2, Sep, 23

Bizarre MTG Deck Turns Lands into Massive Damage!

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Article at a Glance

While there are definitely some strategies that are better than others in the Modern format, the card pool is so vast, and the love for the format is so massive, that bizarre decks will pop up all over the place. One week, players discovered that Flumph combined with the new Orcish Bowmasters can create a bizarre deckout scenario. This week, a bunch of unplayable cards have been combined together to create an equally bizarre land combo fueled by an old Modern mainstay: Seismic Assault.

Chucking Your Land for Damage

Today’s Modern offering is an offbeat Midrange deck centering around the above shell. Created by Magic Online player COKIFTW penned Assault Loam on mtggoldfish.com (this link is the decklist), the niche archetype does have occasional appearances in Modern league 5-0 lists, like the example provided. Slogurk seems to be a new direction for the synergy to explore.

Slogurk and Seismic Assault work quite beautifully together. Each time a land is put into your grave from anywhere, Slogurk gets a +1/+1 counter. This means Slogurk will trigger off of Seismic Assault activations, growing Slogurk while dealing damage.

When Slogurk leaves the battlefield, you can return three lands to your hand from your graveyard, and Seismic Assault is far from the only way you can get your lands into your graveyard. Fetch Lands, Magmatic Insight and Cycling lands like Forgotten Cave all help to build upon this synergy. After Slogurk gets three counters, you can return the creature to your hand of your own volition. This could be to protect Slogurk, but could also be to get three lands back and burn your opponent out with Seismic Assault.

You’ll notice that there is an extra copy of Molten Vortex, which acts as a slightly worse fifth copy of Seismic Assault. You generally want to see at least one of these cards per game, and adding the fifth copy can be a big deal, especially in Spell Pierce matchups. Finding multiples is redundant, but your good matchups for this deck generally have ways to remove a Seismic Assault, making the second one much better.

Another unique inclusion in this archetype is Ruination Rioter. The floor on this card is rather low but, in a Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Orcish Bowmasters metagame, even having one land in the grave can force your opponent to trade their much more valuable creatures into your underpowered 2/2.

Should the game go long, Ruination Rioter turns into a win condition. It’s not uncommon for this card to deal ten damage to any target upon death, which is usually enough to usher in your victory in short order between other copies of the Rioter and a few Seismic Assault pings.

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The Usual Attendees

A Modern deck that cares about having lands in grave and your hand? What a great place for Wrenn and Six to make an appearance! The Seismic Assault shell gives your Wrenn and Six a lot more value than usual, turning your returned lands you otherwise don’t need into Shock. Wrenn and Six also ensures you hit all your land drops and gets rid of pesky nuisances like Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Orcish Bowmasters.

Life From the Loam both fuels Slogurk and Seismic Assault at the same time. As long as you have a copy of Assault live, Dredging this card back to your hand will generally translate to six damage for two mana, which is a pretty good deal. Otherwise, this exchange also buffs your Slogurk, allowing it to get in for damage before bouncing itself for another six damage.

Even though Ragavan isn’t quite as good as it used to be, it is quite effective against your bad matchups, helps your grind game, and can speed up your clock to compete with more meta Modern decks. The card felt like a fine inclusion since you’re rather interested in ramping out your various three drops.

Ignoble Hierarch also sees play here to essentially accomplish the same thing, but I had a hard time using this to ramp out Slogurk on turn two thanks to not always having access to blue mana.

Strengths and Weaknesses

This Assault Loam archetype is very good at playing grindy games and occasionally offers an explosive win. Decks like four-color Ring control are very good matchups for you. Even with a resolved Ring, you can keep up with their card advantage and close the door before they can. Anything trying to play a long game is a deck you prey on.

Decks that care about small creatures sticking like Creativity can also be good matchups. Trading a land for their Creativity target is always big game, and even if they resolve an Indomitable Creativity and stick an Archon of Cruelty, if your Ruination Rioter has enough lands in the graveyard, you’re happy to sacrifice it and close the game in short order.

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Weaknesses

Decks that offer really quick clocks that attack from a noncreature angle is where Assault Loam suffers the most. Living End is almost impossible to win against game one and other quick decks like Mill can be difficult. Mill, in particular, is a bit odd since their gameplan buffs your Ruination Rioter and your Slogurk. Amulet Titan should theoretically be a nightmare.

If you’re not careful, thanks to the odd manabase this deck features, Blood Moon can be a bit of a nuisance, but will generally only turn your Slogurk off if you’re playing smart. You also play Blood Moon in the sideboard though since there are a lot of matchups where it hampers you a lot less than an opponent.

Fortunately, the sideboard addresses most of the problematic matchups. Leyline of the Void is your plan against Living End, but I’m not sure if it fixes the matchup honestly. Emrakul does do gods work against the second example.

This isn’t the most optimal deck in the world, but it does have multiple 5-0 League finishes under its belt, and when playing it to see how it felt, Assault Loam performed a lot better than expected. This isn’t super popular either, so having a bit of mystery involved with your gameplan can throw opponents off. I had a lot of Slogurk lethals that players just missed.

This is a cool option if you want to play something different, and if control is common in your Modern metagame, this can slaughter the competition.

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