The Deck I Almost Played at the Pro Tour
11:30 pm eve of the Pro Tour ... Obviously still undecided on my deck (anyone who knows me a little bit will know that I'm ''Pascal, Audible Hipster'') But this time, it's different.
I have two decks that I've been working on 5-6 weeks prior the Pro Tour. I know them both pretty well, except one I've been mainly testing on MODO. Which turns out to be a problem because I would face the same decks over and over ... Affinity, Burn and Junk. Whats wrong you might say ? Well, those decks are definitely 3 out of the 6 six decks I'm expecting to see in big numbers at the PT, but I WANT TO TEST AGAINST TWIN !!! I literally played against zero Twin decks in over 10 dailies, five 8-mans and many 2-mans ...
Alright, I'll stop the suspense and tell you why I'm complaining. I have my Pro Tour decklist sheet in front of me and there is : Junk (of course). AND ...
Modern Dredge - Pascal Maynard
WHAT THE HELL, RIGHT?!
Now that this picture is done mind boggling you and that you are probably googling Llanowar Mentor and Greenseeker, let me tell you why I wanted to play against Twin. On paper, it seems like a terrible matchup. They have Lightning Bolt for our green dudes, Remand and Cryptic Command for Unburial Rites and a combo you can only interact with Lightning Axe. I guess I could've asked a friend to jam Twin against me, but I also told myself I wanted to play good cards at this PT ... I was trying to find reasons not to play something else than Junk.
I built this deck from A to Z with the help of my roommate Philippe Gareau, we tried just about everything with Golgari Grave-Troll and this one was the only playable, in fact, it's also pretty good.
Anyways, story time aside, let's see how it works -
The basics of the deck is to Unburial Rites a Craterhoof Behemoth, you most certainly have Narcomoeba, Bloodghast, Greenseeker or Llanowar Mentor + his friends in play on your way there. With 2-3 guys, it's usually lethal, easy right ?
Well, it may seem easy (and that part, frankly is) but you're not playing against a wall. If you did, you would most likely win on turn 4 every game. You have to play around Remand and Scavenging Ooze which are in most of the regular decks. To deal with Scavenging Ooze we have 4 Lightning Axe. If you dont, hope they dont have too many green manas, you can function with Ooze in play, as long as they dont have 3+ green mana. They always need to keep 1 for Unburial Rites, and while they do that, they lose tempo, they dont do much, you can maybe bring back a few Narcomoeba/Bloodghast, most importantly, you get to cast your Golgari Grave-Trolls and at that point, Scavenging Ooze looks small.
Remand plays about the same, you're not casting Unburial Rites, you make all of your lands drops with Life from the Loam, you cast Golgari Grave-Trolls until you get to a point where you can flashback 2 Unburial Rites a turn (or cast from hand). This is why Twin is hard, because they always threaten to combo and you can't afford not doing much for 3-4 turns in a row besides casting Loam and Trolls. UWR (the other Remand deck) well, is a great matchup because they don't do anything.
These guys are mandatory to make the deck work. The problem with Unburial Rites is that you're playing a deck that stops drawing cards past turn 1, it's not realistic to get to 4 lands, assemble your discard+dredge outlet and get what you need in the graveyard with a 7 card hand. Those elves accomplish these three goals.
1. Discard outlet to start dredging
2. Get you to 4 mana
3. Are creatures that will eventually kill your opponent with Craterhoof Behemoth
Alright do I really need to explain ? Yes I do. Most dredge deck attempts I've seen have a problem in common, they want card in the graveyard, but also want specific cards that they cant have if they dredge instead of drawing. This is why this version is much better, dredging is always the play! By dredging, you can find absolutely everything you need to win the game. Need land drop because your green dudes are dead? Dredge and find Loam!
STOP DREDGING IF:
A. You already have everything you need in play/graveyard. Altho, at this point you might want to start jamming Trolls and Imp if thats the case or simply win the game with Craterhoof.
B. Milling yourself is a concern. This happened multiple times against UWR Control. At some point you have everything. Be careful, the only way you can lose now is by decking yourself. Dont discard your Grave-Trolls/Imp/Loam when you get around 20 cards in your library, only dredge when you need to cast the said dredged card.
Pretty straight forward. The reason there's 3 Craterhoof instead of 4 is because it's the last thing you will be doing in part of your game plan, if things went accordingly, you milled at least 20-30 cards, do the math, you should almost always have the fatty. Why isnt it the case for Unburial Rites ? Well the reason is that counterspells exist and you want to have access to multiple ones, where as the Craterhoof stays in the graveyard if they counter your Rites.
There could be Lingering Souls instead of those, I decided not because I dont want to spend mana adding creature to my board, I'm using my mana to put cards in my graveyard and make land drops. Playing Lingering Souls is definetly not bad thoug, but it makes the deck a little bit slower and more resilient. Cutting Narcomoeba for them is appealing because you would be able to cut Breeding Pool and get rid of the awful draws that they are. Bear in mind that they can block and they fly ! Bloodghast does not.
Lightning Axe is an absurd Magic card in the right deck. 1 mana to kill anything at instant speed AND help your game plan. If you ever wanted to cut this card, remember that it's also your only chance against Twin and Scavenging Ooze in case they have too much green mana. I shouldn't even say that, just don't ever cut it.
Grove of the Burnwillows makes the manabase fantastic. It's sometimes annoying when you give your opponent a few more life points when you're grinding him with Narcomoeba and Bloodghast, but remember you will later attack for 9999999999 damage. There's is one basic of each thanks to Greenseeker, be careful to try and find your Plains with it before starting to dredge a bunch, I know we have Life from the Loam, but some matchups you wont have the time to cast it. (BONUS: If you play 4 Lingering Souls, cut 1 Wooded Foothills for 1 Godless Shrine)
Affinity mainly. Necessary against Amulet and Tron to have a chance at winning the matchup. You can also bring some numbers against decks with Relic of Progenitus. It's usually not there these days, so dont board them in unless you actually seem them, and trust me, it's not enough to beat you.
There is one problem with boarding cards that cant be cast from graveyard with this deck, and it's that if they arent in your starting hand, you will most likely never draw them. We still have them because besides Grudge, Gnaw to the Bone and Darkblast, there isnt much legal in Modern. Abrupt Decay is for the desperate matchup that Twin is. You can bring some numbers against Affinity also. If you think Junk as 3-4 Scavenging Ooze, you can bring in a few also.
Burn. Burn. BURN. Oh, also Zoo.
Just a sweet one-of you most likely find and that's better than Life from the Loam while not reducing your dredge card count against fast decks like Poison and Affinity.
Try it out, it's a lot of fun !
Thanks for reading
- Pascal Maynard