Tarmotog's picture
By: Tarmotog, Naoto Watabe
Jun 16 2008 2:31am
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Please Join the 2X Singleton Premier Event?

For the past few weeks ever since the Premier Events have returned, I have been trying to get into the Singleton Premier Event. Unfortunately, it has yet to actually commence. So I end up burning my nights away because it starts at 3am in my local time.

There is a problem with the Intentional Draw system so people can't secure their top 8 slots but I hope that is not the reason why people are not interested in participating.

Did the usual people not make the transition from V2 to V3?

It's good payout for a small group of people competing for it. 2x payout for 24-30 people? A third to a quarter of the people makes top 8! It's not easy to find such a good tournament. Really. Please play in it when the normal Premier Events come back up. I promise you that a decent deck has a chance at winning.

Morningtide and Singleton

As the coming of Shadowmoor marks the end of Morningtide on MTGO, I have yet to see how much Morningtide cards have managed to impact the format besides the obvious few chase rares making the maindeck because of the Singleton PE drought with V3 and the stoppage of replays from V2. The release of V3 somewhat put MTGO into a time machine and drained away real time out of it, leaving us wondering if we have touched enough of Morningtide and Lorwyn as we would have otherwise.

From Morningtide:

Mutavault is definitely better than I thought it would be because of its synergies with creature types. Putting it alongside Blinkmoth Nexus and Mishra's Factory is cool when these two can actually pump the changeling land.

Bitterblossom is a really strong card that gives UB strategies more reason to actually play creatures that can deal with multiple threats over a long period of time like Meloku the Clouded Mirror and even the less remembered Morphling whose popularity dropped with the introduction of Sudden Death but I think now is a good time for it to make a comeback since Sudden Death is not as widely played anymore.

Back to Singleton, I think that the overall biggest winner from over the recent few sets is most likely the mono red burn deck.

Why it wins the most because of cards like Ghitu Encampment and Mogg Fanatic from Xed, Fireblast from Visions, Mishra's Factory, Ball Lightning and Lightning Bolt from MED, Rift Bolt from TSP, Keldon Marauders from Planar Chaos and Shard Volley and Mutavault from Morningtide.

I like to play burn deck because it amazes me how it manages to win despite being a deck that has existed since the beginning of Magic but I have hardly played it until recently. I slowly realised that the burn deck was good because of the introduction of man lands online. By having access to manlands, the red deck could dish out damage without even casting a spell. As long as they could deal uncounterable damage first, they can slowly unload the rest of the burn later on and win. Otherwise, burn decks would have to rely on mostly just burn spells to win and that wouldn't be enough too without the good burn spells slowly introduced to the online world.

Ghitu Encampment


Goblins definitely benefitted the most from Morningtide but not many people play goblins now. Patriarch's Bidding is still the most obscene card you can cast in the deck. I have a list but I'm not very satisfied with it, especially with the mana base. I'll probably come up with something in good in the future. So much for the supposed winner of Morningtide.

Tarmotog's Deck of Choice

With the closure of the season (if there was any at all), I reveal the deck that I would have played in the Premier Event for the past few weeks. It is definitely a pity that I didn't get to win sanctioned games with it because I, like any other person, would have really wanted to win at least a few games in the PE. For that reason I made the Tarmotog account (I'm still 1600). Enough of my personal ranting...

Here's the maindeck:

Tarmotog's Ramp.dek

Coiling Oracle
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Eternal Witness
Wood Elves
Yavimaya Dryad
Vendilion Clique
Venser, Shaper Savant
Body Double
Seedborn Muse
Siege-Gang Commander
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Bogardan Hellkite
Greater Gargadon

Garruk Wildspeaker

Sword of Light and Shadow

Wild Growth
Utopia Sprawl
Fertile Ground

Nature's Lore
Merchant Scroll
Kodama's Reach
Primal Command

Pact of Negation
Cryptic Command
Mystical Teachings
Fact or Fiction
Gifts Ungiven
Careful Consideration
Force of Will

Wooded Foothills
Windswept Heath
Flooded Strand
Polluted Delta
Bloodstained Mire
Temple Garden
Steam Vents
Breeding Pool
Stomping Ground
Grove of the Burnwillows
Shivan Reef
Yavimaya Coast
Murmuring Bosk
Lotus Vale
Simic Growth Chamber
Izzet Boilerworks
Gruul Turf
3 Forest
2 Island
1 Mountain
1 Plains

Garruk Wildspeaker

+1: Untap 2 lands

-( I can't believe I can reproduce the entire list without refering to the deck at all.)

Before I go on, I would have had Living Wish in place of the maindeck Primal Command but Living Wish doesn't work properly on V3 which is why my SB would obviously look different from what it would look like with the Living Wish. This maindeck is the one I would have played so that I don't get wrecked by my own Living Wish.

