It’s a Dredgedy – The Vintage Takeover

Hello, and welcome back! In my last article I briefly introduced myself and described the genesis of my Legacy Dredge deck, and performance at the 2012 Bazaar of Moxen (BoM) Legacy events. While I was not able to repeat my Top 4 performance from the previous year in the Legacy portion, I was able to play Dredge in the Vintage main event at BoM and ended up winning the whole thing! Below I’ll describe how that happened, and talk a bit about Dredge in Vintage.

While my Legacy BoM performance was not what I had hoped, I still did well and it primed me to play Dredge again in the Vintage portion. Here is the deck I played:

Dredge, by Erik Hegemann – 1st place
Business (48)
4 Bazaar of Baghdad
4 Serum Powder
4 Bridge from Below
4 Cabal Therapy
4 Bloodghast
4 Narcomoeba
3 Ichorid
4 Golgari Grave-Troll
4 Stinkweed Imp
2 Golgari Thug
2 Darkblast
4 Ingot Chewer
1 Ancient Grudge
4 Leyline of the Void

Mana Sources (12)
4 Petrified Field
4 City of Brass
4 Undisovered Paradise

Sideboard (15)
4 Nature’s Claim
4 Chain of Vapor
3 Wispmare
4 Unmask

The goal of the deck is to get Bazaar of Baghdad in your opening hand at all costs. Therefore you are playing Serum Powder to maximize your chances to do so. It is more likely to mulligan into oblivion and lose the game than with the Legacy version because the Legacy version does not rely on just one card, but if you’ve got the Bazaar, the deck is really strong and really fast.

You might have already noticed the lack of Dread Return, a staple in this deck since its release. Our team of Dredge players stopped playing Dread Return about a year ago. The reason is simple: you don’t need it! After analyzing how the deck with Dread Return and without any targets wins the games, we found out that it does it really often simply by beatdown, and not with any combo or speed finish. This way is one of the most interesting ways how the deck could be played. By playing Dread Return you are wasting maindeck space that could otherwise be filled with needed anti-hate cards, especially since you will often be siding cards out to slow down the deck anyway for your post sideboard games. The deck without Dread Return feels more like a fast aggro deck with a few control elements, and likes to grind out the games.

Another good thing about this build is how the decision of using Serum Powder is being made. It is almost always possible to use it even though you have to exile multiple copies of Narcomoeba, Bloodghast, Ichorid, Bridge from Below, or other things, because there isn’t any specific cards like Dread Return that you would care about permanently removing. It normally won’t affect the game plan at all if you’ve removed many relevant cards with Serum Powder(s).

The deck is a real beast at grinding out the opponent and controlling both the opponent’s board with artifact destruction, and controlling their hand with discard. It is designed to do the same things in every single game, and you therefore need the most consistent build possible.

There are speed Dredge variations in Vintage with Power 9, Fatestitcher (to untap the Bazaar of Baghdad), Sun Titan, and Dread Return that are playing cards for a combo finish. Normally these builds are faster, but not that consistent, and the post sideboard games are especially not nearly as consistent. These decks tend to play Petrified Field only in the sideboard to counteract Wasteland-effects. One of these land destruction effects can really catch you off-guard, because you really want the Bazaar of Baghdad the first couple of turns in order to ensure an overwhelming victory pre-board.

The good thing about Vintage Dredge is that it doesn’t need all of its maindeck slots to win the game. Therefore you can play a few sideboard cards ahead of time, like Leyline of the Void, Ingot Chewer, and Ancient Grudge all in the main to fight graveyard hate and the mirror pre and post-board.


Here is how I would recommend sideboarding against a few of the common matchups.

Blue decks on the draw:
-1 Ichorid
-4 Petrified Field
-4 Leyline of the Void
-2 Golgari Thug
+4 Chain of Vapor
+3 Wispmare
+4 Nature’s Claim

Blue decks on the play:
-1 Ichorid
-4 Petrified Field
-4 Leyline of the Void
-2 Golgari Thug
-4 Ingot Chewer
+3 Wispmare (if they don’t have Leyline of the Void, don’t board in the Wispmares, as Ingot Chewer is likely more effective)
+4 Nature’s Claim
+4 Unmask

Blue decks with Wasteland:
See above, just keep in the Petried Field and maybe the Ingot Chewer.

MUD/Stax on the draw:
-4 Leyline of the Void
+4 Nature’s Claim

MUD/Stax on the play:
-4 Leyline of the Void
-2 Darkblast
-2 Cabal Therapy
+4 Nature’s Claim
+4 Unmask

Dredge Mirror:
-4 Ingot Chewer
-4 Petriefied Field
-1 Ancient Grudge
-1 Cabal Therapy
-1 Golgari Thug
+4 Chain of Vapor
+3 Wispmare
+4 Nature’s Claim

The day before the Vintage main event at BoM we spoke to Richard Leßmann (aka pickle.69), who has previously won a big tournament in Italy with a similar list (and also Top 4’d last year’s BoM Vintage main event), and switched Unmask and Nature’s Claim for Ingot Chewer and Leyline of the Void maindeck. We wanted Ingot Chewer because of Grafdigger’s Cage, which is played in a few maindecks, and Leyline of the Void for the edge against the mirror.

Vintage Tournament Performance

After playing BUG Fish and MUD two times at BoM in previous years, it was the first time I played this Vintage deck at such a large tournament (and I think it was the third time playing Vintage Dredge at tournaments at all; without any testing). I wasn’t convinced that I could place well enough to bankroll the trip to France.

