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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Apr 25 2012 9:58am
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*** Tribal Apocalypse: Weeks 66-67 BE ***
Winds of Change

 Welcome to a very hasty installment of... Tribal Apocalypse, the Tribal Wars PRE that... time is fleeting this week, something's wrong with my... have a lot of things to talk about and lots... so, better hurry before my...

  • Event Number: 14 (2012), 66 (all-time)
  • Date: April 7
  • Attendance: 14
  • Rounds: 3
  • Special Rules: Endangered tribes only (50 members of less)
  • Top 4: romellos (Werewolf, undefeated); mihahitlor (Assassin, undefeated); gbagyt (Mutant, 1 loss); _Kumagoro_ (Sphinx, 1 loss)
  • Special Prizes: none
  • Tribes: Assassin, Demon, Devil, Elder, Mutant, Ouphe, Rebel, Samurai (x2), Specter, Sphinx, Werewolf (x2), Zubera
  • Virgin Tribe: Ouphe by DirtyDuck

 Event 66, ah, those were the times! So nearly last month! When the first two ranked players were... exactly the same of the previous time! This never happened before. And they were using different decks, this being an Endangered Week and all. 


 So, congrats to romellos for scoring his second win, and for having done it consecutively and with his signature tribe (so far): Werewolves. In my last article I've been called on for not judging the decks on the basis of their creativity level. Well, is this deck very original? No, sir, it is not. I mean, the tribal base is well-known, and elsewhere it just features 4 blades and the dreaded and trite Punishing Fire/Grove of the Burnwillows control package, rounding up its card count with the absolutely obvious Swords to Plowshares, just to be safer. (In order to find a not-so-frequently-seen card worth of the spotlight, I had to go with Yavimaya Hollow.) But in spite of all this, is it tremendously effective and efficient? Yes, sir, it is. No infamy in that, even if this would never be my style, or some other people's style. Is this Tribal Apocalypse's current style, though?

 Well, mihahitlor's change to his Assassin build seems to confirm that it kind of is.


 The Assassins are all about killing creatures. And what do the additional non-tribal cards do here? Well, they are stuff like Gatekeeper of Malakir, Skinrender, and a bunch of removals. You can never have too much firepower, right? And it pays off, of course. Here the spotlight goes to Nihil Spellbomb, especially because it hints at the awareness that graveyard strategies should never be allowed to run rampant within any meta. And I say so as a frequent graveyard player.

 More interesting is the Simic Mutant deck by gbagyt (who, again, was among the Top 4 the previous week: these guys are on a streak!)


 We saw this tech at least once before (don't know if it was gbagyt again: he's pretty adept at changing tribes, he scored placements with Treefolk, Soltari, Artificer, and Elf this year alone): the Graft mechanic means some of the creatures are actually 0/0s with a trigger putting counters on them when they enter the battlefied. So, Mirrorweave will very likely turn all the opponent creatures into 0/0s without counters, therefore into nothingness (in addition to doing other cool things like interacting with Echoing Truth, or with the very Simic couple Lorescale Coatl/Brainstorm). Fun deck. Every deck featuring Experiment Kraj has to be fun, after all. Take that, Spikes only playing with Dark Confidant-level critters.

 But getting back to graveyard strategies and me, here's the return of my good ol' Sphinx deck, a.k.a. my own take on efficiency (and also a homage to Winter.Wolf, since Sphinges are one of his favorite tribes too.)


 It's the deck I played more often in these two years, netting me four Top 4 results (two third places, two fourth places). So, it appears I wasn't being very original either. Let's find something different in this Specter deck by Unfabulous, then.


 Not that the Specters are an especially versatile tribe: they just force the opponent to discard stuff by flying over their land-based armies. But at least Unfabulous thought of a quite original way to exploit this (rather than, you know, The Rack or Liliana's Caress): Noetic Scales is a great, unsung card, and the fact that in this build it's tutored up by an exotic spell like Clutch of the Undercity (which can also take the singleton safety measure Consuming Vapors) just adds more points to its non-boring score. Perfect efficiency be damned, of course.

