Fresh from the Championship: Standard Jund Deck Guide


Reaching the Top 8 at the New Capenna Championship was no small feat. It's worth thousands of dollars and leads to even more benefits, like a spot at the World Championship. Here's everything you need to know about the deck that made it all happen—from initial testing all the way to final sideboard plans!

riveteers charm - bloodtithe harvester - fable of the mirror-breaker

If you want to believe the aggregate data, Jund Midrange had a 46.6% win rate at the New Capenna Championship. Fortunately, you don't have to believe this number—once you lower the curve and switch to a focused game plan. This led me to a sixth-place finish at the event and a World Championship slot, and then on to a second place at the Standard Challenge the following weekend.

Preparing for the Standard portion of the tournament was a lot of fun, but tricky. This is a big shoutout to Wizards' development and playtest teams. We just couldn't break the format. Every deck had flaws, many of the matchups felt 50/50, with games coming down to player difference.

At first it was extremely frustrating because it felt like the player on the play was always winning, but that thought is what led me to a breakthrough. How to win games on the draw? What would let us cheat on mana and catch up on tempo? The answer is Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki combined with cheap interaction. I believe this is the best card in Standard. While a rare wildcard is expensive, seven euros for the best card is really cheap in paper Magic, especially as it is also playable in Pioneer.

We built a lot of decks around Fable—Grixis, Mardu, Jund, Jeskai Dragon Combo, we even tried Four-Color Midrange. In the end there were two Fable decks that stood out: the Dragon Combo that half the team decided to play and that put David "Tangrams" Inglis into the Top 8, and the Jund deck I chose to play.

I had three main reasons why I decided to play Jund over Dragons.

  • The deck rewards my playstyle and skill.
  • It's consistent and strong going second.
  • It's the most fun to play among all the Standard decks we built.

Here is the updated decklist. (It now features one less Ray and one more Duress in the sideboard.)

Shoutout to Stefan, KingofTraitors on Twitter, for the original concept of the deck.

The Mana in Jund Is Perfect!

This was a running joke in testing. I would keep a two-land hand and hit my third color by turn three almost every time. I could just always cast my spells. The reason is that there are just very few double costers in the deck.

You might wonder if 26 lands are too few. This might be true. I recommend playing conservatively with Fable's second chapter to make sure you hit your land drops. But if you want to play it even more safe, adding Shatterskull Smashing // Shatterskull, the Hammer Pass as a 27th land is a perfectly reasonable change to make. The card was in my list until the very last moment before submission.

shatterskull smashing sokenzan, crucible of defiance

I'm also running two basic lands out of respect for the Field of Ruin/Cleansing Wildfire decks. Cutting the Mountain for Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance is acceptable though, because it makes your Wrenn and Seven +1 find more "spells."

Everything Is a Two-for-One!

All the threats in the deck generate extra cardboard. They either have enter-the-battlefield triggers or are planeswalkers. I love it, because card advantage is my religion. As a Limited player this is exactly what I want my cards to do, to give me more cards, more options, and eventually the opponent crumbles under the infinite amount of interaction or the really wide board presence. I look at my Jund Midrange as a controlling deck and that is the key difference to Esper Midrange, which is pretty clearly an aggressive deck, a Fish deck.

The Interaction

Unleash the Inferno is the best card in Standard that one cannot play in any other deck, probably the number one reason to be Jund. It's a clean answer to Fable. It can kill a planeswalker and a powerful enchantment like Wedding Announcement // Wedding Festivity or The Meathook Massacre. It's even a clean answer to Goldspan Dragon, murdering it and killing the Treasure in the process too.

unleash the inferno riveteers charm

Riveteers Charm is another amazing card, the reason why I'm not scared of the Goldspan Dragon matchups, and in the long games it's a draw three. It even gives you a nice main-deck graveyard hate option versus Lier, Disciple of the Drowned or Invoke Calamity.

