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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Dec 21 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

 About our upcoming, end-of-the-year special event (on December 29), I renamed it Vintage Tribal Wars for clarity, because Classic was a whole different format, where in certain areas was weaker than Vintage, in other areas had access to full sets Vintage couldn't play, so in those areas it was stronger than Vintage. In short, it was a weird format. What we're going to play, instead, it's just Vintage depowered, along the same lines of what we did for Legacy, in order to accommodate the tribal style of play better.

 Speaking of which, it was brought to my attention than leaving Mishra's Workshop playable might be a huge mistake. Workshop decks are aggro decks, whereas my attention was more focused on preventing instant-win combo decks from taking over the event; but it's true that with Workshop in, we would be able to field a MUD deck exactly like the ones that dominate the Vintage meta right now, minus power. So, to be safe, let's ban Mishra's Workshop as well, all right? The updated list of all bans is here.



  • Event Number: 8.49, Week 414 BE
  • Date: December 15
  • Attendance: 11
  • Rounds: 3
  • Subformat: Modern
  • Winner: AJ_Impy with Eldrazi
  • 1 Loss: ThyShuffler with Vampire, -DiamondDust- with Ally, Nagarjuna with Warrior, Deonmag with Zombie, _Kumagoro_ with Treefolk, Generalissimo with Ally
  • Underdog Prize: lovetapsmtg with Incarnation
  • Tribes: Ally (x2), Eldrazi (x2), Incarnation, Soldier, Treefolk, Vampire (x2), Warrior, Zombie
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 AJ_Impy is dead set on ending the year at the first place of the leaderboard, and this event win with a really unforgiving Eldrazi deck, paired with his Angel win from last week, indeed projected him all the way to the top, 9 points ahead of Nagarjuna and 13 points ahead of Yokai_. Will his direct opponents put up a fight in the last two events? Let's hope so!


 Nagarjuna was running a pretty cutthroat deck of his own this week, with these monored no-nonsense Warriors.


 Relative newcomer ThyShuffler had a removal-heavy, small Vampire deck that caused trouble to both of your Show and Tell regulars, as we'll see below.


 The first of the above-mentioned (in alphabetical order, but not where standings are concerned!) is Generalissimo, who was running a self-milling Ally deck we hear everything about in his video.


 I slightly updated an old classic of mine, Treefolk, who did well except against ThyShuffler's trigger happy list, despite the fact that he was expecting worse due to my high amounts of hexproof and shroud. But I'm satisfied all the same, especially for beating Generalissimo in our off-event match you'll see in the video.




 Here's the prices of all the featured decks, courtesy of the amazing Deck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of December 21, 2018):

  • AJ_Impy's Eldrazi: $137.91
  • Nagarjuna's Warriors: $29.00
  • ThyShuffler's Vampires: $46.96
  • Generalissimo's Allies: $35.93
  • _Kumagoro_'s Treefolk: $52.24

 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.


 The video evidence of the lamentable facts that went down:

 KUMAGORO: Did I manage to inspire any of you to play Treefolk?

 NAGARJUNA: Already shopping for them, but with Doran, the Siege Tower of course.


 KUMAGORO: I would play one or two copies of Doran in Legacy with access to Green Sun's Zenith.

 NAGARJUNA: With Murmuring Bosk, hardcasting him is not a problem.

 KUMAGORO: But I don't feel like I particularly need him, my finishers have their power equal to their toughness anyway. The team looks solved to me. Dungrove Elder, Leaf-Crowned Elder, Dauntless Dourbark and Timber Protector are all a must. And Treefolk Harbinger and Bosk Banneret are the enablers. The Harbinger is great on turn one to find what you're missing next (probably the Banneret to drop a four-mana Treefolk on turn three), and later it synergizes with Leaf-Crowned Elder by giving him a Dourbark or Timber Protector to cast for free.


 NAGARJUNA: I would cut Assault Formation and some Lightning Greaves.

 KUMAGORO: The Greaves are crucial. Dourbark with haste and shroud coming out of nowhere and hitting for 10+ trample damage is good game a lot of the time. In Legacy, Cultivate becomes Green Sun's Zenith, Assault Formation becomes Doran. Or maybe Sylvan Library. I know Lignify is bad removal, though it helps Dungrove and Dourbark to grow, and it's cast for free by Leaf-Crowned. Plus theoretically it prevents recursion, but they'll just have to chump-block to send the creature to the graveyard anyway. So I should lose a bit of synergy and play something else for interaction in those slots.


 NAGARJUNA: Going Azban for Doran, I can run Path to Exile.

 KUMAGORO: I could run Path too, I have eight fetch lands, I'd just need a single Temple Garden basically. Lignify is mostly cute, but the difference didn't seem to matter much this time, the only match I lost was one where the opponent had always the right removal, an edict effect when I only had one hexproof guy on the board, Terminate otherwise. With Lignify and all the fetch lands, the deck has high odds to cast something out of Leaf-Crowned. So, now that I think of it, in Legacy I would run Sylvan Library for sure, it makes multiple Leaf-Crowned better. And I could run both Lignify and some white-splashed removal.


 NAGARJUNA: Why Cultivate?

 KUMAGORO: It makes both Dungrove and Dourbark bigger, it ramps, and it thins the deck to improve Leaf-Crowned's chances further.

 NAGARJUNA: So I'd play it like this:


 KUMAGORO: But let's talk of that majestic win of the mighty Treefolk over the puny Humans that we see at the end of Generalissimo's video!

 GENERALISSIMO: Well, I'm not sure that's exactly how I would characterise what happened...

