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League Season 4
Status: ended
Play Testing
Find play testers and see the play test guantlet here

Pauper Standard Singleton Sign-Off
Round 4 of the 2010 Common Sense league season was the largely unheard of Pauper Standard Singleton format.This proved to be the most popular round of recent times and was fiercely contested. It also was a showcase of creativity, with successful builds in both established and rogue archetypes. You genuinely never knew what decks to expect, and due to the randomness of singleton, no situation was ever completely desperate, making for some epic comebacks.

The top 5 players in the round have kindly agreed to share their best deck lists with us, and I will now attempt to run you through what I think are the reasons why these are the most successful decks in the format.

Gruul Beats by ChrisMH77

Chris is causing a real stir in this, his rookie year in the league. After this round he has extended his lead in the season rankings and seems unstoppable. When I asked him about his deck he jokingly suggested his success was down to play skill with a sub-par deck! Let's see...


Gruul Beats
by ChrisMH77
Creatures 1 Centaur Courser 1 Daggerback Basilisk 1 Deadly Recluse 1 Deadshot Minotaur 1 Elvish Visionary 1 Ember Weaver 1 Emrakul's Hatcher 1 Gnarlid Pack 1 Goblin Shortcutter 1 Gorger Wurm 1 Kozilek's Predator 1 Nacatl Outlander 1 Nest Invader 1 Ondu Giant 1 Plated Geopede 1 Rhox Brute 1 Rip-Clan Crasher 1 Stomper Cub 1 Thorn-Thrash Viashino 1 Torch Slinger 1 Valley Rannet 1 Wild Nacatl Other Spells 1 Branching Bolt 1 Burst Lightning 1 Colossal Might 1 Crusher Zendikon 1 Dragon Fodder 1 Explore 1 Flame Slash 1 Growth Spasm 1 Lightning Bolt 1 Rampant Growth 1 Resounding Thunder 1 Searing Blaze 1 Staggershock 1 Vastwood Zendikon 1 Vines of Vastwood 1 Violent OutburstLands 1 Evolving Wilds 8 Forest 1 Jund Panorama 8 Mountain 1 Naya Panorama 1 Teetering Peaks 1 Terramorphic Expanse 1 Turntimber Grove

In any multicolour deck it's vital to fix your mana sources. In addition to 2 utility ability lands, Chris has included 16 basics, a variety of land fixing spells, landcycling abilities, 4 fetchlands, and 4 ways of making eldrazi spawn tokens. This all adds up to around half of the deck devoted to getting or making mana. A third of the deck are creatures or zendikons, to which we add 6 ways of making token creatures, effectively free byproducts of other spells. A lot of the creatures are big and have trample or first strike, and some scale up by landfall, devour or multikicker. Most have combat oriented abilities like protection, prevention of blocking, or cause damage when they come into the battlefield. While there are two defensive deathtouching creatures which seem a little out of place, it is clear that the deck wants to ramp up mana to accelerate out aggressive attackers in larger numbers than an opponent can handle, and deliver lethal damage to the opponent very quickly. The remaining spells either pump or burn, supporting the combat strategy by letting the pilot clear blockers or deliver direct damage to the opponent. The sideboard fills some gaps in the defenses against graveyard abuse, enchantments and artifacts, and removal. Also some alternative situational removal like leaf arrow (flyers) and heat ray (eldrazi). We've seen how this deck is focussed on causing large amounts of damage very quickly. This makes the most successful deck in the round aggro, not control or combo. Despite all the emphasis on mana ramp, if you examine the mana curve you find that three quarters of the cards can be played for 3 or less mana, which means you are always able to play all your cards and use all your mana to do so in the first 4 turns when it counts most. Chris's modest claims for the deck belie a careful construction greater than the sum of its not individually great parts.

Esper by Izzet Guildmage

If you know Izzet at all then you won't be surprised to see him in Esper colours. Not a great fan of standard formats he still shows his credentials by being our second placed player. While Chris bagged the full 20 matches allowed, Izzet began his push a little late into the round and stalled at 17 matches. Looking at his win rate of 82% compared to Chris's 80% it's likely he would have reached first place if he had started sooner! Let's see the deck.


by Izzet Guildmage
Creatures 1 Mnemonic Wall 1 Gravedigger 1 Kor Sanctifiers 1 Sea Gate Oracle 1 Calcite Snapper 1 Deft Duelist 1 Halimar Wavewatch 1 Merfolk Looter 1 Windrider Eel 1 Heartstabber Mosquito 1 Sanctum Gargoyle 1 Makindi Griffin 1 Esper Cormorants 1 Apex Hawks 1 Dawnglare Invoker 1 Talon Trooper 1 Cadaver Imp 1 Kor Skyfisher 1 Tidehollow Strix 1 Stormfront Pegasus 1 Knight of CliffhavenOther Spells 1 Wind Zendikon 1 Fieldmist Borderpost 1 Mistvein Borderpost 1 See Beyond 1 Divination 1 Deprive 1 Essence Scatter 1 Hindering Light 1 Soul Manipulation 1 Disfigure 1 Doom Blade 1 Agony Warp 1 Journey to Nowhere 1 Oblivion Ring 1 Last Kiss 1 Tomb HexLands 1 Rupture Spire 1 Esper Panorama 1 Evolving Wilds 1 Terramorphic Expanse 1 Quicksand 1 Halimar Depths 1 Bojuka Bog 1 Kabira Crossroads 6 Island 5 Plains 4 Swamp

