Further disclaimer: The author, CPA and their affiliates are not responsible for any spikes who claw their eyes out after reading this article.
Three weeks ago, I was informed that there would be a casual tournament on saturday, with effect on the local "rankings" (click on one of the rankings to see; I'm Æthnon, if you're wondering). The rules: singleton. The sets: Ravnica and up, no base sets. I rushed to build a deck together.
I came to find a pretty serious chaos. I'm a guy who inherited a large collection of cards; as such I had no idea where to even start. Especially since most of the cards were older... Not the best position. The tournament result looked something like this:
- You don't want to know.
- Yeah, seriously, you don't want to know. It's that bad... If you really want to know...
I used the sideboard about twice...
If you want to know about the original version (this is something like v 3.5), think that, just less one-drops, none of the useful elves, and a bunch of creatures that put the name to shame; example Avatar of Woe (8cc?). I also had Carrion Thrash in there for a while, but I realized something about all of the 5cc cards in the deck-they won me the game. The Thrash just didn't make the cut. So, let's look at the pathetic mess I brought to the tournament.
- 59 Cards. Casual, so they didn't disqualify me (thank god); it probably also had something to do with Sharru having only 59 in his deck as well. Somehow, a card or two went missing in the wash...
- Not much going on early. Most of the action happens later. The deck bases around a rather slow strategy; and it'll work in singleton.
- Demigods. I stuffed 3 of them in here. They were my top kill mechanism, and also the source of the name "Gods of Jund"
- ALA. I had just gotten back from a sealed tournament, so there's a good bit of shards in there.
- The Curve.
Not the best, but I've done worse. Way worse. I actually tried to concentrate on 2 and 3 as much as I could, leaving out expensive options.
This deck's original idea was to survive as long as possible through mass removal and weenies before getting out the big guns and smashing face (read: FUN!!!). So, let's see here. The mass removal was nice to put together. Infest, Jund Amulet, Caldera Hellion, and the crown jewel Damnation made up the mass removal strategy (sadly, nobody informed me about a card named Firespout before the tournament started; it would've been great in the deck). I also neglected Sulfurous Blast, which would've been great.
Parallel to the mass removal, there is a ton of spot removal; from Tarfire to Shriekmaw, it's a really large pile. The deck was built to take out creatures well, and it did it's job.
The creature base in the deck is separated into 3 piles:
- The Sugar-creatures whose main purpose was throwaway; think Elvish Visionary or Mogg War Marshall. Also, Necroskitter.
- The Protein-cards like Ram-Gang, Gouger, and Murderous Redcap. They're powerhouses that help the midgame. I found the Redcap to be especially helpful; in combination with Shambling Shell, he just keeps coming back and either killing weenies or pinging. Plus, 2/2.
- The Fat-You'd do this too if you had a bunch of Avatar Spirits laying around! Rumbling Slum, the three Gods, and Gleancrawler make up this catogory; it gives the deck its name with an average cost of 5. Pretty fast, to be honest. Surviving this long is not hard with this deck.
I considered adding some efficient devour creatures, but in playtesting I kept fnding that my chaff wasn't enough for more than the really really good ones... So it stayed that way.
The other (4 ) cards in the deck were Accel or Utility. Obelisk and Signet were obvious choices. The Evolution Charm is great in this deck simply because it can do three things the deck needs. It can either get a land you need (3 colors isn't easy on a singleton mana base from a broke job-searcher), get a beater back from the grave (also allowing shenanigans with Shriekmaw and Caldera Hellion), or get in more damage-if your opponent can get up a solid defense, you may have some trouble. The Psychotic Fury was a card I wasn't sure about, but in the end I figured that I have 5 multicolored creatures with 5+ power, and 3 of them have trample or evasion. Plus, cantrip. Anyways, it payed off. But more on that later.
