Jund is NOT Dead – PTQ Report *3rd*

Hi everyone! You might know me as that “really loud guy” from Gamer’s Gauntlet, but if you don’t, I’ll give you a little background. I work full-time in addition to being a graduate student at WSU, and drive from Detroit to Clinton Township to play at GG. Why? I love the shop and the players we have, simple as that. I’ve been playing since Innistrad block. I play this game because of the friends I’ve made throughout the years and traveling to major events has been amazing – I’ll never forget GP Richmond.

 Why Jund? Deathrite Shaman is banned.

I played Splinter Twin for a full PTQ season, then Merfolk (I love tribal decks), and right after the Deathrite Shaman ban I decided to buy into Jund.

Why? You just lost a key piece of the deck. It’s terrible now.

Jund is still a great deck. While Jund has fallen in power level from the almighty turn two Liliana of the Veil play, it’s still a major competitor. With Burn decks being your only auto-loss, every match seems winnable; sometimes you win off amazing top decks, others you just outplay your opponent.

Any major deck innovations?

Nope. Jund is pretty standard among 72/75 cards you’ll find across the different Jund lists. Only two little changes: -1 Courser of Kruphix, +1 Thrun, the Last Troll – Something about Michigan screams UWR control, and I wanted a key card for that matchup. +2 Rakdos Charm – While some lists have one, it acts as Terminate against Affinity (sans regeneration clause), is graveyard hate for Living End and Storm, and a really fun hate card versus Splinter Twin. While I haven’t been able to live the dream of killing someone mid-combo yet, two or three times throughout the tournament it acted as a really bad Lightning Bolt to get in the last few points of damage.

Round-by-Round

 Round 1 – Jake Maheu: Blue-White-Red Control Unfortunately, before the tournament started Jake and I were talking about how we would get paired up, but I wanted to help him with his sideboarding plans. One of the things I love about the UWR matchup is sometimes their only answer to Dark Confidant is Path to Exile, which conveniently ramps you into attacking with Raging Ravine if you sequence it right. Raging Ravine is one of the key pieces in this matchup and getting in that first +1/+1 counter early on can make a world of difference. The rudest: In game two when we were both in top deck mode, I had Batterskull online and played Chandra, Pyromaster. With four lands open, I decided to zero Chandra, and revealed Thrun. Sometimes, you just have it all.

1-0

Round 2 – Jacob Leyman: Melira Pod

Prior to GP Richmond, I was able to test against this deck a lot. Anger of the Gods is the real deal, and having two main deck is an absolute beating for them. The combination of Bolts, discard, and Angers makes this a pretty good matchup. A third Anger out of the sideboard was able to clean up this match quite handily.

2-0

Round 3 – Ryan Pinder: Big Naya

Ryan bricked on drawing any threat while we were both at three life, so I wrapped up game one with a Scavenging Ooze. In game two I Fulminator Maged his Kessig Wolf Run to choke his resources and give me a chance to survive late game. Kessig Wolf Run is how Naya can run away with any match, so this was something that needed to be answered. A fourth Abrupt Decay out of the sideboard and another Chandra supplied me with card advantage helped deal with Knight of the Reliquary.

3-0

Round 4 – Paul Dean: Kiki Control

A turn one Thoughtseize revealed 2  land, 2  Wall of Omens, Restoration Angel, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, Electrolyze. Knowing I can Bolt Kiki, I took the Restoration Angel to try and get through more damage. Sadly, after playing two Wall of Omens he did not see another land until I was too far ahead. In game two he died to Batterskull. One mistake I made during this matchup is that UWR Midrange will likely have Relic of Progenitus, while UWR Control will not, and sideboarded incorrectly. There’s a good chance I only won game two because he had to crack the Relic early to try and find a land.

