My 5 Cents On… Tiny Leaders

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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).
  4. It reminds me of a song my brother wrote (“Little Tiny Superheroes (Swimming in my Diet Coke”)
  5. 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:

  1.  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).
  2. Miracle-Gro** doesn’t work as well without Gush/Force of Will.
  3. 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.
  4. 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”***
  5. 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.

Advertisements

Bottom 9 Games of 2013

These were the games, 1 for each month, that I had the least fun playing (and one bonus one that I made un-fun).  For the Best Games of 2013, Go here!

April:
Game #7: Kemba,Kha Regent
Hated/LD’ed out for keeping another player from being alpha-struck

May:
Game #21: Skullbriar, the Walking Grave
another combo-loss so un-fun that I didn’t want to even play Magic afterward

June:
Game #31.1, 31.2: Doran the Siege Tower
Played a total of 5 lands across the two games (and one was strip-mined)

July:
Game #35: Vorosh, the Hunter
singled out for playing a Rhystic Study

August:
Game #49.1: Rafiq of the Many
Silly Planechase makes for a turn 3 Thraximundar. Redo game was a Best-Game runner-up

September:
Game #60: Skyfire Kirin
Just didn’t really get to do much. Not a great deck for head-to-head vs Balthor

October:
Game #71: Rasputin Dreamweaver
Not a bad game, just dragged on for waaaaayyyy too long

November:
Game #75.1: Lim Dul, the Necromancer
I misplayed Necropotence vs a discard deck in a cut-throat level pod and had my only chance to remove the Skull exiled.

December:
Game #86.1: Daxos of Meletis
We all scooped on Turn 5 against a super Try-Hard Damia deck

DisHonorable Mention (game un-fun because of Me)
Game #93: Maelstrom Wanderer
I shouldn’t have played an infinite combo deck at this table, and shouldn’t have cast my entire deck on Turn 5.

Top 9 Games of 2013

In 2013 I played  94 decks (and 102 total Games) as part of the EDH 100 project.  As it is unlikely that I will get to play any more games before the New Year, and since it is customary to do year-end reflections, I thought I’d give the highlights of the preceding year.

Here are the top 9 games (and runners-up) for each month of 2013. These were games that provided the most play Enjoyment.  For the “Worst Of” list, look here…

April:
Game #16: Aurelia the War Leader (Guild) WIN

Aurelia, the Warleader
A game that I probably shouldn’t have won, but some how did.
–Runner up – Game #15: Azami — another one I shouldn’t have won, but did

May:
Game #20: Baron Sengir vs Olivia Voldaren LOSS

DSC03341-375
The battle of the vampires. I game I lost despite having the Sanguine Bond/Exquisite Blood combo active for more than a turn.
— Runner up – Game #25: Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts — an almost win with a creatureless deck

June:
Game #27: Squee, Goblin Nabob WIN

Squee Goblin Nabob

A rare Poison victory, on the back of a Goblin Token
— Runner up – Game #28: Reaper King vs Actual Voltron in the battle of Rainbow Robots

July:
Game #39: Animar, Soul of Elements #2 LOSS

Animar Soul of Elements
The Mirror match: AniMorph vs All Creature Animar.
— Runner up – Game #43: Seton, Krosan Protector — big Druid smashings

August:
Game #55: Child of Ravnica WIN

Child of Alara
Win via Dragon’s Maze in a game dominated by a wild Karona
— Runner up – Game #49.2: Rafiq of the Many — Rafiq’s last stand vs Teneb

September:
Game #58: Marton Stromgald WIN

Márton Stromgald
Sacrificing everything for the win on the “Night of Obliteration and Insurrection”
— Runner up – Game #61: Ruhan of the Fomori — Ruhan is always fun, even in a crushing defeat

October:
Game #69: Lorthos the Tidemaker LOSS

Lorthos, the Tidemaker
Ultra-mono blue sea-creature beatdown fell a mana short from having a good chance
— Runner up – Game #67: Zur the Enchanter — Group Hug’s first ride

November:
Game #74: Isamaru Hound of Konda WIN

Isamaru Hound of Konda
All 1-drop drives a buff puppy to a General Damage win
— Runner up – Game #78: Intet, the Dreamer — multiple Genesis Waves and Epic Experiments. General Damage win

December:
Game #94: Horde of Notions WIN

Horde of Notions
Elemental tribal synergy was working well
— Runner up – Game #87: Bosh, Iron Golem — net-decked for giant robot explosions. fiery finish in the loss.

How to Build 100 EDH Decks

 

How to Build 100 EDH/Commander Decks*
(originally posted HERE in my, currently on hiatus, list blog “My Year in Lists“)
1. Don’t Be Hung Up on Perfection:   Not every deck is going to be a hyper-optimized pile of staples.
2. Play “Bad” Cards:  your decks will get boring if every deck has the same staples.  Use this opportunity to try out “less good’ cards (or the ones that TryHards say are “bad”).
3. Proxy (fairly) —  Some cards that are good enough for a lot of decks are also a lot of money, and you might not have stacks of them.  To me, fairly means you can proxy something as long as you own at least one copy of it, but no more than 3 non-dual-land  placeholder proxies per deck. More on my Proxy philosophy in a later post.
4. Restrictions = Creativity (because MaRo said so):  not every green deck need be “Ramp to Fatties,” and not every blue deck “Draw/Counter/Combo”. Giving yourself restrictions can lead to more ideas for decks…  Mono-blue beat-down,  creature-less green,  all one-drops, Samurai tribal, Ice Age Block Constructed etc.
5. Sleeves are for Wimps:  or people with extra time and money to keep decks in the right sleeves, or people that foolishly would want to ever get rid of their cards.  I’d rather spend money on more cards, than on 10,000 sleeves, but your mileage may vary. Penny sleeves are awkward and gross, and other sleeves are hard to shuffle. I have 2 decks in sleeves. One is an all-foil deck, and another was going to be. I sleeve my Generals to distinguish them.
6. Play for Funsies First:  see #1.  If you are tournament-hustler Spikey McSpikerson, you’re probably only going to optimize one deck to KILL and win all of the prizes and money and glory.  Building in bulk, not all of your decks are going to be optimized to win, (or at least not win in the same old way).  Be happy to play for the game to pull off an awesome play, or be part of epic games, or just to sling cardboard with your friends.
7. Build for Art Sometimes:  an extension of #4.  Some of your decks might be exercises more than anything else. Try building a Rainbow Stairwell, or Tag-Team decks, or ‘drafting’ out of your deckless-cards (see #9), keeping a few “teaching” decks is a good idea too.
8. Have a Lot of Cards:  it helps if you’ve already got a ton of cards to build from. Any card that isn’t in a deck should make you want to put it into a deck or make a deck for it.
9. Play Favorites:  some decks are worth going back and tweaking with the newest cards, others can be built and finished. Keeping all of the decks up to date would be foolish, costly, and time-consuming. On the other hand, keeping a few favorite decks as fresh as possible, is also important.
10. Don’t Go Bankrupt Trying to Do it All at Once:  My initial goal was just to have one of each possible combination (including no-color and 4-color). Once that happened I thought about going for two of each legal combination.  The idea of shooting for 100 didn’t come up until about #65.
* at this point I have 99 that are ready to go, with #100 just waiting for lands to be added, plus at least 4 others that are in various states of build.