There are two main strategies with this deck:
AGGRO. If you get a hand with the 3cc beaters (Ram-Gang, Gouger) and some accel, go for this. Drop your hand and start swinging with the big guys. Hold back some, though, and remember that some creatures are strictly there to chump block (War-Marshall, Visionary). Keep pressuring your opponent with beaters and removal until you draw into a fattie and then just start swinging. This was useful against the opponents with the equally fast decks. Especially Sharru, who was running G/W aggro (like he always, ALWAYS does) featuring a lot of 3/3s and 3/4s, but not much power against my removal spells. Ideally you get Elves of Deep Shadow and run a turn three Rumbling Slum; this happened more often than it should've in singleton for me.
CONTROL. This is the usual way to play. With all the removal, you can do a lot. A lot a lot. Throw some blockers (at best, the ones that you won't need later, like Visionary), some removal, and wait for a 5cc dude. Really not that complicated; just try to hold out on the mass removal as long as possible. This is one of the reasons I found Jund Amulet to be so great. If your opponent drops something annoying like a second wizened cenn, which would render your 2-damage spells useless, you can respond with the amulet. Move this equation over to, say, any pump spell ever, and you'll see why I consider the amulet to be a VIP in the deck. More on that later.
I figure that if I'm going to present a deck I ran in a tournament, I might as well present the tournament. It was casual; pretty loose. I ran up against 4 opponents. The first was the one I was afraid of most; sharru. I knew his deck could take mine apart with all the efficient creatures. But it turns out that my 5/5s for 4 were better than his. Also, Sharru's own card proved his downfall-at the beginning of the tournament, he loaned me his Damnation. Well, guess what. His big beater, the Oversoul Of Dusk, could be topped by exactly one card in my entire deck. He topdecks Oversoul, I drop damnation, and then on the next round follow it up with a 6/6 trampler. Game two went even better; I was able to pressure him with turn one elves, turn two Monoliths and Gouger, turn three Slum.
One funny thing about this tournament was that going into it, I knew this deck should fare well against weenies, saprolings, and other mass creature decks (mass removal). However, it should fare poorly against the W/G aggro due to the high D stats and midrange strategy, and should fare poorly against control in general. This has to do with the tournament because I played next against a makeshift Esper control build. Which fell flat. I'll be honest, it wasn't a good deck. Marwin may be a genius in limited, but he couldn’t make a good constructed deck to save his life. He couldn’t make a good constructed deck to save his life out of the combined cards from me and Sharru (which is a really, really big pool). So it was basically a total catastrophe. Except he went 2-1 with me. My hand in the first game got mana screwed, while he got every good creature in his deck out early. I died with two lands. Game 2 was about to go similar, except I had mana. Amazing what happens against a deck with a lot of small flyers when you get a Gleancrawler out, followed by a Caldera Hellion. The third game… Demigod of Revenge. Need I say more? He even had a counterspell in his hand. Shame that he missed the trigger. Evil.
My next opponent was Arne, the latest invite from Holland. At such tournaments, there’s always me, Sharru, Marwin, and Palle (the host and Sharru’s father), plus some random invite and a few other regulars. Arne was the invite. And like the invite before him, Mattias, he brought an actual tournament-caliber deck to the table. White Weenie ala ALA. It was insane. 2/1s and 2/2s on almost every turn. It was a deck I expected to do well against… I was wrong. In retrospect, I needed more mass removal. Way more. As such, I could only watch as Fortify turned a turn 6 kill into a turn 4 kill.
The next round was Palle. Palle... He’s certainly an odd character. He’s one of the old crowd that still collects; he has quite the binders at his house. But he is what I believe you would call a "ekipS". I think. He will not ever play a deck that is made to win. He’ll play a deck that is made to have fun. And then he will win. A lot. In this case, he brought a B/G saproling build to the table, featuring the golgari. And tons of thallids (think a clash between the G/B structure decks of Time Spiral and Ravnica, City of Guilds). I thought it would be an easy match. Game one: Shelled Thallid, army of saprolings, and some cards rendering my mass removal useless. Game two: Mana screw. -.-
In the end, the results were:
Poor marwin. Lost every game.
These are the top ten cards in the deck (at least, for this tournament and local play).
