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Thread: [Deck] Aggro Loam

  1. #1

    [Deck] Aggro Loam


    What is Aggro Loam?

    Modern Aggro Loam strategies developed from the CALS deck from Extended seasons past, but their true spiritual predecessor is the old Wildfire list of the Urza’s / Tempest Standard format, known famously as being nothing but mana and bombs. Aggro Loam also blends elements of midrange control decks such as the Invasion-era Extended versions of The Rock and it is remarkably similar to modern Standard Jund lists in terms of redundancy, card advantage, and power. The final product of all of this is an aggro-control deck capable of both destructive board control and walloping beats.

    Aggro Loam builds have existed in the format for a while but for a long time saw more play in Europe than in America; while popular in 2008 and early 2009, the ascendancy of Counterbalance in March of that year made Aggro Loam a less attractive choice as the deck lacked compelling tools to answer Counterbalance. While the matchup was not impossible, it is probable that many players shied away from the deck in favor of something with a much stronger game against Counterbalance. As the year progressed, Merfolk became the default answer to Countertop’s strong GP performance, but then lost ground to Zoo as the meta began to shift rapidly to decks that could answer the previous tournament’s winners. By late fall of 2009, Zoo began to underperform as Counterbalance builds started using Progenitus as a way to effectively address what had previously been a rough matchup. As the meta began to diversify once again, the last major tournament of the year took place in St. Louis – and it was won by Pat McGregor and his Aggro Loam deck.

    4 Tarmogoyf
    4 Dark Confidant
    4 Countryside Crusher
    1 Terravore

    4 Life from the Loam
    2 Maelstrom Pulse
    1 Terminate
    3 Seismic Assault
    4 Chalice of the Void
    2 Engineered Explosives
    4 Mox Diamond

    4 Wooded Foothills
    3 Bloodstained Mire
    2 Taiga
    1 Badlands
    1 Bayou
    2 Mountain
    1 Forest
    4 Forgotten Cave
    4 Tranquil Thicket
    4 Wasteland
    1 Volrath's Stronghold

    Sideboard:
    4 Leyline of the Void
    3 Firespout
    4 Zuran Orb
    3 Krosan Grip
    1 Thorn of Amethyst

    Pat McGregor’s list marks a break with what many might regard as the “traditional” Aggro Loam build using Burning Wish and multiple Devastating Dreams in the main. Several factors had combined to make such an approach less attractive, if not outright obsolete:

    - The speed of the format, coupled with the popularity of blue and Spell Snare specifically, make these cards much less attractive.
    - Traditional builds of Aggro Loam have a difficult time answering a live Counterbalance and lose a lot of steam when forced to play through it.
    - Graveyard hate began to rise in the format as Ichorid became popular in the middle of the year, and the M10 rules changes made Burning Wish much worse at circumventing it.
    - Aggro Loam’s primary route to victory – winning through strong internal synergy – fell under siege from several sides: on the one hand, blue disruption was particularly good at unraveling key components of the synergy tapestry, while on the other hand, several decks with equally strong synergy began to appear in the format.

    Pat seems to have realized these points and addressed them by running more proactive, pinpoint removal spells and using the deck’s redundancy and to cover its potential softness to hate. While the deck loses some of the internal synergy that made Aggro Loam so impressive before, it makes up for it with raw power.

    After McGregor's finish, several players (including myself) piloted similar or identical lists to decent finishes in subsequent tournaments for the next several months. A Russian Naya list, eschewing black for Knight of the Reliquary and Swords to Plowshares, placed just outside a combo-heavy top 8 at GP Madrid several months later, but flew largely under the radar; interest in the deck waned and it stopped making appearances in American tournaments. Mystical Tutor's banning on the eve of GP Columbus did almost nothing to revitalize interest in the deck, and the aftermath of that tournament made the situation worse as Survival rose to become Legacy's preeminent strategy in America (followed, belatedly, by good showings in Europe). Survival was a better midrange deck in virtually every way: it had more flexibility, more mid- and late-game power, and more ability to dodge or neutralize hate. Aggro Loam completely disappeared.

    It would take both the banning of Survival in the final days of 2010 and the printing of Mental Misstep in the spring of 2011 to push the deck back into the limelight. Mental Misstep was a game-changer in many ways: not only did it increase the power of various midrange blue decks (decent matchups for Aggro Loam), it also slowed the format down to the point where a deck with a large amount of late-game plays could safely compete. Players looking for a deck free of one-drops, and therefore immune to an opponent's Misstep plan, brushed off McGregor-style Aggro Loam lists and updated them with the addition of cards like Punishing Fires and Sylvan Library. For the length of Misstep's legality in the format, Aggro Loam was a solid non-blue option.

