Which Card? Discard!
As spoiler season begins for the new set Jumpstart, Wizards has already given a great gift to the EDH community in the form of Tinybones, Trinket Thief. For some people, this Commander may be an upgrade in the 99 of their Nath of the Gilt-Leaf decks. For others, it will be the start of a beautiful friendship. Coming in at the low converted mana cost of two and having a game-ending ability on it, Tinybones will likely become a new favourite of mono-black Commander players everywhere with its unique effect. Today, let’s highlight a few staples that you’ll likely want to start looking for if you want to build Tinybones when they’re printed.
Waste Not is a key enabler to most of the discard strategies in Commander and consistently going up in price despite the reprint received in Commander 2016. This card will help grow a board state or keep the engine of your deck churning as you draw cards and gain mana to potentially put into the ability of Tinybones. There’s never a bad time to pick up this card and I hope to see a reprint of it in the close future so that everyone has a copy to go with their worse version of it, Bone Miser.
Sadistic Hypnotist is another big staple that offers both a sac outlet with a strong bonus for sacrificing creatures but will give you the instant speed ability to take advantage of Tinybones. There are many sorcery speed discard spells in black, but minimal instant speed, so every effect that you can include in your deck like this will be a huge help. You’ll still want some strong aristocrat effects to take advantage of the sorcery speeds ones too. Mind slash effects are still going to help enable Hellbent for consistency purposes and they’ll give you a sac outlet for all of your zombies but you won’t want to overfill your deck with sorcery speed effects.
Bottomless Pit is going to be one of the best cards in this deck. Giving you card draw on each of your opponents turns (given you haven’t already discarded their hand in which case you’re already ahead) without having a recurring payment will help keep the table with minimal cards in hands while you have a full grip. Necrogen Mists is functionally the same and should also be included in the deck for consistency purposes.
Painful Quandary is going to be very helpful by taxing your opponents for the cards that they cast. The trade-off between five life and a card with what you’ll be gaining will likely be a larger tax that it first reads as. Especially if you end up filling your deck with effects like Liliana’s Caress. This will either grant you card draw or turn into a Ruric Thar effect that doesn’t affect you. Either way this is a huge upside for your deck.
Rankle, Master of Pranks
Rankle, Master of Pranks is not going to be as necessary as the rest of the cards mentioned. However, it will keep you drawing cards or sacrificing whatever tokens you end up generating off of effects like Waste Not or a big Awaken the Erstwhile. It will be a constant source of advantage for you while eating away at your opponent’s life totals.
The Haunt of Hightower
The Haunt of Hightower isn’t the best buy-a-box promo printed, but it is a powerful threat in a deck that can take advantage of it. When you’re making your opponents discard as many cards as this deck hopes to, you’ll have a game-ending threat come out of nowhere while also assisting you in forcing an opponent to discard a card on the attack.
Geth’s Grimoire is likely one of the best cards available in these kinds of decks for card advantage. Casting something as simple as a Vicious Rumors makes it more often than not say “draw three cards.” A card like this makes the average quality of cards in your deck far higher than they were before. Having a handful of cards that improve the overall quality of cards in your deck will help your decks achieve a higher power level and maintain more consistent games. Making sure your deck always fires on all cylinders will help prevent ‘non’ games of Magic where your opponents were the only ones really playing.
Anvil of Bogardan
Anvil of Bogardan is certainly an interesting addition. Giving your opponents no maximum hand size certainly seems to hurt the overall strategy but at the same time, triggering the Commander consistently while also helping us dig through our deck, all the same, seems to be a powerful inclusion for the list. Not the cheapest of cards but I don’t see that changing without a major reprint for the card which is impossible as it is part of the reserve list. Acquiring this card sooner rather than later seems to be a smart decision for those who wish to play this card in paper.
The Rack Effects
We’ve gone over some of the key cards to look at and some of the individual reasoning but don’t forget about some of the other big auto includes like Oppression, Quest for the Nihil Stone, Larceny, Shrieking Affliction, Bloodchief Ascension as well as Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage and the other Liliana’s Caress type effects. Tinybones is certainly a new Commander that builds itself very quickly but given some of the already high prices of some of the cards, you should consider getting your pieces early if you’re interested in building them.
Another aspect to keep in mind as you’re considering building this deck is your playgroup. Keeping cards out of your opponent's hands isn’t likely to garner you any friends or allies in the game. This falls in line with Stax style decks that don’t let your opponents go wild and try to maintain control of the board state. This turns off spellslinger decks incredibly effectively so removal will likely be heading your way throughout the game. If you’re okay with that and can include some protection spells (like Ensnaring Bridge), you’ll be good to play this deck but it’s certainly something to consider before building it.
That’s everything for today! As the spoiler season continues, let’s maybe take a look at a few other new (or new reprints) Legendary Creatures that Wizards adds to our wonderful format! Until next time, make sure your opponents are empty-handed!