[Archetype] - Dredge: A Primer

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DREDGE: A PRIMER

What is Dredge?

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Dredge is a deck which relies on milling your own library with the Dredge mechanic with cards such as Golgari Grave-Troll and Stinkweed Imp to ensure that you can get at least two Bridge From Below into your graveyard. In the process, you'll also turn up several Narcomoebas which can be sac'd to Dread Return for one of two win conditions. See below. Dredge is a fun deck to play, and is still competitive in the Extended Meta. Two dredge players made it to the top 16 in Berlin, and now that every one is preparing for elves, Dredge can make a comeback. Also, dredge has the possibility to win on turn 2 (or even turn 1!!!) if you're lucky.

So How Does Dredge Win?

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Dredge's best win conditions is to use Dread Return to sac three creatures, such as Narcomoeba while having two Bridge From Below in your graveyard to generate 6 Zombie tokens, and return Flame-kin Zealot to play, giving you a striking force of 7 3/3 creatures. Alternatively, if bridges are not available, many players run one Akroma, Angel of Wrath as their alternate win condition.


How Do I Get Cards Into My Graveyard?

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You can use cards such as Magus of the Bazaar to discard cards with dredge. You can also use Mill-Cards such as Glimpse the Unthinkable to ensure you start off a combo. Other spells such as Ideas Unbound allow you to pick what you want to discard.


Creatures:

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Narcomoeba - Needed to hit your combo. Run 4. No exceptions.
Golgari Grave-Troll - It has dredge 6. Run 4.
Golgari Thug - Good for backup dredge, and is cheap enough to play from your hand if Narcomoeba isn't available. Run 1 or 2.
Stinkweed Imp - Dredge 5, and can be played to deal with Faeries. Run 4.
Magus of the Bazaar - Discard Engine, and has amazing synergy with Dredge, as you can dredge back two creatures and then discard them again. Amazing late game to finish your combo. Run 4.
Fatesticher - Has unearth (U) that can serve two purposes: It can sac to dread return, or can untap your magus to complete a combo. Run 1-3.
Akroma, Angel of Wrath - Truthfully, she isn't needed in the maindeck, but many people like to use her as an alternate win condition. At least run her in your sideboard, but I prefer maindecking.
Flame-Kin Zealot - The Finisher to your Bridge combo. You only need 1.


Spells

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Ideas Unbound - Great card draw, and combos with Dredge later in game to dredge three times. Run 3-4
Goblin Lore - Has discard, and combos with Dredge 4 times. Run 1-3.
Darkblast - Takes out BOB and also works as early game dredge. Only run 1-2, but it's ok if you don't run it at all.
Chrome Mox - A must have to keep up with elves. Run 3-4.
Dread Return - The most important spell in the deck. You probably only need 3 though.


Lands

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Gemstone MineGreat card, seeing how you're only going to be playing a few key spells before your combo goes off. Run 4.
City of Brass - Same as Mine.
Gemstone Caverns - Great for game 2, and can be used for the rare but amazing turn 1 win.
Watery Grave - Most of your spells are either blue or black, so this is self explanatory.
Tendo Ice Bridge - Can be useful for turn 1 spells.
Steam Vents - For Goblin Lore.


Other Possibilities

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Mulldrifter - I'm not a huge fan, but the pro's dig it.
One With Nothing - Can keep you from having to mulligan if you have the good stuff in your hand.
Blazing Archon - Instead of Akroma.
River Kelpie - Can insure your combo goes off correctly.


Sideboard

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Akroma, Angel of Wrath - If you didn't maindeck her.
Ancient Grudge - Artifact Control from the graveyard.
Chalice of the Void - Controls elves, and keeps Tormod's Crypt at bay in game 2.
Gemstone Caverns - Much more effective if you know you'll be drawing game 2.
Pithing Needle - Keeps Tezzeret at bay, as well as shackles and the like.
Thoughtseize - Good distruption in any deck running black.
Chain of Vapor - Nothing says SUCK IT to Bitterblossom better than a turn 1 bounce. This is very frustrating to Faerie players.
Ancestor's Chosen - If All-in-red has you down in the dumps before your combo can go off.
Firespout - nice for Goblins, Faeries, Elves, Zoo, and myriad other creature - based decks.
Darkblast - if you don't run it maindeck
Extirpate - can stop elves in its tracks with split second, allowing you to effectively remove all summoner's pacts from their library causing their combo to possible fizzle. Also works great on Loam-Aggro, and All-in-Red (because you can kill all of their rite of flames right after they play this first).


