Hey everyone! Welcome to another Modern Musings! This week we are going to talk about the newest addition to Dredge that has it posting results again: Creeping Chill. If you missed this card when looking through the spoilers, here’s a closer look:
It’s not hard to imagine why Dredge would want to throw this into their deck. They love to put large swaths of their deck into the graveyard at once, thus easily getting to play multiple Chills for free. If you haven’t seen the deck before, let me try to quickly break down what the deck wants to do.
Dredge as a deck is based around a mechanic called, you guessed it: Dredge. Dredge reads “Dredge 3 (If you would draw a card, instead you may put exactly three cards from the top of your library into your graveyard. If you do, return this card from your graveyard to your hand. Otherwise, draw a card” The number doesn’t have to be three, and cards in the deck actually range from Dredge 2 to Dredge 5. But what this mechanic means is that at any time, if you would ever draw a card, you can instead just put a Dredge card back into your hand and put however many cards it says from your library into your graveyard. If you stuff your deck full of dredge cards then that means that you could have a graveyard full of dredge cards and keep the train going as long as you can keep drawing cards. So with cards like Cathartic Reunion
Stinkweed Imp: Our best dredger as well as a nice blocker if the game goes long, since he has a form of deathtouch.
Golgari Thug: Just a nice dredger that has some random utility that matters sometimes if you ever cast him.
But what’s the point of milling yourself so much? What’s the payoff? These are what we are attempting to mill:
Bloodghast: Comes back from the graveyard every time you play a land, with fetchlands and Life from the Loam, it’s but a certainty that you’ll hit your land drops. As a bonus he also gets haste if your opponent is at less than 10 life.
Narcomoeba: Comes into play off of your Dredge and other milling effects. He triggers Prized Amalgam and is a 1/1 flier for free. Not bad.
The enablers are the cards that get the Dredge train out of the station to begin with. So what are the enablers? Mostly looting effects:
Faithless Looting: Ideally we use this when our Dredge cards are already in the graveyard, but frequently we use it just to get our first dredgers in the yard and make sure we get our second land so we can flashback Conflagrate later in the game.
Cathartic Reunion: This card really changed the game for the deck as it lets us discard the dredgers that we have in hand as part of the cost and then use their Dredge ability when we draw to mill ourselves. This is one of the best cards in our deck.
Shriekhorn: This might seem like a bit of a weird inclusion, but in most matches it’s guaranteed to mill 6 cards for a single mana. Granted, it’s over three turns but it’s still a very efficient rate. There are a few cards that have fit into this slot over the years, like Insolent Neonate. More recently though with the Vengevine lists, it was Stitcher’s Supplier. But with the inclusion of Creeping Chill, and no simple way to sacrifice our Stitcher’s Supplier, Shriekhorn is the obvious winner of the three.
Conflagrate: This is our finisher. Utilizing the cards we get from dredging all the time as well as casting life from the loam, we can fireball our opponent’s board away to clear the way for our attackers or just throw it at their face.
With the inclusion of Creeping Chill I think that the deck’s already high game 1 win percentage goes up even further, making it hard for opponents to race the deck with the incidental life gain. While the burn matchup wasn’t really a problem before, it certainly isn’t now. The deck I think gained a lot of ground as it gained a little more resilience to graveyard hate in this current incarnation as by the time they can cast Rest in Peace, much of your damage has already been dealt.