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Silvestri Says – Baneslayer Jund

Right now my favorite deck is Jund with Baneslayer Angel added in. Of course, if I’m going to alter the mana-base to support a WW card, I might as well go all the way and include Cruel Ultimatum (sounds good to me! – LSV).

So you might be asking: why play this type of deck over 5-CC? It can take advantage of cascade since it doesn’t run counters, which is good when your main plan is tapping out every turn. Playing this deck reminds me a lot of running tap-out control strategies, where all your cards are just better than whatever the opponent is playing. You might not be using the typical control cards, but you really just want to control the board and drain resources from the opponent until your superior card quality takes over. Baneslayer Angel is the big turnaround threat this type of deck needed to compliment Cruel Ultimatum with.

5CC

Originally the mana base was even more of an eyesore, but over time and by cutting alot of Blue and Green cards, it became a bit more bearable. All the lands can help cast Cruel Ultimatum, and Baneslayer Angel isn’t even that bad on turn 5 since over half your lands make White. In fact, the largest strain left on the mana comes from post-board Great Sable Stag, where you almost always need to spend Vivid counters to drop it into play. It isn’t optimal, but you generally have plenty of time against most Faeries hands and the card really supports all the other burn and creature threats you have.

Maelstrom Pulse is a card that most people will immediately notice is missing from the maindeck. Rather than spend three mana and being stuck at sorcery speed, I’d rather have the extra options Path to Exile provides. It deals with two of my biggest threats, Chameleon Colossus and Baneslayer Angel while also limiting Makeshift Mannequin in the mirror. It isn’t some killer app that completely replaces other removal like Lightning Bolt, but having some ability to deal with Colossus and Baneslayer is a must at this point.

Creatures like Kitchen Finks and Putrid Leech got the boot for not going along with the flow of this deck. Leech isn’t a very effective two drop when you really want to conserve your life-total and generally don’t need to attack until turn five and beyond. Kitchen Finks ostensibly fits the control role, but lacks any clear role outside of beating up R/B Aggro. It isn’t strong enough to defend for very long against many threats and can’t produce enough of a punch to threaten control decks.

Meanwhile, Puppeteer Clique and Shriekmaw were cards I wanted to find places for, but kept disappointing me as I continued testing various incarnations of the deck. Puppeteer Clique is just hard to use effectively without striking with Blightning first, and will usually just act as a bad burn spell. 3BB is a lot to pay for that type of effect, especially when competing with a removal spell that gives you a free spell or Baneslayer Angel. Shriekmaw, on the other hand, suffered because I wanted to it to fill the same role as Lightning Bolt or Path to Exile, but couldn’t kill Colossus, Leech or Stag, which left me rather cold in the Jund mirror.

So now you know why certain common cards didn’t make the deck; what about the ones that actually did? The key cards in the deck are Baneslayer Angel, Bloodbraid Elf, Cruel Ultimatum and Blightning; the rest of the cards are interchangeable, but those 15 were the core for every iteration of the deck I tested. Baneslayer Angel is just amazing and absolutely crushes most decks if allowed to live. Makeshift Mannequin would only be played here to bring back Baneslayer. Obviously the downside is that it requires WW and people are better prepared to deal with it compared to say, two weeks ago. Regardless, Baneslayer is the best threat this deck can produce in every non-Faeries match.

Bloodbraid Elf and Cruel Ultimatum are rather self-explanatory in nature, so I won’t waste words about how powerful they make the Jund base.

Blightning is a little more subtle; it was added largely as a supplement to Ajani Vengeant and proved to be superior to the Planeswalker. Rather than just crushing the deck under a steady stream of large creatures and the occasional blast of burn via Lightning Bolt or Anathemancer, this version is seeking resource control over the game. Just about every single deck has issues getting pegged by a Blightning on turns 3-5, and it either slows the offense from aggro or takes away weapons they were going to drag the midgame out with. Combined with Vengeant, Lightning Bolt, Anathemancer, Bloodbraid Elf and Cruel Ultimatum; it can quickly create a situation where this Jund deck takes out over half the life of the opponent without ever creating an army.

Matchups and Sideboarding

Jund

Your deck is designed to come out ahead in the Jund mirror by virtue of having Baneslayer Angel* and Cruel Ultimatum in the maindeck, along with the full score of Bituminous Blast. Blast may not seem like the best card for the main, but it reams in the mirror where only Chameleon Colossus doesn’t get blown away. Baneslayer also trumps Colossus, because it allows you to race if you were slightly ahead or shut down every attacker on the opposing side. Even with four or five guys on the table, attacking into a Baneslayer and open mana if you have cards in hand is practically suicide. Of course the longer they wait, the more time you have to draw into additional copies of your bombs.

