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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
May 09 2012 1:07pm
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*** Tribal Apocalypse: Weeks 68-69 BE ***
Touched for the very first time

 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse! I have to say, last week (or so)'s article sparked a huge and complicate debate about banning, and I have some more things to propose on the subject (included a whole counterpoint about the cards that I feel we could/should UNBAN from the Tribal Apocalypse's specific ban list). But let's keep all this on hold for just a moment and let's remember what a blast it was Ham on Wry: The Erik Friborg Celebration Classic, a.k.a. the day people from around the whole fucking world came pay their respects to the titular man, and in the process won a metric ton of stuff in the Greatest PRE Ever Done or Even Just Dreamed Before. And special kudos to all the 165 players who showed up: you've been part of THE HISTORY OF MTGO, folks! (I, not so much, since my PC,  it may be damned along with all its crappy circuits, took the word "blast" a little too literally, and decided to prevent me to host the proceedings of the Euro event as planned). All the players had fun with a format, Classic, that's not everyone's cup of tea, but was absolutely the right choice as it encompasses everything that's Magic, like Erik did. So, congrats to both Naoto, the winner of the Euro Event (which was held on Erik's birthday, Friday May 4h, at 18:00 GMT), and _Shaddai_, who took home the US Event (same day, 9:30 PM Eastern). Both basically got awarded their weight in tix (we're talking a converted value of $417,15 for the US Event and $322,40 for the Euro Event: do you know a PRE who pays this much? Because if you do, I'm interested). 

 But I want to congratulate particularly all the tribal players who made Top 8: in the Euro Event, SBena ended 1st place after the Swiss pairings (with a slightly enhanced Modern deck, no less!), and romellos was there too; in the US Event, we had both Winter.Wolf and victorBike on the top shelf. Great job, guys. And, of course, three trumpet blasts and a 21-gun salute for the incomparable BlippyTheSlug, who created and fearlessly hosted both the events: join me in three cheers for the turbo-slugman! Hip hip hip... hooray!  Hip hip hip... hooray! Hip hip hip... hooray!

 Ham on Wry involved Tribal Apocalypse too, because SBenabot (which is, unsurprisingly, owned by SBena) offered a 5-tix bot credit to each of the hosts, as a way to symbolically thank all those people who, like Erik, give "service" to the players' community. And I will use my very undeservedly gained credit to create a prize within Tribal Apocalypse: the Hamtastic Biodiversity Prize (I'll try and find some way to finance subsequent instances of the prize, so it's not just a one-time thing). I hereby announce, then, that the 5-tix prize will be awarded to the first player who will register 10 different tribes and play all rounds with them in 10 consecutive Tribal Apocalypse events. And with "consecutive", I mean for the player: you don't need to play 10 consecutive weeks of the tournament, you can do that over the course of how many weeks you want, but if you aim to the prize, you can't register a tribe you have already used before getting to the tenth one. The prize will not expire until a player will have accomplished the feat. Each player will have to keep track of its current status, and when the prize will be claimed, I'll check the registration data. If at that point two or more players will be tied, we'll stage a showdown between them at the end of the next Tribal Apocalypse event.

 This said, let's have a look at what had transpired on Tribal Apocalypse the last couple weeks, which haven't been bad at all. Especially if you were a virgin tribe, ehm, lover.

  • Event Number: 16 (2012), 68 (all-time)
  • Date: April 21
  • Attendance: 18
  • Rounds: 3
  • Special Rules: none
  • Top 4: romellos (Merfolk, undefeated); _Kumagoro_ (Scout, undefeated); YizzleStakz (Shaman, 1 loss); StealthBadger (Shaman, 1 loss)
  • Special Prizes: Endangered Prize to AJ_Impy (Manticore)
  • Tribes: Elf (x2), Elk, Goblin (x2), Kithkin, Knight, Kobold, Kor, Manticore, Merfolk (x2), Ninja, Rogue, Scout, Shaman (x2), Zombie
  • Virgin Tribe: Manticore by AJ_Impy

 Ok, from my point of view, this was the event where I decided to bring back one of my only two 1st place decks, this Scout build based on Goblins' most favored destination for winter vacations, Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle (which, I've decided, raises from Pendrell Vale).

 

 This manages to be a flavorful build somehow: the scout are going exploring the mountain range and the vale, and of course they brought along their scouting enthusiast giant friend. And exploiting the natural forces of the landscape to defeat their enemies is what they do best. And yet I consider this a cutthroat build (which probably says something about me, but hey, it didn't lost a single game during two full tournaments plus the Invitational!), so I don't feel like playing it much. But we were talking about Elf proliferation those days, so I thought I would recall from semi-retirement what makes a good "elfbane" deck. And indeed, I beat the powerful build by _BIG_BROTHERS_, along with misterpid's overwhelming Kobolds and YizzleStakz's combo Shamans. Come the end of the last round, though, I had the same game won ratio of another deck, namely this Merfolk build by romellos:


   He was above me in the final ranking only in virtue of the opponent matches won ratio, which is something you have no control on (as you can't choose your own opponents, after all, and especially in Round 1 to be paired up with a strong opponent is just a matter of luck). So, I approached romellos and proposed him to have a final battle between us for the 1st place: blue vs. its enemy colors, mountain vs. sea, great flavor. He agreed, we played, he won (breaking my deck's not-so-lasting invincibility). Well, this surely doesn't make for a great success story for me, but the idea was apparently well-received (by romellos and grapplingfarang, at least), and Blippy is fine with this becoming "official" (as much as everything influencing only the Hall of Fame can be). So from now on, if two players end undefeated with the same game won ratio, the player resulting lower-ranked gets the option of challenging the higher-ranked one for the 1st place; if the latter refuses, the former will be automatically bumped up one placement, becoming the 1st place player for all the purposes of Hall of Fame ranking.

 As for romellos, well, it looks like we have a serious candidate for player of the year here, what with three 1st places and one 2nd place (with four different tribes!) over the course of just five weeks. Don't get me wrong, this Merfolk deck is badass in a very Spikey way: romellos is clearly here to win, not to mess around. Full playsets of both Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile don't let room for ambiguity, not to mention the off-tribe Snapcaster Mage, which speaks volumes about the approach. But he's very sportsmanlike and never lingered on the same winning deck so far, so I'd say he's a deserved new entry in the all-time Top 16 players of the Blippian Era. And he's a countryman of the great Lord Erman. Good bloodline.

 Next we have two very different Shaman decks, from two players who had never made Hall of Fame points until now (and possibly never played in the Blippian era, if I'm not wrong).

 

 YizzleStakz's is a take on the popular Splinter Twin/Kiki-Jiki combo deck, but with a twist: no blue self-untapping creatures, and a more intricate (and fun) system of card interactions, with Intruder Alarm at the top of the chain. Of course, alarmed Kiki-Jiki tokens are enough to seal the deal, but there's more going on in this deck. Plus, going Splinter with Shamans might be less efficient than with Faeries, but it's surely more interesting to play with and against. And Rakka Mar! How awesome she is? 

 The other Shaman crowd, led by StealthBadger, is even more unusual.

