Tiny Leaders is all the rage right now out there on the internet and the world. I’ve built decks (because that’s what I do), played it some, and on the whole, I think I like it okay.
Why I like Tiny Leaders:
- It plays quickly, and you can get in a game while the Commander game you just lost is finishing, while you’re waiting to join the next one, or if the store is closing in 20 minutes but you don’t feel like you’re done playing.
- You can play Gaea’s Skyfolk and not be called a Bad Player. Lots of other cards that I, as an EDH-only player, normally wouldn’t use are also available, and so is Recurring Nightmare
- There’s no Social Contract*, so it’s okay to be mean and play Poison/Mill/Discard and/or pretend like I can win really fast (which is NOT how I like my EDH games to be).
- It reminds me of a song my brother wrote (“Little Tiny Superheroes (Swimming in my Diet Coke”)
- It’s another, different, way to build Singleton decks, and I like building decks a lot and with different restrictions.
Why I DON’T like Tiny Leaders:
- I’m bad at it. My brain doesn’t work well in fast, cutthroat play and with competetive/optimal deckbuilding , and I keep wanting to have themes or do “Fun” things that don’t win (and TL, as Legacy w/ a commander mostly relies on the idea that winning is fun).
- Miracle-Gro** doesn’t work as well without Gush/Force of Will.
- It’s another format competing for time with EDH. I already have to contend with people who like to Cube, and sometimes (always) I mostly want to play EDH.
- It’s an expensive format. Smaller decks plus faster games plus competetiveness means that, in order to do well, things like Fetches and Legacy Staples are much more important. When I look at decks that have 17-19 unique different lands, it makes me sad. Spending money on fetches isn’t fun, and Evolving Wilds/Terramorphic Expanse are kind of “slow”***
- I Mana-Flood too easily. Whereas in EDH, despite 38-40 lands, I’m always mana-screwed. This is probably just karma and not a feature of the game. I played one game where, out of 23 cards that I saw in the game, 16 of them were lands.
Some Neutral Thoughts about Tiny Leaders
1. Differences from EDH need to continue to be highlighted. There was a big discussion on the TL Facebook group that started with a player complaining about how the format is too Spikey. The general impression I got from the comments was that “NO! UR DOIN IT WRONG. THIS IS NOT 50 CARD EDH, IT IS SINGLETON LEGACY FOR WINNERS WITH A GUY.” Which I actually agree with. It’s not Little EDH, and it shouldn’t be treated as such. It’s a different format with two, albeit kind of important, similarities. This is also why I struggle with it sometimes, since “Fun First, Winning… ?” is kind of my motto.
2. However, as with any format like this, people are going to play it how they want to. My group doesn’t do sideboards and plays it multiplayer (we’re considering Emperor if we have 6 tonight) instead of only head to head 2 out of 3. Even 1v1 last week two guys ended up playing it as 2-Headed Giant, each piloting two Tiny Leaders decks.
3. I’m thinking of making Expandable/Convertible decks. Making Tiny Leaders decks that have 50-card Expansion Board that transforms them into EDH decks. There are enough <3-CMC Legends for whom I haven’t build 100 card decks for that I also either have or want to try as Tiny Leaders (Yasova, Alesha, Feldon, Glissa, Lady Evangela, etc).
I think I’m going to build an Expansion for “Able without Cane” ( this Feldon list ) soon. There are also EDH decks that could be adapted to have TL modules in them, which I might do to things like Balthor the Stout (because I’m sure that Dwarf Tribal is OP in TL).
Or, even cooler, build two TL decks that can be slammed together to make a Tag-Team EDH deck… oooh, the ideas… . It’s like taking 1v1 2HG to another level.
4. I’m happy for the people that came up with the format, and I’m glad it’s really caught on and is getting press and recognition. It gives me hope that Tag-Team commander will maybe be revitalized.
5. I hope it stays cool long enough for Wizards to put out a summer product for it, (Preferrably NOT as a replacement for a fall commander set), but I worry that if they make it good, it will have too many reprintable Legacy cards in it and cost WAY too much. A $35-40 TL “Event Deck” would be cool.
So there are my 3 nickels worth of thoughts on Tiny Leaders.
*: I pretty much play only-EDH because I love the Social Contract, but every once and a while it’s nice to play a game where you don’t have to care about “interaction” or your opponent’s enjoyment of the game at all.
**: The only time I was ever “good” at Magic, or “Won” games was back when Miracle-Gro was awesome in Extended (R.I.P, Extended).
***: But I totally play both of them. To be honest, I mostly still just play basic lands and proxy in for my Revised Duals and maybe play some ETBT duals. In the “hell-freezes-over” scenario where I played a real tournament, I’d use the real copies of the duals.