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Goldfish Gladiators: Five-Color Superfriends (Arena Singleton)


Welcome to Goldfish Gladiators, a new series with a twist: rather than taking place on Magic Online, Goldfish Gladiator is focused on Magic Arena. This week, we are trying something a little bit different. Not that long ago, Magic Arena added a brand new format: Singleton! While it uses the Standard card pool, it has a huge twist: you can only play a maximum of one copy of each non-basic land card in your deck. The end result is a format that feels like a strange mixture of Standard and Brawl but is actually a ton of fun, in large part because the metagame is wide open, with people playing everything from Singleton versions of tier Standard decks like UW Control and Mono-Red to ultra-janky strategies like Four-Color Panharmonicon or Singleton Muldrotha. 

So, what are we bringing to battle in this new format? Five-Color Superfriends, of course! One of the challenges of building a singleton deck is overcoming variance. It's hard to build a Panharmonicon deck in Singleton because you only get one copy of Panharmonicon and there's a risk that at least in some games, it will be at the very bottom of your deck and you'll never draw it. Playing a ton of planeswalkers is a good way to overcome this variance because while some planeswalkers are better than others, in some sense, all planeswalkers are interchangeable, generating card advantage from the battlefield, being difficult for opponents to deal with, and eventually winning the game if they manage to stick around long enough to ultimate. How does Five-Color Superfriends work in Arena Singleton? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll have some thoughts on the deck and the format.

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Goldfish Gladiators: Five-Color Superfriends (Arena Singleton)

The Deck

  • First, as far as the record, Five-Color Superfriends was great! We managed to hit the seven-win mark to get maximum prizes, finishing 7-2. 
  • The basic theory of Five-Color Superfriends in Singleton is simple: reduce variance as much as possible. As a result, apart from the lands, our cards break down into a few easy groups: planeswalkers, removal, and ramp. While we can only play one copy of Servant of the Conduit (for example), if we also play one Drover of the Mighty, one Naga Vitalist, and one Channeler Initiate, it's basically the same as if we had an entire playset of Servant of the Conduit. Even though all of the cards are slightly different, they still serve the same purpose: ramping us on Turn 2.
  • We played some absurd games with the deck, with our win against Four-Color Panharmonicon—where we activated planeswalkers something like 10 times in one turn—being a highlight. Since a decent number of our planeswalkers draw us a card, it's really easy for the deck to spiral out of control once we get one or two planeswalkers on the battlefield, since they keep drawing us more planeswalkers and more removal to eventually close out the game. 
  • Otherwise, there isn't much to say about the deck itself: the mana can be risky if we don't draw our ramp / fixing cards, but the power level is extremely high, and Five-Color Superfriends does a great job of minimizing the variance inherent in the Singleton format. So, rather than rambling on about the deck, let's take a minute to talk about the Singleton format.

The Format

  • Heading into our tournament, I wasn't really sure what to expect from Singleton, but it ended up being a ton of fun. While we did run into a handful of people playing Singleton versions of tier Standard decks, we played something like eight different decks in our nine matches, so if you are tired of endlessly grinding against Red Aggro and Ux Control in Standard proper, Singleton seems like a great option for playing against a wider variety of decks.
  • The other big upside of Singleton is that it relieves some of the pressure from Magic Arena's lacking wildcard system. While it's extremely hard to get a playset of rares and mythics without a ton of grinding or spending real money, the combination of drafting and individual card rewards from tournaments makes it somewhat easier to get one copy of a lot of different cards. Since you can only play one of a card in Singleton, the format seems designed with free-to-play grinders in mind. 
  • All in all, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Singleton on Magic Arena. I figured it would be a weird, fringe format that I might try once, but after playing against a ton of different, weird decks and having some insane games of Magic, I definitely plan on giving the format another go in the future. 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. What do you think of Arena Singleton? Is it a format you'd like to see featured against on Goldfish Gladiators? What other formats or features of Magic Arena should we explore in the future? Let me know in the comments! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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