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A Standard Showcase 11/11-2009

November 11, 2009

With Worlds looming and much about constructed revolves around Standard these days I thought I gave my two cents about the format right now.

First off the story about Jund. How good is Jund? Why is better than my (insert-pet-deck-here)? Is Jund the best deck right now? I don’t have any direct answers for those questions but hear me out.

The home of Jund

Jund is good. In fact, it’s very good. The deck just plays with abstractly very good cards and thanks to the power of cascade the decks have a lot of raw power. It is also very consistent in what it does, might be the most consistent deck in the format. The good creature base (Putrid Leech, Sprouting Thrinax, Bloodbraid Elf, Broodmate Dragon) along with some solid support spells (Lightning Bolt, Blightning, Maelstrom Pulce etc.) really gets you there, in a weird aggro-rock style of play.

Why does many of the supposed “hate” decks fail at beating these Jund decks? My personal believes is this:

Yeah, sure when you get that Bant draw with Path to Exile, Pro red/black guys, Bant Charm, Finest Hour and so on you will get there. But how does the average draw on average draw really look? The fact is that the mediocre Jund draw is so much better than a mediocre Bant draw (or whatever) which makes it really hard to beat Jund on a regular basis. Also thanks to the swingy nature of cascade, you might beat that good draw of your opponent because you just went Bituminous Blast into Bloodbraid Elf into Blightning and obliterated that good draw.

While the Jund decks we have seen done well is pretty conservative, I do however think there is room for innovation inside the Jund archetype. Oran-Rief is a nice boost (don’t get my started how sweet it is to have a 4/4 Great Sable Stag!) for the manabase, cards such as Chandra Naalar and other planeswalkers really spices things up. Also implementing Sedraxis Specter is a way to go. That card proved to be a house in the Jund decks at Honolulu and I don’t see (as long you can make the mana work) why it wouldn’t mix things up in Standard aswell now with the sky free of faeries and spirits…

Then, is Jund really the best deck in the format right now? I will have to answer yes to that questions. But, it doesn’t mean that playing Jund in a tournament tomorrow gives you the best chance to actually win the tournament. What it does mean is that you have to be prepared to play and beat Jund decks.

Moving on with the format, we have Vampires and Boros Bushwacker which I both think is completely reasonable decks to play. The Boros Bushwacker deck is really tight as it is but Vampires have room for improvement. For example a card that I don’t see a lot if Quest of the Gravelord in Vampires, which has worked wonders for me. Further on that archetype might want to dip into another color. Red for Blightning and Lightning Bolt seems good or you might want to go green for Putrid Leech…

Then we have blue decks, which is a pretty broad term these days. Usually, they are blue-white touching red for Ajani Vengeant plus something else. That archetype is still pretty underdeveloped at this point and needs to evolve to really compete in Standard right now. Decklists for these archetypes can be found on

But then we have two new up and comers that I think will stir up Standard quite a bit under the following months. First off we have the Eldrazi Green deck that recently took down the 5k in Nashville, Tennesse. Check out this monster:
3 Eldrazi Monument
3 Ant Queen
4 Elvish Archdruid
4 Elvish Visionary
3 Great Sable Stag
4 Llanowar Elves
2 Master Of The Wild Hunt
4 Nissa’s Chosen
2 Noble Hierarch
3 Garruk Wildspeaker
4 Nissa Revane
20 Forest
4 Oran-rief, The Vastwood

1 Eldrazi Monument
3 Pithing Needle
4 Acidic Slime
1 Great Sable Stag
1 Mold Shambler
3 Mycoloth
2 Windstorm 

This deck just spits out monster after monster after monster and sets up a Eldrazi Monument that either directly kills the opponent or leaves the opponent with a no outer. This does have a ton of synergy, which is uses to beat the good stuff decks of the format (*cough* Jund *cough*). What I think is really impressive with this deck is Nissa Revane, the power of Oran-Rief, the Vastwood and aswell Eldrazi Monument. When this deck gets going it’s really hard to stop it. There is also a version with red out there which takes advantages of Bloodbraid Elf…

The last deck I want to talk about is the “mono-cascade” deck that Mike Flores have advertised for some time (goes also under the name of Black Baneslayer):

4 Bituminous Blast
4 Blightning
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Captured Sunlight
4 Deny Reality
4 Enlisted Wurm
4 Esper Charm

4 Baneslayer Angel

2 Arcane Sanctum
1 Arid Mesa
4 Crumbling Necropolis
4 Exotic Orchard
1 Forest
1 Island
1 Jungle Shrine
1 Mountain
2 Plains
4 Rupture Spire
4 Savage Lands
2 Seaside Citadel
1 Swamp

3 Ajani Vengeant
4 Maelstrom Pulse
4 Rhox War Monk
4 Lightning Bolt

This deck is really brutal when it gets going. If you check the decklist carefully, you will see that each spell that you cast in this deck will end up with a Blightning or a Esper Charm (or a Baneslayer Angel if you cast Enlisted Wurm), which is a really powerful setup. The deck is quite slow, but recovers very quickly when your opponent is getting mind rotted every turn. Some lists are running a single Engima Sphinx, which I like since it diversify your threats. I have been beating (and been beaten) this deck with Thought Hemorraghe a couple of times since if they are smart and name Esper Charm or Baneslayer Angel it gets hard to stitch things up for the mono-cascade. Still, this deck really abuses the unfairness of cascade and I’m expecting this deck to pop up much more during the following months.

As a conclusion I want to say that Standard is actually more open for innovations than people gives it credit for, which the mono-cascade deck and the Eldrazi Green deck proves. While Jund is still big player (and will be at least until Worldwake hits the shelves) there are certainly room for other players in this format.

That was my two cents of Standard and that was all I had for this time. Until next time…

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