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By: Tarmotog, Naoto Watabe
Jan 28 2008 1:44am
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Building a Singleton cardpool is easier than other formats. Why? You only need one of each card! You don't have to go through all the trouble to get four of this and four of that. Just one would suffice. That is good news for the "not so rich "players (myself included).

Here are some advice to those who want to grow their Singleton collection.

#1 Keep in touch with Magic (Online)

Simply by opening product, you will get cards that can be used in your Singleton decks. You don't even have to consciously make efforts to get the good cards. Just draft or play leagues and the bombs you open once in a while might have just a place in your deck. It is natural to have a bigger collection when you play limited online or when you buy cards to play in other formats.

Singleton benefits the most from consistent playing because you would not tend to get four of every card but you would tend to get at least one for every card in a set if you keep opening packs from the set. So you don't have to be a hardcore player to gather cards. Just maybe play a draft every now and then and you should have a decent amount of cards. 

 #2 Buy commons from bots

Bots are the best place to find commons. They provide cheap commons because players happily dump their spare cards there. People draft a lot online and this means there are a huge amount of cards floating around in collections. The commons you can find include Deep Analysis, Mana Leak, Llanowar Elves and other goodies. It is definitely more troublesome to actually try to casual trade for commons simply because you can obtain them so easily.

Many years ago, finding cards was so difficult even with the "new" trading bots. They simply sold good commons for too much. Like four for one ticket or eight for one ticket. Now-a-days they for for thirty two for one ticket, sixty four for one ticket. I'm not sure if they do 128 for one ticket but seriously, I would pay ten commons for a dollar. We can now buy so much for so little. Wow.

Even IPA commons do not cost so much anymore (with exceptions like Terminate, Armadillo Cloak and probably a handful of others). You can happily get a big chunk of good playables at a low rate. Build up your collection here.

(Editor's Note:  This is a shameless plug, but be aware that MTGOtraders.com has a free commons bot as well just /addbuddy MTGOtradersfreebot.  You can get thirty two cards from them once a month.)  


How much would you 
pay to see this ?
(Psychatog getting shocked)



#3 Buy cards using infobot as a guide

Infobot is a bot that allows you to find out the card prices from various traders all in a single request. First you type "/addbuddy infobot" into a normal chat box without the " ". Next, you open a chat with infobot and type "pc 10e pithing needle" for instance and it will show you how much a 10ed Pithing Needle costs on a few traders. Caps do not affect the search. 

Type "pc" in front of the card name. This means price check. If the card appears in various expansions, you will need to specify the specific set you are looking for. If I wanted a Saviors of Kamigawa version of Pithing Needle, I would type "pc sok pithing needle". The name need not always be the exact name but you want to accurately put the name so that you don't have to trial and error to find the card you need. Also, if you have no idea what the abbreviation of a set is, you can look into your collection and find it there.

Using infobot allow you to find out where you can find the best value for a card found on a bot. Individual sellers may sell at a lower price so it helps if you check the message boards as well. If you're lazy, the bots are always there for your shopping needs.

Pithing Needle

How much is one of these?


#4 Play "Magic Online only" (including older) sets too

People tend to shy away from "mtgo only" sets because these are unredeemable and they do not contribute to actually helping them to get better at playing the current sets or prepare for limited tournaments and such. 
Unredeemable sets are not that big a deal. Personally, I'd rather have my cards online because:

A) I don't have to dig into cards to make a deck
B) I can always play my favorite cards any time of the day as long as I have a connection and a computer
C) I can find cards or sell cards with greater ease than in real life

 It may not be easy to start, for example, a Mirage block draft but you could try to enter when you see there are four or more players at the draft queue. The packs from these not-so-popular sets may significantly cheaper to obtain than the mainstream packs. Plus, you get a chance to crack open cards like Vampiric Tutor, a card which you would never buy unless you have the resources to. It's also a good opportunity to play unfamiliar Magic.



For those of you who have never seen this,
this was given as a promotion during the 
launch of the Gleemax forums.

#5 Keep a lookout for promo cards and collect them

They once gave out Morphling, Serra Avatar and Sliver Queen in a promotion. These cards can be played in your Singleton deck! The more recent ones such as Kjeldoran Outpost or Braingeyser could be obtained by entering a Premier Event during the promotion period. These cards can surely be found from the bots but you could save up on the extra cost. Plus, some promos come in foils for top eights. (About 1/3 of Singleton PE players get into top eight. Just saying.)

