Oversoul's preliminary report to the Tribal Council (including tier lists and other musings)

Discussion in 'Casual Decks/Variants/Etc' started by Oversoul, Jan 23, 2019.

  1. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    (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.
  2. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Tier 1
    This might be the most important category. It is likely to be the most contentious. This tier sort of corresponds to the the “Banned” tier from most of our old tribal games. These are the ultimate elites. Some of the Tier 2 tribes can fight them, but it’s an uphill battle. Player skill, support card choices, luck, and other factors weigh in. It’s not that these tribes are invincible. It’s that all of them have creatures that work well with each other and with other cards to quickly deploy lethal force. In short, this is “Tier Broken.”

    Construct: Ah, the game wherein I exploded and killed everyone. Now, one might note the caveat that I was making extensive use of artifact mana, that I had Mishra’s Workshop and Skullclamp, etc. One game of brokenness doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the strongest tribe ever. And some part of me does think that maybe Construct Tribal is closer to being Tier 2 material than it is to belonging in “Tier Banned” with goblins and elves. At various points in the lower tiers I pointed out the flexibility and explosive potential of tribes filled with artifact creatures. Constructs are the best of those tribes and they get one specific and unusual advantage in that arena. During the early years, even after the CPA was founded, artifact creatures didn’t necessarily have creature types at all. In fact, I was here at the CPA before constructs were a creature type. And at first, they were a minor consideration at best. Then WotC went back and updated all of the old artifact creatures to have some creature type. Anything that didn’t fit into another category was, by default, a construct. The “Grand Creature Type Update” gave Construct Tribal some great cards. And the tribe just keeps getting good stuff! Some of the best constructs in the game didn’t exist when I built my broken Construct Tribal deck in 2010. They’ve not only gotten stronger, they’ve done so perhaps more than any other tribe in that time period. I don’t know if constructs are fast enough to compete with the strongest tribes in Tier 1, but I worry that they’d make mincemeat out of almost anything in Tier 2. I mean, just look at them. Hangarback Walker? Manakin? Because artifact creatures need more mana ramp. Memnite? Let’s give them a zero-drop 1/1, in case they weren’t fast enough already. Traxos, Scourge of Kroog? I think 4 mana is a fair price to pay for a 7/7 trampler that effectively also has Vigilance. Walking Ballista? Just in case Triskelion wasn’t good enough. Workshop Assistant? Go ahead, kill my guys and I’ll just get them back anyway. Foundry Inspector? Kuldotha Forgemaster? Metalworker? Metalworker! Constructs are bonkers.

    Eldrazi: Turgy22 played an Eldrazi Tribal deck in one of our games. It wasn’t much of a test because I exploded and killed everyone, but also because eldrazi back then were tame compared to what they’re now capable of. Like I said with constructs, it might be a stretch to compare this tribe to elves and goblins, but I notice a significant departure between the hard-hitting power of eldrazi and what most of Tier 2 seems capable of. Eldrazi have produced competitive decks in Vintage, Legacy, and Modern. They even got Eye of Ugin banned in Modern. The deckbuilding would have to be retooled somewhat for a tribal multiplayer setting, but I strongly suspect that the tools are available. Even with a Lowlander deckbuilding constraint on support cards like Eldrazi Temple, this tribe is a powerhouse. The danger of Eldrazi Tribal is two-pronged. Colorless mana ramp can rapidly deploy cards like Endbringer and Reality Smasher, alongside some of the cheaper eldrazi. If opponents don’t do something about the beatdown of those cards, they might die to them. If they focus on dealing with the beatdown, mana ramp can continue into huge eldrazi with cast triggers, at which point the rest of the table is virtually doomed.

    Elf: Banned from the start in our Tribal games, but DarthFerret did play Elf Tribal in two of the Two-Headed Giant games. There’s always some room for doubt, but if I had to pick a tribe I thought was probably at the very top, the most powerful creature type for Tribal formats, I think this would be it. Many years ago, I’d have considered Goblin Tribal superior to Elf Tribal. Much has changed since then. I don’t know if elves are truly #1, but if not, they’re close. Elves make for the most successful tribal deck in Legacy tournaments, albeit thanks to their synergy with some stellar support cards. Elves are one of the oldest and deepest tribes ever. Even “class” tribes that have about twice as many actual cards as elves simply can’t keep up with the versatility and sheer overwhelming value of this tribe. Mana ramp, token production, utility, tribal synergy, and combos are their specialties, and they’re better at them than just about everyone else.

