Tiny Leaders – Doran the Siege Tower

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Sir Mix A Lot said it once; one of my favorite hardcore bands, Throwdown, said it better: but I can’t deny, I like big butts and I cannot lie.

Back in the days of Lorwyn I loved Doran, the Siege Tower. He had an awesome ability, was aggressively costed and was my favorite three-color combination. When EDH was first brought to my attention as a format, Doran was my snap-general. Once the Commander set was released back in 2011 it was obvious to have Doran step down to let Karador, Ghost Chieftain take his place.

I still wanted Doran to have his day in the sun again. When Tiny Leaders was first making it’s waves in my play group I was hesitant. A friend of mine saw a custom-made 3D Doran that Mike Lanigan had made for me one year for our Christmas gift exchange. He said is that going to be your general for Tiny Leaders?

I swore at him for putting the idea in my mind and started gathering up cards. That list is as follows.

Doran, the Siege Tower Tiny Leader





1 Forest 
3 Swamp 
1 Plains 


Starting off, I wanted to build this list as I used to play GBW Rock in a casual Legacy environment. Control, board wipes, spot removal and strong finishers. Limiting myself to a 3-CMC arsenal of spells was a fun challenging requirement that once again made mediocre cards very powerful.

The first three cards, Abrupt Decay, Rug of Smothering, and Inquisition of Kozilek, are, within green and black, auto includes in every TL deck. They deal with any card in hand and any virtually any creature or permanent once it’s in play. If you’re playing TL, casual or competitive, playing green, black and anything else and not including these cards, you’re doing it wrong.

Pernicious Deed has been one of my favorite cards in the history of Magic since Apocalypse came out back in 2001. Putting it in play as an insurance policy creates complex board states and just jamming it and blowing it in the same turn can reset and spring you back into the game.

Gaze of Granite is of the same caliber but was a bit too mana hungry for tournament constructed play. I feel like it finds a perfect home in this deck along with its predecessor, Pernicious Deed. Other obvious choices in here are, of course, Swords to Plowshares, Hymn to Tourach, and Chainer's Edict.

Taking a look at the creature base, the amount of creatures with larger toughness isn’t as high as I’d like. In my first draft of this deck I had more one-drop vanilla creatures but it became underwhelming even spending one mana on a virtual 4/4 late game.

Stoneforge Mystic has only two targets, Slagwurm Armor and Behemoth Sledge. The sledge is just a solid piece of equipment, but the armor coupled with Doran is nuts. Giving a creature virtual +6/+6 is a huge bonus. Land the Kin-Tree Invocation while the armor is on a 0/5 and you stick an 11/11 creature.

Tiny Leaders, as a format, was really an awesome find for me. It took the creative challenge of EDH deck building and removed the politics and ganging up factors. I still look at it as a casual variant of Magic so this deck will probably be the most aggressive build I put together. As a player of over 15 years I really do like to separate my competitive tournament play from my “kitchen table” type casual play.

As always, thank you for checking out my article, I’m always open to comments or suggestions. Until next article!

x Julian Biondillo x

Julian, AKA hardcoreniceguy on Twitter

4 thoughts on “Tiny Leaders – Doran the Siege Tower

  1. Skinshifter is absolutely brilliant here. Well done!

    Maelstrom Pulse, Vindicate, and Putrefy sprang to mind as other good removal. They are three mana, but are all excellent, and honestly, I feel that Tiny Leaders game run a little longer than people think they will due to the 25 starting life. I’ve rarely had issues with casting 3 cmc spells.

    Descendant of Kiyomaro can be a 3/5 for 1WW, letting it swing for 5 with ol’ treeman in play. Temple Acolyte is another ok one (a 1/3 that gains 3) for 1W but not good enough to replace anything you’re already running.

    1. In my lower income magic days I played skinshifter over goyf when I couldn’t afford them and I was trying to break into modern with a Doran deck. Thank you for the kudos.

    1. Doran is by far one of may favorite cards of all time. I’ve heard he’s been making an appearance in modern in some respectable events. I’m going to research more into that as well.

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