    However, Misstep got the axe at the next Banned and Restricted List update, and the format entered a period of drift. Many players assumed the format would revert to the way it was prior to Misstep's printing, but the Starcity Games circuit continued to be dominated by various blue decks well into the fall. Format inertia, and the development of other decks, caused Aggro Loam to slip back into fringe deck territory.

    SCG: Los Angeles and The Major Rethink

    On January 15th, 2012, SCG held one of its Opens in Los Angeles. While Maverick was the big winner at that tournament, Tony DeVeyra (Antonius) placed 12th with the first truly major, successful redesign of the deck since McGregor's list two years prior. First, the list he played:

    2 Grim Lavamancer
    4 Dark Confidant
    2 Tarmogoyf
    2 Scavenging Ooze
    4 Countryside Crusher

    4 Life from the Loam
    4 Lightning Bolt
    2 Maelstrom Pulse
    3 Seismic Assault
    2 Engineered Explosives
    4 Mox Diamond

    4 Wooded Foothills
    3 Bloodstained Mire
    3 Taiga
    1 Badlands
    1 Bayou
    2 Mountain
    1 Forest
    4 Forgotten Cave
    3 Tranquil Thicket
    4 Wasteland
    1 Volrath's Stronghold

    Sideboard:
    1 Nihil Spellbomb
    2 Krosan Grip
    2 Noxious Revivial
    3 Pyroblast
    3 Surgical Extraction
    2 Devastating Dreams
    2 Thoughtseize

    Much of the deck's core remains the same, but a few key changes were made:
    • No more Chalice. I'll discuss the various arguments for and against Chalice later, but here I'd like to point out that removing Chalice opened Antonius up to running his own one-drops, giving him more early game plays.
    • Different creature configuration. Tarmogoyf has typically been on the weaker side in this deck; you can easily get him to about a 3/4, but vanilla 3/4s are just not what they used to be. Cutting into the Tarmogoyf numbers in favor of Scavenging Ooze gives the deck another large-ish creature as well as maindeck ways to deal with Snapcasters, Knights, Tarmogoyfs, and so on.
    • Streamlined spell slots. During the Mental Misstep era, players experimented with a variety of removal options, including Terminate and Punishing Fires, that gave the deck a more attrition-based control bent. Antonius's streamlined spell roster tilted the deck back in the direction of midrange aggro.
    • Expanded sideboard options. Noxious Revival in particular is interesting as a non-clunky, far cheaper Eternal Witness.

    These changes allowed the deck to keep pace with a metagame dominated by decks capable of generating significant value in the early and mid-games through the use of powerful utility creatures (particularly Stoneforge Mystic, but also Snapcaster Mage, Mother of Runes, and the dork-heavy, GSZ-fueled Maverick lists). Removing Chalice and giving the deck more of a real curve allowed it to compete early without needing a Mox Diamond, but the deck lost very little power in the late game, Aggro Loam's traditional area of dominance.

    The Current State of Things

    If you're experimenting with Aggro Loam now, Antonius's list is a good place to start. It combines the rock-solid mana of the three-color versions with a consistent core of spells focused on power and card advantage. However, there are two other options available:

    Four-color lists: Typically, these lists dip into white for Swords and Knight but stay in black for Dark Confidant and sometimes Maelstrom Pulse and sideboard options. While your spells are all very powerful, your mana generally isn't; you really need a Mox Diamond to effectively cast spells in a deck that wants to hit WGGRRRB in the course of a game.

    Naya lists: I have yet to see these gain any traction outside of Russia, but it's worth mentioning them. These decks typically make up for the loss of Bob with either Sylvan Library or an increased reliance on Loam; they get to keep the powerful finishers of the four-color builds but have much better mana. They can also compensate for a generally three-drop-dense curve with two of the best removal spells at one mana, Lightning Bolt and Swords to Plowshares. I'm not sure I like the trade of Bob and Pulse for white, but these lists are not bad by any stretch.

    In the next post, I'll address some important card choices and major debates for the deck.

    Current as of 22-ii-2012. Banner compliments of sdematt.
    Last edited by Aggro_zombies; 02-23-2012 at 03:41 PM.

  2. #2

    Re: [DtW] Aggro Loam

    General Points

    Aggro Loam is a deck built on synergy and redundancy; many of the cards it plays are individually mediocre, but become significantly more powerful within the context of the deck. At the heart of this is Life from the Loam: most of your card choices are made to synergize with the Loam engine. Your general game plan will involve ramping in the first few turns, preferably with a Mox Diamond and a Loam to recur fetches and other lands; simultaneously, you’ll be setting up a defense, removing problem permanents, and looking for a Seismic Assault and/or Punishing Fires (for the builds that run it). You then close out the game with burn and large creatures.

    Specific Points

    Playing around graveyard hate: At the current point in time (March 2012), the main forms of graveyard hate in the format are Surgical Extraction, Scavenging Ooze, and to a lesser extent, Bojuka Bog and Tormod’s Crypt. Each of these cards sees play in different places and require different strategies to play around. In order:
    • Surgical Extraction: Sees play often as a foil to Snapcaster Mage. Unlike Extirpate, you can respond to it, making it far less of a threat. If you suspect your opponent has access to them (and decks with Snapcasters will often have them), try to dredge conservatively and limit the number of Loams in your graveyard. Keep at least one cycle land and mana up as often as you can. Keep track of Surgicals in the opponent’s graveyard as well, and be aware that two open mana on your turn may represent Snapcaster, flash back Surgical. It may be worthwhile to Surgical the opponent’s Surgicals if you are worried.
    • Scavenging Ooze: This seems play most often in decks running Green Sun’s Zenith (mostly Maverick at the moment). Maverick’s mana can be susceptible to Wasteland if you can keep them off of Birds/Hierarchs, which limits how many times Ooze can go after your Loams. If it becomes bothersome, it’s worth saving removal for Ooze, but if you can limit the amount of green mana your opponent has then playing around Ooze becomes the same as playing around Surgical.
    • Bojuka Bog: This sees very little play outside of decks looking to pair it with Knight of the Reliquary, and then it is often just a one-of in conjunction with other pieces of removal. Basically, if the opponent has an untapped Knight, be mindful of what you’re doing with your graveyard.
    • Tormod’s Crypt: The best use of Crypt is to sandbag it and then use it to empty a full graveyard of Loam targets, but I’ve had people play Crypt preemptively before. If you suspect your opponent has Crypts, it’s more important to protect Loam targets than Loam itself; you will draw more Loams, but losing a big chunk of your Wastelands and cycling lands will hamper you more in the near-term. If you can, try to keep a Loam in hand at all times (and use another to get lands back).

    Stacking Crusher and Bob triggers: If you specifically do not want to draw a land off of Bob, stack Bob, then Crusher on top of it. This is often the best call because it will grow Crushers the most and fill your hand with gas, especially if you are going to dredge Loam on your draw step. However, in matchups where the opponent can put a lot of pressure on your life total, you may want to stack the triggers the other way: with around half of an average Aggro Loam’s list costing zero mana, you are less likely to lose life off of a random Bob flip. Here’s some slightly older math by luma for those who want it.

    When to go for it and when to play conservatively with Loam: This depends on a couple of things: whether you suspect graveyard hate, whether you have a Bob, whether you have Assault, and what your targets for Loam are. If you suspect hate, it is usually correct to play conservatively with Loam unless it is close to the end of the game, in which case you may just want to go for it anyway. If you have Bob, there is little cost to dredging on your draw step, since you’ll be seeing a fresh card off of Confidant. If you have Assault, whether you want to go for it or not depends on your opponent’s life total; if you can kill him this turn, do so, but if you can, Loam once or twice to build up some lands and then go all-in as soon as your opponent is within lethal Assault range. As for Loam targets: cycling lands are best used on the opponent’s turn unless you need cards right now. Not only do they help you dodge removal for Loam that way, but it’s worth leaving mana up in builds that run EE, Punishing Fires, and Terminate. Loaming to draw is slow, mana-intensive, and clunky as well, so you will rarely have the mana to cycle cast a Loam, cycle a bunch of cards, and then cast another Loam on your own turn unless it is very late in the game and the board is clear of pressure (or you are trying to pump Crushers enough to win).


    Concerning Chalice of the Void

    Discussion about Chalice of the Void occurs regularly in the thread, particularly when builds without it do well. For a long time, Chalice was a staple card in Aggro Loam, and it continues to be good in the abstract in a format that plays many of the game’s most powerful one-drops. I personally do not like the card, but I want to lay out the reasons for and against it first before I discuss that.

    Reasons to run Chalice:
    • Many decks rely on 1cc spells to operate. A short list of such cards includes Brainstorm, Noble Hierarch, Spell Snare, Spell Pierce, Ponder, and others.
    • Most of the removal in the format costs one mana. Swords to Plowshares, Path to Exile, and Lightning Bolt are (currently) the most prevalent of these spells, but there are many others.
    • Locking opponents out of their 1cc bracket has historically been proven to be quite good. The most recent example of this was the brief period when Mental Misstep was legal.
    • Aggro Loam otherwise lacks ways to interact with the stack. Since Aggro Loam’s interactive cards deal exclusively with permanents, the deck is soft to spells.

