Intro Decks to FNM – Part 5: The Road to Hell with Mark Pinder

£20 PTQs & Dinosaurs by Magic by Mark Pinder

Intro Decks to FNM – Part 5: The Road to Hell


Well I have started to enjoy playing the Odric deck more of late as it is starting to come together but in the back of my mind was the thought that actually Humans may not be the best options, I have also been considering Spirits as an option. I had acquired most of the uncommon and common cards anyway so it wasn’t much of a stretch to change the deck around a little. For previous Intro Decks to FNM articles, please click here.

The Cast

Josh Howell        Blue Green/Delver

Seth Wilkin         White Red Humans

Jake Stephens   Zombies

Josh Stephens   Green White Agrro

Tristan Fisher     Red Green Aggro

Ethan Wilkin       Mono Green Miracles

Sam Engledow  Liquimetal Coating

Danny Clark        Red Black Vampires

Dan Preston       Blue White Delver

Mark Pinder       Blue White Odric Spirits

The Deck

5 Plains
5 Islands
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Seachrome Coast
2 Isolated Chapel
2 Drowned Catacomb
2 Moorland Haunt

4 Delver of Secrets
4 Doomed Traveller
2 Talrand, Sky Summoner
2 Odric, Master Tactician

2 Entreat the Angels
4 Intangible Virtue
4 Gather the Townsfolk
4 Lingering Souls
4 Midnight Haunting
2 Oblivion Ring
4 Favourable Winds


2 Restoration Angel
3 Nevermore
4 Knight of Glory
2 Faiths Shield
2 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Ghost Quarter

One notable omission is Drogskol Captain, I know the archetype well as played Esper Spirits recently but struggled to get the deck firing with Captains and Images never really surviving. My mana base feels a little weak, lots of options for land to come in tapped and really only a splash to handle flash back costs on Lingering Souls. Going in, those are my major concerns.

Round One – Jake Stephens

I always consider Jake to be a tough match up, Jake has built a solid deck that is usually in contention for the tournament win, indeed Jake has had to improve his game significantly as we recognised the threat from his deck and Mirran Crusader become the most popular card in the club. Whilst Jake may not relish playing me, he is more relieved he isn’t playing a Mirran Crusader deck.

Game One, Jake wins the die roll and goes first, outcomes his Gravecrawler and out comes by Delver. Jake plays a Gravecrawler and a Diregraf Ghoul and bashes. My delver fails to flip, so I put out Townsfolk from my hand.  Jake then tragic slips my Delver and Vile rebirths it as a zombie. The game is over shortly after as Jake has by far more guys and can bring back the Crawlers.

Game Two and things look okay but my turn two Knight of Glory is only creature when Jake plays Geth’s verdict and then Phyrexian Metamorph copies my Talrand. I suffer some awful flooding issues and so does Jake, Jake though draws into a Phrexian Crusader and then copies it with Phyrexian Metamorph.

Ouch, I know Zombies can just go off so not too down beat, game two I had answerd they just never stuck around long enough to be a threat. Meanwhile, Danny Clark has had to face Sam’s deck and everyone in the club can hear his screams, gasps and shock at what he is facing.

Round Two – Ethan Wilkin

An interesting round two opponent and not sure how this match up will go, I’ve not lost to Ethan yet but the amount of close 2-1 wins would indicate my luck is about to run out.

Game One, I have to smile, things were looking good for me as I had Intangible virtue out and spirits going in for the kill. Ethan accelerates out a Thragtusk to gain some life and keep him in the game. Next turn Ethan turns the game on its head with a hard cast Revenge of the Hunted on the Thragtusk, my five vigilant spirits have to block. Although it is a trade I don’t draw any more creatures and apparently beast tokens are very impressive.

Game Two, Ethan keeps a bad hand having to rampant growth turn two for his second land using his Arbor Elf for mana. Meanwhile though I have a key turn three Lingering Souls followed by Favourable Winds and Intangible virtue turn four. Bang, the air force easily close out for the win.

Game Three, Ethan should be more confident than he is, the match up is quite open, if he can accelerate into Predator Ooze or another threat the race could be his, especially if he can get out a Thragtusk. It is a slow start though for Ethan with no one drop, I play a Delver which it will come as no surprise now decides not to flip, I draws the enchantment pumps to beef up the token guys in hand. Luckily for me I was always leading the race but a top decked Revenge of the Hunted would have been a blow out again.

