Kumagoro42's picture
By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Aug 02 2019 12:01pm

 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse!

   Table of Contents 

  1. Last Week on Tribal Apocalypse...
  2. The High Price of Winning
  3. Announcements
  4. What's Next

Check the full archive for the "Diaries of the Apocalypse" series

by Kumagoro

 Last week in the #TRIBAL chat room a small debate about the dangers of Gaea's Cradle took place. I did some research in that regard, so here's some data about the use of the green-producing land over the past two seasons (i.e. 2018 and 2019 – more correctly, a season and a half).


  • Between January and February 2018, Yokai_ used a full set three times in Legacy with this Elf deck, ending 2-1 in all three cases, losing to Eldrazi, Archon reanimator and Dragon reanimator;
  • in June, Socanelas ran two copies in this Elf deck for the discontinued Pure Tribal format, also ending 2-1 (lost to Kithkin);
  • in August, I ran a singleton copy in my Plant deck that ended 3-0 in Underdog; I piloted the same deck again in November to a 2-1 result, losing to Living End Serpent;
  • later that August, Nagarjuna ran four copies in this Hippo deck in Legacy, ending 1-2;
  • still August, romellos ran a singleton Cradle in his Abzan Human deck (featuring Knight of the Reliquary) in Legacy, and ended 1-1, losing to Goblin;
  • in September, I ran a copy with these Insects in Underdog, ended 1-2;
  • in January 2019, I brought Plant to Underdog again, lost the first match, dropped;
  • in March, a single Cradle was in my 2-1 Dryad deck that lost to Hound in Underdog, and later in the Kaleidoscope version, which only went 1-2;
  • more of my Underdog Plants in April, another 2-1, lost to Scarecrow;
  • more Abzan Humans for romellos in May, 1-1 again, lost to five-color Humans;
  • four-Cradle Elves were back in June (so 16 months later) thanks to Nydethess – they went 2-1, losing to Spirits;
  • Nydethess ran four Cradles again in the Planeswalker event, also a 2-1; I'll count is as Elves because there was an Elf tribal theme nonetheless;
  • last month, Nydethess had four Cradles in his Werewolf deck for Underdog, but didn't go past 0-1;
  • and finally, last week, a new Nydethess attempt resulted in the first 3-0 ending for Legacy Elves since 2017.

 Elves also won two Modern events over the past three seasons (they're really not the presence they were in early Tribal Apocalypse), but of course there's no Gaea's Cradle in Modern. So it appears they win as many events with Cradle as they do without. Here's some more collected data:

  • 2018-2019 decks running Gaea's Cradle: 18 (Elf: 7, Plant: 4, Dryad: 2, Human: 2, Hippo: 1, Insect: 1, Werewolf: 1)
  • Total copies ran: 43 (22 in 2018, 21 in 2019)
  • 3-0 results: 2 (Elf, Plant)
  • 2-1 results: 9 (Elf x6, Plant x2, Dryad)
  • 1-X results: 5 (Human x2, Dryad, Hippo, Insect)
  • 0-X results: 2 (Plant, Werewolf)

 So, in response to the question, "Shouldn't Gaea's Cradle be on the watch list?", the answer is, "Not really. It was played in a grand total of 7 Elf decks over the course of two years, and they mostly achieved 2-1 endings, which is the expected outcome for Elf. If it wasn't for a single new player who loves the tribe and is playing it as much as he can (and so far he wasn't stopped by the Top Player Lockout, but now he is), there wouldn't be any Gaea's Cradle in our meta at the moment, except for some singleton copies I run in my green decks and are almost entirely inconsequential."


  • Event Number: 9.29, Week 446 BE
  • Date: July 27
  • Attendance: 10
  • Rounds: 3
  • Subformat: Legacy
  • Winner: Nydethess with Elf
  • 1 Loss: Bandit Keith with Human, Kumagoro with Beast, ThyShuffler with Faerie, Nagarjuna with Druid
  • Underdog Prize: lovetapsmtg with Goat
  • Tribes: Beast (x2), Construct, Druid, Elf, Faerie, Goat, Human, Scarecrow, Scout
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 Elf finally caught up with Goblin at 33 wins, thanks to the efforts of our Elvish aficionado Nydethess. As note above, this is the first time a 4-Cradle deck ends up undefeated since... I don't even know, actually. My Plant deck that did 3-0 last year only ran one copy, and so did this Eldrazi deck from 2016, and this 5-0 Elf deck from 2015. Before that, romellos won a bunch of events with decks featuring Knight of the Reliquary (both Human and Monk), and in their land toolbox there was usually also a single Cradle, but no more than that, and it wasn't central in the deck's battleplan. The earliest I can trace back on Gatherling is 2013, when this Druid list and this Construct list both won events while running Gaea's Cradle, but even those didn't run a full playset (that same year I won this these Snakes, but as it's typical for me, there was only one Cradle in the pile – I never even owned more than one). So, whoa, this might well be the first time a list with four Gaea's Cradles won an event, EVER! I believe the cost of the card influenced this outcome. But it was more like, you don't even need Gaea's Cradle to win with Elves (in fact, the previous Legacy Elf win in May 2017 had no Cradles at all), so why bother spending all those tickets?


