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By: Tarmotog, Naoto Watabe
Mar 23 2009 1:23pm
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Welcome to One Double O, the place where you can read about the 100 card Singleton format.

Announcement of New Cards - From the Vault: Exile

As seen here, http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/arcana/148, there would be another From the Vault set with 15 cards that were either banned or restricted from competitive play.

The picture with the scale is definitely the card Balance which would be a very potent addition to the eternal cardpool online.
The next question is what are the other 14 cards?

We're told that some have used the new frame before so that means that we would have access to a few of them already but do note that there are judge foils in paper magic that have a number of cards that have been made in the new frame as well so some are probably from there too.
(Umezawa's Jitte? Skullclamp? Gifts ungiven? Ponder!!)

Therefore, I would hope to see about 5-7 new cards (to the online card pool) from this set. I would think the less popular ones would be making their appearance.

Here are some possible ones that I hope to see that will not be released in the future as we move into the Tempest block, the Urza block and the Masquarade block:

Bazaar of Baghdad
Black Vise
Channel
Black Lotus
Fastbond
Illusionary Mask
Land Tax
Library of Alexandria
Mana Drain
Mana Vault
Mind Twist
Regrowth
Sol Ring
Strip Mine
Time Vault
Time Walk
Timetwister
Wheel of Fortune

Of course, there are some oddities that can be considered like cards that are banned in block constructed (like Thawing glaciers) or cards that were banned (like juggernaut) and the artists named might give some clue as to what 8 new art cards there might be.

Some future set ones might be released since their choices are not solely based on the online community. Releasing those might lower the selling points of the future online sets and eternal players would get the box set anyway even if there is only 1 card from the box set that is alluring so there would be no real reason to undercut the future sets unless they are generous with the "freebie".

Also, we know that Stronghold would be coming out in mid-April so we can prepare to empty our wallets.
(Is it just me or is Magic Online expenditure snowballing at a very fast pace?)
(I'm actually not very delighted to see that we have more new cards to get. =x)

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Main Topic: Going into the Weekend PE

Singleton 100 has 3 types of official support at the moment.
1) The most commonly used is the 2 man queue which was put up recently. Each player puts in 2 tix and fights for a MED2 booster. It fires off the fastest and is cheap to enter.

2) The next is the 4 man queue that requires 6 tix and has a 4-2 payout. Never played in it because the minimum threshold for playing is so high and MED2 boosters did not sell very well until recently.

3) The rare Weekend Premier Event that has a super payout that gives out 40 boosters to the top at one end and 3 boosters to the top 32 at the other.  It seems to occur once in 2-3 months and this is what we'll be looking at today.

Just recently, on 15 March 2009, we've had the third Weekend 100 card Singleton Premier Event!

37 players turned up this time (so unless more than 5 drop out, almost everyone is guaranteed prizes that are worth more than the entry fee).
Even though the numbers dipped from the previous event, I do not think it is because there are lesser people playing 100 card Singleton. I think the last event's size probably scared a good number of people away or that people were not too conscious about the event.
(I was secretly glad that I did not have to worry about not winning pax. = not right)

These are the top 8 players (in their top 8 order) with a few familiar names:

Dr. Greens
mohdikmal - Mono Red
TheFriendlyHippo
Shiels
IvoMV
Sam Rothstein
BryTheFryGuy - Mono Green Elves
Flughund

Their decklists will be up in magicthegathering.com on Thursday and I'll be talking about them next week.
(Sorry. I didn't have the time and energy to ask around for more data as I had to sleep (for 2 hours) before I had to carry on with my day that would end at 8pm)

Today, I'll be talking about my PE experience and what I think should change in the format.

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One Double O Decktech: Skies

Skies
by Tarmotog
Creatures
1 Riftwing Cloudskate
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Spiketail Hatchling
1 Sygg, River Cutthroat
1 Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
1 Briarberry Cohort
1 Glen Elendra Archmage
1 Shriekmaw
1 Esperzoa
1 Cloud Sprite
1 Sower of Temptation
1 Pestermite
1 Fathom Seer
1 Wake Thrasher
1 Serendib Efreet
1 Inkfathom Infiltrator
1 Errant Ephemeron
1 Meloku the Clouded Mirror
1 Spellstutter Sprite
1 Curiosity
1 Mulldrifter
1 Infiltrator il-Kor
1 Sea Sprite
1 Trinket Mage
1 Psychatog
1 Threads of Disloyalty
1 Sea Drake
1 Venser, Shaper Savant
28 cards

