Cube Draft Deck: 4 Color Tinker

4 Color Tinker

 There is something about Tinker that always draws me towards it. Tinker sits upon the rocks like a muse, sometimes waiting to leave me stranded, other times welcoming me with open arms…open, robot-arms of destruction, that is. The card is sweet; this could be like saying the sky is blue or magic is a lot of fun, but sometimes awesome points should be reiterated. The draft started out with me grabbing a smorgasboard of solid cards in Esper colors: Lingering Souls, Sorin, Lord of Innistrad, Compulsive Research, Phyrexian Metamorph, Baleful Strix, and Sphinx of the Steel Wind, the card that got the Tinker gears turning.

Probably around pick 7 or 8 I grabbed the Sphinx and started reminiscing on awesome Tinker decks of past. Oh, Mono Red? Big green? BBE? Lemme just bring this guy in for the GG. I was willing to play him as an overcosted finisher and then highly prioritize signets and other mana stones, but there was a little voice in the back of my head saying “It’s coming, it’s coming.” In the second pack an Inkwell Leviathan wheeled; my mana was already incredible (I picked a lot of great lands at the end of pack 1 and at the beginning of pack 2) and there was a Deep Analysis in the pack that I picked a Marsh Flats over in that pack that also tabled…but sometimes, I’m OK with making the terrible pick. This was an unpowered cube as well, so the Tinker was way worse without the possibility of quick moxen Tinkers, but it was hopeless. The gambler in me cried out “It’ll be there next pack! Just grab the two perfect targets and get to Tinker Time!”

And voila. Pack 3, pick 2, Tinker. A gift. The deck finally came together, and while I only had a couple signets, the Strix, Metamorph, Monolith, and Lotus sealed the deal. I went 2-1, beating a UR and GW deck and losing to the Esper mirror with a lot of planeswalkers, removal, and a Kor Haven that was an absolute all-star. The deck included some other goodies, so without further adieu:

4 Color Tinker

  • 1 Phyrexian Metamorph
  • 1 Riftwing Cloudskate
  • 1 Sphinx of the Steel Wind
  • 1 Lingering Souls
  • 1 Baleful Strix
  • 1 Inkwell Leviathan
  • 1 Batterskull
  • 1 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
  • 1 Ajani Vengeant
  • 1 Compulsive Research
  • 1 Dimir Charm
  • 1 Path to Exile
  • 1 Tinker
  • 1 Faith’s Fetters
  • 1 Snuff Out
  • 1 Prophetic Bolt
  • 1 Night’s Whisper
  • 1 Upheaval
  • 1 Unburial Rites
  • 1 Daze
  • 1 Gilded Lotus
  • 1 Grim Monolith
  • 1 Boros Signet
  • 1 Everflowing Chalice
  • 1 Mystic Gate
  • 1 Verdant Catacombs
  • 1 Windswept Heath
  • 1 Rugged Prairie
  • 1 Marsh Flats
  • 1 Isolated Chapel
  • 1 Drowned Catacomb
  • 1 Dragonskull Summit
  • 1 Clifftop Retreat
  • 2 Swamp
  • 1 Plains
  • 5 Island
  • SB: 1 Bloodghast
  • SB: 1 Despise
  • SB: 1 Chrome Mox
  • SB: 1 Tangle Wire
  • SB: 1 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
  • SB: 1 Vesuvan Shapeshifter
  • SB: 1 Momentary Blink
  • SB: 1 Wasteland
  • SB: 1 Stone Rain
  • SB: 1 Akroma, Angel of Wrath
  • SB: 1 Fire-Lit Thicket
  • SB: 1 Nezumi Graverobber

Dimir Charm
Dimir Charm: This card was not impressive. I grabbed it in the first pack out of a pretty bad pack and decided to main deck it as it had some interesting utility and I had no experience with the card—I wanted to see what it was like. It was not completely useless, but overall it sat in my hand doing nothing and was a very bad top deck. In one game it killed a problem Thalia, and in another I countered a Consuming Vapors, but that was the extent of Dimir Charm’s action. There’s no reason to run Dimir Charm when there are so many other better options: Psychatog, Showmage Infiltrator, Oona, Recoil, even Duskmantle Seer seems better.

