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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Nov 23 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

 Hey, when was the last time you played Momir Basic? If you'd like to do it and win some mad prizes in the process, be aware that tomorrow night, right after Tribal Apocalypse, I'll host the 2018 Holiday Momir Event! It's single-elimination, but twelve players will take home a randomly assigned 5-tix consolation prize! Plus, 20 tix to the winner, 10 to the other finalist, 7.5 to the defeated semi-finalists. Time to dust off that Momir Vig, Simic Visionary Avatar!

 Register on Gatherling, making sure you put in the main deck both the 60 basic lands of your choice and "1 Momir Vig, Simic Visionary Avatar", with this exact spelling. Come play the only format in the whole of Magic where Island is a bad card!


  • Event Number: 8.45, Week 410 BE
  • Date: November 17
  • Attendance: 11
  • Rounds: 3
  • Subformat: Modern
  • Winner: Bandit Keith with Goblin
  • 1 Loss: AJ_Impy with Knight, _Kumagoro_ with Knight, TLR with Berserker, Generalissimo with Knight, JackSlagel with Human, Nagarjuna with Wizard
  • Underdog Prize: lovetapsmtg with Incarnation
  • Tribes: Berserker, Goblin, Human, Incarnation, Knight (x3), Myr, Sliver, Wizard, Zombie
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 So, Goblin finally jumped ahead of Elf in the all-time ranking, thanks to Bandit Keith's win. Also, Nagarjuna took the lead in the seasonal leaderboard, at just six events from the end of the season.


 This was a very knightly week, though. Three Knight decks entered, and all three scored in the top five spots! First, there's AJ_Impy's White Knight version, with Benalish Marshal as the new... marshal in town.


 Then my own Black Knight concoction, a Haakon, Stromgald Scourge deck:


 And for some reason, Generalissimo chose this very event to bring his own Haakon build. I swear this time we didn't plan the twin decks!


 We'll discuss our lists below on this week's Show and Tell, where Generalissimo will also demonstrate both our Haakon performances by live-commenting on his matches as well as two of the mine, including our mirror fight (which I totally crushed! Woot!). New seasonal leader Nagarjuna is also there. He was playing this Wizard-based, Adeliz, the Cinder Wind-centered, Delver of Secrets type build.


 The honor of the most wonderfully byzantine strategy of the week goes to lovetapsmtg, though. This Incarnation deck exploits the tribe's propensity to get shuffled back when they hit the graveyard in order to trigger the very obscure Desecrated Tomb. Which would actually work in a Haakon deck, too, now that I think of it.



 Here's the prices of all the featured decks, courtesy of the amazing Deck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of November 23, 2018):

  • AJ_Impy's Knights: $91.00
  • _Kumagoro_'s Knights: $61.17
  • Generalissimo's Knights: $49.94
  • Nagarjuna's Wizards: $58.84
  • lovetapsmtg's Incarnations: $1.71

 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 the video containing all of Generalissimo games, and most of mine, too.

 KUMAGORO: All right, I'll go first. For unfathomable reasons, both Generalissimo and I decided to play a Haakon, Stromgald Scourge deck this week without consulting first. The builds were similar but with key differences. I didn't run blue, and had a probably more efficient Knight team with Stillmoon Cavalier over Black Knight, Josu Vess, Lich Knight over Knight of Infamy, and a full set of meta-called Phyrexian Crusader, which could have given me the upper hand against Bandit Keith's Goblins, but in the end I succumbed to Goblin Grenade and my own bad tactical decisions.


 My support was mostly straightforward ways to dump Haakon in the graveyard: Faithless Looting, Tormenting Voice, and (Liliana, Untouched by Death). The latter is an amazing card in this deck since almost all the Knights are also Zombies, and Nameless Inversion is a Zombie too, so I had multiple ways to play half my deck from the graveyard.


 Generalissimo's build went for more variety and combos, instead. I didn't even remember Burning Vengeance was a thing that existed! Certainly a good pairing with Haakon. Raven's Crime as well, it never occurred to me to research the retrace cards. I don't know how you managed to pack all that different stuff in there, Gene. You even made room for a disruption suite!


 My only card that wasn't directly linked to Haakon is good ole Earthquake, because Stromgald Crusader, Stillmoon Cavalier, Phyrexian Crusader and Olivia, Mobilized for War all survive it, Josu probably does too, and Haakon doesn't care too much, so I could sweep to my heart's content. Even if against burn all that self-inflicted damage wasn't ideal. Gotta say, though, I feel very confident about my build. I might just bring in some Lightning Axes in place of the Tormenting Voices. I might have overestimated the need to discard; it's all card advantage in a way, but only if I end up actually playing Haakon.

