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Rejected Brews from #PTSOI Testing: Jund, BUG Delirium, and RG Rites

Jund

Some players on our team worked with Jund extensively—it was our default midrange deck for a while. Our list looked like something like this:

You might notice that I’m short a few lands in my deck list—that’s because there was also an assortment of Jund lands that I can’t remember.

This deck features the powerful Traverse the Ulvenwald + Goblin Dark-Dwellers combo, which is sweet as you chain them over and over (also works with Kolaghan’s Command). It has a lot of removal and some early drops, so it can survive the early rush as well.

What didn’t work: The deck was clunky. Even though you have some cheap spells, you’re mostly only casting one spell a turn, and sometimes that isn’t enough. The mana base wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either, and you had few catch-up mechanisms if someone ever got to a point where they had more than 4 toughness in play. We tried adding Fiery Temper to the deck to be able to cast two spells in a turn, but that was a bit awkward with the mana and Fiery Temper isn’t great against half of the decks in this metagame, so I don’t like more than 2. Control decks were also a problem, as Jund exists in a limbo where it’s often not fast enough to battle the fast decks but not controlling enough to battle the slow decks—you can’t apply pressure and your opponent ends up making plays that are more powerful than anything you can do.

What it needs to work: A good way to cast multiple spells in a turn and a mana base with fewer lands that enter the battlefield tapped. If you play 3 colors, it’s hard to achieve both those things since getting R, B, and G early is punishing. I think you also want some better late game as well—since you can’t apply pressure, you have to make sure you win the late game because you will inevitably get there.

BUG Delirium

We tried a couple of delirium decks, but the one I liked the most was BUG Control.

There were also 21 other lands.

This deck was interesting to me because it had the Mindwrack Demon + Languish combo and the Traverse + Jace + Den Protector combo, both of which seemed quite powerful. You also got to mill a bunch of Deathmist Raptors and, with Traverse in your deck, it was easy to find a Den Protector to bring everything back. Dragonlord Silumgar was also a fantastic bullet to search for.

What didn’t work: The deck was too weak to Reflector Mage. Even with removal and Languish, you would often tap out for a Demon, a Raptor, or a Dragon, and it would get hit with a Reflector Mage or Declaration in Stone and you’d fall too far behind.

I also had some problems achieving delirium—it’s not exactly hard but it’s not trivial either. I had games in which I died to my own Demon, and games where I couldn’t cast a “kicked” Traverse. Since then, I’ve toyed a bit with the numbers and added more instants/enchantments, but it’s still not trivial.

What it needs: First and foremost, more testing. We built this deck in the later stages of testing and I dismissed it when it did not have a great Humans matchup (mainly due to Reflector Mage) because I couldn’t afford to waste time in something that I perceived to have a bad matchup against the most popular deck. I think now it’s okay to have a bad matchup versus Humans and even Bant (and it can certainly be addressed post-board), so I’d like to see how something like this does against the rest of the field. I imagine finding a way to beat Pyromancer’s Goggles is important as right now you have no interaction and you are slow, so they can just burn you out.

RG Rites

Cryptolith Rites is a powerful card, and we built multiple decks that tried to break it. One iteration was GW Tokens (not much different than the one we ended up playing, but much worse). The one I liked more was RG. RG has Thopter Engineer, which gives your artifacts haste for Rites, and it also has Pia and Kiran Nalaar, which is both a token-creator and a mana sink.

There were 19 other lands.

What didn’t work: The deck was just clunky. Sometimes you wouldn’t draw Rites and then you’d just play a bunch of 1/1s—sometimes you’d draw Rites, and you’d play a bunch of 1/1s, which would lead to losing to Avacyn or Declaration anyway. Avacyn in particular was a huge problem and you could almost never beat it if you didn’t draw Outnumber. It felt to me like the rewards you got when your deck worked didn’t make up for how bad your deck was when it didn’t work (i.e., when you were facing a sweeper, for example).

What it needs: A way to deal with mass removal—Avacyn, Kozilek’s Return, and Declaration. Right now I don’t think there is a way, and I think the BG version is better as it has a cleaner kill, is less vulnerable to Declaration, and has an overall higher power level since it plays Collected Company.

That’s what I got for today! I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and see you soon.

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