Life from the Loam in Dredge

I see you have completely cut Bridges now, interesting to see.


I've always really liked your take on Dredge. I noticed this iteration removes the dark depths SB package in favor of hollowed one. Do you find this to be fast enough against PO decks and other fast decks in games 2/3 where they are also SB'ing? I really liked how your older lists could use LftL to recur Depths/Stage through Containment Priest and Grafdigger's cage. The current SB seems much more susceptible to the usual hate. What have been your experiences with this SB in comparison?


last edited by marcb


I've found Bridge just leads you to play a number of suboptimal cards to try and support it, while in reality its just a win more. In game 1, you dont need a bunch of zombies to win with a turn 2/3 Griselbrand and post board Bridge has always been fairly unreliable.


The Dark Depths combo was pretty slow too.
I liked the reliability of the uncounterable kill before, but that has become less true with the uptick of cards like Swords to Plowshares and Hangarback Walker. As for the speed of the "transform", you dont actually need to bring the Hollow Ones in for every game 2/3. The 8 pitch spells, 4 claims, 2 grudges, 2 pits is a comparable anti-hate package to a more traditional list and can fight through any type of hate.

last edited by vaughnbros

@vaughnbros This is beautiful. I might just have to take it out for a spin myself this weekend.

Any vids to see you/this list in action?
I saw LSV run his Dredge list a day ago, I think, but he runs 4 Bridge. I Don't really enjoy his streams much though.


I have not streamed in quite some time (a lot of issues trying to stream where I lived the last couple years), but may start again in a couple weeks after I finish moving into my new apartment.

last edited by vaughnbros

Does anybody have any more advice for this thread? I was wondering if a Bloodghast/Life from the Loam based Dredge deck would be any good. I was thinking it would be a really wacky build, with FoW, MM, Prized Amalgam, LftF, and one of all the utility lands like Cabal Pit and Barbarian Ring, a few Riftstone Portals, and other lands as seen fit. You could cut some number of Bridge from Below as @vaughnbros suggests and just focus on a Narcomoeba, Bloodghast, Prized Amalgam and Barbarian Ring beat down that would be resistant to most hate. If you really want to get interesting you could even play some number of Creeping Chill to buy you time to get around hate.

last edited by Rat3dE

@rat3de it's fairly feasible to just throw a loam or two, a pit or two, and a portal in a normal dredge deck, as you're already playing 4 bloodghast.

@BlindTherapy Thank you. How does this tend to work with Pitch Dredge? Also does this make it easier to hardcast your spells during games 2 and 3?


Loam is a pretty independently powerful card, pretty much no matter what version of dredge you are currently playing since all of the current builds have mana, and bloodghasts already anyway.

Loam doesn't help you get to 2 mana, but it certainly helps you cast anything beyond that as you can consistently hit land drops. You can definitely ramp up into a Golgari-Grave Troll and win via that in games where your opponent isn't applying a lot of pressure.

@vaughnbros What would you recommend cutting to put in Loams and support lands?


One of my decklists is above.


It is certainly a cool take on dredge. I gave this a shot on modo a couple months ago and noticed a few things:

(1) Not nearly enough lands maindeck to make 4 loams castable or worthwhile. Postboard you jam all those lands in and sure.
(2) No bridges made getting enough dudes to dread return (while also trying to flashback therapy) very difficult. No way you're ever turn 2 Griselbranding here.
(3) The mirror match is very unfavorable, especially if they're running leylines (or 4 ravenous traps, which I actually ran into online a couple times!)
(4) Yes, grudge is good against PO and Shops, but giving either of these decks extra time is asking for trouble. Shops can kill you so fast these days. Giving up the explosive plays from dredge is worse than being able to grudge their dudes game 1.

@vaughnbros I have seen the decklist, and I do not want to run it. I do not think it would be very good in my meta, and seeing as to how I play in paper, I do not think that it would be smart to make so many changes. I am only looking to cut a few non-key cards for a Loam, Riftstone and Barbarian Ring package.


Its not an easy deck to play so I don't think you are going to get the full feel of the deck if you only played it once.

  1. Loam is primarily for post board games, and dredging, but Dakmor+Rifstone means that Loam is always alive, even main deck. You can boost the number of Dakmors if you want to make sure you can loam game 1.
  2. Bridge from Below doesn't really increase speed, it just increases resilience under special circumstances. So if you aren't getting turn 2 Griselbrand here, then I don't think you are getting turn 2 Griselbrand in most dredge builds. The only dredge builds that even semi-consistently do that are full turbo with Fatestitchers and that version usually struggles post board. Most Dredge decks are turn 3/4 decks, this holds for this one as well.
  3. I disagree. The lack of reliance on Bridge from Below and lack of needing to win in combat improves the match up dramatically, but if you are looking for a "mirror breaker", its Failure to Comply. That blocks any opposing Dread Return, essentially time walking the game. Leyline is just not good against any non-mirror match. If you want to pick your deck based on the chance someone else will play a suboptimal list than so be it, but it seems like a poor choice if the goal is to win a tournament.
  4. The deck is not designed to maximize game 1 win %. That is already a very easy win if you play the deck well. You need to maximize game 2/3 win %'s in my opinion. Tormod's Crypts are at an all time high, and Grudge is a must. I've since upped to 4.


