Hello everyone, and welcome back to Strictly Average for more Modern content. Last week I talked about decks using any one of the Gideon planeswalker cards, and this week I want to revisit one of my favorite Modern decks: Jund.
As many of you may know Jund has been one of my go to archetypes for a long while regardless of eternal format. Sadly we do not have a Jund deck in Legacy, and these days Modern is where I go to get that fix. While the deck has been on the downswing recently it still sees play, puts up 5-0 finishes in MTGO leagues, and shows up on camera at big tournaments.
I recently have been playing this at FNMs, and a recent PPTQ. While FNM sometimes may not be a proper measure of a deck I do want to share my thoughts with the deck. First though I want to share where I am currently with it after those events.
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
4 Verdant Catacombs
3 Bloodstained Mire
3 Raging Ravine
2 Overgrown Tomb
1 Blood Crypt
1 Stomping Ground
1 Treetop Village
1 Twilight Mire
1 Wooded Foothills
3 Fulminator Mage
2 Anger of the Gods
2 Collective Brutality
2 Ancient Grudge
1 Huntmaster of the Fells
1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Golgari Charm
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Nihil Spellbomb
While my deck may not be exactly what you play I’ll go over some thoughts a few cards at a time. The core of the deck remains mostly the same though even as the deck has evolved since the banned & restricted list was updated back in February.
- Bloodbraid Elf has been a mainstay of the deck. This card helps you turn the corner, and it’s especially true in matchups where casting 2 spells in a turn is needed to get ahead (Control, Tron, KCI for example). Some people have cut her altogether. Others have cut one or two in favor of other cards. I can’t see playing any other card than this in the main deck at this mana cost. Just keep in mind if you are going to cast this, fetch first. If not you may be putting multiple lands on the bottom of your library that you shuffle back in.
- Tarmogoyf is a 4/5 or stronger when it attacks. No reason to debate this card honestly. Yes it dies to A LOT in the format, but so do many creatures.
- Dark Confidant is the card that is drawing a lot of conversation lately. While it does provide you card advantage, and an early attacker against non-creature heavy decks, it’s been cut to a three of recently. While I too am skeptical of the change the format itself may be a little fast to run 4 of them, and if that’s the case having a second one in hand could be deadly. I have seen people play 2 of them, and the opponent pump the brakes to the Jund player dies to their own Dark Confidant triggers. It’s not impossible to have 2 in play, but it can be dangerous. I’m currently choosing to run three.
- Scavenging Ooze is really the All-Star of the deck. No green deck should leave home without it, and I choose to run three. The card is great, and keeps you alive. You have graveyard hate game one, and can supplement that during sideboard games. The card also gives you an edge against one of your worst matchups: Burn.
- Fatal Push is a card I have wanted to play more of recently. Outside of Tron this card can deal with most threats that you would expect to see at a tournament. Just be careful of the decks that play a lot of creatures above two casting cost (looking at you Goblin Rabblemaster) as you’ll need to save your fetchlands for the Revolt trigger. I currently want two.
- Lightning Bolt is perhaps the best card to cascade into when you cast Bloodbraid Elf, however there are many board states where that may not be the case. With that said this is the card that does provide the extra punch you need. Sometimes you need to be the beatdown deck, and aggro your opponent. This is crucial in matchups where giving the opponent more turns only lowers your chance of winning. Do not leave home without four in the main deck. It’s even better when you are against opponents that have early support creatures as a hand with a discard spells, Blackcleave Cliffs, and Lightning Bolt allows you to tempo them both on the board then in their hand very early in the game. That alone can be enough to put you ahead.
- Liliana of the Veil has been a staple in Modern Jund since her release. Providing many effects necessary for the deck to govern the board her importance can not be stated enough, however it may not be correct to run four of them at the moment. If an opponent is playing Humans by the time she is on the field they will sacrifice a creature not needed, or the discard may not matter. She is great against Control decks, and is ok vs Tron (better if you have been throwing discard spells their way), and pressures Storm players. However this is a dead card in decks with graveyard synergies such as Dredge, and Vengevine. I’m going to try three of them for awhile.
