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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Sep 14 2012 9:51am
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 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse, the PRE where boom goes the reanimated praetor.

 We had a nice little event last week, in preparation of the two wild deliria that we're going to face next, plus Return to Ravnica that's knocking on our doors with all the intention of rocking our world like no set ever did since, well, Ravnica. I mean, what the hell is this? And this? And THIS! What are they thinking? Do they plan to make us play even more? And to make me play Golgari exclusively? Time will tell.

  • Event Number: 2.36, Week 88 BE
  • Date: September 8
  • Attendance: 16
  • Rounds: 3
  • Special Rules: none
  • Top 4: romellos (Human, undefeated); Ranth (Wizard, undefeated); fliebana (Wizard, 1 loss); slug360 (Mutant, 1 loss)
  • Special Prizes: Endangered Prize to jackfrost86 (Vedalken)
  • Tribes: Beast (x2), Elf (x2), Faerie, Golem, Human (x2), Illusion, Knight, Mutant, Rogue, Unicorn, Vedalken, Wizard (x2)
  • Virgin Tribe: Unicorn by vantar6697
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 So, in the week we have a great deck tech by RexDart about the Sligh archetype, romellos, a frequent Sligh-lover, took the win (subsequently confirmed by a showdown with the other undefeated player, Ranth) with a traditional Sligh-friendly tribe, Human. Except this time, he took a very different route with them:


 Reanimator Humans? Well, why not. After all, Loyal Retainers is an insanely pricey card in the paper world. Of course, it's mostly because Portal Three Kingdoms was essentially never really distributed. But not all those cards are valued as much. That has to mean something. In this case, it means Loyal Retainers is the perfect tool to corroborate some Hate Bears overall strategy (Gaddock Teeg, Thalia) with the mayhem caused by big creatures like Elesh Norn or Akroma, Angel of Wrath.

 And while Ranth piloted to 2nd place (again) the same Wizard deck from three weeks ago, and which is Sligh-adjacent indeed, fliebana had an entirely different Wizard build:


 Say hello to Omniscience! Brought to us by Show and Tell (as opposed to, you know, Academy Rector) to perform one of the three thousands endgames available through it, namely an infinitely large Grapeshot fueled by an endlessly bouncing back Cavern Harpy. Sweet, and original (although: why bother with an off-colored Grapeshot when you can cast Tendrils of Agony for free?). The rest of the deck mostly finds the combo, but also features a nice parade of Wizards, which is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike Ranth's own parade, proving once more the strengths and versatility of the tribe.

 And among all these plain human creatures, slug360 was the flag-bearer for the monsters within the Top 4 (performing better than the other 2-1 players: mihahitlor with Rogues, raf.azevedo with Elves, SBena with Knights, and nightviper429 with another Elf deck that was able to unlock the Kamehameha achievement by inflicting 1000 damage in one turn without infinite combos, thanks to an insane mana production and Genesis Wave).


 I have a soft spot for both Simic decks (so hard to pull off, so rewarding), the Graft mechanic, Natural Order with non-Progenitus targets, and Experiment Kraj. Guess how much I like this deck?

 In the meantime of all this, AJ_Impy was aiming to a very different target: the Slow and Steady achievement: winning at least one match with a deck where every nonland card costs 5 or more. And he did it, with this vertigo-causing list:


 Achievement specialist Chamale did his usual share too, by going humble this time. Here's the Vanilla Flavor (all creatures in the deck had to be vanilla) perfectly embedded in a Prince of Paupers deck, worth $1.76 as of the day of the tournament:

 The centerpiece? The $0.33 money card Chandra Nalaar (hey, even extreme budget decks can use planeswalkers!). The mass removals? Wildfire and its quasi-functional reprint from Portal Three Kingdoms, Burning of Xinye. Well, that's mass removal AND mass land destruction, of course. Not sure why some $0.03 Pyroclasm didn't make the list, though, especially since all the creatures in the deck would just shrug it off.


 Also known as: how much do the Top 4 decks cost? As of September 14, 2012, here's the answer (MTGO Traders prices; the cheapest version of each card is always used; non-snow basic lands count zero):

  • 1st place, romellos's Humans: $256.18 (without the manabase: $109.95)
  • 2nd place, Ranth's Wizards: $310.41 (without the manabase: $79.31) 
  • 3rd place, fliebana's Wizards: $484.67 (without the manabase: $242.08) 
  • 4th place, slug360's Mutants: $291.97 (without the manabase: $71.07) 


 Welcome to Chris Wynes aka RexDart's (hapless?) research project! He decided (of his own volition, I swear!) to make a series of audiovisual deck techs and share them with us. I'll let him introduce the thing, I'll be back in the next section.

