Our Imaginations Run Wild with Toki, Time-Tinker

Our Imaginations Run Wild with Toki, Time-Tinker

In the run-up to a new expansion, Blizzard opts to reveal new cards slowly, rather than all 135 at once. We’re in the thick of reveal season now and like a slow-drip of adrenaline we get a handful of new cards to dissect every day. New keywords Rush and Echo along with the odd- and even-mana synergies unveiled at the jump have dominated the conversation so far. But this spooky set features a lot worth talking about — even though we only know about half its cards.

Embrace the Tinker

The latest card to get us really thinking: Toki, Time-Tinker. (Not “Tinkerer” — I checked). Toki is a 6-mana 5/5 legendary minion for the Mage class. Playing Toki awards you with a Legendary minion “from the past.” That means no weapons, Quests, or Death Knights. It also means its card pool features minions from the Wild set only, no matter your playlist of choice. 

With the all-powerful Ice Block having secured itself a spot in the Hall of Fame and Kazakus rotating to Wild, Mage is in an peculiar spot. For months, Mage players have gone all-in on one of two gameplans: throw burn spells at the opponent or clear the opponent’s minions again and again until Frost Lich Jaina wins the value game. The former is losing many of its key tools for generating tempo swings while the latter is losing its most powerful defensive tool.

Suffering an identity crisis as we near the next expansion, the class needs more than Toki, Time-Tinker. Let’s make this clear right away: she is not competitively viable. The stats are underwhelming and par for the course given the value-generating ability, in the same vein as Nexus-Champion Saraad and Confessor Paletress before her. More consequential, the extreme variance in good and bad Wild legendary minions means that for every Sylvanas Windrunner you’re blessed with, you’ll pull two Patches the Pirate. Toki doesn’t give us any indication of a new way to play Mage, either, but it teases the possibility for the type of extended value that Mage already gets from Sindragosa and Cabalist's Tome — the type Thijs and Kibler exploit on stream and we all enjoy on YouTube the next day. Toki is a meme machine and we should accept that right away.

Please No

To enjoy speculating about Toki, perhaps we should get these possibilities out of the way. These are the absolute worst-case scenarios, cards you might not even bother dropping onto your board.

Wilfred Fizzlebang: This expensive Warlock legendary never really saw play by Warlock players, even. Give it to a Mage and, well, unless you figure out how to draw cards with your ping (spoiler: you can’t), you’re going to need to accept your terrible luck and look elsewhere for value.

Majordomo Executus: This fiery legendary minion was a meme generator itself back in its day. But the risk-reward scenario was more dire than with Toki. Its deathrattle changed your hero into Ragnaros, the Firelord — giving you the powerful hero power now granted by Fire Plume's Heart at the expense of reducing your health to 8. Perhaps you still have The Coin at turn 10 and get a fringe out for lethal, but that’s a lot of situational RNG to wish for.

Patches the Pirate: In the Year of the Mammoth, drawing Patches was the worst-case scenario in numerous pirate decks eager to pull the now-nerfed 1/1 from the deck. We’re unsure if a post-nerf Patches sliding into your hand — in a Standard game, after it rotated to Wild — would feel like a sick joke or poetic justice.

Honorable mentions: Mayor NoggenfoggerC'Thun.

Please, Ben Brode, Just This Once

With those out of the way, we can talk about the minions that might inspire more welcome emotions. These are the type of pulls from Toki that you will see on highlight reels in the Year of the Raven.

Dr. Boom: The omnipresence of this ridiculously powerful GvG minion earned it the nickname “Dr. 7.” If you never experienced the joy of drawing the doc on curve, pulling him from a turn-6 Toki might be the next best thing.

Kun the Forgotten King: In a pinch, Kun’s armor ability can spare you an extra turn, but 9 times out of 10 you’ll be using him to refresh your mana crystals — granting you a free 7/7 minion with mana for spells or a more dominant board presence.

Sylvanas Windrunner and Ragnaros the Firelord: Torment Combo Priest and Burn Mage with these Hall-of-Famers. They were banished from Standard for a reason.

Emperor Thaurissan: Though the Emperor works best in combo decks like the Renolock and Freeze Mage of old, we suspect that Emperor’s discount on your hand (even if it triggers only once) will serve well any deck that uses Toki. Value-oriented Mage decks often find their hands cluttered by turn 6 or 7 with cards they can’t play for a few turns, and when they can, it’s often one at a time. Emperor Thaurissan would help remedy this while imposing on the board a solid body.

Of course, the Wild format is home to many, many legendary minions. You could be happy with a number of randomly generated, situational Toki cards. N'Zoth, the Corruptor could be good, along with Yogg-Saron, Hope's End, Loatheb, Mal'Ganis (who needs Ice Block?), The Mistcaller, and Hallazeal the Ascended, provided you have a few burn spells in hand. Kel'Thuzad, Sneed's Old Shredder, Confessor Paletress — we could go on with the insane possibilities for value. The fringe pick I hope I get to use? Acidmaw, which makes your ping deadly.

Good and bad considered, the concept of a time-traveling gnome giving old cards new life is pretty sweet, and we hope a control variant of Mage can hold its own to give Toki, Time-Tinker space to do her thing.

Let us know what theory-crafted decks and legendary possibilities you’ve conjured up in the comments below!


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