Other Spells
1 Ponder
1 Mask of Memory
1 Ravages of War
1 Vedalken Shackles
1 Remand
1 Aether Vial
1 Stifle
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Rune Snag
1 Mishra's Factory
1 Armageddon
1 Bitterblossom
1 Gush
1 Mana Leak
1 Shuko
1 Sigil of Distinction
1 Force Spike
1 Winter Orb
1 Ancestral Vision
1 Arcane Denial
1 Squelch
1 Thirst for Knowledge
1 Memory Lapse
1 Counterspell
1 Chrome Mox
1 Bonesplitter
1 Rushing River
1 Cursed Scroll
1 Psionic Blast
1 Man-o'-War
1 Cryptic Command
1 Empyrial Plate
1 Daze
1 Propaganda
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Brainstorm
1 Force of Will
1 Compulsive Research
35 cards
Lands
1 Faerie Conclave
10 Snow-Covered Island
1 Mutavault
1 Bad River
1 Seat of the Synod
1 Secluded Glen
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Ancient Tomb
1 Underground Sea
1 Tundra
1 Wasteland
1 Crystal Vein
1 Riptide Laboratory
1 Windswept Heath
1 Godless Shrine
1 Blinkmoth Nexus
1 Flood Plain
1 Polluted Delta
1 Flooded Strand
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Underground River
1 Watery Grave
1 Adarkar Wastes
32 card

sea drake

 

 

Picture:

How the Deck Plays:

This is an aggro control deck. It beats with nearly unblockable creatures, fat creatures, counters spells, draw cards and disrupts the mana of the opponent.
The deck is built after "faerie-stompy", a legacy deck that uses 2x colorless mana lands to churn out powerful flying beaters to win. Of course, this is not very evident in the Singleton 100 version as there are only ancient tomb and a one shot crystal vein capable of recreating the plays of that particular deck. The deck is a deck that throws in everything to find a win which can be good and bad at times. This means that when I am actually winning, I am never actually winning at a very wide margin but that's how the deck is like.

With Winter Orb, Armageddon and Ravages of War to mess up the mana of the opponents, it is easy to simply put a threat down and try to lockdown the opponent. I would say that a good number of game wins would come from this element of the deck. This is very strong against control decks because they need mana to function. Winter orb is probably the best card against control decks because the effect is continuous and you get mana to actually disrupt them with 2 mana counter magic.

The deck has some anti creature measures like:
Shriekmaw
Sower of temptation
Threads of disloyalty
venser, shaper savant
Propaganda
Vedalken shackles
meloku the clouded mirror
Swords to plowshares
Counter magic (I made a concession to aggro by swapping a Negate for an Arcane denial because I did not want to be unable to counter creatures.) 
Equipments

The deck can race creature decks because the deck has many semi-unblockable creatures and putting equipment on them can vastly change the pace of the race (Especially with Empyrial plate). I somewhat dislike my matches against aggro decks especially if they have red in them because of the high quality of red removals in the format.

Some Cool Interactions in the Deck:

GushPsychatog
Gush/fathom seer + empyrial plate = +4 damage!
Sea drake + less than 2 lands means you don't have to return any lands. (Have yet to pull it off)
(It means like Chrome mox + Ancient tomb or Island + crystal vein)
GushWinter orb/Armageddon/Ravages of war
Propaganda + Winter orb/Armageddon/Ravages of war
Spellstutter Sprite + faeries
pestermite + Winter orb
Shuko + Kira, great glass-spinner
Trinket mage + Sigil of distinction = Blue continuous Fireball

Overall, the deck is very strong against control decks because of its aggro control nature. It is probably weakest to Mono Red because 3 point burn spells kill almost everything and the most powerful part of the deck, ancient tomb, deals a significant amount of damage to the self.
Maybe now is not the best time to pull out this deck out until City of Traitors comes out in Exodus.

Why I Chose to Play This:

Rather than sheer power or consistency of a deck, my priority of deck choice shifted to a very fundamental problem this time; ease of play.
It is a very unusual situation which I suppose applies to only me than anyone else.
As the event starts at 12 midnight for me, I knew that I could not choose a deck which would be taxing to play because I would not have the mental capacity to carry the deck through 6 rounds till at least 6+am in the morning. I don't know about most people but I definitely can't hold my ground past 2am and will start to make mountains of poor plays, as proven in the last weekend PE. To top it up, I know that I will not be getting any sleep in the day as my classes are from 11am till 8pm on Mondays. This combined with my weary Sunday, which I would not talk about here, brings me to consider not playing the deck I would want to play but to play a deck that I can probably pilot through the night. I wanted to avoid playing the following:

1) Decks that drag the game very long.
The longer I play, the wearier I become and the worse I'll perform.

