Choosing the Right Flavor of Modern Jund

Jund has always been and will be a thing.

“Good cards are good,” is how the saying goes. At this point, it sounds cliché. I’m more over it than not as it still remains accurate. Jund is the most mediocre “best deck” that the format has ever seen. Finding the right configuration, however, can be difficult in this very linear and aggressive format. Now is more a time than ever to pick a build and learn the ins and outs.

That’s the end goal for this article.

Top 32 decks from the Star City Games Open in Dallas, Texas last weekend:

Jund – 7

Infect – 4

Jeskai Control, Kiki-Chord, Bant Eldrazi, Burn – 2

Grixis Delver, Zoo, Living End, Abzan Company, Eldrazi Taxes, Merfolk, 4-Color Control, Blue Moon, G/R Tron, G/W Hexproof, Abzan, Ad Nauseam, Mono-blue Tron – 1

I, personally, have had a lot of trouble with Jund in the past month due to the rise of R/G Tron, Valakut, and the presence of Ancestral Vision. Both going big and drawing cards are fantastic ways to combat the deck. However, recently, the metagame has shifted more and more to housing decks that are not only fair matchups, but good matchups for the Tarmogoyf menace. Affinity, Zoo, Bant and R/G Eldrazi, and Infect are all great reasons to continue playing Jund. Lightning Bolt, although not as fantastic against Eldrazi, is close to as good right now as it could possibly be! Let’s tackle the different builds and tools that can be applied in such.

Jared Tow – 3rd Place – StarCityGames Open: Dallas, Texas 6/25/2016

4 Dark Confidant
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Scavenging Ooze
2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
1 Grim Lavamancer

4 Liliana of the Veil

2 Thoughtseize
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Maelstrom Pulse
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Terminate
2 Abrupt Decay
2 Kolaghan’s Command
1 Slaughter Pact
1 Seal of Fire

4 Verdant Catacombs
1 Stomping Ground
3 Raging Ravine
2 Overgrown Tomb
3 Bloodstained Mire
1 Blood Crypt
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
2 Wooded Foothills
2 Forest
2 Swamp

Sideboard:
3 Fulminator Mage
3 Kitchen Finks
1 Duress
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
1 Crumble to Dust
Ancient Grudge
1 Night of Soul’s Betrayal
1 Damnation
1 Kolaghan’s Command
1 Obstinate Baloth

This is an example of the new Kalitas-heavy build that plays synergistic cards like Seal of Fire and Slaughter Pact to hedge towards getting immediate value when Kalitas comes into play. This build has been popularized by Mike Sigrist’s Top 8 finish at GP Charlotte and is very reminiscent of the version played during the “Eldrazi Winter.” Kalitas is very strong, don’t get me wrong, but after playing him in both of the Modern Opens in Milwaukee and Indianapolis, I have mixed feelings about the Traitor. There were times where it traded with a Path to Exile, feeling laughably terrible, and there were times I untapped with it and it was stronger than any card could have been in my deck. Jund doesn’t want to be vulnerable to that kind of variance. It’s a deck that wants to do the same thing every single time. We’ll talk soon about the four drop(s) I would think about sleeving up in this meta.

I am not a fan of cards like Seal of Fire. Sure, it’s had its moments- growing Tarmogoyfs, shooting Inkmoth Nexii- but, the format as a whole is too wide to want a card like Shock in your deck. Other notable mentions for this version are Main Deck Grim Lavamancer and the trimming of Scavenging Ooze and Terminate.

Brad Nelson took the words right out of my mouth in his article on the Magic: the Gathering mothership page (http://magic.wizards.com/en/events/coverage/gpcha16/bard-narson-goes-to-charlotte-2016-05-21) when he said that the deck is all about Junding them out and not about implicating synergy.

Jund – Brad Nelson – List Moving Forward

4 Dark Confidant
4 Tarmogoyf
3 Scavenging Ooze
3 Fulminator Mage

4 Liliana of the Veil

2 Thoughtseize
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Maelstrom Pulse
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Terminate
2 Abrupt Decay
2 Kolaghan’s Command

4 Verdant Catacombs
1 Stomping Ground
3 Raging Ravine
2 Overgrown Tomb
3 Bloodstained Mire
1 Blood Crypt
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
2 Wooded Foothills

1 Treetop Village
1 Forest
2 Swamp

Sideboard:
1 Thoughtseize
1 Fulminator Mage
1 Grim Lavamancer
1 Shatterstorm
3 Kitchen Finks
1 Duress
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
1 Crumble to Dust
2 Night of Soul’s Betrayal
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
1 Disfigure

That’s totally a sideboard Sword of Light and Shadow.

