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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
May 25 2012 8:27am
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*** Tribal Apocalypse: Weeks 71-72 BE ***
The only good Elf is an absent Elf

 Welcome back to the world of the clickable info-link to Tribal Apocalypse. Here's another of those times where I have to go back two weeks in order to report what happened lately. And what happened is that we had not one, but TWO Elfless regular events! I can't believe it. Where all the Elf guys went? Did I scare them off with my anti-Elf speeches? C'mon, I was just joking, folks! Please, come back! Uhm, wait a minute... On second thought, don't. Because going Elfless also meant that of the 32 registered decks we had in these two weeks, a (probably) record number of 25 were unique (of which 4 Virgin). Good job, guys. But let's see what came out from all this blessed biodiversity.

  • Event Number: 19 (2012), 71 (all-time)
  • Date: May 12
  • Attendance: 20
  • Rounds: 3
  • Special Rules: none
  • Top 4: misterpid (Wall, undefeated); DirtyDuck (Kor, undefeated); Nagarjuna (Spirit, 1 loss); KaraZorEl (Sliver, 1 loss)
  • Special Prizes: Endangered Prize to nightviper429 (Chimera)
  • Tribes: Beast, Chimera, Druid, Goblin (x2), Human (x2), Insect, Knight, Kor, Nightstalker, Pegasus, Rat, Sliver, Spirit, Thrull, Vampire (x2), Wall, Wizard
  • Virgin Tribes: Nightstalker by AJ_Impy (highest-ranked); Thrull by vantar6697

 Some nice underdog tribes here, including two virgin ones I had previously vouched for: Nightstalker and Thrull. More on that on a minute (or twenty), as we'll see who ended up on top first. Namely, first-time first-placer misterpid, with this Wall build:

 This deck makes me so nostalgic! As a Timmy, I love Tooth and Nail and yet I've not played with it in ages. Plus, I like to use Shield Sphere and Slagstorm to try and stop fast aggro, and I've recently tried a Warstorm Surge, Garruk, Primal Hunter and Sarkhan Vol Wall build myself. So it looks like misterpid and I are on the same page here. Brilliant, man. Next time, we'll share a secret handshake or something.

 This deck with all its Johnny/Timmy goodness was piloted to an undefeated result; the same happened to DirtyDuck's deck, that in the end found itself with the same games win ratio, so it would have been possible for him to challenge misterpid for the 1st place. But he didn't, probably forgetting this option even existed, so I'll remind everyone: when you end undefeated and the number on your Tie 2 column (the one marked PGW% on the standings, i.e. the Player's Games Win Percentage, check it here and the explanation here) is the same as the player's at the 1st place, you can challenge that player for the 1st place (if they refuse, it's considered a concession and you get the placement). This is because in Swiss tournaments usually there's a Top 4 (or more) single elimination showdown after the Swiss rounds to determine the winner. But Tribal Apocalypse's prizes are assigned based on matches win (like in Limited queues), so that would be a massive waste of time. However, for the purpose of the Hall of Fame, it's nice to have at least a miniature version of the showdown, in order to establish a winner that truly deserves the HoF points, so this option has been proposed and Blippy is fine with it. Keep that in mind, players.

 Anyway, Dirty's deck was the Kor take on the Cephalid Breakfast archetype he already used in the past, here achieving Top 4 for the first time (the only change: all the Wastelands replaced by some more color-producing lands, namely a couple Seachrome Coasts and one Darkslick Shores).

 Innistrad block inspired Nagarjuna's 3rd place Spirit deck, earning him the current 4th place on the All-Time Hall of Fame ranking (at the expense of raf.azevedo):

  It's a straightforward build that emphasizes the great versatility of the tribe (which is known to host combo very well too): the Spirits beat (Spectral Rider, Drogskol Captain), the Spirits control (Windborn Muse, Dungeon Geists). It's also a semi-budget build, since there's just one Geist of Saint Traft (and the singleton Big Jace is hardly essential).

 And now, a welcome comeback: Slivers!

 What says more (linear) tribal than Slivers? The Alien-like dudes pretty much ONLY work in a linear build (with some notable exceptions, like Harmonic Sliver, and to some extent, Sliver Queen). We don't see them often enough within Tribal Apocalypse, maybe just because there haven't been enough Sliver fans in our community so far, but KaraZorEl is definitely one of them, giving the cute mutagenic moppets with razor claws almost all the Hall of Fame points they have conquered during these 72 events. This build focuses on the Bant side of the spectrum, leaving out all the red Slivers, but that mainly means renouncing haste and some more power pumping (even if I usually find the Slivercycling ability of Homing Sliver very valuable). Better part is: this is an All-Creature deck. No noncreature nonland spells here, which is amazing and a very "spirit of the format" thing. It was actually a possible ruling I had thought for non-Endangered Special Weeks, then forgot to mention. It's nice to see that it's a viable approach in regular weeks too. And kudos for making a 3-color-to-5-color deck work with a somewhat budget manabase (even if this looked like the right build to go full playset on Ancient Ziggurat, no?)

 And here we come: let's start the Underdog Parade now. First, the winner of this week's Virgin Prize: Nightstalker.


 I had analyzed them some months ago, saying that the only appealing quality of these silly bogeymen was Cliff Nielsen's art on the Spirit of the Night triplet. And indeed it's where AJ_Impy went as well (ok, the options weren't many), with Breathstealer, Feral Shadow, and Urborg Panther trying to summon the legendary demon that was the most powerful creature in the game back in his times. The remaining two of them are overcosted pseudo-evasive dorks, so the tribal base isn't helping much here, but they are nice-looking and AJ managed to win at least one match with them, so there's that.

 The same can't be said for Thrull by vantar6697 (sounds like the name of a very bad fragrance).


 This is actually the one deck AJ's Nighstalkers beated in a final virgin showdown for the prize. Vantar tries and uses most of the existing members of the Thrull family (but misses the possible Thrull Champion/Amoeboid Changeling "combo" that Eibon brought to attention in an old article, which is a pity; also, Eibon, you still there, buddy? I miss your strange, captivating decklists). The problem with Thrulls, though, is that they mostly cantrip by sacrificing themselves, so Grave Pact is a great interaction, but you need some external wincon to make everything works. Soul Exchange, which is arguably a Thrull "tribal spell", seems wasted if used to just bring back another Thrull.

 Lastly, the Endangered Prize went to Chimera, a quasi-virgin tribe (that's the second time we see it), piloted by nightviper429.


 Chimera is somehow akin to Thrull, in that they all sacrifice themselves too, but their effects are more synergistic (basically, they transfer their body and ability to another creature). Also, they're artifacts, which matters if you're called  Glissa, the Traitor. Also, the "fifth Chimera", Cairn Wanderer, would certainly like all those instances of flying, first strike, trample, and vigilance in the graveyard. The deck actually ended with a 2-1 standing, only losing to Nagaruna's Spirits. Then again, half the decks did so in this very balanced event, including Ayanam1's Druids (part of a special project some day I and Aya will find the time to tell you about in a specific article), mihahitlor's Goblins, legendarylegend's Vampires, pelao28's Humans, and Leys7's Insects. All solid builds, by the way.

 NEXT: another day at the tribal slaughterhouse. 