2) Decks that force me to make optimal decisions.
Difficult choices need some degree of thinking and heating up my internal CPU is not a good idea given my situation.

3) Decks that can't have me screw up.
There are decks that need to be very precise and unforgiving. None of those for a person who is going to be prone to making mistakes.

Why Mono Blue?

- I won't lose to random mana screw as easily. (like to moon effects because I have quite a few islands)
- I either counter spells or I don't. I don't have to think how to allocate my spells.
- Drawing card helps makes games more consistent.
- Red would probably be hated more than blue would.
- Blue gets out of odd situations much more easily.

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Tarmotog's Tournament Report

In this section, my games are put up in video, followed by a brief summary.

Rnd 1 UGW Control vs mabgot7

Game 1, I thought I would have won after I pushed aggressively with Armageddon and beating until his life was down to 4 and had a Cursed scroll in play with mana to use it next turn. However, he drops Wall of reverence and his life goes back up. I Vendilion Clique him and I see disrupting shoal, decree of justice and Cryptic command of which I choose the command because it is the most powerful card there. The game drags on and I slowly see no way of winning as he hardcasts Decree of justice for a few angels. I struggle a little and lose after that.

Game 2, I have a slow start but I have turn 3 Fact or fiction which nets me Winter orb. I have a Sea sprite in play and I slowly work to put Sword of fire and ice down and try to have Counterspell mana +2 to equip as he drops a Kitchen finks. I Daze a Swords to plowshares and have Counterspell up to protect my clock. I keep mana open until he casts Wall of reverence which I counter and follow the next turn with a Sower of temptation catching his Kitchen finks. With winter orb in play, that game was sealed.

Game 3, I start slow and he has tons of acceleration (which means only a few business spells). I drop threats and he removes them one by one. He has compulsion in play which means that he will get gas with every draw. I Vendilion Clique and see a wrath of god coupled with land, Merchant scroll and Sower of temptation. If he scrolls for a counter magic and sowers my creature, I would be in a very bad position because my Swords to plowshares would be useless. He doesn't and I manage to handle the faerie properly. He ends the turn and declines to use merchant scroll which I think is not a good idea.
I draw gas with Mulldrifter and he scrolls up Mystical tutor into shining shoal and I have lethal damage on the board. Seeing that I have Cryptic command in hand, I believe I would win the game. He casts the shoal with lethal damage on the stack and I Cryptic command it and my creature under a Faith's fetters. I win there.

Rnd 2 UGW Control vs Diablo312

Game 1, I start with a hand that looks strong against control and I see a Hallowed fountain come down on the other side. I cast Ponder on turn 1 to try to secure more mana and I follow with a turn 2 Riftwing Cloudskate . I think about what to play and I choose the path to maximize mana and he drops a Stoic angel. He has 4 lands tapped so I drop Winter orb and Bitterblossom but he drops an Engineered explosives for 2. Riftwing Cloudskate resolves and I think about what to bounce and I settle on the creature so that I can push for the win since activating Engineered explosives next turn would result in a free turn for me of 6 damage and I can set up for protection. I draw Bonesplitter and use it to push for more damage before he gets to untap completely. He untaps and I start to think about what might happen. He casts Bribery and I know that there is no card that can let him change the situation because I have Pestermite and a Venser, shaper savant, which I might be able to cast with an island, in my hand to deal with whatever pops out. He takes a Sower of temptation and I know I win there unless something wrong happens.

Game 2, I have turn 2 Sea drake which meets a turn 3 Faith's fetters but I have Sword of light and shadow. I tap out for the sword but he waits for me to untap and equip before trying to Bant charm my sword but I swiftly counter. Always do what you want to do when your opponent is tapped out. He then Venser, shaper savants my Sea drake and I cast Threads of Disloyalty on his wall of roots (for its mana) and I recast Sea drake. I have counter magic and a flying threat so I win that game.

Rnd 3 Mono Green Elves vs BryTheFryGuy

Game 1, I cast Winter orb and my Sea drake gets messed up by a jagged-scar archers (which happens to have a built-in anti-flier ability stuck on it) before it can wear a Sword of light and shadow. I messed up by thinking that he was playing some mono green aggro via fat creatures because my winter orb strategy assumes my opponent is clunkier than I am. I lose that game.

Game 2, I mull down to 4 cards and I somehow know that I've lost this round. However, my 4 cards were : Ponder, tundra, Sower of temptation and Vendilion Clique . On turn 3, I see that he does not have a third land and I drop Kira, great glass-spinner which would secure my victory.
He never gets past 2 lands and his deck is not one that can recover from such a position. I cast Sower of temptation on his Viridian zealot that I decline to counter and it's game.

