Insider: Dredge Hate and Other Modern Specs

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I have been playing a ton of Modern lately, and for better or worse, Modern is the most popular format in Magic. Sure, there are some who want to hate and complain that the format is "too this" or "too that," but for its shortcomings (real or imagined), nobody can argue that it is the most played format in the land.

I've always thought that Modern was a great place to find financial value in MTG. There is always the risk of your speculation targets getting reprinted in a Modern Masters set, but if you diversify, buy low, and flip things when they are hot, it's an easy way to continuously add value to your collection. When in doubt, remember: there are more people playing Modern than anything else, which means there are a lot of potential people looking for your cards!

Demand is good and stocking up on cards in anticipation of increasing demand is the name of the game.

In particular, Dredge is the current hotness in Modern, and for good reason: it is the format defining deck. Dredge has an uncanny and degenerate ability to generate a ton of value very quickly and run away with games. It is very difficult for fair deck (or unfair decks for that matter) to keep up with the steady stream of free creatures and spells that Dredge is able to generate.

The majority of actual Dredge staples are already kind of locked in stone and have spiked. Is it possible for Bloodghast or Prized Amalgam to steadily tick up in value? Of course, but the potential gains are likely meager and the risk high because of a potential looming banning. The deck feels unpopular and frustrating to the average Modern player because it is difficult for most decks to actually interact with. They dredge, get free creatures, and bury an opponent quickly.

I think the smarter money is actually on the Dredge hate cards that are becoming increasingly standard in Modern. If you can't beat Dredge by playing "fair" (which you can't) you'll need to rely on specific graveyard hate cards for help.

Rest in Peace is potentially the very best hate card against Dredge. It locks out their graveyard and keeps it locked out for as long as it remains in play. It is possible for the Dredge deck to cast Narcomoebas and Prized Amalgams and try to beat down around a RIP, but the odds of them effectively beating an opponent this way are slim to none.

The best part about Rest in Peace is that even if they are able to remove it, the card has already done an unreal amount of damage and set them back to the starting line. Not only do they need to remove it to even play their game but it essentially makes them completely start over.

RIP is fairly inexpensive right now and I think it has a lot of potential room for growth. Comparatively, Stony Silence is a $20 card and sees significantly less play than RIP does right now! There is clearly room for the card to gain in value as we move into RPTQ season.

Surgical Extraction has ticked up a little bit but I think it still has some serious room to grow. Free spells are pretty insane and Surgical is no exception. Obviously, Phyrexian mana is one of the biggest mistakes in Modern MTG design, and a free graveyard hate card that any deck can play is serious business. Against Dredge, knocking out all of their Prized Amalgams sets them waaaaay back and makes dealing with their graveyard-based nonsense much more manageable.

Also, it's worth noting that Lantern Control has proven to be a very solid metagame deck and packs the full playset of these bad boys. It is simply a card that sees widespread play across Modern and will continue to do so because it is so unique and efficient at doing what it does. It has already seen a Modern Masters printing which makes me think it is slightly less likely to be reprinted the next time around—that also can't hurt the upward trending.

Junk uncommon turned Constructed staple? I've jammed Ravenous Trap in Vintage before and the card is the real deal. I also watched all sorts of random decks tearing up Dredge via Trap all weekend long for the past two weekends. I love the way that all of the black graveyard hate can go into any deck... Nice job, color pie... Leyline of the Void, Surgical Extraction, Ravenous Trap—spells that are black but nobody ever wants to pay black mana for!

Ravenous Trap isn't the easiest card to get ahold of right now because it is in high demand. Sure, there are infinite on the internet but many local stores are sold out because of the high demand. It is certainly worth digging through your bulk and pulling them out to trade to local players who need last-minute sideboard cards!

Kyle Boggemes's Jeskai Flash deck is pretty awesome, and Blade Splicer is a great card in that deck. Generally speaking, Blade Splicer has always been a good card that finds its way into strong player's decks. The card is just a shade above a bulk rare which makes it a great card to stock up on now while the price is low.

It is actually better than advertised against many of the best decks in the format. Against Affinity the Golem token blocks down Etched Champion and against Dredge the 3/3 first strike is very effective at dealing with Bloodghast and Prized Amalgam turn after turn.

It is a card that has little value but has always been a player—albeit on a small scale in Modern.

The card sees zero Standard play and commands a decent price tag. Imagine what happens if it were to suddenly see considerable play after Aether Revolt? Yeah, right.

The other side of the equation is that because it has zero Standard value it likely can't dip much lower post-rotation (which is still a long way off). The card is made for eternal formats like Legacy and Modern and will continue to be a top-played staple for years to come. I recommend continuing to stock up on these while the price is cheap and Standard players have them for trade.

Inkmoth Nexus is a staple in two of the best decks in Modern, Affinity and Infect. Considering the card is one of the only playable cards in Mirrodin Besieged and hasn't seen a reprint yet, I think the $25 price tag is rather modest. I can also attest to the fact that the card is virtually impossible to keep in stock at my local game store, which is typically a sign that demand is greater than supply.

Even with a Modern Masters reprint likely in the next couple of years, I still think the value of picking these up and flipping them as they tick up is a great way to use one's trade stock.

Literally, the reason to play green. Are there even decks that make green mana and don't play Hierarch? I'm sure they are, but they're also likely built wrong...

Hierarch is one of the best cards in the entire format, going in everything from Zoo, to Infect, to Collected Company, to Eldrazi. It's a ubiquitous "best" card in Modern. It was reprinted in Modern Masters 2015, which makes me wonder if they would bring it back for an encore performance in MM2017.

Either way, there will be no shortage of people who are looking to add Noble to their collections and decks. One trend I've noticed is that Hierarch is typically a hotter commodity than Snapcaster Mage these days! People actively want Hierarchs and for good reason: They're great!

There has been a lot of talk about banning something from Infect, but for all that chatter I kind of doubt anything will happen. First of all, the DCI has bigger fish to fry with Dredge than Infect, and I'm not even sure that Dredge will need to be banned two months from now. Second of all, Infect is a great deck but it isn't exactly dominating the format. It is good but it has its own issues.

If history has taught us anything it is that the delve mechanic is pretty messed up. Trading useless cards in the graveyard for mana toward casting powerful instants is a great deal.

Become Immense is such a unique card in that it generates so much power for so little mana. I doubt that we'll see anything like it again any time soon which makes it a great speculation target.


I'm sure there are a million places to look for awesome value in Modern, but these just so happen to be the ones I've been thinking about lately. Anticipate what Modern players will want and you'll make yourself some solid dollar bills!

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