 This is the first part of an ongoing audio/video series in which I examine the popular deck archetypes that have been successful in the Tribal Apocalypse player-run event.  I will be using real decklists which finished Top 4 or better in the event as examples. In the first installment, I discuss Sligh-style aggro decks, as illustrated by the Cat and Elemental tribes, and look at the historical origins of these decks in older formats. I use the term "Sligh" (after the namesake Paul Sligh) to refer to red-based aggro decks with mana curves focused in the 1-3 CMC range, using cheap and efficient creatures (classic example: Kird Ape) supported primarily by burn spells. The next installment will contrast that to my definition of "linear aggro" decks, which rely more on synergy between multiple creatures and play tribal lords and other cards that care about creature types.

 The Tribal Apocalypse decks featured in the video are Monored Elementals by AJ_Impy (2nd place on TribAp 14, April 9, 2011) and Zoo Cats by Ranth (1st place on TribAp 34, August 27, 2011). The historical decks featured are: Type 2 Sligh as developed by Jay Schneider and piloted by Paul Sligh in 1996; Deadguy Red as developed by Dave Price in 1998, and 4-color Zoo as developed and piloted by Bertrand Lestree (2nd place at 1994 World Championships).


 Just to remind you of:

 Bring the (Bad) Boys Back Home: in a recent comment, AJ_Impy proposed the idea of unbanning Progenitus by restricting him to his tribes only (Hydra and Avatar), like we already did to Stoneforge Mystic. I upped the ante by adding to this envisioned moratorium the other two members of the Trifecta of Doom, Emrakul (in Eldrazi decks) and Iona (in Angel decks). Blippy is thinking about that, but any eventual changes will be concurrent with the official DCI B&R announcement on September 20. I also proposed to have all of them restricted to 1 copy per eligible deck. This further limits their impact, adds to their legendary feeling, and might have the side effect of encouraging the use of "search & exile" spells, such as Cranial Extraction or Sadistic Sacrament, which might be a good measure to keep the fast, degenerate combos in check (first turn Dark Ritual into Sadistic Sacrament is auto-win against most of them: bye-bye, win-condition!), while still be useful overall.

 The Rules: we now have a page with all the rules listed, so we won't have to repeat all of them before any tournament. Yay for time saving!

 The Watch List: some particular, archetype-defining cards have been put in a specific Watch List, giving them Annoyance Levels based on how frequently they show up and their degree of success. Once a card gets to Level 3 or more, I'll recommend it to Blippy for banning until the following year. So far, with 9 cards on watch, the situation is as follows:

 The Tribal Achievements: Clan Leys, which is in charge of any Special Prize, has launched and is handling the Tribal Achievements: a way to have fun within Tribal Apocalypse, challenge yourself to do all kinds of strange MTG feats, and make some tix in the process. You can find the complete list of achievements here on the Hall of Fame. 19 unlocked, 31 to go. Remember to call in a witness from Clan Leys (me, SBena, or Leys7) before moving on when an In-Game or Endgame achievement is involved, or we'll have to resort to replays and such, and that's easily a pain in the ass.

 The Virgin Prize is ending its first run: only 3 tribes are still standing (Harpy, Mongoose, and Squid). Hurry up and make these dorks go away, so we can start over with the Almost Virgin Prize.

 The Hamtastic Award: after its first edition ended with Leys7 taking the 5 tix for running 10 different tribes in a row, the Biodiversity Prize dedicated to the memory of Erik Friborg has started again. Currently we have slug360 leading the group with 7 tribes played. Remember that you have to play all the rounds of an event in order for the tribe to be added to your sequence. If you repeat a previous tribe, your whole sequence resets.

 The Kirin Challenge is still unclaimed: I'll give 1 tix out of my pocket to the first player who'll win a proper match (no bye, no opponent forfeiting) with a Kirin deck featuring 4 copies of each of them. Clear this and we'll pass to Nephilim.

 Videos: Send me replays of your games, please! It's unbelievably easy: just download a free software like CamStudio and upload the resulting video file on YouTube, or send it to me via WeTransfer (my address is aicardigianluca at gmail.com); I'll embed it here. IMPORTANT NOTE: use a MPEG-4 codec or other codecs able to compress the videos (you can choose which one to use in Options/Video Options of CamStudio, but you have to have the codec installed in your system; you can find a MPEG-4 codec installer for free just by Googling it, I suggest the open-source Xvid project), or you'll end up with gigantic files you can't upload on YouTube and spend hours to send me. An average game replay is around 20-30 MB. If yours is 500 MB or even 2 GB, something is clearly wrong.