    Reasons to not run Chalice:
    • You cannot run your own 1cc cards. This makes you squishier in the early game, especially when you do not have an early Mox Diamond.
    • Getting a turn one Chalice at one is rare. The longer Chalice takes to show up, the more 1cc spells the opponent can cast (thereby weakening Chalice’s value) and the more answers your opponent is likely to have.
    • Subsequent Chalices are dead draws. You can cast backup Chalices at one in case the opponent answers the first one, but in general you would rather not draw another Chalice once you have resolved the first one.
    • Chalice is easily answerable if the opponent deems it a problem. Green Sun’s Zenith for Qasali Pridemage, Krosan Grip, Ancient Grudge, Shattering Spree, and Spell Snare are all cheap, effective answers for a resolved Chalice at one.
    • Chalice’s value is matchup-dependent. Decks relying on many 1cc creatures are often better dealt with via removal, while some decks are more resilient to losing 1cc spells than others.

    Chalice is good in decks that can support consistently casting one early as part of a concerted denial strategy: MUD and Stax decks that run Ancient Tomb and City of Traitors in addition to Moxen can often cast a Chalice in their opening hand on turn one. However, Chalice’s value diminishes as the game goes on and your opponent uses his 1cc cards. Particularly given the (current) prevalence of Spell Snare and Spell Pierce, not having a turn one Chalice means some decks will have significantly more ways to stop you when you do try to cast it; on the flip side, you can argue that a counter used on your Chalice is a counter that is not available to stop another bomb. However, there are a considerable number of worthwhile counter targets in your deck, enough that using Chalice as bait is not a good use of Chalice.

    It’s also important to realize that not all 1cc spells are of equal worth. Some cards your Chalice can counter will be significantly more meaningful to you than others; countering an StP is going to be a lot better for you than countering a Noble Hierarch, for example. Furthermore, some 1cc cards your opponent runs will matter very little to you: Stifle out of RUG Tempo, for example, is actively bad against Aggro Loam after the first few turns, so being able to counter it is more of a bonus than a compelling reason to run Chalice.

    Thus, the true number of cards for which you care about having Chalice in a given matchup is usually smaller than the total number of 1cc cards your opponent has. It may be helpful, when thinking about whether you want Chalice for a given matchup, to list all of the cards that Chalice can counter and then compare to all of the cards you really care about Chalice countering; if those two lists are similarly sized, Chalice is going to be useful. However, if the list of total CMC-1 cards is much longer, you may want to consider other cards that could be more useful. For example, against Maverick, Chalice stops Swords to Plowshares, Mother of Runes, Noble Hierarch, and Birds of Paradise, but you only really care about StP and sort of care about Mom. It may be better to accept that your opponent’s StPs will be live and use the space you get from dropping Chalices to run better cards for the matchup (like Bolt, Lavamancer, Dreams, or others).

    It’s also worth remembering that, as good as a card’s highs may be, it’s more instructive to look at that card’s averages. While Chalice at one on turn one is certainly powerful, it requires both two specific cards (Chalice and Mox Diamond), two non-specific cards (two lands, one of which must come into play untapped), and three other cards that aren’t bad (that is, a Chalice, Mox, and five lands is usually a mulligan). The far more likely scenario is that Chalice is cast sometime between turns two and four. Revisiting the point above (that the true number of cards for which you want Chalice is smaller than the total number of cards you can counter), and keeping in mind that the second, third, and fourth Chalices are usually dead draws, you may want to seriously ask yourself how much Chalice will help you in games where you don’t get it very early. The overall benefits of the card may be lower than they appear on paper.


    Concerning the Blue Splash

    Discussion about switching the black splash to a blue one comes up occasionally, so it’s worth addressing some of the issues with the blue splash here. The usual arguments for the blue splash can be summed up as follows:
    1) It gives you access to counters, which improve the combo matchup;

    2) It gives you access to Brainstorm, which is a powerful card drawing spell;

    3) It gives you access to Intuition, which is a powerful tutor.

    I want to address my specific issues with each of these three points and then add a few general comments on the blue splash.

    Addressing #1: I think it’s helpful here to look at decks with a historically strong combo matchup (which Aggro Loam does not have) and differentiate what they do from what Aggro Loam does. For this analysis, I’m going to use RUG Tempo (or Canadian Threshold, as it was once called), but decks like Merfolk and some control decks have had positive matchups against combo as well. RUG Tempo is characterized by the following things: a high density of counters (usually some combination of Daze, Force of Will, Spell Snare, and Spell Pierce), cantrips (Brainstorm and sometimes Ponder), a fast clock (most recently Delver, but also Mongoose, Tarmogoyf, and Vendillion Clique, backed by burn), and a low mana count (usually under 22 mana sources). A generic RUG versus combo matchup, won by RUG, will typically play out as follows: the RUG player disrupts the combo player’s mana in the early turns, counters key setup spells, and sticks one or two creatures that then beat down while the combo player tries to cobble together a good enough hand to go off through any remaining opposition. These games are not usually attrition-based; the combo player is favored going long, especially if he has access to disruption. The important thing to notice here is that the pressure applied by the RUG player is early, applied often, and is backed by a fast clock. By the time RUG runs out of disruption, the combo player should be under too much pressure from creatures to draw into a good hand.

