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By: ArchGenius, Marcus Rehnberg
Oct 09 2009 2:12am
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Building Decks the easy way....

One of the difficulties with making a 100 classic singleton deck is the time it takes to build a deck.  When I first started building decks, I would build them from scratch, adding one card at a time to my deck.  Even when I had a good idea of what kind of deck I was building, this was a slow and tedious process.  I have spent hours just searching through cards in my collection, trying to add the ones I need or want for my deck.  Then I would end up with a deck of about 90 - 120 cards before I even started adding lands.  So then I would go through the painstaking process of cutting 50-60 cards from my deck before adding lands.  Of course I would inevitably cut cards that I didn't really want to cut, such as Eternal Witness.  Finally I would start adding lands 1 at a time.  I would do this by setting my search fields to casting cost = 0 and then pick through all the lands I own in order to build my deck.  This is also a long process as I would have to filter through lots and lots of really terrible lands along with 0 casting cost artifacts and avatars. 

So, after about 2 hours of fighting with the horrible deck building interface,  I would finally have a rough cut at a deck, that I probably wouldn't want to do much with until I shake the bugs out of it by playing a reasonable number of practice matches and solitaire games.  After building 7-8 decks this way, I thought to myself, there has to be a better way.  It was then that I started looking at shortcuts for the deckbuilding process.  I discovered the (text format) .txt format, and learned how this can really save me some time.

     So, what is the difference between the .txt format and the .dek format.  Here are the important details...

Category .txt .dek
The Main Difference Saves only the cardname and quantity for deck and sideboard Saves the specific version of the cards in your deck.
Promos and Cool Art No Yes
Cut and Paste Yes, you can cut and paste from just about any decklist. No, I haven't really tried it, but by looking at the formatting, I would say that copying a deck outside of magic online should be done with a .txt file.
Share with Friends Yes, if you have foils and your opponent doesn't, this format will load the versions each of you have. No, I have a foil Tarmogoyf that I opening in a draft.  I don't own a nonfoil one.  So any 100CS .dek I share that contains Tarmogoyf will specify that it has to be foil.  Which will probably come up as a "red" missing card in many of my friend's collections.
Uploadable to Card shops No Yes
Convertible via Magic Online? Yes, you can load a .txt file and save it as a .dek file. Yes, you can load a .dek file and save it as a .txt file.
Readable outside of Magic Online? Yes, it is very easy to read. No, the formatting is really confusing if you use most text editors.

So, why in the world am I spending so much time talking about this?  Because the mothership, www.magicthegathering.com, publishes decklists that can easily be converted to a format you can load on Magic online.  If you've known this for years, WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME ABOUT THIS EARLIER?  Seriously, I've spent way too much time trying to search for cards on the deck editor, and downloading decklists and modifying them is just so much quicker.  Am I talking about the dreaded net-decking,  well, kind of.  I'm the kind of person that can't leave a good deck well enough alone.  So, I'm not really happy until I personalize any 100CS deck I upload from a top 8 decklist.  Having said that, if you are just starting out with 100 singleton, you can take one of the weekend challenge decklists and pilot it if you want a decent jumping board into the format.

So, where are these wonderful decklists.  I could give you the direct link, however I think it's more useful if you know how to get there from the main site www.magicthegathering.com. Afterall, you probably aren't going to memorize the direct address to that link, and Wizards could tweak the link address at some point in time, making the direct link useless.

1. Go to www.magicthegathering.com

2. Click on the Daily MTG tab

3. Expand the Event Coverage Menu, and select Decklists.

4. Select the "Decks of the Week feature" link, and then select the link to the week of Top 8 decklists of your choice.

Converting Wizard's Top 8 decklist to a .txt format for Magic Online.

1) Open Notepad (yes I do mean notepad, it's on just about every Windows computer I've ever used, and it's usually under accessories)

2) Cut and paste the cards from the decklist into wordpad.  I do it in sections so I can skip all the useless totals.  Leave one blank line between the main deck and sideboard.  If you have any questions about how the format is supposed to look, save any decklist as a "Local Text Deck" i.e. ".txt" and open it with Notepad.  When you save a file as a local text deck and open it up it will look something like this.

20 Mountain
40 Lightning Bolt

Sideboard
5 Pyroclasm
10 Pyroblast

Notice, that there is an empty line and a line filled with "Sideboard" to separate the maindeck from the sideboard.  Wizards does this when saving a .txt file, but when you are loading a file the "Sideboard" text part is ignored completely.  All you need is one space to separate the maindeck from the sideboard. 

3)  So, after you're finished cutting and pasting the file into Notepad, you can save it as whatever you want.  I prefer to give credit to the deck's originator or pilot.

4) Then log on to Magic Online, go to the deck editor.

5) Click on the "LOAD DECK" button, switch the type to "Local Text Deck" and find the .txt deck that you just saved with Notepad.  Then click Load.

6)  The deck will show up with your versions of the cards.  So you don't have to worry about having a foil version of a card and not having the original.  Any cards you are missing will show up in RED.  Now, you have the choice of replacing those cards with suitable alternatives or buying those cards.  

This technique is especially useful if you just want to pilot a championship deck, but it also has several other uses....  

