Jund food: Beyond death edition | THB Standard
We have a fresh new set in standard, but first, I would like to talk a bit about previous Standard format. When we started to test standard before Mythic Championship VII, Fires were quite popular. Then during the tournament UG Flash has come, preying on Fires. Then BR Knights, preying on Flash. And then Fires has been good again, having good matchup vs Knights. One deck has been good all the time and that is Food, either in Jund form or just straight up GB. Only reason why Food hasn't been played even more is its style of play and the fact that it is a hard deck to master.
Recently, I had a chance to compete in Mythic Qualifier on Arena and while I did not manage to qualify myself, friend of mine and past member of Czech Magic House, Jakub Toth, piloted our Jund Food list to 10-1 record, qualifying himself to Mythic Invitational. Well done! His only loss came from timing out in a match where he had a lead. I guess he has learned that from my book of tricks. Anyway, Food is powerful and resilient. Going forward, I see no reason for it to abandon its presence in Standard, even though there is not that many Theros Beyond Death you can include in the deck. Maybe we will even see more variants. Sultai Food maybe?
Here is our updated Jund list:
New cards. Woe Strider seems like fine option to have sometimes. It has synergy with Korvold and Mayhem Devil. It can make your Massacre Girl bit more consistent as wrath effect. And it can give us a sacrifice outlet for cat when we do not draw Witch’s Oven.
Polukranos is only one off for now, but that is fine. Three escape cards are more than this deck can fuel anyway. And it shines the most in games when players manage to have 9+ mana. By that time, it is likely that we went through a lot of cards in our deck, so playing many of them to find one might not be necessary anyway.
This is the core engine of the deck. Thankfully, recently almost every single list I see plays 4 familiars, but it is not so long time ago when there were a lot of lists running around with only three cats. I myself played only three for a brief moment when I first picked up the deck. The reason behind it is that second familiar you draw is not as good as the first one. That for roasting in multiple ovens, and subsequently eating crumbs on a trail you only need one cat. While that logic is all good and fine, correlation between winning and drawing a familiar is undeniable. It is so crucial for this deck and all card draw spells we have are much better if we have at least one familiar. So, in this case and for future deckbuilding, if a card is this good in a deck, do yourself and me a favor, and just play four, even if there are significant diminishing returns.
So, there go our easy 4-offs. Numbers are not so clear after.
Even though Paradise druid is not at it's best in this deck (not exactly a ramp deck) it is nice to have something to play for two mana as we are lacking in that department. Plus, it does look quite good in mirror. Nevertheless, you will see that our plan is to side it out in a lot of matchups, especially in the ones where we can bring in something cheap. Down the road, It is entirely possible it will get replaced altogether.
Value. With Trail of Crumbs, it makes for eight card-draw spells and that is as greedy as we can possibly go. Good thing this dragon can also create some board presence. Don't always slam Korvold onto battlefield as soon as you can. If you think your opponent has instant answer you can still get a lot of value with his ability on the stack if you set things up right.
Our interaction package. Notable is the omission of maindeck Trashing Brontodon. I think Brontodon is not that efficient magic card and its usefulness relies heavily on what decks will turn out to be tier one. As such, I am hesitant to maindeck it until we have clearer picture how this format shakes out. Until that happens, we will rely on the rest of this package to deal with Embercleave holders and on our post sideboard games against Fires (luckily that is often good enough). But if you see those or Bolas looking over from his citadel, do not hesitate to use Brontodon less cautiously. Another interesting choice is whether to play Massacre Girl. Personally, I like the card a lot(situational, but undeniably powerful), though the metagame before rotation wasn’t right for it. Edgewall Innkeeper has been on decline for a while now and we have Mayhem Devil to deal with small critters anyway. Now I can see things to change. It might do good work against devotion decks if they arise. Maybe we will want two.
It's built with a purpose to kill any permanent our opponent throws at us. Because that is what our maindeck grindy plan wants... to slowly build advantage. One small exception is Lovestruck Beast which can be used both proactively and as defense. I am a big fan of this card design, understanding how and when to sideboard it correctly can be tricky, but it leads to more game wins if done properly.
