I took Dredge to 3 PTQs at MagicFest Reno.
My day 1 list was mostly unchanged through the weekend. Some notable differences between my list and the most common builds:
- Darkblast instead of Golgari Thug. I understand that 4 > 3 … But the spell is nearly useless and much harder to get from hand to graveyard. Darkblast is very good against creature decks and lifelink, and more than once over the weekend let me kill my own Bloodghast to bring back Prized Amalgam.
- All 16 payoffs. Many people are shaving one or two to make room for Ox of Agonas or a 20th land. In my testing I was usually dressing just fine but not finding enough payoffs.
- 19 lands, no maindeck blast zone. This is to make room for payoffs.
- Only 3 Cathartic Reunion. The card is very powerful, but there are matchups where I really need multiple 1 mana enablers. So I cut a Reunion to make room for Ox and the third Merchant of the Vale.
- Only two Ox. It’s almost always there when I need it.
My sideboard guide isn’t perfect, and I did deviate from it a bit as the weekend went on.
- R1: ✅❌❌ against Niv To Light piloted by Calvin Pratt. Ashiok + Kuneros + Kaya’s Guile was too much for me. I don’t yet have a good plan for this matchup. I tried to go fast and use Stain the Mind + Thoughtseize.
- R2: ✅✅ against Mono-Red Prowess piloted by Abel Osorio. I just tried to go fast, remove creatures, and mill Chills. It worked.
- R3: ✅✅ against Eldrazi Tron piloted by Vivi Blue. She never found Karn, which is the main thing I fear in this matchup due to getting Ensnaring Bridge and graveyard hate from the sideboard.
- R4: ✅❌✅ against burn piloted by Brian P.
- R5: ✅❌❌ against infect. Darkblast was lights out in G1, but I didn’t see it in games 2 and 3.
- Being out of the running I conceded R6 and went to mystery drafts.
Only change was adding Arid Mesa instead of Bloodstained Mire and Wooded Foothills. This is probably not worth much as a “trick” on turn one… But why not?
- R1: ✅❌✅ against Eldrazi Tron piloted by Spencer Williams. T1 Thoughtseize to take a Map and prevent T3 Tron was key in G3.
- R2: ❌❌ against Daniel Wong’s Taking Turns list … Piloted by Daniel Wong. Both games I had him to 2 life, but he established control and came back. In G2 I can Stain the Mind naming Fires, but this doesn’t really work. Next time I might try Moon effects to turn off Mystic Sanctuary, but no idea if that works either.
- R3: ✅✅ against Eldrazi Tron piloted by Mark Gage.
- R4: ✅✅ against RB Kroxa/Skelemental piloted by Junpei Lin. I think this is a very easy matchup for Dredge because their hand attack just helps us and Darkblast handles Skelementals.
- R5: ✅✅ against Bant Spirits piloted by Harrison Holloway. G2 I boarded in Axes, and this plus Darkblast and Conflagrate was too much.
- R6: ✅✅ against ??? (Jund?) piloted by Seaver Kyaw.
At 5-1 I wasn’t really thinking about top eight, I hadn’t looked at the standings. My R6 opponent told me that we had been 10th and 11th, so I was probably in. I probably have Daniel Wong to thank for it, since he went 6-0, and was my only loss.
- Top 8, R1: ✅❌❌ against Matthew Sievert’s Hardened Scales + Heliod Combo list. G2 I punted really badly in sideboarding: even though I saw Heliod G1 I went with the traditional Hardened Scales plan of artifact destruction. Lost in a blowout. Also mis-timed an attempt to remove Spikefeeder which cleared the way for him to win. G3 I switched to the anti combo plan. It was one of the best games I’ve ever played. My last turn I cast Ox, hoping to hit two Chills. I only got one. Opponent was at 1 life, and we both thought he was dead… Until he topdecked Collected Company, cast it, and got both Heliod and Spikefeeder. Matthew went on to win the PTQ. Despite losing I felt like I played well, and the ending was both very unlikely and very exciting.
This was my first PTQ top 8, and I was ecstatic about how the day turned out.
I saw a lot of graveyard decks in the first two days (even though I didn’t play against many) so I cut a Thoughtseize to add a Leyline of the Void.
- R1: ✅✅ against Jund piloted by Matthew Slaney.
- R2: ✅✅ against Snowblade piloted by Daniel Tarenishi.
- R3: ❌❌ against Niv to Light piloted by Zachary Roach. G2 I was one turn too slow to get Stain the Mind online to name Ashiok, mainly due to below-average dredges.
- R4: ❌✅❌ against Abzan, piloted by Julio ?. Turn 1 Dryad Militant is pretty annoying, and I might have been too conservative with dredging/Shriekhorn activations in G1. I tried to remove the Militant first, so I took a lot of natural draws to try to get Darkblast or Conflagrate. This eventually worked, but he got too far ahead. For G2 and G3 I boarded into a control deck with lightning axes. Worked well in G2. In G3 I stumbled a bit and Julio had an early RiP. I was able to remove it on turn 4, but it was too late to catch up (and also Settle the Wreckage happened.)
- R5: ✅✅ against Jund, this time piloted by Carruth Topham (who I split with on Day 1 in R6).
- R6: Split with my opponent (who, afterward, told me he was on infect).
The metagame seemed very healthy, with no deck dominating. Last week on MTGO it had seemed that Amulet Titan and Simic Titan were dominating things. This weekend I saw much more Dredge and Jund than I had expected, along with quite a bit of Mono-red, Infect, Heliod combo, Niv to Light, and Eldrazi Tron.
Channel Fireball is in the process of posting the desklists: