Hello everyone, and welcome back. I hope you all are doing well, and have enjoyed your Magic: 2019 Pre-Release. This coming up Friday it will be released to the masses right in the middle of July. Can you believe we’re nearing the half-way point of the month already? July is moving as fast as Modern, and so as we approach the middle of this month I want to talk about my favorite Midrange deck: Jund.
This archetype has been around a lot longer than many may realize. Initially starting when Urza’s Legacy was in Standard cards like Phyrexian Plaguelord, and Deranged Hermit were on the front lines of what was then called “The Rock”. Focusing purely on the colors Black and Green the style of play blossomed from there. Once Apocalypse entered Standard a new card became the central theme of the deck, and many still recognize it as one of the archetypes first true all-stars: Spiritmonger. The deck further developed a playstyle of early hand disruption, removal, and playing a big threat for the win. It was also during this era that decks started adding another color, which was usually White for cards like Vindicate.
During these days there were no names like we have now (such as Abzan or Jund) so names like The Rock, or Junk were commonly used. It wasn’t until we hit Shards of Alara block where we get the name of this version of The Rock, and that is Jund.
During Jund’s time in Standard the focus was on deploying hard to remove threats while clearing the battlefield of opposing threats, or other problem permanents, to secure your victory. Cards such as Bloodbraid Elf, Lightning Bolt, Terminate, and Maelstrom Pulse became staples in THE Midrange deck of the format during it’s entire stay.
When the Modern format was created it happened before Jund was even considered an archetype as we didn’t even have Liliana of the Veil yet, however in the years that followed the format’s creation we received her, the reprint of the Shocklands, and the reprint of the original Fetchlands. Jund finally had everything it needed to become a powerhouse deck once again.
Let’s take a look at what I’m running currently.
4 Liliana of the Veil
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
4 Verdant Catacombs
3 Bloodstained Mire
3 Raging Ravine
2 Overgrown Tomb
1 Blood Crypt
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Stomping Ground
1 Twilight Mire
1 Wooded Foothills
3 Fulminator Mage
2 Kitchen Finks
2 Ancient Grudge
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
1 Liliana, the Last Hope
1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Collective Brutality
1 Grim Lavamancer
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Nihil Spellbomb
How The Deck Works
These three, Liliana of the Veil, Dark Confidant, and Tarmogoyf are the backbone of any Black & Green Midrange deck. Cheap, and efficient plays during the first 3 turns of the game is important to get (or stay) ahead in Modern, and cards like these either provide you constant card advantage, or a quick clock. There’s a lot of removal to dodge as well as a few counterspells so your first few turns will have to find ways around those spells to make sure you can deploy your threats safely, and Jund has ways to do just that.
Maelstrom Pulse can deal with any problem permanent, but it is best to use this against non-creatures especially Planeswalkers. If the opponent has 2 (or more) of the same creature this becomes a one-sided board wipe. Inquisition of Kozilek, as well as Thoughtseize, are your best turn 1 plays as they can remove a card you may not be able to deal with. These cards are even more useful after an opponent mulligans their opening hand as they then have less cards to play with. Lightning Bolt is currently the best removal spell in Modern. Most creatures are at 3 toughness or less, and cost more than 1 mana, so you are already being more efficient with your play than your opponent. At worst you break even on the exchange, and late in the game it can deal the final points of damage to secure the victory. One issue though is that Red is more of a tertiary color in the deck so be mindful of how you deploy your lands, and don’t be afraid to fecth for a shockland untapped if needed.
In the board you have a lot of utility answers to some of the problem decks in the format, and these are a few examples. Thrun, the Last Troll is a card I feel we should be boarding in vs Jeskai Control. Once Teferi, Hero of Dominaria came to Modern that matchup started going more in their favor. To be able to have untapped mana on the turn after playing a 5 cmc Planeswalker swings the game heavily in their favor, and we need an answer. Thrun is that answer. Granted they may pack cards such as Settle the Wreckage, or Wrath of God, but usually those cards are singletons. Just keep one Green mana open, and you can keep him alive vs their other threats.
Fulminator Mage not only provides a way to deal with problem big mana decks (Tron, Valakut decks, etc) it can also deal some damage in combat. These can also be used against creature lands like Celestial Colonnade, and be brought back to your hand via Kolaghan’s Command or Liliana, the Last Hope.
Enchantments in Modern are less of a problem than ever (outside of Bogles) so we need to concentrate on removing problem Artifacts. This is where Ancient Grudge comes into play. Just like White decks packing a pair of Stony Silence in their boards we also have some Artifact hate of our own. The ability to flash this back can also allow you to 2-for-1 your opponent on their end step, and that in and of itself is the hallmark of a solid Midrange strategy. Decks such as Affinity, Krark-Clan Ironworks, and Tron will not want to see this card.
You may notice above I have Damnation in my sideboard instead of Engineered Explosives. This may be an error I have to correct soon as some of the quicker aggro decks are even lower to the ground than Jund is in terms of creatures, and an Explosives on 1 could help vs decks such as Goblins, Elves, and other 1-cmc aggro decks (Mono White Soldiers is a fringe deck that deploys that method of play).
I have also thought of using Bitterblossom against WUx Control decks, however the amount of life loss from this, as well as the burn spells in Jeskai, has me hesitant at the moment.
Why should I play this deck?
- You like playing a variety of powerful spells, creatures, and permanents.
- Nearly all of the cards are rare or mythic rare, and their power level reflects that level of rarity.
- You don’t like aggro, but want to attack with creatures instead of playing control.
- You want to positively interact with your opponent.
Why should you not play the deck?
- Midrange decks can be rather methodical in play taking up a lot of time.
- The deck can be expensive.
- You wish to play another archetype.
These types of decks, such as Jund, in a way help keep the format balanced. Midrange decks are a pillar of Magic. Along with Aggro and Control being the other pillars they all help keep the game moving in an ebb & flow pattern to prevent on archetype from dominating over all others. Their importance can’t be understated, and each game can be quite different even against the same opposing deck. If you haven’t at least tried an archetype like Jund I do recommend at least playing it once.
With all of that said we are again at the end of another article. Have you played Jund? What experiences have you had with the deck? What tips do you have for others? Please share your thoughts below, and make sure to follow me on both Facebook as well as Twitter.
Until next time, where we turn back the clock to Speak Casually again…
TAP MORE MANA!!!
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.