I’ve been playing a lot of Modern lately. Last week, we continued looking at Aether Vial White Weenie strategies. Unfortunately, there’s too much Affinity these days for me to advocate playing the White Weenie deck. The matchup is really rough, and there seems to be little we can do to fix the problem. As promised, this week we’ll be talking about Death Cloud Jund.
Jund is probably the best control deck in the format. Cards like Abrupt Decay in conjunction with a huge discard suite tear opponents’ plans to pieces. One card that I currently think is underrated is Death Cloud. The card can usually be used to engineer a game state where the opponent has no creatures in play, no cards in hand, and very little chance of recovering against our single creatures. The card works especially well with Garruk Wildspeaker, another one of the archetype’s most underrated cards.
Let’s think about Garruk Wildspeaker for a moment. With a deck like Jund, we can untap two lands after casting a turn four Garruk and leave open Terminate and Abrupt Decay, in that sense, he’s the safest planeswalker for the deck to play on curve. The deck plays a lot of creatures and manlands, so the Overrun effect will often present lethal and force the opponent to play around it and leave open mana.
Death Cloud is particularly good with Garruk Wildspeaker. The card is pretty miserable when drawn in multiples, so we’ll only be playing one copy in the main deck. After sideboarding, the deck can become a more focused Death Cloud deck in the matchups that traditionally beat Jund, like Tron.
Here’s my first take on the Death Cloud Jund deck:
Death Cloud Jund
By Jacob Van Lunen
I enjoyed playing this deck quite a bit. I wasn’t particularly impressed with going all-in on Death Cloud in post-boarded games. The singleton copy of Death Cloud was quite strong, though, and I found it pretty easy to end up with a single threat while leaving my opponent with little-to-no board and no hand.
Garruk was very strong, especially with Abrupt Decay or Terminate in hand. I really liked casting Garruk and using the +1 ability in most matchups. We can often threaten the kill the following turn, especially with Raging Ravine or the Treetop Village.
I saw a Jund list that was running Prophetic Flamespeaker 4-0 a Daily last week. I liked the idea—the card is extremely powerful. In most Jund decks, it’s basically extra copies of Dark Confidant that cost extra mana. Here, though, we have Garruk Wildspeaker and we’re threatening to use the Overrun ability. Double strike is a very big game with Garruk.
So I wanted to play a Jund deck with a lot of creatures. Here’s what I came up with.
This is a Jund list is a lot of fun. I wanted to try a singleton Death Cloud, but I feel like the Sowing Salt/Fulminator Mage package is much better in the places where Death Cloud would be most important. The deck plays a lot of efficient removal, some of the best creatures in Modern, and the four copies of both the format’s best discard spells.
It’s a lot harder to play Liliana of the Veil in a deck like this. We really want to be applying pressure. We’re still a control deck at heart, but we close games very quickly. Any avid Jund player will tell you that your worst enemy is the top of your opponent’s deck. Being aggressive restricts the number of draw steps we’ll be giving our opponent. I understand that Liliana of the Veil is insane, but not having Deathrite Shaman or Lingering Souls in our deck means that it isn’t what it used to be. I feel like Prophetic Flamespeaker is much better with our Garruk game plan too.
Abrupt Decay has consistently overperformed for me. It gives us a lot of invincible Garruk Wildspeakers. It punishes Splinter Twin decks very hard, and it’s even strong against a lot of the more random combo strategies. Terminate has also been very good. It’s not quite as versatile in a format with decks like Hexproof, but it sure does work against Restoration Angel.
Next week, we’ll be taking a look at the accessible side of Modern. I’ve had a great deal of success in Daily Events playing Blue Tron and Mono-Green Infect. Both of these very competitive decks include few hard-to-acquire Modern staples and make great first Modern decks for those looking to get into the format. Blue Tron, in particular, seems very strong in the current metagame; Shoktroopa, a Magic Online regular, has been absolutely tearing through Modern Premier and Daily events with his version of Blue Tron. Stay Tuned!