An Introduction to Dredge
What is Dredge?
Dredge is a Vintage deck that relies on abusing its graveyard in a very unique way. This deck functions off of the powerful engine that is Bazaar of Baghdad. This card is so instrumental to the power and speed of the deck that you always want to mulligan until you find it in your beginning hand.
How Does Dredge Work?
Dredge functions off of the immense power of Bazaar of Baghdad with cards that have the keyword Dredge. Bazaar of Baghdad serves the purpose of both digging for a Dredge card and as a discard outlet for the Dredge cards. Once you get a Dredge card in the graveyard you will want to dredge as many cards as possible. Eventually you will hit a free creature such as Ichorid, Bloodghast, Narcomoeba or Prized Amalgam. Once you get a few creatures onto the battlefield then you can begin beating down with your creatures or zombies, disrupting your opponent with Cabal Therapy or go for a quick kill with Dread Return. One of the powers of dredge is that you can often do all three of these things in conjunction because of how synergistic the deck is and how powerful it is.
Why Play Dredge?
Dredge is an extremely powerful deck that has the highest game 1-win rate. This immense power is also its biggest weakness, as it is extremely reliant on having its graveyard intact, and being able to return creatures from the graveyard for free. This means that Dredge is an extremely meta-dependent deck, as you will destroy any tournament where your metagame is not prepared for you. Otherwise you have many options to fight through games 2 and/or 3, such as a transformational sideboard, an anti-hate sideboard, or a mix of the two. If you enjoy playing decks that operate on a completely different axis than other regular magic decks, then this deck is likely very appealing to you. Navigating a post-sideboard game can be very difficult, and is often the most skill testing and interesting games of magic available as you must often bait and play around all kinds of very effective hate. It is also by far the cheapest vintage deck available, and can be built for roughly $200 online depending on your build which is about half of the typical vintage deck price online. In paper it is even cheaper in relation to other vintage decks, as it is only around $6000 to $7000 with Bazaars of Bagdad. If your playgroup or local game store allows proxies, then it is possible to build it for less than $300!
The Core of Dredge:
One of the most beautiful aspects of dredge is how customizable and small the core package is. The typical dredge core takes up only 20 to 40 cards, allowing you to have up to 35 flexible or customizable slots.
4 Bazaar of Baghdad
4 Serum Powder
4 Golgari Grave-Troll
4 Stinkweed Imp
4 Bridge from Below
4 Cabal Therapy
4+ Free creatures
4+ Support cards
2+ Dread Return
2+ Dread Return target
Types of Dredge:
Pitch Dredge or FOWchorid: right now this is the most popular variant of dredge. It is very versatile because of its inclusion of free counter spells. It typically runs an anti-hate sideboard right now, but in the past many people have had success running transformational sideboards with it. It is a
relatively new development, having started only a few years ago.
Loam Dredge: a hybrid of sorts, this version of dredge takes many of the free, disruptive, blue counterspells, and adds that package to a grindy Life from the Loam plan. This allows the deck to attack from a different angle than most other lists, enabling it to function much better when the deck is not being exiled, but merely hated on. It can also add pressure and consistency as you will have an easier time building up your mana, and will be able to Strip Mine your opponents mana.
[Sunny Dredge or Fatestitcher Dredge]
(https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1dQ6p89Dot0OMjIw0ed_FtDRLRausMMx15_IcvyNWv2Y/edit#gid=455540353 this version of dredge is a lot older than Pitch Dredge. It relies on the explosive power of an unearthed Fatestitcher to continue Bazaaring and to eventually Dread Return a Sun Titan or Molderhulk. This variant is by far the quickest, but it uses many more slots than other versions.
Regular Dredge: truthfully there is no such thing as “Regular Dredge”, but it typically runs as many 4 ofs as possible to maximize consistency.
Rich Shay is a well known vintage player who often streams. He is currently on the VSL, and has the record for most Eternal Weekend Top 8 ever, but has never won. He is a great resources when it comes to vintage in general, but he recently has been playing and experimenting with a bit of Pitch Dredge. I recommend you take a look at some of his videos to see a master at work.
@volrathxp Is also a content creator when it comes to vintage dredge, and an article writer over on https://www.mtggoldfish.com/. He is also a moderator on the Dredge discord channel. If you would like an invite or any more information, I am sure that he would be more than happy to help.