Jund Food In-Depth Historic Deck Guide: Is CoCo Bad Now?

Korvold, Fae-Cursed King

Introduction

Hello Planeswalkers!

Kaldheim Championship was held this past weekend and we have a win rate matrix for the Historic portion of the tournament – this is what it looks like:

Source: MTG Data Twitter

What? Jund with Collected Company has a higher win rate overall? And this guy is trying to sell us Jund Food! Speak, writer!

Now everybody calm down, as I will explain to you what it all means (and why I still think that Jund Food is great).

Pulling the right conclusion from the data

It’s really easy to point at the deck with the highest win rate and say: “Look, the best deck! I will play this for the next tournament and crush everyone!”, but it’s more important to understand why certain strategies have better or worse win rates.

Let’s actually start with Jund Company this time.

Out of both Sacrifice decks, this has the higher overall win rate of 55%. The bad win rates are against Orzhov Auras, Abzan Midrange and Cycling; the rest is at least at 50%. What’s really important to note here is the fact that people widely thought that Auras would just get crushed by Sacrifice decks, because Claim the Firstborn is so good against them – but the Food version actually has a much better win rate of 57% even though it is deemed a much slower deck. Overall, it’s a strong showing. You only have Auras as a bad popular matchup and the other bad matchups are not that popular.

Jund Food, on the other hand, has got many more bad matchups. The Yasharn, Implacable Earth decks are good against it, too (even though Jund Company has 50% against Bant Control, remember that the sample size is not that big here as well), but it also seems to lose against the “swarming” tribal decks in Elves and Goblins. Most notably though, it also seems to lose in the mirror!

The most important thing when evaluating data in Magic: the Gathering is this:

Matchup win rates are not static!

I say that all the time and I feel like I’m losing my tongue at this point. Just because Goblins and Elves have a good win rate against Jund Food right now, it doesn’t mean that this is set in stone! People have completely underestimated both of these archetypes and did not include copies of Witch's Vengeance for that reason. Do you think that win rate will stay the same if they adapt?

Win rates can change based on the definite list – In this guide, I will help you adapt to certain decks, how to fix matchups – and which matchups are not really fixable.

Korvold vs Collected Company

Korvold decks are slower, but they are able to win later stages of the game. If your first wave of attacks is over with Collected Company, there is almost no coming back. The problem is that Trail decks can durdle around a lot without really finishing the game if your opponent is able to deal with Korvold quickly. This is actually why Korvold decks are better against Auras, even though it doesn’t make sense at first glance, because Priest of Forgotten Gods is an incredible card against them, but most Korvold lists play only 0-2 copies. Auras has actually gotten a bit too resilient – you can’t just rely on claiming some creatures anymore. Korvold is a great finisher that just puts the nail onto the coffin before the Auras player can keep rebuilding over and over.

Korvold decks are also playing Binding the Old Gods, which makes it easier to beat cards like Leyline of the Void or Grafdigger's Cage. Even though the data doesn’t suggest it, I still believe that this is the case as the sample size is not that huge.

Personally, I think that both versions are legit and one of them can be better depending on the metagame. Just to be clear: I think that Collected Company is a much stronger card than Korvold in a vacuum – but don’t forget that we are not playing Magic in a vacuum.

Decklist

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Companion
1
Jegantha, the Wellspring
Creature (20)
4
Cauldron Familiar
4
Gilded Goose
3
Korvold, Fae-Cursed King
4
Mayhem Devil
2
Priest of Forgotten Gods
3
Woe Strider
Sorcery (4)
4
Claim the Firstborn
Artifact (4)
4
Witch's Oven
Enchantment (7)
3
Binding the Old Gods
4
Trail of Crumbs
Land (25)
4
Blightstep Pathway/Searstep Pathway
3
Blood Crypt
1
Blooming Marsh
4
Cragcrown Pathway/Timbercrown Pathway
4
Darkbore Pathway/Slitherbore Pathway
4
Overgrown Tomb
1
Phyrexian Tower
3
Stomping Ground
1
Swamp
Cards 60
Sideboard (15)
3
Casualties of War
4
Fatal Push
1
Jegantha, the Wellspring
1
Noxious Grasp
4
Thoughtseize
2
Witch's Vengeance

