M13 Prerelease Sealed Deck Tournament Report by Mark Pinder

£20 PTQs & Dinosaurs by Magic by Mark Pinder


I always look forward to pre release weekends and look forward to the challenge of building new decks, in my time I have won many pre releases and on average tend to win at least one per year, my first was with Planar Chaos and have been quite consistent since then. I had been looking forward to M13 with its exciting new cards, the previous day I had teamed up with the talented local younger players to be my partner in the Two Headed Giant, we went unbeaten to become event winners. This led me to be really relaxed about the Sunday, I’d probably used up most of my luck on Saturday so hadn’t high hopes of getting a storming pool and doing well.

Hallelujah ! Pack three and I have Ajani, Caller of the Pride.

After cracking all the packs I was left with the following pool.

1 Ajani, Caller of the Pride
1 Angelic Benediction
1 Aven Squire
1 Captains Call
1 Erase
1 Griffin Protector
1 Guardian Lions
1 Guardians of Akrasa
1 Odric, Master Tactician
1 Show of Valor
1 War Falcon
2 Warclamp Mastiff

1 Archaeomancer
2 Divination
2 Encrust
1 Essence Scatter
2 Faerie Invaders
1 Index
1 Merfolk of the Pearl Trident
1 Negate
2 Rewind
1 Talrand’s Invocation
1 Vedalken Entrancer
1 Watercourser
1 Wind Drake

1 Dark Favour
2 Disentomb
1 Duress
1 Essence Drain
1 Public Execution
1 Sign in Blood
1 Zombie Goliath

1 Arms Dealer
1 Canyon Minotaur
1 Cleaver Riot
1 Craterize
1 Dragon Hatchling
1 Furnace Whelp
1 Goblin Arsonist
1 Reckless Brute
2 Rummaging Goblin
2 Searing Spear
1 Trumpet Blast
1 Volcanic Strength
1 Wall of Fire
2 Wild Guess

1 Arbor Elf
1 Bond Beetle
1 Bountiful Harvest
1 Deadly Recluse
1 Duskdale Wurm
2 Farseek
1 Fog
1 Fungal Sprouting
1 Garruk’s Packleader
1 Primal Huntbeast
1 Quiron Dryad
1 Roaring Primadox
1 Sentinel Spider
1 Spiked Baloth
1 Yeva’s Forcemage

1 Clock of Omens
1 Door to Nothingness
1 Elixir of Immortality
1 Ring of Evos Isle
1 Ring of Kalonia
1 Ring of Thune

1 Drowned Catacomb
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Rootbound Crag

The pool certainly had some promising cards with bombs and limited removal, my concerns were over the individual depth in each of the colours. My “Rare” cards were a concern as although Master Odric and Ajani were powerful, Door to Nothingness is a dead card in the pool.

This where I ended up after forty minutes of contemplation.

Arbor Elf
Farseek x 2
Deadly Recluse
Duskdale Wurm
Garruk’s Packleader
Primal Huntbeast
Quiron Dryad
Sentinel Spider
Spiked Baloth
Yeva’s Forcemage

Faerie Invaders x 2
Wind Drake

Ajani, Caller of the Pride
Aven Squire
Captains Call
Griffin Protector
Odric, Master Tactician
Show of Valor
Warclamp Mastiff x 2

Searing Spear x 2

Evolving Wilds x 2
Rootbound Crag

Forest x 6
Plains x 5
Island x 2
Mountain x 2 

When I saw the pool I wanted to play Ajani, Caller of the Pride and there were plenty of white cards to support this option, Planewalker’s in limited can be devastating and they are fun to play. I decided to add green to the deck as we had a Duskdale Wurm which has served me well in the past. This was then I realised I had a problem, I was looking at a deck short of round half a dozen playable cards. At this point I knew I wanted the blue flyers and was a little bit light on removal which can be a deciding factor in core set limited. I wouldn’t normally consider more than a third colour splash but with two Farseek and two Evolving Wilds I felt the mana fixing was really strong.

The following cards were in contention to make the cut and was at one stage considering a full five colour deck but even I wasn’t going to be that brave.

Essence Drain
Public Execution
Drowned Catacomb

So I started my quest for a double pre release win weekend but was feeling very wary with a four colour deck to do well.

Round One – Luke

Luke has only started playing Magic this year, he is one of our younger players and very enthusiastic.

