Tiny Leaders Budget Decks (inc. Deck Lists) and Feedback by Mark Pinder

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden

Tiny Leaders Budget Decks (inc. Deck Lists) and Feedback

I’ve written a couple of articles about Tiny Leaders recently and there has been some feedback and concerns on the format. I’ll look to address those concerns this article and provide some budget deck lists for those who want to put their toe in the water.


1. It’s not Commander

You’re right! Sure it uses the Commander system of a General and then apart from basic land you are limited to only one of each card. That’s where the similarities end and I feel they are completely different formats. Tiny Leaders is a one on one format where Commander is predominately multi player, Commander is usually a much slower game and is generally a more social friendly format. A Tiny Leader’s deck is much more like a constructed tournament deck.


2. The format has little variety

It’s interesting to see the different reactions on the format as a whole, with the Converted Mana Cost (CMC) limit of 3 you’d think that the format would be full of aggro decks. Aggro decks are very popular, or at least in my play group they have been, but that doesn’t mean they rule the roost and you have many answers like [Card]Volcanic Fallout[/card] or [card]Infest[/card] to deal with multiple threats. [Card]Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest[/card] is a popular General and I can see why, I’ve been tempted to build a Jeskai deck but with a couple already in our play group I’m happy to let the others hone these deck. I’ve see Shu Yun be used to create a Storm Deck, full of counters and removal to control the board before Shu Yun comes down and starts abusing [Card]Distortion Strike[/card]. Whatever style of deck you like you’ll find it is possible with a bit of ingenuity. We’ve had several diverse decks winning events in Doncaster Aggro, Midrange and Shu Yun combo.


3. The format isn’t supported

Tiny Leaders has been recognised in articles on the Wizards mother ship and Magic groups and forums. The format is new and growing, albeit it not universally popular. Commander was known as EDH for many years and entirely independent from Wizards, over recent years it has been recognised with the pre-con Commander decks coming out regularly. When you first start playing Magic there are many options to start with Intro Decks to learn the game and event decks if you want something a little bit more competitive that you could take to an FNM. Even Modern received the Event Deck treatment and to this day the token deck is a solid contender which can be tweaked quite easily.

Tiny Leaders on the surface may appear to be hard to get into but with such a wide range of cards the entry level may be easier than you can imagine, so you haven’t got a direct pre-con deck to play but I’ve seen plenty of decks based around pre-con decks. The 2014 Commander decks saw a Mono green deck that has [card]Ezuri, Renegade leader[/card] to build around for an elf deck and the white deck has [card]Kemba, Kha Regent[/card] to build an artefact based deck. Have a look yourself here (click on the “Description” tab of each deck).

You can also use the Duel Decks to great effect, for example Knights VS. Dragons can be the back bone of a white weenie deck or even Selesyna aggro.

So a few decks to be going on with.


Tiny Leaders Budget Deck Lists and Analysis

Kytheon, Hero of Akros

So I am now going to give you a few options for decks that you could play in Tiny Leaders, I’ll start by giving a budget option limiting card value to under £5 approximately and some of the though process behind the deck. I’ll then give you some ideas for alternative more expensive cards for the deck.


Kytheon, Hero of Akros – Tiny Leaders Budget Deck List

The first is Mono White Tokens, using [card]Kytheon, Hero of Akros[/card] as Commander as the tokens allow for Kytheon to transform quicker.

13 Plains
1 Secluded Steppe
1 Sejeri Steppe
1 Windbrisk Heights
1 Forbidding Watchtower
1 Kytheon, Hero of Akros
1 Secure the Wastes
1 Gather the Townsfolk
1 Raise the Alarm
1 Sandsteppe Outcast
1 Midnight Haunting
1 Blade Splicer
1 Herald of Anafenza
1 Precinct Captain
1 Attended Knight
1 Doomed Traveller
1 Fortify
1 Timely Reinforcements
1 White Sun’s Zenith
1 Thraben Doomslayer
1 Griffin Guide
1 Mobilisation
1 Luminarch Ascension
1 Launch the Fleet
1 Shrine of Loyal Legions
1 Banisher Priest
1 Honor of the Pure
1 Glorius Anthem
1 Crusade
1 Rootborn Defences
1 Intangible Virtue
1 Mobilisation
1 Valorous Stance
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Banishing Light
1 Condemn
1 Sunlance
1 Martial Coup

The deck could be upgraded by adding the cards below.