+1 Assassin's Trophy, +2 Trashing Brontodon, +2 Lovestruck Beast, +1 Epic Downfall, +1 Wicked Wolf
-2 Casualties of War, -2 Paradise Druid, -1 Trail of Crumbs, -2 Woe Strider
Good matchup. I like to think about it as a tale of two games. First one is about their creature swarm and more often than not, our defensive cards are able to hold it off. Second game is about Embercleave and this is how they get most of their wins. Every play you make should be with keeping Embercleave in mind. For example, sometimes killing creatures proactively makes it harder for them to cast Embercleave. On the opposite side of spectrum, chumping Rotting Regisaur rather than killing it right away, to make them discard, can make it harder for them to set up the powerful equipment. Basically, just be ready for it and you should be fine. Epic Downfall is little bit narrow in the matchup, but since combination of Regisaur and Embercleave is most damaging, we can overlook it.
+3 Duress, +1 Epic Downfall, +2 Trashing Brontodon, +2 Casualties of War, +1 Assassin’s Trophy
-2 Paradise Druid, -4 Mayhem Devil, -1 Massacre Girl, -1 Polukranos, -1 Wicked Wolf
First game we are underdogs, but it greatly improves postboard when we are well equipped to battle their powerful enchantment. Most wins they get are based on casting three big creatures in spam of two turns and we should have enough tools to not let them do that. Most notably, once we hit six mana without falling too behind, Casualties of War can be extra punishing. And yeah, do not always fire of Duress on turn 1 even if you do not have anything else to play. If you play it on turn 3, you have a higher chance of hitting Fires. This is especially true if they scry several cards on top of their library with Sphinx of Foresight. That being said, if you spend your mana awkwardly because you have waited, it might set you back a bit. Find your balance.
+2 Casualties, +1 Epic Downfall
-2 Wicked Wolf, -1 Massacre Girl
This is one matchup where we want to keep our Paradise Druids in. Being able to cast Casualties of War first can be a big deal. In general games go grindy and long, but unanswered Korvold or Devil can tip the scales quickly. I am not a big fan of Brontodon here as he trades down on mana. If I could, I would rather keep one Wolf than have Brontodon., as extra sacrifice outlet and Mayhem Devil removal.
+2 Casualties, +2 Brontodon, +1 Epic Downfall
-3 Murderous Rider, -1 Wicked Wolf, -1 Massacre Girl
Things change when we play against straight up BG food deck. Murderous Rider and Epic Downfall is much worse here due to lack of good targets, so you should bring in Brontodons and leave in more Wolves.
+2 Lovestruck Beast, +3 Noxious Grasp +1 Assassin's Trophy, +1 Duress
-2 Paradise Druid, -2 Wicked Wolf, -1 Witch's Oven. -1 Massacre Girl, -1 Korvold
I love playing this matchup. Playing around their cards is like solving an incomplete puzzle. This is where our proactive Lovestruck Beasts come in. If we sneak in some pressure early, it will make it hard for them to stay untapped all the time. Or we can play land-go game with them, answering their Nightpack Ambusher and Nissa instantly and then overload them in one turn. It is doable, especially when one of their counter spells cost four mana. What we do not want to do is to trade one for one every turn and then let them untap and refill with Hydroid Krasis. And just in case you wonder why we take out one Witch's Oven, that is to lessen the chance of their Spyglass catching multiple Ovens at once.
+3 Duress, +2 Lovestruck Beast, +2 Trashing Brontodon
-2 Paradise Druid, -1 Massacre Girl, -3 Murderous Rider, -1 Polukranos
UW is becoming popular. It is one of the few matchups where you want the game go as short as possible. Do not overextend into Helliod’s Intervention(or Planar Cleansing potentially).if you do not have to.
-2 Paradise Druid. -1 Massacre Girl
Playing against Esper is tricky, but in general I like to try to keep sideboarding simple and proactive.
The last two matchups are where we are going to miss Midnight Reaper the most I think(with the exception of mirror maybe). If they become too problematic I think a pair Reapers will need to make a comeback to our archetype.
+3 Noxious Grasp, +1 Epic Downfall
-2 Paradise Druid, -1 Trail of Crumbs, -1 Massacre Girl
+3 Noxious Grasp, +1 Wicked Wolf
-2 Paradise Druid, -1 Korvold, -1 Massacre Girl
+3 Noxious Grasp, +1 Wicked Wolf, +1 Epic Downfall
-2 Paradise Druid, -1 Murderous Rider, -1 Trail of Crumbs, -1 Korvold
If you have made it this far and decide to give Jund another try, have fun and I hope you will win with it at least as much as we do. Enjoy.