Last week, one of my favourite of all-time in Bloodbraid Elf was unbanned to rejuvenate my favourite deck — Jund.
As you might imagine I’ve been playing a lot Jund over the last week on Magic Online to figure out just how you want to build the deck with access to this new four-mana weapon.
I have good news everyone, I do think Jund is now a top tier Modern strategy with this upgrade. But, keep in mind that Bloodbraid doesn’t actually heavily impact your worst matchups. So if your LGS is flooded with Tron, it’s still not a good idea to play Jund.
Over the past week, I’ve received a bunch of messages asking me for a sideboarding guide for this new version of Jund, so that’s what I’m planning to give you today. First we’ll go through some of the Jund lists that have popped up since the announcement, then I’ll take you through my list and even offer some extra tips to tuning your sideboard as the format develops.
The Lists the Pros Suggested
Reid Duke, Team Modern Super League – Jund
Mike Sigrist – Jund
Here we have two lists from two top-tier professional Magic players. Reid is obviously the best B/G/x player in the world right now so his list was the starting point for me and I’m sure for almost anybody else who’s trying Jund right now. In order to keep it short, I’m going to focus on what I don’t like about these two decklists.
One-mana removal: In testing, I just don’t think you can play four copies of Lightning Bolt in Jund anymore. I understand that when having Bloodbraid Elf in your deck, you want spells you can cast no matter what the board looks like when you cascade into them, but four is just too many. I’d look to split your bolts with Fatal Pushes, there’s just too many Tarmogoyfs and Death’s Shadows around.
Discard Spells: I think Sigrist hit the perfect number here. As I’ve discussed a lot in previous articles, Modern is just such a diverse place that you really need to be able to just answer cardboard with cardboard if you’re trying to play fair, and that’s what discard does for you. Reid’s obviously trying to maximize his Bloodraid Elfs and maybe it’ll turnout that the card is just so good that Reid’s right (as usual). But for now I’ll be playing six discard effects in my maindecks.
Liliana Splits: Since the planeswalker rule changed, I haven’t registered a B/G/x deck with less than five Lilianas, and I don’t plan on changing that. Bloodbraid is great with Liliana, the Last Hope and it also happens to be one of the best cards in the mirror. As for Liliana of the Veil, if you want to play Jund, play four or don’t submit your decklist.
Removal Splits: The specific numbers of each removal spell will be the hardest thing to narrow down in my opinion. Dreadbore is a card I’ve played in the past and I could see Sigrist’s 1/1 split being where you want to be. Kolaghans Command is maybe the biggest benefactor from the addition of Bloodbraid Elf and I’d like to test a streamlined version of Jund that goes deep and plays four.
Four Basic Lands: Field of Ruin and Blood Moon might be at their most heavily-played and you just have to make concessions to that in deckbuilding. I think four basics is optimal, allows you to play through Blood Moon and helps to make sure your Dark Confidant draws are smooth by allowing you to keep your life total high.
Here’s my list:
Keith Capstick – Jund
In: 1 K-Comm, 2 Damnation, 1 Kitchen Finks
Out: 3 Inquisition of Kozilek, 1 Lightning Bolt
In: 4 Fulminator Mage, 2 Ancient Grudge, 1 K-Comm, 1 Last Hope
Out: 2 Lightning Bolt, 2 Fatal Push, 2 Terminate, 2 Scavenging Ooze
In: 3 Collective Brutality, 1 Damnation
Out: 2 Terminate, 1 Last Hope, 1 K-Comm
In: 2 Damnation, 1 Grim Lavamancer, 1 Last Hope, 2 Collective Brutality
Out: 3 Thoughtseize, 2 Liliana of the Veil, 1 Bloodbraid Elf
In: 2 Damnation, 1 K-Comm, 1 Grim Lavamancer, 2 Ancient Grudge, 2 Fulminator Mage, 1 Last Hope
Out: 4 Liliana of the Veil, 3 Thoughtseize, 2 Bloodbraid,
In: 2 Damnation, 1 Last Hope, 1 K-Comm, 3 Fulminator Mage
Out: 3 Thoughtseize, 3 Inquisition of Kozilek, 1 Lightning Bolt
U/W Control and Jeskai:
In: 2 Collective Brutality, 1 Last Hope, 1 K-Comm, 3 Fulminator Mage
Out: 2 Lightning Bolt, 2 Terminate, 2 Fatal Push, 1 Abrupt Decay,
In: 3 Collective Brutality, 1 Kitchen Finks
Out: 4 Dark Confidant
In:2 Damnation, 3 Collective Brutality, 1 Last Hope, 1 Grim Lavamancer, 1 K-Comm
Out: 2 Lightning Bolt, 2 Fatal Push, 1 Liliana of the Veil, 3 Inquisition of Kozilek
Notes on Sideboarding with Jund
I’ll start by saying that the Kolaghan’s Command and the second copy of Damnation in my sideboard are what I’d consider “flex slots.” There’s no graveyard hate in this version of the sideboard, and if I wanted that, those would be my two cuts to get it. After your copies of Collective Brutality, Ancient Grudge and Fulminator Mage in varied numbers, I think you can pretty much play whatever you want. But here are some of my own personal rules to Jund sideboards:
- Four cards that can come in for Dark Confidant against Burn
- Don’t disrespect Affinity
- Fulminator is at its best when you want it in non-Tron matchups. The Tron matchup is so bad that you need Fulminator to be flexible for it to be good. The prevalence of Celestial Collonade and Raging Ravine are why it’s good right now
- Have two answers to Etched Cahmpion in your 75
- If you play graveyard hate, it has to be enough to beat Dredge
- Cards like Kolaghan’s Command, that come in against fair decks and linear decks, are of the utmost priority
- Bitterblossom is very good against Death’s Shadow and U/W decks if that’s a big part of your metagame
- Anger of the Gods can double as graveyard hate if the graveyard decks in your metagame are all Dredge
- Don’t forget that traditional maindeck cards like Thoughtseize and Fatal Push are solid sideboard cards
- Crumble to Dust just isn’t good enough
- Night of Souls’ Betrayal is so powerful in the right metagame
- Under no circumstances should you ever register Thrun, the Last Troll, Choke, Boil or any other heinously situational cards in your sideboard
I hope some of these insights help. My biggest piece of advice when sideboarding is to above all else, have a plan. Lay-out your matchups before events and make sure you have enough cards to bring in and take out in every matchup. Good luck, and may your cascades be unfair !