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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Oct 05 2012 9:37am
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 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse, the PRE where Squid is the new sexy, Slug is the new "you'll be dearly missed".

 It's happened. Unexpected (for most) and traumatic (for me). The Man is gone. The Slug stopped its relentless race. Blippy ended his run as Tribal Apocalypse host. The previous two sentences were metaphors.

 Also sprach Blippy: "It is with great joy, and heavy heart, that I announce to you my retirement from hosting Tribal Apocalypse. It's been a wild year and three quarters, but it's time for some new blood; I find myself growing complacent and stale. The event will be taken over by_Kumagoro_ and vantar6697, both of whom have great love for the format, and have shown great sticktuitiveness. I'll still be by to play from time to time, of course."

That flavor text is more and more true

 And this is how we all want to remember him:

That's also Blippy speak for "Hello and good luck"

 First of all, I wish Blippy the best of luck, any place he'll go from there. I'll be playing in all of his other PREs anyway (as everyone should), so it's not that I'll not have occasions to spend time with him all the same. Blippy's initial prospect of retirement, right when I was thinking he was finally back from vacation so I could resume playing in peace, caught me by surprise. He asked me to take over, but I wanted to be able to play in the only existing tournament of the format I love the most, so in turn I asked Vantar to host half the events, and he said yes. I'll be mostly in charge of the whole thing, though, and I commit fully to it.

 The cycle of events we're monitoring since almost two years will still be called the Blippian Era. So yes, Blippy is our personal Jesus now. We may also start to use his name as an expletive ("Sweet Blippy! Are you serious?"). And his birthday on November 26 is thereby declared national holiday (of the Tribal Nation, that is). There will be free drinks, and fireworks, and piñatas in the form of slugs with peyote candies inside, and festive metal music all around. Plus, the nearest Tribal Apocalypse (this year on November 24) will be Slugapalooza, an event where everyone will have to play Slugs. Every deck will be required to feature at least 12 of the powerful creatures, aka these ones:


You'll be allowed to switch Spitting Slug with Catacomb Slug if you like

 You'll have the chance to play the Slugs in two ways: either in a Slug tribal deck, in which case you'll be able to use other cards too; or attached to another tribe of your choice, in which case you'll not have access to any nonland, nonSlug card except for creatures belonging to your chosen tribe. We'll talk again about that when the time will come. Just know that everyone will be given 4 copies of each Slug for free, upon request, courtesy of Clan Leys. Every player in Tribal Apocalypse will be required to own all the Slugs in their collection, by royal decree. Transgressors will be punished by having to play Slug in a regular event, or something.

 Anyway, now I'm in charge, which is a bummer because I very much liked to have someone else to blame and transfer responsibility to. Of course, as any good disciple suddenly invested with power would do, my first act once in charge has immediately been to revoke Blippy's very last act, by unrestricting the Trifecta of Doom. But that's another story. And it's mainly AJ's fault. See? I'm still able to find someone to blame! Now, let's wipe away the tears (both for Blippy's departure AND the Trifecta's unrestricted coming), and let's talk about last week's event, also known as Squid Row

  • Event Number: 2.39, Week 91 BE
  • Date: September 29
  • Attendance: 15
  • Rounds: 3
  • Special Rules: none
  • Top 4: romellos (Human, undefeated); slug360 (Human, undefeated); Zoltan (Kithkin, 1 loss); toolazy2stand (Zombie, 1 loss)
  • Special Prizes: Endangered Prize and Virgin Prize to Ranth (Squid)
  • Tribes: Elf, Goblin, Human (x4), Illusion, Kithkin, Kobold, Rogue, Squid (x3), Wizard, Zombie
  • Virgin Tribes: Squid by Ranth (highest-ranked); Squid by vantar6697; Squid by AJ_Impy
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 So, in a week with 4 Human decks, 2 of which in the first two places, the real attention grabber was, oh boy, are those THREE Squid decks?! Of course, that only happened because Squid was one of the only two remaining Virgin Tribes (the never-before-played tribes that have been awarded a prize all year long), but it's still weird that one fifth of the registered players went with them, and nobody chose Mongoose instead (which causes Mongoose to "win" the Virgin Race, and be entitled of a dedicated permanent prize). Let's look first thing at the Squid list Ranth used to achieve an amazing 5th place:


 Here's the three Squids in all their squiddish magnificence:


They were all Beasts, originally. So, Mark Gottlieb actually felt the need to add a type only for the sake of them!

 Let's see... a small-time flyer with a convoluted way to make itself unblockable; a bad precursor to Mistbind Clique; and a clumsy tapper. How can you not win games out of these? Well, in order to go there it took Ranth a pretty powerful removal suite, plus some way to fix the only half-decent mollusk, Gulf Squid, via Leyline of Anticipation and Momentary Blink. But in the end, he did it, with a 2-1 score achieved through wins versus Kobolds and Humans, only losing to romellos's 1st place deck.

 Speaking of which, here it is, a RUG Human build overflowing with hate.


 This deck marked the 7th win by romellos this year (with Wizard, Werewolf, Merfolk, Ally, and three times with Human), which makes him the NemesisParadigm of 2012 (Nemesis had the very same result last year, romellos is still in time to beat him and become the most successful TribAp player of the Blippian Era), and the King of the Low Curve (where Nemesis was the Emperor of the Ramp). Indeed, this year has been the Year of Aggro so far, with players like mihahitlor, Ranth, and slug360 often challenging romellos at his own game (Nagarjuna is still number 1 in the ranking, though, and DirtyDuck is very close). Actually, slug was the 1st place holder after the last round, before losing the final showdown to romellos. His deck, another Human build, was this one:


 Now, that's an interesting take on Innistrad Humans. Essentially it tries to get to a fateful hour life total via Blood Celebrant, Gitaxian Probe, City of Brass, and especially Hex Parasite (and sometimes Dark Confidant, I guess) to get the most out of Thraben Doomsayer and Faith's Shield. It seems a pretty risky move, but apparently it works very well. Worth noting is the presence of Mass Appeal, that you'd think should be considered a no-brainer card for fast Humans, and yet doesn't see nearly enough play, if at all (Vantar's survey has 0 played copies until Event 87).

 Moving on, newcomer Zoltan grabbed a good 3rd place with Kithkin:


 Pretty classic build, with Mistmeadow Skulk as the most original inclusion: great in the meta, not so good against romellos and slug360, I guess.

 And look, a Zombie deck delivered at last! Didn't happen since last March (!), despite Zombie being the most played tribe after Human, Elf, and Goblin. It happened now, thanks to toolazy2stand and this eclectic, hyper-budget build:


 Last but not least, Chamale made his way through some more achievements, running a Wizard-based Cephalid Illusionist build to get out on the field the Kaldra Avatar and the full set of the Hondens, and score a Door to Nothingness win. He also had a Necrotic Ooze wincon, and that's what the Ooze was able to do after the Illusionist did his self-milling trick:

Fully loaded!

 In the meantime, Nagarjuna was getting the Blue Thunder achievement, running a monoblue deck without instants and sorceries thanks to his Illusion build (ended 7th place with a 2-1 score anyway, right after mihahitlor's Rogues and before raf.azevedo's Elves). Achievement unlocked.


 Also known as: how much do the Top 4 decks cost? As of October 5, 2012, here's the answer (MTGO Traders prices; the cheapest version of each card is always used; basic lands count zero):

  • 1st place, romellos's Humans: $519.72 (nonland cards: $198.39)
  • 2nd place, slug360's Humans: $301.54 (nonland cards: $117.55)
  • 3rd place, Zoltan's Kithkin: $31.10 (nonland cards: $30.90)
  • 4th place, toolazy2stand's Zombies: $10.23 (nonland cards: $9.35)

 Almost a new record on the expensive side (romellos's deck is only a a bit short of DirtyDuck's from last week), a brand new record on the cheap one for Top 4, with the fabulous 10-buck deck by toolazy2stand. Small budget, no small feat. And Zoltan with his Kithkin proved once more that you don't need half a grand to play competitive Tribal.


 The popularity of Innistrad Block has put graveyards front and center over the past year. In this fourth installment of my audio/video deck tech series, I take a look at one of the graveyard-centered archetypes, Reanimator. Although many recently-popular decks utilize the graveyard for combo purposes, this video only covers the decks that plan to reanimate expensive creatures and win with them. I weigh the merits of having a "Plan B" in your deck versus playing an all-in "glass cannon" deck dedicated solely to the reanimation plan, with an example of each. I also discuss the surprising scarcity of traditional reanimation decks in the Tribal Apocalypse PRE over the past couple years. Despite a few dominating performances, the archetype appears underplayed — have budget concerns affected its popularity, or is something else keeping it down? Finally, I discuss a much-beloved take on the reanimation strategy that isn't quite as all-or-nothing: the power of the Living Death.

 Tribal Apocalypse Top 4 decks: Praetors by endless_nameless (1st place on TribAp 31, August 6th, 2011); Avatars by _Kumagoro_ (2nd place on TribAp 57, February 4, 2012). Bonus decks: Angels by endless_nameless (2-1 finish on a 2010 TribAp Classic event in April 2010); Artificers by RexDart (5th place on TribAp 81, July 21, 2012).


 Just to remind you of a few things:

 The Bad Boys (and a Girl) are back! The whole Trifecta of Doom is back (effective next event) in a restricted form, i.e. uniquely as members of their own tribes. That means Progenitus will only be allowed in Avatar and Hydra decks, Iona, Shield of Emeria in Angel decks, and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn in Eldrazi decks, much in the same way as we did for Stoneforge Mystic. Contrary to what announced last week, they will NOT be restricted to 1 copy per deck. You can play 4 of them, they only need to be in their right tribal decks. 

 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. 25 unlocked, 25 to go. Remember to call in me or vantar6697 as a witness (start with the one that's NOT playing in that moment) before moving on in case of an In-Game or Endgame achievement. It's not needed for Deckbuilding achievements, you just have to declare them.

 The Virgin Prize has ended! And the last tribe standing was... drum roll... Mongoose! Now, this leads to two things: 1. the award is immediately replaced, effective right now, with the Almost Virgin Prize, for tribes that've been played no more than 3 times (current list is here); and 2. Mongooses becomes the protagonists of a new, dedicated prize that will remember forever that you all neglected them despite Nimble Mongoose being featured in high-profile, tier-1 Legacy decks. From now on, The Mongoose Pride Prize will award 1 tix (at SBena_Bot) to everyone who'll just... play Mongoose. That's right, you just have to play them and you'll get 1 tix, till the end of times. Well, there's just one clause: you have to win at least one match with them within the event. Let's show them all what the mighty Herpestidae can do, shall we?


In Italian it's called "mangusta", which sounds cooler because it doesn't contain the word "goose"

 The Topical Prize is rotating! As we are returning to Ravnica, we say goodbye to Avacyn Restored's star tribes, Angel and Demon, and we embrace a whole new set of tribes for the Topical Prize, effective starting from Event 94 on October 20. It's five tribes, each representing a different guild as portrayed in their relative keyrunes: Bird (for Azorius), Elemental (for Izzet), Devil (for Rakdos), Insect (for Golgari), and Wolf (for Selesnya). You don't necessarily have to play them in their guild's colors, but that gets bonus points for style and topicality.

 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 and vantar6697 leading the group with 9 tribes played, one to go. 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 forfaiting) with a Kirin deck featuring 4 copies of each of them. Clear this and we'll pass to Nephilim. Please guys, let's do this. Pretty please?

 Videos: Send me replays of your games, please! Don't know how? Read this quick guide in 6 easy steps and start saving your tribal feats for posterity!

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

  • 2.40 (Week 92 BE), on October 6: Underdog Week. Hosted by Vantar.
  • 2.41 (Week 93 BE), on October 13: regular tribal. Hosted by me.
  • 2.42 (Week 94 BE), on October 20: regular tribal. Hosted by Vantar.
  • 2.43 (Week 95 BE), on October 27: regular tribal. Hosted by me.

 I'm working to have Underdog Week every first Saturday of each month, plus some Singleton weeks elsewhere (possibly 4 per year). Next week will see the debut of both the new format and Vantar at the helm of an event. Good luck to both and see you all in the Tribal room!


Trifecta of Doom unleashed by romellos at Fri, 10/05/2012 - 11:12
romellos's picture

Wow, that was an interesting surprise to read that Trifecta of Doom can be added to their own tribes as 4. Looking forward to see AJ's new manaless Avatar deck.

