Video Series with Ryland: Dredge

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Dredge is a deck that ebbs and flows in popularity quite a bit in Modern. At some points in time, you would struggle to find many Dredge lists in a tournament center, and at others, it is the leading archetype. The reason for this is well known: the archetype preys on the format when people are unprepared. The deck is absurdly powerful, and it has been ever since the printing of Cathartic Reunion. That card put Dredge back on the map and was the biggest reason, in my opinion, that Golgari Grave-Troll had to be re-banned. Dredge has been on the rise again lately, so I thought it might be a good time for us to take it for a spin.

Cathartic Reunion is not the only powerful enabler present in this deck; you'll find both Insolent Neonate and Faithless Looting right alongside it. Combine that with the powerful engine provided by Life from the Loam coupled with Conflagrate, and you have some incredible reach. Closing games out with your opponent at ten or more life is often not a struggle when three Conflagrates show up in your graveyard. The relatively new Prized Amalgam gives you additional and reliable power alongside Bloodghast and Narcomoeba, allowing you to put a ton of power on the table early. With all that is going right with this deck what's not to love?

Oh yeah, hate. Modern has a myriad of cheap and efficient hate. Don't care about your own graveyard and you're playing white? Rest in Peace is clearly the way to go. If it stopped there, Dredge would be great all the time. Too many people don't fit into that slim category. However, with the cardpool Modern has to offer, there are many more reasonable choices. Playing black and want a card that is good in fair matchups and unfair ones? Nihil Spellbomb. Not playing black or white? No problem! Would you like Surgical Extraction, Leyline of the Void, Ravenous Trap, or Relic of Progenitus? Yeah I guess you can play Tormod's Crypt if you really want to...

No matter what matchup you are playing, people are going to have graveyard hate in Modern, and frankly, that's a good thing. Graveyard use in the format is too ubiquitous, especially in any deck trying to do anything remotely unfair. It's important that every archetype has access to hate, or decks like Dredge would run wild. At the very least, it would choke the format into a place where you had to be playing the right colors for hate, or be doing the thing that required said hating.

That said, I think Dredge is powerful enough that even when it is an expected archetype, even when people are packing that extra fourth graveyard hate slot, the deck is still a reasonable choice. Its ability to be proactive and powerful early coupled with a sideboard of anti-hate allow it to win games through Rest in Peace, or Relic of Progenitus. On top of that, you win a surprising number of games by just hardcasting Amalgams and Ghasts. That is the advantage of playing this fetchless manabase; being able to consistently cast Narcomebas and Amalgams is incredibly important, and in my opinion, more important than using a fetchland to play around Anger of the Gods.

I hope you enjoy the matches and as usual, I'm interested to hear what kind of content you'd like to see moving forward so I can continue to evolve and improve my videos. Please let me know your thoughts, and any improvements you would like to see concerning formatting, presentation, or whatever else strikes your fancy. If you'd like to see similar content, check out my Twitch channel for some live Modern games!


4 thoughts on “Video Series with Ryland: Dredge

  1. Thanks for the videos. I think you got more than a little unlucky, given that I don’t remember seeing a single impressive Cathartic Reunion Dredge in all 5 matches. I was highly unimpressed by the Driven // Despair – you only cast it once, and it didn’t seem to do much. I think you may need a bit more enchantment hate in the form of Nature’s Claims. Overall, though, the list seemed solid, and I was pleasantly surprised by how well the fetchless version performed (most of the dedicated Dredge players I talk to run the version with fetches). If I may put in a vote as to what deck I’d like to see you pilot next, I’d say something like Death & Taxes (mono-white) or perhaps the resurgent Jund (with Goblin Rabblemasters and sideboard Blood Moons) would get the nod.

    1. Hey Roland!

      Thanks for watching. Now that I’ve played the deck a bit more, I’m pretty happy with the 1 of Driven//Despair in the board. It’s great in combo matchups that can be otherwise tough and it helps in matchups that gum up the ground quite a bit. Multiple times during the Open this past weekend I was unable to get through some efficient blockers until I flipped over Driven//Despair.

      More enchantment hate is not unreasonable, but it is hard to find slots. The only enchantment that our Abrupt Decay doesn’t kill is Leyline, and while that is tough to beat, there are not a lot out there. If I was to try playing more enchantment hate, I might be interested in playing a Ray of Revelation.

      Thanks again!

  2. I have Dredge in Modern as well. I’ve brought it a few times to TNM and I’ll say that sometimes you just don’t get going even after a Cathartic Reunion. I was testing Driven/Despair and Darkblast in the main but replaced those two for Tormenting Voices. The problem I had was hitting big dredgers with my draw spells and those dredges recurring Amalgams and Ghasts. I would get a bunch of red spells in the yard instead which did nothing…

    I wonder if Shriekhorn should make its way back in?

    1. The deck is certainly great but sometimes it just doesn’t Dredge well. Tormenting Voices will help somewhat in that regard but I think Darkblast is just too good to cut. Comes up in a lot of matches and won me multiple games nearly by itself at the open this past weekend. I doubt I could find room for Shriekhorn but I understand the desire to do so.

      Thanks for watching!

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