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By: ArchGenius, Marcus Rehnberg
Oct 06 2010 10:09am
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As the gracious substitute Soul Reaper host for Tribal Apocalypse on October 2nd, I decided to use Flipper_Giraffe's new format for Tribal Apocalypse reports.  All credit for the formatting goes to Flippers. 

So, what happened on Oct 2nd?  We had 10 players in the Tribal Apocalypse event, which ended with Knights, Elves, Goblins, and Slivers on top.  We also had a little grumbling and complaining about some of the same tribes showing up on top again.  Now here is my unsolicited opinion on playing the obvious tribes.

There are many reasons we players play Magic.  Some of us like deckbuilding, some of us like the challenge of playing against a tough deck.  Some of us simply like winning.  When you add cost to the equation, some of us like playing a cheaper deck that doesn't break our wallet.  All of these reasons to play are valid, and they should not be criticized.  I may believe that playing elves and goblins are obvious and boring, but others may not agree.  That's perfectly fine.  Because others are willing and enthusiastic about playing elves and goblins, that means I have a gauntlet.  Elves, goblins, zombies, spirits, elementals, humans, soldiers, rats, slivers, warriors, vampires, shaman, and merfolk may be obvious tribal choices, but they also present a challenge to those of us that want to win with a unique tribe.  If these obvious choices didn't exist, there would be little sense of victory in winning with a unique tribe.  Where's the fun in winning with an Ouphe deck if all you played against is a Leech deck and a Serpent deck that didn't do what they were supposed to do.  If everybody is always trying weird and off-the-wall deck ideas, the relative power level of your opponents will vary greatly from week to week.  We've had arguments over this kind of thing before.  It's the whole bringing a knife to a gunfight or bringing a bazooka to a knife fight argument.  It's a good thing when a sizable portion of our participants are bringing known good decks to the table.  It keeps us deckbuilders from doing creative things that are completely ridiculous and have no chance of winning against a serious deck.  Some might like that idea, but it takes the competitive edge out of things.  At the end of the day, this is a tournament and we should be playing with at least some intention of winning.  That is why the gauntlet of common deck types is a good thing.  It's keeps a certain level of competition that gives new players some expectations and gives the unique tribe deckbuilders a goal.  That goal is to beat the good tribes with a deck from a lesser known tribe.  I've done this a couple of times.  I was one of the first people to champion a shaman deck and an insect deck to prizes in Tribal Apocalypse.  Those two tribes are much more common now and some consider them part of the obvious tribes list.  In my mind that is the biggest kind of compliment a rogue deckbuilder can have.  However, being a champion of an under-used tribe only works if there are people who like playing with the good tribes.  Also, when people are playing the good tribes, you have to expect them to win sometimes.  That is exactly what happened on Oct. 2. However even if our winners are using the well-known tribes, there is still some interesting deckbuilding going on.

Loxodon Knights 2-1
by bluedragon123
3 Wilt-Leaf Liege
4 Kinsbaile Cavalier
4 Burrenton Forge-Tender
4 Skyhunter Skirmisher
4 Stillmoon Cavalier
4 Sigiled Paladin
4 Knight of Meadowgrain
27 cards

Other Spells
4 Path to Exile
4 Loxodon Warhammer
3 Oblivion Ring
11 cards
22 Plains
22 cards

Path to Exile


First up, we have some double striking knights with some obvious anti-red tactics with the Forge-Tenders.  The Stillmoon Cavaliers are also game killers against certain tribes and can sidestep Moat quite nicely. Overall, this is a very solid attacker deck. 


Next up we have a budget Eldrazi Elf deck.  Priest of Titania can be insane in the right circumstances.  Karakas is a great addition to either bounce Kozilek or Ulamog or just deal with some really annoying legends.

 Yes, we have a Goblin deck.  It's more carefully aimed at tutoring than a lot of goblin builds including four Goblin Matrons.  This can be pretty nice with a double activation from a Warren Instigator.  This is another fine addition for the gauntlet.


Bloodbraid Slivers 3-0
by BlippyTheSlug
4 Heart Sliver
4 Sinew Sliver
4 Plated Sliver
4 Muscle Sliver
3 Bloodbraid Elf
2 Harmonic Sliver
2 Horned Sliver
23 cards

Other Spells
4 Incinerate
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Harmonize
4 Lightning Helix
15 cards
6 Plains
6 Forest
6 Mountain
4 Jungle Shrine
22 cards

Horned Sliver


This deck reminds me a lot of the Ally decks that showed up after Worldwake was released.  Bloodbraid Elf is really good at pretending to be other tribes.  Not to mention that this deck has more burn than the average mono-colored red deck that happens to win.  Overall, this is another solid Naya deck.

