Kumagoro42's picture
By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Oct 01 2021 7:44pm

 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

 It's October, the mont that will end with the Halloween event, so it's as good as time as any to review the Spooky Tribes, and see if there are changes to be made. Let's start with the obvious ones, which is all the classic horror monsters: Demon, Devil, Skeleton, Vampire, Werewolf, and Zombie. In MagicImps are essentially little, usually winged Devils, so those are beyond debate, too. And of course the catchall tribe, Horror.


 The ghostly department is spread between a lot of different tribes. Spirit is the major one, though the Kamigawa versions are kami, which are more like nature's spirits. On the other hand, beings like those one can see in Spirited Away are definitely Halloween-friendly. It's more like the Carven Caryatid version that we'd like to avoid, and that's not linked to Kamigawa, per se. I' say the elemental or natural varieties of Spirits firmly reside in red and green (some appear in blue, but it's not easy to separate them from the "departed" Spirits), so I've added a clause that Spirit decks must not include red or green members in Halloween events. The rest of the phantasms are comprised of Shades, Specters, and Wraiths. They all seem perfectly Halloween-y. Specters are typically represented in a form that reminds of the Nazgûl from Lord of the Rings, though they were actually referred to as "wraiths". Wraith itself is a five-member tribe that hasn't gotten a new member since 2009, so it should probably be treated as retired, but it's not a reason to exclude it from Halloween parties.


 Next we have the scary animals: Bats, Black Cats, Spiders, non-humanoid Rats and Snakes. It's kind of arbitrary to consider these the "Halloween pets"; on the other hand, bats are associated with vampires and black cats with witches, so there's that. Speaking of which, or should I say, speaking of witch, new-ish tribe Warlock was added to the list, as it seemed like a no-brainer (as even the green-white versions of Midnight Hunt evoke folk horror), and so did Phyrexian, being a Hellraiser-derived, body-horror-inclined race of monstrosities. To be fair, if a literary inspiration can be the rationale, then the Eldrazi should also be there, given that they directly emanate from H.P. Lovecraft's cosmic horror. Thing is, we really don't want the Eldrazi in Halloween Tribal. So, sure, they should be a Spooky Tribe by right, but then they should also be instantly banned from the event, so what would even be the point.


 Some less conspicuous, but still solid inclusions: Hag is a form of witch that takes the aspect of an old woman; Nightmare is kind of self-explanatory. same as Nightstalker (though the latter never showed up in modern Magic and is likely discontinued); a living Scarecrow belongs in horror fiction, even if it could sometimes be more fairytale-ish; and disembodied Eyes are certainly spooky enough. Assassin is a job, as grisly as it is; however, the class encompasses the Halloween-adjacent serial killer concept, as Fleshtaker from Midnight Hunt perfectly encapsulated, movie references and all.


 Now we cross into more uncertain territory: the Spooky Tribes coming from mythology. Faerie is the first whose presence in this list seems kind of uncalled for, even if we only concern ourselves with the black members. Is Rankle, Master of Pranks a scary creature? Is Oona, Queen of the Fae? I don't think so, honestly. Plus, there are black Elves that are very similar in flavor and stem from the same Celtic sources. I don't think that Faerie has a really strong reason to be among the Spooky Tribes. Same goes for Gorgon. Is a lady with snakes on her head inherently more horrorific than one with the body of a snake or horns and hooves? I mean, in Magic Vraska is a heroine whose stories are filled with adventure and romance, not horror. I believe the image of a Gorgon as a scary monster in contemporary pop culture mostly comes from Clash of the Titans, but that's kind of a dated representation.


 Another one from Greek mythology is Harpy. As far as half-human half-animal hybrids go, are Harpies even scarier than Sphinges, Sirens or even Merfolk? I doubt it, but there's a case to be made for the Magic version of Harpies leaning more towards the horrifying depiction, since they're all black and the artwork makes them routinely seem as predatory. The same can't be said for Homunculus and,  to a lesser extent Thrull. Sure, these are monsters, and are supposed to be sort of lab assistants, but so are Weird. It's not just about looking hideous and unnatural, otherwise Beast would also be part of the group. It needs a certain aesthetic, and Homunculi in particular feel more cartoonish than spooky. They're basically comic relief.


