Kumagoro42's picture
By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Feb 25 2022 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

 Is Pioneer a dying format? I've been asking this question for a while now. The latest non-rotating format, introduce in 2020 with some fanfare, doesn't seem to attract much attention anymore, and it's not just because of COVID. YouTube has very little content about it; for one, ChannelFireball dropped it entirely long ago (and they're not too picky with niche or novel formats, as they cover Pauper, Historic and even Alchemy). And if we look at the data from MTGTop8.com for 2021, Pioneer has 2355 registered lists versus the 5752 of Modern and the 3909 of Legacy – and Legacy isn't even a popular format, due to its budget requirements. The release of the Pioneer Challenger Decks last October, a move that was purposely meant to re-energize the format, doesn't seem to have had much of an effect.

 From our corner of the world, we can see that the Pioneer tribal meta appears pretty much solved. Seven of the last ten events have been won by either Spirit or Angel – and that figure becomes 100% if we look at the last five events. We can try and stop these two tribes with a surgical ban or two – and that's an approach we can take right away, before the next Pioneer event on March 19 – but we should also consider if we still want to do Pioneer events altogether, or maybe we would be better off replacing them with something else next year, as part of the Reform.


  • Event Number: Week 578 BE
  • Date: February 19
  • Attendance: 7
  • Rounds: 3
  • Subformat: Pioneer
  • Winner: Bandit Keith with Spirit
  • 1-loss: csrrcr with Spirit, ThyShuffler with Angel
  • Dark Horse Prize: Takeoutree with Citizen
  • New Kids on the Block Award: Takeoutree with Citizen
  • Tribes: Angel, Citizen, Kirin, Merfolk, Spirit (x2), Vampire
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 You can see how the only tribes that had a positive result last week were indeed Spirit and Angel. What else was interesting, then? Well, Citizen debuted in the format and cleared the New Kids on the Block Award, all by hand of our valiant host, Takeoutree. As I mentioned last week, the current Citizen lineup is pretty good, if minimal. The potential for growth exists, as it's not hard to envision new members being added in most every set, but this sacrifice/Food build is already a good start.


 Neon Dynasty brought renewed attention to another tiny tribe, Kirin. You need at least the Pioneer pool to field a Kirin deck, and this list by AJ_Impy shows how they could look like in Jeskai, the color combination of their new legendary, Hinata.


 Finally, an errata from last week's article. Winter.Wolf didn't enter the Standard event with Werewolf (which he did the week before in Underdog). Instead, he piloted another Kamigawa tribe, Ninja. Apologies. The build is declined in Abzan colors, something the tribe wasn't able to do before Neon Dynasty.



 Here's the prices of all the featured decks (MTGO Traders prices as of February 25, 2022):

  • Takeoutree's Citizens: $12.80
  • AJ_Impy's Kirin: $79.54
  • Winter.Wolf's Ninjas: $63.26

 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):

  • 12.07 (Week 579 BE), on February 26: Modern

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



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