Modern Loam Pox Magic: The Gathering Deck Tech, by Christopher Cooper
Recently I shared with you my Loam Pox deck for Legacy. Whilst I haven’t had a proper chance to test it yet, I’ve been trying to convert it to Modern. It is a difficult challenge to pull off, but it’s one I’m sticking to.
My biggest problem so far is the lack of good utility lands in Modern. Whilst in Legacy I am able to make use of cards like:
[deck]The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
Maze of Ith
However, there are still some cards that we can leverage here.
So firstly, let’s try to get our win condition back. A couple of [card]Treetop Village[/card]s gives us a solid beater that we can recur. I am also keen to try out [card]Vengeful Pharaoh[/card] as a way of handling creatures that doesn’t cost me a card, interacts well with [card]Life from the Loam[/card] and [card]Liliana of the Veil[/card], and can close out a game in pretty short order.
[deck]Life from the Loam
Liliana of the Veil
These are two cards that we want to have good access to. I’ve never been sold on running a full four of each in Legacy and though they’re very integral to the game plan, neither of them are that great in multiples. Three of each should be enough to find them reliably without having awkward multiple draws too often. The lack of utility lands as I mentioned before is a big downside to Life from the Loam, but it still gets us so far ahead in cards that it is a very solid play.
One way we can leverage all of these extra lands that Life from the Loam is drawing us is through retrace spells, specifically [card]Raven’s Crime[/card]. I have only included one in the maindeck, but one is often all you need as you can just keep on reusing it from the graveyard turn after turn keeping your opponent off cards and stop them from being able to deal with your threats.
Inquisition of Kozilek
As a complimentary suite of one-mana discard I would want to run some number of [card]Thoughtseize[/card], [card]Inquisition of Kozilek[/card] and [card]Duress[/card]. [card]Thoughtseize[/card] is, in a vacuum, the most powerful of these three, but in a deck like this we can’t afford to take too much life loss. I decided to split 2-2 [card]Thoughtseize[/card] with [card]Inquisition of Kozilek[/card] for this reason, with some [card]Duress[/card]es relegated to sideboard duty for creature-light Combo or Control decks. It is also worth considering [card]Despise[/card], but I don’t think that just hitting creatures or planeswalkers is quite where we want to be with this deck.
Our discard suite is rounded out by sets of [card]Wrench Mind[/card] and [card]Smallpox[/card], which is one of the best cards in the deck for generating raw card advantage. This is due to the fact that so much of our deck is reusable from the graveyard with [card]Life from the Loam[/card] and [card]Vengeful Pharaoh[/card]. Over the course of the game we can easily gain back those cards, plus the fact that we can often leverage it to kill our opponent’s creatures when we have none or discard a card when we’re hellbent.
This deck deals with creatures in a number of other ways. Damnation can give us a big mopping up spell to reset the board, while [card]Golgari Charm[/card] can provide a similar effect whilst also giving utility against other problematic enchantments (and either one works against [card]Splinter Twin[/card]!). [card]Maelstrom Pulse[/card] is effective against token heavy strategies, planeswalkers and powerful creatures and can just kill things dead.
[card]Darkblast[/card] can do a lot against small creatures in the early game, getting rid of mana birds and dorks, Bobs ([card]Dark Confidant[/card]), and anything else with low toughness. Note that you can give a creature -2/-2 with [card]Darkblast[/card], if you cast it during your upkeep, Dredge it and then cast it again later in the same turn. Our final main deck removal spell is [card]Geth’s Verdict[/card], which can really shut down creature-light decks that look to suit everything up on one creature, like Infect or Bogles.
You may have noticed from this decklist that it goes very much against the traditional 4-ofs packages that a lot of decks use – instead it has a diverse selection of answers to problems that could be posed. This means that in most match ups we are left with very few dead cards in our deck, which can happen when we use specific answers, and makes sideboarding a little easier – as we don’t have to dedicate so much space to replacing specific dead cards.
