Jund PPTQ Report – 1st Place

So before I begin, I must give my thanks to both D.j. Kastner, for the play testing and some of the side boarding options, and Phimus Pan for letting me borrow some of the cards.

I decided I was going to play Jund for the PPTQ season mainly because in my opinion it is the best deck in the format, or close to it. It’s bad match ups it can win depending on how you build your sideboard. It punishes opponents who keep risky hands or mulligan and has a great matchup against most of the field. A lot of games in the format come down to who can draw the best, who can set up the best plays and who can get the most value out of all their cards. A lot of games are won off the back of how good the cards are in the deck. For instance, it is very rare to see an Affinity deck that is both hell-bent (no cards in hand), and has no permanents, maybe one man land, win a game. Their top decks are just too bad most of the time to ever win the game. Whereas with Jund you have great draws, with your worse top decks in the late game being lands, which aren’t always the worse due to man lands, and discard cards.

Here is the decklist of what I played:

Creatures (13)
Dark Confidant
Grim Lavamancer
Scavenging Ooze
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Kitchen Finks

Planeswalkers (5)
Chandra, Pyromaster
Liliana of the Veil

Spells (18)
Abrupt Decay
Kolaghan’s Command
Lightning Bolt
Inquisition of Kozilek
Maelstrom Pulse

Lands (24)
Snow-covered Swamp
Blackcleave Cliffs
Blood Crypt
Stomping Ground
Overgrown Tomb
Twilight Mire
Bloodstained Mire
Ghost Quarter
Raging Ravine
Treetop Village
Verdant Catacombs
Wooded Foothills
Grove of the Burnwillows
Sideboard (15)
Olivia Voldaren
Jund Charm
Feed the Clan
Ancient Grudge
Fulminator Mage
Leyline of the Void
Blood Moon

Now some quick things about the numbers / what I played but most of it was covered in Gerry Thompson’s article, I suggest you read it if you want to know more. Main deck is pretty simple, Abrupt Decay is weak currently due to the amount of delve creatures, Tasigur for instance, so we trim some of those for Terminate that does kill it! Chandra was great every time I drew it and I cannot see not playing it (more about that later). Now about the sideboard, the most interesting part! The biggest question is why are you playing Leyline?!?! Why not just play Nihil Spellbomb? The biggest reason is it stops delve. Period. It costs four mana, so Decay can’t hit it and a lot of decks can’t remove it or have one, maybe two ways to get it off the board. And then you recast it. No more delve, yes you are now going to pay six mana for your 4/5 that has an activated ability that does nothing. Also a lot of times it turns off Goyf until you want yours to be on. Goyf is very manageable when it is only a 1 /2 from your fetch land. And sometimes you will just play against a graveyard deck and get a free win.

Now for the report on the tournament!

Round 1: Affinity

I sat down for my first PPTQ of the year and my opponent wins the roll and casts three spells on turn one. Looked at my hand of Chandra, three land, Goyf, Bob, and Decay. Seems like this ones going to be rough. We get to a point where I have almost stabilized but he plays another Signal Pest and poison’s me out of the game.

Game two my opener was Blackcleave Cliffs, Inquisition, Inquisition. Shatterstorm, Kolaghan’s Command, Terminate, Abrupt Decay. I thought about this hand for a little bit but then realized there is no way my six hand is better and kept. A lot of people would not have kept this hand I think because they would see the one land and think it is not good enough because of the way standard is played. But with that said I still had things to do with two Inquisitions and I was on the play. If I draw a land in the first two turns, it gets really hard to lose. Sure enough I did and we went to game three.

Game three was pretty quick, almost got out of hand but Kolaghan’s Command shined again. 1-0.

Round 2: Junk
This matchup is pretty straight forward. It really comes down to who can draw better a lot of times and who can get the most value out of their cards. We went to game three, and I drew Chandra against a board of Goyf and Rhino and I had my own Goyf. He attacked Chandra to one and passed turn. I drew a land and hit another land off of Chandra and quickly lost. Side note, I sideboarded wrong in this matchup which I’ll bring up later in the article. 1-1.

Round 3: Grixis Control

This is the matchup I wanted all day. I lost game one to getting burned out after I did seven to myself, part of playing the deck. Game two I started with a Leyline in play and watched Grim Lavamancer do 14 points of damage. Game three, started with Leyline in play and beat down with Goyf. 2-1.