 NAGARJUNA: I get the meta call with Phyrexian Crusader, but I'd never want to mix regular creatures and infect creatures. Going for ten poison counters and attacking the life total of your opponent at the same time weakens your game plan, I think. Nameless Inversion, that I really like, I would never have thought about it here, nice! Earthquake seems a little bit random, but always helps in Tribal Wars for sure. Have you considered Smallpox? It could provide some disruption while following your plan too.

 KUMAGORO: Phyrexian Crusader was never a burden against non-red decks. Remember what an infect first striker does to the creatures it blocks. Of course it never attacks, I never go for the poison win, I treat it as a defender. Against RDW, it's the key to winning. In the meta right now protection from red is severely more crucial than protection from white and/or from black.

 Nameless Inversion is the main combo in a Haakon deck. Always run a full set with him, no discussion. Haakon's even more about recurring that unique piece of removal than he is about replaying Knights (but it's great that Liliana does the same thing from a different angle). The Inversion is still decent removal while Haakon is not there; maybe not the best one, but far from the worst, as it's a 2-mana instant that kills most things you want gone in the early turns, including indestructible and regenerating creatures. And you're setting it up in the graveyard for when Haakon comes later; at that point their undisturbed interaction is likely to be game-winning in Tribal Wars, like my match against Generalissimo nicely demonstrated. Running a two-mana instant removal for 3-toughness creatures is not such a high price to pay to get there eventually.
 Why is Earthquake random? In this deck it plays like Sudden Demise, and I always love me some one-sided sweep. I wish there was an Earthquake that doesn't do damage to the players, though (is there?) Then again, I could have used it to kill Bandit at some point (winning against a Burn deck that way would have been amazing!), but I missed the chance, plus I was afraid to generate a draw with a response burn spell.

 NAGARJUNA: Subterranean Tremors is an Earthquake without dealing to players.


 KUMAGORO: Oh, cool card! The bonus Shatterstorm is nice, particularly in a deck like mine that doesn't use any! The 8/8 token is probably never going to happen, but it's another extra that makes it better in (very) late game. Only problem is that, being a Conspiracy: Take the Crown card, it would move this deck into Legacy, and I'm not sure Subterranean Tremors alone is worth the relocation.

 NAGARJUNA: About my own deck: This week I played my 40th tribe of the year with Izzet Wizards. All Wizards benefited from playing 1-CMC instants and sorceries in the form of cantrips and burn spells. The prowess mechanic, Delver of Secrets, Snapcaster Mage and (Adeliz, the Cinder Wind) looked very effective to me while testing. During the actual tournament, the build did not feel as impactful and explosive as I hoped, not sure why that is. Maybe it was just a case of bad hands and suboptimal draws. Versus AJ_Impy's Knights I got flooded in the first game and mana screwed in the second game. In the other matches, I couldn't establish the pressure I expected, and my opponents were never kept completely on defense as I had planned, so all games were very close.


 As for Generalissimo's deck, I'm sure if you get Burning Vengeance going, it is very powerful. Black Knight feels a bit like filler, even if pro-white always helps with the dominant removal. Conflagrate, I've never played with it, but on paper I wouldn't consider it. Lightning Axe, Raven's Crime and Smuggler's Copter all fit well here, but personally I would maybe go for more Axes and drop some of the others.


 KUMAGORO: Generalissimo, at the end of our first game, you didn't realize Stillmoon Cavalier can't block Stromgald Crusader, as they're protected from each other. So you could have killed that Liliana that killed you!
 This said, even after listening to all your in-game comments and debriefing, I can't figure out what compelled you to splash blue in this deck. It complicates horribly your mana base and it's just for two cards, of which one, Thought Scour, you ended up wanting to replace, and the other, Court Hussar, to cut down on. As you noted, Thought Scour doesn't seem to be ideal here. It's not a deck where you can mill yourself blindly, because there's basically only one card you want to dump into the graveyard, it's not like anything you'll hit with the Scour will be okay. You Scour yourself on turn one, take away two lands, that's pretty terrible. And there's so many red cards that play better than that, starting from the fourth Faithless Looting. But also Tormenting Voice or Cathartic Reunion. Why even consider Chart a Course, like you do in the video debriefing?  As for the Hussar, again, you said it yourself in the video: it works under Haakon, it's awfully inefficient otherwise. And I suspect the idea was to use it to find Haakon, so you are pretty much playing it like a bad sorcery-speed digger. And even under Haakon, once you have access to all your Knight cards in the graveyard, why would you want to spend three mana on a Hussar? You have better ways to establish card advantage via recursion already. And the Hussar won't make your graveyard better.


 NAGARJUNA: Kuma, watching your match against Bandit Keith's monored deck, I still don't like Phyrexian Crusader here. Sure it holds back attackers, but when your opp was mana screwed you'd want to end the game as soon as possible, and here you have a useless blocker instead of another Knight to attack (like Silver Knight – though that's off-color and off-Modern, I know).