1) You can save the mana base for decks and load it in a fraction of the time it takes to build it from scratch.

2)  You can load a top 8 deck, then take out the nonlands cards and build another deck using the same color combinations.

3)  You can modify a top 8 deck by replacing any number of cards to change a splash color, change a tutor engine, tweak a sideboard, or just include that favorite "pet" card of yours.  

Now, let's look at some Top 8 Decklists

 

Here are 5 decks from 4 separate archtypes that have made appearances in the Top 8 of the weekend challenges on Magic Online.  Using the techniques described above I taken them from the decks of the week and uploaded them on www.mtgotraders.com.  The main point of doing that is to get an estimated price of some of the major decks in the format.  If you go to the deck section of www.mtgotraders.com and search for my user name (Shuyin Knight of Zanarkand) you can find these decks for yourself.  Just to be clear, I'm not claiming to have made these decks, and I give full credit to the people who used them in the weekend challenges. 

Title
MTGO User Name
Format
Date
Hits
Rating
Price *
  100 Blue Black Green Deck 1st   Shuyin Knight of Zanarkand   Singleton       1      $375.76
  100 Mono Red 3rd Place E Hustl   Shuyin Knight of Zanarkand   Singleton       1      $213.76
  100 White Green Elves 7th Plac   Shuyin Knight of Zanarkand   Singleton       1      $246.74
  100 Zur Gainsay 2nd place 9 26   Shuyin Knight of Zanarkand   Singleton       0      $369.88
  100 2nd Place Mono Red Goblins   Shuyin Knight of Zanarkand   Singleton       2      $102.13

 

Mono Red Goblin Burn

 

100 2nd Place Mono Red Goblins
Snuffleupogus 9 20 09
Creatures
1 Arc-Slogger
1 Avalanche Riders
1 Boartusk Liege
1 Boggart Ram-Gang
1 Dwarven Blastminer
1 Dwarven Miner
1 Figure of Destiny
1 Flametongue Kavu
1 Frenzied Goblin
1 Fulminator Mage
1 Gempalm Incinerator
1 Giant Solifuge
1 Goblin Chieftain
1 Goblin King
1 Goblin Matron
1 Goblin Piledriver
1 Goblin Recruiter
1 Goblin Ringleader
1 Goblin Warchief
1 Grim Lavamancer
1 Hell's Thunder
1 Hellspark Elemental
1 Imperial Recruiter
1 Intimidator Initiate
1 Jackal Pup
1 Keldon Marauders
1 Magus of the Moon
1 Magus of the Scroll
1 Mogg Fanatic
1 Mudbrawler Cohort
1 Murderous Redcap
1 Orcish Librarian
1 Siege-Gang Commander
1 Slith Firewalker
1 Sparksmith
1 Stigma Lasher
1 Sulfur Elemental
1 Tattermunge Maniac
1 Vexing Shusher
1 Zo-Zu the Punisher
40 cards

Other Spells
1 Goblin Lackey
1 Æther Vial
1 Black Vise
1 Blood Moon
1 Chain Lightning
1 Char
1 Chrome Mox
1 Fire Ambush
1 Fire/Ice
1 Fireblast
1 Firebolt
1 Flame Jab
1 Flame Javelin
1 Incinerate
1 Lash Out
1 Lightning Bolt
1 Magma Jet
1 Molten Rain
1 Pillage
1 Reckless Charge
1 Ruination
1 Shock
1 Sulfuric Vortex
1 Tarfire
19 cards
 
Lands
1 Barbarian Ring
1 Mishra's Factory
1 Mouth of Ronom
1 Mutavault
1 Scrying Sheets
30 Snow-Covered Mountain
1 Wasteland
36 cards

Goblin Recruiter

Download the deck here  www.mtgotraders.com/deck/viewdeck.php

Cost: $102

100 Singleton nearly Mono-Red
E Hustle 3rd place 09 20 09
Creatures
1 Akki Raider
1 Arc-Slogger
1 Blistering Firecat
1 Boartusk Liege
1 Boggart Ram-Gang
1 Clickslither
1 Duergar Hedge-Mage
1 Flametongue Kavu
1 Frenzied Goblin
1 Gathan Raiders
1 Gempalm Incinerator
1 Goblin Chieftain
1 Goblin Cohort
1 Goblin King
1 Goblin Matron
1 Goblin Piledriver
1 Goblin Recruiter
1 Goblin Ringleader
1 Goblin Sharpshooter
1 Goblin Sledder
1 Goblin Vandal
1 Goblin Warchief
1 Greater Gargadon
1 Grim Lavamancer
1 Hell's Thunder
1 Imperial Recruiter
1 Intimidator Initiate
1 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
1 Magus of the Scroll
1 Mogg Fanatic
1 Mogg War Marshal
1 Mudbrawler Cohort
1 Murderous Redcap
1 Siege-Gang Commander
1 Skirk Prospector
1 Slith Firewalker
1 Sparksmith
1 Sulfur Elemental
1 Tarmogoyf
1 Tattermunge Maniac
1 Tattermunge Witch
1 Tin Street Hooligan
1 Vexing Shusher
1 Zo-Zu the Punisher
44 cards

