Hi all! Welcome to the Micro Brewery article series on MTGCasualPlay.com. In this series I will be posting my Tiny Leader deck ideas crafted only from my leftover MTG cards found in my trade binder and shoeboxes shoved in the corner of my office. I have also refrained from “borrowing” cards from my Commander decks while assembling the core version of the little brews. I am looking to explore unique, fun, casual (semi-competitive at best) decks built around tribal, theme, or good stuff. After the initial build, and this article, I may explore adding new cards via recommendation and/or acquiring through trades so check back periodically for changes!
As my good friend Corey (CDogg) can tell you, I have sworn off elves for years. I have never had an elf deck and I never had the urge to build one. For some reason my good conscience hasn’t allowed me to brew the tribe in Commander or any format for that matter. Maybe its the fact that CDogg and another member of my playgroup, Austin, have both had Ezuri decks squirting out elves on our EDH nights. Regardless, it wasn’t until my introduction to the Tiny Leaders format that I lifted the barricade and decided that it was time to empty the elven tribes from my trade binders.
Of course I realize that my Ezuri list will be a bit “sub-optimal” since I am restricted to the left-overs in my collection, but the intent and purpose of the deck is still the same. Play a bunch of elves and overrun with Ezuri. Eazy Cheezy.
If you are looking for a more competitive list, I won’t waste your time, and recommend you move on to the next link in your Google search. However, I do believe that I have included enough staples and a couple of “hidden gems” that may provide some sort of interest. You could also stick around and tell me how bad or “interesting” this deck is and how you would go about improving it.
A Not So Mana Dorky Ezuri Tiny Leader Deck
Dude! Where’s the Dorks?
Maybe one of the things I have never liked about the pointy-eared tribe was the fact that so many of them simply tapped for mana. I understand the early game potential and ramp provided by the mana dorks, but 1/1s for 1 that simply added a green to my mana pool always left me feeling unsatisfied. Before we continue, maybe we should define the term “mana dork”?
Through my own Google research I have found that mana dork is a slang term that can be traced back as early as 2005. There are a few different opinions on what exactly constitutes a mana dork. For example, according to the MTG Salvation Wiki a mana dork is a “Cheap-costed creature like Llanowar Elves, Birds of Paradise or Noble Hierarch that produces mana”. I have seen other forums and opinions that claim a mana dork is any creature that’s lone ability is to tap for mana.
Interesting, now back to the task at hand.
After reviewing competitive Ezuri Tiny Leader decklists online, I see that most players include a high percentage of 1/1 Elves that tap for mana. In my micro brewed Ezuri list, there are definitely two mana dorks that fit the bill. I included Llanowar Elves because, well, they are Llanowar Elves and Elvish Mystic, because I could not find my Ice Age version Fyndhorn Elves in my common box. Priest of Titania and Joraga Treespeaker could also be referred to as mana dorks, heck, maybe even super mana dorks! And that’s it folks. Extremely light on the one drop mana producers when compared to 95% of the Ezuri lists online. To be fair, Mul Daya Channelers or Elvish Archdruid are on my list, but if we are going off of the Wiki definition, I wouldn’t exactly label them as mana dorks. This, I would argue, is due to their converted casting cost of three and the fact that they have an additional ability rather than just tapping for mana.
I’m sure your competitive rationale is thinking, only 4 mana dorks? What is this guy smokin’? I understand that the cheap one drop mana producers not only provide ramp but also more bodies to consume Ezuri’s ability, but I want to go a different route with this deck and play something outside-the-box. Heck, this deck is just for fun anyway. Let’s move on to the elves that I did include.
One Drop Elves for Ezuri Tiny Leaders
My first one drop that I would like to introduce you to is Elvish Scout. I have to admit that the old Fallen Empires art is what initially caught my attention, but in theory, her ability could be relevant in the same style as Reconnaissance. For one green mana and tapping the scout, we can remove one of our creatures from combat and they will not deal or receive damage. This can help prevent losing one of our higher ranking elvish officers in combat when our opponent blocks with a bigger dude or springs a combat trick on us. I also really like Joraga Warcaller in this deck. The Warcaller can serve as an early game body or be multi-kicked in the late game for a muscle toned elf that has an anthem effect for the rest of the tribe.
Our remaining one drop elves include Skyshroud Archer who can pick off small flyers like a Birds of Paradise, Ezuri’s Archers to block flyers, Elvish Lyrist to blow up an enchantment, and Taunting Elf to help ensure that our alpha strike overrun is successful.
