The Top 100 Cards of 100 Card Singleton

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  1. Wow – just wow. Talk about a comprehensive run down of a format.

    I disagree with a few minor points. But assembling this type of list is inherently subjective First, Baneslayer in the top 25. Maybe I am biased or bitter, but I would replace her with the mana accel critters – if mana denial dudes are ranked at #9, Geddons at #6, and *lands* make up the bulk of the top 5 than surely the mana men deserve a top 25 slot?

    I seem to value tempo in all its forms a little higher than you guys, because I would bump Teferi down to the 75-100 and promote Venser and Man o’ War (especially Venser… so sick with Karakas).

    Eladamri’s call – an instant tutor that puts a creature directly into your hand is priceless in this format. I probably would put this in the top 25 most likely in lightning greaves slot. Greaves are great, but better in EDH than competitive 100CS.

    Kudos for the Queen quote on Doran – classic. Now get on your bikes and ride!

  2. PS – As a follow up nitpick – unless an avalanche of voting occurred after I did my analysis (see the comments on the Contraban(ne)d article for those interested) I am pretty sure the “banned list” poll received 114 votes from (probably) 30ish voters, not 114 votes… but that discussion is probably left for that thread.

  3. Great list. I might have placed a few things differently, but not too many. Brion probably could have been an honorable mention under the Finks, Baloth, Hierarch trilogy. Condemn possibly as an HM under Path to Exile. If I spent more time I could probably come up with some more, but overall I think all the important cards were covered.

    Since you mentioned Oath of Druids, I wanted to mention I placed 9th just barely out of T8 last PE with a poorly built Oath of Druids/Enduring Ideal deck. I think the deck has some promise, I might take the Oath part of the deck and combine it with a different shell than Ideal, we’ll see. I sideboarded incorrectly vs Kool in our round 5 match and would have won if I brought in the right creature for Oath, but was planning to give him the win anyways since it was his B-Day.

    If I am understanding the percentage chart correctly for the banned list it seems a tough sell to WotC. Using Imperial Seal as an example, if 114 people voted and only 14% of 114 votes were cast to unban it, it seems a poor decision for them to do so. Unless it means 14% of the total votes for every card which would be 114×15 or 14% of 1710 votes, but that just seems like an odd statistic because one card doesn’t really relate to the other.

  4. Hello Platipus!

    The analytics of the poll are a bit odd I have to admit. We used an available tool from the web for the polling and it seems that the percentages are indeed not a reflection of the fraction of users that voted to unban the specific card but rather an indicator of relativ votes compared to the other cards. We will try to find a poll that gives more flexibility to define the math but I think that we can use the poll as raw indicator how desirable unbans are for each specific card.

  5. @ Platipus – See the discussion in the Contraban(ne)d article ( for what some of those numbers really mean. Suffice it to say that at least a majority of voters are in favor of unbanning Imperial Seal.

    Also, good call on Brion. I probably would have simply grouped Path with STP in the first place (as they did with most other very similar cards) and given condemn the HM.

  6. Great article… I think as far as polling goes that you could do an evaluation with each individual card on a 1-10 scale (10 being to unban). Because there’s a small number of people actually voting (30), this may be a better implementation. With a 1-10 scale, you could do a weighted average of each vote (lets say 10 for 10), (2 for 8), (6 for 7), (12 for 1)… =((10*10)+(2*8)+(6*7)+(12*1))/(10+2+6+12)= 170/30= 5.66666 (which would generally lean toward unbanning). In this way you could get a relative feeling for each card’s particular unbanning, rather than each card compared to the other cards on the list (I believe if you add together each cards’ percentages it sums around 100%.

  7. *I noticed that with a scale you’d have to have zero be on the scale as well for a weighted value of 5 to mean 50% against, 50% for unbanning.

  8. I agree with Ronin that the mana critters should have a place in the top 25. Maybe they should be bundled and added. I have seen them in so many top decks and there are widely played in many archetypes.

  9. The mana critters are not the same in 100CS as they are in other formats. Yes, if you mana to hit one early on they’re great, but later in the game, not so much. Remember, people, variance. We are not talking about an “ideal world” or, more specific to this article, “ideal draws and/or game states.” 9 times out of 10, Turn 1 mana critter eats removal.

    Remember as well that we took into account frequency of play/popularity. “There’s no accouting for taste.” I, too, am sort of dumbfounded about the popularity of Baneslayer. And then when I put one in play and understand the hype. This list, which was actually a brain-altering endeavor, is our best summation of not only our conceits, but the community’s. Electing something like Slayer to our Top 25 is a reflection of that. Undoubtedly, as we knew when we took this project upon ourselves, there will be lots and lots of disagreements. While I fancy myself an authority by virtue of a strong track record, my word is by no means tenet. That, and yeah, we missed some stuff and had to enforce some parameters. For instance, Condemn doesn’t deserve any mention in my opinion. It’s a defensive card, therefore lacking the versatility and overall utility of Path. Were we to extend honorable mentions to cards like these, where would stop?

