Adun Oakenshield and The Evolution of Jund Tiny Leaders, by Mark Pinder

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How to build a Tiny Leaders Jund deck with Adun Oakenshield

Today I am going to continue my series on the Tiny Leaders format. Late last year, I felt like I needed to put a new deck together for the format and as I was a big fan of the original Jund deck in Standard and Modern, I thought the colour combination would make an excellent choice.

For those of you who are newer to Magic: The Gathering, “Jund” refers to a shard from the Shards of Alara block and is a combination of Black, Green and Red Spells.

Firstly, I needed a general. We only have two choices available to us, which are:

Xira Arien

Xira Arien

 

Adun Oakenshield

Adun Oakenshield

 

I chose Adun Oakenshield as the graveyard recursion seems much better than just drawing a card. That said, I sometimes do like switching things around and considered putting both cards in the deck. I own Xira Arien from Chronicles but would be buying an Adun Oakenshield. I went for an Italian Legends printing of Adun Oakenshield to minimise my original outlay.

 

Level it up!

I’d enjoyed some success with Transcendent Master in my Abzan deck, so I thought a core creature suite of level up creatures would be fun. Level up creatures start small but you can spend mana to improve them over a few turns. Once at ultimate level, they can be devastating.

I like to try different creatures and strategies in new decks. Dragonmaster Outcast is by far my favourite creature in the deck. He is supported by Taurean Mauler, Tarmogoyf and Vampire Nighthawk as threats. Gatekeeper of Malakir is a nice removal creature who may also be brought back with the General.

This colour combination offers some of the top rated removal in the format with Terminate, Abrupt Decay and Smother. We also have mass removal with Molten Disaster, Black Sun’s Zenith and Lavalanche. I like charms and run two main deck with Jund Charm and Darigaz’s Charm, both of which offer flexibility.

My the original deck list looked like this:

[Deck]
1 Forest
1 Swamp
1 Mountain
1 Gruul Turf
1 Golgari Rotfarm
1 Rakdos Carnarium
1 Dragonskull Summit
1 Rootbound Crag
1 Woodland Cemetary
1 Savage Lands
1 Blood Crypt
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Stomping Ground
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Jund Panorama
1 Adun Oakenshield
1 Kazundu Tuskcaller
1 Young Pyromancer
1 Guttersnipe
1 Taurean Mauler
1 Null Champion
1 Sprouting Thrinax
1 Dragonmaster Outcast
1 Beastbreaker of Bala Ged
1 Nirkana Cutthroat
1 Vampire Nighthawk
1 Deathrite Shaman
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Bird of Paradise
1 Gatekeeper of Malakir
1 Tarmogoyf
1 Eternal Witness
1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Molten Disaster
1 Druidic Satchel
1 Exploration
1 Signal the Clans
1 Dreadbore
1 Lavalanche
1 Black Sun’s Zenith
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Domri Rade
1 Krosan Grip
1 Terminate
1 Darigaz’s Charm
1 Jund Charm
1 Abrupt Decay
1 Smother
[/Deck]

Sideboard
[Deck]
1 Chainers Edict
1 Devour Flesh
1 Vampire Hexmage
1 Golgari Charm
1 Volcanic Fallout
1 Great Sable Stag
1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Rakdos Charm
1 Rakdos Return
1 Phyrexian Crusader
[/Deck]

The early results with the deck were not great. The deck was winning more matches than it lost, but it was regularly a struggle. I would always feel it was my play skill that was keeping me from losing matches, and some serious top decking. The deck seemed to have some good cards but a distinct lack of synergy. Several cards in the deck were not supported.

 

Tweaking the deck, getting it right

The first thing I did was look at the mana base. I don’t normally use many Standard cards in my Tiny Leaders decks, as I may need them for my Standard decks, but it became apparent very quickly that the ability to ‘fetch’ battle lands was going to maximise use of the fetch lands.

I also needed to ensure that my best win condition, Dragonmaster Outcast, could consistently have six lands in play. This meant adding Wood Elves as it can search out any ‘Forest’ and Courser of Kruphix to help with my land drops. The Courser also helps shore up the deck against aggro decks with its life gain and blocking ability.

I would later add in Nissa, Vastwood Seer and an extra basic Forest, after drawing my one Forest far too often for comfort. Nissa late game is good for the card draw and 4/4 creature isn’t bad either. I also added in Kessig Wolfrun and whilst it isn’t a coloured mana source it does give the deck additional reach from the pumping and trample abilities.