- Liliana, the Last Hope is pulling a Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, and slowly nudging her way in to the main deck. Her first ability helps you block more efficiently (or outright kill a creature to feed to either Tarmogoyf, or Scavenging Ooze). Her second ability is why I think she should be in the main deck. Allowing you to return a creature from your graveyard to you hand, to then cast it again, takes a lot of pressure off of Kolaghan’s Command allowing you to treat it more like a mini version of either Blightning or Smash to Smithereens. With both Lilians in play you can plus Veil, discarding a creature, and minus Last Hope to get it back to cast it. That seems too strong to pass up, and I’m going to run two main deck.
- Dreadbore, as well as Maelstrom Pulse, deal with one of our biggest problems: Planeswalkers. Any deck running Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is bad news for us. Allowing the opponent to have a constant stream of available mana on our turn can often times prevent us from ever getting ahead. Fatal Push can deal with Celestial Colonnade, and using Dreadbore helps ease up on the pressure you need to put on Planeswalkers allow your direct damage spells to go to the opponent.
- Terminate is useful against decks with a lot of creatures, but it is absolutely dead vs Tron, and Teferi Control decks. You would have to devote more resources or rely upon a Maelstrom Pulse (which may be a little slow) to deal with a planeswalker. This is why I am running one Dreadbore in the main deck over Terminate, and one Maelstrom Pulse main as well as one in the sideboard.
The sideboard can be one of the toughest to build. As the amount of decks you can encounter increases with each release it’s hard to truly prepare for everything. Let’s break down a few choices, and follow up with a few possible suggestions.
- As much as I don’t like losing to Tron decks I’m hesitant to max out on Fulminator Mage. It may be necessary though. When facing Tron you will want to blow up either Urza’s Mine, or Urza’s Power Plant. Keeping them off of either of those renders Urza’s Tower useless for what their plan is. This is another reason to run two Liliana, the Last Hopes in the main deck as recurring these creatures is crucial to winning this bad matchup. You should also use this vs Burn to keep them off of White mana.
- Collective Brutality gets better every time I cast it. Never leave home without at least two in the board, This card is excellent vs Burn, Storm, Control, and some Aggro (Elves, not Humans for example). Don’t be afraid to cast this for all of it’s modes as that can help turn the corner against some of these decks.
- Ancient Grudge is another card I like at a two of as well. The presence of Krark-Clan Ironworks decks, two versions of Affinity (the Hardened Scales version as well as the normal version), plus the number of times I encounter Ensnaring Bridge makes me want to hold at least two.
Some other cards I have in the board are:
- Huntmaster of the Fells: Honestly I feel like this is a flex slot. The number of Scavenging Ooze in the main deck, along with Collective Brutality makes me feel like this is a little redundant. I even go back and forth on Kitchen Finks, but that may be the card needed vs aggressive matchups. I’m not 100% sure yet. Maybe this could be another Nihil Spellbomb.
- Anger of the Gods is a card I have not had an opportunity to try yet, but that’s mainly because I have not come across the matchups for it (Elves, Vengevine, Dredge).
- Thoughtseize is a card I have long thought was not needed as an extra card in the board. No more. There are too many top decks where this card would be good as an extra copy, and they are ones I have mentioned multiple times today: Teferi based decks, Tron, and KCI decks.
There are some other cards I have thought about, however I’m not sure if they can be ran in the sideboard or not. They might be worth a try, and some I have already incorporated.
- Golgari Charm is super versatile. Killing x/1 creatures, blowing up enchantments (which is good against Bogles), and even for the surprise regeneration vs board sweepers. I currently run one.
- Vampire Nighthawk: An optional lifegain creature that also has Deathtouch could be a sweet cascade target. Even getting two swings in with this could be enough to turn the game in your favor, and the casting cost is not too severe as you already spend the same to cast a planeswalker. I’m watching this card, but not running it yet.
- Bitterblossom: We need ways to provide constant pressure on our opponent, and while this may be a little slow (you can finally start attacking with a Faerie two turns after resolving this spell) it could be something to look at. Similar to how Lingering Souls is bad vs us as well as Azorius based control decks this card can work in a similar manner. I don’t run it yet, but I am watching it.
Jund has a lot of play to it even in this current environment where we have decks producing a lot of mana quickly, flooding the board with creatures, or playing powerful planeswalkers. It feels overwhelming to try to battle everything, but if we focus on one match at a time we can pivot right when we need to in order to secure a win.
Do you play Jund? What are your thoughts? Please share them below, and make sure to follow me on both Facebook as well as Twitter. Next week I will answer your questions so make sure to visit my Facebook page to ask your questions. I will try to answer as many as I can.
Until next week when I answer those questions…
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.