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By: Tarmotog, Naoto Watabe
Nov 07 2012 12:36pm
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One Double O is a series on the 100 card Singleton format.

The 100 card Singleton format is a casual format that uses the Classic cardpool and every card, other than basic lands, is restricted (max of 1x in a deck). It follows a banned list that can be found here. This format uses a 15 card Sideboard.

The 100 card Singleton format is a format where forgotten legends come back to make an impact and you get to play nostalgic spells alongside new and improved spells of the current age while all being competitively good at the same time (assuming they are since you're playing them). It is a simple  format to maintain (since you don't need more than 1 of for each card) and you can easily find relevance with new cards and enjoy them, even if they are not the most upper class of quality.

Today, the purpose of this article is to spread the word that the folks at MtgoAcademy are organizing some Player Run Events for the 100 card Singleton format and I also want to reintroduce the format so that people can get into it easily.

Vivat centum!

Vivat centum! (long live 100!) is the name of the tournament series brought to you by Mtgo Academy (which is actually founded by 100 card Singleton enthusiasts).
For the most basic information, the timings are as follows:

  • November 17th, 2012, 10:00am PST (18:00 UTC)
  • December 1st, 2012, 3:00pm PST (23:00 UTC)
  • December 15th, 2012, 12:00pm PST (20:00 UTC)

Each event is 3 rounds Swiss, free to enter and has prizes for 3-0 and 2-1 results. Exact details can be found here.

Since the event is free to play in and has prizes, I would encourage people to try to step into the format (at least for the free value after which you can learn of the fun of the format).

One Double O in 2012

The 100 card Singleton format has died out as a sanctioned format for over 2 years for reasons not worth discussing today.
In between then and now is a large void in terms of general knowledge on the format and there is the impact of the new card pools.

To ultimately be successful in the format, one would:
1) need an appreciation of cards from the new sets, the old sets and the special sets which have cards not legal in most normal formats.
2) have to be able to understand how each card impacts the performance of the deck as a whole.
3) prepare answers to popular tactics.
(each of these points require a considerable amount of time to cultivate and don't worry about getting there now)

We are at a time whereby we have a very highly powered cardpool with very comfortable mana bases that allow us to do almost anything we can imagine. Hardly anything is a restriction anymore other than resources and information. It would be a comfortable time to play the format, and with EDH being relatively popular, a simple paradigm shift is more than enough to enter the format.

With the introduction of Cube online, I have wanted to write an article to show how to tie up 100 card Singleton deck building skills to the draft format but I couldn't because 100 card Singleton was an obsolete format (which many people may not even know or understand) and also Cube did not last long enough for me to be able to write something relevant on time.

But since I have the opportunity, I can assure you that playing and designing decks for the 100 card Singleton format has transferable skills for Cube drafting and evaluation. Simply, the reasons why you would lose with an archetype in cube, can be found when you matchup the same archetypes in 100 card Singleton.

I don't know if a revival of the format in the long run would be possible at this point in time (since the massive dying of formats left and right) but I think that the people at Mtgo Academy have caught on to Classic's revival and are trying to ride on its momentum to try to bring back their favorite (and mine) format by having people play and enjoy the format. This gives me reason to buy new cards from Return the Ravnica.

One Double O Practical Deck Building

To introduce people to a format, we usually start out showing decklists. I'm not sure if 2 year old information is still relevant but maybe next time.
Today, I will go through how I personally get down to making my 100 card Singleton decks.

To start on a deck, I would first choose what I want to do with the deck.
You can either choose to play with a particular set of cards, a particular color combination or just a reproduction of a known deck archetype.

For the first where you want to play a particular set of cards, I would find cards that would allow me to assemble the said cards.
This is surprisingly easy in 100 card Singleton where you have access to a large number of spells that allow you to search up specific cards.
There are tutors, transmute and many other cards that would let you find the cards you want. Then complement the set of cards with cards that overlap their uses and have backup plans integrated into your deck and you have a neat deck to work with.

