Kumagoro42's picture
By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Nov 13 2020 1:00pm

 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

 In the face of Assembly-Worker becoming more and more of a force to be reckoned with where colorless Cloudpost-friendly tribes are concerned, I thought I looked back and took stock of the current position of what's possibly the crown prince of those creature types, namely Golem. And, eh, the humanoid robots aren't in a good place right now. They have won one event in the past seven years – and that was more than two years ago. They have been played only three times this season, and only in one occasion they actually completed the tournament (as opposed to immediately dropping out following a sad turn-one 0-2 result). And that was in January, when CruelHellraiser piloted a list featuring most of the tribe's best members.


 Of course their main strength is interacting favorably with All Is Dust, but that's true of all the other artifact tribes. Their weakness, on the other hand, seems to be never finding a good curve. Their top-end is definitely covered, but there's a large gap in between the disruptive Lodestone Golem and its bigger brethren. I mean, Blightsteel Colossus is a game-ending threat, but even Post decks struggle getting to 12 mana before linear aggro dispatches them. Sundering Titan is 33% cheaper, and again it plays perfectly with a Post mana base, but against monocolored builds, it just kills one of their lands and then it gets chump-blocked. All these curve-topping beaters are also easily dispatched by a single exile spell.


 So what kind of card advantage can the tribe provide, either as card draw or as multiple bodies per card? Precursor Golem is not the type of downside you want to have around in your tribal deck. Brass Herald is fine, but grossly overcosted for a 3/3. Golden Guardian is extremely clunky to get going. Etched Monstrosity is probably the best bet at digging deeper into the library, although it requires a specific mana setup on top of the Post framework. And in the meantime, the lower part of the curve is almost entirely unattended (Hewed Stone Retainers is playable, but not really a three-drop). Granted, that's the point in the game when a Post deck develops its mana and is busy casting and activating stuff like Expedition Map, only to catch up later via All Is Dust and the lifegain from Glimmerpost. But this battleplan is the same Eldrazi, Construct, Scarecrow and Assembly-Worker also use. So what's the specific appeal with Golem? I, for one, have no answer to that question.


 And the near future isn't looking too bright, either. The last couple of years of premier sets did nothing for the tribe, adding no new rare members at all (Golden Guardian is the most recent rare Golem from a premier set and it dates to January 2018). Commander 2018 had Ancient Stone Idol, which, admittedly, deserves more attention than it's getting, as it's a recurring threat that capitalizes on the assaults of faster tribes and can easily ambush something. And then we move directly to the upcoming Commander Legends, which has three new members worth testing, including the first mythic Golem in more than nine years (and the third overall to ever be printed at that rarity after Blightsteel Colossus and Etched Monstrosity). Then again, both the recursive Phyrexian Triniform and the common cascading Maelstrom Colossus are just more fodder for the upper steps of the curve, albeit both prevent us from being defeated by a single spot removal spell. Conversely, the legendary uncommon Armix, Filigree Thrasher is an early drop, and doubles as removal. Not sure relying on early black to get an attack trigger on a two-toughness creature is going to solve the tribe's problems, but it might be worth a shot. Golem reanimator, maybe?


  • Event Number: Week 513 BE
  • Date: November 7
  • Attendance: 11
  • Rounds: 3
  • Subformat: Underdog
  • Winner: AJ_Impy with Ninja
  • Runner-up: Nagarjuna with Assembly-Worker
  • 1-loss: Yokai_ with Ninja, Arigal with Artificer, pk87 with Ninja, arcbounddaylabor with Werewolf
  • Up-and-Coming Prize: AJ_Impy with Ninja
  • Dark Horse Prize: lovetapsmtg with Squid
  • Tribes: Artificer (x2), Assembly-Worker (x3), Ninja (x3), Scout, Specter, Sphinx, Squid, Werewolf, Wraith
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 Al the talk about Assembly-Worker being the new best Post offspring, but then it was Ninja that took the Underdog crown last week, for the first time ever – and just in time to be moved away from the Unhallowed list before the Council decides it's too strong to take part in Underdog events anymore. It's amazing how a tribe that has been inextricably linked to a plane we never visited again (and possibly never will) keeps getting new blood. Like the amazing Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow from Commander 2018, currently sold for $25 apiece. AJ_Impy indulged her in this list.


 As for the hyphenated tribe, Assembly-Worker got close to a second win in two months, this time while being piloted by Nagarjuna. See, compared to Golem, they have a functional curve and a way to put to use the late-game mana production by making more copies of themselves. Like a factory's assembly line, indeed.


 And speaking of tribes deemed too strong to Underdog, remember when Werewolf was dominant? To the point that it was at first removed from the fold, then years later it got reinstated, and now it's doing just okay. This build by arcbounddaylabor tries to be low to the ground (no Werewolf here costs more than three), with some degree of success. Of course the lycanthropes are gonna get an entire set focused on them next fall, so we'll see what happens by then.


 Unloved tribe of the week: Squid. It's the fifth appearance of the tribe overall, the first since 2017. Skyclave Squid is a decent new member, but of course the term "decent" is relative when talking of Squids. This deck by lovetapsmtg did manage to beat one Assembly-Worker list, though, so there's that.



 Here's the prices of all the featured decks, courtesy of the Deck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of November 13, 2020):

  • AJ_Impy's Ninjas: $262.60
  • Nagarjuna's Assembly-Workers: $96.24
  • arcbounddaylabor's Werewolves: $73.87
  • lovetapsmtg's Squids: $10.76

 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. MisterMojoRising's Beasts, $.3.01, 1st place on Event 484
  8. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.32, 1st place on Event 154
  9. Bandit Keith's Soldiers, $3.48, 1st place on Event 422
  10. MisterMojoRising's Insects, $3.55, 2nd place on Event 201

 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. MisterMojoRising's Beasts, $3.01, 1st place on Event 484

 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. Tribes currently eligible for the award: Otter.

 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. Already cleared: Atog, Crocodile, Goat, 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 five times before coming back to the undefeated one). This means a different tribe; in some cases, specific combo or archetype-defining cards will also be locked out. 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):

  • 10.45 (Week 514 BE), on November 14: Standard
  • 10.46 (Week 515 BE), on November 21: Pioneer
  • 10.47 (Week 516 BE), on November 28: Modern

Check out the ban lists and the event calendar.
Next banned and restricted announcement: December 23.
Current watch list:
 Aether VialBatterskullCloudpostHymn to Tourach,
NecromancyShrieking AfflictionSinkholeWitch's Vengeance.



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