Modern: Assault Loam and Boseiju's arrival
02/20/22 0 comments
In this article, we will see how the use of channel lands can affect a format, giving spotlight to an archetype that until then was "running out" in the metagame.
New release, new decks!
Of course, with a set like Kamigawa, Neon Dynasty it wouldn't take long for decks aimed at new cards to appear (I even made some lists with cards from it for Modern, which you can see here). And it is correct to say that the main protagonists of Kamigawa for Modern were the channel lands, especially Boseiju, Who Endures.
With that in mind, I decided to bring one of the decks that I found to be more inventive using the card, the Assault Loam used by the player scipios in the February 13 Modern Challenge!
Decklist - Assault Loam by scipios
The idea of using Seismic Assault with Life from the Loam is not necessarily new and was running out of the metagame because of its recursion, since with the setup assembled, the deck has great potential for board control and direct damage to close games.
To complete the interactions, we have one of the most powerful planeswalkers in the game: Wrenn and Six, which would already be a valuable addition for its versatility, but gains even more prominence with its positive ability, replenishing our hand with lands to discard for Assault.
Thus, we have a consistent setup, with more than one card that will help us to have a hand with several lands that will serve as ammunition, which ensures that the enchantment has a high impact as soon as it hits the board.
Before we discuss the infamous lands, I think it's important to mention a creature from Innistrad that made me pleased to appear in a deck; Slogurk, the Overslime is a card I've been eyeing since its release because I think it has good potential, and here we are! The Simic Ooze is a monster in the deck, being both the biggest beater in play and a recursion piece along with Seismic Assault.
Thanks to this slime, the deck gained even greater potential to reach lethal on the opponent, as it is possible to return it to the hand and return three lands to reuse them with the enchantment, this added to Life from the Loam and Wrenn and Six create several lines of play where you can finish your opponent "out of nowhere" dealing large amounts of damage in one turn.
And well, obviously we have to mention the star of Kamigawa, Boseiju, Who Endures is a very impactful addition to the deck, as it covers one of the biggest weaknesses that the list had: without Seismic Assault the deck lost much value. We have a lot of recursion in bringing lands from the graveyard, but without the enchantment all this is kind of useless, at the same time it's bad to use too many copies of the enchantment since we prefer not to draw one when we already have one on the field... That's where Boseiju comes in.
With Boseiju, we now have another use for recursion to bring lands back, as it now allows us to use the channel ability several times, thus interacting a lot with the opposing board, whether breaking some important artifact or enchantment for the opponent (In the current Modern, the odds of the opponent having some important permanent of this type are very high), or also disrupting the opponent's manabase, channeling Boseiju repeatedly to destroy their nonbasic lands.
Even with all the synergies, we are talking about a Midrange deck, and as such, a core of cards that simply do their job very well is always welcome and encouraged. And in the colors, we have cards that do their job very well.
Starting with the obvious, Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Dragon's Rage Channeler appear on the list and don't shock anyone, as they are the best one-drops Modern has to offer, and they do the job very well what they are willing to do; Ragavan manages to advance Assault's turn, in addition to the treasures help us keep lands in hand and still cast cards, not to mention the possible card advantage he can give us.
DRC (and Tarmogoyf as well) is great for generating clock, especially with our deck, which plays several cards to the graveyard and has almost all card types, in addition to the Surveil, which will help us send lands to the graveyard, so we can return it to hand with some effect and use it as ammunition.
For spells, we also have the best in colors, Lightning Bolt and Unholy Heat are extremely potent removals that deal with almost any issue, and Expressive Iteration is also one of the best cards to keep the gas running, by generating card advantage for a very low cost.
"Okay, the deck is synergistic, but what will that give me an advantage in the current metagame?"
This is a critical question when analyzing a deck. It's not enough for it to work and make beautiful plays, the deck needs to work within the context of the current metagame and that's what we're going to do now.
If we stop to think about it, this Assault Loam configuration is a Midrange deck with a hint of synergistic play, which means that in terms of value, it has a number of advantages over other similar decks, as if the Assault kit were a "tie-breaking criteria". Speaking of Seismic Assault, the "surprise damage" it can do is very useful in matchups against one of the most present decks currently, Death Shadow, as it is always a risk for Shadow to reach a low life total when the opponent can discard lands and deal damage.
Another thing that we have to consider is the difference that Boseiju's plays will make in different games, as it is now possible to have a better matchup against different decks in which Boseiju is a differential card, such as Hammer Time and Amulet Titan, that may suffer from repeated use of the land.
At the end of the day, I see Assault Loam as a deck with the rhythm of Gruul Midrange, but that exchanges the free wins that Blood Moon would give (more or less exchange, since the Moon is still present on the sideboard) for synergies between cards that are already good and that guarantee better positioning against some matchups that Gruul had difficulty on.
Suggestions and Alternatives
Well, even though it's not necessarily a new deck, this Assault Loam build brings a refreshment to Modern, and it made me want to research other alternatives for the deck to assemble several builds and test, and now, these are some of the additions it concludes to be valid for testing:
Starting with the elephant in the room, we all know that of the five lands, Boseiju has the most playability, but that's not to say the others don't! Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance and Otawara, Soaring City can be a bit expensive, but their effects are positive and the drawback of using a copy of each land is minimal, not to mention that it is possible to reduce the cost of their abilities, as we have 7 legendary creatures in the deck.
This suggestion will please the people who like more budget options! It is true that Elvish Reclaimer does not have the same offensive power as Ragavan, but it can compensate with synergy and possibilities, since with the elf, it is possible to sacrifice a Boseiju in play and thus return it to the hand to reuse its effect. It's a great synergy that looks very attractive, even though I think it still doesn't make it better than the monkey, Reclaimer may appear on budget lists, or repeat the Jund Sagavan pattern of replacing DRC with Reclaimer to fetch the necessary lands and still have a huge threat later on without losing Ragavan as a must-answer threat.
And so, I present to you the Temur Assault Loam, a deck full of familiarity, but with a new freshness, which can be a good bet as a midrange option in the format.
See you next time!