Tiny Leaders

I recently was introduced to a new and completely insane format of MTG this weekend, and I think I may have fallen in love.

Tiny Leaders is a format of MTG that seeks to mimic the Commander feel and gameplay while also enabling competitive, one on one gameplay.  As someone who has very little time to play commander, yet still loves the format, I completely applaud this venture.

Essentially, this takes the commander rules and cut them down to a manageable size. Notable changes are below.

49 card deck + 1 Commander
No more than 1 of any given card except basic lands
Cards may not be more than 3 cost, total
Cards may not be of any color not included in the Commander chosen
Players start with 25 life.

Other than that, there are a few minor adjustments, but it is overall just a miniature version of Commander. This immediately got me thinking about Land Destruction. In this format, there is no “Spirit of the Game” clause like there is in Commander, and I can heartily embrace this ethos. It was a concept I had accepted because I wanted to play more commander games, but not one that I subscribed to overall. If a community needs to police itself in that manner, it should just ban cards outright that cause the bad feels among the players.

From my delving deep into the Land Destruction Archives for commander information, I knew that there were plenty of Land Destrcution cards at the 3 CMC level or less, and even a number of them without drawbacks.

[mt_card]Ice Storm[/mt_card]
[mt_card]Winter’s Grasp[/mt_card]

[mt_card]Choking Sands[/mt_card]
[mt_card]Rain of Tears[/mt_card]
[mt_card]Rancid Earth[/mt_card]

[mt_card]Stone Rain[/mt_card]
[mt_card]Molten Rain[/mt_card]

So, I knew I wanted to at least try out R/G/B and see what I could do with it.

The two commanders available are both from Legends
[mt_card]Xira Arien[/mt_card] and [mt_card]Adun Oakenshield[/mt_card]. The deck, in its simplist form, wants Xira, as on the cheap card draw is pretty legit, but I also love the concept of just bringing monster after monster back from the yard with Adun. In the end, I’m going to go with Adun, mostly because I own him.

Which lead me down a very, insane and scary path. I figured that if I have red, I might as well try and get some fast, hasty creatures in there. Boom. Gatherer to the rescue. But as I looked, I noticed that not all of them were strong, so I figured that I;d look for beasts like Ball Lightning, so I ratcheted the power up to 3 or greater. Man, was I rewarded. 19 Creatures, give or take a few with strange abilities, that I can use to just bum rush my opponent while I blow up their lands and make them play from behind the whole game. In addition, a number of those cards get sacrificed at the end of the turn, and Adun Oakenshield can bring them back for more fun as the time goes on.

Now, all I needed to do was to to construct the deck. I am fairly used to the concept of ho bringing 1/3 of your deck as land, but I am going to see how it plays out in Tiny Masters. I feel, and maybe I am wrong, that with an incredibly small max mana cost, that you can actually run with a touch less lands in the deck.

Doing the math breaks down into an 18 card mana base and a 31 Card deck.

From here I needed to know how I was going to break down my card-base. I knew I wanted Land Destruction, Ramp and Speed, but not all to the same degree. I went looking on the internet, and found something incredibly useful. Its called the Hypergeometric Calculator. Its fairly simple.

There are four fields in which you can enter.
Population Size (Deck Size)
Number of Success in Population (Total number of cards that grant the effect)
Sample Size (How many cards you’ve drawn)
Number of Success in Sample (how many times you want to hit your card effect)

For this I started out with the following:
Population: 49
Number of Successes: 11 (total land destruction Cards)
Sample Size: 12 (opening hand + 5 turns)
Number of Successes:2 (I want to get two lands out of the way)
The Results tell you 5 pieces of information

The probability you draw exactly the number you asked for
The Probability you draw less than the number you asked for
The probability you draw less than or equal to the number you asked for
The probability you draw more than the number you asked for
The probability you draw more than or equal to the number you asked for

This gives a very good eye towards how you want to break down your deck. If there is a card that your deck hinges around, and you only need one of it, your number is probably around 6. Leaving you only a 16 % chance that you won’t draw any. 12 seems to be the number for wanting to get three off in a given 5 turn game, but I’m happy with 10. That gives me about a 46% chance to get more than 2, and only a 22% chance of getting less. Its a good place to start. Once I play the game a few times and get used to the feel and pace, I’ll have a better Idea what I should be doing with the cards.

So, I built my first deck. Its meant to get out of the blocks fast, keep your opponent on the back foot and stay the pressure all game long. I’ll be a little “slow” for the format, but I hope to put enough pressure to change the way the long game plays. I put every 3+ power creature I could find with haste in the game into this deck, with very little exception. Adun is going to be doing a ton of work. Very few of my cards stick around, but those that do are going to be a ton of fun.

additionally, I don’t particularly have a problem dropping my ramp creatures into the maws of terrible creatures, as the only real way I am going to get good work out of them is if they die and I can bring them back with Adun. I especially love the interaction with Ball Lightning, Groundbreaker and Adun. I may even strive to shove a generator servant in the deck so that I can summon Adun with haste.

No matter what, this is going to be a great alternative to playing 1 on 1 commander, which can sometimes have some massively insane unseen ramifications. Next up, Zu-Zo, the Punisher with Land Destruction, Dingus Eggs and Ankhs of Mishra!

PS: I cannot find a way to change the name on my stupid deck. Thats what I get for having a stupid placeholder.