Dredge going into Summer 2017



  • Later this summer I am finishing my playset of Bazaars and planning on playing Dredge in cardboard (and likely MTGO). I found a store planning on running Vintage every other week (100% proxies allowed)

    I wanted to get some thoughts here on where Dredge sits in the metagame. I will have the ability to play "traditional" Dredge or Pitch Dredge (with or without the Dark Depths transformational sideboard)



  • I occasionally play Dredge online (it's my only deck online and I don't have the money to get other decks). I really like playing Dredge and I think people underestimate how fun it is to play it, since it has such a bad reputation for being an unfun deck. People who haven't played much Dredge can't have an appreciation for the strange games that very regularly come up when playing Dredge.

    So where does it sit in the metagame right now? Unfortunately, I don't think it's incredibly well off right now. It's certainly not that bad, but it's probably under 50% to win a random sample game, in general. Ironically, I don't believe it's because of Dredge hate. It is my belief that Dredge can fight through tremendous amounts of hate with either game plan it chooses to (transformational or anti-hate, both being viable). It's sure rough when someone is playing nine hate pieces, but most people don't, and a lot of people are even cutting Dredge hate right now.

    Dredge suffers a lot from recent printings. Specifically, Paradoxical Outcome, Hangerback Walker, and Walking Ballista. Let's get Paradoxical Outcome out of the way first because it's easy and intuitive to understand why it's so bad for Dredge: it's very fast. Slower controlling decks can play Paradoxical Outcome, but it's so good at going through their deck that it allows them to find multiple hate pieces, if that's what they need to do, or Tinker, which Dredge can rarely beat. Faster combo decks that play Paradoxical Outcome just crush Dredge because they're so much faster and, unlike against Ritual Storm, things like Leyline and Mental Misstep don't really help against PO. It's definitely notable that Pitch Dredge versions that play Mindbreak Trap and Force of Will are much stronger against Paradoxical Outcome for obvious reasons.

    Now for the Workshop pieces. Well, I want to first start off by saying that from a historical perspective, Dredge has had a rather strong matchup against Mishra's Workshop in the past. Workshop decks used to be so slow and focused on players being unable to cast spells that sometimes they'd just lose to Ichorid and a Bridge or two and Dredge doesn't have to cast spells to win. Even hate pieces backed up by Spheres sometimes wasn't enough because the Workshop players just didn't have a whole lot of pressure. Also, Dredge anti-hate just so happened to be able to destroy any of Workshop's clocks, so Dredge was in a commanding position in the matchup.

    Workshop plays on a different axis now. The printing of Hangerback Walker quickly led to Ravager Shops being the default Workshop build and other Workshop variations became practically extinct due to the success of Ravager Shops. Arcbound Ravager is BAD news for Dredge because it's so effective at shutting down Bridges (Hangerback Walker can also shut down Bridges, though it isn't nearly so effective at it by itself). Sometimes Workshops can win without playing any hate pieces and even without stripping Bazaar just by shutting down Bridges and folding the Dredge game plan into dust. In addition, it can finish a game out of nowhere, which isn't the sort of pressure Dredge wants to see when it needs to take some time to find answers.

    The printing of Walking Ballista has made things even worse for Dredge by solidifying the position of Ravager Shops as the best deck in the format, and also as a Triskellion that can by casted for 2 mana (Triskellion being another creature that can destroy Bridges on its whim). Walking Ballista is now yet another creature in Workshop decks that can kill itself at will to shut off Bridges, and it's also led to even more pressure because its combination with Arcbound Ravager can lead to quick kills that Dredge can't recover from without Bridges.

    In a few short years, Workshops have transformed from having a fundamentally weak game plan against Dredge into a deck that just so happens to incidentally destroy Dredge's pieces. Workshops is pretty much universally (at least it seems that way) considered the best deck in the format and it's definitely one of the most popular, and other popular decks right now include Paradoxical Outcome decks of all flavors. It's just not Dredge's time right now. For what it's worth, I think Dredge has solid matchups against most other decks.