Despise: I probably should have played this card over Dimir Charm. In every match, there was either a creature or planeswalker I could’ve pulled out of a hand that would’ve at the very least made the game easier, if not won it for me. Cube decks typically run 8-12 creatures, and there’s a good chance you’ll see at least one problem planeswalker, so it would have rarely been a dead card. I didn’t put it in the deck until the last match where I was beat in game 1 by a Tamiyo and Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and that was certainly a mistake. Every match contained early creatures I could’ve t1 despised away to get better value than I got out of the Charm. Despise is a much worse top deck, but the ceiling seemed higher if I opened with the card in my hand.

Ajani Vengeant
Ajani Vengeant: I grabbed this card early in pack 2, as I had a RW land in my pool and was already in the grab-lands mindset. Ajani is pretty great in this deck, and honestly if you can force him into any deck he’s worth it. Ajani is so useful in so many stages of the game. Early Ajanis can keep a problem creature tapped down or remove it completely; in the middle of a game he can slow down their tempo and keep them off their own planeswalkers; and late in the game he’s reach and can keep their own bombs tapped that are ruining your gameplan with an ultimate that can outright win the game for you if your have the board in a stalemate or only a little ahead. I only drew it once in my matches, but it was super useful, removing a problem creature and keeping what seemed like an important splash color locked down.

Prophetic Bolt
Prophetic Bolt: With the Ajani Splash locked up late into the third pack, I got a Prophetic Bolt in a pack with another piece of fixing. At that point I was already looking pretty good with the mana. 9 of my lands fixed, with 4 sources of red overall. It was pretty risky not running a mountain, especially with the Path to Exile in my deck to potentially grab it for myself; in hindsight, I could’ve found room for one. Regardless, the card was very good as a catch-all answer to a lot of problems. 4 damage can remove a lot, from creatures to low loyalty planeswalkers, and at worst it’s 4 damage to the face to finish a game off. The Impulse attached was always helpful. I’m a big fan of red in my blue decks because burn is so versatile. Usually red is a splash, but the burn and UR cards are typically nice in a controlling deck without a lot of direct damage.

Unburial Rites
Unburial Rites: While having two reanimation spells would’ve been ideal, Unburial Rites is the next best thing. Rites is an amazing card to pitch to Research and Upheaval, and casting it for one more is not too huge of a deal. It was a nice back up plan for my two giant artifact creatures, and it could get me value with Riftskate and Baleful Strix. It’d be nice if it grabbed from both graveyards, but it’s still pretty great getting the 2 for one out of one card.

Kor Haven
Kor Haven: This card destroyed me. It acted as an alternate Maze of Ith, nullifying important attacks with my Sphinx and keeping me behind in life when he pulled ahead. It’s not as good in an aggressive deck as it only stops attacking creatures, but against early Tinkers and mid-game Unburial Rites it was the perfect trump card. We were both able to get excessive mana as his deck was a slower Esper build too, and he had counters to get to that point in case he didn’t start with the Haven or wasn’t able to play it in lieu of colored mana.

bigup's Phyrexian Metamorph
Phyrexian Metamorph: I value this card highly. Metamorph is awesome; there are so many decks that want a Copy Artifact or Clone for the cheap price of 3 and 2 life. If you run Simic Charm, Metamorph gets past the all-permenants-hexproofed clause. If you’re staring down a Simic Sky Swallower or have your own, well, give him a cloud dwelling buddy. Jitte looking really shitty? There’s no Mirror Gallery in cube–Jitte is gone! Metamorph is really sweet, and if you copy a persist or undying creature, he can come back as a sword or Icy Manipulator. Metamorph is a unique creature because of this, a swiss army knife that stands alone.

(Note: this alter was done by bigup.

The deck was a lot of fun. I’ve been going blue a lot lately, and for good reason, as the card advantage, big creatures, and disruption/removal that blue provides is so awesome, especially if you can use it as a base and splash multiple other colors.

And to close, I’d like to give a big shout out to my local gaming store, G33K in Gloucester, MA. If you’re ever in the Cape Ann area and you’re looking to play some cards, head on over! They have a friendly staff and player base with drafts on tuesday and thursday nights, along with a variety of other game days. D&D? Halo 4/Black Ops tournaments? Board game days? They have it all! Check them out on facebook @