Game 3, he has Sword of fire and ice and I know I'm in trouble. Green has an inherent advantage when it comes to sword fights because none of the 2 swords give protection from green. I have Empyrial plate and I mess up slightly by not prioritizing casting Shriekmaw but putting the useless equipment down. I drop down to 2 life and I can't use Ancient tomb and he has a few threats on the board. I lose this game.

Rnd 4 Mono Red vs Ace of Drafts

I run into my dreaded "worst matchup" but it is not unwinnable.

Game 1, he mulls down to 5. I cast a turn 2 Bitterblossom and take beatings from a martyr of ashes and a hearth kami as I put a Bitterblossom up. I get hit again and he drops a Sword of fire and ice to which I cast a morphed down fathom seer. I check how the damage on the stack works and i let the creatures gang block. I look at my choices and put down a Sword of fire and ice in an attempt to stabilize with a pro red creature and he equips, Lava darts my creature and beats me for 5 points altogether. I don't have good plays because I have limited mana so I Shriekmaw the martyr but he has a Mishra's factory that wears the sword and beats me after clearing my faerie token with Lava dart flashback, letting me lose to the Bitterblossom trigger.

Game 2, I keep an odd hand and Ponder into relevant cards like Sea sprite. I somewhat have the advantage early but I mess up at a crucial point when I run my Mishra's factory into a Hearth kami which gets a free Chrome mox as well. The Mishra's factory would have been a very important blocker for the colorless Mutavault but I can't really explain what I was thinking at that point in time although I did recognize that the Mishra's factory would have been very important to my game somewhere before I messed up. My game slowly goes out of control as I try to follow up but fail to do so.

Rnd 5 ??? vs mlinderbt

I wait excruciatingly long for a match win due to inactivity. I watch the clock go down to 25, down all the way to 20 till 19:42 where the match ended. The mental torture of waiting and waiting is so horrible especially when backed up by lag. I get a feeling that people will try not to submit their decks during sideboarding just to prolong the wait but maybe it's just the lag.

Honestly, I would rather have played out the game because I'm at the point where my head is aching from trying to stay awake and I'd rather be playing than waiting for an opponent.

Rnd 6 White Weenie vs Blade

Game 1, I see Propaganda in my starting hand and hope that my opponent is playing aggro. He is! And to top it up, he has mana problems so I just attack while he can't and I win.

Game 2, I have a "decent" hand (which is keepable by many margins) but he has weenie and Glorious anthem which I cannot match on the draw without any of my aggro disruption cards.

Game 3, I have a hand that has no punch in it. Blade says "hl" (how lucky) because I have Squelch for his Wasteland. There is a mountain load of cards I'd rather have in this particular matchup rather than squelch especially when what I have are lands but I am not very interested in rebutting him at this point in time. People do not believe that cards that were put into the deck specifically for certain interactions should work when they do but the fact is that they do or they would not be played in the first place. Back to the game, I hoped that my Ancestral vision would churn out some gas because I know I would lose soon if I don't have a beater but my draws give me a sad Esperzoa that will be quite clunky in the current game state. I put down Mishra's factory to bounce back during my upkeep. I try to equip Empyrial plate but it gets hit by Swords to plowshares. Next turn, he destroys all the lands and I am in a very bad position with no creatures in play.

I end the tournament at 3-3 (or accurately 2-3 because of the free win) and get 2 MED2 packs and a Tempest pack for my time.

Observations:

1) My deck is REALLY vulnerable to Sword of fire and ice. I think I lose every time it does its "protection from blue" thing. I definitely underestimated the amount of love for the powerful sword and if I might have to have something against it if I want the deck to be successful next time.

2) Esperzoa looks like it is a liability in the deck. I might have to think about how it can integrate better into the deck or remove it altogether despite it being a 4/3 flier for 3 mana.

3) I was probably right to say that the deck is relatively easy to play but I ended up messing up a few games up anyway. Magic is just too complex a game! I just can't think of a totally brainless deck that can win properly.

