Jund tunes itself to pieces

One of the interesting — and, from an oppositional point of view, exciting — things I’ve noticed in testing the Jund matchup is that variations on Jund that attempt to enhance its performance in the mirror frequently reduce its performance everywhere else. This feels markedly different from Faeries, for example, where the mirror was heavily determined on the basis of play skill rather than design skill, meaning that you didn’t have to cripple your off matches to enhance your mirror performance.
You can see some of why this happens if you look at Ochoa’s “default Jund” list as I’ve cited it in this week’s In Development. His main deck features 27 N-for-1s, and all of the creatures are N-for-1s. Compare that to some of the other lists from the top Standard decks at Worlds.
Saito’s Jund trades away three slots that could go to N-for-1s for Rampant Growth, a card that helps the deck ramp up to its Siege-Gangs, but which is itself a 1-for-1 and a hit to the incremental value of Bloodbraid Elf.
Cynic Kim’s deck, like a number of Jund builds, has multiple Great Sable Stags. Stag dodges a lot of removal in the mirror match (Terminate, Maelstrom Pulse), but is a simple 1-for-1 that is not especially exceptional otherwise. As an aside, I always find the anglicized version of Kim’s name funny. Cynic? Really, his name is properly more like Kim Shin-Ik.
Remi Fortier’s deck tries to be explosive with Lotus Cobras, but once again, that’s three fewer N-for-1 card slots. Those Cobras can be pretty good in some circumstances, but are otherwise pretty unexceptional.
I’ve noticed that the G/W Walkers match up with a default Jund like (like Ochoa’s) is a real fight, but all these variations that attempt to enhance the mirror make the match up just so much better from my end.
I figure it’s a good sign if it’s hard to broadly optimize a deck. Jund is powerful, but attempts to make the deck more resilient against the mirror consistently make it less so everywhere else. This seems fine.

3 thoughts on “Jund tunes itself to pieces

  1. I personally feel that removing a bunch of N-for-1s in Jund actually makes the mirror worse, not better 😛
    I could be wrong. But it looks like the Jund variations with Growth and Cobra are in the minority anyway. If Jund gets even MORE popular now though who knows what crazy things people will do to massacre their lists. ^_^

  2. I love watching people in my local meta try and “tune” their Jund lists. They just keep making them weaker and weaker. I’ll happily take the edge that gives me.

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