 

 Tons of creatures, all fast but not immediately deadly (no Tarmogoyf here, but no Mul Daya Channelers either), a bit of Elementals, a sprinkle of Treefolks, a splash of Elves, and just 4 Lightning Bolts as a (removal) icing. Both these decks are budget-friendly, fun to play, and as you can see, they are able to end Top 4 too, as long as they are piloted properly. Maybe think of them the next time you'll feel like complaining about the power level/money investment needed in order to do something at all in this tournament.

 On the same lines, you might also think of the fact that AJ_Impy managed to be successful three times in a row with Endangered tribes in non-Endangered weeks. After Masticore, now it's the turn of... its one-letter alteration, Manticore!

 

 But, yeah, these Manticores are hypocritical (a name AJ himself came up with), because there's the notorious Punishing Fire combo, plus  Seismic Assault/Life from the Loam as an endgame, which is fine with me but I suppose AJ felt like it contradicted the casus belli of his famous Grudge Match with NemesisParadigm (that is, not using a non-tribal wincon). But I'm willing to cut AJ some slack here, since Manticore isn't an easy tribe to pull off on its own: there's only these four, and none of them is very impressive (to say the least). It has also been noted that Punishing/Burnwillows is an important tool for the slower tribes to be able to stop the faster ones. So maybe we should take this aspect into proper consideration before acting out on that combo pair. Speaking of which, I'll just mention here a proposal grapplingfarang has made and I'm elaborating since: to create a watch list for problematic cards, leading not to a ban, but to an eventual temporary suspension from the tournament. More details below.

 As the last deck for this event, I'd like to feature the Kobold build I mentioned above:

 

 No Storm strategy here, despite some classic Storm tools being present (Manamorphose, Lotus Petal, all the 0-mana creatures). The battleplan is very simple but potentially lethal: a lightning-fast proliferation of creatures, pumped by Signal Pest and Goblin Bushwhacker at first, then by the best Kobold every printed: Mirror Entity.

 And thus ended Week 68. One week later... 

  • Event Number: 17 (2012), 69 (all-time)
  • Date: April 28
  • Attendance: 14
  • Rounds: 3
  • Special Rules: none
  • Top 4: RexDart (Efreet, undefeated); romellos (Human, 1 loss); _BIG_BROTHERS_ (Elf, 1 loss); Jeketerri (Goblin, 1 loss)
  • Special Prizes: Endangered Prize to AJ_Impy (Gorgon)
  • Tribes: Efreet, Elemental, Elf, Goblin, Gorgon, Human (x3), Illusion, Kithkin, Knight, Soldier, Spirit, Zombie
  • Virgin Tribes: Efreet by RexDart (highest-ranked); Gorgon by AJ_Impy

 Efreets, you guys! Efreets for the win! I can't say how excited I am for the first win by RexDart, a good player who has been around for a while. And he finally did it, in the most classy and unexpected way: as the only undefeated player after battling Goblins, Elves and Humans with a Virgin Tribe!

 

 The Efreets aren't half bad, even if Rex didn't use 5 of them (of the 14 he could choose from) and opted to reinforce the deck with the always solid Taurean Mauler instead. There's good stuff in there, starting with a couple of Big Jaces. But the key card is definitely Chalice of the Void, a very smart meta-call that gave Rex an edge over his faster opponents: Jeketerri's Goblins (which ended 4th place), _BIG_BROTHERS_'s Elves (3rd place) and this Human deck by romellos (2nd place):

 

 The non-creature section here tells the story of a very usual burn deck, with just the inclusion of Isochron Scepter in a non-broken capacity (it doesn't lock the battlefield, it "just" keeps burning again and again) as a more personal mark. The tribal base is interesting, though, because looks very varied: we have big finishers (Kargan Dragonlord), burn/answers (Grim Lavamancer), control/disruption elements (Magus of the Moon), and fast beaters (the rarely seen yet quite efficient Blood Knight, a meta-call on its own right, given the sheer amount of white aggro decks we're seeing lately). And Jaya Ballard, Task Mage! How awesome she is, too?

 By the way, the Scepter made an appearance within another deck during these two weeks. It might end up becoming one of the first cards to be put on watch and earn itself a suspension, if that system will be put in place.

 

 And here it is: three Endangered Prizes in a row for AJ_Impy, this time with a Heartless Summoning build featuring Gorgons, which were Virgin too (just like Manticores were). And since this deck ended the tournament with 1 loss (along with my Recurring Nighmare Spirit deck, mihahitlor's red Elementals, and SBena's Knights), we had TWO Virgin tribes in the prizes. Amazing, isn't it? AJ's Gorgon deck features Havengul Lich (a recent favorite of his, I guess), exploiting strong activated abilities like Visara the Dreadful's and Sisters of Stone Death's. But also creating a sort of advanced "Punishing combo" with Perilous Myr under Heartless Summoning (resulting in 2 damage inflicted for every mana spent).
 

 

 And we wrap up with this weird yet fascinating Soldier deck, that somehow seems to foreshadow the upcoming Tribal Singleton. Only with couples of cards rather than single copies (so, Coupleton? It might be a thing). Kudos to newcomer (?) EcHo EcHo for finding strange, obscure creatures like Descendant of Kiyomaro and Haazda Shield Mate (plus an enchantment like Light from Within, which is strong enough). Some odd choices, but the deck still managed to slow down and give a hard time to both me and AJ. So, come back for more!

 And now it's...

UN-BANNING TIME!

 That's right, let's do the opposite of what we did last time, and let's have a look at the cards we currently have in the Tribal Apocalypse ban list, the reasons they are here, and the chances to bring them back. But first, I have to write down a proposal that came from grapplingfarang, as expanded and defined by me. The idea is to create a watch list for "annoying cards" (and to me, that should mean power combo cards that show up too much, like Punishing Fire, as well as cards which define an archetype that's winning too frequently), and after some "enough with that!" level is reached, a card gets suspended for a certain number of weeks. The process might have to be refined on the fly (all the numbers you'll see below are tentative, for instance), but it might work and to me it's worth a try. My proposed ground rules are:

  • in order to be watchlisted, a card needs 5 players with Hall of Fame points endorsing the action; this will be made via PM to me during a TribAp event, as I will be the Card Watcher (sparing Blippy the additional troubles);
  • such a reported card will be taken into consideration for watchlisting, only if: it was featured at least 50 times ("Type 1 Annoyance"), according to vantar6697's Card Popularity Survey; and/or it was a combo piece/wincon of an archetype that went undefeated at least 3 times within a 12-event period ("Type 2 Annoyance"), since a power card that shows up only once every third month or less isn't affecting the meta at all;
  • if the conditions above do exist, I'll consult with Blippy and we'll decide if the card is ripe for watchlisting;
  • once watchlisted, a card will get monitored: from that moment on, if the conditions are repeated (i.e. every 50 more appearances and/or 3 more undefeated finishes within 12 events), the cards will be suspended for 12 events, meaning it will be considered temporarily banned until the suspension period expires. I'll keep track of the suspensions, and Blippy will just have to list the suspended cards along with the permanently banned ones in the announcements;
  • after a suspension period ends, the card goes back to the general population, and needs to meet the abovementioned conditions again in order to be watchlisted another time;
  • if we're dealing with a multiple-card combo, the watchlisted card will be the one with fewer harmless applications; 
  • land cards can't be watchlisted or suspended.

 So, what do you think? If anything, it might be a good tool to shake things up a bit, enlivening a possible stale meta on a regular basis (not that we ever really had this problem, but it's still in the realm of possibilities). We should keep in mind this idea while analyzing the current banned list, then, since what I'm going to propose now is sort of the complementary action to the suspension system: clean up the banned list and empty it as much as possible. But let's start considering what's in the one we've no control on: the official Legacy Tribal Wars banned list maintained by Wizards of the Coast. We can divide these cards into three categories:

THE CARDS THAT WOULD CAUSE TRIBAL-RELATED ISSUES

  

 

 These are pretty easy to get: they are all the cards that make you choose a creature type to do nefarious things (as opposed to, say, Door of Destinies), becoming too topical and too one-sided within a Tribal environment. To be honest, the assured destruction caused by Extinction and Tsabo's Decree, or the continuous, crippling effect of Engineered Plague aren't quite comparable to the situational, same-tribe stealing of Peer Pressure, which seems only relevant in a mirror match. And in many cases, Circle of Solace is strictly worse than Story Circle, that doesn't even see a lot of play itself (the whole "circle of protection" concept being more than a bit passé these days). But I can see where these bannings came from, even if, admittedly, most of these cards wouldn't affect the format in a significant way. I think Damnation or Black Sun's Zenith would still be the black player's choice methods of board control. The ironic part is that all these cards are banned from the one format where they would mean something, as they are utterly unplayable elsewhere, with the possible exception of  Engineered Plague, which indeed I remember having seen in the sideboard of some old Legacy decks as an anti-Elf and anti-Goblin measure, now probably obsolete as well. 
 

THE POWER CARDS THAT WOULD AFFECT THE FORMAT TOO MUCH

 

 Umezawa's Jitte isn't in question: it's a broken card to begin with, and a format where you have 20 carriers in every deck makes it even more effective. It's true that the same can be said of the blades, but Jitte is still stronger, with its absurd combination of removal, life-gaining, and pumping. It would be so ubiquitous to become unbelievably annoying.

  I'm more doubtful about The Abyss, though: granted, it's that non-artifact clause that makes it relevant in Tribal, as every artifact tribe would just drop it and watch the opponent creatures die one by one. I'm also inclined to consider it a rightful member of this category because, while there are similar effects, they're not as strong, since they have a preestablished end (Drop of Honey, Woebringer Demon), or cost much more (Sheoldred, Whispering One). Of course, the real question here isn't if The Abyss is a strong card, but if it would affect Tribal in a way that would account for a broken meta. And all in all, it's fairly possible.

THE CARDS THAT SHOULDN'T BE HERE

  

 We all know Moat shouldn't have been banned: yeah, it one-sidedly helps the flying tribes, but c'mon, there's plenty of them, and the most serious ones are all mid-range. So, what Moat really was about is providing a balancing tool against the fast aggro decks. Which for some reasons are the decks that the banning people at WotC stand up for. I've half a mind to write them a letter on behalf of the TribAp community, explaining why they should un-ban Moat, pronto (maybe asking Blippy to send it, as the host of the only Tribal event in MTGO and recently acknowledged PRE personality). After all, there's no player in the system that knows about the Tribal format as much as we do (and certainly not some judge that maybe plays Tribal between the rounds of some PTQ every third month, and was getting pissed that his friend's Angel deck was constantly stopping his Goblins cold). We have tons of data to support this claim, including 70 documented events and an ongoing academic research. Let's start a Dig the Moat petition!

 The other two cards are somehow even more baffling. Stasis is a powerful card indeed, but what has it to do with Tribal? Why a tribal deck should suffer from a Stasis strategy more than a non-tribal deck? Because creatures hate it more when they're not able to untap? It's not even being played too much in competitive Legacy anymore, so why Tribal Wars should worry more about Stasis than about, say, Winter Orb or Smokestack? And Arboria seems more in the same vein of Moat, but if you look closely, it's nothing like it. It's not a tool a mid-range deck can use to stop the opponent's attack and buy time to build its board position, because you can't do anything if you want for the effect to take place, not even playing lands. I can see how you can try and drop Arboria on a favorable board position, but that doesnt prevent the opponent to mess with your position via removals, or even just to block your creatures. At that point you'll have to stop "maintaining" Arboria to rebuild a position, suspending the protection effect. And what's worse, the opponent can exploit Arboria too and do the same at any point (your deck doesn't need to be particularly built around it to benefit from the effect). It looks more like a way to stall and prolong the games than anything else. Seriously, why is Arboria here? Did it ever see serious play at all? Did they just read "creatures" and make a mental connection to tribal, because "tribal is a format with a lot of creatures"? Well, guess what, half the decks featured in this article wouldn't care about Arboria at all (or Moat, for that matter)! I feel like this banning list is really out of date.

 Alright, so that was the official stuff: 10 banned cards, of which essentially only 3 or 4 are really worth the banning. Our list adds these 14 cards (plus the Stoneforge Mystic restriction, which I'll not argue here):

THE TRIFECTA OF DOOM 

  

 I like to think of these three as the best, scariest creatures in the game. Emrakul is the Ultimate Finisher, being very hard to survive his coming; Iona is the Ultimate Hoser, able to lock entire decks out of the game; and Progenitus is the Ultimate Clock, since there are very few ways to stop his attacks (while you can use any tapper on Emrakul, after all). So, are these cards definitely too broken for Tribal Apocalypse? I don't actually know, to be honest. Emrakul would definitely be the card of choice in many decks aiming to a creature-based finishing effect. But in its absence, those decks just use Ulamog or Blightsteel Colossus (and it's not that they would use Emrakul in addition to one of those, they would use him instead). Are the games playing out very differently because of that? Since none of them can be reanimated, the worst case scenario is with these fatties being shown and told. But is an early Emrakul really that different than an early Ulamog or Colossus? The major difference is that Emrakul can't be killed by Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile, while the indestructible guys can. Yet Emrakul can be killed by any Wrath of God effect, while Ulamog and the Colossus would just shrug it off (as they do with any non-exiler spot removal as well). An edict effect kills all three of them. Karakas affects Emrakul and Ulamog but not the Colossus. I'd say you are going to lose 90% of the times within 2 turns to a turn-3 drop of any of these creatures, whatever its name is. The difference with Emrakul is that in your second turn you will have less permanents in play. Emrakul becomes really relevant if you hardcast him, since its Time Walk will give you an almost instant victory. But are we concerned about a deck that generates an instant victory after ramping to 15 mana? Or after doing stuff like using the Hideaway lands and fulfilling their conditions? These are dedicated decks, if they pull off their battleplan, they'll win, like every deck would. Emrakul is just a tool here, it's not really necessary; it's a strong and reliable endgame, sure, but they'll always have other options. Let's say you generate 15 mana, and you cast a 14-damage Devil's Play on the opponent's face, then flashback it the following turn for 12. That's a 2-turn kill, and you get even fewer ways to answer it (essentially, just countermagic). The main difference of a death by Emrakul seems to reside on psychological factors: Emrakul leaves you prostrate, impotent; it doesn't just beat you, it humiliates you. For this reason, and for that feeling of helplessness he causes, he's very much hated, but popular hate can't be a serious banning criterion. This said, maybe the real negative effect of Emrakul is to push players into playing ramp decks only for the sake of crushing their opponents with the mighty Eldrazi overlord, all Timmy-style. But if we imagine a suspension system like the one described above, what would happen is that Emrakul would just come and go every few months, and during his absence, other scary fatties would take turns in his place. This said, I'll let this linger, but other than for psychological reasons, I don't think Emrakul would really change the decks where he would fit, their battleplans, or rate of success, if not slightly.