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Bonus Decklist (one of the decks that I wanted to play):

5c Elves
by Tarmotog
Creatures
1 Boreal Druid
1 Fyndhorn Elves
1 Essence Warden
1 Wolf-Skull Shaman
1 Elvish Harbinger
1 Elvish Hexhunter
1 Wirewood Symbiote
1 Nettle Sentinel
1 Viridian Zealot
1 Wirewood Hivemaster
1 Devoted Druid
1 Bloodline Shaman
1 Allosaurus Rider
1 Coiling Oracle
1 Civic Wayfinder
1 Quirion Ranger
1 Regal Force
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Mirror Entity
1 Masked Admirers
1 Viridian Shaman
1 Progenitus
1 Imperious Perfect
1 Heritage Druid
1 Elves of Deep Shadow
1 Wood Elves
1 Birchlore Rangers
1 Sylvan Messenger
1 Ranger of Eos
1 Twinblade Slasher
1 Farhaven Elf
1 Eternal Witness
1 Elvish Visionary
1 Elvish Champion
1 Quirion Elves
1 Elvish Spirit Guide
1 Wirewood Herald
1 Thornscape Battlemage
38 cards

Other Spells
1 Earthcraft
1 Elvish Promenade
1 Wren's Run Vanquisher
1 Remand
1 Congregation at Dawn
1 Worldly Tutor
1 Nameless Inversion
1 Thoughtseize
1 Living Death
1 Duress
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Armageddon
1 Sensei's Divining Top
1 Dramatic Entrance
1 Profane Command
1 Gaea's Herald
1 Hunting Triad
1 Weird Harvest
1 Idyllic Tutor
1 Natural Order
1 Mystical Teachings
1 Summoner's Pact
1 Proclamation of Rebirth
1 Sylvan Library
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Ravages of War
1 Glimpse of Nature
1 Squirrel Nest
1 Chord of Calling
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Harmonize
27 cards
Lands
1 Treetop Village
1 Mutavault
1 Llanowar Wastes
1 Horizon Canopy
1 Temple Garden
1 Windswept Heath
1 Twilight Mire
1 Mountain Valley
1 Savannah
1 Gilt-Leaf Palace
1 Pendelhaven
1 Grasslands
1 Krosan Verge
1 Godless Shrine
1 Breeding Pool
1 Swamp
1 Snow-Covered Island
1 Plains
1 Taiga
1 Wooded Foothills
7 Snow-Covered Forest
1 Wooded Bastion
1 Murmuring Bosk
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Brushland
31 cards
wirewood symbiote

 

Picture:

The strongest part of the deck is not what the deck does but what the deck has.

The deck has 2 main cheap ways of winning:
Squirrel nest + Earthcraft = Infinite 1/1 Squirrels                          [1 turn clock]
Natural Order + Progenitus = 4 mana 10/10 pro everything           [2 turn clock]
and also Summoner's Pact + Dramatic Entrance = Progenitus / Regal force for 5 (+4) mana

As one can tell, I, as always, highly value game winning combos because it is the most efficient way to win. It may look insignificant but I can only say again that winning out of normal means is really powerful.

The deck has both Idyllic Tutor and Enlightened tutor for the squirrel combo and even out of the combo, Earthcraft is a very strong card for elves. It turns every card into a llanowar elves like how Heritage druid does but probably at a more efficient rate. Even non-elves turn into elves (like insects) and the conversion rate is 1 creature for 1 mana. (Of course, you need basic lands to pull this off).

Against blue heavy decks, the deck would push for fat creatures early.
The specific cards that work in favor against those are manlands and the techy mystical teachings.

Against control decks, the card that really shines is living death. So most of the time, my plan is to throw many cards down, let my opponent kill them and Living death into a insanely lopsided board position. I have mystical tutor to search for it too.
Proclamation of Rebirth is also another card that can give control decks a tough time because it is a reusable card or 3 1 mana guys back.

Aggro is not easy but is not unwinnable because the deck has many irritating factors that can help like putting tokens into play. The deck itself can by quite aggressive at times too but it's tougher to calculate how to win against an aggressive deck depending on how much removals they have. The less removals they have the easier it is to win them. Green has a natural advantage in creature combats but the deck at the moment cannot handle cards that have evasion which might be a possible problem.

Similar to the skies deck, this deck has the mana suppressing Armageddon and Ravages of war which can easily let you win the game on the back of a few mana elves (that let you recover faster too) beating your opponent who is short on mana to cast relevant spells.

I haven't actually talked about the elves in the deck but the elves are quite self explanatory. If you have seen them in action in extended, one can tell that wirewood symbiote + elves with come into play abilities is very strong and to top it up, it can protect the elves as well.
Just get elves, mana, cards, find ways to maximize all of them and the deck would prove itself.

Where the 5c come in:
Red mana in the deck is only to let thornscape battlemage deal 2 damage.
White is for some strong support cards like ranger of eos and congregation at dawn, the combo finders or armageddon effects.
Blue is for mystical teachings, coiling oracle (an elf too!), remand.
Black is for Living death, spot discards, flashback teachings.

