For a long time, the deck known as Jund was a dominant deck in the Modern format. With a mixture of disruption, removal, and beaters, this deck was able to keep most “unfair” strategies in check.
That is, until some time ago where a number of combo and “turn three” decks started taking over to the point where Jund couldn’t keep up. It seemed like the end of Modern’s favorite midrange deck… until now.
Thanks to the recent unbanning of Bloodbraid Elf, Jund seems to have another shot at becoming the Tier One ruler that it once was.
Note: Jund is a very flexible deck where you can change the quantity of these cards. The list that I am providing you is nothing but a template. Feel free to build the deck in the way YOU are most comfortable with.
Each color in Jund has a primary role when defeating your opponent. Black is for hand disruption, Red is for removal, and Green is for beating your opponent’s life total down to zero. Though they may be the primary function of these colors, they can also have other functions in the deck. For example, Black and Green also run a handful of removal spells while Red can beat the opponent’s life total down to zero as well.
Your primary hand disruption spells are going to be the following three: Inquisition of Kozilek, Thoughtseize, and Liliana. Inquisition of Kozilek can hit almost everything in Modern since most strategies have a low mana curve of three mana or below. For the cards that Inquisition of Kozilek cannot hit we run Thoughtseize. Yes, we lose two life but most of the time this will not be an issue. The most powerful hand disruption spell that we run is Liliana of the Veil. She can strip our opponent’s hand size down to zero while also removing any single creature from their board, regardless if they have indestructible or hexproof. Her ultimate ability can win you the game outright, forcing them to go back to the Stone Age with their board state.
Next, we go to our removal package. Lightning Bolt is almost never going to be a dead card since we can aim it at our opponent’s face. Terminate is a catch-all in our deck with no restrictions. When we are dealing with cards that cannot be destroyed with either one of those cards, we bring in Maelstrom Pulse to do the job. This kills everything from enchantments, to Planeswalkers (which is the most important aspect of this card).
Kolaghan’s Command is one of the best cards in this deck, as it is a multi-functional spell that acts as removal and disruption. On top of that, it acts as recursion to get back a creature that we lost to removal (if we did). The fact that this card is an Instant makes it insane because you can make your opponent discard their hand back down to zero if they are in topdeck mode and you’re already dominating the game.
Now we come to our beaters, the cards that are going to win us the game. Tarmogoyf is the card that holds this deck together. With all the hand disruption that we dish out on our opponent, Tarmogoyf is going to benefit and grow the more card types that are in our graveyards. For example, if there are at least one creature, land, sorcery, and instant in all graveyards, Tarmogoyf’s power and toughness will be at 4/5.
Scavenging Ooze is a card that doesn’t look like much at first but will get out of hand if left unchecked, especially if you’re up against a creature-based deck. What makes Scavenging Ooze even better is that it can target ANY card in a graveyard. Even the card won’t get bigger, Scavenging Ooze can act as mainboard graveyard hate which is why it is very good against Snapcaster Mage.
Now we get to probably the best card in this deck: Bloodbraid Elf herself. On the surface, she only looks like a 3/2 body with haste that doesn’t do much. However, it’s her Cascade ability that makes her so powerful. Cascade is an ability that triggers when you cast her, which exiles the top cards of your deck until you reveal a nonland card that has Converted Mana Cost (cost of the card on the top right) lower than Bloodbraid Elf, then you cast that card for free. So essentially, there’s always a random effect that comes with Bloodbraid Elf. For example, Bloodbraid Elf could Cascade into Lightning Bolt and virtually read “When you cast Bloodbraid Elf, it deals three damage to target creature or player.” Since Bloodbraid Elf is the only CMC four card in our deck, all of our nonland cards can be cast with Bloodbraid Elf.
Dark Confidant is a card I want to talk about for a minute before going into sideboarding and matchups. This is our only source of “card advantage” in this deck if you don’t count Bloodbraid Elf as such. Dark Confidant, or “Bob”, will make sure that we get at least one extra card before we go to first main phase. This is especially useful when we are in topdeck mode and we have stripped our opponent of theirs with cards such as Liliana. Be careful, however, for Dark Confidant can kill you if you’re at a low enough health total. Only play this card when you know it’s not going to kill you.
Sideboard and Matchups
For our sideboard, we run the following:
- 1x Grafdigger’s Cage, for graveyard, Storm, and Snapcaster Mage decks.
- 1x Nihil Spellbomb, for graveyard decks and Storm.
- 3x Fulminator Mage, for Tron and other decks that have important lands.
- 1x Grim Lavamancer, for extra small creature removal.
- 1x Kitchen Finks, for aggro decks.
- 3x Ancient Grudge, for Affinity.
- 1x Liliana, the Last Hope, for creature decks.
- 2x Collective Brutality, for other midrange or control decks.
- 2x Thoughtseize, for non-aggro decks or decks with high CMC cost cards.
This used to be a deck where it didn’t have any bad matchups save for Tron. Jund excels in the combo matchups because it is able to disrupt their game plan before they are able to pull off their win condition.
Aggro depends on who goes first, and which aggro deck you are playing against. For example, if you are playing against Hollowed One Aggro and they managed to play 2-3 Hollowed Ones on turn one, chances are you are not going to win that fight. However, if YOU go first and manage to take away their Faithless Looting or Goblin Lore, then you’re sitting pretty.
Jund is an archetype I hope returns to the Tier One light just because of how fun it is to play. If you want expert advice on Jund, google Reid Duke. He is a pro player that lives and breathes Jund. I couldn’t recommend anyone better if I tried.
Until next time!