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Author Topic: [Free Article] The Dredge of Glory - Manaless Dredge in Vintage  (Read 8029 times)
ajfirecracker
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« on: August 05, 2014, 05:09:43 pm »

http://www.eternalcentral.com/the-dredge-of-glory-an-introduction-to-manaless-dredge-in-vintage/

This is a free article on the Manaless Dredge deck I've been using to great success online. I lay out the strengths of the deck versus the major causes of game losses in Vintage, and break down basic sideboarding.

I'll be happy to answer any questions - and good luck dredging!
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« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2014, 05:22:36 pm »

You took a match from me in a 2-man queue with this.   I boarded in all of my dredge hate only to get owned by Thespian Stage/Dark Depths.  Nice deck!
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« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2014, 05:48:05 pm »

This is an awesome take on dredge.  Chancellor of the annex!?  It does seem like things would get quite a bit rough game 2/3 considering you need 2 mana + dark depths + hexmage/stage to have a chance to win after your graveyard is shut down, which basically requires you having urborg as well making it a 3 card combo.
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« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2014, 07:34:34 pm »

Not going to lie, I thought this was a huge pile when I first played against it.

I'm still of the opinion that it's a bit of a pile, but it's in the "only because I got ranched hard" group of piles.
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« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2014, 07:40:10 am »

I failed to understand any of the arguments & scenarios you pictured regarding running Library of Alexandria in a Dredge deck or in a Dark Depths shell. Sorry.
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« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2014, 07:50:26 am »

I failed to understand any of the arguments & scenarios you pictured regarding running Library of Alexandria in a Dredge deck or in a Dark Depths shell. Sorry.
That's your fault, not his.

Library: Draw 2, discard 2 each turn.
Bazaar: Draw 3, discard 3 each turn.

Having an extra almost-Bazaar is easily justified on those terms.
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« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2014, 08:30:17 am »

I'm not being a smartass here, I'm genuily curious and I'm trying to understand the redundancy LoA provides.

So when in Dredge mode: assuming you don't mulligan and open with Library what does it do for you now that you have 6 cards in hands? You pass turn protected by your counterspells?

When in DarkDepth mode: you play Library first so that you can dig for 2 black mana?

I'm not sure how Library provides redundancy VS Wastelands.

Gitaxian Probe probably does a better job than Library and it pitches to FOW if you insist.
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« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2014, 09:10:41 am »

First off, thanks for the link OP and I enjoyed the article. I played you or someone with your list and split a couple of matches. It is impressive how the Dark Depths SB plan complements the main deck plan.

The OP chooses the draw. This allows him to draw (8 cards), play turn 1 Library (7 cards), draw a card (8 card), discard a card at EOT (7 cards). Upkeep Activate Library to Dredge (8 cards), Draw Step Dredge (9 cards), EOT pitch two cards (7 cards). AmbivalentDuck states this but not do so in a particularly helpful manner.
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« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2014, 09:45:31 am »

The OP chooses the draw. This allows him to draw (8 cards), play turn 1 Library (7 cards), draw a card (8 card), discard a card at EOT (7 cards). Upkeep Activate Library to Dredge (8 cards), Draw Step Dredge (9 cards), EOT pitch two cards (7 cards). AmbivalentDuck states this but not do so in a particularly helpful manner.

It's really not much faster than just not playing the library considering its contingent on you hitting a dredger off your first dredge.
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« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2014, 10:15:34 am »

I can see how Library would in some cases be your 5th Bazaar (less card draw exchange), but I would think you would just always rather have a Bazaar. I've been running through some post board hands and I've felt many times I've been 1 mana away from getting the Dark Depths combo online, digging for Riftstone Portal to turn on Bazaar in helping activate Stage. I will say however that I am very new to this style of Dredge and I will be doing some more testing and I really appreciate the innovation to the archetype you have been running. It seems that Dredge really doesn't find much innovation lately as the community just doesn't change their deck lists much. I've been through many iterations and I've even cut Narcomoeba in my latest list and have been enjoying it. My next stage is to replace Library with Riftstone Portal for the added chance of hitting Riftstone Portal and turning on Stage mana easier through perpetual dredging to find it off Bazaar. If you are simply just digging with Bazaar, you will eventually have to halt to regrow your hand so you can keep cards in hand after an activation. The deck has some serious merit for sure and deserves to be explored, but I feel like taking it to champs may be unreliable, if you are playing Dredge and expect many Dredge opponents at a big event like champs, I would expect mainboard Leyline of the Void, and this deck has no way to combat that in the main, essentially giving up a free game one. I am curious how relevant Hexmage is, and how often you are really able to turn it on, ie: 2 black mana and a darkdepths in play, or urborg/dark depths. I found that out of many hands in testing that I haven't once Hexmage'd where I couldn't just Stage anyway, and relying on a Hexmage without Force backup might just be an unkeepable hand. Hexmage will definitely steal faster games in some cases, and it is a hedge to when people get smart about playing against your deck and run Pithing. So it could be correct anyway, it just is wonky sometimes. Those are my initial assessments and I can't say for sure any of them are absolutely correct, but I will keep looking into this variant, thanks for the innovation!
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« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2014, 11:45:03 am »

