Cook’s Kitchen – NELC (11/03/2012): JUND
I’m going to try something different with this report, since I didn’t end up doing well. There won’t be a round by round but instead, my thoughts and some interesting things that happened.
I knew after the previous Jupiter Games event that I wanted to play Abrupt Decay again, after my recent success with BUG Delver/Canadian Threshold. I ran through the possible decks that I could squeeze Abrupt Decay into. Playing Junk (BWG) didn’t interest me. So I decided to work on a possible Jund list. I began by looking at Modern deck lists and porting from there. One thing that I noticed right off the bat is that this deck is the perfect home for Deathrite Shaman, as much as I disapproved of that card in a tempo BUG shell, it was amazing in a RBG shell. The reason being that the deck already had more mana to work with, BUG has to use its mana very tightly since it ran so few lands. The major reason I see Deathrite as a valuable asset in Jund is that there’s actually something worth accelerating into – Bloodbraid Elf. A turn three Bloodbraid Elf is much more impressive than on turn four, it’s a huge change in the tempo game and can generate enough card advantage to win the game on its own. Anyone who has played Bloodbraid Elf before in another format knows how traumatizing it can be for the opponent. Cascading into a Dark Confidant or Lilliana is absolutely devastating for the opponent, but even cards like Lightning Bolt or Deathrite Shaman aren’t bad to reveal. They’re free! I know that Jace, the Mind Sculptor has been seeing less play but keep in mind how good Bloodbraid is against UW Stoneblade or Miracles because it has Haste.
I knew that the two new additions of Abrupt Decay and Deathrite Shaman were enough to carry Jund to a successful performance. These cards did things that Jund lacked in Legacy that similar decks could do, the first being accelerate into its threats. Maverick had this with Noble Hierarch and now Jund could do this with Deathrite Shaman. Last month, I went on and on about how good Abrupt Decay is. It’s still that good. The fact that it costs one less mana than Maelstrom Pulse was just the push that Jund needed. Before I get carried away describing the deck, let’s take a look at it:
By Bryant Cook
When I originally built the list there were a pair of Punishing Fire over a Deathrite Shaman and an Abrupt Decay. There were also three Grove of the Burnwillows over a Taiga and two fetchlands. The problem with this configuration was that it was very “cute”, the interaction with Lilliana of the Veil was devastating, but I was always unsure of how good it actually was. After playing the list in a local event to a first place finish, I realized that I never once returned Punishing Fire to my hand. At this point I knew that the Punishing Fire package needed to be cut.
For the event, I was expecting a lot of what was there the month before but I knew that a couple of players were opting to play combo for the next event. This caused me to increase the number of discard spells in the sideboard. In a different event I would’ve probably only had one additional Inquisition in the sideboard leaving the other two as flexible sideboard slots.
On to the event!
Michael “Hollywood” Keller picked up Tariq White and I for the event. On the way down to the Binghamton area Tariq expressed that he wasn’t very confident in his deck choice. Three color UWb Landstill with Vindicates, Supreme Verdicts, Terminus, Elspeth, and Jace, the Mind Sculptors. I tried to help him by telling him that he would have issues casting all of those spells in the current format with Stifles and Wastelands all over Jupiter. It’s a lot of different color requirements, a single Wasteland could ruin his day like it did last month when I beat him with Team America. Tariq eventually listened and I told him that I could build him a deck in the car, Tariq already owns Canadian Threshold and didn’t want to play it. I offered him UR Delver, he accepted it. I figured it was a good choice because it’s a faster deck and Tariq has a tendency to go to time in round.
We arrive at Jupiter and do the normal things, fill out deck lists, converse, and trade. I traded in the Volcanic Islands I won at the previous month’s NELC for a German FFB Tropical, a Foil Wasteland for Godo, and a foil Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. I also picked up the new foil Chaos Warp for Godo, a Japanese foil Revoke Existence for T.E.S., and some gifts for some magic friends. I’m like a goldfish, I like pretty and shiny objects. Why play with ugly cards when you can have beautiful ones? After a while the pairings were posted.
Round one I was paired against Charles “Morgan” Wiper, I’ve known Morgan for a couple of months now and he’s been a pretty good opponent to play against. He can dish back the sarcastic nonsense that I dish out. The first game Morgan mulliganed to six, keeping a Wasteland paired with Aether Vial hand. Unfortunately for him I was on the play and had both a turn one Thoughtseize and an Abrupt Decay for later. I fetched for basics and then continued my game plan playing Tarmogoyfs with Bloodbraid Elves by their side. The second game was characterized by a very timely end step Lightning Bolt on Krenko and then Bloodbraid Elf cascading into Pernicious Deed to wipe the rest of his creatures away. The Bloodbraid then attacked getting Morgan low enough for a Lightning Bolt to finish him off.
