Speaking Casually: Jundin’ Alara

Hello everyone, and welcome back! On Monday I spoke about Modern Jund, and even briefly went over a history of BGx decks in general. Today I bring you another article in the Speaking Casually series where the focus will be, of course, on Jund.

When Shards of Alara was released it added an extra layer of lore into the game. The setting was split between 5 multi-colored regions based on color groupings (collectively known as Shards), and each had their own unique archetypes that formed from them. The format also slowed down a whole lot, especially for a multi-colored set that followed a pair of (somewhat) multi-colored sets in Shadowmoor & Eventide. If you look at the back of a Magic card you can see the Shard color combinations.

If you start with White at the very top you look to each color on either side (example: Green on your left, Blue on your right). These Shards are named the following:

  • GWU: Bant
  • WUB: Esper
  • UBR: Grixis
  • BRG: Jund
  • RGW: Naya

This was also the first block where we had Planeswalker cards in multiple expansions throughout the block, and they were also tied into the story happening on that plane. Before this set was released we did not have proper names for triple color decks, outside of naming them based on a key card or creature. Dralnu Teachings, for example, was an Esper Control based around Dralnu, Lich Lord and Mystical Teachings. However it wasn’t until after those key cards rotated out of Standard that we got the name Esper.

With all of that said there was a deck whose name, and popularity, continues to this day. That is Jund. It took the whole block for us to get to this level of power, and the Cascade mechanic is one of the most famous (or perhaps infamous) mechanics that came from this block. Loved as well as feared by players across the community, the archetype tries to provide it’s pilot value in the form of big threats early couple with removal, as well as hand disruption (which during Standard was mostly from the board).

Let’s take a look.


Jund (Shards of Alara through Magic 2011)

4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Sprouting Thrinax
4 Putrid Leech
3 Broodmate Dragon
3 Siege-Gang Commander

2 Garruk Wildspeaker

4 Lightning Bolt
4 Terminate
4 Blightning
2 Maelstrom Pulse

4 Forest
4 Raging Ravine
4 Savage Lands
4 Verdant Catacombs
3 Mountain
3 Swamp
2 Dragonskull Summit
2 Lavaclaw Reaches

4 Deathmark
3 Anathemancer
3 Great Sable Stag
2 Master of the Wild Hunt
2 Jund Charm
1 Pithing Needle

How the deck works

The deck relies on curving out a constant string of threats, while using your life total as a resource. Playing Putrid Leech, then Sprouting Thrinax, and then Bloodbraid Elf into another creature or removal spell helped push games into your favor. Cards like Garruk Wildspeaker also gave you both time, and mana until you could drop either Siege-Gang Commander, or the powerful Broodmate Dragon.

These are the cards that were really awesome during this era, Blightning truly being the strongest of this group. How many of you would want to staple a Lightning Bolt to a Mind Rot? If you didn’t raise your hand you might not be familiar with those cards. This was also during an era where you could still redirect damage going towards a player to their Planeswalker instead. Coupled with a powerful creature your opponent could lose 3 cards for your 3 mana, which is super efficient.

Cards like Terminate, Lightning Bolt, and even Maelstrom Pulse helped round out the spells portion of the deck. Some of these decks even ran Bituminous Blast which could let you cascade into Bloodbraid Elf, and then you would cascade again. Each of these being the most efficient cards for their abilities led Jund to be a powerhouse deck (especially after Faeries left the format).

Modern updates, question mark?

Honestly it would be difficult to not just play what we already have in Modern for Jund however you could do a few things with this version of the deck going forward.

  • Tireless Tracker: This card is awesome. With the amount of lands this deck plays (as well at the fetchlands already in it) you’ll be able to generate a lot of value with just this one card. It is a “must answer” threat, and if ignored can get out of control.
  • Farseek: To couple with the card above you can find any of your other basics with this card. Although there is no way to fetch Mountains with the current mana base this will help find the missing color you’ll need. Imagine casting Garruk Wildspeaker, then untapping 2 lands and casting Farseek. That’s quite the acceleration.
  • Inquisition of Kozilek: The power of this card goes without saying. If you can land untapped mana on turn 1 you can cast this, or wait until later to clear the way for a big play. It’s also a lot cheaper if you are on a budget.
  • Sarkhan, Fireblood: This is a new card coming out this week with the release of Core Set 2019 (which I’ll still call Magic: 2019). Sarkhan has 2 plus abilities, and one of them allows you to cast Broodmate Dragon a lot cheaper. You could probably substitute other creatures for Dragons if you go this route which would provide some large creatures on your side of the board. Your opponents at FNM may not be able to answer all of them.

These are just a few ideas that could be implemented. Will it win a Pro-Tour? Probably not. More than likely not. Will it be sweet to run at FNM aginst unexpected opponents? HECK YEAH!

One of the reasons I started this Speaking Casually series is to reach out to those players who maybe did not play Standard during these various eras, such as the Shards of Alara block through Magic: 2011. If you ask around at your FNM you may encounter many players who have only been playing since, for example, Khans of Tarkir (if not even more recent than that). There are a lot of good deck ideas of yesteryear that not only would be a lot of fun, but may also be light on the wallet too.

What do you think? What cards outside of this era would you try in a deck like this? Let me know in the comments below, and make sure to follow me on both Facebook as well as Twitter.

Until next time, where I dig deeper into the framework of Modern…


-Scott (@MTGPackFoils)

Scott Campbell, better known as MTGPackFoils, has been playing Magic since he was 17 (which was in 1993). He’s known for loving decks such as Azorius Control, Jund, and others (especially in Modern). He is a husband, father, and a former nightclub DJ.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *