Whatever happened to Eldrazi Monument? Wasn’t that card supposed to be the nuts in Standard, specifically against Jund? It seems like right after the Eldrazi Green hype, the deck and with it, the namesake card seemed to disappear from Standard altogether. I know for a while Cedric Phillips and I were trying to brew the best possible Monument deck for Worlds, which he went 4-2 with.
So what changed? Well, since then, Jund has become even more popular since I guess people like trying to actually win tournaments. UW is also now a deck, and possibly making a run for the title of “Best Deck in Standard” after its performance in the first Magic Online PTQ for Amsterdam.
So wait, UW and Jund are 60% of the field? Doesn’t that mean that Monument is even better? In between doggling with Open the Vaults, 30 land decks, and Legacy, I was determined to find out.
How awkward indeed that the best Monument deck I could come up with was Jund-based
I feel this is the best Monument deck for a few reasons. The first is that you have a lot of great token generators to feed the Eldrazi. I considered running the deck as straight RG, but the mana doesn’t really even improve that much. Naya is another consideration, but that basically turned out to be a Boss Naya deck with Monuments. That isn’t to say that I don’t think that’s a good idea, but it’s hardly something to write about.
The second reason is that even if your Monument plan doesn’t come together, you’re still a Jund deck. While you may be a little more inconsistent than regular Jund due to your hectic cascades, you still maintain the powerful aspects of Jund and gain the possibility for blowouts featuring Lotus Cobra or Eldrazi Monument.
But still, why play this over normal Jund? First and foremost, the reason I’m writing this article: Eldrazi Monument. I have yet to lose a game in which I resolve a Monument and get to untap with it. You might be thinking that isn’t exactly a glowing endorsement considering how much removal and Blightnings there are right now, but it’s actually far easier than you would think.
Oblivion Ring and Maelstrom Pulse are by far the most popular spells that kill your Monuments. Pulse typically gets sided out in the “mirror,” so they might not have any outs going into game two and three. Oblivion Ring will probably have to be used on your early dudes, but in the off chance they sandbagged correctly, you can kill it with a Pulse or sideboarded Acidic Slime.
Sometimes it takes a little careful planning. Let’s say you’re in a match against UW Tapout, and things are going alright. You’ve got some little dudes while they have no board, but a couple cards in hand. In your hand is the Monument that will almost assuredly grant you victory, but don’t get so hasty!
Slow down and think for a minute. What could foil your plans? A counterspell that they either won’t board in against you (Negate, Cancel) or Oblivion Ring. If you were your opponent, would you have had an opportunity to use that Ring yet? Nope, I guess there’s nothing I would have Ringed yet. Maybe I can bait him by playing out this Sprouting Thrinax first
Against Jund, protect your Monument from Blightning, but use your better judgment. If protecting it means not playing a Bloodbraid Elf or something that you need to stabilize, then you probably shouldn’t. They don’t always have the Blightning, but you should still play around it to whatever degree you can.
I thought Monument was the only overlooked card, but I was wrong. Oran-Rief is pretty insane, and I’m kind of sad that people stopped playing with it. Yes, it can cause some extremely awkward draws with Forest and Sprouting Thrinax, but I’ve also blown out a few Jund mirrors by abusing it.
Another reason to play this over Jund is because it’s more fun. It’s also more forgiving. You can make a couple strategic errors but still win on the back of t3 Siege-Gang Commander or a t5 Monument kill. Typically, the games don’t tend to turn into the long, boring grinds that Jund tends to produce. Someone is going to die, and it’s going to be relatively quick.
I went through a few different versions before I came to the above list. At first I had no Maelstrom Pulses since I wanted more room for Masters and Goblin Ruinblasters, but the more I played against things like UW and Naya Allies, the more I realized that I need to be able to deal with permanents. I don’t want to just be drawing dead to an Elspeth or giant Talus Paladin.
I also tried different creatures in the Putrid Leech slot. By cutting Leech you minimize the black, but there aren’t very many other good creatures on curve. I could fill an entire deck with great four drops, but that won’t help me unless I stuck a Lotus Cobra. Birds of Paradise were my pseudo-solution to the four drop glut (along with a more Naya-esque. manabase), but unsurprisingly, those were terrible to cascade into.
Elvish Visionary was my next great mental leap. I figured you didn’t have much to do in the two slot and it would provide a body for Monument that didn’t cost me a card. It would be easier on the mana, and even draw me into my good cards.
