Welcome to a deck primer on Jund Midrange in 7 Point Highlander! In this article we will take a deep dive into Jund, which is a representative of the Value Midrange Archetype in Highlander.
*** Disclaimer: This deck is designed to take advantage of a midrange and aggro meta. If control or combo are both high percentages of your meta maybe look at playing a tempo deck like Sophie Pezzutto’s RUG Sprowess.
We will cover current card choices, alternate card choices and reasons for not including key cards like entomb and Life from the Loam which can be found in decks like Addie Jund.
Pointed Cards in Value Jund
1 Wrenn and Six (Must play – Life from the loam is just weaker in this build of Jund. It’s much slower and doesn’t have ability to kill x/1s Like Wrenn and Six does.)
1 Wasteland (Must play – Weaker cards like Ghost Quarter or Tectonic Edge don’t have the same mana denial effect to make the cut)
2 Strip Mine (Must play)
3 Demonic Tutor (alternate configuration could be Sol Ring or Green Sun’s Zenith and any two of Crop Rotation, Life from the Loam, Umezawa’s Jitte, Karakas, or Sensei’s Divining Top)
If you like to interact with your opponent and play fair games of magic then this is a good deck choice for you. To begin, here is a sampling of three slightly different top-placing Jund results to whet your appetite:
Deck List – Value Jund – 1st (Brendan Millers OG List)
When should I play this deck?
This deck is most effective in a midrange/aggro meta and struggles to interact effectively with combo decks. The mainboard sweepers and ‘catch all removal’ paired with the top end threats makes this deck perfect for long grindy games. You should try to steer away from this deck if your meta includes a lot of Thoracle Decks, Storm Decks or other fast combo decks.
One of the first things you will see different about this deck, when compared to other midrange decks, is the absence of Mana Dorks like Birds of Paradise, Noble Hierarch, Elves of Deep Shadow and Arbor Elf. This deck is built to gain a slight advantage against midrange decks by including cheap sweepers like Pyroclasm and Toxic Deluge, often snagging a two for one or resetting the board (pair that with Kalitas and you have a good reason to play sweepers mainboard).
What makes this deck good against midrange decks?
When you take a look at how other midrange decks are built, their game plan is to cast a mana dork on turn 1 and then deploy threats ahead of curve. Looking specifically at decks like Junk or Dark Bant you will also note they are playing artifacts like Skull Clamp, Birthing Pod, Umezawa’s Jitte, Sword of Fire and Ice or Batterskull to take advantage of those smaller bodies later in the game. Jund has great answers to artifacts mainboard.
Casting a Toxic Deluge or Pyroclasm and killing 3 creatures is back breaking enough to win against elves or goblins. Key cards like Wrenn and Six, Lilliana, the Last hope and Fiery Confluence are great against goblins and elves but also pick off mana dorks found in other midrange decks. I have often found that players will keep a land light hand if they have mana dorks. Those games can quickly fall apart when they have their mana dorks killed and then 1 of their only 2 lands destroyed with a Strip Mine or Wasteland.
Often in midrange match ups you can find yourself quickly outpaced and out valued by mana dorks, tokens or key artifacts like Skull Clamp. Pernicious Deed is really great at resetting board states that can’t be reset with typical sweepers or removal spells. If activated for 4 or more it can be devastating when paired with a planeswalker (I note that is card is very slow and has a big mana investment but the pay offs are huge). Snagging mana dorks along with a Skull Clamp or Umezawa’s Jitte is why I am personally so high on this card. The occasional play on turn 3 and blow up 1 Mana Crypt and Seat of the Synod and a Walking Balista has come up before! Casting it while ahead is still perfectly fine, downside being your opponent can play around it. The fact its X or less means you have the option to engineer a complete board reset or choose to crack it for lower cost and squeeze in more damage with a questing beast.
Threats like Huntmaster of the Fells and Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet are cards that get better at the game goes later.