The deck certainly has game and is actually playing nice, couple of mana issues for the flashback on Lingering Souls but nothing too great.

Round Three – Josh Howell

Josh won FNM last week with this deck so the match is going to be tough.

Game One, I win the die roll and play a Delver, before he can flip though Josh Dismembers it. I get out guys turn two and three into an on curve Odric, Master Tactician. Odric though falls foul of an opposing Dungeon Gesists. However, my guys have been swinging hand until then and whilst several die their weight of numbers have won the war of attrition.

Game Two, Josh has a slow start and I am nibbling away, Josh though manages to get out a Sword of Body and Mind. The first mill sees Entreat the Angels on top vanish but to be fair Josh had a Ratchet Bomb out. Josh sees two Lingering Souls and some creatures to feed my Moorland Haunt so cracks his Tormod’s Crypt. I am worried I am going to lose this one and a second mill gives me answers in my grave yard. Utilising Moorland Haunt and Lingering Souls I have two enchantment pumps out so am able do swing and block the sword wielding Snapcaster Mage. Josh doesn’t draw another guy but I am getting out some more tokens.

The win was very satisfying and whilst Josh’s hands hadn’t been ideal, both games were close until I got a dominating board presence of tokens.

Round Four – Sam Engledow

Things have gone rather well for the deck and having two wins and a loss at this stage is a reasonable performance, I am now looking for the 3-1 winning record.

I am drawn against Sam, Sam can play good decks that can win the event or Sam could play something strange like a Warp World deck. Tonight Sam has decided to play something kooky, he is playing a deck built around Liquimetal Coating and an arsenal of artefact hate.

Game One, the game starts on a promising note dealing significant damage but then it starts, Ancient Grudges, Naturalize and Acid Slime’s. My land base is destroyed down to one land then back up to two but multiple dead cards are in my hand that I just cannot cast. Eventually I die to marauding Acidic Slimes. I have to say this was the worst game of magic I have had to compete in that I can remember , there is a reason Wizards increased the cost of land destruction as the deck’s are not interactive and just don’t let you play, if someone has or draws removal for your threat it always seems fine, not being able to cast the card and have it in your hand is even worse than it being counter spelled.

Game two, after a long day at work before coming to play Magic I was at the point of scooping at this point and going home to get some rest. As it was I played it out as we had a ten player event, the only unbeaten player going into round four had lost so we were going to have a four way tie at the top with tie breakers deciding the winner. I like my wins to be a victory from play so when players mulligan down the victories tend to be hollow ones as you come to play not just drop down cards and your opponent do nothing. Sam mulligan’s to four, Sam is never in the match as I drop lots of guys and then an Intangible virtue for the win. With the deck I was facing, I was quite relieved not to have to face the destruction. I am just glad we didn’t have any new players tonight, this is the kind of deck that puts people off returning.

Game three, well I would rather be facing a Jace/Stoneforge deck of a year ago than what I am facing now. I feel I have side boarded well, the four drops are all out and all the faster cards are in the deck. Ironic then that I get up to six land as Sam can’t keep pace, not missing a land drop and playing a token spell each turn means his removal is always behind the curve. It is with great relief I win the match.

Pos        Player                      Points

1..           Jake Stephens     9

2..           Mark Pinder          9

3..           Ethan Wilkin          9

4..           Seth Wilkin            9

5..           Josh Howell           6

6..           Josh Stephens     6

7..           Dan Preston          6

8..           Sam Engledow     3

9..           Danny Clark           3

10.          Tristan Fisher        0

Jake goes from narrowly avoiding the wooden spoon to winning the event with basically the same deck in a matter of days whilst Danny goes in the opposite direction from second to second last.

Final Thoughts

Personally, I wasn’t that bothered about second when I should have been still being on tilt from the last round and the thought remains I may need to switch the decks direction for long term success. Again I have Seen Delver fail to flip anywhere near consistently and even in a deck loaded with token generators that are Instant’s and Sorceries I am thinking of letting him go.

Thanks for reading, thanks for sharing.




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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.