Highlights of the Deck

The most powerful part of the deck is the existence of the 2 infinite combos in it. Simply being lucky with the combos can win some unexpected games.

Infinite Combo #1

Pestermite + Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker

How it works: Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker makes a copy of Pestermite. The copy comes into play and untaps Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. One loop gives you a 2/1 flying haste blue faerie.
Repeat until you are satisfied with the number of attackers, attack for the win. 
(Refer to the picture below if you can't picture it mentally.)

Comments: I first saw this in PV's Sea stompy deck on magic-league website during the extended season and I knew I wanted to pull it off too. Fortunately, this is one of the decks that can actually pull it off.

Infinite Combo #2

Reveillark + Body Double + Greater Gargadon

How it works: You need a Greater Gargadon suspended, both Reveillark and Body Double but not both in hand. As long as you have Greater Gargadon suspended, you can activate the ability to remove a time counter by sacrificing a creature. You don't actually remove the time counter until you let the "remove a time counter" ability resolve. Sacrificing is a cost and the "remove a time counter" ability goes on the stack.Therefore, you can sacrifice a creature as many times as you want until you let all the activated abilities resolve and after all time counters are removed, you will have to cast Greater Gargadon.

*Reminder*- Hold the ctrl key when executing this so that you don't let the "remove a time counter" ability resolve immediately.

 You want to sacrifice Reveillark and return Body Double from the graveyard copying it (you get back another creature with power 2 and below too). Sacrificing the Body Double copying Reveillark allows you to return Body Double itself and another creature with power 2 and below. 

This works even if your opponent has Reveillark in his graveyard too. So if your opponent has Reveillark in his graveyard, you need Body Double and Greater Gargadon to go through the loop.

Drawback: Doing this combo requires to finish on the same turn so you cannot draw cards, discard and continue on the next turn.

Comments: I found Greater Gargadon to help the combo but it's main function was actually to let dying creatures have a use because I expected many creatures to be dying in this deck. It's now rather hyped up now since 2 decks spotting it made top eight in the Pro Tour. I don't understand why people think Reveillark deck in standard is really good when Faerie Macabre exists in the format. Nullifying a Reveillark trigger is quite devastating (when playing aggro) in my opinion but not many Faerie Macabres were spotted in the Pro Tour. Time would prove me wrong I guess. 

Fact of the Day: The special part about the two combos is that the Reveillark combo can actually support the Pestermite combo, making it much more powerful than it would have been otherwise.

How does the deck work?

The deck is made to abuse interaction with Garruk Wildspeaker that is able to untap 2 lands. In fact, the deck works only because the mana base is able to spit out correct mana. Otherwise, how is it possible to cast Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Cryptic Command in the same deck? (This amazes people, myself included.)

The best lands to untap are obviously those with auras stickered onto them, karoo lands and the highly underused Lotus Vale. This is a short term plan I guess. After Tempest comes out with Wasteland, these lands will become the biggest victims. On one hand, I'd rather not see Wasteland but I do want to see Ancient Tomb. Sadly, I expect Wasteland to be heavily played in the format. This is probably the only time Lotus Vale can shine well in a deck until Urza's Legacy comes with the "untap target permanent" card and more Twiddle variants come out in the future and I can make a Twiddle-Mind's Desire deck.

Playing like mana ramp, the deck spends its early turns trying to amass mana and starts to unload high quality cards. The best card to aid in the unloading strategy is Seedborn Muse because having it in play allows you to play big spells on both your turn and your opponent's turn, almost like buying a turn every turn.

Lotus Vale

What I like about this deck is the fact that Pact of Negation and Force of Will are in it. They can protect important spells and disrupt your opponent when he least expects it. It's the bare minimum amount of protection without disrupting the deck's basic functions.

The strongest part of the deck is the fact that it can abuse Gifts Ungiven (the best card in Singleton) very well. Merchant Scroll finds Gifts Ungiven and a resolved Gifts Ungiven is almost a game won against most mid-ranged decks.

For example, Gifts Ungiven for Reveillark, Body Double, Pestermite, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker is quite tough to beat.

Other strengths of the deck include its really high resilience towards hate directed at specific strategies of the deck. There isn't any hate card I am particularly concerned with. Even Gaddock Teeg is not very threatening after the post sideboard deck geared towards creature hate unless Gaddock Teeg pops out in a totally different strategy from beating with creatures. It draws a large volume of cards easily so you can easily recover from a poor board (but with lands) or a poor hand.

The deck components interact with each other easily too.

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker works with more than half the creatures in the deck and the deck has a significant number of cards that can be cast at instant speed to let you you do something with Seedborn Muse's untap ability.

Overall, this deck is good for players who can make optimal choices because it is not easy to recover in a game if you don't play as though you know what you can/will topdeck.

Weakness of the Deck

The deck as you can tell after looking at the list, is weakest at the mana base as the whole deck revolves around the fact that the mana will work for you. Attacking lands is really going to hurt in this deck. I can't think of a proper plan against land destruction now unless I put in cheap counter magic post board. 

Also, it has no board sweepers. A horde of small creatures can be really troublesome especially without cards like Wall of Roots or Shriekmaw/ Flametongue Kavu in the maindeck. For that reason, my sideboard plan is to jam pack cards that can fight aggressive decks. 

In the end, I am still very vulnerable to attacks aimed at lands. I wanted to play this deck speculating that I wouldn't face decks that attack the mana base.

Changes from the old version

Initial versions of the deck abused cards like Magus of the Candelabra and Emerald Charm to untap lands to boost mana but they were removed because of their narrow applications.

The biggest change in my opinion is the change from Sword of Fire and Ice to Sword of Light and Shadow. I initially had Sword of Fire and Ice because it was an overall powerful card that could make use of the mana the deck can generate. However, I changed to Sword of Light and Shadow as an effort to fight Bitterblossom. Bogardan Hellkite getting blocked by a 1/1 faerie rogue token is very anti-climatic. After I made that change, I noticed that the abilities of Sword of Light and Shadow, particularly the second one that returns creatures, is in fact synergistic in my deck, being able to return powerful creatures like Mulldrifter or Eternal Witness. Having it in the deck makes Pestermite a very strong threat in itself.

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker can now target the card wearing the sword (when it previously couldn't.

I'm very satisfied with Sword of Light and Shadow and I would have never thought of it, being the "inferior sword" and all. Thanks Bitterblossom!

Sword of Light and Shadow

 A rather late addition to the deck was the very powerful "now-banned-in-Vintage" Brainstorm. Why it came late was because the deck was more focused on higher casting cost cards that even Sensei's Divining Top that would make my deck isn't even in this deck. Brainstorm came because I felt that its hiding effect was necessary for the deck. For this deck, different cards have different values at the different points in time. Being able to put away less useful cards is therefore important. Because of that, Brainstorm should be used more when really needed and not as and when you are able to but it's not a hard rule.

Mystical Teachings is really strong against any deck not aggro. If compared side by side with Primal Command, I would rather have Mystical Teachings in the maindeck because of its ability to get Pact of Negation, Gifts Ungiven Vendilion Clique on my opponent's turn.

Seedborn Muse and Rewind are the cards that make up for the mana consumption of this card. It lets you get out of tight situations too. The only regret I have is not having a Slaughter Pact in the main together with Mystical Teachings now but I don't really have space for that. Being able to search for a Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir post SB is really great too. and 

Although not a change, I want to make special mention on how good Vendilion Clique is in this deck because the deck can make use of all its properties well. 
1) It flies - it can pick up Sword of Light and Shadow and connect easily
2) It has power 3 - it can trade more effectively
3) It can snag a spell even at instant speed - this is really important against tutored cards or cards from Gifts UngivenFact or Fiction after they get the cards and are tapped out
Not many decks can support it because of its 1UU restrictive mana cost. It's a good anti-aggro, anti-control, anit-combo card but I don't have many decks with this card in it.

Mystical Teachings

Also in the initial build were Chandra Nalaar and Mystic Snake. Chandra Nalaar was in to test out how much the presence of a planeswalker affects the game. The outcomes were rather positive but there were some cases when Chandra Nalaar wasn't as good as expected so I didn't want to take such chances. Mystic Snake was in the deck for obvious interactions with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker but it didn't seem good enough to be in the deck because I couldn't think why I would want a bear stuck on a 4 mana Counterspell.

Future Changes

Coiling Oracle is on my consideration list because it is not as good as it looks but it's currently in the maindeck because it can help boost mana count 40% of the time and it can combo together with the Reveillark combo to draw your deck. Sometimes people mention that blue cards are Force of Will food which makes them good. Probably, but I have yet to remove Coiling Oracle to a Force of Will until now.

Wall of Roots seems like a good candidate for mana producing, blocking creatures and it can also provide infinite green mana with the Reveillark combo. (Seriously, I hate doing the Reveillark combo because it takes so long. People should just scoop. Or they should program loops that repeat the same move unless your opponent does something .)

A change I have been considering is adding Mountain no #2 to aid in casting Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker in place of Temple Garden or Murmuring Bosk. These 2 cards (garden and bosk) are giving me a headache because I cannot decide which I want to use or whether or not I want both in the deck. Murmuring Bosk is good because with it, I can flashback Mystical Teachings without using Lotus Vale or Fertile Ground. However, Murmuring Bosk comes into play tapped because I don't play any treefolks or changelings.

