Grand Prix Atlanta is this weekend, and I am quite excited for the opportunity to get out and battle in the Legacy format. This Grand Prix will mark my 2nd GP and my 1st major Legacy event. Needless to say, I’m a little nervous, but I’ve been practicing since April and learning the ins and outs of my deck, so I feel confident that I am ready and will do well. My weapon of choice going into battle this weekend will be a Jund Assault Loam deck. Here’s the breakdown of the deck in its most current incarnation:
4 Dark Confidant
2 Countryside Crusher
2 Scavenging Ooze
3 Lightning Bolt
3 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Life from the Loam
4 Mox Diamond
3 Faithless Looting
2 Diabolic Edict
2 Maelstrom Pulse
3 Seismic Assault
4 Wooded Foothills
2 Bloodstained Mire
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Volrath’s Stronghold
4 Forgotten Cave
3 Tranquil Thicket
I decided I wanted to play Assault Loam after watching Bronson Magnun play it in the Modern GP in Lincoln and David Rice play it in the SCG Legacy open in Providence. The deck seemed to be powerful and just looked like a blast to play. Also, the fact that it effectively doubles as both a Legacy and a Modern deck with a few minor changes helped me come to the decision to play this deck. Prior to Loam, I played Dredge in Legacy. Dredge was fun, for a little while, but I quickly began to tire of such short games and sometimes having games decided in just a matter of turns. Sure, it was fun dumping my entire deck on turn 2 occasionally, but it was equally not fun to have some opponents go turn 1 Tormod’s Crypt, turn 2 Scavenging Ooze. I wanted to play something that was more dynamic and I didn’t want it to be blue. Over the course of a few months, I was able to trade in or sell off most of my standard collection in order to acquire the cards necessary to build the deck, all the while testing and learning the deck via proxies. I immediately fell in love with the deck and still enjoy every game, win or lose, even after months of playing it.
The reason I enjoy this deck is that it has multiple paths to victory within it. Sometimes you land on the Assault-Loam combo and win through attrition, other times you win through a combination of Goyfs/Crushers and burn. What I love most about it is that the deck plays zero blue cards but still has a great filtering system via Life from the Loam, Dark Confidant, Faithless Looting and the Cycle Lands. Honestly, Life from the Loam is one of the best card drawing engines in the game, especially when the deck is built around it and is able to abuse it. Seismic Assault and Cycle Lands/Wastelands do just that. Having Seismic Assault active basically says 1G draw three uncounterable shocks that are free to play, AND it has Dredge 3, so you just draw it turn after turn. Most decks just scoop when you resolve Assault and have Loam in the yard.
Unfortunately, Loams biggest weakness is easily combo. Griselbrand decks of all form are very difficult for this deck to handle. When I began, I was playing pretty much David Rice’s exact 75. After one night of playtesting against a Griselbrand Storm deck, I knew that list wasn’t going to work for the GP. It needed a way to deal with the fast combo decks. I decided that the deck needed a form of hand disruption that would allow me to buy time to get a clock on the board or resolve Seismic Assault, so I added 3x Inquisition of Kozilek. I thought about Duress instead, in order to also hit Sneak Attack, but I didn’t want to miss out on also being able to get rid of some of the annoying 2 cmc creatures like Stoneforge Mystic or Scavenging Ooze.
I also wanted to have a way to deal with a resolved fatty at instant speed. Originally the list ran Liliana of the Veil as a single, and while I like her a lot, not being able to deal with an Emrakul off a Sneak Attack at instant speed didn’t seem like where I wanted to be. The deck also ran Engineered Explosives initially. In my testing, sometimes Engineered Explosives were awesome to have, but against the Griselbrand decks, they were pretty dead draws. I didn’t want to miss out on them completely though, so I moved them to the sideboard and made room for 2 copies of Diabolic Edict in the main. The last change I made to the deck was to swap a Countryside Crusher for a 3rd Tarmogoyf. I liked Goyf a lot in my testing, and almost always wanted to see him early more often, whereas Crusher was sometimes a little slower and awkward if drawn too early or too late. To compensate for the changes, I removed a basic Mountain and added a 2nd Badlands, in order to give me access to more black sources. The deck ended up at 61 cards, but I couldn’t find anything that I really wanted to cut. I tested it rigorously and never felt like I was stumbling due to the 61st card. With all of the drawing and filtering available to me, I was easily making up for that extra card.
As for the sideboard, I have 3 Thoughtseize that come in against combo and control to give me more hand disruption. I have Red Blast and Pyroblast to board in against blue decks. Grudge comes in to deal with pesky artifacts like batterskull. Firespout and Engineered Explovies come in against aggressive decks, usually along with Darkblast, and Tormod’s Crypt and Nihil Spellbomb come in to deal with abusive graveyard decks like Reanimator, Dredge and the Mirror.
Let’s look at a price breakdown for the deck. These prices are based on Star City pricing:
The deck is up there along with some of the more pricey Legacy decks. Most of the cost comes from the Dual Lands and the Tarmogoyfs, followed closesly by Bob(Dark Confidant). It’s definitely a deck that reflects that value in power though. When your cards are good, they are VERY good, and they are good quite often. Don’t let the price tag scare you away, it took me about 2 months to assemble this deck by trading away and selling standard cards, but, in the end, I was able to put the deck together for just over $1,000 in trade value by taking my time and finding good deals. Also, I was able to increase the overall value of my collection by cashing in the more volatile Standard cards for more stable Legacy cards.
The hate for Loam is the same as most graveyard hate. Tormod’s Crypt, Nihil Spellbomb, Surgical Extraction etc., are all painful cards to deal with, but they aren’t always the end of the world. Often times you can get an opponent to blow their artifacts early by playing Loam or resolving a Goyf, other times you can just ignore it and resolve a Countryside Crusher. It’s not fun to play against heavy graveyard hate, but it is certainly less painful than being a Dredge player and playing against it. Mother of Runes and Thalia are also both fairly troublesome. You really need to deal with moms the turn she comes into play, and an early Thalia can really slow you down if she isn’t dealt with quickly.
For now though, this is what I am expecting to go into battle with this weekend. If you are going to be there this weekend and you see me, or any of the other Roxie Cards team, feel free to stop by and say hello.
Hope to see you there, good luck and happy planeswalking!