4 Hogaak seems like overkill to me, although the exact count is something to fine-tune and tweak over time. I think 3 is where I would most likely start.

@ajfirecracker

In a build with Bridge from Below getting 2x Hogaak in the GY can be chained for a ton of zombies.

I have 2 4-1s in a deck without dread return and with 4 Hogaarks. It’s not pitch. It doesn’t run bridge. A free 8/8 is pretty good without extras honestly. I was testing a minimalist hypothesis by cutting cards like narcmoeba. You don’t need four but the fact that it pitches to Force of Vigor, Ichorid, Unmask, and Contagion/Shoal means the diminishing returns of running 4 are virtually nonexistent and this argument is pretty irrelevant. Play as many as you can fit.

last edited by ChubbyRain

@chubbyrain

I think the route you've gone is probably closer to optimal when it comes to post board games. I am a little bit afraid for some matchups where you kind of do really need Dread Return to close out the game quickly, but more on this when I finish writing up this report from the weekend.

I haven’t encountered games in which that has come up. Ironically, I’ve lost to lotus Narset + strip mine and not having a dredger (despite Steve’s hyperbole that Narset does nothing) in back to back games and Mirror Fun tm. What matches are the go wide strategy necessary?

Edit: I still kill on turn 3 the vast majority of games.

last edited by ChubbyRain

You mostly want DR for the mirror, storm, and oath. Other matchups it doesn't really matter.

Wasteland is the number 1 reason you will lose game 1s though in general, and yeah Narset + hate piece is really obnoxious.

last edited by vaughnbros

@chubbyrain said in Pitch Dredge:

I have 2 4-1s in a deck without dread return and with 4 Hogaarks. It’s not pitch. It doesn’t run bridge. A free 8/8 is pretty good without extras honestly. I was testing a minimalist hypothesis by cutting cards like narcmoeba. You don’t need four but the fact that it pitches to Force of Vigor, Ichorid, Unmask, and Contagion/Shoal means the diminishing returns of running 4 are virtually nonexistent and this argument is pretty irrelevant. Play as many as you can fit.

I think you're thinking about this backwards. My concern is not that I'm going to have too many Hogaaks and be unable to find a use for the 4th one. My concern is that slots are valuable, and the 4th Hogaak has to pull its weight for me to choose that card over an additional Mindbreak Trap or the one-of Gitaxian Probe or the Strip Mine or whatever the best card I could run would be. If 3 Hogaaks gives me a certain level of ability to close the game with the Dredge plan, the 4th has to make a serious contribution beyond that in order to justify itself.

Yes, I’m saying that the utility of being a b/g card, along with the consistency of hitting and casting hogaark on turn 2 to set up the turn 3 kill, justifies the 4th copy. I thought that followed from my post.

Duplicitous GY cards are pretty critical to winning through exile, strip effects, and now the even higher probability you will exile your own cards (through pitch + powders). If you want to build around Hogaak as your primary win con then he should be a 4-of. If he's just kind of there as a good card, then sure you can play less.

I really enjoyed testing both decks last night. The experience gave me some ideas for a deck that uses strategies from both variants. I will be streaming that deck in around an hour, so stop by.

Why is Hollow One bad? Hollow One contributes very little when there is no hate, and when there is hate he almost never gets the job done.

Before I played in the Challenge on the 8th, I was toying around with cutting Hollow One.

Hollow One is interesting. The pros are obvious. It's a free 4/4 body, and unbelievable in multiples. It's also great in the Leyline subgame.

But I also agree with the point that he rarely is going to win a game by himself without either 1) disruption 2) countermagic, or 3) additional offensive action. And he can massively backfire when playing against Dack.

But I think the under appreciate cost to Hollow One is that does nothing outside of your opening hand. When you are dredging, hitting Hollow One feels really bad. Disruption like Force of Will, Misstep, Unmask, Force of Negation, Force of Vigor also take up the same deck space, but they all directly contribute to the win much more forcefully and immediately than Hollow One attacking for 5 straight turns. that's because they counter the opponent's attempts to stop you or their main game plan.

I've not yet been courageous enough to cut Hollow One - mainly because I feel like I want it against Eldrazi, non-Dack Planesewalkers, and the Leyline mirror, but it's something on my list of things I want to test.

Re: Tabernacle

Three countertactics for dealing with it:

a) run max Ichorids. All you need is 7 Ichorid activations unmolested to win with it through Tabernacle

b) run a single Dakmore Salvage or Riftstone Portal. This can allow you to keep an Amalgam around, and attack with an Ichorid for the win

c) Run Dread Return package, and play Ashen Rider to blow up Ichorid or win hastily with Kologhan, etc.

