Tribal Wars Roundup

Posted in Feature on December 17, 2007

By Staff

Eight tribes enter, one tribe leaves. That's the central concept of Tribal Wars. From December 1 through January 3, we'll be collecting game results, card fight statistics (see below), decklists, stories, and even cookies to determine which Lorwyn tribe is the best.

How can you get involved? We're glad you asked.


Tribal Roster

The first step is picking your tribe. You can fight for multiple tribes over the course of Tribal Wars, of course, but why do that when your favorite tribe is clearly the best?

Here are the guidelines for deck construction:


  • Play whatever format you like.
  • At least one-third of the cards in your Tribal deck must have the creature type of your chosen tribe. (For example, a sixty-card Elf deck must have at least twenty cards with the Elf creature type.)
  • Tribal Instant / Sorcery / Enchantment cards and cards with changeling count toward your total.
  • You may build more than one deck and represent more than one tribe.

Not sure where to start? Here are links to Gatherer lists of all the Standard-legal members of each Lorwyn tribe:


While you're at it, don't forget the cards with every creature type—the Lorwyn changelings and Mistform Ultimus—which do count toward your Tribal total.

Card Fight!

The first and easiest way to get involved in Tribal Wars is on the Card Fight page, where individual cards face off and you determine the winner. Thundercloud Shaman vs. Adder-Staff Boggart is an easy one… But Brion Stoutarm vs. Wort, Boggart Auntie? That one's up to you. Click below to launch Card Fight!


Card Fight!


Meanwhile, results are pouring in from the Tribal Wars matches that have already been played. Whether you aim to stem the tide or cement the lead, you need to know where your tribe stands!

Clearly all eight tribes have figured out how to use the Internet. With six days of reporting in the books, the perfection-pursuing Elves have taken the top spot three times (the other daily winners are Faeries, Goblins, and Kithkin). Giants debuted in typically giant fashion, announcing their presence with authority. Since day one, however, they've plummeted faster than a Lowland Oaf off a Vivid Crag. Chaos and Goblins go hand in hand, so their spread of results (a first, a second, two thirds, a fifth, and a seventh) is hardly a surprise.

Elementals haven't mustered anything notable and Faeries are lurking in the middle of the pack (but surely working on some chicanery to move up the charts), while Kithkin have shown no consistency but did take home first place once. Merfolk have been in the top half of the standings on five of the six days, showing a staying power some tribes haven't figured out yet. Finally, the noble Treefolk have yet to post anything higher than a fifth-place finish.


Tribe December 5 December 6 December 7 December 8 December 9 December 10 Average Finish
Elves 2 2 1 2 1 1 1.5
Elementals 5 4 3 5 4 4 4.2
Faeries 1 6 4 6 3 6 4.3
Giants 3 8 8 8 8 8 7.2
Goblins 7 1 5 3 2 3 3.5
Kithkin 8 3 6 1 6 7 5.2
Merfolk 4 5 2 4 5 2 3.7
Treefolk 6 7 7 7 7 5 6.5

We interrupt this feature for a last-ditch holiday idea:

Elves vs. GoblinsGot the holiday blues? Does the thought of facing your friend's Counterspell deck one more time make you lose your holiday stuffing? Have you thought of getting him to... go aggro?

Wait no longer! Get yourself a copy of Elves vs. Goblins and let the beatdown commence!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled feature article.


Preconstructed and Casual Decklists

The five Lorwyn theme decks provide a great jumping-off point if you're just getting started with their respective tribes. Let's take a look at each of them and the options available for tweaking them into tuned Tribal Warriors.


Boggart Feast

Download Arena Decklist

"Boggart Feast" is all about Goblins pouring out of their warrens, dying like flies, and coming back for more. Like the rest of these decks, it's good to go out of the box, but if you want to amp up the power level a little, you've got lots of options. We highly recommend the full four copies of Squeaking Pie Sneak if you can get your hands on them—that little scamp can deal out a lot of punishment if he gets started on turn two. Another good addition that may be harder to find is Wort, Boggart Auntie, who ensures that your Goblins never lie down on the job. And those are just the options from Lorwyn

Looking further afield, Tenth Edition offers stalwarts such as Mogg Fanatic and Siege-Gang Commander, and Time Spiral block is stocked with Goblins, from the rare Ib Halfheart, Goblin Tactician to solid commons such as Stingscourger. Happy feasting!


