Jund in Modern

Jon Delano

Jund is the best deck in Modern. I’ve believed this since the days of Deathrite Shaman and Bloodbraid Elf. With those cards finding their way onto the ban list (#FreeBBE) the playing field has been leveled a little bit, but Jund still has the most consistent and innately powerful lines. With the RPTQ being Modern, I naturally decided to sleeve up Jund. I struggled to a four and three record, but felt the deck seemed well positioned. I will be playing a similar seventy five at Grand Prix Pittsburgh.

The Deck
Jund is a true value deck. Meaning that the games will usually be grindy, relying on the ability to get as much value from each of your cards as possible. It has as close to a 50/50 matchup against most tier one decks as it gets. On a card to card basis Junds cards are more powerful than any other deck, and relies on answering opposing threats one for one. Then pulling ahead with superior card quality. Often times the games will come down to a top deck war, but your top decks are just so much better than the opponents. This is the seventy five I will be playing at GP Pittsburg.

The Creatures

The two drops: Tarmogoyf, Dark Confidant, and Scavenging Ooze. These guys are the bread and butter of the deck.

Tarmogoyf is the beater, his role is just to come down, be huge, and represent a fast clock when ahead or a wall when behind.

Dark Confidant has one purpose and that is to draw extra cards. He is best on turn two and usually dies, but an unanswered Dark Confidant will bury your opponent in card advantage.

Scavenging Ooze is the trickiest of the two drops in the deck. I am most likely the only maniac that runs four, but this card is just so good. A lot of people make the argument that “the second Ooze is always significantly worse than the first” which is true.. unless the first one dies. Having four means its safe to run one out on turn two and not care if it dies. The tricky part about Ooze is the timing involved in using his ability. It’s important to leave up green mana against snapcaster decks to eat any spell they target. The same idea against decks that play bolt effects. Growing the ooze to a 4/4 is important, but in order to keep him safe from a three damage spell you need three green sources and at least two creatures in a yard. Another thing to note, is be careful what you eat. The deck plays Tasigur and Kolaghan’s command and once cards are eaten by ooze you can no longer get them back.

The rest: Olivia Voldaren, Tasigur, the Golden Fang and Pia and Kiran Nalaar. These guys are often finishes and cards that if you get to untap with you win the game.

Olivia is a game ender. Being able to ping away all their smaller creatures and take all the big ones makes short work of your opponent. The drawback is that she is slow and requires a lot of mana to get going.

Tasigur is another source of card advantage with a 4/5 body that usually costs one black. he’s great, the only worry is revealing him off a Dark Confidant. Be smart with your delves and think about what you may need back, and try not to shrink the Tarmogoyfs to much.

Pia and Kiran Nalaar is a new edition to the list. I have had very little gameplay with them. The card has seemed great. It deals with a lot of problem cards for Jund as well as just making three creatures for four mana. The thopters block all the pesky affinity cards(even Etched Champion) and get around the protection cards of infect and they trade with half of lingering souls.

The Spells

The Removal: Lightning Bolt, Abrupt Decay, Terminate, Maelstrom Pulse and Kolaghan’s Command.

Lighting Bolt, Terminate and Abrupt Decay are the general answer package. The idea is to answer your opponents threats one for one with these until you pull ahead with the creatures and planeswalkers. Depending on the matchup determining in what order to use them can be tricky. Some lists have been cutting down on Abrupt Decay, but I think this is wrong. Decay is a catchall for random things that Bolt and Terminate can’t answer as well as hitting Blood Moon and shoring up the Splinter Twin matchup.

Maelstrom Pulse and Kolaghan’s Command are the unique pieces of removal. Pulse may actually be the worst card in the deck. It’s clunky and slow, but it’s needed as a bigger catchall. Every now and then Pulse can also blow out an opponent by killing multiple copies of the same named card. Command is very versatile and all modes are great in the deck. It’s a two for one every time in a deck that thrives off of grinding advantages.

The Discard: Thoughtseize, Inquisition of Kozilek.

Information is a powerful thing in a game of Magic. Thoughtseize and Inquisition play the role of disrupting your opponents plan, protecting your creatures and providing perfect information. They allow you to set up your hand to perfectly deal with theirs, which is very important in a deck playing such a diverse removal suite. They also allow you to see if the coast is clear, whether or not its safe to slam a Tarmogoyf or a Dark confidant.

The Planeswalkers

Last but certainly not least is Liliana Of the Veil. She’s everything the deck wants in one card. Her plus is basically a discard spell every turn that grows Tarmogoyf and feeds Ooze. Her minus is removal, and she’s also a win condition. If she can be protected long enough to ultimate the game is just over.

The Lands

The land base is pretty basic. The only things worth noting is that I run two forests instead of two swamps which is the norm. I do this because of the four Oozes in the main as well as most of the answers to Blood Moon in the Sideboard are green. Raging Ravine will kill more opponents than any other card in the deck. The card is great, be careful not to animate it into an opposing bolt. A trick that can be done with Ravine is that if the game goes long and you have eight lands plus Ravine it can be activated twice and when it attacks it gets two 1/1 counters.

The Sideboard

This is the hardest part about the Jund deck. There is a saying, “If Jund had a twenty five card sideboard, it would never lose a match.” With only fifteen spots we need as few narrow cards as possible. Meaning we want are cards to be good in as many matchups as possible even if they might be slightly worse than a different card that’s better at one specific matchup.

Fulminator Mage is close to being good enough to main deck at this point. He’s great against so many decks including Affinity, Jund, Infect, Tron, Scapeshift and burn. Being able to cut people off of their colors or destroying manlands can be back breaking.

Feed the Clan is just for burn. This is the only truly narrow card in the Sideboard, but it’s needed. I know that people like to board this in against creature based agro decks, but I think that tends to be wrong. The creatures are reoccurring sources of damage so the feed doesn’t actually solve the problem.

Anger of the Gods is your sweeper. It comes in against any decks going wide with small creatures like Affinity, Tokens, Collected Company and Zoo.

Obstinate Baloth is what it looks like, a big green creature that gains life. He’s good against burn and small ground creature decks like Zoo. He’s also good against any decks playing Liliana or Kolaghan’s command because surprise 4/4’s are great.

Kitchen Finks and Thragtusk have a similar use to Baloth. They are good against Burn as well as the ground creature based aggressive decks. They are also good against any deck with a lot of removal, for example other Jund decks.

Deglamer and Unravel the Aether have two main jobs, and that is to get rid of Keranos, God of Storm and Wurmcoil Engine (Ha! No tokens for you). A resolved one is nearly unbeatable for Jund. I usually side these in against any deck playing red and blue. They also answer Blood Moon and are good against other decks such as Affinity and Boggles.

Golgari Charm is another catch all card. All three modes can be relevant in the deck. Charm acts as a mini instant speed wrath against tokens, infect and affinity and can destroy Blood Moon and other random problematic enchantments. The regenerate clause is the one used the least but every now and then it counters a supreme verdict.

Ancient Grudge and Shatterstorm are pretty self explanatory. They are great against decks playing a lot of artifacts. That’s about it.

Jund is a fun deck that reward good play as well as a knowledge of the modern format. Thanks for reading, hope to see you all at Grand Prix Pittsburgh.

-Jon D

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