10. Infest. Thank you Shards of Alara. Infest is simply good mass removal, and has helped me in countless occasions.
9. Boggart Ram-Gang. 3 with haste and wither for 3. This card was a large part of my offensive strategy, but at the same time great for defense-it deterred larger creatures; my opponents new after the first game that I was running tons of burn-style removal.
8. Murderous Redcap. I loved this card every time I drew it. Protip: Shambling Shell. It killed weenies, dealt damage, and could chump block twice (or more, with Jund Amulet or the shell) and still put in the hurt. Love it, and was really helpful.
7. Shriekmaw. Let's face it, Shriekmaw is awesome. Just awesome. Terror or a 3/2 fear terror. I'd play this above terror in almost every case.
6. Gleancrawler. This may seem surprising to some of you. I'll be honest, 6 is a little steep. But consider that my deck has a major subtheme of killing its own creatures, and you'll see that this guy is great. Shriekmaw, Caldera Hellion, Shambling Shell, Murderous Redcap... To be honest, it wasn't just that that made this card so game-breaking. It was swinging for 12 trample with it (Psychotic Fury)
5. Damnation. If I had drawn this in more than 2 games, it would be higher. The ultimate mass removal. It kills EVERYTHING. And it saved me against Sharru.
4. Evolution Charm. Utility, utility, utility. I recovered fatties, fetched missing lands, and got in the last points of damage with this. It was always useful.
3. Ashenmoor Gouger. One of the best cards in shadowmoor. This card hurt the opponent. Hell, even in the late game, I was glad to draw this thing-it gave me offense against the primarily weenie-based decks even then. This card is incredible, 4/4 is absolutely mad for 3 mana.
2. Demigod of Revenge. This was the top offensive card in the deck. 5 in the air with haste... It puts the opponent on a very short clock. He won far more games than he should've in my deck. Great card. I need another 3 of them for the deck.
1. Jund Amulet. Instant speed mass removal. Oh, and utility. This card is great in this deck, mostly because of the 2 damage function. But also the +2/+2 function was great, causing many unfair trades (often with mr. Persist #8, which is just mean). This card is the VIP of the deck. It may not be the best card in the deck, but I felt that it was the most useful, at least in this tournament and local casual play.
Improving the Deck
I considered a few cards. The most thought-through one would be Kird Ape, but I realized I wasn't going to get him out fast enough often enough with the right forests to be useful. I loved the Elvish Visionaries (yeah, just about every time I drew them, I was glad to do so), so I realized I'd love Wall of Blossoms... This is a deck which is really simple to improve just by tuning it a little bit.
How to improve it further:
- More Consistency. See all the 1-ofs? It's a singleton deck! That's what I mean.
- More Speed. Could probably use some Rituals. and maybe a few more of the HHH guys.
- Better Cards. Add Firespout, another few charms, or similar to this deck. However, if you have the cards, go and add them! Firespout is almost made for this deck! Also, I fell
Cards you should consider:
The list I'm running (and loving) now is this:
And that's the list I'm playing right now. A hodge-podge mishmash of random RGB cards. But it's creative, fun, and a blast to run. Plus, it'll win games in most casual groups.
I guess this pretty much wraps it up. I'll probably be tuning this list even more later on, so if you intend on making your own version, feel free to take this list and tinker with it as much as you want to. If you're out for a fun time, you can't go wrong with this deck. If you want to win serious games, play something serious like Faeries or Demigod Red, and stop reading my articles. DISCLAIMER:
Hope you liked my article.
All the best,
-Jonah Swersey, AKA The Cadet
P.S.: This deck deserves a chainsaw to the library.
-The editing staff
P.P.S.: The editing staff deserves a chainsaw to the face.
Jonah Swersey, AKA The Cadet, is the owner and administrator of MTGDarkness. He lives in munich and has been playing since Onslaught. He also has no idea how he got into writing a regular casual column, seeing as he sucks at building decks that couldn't be improved in ways obvious to everyone except him.