Dredgevine with Austin Bach

Posted in Event Coverage on May 22, 2016

By Hallie Santo

Jeskai Harbinger had the largest target on its head at the start of Modern Weekend. The power of the Planeswalker Nahiri is hard to deny, with her high starting loyalty, her card-filtering capacity, and her ability to answer enchantments and (most) artifacts. (Christian Calcano had a few things to say on that matter…) Of all the new cards that entered the format with the release of Shadows Over Innistrad, Nahiri has made the largest initial impact, but several others seem poised to make their mark on Modern.

“I started testing with Prized Amalgam as soon as SOI came out,” says Austin Bach. The Santa Monica native loved the new Zombie’s interaction with Bloodghast and was determined to make Dredgevine viable. He tried to sell his friends on playing the deck, but they remained unconvinced: Sometimes, he’d flood the board with creatures, and sometimes he just couldn’t get the engine going.

Bach identified two one-mana spells that proved central to his game plan. The first was Faithless Looting, which he described as “the perfect Turn 1 play.” If Bach can discard some of his key creatures early in the game (say, a Bloodghast and a Prized Amalgam), he can quickly establish a board presence and put his opponent on a fast clock. Another option is to play a Turn 1 Insolent Neonate and use it to discard a crucial card.

Bach’s favorite thing about Dredgevine is its explosive potential. “I love playing decks that can do a lot in one turn,” he says. “I’ve played Birthing Pod and Storm in the past. I like to feel like I’m playing an entirely different game.” The list Bach settled on for Modern Weekend was consistent, fast, and streamlined, and he thought he was attacking the nascent format from a unique angle, giving himself an edge against fair decks.

Dredgevine is a heavy favorite against midrange and control decks, Bach says. He’s faced a variety of archetypes in the Swiss, but has won every time he’s faced Jeskai Harbinger. Dredgevine preys on decks that try to make the game go long, but opposing aggressive decks can be a challenge. Bach says one of his losses came at the hands of an Affinity player, whose deck was consistently faster than his.

Bach’s greatest hope for the weekend was to fly under the radar and dodge hate cards like Rest in Peace. While Magnus Lantto and Oliver Tiu brought Dredgevine to the Magic Online Championship, the deck is still fairly uncommon on MTGO, so Bach assumed his opponents wouldn’t be prepared to face a barrage of Zombies. Things looked dire for him when a Jund opponent put a Leyline of the Void onto the battlefield, but Lotleth Troll provided a Plan B that would enable Bach to take the game and the match.

As of this writing, Bach has a stellar 11-2 record. In his five years of playing Magic competitively, he’s qualified for one Pro Tour, and he finished in the Top 16 the last time a Grand Prix was held in Los Angeles. He feels confident going into his last two matches and hopes to top his past success.

Austin Bach's Dredgevine – GP Los Angeles

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