Last weekend was GP Detroit and I finished in 16th place with Jund featuring [card]Chandra, Pyromaster[/card]. The deck was also played by Reid Duke who finished in 2nd overall—1 card off the final list I played. This was the first time I was actually excited to play Modern and I loved my deck, I don’t think I would change a single card and I highly recommend it for anyone moving forward with Modern Jund. Here is what I played:
3 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Pillar of Flame
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Dark Confidant
2 Scavenging Ooze
2 Maelstrom Pulse
4 Liliana of the Veil
2 Chandra, Pyromaster
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
4 Verdant Catacombs
3 Marsh Flats
1 Misty Rainforest
2 Blood Crypt
1 Stomping Ground
1 Overgrown Tomb
2 Raging Ravine
3 Treetop Village
2 Olivia Voldaren
2 Ancient Grudge
1 Fulminator Mage
2 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Obstinate Baloth
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
2 Sowing Salt
1 Grim Lavamancer[/deck]
The original list had only 2 [card]Thoughtseize[/card] and 3 [card]Inquisition of Kozilek[/card], I often see other builds of BG and Jund play only five discard spells total. Though it’s common, I do not agree with that approach. The deck feels wildly different when you have a turn 1 discard spell and when you don’t. I feel much more in control of the game when I can start off with some disruption, and there are many decks in the format I expected to be popular like Splinter Twin and UWR Control where you really want at least one in your opening hand, and it can still be a great topdeck in the mid-game.
Inquisition of Kozilek[/draft]
Also, the versions of the deck that play less discard never really have a particularly important reason for it, they usually play 1 less discard spell for some multi-purpose slot that seems to be different in each list I see. The heavy amount of maindeck discard is what makes Jund great, nobody can ever properly defend against what you’re trying to do if you can rip the answers from their hand. This also makes [card]Dark Confidant[/card] much better, because I don’t care what deck you’re playing, a turn 1 [card]Thoughtseize[/card] into a turn 2 [card]Dark Confidant[/card] is going to be tough to beat.
[draft]Pillar of Flame[/draft]
1 [card]Pillar of Flame[/card] may look odd, but I like it as a 5th copy of [card]Lightning Bolt[/card] and a great tool against [card]Birthing Pod[/card] lists. [card]Birthing Pod[/card] can be a hard matchup because of cards like [card]Murderous Redcap[/card], [card]Kitchen Finks[/card], and [card]Voice of Resurgence[/card]. [card]Murderous Redcap[/card] and [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] aren’t nearly as strong as Voice, because you can beat them with just a [card]Lightning Bolt[/card] and a [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card] or [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card], and they also can’t come back into play from the graveyard if there is a [card]Grafdigger’s Cage[/card] in play.
Don’t get me wrong, they are both totally excellent cards in the matchup and a good reason to play with [card]Pillar of Flame[/card], but you can defeat them with a normal set of cards. [card]Voice of Resurgence[/card], on the other hand, is a much more potent threat against Jund and single-handedly makes [card]Liliana of the Veil[/card] much worse. [card]Pillar of Flame[/card] is an awesome card against [card]Birthing Pod[/card] lists but it’s also important to note that [card]Pillar of Flame[/card] is also great against another Jund deck. If my opponent has [card]Dark Confidant[/card] and [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card] in his deck, then you’d better believe I’ll be satisfied playing with plain old [card]Shock[/card]. If you’re lucky, you can even Pillar the occasional [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card].
[card]Terminate[/card] is highly underrated because of its restrictive color cost. I know when I played the AJundi deck (Jund with white) I copied a list that had 2 [card]Path to Exile[/card] in it and I hated it all tournament. The fact remains that if you can, you should be casting [card]Terminate[/card]. People don’t seem to respect the downside of [card]Path to Exile[/card] and how poor it really is—usually you should put it in your deck as a last resort. [card]Terminate[/card] is a clean, quick, efficient way of removing a [card]Dark Confidant[/card], [card]Tarmogoyf[/card], or [card]Restoration Angel[/card]. [card]Terminate[/card] is the 1 card I look for the most against [card]Splinter Twin[/card], and it’s a great way to stop yourself from losing to a [card]Celestial Colonnade[/card]. I greatly prefer [card]Terminate[/card] to [card]Abrupt Decay[/card] because of its ability to kill manlands, and in a wide-open format like Modern it’s hard to predict exactly what you might face, so having a card like [card]Terminate[/card] that will answer [card]Noble Hierarch[/card] and [card linvala, keeper of silence]Linvala[/card] all the same is ideal.
Many people question only playing with two copies of [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card], but I wouldn’t have wanted to play with more or less than that. One problem with the Ooze in this deck is there just aren’t enough green sources for it. With [card]Liliana of the Veil[/card] and [card]Chandra, Pyromaster[/card], you really need to make sure that you always have double-black and double-red so you’re able to slam these powerful planeswalkers on curve. Also remember that [card]Olivia Voldaren[/card] is effectively a double-black and a double-red casting cost spell, so when you have that card in your deck after sideboard you need to make sure you fetch out the correct (usually non-green) lands to make it function.