Other Spells
1 Plateau
1 Goblin Lackey
1 Æther Vial
1 Chain Lightning
1 Char
1 Chrome Mox
1 Fire/Ice
1 Fireblast
1 Firebolt
1 Flame Javelin
1 Incinerate
1 Lash Out
1 Lightning Bolt
1 Magma Jet
1 Rift Bolt
1 Seal of Fire
1 Shock
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Tarfire
1 Violent Eruption
1 Volcanic Hammer
17 cards
 
Lands
1 Barbarian Ring
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Fire-Lit Thicket
1 Ghitu Encampment
1 Goblin Burrows
1 Gruul Turf
1 Horizon Canopy
1 Karplusan Forest
1 Keldon Megaliths
1 Mishra's Factory
1 Mutavault
1 Pendelhaven
1 Rootbound Crag
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Savannah
15 Snow-Covered Mountain
1 Stomping Ground
1 Taiga
1 Wasteland
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills
35 cards

Tin Street Hooligan

Download this Deck: http://www.mtgotraders.com/deck/viewdeck.php?ID=3272

Cost: $214

These two Top 8 finishers have a lot in common.  They both utilize burn, efficient mono-red creatures, and a goblin search engine in order to win the game quickly.  The first deck has a much larger land destruction theme while the second deck uses a green splash to add Tarmogoyf and a sideboard Krosan Grip as well as to expand the goblin options with Tin Street Hooligan and Tattermunge Witch.  Those additions more than double the price of the deck when you factor in the lands.  It's an interesting change.

You really need to breakdown the deck into groups of cards to understand it.  So let's break these decks down into their essential pieces to see how they work.

Burn Group - Here are the burn spells that both decks use, and these are the ones you should consider when playing red.  They are the most efficient direct damage spells available.

Chain Lightning
Char
Fire/Ice
Fireblast
Firebolt
Flame Javelin
Flametongue Kavu
Lash Out
Lightning Bolt
Magma Jet
Magus of the Scroll
Shock
Lightning Bolt

Goblin Group - When you have a decent list of goblins in your deck Goblin Recruiter is practically a one-card combo.  If you get one out on turn 2, you can do all kinds of nasty things.  Imperial Recruiter is in this list because you're often going to use it to find a goblin such as Goblin Recruiter Siege-Gang Commander.

Boartusk Liege
Boggart Ram-Gang
Frenzied Goblin
Gempalm Incinerator
Goblin Chieftain
Goblin King
Goblin Lackey
Goblin Matron
Goblin Piledriver
Goblin Recruiter
Goblin Ringleader
Goblin Warchief
Imperial Recruiter
Intimidator Initiate
Mogg Fanatic
Mudbrawler Cohort
Murderous Redcap
Siege-Gang Commander
Vexing Shusher
Sparksmith
Tarfire
Tattermunge Maniac
Vexing Shusher
Zo-Zu the Punisher
Goblin Recruiter

Red Efficient Non-Goblins - AEther Vial and Vexing Shusher are paramount to killing blue.  The slogger is a game winner if you get to untap with it in play.  Grim Lavamancer is just super efficient, and the other creatures on this list are just really efficient for what they do.   

AEther Vial
Arc-Slogger
Chrome Mox
Grim Lavamancer
Hell's Thunder
Slith Firewalker
Sulfur Elemental
Arc-Slogger

Land Destruction - I believe Avalanche Riders Fulminator Mage and Wasteland are must-haves in most red decks.  The other ones can be all-stars or losers depending on the match-up.  I prefer the rest in the sideboard, but considering how many greedy mana bases are out there, I can see why some play them in the main deck as a decent metagame decision.

 

Avalanche Riders
Black Vise
Blood Moon
Dwarven Blastminer
Dwarven Miner
Fulminator Mage
Molten Rain
Pillage
Wasteland
Ruination
Dwarven Miner

 

Strengths -

1) This type of deck is fast.  This deck can really capitalize on an opponent's slow start.  Land destruction and Blood Moon can quickly seal a game away and this deck can usually put an opponent in the danger zone by turn 4 or 5.   

2) It is consistrnt.  This deck can operate quite well on 2-3 lands, and it doesn't have to worry about drawing the "right" lands to operate.  All you need is a few lands, and your deck will start doing what it is supposed to be doing. 

Weaknesses -

1) This deck is susceptible to hosers.  A simple circle of protection can kill this deck. So can a Baneslayer Angel, Loxodon Hierarch or other decent life-gain cards. Sphere of Law and Worship are pretty decent too.

2)  This deck can run out of gas.  If you don't get a Goblin Recruiter, Goblin Matron, or Imperial Recruiter, there is always the risk that you will simply run out of threats.  This is easily true if you fire a couple burn spells at an opponent's head and your opponent ignores them.  Sometimes you will draw into that Fireblast to finish them off and sometimes you will just draw too many lands and lose. 

