Piecing Jund Together

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In LSV's most recent article, "Initial Technology - The Evolution of Extended," he claims the Extended format to look like this:

Tier 1
Prismatic Omen

Tier 2+
Tempered Steel
Pyromancer Ascension
Mono Red

Other ("not recommended")
GW Summoning Trap

To these lists, I think it's important to add Mythic Conscription (Tier 1), UW Control (Tier 1/2), Naya Shaman (Tier 1/2), and Necrotic Ooze (Tier 2).

With the start of the PTQ season for PT Nagoya, I've been mostly playing Extended. The deck I've been focusing on has been Jund; of the three PTQs to run so far, Jund has taken down 6 of the 24 Top-8 slots (25%). For reference:

Top-8 Makeup
MTGO PTQs 01-02-2011, 01-07-2011; PTQ, Amsterdam, 01-07-2011
Jund: 6
Faeries: 4**
Wargate: 3
Naya: 2
UW Control: 2
GW Summong Trap: 2*
Mythic Conscription: 1
Necrotic Ooze: 1
Tempered Steel: 1
White Weenie: 1
"Splinter" RUG: 1

*s denote the winners, though this is too small of a sample size to care much right now.

Digging Deeper into Jund

Here are each of the Top 8 Jund lists.

Ch0b1, 3rd Place MTGO PTQ, 01-02-2011

Mattijs Nijboer, 2nd Place PTQ (Amsterdam), 01-07-2011

Niels de Jong, 7th Place PTQ (Amsterdam), 01-07-2011

En3myOfMyEnemy, 3rd Place MTGO PTQ, 01-07-2011

Edel, 4th Place MTGO PTQ, 01-07-2011

Ondriq, 5th Place MTGO PTQ, 01-07-2011

Each deck had 26 Lands (to be examined later). Here are the 26 nonland cards that every player agreed with in their 60:

2 Anathemancer
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Demigod of Revenge
2 Kitchen Finks
4 Putrid Leech
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Blightning
2 Maelstrom Pulse

16 creatures, 6 removal spells, and 4 Blightning. That leaves just 7 cards to work with in each maindeck, and here is how each player filled those out:

3 Fauna Shaman
1 Shriekmaw
1 Kitchen Finks
2 Maelstrom Pulse

5 creatures, 3 removal spells (obviously with Shriekmaw overlapping each category).

1 Anathemancer
2 Kitchen Finks
2 Sygg, River Cutthroat
2 Terminate

5 creatures, 2 removal spells, including Sygg, River Cutthroat to provide some pretty sick card advantage instead of Fauna Shaman.

1 Anathemancer
2 Kitchen Finks
2 Sygg, River Cutthroat
2 Terminate

Same as above.

2 Kitchen Finks
3 Fauna Shaman
2 Maelstrom Pulse

5 creatures, 2 removal spells (look familliar yet?)

1 Kitchen Finks
1 Shriekmaw
3 Fauna Shaman
2 Maelstrom Pulse

5 creatures, 3 removal spells (as well as Shriekmaw pulling double-duty once more).

2 Fauna Shaman
1 Kitchen Finks
2 Duress
2 Maelstrom Pulse

This deck bucks the trend slightly, adding in 2 Duress for 2 creatures. 3 creatures, 2 removal spells, and 2 Duress.

Filling Out the Removal Suite

Each deck played two additional removal spells: Either 2 Terminate or 2 Maelstrom Pulse. Both have their merits, but my vote goes toward Maelstrom Pulse. Pulse protects you against a wider variety of permanents, most notably Prismatic Omen, Leyline of Sanctity, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and Tempered Steel. It also best protects you from most other deck's most broken draws in its ability to deal with multiple problem cards at a time. 2 Maelstrom Pulse are added to our base list.

Fauna Shaman or No?

Four of the six decks played 2 Fauna Shaman and three of the six decks played 3 Fauna Shaman. The advantages of Fauna Shaman should be pretty obvious. First, being a 2-drop plays well in a deck with only either four (4 Putrid Leech) or six (with 2 Sygg, River Cutthroat) 2-drops otherwise; Second, because it enables any creature to become a Demigod of Revenge, and/or pitch a Demigod of Revenge into the graveyard. Both are advantageous, as pitching a "useless" Demigod of Revenge early before you can pay its mana cost still hits the board when you play your first. Last, Fauna Shaman functions as a tutor effect for Shriekmaw, Bloodbraid Elf, Kitchen Finks, and Anathemancer. Postboard it can search out Great Sable Stag or Obstinate Baloth as needed.