Decklists:
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RathiAssassin's Decklist

// Lands
3 [RAV] Watery Grave
2 [GP] Steam Vents
3 [10E] Island (3)
4 [TSB] Gemstone Mine
4 [5E] City of Brass

// Creatures
2 [RAV] Golgari Thug
4 [RAV] Golgari Grave-Troll
4 [RAV] Stinkweed Imp
4 [FUT] Narcomoeba
3 [ALA] Fatestitcher
1 [LE] Akroma, Angel of Wrath
4 [PLC] Magus of the Bazaar
1 [RAV] Flame-Kin Zealot

// Spells
2 [ST] Goblin Lore
3 [RAV] Glimpse the Unthinkable
3 [TSP] Dread Return
2 [RAV] Darkblast
4 [FUT] Bridge from Below
3 [SOK] Ideas Unbound
4 [MR] Chrome Mox

// Sideboard
SB: 2 [TSP] Gemstone Caverns
SB: 1 [RAV] Ancestor's Chosen
SB: 3 [MR] Chalice of the Void
SB: 3 [TSP] Ancient Grudge
SB: 3 [ON] Chain of Vapor
SB: 2 [SOK] Pithing Needle
SB: 1 [RAV] Blazing Archon



Emmanuel Delvinge 2nd Place Belgium PTQ Honolulu 2009

creature [23]
1 Akroma, Angel of Wrath
2 Fatestitcher
1 Flame-Kin Zealot
4 Golgari Grave-Troll
1 Golgari Thug
4 Magus of the Bazaar
2 Mulldrifter
4 Narcomoeba
4 Stinkweed Imp

instant [3]
3 Darkblast
sorcery [11]

3 Dread Return
4 Glimpse the Unthinkable
4 Ideas Unbound

enchantment [4]
4 Bridge from Below

artifact [4]
4 Chrome Mox

land [15]
1 Breeding Pool
3 Flooded Strand
1 Gemstone Caverns
2 Island
4 Polluted Delta
4 Watery Grave

Sideboard:
1 Ancestor's Chosen
1 Blazing Archon
2 Chain of Vapor
3 Thoughtseize
4 Chalice of the Void
3 Pithing Needle
1 Gemstone Caverns


Can you detail a turn 1 win?

Also, I find that Simian Spirit Guide can be a good budget (don't hit me) replacement for Chrome Mox.
Good thread. I'm linking it in the yet-to-be-stickied Archetype Thread.

Some more cards for the sideboard:
Ancestor's Chosen
Firespout
Darkblast if you don't run it maindeck
Extirpate
Can you detail a turn 1 win?

Also, I find that Simian Spirit Guide can be a good budget (don't hit me) replacement for Chrome Mox.

If you are drawing and you have a Gemstone Caverns, you put it in play. Then on your opponent's first turn, play a Darkblast. On your first turn, dredge the darkblast instead of drawing. Hopefully you will dredge up another dredge card. Then play Ideas Unbound and dredge whatever is in your graveyard, after the first draw, repeat with any other dredge cards. If you were lucky, in those three dredges (which, with grave-trolls and stinkweed imps total up to about 14-16 cards), you need to have gotten 3 narcomoebas, 2 bridge from belows, 1 dread return, and 1 flame-kin zealot. Then you sac the narcomoebas for 6 zombies and return zealot, then swing for 21 with your 7 3/3's.

Is it likely? No. But it's possible, and that's the cool thing.

And @twin: Thank you! much appreciated.

Edit: I also added the s/b cards you mentioned. Thanks for the input.
I usually don't double post but what do you guys think about main-decking two Mulldrifters? All 4 of the Day 2 Dredge decks had them but I'm not convinced. It seems like 3 mana for 2 dredges is more than I keep around.

