A few weeks ago I wrote a quick overview of the Dredge mistress (or monster depending who you are). This week I thought I’d start a series where I slowly dive into each version of Dredge and how to play against them a little bit deeper. Since Legacy Dredge is the one that I most familiar with, let’s start with this one this week.

There are two types of Legacy Dredge: Lion’s Eye Diamond dredge and Manaless Dredge. The differences between the two types of Dredge are much like the differences between the two types of Storm decks. Manaless Dredge is more like The Epic Storm, much more likely to win on one turn but more glass cannon, while LED Dredge is much more like Ad Nauseam Tendrils, a little bit slower and much less likely to win on turn one but also much more reliable. LED dredge is definitely the more popular of the two but I’ll cover both.


Manaless Dredge normally likes to draw instead of play since it will allow them to discard a card on their first turn (like Golgari Grave-Troll) that will let them dredge instead of draw. Or even better they like to discard Phantasmagorian which allows them to discard almost their whole hand. (Phantasmagorian has the ability of discard three cards to return it to your hand, you can hold priority and activate this twice to discard six cards and get your graveyard off to a good start.)

Once they are able to start dredging they try to dump as much of their deck into their graveyard as possible (sometimes Dread Returning Ballustrade Spy targeting themselves to dump their entire deck into their graveyard) to get Narcomemba onto the battlefield as well as bring back Ichorid, Nether Shadow and Prized Amalgam.

They have Bridge from Below to make zombies whenever they sacrifice a creature for to flashback Cabal Therapy or Dread Return. The goal is to either make a ton of zombies and attack with them or to Dread Return a Flayer of the Hatebound and a Golgari Grave-Troll which should be large enough to kill your opponent when it enters the battlefield off the Flayer trigger.

LED Dredge has a different plan for filling their graveyard. They will normally choose to play and then use cards such as Breakthrough, Faithless Looting, or Careful Study to start filling their graveyard. Instead of trying to take advantage of the Flayer combo LED is more interested in getting Ichorid, Prized Amalgam, and making a ton of zombies. They’re more likely to sacrifice creatures to Cabal Therapy and don’t always have Dread Return maindeck. The are still using Bridge from Below to make a ton of zombies but are more worried about lasting a few turns instead of comboing off all in one.


There are a lot of ways to play against Dredge and interrupt their game plan. If you’re playing against Manaless making them play first can put a damper in their game (you could refer to this as a “Time Walk“) because they won’t be able to discard on turn one so it basically lets you play first and draw. Don’t do this against LED dredge since they discard on turn one with Faithless Looting and friends.

Obviously graveyard hate is great against Dredge. Leyline of the Void, Bojuka Bog, and Rest in Peace can be very challenging for Dredge to deal with and are worth mulling to if Dredge is a hard match-up for your deck. Cards like Surgical Extraction and Deathrite Shaman that don’t deal with the entire graveyard but can target problem cards are great as well and can help you remove the major dredge cards like Golgari Grave-Troll, strong creatures like Ichorid, or possibly Bridge from Below. Knowing what to target and when is very dependent on where you are in the game and what they’ve managed to get into their graveyard so unfortunately I can’t give you a straight answer on what to remove.

Don’t forget when playing against Dredge, you can kill your own creature to get rid of Bridge from Below. Bridge says if an opponent (so you!) has any creature go into the graveyard from play, exile it. All bridges will get exiled from one creature death. So if you have Abrupt Decay, Lightning Bolt, or sacrifice outlet, don’t be afraid to use it on your own creature!

Another thing people forget is that Pithing Needle affects all cards in all zones, including the graveyard. Against Manaless dredge you can needle Phantasmagorian which will shut off the ability that lets them discard cards to return it (the only part they care about).  This also shuts down Street Wraith‘s ability to cycle cards which is also important to them.

My last, and personal favorite, piece of Dredge hate is The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale. Now if you’re playing against Manaless and they’re going on the Flayer plan this card isn’t very helpful (forces them to do it all in one turn, so it’s not terrible), but in the match against LED dredge they normally have to wait a turn before attacking and while they might be able to pay for a couple zombies chances are they won’t be able to keep very many.


I think Dredge is a fun and under-loved deck. A lot of people don’t like it and don’t like to play against it but I think they’re just prejudiced against something that they don’t understand. Dredge players are definitely playing a different game than the rest of us, but  it’s still a pretty cool game worth some love.

I’m looking forward to writing about Modern Dredge as well. Since I’m not as familiar with it as the Legacy counterpart, I’ll be doing some fun research. If I didn’t answer a question you have about the deck let me know on twitter @BeauteCoulisses and I’ll make sure to do an add on for you.

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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