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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Aug 20 2012 12:00pm
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 Welcome back to Tribal Apocalypse, the PRE for when you want to have fun and still looking badass. Two nice little summer events to report, so here we go without further ado:

  • Event Number: 31 (2012), 83 (all-time)
  • Date: August 4
  • Attendance: 19
  • Rounds: 3
  • Special Rules: Endangered Species (only tribes with 50 members of less)
  • Top 4: _Kumagoro_ (Wolf, undefeated); mihahitlor (Soltari, undefeated); slug360 (Advisor, 1 loss); jackfrost86 (Vedalken, 1 loss)
  • Special Prizes: Up-and-Coming Prize to _Kumagoro_ (Wolf)
  • Tribes: Advisor, Dauthi (x2), Griffin, Imp (x2), Leviathan, Nephilim, Noggle, Nomad, Pirate, Rebel (x2), Scorpion, Soltari, Vedalken, Werewolf, Wolf, Zubera
  • Virgin Tribe: Scorpion by vantar6697
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 Now, that's a good Endangered event! One where I won! I wasn't even sure this Wolf deck of mine was going to do much, since it's just a bunch of Wolves turning sideways and kicking asses. But it appears they're very good at that. Here's the list:


 Both the Wolfir boys are really strong, but even the classic Watchwolf can hit fast and hard, especially when O-Naginata (admittedly, not that much flavorfully for a non-humanoid quadruped) allows for it to attack as a 6/3 trampler on turn 3. And of course, Wolves like being incited to violence by a Master of the Wild Hunt, who's obviously at his most effective in a Wolf deck. Same goes for the wolf-making Garruk, of course, a card I didn't really love when I first saw it, but that you have to play with in order to realize how strong and versatile it is. Here's a game against RexDart's 5th place Nomad deck that abruptly ends with some hasted Wolfir Silverheart on Wolfir Silverheart action (that's 24 to 26 hasted damage for you), while I was hanging on at 1 life.

 I'm pretty proud of how I handled the last few turns there, not panicking and waiting for the right moment to strike. Sometimes, I can be a good player too! (Still, I'm more than aware that my current first place in the All-Time Ranking is just due to my being there every single week, while both NemesisParadigm and Ayanam1 have gone AWOL this year. It's only matter of time before the Trimurti of mihahitlor, Nagarjuna and DirtyDuck, aka the really good and consistent players, will catch up to me).

 Anyway, just because he's awesome, RexDart has done a deck tech audio/video thing for his Nomads, for our eyes/ears only:

 And here's the Nomads battling against ChrisMH77's Pirates on  Round 3:

 Other highlights: mihahitlor went undefeated as well with Soltari (and without blades, just exploiting his beloved Spectral Procession/Honor of the Pure tech); up-and-coming player slug360 took Advisor for a Top 4 ride; and so did my fellow countryman jackfrost86 with a Vedalken deck he appears to be liking a lot, and finally paid off. Here's the Advisors, a criminally underplayed tribe, here in a very sophisticated 4-color build (although splashing blue only for Brainstorm seems a little too much: that's where Blood Moon comes and punish you), based on Imperial Recruiter's ease at finding creature-based combos like Stuffy Doll/Guilty Conscience and Loyal Retainers/Akroma:


And here's the Vedalkens, having fun with all kinds of artifact acceleration and recursion:


 On other news, two distinct Imp decks tried to get on with a full-on reanimation strategy based on Putrid Imp (and its dumber brother, Fledgling Imp). I don't know if Ranth and DirtyDuck actually brewed their lists together, but they were pretty much identical, the only differences being Griselbrand and Inkwell Leviathan over Reya Dawnbringer and Empyrial Archangel as reanimation targets in Dirty's list (plus a playset of Wasteland over 4 Swamp).

Some Imp
by Ranth
4 Putrid Imp
4 Skittering Skirge
4 Stinkweed Imp
4 Deepcavern Imp
4 Fledgling Imp
1 Sheoldred, Whispering One
1 Akroma, Angel of Wrath
1 Reya Dawnbringer
1 Empyrial Archangel
24 cards

Other Spells
4 Entomb
4 Buried Alive
4 Reanimate
4 Exhume
16 cards
20 Swamp
20 cards

Putrid Imp


 The decks weren't tremendously successful, and it seems to me they are a bit too much single-mindedly committed to their strategy. Plus, a discard/reanimate deck with no Liliana of the Veil? That's asking for failure.

 Finally, vantar6697 de-virginized Scorpions, while simultaneously trying to unlock the Johnny Combo achievement (what's an achievement, you ask? Here's the answer), which involves this delightfully overcomplicated 5-card interaction, as humorously referenced by the Johnny, Combo Player Unhinged card:



 And Vantar actually did it, but a wrong click at the end betrayed him. So sad! He also sent a video documenting the near-accomplishment to me, but it was too big for YouTube and I don't seem to be able to shrink it. Too bad! Well, here's the Scorpion decklist anyway, before directly skipping to next week's ulterior achievement shenanigans.


  • Event Number: 32 (2012), 84 (all-time)
  • Date: August 11
  • Attendance: 17
  • Rounds: 3
  • Special Rules: none
  • Top 4: DirtyDuck (Kor, undefeated); _BIG_BROTHERS_ (Elf, undefeated); Chamale (Horror, 1 loss); Gq1rf7 (Elemental, 1 loss)
  • Special Prizes: Endangered Prize to Venom85 (Whale)
  • Tribes: Angel, Cat, Demon (x2), Elemental (x2), Elf (x3), Horror, Merfolk, Kor, Soldier, Spirit, Vampire, Whale (x2)
  • Virgin Tribe: Whale by Venom85 (highest-ranked); Whale by vantar6697
  • Event link (with all players, pairings, standings, decks, and results): here it is

 Three main things happened this week.

 1) After several tries, DirtyDuck piloted his Kor-phalid Breakfast deck to 1st place. I had already published the list in occasion of its first showing in Week 65, but now it's time to do it again to celebrate this latest triumph:


 And here's a reminder of how the deck works: Cephalid Illusionist gets targeted infinite times by either Shuko or the tribesman Nomads en-Kor; this causes our whole deck to be put into the graveyard, which triggers the couple Narcomoeba's ability. At this point, we have at least three creatures in play, so Dread Return can be flashbacked to bring back The Mimeoplasm copying Murderous Redcap with Lord of Extinction's additional counters, which amount to several dozens. Et voilà, opponent dead (barring the case where a very high level of lifegaining occurred).

On the newly created Watch List (more on that below), you can see the whole history of the deck, that went undefeated in other two occasions. The combo with Cephalid Illusionist is definitely a strong one, although not that hard to stop, and now it has been exploited (by DirtyDuck only) 10 times within a very short period, which means it's the closest to be banned for overwhelming annoyance. It's just like with a joke: the first time you hear it, it's cool; the second time, it's fine; the third time, it begins to slightly irritate; the tenth time, people will start caressing their weapons. But there's nothing to worry about yet: all that's needed is for it to be put at rest for a while, and the annoyance level will drop below the alarm threshold.

 2) Elves went undefeated and took 2nd place, which is nothing new, but what's noteworthy here is that I'm publishing an Elf list again after a long while. Elf decks disappeared almost entirely in the past few months, so I feel the hate has reduced enough (for now, I'm sure they will be hated again very soon if they keep showing up and monopolize the Top 4 like they used to do). _BIG_BROTHERS_ is an accomplished Elf specialist and his list has Staff of Domination in it and Biorhythm as a win-con, which is original enough, for Elf standards. So here it is:

Elf Rhythm
by _BIG_BROTHERS_ - 2nd place
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Fyndhorn Elves
4 Quirion Ranger
4 Heritage Druid
4 Priest of Titania
4 Elvish Archdruid
3 Arbor Elf
3 Joraga Treespeaker
30 cards

Other Spells
4 Harmonize
4 Staff of Domination
3 Biorhythm
1 Hurricane
12 cards
14 Forest
4 Wirewood Lodge
18 cards



 3) Several players tried to unlock achievements (for instance, Malum was running a Soldier deck worth only 1.98 tix for the Prince of Paupers achievement, but unfortunately didn't manage to win a proper match with it). This is a sign they are becoming popular, which makes me and all Clan Leys very happy. Keep working on them, folks! We had achievement enthusiast AJ_Impy unlocking the Rainbow Island one by playing Kaleidoscope Demons (his tribal base: Illusory Demon, Sol'kanar the Swamp King, Defiler of Souls, Malfegor, and the recent addition Silent-Blade Oni). But the main attraction was the battle for the "no permanents in play" achievements, Haha, You Lose! and Miracles Happen, centered around fearsome newcomer Chamale's landless dredge Horror deck:


 That's the second time in the Blippian Era that we saw Bridge from Below (the first was Ayanam1's similar Horror build from Week 58). It's enough of a strong, polarizing card that it's worth being monitored in the Watch List, but I seriously doubt a lot of players will jump on the landless dredge wagon anytime soon. It feels a bit extreme as a choice. For fans only.

 And now...



 Blippy and I have been talking about a reform of the Endangered Species event for a while now. The main issues are two: first of all, the tribes allowed in Endangered events (currently held on the first week of the month, every other month, taking turns with Singleton) don't include those tribes, like Wurm or Drake, that are rarely played and yet have more than 50 members; and, to a lesser extent, having a special event sharing the same name, but not all the rules, of a regular prize is confusing, especially for new players. So my proposal is: keep the Endangered Prize as it is, i.e. a weekly competition between all the lesser-sized tribes; and change the name of the recurring special event, while broadening the base to allow access to a greater number of tribes. My idea is to call this the Underdog Week, a tribute to all those tribes that struggle to emerge among the top tribes; the access would be granted to all the tribes involved in every regular prize (except the Topical Prize, since Topical Tribes may occasionally be Tier-1 tribes). In short, the Underdog Week would be open to:

  • All tribes eligible for Endangered Prize (i.e. all the tribes with 50 online members or less, except for Ally, Artificer, Assassin, Eldrazi, and Kor)
  • All tribes eligible for Virgin Prize (i.e. all the tribes that never enterered a Tribal Apocalypse event)
  • All tribes eligible for Up-and-Coming Prize (i.e. all tribes that never achieved 1st place in a Tribal Apocalypse event)

 This way, larger tribes that never achieved 1st place (see the list here: I called them the Unhallowed Tribes, it's the first column on the bottom right) are admitted to Underdog events as well as every "small tribe". It might appears redundant to grant access to Virgin tribes as well, since a Virgin tribe is a tribe that never entered a Tribal Apocalypse event at all so far, therefore it's also eligible for the Up-and-Coming Prize; but that's true only until the current Virgin list will be cleared (and there's only 6 tribes left): once we'll get to the new order of the Almost Virgin Prize, the definition will cover (spoiler!) all the tribes that entered a TribAp event less than 5 times, and this can mean tribes that achieved 1st place too, like Efreet.

 While we're discussing changes (the Underdog idea is a just proposal still needing BlippyTheSlug's stamp of approval, by the way), I anticipate an announcement concerning one of the special prizes: the Topical Prize became easier! It's now awarded to the highest-ranked Topical Tribe of the week, not necessarily going undefeated (it needs to win at least one match, though). The previous ruling was too hard to attain, and we wanted for the Topical Tribes to be a recognizable presence during their lifetime (which is until a new expert set is released, causing the Topical Tribes to rotate; currently they are Angel and Demon, due to them being the most representative tribes of Avacyn Restored; they'll change as soon as Return to Ravnica will be online, bringing us who-knows-what).

 This said, it's the moment for the proper... 


 You may have heard of:

 The Watch List: I've put some particular, archetype-defining cards in a Watch List (thanks to vantar6697 for the help), giving them Annoyance Levels based on how frequently they show up and their degree of success. Here's the rules: you'll see an Appearance Ratio and a Success Ratio on the list. When a card in the list has its Appearance Ratio drop below 5 (meaning that it's showing up more frequently than every 5th event), or when it gets over 50% of Success Ratio, the card gets an Annoyance Level. When these figures move respectively below 2.5 or over 75%, it gets another Annoyance Level. If either Appearance Ratio is over 15 or Success Ratio is below 25%, a level is lost. As soon as the figures move back below one of the alarm thresholds, the relative level is lost. Once a card gets to Level 3 or more, I'll recommend it to Blippy for banning (at the start of the following year, I'll vouch for all of them to be unbanned again, so it's almost the suspension system grapplingfarang had hoped for). So far, with 9 cards on watch, the Levels look like this:

 Note that a very successful card that rarely shows up (see: Aluren) will not cause annoyance. Same goes for a potentially power card that shows up a lot but never does much (we don't have examples for that, but it's conceivable). This way, players who like to play with these cards can manage to moderately play them and not having them banned. If you're greedy, you'll get punished. Cephalid Illusionist is currently the only card at risk: DirtyDuck (the most featured player in the list, playing a card on watch 13 times over the 19 where this happened) played its Kor-phalid Breakfast build 10 times within 21 events, but since 7 of these showings ended with at least 1 loss, that means it didn't dominate, and players who met the deck had a reasonable chance of emerging from the match without feeling bad (it's exactly a 25% chance, the Games Win score for the deck being 24-8 at the moment). So far, so good. Just tell me if you like for some other card to be monitored.

 Indeed, the idea behind my current reasoning for banning cards is that for a card to be considered for banning at all, it must create a greater chance for players to have bad experiences with the format, resulting in them abandoning it (and I'm not talking whiners, I'm talking reasonable players: I use myself as a meter). Let's face it: we ARE and endangered format. As I already said in other occasions, we exist ONLY in Tribal Apocalypse. That's the last place in the whole world where the format is played. The PRE is healthy, with new players joining in on a regular basis, but we're always this far from extinction. This said, if in the meta pool there's a super-powerful card that fuels an archetype able to consistently own events like it's nothing, yet it shows up only 3-4 times per year, that can't be a problem. The chance of the same player having to face it is negligible (that would be very bad luck). For instance, I've only played once or twice against Kor-phalid Breakfast, and I played in every event it showed up. So, the watchword is: let's not be whiners, let's not be jackasses.

 The Tribal Achievements: Clan Leys, which is now in charge of any Special Prize, has launched and is handling the Tribal Achievements too: a way to have fun within Tribal Apocalypse, challenge yourself to do all kinds of strange MTG feats, and make some tix in the process. You can find the complete list of achievements here on the Hall of Fame. 9 unlocked, 41 to go. Remember to call in a witness from Clan Leys (me, SBena, or Leys7) before moving on when an In-Game or Endgame achievement is involved, or we'll have to resort to replays and such, and that's easily a pain in the ass. (Also a pain in the ass: when I'm playing a match and you call me 10 minutes before you're actually doing the achievement! Just the final moment is ok, folks; and please tell me what exactly you're attempting, I don't remember each and every achievement by heart).

 The Virgin Prize is ending its first run: only 6 tribes are still standing (Unicorn, Monger, Harpy, Homarid, Mongoose, and Squid). Hurry up and make these dorks go away, so we can start over with the Almost Virgin Prize.

 The Hamtastic Award: after its first edition ended with Leys7 taking the 5 tix for running 10 different tribes in a row, the Biodiversity Prize dedicated to the memory of Erik Friborg has started again. Currently we have Gq1rf7 and slug360 leading the group, with 4 tribes played so far.

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

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

 And that's all, once again. See you on the Tribal room!


Against Iona - Angel by mihahitlor at Fri, 08/24/2012 - 02:48
mihahitlor's picture

Against Iona - Angel reanimator with her would be too powerful imo. With Progenitus, at least you have a reasonable drawback of having to play a weak tribe, you can't reanimate it into play, and if you wanna cheat it into play with Natural Order you also need to add a bunch of mana dorks, which take additional free space. Show and Tell is good with Avatar (but not insane, since all other avatars are easily dealt with), but not with Hydra builds (most good hydras have X in their CC).

Not sure about Emrakul.

I never said NO-Prog would be by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 08/24/2012 - 00:00
Kumagoro42's picture

I never said NO-Prog would be a (particular) problem. I said it would be the go-to solution, and I prefer to make people Sweat & Think, rather than giving them prepackaged easy stuff.

This said, I approve AJ's idea (even if he's just trying to put himself in the position of playing that Avatar deck he mentioned :P).

On a side note, Rex, it occurred to me that you really are a man of the low end of the curve (I'm almost entirely a midrange guy, instead, that's probably why sometimes we take very different paths in deckbuilding). Like, while I was writing the article for the latest event, I was reminded of what you wrote elsewhere about Sigarda being barely playable in Legacy as a 5 CMC creature. That feels very strange to think to me. I mean, maybe that's true in *Legacy*, but again, we're in Legacy Tribal Wars here. AJ smashed a lot of opponents with a 5-color deck where 14 of his creatures were 5 CMC or higher, and 6 of them were 7 CMC. And he hardcasted them all, no tricks, no cheats, and just 4 accelerators. That looks like something very far from your conception of the format (or just your style of play), am I wrong?

It should be noted that those by AJ_Impy at Fri, 08/24/2012 - 01:16
AJ_Impy's picture

It should be noted that those accelerators are very, very good, and that every other support slot was removal, 8 of them one-drop StP effects.

I'm not just trying to build that deck. (Okay, I _may_ already be buying up the components for it, but that's because those components are awesome in many things) It's more a case of having a sudden flash of insight while thinking about the issue. We have precedence, we have people who wish to play with the cards despite their use in degenerate decks. It is a lot harder (though not impossible, Angel reanimator a salient example) to be degenerate and on tribe. Emrakul in Eldrazi is very nasty to face and relatively straightforward to cast or cheat, I used it as my i-win button of choice in my day one Eldrazi deck on the first Tribal Apoc after the RoE prerelease.

The one-of restriction would hurt show-and-tell builds, but letting legitimate decks clog their hands with up to four uncastables doesn't seem too much of a drawback. You say there is scope for interesting Stoneforge Mystic builds provided only Kor and Artificer get her, I say there is scope for interesting Prog builds providing only Hydra and Avatar get it. I'm reserving judgement on the other two.

RE: unbannings by BlippyTheSlug at Fri, 08/24/2012 - 12:24
BlippyTheSlug's picture

The next DCI B&R announcement is scheduled for Sept 20th. Any changes to the TA B&R list will happen at the same time. I will entertain the idea of restricting the "Trifecta of Doom" to their appropriate tribes.