Deck Building: Playing Particular Cards

For example, I want to make a deck that has the self-mill + Dread Return combo, I will start out like this:

I will find the key cards I want, then find cards to help in my strategy (parallel combos), find fillers, add disruption, fix my mana base and the deck would come together. Run it a few times to find any glaring problems then it should be good to go. For such a deck, I would take extra caution with my mana base (and remember not to run any basic lands for Hermit Druid) so that colored mana can be produced timely. There are many lands that allow this to be done with ease so just try to look up lands and unowned in the deck filter just to take a look.

Usually, looking up EDH or old lists from the eras the decks came from can give you a clue as to how to approach the deck and give you a hint of the tools you would need to accomplish your goals.

Deck Building: Color Combinations

If you want to run a specific color combination, it would be much easier since you can easily start by filtering the colors you want to look at then pick out the cards you like. Below is how I usually start to build the simpler decks that I want to make where I just simply throw cards down into the card pool and try to come to a comfortable conclusion.

I will also separate our lands in the sideboard area so that I can see what lands can play while looking at my overall deck strategy.
For example, if I play Thirst for Knowledge, it would be beneficial to add in 1 or 2 artifact lands to help.
As another example, if my deck is overall very light on colored mana requirements, I may want to have a large basic land count so that I can avoid getting attacked by non-basic land hate. There are many things to do with your mana base.

Deck Building: Reproduce a Known Archetype

The last is somewhere in between the previously mentioned examples only that you have confirmed the style of play before making the deck instead of the cards themselves. I can generally use good cards in a known color combination but I can have varying play styles.

Take UW control for example. I can try to make it into a tap-out styled control deck or one that has variations between instants and sorceries.  If I am set out to make a tap-out UW, my choices will vary significantly from other types of the same color combination and my focus will be on very different types of spells.

See below for my 100 card Singleton take on the archetype Blue Skies (from the masques block era):

Here, each card is specifically chosen to try to match a particular play style that already exists. The cards may not have the same effects but they collectively area headed to the direction where you want to do to despite there being differences that have to be adjusted for.

Personal Deck Building in 100 card Singleton

100 card Singleton decks are largely individualistic as they directly portrait the understanding of an archetype down to its smallest details and their own philosophies as to how they want their deck to function. Below is what Sligh means to me.

MonoRed Sligh
by Naoto

Creatures
1 Kiln Fiend
1 Greater Gargadon
1 Keldon Marauders
1 Hell's Thunder
1 Goblin Patrol
1 Goblin Guide
1 Mogg Fanatic
1 Goblin Fireslinger
1 Kargan Dragonlord
1 Chandra's Phoenix
1 Ball Lightning
1 Plated Geopede
1 Spikeshot Elder
1 Figure of Destiny
1 Stormblood Berserker
1 Chandra's Spitfire
1 Hellspark Elemental
1 Jackal Pup
1 Tattermunge Maniac
1 Ember Hauler
1 Boggart Ram-Gang
1 Stromkirk Noble
1 Magus of the Scroll
1 Grim Lavamancer
1 Reckless Waif
1 Nivmagus Elemental
1 Rakdos Cackler
27 cards

Other Spells
1 Flames of the Blood Hand
1 Gut Shot
1 Magma Jet
1 Rhystic Lightning
1 Browbeat
1 Shrapnel Blast
1 Lava Dart
1 Flame Rift
1 Forked Bolt
1 Fireblast
1 Koth of the Hammer
1 Incinerate
1 Seal of Fire
1 Cursed Scroll
1 Char
1 Shrine of Burning Rage
1 Vexing Devil
1 Sudden Shock
1 Chain Lightning
1 Flame Jab
1 Tarfire
1 Fire Ambush
1 Rift Bolt
1 Volcanic Hammer
1 Smash to Smithereens
1 Searing Spear
1 Pillar of Flame
1 Flame Javelin
1 Lightning Bolt
1 Brimstone Volley
1 Firebolt
1 Galvanic Blast
1 Isochron Scepter
1 Burst Lightning
1 Staggershock
1 Shuko
1 Arc Trail
1 Searing Blaze
1 Thunderous Wrath
1 Molten Rain
38 cards

Lands
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Rishadan Port
1 Barbarian Ring
1 Mountain Valley
12 Mountain
1 Smoldering Spires
1 Great Furnace
1 Mutavault
1 Blinkmoth Nexus
1 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
1 Shivan Gorge
1 Teetering Peaks
1 Rocky Tar Pit
1 Keldon Megaliths
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Ghitu Encampment
1 Mishra's Factory
1 Wasteland
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Arid Mesa
1 Forgotten Cave
33 cards

Goblin Guide


This mono red deck is jammed packed with cheap creatures and exceptionally cheap burn spells. The spells generally cap at 3 other than a Koth of the Hammer and a Greater Gargadon which is essentially just R. The whole idea of Sligh was introduced really long ago with the intentions to maximize mana usage by having a large number of cheap cards that would nicely let you cast your spells with whatever mana you had available.