So when in Dredge mode: assuming you don't mulligan and open with Library what does it do for you now that you have 6 cards in hands? You pass turn protected by your counterspells?
On the draw, this isn't an issue. On the play, do nothing and go to 8 on your next turn. Play Library, activate it, and discard a dredger in your end step.
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« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2014, 01:01:16 pm »

Library of Alexandria is one of the choices that has been drawing relatively more attention. Let me break down a little bit about why I run it and how I use it.

I usually choose to play.

You have a roughly 10% chance of drawing a singleton in your opening hand, and a ballpark-comparable chance of getting a sequence of Serum Powder(s) into a singleton. Library in a 7-card hand is good enough a majority of the time, so essentially we're talking about eliminating just under 20% of your "mulligan to oblivion" sequences at the cost of 1 card slot and converting some aggressive "mulligan for Bazaar" sequences into "play Library" sequences. Since the odds of finding a Bazaar start to drop more radically with each mulligan, this is a trade-off I'm eager to accept.

Library also allows some 6-card hands to become keepable, although you do get into much, much more difficult mulligan decisions around this point.

Regarding Wasteland resistance, if you play Library as your first land out of a 5- or 6-card-hand Game 1, most Wasteland-packing opponents will Wasteland it to stop sequences like "Turn 2, play Island, end my turn, in response to your Wasteland targeting Library I cast Ancestral, it resolves, I activate Library, thanks for the card."
Of course, a 7-card hand with both Library+Bazaar loses very little by running Library out first, playing DDD for a turn, and using Bazaar. In this sequence Library serves as the perfect protection vs Wasteland, since they can't possibly let you get free dredges when they think you might only have the Library - and if they do wait to see Bazaar, you get to fuel dredging with Library and still get 1 Bazaar activation, putting you very far ahead.

Finally, Library is very powerful post-board. I've had games against Blue control decks where I let them resolve blank graveyard hate but counter every single relevant spell. Library makes a Bazaar of Baghdad into a "sustainable" card-selection engine, provides one of the 2 mana you need for Thespian's Stage, and has a similar role as a juicy Wasteland target. Bazaar also fills this role post-board, which is part of why the Dark Depths combo is more likely to work than you'd think at first glance. Even if they know you're running this sideboard, it's not like a typical Wasteland-only hand (with some irrelevant blue cards or Sphere effects but no GY hate) can afford to risk that you're going to start dredging (i.e. if you didn't bring the combo in, or you doubled up on combos).
« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 01:10:22 pm by ajfirecracker » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2014, 02:33:14 pm »

I'm always for Chancellor of the Annex in Dredge. I love it. My problem with manaless is that it's very hard to win against mana denial in the form of Spheres or Thalia via Dread Return...

Also: no Sun Titan? I love him since he can always bring back my Bazaars or even Serum Powders for mana. Post board he's also good. I'd try and make room for 1.
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« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2014, 12:29:01 am »

Ichorids over Bloodghast? Maybe I don't get it but it seems to me like this deck is very rarely gunning to win on Ichorid damage VS "comboing out", and since there is a limited amount of Ichorid food in the list, all of which are your dredge cards, would bloodghast not be better? Ghast has the benefit of being hard castable if you sandbag your board in and if you just play it as a dork it does not have to be fed every turn.

Also, Mindbreak trap seems ok, but how often is it force food or bazarred away because you cant play it for free.

lastly, 3 Dread returns seems like a lot for a deck that does not have an instant win like flame-kin zealot. I think I would rather go 2 and run a different reanimation target no? I mean Chancellor is good, but I'm not sure its unbeatable if it hits the table, even in a deck with counters as you may be forced to mill them away or they may just have extra mana.
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« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2014, 04:04:05 am »

Ichorid vs Bloodghast: Ichorid has a host of obvious attractive features such as power, haste, self-sacrifice, and self-reanimation. Bloodghast requires a few extra card slots for Undiscovered Paradise and/or Dakmor Salvage. In my experience, there is enough food for Ichorid (although sometimes it is barely enough).