  • Event Number: 20 (2012), 72 (all-time)
  • Date: May 19
  • Attendance: 12
  • Rounds: 3
  • Special Rules: none
  • Top 4: romellos (Ally, undefeated); SBena (Knight, 1 loss); _Kumagoro_ (Plant, 1 loss); grapplingfarang (Warrior, 1 loss)
  • Special Prizes: Endangered Prize to AJ_Impy Orgg
  • Tribes: Ally, Boar, Frog, Goblin, Knight, Orgg, Plant, Soltari, Warrior, Wizard (x2), Zombie
  • Virgin Tribes: Orgg by AJ_Impy (highest-ranked); Frog by nightviper429

 Man, romellos is now officially 2012's NemesisParadigm (who I want to take this opportunity to salute, hoping he'll find a way around his work schedule to come terrorizing his opponents again). Another victory for him, and that makes 4 within two months (also: 6 times in the Top 4 over 8 events). And with yet another different tribe: after Wizard, Werewolf and Merfolk, now it was the turn of Ally. Guy's truly unstoppable!


 This build stands out compared to other, equally successful Ally lineups, like Nagarjuna's 1st place deck from Week 63, in that it goes Naya not just for Punishing Fire and Bloodbraid Elf, but to include multiple couples of two key yet rarely featured green and red Allies, specifically Harabaz Druid, for mana ramping, and Tuktuk Scrapper, to give every artifact-heavy deck a bad time. It's also the first time we see Kor Haven from Nemesis played, and as far as stopping a creature from attacking goes, it's more effective than Mystifying Maze or even the classic Maze of Ith (with the Haven, you actively dissuade from attacking, because you could even manage to kill the hosed attacker).

 Allies were the only undefeated deck in the end, beating even SBena, who run his usual Knights (these ones) for the 2nd place, their highest placement so far. Next was your truly, with this Plant build:


 You know how I use to acquire some new, power cards, then get excited and build a deck to specifically accommodate those cards? This one happened because I recently spent a good chunk of my tix savings for a couple of Pernicious Deeds (and the promo, modern-bordered, super-cool ones!), then even more recently bought a playset of Maelstrom Pulse. I was wary of this latter actually, because it's no Vindicate: you can't kill lands with it, and the Gods know if lands aren't dangerous nowadays. But testing it on the field, it's still a sweet card, that it's especially strong in tribal because it allows you to feel safe versus essentially everything, with no need to ponder if you should include some copies of Krosan Grip or Disenchant. So, I was in Golgari colors, and I always liked Vulturous Zombie (which makes good use of all the removal effects), so the rest was easy. I only lost to the permission-heavy Wizards by RoccoCiccio, a fellow Italian player I met at Eurodrive! and got captured by the tribal trappings as well, ending 6th place here between the other 2-1 decks: mihahitlor's Soltari and Jeketerri's Goblins (find the complete standings here).

 But right after my little garden, came this Warrior build by the always competent and often surprising grapplingfarang.


 Warrior is a big tribe. Precisely, the 5th biggest in the game, after Human, Wizard, Soldier, and Spirit. And yet we only saw it... 4 times. Isn't it unbelievable? This was only the fourth Warrior appearance in 72 events (they have one 1st place, though, with Lord Erman all the way back to Week 2). I blame the fact that they are probably too generic ("stuff that fights") to stimulate anybody's fantasy. But it also means there's still a rich vein to tap into with them. Grappling here concocted a lightning fast red deck featuring just 18 lands, a bunch of alternate mana sources (Simian Spirit Guide, Chrome Mox, Seething Song), and a parade of obscure members from throughout the whole history of Magic: from Alliances (Varchild's War-Riders, whose upkeep is balanced out by Rolling Earthquake) to one of the less seen Innistrad Werewolves, Hanweir Watchkeep, passing through  the unexpectedly solid Vulshok Refugee. Interesting: the auto-fighting Cyclops Gladiator from M11 (seriously, who did ever consider all this stuff playing-worthy?); baffling: the discard engine of Gathan Raiders from Future Sight (what was that for?). The MVPs are the powerful hosers, though: Aether Flash, that utterly destroys most aggro decks (while all these Warriors, including the protected Refugee, aren't affected); and Blood Moon, a meta-call that's probably single-handedly responsible for a good share of this deck's victories.

 We stay in red for the Endangered AND Virgin winner of the week, Orgg. Brought by AJ_Impy (who else?).

by AJ_Impy - Endangered Prize & Virgin Prize
4 Orgg
4 Soulgorger Orgg
4 Butcher Orgg
4 Trained Orgg
4 Taurean Mauler
20 cards

Other Spells
4 Isochron Scepter
4 Sundial of the Infinite
4 Punishing Fire
2 Lightning Bolt
2 Final Fortune
16 cards
4 Grove of the Burnwillows
2 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
18 Mountain
24 cards

Butcher Orgg


 Now, these are all the Orggs in existence. The classic one is still sort of decent. And as far as 7cc creatures go, Trained Orgg is a terrible vanilla dweeb, while Butcher Orgg is actually very good, posing a big threat on the battlefield that needs to be dealt with asap. But the interesting part is this: Sundial of the Infinite is there as the only way to make Soulgorger Orgg work without killing you; and this brings Final Fortune along, since Sundial works with that, too; and Final Fortune, in turn, likes Isochron Scepter, wich in turn likes other instants: entering Lightning Bolt and Punishing Fire. Nice chain of thoughts.

 We wrap out with this weird, fun deck by nightviper429: it's raining Frogs, guys!


 Ok, this didn't win a single match (or almost a single game, even), but it had to be featured. It's not just a really hard tribe to pull off (they have a 2/1 for 5 mana!), the build is kinda crazy as well: Rupture Spire to fix a 2-color deck with just 8 blue cards? Blanchwood Armor in a deck with 8 Forests? I got it, Nightviper, you're messing with us, aren't you? Yet I like the flavor of Turn to Frog, and also all those Fog effects being there because... they sound like "frog"? Ok, it's what two of the frogs actually do (Spore FrogHaze Frog), but I'm sure the vastly superior Moment's Peace would have ruined the joke!

 And finally, it's...


 Well, it's more of a Quick Reminder Time. Just to make sure you didn't forget:

  • The Kirin Prize: I'll still pay 1 tix to the first player who wins one match with a Kirin deck (byes or opponents not showing up don't count).
  • The Hamtastic Biodiversity Prize: SBena_Bot will pay 5 tix to whoever will register 10 different tribes in a row and play all the rounds of an event with each of them. Current standings are in the Hall of Fame's specific sheet now.
  • The Banning/Unbanning Debate: let's try not to let the proposal for a watch list/suspension system (and all the other banning-related stuff) end up lost in time like tears in rain. Dear leader BlippyTheSlug, I'm looking at you!
  • The first Tribal Singleton Event on June 2: and we still have to decide if there will have to be a special ban list for that (probably not the first time around).
  • The Angel vs.Demon Event on June 9: in occasion of the 75th Tribal Apocalypse of the Blippian Era; also topical due to Avacyn Restored being freshly released. I'm finishing two related articles for The Accidental Player series, The Angelpedia and The Demonpedia, which will be published in the next two weeks (so don't click the links yet, they're just for posterity).

 And that's all. See you in the Tribal room!


Here's looking at you, kid! by BlippyTheSlug at Fri, 05/25/2012 - 09:56
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One at a time...

Bannings, etc: I haven't forgotten. I will make my announcement on June 20th to coincide with the WotC B&R announcement. Any future bannings will follow that cycle as well. Until then, the list stays as is. We can discuss after tribal tomorrow.

