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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Nov 09 2018 1:00pm
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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

 Unsanctioned Azra special event! Basically. For a reason or another, three players independently thought of playing the latest of tribes, which proved to be pretty good after all. One thing about them I didn't mention before, but AJ_Impy reminded me of: for the very first time, a new tribe originated outside of Standard – specifically in the supplemental multiplayer set Battlebond. Which may be the reason why the man-devils from the plane of Kylem have such a strong, if limited lineup: there's no vanilla filler in that kind of product.




  • Event Number: 8.43, Week 408 BE
  • Date: November 3
  • Attendance: 13
  • Rounds: 3
  • Subformat: Underdog
  • Winner: Bandit Keith with Berserker
  • 1 Loss: TLR with Fish, lovetapsmtgwith Azra, _Kumagoro_ with Centaur, Generalissimo with Hydra, -DiamondDust- with Azra, AJ_Impy with Azra
  • Underdog Prize: lovetapsmtgwith Azra, -DiamondDust- with Azra, AJ_Impy with Azra
  • New Kids on the Block Award: lovetapsmtg with Azra, -DiamondDust- with Azra
  • Tribes: Archer (x2), Azra (x3), Berserker, Centaur, Fish, Hydra, Kavu, Rat, Scarecrow, Specter
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 Nothing against Bandit Keith (who's having a great season, and he's now at his fifth seasonal victory), but it feels almost like a bummer to see old and tested Berserker at the top spot in an event where three Azra decks out of three ended up in the money, and Azra players collected more than 16.5 tix in prizes. But oh well, they couldn't be expected to grab their first event win when they still had to win their first match. Which now they did, simultaneous courtesy of the two following lists. lovetapsmtg's skewed more toward the red side, and is the only one who omitted Blaring Captain, making it the least played Azra so far.


 On the other hand, -DiamondDust- chose to emphasize black and included an off-tribe Drana, Liberator of Malakir, for some reason.


 As for AJ_Impy, unfortunately he had technical troubles that prevented him from playing the first round, so he couldn't join the other Azra for the (now empty) New Kids on the Block Award. But kudos for being the only one that didn't break the partnership between Virtus the Veiled and his pal Gorm the Great, and between Blaring Captain and his counterpart Blaring Recruiter. Partnership is an interesting mechanic, it poses some intriguing questions during deckbuilding.


 And then there was Generalissimo trying again, and failing, to give Hydra their first event victory. He'll talk about it at length below, but I want to acknowledge (since he didn't!) that almost all the improvements on the previous Hydra list, namely Primordial Hydra over Genesis Hydra, Nylea, God of the Hunt in place of Overgrowth and the fourth Green Sun's Zenith replacing Voyaging Satyr (so all the changes except for the addition of Rogue's Passage), all this was stuff I suggested! As, you know, the superior deckbuilder. It's not my fault Splinter Twin Fish exists.


 This week's Show and Tell is once again a bit of a three-way discussion between Generalissimo, Nagarjuna and myself. I was playing this Centaur list, and I skipped round 1 but still ended Top 4, so Generalissimo might want to realize that, even if he beat me resoundingly after the event and had a good laugh in the video about it, I still ranked higher than him.


 Naga was on Archers. All the Archers, as it's a Battle of Wits deck.



 Here's the prices of all the featured decks, courtesy of the amazing Deck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of November 9, 2018):

  • -DiamondDust-'s Azra: $6.94
  • lovetapsmtg's Azra: $46.39
  • AJ_Impy's Azra: $110.78
  • Generalissimo's Hydras: $14.16
  • Kumagoro's Centaurs: $59.39
  • Nagarjuna's Archers: $302.96

 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 the video documenting Generalissimo's unfortunate second attempt to get Hydra their due.

 GENERALISSIMO: My deck was an attempt to justify Kuma's decision to give me some Primordial Hydra [yeah, that's how much I'm cheering for Hydra to finally win an event!Kuma's note]; I don't think I quite managed it since I didn't win the actual tournament but I certainly got some good hits in there and had fun with it [I didn't give you those Hydras to have fun! We need RESULTS! – Kuma's note]. I definitely think the deck is a noticeable improvement over the previous version with Genesis Hydras in it and the overall strategy of heavy ramp into beefy Hydras is a very solid choice for the Underdog event, although not without bad matchups as TLR's Splinter Fish demonstrated concisely.

 NAGARJUNA: This week I played a Battle of Wits build with Archers. The main goal is to tutor for Wits and survive by blocking your opponents attacks and sweeping the board with Wrath effects. The deck is more consistent than you would expect and the four-color mana sources work most of the time (at least, this seemed the case while testing before the event; during the event it didn't work very well). I like these kinds of deck because to get to the tribal quota you have to play a lot of filler dudes nobody cares about otherwise, which feels fresh compared to your obvious format staples (even in Underdog events).

