In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll begin this by saying Jason is a friend of mine from Connecticut. In addition to my hometown bias, I have a peculiar affinity for Dredgevine decks, despite never having registered one in a tournament.
Dredgevine was an archetype that garnered some hype when Golgari Grave-Troll came off the banned list but has made little waves in that time. Most lists follow their name and are built around recurring Vengevine from the graveyard, usually with support from Bloodghast and Gravecrawler. This list is more like a combo deck, seeking to tear through its deck to fill its graveyard with black creatures and then use Crypt of Agadeem to power out multiple Demigod of Revenges.
This list is particularly elegant because it is not dependent on physically drawing any of its pieces, just on putting them in the graveyard. If you do not draw a Demigod to recur the others, you can bring it back with a milled Soul of Innistrad. If you fail to find a Crypt of Agadeem, you can dredge back a Life from the Loam. These two additions mean that the deck’s fail rate is minimized, and it consistently executes its game plan by turn 4.
With 21 black creatures, you should get to five in your graveyard (the number necessary for Crypt to cast Demigod) in about fifteen cards on average, although you can help things along by discarding extra creatures to Lotleth Troll or cycling Street Wraith. Street Wraith is particularly effective in this deck because it allows you to get extra dredges to fill your graveyard while contributing to Crypt itself. I’m surprised to only see three copies, but in a format with shocklands and many prominent aggressive decks, two life is a significant cost.
To fight against these aggressive decks, Jason has as single copy of Gnaw to the Bone with two more in the sideboard. This is an excellent haymaker for those matchups, especially because you can punish anyone for leaving up Atarka’s Command or Skullcrack with your normal aggressive gameplan.
We find a new addition from Shadows over Innistrad in Insolent Neonate. It may seem inconsequential, but having another creature that can get a few points in, fuel delve, and do so at a low cost is important. Every dredge represents some amount of mana from the added fuel for Crypt as well as added damage from the potential of finding another Demigod. These small percentages are what engine decks like this operate on, so having a critical mass of all your pieces–cheap enablers, ways to fuel the graveyard, and payoffs–is important.
The sideboard is a nice collection of interactive cards that you can find consistently because they have Flashback. Ancient Grudge is an obvious inclusion, and Ray of Revelation gives you some hope of beating Rest in Peace, although Lotleth Troll and Demigod can beat down if necessary. Lightning Axe is a nice enabler that can take out a Wild Nacatl or Tarmogoyf in the meantime. And my favorite card, Conflagrate, gives you some inevitability against control decks in combination with Life from the Loam.
Modern is a huge format, and there are plenty of powerful build-around cards that just need another piece or two added to their supporting cast for a deck to come together. Insolent Neonate could be that piece for Dredgevine, as long as you are willing to focus more on the dredge and less on the ‘Vine.
- 4 Golgari Grave-Troll
- 4 Golgari Thug
- 4 Stinkweed Imp
- 3 Street Wraith
- 4 Demigod of Revenge
- 4 Lotleth Troll
- 2 Soul of Innistrad
- 4 Insolent Neonate