How Does Dredge Work: MTG Beginner's Guide

January 12, 2023 · Your Playmat
how does dredge work in mtg

MTG players use a wide variety of valuable mechanics. Each of them has its set of rules and exciting effects. Many of them can be easy to use. But other ones can be difficult to put into practice. Some mechanics need:

  • The special construction of a deck of cards;
  • Specific conditions for the use of cards;
  • The presence of special effects on the cards.

These factors make the use of some strategies extremely difficult. But you will succeed with a bit of practice and a desire to win.

In our article, we will tell you about magic dredge mechanics. We will reveal to you the potential of this game technique. We will also tell you about the cards you can use to play. And you will learn how you can use this technique on the battlefield.

Stay with us, read the article to the end and become the monster champion.

What Is Dredge In Magic: The Gathering?

Dredge is one of many popular mechanics in Magic: The Gathering. The technique allows the player to gain an advantage on the battlefield. It works by returning cards from the graveyard.

Today, there are many strategies for using this mechanic in the game. There are also ways to fight against players with a Dredge deck. Such techniques are based on destroying the monsters from the GY. This is necessary to cut all the opponent's chances of returning cards.

This technique has become very popular since its appearance, and players still often use it.

How Does Dredge Work In MTG?

Unfortunately, this strategy is one of the most difficult to perform. One of the key reasons is the presence of special cards with a keyword. This makes using the Magic: The Gathering dredge difficult for some players.

You must have certain cards to play with to gain an advantage on the battlefield. Today there are very few of them. Also, you can no longer buy sets containing such cards in the store.

As for how the strategy works, everything is simple. You gain the ability to take one or more cards from your GY. But for this, you must use a special card with a keyword.

Let's look at the general rules for using this technique.

The Key Rules Of Dredge In MTG

Here are the key rules of dredge in Magic: The Gathering:

  1. It can be only used by players who have a card in their GY with the dredge ability. With the dredging technique, a player may only return cards that have this ability to their hands;
  2. Only during your draw step are you able to use the dredge, not during your opponent's turn;
  3. To use the technique, the player must return the card with dredge to their hand. The top X cards from their GY are then placed into their hand. Where X is the number written on the card using a dredge;
  4. The number of times a player can use the magic dredge ability during a single game is unrestricted.

One can reduce the size of their deck by using the dredge ability. And it might make it more difficult to draw specific cards in the future.

Some cards and strategies in MTG interact with the GY or the dredging technique, like by:

  • Exiling cards from the GY;
  • Returning specific types of cards to a player's hand.

Using Dredge To Gain An Advantage In The Game

mtg dredge cards

Here are a few ways in which a player might use the dredge mechanic to gain an advantage in the game:

  • Recycling key cards. A player can reuse powerful or synergistic cards many times;
  • Thinning the deck. The dredge ability helps a player thin out their deck. It increases the likelihood of drawing specific cards they need;
  • Accessing cards that were before milled. If a player has milled themselves or had cards milled by their opponent, the dredge strategy can allow them to retrieve those cards and potentially use them to their advantage;
  • Bluffing and misdirection. You can use the dredge to bluff and misdirect an opponent. It seems like a player has a certain card or strategy in their GY when they do not.

Combining Dredge With Other Mechanics And Strategies In MTG

You can combine this technique with other strategies in various ways. Here are a few examples:

  1. Dredge and self-mill. Self-mill strategies that put cards into the graveyard can set up the dredge. And it will provide a player with more options for using it;
  2. Dredge ability and GY recursion. It helps to create a loop of returning cards to the hand and replaying them;
  3. Dredge and graveyard hate. Some decks may use cards and strategies that exile or otherwise interact with the opponent's GY to disrupt their ability to use the dredge strategy;
  4. Dredge and graveyard synergy. Some cards and strategies may have effects that trigger or improve based on the presence of cards in the GY, such as "dredge enablers" that benefit from having a card with a dredge in the GY.

Considering how the dredging technique fits into a deck's game plan and strategy is essential.

Examples Of Dredge Cards And How They Function

Unfortunately, today, there are few cards with this effect. All these cards can be hard to find as the original sets are no longer for sale. That’s why you should put them into protective sleeves if you have some valuable cards. Among the popular cards with the dredge effect are:

  • Golgari Grave-Troll;
  • Darkmor salvage;
  • Darkblast;
  • Golgari Brownscale;
  • Golgari Thug;
  • Grave Shell Scarab;
  • Greater Mossdig;
  • Life from the Loam etc.