*Yes, they could have Maelstrom Pulse. Most Jund decks only run 2-3 maindeck and otherwise need to double burn to take down the Angel. It isn’t that the Angel is indestructible, its that she puts the game out of practical reach for the opposing Jund player if they don’t have it. If they do, oh well, your deck is still well positioned; you just don’t auto-win. People read too much into the argument, ‘it can be removed, hence it must be bad.’

Post-board Deathmark and Chandra can put a damper on your Baneslaying fun and keep Chameleon Colossus from reaching its full potential, Regardless, you have a full set or a superior version of Deathmark in addition to your own Colossi. Games two and three aren’t as favorable for you, but in the end they’re stuck playing the type of game you have leverage in.

+3 Chameleon Colossus and +2 Path to Exile

-4 Blightning and-1 Ajani Vengeant; alternatively -3 Mulldrifter and -2 Vengeant

Although I recommend the former boarding out plan, I’ve been kicking around the second as you often don’t want to tap out to evoke or hardcast Mulldrifter and Ajani Vengeant loses a lot of punch, often only casting a Helix once before dying. Meanwhile tapping out for a turn 3 Blightning, can nicely reduce either the number of critters to be removed or removal for your Baneslayer / Colossus (also, if they have Puppeteer Clique it seems like cutting Drifters is good – LSV).

Elves

You’re dead Game One. No sweepers and no real clock to go along with your cheap removal, there’s simply no options for you to eke out wins barring opponent’s mulligans. Games Two & Three are still bad, but at least you can steal games with Volcanic Fallout and Thought Hemorrhage to slow them down while your slow threats come online. Overall this is a lousy match for you.

+2 Thought Hemorrhage, +2 Path to Exile and +4 Volcanic Fallout

-4 Anathemancer, -1 Ajani Vengeant and -3 Mulldrifter

Let’s face it; you’ll never be tapping out for Mancer to deal that smooth 3 damage, nor to cast Mulldrifter. You’ll be at least bluffing the removal and then casting Thought Hemorrhage at first opportunity, either on Regal Force or Ranger of Eos depending on the board situation. Cruel Ultimatum may be super slow, but if you can buy enough time to cast it, it puts you in a great position to actually win the game.

Kithkin

Game One is pretty well in your favor. Anathemancer is dead, but your removal suite is great against them and Baneslayer Angel is game over if they don’t respond with Path to Exile or Mirrorweave. At some point they run out of threats and the lack of Volcanic Fallout only hurts when they play Spectral Procession into Honor of the Pure. Post-board they’re still cold to Baneslayer and you gain the Fallout option, as well as more Path to Exile if Figure of Destiny is a large concern.

+4 Volcanic Fallout

-4 Blightning

Simply too many self contained threats for [card]Blightning[/card] to do serious damage. Even if you knock them to one card with it, a single [card]Cloudgoat Ranger[/card] or Procession makes the entire point moot.

Faeries

Bleh, I hate this stupid match. Not because you lose a lot, because you don’t, especially against the UBR builds which are slow as molasses poured into quicksand. No, I hate this match because it drags on forever and is highly dependent on the die roll. If you get to play, Blightning, Bloodbraid Elf, Vengeant and Bit Blast suddenly get jumps in value. If you end up on the draw, Spellstutter Sprite and Mistbind Clique are way better and it becomes much more difficult to sneak a threat down. Lack of maindeck Volcanic Fallout gives Fae a slight edge, as you have issues stopping their faster Scion powered hands, especially if they’ve landed the turn two Blossom.

Games Two and Three are easier thanks to Fallout and Stag, but still is a long drawn out fight. Cruel Ultimatum leaves, but sometimes a miser one is nice to keep around since many times they aren’t expecting it and you win the game if it resolves. Otherwise, slow sorcery speed cards like Mulldrifter and Vengeant hit the bench along with Cruel Ultimatum.

+4 Volcanic Fallout and +4 Great Sable Stag

-3 Cruel Ultimatum, -3 Mulldrifter and -2 Vengeant

(Additionally you can replace 2 Bolt with the 2 Path for extra Mistbind & Anathemancer protection)

Mistbind Clique, Scion of Oona and Anathemancer are the most important cards to deal with are the Fae side.

R/B Aggro

Joke match here. There’s no real interaction, as you just kill any Figure of Destiny or Demigod of Revenge on sight and otherwise hope for some blocks to save damage. You always want to make the play that maximizes your life total, with the possible exception of tapping out for turn 5 Baneslayer Angel. You may lack Kitchen Finks, but a resolved Baneslayer or Cruel Ultimatum will nearly always win you the game.

