Wrenn and Six might just be the most exciting card in Legacy. When paired with Wasteland, it makes an astonishingly simple recipe for locking your opponent out of the game. Beyond that, the new planeswalker can rack up free kills on Delver of Secrets, Mother of Runes, most of the creatures in Elves, as well as the dozens of other one-toughness creatures in the Legacy format. It’s also a great way to glean advantages against Miracles and other slow decks.
Wrenn and Six is so strong that players are grotesquely twisting existing archetypes in order to play with it. Perhaps the most popular deck at this snapshot in time is a four-color (everything but white) Delver deck utilizing Wrenn and Six alongside Abrupt Decay to kill opposing Wrenns and Tarmogoyfs.
I’m looking for something better. Something cleaner. Something with a more stable manabase. Maybe…Jund?
I’ve had a small amount of success with Legacy Jund in the past. Since it’s the most natural home for Wrenn and Six, it might just be primed for a comeback. Unfortunately, the archetype also lost one of its lynchpin cards when Deathrite Shaman was banned.
Here’s the version I’ve been working on, which might look a bit strange at first glance.
1 Swamp (339) 3 Badlands 2 Bayou 1 Nurturing Peatland 4 Verdant Catacombs 3 Bloodstained Mire 1 Wooded Foothills 1 Forest (347) 4 Wasteland 3 Grove of the Burnwillows 1 Dryad Arbor 1 Birds of Paradise 1 Dark Confidant 1 Scavenging Ooze 4 Tarmogoyf 1 Tireless Tracker 1 Ramunap Excavator 1 Huntmaster of the Fells/Ravager of the Fells 1 Titania, Protector of Argoth 3 Green Sun’s Zenith 2 Thoughtseize 2 Inquisition of Kozilek 2 Lightning Bolt 2 Punishing Fire 2 Abrupt Decay 1 Sylvan Library 3 Wrenn and Six 3 Hymn to Tourach 4 Liliana of the Veil 1 Kolaghan’s Command Sideboard 1 Veil of Summer 1 Collector Ouphe 2 Plague Engineer 2 Leyline of the Void 1 Nihil Spellbomb 1 Surgical Extraction 2 Pyroblast 1 Choke 1 Fatal Push 1 Duress 1 Ancient Grudge 1 Liliana’s Triumph
The single biggest challenge facing Legacy Jund is what to do on the first turn of the game. Legacy is such a fast format that it’s basically unacceptable to pass your first turn without a profitable play, particularly when you might be on the draw with a non-Force of Will deck.
In Modern, Jund solves this problem by loading up on discard spells. However, discard is much weaker in Legacy than it is in Modern, since Brainstorm and Ponder allow players to play off the top of their libraries so well.
Instead, my solution is to build with Green Sun’s Zenith in mind. Zenith eats into slots that might otherwise be occupied by Bloodbraid Elf, but it offers a toolbox of powerful creatures, as well as the ability to start the game with a mana creature (Dryad Arbor) when you need to.
Ramunap Excavator is kind of like an extra copy of Wrenn and Six but can be tutored when the situation calls for it, while also dodging Pithing Needle and Sorcerous Spyglass. Tireless Tracker is a stellar value creature that works perfectly with the ability to recur lands from the graveyard. Huntmaster of the Fells might look a little underpowered, but for a format that runs on thin margins, you’ll sometimes be surprised how difficult it is for the opponent to overcome it. Finally, Titania, Protector of Argoth is the top-end creature that allows you to completely drop the hammer when you amass enough mana. She represents 10 or more power the turn she enters the battlefield, and the Elementals can keep coming if you’re able to untap with her. In case that wasn’t enough, she gives you a free Wasteland to keep your opponent off balance while you do it!
But the most exciting Green Sun’s Zenith target is the unassuming little Ouphe in the sideboard. Collector Ouphe is a powerhouse in eternal formats and is a tremendous appeal of playing with the Zenith package right now. It’s a stone-cold killer against dedicated artifact decks like Affinity, Eldrazi, Prison, and Painter’s Servant, but also does tons of work against decks with Aether Vial, Stoneforge Mystic, or a variety of other artifact sub-themes.
One spot where the Ouphe is absolutely crucial is against Storm Combo. I’ve been frustrated with this matchup because overloading on discard simply isn’t effective. The Storm player can usually just put their mana into play and wait to topdeck something powerful, and often Jund’s clock will be too slow to punish such a gameplan. You can do a bit better when you mix in graveyard hate and Pyroblast, but a searchable, permanent-based source of disruption is exactly what Jund has been missing. Collector Ouphe can decimate their mana and also chip in for some decent damage. It’s an important part of a multi-dimensional disruption package.
I’ve been so happy with Collector Ouphe that I’m racking my brain for other places to use it. Perhaps it’s time to return to Elf Combo, with Ouphe in the sideboard? At first I worried that Wrenn and Six would mean the end of Elves, but those fair matchups were always the ones you wanted to face with Elves in the past, and the new planeswalker might even be too slow to stop you when you have a good hand on the play. Add a Zenith-able sideboard card that can swing some troublesome matchups and I might be very interested!
And if Jund with Green Sun’s Zenith is possible in Legacy, then I’m wondering what a similar strategy might be able to do in Vintage. I’ve long been a fan of disruptive Null Rod strategies in Vintage, and now you can build Null Rod right into the fabric of your deck with a couple of Zeniths and a Collector Ouphe. I’ll be looking into Sultai with Leovold and Ouphe.
Sometimes it’s the subtle things that make the biggest difference. When I first revisited Legacy Jund, I thought the deck would be all about Wrenn and Six. While the new planeswalker is indeed great, it was a sideboard singleton that most exceeded my expectations, and now has me searching for all of the ways I might be able to utilize it.