(Tier 2 Continued) Vampire: I don’t know how much it’s really helped vampires, but they have the distinction of being tagged by WotC as an “iconic” tribe, then shifted to a potential “characteristic” tribe, a role for which they still serve in a kind of substitute role. It’s not necessarily obvious, but Mark Rosewater has explained this in detail, and it does kind of explain the shifting role of the tribe. Before WotC became firm about having demons as the black “iconic” tribe, they were using vampires to fill the role. They’ve also had some qualms about using zombies as the black “characteristic” tribe, and although they’ve now entrenched it, they do shift to vampires if they like them better for the flavor of a certain world (Zendikar, Ixalan). The shift from an old school “vampires are the big, beefy creatures for black” to the new school “vampires are the default, smaller creatures for black” gives this tribe superior coverage for a mana curve. They’ve also toyed with different secondary colors for the tribe. Vampires are mostly associated with black, but on Innistrad they also use red, on Ixalan they also use white, and on Ravnica they also use blue. My intuition for a Vampire Tribal color distribution is that black is always your primary color, you never use green, you can use any other two color pair with black, and if you use three colors, red is probably one of them. Not a prescription, just a cursory analysis of what’s available. Vampires specialize in killing stuff, modifications to player life total, +1/+1 counters, and Flying. They’re a strong tribe for putting pressure on opponents. I’m a bit surprised we never had a Vampire Tribal deck in our games here. They’ve got to be one of the strongest choices that was never touched in a CPA Tribal game. Vedalken: Al0ysiusHWWW played a Vedalken Tribal deck in one of our games. Despite errors in deck construction (he misunderstood the restricted status of Brainstorm and was left with “blank” cards in his deck) and in gameplay (he underestimated the threat I posed to him and probably could have weakened my position with his countermagic, united the table against me and potentially won after eliminating me), his deck wowed the whole table with its vedalken/artifact synergy engines. Although Vedalken Tribal has gotten some excellent new tools since then, I’m unaware of anyone else pursuing the archetype. I think the reason for this is that vedalken don’t really focus on overt tribal synergies. Their synergies are generally based around artifacts. While some of them are members of the artificer tribe anyway, other key cards for Vedalken Tribal are wizards instead. The tribe already had what it needed to make a scary combo deck back when Al0ysiusHWWW showed them off in 2009, and they’ve gotten more since then. Most of the top tribes are established fantasy tropes (elves, dwarves, dragons, vampires, etc.) and this weird little niche of a race of tall, thin blue dudes is a bit of an outlier in that regard. They’re not what you think of when the topic of “tribal decks” comes up, and they still don’t really have any real tribal lords or anything like that. But they’ve already got what it takes to compete with the best tribes in the game. And WotC have established the presence of vedalken on Dominaria (barely seen so far), Alara, Ravnica, Kaladesh, and Mirrodin. So it seems probable that vedalken will be returning in future sets. Wizard: Mythosx and I both played Wizard Tribal decks in one of our games, and both of us put up strong performances. I was (correctly) perceived as a threat and eliminated by the rest of the table, while Mythosx eventually went on to win it all. Wizards are one of the most populous tribes in the game and are, by far, the oldest and most prolific of the magic-user “class” tribes. Although I do place clerics, druids, and shamans all in Tier 2, it’s likely that wizards are the strongest tribe of this sort. They generally have the most powerful combo and the most comprehensive defensive coverage. But when choosing your tribe among these magic user classes, it’s really a matter of standout individual cards (too many to name) and of the color of support spells you want to use. If white is your primary color, go with clerics. If green is, go with druids. For red, shamans are probably the best bet. And, of course, for blue, you definitely want wizards. They’ve gotten the most tribal synergy support out of all those options. I guess that’s only fair, since the company is Wizards of the Coast. Wall: I played a Wall Tribal deck in our first CPA Tribal game. I got sloppy and misbuilt my deck, which ended up costing me the game. DarthFerret played a Wall Tribal deck in the Two-Headed Giant game that went on permanent hiatus. I get the vague impression that Richard Garfield liked walls as a creature type for gameplay mechanics and that the tribe has fallen out of favor among his successors. Walls got a lot to work with in the early years and older sets tended to feature cards that either helped or hurt walls specifically, but those days are long past. WotC even dropped the gameplay mechanic of walls being unable to attack due to their creature type, modifying it so that the game had an “ability” called “Defender” and giving all walls that “ability.” Because they can’t attack, this is nominally a defensive tribe. Various tricks and support spells can make walls dangerous, but they’re losing ground to the competition. Perhaps Tier 2 isn’t appropriate for Wall Tribal or, if it is, perhaps it will lose that status in the future. But for now, I leave them here. Warrior: I had no idea where to place Warrior Tribal because even though it does get tribal synergies (and some good ones), I couldn’t think of an actual Warrior Tribal deck I’d seen. So I looked these guys up and discovered that they’re not just prolific, but perhaps the second most common creature type in the entire game. There are nearly 700 warriors in Magic. I’m not going to sift through all that to figure out how a Warrior Tribal deck should be built, at least not right now. I see some great cards in there and plenty of options. These guys are Tier 2 for sure and it’s just a matter of figuring out how they measure up against the rest of the tier. Wurm: I played a Wurm Tribal deck in one of our games and won (although BigBlue’s Shapeshifter deck may have been the strongest deck at the table). I’ve looked at Wurm Tribal a few times before and since that game. It’s solid. Wurms were once used as the default beefy green creature type, the green “iconic” tribe. For reasons that are unclear to me, WotC was unhappy with using wurms in this role and shifted to hydras for the green “iconic” instead. Although it’s now been several years, wurms have considerable momentum and are probably still the stronger tribe of the two overall. Eventually, I expect that hydras will overtake them. Notably, hydras are nice with red as a secondary color while wurms benefit more from black. Despite the apparent and officially confirmed shift of emphasis in new sets, WotC still uses wurms on certain worlds, and some of the new wurm cards have been excellent additions to the tribe. Wurm Tribal necessarily has a slow start, but it picks up the pace and if the player isn’t killed, the creatures become tough to deal with.