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Meta-Jund

June 1, 2010

Many people have suggested adding green or blue to my B/R Persecutor Beatdown deck because being in a full shard would add a lot of potentially powerful cards. The reason I never did this was that the deck strategy didn’t gain a lot by having those additional cards, and the small benefits gained were totally offset by the stretched and slower manabase that three color decks tend to suffer from. Obviously three color decks can work and be quite powerful *cough* Mythic Bant *cough* Jund *cough* Naya. They have different victory paths, which means different card choices and land choices. Often they are not nearly as hindered by tapped lands as my deck which had to hit a third land that came into play untapped to be functional.

The deck that we all love to hate and that loves to play some tapped lands, Jund, is still a top tier deck in standard.  It’s fortunate in being able to adjust to metagames unlike most other strategies.  Jund sways from removal heavy, to removal light, to removal non-existant and all builds can be right depending on the metagame.   U/W Control has a lot less flex room, and mythic is basically a one trick pony.   So, how do we build a better Jund or rather know what build is right given our expected metagame?   Hopefully I’m able to explain my process of deckbuilding and apply it to Jund as I would build it today given the results of GP:DC.

Building a Better (for the current standard) Jund

Step 1)  Know what decks are going to be popular and how those decks plan to win the game.

For example U/W tapout plans to kill you by mitigating as much early damage as possible and then start casting haymakers like Martial Coup for a million, or Mindspring you right out of the game.  They have back up plans of man-land beatdown, or planeswalker activations.   The real power of U/W is the non-interaction of sweepers combined with planeswalkers and man-lands.   Over commiting to the board against Day of Judgement is a bad plan normally.   To mitigate the effect of sweepers we want cards like Vengevine or Sprouting Thrinax.   Four power or evasion is good against U/W as Wall of Omens really helps them reach the critical stages of the game.

Jund wants to kill us with card advantage machines of Bloodbraid Elf, Siege-gang Commander, Blightning, man-lands, and Maestrom Pulse. To combat this since we are Jund we can play their game as well and just hope to hit the right cards before they do.   Another plan is to attack their manabase with cards like Goblin Ruinblaster or find a way to create more card advantage.  Good sources to consider are Sarkhan the Mad, Vengevine, or Consuming Vapors.

Mythic and its various builds want to kill you with the most effecient and strongest creatures printed since Tarmogoyf.   They have no real source of card advantage and just want to wear our removal and guys out and just beat our face in with some exhalted beatstick.   To beat them we can attack their mana guys (but this is only good on turns 1 and 2) or we can punish their manabase (can’t believe i’m saying it but stone rain would be SOOOO GOOD in standard) or just play more guys than they do and faster. Targeted removal and consuming vapors do a good job of making this matchup winnable.   Mythic can be explosive, but it lacks real removal or ways to recovery from an attrition war. Luckily these are all things Jund is good at doing.

Similar to Mythic, in my opinion, Naya has a plan of just playing good beaters and swinging until you die.  No way to get card advantage or recovery from a long battle. Sure now they have Vengevine but so do we.   They have a terrible terrible plan of using cunning sparkmage + basalisk collar to hopefully kill all your dudes or at least make it card to catch up.   Honestly, those are two mediocre cards that when combined are still mediocre.  Also you are using slots in you deck for main deck cunning sparkmage…. really?   The best card in their deck is Behemoth Sledge as it allows them to force damage through and gain the life needed to live until that next Ranger of Eos, or Bloodbraid Elf to get them back into the game.

Step 2)  Determine what the core of your deck should be based on the popular decks.

For us I see Vengevine as being a vital building piece as it has game against every deck in the format and a key power of 4.   It’s a card I honestly think becomes poop after Shards block rotates as its just a dude with limited ways to recur but that’s another story for a few months down the road.