To be fair, some promo cards do not fall into the promo page of your card collection. Ice Age block cards appeared online together with the Coldsnap Themedecks. I recommend getting the UW precon for the Brainstorm and Swords to Plowshares in it. There are other goodies to be found in these precon decks. Not everyone knows about this but I can't say it's a secret or anything.

Do keep your eyes peeled for such rare opportunities to get powerful cards. Hopefully we will have more of such gifts in the online world.

#6 Wait for prices of chase rares to stabilize

When Lorwyn came online, cards like Cryptic Command were about ten tickets each. Now the price has dropped to seven and should see a further dip by the end of Morningtide. Do pick them up then because they would rise again when Shadowmoor is out and everyone would no longer be playing Lorwyn. Some cards are difficult to predict but to put it bluntly, chase rares from the bigger set can be expected to drop so you can actually wait. Others from the second set can be bought during the third set as well. The third set is the biggest problem. You don't get to enjoy a price drop until the set actually rotates out of standard and third set cards tend to be very expensive.

My advice is to pick them up either at the end of the block before the next set hits or actually waiting till it rotates out, depending on how much you can wait. I do not like the idea of two mini-blocks coming up because we now have two third sets. Not literally but characteristically. We now have to get Morningtide cards at the end of it or the price would definitely rise after Shadowmoor's release. This means that Mutavault and friends are going to cost alot to obtain.

So you can...

Cryptic Command

#7 Spam newset-newset-newset drafts during the release weeks

Usually during the release events, you often see the drafts that are three packs from that set. For example, Morningtide would have MMM drafts. Try to play as many of these drafts to open as many packs from the new set as possible. This would allow you open the most number of packs from that set in the shortest amount of time. 

Also, the second set and third set packs are not going to be opened as much as the first set packs. Every draft means you open one pack of the second/tjhird set. You can imagine how many drafts you would have to play to get most of the cards from those sets.

Not only that, some sets lose popularity past the release period. Masters Edition had this problem as it was a "Magic Online only" set and mainstream drafters didn't bother much about it. To make the problem worse, Masters Edition draft was not a very fun format to play. So to actually get MED cards, you would have to either play alot during the release week, buy from bots, or get into leagues/ premier events that used the products.

Tip: Packs cost considerably less after a few days into the release period when people want to unload their winnings because the usual drafts do not require so many of the new product (unless it's the first set). Use this opportunity to get cheaper drafts.

#8 Buy good deals

What I mean by good deals are like when somebody tries to liquify some powerful cards, that would usually cost more, at a lower price. Old cards have spiked in prices and fell. Cards to look out for are like fetchlands, Fact or Fiction and wishes. These expensive cards are sold lower than the "market rate" every once in awhile. If you see such deals in the auction or the message boards, I would think that it would be worth getting them because you don't really have the chance to stumble across such deals everyday.

These cards really cost alot and that is even more reason for you to go through the trouble to buy them when they come cheap. The drop could be like two to even four tickets off the market price. Even Force of Wills had good deals at thirteen once upon a time and I totally didn't try because I didn't have tix then. (It's never too late to regret.)

I think that when you find something rare, you should just go through the trouble to secure it.

Fact or Fiction

Look out for these.

Pernicious Deed

I didn't mean this overly extravagant 
card but if you can, by all means.

#9 Indulge in powerful cards every once in awhile

Once in awhile, when you have the urge, do not really refrain from buying the card you've been wanting to get. Great cards would really affect the quality of the decks you can make.

For a very long time, I've always wanted an Exalted Angel. She costs six to seven tickets. I only very recently bought mine and I am very impressed with her. Although she wasn't on my priority list, I do say I have no regrets in getting a copy.

Unfortunately, there are many great cards that are rather costly. Even so, we should try to get some of these cards to improve our decks. Nothing beats the satisfaction of casting a card you've put resources into getting and watching it do its thing. 

Cards are expensive for certain reasons. A two mana 6/7 is not something you can muster out of the blue. It's always great to be the one with it than the one facing it.