Card Choices: Main Deck

Let me clarify first that this list is heavily inspired by Kristof Prinz (K_Prinz (@Lava_Axe) / Twitter). Prinz has been popping off lately and he was also playing Jund Food in the Kaldheim Championship – although I have to say that I personally did not like his newest version too much. You should still check it out because Kristof is an amazing player:

No Fabled Passage

Historic has gotten a lot faster and stumbling in the early game with a Passage can be back-breaking. Overall I think that the mana base is pretty good considering that you’re 3 colored, because the Pathways and Gilded Goose help a lot. You also usually win when Korvold hits the battlefield anyway so you don’t need the extra trigger.

Cauldron Familiar

Important cog in the machine, enables Trail of Crumbs and Witch’s Oven, is a great cheap card to sacrifice and helps you race against aggressive decks because of the life gain. The combination of Cauldron Familiar, Witch’s Oven and Mayhem Devil is just notorious for Historic at this point. Small game plan hint because a lot of people miss this: It’s possible to use 4 Food tokens with only 1 Cauldron Familiar, even if you only have 1 sacrifice outlet like Witch’s Oven.

Simply hold Full Control and use the ability from Cauldron Familiar and sacrifice a food, and before it returns to the battlefield you can activate the ability again on another food token. This can be important to get more Mayhem Devil, Trail of Crumbs or Korvold triggers.

Claim the Firstborn

So people have started cutting some copies because it’s bad against the slower decks. I don’t disagree, but I also think that this card is the reason why you edge out against creature decks. Especially with Orzhov Auras having such a successful winrate this weekend, I would not leave the house without at least 4 copies – but keep in mind that you can cut some depending on the metagame.

Gilded Goose

Goose is fixing, ramp for Korvold and part of your carddraw with Trail of Crumbs. People are cutting Cauldron Familiar and Claim the Firstborn, but playing Jund Food without 4 Gilded Goose is like eating oranges right after brushing your teeth – it’s utter madness.

Witch's Oven

Another part of the synergy and I don’t think it’s cuttable. At the point you start cutting them, this whole archetype should be poorly positioned in the metagame.

Priest of Forgotten Gods

I think this card gets too much hate. This card together with Claim the Firstborn is the reason why creature matchups are so good for this archetype and with the rise of Orzhov Auras, I expect this to stay that way. There’s also this really important point that you’re going to face a lot more creature decks on the ladder than in a tournament setting. I think playing 4 is wrong, but I also think that playing 0 is also wrong. Toothpaste and oranges I say!

Trail of Crumbs

This is part of your card draw engine and it’s honestly so impressive. The fact that you can get removal out of this (Binding the Old Gods) is pretty insane and it also finds your other synergy pieces that you need. This also ensures that we keep hitting these land drops, which is important when you want to curve into Korvold.

Woe Strider

As a result of Claim the Firstborn getting cut, Woe Strider is getting cut as well. Now, I do love me some Claims and Priests, so I won’t dare go below 3 copies (you could probably get away with playing only 2 copies, but I really want to have a sacrifice outlet with 4x Claim the Firstborn in my deck).

Mayhem Devil

This is the most important card in the whole archetype, so it’s an auto-include and not cuttable at all.

Binding the Old Gods

This is a huge addition from Kaldheim, because it’s a good main deck answer for Grafdigger’s Cage, Rest in Peace, Planeswalkers and even opposing Korvolds. These decks are mana hungry, so the additional land is important, and the deathtouch mode is amazing with a Mayhem Devil on the board. Most people play only 2 copies, but with Yasharn being this popular, I’d rather have 3.

