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TeamCFBP Deck Techs – Dredge and Melira

Players piloting Dredge: Patrick Chapin (3-5)
Players piloting Melira: Andrew Cuneo (11-4-1, 20th)

Dredge

Dredge is the deck for the format because UWx, BG, and Zoo are the prevalent decks in the format. Given that metagame, you need to be playing an unfair deck to gain an advantage in the format.

Hopefully others aren’t using the graveyard as much as this deck or as fast as this deck, but if other people are playing fair, then Dredge can take advantage of them. This is a deck that can definitely lose to popular hate cards like [ccProd]Relic of Progenitus[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Rest in Peace[/ccProd], but it is also very powerful and has the potential to overwhelm opponents before they are able to draw or cast their hate. It is a high variance choice, but it’s the one that provides the best opportunity to win the tournament.

Other people will build UW or BG decks to beat the popular decks, but the field will be very diverse and you want to be proactive in a wide open environment, so the choice mostly came down to Zoo, Storm, or Dredge.

Without the necessary experience with Storm like Jon or the inclination to fight creature battles all day like Owen, the Dredge deck has the best chance of finding the right spot in the metagame.

The deck hopes to utilize [ccProd]Faithless Looting[/ccProd], [ccProd]Glimpse the Unthinkable[/ccProd], and [ccProd]Hedron Crab[/ccProd] to fill the graveyard, then once you have a card with dredge in the graveyard you can use your draws to find [ccProd]Bridge from Below[/ccProd], [ccProd]Vengevine[/ccProd]s, [ccProd]Bloodghast[/ccProd], and [ccProd]Gravecrawler[/ccProd] to start putting creatures into play and pressure on your opponent.

[ccProd]Skaab Ruinator[/ccProd] is especially important because you can play it from your graveyard to start the chain of Gravecrawlers, which jump-starts the Vengevines and puts a clock on your opponnent. We tried [ccProd]Dregscape Zombie[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Fatestitcher[/ccProd], but didn’t find they were high enough impact to justify the mana cost—Modern is simply too fast a format. Skaab Ruinators quickness and flying ability were too important to be overlooked.

16 one-drops are the primary ways to start a Vengevine. With that many it isn’t too difficult to attack with Vengevine on the second turn. Faithless Looting and Hedron Crab are the main ways to fill the graveyard, especially for the deck’s very best starts. [ccProd]Viscera Seer[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Drowned Rusalka[/ccProd] can effectively utilize free creatures like [ccProd]Bloodghast[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Gravecrawler[/ccProd] to make Zombie tokens from [ccProd]Bridge From Below[/ccProd], which allow the Gravecrawlers to return. Viscera Seer, Gravecrawler, and Bridge from below can give you a free scry for each mana you pay and a 2/2 for your troubles. Drowned Rusalka provides an important backup to enable key cards to do their thing in your graveyard.

The best matchups are the ones that try to play fair by simply putting creatures into play. Aggro has a great deal of trouble with Bridge from Below. You can very quickly present an overwhelming board by simply returning creatures over and over. Decks that try to kill your creatures, counter your spells or make you discard are made totally ineffective by your usage of the graveyard. Most of your key spells are uncounterable or want to be in your graveyard and your creatures come back from the dead. Vengevines don’t particularly care if the creatures you played to return them were countered.

The primary reason to play this deck is the fact that [ccProd]Deathrite Shaman[/ccProd] is no longer legal. Deathrite Shaman was ubiquitous before. It meant there were at least 4 maindeck graveyard hate cards. Nowadays, at most, people have 4 [ccProd]Scavenging Ooze[/ccProd], but realistically you play against 0 in the main deck, and maybe a couple hate cards in the sideboard. Also, the most common graveyard hate card is [ccProd]Grafdigger’s Cage[/ccProd] because of the prevalence of Birthing Pod decks, so you don’t really need to worry about the true graveyard hate like [ccProd]Rest in Peace[/ccProd] or [ccProd]Relic of Progenitus[/ccProd].

The best matchups for the deck are blue/white control decks that rely on [ccProd]Mana Leak[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Cryptic Command[/ccProd] to control the board, since we don’t follow the path they’re used to. We simply play cheap spells that create other problems for them to answer, which they’re generally unprepared for. Black/green discard and Liliana decks are also fairly easy because they attack on angles that we plan to utilize ourselves.

The deck struggles against fast combo decks like Storm and Twin, because they also attack on an unusual plane and we don’t have many ways to interact with them game 1. Even [ccProd]Cryptic Command[/ccProd] to tap your team can be a time walk to buy them the time to put their combo together.

Here’s the tentative list:

[ccDeck]4 Hedron Crab
4 Drowned Rusalka
4 Viscera Seer
4 Gravecrawler
4 Bloodghast
2 Stinkweed Imp
1 Skaab Ruinator
4 Vengevine
4 Faithless Looting
4 Glimpse the Unthinkable
1 Life from the Loam
4 Bridge from Below
4 Verdant Catacombs
3 Misty Rainforest
3 Scalding Tarn
2 Darkslick Shores
2 Watery Grave
1 Blood Crypt
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Breeding Pool
1 Steam Vents
1 Island
1 Swamp
—–Sideboard—–
3 Thoughtseize
3 Abrupt Decay
3 Maelstrom Pulse
2 Ancient Grudge
1 Gnaw to the Bone
1 Leyline of the Void
1 Illness in the Ranks
1 Forest[/ccDeck]

-Rich Hoaen

Andrew Cuneo – Melira Pod

Melira Pod was one of the top decks before the recent changes to banned list. While banning [ccProd]Deathrite Shaman[/ccProd] forced the deck to change, the most important thing was to adapt the deck to the unbanning of [ccProd]Wild Nacatl[/ccProd]. Here’s the deck list I settled on:

[ccDeck]4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Razorverge Thicket
2 Forest
1 Swamp
2 Gavony Township
2 Overgrown Tomb
2 Temple Garden
1 Godless Shrine
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Noble Hierarch
2 Viscera Seer
1 Wall of Roots
1 Spellskite
3 Voice of Resurgence
2 Melira, Sylvok Outcast
2 Abrupt Decay
1 Scavenging Ooze
4 Kitchen Finks
1 Spike Feeder
1 Eternal Witness
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence
4 Birthing Pod
1 Ranger of Eos
1 Archangel of Thune
1 Shriekmaw
3 Chord of Calling
—–Sideboard—–
1 Abrupt Decay
1 Ethersworn Canonist
4 Thoughtseize
1 Aven Mindcensor
1 Orzhov Pontiff
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
1 Harmonic Sliver
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Murderous Redcap
1 Sin Collector
1 Burrenton Forge-Tender
1 Slaughter Pact[/ccDeck]

This deck relies around getting one of two combos. The first is Viscera Seer + Melira + Kitchen Finks, which allows you to get infinite life and scry any one card to the top of your deck. The second is [ccProd]Archangel of Thune[/ccProd] with [ccProd]Spike Feeder[/ccProd], which also gives you infinite life, but also makes all creatures other than the Spike Feeder as large as you would like. The Archangel of Thune can take the place of Melira in the first combo. In most games of Modern, infinite life is good enough to win, but against decks that have an infinite combo of their own, you should focus on trying to set up the Archangel + Spike Feeder combo.

The biggest concession to Zoo decks is the lack of a [ccProd]Murderous Redcap[/ccProd] in the main deck. It can take the place of Kitchen Finks in the combo to do infinite damage. The best non-combo use for a Redcap in the older format was to kill a Deathrite Shaman. With Deathrite banned, Redcap is no longer a good card to draw. The need to cut as many cards that are awkward to draw in your opening hand as possible caused it to move to the sideboard. Thrun and Shriekmaw were both added because they are good cards to draw against Zoo in addition to being reasonable cards to search for with Birthing Pod.

[ccProd]Abrupt Decay[/ccProd] has sometimes been replaced by [ccProd]Thoughtseize[/ccProd] or [ccProd]Dismember[/ccProd] in the main deck, but the desire to preserve life total as much as possible makes Abrupt Decay the clear choice for this tournament. It’s also important to note that Abrupt Decay can always kill an opposing [ccProd]Scavenging Ooze[/ccProd], whereas the other two cards can only do so situationally. The combination of Abrupt Decay, [ccProd]Linvala[/ccProd], and [ccProd]Spellskite[/ccProd] gives the deck some powerful ways to fight Splinter Twin.

With the main deck so focused on beating Zoo decks, it’s important to have plenty to board in for other matchups. 4 Thoughtseizes is a good start against any faster combo deck. There are also a number of silver bullet cards to help against particular combo decks. One other important consideration was to have a game plan against [ccProd]Anger of the Gods[/ccProd] or [ccProd]Pyroclasm[/ccProd]. That lead to the inclusion of [ccProd]Burrenton Forge-Tender[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Sin Collector[/ccProd].

Playing the Matchups

Against Zoo decks you need to play defensively. Try to focus on preserving your life total and having effective blockers on the ground. If you can assemble an infinite life combo it will be good enough to win the game, but remember the Zoo deck will have access to 10-12 instants that can break up the combo. If you can’t get infinite life, an evasion creature or a token from Voice of Resurgence will often be enough to win the game. In sideboarding, cut 3 [ccProd]Chord of Calling[/ccProd] and 1 Linvala for 1 [ccProd]Abrupt Decay[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Scavenging Ooze[/ccProd], 1 [ccProd]Slaughter Pact[/ccProd], and 1 [ccProd]Burrenton Forge-Tender[/ccProd].

Against Splinter Twin try to get Linvala into play. If you can also get Spellskite, they often won’t be able to break out of the lock. Infinite life isn’t effective against the deck, so you need to win by attacking with creatures. In sideboarding, cut Archangel of Thune, Spike Feeder, Scavenging Ooze, 1 Noble Hierarch, Shriekmaw, 2 Kitchen Finks, and 1 Chord of Calling for Murderous Redcap, Slaughter Pact, Burrenton Forge-Tender, 4 Thoughtseize, and Abrupt Decay.

Against UW and UWR decks, you need to adapt your strategy based on how controlling your opponent’s deck is trying to be. If they are an aggressive creature version, develop your board as quickly as possible, and try to get an infinite life combo whenever you think it is safe. Against a more controlling version try to get a Birthing Pod or Voice of Resurgence into play whenever you see an opening. From there, try to get as much value as possible from each of your cards because the game will become a battle of attrition. Against both types of decks you always need to keep in mind that [ccProd]Celestial Colonnade[/ccProd] can kill you fairly quickly, and your deck has no real answers to it, so you need a plan to win before it can get online. Sideboarding needs to be varied based on your opponent’s style of deck but Thoughtseize, Thrun, Sin Collector, Scavenging Ooze, and Slaughter Pact all deserve consideration. Consider cutting 1 Viscera Seer, 1 Melira, 1-3 Chord of Calling, Linvala, and Abrupt Decay, based on their deck.

Against other Birthing Pod decks, the game is basically a race to get either your combo into play, or to get Linvala into play preferably protected by Spellskite. In sideboarding, cut some Voice of Resurgence, Kitchen Finks, and Thrun, for Aven Mindcensor, Harmonic Sliver, Murderous Redcap, Orzhov Pontiff, and Slaughter Pact. Also consider bringing in Thoughtseize and Scavenging Ooze, depending on their list.

-Andrew Cuneo

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