The Tiny Leaders format once took the Magic the Gathering world by storm. It's a variant of the Commander format in which you can only play 50 cards, one of which is your Commander. All of your cards must have a converted mana cost 3 or less. As a result, your choices of Commander are greatly limited.
Today, we'll take a look at one of the more unusual Tiny Leaders, Soraya the Falconer.
As a regular Commander, Soraya doesn't really have the support to be a viable leader in EDH. The good news is that she doesn't just help Falcons, as Falcons were retyped to include all Birds. The only part of her abilities that we will focus on is the fact that she gives all Birds +1/+1. Her banding part is something we can happily ignore for the most part – although it's there for kicks. Banding was one of the early rules in Magic that simply confused people, and for the purposes of this deck, ordinarily it will so rarely come into play.
Since we're only playing 49 cards besides Soraya, it's fairly easy to find 20 Birds to give the deck plenty of firepower in the air.
Here's the list:
1x Soraya the Falconer
1x Adaptive Automaton
1x Apex Hawks
1x Aven Mindcensor
1x Aven Riftwatcher
1x Aven Sunstriker
1x Beacon Hawk
1x Cloudreach Cavalry
1x Courier Hawk
1x Defiant Falcon
1x Duskrider Falcon
1x Eagle of the Watch
1x Freewind Falcon
1x Gustcloak Harrier
1x Lieutenant Kirtar
1x Mystic Familiar
1x Skyshroud Falcon
1x Suntail Hawk
1x Wild Aesthir
1x Enlightened Tutor
1x Path to Exile
1x Swords to Plowshares
1x Honor of the Pure
1x Land Tax
1x Soulcatchers' Aerie
1x Aether Vial
1x Glint Hawk Idol
1x Spear of Heliod
1x Sword of Feast and Famine
There aren't an incredible number of choices for Birds that cost 3 mana or less, 35 to be exact (As of March 2015).
Some people may play Roc Egg, but it seems a bit too defensive for this deck. The Seller makes a 1/1 bird token, but it's attached to a pretty vanilla 1/2 Human body. Cloudchaser Kestrel seems like a great card to take out Enchantments, but in fact many times you'd hit your own Enchantments. One Bird that was on the bubble for me was Aven Riftwatcher. While he does leave the board after 3 turns, he gains you 2 life on the way in and 2 on the way out. Having a 2/3 body while he's on the board is good, too. While he's a one-drop Glint Hawk was too situational for me to include, especially as there are so few artifacts in the deck.
On the non-creature spell side, Glint Hawk Idol pretty much gives you a Glint Hawk every turn.. Sword of Feast and Famine is a Tiny Leaders staple, and it's going to connect with playing often with all of your flyers. Aether Vial speeds up the attack of your birds by giving you a free one, two, or three drop each turn depending on how many counters you decide to tick it up to. It's a pricey card but is so good in the creature-happy Tiny Leaders format that it fits in a lot of lists. The deck also has mana acceleration with Land Tax and Tithe.
What really helps this deck win, however, is that it has plenty of ways to pump your creatures: Crusade (which affects all White creatures), Honor of the Pure, and Spear of Heliod. Soulcatcher's Aerie can also become a huge boost to your Birds, too, as each one that dies gives the Aerie another feather counter. Each feather counter gives each of your Birds +1/+1. It can get pretty out of control.
While this probably isn't the best Tiny Leaders deck out there, with all of the flyers and pump spells in this deck, it functions much like a White Weenie deck. Soraya is basically another Honor of the Pure, but she does the job. I think this list could be a lot of fun and steal quite a few wins on its aggressive curve alone., I would recommend giving it a try!
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