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Against the Odds: Horror(able) Dredge


Welcome to episode thirty-three of Against the Odds. First off, thanks to all of you for voting in last week's very special, all-tribal, all Shadows over Innistrad Against the Odds poll. When it was all said and done, it was the dark horse tribe - Horrors - that came out on top! As such, this week we are trying to make Horrors work in Standard. Out of all the Shadows over Innistrad tribes, Horrors is clearly the hardest one to build around, mostly because all the other tribes lend themselves to a straightforward aggressive deck. Horrors require a bit more creativity, which is how we ended up with a deck I'm calling Horror(able) Dredge!

We'll talk more about Horror(able) Dredge in a minute, but first a quick reminder. If you enjoy the Against the Odds series and the other video content here on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish Youtube Channel.

Against the Odds: Horror(able) Dredge Deck Tech

Against the Odds: Horror(able) Dredge (Games)

The Deck

When I started building the Horror deck, there were two things I knew for certain. First, it had to feature The Gitrog Monster because everyone (myself included) loves the legendary Frog Horror. Second, it had to feature other Horrors as well. After all, this is Against the Odds: Horrors, not Against the Odds: The Gitrog Monster. Thankfully, while it might not be obvious at first glance, there is quite a bit of synergy among the more powerful members of the Horror tribe. 

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The two best Horrors in Standard are clearly The Gitrog Monster and Geralf's Masterpiece. While they function very differently, they have one important thing in common: they like cards going into the graveyard. As a result, the basic idea of our deck is to fill our graveyard (with cards we'll talk about momentarily), which triggers The Gitrog Monster to draw us more cards, which gives us the fuel necessary to return Geralf's Masterpiece from our graveyard to the battlefield (by discarding cards), which again triggers The Gitrog Monster allowing us to repeat the process. 

The good news is that both of these creature are huge, so they can easily dodge removal like Languish or Grasp of Darkness. The bad news is that both of these cards are fairly expensive, and they die to things like Declaration in Stone and Anguished Unmaking, which are especially devastating because they exile, and we can't get our Geralf's Masterpiece back from the graveyard. Regardless, in the right matchups they can be very strong, and if given enough time they can generate a nearly insurmountable among of card advantage.  

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This group of cards is how we fill our graveyard, which allows us to trigger The Gitrog Monster, while also setting up the ability to return Geralf's MasterpieceVessel of Nascency and Gather the Pack are especially important because they give us something to do on the early turns of the game. Keep in mind that with either of these cards "failure to find" is a legitimate and legal option. There are definitely cases where Geralf's Masterpiece is the only creature we reveal to Gather the Pack, and in some cases the right play is to put it in the graveyard than in our hand. 

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Den Protector, Ever After, and Foul Renewal give us the ability to get cards back from the graveyard, which is pretty important since we spend a lot of time milling ourselves. Most often Den Protector gets back a removal spell, but she does have the ability to get back a copy of The Gitrog Monster if need be. While we aren't a reanimator deck, Ever After offers too much value to pass up. Getting back a The Gitrog Monster and a Geralf's Masterpiece offers a lot of power and toughness for only six mana. Finally, Foul Renewal is very strong in this deck because we are playing four 6/6's and four 7/7's, so it's usually an unconditional, instant speed removal spell. The ability to kill our opponent's biggest threat and get our biggest threat from the graveyard can steal otherwise unwinnable games. 

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I mentioned earlier that our deck is pretty slow and takes a while to get going. We lean heavily on Languish and Grasp of Darkness to keep us alive through the early game. Languish is sweet since it often ends up being a Plague Wind

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Here is our "The Gitrog Monster value package." Groundskeeper can get back basic lands that we sacrificed or milled to make sure we are always taking advantage of the "you can play an extra land each turn" part of the Frog Horror. Evolving Wilds offers an easy way to trigger The Gitrog Monster since we can play and sacrifice it to draw an extra card. Meanwhile, Drownyard Temple is a two-card combo with The Gitrog Monster. For three mana we get to draw an extra card every turn (by sacrificing it to The Gitrog Monster and returning it to the battlefield). Drownyard Temple also works well with Vessel of Nascency and Gather the Pack since if we mill a copy of Drownyard Temple on turn two, we can return it to the battlefield on turn three, which gives us the five mana we need for The Gitrog Monster or Geralf's Masterpiece on turn four. 

The Matchups

On a meta level, Horror(able) Dredge has a much better shot against slower control decks than it does against aggressive decks. Against decks like Esper or Seasons Past, we have a legitimate chance of valuing them out of the game. If we aren't under too much pressure, our deck can generate an obscene among of card advantage. Against aggro decks we have exactly four cards that matter, our copies of Languish. If we don't have a copy on turn four, we pretty much auto-lose. Even if we do have one, it might not be enough against decks like Bant Company, which can refuel so quickly. 

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On a more micro level, our deck really struggles against Declaration in Stone, Reflector Mage and Anguished Unmaking. We spend our resources trying to resolve one big threat like The Gitrog Monster, and when our opponent can cleanly kill it for only two mana (or bounce it for three mana), we often lose the game on the spot. On the other hand, when we run into decks that are looking to control the board with Languish and Grasp of Darkness (Seasons Past comes to mind, what is that deck actually good against?), our threats are amazing. 

The Odds

Overall we won two of five matches (aided by an opponent to failed to show up for game three) and four of twelve games, putting our match win percentage at 40% and our game win percentage at 33%. Unfortunately, many of the matches we lost didn't feel close, and we didn't run into what I'd imagine to be our worse matchups (UW Humans, Bant Company, GB Aristocrats). As a result, I expect that if we kept playing matches with Horror(able) Dredge, our percentages would drop as the sample size grew. The deck was a blast to play, and I'm still madly in love with The Gitrog Monster, even though it seems to be in a rough place as far as the Standard metagame is concerned. 

Vote for Next Week's Deck

One more all Shadows over Innistrad poll, then next week will return to normal with a healthy mix of sets and formats.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive, or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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