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.
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
Temple of Epiphany
Temple of Triumph
Temple of Enlightenment
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?
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the new format!