Dredge with Travis Schneider
If you’ve been keeping up with the Innistrad draft format, then you already know that Armored Skaab has vaulted from reasonable man to top pick in short order, thanks to his placement in an archetype that mills itself to fuel big flashback spells and occasional Laboratory Maniacs. Fans of that strategy are probably going to enjoy this brew! Travis Schneider began the day 2-0 with a “Dredge” deck in Standard, built to mill away spells and creatures alike quickly in order to fuel large Splinterfrights or lethal Kessig Cagebreakers, with New Phyrexia’s Mostmortem Lunge to resurrect whichever one you want. “A friend of mine made a version of it, and I just liked the idea of Splinterfright and Cagebreakers and made my own spin on it,” Travis explained. “He’s playing a similar list right now, but not doing so well.”
Travis Schneider is reanimating the beats with his take on Standard Dredge.
While the plan may seem slow, that’s why Travis has a ton of acceleration. “I play fourteen mana dorks, and try to lead with one on turn 1 or 2. If they don’t have a removal spell, I’ll Mulch or Armored Skaab immediately.” Travis has noted few players are willing to counter the mill spells, as they prefer to wait around and see what happens. That plays right into his hands! “It’s just a matter of flipping over enough cards to get out Splinterfright or Cagebreakers.” The mana creatures also serve to pump the number of dudes in the graveyard, making them useful to mill and useful to cast.
At a glance you might assume that Snapcaster Mage is going to awesome in a deck that mills itself, but Travis found the 2/1 to be unimpressive. “The problem is I don’t run that many spells, and giving Forbidden Alchemy flashback is not that good—I don’t want to give Mulch flashback much, either. If I don’t have a Lunge, he’s almost worthless.” That said, alongside a Lunge in the bin, Snapcaster Mage will quickly fire a win condition at the opponent’s dome. The deck has the appearance of Best Draft Deck ever, but those cards all contribute to his core plan. “I don’t play much disruption or removal—I’m just like an actual Dredge deck, trying to do my own plan. Because I play so many mana guys, I come out ahead.” That tempo generation is key to the success of the deck, especially against faster opponents.
Speaking of faster opponents, Travis paid special attention to Illusions in his sideboard, packing four Mental Misstep for that matchup specifically. “It can be a good matchup, depending on what they do,” he said. “Once I board in Misstep for their Vapor Snags, that’s sometimes all they’ve got when I go for the Lunge.” His best matchup by far? Mono Red. “I play Gnaw to the Bone main, and usually it’s just gaining double-digit life.” Another novelty sideboard card is Sylvok Replica, which is slightly less efficient than Naturalize but contributes to his plan. “It’s just a creature and it puts itself into the yard.”