In my last article, I talked about how to lose friends in modern, AKA, attrition decks. If you didn't read that, please go catch yourself up. Today, I'm going to focus on two more attrition strategies and at the end, there's a bonus deck that's a bigger troll than any of the other decks.
This deck puts much more effort towards not losing than it does towards winning. It's been around for years, but has largely been ignored by competitive players because it doesn't have nearly enough interaction with combo and it has bad matchups against Melira Pod Company and Tron.
Without further adieu, here is a deck list:
‘The Turbo' refers to the cards that speed up the game, such as Rites of Flourishing or Howling Mine. This allows the you to always have plenty of fogs and it helps with your primary win con, which is to mill out the opponent. The difference between this deck and the decks listed in the first article of the series, is that, with this deck, the opponent just naturally draws each card and throws them away when their hand is too large.
All of these spells keep both players hands full, and Abundance allows you to always have fogs in hand in order to fend off an assault.
The Appearance of Vulnerability
The other half of the name Turbofog refers to all the cards that prevent combat damage, or ‘Fog.' Some of the cards also prevent direct damage from things such as burn. A couple cards that stand out are Pollen Lullaby and Angel's Grace. Pollen can tap down opponent's creatures and Angel's Grace is unique in that it can't be responded to.
The sideboard cards focus on things that Turbofog tends to be weak against.
Faerie Macabre can deal with decks that want creatures in the grave, such as Living End and Griselbrand/Glass Cannon Vengeance.
Heroes' Reunion is useful to have a buffer against burn, since fogs that can stop direct damage are decidedly harder to come by. Reunion could also be useful as an additional safety net against aggro.
Leyline of Sanctity is another effort to stop burn, and it also stops discard from picking apart the Turbofog pilot's hand.
How Does It win?
Turbofog is, without a doubt, the most passive deck in modern.
The majority of the time, it just sits and does nothing. It assumes and relies on your opponent playing cards to try to disrupt or attack you. All you need to do is just foil their attempts with a single card. Over time, you will have more cards left than your opponent and your opponent will end up milling themselves, causing them to lose the game. Other versions of the deck use mill spells to speed up this process, and some even recycle their own grave with effects like Psychic Spiral or Elixir of Immortality.
Some variations of the deck will attempt to use manlands or combos like the Mindslaver+Academy Ruins combo to win the game, but most Turbofog pilots are truly passive individuals and therefore, don't need any of these things to win the game.
Why Doesn't It See Play?
Most players' chief complaint about Turbofog is that they just find it boring to play. Most of the time, it just does nothing except stop damage from the opponent.
For players who like to attack, don't like long game, or don't like salty opponents, this isn't the deck for them. Opponents tend to get frustrated when after 20 turns, they have barely put a dent in your life total.
From a competitive standpoint, this deck has some bad matchups, that are just impossible to overcome without deviating from the core strategy of the deck. Once players arrive at this conclusion, a lot of competitive players would rather just play something else if they're already deviating away from this passive playstyle.
Against Burn, the you must have a Leyline of Sanctity out in play in order to survive for long game. However, your burn opponent can just use Destructive Revelry to put a stop to that. Other than that, it's very hard to have enough Safe Passage effects to win consistently.
Against Tron, the Turbofog deck has no way to deal with a resolved Karn Liberated or Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. If uncontested, these cards just win the game. Oblivion Ring is a versatile answer to Tron, albeit a three drop removal spell. However the most diehard Fog players find this goes against the passive nature of the deck and would rather not play spells such as this.
Melira Company and other combo decks can also easily win with a well-timed combo. You just have to hope you draw something to stop direct damage at that time. Giving a combo deck a bunch of cards, or even its entire deck isn't a smart choice.
The next deck is one that happens to see competitive play from time to time. It is the epitome of resource denial in modern. With this deck, the you attack your opponent's hand, manabase, and creatures.
Originally created by Raphael Levy, Loam Pox has waned and waxed in popularity for years:
Resource Denial at its Finest
This deck focuses on, you guessed it, resource denial. It picks apart your opponent's hand, destroys creatures, and forces them to sacrifice lands. All of which are recurrable and don't hurt the you.
