Pharaoh has been relevant. My board plans:
Oath / Survival / any U-control w Wasteland+Snapcaster
-4 null rod
-4 sphere
-1 Thorn
-1 Trisphere
-4 Workshop
-1 Thug/Ichorid/Imp

+9 Dark Stage and needle
-9 Ichorid/Thug/Imp/Grave-Troll

+13 not Pharaoh
-8 Troll/Imp
-5 Ichorid/Thug/Amalgam

+11 not leyline
-4 sphere
-1 Thorn
-1 Trisphere
-1 Chalice
-2 Shop
-2 Thug/Imp

-4 null rod
-8 Imp/Troll
-3 Ichorid/Thug/Amalgam

last edited by vroman

@vroman It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on Vintage now versus then, after a 7yr lapse. It was fun to follow your innovations on the drain many years ago, looking forward to it again!

Got the 5-0 with the above list featuring Life From the Loam.

I've played Loam in six leagues, going 23-7 across two different lists. Four of those leagues were with the verbatim list posted above (17-3) and two were with a modified version that cut the Salvages/Ichorid for more Portals/Loams/Leyline of Sanctity (6-4).

Obviously a small sample size, but I think Dakmor Salvage may too important to cut. In the two leagues and a bunch of practice matches without it, I've had trouble reliably triggering the Bloodghasts or ensuring a land drop to get Loam going. Dredging a Salvage often accomplishes both in a single turn.

I can't overemphasize how good Life from the Loam has been. What's really impressed me is how good it's been against Shops and Eldrazi, which were the two match-ups that have given me the most trouble. Loam doesn't just help keep Marit Lage looming, but also undermines the ability of Shops and Eldrazi to overwhelm the board with threats by recurring Wasteland. Null Rod and Wasteland consequently buys a lot of time. The Spheres, which I keep in against Eldrazi, have also become more effective at keeping Thought-Knots and Smashers off the table with a stream of Wastelands flowing.

Thanks for the run-down on your sideboarding, I find your approach very interesting. I've always kept in the Shops and lockpieces against the Oath/Survival/U-Wasteland decks to hamper the ability to find and play answers to Marit Lage or the dredge plan and prevent their threats (e.g., keep Oath off the table or Survival from going off in a single turn through a Sphere).

But it looks like you are going for a more all-in attack strategy by keeping the threats and tossing the prison element. I'm going to try that. I think that might be the better approach (especially on the draw).

Also, what are your thoughts on Spyglass vs Needle? Are you going for the latter because you tend to board out Shops?

last edited by Zias

I like the Loam version a lot, but def opposed to cutting Crypt. Lock + bazaar is one of the best T1 plays. Plus loaming thru my own spheres, and tomb#5 for DarkStage and the occasional grave troll finish. The only times I've lost to crypt rolls is when they waste my bazaar which is a tough slog regardless.
I haven't played since my last post until tonight. The London Serum Powder interaction is more complicated than I assumed but still a very comfortable improvement. I went 4-1 w this, only loss to a maestro w T1 Containment Priest both G1+2.
4 tomb
4 shop
4 riftstone
2 waste
1 strip
1 lotus
1 crypt
4 bazaar
4 powder
4 null rod
4 sphere
1 thorn
1 trisphere
1 chalice
4 grave troll
4 stinkweed
4 bloodghast
4 amalgam
4 hollow one
3 loam
1 balance
4 w leyline
4 b leyline
4 stage
3 depths

I brought back sanctity after bad record v oath w last iteration. If I were to cut white leyline again, I like needle over spyglass, bc unlike stax, not trying for long term denial (ie dack/jace), only defending Marit for one turn, so their hand info isn't tactically relevant, and I want to be able to cast via Stage alone, regardless if Shop still in the deck.
Postboard Vs Pyromancer/Survival/Oath Ive found they're pretty good at still playing their hand out through minor locks, and if they hit my yard, I feel dumb starting from scratch w just a sphere in play vs their regular threats. I'm more concerned about spreading my wincons against their hate.
I have yet to face eldrazi w prison dredge.


