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By: Tarmotog, Naoto Watabe
Mar 10 2009 11:11am
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Hi all! This is One Double O, the place where you can read about the 100 card Singleton format.

This week, we'll take a look at building a sizable collection as I find that most new players to the format would probably want to know some tips on how to build up their own collections. Building a singleton collection is much easier than other formats because cards lose minimal value in the format. Even if better cards come into print, they don't always kick out the older cards.
For example, if Mana Drain actually came online, would one expect Counterspell to leave Singleton 100 decklists? I don't think so.
The value of a collection would not drop much because relevance can always be found.

Every year, especially more so in the recent ones, there have been many inputs into the "eternal" card pool. Singleton 100 thrives on this ever growing card pool and to put it in a more appealing way, Singleton 100 actually uses more cards than even classic, from this card pool, because of how the format is being restricted.

This year, we're in for quite a few changes, namely:

Divine vs Demonic - It has Demonic Tutor so we now have an official reason to get it. See the hint here.

Stronghold - We know this set is definitely coming soon from the precon challenges.
Alara Reborn - I guess it'll be coming online in 3-4 months time.
Magic 2010 - August 2009?
The first set of the next block - Oct 2009?

MED III?? - It feels like Master's Edition has always been around so maybe one new one is on its way?

We've just had Conflux come online and we have at least 5 more additions to the eternal card pool in the upcoming year. When you want to play Singleton 100,  you ideally want to grow your collection at a healthy, constant pace. To keep up to date with every new set, I would believe that most of the time, 40-60 tickets for a big set and 30-50 tickets for a small set should allow you to get almost everything you need unless the set you're looking at has many expensive lands that would be in high demand.


One Double O Buying Tips - Conflux

Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker - $7
Noble Hierarch - $7.50
Banefire - $8
Maelstrom Archangel - $4
Progenitus - $4.50
Martial Coup - $5
Exotic Orchard - $4
Wall of Reverence - $5
Thornling - $4

These cards are the cards from Conflux that cost $4 or more (on mtgotraders) and they add up to $49 at current prices when I'm writing this. Of course, by the time you see this, I would have had to change the numbers but one could actually use these to compare how the prices have changed early on.

Of these, I expect noble hierarch to be a card that would definitely maintain or actually rise. Banefire is possible since demonfire was really expensive at it peak but it was mainly used in T2's Satanic sligh (RB with Dark confidant). The rest should be expected to fall until T2 uses more of Conflux or Alara Block picks up more hype. At this point in time, the most impactful cards in the various formats should be:

Noble hierarch (popular in various formats)
Path to Exile (the ext card)
Volcanic fallout (the t2 card)
Exotic orchard (everyone plays shard lands in ala block)
wall of reverence (played in the PT winning 5c control T2 deck so people would want to try it out)

The top 2 on the list should maintain some value for some time and exotic orchard should rise after some time so now, 2-3 tix should be a good buy. Every card under $3 that you need and you feel is strong, you should try to pick them up early because you don't lose too much value obtaining them now and there is a chance that they will rise when some formats use them.

(The first thing I did was to get a foil Noble hierarch at $15 and trade away a draft set for a foil Nicol Bolas, planeswalker as I like foils and I have a feeling that the prices for both should rise. But even so, I never seem to be willing to sell cards, even at high prices, so their current values mean little to me.)


Collection Building One Double O - Buying Singles

When people look at the cards I play, they often talk about the price of my deck. At current value, of course, I tend to make extremely expensive decks. However, I have to say that most of the cards I have tend to be very much cheaper when I purchased them as compared to their prices now.

Here are some of the card prices of the cards I bought which you can use to compare to see what I'm talking about:

Grim lavamancer - $3
tarmogoyf - $7
Engineered explosives - $3
Vedalken Shackles - $3
flooded strand - $7
Ichorid - $1
Foil Figure of destiny - $28
underground sea - $29
Force of will - $24

Of course, some of my cards like the shocklands, which I consider to be staple cards, have dropped to excruciatingly low prices so I can't really say that all my cards have gained value but generally, as long as you pick up cards at the right time, you should save a large sum of money in the long run.

Eternal Sets

For most eternal sets, or sets that feed the classic card pool without any impact in the more popular current formats like T2, extended etc, the best time to buy cards is when events are still ongoing and people are opening packs. Because people want to crack more of these packs, people would want to sell their cards to recover costs of drafts/sealed events. As there is an atmosphere of abundance, people are more willing to let cards go. Also, amongst the "casually competitive" players who want a break from the same old drafts, there are also the "reminiscing" cut-throat players who want to relive old experiences. Of the two groups, the later half are not as interested in holding their cards so they are also willing to let cards go.

