Re: More Cycle in Dredge?

This is an extension of the previous post.

Cycle Dredge was off to a great start in testing for me before the restriction of Grave-Troll.

When Troll was restricted I responding by making a the conservative change of going -3 Troll, +3 Shell.
When a deck is already tops it seems that less is more.

The deck was a disaster. It went from first to worst. Basically I was using the cycle cards to replace normal cards in hand with extra draws. When those draws were Dredges for 6 it was great because my dredge normally hit another Dredger. When those draws became Dredges or 3 it was much worse. I might not even hit a dredger.

I was also inspired by the some of the ideas at the bottom of the thread I am referencing.

nsammael was pushing for an aggressive version of Fatestitcher Dredge.

That version was performing poorly for me the last time I tested it, but that was in a world where Mental Misstep was unrestricted. Maybe now that Misstep is restricted Chain of Vapor and Nature's Claim are better.

I spent the past weekend writing a program to simulate millions of Dredge games. I had two modes.
One was goldfish mode. The other was goldfish against a Leyline mode.

I hard coded that 4 Cabal Therapies are needed in the main.

From there I asked which lists had the fastest average goldfish. I did not count turns past 7, so if you fizzle it counts the same as a turn 7 win.

Here is what I found:

Maindeck:
4 BAZAAR_OF_BAGHDAD
1 GOLGARI_GRAVE_TROLL
4 STINKWEED_IMP
4 GOLGARI_THUG
2 HOLLOW_ONE
1 BLACK_LOTUS
4 BRIDGE_FROM_BELOW
4 FATESTITCHER
4 DREAD_RETURN
3 FLAMEKIN_ZEALOT
4 CABAL_THERAPY
4 CEPHALID_COLISEUM
1 MOX_SAPPHIRE
3 MOX_DIAMOND
1 STREET_WRAITH
2 HOGAAK_ARISEN_NECROPOLIS
2 SHAMBLING_SHELL
2 SUN_TITAN
1 ONCE_UPON_A_TIME
1 LIONS_EYE_DIAMOND
4 NARCOMOEBA
4 SERUM_POWDER

sideboard: (only 14 listed)
2 Hollow One
1 Flame-Kin Zealot
4 Chain of Vapor
3 Tropical Island (Could be City of Brass. Needs access to U/G)
1 Lotus Petal
3 Nature's Claim

sideboard out:
3 Golgari Thug
3 Mox Diamond
3 Serum Powder
2 Shambling Shell
1 Cephalid Coliseum
1 Hogaak Arisen Necropolis
1 Once upon a Time

The simulations are not using any kind of intelligent. It is all totally heuristic driven so the plays are not optimal.

Just looking at some of the replays I have noticed that I am not always happen about when LED is cracked or which target Sun Titan picks. Even the cards that are discarded to Bazaar can be wrong.

The goldfish speed of the main deck is about turn 2.73. This would be the equivalent of about 27% turn 2 wins and 73% turn 3 wins. That is not what happens there are a few turn 1 wins and a lot of turn 4 wins and the turn 2 win percentage is over 27%.

The goldfish speed vs Leyline post board is about 3.83, so just Leyline slows you down by about 1.1 turns.

Note that there is no possibility of your Leyline removal being countered.

Also, the 4th Nature's Claim was already super close to optimal.

Post board the worst cards in the deck are Sun Titan#2 and Hollow One#4.
The best cards left out were Tropical Island#4 and Bloodghast #1.

The worst card in the main is Shambling Shell #2 and the best card left out is Once Upon a Time #1.

I also tried limiting my sideboard to 11 cards. This way I would leave room for 4 Leyline of the Void.
When I do that the Mox Diamonds leave the main deck and Tropical Islands come in.

EDIT: I also had Emerald Charm originally, which was prefered to Nature's Claim since I am only testing against Leyline and not Grafdigger's Cage. I handled that by banning Emerald Charm but allowing up to 8 Nature's Claim.

One of the things I found was that Serum Powder was not particularly good post board. This surprised me. It is actually not amazing in the main either. You can drop to 7 Serum Powders taking very little hit. When I made room for Leylines, I only had 7 Serum Powders in the main.

The Mox Diamonds are pretty solid. They frequently lead to turn 2 wins. You can discard a 2nd Bazaar or a Coliseum to play Mox Diamond on turn 1 and then get a second Bazaar activation if you have Fatestitcher. Then turn 2 you get 2 more Bazaar activations assuming you find a 2nd Fatestitcher.

Running all the artifact mana and few lands made Bloodghast pretty bad.

