Thopter Engineer was a surprising addition to Tom Ross’s Top 8 deck
While Collected Company and Rally the Ancestors won the Star City Open in Columbus, OH last weekend, one of the best performing decks — played by good friend of Mike and Patrick — was B/R Dragons played by Tom “the Boss” Ross:
B/R Dragons by Tom Ross
4 Hangarback Walker
3 Grasp of Darkness
2 Murderous Cut
4 Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury
4 Draconic Roar
2 Fiery Impulse
3 Flamewake Phoenix
2 Pia and Kiran Nalaar
4 Thopter Engineer
4 Thunderbreak Regent
4 Bloodstained Mire
3 Haven of the Spirit Dragon
4 Polluted Delta
3 Smoldering Marsh
4 Wooded Foothills
1 Crux of Fate
1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
1 Ob Nixilis Reignited
4 Self-Inflicted Wound
4 Transgress the Mind
2 Kolaghan’s Command
2 Kozilek’s Return
And in typical Tom Ross style, there was a little something extra going on in The Boss’s deck.
And that something was Thopter Engineer!
Thopter Engineer what the?!?
Thopter Engineer might just look like a random draft uncommon from Magic Origins, but it is actually quite well positioned in a deck like Tom’s. Consider…
Thopter Engineer v. Hordeling Outburst
Thopter Engineer essentially takes the “Hordeling Outburst” slot in this deck. Hordeling Outburst makes three points of power and three points of toughness “3/3” for three mana… Thopter Engineer is not much worse; its two points of power and four points of toughness “2/4” are spread over only two bodies but the two cards are at least somewhat comparable. On balance, the 1/1 token on Thopter Engineer both can fly and has haste, which are advantages relative to Hordeling Outburst.
It probably goes without saying that Thopter Engineer can be a superior card defensively, given the additional two points of toughness when leaving a body back.
Thopter Engineer with Hangarback Walker
Thopter Engineer gives artifact creatures haste. Hangarback Walker — a card that Tom plays four of main deck — happens to be an artifact creature! Playing Thopter Engineer allows Tom to save a mana later in the game whenever he topdecks or plays a Hangarback Walker. Instead of spending four mana, say, for a 2/2 Hangarback Walker he can pay only two mana (1/1) and then tap it with one mana (three mana total) for the same 2/2 size.
A dying Hangarback Walker can attack immediately with all of its tokens thanks to the Thopter Engineer’s haste; and Thopter Engineer into Pia and Kiran Nalaar three-into-four is also offensively effective.
Interested in a visit to Magical Christmas Land? How about playing a Hangarback Walker, adding a counter at a discount (with haste), sacrificing it to Pia and Kiran Nalaar for two… And then attacking with all your Thopters? Like you do.
Thopter Engineer and… Haven of the Spirit Dragon?
Tom’s deck — perhaps unsurprisingly with eight main-deck Dragons + Draconic Roar — plays three copies of Haven of the Spirit Dragon. What does that have to do with Thopter Engineer.
Hordeling Outburst costs 1RR.
Thopter Egineer costs 2R.
Just cutting one red mana off of the three mana cost makes it much more convenient to cast in even a two-color deck with nineteen sources of red mana (not counting Dragon-red). Imagine you open with Duress and follow up with Grasp of Darkness; that’s Swamp and then Swamp-Swamp. You wouldn’t even be able to cast Hordeling Outburst from that spot, but Thopter Engineer is cake!
Mike and Patrick talk tons and tons about Thopter Engineeer and B/R Dragons, but also Rally the Ancestors, Reflector Mage, and Collected Company decks various and more in “Thopter Engineer Secrets”
Check out Patrick’s new card game, Eternal!