Past the period of time where people crack many packs, the prices of the more popular cards would slowly rise because the demand simply outstrips the supply of those cards. Do know that we are competing with dealers, casual players and classic players when we want our cards.

Therefore, one should always try to obtain chase cards early when the eternal sets arrive.

Current Sets

The way to tackle current sets is more difficult than one would expect. Ideally, there are 4 points in time one can get cards at the best value but for those of you who like to play with new cards, there is an additional point 0.

0) A few days before the end of the release events

You want to buy cards that will be played early on when the market is flooded with the set before people start wanting to play them in large quantities. This depends on whether or not you want to play the new card early because you might be able to get the cards you want later at a cheaper price.

1) At the end of a draft season, before the set it is in rotates out.

Even mega bombs can be dirt cheap depending on when you buy them. You want to buy cards at the end of a draft season, before the next block comes online when the market is simply saturated with cards from the block. Expensive cards tend to be cheap here because there is simply too many of them going around. Once the next block comes in, the "high in demand" cards would simply rise in value until they finally rotate out.

2) At the point immediately after the card rotates out of standard.

Naturally, because the people playing T2 are not interested in playing extended, many of these players sell the cards that are rotating out and this generates a temporary boost in the supply and the card prices fall. The odd part about this is that after a short period of time, the prices start to climb again if the card is deemed playable by the people who want to play those cards in other formats so buying cards at this point in time is a good possible choice as well.

3) At the point where the card becomes dormant and is waiting for an extended breakout.

When certain cards are not being played in extended, their prices tend to enter a slump. However, it is traditionally seen that good cards tend to be good anyway. Cards like Mind's desire are such cards. You know it was good but you never know whether or not it still is. You should pick up cards with relatively low value first because there is only a rising tendency if they are good. Quantity does not exactly matter here because poor cards won't be in much demand.

4) Immediately after a big tournament breakout

The prices on the MTGO market takes time to react so just after you get good information from a high level tournament, you should try to rummage everywhere to find the cards that have been revealed to be good. Ichorid is an example I would want to quote. As the coverage went by and I saw that Ichorid was good after the dredge extended deck used it, I immediately obtained a playset at $1 each from online bots. In just one day, the price of Ichorid jumped to $5.
This last tip requires some degree of surveillance on real world events happening at real time but it is definitely worth the effort to some extent.

Choosing What to Buy

There are generally 3 types of cards you want to get and you should get them in this order:

1) Deck Specific Cards
You want the card because you need it for your deck.

2) Versatile Cards
You want cards that can fit in a variety of decks but you might not actually need them right now.

3) Potential Cards
You know the card has some potential but you have no idea how to implement it into a deck yet.

Prioritizing what you buy can help you greatly when trying to build a collection because you simply can't have everything with limited resources and if you do not plan your spending carefully, you will end up feeling more unsatisfied than you would have otherwise. Remember, good management goes a long way.


Collection Building One Double O -Slowly Building Up via Limited

As a MTGO player who does not have as much purchasing power as most people do, I resort to playing limited to build up the bulk of my collection. I would say that I am generally stronger at eternal formats than I am at the most current draft formats like AAC because I find that T2 cards are more accessible and thus don't have a compelling reason to be good at them (This does not mean I'm very bad at current draft formats. I'm just not who you want to face when you play something like XXX or 222).

One thing to note about drafting eternal sets is that you need to prioritise getting cards over actually trying to win. I say this for one reason. From my experience, losing a first pick in a draft will not determine the outcome of your draft. No matter how strong your deck looks, there is a way for it to be brought down. You don't want to take a high pick card over a 10 ticket rare because the reason you are playing these drafts is not to go infinite. I once thought that as long as I went infinite, I could actually get as many dual lands I wanted from MED II. However, I started my first 50+ drafts not opening money more than an Imperial seal. I managed to be luckier after that to open 2 dual lands and get passed some money rares in drafts but I don't really think it's worth the effort to go infinite than collect good cards. (I take snow-covered lands when I don't have anything I want so I end up with about 8 snow basics on average in a MEDII draft.)

1) Drafts

As most players start playing MTGO, they would tend to gravitate their playing towards drafts as a source of cards because drafts are relatively affordable and they hint at a possible infinite situation where you can recover losses totally and play infinitely. It is best to draft triple (new set) when a set is released because it is the best time to obtain specific chase cards from the set because they are generally expensive.

