Singleton. The name evokes a mysterious world where anything can happen. Copies of spells and non-basic lands are restricted to just one per deck. This restriction changes everything. From my years in Magic, I am passionate about this format and feel like it’s the truest format to what the game was intended to be, two casual decks slugging it out for kitchen table supremacy.
But what happens when you turn casual into competitive? In this case, Singleton 60 becomes a great format to level the playing field and I have seen both new players as well as old win tournaments. I have been hosting 60 card Singleton tournaments and I have to say it’s a great challenge for all the players involved and a memorable experience.
The first step in building a Singleton 60 deck is like any other, ask yourself “How will my deck win?” Just because you are restricted to only one of any given spell or non-basic land does not mean you can simply toss 60 random cards together and make your Singleton 60 deck win. Focusing your spells toward a goal is important. Aggro decks are easy to make and play well in this type of format. Control does almost as well. Combo decks are virtually impossible to run based on the restriction on how many copies you can run of necessary, game winning cards.
Because of this restriction, finding multiple cards with similar effects is key. My deck, which focuses on the fight mechanic has 12 different copies of spells, creatures and planeswalkers that have this mechanic or similar ability. Because of this I’m more likely to draw into a card that I will need. To find cards with similar mechanics, use Gatherer or a similar Magic search engine.
Because of this card restriction, finding cards that do multiple things is extremely helpful. Why play with just Giant Growth in your blue/green deck when you can also have Simic Charm? Not only does Simic Charm have have a similar effect as Giant Growth, it has two other different opportunities to be used for just one mana more. This versatility will give each card more power per spell which you will desperately need.
With that said, all of your creatures should have an extra ability if at all possible. Creatures with abilities add to your versatility giving you not only a creature but an ability you can pop off whenever the time is right. Reclamation Sage is a good example of this. At the very worst, you have a 2/1 creature. Why play Terror when you can play Nekrataal?
If you choose to play a deck with creature boosting spells, consider using equipment or enchantments over instants or sorcery spells. Again, having a source of constant boost has more value in this format than one time use spells. Every card you draw is valuable.
Because playing with creatures with abilities offers you to play with more creatures, why not? Every Singleton deck I own is nearly half creatures. Creatures offer a constant stream of damage output where burn spells, although good for blasting an offending opponent’s creature are not reliable source of constant damage.
Knowing you will be facing a vast amount of creatures in Singleton, finding spells that can destroy those creatures is important. This is why the previously mentioned Nekrataal is so good. It’s a creature that kills creatures. Other forms of removal can be just as powerful. Take my deck for example, Ambush Viper might as well be an instant that destroys any attacking non-flyer and Shock Troops has built in direct damage.
I wouldn’t recommend playing Combo decks but if you feel you must don’t overlook “Tutor” cards like Worldly Tutor. Tutor cards give you a virtual copy of any card in your deck that it can search for and are valuable in both Aggro and Control decks as well. If you do want a Combo deck, I would suggest making it a Plan B strategy, playing it if you are lucky enough to get it. Simple counter magic can ruin a deck with only one copy of a Combo card.
Don’t be afraid to try new things in Singleton 60. I have one deck dedicated to the fight mechanic as well as a deck with mostly morph creatures. I have also made decks which play multiple small creatures, then play a board wipe, then bring those creatures out of the graveyard to repeat. I have seen goblin decks and decks with life gain as a strategy. Because of the deck restrictions, the field is wide open for experimental decktypes. As of now, there is no large database of Singleton 60 decks or tournament reports to “netdeck” from so the field is wide open.
Over the years I have used Singleton 60 as a learning aid for newer players. Veteran players can make a Singleton deck and play with newer players without an imbalance of card power because new players usually have minimal instances of multiple copies of spells in their deck.
This format also is a budget solution to the megadecks we see in traditional formats that run four copies of expensive cards. With copy restrictions in place, decks are forced to play cheaper substitutes.
Give Singleton 60 some play time. You will not be disappointed.
Aiokii is one of the fiercest supporters of an official 60 card Singleton format. Contact the Paper Champion on Twitter or Facebook or message or post in the comments below. Also take the time to check out Reddit Budgetdecks for cheap Magic: the Gathering format and deck options.