Little Soldiers follow Tiny Leaders

(Editor’s Note:  Must be the end of the semester.  Two articles with possibly two more by the end of the week!)

Even though Chris and I hare not recording the podcast together, we still try to find time to hang out and play games.  Over the last few months, time has been at a premium, thus leading to the change in direction of the podcast, but we were able to get together this month.  What’s funny is we actually had two gaming nights in December after having none in the previous months.  During the first of those two nights, we played some Dicemasters, started a Heroclix game that had to end early because it conflicted with my bedtime, and we also played Magic.

I find that last part to be the most interesting.  Chris and I have spent the better part of the year trying to justify our interest in the hobby.  He has been more successful than I as he found another play group.  It’s the same guys that we played DTK sealed against earlier in the year.  I have not been able to play with them since, but Chris has about once or twice a month.  Nevertheless, as a result of the sealed night, I had two tiny leaders decks that I build and no live testing of either deck.

Wait, what?

All aboard my train of thought! Wait, what's that over there?!
All aboard my train of thought! What’s that over there?!

I admit that train of thought might be a bit difficult to follow, so I’ll explain.  While making plans to do the sealed, it came up that some of the guys played the Tiny Leaders format.  I had heard of it, but never played.  I had some time and a couple of 3 mana or less legendary cards, so I put together the decks.  I then forgot all of my Magic stuff on the night in question and then Chris and I got away from Magic for a while and finally had no time for any gaming for a few months.

I think it was me who suggested that Chris and I try the Tiny Leaders format during our table top night this month.  My main reason is that his new group has enhanced his “Spike” tendencies, which is great.  It’s given him a new outlet and interest in the game.  My absence from the game has been absolute and I’ve not even looked at any of my decks.  He’d simply mop the floor with me and that’s no fun for either of us.  I need to either tune my current decks or go back to the drawing board and build some new tech to compete.  Well, long story short (too late!), we played a couple of games and I finally go to see my decks live.

Those of you familiar with the page know that sometimes my decks maybe don't deserve life, but like their monstrous counterparts, they just want a hug.
Those of you familiar with the page know that sometimes my decks maybe don’t deserve life, but like their monstrous counterparts, they just want a hug.

Both performed will and mostly according to the strategies in mind when I designed them.  First up, I put my Alesha (the first deck I built and actually tuned some) against his green/red mini ramp deck.  His deck wasn’t strictly legal as he used Burning Tree Emissary as his leader, but I let it go because that’s our agreement.  We play for fun above all else and I’m not going to nit pick silly rules in a kitchen table game.  We both employed aggro strategy that ultimately paid off for me on the turn before he had definite lethal.

He picked B/W Constellation for his second deck.  It is a deck that he has used in various forms before and one of his ongoing projects.  My other deck was mono green and picked because I only had one other legal leader at the time.  In no way can it be interpreted or assumed that any one strategy went into the construction of this deck.  It is a hodge pogde of green Magic things.  A bit of ramp, a dash of stompy (or as much stompy as 3 or less mana allows), some devotion, and a whole lot of praying that the opponent has no removal.  Chris did and used it on the correct target to prevent me from killing him at 26 life on the next turn.

Pay me no mind. Just a 1/1 sitting here minding my own business. Nothing to see. No need to remove. Oh, hey, what are you doing with that black spell there? No, no, no! I'm too young (and valuable to your ultimate destruction) to die!
Pay me no mind. Just a 1/1 sitting here minding my own business. Nothing to see. No need to remove. Oh, hey, what are you doing with that black spell there? No, no, no! I’m too young (and a key instrument to your ultimate destruction) to die!

The games went quickly and were fast paced.  Because nothing cost more than 3, we were able to cast at least one card every turn.  There wasn’t much land/go that can sometimes happen in our other games.  Both games were close, too, with a kill coming one turn before the opponent lethal.  Either we are getting better at building decks or the format lends itself to closer games.

In any case, we both did remark that the singleton nature of the decks provided a challenge in more than one way.  That, and the limited number of cards in each deck really make you think about what cards to include and, more importantly, what can be cut.  Unlike a traditional Magic deck that sometimes has to include do nothing cards because they might be strong in certain situations, you really can’t get away with that in these decks.  All cards need to have a specific purpose and need to fit the overall theme.  That might have been why my mono green deck ultimately fizzled.  I thought that the color might hold things together.  I now realize that I might have been too scattered with my strategies.  Oh well, all part of the learning process.

Overall, I enjoyed the format and it seemed like Chris did, too.  I don’t know if it will be our preferred format, as he has grown attached to Modern/Legacy and I like eternal formats better, too.  Still, it was a nice introduction back into the game.  I’ve been drafting again and am brewing some potentially crazy new decks for our next nerd night in January.

This card, especially, has been dancing in my heads like the sugar plums are supposed to these days. Maybe that'll be my big break. The Nutcracker staring Dragonlord Ojutai.
This card, especially, has been dancing in my head like the sugar plums are supposed to these days. Maybe that’ll be my big break. The Nutcracker staring Dragonlord Ojutai.

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