Kumagoro42's picture
By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Nov 22 2011 4:33am
Login to post comments

*** Tribal Apocalypse: Week 45 BE ***
The Human League 

 Welcome back for another reportage of Tribal Apocalypse! As the title suggests, the 45th event of the Blippian Era was strangely overpopulated by Human decks: almost half of the registered players ran our fantasy counterparts, probably a side effect of Innistrad drawing attention to the tribe, which being the largest one in the game (by a huge margin: the second largest, Wizard, has less than half the members), is surely varied. So, with such favorable odds, do the Humans actually managed to seal the deal on this one? The answer is below, but first...

Announcement Time!


 Thanks to the valiant efforts of vantar6697, I introduce you to the amazing Tribal Apocalypse's Tribe Popularity Table! It's a 2-sheet survey on all the tribes people are bringing to our favorite event, both week-by-week and as breakdown statistics. It's calculated over the events held since Week 11, as that week saw the launch of the Endangered Prize, therefore the data for the registered tribes started being marked down only from that moment on. Reading the current stats, it seems that this very last event helped Human to reach the top spot among the most used tribes. A bit more surprising is the second place of the Zombies, which never did too well in terms of Top 4 placements this year, but are still a much beloved tribe apparently. We also see how 95 over the 204 available tribes still lie unplayed, and while most of them are hardly playable (or at all), there are some big tribes that were never given a chance to compete, like Shapeshifter, Drake, or Ogre. So, keep an eye on the unplayed list, because there will be special prizes for the first player to break one of those never-before-seen tribes within one of the upcoming TribAp events. (Also, feel free to report errors in the list, in some cases hasn't been possible to retrieve the full data).

 Second announcement: the Hall of Fame has been renewed as well, and now it features a complete list of each event's Top 4 ranking (you can find it in the second sheet). So now you can see where all those Hall of Fame points came from. Also, the Hall of Fame ranking itself is going to be put to some use, but I'll give more details about this at the end of the article.

 So, back to business. We're going to see a lot of Human decklists this time, right? Well, wrong, actually, since almost all the Human decks underperformed (including my own and Etriol's, both of which -- and especially the latter -- will take some revenge during the following event, when the dominating tribe will be, strangely enough, a totally different one). In the middle of this Human debacle, the deck that emerged as the 1st place holder, being the only undefeated, was this one by DirtyDuck:


 Cat has been a very popular and successful tribe at Tribal Apocalypse (the most successful of all, actually: this is their 5th win), and the Legacy Zoo-like build is still one of the strongest decks you can pilot within the event, with or without  Tarmogoyf (in this case: with). Resisting the widespread temptation of adding a blue splash for card-drawing and/or disruption, DirtyDuck focused on maximizing the aggro damage of his lightning-fast felines: both Rancor and Berserk are classic power-boosters which will never get old.

 At 2nd place we find another very Legacy-worth tribe which never stops to prove its devastating strength every time somebody takes it for a ride:


 (I know, I have to find other ways to call the decks than with the name of the tribe followed by an exclamation point. Help me here, folks, give your decklists a name when you post them!) An experienced player like endless_nameless knows well that Metalworker's power is inversely proportional to the silliness of its art. Colorless Constructs, with or without Cloudpost (in this case: without), are capable of both fueling ginormous threats through the deadly combination of  Ancient TombGrim Monolith and the abovementioned little robot, or enlarging early peons (including, again, the little robot itself) thanks to power-boosting cards like Steel Overseer and Cranial Plating. So, yeah, they can be like more sophisticated Cats, somehow. The Cloudpost variants are less explosive in the first turns but more likely to feature one-side sweeping in the form of the Eldrazi-endorsed All Is Dust.

 The 3rd place is where we find the only Human deck which managed to end among the Top 4, as piloted by grapplingfarang. Here's the list:


 I piloted (this time badly) a Selesnya version of the same concept: mass land destruction through Armageddons (or lookalikes) into a big Knight of the Reliquary backed up by versatile mana creatures like the new Avacyn's Pilgrim or the always effective Noble Hierarch. The Bant build by grapplingfarang, though, not only took more advantage of the blue mana production from the Hierarch, but gained itself the chance to include a significant Counterspell suite (with Daze being especially relevant pre-Armageddon) and the best card advantage spell this side of Ancestral Recall, i.e. Brainstorm. Plus Snapcaster Mage, of course. Brilliant build.

 Same colors but entirely different tribe and strategy for the 4th place deck by veteran builder Lord Erman.


 Lately Erman seems deeply fascinated by the portability of the Cawblade archetype into Tribal (last time with a very original Fish build, and we'll see him successfully running another Cawblade tribe again on Week 46). The Rogues are a self-explanatory step forward in this captivating work in progress, since their stealthiness makes them natural blade-carriers. There's a reason Invisible Stalker is the new star of the most recent Standard build of the archetype, but more interesting here are cards like Cold-Eyed Selkie (too bad there was no room for Spreading Seas this time), Sygg, River Cutthroat, and Edric, Spymaster of Trest, this latter recently brought to us via the Commander pre-con decks (it's included in the "Mirror Mastery" deck).

 All in all, two other Human decks managed to end 2-1 (while not achieving Top 4 ranking). We'll talk about Etriol's deck in the next installment, where we will find him much more glorified. Let's have a look at AJ_Impy's latest creation, then, where the focus isn't so much on the creatures as it is on the land base.


 The idea of a joint venture between Valakut and Emeria, the two most celebrated legendary-yet-not-quite-legendary lands from Zendikar, feels very AJ-ish. The challenge in fully exploiting just one of them is a known quantity at this point, but what about exploiting both at once? For start, you need to be able to get a lot of both mountains and plains on the battlefield, and this is where full playsets of Plateau and Sacred Foundry come to help. The deck is not just about this, however, since there's another relevant theme here: 1cc creatures. In fact, the Human base features almost entirely 1-drop dudes, capable of fulfilling multiple roles: aggression (Serra AscendantStudent of Warfare, Champion of the Parish), lifegain (Martyr of Sands), protection (Benevolent Bodyguard), or sheer, dragon-related badassery (Dragonmaster Outcast). Plus, of course, linking back to the titular theme by tutoring the two lands in question, thanks to Commander favorite Weathered Wayfarer. The 1cc theme is further supported by Ranger of Eos and Proclamation of Rebirth, which allow a fair amount of card advantage through, respectively, deck tutoring and graveyard recursion, this latter remanding again to the Emeria subtheme, while the Valakut side is helped by Magus of the Moon (in a rare, active use of this card for a purpose other than hosing the opponent). Definitely my favorite build of the week.

   While no Endangered Prize was assigned this time, since no deck was eligible for the prize (shame!), I'd like to wrap this up by mentioning this Elf deck by Felorin:


 This deck didn't rank very high, but it's noteworthy for bringing attention to this card:

 Let's first hear a brief report from the mouth (well, the keyboard) of Felorin himself: "I didn't want to go 0-2 drop again like Halloween, so I dusted off the old 'Turn-2 Elves' deck from Pro Tour Berlin (as played in 2008 by Luis Scott-Vargas, Tomoharu Saito and others - Editor's note). Here's my version of it. Game 2 against grapplingfarang (who was playing the Human deck listed above - Editor's note) I thought I had him when I did Pact to get Birchlore Rangers so I could cast Orzhov Pontiff and wipe his 4 or 5 creatures with 1 toughness, then deliver the Elf beatdowns. Turns out his last spell in hand was a land-wiper and I couldn't pay for the pact."

 I always find interesting when a famous non-tribal deck is adapted into the tribal format. You can read here  a detailed description of this particular version of the more general Glimpse Elf combo archetype. It was huge during the Extended season three years ago, and even if it could use other tools within a contemporary Legacy environment, it can still appear fearsome when it launches a well-fed Predator Dragon for the lethal out of nowhere. This said, for now let's just keep in mind that little storm-enabling card above and the name of Felorin's opponent, because a curious thing will happen at the next event. (I know, I shouldn't wait to write these articles until after another event has been held. It's in my list of intentions for the new year. Or month. Or week).

 Lastly, I'd like to remind you of the many upcoming Tribal Apocalypse Special Events (now with new and improved names).


