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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Oct 23 2011 11:37pm
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*** Tribal Apocalypse: Week 41 BE ***

Revenge of the Normal-eared

 That's right, no Elves this time. The 41th Tribal Apocalypse event of the Blippian Era (which took place in the lovely setting of the Anything Goes room on Saturday, October 15, 2011) was anything but similar to the previous one. Or not, because this time too most of the winning decks (with the exception of fliebana's Eldrazi) had something in common again: we didn't see the fight of wondrous beasts or other fantastic creatures, just different shades of plain old Humans and their fantasy professions. The winner was james mcaliney, whose Wizard deck ended at the 1st place for the second time overall (and the first time was just 4 weeks ago), after the 4th place of the last week. The list has not changed much but it's worth repeating here:


  The only change since last week was the addition of Engineered Explosives in place of the Pyrite & Nihil Spellbombs. Given the available colors of mana for the Sunburst, that looks like a wise choice, which also brought along an Academy Ruins for recursion purposes. A solid deck made even more solid.

 The second place went to gbagyt, who was running this interesting Human deck:


 The two powerful Knight playsets (Knight of the Reliquary and Knotvine Paladin) lead the assault, while the rest of the deck become a wonderful parade of some of the best Human creatures out there. There are famed legends like Mangara, Sakashima, and the non-planeswalking Venser; top-notch levelers like Transcendent Master and Lighthouse Chronologist; and impressive defense holders like Mother of Runes and Linessa, Zephyr Mage, this latter a great and versatile card that rarely sees play. Completed with a little bit of the infamous Caw-blade power package (Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Stoneforge Mystic, and three Swords), the deck looks like a singleton build which is probably very fun to play and hard to predict.

 The first of the 3-1 decks belonged to the resident Tribal Apocalypse champion, NemesisParadigm (a.k.a. ArchGenius), whose 1st place in the Hall of Fame ranking is now further consolidated (with 700 points, 256 ahead of the runner-up Ranth). This time Nemesis benched the Wall-drazi deck in order to start a new deckbuilding project (he talks about it in this very funny article).


 (Granted, these Shamans aren't too much human-like). The Kiki-Jiki endgame combo (which Splinter Twin just revisited) is a well-known one, employing either Pestermite, Sky Hussar, or, in this case, Deceiver Exarch (and now there's Village Bell-Ringer too). But Kiki-Jiki is the star of any deck you build around him, and is fully capable to interact in amazing ways with most of his fellow Shamans, like Elvish Visionary, Eternal Witness, and especially Lightning Crafter. I would actually suggest to increase the Crafter count here (maybe at the expense of Punishing Fire, whose cheap combo with Grove of the Burnwillows I always deeply despise), because by championing another shaman with a Crafter, then championing Kiki-Jiki himself with the copy, you're able to copy it again at end of turn, when the first copy dies and Kiki-Jiki is back; then you can re-champion him with the new Crafter copy, and do all this again in the opponent's end step, causing 3 damage per iteration (so 9 to 12 per turn) and protecting Kiki-Jiki in the process. At that point, the Splinter combo becomes just a very powerful plan B. I experienced the awesomeness of "Kiki-Jiki, Lightning Crafter" myself by playing this unconventional Goblin build of mine:


 (Yeah, I wanted to make a Miyazaki pun with Kiki-Jiki as soon as I read his name for the first time). With both the haste-inducing Goblin Warchief and Kiki-Jiki on the board, by casting a Lightning Crafter I can inflict 12 damage before my next untap phase. Add a  Goblin Matron and some apt maneuvers, and Kiki-Jiki becomes almost unkillable, because he'll just copy the Matron to find another self (or alternatively Wort, Boggart Auntie to bring him back from the graveyard).

 The last of the Top 4 decks was the already mentioned Eldrazi build by fliebana.


 What's really interesting here is the use of Scapeshift to fetch the Cloudposts. That and Candelabra of Tawnos create a very powerful 12-post engine, which fully exploits the Legacy environment (I mean, who needs that puny Magus of the Candelabra when you can have the real thing?). All in all, a very formidable build.

