Welcome back to another edition of The Modern World! This week I will be discussing a deck simply known by its shard on the plane of Alara. Jund in name has been around since Alara and was very strong in that Standard. It felt great to cast Bloodbraid Elf and cascading into Blightning. Then who can forget the Standard season where Huntmaster of the Fells, Olivia Voldaren, and Thragtusk got to join forces for far too long.
Well in Modern this deck has access to better mana, better creatures, and better spells, making it the best of the good stuff decks. The lists can vary depending on the meta but here is a recent list from the last SCG open.
Todd Anderson took this list to a top 8 finish, losing to Tom Ross’s Tron in the quarterfinal. Tron has not been too popular recently and you can see that Todd’s sideboard did not have any Fulminator Mage for the match up. Ignoring that let’s look at some of the core cards that you will see in every Jund deck and then talk about some of the cards that can make an appearance.
First up are the creatures. These two are in almost every Jund deck
Both of these green 2 drops are essential to the strategy of Jund. They are both low costed but efficient threats and work with the plan of disrupting your opponent and forcing your opponent to deal with your threats. Tarmogoyf gets bigger with the spells you cast and every Jund player loves of the opening play of Thoughtseize into Goyf usually making him a 2 mana 3/4. Scavenging Ooze or Scooze as he is affectionately called is another cheap threat with huge upside. Ooze can also disrupt your opponent and take apart their graveyard while gaining you life and growing Ooze for each green mana you spend. Not too shabby.
Now besides those 2 the creatures can widely vary here are some of the flex creatures.
These are the main other 3 that see play with Dark Confidant making a comeback in popularity. It is obvious the Confidant is a great card. In this deck he is a source of card advantage that helps you take control of a game. A lot of time it eats an early removal spell but that is still something you will not mind too often. However even getting to untap once is a huge advantage.
Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet is a great maindeck answer for all of the Dredge decks going around. Having access to both Kalitas and Ooze really increase your game ones against the broken graveyard decks. Kalitas is also just great against creature decks in general. He is another source of lifegain and with all of the removal Jund has he can bring his own army of Zombies with him.
Lastly there is Huntmaster of the Fells. This former Standard all-star is showing up in lists because of the sheer value it gives a deck like Jund. 4 mana for 4 power and 2 life is pretty great. That alone is great but of course it flips. A 4/4 trampler that deals damage to a creature and player is always nice and the fact that you can hold up removal letting him transform and then cast the 2 spells to flip him back is fantastic.
The discard spells are pretty self-explanatory. You use them to weaken your opponent’s hand so you can gain the advantage with your other spells and creatures. I mentioned earlier how one of the best openers is a discard spell followed by a Goyf.
The 4 main removal spells of the deck although there are others that see play like Slaughter Pact. These 4 are the best answers should always have a place in the deck. Lightning Bolt is a constant 4 of and is the main reasons to play Jund. Terminate is the other reason and I like having 3-4 of it as well.
Both Maelstrom Pulse and Abrupt Decay vary in numbers depending on the meta. Pulse is great against Lingering Souls tokens and other permanents. Decay shines against Infect and Death's Shadow aggro where the size of the creature doesn’t matter just the mana cost. It can also answer pretty much any other permanent except for those pesky creature lands.
Kolaghan's Command really took Modern and Legacy by storm and the fact that it fits so nicely in this deck is gross. Jund didn’t need much more but it always seems to pick something up.
Liliana of the Veil is probably the 2nd best planeswalker. Being 3 mana and fitting into Jund just gives the deck even more value. It is a way to fill up the graveyard for Goyf or Ooze and it can tick down to help against Infect or Bogles. If you are able to ultimate it is pretty much lights out.
Those are just the core cards. One of the best things about Jund is the way that it can adapt and change to fit the metagame. Need more removal? Add it in. Need sweepers? You have access to great ones in the form of Anger of the Gods or Damnation. Want to be even grindier? You can add cards like Tasigur, The Golden Fang or Painful Truths.
The sideboard can be easily changed as well and usually has pieces to fight any type of deck. Something I would definitely pack going forward would be at least 3 Fulminator Mages. If Tron picks up traction due to Tom Ross winning with it then you need those creatures to fight it off. It also works well with (Kolaghan’s Command).
Now I wanted to touch briefly on Abzan as well. Abzan is basically Jund but you swap out the red for white. Why would you do that? Well it can depend on the meta. What does Abzan gain?
These are the main gains from going into white. Now when Path to Exile is the better removal spell or when having 1/1 flyers is good that is when Abzan really shines. Siege Rhino is obviously a good threat as well and can end the game or pull you way ahead.
The other big bonus you get from Abzan is the white sideboard cards like Rest in Peace and Stony Silence It can be personal preference as to which you play but I think that Jund still has the edge against the larger majority of the field.
So how to you beat this style of “Good Stuff” or value deck? I don’t think I can give one clear cut answer but I have a few suggestions. One of the best things to do is bring a control deck to the party. Grixis, Jeskai, or even just straight U/W can all be excellent answers to Jund. When you have things like Spell Snare and Cryptic Command you can counter their spells and really pull ahead in the game. Just make sure you have a win condition that can close the game out without giving them a chance to get back into it.
Another option is to try and go above them with a deck like Tron. I already mentioned how bad the matchup can be for Jund. Most of time their removal does not line up well against your threats and you can take over the game.
Lastly I suggest going under them. You can do this a few ways. A truly hyper aggressive deck like Burn or Zoo or even Infect can get the job done. You just have to play fast and hope they don’t have the answer for your threat. One of the frustrating things about playing against Jund is that it can seem like they always have it. Another option is something like Ad Nauseam combo. It is possible to squeeze out a win before they can rip your hand apart or stop you.
There are a ton of decks in Modern and Jund cannot have the answers to all of them but that doesn’t stop it from trying. If you are going to play it check out the meta first. Know your enemy and plan accordingly. If you are trying to beat it then pack some threats that are really hard for it to handle. Go over the top or way under and hope to achieve victory that way.
I hope you gained some insight and next time I will be covering Bant Eldrazi. Until next time!!