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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Dec 14 2018 2:00pm
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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

 So, Standard will add a new set on January 25 – the "not part of a block except it is" Ravnica Allegiance. But since our Standard events are on the second week of the month, the one for January would still be played with the current meta, and I think it's felt a little stale post-rotation. So we might well assign that week, which is January 12, to the 2018 Tribal Invitational, no?

First RNA spoiler! It looks like Rakdos-aligned, a sorcery called "Light the Stage". Text translation should read: "Exile the top two cards of your library. Until the end of your next turn, you may play those cards". We don't know what the keyword "spectacle" entails yet. I bet it involves self-damage.


  • Event Number: 8.48, Week 413 BE
  • Date: December 8
  • Attendance: 10
  • Rounds: 3
  • Subformat: Standard
  • Winner: AJ_Impy with Angel
  • 1 Loss: Deonmag with Vampire, Nagarjuna with Knight, -DiamondDust- with Wizard, lovetapsmtg with Soldier
  • Tribes: Angel, Bird, Dinosaur, Dragon, Goblin, Knight, Soldier, Vampire (x2), Wizard
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 So, Angel finally joined the ranks of the Standard-winning tribes. So far only Human won twice, the other winners being Jackal (surprisingly, but there was still Amonkhet in the meta back then), Cat, Goblin and Soldier. Angel was overdue because their lineup is pretty crazy in this Standard meta; AJ_Impy took care of sealing the deal on their behalf.


 Vampire is also pretty strong right now, but it still has to top a Standard event. Deonmag came close last week, but no dice.


 Generalissimo also attempted the Vampire gambit, taking a specific sacrificial approach that didn't exactly pay off. As usual, it's all illustrated and commented up in this week's Show and Tell.


 Nagarjuna did better with a different Orzhov-colored list, Knight. There's another tribe with first place ambitions!


 And then there was yours truly, with these enraged Dinosaurs that either need more work or just for me to acquire a set of Carnage Tyrants already.



 Here's the prices of all the featured decks, courtesy of the amazing Deck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of December 14, 2018):

  • AJ_Impy's Angels: $63.22
  • Deonmag's Vampires: $2.55
  • Generalissimo's Vampires: $3.18
  • Nagarjuna's Knights: $24.23
  • Kumagoro's Dinosaurs: $5.74

 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.


 Vampire tableau by Generalissimo:

 NAGARJUNA: This week I brought a WB Knight deck, based on the Benalia-themed Dominaria cards. Black is more like a splash for (Cast Down) and (Knight of Malice) which synergizes with its counterpart (Knight of Grace). The WB shockland (Godless Shrine) is missed painfully because of the WWW in (Benalish Marshal)'s cost. Overall the deck is very solid, (History of Benalia) is just insane, and I would only like to have another playable Knight at CMC 1.


 In round one and three I was able to dominate the games vs. Dragons and Birds. Against round-two competitor AJ_Impy, my Biggest Rival on Gatherling (3-15), all my removal was dead, with the exception of my two Ixalan's Bindings, but that's an effect of WotC keeping Standard balanced with conditional removal. (Seal Away) would have helped here, but I don't like it in aggressive decks. Some mulligan, mana screw and his mass removal gave me no chance in that match.

 KUMAGORO: What about (Conclave Tribunal)?

 NAGARJUNA: Not sure if I want to tap my creatures for convoke in an aggressive deck, but it's one of the best options for sure.

 KUMAGORO: Well, in non-tribal Standard all the Selesnya aggro decks use Tribunal regularly. And also (Venerated Loxodon) and (March of the Multitudes). I had the same problem against Dragons (which I want to build, (Dragon's Hoard) is incredible), but managed to get creative in at least one game with things like Raging Swordtooth + Reckless Rage or Needletooth Raptor + (Deafening Clarion).


