Modern is a huge format, so brewing a new deck from scratch is time consuming, difficult, and often unsuccessful. Many people choose to spend what time they have on looking at recent Premier Event results to find a deck they like and run with it (myself included). My strength in Magic comes not from deckbuilding but deck tuning; changing just a few cards in an established deck to accommodate for the current metagame makes for a strong recipe for not only a Sunday appearance but a shot at the trophy.
I had the chance last week to test Jund, and you can check out my videos from earlier this week. While I was only able to play a dozen matches total, I'm comfortable enough with my understanding of the deck to analyze each of the card choices and figure out what should be changed for Grand Prix Richmond.
Dark Confidant was amazing when good and the worst card ever when bad. There were multiple games I almost lost to the life loss, and we may need to reduce converted mana cost of cards or increase life gain in the deck to combat this. In the matchups where I boarded Dark Confidant out, winning was actually an issue, so more win conditions in the board are necessary.
Need something to bring in when these are taken out.
I was not terribly impressed by Scavenging Ooze. In aggro matchups it was too slow, and against combo it was just a 2/2 for two. I always had an Abrupt Decay for Pyromancer Ascension and never played against the mirror or Knight of the Reliquary. Still, I don't like the Ooze before or after Anger of the Gods. I understand the inherent power level and the need for it in a format as diverse as Modern.
The best he is at what he does. The art might as well depict Wolverine.
Courser of Kruphix was amazing. It living through Anger of the Gods was awesome, and the synergy with fetch lands; Chandra, Pyromaster; and Dark Confidant was the nutter butters. Remember, you can discard to Liliana of the Veil to pump Tarmogoyf, as it is an enchantment!
Great, wouldn't mind more.
Liliana of the Veil overperformed in every game I played, and I boarded in the third one in every match without fail. There should be more in the maindeck.
More Liliana required.
Six seems to be the agreed upon number of discard spells. The life loss of Thoughtseize is extremely relevant, but Inquisition of Kozilek's inability to hit Scapeshift, Birthing Pod, Cryptic Command, or Restoration Angel can cost you the game. The fourth in the board is the best against any combo deck, of which there are many.
The primary reason to play red instead of just black and green. Even against decks without creatures, a Lightning Bolt or two can increase your clock multiple turns.
Format warping and amazing.
3 Abrupt Decay, 2 Terminate
Abrupt Decay slices, dices, and is nearly never a dead card, as most combo decks have permanents. Terminate, on the other hand, was meh. Restoration Angel; Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker; Phyrexian Obliterator; and Primeval Titan are things that need to die, but I'm not convinced Terminate is perfect.
Anger of Gods wipes out Wild Nacatl, which is a deck we never want to lose to. It can also combo with Liliana of the Veil to get the Knight of the Reliquary or Arcbound Ravager we really need to kill. Jund Charm does a bit of everything, especially against Storm where killing Goblins, stopping Past in Flames or Pyromancer Ascension, killing Goblin Electromancer, and increasing your clock are all things that need to be done. However, I don't know if the Storm matchup needs help since I was undefeated in testing, and I also never once cast Jund Charm despite drawing it multiple times. It should probably just be another Anger.
There were some games Chandra, Pyromaster seemed amazing, popping off Birds of Paradise, persisted Kitchen Finks, Blade Splicer, and Snapcaster Mage. Courser of Kruphix also combos terrifically with her, and that synergy won me a game. There were others it burned me for four from Dark Confidant and another I drew two and lost immediately. We can probably cut one.
Twilight Mire and Fire-Lit Thicket are there to support double black for Liliana of the Veil, double red for Anger of the Gods, and double green for Courser of Kruphix and Scavenging Ooze. These are horrible at casting Terminate and also miserable in multiples. They have not screwed me yet, so I have no problem with them.
Fetch lands are terrific with Tarmogoyf and Courser of Kruphix, but the life loss can put you in an awkward spot. The second Marsh Flats screwed me multiple times by not having a the second black dual land to cast Anger or Courser due to discards from Liliana, but I'm willing to believe it was due to me being bad and small sample size.
Blackcleave Cliffs is used over Copperline Gorge because all the one-drops are black or red. Grove of the Burnwillows is used over Copperline Gorge because you often need your fourth land untapped for Scavenging Ooze; Raging Raving; or Thrun, the Last Troll. The life gain is nearly irrelevant, and this dual land is often called Taiga.
1 Stomping Ground, 1 Blood Crypt, 1 Overgrown Tomb
Duals to fetch. Highly unlikely you can afford to fetch a dual land twice, and you probably don't need to with so many other duals.
Enters the field tapped and does not cast Liliana of the Veil, but we need Courser of Kruphix to be good. Especially good in Liliana attrition games and against Path to Exile, we should probably have four.
Overall, the maindeck seems quite strong and only needs minor adjustments. This does not mean the deck is near completion, as most players do not realize how important the sideboard of a deck can be. 50-66% of all the games you play in the event will be post-sideboard.
