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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Nov 14 2011 1:52pm
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*** Tribal Apocalypse: Week 44 BE ***
Even Dwarfs Started Small

 That's the first time I have the chance to write about an Endangered Week down at Tribal Apocalypse (which it's being held on the first Saturday of every month since April), so let's summarize the rules: an Endangered Week is an event where only the tribes defined as "Endangered" are allowed to compete. That's the same kind of tribe eligible for the Endangered Prize during regular weeks, i.e. a tribe with no more than 50 available members online (as seen on the Creature Type Reference Table), with the exclusion of Ally, Artificer, Eldrazi, Kor, Myr, Rat, and Snake. Also, you can't use more than 4 creatures with the Changeling ability, meaning that your tribe must have at least 4 members, otherwise you will not be able to fill the tribal quota (which, as you know, amounts to one third of the deck, or 20 creatures over a 60-card deck, therefore you need a tribe able to field 16 tribal members and 4 changelings as a bare minimum).

 So, Saturday, November 5 was the 8th Endangered Week. And it was a good and varied one, because we had 22 different tribes showing up over 24 registered players. The line-up was as follows: Archon, Assassin, Berserker, Bringer, Elemental (which of course got disqualified because, well, they're not Endangered), Fish, Griffin x2, Hound, Juggernaut, Kobold, Lhurgoyf, Monk, Mutant, Phoenix, Plant, Samurai, Specter, Sphinx, Spider, Volver, Werewolf, and Zubera x2.

 And the winner was... this one.


 NemesisParadigm's Plant deck, being a variant of his famed/infamous Wall-Drazi deck, triggered a debate about whether or not Plant should be added to the list of tribes excluded from Endangered Week/Prize. I'll let you ponder this on the comments (my take: yes, it should, since it's a way to smuggle Walls into the Endangered environment, and Walls are just too powerful ramp enablers for that). In the meantime, I'll note that Plants just added the very interesting Tree of Redemption to their roster. Also, I didn't get the chance to comment on that before, but I really love the 1-of, Commander-ish manabase Nemesis often uses in his decks (mainly because I use to do that too, out of necessity: I just have 1x of each classic dual, so I always support them with 1x of the relative shock land for fetchable redundancy).

 At 2nd place, yet equally undefeated, we find RexDart's Samurai deck:


 Nice to see a Boros deck succeed in this time and age. Boros Samurai can hit fast and hard enough by themselves, and they're pleasantly and quite naturally complemented by all kind of swords, brought by that bad, bad girl who answers to the name of Stoneforge Mystic. The removal suite is strong, and Mana Tithe is always a really tricky card: nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, but also nobody expects a damn white counterspell.

 It surely tricked me because my Sphinx deck only lost to RexDart's Samurai, qualifying for the first place among the defeated decks (a.k.a. the 3rd place overall). But let's hear the recount of his battles from RexDart himself: "4-0 today with Samurai. Basically the same list as the last time I played it a few months ago (ending 2nd place that time too - Editor's note). Would like to replace the underperforming Fumiko, there to break board stalls that never seem to happen, but her power to cost is actually pretty good compared to most of the tribe -- and I certainly would have liked her had I played against the Zubera deck. Possibly should just be the Mothrider guy, better sword-carrier. I was probably lucky to dodge the Plant-Drazi deck, though I may have given him a game if I had a quick Sword of Feast and Famine down. Round 3 against a Sphinx deck featuring Living Death was the hardest match, if I remember correctly I won one game off triple Mana Tithe and then he got manascrewed in the last game (yeah, you remember correctly, alas! - Editor's note). Round 4 against a rock-ish Goyf deck was very interesting, he won a very grindy game 2, the only game he got his Loam engine going. But I pulled out the other two with quick clocks from sword'ed samurai."

 The mentioned Lhurgoyf deck was by 3-time TribAp champion Ayanam1, who unfortunately underperformed this time. It was based on the very classic combo Seismic Assault/Life from the Loam, with Devastating Dreams as a power-up. As for my own Sphinges, here's the list:


 I played this deck 5 times (which is more than any other deck of mine, I think), and it always does well, earning me two 3rd places and one 4th place. The discard-into-Living Death capability enabled by Vexing Sphinx and Sphinx of Lost Truths is very powerful (God bless the prevalent dismissal of graveyard hate!), since they are fast blockers and decent threats too. I made some last-minute changes to the list and I later found myself wondering why: Thirst for Knowledge is strictly better than Forbidden Alchemy here (I need to be able to discard what I have in hand), and I've had already established that Magister Sphinx isn't that good within a deck that often manages to land some serious flying damage before starting its reanimating routine. Oh well. I've actually another Sphinx deck I like but never feel like playing (but I should):


 It's a bit more risky since it's based on Open the Vaults rather than Living Death, and that makes it inherently weaker and slower. Artifacts plus Open the Vaults brings us to AJ_Impy's Juggernaut deck, though, which ended 5th place.

