Vintage Dredge (Videos)

Feature Article from Steve Rubin
Steve Rubin
10/20/2017 11:01:00 AM
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Vintage Dredge has remained a staple of Vintage for years. Many people see this deck as a deck you need to have requisite hate in order to beat, and don't regard it as a true powerhouse. Since Dredge is a powerless deck, it is often considered a budget option for players who want to play Vintage or want to get into the format. Dredge also kind of plays sideways Magic, meaning some of the games are unlike typical games and very difficult for both players to navigate properly. Personally, I love these games as they seem like a puzzle needing to be solved. Nothing is more satisfying then scraping a win with a bunch of 1/1 and 1/2 do nothings. There is also a stigma of Dredge being an unfun deck. I don't really know what that means, but combine this with the fact that many of the sideboard games are the games that matter, even some of the most experienced Vintage players are a bit inexperienced in their matchup against it. These factors all add up to a general unwarranted disrespect for the archetype. In practiced hands, the right Dredge list is a tier one Vintage deck.

The last year had been an interesting year for Dredge. I've owned the deck on Magic Online and dabbled with it since power and Vintage arrived there. Since then, Paradoxical Outcome was printed and the frequency and degeneracy of this new combo deck knocked me around enough where I thought Dredge was no longer good enough to compete. Furthermore, an unrestriction of Yawgmoth's Bargain pushed more degeneracy into the fold which is where Dredge struggles most.

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Right as I was beginning to accept that Dredge might not be good enough to play at Eternal Weekend, Hollow One Dredge decks started putting up results. Hollow One adds consistency to a quite swingy Dredge strategy. In conjunction with Gurmag Angler, the new sideboard "fish" plan makes it so Dredge decks can win postboard games much easier by stretching your opponent's deck thin while also punishing their subpar hate filled draws. While it's rare to just end the game with this strategy, often times it makes your scrappy beatdown plan actually win you the game, or help fuel early Cabal Therapy to help keep your graveyard plans intact.

Dredge typically has some maindeck slots for some tech cards, which is often used for Leyline of the Void which can provide disruption against Yawgmoth's Will, Delve, and protects your Bridge from Below from being removed. Most importantly, it gives you a huge edge in any Dredge mirror. Winning with Dredge sometimes means hedging your bets and embracing the variance of the deck. This is why I think for Eternal Weekend this year it may be best to run with Mindbreak Trap. This provides the most protection against the Abundance of Paradoxical Outcome and Bargain decks, while still sometimes providing some interaction from time to time against fairer decks.

Beyond Mindbreak Trap, I believe it is incorrect to not fill the rest of the open slots of Dredge with Fatestitcher and Petrified Field. Many Dredge decks to want more interaction such as Misstep, Leyline of the Void, Force of Will or Unmask since you are generally heavily favored against the field game one against any non-storm deck. I have found that many of these spells don't work in every matchup, and these cards can be extremely poor when mulliganing extremely low. You are much more likely to mill a card in game one then to draw it, and Fatestitcher greatly increases the amount of turn two kills you can achieve which makes it quite high impact as a one or two of. It also helps you in games where you do not find a Dredge card by untapping your Bazaar, which is the second most frequent way to lose game one with Dredge after just getting killed on your opponent's first or second turn (hence Fatestitcher/ Mindbreak Trap). The third most common way to lose game one by getting your Bazaar Wastelanded or Strip Mined. I have seen many lists cut down on Petrified Field but it to be a high impact card when very few cards actually matter. Extra mana sources are never bad when you need them, and Petrified Field can be strong against Containment Priest decks-allowing you to tutor for your Barbarian Rings.

With the new Gurmag Angler/Hollow One/Mox Jet sideboard plan, you have less slots for Ring and can beat Containment Priests anyway so I have cut them for the time being. Remember that Bridge from Belows still operate, so often times you can Dredge your Golgari Thugs and Stinkweed Imps while finding as many Bridge from Belows as possible in order to beat a Priest.

Steve Rubin
@RubinZoo




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