 My own Human deck (for some reason, I was compelled to take the human route myself) didn't end Top 4, but was among the 3-1 decks anyway, despite the fact that I was flu-stricken and was playing terribly. Here's the list:


  I was thinking for a while about a deck with 4 Armageddon and 4 Wrath of God (which is definitely a skill-intensive deck you shouldn't play when you're sick). In the end, I married this idea with the three expensive playsets of Humans I recently acquired, seeing that Noble Hierarch is useful in the aftermath of an armageddon; Knight of the Reliquary acts like as Terravore; and Master of the Wild Hunt is able to create an army by himself, providing some removal capability in the meantime and not requiring any mana to function. I think I should add one or two (Crucible of the Worlds) more (Life from the Loam can be occasionally awkward), and I'm considering replacing some or all the Werebears with Mayor of Avrabruck, for more token generation and for pumping both the Master's wolves and his ability.

 Last but not least, Endangered specialist vantar6697 won his 5th Endangered Prize, this time with a Pegasus deck, after piloting some diverse Endangered tribes such as Kraken, Aurochs, Horse, and Antelope. It looks like he has a knack for the quadrupeds! Ox deck next? Anyway, here's the list:

by vantar6697
4 Mistral Charger
4 Pegasus Charger
4 Armored Pegasus
4 Stormfront Pegasus
4 Plated Pegasus
20 cards

Other Spells
4 Honor of the Pure
4 Intangible Virtue
4 Oblivion Ring
4 Sacred Mesa
1 Storm Herd
17 cards
23 Plains
23 cards

Sacred Mesa


 A very flavourful build, exploiting the new token enhancer from Innistrad, Intangible Virtue, with the classic Sacred Mesa. Congrats to vantar6697!


 And speaking of the new set, I've updated the Complete Creature Type Reference Table, which is now up to Innistrad. The horror set is, case in point, human-dominated. Here's some post-Innistrad Tribal factoids:

- New tribe introduced: Werewolf, with 12 members (Lesser Werewolf and Treacherous Werewolf haven't seen their type updated online yet; Greater Werewolf isn't online at all).

- the Devils are now Endangered legal (the Devil population doubled, from 3 to 6 members, 5 of which are online).

- the Insects hit 100 members; they're now the 21th tribe online (24th overall).

- the online Zombies surpassed the Goblins 236 to 234 (however, offline the Goblins still beat the Zombies 259 to 253).

- the Humans got a record 46 new members (for comparison, New Phyrexia had just 14 new Humans and M12 just 15). Since there are no humanoid races on Innistrad, Elves, Goblins and Merfolk got no new members. There's also just 1 new Knight (Spectral Rider).

- the Demons are still Endangered legal by the skin of their teeth (how appropriate). The 2 new members raised the online number from 47 to 49.

 That's all, folks. See you next week!


NIce decks all around. by ShardFenix at Mon, 10/24/2011 - 00:27
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NIce decks all around. Though if you are already splashing white in the kiki-jiki deck then maybe a Village Bell-Ringer or two from Innistrad would be appropriate for the out of nowhere combo-kill a-la Kiki/Pestermite and maybe even some splinter twin shenanigans.

Thanks! Well, this decklist by Kumagoro42 at Mon, 10/24/2011 - 14:30
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Well, this decklist was from before Innistrad, so maybe I'll think about Bell-Ringer. Then again, I should also include Imperial Recruiter at that point. I would lose answers to all that, could be a case of making the deck weaker by trying to make it stronger. It's possible that a Shaman build is still better for a "Kiki-Jiki ending game" combo strategy. (I had a RUG build with 4 Imperial Recruiter and 1 Pestermite in the past, before even the SOM came out).

Hell-o-ween Apocalypse! by BlippyTheSlug at Mon, 10/24/2011 - 13:14
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Hell-o-ween Apocalypse!

We are are going to be doing a special Hell-o-ween event for the October 29th Tribal Apocalypse! ONLY the following tribes may enter the event:

Faerie (black, including multicolor, only)
Rat (non-Kamigawa only)

There will be no "Most Endangered Tribe" prize for this event. Regular prizes remain unchanged.

Every player who plays all rounds will recieve a Screeching Bat.

Player placing at top of standings will receive a playset of Headless Horseman.

Thanks to AJ_Impy and by Kumagoro42 at Mon, 10/24/2011 - 14:33
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Thanks to AJ_Impy and Winter.Wolf for the help with the Halloween list of tribes.

And btw, the article about the latest Tribal Apocalypse event (which took place in Saturday October 22) will be published later this week, before the next Tribal Apocalypse event.

What is a "homoculus"? Is by Alternate at Mon, 10/24/2011 - 14:45
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What is a "homoculus"? Is that supposed to be scary?

And Pegus's (Is that the plural?) was my favorite card from Mirage. That needs to be in M13.

Homunculus is a little being by Kumagoro42 at Mon, 10/24/2011 - 23:53
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Homunculus is a little being created by an alchemist. It's included to cover the trope of mad scientists's horrorific creations, plus some Igor flavour.

Pegasus's plural is "Pegasi". :)

EDIT: It occurred to me that the Pegasus deck should have used Shared Triumph over Intangible Virtue -- this way for the same cost it would have pumped ALL the Pegasi, not just the token ones. And I think it's very unlikely to run into a Pegasus mirror match. :)

I predict large amounts of by ShardFenix at Mon, 10/24/2011 - 15:05
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I predict large amounts of zombies, spirits and werewolves. If only i still had my spirit or zombie tribal decks...lol

When you say "Rat by StealthBadger at Wed, 10/26/2011 - 05:38
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When you say "Rat (non-Kamigawa only)", do you mean that Kamigawa rats can't be run at all, or Kamigawa rats don't count towards the 20-tribe members?

(Also; no minions!?!)

I wasn't even aware that the tribal apocalypse was still going, so maybe I'll try to get back into it.

"When you say "Rat by BlippyTheSlug at Wed, 10/26/2011 - 08:54
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"When you say "Rat (non-Kamigawa only)", do you mean that Kamigawa rats can't be run at all, or Kamigawa rats don't count towards the 20-tribe members?"

It means they can't be run at all. No Rat Worriors, no Rat Ninja, just plain ol' "Creature - Rat".

Actually Zombies aren't so by Kumagoro42 at Mon, 10/24/2011 - 16:35
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Actually Zombies aren't so popular anymore these days (they just made Top 4 once in Blippian Era -- a third place by Nagarjuna many months ago -- and that's like 1 time over 168 chances). Hope Innistrad will bring them back, they should be as classic as Elves and Goblins.
We have had Assassin decks performing very well recently, and AJ went 4-0 with Devil last week. Btw, Assassin (which was AJ's idea) is meant to represent the serial killer/slasher movie villain Halloween trope.

Oddly enough (Armored Skaab) by ArchGenius at Mon, 10/24/2011 - 18:45
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Oddly enough (Armored Skaab) has really peaked my interest in Zombies.

hmmm im going to see what i by ShardFenix at Mon, 10/24/2011 - 17:12
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hmmm im going to see what i can build and hope im alive enough after the annual robot house halloween party

One of the biggest problems by ArchGenius at Mon, 10/24/2011 - 18:40
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One of the biggest problems I've had with Kiki-Jiki based Shaman decks is that they are slow and can't do much against burn. I've redesigned the deck several times now, and I like the inclusion of white. White allows you to go for Swords, Stoneforge Mystic, Bellringer, Lightning Helix, and Selesnya Evangel

I will defend the Punishing Fire/Burnwillows combo because it is an effective way to fight against straight forward weenie decks such as Elves and Goblins. If you are playing a red/green deck, it only takes up 4 non-land non-tribal slots and those slots are extremely valuable. Is it cheesy? Absolutely, but it's also quite effective. It's definitely not broken because it can easily be broken up by land destruction effects like Tectonic Edge, and it has limited use against ramp decks like my Wall-drazi deck and anything using Valakut.

