Modern Singleton Is a Sweet, Dynamic Format

Back in January, I introduced you all to Magic‘s hottest* new format: Modern Singleton. Last month, my buddy Trevor and I finally threw down with our 60-card, singleton Modern decks, and the results are in:

Modern Singleton is sweet!

We played roughly 12 games throughout the week I spent in Wisconsin. Most all of them were dynamic, fun, and full of interesting choices.

I ran a slightly modified version of my initial UR Twin list (I twiddled with my mana and swapped Pia and Kiran Nalaar for Crackling Drake). Trevor ran the following Abzan Midrange deck:

Modern Singleton Abzan Midrange
Click here to view this list on TappedOut.

Trevor’s deck included only a few banned cards: Deathrite Shaman, Stoneforge Mystic, and Umezawa’s Jitte. He cast each of them throughout our series, though only Deathrite Shaman got much of a chance to do anything. (I somehow managed to counter or Abrade his Jitte every game he found it.)

The Shaman stole Game 1, giving Trevor access to non-Red mana through my turn 3 Blood Moon. From there, Trevor cast a series of value-generating spells that slowly ground UR Twin into dust. I didn’t find the Splinter Twin combo, and I doubt I would’ve won the game even if I had.

In Game 2, however, Blood Moon did exactly what it was supposed to do.

Blood Moon Destroys Abzan Modern Singleton
Nice Mountains y’got there. They’ll definitely help you cast those gold cards.

After killing Warden of the First Tree and bouncing Liliana via Into the Roil, I won Game 2 fairly easily. From there, our series got a bit more interesting:

Siege Rhino - Matt Plays Magic
Sometimes, Unsummon-ing Siege Rhino is still the right play. I think I won that game, even.
  • Treasure Cruise is a heck of a card. In a typical game of Modern, Abzan is almost always favored after exchanging a bunch of resources against Blue-Red. That’s less true when the Izzet player can draw three new cards for one mana. Between Cruise, Dig Through Time, and my Planeswalkers, I was able to crawl back into a couple games I seemed unlikely to win.
  • Wandering Fumarole may be my deck’s secret MVP. It was able to trade with or block Trevor’s man-lands many times and even attacked for lethal in one game.
  • Umezawa’s Jitte was always scary to see. I managed to get rid of it each time it hit the battlefield, but if it had connected even once via a Spirit or Faerie token, I think I would have lost those games immediately.
  • On a related topic, Lingering Souls and Scavenging Ooze still gave my Blue-Red deck fits. Throughout the course of our games, I decided I’m likely running at least one too many lands … I’m probably going to swap an Island for Engineered Explosives to handle tokens more easily.
  • I was really excited to see some of the unconventional cards Trevor fit into his deck. Warden of the First Tree did decent work as an aggressive beater, and Glint-Sleeve Siphoner was quite annoying across multiple games. Menace does work.

What’s Next for Modern Singleton

Overall, Trevor and I had a great time both playing and talking about Modern Singleton.

Modern Singleton Praise
If a format sustains your attention enough to keep thinking about it the next day, there’s probably something to it …

I won more games than Trevor throughout our series, but we both agree that likely wouldn’t hold true across a large sample size. Still, the banned Blue cards I was playing are very good – so good that Trevor thinks most everyone who plays Modern Singleton should probably be playing Blue.

I don’t know that I agree with Trevor’s assessment, but I can say each Treasure Cruise, Preordain, Ponder, and Dig Through Time that I cast felt very good. I’m unlikely to play a deck without those cards soon, though I think there’s an argument to be made for creature decks that eschew them.

If you have someone to play with, I’d definitely recommend giving Modern Singleton a try! Neither of our decks felt super broken, despite including multiple banned Modern cards, and most all our games included unique interactions that you likely wouldn’t find in a more traditional format. Singleton is also a great excuse to build decks that include cards you love – but might not be good enough for Modern proper.

If you give Modern Singleton a try, definitely let us know what you think. You can find me here (via the comments below) or on Twitter as @mat_ledge; you can find Trevor as @Red4Win1. We’d love to see your decklists and hear about your sweet Modern Singleton matches.


*Okay, so Modern Singleton’s not Magic‘s hottest new format. You caught me, and I feel bad. Are you happy?!?

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