Isn’t there a little “Jund” in all of us? The Shard has shown that combining strong midrange creatures, a little ramp, and the best removal in the format is a recipe for success. So it’s no surprise to see a new Jund deck in Standard capitalizing on these very qualities.
Black and red give you some incredible removal spells to control the board. Fatal Push is the best of the bunch—a surefire way to regain any tempo and kill many of the most important threats in the format. But a playset of Fatal Pushes isn’t enough to handle the early aggressive creatures that populate the format. Lightning Strike and Abrade help there, and can even take down a planeswalker or Vehicle as well.
For bigger creatures, you have Walk the Plank and Unlicensed Disintegration. They’re harder to cast, but sometimes that Glorybringer just needs to die. Against slower decks with some of the bigger creatures in the format (I’m looking at you, The Scarab God), you have Doomfall to act as a split card to remove a threat or mess with the opponent’s hand. For just a slightly bigger mana investment, Vraska’s Contempt will deal with even the toughest creatures and planeswalkers.
One of the bigger weaknesses of black removal arises when opponents go wide. Token strategies, or even just Whirler Virtuoso, can be problematic. Bontu’s Last Reckoning may cost you an arm and a leg, but a sweeper is so punishing against so many opponents.
For additional interaction, Walking Ballista can handle the early creatures, act as a late game mana sink, and finish your opponent off. You can even ping your own creatures to trigger enrage.
Ranging Raptors combos nicely with Walking Ballista get all of your basics out of your deck. This mana ramp allows you to cast your powerful spells and keep putting counters onto the Ballista for later use. Raptors is also a nice blocker in the middle stages of the game as even chump blocking will ramp you to 5 and 6 mana to cast your big spells. If an opponent is forced to use their Harnessed Lightning or Abrade on this, you get max value.
Your ramp brings an exciting top end to your curve. It starts with Glorybringer as a way to continue your plan of removing all of the creatures on the battlefield. The 4/4 flying, haste hits hard and often takes an opposing creature down with it. If they can’t deal with it immediately, Glorybringer will just end the game. Noxious Gearhulk is another finisher that doubles as removal. Even against an opponent with lots of removal capable of dealing with all of your threats, Carnage Tyrant is at the top of your curve to close out any game. Uncounterable and hexproof means that they’re going to need a bunch of creatures to block or a sweeper, and Jund makes sure there are never many blockers.
When creatures aren’t enough, Jund offers a planeswalker suite to finish the job. If they have to tap out to deal with your threats, the planeswalkers will be safe to resolve, and you have tons of removal to keep them safe. Chandra, Torch of Defiance offers card advantage and more removal while also being a win condition all on her own. Nissa, Vital Force can hit hard, but is more likely a source of card advantage. One tick up to protect her and the ultimate is on, and this ultimate combos particularly well with Ranging Raptors. Vraska, Relic Seeker is the top of your planeswalker curve and can control the board, provide an attack force, and then kill your opponent from a high life total thanks to the ultimate.
Arguel’s Blood Fast is another way to get ahead on cards while acting as a potential ramp spell. You have big creatures to gain you needed life in the late game, and from there you can use all of your removal and planeswalkers to close out the game.
No matter the format, it’s always a mistake to count out Jund. This Standard is no exception, as B/G/R midrange is a powerful weapon once again!