I said it's vital to fix your mana sources, and here are three colours to support. Reflecting the increased difficulty we find fewer basic (15) and more non-basic land, 3 fetches, a rupture spire and ability lands in all 3 colours. Perhaps surprisingly there's room for a colourless land too, quicksand. Backing this up are borderposts. In total there are 'only' 25 cards directly involved with mana, and in fact a mere 23 mana sources. This seems a little low for a control deck where you might expect a couple more. The ability lands provide a life cushion and attack the opponent's graveyard. Perhaps it gets away with this with the ability to set up good draws from Halimar Depths, the 6 ways to draw more cards, and redundant ways to reuse those cards from play or from the graveyard. The remainder of this deck is composed of very high quality cards, not necessarily low cost, but powerful effects. There's a great suite of counters and removal that are able to keep the battlefield clear at all times. Agony warp, soul manipulation, journey and o-ring are all the best in their colours. Moving on to the creatures, they mostly have evasion (flying or landwalk) or else the ability to return a card from a zone, draw a card, destroy something or have shroud. The presence of dawnglare invoker should tell you that the builder of this deck expected to be able to resolve and protect that creature, and so assume complete control of the opponent, and the evidence is that he did. The sideboard comprises backup removal, life gain, counters, bounce or beef as appropriate to the match-up. This is a classic Esper control deck that employs the time honoured principles of goodstuff, card advantage and efficient management of game zones to succeed. like the previous deck it is capable of playing most of its cards for 3 or less mana, but is able to sink larger mana pools into bigger effects as the game progresses.

Jund by Finwe_de_Van

Only one won game behind Izzet Guildmage and also stuck on 17 matches was international man of mystery Finwe_de_Van (he hails from Milan, and is currently resident in Southampton). He brewed up yet a third deck of awesomeness...


by Finwe_de_Van
Creatures 1 Borderland Ranger 1 Cadaver Imp 1 Carrion Thrash 1 Giant Scorpion 1 Goblin Outlander 1 Gravedigger 1 Grazing Gladehart 1 Heartstabber Mosquito 1 Kathari Bomber 1 Nacatl Outlander 1 Pilgrim's Eye 1 Plated Geopede 1 Putrid Leech 1 Rhox Brute 1 Torch Slinger 1 Valley Rannet 1 Viscera Dragger 1 Zulaport EnforcerOther Spells 1 Absorb Vis 1 Blightning 1 Corrupted Zendikon 1 Crusher Zendikon 1 Disfigure 1 Doom Blade 1 Dragon Fodder 1 Executioner's Capsule 1 Expedition Map 1 Grim Discovery 1 Lightning Bolt 1 Magma Spray 1 Mind Rot 1 Rampant Growth 1 Relic of Progenitus 1 Resounding Thunder 1 Staggershock 1 TerminateLands 1 Bojuka Bog 1 Evolving Wilds 3 Forest 1 Grixis Panorama 1 Jund Panorama 1 Khalni Garden 5 Mountain 1 Piranha Marsh 1 Quicksand 1 Rupture Spire 6 Swamp 1 Teetering Peaks 1 Terramorphic Expanse

I think Fin attempted to cram in every possible land, but significantly he used 24, plus 6 land tutoring/recycling effects, land is central to this deck. To some extent the cards here care about land, either from landfall, or level up or being zendikons (which I should remark on as each of the 3 decks so far has a least 2). Again we see card quality, notably Putrid Leech and Blightning. Again we find ramp and removal, graveyard removal and some lifegain. This deck also has a low mana curve with possiblities to sink mana into scalable effects. I'd typify this one as a mid-range aggro/control deck, seeking not only to control the battlefield, attack the life total, but also to disrupt with a bit of discard, especially after boarding (the board seems to offer a variety of transformational options including lifegain, discard and the awesome Eldrazi Crusher). The Absorb Vis was used to devastating effect against myself, luring me in to an all out attack before snatching victory from my jaws. Curse you Absorb Vis!

Rakdos by Wildman4420

Just for once the Wildman was not top of the participation table. He does clock up 5 more season points for being fourth. Black/Red is a much loved combination for our clan Captain, and we see it here. Despite being two thirds of the colours of the last deck, this has a 20% lower win ratio, and I think Wildman's lack of confidence is to blame. He really can do better.


