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By: Tarmotog, Naoto Watabe
Feb 09 2009 11:17am
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Welcome to One Double O #7!
As promised, we will be looking at the process of tuning a deck. Here is what to expect:

Big News
Not-so-big News
Tuning Walkthrough
Tech of the Week
Set of the Week: Invasion

First off, we have...

Big News!

Time to mark your calendars again!
The third Singleton 100 Weekend Premier Event is scheduled to be on March 15 2009, right after Conflux goes online.

#P.S.: Do note that the day has shifted from a Saturday to a Sunday for those of you who might be accustomed to playing on a Saturday already.

While it is not an ideal position to have a PE right after a new set goes up, more PE love for Singleton 100 is more than welcome in my opinion. I suppose that it will definitely be taxing to gather the cards you need from Conflux and test them enough before the event but everyone is probably in the same boat. I will be talking about Conflux in the next instalment so you can see what cards you may want to get when the set goes up.

For the tournament, from my previous experience, I recommend playing a deck that is strong against red strategies and try not to play too many non-basics to lighten the blow from Blood moon effects or non-basic hate. Also, if you happen to be in a terrible time zone like me, I recommend playing a more straightforward deck to reduce the likeliness of losing to poor concentration. 

Not-so-big News

Any news concerning Singleton 100, you will see it here. Below is the announcement in changes of the constructed queues and a promise of a format review after the Conflux release online. The text is edited to include only the relevant information. The actual announcement can be found here.

To summarize, 2 man queues that cost 2 tix that give a 1-0 payout will be going up after the downtime and 4 man queues will double in price and double in payout. And to top it up, there is a format review in March.
The format review is what is interesting. If you look at what they say, they can alter the rules for the formats which comprise of pauper, 100-card singleton and prismatic. Rule alteration for pauper could possibly be along the lines of bannings or allowing "uncommons" (that are commons somewhere) into the format.
Prismatic maybe needs a big overhaul as people don't generally seem happy with it anymore. (I might be wrong. I say this from hearsay)

Changes for 100 card Singleton?

-Change the banlist
Maybe a relook at the banned list might bring about some changes. I think that many of the cards are currently very redundant and hope it changes for the better. My stand is "minimal bannings" to where the obvious few "bad bannings" like life from the loam and crucible of worlds should be removed even with their application together with wasteland. The two cards have more interactive purposes that are worth much more than the wasteland soft-lock which is a hypothetical threat in my opinion that does not deserve the full value of the hype it is getting even though I do acknowledge it. I hope that they look at the banlist more critically and make changes when changes have to be made rather than preemptively.

-Mulligan rule to mirror Highlander (since Highlander was brought up as a reference point to which Singleton 100 is assessed)
In addition to the "one card less" mulligan rule, Highlander has this special mulligan rule which says:


For one of the starting hands during each game only, each player may "reject" any number of cards from his or her hand. They set these cards aside, draw the corresponding number of cards from their deck and, after that, reshuffle the set-aside cards back into their library. The opponent cuts the deck afterwards (mandatory). Note that this is a slight change as of 04/15/2007 since you can now choose the hand from which you reject cards, e.g. with a very bad initial hand of 7 you may decide to take a normal mulligan without rejecting any cards. You may then apply the new mulligan to your 6-card-hand.

IF they implement this rule, I would say that the way the game is played will change very significantly.
(I would choose not to elaborate now as I don't think it's very likely unless their programmers are willing to make the change in the system.)

I believe that there are people who want to play in a Singleton 100 Daily Event, especially if it meshes up with promotions like the Singleton events from the ancient history did. I think that this format can gain much more popularity by letting it be part of the "X Block championships" or "Y qualifier". I am very sure EDH people would be more than happy to have a place to try enter into the "cool" events with their 100 card decks.


Main Topic

Today, I'll do a deck tuning exercise with the deck below to illustrate how I tune my decks. Do be warned that the "final outcome" of the deck will not be the "final form" of the deck as I do not think it is possible to tune the deck to perfection unless I pour a great amount of time into it, especially not within a time frame of one article. Even so, I think that the process would be a valuable lesson to those who want to learn about the psyche that goes into editing a 100 card deck which can be similar and unfamiliar at the same time.

Below is the deck that I built from scratch with explanation of every card following it:

Before I start, I will explain why every card is in the deck so that you can know where I am coming from when I designed the initial version of it.


Deckbuilding - Non-Lands:

I made the deck with a little inspiration from the Jund Alara block deck that uses sarkhan vol with bone splinters. I wanted to make a Singleton 100 version of something with that in it. Maybe bone splinters is a worthy removal for Singleton 100?


In this deck, I want to test out many ideas that I have at the back of my head. I could probably call it a testing ground deck. Anyway, I want an aggro-control deck that does not rely on mass removals for its control elements like the usual Pernicious Deed or Damnation that can be found in Rock style decks. I want to fight creatures head on using creatures so as to reduce the ineffectiveness of those cards against control decks.