 Finally, the only Virgin Tribe of the week (actually, both weeks: are you people giving up already? And where are the Kirin decks? I'll still pay the 1 tix prize for them!) was Ouphe by DirtyDuck:


 The ineffable Ouphes have some great members among their ranks (first of all, Kitchen Finks), but Dirty here focused mostly on Gilder Bairn as a way to help a vast array of planeswakers to build towards their ultimates. Nice take on a Superfriends deck. (Something's wrong with the list, though: I don't see any way to cast Dusk Urchins.) Meanwhile, justcanceled was playing Elders again (I created a monster!), this time with Timesifter as a way to mill extra turns out of the old, old dragons. But, apparently, with no luck at that.




  • Event Number: 15 (2012), 67 (all-time)
  • Date: April 14
  • Attendance: 20
  • Rounds: 4
  • Special Rules: none
  • Top 4: grapplingfarang (Wall, undefeated); morpphling (Human, 1 loss); _BIG_BROTHERS_ (Elf, 1 loss); SBena (Knight, 1 loss, tied for 3rd place)
  • Special Prizes: Endangered Prize to AJ_Impy Masticore
  • Tribes: Centaur, Construct, Elemental, Elf (x5), Human, Knight, Kor, Masticore, Merfolk, Mutant, Rogue, Soldier, Spirit, Vampire, Wall, Wizard
  • Virgin Tribe: none

 Ok, this was a weird week, tainted by the fact that an unsettling grand total of 5 Elf decks (of which four were the unbelievably tiring Elfball; kudos to RexDart for at least trying a Fauna Shaman/Vengevine build instead) are really too much for a 20-player event to not feel totally overwhelmed. It's not that they monopolized the Top 4 or anything (only _BIG_BROTHERS_ managed to pilot his Elves to a third place), but they surely created that feeling of repetition and proliferation of the same broken deck for which Wizards of the Coast has been known to ban cards. It's not really about power level, it's about not turning every game into a deja vu. More on that later.

 Elsewhere, things weren't much more interesting either. SBena grabbed another Top 4 placement (tied for 3rd place with _BIG_BROTHERS_) with his powerful, not-so-weenie Knight deck (the list was roughly the same as two weeks before, and managed to beat the Isochron Scepter-fueled Wizards that romellos lead to victory in that very occasion). On other white supremacy news, this lightning-fast and very budget-friendly Human deck by morpphling took 2nd place:


 Other successful decks were mihahitlor's red Elemental burn featuring Price of Progress (and where pretty much every card had "lightning" or "spark" in the name), and DirtyDuck's recently seen Kor Breakfast build, with 1 loss each. At the end of the struggle, the only undefeated contender was a Wall build by grapplingfarang, a longtime tribal player who finally scored his first, well-deserved Tribal Apocalypse win (also the first for the Walls this year) thanks to the Charbelcher combo, which was at least something never featured around these parts in the last two years (at least, not at the top spots):


 The deck was hated with a passion by pretty much everyone who witnessed its uncanny consistency, and to be honest, Goblin Charbelcher is very worth of a banning in the same way Painter's Servant was (or actually Grindstone; more on that later). But this deck is still interesting to me because it shows how you can build a tribal deck with just 1 land (the one that makes the Charbelcher 1-card combo really deadly). The deck features pretty much all the possible (well, all the most effective and viable) green/red/colorless techs to generate mana without using lands, and if things go south (for instance, if you happen to draw into the lonely Taiga, as I don't see a way to shuffle that back into the deck), there's Empty the Warrens as a classic storm-style plan B.

 Final deck of the day, the Masticore brew from AJ_Impy (who was expected to play Manticore next!), a nearly-Virgin, totally-Endangered tribe.


 Gibbering Descent, that's the kind of card you want to see in a healthy, imaginative metagame. I was running a very old (Construct) deck, dating back to before the Blippian Era, and I had a colorless showdown with AJ in the last round, when both of us couldn't go 3-1 anymore. I remember my Constructs battled AJ's other Constructs back then as well, when Blippy was not a community mogul yet. My All Is Dust were almost useless again (just a little bit less, even if Gibbering Descent didn't even show up unfortunately), but this time the Cloudpost engine proved to be more reliable (or just more lucky) than the Cabal Coffers engine.

