This Saturday at Noon Eastern, Team Eternal Warcry is hosting a Tribal Tournament
. The rules are fairly simple, your deck must contain at least 16 units from the same tribe. Since it isn’t a format people think about very often, we thought we’d share our thoughts on what decks to look out for. In order to promote innovative deck building for the tournament, we won’t be posting lists for each archetype.
Before we start though I would like to thank IlyaK, Missingtoez, and TheOvermaster for contributing to the article.
Favorites Grenadins: Darkness:
One of the top dogs of the format, Grenadins is the only tribal deck to have seen high levels of success in the ETS with 2 top 8s including a runner-up finish in week 1. This deck comes built out of the box, with Grenadin Drone, Scraptank, Gearcruncher, and Sparkhatcher qualifying the deck for play immediately. It will certainly be a top dog, but I think it has a lot of iffy matchups.
Not much to say here. The deck is just good. It does have a weakness to fliers, which could be an issue.
Because of the potential prevalence of Valkyries and Birds, I would say, even though the grenadin deck would remain relatively untouched in terms of a crossover from a ladder version, I feel grenadins will NOT be a tiered deck in this environment.
Valkyries (Argenport): Ilya:
Valkyrie Tribal has the advantage of taking to the air in large numbers. However, it feels like the deck would have to play some suboptimal units such as valkyrie spireguard and rooftop vigilante to see representation. Unlike Grenadins, this is not a deck that is a plug-and-play tournament caliber deck.
If you’re playing Aregenport I think this is where you want to be. While you will have to play some subpar units, they are of much high quality than the Minotaurs you’d have to play to make Tavrod work. Theovermaster:
This deck has a weakness to go-wide aggro, which probably will not show up in significant numbers (unless people decide to bring Stonescar aggro straight up) so this might be one of the top decks in the format.
Radiants/Cultists (Lifeforce): Darkness:
Lifeforce is an interesting archetype for the tournament as it can go in multiple directions. Most stock lists run 8-12 Cultists and 8-12 Radiants, meaning builders have a few options as to how they want to create the deck. On the Radiant side you can take Shadowlands Tyrant and Dreamsnatcher, while taking Cultists gives you Aspirant and Lunar Magus. Regardless of which direction you take, the deck is going to be tough to beat. Lifeforce has a lot of issues dealing with Harsh Rule, but the 16 unit requirement takes a lot of Harsh Rule decks out of the picture. Theovermaster:
Without harsh rule, lifeforce is one of the top decks in the game of Eternal, and it loses very little in the way of deckbuilding
Outsiders Minotaurs (Argenport / TJS): Darkness:
One of the most overlooked tribes, Minotaurs often gets forgotten since it’s basically a worse version of Argenport Mid. Even so, the gap is surprisingly small. While you do have to cut some of the stronger units (such as Doom or Commando or Instigator), your TavGods become far stronger as there are now 12 new minotaurs for him to hit. This increases the likelihood of a hit to ~90% in Minotaur Tribal compared to ~60% in Argenport Mid. The deck certainly becomes more reliant on TavGod, but the deck can pull off insane comebacks if he lives for even a couple turns. The deck is usually built in a way similar to AP Mid, simply with different units, but some players have experimented with versions that splash Time as well.
There’s only one playable Minotaur outside of Tavrod in this color combo. The rest are situational useful at best, or straight up garbage. If the opponent kills Tavrod you’re left playing a bad AP Mid deck.
Dinos (Elysian / TPS): Darkness:
One of the original Tribal decks, people have been trying to make Dinos work ever since Avisaur Patriarch and Evelina were printed. The deck saw a couple top 8s during set 2, but nothing to put it on the map as a high quality deck. Set 3 gave it not much in the way of exciting new options, even though Worldbearer is pretty solid. I think the deck is solid though. It will beat up on the weaker decks but will struggle against the favorites like Grenadins or Lifeforce.
mmm, I’m not seeing this one. Let’s be frank: predatory carnosaur and worldbearer behemoth are pretty freaking good cards. The problem is that your card quality beyond them drops off a cliff. Hatchlings do not fit the go-tall plan, twinbroods can leave you dying to higher value tempo plays (a 5/4 for 5 is not good on its own), and cards like Serasaur Bull and Clutchkeeper are really grasping for straws. Couple this with Elysian’s dearth of good interaction, the very real chance of getting overrun, and I’m not sure that dinosaurs are where you want to be.
As a fan of Elysian I have tried to make this work... I couldn’t. I think the format will be too fast and too full of removal for Elysian to get a foothold on the board, just like ladder. Gunslingers (Argenport / Rakano / Stonescar / FJS): Darkness:
A lot of the strongest low cost units in Fire, Justice, and Shadow are Gunslingers. In fact most stock Rakano/Stonescar lists already run the required 16 Gunslingers, making them solid choices for the tournament. There is still the option of going Argenport or 3 faction. These lists haven’t seen much play in the ETS but Argenport has the advantage of having a shell of incredibly powerful cards and 3 Faction, while risky, may be doable thanks to Common Cause.
Stock Royals and Rakano both fit into this category and will be very hard for other unit based decks to deal with. Also the new Stonescar gunslingers lists definitely show promise. I have played both Elunex’s midrange version and Skeejay’s more aggressive version and I could see them both doing well in this type of tournament.
