I'm relatively new to playing Dredge and I've taken a liking to Hollow Ones in the sideboard (along with 3 Anglers).

When you sideboard out cards for your anti-hate, or win conditions that rely less on the GY, what do you take out?

I don't understand fully which cards are best to remove and why.

@jhport12 I just started using the Hollow One/Gurmag Angler plan last night, and I'm 2-0 in a League, so far. I don't know if it's correct. But I've been removing the Dread Return package, any Dread Return targets I have, and my Ichorids. I keep Bloodghast in, because if we're on the 'actually cast our creatures' plan, we're more likely to be able to cast Bloodghast than we are Ichorid.

So I've been playing pitch dredge in leagues so far. It is quite a bit different however I think the one big similarity is that the return package and its creature targets have to come out. The goal of dredge should be dominate game one and then sneak out a victory in games two or three.

Sideboarding is very dependent on what cards are in your 75, and what deck you are playing against. Its not really different from other decks in that way with exception to how many cards you are taking out / bringing in for each MU. In general, you should board put cards that are bad or useless in a particular MU.

Against storm, the mirror and other fast decks I think its fairly common to do very light boarding. Basically just focus on taking out really bad cards, and bringing in some lands / 0 and 1 drops. For the most part though, your main deck should be built for these matchups. Outside of these MUs you can cut some of the cards that are there for speed and consistency, for instance:

Anti Storm/Dredge cards:
Leyline of the Void - This card is just not very good outside of these MUs and can easily be boarded out.
Mindbreak Trap - Again this has some impact on other MUs, but it really is only played for the Storm MU. Feel free to board it out if your Blue count is sufficient for Force without it.

Speed cards:
Fatestitcher - This only works with mana, active bazaar + GY. This is too perfect of a scenario to be realistic for Games 2/3.
Dread return targets - These cards are generally unusable unless your opponent has no hate.
Lion's Eye Diamond - You almost never want to pitch your whole hand in games 2/3 and the mana is more of just a biproduct.
Ect. - Speed cards are for G1, and MUs where you need to win quickly. They are easy cuts.

Serum Powder - This card helps with consistency, but in games 2/3 you are looking for higher variance wins and improved top decks.

Trim copies of dredgers, dread return, and therapy - These are tough cuts, but some cards have to be cut and builds often run more of these cards than are necessarily needed.

Against specifically slower control decks, workshops, fish, and other aggro. Disruption is less important in these matches, and you need to make sure your GY is lethal enough since they can actually fight back against weaker on board presences. Cards that I take out:

Cabal Therapy - Trading a creature for a card from your opponents hand is not often a good exchange in these MUs.

Counterspells / Unmask - These cards can be very hit or miss and if you have other ways to remove hate, Id considering cutting them down.

The Dread Return package is usually the first thing I cut, so I'm glad to learn that is how others approach it. I usually cut my lone Golgari Thug, too.

I have only infrequently sided out Serum Powder because I thought it was essential to the deck. I guess I will have to reconsider.

Post-Board, are there any hands people consider keeping where you don't have Bazaar? Sometimes I have a hand with good counters and/or anti-hate cards and I wonder if I should just keep. I don't want to over-assume the criticality of Bazaar, but then again it's almost hard not to.


Again it depends on your 75 and the MU. Some decks have options to win outside of having Bazaar. If your list doesnt, it may be tough to keep hands without it.

Even among the decks with other routes to victory, Bazaar hands are often much faster. There are some decks that you simply cant afford to lose that much speed against and you need your Bazaar.

In general, hands with Bazaar are almost always going to be better than hands without, but there is no guarantee you'll find one when you are mulliganing. I will keep hands with disruption AND action. That means something like, a force of will and a creature I have the mana to cast.

If I'm facing Storm, I will keep a hand without Bazaar, but with multiple discard spells. My theory is that I'll shred their hand enough to buy myself time to find Bazaar, and do what I came to do. I haven't done it enough to say whether it 'works,' or not. But I wanted to say that I have done it.

@oestrus I think it does work if you have some follow up pressure in the form of a creature, or something like Loam engine.

I think @vaughnbros is generally correct about how to board, although I'm sure if you got into specifics he and I would disagree in some cases

I have a bunch of videos of Pitch Dredge up at http://youtube.com/c/ajfirecracker where you can see me discussing and trying out different sideboarding plans (the later videos are generally closer to my current thinking)

I think the biggest thing to be aware of is what "packages" you want in what metagame environments. When the metagame (and especially the particular matchup) is heavy on decks that are fast, but also hateful and controlling (ex: the old Mentor decks with Gush and a reasonable number of anti-Dredge sideboard cards) you probably want access to both the dredge plan as well as other plans (big dude aggro, Marit Lage, etc) post-board. When the metagame can be more cleanly divided into fast decks light on hate (ex: storm) and slower decks which are heavy on hate (Landstill, Grixis Pyro, etc) you can afford to just have the Dredge plan or non-Dredge plans as appropriate for the matchup

I have Hollow One and three Anglers in my sideboard. They're great if you open with them, but I've also lost games where I ALMOST had my opponent dead and they ripped something to win. I don't have Forces in my deck so I have no interaction on the stack. I almost wanted to find a way to fit null rod in my sideboard just for the dreadful combo match up.

I think combo feels a lot worse than it really is - there are a lot of games where you can't do anything but if you run 8-12 counters there are a lot of games where you deal with one or two things and then kill them

It feels like a 50/50 matchup but examining my records shows a winrate just shy of 70%

@ajfirecracker Yep. Its an easy MU if you build your deck right. You need Pitch spells (like Force or Unmask) and/or 1 CC destruction spells (like Claim or Chewer).

@vaughnbros I know. I don't have those anymore though.

One thing I've noticed about trimming dredgers game 2&3 is that I generally like to keep in my golgari thugs. If you happen to cast one you can attack while threatening his deathtrigger to recur your ingot chewers or wispmare. Surprisingly just a 1/1 creature can be very a relevant threat in a game where your opponent keeps a hand of all graveyard hate, that's why Hollow ones and anglers are so popular now.

last edited by DunnyDee

@dunnydee said in Dredge Sideboarding Tactics:

One thing I've noticed about trimming dredgers game 2&3 is that I generally like to keep in my golgari thugs. If you happen to cast one you can attack while threatening his deathtrigger to recur your ingot chewers or wispmare. Surprisingly just a 1/1 creature can be very a relevant threat in a game where your opponent keeps a hand of all graveyard hate, that's why Hollow ones and anglers are so popular now.

I have lost a shameful amount of games to hardcast Narcomeobas. I think the hard part is for the Dredge player to know when to shift gears.

Grunch, just giving some thoughts on dredge now that I'm taking a break from the deck

In my opinion the 15 card transformational dark depths plan is outdated. Played that version to a win in a format challenge a while back, but now that many shops lists are on ghost quarter MD + karakas SB it is much less exciting. Have not tested the anti-hate+angler/hollow one package, but on paper it seems awesome vs shops. Your combo matchup is already pretty good if you MD 12x FOW/Misstep/Mindbreak, and the dark depths plan was at its best vs shops anyway. Unfortunately I don't think now is a great time to be playing dredge, as UR delver has been pushed out of the format, and most control decks have some sort of tinker combo package.

As a general rule here is how I have historically sideboarded with my old decklist, even though its outdated I think shows the general principles of siding with transform dredge. Side in everything, cut cards that speed up your clock, cut dead cards, 10 dredgers minimum and that is pushing itt...

One Note: Therapy is horrible vs shops, can't be cast half the time and does nothing when cast. Misstep is horrific vs shops game 1 but fantastic post-sideboard, hits their 4x Grafdigger's Cage and Relic. Never cut it ever ever ever.


+15 Card Transform

Vs Shops

-4 Therapy
-1 Dragonlord
-3 Mindbreak
-1 Probe
-4 FOW
-1 Dread Return
-1 Prized

Vs Combo

-1 Elesh
-1 Pharoah
-4 Petrified
-3 Dread Return
-1 Dragonlord
-1 Prized
-2 Thug
-1 Probe

+14 no portal (think sometimes I boarded slightly diff, cutting some FOWs leaving in extra dredgers)


Imo the immediate future of dredge has us swinging back around to the faster leaner versions of dredge, similar to this version from 2 yrs ago. I would prob cut the leylines from MD unmask, cut some mana perhaps, and modernize the SB with creature package and 4 mindbreak either side or main


last edited by ravager101

I've noticed a shift lately to Unmask/Leyline Dredge vs. Pitch Dredge. Curious to know people's thoughts.

I've found that with aggro Workshop being a tough matchup, the ability to land a Leyline of the Void is huge. I also have found that Serenity has been a terrible SB card for me. Arcbound + Mishra's or Ballista make it much less effective of a sweeper.

@jhport12 I think Unmask/Leyline was seeing play going into Eternal Weekend because Dredge had been touted as the bogeyman of the weekend, and Pitch Dredge can be kind of weak to the mirror. Short of racing to Elesh Norn, we don't really have a plan. Force, and Misstep aren't great in the mirror.

We're at the point in the cycle where everyone packed a lot of hate to deal with the threat, and now the threat has somewhat subsided. I personally would go back to the Force/Misstep plan. But if we reached a high point for Dredge again I might go back to Leyline/Unmask.

last edited by Oestrus

Hi guys. I am really new in Vintage and i think only one playing this format in my country. 😃 I have chosen Dredge and i really enjoy to play a deck. But still i did not understand completly what is the right sideboard plan against different decks. Sometimes it is too hard for me to choose what to cut from main deck after game one. Can you give me any advises about sideboarding agains most popular decks like Oaths, Shops and Dredge too. Thank You!

P.S. English is not my native language. Sorry for mistakes.

last edited by Listlik

It depends on the matchup and on your sideboard plan. There tend to be particular cards that are weak in particular matchups, such as Petrified Field when your opponent does not disrupt your lands or Mindbreak Trap against a slower deck like White Eldrazi.

Beyond that you need to trim intelligently. For example, I typically cut Cabal Therapy vs Shops because if you are resolving a spell you would much prefer Dread Return. More generally you need to consider the speed with which you need to deliver a kill. Ichorid is typically a turn slower than Narcomoeba and half a turn slower (on average) than Bloodghast in terms of putting a body on the board, so you want to trim them somewhat in faster matchups, but it is invaluable in slower, more grindy matchups. You can consider cutting the whole Dread Return package in slower matchups, that's an easy way to free up a number of spots in the deck. Typically the faster the matchup is the closer to your main-deck configuration you would like to remain.

Against Oath in particular their graveyard hate is a little weaker; they can't run Cage for obvious reasons, so they are typically dependent on opening-hand Leyline. You can often decline to put a creature into play until you can present an unbeatable board in a single turn. Practice and experience will be better guides in that type of matchup than anything we have to say.

I know some people trim Serum Powder while sideboarding, and I've done it myself in very particular circumstances, but I think it is usually a mistake when others do it and has proven to be mistaken even in the few instances I have done it.

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