Another answer to Tabernacle is the most simple one: Waste it, possibly with Petrified Field or Noxious Revival to find your waste/strip

Hollow one is good against creature decks. Poor against Blue (with all their removal) + Combo (you are rarely getting 5 swings in).

Tabernacle should only really be slowing you down slightly, it needs to be combined with other hate to really hurt. This is comparable to other cards like this: Lavinia/Narset/ect. that only really impact you under the situation where you can't use your GY properly.

I watched your replay of the top 8 Steve, and I really enjoyed it. It is surprising how many lines there are to discover as you play the deck over time. I found that I had to work through many of the same situations that you faced. Something interesting that I have found about this deck is that most Dredge decks, no matter the build, are very effective at doing certain things. It can be a matter of what your opponent was playing, or what both of your starting hands were that decides which Dredge variant is successful on a given day.

I have found that the more I play the deck in this meta, the more I lean toward a certain strategy. Because there are fewer combo decks like Paradoxical Outcome, and more decks like Mud, Dredge, BUG, and Xerox, I have found that I like Pitch Dredge with Bloodghasts and Prized Amalgams. I also only use one or two Hogaaks and no Dread Returns. This strategy allows me to apply pressure, Cabal Therapy more aggressively, but still have counter spells to stop broken cards.

I have found that side boarding Unmasks to use when you're on the play, coupled with counter magic and removal is very difficult for the opponent to deal with. I will also normally side out Hollow One against decks that use Dack Fayden, but not always. When I face Dreadhoarde Arcanist decks I am more likely to keep some in because their mana base doesn't seem to allow them to cast it as quickly as other Xerox decks. I will also side out Hogaak against combo decks frequently.

Hogaak is an interesting card for this archetype. It provides Dredge with enough muscle to operate without a Bazaar in play, and can be cast through sphere effects. My opinion of this card is that it is better than the Dread Return packages when there is less combo, or a need to end the game quickly, or on the spot. Hogaak also gives the player the ability to brute force damage through against blue decks when they attempt to win the aggro way. This is important because it can be very difficult to resolve a Dread Return against them. If they counter Hogaak is doesn't even matter. It can just be cast again. You can even gain value from bridges by using the legendary rule with multiple Hogaaks.

The Dredge mirror is particularly interesting. My opinion of this matchup is that it is seldom decided by grave hate, but rather from gaining value from Bridge from Below while removing the opponents bridges as fast as possible, going so far as to cast multiple Cabal Therapies to accomplish the task. If one of the players has Elesh Norn, that is probably the best card for the match, but it isn't something that can happen all the time. I have played with Leyline of the Void and Ravenous Traps, but there were so many games where they just went to the graveyard, and could have just been something else. The cards are good, but I think it is more important to focus on the Bridge from Below tactics.

Having shared some of my thoughts on the deck, I will say that I would be comfortable playing at least ten different configurations of the deck. I like Dredge with no counters, super pitch dredge, Bloodghast dredge with Force of Wills (with or without Dread Return), and Mind Break Trap variants. I also like numerous sideboard configurations. I have found this to be a very interesting and fun deck to play, and I hope to keep finding new strategies with it.

last edited by Guest

I think the best answers to Marit Lage are not being played quite as much right now as they have been for a while. What do you think of the following? (post-London)

4 Bazaar of Baghdad
2 Serum Powder
4 Golgari Grave-Troll
4 Stinkweed Imp
4 Golgari Thug
4 Narcomoeba
4 Ichorid
4 Cabal Therapy
4 Bridge from Below
4 Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis
4 Force of Will
4 Force of Negation
2 Mindbreak Trap
4 Petrified Field
4 Mental Misstep
4 Unmask

4 Dark Depths
4 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
4 Thespian's Stage
2 Vampire Hexmage
1 Riftstone Portal

@jimtosetti said in Pitch Dredge:

I watched your replay of the top 8 Steve, and I really enjoyed it. It is surprising how many lines there are to discover as you play the deck over time. I found that I had to work through many of the same situations that you faced. Something interesting that I have found about this deck is that most Dredge decks, no matter the build, are very effective at doing certain things. It can be a matter of what your opponent was playing, or what both of your starting hands were that decides which Dredge variant is successful on a given day.

I have found that the more I play the deck in this meta, the more I lean toward a certain strategy. Because there are fewer combo decks like Paradoxical Outcome, and more decks like Mud, Dredge, BUG, and Xerox, I have found that I like Pitch Dredge with Bloodghasts and Prized Amalgams. I also only use one or two Hogaaks and no Dread Returns. This strategy allows me to apply pressure, Cabal Therapy more aggressively, but still have counter spells to stop broken cards.