Strangers (5 Faction): Darkness:
Similar to Lifeforce, Strangers is all about putting units on the board until they eventually do dumb things and win the game. Unlike lifeforce however, it doesn’t have much in the way of incidental life gain, so it struggles to survive long enough to go off versus the aggro decks. Valkyries (Removal Pile): Darkness:
It’s easy to overlook it, but Camat0’s ETS winning Removal Pile
list ran a total of 12 Valkyries between the main and the side. While it may feel bad to be forced to throw another 4 in the pile, having a list with Harsh Rule may be critical to deal with decks such as Lifeforce and Strangers.
Longshots Explorers (Elysian): Ilya:
Trail maker. Champion of Wisdom. Amber Acolyte. From here, you can add Torgov and play Elysian Midrange, or add Evelina and go deeper on a dino plan. One other distinct possibility is playing 4 xenan obelisks and lucky prospectors to shore up the early game if you’re particularly afraid of aggro. One other thing I can see happening is playing Elysian Midrange, but taking advantage of the number of dorks you play (trail makers, amber acolytes, maybe some temple scribes, etc.) and adding in crystalline chalice. The gameplan, as usual, is fairly straightforward. Ramp out fatties on 4, 5, and 6, stall board, play crystallize, win.
Explorer/Dino Shimmerpack. Book it. Done.
Mystics (Vodakombo): Darkness:
Vodakombo is another traditional list that can be tweaked to fit the tribal requirements. Voda, Ascendant, and Emissary are all mystics, meaning builders only have to find room for 4 more. As with Removal Pile, it is one of the few controlling decks possible in the format. Strangers (MRSB): Darkness:
One of my favorite decks from set 1 and 2, Mono Red Strangers Burn is a deck that has a lot of potential. The main issue with this deck is it’s lack of removal and the plethora of hard to deal with, cheap, lifesteal units. The deck is all about counting to 25, so when your opponent forces you to count to 45, your chances of winning go down drastically. Groundbreaker is a good way to prevent this, but it’s fairly easy for other decks to deal with. It also hasn’t really gotten any new options in set 3, meaning most decks have just gotten too good for it to compete with. Primal Waystones haven’t helped the deck’s chances either.
Face aegis is so cheap these days I don’t think this deck has the power it once did, and even then it was a questionable choice.
Birds/Unseen (Hooru): Darkness:
BruisedByGod’s Hooru Fliers
is another decklist that is already close to making the requirement in a variety of ways, with 12 Birds and 12 Unseen in the main board, thanks in large part to Shelterwing Rider’s versatility by fitting into both tribes. Cards like Eager Owlet and Aerialist Trainer come to mind as potential options to fill the final slot, but each side certainly has many cards worth considering.
I can potentially see slotting in thunderbird in this list to make the 16 unit cut for birds. Aegis flyers will also give grenadins a difficult time. Yetis (Skycrag): Darkness:
Another deck that is fairly close to hitting the 16 unit requirement, Skycrag is a fairly decent aggro deck, with 2 top 8 finishes since set 3 dropped. The deck often struggles dealing with big endurance units such as SST and TavGod. However those cards aren’t likely to be very prevalent in the tribal meta, so Skycrag may be able to pull off a decent run.
Sentinels (Praxis): Ilya:
while sandstorm titan and heart of the vault are obviously excellent, the drop-off in quality past this point is obvious. Great Kiln Titan exacts too high a toll on your deck in the ramp it requires, and Bond is the quintessential “win more” mechanic. I think sentinels are too top-heavy and are prone to drawing too many cards in the wrong order.
Elementals (Herald Exodia): Darkness:
The printing of South Wind Herald added another neat but clunky combo deck to the mess of potential memey OTK lists. I personally think the format will be too unit-based for a durdly deck like this one to be viable, but maybe someone can figure out a way to make it combo consistently.
Unseen (JPS): Ilya:
the problem with unseen is that they lack one more good 3/X unseen for 2. A curve of Miris -> Zelia -> Rindra would be brutal in many instances. However, Unseen lack one more good 3/X for 2 to pull off this curve consistently. Furthermore, their other payoffs are not particularly exciting. Lida, most skilled as a unit that fails the vanilla test just doesn’t cut it, and Duskveil Agent lacks that critical third point of attack that would make the card terrific. On the justice end, we don’t see any particularly good unseen payoffs, either. One potential build I can see would be a feln tempo unseen deck a couple of duskveils, several skywalk enforcers, and some additional curses in the form of a couple of cowardices and zelia’s ability. However, that depends on drawing too many cards in the correct order. Overall, I think Unseen are too draw-dependent to be a good choice.
I think the JPS version of this deck has the potential to be a sleeper. You get to play the best removal and disruption (Slay, Vanquish, Annihilate, Sabotage. Devastating Setback) in the game, along with some very high quality units (Kothon, Unseen Commando, Rindra, Shelterwing Rider). The problem is you’re going to be a unit based deck in three factions if you want to make the most of the Unseens and that can often be a problem.
It’s always hard to say when you don’t even know what will be brought, but I like Lifeforce and Minotaurs the most. Lifeforce is going to often be able to puke out as many units as it wants due to the lack of Harsh Rule in the format. As for Minotaurs, its one of the few decks that can keep up punch for punch with Lifeforce. Sure if Katra lives for the entire game, Lifeforce demolishes Minotaurs, but Minotaurs has plenty of removal to deal with Katra, Bailiffs to (partially) counteract Katra buffs, and TavGod to spit out insane levels of value. While Lifeforce did take both of the Bo3s vs Minotaurs, the matchups were all down to the wire.
Oscar (Dark’s cat):
Minotaurs will win.
Thanks for reading and we hope to see you in the tournament!