 And now, let's talk about some juicy topics. Because it's...



 First hot topic: let's see if the structure of the Tribal Apocalypse month has room for improvement. Major disclaimer from this point on: I'll propose stuff, we'll debate on the comment section, then every decision will be ENTIRELY UP TO BLIPPY (a.k.a. our one and only event runner, BlippyTheSlug). I've absolutely no decision power here, let's make this clear.

 Ok, so what we are currently doing is this: first week of the month we have an Endangered Week, where only the tribes with 50 members or less can be played (according to our Complete Creature Types Reference Table); the following three weeks are classical recipe Tribal Wars tournaments; and once in a while, there's a Special Event. You can see from the calendar in the Hall of Fame (section 2012 Events) that there are/were 8 Special Events planned for 2012:

  • the Invitational ending the previous season, which took place in January 21;
  • the festive Halloween, Christmas, and New Year events (October 27, December 22, and December 29, respectively);
  • plus other four events assigned to the months with an additional Saturday to spare: the first happened on March 24, when we had the Springtime Celebration with Tribal Two-Headed Giant;
  • the second will be in June 9, celebrating Event 75 of the Blippian Era with another Tribal Duel on the lines of last year's Elf vs. Goblin (meaning players will have to build a deck for each tribe and play them both): the very timely Angel vs. Demon;
  • September 22, Harvest Celebration: Fattie Week (rules still to be defined, but it will link into my ongoing Encyclopedia of Fatties)
  • December 1, Winter Is Coming with Tribal Commander One-on-One (I'm planning a specific article to try and come up with rules for this one)

 This was just to sum things up, but the issue here isn't about the Special Events at all, it's about the Endangered Week having somehow become a bit worn-out. Let's face it, as a fixed, returning event it lost its charm. So, how can we shake things up? In either of two ways: by starting rotate Endangered Week with another type of non-regular event every other month; or by adding a second non-regular event within the month (let's say, in the third week of each month). So, this is the first question of the poll I'm officially asking you to answer in the comments:

     A. Would you like better to alternate between Endangered Week and a different, bi-monthly event to be defined (see later), or to add a second returning non-regular event in the course of each month, thus leaving just 2 regular Tribal Wars events per month?

 This clearly raises the question of what exactly should we add as an alternative in either case. There have been suggestions, but I want to summarize my thoughts on what a returning event should be like, as written in last article's comment section. I'm thinking of:

  • something that you should be able to easily explain to a new player who comes without having read the announcement (so nothing too arcane, like "you need two decks, one with Angels, one with Demons, and there's a bunch of banned cards")
  • something easy to build for the casual player even at the last minute (so, not Heirloom, or something that says "you must have a planeswalker set in your deck", because that would be elitist)
  • something not too banal but also not gimmicky for the sake of a gimmick
  • something that feels specific to the Tribal format and that describes a different aspect of the Tribal world

 The first things that came to mind was to just use a different card pool rather than Legacy, for instance Modern, or Standard, or Pauper. I leave it on the table, yet I believe this isn't the right path to find an alternative to Endangered Weeks, since it doesn't feel like it will be too much different than regular weeks, either in power level or required budget (both things that Endangered somehow tries and cares about), or even as the resulting decklists. Besides, if you want to play a tribal deck within, say, the Modern format, you can just play a Modern PRE. It already happens, and mihahitlor's Kithkin deck even got 1st place in Eurodrive! at least once. Standard would be a nightmare of mirror matches, and I don't even want to entertain the idea. It's also insanely expensive, since the hot Standard cards are always the most overpriced ones. Pauper would somehow give us an outlet for relatively cheap decks, but let's face it: Pauper is a cutthroat, Spike-friendly format. Also, there are tribal decks that are already tier-1 in regular Pauper events, like Goblins. Sure, we can ban them, but what's the point in switching to a format that still needs to be tweaked in order to make it worthwhile?

 At this point, we should ask ourselves why we did create Endangered Week to begin with. And the answer is just: to see something different played out once in a while. To encourage to try different tribes and different cards. So, that's what we should keep in mind when choosing an Endangered alternative. And I think among the suggestions there was one in particular that could be really fun, while also being straightforward, easy to build, and the perfect road to the goal of an improved variety: Tribal Singleton (backed up by JustSin, who didn't start playing yesterday!) I'm not thinking of 100-card singleton here, although that's still a possibility. Doing it with 100 cards would cause a lot of the smaller tribes to be left out, though, since you would need 33 different tribal members; not to mention that even tribes reaching that quota could end up being discarded because not enough of the members are good enough, thus switching the focus more and more to the largest tribes, a.k.a. the usual suspects. All in all, I'm more excited at the prospect of just using 60-card, regular tribal decks with the simple restriction that every non-basic land card can't be featured more than once. This way, we should definitely see some number of cards that would be hardly considered otherwise, even within power tribes like Elves and Goblins (which would still be strong, but at least a bit fresher this way). So, next question is:

     B. Would you like to play 60-card Tribal Singleton as an alternative to Endangered Week (in either one of the two ways envisioned in Question A)?

 There was another suggestion that I really liked, as proposed by Winter.WolfDouble Tribal. If I got it right (Paul, correct me if I'm wrong here), it should be something like that: you play with two tribal decks mixed together, giving birth to a 120-card minimum, 2-tribe decks where there are 40 tribal members that have to be from two different tribes. To avoid cheating or discussions about what happens when you have shared members within the two tribes, I would just say that you have to give Blippy two separate lists, both of which must be Tribal legal on their own right, and then you play by shuffling the two decks together into a mega-deck, where obviously you can't end up having more than 4 copies of each card, so you have to build the two lists accordingly (it's also up to you to build them in a way that make the mixing as smooth and functional as possible). Now, this is a bit of a gimmick, I'll admit, but it's also easy to improvise (just pick two of your decks sharing the same colors and blend them together), and at the same time challenging to master. It's something I'd really want to try at some point. It might be more suitable for a Special Event, so I ask Blippy here if he feels like we can add one down the line to host this experiment. But I also want to let you vote on this:

     C. Would you like to play Double Tribal as an alternative to Endangered Week (in either one of the two ways envisioned in Question A)?

 And, of course:

     D. Would you like to play something else not mentioned in the previous questions as an alternative to Endangered Week?

 Finally, let's talk about changing Endangered Week entirely. The original idea was born out of a simple concept: let's make an event where the same old, same old broken tribes cannot be played. Let's give some space to Ninja, or Hellion, or Spider, or Ooze. That's still important, but we now have a better tool to define which tribes are overpowered than just going with "the number of available members" (which then had to be fixed via bannings, because some tribes, like Ally or Eldrazi, are super-strong even if they have fewer members). Thanks to the Hall of Fame, we now know which tribes performed better during the history of Blippian Tribal Apocalypse. Rather than defining the "weaker tribes" as the tribes with fewer choices, isn't more fitting to just refer to the top tribes in the Hall of Fame as the non-Endangered? Let's say the Top 16 Tribes, for instance. So, Endangered Week becomes the week where you just can't play with these Top Tribes. It's also simpler to get, since you just have to read the list of the 16 tribes you can't play with, then just play whatever you like that's not in the list. And if a tribe suddenly becomes dominating in Endangered, well, it will get to the Top 16 eventually, this way banning itself in favor of some other, less problematic tribe. There are currently 45 tribes not allowed to take part in Endangered Weeks (including 6 that are Endangered but banned: Ally, Artificer, Eldrazi, Kor, Myr, and Rat; Demon is also going to lose Endangered status after Avacyn Restored will kick in). Some of them are hardly scary, though, like Spellshaper, or Ogre, or Drake. Those should actually be the kind of tribe we want to encourage, rather than forbid. Maybe turning this into the Top 16 tribes of the Hall of Fame will not be enough, so we can go with Top 32 instead. This will have to be decided by Blippy. Either way, I'm asking you as the last question of this makeshift poll:

     E. Would you like to replace the mechanism of Endangered Week from "tribes with 50 members of less" to "tribes not featured in the Top XX spots of the all-time Hall of Fame"?

 Hope we will have some good feedback in the comments to help Blippy take a decision.