I'll try and meet by AJ_Impy at Fri, 10/05/2012 - 12:21
AJ_Impy's picture

I'll try and meet expectations. :)

Thank you Blippy for all the by Misterpid at Fri, 10/05/2012 - 11:14
Misterpid's picture

Thank you Blippy for all the time and effort you've put into running this tournament.

Errata: the October 27 event by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 10/05/2012 - 11:16
Kumagoro42's picture

Errata: the October 27 event will be the Halloween special. We'll have time to talk about that, anyway (well, it'll just be like last year with all the spooky tribes. That was fun).

My video this week features a by RexDart at Fri, 10/05/2012 - 12:08
RexDart's picture

My video this week features a very powerful-looking Angel reanimator list from the pre-Blippian events in 2010 that is the type we were fearing would happen with Iona unbanned, but it offers some hope to people who were afraid of Iona. It only went 2-1, and made use of cards that are no longer legacy legal (a set of Mystical Tutor). There was apparently a few people in the event, and in the comments, that REALLY hated it, but it was probably not as obnoxiously powerful as some would fear.

Yeah, I remember that. Iona by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 10/05/2012 - 23:01
Kumagoro42's picture

Yeah, I remember that. Iona is hated because it's not even a combo. You don't lose to a highly prepared deck that goes off in turn 1 or 2 because of its perfect engineering. It's just a package that cuts you off the game in many cases, and then its pilot just proceeds to do whatever, even pass the turn until you run out of cards or concede out of boredom. It's the kind of experience that makes you quit a format. Losing to, say, Cephalid Illusionist is entirely different, because you see a process unfolding, you see logic interactions between cards, you see an amazing endgame. Maybe you had no chances to stop it (but you should, as it's not that hard, so it pushes you to build better decks), and it gets annoying after a while if you keep losing to it, but at least it's something your opponent moved pieces around and has built a whole deck to accomplish. With Iona, it's just a matter of two straightforward spells, a tutor and a reanimator, that were there in some form since Alpha.

This said, I also remember endless_nameless struggling to achieve an undefeated score in the Blippian Era (he so wanted to go there at least once, made it with Praetor in the end, which is more interesting than just with Iona). It was out of incredible bad luck sometimes, but other times it was because some decks were able to exploit the slightest occasions when his focused battleplan jammed. Plus, the Iona's experience I described up there doesn't really apply to ANY deck. Some of them are half immune to her.

Just thinkin by Ranth at Fri, 10/05/2012 - 17:24
Ranth's picture

just wanna put it out there, If we're in the whole unban a tons of combo stuff wagon that Æther Vial could be taken off to help out both aggro and control decks.

But we're not in that wagon. by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 10/06/2012 - 03:03
Kumagoro42's picture

But we're not on that wagon. First of all, as soon as things even only HINT to be heading out of control, the Trifecta returns to its cell, pronto.
Secondarily, Eldrazi decks are pretty much unchanged: they do the same things they were doing without Emrakul. There's not a whole new combo thanks to him. It remains to see if the prospect of using Emrakul is alluring enough to cause a proliferation of Eldrazi decks.
A lot of Hydra/Avatar decks using Progenitus? I wish there will be! They would be a new thing at least, those are very Cinderella tribes.
Reanimator Angel decks? Now, those are a real concern. In fact, I don't think Iona will last long. But we'll see.

The problem of our current meta (as of October 2012, I mean) is the dominance of Human/Maverick/Hatebear/Good Stuff/Slow Curve/$500 decks (regardless the fact that the pilots ending Top 4 are always very strong players: they're not the only ones using them, so the chance of meeting those decks is greater than what the Top 4 shows). Aether Vial plays in favor of those, so it coming back isn't going to happen at the moment, not before the power shifts elsewhere. Plus, it's a card that would become ubiquitous, that would cause boring issues within a restricted meta like ours. It's one of the main reasons it's banned. More or less the same reasoning behind the GSZ banning in Modern. It's a "why shouldn't I use this?" card (much more than GSZ itself, being colorless and CMC 1).

Thanks for the sharing this by smitajain at Sat, 10/06/2012 - 01:15
smitajain's picture

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