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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Mar 23 2012 8:45am
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*** Tribal Apocalypse: Week 63 BE ***
The enemy of my enemy is my ally

 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse with its link that will tell you everything you need to know in order to play in the only Tribal Wars PRE on the whole MTGO scene.

 So, no Elf rant needed this week. Or better, there was just one Elf deck in the Top 4 out of the three participants, which is all you can hope in a sunny day. (Seriously, at some point someone will have to take drastic measures against the old pointed-eared folks. Then you will all cry, you greedy, greedy Elf players. But it will be too late at that point! Too late!). (Of course, I have to quote our showrunner BlippyTheSlug saying, "Elves are a fact of life in the Tribal Apocalypse environment. They're not going to go away.", to which I agree. But it's also true that you can do something against the Elfball archetype specifically, not all Elves. After all, WotC itself is banning out of annoyance towards ubiquitous decks that monopolize formats, isn't it?). We also had four Tribal Apocalypse true aficionados at the top this week, so let's just skip to what happened, shall we?

  • Event Number: 11 (2012), 63 (all-time)
  • Date: March 17
  • Attendance: 24
  • Rounds: 4
  • Special Rules: none
  • Top 4: Nagarjuna (Ally, undefeated); raf.azevedo (Elf, undefeated); AJ_Impy (Knight, 1 loss); gbagyt (Artificer, 1 loss)
  • Special Prizes: Endangered Prize to Unfabulous (Mystic)
  • Tribes: Ally (x2), Artificer (x2), Assassin, Elder, Elf (x3), Goblin (x2), Insect, Knight, Merfolk (x2), Mystic, Orc, Spirit (x2), Vampire (x2), Werewolf, Zombie (x2)
  • Virgin Tribes: Orc by vantar6697 (highest-ranked); Elder by GWN

 It seems that the Innistrad tribes are always present lately. We've seen at least one Werewolf deck each week in the last few events. Way to appeal to popular tropes, eh? Also, I have to applaud GWN for rising up to my own silly challenge from last week, and playing the ridiculously awful Elder tribe. Yeah, that's right, someone take my invitation very seriously, trying to take back the tix the 20 doofuses would cost out of my own pocket.


 And look at that manabase! That's a serious deck, not a joke. It has state-of-the-art sweepers. It duplicates the mana with Rofellos and Mirari's Wake, in order to Genesis Wave some dragons and a Concordant Crossroads into the battlefield. And yet, it didn't worked. Too great is the power of the Elder Doofuses. The challenge said "win at least a match with them", and no, a bye doesn't count as a win. But I want to extend the challenge a bit, because this decks had some thought put on it. Again, even in their second outing, if an Elder deck will win an actual match, I will give the pilot 1 tix out of my pocket. May the Bolas be with you. (And remember: no changelings, no fancy new art for Nicol Bolas. They have to be ugly!)

 Different result was achieved by Nagarjuna, who conquered his own second win this year (after never managing to do that last year, despite a great record; did you step up your game, Naga?) with an old favorite of his, Ally. So, doubly deserved.


 Allies are usually badass, what with their mad growth rate, or haste and protection out of nowhere for deadly alpha strikes. Some of the techs here made them even more dangerous. It's like a collection of aggro helpers: the Punishing Fire/Grove of the Burnwillows combo (which would probably lead the poll for "most hated combo the majority of players feels like it should go away"), Kessig Wolf Run, Bloodbraid Elf. Fast and furious.

 I will briefly mention the 2nd place Elf deck by raf.azevedo, because I respect raf a lot, and yet a rule is a rule, and I will not encourage further the Elf players in the audience. All in all, though, as far as Elfball builds go, this one got some nice old school solutions, like Weird Harvest as a tutor plus Predator Dragon and Tendrils of Corruption as finishers, along with some other off-color stuff (courtesy of Birchlore Rangers) like Dust Elemental, a strong card that should see way more play than it does. Kudos to raf especially to bring back the old, old Recycle, an archaeological card that makes up for the loss of Glimpse of Nature. See? The bad Elf habits are hard to break. It's worth noting that both raf.azevedo and Nagarjuna are now respectively 4th and 5th in the all-time Hall of Fame ranking. They are often here, but they are also good players able to do quite a number of Top 4 placements (Naga is currently on a streak of 4 consecutive positive results). And they are roughly one win away from my own 3rd place in that ranking, so I better stop playing stupid Insect decks that don't work despite my best efforts!

 Following Naga's Allies, another white-based aggro deck made 3rd place: AJ_Impy's Knight.


 The white Knights are proverbially strong, highly skilled creatures. The removals hit hard. Emeria brings the good guys back. Even the graveyard hate is covered, via Nihil Spellbomb. What's left to say? In the words of AJ: "Obscure, yet convoluted. Works for me." That's Hard Satin for you. (I actually have to ask AJ what's exactly so obscure and convoluted in this build, as I'm sure he will tell me in a comment).