White/Green Armageddon Elves

 

100 White Green Elves
Bry the Fry Guy 7th place 09 20 09
Creatures
1 Birchlore Rangers
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Bloodline Shaman
1 Boreal Druid
1 Bramblewood Paragon
1 Caller of the Claw
1 Chameleon Colossus
1 Civic Wayfinder
1 Eladamri, Lord of Leaves
1 Elvish Archdruid
1 Elvish Champion
1 Elvish Harbinger
1 Elvish Visionary
1 Eternal Witness
1 Fyndhorn Elves
1 Heritage Druid
1 Imperious Perfect
1 Jagged-Scar Archers
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Llanowar Mentor
1 Nettle Sentinel
1 Noble Hierarch
1 Progenitus
1 Quirion Ranger
1 Ranger of Eos
1 Rhys the Redeemed
1 Seedcradle Witch
1 Seeker of Skybreak
1 Selesnya Guildmage
1 Silhana Ledgewalker
1 Skyshroud Elf
1 Tarmogoyf
1 Thornweald Archer
1 Twinblade Slasher
1 Viridian Shaman
1 Viridian Zealot
1 Wellwisher
1 Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers
1 Wilt-Leaf Liege
1 Wirewood Hivemaster
1 Wirewood Symbiote
1 Wolf-Skull Shaman
1 Wren's Run Packmaster
1 Wren's Run Vanquisher
44 cards

Other Spells
1 Armageddon
1 Bathe in Light
1 Bounty of the Hunt
1 Chord of Calling
1 Chrome Mox
1 Earthcraft
1 Eladamri's Call
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Hunting Triad
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Natural Order
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Overrun
1 Path to Exile
1 Ravages of War
1 Sensei's Divining Top
1 Squirrel Nest
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Sylvan Library
1 Winter Orb
23 cards
 
Lands
1 Brushland
1 Flagstones of Trokair
1 Flooded Strand
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Grasslands
1 Horizon Canopy
1 Mishra's Factory
1 Mutavault
1 Pendelhaven
1 Plains
1 Savannah
1 Selesnya Sanctuary
13 Snow-Covered Forest
1 Sunpetal Grove
1 Temple Garden
1 Treetop Village
1 Vesuva
1 Wasteland
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Bastion
1 Wooded Foothills
33 cards

Armageddon

Download this Deck: http://www.mtgotraders.com/deck/viewdeck.php?ID=3273

Ravages of War and Armageddon are some of the most powerful cards in the game.  Against the 3+ color decks, a singleton Armageddon or a well placed Winter Orb can be enough to claim victory.  Against red decks, White/Green has better creatures and therefore can more easily creature favorable Armageddon situations.  This deck is designed to hit fast and then take the mana away.  If that doesn't work, you can always give your elves forestwalk and walk through any blockers on the table.

Elf Group - There has been a lot of debate whether WG should go tribal with elves or go for efficient weenies with nontribal creatures such as River Boa, Watchwolf, Wild Mongrel, etc.  The problem is that in order for cards like Wolf-Skull Shaman, Wirewood Hivemaster, Wirewood Symbiote, and Eladamri, Lord of Leaves to be bombs you need to include a LOT of elves in your deck including some less than awesome choices such as Seeker of Skybreak and Wellwisher.  I've played both versions, and they are both powerful.  The non-tribal weenie version is more consistent but the elf version can pull some impressive wins out of no-where with forestwalking elves.  It's really a toss-up between which is better.  The WG weenie deck is better against red burn decks where forestwalking is relatively useless while the elf deck is obviously very good against other green-based decks.

Imperious Perfect
Jagged-Scar Archers
Llanowar Elves
Llanowar Mentor
Nettle Sentinel
Quirion Ranger
Ranger of Eos
Rhys the Redeemed
Seedcradle Witch
Seeker of Skybreak
Selesnya Guildmage
Silhana Ledgewalker
Skyshroud Elf
Thornweald Archer
Twinblade Slasher
Viridian Shaman
Viridian Zealot
Wellwisher
Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers
Wilt-Leaf Liege
Wirewood Hivemaster
Wirewood Symbiote
Wolf-Skull Shaman
Wren's Run Packmaster
Wren's Run Vanquisher
Birchlore Rangers
Bloodline Shaman
Boreal Druid
Bramblewood Paragon
Caller of the Claw
Civic Wayfinder
Eladamri, Lord of Leaves
Elvish Archdruid
Elvish Champion
Elvish Harbinger
Elvish Visionary
Fyndhorn Elves
Heritage Druid
Elvish Champion

Armageddon Group - Competitive Armageddon decks have been around since the beginning of tournament magic.  It is just such an abusable effect.  Especially with Flagstones.  Thus, one of the main strategies of this deck is to put out a decent threat, then play out an Armageddon to lock up the board. 

Flagstones of Trokair
Armageddon
Chrome Mox
Ravages of War
Winter Orb
Hokori, Dust Drinker
Ravages of War

Removal Group -  There isn't much creature removal in this deck, but the removal that is there is the best spot removal in the game.

Oblivion Ring
Path to Exile
Sword of Fire and Ice
Swords to Plowshares
Swords to Plowshares

WG Other Good Stuff - Earthcraft and Squirrel Nest can randomly win games.  I've done it a reasonable amount of times.  Natural Order can also randomly win games.  Overrun is an obvious all-star in any green weenie deck.  Garruk and Eternal Witness are green staples of the format.  Bathe in Light is an interesting addition as it can either be a creature removal counterspell, or act as alpha-strike enabler for a lot cheaper cost than Overrun.

