Hello again everyone, and welcome back to the Sanctum. It’s been awhile since I posted, but for good reason. Over the course of the last month I have been playing one (yes,…one) deck in Modern.
Not that abomination of Jund Death’s Shadow. Actual Jund.
As many of you may remember I posted a lot about Jund in a previous article, however I kept trying different decks in Modern since then until wanting to play this again. A game store local to me, No Limit Gaiming, recently started running Friday Night Magic where the entry for all of June was going to be free. On top of that they were holding not just one Modern event, but two each evening.
3 rounds of Modern at 6:30 pm
4 rounds of Modern at 9:00 pm
Modern is incredibly popular around here. There are many reasons for it, some of which are tied to how unpleasant (for some) it is to play Standard, how expensive Legacy is to get into, and how easily accessible it is for those who play Kitchen Table Magic. FNM level events focus on the fun, and social engagement of the game while still providing a competitive feel. For those who only play at home with friends this is their first (and sometimes only) level of competitive play. They practice all week long leading up to Friday with their brew they came up with, and plan to tackle the rest of the room (while having fun trying). The other thing that draws this portion of the player base to Modern is that they have the cards. They have been playing for years with their friends, and often times have cards many who want to be slightly competitive have forgotten about.
Before the month of June was upon us I was a little undecided on what to play, until I saw one of my favorite players just simply clocking people with it during the Star City Games Baltimore event at the end of May.
You can watch Reid Duke vs Brennan Decandio here.
Reid Duke is one of the few pros I watch when I am looking for inspiration in deck ideas, want to get an idea of a possible meta, see how a fair deck matches up against a new deck (just as the example above shows), or watch someone very skilled play the game well. When I saw him back on Jund I was hooked, and started my journey there (with a slight change, which I’ll get into in a moment). It has always been suggested that if I want to play a deck I get the exact 75 of someone, or as close as possible, but as I started playing in June I wanted to take note of my matchups, and any changes I made. What I noticed is that (subconsciously) I went back to what I originally had sleeved up.
Here is the progress I made each week with the deck.
(I skipped a week as I was on vacation during June)
As you can see the core of the deck remained the same from week to week. I went with 3 Leyline of the Void in the sideboard, because I wanted to make sure I had it in my opening hands during the sideboarded games, however before we breakdown some more thoughts of the deck, and changes (…and what I should have been packing in the board) let’s take a look at my matchups:
Abzan Elves 2-1 (1)
Affinity 3-2-1 (2)
Azorius Shared Fate 2-0 (1)
Death & Taxes 2-0 (1)
Domain Zoo 2-0 (1)
Dune-Brood Death’s Shadow 2-1 (1, Jund Death’s Shadow with white in the board)
Golgari Elves 2-1 (1)
Grixis Control 2-0 (1)
Jeskai Nahiri 2-0 (1, no burn w/Cast Out)
Jund 2-1 (1)
Selesnya Titan 2-1 (1, Sun Titan + Emeria, the Sky Ruin)
Azorius Spirits 1-2 (1, yep…hexproof is hard to beat)
Glint Eye Goyf 0-2 (1, 4 color non-white deck/Jund w/ Snapcaster Mage)
Grixis Death’a Shadow 1-4 (2)
Izzet Prowess 1-2 (1)
Merfolk 2-4 (2)
Naya Zoo 1-4 (2, 1 w/ Ghor Clan Rampager, 1 w/ Renegade Rallier)
Witch-Maw 0-2 (1, Abzan Midrange w/ Snapcaster Mage)
The meta felt a little aggro, and I fell into the trap of trying to pack more lifegain into the deck than necessary. Generally speaking game 1 Scavenging Ooze is enough to gain you plenty of life vs the myriad of creature based decks that appear in Modern. The focus should have been on removal, and keeping my opponent off balance (unless their creatures had hexproof).
I’m still not completely sold on Chandra, Torch of Defiance, however I was in one turn able to add double red to my mana pool to help activate Raging Ravine, attack, and play a Tarmogoyf. My concern is that she can be easily ignored by my opponent, and is a bad card to hit off the top of my deck when I am behind. Honestly though if I was that far behind where they occurred I probably lost anyway.
Kozilek’s Command had some awkward moments as well, especially when I had an active Liliana, of the Veil in play. The card is really good though, and right now it’s either keep it at 1 of, or cut both the Lightning Bolts for a second copy of Command & Abrupt Decay.
One other problem I ran into maindeck was sometimes I lacked red mana. The 2nd Blooming Marsh probably needs to be another Bloodstained Mire so I can fetch out double red early if I need it.
For the most part the maindeck worked fine even with the changes, however in a world where we have Collected Company getting an infinite combo by itself I need not only a way to take out small creatures when we get to the mid-late game, but also an evasive clock. Olivia Voldaren fits that roll nicely.
The sideboard still feels a little awkward. Collective Brutality & Kitchen Finks are musts for Burn decks, and the graveyard hate can simply lock people out of the game as early as turn 1 (assuming you play both by then). While many may think Scavenging Ooze may be enough, a lot of these graveyard based decks are running ways to remove it.
The one card that seemed to be a bit…overkill…was Shatterstorm. Although I was able to get a 5-for-1 from an Affinity player I think Damnation is better in this spot, and going forward I will sleeve that up instead. Another reason I may want to add a second Kolaghan’s Command to the maindeck is to be able to rebuy the Fulminator Mages against big mana decks (which fortunately I dodged).
In July when I do this again with a different deck I will also take note of the number of times I mulligan, and to what number. How often I am on the play vs the draw, and keep taking more notes. While I would like to continue to play Jund I promised myself a month, was able to get some store credit, and now it’s time to play (and write) about another Modern deck so stay tuned to that next week.
Coming up this month we will talk a little about making choices in the game, a Pauper League I signed up to play in, and more.
So until then…TAP MORE MANA!!!