Chancellor of the Annex vs 'Reanimation Target X': The decklist is somewhat tight (eg. 3 Dread Return rather than a luxurious full playset). I haven't been losing many games after resolving Dread Return (and I can't think of any where a Sun Titan or FKZ would have made the difference). The decks that have the mana to pay for Chancellor are typically Workshops (which sometimes find itself unable to cast spells it can technically afford because of the Chancellor/Workshop interaction) or artifact-accelerated Blue decks of some kind. For the big blue decks, they will usually have to resolve a sequence of spells (cantrips/tutors/Will into an actual victory condition) to win, which is severely impeded by Chancellor of the Annex (especially in multiples). I think I'm currently losing more games due to failing to find a Dread Return (or creatures to cast it) than due to to the creature I do reanimate being insufficient. This would seem to indicate that cutting Dread Return for another target is a step in the wrong direction.

Mindbreak Trap is weak in some matchups. In the matchups where it's strong, it tends to be extremely strong. You need a certain number of blue cards to pitch to Force of Will, and I think Trap is better than the next best choice (Gitaxian Probe).

Vampire Hexmage vs Thespian's Stage: Hexmage is indeed a less common route to victory. I'm running fewer and have fewer ways to cast them. That said, I think you do want Thespian's Stage 5/6. They can be countered but usually only by Force of Will or Mana Drain (virtually everything else does not hit 2CMC creatures). Drain can often be played around (or just beaten to the punch - 2 blue mana is a lot to keep up). The other things to keep in mind with Hexmage are that they have a huge impact in Dredge mirrors by virtue of instant-speed sacrifice, and that they can actually be recurred with Golgari Thug, which can operate despite certain hate cards. Similarly, Petrified Field can be used as a psuedo-tutor in some circumstances (such as an uncontested Grafdigger's Cage).
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« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2014, 07:16:17 pm »

I lost vs this earlier. He had t1 library both games but nonetheless i got my butt handed to me, 2nd game my graveyard hate was useless as he had t3 stage/depths. I like this deck it's got a lot of smart card choices.
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« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2014, 01:08:33 am »

Since Coopes brought it up, here are my match notes from today:

Round 1 vs BishCoddler
Game 1:
I Mental Misstep a Sol Ring on Turn 1. I Therapy him stripping a Force and seeing a pretty busted hand with Time Walk, Tezzeret, Jace, and some support spells. I make a Chancellor of the Annex and he Time Walks into a Tezzeret and fetches Vault. I simply attack him for lethal, ignoring Tezz/Vault. Between the stop on Sol Ring and the Chancellor, I restricted his mana just enough to prevent a same-turn Tezzeret+Time Walk (which would obviously win easily).
Game 2:
He opens with Leyline. He's stuck on Mox Sapphire as his only mana source, eventually finding a Mox Pearl to Scroll for Ancestral. I kill him with Marit Lage before he can untap and fire off the Ancestral.

Round 2 vs VirgoIII
Game1:
I have a Library of Alexandria hand and it looks like I'm going to get punished when he has Turn 2 Tinker. I scrape together 2 Narcomoeba to block, going to 9 poison and making some Bridge from Below tokens. I pull together a Dread Return on Golgari Grave-Troll to make a 12/12 blocker. I have some Therapies at this point and fire one off. He's on two land and I have 2xMental Misstep plus Mindbreak Trap in hand. I think his only out is Time Walk (since I can stop any sequence starting with Ancestral), so I name Time Walk seeing Yawgmoth's Will and Oath of Druids. I realize that if he rips Black Lotus he could Tinker to untap his Colossus and barely survive my attack (meaning I can't make an all-in attack next turn) and possibly win the game. I fire off a second Therapy naming Yawgmoth's Will. He fails to rip a Time Walk and instead plays out his Oath, attacking to shrink my Troll into a 1/1 from 12/12. I attack back for lethal.
Game 2:
I Therapy him on a very early turn naming Oath of Druids. I see Blightsteel Colossus, Spell Pierce, and Oath. He had blue mana, so I think this was just a play mistake on his part. In any case, I quickly get an active Library and it takes over the game with Cabal Therapies and free countermagic. I kill him with a 20/20 (ignoring his double Leyline).