 Now, Iona is another question entirely. She can be reanimated, leading to the notorious turn-1 Dark Ritual into Entomb into Exhume. Not so frequent (especially given the current price of Entomb), but still possible. And even a turn-4 Iona may still result in a frustrating, automatic good game against certain decks. But here's the point: against monocolored decks. Granted, Iona is still very powerful against other decks too, once you see what their key answer/wincon color is. Or just because she nullifies a bunch of the opponent's cards anyway. Still, it feels like by banning Iona, we're especially protecting the monocolored builds, which are definitely a Tribal element (since there are many tribes linked to a single color, it's in the nature of the tribal concept itself). They are also a force to be reckoned with, though, so couldn't it be that Iona would act as a way to balance this out, just in virtue of her presence in the metagame making people more wary to go monocolored? Honestly, I don't know.

 What I know is that Progenitus definitely got the short straw in this little club. First of all, there's not that many ways to drop it on the field. Essentially, the most practical ones are just Show and Tell, Natural Order, and the very obscure Dramatic Entrance (I used it in Modern recently and people were stunned to see a Progenitus suddenly appear out of nowhere in their end phase). Decks ramping to 2 mana of each color via double Crystal Quarry or something would be such an oddity that they would earn the right to cast Progenitus. Natural Order is probably the issue here, as it's a reliable way to have Progenitus out by turn 3 within a good ramping tribe like Elves or Walls. At that point, it'll be either a board sweeper or a likely death in 2 turns. It's just one wincon archetype, though: the NO-Prog. Progenitus doesn't impact elsewhere.

So, all in all, I'm not arguing in favor of the return of any of these creatures specifically, since they're widely-known and recognizable issues, and they're popular cards and will see play immediately. But it's still worth noting how bringing back Emrakul wouldn't translate into a specific deck being born or reborn (he would just replace other finishers within existing archetypes), while bringing back Iona or Progenitus would result in the blooming/resurgence of Entomb reanimator and NO-Prog strategies respectively. So probably the questions are if we can tolerate a) for Emrakul to occasionally replace Ulamog and Blighsteel Colossus; b) for reanimator to have in Iona the tool for a quick endgame; c) for NO-Prog to exist at all as one of the power combo decks in the format. I think I would answer yes to all, especially with the watch list system in place, but I will suspend the judgment on such a delicate matter. I'll just be content if this discussion will make you reassess your own position on the Trifecta of Doom.

THE POWER CARDS THAT WOULD AFFECT THE FORMAT TOO MUCH

 

 Aether Vial is apparently a strange banning, because it essentially helps every tribal deck, although it's especially effective with fast aggro tribes like Merfolk and Goblin. A turn-1 Aether Vial is a boost to everyone, though, even if its anti-counter aspect becomes less relevant in Tribal (the same reason why Cavern of Souls will end up being a broken card everywhere BUT in Tribal, as here we can't really have draw-go strategies – too many threats, too few slots – and the whole uncounterability element is kind of wasted). So, since Vial would be a 4x auto-include in almost every deck, we might as well say that no deck is allowed to play it, and call it a day. (It would also be very boring to see it all the times).

 Hypergenesis has been banned during the Blippian Era after a long streak of successes showed clearly what it can do in the format. And what it can do is to somehow play around the limitation of the format: a Hypergenesis deck needs a large number of threats, and the tribal format requires for you to spend 20 slots on creatures; the two restrictions kind of annul each other, and that's not supposed to happen. Of course, it's also a super-consistent 1-card combo: you just need to cast a single cascade spell, and it's done. Fast, easy, no brain required, and the results are powerful. Take Living End for comparison: in order to pull that off, you need to build a deck where your creatures would be able to end in the graveyard, then cast the cascade spell, ending up with a lot of beaters, sure, but not hi-quality beaters (you have to make do with what cycling creatures have to offer). With Hypergenesis, you can have a bunch of Eldrazi, or Dragons, or Leviathans, or hi-level Angels. And you don't have to wait for anything, you just drop 3 lands and go cascade. If your opponent sweeps, you go cascade again. It's seriously twisted in the format, no discussion here.

THE POWER CARDS THAT WOULD BE ABUSED BY ONE TRIBE ONLY

  

 Let's cut this short: Glimpse of Nature makes Elves stronger, and Goblin Lackey makes Goblins stronger. Too one-sided to be allowed, especially since those are the two stronger and most popular tribes already, and they need to be cooled down, not helped (something WotC doesn't seem to get judging by their tribal bannings).

 Thopter Foundry is trickier. I put it here because, in combo with Sword of the Meek, it has been used almost exclusively with Artificers. But while that's probably the best tribe for the combo (Faerie Mechanist finds both the pieces, Stoneforge Mystic finds the Sword), nothing prevents you from running it with Zombie, or Pegasus, or what-have-you. You just need to devote some slots to the two cards, and while you're waiting to assemble the combo, they have also some use on their own. However, let's just leave it here, I'll explain why in just a bit.

THE POWER CARDS THAT COULD BE BROUGHT BACK

   

 "What?! Are you crazy?! Whaaat?! Those are uber-powerful super-powered power cards!" Yes, they are. They also are very specific parts of archetypes built around them. And here's the thing, you have to be willing to play with them. Are you? Seriously, Doomsday combo? It's already hard to see it in regular Legacy. If someone will have the guts to try that in Tribal, I say kudos to that player. How many Doomsday decks are we expecting to see on a weekly basis? I'd go with 0.05 at most. How many Lion's Eye Diamonds are even there within our community? We really think all of a sudden people will start coming each single week with a LED-fueled combo deck? Most of all, it's not that these are ALL the power cards in existence, and banning them will leave the meta entirely free of broken combos. Because, Helm of Obedience? Are you kidding me? That has only one possible application, the combo with Leyline of the Void, and it's far from being a tier-1 deck in Legacy. How is it that we have, for instance, Goblin Charbelcher and Cephalid Illusionist free to roam (and we saw them played recently, yet the sky didn't fall), but the Helm is too bad for us? It makes no sense, guys. Both Belcher and Cephalid Breakfast are way more consistent archetypes than Leyline/Helm, which in Tribal would mean to devote half your non-tribal slot allowance toward cards that do next to nothing on their own, leaving no much room to find and protect the combo. And Sneak Attack: yes, you can do a seriously badass, broken deck with Sneak Attack (although, admittedly, that was more of a thing when (Survival of the Fitness) was there, too). But is it really scarier than Show and Tell, or Aluren, or Dream Halls? It seems to me that these bannings were put in place based on trends from several years ago that might be obsolete now. I say amnesty to all these bad guys, let them ride free, and see what happens. A suspension system would take care of them if they got out of control. But even without that, if they misbehave on a regular basis, we'll just have to acknowledge that and put them in jail again. I'm firmly convinced that the occasional Sneak Attack deck will not be an issue, though; issues are caused by constant, repeated patterns, not by anomalies that only emerge once in a while.

 And now there's the question of Thopter Foundry. How is Thopter Foundry different from the cards I just mentioned? It's not, and it's not even particularly linked to the tribal elements (unlike Hypergenesis, Glimpse of Nature, or Goblin Lackey). It's just the engine of a 2-card combo. So why shouldn't we bring it back, too? My consideration is uniquely based on my experience within this community of players (which is always shifting, granted, so there's room for doubt here): we already know that Thopter Foundry will be played. It was played. A lot. It became so annoying that it was banned without regret (and even with excessive zeal – see below). It's strong and reliable. It's easy to build. It's not arcane like Doomsday, or expensive like LED. It doesn't force you to have an alternate, too combo-ish wincon people might not like: you just win by attacking with a bunch of flyers. I might argue that it's in fact a broken combo, that plays especially well in this format, like Umezawa's Jitte: it gives you life, it gives you evasive creatures, it gives you infinite blockers. It's not just an endgame you have to devote your entire deck to reach: it's a way to seize control of the board and enhance everything else you do. But I'm not fully convinced myself, and if you asked me whether I think it should stay permanently banned, my answer would be a big "I don't know".

THE CARDS THAT, SERIOUSLY, WHY ARE THEY HERE TO BEGIN WITH?

 

 Sword of the Meek being banned in addition to the Foundry is hilarious: did we think it could bring the combo back on its own? :)  Of course is a pretty harmless card, there's no need to keep it out of the pool. It can still see play as a recurring enhancer of weenies. Let's correct the mistake and take this political prisoner out of its cell.

 Painter's Servant has always bugged me, too. The real target here was Grindstone, which combos with him. So why did we target the poor, innocent Servant instead? The rule I mentioned earlier should be applied: Grindstone is the card with fewer legit applications, while Painter's Servant is a Scarecrow, a tribe with not so many playable members to begin with, which can use a 1/3 for 2 in the early turns. Plus, there are lesser, fairer combos to do with him. So, let's correct this one too, free the wrongly sentenced Servant, and put the real culprit behind bars. In which category, you ask? On first thought, I'd say in the previous category, along with the cards asking for amnesty. After all, while more effective than Leyline/Helm, it's not that much different. Except for a decisive detail: it's linked to a specific tribe, Scarecrow. And I don't think we should give the Scarecrows (which aren't bad at all to begin with) the possibility to put a playset of Grindstones in the deck and get a very reliable, killer wincon out of nowhere. So ultimately Grindstone belongs with Glimpse of Nature and Goblin Lackey, and should stay banned for the foreseeable future.

 So, to sum up everything, I think we should:

  • petition WotC to bring Moat back (Stasis and Arboria aren't really relevant);
  • think about the Trifecta of Doom;
  • be glad that we took care of Aether Vial, Hypergenesis, Glimpse of Nature, Goblin Lackey, and probably Thopter Foundry;
  • make these proposed changes: bring back Doomsday, Sneak Attack, Helm of Obedience, and Lion's Eye Diamond;
  • make these corrections: bring back Sword of the Meek, switch Painter's Servant with Grindstone

 And finally...

ANNOUNCEMENT TIME!

 Judging from a talk we had, I believe Blippy agreed (and if so, will confirm that in the comments) to begin rotating between different Special Weeks starting from June, when Tribal Singleton will have its baptism of fire. After that, we will have Double Tribal the following month, then good ol' Endangered Week, then we'll start over. Each of them will always take place on the first Saturday of the month. Quick rules for the three of them:

  • Endangered Week: we know it well, but I'd like to redefine it a little bit. We'll have time to do that, since the next one will be on August, but for now let's just say that the working definition of "endangered" should be the same used for real life fauna: "at risk of disappearing from an environment". And there are tribes with more than 50 members which are still very much at risk of that. Using the size of the tribe was fine as a starting point, but now we have plenty of data that could lead us to develop a better set of criteria. To me, "endangered" should result from the intersection of success (Hall of Fame), popularity (Tribe Popularity Survey), and available choices (Creature Types Reference). For instance, Ogre and Drake have more than 50 members, but nobody plays them, so they are definitely "endangered". On the other hand, Assassin is one of the Top 16 tribes in the Hall of Fame, and got played every single time: how is that "endangered"? The idea behind Endangered Week was to have people play lesser, forgotten tribes, not to play with a different subset of strong, popular tribes. As we'll see in the next article, during the last Endangered event there was a 33% of Werewolf. That means the Werewolves are popular enough, and successful enough, to make any attempt to see them as "endangered" utterly preposterous.
  • Tribal Singleton: simply enough, 60-card minimum, Legacy Tribal Wars-legal decks, where you can't include more than a single copy of each card other than basic lands (snow-covered lands count as basic). The only, additional ruling I would try for this is: no Tribal Apocalypse banned list at all, since in a Singleton format the impact of a card is very different, and Legacy Tribal means no access to most of the serious tutors, including the Wish cycle (plus the room for this kind of stuff would still typically amount to 16 slots). I ask Blippy to consider that, maybe just as an experiment, which might once again bring us back to the suspension system proposal.
  • Double Tribal: even more simply, you just have to take two different Tribal Wars decks featuring different tribes, both of which must be legal on their own (the two lists will be given to Blippy separately), then play with them merged together to form a double-sized, 120-card minimum magnum deck. I had a talk with format creator Winter.Wolf on this, and we agreed that we need an additional rule to prevent smartasses from running, say, Elf and Druid as the two tribes, thus creating a de facto mono-tribe deck. So, the proposed solution is this: the tribe of the first deck cannot be featured in the second deck at all. So, if you first deck is Elf, the second deck can't have any Elves. Not even as an off-tribe addition, since the off-tribe addition of that deck is the other deck!

 Well, that's it. As a quick, final reminder for Blippy, these are the topics that need your attention: 1. suspension system (yes/no to it); 2. changes in the banning list (unban the proposed cards: yes/no/partially); 3. corrections to the banning list (yes/no to them), 4. rotation between the three Special Weeks starting in June (confirmed/unconfirmed, approval of proposed rulings).

 See you all in the Tribal room!

23 Comments

Thanks for featuring my Kobolds deck by Misterpid at Wed, 05/09/2012 - 15:58
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I'm still new to this tournament and I don't play much Legacy, so I wasn't expecting to make much of a splash with the deck. My 1-2 record was about as good as I had hoped for. But it definitely was a fun deck to play and with a little tweaking I might bring it back at some point (although I do have a few other Kobold builds that could see play before this one makes a return).