Also, what about running a couple of Street Wraiths? Someone mentioned it to me today and I hadn't really thought about it. It's a free mana-less dredge, but I'm not sure if I want the slot taken up.

It seems that the only way to guarantee that your combo goes off is to have at least one blue draw spell, 2 creatures with dredge in your graveyard, and a Magus of the Bazaar out in play. Usually I can dredge up a Fatesticher to rinse and repeat... But I like having that extra mana open in case I need to play a Thug or a Narcomoeba from my hand to pull off Dread Return.

To Evoke or not to Evoke?
Big shroud dudes:
Gigapede
kodama of N tree
SSS
empyrial arch
I usually don't double post but what do you guys think about main-decking two Mulldrifters? All 4 of the Day 2 Dredge decks had them but I'm not convinced. It seems like 3 mana for 2 dredges is more than I keep around.

The main point of Mulldrifter, I think, is to dredge it into the graveyard and then bring it back with Dread Return to dredge a bunch more. It basically does the same thing that Cephalid Sage used to do, though less effectively.
I've been testing with Mulldrifter... but I don't like wasting a dread return just to dredge more. I'm finding that Fatesticher + Magus is working well enough.

Also, I LOVE Empyrial Archangel in the s/b of this deck. It's a killer alternate win against blue players, slide, and especially All-in-red who's mogg fanatics always take out my bridges.
Rathi: what's your current list?
I was skeptical to post this in the OP because nobody has competed with this decklist yet, and it's largely untested, but this is what I'm currently playing.

Creatures: 21
---------
4x Magus of the Bazaar
4x Narcomoeba
4x Golgari Grave-Troll
4x Stink Weed Imp
1x Golgari Thug
1x Akroma, Angel of Wrath
1x Flame-kin Zealot
2x Fatesticher

Spells: 21
------
4x Ideas Unbound
2x Goblin Lore
3x Dread Return
4x Bridge From Below
3x One With Nothing
1x Darkblast
4x Glimpse The Unthinkable

Lands: 18
-----
2x Vivid Marsh
2x Vivid Creek
4x Tendo Ice Bridge
2x Gemstone Caverns
4x Gemstone Mine
1x Swamp
1x Mountain
2x Island

Please note, that I realize One with Nothing is an odd card to be running MD, but it's to counter decks that can deal with dredge by retaining whatever threats I drew until my opponent's EOT, where I can set up my combo.

This helps my keep up with TEPS and Elves! while keeping Game 1 zoo opponents from knowing what I'm doing. I think it pays off, but I haven't tested it in a tournament environment, which is why I'm skeptical about putting it in the OP. The other card I'd suggest in its place is Chrome Mox.

Anyways, here's my sideboard:

1x Simic Sky Swallower
3x Chalice of the Void
3x Ancient Grudge
2x Thorn of Amethyst
2x Pithing Needle
2x Firespout
2x Darkblast

I might have forgotten something. The Sky Swallower is an alternative win condition to swap out for Akroma in case I'm facing blue-bounce or Slide.

Feel free to critic the deck.. I don't take any offense. I know some of my choices, such as One With Nothing, may be subpar, but I have my reasons. Still, I'd rather hear all suggestions and feedback.
Your list is decent, but I don't like the fact that it doesn't have Chrome Mox, which is an excellent card.

I don't see the Vivids working better than a fetch-shock manabase, or even City of Brass.
Your list is decent, but I don't like the fact that it doesn't have Chrome Mox, which is an excellent card. *

I don't see the Vivids working better than a fetch-shock manabase, or even City of Brass. **

*Yeah, I'm just testing the list I have currently. Hopefully I'll be able to get my hands on some Mox's shortly, but I've never invested in a set. You're right though, they are definitely superior.

**I only run them because on turn 1, I don't play any spells, so I can afford a tapped land. They're also more cost effective on my wallet. I have been toying with the idea of adding more basic islands to combat All-in-Red, which usually kills me with bloodmoons.
*Yeah, I'm just testing the list I have currently. Hopefully I'll be able to get my hands on some Mox's shortly, but I've never invested in a set. You're right though, they are definitely superior.

Fair enough.

**I only run them because on turn 1, I don't play any spells, so I can afford a tapped land. They're also more cost effective on my wallet. I have been toying with the idea of adding more basic islands to combat All-in-Red, which usually kills me with bloodmoons.

I suppose that Vivids are a decent budget solution with no Chrome Mox, as you won't be playing no turn 1 anyways.
Glimpse the Unthinkable?

I like using Mesmeric Orb. It was mentioned in another thread. I can see the usefulness of fatesticher, but I think i'd rather use aphetto alchemist. Although if stitcher is in the GY and you have an orb in play, its almost an auto mill. It really depends on on if you are banking on a turn 1 magus of the bazaar or not to fill your yard with what you need.
Glimpse the Unthinkable?

What about it? It was used very effectively at Berlin.

I like using Mesmeric Orb. It was mentioned in another thread. I can see the usefulness of fatesticher, but I think i'd rather use aphetto alchemist. Although if stitcher is in the GY and you have an orb in play, its almost an auto mill. It really depends on on if you are banking on a turn 1 magus of the bazaar or not to fill your yard with what you need.

Stitcher + Mesmeric Orb is nice, but it may be win-more. Once you get the Stitcher-Magus of the Bazaar engine going, you are going to win unless your opponent disrupts the actual win condition, which they could do against the Mesmeric Orb combo anyways.
but I think i'd rather use aphetto alchemist. .

Um... why? You have to hard cast it, keeping you from playing important draw spells, it can't be used from graveyard, AND it only untaps. Fatesticher can also be used to tap the one blocker that your opponent needs to survive the turn - which is VITAL when playing against Elves!, goblins, zoo, and just about every other deck out there.

There is seriously no reason to run the alchemist. Hard-casting is a waste of a turn, you'll never use the morph, and it isn't versatile.

Fatesticher is almost NECESSARY to consistent turn 3 wins with this deck, which relies on fatesticher's ability to reload the magus for another round of dredging.

Also, the Mesmeric orb variant of "dredge" is nothing like Dredge as you'll see it in this thread. Like dredge, it is a combo, but it relies on two creatures such as two fatestichers or two alchemists to chain their untapping.

The deck isn't as powerful, it's too slow, and it's vulnerable to artifact hate. I just don't see it as competitive. It also wastes valuable slots.
Turn 1: mox, land, alchemist
turn 2: land, orb, tap alchemist target alchemist, resolve to untap alchemist, mill card, repeat to get wincon in graveyard ?

Direct damage will cause you to be more cautious obviously. Why does the above not work?

EDIT:
You have to hard cast it

You have to hard cast a magus too, and the above lists don't have excel so at earliest you get a magus in play turn 2.
Are you saying that using mesmeric orb is a completely different deck archetype? I would have to say it's the same archetype since both decks are using narcomoeba's and bridge from below - but achieving the victory via a different approach.
What about it? It was used very effectively at Berlin.

I see, if its good enough for the pro's it's good enough for you. The build i used did not use at all for anything. (other than bridge from below being in the deck)

Stitcher + Mesmeric Orb is nice, but it may be win-more. Once you get the Stitcher-Magus of the Bazaar engine going, you are going to win unless your opponent disrupts the actual win condition, which they could do against the Mesmeric Orb combo anyways.

I dont see how this goes infinite to get you to win. use magus, use stitcher to untap magus. use magus a second time? What am I missing here?
Yes, you do have to hard cast Magus. That's the point. We weren't comparing Magus to Alchemist, we were comparing Alchemist to Fatesticher. Magus is needed for the deck no matter what. If I'm already having to hard cast one creature, I want my combo to go off the very next turn. I can't do that with Alchemist because of summoning sickness. Fatesticher however, has haste when you unearth it - making it a superb combo starter.
I see, if its good enough for the pro's it's good enough for you. The build i used did not use at all for anything. (other than bridge from below being in the deck)

If you had suggested something that could work better than Glimpse, it would be a different case. Just rolling your eyes at a card that works well in the deck without providing any possibilities for replacements is stupid.

I dont see how this goes infinite to get you to win. use magus, use stitcher to untap magus. use magus a second time? What am I missing here?

You don't need to go infinite. Untapping Magus multiple times wins you the game because it dredges at least ten cards each time you use it after the first. You don't need your whole library in the graveyard.