Round 3 vs Coopes
Game1:
I have triple Chancellor reveal to open and Coopes just has a single fetchland (presumably with Deathrite Shaman to make the hand keepable?). By the time he finds Cavern of Souls, he's way behind and gets overrun with zombies.
Note:
There was an important technique I used in this game that's worth taking note of. I had 7 cards in hand, Library of Alexandria, and Bazaar of Baghdad in play, and no dredgers in the graveyard. I activated Library holding priority, then activated Bazaar. The Bazaar resolves and I dump some dredgers then use the Library draw (which resolves even though I just have 6 cards now) in order to dredge.
Game 2:
Dark Confidant reveals double Leyline of the Void(s) and makes sure that Deathrite Shaman can't bump him over 20 to take a Marit Lage hit. He concedes as soon as I assemble Thespian's Stage + Dark Depths.

Round 4 vs Naoto
Game 1:
He has Wasteland on my Turn 1 Bazaar but my hand is highly resilient. My hand started with Petrified Field, drew Bazaar and Library off the first Bazaar activation (in response to Wasteland), and quickly killed him.
Game 2:
The key turn comes up where he's beating down with Deathrite Shaman and Scavenging Ooze. I end my turn with Thespian's Stage, Dark Depths, and 2 colorless-producing lands in play. At the end of my turn, he casts Vampiric Tutor and I Mental Misstep it. He casts a Spell Pierce despite the fact that I can pay for it. I think about it and feel like he's more likely to get Wasteland than Jace here, so I let the Vamp resolve and on his upkeep I make the 20/20. He plays Wasteland, taps Wasteland+lands for Jace, bouncing my token and killing me soon after.
Game 3:
I've only seen soft/slow hate so I decide it's worth the risk to go back to my maindeck and try to grind through it.
My opening hand is 2xForce of Will, 2xMindbreak Trap, Bazaar of Baghdad, Library of Alexandria, and Stinkweed Imp. I opened with Library in case he had Wasteland, and started to dredge through my deck with my various specialty lands. On the 2nd turn he plays Mox Sapphire, Yixlid Jailer. I have to counter it. The choice I have to make is whether I want to exile Force of Will (and can use double Trap as backup this turn) or I want to exile Trap and have 1 more counter this turn (but if I don't need it now I get to hold up Force next turn). I think for a bit and decide to exile a Trap. He Forces my Force, and I use Trap to exile his Jailer+Force. I never draw another blue card to turn on the Force in my hand, but only because I'm dredging successfully and his business is just Dark Confidants and Snapcaster Mages (about half of which I Therapy away). I quickly make a zombie swarm and win the 4th match of the day.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2014, 01:28:22 am by ajfirecracker » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2014, 01:28:06 pm »

It feels to me like not running 1 copy of Dakmor Salvage is wrong. Here is my logic.

1 - It's just another Dredge card, which is almost always welcome in dredge, and this deck does not have a huge number of dredge cards compared to some others. I used to run 12 and I would still find times where I could not hit targets.
2 - It is useful in the sandbag match once you side in hexmages
3 - You can hard cast cabal with it. I know that seems Minor and against the "Manaless" part of this list, but I have had games where it has made all the difference.

Anyways its just a though.
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« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2014, 02:31:19 pm »

1) What do you cut for it?
2) In the current list it does not help cast Vampire Hexmage since all other black sources provide multiple black already and you need  {B} {B}.
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« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2014, 09:25:30 am »

Dakmor is only good if you run Bloodghast, in my opinion.
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« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2014, 10:43:25 pm »

Has anyone actually tried this list with ghast over Ichorid? I'm not 100% sold that Icky is better or not simply cause ghast asks less of you over time, things you are already doing a lot of, and can be recurred main phase, and is not nearly as dead as ichorid is post board (though I guess you side him out post?)
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« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2014, 03:44:57 am »

Read through this article right now, and just some remarks / questions:

So, basically, you built a Dredge Deck that can shift modes rapidly. You can win with two different combos, that (theoretically) can win without ever casting a spell that can be countered or otherwise interacted with, apart from Land destruction in one case and graveyard hate in another. That is in and of itself a very interesting approach - thumbs up already.