Hmm, I don't think unbanning by mihahitlor at Wed, 05/09/2012 - 17:16
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Hmm, I don't think unbanning Moat is a good idea. This card singlehandedly destroys bunch of decks upon resolving (not just aggro ones) and those that can deal with it are usually drawing to a few outs. I don't even think format needs balancing - there are enough tools to make slower decks (like Angels) completely viable. Just slam in 4x Swords, 4x Path, 4x Wrath, 4x another spot removal, and you're probably favorite to win against aggro. No need to completely shut them (and bunch of other decks) off with a single card.

Destroys, really...Such by Paul Leicht at Wed, 05/09/2012 - 17:46
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Destroys, really...Such invective! Slows, halts, stymies perhaps. But any deck worth its salt should be able to play against moat and not auto lose. Oblivion Stone, Disk, Explosives, etc are all viable answers for red deck wins and elves have incredible amounts of answers. What decks does moat destroy without question? I agree it makes life a little harder for the easy button decks but imho that's a good thing.

The decks that are midranged that lose to Moat probably lose most of their games to begin with. And control has ways to deal with unhappy face enchantments and often the primary way is to just fly over them.

I am not saying there are no by mihahitlor at Wed, 05/09/2012 - 18:40
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I am not saying there are no possible answers to Moat - of course there are.

What decks does Moat destroy? Decks with majority of ground guy and no/little enchantment removal. Goblins, Merfolk, Assassins, Kithkin, Soldiers, Knights, Zombies, Wizards + bunch of other. I count as "being destroyed" if you can't attack with your guys (and have no alternative win condition) even if you have 2 or 3 outs in your decks.

Suggestion that Rdw should pack Engineered Explosives is just laughable. If it came to the point that aggro decks needed to start using EE, Oblivion Ring or ND to deal with Moat, this would be the best argument for keeping it banned.

Enchantments are hard to deal with, since most of the decks have little or no enchantment removal (which is usually a correct strategy unless there is a card in a meta that completely dominates the game if left unchecked (like Moat)). Thats the fact regardless of what your idea of a deck "that is worth its salt" is. All my decks that I've played recently basically fold to Moat with the exception of Elementals, and I rarely go less than x-1 with them.

Fair enough point with by Paul Leicht at Wed, 05/09/2012 - 19:23
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Fair enough point with Assassins, and Zombies...both decks seem cold to enchantments in general and are not so easy to make great to begin with (though I think they both are decent vs the meta without moats and the like.) The thing is why aren't you asking for Teferi's Moat to be banned then? It costs only one more and is one sided instead of being at least ostensibly symmetrical. You can run it in a ground pounder tribe like soldiers or fish and be happy to lock out your opponents for the most part from attacking.

As far as Goblins needing help? I see that as pretty laughable. As you point out too Elementals has its fair share of answers. Engineered Explosives might be a little slow for dealing with moat but thats the price you pay for getting rid of it.

I think moat is no more heinous than any of the cards being suggested/recommended for unbanning. And far less than some. Emrakul for example. If Emrakul is in, Moat should be too. Oh look no annihilator because your cheatface eldrazi can't attack. Oh except for All is Dust but hey...

Totally forgot about Teferi's by mihahitlor at Thu, 05/10/2012 - 04:03
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Totally forgot about Teferi's Moat. It sees almost no play (although I remember a game where Kumagoro locked my Assassins out of the win with it :/).

I'm not an expert in comparing cards strength, but I guess there is an important difference between 4 and 5 cc, especially when the card is designed to stop attackers. 1cc difference at such casting costs usually results in 1, 2 and sometimes even more turns where your opponent can attack you, which is a big deal for aggro decks.

I am not 100% convicted that Moat should remain banned (especially when a lot of people who are quite experienced in Magic disagree with me). Sure, if I could choose, I definitely wouldn't unban it, because my (to some extent uneducated) opinion is that Moat is too powerful for Tribal (I suspect that it would cause more whining than Grove/Fire combo, if it saw a lot of play). It is an enchantment that most decks need to remove if they want to win. And they need to remove it *fast* if they are playing against control.

If Moat would be the same non-factor as TM is right now, I don't care whether it's banned/unbanned. But I suspect much more players would play Moat than they do TM right now. If that was the case, then this would be a solid testament to the difference in power level.

(BTW, I never said Goblins need help. I said this is one of the many decks that folds to resolved Moat (unless they have enough burn.) This is more of a question whether control needs additional help, and I don't think it does - I think control has sufficient tools already and it should be favoured to win against aggro if built correctly).

Moat is good against ground by AJ_Impy at Thu, 05/10/2012 - 04:40
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Moat is good against ground swarms, less so against combo or decks with reach. punishing grove or seismic loam beat moat, Merfolk have a flying lord (Coralhelm commander), elves can still elfball. Moat encourages having a plan B, which slows the format and thus makes more tribes viable.

>Moat is good against ground by mihahitlor at Thu, 05/10/2012 - 05:47
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>Moat is good against ground swarms, less so against combo or decks with reach.
Sure

>punishing grove or seismic loam beat moat
Sure, there are decks that can beat Moat

>Merfolk have a flying lord (Coralhelm commander)
And Moat decks have spot removal and bunch of blockers to deal with a lone flyer. Against resolved Moat, having 4 fliers in a deck doesn't really increases your chances by much.

>elves can still elfball
Subtype of elf decks can elfball, yeah, but they can't attack for the win, unless they manage to remove Moat or have a win condition that don't include attacking (Tendrils, Hurricane + Staff etc.)

>Moat encourages having a plan B, which slows the format and thus makes more tribes viable.
This could also read: Moat encourages having a plan B, which slows the format and thus makes less tribes and archetypes viable.

I think if Moat would be so prevalent to actually singlehandedly slow the format down, the result would be a less diverse meta (right now, aggro, control and combo decks are all completely viable). But I don't think it would ever be played so much to considerably change things. It would just be a random game loss for a lot of decks when they happen to stumble upon it once in a while.

Emrakul flies. by AJ_Impy at Thu, 05/10/2012 - 04:35
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Emrakul flies.

Cumulative answer (to the by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 05/11/2012 - 13:36
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Cumulative answer (to the stuff on Facebook too).

AJ_Impy: yes, I very much want to see all those Painter's Servant combos! :)

Winter.Wolf: "I have issues with the banned list being so arbitrary". Exactly! Me too!

We have to agree on a working definition of "annoyance". A card able to create a powerful endgame combo isn't an annoyance per se. We have plenty of them in the pool: this is Legacy. An annoyance is a card that impacts the meta. And the keyword here is "meta", meaning not the "Legacy pool", but "Tribal Apocalypse and its playing community". There are cards very clearly wrong for the format, and we can easily set them apart and go all "hic sunt leones" on them: stuff like Hypergensis, Glimpse of Nature, and Goblin Lackey. But I don't think it's warranted to ban a card just because it's theoretically possible to build a power deck with them. This concept doesn't say anything about our meta.