 I have another hot topic to discuss now, but since this is already beginning to feel huge, I'm postponing part of it to the next Diary of the Apocalypse (hopefully later this week). Because I'm talking of a really, really sensitive subject here, that is...


 I wanted to comment and review what's in the current banned list for Tribal Apocalypse, but I will do that next time. Let's focus on what it's NOT in that list, and should be, instead. First, let's try and define the best criteria to ban a card. I strongly believe we should follow Wizards of the Coast's lead on this regard. What WotC is doing lately, and especially within the Modern format, is essentially this: you don't ban a card because of its power level; or better, that's not what triggers the banning. Such a trigger is caused by a card being everywhere; or, worse, fueling a deck that begins to be everywhere, giving birth to a corrupted meta. So, the real issue is not that a card is too good sometimes. It's that it's so good at any given time that everyone wants to use it (because everyone wants to win in competitive events). The archetype using that card becomes not just a strong, tier-1 deck, but the deck you keep seeing again and again, until you either play it too, or get bored and quit. This kind of dynamic happens with different figures and results within a restricted meta like our tribal event as well (which is still large enough to have probably a couple hundred players potentially involved, given that we had 77 players acquiring Hall of Fame points in the course of 68 events). And when it happens in such a limited environment, it's even more annoying and potentially harmful.

 That's an argument that will have more relevance next time, when I'll argue about some of the cards we have currently banned. But it should also be a guideline in deciding about the cards I'll mention now. And I'll start by mentioning two build-around-me cards that won as much Tribal Apocalypse events (including one of the two covered in this very article): Aluren and Goblin Charbelcher. Well, according to what I said above, I don't think they should be banned. Yes, they're pretty powerful, and the decks you build around them are consistent and hard to beat. But that's not enough. In a vacuum, these decks could be Top 4 every single week. In reality, they haven't been played more than just a couple times (Aluren won Ayanam1 an event last year, and he just played it again in the Invitational as one of his best-ranked decks; then DirtyDuck played it in the Two-Headed Giant event). The truth is that these are very specialized decks, and players will not start playing them massively. If they will, we can discuss the issue again. For now, I'd just consider them on watch.


I'm watching you, jerks!

 The same thing can be said of another card that has been specifically proposed for banning (by AJ_Impy, who I invite to elaborate on his reasons in the comment section): Isochron Scepter. Admittedly, it's a less specialized card than the previous two: you don't need to build a whole deck around the scepter, adapting a tribal base to it; the scepter just needs a package (4 of them and 4 instants like Silence, or better Orim's Chant, or even just Lightning Helix or Counterspell, make for a killer addition to any deck). Still, we didn't see a proliferation of scepter decks so far. There have been some. And recently, romellos won an event with a Wizard deck featuring it, but then just switched to other deck ideas (and won again twice!); the same is true for Goblin Charbelcher: grapplingfarang didn't use it again in the following event, despite the brilliant victory documented in this article. Kudos to both of them. This is exactly how potentially broken cards should be treated: not abusing them again and again and again until everyone gets annoyed, but just occasionally. Losing to a strong, broken combo deck once in a while might also be interesting, it makes you learn something new if you didn't know that combo, and remind you of the possibilities of this game anyway, which is good, pushes you to try different approaches. Yet losing to the same combo deck every other week is maddening, and makes you want to quit the event entirely. It's just about having a bit of common sense.

 So, I wouldn't say we have a scepter problem right now (I faced a scepter deck just once myself, and beat it), but I wait to read AJ's take on it. In the meanwhile, there's another, really rampant combo I came around to see as a problem. This one:

Punishing Fire 

Oh my God, enough with this stuff!

 Some time ago, I had a discussion in the Tribal room during an Apocalypse event with someone (I don't remember who) who was vehemently asking for the banning of Punishing Fire after it was officially banned in Modern. Back then, I wasn't in favor of applying to Tribal Apocalypse, which is a Legacy environment, the same considerations you can do for Modern. Legacy has a lot of deadlier interactions than this one, after all. But like I said above, it's not really about the power level, it's about the overwhelming presence of a card or combo. And Punishing/Grove has become truly overwhelming: we are at a point where every deck that can feature it will do. It's a powerful tech, but more than everything, it's annoying to see it constantly, wreaking havoc on a regular basis and with ease. So I now strongly endorse the banning of Punishing Fire (Grove of the Burnwillows is just a dual land, it's harmless otherwise) for the same reasons Stoneforge Mystic have been restricted to Kor and Artificer decks.