Games Two and Three can actually give the Red player a slight edge depending on how much of a board they have for you. Obviously Deathmark is a pain, but if the deck still has Everlasting Torment that’s a dream crusher since you lack Pulse to take it out. Thankfully the number of R/B players running the card is minimal at this point in time.

No real sideboard changes are needed, but one I’ve been playing with to some success would be -2 Bit Blast +2 Path to increase the amount of early game options and permanent Hellspark / Figure / Demigod removal.

Time Sieve

You have no way to interact profitably and no clock, this is even worse than Elves, next.

Does an SB plan even matter? -2 removal spells, +2 Thought Hemorrhage

5-Color Control

Congrats, you actually have a favorable match here despite the lack of a true clock! The simple fact is that 5-CC is better suited to deal with Ram-Gang and Putrid Leech than it is to a full maindeck suite of Anathemancer, Blightning and Baneslayer. Cascade can be especially devastating against 5-CC as Bloodbraid Elf into half your potential hits are just devastating. Obviously an opposing Baneslayer Angel is a legitimate concern and one of the ways 5-CC can take Game One, but they have problems protecting it since if they tap down to play it, they risk getting hit by a Cruel Ultimatum.

Games Two and Three are variable, it really depends on the exact configuration of the opponent’s deck. I really can’t give you a solid board plan due to the room for swaps in 5-CC. My general rule of thumb is bringing in Great Sable Stag, Path to Exile and Thought Hemorrhage, while removing some number of Bolts, Bituminous Blast and 1-2 Baneslayer Angel.

Bringing in extra Path to Exile may not be the optimal plan and I openly admit that, but one of the main ways I’ve lost this match is for Baneslayer to stay on the table for multiple turns. Maximizing the number of ways you have to get rid of it seems like a good idea.

So why play this over 5-CC?

The Jund match and ability to cheat when playing against 5-CC instead of having to run a legitimate control mirror. Counters might suck for a tap out plan, but when all those spells either come back later or cascade, it isn’t quite so bad. The downsides are your combo match goes into the toilet and Faeries is tougher than it should be for this type of deck. If I can get the cards together though, I’ll likely be playing this or the UW Baneslayer control deck at my PTQ.

One last thing: Sygg, River Cutthroat has come back up as a potential option for this deck and with this much burn it seems like a legit option. If you’re interested in the deck and have some time to try him out, I’d suggest giving him a shot. Until next week.

Josh Silvestri

Email me at: joshDOTsilvestriATgmailDOTcom

17 thoughts on “Silvestri Says – Baneslayer Jund”

  1. Every matchup analysis I see lists Time Sieve as an auto-loss. Why aren’t we all playing artifacts?

  2. isn’t siding out the Anathermancers instead of the Blightnings better in the Kithkin matchup? you won’t trade against something relevant with it, and Blightning can take care of a Planeswalker + the Cloudgoat / tutored Figure / devastating Mirrorweave in their hand.

  3. I tested variants of this a lot before Nats, albeit with Broodmate and Enlisted Wurm instead of Baneslayer. It’s very powerful but I think of it as sort of a glass cannon deck which is only the best choice when there’s not a significant amount of Elves in the metagame.

    I really liked Esper Charm over Blightning main, as even with 28 lands it can be tough to make enough land drops, and you’re pretty much dead if you don’t. Sure, Mulldrifter helps too, but Charm gives you versatility which is so nice with cascade. I even played Grixis Charm for awhile as it’s basically a Stone Rain in the mirror and it’s usually suitable for killing Mistbind Clique, Figure, or most other durdles.

    I also don’t understand the disdain for Finks since blocking something twice and gaining 4 should be all the help you need to start spinning the wheel of variance.

    You basically NEED a sweeper main if you expect any amount of Elves, as much as it sucks. If you expect Kithkin but not Elves then you can probably get away with Hallowed Burial and Pulse main and Infest in your board. Pulse is also quite nice against Time Sieve and gives you the option of boarding a few cards to make the matchup fine. Jund Charm would give you some versatility, but as it’s hard on the mana I preferred Fallout main, which also helps some with the Faeries matchup.

    The problem with playing Bolt, Path, or Leech was that I loved Enlisted Wurm, and cascading into any of those off a Wurm is just so disappointing. Path isn’t better than Bolt against Jund unless they have Colossus, as most people will pump their Leeches into 1 open mana.