2) Premier Events (sealed)

Sealed events are for when you think you want to play in a tournament setting, with a significant amount of time, for top 8 prizes. Usually, the draw to these events come from their entry into another tournament like the IPA sort.

I want to draw the attention of people to the goodbye Mirage block and MED II events.

Read about them here.

The big tournaments have prizes of foiled full sets of MVW or MED I + MED II. If I wanted to expand my collection, I would definitely be gunning in these events. If I am the lucky top 2, I would have an entire set of those sets and if I won, I would have a foil set. *daydream~*
There will be many people eyeing the set of foil duals and Force of Will. Who wouldn't? It's like a few hundred worth!

3) Leagues (currently Missing In Action)

It is a pity that leagues do not exist now. Leagues of eternal sets tend to be very good paying and you get to open a nice number of packs. There would be more of eternal cards in circulation if only leagues still existed because people played in these and not all of them are actually interested in keeping the cards but play for nostalgia or as a break from current formats.

4) Open Packs

I do not encourage opening of packs because you usually only get one good rare in every five packs you open. For 5x$3.99, you can buy almost any card you want so unless you are feeling extremely lucky, I would suggest trying to draft the packs you have so that you can have a shot at getting more packs to open.


Tech of the Week:

This week, we have Sulfuric vortex here. I recently played Naya zoo in an extended GPT and I fell in love with Sulfuric vortex. It should be played in any red heavy deck trying to bring the opponent to 0 life because it is so effective against anything not aggro.
sulfuric vortex


Deck of the Week: Tarmotog's 5c Mono blue

5c Mono Blue
by Tarmotog
1 Noble Hierarch
1 Shriekmaw
1 Mulldrifter
1 Plumeveil
1 Flametongue Kavu
1 Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
1 Keiga, the Tide Star
1 Meloku the Clouded Mirror
1 Shadowmage Infiltrator
1 Mystic Snake
1 Glen Elendra Archmage
1 Nucklavee
1 Spellstutter Sprite
1 Broodmate Dragon
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Venser, Shaper Savant
1 Trinket Mage
1 Sower of Temptation
1 Birds of Paradise
19 cards

Other Spells
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Repeal
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Compulsive Research
1 Resounding Thunder
1 Mystical Teachings
1 Kodama's Reach
1 Condescend
1 Volcanic Fallout
1 Tainted Pact
1 Pithing Needle
1 Ray of Revelation
1 Thirst for Knowledge
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Remand
1 Jace Beleren
1 Tidings
1 Relic of Progenitus
1 Force of Will
1 Brainstorm
1 Traumatic Visions
1 Bant Charm
1 Arcane Denial
1 Absorb
1 Cryptic Command
1 Ponder
1 Esper Charm
1 Counterspell
1 Rise/Fall
1 Resounding Wave
1 Sensei's Divining Top
1 Capsize
1 Mind Stone
1 Mana Leak
1 Vindicate
1 Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker
1 Cruel Ultimatum
1 Merchant Scroll
1 Dismiss
1 Ancestral Vision
39 cards
1 Windswept Heath
1 Vivid Crag
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Vivid Creek
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Vivid Grove
1 Flooded Strand
1 Tundra
1 Swamp
1 Lonely Sandbar
1 Flooded Grove
1 Mountain
1 Island
1 Savage Lands
1 Secluded Glen
1 Underground Sea
1 Savannah
1 Badlands
1 Steam Vents
1 Taiga
1 Riptide Laboratory
1 Tolaria West
1 Sunken Ruins
1 River of Tears
1 Yavimaya Coast
1 Vivid Meadow
1 Vivid Marsh
1 Polluted Delta
1 Cascade Bluffs
1 Arcane Sanctum
1 Breeding Pool
1 Shivan Reef
1 Snow-Covered Island
1 Underground River
1 Crumbling Necropolis
1 Dimir Aqueduct
1 Seaside Citadel
1 Watery Grave
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Grove of the Burnwillows
40 cards

0 cards
Cruel Ultimatum

Here's the picture version:

This deck is my take on the PT winning 5c control that uses a heavy blue base to play with the extended "wizards" deck but my aim is to play both Cruel ultimatum and Nicol bolas, planeswalker. So far, I have been quite successful with it in 2 man queues but that does not mean much in itself.
I had to come up with extreme measures after getting heavily locked down, forcing the deck to evolve to become really versatile because just wanting to play Cruel ultimatum and nicol bolas, planeswalker is not good enough a plan.