Path to Exile
Hangarback Walker
Entreat the Angels
Monastery Mentor
Brimaz, King of Oreskos

[card]Path to Exile[/card] is an excellent removal spell, [card]Entreat the Angels[/card] is a game breaker whilst [card]Brimaz, King of Oreskos[/card], [card]Hangarback Walker[/card] and [card]Monastery Mentor[/card] are or were solid cards in the Standard format.

Of course, you could always push the envelope a little bit more by adding [card]Daxos the Returned[/card] as the general to go Black-White.

Lingering Souls
Daxos the Returned

[card]Lingering Souls[/card] is one of the best token generators and [card]Bitterblossom[/card] once up and running can win games on its own, with the extra five starting life it may be able to run longer and harder.


Grenzo, Dungeon Warden – Tiny Leaders Budget Deck List

My second deck is Goblins, led by [card]Grenzo, Dungeon Warden[/card]. This is also one of my favourite designs as the upgraded version is my partners Tiny Leaders deck that we worked on together having agonizing times cutting cards. I could write a whole article on building that deck and the discussions we had on what should make the deck and what shouldn’t.

[deck]1 Aunties Hovel
1 Rakdos Guildgate
1 Bloodfell Caves
5 Mountain
4 Swamp
1 Akoum Refuge
1 Teetering Peaks
1 Smouldering Spires
1 Keldon Megaliths
1 Grenzo, Dungeon Warden
1 Legion Loyalist
1 Knucklebone Witch
1 Frenzied Goblin
1 Goblin Fireslinger
1 Foundry Street Denizen
1 Goblin Matron
1 Boggart Harbringer
1 Dragon Fodder
1 Krenko’s Command
1 Goblin Bushwhacker
1 Goblin Piledriver
1 Ember Hauler
1 Bloodmark Mentor
1 Goblin Deathraiders
1 Goblin Wardriver
1 Spike Jester
1 Goblin Rabblemaster
1 Goblin Chieftain
1 Hordeling Outburst
1 Mad Auntie
1 Goblin King
1 Goblin General
1 Goblin Warchief
1 Goblin Bombardment
1 Trumpet Blast
1 Goblin Grenade
1 Quest for the Goblin Lord
1 Tarfire
1 Boggart Shenanigans
1 Riftbolt
1 Terminate
1 Shock
1 Goblin Offensive[/deck]

Upgrade options

Goblin Guide
Goblin Lackey
Warren Instigator
Lightning Bolt

The upgrades are the more expensive goblins but I feel the deck is pretty solid without them. The deck is fast and aggressive.


Hua Tuo, Honored Physician – Tiny Leaders Budget Deck List

My third deck is poison, I struggled for a Commander but eventually chose a lesser known Commander.

The creature base being single colour may be a little bit fragile but as with other Poison/Infect decks it tries to combo off one creature with pump spells. However, I do feel the deck is a cheeky one, it’s still only 10 poison counters to win the game and in a format with 25 life this does mean victory can be a little bit closer but the creature base isn’t as awesome as the Pauper, Modern or Legacy versions.

[deck]1 Evolving Wilds
1 Terramorphic Expanse
14 Forest
1 Rogues Passage
1 Hua Tuo, Honored Physician
1 Glistener Elf
1 Blight Mamba
1 Ichorclaw Myr
1 Necropede
1 Viridian Corrupter
1 Rot Wolf
1 Cyst Bearer
1 Viridian Betrayers
1 Plague Myr
1 virulent sliver
1 Sabertooth tiger
1 Phyrexian Digester
1 Swell of  Growth
1 Aspect of Hydra
1 Giant Growth
1 Might of Old Krosa
1 Mutagenic Growth
1 Primal Bellow
1 Rancor
1 Predator’s Strike
1 Pistus Strike
1 Contagion Clasp
1 Invigorate
1 Titanic Growth
1 Groundswell
1 Swiftfoot boots
1 Vines of Vastwood
1 Wild Defiance
1 Aspect of Hydra
1 Awaken the Bear
1 Hornet Sting
1 Rangers Guile[/deck]