    The problem with adding counters to Aggro Loam is that Aggro Loam doesn’t have the ability to apply pressure early or often, and its clocks - while powerful - generally take several turns to get to full strength. Most combo decks are built to be resilient to a few counters; some, like Painter, run their own counters and will be able to fight back. Aggro Loam decks are also typically close to 50% mana between lands and Mox Diamonds, which means they have far more draws that don’t pressure the combo player than a deck like RUG. The combination of these factors results in what we can call a “strategic weakness” to combo: Aggro Loam’s core strategy of card advantage, attrition, and board control have little to no effect on stack-based combo decks. Adding counters doesn’t adequately compensate for deeper problems, like the higher percentage of mana, the large number of late-game cards, and the tendency of “unfair” decks to trump “fair” ones.

    It’s also worth remembering that “combo” is not a monolithic entity. When many players talk about combo, they mean something like TES or ANT - storm-based combo decks - but Dredge, Reanimator, Painter, Burn, various Show and Tell builds, and Elves can all count as combo decks. Some of them, like Dredge, are naturally resistant to counter-based hate plans; others run their own counters and are in a much better position to win counter fights than you are.

    Addressing #2: Brainstorm is certainly powerful in the decks that run it, but it’s worth trying to untangle why, and the easiest way to do that is to take a large number of random three-card samples from the various decks that run Brainstorm and compare them to random three-card samples from Aggro Loam. While many players would argue (correctly) that Brainstorm is a powerful card in and of itself, it’s also important to remember that Brainstorm can be made better or worse by the cards around it. An Aggro Loam Brainstorm will tend to draw a large amount of mana because the deck runs a large amount of mana; it will also draw a large number of mid- to late-game cards because Aggro Loam runs a large number of mid- to late-game cards. Brainstorm is very good in the decks that normally run it because it tends to draw a healthy mix of cards, and is therefore very good at all points in the game: at finding mana and setting up power plays in the early game, helping you consolidate your board or come back from behind in the midgame, and finding ways to seal the deal in the late game. Aggro Loam, as a linear strategy primarily focused on attrition, synergy, and powerful late-game plays, will have weaker overall Brainstorms than many blue decks.

    On the other hand, reusable card advantage spells like Dark Confidant and Sylvan Library tend to be better than Brainstorm on average because their effects add up over several turns. They feed in well to Aggro Loam’s focus on going long in a way isolated Brainstorms typically don’t.

    Addressing #3: Intuition is certainly a powerful card, but I think it strays too close to “the danger of cool things” territory. It is not often that an Aggro Loam deck will want to leave three mana open to cast Intuition, or to sink time into casting a three-mana tutor and then spending additional mana to cast the spell the tutor finds. Entomb, on-color for most Aggro Loam lists, does something very similar for a fraction of the mana.

    Intuition may be more attractive in blue builds that want to keep mana open for counters, but such builds end up being torn between wanting to cast powerful proactive cards (Assault, Loam, Crusher) and reactive ones (counters), and keeping mana open while maximizing the strength of your proactive core can be a difficult task. I am not convinced that counters are sufficiently rewarding to make this plan viable.

    Stepping back a bit, I think it’s important when proposing major changes to a deck, such as the choice of tertiary colors, to ask yourself what problems you are solving and what problems you are creating by doing so. The Jund formula (and non-blue formulas in general) have proven themselves to be consistent performers, but they are far from perfect decks. Any major changes made to the deck need to address its weaknesses without losing too much ground elsewhere; you want to maintain strong matchups against other fair decks while also boosting your performance against combo and other decks that can ignore or neutralize your linear plan.
    Last edited by Aggro_zombies; 03-11-2012 at 02:03 PM.

  3. #3

    Re: [DtW] Aggro Loam

    Resources
    Previous thread: http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/showthread.php?6793-
    Recent Aggro Loam Primer (as of 11-vii-2011): http://www.westcoastlegacy.com/press...-loam/#more-13

    Recent Changes
    • 10-ii-2010: Added suggested sideboard changes to matchups post.
    • 11-iii-2012: Updated first and second post.


