Who has time for opening paragraphs? Standard Primer GO!!
THAT ONE DECK
I spent most of my weekend playing Magic, reading about Magic, talking about Magic, becoming my local game day champion, and dreaming about Magic. During this time I found that many people were looking for advice about Jund. Many people asked me for mirror match strategy, and for how to play against it with other decks in the metagame. That makes talking about it very important. These are the 1 2 3’s of Jund.
For the most part every Jund deck has these spells in common.
After these 23 cards the rest of the deck is filled with a variety of Maelstrom Pulse, Terminate, Garruk Wildspeaker, Great Sable Stag, and Broodmate Dragon. Terminate, Garruk, and Broodmate Dragon are being played more than Pulse and Stag. Knowing that they could be there though is important.
What I find the most humorous is that every list I’ve seen runs 23 – 26 lands. I personally have not played with Jund yet in this format, but have played against it with many different decks in Magic online tournaments or practice games for Rome. I do not know the right number but most friends say it is 25.
What I find hilarious though is when people ask me how to hate out this archetype. What’s so funny about this is that there is no way to do this. Jund has a great tool at its disposal. Every deck has to beat Jund by fighting through a stream of card disadvantage. You don’t get to out-card this deck. You have to beat them while they are casting 2 for 1 spells all game.
That is why so many people play this deck. I’m not going to say it’s an easy deck to play, since many of the decisions might be hard, but the sheer power of the spells the deck is casting make it very easy to win games. Power always draws in the masses, and this deck is everything but weak.
The best way to fight Jund is to not give them enough time to set up cascade spells into Broodmate Dragons. With enough time this deck will attrition the best of the best in card advantage wars. Besides Lightning Bolt and Putrid Leech, every spell in this deck has the potential of being a 2 for 1 or more. So the more spells they cast the bigger the hole the opposing deck gets into.
This list is that of Channelfireball’s very own LSV (You may of heard of him).
Luis has had more practice in the mirror matches then I have so I asked him to tell me a bit about the mirror and this is what he had to say.
The mirror, unsurprisingly, is a war of attrition. By far the most important card is Blightning, since if you are able to land two of these and they only hit one, you are really far ahead. The early Blightnings often force the discard of lands, which makes Bituminous Blast and Broodmate Dragon hard to cast. Usually a Broodmate ends the game, but getting to six land and still having one is pretty tough to do. Most of the threats pretty much just cancel each other out, so unless one player has a much faster draw, the games do come down to attrition, which is why Blightning is key. I wish I could be more helpful, but this matchup really is a case of throwing cards at each other until one player comes out ahead. Sideboarding often just means bringing in Ruinblasters, which stick with the attrition theme, and I cut some of the weaker removal spells like Bolt or Pulse. Overall, you just want to Blightning them early and often! – LSV
RED WHITE AGGRO
This is a deck close to my heart. I have been testing this deck for a really long time and still feel that I misplay it. It has got to be one of the hardest decks to play to come out in Standard in years.
I touched a lot on this deck last week so I’m only going to talk about updates I made.
I decided to find a better mana base so I could take out the Ziggurats. They were very good lands, but didn’t let me play the 4 mana non-creature spells I found to be very good in the sideboard. Not much else has changed except for I’m trying Hellspark Elementals in the maindeck now. It has been a very good card so far and will stay in there as I work hard to find the correct build for Worlds.
I have to say curving out to Manabarbs has just been un-real. Most people are just not prepared for that card. And it won’t change even If I mention in my article so I’m not too scared. It’s hard to hate out this deck and Manabarbs without compromising the decks ability to put a game down as well.
I have been having a tough time not cutting the 4th Plated Geopede. It’s a good card, don’t get me wrong, but multiples have been very bad and he is much more situation then his cheaper friend. Steppe Lynx comes down a turn earlier so guaranteeing the early damage is easier with it. Geopede is a turn slower and needs more lands to be as valuable.
It also makes it harder when everyone you take advice from can’t believe you would take one out. This is a big conundrum that I am in because of this. I want to put ideas from people I trust on the back burner, but I also need to trust my own ideas. Now I know sometimes my own testing gets inbred and I need someone to snap me out of it.
This time is different though, because I think I really have a grasp on how powerful this deck can be if I find the best build for it. I’m going to keep working and hopefully solve this problem I’m having.