For this reason, one of the best and most important lands in the deck is [card]Blackcleave Cliffs[/card]. When you draw multiple [card]Blackcleave Cliffs[/card] it becomes more difficult to play a [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card] and use it multiple times in a turn. When you play with [card]Liliana of the Veil[/card] in your deck, very often you have three total lands in play and no other permanents or cards in hand—this is just the nature of Jund that you have a large number of cards that deprive both players of as many resources as possible. [card]Blackcleave Cliffs[/card] provides two different colors of mana painlessly on turn 1, which no other land in the deck can do, and allows you to cast [card]Thoughtseize[/card], [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card], and [card]Lightning Bolt[/card] early. On top of all that, [card]Blackcleave Cliffs[/card] wants to enter play early to negate its drawback. My point is that Jund is basically a Rakdos deck on turns one and two, and it only splashes for [card]Tarmogoyf[/card] and [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card]. This is not the most welcome environment for a card like [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card] that might as well be considered a double- or triple-green casting-cost card. Despite all the downsides, I still think it’s an outstanding card and deserves it’s place in the deck. It’s a creature that can win the game on it’s own, blank opposing [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card]s and [card]Tarmogoyf[/card]s, and gain life all the while.
I have always been fond of [card]Blightning[/card], and was happy to let this card have its chance to shine. Blightning is one of the strongest natural fits in Jund to disrupt planeswalkers. In my MTGO testing I have used it to kill [card]Liliana of the Veil[/card], [card]Ajani Vengeant[/card], [card]Domri Rade[/card] (from Kiki-Pod), and [card]Garruk Relentless[/card]. [card]Blightning[/card] is an all-star card against UWR Control and can be great in a Jund mirror match. It loses quite a bit of value if you expect [card]Obstinate Baloth[/card], but that isn’t that commonly played and when it is you just need to use your best judgement.
[card]Chandra, Pyromaster[/card] was the most exciting addition to the deck and I think it’s a perfect fit for Jund. First of all, basically any planeswalker has legitimate value in a Jund shell. Each card in the deck has such a low casting cost and is so disruptive that when your final spell is a planeswalker, every blocker and removal spell you had cast beforehand works to protect it. I like the 0 ability on Chandra quite a lot with [card]Liliana of the Veil[/card], it’s a form of drawing cards without having them get trapped in your hand and eventually discarded, plus there is a nice synergy between using Chandra to destroy the opponents 1-toughness creatures and Liliana’s -2 ability being able to destroy the more powerful creatures leftover.
I like Chandra against UWR Control—5 loyalty means it does not die to [card]Celestial Colonnade[/card], all while acting as a [card]Phyrexian Arena[/card] drawing extra cards every turn. I also like Chandra against [card]Birthing Pod[/card] because you can use it to kill off accelerators like [card]Noble Hierarch[/card] and [card]Birds of Paradise[/card] while leaning on it as a win condition. Often against Pod I find myself losing games where I start off with a [card]Thoughtseize[/card] and then run off 3-4 spot removal spells in a row only to see myself lose to a Birthing Pod, persist creatures, or better topdecks. [card]Dark Confidant[/card] is usually the best card at closing out a game against Pod, but after sideboard I’m satisfied with [card]Chandra, Pyromaster[/card] and [card]Olivia Voldaren[/card] being my ultimate end game.
The sideboard is relatively straightforward. [card]Shatterstorm[/card] is here purely for affinity and a concession to [card]Etched Champion[/card] while [card]Ancient Grudge[/card] helps more vs. Affinity and specifically [card]Cranial Plating[/card]. I also like sideboarding in [card]Ancient Grudge[/card] in small numbers against decks where I know they will have 4 of exactly one important artifact in their deck—this usually works against [card]Birthing Pod[/card] and [card]Spellskite[/card], not to mention [card]Ancient Grudge[/card] puts a serious dent into something like a [card]Wurmcoil Engine[/card]. [card]Olivia Voldaren[/card] is for the mirror match, since besides creature removal, it’s a threat that cannot be matched. I also sideboard in [card olivia voldaren]Olivia[/card] against Affinity, Birthing Pod, and any deck with [card]Lingering Souls[/card].
I ended up with a split between [card]Fulminator Mage[/card] and [card]Sowing Salt[/card] because I wanted 2 [card]Sowing Salt[/card]s as a way to really win a game I wouldn’t otherwise win against Tron. [card]Fulminator Mage[/card] still warrants an inclusion in the deck because it is very good against [card]Celestial Colonnade[/card], [card]Raging Ravine[/card], and [card]Scapeshift[/card].
[card]Grafdigger’s Cage[/card] is here against [card]Birthing Pod[/card], since it shuts off their ability to repeatedly tutor through their deck with [card]Birthing Pod[/card] and [card]Chord of Calling[/card]. It’s also nice to note that they can’t get as much value off their persist creatures, and their Melira Combo doesn’t even work with the Cage in play.
[card]Sword of Light and Shadow[/card] is mainly a concession to [card]Lingering Souls[/card], but it is also an amazing card to topdeck in a Jund mirror, and basically every game that you play comes down to topdecking. [card]Obstinate Baloth[/card] was a wonderful 1-of card for me because it has great uses against [card]Liliana of the Veil[/card] and Boros decks that run [card]Rakdos Cackler[/card] and [card]Dryad Militant[/card].
As I mentioned, I highly recommend Chandra Jund moving forward and I really think that it has earned its place for quite a while. I felt like Chandra set us ahead of the pack and gave us a very real edge. I know Ben Stark played [card]Harmonize[/card] in his sideboard, but when I talked to him about his deck he said he wished he had thought of Chandra himself so he could have played with it. If there are any questions or comments about the deck, I would love to hear from you in the comments section.
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