Korvold, Fae-Cursed King

Your incredible top-end and it’s impossible to play this Trail of Crumbs version without Korvold. Korvold also makes sure that you end the game in a few hits, which is important as your deck just draws more cards otherwise. There are a lot of things you need to keep in mind with Korvold, here are some of them:

  1. You can hold Full Control if you want to loop your cat with Witch’s Oven, but also want to sacrifice the cat into Korvold. Just let Korvolds trigger go on the stack with Full Control on and then loop the cat.
  2. You can target a food token with Korvold and it will trigger Trail of Crumbs.
  3. Binding the Old Gods’s third mode is also a sacrifice trigger.
  4. Always have a look at your opponent’s life total. It’s really easy to just one shot them even when they are at 15+ life.

1 Phyrexian Tower

It’s an almost free sacrifice outlet and it can ramp us into Korvold. I would highly advise against playing more than 1 copy though, as drawing multiples is quite poopy and don’t forget that it doesn’t produce black mana without anything else.

Card Choices: Sideboard

4 Fatal Push

Having such an efficient spell is incredibly important with the rise of Auras and it will give you an edge against most other creature decks as well. Since our deck is a bit slower than the Collected Company version, we have to make sure that we don’t get thrashed in the early game.

4 Thoughtseize

Slower value decks can be a bit tough to beat as you lack the aggressive early game in Dreadhorde Butcher or Scrapheap Scrounger, so Thoughtseize is a must to disrupt them, as you can’t rely on aggroing your opponents out.

1 Noxious Grasp

Nice versatile spell as it hits Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, Yasharn and the whole Angel deck all the same.

2 Witch's Vengeance

Your holy water against Goblins and Elves. Without this it can be tough to win even if you draw well, with it though? Piece of cake. 

3 Casualties of War

This used to be Bolas's Citadel to overpower the slower decks, but Casualties is great against them and it’s great in the mirror as well, so I’d rather have this over Citadel. Citadel also gets hit by artifact hate sometimes which can be devastating.

Matchups and Sideboard Guide

war-187-casualties-of-war

Jund Food (Mirror)

InOut
+3 Casualties of War-2 Priest of Forgotten Gods
-1 Cauldron Familiar

This matchup is a lot about Korvold, Fae-Cursed King and Mayhem Devil, so we just make sure to have enough removal for that. Casualties of War is insane, because it hits Trail of Crumbs, Witch’s Oven and important creatures as well. There are no cheap alternatives to kill Korvold, which is interesting to think about: Heartless Act is useless after the ETB-Trigger and Cast Down doesn’t hit it to begin with, so try to not waste Binding the Old Gods on things like Woe Strider if you don’t have to.

Orzhov Auras

InOut
+4 Fatal Push-2 Trail of Crumbs
+1 Noxious Grasp-1 Cauldron Familiar
-2 Binding the Old Gods

I’d be very careful about cutting all of the engine pieces like Trail of Crumbs here, as you need some card advantage to keep up with their Kor Spiritdancer. Binding the Old Gods is expensive, but it also hits Heliod’s Punishment which is their only way of dealing with your Korvold. Again, remember that Korvold is crucial at ending the game on the spot – Auras has gotten a lot more resilient and you can’t just rely on removing their creatures anymore.

This is also the reason why I dislike Thoughtseize in this matchup. It’s only good in the early game and it’s unlikely that you’re going to strand your opponent with only Auras as they essentially play 8 Spiritdancers, and Claim // Fame is another piece of recursion. I don’t want to play cards that trade 1 for 1 if it’s not extremely effective, as it’s easy to just lose on card quantity against Auras otherwise.

Azorius Control

InOut
+4 Thoughtseize-2 Priest of Forgotten Gods
+3 Casualties of War-4 Claim the Firstborn
+1 Noxious Grasp-1 Woe Strider
-1 Cauldron Familiar

This matchup is pretty close, as the data above also supports. Trail of Crumbs card engine is hard to interact with, but it’s also not easy to close the game when your Korvold just gets countered. Overall it’s pretty fun and requires a lot of practice, so don’t feel discouraged when you lose that matchup a bunch.

