It’s no secret, I’ve always liked Magic tournaments. The thrill of doing well is a natural high, and it’s always fun to see who can do the best.
Well, we have started our Tribal Throwdown tourney, where we’ll be smashing the various tribes of MTG (Zombies, Elves, Merfolk, etc) together to find out who is the best tribe, and which tribe will come out on top.
And today’s first match is an odd one:
Let’s take a look!
• To read the intro to The Tribal Throwdown, click here.
• To read about the first surprise entrants, led by Brion Stoutarm (tribal Giants), Daghatar the Adamant (tribal Warriors), and Kodama of the South Tree (tribal Spirits), click here.
• To read about the surprise Insect tribal deck, led by Thriss, Nantuko Primus, click here.
• To read about the surprise Horror deck, led by errata’d Horror legend Morinfen, click here.
Our first matchup highlighted the big issue with running a tribal tourney, namely that there would be the occasional staring match (where we would build up walls of creatures and sit behind them looking at our foes, unable to attack until drawing an Overrun effect). Unlike normal EDH games, where we could count on Wrath effects to sweep away hordes of creatures, we couldn’t really expect that here, and boards would get very clogged with bad creatures.
Our first matchup of the inaugural tribal tourney started off much as I expected, with scads of creatures smashing into each other in the red zone. The Snakes were first on the board with a Lorescale Coatl, boosted by the synergistic Bident of Thassa; the other tribes were not far behind, however, as everyone started flooding the board with tons of creatures.
The Eldrazi put a stop to this nonsense early on by using a Nevinyrral’s Disk to reset the board; this only delayed the onslaught of bad creatures, however, as everyone dropped more bad tribe members into play.
With Kruphix’s Void Winnower bounced by Jalira, Kaseto takes the opportunity to cast a bunch of potent even cards in Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro, Sakura-Tribe Elder, and Obelisk of Urd. With the Obelisk in play, the Snakes have a huge bonus here!
Jazal takes a turn to land non-Cat Vengeful Archon, and Kaseto punishes him for this, attacking with all the Snakes for a huge 17 damage while he’s tapped out. Meanwhile, Jalira has been plugging away with a Deep-Sea Kraken enchanted with a bestowed Thassa’s Emissary, trying to get Kruphix low enough to kill.
Kozilek, the Great Distortion makes an appearance for Kruphix, and counters the next few spells that Jalira casts. This heralds the end, however, as Kaseto casts the deadly Triumph of the Hordes, and has enough Snakes thanks to Snake Basket to kill off both Jalira and Jazal in one attack. Left all by himself against the horde of Snakes, Kruphix tries to put up a wall of large Eldrazi, but Kaseto is able to use her general to pump enough Snakes, and make them unblockable, to attack for lethal damage.
Kaseto, Orochi Archmage and tribal Snakes have won our first match and advance to the quarterfinals!
The Werewolves start this match like a house afire, with turn two Lambholt Pacifist into a hasty turn three Geier Reach Bandit, one of the best possible draws the deck can do. Zirilan is the first player without a spell to play, so the Werewolves transform, and suddenly Ulrich has a dangerous army, as Vildin-Pack Alpha is a huge threat that makes all his other Werewolves much better.
Meanwhile, Brion and Zirilan’s first plays of the game are mana ramping spells in Mind Stone and Ruby Medallion, respectively; the Medallion lets Zirilan cast a defensive Freejam Agent (a blocker for the rampaging Werewolves!)
An early Aura of Silence from Brion is devastating on turn three; locking Reaper King out of playing spells for a bit (all his spells are artifacts!)
Everyone durdles for a bit, playing more creatures, until Reaper King casts a Plague Boiler, looking to wipe the board (mostly the pesky Aura of Silence!) Ulrich decides he cannot let that stand, and destroys the board wipe with a Relic Crush; he isn’t completely mean to Reaper King here, however, also getting rid of the Aura that’s making the Scarecrow player miserable.
More durdling ensues, and the board is quickly clogged with creatures. Ulrich has lost his early advantage, and can no longer attack profitably; he’s stuck waiting for an Overrun effect to do anything. Meanwhile, Reaper King has played the deadly Maelstrom Nexus, followed by his general, and just starts using Scarecrows with his general to pick off problem permanents, Vindicate-ing them one by one.
The end of this game comes when the Dragons start attacking. The entire game, Zirilan has been building a defensive-looking board of Dragons; when they start attacking, however, they are very, very lethal. The first attack knocks Reaper King out of the game thanks to Thundermaw Hellkite tapping his only flying blocker; the second attack kills off Brion, and the third and final Dragon attack kills the Werewolves, helped immensely by a Kilnmouth Dragon that has been amplified four times.
Notably, all the Dragons fly (and no one else’s creatures do), so Zirilan doesn’t even need any sort of Overrun to kill anyone.
Zirilan of the Claw and tribal Dragons win this match to advance!
Going into this match, Brianna was just itching to get one of her decks to battle with. Well, random rolling landed three of her decks in one match, which everyone found hilarious!
This matchup is another mess of creatures, as the only early flying creature is Derevi’s general. Creatures smash into each other back and forth, with the Merfolk trying like crazy to kill the Angels before they can stabilize, and the Insects spewing out a ton of token creatures.
This game ends, however, when the Merfolk do find a way to punch through the Angel defenses — the potent Deepchannel Mentor, making all the Merfolk unblockable! A brutal attack from the Merfolk take the Angels low enough that the Insects are able to knock out both Angels and Merfolk with the actual card Overrun, and with a ton of Insects in play, they look to be in good shape to swarm Derevi to death in a turn as well!
Sadly for Thriss, Derevi has other plans. A turn earlier, Derevi had cast a Supplant Form on Thriss’s Hornet Queen; her flying copies of Thriss’s hornets attack, and Derevi reveals a massive Biomass Mutation with X = 9, dealing roughly a million damage to Thriss and ending this match with a bang!
What an upset here, as Derevi, Empyrial Tactician and the tribal Squirrels use a team pump spell (on creatures that aren’t even from their deck) to steal this victory from the bugs in dramatic fashion!
(It is worth mentioning that Derevi was able to use Rite of Replication kicked on a Squirrel Mob to live the dream with a billion Squirrels as well; highly irrelevant to how the match played out, however.)
So there you have it! We have our first three winners, who will meet in the quarterfinals, as it will be Snakes vs. Dragons vs. Squirrels vs. an unknown fourth!
Who will win and advance to the quarterfinals next? Stay tuned to find out!