Tinybones - brewing resilient discard in EDH

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plaganegra
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Post by plaganegra » 1 week ago

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Hello fellow mono-black discard enthusiasts!


I wanted to create a thread to see if there are any other people out there in the Nexus-Verse looking to fine tune and brew around one of my favorite commanders: Tinybones, Trinket Thief

Having played mono black and discard since I first laid eyes on the card Megrim in high school in 2004, I have a passion for this sort of strategy. I have played discard and mono black control all throughout my time as a magic player, and in multiple formats - I remember playing inquisition of kozilek when it was printed in standard, 8-rack in modern, and my favorite constructed deck ever - rack-pox in legacy. So when Tinybones came out I was extremely excited, to say the least. I built a deck, played with it a little, and then this cute lil dude was quickly outclassed when Tergrid, God of Fright came into town like a wrecking ball. I did what many black players did - thank my lucky stars such a powerful MBC control commander was ever printed, and then continuously question if I was dreaming or not. It turned out that Tergrid has been a bit of a sore topic in my playgroup, so I have finally decided to retire that commander and move back to a smaller, cuter, passion-project. Tinybones!

I know my way around a discard deck, but it has always been a sort of "glass cannon" sort of strategy in my experience, heavily dependent on draws, redundant playsets of critical role-playing cards (I am looking at you ensnaring bridge), and a life total half of what it is in EDH.

I tried my hand at building the deck a few times now just tapping into my experience and vast scroll rack of mono black spells. And I ended up building a few glass-cannons.

So I did some research, I found a few decklists online, looked at what other people were doing BT (before Tergrid) only to find that it seems development of this sort of deck has really fallen to the wayside.

I found these resources helpful for getting ideas: The purpose of this thread is to create a space for other people to join in and post their decklists, ideas, feedback, and generally hangout and talk mono-black discard in EDH. I want to see what other people do with this commander so we can all go hellbent together - and bring friends! I want this to be a resource for anyone else looking to play with Tinybones.

With that said, I have come up with what I think is a new structure to build a tinybones deck. This section of the thread will probably update as I work on my deck, but this is where I am at right now.

My Deck Building Parameters:
My main goal is to win WITH Tinybones, Trinket Thief. I want to have the experience of draining my opponents out after shredding their hands. I intentionally did not include any of the discard-oriented combos in my deckbuilding (this could change). I find little reward in finding a combo while other people topdeck. There are many combos that fit this archetype and I don't hold it against anyone who uses them (I have other decks that aim to combo) - this is personal. I want to win with discard. And I know, that is a challenge. With that in mind, I am trying to optimize the list to achieve that goal, and am not set on any specific kind of build. Generally I don't have any budget restrictions when I build decks - the only expensive mono black card I want but do not own is imperial seal (holding out for a reprint). So when I build, I go all the way in that regard. I want the deck to be interesting to play and resilient.

So for my take on the little dude - I wanted to build a Tinybones deck that was able to use and abuse the many discard ETB creatures we have access to, over and over again. Here is what I came up with...
My current Decklist
(updated 11/27/2021)
Decklist
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Deck Changelog Maybeboard
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The idea of this brew is to use and re-use discard and utility creatures to control the board and the hand, and generate card advantage with tinybones while assembling stax pieces that set up the final drain. I am not sure the ratios are correct for everything in here. Half the fun of a discard deck is constructing a well balanced machine. Out of all the constructed decks I have ever played, discard was always the hardest to master and play well, and the decks had to be a perfect balance between discard, defensive spells, and control. The margins for error in discard are very small, so optimal play is even critical than your average deck. Since we are playing at a disadvantage from the start, keeping the wrong hand, sequencing spells poorly, or failing to find the right answers will lose you the game very quick as all your friends might even gang up on you for your choice of strategy.

Let me elaborate a little bit on the concept. Black is really good at a few things: Creature Recursion, Discard, and Removal. This deck design aims to capitalize on Creature recursion as a core element to facilitate both discard and removal. Allowing me to achieve hellbent status and win the game with tinybones. Why this? Creature recursion adds a lot of resilience to this deck that it lacks in other forms, at the sacrifice of potentially more explosiveness. Creature recursion effectively gives the deck access to a toolbox substrategy and excellent end-game lockout abilities. Locking the hand is easier than locking the board, but locking both is the most effective way to win before you die. By giving the deck flexibility with a reanimation suite and a host of ETB creatures and utility creatures, I am looking to get the best of both removal and discard repeatedly. This does open up the deck to being more susceptible to GY hate, however.

Each creature in the decklist serves a specific role. There are the obvious inclusions - the discard effects such as burglar rat. Also removal all-stars in Plaguecrafter, Crypt Rats, and Bone Shredder (which comes with its own sac outlet so you can use it ever turn) or Avatar of Woe (which will quickly cost a measly BB in a discard deck. And then Recursion engines in Coffin Queen, Hell's Caretaker, Sheoldred, whispering one, and enchantments that abuse these effects in strands of night and phyrexian reclamation. Not to mention, if my opponent happens to discard something crazy, I can just steal it with one of my targeted reanimation spells.

So, any ideas are most welcome! I think this shell has some legs and I want to see it through. I also want to try other builds with Tinybones and hope a few more players join me in brewing this recently overlooked commander.
Last edited by plaganegra 1 week ago, edited 28 times in total.
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Post by Artaud » 1 week ago

Single card discard creatures and spells are too weak to use. Do not try to capitalize of Tinybones' draw each turn, go for the most powerful discard effects instead,

Mindslicer makes big reset and you're still left with 1 card off Tinybones, Vindictive Lich is army in a can and Myojin of Night's Reach is ultimate discard effect. If you have enough mana Tinybones can make opponents' bleed right after using Mindslicer and Myojin. Of course repeatable discard enchantments are very good with Tiny and most of them you can cast Turn 1 with the help of Dark Ritual (which you lack).

Remember - wheel effects are your worst enemy and you have to be able to fight them. Consider locking table with Contamination before you start punishing hands.

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Post by RowanKeltizar » 1 week ago

I always kind of wanted to build Tinybones discard. I wouldn't exactly call him overlooked though. I saw a lot of buzz about him on you tube when he was first released. On edh rec he's still the #8 mono black commander which is saying something considering how popular black is.

I agree with @Artaud that in terms of card advantage, single use discard isn't good enough in multiplayer.

Generally I would probably run a few less creatures and more stax effects. I don't really see this being a creature focused deck.

I would run WAY more targeted removal. I see this deck getting a lot of aggro hate. No Mercy might be a good fit also. On this vein, Archfiend of Ifnir and Archfiend of Depravity would be good includes IMO.

A basic critique is I don't think you have enough mana generation for some of those higher cost spells, or Tinybone's activated ability. I know you have the typical generators like Nykthos and Coffers but I think more artifact ramp would be good. Thran Dynamo, Gilded Lotus, and maybe even Nyx Lotus will do some work here. You might also consider some of the black rituals: Cabal Ritual especially but also Bubbling Muck, Spoils of Evil, Rain of Filth

Caged Sun, Gauntlet of Power, Nirkana Revenant, and Doubling Cube might all be things to consider.

I know you said you were trying to drain people out with Tinybones, but I still think slotting in a couple more damage based payoffs like Megrim. Quest for the Nihil Stone and Liliana's Caress would be worthwhile to whittle away life totals so that paying 6 on tinybones actualy can be the killing blow. 40 life is a bit of an obstacle.