First off, in this deck, I incorporate the versatile engine from "Goblins", using "goblin" cards and tutors for them via goblin matron and boggart harbinger

The targets are:

Tarfire - A shock variant for removal purposes.
mogg fanatic - 1 point damage. Could be useful as a blocker or maybe a removal for x/1s.
nameless inversion - A last gasp effect.
warren weirding - Cruel Edict but not against goblins.
tin street hooligan - Artifact kill.
Siege-gang commander - Offensive and defensive pressure.
wort, boggart auntie - Fear 3/3 that can recur the "goblin"s.
Chameleon colossus - 4/4 Protection from black, possible win condition.
murderous redcap - A very strong anti-aggro card.
earwig squad - A card to steal wins against combo but more support will be given to it with the use of rogues as the goblin count is not high enough to support it adequately.


This search pool is very large and very versatile. Other than when running into planeswalkers and enchantments or when getting out of mana problems, the likelihood of a goblin matron/boggart harbinger being useful is very high.

Next, I want to add disruptive measures into the deck in the form of Destructive flow, blood moon and Magus of the moon which I feel can win me some games against the right matchups. Here comes another problem. If I actually use those 3, it would inevitably mean that I have to play less non-basic lands in order not to escape the disruptive symmetry of those cards. My thinking is that I will continue to play with non-basic lands but try to incorporate elements that would position the deck better than those getting affected directly. Another problem of playing these 3 cards is that I will definitely meet decks that are not very much affected by those and they will most likely become dead cards if they show up but taking into account that there are many decks that play a good number of non-basics, this is a move of calculated risk worth taking.


To support this strategy, Harrow is employed as a way to convert non-basic lands into basic lands while fixing mana at the same time.
Birds of paradise naturally deserves a slot to churn out 3cc plays that are mana intensive on turn 2.
sakura-tribe elder, kodama's reach, farhaven elf and civic wayfinder comes in to help get basic lands to allow the deck to have some way to accelerate past non-basic hate.
Farseek, into the north, wood elves and yavimaya dryad come in to search out non-basics to help cast difficult spells. To maximize into the north, I will use snow basic lands.


Another technology I want to incorporate into the deck is Natural order which can capitalize on the green small creatures that I already have (like those that get mana out) to throw out bombs into play. While there are a good variety of choices, I will narrow down my choices to a bare minimum which needs to be able to come out naturally during the course of a game so I have broodmate dragon and hellkite overlord.


I want some generically powerful cards so I employ the best of the best, Tarmogoyf and bitterblossom. Eternal witness is a natural fit here as well, being able to get back the most relevant cards from the graveyard. With access to the jund shard, I want to cast the powerful violent ultimatum so in it goes too.


RBG naturally has access to cards that are tough for aggressive decks to beat. I have Kitchen finks, sprouting thrinax, ravenous baloth, flametongue kavu and Solemn simulacrum to help block for awhile while I try to get more mana to make more powerful plays.


Planeswalkers are very hard to beat so in goes garruk wildspeaker and also liliana vess which might be useful for both its tutoring and discarding abilities. I omit chandra nalaar as I don't want a planeswalker that can potentially do nothing when my opponent drops down a troll ascetic.


I need a few cards against control so I put in:

thoughtseize - The best spot discard,
oona's prowler - A 3/1 flier is very strong against control. It also enables turn 3 earwig squad.
hypnotic specter - The best specter to wreck hands.
blightning - A card that I hoped would be worth playing, especially with planeswalkers around.
Sword of light and shadow - Between sword of fire and ice and Sword of light and shadow, I prefer this in a deck with creatures because this gets past Bitterblossom tokens, is good against the rising White color and its +2/+2 makes the  creature it goes on naturally "better" against burn spells.
faerie macabre - It serves dual purpose here as a graveyard removal and a flying rogue that can connect into earwig squad.
resounding thunder - 3 damage which can be upsized to 6 uncounterable + cantrip.

dark confidant, phyrexian arena and Necropotence are all very strong against control. I believe that card drawing is the ultimate trump tool against control decks as they need to be able to keep up with your cards and they will usually trade cards at the 1 for 1 level except for the powerful few like Wrath of God.
necropotence requires more black mana so I will be sure to include a urborg, tomb of yawgmoth later on. I don't expect to cast it early as the deck is incapable of churning out multiple plays early on so its restrictive cost works fine.

