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 Infest 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 Ezuri, Renegade leader to build around for an elf deck and the white deck has Kemba, Kha Regent 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 Kytheon, Hero of Akros as Commander as the tokens allow for Kytheon to transform quicker.

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

The deck could be upgraded by adding the cards below.

Path to Exile (0)

Hangarback Walker (0)

Entreat the Angels (0)

Monastery Mentor (0)

Brimaz, King of Oreskos (0)

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

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

Bitterblossom (0)

Lingering Souls (0)

Daxos the Returned (0)

Lingering Souls is one of the best token generators and Bitterblossom 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 Grenzo, Dungeon Warden. 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.

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

Upgrade options

Goblin Guide (0)

Goblin Lackey (0)

Warren Instigator (0)

Lightning Bolt (0)

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.

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


Inkmoth Nexus (0)

Pendelhaven (0)

Worldly Tutor (0)

Sylvan Scrying (0)

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

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

Blighted Agent (0)

Distortion Strike (0)

Plague Stinger (0)

Dismember (0)

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 (0)

Rhys the exiled (0)

Ezuri, Renegade Leader (0)

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 Copperhorn Scout reprinted and Shaman of the Pack adding a new dimension.

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

Some very good options to improve the deck

Abrupt Decay (0)

Nissa, Vastwood Seer (0)

Deathrite Shaman (0)

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

Twilight Mire (0)

Verdant Catacombs (0)

Overgrown Tomb (0)

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.