Gruul Aggro

InOut
+4 Fatal Push-4 Trail of Crumbs
+1 Noxious Grasp-1 Binding the Old Gods

Control the board, win the game. I think this matchup should be good as long as you don’t get overrun by strong Llanowar Elf starts, and Fatal Push helps there. Note that it can be a bit tough to enable Fatal Push for the more expensive creatures sometimes, and that Fabled Passage would help in that regard.

Jund Company

InOut
+4 Fatal Push-2 Trail of Crumbs
-1 Cauldron Familiar
-1 Binding the Old Gods

I was not sure about Fatal Push (and I am not sure about the actual number right now either), but I found that the easiest way to die is to Dreadhorde Butcher going ham or not having enough cheap removal to deal with whatever comes out of Collected Company. If this matchup becomes more prevalent, you might want to consider to play some Cast Down or Heartless Act instead of 4 Fatal Push – the same is true for the Gruul matchup, actually. If you get to survive the early game, you should be favored though, as Korvold is just one beast of a card in that matchup.

Goblins

InOut
+2 Witch’s Vengeance+4 Trail of Crumbs
+4 Thoughtseize+1 Cauldron Familiar
+1 Binding the Old Gods

Goblins should be easier to beat post-board thanks to Witch’s Vengeance. If they are playing Herald’s Banner against you, don’t play Thoughtseizes as it’s going to be way too hard to strangle them on ressources. Instead play the whole 3 Binding the Old Gods again and bring those Trail of Crumbs in to keep up with the card advantage. You have to be flexible here and find the holes in their decklists. 

Bant Control

InOut
+4 Thoughtseize-4 Claim the Firstborn
+3 Casualties of War-2 Priest of Forgotten Gods
+1 Noxious Grasp-2 Woe Strider

This will always be a bit tougher to beat because of Counterspells + Yasharn, but I personally think it’s okay post=board – although losing game 1 usually makes this a bad matchup. Woe Strider is not so impressive when you don’t have Claim the Firstborn anyway. Try to snipe Nissa first and foremost, as this card is – surprise – amazing (so not toothpaste + oranges).

Sultai Ultimatum

InOut
+4 Thoughtseize-4 Claim the Firstborn
+2 Casualties of War-2 Priest of Forgotten Gods

I think this matchup is actually bad even though the data suggests otherwise. You don’t have enough pressure in the early game and if they resolve Emergent Ultimatum, it’s incredibly tough to win. Casualties of War is a good way to beat a resolved Ultimatum sometimes, but overall I’d rather be on the Sultai side. Try to be a bit conservative with Thoughtseize and use it almost exclusively on the Ultimatum or Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider (you can’t really kill it and it turns off Binding the Old Gods).

Abzan Midrange

InOut
+4 Thoughtseize-4 Claim the Firstborn
+1 Noxious Grasp-2 Priest of Forgotten Gods
+3 Casualties of War-2 Woe Strider

This matchup is obviously bad, as the combination of Yasharn and multiple exile sweepers are always scary. Try to keep the pig off the board and play around sweepers as good as you can – but don’t be too scared, as you’ll lose the late game more often than not!

Elves

InOut
+4 Fatal Push-3 Binding of Old Gods
+1 Noxious Grasp-4 Trail of Crumbs
+2 Witch’s Vengeance

This matchup should be incredibly easy for you now. Just clear the board over and over and you should win sooner or later.

End Step

This has been incredibly fun for me to write, as this deck and archetype has been quite controversial over the weekend. Personally, I think that this deck did not have the biggest showing as it had the biggest target on its head – but what do you think? Let me know in the comments below together with all the questions that you have, and as always, stay healthy and safe everyone!

Sorquixe

Alexander Steyer, 23 years old. Qualified for Mythic Championship VII, Zendikar Rising Championship and Arena Open Winner.

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