It's time for another one of my Modern deck reviews, in which I try to show off the latest, most sophisticated strategies from the current metagame. Despite the huge power creep suffered since the release of Modern Horizons 2, it seems the format is somehow balanced at the moment. There are obviously some strategies at the top—White-Blue Control, Temur Footfalls, Blue-Red Murktide, and Hammertime among others—but the general opinion is it's a healthy environment.
However, balance and stability doesn't mean stagnation. There is yet room for innovation, especially when brewing with cards from MH2 that have so far been eclipsed by the set's more obvious powerhouses. Without further ado, let's dive into Jund Sacrifice!
Kicking things off with the obvious fact: this shell is mainly built from Modern Horizons material. These two sets supply a total of 24 cards out of the 60 in the main deck, showing the huge shakeup they caused. What we have in our hands is not the classic Boomer Jund, filled with midrange creatures, discard, and spot removal. Rather this is a synergistic value grind machine, which can finish games in one turn with the combination between Goblin Bombardment and Mayhem Devil alongside assorted sacrifice fodder.
Since it is a newborn strategy, there hasn't been much time to iterate and to evolve. All the winning lists share the same main deck with identical numbers: four copies of most spells, except for Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger, Wrenn and Six, and Unearth each at two copies, is the stock main deck. Let's start with a look at the creatures.
Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer: The infamous Pirate Monkey shows up once again as the most efficient red threat that, if unchecked, wins the game by itself. Treasure tokens also work nicely with our Devil to ping opponents. Later in the game, it can make a topdecked surprise attack via dash and ultimately becomes another creature to sacrifice for the last points of damage.
Ignoble Hierarch: This Shaman is another powerhouse from MH2. It fixes all the Jund mana requirements, allowing the deck to quickly ramp into its payoffs, for example Grist on turn two or Collected Company on three, all while also pumping early threats via exalted.
Bloodghast: A well-known Dredge allstar that here works as the perfect repeatable sacrifice fodder. Landfall makes it synergize with Wrenn and Six rebuying fetch lands. It can be thrown to the graveyard by Seasoned Pyromancer and occasionally by Grist's plus ability.
Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger: The last two-mana threat is virtually a four-drop in the late game that can be found with Collected Company and features some profitable interactions: sacrificing it to Bombardment before it dies, enabling Mayhem Devil ability in the process. Moreover, Kroxa is a nice Unearth target that can sometimes finish games against problematic cards like Ensnaring Bridge or Leyline of Sanctity.
Seasoned Pyromancer: Moving on to the three-mana spot, Seasoned Pyromancer works as the glue that holds the deck together, being the main discard outlet. Not only does it filter our draws, throwing Bloodghast and Kroxa into the graveyard. It also increases the board presence so we have more creatures to sacrifice, and once it dies, its exile ability makes more tokens for Bombardment purposes.
Mayhem Devil: This is the deck's secret finisher. If you experienced Throne of Eldraine Standard at some point, you already know what this 3/3 body is capable of. Its effect becomes a doomsday clock the moment it hits the battlefield, as all fetch land activations on either side, Treasure token crackings, or even Mishra's Bauble activations on the other side of the table become direct damage. If somehow you manage to stick Bombardment and Mayhem Devil together with a decent board full of creatures, each of them will count as a Shock to the opponent's face, a deadly combination that'll end the game out of nowhere.
Wrenn and Six: The two-mana walker is already a well-known Modern staple. In this deck the card serves as an extra tool to ensure land drops and make Bloodghast come back from the dead easily. The fact that you can run one or two copies of Nurturing Peatland in order to have an extra draw engine is a great upside too. Although getting to its ultimate won't be as profitable since the deck only packs six total instant and sorceries, infinite Collected Companies seems a pretty good deal to me.
Grist, the Hunger Tide: Truly the deck's centerpiece, this three-mana walker has been eclipsed by other pushed mythics from MH2. But in this shell the card really does (a little bit of) everything:
Its plus ability generates Insects to sacrifice to Bombardment. Plus milling cards in the process can eventually send some Bloodghast, Kroxa, or Pyromancer to the graveyard, and the same goes for lands to be brought back by Wrenn.
The minus ability allows you to deal with troublesome creatures and—what's more appealing—planeswalkers, something this deck is not very good at, since the bodies of our threats is often smaller compared to others.
Finally, the ultimatum is pretty easy to accomplish as you can already get there on Grist's third turn. Sacrificing your whole board to Bombardment first and then "doubling" the damage with the ultimate is certainly one way to end a game.
Last but not least is the upside of getting into play with Collected Company or bringing it back from the graveyard with Unearth thanks to its passive ability that counts the card as a 1/1 Insect outside the battlefield.
Goblin Bombardment: Next to Grist, this is the other reason to assemble the deck. An innocuoucs reprint originally from Tempest, it saw significant play back in the early ages of Magic and also enabled the "Zombardment" strategy in Legacy for quite some time. Once this red enchantment hits the board, the play pattern drastically changes for both players since you start counting your creatures as direct points of damage to your opponent, or as two points when combined with Mayhem Devil. Although Prismatic Ending provides a superb answer to Bombardment, most of the time deploying it early is the best move in order to get the pinging machine going.
Collected Company: The only main-deck instant the deck features. You'll still usually cast it at the end of the opponent's turn or during their combat for strategic reasons. However, getting an extra activation from Grist or assembling a kill by hitting Mayhem Devil leave main-phase use a consideration. Putting Grist into play with CoCo is such a value move, while hitting Seasoned Pyromancer hellbent thus drawing two extra cards is another amazing line.
Unearth: Rounding up the list, two copies are a sweet addition for the grindy scenarios where our payoffs die in the line of duty. Bringing back Grist, Mayhem Devil, or Seasoned Pyromancer for a single mana is such an impressive tempo play that can turn the game in our favor. Worst case—when graveyard shenanigans are shut off, it cycles itself.
|Jund Sacrifice by Aspiringspike, Modern League|
The main additions from the latest set to the format so far are Faithful Mending to improve Reanimator shells at the same time that it brings back Arclight Phoenix. Meanwhile, Consider is replacing Opt in several decks, and last but not least, Sunset Revelry and Memory Deluge have found a spot in the successful White-Blue Control, which stands at the top of the metagame.
Jund Sacrifice needs to and can gear up the sideboard to fight the most played strategies in the format, starting with Void Mirror and Chalice of the Void. Both help against Temur Crashing Footfalls, while the Mirror works fine when facing Tron and Five-Color Elementals. When paired with other graveyard-based strategies, Endurance is our best hate card, as it's flashy, can be evoked for no mana, and ultimately is a CoCo and Unearth target. The same goes for Fulminator Mage, which comes in against Tron and White-Blue Control to blow up lands and slow them down.
Since Hammertime remains one of the best decks in the format, we need some copies of Force of Vigor to deal with the equipments. Finally, Culling Ritual from Strixhaven may seem counterintuitive to be played in this deck at first glance. But it deals with Urza's Saga tokens, Sigarda's Aid, and all the zero-mana artifacts while making black and green mana that can be turned into a Collected Company for free.
This has been my Jund Sacrifice review. I hope you enjoyed it and will give the deck a try. As usual, thank you so much for reading. Please leave your thoughts, questions, and ideas in the comments below!
Until next time,
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.