What is Gladiator and Why Should I Play?

Gladiator is a 100 card singleton Magic: The Gathering format designed to played on Arena. It allows a player to design a 100 card deck that contains a single copy of any card available on Arena, unless the card text modifies deck building limitations (Dragon’s Approach, Persistent Petitioners, Rat Colony, Seven Dwarves ). Gladiator utilizes a ban list that currently has 5 cards on it: Field of the Dead, Natural Order, Nexus of Fate, Oko, Thief of Crowns, and Teferi, Time Raveler. Gladiator is a competitive tournament format that does not utilize sideboards, so companions, commanders, and other cards that allow you to pull cards from “outside of the game” (Fae of Wishes or Karn, The Great Creator for example) do not work in the format, but may be cast as creatures. Lurrus of the Dream-Den is a powerful card on its own, and is included in many decks for its amazing stats and abilities, but cannot be used as a companion.

Some other quick items about the format:

  • While Gladiator is a 100-card singleton format, IT IS NOT A COMMANDER VARIANT. It does not utilize color restrictions for deck building, and is not designed for multiplayer.
  • Gladiator is a community driven format. It is unsanctioned and has no association with Wizards of the Coast. It has no association with sanctioned formats like Historic on Arena.
  • Gladiator is a distinct format from Historic Highlander, Canadian Highlander, Seven Point (Auslander), and other singleton formats. Players new to competitive singleton are encouraged to experience the joy of playing those formats, some of which have thriving communities on Discord and Magic Online.

So why should you play?

Do you want to sacrifice your Thalia, Guardian of Thraben to Mutual Destruction so your Nightmare Shepherd can return her as a 1/1 nightmare Thalia? Then this is your Arena format!

Gladiator is an eternal Arena format. As your cards rotate out of standard, they can still be used for competitive high-level play. Any cards introduced into the Arena ecosystem are available for use in the format. This also makes the format the cheapest and most accessible singleton format available to new players. Your 1-off build-around draft mythic rares are a playset for use in deckbuilding. Many decks can be built for free if you are a Draft only Arena player with some extra wildcards lying around. Matches require no buy-in costs and there is already a thriving and inclusive community passionate about discussing the format, and playing games.

And perhaps the most appealing reason for diving into playing Gladiator? The decisions you get to make! With a smaller card pool than other eternal formats, and no side boards, every card you include in your list is a decision, a cost benefit analysis that you as a brewer get to make. There are few cheap tutors and free counter spells. Choosing to include powerful “hate” cards comes at a price If you draw a Leyline of the Void against a mono-colored aggressive deck.

Players who want to come join this brewer’s paradise and experience powerful plays should join the Gladiator discord and join us for some sweet games of powerful magic!