    Going Forward / Discussion Points: (Current as of 11-iii-2012)

    One of the major problems with the deck right now is its tendency to - for lack of a better term - durdle a lot. You may have an incredibly powerful late-game, but "great late-game" is no longer a selling point in a format where the top decks have powerful plays right out of the gates and their late-games are really Aggro Loam's midgame. Aggro Loam tends to fumble quite a bit in the first few turns, particularly when not opening on a Mox Diamond; you are trying to start several engines whose individual cycles are relatively weak, but whose power is cumulative. Furthermore, Aggro Loam's complete inability to interact with the stack (Chalice notwithstanding) means the deck must rely solely on having a powerful on-board presence to win. These things combine to make the deck generally mediocre in the current metagame.

    For those working on the deck, the big question that should be at the front of your mind when making changes is, "What can I do to make this deck durdle less?" Legacy as a format is very good at punishing plays that don't have much immediate impact. What can be done to fix Aggro Loam's squishy early and midgames while still staying true to its powerful late-game and distinctive Loam engines?
    Last edited by Aggro_zombies; 03-11-2012 at 02:11 PM.

  4. #4
    Ur tears of nerdrage taste so sweet to me.
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    Re: [DtW] Aggro Loam

    Well done!
    I overflew it just sparely because I am kinda in a hurry but:

    I would kinda wish me that you distinguish your sample boardin plans for your sample list in the
    "+ X
    - X" - pattern.

    I know it doesn't hit the fan because boarding should never be done the same twice and all.
    But I think it's useful for starters to get the basic idea and what cards are needed most to fight
    the worst matchups best.

    I will read it through thoroughly later today but I have to write an exam in privat law today and still got nothing :(
    Team Legal Actions.

  5. #5

    Re: [DtW] Aggro Loam

    Quote Originally Posted by EaD View Post
    Well done!
    I overflew it just sparely because I am kinda in a hurry but:

    I would kinda wish me that you distinguish your sample boardin plans for your sample list in the
    "+ X
    - X" - pattern.

    I know it doesn't hit the fan because boarding should never be done the same twice and all.
    But I think it's useful for starters to get the basic idea and what cards are needed most to fight
    the worst matchups best.

    I will read it through thoroughly later today but I have to write an exam in privat law today and still got nothing :(
    Yeah, I'll do that later. I'm headed to bed now and probably forgot to add that in when I wrote the primer.

  6. #6

    Re: [DtW] Aggro Loam

    If Burning Wish and Devastating Dreams are "too slow" for the current environment, then how is Seismic Assault "fast enough" by comparison? IMO, Seismic Assault has really lost its "umph" now that x/3s are the standard. The only decks Seismic Assault shines against are the same decks Fire Spout deals with, so is it really necessary anymore?

    Also, has anybody tried Sylvan Library as a replacement for Dark Confidant, so the deck can cut down to 3 colors and just run Knight of the Reliquary?
    Quote Originally Posted by wastedlife View Post
    Breathweapon, I regret saying this but ... I've been liking you more and more every day.

  7. #7

    Re: [DtW] Aggro Loam

    If Burning Wish and Devastating Dreams are "too slow" for the current environment, then how is Seismic Assault "fast enough" by comparison? IMO, Seismic Assault has really lost its "umph" now that x/3s are the standard. The only decks Seismic Assault shines against are the same decks Fire Spout deals with, so is it really necessary anymore?

    Also, has anybody tried Sylvan Library as a replacement for Dark Confidant, so the deck can cut down to 3 colors and just run Knight of the Reliquary?
    Quote Originally Posted by wastedlife View Post
    Breathweapon, I regret saying this but ... I've been liking you more and more every day.

  8. #8
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    Re: [DtW] Aggro Loam

    Quote Originally Posted by Aggro_zombies View Post
    General Strategy Points
    Do NOT announce whether you’re going to dredge until checking whether or not the cycling abilities on your lands resolve – otherwise, your opponent will try to Submerge your guys in response to force you to dredge them.
    If you announce "cycle and dredge", and your opponent Submerges your guy in response, you don't have to dredge; you get to choose whether to draw or dredge.

    More on topic: do you have any suggestions againt Enchantress? My local meta usually has two or three Enchantresses each tournament, and I'm having a lot of trouble with them, especially since I don't run Burning Wish -> Reverent Silence. Is there any other way to make the matchup even bearable than to dedicate some sideboard slots solely against Enchantress (Tranquil Domain / Tranquility / Reverent Silence)?
    Level 2 Judge

  9. #9

    Re: [DtW] Aggro Loam

    Hi,
    Aggro Zombies, thank you for this post, it's helpfull.
    I'll probably play this deck in the GP here in Madrid, but I'm concerned for the growing Dream Halls decks.
    Don't you think that adding some cruel edicts, or other sacrifice cards, in the SB would be good to have some chances agains Progenitus?

  10. #10

    Re: [DtW] Aggro Loam

    Outstanding job Aggro Zombies! Your hard work on this primer is much appreciated! I've had an Aggo Loam deck for a while, but I haven't made any major changes to it in months. You've given me some ideas. Nice job on the general strategy points, too!

