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Play Chess With the Devil

Legacy Combo Competitive Discard Dredge



Who are You?

enter image description here

I am Death

Have you come for me?

I have long walked by your side

So I have noticed.

Are you prepared?

Do you think you can cheat death?

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This is a Legacy Deck built around the concept of having no lands. It's the epitome of high risk, high reward, where tiny mistakes in matchups and sequencing could be your downfall, or well met openers could yield an early win; well worth the flavour of playing Chess with the Devil - my ode to Det Sjunde Inseglet.

Either the play or the draw, you essentially skip your first turn to discard. A prime target would be Phantasmagorian. When it is in the grave, we can discard three to its activated ability, maintain priority, and activate once more to pitch our hands.

Why would we do this? To hopefully dump our dredge enablers, like Golgari Grave-Troll, Stinkweed Imp or Shambling Shell . As we dredge through our deck, we will get to mill Narcomoeba into the grave from the library and have them come into play instead.

This cause has very abusable effects; the easiest would be to trigger Prized Amalgam and bring it back as it sees Narcomoeba return to play. Something more complicated would involve our next piece of this puzzle - Bridge from Below .

This is something we will want in our grave; by abusing flashback triggers that require sacrifices like Cabal Therapy and Dread Return we are able to not only get value out of those spells, but also trigger the entombed enchantment. This has a wonderful synergy of generating zombie tokens as we sacrifice a creature; with all 4 in the grave, we'll make 4 tokens for every one creature sacrificed. Cabal Therapy is obviously quite useful in understanding what our opponents are running. Dread Return is where our real gameplan unfolds.

The initial target you would ideally want for Dread Return is Balustrade Spy. When it enters the battlefield, it reveals the top card of our library until we reach a basic land, which of course we do not posses, resulting in our library into the grave. As we stack the order upon which they hit the grave, we can then reanimate more Narcomoebas, and more Prized Amalgams and other Dread Return or Cabal Therapy fodder, meaning multiple Bridge from Below triggers. Our method of winning is with Flayer of the Hatebound. It enters the battlefield as a result of another Dread Return dealing 4 to our opponent, and we follow up by sacrificing Flayer and any tokens to Dread Return either Chancellor of the Annex or Phantasmagorian to deal 6, with another 4 from Flayer's Undying, followed by multiple Prized Amalgam triggers when they enter at your endstep. Alternatively, you could also target Golgari Grave-Troll which comes into play with a number of +1/+1 counters on it for each creature in the grave, which also deals a colossal amount to our opponent.

Unlike the All Spells Combo that goes all in for a fast paced combo, Manaless Dredge not only has the potential to mirror that, but also grind opponents out in a slower game, utilizing recursion creatures like Ichorid and Nether Shadow .
Contagion and Sickening Shoal are "free" spells to kill off early game threats like Deathrite Shaman, Scavenging Ooze or Containment Priest.

Leyline of Sanctity works against Burn or Storm.

Faerie Macabre not only is an uncounterable graveyard hate card, but it can be used with Ichorid .

Serra Avatar is our answer to any mill strategies.

Unmask is another "free" spell to force a discard.

Chancellor of the Annex to improve the consistency if our opponents are running early game strategies.

Force of Will to protect us and to control combo decks.

I met Death today. We played Chess.



I'd like to thank everyone here enjoying this deck enough for it to make #1 on T/O! I'm glad so many here enjoy the theme!

Comments View Archive

slaftergames says... #1

This is perhaps the best reference I've ever discovered on this site. If I could give more than +1, I would.

June 26, 2017 5:35 p.m.

hamiam says... #2

Bravo! +1

June 28, 2017 5:27 p.m.

The_Squirrel says... #3

I've always had a spot in my heart for dredge strategies. +1

June 29, 2017 12:34 p.m.

Qolorful says... #4

This is uncontested the coolest deck I've ever seen on here. +1

June 29, 2017 8:42 p.m.

landofMordor says... #5

Love the name, love the theme, love the primer, and I don't love how I can only give you +1.

June 29, 2017 9:48 p.m.

The_Squirrel says... #6

I do have a question. Do you not need more methods for fighting post board GY hate? Seems like at least another 2 Unmask is appropriate.

July 1, 2017 2:53 p.m.

n0bunga says... #7

The_SquirrelWell let's go through the board:

Leyline of Sanctity would help as well. Tormod's Crypt, Nihil Spellbomb, anything that targets someone.

Force of Will can stop Rest in Peace or really anything that's hard-cast.

Unfortunately there really isn't much to stop Leyline of the Void if it's pre-game, or a Faerie Macabre, which is where Unmask comes in. But perhaps I could drop a Macabre for a third Unmask?