In my opinion, a good share of our players aren't even really aware that, for instance, Doomsday is banned. And wouldn't care, as far as they are concerned. In order to build a Doomsday deck in tribal, you need a certain mindset. I feel safe to say it's not the prevalent mindset here and will never be. Why do I say so? Because most players come here to play tribal decks. For better or for worse, they enjoy the linear building of classic tribes. And on the other hand, the ones among us that will enjoy a good Doomsday combo, aren't players that will be willing to do that EVERY WEEK. I'd go as far as to say that Doomsday combo (and stuff like that) is INHERENTLY a kind of deck that you don't want to play too often, unless there's some serious competition involved. I'm sure Ayanam1 will try it. Once. I don't see many other players even wanting to do that, because it boils down to a series of actions that most players would find boring after a while.
So what I'm saying is: Doomsday isn't an issue because a) it will not be played if occasionally, b) a power card that only shows up occasionally doesn't affect the meta, and c) if some jackass will try and exploit it to go undefeated often, we will just intevene (by suspending/banning it again). But I want to intervene AFTER the problem arises. Because otherwise, the banning will be arbitrary like Paul said.

Here's the thing: we can't go Modern with Legacy. We can't say, "Ok, there's Valakut, and there's Dredge, and there's Cloudpost, and there's Pyromancer Ascension/Storm. Let's ban all of them, and we're done". We will be never done with Legacy. We can't "purify" Legacy. What we're currently doing is having an arbitrary selection where Dream Halls, Aluren and Goblin Charbelcher are ok, but Sneak Attack, Doomsday, and Helm of Obedience aren't.

And here's a proof of what I said before: 70 events with Goblin Charbelcher free and legal, 1 Goblin Charbelcher deck. Is it because our players are stupid? Or they don't want to win? Or is it maybe because you have to be willing to put yourself behind a Charbelcher deck, and pretty much nobody cared so far? Even grapplingfarang, who won the one event he piloted it, isn't so eager to do it again. We definitely see Charbelcher again, but barring someone becoming really enamored of the archetype, it will never be an issue.

And please don't tell me, "this deck consistently wins in 3 turns". Do you know which decks consistently win in 3 turns? Goblin decks. And Elf decks. I lost to both by turn 3 plenty of times. I never had the pleasure to lose to Charbelcher in turn 3, or Aluren, or whatever other combo might be deemed "too powerful". And it would have been a pleasure for sure, compared to losing to the same Elf combo or the same combination of hasted goblins and burn, again and again and again. THAT's an issue for the meta. Punishing Fire >>>[put infinite symbols here]>>>> Goblin Charbelcher in the meta.

And guys, do you know which other deck consistently wins by turn 3? Pretty much any fattie deck with Show and Tell. No, I correct myself: that would be turn 2; can't be too hard to drop Noble Hierach or Birds of Paradise on turn 1 and show and tell some indestructible or hexproof fattie on turn 2, while the opponent has still just one land in play. When these plays are possible (and still the sky didn't fall), are we really going to be concerned about some guy who one day will bring a Sneak Attack deck? I want to see the Sneak Attack deck and how it can win on turn 1! At least it will be new.

Which bring me to another consideration. In Legacy, I want to see things that make me learn more about this game. I want to play against broken combos that I don't know. What I don't want is to play against the same broken combo every week. Becase that would be been there, done that. That's why we need to free as much cards as possible. (Although I really think those proposed unbannings would result in absolutely nothing, because almost nobody here even owns a set of LED, for instance).

And I want to worry MORE when I build a deck, not less. This brings me to mihahitlor (and yes, I once Teferi's Moated you! :P). I hear you in general, but on one thing I disagree: it's not good to let tribes like the ones you mention live and prosper with no worry about cards like Moat. They need to have the Moat problem in deckbuilding. They need to find ways to fight power enchantments, or take the risk and occasionally fold to them. It's only healthy. It's not that Goblins or Merfolks or Vampires aren't strong to begin with. They don't need help. Quite the contrary: they need challenges to overcome in the meta. Once you meet a deck with a strategy you never met, you'll go back to the drawing board and make some changes to your deck. That's part of the fun, not a concern. And of course, if Moat would become the next Punishing Fire, THEN will become an issue. But we played with Moat on Tribal Apocalypse. For a lot of time. It was banned halfway through the first year of the Blippian Era, which means, what, 3-4 years of Moat in Tribal Apocalypse? There weren't dark times, Goblins and Merfolks and Vampires were still winning tribes.

However, the Moat debate: that's moot, folks (no pun intended). We can't decide on the Moat. I'll write a letter to WotC as soon as I find some time to do it, and I'll let AJ, Paul, Blippy and everyone interested know and discuss the text (I'll probably put it in an article). But that's it. Everyone is free to write a different letter petitioning against the unbanning of Moat. This has little to do with Tribal Apocalypse.

The Emrakul question: Paul, you really hate the spaghetti monster! :P But to me what I said in the article needs to be pondered. Isn't possible that Emrakul is more about the psychological impact (on both whom plays with him and whom is beated by him) than anything else? When somebody drops a Colossus or Ulamog on you, try and think if Emrakul would cause a worse situation, or just the same. Anyway, he's not proposed for unbanning. Among the Trifecta, I would be happier to unban Progenitus first, and maybe just that.

RexDart (Chris Wynes: that's you, right?): What you say about the Endangered being important to you concerns me. That's the reason I originally proposed to have 2 non-regular events per month, but I understand that would piss off MORE players, the ones who just want to come and play regular Tribal Wars, without shenanigans of sort. It's hard to make everyone happy (let's say: impossible). I invite you to try out both Singleton and Double anyway: I don't know how they will turn out to be, but I hope they will allow for more card variety. To console you, I can say that Endangered will always be the format of choice for Special Weeks, meaning that, for instance, the rest of the year will have a cycle of Singleton, Double, Endangered, Singleton, Double, Endangered, ending on November 3 (December will not have one of these special weeks because there are already 3 very special events scheduled: Commander, Christmas, New Year). And January will start again with Endangered, so there will always be more of Endangered than the other two (this on the assumption that we don't stop doing one of them or both altogether, if they're not well-received).

Hate is such a strong word. by Paul Leicht at Fri, 05/11/2012 - 14:46
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Hate is such a strong word. She is extremely op and Annihilator 6 is what really irks me. The rest makes her just a more powerful Progenitus who is also on my list of jerk faces. The two of them are so unfun to be on the other end of. At least with prog you typically have a turn to wrath him away (as unlikely as that may be) but with Emrakul the odds go from slim to none. Also She doesn't die to one of my favorite sweepers: Blasphemous act. 15 toughness! :/

The enablers make these monsters super easy (Natural Order: Prog anyone?) to get out and their inate abilities make them insane to deal with. That's why I don't like them.

Can't natty-O prog, and if by walkerdog at Fri, 05/11/2012 - 15:39
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Can't natty-O Em, and if you SnT him, you don't get the turn, and you can't Dream Halls him.

