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4C Loam at PT25A

2018/09/01 00:00 

    • Dmitriy Butakov
    • Hareruya Pros Blog

Hello. Today I'd like to talk about Legacy deck 4C Loam. I was on a Legacy seat on PT25A, and despite our team (me and my friends Marcelino Freeman and Andreas Ganz) have done pretty bad on that PT, I was satisfied with the deckchoice in the metagame given.

Deck List

Let's take a look at what we're working with:

Knight of the ReliquaryLife from the LoamChalice of the Void

The list remains without significant changes for a long time; I have won a few Legacy Challenges with it, and the first one was about a year ago. There was a time I was actively tweaking it, tried different Planeswalkers, changed the removal package. However it seemed that was the case you don't want to teach the old dog new tricks.

Gaddock Teeg

If you have played the deck before, your first question would probably be: “Where is 《Gaddock Teeg》?” The card is great, but I don't like it right now. It is good against Storm decks only. Yes, it forbids 《Jace》 and 《Terminus》, but Miracles have 《Swords to Plowshares》 + 《Snapcaster Mage》 (which, by the way, can just block it if you are not on your toes), so either they will deal with 《Teeg》 or deal with the other threats and just don't care about 2/2 for some time. Vs Grixis it forbids 《Jace》 and 《FoW》, then again, they have a plenty of removal and you are happy to trade 《FoW》 for almost any single card on the first stages of the game.

Surgical ExtractionLeyline of the Void

The deck's general strategy is mostly about graveyard interaction. So it is important to have a good game plan against gravehate for games 2 and 3. One time graveyard removal, such as 《Surgical Extraction》 or 《Relic of Progenitus》, is not scary. Once you have survived it, you will be able to fill your graveyard back in no time. 《Rest in Peace》 and 《Leyline of the Void》 is another matter, there is no way to deal with the 《Leyline of the Void》 (I don't like 《Vindicate》), and a competent opponent will hold 《Rest in Peace》 until it impacts the board state on ETB. That means we need another source of exponential advantage, once we have it connected it is all about supporting it with almost anything.

Bitterblossom

On a PT I was using 2 《Bitterblossom》, the card shines in a lot of matchups, you can install it turn 1, and it requires minimum support to seal the game. People are often playing one Planeswalker in their sideboard for the same reasons, usually it is 《Ajani Vengeant》 or 《Garruk Relentless》, I disagree with both choices, maybe I lack the experience of playing these cards, but they seem just way too slow. I would probably try one 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》 sideboard next time, in theory she provides faster clock.

Matchups

Recently one player told me to start analyzing deck's position in the metagame with the bad matchups, not the good ones. If you are looking for a Pro Point record, it makes a lot of sense; a deck with a hopeless matchup among the suggested Top3 decks will take you nowhere. I'll take a short survey of most popular Legacy decks, summarizing them into groups:

《Show and Tell》 Decks

Against Omnitell/Sneak Show

Out

Abrupt Decay Abrupt Decay Abrupt Decay
Punishing Fire Toxic Deluge

In

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben Thalia, Guardian of Thraben Reclamation Sage
Containment Priest Containment Priest

Speaking of hopeless matchups, let's start with 《Show and Tell》 type of decks. There are two kinds of deck - Omnitell and Sneak Show, but for us the difference is insignificant, if they play 《Show and Tell》 you are going to lose.

Show and Tell

A competent opponent knows you put almost no pressure at the beginning, so they will try to organize a line of play with a kill in one turn, with 《Force of Will》 they have all the time in the world to do it. How do you win it? You don't. There are some slight possibilities of him putting a creature facing your 《Karakas》 or 《Knight of the Reliquary》 to fetch 《Karakas》, but even then, they will have the time to prepare his next turn, that is your 10%. Apart from that, there is no effective way to have a game here without ruining your sideboard.

On a PT I expected 《Show and Tell》 decks to have a lot of natural enemies in face of RUGs, Death and Taxes or some faster combos like Reanimator.

Other Combo Decks

Against Reanimator

Out

Abrupt Decay Abrupt Decay Abrupt Decay
Punishing Fire Punishing Fire Punishing Fire
Liliana of the Veil Liliana of the Veil

In

Leyline of the Void Leyline of the Void Leyline of the Void Leyline of the Void
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Containment Priest Containment Priest

Against Storm

Out

Abrupt Decay Abrupt Decay Abrupt Decay
Punishing Fire Punishing Fire Punishing Fire

In

Leyline of the Void Leyline of the Void Leyline of the Void Leyline of the Void
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
ReanimatePast in Flames

Other combo decks might seem faster, but they are more interactive, they have to play more spells and are using graveyard. Our countermeasures as 《Chalice of the Void》 (1 vs. Reanimator, 0 vs. Storm), 《Thalia, Guardian of Thraben》 and 《Leyline of the Void》 becomes more effective, sometimes having just one on the battlefield is enough to give you time to take the game. Don't be afraid to mulligan aggressively, on a PT I've played game 3 against Lucas Esper Berthoud with BR Reanimator, I've mulliganed to 5 on the draw in search for 《Leyline of the Void》, but failed and kept some decent hand with 《Chalice of the Void》. That was clearly a mistake and I should have gone to 4 or lower. By the time I'll play a 《Chalice》 he would already have a reanimated threat.

Against Storm, you can also consider siding out 《Maze of Ith》, but I think 《Mox》 fodder is more important than 2 damage.

Creature-Based Decks

Eldrazi, Death and Taxes, and RUG Delver were the most popular creature-based decks on this PT.

Against Eldrazi

Out

Chalice of the Void Chalice of the Void Chalice of the Void Chalice of the Void
Punishing Fire Punishing Fire Abrupt Decay

In

Swords to Plowshares Swords to Plowshares Bitterblossom Bitterblossom
The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale Reclamation Sage Toxic Deluge

Against Eldrazi, game1 is all about 《Knight of the Reliquary》, if you untap with it in play, it will get you there alone. Usually Eldrazi deck is playing 2 《Dismember》 maindeck, keep that in mind.

After sideboard it becomes a bit more complicated thanks to his gravehate, if they don't have it, you have a big advantage. If they start with 《Leyline》, one of the best lines of play is trying to harass his mana base (even though 《Eye of Ugin》 looks like a keystone of the deck, it gives no real mana and is legendary, you should destroy it last), then you proceed with either of 2 lines, depending on what you have.

Toxic DelugeLiliana of the Veil

1. You allow him to grow some board and wipe it out with 《Toxic Deluge》 (don't be afraid to drop to 3+- life netting more creatures, it keeps you out of 《Walking Ballista》 range, but without proper defense you are as easily 《Reality Smashed》 with 10 life) or 《The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale》, then finish the game with anything.

2. You try to control the board, play a 《Liliana》 to take out his last creature. If his manabase is already softened and you don't get hit by a 《Reality Smasher》 via 《Simian Spirit Guide》, 《Liliana》 should provide enough pressure for you to seize the initiative.

Against Death and Taxes

Out

Chalice of the Void Chalice of the Void Chalice of the Void Chalice of the Void
Scavenging Ooze Life from the Loam

In

Swords to Plowshares Swords to Plowshares Bitterblossom Bitterblossom
Reclamation Sage Toxic Deluge

Death and Taxes is an interesting and even matchup. In game 1, they plays aggressive and you play control, you have all your interactions intact and preboard games seems pretty favored, the games are straightforward, but there is a few things you should be aware of:

- 《Flickerwisp》 can reset 《Chalice》 and 《Mox》.

- 《Sanctum Prelate》 shuts almost all of your removal, but you have 《Deluge》, 《Liliana》 and 《Cabal Pit》 to deal with it.

- Try to keep a fetchland at ready. It helps against 《Port》/《Wasteland》, but his nightmare card is 《Palace Jailer》, there is a ton of ways to deal with creatures and if you are able to push 《Dryad Arbor》 to get a crown, you'll win in no time.

Palace JailerMonarch TokenDryad Arbor

Post board they are going to play control with 《Rest in Peace》 and all that "Taxes", leaving the aggro role to you. Like I said before, when you lose your grave-based advantage, the best cards are Planeswalkers and 《Bitterblossom》, your primary goal is install one of them as quickly as possible and try to ride it to victory. Side out all 《Chalice》, they have many ways to play around it.

Against RUG Delver

Out

Green Sun's Zenith Green Sun's Zenith
Sylvan Library

In

Swords to Plowshares Swords to Plowshares
Toxic Deluge

RUG is the easiest matchup of the three and is favored. Of course, it has an unforgiving starts with two 1-drops + counters/《Wasteland》, but even with this scenario, the win is possible. 《Life from the Loam》 makes sure you won't be screwed.

《Knight of the Reliquary》 is an absolute beast in this matchup, as long as play around 《Daze》, 《FoW》(and probably 《Submerge》 post board, but with 《Mox》 and 《Grove》 sometimes it's possible to play without any 《Forest》 in play) will be the only answer for it, and once 《Knight》 resolves it is almost impossible to lose.

Life from the LoamKnight of the Reliquary

《Chalice of the Void》 with one counter shuts almost half of his functional cards, as with 《Knight》, if you connect it turn 1 or 2 it is a free win.

Control Deck

Against Grixis Control

Out

Chalice of the Void Chalice of the Void Chalice of the Void Chalice of the Void
Toxic Deluge

In

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben Thalia, Guardian of Thraben Bitterblossom Bitterblossom
Swords to Plowshares

The most popular deck on a PT was Grixis Control and it is a good matchup as well. Game1 it is about 《Life from the Loam》 again, Grixis plays no gravehate maindeck and is pretty slow, once the 《Life from the Loam》 engine starts rolling, you're going to drown him in cards. They have two cards that can provide you some trouble G1 - 《Jace, the Mind Sculptor》 and 《Gurmag Angler》, setting up your 《Life from the Loam》 engine takes some time and if they are able to quickly cast one of these and protect it with countermagic, situation becomes grim, but that's the best deck, you can't really expect it to put no resistance.

Jace, the Mind SculptorGurmag Angler

After sideboard, they will add some 《Surgical Extraction》, you shouldn't be greedy about keeping graveyard-oriented starting hands. The all-star 《Bitterblossom》, 《Thalia》 and Planeswalkers comes in, so the matchup remains favored on the play and even-to-favored on the draw.

Conclusion

Concluding this lets summarize the Pros and Cons of the deck:

    Pros:
  • The deck has a couple of favored matchups in the Tier1 decks and a bunch of even ones
  • The deck is very interactive and rewards experience and skill, as well as punishes the lack of preparation both for you and opponent
  • 《Knight of the Reliquary》 and 《Green Sun's Zenith》 provides enough tutor effects to add some silver bullets
    Cons:
  • The deck is very interactive and the matches will be long. Have some food, because you will have no time to grab some from the food court or something. Try playing some big local tournament, 8 consecutively matches with your friends or a couple of leagues on MO, it will help to evaluate how much it stresses you out. Take it seriously; first thing an interactive deck requires in a competent field is your cool head
  • The deck features some rare cards and is pretty hard to assemble in paper, I had to ask a few people to give me some cards I was missing
  • 《Show and Tell》

Legacy is a constantly shifting format. Some decks become dominant, then some old builds rise from the ashes. I like keeping in mind decks like Loam, sleeved up at the right time, they have a potential to show good results.

I hope you have enjoyed the reading and will find it useful.

Thanks and see you online,

Dmitriy Butakov

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