- November 26: Slugapalooza. 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.


  Ezuri, Renegade Leader

 - 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. A special list of banned cards for the event is in development.


 - December 24: Christmas Special: Let It Snow. Each deck must contain white, red, or green cards only, and at least 1 card of each of those colors (for this purpose, multicolor and hybrid cards count towards each of their colors, but Transguild Courier is not allowed). More so, only lands producing white, red, green or colorless mana may be used. The highest-placed Snow deck (meaning a deck where all the permanents have the Snow supertype) will receive 1 bonus tix.


 - December 31: New Year Special: End of Days. 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. More details will follow.


 - January 21: 2011 Hall of Fame Invitational: Thunderdome Royale. The time has come. The Hall of Fame is no more a mildly interesting extravaganza that some guy is maintaining in order to keep his OCD at bay. Now it will be the way to achieve celebrity, power, and some big, fat card. And when I say "big, fat card", I mean it. I'll say no more. At the dawn of the second tribal season of the Blippian Era, the Top 16 ranked players (as of the 52th and conclusive event of 2011, which will be held on December 31) will challenge each other to a single elimination mayhem featuring special rules which will be announced at the right time                 There will be only one! (Because, you know, it's single elimination).


Pretty sure I've played half by Paul Leicht at Tue, 11/22/2011 - 06:26
Paul Leicht's picture

Pretty sure I've played half of the "unwanted" tribes. But then again this only counts forward from a relatively short while. Have fun whomever actually makes a spot in the invitational.

As much as I'd like to take by AJ_Impy at Tue, 11/22/2011 - 21:00
AJ_Impy's picture

As much as I'd like to take credit, Magus of the Moon turns off Valakut, and is entirely there to hose the opposition deck. Nearly worked in the sole loss to a *-drazi ramp deck.

Well, you're right, of by Kumagoro42 at Wed, 11/23/2011 - 12:39
Kumagoro42's picture

Well, you're right, of course. I guess I was just caught in the excitement for the list. :)

A quick correction: While it by Lord Erman at Wed, 11/23/2011 - 03:25
Lord Erman's picture

A quick correction: While it is true that I find X-Blade as an easy way to build decks for the format (especially useful when I decide to enter the PRE 10mins before it's about to start and I have no idea what to play), the rogues deck I played that week had absolutely nothing to do with that archetype. It was basically "evasive creatures plus some nice cards to enhance them" kind of a deck. That's not X-Blade.

Just wanted to correct that.

Regarding the hall of fame tournament: It's a pity that I stopped playing in the PRE for like a year or so because now I'm out of top-16. And now it doesn't seem possible for me to make into the first 16 considering the time left for the tournament. Enter sad face here. Ah well, I'll hopefully play next year then.


Well, yeah, you're right that by Kumagoro42 at Wed, 11/23/2011 - 12:54
Kumagoro42's picture

Well, yeah, you're right that this "evasive + swords + Jace" build is missing some of the components of a true X-Blade deck, namely Stoneforge Mystic and maybe even a more control-ish disruption suite (which is anyway hard to find room for in Tribal - you still had a good amount of removals, though). It still incorporates a good chunk of the signature X-Blade cards. Since you deemed X-Blade your previous Fish and your following Bird deck, I just supposed this was part of a long-term experiment. I was actually writing right now about how Birds proved to be the natural arrival point for the archetype. :)

Re: the Top 16. There're still 6 tournaments left this year and you're like one 1st place short of the Top 16. You can still make it. :)

The only reason why I play by Lord Erman at Wed, 11/23/2011 - 18:18
Lord Erman's picture

The only reason why I play the same archetype over and over these days is something very simple: I always decide to play in the PRE at the very last minute and don't have time to build/test anything. Both the fishblade and the cawblade decks were a result of me don't having time to build something original.

This week I will sadly miss the tournament and I don't know what will happen next week. It seems that I will stay outside of top 16 at the end.

Anyway, I'll at least come and watch you guys slaughter each other!


Ill be out of the top 50-100 by Paul Leicht at Wed, 11/23/2011 - 20:03
Paul Leicht's picture

Ill be out of the top 50-100 so don't feel too bad. :D