With SCG Indianapolis right around the corner, and it being a large Legacy event I’m very excited to be attending, I’ve been spending much of my time playtesting Aggro Loam. The deck is very powerful, fun, and addicting. It’s a deck that truly rewards perfect play while at the same time can be very challenging to pilot correctly. It’s a deck that requires you to make a lot of decisions and rewards individuals that have deep knowledge of the Legacy format. Like with all decks with multiple decision trees, the more you play, the better you get.
Now I don’t proclaim to be the stone-cold master of the deck, but I have been playing it with great success at my local Legacy events and look forward to playing it at SCG Open: Indianapolis.
Here is the list I have been working with:
So why Loam?
Aggro Loam to me is a Rock deck that can generate massive card advantage. If played correctly, you have the ability to filter through your deck for the answers and win conditions you need with ease. I’m sure most of you have heard that Rock decks have a 45% matchup against everything. That’s because most of the time they are just playing one-for-ones without any real way of gaining card advantage, and if Dark Confidant doesn’t stay alive, they fall behind fast.
Aggro Loam on the other hand, with its combination of cycling lands, ramp from Mox Diamond, land destruction, and the ability to fuel these things with Life from the Loam, gives you the ability to stay a step ahead of your opponents. No one-drops mean you can Chalice for one with no repercussions. This gives an obscene amount of virtual card advantage, causing your opponent’s Brainstorm and Swords to Plowshares to be dead in their hand.
What makes the Green Sun’s Zenith version better?
I’m not trying to make a case for one way over another. The more red heavy versions of the deck are fine, but I personally prefer the utility Green Sun’s Zenith gives me. I’d rather play with Knight of the Reliquary than Countryside Crusher, and I want to play Terravore without having to play more than a singleton. Scavenging Ooze is an amazing creature that people are just starting to see the value of. Tarmogoyf, while still impressive, is still very vanilla, and I’m more than okay having only two copies in my deck. This leaves room for me to include more utility cards.
What makes this deck a giant toolbox?
Green Sun’s Zenith lets you grab just about any creature you want, and Knight of the Reliquary lets you grab any land you want. Burning Wish gives you the ability to play the perfect sorcery for any given situation.
Let’s look at some card choices:
Mox Diamond – This card allows you to get to that second stage of the game very quickly, putting you ahead of your opponent. Even when it’s not in your opening hand, it can still be land number two during your turn if played correctly later in the game. It’s also a spell that reads “0: Tarmogoyf gets +1/+1.” You don’t have to have a land for it to be useful. It’s an artifact that is very easily put in your graveyard.
Chalice of the Void – I know many lists have shied away from Chalice lately. I personally still feel that Chalice of the Void is the correct decision. The argument against the card is it’s worthless after turn one or two. I disagree. As I stated before, the card shuts down so many good spells. The best being: Swords to Plowshares, Path to Exile, Grindstone, Brainstorm, Extirpate, etc. A lot of times, Chalice is your only hope against combo decks and is a card I use to protect my big dudes from plow effects on a regular basis, turn one or two notwithstanding.
Knight of the Reliquary – The creature you will lean on the most. She can close out games by fetching a Karakas or Tabernacle, and she can just swing for ten. Knight of the Reliquary was made for Aggro Loam.
Dark Confidant – One of the best two-drops in Magic, he will put you so far ahead in card advantage and give you games you would normally just flat out lose. Sticking a Bob on turn one is one of the best plays your deck can make.
Tarmogoyf – This guy gets exceptionally big in this deck. While dredging with Life of the Loam, expect him to be a 5/6 for two mana very quickly.
Scavenging Ooze – Not only is this guy great graveyard hate, people tend to forget he also gains you life and gets bigger when he eats creatures.
Terravore – One of the best closers in the game. One of my favorite plays is winning with a 15/15 for three mana. He is an excellent Green Sun’s Zenith target in the late game, and the longer the game goes, the bigger he becomes.
Dismember – This easily can be Vindicates or other forms of removal; it’s a metagame call. I personally want to be able to hit turn-one Noble Hierarch, which is running rampant in today’s metagame. I run Chalice of the Void so I don’t want to run Swords to Plowshares, but Dismember works great in filling that role. In the last tournament I played, my opponent played Magus of the Moon, and I thought I was screwed. I randomly drew Dismember and won!
Devastating Dreams – Land destruction and mass creature removal in one nice package. Devastating Dreams combined with Life from the Loam is a game finishing combination. Picture this: you pool your mana, play Devastating Dreams, destroy your lands and your opponent’s lands, then you just simply play Life from the Loam and get back all your lands while your opponent is left with nothing.
Life from the Loam – The lifeblood of the deck; it fuels your engine. Life from the Loam plus cycle lands with mana to back it up allows you to draw a near-infinite amount of cards while at the same time, through dredging, making creatures like Knight of the Reliquary even bigger.