Elementals' Path

Download Arena Decklist

If you're looking for something a little different than the other tribes, the Elementals are your… Guys? Gals? Well, corporeal manifestations of dreams and ideas, actually, but who's counting? The Elementals' unique distribution across all five colors offers perhaps the most deckbuilding options of any of the tribes. If you keep the five-color approach used in the Theme Deck, we recommend going to the maximum number of Smokebraiders and Flamekin Harbingers to maximize your chance of throwing down the little dynamo on turn two. Smokebraider, along with any of Lorwyn's many mana-fixing options, is the cornerstone of five-color Elementals.

Alternately, you may decide to follow the Path of Flame and invoke the power of Elemental aggro. In that case, you'll probably want to pare the deck down to one or two colors and load up on Flamekin Bladewhirls, Inner-Flame Acolytes, Changeling Berserkers, and Inner-Flame Igniters to dole out maximum punishment. Hostility is a six-mana creature that can immediately attack for 6—sometimes, with the help of Smokebraider, as early as turn four!

And finally, if you're more interested in combos, any combination of Inner-Flame Igniter, Smokebraider, Ceaseless Searblades, Soulbright Flamekin, and the rare Ashling the Pilgrim can form an interlocking web of Elemental activations that add up in a hurry.

And again, that's just from Lorwyn. Elementals were by far the most numerous tribe in Standard prior to the set's release, so search the Gatherer link above to find the cards from outside of Lorwyn that supplement your preferred Elemental strategy.


Elvish Predation

Download Arena Decklist

Elves in Lorwyn are as cruel as they are beautiful, and in the right hands, they can be shockingly powerful. The two key uncommons for this deck are Imperious Perfect and Wren's Run Vanquisher. You'll want to stuff in as many of those as you can—they are just that powerful. More removal in the form of Eyeblight's Ending and Nameless Inversion can't hurt, either. The two rares to watch out for when you're drafting or busting packs, other than the ones that are already there, are Wren's Run Packmaster and Masked Admirers—both powerful cards that can, in their own way, dominate games.

Out in the rest of Standard, Llanowar Elves and Boreal Druid can help accelerate your army of Elves, while Elvish Champion provides a second "lord" option and Allosaurus Rider brings some upper-end beef to the table. Good hunting.


Kithkin Militia

Download Arena Decklist

As with the decks above, the best advice we can give is to stock up on Goldmeadow Stalwart (the Kithkin "reveal or pay" creature) and Wizened Cenn (the Kithkin lord). The two of them make a scary one-two punch that you'd be happy to see in your opening hand every single game. Whatever changes you make to the deck, remember—Kithkin are, first and foremost, about attacking, attacking, and attacking! Load up on cheap and effective threats like Knight of Meadowgrain, not expensive options like Plover Knights—by the time you get to five mana, you want the game to already be over. Militia's Pride is one good rare option for pumping out as many little Kithkin as you can.

Kithkin got their big break with Lorwyn, so there aren't as many options for them in the rest of Standard. That said, Amrou Seekers and Mistmeadow Skulk are both decent Kithkin with evasion abilities that get much better with Wizened Cenn backup, potentially forcing through those last points of damage on a sticky board. And rumor has it that there might be a few Kithkin Rebels—like Avian Changeling—that Amrou Scout could fetch out of your deck if you're so inclined.

For more on evolving the "Kithkin Militia" theme deck, check out Ben Bleiweiss's article Kithkin Militia Victorious.


Merrow Riverways

Download Arena Decklist

We've heard it said that "Merrow Riverways" is very powerful right out of the box, but also difficult to play. The deck focuses on the Merfolk "engine" cards such as Drowner of Secrets, Judge of Currents, and Summon the School to make lots of Merfolk, gain lots of life, and send your opponent's library on a one-way trip to the grumper—potentially without making a single attack. If you like that way of winning, load up on those engine cards and go to town! Tenth Edition's Ambassador Laquatus would make a solid addition to such a strategy.

Of course, you might prefer the combat phase, and in that case Merfolk still have plenty to offer. Deeptread Merrow and Sygg, River Guide are efficient attackers with great abilities, and Silvergill Adept turns things up a notch by providing a nice body with a free card tacked on. Time Spiral "timeshifted" card Lord of Atlantis puts the power of the classic Merfolk lord in your hands (or fins). Your opponent might not be playing Islands, but that's where Lorwyn's Merfolk come in. Tideshaper Mystic, Streambed Aquitects, and especially Aquitect's Will make sure that "blocking" isn't in your opponent's vocabulary. And with all that not-being-blocked, Planar Chaos stealth Merfolk Riptide Pilferer makes a potent contribution.

Of course, there are eight Lorwyn tribes and only five Theme Decks, but have no fear. We whipped up a Treefolk deck and a Giant deck to get you jump-started. Both of them, you'll notice, use a Snow subtheme to give them that extra oomph. Don't forget, Coldsnap is still in Standard. If you don't have access to Coldsnap, don't worry—the decks below should still do fine with a less wintry mana base.