Ill-Gotten Gains with graveyard exile is amazing. Which brings me to my next biggest critique: I really think exiling your opponents' graveyards is an imperitive. Nether Void Leyline of the Void and especially Bojuka Bog are auto includes for a discard deck in EDH in my opinion. A couple of my decks would love playing against Tinybones without exile effects just to help fill up the graveyard.

Painful Quandary is brutal in a discard deck.

Geth's Grimoire would be an autoinclude for me, but may not be your thing. Personally, I would NOT choose to go hellbent with Tinybones because of his ability. As long as he is out you are going to be drawing cards. Why not leverage the advantage?
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plaganegra
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Post by plaganegra » 1 week ago

Thanks guys! @Artaud and @RowanKeltizar

The biggest challenge in playing a discard deck is that in order to make the discard work it needs to be a very large part of the cards in the deck, which comes as a sacrifice to other things that require deckbuilding space that doesnt necessarily overlap with the main strategy. So when I think about individual cards, I also have to think about what support they require and what sort of scenarios in gameplay would they hurt/help me (when I am usually topdecking with everyone else).

For example - I love contamination as a card (one of my favs as a black player), but can hardly see how I can consistently have a creature to sacrifice to it unless I add more token creation. Instead, I run Chains of mephistopheles - the all aroud go-to for stopping all draw effects, especially wheels. Contamination is probably unnecessary and requires too much support IMO, unless the deck is designed to be an all around stax deck (a la braids, cabal minion if she was legal) - but that is not tinybones imo. I am interested to hear if you have any creative ways to add contamination to my list with the support I think it needs?

The only two single card discard effects I am currently on are necrogen spellbomb and funeral charm - specifically because I can do them on an opponents turn, and can even do it at the end of their draw step - this can be very powerful in my experience when it comes to locking things down or early game cantripping with tinybones himself. These are definitely a flex slot though - That was the thinking anyway. It is also why I include some instant-speed reanimation effects, so I can get back a burglar rat on your turn.

Awaken the Erstwhile and Mindslicer are in my maybeboard, but both have a deckbuilding challenge of their own. - giving your opponents a bunch of 2/2s can kill me quickly, and mindslicer really needs a sac outlet otherwise it just sits there - which requires more card slots that aren't discard or lock pieces. Often times it just becomes a wall until someone exiles it, or nobody cares. Same thing with Vindictive Lich (which is also a single target discard, hitting only one opponent for two cards).

I do like the idea of archfiend of depravity honestly, but it is probably competing with avatar of woe's slot. Avatar of woe has highly coveted targeted removal on a stick that I can really abuse when everyone is topdecking. The archfiend is letting you keep your two best creatures, which are almost certainly better than mine. I have skewed more towards board wipes over targeted removal in the build, how would you suggest I change it? Board wipes seem to do the best at keeping me alive long enough to establish a lock since I am not trading a card for a card. The main targeted removal I normally use is deadly rollick, which could definitely add back in. Avatar of woe and also bone shredder are targeted and re-usable.

Big mana spells like Myojin of night's reach are usually too slow in my experience, and this one cannot be used if I want to reanimate it. To build a deck that uses this sort of card, it would be more of a big mana mono black deckbuilding strategy. I have a couple mana ramp effects in this build, but not enough to make something like myojin work. Sheoldred, whispering one works because I can dump it and reanimate it very easily, and opponents will be sacrificing each turn, while I get to re-use my ETB effects. Adding Caged Sun, Gauntlet of Power, Nirkana Revenant, and Doubling Cube type of effects (or rituals) could easily skew the deck towards too much late game action and not enough in the early-mid game. I have to survive long enough to get to that point. I had many of these in my last build and found myself with a ton of mana and no hellbent opponents to kill.

Painful Quandry is another one that I have had in and out of my list. The problem with it is that it doesn't lock people out or force them to discard. It is more of a damage effect. In that sense I think I prefer quest for the nihil stone. I ran most of these cards altogether with my initial builds of tinybones and found them to be very lackluster. I really think the only draining I need is tinybones himself and the rest of the deckbuilding space should be used for controlling the board and hands of my opponents. Liliana's caress is another one I was considering, but has the same problem.

Leyline of the void and bojuka bog I love, Ill see if I can find room for these. I didn't put them in initially because I wanted my lands to not CIPT and count as swamps as often as possible, also I have a copy of Maze of ith in the deck (which was MVP last game I played negating my friends skullbriar from killing me much of the game) which is a burden at times. Leyline of the void should probably find a way in if I can find room for it though.

Regarding going hellbent - I dont ever *want to* but if my deck is operating as it should I will inevitably become hellbent because of the discard stax. Also the deck plays its cards as quickly as possible for that reason. If you get to keep cards in your hand because I am not playing a discard spell early enough, then you get to advance your board and kill me quicker, making it much harder for me to get control of the board and the hand. This deck does not race lifetotals well in my experience. Geth's Grimoire is a great card I had in pervious versions, and when it is good it draws a ton of cards, but it also does nothing on its own for 4 mana - ceiling is high and floor is very low. It doesn't help me control the board or the hand if everyone is hellbent, and it also doesn't help me draw cards in the early game because of its prohibitive mana cost. It is an awkward cmc for the effect, and waste not does it much better.

There is so much to consider in building a discard deck - it is a very difficult strategy to make work in my experience. My last build was big mana discard stax oriented and it just didn't work well. It was very similar to the reference articles I linked above which is why I went back to the drawing board for this new concept I am working on. I appreciate both your feedback very much and want to know what you think about my responses!
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Post by TheGildedGoose » 1 week ago

Tergrid is overrated. She's strong, but her threat level is through the roof, completely disproportionate to her actual power level. Much like other commander-centric decks like Kaalia of the Vast or Krenko, Mob Boss, she either blows everyone out or, more likely, gets blown out. On the other hand, she is bananas when she does go off, so I get the appeal.

Frankly, I disagree with the opinion that all single use discard is bad in EDH. I think Burglar Rat et al. are perfectly fine cards for this deck, but outside of like, Thoughtseize I wouldn't play single target discard like Necrogen Spellbomb. I get it, you can use them at instant speed to cantrip off of Tinybones, but it's such a weak interaction that it isn't worth building around.

How do you break parity if Tinybones is MIA? You need significantly more card draw to offset your use of single use discard as well as the symmetrical discard effects. I would run Sign in Blood, Night's Whisper, Read the Bones, and even stuff like Peer into the Abyss, Necrologia, Ambition's Cost, and Ancient Craving. Greed and Erebos, God of the Dead are also perfectly fine here. I agree that Geth's Grimoire is an autoinclude unless you're explicitly against it for some reason. With all your discard dorks Skullclamp seems like a no brainer, as well.

Dark Deal? Delirium Skeins? Liliana of the Veil? Court of Ambition has also impressed me.

I do agree that even with Coffers you'll probably want some midrange ramp cards to activate Tinybones's ability consistently. With such an emphasis on discard I have a feeling you're not going to be hitting every land drop.

Sheoldred, Whispering One and Avatar of Woe seem completely out of place. I would cut them, even if they're okay reanimation targets, just because they're generic-y goodstuff which seems like something you want to avoid. I would also cut some of the weaker reanimation spells since you're not running many bombs worth recurring. I think you'd be better off with more card draw.

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Post by plaganegra » 1 week ago

Thanks @TheGildedGoose !

Agree completely on Tergrid.

Single Target discard I do not like at all in this strategy, it is likely only good in CEDH, which is not my goal at all. I do like the cantripping of the instant speed ones, but I suppose I should swap those out for something more consistent. I do like their cmc though.

