Top 10 Best Shadows Over Innistrad Cards For Your Tiny Leaders Deck, by Mark Pinder

Olivia, Mobilized for War

Top 10 Best Shadows Over Innistrad Cards For Your Tiny Leaders Deck

Like everyone else, when I saw the spoilers for Shadows over Innistrad I got excited about new cards and how they would fit into decks I currently had or could build around them. Especially, I was looking for the potential to shake up the Tiny Leaders format.

I’m going to review my favourite cards in no particular order and then announce my personal Top 10 at the end of the article.

Tiny Leaders is a great format as it allows such a broad spectrum of cards from throughout the history of Magic. New cards can fit into many decks as well, but for breakout cards to be truly devastating – that is another matter as we already have so many good options to choose for our decks.


Shadows over Innistrad Generals

Well, we only have one that is legal for Tiny Leaders, but when it can lead a tribe, it is going to be of interest.

Olivia, Mobilized for War

Olivia is a solid commander at 3/3, but has so much upside: it’s a Vampire making the option for a tribal Vampire deck possible. Especially as it’s Black and Red, allowing for the best Vampires from the original Innistrad set to be gathered around the newest commander.


Shadows over Innistrad White

We have an impressive selection of cards that can be played in the format and they go deep, too.

Always Watching

This is a really cool Glorious Anthem card with a bonus: making non-tokens vigilant. This is a significant advantage, giving vigilance to everyone can be a game changer.

Bound by Moonsilver

A pretty good Pacifism effect with an additional bonus that it can be moved as well. Pacifism effects are okay but can be removed quite easily, so they are not benchmark removal.

Bygone Bishop

Whoa, a card I can get on-board with. Realistically this covers every creature in the format, though a few can be made bigger than 3 CMC whilst on the stack like Endless One. This will allow for multiple Clues hopefully, which will draw you into answers.

Declaration in Stone

An exile effect for two mana is really good, but unlikely to hit a second target unless there are tokens in play. I can see it being a reliable sideboard card.

Eerie Interlude

I can definitely see this as a card to make the cut with many decks. With the right creature base could be make an impressive deck that blinks creatures.

Gryff's Boon

This card is really cool, makes your creature bigger and flying. The ability to return it from the graveyard is an additional bonus that can’t be ignored.

Open the Armory

I like tutor effects in general and this is a flexible card going for an aura or a piece of equipment – both of which see regular play in Tiny Leaders.

pious_evangel_wayward_disciple_shadows_over_innistradAjani’s Pridemate will love this new friend. More of a soul brother than a Soul Sister, but a solid, dependable card.

Thraben Inspector

A lovely card which even of drawn late game has the benefit of a Clue to get another card. After you have three lands the card effectively becomes a cantrip.


Shadows over Innistrad Blue

Looking through the Blue cards I found very few that really stand out. But then, we do have a card that is potentially one of the best in the format as a whole.


It would need to have a deck built around investigating Clues and drawing cards, but this is highly doable.

Ghostly Wings

It has a nice ability to not only make your creature flying and more powerful – it will also potentially save your creature, too. A solid card for the format.

Thing in the Ice // Awoken Horror

I think this card is one that can be either built around or slotted into most blue decks. Four ice counters is not impossible to remove and with extra casting options with Flashback etc. transforming isn’t hard in the right deck.


Shadows over Innistrad Black

We have a few black cards I’d like to feature.

Behind the Scenes

Giving all creatures skulk is a reasonable ability off the bat, but a pump effect edges the card closer to being good. However, the pump needs another colour to activate, thus restricting the decks this card can be played in.

Heir of Falkenrath

A 3/2-flyer-when-transformed is a decent body, especially for 2 mana. Losing a card from discard isn’t unreasonable to get a black Delver of Secrets.

Relentless Dead

This card will be a building block for any Zombie deck able to come back from the graveyard itself but also bring back friends if it dies. A 2/2 with menace is already a solid card, but the additional benefits will allow it to see play in Tiny Leaders as well as other formats.

To the Slaughter

Whilst there are a lot of sacrifice a creature effects, sacrifice a planeswalker is pretty unique and very useful effect. I don’t think Delirium would be that hard to achieve as I’ve powered up Tarmogoyfs before, so the potential is to sacrifice both rather than either.


Shadows over Innistrad Red

Our red cards are not very deep, but we have some impressive supporting cards.


It’s a solid Red body as a 3/3. When it becomes a Werewolf it has the potential to give attacking creatures trample – which makes it a card with the potential. Also, being uncommon it’s inexpensive to acquire.

Burn from Within

This is a major burn spell but it’s pretty much an exile effect in Red, removing indestructible as well. The format is full of powerful x-burn spells, but this is a really good one.

Sin Prodder

A 3/2 with menace is a reasonable threat. However, that guy either gets you cards or deals opponent additional damage. It can also help you power up Tarmogoyf stacking your opponent’s graveyard.


I rather like the way this card can work: force your opponent’s creature to attack into your bigger creature and then get another big guy in the Skin Shredder.

Stensia Masquerade

I originally didn’t really rate this card on the spoiler. However, after having to play against it at the pre release, I can confirm this card is really frustrating – meaning, useful.


Shadows over Innistrad Green

Green has some of the most impressive cards in the set and they also work well together.

Clip Wings

There is plenty of good removal in the format, but like in other formats a decent flier can make life difficult. Sacrificing a flying creature is a different take on Plummet, making it a solid sideboard card.


I love this guy: you get to filter your deck and draw extra creatures. I can see this card being useful in any Green-based deck as Tiny Leaders is generally a format where creatures are key.


Being given card advantage when your opponent tries shenanigans on your turn is good. If the Hermit flips, it becomes even better gaining extra cards and a solid body.

