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  • posted a message on Raphael Levy's Loam Pox
    Actually, I think this is good news for this archetype, because a lot of things suddenly became slower, there's much less hate and we're now free to become grindy black green. I'm currently having a blast with this (after the first few tuning iterations):

    It's still underpowered a lot (like, a LOT) compared to the rest of the meta, but contrary to before mana run smoothly. Reclaimer is nice in that it's pseudo-inquisition against removal (in retrospect, I forgot to add 2 Horizon lands in place of Mires) and this helps Constrictor do its thing. At the same time, it has some nice utility on its own. At least a 3/4 for 1 is something I'm interested in running in place of Goyf, since it curves more smoothly. Furthemore, it allows for more consistent Despairs in that it saves us a card that could pottentially translate to one more zombie token.

    What I'm really missing from the setup is Conflagrate, but I feel ill-inclined to splash for it. I also replaced Pharaoh with pushes because we really need to deal with Scooze and push is better at disrupting creature combos.

    Sideboard's still a mess, as I'm searching for strategies in this color combination. Perhaps people will go back to playing Surgicals and I'll jam my favorite Memory's Journeys in there.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Goblins
    Quote from Ace1 »
    Do you think the bans will make our deck shine? Less degenerate graveyard shenanigans may open the metagame to grindy value decks like goblins.

    Only if we manage to have a favorable Tron matchup, I think.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on Mardu Gravekin (Elemental Tribal)
    After playing around with the deck, I was impressed with its grindiness but think that it has issues in achieving both speed and consistency at the same time (effectively it cannot deal a lot of damage before turn 3, unless it somehow manages to bin Lightning Skelemental, which means that it would win on turn 5 if the opponent did not interact at all).

    With this consideration, I think that the deck can be classified more as a midrange one and I tried to build a version in tune with the following ideas:
    a) more easily assemble a full graveyard (with the amount of built-in recursion, elementals in the graveyard are very easy to bring to play)
    b) offer disruption to fight in the middle game against combo and removal-heavy decks
    c) utilize Vesperlark so that it can provide value

    My first take (for the record, I'm torn between the versatility of brutalities and Golgari Thugs).

    What I'm really proud of in this deck is the inclusion of removal lightning rod. (My favorite sequence is evoking Vesper->Awakener->Vesper->Freebooter). Perhaps the Blade Splicers in place of Flickerwisps are too cute, since wisps can help push some damage through but I think that awakener->vesper->get back killed awakener is a consistent enough source of damage.

    Furthermore, the fact that we can dredge towards Skelemental means that we can avoid running Ball Lightning, which is a very mediocre card on its own.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Raphael Levy's Loam Pox
    Hi @zigeif!

    My take on your questions:
    1) I did say some posts ago that Smallpox is starting to become well-positioned again (i.e. most decks are creature decks). However, after trying it for myself, I re-discovered that it places too many constraints on deckbuilding (number of lands) and playstyle (makes us too reactive for an archetype that plays to the board) for a card that doesn't win the game and can't be found while dredging. I'd rather ran more powerful cards in the same slots really.
    2) Wrenn and Six seems a very good addition overall. I just haven't gotten to test with it (because of $$$). Do keep in mind that it feels like a Squee that needs mana. If this proves true, I'd rather ran Squee, because the archetype heavily relies on free effects.
    3) I don't know about other people's opinion, but I personally think Hogaak is garbage in the archetype; we simply can't cast it easily before turn 3 and even when we do it cripples the rest of our strategy by needing to exile important cards from the graveyard.

    I currently have difficulty assessing what Infestation brings to the table against the increased modern power level; 6 power on turn two is now outclassed by many competetive decks (e.g. Phoenix, Hollow One), which means that zombie tokens can't trade with the early board and then leave us win through the card advantage engine.

    I experimentally tried to "make a consistent squeeflagrate strategy" (not zombie loam, but a strategy where I can get in for some cheap shots and finish it up with a couple of Conflagrates). I started by increasing Imps to a full playset to get consistent dredges and gradually morphed into a dredge variant, where:
    - Haunted Dead + Amalgams replace Infestation (they create the same rate of putting power on the board but can do so from the yard)
    - even one copy of Squee can create some sweet card advantage that enables lethal Conflagrates (a third copy often enables humongous Conflagrates, so maybe I'll cut something for it)
    - Creeping Chill replaces Pharaohs, Brownscales, the third Conflagrate and Utility lands

    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Raphael Levy's Loam Pox
    Great write-up @Danr!
    What were the matchups you encountered the most trouble with?

    P.S. If you think Despair is not suited for the current meta (I believe tron and scapeshift have been pushed back a lot?) maybe just run 2 Crimes and an Urborg to free up a slot.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Goblins
    Thanks for the reply @Hellgrammite.
    I think I don't understand very well what you're saying about Banneret+Bushwhacker; do you mean that it's possible to be threat light with this configuration? If so, can't I mulligan the exact hand you describe? (I imagine it's almost impossible to not have anything else.) My problem with Chieftain is that a) redundant copies don't help to increase storm count without losing mana, b) it's a very clear target that I think goblins in general try to avoid (Bushwhacker would at least net value for one turn, because we're not playing in a vacuum) and c) removal can stop the lethal turn I'm trying to create.

    I agree with Ringleader needing 35 creatures to get the hit rate you mention, but I've found no current solution for what I'm trying to do (this is why I include only 3 copies). I must say that, despite the nombo of finding Empty the Warrens (which itself is a very good enough finisher that I'd like to maintain), can itself not count as a creature too (so that it needs only one highly consistent hit to net value)? Perhaps I could try to change unearths for more goblins, but I'll need to try them first, because Unearth feels like a very powerful card every time I play it.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on [Primer] Goblins
    Hi all! Coming from trying to make Skirk+Fecundity competitive, my brewing has arrived at this list that incorporates a mini-combo finish:

    If left unchecked, it often achieves a turn 4 (sometimes turn 3) explosion through Skirk+Empty. Effectively, the idea is to play 3-4 goblins, sac them to get mana, get a lot of tokens and bushwhack. It may appear demanding on paper, but in practice there there are many lines that achieve the desired outcome (especially with Unearth+Matron serving for an discounted Matron). In general, Unearth enables a ton of fun synergies, such as reanimating Marshal turn 3 and bushwhacking for 10.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • posted a message on UW Control
    I'd imagine a more realistic control curve for this could be T1 Thraben Inspector, T2 fetch+chump on their turn, turn 3 wrath/cryptic.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Raphael Levy's Loam Pox
    If you really want to tackle the Hogaak matchup, I've tried with some success maindecking 3x bog, 2x darkblast, 3x cycling lands, 2x brownscales and 2x Pharaohs. We can still get comboed out this way, but it's very difficult to grind through pharaoh + sorcery speed hate + 4-6 life each turn through attacking, even if trample (WHY DOES THAT CARD HAVE TRAMPLE) bypasses our chumpers. Disclaimer: even then we are probably on the losing side - just not in the unbeatable range.

    I'd imagine Wizards would ban (if at all) either Bridge or the artifact combo enabler. I've tested Insolent Neonate as a replacement to Looting before and we wouldn't mind it too much; it shaves % points only if Infestation is exactly the 9th card in the deck but grants explosiveness with dredgers and lands (although better options could exist).
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Raphael Levy's Loam Pox
    With Blooming Marsh I'm trying to
    a) minimize the chance that turn 1 looting into dredge stinkweed turn 2 will leave me able to get black and green even if I accidentally mill over Overgrown Tomb
    b) incentivize fetching basic mountain/tapped shock turn 1 into turn 2 marsh for all colors with only 1 pain
    c) compress colors so that I run 3 mountains (I feel it's a necessary evil)
    It's been working great up to this point. (In the past I played 6 fastlands -2 of each- and it was also comfortable, albeit sometimes loam wasn't as powerful and I couldn't fetch the basic swamp without GQ.)

    I'm very torn on the cycling lands; in approximately 10% of the games I play they work wonders in being explosive (both with and without Infestation) and post-board they are insurance against Surgical and Ravenous Trap taking out the Loam engine. They also randomly help stabilize with Brownscale vs. every aggro deck. I also suspect that they can allow a Darkblast to replace the fourth Conflagrate, because cycling lands + loam + darkblast in the lategame can grind through creatures just fine, but I haven't really tested this. On the other hand. sometimes it feels that I'm missing on action with them, but maybe I'm just keeping wrong openers. The increased number of lands have felt incredible in general; the ability to let the land drops smooth out themselves and focus on getting only the stability/value train going is amazing (also note that Dryad is mostly a fetchable creature for Despair + a very efficient chumpblock engine). If I wasn't playing cyclers, I imagine I would be playing only one less land and a couple of utilities (e.g. 2 Bogs).

    I'm very against 1-ofs as a deckbuilding choice in general unless they are additional copies of an effect (e.g. hall is a fifth Infestation in theory) or we want them only sometimes and only against slower decks (e.g. I like a singleton Blast Zone, because it can kill bridge).

    Currently, the best removal is in my opinion Lightning Axe, because it kills Thing in the Ice, scooze, humans bombs and interacts at instant speed with creature combo decks while also being a discard outlet and curving correctly with turn 2 infestation, turn 3 axe+souls. On the other hand, if you're running only 2 Stinkweeds, Darkblast is absolutely necessary to get a critical mass of dredgers.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Raphael Levy's Loam Pox
    Quote from Xour »
    I'm sorry to chime in, but there is already /r/ModernLoam/ and of course /r/ModernMagic/

    The reason I bring this up is that usually is better to group up instead of splitting the community. Cheers!

    No worries - it's good to have feedback!

    As I said in the previous post though, we have very different discussions, because almost all posts there are for assault loam (edit: or at least for very different varieties), which is very different (it's like calling spirits humans due to Thalias, Images and Reflectors - cards just happen to overlap - it's the same reason this is a different forum thread). It's the same with r/ModernMagic; I'd personally not want to have to scroll & filter through numerous unrelated posts to find the latest ideas for the particular archetype and I imagine this sentiment is shared by a lot of people that want a meaningful discussion rather than discussing trends. I understand where you're coming from, since Loam players are not that many in the first place, but I'd rather have two high quality discussions with 5-15 people each rather than an unfocused one (or worse: one where the minority brewing squeeflagrate is hesitant to participate in) with 10-30 people.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on UW Control
    The only method I'm currently considering as competent enough against the archetype is 4x Angelsong + 2x Ashiok ; in my limited testing with maindecks it appears equalish preboard with this configuration (well, slightly positive, but I guess testing by myself could bias the quality of play in favor of control). It's funny, but this essentially degrades UW's role in the matchup into glorified turbo fog (cryptic is used as a fog too in that case) that essentially gets back CA in the lategame (Azcanta, Narset, Teferi, I don't have jaces). After fogging the heck out of them, you can get an Ashiok + swipe to clean up (the most problematic card is bridge at that point but you do need the post-swipe yard too) and then keep containing their board while you start grinding value.

    Perhaps the desert that exiles yards would help a lot too, but I haven't tested yet.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on Raphael Levy's Loam Pox
    The particular sub does not personally inspire me that much to have a focused discussion, since I'm not interested in assault loam strategies at all (and I imagine assault loam players would also not be very interested in Squeeflagrate, since the two are very different to each other). As a (hopefully temporary) solution, I think I would be happy to discuss things in a dedicated sub. (I'd be happy to help create a primer @Danr2000 - although I haven't posted before my reddit handle is also maniospas if you want to contact me there).
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Raphael Levy's Loam Pox
    My first observations after testing a bit:

    - 1x Nether Spirit as Bloodghast no. 5 is absolutely amazing. I started with 2, but the second one was problematic often enough to warrant a cut (the other creatures dredge).

    - Ruination Rioter doesn't perform very well, because it almost always hits its floor and not its ceiling and that required all my resources without being able to win the game; I couldn't even goldfish with him reliably, so I think he's a cut.

    - We usually can't delve, because the deck is incredibly dense in graveyard value. We have, like, 4 infestations that we don't mind delving (and even this may change). Of the two threats I'm more interested in Hogaak since the flier doesn't pass the "am I happy to dredge it or does it win the game on its own without caring about removal" barrier.

    - Shenanigans could be at most a single copy, because Grudge costs less, is an immediate answer to bridge, can kill Latice by floating mana and isn't card disadvantrage vs Relic. Actually, Force of Vigor is by far the more interesting card, since it's so great in helping us fight graveyard hate (I'd see myself sideboarding 2-3).

    - The cycling lands compete directly with white + Hall of Heliod's Generosity slots. If you want to go with white, Bosk is still the best option, since the Hall promotes a play pattern that doesn't mind the ETB tapped effect (do the hall on your upkeep). Unfortunately, waiting three turns to attack (1 to play a white land, 1 to play hall and 1 to get infestation) doesn't appeal to me; we can shorten it by one turn by prioritizing fetching Bosk early on or playing a hall from hand, but I'd much rather Loot or Conflag for a lot and get pressure and disruption going early on than durdle and die.
    On the other hand, the cycling lands are simply amazing. Let me rephrase that: they're bonkers. Dredge Imp -> discard it -> dredge it again (or simply dredge another thing) in a single turn nets us enough resources that we shouldn't care about additional copies of infestation.

    My current brewing status:
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • posted a message on Raphael Levy's Loam Pox
    Organizing the relevant spoilers up to now and my opinion:

    - Ayula's Influence : There's no way to curve into this in meaningful manner.
    - Nether Spirit : A nice supplement to Ghasts. We definitely want one - possibly two, although it could require cutting Brownscales (funnily, Pharaoh works not horribly with it). The nice part is that it's good when the rest of the deck fizzle (whereas it's bad when it wins, so it's not a win-more card).
    - Ruination Rioter : Seems very interesting due to the ability to hit face. I'm thinking of a line of turn 2 Conflagrate for 4, dredge and play this on turn 3, dredge loam, attack (in that order), get 3 lands and Conflag for 4 (splitting 2 damage to it if it wasn't blocked) for a total of something like 4 (1st conflag)+4 (2nd conflag plus attack should just do 2 of the damage in a different way) + at least 4 lands in yard = at least 12 dmg total. Given the ability of non-lands we run to generally push even more damage through with this sequence, I think this play is fast enough to consider 2-3 copies but it needs some testing to say for sure.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
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