We’re taking it way back today. Here’s the recommended homework first:

Desert Island Decklists – Shanghai-ed On The Magic Cruise…

Desert Island Decklists Revisited – Legends!

Desert Island Decklists Re-Revisited – Travis Woo, MTGFinance and a Barrel of Monkeys

Welcome back to the Island.  Grab a hammock and a Mai Tai.


When last you met your intrepid author, he was in the process of hiding from the MTGFinance community (over an Emmara Tandris buyout gone bad) and schooling a bunch of primates on the art of the Social Contract.  After trading a copy of Jace, the Mind Sculptor for a tiki hut full of Fallen Empires commons with the monkeys, I used guano from a nearby cave to glue them all together into a boat and set off into the ocean to find civilization.

…with predictable results. If anyone is interested in purchasing 50,000 waterlogged Thallids, give me a holler.

So we find ourselves washing up on a new deserted Pacific island. Since I’m about to run out of batteries on my iPhone, clearly the important thing to do is to check Twitter to see what’s going on.

Hey…a brand new WotC announcement that the Commander 2017 release this August is tribal-themed! Great!

As the screen goes blank and darkness closes in, I gather up a makeshift blanket of palm fronds and fall fast asleep, dreaming of my all-time favorite tribal cards

THE CREATURE– Radiant, Archangel

It’s no secret that I don’t particularly like tribal theme-decks. I’ve always felt that the ones I’ve come up with – and against – are either underpowered in the face of other dedicated strategy-first EDH decks, or else are goodstuff decks in sheep’s clothing. (Go ahead – explain to me again how Craterhoof Behemoth is in any way on theme in an elf deck?)

That said, the one theme deck that I have enjoyed the most and had the best luck with over the years is a mono-white Radiant, Archangel deck. It never broke down the walls of innovation, but it seemed to perform well and maintain a slightly-stronger power curve than most tribal offerings. It also ticked off the “old-school unobtanium” box – pulling down a foil Urza’s Legacy copy is still going to be a $30-$40 endeavor.

…Unfortunately, all those results were strictly realized only in Emperor games. The deck got absolutely hammered in regular FFA games, and was summarily disassembled three times over.

Still, as far as tribal generals go, Radiant is my first stop.  If I have to stop.

THE ENCHANTMENT – Shared Animosity

Oh, Hazezon Tamar. You used to be so awesome. You used to do so much work, confusing new players with your delayed sand warrior creation trigger and dropping a hilarious “Gotcha!” moment on people, exiling their entire team in response to removal with a well-timed Shields of Velis Vel.

Now, people just drop Purphoros, God of the Forge and ping the table to death instead. Yawn.

Anyway, here’s to the good old days, when playing Hazezon on turn seven meant attacking with him for lethal commander damage on turn eight.

THE ARTIFACT – Cryptic Gateway

Yeah, yeah. Coat of Arms is a thing. I get it. All you cheeky Sliver Queen players know the real deal is instant-speed uncounterable summoning.

Wait…that’s pretty low-hanging too.

(Checks EDHREC.com)

Azami…Krenko, General Tazri

Oh good lord. Never mind. At least Coat of Arms requires you to actually attack. Forget I said anything here.

THE SORCERY – Wrath Of God

The original. Often imitated, never duplicated.

Why is it tribal? Well, it’s a great way to kill all the slivers, goblins and wizards the people playing Cryptic Gateway are crapping out onto the battlefield.

THE INSTANT – Tsabo’s Decree

Did I mention that I don’t particularly like tribal? This should make it pretty abundantly clear.

THE LAND – Springjack Pasture

The reason this land makes the list is all in the art. Most people are like, “Oh…a field of goats! Make a goat! It’s so friendly! Whee! Gain some life?”

Not many people stop to think about the story here.

And even fewer notice the bloody axe sticking out of the chopping block in the bottom right corner.  Now, that’s what I’m talking about.


Seriously…are there any that really care about tribal? I guess Elspeth and Ajani make tokens that are kinda tribal, but that’s so easy. Sarkhan can make dragons and then hit himself in the face with them…that’s pretty funny.

Who knows. Probably Chandra of some variety? Preferably, one of the ones that blows up (tribal) creatures.


Yeah…there’s a prevailing theme here. But I realize that I’m in the minority. How do you get down with tribal? What are your fave tribal cards of all time? Join Team Cass – what are your favorite anti-tribal cards of all time?

Hit up the comments below. Thanks very much for reading!