There are some elves that can provide multi-colored mana (like the elvish harbinger or birchlore rangers) so those elves complement this strategy well. 5c is not an atrocity but it's instead a better utilization of these less noticed part of the deck.

I would have played this deck mainly for these reasons:
1) It has 2 ways to unfairly win the game outright.
2) It has a strong basic game plan out of the sneaky win plans.
3) There are many innovations to make games very lopsided.

Why I didn't play the deck:
1) It needs a certain amount of calculation skills to play like "what is the most efficient way to push damage via mirror entity".
2) There are stronger Summoner's pact and Chord of calling targets that depend on the situation. I don't think that I can pull it off correctly in the early morning.
3) The deck needs some tight plays and precise situation evaluations to run at its optimal power. Again I can't do traditionally do that when I'm really tired so I didn't risk it.

It is a good deck to play but it is one that has a tough time when trying to recover from a bad position (like when you don't have mana). The fact that it creates many opportunities for "free wins", coupled by its resilient nature that comes from the many innovations to the deck makes it so desirable to play but of course, I can't claim that it is perfected yet because it isn't.

I'm thinking about changing some small details but that's not something for today.

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One Double O suggestion for changes in Singleton 100:

1) Change the banning implementations

One idea I have is a banning that prevents you from playing 2 specific cards together in a deck.
This allows cards to have maximum playability without ever being degenerate.

For example: Lion's eye diamond + auriok salvagers
You can play either cards in a deck but not both. I don't know how hard it is to program this but I personally think that this is a very efficient way of maximizing cards played without compromising on the way the format looks like. I think that Lion's eye diamond is an integral part of the Singleton 100 format because it can be potentially abused but not just in the infinite spellbombs combo.

Another example: Wasteland + Life from the loam
The main reason why Life from the loam is banned would probably be this interaction. With Life from the loam out of Singleton 100, there are many strategies that are not available in the format which are available in extended and legacy and Life from the loam engines can force blue heavy control decks to reconsider their choices.

If this actually works, there would be many cards actually freed up from the banned list. Vampiric tutor and Imperial seal would actually be deemed as "less offensive to the format" (because they don't simply piece 2 cards together) and they can be taken down so that we can legitimately enjoy their presence together with the upcoming Demonic Tutor which would otherwise have to be banned in the format for the same reason but playing is probably one of the selling point of the Duel Decks.

2) A Special Mulligan Rule?

This is an odd suggestion because we play the format knowing about its inconsistent nature but it would be helpful if there were some in-game mechanisms to help game outcomes be less dependant on chance.

EDH has something like the big deck mulligan the last time I played it online and Highlander has its "super cheaty" mulligan rule that lets you put a number of cards under your library and swap them for cards at the start of the game, like how some certain poker variants play.

Would there be one for Singleton 100? If it ever happens, it would be a big change but maybe it could help the format be less vulnerable to "chance" which might be something nice for the format to have.

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Last Words

Looks like I've busted 3 Weekend Premier Events in a row. I think that if I want to make t8 next time round, I would try some online-only techniques like refering to notes and simultaneously writing down important things to take note of because I notice that in most mistakes I have made the past 3 events, I have considered the correct lines of plays in my head before they fade away completely and I make the blowout mistake. Also, some "bad ideas" also influence some decisions so maybe building a more self-aware state might help.

This "fatigue" problem has happened in real life as well. I was playing Naya zoo in t8 of an extended GPT and my opponent was down to 5 life playing elves. I thought for a split second that I should hope to burn my opponent to death. (I was up a game because my opponent messed up his decklist submission process) I drew a 3 point damage and my opponent played wirewood symbiote to which I immediately pointed the burn at it without really remember my "game plan" of burning my opponent to death. After awhile, I notice what I just did and even though my next few draws were not burn, I would have been in a much better position to win if I had not done the "wrong play" so that I would put myself in a position capable of recreating the famous "topdeck Lightning helix" from PT Honolulu a few years back. 

In paper magic, we don't actually write down what we think because it is just inefficient and you don't want your opponent to know what you're going to do.
Online, no one can actually tell what you are doing out of the screen so maybe I can create a new way of playing online that has my thoughts all penned out so that I can activiely "not miss" anything. It's probably not a good way to play but might be something I need to "survive" if I want to play at odd hours of the day again.

Till the next time, this is Tarmotog playing the Singleton 100 format with decks that don't make sense and thinking about irrelevant ideas.

tarmotog@hotmail.com
tarmotog on myMTGO.com (do join the group!)
tarmotog on MTGO playing in casual rooms and in 2 man queues

(Did I mention that the lag was really horrible? It was so taxing to wait for the games to start and for the sideboarding to end!)

