Constructed Accumulated Knowledge – Modern – Faeries Ep. 3

Kevin Jones finishes his 3 part series showcasing Modern Faeries with a game against Jund Deathshadow.

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Falcon Fly By: When the Zoo Fights Back

Welcome back!

Today I would like to talk about one of my favorite things to do in every format! No, I mean besides playing Jund. Chaining Burning-Tree Emissary! It really is a great feeling. I’ve done it in every format that it was legal in, minus Vintage. Some of you might be thinking, “Wait, you did this in Legacy?” Why yes, yes I did. It was some of the most fun I have ever had playing magic and I was the talk of the tournament that day. While talking to friends about how I did random bystanders would say to me, “You’re the guy!” It was a blast. The opponents I beat, and those that I didn’t, were all interesting. Ranging from those who loved the idea to some who were probably pretty close to choking me out after we were done.

My very first round opponent was on Temur Delver. The board state was my two Burning-Tree Emissary’s versus his Tarmogoyf. I had either Path or Swords in had as a removal spell and a Ghor-Clan Rampager. So I lead with the removal spell. It was met with a Force of Will pitching blue card. I accepted my fate and moved to combat (no need to crew, so it was a safe move) I attacked with both of my Emissaries. He elected to block with his Tarmogoyf. I tapped the two required mana and attempted to bloodrush my Ghor-Clan Rampager. It would give my Emissary +4/+4 and trample until end of turn. It was met with a Stifle. I got a Ghor-Clan Rampager bloodrush stifled. To this day I am fairly certain that I am the only person in magic history to have a bloodrush stifled. It was really terrible for me at the time. My opponent ran away with the game after that.

I ended the day at 5-4 which is a positive record! The deck was primarily Standard with a few actual legacy cards. Lightning Bolts, Path to Exiles, and a few Taigas. I even beat Omni Tell. It was a fantastic day. I played the deck again with more fetches and dual lands in a legacy tournament. I ended up in the top 8 falling to Temur Delver in the first round. After losing two matches to that deck I am convinced it is a bad matchup, but that’s okay. Moving onto what I am really talking about.

MODERN REVOLT ZOO!

What we have received recently is a godsend. We have received more copies of Burning-Tree Emissary! Hidden Herbalists is the newest BTE on the block and they are just as awesome! They don’t have the ability to chain into a Reckless Bushwacker, but we have ways of fixing that. We also have a better Kird Ape in Narnam Renegade. With all of these tools the old Bushwacker Zoo decks have gotten much better. Old lists included both the Reckless Bushwackers and Goblin Bushwacker. With the upgrades this deck has received, I believe that it is finding its way to tier 1.

Here is the list I would start with:

What I love about this deck is how it can be degenerate while still being a creature deck. On my spectrum of combo decks this one falls into the least consistent while being the most explosive. When I speak of consistency I mean decks along the lines of Burn and Affinity. Generally all of their cards do the same thing. So any reasonable seven card hand is okay to work with. The less consistent, but more explosive decks being Goryo’s Vengeance. Or the new Eldrazi version playing Kari Zev’s Expertise, Sram’s Expertise, Breaking//Entering, and Beck//Call. Where some seven card hands are unbeatable and others are well off the spectrum of playable, but when you are playing the decks with much less consistency and more explosiveness, you will generally have ways to filter your draws. The ability to sculpt your hands and find the lines to win is a big part of playing these style of combo decks.

Revolt Zoo happens to be one of the more consistent decks with a lot of explosive power. You will have some hands with just a bunch of one drop creatures and a spell. They are very reasonable keeps, and if you can start double spelling early then you can get ahead. You can also have the turn one 14 damage attack hand. This hand just received a boost in consistency with 8 total Burning-Tree Emissary effects. Your hand simply needs a fetchland, Simian Spirit Guide, Burning-Tree Emissary, Reckless Bushwacker, and 3 more of either Burning-Tree or Hidden Herbalists. This totals into a 14 power, hasty attack on turn 1 and a win on turn 2, even through a removal spell.

With a list like this I am okay with sacrificing some consistency for a lot of explosive power. Something like this will be very hard for decks to handle. Everyone assumes you can gain life and be okay, but without actually dealing with the threats on the board, no amount of life will suffice. Other than infinite life out of the Abzan Company decks, of course. Wraths should generally be too slow to handle something like this as well.

Also with Death’s Shadow being the most recent flavor of the month, and not having a combo finish anymore, your opponent contributing to their life loss is always welcomed. We also have four creatures with deathtouch to deal with the larger threats from the Jund decks. I am okay with serving for 1-2 damage with my Narnam Renegade after I have attacked for 10+ damage.

One tiny thing that people will forget about, and something that reminds me why Rancor is in the deck (other than being really, really ridiculously good looking, of course), is how well it plays with the two newest Aether Revolt cards. Trying to equip it to a creature creates a need for your opponent to respond and stop it from happening. Boom, revolt triggered. It plays well with Hidden Herbalists which adds double green upon entering with revolt. The best part is how well it plays with Narnam Renegades. Deathtouch and trample play very, very well together. Trample states that anything beyond lethal damage to the creature can be assigned elsewhere. Deathtouch requires only 1 point of damage to be dealt to the creature to destroy it. The rest tramples over. So your 4/3 Renegade always tramples over for 3 damage.

As for sideboarding, what I would recommend to you is less on the play and more on the draw. You will be ahead when you are on the play and will not need all of the Tin Street Hooligans, Stony Silence, and Forked Bolts vs Affinity. I personally would just side in the Tin Streets and the Forked Bolts. They are still threats and burn spells on an empty board where Stony Silence sits there and doesn’t do anything by itself. When you are on the draw I can see boarding a bit heavier and planning for a bit longer of a game.

The hardest thing about this deck that I have found is creature sequencing. In which order do I cast my creatures? A general order would be as follows:

Turn 1:

Experiment OneWild NacatlNarnam RenegadeKird ApeGoblin Guide

Turn 2 With a Reckless Bushwacker:

Hidden HerbalistsBurning-Tree Emissary

Turn 2 with multiple green cards:

Burning-Tree EmissaryHidden Herbalists

Now how is that so hard? Well, not all hands flow into these simple examples. Take for example this hand:

Experiment OneNarnam RenegadeWooded FoothillsKird ApeRancor
Hidden HerbalistsGoblin Guide

Which do we cast first? The given pick order clearly states how we go about this. In this a hand we are getting all green mana when we revolt our two drop. To try to stay as mana efficient as possible we would actually cast the Kird Ape first. To increase our damage potential we would cast the Experiment One. What if it takes turns before we draw our second land? We would cast the Narnam Renegade first to get the most effect out of our cards. It becomes more and more complicated with hands like this.

Thanks for reading everyone!

As always stay humble and stay hungry!

~Falcon~

Twitter @MTG_Falcon
MTGO: CaptainSarang

Falcon Fly By: Modern Musings

the-falcon-fa

Hey Everyone!

Its been a while since my last article. I’ve had some things going on recently and it has made it tough to regularly attend events or write articles. But I am making a comeback and I will be regularly producing content! You will be seeing content from me twice a month and I hope that you enjoy what I bring for you!

It’s currently modern season for the Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifiers. I wanted to take some time and write about a few things I’ve been focusing on while I am planning on attending some PPTQs as well as the WMCQ in Nanuet NY in mid September.

Modern is a format that rewards what you know quite a bit. The format is very diverse and at any given tournament you will see more decks than you could ever prepare for. But it is also a meta game format where certain strategies will be less effective on certain weekends. We saw the numbers of decks like Abzan Company and Bogles go down because of Dredge and Jund respectively. The hate people were bringing for Dredge negatively affected Company and Jund being as strong and popular as it is pushed Bogles back.

The other factor when considering the meta game at any given tournament is how expensive modern is and how easily accessible the cards are. At a single tournament Abzan Company could be wildly unplayable. But there will be someone at an open with the deck. Why? Because its their Modern deck. Its what they have access to. You can only borrow so many cards from someone. It gets harder when that person is attending the tournament as well. I know this very well because anytime I play Tarmogoyf I am borrowing it from a friend. It hasn’t happened at a large tournament yet, but if we were both to play legacy I would have to give him back the Goyfs. So card availability is very real in this format.