    Faerie: Mooseman took down one of our games with Faerie Tribal. Cheap, disruptive fliers in blue and black with tribal synergies and an excellent mana curve would be great in Tier 2, but faeries also work well with combos and curve into an amazing bomb in Oona, Queen of the Fae. They’re good. Very good. They’re also probably a step down from the rest of Tier 1. I’ve placed them here for now because I think Faerie Tribal is either at the bottom of Tier 1 or at the top of Tier 2. There are finite tribes and moving toward granularity in the number of tiers means that there are some winners and some losers. I may be underestimating faeries or underestimating the top tribes in Tier 2, but I suspect that this tribe is either stuck being a clear winner or a clear loser.

    Goblin: I played Goblin Tribal in two of the Two-Headed Giant games and in the first attempt at a “Lowlander” game. It dominated on those occasions. Goblins have also been the basis for tournament decks, and are currently a respectable archetype in Legacy. I currently have a goblin-based deck for the Canadian Highlander format. I like goblins. Goblins are good. They have one of the highest, possibly the very highest, potential for explosive aggro kills. They also scale well into late game and can even be disruptive. Goblins excel at finding more goblins (Goblin Matron, Goblin Ringleader). They have some of the best tribal synergies (Goblin Warchief, Goblin King), can deal direct damage (Siege-Gang Commander, Mogg Fanatic), and make for nice combo decks too (Lightning Crafter, Goblin Recruiter). There’s no question that goblins are Tier 1. It’s just a matter of how they measure up. This is all very speculative, but I’ll comfortably say, “Top 3.”
  3. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    (Tier 1 Continued)
    Horror: Mooseman played a Horror Tribal deck in one of our games. Modus Pwnens seemed to also be playing a Horror Tribal deck, but it’s unclear to me, as he was eliminated quickly and the only creature revealed from his deck was a lone Phyrexian Rager (a horror). His tribe was listed as “Nightmare” but I now believe that was an error by one person that propagated into the Tribal Administration threads. Anyway, nevermind those old decks. Horror Tribal is so good it just might be Tier 1. Here’s where my reader, a hypothetical bored Magic player who is knowledgeable about the game and decides to check out the Tier 1 section of my report, has been nodding sagely along the entire time, then suddenly looks confused. Horrors? Tier 1? Am I for real? Better than wizards or slivers or vampires or spirits? I sympathize. Horrors aren’t big on tribal synergies and most Magic players don’t give them much thought as a “tribe.” We know they exist. We recognize them. But if we’re to name the most powerful tribes, this one seems like a strange choice. A while back, someone pointed out to me a simple question, “When Thing in the Ice transforms into Awoken Horror, which creatures does it not bounce?” I believe that the original context was EDH, but it applies to multiple formats. I’ve even seen the concept brought up in the case of Vintage tournament play. Some of the best creatures in Vintage (that is, some of the best creatures in Magic) are horrors. This isn’t a tribe with explosive tribal synergies leading to fast, lethal attacks. But it also doesn’t need that stuff! Horrors are probably the best tribe in the game for using alongside grindy control spells. They provide the defense and the utility to facilitate an inexorable, crescendo of one-shot kills. They have all the elements to support such a deck. If a slower, more controlling deck can compete in a Tribal pod with the fastest tribes of them all, it’s almost certain to be a Horror Tribal deck. And much like faeries, if this tribe can’t quite hang with the super-elites, it could utterly crush the competition in Tier 2.

    Human: DarthFerret played a Human Tribal deck in one of our games, taking BigBlue’s awesome Avatar Tribal deck down to 1 life and nearly winning, but ultimately faltering against BigBlue’s amazing recovery. DarthFerret’s deck was fun and casual, but humans can be broken too. There’s a thread here at the CPA entitled “Giving a boost to human tribal decks.” I find the title amusing. Humans don’t need a boost. Humans got some pretty great tribal synergies of their own in Innistrad Block, and a properly tuned Human Tribal deck relying on synergies and disruption is probably strong enough to make the upper echelons of Tier 2. But if we’re being ruthless, that stuff is for scrubs. Humans can do anything. I placed them in Tier 1 right away when I started this report, but their position was really illuminated when I began cursory checks of creatures in each tribe online with a filter. The numbers weren’t 100% accurate because my searches included cards from Un-sets, but they were pretty close. Most of the good tribes have between 50 and 300 members. A few oddballs that are quite good happen to get everything they need with little chaff, like Kobolds. And on the extreme high end, the popular “class” tribes like warriors, wizards, and soldiers have over 600 members each. Warriors will soon surpass 700. Humans have something like three times that many members. Now, the immediately obvious objection to even mentioning this is that raw quantity is irrelevant at some point. You don’t need 2,200 creatures in your tribe. You just need 5 good ones. The thing to keep in mind is that some of the most overpowered creatures, capable of impressive feats on their own with no tribal synergies, happen to belong to this tribe. It’d take me some time just to find them all. Human Tribal has made waves in tournament formats in some circumstances, taking advantage of Cavern of Souls. But for a multiplayer format with specific rules, the composition of the Human Tribal deck could be optimized to fit the format. It seems entirely possible that Human Tribal outclasses Elf Tribal, Goblin Tribal, and everything else. I don’t know if humans are the most powerful tribe in our format (and it might depend on the specific constraints of our format that have yet to be determined), but I do suspect that they might be. If not, they’re one of the best. In my highly intuitive, entirely tentative assessment, I reckon that Elf Tribal and Human Tribal are the two strongest archetypes, and I’m just not sure on the order between them.