 And what's even more annoying? What's the most annoying thing in Tribal Apocalypse, like, ever? I know that you know the answer: it's good ol', freaking, damned Elves. But it's not the fault of every single Elf out there, no. It's just the fact that a lot of players don't mind to be that guy and play some version of Elfball. Again, it's a beatable deck. But it's so awfully consistent that more often than not, you either are equipped to stop it, and manage to draw into your solution quick enough, or you'll lose by turn 5. The numbers are pretty clear: Elves are the most successful tribe in Tribal Apocalypse, with 1541 Hall of Fame points, which is almost the SUM of the points of the second and third tribes together (Goblins and Humans). I think it's time to stop this trend by force, and I believe there's enough of a general consensus on this that it's not even a matter of deciding IF we should ban some key Elfball cards, but WHICH ONES. I'd say this guy is at the top of the most wanted list:

You broke my balls, Ezuri! You broke my balls!

And I'd add at least one of these as well, or both:


 Taking these out, the orphaned Nettle Sentinel and Viridian Joiner (or Devoted Druid) wouldn't do much. Up to Blippy to decide, and to all of you to voice your opinion and press a chloroform-soaked rag over the mouth and nose of every Elf player in the meantime. When this will be done, playing Elves (and against Elves) might become fun again. Because, you know, they will still be strong. Just not the ubiquitous fun-suckers they are now.

 Blippy is also worrying (down in the forum, that nobody reads anymore since when you don't have to post the decklists there) about this upcoming card from Avacyn Restored:

 I might be wrong, but I don't see this as a bad thing for Tribal Wars. Let's see what the consequences of its introduction will be:

  • everybody will play 4 of them in every deck. Not so relevant per se: it's just a land, it will just become the sixth basic land of Tribal decks
  • upside: every deck will have 4 bonus dual lands. This means that if this land will be relatively inexpensive (and everything under 10 tix will qualify as inexpensive, since it will work as a dual land), budget players will see their decks nicely improved. I can imagine the happiness of sadisteck's Zuberas, for instance. Unless it will turn up to be an insanely priced chase rare for some reason (I can see it having a serious impact on Modern and maybe Standard), it will work as a veritable people's helper.
  • downside (for the meta): permission decks will have a bad time from now on, because countering tribal creatures will become impossible. But is this really a concern? How many permission-heavy decks we usually see in Tribal? And it's not that you can use this land to protect your combos. You can't cast Aluren or Goblin Charbelcher with this. Or Entomb, or Show and Tell, or what have you.

 I definitely want to see it on the field before judging it (preemptive bannings are never a good thing), but for now, I'm more excited than alarmed. Just in case, we can work on some ruling to prevent abuses. Like: you can only choose the creature type of your main tribe, not trying to protect off-tribe creatures like Titans and such (if you drop one of these and declare a different type, you must either concede the game or be forced to not use the land at all). We'll see.

 And that's (almost) it. Before wrapping up, in the forum Blippy is proposing a new kind of prizes. I quote: "Plague Bounty: If a Tribal Apocalypse Event has 20% (1 in 5) or more ONE TRIBE decks, a bounty of 1 ticket credit for defeating a ONE TRIBE deck, to be taken from the overall prize pool." It sounds nice, even if it's not that frequent a case. The promised tickets might be too much, though: if 5 tribes over a total of 20 keep losing each round, the prizes will surpass the pool. But it's another of the things you'll need to comment upon! Let the discussion begin!


Now that I think about it, by KaraZorEl at Thu, 04/26/2012 - 06:31
KaraZorEl's picture

Now that I think about it, Punishing Fire really shouldn't be banned. There's Crystalline Sliver, Steely Resolve and a few other things that give all your creatures shroud. If the fire can't target a creature, you're spending two mana to deal one every turn. And anyway, people should be playing shroud effects more. :p

That reasoning is flawed. by Paul Leicht at Thu, 04/26/2012 - 07:10
Paul Leicht's picture

That reasoning is flawed. Anything can be defeated by specific answers. However since the format prohibits sideboarding you have to to know to bring those answers. The narrower the answer (Crystaline Sliver for example) the harder it is to predict its usability.