Needing tinybones in play is a definite weakness of the deck (but having him in play as often as possible is definitely the reason you build a tinybones deck), and I will often play him out several times in a game. I agree draw effects are important outside of tinybones.

Right now I have a few card advantage effects in these below. Which would you add/remove/switch? Blood scrivener is the weakest one I think, but I need to keep one of the two creatures at least because I want to be able to use a renaimate effect as a "draw spell" occasionally. Dark deal, lily, skeins, all cards I have had in the deck before. Removed them for creatures that discard so I can re-use them and block with them.

Imo court of ambition is the worst damage effect I have access to since I dont attack much to regain monarchy status, and it is a 4cmc shrieking affliction that gives my opponent a choice otherwise. The more I think about this card the more I see it as unplayable tbh.

Which additional midrange ramp would you add? I went for crypt ghast because of its mana cost, ability to get it back with my reanimate suite, and extort effect. I could probably add one more though...

The reason avatar of woe and sheoldred, whispering one are in the deck is twofold. Sheoldred allows me to capitalize on my creature etbs once per turn, and is a great reanimation target, and helps me control the board with the sac effect. Avatar of woe will quickly be a card that costs BB and works as a targeted removal slot for me. Also a good reanimation target. Neither is in here to be goodstuff, they both serve very specific functions in a discard strategy.

When people are topdecking the game becomes about negating whatever your opponents topdeck (since I am topdecking a lot of useless discard spells - another disadvantage of discard as a whole). Avatar of Woe and Sheoldred help me stabilize at this stage of the game so I can drain them out with tinybones before I die.

skullclamp is a huge oversight, thanks for bringing that up! Definitely needs to be in there. Adding it without even thinking much about it instead of the spellbomb. skullclamp also allows me to better re-use my creatures as a pseudo sac-outlet. Big win adding this in (surprise surprise lol)
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Post by plaganegra » 1 week ago

Added a changelog under my decklist to keep track of changes - thanks for the suggestions guys keep em comming!! Also added a maybeboard to keep track of my own extra card thoughts and add new ideas by everyone that come up.

Happy Thanksgiving - anyone else quarantining? haha
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Post by RowanKeltizar » 1 week ago

I want to preface this post with a couple things. I've never actually played Tinybones, so i could very well be wrong about a few things, however my opinion is that any mono color deck is going to be a bit handicapped, especially in the current meta. Discard, no less is a strategy that inherently is more difficult to pull off in a multiplayer setting.

Therefore, you are going to be forced to make a very tight and very focused list. I can tell you that your list would simply not work in my playgroup. It's not CEDH, but people are running the best of the best for what their deck is doing. Since you aren't running that many graveyard exile effects, the discard would actually work against you in most games. The discard effects that you ARE running wouldn't be able to keep up with the card advantage that most decks in my playgroup can generate at a blistering pace. Many commanders generate card advantage on their own.

I also think target graveyard exile is imperitive for this deck. You don't really want to shut down your own recursion, so I think I would actually skip Nether Void and Leyline of the Void for things like Bojuka Bog and Nihil Spellbomb etc...

Not to say all groups are like mine, but it's really forced me to think long and hard about my card choices, especially if I am making a deck that is inherently handicapped. Just my 2 cents.

plaganegra wrote:
1 week ago
Single Target discard I do not like at all in this strategy, it is likely only good in CEDH, which is not my goal at all. I do like the cantripping of the instant speed ones, but I suppose I should swap those out for something more consistent. I do like their cmc though.
Instant speed discard is pretty good, however very rare. If I'm not mistaken Funeral Charm is one of the only actual instants. However, the fact that Tinybones cantrips your discard spells shouldn't be entirely ignored when it comes to these. Being able to target discard someone at instant speed if they tutor for a draw spell or removal is pretty brutal and is a big reason why they don't print instant speed discard.

An interesting experiment would be to slot in Vedalken Orrery and see how it affects your discard game. Nice thing about tutors is that you can test out specific cards more frequently. Probably win-more, but like I said I think it's an interesting experiment.

I do think it would be smart to try and get as many discard triggers for Tinybones as possible on your opponents turns to maximize the draw trigger he has and there are a lot of cards that do that.

plaganegra wrote:
1 week ago
Needing tinybones in play is a definite weakness of the deck (but having him in play as often as possible is definitely the reason you build a tinybones deck), and I will often play him out several times in a game. I agree draw effects are important outside of tinybones.
I wouldn't be too concerned about recasting Tinybones. He only costs 2 mana, and in a mono black deck paying the commander tax shouldn't be too much of an issue. His ability also doesn't require haste which is great and in my experience that is pretty important. Compare to something like Gishath, Sun's Avatar which relies on combat damage or Kaalia of the Vast which relies on haste, both of which are much more mana intensive commanders.

plaganegra wrote:
1 week ago
Right now I have a few card advantage effects in these below. Which would you add/remove/switch? Blood scrivener is the weakest one I think, but I need to keep one of the two creatures at least because I want to be able to use a renaimate effect as a "draw spell" occasionally.
Out of these I think blood scrivener is the weakest. It's a do nothing card unless you're hellbent which like I said before I don't think you should be aiming for. Easy cut imo.

Bone Miser could be decent here, although the cmc is steep. And Opposition Agent also fits I think.

Bolas's Citadel seems like an oversight. The fact that you are gaining advantage without drawing cards or keeping cards in your hand is really powerful.

However, your commander's draw trigger is going to the most reliable draw you are going to get, so protecting him and building around his trigger is pretty important I think. Going so far as to run Lightning Greaves or Imp's Mischief might be something to think about. We also have access to indestructible or regenerate in mono black.
plaganegra wrote:
1 week ago
Imo court of ambition is the worst damage effect I have access to since I dont attack much to regain monarchy status, and it is a 4cmc shrieking affliction that gives my opponent a choice otherwise. The more I think about this card the more I see it as unplayable tbh.
I should point out it's not really a choice given your deck's synergies. They are most likely going to just lose the 3 life. But yeah, not sure that's good enough if you can't protect the monarch token.

plaganegra wrote:
1 week ago
Which additional midrange ramp would you add? I went for crypt ghast because of its mana cost, ability to get it back with my reanimate suite, and extort effect. I could probably add one more though...
Yeah, Crypt Ghast is great. I honestly don't think Nyx Lotus is that bad in mono color. Worth trying out anyway imo. I would be inclined to run Thran Dynamo in here. Caged Sun and Gauntlet of Power have both played pretty well for me in the past but they are big investments that are easy targets.

There are a few more lands you might consider: Cabal Stronghold could be good. You can copy some of your lands with Vesuva . Crypt of Agadeem is also something to consider as well.

Probably one of the best mana cards you could be running is K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth.

Ashnod's Altar should probably be in here also as a sac outlet, but also to generate some mana for Tinybones win.
plaganegra wrote:
1 week ago
The reason avatar of woe and sheoldred, whispering one are in the deck is twofold. Sheoldred allows me to capitalize on my creature etbs once per turn, and is a great reanimation target, and helps me control the board with the sac effect. Avatar of woe will quickly be a card that costs BB and works as a targeted removal slot for me. Also a good reanimation target. Neither is in here to be goodstuff, they both serve very specific functions in a discard strategy.
I just think they are too slow. In my meta I've tried both of these cards they almost always get removed before it gets to my upkeep. I think both of the demons I mentioned would do more work for you since they completely clear the table.