With Shadowmoor coming out, there will definitely be a large number of changes at the land level and the card selection. Murderous Redcap is a new guy I want to fit into the deck. I'm on the fence about Kitchen Finks because it doesn't have power 2 or less for Reveillark interaction. I will need to do alot of testing before I can come up with a proper answer.


Combo Combo in Rainbow Stairwell (because I think Sensei sensei is also bad naming for a deck)

Note: Rainbow stairwell is a Singleton format that requires you to have cards of casting costs 1 to 6 (1 of each) of all 5 colors in Magic and artifacts. That makes 6x6= 36.
Lands are 4 of each basic land and 4 non-basic lands of your choice. 6x4= 24. 
24(lands)+36(nonlands)=60 (legal deck)
No hybrid (you won't get many friends from Shadowmoor) or split cards.

Anyway, here is a list of a combo deck featuring the same 2 infinite combos used. The big difference is that you tend to win more with the combo because you don't have to worry much about specific answers because there is a big lack of them in this format.

Here is the decklist:

Combo Combo in
Rainbow Stairwell
(I call it rainbow
stairwell - lark.dek)
Worldly Tutor
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Civic Wayfinder
Greater Good
Indrik Stomphowler
Deadwood Treefolk 
Weathered Wayfarer
Momentary Blink
Mirror Entity
Breath of Life
Austere Command
Mystical Tutor
Merchant Scroll
Gifts Ungiven
Body Double
Draining Whelk 
4 Plains
4 Forests
4 Island
4 Mountain
4 Swamp
Lotus Vale
Krosan Verge
Thawing Glaciers
City of Brass

Mogg Fanatic
Tin Street Hooligan
Goblin Sharpshooter
Avalanche Riders
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Godo, Bandit Warlord

Vampiric Tutor
Grim Harvest
Nantuko Husk
Makeshift Mannequin
Phyrexian Delver
Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni
Sensei's Divining Top
Spawning Pit
Sword of Light and Shadow
Solemn Simulacrum
Mind's Eye

How to play:

Step 1: Search for Gifts Ungiven

Step 2: Cast and find Nantuko Husk, Reveillark, Body Double and Breath of Life

Step 3: Win by combo-ing out. In this case, you will have to beat with a gigantic Nantuko Husk. Otherwise, having Mogg Fanatic or Solemn Simulacrum or Triskelion wins. (For Solemn Simulacrum to win, you draw until you hit Triskelion or Mogg Fanatic, either cast or discard and combo out again.)

What about the rest of the deck? You play the rest of the deck when you somehow can't do the winning steps.

Does it win? It wins if you get your mana out. The deck can be tuned much more but somehow Rainbow Stairwell games are not very common and I don't think I can get enough games to tune the deck after pulling off the same combos again and again.

Nothing much to elaborate on because most cards that don't serve an obvious purpose are probably just fillers or support cards.


End of Tarmotog Special

Reveillark is good but Gifts Ungiven is the hands down best card in the format. Any deck that can have a reason to play it should play it. Don't trust me on this. (Cos I don't like it when other people cast Gifts Ungiven. It resolving makes me feel like I'm losing most of the time.)

Everything aside, until next time, this is Tarmotog sharing his Singleton decks (you won't get my personal decks very often) with you.

E-mails can be sent to tarmotog@hotmail.com.

Reminder: Play in the Singleton PE!


Special Notice:


Mana Crypt in MED II due September ?!? Mana Crypt in Singleton!! Woot!

Tempest in December??

This year is going to be an exciting one.


by Jimb0v (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 06/18/2008 - 14:38
Jimb0v (Unregistered)'s picture

I cannot play in premier events without IDs, its just too big of a block of time.  I played these events religiously in v2.  If the system continues as is though it will be rare that I can play.

the shrines are definately by adeline112 at Fri, 10/15/2021 - 03:15
adeline112's picture

the shrines are definately meta. like 2/3rds of the decks i played today have them.

however. id like to se the expression on their faces when you confiscate their Honden of Night's Reach.

Cloudchaser Kestrel is another very versatile card for your 3 white drop. it can also make you go around protection from colors other than white.

Stonecloaker can definately be a good card in the right circumstances, like right before your 5/5 flyer gets struck by terror. i had it in my deck for awhile, i just found the Kestrel more useful overall. especially since i also run stormfront riders. which absolutely owns with cards like Sage Epityr, and Anarchist.

Did i hear anybody say recurring Tribal Lightning, Recollect or Call of the Herd?

world of solitaire