait... uhm... no, that's not an Angel card.
  • SPIKE KUMA: What?
  • VORTHOS KUMA: It's about shipwrecks. What do the Angels have to do with shipwrecks?
  • SPIKE KUMA: What in the world are you talking ab... Oh, you mean, the flavor?
  • VORTHOS KUMA: Yes. Angels don't deal with ships. We must use Wrath of God, that's a proper Angel card.
  • SPIKE KUMA: Well, if Angels can invoke the wrath of their god (by the way, not all Angels in Magic serve any specific god, if you must know. Who's "God" for Avacyn? Sorin? Herself?), then they can do that to cause a shipwreck. Or whatever the hell Settle the Wreckage is supposed to do.
  • VORTHOS KUMA: Uhm, maybe. But no, this is about settling the wreckage, so it happens after the shipwreck, it doesn't cause it. And it's still about ships! Angels fly, they don't care about ships!
  • SPIKE KUMA: That's literally what Tiana, Ship's Caretaker does! It's right there in her name!
  • VORTHOS KUMA: Yes, and that's a bad Angel. And we don't even have her in the deck anyway. No, Settle the Wreckage is too obscure in its effect for my taste.
  • SPIKE KUMA: It's one of those white things where you exile creatures by making them go elsewhere, without necessarily harming them. The same way Swords to Plowshares turns warriors into farmers. The wreckage is settled so those creatures can go home; they stop attacking you out of gratitude!
  • VORTHOS KUMA: Why are they in a ship to begin with? Makes no sense.
  • SPIKE KUMA: This game makes no sense! You equip swords to tyrannosaurs and helmets to headless horsemen!
  • VORTHOS KUMA: Well, I don't!

 In the end, I put Austere Command in the deck. Because there's an Angel in the art of the Iconic Masters version.


  • Event Number: 8.40, Week 405 BE
  • Date: October 13
  • Attendance: 9
  • Rounds: 3
  • Subformat: Standard
  • Winner: Yokai_ with Goblin
  • 1 Loss: Generalissimo with Elf, TLR with Assassin, JackSlagel with Vampire, Deonmag with Vampire
  • Underdog Prize: AJ_Impy with Elder, Nagarjuna with Fungus
  • Tribes: Assassin, Elder, Elf, Fungus, Goblin, Merfolk, Soldier, Vampire (x2)
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 Standard restarts anew! Or mostly so. Before the rotation, monored (or something very close to it) was the deck to beat in Standard. Turns out the rotation didn't damage it as much as one would think, as the loss of signature finishers like Hazoret the Fervent and Chandra, Torch of Defiance was offset by the arrival of powerful early players like (Runaway Steam-Kin), (Risk Factor) and (Experimental Frenzy). Things are fine and dandy in the world of Goblins, too. (Goblin Chainwhirler) is still there, and is now paired with other goodies like (Legion Warboss) and (Volley Veteran). And the presence in the pool of ageless classic Siege-Gang Commander gives the tribe a late-game edge that is sometimes missing in faster iterations. Yokai_ chose to decline it all in Boros, mostly for (Conclave Tribunal) and Radiant Destiny. Looks like it was the right call.


 Our videomaker Generalissimo was piloting Elf this week, and there's of course evidence of that in this week's Show and Tell, where we discuss the build. Turns out I don't like Selesnya Elves as much as he does.


 And for someone who announces his dislike of the subformat directly in the deck's name, sure TLR did well with his budget Assassins.


 Finally, we see Nagarjuna's build in action as a bonus in Generalissimo's video, though it wasn't at its best, luck-wise. Still worth a mention to remind us that Fungus is still a very viable Standard tribe. In fact, it didn't lose a single card in the rotation.



 Here's the prices of all the featured decks, courtesy of the amazing Deck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of October 19, 2018):

  • Yokai_'s Goblins: $18.69
  • Generalissimo's Elves: $14.67
  • TLR's Assassins: $5.80
  • Nagarjuna's Fungi: $47.80

 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.