.
plaganegra wrote:
1 week ago
When people are topdecking the game becomes about negating whatever your opponents topdeck (since I am topdecking a lot of useless discard spells - another disadvantage of discard as a whole). Avatar of Woe and Sheoldred help me stabilize at this stage of the game so I can drain them out with tinybones before I die.
This is why you should be running Ensnaring Bridge, No Mercy, and Crawlspace. By this point you should also have a ton of mana to drain your opponents out with Tinybones.

Other stuff I would personally cut:

Mindlash Sliver, and most of the other creatures like this - Main reason is that discarding only one card per player isn't enough imo. I know you are gunning hard for the reanimation sub-theme, but my experience tells me you just can't rely on that without a commander that supports it. It's why I don't run things like Thought Monitor or Baleful Strix in my Atraxa artifacts only deck. The only repeatable recursion that i see in your list is Strands of Night, Sheoldred, and Phyrexian Reclamation which can be fantastic cards but they are only 3 cards out of 99. You also have Mimic Vat which does similar things. But are you really going to use your Reanimate on your Mindlash Sliver? I don't think so. I think this package could work but you need A LOT MORE repeatable recursion engines. You really need to focus hard on it because Tinybones doesn't care about creatures in your graveyard. In a discard deck you really need to be thinking about card advantage, even more so than other decks. Having recursion engines is a great way to do that, but your creatures need to be worth bringing back. I think Rankle, Master of Pranks and Cunning Lethemancer are both good examples of creatures that you want to be reanimating because they are also discard engines themselves. You could even go so far as to actually COUNT how many of your opponents cards get discarded for the mana invested on all your spells. Mindslicer is an example of creature I would run without question over any of your others. It would be something I would tutor for and prioritize getting into play with a recursion engine. That's the kind of power level you should be bringing to the table IMO.
plaganegra wrote:
1 week ago
Awaken the Erstwhile and Mindslicer are in my maybeboard, but both have a deckbuilding challenge of their own. - giving your opponents a bunch of 2/2s can kill me quickly, and mindslicer really needs a sac outlet otherwise it just sits there - which requires more card slots that aren't discard or lock pieces. Often times it just becomes a wall until someone exiles it, or nobody cares. Same thing with Vindictive Lich (which is also a single target discard, hitting only one opponent for two cards).
You can apply this same logic to any of your other creatures with a death trigger and probably an etb as well since you need a sac outlet and a recursion engine for them to be worthwhile.

Anvil of Bogardan - I think there are better discard engines available. The downsides to this card don't make up for the discard IMO. No less, if a player draws a ton of cards with something like Rishkar's Expertise they get to keep everything which would not be good for you.

Kaya's Ghostform -in terms of card advantage I don't think this is doing enough.

Mox Amber - i don't think this is worth the risk. It will only ever tap for black, and only one. Losing Tinybones means this is most likely going to be totally dead, and you won't be able to use the mana from it to recast him.

Some additional cards you might consider:

Death Cloud - this should be a win con in this deck. I know a lot of people are going to be salty about the land destruction so I understand if it's not an option.

Library of Leng - protecting yourself from your own discard is somewhat important I think

Urza's Saga an easy include for a mono color deck. Can tutor for ramp, skullclamp and some other stuff.
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RowanKeltizar
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Post by RowanKeltizar » 1 week ago

Here's my own theorycrafted list (WIP)
"Tiny Engines"
Decklist
Approximate Total Cost:

Last edited by RowanKeltizar 1 week ago, edited 9 times in total.
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WBElenda, the Dusk Rose - Drain and Gain
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plaganegra
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Post by plaganegra » 1 week ago

I want to thank you very very much for such a thoughtful post. Your ideas are very helpful!
RowanKeltizar wrote:
1 week ago
I also think target graveyard exile is imperitive for this deck. You don't really want to shut down your own recursion, so I think I would actually skip Nether Void and Leyline of the Void for things like Bojuka Bog and Nihil Spellbomb etc...
I think this is a meta-call TBH, but I should probably run more than I do. There is only so much room in the deck so I didn't prioritize it right now. Why targeted GY removal over something like Leyline of the Void? I definitely do not want to exile my own GY if I don't have to.
RowanKeltizar wrote:
1 week ago
An interesting experiment would be to slot in Vedalken Orrery and see how it affects your discard game. Nice thing about tutors is that you can test out specific cards more frequently. Probably win-more, but like I said I think it's an interesting experiment.
Vedalken Orrery seems like a really good utility card, I definitely need to try it. Really like this idea because sometimes I draw cards on opponents turns and I could use them right away before my own upkeep triggers (which might make me discard them).
RowanKeltizar wrote:
1 week ago
I wouldn't be too concerned about recasting Tinybones. He only costs 2 mana, and in a mono black deck paying the commander tax shouldn't be too much of an issue.
I have not had a hard time recasting him at all, the deck does really need him in play often though which at times can be a hinderance. An opponent nuking him after he has been cast a few times potentially could set you back a whole turn at certain points in the game. Just part of the territory. He wants me to have a lot of mana for his drain effect anyway, so mana helps solve this too.
RowanKeltizar wrote:
1 week ago
Out of these I think blood scrivener is the weakest. It's a do nothing card unless you're hellbent which like I said before I don't think you should be aiming for. Easy cut imo.

Bone Miser could be decent here, although the cmc is steep. And Opposition Agent also fits I think.

Bolas's Citadel seems like an oversight. The fact that you are gaining advantage without drawing cards or keeping cards in your hand is really powerful.

However, your commander's draw trigger is going to the most reliable draw you are going to get, so protecting him and building around his trigger is pretty important I think. Going so far as to run Lightning Greaves or Imp's Mischief might be something to think about. We also have access to indestructible or regenerate in mono black.
Bolas's Citadel almost made the cut off the bat, but I am always worried about life totals. It is the same reason I didnt put k'rrik in there as well. I have run sangromancer in the past to mitigate this, and it is the reason gray merchant currently. The citadel is probably worth it just for the land drops and hand situation though so I should add it in I think regardless...

Do you think Funeral Charm is worth the single cantrip? Same as necrogen spellbomb. I am really torn on this.
RowanKeltizar wrote:
1 week ago
court of ambition - I should point out it's not really a choice given your deck's synergies. They are most likely going to just lose the 3 life. But yeah, not sure that's good enough if you can't protect the monarch token.
I agree, and life loss is not the choice I would want them to make if they have a card in hand. I think shrieking affliction is just a direct upgrade over this. Something I decided early on in deckbuilding was that it was already difficult enough to discard peoples hands, I didnt feel like additional damage effects were worth running since tinybones has one in the command zone. It opened up a lot of deckbuilding space I think is really necessary. That said, I am torn on including some of the more efficient ones like shrieking affliction, quest for the nihil stone, or bloodchief ascension. What are your thoughts on this?
RowanKeltizar wrote:
1 week ago
Yeah, Crypt Ghast is great. I honestly don't think Nyx Lotus is that bad in mono color. Worth trying out anyway imo. I would be inclined to run Thran Dynamo in here. Caged Sun and Gauntlet of Power have both played pretty well for me in the past but they are big investments that are easy targets.

There are a few more lands you might consider: Cabal Stronghold could be good. You can copy some of your lands with Vesuva . Crypt of Agadeem is also something to consider as well.

Probably one of the best mana cards you could be running is K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth.

Ashnod's Altar should probably be in here also as a sac outlet, but also to generate some mana for Tinybones win.
I should probably add the stronghold, I left it out to prioritize actual swamps as much as I could while keeping the utility lands I currently have in the list. Would you cut any of the utility lands I am currently running?