So, those are the decks that posted 2-1 or 3-0 records.  They are all very solid builds and they all focus on using good tribes, combat, and some of the highest quality removal in the game.



So, how do you fight the common tribes?  Here are a few of the ideas I've come up with for fighting the gauntlet of common tribes with a unique tribe.

Pyrokinesis Contagion

There are a lot of expensive tribes out there like Dragons, Demons, and Avatars that have no way to survive the early game.  There just aren't any small ones to put into your deck.  Therefore in order to compete with the smaller, quicker tribes, you need to have a way to disrupt their early game, and why not do it for free?  Your deck has 20 big monsters in it, you don't need that many win, so just chuck one to Contagion or Pyrokinesis and buy yourself the time you need to get into the game.

Swords to Plowshares Lightning Bolt

These spells are the pinnacle of efficiency, and some of the few spells that are lifesavers against many kinds of deck.  Sometimes you can't wait until you get to two mana before you have to deal with an opponent's threat.

Lightning Rift Life from the Loam Astral Slide

There are plenty of under-used tribes that have cycling members.  Lightning Rift is one of the most economical ways to add punch to those tribes.  Add in some cycling lands and a Life from the Loam and you have a way to control your opponent's weenies as well as a late game win-condition that can punch through a moat.  Double points if you can squeeze a (Skeletal Shard) in there with artifact creature cyclers.

Moat Humility Night of Souls' Betrayal

Most of the big tribes are small ground-pounder weenies.  Moat can stop those small tribes as well as most Eldrazi. I'm still working on a way to use Humility with tribes that have lots of +1/+1 counters, and a Dark Ritual accelerated Night of Souls' Betrayal can bring a halt to a lot of decks.

Buried Alive Bloodghast

Buried Alive is one of the most powerful effects in the game that is not banned.  Whether you're using it to give incarnation bonuses, create reanimation targets, or just filling the board with Bloodghasts, there are few cards that can beat the raw power of Buried Alive

Kor Firewalker Auriok Champion

Red decks abound in Tribal Apocalypse, so this is kind of an obvious tactic.  What's not so obvious is actually using the lifegain for a constructive purpose such as Searing Meditation.

Punishing Fire Grove of the Burnwillows

What's nice about this combo is that it doesn't take much room in your deck, which is really nice when you already have 20 spots devoted to creatures.  Most combos that you can use to boost a weird tribe's power requires at least 8 slots in your deck, which means that all you can do is that combo and your creatures.  I generally don't like combos that outright win the game, so that means that I need something that gives me at least some control of the board.  Punishing Fire can do this at a reasonably cheap cost. 

So, that is basically a couple of my tricks for boosting the power of some of the lesser known tribes to compete with the common tribes.  Take them for what they are, just a way to start the deckbuilding process.  There are many ways to beat the gauntlet.  If you don't like mine, go ahead and find your own.


On top of the in game banned list the following cards are also banned in Tribal Apocalypse events, if there are additional cards that are deemed too powerful they will be added to this list, so please keep an eye out. If you are caught using any of the below cards in an event then you will forfeit your match and will be removed from the tournament.

Bazaar of Baghdad Helm of Obedience Painter's Servant
Doomsday Hermit Druid Progenitus
Earthcraft Iona, Shield of Emeria Sneak Attack
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn Lion's Eye Diamond Survival of the Fittest
Goblin Lackey Mystical Tutor  

9th October 2010
Host: Flippers_Giraffe
Format: Normal Tribal Classic
Door Prize: 4x Lodestone Myr & 4x Myr Incubator


16th of October 2010
Host: Flippers_Giraffe
Format: Normal Tribal Classic
Door Prize: 4x Conundrum Sphinx

Conundrum Sphinx Conundrum Sphinx Conundrum Sphinx Conundrum Sphinx

23rd October 2010
Host: Flippers_Giraffe
Format: Normal Tribal Classic
Door Prize: 4x Blastoderm (Promo)

Blastoderm Blastoderm Blastoderm Blastoderm

30th October 2010
Host: Flippers_Giraffe
Special Event - Halloween
 All players that go 3-0 with the following tribes Shade, Nightmare, Demon, and Horror's receive an additional prize of All Hallow's Eve

All Hallow's Eve
Format: Normal Tribal Classic
Door Prize: 3 x Ihsan's Shade's

Ihsan's Shade Ihsan's Shade Ihsan's Shade

Tribal Apocalypse runs every Saturday and is a free event sponsored by

There are prizes to all players who go 2-0 or above and a random door prize (from the 9th of October) for some lucky person who doesn't make it into the prizes.

