MtG: Building a Bunch of Decks for the NEW Tiny Leaders Format!

Dear readers and fellow friends of the amazing Magic: the Gathering CCG!

Recently I was pointed to an article on the official MtG website by my kind neighbor and Magic-buddy Lukas Laner that instantly caught my interest and made my inner deckbuilder run wild momentarily! (Thank you Luki!)

The article in question (click here to read it in its entirety) is all about a new, to me quite exciting format called “Tiny Leaders” which is a twist on the popular Commander (formerly refered to as EDH – Elder Dragon Highlander) variant of playing MtG. Commander started out as a “fan format” made by and for Magic enthusiasts that was, a few years ago, picked up by Wizards of the Coast due to its high popularity among the players and made into an official (tournament) format, with regular releases of proper Commander products containing many a card made especially for the Commander format. Being a huge fan of EDH/Commander even before it was officially endorsed and supported by Wizards, reading about a new twist on the now classic Commander format raised my eyebrow so to say and with great interest I read what was proposed in the article I refered to above and the more I read the more my inner deckbuilding urge began to grow. The newly proposed Tiny Leaders format represents, for me, quite the deckbuilding challenge and man do I love challenges like this. So inevitably, right after reading what Tiny Leaders Magic was all about I instantly had to scour my extensive Magic cards collection and build half a dozen decks for this new, exciting variation of classic Commander!

Now let me tell you how Tiny Leaders works and after that I’d like to present you some of the decks I built with the rules of the new format in mind, providing first the decklist of each and then, as usual, my thoughts on the respective deck.

So here is how Tiny Leaders works and what you have to keep in mind when building a deck for the format:

  • Each player needs to build a deck with 50 cards and 1  Commander card. The Deck must be singleton, meaning you can only have 1 copy of each card except for basic lands which are unlimited.
  • What makes this format so special and unique and what is the reason why it is called “Tiny” Leaders is the limitation of only being allowed to run cards with a converted mana cost of 3 or less. That includes your Commander as well!
  • Your Commander may cost only 3 mana or less and he/she/it determines your deck’s color identity, meaning cards in your deck may only have the mana symbols in the casting cost of your Commander, just like in regular EDH.
  • Each player starts the game with 25 Life Points. Other than that the game is played the same as regular MtG/Commander.

Well, what a challenge indeed, being only allowed to run cards with converted mana cost of 3 or less, your Commander included! This really boggled my mind and inspired me to build a ton of decks as I said before. Let me share some of my deck ideas for the Tiny Leaders format with you. Before moving on to some actual decks, I would like to note that I am really excited to try the following decks and through them the newly proposed format as I think this could be quite to my liking. For once I like fast aggro or weenie or even aggro-control decks overpowering your opponent fast and furious by means of overrunning them with an army of cheap and efficient creatures. And this is, according to the article I linked to above, exactly how the Tiny Leaders format is supposed to play and work out. This makes me think of it like some kind of “Anti-EDH/Commander” as in regular EDH games are quite long and slow, with a slow buildup and a tendency of running higher mana cost cards you wouldn’t usually play in regular MtG. Now with the rule of “no 4 mana or up cards allowed” things are changed dramatically and I can see Tiny Leaders shine as a quick and fast-paced “filler” type of Magic variant, with fast and furious battles, pretty much like races for inflicting the 25 damage needed for the win! Again I think this could be a great alternative or even antithesis to the lengthy EDH duels I am used to (and which I do enjoy no doubt!) and hence I am really looking forward to getting the following decks to the table and give the Tiny Leaders variant a shot!

