Dredging Carefully

There’s nothing better than a new archetype springing up into modern the week before the Star City Games Invitational. The elephant in the room is, of course, the entitled Dredge deck. The week before the SCG Tour stop in Syracuse, NY, Justin O’Keefe piloted a fantastic build all the way to the top of a Modern Classic in Baltimore.

Dredge – Justin O’Keefe – 1st Place: SCG Classic Baltimore

Creatures (28)
4 Bloodghast
4 Golgari Grave-Troll
4 Narcomoeba
4 Insolent Neonate
4 Greater Gargadon
4 Prized Amalgam
2 Golgari Thug
2 Stinkweed Imp

Spells (14)
4 Shriekhorn
4 Bridge from Below
4 Faithless Looting
1 Rally the Peasants
1 Conflagrate

Lands (18)
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Wooded Foothills
2 Dakmor Salvage
2 Mana Confluence
2 Stomping Ground
2 Blood Crypt
2 Mountain
1 Steam Vents
1 Sacred Foundry

4 Leyline of the Void
4 Nature’s Claim
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Gnaw to the Bone
2 Darkblast
1 Conflagrate


Ross Merriam tore it up to win the Tour stop while Tom Ross followed right behind him in Syracuse. They grinded through hate card after hate card to run away with the tournament. However, what I give to you today is not to tell you how obviously good the deck is, but rather to warn you of the things you may trip up on your first few times playing it and show you interactions on playing with and against the new modern bombshell. Note: this deck is quite difficult to pilot.

Greater Gargadon

Greater Gargadon

This card is one of the only reasons that we play Bridge from Below. Most of the time, having a 9/7 haste creature just isn’t as good as having an instant speed sac-outlet. Being able to sacrifice creatures at instant speed is the real kicker being that we do not have cards such as Cabal Therapy or Dread Return to be doing the heavy lifting in comparison to the legacy version of the deck. Usually, it is correct to get your deck flowing with the enablers like Faithless Looting and Insolent Neonate before deploying the suspend creature because suspending it on turn one does not accomplish much of anything. If you play a fetch land to trigger Bloodghast while you have a Gargadon on suspend, do not forget that you can sacrifice it to gargadon (for time counter removal/more zombies), fetch, and get the ghasts back. Make sure you are playing around exile effects like Anger of the Gods. Gargadon is one of the only ways to beat the wrath effect. Not having a Gargadon in your opening hand can make any Bridges you come upon very rough and unnecessary, as those games will tend to be taken over by Bloodghast and Prized Amalgam. However, if you would like to obtain one, you can use Golgari Thug‘s death trigger to put a dredged Gargadon on the top of your library. Speaking of Thug life…

Golgari Thug

golgari thug

Cool things you can do:

  • The aforementioned play of getting back a Greater Gargadon from your graveyard
  • Putting Narcomoeba on top so you can dredge it for your next draw
  • Block with it – dredge it – play it – block with it. Nice Tarmogoyf.



This card helps fill a few holes that dredge can have. One of the most drawing factors is that you can keep a no dredger hand with this card in your opener as a pseudo dredge four before your next draw step. It is definitely not as powerful as Looting or Neonate as far as enablers go, but it helps you keep more conservative hands. This card, along with Rally the Peasants, are my first cuts when it comes to sideboarding because they strictly are not as necessary for the game plan. Also, when you play it, activate it on their second main phase (assuming you are not afraid of Anger or other sorcery speed removal) so that just in case you mill over Narcomoeba and Prized Amalgam the Amalgam can attack your next turn.

Dakmor Salvage

dakmore salvage

Do not be afraid to dredge this fantastic land. Sometimes, you may need all the help you can get trying to achieve the third mana to flashback the Faithless Lootings in your graveyard. It also keeps Bloodghast around if you have a Gargadon. Dredge Salvage, play it, trigger Bloodghast. If something happens to them, sacrifice the Dakmor Salvage to Gargadon and dredge it back for all of the busted bonkers fun with the 2/1 zombie.

Prized Amalgam, Narcomoeba, and Bloodghast

prized amalgam-bloodghast-narcomeba

These cards are your main route to defeating your opponent. For this reason, it is best to know the ins and outs of how to use them.

The only special fact that you need to know about Narcomoeba is that it triggers Prized Amalgam.

Bloodghast can be a tricky one.

  • Hold excess lands (rarely happens, but still should be said for good measure)
  • Bloodghast and Narcomoeba are the only two ways to trigger Amalgam in your deck. Make sure you keep that in mind and hold it as a high priority.
  • This is your most flexible resource when paired with Gargadon for removing time counters and making zombies because it is much easier to resurrect on the spot.

Now the big one. Prized Amalgam.

  • Doing any dredges or Shriekhorn-ing can be recommended to be done, given the appropriate situation, at the end of either player’s second main phase so that the Amalgam trigger resolves on that following end step.
  • If you happen to announce the trigger of Prized Amalgam upon a creature entering the battlefield from the graveyard, but forget to place it directly into play at the end step, the correct ruling actually does not allow you to miss putting the Amalgam into play. The ruling is described as such in the Infraction Procedure Guide section 2.1:
    • “If the triggered ability is a delayed triggered ability that changes the zone of an object, resolve it. For these two types of abilities, the opponent chooses whether to resolve the ability the next time a player would get priority or when a player would get priority at the start of the next phase. These abilities do not expire and should be remedied no matter how much time has passed since they should have triggered.”
    • This means that if you miss putting the Amalgam in play after announcing the trigger previously, call a judge. Do not forget that you have the right to appeal if they refer to this as simply a “missed trigger.”
  • This card ties for being the highest priority discard choice behind dredgers. It just endorses the most unfair gameplay.
  • Later placed Amalgams will not see actions of the graveyard that may have happened earlier in the turn.
    • Example: If you dredge for your turn and hit Amalgam and Narcomoeba the Amalgam will trigger. However, if you discard another Amalgam on the same turn it will not see the Narcomoeba entering play from the graveyard. Thus, the result will end in the first Amalgam coming in on the due end step. Once it does, it will then trigger the other Amalgam(s) in the yard to come in on the next end step. Busted.

This deck is not for the faint of heart. Take a deep breath and keep your head clear in between rounds. It is very technical and you must have a more than adequate grasp of the rules to play it. Goldfish around with it for a while to make sure you know what you are doing before you even think about how to sideboard. The deck is silly good and can be abused in the hands of the right player. It really does not matter how much hate there is in the format at the current time. That is what your sideboard is for!

Dredge Carefully, my friends.

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