I added Breakthrough and it is definitely worth it:
New list that saves room for 4 Leylines which I also think are worth it:

eck {
4 BAZAAR_OF_BAGHDAD
1 GOLGARI_GRAVE_TROLL
4 STINKWEED_IMP
4 GOLGARI_THUG
4 BREAKTHROUGH
1 BLACK_LOTUS
4 BRIDGE_FROM_BELOW
4 FATESTITCHER
4 DREAD_RETURN
3 FLAMEKIN_ZEALOT
4 CABAL_THERAPY
2 CITY_OF_BRASS
3 CEPHALID_COLISEUM
1 MOX_SAPPHIRE
3 MOX_DIAMOND
1 STREET_WRAITH
1 HOGAAK_ARISEN_NECROPOLIS
1 SHAMBLING_SHELL
2 SUN_TITAN
1 ONCE_UPON_A_TIME
1 LIONS_EYE_DIAMOND
4 NARCOMOEBA
3 SERUM_POWDER
} end deck
sideboard {
4 CHAIN_OF_VAPOR
3 MANA_CONFLUENCE
1 LOTUS_PETAL
3 NATURES_CLAIM
} end sideboard
out {
1 GOLGARI_THUG
1 CEPHALID_COLISEUM
1 MOX_SAPPHIRE
3 MOX_DIAMOND
1 SHAMBLING_SHELL
1 ONCE_UPON_A_TIME
3 SERUM_POWDER
} out

last edited by meadbert

This is super cool, I don't feel like I have enough Dredge expertise to comment on the results, but I love people taking vastly different approaches to to analyzing the game and seeing how they shake out.

Are there any decisions/conclusions you came to from running simulations that were counter to your assumptions going in? If you end up running a list you built with this method, I'd love to hear how it worked out for you!

A lot of the results I saw were counter to what I expected to see.

My intuition going in was as follows:
I had noticed that the Cyclers were worse. This was largely because once I used a cycle card to dredge my good dredger it was stuck in my hand. If these cycle cards said draw a card and discard a card they would have been great! Instead I would dredge a Shambling Shell and then have no dredgers.

I had a few ideas.

First I wondered if maybe Phantasmagorian would be worth it. That way I could dredge a dredger off of a cycle card, and then discard the dredger to Phantasmagorian.

I also expected Once Upon a Time to be very good because finding a second Bazaar is amazing and the next most important cards were dredgers and they are all creatures.

I was thinking that between Once Upon and Time and Noxious Revival I could pretty consistently hit a turn 2 Bazaar. That might allow me to go back to running Bloodghasts without needing to add mana lands. Then I could use Force of Vigor and Hollow One (who can also be found with Once Upon a Time) and I could still have a decent game against Leyline post board. So I expected to have Ichorids and Bloodghasts and then maybe Narcomoebas and Prized Amalgams along with Bridge Tokens to beat down with.

At first I only added the cards that I expected to be good and my main takeaways were stuff like Dakmoor Salvage is terrible and Phantasmagorian is pretty bad, or at least worse than Shambling Shell.

Then I figured I might as well add Rainbow lands, Emerald Charm, Nature's Claim and Chain of Vapor. That was too see if I could do better post board.

Those clearly came out above Force of Vigor and once Force of Vigor was removed Noxious Revival started to look terrible.

Then I had so many mana lands, that I added Fatestitchers. At first they looked like a 2-3 of, but then I added Black Lotus and LED and the Fatestitchers immediately jumped to a mandatory 4 of. This reminded me that nsammael had been pushing for an aggressive Fatestitcher build, so I went back and read some of his comments.

He had theorized that 4xDakmoor Salvage might good. I did not find that at all, but he had also pushed Mox Sapphire, Lotus Petal and Mox Diamond.

I was unimpressed with the Mox Diamond idea. I have a lot of experience with that card from Turboland decks with like 30 lands and I did not particularly like it them. I did not see how a deck with at most 10 lands was going to support them. I was wrong and he was right! Mox Diamond is great.

I suspect I have a suboptimal heuristic post board. I might be using a City of Brass to remove Leyline instead of discarding it to Mox Diamond. I will try that tomorrow. I am also a little bit suspicious that the Breakthroughs drove away the Hollow Ones. I need to make sure I did not do something retarded like forget to cast a free Hollow One before casting Breakthrough. Intuitively Breakthrough makes Hollow One worse since Breakthrough gets more stuff in the yard where Hollow One is mostly dead, but I did not expect it go from 4 to 0.

There are a few cards that I have left out and I plan to add:
Chrome Mox: RFGing a Narcomoeba to Chrome Mox seems pretty solid. I doubt I want to RFG Breakthrough and Fatestitcher I want in the yard, so I am not sure about this.
Ancestral Recall: Draw 3 is good.
Brainstorm: Draw 3 is still good.
Careful Study: Decent.
Faithless Looting:Slight chance of Flashback, but does not work with Cephalid Coliseum so probably worse than Careful Study.
Burning Inquiry: Draw 3, Discard 3 is actually really good, but your discard is random. Can also mess up opponents or really help them out by loading their yard. After London Mulligan players that mulliganed will have on average good quality cards so Burning Inquiry should usually mess them up a bit.
Cephalid Sage: Originally I added Sun Titan to return a Bazaar to bring back Bloodghasts, but instead he frequently brings back Lotus and LED. Since I am not running Bloodghasts at the moment it occurs to me that Cephalid Sage might be more consistent about getting to draw 3, although not being able to play a bunch of Fatestitchers is a drawback. Being blue means he could pitch to Chrome Mox.

My intuition is that between Breakthroughs and Fatestitchers I already have a lot of good things to do with my mana, so Ancestral Recall, Brainstorm and Careful Study won't be worth it.