I have found that side boarding Unmasks to use when you're on the play, coupled with counter magic and removal is very difficult for the opponent to deal with. I will also normally side out Hollow One against decks that use Dack Fayden, but not always. When I face Dreadhoarde Arcanist decks I am more likely to keep some in because their mana base doesn't seem to allow them to cast it as quickly as other Xerox decks. I will also side out Hogaak against combo decks frequently.

Hogaak is an interesting card for this archetype. It provides Dredge with enough muscle to operate without a Bazaar in play, and can be cast through sphere effects. My opinion of this card is that it is better than the Dread Return packages when there is less combo, or a need to end the game quickly, or on the spot. Hogaak also gives the player the ability to brute force damage through against blue decks when they attempt to win the aggro way. This is important because it can be very difficult to resolve a Dread Return against them. If they counter Hogaak is doesn't even matter. It can just be cast again. You can even gain value from bridges by using the legendary rule with multiple Hogaaks.

The Dredge mirror is particularly interesting. My opinion of this matchup is that it is seldom decided by grave hate, but rather from gaining value from Bridge from Below while removing the opponents bridges as fast as possible, going so far as to cast multiple Cabal Therapies to accomplish the task. If one of the players has Elesh Norn, that is probably the best card for the match, but it isn't something that can happen all the time. I have played with Leyline of the Void and Ravenous Traps, but there were so many games where they just went to the graveyard, and could have just been something else. The cards are good, but I think it is more important to focus on the Bridge from Below tactics.

Having shared some of my thoughts on the deck, I will say that I would be comfortable playing at least ten different configurations of the deck. I like Dredge with no counters, super pitch dredge, Bloodghast dredge with Force of Wills (with or without Dread Return), and Mind Break Trap variants. I also like numerous sideboard configurations. I have found this to be a very interesting and fun deck to play, and I hope to keep finding new strategies with it.

This is an amazing post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Nicely formulated, thought provoking, and great insights.

I agree with not only much of what you said, but all of the sentiment. Most especially, the point that Dredge really does reveal more and interesting lines of play the more experience you get, and the deeper you get with the archetype. I feel like I'm leveling up pretty regularly, gaining new insights and understandings.

That's really Magic at its best. It's why I will never get sick of The Deck in Old School or Gush decks. There is no ceiling to understanding or insight.

After I broke out the 12 Force Dredge a few weeks ago, I really don't understand how this hasn't caught on more.

Finished 2nd in the Vintage Format Playoff tournament today on MTGO with this monster.

0_1561856468965_Pitch Dredge 6.29.19.png

The tournament is full of ringers, since to qualify, you needed 35 Vintage format points, which you get through Top8ing Challenges or grinding leagues. Not super easy unless you play Magic in front of your computer more than I'm comfortable doing on a regular basis.

I've been tuning it all week in preparation for the tournament. A few notes:

When I started of, my main focus was: 1) Karn decks, 2) the mirror, and 3) Jeskai. For that reason, I moved Hollow Ones to the sideboard. They are terrible against Jeskai, good against Karn, and weak in Games 1 in the mirror (they are excellent in the Leyline "subgame").

As I was testing, the metagame abruptly shifted more towards BUG and Survival. Force of Negation is best against Karn decks, but terrible in the mirror, decent against Survival, but subpar against BUG. Therefore, I moved to Force of Negation to the Sideboard.

Since I was worried more and more about Deathrite Shaman, I cut the SB Dakmore Salvage, and added a 3rd Contagion.

Hogaak is phenomenal, but you get can away with just 3. It's a card that can win games that no other card can win, especially with Sphere effects in play. I won through lots of Spheres in otherwise unwinnable games because of him. But you only want to be able to hit 2 to make Bridges (I won one game doing 120+ damage).

Chalice of the Void is an all-star, and so is Probe. I can't understand how any Dredge deck wouldn't run both. It's just objectively wrong. I feel the same way about less than 4 Ichorid.

If I was going to the NYSE, I would definitely play this deck, and not worry too much about hate. It can win through 3-4 pieces of hate with a bit of tempo advantage and shifting roles from dredging to Hollow One attack or just slow running Ichorids.

Congratulations on the playoff finish Steve! I had this style of list all ready to go, but decided to go with RWU Xerox because I didn't want to wade through all the grave hate I was expecting. I agree with your rationalization for the deck configuration, and I think you figured out the archetype for the meta.

One other addendum: Because of the rise of BUG and/or Wrenn decks, that's why I added a pair of Petrified Fields. Also, Field + Strip is good against Tabernacle, directly and indirectly.

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