Gauntlet 6 – Release the Tribes!

Posted in Magic Online on August 16, 2017

By Randy Buehler

Tribal decks have been a popular part of Magic dating all the way back to Alpha with its Lord of Atlantis and Goblin King. [Editor's note: And the eminently forgettable Zombie Master.] Onslaught successfully expanded this theme in the early 2000s, but it was only really the Goblin tribe that made it into Constructed during that era of Standard. Lorwyn broke the floodgates open in 2007, making creature swarms play a big part in defining Standard for the next two years.

Note: This event can be found in the Limited Leagues area of Magic Online play lobby.

Tribal Lorwyn Standard Throwback Standard Gauntlet League

  • Start Time: August 17
  • End Time: Entries end August 22 at 11 p.m. Pacific, matches end August 23 at 2 a.m. Pacific
  • Location: Play Lobby -> Limited Tournaments -> Leagues
  • Entry Options:
    • 10 Event Tickets
    • 100 Play Points
  • Number of Players: 8-5,000
  • Product: One randomly-selected phantom deck from the below list. The cards in the deck will not be added to your collection.
  • Structure: Deck review, followed by 3 Swiss rounds
  • Prizes:
    • 3 wins: 150 Play Points
    • 2 wins: 100 Play Points
    • 1 win: 40 Play Points
    • 0 wins: 10 Play Points

Doran

Technically, I guess Murmuring Bosk makes this a tribal Treefolk deck, but the real reason I'm listing it first is chronological. Uri Peleg won Worlds 2007 with a version of this deck. The Abzan Treefolk legend ushered in a comeback for grindy black-green "Rock" decks with a mix of discard, removal, and efficient creatures that have been with us ever since. Okay, fine, Tarmogoyf probably deserves a lot more of the credit in retrospect, but at the time it was turn-two Doran that scared most opponents. (The list in the Gauntlet is Nico Bohny's deck from PT Hollywood 2008.)

Doran

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Elves

Speaking of Pro Tour Hollywood: Elves was the tribe that reigned supreme over that event. Shuhei Nakamura won the Swiss with it and Charles Gindy won the Top 8. The deck was no one-trick pony, either, as Sam Black used it that summer to make the US National team.

Elves

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Merfolk

Merfolk also made the Top 8 of that Pro Tour (via Jan Ruess), complete with many of the cards you still see to this day in Modern, Legacy, and even Vintage Merfolk decks.

Merfolk

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Skred Red

By the end of the season, the combination of a bunch of powerful hybrid cards and a very efficient removal spell from Coldsnap turned a different kind of mono-red deck into a metagame definer. Michael Jacob used it to win US Nationals in early August, then a couple weeks later the finals of Grand Prix Copenhagen was a Skred Red mirror match!

Skred Red

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Teachings

Even with an entire year's worth of cards devoted mostly to powerful creatures, blue mages would still find a way. Guillaume Wafo-Tapa used the Vivid lands from Lorwyn alongside Reflecting Pool to give himself access to all the colors of answers he could want and then used Mystical Teachings to go get them out of his deck exactly when he needed them.

Teachings

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Faeries

The truly dominant tribe of this era of Magic, of course, was Faeries. While Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa (PVDDR) was the only player to make Top 8 of PT Hollywood with them, that was partially because it had a target on its head. It had won the Standard GP in Shizuoka less than two months earlier. It then helped Paul Cheon claim a US National team slot. By December, PVDR and four other Faerie pilots made the top 8 of Worlds. One of them, Antti Malin, even took home the trophy.

Faeries

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Kithkin

No trip through the iconic tribes of Lorwyn would be complete without Kithkin. White weenies put up Top 8s, both Hannes Kerem at Worlds 2008 and Cedric Phillips at Pro Tour Kyoto in spring 2009. It is Cedric's list that we're using here.

Kithkin

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Black-White Tokens

Also appearing in that Pro Tour Kyoto Top 8 was a scorching-hot Luis Scott-Vargas (LSV). Fresh off winning Pro Tour Berlin with Elves in Extended, he took 11th at Worlds, which was basically a Pro Tour back then. Then, LSV damn-near won another while piloting this Black-White Tokens deck. The final match was recently revisited by Marshall Sutcliffe and Luis himself in a YouTube feature that I for one really wish there was more of.

Black-White Tokens

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Cruel Control

This tournament was probably the peak of Gabriel Nassif's amazing career. Not only did he beat LSV in the finals, not only did he help design the most powerful and famous control deck of his era (too much power to fit into 60 cards!), but he also gave us one of the most iconic moments in Pro Tour Sunday history by calling his shot in the quarterfinals. Faced with one crucial draw step before succumbing to Matteo Orsini-Jones, Gabe drew his card face down, slow-rolling all of us (himself included), and arranged his lands into the form of the card he wanted to draw: Cruel Ultimatum. There may never have been a better named card or a better named deck.

Cruel Control

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Swans

This deck came completely out of left field at Grand Prix Barcelona in the spring of 2009 and crushed an unsuspecting field. Joel Calafell won, and PVDR also made Top 8 with the deck, which uses a bunch of cascade spells that all put Seismic Assault into play (since it is the only card in the deck that costs three or less). The idea is that you can then point lands at your own Swans of Bryn Argoll to turn one land into two cards. Since the deck runs 41 lands, this eventually gives you enough lands to throw at the opponent and deal 20! (There was a little proto-Jund running around at this time as well, but we'll save that more traditional use of the cascade mechanic for the next Gauntlet.)

Swans

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