    Merfolk: I played a Merfolk Tribal deck in one of our games. Along with goblins and zombies, merfolk were one of the first creature types to get any form of tribal synergy. With the advent of River Merfolk in Fallen Empires, Merfolk Tribal took the reins as the most viable tribal archetype in the game. Back then, this was not saying much, as tribal synergies were generally rare and ineffective. But Merfolk had the best color and the best the most efficient, evasive attackers. Other tribes caught up, but Merfolk produced the “Frozen Fish Sticks” deck and remained one of the most prominent tribes throughout the 1990’s. But WotC didn’t like merfolk as the “characteristic” blue tribe because they live underwater and not on land like good creatures should. So they switched to cephalids instead, an aquatic race of—hey, nevermind those guys. Then it was maybe birds or wizards or both, then they tried vedalken, then moonfolk (yikes). Finally then went back to vedalken again but also went back to merfolk at the same time for some reason. But the tribe was a shadow of its former self, surpassed by the likes of elves, goblins, and zombies. And then Lorwyn happened and Merfolk Tribal dragged the competition underwater, drowned it, cut it up into little pieces, and fed the pieces to its young. Merfolk might still not be quite on the level of elves and goblins, but they keep getting closer. They are a fast, versatile tribe that fits into all of the best color combinations in the game (the ones with blue).

    Zombie: A couple of us played Zombie Tribal in the Highlander special game, if that counts. They may be the weakest of our three original “banned” tribes, but zombies are still comfortably Tier 1. It’s important to make note of that. Elves and goblins have generally been neck-and-neck in the contest for strongest tribe overall, with one taking the lead over the other depending on the surrounding environment or on the advantages conferred by recent printings. And humans have potentially stolen that thunder in one fell swoop by building the biggest tent around and having, by far, the most to work with. But zombies have always been waiting around the edges, not quite as great as the very strongest tribes, but still better than everything else. Part of that image stems from the fact that the other powerful tribes have generally found more lasting competitive niches. Zombies do get some (strange) advantages over pretty much all other tribes and those advantages could be exploited. They tend to scale better with token generation and with creature recursion. They get unique support cards like Call to the Grave, Deadapult, and Infernal Caretaker.

    And that’s all of them! Whew, I can hardly believe I covered every tribe. Now to build decks for all of them…

    Anyway, those eight tiers made the most sense to me when trying to categorize creature types by apparent power level. I wouldn’t actually want eight different formats. I’m thinking maybe three or four? Put the Tier 1 tribes in their own “banned everywhere else” format, the make a format for powerful tribes that allows everything else. And then at least one more that cuts off the higher tiers, giving less powerful tribes room to thrive. Of course, they should have distinctive names instead of boring old numbers.
  4. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    As a bit of an appendix, I’ll leave my proposed ban list. I already came up with this list for the article I wrote some time ago (currently at the top of the CPA front page). Not changing it yet, so this is just a convenient repost. Notably, the decision to include to exclude some of these cards definitely affects the potential power level and tier status of some tribes.

    All "ante" cards.
    All cards with the "conspiracy" type.
    Chaos Orb
    Falling Star
    Shahrazad
    Circle of Solace
    Endemic Plague
    Engineered Plague
    Extinction
    Peer Pressure
    Tsabo's Decree
    Black Lotus
    Mana Crypt
    Mox Emerald
    Mox Jet
    Mox Pearl
    Mox Ruby
    Mox Sapphire
    Sol Ring
    Ancestral Recall
    Dig Through Time
    Treasure Cruise
    Demonic Consultation
    Demonic Tutor
    Enlightened Tutor
    Entomb
    Gifts Ungiven
    Imperial Seal
    Intuition
    Mystical Tutor
    Personal Tutor
    Vampiric Tutor
    Trade Secrets
    True-Name Nemesis
    Balance
    Bazaar of Baghdad
    Mishra's Workshop
    Time Walk
    Tolarian Academy
    Channel
    Dark Depths
    Hermit Druid
    Natural Order
    Skullclamp
    Sneak Attack
    Time Vault
    Tinker
  5. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    I skimmed through and haven't really thought about Tribal all too much, so here are my two thoughts:

    One: There's no substitute than playing the decks to determine "tiers" and under what game criteria/game conditions. Obviously that would take forever here, both in terms of number of players (we've dwindled a lot) and time; MTGO would probably be the best testing area.

