Your MTG Cards Have Rotated Out Of Standard (Make Tiny Leaders Decks!), by Mark Pinder

Athreos, God of Passage

Your Magic: The Gathering Cards Have Rotated Out Of Standard (Make Tiny Leaders Decks!)

When the latest Magic: The Gathering set is released there is always a lot of buzz and excitement over the new cards and what they can do, and quite rightly so– its always an exciting time! But its not all sunshine and rainbows however, we also see pained expressions from players in the MTG community as many of their Standard cards would suffer a massive drop in price unless those cards are staples in one or more of the other popular formats, and lets face it, most of the time they are not. A very good way to get around this– to continue to gain value and enjoy your cards –is to use them in as many formats as possible, especially formats like Tiny Leaders which can be both competitive and fun to play.

Today I’m going to take a look at the recent sets, starting with Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged, and use them to form new decks for Tiny Leaders. I will also try and use cards from recently printed set which you are more likely to have access to, as well as include a few upgrade paths and options for each deck so that you have something to think about for the future.


1. Tiny Leaders Tribal Warriors (Athreos, God of Passage)

My first choice is tribal, warriors was an aggro deck that had some reasonable finishes at pro level but was regularly in the shadow of Siege Rhino.

I like the idea of Warriors in Tiny Leaders and feel it can be an aggro strategy capable of pushing through. Dragon Hunter, Mardu Woe-Reaper[/card] and Bloodsoaked Champion all being solid two power one drops. We then have two drops with added value similar to a Hate Bear deck with Herald of Dromoka adding Vigilance, Blood-Chin Rager making blocking difficult, Chief of the Edge adding power and Chief of the Scale adding toughness. Whilst your three drops include Arashin Foremost which brings along Double Strike, Mardu Strike Leader brings along friends and Blood-Chin Fanatic allows for an alternate sacrifice end game.

We have three good protection spells to try to save the team [Card]Ajani’s Presence[/Card], [Card]Gods Willing[/Card] and [Card]Feat of Resistance[/Card].

We have several removal spells to be called upon too, which includes: [Card]Ultimate Price[/Card], [Card]Valorous Stance[/Card], [Card]Immolating Glare[/Card], [Card]Kill Shot[/Card], [Card]Silkwrap[/Card], [Card]Stasis Snare[/Card] and [Card]Suspension Field[/Card].

We have two artefact’s to beef up the guys with: [Card]Hall of Triumph[/Card] and [Card]Spear of Heliod[/Card]. I would have preferred to use Raider’s Spoils and Rush of Battle but of course at CMC4 they not legal in Tiny Leaders. We could also add much older static pump spells like Honor of the Pure or Glorius Anthem

The final choice is who to lead the Warrior horde and two generals spring to mind Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim and a card that is a little bit older Athreos, God of passage. Ayli makes an excellent two drop having tempo with the deck but Athreos also has the annoying graveyard trigger which can help close games out. I’ve seen Athreos used in Doncaster to great effect and I’ll err on the god being the leader.

Athreos, God of Passage

Caves of Koilos
Scoured Barrens
Shambling Vent
Blighted Fen
Evolving Wilds
6 Swamp
6 Plains
Aven Skirmisher
Mardu Shadowspear
Dragon Hunter
Mardu Woe-Reaper
Herald of Anafenza
Bloodsoaked champion
Herald of Dromoka
Blood-Chin rager
Battle Brawler
Chief of the Edge
Chief of the Scale
Seeker of the Way
Hidden Dragonslayer
Mardu Skullhunter
Arashin Foremost
Mardu Strike Leader
Blood-Chin fanatic
Dutiful Attendant
Merciless Executioner
Fleshbag Marauder
Athreos, God of Passage
Suspension Field
Ajani’s Presence
Gods Willing
Feat of Resistance
Hall of Triumph
Spear of Heliod
Ultimate Price
Valorous Stance
Immolating Glare
Kill Shot
Stasis Snare


Disowned Ancestor
Aven Sunstriker
Mardu Hordechief
Mardu Hateblade
Transgress the Mind
Diplomacy of the Wastes
Secure the Wastes
Sandsteppe Outcast

This deck also satisfies some of the best features of Tiny Leaders, it’s inexpensive and has a strong spine, the spine coming from the synergy of the Warriors. Being a non-rotating format, once you have a deck it can last a lifetime, though new sets will sometimes offer better card options than what the deck in its current form uses; you can always upgrade as and when. Older cards can also be added quite inexpensively to make the deck more powerful too.

Upgrade Options

[Card]Gatekeeper of Malakir[/card] would be my first upgrade choice for the deck as get the option to force your opponent to sacrifice a creature while also getting another Warrior on board at the same time. [Card]Vampire Lacerator[/card] and Tormented Hero are both inexpensive one drops with two power which would improve the aggressiveness of the deck.

Older removal can be added to the deck, like my personal favourite Smother and Dismember.


2. Tiny Leaders Bestowed Heroic (Daxos of Meletis)

Theros gave us the Blue-White Heroic deck in Standard and many of the pieces are still strong cards. We also had the Bestow creatures giving us late game options to improve the creatures we are already running and would also help trigger Heroic effects.