Value Jund’s Game Plan
“2 for 1 your opponent until they concede.“
Resolve an efficient threat and kill everything that stands in its way. Threats like Hexdrinker, Grim Flayer and Tarmogoyf are perfect threats for the beat down plan. Follow them up with a Questing Beast and you are off to the races. The efficiency of these cards combined with flexible removal makes this deck shine. Alternatively, you can assemble Strip/Waste locks with Wrenn and Six or Ramunap Excavator.
This deck manifests itself as a “tap out control” deck against other midrange strategies. Its 1-for-1 removal in cards like Maelstrom Pulse, Angrath’s Rampage, Abrupt Decay, Dreadbore and Assassin’s Trophy have a wide scope and when paired with extra information from cards like Inquisition of Kozilek and Thoughtseize you can choose what removal to use on what threat. Cards like True Name Nemesis aren’t as “lights out” as they are against other decks. Jund has a number of ways of dealing with or removing it in Liliana of the Veil, Toxic Deluge, Pernicious Deed, Liliana’s Triumph, Angrath’s Rampage, Questing Beast and Pyroclasm + Stomp.
Key Cards in Value Jund
Deathrite Shaman, Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek are all great proactive turn 1 plays.
Efficient threats like Hexdrinker, Grim Flayer, Tarmogoyf, Scavenging Ooze and Questing Beast are all fantastic efficient creatures. Late Game inevitability from Titania, Protector of Argoth, Hexdrinker (Level 8), Liliana, the Last Hope and Chandra, Torch of Defiance. Card advantage engines like Wrenn and Six + Fetch Lands, Dark Confidant, Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Sylvan Library (just play it main and side it out when its too slow or bad). Cards that grind, Huntmaster of the Fells, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and Klothys, God of Destiny.
As mentioned before, Liliana, the Last Hope and Wrenn and Six are key cards against mana dorks, as are cheap removal. Cards like Fatal Push, Lightning Bolt, Pyroclasm and Toxic Deluge can be levelled at entire aggro strategies just as effectively as against midrange’s mana dorks. Other key cards include powerful threats like Hexdrinker, Grim Flayer, and Tarmogoyf, each of which dominate a game when followed up by Strip Mine or Wasteland. Titania, Protector of Argoth functions as a key late game finisher.
Why is there no Mental Misstep in Jund?
Mental Misstep is typically an auto include card. This deck has chosen not to play this card mostly due to it being terrible a card to draw late game. When Jund has emptied its hand trading 1 for 1 with threats we want to keep the quality of our draws very high and keep our plan proactive. But aren’t Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek bad top decks? Yes, however the quality of those cards in the early game and the information they give is extremely valuable, helping you to line up the rest of your hand with removal and answers.
Why Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek are so good in Jund
These discard spells are powerful for a number of reasons:
These cards can be used to answer the cards that you can’t easily answer otherwise. These cards are proactive, they act as catch-all solutions where Jund’s removal isn’t going to cut it.
You get to see the opponent’s hand – You see your opponent’s hand, you consider your game plan, and then you decide what card to choose. These discard spells can be used to try to create a hole in your opponent’s game plan, a vulnerability which you can exploit.
In one of Reid Dukes articles Thoughtseize You he talks about how to use Thoughtseize to its full potential, what type of decks want these discard effects and when a card like Thoughtseize or Inquisition is most powerful.
Honourable mention to Duress which is a fantastic sideboard option and could be considered for the mainboard in the right meta (combo or control heavy).
Value Jund’s Synergies and Combos
- Wrenn and Six or Ramunap + Wasteland or Strip Mine loops to lock them out or cripple their mana base
- Eternal Witness + Kolaghan’s command loops for value
- Liliana the Last Hope + Eternal Witness loops for value
- Sylvan Library + Fetches for very good card selection
- Titania + Fetches (Strip Mine or Wasteland you can target your own lands and often overwhelm the board at the end of your opponent’s turn)
Key Interactions Between Cards in the Deck and the Meta
This deck has plenty of answers for cards like Oko, Jace TMS, Uro and other generically big creatures. While those cards shouldn’t be underestimated, our removal package is so broad that your opponent will often feel like you “just drew the right answers” every time.