    Two, about me playing Bringers
    I fully agree as I played some deck I found on the Net, as I am wont to do :)
  6. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I agree. Sadly, it seems that all versions of Tribal Wars on MTGO have been retired? I'm not much of an MTGO guy (hate the chess clock and the wonky interface), but I do find it rather strange that Tribal didn't retain popularity. I understand that there are other now-defunct MTGO formats, and there are probably factors I just don't grasp. But yeah, it's a shame anyway.

    I guess I wasn't clear enough there. Not surprising because I was trying to keep the statements brief. I was referring to timing! The Bringer decklist you grabbed was really quite good, albeit not tuned for the rules we were using (I think it was built for Tribal Wars Standard or perhaps Extended?) of course. In the time since then (over a decade), tribes that are lower to the ground have gotten more powerful synergies, and some of the other tribes that would have lost to bringers back then would be too fast for it now. It seems like that process will only continue, so bringers will be an increasingly marginalized tribe. But before they started to fall behind as other tribes got tools to move faster, new sets did create some tools that might have helped bringers. What I was getting at was that I suspect their peak viability was in 2007 or 2008, when more changelings and tribal tools were being printed, but before the tribes of smaller, cheaper creatures accumulated more cards to make themselves even faster.

    It's not really important. But basically, the bringers deck you used was from 2005. It was stuck using Mistform Ultimus to shore up its weak midgame defenses because bringers cost a bunch of mana and there weren't any other options. Even so, the advantages outweighed the disadvantages because the deck had great power once it could get its big creatures onto the field. From 2005 to 2008, a hypothetical optimal bringers deck gained some nice support spells and also started gaining changeling cards that could do a better job of helping shore up a deck's defenses than Mistform Ultimus. But around that same time, WotC was learning from the mistakes of past sets and started refining tribal synergies in new sets, which gave boosts to a lot of other tribes. So what I was trying to say there was that the time when bringers were the best they could be relative to the rest of the field in general, the height of their power in that sense. And it was probably a couple of years after the deck you piloted was built. Since then, they haven't lost anything, but other tribes have gained more than they have. I was trying to consider that aspect and how it affects their standing.

    As you point out, this is all highly speculative. Give me a league of a few hundred players to test Tribal decks games for a few years and I could break down the ratings of various tribes reliably. But even if I had that, I think the tiers I've presented here would make a decent starting point for that testing. Alas, we don't seem to have a way to make the testing happen. :(
  7. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    Really? That's too bad.... I guess if people want to play, it's just "trust" and hoping each other adheres to the format rules then?
  8. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Yeah, there's always Freeform on MTGO. I know that sometimes players have taken it upon themselves to organize events for variants that aren't officially regulated on MTGO, with self-enforcement of whatever rules the format involves. Obviously not as convenient as having an official format, but it's always an option.
  9. Mooseman Isengar Tussle

    Just a few comments.
    1) The tiers are fine for our use. If it was to become something more(people wise) then tweaks would be needed.
    2) I would like to restrict Changeling, since they are a tribe unto themselves (Shapeshifters) and Mistform being an illusion. Say 16 creature cads that have the tribe actually printed on the card (or in errata) , then say no more than 2 of each changeling cards.
    3) don't forget no Unhinged or unglued cards

    Now onto the next section (I only skimmed the tiers 1 to 5)
  10. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Cool. We can always adjust them later if we get some games in and have more insight in the future. :)

    Ooh, I like it. Not that it really matters, and I can't actually think of a relevant rules scenario myself, but it's interesting that Mistform Ultimus and changelings work very differently even though the end result seems to always be the same. Mistform Ultimus is established as simply having all creature types and what looks like rules text is just there to explain it, with it having been stated by WotC that the "Illusion" in the type line is just there for flavor. It could be read as having every single legal creature type in the type line, but they wouldn't all fit on the card. The changeling cards have never been established to work that way, but it seems like it doesn't matter. I remember when looking at this stuff a while back I had the notion that Humility would take away the Changeling ability and make the creatures 1/1 shapeshifters with no abilities, but I've since learned that the typesetting from the Changeling ability applies in a higher layer in the rules and so the creature retains all creature types even after it loses all abilities. :rolleyes:

