Making It In Modern: Modern Dredge

Hello and welcome to another edition of Making It In Modern!  Last week, I went over a Spirits list that I have been testing to some pretty good results since the Spirit Lord, Supreme Phantom from Core Set 2019 was spoiled.  The testing and the deck itself has been a lot of fun to play, however, there is another deck based on dead creatures in the Modern format that I can’t help but run back to.  I want to talk today about my favorite deck in Modern, Dredge!

The game plan for Dredge is simple, get cards that have the Dredge ability in your graveyard, and then replace any draw yo may have with their Dredges to put more cards from your library into the graveyard.  With creatures that enter the battlefield from the graveyard with special abilities, you are able to quickly flood the board with multiple creatures to beat down your opponent.  Dredge itself comes and goes in regards to Modern based on certain aspects of the overall metagame at any given time.  If Dredge has done well in recent events, you will more than likely see much more graveyard hate out of sideboards at the next event, while if Dredge has been nonexistent, you will likely see fewer hate cards.  The key to spiking an event with Dredge, is to take it to an event after a long period where Dredge has not been seen frequently in top lists.  With the emergence of Hollow One as a top deck of the meta, however, decks at any given event will assuredly have some sort of graveyard hate to combat Flamewake Phoenix, Bloodghast, and Gurmag Angler.  It is in a tough situation right now, but it is still a great deck to play which is almost always favored in-game one.  This is my current Dredge list, and how it works.

Modern Dredge

Creatures

4x Insolent Neonate

4x Bloodghast

4x Narcomoeba

3x Golgari Thug

4x Stinkweed Imp

4x Prized Amalgam

Spells

1x Darkblast

2x Burning Inquiry

4x Faithless Looting

1x Driven

3x Life from the Loam

4x Cathartic Reunion

1x Gnaw to the Bone

3x Conflagrate

Lands

4x City of Brass

4x Gemstone Mine

4x Mana Confluence

2x Copperline Gorge

2x Dakmor Salvage

2x Mountain

Sideboard

2x Nature’s Claim

2x Lightning Axe

1x Darkblast

2x Ancient Grudge

2x Abrupt Decay

3x Collective Brutality

1x Driven

1x Gnaw to the Bone

1x Vengeful Pharaoh

The biggest difference to note between my list and a lot of the other Dredge lists floating around is; while most decks tend to use fetch lands and maybe an extra land or two more in the main deck, I use twelve total lands that produce all five colors.  This may take away the ability for instant speed Bloodghast triggers that you can control, but it allows you to have access to red, green, or black mana early and without question.  This will make decision-making as far as what you are casting easier without worrying about what you have to fetch for and if you have milled yourself out of a certain color of land.

The Payoffs

The best way to explain how this deck works, is by explaining what the win conditions are first.  The payoffs in this deck, are the creatures that can return from the graveyard to the battlefield when their abilities are triggered.  There are twelve total payoff creatures in this deck.  The first payoff creature is Bloodghast.  Whenever a land is put onto the battlefield, Bloodghast’s landfall trigger is activated, and you may put it on the battlefield from the graveyard.  Bloodghast can recur so much that it doesn’t matter that it is only a 2/1 and can’t block, and gaining haste when an opponent is at ten or less life is extremely relevant in this deck.  Narcomoeba is the second payoff creature that has the ability of being put on the battlefield if it was put in a graveyard from your library.  The biggest payoff creature in this list, however, is Prized Amalgam.  Prized Amalgam enters the battlefield at the end step of the turn another creature you control entered the battlefield from the graveyard.  By returning a Bloodghast or Narcomoeba to the battlefield is how you get this 3/3 into play from your graveyard.  The last payoff card in this deck would be Conflagrate.  When Conflagrate is in your graveyard, you can play it with flashback by paying two red mana and discarding X cards from your hand to deal X damage divided up between any creatures or players.  Conflagrate acts as either a removal spell, a sweeper, or a fireball however you see fit in the game you are playing.  The main game plan is to get as many of these payoff cards in your graveyard with your enablers and Dredgers to flood the board and stay as aggressive as possible, as early as possible.

The Enablers

The next set of cards that make this deck tick, are the enablers.  The enablers, in this deck, are the draw/discard spells that further your game plan of flooding the battlefield with creatures to beat down the opponent.  A traditional Dredge list will run twelve total enablers, while this deck plays fourteen.  The usual suspects in this category are of course, the four Faithless Looting, four Insolent Neonate, and four Cathartic Reunion.  Dredge lists look to start off their turn one with either a Faithless Looting to draw two cards and discard two cards with Dredge or another important graveyard ability, or playing an Insolent Neonate to have at the ready to sacrifice and discard a card at instant speed to draw a card.  This play is then hopefully, followed up on turn two by casting Cathartic Reunion for the best chance at executing your game plan by being able to discard two cards, and then draw three, replacing the draw with Dredges from cards in your graveyard, giving you the most opportunities to get a payoff in the graveyard to return to the battlefield.  The extra enablers that I play in this list are a pair of Burning Inquiry.  Although Inquiry is thought of a staple in Hollow One decks,  Being able to put more cards in your graveyard early is nothing to scoff at.  This deck rarely cares about what it puts in the graveyard as well, which cuts down the drawback of Burning Inquiry being three random discards because you want so many of the cards in this deck in your graveyard.  Another big benefit of Burning Inquiry is the chance that you can mess up your opponents hand while not hurting yours is a very underestimated attribute to this card.  Having the extra enablers in this deck definitely sures up the overall consistency of the deck.

The Dredgers

The backbone and the namesake ability of this whole deck that allows it to function is the Dredge ability, and this list runs thirteen total cards with this ability.  The purpose of most of these cards are to get them in graveyard as early as you can with your enablers to get the engine of the deck started to get your payoff cards into play as early as possible.  The play set of Stinkweed Imp are, by far, the best Dredger in this list since it can mill the most cards, five total.  Stinkweed Imp can be very important in certain situations to deal with problematic creatures if you have to cast it since it can block an attacking creature and destroy it with its pseudo deathtouch ability.  Moving on down the line, the three Golgari Thug with Dredge four is the next Dredge card you would want to see in the graveyard if you do not see a Stinkweed Imp.  The third tier of Dredgers all have Dredge three, and those are Darkblast and Life from the Loam.  Darkblast is a pretty reliable removal spell for one toughness creatures, if need be, that you can recur every time you draw.  Life from the Loam is very important in this list, as not only is it a Dredger, but it also fills your hands with lands to play for Bloodghast’s landfall ability or to hold for a giant Conflagrate.  The final Dredger is the land Dakmor Salvage, which isn’t explosive since it’s only a Dredge two, but can prove useful to pull from your graveyard if you need to hit a land drop in a pinch.

Other Notables

With the bulk of the deck covered, I do want to go over some cards in the main deck and sideboard.  Driven has been an exceptional card in this deck, and definitely deserves a spot in the main deck and sideboard.  The Despair Aftermath side is much more relevant as it gives all of your creatures menace and whenever they deal damage to a player, they discard a card.  Being able to push through extra damage against a heavy creature deck with menace, or being able to empty a control players hand early is usually the difference between a long grind game and a one-sided victory for you.  Gnaw to the Bone in the main deck is kind of necessary in this deck that plays eight total pain lands.  Being able to game two life for each creature in your graveyard by casting it normally or with flashback is definitely handy if your mana base is dealing a lot of damage to you in the long game.  The last card I want to touch on in would be Nature’s Claim in the sideboard.  The sideboard is well equipped to deal with graveyard hate for the most part, but Nature’s Claim is so important when dealing with Leyline of the Void.  Hollow One decks will certainly run four copies in the sideboard, and playing a fair game against Hollow One will be a losing battle.  I was playing a single Ray of Revelation in the side to deal with this, but by being beat by Leyline so much recently, I cut Ray and an Abrupt Decay for two Nature’s Claim to help deal with games two and three where I will see Leylines.

Wrap Up

Anyway, that is all I have for you today!  Dredge is definitely my pet deck, and I take every chance I can to play it because it is just so appealing to me.  What do you think of this fetchless list and what are some of your favorite decks to play in Modern?  Let me know what you think by commenting below or letting me know on Twitter by giving me a follow @T2TKS.  Also, don’t forget to give us a follow @MTGDecktechs and a like on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MTGDeckTechs/ to stay up to date on our article releases!  Thank you all for giving this a read, and I will talk to you all next week!

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Jason Stoops

Jason Stoops

Jason has been playing Magic: the Gathering for 20 years off and on. Jason first took to the game competitively in 2009, when Zendikar released and after a hiatus from 2012-2015, he came back for good when Battle for Zendikar released. Jason mainly plays Modern and Pauper and is an avid fan of green based midrange decks and other combo decks. He has two PPTQ top 4s on his list of achievements. You can follow Jason on Twitter- @T2TKS

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