K'rrik is the best imo, but life total is a real challenge in playing discard. Something I am considering...

Crypt and the altars really only work if I keep my creature based strategy. Crypt is probably not reliable enough with the creature count I run to offset the CIPT clause was my thinking. And ashnod's altar only giving me colorless is not the best, phyrexian altar is probably better most of the game until I am in drain mode. Both seem too focused on the endgame to me at the sacrifice of the early game and mid game where I am trying to gain control and stabilize.
RowanKeltizar wrote:
1 week ago
plaganegra wrote:
1 week ago
The reason avatar of woe and sheoldred, whispering one are in the deck is twofold. Sheoldred allows me to capitalize on my creature etbs once per turn, and is a great reanimation target, and helps me control the board with the sac effect. Avatar of woe will quickly be a card that costs BB and works as a targeted removal slot for me. Also a good reanimation target. Neither is in here to be goodstuff, they both serve very specific functions in a discard strategy.
I just think they are too slow. In my meta I've tried both of these cards they almost always get removed before it gets to my upkeep. I think both of the demons I mentioned would do more work for you since they completely clear the table.

This is why you should be running Ensnaring Bridge, No Mercy, and Crawlspace. By this point you should also have a ton of mana to drain your opponents out with Tinybones.
The problem with the demons you shared is they always will save the biggest and best creatures for me to still deal withm which are really all I care about anyway. Same with crawlspace. Bridge is a card I love and will probably add back in because it is too good at doing what it does to pass up on. I need repeatable removal because even after I wipe the board it only buys me a couple of turns usually before I start dying again. Bridge is the only card I have found so far that does what I need, but there is only one. No Mercy is another, I'll add that one in for sure.
RowanKeltizar wrote:
1 week ago
Mindlash Sliver, and most of the other creatures like this - Main reason is that discarding only one card per player isn't enough imo. I know you are gunning hard for the reanimation sub-theme, but my experience tells me you just can't rely on that without a commander that supports it. It's why I don't run things like Thought Monitor or Baleful Strix in my Atraxa artifacts only deck. The only repeatable recursion that i see in your list is Strands of Night, Sheoldred, and Phyrexian Reclamation which can be fantastic cards but they are only 3 cards out of 99. You also have Mimic Vat which does similar things. But are you really going to use your Reanimate on your Mindlash Sliver? I don't think so. I think this package could work but you need A LOT MORE repeatable recursion engines. You really need to focus hard on it because Tinybones doesn't care about creatures in your graveyard. In a discard deck you really need to be thinking about card advantage, even more so than other decks. Having recursion engines is a great way to do that, but your creatures need to be worth bringing back. I think Rankle, Master of Pranks and Cunning Lethemancer are both good examples of creatures that you want to be reanimating because they are also discard engines themselves. You could even go so far as to actually COUNT how many of your opponents cards get discarded for the mana invested on all your spells. Mindslicer is an example of creature I would run without question over any of your others. It would be something I would tutor for and prioritize getting into play with a recursion engine. That's the kind of power level you should be bringing to the table IMO.
I see your points and I think they are valid. I am going to try it out because I don't know if anyone has ever built the deck in this way and seen what happens. I am fully prepared to go back to the drawing board though if and when it fails - the fun of brewing! Part of the reason I was drawn to try this out was because if you cram all of the best "discard" spells in the deck I still felt there were not enough to keep me afloat most of the game. I wanted something I could repeat and re-use and this was what I came up with to try in that vein...

Are there any other cards I missed that might help me with the creature reanimation strategy? I wish I could have more sheoldred/strands of night/phyrecian reclamations in the deck to support the recursion. (recurring nightmare /drool)
RowanKeltizar wrote:
1 week ago
plaganegra wrote:
1 week ago
Awaken the Erstwhile and Mindslicer are in my maybeboard, but both have a deckbuilding challenge of their own. - giving your opponents a bunch of 2/2s can kill me quickly, and mindslicer really needs a sac outlet otherwise it just sits there - which requires more card slots that aren't discard or lock pieces. Often times it just becomes a wall until someone exiles it, or nobody cares. Same thing with Vindictive Lich (which is also a single target discard, hitting only one opponent for two cards).
You can apply this same logic to any of your other creatures with a death trigger and probably an etb as well since you need a sac outlet and a recursion engine for them to be worthwhile.
Death triggers are a serious problem when they hurt everyone as bad as mindslicer does. nobody touches it and I end up having to kill it myself which feels real bad. Sac outlets without more creatures to use them with beneficially end up being a disjointed combo in my experience.

ETBs are much different because I am garaunteed to get them the first time, and people are not afraid to attack into a burglar rats lol. So they find the GY very quickly on their own. So the same logic does not apply to anything other than Mindslicer - it is a unique situation in my experience playing the card.

On their own 2 mana to discard 3 cards is a pretty good rate, especially when they also give you a body on the field and something you can recur later. There are very few cards like delirium skeins I can run - if I could put 6 copies of it in my deck I wouldn't feel the need to try this creature strategy out all all actually. Rankle is obviously awesome, but I have only one. I considered the other specter type cards, but they seem to be the worst of the creature based discard effects. Rankle stands alone.
RowanKeltizar wrote:
1 week ago
Anvil of Bogardan - I think there are better discard engines available. The downsides to this card don't make up for the discard IMO. No less, if a player draws a ton of cards with something like Rishkar's Expertise they get to keep everything which would not be good for you.
Anvil of Bogardan basically reads "each upkeep your opponent gets to cycle a card and I draw a card" with tinybones out. It is probably the best draw engine in the deck when paired with tinybones I think. Outside of the brute force of something like necropotence. If my opponents have to discard because they have more than 7 then I am already a lost cause lol. To me that bit of text is irrelevant and it has never come up in gameplay actually.

I am not running liliana's caress, but that is one of the combos with anvil. It is even more valuable in that sort of build...
RowanKeltizar wrote:
1 week ago
Kaya's Ghostform -in terms of card advantage I don't think this is doing enough.
I should probably switch this for lightning greaves. It is only in there to protect tinybones for 1 mana.
RowanKeltizar wrote:
1 week ago
Mox Amber - i don't think this is worth the risk. It will only ever tap for black, and only one. Losing Tinybones means this is most likely going to be totally dead, and you won't be able to use the mana from it to recast him.
I see your point on mox. What would you run instead for some fast mana? I have access to all of them.
RowanKeltizar wrote:
1 week ago
Death Cloud - this should be a win con in this deck. I know a lot of people are going to be salty about the land destruction so I understand if it's not an option.

Library of Leng - protecting yourself from your own discard is somewhat important I think

Urza's Saga an easy include for a mono color deck. Can tutor for ramp, skullclamp and some other stuff.
Death Cloud is out just because of how much it makes my friends cry like babies. One of the best mono black stax control cards IMO.

Library is something I should look again at, might have trouble finding room in the creature build. much easier to fit in a more spell heavy version without the creature package.

Saga should go in for sure.
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Post by plaganegra » 1 week ago

RowanKeltizar wrote:
1 week ago
Here's my own list (WIP)
Spoiler
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My current Decklist
Decklist
Approximate Total Cost:

Thanks for sharing!! What is your experience like with the deck? What does it do well and what are the weaknesses? I noticed you dont run much of any traditional discrad spells at all - can you elaborate? I think I know why but I would rather here from the source haha.
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Post by RowanKeltizar » 1 week ago

That decklist is something I just whipped up on the spot based on our discussions so far. Never played it. I am invested in our discussion though because I may end up actually building some version Tinybones in the future. My above list focuses more on getting "engines" into play that generate their own card advantage and discard effects, rather than one shot sorcery based effects. Main weakness will be that it is permanent based and suffers greatly to mass enchantment hate.

