Full Force is a weekly draft series focusing on specific archetypes or build around cards in the newest sets. Stop by every week for a new episode!
Jund as an archetype originally gained fame for its efficient two-for-ones and great removal suite. The Jund archetype in Modern Masters 2017 follows a bit of a different path. There are still definite two-for-one style cards (Like Falkenrath Noble or Sprouting Thrinax) but the main version I have seen bends towards a more aggressive focus, playing fast tokens and pump spells or sacrifice engines to utilize them in the mid-to-late game.
First we have to address the elephant in the room. The elephant-sized Horror. The “blink” decks have really taken over the format, thanks to the incredible power of the commons they have, especially Dinrova Horror. The suite of great “enters the battlefield” effects paired with a lot of great and easy to find “blink” spells (Momentary Blink, Ghostly Flicker, Deputy of Acquittals, Kor Skyfisher, etc.) has made extremely popular. These decks work so well because the creatures have great effects even without the additional synergy of the blink cards and they’re easy to acquire at common.
I bring this up to showcase where the Jund deck stumbles in comparison. It’s not a bad deck by any means; In fact the Jund deck can be good, or even great, but it revolves more heavily around a few specific uncommons than the value blink decks do. While Horror and Raven are some of the best cards for the blink deck, the best Jund cards are mostly uncommon. You need to be able to make a lot of tokens to push early pressure and then ideally follow those up with mass pump or sacrifice engines. Cards like Goblin Assault, Gruul War Chant, Ghor-Clan Rampager, Gaea’s Anthem, Skirsdag Cultist, Torrent of Souls, and Carnage Gladiator are all good for variations of this strategy and they’re all uncommon. There are some exceptions. Falkenrath Noble gives late game reach with tokens, but the common enablers feel very lackluster in comparison to the other decks.
Ok, so don’t play Jund decks if you can help it.
No, no, no.
A good Jund or Gruul deck can easily be the equal of the blink decks, you just need to jump in at the right time. I wouldn’t be first-picking a Magma Jet over a Sea Gate Oracle, for example. Or first-picking a Gruul War Chant (good as the card is) over a Mist Raven or Dinrova Horror. The time to move in is while everyone is picking over the bones of an overdrafted blink deck hoping for scraps from the other drafters. When you see a War Chant third pick, then jump in. You need the uncommons and you have to see them first to make it really worthwhile most of the time, but if you can see that they are being passed go hog-wild. The deck can be very fast and powerful; it’s simply not worth it to risk your early picks on the worse Jund commons before you have a legitimate reason to be in the archetype.
Next week Full Force will be cancelled as I will be at the Moonbase with LoadingReadyRun playing in the Pre-Prerelease for Amonkhet!