The decks that played Fauna Shaman played either 2 or 3, so let's start with two. 2 Fauna Shaman and 1 Shriekmaw are added to the list.

Finding the Last Creatures

2 Maelstrom Pulse, 2 Fauna Shaman, and 1 Shriekmaw leave 2 cards to choose. One option is to play Fauna Shaman and either Anathemancer or Kitchen Finks. The other option, in my opinion, is to play 2 Kitchen Finks or 2 Thoughtseize.

Personally, this is the core of the maindeck Jund list that I would recommend for testing:

Kitchen Finks is a solid threat in almost every single non-Combo match. Anathemancer is an exceptional card against the field right now, but the recent prevalence of even maindeck Leyline of Sanctity leads me to cut the maindeck total to the minimum 2. It can be tutored for with Fauna Shaman when needed, and some additional number can certainly live in the sideboard.

Now is the time to examine the mana base! πŸ™‚

On turn 1, all we could possibly care about is R for Lightning Bolt, though there is a secondary need for B to cast Thoughtseize or Duress.

On turn 2, we want R for Lightning Bolt, BG for Putrid Leech, 1G for Fauna Shaman, and 1B for Shriekmaw. Obviously, Savage Lands is the only land that guarantees this. Best case scenario is on then 2 to be able to cast RB and BG.

On turn 3, we want all of the above, as well as 1GG for Kitchen Finks, 1RB for Anathemancer, 1RB for Blightning, 1GB for Maelstrom Pulse. Any of the 2-drops can also be tutored for & cast this turn with an extra G. Best case scenario is on turn 3 to be able to cast 1GG, 1RR, 1GB, and 1RB.

On turn 4, we want all of the above, as well as 2RG for Bloodbraid Elf. The same rule as above for Fauna Shaman applies here for 3-drops.

Past turn 4, (B/R)(B/R)(B/R)(B/R)(B/R) is the other main priority for Demigod of Revenge.

The Top-8 lists all have the following lands in common:

2 Savage Lands
2 Copperline Gorge
3 Blackcleave Cliffs
3 Verdant Catacombs
4 Raging Ravine
2 Twilight Mire
1 Forest
1 Mountain
1 Swamp

Totaling 19 lands and leaving 7 left to choose. All but one player chose to run 1 Lavaclaw Reaches, and I completely agree. The Worldwake manlands are incredibly awesome, and I'd highly recommend including as many as a deck can handle.

Playing extra basic lands helps with Verdant Catacombs and it helps against Fulminator Mage, Tectonic Edge, and Anathemancer. Therefore, I'd recommend adding 1 Swamp and 1 Forest.

That leaves us so far with 2 RGB land, 5 BG land, 5 RG land, and 4 RB land on top of the 2 G, 2 B, and 1 R. Crude addition gives us 14 G, 13 B, and 12 R. If you look at our turn-by-turn list above, there should probably be a higher count especially of R-producing lands than we've got so far, and I'd like to start with at least two more. But should they be RG or RB? I would suggest 2 Savage Lands, 1 Copperline Gorge, and 1 Twilight Mire to round out the mana base.

Demigod of Revenge's Effect on the Land Base

Demigod of Revenge has a rather restrictive mana cost of (R/B)(R/B)(R/B)(R/B)(R/B), until you consider that the only lands in the deck that cannot make either R or B are the 2 Forests (and, to some extent, the third Verdant Catacombs). I quickly dismissed the card for my first round of testing because of its mana cost (while simultaneously including 2 Bituminous Blast that truly aren't much more difficult to cast!) without really thinking about how easy Demigod truly is to cast. So for now, I think it's safe to consider its effect as negligible.

This is the maindeck that I am going to be testing with this week. Sideboard cards to consider include Volcanic Fallout, Nature's Claim, Naturalize, Great Sable Stag, Obstinate Baloth, Thoughtseize, Duress, Terminate, Wurmcoil Engine, Deathmark, Fulminator Mage, Guttural Response, Autumn's Veil, Thought Hemorrhage, Memoricide, and Anathemancer, but further testing is required to figure out in what quantity and how to sideboard them.

My current thoughts are that Volcanic Fallout is a must, Nature's Claim is a must, Fulminator Mage would be pretty slick, Great Sable Stag is a must, & Obstinate Baloth can probably stay home. During last week's MTGO PTQ, I assumed any opponent with Green boarded them in, and usually left my Blightnings in the Sideboard. The 3 that I boarded in never got cast over 9 rounds, and they ended up being 100% irrelevant the entire day.