 

Eternal Witness
Bathe in Light
Tarmogoyf
Noble Hierarch
Eladamri's Call
Garruk Wildspeaker
Hunting Triad
Natural Order
Overrun
Squirrel Nest
Earthcraft
Eternal Witness

Another stroke of genius in this deck is Dense Foliage.  This is a great sideboard card against decks that rely too much on targeted removal, equipment, Vedalken Shackles, Opposition, etc.  

Strengths -

1) Consistant - You don't lose much in terms of consistency when going from 1 color to 2 colors.  The only factor you lose is slightly increased susceptibility to nonbasic land hate.  However that is usually not a huge issue for WG because of the presence of Armageddon effects and mana elves.

2) Quick - WG decks can hit an opponent just as fast as a Mono-red deck.  Unfortunately, WG has a harder time dealing those last 3-4 damage.  They make up for this reach deficit by being able to reset the board with Armageddon and the ability to knock out artifacts and enchantments easily.

3) Armageddon Tactics - Control decks need to be very careful not to tap out versus WG decks because of the potential for an explosive Armageddon or Winter Orb

Weaknesses

1) Vulnerable to Sweepers - Elf decks really need to swarm to be effective.  However to create a swarm of creatures, you generally need to overcommit your creatures to the board, which means that you risk losing the game outright to a Wrath of God, Firespout, or Pernicious Deed.

2) Weak Late Game - Against a control deck, your only effective option in the late game is to reset the board with an Armageddon effect.  If that plan fails to a counterspell, then Control Decks should have a huge advantage in the late game, as they have sweepers and bigger, badder creatures.

Cost:$247

 

Blue/Black/Green Control

100 Blue Black Green
Lundstrom 1st place 09 26 09
Creatures
1 Acidic Slime
1 Eternal Witness
1 Glen Elendra Archmage
1 Kitchen Finks
1 Meloku the Clouded Mirror
1 Mulldrifter
1 Phantom Centaur
1 Psychatog
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Shadowmage Infiltrator
1 Shriekmaw
1 Tarmogoyf
1 Trinket Mage
1 Venser, Shaper Savant
1 Wall of Roots
1 Wickerbough Elder
16 cards

Other Spells
1 Bayou
1 Tropical Island
1 Beast Attack
1 Brainstorm
1 Bribery
1 Compulsive Research
1 Counterspell
1 Crime/Punishment
1 Cryptic Command
1 Damnation
1 Daze
1 Deep Analysis
1 Dimir Signet
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Force of Will
1 Future Sight
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Golgari Signet
1 Grim Harvest
1 Grizzly Fate
1 Kodama's Reach
1 Krosan Grip
1 Liliana Vess
1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Mana Drain
1 Mana Leak
1 Mind Stone
1 Mind Twist
1 Mystical Teachings
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Nature's Lore
1 Negate
1 Pact of Negation
1 Pernicious Deed
1 Phyrexian Furnace
1 Primal Command
1 Putrefy
1 Recoil
1 Remand
1 Ribbons of Night
1 Sensei's Divining Top
1 Simic Signet
1 Slaughter Pact
1 Thirst for Knowledge
1 Three Visits
1 Tidings
1 Tsabo's Decree
1 Upheaval
1 Vedalken Shackles
1 Worldly Tutor
45 cards
 
Lands
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Breeding Pool
1 Flooded Grove
1 Flooded Strand
1 Gargoyle Castle
1 Mishra's Factory
1 Mutavault
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Polluted Delta
1 Simic Growth Chamber
6 Snow-Covered Forest
4 Snow-Covered Island
1 Snow-Covered Swamp
1 Stalking Stones
1 Tolaria West
1 Tree of Tales
1 Treetop Village
1 Underground Sea
1 Urza's Factory
1 Vault of Whispers
1 Wasteland
1 Watery Grave
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Yavimaya Coast
33 cards

Grizzly Fate

Download this Deck: http://www.mtgotraders.com/deck/viewdeck.php?ID=3271

This deck is focused on card advantage and control.  Draw spells, neutralize or counter threats and eventually play out a win condition when you can protect it. This deck has all the tenants of a typical control deck.

Mystical Tutor Group - Of all the mirage tutors Mystical Tutor is the most versatile.  This deck shows you just how many things you can get with a Mystical Tutor.  Of course knowing when to use it and what to get with it is an article all by itself. Here is a short rule of thumb for Mystical Tutor.

Early Game Targets

Nature's Lore - When you're stuck on 2 land. 

Kodama's Reach - When you have 3 mana but need more based on what's in your hand

Brainstorm - When you have dead cards and a decent shuffle effect

Mid Game Targets 

Mind Twist - When there are no threats on the field, and can force your opponent to discard his hand. 

Bribery - Opponent is playing reanimator and probably has something big to exploit. 

Damnation - Fairly obvious, when you're severely outnumbered.