Natural Order - Prog was a by Paul Leicht at Fri, 05/11/2012 - 16:12
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Natural Order - Prog was a deck for a while in TWL. Oh and S&T:Emrakul needs no icing on the cake to be a game winner. Though I like Stingscourger as an answer :p

My point being: do you really by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 05/12/2012 - 13:05
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My point being: do you really think Show and Tell: Ulamog or Show and Tell: Blightsteel Colossus is really that much different? Is Annihilator +2 really going to make the difference when you have 5 permanents on the battlefield?
(Where did you get that Emrakul is a "she", btw? :)

I talked bout Natural Order/Progenitus in the article.

I do think there is a huge by Paul Leicht at Sat, 05/12/2012 - 15:09
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I do think there is a huge difference. Many spells take care of either Ulamog or Blightsteel that can't even target Emrakul. Emrakul IS super Eldrazi. The off chance of being able to cast her with tron/post also means you can potentially timewalk + hit for annihilator 6. I think the way Annihilator works in general is just wrong. But 2 is magnitudes less. Given only 5 permanents and 4 are land if you annihilate me for 6 I am done no matter what. If you annihilate me for 2 I have a slim chance of top decking an answer. The difference is HUGE.

(As for the gender it is something I've seen often in other articles and in conversations. I do believe some Vorthos tracked down that she is a she. )

I thought you were using by mihahitlor at Sat, 05/12/2012 - 16:50
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I thought you were using "she" like some people do when they talk about God.

Wouldn't think that those things have gender haha (in before "LOL you're mixing gender with sex")

I still think this is more of by Kumagoro42 at Mon, 05/14/2012 - 08:56
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I still think this is more of a theoretical discussion on Emrakul effects compared to Ulamog or Colossus effects. The practical stuff is: you die, regardless, 95% of the times. The case where Annihilator 4 rather than 6 causes you to WIN the game (rather than just vegetate one turn more) is a case you tell your friends about, because you pulled off an extraordinary comeback.

Losing the game because someone ramped to 15 mana to cast Emrakul = losing the game because someone ramped to 15 mana to cast a 14-damage Banefire on your face. (Actually not, with Emrakul you still have a chance, if you have some tappers or a Brittle Effigy or Oblivion Stone online).

Most of all: losing the game because someone ramped to 15 mana and did his endgame is deserved. That means you just watched the deck do its business and couldn't do anything to stop it. You should stop/outrace the ramp, not the finisher.

What's not deserved is the Show and Tell scenario. And it's where it's pretty much the 95% figure to me. If I look at the popular ways out of a situation like that (i.e. with 1 full, non-annhilated turn available), Ulamog and Colossus negate some of them which Emrakul doesn't (Wrath of God, Damnation, up to Oblivion Stone and even Obliterate). The real difference is Swords to Plowshares. So maybe Oblivion Ring becomes better.

To me the main reason Emrakul shouldn't be allowed is the one grapplingfarang suggested: people would use ALWAYS it in their suitable decks rather than its "rivals", and that would kill variety.

(I checked, MTG Salvation describes Emrakul as an "it", based on flavor texts explicitly doing so in cards like Consume the Meek. Which seems reasonable, since it's an Azathoth-like deity-thing with no begin and no end - the form we see on Zendikar is just a lesser avatar of it - well beyond the concept of gender.)

Emeria, Emrakul's by AJ_Impy at Mon, 05/14/2012 - 10:53
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Emeria, Emrakul's poorly-remembered deity-memory, is classed as female, as is Ula, with Cosi being male.

But those were only the by Kumagoro42 at Mon, 05/14/2012 - 11:53
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But those were only the distorted names and some vague attributes (sky, sea), the deities' iconographies are entirely made up based on each people's expectations (a bit like white men think Jesus was white and blond and God is an old white man).

I think Morgan Freeman cured by walkerdog at Mon, 05/14/2012 - 11:56
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I think Morgan Freeman cured us of that idea!

Interesting discussion, I by grapplingfarang at Fri, 05/11/2012 - 22:50
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5

Interesting discussion, I agree with most of what you said except a few of them.

Sneak Attack: This is one that I would be pretty happy if it was left on the banned list. Sure it has many answers, but without someone preparing for it Eldrazi Sneak attack would be a Tribal powerhouse again and it does not suffer to ounce or swords as much as something like Show and Tell, (while Show and Tell may be the better choice in non-tribal control decks, Sneak Attack is broken quickly when 20 members of the tribe have to be in the deck.

Iona, Progenitus, and Emrakul: I do not think that these are necessarily to good for Tribal, it is that they would hinder deck building. You said it yourself that they are the Ultimate, Finisher, Ultimate Hoser, and Ultimate Clock. So when somebody needs one of of these things with the combo they are using (or just a lot of mana) they will always go to one of these three. Now without them in the format people have to make a choice. Instead of always playing Emrakul, do they go for Blightsteel for the one shot kill? Or do they go for Ulamog to destroy a problem permanent and start swinging? Maybe they choose Kozilek for when they may hardcast and if it gets stopped they draw four cards to try and go again. If Emrakul was legal though, it would be the best choice and most people would always choose it for that slot.

As for the suspension system, I am a big fan of the idea. I think the main advantage is that it doesn't hurt so much if we are wrong. WOTC only bans 4 times a year (unless emergency ban) and that is not a problem this tournament has to have. With a suspension system if a card is causing problems it can be suspended instead of banned so that people can see how the metagame adjusts to it being gone and if it being gone is good for the fun of the format.

I was going to make the same by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 05/12/2012 - 14:08
Kumagoro42's picture

I was going to make the same point about Emrakul, then lost myself in my overcomplicated discussion. :) I knew I wouldn't propose an unbanning for the Trifecta (my point being: they could be back more than they should), and the reason for Emrakul to stay banned is that it would be the one go-to finisher, because there's no point in evaluating other choices over him. He doesn't necessarily make those decks significantly better, but surely he makes them less varied.

You're essentially arguing about Sneak Attack needing to be put in the same category of Hypergenesis. I can buy that, but I'd still want to see it on the field. We know Hypergenesis was and would be played massively. We still don't know if Sneak Attack would be played at all, and until that, it would be an arbitrary banning not based on the reality of the meta. After all, Hypergenesis was there for years before it became a problem, and there are problematic cards lurking in the pool (I just heard of one that we will be played soon and people will complain a lot about it), which aren't banned/considered for banning only because they're not played.

The difference between by Paul Leicht at Sat, 05/12/2012 - 15:18
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The difference between Hypergenesis and Sneak Attack or Show and Tell even is one of opportunity. Hypergenesis has typically been cheap to obtain and as soon as cascade came around in 2009 it was put to use. Same with Living End. Hypergenesis is Eureka with a faster more consistent mechanism for casting it. Those years before it became a problem had to do with lack of opportunity. As soon as there was a strong enabler system Hypergenesis found itself being broken.

It might have taken awhile for the wider Tribal Apoc audience to catch on because Flippers Girafe and I were the ones making the decks and neither of us particularly cared for bringing the same ole thing every week.

Show & Tell and Sneak Attack are both moderately expensive. And so are their usual suspects. This deters players from running them in every deck. Were they cheaper I think this would change.