The creatures had proven to be an interesting lot. I wasn’t running enough spells to make Young Pyromancer or Guttersnipe effective. Sprouting Thrinax is an all-star as a threat either in defence or attack, and being able to return it with Adun Oakenshield is also useful.

Gatekeeper of Malakir proved to be highly effective at killing, blocking, and returning. It was at this point that I realised my general wasn’t being used enough, and with this is mind I started looking to add creatures that can be used multiple times. Utility spells in the board were replaced with more relevant creatures, so sacrifice spells were replaced with sacrifice creatures and Reclamation Sage came to the party.

Not all the level up creatures were effective, so these were trimmed and more valuable creatures were added in: Liliana, Heretical Healer and another potential win condition in Apocalypse Hydra.

Druidic Satchel is a card I have always liked and unfortunately it just didn’t work well at all. The top card on too many occasions wouldn’t be what you want or needed. Signal the Clans likewise had issues as you’d always find you drew the one card out of the three that was less than optimal.

The mass removal just felt too little late on occasion, though Black Sun’s Zenith and Jund Charm were quite effective. However, having both Molten Disaster and Lavalanche was very limiting and slow against aggro decks. Golgari Charm and Volcanic Fallout were moved from sideboard to main deck to give a greater range of removal.

Here is the updated list:

[Deck]
2 Forest
1 Swamp
1 Mountain
1 Command Tower
1 Kessig Wolfrun
1 Smoldering Marsh
1 Cinder Glade
1 Lavaclaw Reaches
1 Raging Ravine
1 Savage Lands
1 Blood Crypt
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Stomping Ground
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Adun Oakenshield
1 Wood Elves
1 Courser of Kruphix
1 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
1 Apocalypse Hydra
1 Liliana, Heretical Healer
1 Taurean Mauler
1 Sprouting Thrinax
1 Dragonmaster Outcast
1 Beastbreaker of Bala Ged
1 Nirkana Cutthroat
1 Vampire Nighthawk
1 Deathrite Shaman
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Bird of Paradise
1 Gatekeeper of Malakir
1 Tarmogoyf
1 Eternal Witness
1 Golgari Charm
1 Worldy Tutor
1 Banefire
1 Volcanic Fallout
1 Sensei’s Diving Top
1 Lavalanche
1 Black Sun’s Zenith
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Domri Rade
1 Krosan Grip
1 Terminate
1 Darigaz’s Charm
1 Jund Charm
1 Abrupt Decay
1 Smother
[/Deck]

Sideboard
[Deck]
1 Merciless Executioner
1 Fleshbag Marauder
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Song of the Dryads
1 Fulminator Mage
1 Great Sable Stag
1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Rakdos Charm
1 Rakdos Return
1 Phyrexian Crusader
[/Deck]

The deck is now much stronger, resilient and can keep returning creatures from the graveyard back to my hand. Eternal Witness allows the return of all my spells to my hand. I’m now toying with the idea of adding Den Protector to the deck, as Deathrite Shaman hardly creates mana and I don’t have an explosive start to benefit from it – although the other abilities have been useful in the past.

Dragonmaster Outcast is just awesome now that we have Courser of Kruphix, Wood Elves and Nissa, Vastwood Seer to help out. Unless they have an exile effect, it can be cheaply returned to hand with our commander or Liliana, Defiant Necromancer.

 

Final thoughts

I’m enjoying playing this deck. It can be a bit slow and grinding, but that’s my favourite play style. If you were to build a Tiny Leaders deck similar to this one, what would you change?

Do you have a deck you would like for me to look over? Have you a Commander you would like for me to design a deck for? Please let me know in the comments below, as I really enjoy talking about and building Tiny Leader decks.

Thanks for reading,

Mark Pinder

 

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Mark Pinder
I have competed twice at GB nationals in 2010/2008, was Runner Up at Senior Nationals 2010, Won a Grand Prix Trial which took me to Paris 2009. My love of the game was such that I did previously win a writing competition on MTG Twincast which led to me being a Feature Writer for around a year until the Sponsor sold up but still did the occasional article. There is also a verb "To Pinder"colloquially used in northern magic communities which means "to gain life", I was a solid fan of Martyr of Sands/Proclamation of Rebirth combo and many players have heard those fateful words, Sacrifice Martyr of Sands, gain 21 life against me to see the game go out of their reach with lethal damage available to them next turn.