Rakdos Beats
by Wildman4420
Creatures 1 Battle-Rattle Shaman 1 Blood Seeker 1 Cadaver Imp 1 Crypt Ripper 1 Dread Warlock 1 Dregscape Zombie 1 Emrakul's Hatcher 1 Giant Scorpion 1 Goblin Bushwhacker 1 Gravedigger 1 Heartstabber Mosquito 1 Hissing Iguanar 1 Jagwasp Swarm 1 Kathari Bomber 1 Kiln Fiend 1 Monstrous Carabid 1 Null Champion 1 Pilgrim's Eye 1 Plated Geopede 1 Pulse Tracker 1 Sewn-Eye Drake 1 Viscera DraggerOther Spells 1 Blightning 1 Burst Lightning 1 Disentomb 1 Disfigure 1 Dragon Fodder 1 Duress 1 Grim Discovery 1 Hideous End 1 Lightning Bolt 1 Raid Bombardment 1 Resounding Thunder 1 Sign in Blood 1 Staggershock 1 VendettaLands 1 Bojuka Bog 1 Evolving Wilds 1 Grixis Panorama 1 Jund Panorama 9 Mountain 1 Piranha Marsh 1 Quicksand 8 Swamp 1 Terramorphic Expanse

24 lands, tick. Another mid-range deck but with some nice round-the-corner damage possibilities from Hissing Iguanar and Raid Bombardment backed up by generous token creature production. I can only assume that the lack of mana development is not compensated for by the increased consistency of one less colour. Also, needs more Zendikons ;-) The curve is also a little bit flat, with possibly too many cards at both 1 cost and 4 and above. The board is of the more-where-that-came-from variety rather than fill-the-gaps.

5 Colour Exalted by JMason

My deck. I have a confession to make, I experimented with 4 or 5 different decks, particularly a Boros one that lost 6 straight matches. My most successful build was a blue black Dimir control build which is too boring to describe being typical of its ilk (I did like the effect of Tempest Owl which was my poor mans Invoker). In the playtesting prior to the tournament I had been impressed by a potent but erratic 5 color Ally based deck that Sardofkc brewed up, and I wanted to see if 5 colour could be made more consistent. This deck based on exalted won most of its matches...


5 Colour Exalted
by JMason
Creatures 1 Borderland Ranger 1 Carrion Thrash 1 Court Archers 1 Deadshot Minotaur 1 Deft Duelist 1 Druid of the Anima 1 Ethercaste Knight 1 Etherium Abomination 1 Glassdust Hulk 1 Kor Skyfisher 1 Llanowar Elves 1 Matca Rioters 1 Oran-Rief Recluse 1 Pilgrim's Eye 1 Putrid Leech 1 Qasali Pridemage 1 Rhox Bodyguard 1 Sigiled Behemoth 1 Steward of Valeron 1 Tempest Owl 1 Vectis Agents 1 Waveskimmer Aven 1 Wild LeotauOther Spells 1 Adventuring Gear 1 Agony Warp 1 Armillary Sphere 1 Branching Bolt 1 Doom Blade 1 Drag Down 1 Exploding Borders 1 Harrow 1 Khalni Heart Expedition 1 Lightning Bolt 1 Mysteries of the Deep 1 Terminate 1 Vines of Vastwood 1 Wretched BanquetLands 1 Bant Panorama 1 Bojuka Bog 1 Esper Panorama 5 Forest 1 Grixis Panorama 1 Halimar Depths 2 Island 1 Jund Panorama 1 Khalni Garden 2 Mountain 1 Naya Panorama 2 Plains 1 Quicksand 2 Swamp 1 Terramorphic Expanse

Just the 1 Zendikon in the sideboard, need I go on? Seriously, it's 5 colour, so 23 land, and 10 various mana abilities. This deck too tries to pack in good cards, Leech, Agony Warp, Skyfisher, Recluse etc. with the best of the signature exalted creatures (especially the flyer) and then pad out with answers to everything, e.g. Qasali Pridemage. I particularly like the unblockable creatures with several exalted on the battlefield. It deliberately eschews weak gravediggers et al in favour of playing out bombier stuff. The sideboard is mainly a selection of alternate types of evasion to adapt and be able to attack into any deck.

Wrap Up

If I haven't mentioned your deck then I'm sorry there wasn't time. There were some notable contenders in Izzet colours and many more. This is definitely coming back in 2011 when it'll be a brand new standard singleton all over again, so get your thinking caps on. I'd like to thank all the contestants again for their contribution and sportsmanship and good humour along the way.

Do join us for the big bag pauper sealed constructed* event during July which is going to insanely fun.

* The origin of the term "big bag" is the annual Christmas big bag draft event at the sadly missed ex-Bishop's Games in Coventry where the contestants would purchase 3 boosters of their choice from the sets available in the store, throw them in a big bag, and then take out 3 each at random to play one ginormous draft of 40 plus players. Happy days.


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