I think there is a mono black "spellslinger" deck possible that has less permanents and more of the sorcery based discard effects, but I think that version really wants to have Vedalken Orrery for that instant speed goodness. That's also a list I would feel inspired to actually build. Mono-black spellslinger discard/control. You could also run things like Sedgemoor Witch.

I absolutely had a brain fart on Leyline of the Void. I was thinking it was a global effect. Yes, that should be an autoinclude.

If you want fast mana I think the instant/sorcery based rituals would be worth considering especially since you have a Yawgmoth's Will.
plaganegra wrote:
1 week ago
Are there any other cards I missed that might help me with the creature reanimation strategy? I wish I could have more sheoldred/strands of night/phyrecian reclamations in the deck to support the recursion. (recurring nightmare /drool)
There's Tortured Existence and maybe Mortuary

If you are going to have that be a major theme of the deck I would run more tutors. Thankfully that's one of black's strengths. You don't really need multiple copies of a recursion engine in play at one time. And speaking of tutors have you ever played Insidious Dreams ?
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Post by plaganegra » 1 week ago

pokken wrote:
1 week ago
Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker seems like the best engine this deck could hope for. Protects Tinybones, Trinket Thief while letting you do the Black Cat dance etc.
I CANNOT believe I forgot Shirei!!! Thanks so much man. Sad because I used to run that card as a general forever ago lol.
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Post by RowanKeltizar » 1 week ago

Yeah, Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker is pure gold for what you are trying to do. You could even run him as your commander for this deck XD just kidding.

There's also Tortured Existence and Mortuary if you want to reuse your creatures.

I wonder if Grave Pact or Dictate of Erebos would be something good here, especially with your more focused creature strategy. Sac gets around a lot of things. In combo with some of your other removal, it may help keep the board clear.
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Post by plaganegra » 1 week ago

RowanKeltizar wrote:
1 week ago
Yeah, Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker is pure gold for what you are trying to do. You could even run him as your commander for this deck XD just kidding.

There's also Tortured Existence and Mortuary if you want to reuse your creatures.

I wonder if Grave Pact or Dictate of Erebos would be something good here, especially with your more focused creature strategy. Sac gets around a lot of things. In combo with some of your other removal, it may help keep the board clear.
Grave Pact could be very good in here with more sac outlets I think. I just completely overhauled the deck actually and I couldn't find room for it yet.

I took out all of the discard "spells" and went even more all in on the creature strategy adding mindslicer, shizo, and some sac outlets and tutors, refined the manabase, and swapped a couple more things. After reading everyone's comments in this thread and looking at what options I had available the discard "spells" were the most flexible design space to invade to add more utility, recursion, and draw. So we will see how this goes, but I think this is a superior list and I couldn't have come up with it without everyone's help! So ty.

Now let's chat about something I think is very cool:

Noetic Scales. I left this card out because I was not thinking. I thought initially - I don't want to bounce my creatures only to discard them, but that is not how it works. We get to layer all of our own triggered abilities on each upkeep (even our opponents). So we can make our opponents bounce all of their creatures with this handy tool and then immediately discard them to a discard enchantment. While on our upkeep we can discard first, and then bounce! Another recursion engine with a built in powerful board wipe. Amazing.

I do really hope you brew some tiny bones with me. My goal isnt to make the most powerful deck, i just want to win consistently with discard. There are so many ways to build this commander I am seeing so it would be nice to turn this thread into a primer and showcase that at some point, but I need more people to join in and share how they build tinybones!
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Post by pokken » 1 week ago

A funny old card that you might enjoy that I just remembered is Lifeline. It's symmetrical but not so much with Grave Pact effects. You could set up a "everyone discards 5" loop.

And going along with all the dudes Wake the Dead is something I'd consider.

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Post by plaganegra » 1 week ago

RowanKeltizar wrote:
1 week ago
Here's my own theorycrafted list (WIP)
"Tiny Engines"
Decklist
Approximate Total Cost:

I saw you updated your list so I wanted to give some feedback on it!

Also, I have played with insidious dreams, great in combo-oriented lists that sort of "go off" and have turns where they draw a bunch of cards, otherwise can be a dead spell with all of the self-discard due to enchantment stax effects. Pairs well with cards like Peer into the abyss, Skirge Familiar, where you can drain out the table in one turn.

Speaking of which, I think you want peer into the abyss in this deck badly.

Underworld dreams is a waste of a slot imo. I think you need a couple more board wipes. This deck has a hard time stabilizing especially if you aren't hammering your opponents with a bunch of discard spells right off the bat.

In this list the recursion enchantments might be dead draws much of the time, be prepared for that to happen. I would only run phyrexian reclamation of the two you have.

If you want to go more combo, you can add sensei's divining top and aetherflux reservoir to go off with bolas's citadel. Top is worth adding regardless.

Also Maralen of the Mornsong + Opposition Agent is a lock. This is the only combo I think I would run in my deck just because I think it is hilarious and it is also creature based. Maralen can be used well at instant speed in my list also.

Shred Memory is some nice tech.

Anvil of Bogardan is one of the best cards for your deck that is missing. It triggers all of your damage effects and tiny bones.

Ill Gotten Gains should probably be awaken the erstwhile. raw power and consistency over semi-combo.

If you are running snow-covered swamps, I would switch archfiend of ifnir for dead of winter. easy switch because the demon likely wont give you more than -2/-2 in a turn.

I think dread presence is inconsistent unless you have a much higher density of swamps or crucible of worlds, even still though...

Entomb goes with my reanimation strategy well but here feels out of place.

This looks like a great start to a "mono-black control" build for tinybones and I would love to see you assemble it and give it a shot!
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Post by yeti1069 » 1 week ago

I think skipping Painful Quandary is possibly a mistake.

When I ran a Kess discard deck, which had more "everyone discards" because my graveyard was basically a second hand, I often found that once players were empty handed, many of my cards didn't do anything, and I was often losing to strong top decks. Quandary is a pretty significant punishment once you get there. If your plan is to kill people with Tiny's activated ability, tacking on more damage ithrougu the game s going to make the 10 damage that much more relevant. It's also always relevant, whereas something like Quest for the Nihil stone can be kind of a dud when your opponents are hellbent.

As for Grace Pact type effects, I don't think you're running enough creatures to make good use of them.

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Post by plaganegra » 1 week ago

Thanks @yeti1069

I think you may be right on Painful Quandary in my list, and I know you are right on gravepact after goldfishing a few rounds recently. I cut Mausoleum secrets for the same reason - inconsistent even with 21 creatures.
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Post by yeti1069 » 1 week ago

Ifnir is -1/-1 counters, so it doesn't matter if it's only -2/-2 per turn, the minuses stick around, and accumulate. Admittedly, wiping the board now vs weakening it and wiping it later is a real decision, but I'd probably run both.

Certainly, the deck could use more board wipes. You can't stop spells being played, and can't put 3 opponents into topdeck mode until probably turn 4 or 5 at the earliest, and even then, you're subject to strong topdecks. I had tried Lethal Vapors and Tainted Aether for a while in my Kess list for a bit. I was also running Keldon Firebombers as a way of bottlenecking hands a bit. Something like Trinisphere could help cut down on how much damage is being done before you start pulling ahead, or impede plays later in the game. I've found that at most tables a dedicated discard deck is going to be archenemy every game, even if one player isn't being hurt that much by it, or another is being stopped from winning quickly. Most players don't like someone stopping them from playing their cards, so you need ways to weather that focus. No Mercy looks great for that, except vs an alpha strike, but it's one card among many. Noetic Scales is great!