One very narrow card I did decide to use main deck is [card]Spreading Algae[/card]. This is a card that I discovered when running [card]Auratog[/card] Combo deck a little while ago as extra copies of [card]Rancor[/card]. I would use [card]Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth[/card] to turn my opponent’s lands to [card]Swamp[/card]s, at which point I can cast [card]Spreading Algae[/card] either as a 1 mana [card]Stone Rain[/card] effect or keep sacrificing it to pump my [card]Auratog[/card] over and over to swing for lethal. I only want to run one of these in the main, but I do like to play a few morein the sideboard as a way to hate on Black decks. This is a card nobody sees coming.
We can also run a little recursive mana disruption in the lands slots. Having [card]Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth[/card] available to us means that we can afford a few more colourless sources than I’d normally like to run, as Urborg helps to fix them. Again, a 2/2 split of [card]Tectonic Edge[/card] and [card]Ghost Quarter[/card] will help us to keep our opponent’s mana development in check, whilst not being overloaded with either of them in games where one or the other performs poorly – whether that be against fast decks or decks with lots of basics. Against decks that are both fast and basic land-heavy, we’ll have to find another way to beat them.
Our lands also give us a way of slowing creatures down. For these slots I decided on [card]Quicksand[/card] and [card]Mystifying Maze[/card], so that I can deal with a wide range of threats. Though admittedly you won’t want to be Maze-ing some creatures too often – be careful of those enters-the-battlefield effects.
Moving on towards the sideboard, we want to have access to some powerful hate cards. Our graveyard hate supplements a main deck [card]Bojuka Bog[/card] and comes in the form of [card]Grafdigger’s Cage[/card] and [card]Nihil Spellbomb[/card], neither of which mess up our own game plan. I face a lot of small creature/token based decks in my local metagame, especially in the aftermath of the Modern Event Deck, so some varied hate against that is good also, some [card]Virulent Plague[/card]s, [card]Night of Soul’s Betrayal[/card] and [card]Black Sun’s Zenith[/card] all working well here.
[card]Creeping Corrosion[/card] comes in against Affinity, which is a difficult matchup due to its speed. Burn is also an issue, with the [card]Duress[/card]es and [card]Syphon Life[/card]s coming in – this is a great way to get a source of repeatable life gain that can’t just be burned off the table. The [card]Duress[/card]es straight up replace [card]Thoughtseize[/card] as there’s little point in [card]Shock[/card]ing ourselves to stop [card]Lightning Bolt[/card]s. Finally, we come to the aforementioned [card]Spreading Algae[/card], which really accellerate a mana denial plan against the right decks.
Overall, that gives us this list:
Curse of the Pharaohs, a Modern Deck by Christopher Cooper
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
3 Life from the Loam
2 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Raven’s Crime
4 Wrench Mind[/deck]
4 Geth’s Verdict
2 Golgari Charm[/deck]
Enchantment (1), Planeswalker (3), Creature (4)
[deck]1 Spreading Algae
3 Liliana of the Veil
4 Vengeful Pharaoh[/deck]
1 Bojuka Bog
2 Ghost Quarter
2 Mystifying Maze
4 Overgrown Tomb
2 Tectonic Edge
2 Treetop Village
3 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
4 Verdant Catacombs[/deck]
[deck]2 Spreading Algae
2 Virulent Plague
2 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Nihil Spellbomb
2 Creeping Corrosion
1 Black Sun’s Zenith
1 Night of Soul’s Betrayal
2 Syphon Life[/deck]
As always, thanks for reading. If you have any comments or questions about the deck I’d love to hear them. I’ll be trying to make this deck work between now and the mtguk Modern National Championships, I’ll be testing it rather vigourously.
If you haven’t signed up yet you can preregister here. I would really urge you to sign up for these if you haven’t already. The more people who preregister, the better idea of the prizes available to the Top 8s we can give.
If you have a Legacy deck and would really like to play with it in the Vintage Championships too but don’t know how to switch it up then please send me a copy of your decklist and a nominal budget to work with and I’ll see what I can do with it. Please submit your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday 5th April either as a decklist on tappedout.net or using a copy of the spreadsheet I’ve made on Google Drive here.
Community Question: What Legacy deck(s) would you like to see converted into Vintage decks?