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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Nov 01 2011 10:31am
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*** Tribal Apocalypse: Week 42 BE ***
Sympathy for the Devil

 Speak of the Devil! In my last article (which was written before the events of Saturday, October 22) I wrapped up all the chatter by noticing that the Devils are now a regular, 5-member tribe (after Innistrad doubled their overall population). Moreso, within a comment to the same article I was on the record as saying that I had no recent memory of a single tribal deck using Valakut, except that one time I built a Scout deck around it. Well, it looks like I was counting my infernal chickens before they were hellspawned, because the 42th Tribal Apocalypse event of the Blippian Era saw our always-up-for-a-challenge AJ_Impy giving us a early tasting of the Halloween Special (more on that later) by going 4-0 with a brand new Devil deck including, for good measure, the Molten Pinnacle itself. Here's the list:

The Devil, you say?
by AJ_Impy
Creatures
4 Squealing Devil
4 Pitchburn Devils
4 Scourge Devil
4 Charmbreaker Devils
4 Taurean Mauler
20 cards

Other Spells
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Terminate
4 Slice and Dice
4 Starstorm
16 cards
 
Lands
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Badlands
13 Mountain
3 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
24 cards

 
Charmbreaker Devils

 

 The deck, which also won the Endangered Prize (making this the first time the Endangered Winner was also the overal winner), features all the Devils available online, except (understandably) the vanilla Riot Devils, replaced by the always welcome Taurean Mauler. There's a sixth Devil, the only non-red one, that's currently not online: Stone-Throwing Devils (which could use a new, less religiously awkward flavor text, I guess). As we can see, MTG's take on the Devils (which dates back from before The Grand Creature Type Update, when the creature types were as many and as whimsical as the designers could think of) is that they are a sort of Demon's little brothers, mischievous little creatures bound to spread havoc on the battlefield yet lacking the comnanding presence of their bigger siblings. This looks like a theme here: this deck doesn't actually care too much about what happens to its little fiends. In fact, both Slice and Dice and Starstorm are more than happy to sweep the board left and right, sending enemies and devilish hordes alike to burn in hell. These particular sweepers, thanks to their cycling ability, play into the hands of the only and true kickass Devil to date: the freshly arrived Charmbreaker Devils. A recursion engine for both the cycled sweepers and top-notch spot removals such as Lightning Bolt and Terminate (too bad there was no room for the Vortholicious Devil's Play!), but also a reliable beater, easily capable of inflicting 8-12 points of damage per swing, Charmbreaker is a key card here. The frequent sweeping is also the perfect way to exploit Pitchburn Devils's ability, while the older Devils from Dissension and Alara (after the tiny Arabian Nights first strikers, we actually had to wait 13 years for another Devil to join the party!) work as occasional pumpers. All in all, a surprisingly deadly deck,  wich was able to defeat such as fearsome opponents as NemesisParadigm's Shamans, gbagyt's Elves, and james mcaliney's Wizards.

 The Devil is in the details, and while AJ's infernal host was able to seal the deal, the other undefeated player, newcomer Etriol, ended 2nd with this impressive Human deck, which confirms the tribe's recent good streak:

 

 Take a little bit of Zoo, add the always effective Stoneforge package (here featuring the two more old-fashioned among the swords, which are arguably still the best ones), and mix all that with some of the most tactical creatures in the game, and voila, a winning deck is brewed. Not so easy to pilot as it seems, of course, since quadricolored Humans are always more decision-intensive than other more straightforward aggro tribes like Goblins, Soldiers, or Kithkins. This build also bears some resemblances to james mcaliney's Wizard deck (most of those Wizards are Humans, after all), which after last week's triumph ended "only" 4th this time. It's currently the most consistent deck on the scene, being able to finish Top 4 five times over the last seven weeks (with two 1st places under its belt, and a total of 229 Hall of Fame points).

 At the 3rd place, first of the "defeated", we find DirtyDuck with his Walls.