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Post by plaganegra » 1 week ago

yeti1069 wrote:
1 week ago
Ifnir is -1/-1 counters, so it doesn't matter if it's only -2/-2 per turn, the minuses stick around, and accumulate. Admittedly, wiping the board now vs weakening it and wiping it later is a real decision, but I'd probably run both.

Certainly, the deck could use more board wipes. You can't stop spells being played, and can't put 3 opponents into topdeck mode until probably turn 4 or 5 at the earliest, and even then, you're subject to strong topdecks. I had tried Lethal Vapors and Tainted Aether for a while in my Kess list for a bit. I was also running Keldon Firebombers as a way of bottlenecking hands a bit. Something like Trinisphere could help cut down on how much damage is being done before you start pulling ahead, or impede plays later in the game. I've found that at most tables a dedicated discard deck is going to be archenemy every game, even if one player isn't being hurt that much by it, or another is being stopped from winning quickly. Most players don't like someone stopping them from playing their cards, so you need ways to weather that focus. No Mercy looks great for that, except vs an alpha strike, but it's one card among many. Noetic Scales is great!
I always forget it is -1/-1 counters lol. That is much better than the alternative, so I would change my opinion to swapping the other demon out instead in order to add another board wipe. Archfiend of Depravity only helps against swarms and will never kill the best stuff, and two for each opponent is still a lot to deal with (often they only have 2 anyway due to resource denial). I just don't think this makes the cut. Archfiend of Ifnir is also pretty bad later in the game where you aren't always discarding stuff to your own effects. In fact I try to minimize that as much as possible myself. Maybe I am wrong though, Ifnir can also be cycled itself, and in my deck I can get it back easily and supress other people's boards. I just don't know how effectively at different stages of the game.

I do believe Dead of Winter is awesome in mono black with snow lands, kills so many things just as toxic deluge does and scales well with the gameplay. Also though is the reason I try not to run too many utility lands over snow-covered swamps. You want the highest density for the "swamps matter" and "snow matters" cards especially extra-planar lens. I do also feel Blood on the Snow is remarkably playable as a 2-for-1 in this deck and often have a hard time deciding between that and straight-up Damnation.

Additional Stax effects like Trinisphere, static orb, orb of dreams, winter orb, Damping Sphere, sphere of resistance, tangle wire, and Nether void can definitely be an effective way to slow opponents down while you establish a lock. I find these sorts of effects to be most useful in a more explosive build with a lot of fast mana. Dropping these early will keep a bunch of cards in hand to discard and take control that way. More staxxy.

I agree - a lot of times discard is default the main target, no matter what. Unless the rest of your playgroup are degenerate as well lol. My friends don't mind discard so much since I promised to dismantle and stop playing tergrid (which is a deck that requires you to be filthy with your strategy since you will ALWAYS be the target in multiplayer - the deck needs to overcompensate for that). Tinybones players can be respected a little more since generally everyone knows how difficult it is for a discard deck to actually win the game in multiplayer.

I am torn on No Mercy. I have a hard time just not using a board wipe in my list instead since I have re-usable removal in my creature package and preventing damage is my main concern.

Maybe an Isochron scepter package has a place in this deck? Perhaps in a version using more instant speed discard (which I just removed from my deck lol)
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Post by pokken » 1 week ago

There's a lot of tension in tinybones' design, being a creature that you want to keep on the board, and his best "combo" pieces are non-creature artifacts / enchantments that survive sweepers, making you kind of inclined to play sweepers.

I *think* that the best way to go about that is to play a lot of reanimation stuff and just go ahead and sweep the board regularly, then Unearth or Dread Return or Animate Dead. That might make Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker kinda bad. Maybe go heavier on reanimate and slap a Vilis, Broker of Blood in there, since it synergizes so well with TB too. I think I'd try out like, 8-10 reanimate spells and one of them being a bomb like Rise of the Dark Realms.

The stuff like No Mercy never seems to work out for me. It's just so slow. I would absolutely play Thaumatic Compass // Spires of Orazca though, it's not super desirable but man an extra maze of ith is awesome especially when it can tap for mana and fix a bad land hand.

The nice part about the whole reanimation subtheme is if everyone is discarding all the time they probably are discarding fatties they can't cast yet, and you can do double duty of 1) preventing them from reanimating them themselves, and 2) giving yourself nasty blockers and such.

Since you'll probably some amount of symmetrical discard effects like Bottomless Pit it makes sense to be able to get some value out of your own stuff too.

I think I'd probably start this build super high on the sweepers myself, and just play a variety of them ( Black Sun's Zenith, Toxic Deluge Dead of Winter etc).

The problem with the Burglar Rat effects is to make them actually good you need to be recurring them every turn and sac'ing them at instant speed, and I think that package is probably too much for this deck. So as much as I like them, I think I would cut them all and just plan to stick a single "Everyone discards every turn" effect and rack up the draw 4 off Tinybones every turn. The combination of "everyone discards 1+ every turn and I draw 4 every turn" should close the game out on its own not needing to try to make everyone empty handed.

--

So I think my skeleton for this deck would be something like
10 big giant stupid fatties - like absolute nonsense, like Archfiend of Ifnir being the smallest. Stuff like Vilis, Broker of Blood and Massacre Wurm that can serve as almost wincons on their own
10 reanimate spells
10 "everyone discards in their turn" effects
10 sweepers

And then fill out the rest with whatever you want - cheap draw spells, tutors, removal.

I would absolutely have a Cabal Coffers package, since making giant mana and casting your fatties is a great plan B. :P (You already having Expedition Map is good but I might add Beseech the Queen - it's underrated!)

--

And a little more philosophy stuff I wanted to add -- I have played a *lot* of the "do this bare minimum each turn and draw a card" generals (Feather, Ephara, etc.)

Tinybones is more like Ephara, God of the Polis than not, and I really don't think you are incentivized to do more than the bare minimum or set up complicated engines. Ephara just gets a card every turn off Whitemane Lion and you just get a card each turn off Bottomless Pit. It really frees you up to do a lot of other stuff with your other cards, and not need to go all the way ham on trying to get everyone hellbent.

Getting all your opponents hellbent is just really hard in commander, and people will absolutely go right at your face if you do. Similarly if I just mash powerful ETB effects and try to do something *to* someone every turn with Ephara (e.g. blinking Venser, Shaper Savant) I'm going to draw aggro.

Just some philosophy stuff to think about :)

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RowanKeltizar
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Post by RowanKeltizar » 1 week ago

Yeah, I can see the reanimation theme working out pretty well with the fatties. Putting your own creature power on the board fits well with the stax effects we are playing.

I also like the idea of using cards like maybe Rise of the Dark Realms that can capitalize on our opponents' full graveyards and utilize that all the black mana we should be generating. This also helps to solve the issue of our discard working out in our opponents' favor.

Agadeem's Awakening // Agadeem, the Undercrypt is a great card IMO and I think would be a nice fit here. I know you are trying to minimize your non-basics.

Underworld Dreams may not be a perfect fit but it's always good in my meta where people are drawing a ton of cards all the time.



As for fatties:

Geth, Lord of the Vault - plays into the reanimation strategy fairly well

Ob Nixilis, Unshackled - this guy has always pulled his weight for me

Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon -built in regenerate and haste is great. infect puts people on a clock

Mikaeus, the Unhallowed - effectively puts a regeneration shield on all your creatures, also works well if you have sac outlets and etbs.