    Anyway, I don't have a reasonable objection to treating Ultimus and the changelings in the same way here, and my interest in shoring up numerically deficient tribes is pretty much entirely academic at this point. I doubt I'd actually want to play those tribes. I did it before with chimeras, but that was a very special case. They could only fill 16 slots but all 16 of those slots were 100% creatures with tribal synergy, which made Mistform Ultimus a decent fit because the other chimeras could all boost it. Someone might be able to achieve that sort of thing now with Aurochs Tribal, but that's about it. Rendering the tribes with between zero and three "real" members unavailable seems like it's essentially a formality anyway. And while no one here seems likely to build some weird changeling-based deck and pilot it in every game as "X Tribal", that is something that shouldn't be done, and your proposed rule would stop it.

    It'd be a bit wordy to implement, but I'd be in favor of your proposal.

    Definitely.

    Those are the important ones anyway. Maybe even ignore Tier 5 if you're feeling impatient with my unwieldy report. If I mistakenly threw some semi-decent tribe into Tier 5 or 6, it might eventually get corrected after we learn more, but it doesn't really matter. The part that might matter to us is if I overrated or underrated a tribe in a way that unfairly excludes it from usage in certain games or allows it to compete with tribes that are substantially weaker than it. And the real test of that would be extensive gameplay by lots of participants, but we also have people here with lots of general gameplay experience and knowledge, so I do think some of this can be hammered out with discussion.

    I know you've mentioned slivers in some of your posts as a probable top tribe (Tier 1?). I did throw them in Tier 2 in the report, but I think they're one of the borderline cases. Might not be able to reach a firm conclusion either way without testing...
  11. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Half the reason I didn't just make a tier called "garbage bucket" and throw almost everything below Tier 4 into it is that I figured doing so would be like lighting a beacon to have Psarketos show up and construct viable decks out of the tribes I labelled garbage. :p
  12. Mooseman Isengar Tussle

    I couldn't find a ruling on how Patriarch's Bidding + Changeling works.
  13. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Because I'm procrastinating, here's an alphabetized version of my proposed ban list from the article I wrote last year...

    All "ante" cards.
    All cards with the "conspiracy" type.
    Ancestral Recall
    Balance
    Bazaar of Baghdad
    Black Lotus
    Channel
    Chaos Orb
    Circle of Solace
    Dark Depths
    Demonic Consultation
    Demonic Tutor
    Dig Through Time
    Endemic Plague
    Engineered Plague
    Enlightened Tutor
    Entomb
    Extinction
    Falling Star
    Gifts Ungiven
    Hermit Druid
    Imperial Seal
    Intuition
    Mana Crypt
    Mishra's Workshop
    Mox Emerald
    Mox Jet
    Mox Pearl
    Mox Ruby
    Mox Sapphire
    Mystical Tutor
    Natural Order
    Peer Pressure
    Personal Tutor
    Shahrazad
    Skullclamp
    Sneak Attack
    Sol Ring
    Time Vault
    Time Walk
    Tinker
    Tolarian Academy
    Trade Secrets
    Treasure Cruise
    True-Name Nemesis
    Tsabo's Decree
    Vampiric Tutor

    That list was deliberately tentative, perhaps a bit too aggressive, and didn't account for the multi-tier system we're now talking about. So I'm left rethinking it somewhat. Not going to post a revised version for now because the whole idea was to having a starting point anyway and I haven't seen feedback from anyone else on this point. But yeah, I'm a bit weirded out at the notion that I'd think Personal Tutor or Entomb would be problems, but I see that in my article I envisioned a ban list that would help shape the format, that banning tutors because it would motivate players to build decks based around their tribes rather than around consistently finding a key spell. But is that the right call? I dunno. I also singled out Hermit Druid and True-Name Nemesis as overly powerful creatures that could be used within tribes to do stupid stuff. But the tier list partially addresses that. I don't really want to play against those cards, but I also don't want to unfairly cripple Druid Tribal or Rogue Tribal just because their best cards are ones I dislike. Although not creatures, cards like Dark Depths and Sneak Attack also boost certain types of gameplay that might interest people. I don't want the deciding factor to be "Oversoul doesn't like it." But I do think most of that list is right. Our format/s shouldn't allow for tribal hosers or Power 9 stuff.

    Anyway, I'm a bit torn. I was this close to reposting a ban list with some of the less scary cards taken off (seriously, who's afraid of Personal Tutor?), but I'd much rather get input from people who aren't me, assuming anyone is sufficiently interested to examine this critically...

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