Analyzing Jund in Modern

Dmitriy Butakov

Dmitriy Butakov

Introduction

Hey everyone!

The Banned and Restricted Announcement has been made and it’s quite a shake-up for Modern. With 《Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis》 and 《Faithless Looting》 gone there is a power vacuum the format has not seen in a while.

Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis

In the evolving metagame, I usually go with the Golden Rule of Modern #6 “Not sure what deck to play? Play Jund”. BGx strategies have always been the swiss knife of the format, but that 《Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis》 deck was as resistant to graveyard hate as a grave-based deck could be and was just way too fast.

Arclight PhoenixFaithless LootingYoung Pyromancer

The retirement of 《Faithless Looting》 also takes care of 2 more Jund’s natural enemies – Izzet Phoenix and Mardu Pyromancer (these matchups are not exactly terrible, but depending on your build they would be even at best).

Two Jund decks with the same 75 cards are truly a rare thing to see, although the core of the deck is usually the same, there is plenty of slots for you to make your custom list, given the suggestions you have about the coming tournament (then again, even if you have a battered build that had consistently won, it may be a good idea to run through it before each tournament, Modern is a very fast-changing format, some techs can become obsolete).

I’ll try to talk about what we have available and then put 75 together.

Main Deck

Let’s consider all our options card-by-card:

《Thoughtseize》 and 《Inquisition of Kozilek》

ThoughtseizeInquisition of Kozilek

The classic opener for a BGx, in an unknown field I’m comfortable with 5 or 6 main decks. I saw people playing 1 or 2 in the sideboard, but I don’t think that’s the sideboard card, 《Collective Brutality》 is way more flexible.

And I personally like 《Thoughtseize》 way more, most of the time you are going to be on the aggro plan and 2 life won’t matter, but it gives you a significant edge against Tron, Eldrazi Tron, 4C Urza and some control decks. It is worse against Burn and Humans, but you can easily adjust the sideboard to deal with them.

《Lightning Bolt》 and 《Fatal Push》

Lightning BoltFatal Push

On the Mythic Championship IV in Barcelona, I’ve played 4 《Lightning Bolt》 and 0 《Fatal Push》, the point was I wanted to always hit something off the Cascade, 《Fatal Push》 and 《Abrupt Decay》 are the cards that could be a blank Cascade. I’d say it won’t be a mistake to stick to that strategy in the future, but I’d rather have a couple of 《Fatal Push》 in the unknown meta.

《Tarmogoyf》

Tarmogoyf

The best green creature needs no introduction. At least for the first time, we are going to see a lot of equipment hitting the graveyard which increases the estimated size of 《Tarmogoyf》.

It also have some synergies with the addition from Modern Horizons, 《Wrenn and Six》 makes our Planeswalker count higher and 《Seasoned Pyromancer》 allows you to make it enormous on turn 3.

《Wrenn and Six》

Wrenn and Six

Parting ways with 《Dark Confidant》 was hard, but 《Wrenn and Six》 is just insane. It’s the paragon of a good Planeswalker card.

The [+1] gives you a huge advantage, even if you return just mana lands, it makes sure you won’t be color screwed. 《Scavenging Ooze》 will have enough green mana, 《Liliana of the Veil》 and 《Seasoned Pyromancer》 won’t discard your important cards. The [+1] also allows you to keep the pressure with the recurring 《Raging Ravine》, draw cards with 《Nurturing Peatland》 or attack opponent’s mana base with 《Ghost Quarter》.

There is plenty of something you can deal with 1 damage:

And of course, its ultimate is gonna close the game most of the time. Summarizing this I’d say there has to be a very specific metagame not to play 4 copies.

《Assassin’s Trophy》 and 《Abrupt Decay》

Assassin's TrophyAbrupt Decay

On the MC IV, I’ve played 4 《Assassin’s Trophy》 and 0 《Abrupt Decay》, but now things go tricky, both cards have advantages and only meta will determine which fits better. The main reason to play 《Assassin’s Trophy》 is Tron lands. I’ve played Tron on MC and won mostly thanks to 《Assassin’s Trophy》. Tron was always a bad matchup for BGx, now you can fight it game 1. Also, it takes care of the Eldrazi.

Jace, the Mind SculptorStoneforge MysticForce of Negation

《Assassin’s Trophy》 used to be better vs. UW Control because of 《Jace, the Mind Sculptor》 and 《Celestial Colonnade》, but now killing turn 2 《Stoneforge Mystic》 only to ramp them into 《Jace, the Mind Sculptor》 doesn’t seem a good option. However, you usually want to discard a 《Stoneforge Mystic》, not kill it.

