Tiny Leaders is a good little exercise in deckbuilding since you don’t just run the infinite amount of X tutors and ramp spells – most of your spells mean business. Time to trim the fat off Commander decks. It’s not for everyone and it’s not yet a Wizards of the Coast ‘endorsed format’, but I believe its time will come. Commander/Elder Dragon Highlander didn’t just randomly pop up a few years ago. The format existed many many years before that. I wanted to build a zoo-like Tiny Leader deck in order to see the efficiency of a ‘beatdown’ deck in this format. In Naya colors, my options are (according to the Gatherer) :
Finding ‘Tiny Leaders’ in the colors you want to play is as easy as going on the Gatherer. From there, you can run this search (under Advanced)
Legendary Creatures at 3 or less Converted mana? Check!
So going back to the Naya deck… This is a format where creatures are obviously smaller and if you are going to be aggressive, then you also need to be efficient. It’s actually quite a far cry from Commander in that sense. Your cards like Wild Nacatl and Tarmogoyf are much much better here. Also, for the rest of the format’s rules and restrictions > Tiny Leaders Blog
I decided to go with Marath over Mayael, since again, thanks to the Gatherer … 29 matches (minus 10, because they are flipped Werewolf matches). So 19 creatures, most of which have drawbacks and a lot of which are frail like Ball Lightning and co. There’s really no way to properly use Mayael, unless you just want to pump out an oversized blocker (I’m looking at you Groundbreaker!).
A few of the card choice are really just personal preferences. I know that Clan Defiance is quite good in this format, but I opted to go for a more ‘mana tight’ build. Some really early threats combined with Naya-colored hatebears. Of course, any and all suggestions are appreciated because I am a total noob to this format and mostly wanted to make more of a ‘demo deck’ than anything else. The sideboard is in the works, but not having played much Tiny Leaders – you can imagine that it’ll end up being very generic.
Tiny Leader Marath
1 Lightning Bolt
1 Punishing Fire
1 Lightning Helix
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Path to Exile
1 Razorverge Thicket
1 Arid Mesa
1 Raging Ravine
1 Grove of the Burnwillows
1 Temple Garden
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Windswept Heath
1 Stomping Ground
1 Maze of Ith
1 Copperline Gorge
1 Fire-Lit Thicket
1 Wooded Bastion
1 Command Tower
A lot of the creatures are just ‘big’. Big being a very relative term when it comes to Tiny Leader. Others are good utility and there were a few last minute changes on that front. Fleecemane Lion replaced Gaddock Teeg in the main. Knight of the Reliquary came in to replace a Hushwing Gryff and Oblivion Ring replaced Rancor. I think it’s safer to just go with the more ‘reliable’ cards at first. The cards that were replaced are now in the Sideboard (which is not complete at this time).
I really wanted more Flash creatures to use with Fauna Shaman, but the rest were not that epic. Being a big fan or Scryb Ranger, I was saddened when I could not find any room for the little guy in the main deck (due to not necessarily always having a Forest in play). This too, is a card that will probably end up in the sideboard. I’m also not sure if I wanted a random mana dork like Birds of Paradise. In the end, I opted not to include that card since it won’t make for any really awesome turn 2 plays, except maybe landing an early Domri Rade versus more controllish decks. The ‘land’ matters creatures are all there: Wild Nacatl, Kird Ape and Loam Lion. I didn’t want to play Flinthoof Boar since all the other 2-drops seemed much better.
There’s probably a lot of room for improvement. I thought about having a pinger like Cunning Sparkmage, Grim Lavamancer or even Fireslinger. I would then take out one of the equipment to replace it with Basilisk Collar. In the end, it’s probably a decent sideboard option until I figure out the metagame more. Some life gain from Basilisk Collar might just be better versus some more ‘all in’ red decks or just deter Geist of Saint Traft decks for a while. Naya Charm is probably not good enough in this deck either, though it would maybe make the cut had I been allowed to play Sunforger (
but it costs a whopping 4 mana! Whaddya know? It onyl costs 3….hmmm…perhaps one of the swords needs to go).
I would maybe also play a Banishing Light in the side, since you can never have enough Oblivion Rings in a deck (especially with Abrupt Decay being an MVP in the format). Marath’s pump ability is most likely the one you can use most here in order to make your smaller guys into sizeable threats at all times. It’s really awesome that it ‘scales’ everytime you cast it, so you can always be in the game even later on. I’m not sure how many Voltron-style decks people play but maybe even Celestial Flare or Wing Shards can make a sideboard appearance. If you’re feeling even more courageous, you can add a Pyroclasm in your sideboard since quite a few of your creatures can survive it.
Boros Charm can definitely see some Sideboard love as well as maybe Skinshifter just to have some random cool big wall or trampling attacker versus those other decks with planeswalkers that you would have trouble getting through. Speaking of planeswalkers, there are quite a few that are present in this format:
I really do hope this format explodes in popularity in the near futures and we can have more Tiny Leaders to build around.If you enjoy the format a lot, you can even try to get your local gaming store owner to run events for the format as well. At the current time, the UWR, BUG and RWB shards are not represented. Khans of Tarkir will probably rectify this in the current set or next expansions. Also, fetchlands, yay!