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Vintage 101: The Hogaakening


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 doing a little grave digging! While the Arisen Necropolis himself has had a piece of his soul banned in Modern, variations of Dredge playing Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis have crept into Vintage, thanks mostly in part to cards like Force of Vigor and Force of Negation allowing the deck to be essentially completely manaless and able to contend well with these new answers.

We're going to be taking a look at these new variations of Dredge, deconstructing them like we have done in the past to help show how they tick.

So, without further ado, let's dive into the graveyard!

Hogaak-On, Hogaak-Off

So one of the obvious big things about these newer variants is the absence of any real true colored mana producing cards. Petrified Field and Strip Mine are obviously never really being tapped for colorless mana here, instead being used to recur Bazaar or in the case of Strip Mine to take the opponent off a utility land like Library.

Let's take a deeper dive into the list, shall we?

Engine Cards

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The most important card in the deck ever is obviously going to be Bazaar of Baghdad, which allows the deck to accelerate while also finding countermagic and disruption at the same time. Serum Powder belongs in this same category because it is how the deck is able to maintain finding Bazaar an absurdly high amount of time (literally nearly 98-99%), and of course Bridge from Below (recently banned in Modern) is a powerful engine to allow the deck to generate onboard power while synergizing with disruption spells.

Dredgers

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Despite the fact that Golgari Thug is one more Dredge # than Shambling Shell, the Plant Zombie takes the spot in these variants simply because it's green colored, which adds to the count of green sources for Force of Vigor. With just these three different dredge cards, the total amount of Dredgers in the deck is now roughly 10-11.

Free Creatures

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As has been common with Dredge, lots of free creatures exist that this deck can abuse. The thing about two of these (Amalgam and Narcomoeba) is that they're blue which helps support Force of Will/Force of Negation while Hogaak is green to support Force of Vigor. These cards synergize really well with the main disruption engine of the deck and in a pinch Hogaak can synergize with Ichorid. Hogaak is exceptionally powerful in instances where you can convoke/delve loop two of them with multiple Bridge from Below in the graveyard to make a ton of Zombie tokens with.

Countermagic and Disruption

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One of the big reasons that Dredge continues to be so resilient now is the face that it not only gains access to hand disruption in the form of Cabal Therapy, but it also has access to up to 8 Force of Will effects in the namesake card and Force of Negation, in addition to Mental Misstep. This gives the deck a lot of ways to be disruptive to its opponent, in addition to being able to find these effects quickly off Bazaar activations. In addition to this disruption, the decks now are also playing the restricted copy of Chalice of the Void because of how powerful Chalice on 0 can be in the format.

Utility

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Both Petrified Field and Strip Mine provide a measure of utility in scenarios where you have to either deal with utility lands or be able to recur a Bazaar. Leyline of the Void provides some utility in the mirror by either forcing a concession because there's no answer or just putting your opponent in a position where they can't use specific cards (like Yawgmoth's Will).

Hogaak with a Sideboard of Fried Egg

Now that we've looked at the Main deck construction of this deck, let's take a look at the sideboard.

Disruption

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Dredge packs some additional disruption in the sideboard, rounding out its set of Force of Negation in addition to copies of Force of Vigor and Ravenous Trap as additional insurance for the mirror and other matchups where graveyard matters (like Survival).

Creature Kill + Free Creatures

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Hollow One remains as one of the best ways of handling creature based strategies that might involve cards like Lavinia, Azorius Renegade or Containment Priest to be able to fight through those strategies. It also is helpful in sidestepping graveyard hate, making it continually the best and most powerful option for this. In addition, Contagion is a powerful card being able to kill Priest and Deathrite Shaman, which is very important in a variant that has no mana.

With a bevy of free countermagic and disruption at its command, it is pretty easy to see why Dredge has risen to the status it now commands within the format. Whether this is healthy or not remains to be seen. Bazaar strategy decks have certainly risen to the forefront of the format as of late, as have lots of decks playing Force of Vigor, to the point where most of the top played creatures in a larger event are mostly Dredge creatures. Some argue that this places a strain on the format needing to have Main deck graveyard interaction in order to handle Dredge, and of course, the format has never been in a period where it hasn't needed to run several pieces of sideboard hate for the deck. Whether this is the straw that sees Bazaar facing a restriction is unclear. If Wizards were to knock down Dredge in such a fashion by restricting something like Golgari Grave-Troll, the format would merely shift to one where Survival ended up being the best Bazaar based deck in the format, because of the power of Hollow One and Vengevine.