Overall I think if the new UW with 《Stoneforge Mystic》 will rise, you’d be happy to have 《Force of Negation》 -proof 《Abrupt Decay》. I’ll start experimenting with splits between these two and a 《Fatal Push》 first.

《Liliana of the Veil》

Liliana of the Veil

There was a time when I tried to experiment with the proportion of 《Liliana of the Veil》 and 《Liliana, the Last Hope》, now I just don’t leave home without a playset of 《Liliana of the Veil》.

Seriously, if you expect you don’t wanna play it on every turn 3 this tournament, consider another deck. Just keep in mind it can get hit by a 《Force of Negation》. You would probably ask “Why the hell did you grab 4 Liliana deck to a field swarming with Hogaaks?”, the answer is simple, I’ve messed up with metagame prediction.

《Kolaghan’s Command》

Kolaghan's Command

4C Urza deck and the 《Stoneforge Mystic》 are going to increase the value of a 《Shatter》 mode by a lot, I’d rather play no less than 2 《Kolaghan’s Command》 main deck.

《Bloodbraid Elf》

Bloodbraid Elf

I saw Logan Nettles aka Jaberwocki plays 3 《Bloodbraid Elf》 sometimes, he’s a grandmaster of Jund magic and I’m sure he has his reasons, but for me, 4 is the number.

The Core

Probably in the 《Stoneforge Mystic》 -infested metagame you should run 6 discards, but I’ll start with a core looking like this:

That’s a total of 31 spells. Since we have 4 《Wrenn and Six》 I’ll try playing 23 lands with 8 Fetchlands, so we have 6 more slots to fill, here are the potential candidates:

《Hexdrinker》

Hexdrinker

It appears sometimes in the lists, but I’m not a fan. You wanna spend your mana differently up to turn 4, and then it still takes 2 full turns to make it relevant.

《Crashing Footfalls》

Crashing Footfalls

Another card that suits optimists. Thing is, let’s imagine it says “flip a coin, a) Create two 4/4s on turn 4 via Cascade, b) Create two 4/4s on turn 5 via Suspend”. The card is much worse than that, but even in this hypothetical situation will it be good enough for Modern? I’m not convinced.

《Scavenging Ooze》

Scavenging Ooze

Despite the graveyard decks are going to be underdogs for some time, I’d still keep a couple of 《Scavenging Ooze》. There are not much graveyard interactions beside 《Sword of the Meek》, 《Snapcaster Mage》 and 《Wrenn and Six》, but 《Scavenging Ooze》 is still a life gain machine and a considerable body in a grindy matches.

One more thing, graveyard-abusing strategies thrive on the unprepared, the new field with way less graveyard hate can give them a very fertile soil.

《Collective Brutality》

Collective Brutality

The card has incredible flexibility and gets along with 《Wrenn and Six》 very well. I didn’t like in the previous metagame, but now it may be a time for it.

Although, if you have some slots and want to play some 《Collective Brutality》 between main deck and sideboard, I recommend you to put all of them in your sideboard because there are some decks where it’s utterly devastating, but they are not many and card’s modes separately are not that great.

《Seasoned Pyromancer》

Seasoned Pyromancer

I have mixed feelings about that card. Is it a good Turn 3 play? Yes. Is it a good Cascade? Absolutely. Is it a good topdeck? Sometimes the best. And yet it feels a bit out of place, maybe that’s because of double red cost, but we’ve already switched 《Dark Confidant》 for 《Wrenn and Six》, there should be no problems casting it.

Also its graveyard ability looks overpriced, but when you think of it as a nice addition, not the card’s primary mode, it starts looking good. So far I can say only the best about the card, it shined on the MC, but I’ve not completely quit my suspicions yet, I’ll keep playing it and see what happens.

《Plague Engineer》

Plague Engineer

《Gray Ogre》 against some decks and an absolute beast against another, I’ve played one main deck and 2 more SB on the MC and was not impressed. The card, however, deserves some slots in the sideboard.

《Maelstrom Pulse》

Maelstrom Pulse

Reid Duke, another grandmaster of the deck, always plays at least one, but we’re on the 《Assassin’s Trophy》 plan.

Other Candidates and My Final Choices

Chandra, Acolyte of FlameYawgmoth, Thran PhysicianLightning SkelementalUnearth

We’re building an “Orthodox” Jund here, so I won’t speak about variants with 《Chandra, Acolyte of Flame》, 《Yawgmoth, Thran Physician》, 《Lightning Skelemental》, 《Unearth》 and etc., they do exist and may even be good, but that’s just another archetype.