Coolest moment from that PTQ:

My Tempered Steel opponent had a Court Homunculus and a Tidehollow Sculler (hiding Bloodbraid Elf) in play, both tapped and attacking, along with two copies of his deck's namesake Enchantment and no cards in hand. I had an untapped Putrid Leech in play, 2 life, and just a Bituminous Blast in hand. I cast the Bituminous Blast on the Tidehollow Sculler, hit Maelstrom Pulse for both Tempered Steels with the Cascade, and traded my Putrid Leech for his Court Homunculus. πŸ™‚ My topdecks were worse than his however and Bloodbraid Elf wasn't enough to win the race a few turns later.

Worst moment from that PTQ:

Round two, game 1. I had just come back from a savage loss in round 1, game 1 to win that round against Prismatic Omen, and I was playing the deck again in round 2. I had my opponent to a single draw step with no nonland permanents in play and about 6 lands. I pumped my Putrid Leech to take him to 4 and me to 12 with a Kitchen Finks in play as well. My opponent dug through about a billion cards with Preordain, found his Prismatic Omen, found his second Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, and had Misty Rainforest for exactsies since I got careless with my lifetotal. Remember: Valakut decks are really good at dealing damage in 3s! 13 life would have been much, much safer in that position than 12 life, even if both were longshots.

I hope this helps for those of you looking to play Jund as the Extended season progresses. If I could play in GP Atlanta, this is certainly the deck and the list that I would start with.

Thanks for reading πŸ™‚ Please, I encourage any of you to talk about your own personal builds in the comments. Discuss what you see! It's fun, I promise πŸ™‚

Dylan Lerch
@dtlerch on Twitter
Kinarus on MTGO
MTG Brewery

17 thoughts on “Piecing Jund Together

  1. The new list looks pretty solid, I like the demigod package and shaman seems like a good way to give the deck a little extra reach. I know it's mostly in there to tutor for with Fauna Shaman, but was Skriekmaw ever really that good? The non-black restriction kind of sucks in the mirror and there just don't seem to be that many decks that I want extra removal against. A second Anathemancer seems like it might do more against more of the field.

    1. I'm a sucker for a tutorable effect like that, so it could just be my deckbuilding bias coming through. I could definitely see it as being a third Anathemancer, or even a card like Terminate or Thoughtseize as needed.

      Thanks πŸ™‚

  2. Hey Dylan,

    I went to the Indy PTQ this weekend with a group, and 3 of us took Jund, each playing about 70 cards similar in our builds. My two teamates scrubbed out at 0-2 drop. I went 6 and 2. Aside from the fact I played Jund for a year and a half while it was in standard, the other big help for me was I was the only one playing Terminates.

    I know That Pulse looks better on paper, but Not having Instant speed can really hurt sometimes. I played 2 Terminate and 3 Pulse, and was really happy with it. For Reference, here was the list I took.


    3x Fauna Shaman
    4x Putrid Leech
    3x Anathamancer
    3x Kitchen Finks
    4x Bloodbraid Elf
    4x Demigod of Revenge

    4x Blightning
    4x Lightning Bolt
    3x Maelstrom Pulse
    2x Terminate

    4x Verdant Catacomb
    4x Raging Ravine
    4x Twilight Mire
    3x Copperline Gorge
    3x Blackcleave Cliffs
    2x Swamp
    2x Savage Lands
    1x Reflecting Pool
    1x Forest
    1x Murmuring Bosk
    1x Graven Cairns

    4x Thoughtseize
    3x Volcanic Fallout
    3x Natures Claim
    3x Wall of Tanglecord
    2x Wurmcoil Engine

    After playing the tournament, I would definitely go down to Anathamancer. It can be good, but too often it just never felt like the optimal time to play it. That could be the fourth pulse or Fourth Kitchen finks, though I would probably say the Finks is more necessary. You will hardly ever get a chance to attack a Prismatic Omen with a Pulse unless your opponents drop it without protection (which they shouldn't), and its the target you are worried about most, followed by Tempered Steel. My two game losses came to the mirror and 4cc. I was drawing poorly in both games, and My opp topdecked his seventh land in the 4cc matchup before I put the game away to cast back to back Cruels.

    The weird cards in the side are Wurmcoil Engine and Wall of Tanglecord. I know it looks weeird at first, but in the mirror, Jund has no answers but to draw one of its 4 pulses since most lists aren't playing Terminate. Wall of Tanglecord will block Demigod like a champ and Wurmcoil just wrecks their gameplan. I think here after having played the deck, I would drop one of the Wurmcoil's for a Slave of Bolas for opposing Wurmcoils, but I really liked the cards as they were.

