May 16, 2016

Manaless Dredging Folds to One Card


Hello everybody. It's been a while since I have written an article and the truth is - magic itself. I have been on a 2 month hiatus and with roughly 6 months to go, Grand Prix Chiba is fast approaching and it's now time to get back into playing Legacy. Let me be clear about some things - yes, this is an article about Manaless Dredge. Say what??! Is that even a tier 1 or 1.5 deck? Well, it's actually not, but it sure is a hell of a lot of fun deck to play. Another thing is no - this is not a primer about Manaless Dredge - but maybe I will do that in another article.

But one this is for sure, as the title says, I think there is an important rule in playing legacy that we should remember when selecting a deck and that is "to NEVER choose a deck that folds to one card". Rest in Peace. Leyline of the Void. Grafdigger's Cage. Deathrite Shaman. BOOM! Those are 4 cards, and yet Manaless Dredge may fold to each of those cards - "You are not making a lot of sense Mr Bryan Wong!". Maybe or maybe not but let's get to Dredging anyway!

Manaless Dredge by Bryan Inno Wong 
Nether Shadow
Golgari Grave-Troll
Stinkweed Imp
Golgari Thug
Shambling Shell
Street Wraith
Whirlpool Rider
Flayer of the Hatebound
Gitaxian Probe
Dread Return
Cabal Therapy

Bridge From Below

Force of Will

Force of Will
Mindbreak Trap
Disrupting Shoal
Faerie Macabre
Ashen Rider

Eversince the printing of Deathrite Shaman, it was believed that graveyard-based strategies like dredge will be pushed out of tournament scenes. I want to point out that while Deathrite Shaman makes it harder for the deck - it definitely is not impossible. Here are some pointers in playing against Deathrite Shaman.

1. If you have a Phantasmagorian and dredger - lead with a Phantasmagorian. An active Deathrite Shaman user will not remove your Phantasmagorian, since you will be able to respond and discard multiple dredgers.

2. Contagions on the side are for deathrite shamans and other graveyard hoser creatures.

3. Blue for counterspells. Force of Will and  Disrupting Shoals should counter Deathrite Shamans, Grafdigger's Cage and Rest in Peace.

I have dabbled with the Green-splash version of Manaless Dredge. But it was the Blue-version that made me feel comfortable. Having access to counterspells allows you to have a catch-all solution to graveyard hate. This answers the weaknesses of having a enchantment removals provided by green such that cards like Rest in Peace already do their part as soon as they resolve - so countering them is your best answer. There is however, one card that has been left unanswered.

Leyline of the Void.

Leylines have a unique ability. If they are in the opening hand, the game is started with them in play. They are not being cast - therefore they cannot be countered. If your metagame is full of Reanimators, then it might not be easy since Leyline of the Void also plays around the counterspells of reanimator. For me, a 1st turn Leyline of the Void is definitely game over for the blue manaless dredge - but this is not game over for the green version.

Whichever version is chosen, Manaless Dredge simply cannot answer all hate cards. It may not be a tier 1 deck but it can easily steal a tournament away if the metagame is not prepared. But the existence of Reanimator - another heavily graveyard-dependent strategy makes it difficult for Manaless Dredge to shine. It may just be a matter of identifying your metagame if dredge is viable or not, however, overall, the current legacy metagame is still blue - thus it is still a metagame that Manaless can thrive.

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