The Evolution Of A Tiny Leaders Deck, by Mark Pinder

Glittering Wish

The Evolution Of A Tiny Leaders Deck

One of my first articles for Tiny Leaders was about the first deck I’d built for the format, you can find that article here.

I’ve always liked Abzan/Junk style decks and my first Commander deck had been Teneb, the Harvester, and whilst it was Standard legal Siege Rhino was my favourite card and is probably one of my most favourite.

Now since I wrote that article I have built several other decks but Anafenza, the Foremost has remained my favourite. During this time the fetch lands have become Expedition fetch lands and several more cards have been foiled out. However, it became apparent several cards have never been printed in foil or will be, so I had a couple of choices to make at that point. So costing out a foil Tarmogoyf and foil Liliana of the Veil I looked at the cost of other cards never printed in foil that could make a difference. I decided to see just how strong I really could make the deck.

I also decided I really liked my Commander as she was very solid, I did wonder though, could I make the deck better? I remembered when I originally built the deck I had to cut several cards from the original build but hadn’t played with them, I decided to consider these cards in the same format and had built a second deck predominately using spare cards.

The Mana base

Volrath’s Stronghold
Command Tower
Sandsteppe Citadel
Marsh Flats
Windswept Heath
Verdant Catacombs
Godless Shrine
Overgrown Tomb
Temple Garden
Stirring Wildwood
Shambling Vent
Hissing Quagmire


Murmuring Bosk
Isolated Chapel
Sunpetal Grove
Woodland Cemetery

I decided to switch up the mana base. Too many times I was finding lands coming in tapped when I didn’t want them to, or was paying extra life for an untapped shock land. The investment in Dual Lands has strengthened the deck quite considerably though it has meant I effectively have in my Bayou one card worth more than some of my opponents decks, this may not entirely be a good thing for keeping the format vibrant and other players engaged. Hissing Quagmire was added as whilst I didn’t really want another tapped land the additional man land is much more desirable. Canopy Vista was in the deck for a while, it replaced the Sunpetal Grove and then was replaced by the Savannah. I’ve been weighing up Canopy Vista over Sandsteppe Citadel, the vista can be searched for and has the potential to be played untapped, the Citadel though does allow access to all three colours in the deck. I have several cards with double black in the cost which has swayed my decision.


Vampire Nighthawk
Transcendent Master
Courser of Kruphix
Brimaz, King of Oreskos
Doran, the Siege Tower
Eternal Witness
Herald of Torment
Liliana, Heretical Healer
Qasali Pridemage
Scavenging Ooze
Warden of the First Tree
Deathrite Shaman
Birds of Paradise
Boon Satyr
Den Protector


Loxodon Smiter
Master of the Feast

So I surprised myself in making a change to my list for the creatures. Loxodon Smiter is really good as a 4/4 for 3 mana with bonuses but I’ve moved him to the sideboard. Master of the Feast has a down side but dealing with a 5/5 flyer is a stretch for most opponents, however, I removed the big flyer as the cards I was adding feel more synergistic to the deck.

Den Protector was added as I had so much success in Standard with this card, I also run the Volrath’s Stronghold so I have chance to re-use not just him but another card too upon the flip. In a grinding match this can be significant.

The second creature I added was Boon Satyr, much like Herald of Torment it is a bestow creature so I can not only enhance a creature but the combat trick option to flash in as either a creature or enchantment is impressive.

With the additional man land in Hissing Quagmire this lead to another consideration in Sylvan Advocate. Whilst it is certainly a good card, the other two drops in the deck are already impressive. There are games when it is going to be really good but getting six land in Tiny Leaders can be problematic, and a lot of time it isn’t really required or desired. I discovered Sylvan Advocate is an excellent card if you have a land powered strategy to build around and it’s found a home in my Jund deck which is designed to abuse land drop with Scute Mob, Vinelasher Kudzu and Dragonmaster Outcast to finish.

Liliana of the Veil
Armadillo cloak
Eladamri’s Call
Unflinching Courage
Swords to Plowshares
Black Sun’s Zenith
Abzan Charm
Abrupt Decay
Path to Exile
Martial Coup
Glittering Wish


Gaze of Granite

I’ve added two cards to the spell compliment which improve the deck substantially. The first addition is Condemn, unlike Commander in Tiny Leaders your leader isn’t protected and it can go to the bottom of your library or be shuffled in. I’ve found this so frustrating when done to my Tiny Leaders in various decks I’ve realised I made a mistake in cutting the card from my list.

The second addition is one of the most ground breaking and fun things about Tiny Leaders, there is such a depth of card resource that you will miss gems of cards without even realising, so their discovery and satisfaction that they do realise their potential is extremely rewarding to a deck builder. I’ve added Glittering Wish, I saw the card sat in my trade folder and then had that light bulb moment of “What if I built my sideboard to abuse this card?”. So in my test deck I tinkered around with Glittering Wish, shuffled some cards into the sideboard and switched main deck options to sideboard. Every time I drew the card I had a use for it, then I could just wander over to the sideboard and bring something in to help my position.

As a result, I’ve moved Gaze of Granite to the sideboard allowing for the Glittering Wish to recall it if needed or another useful card. Exploration was removed because if you don’t have it and the extra land in your starting hand then it’s too easy to be a dead card. I rely on Deathrite Shaman and Birds of Paradise as my acceleration and late game they can still be useful.


Golgari Charm
Anguished Unmaking
Saffi Eriksdotter
Loxodon Smiter
Gaze of Granite
Maelstrom Pulse
Kitchen Finks
Stony Silence


Sin Collector
Phyrexian Crusader
Drown in Sorrow
Lifebane Zombie
Aven Mindcensor
Vampire Hexmage

So some drastic changes to the sideboard, the only non multi-coloured card to remain is Stony Silence as it works against equipment strategies and several artefact based strategies. Golgari Charm replaced Drown in Sorrow as a fast removal for aggro decks but also because I like the flexibility of charm and Command spells to give you more options. Anguished Unmaking is so strong and deal’s with any non-land permanent so can be brought in for most match ups. Mortify is also flexible as enchantment or creature removal, the brother to Putrefy it adds an additional comfort level to the deck. Finally we have Saffi Eriksdotter, she can work as an insurance policy for my creatures.

So the spells I took out of the deck whilst– being good –didn’t necessarily fit the local meta or I could put something in that’s more flexible. Anguished Unmaking can deal with a Planeswalker just as well as Vampire Hexmage or Maelstrom Pulse, for example. Sin Collector was a hard choice to remove and Saffi narrowly got the nod as too many times when I used him, an opponent wouldn’t have an appropriate card in hand at that point even with potential for recursion. I still feel it will find its way back into the sideboard as more new players are picking up decks locally changing the meta.

So that’s my changes to my deck, in six months I’ve evaluated the deck continually in a non-rotating format, it’s my belief that every new set can bring something new to the format and your individual deck. Then we have the history of Magic: The Gathering, there is all manner of cards you might not have encountered yet and waiting to be discovered again.

Thank you for reading,

Mark Pinder

The Evolution Of A Tiny Leaders Deck, by Mark Pinder
I also decided I really liked my Commander as she was very solid, I did wonder though, could I make the deck better?

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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.