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Studying Standard 102: Jund Sacrifice

Updated: Mar 23, 2020

Welcome back to Studying Standard. This week I would like to discuss something with a bit of a different game plan than the Fires deck that we discussed last week.

He That Breaks A Thing To Find Out What It Is, Has Left The Path Of Wisdom.

Jund Sacrifice is an archetype that has stood the test of the format and still has game in the current metagame. This deck takes an interesting place in the metagame at large. It is classified as a midrange deck, but also has aggressive starts that include the Cauldron Familiar and Witch’s Oven combo offering a quick kill with Mayhem Devil.

The major payoff in this list is the powerful, Brawl deck exclusive, Korvold, Fae-Cursed King. When the Brawl decks were released there was a lot of debate around the viability of the exclusive card in Standard. There was also a lot of debate about, if they were playable in the format, is it okay to have product exclusive cards legal in Standard? For the most part, this hasn’t been a huge problem. Korvold, Fae-Cursed King is the only card that has seen extensive play in any of the constructed formats, mainly Standard and Pioneer.

I made more changes to this archetype than I did with the Fires deck. The first change that occurred to me was that I didn’t really like how Wicked Wolf was positioned in the metagame at the moment. Three copies of the Wolf were cut for two copies of Casualties of War and singleton Polukranos, Unchained. Casualties of War is a very powerful late game and often ends games once it is resolved. It also serves us a sort of mass removal spells for permanents that we don’t have spot removal for in our colors.

Cut Off One Head, Two More Shall Take Its Place.

Polukranos, Unchained hasn’t really hit its stride in Standard, I have a feeling that may change. Not only was this hydra fantastic everytime I drew it, multiple of my game wins were a direct result of the power of Polukranos. Escaping Polukranos, Unchained proved to be trivial throughout my testing. I even had a game that it was Escaped three different times and still had additional cards in my graveyard. Ole Poli-K was also my main way of dealing with a Dream Trawler, by way of the fight activated ability.

Other changes that I made were cutting a copy of Midnight Reaper and Murderous Rider for two copies of Wolfwillow Haven. This was a card that through theory and later testing, seemed to be a good addition. The enchantment gives us something to do on turn two, ramps us Korvold, Fae-Cursed King and Casualties of War; and also serves as something that we don’t care to sacrifice to the dragon king’s trigger. This was not the reality when I came to the games I played at FNM. While I never found myself wishing for the cards that I cut in favor of the Wolfwillow Haven, I also found myself never wanting to draw the card. When it was the card I drew, I didn’t really want to cast it. Moving forward, with that in mind, I would advise cutting the Havens for a second copy of Polukranos, Unchained and a copy of Vraska, Golgari Queen.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Sideboarding with this deck proved to be very interesting. Most of the time I was just cutting all copies of a given card or shaving on numbers of other cards that weren’t as effective in certain matchups. I’m currently very happy with the sideboard that I had in my initial build, with the exception of the one-of The Akroan War. You can see above that I have replaced it with an additional copy of Wicked Wolf, which really pulled its weight in aggressive matches.

Sideboard Guide:

Mono Red / Rakdos

Out: 2 Casualties of War

1 Midnight Reaper

2 Murderous Rider

In: 3 Redcap Melee

2 Scorching Dragonfire

Azorius / Esper Control

Out: 1 Korvold, Fae-Cursed King

1 Wicked Wolf

1 Midnight Reaper

1 Witch's Oven

2 Gilded Goose

In: 2 Duress

2 Angrath's Rampage

2 Shifting Ceratops

Temur Clover

Out: 2 Polukranos, Unchained

1 Korvold, Fae-Cursed King

1 Trail of Crumbs

In: 1 Noxious Grasp

1 Return to Nature

2 Wicked Wolf

Wilderness Reclamation

Out: 2 Polukranos, Unchained

1 Wicked Wolf

In: 2 Duress

1 Noxious Grasp

Bant / Sultai Ramp

Out: 1 Wicked Wolf

1 Midnight Reaper

1 Trail of Crumbs

In: 2 Duress

1 Noxious Grasp

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” - Isaac Newton

I began researching this list by following some writings and videos that were produced by the players out of the Czech House, such as Stanislav Cifka and Ondrej Stratsky. They are both phenomenal players and have an eye for deck tweaking and building.

I believe that it is important to follow conventional wisdom when it serves the goal that you have in front of you and deviate from it when necessary. That is exactly what I did when it came to Jund Sacrifice. The changes I implemented were not the norm, and in some cases, not the best.

Regardless of the outcome, know we know what works and what does not. You could say I did it FOR SCIENCE!

This deck still has a lot to offer the midrange players of our game and packs a punch when it gets to set up its game plan and execute it. Personally, it’s just not for me. That is something that is very important to realize as a Magic player. I have found through the years that if I’m not feeling a deck, I run the risk of playing worse than I would if I was enjoying it more. That sort of situation requires the discipline to recognize it and account for it if you can’t or won’t change decks for whatever reason.

Join me again next week as we continue our journey through the Standard format. Who knows? You may just learn sometime along the way.

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