Why does the above not work

It works, but you won't be that lucky every game. Needing one specific card > than needing 2.

Also, the decks from Berlin did use acceleration (Chrome Mox), and RathiAssassin has said that his deck will have Moxes as soon as he gets them.

Mesmeric Orb combo is a different deck than Dredge. How they win isn't really the important part; those are basically the only cards that the decks share.
It's probably garbage, but has Memory Sluice been considered? Turn 1 Sluice hitting Dredgers, Turn 2 Ideas Unbound seems good.
I'm technically running them right now until I get a full set of Glimpse. Sluice is helpful because you can do it turn 1, so in some ways its better. You can also conspire with narcomoebas later in game to keep your combo from fizzling.
Although if stitcher is in the GY and you have an orb in play, its almost an auto mill.

Wouldn't you need 2 fatestitchers since i can't untap itself?
Wouldn't you need 2 fatestitchers since i can't untap itself?

Yes. It isn't all that hard to get two of them, though.
I honestly think that the mesmeric orb variant is completely useless in this meta. Artifact hate kills it completely, and you don't have much to go on after that.

On a separate note (and I know I said this in the Worlds thread but I'm going to repeat it here since this is the primer for this deck) One With Nothing is AMAZING in this deck, and acts as makeshift Putrid Imp. I just absolutely love it. There's an extended tournament near by here tomorrow night, and I'm taking Dredge with me. I'm not sure if it's ranked, but I'll give a run-down of it and add a match-up section in the OP.
People thought Glimpse of Nature was a pretty stupid card too until Elves! broke out. This card has been kicking some serious ass setting up my combo for a turn 3 win. It's the only way to keep up with TEPS and Elves!

Edit: We should make a 4 color doran deck with Zephyr as it's wincon. That would be hilarious.
Well boys, I went to the tournament tonight.. and I crushed. I went off turn 3 every single game, and played a variety of decks, including deathcloud, teps, and slide. None of them were fast enough. I didn't play Elves! which is arguably a 50/50 shot at winning, and I didn't play against Domain Zoo, which is probably the worst math-up for this deck.

I've decided I'm sticking to One With Nothing over Chrome Mox, and I'm starting to prefer Memory Sluice over Glimpse the Unthinkable because it works on turn 1.

I hereby officially instate Team Narcomoeba, a team ready to commit their time and pocketbooks to play with, winning with, and improving Dredge in the tournament extended scene.

Open for all those willing to dedicate themselves to this amazing archetype =)
So... what was your deck?
Well boys, I went to the tournament tonight.. and I crushed. I went off turn 3 every single game, and played a variety of decks, including deathcloud, teps, and slide. None of them were fast enough. I didn't play Elves! which is arguably a 50/50 shot at winning, and I didn't play against Domain Zoo, which is probably the worst math-up for this deck.

I've decided I'm sticking to One With Nothing over Chrome Mox, and I'm starting to prefer Memory Sluice over Glimpse the Unthinkable because it works on turn 1.

I hereby officially instate Team Narcomoeba, a team ready to commit their time and pocketbooks to play with, winning with, and improving Dredge in the tournament extended scene.

Open for all those willing to dedicate themselves to this amazing archetype =)

Congrats on the win, though not playing your two worst matchups is obviously helpful.

I might be able to help out some with testing, but I probably won't be able to make it to any big events.

Have you thought about taking out Golgari Thug for the second Darkblast? Thug dredges for one more, but you can't remove it to Ichorid anymore, and Darkblast deals with Mogg Fanatic, random x/1s, and slows down Elves.
How do you deal with all the sac creatures in Death Cloud?? I ask because I have considered sideboard hate for Dredge.

I can give you some ideas and such towards your thread. I have played Dredge since it became popular in Vintage. Granted this format doesn't have as much brokenness as Vintage but I believe the deck can survive still.
@mntwin: yes, I think that is an excellent idea. The thug should definitely be swapped.

@cat: I dealt with it by going off turn 3 before they could do anything :P.
Can this deck do anything against a opening hand Leyline of the Void ?
Can this deck do anything against a opening hand Leyline of the Void ?