Tribal Singleton: No special bannings. Regular bannings waived. We'll try Tribal Singleton with NO BANNED LIST WHATSOEVER, and see how it goes.

Double Tribal: Some hammering out still needs to be done. One could do Druid/Warrior and still run Elves? This type of scenario must be avoided.

Angels vs Demons: Blarg! Have I been doing this that long? o.0

Double Tribal: yeah, there's by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 05/25/2012 - 14:48
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Double Tribal: yeah, there's still margin for jackassery. I tried to make the verify process simple, but the original solution from my conversation with Winter.Wolf was: "none of the creature types from the first deck can be duplicated on the second deck and vice versa". It's a bit hard for you to verify though, even if the two decklists forming the megadeck will be given separately. Maybe we can just say "none of the creature types from the tribal base of the first deck can be duplicated on the second deck and vice versa", but I don't know if this helps much.

I won't be playing in Angels by mihahitlor at Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:04
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I won't be playing in Angels VS Demons event, but am just wondering: will there be a special ban list? Cards like COP:Black, Absolute Grace, Gloom, Anarchy (totally worth splashing red for) etc. seem like too exploitative if you know that your opponent is playing black/white.

Plus respect for articles Kumagoro, they're my favourite series here.

Thanks, miha! Yeah, of course by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 05/25/2012 - 14:21
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Thanks, miha!

Yeah, of course there will be a ban list for Angel vs. Demon, much in the same way as we did for Elf vs. Goblin.

Kuma, I would suggest that it by RexDart at Fri, 05/25/2012 - 19:16
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Kuma, I would suggest that it needs to be a bit different than EvG, because it would be a real shame if Baneslayer Angel and Halo Hunter were not available, particularly Baneslayer which is the most iconic Angel since Akroma and Radiant were around. Banning only the most ridiculous straight color hosers like Gloom and Jovial Evil would be reasonable IMHO. I'm a big Angel tribe fan, haven't busted them out in TribApoc yet but hope to soon.

Btw, now that Elves are on the decline, maybe I could run my Jund BBE list, which I love playing, without getting called "another Elf deck" by everyone other than you. It was basically a rock deck, I even avoided the easy Punishing Grove addition I could have made bc I hate it. Still glad my first win was with Efreet not the elves, since that was my pet deck for weeks and I put lots of thought and testing into it. Mirage is my favorite block alltime. Props to nightstalkers btw!

Thanks. :) Good point on the by AJ_Impy at Sat, 05/26/2012 - 03:58
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Thanks. :)

Good point on the iconic angels: A blanket ban on colour hosers would take out a number of the top-order angels and even entire strategies: Karmic Guide reanimator, for example. In the same vein, banning 'protection from black' and 'protection from demons' wouldn't touch Voice of All, Pristine Angel or Iridescent Angel. Should it?

Yeah, I'm rethinking the by Kumagoro42 at Sun, 05/27/2012 - 19:16
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Yeah, I'm rethinking the whole thing. Like, what if Demons had to face Baneslayer? They can't block it, but it's not that hey can't deal with it (just doomblade it or dismember it!) Sigarda would be worse, then. And Halo Hunter is really unwarranted, since it's a one-time effect, it's like banning Nekrataal in a generic week.

All in all, it was mostly to avoid having 4x Baneslayer (now that it doesn't cost much) and 4x Halo Hunter (which is bulk) in every deck.

Then again, if this has to be a flavorful battle, why the Angels shouldn't bring the one angel who fights demon better, and vice versa?

One week to think about it.

Have to give a couple of by grapplingfarang at Fri, 05/25/2012 - 17:44
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Have to give a couple of props on those decks. I have always wanted to build a Thrull deck as Fallen Empires was one of the first sets released when I was new to Magic, and being a kid at the time and the packs being a dollar each, I bought a lot of Fallen Empires. I always backed out of making a Thrull deck due to the power level of a lot of the Thrulls, so props to Vantar with going through with it. I hope that Return to Ravinica gives us another decent Thrull or two.

I also have to give big props to NightViper for the Chimera deck. It looks awesome to play, and I would not of thought about the Glissa Interaction. My one complaint for the deck is he should of waited two weeks to play it as some of the Black one creature matters spells would of been awesome in the deck (namely homicidal seclusion.)

The power level is getting by KaraZorEl at Sat, 05/26/2012 - 16:31
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The power level is getting way too high for these events. It's starting to feel like a normal Legacy event full of thousand-dollar decks. I don't know what banning decisions need to be made, but it's pretty clear that the winning decks today are simply ones that use more broken strategies and expensive cards than other people do. It used to be I'd come and enjoy a Saturday afternoon playing Tribal, but lately it's become so cut-throat that I don't even recognize it anymore.

Well hmmm, something crazy by RexDart at Sun, 05/27/2012 - 14:09
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Well hmmm, something crazy must have happened in the 5/26 event, bc nothing in the decks listed here is a broken 1000 dollar oppressive strategy to prompt this much outrage now. These two weeks are pretty tame really, I see some moderately pricey manabases, but a list with 4 city of traitors or 80 tix worth of real dual lands is hardly a chrome-plated Cadillac. People play big Jaces, Deeds, goyf, but none of those money cards push the format around as much as punishing grove, or swords pre sfm restriction, or isochron scepter for most of this year. And no matter how spiky it gets, I've never felt like I couldn't play whatever tribe I wanted and still have a shot to go 3-1. If I beat goblins, humans and elfball with efreets, I'm pretty sure you can just play what you want.

I ran into two decks with a by KaraZorEl at Sun, 05/27/2012 - 16:39
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I ran into two decks with a playset of Wasteland. The second deck was Merfolk tribal with Force and Daze and all that. It's impossible to play multicolored strategies when your land gets destroyed on turn one. That's the sort of play I refuse to tolerate.

Do you realize that a playset by Kumagoro42 at Sun, 05/27/2012 - 20:04
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Do you realize that a playset of Wasteland back at the time used to cost less that your own Sliver Queen, right? What if someone had them because they just were playing back then? They should restrain from playing them because now they are pricey?

Daze is a 7-tix card. I suppose "money card" is a subjective concept, but if everything over 5 tix is "money", then this discussion is moot: this game just can't be played competitively for free.

And that was probably like the third time we saw FoW in Tribal Apocalypse in 73 events. The reason is: because it's kinda bad in tribal, too many threats, no 1st turn plays to stop. In fact, that Merfolk deck didn't make into Top 4. And the Knight deck with Wasteland performed exactly like your budget deck.
So when in a tournament a (currently priced) $300 deck ultimately does just the same as a $10 deck, what does this say about the meta of that tournament?
I'll leave the answer to you.

This is too small a test by Paul Leicht at Sun, 05/27/2012 - 20:34
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This is too small a test sample to come to certain conclusions about the meta based on deck costs. That is to say 2-4 matches won't tell us much. A player can be superior and lose to luck, or a broken draw. A player can be worse and win vs a bad draw or unfortunate timing. (Just happening to have the correct answers at the correct time.) Hey I top 8ed the Ham on Wry with a deck that was cold to me but since it was so good it was easy enough to pilot/sideboard and when I ran into equally strong decks and better players I had problems. (Just pointing out that there are many factors involved.)

Wasteland is way too expensive for some levels of players and while in reach of others is not the kind of card a lot of people want to focus on. (Same with FOW: Buy 1 fow or 1353166 other cards? hmmm...)