4x Vengevine

Sprouting Thrinax allows us to do some pretty sick things in long attrition wars and it can kill opposing vengevines.  Not a bad card and gets better with item #3

4x Sprouting Thrinax

Of all planeswalkers ever printed I’m still of the impression this guy is the weakest, but honestly that’s not saying much. Planeswalkers are all incredibly powerful and when played right and in the right deck can be some of the scariest spells this side of Dominaria.

4x Vengevine
4x Sprouting Thrinax
3x Sarkhan the Mad

This is our core 11 cards for our Jund deck expecting to play at least 26 lands.  This leaves around 23 maindeck cards.

Step 3)  Determine Support/Metagame cards that we will want to see in the majority of match ups

This is the part where Jund accels over most other decks. We have a lot of choices on maindeck configuration. A recent trend started is to cut Blightning and this change is 100% correct. Also, as we will get to later, Jund has the most sideboard options to choose from for their specific metagame.   The other half of the Blightning combo, Bloodbraid Elf, is still a perfect card for our deck as it will give card advantage, burst damage, and Vengevine recursion.

4x Bloodbraid Elf

Right now planeswalkers are very popular between U/W, Superfriends, and even in some versions of Mythic.   One of the most popular removal spells currently is Oblivion Ring which is an enchantment.   To battle these two cards we have Maelstrom Pulse.   Sure we might Bloodbraid into the pulse but honestly, that’s rarely a bad thing in such a permanant heavy environment.  Since Maelstrom Pulse is very strong in the current metagame and gets the nod.

3x Maelstrom Pulse

Currently, we have only 1 creature that we can cascade into besides Sprouting Thrinax so we need something to help out with the creature count. Considering we will probably hit a tapped land in our opener we don’t really want a one drop creature so skipping to two mana I choose you Lotus Cobra. Lotus cobra is amazing if you didn’t know.

4x Lotus Cobra

Up to 11 of the 23 additional slots.  With 12 card slots yet its crunch time. At this point our Bloodbraid Elf cascades can hit creatures 8/11 cascades which isn’t as high of a percentage as we’d like. Our manabase is heavy green, moderate red, and slightly black. Since Verdant Catacombs is the best fetchland for the deck since it can hit two actual colors I think going a little heavier on black would be a good idea. In that case Putrid Leech fits the bill.

4x Putrid Leech

Our deck is currently really really weak to Baneslayer Angel and fliers in general. These will need testing but based on the popularity of Naya, Bant, and U/W old trusty Malakir Bloodwitch is well situated. It’s also clunky though.

2x Malakir Bloodwitch

Right now we have Sarkhan and Pulse that can deal with creatures. That’s not ideal but also is kind of normal for Jund.   Since we want our cascades to get back vengevines we are limited on good removal options. Consuming Vapors can be insane but it is slow and again clunky.

2x Consuming Vapors

The last 4 cards is a good place for “tech”.  For these last 4 slots I actually think adding 1 land since we want to play more basic and fetch’s.  The last three are going to be Goblin Ruinblaster.

3x Goblin Ruinblaster

Creatures: 25
4x Lotus Cobra
4x Putrid Leech
4x Sprouting Thrinax
3x Goblin Ruinblaster
4x Bloodbraid Elf
4x Vengevine
2x Malakir Bloodwitch

Sorceries: 5
3x Maelstrom Pulse
2x Consuming Vapors

Planeswalkers:
3x Sarkhan the Mad

Lands: 27
4x Verdant Catacombs
4x Raging Ravine
3x Lavaclaw Reaches
5x Forest
4x Swamp
3x Mountain
2x Savage Lands
1x Scalding Tarn
1x Misty Rainforest

SB:
4x Blightning
2x Malakir Bloodwitch
4x Jund Charm
3x Lightning Bolt
1x Maelstrom Pulse
1x Goblin Ruinblaster

That’s all I got.   Sure it’s similar to Mike Flores Monster Truck Jund but that’s because i’m sure he uses a similar process when designing a deck.  If I can get the Pulses I will be sleeving this up for my next PTQ.

Thanks for reading,

Andrew

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