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Magic Memories: Life from the Loam

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
Along with Death Loam, there was also Loam Pox. It didn't have the connection to the Extended format archetype and was a Legacy original. I was more cognizant of Death Loam because my friend played it, but the Pox version was less mana-intensive and ultimately lasted much longer. Loam Pox was slower than the traditional monoblack Pox. It was even more of a grind. But Life from the Loam contributed impressive resilience. Generally, this archetype dropped cycling land engine typical of Loam decks, or at least reduced its prevalence. The Loam engine wasn't really the main gameplan, and, Retracing Worm Harvest and Raven's Crime were more typical maneuvers for this version of the Pox deck. By the time a Loam Pox player was dredging up Life from the Loam, it had already depleted the opponent's hand with Hymn to Tourach, Smallpox, Raven's Crime, Thoughtseize, and Pox. The idea was to put both players in topdeck mode with no hands, no creatures, and few lands. But while the opponent was in a precarious position, the Loam Pox player could simply dredge up Life from the Loam, cast it, and always make land drops, discarding surplus lands to cast Retrace spells. Bloodghast or Nether Spirit would come back from the graveyard, potentially joined by Mishra's Factory, and the vulnerable opponent would succumb within a few turns once that board state was reached.

Unlike the aforementioned Death Loam archetype, this one didn't really run mana acceleration and wasn't really a black/green deck, but more of a black deck with a green splash. The only cards that used green mana were Life from the Loam and Pernicious Deed. Everything else was black (Worm Harvest was a staple here, but could be cast with only black mana). So this played very differently from most Loam decks. Occasionally the green splash would be used for another card, such as Crop Rotation or Maelstrom Pulse, but mostly it was just Life from the Loam and Pernicious Deed in a sea of black spells.

Although it was a bit slower than the traditional Pox archetype, Pernicious Deed was such a valuable addition that a slight green splash had been somewhat popular even before Life from the Loam. And since LftL proved a much more reliable land recursion tool than Crucible of Worlds, the deck shifted focus toward that, with the Retrace spells augmenting the new Pox variant. In fact, Loam Pox started to become more of a Pox deck than the regular monoblack "Pox" deck, because it could more regularly afford to cast the deck's namesake card. By 2010 or so, most Pox decks were relying on Smallpox, not on the original Pox card itself.
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Pox, or "Big Pox" as it came to be called, was sometimes awkward because it wasn't always feasible early in the game to put the opponent on the wrong side of rounding up for it, whereas Smallpox was faster and easier to control, serving as Diabolic Edict, Sinkhole, and Mind Peel all rolled into one spell. Smallpox became the staple that defined Pox decks and set them apart from all other control decks in Legacy. While the original Pox played a roll, it was more of a haymaker and generally Pox decks scaled it back from a full playset to 1 or 2 copies. Loam Pox, which focused on recovering its own dead lands, could afford to focus on "Big Pox" more, and tended toward 3 copies. This made it better at grinding down opposing control decks, and the inclusion of Pernicious Deed made it more flexible. If things had gone differently Loam Pox might have stuck around as the premier Smallpox deck in the Legacy format. But that was not to be.

The advent of Liliana of the Veil revolutionized Pox decks, and monoblack Pox came back with a vengeance. The planeswalker could hit the board first turn with Dark Ritual, and if the opponent couldn't kill it quickly, the game would be taken over soon after that.
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
At the time that I wrote all of the posts currently in the Magic Memories thread for Zuran Orb, my experience with the card was all rather deep in the past. I'd estimated that it had been a decade or more since the last time I'd used the card, as most of my gameplay outside of forum games here at the CPA was Legacy-focused, with a smattering of Limited formats and EDH, and Zuran Orb has never really managed to break into that format. That was probably an exaggeration on my part, but at least it was definitely true that I'd seen very little of Zuran Orb at that time.

But more recently, that hasn't been the case. I've been building a lot more Commander decks. In the West Coast Commander League, I've used Zuran Orb in eight different decks (I keep track of these things). Seven of those were Loam decks (the exception was Eberyn's Finest Omelettes, a deck that aimed to sacrifice a bunch of stuff and then bring it back with Second Sunrise, Faith's Reward, and Open the Vaults). So Zuran Orb has been a Commander mainstay in my Loam decks.

While Zorb doesn't directly synergize with Life from the Loam, the cards both work well with land-based strategies and are good alongside some of the same cards. For me, the star of that show has been Glacial Chasm. Many opponents can't work around it, having no plan for land removal. To them, I'm practically invincible while Glacial Chasm is up. Cumulative upkeep stacks up and starts hurting me, but then I sacrifice Glacial Chasm to Zuran Orb, regaining some of my lost life. And then, of course, I use Life from the Loam to get the Chasm back and I replay it, keeping shields up except on some of my own turns. This combination does leave me bleeding life slowly and isn't sustainable in the long run, but it can keep me alive against overwhelming attackers. And if I can use other cards to deploy multiple lands on the battlefield in a single turn, I can actually gain life over time.

Cards like Zuran Orb and Squandered Resources may not be direct synergies with Life from the Loam, and they're not part of the core package, but they are useful tools to consider.
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
I talked quite a bit about black cards recently in this thread, but I have glossed over what's probably been the most important black creature for Loam decks...
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It's not as fun as Countryside Crusher and it lacks the sheer insane power of Knight of the Reliquary, but Bloodghast has perhaps been the most important staple creature in the general "Aggro Loam" archetype. It's reasonably fast and it is a great way to keep pressure on opponents. A 2/1 is pretty weak, but if it dies, that just means it comes back again next turn for free, because a Loam deck is going to be hitting those landfall triggers every turn.

In more recent years, another Landfall creature has been successful in Loam decks, for different reasons...
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Oversoul

The Tentacled One
There's probably a lot more that could be said regarding Golgari Loam Control decks, but one point in particular seems memorable here. Earlier, I noted that when Innistrad introduced Liliana of the Veil, one of the most iconic planeswalkers, Loam Pox fell out of favor as the monoblack version of Pox shifted into a Smallpox/Liliana hard proactive control archetype.
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The nature of this archetype is something interesting to me and seeing it in action can be fascinating (or frustrating if you're on the receiving end of it), but that's a little beyond the scope of this thread. Considering the longevity of LotV and the diverse range of decks that have been able to break the card, it's ripe for a kind of Magic Memories retrospective thread. However, I feel like I'm not the person to write that one: I've merely dabbled in LotV decks, and it's been a much more meaningful card to some other people I've met. Anyway, I won't dwell too long on Liliana of the Veil here, but I'll summarize what happened with the Pox archetype.

Prior to Liliana of the Veil, monoblack Pox was more offensively oriented than the black/green version. The package of cheap land destruction (Smallpox, Sinkhole) and discard spells (Hymn to Tourach, Thoughtseize, Smallpox) was meant to destabilize opponents, and recurring creatures, especially Bloodghast, could chip away at the opponent. The occasional "Big Pox" accelerated this. The monoblack style could play a more grindy role, such as if one deployed Cursed Scroll, Nether Spirit as a kill condition, or a full playset of Pox. But the grindy version was generally the black/green version because Life from the Loam and Pernicious Deed were so strong in longer games. With how fast the Legacy format had become, the "fast" version of the Pox deck wasn't fast enough, but the relatively slower one was more successful, assuming that it could survive the first few turns intact (sometimes it couldn't, but that's always been a risk for a black-based control deck against aggro).

Liliana of the Veil gave black control decks a permanent card, immune to Smallpox and to most board-wipe spells, with the potential to quickly and consistently grind opponents down. Paired with Smallpox, it meant that most Legacy decks couldn't get enough creatures on to stick around and attack the planeswalker. Ticking it up kept the opponent from building up a threatening hand, and the ultimate, which could devastate manabases just as well as Pox could, was not hard to achieve. Monoblack control had a strong build-around card that could make a slower, grindier deck actually viable. You could sit back with your empty hand and beat your helpless opponent to death with a single Mishra's Factory, or whittle an opponent's life away with Cursed Scroll and a single card in-hand. This deck also carved out a niche for two classic world enchantment options: Nether Void & The Abyss, either of which could be devastating to some of the best decks in the format. Pernicious Deed was nice in grindy games, but this monoblack Liliana-based version didn't need to even bother getting enough mana for Pernicious Deed to be reliable. Life from the Loam had also been a staple in the black/green version, but Crucible of Worlds was fine for land recursion and Life from the Loam didn't seem to be worth the color splash anymore.