Also remember pauper when you say that about the game. Plenty of pauper decks cost less than $60 (1 tix per card on average) and still win.

Force of will is certainly highly playable in Tribal Wars Legacy and is quite strong but requires a certain level of skill to be that good. Not to mention a mindset that not only allows for counter wars but comes prepared to win them. I suspect the fish player wasn't really prepared to win despite his $ cards.

I think the real response to Kara's complaint/remark here is: Legacy is broken. Trying to fix it is Quixotic and futile and we have better things to do with our time. Tribal as a subset of Legacy (for now) is also broken and is unremediable with sideboarding so we further waste our time discussing bans when they are really just absurd.

The best you can do is tune your decks to the best of your ability and play and dont worry about how expensive the decks are that your opponents bring. There will always people who will go the extra mile financially or otherwise to win.

Dual Lands and Wasteland getting your goat? Play Blood Moon (Subtle reference to AJ here. :p) Force of Will ruins your day? Play Vexing Husher. And so on.

I challenge you to extend the by Kumagoro42 at Sun, 05/27/2012 - 21:27
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I challenge you to extend the sample as much as you want. I know what I'm saying for the simple reason I've done tons of these chronicles now. I usually get how much the decklists cost while I reorder them. Just look at my other post below for some other examples. Our tribal decks are ridiculously overcosted compared to Legacy decks (of course they are, most tribal bases cost 0.05 apiece). It's not even the same sport.

Vintage is broken. Legacy is a slightly less broken. Legacy Tribal Wars is considerably less broken than Legacy. Then personal perceptions kicks in. For the money involved, too. To me, Standard costs a ton of money to play competitively. I'll play with Huntmaster of the Fells when it will be out of Standard. Wanna bet I will not have to pay $100 for the playset?

And Force of Will can't ruin your day to the point you want to answer to it in deckbuilding, because Force of Will is just NOT THERE (and now with Cavern of the Souls will NEVER be there). Kara has been one of the half a dozen players to see FoW in action in the last 2 years of Tribal Apocalypse. (And yes, you and me are among those too).
And FoW is a big barrier we don't have to worry, actually: Legacy is hardly playable in a competitive way without a FoW playset in your collection. Tribal Wars couldn't care less. That's a $410 difference.

Everybody has all the rights to whine, and Gods know if Magic players don't always find ways to whine about pretty much everything. But at least we should stop to be scared by/chase ghosts. I can stand whining, but I can't stand distorted facts.

I'll start to put the cost of any deck in these articles, so maybe people will realize that this is pretty much budget heaven. (Not to mention the simple fact that running Ox and ending with 0 games won still earns you 1 tix, which is exactly what I won with my expensive 3rd place deck below. But most people play to win, not for the prizes, I get it. Yet not all our players, apparently).

I don't think anyone is by Paul Leicht at Sun, 05/27/2012 - 22:00
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I don't think anyone is scared. I could be wrong, but fear isn't what I've seen posted here. What I've seen is frustration and anger. Perhaps the reasons for the frustration and anger are invalid but that's not for me to say.

My response while underneath yours was largely directed at those feelings not you so no need to be so defensive. (I think I was agreeing with you.)

I agree that many tribal decks start at a budget but often the staples are the cards that break their banks. Taiga for example at $14-15 is beyond many tribal players. That isn't to say people shouldn't play them if they got them but being sensitive to someone who is card poor doesn't hurt either. (That means not saying stuff like "too bad! deal with it!" Not that anyone has, just sayin'.)

And really how you (or I as my collection doesn't stink either, and I also haven't spent a dime on the game) acquired our cards is irrelevant.

The frustration stems from lack of access. Not that we are wealthy. (I am certainly not and I assume you aren't either.) I think seeing FOW (Ive seen it more often than most I think) triggers that response of, "no way I can compete with that" despite the fact that FOW requires both a good player and a well tuned deck to be good in the format. (No vial certainly makes it worse.)

I think posting costs, averages and ranges (low to high) would be helpful in a general sense but doesn't answer this particular complaint. What I said does. IE: don't worry about what others are playing and play how you want to.

Not defensive, just using by Kumagoro42 at Sun, 05/27/2012 - 22:22
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Not defensive, just using your post as an occasion to furtherly elaborate. (I said "scared by" because of the ghost metaphor. I "meant being affected by, got your day ruined by". Sure, frustration, anger, that's it.)

The point is: lack of access isn't a tribal issue specifically. It's a MTG issue. And on paper more than online (although the two are pretty similar now, at least for Modern/Standard). We can also have a debate on how playing Magic as a hobby is still cheaper than playing, say, tennis (if worse for your body shape). But that's beside the point. My point is: if anything, Tribal Wars is a format where you can win a tournament (and we have the ONLY tribal tournament in the system here, unfortunately) with a $30 deck. That's utterly impossible in Legacy and Standard, very hard in Modern (in the PRE scene; in the dailies, it's probably nearly impossible). And you have a bigger meta than Pauper.

That's why I don't accept complaining specifically about Tribal. Not because they hurt me personally or something, but because one has the right to complain as much as he wants, for any irrational reason; that, I don't mind, people will always complain when things are bad, it's just human; what I can't accept is complaining AND saying things that aren't true. "I hate Tribal Apocalypse because Kumagoro ia a stupid name". Fine with that. "In Tribal Apocalypse, all the decks cost $1,000". No, sir, they don't. Keep complaining, stop saying things that aren't true. Just that.

"don't worry about what others are playing and play how you want to"
That's absolutely true, and very wise.
But for me, again, it's more: you're free to worry, complain, vent your frustration on what you want, quit, and so on. Just use real data while doing so, because people tend to believe stuff said with a loud voice.
So, now I'll give them the real data, that's the least I can do.

Sorry, this is the kind of by Kumagoro42 at Sun, 05/27/2012 - 21:39
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Sorry, this is the kind of rant that makes me angry. Because it's the generalization of a subjective perception not based on reality. I spend a lot of time publishing decks, vantar6697 spends a lot of time compiling lists of the played cards and tribes, and still people can't help but complain the first time things didn't go well for them. I really wish sometimes a player will say, "Hey, I ran a $10 deck and yet I beated a $400 deck. That's not fair, it shouldn't be like that". Guess what? Nobody ever complains when things went well for them.

And the truth is: this tournament has probably the OPPOSITE problem. Elves won 9 times. Goblins won 6 times. Both went Top 4 a HUGE number of times. And they are budget decks. Seriously, they are super-cheap to build (that's also the reason they are played so much: cheap, strong and reliable, what's not to love for a Spike?)

But let's examine, for instance, the Top 4 decks featured in this article. I'll let out the manabase (except for special lands if present, i.e. lands not being there just to produce mana), because of course that's the real cost of a Legacy format, since Taiga works better than Rootbound Crag or Karplusan Forest. We saw cheap manabases work just fine, though. Like yours!