We didn't bother with a Faerie deck because, as you'll see, diligent tournament players took care of that for us.


Treefolk Tribal

Download Arena Decklist


Snow Giants

Download Arena Decklist

Tasty Tribal Treats

If you like to devour your enemies after victory, maybe the Magic Holiday Cookie Contest is for you. The winning entry receives a complete set of Lorwyn foil cards. The contest is open to U.S. residents 13 and older and ends January 3, 2008.

Here's one tribal-themed entry where all eight Lorwyn tribes somehow have fallen under the sway of a powerful planeswalker to do his bidding:


Complete rules can be found here.

Tournament Decklists

The 2007 World Championships showcased more than a few tribal decks across the various formats and tournaments. In the main event, a dozen Tribal-themed decks finished with 4-1 or better records in the Standard portion. Faeries, Goblins, and Elves were represented, and if Tribal is good enough for Hall of Famer Zvi Mowshowitz, it might be good enough for you too.


Tournament Faerie decks come in two main flavors: the Lorwyn-normal blue-black, and the Time Spiral-inspired blue green. The blue-green version is built largely on the back of Scryb Ranger, who can't be blocked by opposing blue flyers but will still gratefully accept the +1/+1 from Scion of Oona.

To play either version, we recommend sitting back and seeing what your opponent does. If he or she tries to play something you don't like, you should have enough counterspell effects and removal to simply say "no." If he or she does nothing—or nothing important—great! Slam down one of your many flash flyers, untap, and swing. Next turn they'll be in the same bind, but now you'll be hitting them every turn, too.

Mistbind Clique is best used on your opponent's upkeep to give you a huge threat and keep him or her from doing anything that turn. Both Mistbind Clique and Scion of Oona can come down to save your Faeries from pinpoint removal—the Clique by championing them, and the Scion by making them illegal targets. And don't forget, Tenth Edition's Faerie Conclave, as its name suggests, becomes a Faerie when it's animated.

Zvi Mowshowitz

Download Arena Decklist

Mark Herrin

Download Arena Decklist


There's one main flavor of tournament Elves, and it uses Wren's Run Vanquishers and Imperious Perfects as super-efficient threats, backed up by anywhere from four to the full eight one-mana Elf mana-accelerators (Mori's list, below, has five). Backing up the Elves are a plethora of hard-hitting beaters, including Tarmogoyf, Profane Command, and Garruk Wildspeaker. Katsuhiro Mori's list falls one short of the required Tribal count, but it packs serious punch—serious enough to carry him to the Top 8 of this year's World Championships. This deck packs acceleration, disruption, cheap threats, and big powerhouses, so be flexible while playing it—it should reward you if you pick the right approach for your draw.

Katsuhiro Mori

Download Arena Decklist


Goblins have been present on the tournament scene in one form or another for years, but Lorwyn has changed their style considerably, from what was historically a mono-red beatdown deck to a red-black deck that wins at least as often through persistent card advantage as through quick aggression. Jerome Renevier's list, below, has the capacity for fast starts, with eight one-drops and eight two-drops, but it also runs Wort, Boggart Auntie, Siege-Gang Commander, and Profane Command to finish things if the game goes long. Note the sunergy between Knucklebone Witch, Mogg Fanatic, and Mogg War Marshal.

Jerome Renevier

Download Arena Decklist

In Legacy, Goblins made their expected appearance as a powerful archetype, powering five players to 4-1 or better records. Julien Nuijten's deck is a good representative of the classic, blisteringly fast mono-red Goblin deck.

Julien Nuijten

Download Arena Decklist

Tribal Types Vie for Car

Sam Black challenged convention in the Win a Car Tournament at 2007 Worlds, besting a 32-player field with this unusual take on Goblins in Standard—and not losing a single game until the Finals. Sam's deck focuses on Goblins' ability to pump out damage at any cost, using numerous sacrifice effects with Standard "sleeper" Boggart Shenanigans.

Sam Black, 1st Place

Download Arena Decklist

It was a classic Tribal affair in the Finals, with Black's goblins squaring off against Francisco Braga's Elves. Braga's deck is similar to Mori's and, like it, doesn't quite meet the card counts for Tribal Standard, but it's a good start if you're looking to customize a tested deck into the Tribal format.

Francisco Braga, 2nd place

Download Arena Decklist

Aaron Lewis, another player in the Win a Car Tournament, brought Merfolk to the fight. This is a tuned version of the aggro Merfolk plan we talked about above—note the full eight-pack of Merfolk lords.