 What's Next: the upcoming Tribal Apocalypse events of the Blippian Era are:

They told me that's Atlanta, GA on the background

  • 2.37 (Week 89 BE), on September 15: Vantar Tribute! To properly celebrate Mr. (and Mrs.) Matthew Taber, aka the unsung tribal hero who's doing more for Tribal Apocalypse than everyone imagines (like the brand new registration system we've started using; you can easily access it by typing TRIBALREG as a tinyurl.com address), and who also freaking got married (congrats, Matt!), we'll have a special event where only the Vantar Tribes will be allowed. And what the hell are the Vantar Tribes? Well, they are all the tribes our man ever played within Tribal Apocalypse. Get ready to tame wild stuff like Antelope, Ape, Atog, Aurochs, Bat, Crocodile, Cyclops, Djinn, Dryad, Elk, Gargoyle, Homarid, Horse, Imp, Jellyfish, Mercenary, Monk, Orc, Ox, Pegasus, Rhino, Salamander, Scorpion, Serpent, Shade, Shapeshifter, Slug, Surrakar, Thalakos, Thrull, Unicorn, Whale, Wolverine, Wraith, and Yeti! Endangered and Virgin Prizes will be reworked accordingly (respectively going to the highest-ranked smallest tribe in the pool, and the one with the fewest appearances), Topical Prize will be replaced with Highest-Ranked Animal Tribe.
  • 2.38 (Week 90 BE), on September 22: Rites of Autumn: Fattie Week. A very special, one-of-a-kind event where only creatures with both power and toughness greater than 5 can be included in the decks. Entomb, Show and Tell, Eureka, Crackdown, and Retribution of the Meek will be banned for the event. More rulings might be added later.
  • 2.39 (Week 91 BE), on September 29: regular tribal.
  • 2.40 (Week 92 BE), on October 6: Endangered (Underdog?) Week.

 I'll still be hosting the event 2.37. Keep enjoying your vacation, Blippy! And see you all on the Tribal room!


Congrats by Ranth at Fri, 09/14/2012 - 11:39
Ranth's picture

First off congrats Vantar!

And awesome Video Rex.

Anyhow to address the questions on card selection regarding my cats deck.
I'll be the first to admit I love the zoo archetype and cats fits it very well.
In-fact I believe that the zoo archetype embodies the tribal theme more so then any other deck.
Its a fair deck, that does fair things, and does not try to break the game wide open in any surprising fashion.
It just punishes any sub optimal draws with its brutal consistency.

The ambusher is actually way more amazing then though of at first glace.
Either i end up having my opponent thinking i must have burn in hand and that the losing nothing for trying to attack me only to have 1 or 2 ambushers to ruin their day.
Or that just the threat of them might keep my opponent from attacking, which sometimes buys me the valuable time and life points i might have otherwise needed. In short the amusher just messes with the game state in multiple ways that exceed them just being a 2/3 for 3 mana.

Then comes the mid-range decks which is actually part of the reason for the rancor/berserk package. (however rancor preventing chump blocks was certainly wonderful!)
The combination of these cards would allow me to trade my threats for theirs or to be able to break through their walls (wall-drazi became a deck about then)
I will however admit that Berserk was more used as a finisher unless absolutely necessary.

I admit i could have added more burn to the deck however at that point I had just ran Burn Elementals (different then Aj's version)to the point that people were just sick of seeing red.
Infact burn was a very common archetype in multiple formats at that point and overall I did not want to just lose to the people who finally figured out to use anti red cards.

I just knew that Rex's video by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 09/14/2012 - 13:31
Kumagoro42's picture

I just knew that Rex's video would generate a huge reply on your (and possibly AJ's) part. Well, was counting on it actually! (Less so with Paul Sligh and Jay Schneider). Also because I totally agree with you about Ambusher, it's a freaking 2/3 Flash Reach for 0 in Tribal. I mean, it's Tribal, you obviously will get attacked by creatures at some point in 95% of your matches. Probably in Legacy proper wouldn't be the right choice, but in Tribal definitely is. Just for taking out Goblin Guides would be justified.

What tribe do you think would be able to do as well within a Sligh template as Cat? I suggested Human in the article, thinking of decks with Knight of the Reliquary and other fast efficient beaters in Naya colors, like Steward of Valeron or even Blood Knight (so probably Knight as well, but Human has Grim Lavamancer and allow you to complement the strategy splashing for stuff like Dark Confidant or Snapcaster Mage, which are very relevant in a deck that seeks for fast aggression, early card advantage, and runs a lot of powerful cheap instants/sorceries to recycle asap).
I think you did something like that with those Wizards, although the burn part is largely replaced with control elements there (how I like that singleton Stifle!).

