Anything related to dredge-based decks. Lists/tech/strats/transformations/nuances/anything to do with dredge.

How do people feel about Dragonlord Kolaghan vs. Flamekin Zealot as the DR target for haste? Dragonlord Kolaghan seems to be the de facto standard at the moment, and I've been using him, but I'm not entirely sure which one is better.

Dragonlord Kolaghan

  • He's Black, so Ichorid can eat him. This is probably the single biggest reason to run him over FKZ, as I eat my Dragonlord fairly often.
  • Bigger body and a flier in marginal situations where that matters (for example, you have no Bridges and they have a bunch of Pyromancer tokens so Grave-Troll won't get it done).
  • His haste granting ability cannot be Stifled (marginal, since stifle isn't played much).
  • His other ability... whatever it is.
  • DK is a pretty cool abbreviation and FKZ is not. Let's be honest, this is probably more relevant than his punisher ability.


  • His haste ability requires him to remain on the battlefield, which means that he's vulnerable to removal and bounce. Karakas, Swords to Plowshares, Dismember, Chain of Vapor, or whatever else you can think of will all take out his haste ability. This will lose you the game sometimes.
  • It takes one more zombie to kill compared to FKZ. I find that this does not come up often, but it's worth noting that if you have exactly 3 (non-token) creatures on the battlefield and exactly 2 Bridges, FKZ is lethal, but DK is not.

Those are the Pros and Cons of Dragonlord Kolaghan that I can think of off the top of my head. It's hard to quantify exactly how much each of these cases come up, as they're all fairly marginal, but I really do like that DK is Black. I think that most of the time Therapies will rip their hand apart before you DR for the Dragon, but we can't always have that luxury. What are your guys' thoughts?

With "traditional" list I am sticking to FKZ , and when I'm on "pitch" I'm on DK plan.
I faced Moat during one Power9 Challenge and in that case DK is clearly better choice.
However with expansion of Landstill and other decks with Karakas I feel more comfortable with FKZ.
Adding dmg math image:
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I currently use DK, but am rewarming to FKZ. I think the initial move to DK was thanks to Brian Kelly's Magus of the Moat tech at Champs. A 0/3 that prevents non-fliers from attacking is an anathema to my brain-feasting army of the night haha. I only play in paper, and haven't seen much moaty action since.

What I have seen up until the recent LSG restriction and what matori points out, is Shops and other decks sideboarding Karakas. So that's another con to DK: she's a legend. I think it's just a matter of time until FKZ makes it back into my list.

What do you guys think about tweaking our list for post B/R meta?
I am expecting expansion of fast combo and we can already see Mentor and Oath in great numbers, at least on MODO. While I can handle Mentor and Oath, combo MU is by far most difficult for me when I'm on traditional list. I am ready to cut two land slots and slightly adjust creature base and cut one Powder for 4x Mental Misstep and 2 Unmask MD. I am not sure about Unmask since it is 2for1 but it can be really powerful combined with Therapies. What do you think about list below :

last edited by matori

@matori Why cut a serum powder?

In general I don't think it's necessary to adjust our lists too much until the metagame settles a bit. Workshops is still being played so having a great MU against it for a little while isn't a bad thing at all.

You can clear removal with Therapies, other than Karakas of course, so I don't think those are as big of a problem. I think DK is a more flexible card as he is better against moat, ensnaring bridge, and deal more damage off lower bridge totals. I honestly don't think either is necessary and that Laboratory Maniac is superior to both. Not needing Bridge from Below or to attack at all is such a boom in my honest opinion.

Dk pitches to unmask as well and way better when there are 'bridge breakers' in the meta like Arcbound ravager and being a decent return target like elesh on its own.

@vaughnbros its just a test. I saw that lists with 2 powders are performing well recently on modo even I dont see logic behind it.