Harmonize - Another card draw which helps against any deck that is not too aggressive.


sensei's divining top - The best card to make the deck more consistent and it interacts well with dark confidant
reanimate - I put it in the deck for its title of "cheapest reanimation spell".
crypt angel - I wanted to play this in a deck so I'm trying her out now. The protection from white ability is going to get more relevant as time passes and its ability to recur red creatures can prove valuable. I am worried about how many actual targets there are which can limit the recurring ability quite significantly.
profane command - The best fireball/reanimation) effect available.
greater gargadon - A sacrificial outlet (for sarkhan vol) and it can steal games by threatening 9 points at very inconvenient times.
evolution charm - The perfect card for the deck as it searches for basic lands, can return a creature back from the yard into the hand and also occasionally win games by letting a creature fly.
wickerbough elder - This card helps to make the deck more "all-rounded", letting the deck deal with problematic enchantments/artifacts. The choices are either this or indrik stomphowler but this is a treefolk (which can help murmuring bosk come into play untapped)
jund charm - Charms are known to be quite strong and I want to see whether or not it is worth a maindeck slot against Singleton 100 decks.
panglacial wurm - I wanted to test this out to see whether or not a "super late game" card can be useful in the deck.

61 non-lands


Deckbuilding - Lands:

Building a mana base starts with a simple concept: let your lands provide the mana you need.
For decks that support more than 3 colors, I do not recommend playing colorless lands as they increase the chances of getting mana problems which would naturally occur already. The land classes in bold are the more frequently used ones so one should get hold of them whenever possible.

Whenever I start making a mana base, I always search for "1 life" and lands-only which would automatically filter out my fetchlands.
Fetchlands: Polluted Delta, Bloodstained Mire, Wooded Foothills and Windswept heath

Next, I would search for "2 life" (still at "lands only") which would filter out the shocklands.
I don't know of a fast way to get out all of the dual lands yet so no tips there.
Dual/shocklands: Overgrown Tomb, Taiga, Stomping Ground, Badlands, blood crypt


Painlands: karplusan forest, llanowar wastes, sulfurous springs and grove of the burnwillows (heal-land?)
Filterlands: fire-lit thicket and graven cairns
Lorwyn Tribe-based Lands: murmuring bosk, auntie's hovel and gilt-leaf palace

Shard land: Savage lands

Utility lands:
thawing glaciers - A very strong card against control decks as it provides a constant stream of lands. It also allows the deck to setup the right mana in a slow start.
treetop village - An on-color manland which is probably one of the strongest because you get to "cast" an uncounterable 3/3.
wasteland - I have yet to see a deck that does not want to use this. It provides a good answer against problematic lands, can create mana problems for the opponent and can munch on karoo lands.

Snow lands (to let into the north get more milleage):
tresserhorn sinks
highland weald
5 snow-covered swamp
5 snow-covered forest
4 snow-covered mountain

Including Urborg, tomb of yawgmoth, the deck has 39 lands and 61 spells.

Testing Games

The main aim during testing is to figure out what are the flaws to the deck, where the inconsistencies of the deck are and what are the problematic cards that can cripple the deck. Also, try to find out which interactions are strong and how to capitalize or expand on them.

Here, I have game descriptions of the deck and have an orange box for the important observations and changes made to the deck. For those not interested in how the games went, I would advise to look into the orange box and ignore rest of the text.

Match vs 52047 with URW

I get an early bitterblossom out and end up with mana problems. I try to manage faerie tokens effectively. While he has counters for my spells, he has a good number of lands as well so I end up eventually winning on the back of the Bitterblossom and with 4 mana in play and these stuck in my hand: broodmate dragon, Liliana Vess, Crypt Angel, panglacial wurm and bone splinters.

Game 2
I have necropotence in hand and I play a very long game before I decide to cast it. However, he has massive mana with capsize buyback and I lose. I do manage to cast Panglacial wurm from the deck during the game.

Game 3
I ramp up mana early and harmonize into blood moon and also dark confidant. I bait out a force of will and resolve Blood moon facing only a lone Island and non-basics. I push for damage and he scoops after awhile as my force was built up using boggart harbinger into siege-gang commander.

Moon effects definitely can mess up games so playing them is definitely a good choice.
I almost never want to cast Bone splinters.
Bitterblossom is capable of winning games but some attention has to be made as to how to manage tokens and life loss which I learnt by taking damage in return for an additional token.
I have a good number of fat spells which tend to make the deck clunky.
I can't pressurize my opponent much.
I don't have many cheap spells to play after I draw via Necropotence. (I might want more low casting cost instants)

Bone splinters goes out as I feel that I don't have many creatures to sacrifice.
In comes terminate to fill the slot of a cheap removal.
As I currently don't have too much data, I can't pinpoint the inefficiencies of the other cards yet so I will keep the rest of the deck now.

Single game vs Vainis with Affinity

I get out a turn 3 Destructive flow but he has Arcbound crusher in play with 3 counters (from 0 mana creatures). I try to lcok him out of mana by destroying Coalition relic and he is reduced to using mana from Springleaf drum. I manage to trade Arcbound crusher in combat but its 4 counters (the last one comes from the drum) go onto (ornithoper) and he drops ancient tomb and has Fatal frenzy to seal the deal.