Now on to the actual decks in no particular order:

Tiny Artifice

 Commander: Sydri, Galvanic Genius

Creatures…17

1 x Ornithopter 0

1 x Arcbound Worker 1

1 x Court Homunculus W

1 x Arcbound Ravager 2

1 x Arcbound Stinger 2

1 x Hovermyr 2

1 x Baleful Strix UB

1 x Tidehollow Strix UB

1 x Tidehollow Sculler WB

1 x Salavage Slasher 1B

1 x Vault Skirge 1B

1 x Steel Overseer 2

1 x Etherium Sculptor 1U

1 x Ethersworn Canonist 1W

1 x  Vedalken Engineer 1U

1 x Master of Etherium 2U

1 x Spined Thopter 2U

1 x Porcelain Legionnarie 2W

Instants…2

1 x Dispatch W

1 x Thirst for Knowledge 2U

Sorceries…2

1 x Steelshaper’s Gift W

1 x Compulsive Research 2U

Enchantments…2

1 x Copy Artifact 1U

1 x Tempered Steel 1WW

Artifacts…9

1 x Aether Vial 1

1 x Sol Ring 1

1 x Energy Chamber 2

1 x Time Sieve UB

1 x Thopter Foundry W/BU

1 x Lightning Greaves 2

1 x Swiftfoot Boots 2

1 x Cranial Plating 2

1 x Semblence Anvil 3

Lands…17

2 x Swamp

2 x Island

2 x Plains

1 x Tolarian Academy

1 x Darksteel Citadel

1 x Seat of the Synod

1 x Vault of Whispers

1 x Ancient Den

1 x Adarkar Wastes

1 x Underground River

1 x Marsh Flats

1 x Glimmervoid

1 x Command Tower

1 x Blinkmoth Nexus

About the Deck:

This deck is a singleton version of my “Artifact Weenie” Deck which I am playing casually and features a ton of cheap but powerful artifact creature cards such as Vault Skirge, which is basically a 1/1 Lifelinked Flyer at the mere cost of 1 generic mana and 2 life, or Porcelaine Legionnarie, a 3/1 First Striker that costs you 2 Mana and 2 Life etc etc. There are plenty of cards to power up your cheap artifact beaters such as Master of Etherium, Steel Overseer and Tempered Steel, the latter granting none less than a +2/+2 boost to all your artificial critters at the mere cost of 1WW, as well as cards that make your cheap beaters even cheaper, such as Etherium Sculptor and much underrated card Semblance Anvil. Of course there are killer cards such as the awesome Cranial Plating and your Commander, Sydri, Galvanic Genius (as seen above) turns all your artifical creatures into menacing Deathtouch/Lifelinkers quite cheaply! My do I love my artifact decks!!

Tiny Drawbeat

Commander: Edric, Spymaster of Trest

Creatures…16

1 x Birds of Paradise G

1 x Scryb Sprites G

1 x Reef Shaman U

1 x Stonybrook Banneret 1U

1 x River Boa 1G

1 x Wild Mongrel 1G

1 x Spiketail Hatchling 1U

1 x Plaxmanta 1U

1 x Lord of Atlantis UU

1 x Master of the Pearl Trident UU

1 x Vedalken Plotter 2U

1 x Trygon Predator 1GU

1 x True-Name Nemesis 1UU

1 x Cold-Eyed Selkie 1G/U G/U

1 x Lorescale Coatl 1GU

1 x Ohran Viper 1GG

Instants…3

1 x Mutagenic Growth G

1 x Giant Growth G

1 x Worldly Tutor G

Sorceries…1

1 x Aquitect’s Will U

Enchantments…9

1 x Curiostiy U

1 x Sea’s Claim U

1 x Spreading Seas 1U

1 x Lingering Mirage 1U

1 x Phantasmal Terrain UU

1 x Elephant Guide 2G

1 x Snake Umbra 2G

1 x Moldervine Cloak 2G

1 x Shielding Plax 2G

Artifacts…3

1 x Bonesplitter 1

1 x Mask of Memory 2

1 x Loxodon Warhammer 3

Lands…18

6 x Forest

7 x Island

1 x Llanowar Reborn

1 x Yavimaya Coast

1 x Command Tower

1 x Mana Conflux

1 x Novijen, Heart of Progress

About the Deck:

This deck is really special in my opinion! It is based on Creatures with evasion of various kinds like Flying or Islandwalk as well as about Creatures and other cards that draw you a ton of additional cards when damaging an opponent, starting with the Commander of the Deck as shown above over the classic Curiosity up unto the highly potent Cold-Eyed Selkie, which can draw you a ton of cards each turn when you enchant it with Elephant Guide or Moldervine Cloak among other cards. To ensure that your MANY islandwalkers besides Cold-Eyed Selkie hit your opponent hard each turn, I am running a lot of cards that ensure that your opponent has at least one Island, from 1 cost Sea’s Claim up to 3 cost Vedalken Plotter. This deck will draw you a ton of cards, from which awesome Lorescale Coatl will benefit directly, same as the classic Wild Mongrel which you can power up greatly by discarding spare cards from hand.

EDIT: I overread that Edric Spymaster of Trest was banned as commander in Tiny Leaders. I am just using this one as well, although he is not as awesome as Edric:

Tiny White Weenie:

Commander: Isamaru, Hound of Konda

Creatures…18

1 x Weathered Wayfarer W

1 x Champion of the Parish W

1 x Elite Vanguard W

1 x Mother of Runes W

1 x Leonin Shikari 1W

1 x Auriok Steelshaper 1W

1 x Knight of the Holy Nimbus WW

1 x Puresteel Paladin WW

1 x Grand Abolisher WW

1 x White Knight WW

1 x Silver Knight WW

1 x Knight of the White Orchid WW

1 x Mentor of the Meek 2W

1 x Banisher Priest 1WW

1 x Fiend Hunter 1WW

1 x Field Marshal 1WW

1 x Knight Exemplar 1WW

1 x Silverblade Paladin 1WW

Instants…5

1 x Condemn W

1 x Reciprocate W

1 x Path to Exile W

1 x Raise the Alarm 1W

1 x Wing Shards 1WW

Sorceries…1

1 x Gather the Townsfolk 1W

Enchantments…5

1 x Honor of the Pure 1W

1 x Crusade WW

1 x Shared Triumph 1W

1 x Divine Sacrament 1WW

1 x Mobilization 2W

Artifacts…8

1 x Chrome Mox 0

1 x Bonesplitter 1

1 x Adventuring Gear 1

1 x Lightning Greaves 2

1 x Swiftfoot Boots 2

1 x Mask of Memory 2

1 x Loxodon Warhammer 3

1 x Sword of Vengeance 3

Lands…13

13 x Plains

About the Deck:

Yep, this is a classic White Weenie build – only difference, it is singleton! Man I always wanted to use Isamaru, Hound of Konda as a Commander in EDH but in that format, this plan was a bit nonesensical as there were a ton of better options for mono-White Commanders and what is more, White Weenie just doesn’t work out that well as a strategy in the slow EDH/Commander format. Much different in the new Tiny Leaders variant of play I guess! With Isamaru in your command zone, you ALWAYS have a headstart with a 2/2 on turn 1 readily at your disposal! I know there are other potential Commanders for a Tiny Leaders White Weenie Deck such as Kemba, Kha Regent, whom I conidered, but I prefered the “perfect one drop solution” over that. Other than the strange choice of Commander, there is really not much more to say about this pretty straightforward singleton White Weenie, apart from the fact that many cards in it interact with Equipment such as Puresteel Paladin or Auriok Steelshaper and that there are many Humans in there, which pleases Champion of the Parish as well as Shared Triumph!

————————————————————————-

Well, all in all I can only say that I am really excited about this new take on the already classic Commander/EDH format and that I am PUMPED to try out all the decks I built for the new variant of play with my Magic buddies soon enough, as the decks I showcased above are only part of what I built already and there are bound to come more deck ideas for Tiny Leader Magic for sure! I will be curious to see what Wizards of the Coast will do with the new fan format IF it will become popular like regular EDH/Commander. I for one see Tiny Leaders as a great, fast-paced alternative to regular, slowcoach EDH!!

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