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!
Let’s get started! I would like to introduce you to my first Tiny Leaders deck led by Orim, Samite Healer. Wait, what? Who? Yes, I know, most mono-white decks in the Tiny Leaders format is currently Kemba, Brimaz, or Thalia. In part, that is what makes me so excited to have an obscure Tiny Commander that most players know almost nothing about.
Why the heck did I choose Orim? The first reason is nostalgia. I first started playing Magic the Gathering™ during Tempest block and a few of my casual builds included Orim. In fact, the Orim, Samite Healer card that I am using for this deck is the original from over 15 years ago. The whitening of her black borders remind my of my first few years of sleeveless play. Also, as mentioned above, there are not too many MTG players that are going to sit down at a table and announce Orim as their Tiny Leader. So my second reason is because I like to go against the grain. I can guarantee that very few players will sleeve Orim in preparation to lead their Tiny Leader deck. In fact, trying to Google an Orim Tiny leader deck will turn up very few lists in the search results.
A shout-out to the Tiny Leaders Facebook Group who helped me ponder ideas on how to build Orim. Tribal Clerics, Soul Sisters, White Weenie and Turbo Fog were all mentioned. In the end, I decided to do a dual tribal inclusion of knights and clerics. Flavor-wise, the Knights are on the battlefield fighting the battle while the Clerics provide protection, removal and support. Here is the list I came up with.
Order of Orim
Aggro with Knights
While most knights are 2/2 with First Strike, I enlisted a small squad of loyal sword & shield wielders that would prove vital in our aggressive combat campaign. Most notable are the “level-up” guys Student of Warfare and Knight of Cliffhaven. In the early game they can serve as a young knight for early attacks or defense, but in the long game, we can increase their level to make them a formidable adversary on the battlefield.
Orim’s selection of knights included a variety of worthy servants with an array of different abilities. We have knights that are protection from colors, that fly or can block creatures with flying, have evasion, offer indestructibility or regeneration, or give us lifelink. There is also the shapeshifter who made the final cut (Mirror Entity) and can give a massive late game pump to the guys in shiny armor.
Protection with Clerics
Joining the Knights on the battlefield are a few more hand-selected Clerics that can offer protection. Mother of Runes is an obvious choice and could easily be one of the best one drops in the Tiny Leaders format. Mikaeus, the Lunarch can juice up the troops with his +1/+1 counter ability. Since Mikaeus is a legendary creature, he can also serve Commander of the deck and allow Orim to take a break and become one of the 49. Transcendent Master plays more of the “knight” role and gives a big beater with lifelink and indestructibility should it be allowed to level up. Finally, there is creature removal with Fiend Hunter and Banisher Priest or enchantment removal with the Soltari Visionary.
Ah, one more Cleric that deserves a mention is Frontline Medic. Frontline has a Battalion ability that can make all of our creatures indestructible until end of turn as long as he and two other creatures attack. But, that is not the reason Orim has hired his services. Frontline Medic also has an ability where he can be sacrificed to counter an spell unless the controller pays three . With spells being prominent in Tiny Leaders, I figured a way to counter spell or “tax” a big bomb was worthwhile. What do you think? Should Frontline Medic be mainboard or sideboard?
Finally, I included Standard Bearer as the only non-knight, non-cleric creature in the deck. But hey, it fits the theme – every army on the battlefield should have someone to carry the flag, am I right? What makes the Standard Bearer so good is the protection it provides. Take a close look. Remind you of another creature you may have seen? How about Spellskite? That’s right. If an opponent wants to use spot removal or burn on any of our creatures, well, they have to target the Flagbearer first. If they have an ability that taps or detains one of our creatures then they must always target the Flagbearer first. If they use auras for removal. Well, pile them all up on our flagbearer.
My first priority during deck building was to include a couple of flavor cards that pertain to Orim. Orim’s Chant is a nice pseudo-timewalk with a kicker cost to have an opponent skip their combat phase. Strong card. Orim’s Prayer on the other hand, not as good. But, if left to face an army of 1/1 creatures, not too bad. I want to run at least two of “Orim’s spells”, so I may eventually swap this out for Orim’s Cure which currently sits in the sideboard.
So now that flavor of the deck has been addressed, its time to look at creature removal. Swords to Plowshares is a must and arguably the best creature removal spell in the game. I know that Geist of Saint Traft is a popular commander so I included Prison Term as an answer for him and other hexproof creatures. If Prison Term is already on the board, when Geist comes into play, we can move this aura onto him. I moved my Path to Exile to the sideboard in favor of Humble. I’m not too fond of giving an opponent land ramp with the path and humble seems like a fun trick. Plus, it eliminates all abilities that could trigger or prevent the creature from dying. Finally there is Oblivion Ring that can temporarily remove any permanent until it is disenchanted.
In addition to Orim’s Prayer, I included other “protection” effects. Brave the Elements is a card I used to run in my Modern Knight Tribal deck. It can save a single creature, help us ambush an attacking army, have our knights charge through unblocked or protect all of our dudes from mass removal like Anger of the Gods. Story Circle is one of my favorite cards that can be activated for one white mana and protect us from voltron strikes by Animar or Omnath. The last couple of pieces I included for Orim’s squadron are anthem effects Honor of the Pure and Spear of Heliod
Since I am already running 15 Plains in mono white, I felt that I could dedicate 4 spots to utility lands. All four of these are great for the late game. We have Secluded Steppe and Drifting Meadow for their cycle ability and Emeria, the Sky Ruin for late game graveyard recursion. I included Mystifying Maze because I do not have a spare Maze of Ith. Also, in theory, the Maze should help protect us against hydras (putting them back into play as a 0/0) or against Animar and other creatures with +1/+1 Counters.
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 and article series
- The Mana Curve seems high on the 3 casting cost side. Should I round the deck out with more 1 drops?
- I am running 19 lands. Is that too many? Too few? Just right?
- What 1 or 2 cards do you recommend that I buy to improve the deck?
- For this particular deck, I need a cool name. Hmmm, empty thoughts so far. Recommendation?
UPDATE: Order of Orim was suggested and I dig it. The deck has been named, thank you Richard!
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!