I haven’t played Modern in a long time, but in preparation for WMCQ Rome, I playtested a ton of different decks and got to record many of them, which you’ll see in the coming weeks on CFB.
After all the results were in, I chose to play Jund, the best deck in the format.
I’ve already written about Jund in the past, but it’s a deck that never gets old or boring for me. Jund is still tier 1 and it has a huge pool of playable cards, so finding the perfect list is impossible and depends on which metagame you expect.
The newest additions to Modern are both are powerhouses against Jund.
Fighting Ancestral Vision is basically impossible, but you have plenty of ways to interact with Nahiri, the Harbinger. Dreadbore is a good answer, and I decided on a 1-of for the main deck. Even if they work very well with Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, I chose not to play any Slaughter Pact or Seal of Fire because I was expecting more Jund/Jeskai, and Kolaghan’s Command and Dreadbore are much better in those matchups.
Grim Lavamancer is another card that you don’t see often. It’s a powerful 1-drop that gets worse in multiples, but is very good on turn 1 against lots of decks.
This is the 75 that my team and I chose to play at the WMCQ Rome, where I placed 14th with a 7-2 score.
Jund’s sideboard is the most controversial part of any list—you have such a vast pool of cards that it’s difficult to decide on just 15.
We made a decision to not play Fulminator Mage, because it’s very rarely a good sideboard card—it’s more often a mediocre card that is just “good enough” in some matchups. For example, against Jeskai, Infect, Affinity, and Living End, if you have Fulminator Mage in your sideboard you’ll board it in, but you’re not going to be that excited about that. And if you ever want to board it in against Jund, don’t.
Fulminator Mage isn’t good in the mirror match—it’s only good on the play and in multiple copies. It’ll be a bad topdeck when drawing action really matters. Tron got the ban hammer so we weren’t that worried about it. In fact, my team went 3-1 against it.
Pithing Needle is an odd sideboard card that is very powerful in some matchups (vs. Nahiri and Ad Nauseam) and it’s versatile against Infect, Affinity, and Tron. I’m not sure if it is worth the second slot—maybe one is good enough.
Kozilek’s Return was great throughout the tournament. It was huge versus Merfolk, killing Mutavault, Kira, Great Glass-Spinner, and Master of Waves—it is one of the few tools that is able to kill Etched Champion. Also, that it’s an instant is often going to be a big blowout for your opponent.
I was expecting a lot of Jund, and I wasn’t wrong. I decided to play Painful Truths and Obstinate Baloth, and both were very good. Painful Truths in particular was insane, and I would never walk into another tournament without 1 in the sideboard. I never got to live the Baloth dream, which usually happens after your opponent +1’s Liliana or makes you discard a card with Kolaghan’s Command, but it was supposed to be good against Zoo as well.
Engineered Explosives and Slaughter Pact were the last 2 additions to the sideboard, and they were fine removal spells for a plethora of different decks. With our sideboard we were soft to Affinity, and I wouldn’t blame you for cutting those last 2 slots and adding some more dedicated hate for that matchup, like a second Ancient Grudge or a Shatterstorm, but we weren’t expecting that many Affinity decks. While I haven’t played against it, my teammates went 2-5.
It’s now well known that you should have at least 6 good cards to board in for the mirror match (Fulminator Mage doesn’t count) because discard spells are awful. You could cut 1 Liliana of the Veil for a Slaughter Pact on the draw since Liliana in multiple copies might be too clunky, especially because your curve gets higher. You’ll usually get into a topdeck war, however, and Liliana of the Veil is great there.
The Infect matchup gets better post-sideboard after you remove bad removal spells and useless creatures, and overload on instants. You have to test the matchup extensively, since it’s tricky and you have to know when to use your removal spells—usually at sorcery speed or in the end step. Pithing Needle on Inkmoth Nexus is hard to deal with and changes the matchup dramatically.
This matchup is bad, and my sideboard certainly doesn’t help make the matchup much better. Despite having Kolaghan’s Command main deck, you can’t afford to trim too much artifact hate if you expect it to be played. I wasn’t expecting that many so we went soft on this. Don’t name anything blind with Needle—both Arcbound Ravager and Cranial Plating are important to hit, so wait until they play one.
This matchup revolves around Liliana of the Veil—if you manage to cast her and protect her, then everything is going to be easier. My teammate managed to win a game after his opponent resolved 3 Ancestral Visions because he had Needles on Nahiri and Celestial Colonnade, and Slaughter Games on Snapcaster Mage—his opponent was locked out of the game. That’s kind of a funny way to end a game, but if you can’t win the card advantage fight, you have to find other paths. Kitchen Finks isn’t particularly good because of Path to Exile and Nahiri, the Harbinger, but it is good enough to replace dead removal spells.
Kozilek’s Return gives a total different angle of attack, being able to kill cards that other sweepers can’t touch. Spreading Seas and Master of Waves are still a nightmare, but you can usually find a way out of it.
This matchup relies on Leyline of Sanctity—if they draw it in their opener, your main plan is gone. On the other hand, with 2 Pithing Needles, you have a different angle of attack. If Needle names Lightning Storm, they can’t discard lands to deal more damage with their main win condition. Since deck lists only play Lighting Storm and Laboratory Maniac, if you have a Needle in play and a Decay/Lavamancer/Bolt you can lock them out of the game unless they have Echoing Truth for Pithing Needle.
There are still dozens and dozens of decks in Modern and I can’t cover them all, but just ask I’m happy to help you out in the comments!