    Last, I don’t believe Anathemancer main is really necessary. Your 5cc matchup is inherently good, and Anathemancer is just so bad in your rough matchups. They may be a better board card than Blightning or Identity Crisis or Archmage, I’m not completely sure.

  4. Yup, siding Anathemancer out vs Kithkin is pretty much obligatory. Anyone who has played Jund for a decent while knows that. Blightning is much better (sucks less?) vs Kithkin.

    Oh and that manabase? Terrible. Chameleon Colossus and Stag from the sideboard want to kill themselves when they look at a manabase with only 4 Pools and nongreen Vivids to support them. Please make room for 1 Twilight Mire and 1 Fire-Lit Thicket.

  5. Your Bloodbraid Elf Cascades seem kinda weak with this deck, since Anathemancer, Lightning Bolt and Path are the only targets. Hitting a Bolt is still okay, I guess, but couldn’t we do better? I like the Esper Charm suggestion.

  6. I made a deck similar to this last week and took it to a 3-1 record at our local Saturday tournament. I was playing Bitterblossom, Tidehollow Sculler, and Esper Charm over Blightning, Anathemancer, and the Angel. I would probably play the Angel except I dont have any yet. Anyway, The two drops make Path to Exile very good as in the control mirrors I can path a token or Sculler with the trigger on the stack. Then you have more lands than them and might be able to Cruel if they tap out for Burial. Playing Angel would make it more likely they would need to do that too. I would add Vendillion Clique to support Sculler in the combo matchups. Clique is pretty good vs Jund as well because it kills a guy in combat and gets rid of an Anathemancer.

  7. -1 Vivid Creek
    -1 Island
    -1 Sunken ruins
    -3 Mulldrifter

    +1 Mountain
    +1 Graven Cairns
    +1 Vivid Marsh
    +3 Sygg

    Working WAY better…

  8. lol @ sneezy troll. so adorable! bored of trolling chapin? love how everyone misuses the word innovation now. <3

    The mana-base isn’t great, but that’s what happens when you stuff that many different color costs into the deck. On that note, who cares about only having Vivids to cast GG? Oh no, I can only cast them once! You don’t even need to pump Colossus for it to do it’s job in the Jund match. Fire-Lit Thicket is a horrible idea, Twilight Mire has some merit, but RG is just an awful color combo.

    Also, the idea that Bloodbraid is weak is ridiculous. Hitting a Mancer or Blightning is the stone cold nuts. Yes hitting something like Bolt or Path isn’t as exciting, but that’s like complaining about hitting Pulse or Fallout in other Jund decks. Just seems so pointless.

    Oh, and pretty sure I’m pumping the fist if people are consistently pumping Leech into Bolt mana. That seems pretty silly, but more power to them if it works vs. anybody competent.

  9. Yeah, Mulldrifter seems really lame in this deck, but everything else looks pretty good [though the mana does also seem suspect]. Baneslayer Angel is awesome and not kidding around.

  10. I’m interested to know which version of U/W control you’re talking about – a lark variant or something else?

  11. Reflecting pools and vivid lands make the manabase work. As for trying Sygg, that is a good suggestion and removing the mulldrifters and blue mana might smooth out the manabase

  12. For the amount of crap you give people in other forums, everything you’re getting ravaged about here is completely valid. The manabase is horrible, and you have no sweepers against the format’s aggro decks. If you want to play Baneslayer Angel in Jund, that’s fine, but you need to have the original Jund manabase, and just cast the angel off Reflecting Pool and Vivids. You have lost Putrid Leech, which gives you no way to effectively put pressure on a control deck in the early game. The direction this deck is going could be better for it as a whole, but you need to do a lot of work before you post a list + detailed sideboard plan.

  13. I played this list at a tournament tonight and went 4-0 versus R/G Elves, Bant, Mono-black, and Merfolk. So not the toughest matchups by any stretch, but I was still very impressed with how the deck performed. Hitting a Path on cascade was usually fine…I actually used a cascaded Path on my own Anathemancer to get an Island to cast Mulldrifter when I had used all my Vivid counters. And Blightning was great for kicking removal out of their hands in preparation for a Baneslayer.

  14. I do not like this deck. Its trying to agro and control at the same time, which I never like unless your deck has a card called Revillark or Mistbind Clique. Making all these awkward matchups is not worth building this deck for, and reading your report did not instill any new confidence in me trying out this deck. I just do not think there is a reason to play anything besdies 5 color control, as its so good against so mayn different decks, and I resist the urge to beleive that we have a bad mtachup agaisnt time sieve if played corectly witht the right cards

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