 I don't know that I like Raptor Hatchling in my deck. I wanted something to cast early on as a defense, but then it doesn't interact well with Savage Stomp, and the token dies to the Clarion. I might have overestimated the need to keep the curve lower than six; I always ended up with more mana than I had use for, I could have gone with the Polyraptor/Forerunner of the Empire combo.

 NAGARJUNA: Hatchling seems bad indeed, what about running some more spot removal like (Response/Resurgence) or (Lava Coil)?

 KUMAGORO: If you find me a way to run removal spells in the tribal slots, sure!

 NAGARJUNA: I assume it was a budget list, as the Dino Stars are missing (Carnage Tyrant, Ghalta, Primal Hunger, Regisaur Alpha). Commune with Dinosaurs is a must for me here, it fixes the mana or gets you a Dino. I like (Territorial Allosaurus), it gives you a four-drop or a seven-drop with fight. And (Trashing Brontodon) is too good to pass on, I think.


 KUMAGORO: Mind you, this was meant to be a specialized enrage deck, not a good stuff Dinosaur deck. I've run the version with the Thrashing Brontodons, I have everything you need for building it but Carnage Tyrant (Regisaur Alpha is just a few cents). But I don't think Ghalta is particularly good with Dinosaurs. It's great in Standard Stompy because you have a curve that by turn four allows you to drop Ghalta for two or three mana already (turn-1 Llanowar Elves into turn-2 (Steel Leaf Champion) into turn-3 whatever with power 3). With the Dinos, it doesn't really happen. They don't have a very smooth curve and they encourage you to play effects that do one damage to everything (like Raging Swordtooth), so running Llanowar Elves is bad with them. They want you to play (Drover of the Might) instead, which is good, but I wanted to try Deafening Clarion, which feels like a very powerful cards in the meta, and it's excellent with Needletooth because it becomes 3 damage to everything + 5 damage to something bigger + 5 life for you.

 NAGARJUNA: How did Trapjaw Tyrant perform? Looks bad to me on paper.

 KUMAGORO: Trapjaw Tyrant is sort of a meh mythic indeed. Though in certain occasions can be crucial and it's certainly good at killing tokens. But it's not worth the heavy white investment that its double white cost requires. Unless you build a Selesnya Dinosaur deck to begin with. That's a very different list, but it's got potential, as I remember from playing it at the beginning of the Arena meta, when it was just Ixalan block. White Dinos have a defensive one-drop that reduces Dino costs (Kinjalli's Caller), a couple tactical Dinos (Kinjalli's Sunwing, Territorial Hammerskull), and flying (Sunwing, Imperial Aerosaur).

 NAGARJUNA: I would build around (Sarkhan's Unsealing) rather than Forerunner of the Empire, by the way.

 KUMAGORO: Sarkhan's Unsealing falls within that problematic category of enchantments that tie one full midrange turn up while doing nothing. And it doesn't combo with Polyraptor (or enrage), since it doesn't damage your creatures. The Forerunner-based deck is a good one. Forerunner fetches Needletooth Raptor for board dominance or Ripjaw Raptor for card advantage.


 NAGARJUNA: Question for Generalissimo: How did Slaughter the Strong perform? I think those type of effects are just too much in your opponent's favor.

 KUMAGORO: Well, his approach was all about self-sacrifice, so I guess Slaughter the Strong had extra value there.

 NAGARJUNA: Sure, I can see the approach, but even then it feels not good enough. I tried it with Walls, but the opponent always keeps their best creature so the biggest problem is still around.

 GENERALISSIMO: Slaughter the Strong sucked.

 NAGARJUNA: There you have it!

 GENERALISSIMO: It's just way too high-variance. I think it would have been better as either (Severed Strands) for more targeted removal or (Ritual of Soot) for a sweeper that leaves (Torgaar, Famine Incarnate) and (Demon of Catastrophes) alive.

 KUMAGORO: Ritual of Soot is a great, potentially one-sided sweeper.