Goblin matron into tin street hooligan is very strong.
I might be lacking in creature kill cards which is why a fat Ornithopter looked so bad for me.
Maybe I could try playing terramorphic expanse to help mana post destructive flow. I ended up trying to drop a non-basic (to sac) and wood elves into another overgrown tomb to get a black mana for the next turn. Destructive flow has some bad effects on me as well. I try to hold on to the idea until I see the problem as being more prominent as terramorphic expanse "comes into play tapped".

Single games vs Neoshinji with 4c Rock

My games hinged on getting non-basic hate to work.

Game one I shut him off with blood moon.

Game two, I have destructive flow in play but I can't do anything about Bitterblossom tokens and I can't build up much mana because of the non-basics I run.

Game three, I get both Destructive flow and Magus of the moon but I sacrifice the magus to Greater gargadon to get a forest out. He stabilizes with basic lands and I win marginally with hellkite overlord.

I remove Panglacial wurm as I think it is excessive. Jund charm looks weak against some matchups.
I put in Demonfire and Firespout to replace them for the their late game and board sweeper functions respectively.
I need a polluted delta elsewhere so I replace it with tranquil thicket for now. I also want to see whether or not cycling lands are useful in this deck.

Single games vs Kamikaze with Monoblue aggro-control, non-counter

Game 1, callous oppressor comes out (wow it's good) but I manage to get rid of it. He scoops as he does not have his third land after I Wasteland his stalking stones.

Game 2, I go on the defensive and throw creatures in the way of a thought courier carrying Sword of fire and ice. I block zealously and cast Garruk wildspeaker which holds the board a little. necropotence resolves and I go down on my life total to have cards. I hellkite overlord for 8 points and sacrifice the planeswalker to put a 3/3 beast into play. He Confiscates my dragon instead of my blocker and he equips Sword of fire and ice away from thought courier to a beast token which he caught using biting tether. It comes back to my side and I tell him that he would have won. I demonfire the thought courier and cast warren weirding. He scoops.

I should have remembered that I had Tarfire when I tutored in game 1. (I tutored out warren weirding instead)
goblin matron is much stronger in this deck than I had initially expected it to be.

Single game vs HairwayToSteven with 4/5c Rock

He has mortify for my turn 3 hypnotic specter and I zoom up to 8 mana. I connect with hellkite overlord once but he has terminate for it on the next turn. I drop chameleon colossus and Dark confidant. I reveal civic wayfinder and draw violent ultimatum but I don't need to cast it.

Match vs Echoscience with Monored burn

Game 1, I keep a landful hand against a burn deck. I only have goblin matron into tarfire to stop a man land. He clears my blockers and slaps with greater gargadon for the win as I am not able to produce another blocker.

Game 2, stall the game and remain at a healthy 18 life. I Demonfire away a murderous redcap. broodmate dragon pops in and the game is sealed.

Game 3, I get knocked to 10 life very early but I have Sprouting thrinax and I natural order into hellkite overlord with 3 1/1s to guard me. He does not have 7 points of burn available but a countryside crusher. I firebreathe for the win.

Single game vs andalucien with Monowhite

I see plains but not much action until a turn 4 Serra avenger. I suspect mono-white control rather than white weenie so I try to see what is going on before I use my goblin matron. I matron into earwig squad and I see a hybrid of the two. Not good. He Wastelands my treetop village and I draw into Stomping ground. I needed double green mana but I couldn't get it so I scooped.

Single game vs andalucien with Accelerated Green

I play against him again and he mulls down to 4. He drops a Forest and I suspect
He has devoted druid so I suspects that he likes oversoul of dusk really much. He Worldly tutors into molder slug against my sword of light and shadow. I think that his deck is quite nicely built. Wort, boggart auntie deals 3 fear damage a turn and I have Tarfire to speed up the damage. I make treetop village fly via evolution charm and he casts summoner's pact. I think that would have gotten cloudthresher if he did not go down to 4 but he found boreal druid instead so I tarfire for the win.

I think that worldly tutor would work in the deck especially since I can find goblin matron and expand into many other options as well.

Single game vs dmuse with mono green something

He has Elvish visionary and I try a turn 4 Natural order which he scoops to without needing to see what pops out.

Match vs magus6969 UB control

Game 1, I get stalled on mana and he pulls ahead with Shadowmage infiltrator but I come back into the game slowly. I get Destructive flow into play with one non-basic while he has about 5. He has Candles of leng as a draw engine but I drop down Hypnotic specter and he has no cards in hand. He scoops awhile later.

Game 2, I mull away a 7 land hand into a hand with Faerie macabre and Birds of paradise and lands. He Mind shatters me and topdeck Necropotence shortly but it gets countered. I draw lands and Tarfire so I scoop as he has Teferi, mage of zhalfir in play with  Arcanis the omnipotent.