I believe i was one of the first to play the card.
(magus of the) moat was one of the reasons. there were 2 moat effects in the top 8 at champs out of 5 non shop/dredge decks. she also is marginally better against other effects, like propaganda or silent arbiter, although i don't expect to see many of either of those.
pitching to ichorid is also very real. even when dead to karakas(or spheres preventing DR) the card still does something.
as matori's chart shows, DK is better for damage when you have 4 or more zombies, equal on 3, and superior on 2 or less. i have found being a more substantial target earlier to be worth being less explosive when it's explosive. when turn 2 there are 0-1 bridges, DRing kolaghan is a lot better than FKZ would be, dealing them 6+ in the air and making your army of undead on turn 3 have haste as soon as they enter. the existence of ravager/trike and to a lesser extent cursecatcher make the no-bridge scenario more likely. also while 18 is not technically lethal on its own, misstep/ancient tomb/probe may have already put your opponent there.
I have found dying to removal(plow/path/dismember/karakas) to not be the biggest concern. plow/path typically happen on upkeep/draw step on a narc/ichorid/ghast to stem the bleeding, and if i can get people to board in dismember against dredge i feel fine there. karakas is onboard except in case of a madman claying crop rot. all this is assuming we are DRing blind and not post therapy.
a minor upside relative to FKZ with having a static ability rather than a triggered one is that you can play a land post DR and get bloodghasts back again and attacking that turn, netting additional damage.
the 4th ability is trinket text. the most likely case for it to matter is a player casting a second JTMS, as any other creature/walker is not going to stop the dragon from killing them.

@BlindTherapy I definitely agree that the no bridge scenario is fairly common thanks to the abundance of creatures killing themselves. I find myself killing with Ichorids and no Bridges a lot. I acknowledge that the vast majority of the time, you'll be clearing their hand before a Dread Return, so FKZ and DK will be effectively the same in most situations.

My point about removal hitting DK was aimed towards the edge-case scenarios where you can't clear their hand, for whatever reason. For example, say you have 3 Therapies; they Misstep the first, Force of Will the second, the 3rd resolves naming Force of Will, but you see Swords to Plowshares. You don't have another Therapy to clear it, so you can't kill this turn. Now, the thing is, even when I can't kill someone with DK, I still find that I'm rarely afraid of the opponent being able to win on their next turn, due to the phenomenal ability for Dredge to clear the opposing hand. I'm still on board with Dragonlord Kolaghan, mostly because he's Black.

I am unsure how important Moat effects are. I haven't run into any yet. It seems like the card Moat itself is relatively weak against Dredge because of its cost. Magus of the Moat off of an Oath of Druids seems pretty hard to deal with, but I haven't seen anybody adopting that technology from Brian Kelly. Even if someone were to pull it off, I wouldn't think that DK would be able to get it done by himself because he only attacks for 6 and they'll be able to Oath on their next turn.

last edited by DeaTh-ShiNoBi

@vaughnbros I think your builds are really cool. I'm glad that you have a lot of success with your experimental Dredge builds because it adds increased depth to an archetype that some people characterize as too linear. It also allows us to broaden our tools for attack (just like Transformation Dredge can) if ever there comes a time where the hate is too oppressive. For the time being, I don't think that Laboratory Maniac is my cup of tea. It's a totally different build, so I'm not going to claim it's better or worse, but I really enjoy Ichorid and Bridge from Below. What I enjoy most about playing Dredge is those scrappy games where both players have been heavily disrupted, but Ichorid and a couple zombies are able to pull through.

@DeaTh-ShiNoBi I don't think Maniac is contingent on playing a transform board. Its role is winning without Bridge from Below.

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What about this guy? Does he belong in dredge?

@wfain I've been testing with it. Definitely playable. It depends on the focus of your build though.

Can anyone give me advice for choosing different builds based on the expected metagame? I'd like general insight, but the particular metagame I expect is 2-3 storm, 2-3 shops, usually eldrazi, and numerous gush decks.

@5space In that meta I think I would play the basic version.
Shops and Eldrazi have landdestruction AND sideboardhate. This combination is hard to fight through with Pitch Dredge.
Pitch Dredge shines when there are a lot of blue (gush) decks, since their sideboard will be moot when you go Depths-> Marit Lage.

Storm is always difficult, since they're so fast.
With Pitch Dredge you have counters, wich can be discarded by them.
In the basic verdion tou can play Leyline (wich turns off YWill and Dark Petition) and Unmask, although the latter will likely only matter if you're on the play.

@5Space Pitch dredge with Serenity's and Pits/Rings out of the board beats all the mentioned decks.

@bips Neither of the two popular dredge decks are good against Mono White Eldrazi without a major overhaul. They have main deck hate pieces, wastelands, and a fast consistent clock. The only card I've found that does anything significant to them is Balance, and I think I'm the only dredge pilot who plays that.

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