Steely Resolve while certainly an answer to targeted creature removal in general is one answer. I am not saying Punishing/Groves is unabeatable either. I am saying it is ubiquitous and onerous.

Yeah, I wouldn't stop by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 04/26/2012 - 13:26
Kumagoro42's picture

Yeah, I wouldn't stop repeating this: banning a card on this time and age isn't about "oh my God, that's SO BROKEN! It can't be beated!". It's about "oh please, all decks have the same card, let's stop this proliferation for the sake of not boring our players to death".

I also never understood the banning paranoia. All the formats have a restricted pool of cards. You build decks within that pool, and that's it. All the current pools are huge enough. Legacy is mega-huge. They took out one card you used to play? Well, guess what, you'll have to redefine the pool and start building within a new pool that is equal to old pool minus one. Nothing to go drama queen about (except if you just spent 400 tix for a playset of something that got banned two weeks after, but that just bad luck/bad acumen).

All of these arguments are by StealthBadger at Thu, 04/26/2012 - 12:31
StealthBadger's picture

All of these arguments are why I wish Tribal had access to a sideboard! I didn't play either of these events, but being able to board in oxidize, relic of progenitus, spreading seas, some kind of pyroclasm effect etcetera seems like it would make so many other strategies more feasable!

As it is, you can't afford to stick multiple answers in your decks unless you have some sort of tutor package, and those are often too slow (and only available to certain tribes, really).

Obviously, I'm aware that y'all can't change the online tribal format, but I wish wizards would look into it!

I dread the moment Wizards by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 04/26/2012 - 13:40
Kumagoro42's picture

I dread the moment Wizards will mess with the tribal format. You think it's cutthroat now? Wait until there were official tournaments, a sideboard system, and pro players (and we know what pro players do within an environment reflects on what wannabe pro players/competitive casual players/newbies/almost everyone will do).

To me the lack of sideboard is exactly like everything else: a feature of the format. It's a challenge. You have to be somehow more skillful to build around this limitation. With a sideboard, that's easier = less challenging (like, "let's play 100-card Singleton, but with 4 copies of each card! It'll be easier to find answers this way!"). In most Legacy games, it all boils down to a battle of sideboards, and that means the meta are more strictly defined, so you can study it, predict it, counter it. Without sideboard, the meta is less predictable, a deck wins in virtue of its own strengths, not the strengths of the hosers that come up in Game 2.

Also, it would just switch the focus from a kind of deck to another (for instance, graveyard strategies out, permission strategies in). And it will end up being more similar to regular Legacy. I don't want a Tribal where a playset of Force of Will becomes mandatory.

I always assumed that the by Misterpid at Thu, 04/26/2012 - 15:32
Misterpid's picture

I always assumed that the reason for not having a sideboard was because people could just switch out the tribal aspects and have a much more finely tuned deck.

That is certainly an aspect by Paul Leicht at Thu, 04/26/2012 - 16:50
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That is certainly an aspect to the argument against adding sideboards. It might in fact be the initial reason for excluding them. However given a format fully enforced in the client any rules to deal with that could still be handled. (ie: main deck still needs to have 33% of the deck be of the tribe.)

So that only forestalls doing it unofficially.

I don't see your logic on why by StealthBadger at Fri, 04/27/2012 - 02:43
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I don't see your logic on why access to a sideboard would lead to permission strategies?

I am extremely dubious that any format where every single deck benefits from running 4 cavern of souls is likely to ever be dominated by permission, to be completely honest.

I also disagree with the idea that a sideboard makes the format less challenging. It reduces the possibility of people easily going X-0 with extreme linear strategies that nobody has any hate for sure, but those decks also get to sideboard, so it's not like just giving "straight" decks extra toys.

