Dredge Sideboarding Tactics

  • TMD Supporter

    @dunnydee said in Dredge Sideboarding Tactics:

    One thing I've noticed about trimming dredgers game 2&3 is that I generally like to keep in my golgari thugs. If you happen to cast one you can attack while threatening his deathtrigger to recur your ingot chewers or wispmare. Surprisingly just a 1/1 creature can be very a relevant threat in a game where your opponent keeps a hand of all graveyard hate, that's why Hollow ones and anglers are so popular now.

    I have lost a shameful amount of games to hardcast Narcomeobas. I think the hard part is for the Dredge player to know when to shift gears.

  • Grunch, just giving some thoughts on dredge now that I'm taking a break from the deck

    In my opinion the 15 card transformational dark depths plan is outdated. Played that version to a win in a format challenge a while back, but now that many shops lists are on ghost quarter MD + karakas SB it is much less exciting. Have not tested the anti-hate+angler/hollow one package, but on paper it seems awesome vs shops. Your combo matchup is already pretty good if you MD 12x FOW/Misstep/Mindbreak, and the dark depths plan was at its best vs shops anyway. Unfortunately I don't think now is a great time to be playing dredge, as UR delver has been pushed out of the format, and most control decks have some sort of tinker combo package.

    As a general rule here is how I have historically sideboarded with my old decklist, even though its outdated I think shows the general principles of siding with transform dredge. Side in everything, cut cards that speed up your clock, cut dead cards, 10 dredgers minimum and that is pushing itt...

    One Note: Therapy is horrible vs shops, can't be cast half the time and does nothing when cast. Misstep is horrific vs shops game 1 but fantastic post-sideboard, hits their 4x Grafdigger's Cage and Relic. Never cut it ever ever ever.


    +15 Card Transform

    Vs Shops

    -4 Therapy
    -1 Dragonlord
    -3 Mindbreak
    -1 Probe
    -4 FOW
    -1 Dread Return
    -1 Prized

    Vs Combo

    -1 Elesh
    -1 Pharoah
    -4 Petrified
    -3 Dread Return
    -1 Dragonlord
    -1 Prized
    -2 Thug
    -1 Probe

    +14 no portal (think sometimes I boarded slightly diff, cutting some FOWs leaving in extra dredgers)


    Imo the immediate future of dredge has us swinging back around to the faster leaner versions of dredge, similar to this version from 2 yrs ago. I would prob cut the leylines from MD unmask, cut some mana perhaps, and modernize the SB with creature package and 4 mindbreak either side or main


  • I've noticed a shift lately to Unmask/Leyline Dredge vs. Pitch Dredge. Curious to know people's thoughts.

    I've found that with aggro Workshop being a tough matchup, the ability to land a Leyline of the Void is huge. I also have found that Serenity has been a terrible SB card for me. Arcbound + Mishra's or Ballista make it much less effective of a sweeper.

  • @jhport12 I think Unmask/Leyline was seeing play going into Eternal Weekend because Dredge had been touted as the bogeyman of the weekend, and Pitch Dredge can be kind of weak to the mirror. Short of racing to Elesh Norn, we don't really have a plan. Force, and Misstep aren't great in the mirror.

    We're at the point in the cycle where everyone packed a lot of hate to deal with the threat, and now the threat has somewhat subsided. I personally would go back to the Force/Misstep plan. But if we reached a high point for Dredge again I might go back to Leyline/Unmask.

  • Hi guys. I am really new in Vintage and i think only one playing this format in my country. 😃 I have chosen Dredge and i really enjoy to play a deck. But still i did not understand completly what is the right sideboard plan against different decks. Sometimes it is too hard for me to choose what to cut from main deck after game one. Can you give me any advises about sideboarding agains most popular decks like Oaths, Shops and Dredge too. Thank You!

    P.S. English is not my native language. Sorry for mistakes.

  • It depends on the matchup and on your sideboard plan. There tend to be particular cards that are weak in particular matchups, such as Petrified Field when your opponent does not disrupt your lands or Mindbreak Trap against a slower deck like White Eldrazi.

    Beyond that you need to trim intelligently. For example, I typically cut Cabal Therapy vs Shops because if you are resolving a spell you would much prefer Dread Return. More generally you need to consider the speed with which you need to deliver a kill. Ichorid is typically a turn slower than Narcomoeba and half a turn slower (on average) than Bloodghast in terms of putting a body on the board, so you want to trim them somewhat in faster matchups, but it is invaluable in slower, more grindy matchups. You can consider cutting the whole Dread Return package in slower matchups, that's an easy way to free up a number of spots in the deck. Typically the faster the matchup is the closer to your main-deck configuration you would like to remain.