If you have a decklist then I could make specific recommendations. Loam can usually replace some other dredgers, and rifstone can usually replace some other lands.


Thanks for the feedback. I readily admit that I played only 15 or 20 matches.

(1) Yeah my first inclination was to swap one or two loams for one or two more lands maindeck.
(2) Fair enough. Maybe a better way to put it is that I just never felt like I had enough creatures on board, in particular given that this deck wants to dread return moreso than a stock dredge list (hence the 3 maindeck vs. usual 2). You get stuck with a Narco in hand, not a ton of lands to trigger Bloodghast, etc. Just always felt like a struggle to get to 3 creatures on board. Then when you did dread return, you were all in, since it basically wiped your board (except maybe an amalgam coming back).
(3) Point take on not having to rely on bridge. But given that this deck is slower than stock dredge (though maybe you disagree there), I really want some grave hate to slow the opponent down.
(4) On this I guess I would need to fundamentally shift how I think about dredge. Always felt like I needed to maximize game 1 since games 2 and 3 can be so tough. What did you cut for more grudges?


Yeah, I mean I've played ~1000 of matches with variants of this deck and I still find new lines of play and make errors. There are just so many decisions when you have the option to dredge back use-able cards and all the good flashback spells that I've tried over the years. If you've already gone through the effort of assembling the deck, I'd at least try tuning it to your preference.

You can probably cut a copy or two of Loam, but I wouldn't do that if your goal is to make Loam more reliable. You want as many copies of it as you can get if you are going to rely on it so I've been at 4 Loams for a couple of years now in most of my builds. The card doesn't actually take any real slots since its just competing with other dredgers. You can up the Dakmors and Portals by trimming some stuff like Chancellor, and Stinkweeds. That might not be the direction you want if you want to make it faster though.

Like I said, I don't think the deck is any slower because I don't think Bridge from Below helps with speed. It helps with resilience when you need to fight through counterspells, sphere, and other situations that are preventing you from comboing hard. Amalgam is the same speed as Ichorid so the creature count is overall the same, and the access to extra land drops makes up for the grind factor you lose with no Bridges. If you want to increase speed in a dredge deck, the only real route is Fatestichers, imo. Its the next best GY creature, other than Ghast and Narcomoeba, at coming out on turn 2. So playing through counterspells is the situations where it can be slower, this is roughly only 50% of match ups (since other people are on Shops/Dredge/Survival/Storm/other non-blue) and even in those match ups only about 50% of the time will they even have a counter for Return. So you are talking about 25% of the time that it might be slower. At the same time, I feel its faster in situations where Bridge from Below is unreliable, e.g. against a Ravager and the Dredge mirror, since this deck is already well prepared to play a game with no Bridge from Below. Based on meta %'s, I think that evens it out overall.

My current list:

I haven't been totally happy with it though so I've been tinkering with some of the numbers, and the sideboard.

last edited by vaughnbros

@vaughnbros This is my current decklist:

Creature (22)
4x Bloodghast
4x Golgari Grave-Troll
2x Ichorid
4x Narcomoeba
4x Prized Amalgam
4x Stinkweed Imp

Instant (10)
4x Force of Will
4x Mental Misstep
3x Mindbreak Trap

Land (12)
4x Bazaar of Baghdad
2x Dakmor Salvage
2x Mana Confluence
2x Petrified Field

Sorcery (10)
4x Cabal Therapy
4x Creeping Chill
1x Undiscovered Paradise

Enchantment (2)
4x Bridge from Below

Artifact (4)
4x Serum Powder

Sideboard (15)
3x Abrupt Decay
4x Hollow One
2x Mana Confluence
4x Nature's Claim
2x Petrified Field

I was thinking of removing 2 Bridge for 2 Loam, 1 Paradise and a MD Field for 2 Portals, a Mindbreak trap for a Barbarian Ring, and 1 SB Paradise for a Barbarian Ring.

last edited by Rat3dE

@davidlemon said in Life from the Loam in Dredge:

Always felt like I needed to maximize game 1 since games 2 and 3 can be so tough.

while this feeling is understandable, in many game 1s your deck could contain literal ham sandwiches and, provided you correctly noted the lunchmeats on your decklist, you would still very much be the favorite. so there's a lot of space in the average dredge list, I might say 16 cards or so and Lance might say 30, in terms of what you can have maindeck and still win game 1 due to the mechanical superiority of the deck. it's possible you're trading percentages, but going down 5% in game 1s to be up 10% in each postboard game, to make up numbers, would certainly be worth it.


To elaborate more on that, there is a limit to how good your game 1 % can even be. You are never really going to overcome the Mulligan to oblivion %'s. You also need to win at least one game 2/3 in every match. You don't actually even need to win game 1 (which is something that other decks use to take advantage of Dredge).

EDIT: Expanding a little bit more:
Where, x=game 1 win% and y=game 2/3 win% then to be favored we have:
Which simplifies to: -2 x y^2 + 2 x y + y^2>0.5
If we take the formula from the bottom where 1/2 < x < 1, we get the following resulting table.

So no matter how good your game 1 win % is, you still need to get to above 30% in game 2/3 to be favored in the match.


Those seem like fine changes, but just something small is that I think you probably want Cabal Pit over Barbarian Rings, especially if you are sticking with Abrupt Decays.

last edited by vaughnbros
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