Game 3, I try to be pushy with hypnotic specter and force out counter magic. I connect with one Hellkite overlord using (Birds of paradise and Natural order) for 10 damage and he drops Oblivion stone which I force him to break it on my turn using Wickerbough elder as I have Greater gargadon suspended. I think that regenerating hellkite overlord there might put me in a very bad situation. I sacrifice my guys and draw Blood moon on my turn. He's tapped out and I have Harmonize in hand. I have 6 available mana so I try to draw lands via Harmonize and I draw 3 lands. I cast Blood moon with him having 1 Island and many non-basics and I crash Greater gargadon into play. He taps mana and finds out that almost everything is red mana and scoops.

In game 2, I had crypt angel which did nothing. I look back at the deck and see 12 possible targets of which 3 are 5cc and above but I still want to keep her in the deck at this point in time. I am thinking that protection from white will be an ability that will become more powerful with time.

Another card I am thinking about axeing is Liliana vess. She somehow seems to be underperforming. I think I'll try Mind shatter over Liliana vess for now. I put in Fulminator mage over Mogg fanatic as 1 point of damage doesn't seem all that spectacular in the deck.
I take out Blightning, as it seems that it does not help much even in the relevant matchups because my deck is not one that applies adequate pressure to maximize its effect, for worldly tutor when I read up (this article) and I see myself talking about Worldly tutor being a suitable candidate for the deck.

Match vs PredatorGR wuth UB control

I keep a clunky hand and I see a Snow-covered swamp. I stumble one turn but I manage to cast chameleon colossus. (Pro black is very good vs UB) He transmutes into Merchant scroll (not chainer's edict) and scrolls into Mystical tutor so I guess he wants Damnation. I pump chameleon colossus and he goes down to 7 life. I have Profane command in hand.
He Mystical tutors out Chainer's edict (??) and he makes me sacrifice the colossus but the 8 damage was already done and I also had Siege-gang commander. With 5 mana in play, I drop Garruk wildspeaker and choose to pressure him over Farseeking into another land but he has ghastly demise. If Garruk wildspeaker sticks in play, I can Profane command for the win. He taps out for Kokusho, the evening star and I do the black Fireball for the win.

Game 2, I keep a mid range hand and I lead with yavimaya dryad, showing him siege-gang commander via auntie's hovel but I notice how he has f6ed my turn so I suspect no counter magic at 3 mana level. I think a little and I opted to cast Siege-gang commander as I want to keep my chameleon colossus until later on. I suspect Damnation but he Repeals one of my tokens at end of turn. On his turn he drops razormane masticore and I Warren weirding it away, make Treetop village into an ape and beat for 9 damage. He doesn't seem to have answers so I animate my land and beat again. He casts think twice and scoops.

Match vs Iastatecrazy with Snow MonoGreen

I get stuck at 3 mana and desperately need the 4th. He has Ohran viper that draws a card every turn and ramping up mana like crazy for some reason and I'm in a very bad position. He casts Gauntlet of power and Jolrael, empress of beasts but I have Flametongue kavu from a long time ago. He casts Primordial sage and Eternal witness but I have Faerie macabre . He also drops deus of calamity and nature's wrath on the smae turn. I misread the card and I search out a swamp which I end up having to sacrifice but I throw both my swamps into Greater gargadon. He searches out Panglacial wurm with search for tomorrow and I can't use Hellkite overlord as I have no swamps or black permanents to sacrifice. I drag the game to see what his deck does.

I have a clear idea how to win but I think he closed the client so game 2 does not start. I believe that I lost because I spent too much time doing nothing.

Match vs kentokun with RGB deck

I start game one with turn 2 Dark confidant and he has vivid lands + overgrown tomb. I try to be aggressive with wort, boggart auntie. Tarfire kills Farhaven elf and Sarkhan vol pumps the team. We trade planeswalkers and suspends Greater gargadon.

Game 2, he gets stuck on 2 lands and diligently charges up his Molten slagheap. I cast Broodmate dragon which he Damnations but I follow up with earwig squad and Profane command my double dragon with him still stuck at 2 lands.

Rematch vs kentokun

Game 1, I reanimate his Krosan tusker and Sarkhan vol his plague spitter that he casted. He uses ritual of the machine to catch Krosan tusker and kills Sarkhan vol with plague spitter's ability.  He has -1/-1 the whole board for my siege-gang commander and Kiki-jiki, mirror breakerplagued rusalka to finish it. The game goes on and I need 1 damage to win but I can't get it.

Game 2, I turn 3 Hellkite overlord (8 points) and can firebreathe till 12 points next turn. He drops Eternal witness and I win. He had to leave so there wasn't a game 3.

So far, I have not seen the cards that I have changed yet. The hellkite overlord plan is definitely a very strong one as I managed to win almost all the games where it resolved or gets cheated out even if it does not stay till the end of the game. The 8 points at one shot is brutal.

