Scars of the Past with Mark Pinder

£20 PTQs & Dinosaurs by Magic by Mark Pinder

Scars of the Past with Mark Pinder


With Return to Ravnica now out to come out  thoughts over what decks we will be playing with this season are starting. I wanted to have a look at who and what we have said good bye too. Scars of Mirrodin block brought us many new cards and some old memories but we may not see many of these cards back again unless we have “Rebellion on New Phyrexia” in a few years.

The Decks

Tempered Steel

This was a deck I actually played and also many of the versions that came out during its time from mono white, the white blue and more recently red with Slayers Stronghold.  The deck lost a bit upon rotation last year with no Ornithopter to help power out a turn two Tempered Steel with Mox Opal.  I doubt we will see many cards make their mark in older formats as the Affinity deck already has this covered. When Phyrexian mana appeared that gave the extra dimension of Vault Skirge and Porcelain Legionnaire to accelerate out better creatures.


Infect decks were always about during the past couple of years  but the recent addition of Wild Defiance has made an awesome deck. The deck had the ability to kill on turn two and any time you didn’t block was an opportunity for your opponent to win out. Many people never liked poison and this deck had a lot of hatred against it but it was highly beatable. The most common Poison deck was mono green but we also had black decks with Lashwrithe and decks with blue for Blighted Agent. At the end of the season I started playing Mono Green Infect after entering a local standard pauper event in which my homebrew cruised to victory.

Birthing Pod

It took a while for Birthing Pod decks to make an impact as the key is having the right creatures to ramp into, Pod is still popular in Modern though.

Puresteel Paladin

A deck built around equipment that helped you draw cards and make a big dude. It’s not a deck I personally saw a lot of but usually struggled as players had artefact hate for all the decks with either Sword of War and Peace or Sword of Feast and Famine within them.

Big Red

Only a small player but mono red is usually in the mix every season and has cards to support it. Koth of the Hammer and Shrine of Burning Rage were both cards that were staples with the deck.hammer and Hamm 

Themes & Cycles

The Titans

Well the bug bad bogeymen are going away, they’ve been played by many in all kinds of decks but very few will mourn their departure which is a shame, I may not have enjoyed playing against Valakut but the Primeval Titan helping me ramp into Eldrazi’s was fun.


For a while Mono Blue Illusions was also a deck that was a tier one threat on the tournament scene but it was Phantasmal Image that really caused a stir, clone hardly ever saw play but this guy has been main deck and sideboard virtually all fifteen months he was legal. Will Wizards be brave enough to bring back illusions rather than fish in the future, I hope so.

Blood Lust

Whilst there were some cards that made it into decks e.g. Stormblood Beserker, as whole Blood Lust didn’t really see play.

Battle Cry

This was an excellent mechanic that turned games, the smaller guys like Signal Pest, Goblin Wardriver and Accorder Paladin made their mark but the MVP had to be Hero of Bladehold who could turn a match on his own.

Phrexian Mana

Many say this was a mistake by Wizards and completely wrecked the colour pie. Some of the more used cards are below:

Apostle’s Blessing


Gitaxian Probe

Gut Shot

Mental Misstep

Mutagenic Growth

Phyrexian Metamorph

Surgical Extraction

Dismember for a while was a real bug bear and found a home in any colour of deck, even white blue Delver decks ran it to push threats out of the way. Surgical Extraction was a solid sideboard card whilst Phyrexian Metamorph has been copying threats and doubling as removal for Legendary creatures for some time.

Individual Cards

Angelic Destiny

A one set mythic, I thought my partner Cecile was going to cry when she realised it was rotating after only having it for such a short space of time. Was a great feeling to drop this on a Mirran Crusader flying over for 12.

Birds of Paradise

This is an old favourite who will be back soon enough, it is a shame though as it was originally in Ravnica and would have helped make some awesome decks.

Dungrove Elder

This card initially gave me headaches as Doncaster had a lot of green players and the hexproof guy just gets really big. However, I discovered the joy of the mono green ramp deck and a mahoosive guy coupled to a Rancor is just so much fun.

Honor of the Pure

I wonder how much of a loss this will be, white weenie has lost one of its best tools and whilst it has been around for a while I will miss the enchantment, though not as much as my partner Cecile.

Llanowar Elf

I see this guy coming back as Arbor Elf does work well with Ravnica shock lands but I will miss him.

Mana Leak

We’ve gone from  Caw Blade to Delver and this card was in both decks making its mark again in Standard, add in Snapcaster mage and it certainly been a thorn in many peoples side, so much so we now have Cavern of Souls to hose blue for some time


We couldn’t say goodbye to M12 without mentioning the scourge of the format, Delver of Secrets became an awesome card with this baby,  Index is not the same and mana issues were majorly reduced.

Solemn Simulacrum

One of the few reprints to make an impact upon its return, sad robot was in plenty of decks ramping mana and replacing it self with another card.

Timely Reinforcements

This was one of my favourite uncommon cards and one that also helped me win events, my favourite memory was winning Store Champs in 2011 using my Snapcaster mage to replay the card to swing the game.

Go for the Throat

The go to removal spell of the format and had its own FNM as well. One of the best named cards in history.

Geth’s Verdict

Never really caught on but was used in Grimsby a lot to deal with Mirran Crusader.


This was the card that caused Stoneforge Mystic to be banned, this was a great living weapon and also a powerful finisher, the fact it could be attached to a Squadron Hawk made it even better.

Blade Splicer

Took a while to become popular but found its way in to so many decks from aggro tempered steel to blue white control.

Consecrated Sphinx

This card was a power house and swung games on it its own, if you allowed it to survive eventually its controller was going to win.

Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

Hardly ever saw play from being hard as usually appeared in re-animator decks. An interesting card that could sweep the board and swing for the win on its own.

Genesis Wave

Ah big green decks loved this card, ramp up for a big Genesis Wave and swing for the win. Was more popular two years ago with Eldrazi temple but was still fun for many players.

Inkmoth Nexus

Much better than its predecessor Blinkmoth Nexus, the times this card was equipped with a sword and would win in a few turns.


Soild sideboard tech to strip decks of key cards, one of my favourite cards from Scars of Mirrodin.

Mirran Crusader

Whilst this card may have drifted of the scene nationally, locally it was the most loved and hated card in Grmsby. Half the players seem to play the card and the other half looking for ways to kill them.

Phyrexian Obliterator

So much hype for this card and failed to make its mark. Watching a Phyrexian Obliterator be hit by Wrack of Madness was awesome.

Ratchet Bomb

The catch all answer to anything and being colourless anyone could run it, it was certainly a popular card.


This was a bulk rare for quite a while and then suddenly shot up in value, although he could not absorb a Go for the Throat, he could stop anything else.


A red sweeper but also a red finisher,  a great utility card.

Sword of Feast and Famine

This was Caw Blades original target and the control card of choice.

Sword of War and Peace

Used to make it into Caw blade and has had more uses of late, life gain and damage are both potent.

Thrun, the last troll

Hyped as the next big thing Thrun never managed to become a breakthrough guy and was on the whole limited to sideboard play. In a world of Titans Thrun never really got a chance to shine.

Vapor Snag

Never has Unsummon been more appreciated.

Wurmcoil Engine

The finisher of choice for so many decks, this card was actually a promo and still retained its value.

Whilst we are all looking forward to the decks we can now build with Return to Ravnica and the brave new world, the format we left behind was certainly a popular and diverse one.

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.