Friday Night Alchemy: #Jundstice
Ahhhhh. Jund. Feels so good to be back. I’ve missed you. You fit my play style so well.
[Editor’s note – click any of blue card names or featured card images to view and purchase the card from Jupiter Games!]
I played a list very similar to this in the weeks before I undertook this column and played budget for the first five weeks. This deck excels at presenting a threat on every turn of the game and putting the pressure on your opponent. You cast Supreme Verdict? Okay. I’m going to regenerate my Experiment One, sacrifice another creature to my Falkenrath Aristocrat, and probably play a haste creature next turn and kill you.
The creatures in this deck are also just large enough to profitably block the smaller humans and other aggressive creatures the kill you dead decks are trying to slam against your life total. Obviously, the point of this deck is not sitting back and blocking, but it is always nice to take solace that you can do that if put into a spot where that is necessary. After boarding, we also have access to 4 Abrupt Decays. Naya Blitz and Red Deck Wins just cannot deal with that card. It practically says kill everything in your deck besides a fight Garruk or a Hellrider. It also excellently kills public enemy number 1: Boros Reckoner. The list goes on and on of how practical Abrupt Decay is in the current metagame, and I believe having two in the main and two in the side is the perfect balance.
When Experiment One was spoiled, I didn’t believe that it would be constructed playable, but this shell is one of the best for our little human ooze friend. Ideally, One can become a 4/4 on the fourth turn with an ability to regenerate. Strangleroot Geist helps on that front. Playing an Experiment and attacking with a Strangleroot puts opponents in an awkward position. They either take minimal damage this turn or maximum damage the following. For some reason, Experiment is a human, helping to beef up Falkenrath in situations where 5 in the air is just enough to get a W.
I was confused at the lack of three-drops when I first came across this list, with Dreg Mangler being the only creature in the deck with a CMC of three. Flinthoof Boar is actually another creature in the three slot. Ideally, you don’t want to cast a Boar on your second turn, but using your mana efficiently is still using mana efficiently. If you do cast this little piggy on your second turn, I highly recommend sandbagging a Stomping Ground or a Blood Crypt for a surprise on your next turn. Opponents will most likely realize that you have buffed your porker before it’s too late.
The original list I played had Thundermaw Hellkite and 24 lands instead of Aristocrat, and I would not recommend that version of the deck. Having any more than five lands in play in a game quite often means that you have lost the game. When playing this deck, you are very much at the mercy of flooding. There isn’t a whole lot to do with your leftover mana besides scavenging a Dreg Mangler. For that reason, I really like Deathrite Shaman in this deck. Shaman: evolves your Experiment One, ramps you against Junk Reanimator opponents and plays around Azorius Charm. This little guy was wonderful every time I cast him, and I often brought another one in after boarding. With that, onto the Tournament Report!
Round 1: Ron “Hate Drafter” Howe- White Black Zombies
Game 1: I kept a slow hand with a lot of finishing power, not knowing what Ron was playing. I started with a Shaman and Ron followed with a Diregraf Ghoul. I bashed with my Shaman and Ron played a Thrull Parasite and passed back. I jammed a Mangler and attacked for 4 while Ron extorted another Thrull Parasite and battled back. I followed with a second Mangler with a Tragic Slip in hand. I was waiting on the Hellrider in my hand to ensure that I could cast a Slip on something that I needed to, doing the math and knowing the following turn was lethal. It in fact was lethal after Ron blocked my Hellrider with a Ghoul and tried to cast his own Slip on my Hellrider to kill it. I, of course, slipped his Ghoul to keep my Hellrider alive.
-2 Abrupt Decay -1Ghor-Clan Rampager +2 Grull Charm +1 Deathrite Shaman
Game 2: Ron led with a Parasite into Blood Artist into Lingering Souls. I did not attack with my 2/2 Experiment and 3/3 Mangler into his team, and I was fearing the worst. Ron did not flashback Souls on his fourth turn and simply passed back. I cast a Hellrider and chose not to attack into a Restoration Angel with two Ghor-Clans in my hand, so I passed back. Ron paused before drawing his card and minused a fresh Liliana of the Veil. I sacrificed my Mangler and played an Aristocrat, again passing. Ron payed two life to take a counter off my Experiment on my end step and on his upkeep, and I was confused. He then cast a Divine Reckoning. After taking a second to think, I had the Aristocrat eat the Experiment and chose the Hellrider. I then untapped and played a Strangeroot Geist and bloodrushed twice onto my Aristocrat.