Match vs Neoshinji with 4c Rock

Game 1 I work towards violent ultimatum which wins me the game.

Game 2, he drops a turn 3 Doran, the siege tower and I cast Goblin matron into Warren weirding but he drops Solemn simulacrum. I topdeck Tarfire and kill both. Necromancy brings the treefolk back and Armadillo cloak goes onto it. I don't have answers and I lose.

Game 3, he gets isochron scepter with diabolic edict on it and I have a turn 2 dark confidant and try to drop creatures to feed the edict. The game goes on and I hope to topdeck something big as I manage to accumulate tons of mana and I would be more than happy to see any dragons. On the last turn, I have Eternal witness and faerie macabre in play against Zur the enchanter that just came down. I know his hand and I have tarfire with him at 6. I beat and he declares no blocks (since it was unlikely that I had burn and Armadillo cloak next turn would preserve the game) and I win.

Changes: I saw a beasts deck being showcased on magicthegathering.com so I put in a Contested cliffs in place of a snow-covered swamp.

Match vs rtholen1 with WW

Game 1, I pull off turn 3 Hellkite overlord and he scoops.

Game 2, I plug the game with Sprouting thrinax (as it does in ala block) and use garruk wildspeaker to ramp up hellkite overlord which I had together with natural order this time. I could have cast natural order into broodmate dragon but garruk wildspeaker would let me add more pressure.

Match vs epilogue with UBR

Game 1, I don't get past 2 lands so I scoop.

Game 2, I start with birds of paradise, followed with dark confidant and siege-gang commander which he scooped to.

Game 3, I start by putting a chameleon colossus against dimir cutpurse but it gets bounced by venser, shaper savant and the next time, I Tarfired the dimir cutpurse and dropped hypnotic specter. hypnotic specter hits the most relevant spells with pinpoint accuracy and he scoops.

Match vs 88spartans88 with White Weenie

Game 1, greater gargadon gets revealed to Dark confidant. He Unmakes Faerie macabre and beats with serra avenger for the win.

Game 2, contested cliffs does its thing with a beast token from Garruk wildspeaker. I was originally planning to search chameleon colossus with boggart harbinger but it felt too slow to work so I  played differently.

Game 3, he starts slowly with idyllic tutor into endless horizons and my gameplan becomes "violent ultimatum twice and see what happens". I stabilize in a not very strong position and I draw lands into lands into lands while he improves his board slowly and I eventually lose.

contested cliffs improved my anti-aggro capabilities quite well. A very good find there. I believe that with the goblin engine, I would be able to secure a beast (or chameleon colossus) in play if I have to.
In game one, I was down to 3 life with Reanimate in hand. Then I considered how I also ran Necropotence which would tax my life total as well.

Therefore, one more change to make is to remove reanimate for necromancy as an open reanimation spell.


Summary of Testings

While in this article the testing stops here, I assure you that the testing process is far from over. If I had to give a figure, I'd say this number of games is probably 1% of the number of games needed to bring this deck into a highly tuned state, based on the frequency of the cards appearing enough to record significant effects and also based on how long it takes to identify a "weaker" card.
This particular deck is tougher to tune than an average deck as it does not follow a simple strategy so other decks that are more straight forward could probably have sufficient testing for a build at about 50-100 games. In those decks, weaker cards tend to stand out more so replacing poor cards is much easier.
For a deck built from scratch (like this one), I advise testing the deck at least a few weeks before becoming satisfied with it.

In this series of testing, I played against 16 different people, not intentionally and only repeating once. This means there are many people playing Singleton 100! (It's irrelevant to the topic but worth noting)

I recorded 37 games above which is sufficient to understand how the deck plays out and what play risks are better or worse in the format.

I failed to see some of the cards that I had changed like: worldly tutor, fulminator mage, mind shatter
so I do not have data on how those changes would have possibly affected the quality of the deck.

Here is what I could gather from the testings:

MVP of the Deck: hellkite overlord either hardcasted or cheated out via natural order. I won the most number of games because of it.
Best Interaction of the Deck: Goblin Matron + goblins/tribal
Biggest Problem of the Deck: Mana problems when I needed 2 of a specific color.
Most Conflicting Strategy: The marriage of non-basics with indiscriminate non-basic hate

Future Possibilities worth Testing:
goblin recruiter - It is technically boggart harbinger that costs 2 mana. 
indrik stomphowler - With contested cliffs being played, there is a chance that this card could be useful.