 GENERALISSIMO: Yeah, my only concern is that it would be another four-mana spell, and I have several already (Demon of Catastrophes, Elenda, the Dusk Rose, (Whisper, Blood Liturgist), (Conclave Tribunal)).

 KUMAGORO: Speaking of Torgaar, is it good? I generally don't like the "half the starting life total" clause, because it gets to a point where you're giving the opp life – and in this case, it's mandatory.

 GENERALISSIMO: I believe Torgaar is worthwhile. I don't think I was ever in a position where I didn't want to cast it because the opponent would gain life; the deck just doesn't do enough early damage for that to be likely. It's also nice against lifegain and you can sometimes use it to bring yourself back up to 10 against aggro. My actual issue with it is the lack of evasion; Demon of Catastrophes might be better for that reason.


 NAGARJUNA: Did you consider the Vampire-token-generating spells? The more creatures to feed your sacrifice, the better. I would go with three or four Oathsworn Vampire, as he helps your strategy a lot, even better if you have the lifelink tokens.

 GENERALISSIMO: I don't really agree about adding more Oathsworn Vampires; they don't work super well in multiples since you have to pay mana to get them back and entering the battlefield tapped is a fairly major liability against aggro.

 KUMAGORO: Looking at a (more successful!) Vampire list, I believe Deonmag got a lot of 2-for-1 mileage with Skulduggery. This is a meta with quite a lot of early low-toughness dudes. What do you think of it?

 GENERALISSIMO: My concern with Skulduggery in this deck is the fact that it requires both players to have creatures in order to cast it; which, with only three one-drops and a self-sacrifice theme, is not something I want to rely on. It also seems like it would be a lot worse in a non-aggressive deck where it's harder to force the opponent into blocks that get blown-out by it.

 KUMAGORO: Interestingly, you and Deonmag didn't share a single Vampire, and between the two of you, you're playing 21 different ones (something most tribes aren't likely to do in Legacy!) Standard Vampire seems to be in a really good place right now.

 GENERALISSIMO: It's 20 different Vampires, we both had Bishop of Rebirth; our decks were basically identical! Looking over his decklist, I don't really understand why he has so many one-ofs, but I suppose our respective records speak for themselves. It does seem like the tribe has a nice mixture of aggro, lifegain, tokens and recursion to make a variety of decks with.

 KUMAGORO: The almost-Singleton approach is a thing. I guess it boils down to personal preferences, but it sure keeps the opponent guessing what's coming next. Of course, you need a wide lineup with roughly the same power level (a requisite that Vampire seems to fulfill) and a simple "good stuff" strategy.

 GENERALISSIMO: Let's do the intro at the end. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to play this week and was literally browsing through the available creatures in Standard for inspiration until Elenda, the Dusk Rose jumped out at me as a potent and interesting Vampire that suggested something other than the obvious Legion Lieutenant aggro deck. Fortunately, there's a fine set of pay-offs for a self-sacrifice theme in Bishop of Rebirth, Demon of Catastrophes and Torgaar, Famine Incarnate and plenty of cheap Vampires to happily throw into the graveyard, as well as the synergistic removal cards: (Vicious Offering) and Slaughter the Strong (although I have since come to the conclusion that Slaughter was a mistake). I'm so used to varying up the tribe for Hamtastical reasons, and also just not winning events, that I completely forgot lockouts were a thing. I was 90% of the way to playing Jund Dragons too, until I decided that playing a three-colour deck that hasn't had two of its Guilds released yet wasn't probably the smartest idea.


 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, Monger, Nightstalker, Orgg, Ouphe, Rabbit, Salamander. Already cleared: Atog, Crocodile, Homarid, Jackal, Leech, Licid, 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):

  • 8.49 (Week 414 BE), on December 15: Modern
  • 8.50 (Week 415 BE), on December 22: Legacy
  • 8.51 (Week 416 BE), on December 29: Classic

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

January 12 for the 2018 Tribal Invitational?

Yes please!