In the last week or so, Channel Fireball has released two separate videos featuring the great Reid Duke as he goes through some Sultai builds he came up with. One of the things that I found so great about these videos is that he uses the word "fun" a lot in those videos. The first video shows a pseudo-singleton build, with cards that we really wanted to play with, to get a feel for them. In the second video, he says he has a more tuned decklist, but still talks about cards like that are just fun to play with. I think its important to have some fun with this game we all love, so I decided to do exactly that.
I affectionately refer to this deck as Heavy Jund. Normal Jund, the tier decklist, likes to keep a lot closer to the ground, and has cards like that is trying to keep gas on the fire as you quickly grind out your opponent. You handle Aggro decks by removing creatures, discarding threats. You deal with Control by trying to power through them quickly. This list has a different approach. It wants to grind out an opponent, and outlast their threats. A few notable changes for this is switching out Bob for a full playset of .
It's a big debate in the GBx community about which of these, or what combination of both is viable for a competitive deck. I'm going to totally sidestep this debate by simply saying that the name of this deck is "Heavy" Jund, as in higher mana cost, and I don't want to get hurt by Bob triggers. Rather than actually taking a side, I picked the version I thought would be a little bit more fun.
A collection of fun choices
One of the reasons I wanted to run this heavier build was because watching Reid Duke play was awesome. I saw that creature hit the board and thought it would be a blast to play with. It occasionally sees play as a sideboard threat in GBx decks, but I decided to mainboard it. Other than the fun of it, I think there is some utility with that choice. With the rise of Dredge, courtesy of , I expected to run against the deck a lot. Kalitas eats basically every threat in Dredge, and gains you life while you do it. On its own, I don't think that it stands a chance against Dredge, but paired with removal, I was able to come back from some supposedly insurmountable boardstates.
Another fun choice I made mainboard was running two rather than just one. I think that her recurring removal is great against control decks, and weenie decks. Paired with removal and big threats in the way, I was able to get her ultimate off a few times. I also don't think there's much more fun than having both Liliana's out at the same time, so I wanted to up the odds of that happening. We're on the grind plan, and she helps with that a lot. Some other small tweaks include that I'm running a single shy of a playset. My thinking was that the fourth bolt is often used in Jund as a burn spell to the dome, which I don't plan on doing too much with this decklist. Ok now let's talk about some weird things in the Sideboard
Even More Fun
Keeping Dredge in mind, as well as other decks that rely on the graveyard, we're running some of the usual suspects: , and . I also have two , for fear of getting worn out by wide boards. The exile clause made me not run Damnation, since I think I have enough removal for bigger threats. You'll see a second Kalitas, mainly because I really like playing with it, and in some matchups having two can actually be good, just as a higher percentage chance of drawing the guy. We have for other decks that run , , etc. to help with Burn (though I did have Kalitas win me a game against Burn via lifelink). We also have two , because being able to deny Control decks can often be just the thing to grind them out. Okay, let's address the elephant, or rather titan, in the room.
I don't know if this is good, but man is it fun to play. I had some experience running in Legacy BR Reanimator, as a threat that can be hardcast when the going gets tough. And it really is so fun to play. I think that's mainly because people are not expecting a Jund deck to drop as big a threat as that. I kept it in the sideboard because it obviously is not good in a lot of matchups. But when you're in a topdeck war against another GBx deck, their seems puny in comparison. In particularly long games, it also synergizes with Kalitas. I know that's pretty magical Christmas land, but it does make it so that if your Titan gets removed, the Zombie Tokens are even more useful. Similarly, in magical Christmas land, the Zombies it generates synergizes with and her ultimate. I know, I know, that doesn't happen often. But I did have it happen.
Truth is, there aren't many decks that are prepared to deal with a after having dealt with a few , s, and s.
I like to think of this deck as Fun-petitive. It's hard to say that it's just a casual for fun version when there's in the deck. But after having played a few hundred games with a more standard Jund deck, it's hard to discredit how much switching just a handful of cards can revive enthusiasm. With just the few tweaks that I made, I can say that this deck feels a lot different than other, more tier-ish lists. I highly recommend following in the footsteps of Reid Duke, and playing with some cards that you think are really cool.
Until next time!