 Here's our brave deckbuilder Generalissimo facing his tournament opponents, plus a couple of bonus matches at the end.

 And these are the games he spectated while grudgingly serving his Round-1 bye.

 KUMAGORO: Upon looking at the list, and while spectating the games live, your build felt simultaneously perfect and weird to me. Later I realized where the weirdness came from: why going Selesnya? I mean, I can fully support the idea of a white splash for Conclave Tribunal (or Ixalan's Binding or Seal Away), but the moment I saw Conclave Guildmage, I immediately thought, "Wait... isn't that, like, just bad?"


 KUMAGORO: Six mana and tap to create a 2/2? Which you never did, because if you have six mana to waste, chances are you'll fetch a Clancaller, no?


 GENERALISSIMO: Sure, Conclave Guildmage's token creation is expensive for its effect but it's intended for long, grindy games where simply having anything to spend the mana on is hugely advantageous. Yes, I'd almost always prefer to activate a Clancaller if I have one but, as the match against Yokai's Goblins demonstrated, Clancallers die to literally anything and are a high priority target.

 KUMAGORO: But weren't there any other good Elves to play in that spot? I noticed you didn't play the two early hitters from the current Standard Stompy build: Pelt Collector and especially Thorn Lieutenant. The Lieutenant drops on turn two, survives most early attackers, replaces himself, and turns into a 6/7 later. I played intensively with him on MTGA, he's probably the best green two-drop in the format, and only gets better in a build where you're bound to have tons of mana to spend later. Reclamation Sage also looks like something you might want one or two copies of, to kill the opponent's exiling enchantments and other stuff. Which means, the way I see it, you could dispense with the subpar Selesnya Elves entirely, get rid of those damn Plains that only impede Steel Leaf Champion, and be happy.


 GENERALISSIMO: Thorn Lieutenant is something I probably should have talked about in the video. It would absolutely be an improvement for the deck for all the reasons you mentioned but it also cost about $1.50 at the time I was building, which is not an outrageous amount but it's not the sort I'm willing to spend on a card that, realistically, is never going to go in any deck other than this one and is going to lose all of its value when it rotates.

Reclamation Sage is something I considered (also Sprouting Renewal), but I didn't want to add it without a good sense of how common artifacts and enchantments would be in the format. As for Pelt Collector, it just generally seems to suck in Elves to me. It's got a good but not guaranteed chance to become a 2/2 and then the only thing that pushes it higher is Steel Leaf Champion; so, generally speaking, it's a less-than-100%-reliable 2/2 for 1, which is just not good for this deck.

 KUMAGORO: Pelt Collector has some other ways to grow (like, if one of your 2/2s dies while a Clancaller is boosting it to 3/3, your 2/2 Collector will trigger), but it's the kind of card the Spikes use and I don't generally like much (see also: Experiment One) because it assumes a rigid board development. I see some Standard lists are playing Elvish Rejuvenator in place of District Guide, because it's an actual accelerator. I don't dislike the Guide, because she's a 2/2 (and I like the art better!), but I guess a case can be made in favor of the Rejuvenator.


 GENERALISSIMO: Elvish Rejuvenator is something I thought about but the times when it's better than District Guide actually seem really narrow. If you haven't already got a land in hand to play, Rejuvenator's ability is actually just strictly worse than Guide's, it's way worse at colour-fixing and, while not super likely, it can just whiff. Plus, as you mentioned, the difference between a 1/1 and a 2/2 is not insignificant.

 KUMAGORO: Going back to the second color, I think the Golgari have actually better Elves than the Selesnya. There's Golgari Findbroker, which is great, as is Izoni, Thousand-Eyed (though they both require a serious black setup, not just a splash), plus Underrealm Lich, maybe Ochran Assassin. Even their Guildmage seems better, at least it always has something to do. And black gives you access to good removal – in a just world, to Assassin's Trophy, but I won't pretend that was the case here. This said, I personally wouldn't bother with non-monogreen Elves.