Tireless Tracker

My original thought was how much land do we actually play or need in Tiny Leaders with the 3 CMC rule. However, a look at my own decks and I can see several applications where I have decks where this would have synergy. Scute Mob, Sylvan Advocate and Dragonmaster Outcast already need a land in play to be more effective.

Ulvenwald Mysteries

This is an interesting card and one that I think could be very interesting. It’s a bit clunky having to have a creature die to get a Clue – and when you use the Clue, you get a Human Soldier. I wonder if there is a return engine with the dying creature or sacrifice outlet combo. Looks like a nice card to use in a Combo deck.


Shadows over Innistrad Multi-Coloured

We have some very impressive multi coloured cards, including Olivia, Mobilized for War, whom I covered earlier.

Anguished Unmaking

I really like this card. Whilst you lose 3 life, this card is basically instant speed remove anything except a land. Losing 3 life isn’t a bad thing as usually what you’ll be exiling will cost you more than 3 life if left on the battlefield. The fact this will be a Game Day Top 8 card means you will have plenty options to pimp out a deck.

Invocation of Saint Traft

Well, Bogle decks just got another good enchantment. It seems to be a situational player really, but the ability to bring in attacking Angels is extremely powerful. If the enchanted creature has Hexproof (or vast protection) and some kind of evasion (Skulk, Menace, Unblockable), then this card becomes even stronger.

Prized Amalgam

A 3/3 for 3 is a solid body in Tiny Leaders, so the card is definitely playable. With a dedicated graveyard manipulation deck this card could raise in value.

Fevered Visions

We can only have one copy of a card and higher starting life totals: I can see this card being in a deck, but it’s less useful than in Standard or Modern.


Shadows over Innistrad Artifact

There are plenty of good artifacts in Shadows over Innistrad. The best are below.

Haunted Cloak

Equipped creature has Vigilance, Trample, and Haste: that is three of the best abilities a creature could have. It will break games at some point.

Magnifying Glass

A nice mana ramp item and colourless mana source: the latter became quite important since Oath of the Gatewatch expansion. The ability to make Clues is a good way to use spare mana and draw into something good.

Slayer's Plate

Whilst the effect on the card is reasonable, there is a raft of good equipment. The nearest comparable card isHero’s Blade and I’d prefer the latter as cheaper to play and has the free equip cost on legendary creatures as they enter play – which is better for your commander.


Shadows over Innistrad Land

We have some nice come-into-play-tapped lands at uncommon and enemy lands are always at a premium. The rare lands requiring land types to play untapped are that bit better as we have options of shock lands and battle lands.

Westvale Abbey // Ormendahl, Profane Prince
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This one is certainly a card we can work around and if we can get it to pay off, it will be awesome. Any deck that can generate tokens could have a field day with this, easily be able to generate the five creatures needed by turn five, drop and flip immediately.


Top 10 Best Shadows Over Innistrad Cards For Tiny Leaders

10. To the Slaughter

To the Slaughter
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Flexible removal is always good and with the ability to make an opponent sacrifice a planeswalker, creature or both, it is a premium card with flexibility.

9. Thing in the Ice // Awoken Horror

Thing in the Ice // Awoken Horror

This is one of those cards that deck builders are just looking at ways to break. Worthy of Top Ten slot.

8. Thraben Inspector

Thraben Inspector
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This is a solid one drop with a bonus too, so if nothing to play turn two that you like, you can draw another card.

7. Bygone Bishop

Bygone Bishop
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Pretty much every creature qualifies for making a Clue token. I am looking forward to playing this card.

6. Open the Armory

open_the_armory_shadows_over_innistradThis card is not just a tutor, but something you can help build around. Your targets will always be good and can be coupled with other tutors for a synergistic approach of multiple equipments or enchantment auras.

5. Tireless Tracker

Tireless Tracker
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The Tracker has made an impact in Standard and can do the same in Tiny Leaders: additional card draw from Clues can make an impact in Control and Aggro builds.

4. Duskwatch Recruiter // Krallenhorde Howler

duskwatch_recruiter_krallenhorde_howler_shadows_over_innistradGood card draw is hard to find. I feel the card makes a better Human than a Werewolf, but is still really good.

3. Olivia, Mobilized for War

Olivia, Mobilized for War
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Olivia allows for a tribal leader of a Vampires deck supported by new Vampires from Battle for Zendikar, Oath of the Gatewatch, Shadows over Innistrad and more to follow. I can see a great deck been built around her.

2. Westvale Abbey // Ormendahl, Profane Prince

Westvale Abbey // Ormendahl, Profane Prince
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A really nice card that at first glance fits into any colour of deck and can be devastating through Haste once flipped. A real game breaker of a card if you haven’t got an answer. Of course colour identity also works on the reverse side of the card so we are limited to decks that include black.

1. Anguished Unmaking

This is by far my favourite card and I even went out of my way to pick up a prerelease foil, so it could go straight in my Abzan Tiny Leaders deck. Flexible removal at instant speed is at a premium.

Anguished Unmaking
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Community Question: So, those were my picks. What do you agree with and do you disagree with? Have I missed any cards that you think are better than my choices?

Hope you enjoyed the article, I’ll be looking at designing some Shadows of Innistrad-inspired decks, so expect to see Vampires, Werewolves and Humans soon.

Thanks for reading,

Mark Pinder

Top 10 Best Shadows Over Innistrad Cards For Your Tiny Leaders Deck, by Mark Pinder
Like everyone when I saw the spoilers for Shadows over Innistrad, I got excited about new cards and how they would fit into decks I currently had or could build around them. Especially, I was looking for the potential to shake/spice up the Tiny Leaders format.

Please let us know what you think below...

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