  11. #11

    Re: [DtW] Aggro Loam

    Quote Originally Posted by BreathWeapon View Post
    If Burning Wish and Devastating Dreams are "too slow" for the current environment, then how is Seismic Assault "fast enough" by comparison? IMO, Seismic Assault has really lost its "umph" now that x/3s are the standard. The only decks Seismic Assault shines against are the same decks Fire Spout deals with, so is it really necessary anymore?
    Seismic Assault is also a Fireball that can kill the opponent. It's stayed despite being slow because of its value as an alternate win condition in addition to the creature-killing capabilities.

    Quote Originally Posted by luma View Post
    More on topic: do you have any suggestions againt Enchantress? My local meta usually has two or three Enchantresses each tournament, and I'm having a lot of trouble with them, especially since I don't run Burning Wish -> Reverent Silence. Is there any other way to make the matchup even bearable than to dedicate some sideboard slots solely against Enchantress (Tranquil Domain / Tranquility / Reverent Silence)?
    Anusien suggested Harmonize, which I haven't tested. If there's that much Enchantress is may be worth dedicating some sideboard slots to it, and Harmonize and DD are pretty good together there. Also, I know the cycle-dredge issue, but it's easy to forget if you go into auto-pilot, which is something I was trying to emphasize as being bad here.

    Quote Originally Posted by chmoro View Post
    Hi,
    Aggro Zombies, thank you for this post, it's helpful.
    I'll probably play this deck in the GP here in Madrid, but I'm concerned for the growing Dream Halls decks.
    Don't you think that adding some cruel edicts, or other sacrifice cards, in the SB would be good to have some chances against Progenitus?
    It's easy for Progenitus players to have an extra guy in play to dodge your Edicts, so something like Perish is usually better. As for Dream Halls - I'm not sure, I haven't seen any here in the U.S. My suspicion would be that you would need dedicated sideboard hate. Indrik Stomphowler (to put into play with Show and Tell to kill their Dream Halls...hopefully they just don't drop Progenitus) and some Krosan Grips would probably help. My impression is that Dream Halls has a variable level of speed and Chalice will force it to slow down, which you want. This is the matchup were Edict effects would be useful as the deck can't spam creatures to protect Progenitus.

  12. #12
    What Would Ravenous Baloth Do?
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    Re: [DtW] Aggro Loam

    I really like the new primer, A. Zombies! This needed to be done for awhile now and you did a great job.

    I've recently cut my burning wishes and I'm not missing them too much.

    Is it worth posting a Matchup analysis of Vial Goblins?

  13. #13
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    Re: [DtW] Aggro Loam

    Quote Originally Posted by Aggro_zombies View Post
    The other thing worth noting is the complete absence of Devastating Dreams. While the land destruction and sweep effects are quite nice, Devastating Dreams has been losing a lot of value in the face of both blue and larger creatures. Zoo will require at least three cards to efficiently wipe its board, but youíll have to discard several more if you want to get rid of Tarmogoyf (and killing Knight of the Reliquary is virtually impossible), and an active Sylvan Library makes the mandatory Mind Twist of Dreams much less attractive. Firespout is a much better answer against blue aggro-control decks while being equally solid against Zoo. However, Devastating Dreams does have its uses and is definitely better against aggro decks that donít run counters or have much library manipulation; if the Zoo deck doesnít have an active Library or lands in hand, itís pretty screwed. The land destruction element is also randomly useful against other decks like Enchantress that are sensitive to losing lands en masse. Dreams may have lost a lot of its luster, but it is still worth considering at least for the sideboard.
    I understand this argument for not running Devastating Dreams (DD from now on) main. I have a question based on this and the fact that most builds now use Chalice of the Void. Since most of the concern for running DD is your opponent having Force of Will and Spell Snare, would it make sense to still run DD main deck since 95% of the time you will be playing a Chalice of the Void set at 1 before hand? Wouldn't locking them out of lands still be a good play early?

  14. #14
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    Re: [DtW] Aggro Loam

    Nice primer, AZ. Very nice.

    @Holiday: Not much to say about the Vial Goblins matchup, imo. Aggro-Loam crushes it, especially if you're running Devastating Dreams, and even if you aren't.

    I think running a ninja DD is a fine idea, btw.
    Team Info-Ninja: Shhh... We don't exist.

  15. #15
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    Re: [DtW] Aggro Loam

    Quote Originally Posted by Volt View Post
    I think running a ninja DD is a fine idea, btw.
    I already run 2 ninja Price of Progress in my build of Zoo and it works wonders all the time.