    Against Oath in particular their graveyard hate is a little weaker; they can't run Cage for obvious reasons, so they are typically dependent on opening-hand Leyline. You can often decline to put a creature into play until you can present an unbeatable board in a single turn. Practice and experience will be better guides in that type of matchup than anything we have to say.

    I know some people trim Serum Powder while sideboarding, and I've done it myself in very particular circumstances, but I think it is usually a mistake when others do it and has proven to be mistaken even in the few instances I have done it.

  • @ajfirecracker Thank you a lot for reply. My current sideboard containts from the following cards:

    1. Nature's Claim x3 for artifact and enchantment hate and for destroyng graveyard hate. I love theese cards.
    2. Hollow One x4. Really cool and strong cards for post sideboard games i think. Allow you to have very efficient beaters as early as turn 1. Love it.
    3. Gurmag Angler. This one has dissapointed me. I don't think that i will save his place in 15th cards.
    4. Ravenous Trap x4. I hate leyline. I hate its concept and its randomness. It can give you a value only when it is in starting hand. Unlike Leyline Trap is exellent for sudden effect cos it is instant. And it is very easy to cast in games where Trap have to shine (vs Storm, in mirror).
      And other questionable choices which still in testing like Ingot Chewer, Ashen Rider.

  • Guys, I have another question for you. Is Containment Priest the strongest option against us? I mean i have a lot of answers for artefacts but Priest can be dealt only by Force of Will in Dredge i guess. Maybe there are some tricks about playing around Priest or if she was cast the game is over and it is pointless to continue to do something?

  • Priest is relatively difficult to remove and some lists in the past have included cards like Barbarian Ring and Abrupt Decay to address it.

    You can also do things like Darkblast in upkeep -> dredge Darkblast -> Darkblast again to remove it

    You can also sometimes deal with Priest via Vengeful Pharaoh (there's no rule that you have to activate Bazaar outside of opponent's combat)

    You can hardcast creatures and chump-block to trigger Bridge from Below and win that way (I've done this before)

    Finally, the fact that it is 2 mana is a major disadvantage. You might be able to Therapy the Priest or build an unbeatable board or even win the game outright before it's played

  • @ajfirecracker brings up a fantastic point regarding Containment Priest. You can still take advantage of Bridge triggers while it's out.

    For example, there was a game where Priest came down kind of late - like the fourth or fifth turn. I had three Bloodghasts on the board, and had done some amount of Dredging.

    I sacrificed the Bloodghasts to Dread Return, targeting Narcomoeba. The Narcomoeba was exiled of course. But with 3 Bridges in the GY, that netted me 9 Zombies, which I proceeded to use to beat face, and won.

    I think if you're on the Hollow One/Gurmag Angler plan that your hierarchy of GY hate that you're actually worried about changes a bit. I care less about Containment Priest, and Grafdigger's Cage, and care more about Rest in Peace, and Leyline of the Void - simply because exiling my GY makes Gurmag near impossible to cast, and renders half my SB plan obsolete.

  • @oestrus 100% agree that permanent exile effects are by far the most powerful.

    If I had to rank them it'd probably look like:

    1. Permanent based exile: Leyline and Rest in Peace
    2. 0 mana, 1 shot exiles: Tormod's Crypt, Ravenous Trap, ect.
    3. Misteppable hate: Pithing Needle, Grafdigger's Cage, Relic of Progenitus, ect.
    4. Containment Priest, and other soft hate
      (If you don't have misstep, maybe combine 2+3; Any way you look at it Priest is at the bottom of the ladder)

    There are just so many good answers to Containment Priest from lands like Cabal Pit and Barbarian Ring to graveyard cards like Crippling Fatigue and Vengeful Pharaoh to Free Spells like Contagion and Spinning Darkness to Universal removal like Abrupt Decay. These numerous options, many of which cost very little design space, make it a very easy card to remove, and continue about your business.

  • I'm not sure it's clear cut to rank Dredge hate. There are a million answers to Containment Priest, but at Eternal Weekend and leading up to it, many Dredge players cut them, plenty having zero answers to the card. The Hollow One/Gurmag Angler package takes up space. Good Dredge players are constantly adapting their answers to line up with popular hate strategies, which means good players of all decks need to adjust accordingly.

    The best hate card isn't Leyline of the Void, it's whatever's one step ahead this week.

  • @brass-man Yes, preparing as a Dredge pilot is often trying to predict your metagame. However, you most definitely can rank hate pieces in a vacuum and during your deck building process its an important thing to do since there are simply hate pieces that you can and you can not play through.

    The success of Gurmag Angler is a response to Containment Priest. Not having your graveyard exiled means that it can be used for other functions. If Rest in Peace or Leyline were popular that card would not perform well. Dredge can also cast a number of their creatures out of their yard against Containment Priest, and get their Bridge Triggers off of Chewer / Wispmare. This is really no different from Grafdigger's cage in this sense, but the point is that these are very clearly a tier below permanent based exile effects.

    The fact that Containment (at 2 mana) is sometimes too slow to even stop a Dredge player from just going full game 1 plan puts it down yet another tier in my mind. The card is closer on par with Wasteland against Dredge than an actual devoted hate piece.

  • @brass-man said in Dredge Sideboarding Tactics:

    I'm not sure it's clear cut to rank Dredge hate. There are a million answers to Containment Priest, but at Eternal Weekend and leading up to it, many Dredge players cut them, plenty having zero answers to the card. The Hollow One/Gurmag Angler package takes up space. Good Dredge players are constantly adapting their answers to line up with popular hate strategies, which means good players of all decks need to adjust accordingly.

    The best hate card isn't Leyline of the Void, it's whatever's one step ahead this week.

    I certainly can't speak for every Dredge player. But I can say that in my experience, learning to free yourself from the fear of GY hate has been crucial to becoming more proficient with the deck.

    A newer, or less-experienced Dredge pilot is going to see 4 copies of Grafdigger's Cage, and 2 copies of Containment Priest in someone's SB, and think 'What am I gonna do?' That's going to hinder you, or give you pause, and that feeling is going to stick with you in your post-SB games.

    But if you can form that hierarchy in your mind, and go, 'OK. I have 4 Gurmag Angler, and 4 Hollow One. I don't care about of any of those cards,' that frees you from the fear, and should effectively help you play better.

    Likewise, I think that people who pack those cards count on us backing down, or feeling defeated at the sight of them. But I don't really flinch when I see a Tormod's Crypt, because I know on my hierarchy of things I care about, it's not too far up there. If you pop the Crypt, I can always rebuild. I'm not giving into that fear that you want me to have of that card.

  • I still think Containment Preist + Swords to Plowshares would have been a strong plan against the build of Dredge that ended up being popular at champs ... but I definitely cede the thread to the more experienced Dredge players than me 😄

  • TMD Supporter

    I think a good wide range of attack sideboard allows for a better planning in Dredge. I have tried Hallows+Gurmag (4/3) and liked it for some time. Until...the opponents start adapting and board artifact hate and more removal...so once the first hate piece hits and your threat is dealt with you are over. Also, RIPs and massive destruction make casting Gurmag ultraimpossible...yes you will Delve on turn 2 first time, but on the second time you try it you either get Tormoded or FOWed (which is really nasty).

    I have tried the following:

    4 Serenity
    4 Ingot Chewer
    4 Abrupt Decay (vs. Containment and Jayler mainly)

    Plus 3 open slots to a good bunch of testing results.

    I have also tried 4 Unmask maindeck and no Leyline for some time.Plus some Petrified and No Serums. I know this might sound crazy, but I like to play no Bazar hands that you know are unbeatable. And I also board Serum Powder ALWAYS in my G2 and G3 to allow for sideboard space.

    I know it is impossible to build a Drege Deck that 75s all the cards you want...but we can try to find a focused sideboard plan (plus some switches in the main).

    Here is my current list for reference (more or less what is Dredge Hype right now).


    4 BoB
    4 Undiscovered
    4 Mana Confluence
    2 Savage
    2 Petrified

    4 Troll
    4 Imp
    2 Thug

    4 Narcos
    4 Bloodghast
    2 Ichorid

    4 Bridge
    4 Leyline
    4 Unmask
    4 Therapy
    4 Mental Misstep (and no Serums!)
    2 Dread Return
    1 Ashen Rider
    1 Flamekin Zealoth


    2 Petrified Field
    4 Ingot Chewer
    4 Serenity
    4 Abrupt Decay (MVP)
    1 Elesh Norn

  • Wait, you don't run Serum Powder at all?

  • TMD Supporter

    Not at the moment 🙂

    I realized I was siding them out all the matches because I might want non-BoB hand (yes, I know it´s weird, but I have been trying that for a while). You can win by your opponent mulliganing to 4-5 and you discarding a troll until you find a BoB and get it back with a Petrified.

    Do you board them out G2 and G3?

    You can keep a hand with antiHate and some lands and it´s perfectly keepable. You will get the BoB in 3-4 natural draws.

  • @peach I have never boarded out Serum Powders. Never ever. But I'm not opposed to the idea. It just feels like it goes against everything we've been taught.

    There's an unsanctioned event happening near me tomorrow. I might just have to try your list out!

  • By cutting Serum Powder from game 1, you go from 5.8% to 13.5% chance to mulligan to oblivion as well as decreasing your expected hand size. I highly doubt the card you are adding giving you more than 7.8 percentage points. You should only board it out, or cut it if you don't plan to mulligan to Bazaar.

    I occasionally will do this for game 2/3s, but I can't reasonably see why its a good idea for game 1 to cut it. There are much worse cards in the dredge deck than Serum Powder.