  • Dredge is poised to do really well, I have finished in several top8s this year so far and as long as you have a deep understanding of the cards and their roles in the various match ups, you can easily attack a meta and roll over your opponents. Knowing what to change main deck/side board is the largest hurdle a dredge player needs to overcome to be competitive. Learning how to play pre and post board is relatively easy once you understand the nuances associated with different match ups. I will say that I think unmask is or ought to be a 4x in every dredge list.



  • Dredge recently took down two notable events in paper, and is still a strong archetype.

    As always, the question is "are other decks skimping on a sideboard plan for dredge. If yes, brains are on the menu. If not, it can be a rough field."

    Also, the ability to vary up your dredge approach can be great. Pitch dredge is magical in a blue heavy field. The shops match-up depends a bit on what flavor of Workshop decks sits across the table.

    Dredge is a fascinating deck. When playing against dredge it can be difficult to predict if passing the turn may or may not bring a lethal horde of zombies.



  • Thanks to everyone for some advice. I'm on Dredge for Eternal Weekend and also know I need real-world games to understand what to do against various decks.



  • @Winterstar I would say that the first thing people need to learn when battling dredge (aside from the basic premise of what the deck does) is learning how to evaluate just how threatening their graveyard actually is, in particular learning to recognize when you are likely to die next turn. Knowing when you need to immediately play to thin outs will add some points to the matchup.



  • @rikter It also helps to agressively mull to your sideboard cards against dredge. >.>



  • I am proxying Dredge after NYSE. I am going with traditional Unmask Dredge. If I like it enough I will move on a set of Bazaars but i'm not too worried about it.



  • for all the reasons said about shops being better vs dredge, leyline of the void is better now in dredge because it's good vs all of those cards in shops(ballista, ravager, hangarback)
    unmask is almost a necessity playing traditional anti-hate dredge vs outcome.



  • It is very challenging to build up reasonable mana base for anti hate sideboard with both Leylines and Unmask in MD. I think optimum is 18 lands MD, but maybe it can be adjusted to 16, not sure what to cut.


  • TMD Supporter

    @BlindTherapy said in Dredge going into Summer 2017:

    for all the reasons said about shops being better vs dredge, leyline of the void is better now in dredge because it's good vs all of those cards in shops(ballista, ravager, hangarback)

    Leyline also hits Wurmcoil, but that's sort of a silver lining after having had to deal with a 6/6 lifelink.

    A major note to keep in mind is that your bridges don't dodge dying to the growing-more-popular Precursor tokens, though.



  • @BlindTherapy said in Dredge going into Summer 2017:

    for all the reasons said about shops being better vs dredge, leyline of the void is better now in dredge because it's good vs all of those cards in shops(ballista, ravager, hangarback)
    unmask is almost a necessity playing traditional anti-hate dredge vs outcome.

    I'm missing something - how exactly does leyline affect ravager, ballista or hangarback walker?



  • @Khahan It exiles ravager and hangarback before they hit the graveyard preventing the shops player from being able to move the counters or get the thopters. Though I am not sure exactly how it affects ballista.



  • Protecting your Bridges is its main purpose.



  • @GarrPeter said in Dredge going into Summer 2017:

    @Khahan It exiles ravager and hangarback before they hit the graveyard preventing the shops player from being able to move the counters or get the thopters. Though I am not sure exactly how it affects ballista.

    I didn't realize 'die' was specifically defined as going to the graveyard. I always thought it referred to leaving play by 0 toughness, lethal damage or destroy effects. I found this definition though: 700.4. The term dies means “is put into a graveyard from the battlefield.”

    And I guess it affects ballista by not letting you do shenanigans with ravager's modular ability.



  • @Khahan you can't modular onto ballista, get nothing when hangarback dies, and can't pop ravager or ballista at will to break bridges



  • What creature mix do people like in dredge right now?

    The list I'm using has a mix like this

    List A

    https://www.mtggoldfish.com/archetype/vintage-wubrg-39321#online

    dredge creatures, narcomeba, ichorids, some reanimate targets. This one also has a few chancellors for early disruption which I don't run (I have E Norn, a haste granter, and a misers vengeful pharaoh), but it's pretty normalish for a pitch dredge list.