Oxymoronic Juggernaut Control
by AJ_Impy
4 Juggernaut
4 Darksteel Juggernaut
4 Extruder
4 Arcbound Crusher
4 Phyrexian Snowcrusher
20 cards

Other Spells
4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Wrath of God
4 All is Dust
4 Expedition Map
2 Open The Vaults
18 cards
4 Cloudpost
4 Glimmerpost
4 Vesuva
4 Ancient Den
6 Snow-Covered Plains
22 cards

Phyrexian Snowcrusher


 That's the kind of very smooth, very elegant build AJ often does: almost all 4x, not a thing out of place, everything harmoniously working together to reinforce the base concept. And the concept here is that, as much oxymoronic as it sounds, Juggernauts can go the control route too, thanks to one of the best removal suites you can conceive:  Swords to PlowsharesWrath of God, and Cloudpost-powered All is Dust. And yes, the Juggernauts have a tendency to get themselves killed by recklessly attacking into whatever they're facing. But don't worry, hopefully Open the Vaults will bring them back at some point, for another rampaging round.

 Same 3-1 result but 4th place for another interesting tribe: Phoenix, by DirtyDuck:


 Now, that really brings the flame, doesn't it? Koth and Chandra really love the Phoenix, and the Phoenix really love to be dropped faster via  Ruby Medallion and Urza's Incubator. And yes, here's another red deck using Valakut in a supporting role. I just never noticed that, I guess. It's worth noting that this deck only lost to Plant-Drazi.

 Last but not least, here's another interesting 3-1 deck employing a very unusual tribe: Fish! (No, not Merfolk! Actual aquarium-worthy Fishes!)


 PureMTGO's longtime writer and deckbuilder extraordinare LordErman concocted this one as an original take on the X-blade archetype. Dandân as a sword-carrier? Now, that's something you don't see often. Or at all. I'm sure Jace himself was deeply amused by that. But hey, it's a 4/1 for 2 mana. How many creatures can beat that speed? And there's also a 2/3 for 2 (Hammerhead Shark) and a 3/3 for 3 (Manta Ray). Granted, they all need Islands on the opponent side to seal the deal. That's where Spreading Seas lend a thematically-perfect hand.

 Before wrapping up, I need to fix a mistake I did in my last tribal article. There I said that Nagarjuna's Horror deck ended 4th place. That wasn't true, I get it mixed up with the actual Horror deck finished 4th, which was Cattavorus' one. My apologies. I guess I got excited by the fact that Nagarjuna's deck was based upon an idea of mine (and since it actually won just 1 match, I assume that wasn't such a great idea after all!). Here's the list by Cattavorus:


 I actually played against this deck, and lost! Here's what Cattavorus says about it: "Small changes to my usual Horrors -- Dark Hatchling out, Blistergrub in. I was going to go with Zombies which is a lot more consistent but couldn't resist a turn-2 Obliterator especially with the assumed absence of Oblivion Ring and suchlike, plus Hypnox is the best artwork in all of MTG so winning a few with him is "Them's the breaks, kid!" for my opponent! :-)"

 Lastly, I'd like to remind you of the many upcoming Tribal Apocalypse Special Events (holiday season, indeed!).

- November 26: Slugdown Spectacular. On the occasion of the 52th birthday of our fearless host BlippyTheSlug, each player entering the event will receive a Molder Slug for free, courtesy of the Slug-handler himself (yeah, he's planning to give gifts on his own birthday, because he's just insane that way). The first player who will cast a Slug of any sort will receive 1 bonus tix. The same goes for the highest-placed Slug deck.

- December 17: Duel Tribal: Elves vs. Goblins. On the occasion of the 50th Tribal event of the Blippian Era, we'll witness the Mother of All Tribal Battles. In order to enter the event, every player will need two decks: an Elf deck and a Goblin deck. The first player listed in the pairings for each round will play with his or her Elf deck, the second player will play Goblins.

- December 24: Christmas Special. Only white, red, and green nonland cards allowed, and any deck must contain at least one card for each color (for this purpose, multicolor and hybrid cards count towards each of their colors; Transguild Courier is not allowed). The highest-placed Snow deck (meaning a deck where all the permanents have the Snow supertype) will receive 1 bonus tix.

- December 31: 2012 Apocalypse Special. On the occasion of the upcoming end of the world, this event will have no ban list. Take your Progenitus for a ride before it's too late.


Great work as usual. In by ArchGenius at Mon, 11/14/2011 - 15:15
ArchGenius's picture

Great work as usual.

In regards to my plant-drazi deck, yes, I'm still working with a singleton style mana base and it works for the most part, except it makes creating a Valakut build difficult. Now that Vesuva has come down in price I might be able to go for the 12-post mana base though.

Here's a silly question. Will the Elves vs. Goblins week be recorded on the Hall of Fame, since everybody will be playing BOTH tribes and those are the only options?

I'm always very glad to see by Kumagoro42 at Wed, 11/16/2011 - 12:55
Kumagoro42's picture

I'm always very glad to see the "4 fetch+1 dual+1 shock" approach, because it's not only budget-friendly, it's also totally functional.

Good point about the Elves vs. Goblins on regard of the Hall of Fame. I think I'll do this: player points will be awarded as usual, but I'll give a fixed amount of points (maybe attendance x2) to either Elf or Goblin, depending on which of the two tribes will perform better in the end, i.e. which tribe won the "showdown" (I'll have to work out the results of each round separately from the player standings, since each player is simultaneously both a Goblin and an Elf player).

Btw, great news are coming about what that Hall of Fame was for. Blippy and I have just worked out the 1st Tribal Apocalypse invitational, and it will be sweet. Stay tuned for more info.