I currently don't own a wall of reverence which I am contemplating whether or not to have in the deck but there most other elements from the t2 deck is in. I want to see for myself what makes such a deck successful.


Set of the Week: Apocalypse

Again, we have the set of the week. We look at the third set of the Invasion block this time. As previously, the * before the name indicates the "must get"s of the set.

Desolation Angel - Armageddon + a 5/4 flying body for a package of 7 mana. A strong finisher.
*phyrexian arena - One of the strongest enchantments that exist in the format, giving a stream of constant threats to its controller.
phyrexian rager - A (Gray ogre) body with a card draw for a loss of life stamped onto it. Might seem irrelevant but can be useful in certain decks, especially with Braids, cabal minion.

*orim's thunder - A Disenchant that can potentially kill a creature.
*spectral lynx - Protection from green which regenerates. I think that Protection from green is a very powerful ability because almost nothing stops green creatures but of course, some of them can trample over the cat but that does not make it any weaker.

Jilt - An unsummon with a 2 damage upgrade which would let it deal with 2 creatures in play.

*Goblin Ringleader - One of the stronger cards in a goblin deck.
rakavolver - 6 mana for a 5/5 flying lifelink that can be downgraded if need be.
wild research - An enchantment that can be potentially abused.

Lay of the land - It is good in a deck that wants a basic land early.
*sylvan messenger - The elf alternative to goblin ringleader which is as strong or maybe more powerful because of wirewood symbiote.
symbiotic deployment - A possible card drawing engine for a deck with many creatures out.

*Fire/Ice - Both sides are very strong and its versatility between the 2 makes it a top notch card. It sticks well on Isochron scepter too.
gaea's skyfolk - A 2/2 flyer for 2 mana. Slightly weaker than its Alara counterpart but maybe its creature types might give it some value.
*gerrard's verdict - 2 mana drop 2 cards. Has a life gain bonus to make people think about what to throw.
*goblin legionnaire - A very strong bear that is like a bigger cousin to mogg fanatic.
goblin trenches - A source of many tokens at the expense of lands but it can churn out a large amount in a short period of time.
guided passage - 3 cards for 3 mana but you give your opponent perfect information. Some of its drawbacks can be worked around.
*life/death - A reanimation spell that costs 2 mana. The life half might be useful like when trying to flashback Dread return?
*lightning angel - A 3/4 flying, vigilance, haste that is strong both offensively and defensively.
*mystic snake - A grizzly bears attached to a counterspell. Some people don't like its cost but it's very much a decent card to play which gives some tempo.
*pernicious deed - A very versatile and powerful board sweeper. The fact that it can be controlled to give you an advantage makes it so strong.
prophetic bolt - impulse + lightning blast. It might be generally clunky but how can anyone ask for more?
spiritmonger - A fan favorite that I don't own. Its drawback is mainly in the fact that it does not have trample but everything else on it makes it very strong.
(suffocation blast) - counterspell that needs to deal 3 to a creature. Some people consider this a drawback but I think its fine the way it is.
temporal spring - A tempo gaining card that can mess with any permanents.
*Vindicate - Destroy target permanent. Nothing else gives such versatility.

* Enemy Pain Lands: A must have for anyone who wants to play Singleton 100. Enemy lands are very few in numbers and here is 1 type of land to help enemy colored decks.


Last Words

A friendly reminder to all: the 3rd Singleton 100 Weekend PE is this Sunday, March 15th. See you there!

Random One Double O Fun Foil Fact:
Token producers that are foiled produce foiled tokens!

Tarmotog on MTGO
Tarmotog on myMTGO



Nice article about the by Plejades (not verified) at Tue, 03/10/2009 - 12:12
Plejades's picture

Nice article about the trading aspect of Singleton100. For anyone interested in trading check out mtgocardtrader.com for a bunch of trading related articles.

the article is not supposed by Tarmotog at Wed, 03/11/2009 - 06:28
Tarmotog's picture

the article is not supposed to look the way it does now.. not sure what happened but i can't do anything on my side.. sorry for the unaesthetic look and the missing links/pics..

Despite the formatting by hamtastic at Wed, 03/11/2009 - 16:37
hamtastic's picture

Despite the formatting, this was a good article as always. Keep up the good work with these, you're really helping the format gain some much needed attention!

formatting problems by jamuraa at Fri, 03/13/2009 - 10:29
jamuraa's picture
I've fixed a bunch of the card links, and made the decklist pretty.
thnx loads ! =) by Tarmotog at Fri, 03/13/2009 - 13:04
Tarmotog's picture

thnx loads ! =)