The testing with my flatmate for Manchester started about 2 weeks before the tournament, during exam week. We expected a metagame similar to Magic-league and the MTGO dailies. We tested a bunch of decks from very rough ideas like BantDelver aggro, to decks that were winning online like Affinity and Splinter Twin. However, we identified Jund as the best tier 1 deck.
During the last week we noticed a shift in the metagame towards new decks and tried even UB Blade and UW Control. My friend decided to bring a token deck that seemed to have good matchups against the majority of the field, while I was still unsure about the deck to play. Any deck that I played felt a little too luck dependant from being a safe choice for a PTQ of probably more than 100 people.
At the Manchester PTQ last Saturday I decided to play Jund with a tuned maindeck and sideboard. It resulted in a good choice, as my 2nd place shows, even if it had some not so good matchups against some of the decks that we considered tier 1. It’s still one of the most solid decks, mulligans very well and with the best sideboard possibilities. It has very good matchups against rogue decks, and it always improves its match-ups post board, and doesn’t have an auto-loss against certain decks like other decks have.
During the tournament I got lucky on some occasions as a couple of my opponents lost a game due to mana screw, however I think to have made some good plays too. So overall I’d made some misplays but luckily my opponent’s were often worse. I won at least 4 games due to big mistakes of my opponents.
Analyzing in detail the list that I played:
The manabase it’s pretty straight forward, nothing particularly different. I prefered to play 24 land as the deck has a lower curve and a possible 25th sounded like a waste of a slot.
Lavamancer was a card that I liked since I tested MonoRed, then on MTGO I noticed that Jund with Lavamancer had some wins and I was sure to play them. I tried to play even with less Finks but they are still very important in some matchups, such as the mirror or against rogue aggro decks, however now I probably would cut one for another Lavamancer. The rest of the creature choices are obvious.
The 4th Liliana was reduntant in my opinion as sometimes it’s not very effective as removal or as a card advantage engine. Duress was played as the 5th one-drop discard, as Jund suffers against certain spells such as Swords, Blood Moon, Spectral Procession, and since these are not creature spells there was no need to play Thoughtseize. Playing Go for the Throat was an error, since it was played to fight against the Spellskites in the Splinter Twin matchup. However, affinity was the more popular deck and against that, Go for the Throat is a total blank. I would change it for the 3rd pulse or 1 Eternal Witness.
The sideboard has plenty of specific answers against the top tier decks, the unique choices being Olivia and Primal Command. Olivia was chosen as it’s very good card against the ”new” decks like UB Delver and UW Blade, and could be boarded against the mirror and creature based decks. Primal Command was chosen over Finks as it’s more functional in the mirror and, in my opinion, more effective against MonoRed. Olivia proved to be very good winning Game 2 in the finals against Bruno, as did Primal Command during the Swiss against the mirror. I wouldn’t change anything from this board.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my short report on Jund in Modern and good luck at your next tournament.