Today, we are going to be talking about Timetwister and its uses or, possibly, lack there-of in the cube drafting environment.
While Timetwister is part of The Power Nine, it seems to find itself being on the wrong end of a sad joke more often than a red headed step child. (sorry redheads)
Some cube designers consider it power, some don’t. Some play it in unpowered lists, and others don’t play it at all.
So, why does this happen? Is Timetwister bad power? Or, is it just getting a bad rap -because it’s the least apparently powerful piece of power?
Timetwister in Cube
The first thing that I like to ask cube designers when they tell me that they do not run Timetwister in cube is, “Do you run Wheel of Fortune?”
Now, before you freak out, Yes, I know that they are not the same card. Nevertheless, they do serve very similar purposes. In fact, just about any deck that wants to run a copy of Wheel of Fortune would also benefit from a splash for Timetwister. (examples coming up)
An exception to my claim that any deck that wants Wheel also wants Timetwister is any sort of deck that actively wants to fill the graveyard with the Wheel. (e.g. re-animator)
What Makes Timetwister Good?
What make either card good? Yeah, you get to draw back up to seven, but so does your opponent. Isn’t that too balanced for cube?
Well, I suppose it all depends on what you’re trying to draw for. Whenever you cast Timetwister or Wheel of Fortune you want to be well positioned to be able to, both, draw your cards and make use of your draws on the same turn. This is the optimal way to play these cards. Maybe your opponent is at 14 and they completely tap out – thinking you can only hit them for 7. They pass the turn and you Timetwister into a Time Walk.
The other times you might want to cast these cards is when you need an answer BADLY. While this isn’t the best situation to be in, when the time does come, wouldn’t you like to have the cards that can draw you into the one card in your list that can save you?
Finally, Timetwister has the benefit of saving yourself from decking, um… yourself. This benefit is rarely important and should really be the smallest afterthought ever. Alas, it is there.
Timetwister in Cube Decklists
A while back, I drafted a Sneak Attack deck that ran Wheel of Fortune and it DESTROYED.
This list might be better than that one was and one of the reasons is that Timetwister is better in the Sneak Attack deck than Wheel of Fortune is. This is because Sneak attack is constantly going to be filling up your graveyard, and you really want to be getting more than just a one-shot-deal out of your creatures. .
Pushing the Tempo
Another type of deck that wants Timetwister is a tempo build. While this one could have seen more one drops, the curve is relatively low. This means that when playing this deck, you want to be emptying your hand as quickly as possible and getting board control. You do this by playing your Savannah Lions, Kor Skyfishers, Soltari Monks, Mirran Crusaders, Geists, and the like, and then Timetwistering into the bouncers, tappers, and control magic type cards that will help your more aggressive creatures get through.
There is also the added benefit of being able to return things to your opponents hand and then Timetwister-ing. Though, this is really more of a cute way of getting out of some hot water and should only be a last ditch effort to, hopefully, never see a card again.
Timetwister as a Splash
While neither of these decklists actually run Timetwister, both run Wheel of Fortune and exemplify the ideal lists for Wheel. That being said, if they did not see the wheel and had the fixing, Timetwister would be a wonderful substitute/addition.
These decks shoot out of the gates with a TON of pressure and usually end up in top-deck mode shortly thereafter. These decks get in for almost lethal amounts of damage before the opponent can stabilize the board and then they play Wheel of Fortune to draw into all sorts of burn spells which will put the final nail into the casket.
Timetwister in Cube Verdict – Play this card. It is power. Keep passing it to me.
Note: I did not mention storm combo because I do not support it in my cube.