 By the way, Archon of Valor's Reach is an interesting choice for fetchable all-purpose hoser. And speaking of records, this is also the debut of that Battlebond Archon in Tribal Apocalypse.

 But also speaking of my own exploits, I seem to be doing surprisingly fine lately. My 2-1 Beast deck was just an experiment to see if Vivien and her Arkbow had solid Legacy applications, too. As it turns out, Vivien, Arkbow Ranger is great in any green midrange deck; Vivien's Arkbow was probably unnecessary here, at least in that quantity, as I rarely had turns when I'd rather pour mana into it than casting what I had in hand – Beast isn't exactly a tribe where you empty your hand quickly. This said, the monogreen version looks better than it ever did, mainly thanks to Nullhide Ferox.


 But you can now build Beast by splashing either black or blue, in order to take advantage of great cards like Ravenous Chupacabra and Hydroid Krasis. CruelHellraiser went with the former in his Death Cloud variant. Problem with Beast's splashes is that you still want a red splash for Contested Cliffs, which is one of the main reasons to play Beast in the first place – and is in itself problematic, because in multiple copies it prevents you from casting Leatherback Baloth on curve, something that I solved by running Crop Rotation, though it's not ideal.


 Moving on, here's a Faerie deck by ThyShuffler, to warm us up to Throne of Eldraine's upcoming spoiler season. Back to Basics is a headache for many lists, but the reason why it's a fair card compared to Price of Progress is that it doesn't win games right then and there; it defends you from greedy or degenerate mana bases by slowing them down, it doesn't leverage their existence to make you win the game; and it doesn't entirely negate the mana production either – in fact, it's not even that good against multiple Gaea's Cradles, for instance.


 Finally, here's an Enchantress deck (formally: Druid) by Nagarjuna. Always good to see an Enchantress deck making a comeback every once in a while. They need to strike a delicate balance to perform in Tribal Wars, but they can be explosive. This deck marks a debut as well: Hall of Heliod's Generosity, the enchantment-friendly take on Volrath's Stronghold from Modern Horizons.



 Here's the prices of all the featured decks, courtesy of the Deck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of August 2, 2019):

  • Nydethess's Elves: $57.16
  • Kumagoro's Beasts: $109.87
  • CruelHellraiser's Beasts: $8.55
  • ThyShuffler's Faeries: $66.84
  • Nagarjuna's Druids: $43.27

 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. Bandit Keith's Soldiers, $3.48, 1st place on Event 422
  9. MisterMojoRising's Insects, $3.55, 2nd place on Event 201
  10. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.58, 1st place on Event 169

 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. Bandit Keith's Soldiers, $3.48, 1st place on Event 422

 NOTE: not adjusted to current prices; data collected since Event 85.


 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 one eligible tribe for the award: Trilobite.

 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, Nightstalker. Already cleared: Atog, Crocodile, Homarid, Incarnation, Jackal, Leech, Licid, Manticore, Metathran, Monger, Moonfolk, Octopus, Orgg, Ouphe, Ox, Processor, Rabbit, Salamander, 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):

  • 9.30 (Week 447 BE), on August 3: Underdog
  • 9.31 (Week 448 BE), on August 10: Standard
  • 9.32 (Week 449 BE), on August 17: Modern
  • 9.33 (Week 450 BE), on August 24: Legacy

Check out the ban lists and the event calendar.
Next banned and restricted announcement: October 4.
Current watch list:
 Aether Vial, Mutavault, Thalia's Lieutenant.



Art disclaimers. Revel in Riches art by Eric Deschamps; Herald of Anafenza art by Aaron Miller.