Results after Round 1: 1-0-0
The following round was against Paolo Cesari, the people that were sitting next to us must’ve thought that we were sworn enemies. But that’s just how Paolo and I play Magic, we like to have fun and make jokes about one another. The first game came down to me having an excess amount of creature removal shifting around in my hand while I attempted to get a creature to stick on the table. Nothing I played stayed alive long enough to block Paolo’s Nimble Mongeese as they attacked my life total down to zero. The second game was a Wasteland battle that was sealed by a Bloodbraid cascading into Choke while Paolo had tapped out to play a Tarmogoyf, I took the ‘goyf beat until I drew an Abrupt Decay to kill it. Soon enough we were shuffling up for game three. In this game Paolo was about as lucky as he could’ve been. I saw a number of discard spells and knew his hand was Forked Bolt, Spell Pierce, and a Brainstorm. I ran out a Bloodbraid Elf when Paolo had open a Tropical Island and two tapped Nimble Mongoose. It revealed a Deathrite Shaman, Paolo brainstorms in response. He found a Daze for my Elf, then on his turn Forked Bolt targeting my Shaman. Then cracked me for six, I played another Bloodbraid Elf that cascaded into a Jitte. Both resolved, I passed. Paolo Submerges my Elf and then swings. I then play the Elf again and Cascade into Inquisition. The remaining card in Paolo’s hand was another Submerge. On my turn I cascade into Dark Confidant and pass. I’m at one life, Paolo can attack with both Mongoose and force me to block with both of my creatures. Forcing me to find an answer for remaining Goose through the Spell Pierce he just drew. Instead he passes, if I reveal a land I can equip Confidant and stabilize with the three cards I still had in my hand. I really wanted to punish him for his misplay, but instead Dark Confidant flips over a Lightning Bolt. Sadness. (Editor’s Note: Check out Paolo’s Article [http://wp.me/p1Swun-dw3] to see what Paolo has to say about his choice of plays!)
Results after Round 2: 1-1-0
The following round was a quick victory over C.J who was playing elves. Umezawa’s Jitte and Pernicious Deed paired with timely discard were just too much for elves.
Results after Round 3: 2-1-0
The next round was against Joey Manner running UW Rest in Peace combo. Joey won game one because I couldn’t draw a creature that wasn’t a Tarmogoyf to apply pressure before he could combo off. Game two was back and forth with me tearing apart his hand with discard plus Lilliana and landing a Choke. He had multiple Rest in Peace, three to be exact. But once again, all I could draw were Tarmogoyfs and Deathrite Shamans. It gets to the point where I can ultimate Lilliana and leave Joey with three basic plains or six tapped islands and a Helm. He chooses the Plains at four life against a Deathrite Shaman. Joey has one card in hand, he draws, lays the land he draws and plays Rest in Peace. The fourth one… I draw a land, Joey draws a Sensei’s Diving Top and passes. I attack again putting Joey to two. Joey tops and draws land number five. I attack putting Joey to one after drawing a Thoughtseize. End step, Joey flips top and casts Enlightened Tutor for his last Helm, draws it plays it and activates. How frustrating. It was such a dog fight that I was convinced I had earned a win with tight play, but in the end didn’t work out as I wanted.
Results after Round 4: 2-2-0
The next round against Timur I gave up hope, I was crushed. I played poorly because of how angry I was about the round before and pretty much gave Timur the match.
I dropped shortly after, I watched Ning Battle his way into top 8 with T.E.S. despite misplaying several times and playing cards like Time Spiral. When Ning wasn’t playing I took some time to play Godo, to take my mind off of the day. It was very enjoyable. Tariq ended up losing his round one to Goblins and was upset, if he had played Landstill he says he would’ve won. I’m unsure if this is true with Wastelands and Rishadan Ports. Regardless, he wasn’t happy that I talked him out of Landstill for UR Delver. I still feel that UR was a better choice for this event despite a tough round one pairing. I felt like Jund was a much better deck than my record reflected and I could’ve easily gone undefeated if a couple things happened differently. I would play this deck again, it was very solid. Scavenging Ooze may not have been needed but with Hollywood’s success I was expecting impersonators or himself to play against. This was a spot that could’ve been Sensei’s Diving Top, although, I’m unsure if it’s needed. I rarely had unused mana and it’s a card that’s awful to cascade into. I would recommend this deck to anyone that enjoys midrange decks. This deck was actually a blast to play. I was enjoying myself the entire time, but then again, I’ve always loved Bloodbraid Elf.
Well that’s all for this week, come back again next week! Until then, keep Storming!
Bryant Cook on MTGthesource