 In round one, I played against -DiamondDust- with Azra. I had to mull down to four cards on game one on the draw. I missed my third land and got punished by his hasty Warriors. On game two, Drana, Liberator of Malakir (not an Azra at all!) and her Azra friends beat the hell out of me before I could do something relevant. First note: Archers are crappy reach dudes with low power.
 In round two, I faced AJ_Impy, who also was on Azra. Game one, I searched for Battle of Wits, but because of the large library, MTGO slowed down and I hit a wrong card by accident... then got finished by hasty Azra again. Game two, I started on the play with four tutors and two lands in hand. AJ's game wasn't as explosive and I could win via turn-5 Wits. Ancient Tomb, fetch lands and shocklands gave me a hard time staying alive in game three, and after cleaning the board with Languish, I was at 3 life and couldn't activate the Tomb anymore, so I lost against more Azras. Second note: I'm gonna change Ancient Tomb with Crystal Vein, a card I personally really like and is very underrated in my mind.
 For round three I got the bye and a very unsatisfying event got to an end for me.

 GENERALISSIMO: Well, I'm not going to go through your gigantic deck and suggest changes, Naga, but I am very curious as to why you chose Archers for a Battle of Wits deck... or why you chose Battle of Wits for an Archer deck.

 KUMAGORO: My take is that he's trying to change tribe every single week without repetition, all season long, and this time it happened to be Archer (because we're close to the end of the year and most of the best ones have been already used). And he likes Battle of Wits, so once Archer didn't lend themselves to anything specific, why not? Am I right, Naga?

 NAGARJUNA: You are correct, I'm aiming for at least 40 different tribes this year and already played Plants, Insects and the other better ones. Archers are in my main color, which is green, and looked like good stalling creatures with higher toughness than power, and reach in most cases.
 Generalissimo, in a Green Sun's Zenith deck I would run two copies of Dryad Arbor so if one of them is in your opening hand you can always Zenith for the other on turn one. Whereas, I would go down to one Rogue's Passage, as you never want the second copy, I think. And maybe add a single Acidic Slime as a Zenith target?


 GENERALISSIMO: I don't agree about adding a second Arbor; it's a real bad card to actually draw, and increasing the risk of that only to ameliorate the much less likely situation of an opening hand with both the Arbor and a Zenith that I need to use as turn-one ramp doesn't seem worth it. Trimming a Rogue's Passage is something I could much more easily get behind, although I'm not yet 100% convinced; you're right that drawing both is generally going to be terrible and it's awkward with Rofellos, but unblockability is often just an extremely useful thing for the Hydras to have access to.

 NAGARJUNA: Maybe you're right. If I remember correctly, you never searched for it. Maybe drop it completely, then? For me Arbor only makes sense as a turn-one Zenith target.

 GENERALISSIMO: I'm pretty sure Kuma and I have argued about this before, but I think, even if Zenithing for Dryad Arbor isn't something the deck ideally wants to do, the extra flexibility it gives the card is worth the cost of adding a single Dryad to the deck.

 NAGARJUNA: Kuma, with those Centaurs, I would run more ramp spells or ramp creatures, as your curve really starts at 3 CMC.


 KUMAGORO: Centaur's curve does start at 3 but also ends at 4, with the only exception of Stonebrow, Krosan Hero at 5 (the single Stonehoof Chieftain is only there to be fetched by Natural Order). I surely want Stonebrow out fast and/or consistently, because the three-mana Centaurs are all good, but not enough to engineer a win without the help of their lords. The straightforward lord, Pheres-Band Warchief, has a great effect on the team (and combos with Stonebrow), but is pretty underwhelming on his own (it's a freaking Hill Giant), so I'm not running four. Should I? Phantom Centaur was another strong contender for the four-drop slots, but I preferred a couple of lifegaining dudes. And I went with Nylea's Disciple to drop white entirely – white would give me access to Centaur Healer, which is sort of a faster Disciple (though the Disciple is frequently able to give me more than three life), but that'd be yet another card clogging the curve at CMC 3. And it doesn't justify a splash by itself. And (Conclave Cavalier) is a good card, but certainly doesn't justify the heavy white presence it would require.


 NAGARJUNA: Personally I would run 4 Pheres-Band Warchief and 3 Stonebrow. Not a fan of the Natural Order Package here. I do not like Khalni Garden or taplands in general; you could run Garruk Wildspeaker or another Overrun effect instead. Without Natural Order you could use Utopia Sprawl and Fertile Ground for your ramp, as land destruction is not as popular compared to creature removal.

