3 Quick Steps to Build Good Singleton Deck in MTG Arena

The first time I heard of Singleton format, I was pissed – a Singleton deck can only use one of each card? It’s like the Commander format but without the Commander, and the card pool is limited to either Standard or Historic sets (if playing on Magic: the Gathering Arena).

Singleton format is great for beginners to MTG, because their collection is smaller and would not have multiple copies of powerful cards. That solves the logistical portion, but how would a beginner actually build a Singleton deck?

What deck archetypes have a good win percentage against other decks? Should I prioritise fun over win-ability? Since Singleton is essentially a non-competitive format, you don’t have to build a deck with just the most powerful Rare and Mythic Rare cards.

While you could just hit the internet search button for tested deck lists, I highly encourage you to build a new deck based on your own inclinations.

The best way to build a Singleton deck in MTG is to ask yourself:
1) What’s your favourite colour / tribe / mechanic?
2) How do I last the long game
3) Will I have fun?

What’s Your Favourite Colour(s), Tribe or Mechanic?

The first place to begin is picking your favourite colour(s) to form your deck. Perhaps you like big monsters that smash, then Green is your thing. Or you could go with 5-colour enchantments? If colours don’t matter then enter your favourite creature types or mechanics, such as “goblin” or “first strike” in MTG Arena’s search query, and pick the best cards revolving around that theme.

Just like when building a deck for any other format, always think about ‘synergy’ – how your different cards gel together. If your deck is built around First Strike, then perhaps a card like Kwende, Pride of Femeref will be a star. Upgrading all your creatures from First Strike to Double Strike is a gamechanger!

Likewise, if you are playing a Planeswalker deck, it wouldn’t be much point to have many creatures as you will likely play wide creature destruction spells and that would not synergise well with your creatures.

How Can My Singleton Deck Last the Long Game?

You could build an aggressive deck with only 1 or 2-mana cost cards, and race the opponent. However, it’s not an ideal strategy when your opponent could be playing any of a variety of decks, some with very powerful spells that can wipe out your creatures.

Mono Red Chandra decklist for MTG Singleton format.

In my Mono Red Singleton deck above, I mixed both aggressive elements as well as mid-to-late game options. I added in Chandra Planeswalkers, so as to give myself a fighting chance, should my early game plan fail.

In the early game, little but annoying creatures such as Runaway Steam-kin and Robber of the Rich chips away life quickly, and I would use burn spells to eliminate the opponent’s creatures.

And should my early game creatures get knocked out, this deck would then rely on Experimental Frenzy (card draw), Chandra, Fire Artisan (card draw), Tectonic Giant (card draw or direct damage to opponent), and Chandra, Awakened Inferno (to break a battlefield stalemate) to get past the finishing line.

Alternatively, you can build a Singleton deck specifically to last the long game. Use high-Toughness creatures as early-game blockers, and later on play “board wipe” spells such as Deafening Clarion, Ritual of Soot, or Shatter the Sky to stabilise the game. You can then rely on late-game winners like Ugin, the Spirit Dragon to finish the opponent off.

Will I Have Fun?

This was my dilemma when crafting the deck. I knew midrange and control decks had access to many powerful spells that could win the game, but at a cost of game length. I don’t find those kind of decks fun, despite them having a high win percentage. That’s why I went back with my first love – Red – and simply built a more competitive and long-lasting version rather than direct aggression.

Hence build a Singleton deck that you will enjoy playing, and use it in a non-ranked queue. Playing ranked matches is another beast altogether, but if you’re interested in getting to Mythic Rank in Constructed formats, we have the perfect guide for you.

I hope these quick tips in deck building will help you out. Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have suggestions for other readers and myself. Have a good game!

Ted

After playing from Tempest to Urza's Saga block, Ted took a 20 year break from the game before returning to the classic Plane of Dominaria in 2018. His favourite formats are Commander, Draft, and, grudgingly, Standard.