    Hopefully this will prove useful and, at the least, a gathering place for the community to discuss the format, the above list, and get to know one another a little better through some healthy debate. :)

  10. I agree the 1cc mana guys can lead to some pretty sick openings but they got much worse with the banning of skullclamp, so yeah I don’t think they should be rated highly at all.

    Nice to see upheaval hanging around near the top.

  11. Only because not enough people are playing geddons. Mana guys (and you can play enough 1 drop men to avoid high variance) accellerate you and allow you great flexibility in conjunction with mass land destruction. Not that you want to ramp into an early ‘geddon, as that is useless. However, you can ‘geddon with board parity if you have mana bugs and the opponent does not.

    Maybe current usage does not justify them in the top 25, but that doesn’t mean they don’t belong.

  12. In a Singleton format, with this many cards, they come with no guarantee(s), therefore making them good, but most def not worthy of top spots.

  13. The argument that a singleton card comes with no guarantees is somewhat specious, since it applies in some measure to all cards. Mindtwist is amazing (and I don’t argue its place) but it can easily be a dead card or a mere 1 or 2 for 1 if drawn too late.

    100 cards = ~61 non lands or about 65% more non-lands than normal 60 card decks. You can easily play 7 one drop guys maindeck to get to the equivilant of running for llanowar elves in a standard deck that want to skip to the three drop fairly regularly. You have even more option if what you really want to do is get to a four drop. Yes, they are dead draws late – such is the curse of most 1 drops.

    Even if you didn’t want to highlight all the mana men Hierarch and Birds are effective enough, and played enough that they deserve more pub than they got.

  14. I don’t think the Twist example you used was at all in the vein of my argument, or, for that matter, even within the realm of comparison, Ronin. And, at their best, do the mana men equate to the optimal power of one of the best disruption spells ever printed? Sure, lots of cards are better or worse depending on game state. I said this in my last comment. In a field predominantly composed of aggressive decks with heavy and cheap removal, these guys lose their luster, even if you ran seven, which I would strongly not recommend.

    Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, indeed. But they didn’t make our list, nor would I expect anyone to agree with all the cards on said list.

  15. xD,plaf!plaf!plaf!plaf!

    Nice job guys. I like the article very much and can help people to find solutions to decks they have or give ideas to people starting playing 100 Card Singleton, I have perhaps 1-3 card favorites you don’t mention here, but well it is a matter of taste but I have to point out one missing card – the most powerful critter ever:

    Sakura-Tribe Elder” – It took a hit with the combat rule update, but who are we kidding? Tribe Elder never killed a guy in his life! Improved Rampant Growth finds a home in a slew of decks.”

    Sakura is the best critter ever! Orhan Viper doesn’t draw cards when he blocks, you can fix color screw and Jitte did not get counters.
    For those reasons I vote Sakura for a top 10 spot xD xD

    Other then that very nice job and thanks.

  16. But this isn’t the Kamagawa Block, and , let’s be honest here, basic lands are far less useful to multi-color decks than there regular ol’ alternatives (in a lot of decks). There’s no Jitte (at the moment), and if there was, it’d be a single copy. We didn’t say “best cards of all time;” we said best of 100CS.

  17. Also, I’m bummed about the low vote on Greaves. It’s such a ridiculously powerful, efficient card for so many decks. I know ppl are slow to give up the Swords of, but man are they slow as all-get-out now and waaaay worse with the high volume of maindeck artifact hate ppl pack.

  18. @ Travis – “I don’t think the Twist example you used was at all in the vein of my argument, or, for that matter, even within the realm of comparison, Ronin.”

    Interesting. I thought it was exactly in your vein of argument which hinged on game state and timing. Sometimes hyperbole is needed to make a point. Mindtwist > Llanowar Elves, I’ll concede that point ;).

    @ el_fake – If it makes you feel any better: Travis’s recent T8 decks have included many more copies of STE than they have lightning greaves. :D

  19. PS – Yes, I’m fully aware that context is everything in deck design. My ragging on greaves is at least somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

  20. Heh. No worries. I think you have to have something like 26 plus guys to make Greaves better than good, but for sure it’s an amazing card that has won Kool and I more games than we can recall.

  21. Ronin,

    I’m confused about the “more copies of STE” comment. I have played two decks in like four months; both decks had Greaves and Elder.