 KUMAGORO: I like the Angel of Glory's Rise combo, it just seems hard to balance in a deck that has a strong plan B as well. To the point that sometimes the deck plays like the plan B, which is just linear aggression, is the primary plan. I can't decide if this is a strength or it's the proverbial "jack of all trades, master of none" situation.

 GENERALISSIMO: Like I said in the video, the deck is certainly capable of draws in which you have a little bit of mill and a little bit of aggression and the two strategies feel at odds with each other, but I also like the fact that the two paths to victory (three if you count sitting behind a wall of Kazandu Blademasters and milling the opponent out incrementally) attack from different enough angles that it's hard to have answers to both. The opponent might have a strong defensive hand that can stop the attack but then they don't necessarily have inevitability against the Angel combo and a hand that has early graveyard-hate or holds up a counterspell might just die to the creatures without every being able to use it.


 KUMAGORO: I can't decide between the three discard outlets either, one each might be the fine amount. But I kinda think if you devote only four slots to Unburial Rites and the Angel, then it's better to go 3-1, maybe? Because Unburial Rites produces a win (recurring a couple Halimar Excavator or their clones or just any Allies when there's enough Excavators around) that doesn't require the Angel, and it's a spell you can always find use for even while pursuing the aggro plan. Whereas the Angel is a very dead card a lot of the time.

 GENERALISSIMO: I used to have three Rites, two Angels but I dropped one Rites to make room for other stuff. You're right that the Angel is generally a dead draw but I don't like going down to just one because it drops the chances that you can get both pieces into the graveyard dramatically. It also increases the chances that the Angel is so far down the library that getting to it means the graveyard is overstocked and trying to combo just leads to a time-out.

 KUMAGORO: Also, maybe the deck would like Gifts Ungiven in Modern? (I guess in Legacy you could just play Entomb). 

 GENERALISSIMO: I think if I were to add Gifts, it would probably be better to just ditch the Angel and add Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite instead. I suppose it might be better to do that regardless. Still, if you haven't got a mill source stocking the graveyard, just raw-gifting for an Angel is much less likely to actually win, so I'd prefer to maximise the self-mill plan rather than add that kind of tutor.


 KUMAGORO: Anyway, it's so very you to play a wincon that's also very likely to kill you in the process!

 GENERALISSIMO: I have no idea what you could possibly mean by that.

 KUMAGORO: I don't think it's directly MTGO's fault, though. I mean, it is to the extent that it's a client that asks for way too much CPU and RAM resources, but if you had a very powerful PC, it probably wouldn't slow down on you so much while processing that massive amount of triggers.

 GENERALISSIMO: I've tested it and while the mass of triggers does cause a spike in CPU use, it's still using less than 10% of the total and it doesn't seem to change the amount or memory it needs at all. I think it's a problem that could be fixed if the developers were inclined to spend the time but since I'm possibly the only person that would notice it, I'm not sure that would be a wise use of resources. By the way, my only note for your deck is that Sapseep Forest seems a bit too low impact to justify being a tapland.


 KUMAGORO: As you know, I don't ever use taplands if I can be helped, then you (silently) talked me into it with your Leechridden Swamp last week, so I figured, maybe one is no harm. It wasn't, indeed, but it was also rarely meaningful. I guess Leechridden Swamp has more impact in general.

 GENERALISSIMO: I was actually a hair away from playing a Treefolk deck in this event too, until, for some inscrutable reason, I decided all I wanted to do with my time was stack ETB triggers. I was going for Abzan with much more interaction, though, just because Doran seemed like the most unique and interesting member of the tribe.

 KUMAGORO: Leaf-Crowned Elder is more unique and interesting than Doran, you can find creative ways to abuse its one-of-a-kind kinship trigger. Honestly, I think Doran is overrated. I've nothing against him, I played with him in the past, but he's sort of a dull card, just a big vanilla guy for three that doesn't dramatically change much in a Treefolk deck (it does with Unstoppable Ash, but that feels a lot like win more). In fact, I like Doran better in a non-tribal Abzan Modern deck, or off-tribe in Tribal Wars. He certainly does not justify in my eyes all the mana base complications he requires in a Treefolk deck. Assault Formation (which I had never played with Treefolk and amounts to two easily replaceable slots) has a few advantages over Doran, at least in formats where you can't play Green Sun's Zenith. 1) It's cheaper, doesn't fight for a spot in the curve with any other Treefolk except for Bosk Banneret. 2) It doesn't require additional colors. 3) It's a mana dump that acts as an anthem, making the smaller Treefolk stronger than Doran would. 4) It never occasionally helps the opponent too.

 NAGARJUNA: Gene, did you consider Chart a Course?

 KUMAGORO: Isn't Radical Idea better than Chart a Course in his deck? It works from the graveyard. You self-mill Chart a Course with the Angel in hand, you're screwed.

 NAGARJUNA: I meant as a replacement to Thought Scour.


 GENERALISSIMO: I did consider Chart a Course. I actually bought a playset for this deck before I thought of the jump-start cards. It would be a fine inclusion, since it can be a discard outlet for the combo or just a hand-filler for the beatdown, but I think the deck is already too heavy on two-drops to swap out Thought Scour for it.

 KUMAGORO: We didn't comment on Naga's list, but I guess there was nothing to object with those super-aggro Warriors built to a tee. I like that even the fetch land has "blood" in its name!



 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):

  • 8.50 (Week 415 BE), on December 22: Legacy
  • 8.51 (Week 416 BE), on December 29: Vintage

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.


Workshop by Nagarjuna at Fri, 12/21/2018 - 13:20
Nagarjuna's picture

Even if I wanted to play a deck with workshops, I think its better and fair to ban it.