Inkmoth Nexus
Worldly Tutor
Sylvan Scrying

Improving the land base with [card]Inkmoth Nexus[/card] adds another threat and [card]Pendelhaven[/card] is a solid card with lower power/toughness creatures. If we add in [card]Worldly Tutor[/card] we can search out a new threat.

I’d like the [card]Sylvan Scrying[/card] to find the [card]Inkmoth Nexus[/card] or ensure a land fall for [card]Groundswell[/card].

Blighted Agent
Distortion Strike
Plague Stinger

The other way to improve the deck would be to make the deck two colour adding either Blue or Black.

My fourth deck is Elves, you have three awesome Commanders that you can use. Which you can see below to compare and contrast yourself.

Rhys the redeemed
Rhys the exiled
Ezuri, Renegade Leader

Three solid choices as Commander and whilst Mono Green is popular with many people but adding either Black or White adds to removal options and utility spells. I decided to go for the Black/Green option.

You’ve many elves over the years to chose from and recent years have also been kind to elves with [card]Copperhorn Scout[/card] reprinted and [card]Shaman of the Pack[/card] adding a new dimension.

[deck]1 Treetop Village
1 Tranquil Thicket
1 Golgari Guildate
5 Forest
1 Jungle Hollow
5 Swamp
1 Llanowar Wastes
1 Woodand Cemetary
1 Oran Rief, the Vastwood
1 Rhys the Exiled
1 Arbor Elf
1 Thornbow Archer
1 Elvish Mystic
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Gnarlroot Trapper
1 Fyndhorn Elves
1 Copperhorn Scout
1 Elvish Visionary
1 Ezuri, Renegade Leader
1 Elves of Deep Shadow
1 Bramblwood Paragon
1 Wren’s Run Vanquisher
1 Fauna Shaman
1 Dwynen’s Elite
1 Golgari Guildmage
1 Korozda Guildmage
1 Bloodline Shaman
1 Elvish Archdruid
1 Shaman of the Pack
1 Joraga Warcaller
1 Elvish Harbinger
1 Giant Growth
1 Titanic Growth
1 Terror
1 Doom Blade
1 Go for the Throat
1 Smother
1 Krosan Grip
1 Eyeblights Ending
1 Gather the Pack
1 Touch of Moonglove
1 Golgari Charm[/deck]

Some very good options to improve the deck

Abrupt Decay
Nissa, Vastwood Seer
Deathrite Shaman

[card]Abrupt Decay[/card] is one the best removal options in the format and [card]Nissa, Vstwood Seer[/card] late game can add depth to the deck if Ezuri hasn’t sent a trampling horde at your opponent.

Twilight Mire
Verdant Catacombs
Overgrown Tomb

Okay, really simple additions but not cheap is an upgrade on the mana base.

I’ve really enjoyed writing this article as I enjoy building decks, Tiny Leaders has such a wealth of cards to use from the beginning of Magic but recent sets add lots of great options to the format.

Which budget deck would you make? Can you improve the decks even more on a budget or better upgrade options? I may even feature your deck and put my spin on it too.

Please let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading,

Mark Pinder


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Mark Pinder
I have competed twice at GB nationals in 2010/2008, was Runner Up at Senior Nationals 2010, Won a Grand Prix Trial which took me to Paris 2009. My love of the game was such that I did previously win a writing competition on MTG Twincast which led to me being a Feature Writer for around a year until the Sponsor sold up but still did the occasional article. There is also a verb "To Pinder"colloquially used in northern magic communities which means "to gain life", I was a solid fan of Martyr of Sands/Proclamation of Rebirth combo and many players have heard those fateful words, Sacrifice Martyr of Sands, gain 21 life against me to see the game go out of their reach with lethal damage available to them next turn.