The Gloom Surgeon: MTG Deck Building Help with Mark Pinder

£20 PTQs & Dinosaurs by Magic by Mark Pinder

The Gloom Surgeon: MTG Deck Building Help with Mark Pinder


Welcome to the deck surgery, this will be a new feature for mtgUK where you can send in your FNM deck, we will look over your deck and come back with a revised deck build for you. Predominately I will be writing these articles but that is not to say someone else will don some scrubs and wield a scalpel for your deck.

If you would like to submit your deck for help, or would simply like to join in on the deck ideas and development discussions, then please join this Facebook group:

mtgUK Deck Ideas & Development Discussions

Please state that you would like your deck to be considered for The Gloom Surgeon article.

Today Danny Clark from Grimsby has asked me to operate on his vampire deck, this is what Danny has to say about his deck.

 “Sometimes I don’t get the mana I need and sometimes lead to pointless sign in bloods. It wins in multiple ways, but usually it’s from flying over for lots when a Nocturnus lands or Blood artists used with the day effect spells. I like the deck archetype because I’ve been using vamps since I started and for being a single type of creatures, there’s a variety of decks that can be made with them, and usually when the win, its either from large amounts of damage or doing something very sneaky.”

This is Danny’s original deck:

4 Dragonskull Summit
14 Swamps

4 Blood Artist
2 Bloodline Keeper
2 Bloodthrone Vampire
1 Disciple of Bolas
4 Fume Spitter
4 Stromkirk Captain
3 Vampire Nighthawk
4 Vampire Nocturnus

1 Blasphemous Act
2 Diabolic Tutor
1 Fervour
2 Go for the Throat
1 Killing Wave
1 Mutilate
3 Sign in Blood
1 Sorin markov
4 Tragic Slip
2 Tribute to Hunger


4 Duty Bound Dead
1 Memoricide
1 Shimian Specter
1 Vampire Nightawk
2 Child of Night
1 Sign in Blood
1 Olivia Voldaren
2 Swiftfoot Boots
2 Tribute to Hunger

Deck dissection

The first problem for Danny has been issues with land, this is the easiest fix and whilst the deck may only need four mana to cast its biggest threat the land count is far too low so it is not a surprise we don’t see the Vampire Nocturnus land or find a red source for Stromkirk Captain. I’ve added some land to the deck and also put in one mountain with two Evolving Wilds. The wilds can be used to run away the top card when it isn’t suitable for Vampire Nocturnus. I should of course mention Blood Crypt though I appreciate shock lands even as a reprint are not going to be cheap.

So what do we do with the Main Deck?

Well, for a start we have rotation to contend with and we are going to lose a substantial amount of cards including the excellent Fume Spitter which I have seen be an excellent Morbid enabler for Tragic Slip.

The deck is primarily an aggro deck and my first choice was to raise the Bloodthrone Vampire and Vampire Nighthawk to four of each. With Vampire Nocturnus and Stromkirk Captain the need for Bloodline keeper as Lords nine and ten is limited, I’ve moved the later two cards to the sideboard where they can be brought in against suitable decks.

I’ve added Vampire Interloper as an additional aerial threat and early drop. I’ve not bothered with Stromkirk Noble as hitting an untapped red source turn 1 is counter productive if you want to hit your Nocturnus. Seems strange having no suitable one drop in aggro deck, shame we have no Pulse Tracker or Vampire Lacerator.

The spells number count looked a bit random so I’ve upped the Sign in Blood to four and kept a removal suite including some mass removal as a fall back position or combo piece with Blood Artist.

I’ve only put one Return to Ravnica card on the wanted list as Dreadbore adds consistency for creature removal and also a way to deal with planeswalkers without being sidetracked from attacking your opponent.

For the sideboard I’ve added Knight of Infamy for help against white decks or for a faster attacking option. The sideboard offers the option to switch into a rid range control deck.

The suggested deck:

4 Dragonskull Summit
11 Swamps
4 Rakdos Guildgate
1 Mountain
2 Evolving Wilds

4 Blood Artist
4 Vampire Interloper
4 Bloodthrone Vampire
4 Stromkirk Captain
4 Vampire Nighthawk
4 Vampire Nocturnus

1 Blasphemous Act
1 Killing Wave
4 Sign in Blood
2 Dreadbore
4 Tragic Slip
2 Tribute to Hunger


4 Knight of Infamy
2 Bloodline Keeper
3 Olivia Voldaren
4 Mind Rot
2 Ghost Quarter

What would you do?

So thats my take on the deck, how would you build it? and what advice would you give Danny? Please share your thoughts and comments below.

Need help with your deck? Let us know!

If you would like your deck to be looked at, especially with rotation around the corner, please get in touch and we’ll look at reviewing your deck too. Again you can do this by posting your deck here…

mtgUK Deck Ideas & Development Discussions

Please remember to state that you would like your deck to be considered for The Gloom Surgeon article.

Thanks for reading, thanks for sharing.

Mark Pinder


Please let us know what you think below...

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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.