On its own in the right kind of deck, Liliana of the Veil is a pretty strong card and I think most players have a grasp of why that's the case. What might not be as well-established is just how nicely Smallpox synergizes with Liliana. It can come down the turn before her and clear the creature that might have otherwise made her a tenuous three-drop play. It can kill the creature that would attack her and leave her free to use her +1 instead of her -2. Doing that even once can have tremendous consequences for the opponent if she makes it to 6 Loyalty. And using her +1 on the same turn as a Smallpox means that both players are discarding 2 cards—not amazing by itself, but good enough to ruin things for your opponent if it was the followup to Hymn to Tourach, which could easily be the case. Smallpox almost always hits a land, a creature, and a card in hand against your opponent, pressuring the opponent's resources and making Liliana even more potent. Yes, it hits all three of those for you as well, but then that's the idea.

Now, after this evolution, Life from the Loam was still perfectly viable in Legacy. But Golgari Loam Control wasn't really a thing anymore. It would later resurface to some extent. But more importantly, it was just as good, if not better than before, in other formats. Legacy was my focus at the time, but I'd be remiss not to note just how good Life from the Loam was alongside Liliana of the Veil in Modern. The typical Modern black/green deck was identified as "The Rock" (although it bore little resemblance to the old Extended version). You could discard "Retrace" spells to Liliana's +1, knowing that you'd have plenty of lands to recast them later. You could also recover lands sacrificed to Smallpox.
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
In the thread for Lion's Eye Diamond, I highlighted Life from the Loam as a card in Legacy URG Madness decks. I assume that I knew at the time I'd eventually be doing one of these threads for LftL, although I can't actually remember what I was specifically thinking. Mentioning Life from the Loam may have been part of my attempt to be comprehensive about my thesis in the LED thread: Life from the Loam was the only new card of any importance in the Legacy URG Madness archetype. While it's a minor point in the context of discussing Life from the Loam, at the time I was doing something else. Lion's Eye Diamond had mostly or entirely missed the boat on seeing tournament play in certain niches from 1996 to 2003.

The hugely popular Madness archetype from 2002 inundated Standard and soon broke into pretty much all Constructed formats of the time. Lion's Eye Diamond was not used in any of them on a wide scale until 2003, when tournament deck brewers finally realized that it was a good card in multiple decks all at once (or, more likely, when they started looking into it after seeing its initial success). As far as I know, one implication of this is that Lion's Eye Diamond was never used in the Extended format Madness decks. Records from that era are sparse except for high-profile tournament results, and I'd welcome information that proves me wrong. But it looks that way.

When the Legacy format took off, it borrowed a lot of deck concepts from recent and rotated Extended formats. In 2005, Madness decks running Lion's Eye Diamond grew in popularity in Legacy. Al0ysiusHWWW built a URG Madness deck (using some of the same copies of Lion's Eye Diamond that are now in my EDH decks :p). Anyway, when I was going over the history of Lion's Eye Diamond, a couple of years ago in the other thread, I was fascinated by the fact that almost everything in Legacy Madness decks, which were certainly faster and deadlier than their old Extended counterparts, was available in 2002 (Lion's Eye Diamond had not yet rotated out of Extended back when the Extended Madness archetype was at the height of its popularity). Like I said, I suspected that LED missed the boat. But to be thorough, I wanted to consider whether anything important wasn't available in 2002 Extended, any cards that were core to the Legacy version, but either too old to be legal in Extended or too new to have existed before LED rotated out. And browsing Legacy decklists from that era, the only really notable new-at-the-time card was Life from the Loam.

Life from the Loam gave Madness decks considerable staying power and pressure in later turns. At first glance, it's odd to run a relatively slow engine card in a fast aggro deck. But it worked surprisingly well. Life from the Loam was usually discarded in one of the early turns (perhaps with Lion's Eye Diamond). And dredging it up could put Roar of the Wurm, Deep Analysis, Anger, or Wonder into the graveyard. From there, Life from the Loam could retrieve the lands necessary to turn Anger or Wonder on, and could generally keep retrieving lands that had been discarded to the various discard outlets, in some cases powering up a lethal Wild Mongrel or Aquamoeba. In this archetype, Life from the Loam was noticeably good with Lion's Eye Diamond, because LED often ended up pitching a couple of lands in the early game just to rush out Arrogant Wurm and such. While Life from the Loam didn't eliminate the risk of such aggressive tactics, the potential to just keep digging was valuable. It also improved some cards that were already worth running in some versions of the deck anyway, such as Mox Diamond, Masticore, and Careful Study. A little later, Jötun Grunt and Anurid Brushhopper were staples for this sort of deck, probably in large part thanks to Life from the Loam.
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
I can't remember when I first heard about Life from the Loam or saw it in action. The application in Madness decks must have been one of the earliest historical uses I was aware of, but it seems likely that another application was identified and exploited even before that...
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After all, Seismic Assault was already a well-established enchantment, somewhat notorious for its use alongside cards like Land Tax, Storm Cauldron, Sunder, and Yawgmoth's Bargain. Fill your hand up with lands, then blast your opponent. I didn't own Seismic Assault as a teenager and made do instead with the generally inferior Land's Edge. I tried to find ways to justify to myself that Land's Edge was better anyway, but really, it wasn't.