#10 Invest in staples when you have the resources to

Staples like Counterspell and Duress should be obtained as soon as possible. They make decks alot better than many a times. The more important staples in my opinion are the lands. Pain lands are now cheap. Get them before they rise again. Seriously.

Get fetchlands and shocklands as the next priority because they can fit into almost every deck you can set your mind on. If you really can't churn out resources for the Onslaught fetchlands, you could always start with the Mirage fetchlands. They may be slower but they definitely are a smaller burden on the wallet.

Lands like the Lorwyn lands are also quite cheap. I believe that once Shadowmoor comes, these lands will rise. You have to admit that these lands are rather reasonable. In the worst case scenario, they mirror the invasion "come into play tapped" lands. Get lands at the best times because lands are the cards that really change in prices with the season.

River of Tears for example was a good card to get before Lorwyn. It's now relatively much higher than it once was. Pain lands really shot up in the past standard season where good decks that used the respective pain lands really drove the prices up, even doubling in some cases.


Adarkar Wastes

### ### ### ### ### ### ### ###

What you should always look out for:

### ### ### ### ### ### ### ###


Mana is the foundation of any deck. Always pick up lands across the different sets because every piece allows you to make your decks more consistent or just do crazy things like animating and turning sideways. New lands are always showing up in reasonable amounts across all rarities. People tend to neglect lands simply because they don't look like they do much but lands take up near forty percent of the slots in a deck. Cool cards may or may not be in your deck but cool lands can almost always find their place in every deck that require the same type of mana requirements.

Last words:

Building a complete Singleton card pool will take quite a bit of time and resources. My advice is to take things slowly and get the cards during the expected best price period rather than immediately. You don't have to rush into getting all the cards immediately but do try to get some cards when they are at their all time low because some just rise in price in time. Not all card prices can be predicted accurately so just follow the trend to spot the "low times".

Some cards like Tarmogoyf simply rose as time went by. I bought one during the season each season where I knew I had to get one to keep up with times. I never knew it would ever cost the thirty tickets it fetches now. I suppose I was lucky or I just felt that it was a card that was going to be very hot. Still, I only have one of it so it would almost be impossible for me to transition into the mainstream formats with a deck with goyfs. However, I'm pretty much in contention to make many singleton decks as it is now.

Plan into the long term and start gathering your cards today!


OMG by Anonymous(Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 12/19/2008 - 17:22
Anonymous(Unregistered)'s picture


by one million words at Tue, 01/29/2008 - 18:24
one million words's picture

Every so often, I have found people selling complete sets, especially out-of-standard sets, for reasonable prices.  I once bought an every-Onslaught-common set, plus some extras, for $1, and bought a complete set of 7th edition for $80 or so.  If you are looking for cards for singelton decks, a complete set can be a great investment.   Look for the ones with good lands first: Seventh has painlands and City of Brass, Onslaught has fetchlands, Ravnica block sets have new duals.

by Tarmotog at Tue, 01/29/2008 - 20:57
Tarmotog's picture

Thanks.. I guess usually the best time to buy cards are when they rotate out of standard. Prices usually fall then and stabilize in like after a month of rotation. It's best not to buy cards that have suddenly spiked in their prices because the spike is usually caused by others also wanting to pick them up immediately in fear of a permanent price hike. You're right about the extended season. I think that cards in extended have the largest change in prices. If you are the type of player, like me, who likes to make new decks that are similar to those that suddenly pop out at the pro tour, you should keep you eyes glued to the coverage. Usually, the very techy cards will be revealed mid coverage and the bots do not react immediately. So once you get hold of information, strike while the iron is hot. Cards like Grand arbiter augustin IV or ichorid didn't have time to react and they could be gotten cheap. Once the news went out, the prices jumped at least 3 times. o_0

by iceage4life at Tue, 01/29/2008 - 12:38
iceage4life's picture

I think this article was a good start on how to work on your collection for Singleton.  One thing I wish it had was a little more advice on when to buy what.  For instance right now is a bad time to buy ONS sac lands because they have gone up in price thanks to Extended season.  Same goes for Chrome Mox, Shackles, etc.

Right now I would stay away from expensive Ext cards which will go down in two months or so.  Card from before MD5 will go down even more this Fall though that is kinda far off.

But good stuff keep up the Singleton articles!