Regardless, there has definitely been a shift in the format overall since from before SCG Con this year, given the impact that Force of Vigor has had in enabling decks like Dredge to have this kind of powerful set of disruptive plays. It will be interesting to see how things progress in the next few months, given that we know no changes were made to the format as of this last Banned and Restricted List Announcement.

Vintage Challenge 7/6

We had yet another Challenge this past weekend and it was certainly an interesting one given that it's the first one back with the London Mulligan! Let's dive right into what the Top 8 of the event looked like, shall we?

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Dark Petition Storm 1st Mannes
Dredge 2nd Bahra (Marc König)
Dredge 3rd Eruxus
Dreadhorde Control 4th White Tsar
Dredge 5th Unlif3
PO Storm 6th SandyDogMTG
Czech Pile 7th AlbertosD
RUG Control 8th DancingJesus191

Despite the massive amount of Dredge in this Top 8 (and by massive I mean 3 decks, so not even totally that much) at the end of the event, it was none other than... DARK PETITION STORM that took down the event overall, proving yet again that Skulls do indeed equal Power in Magic.

Congrats to MTGO user Mannes on an impressive finish. It warms my cold, black heart to see Dark Ritual being cast in Vintage yet again. DPS has not won an event in some time like this, so this is spectacular.

In 2nd place, we have Bahra who is always bringing us a little spice and his Dredge list is pretty spicy featuring not only our resident Arisen Necropolis, but also Dread Return and... Maelstrom Wanderer?!

Wanderer seems like an intriguing way of granting haste and amusingly enough it's also a green creature for Hogaak and a green card for Force of Vigor so that is probably what influenced Bahra's choice here. Still, pretty cool stuff!

Special Hogaak Dredge mention has to go to Unlif3, who placed 5th overall, but managed a perfect 6-0 record in the Swiss rounds with his list.

Further down the Top 8 is a list that would definitively likely make a spice corner (if I didn't already have one picked this week!) because it's pretty awesome. Featuring new hotness Wrenn and Six is DancingJesus191's RUG Control list!

This list has it all... W6, Chandra, all the great blue spells and Tarmogoyf! It looks like a heck of a lot of fun, even if you do factor in the fact that Wrenn and Six is legitimately 90-something bucks on Magic Online.

Further down the list, outside of the Top 8 is another W6 based list, this time by our good friend Matt Murray (aka ChubbyRain). This one is more of a Cezch Pile based list than the previous one, utilizing not only Deathrite Shaman but Elvish Reclaimer as well.

Speaking of Elvish Reclaimer, user lain5893 sought to spice up their Turbo Depths list a little bit by not only playing FOUR Crop Rotation but four copies of our newest little Elf buddy from Core Set 2020.

Pretty cool list if I do say so myself.

Now, let's do our customary count of new Standard/Modern-legal cards appearing in this event. We'll be looking specifically at Modern Horizons, War of the Spark, and Core Set 2020 for this one!

Card Name Number of Copies
Force of Vigor 60
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis 15
Wrenn and Six 6
Collector Ouphe 9
Dreadhorde Arcanist 8
Narset, Parter of Veils 27
Bolas's Citadel 4
Karn, the Great Creator 27
Manifold Key 18
Mystic Forge 11
Force of Negation 15
Bazaar Trademage 4
Urza, Lord High Artificer 4
Elvish Reclaimer 4
Ashiok, Dream Render 4

It's pretty clear now that Modern Horizons was the biggest winner in Vintage this year, as Force of Vigor continues to rain on the format overall wih SIXTY copies in the Top 32 alone. Furthermore, it was pretty interesting to see as well both Narset and Karn having carved into the format their own little place, while Manifold Key from Core Set 2020 has largely replaced Voltaic Key (which was as expected). It is most assuredly insane to see the effect this year's sets has had on Vintage overall.

I still think that we haven't truly seen a settling down of this current Metagame however, as it is still developing from all the new set releases and the London Mulligan. Rest assured we'll be keeping an eye on things as we always do!

The Spice Corner

This week's spice comes to us from a list provided to me by Andy "Brass Man" Probasco. It utilizes new M20 card Mystic Forge and it is super fun. Introducing Mystic Forgebots!

Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks! We're continuing our journey through the current state of Vintage next week by taking a look at another deck that's popped up and has gotten to be a lot more popular in the form of Jeskai Dreadhorde Control!

As always you can reach me on Twitter, Twitch, and Patreon! I swear I'm gonna get back to streaming soon here, just been heavily out of town on the weekends which makes it difficult to pin down a good schedule for it.

In addition, I'm always around the MTGGoldfish Discord, willing to talk about Magic in general or Vintage! I also love talking about Vorthos stuff, so hit me up on that too!

Until next time, keep commanding the Dreadhorde!


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