Here we are again, in a familiar spot even after the banning of Golgari Grave-Troll. Once again, Dredge sits in a spot where it is still considered one of the best decks in Modern. Grave-Troll getting banned made this deck worse, but there are other cards with dredge that can take its place, namely Golgari Thug, which does good work itself. There needs to be a ton of graveyard hate in both main decks and sideboards to accommodate for Dredge, and even current top dog Death's Shadow has a tough time with Dredge because it can chump block easily and then turn the corner with Conflagrate and Prized Amalgams very quickly.
There isn't much room to maneuver in the main deck; the idea is to make your dredge engine the best it can be for game one, and after sideboard dilute the deck a bit to accommodate for potential hate cards the opponent might have. The sideboard therefore is primarily answers and cards that synergize well with the plan. If the opponent does have a piece of graveyard hate, it's important to have ways to work around that, but sometimes it isn't possible. The more graveyard hate the opponent has, the more difficult the matchup is for Dredge.
The matches here give us a small taste of what to expect out of Dredge. The Eldrazi Tron deck had great draws against us in the games they won. Sometimes the opposing deck can execute their gameplan better, and that was the case here. There were a couple of borderline six-card hands I kept, and then they never really came together. The other matches went more smoothly.
Ad Nauseum is actually not an easy matchup for Dredge, but clearly it is very winnable, as we saw in these games. Getting a bunch of Prized Amalgam into play on turn two requires some luck, but it definitely feels good when it happens. We saw sideboard cards like Thoughtseize and Abrupt Decay make an appearance and do some work. In the match vs Red-Green Ponza we were mainly only worried about graveyard hate.
Land destruction isn't particularly effective against Dredge, because Life from the Loam takes care of that problem. Relic of Progenitus was the card that really mattered, and stopped us in game two. This helps illustrate just how different the games can look depending on if the opponent plays some form of graveyard hate. Looking back at my play in these games, it could have been a bit tighter; part of playing this deck is being able to fight through graveyard hate, and saving resources in case of the worst case scenario.
Dredge is a deck on the upswing, and I do believe it is the best deck that fully utilizes its graveyard in the format. Make sure to hold onto Ravenous Trap, Leyline of the Void, Rest in Peace, Relic of Progenitus, and Grafdigger's Cage. I don't think I would play a deck right now without one of those sideboard cards, because Surgical Extraction sometimes isn't high impact enough.
Thanks for reading,