Hi everyone and welcome to another post where I introduce you to one of my personal decks! This time I’m talking about the legacy format.
If there is one thing I enjoy doing when playing Magic is to find a way to play it in some “unconventional” ways… so when I found out that there is a deck that plays with literally zero lands, I was immediately attracted to it.
The breaking of one of the basilar concepts of Magic like having to play lands (or artifacts like the Moxes) to play your cards really fascinated me and so I started focusing on Manaless Dredge as my Legacy deck.
Let’s start explaining the deck a bit!
DESCLAIMER! Don’t consider me a good Legacy player as I’m only playing it once in a while… so there may be some inaccuracies by my side, especially when talking about the other decks of the format or how the deck is positioned in the meta. I only wanted to show you what is, in my opinion, a really cool deck.
The first question people ask me is “Is it really manaless?” Yes! There are zero mana sources in the deck; no lands, no mana producing artifacts and neither weird free rituals like Simian Spirit Guide.
So… how do you play spells? With Manaless Dredge is important to be always on the draw when starting a game. This is because our first turn will be a simple draw and the discard to hand size. The cards we are going to discard will be a card with the Dredge keyword or Phantasmagorian; this card is the first piece that we will use to start filling our graveyard with cards on our deck that can be played from the graveyard or have some triggered effect when they or other cards are put in the graveyard.
Playing in this way sure is risky as there are many things that can go against us; if we happen to not be on the draw we basically give our opponent a free turn; Graveyard hate can completely shut the deck down; Mulligan is always a really risky thing to do as it will for sure put us one turn behind.
Lots of Manaless Dredge players will tell you to never mulligan when playing this deck, even if you don’t have a dredger in your starting hand; but I found out that sometime it is better to mulligan than hope to topdeck a dredge. This thing really depends on who I’m against: if the other deck has a slow gameplan, some time mulligan for a better hand could still be a lot more beneficial even if we are giving our opponent another free turn.
Filling the graveyard
As said before, the base of this deck is to fill the graveyard as much as possible to start triggering effects or playing spells from it. To do this we use dredger (Golgari Grave-Troll, Golgari Thug and Stinkweed Imp) or the aforementioned Phantasmagorian.
The Dredgers are pretty straightforward: discard them to the graveyard and use their Dredge ability when you should draw.
Phantasmagorian instead can be used to drop our whole hand to the graveyard by abusing of the stack: we can activate its ability by discarding three cards and, in response, of the same ability we can reactivate it to drop other three cards before Phantasmagorian gets back to the hand. This is awesome because it let us fill our graveyard really quickly but it can also be a really dangerous play: after a move like this one we will find ourselves with 2-3 cards in hand, so if our opponents play something like a Bojuka Bog we will find ourselves with nothing in the graveyard while having to wait until we can discard a card again. Phantasmagorian is totally an awesome card to have in our starting hand, but if our opponent happens to play one of those cards that can clean our graveyard is still better to discard only a single card per turn.
You can play them when they hit the graveyard!
Creeping Chill and Narcomoeba are two really cool cards that basically are played when they get milled from our deck to the graveyard. Creeping Chill is basically a free Lightning Helix while Narcomoeba gives us a body that we can sacrifice to cast some of our other spells from the graveyard or get in for some cheap damage.
Playing from the Graveyard
There are various other cards that we can instead play from the graveyard by fulfilling some requisites or paying some cost.
Cabal Therapy and Dread Return are two sorceries that we can flashback from the graveyard by sacrificing some creatures.
Ichorid, Nether Shadow and Prized Amalgam are three creatures that can enter for free from the graveyard if we satisfy some requisites. Nether Shadow really gives importance to the order in which the cards hit our graveyard and so we will have to keep attention to which card we want to play if we want to ensure us that the Shadow will be back from the graveyard. A cool thing to remember is that when we do for example a Dredge 5, the five cards get putted simultaneously from the top of the graveyard and you can rearrange them in any order you want.
Hogaak is our big beater that can be really useful to give some huge final blows to our opponents; thanks to Nether Shadow and Ichorid his Convoke part will be easy to play and due to the nature of the deck we will have plenty of cards to delve.
Thanks to Dread Return it is also possible to have a winning combo in the deck and to start it we will need to have a Balustrade Spy in the grave with the possibility to reanimate it. Once the Balustrade Spy hits the field we are going to put our whole deck into the graveyard; from that point we only need to cast a second Dread Return and get a Thassa’s Oracle to win on the spot.
Giving a free turn to the opponents can really be a nuisance so having a Chancellor of the Annex in your starting hand is a really good way to slow them down… also it can be a nice reanimation target.
Bridge from Below is nice to have in the graveyard before trying to reanimate a Balustrade Spy as, if we are sacrificing at least two non-token creatures, it will give us the material to do the second Dread Return.
Street Wraith is another cool card to have as the possibility to draw with its cycle ability means with can Dredge one more time. Also if we happen to have only a single dredge we can use the Wraith in response to any dangerous spell that targets it in the graveyard, like a Surgical Extraction.
Flayer of the Hatebound is another good reanimator target if we happen to not have the Spy in the graveyard or we are not in the position to combo off. It can dish out some really nice extra damage that can help us close the game.
The most important cards in the sideboard are for sure Force of Vigor as it is basically an answer to all the graveyard hate that would try to cripple us in games 2 and 3.
Faerie Macabre and Surgical Extraction are obviously to remove important cards from our opponents deck, like Uro.
Mindbreaker Trap is for Storm decks while Ashen Rider is to fight Show and Tell decks.
Finally Contagion is a nice removal that we can play to remove some pesky creatures.
I hope you all enjoyed this deck showcase!
Let me know if you have any questions about it!