So, for Event 71, we had:
- misterpid's Wall deck: $59.48
- DirtyDuck's Kor deck: $47.69 (and without the singletons Batterskull and SoFI, which are a plan B he rarely had to use: 27.16)
- Nagarjuna's Spirit deck: $83.15 (and without the singleton JtMS, which I doubt was the key card that won him all the games: $43.88, half of which are for the singleton Geist of Saint Traft)
- KaraZorEl's Sliver deck: $8.59 (I already gave you my kudos for your great result on such a small budget)

Event 72:
- romellos's Ally deck: $38.66 (including Grove of the Burnwillows and the other special lands)
- SBena's Knight deck: $171.42 (without the 2 Wastelands, which went from 22 to 37 over the past 2 months or so anyway: $96.86)
- _Kumagoro_'s Spirit deck: $241.25 (without the Wasteland, $203.97)
- grapplingfarang's Warrior deck: $53.42

Look at me, Scrooge McDuck! (And yet I didn't spend a single real life dollar in this game since 2 years, all the cards I bought since then were entirely earned in-game, through work, trade and tournament prizes). If only my $80-worth Pernicious Deeds actually showed up just once.

Anyway, winning a nontribal Legacy tournament on a $50 nonland budget? Good luck with that.
Also good luck with using such a broken strategy as ramp into Tooth and Nail within a serious Legacy environment. They would gently laugh at you and pat on your head, then give you a lollipop.

"it's become so cut-throat that I don't even recognize it anymore"
Oh yeah, Allies winning a tribal tournament? Preposterous! Knight decks? Unheard-of! And those Warriors? What grappling was thinking when he ran Gathan Raiders? So broken.

Give me a break, would you? :)

A lot of points from these by grapplingfarang at Mon, 05/28/2012 - 00:01
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A lot of points from these arguments..

-I really do not find this format cutthroat at all. Sure, there are a few people going for the win, but you see a lot of people going for the virgin prize. You see a lot more people trying to pull of whacky stuff that they would never try in a Daily Event.

-My Spider deck was one of the decks with Wastelands. It also had a lot of duals and fetches. Despite being a fairly expensive deck, I knew going into it, it was one of the worst decks I had ever played in Tribal Apoc. It was a fairly Vorthos deck (for me atleast) and I wanted the flavor of Spiders that keep coming from the graveyard and eating everything up. With all of the on theme stuff I wanted to include in the deck I didn't have any room for sweepers or mana accell that were badly needed. Wasteland was one hope to slow down the aggro decks a little to play my clunky spiders.

-My Warriors deck, despite the much lower cost was far more cutthroat than my Spider deck. I really wish that I had played Spiders for the 12 person tournament last week, and Warriors this week. Despite it being more cutthroat, it is not what I would call a win at any cost deck. My thought process with my Warrior deck was that it could hate out the boogeymen of the format (the fast aggro decks like Elves, Goblins, Merfolk, Slivers, Allies, Etc. Etc.) and then it would fold to something more unusual and allow a more whacky deck to win. Is there a word for decks that intend to do this? I wouldn't think going in with intentional bad matchups would be cutthroat though. (BTW, about Gathan Raiders being surprising, with the hosers a lot of the times you do not need an extra one and it just eats it and is a 5/5 for 3. Nothing tricky about it, just a dumb beater that eats a dead card.)

-As for the Merfolk player w/ the FOW's.....It was the players first Tribal tournament. This is to be expected. People can look through archives of articles and find new players to the format playing powerful things back when Shard hosted the tournament too. They hear about a Tribal tournament, and the decks they already know are the ones they play with. Furthermore, in chat he was talking about how he felt bad about bringing it and that he was jealous of all the fun things that people are playing with. In my opinion, this is exactly the kind of player I like to see in the tournament, and I hope he had fun and has some ideas for another Tribal Apoc.

-Someone can make a budget aggro or combo deck and have a very good chance to win at every single tournament. Most of the decks that have done the best at Tribal Apoc are very cheap, and most of the expensive cards tend to be used in decks where people are trying to make something work that may not so well in this format.

-One more thing that is a little off subject, but I saw it brought up in the conversation. Why is Legacy a broken format? Is it because the power level is to high? Is it because of the price barrier? I think of Legacy as probably the most balanced format in Magic at the moment. Sure, there are decks that can go off turn 1, but the most powerful decks in the format are glass cannons and easily hated out. So easily hated, that very few will attempt to play them unless they are completely forgotten about (and then that reminds people to pack a little hate and they don't show up again for another 6 months.) If you look at Legacy results, you will see far more archetypes showing up and able to compete than any other format. It is the format that people have the best chance of winning with homebrews in, and new tech is constantly being developed. Maybe the power level or price may be above what some like, but I would not call Legacy very balanced and not broken in the least.

We discussed both of those by Paul Leicht at Mon, 05/28/2012 - 01:10
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We discussed both of those decks (Spiders and Warriors) and I am glad to see you brought them. In the spiders deck I was thinking that the Wastelands were actually bad since your deck is so mana hungry. I would have wanted some more fixing or just plain lands there, never mind about slowing down the zoo players and the like.

I think what makes Legacy broken is that the glass cannons can just wreak havoc even if you hate them if the sideboarding isn't perfect. But more than that, accessability. Along with Classic this is what makes Legacy so hard to deal with. Cards like Wasteland and Fow are staples you need before you can even really consider playing competitively.

Kuma has a point there, in a sense that Tribal Wars does not have that problem typically (at least not all the time). The problem with TWL is that horribly broken decks can appear out of nowhere and there will BE no answer for them. Except to get a lucky draw and hope for the best while hoping your opponent gets screwed, which imho is NOT how to play magic for fun or profit.

I also will note that wildly powerful answers can sometimes feel like wildly powerful threats to the uninitiated. I remember my first match against Kara where I brought a relatively weak version of Sphinges with Living Death as my bomb and that wrecked their deck and the reaction was "Wow Living Death is broken!" Well yeah sometimes.

We used to say back in the day if Living Death resolves the game should be over. However there are so many ways to fight back against recursion and sweepers that even the combination of the two resolving does not guarantee wins.

I think Kara probably has a better handle on power levels now but Force of Will is one of those cards that just can be back breaking particularly if you aren't expecting it and then you are and it never shows up or shows up when you've already blown your chance to stop it.

Ran into FOW in the HoW classic tourney and it just stopped me cold turn 1 when if I had resolved Lodestone Golem I had a good chance of flat out winning. That's why Fow is important. It is an overpowering answer that feels like a threat. Unlike Living Death however it does not win the game by itself.

Good analysis on FoW and the by Kumagoro42 at Mon, 05/28/2012 - 14:15
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Good analysis on FoW and the concept of answers perceived as threats. There's a moment where a player should take a step back and think, "Wow, that was a powerful answer. But if he didn't have it, he would have been just slaughtered by my move". It has to be different than a powerful endgame card.

Also true about new players to the tribal format (which feels exotic to most, it's mostly a MTGO-only fringe format, despite being linked to a very popular concept the WotC builds entire blocks around) not knowing exactly what to play and going with the most famous tribal decks from the outside, the usual suspects Elves, Goblins, Merfolks.

I think FoW bears the weight of its money level and fame on MTGO. I sometimes talk with people who only play paper MTG, and they're always surprised to hear that we worship FoW here, and that FoW is THE dream card, the one that says "I'm a money player/I'm a pro". In the paper world, where all the power cards from the old sets have insane prices, and you have to pay $400 for a white-bordered playset of Savannah ($1400 if you want them black-bordered), FoW is a relatively cheap card (it went up over the years, but it's still half the cost of the online version). It's considered a staple of Legacy counter magic just like Swords to Plowshares is a staple of removals: just something you make room for in your deck in order to be prepared and survive.

Let's be honest: being able to stop a turn-1 power play is absolutely legit. And it's something that never happens in Tribal. And there are times where a FoW player would just have 2 open mana, so FoW in that case is just a very bad version of Counterspell, and/or a Mana Leak in that slot would have sorted the same exact effect on the opponent.