Raven's Crime is a one drop that forces a discard, and you just has to discard a land and pay the mana cost again to recur it.
Flame Jab acts as cheap removal that can be recurred continuously.
Smallpox damages the opponent's hand, manabase, removes a creature, and causes life loss. Your deck is built to take advantage of these apparent disadvantages that you also inflict upon yourself.
Life from the Loam is the engine that drives the whole deck. This card allows you to reuse Raven's Crime and Flame Jab over and over again without having to worry about losing your lands, and the Smallpox won't bother you near as much.
Zombies, Spirits, and Kings
All of the creatures in the Loam Pox deck function even better when they're in the graveyard. To capitalize on this, in addition to Smallpox causing sacrifice and providing a discard outlet for their creatures, cards like Faithless Looting also help put the creatures in the graveyard.
Loam Pox is the grindiest of the grindy decks. Think Jund, but even more grindy, with less aggressive plays and more disruption, and way more graveyard synergies.
In an open field, Loam has the tools to take survive and do reasonably well.
Against aggro, Golgari Brownscale acts as repeatable life gain to help you stay in the game. Terminate is great as always, and Go for the Throat is more than adequate. Murderous Cut, Flame Jab, and Darkblast round out the removal suite, the latter two being recurrable. In addition to all these tools, the abundance of tokens means there are plenty of chump blockers.
The control matchup also looks great, since the Loam deck could care less about opposing removal or counters, these things fuel their graveyard synergies. It also has the tools to pick apart your Control opponent's large hand.
Tron's inevitability might trump the Loam deck sometimes, but the Tron pilot would have trouble fighting through the sea of discard and land destruction.
On top of this, good luck to the opponents who are trying to combo off against a disruptive deck like Loam.
One Troll to Rule Them All
This next deck, I view as a bonus deck of sorts. In these two-part series I generally detail only 4 decks.
Although, this deck is not competitive, nor is it Modern, I do feel like it is one of the most annoying decks ever and definitely earns the title of ‘Biggest Troll' from me.
If you look at this deck, it's hard to tell what it's trying to do. Well, allow me to explain.
Everything in the deck is there to speed up the combo like mana dorks including Sachi and tutors like Green Sun's Zenith. The combo is to have Lantern of Insight on the field and enchant Soldier of Fortune with Pemmin's Aura or Freed from the Real. Then, it gets complicated. With the mana from Sachi, each of the Orochi Leafcallers can generate two mana of any color for each time you tap them. Then, you create one red to tap Soldier of Fortune and one blue to untap him. With this method, you can potentially tap and untap Soldier four times per turn, and then you use your available land to activate Umbral Mantle on one or more Leafcallers to repeat the process. An additional thorn in your opponent's side is Psychogenic Probe.
“What's the reason to have this combo?,” you might ask. A few years ago, it was actually legal to request for your opponent to play their deck without sleeves. The reasoning was it was much harder to use counterfeit cards this way (I think). When this deck made the opponent shuffle a few dozen times, eventually the opponent would begin to fear that shuffling that many times would damage their expensive deck, so they would forfeit. Sometimes, the player would just get tired of shuffling and have no choice but to forfeit the match. Alternatively, sometimes the deck could actually win the game through Psychogenic Probe.
Today, this deck doesn't see play, since you can't request for the opponent to remove their sleeves (I don't think).
Although, I have heard that some LGS do host casual events, and that players will bring this deck and annoy their opponents. The goal nowadays is to make your opponents forfeit on the account of them not wanting their sleeves to get worn out very quickly and/or split.
I hope you enjoyed this journey down the more annoying side of magic as much as I did. Some of these decks are actually competitive and some are just suitable for tabletop Magic, but either way, I hope you picked up a nice deck that you would like to use to annoy your opponents.
If you're a competitive player, perhaps you gained some insight on how to beat these decks.
Either way, I appreciate you reading and I hope you come back next time!
Thanks for reading!