What is the use of the Tribal a card type? Is it only flavor or are there game mechanics that change?

Asked by Mythwind 3 years ago

For example, can Blades of Velis Vel be countered by a Overwhelming Intellect/Nullify or similar card that affects only creatures? Or can Elvish Promenade be tutored by a Elvish Harbinger?

berryjon says... Accepted answer #1

Tribal was an old descriptor, now obsolete, that indicated that a non-creature card had a creature type. So, to answer your questions:
1) No. Blades of Velis Vel cannot be targeted as it is still an Instant.
2) Yes. Elvish Promenade can be tutored as it is an Elf card, and Elvish Harbinger does not specify "Creature".

Tribal as a supertype was confusing to players, so Wizards dropped it after Rise of the Eldrazi.

May 1, 2017 11:35 a.m.

BlueScope says... #2

berryjon is correct, though I feel like pointing out specifically that it's not something that got errata'd or changed any other way after the fact - cards with the Tribal type still have that type, and they still function like they always have - it's simply something that won't likely appear on new cards again.

And since you asked, to name a few more uses:

May 1, 2017 11:49 a.m.

Rhadamanthus says... #3

Each card type has a certain list of subtypes associated with it. Some types have a very long list of subtypes (for example: creatures), and others have a very short list (for example: instants). One of the details of the rules is that a card can't have any subtypes that don't go with one of its types.

During the design and development of Lorwyn/Shadowmoor block, WotC wanted to experiment with having creature subtypes on non-creature cards. In order to make it work within the rules of the game, they introduced the tribal card type, which happens to have the same list of subtypes as the creature card type. Adding the tribal type to a non-creature card allows it to have creature subtypes and interact with subtype-centric cards in a new way.

The tribal card type is no longer used for new cards and the designers and developers don't plan on using it again in the future. Adding tribal to the game required some more complicated rules templating for certain effects and it introduced problems with consistency in how it's used (for example: why is Tarfire a goblin spell but Goblin Grenade isn't?).

berryjon's answers to your specific questions are correct.

May 1, 2017 noon

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