Top 10 Tiny Leaders Cards from Oath of the Gatewatch by Mark Pinder


Top 10 Tiny Leaders Cards from Oath of the Gatewatch

Like everyone, when I saw the spoilers for Oath of the Gatewatch I was excited about new cards, how they will fit into decks I currently have or what new glorious decks I could build around them. Specifically, I was excited at their potential in the Tiny Leaders format.

In this article, I will review my favourite Tiny Leaders cards from Oath of the Gatewatch, in no particular order, and then announce my personal top ten.

I thought this article was going to be quite easy as there are some stand out cards, until I discovered how great the impact of colourless mana was going to be. I’ve built many Tiny Leaders decks and a depth of lands is great for consistent mana bases, even in three colours. Sometimes the question of whether lands should come into play tapped or not is a great consideration to be made. My first discovery was that I haven’t been using many lands that actually produce colourless mana, and those that do are there for incidental reasons. It may be hard to support colourless casting or activation costs in this case. Pain lands are an option, but as we are in a singleton card format this may be quite restrictive.


The New Oath of the Gatewatch Tiny Leaders

No analysis of a new set would be complete without looking at what options we have for new Generals. In Oath of the Gatewatch we have two stand out Generals.

Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim

This is a solid commander and I have ideas running around my head about a life gain deck based around her. A Soul Sisters style deck could be solid in Tiny Leaders, and there would certainly be enough cards to power the deck.

Jori En, Ruin Diver

Again, we have a solid leader here. Within the 3 CMC format, drawing an extra card from casting a second spell seems consistently achievable.

With the announcement of the new set we also had some rules revisions just like every other format. Whilst no cards were banned we got a new General we could use. You can now play an entirely colourless deck as we have been given a colourless leader. He is a 3/3 for CCC with no special abilities and he is called “Glass”. This should be an interesting development and deck building challenge.


The Oath Cycle

I feel that the Oath Cycle, although iconic, are at first glance going to be underpowered as they focus on planeswalkers. There are very few 3 CMC planeswalkers in the format, reducing the potential of Oath cards to have an impact, but that doesn’t mean they will be dead cards.

Oath of Chandra (0)

Oath of Gideon (0)

Oath of Jace (0)

Oath of Nissa (0)

I don’t see any of them making a real impact on the format, as many of the effects can be replicated by more efficient spells.


The Oath of the Gatewatch Lands

Oath of the Gatewatch has brought us some interesting new lands. First, the man lands:

Hissing Quagmire

Needle Spires

Wandering Fumarole

All three man lands are solid cards that will find their way into decks, although I’m not sure any of them are back breaking like a Celestial Colonnade.


The two sacrifice abilities on this land are very useful. I can see both options having the potential to break a game’s back.

Sea Gate Wreckage

I’ve found I can regularly be top decking and have an empty hand with many decks. This is due in part to the low mana cost of every card in the format. I think this additional card draw, which can be used repeatedly, has the potential to be a solid addition.


The Spells

Even though Oath of the Gatewatch is a small set, there are certainly a lot of spells with potential to be played in the format.

Bearer of Silence

This is a decent 2/1 body that flies. With a kicker effect of making an opponent sacrifice a creature, its value goes up considerably.

Captain’s Claws

When I first saw this card I wasn’t that impressed. Sure, it looks nice and has potential to do well. Then my partner insisted on having it in her deck at the Two-Headed Giant pre-release, and on the right body it is very solid. We now have an opportunity with all the extra new allies to have an Allies deck, or maybe even in a Soul Sisters build equipped to Ajani’s Pridemate with a “Sister” or two in play.

Eldrazi Displacer

I like the look of this card. Restoration Angel and Mistmeadow Witch were popular in their day. We have the potential to abuse entering or leaving the battlefield effects, and this ability can also be used to regain control of stolen creatures.

Eldrazi Obligator

When I first saw the card I thought it was a nice Act of Treason on a body. The fact that it is a 3/1 with haste will also allow you to close out a game.

Essence Depleter

This is a card that will help break a stalemate, if you have enough colourless mana to keep repeating the life gain/loss process. It will also help all the other cards that trigger off life gain. This will work really well with Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim.

Flaying Tendrils

The format already has Drown in Sorrow and Infest, but the added advantage for this card is that it exiles the creatures that are removed. This card will certainly be useful and see play.

Immolating Glare

White has a lot of removal spells, and you could argue this is just a cheaper Kill Shot, but being one less mana to cast (a huge margin in Tiny Leaders) increases this card’s playability significantly.

Kozilek’s Return

Currently this card is one of the most expensive in the set. Unfortunately, you cannot actually cast the majority of  Eldrazi creature spell with CMC 7 in Tiny Leaders, their is an exception but you’ll have to work it out. It is an instant speed sweeper in red, which also deals colourless damage. Not too shabby. Alternatively, Pyroclasm and Whipflare can pretty much get the job done without burning a hole in your pocket.

Matter Reshaper

Matter Reshaper has the potential to be stone-cold bonkers in Tiny Leaders, if you can find a way to reliably cast it due to the colourless casting cost. It’s a fun card. A 3/2 is a reasonable body and it asks all kind of questions of your opponent. If they kill it, there’s always the possibility it will be replaced with whatever is on top of your library, as long as it’s a creature. I don’t even want to think about this card’s interactions with Sensei’s Divining Top.


An unblockable 2/2 for 3 mana is a solid enough card and puts your opponent on a clock. However, when you can start exiling cards from their hand you can put them in top deck mode. They either use their cards before your turn or they lose them.

Nissa, Voice of Zendikar

When you have a 3 mana planeswalker, you have to study the card carefully. Having been on the wrong end of a turn three Nissa after hitting one and two drops, I can see this Nissa being a very popular card. It’s an interesting +1 ability getting a 0/1 plant token, and it would be interesting to see if you could keep her alive long enough to use her ultimate ability.

Reflector Mage

At first glance, this card is just a multi coloured Æther Adept. In actuality, it’s more than that as it prevents the card from being cast again until your next turn. That vital blocker or offensive threat will just sit in your opponent’s hand doing nothing. I like the look of this card for Tiny Leaders and other constructed formats.

Relentless Hunter

At first glance a hill giant for 3 mana is pretty solid. Having a pump ability is also nice but the thing about it that I’d value most is the trample. Trample isn’t that common in Tiny Leaders as you predominately associate it with bigger creatures. This could become a solid three-drop in Gruul style decks.

Spatial Contortion

It’s a colourless Nameless Inversion, and colourless removal is going to be good. With the average lower toughness in the format this card is capable of killing the majority of creatures.

Stormchaser Mage

There is a lot a traction for this card being playable in both Jeskai and Izzet style decks. We have a 1/3 flying, haste with prowess in a format where cantrips are plentiful. If you open a foil version of this card I can see it becoming highly sought after.

Wall of Resurgence

Yes, this card has really made my short list. Sure, a 0/6 wall isn’t brilliant but allowing you to awaken a land when it comes into play is. If those counters find their way onto a Shambling Vent, Creeping Tar Pit, or Treetop Village, that’s a combination straight out of hell.

Warping Wail

Three really good abilities to chose from on the card, and my only regret is that Tiny Leaders only allows it to be a one of. If you can get some graveyard recursion with this card it can make for a miserable experience for your opponent. It reminds me of phyrexian mana and being able to do unfair things that the core colour you are playing shouldn’t be doing.


My Top 10 Tiny Leaders Cards from Oath of the Gatewatch

Stormchaser Mage banner

In reverse order, my Top Ten is as follows (cue the Smashy and Nicey Chart Rundown music).

10. Mirrorpool

Will produce colourless mana and has two impressive sacrifice abilities. Will fit in any deck.

9. Captain’s Claws

A useful addition to any aggro deck dealing more damage and creating more attackers.

8. Stormchaser Mage

Probably the most aggressive creature in the set for this format.

7. Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim

Ayli will make an impact as a commander. I’ve a prerelease promo that I’d like to build a deck around.

6. Bearer of Silence

A nice early threat in the air which also brings the potential for removal.

5. Warping Wail

A very flexible card that can find a home in any deck.

4. Reflector Mage

The tempo swing this guy can create is impressive. I rather like the combo of him with Eldrazi Displacer.

3. Nissa, Voice of Zendikar

Planeswalkers are rare in Tiny Leaders and finding a playable one is always a bonus.

2. Spatial Contortion

Colourless removal that can deal with virtually every creature in the format.

1. Matter Reshaper

This card potentially replaces itself with something better when it dies. What more could you ask for? It’s like “Miracles” all over again.


So that’s my overview of what I feel are the best cards in Oath of the Gatewatch for Tiny Leaders. Have I missed a card that you believe is actually awesome? How would your Top Ten differ from mine? Please let me know in the comments below!

I look forward to hearing your feedback.

Thanks for reading,

Mark Pinder

Top 10 Tiny Leaders Cards from Oath of the Gatewatch by Mark Pinder
Top 10 Tiny Leaders Cards from Oath of the Gatewatch by Mark Pinder" description="Like everyone, when I saw the spoilers for Oath of the Gatewatch I was excited about new cards, how they will fit into decks I currently have or what new glorious decks I could build around them. Specifically, I was excited at their potential in the Tiny Leaders format. In this article, I will review my favourite Tiny Leaders cards from Oath of the Gatewatch, in no particular order, and then announce my personal top ten.

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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.