 And here we find a great comeback. Do I mean gbagyt's? Not really, he's an assiduous TribAp player and a Top 16 Hall of Famer. Artificer, then? Hardly. There was another Artificer deck (by acgabs) this very event. No, I'm talking about Her. The Girl Who Never Tans.


 So, it already happened: after the restriction of Stoneforge Mystic to Kor or Artificer decks, someone heard her cry and came to the rescue. It turns out an Artificer blade deck isn't only feasible, it's also pretty effective (Faerie Mechanist as a blade carrier? Who would have known?). So balance is restored and everyone's happy. Well, except for the opponents who lost to this deck, maybe (it was beaten only by Nagarjuna's Allies in the final round, full results here).

 But let's talk about another kind of Mystic entirely.


 Mystic decks (which are also Nomad decks, but in virtue of the rules I stated some time ago, the smallest tribe commands) show up quite often in Tribal Apocalypse, and they regularly take the Endangered Prize, because it's a strong tribe with only five members. There's actually two other Mystics not available online. These two from (surprise surprise) Portal Three Kingdoms:


 Yeah, I don't see that they are really missed. Especially because all the others share a common strategy: good ol' threshold. And with a build centered around a badass card like Cataclysm  you would be hardly surprised to hear this deck can go places. In fact, it ended 5th, a mere matter of rating away from Top 4 (the only remaining 3-1 score, at 6th place, was milegyenanevem's Goblin deck). Strong stuff, and a great first (?) impression from its pilot, Unfabulous (who also managed to beat me, but apparently that wasn't such an impressive feat this week).

 Another glorious tribe made its first appearance and took a very due Virgin Prize. I'm talking Orc, by veteran tribe explorer vantar6697


 Yeah, back from the times when WotC still supported this traditional fantasy race, which has been essentially discontinued since 15 years (barring nostalgia sets like Time Spiral and Coldsnap). It's not clear why this happened, but at some point it was decided that Goblins was all that the game needed as far as mischievous red humanoids go. As a consequence, we're left with just 19 Orcs, all of them available online, none of them really tournament worthy. Vantar's build tries to make the most of their ability to ping easily, with the flip side of ping their player as well. There's lifegaining (Loxodon Warhammer, Spirit Link) and Circles of Protection to neutralize the effect. And some suitable artifacts for the Mechanics to happily destroy. Short of Sek'Kuar, Deathkeeper (the only legendary Orc), Orcish Settlers, and maybe Orcish Lumberjack, that's all the Orcs can do. A bit sad if you ask me.

 So, according to vantar's Tribe Popularity Survey, we still have 42 tribes eligible for the Virgin Prize. What we will see next? FrogMetathran? These four unfathomable guys from Urza's Legacy (and Phyrexia), who can mamake for a nice MBC Tribal deck?


Wow, what a vast array of different abilities. Great times in the designer room, eh?

 Only time will tell. As only by playing in the upcoming 2HG Springtime event (it's tomorrow, guys! Can you feel the spring in the air? Do you have a partner yet? It's springtime, the time of the year when Tribal players mate!), you will find if people will find a way to cheat against the spirit of the event will have a great time with multiplayer Tribal Wars. Join the fun, I'll see you there (with no Insects this time, I'm warning you)!


I had a partner but he was by Paul Leicht at Fri, 03/23/2012 - 09:13
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I had a partner but he was discouraged by some rants vs his past decks and so I will definitely not be there tomorrow.

IN RE the knights in white satin subtlety: Crusading Knights become insanely huge with Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth out.

*Snap*! Of course. by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 03/23/2012 - 10:15
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*Snap*! Of course.

Yay, I got a mention! by Unfabulous at Fri, 03/23/2012 - 09:34
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Although my third outing into the realms of Tribal Apocalypse, since my other appearances both went a rather unremarkable 2-2 it's understandable no one noticed.

I wasn't sure you were a by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 03/23/2012 - 10:19
Kumagoro42's picture

I wasn't sure you were a newcomer indeed. I can't even say "maybe I wasn't around the other times", because I *always* am.

Anyway, that's still a good occasion to say: welcome to Tribal Apocalypse!

Also: Mystic decks are Human decks too, of course. But with Human being even bigger a tribe than Nomad (as in, the biggest of them all), that counts even less.

'Hard Satin' arose from a by AJ_Impy at Fri, 03/23/2012 - 12:28
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'Hard Satin' arose from a conversation 'twixt Blippy and myself. I was pondering either calling he deck 'in white satin' or 'a hard day's', and Blippy suggested the compromise, to which I replied with the comment attributed to my deck.

Beatles + Moody Blues ftw! :D by Paul Leicht at Fri, 03/23/2012 - 12:49
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Beatles + Moody Blues ftw! :D Old geezers strike back!