 

 Yeah, this deck is essentially the same build with which NemesisParadigm had already owned the tournament 4 times (although in one of these occasions the tribe was actually Plant rather than Wall, being Endangered Week). There are just some minor variations here, like the single Elspeth or the Eldrazi Temples. This isn't to say that DirtyDuck did anything wrong by running it (we actually had a second Wall-Drazi deck this very week, piloted by Steve81, who took the monogreen route and achieved the same win/loss ratio). It's just that this is now officially a legit tribal archetype in itself, currently making the Walls the second most successful tribe after the Elves.

 The other 3-1 tribes were grapplingfarang's red Elementals; gbagyt's Elves; and Owain's Merfolk:

 

 As for me, this week I was (unsuccessfully) trying to complete my Shaman Trilogy. What's that, you ask? It's how I call a trio of green Shaman decks lead by this lovely Snake princess:

Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro

 Sachi is meant to push her shamanic fellowship into powering up one of three different ways to sneak the win-con creatures onto the battlefield. Either by taking them from the top of the library;

Genesis Wave

 from the hand (after tutoring them);

Tooth and Nail

 or from the graveyard.


 

 The first deck went undefeated, and earned me a nice 1st place back in the times:

 
  (I'm showing the most updated version here, I obviously just added that Kessig Wolf Run). Any Genesis Wave-based deck has to know exactly which "wave level" to aim for, and here the Wave should  ideally go off with X=6 (this meaning it needs 9 mana to go). Eternal Witness is a key player, because she allows for immediate recursion of the Wave (which becomes bigger and bigger each time), while Ulamog is there just for reshuffling purposes, Anger and Urabrask to fast track the carnage, and Kiki-Jiki to double the Titan, Duplicant, and Dragon fun.

 Next it was the Tooth and Nail build, which also went undefeated for a 2nd place:

 

 This is more of a 12-post build (before Modern popularized the concept). I didn't have 4 Primeval Titans back in the time, so I was probably running Sylvan Scrying instead. The choice of the finishers is vastly customizable. Tooth and Nail decks should mainly aim for these ones:

Emrakul, the Aeons TornUrabrask the Hidden

 But since Emrakul is not allowed in Tribal Apocalyse, I went with one of the many versions of good ol' Kiki-Jiki's Infinite Beaters. Which is a frailer choice, admittedly. Interestingly, this deck goes off at 9 mana, just like its Genesis Wave brother.

 Finally, the Recurring Nightmare build. Which didn't work well enough. Mainly because it really misses this one:


 

Amazing, eh? But banned!

 And I lied, this stopped to be a Sachi build before I was done selecting the cards for the Shaman tribal part. This doesn't need ramping at all, it needs something to replace the lost companion of the Recurring, the "Sur" in the "RecSur". And Shamans have that. It's this gal:

Fauna Shaman

 So the challenge here is to make a Fauna Shaman build work at least half as well as the old RecSur worked. Here's my current take (after bad play, bad matchups and bad luck made me end just 2-2 with the old version, which also included a red splash):

 

 What can I say? This is Toolbox Paradise. (I actually reduced the toolbox aspect here, things like Vampire Hexmage were too rarely useful to be worth including). And the uber-classic combo with Great Whale, for as much as out-of-date it looks, still works. Great Whale, please meet Hornet Queen. Her royal subjects will brush all your teeth as long as you will help her create an infinite number of them!

 And while we are on the subject of nightmares, let's see what will happen on the next Tribal Apocalypse, due for October 29 at 17:00 GMT (coverage on that will be up later this week).

Halloween Special!

All Hallow's Eve

Yeah, just like in the sitcoms

 The 43th Tribal Apocalypse event is a Halloween extravaganza, where the only tribes allowed will be Halloween-themed. Let's just review the 24-tribe list put together by me and BlippyTheSlug, with unvaluable help from AJ_Impy and White.Wolf. Yep, that's pre-Halloween Parade!

 

 1. Assassin

Stronghold AssassinUnliving PsychopathStalking AssassinMerfolk Assassin

The MTG version of the slasher movie villains! (Well, kinda)

 

2. Bat

 Blind HunterGloomhunterKelinore BatVampire Bats

In case you're wondering, I'm choosing these cards by looking at the art only

 

3. Demon

 Abyssal PersecutorOb Nixilis, the FallenHellcarver DemonCarnifex Demon

For the ones who love to run with the Big Boys

 

4. Devil

Squealing DevilScourge Devil  

The current champs!

