This week I want to talk about a “guilty pleasure” of mine in Modern. UR Storm was my first Modern love, but after the ban hammer hit the deck several times I had to move on. I began focusing on another deck that I love almost as much—Assault Loam. I am sure many people will be unfamiliar with this tier two archetype but it is near and dear to my heart, so I am going to talk about it today. Here is the decklist:

Assault Loam

Lands 25 (25)
Blackcleave Cliffs
Blood Crypt
Ghost Quarter
Graven Cairns
Overgrown Tomb
Raging Ravine
Stomping Ground
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Verdant Catacombs
Wooded Foothills

Creatures 8 (8)
Dark Confidant
Young Pyromancer

Spells 27 (27)
Abrupt Decay
Collective Brutality
Faithless Looting
Flame Jab
Life from the Loam
Lightning Bolt
Raven’s Crime
Seismic Assault
Worm Harvest
Sideboard 15 (15)
Abrupt Decay
Ancient Grudge
Dragon’s Claw
Fulminator Mage
Kolaghan’s Command
Life Goes On

One of the reasons that this deck is merely tier two is that, while it was great against creature decks, it has a terrible Burn match up and can at times fold hard to graveyard hate like Relic of Progenitus, Rest in Peace, and Leyline of the Void. Despite these weaknesses, a skilled pilot can navigate and play it safe to ensure that you don’t get blown out by these cards.

The deck is hard to play, so let’s talk about what’s going on here.


Dark Confidant either draws you a ton of extra cards or it takes a bullet for Young Pyromancer. Those are both very good things.

Young Pyromancer can really get out of control quickly. Between Life from the Loam and our retrace spells Raven’s Crime and Flame Jab we can very easily open up a can on our opponents. Whether it is an army or whoop-ass inside that can, who can tell?

Worm Harvest gets an honorable mention for running its own cannery as well. It is resilient to sweepers and can be recurred when dredged out. Since we love having lands in our graveyard, we will generally get a minimum of five tokens a turn.

Image result for worm harvest mtg

Loam Engine

Our Life from the Loam engine is vastly different than traditional Dredge. We are looking to make our land drops while having an excess of lands in hand to continuously use our retrace spells or activate Seismic Assault to clear the board and eventually close out a game.

Unlike a traditional Dredge deck which generally wants to dredge early and often to hit that high mass of graveyard early while cheating Bloodghast, Narcomoeba, and Prized Amalgam into play we are generally taking the early turns being disruptive with discard and removal before we even fire off our first Loam. Later in the game we are going to dredge heavily once we have established either Assault or a Pyromancer with retrace spells.

Image result for life from the loam mtg


Abrupt Decay heads up our removal suite similar to any BGx deck as the threats tend to be cheap and efficient. Decay is certain death for most creatures that we want to remove.

Lightning Bolt is one of the most popular and efficient choices in Modern while it also provides reach later in the game if we are coming up just a few points of damage short. Being cheap is also beneficial to ensuring that we can get a Young Pyromancer active early and easily.

Collective Brutality is a new one that I only recently got to start testing and I must say that the downside of escalate is completely irrelevant when you are discarding a land and a Loam if you want to hit all three modes (relevant against Burn especially). The ability to basically Duress, kill a creature, and/or drain for two life makes this card an all star. There may even be merit to removing a Flame Jab or Lightning Bolt for an additional copy.

Flame Jab is our hoser for decks like Death and Taxes, Infect, and Affinity. Having access to multiple burn spells a turn using retrace allows us to quickly and efficiently clear a board full of smaller creatures while later in the game being a potential win condition if Seismic Assault has been removed or happens to be hiding on the bottom of your deck.

Seismic Assault is our ideal win condition and most valuable tool for removal. Paired with Loam it is a guaranteed six damage for two mana each turn. Later in the game it is fairly easy to make enough land drops to use Loam to bring back lands, flashback Faithless Looting to dredge one or two Loams for the ability to get up to six lands (or twelve damage!) in a turn.

Image result for life goes on mtg


Reiterating that Burn is our worst match up and reminding everyone about the salty article I put out recently, the sideboard is heavily geared to hate on Burn.

Dragon’s Claw not only gives us a life from each red spell our opponent casts but it also gives us a life for every Flame Jab we retrace which allows us to really make up the difference quickly once we have Loam and a few lands established.

Life Goes On pairs with all of our removal to blunt the assault and then give us the bonus four life for when a creature dies. There’s nothing like an escalated Collective Brutality killing a Monastery Swiftspear, draining for two, taking a bolt and then using a Life Goes On for another eight life.

Fulminator Mage and Kolaghan’s Command generally come in together and pair with the three Ghost Quarter in the maindeck to make the Tron matchup comedic.

Ancient Grudge usually pairs with Kolaghan’s Command and Decay if we anticipate Relic of Progenitus or Tormod’s Crypt as the graveyard hate of choice against us. They also do a great job of removing a Grafdigger’s Cage if for some odd reason our opponent thinks we really care about that card (we usually don’t).

Initial Thoughts

I only recently picked this deck back up for Modern and I had a blast playing it. Got paired against UR Kiln Fiend/Thing in the Ice combo (bye), Skred which was tough but I was able to navigate correctly around the Blood Moons and Relic of Progenitus they run, and Burn which I got to wreck thanks to my new sideboard plan.

My one match loss was to UWR Control due to a misplay with a Ghost Quarter. I needed to use the restroom and rushed out a Ghost Quarter to hit a Celestial Colonnade not paying attention to the second one in play while I was at three life. Had I waited until combat on their turn I could have killed the animated copy and then on my turn had access to several removal spells as well as additional Ghost Quarters. We live and we learn though right? I had won game one thanks to Raven’s Crime lock, game two I lost because I found five lands in my top twenty three cards. Another reason it is a good idea to hold off on the Loam engine when you don’t need to dredge aggressively to fuel an Assault as the dredged cards could have been multiple removal spells in hand for the creatures my opponent played.

I tested with Magmatic Insight briefly, but often found that if you weren’t already land heavy or had access to Life from the Loam you could often mana screw yourself. It is possible in a heavier-land build that this card could be incredible. Maybe in some kind of RUG build having access to Snapcaster Mage and the like.

Molten Vortex I often play when I run my creature less variants but with Young Pyromancer we get better value with access to cards like Flame Jab over Vortex.

Happy brewing to each and every one of you. If anyone has an idea for a brew that they would like to see, I will gladly take requests and challenges on twitter or in email at

Aaron Gazzaniga works part time at a game store and in his off time has been an avid magic player/brewer since 2003. Having begun in Odyssey Standard Block and always favoring control and prison style decks, we come to this moment in time where Aaron finally gets to talk about and share his ideas. If you want to contact Aaron tweet @aarongazzaniga

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