Above is deck statistics pulled out from the system to show my mana curve and land count in accordance to my belief of what Sligh should be represented by. (Don't ask me about the colored mana count. It is very buggy.) The high 1 drop followed by 2 then 3 is not something that is very easily achievable without new printings of cards that can be considered good in those slots. In the past, the 1 drop section could not be maintained because of the lack of competitively costed spells, at least not enough for a 100 card Singleton deck.

There are many things that go into the creation of a simple deck that can really be observed in details if we want to go into them.
Even for the most simple of decks such as the mono red deck, I have to choose the route I want to take and form its body and to also use the lands that best compliment that route (maybe less colorless lands for the multicolored decks). I would also have to choose the cards that have interactions with one another.

For example, I want to use high powered low drop creatures so I use Plated Geopede and it interacts with fetchlands so I incorporate Mountain Valley into the deck despite it being generally weaker than a basic mountain for the main purpose of my deck. Mountain Valley helps me to reach threshold for Barbarian Ring and to add (Grim Lavamancer) fuel. I would very much prefer not to use it if it did not have such additional value in it. There are many considerations to be made at each point in time but I suppose it would come down to inter-card awareness where you make conscious effort to take note of all interactions and weigh the pros and cons of implementing certain cards which would mean a lot the more competitively aimed your deck is.

This is the simple deck.

Then there are the more complicated decks like this one:

Workshop Esper
by Naoto
Creatures
1 Shield Sphere
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Kuldotha Forgemaster
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Master Transmuter
1 Sun Titan
1 Treasure Mage
1 Baleful Strix
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Vedalken Engineer
1 Metalworker
1 Etched Champion
1 Sharuum the Hegemon
1 Sphinx Summoner
1 Trinket Mage
1 Goblin Welder
1 Myr Battlesphere
17 cards

Other Spells
1 Brainstorm
1 Batterskull
1 Jace Beleren
1 Mox Diamond
1 Thopter Foundry
1 Mana Drain
1 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
1 Expedition Map
1 Transmute Artifact
1 Show and Tell
1 Ichor Wellspring
1 Counterspell
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Æther Spellbomb
1 Staff of Nin
1 Sword of the Meek
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Prophetic Prism
1 Everflowing Chalice
1 Force of Will
1 Kaleidostone
1 Thoughtcast
1 Preordain
1 Arcane Denial
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Mox Opal
1 Terrarion
1 Thirst for Knowledge
1 Chromatic Star
1 Open the Vaults
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Urza's Bauble
1 Remand
1 Trading Post
1 Birthing Pod
1 Ancestral Vision
1 Tezzeret the Seeker
1 Conjurer's Bauble
1 Mishra's Bauble
1 Mycosynth Wellspring
1 Chromatic Sphere
1 Grim Monolith
43 cards
Lands
1 Windswept Heath
1 Volrath's Stronghold
1 Glimmervoid
1 Polluted Delta
1 Flooded Strand
1 Darkslick Shores
1 Academy Ruins
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Great Furnace
1 Vault of Whispers
1 Seat of the Synod
1 Underground Sea
1 Ancient Den
1 Tundra
1 Darksteel Citadel
1 Scrubland
1 Godless Shrine
1 Watery Grave
1 Temple of the False God
1 Swamp
1 Marsh Flats
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Plains
1 Mishra's Workshop
1 Blinkmoth Nexus
1 Tolaria West
1 Glacial Fortress
1 Volcanic Island
1 Wasteland
1 Island
1 Arcane Sanctum
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Tropical Island
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Tree of Tales
1 Phyrexia's Core
1 City of Brass
1 Arid Mesa
39 cards

Sharuum the Hegemon

I'm not sure how to describe this deck but it is essentially a Mishra's Workshop based deck that can play a fair game and its fair share of unfair games.
This is one of my pet decks that I have carried constantly monitored together with my mono red deck over the 2 over years of downtime in the format. 
This deck finds its synergies in artifacts and can chain powerful plays with a good degree of resilience. The cards are carefully chosen to create a certain amount of momentum that is not easy to handle in the mid-game.