    So that's my take on the deck. Jund is a playstyle near and dear to my heart, so I look forward to how this discussion goes.

    1. Hi David,

      I like your list! I think you're right about Anathemancer. In the MTGO PTQ I played all 4 maindeck, and it led to some awkward spots on turn 3 especially. 2 seems like the right number with a 3rd in the sideboard.

      I also think the 3/2 split of Pulse/Terminate is quite reasonable.

      Wurmcoil Engine is awesome and goes in either every maindeck or sideboard that I've been making lately πŸ˜›

      How has that mana base been working out for you? Especially the singleton Reflecting Pool and the Murmering Bosk. Does Bosk ETBT have much of an impact in your experience?


      1. For Bosk, it is occasionally awkward, but only once in a blue moon. The only time its awkward is when I have already gotten the other three basics and need a land to come in untapped or if I draw it when I want a land to come in untapped. In that sense, its almost like a Savage lands I can fetch, just it can't produce R. I had numerous games where I led with a verdant catacombs and cracked it to get the bosk, essentially having the typical turn one tapped land into next two turns untapped lands. With this manabase, that was how it typically played out. Play a turn one tap land, then two and three play untapped to go putrid leech/shaman followed by blightning/finks/etc. I only had mana issues if I kept a hand without one of my colors in mana and didn't draw into the color I needed in two/three turns. Sometimes you can take that risk, but often, unless I have three lands and cards I can play with said lands, I'll ship it back if I'm missing a color. the singleton Pool has worked out well, working most of the time as an untapped Savage lands. With the one copy, you don't have a ton of dead draws like you do if you play more than that number. 1 seems about right to me.

        Oh, and something I caught when I was reading your article:

        "Great Sable Stag is a must"

        When I was playing this weekend, I never ONCE wanted the card, and having put some money into the card in the hope it gains, I don't say this lightly. Right now, the card is terrible. Pro Blue/Black doesn't do anything for you. Normal Fae is playing wall of tanglecord and wurmcoil to block it, and, having played against it, Esper Fae is a real contender and potentially stronger than UB Fae. Wall of Omens, Path to Exile and Esper Charm give the deck the card draw it lost with Ancestral Visions, Path kills stag dead and Wall of Omens will block it all day. Control is playing Bolt to kill stag, so anyone currently playing this in their side needs to seriously rethink it. The best place for Stag right now is the mirror, and I will hold the banner up for Wall of Tanglecord as significantly better all day.

        1. Hi David,

          I used to assume that 4x Verdant Catacombs was an auto-include, but then when I've been using land bases with 4 (or fewer) basics it can fetch I've been dropping it to 3. Maybe that might help as well? I'll give Bosk a try in either case, I like how it's the one land you can fetch with turn 1 Verdant Catacombs that enables a turn 2 Leech with Reflecting Pool.

          RE: Great Sable Stag: I think you just made the most compelling argument I've seen for cutting Stag entirely, though I'm not sure if I'm completely sold. It's alright in the mirror match, though you're absolutely right about it against Faeries. Over 9 rounds in my PTQ, I boarded it in for every non-Steel matchup, and it ended up being pretty solid for me. It's not a 4-of anymore, and it might not even be a 3-of anymore FWIW.

          All that being said, I wouldn't fault you for skipping out on it, and I think I chose my words a little poorly πŸ™‚

          Thanks for reading, and your comments have been fantastic. I've taken Jund up as my Extended project this season, so I'm glad to see that it's been doing so well πŸ™‚

  3. I've been MODOing with this:

    3 Fauna Shaman
    4 Copperline Gorge
    1 Graven Cairns
    1 Lavaclaw Reaches
    3 Blackcleave Cliffs
    2 Fire-Lit Thicket
    4 Lightning Bolt
    1 Shriekmaw
    3 Anathemancer
    1 Swamp
    4 Savage Lands
    2 Verdant Catacombs
    1 Forest
    1 Mountain
    4 Blightning
    4 Bloodbraid Elf
    4 Maelstrom Pulse
    3 Twilight Mire
    4 Putrid Leech
    4 Raging Ravine
    2 Kitchen Finks
    4 Demigod of Revenge

    2 Great Sable Stag
    1 Terminate
    4 Jund Charm
    2 Nature's Claim
    4 Thoughtseize
    1 Anathemancer
    1 Kitchen Finks

    I'm playing 27 land because the mana requirements are so tough, but I could be convinced to go down to 26. How's your mana been so far? It's been tough against a lot of random land destruction (Fulminator and Ruinblaster of late), but I've been happy with the deck overall. Demigod is just the sickest.

