I apologize for how long this is bound to run. If it helps, rather than reading the whole thing, I encourage you to just skim it and read the parts that are of interest to you. What I’ve done is taken some notes I compiled on a few different occasions and tried to jam the whole thing together into one enormous “report.” Think of its as a presentation by one intrepid investigator (me) to provide some hopefully helpful information to a council (you). Last year I wrote an article describing how I might go about “crafting a tribal lowlander format.” This follows that theme, but my goal isn’t to persuade you that my ideas are correct. Quite the opposite: I’m trying to provide a rough outline as a starting point, because I think it’s easier to develop a Magic format once there’s some existing base material to work with. My ideas, the specifics, should be questioned and are probably wrong. I’ll be revisiting them myself and, if all goes well, I’ll look back on this thinking that I was rather naive or poorly informed about some aspects. My initial “report” here will comprise an overall evaluation of tribal multiplayer decks in casual games with 60 card decks and at least 20 creatures sharing a selected creature type. Eventually, my hope is that the CPA as a group will hammer out the specifics beyond that. The article I wrote last year advocated for a “Lowlander” deckbuilding restriction. Creatures of the deck’s “tribe” can be included in full playsets, but all other cards besides basic lands are restricted to single copies. And from there I proposed a tentative ban list for some individual cards. I’ll return to those aspects later, perhaps if this thread fosters more discussion. But for now, my report isn’t about those rules. Instead I want to analyze tribes (creature types) in a more broad sense. Mooseman raised the possibility of tier-restricted gameplay. The immediate analog that sprang to my own mind was competitive battling in Pokemon video games, but perhaps there are better examples. In Pokemon competitive battles, all pokemon are grouped into tiers, with players being allowed to use any pokemon on their teams that belong to the tier the battle takes place in, or to use any pokemon in lower tiers. Rather than needing to ban tribes outright, more powerful tribes would occupy higher tiers, so players looking to have fun games with more obscure tribes could choose to set a game in a lower tier. It would be perfectly acceptable to bring a deck using a tribe from a low tier into a high-tier game: some might even find that to be an interesting sort of challenge. I was interested in what a tier list might look like. I’ve never really seen one for creature types before. So I made a list. And to further stress: I know it’s not perfect. And it accounts for no individual card bans, nor for any deck size beyond 60 cards. I mention the former because a targeted ban on the right individual card could utterly cripple some tribes, and I wanted this to be as broadly applicable as possible. I mention the latter because “tribal” decks have become popular in EDH, but the logistics of a 100-card format would completely reorganize tiers. So none of that. This is just the creature types by themselves, in a vacuum as much as I can envision it, with the assumption that the multiplayer games are probably 4-player pods. Tiers for dueling or for larger player counts would need to be somewhat different. When Mooseman mentioned the idea of using competitive tiers, my first thought was that it was a very cool concept, but my second thought was “How many?” And I’m still wondering that. I’ve come up with a list, but to really beat a dead horse here, this is all just a very rough draft to give others a “base” to work with. I suspected that 3 or 4 tiers was probably best, maybe 5. Well, when I actually divided the tribes up, I went with 8. Does 8 sound like too many? I think so. It’s my hope that the CPA as a group could come to a consensus as to how to consolidate these tiers. How many variants do we want here? There’s another reason I started with 8. It was very deliberate. The bottom 3 tiers are all bad, representing tribes that don’t really have enough members to function in a tribal format. That’s not to say that the cards themselves are bad. In fact, some of the cards in question are very strong. But a tribal deckbuilding constraint doesn’t allow for one creature by itself to carry an otherwise incomplete tribe. The advent of Mistform Ultimus and later the “changeling” mechanic allowed sparsely populated tribes to fill in their ranks. So while there are zero creatures in Magic that say “Caribou” in the type line, technically there are still 21 creatures in the Caribou tribe. So if you wanted to, you could construct a Caribou deck. But that’s silly. I am not trying to argue that players should not be allowed to bring a Caribou deck to a tribal game. I just don’t see much point in the idea. But this might have some relevance for tribes with interesting creatures but too few of them to work with. In the old CPA Tribal games, I once did this myself with the Chimera tribe. This was back in 2006, so there were only 4 total Chimera creatures in the entire game, plus Mistform Ultimus for a total of 5. I used a playset of Mistform Ultimus to bring my Chimera count up to 20 slots. I thought this perfectly reasonable at the time and I still think so (although the Chimera tribe itself has grown a lot since then). Some of the more potent changeling creatures might be good inclusions for tribes that have enough members outside of them to function, but only 2 or 3 that are really good. I don’t think there’s a hard and fast rule for this and I am not suggesting one. But the practical application is to keep in mind that any of the weak tribes could potentially be bolstered if there are suitable changelings to help them. Before I get to the tier list I want to note that this is not meant to be a definitive description of how good a tribal deck is or how fun it is to play. I figure that slightly more than one third of most tribal deck will be manabase on top of the one third tribal deckbuilding requirement. That leaves another third (or a bit less) for support spells. If you have a powerful tribe and mediocre support spells, but I have a lackluster tribe and overpowered support spells, it’s entirely possible that I’d trounce you. Player skill, luck of the draw, multiplayer politicking, and matchup factors all come into play, and a low-tier tribe might indeed win out over a high-tier tribe. But with these tiers, I’m attempting to capture what the tribes themselves have to offer. If you think your favorite tribe should be placed higher or lower, tell us that! This is just a tentative start based on my limited experience and observations. Here’s how I broke the tiers down.