Ribbons of Night - #1 Removal Spell against burn

Late Game Targets

Upheaval - Very nice with potentially 8 mana and a Tarmogoyf

Tsabo's Decree - Versus Elves or Goblins

Primal Command - Against Burn, use it to gain 7 life and search for Eternal Witness

Beast Attack
Brainstorm
Bribery
Compulsive Research
Crime/Punishment
Damnation
Deep Analysis
Fact or Fiction
Grim Harvest
Grizzly Fate
Kodama's Reach
Krosan Grip
Maelstrom Pulse
Mind Twist
Mystical Tutor
Mystical Teachings
Nature's Lore
Pernicious Deed
Primal Command
Putrefy
Recoil
Ribbons of Night
Thirst for Knowledge
Slaughter Pact
Three Visits
Tidings
Tsabo's Decree
Upheaval
Worldly Tutor
Mystical Teachings

Worldly Tutor Group - Worldly Tutor can be used aggressively for targets like Meloku the Clouded MirrorGlen Elendra Archmage, or Phantom Centaur, but it is usually used defensively for Shriekmaw Acidic Slime Venser, Shaper Savant.  Of course in the early game it can also be used to fetch a Wall of Roots, (Sakura Tribe Elder), or an Eternal Witness.

Worldly Tutor
Acidic Slime
Eternal Witness
Glen Elendra Archmage
Kitchen Finks
Meloku the Clouded Mirror
Mulldrifter
Phantom Centaur
Psychatog
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Shadowmage Infiltrator
Shriekmaw
Tarmogoyf
Trinket Mage
Venser, Shaper Savant
Wall of Roots
Wickerbough Elder
Worldly Tutor

Counterspells - This is a pretty standard list of the broken counterspells in 100CS, and it is the list of cards I'd add first if I was going to build a control deck and had the money for Force of Will.

Counterspell
Cryptic Command
Daze
Mana Drain
Mana Leak
Mystical Teachings
Negate
Pact of Negation
Force of Will
Remand

Counterspell

Tolaria West / Trinket Group - Most Blue/Black decks have some combination of these spells in order to give you some options for tutoring.  If you're going for a Counter/Weenie approach I would also include Sigil of Distinction in this list.

 

Tolaria West
Pact of Negation
Slaughter Pact
Engineered Explosives
Phyrexian Furnace
Sensei's Divining Top
Trinket Mage
Tolaria West

Strengths -

1) Very Powerful Late Game - If this deck can get more than 6 mana, it can quickly start doing some highly broken things with its search engine and card drawing engine.  If the game lasts a long time, then you definitely have the advantage.

2) Can handle anything - The tutors in this deck are designed to handle pretty close to any situation.  This is a very reactionary deck, but it also has a very strong counter-punch.

Weaknesses -

1) Vulnerable to Land Hate - With more than 3 colors and none of them red, this deck is slightly vulnerable to a couple of good red land-hosers.

2) Vulnerable to a slow start - This deck doesn't really have many fast plays, so it can't really punish an opponent for having a slow start.   

Cost: $360

4 Color Zur

 

100 4 Color Zur
Gainsay 2nd Place 09 26 09
Creatures
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Civic Wayfinder
1 Dark Confidant
1 Doran, the Siege Tower
1 Eternal Dragon
1 Eternal Witness
1 Fyndhorn Elves
1 Gemhide Sliver
1 Genesis
1 Glen Elendra Archmage
1 Heartwood Storyteller
1 Kitchen Finks
1 Krosan Tusker
1 Krovikan Horror
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Loxodon Hierarch
1 Masked Admirers
1 Mulldrifter
1 Necrotic Sliver
1 Noble Hierarch
1 Ohran Viper
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Ravenous Baloth
1 Reveillark
1 Saffi Eriksdotter
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Shadowmage Infiltrator
1 Shriekmaw
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Sower of Temptation
1 Tarmogoyf
1 Tidehollow Sculler
1 Tradewind Rider
1 Trinket Mage
1 Wall of Blossoms
1 Wall of Roots
1 Weathered Wayfarer
1 Yavimaya Dryad
1 Zur the Enchanter
39 cards

Other Spells
1 Karakas
1 Scrubland
1 Tropical Island
1 Hunting Cheetah
1 Aura Shards
1 Bant Charm
1 Buried Alive
1 Diabolic Intent
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Grim Harvest
1 Liliana Vess
1 Living Death
1 Mind Twist
1 Necrogenesis
1 Necromancy
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Oversold Cemetery
1 Path to Exile
1 Pernicious Deed
1 Phyrexian Furnace
1 Primal Command
1 Sensei's Divining Top
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Sylvan Library
1 Tainted Pact
1 Tithe
1 Vindicate
22 cards
 
Lands
1 Bad River
1 Exotic Orchard
1 Flagstones of Trokair
1 Flooded Strand
1 Forest
1 Golgari Rot Farm
1 Grasslands
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Island
1 Krosan Verge
1 Llanowar Wastes
1 Murmuring Bosk
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Plains
1 Polluted Delta
1 Savannah
1 Selesnya Sanctuary
1 Simic Growth Chamber
1 Snow-Covered Forest
1 Snow-Covered Swamp
1 Sunpetal Grove
1 Swamp
1 Temple Garden
1 Tendo Ice Bridge
1 Treetop Village
1 Tundra
1 Twilight Mire
1 Underground Sea
1 Vivid Grove
1 Vivid Marsh
1 Volrath's Stronghold
1 Wasteland
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills
34 cards

Zur the Enchanter

Download this Deck: http://www.mtgotraders.com/deck/viewdeck.php?ID=3274

This deck focuses on reusing creatures over and over again until it eventually wins.  Zur can provide answers to just about any threat, while Buried Alive, Genesis, Grim Harvest, and Oversold Cemetery provide you with an endless stream of useful creatures.  Just watch out for graveyard hate.

 

Zur GroupAura Shards and Necrogenesis is an especially juicy combination against some decks. 

So, here's a funny story.  I played against Gainsay while he was playing this deck in 4-5 matches via the 2-man queues.  In that time I beat him 3 times by stealing his Zur the Enchanter with a Sower of Temptation and then I used Zur to fetch my Earthcraft Squirrel Nest combo. Two of those times I used Bribery to find his Sower of Temptation and one time I used my own Sower. 

Zur the Enchanter
Necrogenesis
Necromancy
Oblivion Ring
Oversold Cemetery
Pernicious Deed
Sylvan Library
Aura Shards
Zur the Enchanter

 

Buried Alive Group - Buried Alive will usually summon Genesis to the graveyard.  The question is what do you take for the other two creatures.  I personally like some combination of Eternal Witness, Tidehollow ScullerQasali Pridemage, Loxodon Hierarch and Shriekmaw.  Of course if you've already got a Necromancy in hand or Zur on the field, you can go for some juicier targets like maybe an Angel of Despair 

Buried Alive
Oversold Cemetery
Necromancy
Genesis
Krovikan Horror
Qasali Pridemage
Shriekmaw
Loxodon Hierarch
Living Death
Eternal Witness
Wall of Blossoms
Tidehollow Sculler
Grim Harvest
Volrath's Stronghold
Buried Alive

Removal -  Pretty much all of the best pin-point removal and sweepers available.  Remember that Living Death can sometimes function like a one-sided Wrath of God.

 

Vindicate
Pernicious Deed
Oblivion Ring
Shriekmaw
Living Death
Path to Exile
Swords to Plowshares
Vindicate

Utility Good Stuff -  Pretty much a collection of undeniably good spells that are included in most decks that can support the colors.  (Lilliana Vess) is kind of on the expensive side, but an unlimited tutor is especially good in singleton formats because you have so many more choices.

 

Primal Command
Tainted Pact
Dark Confidant
Sensei's Divining Top
Weathered Wayfarer
Mind Twist
Liliana Vess
Fact or Fiction
Doran, the Siege Tower
Tithe
Mind Twist

Strengths -

1) Very Powerful Late Game -

2) Can handle lots of removal -  Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile are the common ways to exile creatures, other than those two cards, other removal will not stop the creatures in this deck for long.

3) Many Paths to Victory -

Weaknesses

1) Very Vulnerable to Land Destruction - Lots of colors means lots of ways to disrupt the flow of this deck.

2) Vulnerable to Graveyard Hate - The graveyard is the easiest place to destroy.  For proof compare the cost of Wrath of God with Relic of Progenitus.

Cost: $370

Conclusions:  These decks show the variety of decks that can show up in the Top 8.  100CS has one of the most diverse metagames of any constructed format.  Sure, you can break the categories down into aggro, control, and combo, but there are dozens of different aggro decks, control decks, and combo decks.  The decks I've investigated here are a small sample of the decks out there.  I've encountered dozens of strong decks that use different decks and different strategies, so take a deck for a spin.  See how it performs, then tweak it or try something else. Almost every week that I've looked at the Top 8 of the weekend challenges, I've seen a new deck.  So, give it a try.  The cheapest decks in the format are less than most other formats other the pauper and decks never rotate out, so once you have built a deck, you can keep playing it until you get tired of it and want to try something new.  So, why don't you try out 100 singleton today?

 

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So, if you're interested in 100 Classic Singleton here are a couple of tips to get started.

1) If you don't have a lot of cards, buy the Jace vs. Chandra box set.  With a couple of decent lands and some utility cards, you can make a decent U/R counter-burn shell of a deck out of it.  From there you can go in the goblin/burn direction or go to the control direction.

2) If you have a larger collection, try to modify one of the Top 8 weekend challenge decks to start out with.  After you get a feel for the format, it's easier to build your own decks.

3) Don't be afraid to try new ideas.  Half of the fun of this format is trying out a couple new cards and seeing how they play out.  I'm still trying to get my Esper Knights deck to work.  So far, it's fairly bad, but I'm not giving up on it yet.  And when it finally starts winning some games, I'll tell you guys all about it.

4) As always, don't let trash talk get to you.  Some Magic Online players are immature, and they will tell you that you suck.  They will tell Pros that they suck.  They will tell anybody who listens who great they are and how everyone else sucks.  Don't let it get you down.  Use it as a motivation to prove them wrong. (I'm not saying that 100CS has more jerks than other formats.  In fact I think the opposite is true.  I'm just saying that EVERY constructed format attracts a couple of jerks to it.)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 Well, thanks for reading.  Hope to see you playing 100 Classic Singleton

-Marcus R.  "Shuyin Knight of Zanarkand" on Magic Online

 

14 Comments

Fantastic article, I found by Flippers_Giraffe at Fri, 10/09/2009 - 04:23
Flippers_Giraffe's picture
5

Fantastic article, I found the deck lists and breakdown very useful. I can now see where my elf deck has gone wrong and what cards to think about purchasing next.