Kolaghan's CommandSeasoned PyromancerScavenging Ooze

I’ve decided to put my faith in 《Kolaghan’s Command》, so the last 6 slots are going to be 1 more 《Kolaghan’s Command》, 3 《Seasoned Pyromancer》 and 2 《Scavenging Ooze》. The second option to consider is -1 《Seasoned Pyromancer》 +1 《Inquisition of Kozilek》 for a better start.

Mana Base

Now to the mana base:

Nothing very special here, there will be a lot of 《Path to Exile》 flying around, 4 basics sound OK. We are not relying on 《Scavenging Ooze》 as much as before and have 《Seasoned Pyromancer》, so I’m confident in 1 basic 《Mountain》 and 2 《Blood Crypt》 instead of 2 《Overgrown Tomb》.

Raging RavineNurturing Peatland

You will notice there are not much 《Wrenn and Six》 high-impact interaction, only 2 《Raging Ravine》 and 1 《Nurturing Peatland》, my point is that the Planeswalker is already insane, don’t try to squeeze it like a lemon by the cost of a ruined mana base.

Sideboard

Finally, the sideboard.

《Plague Engineer》

Plague Engineer

Against some decks this card is just bonkers, I’ll have some in the sideboard. The good thing is that you will side it as crowd control and it’s an easy swap for 《Liliana of the Veil》.

《Liliana, the Last Hope》

Liliana, the Last Hope

No, thank you. 《The engineer》 has already been employed.

《Collector Ouphe》and 《Ancient Grudge》

Collector OupheAncient Grudge

In this build we already have 3 《Kolaghan’s Command》 and I don’t think we need more 《Shatter》 effects. However, 《Collector Ouphe》 is great against Tron and 4C Urza, the decks wide represented.

Against Graveyard

Leyline of the VoidNihil SpellbombSurgical ExtractionAshiok, Dream Render

Just like the 《Scavenging Ooze》, in the brave new world we are not gonna need those things as much as before, but it doesn’t mean they should be forgotten. In the coming metagame I think 《Surgical Extraction》 is the best choice. It doesn’t seem you’ll need to clean up the whole graveyard and 《Surgical Extraction》 does its thing. It works well with discard spells and it gives you the information about opponent’s hand. I’ve heard a lot of good references to 《Ashiok, Dream Render》, like it‘s very universal, but it’s a turn 3 play, quite a lot can be happened before that turn.

《Collective Brutality》

Collective Brutality

Its full modes obliterates Burn and Infect, but also it is a good side-in option against control/combo decks, where you don’t wanna keep the removal spells in.

《Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet》

Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

End boss for aggro and midrange matchups and you only need to untap with him. Playing more than 1 will hurt your curve though.

《Abrupt Decay》, 《Assassin’s Trophy》 and 《Fatal Push》

Abrupt DecayAssassin's TrophyFatal Push

Having some more removal in the sideboard is kind of a usual choice in midrange decks, it allows you to adjust your fire configuration post sideboard. We already have 《Assassin’s Trophy》 and 《Fatal Push》 maindeck, so I’ll add some 《Abrupt Decay》.

《Fulminator Mage》,《Blood Moon》,《Alpine Moon》

Fulminator MageBlood MoonAlpine Moon

The Tron and Valakut package. Recently, I’ve fell in love with 《Alpine Moon》. Yes, the 《Fulminator Mage》 always makes it -1 land count and allows a devastating scenario with 《Surgical Extraction》 but it takes the whole 3rd turn. 《The Moon》 only costs a penny and you can just keep on the onslaught.

《Grim Lavamancer》

Grim Lavamancer

The card is not the best neighbor to 《Wrenn and Six》 and 《Tarmogoyf》, but it can really drive a wedge in the 《Stoneforge Mystic》 openings and do some damage to other creature based decks.

My Decklist and Conclusion

Right now I’ve came up with a deck like this.

I’ve played a few leagues with this build and am 85% positive to bring some Jund build to the Format Championship, it seems the long night for midrange decks is finally over.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the article and found it useful.

Thanks and see you in the leagues.

Dmitriy Butakov (Twitter)

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Dmitriy Butakov

Dmitriy Butakov A player from Russia who plays mainly on Magic Online. He was champion of the 2012 Magic Online Championship and in the following year, he top 4s the 2013 Magic Online Championship. In 2018, he becomes champion of the 2017 Magic Online Championship for the second time. Also, with his win at the Magic Online Championship, he achieved his prize to become a Platinum Level Pro. Having these tremendous results, in March 2018, he joins the Hareruya Pros. Read more articles by Dmitriy Butakov