Registration starts at 12:30 EDT (17:30 BST) in /join tribal

The event starts promptly at 13:00 EDT (18:00 BST)

The Tribal Apocalypse group can be found here, please join to show your support

If you have any questions drop a comment below or contact Flippers_Giraffe


So, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.  I'll hand the reigns of Tribal Apocalypse back to Flippers to carry on the tradition of this wonderful tournament.


Shuyin Knight of Zanaraknd on Magic Online.


Many thanks for standing in by Flippers_Giraffe at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 11:04
Flippers_Giraffe's picture

Many thanks for standing in Marcus.

It will be interesting to see if Elves, Gobbos and Slivers turn up again this weekend

There's a number of good by AJ_Impy at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 11:25
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There's a number of good reasons why Shard used to ban the most egregious tribes from his occasional pauper tribal apocs. People can bring what they like, that doesn't mean we have to like what they bring.

I believe pauper tribal is a by ArchGenius at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 13:13
ArchGenius's picture

I believe pauper tribal is a bit different than regular tribal, and banning the top tribes in pauper tribal makes a lot of sense.

In pauper there really aren't enough options to boost the power of the smaller tribes so that they can compete with the bigger tribes.

In regular tribal there by AJ_Impy at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 14:31
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In regular tribal there aren't enough options to boost the power of smaller tribes to the extent that they could, say, compete on a level playing field in a Legacy money event.

Fortunately, it's not like a goblins build could manage that, eh?


Top tribes by Lythand at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 16:33
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I don't agree that the top tribes should be playing this tournament. It's not hard with a little bit of money to make a top tribe deck and dominate this format. When shard ran the event, it was a gentlemans agreement for most of us not to use the top tribes and I am not refering to pauper. This was discussed in more detail in the comments of this article.

I was a little annoyed to play a first round Sliver deck, then a second round goblin deck??? Not to mention I did see the elf deck. I was under the impression we as a group would stay away from those tribes, but if the moderators running the PRE's are ok with these tribes, then the rest of us should go ahead an just build tier one tribe decks. I have a few Legacy goblin and sliver decks I would be willing to go with.

I would like to hear what Shard's take on this is since he is the one who originated the PRE.

As much as I respect what you by Paul Leicht at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 17:41
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As much as I respect what you are saying I have to disagree with one statement. People did bring goblins, elves etc during Shard's Apocs. In fact that is one reason I stopped going regularly. I lost to two elves decks last weekend and was minorly annoyed with that but not because my ops broke any agreement. There is no such agreement. Bring whatever you want if it isn't banned. That is the only thing people have agreed upon. I brought 4c Angels which was probably a mistake considering it's 1-2 record and the end result of not much fun to be had.

I was all happy the by Cruel_Hellraiser at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 16:54
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I was all happy the apocalypse was not gonna die. But if people are going to play those decks im not coming back to the PRE anytime soon. I was also under the impression from Shard running it that those decks would not show up.

I will be keeping track of by Flippers_Giraffe at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 17:05
Flippers_Giraffe's picture

I will be keeping track of all the tribes that are placed in the money from now onwards and if it looks like a particular tribe is dominating then I'll see what can be done by banning cards and as a last resort banning tribes. I could add this to the article as a rolling count if people are interested.

I dont want to go down this route but if the players in the event are not happy then I will step in with my big stick, without you the players there would be no event and we dont want that to happen.

How big a stick are we by Cruel_Hellraiser at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 17:18
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How big a stick are we talking here? :)

im fine with slivers and by JustSin at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 18:52
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im fine with slivers and knights, but when you run the elf and goblin decks that win legacy tournies? that's out of place in my opinion

Hey guys, I was thinking of by Xaoslegend at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 19:49
Xaoslegend's picture

Hey guys,

I was thinking of my Heirloom merfolk deck but then I'm thinking either it would be A) too good a tribe andget me hated on or B) really bad in a tribal environment.


The thing is goblins and elf by ArchGenius at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 19:58
ArchGenius's picture

The thing is goblins and elf decks are decks that players look to when they're looking for budget options. Look at all four decks that won prizes this week. Each one is a budget deck in the $15-$25 range.

There is a difference between classic cut-throat tournament calibur goblin decks and a budget tribal goblin deck.

If you start banning tribes like goblins you're going to alienate new players and budget players and people are going to wonder if their tribe is going to be the next on the chopping block.

goblins and elves are the by endless at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 22:29
endless's picture

goblins and elves are the decks that people turn to because their super easy netdecks. There's very few tribes that couldn't be built in the $25 range.