July 1, 2017 3:38 p.m.

Enral says... #8

I LOVE decks that abuse my favorite card Bridge from Below +1 for sure!

July 1, 2017 4:15 p.m.

jonmaior says... #9

this is without a doubt one of the most brilliant decks I have ever seen. can you give your thoughts on this legacy deck of mine? your deck is amazing and it is not often that I come across such a brilliant deck.

July 1, 2017 6:12 p.m.

marsthesoos says... #10

Seems like a pretty stock list tbh, but I love how you made the deck come across. Bravo!

July 4, 2017 12:13 a.m.

n0bunga says... #11

marsthesoos yeah there really isn't much wiggleroom in the MD outside of substituting Whirlpool Rider for Drake.

I've seen SBs run a land or something but I wanted to keep the landless theme alive. Outside of that, most tend to use Progenitus over Serra Avatar for the shuffle.

Thank you!

July 4, 2017 8:14 a.m.

TankyHamster says... #12

Hey man! This is a really cool deck! When I get enough money I am definitely going to make this deck and I know I will have a lot of fun! I just have a question however. If your opponent plays a card or some sort of combo to take out all of your bridge from below and exiles them from your graveyard? How would you respond to that?

Oh BTW +1 great deck.

July 4, 2017 12:18 p.m.

TankyHamster says... #13

Another question: Do you have any suggestions to make this a little bit more budget? Because I would love to play this deck ASAP. Thanks!

July 4, 2017 12:28 p.m.

n0bunga says... #14

TankyHamster hey thank you so much! I am glad you enjoy it!

To answer your first question, yes as mentioned in the description this deck is extremely risky. And potentially fragile. You can grind out a game without Bridge From Below by utilizing Narcomoaeba, Prized Amalgam, Ichorid and Nether Shadow's recursion. At that point you would only flashback dread return for one of the larger creatures. It's not a pleasant way but it's doable. But to stop anyone from extracting Bridge From Below, Force of Will is our best method.

Now unfortunately, the answer to your second question would be to take out FoW. It's the most expensive card by a large margin. Without it the deck is about $200? Which is still fairly budget for a Legacy deck. Foil is the only thing close but as you can see it goes entirely against the build as it requires an Island to discard.

July 4, 2017 12:42 p.m.

TankyHamster says... #15

This was very insightful thank you!

July 4, 2017 1:37 p.m.

Just everyday, manaless dredge, which is a very hard deck to pilot.

July 5, 2017 5:32 p.m.

n0bunga says... #17

The2ndHorseman it is indeed, friend. Not one I recommend to everyone. Like its combo counterpart, it's one where the pilot needs to aggressively mulligan to find something keepable, and one in which sequencing is of the utmost importance.

July 5, 2017 6:04 p.m.

Stammetje91 says... #18

If I am going to buy myself into Legacy, it will be with this deck. It's awesome and payable. I love it!

July 6, 2017 10:02 a.m.

The_Squirrel says... #19

Is there anyway to "start" the deck, without discarding in the cleanup step? If not, I don't see how you can mulligan.

July 6, 2017 2:24 p.m.

n0bunga says... #20

The_Squirrel I wouldn't advise going beyond a mulligan to 6, after that you will be too far behind to make up.

This shouldn't be an issue, however. Let's try at an HGDM for encountering Dredgers, and for the sake of this we'll start with Phantasmagorian since that is our ideal draw.

Deck Size: 60

Number of Draws: 7

Number of Successes in Deck: 4

Successes Desired: 1

Results:Percentage of exactly 1 Phantasmagorian: 33.6%

Percentage of less than 1: 61%

Percentage of 1 or less: 94%

Percentage of more than 1: 6%

Percentage of 1 or more: 40%

So, one in every 3 games, we're to expect exactly 1 Phantasmagorian. Keep in mind there are a total of 18 cards with a Dredge or Discard mechanic (not including Street Wraith as it cycles to replace itself). Let's see what happens if we plug in the numbers for all Dredgers:

Percentage of exactly 1 Dredger: 24%%

Percentage of less than 1: 7%

Percentage of 1 or less: 31%

Percentage of more than 1: 70%

Percentage of 1 or more: 93%

There's a high chance we're to expect 1 or more card with an ability to manipulate our graveyard on Turn 1 but moving to discard phase. A mulligan to 6 unsurprisingly shows us that we are less likely to encounter more than 1, however encountering 1 or more is only ever so slightly less probable. Remember, at any given point we are to be on the draw, so we'll skip our turn, move to discard on T2 and start again from there. It's not ideal, but it is doable, thanks to abusers like Narcomoeba, Prized Amalgam, Ichorid, and Nether Shadow - to at least present a presence while we make up for lost time.