I’ve played a lot of Balance in Dredge and it’s a a strong card to overcome Containment Priest and Creature-Based Aggro. It’s marginal in other scenarios.

I was very curious about this deck so i test it a bit and bring it to a small paper tournament today. The list was the last one suggested by Vroman and running life from the loam (see a few posts above). The mail was slow so i missed a few cards and made some minor change to it.
Namely -1 balance / +1 needle for MD.
The side was : 4 dark depths, 4 thespian stage, 4 leyline of the void, 1 needle, 1 vengeful pharaoh and 1 ancient grudge.
The results were average but mostly because the pilot did not master enough the deck.

Here are a few thoughts :

  • i really missed 1 ichorid to trigger amalgam, i think i will put it in the balance/needle slot.
  • i agree with Zias about Darkmor Salvage. Rifstone portal and some slow dredging can let us get loam running and getting the lands but it is really slow. Not sure what to cut yet but i will definitively want 1 or 2.
  • i know that it is not exactly the plan but since i had 1 free slot in sideboard i tried ancient grudge. I found it quite neat to deal with cage, needle and time vault. Ray of revelation could be interesting too in sideboard but much less useful.
  • Maybe i played the deck really bad but i am not convinced by Hollow one. It is great when you get it in opening hand or if you happen to get it with bazar when drawing instead of dredging, but most of the time it just get away when dredging. I know people love it in dredge decks but this deck is not exactly a classical dredge deck so maybe it is different. I don't know and will test much more.
  • strip / loam lock is a thing.
  • Hardcasting a 16/16 troll is just a blast !

My 10 cents

I did some more tests with the list and enjoy it a lot.

I am wondering if main deck pithing needles might not be more useful than null rod in the current meta. They help protect our bazaar in game one and protect the combo in other games.

I tried it and i am quite happy but i did not played a lot of games so far. So I am wondering what people with more experience with that deck think of that ?

last edited by albarkhane

@albarkhane if you're usually casting it off tomb/shop, spyglass is likely just better than needle. you get a peek and it dodges misstep.

What if you have 2 pieces to cast off a Workshop? 2-2 Doesn't work, 1-1 or 1-2 does

If you're trying to sideboard into Thespians' Stage/Dark Depths, would City of Traitors be better than Workshop? Granted, you don't get to cast 3Ball off of 1 City, but it casts the other 10 lock cards and activates Stage.


It's definitely an option that's worth exploring.

Workshop does have a couple of advantages over City of Traitors, but I'll admit that it's unclear how valuable these advantages are in the present style of builds.

Perhaps the most important advantage of Workshop is the ability to cast lockpieces on consecutive turns while letting Bazaar do its thing. For example, you can cast Sphere on turn 1, then Sphere on turn 2, and play Bazaar. That gets both plans online immediately, whereas City of Traitors would require a second, suicidal land drop.

The other advantage of Workshop is that it stays around longer. Keeping the land count high on the battlefield can be important to leap over the deck's own taxing effects. Cards like Sphere and Loam get harder to cast in the longer games. So long as Workshop has an enabler like Urborg or Riftstone Portal, it can help support any part of the game plan.

All that being said, Workshops and City of Traitors aren't mutually-exclusive. It's possible that some number of each is a viable approach, or that the latter belongs in the sideboard.

As a final comment, although the deck features Stage/Depths, I generally don't try to "turbo" it out as is common with traditional dredge lists. I rarely keep hands that have Stage, Depths, and Tomb with no other gas--it's just too slow. Even in those cases where I have disruption and the Marit Lage triplet, I often prioritize the mana denial plan (Wastes/ Loams etc.) until I can make sure I can swing in without worrying about Swords, Repeal, etc. The real value of Stage/Depths, in my eyes, is that it increases the range of acceptable hands--you get to be more picky when you can win with the Dredge part, Marit Lage, or Hollow Ones, each of which have different enablers.

last edited by Zias

Snagged a 5-0 yesterday with this list:

0_1561394658119_Dredge Shops 6-23-19 5-0.JPG

The older style lists were performing well until Modern Horizons hit and dredge became ubiquitous. The first problem was that Force of Vigor severely weakened the previous plan of attack against Dredge. Leyline simply didn't buy enough time on its own to get Marit Lage on the table. The second problem was that graveyard hate became so rampant. This didn't only harm the dredge portion of the deck, but also the Marit Lage plan that leaned so heavily on Riftstone Portal and Life from the Loam.

