If you’ve read any of my articles, or talked to me about Modern for longer than 5 minutes, it’s no surprise I sleeved up Dark Confidants for the MOCs Qualifier (Ravnica Dark Confidants, of course). Those Dark Confidants found a home in what in what has quickly become close to my favorite Jund 75 to date.
Why Jund? Mainly a combination of playstyle preference and Jund’s fairly even footing against the field. Nobody says “when in doubt Affinity/Grishoalbrand/Tron ‘em out” they say “Jund ‘em out” and there’s a good reason for that.
When I play a tournament, I want to win because I picked the right 75 for the weekend and played tight. I don’t want to walk away a loser because my opponent drew their Stony Silence or I hit Suicide Zoo, Infect, and Burn after sleeving up RG Tron.
Leading up to the MOCs, I jammed leagues online and talked with friends about their results in local tournaments. I settled on a fairly similar list to Mike Sigrist’s from GP Charlotte:
Two Kalitas is fairly stock in Jund right now for good reason. While he isn’t great against combo or control, he just obliterates the creature matchups. People are trying to turn a fair number of dudes sideways in Modern right now, so I’m pretty happy with the stock two.
Grim Lavamancer was a concession to the large amount of Infect and Affinity online. If you expect a lot of dredge or graveyard decks, I would understand not leaving home without 3 Scavenging Ooze. In hindsight, the 3rd Scavenging Ooze would have been great in the MOCs.
Leading up to the MOCs, Jeskai Nahiri was a deck I was seeing a lot of in leagues. If you’re able to cleanly answer Nahiri, the rest of the matchup is fairly straightforward. The deck basically turns into a watered down Jeskai Control and that’s not too hard for Jund to handle. The second Maelstrom Pulse also gives us another out to Master of Waves, which is nice.
I really don’t understand the stock 4/2 split on discard you commonly see in Jund decks. Being able to take cards like Collected Company, Master of Waves, Nahiri, the Harbinger, Scapeshift and others easily seems worth the 2 life lost from Thoughtseize. I feel there are more 4+ drops to worry about than aggressive decks.
I’ll sometimes even sleeve the 3rd Thoughtseize upside down in paper, or play with a mismatched Thoughtseize online. The amount of times the 2 life has made a difference has been next to none in comparison to how many times taking a 4+ drop spell has mattered.
I highly recommend 3/3 on discard unless your local meta is incredibly aggressive.
The amount of Infect, Affinity, Suicide Zoo, Tron and manlands in Modern right now means I’m never leaving home without a Ghost Quarter. I sometimes find myself wanting the 4th Ravine in grindy matchups, but I think the upside of Ghost Quarter is more than worth it.
Admittedly a pet card of mine, she’s great against Abzan CoCo, the mirror, Lingering Souls decks, or really anything grindy. I always try and find room for one because it’s such a fun and powerful card.
I enjoy the versatility of Jund Charm over something like a second Anger of the Gods. If I expected a lot of Wild Nacatls I probably would adjust my sideboard to have another grave hate card and a second Anger of the Gods.
Round 1 – Grixis Delver (with Young Pyromancer)
In general, I feel Jund is slightly unfavored in this matchup but a combination of my opponent playing an outdated decklist and playing questionably aggressive gave us this match. My opponent threw naked Young Pyromancers at me, jammed delve threats into Lilianas and overall did not play optimally in my opinion.
Sideboarding is a bit of a dance because you don’t know if they’re leaving in Delver, playing Ancestral Vision in the side, or what else they’re bringing in. In general, I cut Abrupt Decays and shave on discard spells.
Round 2 – Infect
You don’t want to be too threat dense in this matchup. Too many threats, and your hands get clunky and Infect can quickly run over you. Too few threats, and you may give your opponent time to draw out of your removal and kill you with an Inkmoth Nexus.
I cut Kalitas, 1 Tarmogoyf, 1 Scavenging Ooze and trim Lilianas and Maelstrom Pulse (more so on the draw). I’ve found myself trimming a Tarmogoyf over the second Scavenging Ooze as many Infect players are siding in 3-4 Kitchen Finks and sometimes Pulse of Murasa. It also has the upside of sometimes making Become Immense super awkward or impossible to cast.
Ancient Grudge, sweepers, and 2-3 Fulminator are great. I kind of like Chandra, Pyromaster on the play to check all nonland creatures and handle persisted Kitchen Finks; she feels fairly slow though. I didn’t side her in this particular match.
Round 3 – Dredge
This is a matchup you have to respect to beat and it obviously had me wanting the 3rd Scavenging Ooze.
Kitchen Finks is okay in this matchup to buy time, but you really want an early Grafdigger’s Cage. Anger of the Gods is okay, but you can’t just wait all day to cast it. You’re not going to completely lock them out from one and they can slowly rebuild. Jund Charm can be great, but it can definitely be too slow, especially on the draw.
You have a lot of bad cards to cut, but I usually just cut the worst in Lilianas and Thoughtseize. Some discard can be okay, especially on the play. Inquisition can sometimes nab that Abrupt Decay to protect your Grafdigger’s Cage or Scavenging Ooze. As well, on the play, discarding a Faithless Looting can turn an unbeatable hand into a “do nothing for 3 turns” hand. Discarding a Faithless Looting single-handedly won me game 2 in this match.
Round 4 – Ad Nauseum
As far as combo decks go, Ad Nauseum is among the easiest for Jund to handle. We have answers for their artifacts and enchantments so they’re usually forced to go off the old fashioned way—hitting 6 land drops.
When your opponent is forced to play their lands, a Liliana of the Veil can quickly get them hellbent. Once hellbent, comboing is almost impossible.
Sideboard games can get sketchy with them bringing in Leyline of Sanctity but you’ll still find that the matchup generally favors Jund.
Cut dead removal spells and clunky cards like Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and bring in artifact and land destruction.
I find myself hating siding in the 7th discard spell unless I’m also siding in an answer to Leyline of Sanctity. I lost game 2 with a Dark Confidant on board staring at a hand of Thoughtseize, Thoughtseize, Inquisition of Kozilek, Duress, Lightning Bolt, Abrupt Decay. This was after discarding the third Thoughtseize to hand size.
Round 5 – Grixis “I Never Want to Lose to Jund” Midrange
I wish I had something insightful to say about this matchup, but I really don’t. My opponent was playing a Grixis deck with Snapcaster Mage, Ancestral Vision, Dark Confidant, Pia and Kiran Nalaar, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, 2 Dreadbore and a Tasigur, the Golden Fang for good measure. This was not your normal Grixis, this was advanced Grixis.
While I’m not sure how the opponent ever beats aggro decks like Burn, they’re definitely never losing to Jund.
I’m fully convinced my opponent is like 6’7” with combat boots, a leather vest, and a necklace made of Jund player’s teeth. That said, I really don’t see this deck catching on. There’s just no conceivable reason to play this over other forms of Grixis; this version just makes your good matchups better and your bad matchups insanely worse.
Round 6 – RUG Dredge
This deck had the same general dredge gameplan—flip their deck and put Bloodghasts and Prized Amalgams into play. By playing blue over black they got access to Hedron Crab, Ideas Unbound, and Tome Scour.
Discard was slightly worse in this matchup since he had a lot more enablers. I still was able to steal a game with it after they mulliganed and I took their only enabler in Faithless Looting. The other game was won with a Jund Charm that came just barely in time to exile most of their threats.
Round 7 – Jund (mirror)
As far as mirror matches go, I think this is one of the least skill intensive. The most important thing is to side out discard spells and come prepared for the mirror in your sideboard.
I bring in 3 Kitchen Finks, 1 Chandra, Pyromaster, 1 Damnation, and 1 Thrun, the Last Troll. Damnation is great at catching you up if you draw blanks for a few turns. Don’t fool yourself into thinking Fulminator Mage is good in this matchup. At the end of the day it’s just a stone rain in a matchup that’s about having the best topdecks. “But one time I had Fulminator and—” No, just stop.
At the end of the day, the most important skill in the mirror is drawing better. It doesn’t matter how perfectly you play, there’s going to be games where you draw land, land as your opponent draws Dark Confidant and Tarmogoyf. Game one I ripped a Dark Confidant when we were both hellbent, and game two my opponent drew 4 straight lands. Skill game.
Round 8 – Suicide Zoo
In general we’re favored in this matchup. It’s very much a Zoo deck fused with an Infect deck but they have fewer threats than traditional Zoo. They deal a lot of damage to themselves, so if you clear their board then they don’t have a lot of time to come back before a Tarmogoyf kills them.
Kitchen Finks can wall them if they don’t have the combo and sweepers like Anger of the Gods and Damnation are reasonable. Fulminator Mage can be okay on the play to lock them out of playing spells after you clear their board.
Round 9 – Lantern Control
This matchup is usually fairly straightforward. Beat in until they land an Ensnaring Bridge, Abrupt Decay or Kolaghan’s Command the bridge, then finish them off. That plan becomes even easier after sideboard with Ancient Grudges.
Ancient Grudge also helps because sometimes they get very good draws and are able to play through artifact destruction. They Inquisition it out of your hands and lock you out of drawing more. They can’t do that with Ancient Grudge, and having them mill it is pure gravy.
Chandra, Pyromaster and Grim Lavamancer can also just be repeatable sources of burn to get past the bridge lock. They have Pithing Needles but you have a lot of juicy needle targets and they only have so many needles.
You shouldn’t have too much trouble with this matchup. My opponent even mentioned how this was his third Jund matchup in a row (spoiler: he ended up 6-3).
Top 8 – Infect
Honestly, no excuses, I played horribly in top 8. A combination of excitement from top 8ing, incredibly threat dense draws from the opponent and mental fatigue lead me to make some questionable lines and misplays.
I didn’t fetch out triple red and this cost me in game 3. I was forced to block a Glistener Elf with Raging Ravine and he pump spelled to kill it. This left me with one red source and a very awkward Anger of the Gods as I stared at a tapped out opponent with Breeding Pool, Breeding Pool, Dryad Arbor, Glistener Elf.
Whatever, you live and learn. Top 8’s not bad.
8-2, 5th/349 Overall
Changes Moving Forward
In paper, I think I’m happy with the Grim Lavamancer. Online, there’s just so much dredge that I think I’ll be much happier with the 3rd Scavenging Ooze. This works out perfectly because Torment foil Grim Lavamancers are gorgeous.
It obviously doesn’t help that I never played against Jeskai Nahiri, but this card was just awkward every time I drew it. I’ll test it a bit more, but I wasn’t very happy with it against decks like Infect and Suicide Zoo.
Besides Tron and Scapeshift, there are few matchups where the third Fulminator Mage is better than another card. There was absolutely no RG Tron or Scapeshift in the top 32 of the MOCs and both are on a downswing in popularity.
Honestly, maybe I’ll go crazy and cut the three Fulminators for two Blood Moons and play 4 basic lands. Eldrazi is super popular and this cuts them off Eldrazi Temple and colorless mana. Plus, it’s just a fun “gotcha” card. I’m like 37% serious.
Well, if I wasn’t before, I’m definitely not putting Jund down now. I’m just really comfortable playing a deck like Jund because besides being super fun to play, it’s just a really good and evenly matched deck.
The hardest part about Jund is honestly just nailing down the right sideboard, sideboarding correctly, and having an understanding of every deck in Modern so you know what to kill and what to discard. The deck is easy to play, but hard to play correctly.
I’m always up to talk about Jund so if you have any question about sideboarding, matchups, or other card choices feel free to ask. If you see me at Grand Prix Indianapolis, stop and say hey! Thanks for reading.
Note: Special thanks to my friend Lawrence over at Cast from Exile podcast (warning: language) for helping me test. Also, seriously, only play Ravnica Dark Confidants.