Last month, professional player Reid Duke was the sole inductee into the Magic: The Gathering Hall of Fame for 2019. Congratulations Reid! So in honor of this event I decided to make this post about the deck that he is most famous for playing: Modern Jund.
Jund is a midrange deck, which means that it’s a very flexible deck that can easily adjust its strategy to most metagames. It is one of the most popular decks right now as well as one of the most expensive to build, costing between $1500 and $2000. The deck is named after the jund shard from the Alara block because the cards in the deck fall under the jund colors (black, red, and green).
Jund’s most infamous creature card is Tarmogoyf. Tarmogoyf is a */1+* that costs 2 mana. Its power and toughness are equal to the number of card types in all graveyards. Card types only include creature, land, instant, sorcery, artifact, enchantment, and planeswalker, which means that the biggest a Tarmogoyf can get off its own ability is 7/8, which is still impressive for only 2 mana. The deck also runs Scavenging Ooze which costs the same as Tarmogoyf but is a 2/2 with the ability to grow. For 1 green mana you can exile a card in a graveyard and if it’s a creature card, you put a +1/+1 counter on the ooze and gain 1 life. The third must-have creature is Bloodbraid Elf. This card was banned for a while but became unbanned in 2018. Costing 4 mana, the elf is a 3/2 with haste and cascade. Cascade is a crazy ability allowing you to reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal a nonland card that costs less than the cascade spell and cast it without paying its mana cost. Since Bloodbraid Elf costs 4 mana, it’s at the top of the mana curve so anything that you find on its cascade trigger, excluding another Bloodbraid Elf, will be cast.
Since Tarmogofy is the biggest creature in the deck, you’ll want to grow it as much as possible and the deck runs several cards for getting cards out of the opponent’s hand and into the graveyard such as Inquisition of Kozilek, Thoughtseize, and Liliana of the Veil. Not only does this grow the ‘goyf’ but it also removes threats, combo pieces, and basically anything you don’t want the opponent to play. A good opening hand for Jund should contain at least 1, but no more than 2, copies of Inquisition of Kozilek and/or Thoughtseize. Liliana is probably the worst card for what she does, but she comes down late enough that she can still be quite effective. Her +1 does cause the opponent to discard, but the opponent chooses which card to get rid of and it hits you as well, not great, but usually effective enough. Her -2 also lets the opponent choose which card they get rid of, again its not great, but it’s still effective. You will probably never use her -6, but if you do, you’ll want to separate your opponent’s permanents into lands and nonlands. If they choose to keep their lands, which is the marginally better choice, they lose everything else, essentially wiping their board and, should the game continue, this forces them to rebuild their board state. Should they choose to keep their nonland cards, they will have to start rebuilding their lands again and hope they can pull the right ones to keep casting spells to stay in the fight. They have also probably used a good portion of their fetch lands by now so it will be harder for them to fix their mana. Either outcome puts the opponent far behind and it is highly unlikely that they will ever catch back up.
Jund runs a lot of removal spells and these are pretty flexible slots. Just keep in mind their mana cost, possible targets, and the metagame you expect to encounter. Fatal Push is a great card because its revolt mechanic can trigger with just a fetch land. Lightning Bolt can hit any target, meaning it can finish off a creature or a planeswalker or just hit the opponent’s life total. Assassin’s Trophy can destroy any permanent, but it also ramps the opponent like Path to Exile so be careful with it. Abrupt Decay is also pretty good. Maelstrom Pulse gets rid of tokens. Dismember is great against indestructible creatures and it can be cast for only 1 mana and 4 life, but since the deck is primarily black, casting it for 1 generic and 2 black is okay too.
Faithless Looting was a card that saw play in Jund until it was banned. This was one of the few decks that used the card in a fairish way. It helped put two cards into your graveyard which could help Tarmogoyf or Scavenging Ooze while giving you some better cards in your hand. Seasoned Pyromancer has been included in the deck as a body and a Faithless Looting replacement. Tireless Tracker has also appeared in some versions. No doubt that there will be other cards that can eventually serve as a replacements for these creatures as well. Wrenn and Six is a new addition whose +1 allows for some great mana fixing. Since Modern decks run so many fetch lands, you can return a fetch land to your hand and immediately play it again (if you haven’t played a land for your turn), activate it, and grab another land that you need. Being a 2 mana planeswalker also allows the card to come down and use its -1 to ping a smaller creature like Noble Hierarch. As with Liliana, you will probably never use Wrenn and Six’s -7 ultimate ability, which gives all instant and sorcery cards in your graveyard retrace. Retrace allows you to recast a spell by discarding a land card and paying the spells mana cost again. If the game has lasted long enough to get Wrenn and Six up to 7 loyalty, you should have some pretty good removal spells in your graveyard, but you may only have one or two lands in your hand which means you can only cast one or two spells from your graveyard, which isn’t terrible, just a little underwhelming. Wrenn and Six can also combine well with Liliana as you can keep throwing a land around. By using both planeswalkers’ +1 abilities you can discard and recur a land over and over again while your opponent may be forced into giving up a crucial card.
Other than Tarmogoyf, Scavenging Ooze, and Bloodbraid Elf, the remaining creature slots can be just as flexible as the removal slots. Jund also used to run a play set of Dark Confidant. This card basically allows you draw another card at the cost of life equal to the cards casting cost. There are also some versions that run Death’s Shadow. These versions also run Street Wraith to cycle through more cards and lower their life total at the same time. Other creatures that see some fringe play in Jund include Huntmaster of the Fells, Grim Flayer, and Goblin Rabblemaster.
Sideboard: Since Jund is already highly adaptable as it is, it’s sideboard can contain all kinds of card to adapt to unfavorable match ups. One of the hardest match ups for Jund is Tron. Jund simply needs to side in a few copies of Fulminator Mage, Ghost Quarter, and Blood Moon or Damping Sphere and it can answer the Tron lands. Collector Ouphe, Destructive Revelry, Ancient Grudge, and Kolaghan’s Command can come in handy against artifact decks. Grafdigger’s Cage, Leyline of the Void, or Tormod’s Crypt can come in against graveyard strategies. Are planeswalkers giving you hard time? Bring in Dreadbore. Is your opponent going wide? Take a board wipe like Damnation, Anger of the Gods, or Bontu’s Last Reckoning.
The basic shell of a Jund deck should look something like the following:
Bloodbraid Elf x3-4
Scavenging Ooze x2-4
Inquisition of Kozilek X3-4
Removal spells x8-10
Liliana of the Veil x3-4
Wrenn and Six x2-3
Fetch lands x7-9
Inquisition of Kozilek is the better card over Thoughtseize and you want about 6-7 copies between the two, 5 is too little and 8 is too much. There are plenty of removal spells to choose from for this deck so go with what feels right to you and keep your local meta in mind. Since this is a 3 color deck you definitly need the fetch lands to help fix your mana.
That wraps up Modern Jund. It’s a very expensive but very good deck right now. If you plan on attending any competitive modern events, this will be one of the decks to beat. It’s actually become a deck that defines the modern format; it’s expensive, it’s powerful, it has some complex synergies to it and it’s been that way for years and will probably stay that way for years to come. Again, I just want say congratulations to Reid. Let me know what deck you want to see next in the comments below.