Burning Wish – I have won a lot of games off the back of Burning Wish. It’s one of my favorite cards in the deck and the reason why I love playing the Green Sun’s Zenith version. With four Burning Wish, you are essentially running seven copies of Green Sun’s Zenith. This means you are running ten copies of Knight of the Reliquary in the deck. I understand Burning Wish doesn’t mean you’re literally running extra copies of these cards, since it costs you more resources and more mana.
In a deck like Aggro Loam, you are able to accelerate into plenty of mana and grind out card advantage very easily. Burning Wish works as the catchall for the deck. I can’t tell you how many times that I have Burning Wished for Devastating Dreams or a Pulverize to end the game on the spot.
Green Sun’s Zenith – The fact that this card is a sorcery makes it an excellent complement to the deck. The card works as a fantastic accelerant in the situation you want to resolve a turn 2 Knight with Dryad Arbor. This card also can give you game against combo decks beyond Chalice of the Void because you can tutor Gaddock Teeg very easily. It is also a tutor. As everyone is well aware, most tutors are broken. This is one such tutor.
Choke – Gives that extra edge against slower blue control decks.
Perish/Retribution of the Meek – Great removal for Progenitus and whatever else stands in your way. I like having both in the side because sometimes your opponent counters one, but it’s nice to have another just in case. Thanks to Burning Wish, you don’t have to clog your main deck with copies of these cards.
Reverent Silence – This gives you game against Enchantress or random enchantments that get in your way.
Gaddock Teeg – This can be in the main over Scavenging Ooze. It really just depends on what you’re expecting to face. He does shut down Natural Order and gives you more turns against certain combo decks.
Phyrexian Metamorph – This card never really seems useless to me. I have brought this in mostly against NO RUG, for fear of Progenitus. Most of those games I just copied one of my giant creatures to kill them.
Vindicate – Simple catchall answer that you sometimes need, especially in a format with such a wide variety of cards as Legacy.
Lands worth talking about:
The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale – I bring this card in against Goblins and Dredge most games. It goes without saying that this card makes things complicated for strategies that try to swarm you with creatures.
Forgotten Cave/ Tranquil Thicket – I don’t really treat these cards as mana but more as infinite card-drawing tools with Life from the Loam. These lands also protect your Life from the Loam by giving you the option to dredge in response to graveyard hate (besides Extirpate, of course).
Wasteland – In Aggro Loam it is very easy to Waste-lock opponents.
Karakas – Bounces Emrakul and other pesky legendary creatures.
Volrath’s Stronghold – This card is essential to this deck. It makes your â€˜bad dredges’ better by letting you get back creatures you’ve dredged away.
Maze of Ith – Nice equipped creature, bro.
General Aggro Loam Tips
Maze of Ith Knight Tricks – During the combat phase don’t forget after damage to use Maze of Ith to untap your Knight of the Reliquary. The Knight has already done damage at this point, so Maze of Ith just untaps it; it doesn’t prevent the damage. This little trick gives you the opportunity to get more lands in your graveyard by using Knight, which gives you more Life from the Loam targets. It also leaves you with a huge blocker.
When to dredge Loam – Many people have different opinions on when it is correct to do this. For me personally, if you’re going to miss a land drop, dredge Loam back to your hand. If you have more than one cycling land in the graveyard and you have extra mana to use during the turn, it’s almost always correct to dredge Life from the Loam back to your hand. Of course, there is no definite right or wrong answer to this question. Everyone has their own formula they follow, but hopefully I gave you a good place to start.
Mana-screw your opponents – I cast Devastating Dreams every chance I get in hopes to screw my opponent over mana-wise. Wasteland your opponents when you can and keep it up! Your deck thrives on the greedy mana bases that almost all Legacy decks have.
Use your cycling lands to make your creatures bigger – I enjoy attacking and waiting for my opponents to declare blockers, thinking they are safe. Then I cycle a land, dredge Life from the Loam, and before they realize it, they are either eating way more damage than they bargained for or they made a poor block.
Cycle on your turn – Unless you have dredge tricks or you’re trying to make a complicated attack for your opponent, it’s usually right to cycle on your turn since most of your business is sorcery speed. I love when I cycle on my turn when I have a mana-filled hand and I hit a Mox Diamond. Before I know it, I am doing things I wouldn’t be doing until one or two turns later.
Aggro Loam is a very powerful strategy and one worth considering. If you get a chance, proxy it up and give it a try. Hopefully I have given you some tools so you can make your own version or have success with my card choices. I am always curious to hear what experiences people have with the deck. I plan on doing some more in-depth matchup analysis later on. I’m very pleased with the results I’ve been having with my particular version, and I’m happy to answer any questions via email or Facebook.