The first game is a very quick one as I have tempo dropping creatures every turn and then dropping Odric on curve turn four. My opponent at this point only has a Walking Corpse and turn five onwards I am striking with all creatures and no blockers. Odric was fun to play and whilst he is no Hero of Bladehold he might see some play come October.

The second game saw Luke change his deck and add in more creatures, this time I was the one on the back foot. However, Farseek was strong and this got me the mountain for the two Searing Spears in hand, then I started flashing out Faerie Invaders to turn the game in my favour. However, Luke wasn’t going to go down easily and Essence Drain swung our life totals. It was a close won game and a match I should win from play skill plus better deck building.

Round Two – Dan

This was a tough second round draw, Dan is also a new player but has been brought to the club by Josh, Josh being one of our top players who has like myself competed in Nationals and Grand Prix’s. Dan tests with Josh and within a few shorts month has become skilled in constructed winning FNM twice.

Game One had to be one of my most favourites of the day, I led out into a turn three Ajani, only to see my opponent dropping creatures, fortunately my one and two drops kept Ajani protected until Odric hit turn four. This was followed up by at one creature every turn. The game was a stale mate but my opponent hadn’t noticed I only had white blockers left and his creature had protection from white. My opponent scooped when I put 18 cats into play.

Game two saw my deck curve out again to win without anything special. We played the third for fun and I realised how lucky I had been as Dan had a Garruk Primal Hunter, both of us resolved our Planeswalkers but Ajani won the day. However, this showed a lesson everyone should learn, read all your cards and know what they do, my opponent had a Tormented Soul which could have negated my Ajani but I still got off my ultimate.

Round Three – JB

Playing JB was an interesting semi final, JB struggles to beat me and I am his least desired opponent. That being said JB has won FNM twice at the tender age of 11. JB is going to be a tough match and one day JB may be playing on the bigger stages.

Game one was nothing  really special but demonstrated how a good curve can be devastating in limited, the match was really one sided with removal on my side and chump blocking on the other. An Angels Mercy slowed things down but I still won.

Game two was going really well with Ajani out and flyers beating down my opponent when JB top decked into Elderscale Wurm. This proved to be a nightmare as I used my Farseeks and Evolving Wilds so with no way to answer the Wurm I scooped early as needed the time to try and win Game three.

My opponent thought my concession was a gift as he was expecting me to hang things out, however, I had other plans and was side boarding in Black. The game didn’t go very well at the start with JB putting in some early beats, then I fought back to stabilise only to see the Wurm. JB was extremely confident at this point and convinced he could not lose but wary of attacking into a Deadly Recluse, I had other plans though as in my hand was my Public Execution, I was able to kill the Wurm before playing my blue flyers to win.

Round Four – Sam

Sam has been playing for about four years and has developed into a skilled player, Sam has yet to hit the higher levels but has won multiple Game Days over the local towns and cities. Sam also took over running the Wednesday Night Magic in Grimsby late on in 2011. Sam offers an ID to ensure neither of us drop down the prizes but it does mean the overall winner could be decided by our opponents results, suddenly we find all three previous opponents playing one another. We did though play for personal pride.

Game one was good for me as my creatures came down on curve and Sam’s guys were much smaller. This game was a typical blow out.

Game two was going really well until along came a Thragtusk, the game turned at that point and Sam levelled up the match.

Game three was quite fitting as Ajani, Caller of the Pride came down turn five after putting down some protection to keep him alive and was able to control the game at that point.

Final Standings

1.. Mark Pinder

2.. Sam Engeldow

3.. Dan Preston

4.. Rich Mortimer

5.. JB Stevens

In the end I was pleased I did so well with a dubious deck, I still feel the deck was probably the best I could have played though after reading some other tournament reports I’ve seen reports of some of the cards I did not play make a significant contribution.

Thanks for reading, thanks for share.



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Mark Pinder
I have competed twice at GB nationals in 2010/2008, was Runner Up at Senior Nationals 2010, Won a Grand Prix Trial which took me to Paris 2009. My love of the game was such that I did previously win a writing competition on MTG Twincast which led to me being a Feature Writer for around a year until the Sponsor sold up but still did the occasional article. There is also a verb "To Pinder"colloquially used in northern magic communities which means "to gain life", I was a solid fan of Martyr of Sands/Proclamation of Rebirth combo and many players have heard those fateful words, Sacrifice Martyr of Sands, gain 21 life against me to see the game go out of their reach with lethal damage available to them next turn.