Kokusho, the Evening Star - one of the best creatures to reanimate in my experience

Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet - not exactly a "fattie" but he does work

Archon of Cruelty - haven't played this in edh yet, but the ability seems fairly powerful

Massacre Wurm - can be really powerful in the right scenario and benefits from multiple etbs.
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plaganegra
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Post by plaganegra » 1 week ago

pokken wrote:
1 week ago
There's a lot of tension in tinybones' design, being a creature that you want to keep on the board, and his best "combo" pieces are non-creature artifacts / enchantments that survive sweepers, making you kind of inclined to play sweepers.
This is 100% accurate - the deck needs to do everything a normal control deck wants to do AND also discard everyone elses cards. That is a very difficult task to accomplish and striking the balance of role playing cards to deck utility is quite difficult to find.
pokken wrote:
1 week ago
I *think* that the best way to go about that is to play a lot of reanimation stuff and just go ahead and sweep the board regularly, then Unearth or Dread Return or Animate Dead. That might make Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker kinda bad. Maybe go heavier on reanimate and slap a Vilis, Broker of Blood in there, since it synergizes so well with TB too. I think I'd try out like, 8-10 reanimate spells and one of them being a bomb like Rise of the Dark Realms.

The stuff like No Mercy never seems to work out for me. It's just so slow. I would absolutely play Thaumatic Compass // Spires of Orazca though, it's not super desirable but man an extra maze of ith is awesome especially when it can tap for mana and fix a bad land hand.

The nice part about the whole reanimation subtheme is if everyone is discarding all the time they probably are discarding fatties they can't cast yet, and you can do double duty of 1) preventing them from reanimating them themselves, and 2) giving yourself nasty blockers and such.
I do feel like reanimation does play double duty in this deck and actually reduces the need for me to run a bunch of fatties - I can take whatever fatty my opponents discarded (which will be often).

+1 on the Compass. Great idea! Maze has saved me many times in this sort of deck. Works great with the untap land too.

I am going to try Shirei and Hell's Caretaker out, but they are the two "engine" cards I am most skeptical of right now. They need to be tested though.
pokken wrote:
1 week ago
Since you'll probably some amount of symmetrical discard effects like Bottomless Pit it makes sense to be able to get some value out of your own stuff too.

I think I'd probably start this build super high on the sweepers myself, and just play a variety of them ( Black Sun's Zenith, Toxic Deluge Dead of Winter etc).

The problem with the Burglar Rat effects is to make them actually good you need to be recurring them every turn and sac'ing them at instant speed, and I think that package is probably too much for this deck. So as much as I like them, I think I would cut them all and just plan to stick a single "Everyone discards every turn" effect and rack up the draw 4 off Tinybones every turn. The combination of "everyone discards 1+ every turn and I draw 4 every turn" should close the game out on its own not needing to try to make everyone empty handed.
One of the problems for discard is that you only have access to so many "discard every turn" effects. I am currently running all of them and it is not enough, so then you need to choose between a mix of sorceries and creatures that discard from each opponent. I tried the sorcery route and it ends up with a lot of dead draws at time, and also has a hard time keeping up with opponent's card advantage if you do not stick one of the repeatable enchantments. That is what lead me down this path of trying out a creature-based discard strategy. I am toying with running a couple cards like stronghold rats in place of the lesser ETB discard weenies or in addition to them. I need to get some games in, but probably not until after the holidays sadly will I get to play anything meaningful.

pokken wrote:
1 week ago
So I think my skeleton for this deck would be something like
10 big giant stupid fatties - like absolute nonsense, like Archfiend of Ifnir being the smallest. Stuff like Vilis, Broker of Blood and Massacre Wurm that can serve as almost wincons on their own
10 reanimate spells
10 "everyone discards in their turn" effects
10 sweepers

And then fill out the rest with whatever you want - cheap draw spells, tutors, removal.
This is definitely a viable blueprint for this deck. It is firmly a Discard-Reanimator hybrid (in the classic sense). It is probably a stronger deck than what I have right now... Though I do feel the value of the discard weenies is that they can be recurred, but maybe I need only a couple of them. I am not sure yet, I do need to get to some testing. This is mostly unexplored territory as far as I can tell. In my goldfishing it has played out quite nicely and with good tempo (which is underrated in discard). I admit I am being a little stubborn in wanting to have the most "discard" centric deck I can manage lol.
pokken wrote:
1 week ago
I would absolutely have a Cabal Coffers package, since making giant mana and casting your fatties is a great plan B. :P (You already having Expedition Map is good but I might add Beseech the Queen - it's underrated!)
What else should I include? I generally use any tutor to find the coffers as a top priority. Beseech the Queen is the next tutor I would add if I can find some room, any thing else I am missing to optimize coffers? I left out the stronghold because I find it to be lackluster most of the time and want to up my snow count.
pokken wrote:
1 week ago
And a little more philosophy stuff I wanted to add -- I have played a *lot* of the "do this bare minimum each turn and draw a card" generals (Feather, Ephara, etc.)

Tinybones is more like Ephara, God of the Polis than not, and I really don't think you are incentivized to do more than the bare minimum or set up complicated engines. Ephara just gets a card every turn off Whitemane Lion and you just get a card each turn off Bottomless Pit. It really frees you up to do a lot of other stuff with your other cards, and not need to go all the way ham on trying to get everyone hellbent.

Getting all your opponents hellbent is just really hard in commander, and people will absolutely go right at your face if you do. Similarly if I just mash powerful ETB effects and try to do something *to* someone every turn with Ephara (e.g. blinking Venser, Shaper Savant) I'm going to draw aggro.

Just some philosophy stuff to think about :)
Yeah it is admittedly very challenging to get everyone's hands hellbent but it is viable. I guess its just part of the territory with discard haha. I have more mono black commanders than any other variety and have played many of the top dogs in the genre. I am still just dying for Braids to be unbanned but I am not holding my breath.

I am not trying to build anything too complicated here I think with the creature strategy, just trying to see if I can make it work with a bunch of cards that work together, they all hold up on their own without anything else. The creatures still discard efficiently at 2cmc, the utility creatures still provide utility, the reanimate spells I currently have in the deck can get stuff from anyone's GY so that is a lot of potential upside regardless of my weenies as well (as you pointed out). The hardest part. in this strategy is not dying lol. Managing the board has always been the hardest aspect of the deck in my experience, so I am hoping the creature-based discard strategy is more resilient and consistent as a *discard* centric deck.

I tried triggering tinybones as often as possible in my previous build (which is like an average of the referenced decklists I shared in the OP). It just doesnt work like you would want it to. It can be extremely explosive, but when everyone recovers or topdecks good stuff the deck fails (as you topdeck discard spells). I definitely agree that not focusing on tinybones's "do this minimum each turn" effect is not entirely the focus with all of the cards in the deck. The enchantments do that quite well. It is his second ability I am building around, and the draw effect comes into play mostly in the midgame when my opponents are discarding to my enchantments - theoretically when I will pull ahead and they will be very low on answers.

If they have cards in hand I will be trying to recur my discard creatures, if they don't, i will be controlling the board with utility creatures and draining them out. Controlling the board is super important to not die as usually I cannot get *every* player hellbent at the same time. Hopefully with this new strategy that will change since I can recur the etb discard dudes. It's like spinning plates lol - the deck has to do many things at once (unless you build a combo oriented finish).
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