UR Twin vs. Modern: GBx

Welcome back to my Modern series on UR Twin, this week I will be talking about the BGx matchup, also known as Jund and Junk.

For the purpose of covering as many variations of your main deck and sideboard as possible, I am using an aggregate deck list, which has more than 75 cards, but contains pretty much everything that is commonly played in the archetype.

UR Twin Aggregate

Jund

This matchup has been played over and over—each being the 2 most played decks in multiple tournaments for years now. It’s no surprise when I say that Jund is Twin’s worst matchup. Between Liliana of the Veil, Tarmogoyf, Abrupt Decay, and discard spells it is extremely hard to assemble the combo or play a long game since you can’t reliably kill Tarmogoyf or Liliana.

Your game 1 plan as a Twin player is to basically ignore them. I jam the combo as soon as I have it—even if they represent Abrupt Decay. If I wait, I don’t have threats to compete with theirs and they have disruption to keep me from controlling them. I found this strategy to have the highest win percentage in game 1s.

The few times you win without combo’ing or by dragging them into a long game are when you’re at least two ahead on card advantage. For example: they mulled to 6 on the play and you kept 7, they mulled to 5 and you kept 7 on the play, you drew a bunch of Snapcaster Mages and Cryptic Commands to generate more card advantage they have, you had Spell Snare to deal with ‘Goyf while they had a below average draw. Once in awhile you can also tempo them out if you draw zero combo pieces besides Pestermite—it’s actually possible to win via Remand a few times, cast multiple Bolts, and use Snapcaster to flash them back. All in all, what I’m telling you is to mindlessly combo them even if they represent Abrupt Decay (most lists only play 2 now) and adjust when you have the card advantage.

Sideboard Options

In

Out

Negate and Counterflux are both mediocre, yet they are better than any of the cards you are boarding out. Also, you rarely have both of them in your sideboard, it’s usually one or the other.

The typical mindset is to board out the combo completely, but most people know that’s level one. So you should be using that as a way to level your opponent. Scrutinize your opponent’s decisions in game 2—whether they recklessly ignore the combo or not. If that’s the case, consider bringing back a few pieces for game 3. If you do board some Splinter Twins back in, Pestermite instantly becomes worse than Deceiver Exarch, so swap them. Without Twin, Pestermite is just a better card for your grindy/tempo game-2 plan.

As for the gameplay, well, it’s pretty straightforward: you become a Keranos control deck, so find it and slam it into play—they just can’t deal with it. Blood Moon is usually not great, they play around it more often than not, but every once in awhile you’ll get them turn 3 and it’ll be a free win. Otherwise, I recommend not casting it at all if they have at least 1 Forest and 1 Swamp on the battlefield. Your Desolate Lighthouses and Cryptic Commands are too important to risk.

Grim Lavamancer is useful to deal with Dark Confidant and Tarmogoyf when combined with a Bolt. It also keeps Liliana of the Veil in check.

Junk

See above, the game 1 plan is the same and even more applicable. Siege Rhino and Lingering Souls ruin your day, it’ll be even harder to beat them down or play a long game. Try to combo early and hope for the best.

Sideboard Options

In

Out

Your Blood Moons are much better in this matchup than against Jund—value them highly. Pyroclasm and Izzet Staticaster become reasonable especially if they play Noble Hierarch. If they don’t, I would still have some number of them as they’ll always deal with Lingering Souls, a card they surely play. Speaking of Lingering Souls, it makes your Pestermites horrendous. The sole Dispel I keep against Jund to fight Kolaghan’s Command—here it becomes useless, so get rid of it.

Their Path to Exile gives you an edge where Jund does not. Lightning Bolt is much better a killing your small creatures, and the land Path to Exile provides comes at a real cost to them.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Abzan players boarded out some number of Siege Rhino, as it’s poor when facing Blood Moon and Remand, so keep that in mind.

Thank you for reading, and see you next week as I cover another matchup!

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