Food For Thought: One Man’s Junk…

The Darksteel spoiler has what appears to be a “new” Tinker, Reshape, once again keeping with Wizards’ tradition of taking a broken card and “fixing” it into a virtually unplayable replacement. But if you want a Tinker replacement, what about the underrated and overlooked Trash for Treasure?

[Editor’s Note: Frequently we will get submissions that try to tell us how good a”bad deck” is. Sometimes they are right, and sometimes they are completely off-base. With that in mind, I’m starting a new article tag called”Food For Thought.” These articles will still be published as strategy, but when you read them you should recognize that they are testing wild, rogue ideas that work according to the author, or the decks that are discussed provide interesting builds that may not be rigorously tested, but perhaps exhibit a decent foundation for future decks.

(Doing this allows us to continue publishing crazy decks like the one below while acknowledging that they may not be ready for primetime. After all, you never know when the next Trix deck will be discovered, or when Dream’s Grip and Twiddle will become the catalysts for the latest rendition of Mind’s Desire decks.]

Time to once again check my list of New Year’s Resolutions, a.k.a.”Promises to Myself That Sound Good Now, But Get Back to Me Come April.”

1) Lose some weight

I promise myself that every year. I can’t use the old high school wrestling”shave my head” trick anymore to get rid of a few ounces anymore, either. Still, if I can get back down to my”fighting weight,” I’ll be happy.

2) Get my, ahem,”business” off the ground

One reason I haven’t been gracing Star City as much lately is that for the past few months is that I’ve been trying to get my little freelance writing and web design business off the ground. That’s been cutting into not only my personal writing time, but also my Magic playing time. No Magic playing = no great deck ideas. Or good ones. Or even my typically half-baked ones.

(As a side note, if there’s anyone out there, especially in the computer game industry-and I know you’re out there, too-in need of a creative/technical writer, feel free to drop me a line)

This concludes the”Dave Begging for Work” section of the article, and segues nicely into my next resolution:

3) Write more!

That in mind: The Darksteel spoiler has what appears to be a”new” Tinker, Reshape, once again keeping with Wizards’ tradition of taking a broken card and”fixing” it into a virtually unplayable replacement.

But if you want a Tinker replacement, what about the underrated and overlooked Trash for Treasure? It does require having artifacts in the graveyard – boy howdy, I wish there was spell available to put artifact cards in the graveyard.

You mean there is such a card? And I can get all these funk classics on one CD or cassette?

Thirst for Knowledge and Trash for Treasure, or”TfK” and”T4T,” are either very bad and un-catchy acronyms or the new rap duo that are hitting the charts.

Hey, they can’t all be winners.

My playtesting group has been, ahem, playing around with the concept, and this is the version I’ve been testing.

One Man’s Junk

3 Chrome Mox

4 Lightning Greaves

4 Solemn Simulacrum

3 Clockwork Dragon

3 Platinum Angel

3 Bosh, Iron Golem

2 Skeleton Shard

3 Shrapnel Blast

3 Chain of Vapor

4 Trash for Treasure

4 Catalog

4 Thirst for Knowledge

4 Cloudpost

3 Great Furnace

3 Seat of the Synod

2 Glimmervoid

3 City of Brass

2 Mountain

2 Island

1 Swamp


4 Welding Jar

4 Pyroclasm

4 Cabal Interrogator

3 Stifle

First off: Despite the presence of artifact lands, this is not an Affinity deck. The artifact lands are primarily there to help fuel Trash for Treasure. The deck is built around the concept of getting something big and dangerous in the graveyard early with either Catalog (did you forget that was in 8th?) or Thirst for Knowledge, one of the trifecta of Platinum Angel, Clockwork Dragon or Bosh, Iron Golem – backed up by Lightning Greaves to protect your investment.

Mind you, however, that with all the mana acceleration and Cloudposts, you can be casting these seven-mana behemoths as early as turn 4. Turn 3 is possible, but who keeps the three Cloudpost draw? [With this deck? A lot of people. – Knut]

I’m not 100% sure about the Chrome Moxes. The speed they provide is very nice, but there are times I’m stuck with all non-imprintable artifacts in my hand. While they are a touch slower, Talismans might be the way to go here. Maybe. I reserve the right to change my mind.

I added Skeleton Shard as a way to give the deck a little”oomph” in the mid-to-late game which it otherwise lacks. With Chrome Mox and Trash for Treasure, the deck is trading early resources for immediate gain; robbing Peter to pay Paul, as it were. Then again, if Paul got a turn 2 Clockwork Dragon, he might be very happy with that.

Maybe an opponent can deal with a Bosh or Platinum Angel the first time around. Wing Shards, Shatter, Wrath of God, perhaps, and suddenly, you’re out of gas. Skeleton Shard gives you that gas back – just like a return visit to Taco Bell at 2 a.m.

Solemn Simulacrum is included, not only as a target for the Shard, but also to help get key lands out of the deck, like the lone Swamp for Skeleton Shard – and also extra card drawing in addition to Thirst and Catalog. Given the lack of actual basic lands in the deck, though, The Doughboy has been hanging precariously near the”cut” list. A possible replacement – Sculpting Steel. Worth considering.

Chain of Vapor is a late throw-in to help protect you from early swarm decks and, in a pinch, protect your creatures, and Shrapnel Blast is an added bit of burn that has proven effective at killing Exalted Angel – something Red has real trouble with otherwise.

The build is somewhat malleable – it’s not unforeseeable that you might want to add Fabricate (slow, yes, but a tutor is a tutor) and include more one-shots in the build like Pentavus, Scrabbling Claws, or some of those wonderful toys we’re seeing in the Darksteel previews.

I’ve only now really started in trying to tune a sideboard, and for now, it’s very, very simple and in its early stages of development. There are only four cards to deal with the current metagame, which is primarily U/W Control: Welding Jar (anti-Vengeance), Stifle (anti-Decree of Justice, and no friend of Oblivion Stone) and Cabal Interrogator (which is just plain annoying for U/W). Pyroclasm is included as a nod towards Goblins, which are always out there, lurking. And hungry.

The deck, as it stands now, falls in the Cute/Tier 1.5/Rogue category – great fun and almost impossible to beat when it clicks – I mean, how good is a turn 3 Clockwork Dragon with Lightning Greaves? Getting it to click is the tricky part right now. I’ve got a feeling that Darksteel is going to add a lot of new toys for the deck, though – how good would Pulse of the Grid be, assuming the spoiler information we’ve seen so far is correct? Or Memnarch? Or any of the”indestructible” cards? – so watch this space for more updates.

At worst, though, this is a very fun deck to play. It may not be winning any tournaments in the immediate future, but it should definitely please your inner Timmy.