I hereby declare you the by Kumagoro42 at Mon, 05/28/2012 - 15:03
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I hereby declare you the Voice of Truth. :)

You're also right about Legacy, but I think my and Paul's assessment on its brokenness stemmed more from access consideration first, then the utter chance of having your game last 30 seconds. If you look at what WotC is trying to do with Modern (cultivating a format with a wider pool where both the length of the games and the size of the meta are balanced enough), you can see that the mere existence of cards/combos that allow you that type of lightning-fast endgame isn't a sign of health. Would people play Bridge if it was possible to look at the first hand of cards and just say "I won"? Or Snooker, if there was a cue that made you win at the first shot? Would you play a videogame where you just have to push a button and the game ends, regardless of the fact that you win or lose? To make money, sure. But I think players still like to play this game for fun. And WotC should only be praised when it puts these players first, always.

I think the right word is "degenerate". Legacy was born because Vintage had become a degenerate format. Of course, Vintage's issues are of another kind entirely, since they're due to the fact that Vintage-only cards were designed in a careless, naive time. Looking back from our vantage point, what's the sense of a card that makes you draw 3 cards at instant speed for 1 mana? It doesn't belong to the game we're playing now. Hell, people are happy to play Sleight of Hand and Serum Visions in Modern! So, Vintage is the real definition of "broken": those cards are just designer's mistakes. For complicated, commercial reasons WotC couldn't just say, "Ok, we now see these cards came out wrong, let's just put them out of the game", so they ultimately relegated them to a nostalgia format that has no real meaning for most of the playing community. (The degenerate aspect of Vintage is also that the broken cards are so many and so powerful that you end up having a lot of "locked" slots in any competently built deck, so your remaining deckbuilding space is something like 15 slots).

Legacy started as a fresh take on the "eternal" concept. Over the years, though, it went degenerate as well, if in a still playable/buildable way. I expect Modern to go degenerate at some point, maybe 10 years from now, maybe less. Unless they keep banning more and more cards, which is entirely possible, since with Modern they started with a more manageable meta, with cards from an era (the full MaRo takeover) where power concerns were addressed right from the design step, and the designers had a clearer idea of where the game was going, plus a more efficient system of course corrections in development. They never had the chance to try this "cultivate a healthy garden" approach with Legacy, which started as the lesser evil and felt good as it was compared to the Vintage nightmare of a secondary market where MTG cards had become a serious investment options, which didn't bode well for a kid who would just like to play with dragons and wizards.

We sometimes forget that this is a game, and what that actually means. When two kids play with toy soldiers, one of them always loses the war. Maybe it's the same that lost the previous time. And again and again. But he's still having fun. And I doubt that kid at some point would say, "That's enough! I quit playing with toy soldiers!" Maybe we should learn a little something from those kids.

I'm surprised that budget by RexDart at Mon, 05/28/2012 - 19:36
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I'm surprised that budget decks would even be worried about Wasteland, since many budget decks run mostly basics. I think the presence of Wasteland is what keeps decks honest, I know my 4-color advisor list earlier this year would have been wrecked by any hand with a couple Wastelands in it. Apart from punishing greedy splashes, it's also responsible for the notoriously low mana curve in legacy, along with the lack of good fast mana. Again that helps budget aggro. On the whole, I think more Wastelands in the Trib Apoc PRE would probably be good for it, and actually would help budget friendly decks that are already good become even better. Pricier multicolor decks would have to adapt to its presence.

I hadn't realized it was up to 37 tix, which may frustrate some people, but it's a card you will slam 4 of into many many decks you brew and you easily get alot of mileage out of owning a set. Next time there's any TSE drafting, and the price moves down, pick em up and you won't be disappointed. They might also drop if included in FTV Lands this fall, since supply online is basically unlimited and the value of other staples in the set should help push the price down hard.

Two major points: 1) I don't by Paul Leicht at Mon, 05/28/2012 - 21:46
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Two major points:

1) I don't think a format that is dominated by one type of deck (you suggested aggro in this case) is desirable. One of the reasons I stopped being devoted to Saturdays 1pm play tribal wars is because of the incredible amount of easy.decs that were being brought. If Wasteland were to help budget aggro (goblins and other similar style decks) win even more that would be a bad thing.

Thankfully the same people throwing together easy.dec typically can't afford Wastelands too. Also thankfully the meta has shifted from easy.dec to more intriguing styles of decks though aggro still has a dominating effect.

I don't think Wastelands is an auto 4x in every tribal wars legacy deck either. I think it really depends on your plan.

2) Wasteland really hoses budget mana sources of multicolor decks. Those are the ones that play Rav bounce lands and lands that come into play tapped, etc. Having a reasonable hand of 3 lands + 4 cards suddenly becomes unreasonable in the face of Wasteland, + Wasteland.

Now the guy running 4x Crucible, 4x Wasteland, 4x Loam needs other decks to slow down so they can get their mana hose lock in. But in general Wasteland hoses the slower players anyway. The fast players don't bother with multi lands for the most part relying instead on consistent fast beats, hoping to win before they get swept. Not sure how Wasteland would help against that.

BTW The cost did drop momentarily last month or so to around $25 per and then boomeranged back up.

I got mine (singular, but by Kumagoro42 at Tue, 05/29/2012 - 00:00
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I got mine (singular, but it's all I need) at 22. :)

I agree more with you than with Rex. There's a reason LD has always been the major source of hate for players.

On the topic of the meta currently, and seemingly, having lost interest in Elves & Goblins, I believe that's just a very momentary thing. The main reason is simple, anyway: we just had a full block with not a single Elf, Goblin, or Merfolk. Therefore, no new toys to play with, and plenty of different toys to play with (I expect soulbond to be the next best thing in tribal very soon). Ravnica will probably fix that, creating a new cycle.

I have really grown to by RexDart at Tue, 05/29/2012 - 23:59
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I have really grown to despise the "battlecruiser magic" of current standard, and I like the fact that cards like Wasteland prevent a format from turning into nothing but people throwing haymakers at each other. A little LD would have helped cure the Titan problem quite admirably this past year. And in the absence of vial, it's not as if goblins and merfolk can really abuse Wasteland and Port like in real legacy, just suppress some of the decks that get too greedy with colors and fill up with 5-6 cmc drops -- and not even all of those decks, since treefolk, which I see everywhere in the JFF room, is 90% basic forests and seemingly has two Bosk Bannerets in every opening hand ever.

Wasteland also incidentally helps strategies I enjoy like threshold and cards like KotR and Terravore. I realize why some are not fans, but legacy "control" decks manage to get to 4 lands fine by playing around it, or using Stifle, and if you really expect more than 4-5 lands in play without trickery or a ramp subtheme, well this is still legacy :-).

Wasteland's relative absence seems more noticeable than FoW. The absence of FoW rears it's head only whenever some crazy combo deck ported from real legacy shows up. But hardly anybody plays Daze either, which would do much the same thing in most games against combo, especially game 1 when they forget to play around it. I think most folks just get complacent and don't expect those combo decks, then they show up and go 4-0, then disappear into the night again. So FoW is good about once every two months, for a single tournament, not enough to warrant inclusion even if everyone owned them, except in a few blue tempo decks where it would be fine just countering a removal spell after tapping out for a threat.

