Big Daddy Brews: Ghalta Dredge

Hey there, Big Daddy Brewers! There’s been a pretty significant event since our last meeting. All of Rivals of Ixalan has been spoiled! So, of course that means we have an entire new set to brew and brainstorm with. The card we’re building around today has been spoiled for awhile, but I wanted to wait for the entire set to be spoiled before writing about it in case there were some other cards in the new set that would be strong inclusions. Including the Commander, today’s deck features three Rivals of Ixalan cards, which isn’t a lot, but one of them is the Commander, and that’s a kind of a big deal. So, here we go, I present to you all: Ghalta Dredge!


The List:

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Commander: [card]Ghalta, Primal Hunger[/card]

1 [card]Ulvenwald Tracker[/card]
1 [card]Boneyard Wurm[/card]
1 [card]Den Protector[/card]
1 [card]Hermit Druid[/card]
1 [card]Sakura-Tribe Elder[/card]
1 [card]Satyr Wayfinder[/card]
1 [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card]
1 [card]Tarmogoyf[/card]
1 [card]Courser of Kruphix[/card]
1 [card]Deathmist Raptor[/card]
1 [card]Eternal Witness[/card]
1 [card]Golgari Brownscale[/card]
1 [card]Loaming Shaman[/card]
1 [card]Ramunap Excavator[/card]
1 [card]Terravore[/card]
1 [card]Thrashing Brontodon[/card]
1 [card]Yavimaya Elder[/card]
1 [card]Brawn[/card]
1 [card]Centaur Vinecrasher[/card]
1 [card]Greater Mossdog[/card]
1 [card]Masked Admirers[/card]
1 [card]Solemn Simulacrum[/card]
1 [card]Vengevine[/card]
1 [card]World Shaper[/card]
1 [card]Genesis[/card]
1 [card]Gigapede[/card]
1 [card]Golgari Grave-Troll[/card]
1 [card]Titania, Protector of Argoth[/card]
1 [card]Hooting Mandrills[/card]
1 [card]Soul of Zendikar[/card]
1 [card]World Breaker[/card]
1 [card]Ghoultree[/card]
1 [card]Emrakul, the Promised End[/card]
1 [card]Traverse the Ulvenwald[/card]
1 [card]Commune with the Gods[/card]
1 [card]Elephant Resurgence[/card]
1 [card]Gather the Pack[/card]
1 [card]Life from the Loam[/card]
1 [card]Regrowth[/card]
1 [card]Beast Within[/card]
1 [card]Far Wanderings[/card]
1 [card]Kodama’s Reach[/card]
1 [card]Krosan Grip[/card]
1 [card]Nissa’s Pilgrimage[/card]
1 [card]Creeping Renaissance[/card]
1 [card]Reach of Branches[/card]
1 [card]Seasons Past[/card]
1 [card]See the Unwritten[/card]
1 [card]Wave of Vitriol[/card]
1 [card]Sol Ring[/card]
1 [card]Lightning Greaves[/card]
1 [card]Mesmeric Orb[/card]
1 [card]Vessel of Nascency[/card]
1 [card]Oath of Druids[/card]
1 [card]Survival of the Fittest[/card]
1 [card]Crawling Sensation[/card]
1 [card]Moldervine Cloak[/card]
1 [card]Song of the Dryads[/card]
1 [card]Greater Good[/card]
1 [card]Command Beacon[/card]
1 [card]Desert of the Indomitable[/card]
1 [card]Drownyard Temple[/card]
1 [card]Dryad Arbor[/card]
18 [card]Forest[/card]
1 [card]Misty Rainforest[/card]
1 [card]Mosswort Bridge[/card]
1 [card]Myriad Landscape[/card]
1 [card]Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx[/card]
1 [card]Reliquary Tower[/card]
1 [card]Rogue’s Passage[/card]
1 [card]Slippery Karst[/card]
1 [card]Strip Mine[/card]
1 [card]Tranquil Thicket[/card]
1 [card]Tree of Tales[/card]
1 [card]Verdant Catacombs[/card]
1 [card]Wasteland[/card]
1 [card]Wastes[/card]
1 [card]Windswept Heath[/card]
1 [card]Wooded Foothills[/card]
1 [card]Yavimaya Hollow[/card]


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Breakdown:

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As the deck’s name implies, it’s looking to dredge its own library into its graveyard. Green has access to the two most powerful Dredge cards in the game in Golgari Grave-Troll and Life from the Loam. There are also slower static self-mill effects such as Crawling Sensation and Splinterfright as well as one-shot effects such as Satyr Wayfinder and Commune with the Gods. Mesmeric Orb is one of the most powerful mill effects in the deck because it self-mills quickly and efficiently while also attacking the opponents’ libraries.


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This suite is the entire reason that we’re playing self-mill effects in the first place. Large undercosted graveyard based threats keep Ghalta’s casting cost cheap regardless of how many time she dies. Typically when you think of a Dredge deck, you think of some abusive, unfair deck that is playing Magic on a different axis than everyone else. Here that’s not the case. At the end of the day, this deck is incredibly fair. It’s looking to end the game through attacking and blocking with creatures, and it’s going to take multiple turns to do so. The deck’s advantage lies in the fact that its creatures should be consistently larger than everyone else’s, making combat favorable.


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The deck dumps a lot of cards into its own graveyard, but not every card is a card that the deck wants to lose access to. These cards help recover answered threats and/or generate card advantage. There is not a lot of actual card draw in the deck. Card advantage is generally going to be generated through recursive threats and the deck’s ability to put cards in the graveyard back into its hand.


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Some creatures have recursion built into them and help give the deck staying power after board wipes. Dredge creatures such as Greater Mossdog and Golgari Grave-Troll fit into this category in addition to being self-mill enablers. The larger recursive creatures will make sure that Ghalta can be recast for a mere two mana so that pressure can be continually applied to opponents.


 

 

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Green doesn’t have many great ways to interact with opposing creatures but does have a lot of powerful cards to deal with noncreature permanents. Thrashing Brontodon (new card!) gets the nod here over Reclamation Sage for two reasons. The first is that its additional point of power matters when it comes to Ghalta’s casting cost. The other is that the deck wants creatures’ power on the battlefield and not stranded in hand waiting on a relevant artifact or enchantment to be cast.


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Life from the Loam is one of the strongest cards with the mechanic Dredge ever printed on it. To help support it, there is a small lands matter sub-theme putting premiums on things like fetchlands (Wooded Foothills, Verdant Catacombs, Misty Rainforest, Windswept Heath) and cycling lands (Desert of the Indomitable, Tranquil Thicket, Slippery Karst).


Alright, people, we’ve reached the end. I think that this deck is awesome. It’s not the most powerful thing that you can be doing in Commander, but it’s fun, self-interactive, and an original way to take on a big creatures theme in Mono-Green. I am going to construct this deck in paper form and keep it. This means that the deck will be added to my Changes articles that come out each set. This is just the initial list. I’m sure over time there will be quite a few changes (new printings or not) as I tune the deck. If you have any opinions, criticisms, or concerns, holler at me in the comments below! We’ll have more Rivals of Ixalan content coming, so stay tuned, and I’ll see you next time!


-Brandon “Big Daddy B” Dauer
Twitter: @BrandonDauer
Instagram: midwest.brandon


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