 Last but not least, Gargoyle does have the Gothic aesthetic down, originating as it does from medieval architecture. At the end of the day, though, they're just statues that come to life. I'm sure there are horror movies with scary Gargoyles as the monster of the story (although, non-horror depictions like Disney's Gargoyles TV show and The Hunchback of Notre Dame might be more popular), but that's the case of Golem too. In fact, Golem has one very seminal Expressionist horror film to its name.

 Finally, for the same reason Pirate had already been discarded (being a Halloween costume of choice is irrelevant; princesses are too), Shark is not going to make the cut, despite the cinematic horror pedigree. I'm going to wait for feedback on Discord about all of this, then see if we want to trim the list a little. I would be inclined to remove Faerie, Gorgon, Homunculus, Thrull, and Gargoyle. More options may be a good thing, but it's also a festive special event, in which a consistent thematic characterization is to prioritize.


  • Event Number: Week 559 BE
  • Date: September 25
  • Attendance: 11
  • Rounds: 3
  • Subformat: Legacy
  • Winner: -DiamondDust- with Elemental
  • 1-loss: Bandit Keith with Sliver, csrrcr with Sliver, ThyShuffler with Crab, Generalissimo with Beast, Takeoutree with Kithkin
  • Dark Horse Prize: AJ_Impy with Minion, lovetapsmtg with Hyena
  • New Repopulation Award: lovetapsmtg with Hyena
  • Tribes: Beast, Crab, Elemental (x2), Elf, Hyena, Kithkin, Minion, Sliver (x2), Zombie
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 Without much clamor, a black-red burn-based Elemental list has won three of the past five Legacy events. In all three cases, the tribal lineup included Ball Lightning, Kiln Fiend, Lightning Skelemental, and Thunderkin Awakener. -Diamond-Dust-'s last winning build opted for Ashenmoor Gouger over Chandra's Spitfire or Chandra's Incinerator.


 Jumping past the Sliver lists, we find a surprising Crab in the Top 4. But then you look at the actual list and find out it's just packing all the possible two-card prison combos in the format, and Crabs merely as window-dressing. So thank you, but no, thank you. Let's look at Generalissimo's Beast build, instead, which abused ETB triggers in a fair way and still managed to end in the money.


 Also, Kithkin hasn't been prominent in a while. It used to be a major force in the event, but it hasn't achieved a first place since season seven. The lack of new blood in the tribe has probably much to do with its decline. Takeoutree's list had a good showing, though. And it's a 3-buck deck! Although, I'm not sure a singleton, non-fetchable Gaddock Teeg is worth the green splash.



 Here's the prices of all the featured decks, courtesy of the Deck Pricer from mtgGoldfish (MTGO Traders prices as of October 1, 2021):

  • -DiamondDust-'s Elementals: $17.50
  • Generalissimo's Beasts: $57.60
  • Takeoutree's Kithkin: $3.00

 The Top 10 Cheapest Decks that Went Undefeated

  1. -DiamondDust-'s Dinosaurs, $0.98, 2nd place on Event 539
  2. SirFalcon2008's Goblins, $1.54, 1st place on Event 389
  3. mihahitlor's Warriors, $1.95, 1st place on Event 233
  4. morpphling's Vampires, $2.25, 1st place on Event 285
  5. morpphling's Goblins, $2.35, 2nd place on Event 102
  6. JogandoPelado's Berserkers, $2.80, 1st place on Event 248
  7. kokonade1000's Berserkers, $2.95, 2nd place on Event 354
  8. MisterMojoRising's Beasts, $.3.01, 1st place on Event 484
  9. Gq1rf7's Goblins, $3.32, 1st place on Event 154
  10. Bandit Keith's Soldiers, $3.48, 1st place on Event 422

 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 Dark Horse 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: Beholder.

 The New Repopulation Award: Play all rounds of a Tribal Apocalypse event with a tribe that's been played only three times or fewer, and you'll get a 1-tix certificate from MTGO Traders. The list of eligible tribes is here (the leftmost column, from the end). Tribes that didn't exist before this season aren't eligible.

 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):

  • 11.39 (Week 560 BE), on October 2: Underdog
  • 11.40 (Week 561 BE), on October 9: Standard
  • 11.41 (Week 562 BE), on October 16: Pioneer
  • 11.42 (Week 563 BE), on October 23: Modern
  • 11.43 (Week 564 BE), on October 30: Halloween

Check out the ban lists and the event calendar.
Next banned and restricted announcement: October 1.
Current watch list:
 Conspicuous SnoopCrippling Fear Shrieking Affliction.



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