Jund Midrange Deck with Life Gain Cards and Rakdos’s Return
October 3, 2012 | Posted by Dee
Jund gives you excellent life gain cards like Huntmaster of the Fells and Thragtusk to fight aggro. Also, you get access to strong cheap removal spells like Pillar of Flame and Abrupt Decay.
Versus non-aggro decks, Return to Ravnica gives us Rakdos’s Return, a deadly discard spell that can also hurt planeswalkers. At first, I wasn’t impressed with this card but when I played with it, it proved to be better than I thought especially when you combine it with mana ramp cards.
Here’s my latest Jund Midrange decklist, which I recommend for your next Standard tournament.
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One of the best ways to fight aggro decks is playing life gain cards. Now you don’t just want life gain, you also need more value from your cards like getting a creature along with the life gain.
The life gain buys you time to take control of the game while the creature can trade with an attacker to stop your opponent’s offense.
The best examples in Standard of these type of cards are Huntmaster of the Fells and Thragtusk. These two cards are great versus aggro because they give you multiple creatures and life gain.
They also provide you with high power compared to their casting cost so they are good at attacking your opponent if she is playing a control deck.
While these two cards are great, they cost four mana or more. Sometimes you get stuck on three mana so I wanted cheaper life gain cards too.
Vampire Nighthawk costs three mana and gives you life gain with his lifelink ability. Late in the game, he combos well with the mana acceleration cards and Kessig Wolf Run. If you want to gain a lot of life, you can ramp up your mana and then buff his power with the Innistrad land.
Tribute to Hunger is a three mana instant removal spell that also gains you life. I like it because it has other applications. It can kill the hexproof creature, Geist of Saint Traft. It can kill Lotleth Troll and get around its regeneration ability as long as it’s the only creature on your opponent’s board.
Also, Tribute to Hunger is decent against control decks because many of them are relying on a small number of creatures to finish the game. These finishers, creatures like Olivia Voldaren and Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius, are easily killed by Tribute to Hunger.
I play three copies of Rakdos’s Return because it provides a powerful effect against non-aggro decks. With three copies, I have a good chance of drawing at least one copy of the mythic rare.
The card is not very good against aggro decks but I think that’s okay because the rest of the main deck is strong against aggro.
Versus control and midrange decks, Rakdos’s Return gives you a lot of card advantage by forcing your opponent to discard a bunch of cards from his hand. Oftentimes, you can cause your opponent to discard his whole hand while he has three or more cards. That’s usually a huge game-winning play.
The damage from Rakdos’s Return is very relevant since many midrange and control decks rely on planeswalkers to win the game. You can redirect the damage from your opponent to his planeswalker to lower its loyalty counters. I’ve killed many Jaces and Tamiyos with this spell.
Rakdos’s Return fits the deck well because of the mana ramp cards, Farseek and Rakdos Keyrune. Without these cards, Rakdos’s Return would be worse and I would probably replace it with another card.
Late in the game, it’s not uncommon to cast Rakdos’s Return for seven or more and then finish off your opponent with just a few attacks.
I’ve been consistently impressed by this planeswalker. He’s not super flashy, but he does a lot of little things to help you win games.
Garruk Relentless kills strong creatures like Huntmaster of the Fells, Vampire Nighthawk, and Precinct Captain and he leaves you with a flipped planeswalker with three good abilities.
He deals three damage, which kills Olivia Voldaren and Sublime Archangel, two powerful creatures that can quickly dominate a game.
With his second -0 ability, Garruk gives you a steady stream of Wolf tokens. The Wolves are good for attacking planeswalkers, pressuring your opponent, trading with attackers in combat, and protecting Garruk by blocking.
Right now Garruk is $11 at a popular online store. I think this price will go up soon. I could easily see it going to $15 or $20. If you want to play this card, I would trade for it or buy it now before the price goes up.
Other Main Deck Cards
I wanted another X-spell other than Rakdos’s Return because of all the mana acceleration. Bonfire of the Damned is good against aggro so I added it.
I went with Rakdos Keyrune over Golgari Keyrune. Three power and first strike are very relevant because they are good against Gravecrawler, Geralf’s Messenger, Lotleth Troll, Thragtusk, and the Beast token from Thragtusk.
The Keyrunes have additional utility because they dodge sorcery boardwipe spells like Supreme Verdict and Terminus.
Pillar of Flame has become the go-to removal spell for red decks. For only one mana, it permanently deals with Gravecrawler, Geralf’s Messenger, and Strangleroot Geist by exiling them.
Sideboarding is very important with this deck because you often have suboptimal cards in game one. For instance, Pillar of Flame is not very good against control while Rakdos’s Return is poor versus aggro.
In games two and three, you can remove these cards and bring in better cards.
Vraska the Unseen is mostly there as a planeswalker killer. She can also destroy problem permanents like Underworld Connections, Oblivion Ring, and Detention Sphere.
Dreadbore also deals with planeswalkers and it’s creature removal if you need more cheap spells against an aggro deck.
Sever the Bloodline stops Entreat the Angels cold. Also, it’s good against decks with few ways to win the game because of flashback. For instance, many control and ramp decks don’t have a lot of win conditions.
I bring in Sever the Bloodline versus reanimator decks because exiling creatures is useful against Unburial Rites and Angel of Serenity.
Slaughter Games is another card for reanimator decks. You can wreck your opponent by targeting Unburial Rites or a key creature in the graveyard. I also bring in this card against decks with few win conditions.