For those interested, here is the current deck configuration for those who want to take a spin with the deck:

and the decklist:
(#Tip: The point about having the decklist is so that you can copy the whole chunk of words and put it into a notepad (.txt) file and load it up directly from Magic Online just by removing some of the words like "creatures". )


-by Tarmotog
1 Sprouting Thrinax
1 Goblin Matron
1 Yavimaya Dryad
1 Tarmogoyf
1 Chameleon Colossus
1 Wickerbough Elder
1 Earwig Squad
1 Ravenous Baloth
1 Boggart Harbinger
1 Crypt Angel
1 Civic Wayfinder
1 Wort, Boggart Auntie
1 Hellkite Overlord
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Tin Street Hooligan
1 Flametongue Kavu
1 Murderous Redcap
1 Faerie Macabre
1 Greater Gargadon
1 Oona's Prowler
1 Wood Elves
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Siege-Gang Commander
1 Dark Confidant
1 Eternal Witness
1 Broodmate Dragon
1 Farhaven Elf
1 Fulminator Mage
1 Hypnotic Specter
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Magus of the Moon
1 Kitchen Finks
32 cards

Other Spells
1 Evolution Charm
1 Necropotence
1 Demonfire
1 Terminate
1 Blood Moon
1 Worldly Tutor
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Thoughtseize
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
1 Harmonize
1 Bitterblossom
1 Sensei's Divining Top
1 Farseek
1 Firespout
1 Profane Command
1 Sarkhan Vol
1 Resounding Thunder
1 Necromancy
1 Natural Order
1 Kodama's Reach
1 Destructive Flow
1 Violent Ultimatum
1 Harrow
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Mind Shatter
1 Nameless Inversion
1 Tarfire
1 Into the North
1 Warren Weirding
29 cards
1 Stomping Ground
1 Treetop Village
1 Llanowar Wastes
1 Grove of the Burnwillows
1 Highland Weald
1 Thawing Glaciers
1 Auntie's Hovel
1 Gilt-Leaf Palace
4 Snow-Covered Swamp
1 Taiga
1 Blood Crypt
5 Snow-Covered Forest
1 Graven Cairns
1 Contested Cliffs
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Fire-Lit Thicket
1 Karplusan Forest
1 Tranquil Thicket
1 Sulfurous Springs
1 Tresserhorn Sinks
1 Badlands
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Savage Lands
1 Overgrown Tomb
4 Snow-Covered Mountain
1 Murmuring Bosk
1 Wasteland
39 cards

0 cards
Violent Ultimatum



Tech of the Week: Llanowar Reborn

Almost every green deck I know plays kitchen finks. Having this in play will let Kitchen finks or any card with persist be more persistent than they already are. Some decks play more cards with persist.

This card comes into play tapped but it is definitely worth having if you need an edge over creatures as well. Consider the "coming into play tapped" the green mana spent to give the +1/+1 counter.

Sidetalk: I should put it in the Jund deck!

llanowar reborn


Set of the Week: Invasion

In my continuing "quest" to provide simple yet useful information for new players, I have this section to point out the cards in a set that are worth getting from a particular set. This week's set is Invasion which belongs to the few sets that were around from the start of Magic Online. It was not as popular as the Odyssey block which was the then newest block around. This, coupled with the fact that Magic Online was still fresh, meant that the cards from the Invasion block were very limited. Thankfully, most of the cards have dropped in prices after countless numbers of IPA tournaments.
Below are cards from Invasion that have some potential to be played with a brief description on them.
Those with the * in front are those I recommend highly.

andradite leech - If you need another shade other than nantuko shade.
crypt angel - Protection from white with a constricted gravedigger ability.
phyrexian delver - Reanimate + a body. Has potential to be abused. Once used it in a flash deck before Reveillark was released.
plague spitter - A very messy card that can get rid of x/1s and x/2s.
ravenous rats - Everyone likes this card.
addle - A spot discard that does not take too much effort to hit.
twilight's call - Half of living death which can be potentially be used to support less common strategies.
cremate - A cantrip that removes a card from the graveyard.
yawgmoth's agenda - Probably for a deck with bombastic spells.

stormscape apprentice - Known as the best apprentice of the cycle, most potent in an aggresive deck.
probe - A very powerful spell against a slow deck.
disrupt - A very neat cantrip that can potentially wreck people.
*exclude - Remove soul + cantrip. Worth playing because it draws a card.
*fact or fiction - One of the most powerful card drawing spells ever printed. If you don't want this, you probably want its alternate art.
opt - A cheap cantrip to sift through the deck.
*repulse - unsummon + cantrip. Also worth playing because it draws a card.
*collective restraint - A very powerful card that can stop people from attacking you.

blurred mongoose - If you really hate counters, you can play this guy.
elvish champion - The first elf lord.
jade leech - If you somehow want a 2GG 5/5 with a drawback.
kavu chameleon - This used to be very famous. If Blurred mongoose is not good enough a counter-hate for you, this might help.
kavu titan - An upgradable Grizzly bears. One of the more suboptimal RG choices now but it holds much history for RG.
quirion elves - If you want some odd mana from a 2 mana elf.
*restock - One of the treasures of the set.
bind - Stops some nonsense but might not be worth a maindeck slot yet.
harrow - Mana fixing.
fertile ground - Mana ramping.