I think Chrome Mox won't have enough blue cards to support it, but I thought the same thing about Mox Diamond. Also Mox Sapphire did not even make the cut post board because it cannot tap for Green to cast Nature's Claim so I doubt Chrome Mox will make the cut post board. That leaves it with heavy competition pre-board.

I will post if I find anything new. I think the most likely improvement I make will be to discard a Rainbow land to Mox Diamond to remove Leyline on turn 1.

It’s hard to really know what the results mean without knowing your whole process and decision trees. The results are so far off what I think anyone would expect. Just to name a few...

Mox Diamonds in a deck with less than 10 lands.

Multiple copies of FKZ.

Bridge from Below when it only works with Narcomoeba.

Simulation studies are highly reliant on the input parameters that are being varied. Without knowing those input parameters, we can’t really determine the validity of the results. I think that something in your simulation may be off. Turn 3 kills in Dredge are not particularly that difficult once you add Fatestitchers, and turning the deck into a complete glass cannon doesn’t seem like it’s necessary to reach that point.

last edited by vaughnbros

It sounds like in your simulation you changed the card Force of Vigor to only have 1 target instead of 2. It is no wonder then that it performed worse than alternatives.

Mox Diamond seemed counter-intuitive to me, but I have been testing with it and here is what I am seeing.

Sometimes you have the second land, in which case Mox Diamond is a huge bomb. It likely gives you 2 extra Bazaar activations by turn 2 which greatly improves a turn 2 win percentage.

If you have a breakthrough then you are getting something that is potentially 4 extra dredges all on turn 1 (although the odds of continuing to hit dredgers is in practice quite low)

Sometimes you just don't have a second in land in which case you can just pitch it the graveyard.
In this case it is a risky card with big reward. With 8 other lands in the deck you usually have the second land so getting the big reward is huge.

To Vaughnbros point goldfishing is only is only so helpful and ends up pushing you towards glass cannon builds. I am not saying that this is the ideal build, but I do suspect there may be some good ideas in here.

I added Basking Rootwalla as a new card and it made Force of Vigor a lot better in the sideboard.
I also fixed suboptimal play with Mox Diamond against Leylines and it is looking better in the sideboard.
(Yes, I know it can't flashback with Leyline out)

Really I should add games against Grafdigger's Cage, Wastelands and maybe Containment Priest to find a deck that is robust against a greater diversity of hate.

Are you trying to kill on turn 1? Why is it so crucial to not have a 2nd land? The odds of a 3 land hand post mulligan phase are pretty low, which would be the only cases you really want Diamond.

I had a huge bug against Leylines. Instead of RFGing the cards I was supposed to discard I put them back in my hand. This is why Serum Powder looked so bad post board. I basically got 4 free draws in first two turns.

I fix that bug and a made a few other edits and the Mox Diamonds and Breakthroughs are no longer quite worth it. I essentially have a 20 card sideboard so some maindeck cards have to come out.

Here is the list suggested now. It is probably a bit more conventional:

4 Bazaar Of Baghdad
4 Serum Powder
1 Breakthrough

1 Golgari Grave-Troll
4 Stinkweed Imp
4 Golgari Thug
3 Shambling Shell

4 Hollow One
4 Bridge From Below
4 Fatestitcher
2 Ichorid
1 Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis
4 Narcomoeba

2 Sun Titan
3 Flame-Kin Zealot
4 Dread Return
4 Cabal Therapy

1 City of Brass
2 Cephalid Coliseum
1 Black Lotus
1 Lion's Eye Diamond
1 Lotus Petal
1 Mox Sapphire

sideboard:
2 City of Brass
4 Force of Vigor
4 Nature's Claim
1 Chain of Vapor

Running 4 Nature's Claims with only 5 green mana sources (Not counting Serum Powder) seems pretty shady, but Claim also pitches to Force of Vigor so I suppose it works with 9 other cards. I will read some replays to see how Claim is being used.

With 19 non Dread Return ways to bring out creatures this list is far more robust.

Regarding the Dread Return package: I am not suggesting that Flame-Kin Zealot is the best package at all.
I was just goldfishing so obviously the Win-Now targets are going to reign Supreme.

My point was more that thw 3x FKZ is probably better split into other DR finishers as well as the 2x Titan. There are a plethora of other good options, e.g. Kologhan, Laboratory Maniac, Muldrotha, Griselbrand, Hatebound Flayer. This allows the deck to overcome scenarios where you can’t win with Bridge into a bunch of zombies.

@vaughnbros said in Simulating Dredge:

My point was more that thw 3x FKZ is probably better split into other DR finishers as well as the 2x Titan. There are a plethora of other good options, e.g. Kologhan, Laboratory Maniac, Muldrotha, Griselbrand, Hatebound Flayer. This allows the deck to overcome scenarios where you can’t win with Bridge into a bunch of zombies.

I totally agree with this statement. Titan and FKZ can be chained together to win now, but by themselves they are not great.

You go for Titan hoping to Dredge into FKZ. It is safer to just go for a target that hoses your opponent.
It is probably better to replace those with some other targets.

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