I know Kiki-Jiki decks have by Kumagoro42 at Mon, 10/24/2011 - 23:49
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I know Kiki-Jiki decks have speed issues. Most of the early creatures aren't good defenders and you have to preserve them in order for Kiki-Jiki to exploit them later -- which is often too late. That's why in the end I ditched the concept of tribal Kiki-Jiki combo entirely (if I want an insta-win combo, I play Ooze.dek instead).

"White allows you to go for Swords, Stoneforge Mystic, Bellringer, Lightning Helix, and Selesnya Evangel"
Wow, that's a lot of things competing for your 16 non-tribal slots! :)
(Especially considering Stoneforge would require to spend slots for equipments too). There's also Ajani Vengeant, btw. But why did you mention Selesnya Evangel in particular? I know she's a Shaman, but is she so crucial? Maybe to solve the defense issues with expendable chump blocker tokens?

I know Punishing Fire/Burnwillows is very effective, I would never suggest not using it because it's bad. I only suggest not using it because (as a combo) it's banal. :) (Swords to Plowshares or Doom Blade are banal, too, but the difference is that they're not combos, just basic tools).

"it has limited use against ramp decks like my Wall-drazi deck and anything using Valakut"
To be fair, though, ramp tribal decks probably represent less than 5% of the metagame. And I only saw one tribal deck using Valakut in the last 42 events -- mine (I might have missed some others though).

I've run Valakut when going by AJ_Impy at Tue, 10/25/2011 - 06:53
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I've run Valakut when going majority base red, but usually as an incidental rather than a focus. Turning mountains 6-however many into lightning bolts in a creature based format is a good plan even if you're not leaning heavily on it.

Banality is a fact of the by Paul Leicht at Tue, 10/25/2011 - 07:43
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Banality is a fact of the tourney. Many people play what works not what is creative. You have to accept this limiting factor as a given and also as a meta choice or risk being shutout.

Banality is a fact of life. I by Kumagoro42 at Tue, 10/25/2011 - 15:46
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Banality is a fact of life. I accept it, I'm sometimes guilty of it, but I try to raise above it whenever I can. Is this wrong? Do I risk "being shutout" just because I say, "Dear readers, this is very strong, yet it's very trite. Maybe try to to take some risks and be different and creative instead, you'll probably win less but each victory will be more rewarding this way". That's my entire philosophy, not only where MTG is concerned.

Well that's probably why I by Paul Leicht at Tue, 10/25/2011 - 17:23
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Well that's probably why I like teaming up with you. :D

Likewise! (You're the one by Kumagoro42 at Wed, 10/26/2011 - 00:54
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Likewise! (You're the one who's always trying some cool, different cards whenever you can, afer all! :)

Nice to see the tribal events by Flippers_Giraffe at Tue, 10/25/2011 - 19:30
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Nice to see the tribal events are still going strong, keep up the good work guys :)

Wow, Flippers! So glad to see by Kumagoro42 at Wed, 10/26/2011 - 00:57
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Wow, Flippers! So glad to see you and Shard around my articles! You guys have to come back to the tribal scene sometimes! It would make me so happy. Like a reunion of Tribal Presidents Emeriti. :)

Seconded! by BlippyTheSlug at Wed, 10/26/2011 - 08:55
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I'd absolutely LOVE it if you and Shard showed up!

I sold my collection when I by Flippers_Giraffe at Wed, 10/26/2011 - 13:13
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I sold my collection when I stopped playing back in January.

Although I did pick up some cards for a STD (M12) deck a few weeks ago from credit I had left over.

Its nearly tribal so you never know, just need to bring myself round to playing again. Maybe when they get the new client going I'll pop back in.

event by chiznad at Wed, 10/26/2011 - 01:19
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are these events saturday? what time do they start? i'm actually not working saturday and would love to attend.

Yes they are! by BlippyTheSlug at Wed, 10/26/2011 - 08:53
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Tribal Apocalypse happens every Saturday at 1700 GMT, with registration opening at 1630 GMT.

The special event looks like by Lord Erman at Wed, 10/26/2011 - 05:47
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The special event looks like it might be a fun event. I'll try to be there. And thanks Kuma for the article. It once again reminded me how much fun Tribal Wars is.