In considering decks for the upcoming Modern Grand Prix weekend, I came to the conclusion that my favorite deck—Jund—has both a few things going in its favor, and a few things going against it.
In the days of Bloodbraid Elf and Deathrite Shaman, Jund was pretty much great in every matchup. You had answers to everything, and if your opponent couldn’t kill you quickly, they’d be buried by the 2-for-1 advantages of Bloodbraid Elf and Liliana of the Veil. But those glory days are in the past, at least to some extent.
It’s very important to note that Jund is not the best deck at grinding anymore—it’s often an underdog in “fair deck mirror matches.” This problem is only going to get worse with the unbanning of Ancestral Vision and Sword of the Meek and the printing of Nahiri, the Harbinger. Snapcaster Mage was already annoying enough, and opposing midrange decks just keep gaining more and more weapons to fight wars of attrition. You should not choose Jund if you expect to play against Jeskai Control round after round.
In spite of this, I chose to play Jund at the last Modern Pro Tour, and my choice felt validated by my 8-2 Constructed record. I knew going into the tournament that I’d be below 50/50 against Abzan, Grixis, Eldrazi, and UW Control variants. I was okay with that.
I chose Jund at that time, and still choose it today, because Jund does what those decks do in a smoother, more efficient, and more consistent way. You should no longer choose Jund to grind out control decks. But you should choose Jund to go Thoughtseize+Dark Confidant against combo players and Lightning Bolt+Tarmogoyf against creature decks.
The beauty of Jund is that everything it does it does in the most direct way possible for the smallest amount of mana that can do it. Because of this, it has a natural ability to keep pace with fast decks, and a quick, built-in clock against combo decks. Where other midrange decks have to play pinpoint sideboard cards like Timely Reinforcements and Izzet Staticaster to correct their weaknesses, Jund fights these matchups with the cards it’s already playing anyway!
Specifically, I think Jund is a great choice against a field of fast creature-based decks like Infect, Burn/Zoo, Chord of Calling decks, Hate Bears, Affinity, and the rest, and that’s why I played it at the Pro Tour. And while I expect this weekend’s GPs to host diverse fields with plenty of Jeskai Control and other midrange decks, those fast creature decks are still what define Modern.
So for all the Jund players out there, my advice is this: play to the strengths of your deck. Don’t try to beat Jeskai at their own game by sideboarding a hundred Painful Truths and 5-drop creatures. Instead, keep it smooth and efficient, and make sure you can crush those fast creature decks. When you do face the bigger midrange decks, just hope that Thoughtseize+Dark Confidant can get the job done. Those matchups can never be that bad no matter what happens.
The main deck is geared heavily for beating Infect and the various Chord of Calling decks. The sideboard is full of the most potent cards available against Burn/Fast Zoo, Tron, Scapeshift, and Affinity.
I have made a few concessions to the existence of Nahiri, the Harbinger. I shifted the removal suite to be able to deal with her more directly (2 Maelstrom Pulse and a Dreadbore), and have sideboarded 2 of the best silver bullets against slower blue decks. Thrun, the Last Troll is extremely hard for them to get off the battlefield, and can steal wins for you even when their Ancestral Visions begin coming off suspend. I’m also a big fan of a singleton Boil. A month ago it would’ve been Choke, but remember that Nahiri can exile enchantments for the low cost of 2 loyalty. Moreover, Choke has been played in Modern for a long time, but Boil—especially being an instant—will still catch people by surprise.
That’s my 2 cents on playing Jund in Modern these days. Prepare for a diverse field, but play to the strengths of your deck. There’s still nothing wrong with playing all the best cards in the format!