    List B

    https://www.mtggoldfish.com/archetype/vintage-dredge-37192#paper

    This one adds 4 bloodghasts and cuts all but one reanimation target. It also adds a lot of lands. I haven't tested it, but I'm very skeptical to start. Bloodghast needs you to hit land drops to be good, and ideally it wants a fetch land base so you can bring stuff back and then bring stuff back again eot by cracking the fetch. In modern dredge (which I play) this is a key play. This list doesn't have fetch lands. Also, after your opening hand I would expect to be dredgeing and not drawing any more lands. So I'm surprised this list works. Has anyone played dredge in vintage with ghast?

    List C

    https://www.mtggoldfish.com/archetype/vintage-wubg-39322#paper

    This last list is very different. It looks more like powered up modern dredge rather than traditional vintage dredge. It doesn't run ichorid or bridge and runs bloodghasts and prized amalgam. It has a big spell count and 4 loams so it can play the modern game of loam every turn make a land drop every turn and bring back each ghast and each amalgam every turn. That's a lot of grind power.

    It also has a few quick win reanimate targets.

    The deck seems interesting, although based on its record, it might not actually be good.

    List D

    I didn't actually find any examples of lists with ichorid and amalgam. It seems like a decent idea, ichorid comes back each turn which brings back amalgam. That gives you a lot of sacrifice fodder for therapy or dread returns (if you raised the count) and also gives a lot of slow grind power. Still the fact I couldn't find any example may mean it's bad.

    So what do you guys like for creatures now? And have you tested anything and found it to be not good enough?



  • My personal dredge list, traditional dredge, has 11 creatures, 2 return targets, with 4 bridge from below. 4 narc, 4 ghast, and 3 ichorid are the creatures, and the targets usually vary on what I think is most damaging to the meta. The bloodghasts are realitvely easy to return to play if you play dakmor salvage, which can be gotten if you aggressively dredge through your library, or petrified field which is also a double land drop as long as there is another land in the graveyard (if you have another petrified field in yard you can loop them).

    I tested prized amalgam a while ago (pre ballista) and I found that when trying to dread return, it was always a little awkward with timing but the card is strong as a tempo card and is a viable substitute for ichorid if the pilot wants to play force of will. The 3/3 body is very, VERY attractive in a world where walking ballista can kill every creature in traditional dredge with only activation. My personal assessment of prized amalgam was that if dredge was ever big enough where I needed to beat an opposing elesh norn by dread return, but leyline of the void was not big enough to see substantial play, then the card would be a substitute for ichorid.

    I saw a list once that played no cabal therapy, no dread return, but tons of 1 and 2 cmc hate bear creatures like kataki, dryad militant, and Thalia v1.0 combined with the reusable nature of bloodghast to try and tempo out its opponent. While certainly different from the normal strategy, I saw it to be very inconsistent in achieving its goal.

    There was a list about a year ago that was playing no dread returns or targets, and 4 amalgam in place. I believe Ryan Glackin, the winner of this nyse, place in the Top4 of the last nyse with a list that did this but I may be mistaken. Dread return is one of those cards that can be really really strong, but also entirely unnecessary in some match ups. There is an argument (although I disagree with it) for cutting dread return in general because the main deck you need to beat with it (oath) is basically extinct. I believe dread return is still necessary for dredge but that's a separate discussion. Against shops dread returning a creature can be the difference between a win and a loss if you can fire it off. At the same time the card could never resolve and you can win or lose all the same. One card I've seen that some people are getting hyped about is hollow one, which costs 2 less for each card you cycled or discarded during the turn. This card has some serious strengths, and weaknesses, depending on how you view it.

    The bottom line for creature packages is this, it all depends on the type of list you want to play. Traditional lists don't allow for a lot of variations because of how tight the space. More experimental lists that appear usually online, are different in that they often play a different strategy from traditional dredge so they are not as constrained to run the same number, or type of creatures that traditional dredge runs. Hopefully this helps a little!



  • @BusOfTheUndead said in Dredge going into Summer 2017:

    The bloodghasts are realitvely easy to return to play if you play dakmor salvage, which can be gotten if you aggressively dredge through your library, or petrified field which is also a double land drop as long as there is another land in the graveyard (if you have another petrified field in yard you can loop them).

    Undiscovered Paradise also works well.



  • @BusOfTheUndead I think part of the reason the online meta is so different is because Undiscovered Paradise doesn't work properly so they have had to take the deck in a different direction.


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