Hello and welcome to the first (hopefully of many) of my deck tech articles! Today I want to share with you one of the most exciting and potential-packed decks I’ve been tinkering with, Singleton Tribunal. As soon as I saw that tricolor decks were becoming an option, I knew I wanted to try to make them work with the singleton cards that the Forgotten Hero Pack brought. While Singleton certainly isn’t the most viable or strongest way to play Tribunal, I think you’ll find this deck challenges you and allows you a lot more freedom, both in deckbuilding and in playing, than your standard control list.
You can find my list on legends-decks here:
The mulligan strategy for this deck is pretty simple, you generally want to mull for early drops. If you think you’ll be facing off against a lot of supports, you can mull for Dreugh, Shadowfen, or Edict. If you think your opponent is on tokens, you can mulligan for Ice Storm or Immolating Blast.
Early and Mid-Game
This deck mostly plays itself early game. You’ll want to drop stuff on curve and contest lanes so you don’t lose too much health. If possible, conserve removal and wrath’s for later when you may need them more. Don’t worry too much about keeping the Ring around if you have it, it’s better to curve out against an aggro opponent than get out your Paarthurnax a turn early.
Here I generally try not to break my opponent’s runes, unless they’re playing control and I’ve got an insane curve. If that’s the case, you can start playing like a midrange deck and hitting face, potentially even making your opponent overdraw.
This is where the fun begins. Your options open up a lot more late game when you get access to Paarthurnax, Miraak, and Siege. Unfortunately, this deck can’t sustain a late-game on par with other control decks, so you should start bashing face as soon as you can. If you’ve made it this far against an aggro deck, congratulations! You’ve already won!
Card Choices, Replacements, and Explanations
Why no Gods?– I tested the Gods and found that they lacked a lot of the punch I wanted from my late game. You can replace Paarth with Sotha Sil, but both Almalexia and Vivec felt very underwhelming and it seemed too greedy to include all three.
Why so many 3-5 mana cards?– I felt that playing too many high-cost cards would make the deck too inconsistent and it would fold easily to aggro, while playing more 1-2 drops would strengthen the matchup against aggro but weaken the deck too much against the control lists that seemed to dominate while I was testing.
Have you thought about Star-Sung Bard?– I have thought about it; I have a lot of uniques in this deck. However, when I tested it, I found I was getting maybe one or two discounts, so I decided against including it in the list. You’re welcome to try it, though, as it certainly isn’t a bad card in this list.
Some of the weaker cards in this list are Moonmouth Castellan, Riften Lawkeeper, Tribunal Oathman, and Knight of the Hour. If this deck doesn’t work out for you, I would say these guys are probably the first ones you should replace. As I said above, Sotha Sil is definitely a viable replacement. Additionally, you can throw in a Morag Tong Nightblade, a College of Winterhold (if you’re not seeing a lot of support removal) or an Excavate (if you want to play more supports but they keep getting removed). One more change that you could make if you don’t like its swingy nature is removing The Night Mother and replacing it with something else. I find that The Night Mother makes my games more of a coin flip, as her power depends entirely on whether your opponent can find support removal in time. If they can’t, then she just outright wins the game, and if they can, it’s no great loss to you. However, if you don’t like the variance that comes with her, she certainly isn’t integral to the deck and can definitely be replaced.
One more thing before I wrap up this article: I wrote this pre-Mantikora nerf. While I haven’t gotten the chance to test out any replacements for this control staple (if any are even necessary), I would suggest Chodala’s Treachery as one of the top contenders for the spot.
I’m excited to keep playing and tuning Tribunal Highlander. Singleton lists are some of the most challenging to build and rewarding if tuned to the metagame, and only get better the more expansions are released. See you on the ladder!