Daxos of Meletis

Prairie Stream
Meandering River
Tranquil Cove
Blighted Cataract
Evolving Wilds
6 Island
6 Plains
Favoured Hoplite
Lagonna-Band Trailblazer
Akroan Skyguard
Artisan of Forms
Phalanx Leader
Battlewise Hoplite
Hero of Iroas
Meletis Astronomer
Sage of Hours
Setessan Battle Priest
Vanguard of Brimaz
Elite Skirmisher
Fabled Hero
Tethmos High Priest
Triton Fortune Hunter
Wavecrash Triton
Wingsteed Rider
Daxos of Meletis
Gods Willing
Aqueous Form
Hopeful Eidolon
Hypnotic Siren
Mortal Obstinacy
Chosen by Heliod
Fate Foretold
Flitterstep Eidolon
Ordeal of Thassa
Ordeal of Heliod
Stratus Walk
Eidolon of Countless Battles
Ephara’s Enlightenment
Ghostblade Eidolon
Ethereal Armor


Eidolon of Rhetoric (0)

Gift of Immortality (0)

Observant Alseid (0)

Nimbus Naiad (0)

Azorius Charm (0)

Reflector Mage (0)

Moorland Haunt (0)

Oblivion Ring (0)

Banishing Light (0)

Pacifism (0)

Upgrade Options

Geist of Saint Traft would be an excellent addition to the deck, maybe even as the commander, and with the Blessed vs. Cursed Duel Deck now available, more copies are in circulation which should help make them more accessible.

There is also Invocation of Saint Traft from Shadows over Innistrad which is fairly inexpensive, and that’s certainly something to consider.


3. Tiny Leaders GW Hardened Scales (Saffi Eriksdotter)

The Green-White Hardened Scales deck made quite an impact in Standard, and whilst we only have one copy of Hardened Scales we do have lots of ways to generate counters on creatures with Outlast abilities, Bolster mechanics and creatures with Renown. On their own the mechanics may not be brilliant, but when they are carefully crafted together they can become incredibly good.

My general for this deck was not easy to find, eventually I decided upon a older card in Saffi Eriksdotter which is useful as it can return one of your creatures.

We have four good removal spells in the form of Immolating Glare , Silkwrap, Stasis Snare and Sheer Drop. Sheer Drop is an excellent card as when we use it late game we can Awaken a land for extra value, and we all love value.

The deck runs Relic Seeker and this allows us to have an equipment engine in the deck to increase the power of our guys. With Relic Seeker we can get Bonesaw, Stormrider Rig and Hero’s Blade. In my experience, Hero’s Blade in Tiny Leaders can break games as your commander can attach itself to the equipment when they come into play.

Tranquil Expanse
Blossoming Sands
Evolving Wilds
Saffi Eriksdotter
Ainok Bond-Kin
Abzan Falconer
Tuskguard Captain
Den Protector
Honoured Hierach
Consul’s Lieutenant
Topan Freeblade
Citadel Castellan
Undercity troll
Knight of the Pilgrim’s Road
Stalwart Aven
Valeron Wardens
Relic Seeker
Sandsteppe Outcast
Ainok Guide
Ainok Survivalist
Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit
Sandrafter Mage
Dromoka Captain
God’s Willing
Feat of Resistance
Gleam of Authority
Dromoka’s Command
Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit
Stormrider Rig
Hero’s Blade
Hardened Scales
Immolating Glare
Stasis Snare
Sheer Drop


Herald of Anafenza
Cached Defenses
Honor’s Reward
Map the Wastes
Abzan Advantage
Encircling Fissure
Ondu Rising
Earthen Arms
Kill Shot
Chitinous Cloak

Upgrade Options

There are plenty of older cards that we could add to the deck, for example Path to Exile, Quasali Pridemage and Worldly Tutor, but I’d probably be a little bit more radical. Shadowmoor also featured the Persist mechanic amongst some excellent creatures like Kitchen Finks and Wilt-leaf Cavaliers. With +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters counteracting each other the deck could morph into one that could allow creatures to Persist multiple times and that’s certainly something worth exploring.


Try Them Out!

So that’s three Tiny Leaders decks with the potential to upgrade easily or inexpensively for players on a budget that I hope will help give you some cool ideas.

I’ve also have a few ideas for Tiny Leaders articles going forward, these are:

Shadows of Innistrad Set Review for Tiny Leaders
Staple cards for Tiny Leaders
Deck Doctoring on your decks

What do you think of these ideas? Which ones would you like to see next? Any feedback would be appreciated.

Thanks for reading,

Mark Pinder

Your MTG Cards Have Rotated Out Of Standard (Make Tiny Leaders Decks!), by Mark Pinder
Your MTG Cards Have Rotated Out Of Standard (Make Tiny Leaders Decks!), by Mark Pinder
When the latest Magic: The Gathering set is released there is always a lot of buzz and excitement over the new cards and what they can do, and quite rightly so-- its always an exciting time! But its not all sunshine and rainbows however...

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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.