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 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.
This is a really cool [card]Glorious Anthem[/card] card with a bonus: making non-tokens vigilant. This is a significant advantage, giving vigilance to everyone can be a game changer.
A pretty good [card]Pacifism[/card] 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.
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 [card]Endless One[/card]. This will allow for multiple Clues hopefully, which will draw you into answers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 [card]Delver of Secrets[/card].
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.
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 [card]Tarmogoyf[/card]s 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.
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.
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 [card]Tarmogoyf[/card] 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 [card]Skin Shredder[/card].
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.
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 [card]Plummet[/card], 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.
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. [card]Scute Mob[/card], [card]Sylvan Advocate[/card] and [card]Dragonmaster Outcast[/card] already need a land in play to be more effective.
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 [card]Olivia, Mobilized for War[/card], whom I covered earlier.
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.
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.
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.
Shadows over Innistrad Artifact
There are plenty of good artifacts in Shadows over Innistrad. The best are below.
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.
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.
Whilst the effect on the card is reasonable, there is a raft of good equipment. The nearest comparable card is[card]Hero’s Blade[/card] 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.
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. [card]To the Slaughter[/card]
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. [card]Thing in the Ice // Awoken Horror[/card]
This is one of those cards that deck builders are just looking at ways to break. Worthy of Top Ten slot.
8. [card]Thraben Inspector[/card]
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. [card]Bygone Bishop[/card]
Pretty much every creature qualifies for making a Clue token. I am looking forward to playing this card.
6. [card]Open the Armory[/card]
This 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. [card]Tireless Tracker[/card]
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. [card]Duskwatch Recruiter // Krallenhorde Howler[/card]
3. [card]Olivia, Mobilized for War[/card]
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. [card]Westvale Abbey // Ormendahl, Profane Prince[/card]
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. [card]Anguished Unmaking[/card]
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.
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,