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Loaming Around – Breakfast of Champions.

June 27, 2011

If you have played Legacy for a long time then chances are you have come across this deck in your gaming experience, perhaps even to the point of playing it. This past weekend Micah Greenbaum lead the legacy stampede by claiming victory at the StarCityGames Legacy Open (Sunday) by dominating the event with a 4 colour aggro loam deck.

This deck has some serious hate for everything, it’s responsive, aggressive, and controlling, but how does it work?

The answer isn’t as quiet obscure as what people might think, in fact it is probably one of the easyist answers ever.

Mana + Bombs = Winning.

4-Color Loam by Micah Greenbaum

Artifacts
4 Mox Diamond

Creatures
3 Countryside Crusher
4 Dark Confidant
4 Knight of the Reliquary
4 Tarmogoyf

Enchantments
1 Sylvan Library

Instants
2 Punishing Fire
2 Swords to Plowshares

Sorceries
3 Burning Wish
2 Devastating Dreams
3 Life from the Loam
2 Vindicate
1 Worm Harvest

Basic Lands
1 Forest

Lands
1 Badlands
1 Bayou
1 Dust Bowl
3 Forgotten Cave
3 Grove of the Burnwillows
1 Maze of Ith
1 Plateau
1 Riftstone Portal
1 Savannah
1 Taiga
2 Tranquil Thicket
1 Verdant Catacombs
2 Wasteland
1 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills

Legendary Lands
1 Karakas

Sideboard:
1 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Choke
3 Leyline of the Void
3 Red Elemental Blast
1 Devastating Dreams
1 Life from the Loam
1 Perish
1 Pulverize
1 Retribution of the Meek
1 Nomad Stadium

Aggro Loam also blends elements of midrange control decks such as the Rock and 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 beating you in the face.

The deck has been around for a long time, but it really reached it’s height in 2008, this changed in 2009 when counterbalance decks were the deck of choice, and aggro loam lost its appeal to many players. In fact if you go back and examine the games from 2008-2009 seasons, you will see a huge shift, in the meta, CounterTop decks became the deck of choice, for a while. However, if you look at the 2010 season one deck swamped and dominated the format that CT once had claimed and that was Survival of the Fittest. When Survival got banned last year the 2010 meta took a huge dive and shift.

Many players went into this frenzy of what to play, it is no doubt that if Survival of the Fittest was still legal, we would still see survival decks with high win percentages, and dominance in the game. Currently there is no dominant deck, with countertop decks being practically useless at the moment because of the meta chaos – their predicative nature of what to expect is no longer the case. So, where does leave a deck like Aggro-Loam?

Well, let me put it this way, Aggro-loam was killed to countertop decks, since there are no or very few countertop decks being played – this gives aggro-loam the birth it needs to play competitively again. However! if numbers swamp to that kind of strategy, than it is possible that CT Decks could emerge, again as possible threats.

Moving forward to the events of yesterday in Baltimore, and Micah Greenbaum winning performance is there a possibility for this mid-range control aggro deck to return? in short, I am going to say no for now, but do not leave the possibility of chance to not sway my reasoning at some later point. Now you may be asking yourself this. Why is it the feel that Aggro-Loam is both a threat and yet not a threat? Well right now the numbers don’t back it up as being an overly established deck type, granted, it is an established deck with a rich history in the game, but right now it is just a drop in the water. As well as the numbers currently don’t support it.

If we look at previous events over the last few weeks (with the exception of this weeks events) we can pretty much see the nature of our beast. Lets look at the numbers for the SCG Invitational, and Denver, the two previous events prior to Baltimore.

First the Invitational – out of the 128 participants the bigger numbers broke down like this:

Merfolk held it’s own with 11.72% (15) playing monoblue merfolk, with an additional 10.94% (14) playing with other colours in their decks and .78% (1) playing with white. So that is a total of 30 players playing Merfolk. 35 players were playing varients of landstill. but here is the kicker, almost 18 percent of the players there were playing Stoneblade with 23 players playing it. Stoneblade has just kind of appeared on the map recently, with sudden surges.

If you are unfamiler with stoneblade check out this article on Manadeprived.com as KYT describes his choice for stoneblade at Providence.

This is a fairly large percentage for playing one specific archetype of 18% of the field wielding the same deck, take into consideration this was just the invitational. So what did the Open look like that weekend?

Well the numbers again breakdown like this: Merfolk/variants held 25.15% (83 players) of the field – a little over 7 percent played U/W Landstill (25 players) and then a shockingly 14.97% (50 Players) were playing Stoneblade. that is a huge gain in numbers when prior to these two events, stone played had less than 10 players play the deck in legacy. So why the upswing? One possible reason is that in Standard (prior to July 1st) Caw-blade was dominant deck to beat, and Stoneblade in legacy could be considered it’s counterpart, and people will often play decks they are familiar with in formats by switching into archetypes they are comfortable with but not so outwardly foreign too.

So where does this leave the current state for older decks to emerge into a healthy playing field, such as Aggro-loam? well it puts them in a very healthy spot. With Control decks being less dominant field percentage wise, aggro, combo and combi-decks are quiet resilient at holding its own. With a lack of super strong control in the format, variant decks can take the lead over other archetypes, by having answers to questions you didn’t want answers too. Prime examples of this are rock, team america, etc – all these decks dominate in some form or another with their builds and quasi-control-aggro tactics.

But we shall see, the format is really still developing, but with strong decks in contention, and weaker meta decks seeing less contention the swing in Legacy could really be just beginning. either way the format is healthy and is as diverse as it ever was. So here are to good games and good times.

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