Modern Loam

Posted in Feature on April 30, 2013

By Sam Black

Sam Black is a Platinum Pro Player and longtime writer for He is a respected deck builder and took over Daily Decks for the first half of 2013.

Magic Online Superstar Jaberwocki finished 7th Place in a Modern Premier event with a creatureless deck that isn't trying to win in the first four turns, which is quite unusual in Magic these days.

Life from the Loam

Jaberwocki's deck is the opposite of "Aggro Loam"—this deck is looking to grind as much as possible with its Life from the Loams. Primarily, its plan is to repeatedly discard these extra lands to any of a surprisingly huge number of options: Desperate Ravings, Faithless Looting, Flame Jab, Raven's Crime, Seismic Assault, Liliana of the Veil, and Smallpox all allow the deck to discard lands to generate some kind of effect or at least avoid being forced to discard something else. That's a staggering list! Seriously, he managed to fit twenty-two cards that he can discard lands to into this deck. That is dedication to a theme.

With all those cards asking him to discard, it's extremely important that he find Life from the Loam. Fortunately, Desperate Ravings and Faithless Looting are ideal for doing just that, as each one lets him see four more cards to find it, and they likely find more of each other to go even further. Despite making itself discard cards almost every turn, this deck is designed to be able to spend most or all of its mana every turn. There's something beautiful about that.

So far, all I've said that this deck does is spend mana and discard cards. So, how is it actually winning? Well, would you believe me if I said that's it? The rest of the deck is just discard and creature removal, and not particularly large amounts of either. Liliana and Smallpox are excellent at shredding an opponent's resources, and Seismic Assault is a pretty quick finisher once the engine's all together.

The most amusing part of all of this to me might be the Relic of Progenitus in the sideboard of a deck that uses its graveyard so much. I'm surprised to see it over Nihil Spellbomb, but on further reflection, it makes some sense. Because the game is going so long, the opponent could rebuild a graveyard after Nihil Spellbomb, but in the attrition game this deck is creating, Relic of Progenitus should stop opponents who are grinding similarly from keeping up. This is a great example of looking past obvious shorthands (like "avoid symmetrical graveyard hate if I'm using my graveyard) to think about what's actually going on in the games you're expecting to play.

Jaberwocki's Loam Pox

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