It should be no surprise that a card with its own built-in recursion engine and the potential to repeatedly return lands from your graveyard to your hand paired nicely with Seismic Assault. The combination has been featured in multiple archetypes across multiple formats. I won't attempt to describe every possible variant, but Seismic Assault is probably one of the cards that has seen the most play with Life from the Loam.
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
I've grown so accustomed to Seismic Assault in Legacy decks, particularly Aggro Loam decks, that it's easy to forget the Seismic Assault + Life from the Loam combo featured prominently in Extended before those decks existed, and that it looked very different from the Legacy configuration. The deck was known as "CAL" or Confinement-Assault-Loam.
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Other than possibly some obscure Legacy Madness deck or Kamigawa/Ravnica era Standard value-Dredge decks, CAL seems to be the oldest established tournament deck using Life from the Loam. It seems to predate other Loam + Seismic Assault decks, although the combo is so simple that I'm sure it cropped up multiple times independently. I can't remember seeing this concept since 2006, but it is really pretty good and intuitive.
  1. Use the efficient utility effects available in the format (Dark Confidant, Birds of Paradise, Sakura-Tribe Elder) to get the archetypal Loam + cycling lands engine online.
  2. Use Solitary Confinement to shield yourself from the 2005 Extended era's prolific aggro decks.
  3. Use the Loam engine to keep Solitary Confinement up, easily filling your hand up with lands. Until the opponent can find enchantment removal, you're safe.
  4. Use Seismic Assault to win.
This was somewhat more nuanced than my description. Against other control decks, it was sometimes prudent to go for an early Seismic Assault and clear blockers, presenting a threat from Dark Confidant beatdown. And the deck generally used Burning Wish and a toolbox sideboard to help protect Solitary Confinement or accelerate a win.
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
Another very early use for Life from the Loam was alongside other Dredge cards in a Psychatog deck.
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Sometimes known as Dredge-a-Tog, this was one of many concepts that made up the vast constellation of "Tog." In hindsight it's surreal, because "Tog" is some bit of historical trivia and Dredge is one of the most infamous mechanics ever. But in case you didn't know or have forgotten, I can assure you that in 2005, it wouldn't have been viewed this way. Tog was practically a pillar of competitive Magic. Tog had been reined in by card bans, but continued to have a notable presence. Dredge was just some new tool that maybe Tog could exploit.

I don't think I've seen a Psychatog played in Magic since that last time I used it myself (a few years ago). It's not a big deal anymore. And I was never much of a Tog player, myself, but I do remember playing against it a lot. For a while in my area, it was kind of hard not to play against it, because of how ubiquitous it seemed. Another potential candidate for Magic Memories from the angle of "I remember playing against this a great deal."

Obviously the self-mill aspect of the Dredge mechanic was useful to Tog directly because it fed Psychatog's second ability. It also functioned to put incarnations and flashback spells into the graveyard (Wonder and Deep Analysis being foremost among those, but other such cards worked too), and it made Circular Logic stronger. Having repeatable spells was useful for a control deck (to the extent that Tog decks fit the mold of a "control" deck). So after Life from the Loam, the next most popular Dredge spells to use in a Tog deck were Darkblast and Nightmare Void. These were Tog decks, not dedicated Dredge decks, and most of the card slots were dedicated to the general blue/black control shell, with Dredge stuff being a kind of tertiary feature. But some people went further, including even Dredge creatures like Stinkweed Imp.

As usual the engine with LftL and cycling lands was effective. Instead of pitching your enormous hand full of lands to Seismic Assault, you were pitching it to Psychatog. But the end result was (hopefully) a dead opponent, either way.