Two Drop Elves for Ezuri Tiny Leaders
Talk about a hodgepodge of abilities, the two drops are a small Smurf village of specialized elves. Let’s start with our Incredible Hulk, Stonewood Invoker. may seem like a lot of mana, but with Priest of Titania on board, mutating the Invoker into a big green guy is quite easy to do. Gempalm Strider is a simple Elven Bear, but we could cycle him to pump up the team by two until end of turn. Another “unique” piece of my Ezuri build is another Elvish descendant of the Fallen Empires, Elvish Hunter. The hunter has an activated pseudo Frost Titan ability that could keep a potential combat threat out of our way. The Hunter does not tap the creature, so we must target something that is already in the horizontal position. Sure the Hunter may not be great in Ezuri, but it should be fun, unique and good enough in niche situations. Seeker of Skybreak can untap a creature. This works fairly well with a number of different elves in our deck especially if used in conjunction with Priest of Titania to open up the mana flood gates. Finally Sylvan Ranger and Viridian Zealot are here to nab a Forest or blow up an enchantment/artifact, respectively.
Three Drop Elves for Ezuri Tiny Leaders
Elves are historically quite deficient in the power and toughness category so anything we can use to pump up their jam will be beneficial to the cause. Elvish Archdruid and Imperious Perfect both provide an anthem effect while able to lend a second ability to either generate mana (Archrdruid) or pump out Elf tokens (Imperious). Mul Daya Channelers is interesting. This Elf Druid Shaman can either be a 5/5 hope crusher or a 2/2 mana source depending on the top card of our library. Speaking of Elf Shamans, Reclamation Sage continues to bless Commander and Tiny Leader decks with its artifact/enchantment hate courtesy of it’s enters the battlefield ability. I have included Treetop Rangers in here because he cannot be blocked by flyers, but more for nostalgia reasons. Back in the day, Treetop Rangers won me quite a few games during Urza block sealed and booster drafts.
My final two main deck Elven kind jump on the fun scale with an ice cream cone in both hands. Timberwatch Elf can amplify an elf that sneaks through enemy lines while Elvish Branchbender enlists a big oak tree to join in on the fight.
With so many elves in the deck there is very little room left in the deck for other fun shenanigans. Therefore, I was fairly selective with the remaining card choices. Beastmaster Ascension is an auto include for all Ezuri elf decks. Giving the green tribe a super-juiced anthem effect will end games in a hurry. I also had a Bow of Nylea in my trade binder. This card has seemed to disappoint me in EDH, so I am hoping that Tiny Leaders will bring back my admiration for the bow and its five abilities. I mean, how can we go wrong? All of our attacking elves have deathtouch, divvy out +1/+1 counters, gain life, restock part of our library, or double tap flyers. A toolbox of options for three mana.
Song of the Dryads is increasingly becoming my favorite green removal spell. This aura turns any card into a tree. By any card, I mean any permanent. It can remove creatures, planeswalkers, artifacts, enchantments and is also a great way to remove an opposing commander without allowing it to go back to their command zone. Another card that is great with so many elves in the deck is Lead the Stampede. Conditionally draw up to five cards? Sweet. The remaining deck selections from my collection include Elvish Fury (on theme so let’s try it), Ruthless Instincts (a combat trick for offense or defense), and Revive (which gives any card in our graveyard a second chance to effect game play).
Lands: I’m not even sure I have enough to fill a paragraph here. Quite simply, I added both green cycle lands (Slippery Karst and Tranquil Thicket) and my German black bordered Pendelhaven from Legends to the 15 Forests in the deck.
Sideboard: I’m letting the dark side of the Elven force decide the fate of my sideboard. Choke, Thelon’s Curse, and Lifeforce are all aimed at Green’s enemies. Night Soil and Repopulate to hose graveyard shenanigans with the latter also allowing me a choice to restock my library. Tajuru Preserver vs edict effects, Wild Defiance when elves face burn spells and Oak Street Innkeeper verses slower spot removal. Constant Mists should be decent in a mirror match and Unravel the Aether for battling enchantments, gods, and things of that nature.
In Conclusion: So there it is, my Ezuri Tiny Leaders deck built from the left overs of my Magic collection. Hopefully, after reading this article, you will be inclined to comment with your thoughts and suggestions. In particular, I would like to know
- Overall opinion of the deck – Would you consider this Casual or Semi-competitive?
- Am I nuts for running so low on mana dorks?
- What 1 or 2 cards do you recommend that I buy to improve the deck?
- What do you think of the Sideboard? Am I missing anything?
Thanx for Reading folks! Check back for another Micro Brew in the very near future! Oh hey, if you would like to write your own Tiny Leaders Deck Tech or articles email me at nick@MagicEDH.com and I’ll help you get started!
On to the Next!