Dredge has been a strong deck in every format for years. More recently, we’ve seen Hollow One variants seize the spotlight as what many believe to be the best deck in Modern, despite the inconsistencies that come with playing random discard effects. Now, the next evolution of graveyard decks is ready to take the format over.
It starts with Bridge from Below, which is easily one of the strangest cards ever printed. For starters, it does absolutely nothing when it’s on the battlefield. It simply has no text. For Bridge to work, you need to get it into your graveyard. From there, whenever one of your own creatures dies, you get a 2/2 Zombie token. The catch is that the opponent can’t have their own creature die or it will exile your Bridges. This plays particularly poorly against creatures like Arcbound Ravager, but that’s the price you pay.
You’re also playing a Vengevine deck. Vengevine, unlike Bridge, can actually be cast for value as a 4-mana creature, but that’s not your plan A. You’re looking to get this into the graveyard, cast two creature spells, and get yourselves some free 4/3 haste creatures.
Both Bridge and Vengevine ask that you have them in the graveyard. Faithless Looting is the best tool for the job, as it allows you to sculpt your draws, put the cards you want in the graveyard, and you can even flash it back later. Cathartic Reunion is a bit more expensive, but it allows you to discard multiple cards and dig deeper into your library.
The best card to support both Bridge and Vengevine is Insolent Neonate. It’s a discard outlet, so it can put both your key cards into the graveyard. It’s also a creature, meaning that it helps to get Vengevines out of the graveyard. As a creature that has a sacrifice ability, it’s perfect for triggering your Bridges and making your Zombie army.
With all of this discard, Hollow One is a perfect value creature. You can cast a turn-2 Looting, and Hollow One is already down to a 1-mana spell. If you’re discarding Vengevines and Bridges, things are going well. You can play a Neonate, use it to further load up your graveyard, and now start casting free Hollow Ones. This will bring back your Vengevines to get your deck firing on all cylinders.
There are plenty of other ways to accomplish this, and four copies of Street Wraith give you an additional way to dig through your library and make Hollow Ones cheaper for free. Simian Spirit Guides offer you some additional free mana as well as a way to cast Cathartic Reunion on turn 1 to get started.
What really makes this deck explosive is how many creatures you can cast for 0 mana to fuel your engine. With Bridges and Vengevines in your graveyard, you want your creatures to go to the graveyard to trigger Bridge as well as the ability to cast multiple creatures in a single turn to bring back Vengevines. The artifact creatures with casting costs of X or XX do this perfectly. Endless One, Hangarback Walker, and Walking Ballista are all powerful threats that you’re capable of casting normally. You also have the option to play any of them for 0 and send them straight from the battlefield into the graveyard. This gives you a Zombie token for each Bridge in your graveyard and each 0-mana creature you cast, and the second creature cast will bring back the Vengevines. This can allow you to put 10+ points of power onto the battlefield on turn 1 a reasonably high percentage of the time!
This is a powerful way to exploit your graveyard and do things that you shouldn’t be allowed to. A turn-1 Looting or Reunion can put a combination of Bridges and Vengevines into the graveyard and the 0-mana creature spells can get them going immediately. Even without the help of Hollow One, you can have a massive battlefield as early as turn 1 before cards like Rest in Peace or Relic of Progenitus even matter! With the aid of Hollow One, you can even present turn-2 lethal!