To address these problems, I moved the Leylines into the maindeck and went with a full suite of Wastes/Strip. Even with Force of Vigor present, those Wastelands can buy a ton of time against Dredge. And of course, they don't always have Force of Vigor, so having Leylines in all three games helps. The maindeck Leylines are also great against Dreadhorde Xerox and Wrenn-and-Six decks.

I also doubled-down on the Marit Lage plan, since it can completely evade graveyard hate and cards like Swords/Repeal are fairly absent from the meta. Going back to the classic Vampire Hexmage and Urborg plan has been doing very well in post-board games.

Edit: followed right up with a 4-1 today

last edited by Zias

Good job. How is Hogaak? Worth more than 1 slot?
Why don't you like Mana Crypt?

I lost to this. I was on the BUG list that won the challenge. Game 1 I lost and should lose to the dredge plan.

I feel like he got a little lucky in game 2. He had bazaar, lotus, thespian stage, dark depths. I had to respect the Bazaar by naming it with Needle. But the Lotus-Thespian Stage-Dark Depths was just too fast for double 5/6 Goyf beats.

The ability to stretch the opponent in multiple directions is very good, though I suspect there is some degree to inconsistency.

Depths/Stage definitely has some variance to it, both in terms of whether you assemble the combo in a timely manner as well as whether the opponent has the best answers. The metagame presence of good answers, as well as the overall speed of the metagame are major factors in determining whether Stage/Depths is a good option.

However, most decks rely on mulligans to find graveyard hate, and Bazaar can be used to dig for the combo, so Stage/Depths is a much more attractive sideboard plan for Dredge than it might be in a more dedicated deck like Dark Times. It can be a "bad" option in terms of metagame and still score quite well simply because it is hard for opponents to answer disruption, dredge, and depths all consistently.


Hogaak is phenomenal. It addresses some serious weaknesses with the deck that I'd struggled to manage before. Most importantly, it offers a way to crash through an opponent's defenses when they manage to get an appreciable number of blockers on the board, like Pyromancer tokens. This has come up enough that I've even tried running Glory or Filth to get the appropriate evasion, but those cards require a lot of work to get online (but I must say, using Glory is a blast). Less importantly, Hogaak actually provides a way for the deck to buy time against Blightsteel Colossus, which was almost impossible to deal with before.

Hogaak is also certainly worth playing in multiples, but I think playing more than one depends on the metagame. It can make the dredge half of the deck way better, and I did try versions that played 3 to 4. But I think space is tighter than usual right now and that metagame has really encouraged minimizing the Dredge plan.

As for Mana Crypt, I go back and forth. I think my decision to omit it was primarily meta-dependent, actually. I do love Mana Crypt in Game 1, where it has effectively no drawback since we're pretty fast. And I sometimes love it in Game 2 and 3 for those quick Stage/Marit Lages. But there are a few things in the meta that have pushed me away from it: first, decks are really pressuring the life-total right now--not just the obvious culprits like Eldrazi, Shops, Survival, and Dredge, but there are also plenty of Tarmogoyfs and Dreadhordes throwing bolts at your face. The damage has mattered a lot when I've tested it--and I was playing it in pretty much every list again until a few days ago. Second, I rarely sideboard Null Rod out anymore, making the Crypt a blank too often. Third and finally, since PO/Combo have dropped off, getting a turn-1 lockpiece has been less important.


Yeah, I absolutely got very lucky there. And really, I got pretty lucky in the first game, too. Variance was much kinder to me than usual.

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