An overlooked little perquisite featured here and in other blue-heavy Loam decks from the mid-00's, was the synergy between Life from the Loam and Fact or Fiction. Most Fact or Fiction piles were 2-3 splits, with the opponent trying to make sure that the best card, the one you wanted the most, was in the smaller pile. And while there were myriad variables and possible lines of play associated with Fact or Fiction, the most common outcome overall was that you'd take the bigger pile; not always, as sometimes a card in the smaller pile was such a gamechanger that it was worth it. It was a conflict between you trying to squeeze card advantage and proper hand-sculpting out of your spell while your opponent was trying to mitigate the effect. Life from the Loam is a strong tool for nullifying that mitigation.
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
I didn't expect it, but this thread had me reminiscing about the early days of the Dredge mechanic and noticing something subtle, yet obvious once it is pointed out: the lack of Dread Return.

Dredge cards, and Life from the Loam in particular, were successful pretty much right away, proving themselves in 2005 and continuing on into 2006. But take a look at those early decklists and compare them to the ones after Time Spiral came out. There was always a synergy between Dredge and Flashback, but it was one thing when your Loam deck put Deep Analysis into your graveyard for you. Dread Return is on another level.
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While it doesn't fit into every Loam deck, it's proven a powerful tool for creature recursion in more combo-focused archetypes. A little later, Future Sight introduced Narcomoeba and Bridge from Below, and Dredge-based decks became streamlined around the same configuration they still use: Ichorid + Bridge from Below + Narcomoeba + Dread Return.

The utility of Life from the Loam in this iconic Ichorid/Dredge configuration is variable. It did have some synergies: Dryad Arbor, Chain of Vapor, Drowned Rusalka, Bloodghast, Hedron Crab, Greenseeker, and Cephalid Coliseum. Of course, it was always great with fetchlands too. But in Vintage and Legacy, actually casting Life from the Loam in one of these decks wasn't the default, and the card was there as more of a tied-for-fourth-best Dredge card.
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
Seismic Assault is a decent red card and Life from the Loam can fuel it as a damage source, but the combo isn't really a particularly mean/evil/cruel/sadistic one. And some of you might ask the question: "How will my opponents know that I'm a bad person if I don't do bad things to them?" For you, there's Devastating Dreams...
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It shouldn't be hard to see just how gamebreaking this can be when paired with LftL. In Legacy, this was used alongside Mox Diamond, giving the Aggro Loam player a very high chance of being able to use the Loam + cycling land engine to rebuild on the same turn, if not the next turn. To further compound the devastation, these decks also ran Wasteland and Chalice of the Void (generally set at 1 charge counter). So it was possible in some games to float mana, randomly discard a big hand of cards leaving just a single card in your hand in order to blow up all creatures and lands with Devastating Dreams, cycle that last land in your hand and use the draw trigger to dredge up Life from the Loam, and then use Life from the Loam to retrieve lands, finally playing a Wasteland and holding it ready to blow up the opponent's land drop. Not only could you easily Wasteland-lock your opponent out of anything but basics, but your opponent couldn't even play a land and cast a one-drop with the mana from it, because of Chalice.

It's not a hard lockdown, but if it seems a strangely prison-like for an "aggro" deck, that is, well, a pretty good point. Of course, the naming convention goes back to the Extended format.

After the Confinement-Assault-Loam archetype (see post #27) had already taken off, a different Loam archetype blossomed in Extended. Still a Seismic Assault deck, it didn't use Solitary Confinement, but rather had Terravore beatdown as a reasonably fast kill condition...
1588272127465.png

Devastating Dreams was used in the classic Aggro Loam deck, and Terravore often survived it. In fact, the idea was for Terravore to be the only creature to survive Devastating Dreams, allowing it to swing in for lethal damage (or at least for enough damage that Seismic Assault could finish the job).

So while it doesn't look like a traditional aggro deck and never did, it was the "aggro" version of a Loam + Assault deck in the Extended format at the time. The slow version was CAL. The name stuck around, even though today's Aggro Loam decks in tournament formats don't use Terravore or Devastating Dreams.
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
We've established why Life from the Loam is good with lands. With the advent of Thespian's Stage in 2013, various kinds of Dark Depths Combo became a prolific outlet for Life from the Loam. Although the Dark Depths + Thespian's Stage interaction doesn't need Life from the Loam in order to function, it's useful because Life from the Loam can recover either card or both if they're destroyed (such as by Wasteland), and can be part of a Dredge engine to put them into the graveyard (for subsequent recovery).