Round 2: Anupam “Anupap” Hridoi-UWR Flash
Game 1: I chipped away at Anupam’s life total with a Strangleroot Geist as he Searing Speared each threat I played after that. He stumbled on lands, and I was feeling good about my chances. Eventually, Anupam cast a Reckoner and I began to throw his spells at him with a Deathrite Shaman. I Slipped his Reckoner tragically after he killed another one of my creatures. I eventually got him to 3 with an empty board on my side. I was praying for a Searing Spear or a Falkenrath Aristocrat to fly over his Augur stonewalling my team, but I ended the game with 11 lands and died.
-4 Ghor-Clan Rampager +2 Abrupt Decay +2 Gruul Charm
Game 2: I led with an Experiment One. Anupam played a tap land and passed. I attacked for 4 with a Strangleroot Geist and said go. Anupam played a Blind Obedience and ended his turn. I didn’t really care that much about his enchantment that did nothing in this scenario. I evolved my Experiment with a Dreg Mangler and had Anupam at 11. He confidently cast a Reckoner and passed. I untapped, Abrupt Decayed his Reckoner, attacked for 8 and Searing Speared him.
-2 Gruul Charm +2 Skullcrack
Game 3: Our third game was much like the first. I was able to get Anupam to a low health via Deathrite Shaman tearing apart his graveyard. I really was trying to play around Azorious Charm the best I could because drawing your tiny creatures is just awful. My Shaman was eventually speared and an Angel flew over my head to kill me several turns in a row. I ended the game with 10 lands, proving the how crippling flooding with this deck is. It was unlucky, but expected once in a while in our fine game.
Round 3: Graham “Grahamalamadingdong” Higgins-UWR Flash
Game 1: I kept a terrible hand and got punished for it. Graham started with an early Reckoner and Angel and the game was over quickly. His Augur stonewalled my small creatures and he cast Azorious Charm 3 times on my Dreg Mangler. There’s not too much I can do about that.
-4 Ghor-Clan Rampager +2 Abrupt Deacy +2 Gruul Charm
Game 2: I started with a Strangleroot Geist off of a hand full of M13 lands while Graham struggled to find lands. He cast Izzet Charm on himself and still found none. I followed with a Dreg Mangler, and I ended the game quickly after drawing a shock land and attacking with an Aristocrat. This game wasn’t really much of a game because Graham wasn’t very interactive.
Game 3: Graham played a tapped shock and passed. I led with a Shaman, without a turn two play in my hand, hoping to draw one. Graham had nothing to do on his second turn, and I drew a Strangleroot Geist, and attacked. It was Charmed back to the top of my library. He still had nothing to do on his third turn, and I opted to play and attack with a Mangler instead. That landed and Graham still had nothing to do on his fourth turn. I cast a second Mangler and attacked, leaving mana open for my Shaman to eat something. Graham attempted to flashback an Azorius Charm via a Snapcaster Mage, but he forgot what Deathrite Shaman did in a format other than legacy. I replayed my Strangleroot Geist after he played a Reckoner on his turn. I held a Hellrider until my following turn because I didn’t have profitable attacks. Graham had nothing on his next turn, and I attacked with Hellrider and team for exactsies.
Round 4: Tom “Crpyt” Keefer¬-Mono Black Attack
Game 1: Tom had all of the spot removal for my early creatures and landed a turn four Desecration Demon. I sighed internally as I held a Tragic Slip and a Flinthoof Boar, knowing that I would have to two for one myself to kill the big demon. He followed with Liliana of the Dark Realms and felt the need to sacrifice her to make his demon bigger. I definitely do not agree with that play. If he wanted to cash in the Lili, he should have killed my creatures. His Demon died after I sacrificed my Boar and cast Tragic Slip. I thought I was going to be in fine shape after I found a Hellrider, but that was exiled with Sever the Bloodline on his next turn. I couldn’t answer a second Desecration Demon.