 KUMAGORO: Maybe you're right. I think this looks like the best possible Centaur team, but I'm not sure I approached the rest correctly. Stonehoof Chieftain is a great target for Natural Order and won me both match I played in the event (I'm not certain I should take anything from the defeats by Generalissimo's Hydra, it looked like a unwinnable matchup, and I maintain that particular Hydra build is potentially one of the top decks in the whole Underdog meta right now). On the other hand, the Centaurs are not naturally well-suited to accommodate Natural Order. So I used Birds of Paradise and Khalni Garden (and my own Dryad Arbor with six fetches); now, I like the Garden more than most, but it's always a bit awkward. By the way, I always loved Sudden Demise. It won me tons of games in the past, always catches the opponent off-guard. It should be played more. In Underdog especially, where there's fewer chances of meeting multicolored decks like Human and such.

 NAGARJUNA: Agree on Sudden Demise, undervalued card indeed.

 GENERALISSIMO: Kuma, I have to agree with Naga that the chance of not doing anything until turn three with your deck seems too great. If you don't want to run the risk of flooding out by adding more mana dorks, then at least some Lightning Bolts to disrupt the opponent; the ability to take out my ramp creatures would certainly have helped in our matches. You could also use more utility lands as an outlet for excess mana; Kessig Wolf Run or Treetop Village would be good with Stonebrow.

 KUMAGORO: Bolt is not a bad idea, but it's not like every tribe can be super-active in the first two turns. There are those that, like Centaur, just don't have members under 3 CMC. The peculiarity of Centaur is that the curve is really compressed, so the way I see it, it makes little sense to add more mana dorks only to play three- and four-drops. I justify more than four mana dorks only if I have high curve-toppers. But it could make sense, as Naga suggested, if it became a Garruk-fueled overrun deck.


 And I know the Natural Order package looked silly. It just felt like a shame not to exploit an over-the-top card like Stonehoof Chieftain now that it exists (it's from Commander 2016, but it's not been available online since long). In the past I had played roughly the same deck without Natural Order to some satisfaction. Centaur is a good tribe. And by the way, in one of our games, I could have killed your two untapper Elves on turn two with Sudden Demise. I just didn't because I'm dumb.

 GENERALISSIMO: Oh, well you should have just done that then.

 KUMAGORO: I stupidly thought that, since you didn't have any auras at the moment, they weren't that dangerous yet. But they were.
 Anyway, I'm definitely in favor of replacing one Hooded Hydra with the fourth Mistcutter Hydra, like you propose in the video debriefing. Maybe get rid of the remaining Hooded too, and replace it with some other Hydra you haven't tried yet. Like Lifeblood Hydra, maybe?


 GENERALISSIMO: Yeah, I did consider Lifeblood Hydra but XGGG just seems so painfully inefficient. I will need to find a space for (Whiptongue Hydra) if it ever gets released online though, so maybe Hooded Hydra is the slot it will take.

 KUMAGORO: Going back to Natural Order (which is a card I've always loved in a Timmy way), my idea was also to check what it could do to help minor tribes now that all the good targets have been restricted. Centaur has that big guy to fetch now. But the tribe that uses it better might be Insect, due to Hornet Queen. Beast can fetch Craterhoof Behemoth, but they have the same issue finding consistent sacrifice fodder that I had with Centaur. And nobody ever plays Beast outside of the Restore Balance combo decks with Greater Gargadon (or maybe in Living End builds). Nobody plays the straightforward green Beasts with all their interactions. We should do something about it.

 NAGARJUNA: I tried to make a Beast deck, but the curve is bad and with ramp there are better options like Hydras. Same goes with Giants, all the Titans are at 6 CMC.

 KUMAGORO: The curve doesn't seem bad for green Beast, they have 3/3s for 2, then 4/5s for 3, and now a 6/6 for 4. But CMC 4 also has Obstinate Baloth, which is a 4/4 and cancels some of the damage you took before, and then there's Thragtusk at 5. And you cap it all off with Craterhoof Behemoth, or also Siege Behemoth, which may be even better. Adopting Generalissimo's aura ramp shell, they could be interesting. The real problem is that, as much as they should be Underdog, they're not (mostly due to the Gargadon).

 GENERALISSIMO: Hey, I play non-Restore-Balance Beasts; it's an ETB/flicker deck with Thragtusk and Felidar Guardian and all sorts of fun!

 KUMAGORO: If there's no video, it didn't happen. 


 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 no eligible tribe for the award.

 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. Already cleared: Atog, Crocodile, Homarid, Jackal, Leech, Manticore, Metathran, Moonfolk, Octopus, Ox, Processor, Siren, Slith.

 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):

  • 8.44 (Week 409 BE), on November 10: Standard
  • 8.45 (Week 410 BE), on November 17: Modern
  • 8.46 (Week 411 BE), on November 24: Legacy
  • 8.47 (Week 412 BE), on December 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.