Honey, I Shrunk the Mids – Pt 1
I don’t know about you guys, but I love midrange decks. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as playing a turn one Thoughtseize into a turn two 4/5 Tarmogoyf, then following up with a Liliana of the Veil on turn three. You might notice that all these cards have something in common. That’s right! They all cost three mana or less, making them perfect candidates to play in our favourite tiny format.
Now everyone has their own personal favourite flavor of midrange, but the core pieces are always there – get in a grindy battle for resources until everyone is in topdeck mode, then win because your average card quality is better than your opponent’s. Today we’ll look at one of the most popular takes on the Thoughtseize-Goyf-Liliana deck: Modern All-Star Jund.
First things first, let's take a look at one of the most important elements of the archetype. There’s a full suite of discard spells in this list just waiting to rip your opponent’s hand apart, including Duress, Thoughtseize, Inquisition of Kozilek, Collective Brutality, Hymn to Tourach, and of course everyone’s beloved Liliana of the Veil. Inquisition of Kozilek in particular gets much better in Tiny Leaders as it now reads as a Thoughtseize that doesn’t cost two life to use. Sequencing an Inquisition into Hymn to Tourach into Liliana is insanely punishing and sure to set your opponent back a few steps.
Then there's our removal package. With cards like Abrupt Decay, Assassin’s Trophy, and Maelstrom Pulse, there’s practically no permanent a GBx deck can’t get rid of when the need arises. Creatures won’t be sticking around for long either between getting Terminated, Dismembered, or Dreadbored. These are some of the most efficient creature removal around and Jund wants as much of it as it can get its hands on. And if things get really dicey, you have a copy of Pernicious Deed ready to reset the board.
If all that still somehow isn’t enough to dwindle your opponent’s resources down to nothing, you have a multitude of ways to generate card advantage. There are one-off cards like Painful Truths giving you immediate access to more cards, or more long term value engines like Sylvan Library. Many of your creatures even come complete with ways to generate advantage over the long term, such as Dark Confidant drawing a card every turn, Tireless Tracker giving cycling to your lands, Courser of Kruphix skimming lands off the top of your library, or everyone’s favourite one mana Planeswalker, Deathrite Shaman.
Looking at our sideboard, we have some of what I consider one of the main draws for Jund as your GBx deck of choice. Namely, access to the cards Ancient Grudge, Red Elemental Blast, and Pyroblast. We also have graveyard hate in the form of Rakdos Charm, Nihil Spellbomb, and Tormod’s Crypt. While we don’t use our own graveyard all that much with this deck, it's still relevant to use these options that only exile one player’s graveyard over, say, Relic of Progenitus as exiling our own graveyard as well would shrink our Tarmogoyf and our Grim Flayer, as well as making it harder to get value off of cards like Liliana, the Last Hope, and Kolaghan’s Command.
Aside from that the sideboard is mostly familiar, with one exception. Lavalanche is a card that isn’t talked about much, but with the prevalence of Planeswalkers in this format now that they can be your commander, having a way to clean up the battlefield as well as clear out a pesky Planeswalker is a valuable way to get ahead, or to come back from behind.
Hopefully this caught the eye of a seasoned goyf player and convinced you to give tiny leaders a try. If Jund isn’t your flavor, never fear. Check back soon for more tiny midrange decks.