A thing Rex didn't mention for the decks in this family is also the manabase, which reflects the spirit of the deck by being very short and super-efficient through a great number of fetch lands (which stemmed from Kird Ape/then Wild Nacatl/then Steppe Lynx needs, and is one of the reasons Tarmo was so good in there).

And while RDW is basically the son of this archetype going for a more burn-based battleplan (AJ's deck was more in that generation indeed), another direct descendant I'm immediately reminded of is Boros Deck Wins. Remember that? With Goblin Legionnaire, Grim Lavamancer, Savannah Lions, at some point Isamaru, Hound of Konda, and Lightning Helix, Firebolt, Char, and Molten Rain as a burn suite. Plus 4 copies of Umezawa's Jitte, during its apex. Good times.

Human Zoo could run the by RexDart at Fri, 09/14/2012 - 13:57
RexDart's picture

Human Zoo could run the Snapcaster and Tribal Flames for insane reach, and Bobs too as you point out. The problem is lack of a two-power 1-drop, other than Elite Vanguard. Flailing Soldier or Branded Brawler? Not exciting choices. Lavamancer and Vanguard is ok as your 1-drops, then Snappie, Bob, KotR, maybe a hatebear or two, and it's a base. If Wasteland continues to be scarce, that might work. But Domain Zoo in Modern and old extended never had to contend with Wasteland, which would crush it.

Humans by Ranth at Fri, 09/14/2012 - 14:15
Ranth's picture

Humans is definitely another great tribe for sligh. I would likely run it with

4 Noble Hierarch
4 Knight of the Reliquary
2 Grim lavamancer (they really do devalue after the first drawn)
2-4 Mayor of Avabrook

some mix of (mix and match as your play style prefers)
0-4 Benevolent Bodyguard
2-4 Mother of Runes
0-2 Sylvan Safekeeper
0-4 Snapcaster Mage

And to mention the Tarmo part he's actually second best now days to Scavenging Ooze which could easily be a 4 of in any sligh style tribal deck.

Other Tribes i could see in this archetype are Vampires,Zombies,Merfolk and Kithkin. there is likely more but that is off the top of my head.

as for the Boros decks i cant say i ever faced many so cant really comment much on them. (mainly because i wasnt playing MTGO at that point)

Mmm, this bait is delicious. by AJ_Impy at Fri, 09/14/2012 - 20:02
AJ_Impy's picture

It amuses me to be held up as an example of the Sligh archetype, although it is true I did dabble with it a couple of times back in the day. A kiln fiend or spitfire with a couple of bolt effects and a fireblast in hand was mathematically lethal pretty much the first time it attacked. (+4 +3 +3 from the spells, +9 from three triggerings of the ability, starting strength 1.)

Good counters to the deck included martyr proc style builds or soul sisters, with Auriok Champion a particularly thorny problem. Silver Knight or Paladin en-vec could blunt your assault massively, so having an answer or two to pro red an to lifegain was essentially a presideboard against the deck's weak points. It's worth noting the antilifegain card also shut down the popular punishing grove combo.

The irony is you and I, by Paul Leicht at Fri, 09/14/2012 - 23:44
Paul Leicht's picture

The irony is you and I, worked on the hellamental deck as a method of protesting its ubiquity and easy win status.

Pretty much: I was concerned by AJ_Impy at Sat, 09/15/2012 - 11:13
AJ_Impy's picture

Pretty much: I was concerned about a consistent turn 3 win option.

I think hounds has some by RexDart at Fri, 09/14/2012 - 13:38
RexDart's picture

I think hounds has some potential in a Sligh archetype, bc u can start the list with 4x Jackal Pup, Wild Dogs, and Isamaru (though the dogs make fetches dangerous). I think it's probably just worse than Cats though, I want to see hounds playing a UGW madness type with mongrels and the white hound two-drop that is a discard outlet.

On Ambusher, I realize you might find that occasionally you aren't the beatdown, or you are racing, and it could be handy. I just don't know about spending 4 slots on something that doesn't fit the primary plan of attack. I run Blistering Firecat in mine which I think fits the plan better, but good minds can disagree.

BTW if anybody has comments on the style or presentation of my video, let me know. I have already recorded part 2, but I can take any feedback into account when I do part 3, which is tentatively planned to cover ramp decks.