  22. I disagree with alot of the rankings, but as a general overview its not a bad starting point.

    Biggest miss for me was the lack of signets/mana artifacts which give non green decks an option to ramp/fix whilst also providing protection from mana denial straegies (miners, moons, geddons, orbs etc). Essentially their the mana dorks of non aggro decks.

  23. Well, I will feel not bad about your argument with Sakura Tribe Elder (so pretty name to write only STE) because you give me a part of reason, and i know if Jitte is unbanned Sakura will jump back into the top 10 xD. It looks for the land you need in every moment, and if you play green you always play it, so we must assume that it is one of the most used fixers.

    Regarding Swords to Plowshares there is only one way that Greaves can be better than Swords; in a mono red hyper fast deck. In all the others i resume with this sentence: “if you have a Greaves on a critter, you have a critter that can’t be a target. If you have a Swords on a critter, you have a terminator, and your opponent a problem.”

    xD I feel well when i say something like that xD xD xD

    P.s Sorry to all for my bad English. Travis and Chris know I don’t write very well. xD

  24. I would argue that signets and mana ramp, even for their deck archetypes, are worse than mana men. On the obvious, they don’t attack, block, and work in conjunction with cards like Recurring Nightmare, etc. Sure, they help against ‘Geddons, Miners, and the like, but they’re still dead draws on the whole once the ball gets rolling.

    To me, this is a fundamental issue in this format. Example: Aether Vial is ONLY good if you play it in, I would go as far as to say, the first three (if that) turns of the game. Same with Vinelasher Kudzu and Elvish Vanguard; these cards are pretty much only optimal early (especially in Green, which has an ability to dump its hand quick.) Otherwise, they’re going to be as close to a dead draw as you can get. Again, we can’t bank on ideal game state/ideal draws. At the top of their game, how well do these cards measure up. This is the point of honorable mentions.

    These cards just don’t function the same way as they do in other formats where decks are smaller and you can run full compliments. And, in a sense, doubling up on them to ensure density almost makes your deck worse. Playing signets and elves isn’t the same as RDW and Gobbos playing burn and throw away creatures. It’s just not. I don’t mean to bat every comment away, as I am not disregarding them. I am merely explaining our thoughts behind these decisions. It’s tough. For those of you interested in attempting such a feat, feel free to post your Top 25 in sequential order in the comments below and see what kind of feedback you get. But bring an umbrella.

  25. I disagree, but then i definately value speed, consistancy and redundancy more than the average player. Honestly surprised that signets didn’t make your top 100.

    Not going to list a bunch of random cards in order as an arbitrary top X because i honestly don’t think there is such a thing. Cards fluctuate in value based on the other cards that are around them.

  26. My reasoning against the average mana artifact:

    Two mana Signets/Talisman often open up a control deck to vulnerabilities against Blood Moon/Miners. The also dilute the overall power level of the deck in most cases- since the creature mana guys have combat relevance they add additional value. I like Moxen(Chrome/Diamond)/Coalition Relic in Blue/Control decks a lot more than the 2 mana cost alternatives, but many times I am happy with the one land per turn rule. The only time I want the 2 mana facts is in prison (which I think is unplayable right now).

    As far as mana men and Sakura-Tribe Elder go, I think that Travis hit on the head as to why they are not incredibly high. The cards are great- work well in Aggro with Geddons, hold equips or high five Elspeth. The issue is that they lose value as the game continues. Also, they require a heavy Green base to fully utilize (which isn’t always what a deck wants). I love the mana men, but they are not worth of a prestige of the infallible Top 25. :)

    I agree with Kha that it’s hard to denote numeric rank values to cards (as many are ‘it depends’), but we tried to capture the spirit of the relative power levels by lumping cards into 3 classes after the Top 25. The Top 25 itself was well thought out, but I could concede that Spots 20-30 could blur.

  27. I preach consistency from the pulpit, and have for as long as I have been holding this digital mic. But, redundancy on low impact cards that only really work great if you have something to push out earlier than norm is not really an example of that, in my humble opinion. My last comment on mana accel cards is this: in addition to the already mentioned reasons why they are not Top 25 material, take into account how often having an accelerator doesn’t even accelerate you into anything substantial. I can’t count the times I have played and seen other players go Turn 1 elf, Turn 2 attack with elf two drop or go. Turn 3 they may power out a four drop, but that’s far from optimal. This happens all the time, esp. in a format like 100cs with randomness factor on crack!

  28. Now surely I thought this feat of feats would get as many if not more comments than the Banned list!!! Sadface x 23986492!

  29. Hi Travis,
    I am looking to push my 100cs and just browsed by, and I have to say.. nice collection! Definately got some ideas in upgrading my current list.
    After nearly 3 years have past, maybe its time for an update? *wink

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