  16. #16

    Re: [DtW] Aggro Loam

    Quote Originally Posted by malden View Post
    I understand this argument for not running Devastating Dreams (DD from now on) main. I have a question based on this and the fact that most builds now use Chalice of the Void. Since most of the concern for running DD is your opponent having Force of Will and Spell Snare, would it make sense to still run DD main deck since 95% of the time you will be playing a Chalice of the Void set at 1 before hand? Wouldn't locking them out of lands still be a good play early?
    This is actually a pretty complex issue. Part of it is exacerbated by the random discard element of Dreams; if it allowed you to choose, you could plan things to cushion the blow of having to pitch a number of cards.

    Dreams has really been weakening in general over the past few years due to the continued printing of larger and more durable creatures. Tarmogoyf was a huge blow for the card as it lost the ability to be a complete one-sided Wrath of God thanks to a typical Tarmogoyf's 5+ toughness. Random discard on Dreams means that, even if you discard up to Tarmogoyf's current toughness, accidentally pitching an artifact would often be enough to keep Goyf alive and thus able to block Crusher. Terravore lost a lot of power for unrelated reasons (graveyard hate, mostly), so the previous Dreams plan of Wrath, swing for the win became a lot less frequent. The rise of Counterbalance a short time after Tarmogoyf's printing also gave blue players a handy, difficult-to-kill Meddling Mage on Dreams. The card was a blowout against Goblins, but Goblins has lost a lot of appeal in the last couple of years and is now a solid Tier II presence. Zoo, which took its place as the aggro deck-du-jour, requires at least three cards to kill perhaps 75% of its typical creature base. If you're low on life, you can't really swing into that as the creatures left alive will either be Tarmogoyf or Knight, both of which can be deadly if the Zoo player follows an attack with land, burn spell. And this is setting aside the fact that you're often only getting card parity in the best-case scenarios.

    Blue is the real sticking point, though. When one of the downsides of a card is, "Your opponent gets real card advantage from Force of Will," you have to really examine how much mileage you're getting out of the card. It's easy enough to play around Daze, but if your opponent has one you can expect him to use it to save his lands (a problem). The card is nigh uncastable against Counterbalance and requires a significant investment against Merfolk to avoid having a lord vialed in as a response to save the team.

    You can try to bait counters, but aside from the fact that you can't be quite sure you've gotten them all unless the opponent's hand is empty (unlikely), each card you play to try to bait a counter decreases your hand size and thus makes the subsequent Dreams worse. If you try to fill up on lands with Loam, you have to add "significant setup time" to the list of drawbacks. At some point, it just isn't worth it anymore, especially when Firespout is available.
    Last edited by Aggro_zombies; 02-11-2010 at 02:44 AM.

  17. #17

    Re: [DtW] Aggro Loam

    My personal compliments to Aggro Zombies for this primer (i love AggroLoam) and in general for his clever posts.
    I need some info's about Ichorid matchup (i face few times this deck); i own only Tormod's Crypt, is indispensable Leyline???
    Thank you

  18. #18

    Re: [DtW] Aggro Loam

    Quote Originally Posted by Sniper View Post
    I need some info's about Ichorid matchup (i face few times this deck); i own only Tormod's Crypt, is indispensable Leyline???
    Thank you
    Thanks.

    No, Leyline isn't indispensable, but it does slant things pretty heavily in your favor. Most Ichorid players know how to play around Crypt (as a novice Ichorid pilot, it's one of the first things you should learn once you know how the deck works) and can either force you to pop Crypt early, or slow-roll you with big Trolls or something. If you can get some Leylines, it's worth the investment, but you may be fine on just Crypts if you don't expect that much Ichorid. In most cases, Crypt is fine against other graveyard-dependent decks.

  19. #19
    Colonizer of Dreams

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    Re: [DtW] Aggro Loam

    I really don't think Burning Wish and Devastating Dreams are too slow these days. We have a lot of aggro loam players in our meta at the moment, so im quite used to playing against it. And seriously, most of the time, a resolved Devastating Dreams means "hi, i win the game". Here's a list as reference:

    http://www.deckcheck.net/deck.php?id=31758

    Oh and yeah, the random Stinkweed Imp is insane. Insane good.

  20. #20

    Re: [DtW] Aggro Loam

    While your friends deck looks good on the surface it seems like he will get bent over preety hard to grave hate... His deck is extremely grave dependent. Game 1 shouldnt be an issue but come games 2 and 3... It dosn't seem preety, his deck really seems like it only does steallar with an active Loam... I may be wrong though.

    My personal beef with the deck is the heavy land depdency with only 2 Loam main and 1 in the board. This means that a fair portion of the time if you want your beaters to do their thing you gotta Wish for Loam... or find a way to keep offing SImp. Personally I would suggest running at least the fourth Loam in the board for games two and three... At least then you can restart the engine easier if it gets dismantled.

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