12 Comments

Thoughts on Sideboards by hamtastic at Mon, 03/23/2009 - 16:25
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So with the changes just announced, what are your thoughts on sideboards for this format?

I want to expand this by Lord Erman at Mon, 03/23/2009 - 18:16
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I want to expand this question by adding this: Do you think that the combo decks (or any other deck too) will use the Wishes a lot?

I personally think so. The sideboards will be filled with all sorts of hate cards and maindecks will contain the appropriate Wish to get them in hand. Or if the maindeck Plan A goes wrong, one can Wish for the Plan B from the sideboard.

What do you think? Will the Wishes see play? Would you personally use any of them?

Would Standstill be good in by Max Fisher (not verified) at Mon, 03/23/2009 - 16:56
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Would Standstill be good in your skies deck?

also

Patriarch's Bidding in elves?

Great article ... fun stuff

Replies by Tarmotog at Mon, 03/23/2009 - 22:49
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ham - I think sideboards will greatly change the way decks look in many ways (like not playing too many islands to avoid getting hit by boil/ boiling seas etc) the main configuration and the sideboard technology will be very crucial to how the format plays out. I'm not very comfortable with this sudden change and it is hard to get any ideas from outside formats (like edh/highlander) as those formats don't use sideboards. In some sense, singleton 100 is going to be its own unique online format altogether.
More on sideboarding in my next article =)

LE - I would think that wishes would be used as a solution/toolbox card rather than a win condition in the 100 card format because i think it'll be easier to search out a card rather than wish it out. There are exceptions like maybe merchant scrolling into a cunning wish.
I like to use glittering wish together with living wish for targets that match both because u can have 2 slots with the same access (plus both have G in the mana cost so they don't conflict with each other much). The swans of bryn argoll + chain of plasma (plus conflagulate and mana) comes to mind in this case if combo is concerned.

max - ooo.. standstill sounds v gd there.. should try it the next time i play the deck. =)
I'm not a fan of patriarch's bidding basically cos the elves deck has a couple of non-elves. Living death is brutal as it is wog+twilight's call at the same time so u can just throw blockers in the way of beaters and suddenly turn the game around =) I would think that goblins would benefit from bidding much more than elves would.

Sideboarding by platipus10 at Tue, 03/24/2009 - 13:05
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I would imagine sideboarding will be pretty much the same in SNG100 as SNG60. A few decks used them for wishes, but most did not. I would think it is less valuable to use your sideboard on wishes in SNG100 than SNG60 since you have even less chances of drawing your wish. That is unless you construct a sideboard that works both with and without a wish, so you can just side in the cards you want for game two and three and take out your wishes.

Dragon Combo and Desire Combo were the only two decks that really benefited from a wish sideboard in my experience in SNG60.

tourney turnout and that green deck by ArchGenius at Tue, 03/24/2009 - 17:28
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First off, I really enjoy reading your articles, they are always insightful and entertaining.

Second, I believe that the lag might have been one of the reasons for the lower turnout. I know I wasn't really looking forward to playing Magic at all that weekend because of the lag. Actually I wasn't sure I would be able to get home in time to play in the tournament so I didn't join it ahead of time. I logged online 2 minutes before the tournament started, tried to join it, but because of lag, I couldn't actually join it. It took 3 minutes to process my request to join the tournament so I missed it.

Third, your elf deck has some really bizarre choices. Congregation at Dawn but no Eladamri's Call, No Elvish Piper in an ELF deck with Progenitus. No Caller of the Claw? No Coat of Arms? No Overrun? No Sword of Fire and Ice in an green weenie deck? Allosaurus Rider in a deck with 31 land, Armageddon and Ravages of War? And No Tooth or Nail? I'm curious as to why you chose the cards you did for this deck. I'm not really understanding it.

Replies by Tarmotog at Tue, 03/24/2009 - 22:11
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Platipus - that's correct.
Sideboarding patterns will be generally the same as in singleton.
the strength of the wishes are less here. (I'm writing the same thing for next week.. ack) Indeed, most decks won't play them. Probably decks with blue or rock decks will probably the main users this time.
singleton 100 maindecks will change because of this change and games 2,3 will be very very different from what we have today. card evaluation will change significantly too. (ranger of eos for burreton forge tender!)
burning wish is much weaker too(I would think because of the lack of LED in the format and how storm is not played as much (i haven't actually tried making one yet.. I'll try soon))

