While this column is about tribal decks, I didn’t know the hard rule of tribe decks. I had to look it up and accordint to MTG Online a deck is “tribal legal” when a minimum of 1/3 of the deck is of a single creature type. So a 60 card deck has to contain 20 creatures that share a creature type. Today’s deck has 16 Zubera’s and 24 Spirits, so officially this can’t be a Zubera Tribe deck. I, however, approach tribal a bit more casual than MTO Online does so I call today's deck a Zubera deck. Either way, this deck is still ‘tribal legal'.
Crouching Zubera, Hidden Onna
4 Wayfarer’s Bauble
4 Darksteel Ingot
4 Emberfist Zubera
4 Floating-Dream Zubera
4 Burning-Eye Zubera
4 Rushing-Tide Zubera
4 Yuki- Onna
With only red and blue you can play with 16 Zubera’s. All of them “work well” together with reds mass removal card: Wildfire. Four damage triggers both Burning-Eye and Rushing-Tide Zubera. That way you might kill some creatures that survived the four damage from Wildfire and you can regain some cards too (ideally). This was a synergy I just couldn’t ignore. The 2 mana Zubera’s give you some early defense and they also give something in return, when you let them die. A loneZubera is sometimes enough to let an opponent attack someone else. If you have more than one in play, this effect gets only stronger.
The Zubera’s are backed up by the Onna’s of red and blue. At first I looked at Kiri-Onna as ‘Too Expensive Man-‘o-War’. But an Onna is easily reusable and quite annoying if played repeatedly, especially Kiri-Onna. It takes quite some mana, but the deck has a lot of mana-sources to facilitate this (and also to quickly recuperate from Wildfire). With Kiri-Onna you can bounce the creatures that would survive a Wildfire, while Yuki-Onna can destroy their mana artifacts (e.g. Signets, Talismans, Fellwar Stone), unless they are also using Darksteel Ingot.
Wildfire is a blast. It stops decks from going insane with large amounts of lands in play and this deck can play Wildfire as early as turn 4.
The deck is not very tricky to play and has no high surprise value. In other words: the deck has no instants or instant effects. Nonetheless it is fun to play! I intended to play it once, but I kept it together for quite some time because it was more fun than I expected, mainly because of the reusability of Kiri-Onna and how annoying that can be! As a bonus this deck is ideal to lend out to starting players.
This Zubera deck uses only 4 rares, the Wildfires, which are reprinted in 9th edition, so this deck isn’t too expensive or hard to make. There aren’t many other zubera’s, but you could add green, black or white to the deck. That would make it a different kind of Zubera deck, however, and I doubt that Wildfire would be very synergetic with a 3+ color mana base. You might be able to make it work with several mana artifacts or more land searching, but I will leave that up to someone else.
Instead of Wildfire you could use Inferno. That way you drop the land destruction, something which may be frowned upon in your playgroup (although that ability of Wildfire isn’t really abused in this deck). Instead you get to do 2 additional damage and also deal damage to all players.. Although you need 7 mana for Inferno, you won’t need 32 ‘mana’. I would drop Wayfarer’s Bauble and keep the Ingots. The deck has nothing of 3 mana, so the Ingot fits in nicely. And the occasion might arise that there is an artifact in play you don’t want to destroy (from a team member perhaps) and the Ingots are perfect target practice for Yuki-Onna. As a replacement for the Baubles I would add Prophetic Bolt, Fire//Ice or something arcane: e.g. Blind with Anger, Glacial Ray, Spiraling Embers, Consuming Vortex or Ideas Unbound. Enough choices just pick your favorite card or cards! Most likely the Izzet guild in Guildpact will have some interesting cards for these colors as well.
Back to you
This was my contribution to Zubera-Day, maybe you have something to add? Did you ever made a Zubera deck? Have you used some of the Onna’s in your decks? Did you like them? Have you ever played Wildfire in a Tribal Deck?
As always, feedback is appreciated!
Arjan van Houwelingen (Jorael)