While we run the combo, this deck is also very vulnerable to Strip and Wasteland locks. You should consider playing more copies of artifact GY interaction that cantrips in your sideboard and play a mainboard cling to dust.
This deck has a lot of mainboard removal for artifacts, creatures and planswalkers. You will see that removal often does one or more of the above. Removing a Pod, Skull Clamp, Jitte and other artifacts like swords will often leave behind weaker creatures or mana dorks that will quickly get outclassed. That being said, I still like to side in a Collector Ouphe against Birthing Pod/Equipment decks.
Pernicious Deed is a catch all and often resets the board. It’s extremely good if you have any planeswalkers in play. Sometimes you find yourself getting out valued by things like Lingering Souls, Bitterblossom, Monastery Mentor or (heaven forbid) an unchecked Titania. Pernicious deed is a 4 Mana kill all dorks and tokens most of the time. But it shines can catch an artifact like Skull clamp and Umezawa’s Jitte which are very good in decks with mana dorks.
Klothys, God of Destiny is insanely good in long grindy games. The incidental, albeit, sorcery speed graveyard interaction shouldn’t be over looked due to cards like, Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath that hang around a bit in the graveyard.
The Mana Base
Jund’s mana base contain 24 lands – 5 basics, 7 Fetches, 2 colourless lands, 2 fast lands, 3 shocks, 3 duals, 1 man land and 1 Horizon land. While this deck can destroy a Blood Moon, and Back to Basics it doesn’t mean its not good against us, just make sure you have Green and Black to float in response to cast your Abrupt Decay or Assassin’s Trophy. Also proactively fetching Swamp and Forest will be a great way to ensure your slow Maelstrom Pulse can remove those nasty moon effects, and safe guard against a late game Price of Progress.
This mana base is very reliable – my “go to” colour priority is: “I must be able to cast all of my spells by turn 4”:
- Black & Red on turn 1. (*based on what is in your opening hand)
- Then aim for double Black (for cards like Hymn to Tourach, Lillianas and Kalitas) and ensure you have Green Red as the other colours for an on curve Wrenn and Six. (be sure to use fetches early in order to get advantage of Wrenn’s +1 and to avoid randomly getting Stone Rained by a card like Opposition Agent.
- Then double Green (mainly for on curve Questing Beast)
- Then finally double Red (for Chandra, or 2 red spells in a single turn). Often fetching for further green sources is great for multiple scavenging ooze activations in a single turn.
- All of this goes out the window when playing against a Blood Moon, Back to Basics or Price of Progress decks. Prioritise casting your spells on curve while fetching basics and using fetches early. I will often keep basics in hand, play and crack fetches first so I can cast all of my spells through a moon effect.
Flex Slots are – Raging Ravine and Nurturing Peatland.
The Sideboard Guide
Note: Due to the ever-changing meta of Highlander, decklists and sideboards tend to be quite fluid. In this guide I will not give “side in this, side out that” explanations but this guide will be more focused on the philosophy of sideboarding with this deck, so you can take the ideas and use them to assist your decisions on sideboarding without shoehorning yourself into my decisions.
This is 7 Point Highlander a singleton format where your match up percentages change based on what you or your opponent draws. Thankfully we do have redundant copies of certain types of cards, sweepers, splash removal for artifacts and planeswalkers. I think we have a good match up against tribal decks, equipment based midrange decks and aggro decks.
If you have chosen to play this deck, don’t be scared of the 2 combo decks in the room, your match up is not good anyway. Side board in your relevant interaction then hold it up when you can and keep the pressure on with quality threats. (value hands that contain discard and cheap threats highly)
Against Control our games that we draw Wasteland and Strip Mine are much easier than the ones where we don’t. If we resolve a threat like Liliana of the Veil or Last Hope we are in good shape (value hands that contain discard and cheap threats along with mana disruption very highly)
What is my opponent siding in?
Blood Moon – Magus of the Moon – Back to Basics – Ashiok, Dream Render – Opposition Agent
Grixis/Sultai Midrange – Can play Blood Moon and some Sultai decks can play Back to Basics and Ashiok.
Blue Moon – Plays all three, be careful when fetching try to fetch basics where possible.