When filling out the left over space of the deck (as you are usually just running one combo) you packed all 0-mana disruption you could find: quite intriguing. But here's the first question on that. Chancellor of the Annex over Chalice of the Void? In the "older" days, I found that the best possible opening of a Dredge deck was Chalice 0 + Bazaar. This made sure that you won't be as fast as them and provided a fast clock at the same time. I have to try out the Chancellor to see if it's worth it being a possible Dread Return target or if you could get away with Chalice and 3 free slots (which could be either permission or Bloodghasts/more mana for plan B). Have you tried this before?

When looking at the Sideboard, I find a few things I cannot understand right off the bat and I'd love to have some explanation on: Why only 3 Urborg? Why Riftstone Portal, when you are banking on bypassing graveyard hate in most matchups? Why Mana Crypt instead of Black Lotus? Lotus could cast Hexmage as well, and I don't see you using the Mana Crypt mana more than once.

Also, this deck seems to have a weakness against traditional Dredge lists (which might not be important going forward - Dredge is already getting less and less played as it is getting worse in the current meta). You won't have a hexmage out reliably in time, and even if you do: they just polay Leyline of the Void. So you must find and assemble plan B faster than they win while you're not fighting them at all - it seems you are the underdog.

This is not talking anything down - I love the innovation behind this and this list seems well positioned in the current meta. There is not too much you can do against this, except from winning the mind game (I don't bring in graveyard hate when you are usign plan B, or I get you to go with plan A while bringing the hate).

I completely agree that this is a nightmare for fast combo decks - I cannot see beating this with my Rituals. So in short, I label this "unfair"!
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« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2014, 08:35:23 am »

I guess Chancellor is better than Chalice here because you're never on the play with this deck. CotV on the draw loses a lot of its power.
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« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2014, 08:46:13 am »

I guess Chancellor is better than Chalice here because you're never on the play with this deck. CotV on the draw loses a lot of its power.

Its also a dread return target, and can disrupt things like deathrite on turn 1 rather than just moxen.  I'm not a huge fan of this decklist as a whole, but Chancellor is definitely a great find as its definitely a big upgrade from CotV.
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« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2014, 09:27:46 am »

I wouldn't call it a "find" since it's been used in Legacy Dredge for ages now hehe
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« Reply #25 on: March 15, 2015, 03:36:44 pm »

When looking at the Sideboard, I find a few things I cannot understand right off the bat and I'd love to have some explanation on: Why only 3 Urborg? Why Riftstone Portal, when you are banking on bypassing graveyard hate in most matchups? Why Mana Crypt instead of Black Lotus? Lotus could cast Hexmage as well, and I don't see you using the Mana Crypt mana more than once.

Also, this deck seems to have a weakness against traditional Dredge lists (which might not be important going forward - Dredge is already getting less and less played as it is getting worse in the current meta). You won't have a hexmage out reliably in time, and even if you do: they just polay Leyline of the Void. So you must find and assemble plan B faster than they win while you're not fighting them at all - it seems you are the underdog.

I just saw this.

Yes, it does struggle against traditional dredge. Not all lists run Leyline and they can't afford to mulligan away a Bazaar for it. As a result, it's basically a 50/50 matchup, maybe a bit worse. Game 1 comes down to who is on the play usually so the match overall tends to be even, despite some individual games being lopsided.

For the sideboard, I cut Mana Crypt for a 4th Urborg, but both of those are budget standins for Black Lotus.

The Riftstone Portal does a few good things for you, one of which is being an unwastable mana source in many situations. This is especially important against Workshops and this might be some other land if Workshops were not a major competitor. It's also a mana source you can discard to a Bazaar without losing mana, which helps alleviate pressure on your hand size post-board. Finally, you can dredge under a Grafdigger's Cage to get mana, which can be important as well.

The Riftstone Portal is a big part of the reason I don't run Dakmor Salvage - it's a better land game 2/3. I might run a 1st Dakmor over a 2nd Riftstone though.

I guess Chancellor is better than Chalice here because you're never on the play with this deck. CotV on the draw loses a lot of its power.

As I clarified above I typically choose to play.

The real reason is that a revealed chancellor is almost as good as a Chalice for the first turn or two and a Dread Return'ed one on an opponent whose hand is stripped by Therapies is Game Over.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2015, 03:43:42 pm by ajfirecracker » Logged

kingneckbeard on MTGO

"I fully believe that if Dredge could play a transformational sideboard it would just win all the tournaments yet it just doesn’t have one because there is just nothing that it can play. It’d be awesome to completely ignore all those very specific hate cards people bring against you but how are you going to do that?" - Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa
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