ghitu fire - An X burn that works at instant speed with infinite mana. Important kill condition for the Worldgorger dragon combo deck.
obliterate - Wipe out everything. Can be played around to make it devastating.
*tribal flames - A possible 5 damage from a 2 mana card that needs to be supported.
urza's rage - Uncounterable 3 damage. If you can ever get the mana to kick it, you should win on that turn.

crusading knight - This an urborg, tomb of yawgmoth gives you a really large creature.
reya dawnbringer - It returns a creature from your graveyard into play on your upkeep. A card that forever has some potential in it.
death or glory - A possible mini-twilight's call that works only for your side. It gets better with more powerful creatures in your graveyard.
*global ruin - A possible one-sided armageddon depending on what your opponent plays. The more colors he plays, the lower the chances of getting decimated.
rout - Another Wrath of God variant that can be cast at instant speed with an additional 2 mana which can be useful when you do not want to tap out.
*dismantling blow - Disenchant that nets you 2 cards for the price of 6 mana. While it looks like a hefty sum, you will be in a very strong position after it resolves and it can be played at 3 mana too.
liberate - A blink effect that lets a creature hide away until the end of turn. Can only be used to save creatures or abuse "come into play" abilities as the card has the clause "creature you control".
shackles - A pacifism effect that is played because of its versatility. You can return it before you clear the board or reuse it to stick on a bigger creature.

blazing specter - Not too impressive but it can be disruptive because of its haste.
galina's knight - A very strong card as protection from red is very valuable. Being a merfolk helps too.
raging kavu - A 3/1 haste or a 3/1 flash. There may be instances where both flash and haste can be valuable, like when your attackers are getting tapped, but those cases are quite rare.
shivan zombie - A 2/2 bear with protection from white.
yavimaya barbarian - Same as the other bears but with protection from blue. With Vedalken shackles being the most prominent "non-blue" card, it suggests a strong game against blue heavy decks.
assault/battery - 2 damage or an elephant. Choose.
void - A spell that can destroy any creature.
*absorb - A counterspell that keeps you in the game longer. A must have for a UW control.
artifact mutation - A very powerful artifact removal that can get you damage sources.
recoil - Bounce and discard together which can essentially be a vindicate if your opponent's hand is empty.
undermine - counterspell + loss of 3 life. Good in decks that want some added pressure.
*armadillo cloak - Life gain, +2/+2 and trample. Tough for creature strategies to beat.
aura shards - Turns every creature into a indrik stomphowler.
fires of yavimaya - It becomes stronger the fatter or more numerous the creatures you play are.
*sterling grove - A tutor for enchantments which can protect enchantments.
teferi's moat - Stops one color from attacking which means that it is possible that it becomes a one-sided effect.

tsabo's web - Stops manlands and utility lands from untapping.

*ancient spring, geothermal crevice, irrigation ditch, sulfur vent, tinder farm
These lands allow artificial jumps in mana for a single turn which can be seen in storm decks that want to generate as much mana as possible for the crucial turn.
coastal tower, elfhame palace , salt marsh, shivan oasis, urborg volcano
These lands are one of the budget lands that give you access to 2 colors. Their snow-covered cousins from Coldsnap may or may not be strictly better.
keldon necropolis - A land that has been seen played in decks with red to throw creatures to break creature stalemates. It is also a colorless source of damage.


Last Words

This is the end of #7. As always, I hope that it helps in one way or another.
In the next One Double O, I will be talking about Conflux and its impact in Singleton 100 so look forward to it.

Until next time, this is Tarmotog thinking about how to tackle the tournament again.



Very nice, as usual, and a by hamtastic at Mon, 02/09/2009 - 14:50
hamtastic's picture

Very nice, as usual, and a good step by step for people interested in the format. And you completely nailed why I have a hard time getting my head around the format: difficulty in deck tweaking. You can go dozens of games and not see the impacts of a card you've changed.

I'm thinking that's part of the draw to some players, though. :)

And of course, when there are this many restrictions I have the desire to build a combo deck even while fully knowing the tables are stacked against me. I may have to try one though, just to see what I can do with it. :)

Thanks for all your work!

Good Stuff by Rerepete at Wed, 02/11/2009 - 18:52
Rerepete's picture

With the abundance of non-basic lands in 100C Singleton, would Wilderness Elemental fit in your deck?

When Conflux comes online, Goblin Outlander might be a consideration if Protection from White becomes needed.

I would be rather shy with by Tarmotog at Fri, 02/13/2009 - 08:42
Tarmotog's picture

I would be rather shy with wilderness elemental as I don't really want a big fatty and also it isn't guaranteed to be huge with people at least playing some basic lands.
Protection from white can be found like on shivan zombie or the knights. Not very impressive now but I think white is slowly becoming more relevant. =)