I stand by the idea that it is currently not possible to deal with extreme linears in tribal because you simply don't know which ones you're going to face, and you can't fit 4 firespout, 4 ancient grudge, 4 grafdiggers cage, or whatever into your deck. It isn't something that particularly bothers me though. I think the wall-belcher deck is very cool, and the living death decks don't seem too powerful. I'd probably support the idea of banning punishing fire because it just colds so many decks, but I don't really play often enough to have a grasp on how dominating it's been. I remember when I used to play a lot, I was an extremely strong advocate of banning moat, which certain players brought every single week and just froze out half of the decks. I don't know whether punishing fire has reached that level (and I'm glad that everybody seems to have forgotten moat!).

That ended up a bit longer than i intended!

Nobody forgot Moat. by Paul Leicht at Fri, 04/27/2012 - 03:47
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Nobody forgot Moat. Apparently Wotc heard you and banned it at the end of 2010.

Man, I miss being able to by AJ_Impy at Fri, 04/27/2012 - 06:46
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Man, I miss being able to freeze out half the decks through a single card choice. Good times.

I think complaining about a by ArchGenius at Thu, 04/26/2012 - 20:04
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I think complaining about a format in this type of setting is natural. Also people seem to complain about whatever is popular. Today's champion of creativity is tomorrow's vilest villain. It's the nature of the beast.

The danger as I see it is catering too much to the whining. That just encourages more whining and makes the rules so darn complex that it becomes hostile to new players who don't know the written and unwritten rules.

Although I'm no longer able to play in this tournament because of a job change, I still have a vested interest in its success.

I, for one, hope you will by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 04/27/2012 - 18:03
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I, for one, hope you will find a way to come back. People still think of you every time someone dares to approach the sacred tribe of Walls! :)

Couple of statistics by mihahitlor at Fri, 04/27/2012 - 05:51
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Couple of statistics regarding elves from the past 2 months:
Percentage of elf decks: 17.6%
Percentage of decks that include Nettle Sentinel: 3.7%
Percentage of elf decks that include Nettle Sentinel: 21.1%
Percentage of decks that include Priest of Titania: 15.0%
Percentage of elf decks that include Priest of Titania: 84.2%
Percentage of decks that include Heritage Druid: 7.5%
Percentage of elf decks that include Heritage Druid: 42.1%
Percentage of decks that include Elvish Archdruid: 15.0%
Percentage of elf decks that include Elvish Archdruid: 84.2%
Percentage of decks that include Ezuri, Renegade Leader: 8.4%
Percentage of elf decks that include Ezuri, Renegade Leader: 47.3%

I don't know how proposed banning of Nettle Sentinel would do *anything* to the meta, since it's clearly a very marginal player in Tribal Apocalypse and 4 out of 5 elf decks don't include him.

If you want to engineer a meta that would actually seem different to players who are supposedly sick of elves, you won't accomplish this by banning single cards like Nettle Sentinel, Heritage Druid or even a win condition such as Ezuri (since there are bunch of win conditions for elves (Biorythm, Staff of Domination, Joraga Warcaller, Umbral Mantle etc. even simply attacking with bunch of elves pumped by regular lords).

To actually make elves deck different, you need to ban mana lords (Priest of Titania + Archdruid) who are present in almost any build. So it's either a drastic measure (which I am against it) or there won't be almost no change in a meta.

I hear you, but I'm by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 04/27/2012 - 18:11
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I hear you, but I'm personally not aiming towards drastic measures to chastise Elf decks. Elves are a popular and iconic tribe, and players who like them have all the rights to do so and play with them as much as they can. If they will find different wincons, good for them. It's seeing the same two or three ones that's annoying. Killing the mana lords is part of the job of playing against Elves, like killing any key tribal creature is when playing against every other tribe. I'm not sure Elves will be so heavily played if their only strenght was the ability to generate lots of mana, dump your entire hand, and swing. They would be played, but a little less, hopefully. That's the goal: just a little less is fine.

"Percentage of elf decks that include Ezuri, Renegade Leader: 47.3%"

And this is what I'm talking about.

What is the best combination by juliestarkey45 at Sun, 07/01/2012 - 06:47
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What is the best combination of card games should I use in my deck to assure my bet?