Hi there, today I’m going to be talking to you about a relatively new Magic format which has been picking up in popularity recently. Its a variation of Commander but instead of 100 cards you have 50, and in addition you can only use cards with a converted mana cost of 3 or less. You can find the official rules along with the banlist here: tinyleaders.blogspot.co.uk
The first I heard of Tiny Leaders was 4 or 5 months ago when a friend of mine in my Commander play circle found the format and suggested we give it a try. Honestly I wasn’t particularly impressed, the power levels of the decks we’d built were pretty low and at the time it just seemed like a duller version of regular Commander and we soon deferred back to the 100 card format.
Around 6 weeks ago, I started to notice an uptick in the format with more people starting to write about it culminating in a match I watched in a (relatively) local game store between Alesha and Anafenza. The game seemed really entertaining and the decks were doing much more powerful things than those I’d played with long before. I started to get more excited for the format but still wasn’t sure who I wanted to choose as my Leader.
Then later that weekend I was watching the SCG Open Series and the commentators started talking about the format between matches. Patrick Sullivan was getting excited about Zozu the Punisher, and all he wanted to do was blow up lands and stop his opponent casting spells. Immediately I washooked and started rummaging through the stacks and folders of cards in my room to try and find as many Stone Rain effects as possible.
Unfortunately I couldn’t find all the land death spells I wanted and ended up ordering a few cards. While I waited however I became impatient and decided to put together another deck in the meantime. What else stops my opponents from playing magic? Oh look here’s my Death and Taxes deck, and that’s how Thalia was born. Here’s my current 50:
Leonin Relic Warder
Mentor of the Meek
Mangara of Corondor
Swords to Plowshares
Path to Exile
Brave the Elements
Thorn of Amethyst
Crucible of Worlds
Sword of Light and Shadow
Sword of Feast and Famine
Cavern of Souls
Maze of Ith
Small cheap creatures with disruptive abilities backed up by incredible equipment in the Swords and a small land destruction package to help tax my opponent’s resources. The deck plays out pretty much as I’d intended to limiting control or combo type decks with disruption from creatures like Ethersworn Canonist, Leonin Arbiter or Thalia herself; meanwhile beating out aggro using the incredible power of the swords along with good removal like path to exile and council’s judgement.
By that friday though another idea had come to mind. Another one of my favourite things in magic is to spend a lot of time doing absolutely nothing. Such as casting Life from the Loam over and over again. I’ve always been tempted by Legacy Lands but never caved and bought into it; still though I’d picked up some of the cheaper pieces. Tiny leaders seemed like a great place to mess around with the deck, and get some durdling done. Once again I went out wondering who to use as my Commander, and I remembered that Yasova had been printed in Fate Reforged. She let me play Intuition, Gamble and Loam all in the same deck. Game on! Idid another dig and came up with most of what I needed, picking up a Gamble from a friend of mine. I’m still missing some of the more expensive pieces (see Tropical Island and Tabernacle), but here is the list:
Courser of Kruphix
Life from the Loam
Edge of Autumn
Elixir of Immortality
Crucible of Worlds
Grove of the Burnwillows
Maze of Ith
Its not as smooth as I’d like it to be, for example I had to wasteland my own taiga to replay it out of my
yard to get a third red mana for Seismic Assault the other day. A Seismic Assault that was added to the list after the Lightning rift, which probably tells you a bit about how I think. The deck is however insanely sweet, even though I have to whether the glares I get when I’m at 2 life having done nothing but durdle for the entire game only to finally lock them out of the game with the engine I’d finally got to.
At this point I was super excited to play the format, I’d built a couple of sweet decks but hadn’t played many actual games. The next weekend I traveled back to the same games tore again to try and get a few games in and also try out a sweet Legacy Death Shadow list (Legacy FNMs whoop whoop). Playing the decks most of the matches were fairly close and a ton of fun, with a couple of instances of Swords of X and Y just running away with the game (strongly recommend having main deck answers to these). It did however lead me to find space for the Elixir of Immortality in the Yasova deck as some of the games ended with 1 or 2 cards in my library and on 1 or 2 life.
Coming out of the weekend I had a pile of new deck Ideas which I wanted to try ranging from Doomsday to Goblins. I’m ashamed to say that as of the date of writing Zozu Land Death is still not complete, but I am the proud owner of a bunch of other decks with a pile more in the works. The formatis awesome, and its definitely worth giving it a try even if you don’t like the sound of it there’s almost certainly a deck that’s up your alley.
That’s it from me this week, thanks for reading