Goblins – Blood Moon and Magus of the Moon (watch out for Price of progress).
UR/RUG Tempo – Blood Moon and Magus of the Moon (watch out for Price of progress).
Toxic Deluge -Damnation – Supreme Verdict (Maybe Engineered Explosives – Pernicious Deed)
Value Control: Often will bring in the above to deal with an overwhelming board state, be careful not to over extend on board.
Value Midrange: Will most likely include a Toxic Deluge, Engineered Explosives or even Pernicious Deed.
Submerge – Hydroblast – Blue Elemental Blast – Veil of Summer (Maybe Thalia, Guardian of Thraben)
Any deck that is playing Blue is most likely playing Submerge and a copy of Hyrdroblast or Blue Elemental Blast.
Sylvan Library – Hymn to Tourach – Veil of Summer (Maybe Dire Fleet Daredevil)
Be careful of BUG Thoracle decks siding in all of the above.
Hard to deal with threats
Keranos, God of Storms – Thrun, the Last Troll – Hazoret the Fervent – (Maybe Kitchen Finks – Thragtusk)
Monastery Mentor – Bitterblossom – Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
Make sure you don’t side out all of your sweepers.
Relic of Progenitus – Nihil Spellbomb – Soul-Guide Lantern – Tormod’s Crypt – Faerie Macabre – Rest in Peace – Leyline of the Void – Ashiok, Dream Render
If you strip lock your opponent game 1 they will very likely sideboard in some of the above cards if they think you are a Jund Lands deck. This deck is mainly a value 2 for 1 deck that plays efficient creatures. Be careful in game 2 and 3 that these cards don’t impact your gameplan if it includes Tarmogoyf, Klothys, God of Destiny and strip locks.
What should I side out?
If a card is bad in the match up side it out. Here is a nice way to work out what you are taking out: Shuffle in the full 15 and then take out the 15 worst cards in the match up. This will help with side boarding tunnel vision (only looking for 2 bad cards to take out for the 2 good ones. When in reality you should be taking out 4 cards in total and replacing the 3rd and 4th bad cards with just mediocre ones). Doing this whole sideboard shuffle and remove technique (15 in – 15 out) will help you recognise certain cards aren’t good in the match up.
The Flex Slots
This deck is built to be flexible. So depending on your meta you will have more or less flex slots. I think this deck has around 10 flex slots and here they are:
Creature Flex Slots
Dire Fleet Daredevil (side or main depending on meta)
Huntmaster of the Fells
Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet (back breaking in a midrange meta)
Non Creatures Flex Slots
Cards to Consider for the Mainboard or Sideboard
Blood Braid Elf – Hazoret the Fervent
Vial Smasher the Fierce – Tireless Tracker
Mental Misstep (Note: Your meta game should determine whether or not you include Mental Mistep)
Package (Emtomb + Grove of the Burn Willows + Punishing Fire. Note: Entomb is also great to fetch a Strip Mine)
Bitterblossom – Thrun, the Last Troll – Kitchen Finks
Painful Truths – Phyrexian Arena – Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Damnation – Perish
Carpet of Flowers
Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger – Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Grim Lavamancer – Chain Lightning
Force of Vigor – Return to Nature (Note: Force of Vigor can be way out from a turn one mana crypt + blood moon)
Traverse the Ulvenwald – (Note: budget version of Demonic Tutor and can offer a slight advantage against blood moon decks)
Other Pointed Cards to Consider
Green Sun’s Zenith – Life From the Loam – Crop Rotation – Umezawa’s Jitte
The most expensive parts to this deck are the dual lands. You do not have to play dual lands to sleeve up this deck, you could definitely play with no duals and it will still function fine. The rest of the deck is reasonably affordable, as far as eternal formats go. Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, and cards like Woodland Cemetery, Rootbound Crag and Dragonskull Summit are fine budget replacements in this midrange deck.
If you liked this article and want to play honest, fair magic, then give this deck a go. There is plenty of room for customisation and has budget alternatives (as far as eternal formats go). You can find me on the 7 Point Highlander Discord @Kokey.