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Vintage 101: Putting the Dred in Dredge

Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of Vintage 101! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're going to be talking about Dredge! Dredge is continuing to evolve and the recent evolutions of the deck are extremely interesting. In addition to that we've got two Challenges worth of data to look at, as well as a Spice Corner!

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Dredge and Dredge and Dredge and Dredge

Vintage Dredge as a strategy has always been one of constant evolution, and that evolution is something that has served the deck very well in continuing to remain relevant in the Vintage metagame sphere. As other decks in the format adjust what hate they play, Dredge itself evolves to combat that or to sidestep it. It's one of the more interesting aspects of Vintage Dredge, as the deck has evolved in the past from variants utilizing other mana producing lands (Rainbow Dredge) to now builds that only use Bazaar and pitch spells to enforce their game plan.

As of late, Dredge decks have undergone yet another metamorphosis, primarily on the back of one card that has been seeing play in Dredge for quite some time, Creeping Chill. And now this card is being paired with Silversmote Ghoul to great effect.

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The major changes to more recent lists have been adopting Ghoul as another free creature that is enabled by the function of Creeping Chill gaining life to bring back the Ghoul. These lists have also cut two cards that have been longtime staples of the Dredge archetype in Bridge from Below and Cabal Therapy.

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Cutting both Bridge and Therapy is intriguing enough, mainly because it gives the deck more space to run main deck things like Ghoul and Grief, as well as more maindeck copies of Force of Vigor and Force of Negation. It does seem wild to consider cutting cards that have been long time staples of the archetype, but at the same time, evolving has always been a big portion of Dredge as a deck, and it seems like the current metagame is not very good for cards like Bridge and Therapy, primarily because of pitch elemental effects like Grief, Fury, and Endurance. These creatures often represent scenarios where the Evoke trigger is exiling the Bridges from the graveyard, making them useless. Without Bridge, Cabal Therapy loses a lot of power because it's no longer generating creatures when it is cast, which is one of the important strengths of the two cards.

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These current builds also provide more black cards to be able to be pitched to Grief, but also gives the deck yet another creature to trigger Prized Amalgam outside of Ichorid and Narcomoeba. Ghouls can come back any turn that you've gained three or more life, so setting up a few Ghouls and then hitting a Creeping Chill will nab all of them back to play. There's also plenty of utility in binning a Creeping Chill that may be stuck in hand and then using cards like Noxious Revival to put the Chill back on top of the library to be milled with Dredge.

This is a solid step in evolution for Dredge, and helps further position the deck better towards the cards that are seeing play in the current format, while giving the deck more game against decks like Tinker by having more Game 1 functionality with Force of Vigor and more pitch countermagic in general. If you're currently playing Dredge this is a solid avenue to investigate for the deck and definitely a very interesting way to approach Dredge.

Vintage Challenge 4/23

Our first Challenge of the weekend was the mid-afternoon Saturday event. This event had 54 players in it, thanks to the data collected by the Vintage Streamer's Discord.

You can find all of the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the datasheet here.

Tinker was popular for sure, but so were a bunch of other Big Blue variants like Breach (both regular and Lurrus based), Blue Tempo, and PO. The win rates were more in line across the board, with Hogaak having a solid performance by putting one of its two pilots into the Top 8.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
UR Tempo 1st batjones22
Paradoxical Outcome 2nd NathanLipetz
Esper Tinker 3rd WingedHussar
Paradoxical Outcome 4th sinister85
Hogaak 5th shir kahn
Paradoxical Outcome 6th cantillon
Breach 7th Ozymandias17
Esper Tinker 8th SenpaiBlank

Quite a bit of PO in this Top 8, as well a mix of Tinker and Breach. At the end of the event though it was a UR Tempo deck that took it all down.

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Four Thought Scour is pretty sweet for enabling Murktide Regent to get onboard faster. Really neat tech there. This is a powerful list for sure, and we're really starting to see how well these UR Tempo builds can perform I feel.

The Second Place finalist was our good friend Nathan Lipetz on PO!

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Definitely a strong and straightforward list here. Main deck Opposition Agent is super sweet as is the main deck Urza. Very strong PO build here.

Moving down the Top 8 we have another good friend in Nico Bohny on Hogaak.

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Hogaak has been a great place for Boseiju, Who Endures because it solidly leverages using it as both destruction and as mana. Hogaak is a solid Bazaar strategy right now and something to keep in mind in events.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we have another another good friend of ours in Matt Vook on Breach.

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Utilizing Lurrus and Dark Confidant is really sweet since your overall curve of cards to reveal off Confidant is going to be quite low. This is a strong list for sure and seems very powerful.

Vintage Challenge 4/24

The second Challenge of the weekend was the early morning Sunday event. This event had 44 players in it, thanks to the data collected by the Vintage Streamer's Discord.

You can find all of the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the datasheet here.

Tinker was again the most popular deck, but it's win rates were pretty well dragged down despite putting two players into the Top 8. Breach had really strong win rates and a solid representation, as did Dredge and DRS variants.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Breach 1st discoverN
UR Tempo 2nd S063
Grixis Tinker 3rd _INF_
Dredge 4th kasa
Breach 5th boulderelf
Dredge 6th Wizard_2002
Standstill 7th MadMaxErnst
Grixis Tinker 8th Vertyx_

Quite an interesting Top 8 with a bit of Breach and a bit of Dredge. At the end of the event it was discoverN, typically of Doomsday fame, on a Breach build.

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This is an interesting build, putting a lot of the creature function on a single Ragavan which is unique to see. This is primarily more of a Tinker Breach variant in general, as it's leveraging its usage of Tinker to win the game with Breach as a built in back-up plan because that plan is so compact. Very cool list.

The Second Place finalist was on UR Tempo.

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This is a cool list. I love Laelia, the Blade Reforged quite a bit. It's a very powerful card and very interesting in these UR Tempo decks.

Near the bottom of the Top 8 we had a showing by Lurrus Standstill.

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This is a cool deck. Malevolent Hermit is a really unique and powerful card that does some strong things. Four copies of Collector Ouphe are also very powerful right now given all the Tinker strategies right now.

Around the Web

  • Revenantkioku has another Doomsday video for us! Check it out here.
  • Kevin Cron and Stephen Menendian of So Many Insane Plays are back with their set review of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty! Check out the latest episode here.
  • Our good friend Justin Gennari has a full set of videos on YouTube for MOCS Showcase Qualifier testing. Check out there full playlist here.

The Spice Corner

You can find the past week's 5-0 lists here.

Definitely an interesting take on Jeskai Control here.

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Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks! Thanks for your continued support of the column and join me next week as we continue our journey into Vintage!

As always you can reach me at Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Patreon! In addition you can always reach me on the MTGGoldfish Discord Server and the Vintage Streamers Discord.

Until next time!

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