 GENERALISSIMO: Comparing Conclave Guildmage unfavourably to Swarm Guildmage just seems crazy to me; gaining 2 life is so much less likely to be useful and it's the Swarm-mage's aggressive ability that's expensive, which seems all sorts of backwards to me.

 KUMAGORO: It's because that aggressive ability is a finishing move you'll likely need to activate only once, while the cheaper ability is something you might want to do every turn (gaining life seems rarely useless to me). Whereas the Conclave guy gives you access to a cheap ability that you don't need every turn, while the board-building one is too expensive to matter. Or at least, that's how I see it.

 GENERALISSIMO: The problem with the Golgari Elves is that they either require much more than a splash into black (the Findbroker) or just push the curve higher. The only real appeal to black for me would be Cast Down, but I don't think that's enough better than Conclave Tribunal to change the second colour. And honestly, the shockland/checkland team-up is so good that it seems like you need a good reason not to splash into a GRN colour-pair. Going mono-green means even less interaction and a worse long-game for just a very marginal improvement to mana-consistency. It really doesn't seem worth it me.

 KUMAGORO: Wait, I didn't mean to eliminate the white presence entirely, as that's good to ensure access to removal; only as far as the tribal base is concerned. Thorn Lieutenant already replaces all four Selesnya Elves in your build, so you could simply support the splash with the duals and not disturb Steel Leaf Champion with non-green-producing lands. Honestly, I didn't realize the Lieutenant was somewhat expensive. And yeah, as I mentioned, Golgari is not just about a splash, it'd require more commitment.

I noticed you play this deck more like midrange, despite having several cards from Stompy, most notably the Champion. You never rush the Champion onto the board, when most players would be tempted to just go Turn-1 Llanowar Elves into Turn-2 Steel Leaf Champion and start playing the aggro role no matter what. You always set up a web of advantage first. This makes the Collector even less appealing.


 GENERALISSIMO: Rushing to the Champion felt very correct against AJ's Elders, where I was clearly the beatdown, but I don't think my deck was well suited to race any of my other opponents (except Naga, I suppose, but that was due to his unfortunate draws more than anything else), so playing very aggressively didn't seem to make much sense.

 KUMAGORO: Against JackSlagel's Vampires there could have been a race, but those games were all decided by land draws one way or the other, so it never really happened. Damn you, random component in the games of chance! Anyway, still think Conclave Guildmage is terribad...

 GENERALISSIMO: To be fair, I am only running two copies of it for a reason.

 KUMAGORO: ...and your videos didn't disprove me of this notion because you used it as Grizzly Bears 100% of the time! There's a 2/2 Elf for 2 with vigilance that would help you more!

 GENERALISSIMO: Well – and don't tell anyone this – I don't think my videos actually represent the end-all-be-all for determining a card's performance.

 KUMAGORO: But they should!


 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. There's currently one tribe eligible for the award: Azra from Battlebond.

 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.

 We're on Discord! Join us from here, chat about tribal things with other tribal players and arrange tribal games on MTGO all week long! (Or your can just keep using our Google Sheets bulletin board).


 The upcoming Tribal Apocalypse events of the Blippian Era (every Saturday at 17:00 GMT):

  • 8.41 (Week 406 BE), on October 20: Modern
  • 8.42 (Week 407 BE), on October 27: Halloween
  • 8.43 (Week 408 BE), on November 3: Underdog
  • 8.44 (Week 409 BE), on November 10: Standard

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.


Very funny dialogue there by Paul Leicht at Fri, 10/19/2018 - 16:05
Paul Leicht's picture

Very funny dialogue there Kuma. I rebuilt my own elves to be GW because of Emmarra and March both of which seem too good to not include.

Btw while testing my many Standard Tribal decks I lost to a Revel in Riches deck. First time for everything. Dude was just playing combo with lots of removal.