Now here’s an interesting deck that’s really piqued my interest. The interaction between Dark Depths and Vampire Hexmage brought about a resurgence of Depth‘s somewhat around Zendikar but the inherent fragility of Hexmage being a spell allowed there to be some answer in countermagic. Then along comes Return to Ravnica with the interesting new Vesuva variation Thespian’s Stage to spin the power of a 20/20 flying Avatar in a new direction. Because copy effects like Vesuva trigger onto the battlefield effects it was not able to pair with Depth‘s for value but Stage is already in play so doesn’t get the tokens placed on it. Thus you are able to copy and trigger the token generating effect immediately. This is the basis for the win condition of this cool new Loam brew.
The deck is stacked half full of lands thus able to work with the very powerful Life from the Loam
engine. This engine is fueled by an extremely heavy discard package which works not only to strip threats and answers from the opponent but also to gain back advantage from costs and effects from your spells. Starting with something as simple as rebuying the land pitched to a Mox Diamond
, Raven’s Crime
or Crop Rotation
, reusing a fetchland or the dreaded Wasteland
. Crop Rotation
is able to tutor directly into play either piece of the Depths
combo you’re missing or any of your utility lands such as Bojuka Bog
against Dredge or Reanimator, Maze of Ith
against creature decks, Karakas
to bounce pesky Legendary creatures that might get in your way or even Wasteland
to punish decks relying to heavily on non-basic lands. There are very few non-land permanents in the deck but a full set of Liliana of the Veil
are included to clear away opponents creatures on board and strip away potential threats or answers from their hand, and the built in synergies in the deck reduce the downside from pitching your own cards. Speaking of synergies there are several elements designed to fully take advantage of the devastating Smallpox
. We’ve already seen how we recycle lost lands from the graveyard but we also find Nether Spirit
which returns itself to play to be sacrificed again and Squee
which returns back to your hand to be discarded for Smallpox or Liliana alike. We also find the very powerful Punishing Fire
and Grove of the Burnwillows
combo which can double as a secondary win condition in a pinch. Then rounding up the deck we have Entomb
and Faithless Looting
which combined with the rest of the parts of this deck form a formidable draw engine to get the rest of the decks combos working.
One of the main weaknesses of the deck is the difficulty in dealing with on board non-creature/non-land permanents. Obviously the goal of the deck is to deny mana then strip the hand but sometimes everything does not go according to plan. From the sideboard we find a trio of Pithing Needle
used as a catchall to lock out planeswalkers primarily but also other activated abilities can be bricked easily. Also there’s an Ancient Grudge
and a Ray of Revelation
to remove artifacts or enchantments respectively. Interestingly we find Phyrexian Ingester
which is possibly the most offbeat answer I’ve seen so far to creatures from Show and Tell
decks. There’s added redundancy with some of his other picks in the sideboard but you’ll obviously need to tune it to your expected meta.
Definitely a deck that needs some play time to learn how to pilot it properly but a real treat of a deck with some amazing but simplistic synergy guiding a sheer bolt of lightning. If you’re able to pull it together don’t cheat yourself the chance to take this baby out for a spin.