3) Don't be afraid to try new ideas. by ck (not verified) at Fri, 10/09/2009 - 08:01
ck's picture

This is why 100c is such a great format; you can innovate and perform! With all of the dual lands and the new Zendikar fetch lands, colors should not hold back many decks. Also, the format allows for many cards that might be considered slow in normal competitive formats to perform. If it is playable in draft, it will probably be playable in 100c to some degree. So, "[d]on't be afraid to try new ideas." :)

Yes, the Vendikar fetch lands by ArchGenius at Sat, 10/10/2009 - 10:41
ArchGenius's picture

Yes, the Vendikar fetch lands and the landfall mechanic in general is going to have a huge impact on 100 CS.

Most new sets have less than 5 cards that really have a huge impact on 100 CS, Zendikar has at least 10 in my book

Actually chances are pretty by platipus10 at Mon, 10/12/2009 - 12:20
platipus10's picture

Actually chances are pretty high that if it is only playable in draft that it is not playable in 100CS. I find the bar for cards to be useful in this format to be higher than Standard in most cases. There are exceptions, but it is a classic based format.

I would tend to agree with by ArchGenius at Mon, 10/12/2009 - 14:13
ArchGenius's picture

I would tend to agree with this statement for tier 1 tournament quality decks, which is pretty much what I write about.

However if you're going for casual, just about anything is fair game.

Another fine article on the by Paul Leicht at Fri, 10/09/2009 - 09:22
Paul Leicht's picture

Another fine article on the subject. :)

Lots of great info here! by Neoshinji :) (not verified) at Fri, 10/09/2009 - 12:25
Neoshinji :)'s picture

Lots of great info here!

100 Card Singleton is a rather brutish format to get into. Articles like this that helps break down the format in digestible bite sized chunks is a great way to help new players. As well as players like myself have a better understanding.

Thanks for all your hard work,
Philip

Awesome! by rukcus at Fri, 10/09/2009 - 13:52
rukcus's picture
5

This is another great article on the format. I too have suffered with the MTGO's deck editor when assembling decks. It's really a pain in the kiester to use for singleton formats. I would also suggest to to use Gatherer to find cards that have a certain effect you're looking for, or other "encyclopedia" style viewbooks.

I would also recommend that 100c decks start with at minimum 38 lands. This I've found to be the critical level to get at least to 5 mana without too much trouble. Some decks, like control, should supplement this with artifact or ramping spells; while aggro decks can skimp out on a few lands (such as the RDW variants).

It's strange. Many of the by ArchGenius at Sat, 10/10/2009 - 10:43
ArchGenius's picture

It's strange. Many of the top 8 decks I've seen have a very low land count to what I would expect. Maybe they know something I don't, but I don't like playing any deck with a land count lower than 39.

Decklists by Jyalt at Fri, 10/09/2009 - 23:51
Jyalt's picture

Thanks for sharing about converting .txt into .dek.... always wanted to know how.

I'm glad it was helpful. I by ArchGenius at Sat, 10/10/2009 - 10:46
ArchGenius's picture

I'm glad it was helpful. I debated whether it was worth it to add such a long section devoted to it, but I know how helpful it was to me when I figured it out on my own. So, I decided it was something I should share.

Great Article by Zimbardo at Sat, 10/10/2009 - 14:50
Zimbardo's picture
5

I think this will make 100CS more accessibility for some people. The deck building process truly is a headache if you just start from scratch using the client's editor, so it was a great idea to show everyone some useful tricks. It was also smart to simply link to deck files for the five decks you discussed. And as always, the card groupings you use are a nice organizational tactic for comprehending these long deck lists.

Another Great Article, by platipus10 at Mon, 10/12/2009 - 12:18
platipus10's picture

Another Great Article, ArchGenius. A few comments though.

Formatting wise it may be useful to make your tables 3 columns wide. This way you can put your card list in the left column, your pictures in the middle one, and then you descriptive text in the far right one instead of above and below the tables. This would make the article a bit more compact.

I was a bit confused that you said you set mana cost= 0 to search for lands but have to filter through arifacts and other 0cc stuff. Why not just right click on the land icon and filter to only lands?

Also you can do fairly thorough searches in the deck editor without relying on Gatherer since it supports bolean searches. Some searches I do use gatherer, but not very often. The only thing you can't do is filter by rarity (except for common since there is a pauper filter). For those unaare of what bolean operators are to do searches, they are symbols that stand in for words to define a search. Here are the common ones I use in the client:

& = and
| = or
~ = not

So for example if I wanted to find cards that draw and discard, but exclude cycling which contains the same words, but will not do what I want I would use this search:

draw&discard~cycl

I purposefully do not spell out cycling or cycle that way it excludes all instances no matter what form the word is in.

Well, I never claimed to be by ArchGenius at Mon, 10/12/2009 - 14:09
ArchGenius's picture

Well, I never claimed to be an expert on the deck editor. I claim ignorance on the only land search field. I didn't know you can right click and do only-this type.

I knew about the "and" and "or" operator but I didn't know about the "not" operator. I'm glad you mentioned that one.

Thank you. I learned something new today.