In general, all these cards have the "Dredge" keyword. And these cards work according to the general rules of mechanics. With the help of cards, you can take cards from the graveyard to your hand. But each card offers a different number of cards to transfer from the GY to the hand.

The History And Evolution Of Dredge In MTG

The Dredge ability was one of the core mechanics of the Ravnica block from 2005. But there are rumors that the strategy first appeared in Grave-Shell Scarab in 2005.

The dredge was initially called "reclaim." But the rules of the original version of the technique allowed players to create imbalanced situations. This led to the fact that the developer reworked and changed the technique.

Today we know about 12 cards with dredge effect and 2 cards from Time Spiral and Modern Horizons sets.

Today, this strategy is a powerful tool for defeating your opponents.

Exploring The Creative Design Of Dredge In MTG

One of the creative design goals of the MTG dredge mechanic is to provide players with an alternative way to draw cards and access their resources rather than solely relying on drawing from their deck.

It also adds a layer of strategy and decision-making. And players must consider which cards to put into their GY and when to use the dredge cards ability.

The dredge mechanic also ties into the flavor and themes of the sets in which it appears. The Ravnica block, for example, features a city plane inhabited by various guilds. Each was with its strategy and themes. The Golgari guild is associated with decay, death, and the graveyard. It makes the MTG dredge strategy a fitting addition to the block.

The dredge technique adds depth and complexity to Magic: The Gathering gameplay. And it also reinforces the setting and themes of the sets in which it appears.

The Role Of Dredge In Different Formats And Metagames In MTG

magic card sleeves

The role of the dredging technique will depend on:

  • The specific card pool;
  • The dominant strategies of the format.

Here is a brief overview of how MTG dredge has been used in some popular formats:

  1. Legacy. Dredge decks in Legacy often aim to fill their GY as quickly as possible. And decks use this technique to recycle key cards;
  2. Modern. It is generally faster and more aggressive than Legacy. So dredge decks in Modern may need to adapt to a more proactive game plan;
  3. Standard. Standard has a smaller card pool and tends to focus more on synergies within a specific set or block. There may only sometimes be enough support for a dedicated dredge strategy.

Tips And Tricks For Playing With Or Against Dredge In MTG

Here are some tips and tricks for playing with or against the dredge mechanic in Magic: The Gathering:

  • Pay attention to what cards opponents put into their graveyard. And also consider what cards they may be able to return to their hand with a dredge;
  • With the MTG dredge technique, consider what cards you want to put into your GY. It can be helpful to plan how you want to use this strategy throughout the game;
  • Against a dredge deck, use cards for exiling/interacting with the opponent's graveyard. It disrupts their ability to use the dredge.
  • Think about whether the benefits of using dredge outweigh the potential drawbacks;
  • An opponent may use the dredge mechanic to bluff and misdirect you. Be aware of the possibility of this tactic and try to read your opponent's tells and patterns.

A Beginner’s Guide To Dredge In MTG: Getting Started With This Powerful Mechanic

Here is a beginner's guide to getting started with the dredge strategy in Magic: The Gathering:

  • Familiarize yourself with the rules. Ensure you understand how the dredging technique works and what cards have this ability;
  • Build a deck. Build a deck with dredge cards. Include cards that help fill your GY or support a graveyard-based strategy;
  • Practice. The best way to get a feel for how technology works is to practice using it in games. Try out different combinations of cards. And see how the dredge mechanic fits into your game plan;
  • Learn from others. Many resources are available, such as articles, videos, and forums. There you can learn more about the dredge mechanic.

Bottom Line

As you can see, the MTG dredge technique in a game can be a great chance to take down your opponent. But strategy needs special rules and skills. So be sure to practice before your battles to hone your skill.


Can You Return Any Card To A Player's Hand With A Dredge?

No, only cards with the dredge ability can be returned to a player's hand with the dredge mechanic.

Can I Use Dredge On The Opponent's Turn In MTG?

No, you can't do it on the opponent's turn. You can use the dredge mechanic only during a player's draw step.

Is There A Limit To How Many Times A Player Can Uuse Dredge Per Game?

There is no limit to the number of times a player can use the dredge ability per game. They can do it if they have a card with a dredge in their graveyard, and it is their draw step.

Are There Ane Drawback To Using Dredge In MTG?

One potential drawback to using dredge is that it can thin out a player's deck. It makes it harder to draw specific cards in the future. Additionally, dredge relies on having cards in the graveyard. A player using a lot of dredges may need to find ways to fill their graveyard to use the mechanic effectively.