Modern has changed a lot over the years, and yet Jund has always remained a competitive archetype. The reason is its flexibility – the ability to adapt to any problem or matchup – as well as the simplicity of its game plan – dismantle the opponent, and win with the most efficient single threats available in Modern. As always, Jund is a deck that will reward you for your practice, study, and knowledge of the format.
Modern Horizons 2 has revolutionized the format, to the point that the cards and decks played today have little resemblance to the ones that were around when Jund was on top of the format. That said, strategies centered around discard spells and cheap removal in black and red remain effective.
There’s an almost infinite amount of room to customize within the R/B/x attrition archetype. That said, I do believe that traditional “Boomer” Jund still has a lot to offer, and can put up solid results.
There’s no denying that Urza’s Saga is one of the best cards in Modern. Adding it to any deck provides a significant power level boost. For Jund, where the primary complaint about the archetype is that it’s underpowered, such a boost is very welcome.
Specifically, Urza’s Saga makes a very powerful pairing with Wrenn and Six, which can recur it as the game goes long. It also provides additional card types for delirium and for Tarmogoyf. Saga gives any deck additional staying power, which is a good fit for a grindy archetype, and helps mitigate the loss of Lurrus of the Dream-Den as a companion.
Conveniently, Saga also allows you to build extra tools into the structure of your main deck. For example, Shadowspear offers life gain, Pyrite Spellbomb can kill protection creatures like Sanctifier en-Vec and Nihil Spellbomb can provide graveyard hate, even in Game 1.
On the other hand, this does require spending valuable slots on these cards. And they can be quite bad to draw under the wrong circumstances. Hopefully Pyrite Spellbomb can kill a creature, but it’ll take double the mana that you really want to be spending. In a game where you’re trading off resources, having a Shadowspear instead of a removal spell or a standalone threat can be highly inconvenient.
Personally, my biggest concern about including Urza’s Saga is that Jund doesn’t use colorless mana particularly well. The three-color mana base is fairly demanding already, and it becomes exceptionally difficult to cast spells that cost multiple mana of the same color – such as Liliana of the Veil, Seasoned Pyromancer or Scavenging Ooze – when one or two of your lands are Urza’s Sagas. It’s effectively impossible to cast Riveteers Charm or Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger with Urza’s Saga, because those are expensive spells that don’t use colored mana at all.
Remember how Urza’s Saga and Wrenn and Six make a great pairing? Well, this presumes that you’ve drawn at least three lands: one Saga, one red-producing land and one green-producing land. This isn’t a trivial demand for a deck that sometimes plays as few as 22 lands. Your consistency suffers, and you pay a cost for your increased power level with more mulligans and more non-functional games.
Finally, Urza’s Saga makes you more vulnerable to opposing hate cards. Blood Moon is a little scary for “normal” Jund decks, but it becomes a real beating once you’re playing Urza’s Saga. There’s also Alpine Moon, March of Otherworldly Light and a variety of cards that can punish you for investing time and mana into making Constructs.
So should you play Urza’s Saga in your Jund deck? My answer: probably, but it’s not quite as clear-cut as some people like to make it seem. Saga is an amazing card, but does come at a cost to your consistency and limits what cards you can comfortably play with. New printings of Boseiju, Who Endures and Riveteers Charm are excellent, and are easier to play in non-Saga versions, which serves to close the gap even further.
So for folks interested in playing Traditional Jund for consistency, fun, nostalgia, card availability reasons or for any other motivation, I figured it was worthwhile to keep this Deep Dive up to date with the most accurate and competitive content. What follows will be my comprehensive Deck Guide for Modern non-Saga Jund. I’ll offer a recommended deck list, and I’ll also give you the tools to tailor the deck to your personal preferences, as well as adapt to a fast-moving format.