Just Play Jund

Twin is gone and we are entering into a “Brave New Twinless Modern.” Don’t buy into the hype: everything will be nearly the same as it was before except there is no Twin in the equation anymore.

Only Bet on Winners

The Modern Twin banning is the NFL equivalent of banning the New England Patriots (a consistent “best team”). The franchises that were great are still great and the ones that stunk will continue to stink. Banning the Patriots doesn’t suddenly make a perpetual loser like the Lions better, it just leaves less competition for the great teams at the top.

My strategy (and frankly my advice) is to play one of the “known winner decks” in Modern. Yes, you can tune them up and generate technology, but at the end of the day, I think there is a ton of value to betting on a perennial winner in Modern.

There are no “point spreads” in Modern so when choosing a deck, you are highly rewarded for picking a known “winner” rather than a mysterious challenger.

Jund has always been one of the best decks in Modern. In fact, the deck is so consistently great that it has necessitated two bannings over the years! The insanely busted Elf and the other insanely busted Elf.

The thing that I love about Jund is that it occupies a similar position in the Modern metagame to the Twin decks: it is super consistent and doesn’t have very many “bad matchups.” Many people gravitate toward a deck like this, and for good reason, because rarely will you ever sit down and feel like you are 70% to lose.

Just Play Jund

Jund is one of the decks that I’m seriously considering to play at the upcoming Modern Pro Tour this week and here is the list I’ve been working on:

Modern Jund

Brian DeMars

So, I’m not exactly reinventing the wheel here but I think this list is really solid. I’ve played it at several local tournaments and tighten it up every time.

The key to this strategy has always been the incredible synergy between these two amazing creatures, removal, and 1-mana discard spells. The deck is able to pressure opponents by being able to interact quickly and efficiently along a number of different axes and also closes out games quickly.

The deck also gets to take full advantage of one of the best cards currently legal in Modern, Liliana of the Veil. The card is just so powerful and also pressures from multiple angles. It helps you get the board clear of a creature while threatening to continue to generate value by taxing your opponent’s hand. Against some of the slower decks, it can simply continue to +1 and tear their hand apart and threaten to eventually ultimate.

Also, it grows our ‘Goyf!

But it Loses to Tron!

Yes, Jund is an underdog to Tron, but that isn’t a good reason to abandon the deck altogether. It isn’t like Tron doesn’t also have bad matchups of its own, but you never hear people say that Tron sucks because it loses to Zoo and Burn.

Tron isn’t a huge percentage of the metagame. It is a popular deck, but it will only be about 1 in 10 of your matchups. But you still need to have a plan. Six dedicated Tron hate cards really help, especially when they are so potent. It is also very relevant that you can recur Fulminator Mage via Kolghan’s Command to continue to blow up their Tron pieces as the game goes on.

The defining characteristic of Jund isn’t that it has a bad Tron matchup, but rather that it has a ton of other favorable ones.

Specific Tune-Ups

The Jund core is pretty fixed. But there are about 5 or 6 slots that are very liquid.

I’ve been really impressed with Finks and have found that I was bringing them in more than I was leaving them out. Thus, I decided to move them to the main deck. Kitchen Finks is a very above average Magic card. It is a virtual 2-for-1 with persist and has built-in life gain. The Finks are also a house in matchups that actively pressure your life total, such as Burn or Zoo, which are both decks that are gaining in popularity. I also really like Finks against other midrange decks like Jund that want to attack your creatures with 1-for-1 removal.

One of the biggest questions I’ve had with the deck is how to fit in a second Courser. I suspect it would involve cutting a second Kitchen Finks, which I’m not 100% comfortable with, but also not completely opposed to. The card advantage and life gain (both direct life gain in the form of its landfall trigger, and indirect insofar as it’s a great blocker) is huge in a deck that doesn’t play 1-drop creatures and also wants to lean on Dark Confidant.

While I think the majority of the metagame stays the same in terms of what decks people will gravitate towards, there are subtle places where Twin’s presence is notably absent. Courser is a great example because it was exactly the kind of card that Twin punishes people for playing: durdle-y tap out cards. But with Twin gone, there will be more opportunities to just tap out on turn 3 or 4 on the draw to cast the card and have it be great.

I actually got this piece of tech from one of the local players at the game store. The card is extremely strong and generates advantage on a lot of different axes. It doesn’t die to a Lightning Bolt and has card advantage built into it. I also love that the card doesn’t allow opposing creatures to hit the graveyard and so it turns off opposing Modular, persist, and Kolghan’s Commands.

Oh, and the card also has lifelink and the ability to grow into a giant unbeatable Exalted Angel in matches where that is at a premium. Just like the Jund deck itself, Kalitas can go wide or go big, which nicely fits into our strategy.

The sideboard N.O.S.B. is one of the best reasons to play Jund. The card is so unbelievably strong in matchups that it often equates to free wins.

Against the fast aggro/combo decks like Affinity and Infect the card is a Wrath of God that kills their board presence and then pretty much continues to Meddling Mage all of their creatures for the rest of the game!

The fact that I’m so into Night of Souls’ Betrayal is why I’ve foregone playing Chandra’s parents for Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet. The card is great and does some amazing things across a wide array of matchups. It is super awkward when one of our awesome bullet cards completely negates the other. The Traitor is actually pretty awesome with Souls’ Betrayal since both he and the tokens generated both naturally live through the enchantment.

Nobody should be surprised that Jund will continue to thrive in the absence of Twin and Summer Bloom. Every card you cast is powerful in its own right. People try to splash for the types of cards Jund is built around and they are the core of the deck. So why splash for discard, ‘Goyf, Bob, and Bolt when you can just play the deck that brought them to the forefront of Modern in the first place?


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