When I created this deck, I knew where I wanted to go with this deck and I tried to get there through trial and error. It doesn't resemble any real archetypes in other formats so it is quite difficult to give a real name to it and there are many key cards to mention before I can really touch its core since it has everything. This is one of my favorite decks because of its complex nature that is truly able to represent 100 card Singleton in its uniqueness.

Last Words

I hope that people would try to get their hands into the 100 card Singleton format (at least for the PREs that are easy to enter and don't need heavy commitments to play in). For that very reason, I have written this article.
100 card Singleton is a very empowering format that would nurture you as a deck builder and a person who can evaluate cards better. If not for anything else, it would definitely make you better at Cube. Why not just take a dip at it? I'm pretty sure that even small collections made from random drafting (with some good cards of course) can get something decent out with little investments.

Cheers,
Naoto

6 Comments

your 100cs articles have long by JustSin at Wed, 11/07/2012 - 15:30
JustSin's picture
5

your 100cs articles have long been some of my favs and glad to see them coming back

I'll second that. by GrandAdmiral at Wed, 11/07/2012 - 17:40
GrandAdmiral's picture
5

I have always enjoyed your articles and the 100CS format is one of my all-time favorites. That Workshop Esper deck is awesome! I'm always on the look out for a home for Trading Post/Phyrexia's Core/Wellsprings/Spine of Ish Sah.

Good to see another great by Paul Leicht at Wed, 11/07/2012 - 17:49
Paul Leicht's picture
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Good to see another great article Tarmo. You significantly contribute every time you write something. :)

Great stuff, and I look by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 11/08/2012 - 06:09
Kumagoro42's picture
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Great stuff, and I look forward to play in the PRE. I'd wish for you to dedicate some time to explain the correlations between Commander and 100CS, though. What's the mindset a Commander player should use when switching to 100CS? Considering a highly competitive, tournament Commander player, which might be already used to play 1v1 (which is almost entirely different from multiplayer Commander) because some tourneys require that in their final round, and some of those matches might well last 5 turns, not the 3 hours of a casual Commander game.
For instance, what's the difference, deckbuilding-wise, between your Workshop Esper deck and a Sharuum deck devised for Commander 1v1? (Except for the lack of some more obvious combo pieces like Mindslaver.)

Thanks for the positive by Tarmotog at Sat, 11/10/2012 - 06:14
Tarmotog's picture

Thanks for the positive feedback. =)
I was worried that the format may have been forgotten already.

Regarding Commander vs 100c Singleton,
there are a couple of differences from
-deckbuilding restrictions (I run birthing pod and goblin welder in the deck)
-to the life total (affects the strategies you can deploy, cards you can play and speed of the format)
-the banned list
-and the presence of the commander which is card advantage and a source of consistency and another angle of attack. (changes the valuation of basic strategies and card choices very greatly depending on the decks)

The easiest way to port over would be just to try out the deck and feel for yourself its weaknesses to the format and replace the clunky cards with cards that allow you to fill the gaps in the strategy.
(For example, I wouldn't really advise using mindslaver unless you know your opponent's deck is control. So that slot could be a cheap removal instead to keep you in the game.)
Commander is similar in deck design but quite different in its pace and strategy.

Cube is actually an easier place to learn of the 100c Singleton format in retrospect but I can't be sure because I can only see from one direction in this case or rather I make decks knowing already what is important in each archetype from vigorous testing in the past.

Ah, I didn't even occur to me by Kumagoro42 at Sat, 11/10/2012 - 06:34
Kumagoro42's picture

Ah, it didn't even occur to me that we have 20 life here, while Commander 1v1 is still 40. That's probably the main game-changer.

Thanks for pointing out the differences! Just keep in mind in future articles that the likely majority of your readers will know Commander and they'll be inclined to use it as a starting point to understand 100CS.