Tarmogoyf

Tarmogoyf – Modern Masters

For those who know me I am a Jund mage. Thoughtseize into Tarmogoyf is like waking up and having my morning cup of coffee. Something that I always do, but still puts my mind at ease. Kind of sad because I don’t own my own Goyfs. I don’t rely on the meta game matchups as much because it’s just about a 45% chance to win. Knowing I have a chance in every single matchup is a great feeling. Playing burn against Birthing Pod back in the day was not that. You were not even remotely favored. Every little move you made was “should I do this? Or leave up mana for skullcrack?” 90% of the time it was skullcrack.

The decks I am considering for the WMCQ, which is the most important event on my current schedule, are Burn (not sure if Naya or just RW), Grixis, and Jund.

Looking at them on paper none of them have a good burn matchup. And if we look at the most recent large modern tournament results you will see Lava Spikes all over the place. So going into my testing I’m considering decks that have bad matchups vs. an easy to acquire deck that has had good results lately. It is a tough decision, but what makes me hopeful is:

  • That in the next few weeks people will bring their hate and start pushing burn back a bit.
  • Getting lucky vs. that deck. Burns best draws are sometimes unbeatable.
  • The stigma behing playing “that deck.” Many people dislike decks like Burn, Naya Blitz, and Boss Sligh. They believe that they are the I don’t have to think and get easy win decks.
  • This is more like 3.5 but I know many grinders and high skill players that don’t want to leave the fate of their tournament in the hands of a deck like burn.

I’m saying all of these things and yet I’m considering a deck like burn myself. Why is that? Well in any tournament you attend how great is it to have byes? I’ll answer for you. Its phenomenal, you just get free wins. So what part of free wins do we dislike so much? People refuse to play these decks because of the stigma associated with them…. Me? I like free wins. Oh, your deck is easy and pilots itself? That’s fine, please pilot yourself to signing the slip 2-0 in my favor. Do I sign up for this with the knowledge that I will be unable to control some rounds in my tournament? Yes, but if this was a free win deck that came with controlling a tournament, then wouldn’t everyone play it?

Every deck comes with a consequence when choosing it and that’s where the knowledge of your deck gives you and edge. I know and love Jund, it gives me a chance in all matchups. I love Burn’s free wins even in bad matchups. I like the power and consistency of Grixis on paper even though I’ve never played the deck, so over the next two weeks I’m going to be testing all of these decks and seeing what I feel like is the best choice for this tournament.

It seems that a lot of the pros decided that Abzan was the best flavor of Jund for the World Championship. Abzan is very strong and has some great hate cards such as Rest in Peace, Stony Silence, and Anafenza, the Foremost. I have always disliked the mana in that deck, but with the new enemy fastlands in Kaladesh, that deck will get much better. I personally like Jund better. Lightning Bolt is quite the card and is a 4 of in each of the decks I’m considering. Lightning Bolt into Tarmogoyf is both an aggressive strat and a controlling one. Bolt, Snapcaster Mage, flashing back Lightning Bolt is the same. Its 6 damage plus a 2/1 or its destroy 3 target creatures.

After having spent some time looking up results and deciding on what deck I believe suits me the best currently I am leaning towards Jund and Grixis. I believe that Burn will be a decent deck but I am hoping that people start packing some real hate and the Burn players start feeling the “heat.” I really like the way this Grixis list looks on paper and how it can 2 for 1 better than Jund. But we will see where I end up by the time my next article comes out. Just know that I am currently playing Liliana, the Last Hope. More than one, something like three. I always said that I liked the card in Grixis best. It just plays so well with Snapcaster Mage, Tasigur, and Gurmag Angler. The plus 1 doing so well against Spirit Tokens and the plethora of 1 toughness creatures takes so much pressure off of your spot removal and in my current testing is running very smoothly.

To wrap up I would just like to let everyone know that at the end of the day Magic is a game. So we should have fun with it! Thanks everyone for taking the time to read this and I will make sure to share my final list with everyone after the tournament!

As always, stay humble and stay hungry
~Falcon~

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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