Depths decks have appeared in different environments and have used an array of tools. It's not a monolithic archetype, but an effective kill condition that becomes viable with proper support. Cards like Crop Rotation, Mox Diamond, Sylvan Library, and Tarmogoyf were already typical inclusions in Loam decks. It turns out that having easy access to a 20/20 flying indestructible attacker is good.
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
Oh, have I not covered Wrenn and Six yet?
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Wrenn and Six is the best! You get a two-mana planeswalker with land recursion that can interact with fetchlands, Wasteland, Strip Mine, Horizon Canopy (and friends), cycling lands, Petrified Field, Crystal Vein, etc. Generally, Wrenn and Six can turn into an engine earlier than a Loam engine gets going, and can complement it once Loam is active. The +1 is the strong part, but the -1 can be nice utility, depending on what kind of deck you're up against. The -1 has saved me in a pinch. Last year when this was in my bad Palladia-Mors deck for the West Coast Commander League, the -1 of Wrenn and Six kept me alive for a whole bunch of consecutive turns and I eventually won that game. But usually, the +1 is what you want to be doing.

At first blush, it seems redundant with Life from the Loam, but really, it's not. The Loam engine is great, but it is hampered by limitations. You need to cycle lands to generate extra draw triggers, which takes mana, then you need mana to cast Life from the Loam. Because you need at least one cycling land to loop into the engine, each iteration is really only putting two lands from your graveyard into your hand. Don't get me wrong: it's a fantastic engine! If you have some way to get extra land drops or turn those lands in your hand into fuel for some ability, you're golden. But it isn't fast. Wrenn and Six does the same thing on a smaller scale without even needing Life from the Loam, and it speeds things up. Dredging up Life from the Loam (or any other card) can put lands into your graveyard, which fuels Wrenn and Six. One of my favorite opening lately has been to play a land, discard another land to cast Mox Diamond, cast Wrenn and Six, then +1 Wrenn and Six to recover the land that was discarded to my Mox Diamond. It's the perfect setup to land-based shenanigans.

But my favorite part is the "ultimate." If you can protect Wrenn and Six, you're probably already in a great spot. But once you get a chance to use that -7, go for it! Especially if you already have Life from the Loam, which you should. Remember how Life from the Loam is great alongside Retrace spells? It's delightfully explosive when LftL itself has the Retrace mechanic. You get a whole new engine to play with. Retrace Life from the Loam by discarding a land, then retrace Life from the Loam again by discarding one of the lands you put into your hand with it. Repeat the process, then retrace all of the other instants and sorceries you can manage. Unfortunately, this approach remains a "win more" sort of option in almost all realistic applications, but it is great fun.
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
More recently, Loam decks in tournament formats have taken a turn toward blue-heavier builds. And a new card from Theros Beyond Death is a big part of the reason for that...
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Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath is an amazingly powerful card in its own right. It's seen plenty of success in format with no LftL. In Loam decks, Uro gets pushed way over the top. You can dredge it into your graveyard alongside enough cards to have it "escape." Meanwhile, Loam provides lands to play from your hand, taking advantage of Uro's ability trigger. Also meanwhile, Uro's ability generates a draw trigger, which can be used to dredge up Life from the Loam. Doing this not only accelerates a Loam engine, but also keeps your graveyard well-stocked for recasting Uro from if it dies, allowing you to be very aggressive with your 6/6 attacker, throwing it into combat trades because you'll get it back anyway.

And that's pretty much it. Uro is just a really efficient combination of threat and utility to use alongside Life from the Loam, much like Knight of the Reliquary. Arguably, Uro is better in this role than Knight of the Reliquary. But both are strong and they're used together in Aggro Loam decks these days. Uro's emphasis on blue has enabled the deck to take advantage of Oko, Thief of Crowns. No direct synergy with LftL there, but the card is broken and is in the same color scheme, which is enough. The other blue card that has been a fixture of this archetype is Leovold, Emissary of Trest. Again, there's no land-specific interaction going on there, but the value of the card on the board is enough on its own.

Assuming that Loam decks remain competitive, I suspect that this Uro synergy will remain at or near the forefront, and that blue as a color in Loam decks will continue to fluorish, perhaps pushing red out.
 
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