This list is much closer to something that I would register in a tournament tomorrow. There isn’t a “synergy” based card in the list. I have been testing Main Deck Fulminator Mage recently, and my-oh-my does it go miles. Jund loves to tie up an early game. Fulminator fills this role nicely. That being said, Fulminator Mage may or may not be a better top deck late game. In this build, the late game doesn’t have as much inevitability as a list with 3 powerful four-drops in it. Opportunity cost, if you will.

Speaking of four-drops, let’s get into those pieces of overpriced cardboard I would ever consider playing.

Huntmaster of the Fells – Ravager of the Fells

This card is much better than merely a sideboard card for burn. Late in the game, this card is arguably one of the best top-decks in Jund. Four power in two bodies for four that has strict upside if your opponent goes land go? My favorite place for this card is actually against the grindier decks of the format like the GBx mirror, GW Hatebears, and URx control decks. However, there is a card that is much better against URx control decks that needs mention.

Pia and Kiran Nalaar

This is by far my favorite four drop. Not only is this card better against blue decks than Huntmaster, getting three bodies and four power for the same price, but it’s MUCH better against Infect, Affinity, and even Tron. This card is the definition of flexible. It can be aggressive, reactive, and defensive all at the same time! Right now, I’m hedging towards as little four-drops as possible, but these all-star parents may make the cut.

Olivia Voldaren

Expecting Eldrazi and x/1 creatures? This woman ain’t half bad in those situations either. This card can and most likely will take over a game against Infect or Affinity if you are graced with the ever-lucky “untap.” The only problem is that she is less impactful against control decks and hyper aggressive strategies with creatures that she doesn’t tag (Hexproof, Zoo, Burn). Also notable: Taking a Wurmcoil Engine feels great.

Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

It all comes back to the traitor. Kalitas is hip! It just requires a little bit of edged deckbuilding and a little “please let me untap” chanting, but hey, when the card’s good it’s great. It’s also pretty silly how fantastic he is against Abzan Coco. For me, right now, that deckbuilding isn’t something that I want to be doing. I want all of my spells to be great and I don’t ever want to worry about how good a card is based on if I untap with it or not.

Thrun, the Last Troll

This card is fantastic and feels like cheating every time I cast it against a deck with Islands, removal spells, or both. Highly recommend in the board.

Damnation

Do not be fooled into thinking that you are priced to play Damnation. Let’s think for a second. Most of the decks that you want to play Damnation against are decks where Anger of the Gods is just better. The only exception is against Eldrazi where you don’t need a four-mana answer to Terminate-able creatures that would just get taken by a Thought-Knot Seer anyways. The slot should be used for something else.

So…

Here lies my list that I will be playing moving forward:

Jund – Ben Meine 

4 Dark Confidant
4 Tarmogoyf
3 Fulminator Mage
2 Scavenging Ooze
1 Pia and Kiran Nalaar

4 Liliana of the Veil

4 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Terminate
2 Kolaghan’s Command
2 Thoughtseize
2 Abrupt Decay
1 Maelstrom Pulse

4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wooded Foothills
2 Stomping Grounds
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Blood Crypt
3 Raging Ravine
1 Treetop Village
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
2 Swamp
1 Forest

Sideboard:
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Feed the Clan
1 Crumble to Dust
1 Anger of the Gods
1 Painful Truths
1 Pia and Kiran Nalaar
1 Slaughter Pact
1 Duress
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
1 Night of Soul’s Betrayal
1 Shatterstorm
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Fulminator Mage

The list is tailored to not having to worry about how cards in my deck line up with each other. Just raw power, if you will. Let me talk about my sideboard choices before I let you beautiful people carry on your merry way!

Feed the Clan

No Kitchen Finks? How dare I. I have found that it is more difficult to cast Finks than what it’s worth. Regarding this topic, players respond with, “play Twilight Mire.” This is not a fair argument as that card is pretty gosh-darn terrible. As for reasons to play Feed the Clan, you see, gaining ten is pretty nuts against the decks where you want to play finks, outside of attrition matchups.

Engineered Explosives

Explosives is a great catch all against some of the lesser-popular, but still existent, aggro decks in the room. Matchups like, Merfolk, Boggles, and even the more popular matchups like affinity and infect can get majorly shaken up by this artifact. Rules note: if a Boggle has a one-mana totem armor effect attached to it, only the totem armor effect will die to an explosives on one, so the creature will survive.

Painful Truths

This is strictly for the control decks that are here in the meta now. They play Ancestral Vision. We need our own weapon to get back on cards. Most of the time, our cards are much better than theirs, as well, making our draw three slightly better.

In Closing

Jund is still strong. I almost lost hope running into infinite linear ramp strategies. But, after a couple weeks of focusing on standard I came back to modern delighted to see all of the attacking that was going on.

I’ll see you in the ring!

2 responses to “Choosing the Right Flavor of Modern Jund

  1. Pingback: Choosing the Right Flavor of Modern Jund – Colecty.com·

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