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Against the Odds: Tinybones, Trinket Thief (Historic)

Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 248 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had a Jumpstart in Historic Against the Odds poll, and in the end, Tinybones, Trinket Thief stole the victory with more than 50% of the vote (which I believe makes it one of the all-time highest vote-getters in an Against the Odds poll). As such, we're heading to Historic today to make our opponent discard some cards in a mono-black discard shell that is basically the Historic version of 8 Rack. (It is worth mentioning that neither The Rack or Shrieking Affliction is actually legal in the format, so outside of Tinybones, Trinket Thief itself, we need to get somewhat creative with our discard payoffs.) How good is Tinybones, Trinket Thief? What does Historic look like in a post-Jumpstart world? Let's get to the video and find out in today's Against the Odds; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Against the Odds: Tinybones, Trinket Thief

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The Deck

When Tinybones, Trinket Thief won the Against the Odds poll, it was pretty obvious that we'd be some sort of discard deck. The challenges were figuring out what color combination best supported Tinybones and what additional payoffs and what discard spells would work in the deck. While both Rakdos and Grixis offer some Tinybones, Trinket Thief potential, I eventually decided on mono-black, which has a ton of good discard spells and payoffs, and offers a lot of consistency thanks to the smooth mono-colored mana. The goal of our deck is simple: make our opponent draw cards until we can get them empty-handed, while generating additional value along the way from Tinybones, Trinket Thief and our other discard payoffs, before eventually winning the game with Tinybones's ability to drain our opponent for 10 damage once they are empty-handed along with some additional pseudo-Racks.

Discard Payoffs

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The core of our deck are two two-drops—[Tinybones, Trinket Thief]] and Waste Not—which generate value when our opponent discards a card. Tinybones draws us a card on the end step, assuming our opponent discarded a card during the turn, making it into a weird Phyrexian Arena–style effect for a discard deck. Meanwhile, Waste Not gives us immediate value when our opponent discards a card based on the type of card that is discarded, making mana, creating a 2/2 Zombie token, or drawing us a card. With eight total copies of Tinybones, Trinket Thief and Waste Not in our deck, we are likely to have at least one on the battlefield on Turn 2 most games.

Discard Planeswalkers

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Once we play a Tinybones or Waste Not on Turn 2, our next most important cards are our discard planeswalkers, Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage and Liliana, Waker of the Dead. The power of these cards is twofold. First, they both make our opponent discard a card to trigger Tinybones, Trinket Thief and Waste Not each turn. Second, they work as additional discard payoffs once we get our opponent low on cards, with Davriel hitting for two on our opponent's upkeep once they get to one or fewer cards and Liliana, Waker of the Dead draining our opponent for three when we +1 if our opponent is empty-handed. 

Additional Discard

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Because Tinybones, Davriel, and Liliana all want our opponent to be empty-handed, we have a bunch of extra discard spells as well. Burglar Rat makes our opponent discard when it comes into play and then can chump block for a turn to protect our planeswalkers. Heartless Pillage is the best Mind Rot in Historic, making our opponent discard two cards for three mana while possibly giving us a Treasure token as well. Meanwhile, Rankle, Master of Pranks is super powerful in our deck, not just because it can force our opponent to discard a card but also because it can make our opponent draw a card. One of the downsides of Tinybones, Trinket Thief and Waste Not is that they need our opponent to discard a card to trigger, which means we don't get to generate extra value when our opponent is empty-handed. Thanks to Rankle, we can attack, force our opponent to draw a card, and then immediacy make our opponent discard it with something like Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage, Liliana, Waker of the Dead, or Burglar Rats to trigger Waste Not and draw an extra card on our end step with Tinybones. 


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We also have a bunch of removal to deal with whatever threats of our opponent happen to slip through our discard spells and also to protect our discard planeswalkers. The most interesting of the bunch is Liliana's Triumph. If we have Liliana, Waker of the Dead on the battlefield, apart from being an edict, Liliana's Triumph can be an instant-speed discard spell, allowing us to cast it during our opponent's draw step when our opponent is empty-handed to make them discard the card they draw for their turn before they can cast it, while also triggering our Tinybones and Waste Not.

Extra Card-Draw

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One of the drawbacks of playing a bunch of discard spells is that they tend to be pretty bad once our opponent is empty-handed (although our discard planeswalkers help to fix this problem by having additional abilities once our opponent runs out of cards). One of the ways to fight through these bad draws is brute-force card-draw. Joining Tinybones, Trinket Thief are a couple of Phyrexian Arenas to draw an extra card each turn as well as a full playset of Castle Locthwain in the mana base, which is one of the biggest reasons to play mono-black Tinybones over other color combinations.

The Matchups

You might think that aggro would be the worst matchup for Tinybones, but in reality, we played several different aggro decks and crushed them. The truly bad matchups for the deck are card-draw-heavy control decks like Bant Planeswalkers. The problem in these matchups is that almost all of our opponent's threats—Uro, various Teferis, Hydroid Krasis—all incidentally draw cards, which makes it super difficult to keep our opponent empty-handed long enough to win with Tinybones, Trinket Thief's drain ability. Otherwise, Tinybones has a combination of discard, payoffs, and removal that makes it an effective option against many archetypes in the Historic meta.

The Odds

All in all, we finished 4-2 with Tinybones (the one match not featured in the video was one where I got stuck on one land for five turns in game two after mulliganing into oblivion in game one—we didn't really learn much of anything other than that mana screw is tough), which is solid for an Against the Odds deck. More importantly, Tinybones, Trinket Thief itself was insane. We won many of our games by activating the six-mana drain-for-10 ability after emptying our opponent's hand. I assumed that this ability was too expensive to be that relevant, but it is very much worth building around and extremely powerful, especially combined with our discard planeswalkers, which allowed us to kill our opponent from close to 20 life with one big turn in the mid-game. Heading into our matches, I figured that Tinybones would be fun but probably not that good. Heading out of our matches, I'm pretty sure it's both fun and good. I wouldn't be surprised to see Tinybones, Trinket Thief develop into a legitimate deck in the Historic format!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

The poll has moved to YouTube! You can vote for next week's Modern Against the Odds deck here!


Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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