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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Dec 06 2019 1:20pm
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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

 The Pioneer era has started! The future is now! And the format is appropriately still in constant flux, if you consider that just two days after our first Pioneer Tribal Wars event, three more bannings happened (and more will possibly happen next Monday).


 Curiously, only one of these three showed up in our event, and just in one list (to be fair, Once Upon a Time still has to be played at all in any of our subformats, while Field of the Dead was just played once).

 Next year we'll insert Pioneer in the monthly rotation. How exactly, it's not clear yet. Stay tuned.


  • Event Number: 9.47, Week 464 BE
  • Date: November 30
  • Attendance: 12
  • Rounds: 3
  • Subformat: Pioneer
  • Winner: -DiamondDust- with Vampire
  • 1 Loss: Generalissimo with Dinosaur, Deonmag with Vampire, ThyShuffler with Elf, romellos with Knight, lovetapsmtg with Noble
  • Dark Horse Prize: lovetapsmtg with Noble
  • Tribes: Dinosaur, Elf, Giant, Human (x2), Knight, Noble, Spirit, Vampire (x3), Zombie
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 For some reason, Vampires thrive in new formats, as they were among the earlier winners in several of them. It happened again thanks to DiamondDust, who for Pioneer's tribal debut chose a very streamlined Orzhov list featuring tons of removal (we're still learning what's best in a format with no Path to Exile, Dismember or Lightning Bolt). Here's in his own words the reasons behind the preference of Vampire of the Dire Moon over Knight of the Ebon Legion as his one-drop: "Dire Moon is underrated. I like having native lifelink+deathtouch in my early creatures, because they pretty much work as both aggro, removal, and extra life padding. Ebon Legion is better when you know you'll be dealing 4 damage every turn off crewing a Copter (RIP) with Night Market Lookout, but for our "20 threats, 16 answers" format I wanted a card that could both take down something much more valuable with zero effort and make my opponents think twice about spending removal on it."


 I find interesting to look at how far back these decks reach into Pioneer's pool of cards, i.e. how many of their cards actually set them apart from just being "last year's Standard". And there aren't much of them, to be honest. In DiamondDust's build, we have Hero's Downfall and Thoughtseize from Theros as "ancient" cards, then Grasp of Darkness from Oath of the Gatewatch and Declaration in Stone from Shadows over Innistrad, as mid-period cards. The rest is either Standard-legal or was not so long ago.

 Monogreen has been a major force in this initial stretch of Pioneer, and ThyShuffler represented it well in Tribal Apocalypse with this Elf build that includes all the main players, from Steel Leaf Champion to its natural payoffs Rhonas the Indomitable and Ghalta, Primal Hunger. And of course the team of eight turn-one accelerants.


 Most of this deck seems Historic-based (the MTG Arena format that's mostly current Standard plus 2018-2019 Standard). The older one with a prominent role is Elvish Mystic from Magic 2015. Then Bow of Nylea is from Theros; Aspect of Hydra is from Born of the Gods; and Collected Company is from Dragons of Tarkir. Sylvan Messenger is of course a pre-Modern card, but was reprinted in Magic Origins.


 Speaking of Dinosaurs large and small (but mostly large), Generalissimo has built a deck for them in Gruul, and he's showing and telling all about it in his video for Show and Tell. Hooray for new Generalissimo videos!


 Of course the Dino tribe didn't exist before Ixalan block, so this deck is almost entirely a case of "it was Standard-legal three months ago". Only exceptions are Domri Rade, who's from Gatecrash, so older than anything else we've mentioned so far, and some of the lands: the reveal lands are from Shadows over Innistrad; the cycling dual lands are from Amonkhet.

 The introduction of Pioneer marks a big change in Magic: The Gathering's competitive life, and even Tribal Apocalypse legend romellos (the second most successful tribal player of all times) felt the call to it and got back into the fold for the occasion, piloting this Knight deck with plenty of off-tribe heavy hitters from the past, like Avacyn, Kalitas and Brimaz.


 The oldest actual Knight here is Knight of the White Orchid, originally from Shards of Alara, reprinted in Magic Origins. Then Brimaz, King of Oreskos is from Born of the Gods, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is from Battle for Zendikar, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet is from Oath of the Gatewatch, and Archangel Avacyn is from Shadows over Innistrad, which is one of the most represented older sets in Pioneer, probably speaking to its higher power level. Liliana, the Last Hope hails from the follow-up set, Eldritch Moon. Very few choices go all the way back to Return to Ravnica block, and Khans of Tarkir block also doesn't seem too popular.



 Here's the prices of all the featured decks, courtesy of the Deck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of December 6 2019):

  • DiamondDust's Vampires: $84.94
  • ThyShuffler's Elves: $41.05
  • Generalissimo's Dinosaurs: $26.87
  • romellos's Knights: $188.34

 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.


 Here's Generalissimo's Dinosaur list in action.


 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 currently are no eligible tribes 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. Still to clear: Antelope, Goat. Already cleared: Atog, Crocodile, Homarid, Incarnation, Jackal, Leech, Licid, Manticore, Metathran, Monger, Moonfolk, Nightstalker, 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):

  • 9.48 (Week 465 BE), on December 7: Underdog
  • 9.49 (Week 466 BE), on December 14: Standard
  • 9.50 (Week 467 BE), on December 21: Modern
  • 9.51 (Week 468 BE), on December 28: Legacy

Check out the ban lists and the event calendar.
Next banned and restricted announcement: December 27.
Current watch list:
 Aether Vial, Gaea's Cradle, Witch's Vengeance.



Art disclaimers. Revel in Riches art by Eric Deschamps; Show and Tell art by Jeff Laubenstein; Herald of Anafenza art by Aaron Miller.