-2 Abrupt Decay -2 Ghor-Clan Rampager +2 Gruul Charm +2 Tribute to Hunger
Game 2: I started with Experiment One into Strangleroot Geist and was happy with my start. My Experiment died and I had no turn three play. I got Tom 11 and he Mutilated. I was running out of threats and facing a Liliana that was ticking up. I got him to 5, found a hasty creature and got him at two. Meanwhile, a Demon was taking thirds out of my life total. My lands were then Fact or Fictioned, and I kept the bigger pile that contained all of the colors I needed to draw something to win as I was at 4. I luckily found a Searing Spear and was still in the match.
-2 Ghor-Clan Rampager +2 Abrupt Decay
Game 3: My Experiment one was the subject of a sudden shallow grave with a Tragic Slip, and my Strangleroot Geist was killed after attacking once. I began to be worried about his ability to deal with my creatures. Tom then cast a Black Cat and I had a Searing Spear and Tribute to Hunger. A Desecration Demon and Liliana came down shortly after. The Demon hit me to 6, and Tom was confused that I didn’t sacrifice to tap the Demon. On my next turn, I Speared the Cat and with the trigger on the stack I cast Tribute to gain my 6 life back. I attacked, killing Liliana and getting Tom to 12. Tom then Mutilated and was out of cards. I found a Dreg Mangler and got him to 9. He untapped and Severed my Mangler. We were both playing off the top of our decks, and things were getting serious. I drew slightly better than he. A boar got him to 6. Tom found another Mutilate. I somehow found an Aristocrat immediately after, and Tom found a Demon to Stonewall me. I bricked on my draw and Tom attacked and found a Vampire Nighthawk. I was at 6. I managed to I find a Gruul Charm, which I knew would buy me time. Tom attacked with just the Demon, so I blocked and blew up all the fliers after damage happened. I found a land on top. Tom found a Black Cat. I found another land. Tom attacked with his Black Cat without cards in his hand. I was thrilled. Still no land for me. I was at 5. Tom attacked again. I was at 4. Another land. I was at 3. I was going to be livid if I died to Black Cat beats and wished for something good on top. A found the vampire from the castle Falkenrath and ate up a win.
Round 5: John “Give me Rancor or give me death” Carter
Game 1: I lost the die roll, and John started with an Arbor Elf. I replied with an Experiment. He decided to stick two Rancors on his Elf and attack. I couldn’t block fast enough. I replied with a boar and said go. John got me to 14 after I played a Mangler and attacked. I was at 8 and killed him from 12 with a Hellrider.
-4 Ghor-Clan Rampager +2 Abrupt Decay +2 Gruul Charm.
Game 2: I kept a poor hand and was punished again. I elected to not attack my first turn Shaman into an obvious Selesnya Charm, and threw the charm at him after a Silverblade Paladin paired with it. I decided to not spear the Paladin on my turn so that I could avoid it being paired again, but John had another charm to make the paladin huge, and I was forced to be on chump block mode from then on, something you really don’t want to be doing in this deck.
Game 2: I started off with a quick hand, but John found a Centaur Healer to slow me down. A Restoration Angel that flickered the Healer that I knew would be ambushing me, preventing me from attacking for a turn with my team, including an Aristocrat. The Restoration Angel was then Rancored up, and a Sublime Archangel let it attack for 8. Holding a Searing Spear, I took my damage. I Speared the Sublime and ate an Experiment to go to 7, killing the Restoration Angel in combat. I found a Hellrider and chose not to attack with it and left back a Dreg Mangler into a Thragtusk staring me down. I shouldn’t have attacked with the Mangler and was forced to chump the Thragtusk with a Rancor on it with the Hellrider. I drew lands for a couple turns and didn’t have the gas to kill my opponent.
I was disappointed that I played so poorly in my final match, and I could have gone 4-1 if I had played better. My loss to Anupam was unlucky, but he did play well to beat me.
I found myself taking out Ghor-Clan Rampagers because I played several opponents that would have blown me out via charms or removal or opponents that wouldn’t be blocking me anyway. I like the card in midrange matchups a lot, but I didn’t find any of those this week. I wouldn’t change the list in the slightest currently, but we will see what Dragon’s Maze brings us. I’m going to try and bring something spicy to the tables next week, so make sure you check back for that column.
Until next week, whether it’s the kitchen table or the feature match, have fun and keep brewing.