Welcome to Tribal Week!  Now that you’ve had a week to play with your new C17 Tribal toys, maybe you want to hear us complain about them!  Awesome!  See you later this week for more Tribal lamentation!

New decks are here!  Tribal theme!  Four decks!  Who’s excited?!

Yeah, me either.

Listen, tribal decks are always going to be a thing.  Somebody will always want to build Ladies Looking Left, or Sitting Tribal, or Anagaram Dorks, or whatever.  And hey, I’m not saying they’re wrong – the best part of this format is that you get to build what you want, and even when it really shouldn’t work at all somehow it does.  But the complaint I have with tribal decks is that people only go in so far.  If you build monogreen Elves, and you go whole hog with dorks and lords and Ezuri, Renegade Leader, then do it.  Go all-in on that, and leave Craterhoof Behemoth out of the list.  Because as soon as you slide him into a sleeve, you’re not building Elves, you are building Craterhoof with Elves as support.  

Again, there’s nothing wrong with that.  I’ve attacked a table with 1000 power before too, and the tingle you get in your nethers is real.  But don’t lie to us about what you’ve built, and don’t lie to yourself.  You built the ‘hoof, now own it.

Monored goblins has the same trap, because it’s really easy to build a quick, aggressive goblin deck with all of the support spells and a super efficient manacurve and the ability to vomit out goblins faster than you can rotate the dice you have to use to track them all, and then sleeve them all up under Purphoros, God of the Forge.

Please.

You built Purph.  We all know that was the goal, and the whole thing centers around that card.  That non-goblin card.

I get it.  You get giddy at the idea of spawning a million goblin tokens and burning the whole table for so much damage that you have little business cards printed up with http://www.cabn.ca/en/canadian-burn-units-survivor-support-groups on them to hand out to people.  

 

I get it.

 

But you’re not building tribal.  You’re using a tribe to support something else.  You can spin it any way you want – “But the elves would totally keep the Behemoth on hand in case of emergencies!” – but it doesn’t change anything.  Just own it, is all I ask.

Now, some tribes are underrepresented, and I understand.  That’s where Changelings come in.  They are, by definition, in your tribe.  And some of them even HELP your tribe.  And they come in all colours (and shapes and sizes . . . I’m sorry), so there are a few, at least, that will go into any tribal deck to flesh out the numbers.  Some people are purists (even more than me) and say that you can’t use Changelings in a tribal deck and call it ‘tribal’, but to them I say “hermeneutics”, and then attack them for lethal while they stare at me confused, trying to figure out what that means.  

Wizards has decided that they want to push the tribal theme for us Commander players, and the four decks they produced this year are all heavily centered on the theme.  The official statement on these was that they wanted to push four tribes that players have asked for, but that don’t have a lot of support already.  So they gave us dragons, cats, wizards, and vampires.  

Because they were sparsely covered, right?  I mean, who has enough cats or wizards to build a whole deck?

They gave four decks, instead of thee usual five, because they felt that most people play in groups of four (true), and they felt that when people play the decks out of the box (people still do that?) they wanted the ideal experience (because playing, not building, is what they think the fun part is).  They tried to balance the colours as best they could (three each white, black, and red; two each blue and green), and they wanted each to have a specific playstyle in mind, to appeal to a different type of player.  

Honestly, I don’t care much about most of that.  I just want cool cards that I can build with.  And . . . they sort of delivered.  Again, though, the cards they design specifically for Commander tend to be kind of bad for the kind of Commander games I want to play.  But there are a few gems, here.  

Edgar Markov is vampire that does stuff from the command zone.  Hey, everybody liked Oloro, Ageless Ascetic, right?  No, wait . . . that’s garbage.  Great card, absolutely HATE the fact that it impacts the game from a zone that nobody can interact with.  Like Emblems, or the Monarch ability.  Hate it hate it hate it.

Mathas, Fiend Seeker, on the other hand, is a vampire that I can completely get behind.  I don’t even want to go tribal with him, because that ability is salty enough to preserve meat.  

Taigam, Ojutai Master is a nice attempt at making Azorious aggressive, but is anybody going to attack with that guy?  I like the “can’t counter my things” ability though, which is overwhelmingly powerful.  This guy is not going to be fun to play against, and I want to build him so I can play him once and get disgusted with myself and take it apart again.

Because Azorious is bad, and you should feel bad for playing it.

The other legends are all boring enough that they kind of blur together for me, and I don’t want to go looking at them.  The real gems, for me, are in the 99s of these decks.  Path of Ancestry is a neat spin on rainbow lands, and Heirloom Blade is a great way to filter through your deck.  The Curses are hilarious, and I like what WotC is doing to try to make them playable.  Alms Collector is my boy, and Portal Mage is hilariously good.  But the card I am most excited for is Teferi’s Protection.

This is a pee break card, and that is the only thing I will ever use it for.  I don’t want to save my skin with it.  I don’t want to negate somebody’s carefully crafted alpha strike.  I don’t want to use it in any way that could be considered ‘good’.  I want to be sitting at the table, announce that I need to pee, and cast this spell.  I even plan to write ‘pee break’ on the sleeve in Sharpie, because that’s what this card is.  

Because you have to have goals 🙂

->James

——comments pandering part!————

What gets you excited from C17?  Which cards do people slot into “Tribal” decks that drive you crazy?  Hit us up in the comments and let us know!