Play Chain of Vapor if you expect to see Leyline and win before they can replay it.
Essentially, you play a magus turn 2 (or turn 1 with gemstone caverns if you're on the draw.. or with a chrome mox) then you'll be able to go off before they'll have the mana to replay leyline once you bounce it.
I've decided I'm sticking to One With Nothing over Chrome Mox,

What? don't you think chrome mox is necessary in this deck? you can take out 3 lands for 3 mox if you want to keep OWN. imo 15 land is enough for this deck.

What do you think about oona's prowler instead of OWN as a sostitute of putrid imp?

Don't you think guys we need 2 flame kin zealot in the deck? how can we go off on turn 3 if we don't catch him?

I hereby officially instate Team Narcomoeba, a team ready to commit their time and pocketbooks to play with, winning with, and improving Dredge in the tournament extended scene.

Open for all those willing to dedicate themselves to this amazing archetype =)

im in the team, i love this deck!

cya :D
What? don't you think chrome mox is necessary in this deck? you can take out 3 lands for 3 mox if you want to keep OWN. imo 15 land is enough for this deck. *

What do you think about oona's prowler instead of OWN as a sostitute of putrid imp? **

Don't you think guys we need 2 flame kin zealot in the deck? how can we go off on turn 3 if we don't catch him? ***



im in the team, i love this deck! ****

cya :D

* 15 lands tends to manascrew me.. and I don't like to mulligan once I get a Magus in my hand

**No. Oona's prowler costs two to play, which means you're playing it instead of the magus, and can't be played in response to your own card draw. If you have a hand full of dredge, you can but the card draw spell on the stack (or magus' ability for that matter) and then play one with nothing to get all of your Dredge cards into the grave. Honestly, it's personal preference. I really like where it's gotten me, but feel free to vary the design.

***Running any more would take up valuable slots in my main deck. If anything, a land can be dropped, but I've never really felt the need to run 2.

****Welcome aboard!
Ponder

Try it out in place of the Memory Sluece or OWN. The way the card is printed it allows you to look at the top 3 cards of your deck prior to replacing your draw with a dredge. My friend came up with this when we were testing on saturday. I tossed 3 in and found that they are really good.
* 15 lands tends to manascrew me.. and I don't like to mulligan once I get a Magus in my hand

**No. Oona's prowler costs two to play, which means you're playing it instead of the magus, and can't be played in response to your own card draw. If you have a hand full of dredge, you can but the card draw spell on the stack (or magus' ability for that matter) and then play one with nothing to get all of your Dredge cards into the grave. Honestly, it's personal preference. I really like where it's gotten me, but feel free to vary the design.

***Running any more would take up valuable slots in my main deck. If anything, a land can be dropped, but I've never really felt the need to run 2.

****Welcome aboard!

i can see your reason to prefer OWN on oona's prowler, but i think mox is a must in this deck and you should find the place for it. A first turn magus can really make the difference agaist elves! for example.
If you drop 3 lands for mox you are not mana screwed because mox is another free mana source.
i can see your reason to prefer OWN on oona's prowler, but i think mox is a must in this deck and you should find the place for it. A first turn magus can really make the difference agaist elves! for example.
If you drop 3 lands for mox you are not mana screwed because mox is another free mana source.

While this is true, it makes mulligans weaker because you have to remove cards in your hand from the game. If you get mox's and no lands on a mulligan, you can say goodbye to your hand.

Once again, it comes down to personal preference. I run 3-4 Gemstone Caverns and always draw first - which tends to work out in the long run. It not only eliminates the mana-lag of being on the draw, but you still get to draw, so you gain card advantage as well.
Once again, it comes down to personal preference. I run 3-4 Gemstone Caverns and always draw first - which tends to work out in the long run. It not only eliminates the mana-lag of being on the draw, but you still get to draw, so you gain card advantage as well.

If it works for you, well, good money saved my not taking moxes... ;)

you have a pretty unusual list for dredge, im going to test some on your ideas, so you take the draw every time when you are choosing if start?
you have a pretty unusual list for dredge, im going to test some on your ideas, so you take the draw every time when you are choosing if start?

Not always, I'm guessing. Being on the draw against Elves or Storm isn't a good place to be, so in games 2-3 he probably chooses to be on the play.
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