Stopping Chord of Calling, Kitchen Finks, and Birthing Pod is great for one mana. I have been on the other side of this matchup as both Melira and Kiki Pod, and I would not keep in Qasali Pridemage or Harmonic Sliver, leading to some blindsides and free wins. Just be aware you should wait a bit before casting it, as some decks have a few Abrupt Decay you need to get rid of before this slams the door. Storm is also affected, with Past in Flames neutered and their most effective card draw (Faithless Looting or Desperate Ravings) halved.
With this moving to the maindeck, a slot is freed up. It's unlikely you would want four, as multiples are nearly useless.
The most effective sideboard card against any non-interactive deck.
This is most effective against G/R Tron, Scapeshift, and Amulet Combo. The G/R Tron and Amulet Combo matchups definitely need the help, so this is decent if you plan on playing against any of those.
Somewhat effective against Storm (exile graveyards and Empty the Warrens), Affinity (destroy artifacts), and Deceiver Exarch (one damage for each creature). While diverse, it is fairly low power and doesn't actually answer any of the issues in each matchup (does not stop ten to fourteen Goblins or Pyromancer Ascension versus Storm, multiple cheap threats against Affinity, or ten Pestermite / seven Restoration Angel / seven Zealous Conscripts from killing you). Golgari Charm does some of these things but in addition has applications against Infect, Blood Moon, and Auras.
2 Thrun, the last Troll
Slaughter Pact is a forgotten card that can lead to immense blowouts. Pumping Tarmogoyf in response to Lightning Bolt, killing Wild Nacatl in response to a Ghor-Clan Rampager, annihilating an all-in Inkmoth Nexus, and saving Liliana of the Veil from man lands are all plays that can singlehandedly win games out of nowhere. This card is also a complete nightmare against Splinter Twin, as it is nearly impossible to play around and cannot be effectively Remanded. It should probably be in the maindeck.
-2 Slaughter Pact + some amount maindeck
Moving to the maindeck removes the one in the sideboard.
I boarded in Liliana of the Veil in every game, and she was always awesome. Some decks, such as Auras, Scapeshift, and many combo decks, cannot beat a turn 3 Liliana of the Veil, and who doesn't love free wins?
Ineffective against Storm (Pyromancer Ascension / Lightning Bolt, Grapeshot, Empty the Warrens all capable of killing you) and good against Scapeshift (a good matchup that does not need the help) and cascade decks (only if they do not have Fulminator Mage and Avalanche Riders). This could probably go.
So our current sideboard is:
We can't just choose the last cards at random. To figure out what should go in the six slots, we have to think about what we plan on facing in the tournament and what cards need to be taken out in each matchup. I will go over the Top 10 decks in Modern to see what the slots need to be devoted to. This guide is not set in stone and is merely a list of what cards I think are weakest, not necessarily ones that you have to board out.
Dark Confidant mostly comes out, and we're going to need some life gain to not get rushed out along with resilient win conditions.
Abrupt Decay is pretty poor at killing Birds of Paradise, Kitchen Finks, Voice of Resurgence, and four-cost cards. Liliana of the Veil is a complete house if we can isolate the graveyard with Scavenging Ooze or Grafdigger's Cage.
Games will likely come down to Liliana of the Veil, although you have some play with discard, Abrupt Decay, and Anger of the Gods. If they have Kor Spiritdancer, you may need to keep in some spot removal.
Anger of the Gods seems like the only bad card, with it usually coming down to who runs away with their card advantage engines.
Amazing matchup. Your only problem may come from sideboarded Leyline of Sanctity.
Nearly unwinnable. Jund is hard pressed to win before turn 6, giving Burn access to twelve cards before death. At four lands and eight three-damage burn spells, we need to produce seven life with discard or life gain to have a chance due to our starting life total being eighteen (at best) from the mana base.
Outside of a lucky turn 1 discard or an Anger of the Gods on the play, this is a tough matchup. Games go super long and are super grindy, so two-for-ones are needed. Etched Champion is a nightmare post-board.
Putting all this together, we get:
3 cards for Zoo
1 card Birthing Pod
1 card Storm
4 cards for Auras
4-6 cards for Affinity
4 cards for U/W/R Control
13 cards for Burn
That is a grand total of 30-32, but we have only six available! This is why many well thought-out sideboards have so many one-ofs, as you need cards that are not necessarily the best cards for every single deck but are the most applicable to multiple matchups. This process generally takes place the night before the event with all the people you are rooming with and should take into account how many times you plan on facing each archetype and whether you should even bother if a matchup is nearly unwinnable or too niche.
The Last Six Slots
With all the above in mind, I offer the following suggestions for the last six slots in the sideboard.
Good against Zoo, U/W/R Control, the mirror, Burn, and Affinity.
Best card we could hope for against Affinity
Extremely high impact against Birthing Pod and totally reasonable against Storm.
Good against Zoo, Auras, and Affinity.
Decent against Zoo, Storm, Birthing Pod, Burn, the mirror, and U/W/R Control.
I've chosen to give up on the Burn matchup; we need to get really lucky to win and can't devote the slots to make it good. Liliana of the Veil is so good against Auras that I'm willing to aggressively mulligan for it. The completed list:
I hope this look into the deck tuning process will help you make your last minute changes before Grand Prix Richmond. Good luck to all those going!