Deck Spotlight: Jund’s Wrennaissance

Horizons was especially kind to Jund from the manabase, to the threats, to the planeswalkers. Despite a tough Hogvine matchup it is proving to once again be a Tier 1 and the best midrange deck in the format. Today, fresh off a Top 32 placement at SCG Columbus, Michael Kidd stops in to break down his list and Jund’s place in the Modern metagame going forward.

Decklist
Lands (24)
1 Forest
2 Swamp
2 Barren Moor
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
1 Blood Crypt
2 Bloodstained Mire
2 Nurturing Peatland
2 Overgrown Tomb
1 Raging Ravine
1 Stomping Ground
4 Verdant Catacombs
2 Wooded Foothills
Creatures (13)
3 Bloodbraid Elf
2 Dark Confidant
3 Scavenging Ooze
4 Tarmogoyf
1 Tireless Tracker
Spells (23)
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Abrupt Decay
2 Assassin’s Trophy
3 Fatal Push
1 Kolaghan’s Command
2 Lightning Bolt
4 Liliana of the Veil
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Thoughtseize
3 Wrenn and Six
Sideboard (15)
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
2 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Collector Ouphe
3 Fulminator Mage
2 Plague Engineer
1 Leyline of the Void
1 Assassin’s Trophy
1 Kolaghan’s Command
1 Vraska, Golgari Queen
2 Collective Brutality
75 Cards Total

The Build
It has been a while for Junders everywhere but we are finally back in a big way with a new toy-Wrenn and Six! Over last weekend, a pair of Jund decks made it to the Top 8 of the 4th Mythic Championship in Barcelona and six more Jund decks cashed the Modern SCG Open in Columbus including the one above by yours truly. Every list in the Top 64 of Columbus played exactly three Wrenn and Six and both lists in the Top 8 of the MC played three or more of the new Gruul planeswalker. At this point, it’s evident that Wrenn and Six is a very powerful planeswalker and that he’s here to stay.

3 Wrenn and Six
Again, this card is great! They provide a repetitive removal spell against small creature decks, an inevitable threat against Control and Midrange, repeated land drops, and an engine with utility lands. They are also good with the London mulligan rule by allowing you to keep more expensive haymaker-style cards at times but pitch down to two lands and essentially feel as though you never mulliganned. However, Wrenn and Six is essentially dead in multiples and they can be pretty mediocre if the ping and ultimate are non-factors; for these reasons, I definitely like three over four.

2 Dark Confidant, 1 Tireless Tracker
Despite Wrenn, I still very much like Confidant as he is more the two-drop you want against Combo and Big Mana decks and still very fine in many other match-ups. Tracker over another Confidant was a concession to the mirror match as Confidant is very ambitious in the face of opposing Wrenn and Sixes, Kolaghan’s Commands, and potential Plague Engineers out of the sideboard. Also, for what it’s worth, Wrenn and Six ensures you get to have a steady stream of land drops to produce clues with Tracker.

2 Lightning Bolt, 1 Kolaghan’s Command
I used to love six one-mana removal with three Bolts but Wrenn and Six does so much work against small creature decks that I think it’s worth trimming back for other cards. I also think Kolaghan’s Command functioning as a threat, value card, and/or ping is more or less what Wrenn and Six is trying to accomplish and thus I like relegating the second copy to the sideboard.

2 Nurturing Peatland, 2 Barren Moor, 1 Raging Ravine
Four utility lands with Wrenn and Six is where I want to be. I could see an attempt to replace a Barren Moor with a Tranquil Thicket or a Ghost Quarter. With us now cycling lands off earlier, we flood less and no longer need Raging Ravine as a late game mana sink. Less Ravines also means we maintain a lower tapped land count despite adding Barren Moors.

No Basic Mountain
In my opinion, Mountain is mostly in Jund as a hedge against Field of Ruin and other forms of mana denial going after our red sources; Basic Mountain is rarely a land we want to draw and rarely a land we want to fetch. With Wrenn and Six, we are fantastically positioned against mana denial and thus still have no need to play a Mountain.

Vraska, Golgari Queen
With opposing Wrenn and Sixes, enchantments out of the Phoenix deck, and more three-mana planeswalkers in the format, Vraska starts looking like a better planeswalker than Chandra, Torch of Defiance. Furthermore, Vraska’s plus’s downside of sacrificing lands is mitigated by Wrenn and Six providing you an endless stream of lands.

The State of Jund in Modern
I think Jund has always been somewhat fine as a deck choice. Wrenn and Six helps swing some match-ups and sure up others, giving us the ability to trim on some removal and grindy cards for mainboard Spellbomb(s) and additional graveyard hate, giving us more game against Hogaak and Phoenix. If Tron continues performing well, Jund will have to play higher numbers of Fulminators and/or Ghost Quarters, which is easily possible but will stretch our sideboard and make it more difficult to come fully prepared for other match-ups.

I think the London Mulligan Rule is very positive for Jund as it increases the value of two drop card advantage engines like Wrenn and Six and Dark Confidant and because Jund is one of the best decks at punishing mulligans thanks to playing a healthy suite of discard spells. I think there’s merit to considering up to seven discard spells, three Confidant, and the full four Wrenn and Six depending on the metagame.

Speaking of numbers, I love the one Leyline: against Gaak and other graveyard decks, your mulligan strategy never fully revolves around Leyline if you play three or four. Multiple Leylines only serve to clog up your sideboard and they come with high diminishing returns; zero Leylines give you no access to the most prolific sideboard option against Hogaak; but one Leyline still gives you access to a very potent graveyard-hate piece without eating too much into your sideboard slots. Sure, you’re less likely to open on one, but you’re also much less likely to draw it and you’ll never draw two.

Other  Horizons Considerations

Hexdrinker
Jund has enough activated abilities, expensive spells, etc than to have time activating this guy and especially given that leveling up is only at sorcery speed. This card tested so poorly that I recommend highly against registering it in any meta.

Seasoned Pyromancer
You want to hold Seasoned Pyromancer forever and get two cards off him; on average, I think a Tireless Tracker with a fetch land is a much better play and a Bloodbraid often is as well. Seasoned Pyromancer as an emergency play for board presence is better than a Tracker but not a Bloodbraid on Turn 4. Seasoned Pyromancer was fine did not perform noticeably better than alternatives. I considered small numbers of Pyromancers but I think adjusting your manabase and/or the way you fetch to incorporate a one or two of double red card that is-again-not noticeably better than alternatives is not worth it.

Plague Engineer
This card tested surprisingly well. Having death touch and attacking help so much. I’ve brought this card in against mirrors when I’ve seen Seasoned Pyromancers, Bloodghast decks, Lingering Souls decks, Amulet to kill insect and plant tokens, and Storm as an out to Empty.

Moving Forward
I still like Jund and will likely register it again as the Modern seat in SCG Richmond. After Tron won both events last weekend, I think I will start my testing with a Ghost Quarter main. Perhaps three Trophies main, and the three Thoughtseize, three Inquisition split as opposed to the split above. Best of luck to you other Junders out there and I look forward to seeing you out on the tour!

Wrap-Up
We are pleased to see the Kidd back on top with his trusty Jund. It is a great choice right now and once the ban hammer falls again, it may just be the best deck in the format. How are you adjusting your list to accommodate Wrenn and Six? Do Golgari and Abzan lists have a place without this powerful planeswalker? Please share your thoughts with us in our discussion group. Or if you would like to take a swing at writing content for the site you can contact us directly here. We will be back tomorrow with another article for you to enjoy. Until then my friends.

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