Mission ImpossiBREW: Arena (Singleton)
Hey there Planeswalkers, I'm back this week with a little bit of a fun venture into MTG Arena. I've been letting Modern take a backseat for a couple weeks as I had Canadian Nationals to prep for. Long story short, I didn't do well, but I had a lot of fun.
One of the major positives I took from the Nationals was my interaction with opponents. I felt great about the level of sportsmanship on both sides of the table for the full two days and that helps me enjoy the game a lot more; regardless of how competitive. As a player it's great habit-building to assess yourself and your mannerisms in game, just as you would your plays. It may be about the destination for you in Magic, but it'll be a lot easier if you enjoy the ride there. Anyway...
My friend and one of my MTG Judge confidants, Greg T, brought a silly idea to my attention shortly after Dominaria came out. I had been waiting and waiting for the proper time to experiment with the cards he brought up.
Greg pointed out to me that you could create an infinite combo in Standard with three cards. Already, that's not a great sign. It would take a lot of set-up, but hey, we're not trying to win a PPTQ with this deck.
If you have a Famished Paladin in play without summoning sickness, equip it with a Sorcerer's Wand. Then, cast Prepare targeting Famished Paladin, untap it, it gets +2/+2 and lifelink until the end of turn. Now, every time you tap Famished Paladin to deal a damage with the Sorcerer's Wand, you'll gain a life, untap Famished Paladin, and repeat ad infinitum.
I'll have you know now before reading further, I played four Singleton runs on Arena and only got the combo off three times. However, I did discover it can win through a Gideon of the Trials Emblem. More on that later.
It's a neat little combo that requires tons of setup and a bunch of bad cards in the deck. This felt PERFECT to try out in the new Singleton format. I think Arena's experimentation is basically to test brawl, but it's odd that there are no "commanders" or "leaders" in the Singleton format.
I didn't have a very large stockpile of wildcards to spend, so I just kind of made due with what I had. Here's what I came up with:
Cody McCowell Selesnya Famished Paladin Combo
The land base could probably use some work but that is neither my forte, nor worth my time for playing a format strictly for the LULZ.
Surprisingly enough, I racked up a respectable amount of wins each time with this deck. It was a proper fight to do so, but it had the ability. The random bad artifacts in the deck were to help out with Inventors' Fair, so we could go find Sorcerer's Wand in a pinch. Unexpectedly, this came in handy with all the artifacts I didn't really plan to use it for. I found myself loving the ability to decide between grabbing a Hope of Ghirapur, a lord in Chief of the Foundry, or just an overgrown beat-stick with Verdurous Gearhulk. The options from Inventor's Fair were very flexible, the only problem is, we'd rarely ever see the one of Legendary Land.
Did you notice there's some really random bad creatures in here too? Yeah, Watchful Naga, Sunscourge Champion, Devotee of Strength... They're all Wizards.
Not that it was ever very important, but I just wanted to have a few Wizards in the deck to make the damage from Sorcerer's Wand a shock rather than a ping. It only came up once, but I was able to clean up a Karn, Scion of Urza with a ping-shocking Sunscourge Champion.
Realistically though, the main game plan of this deck was to just play smart and hopefully win grindy games with bad creatures. When we got into the real stuff like Lyra Dawnbringer and Verdurous Gearhulk it was a different story, but some games we'd have an Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter, a Sorcerer's Wand and a Treasure Map whilst getting curved out by red creatures and rarely having the option of blocking along the way.
I'm not really sure what the plan is for the Singleton format on MTG Arena as it actually just closed today. I'm hoping the next time we see something like it, it'll be the release of Brawl as a fully polished format on Arena.
As I stated earlier this combo was actually able to win through a Gideon of the Trials emblem. I hadn't really even read Sorcerer's Wand. Well, when my opponent Gideon emblem'd, I was about to scoop until I hovered over the wand quickly and saw creature OR Planeswalker. With the opponent's Gideon of the Trials at three loyalty, all I had to do was add in three extra pings.
Say goodnight, Gideon!
This deck was super low on removal and that's one thing that seemed fundamentally wrong during my games. I basically had to stall the board with cheap, bad creatures into a combo, or somehow aggro them out. Lifecrafter's Bestiary, Treasure Map and Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle were all incredibly valuable in the long game situations where I just needed to find one more piece.
I really hope that Brawl / Singleton continues on Arena as it was incredibly fun to relax and play some super casual MTG for once. Arena has been nothing short of a wonderful tool for me to use as a player, due to not getting enough time practising with other people lately.
I had a great time playing this wonky format and not putting too much effort into it. I'd suggest taking this list for a spin if Singleton comes back.
Let me know what you think!
What have you brew'd up in Arena?
Thanks so much for stopping by and don't forget to catch up with me on Twitter!