How can we improve this Tiny Leaders deck? by Andy Bolton

How can we improve this Tiny Leaders deck? by Andy Bolton

When I first heard about a new format named Tiny Leaders, I was a little sceptical about it and to be honest, not all that interested. However, a couple of friends at my playgroup explained a bit more about the format to me and so I decided to give it a go.

Of course, this led me to the big question: “What Commander should I use?” After looking through my rares’ folder, I found myself staring at four options: [card]Anax and Cymede[/card], [card]Yisan, the Wanderer Bard[/card], [card]Yasova Dragonclaw[/card], or [card]Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest[/card]. Not that these were the only rares in my binder. They looked like a promise of good fun.

Then a process of elimination started.

It didn’t take long for me to disregard Yisan, because in a format capped to a CMC of 3 his search ability has very restricted use. There is probably a way to generate a combo with him, but I decided to not be bothered to take the time to find one. I wanted to start as soon as I could.

With Yisan out of the question, I had a look at Yasova. It looked like I could make a decent deck revolving around [card]Act of Treason[/card]-esque abilities. However, at the time I was already running a lot of base Green decks. I wanted to look into colours I didn’t normally use: meaning Blue and White. [card]Daxos of Meletis[/card] would be a perfect match, but he didn’t find a way into my cards’ folder.

Next in line: [card]Anax and Cymede[/card]. At first, I was interested in making a Red-White heroic-based deck, with just a touch of burn. (Because who can resist dropping [card]Lightning Bolt[/card] in a format where it kills 90% of the creatures?) I did make an initial budget draft of the deck, which involved several creatures with heroic or abilities involving attacking, and a myriad of combat tricks. The basis of the Red-White shell worked, but there was something missing. Something… blue.

Enter The Silent Tempest.

shu yun

I worked out that adding a third colour might improve the quality of the deck. Adding Blue opened a lot of would-be missed opportunities – and a certain three-card combo.

[card]Jeskai Ascendancy[/card] is an incredibly fun piece. There are so many ways to use it. However, I wanted my deck to have a more flexible (and intelligent) form of attack than just “cast Ascendancy, cast [card]Retraction Helix[/card], shall we play again?” Luckily, with Jeskai clan the line of play is easy to find out. A multitude of prowess creatures (plus [card]Kiln Fiend[/card]) and you have a deck that is VERY hard to deal with.

Here is the list that finally came off the production line.

[deck]Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest
Anax and Cymede
Seeker of the Way
Soulfire Grand Master
Monastery Swiftspear
Monastery Mentor
Frontline Medic
Goblin Rabblemaster
Young Pyromancer
Kiln Fiend
Vexing Devil
Boros Charm
Azorius Charm
Jeskai Charm
Deflecting Palm
Grapeshot
Dragonshift
Retraction Helix
Banefire
Lightning Bolt
Lightning Strike
Lightning Helix
Epic Experiment
Crater’s Claws
Teleportal
Fireball
Searing Blood
Preordain
Glaring Spotlight
Paradise Mantle
Jeskai Ascendancy
Blind Obedience
Monastery Siege
Propaganda
Oblivion Ring
Temple of Epiphany
Temple of Triumph
Temple of Enlightenment
Evolving Wilds
Command Tower
Swiftwater Cliffs
Wind-Scarred Crag
Tranquil Cove
Mystic Monastery
2 Plains
2 Island
2 Mountain[/deck]

SIDEBOARD

[deck]Quiet Contemplation
Negate
Trepanation Blade
Deflecting Palm
Mizzium Skin
Izzet Charm
Dispel
Detention Sphere
Arc Lightning
Howl of the Horde[/deck]

Admittedly, I haven’t had a decent chance to test it out yet, but the test runs I have done were… interesting. Out of the 2 notable matches I have played with this list, the first was against a BR deck commanded by [card]Lyzolda, the Blood Witch[/card]. I got mana screwed both games, but put up a decent fight until [card]Searing Blood[/card] took out my [card]Soulfire Grand Master[/card] game one, and a few well-timed removal spells (backed by Lyzolda’s triggers) cleared my board game two. Maybe 15 land is a bit skimpy. Maybe.

The other match I played was a mirror match, in more ways than one. Game one was a game of who-can-get-more-card-advantage and staring down [card]Sensei’s Divining Top[/card] didn’t help. I threw a lot of damage at his face, but his 3/2 double striking [card]Kiln Fiend[/card] finished me off. Game 2 was almost identical. [card]Lightning Strike[/card] on Shu Yun was fired off in response to – would you believe it – Lightning Strike on [card]Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest[/card]. My [card]Soulfire Grand Master[/card] pulled me ahead on life totals, but was swiftly [card]Detention Sphere[/card]d away. In the end, [card]Boros Charm[/card] for 4 damage heralded a game 3.

Again, it was a very back-and-forth game, both initially stuck for a particular colour mana. I managed to cast [card]Blind Obedience[/card], while Sensei’s Divining Top threatened to out-value me a second time. The extort triggers on my [card]Blind Obedience[/card] proved significant, however, and I attacked for what I thought was lethal after casting overloaded [card]Teleportal[/card]. But a last-minute [card]Retraction Helix[/card] kept him alive for one more turn, just for me to top deck [card]Lightning Helix[/card] to win.

As a result of the last game, I am now thoroughly on the Tiny Leaders bandwagon and looking forward to many exciting games of this miniature Commander format. I am aware my deck list is not perfected yet. Still looking at possible cards such as [card]Delver of Secrets[/card] and – maybe – a couple more lands.

If you haven’t tried Tiny Leaders yet, I do recommend giving it a go. It’s a fun format, you don’t have to spend a tonne of money to get a decent deck (my one is only expensive due to the Fate Reforged mythics), and most people can simply cobble a deck together with random rares floating around the place.

Community Question: How can we improve this Tiny Leaders deck?

How can we improve this Tiny Leaders deck

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the new format!

Andy Bolton

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