Decks to Beat
The biggest selling points on PI for me are it gives you the ability to one shot someone with “5” VV, it’s blue (and with 6 Forces main you need 18 blue minimum in my opinion), and it gives you those corner case outs to things like BSC. Maybe you’re correct and those aren’t good enough reasons (I suspect whatever you replace it with should be blue, though).
This was an interesting read. I have been playing Dredge now and then recently and I played it in the challenge this weekend. My build had two Hogaaks, no Dread Returns, 12 dredgers, 8 pitch counters, and maindeck Leyline of the Voids.
Some of the things I learned through playing this deck is that is doesn't need the Dread Returns. I went 4-3 in the challenge. Two of the match losses were because both opponents had turn one Leylines in both side boarded games. In my league matches I consistently dealt with these situations with sideboard Force of Vigors. Losing these games caused me to reconsider my strategy. Going forward I will be testing 4 Elvish Spirit Guids and 4 Nature's Claims along with the Force of Vigor. To accommodate these cards I had to cut some Dredge and creature hate and move some Unmasks to the main while cutting the rest.
I also lost a match to Matt Murray's Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale. I have played quite a bit of Dredge in the past, so this isn't a card that I have recently played against. This card is crippling to the version I was playing. I added the Dread Return package back to the main deck because that is the only way my deck is beating this card once it is in play. I don't think its a common card, but it could be going forward. The Dread Returns also had to come back in because I took out the Leyline of Voids.
I think the main thing with Pitch Dredge in the current meta is having a higher dredger count and a more reliable way to deal with Leyline of the void. Both of these things were already possible before Modern Horizons. I haven't really studied Matt's Dredge list, but I get the concept. No pitch counters, Bloodghasts, and hate from the side board. I think its a smart strategy because there are fewer Karn and PO decks which means faster damage is a statistically sound way to approach this meta.
These issues are interesting to me, so I think I will stream some Dredge tonight. Probably my version and Matt's version to get a better feel for their respective capabilities. I think these two Dredge variants are strong at the moment, so I want to learn more about them.
@wfain That's pretty cool! I've been trying BUG with 1 Ouphe in the MD, and it's been winning always when I get to play it before I'm already dead against karn decks. I feel like Phantasmal Image is worse than it for the MD (I've actually just cut it for 1 copy of Hoogak right now). There is almost no blightsteel lately, at least that's how I'm feeling. And now that we have Hoogak, we have eternal blockers for blightsteel if we have an active Survival, Hoogak + 1 vengevine already blocks it totally and can be fetched+cast for about as much as we spend for phantasmal image.
Maybe if there would be tons of extra colossus out there it would be worth it, but for now I think phantasmal image isn't even worth a slot in the SB. Maybe you see things differently, but I always had it as a 'no-brainer' until I started thinking about it with this unstable meta we have right now.
Hollow One was incredible when your opponent started at 8 life from Crippling Chills. Bloodghast attacking for 2 and having Haste was amazing with Chills. Not to mention casting Hogaak, which Narcomoeba doesn't do. The entire format was warped to deal with Blue pitch cards, so why play them, and if not playing them, why do you need to play Narcomoeba?
I'm happy to see substantive argument here.
Crippling Chill and Bloodghast require an active graveyard, in which case you should be winning without them. That's what I mean when I say that you're not turning losses into wins. These cards in those roles take a win and turn it into a more satisfying win, which is not worth very much in the way of match win percentage.
Narcomoeba casts Hogaak if you can sacrifice it for zombie tokens, which the Narcomoeba decks are built to do in the first place, but I agree Hogaak is one of the few things that promotes Bloodghast over Narcomoeba. I just think it doesn't make Bloodghast net better than Narcomoeba. Most matches the real win condition is making a bunch of zombie tokens, which Bloodghast is worse at. In matches where you need the finisher, you also need earlier and more consistent Cabal Therapies, which Narcomoeba is better at.
I think the blue pitch cards are good even if the format is "warped" to deal with them, which I question in the first place. Across two decades of play blue decks have never really hit a point where the metagame made Force of Will a bad card, I don't see why that would be the case here. I think you might be saying that Leyline of the Void is more widely played than other hate, but in that case your points about Crippling Chill and Bloodghast are totally undercut. Moreover, if you are going to be playing Hollow One as one of your outs to Leyline of the Void it seems like you want the blue package to protect it long enough to actually kill the opponent.