"strategies I enjoy": I think by Kumagoro42 at Wed, 05/30/2012 - 07:47
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"strategies I enjoy": I think that's the key to your reasoning re: Wasteland. It would not be a solution, it would be a different, vastly superior problem. As you said it would suppress some decks, and that's never a good thing however you look at it. And the standard Wasteland deck would just be unstoppable. Titan.dek (whatever that is, Kessig? Not exactly a 90% winner. The former Valakut? It mainly existed in the age of Caw-Blade, which WAS a 90% winner; Valakut's semi-undisputed reign lasted about 3 months) would have no way to answer it, and will just be pushed out of existence. That's not a better balance, that's taking one strategy and replace it with another.

See, Wasteland isn't "a little LD". Wasteland is a LD-heavy strategy, and encourages to go down that path more. I was playing when there were Sinkhole/Nether Void decks. Have fun with them. I didn't. People quit Magic in mass because of them. WotC will go out of business before allowing those kinds of decks again.

Easy LD is fine and necessary to get rid of problematic lands. That's Tectonic Edge and Ghost Quarter for you. They're good designs. Wasteland isn't. It tried to correct Strip Mine, but failed to identify its real problem. And pushing players into playing monocolored with basic lands only? Another good way to make Magic dumber and less appealing. These days, a good chunk of the cards have fun with interactions between different colors of your deck. Take those out, and you'll reduce Magic to Goblin Guides and White Knights.

On the other hand, your analysis of FoW is absolutely on the spot. :)

My Type 1 deck in 1996 ran 4 by RexDart at Wed, 05/30/2012 - 11:35
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My Type 1 deck in 1996 ran 4 Sinkhole, 4 Strip Mine (it wasn't restricted yet), 4 Hymn (which often acts as an LD spell), and 4 Hypnotic Specter (which also could mana screw somebody if you got it down turn 1.). This was often effective because people played fewer mana sources than they do now, but since Null Rod didn't exist yet they were occasionally bailed out by their artifact mana. These days such a deck isn't even playable, because mana curve and mana sources are much better understood, and there are easier ways in Type 1 to lock someone out of a game.

I never heard of anyone quitting the game back then because of LD strategies. No strategy was oppressively powerful to that degree until Tolarian Academy, after I had already quit so I can't speak to that. (FWIW I quit bc of what I thought was a powering DOWN of core sets and the standard environment around 5th edition, not wanting to play Type 2, and the decline of my local Type 1 scene.)

People hate LD only because when it manages to lock them out of a game it's so obvious about it. Some new player with a green-white aggro deck will effectively lose the game when his control opponent casts Wrath, bc he has no reach, but even though he's really dead he's still casting spells and might feel like he's still playing. The turns where he's really dead but still "doing something" might at first seem more fun than having no lands, but only until you get good enough to realize that your plays are meaningless. A mono-black infect deck facing down a Gideon after a board wipe is just as dead as if they had no lands in play.

I also think Tec Edge is too weak at fighting utility lands bc it requires them to have 4 lands in play. That won't help against Gaea's Cradle in elves, nor a "natural" 3 land Urzatron draw, for instance. The activation cost otoh is probably a fair drawback, I wouldn't mind seeing a compromise somewhere between Wasteland and Tec Edge get printed down the road. Ghost Quarter is just a complete joke, absent tricks like combining it with Aven Mindcensor.

I would have probably by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 05/31/2012 - 01:44
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I would have probably insulted you in 1996. :P

And yes, one of the reasons LD was reduced to the current state by WotC (and since a long while: Wasteland ceased to be T1 in 1999) is that it was pushing players away from the game.

Your example isn't correct at all: the green-white aggro player might draw into a single card capable of turn the game in his favor (a sweeper of his own, a removal, a recursion, a combo piece, the uncounterable threat that will win him the game, anything). (Plus, an aggro player who knows he's facing wrath effects and still empties his hand is just a moron). You're not locked out of the game by a sweeper, this concept makes no sense. It happens that you win the game with a well-timed sweeper vs. the right deck, but it's also happen you win the game with a well-timed Goblin Bushwhacker.

Why are you putting Tectonic Edge against Gaea's Cradle? An environment with Gaea's Cradle has Wasteland, and that's fine. I was talking about bringing back Wasteland in Standard and Modern.

Ghost Quarter is more powerful than what's accounted for. You just have to be more creative (which is the whole point with cards like Wasteland: with them, you don't need to think). And against certain decks, Ghost Quarter = Strip Mine. That's the punishment they deserve for running all nonbasics (Blood Moon as well, of course). And the engine with Crucible and Ghost Quarter can still be lethal, while not being broken.

You picked the words almost by Paul Leicht at Thu, 05/31/2012 - 01:56
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You picked the words almost right out of my brain. I was going to post something so similar to this before, it is uncanny. (The only part I disagree with is at the top. I think it is a shame that Land Destruction hasn't been designed in a way that is both fun and playable.) Then I realized I didn't really want to post it. I am happy enough letting other people feel what they like about various cards/match ups.

It is not my job to point out that Wrath of God and Wasteland do not match up in any way shape or form. Nor is it my job to wonder why anyone would be playing Tectonic Edge in a Classic based format. (Commander I guess you might see it.)

I also felt disinclined to point out the strength of GQ to someone who considers it inferior. What's the point? Apparent closed mind and all. But all the same I am glad you did because now I feel like you and I think quite similarly. Which is on second thought not that surprising.

I could have come up with by RexDart at Thu, 05/31/2012 - 02:41
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I could have come up with some specific matchup as an example, I was oversimplifying it a bit, all I was stating with that example is that there are plenty of game states where one deck is basically dead despite being able to continue playing and casting spells for several more turns. I believe the only real difference between those game states and even the worst and most agonizing game states against a LD deck is the perception of the player. They are just as dead either way, only in one game they may continue going through the motions like a zombie. Your chances of coming back with no lands facing down some dragon from a LD player are about the same as your chances of overcoming a Gideon with mono-black infect, but the infect player can keep casting Plague Stingers or whatever and hope he "gets there" somehow. Whatever specific example, we've all been in those games where we played for several turns despite knowing the outcome with 99% certainty. Since I don't feel this is a meaningful difference, but rather a purely psychological one, I think the bias against LD is purely psychological as well.

Attacking an opponent's resources to stunt his development and limit his resources is a standard tactic in any competitive game. Life is a resource that aggro decks attack, and it's really no different than bombing lands. If I'm at 5 life staring down lethal on the 5th turn, I can't cast Tidings despite having 5 islands in play, because while I have mana to spend I don't have life to "spend" in the form of taking any more hits. At 20 life there are many spells I can cast and still not die next turn, at 5 life very few spells. Attacking any resource limits the opponent's options, the same with lands as with life total.

At the very least, while I understand the psychological factors of why people find LD to be an obnoxious strategy, I wish there were some way it could be worked back into Standard as part of the rock/paper/scissors metagame cycle, just to exert some pressure against the big mana decks.

Ghost Quarter isn't totally unplayable depending on the environment, but it isn't quite up to snuff in Standard, and is woefully inept at dealing with Tron decks in Modern from my own experience against them. If you set up multiple tricks to recur the thing, or run a full set of Aven Mindcensors, you can make it an effective tool, and I actually agree with you that on some level it's more rewarding to find ways to turn your GQ into a Strip Mine. But unless you build good synergies around it, it's basically an Evil Presence that cost you a land drop in addition to being down a card.