Percentage of exactly 1 Dredger: 31%

Percentage of less than 1: 10.4%

Percentage of 1 or less: 41.1%

Percentage of more than 1: 59%

Percentage of 1 or more: 90%

And for your reference:

h(x; N, n, k) = [ kCx ] [ N-kCn-x ] / [ NCn ]

h(x; N, n, k): Hypergeometric Probability, or the statistical probability that an n-trial experiment results in exactly x successes, where the population consists of N items, k of which are classified as successes.

N: The number of items in the population.

k: The number of items in the population that are classified as successes.

n: The number of items in the sample.

x: The number of items in the sample that are classified as successes.

kCx: The number of combinations of k things, taken x at a time.

I hope this was of some help. :)

July 6, 2017 3:32 p.m.

That's because you don't mulligan with this deck, you must cleanup to get anywhere with this deck. If you're getting into legacy you might as well go for a real deck in dredge. The lands aren't painfully expensive, the only real difference is LEDs. Still it's a much more competitive deck. Plus it has like a 90% win rate against burn, which is popular due to it's low conversion cost from modern.

July 7, 2017 2:22 p.m.

n0bunga says... #22

The2ndHorseman right. The purpose of providing the HGDM is to prove you aren't likely to mulligan because there should be a very high percentage that you will have at least one graveyard manipulator in your opening hand. To go down to 6 isn't advised but can be doable, so perhaps the statement "aggressively mulligan" isn't apt and is counterintuitive. It's all-spells combo counterpart is very much an aggressive mulligan deck.

I wouldn't necessarily denounce this as a deck that isn't real (or in turn provide an example of one you feel is 'real'), considering this still places in areas. Most recently, it was a top 8 finisher in GP Louisville. But I completely understand the notion that a more traditional Dredge deck that would run lands might be more consistent and perhaps more competitive.

Regardless, this is a proven formula to work when it does, unless it doesn't. I mentioned before it's a high risk/high reward strategy and I'd still stand by that.

July 7, 2017 3:34 p.m.

Red_X says... #23

Thoughts on Laboratory Maniac, at least in the sideboard? If your opponent stops damage for the turn that you combo you lose, and dreading back lab man with a wraith or probe in hand is a win. Like the deck.

November 18, 2017 9:43 p.m.

n0bunga says... #24

Red_X I can dig that idea!

November 20, 2017 4:31 p.m.

In your deck description, when you're talking about Balustrade Spy, you mention that you can use it to deck yourself and thereby get your Narcomoebas/Prized Amalgams.

If Prized Analgam reanimates on your end step, how do you use it for sacrifice if you deck yourself the following turn? It was my understanding that you can't dredge unless you have the cards required to mill.

December 1, 2017 10:35 a.m.

n0bunga says... #26

Austin_Smith_of_Cards That's not exactly what was expressed. The idea is to dredge at the beginning of Turn 2, as we would have discarded our hand to Phantasmagorian. Suppose we've something like Nether Traitor in hand, and we organize our discard so that it's in its proper spot to reanimate, and we have a Golgari Grave-Troll to dredge our draw step. This potentially dredges the Narcos and Amalgams, as well as our flashback cards. At this point, at Bridge from Below will be in the yard, so we've sent Narcos to the battlefield, which trigger the Amalgams, but the idea here is to use the tokens produced with the copy(or copies) of the enchantment to flashback Dread Return targeting Balustrade to mill the deck. Now all 4 enchantments are in the grave, meaning 1 instance of sacrifice = 4 tokens. So 1/4 Narcomoebas make 4 Zombie tokens which can be used for Flayer of the Hatebound as our primary wincon.

To answer your question - you don't, technically. But they deal 12 on impact at the beginning of your end step with Flayer in play. To protect you from milling to death Whirlpool Rider was in this list, and now I don't know what happened to it, lol. I think I was testing Ashen Rider as another strong target to reanimate.

December 1, 2017 2:54 p.m.

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82% Competitive

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Date added 5 months
Last updated 4 months

This deck is Legacy legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 3.50
Tokens 2/2 Zombie
Folders Modern Cool Stuff, Great Stuff, Interesting Modern, favorite decks, Interesting Decks, Decks I like, Decks, Legacy, Funny Concept, I Named My Anus Fred, See all 19
Top rank #1 on 2017-07-04
Views 3603

Revision 8 See all

4 months ago)

-1 Hollow One main
+1 Ashen Rider main