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 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.
I've had a chance to play quite a bit with this card in the sideboard of Oath, and I think it is great. It works in almost every matchup. I've even found it to be great tech in the Oath mirror. I won a game using only this card last night. I've used this to combat the newer Karn-Key decks. They take control of the game so quickly that I couldn't rely on Dig Through Time to pull me out of the situation. This card stops the Crucible of Worlds plan and stops Inventor's Fair. I really like the design of this card.
I've been using one Force of Negation in Oath where I had been using Mindbreak Trap. Overall, Mindbreak Trap is the stronger card, but this card is more versatile. It stops the lines where the other player was avoiding the Trap. It can also just be hard cast, so I consider it an upgrade.
I've recently started testing this card in the sideboard of Oath. It seems very strong. It single handedly won a game against aggro shops. Matt Murray also told me about this card being the cage breaker. Recasting this turn after turn to destroy Grafdigger's cage fills a much needed niche against RUG Xerox.
I've been testing one Wren and Six in my Oath deck. I am nearly convinced this is what the deck wants to be doing. The card wins games on its own, or can put you in a very strong position. In probably ten games this card has been nothing except really good.
@jimtosetti Is Preordain #3 better than a Ponder? Where are you on Mission Briefing after a few leagues? Thoughts on Spell Piece to combat PWs and adding more grudges main?
Ponder can be good provided you get some sequence of cards that can be effective in that particular game. It can be a gamble in the early game because you might not know what you need to win yet. Preordain is consistent at finding lands and the Oath of Druids. Ponder is better in decks that use more fetch lands because you can shuffle the extra cards away. Ponder is also better in more dedicated combo decks.
As far as Mission Briefing and a few leagues goes, its more like Mission Briefing after hundreds of leagues. Mission Briefing has a similar function to Yawgmoth's Will. It is harder to cast when there are more sphere effects in the meta.
I started to test Daze to combat Planeswalkers and counter magic, but my experience is that you still lose to turn one Karn when they are on the play. I have some ideas to test when we can use the Modern Horizons cards the might help Oath in tough situations.
Ancient Grudge is very good against artifact based decks and very poor against Xerox decks. You can probably go two ways with the deck. A general strategy for all matches game one, or a main deck that is focused towards particular matches that sides into the other matches in a strong way. However, players have been successful in relevant numbers using multiple main deck Ancient Grudges.
My experience with Spell Pierce has never been good with this deck, but that was when Xerox was a major competitor. I've thought about trying out one Spell Pierce, so maybe I will try it tonight.
I know that myself and many other people are becoming very unenthused with losing to turn one Karn. At this point it highly probably we are making donations to WOTC when we join leagues.
If I figure out anything significant with the Modern Horizons cards I will post the deck lists and card discussion here. My theory with Magic is to test anything that enters you mind as a good idea. You will never find out if they are good ideas if you never test them. My Twitch account name is the same as here, jimtosetti. I play Oath fairly often. Feel free to come deck build with us there. I'm on most days starting anywhere from 5pm -7pm central time.
@jimtosetti do you consider the black splash worth it for just demonic tutor?
Whats your opinion on yawgmoths will?
i think it has always been a powerful card in oath strategies, so whats your reason not to run it?
Well, I will first try to answer the question as simply as possible. I win fewer games without Demonic Tutor, and I win fewer games with Yawgmoth's Will when Sphere effects are more popular. I was using Yawgmoth's Will right before Karn decks really took off and then I cut it.
Sometimes the black splash can be eliminated. Maybe this is one of them. If I were to cut the Demonic Tutor right now it would be an ancient Grudge. The options that Demonic Tutor provides can be very rewarding. I will often Demonic Tutor for Force of Will, Wasteland, and Jace.
If you want to play with Yawgmoth's Will you need to look at the rest of your deck. Some of the best lines include Black Lotus, Oath of Druids, Time Walk, and Ancestral Recall. In general, recasting more draw spells for value in the absence of Oath of Druids is the reason to play Yawgmoth's Will. Right now Narset is fairly common, so Oath has been using fewer draw spells, making the card tougher to include.