 

5. Faerie

(black only, multicolored included)

Nightshade SchemersFaerie MacabrePuppeteer CliqueOona, Queen of the Fae

Only the most wicked daughters of Oona allowed

  

6. Gargoyle

Shrieking GrotesqueBasalt GargoyleLeering GargoyleNullstone Gargoyle

So very Notre Dame-ish

  

7. Hag

Nip GwyllionDesecrator HagGwyllion Hedge-MageHarvest Gwyllion

Directly from the darkest of the fairy tales

 

8. Homunculus

OculusRiddlekeeper

Mad doctor's monstrosities AND assistants

 

9. Horror

 Childhood HorrorAbyssal HorrorFlesh ReaverCosmic Horror

It's not that their name is misleading

 

10. Imp

Demon's JesterCackling ImpFire ImpStinkweed Imp

I would love to see AJ_Impy's Imp deck!

 

 11. Nightmare

 Faceless ButcherSpellgorger BarbarianPetradonChainer, Dementia Master

I wonder which type of Nightmare is Freddy Krueger

 

12. Nightstalker

 BreathstealerFeral ShadowUrborg PantherProwling Nightstalker

These are all the Nightstalkers we have online, but they're worth a build for Cliff Nielsen's art alone

 

 13. Pirate

 Ramirez DePietroKukemssa PiratesPirate ShipTalas Researcher

You know that guy, the one that always dresses as a pirate for Halloween? You can be that guy!

 

14. Rat

(non-Kamigawa only)

  Carrion RatsDisease CarriersIchor RatsCrypt Rats

We want filthy critters, not stupid ninjas!

 

 15. Thrull

 Blood PetMindstab ThrullMourning ThrullEndrek Sahr, Master Breeder

See Homunculus above, but more twisted

 

16. Scarecrow

 Grim PoppetChainbreakerAntler SkulkinReaper King

Your regular, creepy farmland implement

 

 17. Shade

 Chilling ShadeCrypt RipperZof ShadeIhsan's Shade

Eerieness, of the Tolkienian variety

 

18. Skeleton

 Kjeldoran DeadDimir House GuardCinderbonesGolgari Grave-Troll

Well, is this really worth a comment now?

 

 19. Specter

 Hypnotic SpecterAbyssal SpecterShimian SpecterLiliana's Specter

The deadly departed, usually coming back to haunt your sleep and disrupt your hand

 

20. Spirit

Phantom FlockPhantom CentaurAshen MonstrosityEternal Dragon

Even the Kamigawa spirits are fine, since Oni and Kami aren't conceptually too far from Samhain

 

 21. Vampire

Barony VampireBloodthrone VampireNirkana RevenantVampire Hexmage

Now, that's classic Halloween, isn't it? Also, probably the only one of these tribes with hot chicks in it

 

22. Werewolf

And that's even more. And brand new at the same time

 

 23. Wraith

 Street WraithBog TattersBog WraithOdylic Wraith

Yet another kind of bad afterlife experience

 

24. Zombie

 Gempalm PolluterCemetery ReaperVengeful PharaohThraximundar

This reminds me I still have to catch up on The Walking Dead

 All the participants are due to receive a Screeching Bat for free. And an additional playset of Headless Horseman for the top standing player. So, stay tuned to to find how many of these tribes actually showed up (a hint: not so many) and to see how our dear players managed to channel their inner blackness!

 

2 Comments

Too bad my horrors (starring by Paul Leicht at Tue, 11/01/2011 - 13:08
Paul Leicht's picture
5

Too bad my horrors (starring Krovikan, Creakwood Liege, and Phyrexian Obliterator) did so poorly in this. Nice presentation. Sadly the event took place this past weekend.

Skaabs? The blue version of by geo67 at Tue, 11/01/2011 - 13:19
geo67's picture

Skaabs? The blue version of Frankenstein's Monster, they need other bodies to be put together, and throw in some Undead Alchemists.