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:
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.
- I finally got to cast my Jace the Mind Sculptor! First as a four-mana Brainstorm that immediately died to Maelstrom Pulse, and second as the most feel-bad Unsummon ever. But I cast him!
- 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.
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?!?