There also are a lot of cheap cards here. Curving Fable into Voltage Surge plus Esika's Chariot is a key play that helps you stabilize on the draw or pull you far ahead on the play. And I can't leave without mentioning The Meathook Massacre. This is simply one of the best cards in Standard. If I made a Standard tier list, it would be in the S tier along with very few other cards. It's another key card that combines really well with Fable and helps you pull back into the game or seal the win when far ahead.

Not Good Enough

The one card I want to bring up in this section is Ob Nixilis, the Adversary. I think he does not belong in midrange. This is a card that needs you to be pressuring your opponent's life total. It wants one- and two-drop creatures to sacrifice to its ability. It does not fit into the controlling game plan that I often look to follow with this deck.

Look for a sacrifice deck like Black-Red Anvil, a burn deck (maybe even in Pioneer?), or some other curve-out aggro deck if you want to play with Ob Nixilis. I'm actually waiting for the Vintage Cube to come back to Magic Online because I have high hopes for Ob Nixilis in the red strategy there.

Sideboard: What and Why?

reckoner bankbuster

I had three copies before, but because I want to respect Hinata, Dawn-Crowned and Goldspan Combo a bit more, I cut one to make space for an extra Duress. I was not sideboarding the third Ray versus Esper, so it's not a big loss. It was only coming in versus Monowhite and Runes.

The discard package, this is against combo or those decks that try to go over the top of our game.

Graveyard hate has been very underplayed in Standard lately, but I am a big fan of the Hearse. It stops Lier and poses a threat that's difficult to interact with. While its applications are narrow, the card is just too strong not to include.

We use all the charms versus Goldspan Dragon.

This card destroyed Runes and is great versus midrange decks.

I have been really impressed with Sarulf. The original idea was to have an extra sideboard card against Naya Runes, but it also earned me the win-and-in victory for Worlds because Vanishing Verse couldn't kill it.

Boarding into a Jund Control deck is part of the plan in a lot of matchups. And this card advantage package is a key part of that.

The third Massacre works wonders when you play against decks that try to go wide or have small creatures.

Sideboarding: How?

The sideboard was built with "too many" cards for midrange matchups. That was by design, I wanted to have options depending on what my opponents' exact lists have or how they are sideboarding. I think the key of playing versus Esper is to understand that they are the aggressor. Make sure you don't die to fast curveouts, save Massacre for key spots and play around their planeswalkers.Remember that you can kill planeswalkers plus Wedding Announcement with Unleash the Inferno, so don't always go after the 1/1 token on the first opportunity.

Kami of Transience is the key threat from their side. The way it is worded it does not go back to their hand if you use your removal spells in the end step.

Play aggressively to the board. They can't punish you at all until they have five mana, so until then you got to try to use all your mana to put them under as much pressure as you can. That is the reason I sideboard out Chariot. While it generates a lot of pressure, it can also be awkward to cast. Wrenn summons a big reach blocker that can stop their Dragon from attacking, it is just about fine. A bit weak to Fading Hope, but they are often taxed to use the Hope on an earlier turn.

Their deck really depends on having all the cardboard possible, so I am not at all scared of playing into their removal spells or Jwari Disruption // Jwari Ruins. Also, if you have the Hearse in play, you should not be scared of dragging the games out. As long as you have enough answers to Goldspan Dragon, they will have a difficult time actually killing you.

While this sideboard plan might seem radical, the idea is to win the long game and to make their early Corpse Appraiser as weak as possible. Make sure you save removal spells for Evelyn, the Covetous!

In my testing this matchup has been really difficult if the games go long, though it is possible to race them as they don't play that many sweepers. The reason why I keep in the Meathooks is either to cast them on turn two or to go wide with Chariots and Lolths and burn them out by killing your own board after a big attack.

The End

Thank you for reading! I hope Worlds 2022 is going to be in some really cool location I've never visited before like Hawaii or Las Vegas. I can't wait for the announcement, and I can't wait to hang out with so many of the friends I have made online these past two years.

Finally, a big thank you to all the past and present teammates who helped this dream of a Pro Tour Top 8 come true!

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, not of Cardmarket.


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