Round 4: U/R Twin

Game one was not very close as Bob kind of ran away with the game, netting me four cards before it could be dealt with, by myself. I was at four and had to fade a burn spell for one turn as I just played Ooze with some creatures in the graveyard and had a feeling he had a bolt in his hand. He didn’t hit it and we went to game two. Game two was pretty straightforward. He ran out of cards pretty quickly to having eight lands in play. 3-1.

Round 5: R/G Tron

My opponent won the roll and led with a turn three Karn. I died. Game two he never got Tron online and we cruised to an easy win. Game three, I looked at his hand of Ancient Stirrings, and four lands after he played a Tron land and a Chromatic Star. He did not have Tron yet but his hand was pretty stacked. I played out Bob on turn two and then Thoughtseized him turn three. His hand had not changed much, which I knew, but I need to make sure I wasn’t getting Karned next turn. He now had Tron and still all lands. This put me in an odd spot where I had to play out another Bob, usually something you do not want to do when you are already at 12; but I was in a spot now where I had to draw either a Blood Moon or a Fulminator, or I was going to die very quickly, not to mention one of the lands was an Eye of Ugin. The game goes on without me drawing a way to deal with his Tron and I kill two Wurmcoil Engines and Maelstrom Pulse the tokens, attack for the win. One hard matchup down, 4-1.

Round 6: Burn

Burn. The worst matchup of the deck. Game one showed us why it is not close for the Jund deck. I died on turn 5 with a Bob in my hand, knowing I could not cast it. Also if you have noticed I have for the most part conceded to the Burn matchup. I have one Feed the Clans and the Kitchen Finks. I win game two to him flooding out and Goyf beating down. Game three I played a Goyf on turn two and an Liliana on turn three, hoping she would get me there. He was dead to one more attack of Goyf and I was at four, he had no cards in his hand and one draw phase to draw Boros Charm. Grim Lavamancer. 5-1.

Top 8: Junk player from Round 2.

Rematch time. Game one, I had to mulligan to five not seeing a land in the first two hands. He Inquisitioned me turn one and took my Lilianna and left me with Ooze, Terminate and a land. I did not draw another spell that game. During the game though I saw two Tasigur, a Murderous Cut, and Lingering Souls. This is when I realized I messed up in Round two by not bringing in Leyline of the Void, the sole reason why we have it in the board. I bring it in and take out some number of discard, bolts, Grim Lavamancer, and one decay. My opening hand in game two is another skeptical keep. Treetop Village, Forest, Leyline, Terminate, Bob, Liliana of the Veil and Chandra. I keep the hand hoping he had a slow hand with Leyline in play and that he may have an Urborg something I saw earlier in the day. I drew a fetch land on turn three and Thoughtseize him looking at a Dragonlord Dromoka, Muderous Cut, Lingering Souls, Thrun, Tasigur and a fetch land. He already had a Goyf in play so I took the Souls, hoping I could draw another swamp to cast terminate on the Goyf and then Liliana the Thrun. He Thoughtseized me back and took my Liliana, but I topped deck a land into a replacement Liliana. Game three was close with no Leyline this game but I drew three Liliana’s and had some good top decks.

Top 4: G/W Hatebears

My opponent mulliganed game one and I got to two for one him with Maelstrom Pulse. Game two my opponent was forced to mulligan again due to drawing eight cards on accident (he called himself on it, props to him). While my hand was two land, bolt, Abrupt Decay, Terminate, Goyf, Feed the Clans. I could not be happier with my opening hand and quickly won the game.

Finals: Infect

My opponent in the finals already had plans for the weekend of the RPTQ so we split some packs and I got the invite. I took the for sure route. I played the match last week and feel confident in the match, but it is Magic, who knows what will happen.

The biggest take away from playing the deck has to be how resilient it is. There were many times during numerous games, where for the most part, I was dead. But the deck drew well and ensured I had a chance to keep fighting against most decks. There were many times that I would be looking at a board state that seemed impossible with just a Goyf in play; and my opponent having three cards in hand and me only having a land in my hand and draw something like an Olivia, or Chandra and come back out of nowhere.

The deck mulligans a lot more than some other decks it feels like, but it mulligans well. All of your cards do the same thing for the most part and all of them are great, one of the benefits of playing Jund. But you can be punished for that too sometimes by mulliganing too aggressively or by not keeping a five land hand. The biggest part about playing the deck is knowing what you plan on doing for the next two to three turns before you begin your turn one. Sometimes this changes and sometimes it doesn’t because the best plan was playing everything on curve. Overall the deck is resilient and a lot of fun to play but requires some thinking on how to sequence spells and when to kill off your own Bobs.