This week I’m going to talk about one of the most talked about decks right now in Modern, Legacy and Vintage. That’s right, Dredge. I’m not going to dive too deep into the different decks but instead I just want to touch on some of the basics since most people seem to find Dredge petrifying. Believe it or not Dredge really isn’t that scary, and like most things in Magic knowledge is power!

The Basic Engine

No matter what format you’re playing Dredge does have one overarching idea: use the namesake mechanic (instead of drawing you mill a number of cards that is set on the card with the mechanic and return that card from your graveyard to your hand) to dump as much of your deck into your graveyard as possible. While doing this you also cheat creatures into play like Narcomeba or if you’re playing Legacy or Vintage, Ichorid. Then (again in Vintage or Legacy) you also use Bridge from Below to spam your opponent with tokens which can not only attack but can also be sacrificed to Cabal Therapy or Dread Return.

As you can see there is a lot going on and it doesn’t quite work like a normal Magic deck, which is why people tend to get intimated. Personally I actually really like and respect Dredge but hopefully the following makes it less scary. As Erin Campbell said when she was a guest on the ‘Leaving a Legacy’ podcast, Dredge likes to defy the normal rules of Magic and play a different game.

How to Hate on Dredge

Fortunately no matter what format you’re in there are a few key elements to hating on Dredge and the first is packing some graveyard hate. This is something I believe you need anyway if you’re playing in any Eternal format because Dredge is not the only deck that uses the graveyard that is worth trying to shut down. Fortunately there a lot of options for this including Rest in Peace, Grafdigger’s Cage, Bojuka Bog, Leyline of the Void, Relic of Progenitus, Deathrite Shaman, and more. Obviously some of these forms of graveyard hate are more effective than others but shutting down their graveyard has a huge effect on their engine.

Another way to hate is to remove the key pieces from their graveyard (such as Bridge from Below) with Surgical Extraction or Extirpate. Another great way to get rid of Bridge is to kill one of your own creatures. Many people don’t seem to realize that if your opponent has a creature go to the graveyard the Bridge will be exiled. Another piece of hate I don’t see a lot of people discussing (for Legacy) is Tabernacle. Dredge doesn’t often run many lands (sometimes it’s even manaless) so their zombie spamming won’t be able to work very well when they can’t pay for most of them.

Now that you know how the basics of the Dredge engine work I hope that it is less scary to you.  Personally I love Dredge, I think it’s fun when people play it (and want to give it a try myself) but I also understand it’s the boogeyman deck so I hope this look under the bed and in the closet has helped!

Kate hails from Worcester MA and also does a bit of Card Altering. Check her Stuff out on Facebook! She mainly plays legacy and modern though will occasionally find herself playing EDH. 

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