4-0

Round 5 – Dylan Keen: Bogles

I really do hate playing this matchup. An interesting choice is that he had Suppression Field maindeck over the fetch + Dryad Arbor plan to battle Liliana of the Veil. Engineered Explosives, Anger of the Gods, Liliana of the Veil, and Abrupt Decay do a lot of work in this matchup. Winning the game on the spot almost always results from your opponent trying to enchant with Daybreak Coronet, and you Abrupt Decay their other enchantment, leaving them will a lowly 1/1.

5-0

Round 6 – Ryan Hovis: Kiki Pod

This was the first match of the tournament I really felt like “I had it all.” While we played three games, in two of them I had 3-5 draws where I found the perfect answers. Grafdigger’s Cage staying on the table allowed me to get around those pesky persist triggers and swing through at key points.

6-0

Round 7 – Brendan Reginbald: Burn

Sitting at 6-0, we could have double drawn into Top 8 and everything would have been great. However, my opponent wasn’t talkative, pulled out his dice, rolled, and said “Your roll,” when I tried discussing that we could all draw in. However, he was on Burn, and this matchup is nearly unwinnable for Jund – they need to seriously brick for you to have a chance. In game three I had lethal on board sitting at three life, and he had no board or hand. All I had to do was hope he didn’t draw one of the 14 or so live spells left in his deck and I would take the match. Sadly, as he could have drawn just about anything, he miracled a Lightning Bolt and that was it. He apologized for playing out the match, but I can understand why he did. Crushed, I took the extra time to listen to some music and bring myself back to center.

6-1

Round 8 – Shawn Cyr: American Twin

My opponent tried to draw with me because he had the highest breakers, but I knew I had to pull out a win to get into Top 8. A turn one Thoughtseize showed me he was playing American Twin. I couldn’t have been happier – the immediate grin across my face was probably a dead giveaway, but I was feeling confident in this matchup. I shut him out early with Tarmogoyfs and Raging Ravine, and game two a Batterskull and “still had all these” guaranteed me a victory. In all my time playing magic (not that long, I know), nothing felt sweeter than feeling the sweet justice of crushing my win-and-in and knowing I was going to be able to go forward. After my very poor results from GP Richmond, it felt great to finally do well in a Modern event.

7-1

Quarterfinals – Joseph Hamlin: Affinity

Game three was a real squeaker. Joe had animated both Blinkmoth and Inkmoth Nexus, and swung in to put me at seven life and nine poison. I was holding Abrupt Decay, Abrupt Decay, and a land. Luckily for me, on the next turn Dark Confidant revealed Lightning Bolt and I drew a Terminate. I was able to swing out, and due to poor blocks on his end, get him down to three life and then Bolt him. He admitted it was a bad choice on his end and just forgot about the Bolt. Not having played against Affinity in quite some time, I forgot how real of a card Jund Charm’s Pyroclasm mode can be. Not bringing it in could have very well been my downfall.

8-1

Semifinals – Elliot Smith: Red-Black Burn

He was on R/B Burn, but also splashed Green for Destructive Revelry out of the sideboard. Burn was another terrible matchup, but I was happy to steal even a single game away. In game three I made what was probably a mistake at one life.  I died to a freshly cast Goblin Guide when I swung out with two Tarmogoyfs to get him on a two turn clock. I was dead to any burn spell, or even a Mogg Fanatic so I knew I had to be as aggressive as I could and have him brick on two draw steps.

8-2 overall with my only losses to Burn. Throughout the tournament I used every card in my sideboard, but am at a little bit of a loss as to what I can do for the Burn matchup. Leyline of Sanctity? Witchbane Orb? Neither of these options sound all that great. Maybe we just have to play the “dodge the Burn” game.

Would I change anything in my 75? Not at all. I love the list I have and the modifications I’ve made to it over the weeks of testing. Shoutout to Jacob Hutchinson for giving me a pep talk at 5-0 and to everyone who stayed as long as they did to watch me in the final rounds of the tournament.

Matt Kozmor

@xkozmic on Twitter