Tiny Leaders: Tips for Getting Ahead in Baby Commander

For those unaware, Tiny Leaders, which I affectionately call “Baby Commander,” is a variant of the Commander format. One still plays a singleton deck with a legendary creature acting as commander. The most significant differences are its banned and restricted list, its deck size limit (50 instead of 100), and one huge caveat: all cards must have a converted mana cost of three or less.  I’m here to help those new to the format to figure out ways to get ahead,

Restrictions Breed Cheating on Casting Costs

The biggest difference between Tiny Leaders and Commander is the restriction on the cost of spells. Not being able to play any cards that cost more than three mana limits the quality and power of the cards you can play.  Or does it?  I’ve found a few tips to get bigger effects from smaller cards.

X Spells

20 11 98 204 129

These are just a few examples of the flexibility that X spells can give you in a game of Tiny Leaders. They are typically ineffective early, but when the game gets much longer and drawn out, their power is unquestionable. Some, like [card]Engineered Explosives[/card], are just fantastic for their flexibility. There are 221 X spells in magic that have a converted mana cost of three or less mana. That means plenty of choices for every deck!


buyback buyback2 buyback3 buyback4

Buyback spells are similar to X Spells (and sometimes also X Spells), as they give you a way to maximize your mana every turn. When you are playing a format of cards that cost three or less, it’s not uncommon for every spell to be played and a ton of mana to go unused every turn.


kicker kicker2 kicker3 kicker4 kicker5 kicker6

Kicker was developed as a way to strengthen otherwise weak spells. You could play [card]Kavu Titan[/card] as a decent two-mana 2/2, or you could play it later as a much more impressive five-mana 5/5 trampler. The flexibility of these spells make them good stopgaps early and allow you to pack more power for the later game.

Getting the Most from Your Lands

land land2 land3

If all of your lands only produce mana, you’re going to have a rough time winning games. This is just a tiny sample of non-basic lands you can use that have a serious power outside of producing mana. Every color has access to one on-color  man land (with [card]Treetop Village[/card] and [card]Faerie Conclave[/card] being the best of the bunch), so it’s hard to not include any.

Keep Thinking Outside the Box

morphmorph3costmorph2overload1invoker invoker2

There aren’t as many of these, so they don’t each get their own categories, but it’s easy to see how morph, overload, cards with “additional cost” downsides, and cards with abilities that cost a lot of mana can give you additional power to add to your Tiny Leaders deck.

To top it all off, I’ll leave you with the deck I’ve cooked up.  It’s still a little rough around the edges, but iterative deck design is my favorite way to play!

[deck title= Geist of Saint Traft Tiny Leaders]

[Leader]Geist of Saint Traft[/Leader]


* Vendilion Clique

*Invisible Stalker

* True-Name Nemesis

* Stoneforge Mystic

* Trinket Mage

* Snapcaster Mage



* Engineered Explosives

* Sensei’s Divining Top

* Relic of Progenitus

* Ratchet Bomb

* Runechanter’s Pike

* Sword of Feast and Famine



* Hindering Light

* Azorius Charm

* Sphinx’s Revelation

* Ajani’s Presence

* Swords to Plowshares

* Path to Exile

* Exclude

* Vapor Snag

* Think Twice

* Cyclonic Rift

* Counterspell

* Spell Snare

* Disrupting Shoal

* Dissolve

* Impulse



* Ponder

* Preordain

* Serum Visions

* Martial Coup


*3 Island

* Plains

* Azorius Guildgate

* Mystic Gate

* Urza’s Factory

* Opal Palace

* Eiganjo Castle

* Tranquil Cove

* Academy Ruins

* Flooded Strand

* Kor Haven

* Celestial Colonnade

* Faerie Conclave

* Glacial Fortress

* Command Tower

* Hallowed Fountain

* Temple of Enlightenment



Have you tried out the format? Found any ways to get big effects that I didn’t mention here? Sound off below.


About the Author
@Phrost_     -     Email     -     Articles Jim is a software developer and an avid blue planeswalker. He spellslings in Jacksonville, Florida, and you can feel free to contact him on Twitter at @phrost_.

One comment on “Tiny Leaders: Tips for Getting Ahead in Baby Commander

  1. Timmy says:

    I also use echo cards that has ‘comes into the play’ ability – Ghitu Slinger and Bone Shredder.

    Since aggro decks are very popular (at least in my own experience) – you will almost never have the chance to use the buyback ability.

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