 KUMAGORO: I won that very game where I had Phyrexian Crusader out, though. I wish I had a Phyrexian Crusader in game 3! Without Phyrexian Crusader in game 2, I would have lost, and much sooner. I wouldn't have been able to keep all those 1-mana Goblins from attacking if I just had pro-white Knights on the receiving end. He would have just burn them into nothingness or overwhelm them forcing me to trade. To me Haakon plays like a control deck, not an aggro deck (well, I guess you can call it "control-aggro"). I think Generalissimo also built it like it was going to be pure aggro, prioritizing the two-drops. I don't think it's the correct approach. In my other games, Josu Vess was a crucial element. I even came close to play him from the graveyard with kicker, which is good game most of the times. Liliana was always important, and she's inherently midrange, giving you reach into the late game. As noted before, I find cool to use her in a nominally non-Zombie deck, since all the black Knights are Zombies, except for Olivia, Mobilized for War, though she's otherwise surprisingly effective in this deck (I doubted her strength in a Vampire deck, but I had to change my mind about her this time. She's not as obviously useful as her older version, but can apply some pressure in the right deck).

 NAGARJUNA: I agree about the self-mill problem, but that's true for Liliana's first ability, too. And both Cathartic Reunion and Tormenting Voice have the issue that you have to hold in hand what you want to discard.

 KUMAGORO: Well, Liliana does much more than self-mill, though. For one, she swings the life totals by 4 for each creature she mills (Olivia aside). And once you get to four mana, you don't care about milling lands away anymore. It's not the same issue as a turn-1 Scour. Plus she directly gives you the chance to cast most of what she mills (almost all the creatures, the Inversions).

 GENERALISSIMO: I really don't think of Haakon as a control deck, simply because the Knight tribe doesn't provide you with any controlling tools. The creatures can act defensively if their protections line up against the opponent's attackers, but that's by no means guaranteed, and generally you need to be applying pressure for them to be doing anything. You certainly can have games where you use Nameless Inversion with Haakon to just kill everything the opponent plays but it's not consistent enough to build the entire deck's strategy around. I would categorise the deck firmly into aggro-control; it wants to be using its disruption to keep the opponent off balance while it beats down. This is part of why Burning Vengeance is good in the deck; it can be used to kill creatures or apply pressure as the game-state demands.
 As for why blue, the origin of my list is indeed as a Burning Vengeance deck rather than a Haakon deck, so I was looking for ways to repeatedly trigger the Vengeance and Court Hussar is the best Knight to do so; plus, the Legacy version had access to Deep Analysis, which was obviously amazing for the deck. So, it was more of a case that I didn't think to remove blue for this version than I chose to splash blue for just Scour and Hussar. It might well be correct to ditch it but I still really don't want to; Hussar may be inefficient but it's still a useful tool for the deck to have access to, and Chart a Course is way more appealing than Tormenting Voice or Cathartic Reunion. Don't forget Desolate Lighthouse, too.


 I didn't even notice that Stillmoon Cavalier couldn't block Stromgald Crusader when I was watching the footage back to edit it. I guess my assessment that I botched that game was even more true than I originally realised.

 KUMAGORO: As I specified, when I say "control", I mean "aggro-control" (I argue it's extremely rare to be able to go proper control in Tribal Wars. There's just Assassin and very few other tribes that allow it). I admit I have no idea what a Burning Vengeance deck needs, because I never saw one before, but I've been playing Haakon decks since years, and I never had any issue getting him in the graveyard, not to the point of feeling the need of blue support doing it. In fact, I think this is even the first time where I play it as anything but monoblack. Of course in Legacy I used to play Entomb and a couple Buried Alive – once you get Haakon there, you want to give him friends. And certainly it's a deck that doesn't mind running sweepers (used to be Damnation), hence the "control" moniker.


 GENERALISSIMO: Naga, your deck seems like exactly the kind that should be running 62 cards to maximise your instants/sorceries count. Personally, I'd also probably cut down on the lands and run more filtering or Manamorphose to really push the ratio as high as possible, although maybe with Snapcaster Mage in the deck you can't afford to go that low on the lands.

 NAGARJUNA: I don't think running more than 60 cards is ever better (except in special kind of decks like Battle of Wits, of course). I could run 18-19 lands, maybe cut some Snapcasters and add more spells. Manamorphose is more than 3 tix each, ouch!

 GENERALISSIMO: Oh wow, I did not expect that.

 KUMAGORO: Blame the damn Storm decks.


 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):

  • 8.46 (Week 411 BE), on November 24: Legacy
  • 8.47 (Week 412 BE), on December 1: Underdog
  • 8.48 (Week 413 BE), on December 8: Standard
  • 8.49 (Week 414 BE), on December 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.