What do you think when you hear people talking about Jund in Modern? “Hasn’t Jund been bad since 2015? Why would you want to play that?” Well, the answer seems to be Modern Horizons, which gave the deck some new cards for the first time since Fatal Push.

An injection of new blood plus Hogaak being a reasonable matchup put Jund back on the map. Now that Bridge from Below has been banned, Jund must prove it can hang once the format expands a little bit. I believe the deck has the tools to do so.

The Deck

Let’s take a look at the deck I’ll be starting with to go into this shaken up format!

Good Old Jund, Summer 2019 edition

Creatures (13)
Dark Confidant
Scavenging Ooze
Bloodbraid Elf
Seasoned Pyromancer

Planeswalkers (7)
Liliana of the Veil
Wrenn and Six

Spells (16)
Fatal Push
Lightning Bolt
Inquisition of Kozilek
Assassin’s Trophy
Kolaghan’s Command

Land (24)
Verdant Catacombs
Bloodstained Mire
Wooded Foothills
Nurturing Pearland
Blackcleave Cliffs
Blood Crypt
Stomping Ground
Overgrown Tomb
Raging Ravine
Ghost Quarter
Sideboard (15)
Vraska, Golgari Queen
Damping Sphere
Fulminator Mage
Plague Engineer
Collector Ouphe
Anger of the Gods
Surgical Extraction
Grafdigger's Cage
Nihil Spellbomb
Collective Brutality

Let’s talk about some of the card choices here as things tend to move around a good bit.

You see a lot of Jund decks slimming down on their land count now that Wrenn and Six is here to provide a steady stream of land drops, usually sitting between 23-24.  I’ve opted for a build that is closer to the 23 mark, but I added Ghost Quarter as the 24th land. Ghost Quarter isn’t great at casting our spells, but with the impending return of Tron and possibly Amulet, having access to maindeck land destruction seems valuable. It is also quite powerful to pair with Wrenn and Six!

Stock lists seem to favor a 4/2 split favoring Lightning Bolt over Fatal Push. I’ve chosen an even 3/3 split instead. Given that Humans is popular, I think leaning too heavily on one removal spell can put you in some hot water against Meddling Mage. Thing in the Ice is the other card that pushed me toward the additional Fatal Push.

Dark Confidant is a long-time Jund staple, but with the advent of other cheap card advantage engines Bob is losing some of his value. That being said, I still find the effect valuable and am happy to run two copies for the time being.

I’ve chosen to play three copies of Assassin’s Trophy and zero Abrupt Decay. This is almost entirely just to have a better Tron matchup. Abrupt Decay is still a card you see one copy of floating around in some lists, but having additional game against Tron is always welcome. Trophy has some other ancillary benefits by being able to take down cards like Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria.

With Hogaak gone, I think it is reasonable to diversify your graveyard hate instead of only playing the fastest options. Surgical Extraction pairs well with Fulminator Mage against big mana decks, and can cripple some combo decks. Grafdigger’s Cage does excellent work against Phoenix, Neoform, and Collected Company decks. Nihil Spellbomb is powerful against Dredge, where removing the whole graveyard is important.

The New Tricks

Jund is a deck that traditionally plays more lands than most modern decks to accommodate playing a slightly higher curve.  Of course this has a downside, if you play 23-25 lands you’re naturally going to draw more lands than your opponent in most games. Once you make your fifth land drop, lands lose most of their value. So how do we fix that? By adding utility to our lands, like Raging Ravine, Ghost Quarter, and in this case Nurturing Peatland. Being able to draw a card mitigates the risk of flooding. Plus, all the cards in Jund are so good!

Seasoned Pyromancer in an unassuming three-mana 2/2 that people initially brushed off. “Spicy P,” as I have started calling it, has made its way off the bench to a starting role; and I just keep adding copies. The ability to throw out extra lands while flooding, discard spells when your opponent is hellbent, or even extra removal spells and turn them into real cards is strong. But the ability to exile it from the graveyard for two 1/1s at instant speed pushes Spicy P over the top! With as much value as this card brings when it enters the battlefield, it still provides even more after your opponent kills it!

Oh boy is Wrenn and Six a good one. Powerful two-mana planeswalker? Check. Cheap source of repeated card advantage? Check. Removal spell? Check. Ultimate that will take over the game? Check. What more could a Jund player want than something like Wrenn and Six?

All of that is just the text on the card—luckily we can build our deck with various synergies to make it even better! Ghost Quarter provides a powerful loop that will eventually lock the opponent out of the game. Nurturing Peatland on repeat will find us a steady stream of extra cards. Did Raging Ravine eat a removal spell? No worries, pick it up with Wrenn and Six for another go!

There is also synergy with Liliana of the Veil and Vraska, Golgari Queen. Liliana was designed with a downside: you have to discard a card as well as your opponent. With Wrenn and Six, you can keep discarding the same land every turn while Liliana shreds your opponent’s hand. Vraska, Golgari Queen lets you sacrifice a land for a card and one life, then pick up the land with Wrenn and Six so that you turn that ability into +2: Draw a card and gain one life! That isn’t even the end of things either. If you discard lands to Seasoned Pyromancer, it does a fantastic Mulldrifter impression as long as you have Wrenn and Six going!

Hopefully I’ve managed to sell you all on why Jund is going to be a good choice moving forward with all of its new toys. Until next week, may your Tarmogoyf be large and your Bloodbraid Elf cascade into Liliana!

Michael Rapp is a Boston-area grinder who started playing competitively in 2014. Loves Modern but plays everything. His favorite card is Thoughtseize has a soft spot for Tarmogoyf. GP Toronto 2019 Champion. Always happy to answer questions or just chat on Twitter or Facebook.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.