The analogy you make of Life by Paul Leicht at Thu, 05/31/2012 - 04:03
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The analogy you make of Life to Lands is inaccurate though I understand your meaning. Life essentially doesn't matter as long as you have enough not to lose. As soon as you have 0 it matters (because you lose). And while it is true that you can use life as a resource (or perhaps a better analogy is a timer) as long as you have something you can do you haven't lost yet. However if you are incapable of doing anything your life could be at 200 or even higher and it might not matter. Land locked out, your opponent can take their time killing you off. And conversely even at 5 life you can win the game (in fact there is a card that does just that.)

I agree that it would be good if there was a way to make a punisher for ramp heavy decks but the end result can be very unpleasant for non ramp heavy decks. To keep it balanced LD has been pretty atrocious. GQ is actually one of the better (re) printings of LD of late. It always hits the land you want to get rid of at the cost of maybe not hurting them so much mana-wise. However you can also use it to recover from color screw (not a typical use but it does happen) and it does keep certain lands in check. Inkmoth was something like $20 before GQ was reprinted. Afterward? Lets just say it plummeted.

I used to love Armageddon. I have not played it (though I own 8 copies) in a few years because I started noticing how unfun it made games in more recent times. It used to be a good balancer but they shifted the importance of mana and how spells vs creatures matter. Now if they reprinted Armageddon, there would be a ton of backlash from almost everyone not 100% a spike. (Spikes of course would embrace it like any other efficient strategy.)

Stone Rain (as terrible a card as that is) was considered to be too nasty for constructed play. LD costs 4cmc or more for that reason. Ponza was a great archetype for a while and then it became oppressive. I am guessing the reason why they keep reprinting variations of Duress is that while people also hate hand destruction it isn't nearly as demoralizing as losing your best land in play. The limitations of what can be discarded, and how makes discard a generally iffy plan. You might hit something someone doesn't care about at all.

Or you might even advance their strategy by making them discard something like Obstinate Baloth. All this to say LD isn't merely obnoxious. Tossing a bolt to someone's head is kind of obnoxious. Not to mention generally considered bad unless you are killing them. But most specifically it is an annoying play. But it doesn't get a lot of "whine" because a bolt to the head does not halt your play and make catching up again impossible.

Land Destruction (as much as I have enjoyed it) is a seriously demoralizing effect. Infuriating even. In some cases down right enraging. There are good reasons why it isn't really allowed to be a factor in Standard play.

Also afaik LD was never part of the R/P/S cycle. (Control Vs Aggro Vs Combo/Control). It was just that Ponza happened to have an aggro aspect and many descendents copied that quality since it helps to be swinging if you are going for a tempo win.

I was thinking about other by RexDart at Thu, 05/31/2012 - 15:57
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I was thinking about other ways they might design cards that slow ramp without making better LD, and it occurred to me that taxing effects like Thalia and Glowrider could be a nice middle ground, but they would need to be tweaked since ramp uses things like solemn simulacrum as part of their strategy. Maybe that's the way to help aggro fight ramp without LD (and without just adding counterspells and becoming tempo decks like CawBlade and Delver).

While I used to like Armageddon as a way to punish control for tapping out to sweep the board, manabarbs is actually available in type 2 and does that job admirably well, and shockingly sees no play. For that matter there are amazingly good haste dudes now compared to when I played in the 90's, and those are great in that spot also. It's only against ramp that I think aggro's matchup is so bad it needs some new tool to attack, especially since WotC seems committed to printing good ramp and ridiculous fatties in type 2 from here on out. I literally gave up on FNMs during the bulk of fall 2010 because no amount of hate or board plan ever helped my Boros deck steal even a single game from Valakut, the combination of ramp, sweepers, and going over the top is just that crushing. Even now, ramp has managed to keep aggro without blue completely suppressed, despite having such powerhouses as Grim Lavamancer and goblin grenade (!!!) in type 2. Ramp has basically just stolen the place of combo in the metagame.

Wasteland is a fair and fun by walkerdog at Wed, 05/30/2012 - 11:52
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Wasteland is a fair and fun card.

Anyone who says otherwise is too laid back.

Tec-Edge would be fine if it said 2, or maybe even 3 lands. 4 is dumb.

Obviously land-d is dangerous, but Wasteland has been played in formats that also had some mix of Sinkhole, Stifle, Stone Rain, Avalanche Riders, etc.

We don't have these cards, and some of our standard/block nonbasics are among the strongest in the history of MTG (non-Academy, non-library class). A card like Wasteland (a.e. a more aggressive version of Tec Edge, or a less generous version of Ghost Quarter that only let you search the top 5 cards of your library or something) would be fine in this format.

Also, Goblin Guide and White Knight are sweet cards. Why would that be a bad thing!

Wasteland + Crucible of by Paul Leicht at Wed, 05/30/2012 - 17:25
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Wasteland + Crucible of Worlds is neither fair nor fun. Ditto with Loam.

First: I didn't express any by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 05/31/2012 - 01:51
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First: I didn't express any judgment on Wasteland; I did express judgment on a Wasteland kind of card being back in Standard/Modern. Anyway, the chances of this happening are exactly 0%. Luckily WotC is "too laid back", apparently.

Second: maybe Wasteland is fair (this concept is actually meaningless: even Demonic Tutor is "fair", that doesn't mean it should be unbanned), but explain to me how it's "fun". Is destroying one permanent with an one-shot effect "fun"? Using, say, Swords to Plowshares is fun? It's necessary. It's interactive (at its most basic level). It's part of the game. But it's the run-of-mill part of the game, not the fun/creative part of the game.

Third: Your version of Ghost Quarter feels very close to Strip Mine.

Fourth: I used Goblin Guide and White Knight to represent simple monocolored decks, not to express any judgment on Goblin Guide and White Knight themselves. And would you still think they were sweet if they were in every single deck you face? It's a meta issue, not a card issue.

A little correction for the by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 05/31/2012 - 01:46
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A little clarification for the Kirin Prize: the deck has to feature 4 copies of all 5 Kirins. No changeling allowed to complete the tribal ranks.

The problem I had wasn't by KaraZorEl at Wed, 05/30/2012 - 17:43
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The problem I had wasn't Wasteland or Force by themselves, it's when you put those two together that the game becomes abysmally boring to the point where I don't even wanna bother. I'm not going to play combo or play a normal legacy deck, mostly because I already hate the format to begin with. Everything is too powerful and usually it's a toss up as to who wins or not- it's just the luck of your matchup and the cards you draw. In the Tribal events, it was always different for me because there was actually some skill involved. Do you drop your second Gemhide Sliver or keep it in hand to play after a sweeper? These are the sorts of decisions that made the game fun. But the match I had- my land was destroyed turn 1, I had one other land in hand and I was facing a control deck. At that point, I didn't even care if I could win or not. I just wanted out.

And since you had one match by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 05/31/2012 - 01:18
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And since you had one match like that, you're going to think ALL your matches will be like that from now on, despite the fact that elsewhere there's people who never saw a single FoW in Tribal in 2 years? Free to use this logic if you like, but sounds weird to me.

I think you missed the point by Paul Leicht at Thu, 05/31/2012 - 01:47
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I think you missed the point of Kara's post if you feel it is in some way akin to logic. The post is indicating a frustration and anger with being shut out and thus losing the interest in continuing on. Not logical at all. But very relevant. Unfortunately there is no logical fix for an illogical problem except to accept that it exists.

True. by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 05/31/2012 - 01:49
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