Luckily these doubts were unfounded. I won the whole tournament with 337 players and took home a full set of Unlimited Power 9 plus one Unlimited Ancestral Recall as the “Unpowered Prize.”

Here is a very brief rundown of what my performance in the 2012 Vintage BoM tournament looked like in the main event. Since I know that there is often little interaction between the Dredge deck and the opposing deck, I’ll keep the description short.

Round 1 vs. Rolland Marietta (France) with MUD
Game 1: He can’t really do anything against my Zombie army and dies because of it.
Game 2: Because of Wasteland and hate pieces, I’m unable to get into the game. Wurmcoil Engine gaining him tons of life sealed the game.
Game 3: It’s almost like game one. A huge armada of Zombies overruns him.

Games 2-1, Matches 1-0-0

Round 2 vs. Patrick McDouagh (Ireland) with Dredge
Game 1: I keep a hand with Leyline and Bazaar, while he mulligans. My Leyline enters the battlefield and I played my Bazaar. He draws one card and ends his turn. After my activation of the Bazaar in his end of turn step, he conceded. Following my intuition, I board in cards against Dredge.
Game 2: He begins with one Leyline, I however have got two of them. Luckily I’ve got anti-hate, but no Bazaar in my starting hand. After the destruction of his Leyline, he begins to hardcast his creatures. I’ve got a Darkblast to destroy a few of his creatures and to begin slow dredging. It is a close game which I win on four life.

Games 4-1, Matches 2-0-0

Round 3 vs. Pablo Marcos Medrano (Spain) with Demon Oath
Game 1: I keep a hand with Leyline and Bazaar. Luckily my Leyline prevents him from killing me after his first Oath activation. In my turn I attack him for lethal.
Game 2: He finds numerous pieces of hate and I’m unable to run past all of it.
Game 3: I win this game because he made a mistake, as he says after the game. Lucky me.

Games 6-2, Matches 3-0-0

Round 4 vs. Louis-Samuel Deltour (France) with UWB Snapcaster Control
Game 1: He’s unable to do anything relevant and loses to my Zombies.
Game 2: See Game 1.

Games 8-2, Matches 4-0-0

Round 5 vs. Cyrill Terroy (France) with Dredge
Game 1: I start with Leyline. He starts the game with Bazaar and passes his turn. In my first turn I play out my own Baazar and pass the turn. At the end of his turn I activate my Bazaar and discard one Dredger and two other cards. In my upkeep I activate my Bazaar once again, whereupon my opponent says: “You had a Leyline in your startinghand AND know to play the deck? How unfair!” “I know!” I reply, and crush him the turn after.
Game 2: Again I’ve got Leyline and Bazaar on my hand. Unfortunately he has the removal for my Leyline and executes me by a Dread Returned Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite on turn three. I really can’t win against this beast, so we proceed to the next game.
Game 3: Lady Luck is on my side and I’ve got once again a Leyline and a Bazaar on my hand. And this turn he hasn’t got any removal for my Leyline, so I killed him quite quickly.

Games 10-3, Matches 5-0-0

Round 6 vs. Stéphane Roumanille (France) with RUG Delver (video feature match)

I missed a Bloodghast trigger in this round, but it proved irrelevant, and I was able to overcome Stéphane.

Games 12-3, Matches 6-0-0

Round 7 vs. Michael Thiel (Germany) with Snapcaster Control
Game 1: I have to mulligan to two cards and I finally find a Bazaar! That is really great and I overwhelm him with a few Zombies eventually.
Game 2: He starts with Leyline, land, Mox, Sensei’s Divining Top, and then passes his turn. I play a rainbow land and pass my turn. In my end of turn step he gets a bit greedy by activate his Top to look into the top three cards. Now he hasn’t got any mana left. In response on the Top ability I play a Nature’s Claim on his Leyline which he can’t counter. On his turn he played a Dark Confidant, and then passes. On my turn I play a Bazaar and pass my turn. The Confidant trigger reveals a Blightsteel Colossus (ouch!), and in his next turn, at three life, a Vampiric Tutor. I guess that’s irony of fate. After that, I beat him to death with small creatures. Fortunately he was still able to make it into the Top 8.

Games 14-3, Matches 7-0-0

Round 8 ID

Round 9 ID

Games 14-3, Matches 7-0-2

So according to the standings I’m in the fifth position heading into the Top 8! Below you can find a video from each round of the Top 8.

Note: commentary in videos is in French

BoM 2012 Vintage Quarterfinals – Erik Hegemann (Dredge) vs. Raul Alonso (UW Stoneforge Control)

Games 16-3, Matches 8-0-2

BoM 2012 Vintage Semifinals – Erik Hegemann (Dredge) vs. Alexandre Delgado (Bomberman)

Games 18-4, Matches 9-0-2

BoM 2012 Vintage Finals – Erik Hegemann (Dredge) vs. Daniel Majano (MUD)

Games 20-5, Matches 10-0-2

We did it! Here is a photo of the finalists, Daniel Majano (on the left) and myself (on the right).

Photo courtesy of Mana Infinito

As if my good finishes with “stolen” Dredge decklists in the last years events weren’t enough, I once again brought some cash back home nearly without any effort in advance. My friends started calling me “The Maggot” since this day, as I’m almost like a maggot in Magic: do nothing, get everything. I even made a deal with Timo, my deck building guy: I gain all his decklists and sideboard plans, and he is allowed to “rob” my fridge when he is at my place. Sounds good to me. 😉

The Future

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my articles on Dredge. In the future I will possibly write more, to share more tournament experiences and any new Dredge technology we come across.

Thanks for reading,
Erik “The Maggot” Hegemann
[in forums: “Brot_Ohne_Kruste”]