5 COLOR CASCADE
This is a deck that saw better days when it got to play with Kitchen Finks, but is still a very strong threat in the metagame. I have had my fair share of encounters with this deck and can barely pull a positive record, even with the fastest deck in the format. If there was one deck that I think will surprise everyone with a good Worlds Performance it would be this deck.
Everyone is probably familiar with what this deck is trying to accomplish. You just cast spells that cast more spells. Deal 4 damage to a creature, put a 3/2 into play, Draw 2 cards is on the text of a 5/5 for 6 mana creature. Not to bad, in my opinion. The best reason to be playing this deck right now is that Jund is so hyped.
If a field is full of the cascading monster, why not be one step ahead of it and have even a bigger deck designed around the mechanic. This is a reaction deck to Jund and will be really good at winning while Jund is the most played deck.
The weakness this deck has is the inability to plan turns out. Most of my losses against this deck have been from really good cascades. This is a tough deck decision for higher skilled players. If you walk into your local store and know you are one of the best players there, it is rarely the correct decision to bring a powerful deck that cannot outplay your opponent.
You try to make your opponents life 0.
There really isn’t much to say about this deck. I think this is a weaker deck then just playing Boros. That matchup is a terrible joke. I don’t know what advantages this deck gets against Jund, but it can’t be much. It seems worse against Blightning and Thrinax.
I would not advise playing this deck; I just wanted to put it in the article to let you know it’s out there and being played.
This deck strikes a nerve with me. I’m not going to say I never lose to this deck, but I think it’s garbage. I don’t know why people would play this deck over the more powerful decks in Standard. This deck has terrible game against Jund and doesn’t seem like a Constructed deck. It seems like a bunch of cards in the same color mashed together and 1 Lord to tie it all together.
I don’t know if people forgot, but we just got out of a tribal-based Standard and those tribal decks did more then just have a lord. They had working parts that gave it synergy. These cards do not have synergy with each other. Actually they just have power and can “work” together when there is said lord in play. Wait?!? This Lord isn’t always on?
I think this deck would be more powerful if the theme was replaced with all the best black cards in Standard. Put some [card]Black Knight[/card]s in there. Not only would it improve a few matchups, but it would give the deck a better curve.
For all you Vampire fans, go watch Twilight and leave the Magic playing for real gamers.
There are more lists of this deck floating around then Jund. Many people have had their own take on this archetype, but I think White is the most powerful splash. Bloodbraid Elf gives the deck the power in the early game, but being able to take down a creature to protect your Walkers is very important. Every other list out there folds to a Baneslayer Angel, so I like to see the ability to deal with it.
If you have never seen this deck before it swarms the table with a bunch of elves and then wins the stalemate. Not every game goes to a stalemate but that’s what this deck loves. Once no one can do anything in the game, this deck can gain 8-20 life a turn. Other lists run [card]Eldrazi Monument[/card] to gain wings and bash.
The sideboard to this list need a bit of work, but I would be happy to play this maindeck.
IT DOES SOME STUFF AND THEN SOME MORE STUFF AND THEN I THINK IT KILLS YOU?
I have heard rumbles about this deck. I mean I have played it 5 times with Boros and have never seen more then cycling/milling/setting up for something amazing. In the end I kill it 2-3 turns before it can go off.
The deck has the ability to mill almost all the way through itself and kill with a bunch of big meaty unearth creatures. Now, by playing the fastest deck in the format I have not been able to see this happen first hand, but I have heard a few horror stories about this deck.
I don’t know if it is going to be the next boogie man of the format, but I know it merits some attention.
Yes! I have always loved UW aggro and there’s finally a list out there. Thank you Bolov0!!!!!
This is a deck made by a really good Magic Online player. I don’t know his real name if he even has one, but I know his streak of good finishes online makes him well deserving of respect when he has a new list.
I saw him playing this is a daily event and knew I had to get it. What I find interesting is that this deck has a really good game against Jund. WHAT!?!?! A good matchup against Jund you say? Well, this might make Magic fun again.
I don’t know what to say about this list, but it seems powerful and could be the next silver bullet. I would definitely be sleeving this up to punish all those Vampire and Jund decks at my next FNM if I was going. Not to say this deck is only intended for casual magic. This could very well be the next Standard deck to beat.
I hope this was able to help you in defining the metagame. After playing in this format a lot in the last week I found it to not be so Black and White(red and green) as everyone expected. There is a wide variety or decks to be played. It’s just finding them that can be the hardest.
FFfreaK on MTGO