That is true, also both elves by Paul Leicht at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 22:43
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That is true, also both elves decks I faced were not typical combo elves. One was some big fatties come to rock the house* deck (*Featuring one of my favorite new cards: Pelakka Wurm) and the other was an all white elves deck using white strategies to hose the opposition.

I think the goblin deck was more mainstream but still not what I have seen in the past in terms of easy.dec. I'd say they were fairer than many in the past have been.

Also Xaos, Merfolk.dec is quite popular and has done well in past events even against good draws.

Elves and Goblins also give by ArchGenius at Thu, 10/07/2010 - 00:08
ArchGenius's picture

Elves and Goblins also give players the more deckbuilding options than other tribes. Goblins have a mono-black and mono-green lord if you wanted to skip out on red goblins entirely. You could also play black and white elves relatively easily. There are more off-color options for elves and goblins than there are tribe-members for many other tribes.

Whenever we start to build 2+ color decks, it becomes difficult to make them under $25 without serious budget considerations.

my problem lies in Wizards by JustSin at Thu, 10/07/2010 - 12:33
JustSin's picture

my problem lies in Wizards creation really... certain tribes (zombies, elves, goblins, mer) were given 3-4 or more lords... I mean hell look at all the possible lords you can have for elves... tribes like that you can just run play sets of each lord and have your creature base

Its true, there's a zombie by Scartore at Fri, 10/08/2010 - 09:05
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Its true, there's a zombie deck I see a lot that just stacks zombie lords on top of each other. With a little acceleration you can end up facing 3 lords on turn 2!

This is a really hard format by MMogg at Wed, 10/06/2010 - 23:48
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This is a really hard format to not break. It's really that simple. My first and only foray into Tribal Wars was to build a WG troll deck and play with it in cas/cas. The first game I played against someone playing Affinity (a.k.a. Myr). Now, personally I have no problem playing at a competitive or casual level, but what's important is to set a level. You can't have it both ways. Unfortunately, Tribal Wars as a format tends to fall into the casual side of things, making broken Spikesque decks obnoxious.

The bottom line in any format is that if it's dominated by particular deck types and relatively stagnant, it's not going to attract and maintain a following. Budget is a secondary concern to a healthy format.

hmm my opinion on elves and by ShardFenix at Thu, 10/07/2010 - 01:09
ShardFenix's picture

hmm my opinion on elves and goblins(i rarely get asked my opinion so i will oblige)

In all honestly I dont mind elves, goblins, merfolk, etc. There are hundreds of each of these creatures in the game. What I do dislike are people running the legacy/classic netdecks of these tribes. I remember I ran a mostly black goblin deck one week and no one cared. Also white elves? thats pretty freaking cool. You can even have mostly green merfolk or black merfolk nowadays. So the tribes are fine. It is the creativity that can sometimes be lacking.

Pretty freaking cool, but it by AJ_Impy at Thu, 10/07/2010 - 02:29
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Pretty freaking cool, but it got 2-0ed by the Goblins. It also lost to the knights deck thanks to Stillmoon Cavalier, which was awesome tech.

Oh there will be a special by Flippers_Giraffe at Thu, 10/07/2010 - 04:38
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Oh there will be a special theme week towards the end of November that will be Endangered Tribal, more details will be posted nearer the time.

I'm quite sad and have worked out all the events up to the end of January.

BW Panda Tribal Deck ftw by JustSin at Thu, 10/07/2010 - 12:34
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BW Panda Tribal Deck ftw

Slivers, Goblins and Elves oh my! by Lythand at Thu, 10/07/2010 - 15:49
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The elf deck that was played, is not much different, strategy wise, then the stadard Eldrazi green ramp deck currently making waves in standard. Granted some of the cards are different, but essentially it's the same deck strategy.

A good Legacy goblins deck can be made for under 50$. Red has been the color to go to if you were on a budget and wanted to compete. Here is a sample decklist.

Lightning bolt .15 x4 .60
Flame Javalin .20 x4 .80
Burst Lightning .08 x4 .36
Goblin lackey 2.5 x4 10.00
Gobline Piledriver 6.5 x4 26.00
Siege-gang Commander 1.15 x4 4.60
Goblin Matron .25 x4 1.00
Goblin Chieftan .12 x4 .48
Gempalm Incinerator .08 x4 .36
Goblin Warchief .75 x4 1.5

And this can be made even cheaper if you want to substitute the piledrivers and lackeys for something else. A deck does not have to be expensive to be a tournament level deck.