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The Best Format That Isn’t: Tiny Leaders

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Casual Magic

If you are familiar with EDH, or commander, then you probably have heard of Tiny Leaders. Tiny Leaders is a variant of EDH, only decks must be 50 cards (including your general), each player starts at 25 life (1v1 format only), and all cards must be CMC 3 or less. We also get to have a ten card sideboard!

What makes Tiny Leaders so great is that it operates on a separate ban list. Cards like Sol Ring, Sword of Body and Mind, and Counterbalance are comfortably on the ban list. Also, the format behaves with similarities to Legacy and Modern, with specific archetypes like Death and Taxes and UR Aggro. This article will discuss generals that pull their weight while also providing access to some of the more powerful cards.

Let’s talk Generals that I love to play! (These generals and decks will be “spikey” because that is simply how I build. I will tell you about the three specific generals I play in Tiny Leaders!)

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

This is, arguably, the best general in white. She tends to be extremely high impact in the early game of the legacy format, so you can imagine how impactful she can be in Tiny Leaders! Thalia brings a lot to the table. Let’s look at a build for Death and Taxes Tiny Leaders:

This build is an extremely competitive build. The deck is running the Stoneforge Mystic + Sword package, Rishadan Port, Karakas, and Sensei’s Divining Top. The goal of this deck is to keep your opponents off of everything they wish to do. Once you have a form of a lock accomplished, you use Stoneforge Mystic, Steelshaper’s Gift, and Sensei’s Diving Top to dig for your equipments that end the game fairly quickly. Cards like Cavern of Souls can ensure that you will always be able to cast your general without fear of counter spells. Aether Vial tends to also be a very important card in this deck, because you are consistently drawing gas with Sensei’s Diving Top and we curve out at 3 CMC.

The removal package is fairly basic. We do not want to overload on the removal since we simply do not care that much about the creatures we are playing. If this deck was a combo deck, we would have to run more removal. I like the big 5 we are playing: Condemn, Swords to Plowshares, Path to Exile, Oblation, and Martial Coup. The deck performs wonderfully with these removal spells.

Some notable interactions are how we can use Marsh Flats and Windswept Heath to shuffle away bad cards we may see on top of our deck with Sensei’s Diving Top and how Ajani’s -2 + Creature with a couple swords = endgame fairly quickly.

The only other card I have considered playing is White Sun’s Zenith. I just do not know how well it would perform in this deck since we have much more fun things to be spending our mana on then making 3 or 4 2/2 cats.

Rhys, the Redeemed

GW has always been my favorite color combination. With this new format on the horizon, Rhys seems like the perfect General for a GW stompy deck centered around value creatures and enchantments. Let’s look at the list that I have been taking to tournaments!

I like to think that this build is excessively competitive. We just play threat after threat, beats after beats. The deck tends to curve out very fast and maintain power level throughout. We only play creatures that are valuable. Creatures that have a strict upside. An example would be Voice of Resurgence. He can be a 2/2 beater, or he can be massive amounts of tokens. We want creatures that do things. Another great example is our utilization of Eidolon of Countless Battles and Boon Satyr. These creatures can be cast at turn 3, or they can be bestowed and wreak havoc on a helpless opponent. Pair one of these enchantment creatures with our Enchantresses and we have a lot of additional card draw.

In order to back up these resilient threats, we have enchantments and a couple of removal spells. Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile are just simply the best removal spells of the format in our colors. Green Sun’s Zenith can help us ramp or just grab another value creature like Voice of Resurgence or Wayfaring Temple. Sensei’s Diving Top makes sure we consistently draw into gas and never lose tempo. Ajani, Caller of the Pride just wins us the game through making our guys jump.

I have not completely decided on a good sideboard. I really like the idea of having enchantment cards to further increase my enchantress strategy. More testing will yield better sideboard results. Due to the raw power of the creatures, Rhys tends to just stomp its way over our opponent. Now time to find a Tarmogoyf to put in the list….

Teysa, Orzhov Scion

This is the combo general for tiny leaders if there ever was one. Pair Teysa, Orzhov Scion with Darkest Hour and watch your opponents cry. Lets look at a list.

The goal of this deck is to assemble the combo: Teysa, Orzhov Scion, Blasting Station, and Darkest Hour. This deals infinite damage to an opponent. We can also mill our opponent to death with an Altar of Dementia! Or create infinite mana with Ashnod’s Altar and casting Exsanguinate for about a million.

This deck is really fun to play. Basically, it kills everything, waits to assemble the combo, then goes off in fantastic style. I would not play this deck in a meta full of aggressive strategies because we get out tempo’d excessively fast. Also, this deck lacks the huge bodies to block efficiently.

We normally will not cast Teysa until the extreme late-game. If you manage to cast turn one Darkest Hour into Blasting Station into Teysa into any form of token generation, then enjoy living the dream. Normally we will have to dig for our combo. That is why we have the tutors as well as the top in the mainboard.

Another cool interaction in this deck is how Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth makes everything a swamp and Cabal Coffers makes lots of mana if there are lots of swamps. We can use this to our advantage in the late game in order to cast Martial Coup or Exsanguinate.

I hope you enjoyed reading my article about what I am playing in Tiny Leaders right now. I hope my lists inspired you to build a deck yourself. Remember to get all these cards from your local game store. You can’t play Tiny Leaders at Walmart!

-Brock Steele

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