It just didn’t work out. Visionary’s body was just too weak, and investing two mana often meant that you would have to chump with the Visionary because of the tempo you lost, so it rarely stuck around for Monument. I’ve never really had a problem keeping dudes around for Monument anyway. For two mana, Leech was better, even if I wasn’t entirely happy with it.
But wait, no Blightnings? How insane am I to play a Jund deck without Blightning? Well, I played them for a bit, but was never happy when I had them. They had no synergy with the rest of the deck. This Jund deck is attempting to create a stable board position and eventually finish it with card advantage from Bloodbraid Elf, Master of the Wild Hunt, or Siege-Gang Commander. Either that, or you blow them out with Monument. Blightning causes you to basically skip your turn, which I absolutely didn’t want.
If you insist on playing Blighting because of how “good” it is, then go ahead. I assure you though, you’d be better off playing normal Jund at that point. However, even normal Jund should have a Monument or two in my opinion.
Onto the matchups!
Be careful about Blightning, since your five drops are going to be how you beat them the majority of the time. Oftentimes, it will be correct to not Bolt their creature because you need that card to pad your hand. Plan ahead, think about how many cards are going to be in your hand, etc.
Post board the majority of your cards are insane against Jund, with the except of things like the 2nd Lotus Cobra or 2nd Monument. Those are now the cards that you use to protect your good spells from Blightning, so think twice before you run a second Cobra out there.
Once they are aware of the Monuments in your deck, you have to be wary of Maelstrom Pulse. Similarly to what I wrote about Oblivion Ring earlier, playing around Pulse requires some thought. If you can trick them into using it on something other than your Monument, do so.
Other than that, take into consideration that you are the beatdown deck.
This is a matchup I’m happy to face. You have plenty of difficult to deal with threats, a card that protects them, and even some decent disruption. The main way they can beat you is by sticking a Baneslayer, but between Pulse, Master, Siege-Gang, and Monument, you should be alright.
Spreading Seas can obviously hinder you, but if you draw a Cobra, things should be alright.
In don’t necessarily like taking out Leech, but the eight cards I’m bringing in are much better. Should they be completely overloaded with Baneslayers and Kor Firewalkers I could see taking out more Leeches for Deathmark or Master of the Wild Hunt.
First game is a bit dicey as you lack quick removal. If you draw a Bolt and a Cobra you should probably win, but otherwise it’s an uphill battle. They’re going to be building some relatively large animals and you can do little but chump block and hope a Monument saves you. Even then, they have the trump in Kabira Evangel.
After boarding you should probably obliterate them. Obviously they can just draw a bunch of Bloodbraids or Rangers in a row, but hopefully that doesn’t happen and your spot removal just picks them apart.
While not overly popular, this is a matchup I face about once every other tournament. I would be far less confident in my matchup here if not for Doom Blades instead of some of the Deathmarks. Despite Deathmark being better vs. the field, sometime you gotta hedge vs. an unpopular deck and play a similar, but slightly worse card. So far, the difference in the matchups where Deathmark would have been amazing has not been enough to convince me to cut the Blades. Cheap removal is still cheap removal and typically gets the job done, regardless of the fact that it costs one mana more.
Depending on their version, you could keep in Ruinblasters and even go so far as to play Acidic Slime. While not insane against the red deck, it will mitigate some of the value they can get out of their unearth cards and big spells like Earthquake.
Overall, not a great matchup, but one that I seem to win frequently.
But, but, What about the new cards? There are no Rise of the Eldrazi cards in your deck. Don’t you want to play card X or even card Y? Yeah, yeah”¦ I’m getting to it.
I’ve been asked for my opinion on Vengevine a few times lately, but overall I’m not sure. It seems like it would be good in Jund assuming you can trigger it, but therein lies the problem. Casting two creature spells in a turn is very difficult, even for a Jund deck like this. I wouldn’t be surprised to see people discarding Vengevines to Blightnings in the future, but I doubt it’s going to be good in Jund.
Consuming Vapors is a sick, sick card. The comparison to Ribbons of Night is favorable, and I often wanted to just draw another removal spell off of Ribbons anyway. Vapors seems like yet another card to put in Jund’s arsenal of quality removal.
Nest Invader is inconspicuous. It’s not very flashy, but then again, what is when compared to Emrakul? Still, I feel like Nest Invader might have a spot in the Jund Monument deck. Putrid Leech is hard to cast and has no real synergy with the rest of the deck, so I’m eager to give Nest Invader a try.