    Have you guys tried anything focused on Vengevines? The Fauna/Demigod package is really nice, if a little slow, and I was wondering if Vengevine would make it more resilient and a little faster. Haven't had time to try it yet.

    As for the sideboard, I haven't really liked the Thoughtseizes yet, though I don't think I would cut them for anything. The Stags have been okay, but like you said, better in the mirror than anything, and I haven't tried Wurmcoils yet. Is it better than Grave Titan? Does this deck need a non-Demigod endgame? Jund Charm is me wanting something a little more versatile than Volcanic Fallout. So far the +2/+2 has been more valuable than the Pyroclasm effect, especially when cascading into it. Speaking of cascade, does Bituminous Blast belong anywhere? I've definitely lost games to that thing.


    1. I haven't tried Vengevine, personally. Bloodbraid helps there too in bringing them back, but playing Maelstrom Pulse and Blightning (and perhaps other non-Creature cards) tempers Fauna Shaman's usefulness as well as Vengevines. I think that's why you typically see a maximum of 3 in the deck rather than Naya's 4.

      I would like to try a 27th land although 26 seems like it might be perfect. If I did 27 it would be another Lavaclaw Reaches, I think.

      I like Jund Charm, but I prefer Volcanic Fallout whenever possible (except perhaps in a version of Jund I've been toying around with using Bitterblossom ala @Grant_Champion on Twitter).

      I think Wurmcoil is better than Grave Titan in theory, but I haven't tried Titan. Wurmcoil Engine is awesome pretty much anywhere πŸ™‚

      Bituminous Blast absolutely belongs somewhere, though I'm not sure in place of what. Perhaps Maelstrom Pulse #4 and 1 Kitchen Finks as a 2-of at the top end? I'm not sure how much of that is the card being so good versus it being a pet card of mine though.

      Any thoughts on Fulminator Mage out of the SB? That's my next big SB test.

  4. Forgot to talk about Anathemancer. I want to try a 1/1 split between main and side. I've only been in one spot where I really wanted one, but a Lightning Bolt would have done just as well. Thoughts on that?

    1. thedanetrain,

      Even with all the Leylines of Sanctity running around, I like Anathemancer enough to want 3 between the maindeck and sideboard. I think 4 is probably too many. What card would you say you play in place of the second maindeck Anathemancer?

      Thank you so much for responding, by the way πŸ™‚ This is exactly the type of discussion I was hoping for! πŸ™‚


  5. For some reason I have your email reply but it doesn't show up on this page. Anyway, I agree that Vengevine is not right in this version of Jund. I was thinking of brewing something that focused on maximizing Fauna Shaman. I'm going to try one of the 6 drops and see how it goes. I'll post what I find.

    1. The comment software is currently hiding a couple of comments. Not sure why! :/ Glad it at least got sent to you πŸ˜› Please do let me/us know how that testing goes.


  6. These are just a bunch of netdeckers, none of these list shows any creativity, mashing them together seems like netdecking by committee.

    Also, the guy playing duress is clearly a budget build, note the lack of Twilight Mire's, the most expensive card in the deck. Duress is obviously worse than thoughtseize in almost every matchup, but it is considerably cheaper.

    Where's the tech? how about Cloudthreasher as an answer to faeries. Chameleon Colossus? Deglamor to answer Wurmcoil, or Wurmcoil for the mirror?

    1. Hi JustADemoName,

      You're right! There were no claims of secret tech, and there was very little coverage at all of the sideboard choices made. However, I think there is a lot of merit in examining the hivemind to come up with a baseline build upon which you can innovate further.

      Cloudthresher is solid. Chameleon Colossus was okay, but a little underwhelming in my testing (as a 2-of). Deglamer has been showing up in PTQ top-8s, and I think it's a solid answer, though I like Slave of Bolas better as a Wurmcoil and fatty catch-all.

      And of course, everything is better with Wurmcoil Engines.

      In short, good points πŸ™‚ Perhaps the next Jund feature will be on the sideboard!

      Thanks for reading and for commenting.


    2. There is no doubt that as the organizer of this event, Starn made the deiosicn to include Roberts on the panel. Not only did her column indicate she is a good soldier in the same army Starn is in (motto “Get the LAX 3”), she has “credentials” because she writes for the NYT (motto “All the news that fits our agenda, we print”). There’s nothing like credentials to warm the cockels of the heart of a poseur like Starn. Roberts, after all the bad gas you wrote about the LAX case, what entitles you to be held up as an authority on anything other than how to rush to judgment?

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