Arch - Ok. Let me try tackling this card for card:
Congregation at Dawn but no Eladamri's Call - Eladamri's call will probably find 3 basic targets, ranger of eos, regal force or progenitus (if i have dramatic entrance in hand) congregation at dawn can let me set up a chain of creatures or find a few difficult creatures to draw consecutively.
No Elvish Piper in an ELF deck with Progenitus - I have 2 creatures I actually want to piper out so I don't need the piper (regal force n progenitus). dramatic entrance is used here because I can summoner's pact and dramatic entrance immediately and not get whiffed out by burn.
No Caller of the Claw - I usually don't have mana up to cast it when I play and I tend not to lose many creatures in a turn.
No Coat of Arms & No Overrun - I have garruk for that and most decks interact enough to keep me from being non-interactive enough to win with an overrun. They let me win only when I am not losing. Many of the spells played in the deck let me win from a bad position. =)
No Sword of Fire and Ice in an green weenie deck - This card should go in. I was thinking that I didn't need to be afraid of swords because i'm playing the most sword resistant color. Never occured to me that I should have swords myself but I try not to use equipments when i don't have to so that I don't get out-tempoed into my opponent's pace.
Allosaurus Rider in a deck with 31 land, Armageddon and Ravages of War? - allosaurus rider is not a really strong card but it does allow very strong starts against most decks. it's purpose there is to get slightly more milleage from glimpse of nature or use more cards from a weird harvest.
It's not really about dis-synergy with the deck. A mere 1/1 after armageddon is ok since it is very likely that ur opponent has nothing in play and every land makes it bigger and more threatening.
No Tooth or Nail - I tried it already as I wanted to tooth out win conditions but I never managed to play it because I'd get mana elves wrathed and I don't naturally get to 9 mana easily.
Hope the explanations help.

Yeah.. The client lag was horrible. I took more than 5 mins to sign up and another 5 to drop to update the deck.
I'm experiencing in game lags the past few days and I can't play proper magic!!!

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Yes, the explanations are helpful. I still disagree with some of your choices, but that is the nature of 100 singleton, there isn't one true optimal build.

I like the interaction between Wirewood Symbiote, Earthcraft, and Caller of the Claw. The fact that it can be tutored from a dying Wirewood Herald to give you an army back is just gravy.

What's nice about Coat and Overrun is that they can be tutored for at the end of your opponent's turn with Enlightened Tutor or Mystic Tutor. If you've got 3-4 elves out and your opponent taps out without destroying them, it's an easy, oops I win scenario. I'm not sure Garruk fills that same role.

I guess my real concern about this deck is how you have so many tutors and so few options to choose from. If your opponent puts out a Moat, which shuts down both of your main combos, then Enlightened Tutor, Mystical Tutor, and Idyllic Tutor can't search for much of anything to help you. When I first saw this deck it seemed very untested because of some of your choices. I can see now that you have tested it effectively and have just made deckbuilding choices that are different from the ones I would have made.

When are sideboards starting by tumultuous (not verified) at Wed, 03/25/2009 - 02:34
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When are sideboards starting for 100c?

Somewhere in April.. to be by Tarmotog at Wed, 03/25/2009 - 09:59
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Somewhere in April.. to be confirmed at a later point in time.

Netdeck? by Sensei at Sun, 03/29/2009 - 15:17
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Let me make it clear that I enjoy reading your articles. That being said, if you want to Top 8 why not netdeck one of the successful decks? I know it's not interesting reading so just write your articles about the decks you run in the 2-man queues and then count up your prizes from the PE Top 8s.

Personally, I don't like the by Tarmotog at Tue, 03/31/2009 - 01:18
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Personally, I don't like the top 8 decks from any of the 3 pes not because they are not good. I believe that I have the capacity to work on a "general archetype" deck and win on a normal day after some amount of testing so if I really wanted to play one of those, it would definitely not be a real issue.

However, I want to drive across the idea that decks out of "color + aggro/control/aggro-control" exist as seen from a couple of them.
As such, my aim in these tournaments are primarilly to prove that more deliberate decks (over broad strategy decks) can be successful and I hope to see people move out of those decks and explore the format more aggressively because I believe that the format can be much more than what the results claim it to be.

I am probably the wrong person to try to push a deck into top 8 because I have troubles playing well past 2am (round 2) and I really don't like that fact because the mistakes I make really insult the capabilities of the decks I've played thus far.

That said, it is somewhat disheartening to see a writer of a format not put up good numbers in the PE of the format he writes about and I recognize that as well but I really want to change the mindsets of those playing the format so that they can show me what I don't see in the format unless 100 card singleton is actually the simple format it is shown to be and I really hope that that is, in fact, far from the truth.
To testify my thinking, it can be seen that the cheap combos that I get free wins out of are hardly even played when they can otherwise without much compromising.