Standard Jund Midrange Deck Guide: The Old King of Midrange is Back

Grakmaw, Skyclave Ravager Art by Filip Burburan
Grakmaw, Skyclave Ravager Art by Filip Burburan

Hello everyone! Today I’m going over one of Magic’s most beloved decks: Jund Midrange. I’ve always been a Jund fan as a mix of solid threats and interaction just always seems like such a winning game plan, but alas, Eldraine and Ikoria were simply too strong for a true midrange deck to exist. However, now that they’ve rotated, midrange decks have been proliferating all over ladder and it seems that it’s safe to come out again!

I didn’t have an intention to try and make Jund work initially, but when I was looking at the new dual lands, I realized that the old Shards (Esper, Grixis, Jund, Bant, and Naya) actually had two lands in their colors alongside your 12 pathways. That means that realistically any of those color combinations could have really solid mana bases, so I got to work.

Historically, Jund was all about interaction at every point of the curve that it could manage into strong threats. The issue with that plan here is that although we have solid interaction, we don’t have an abundance of it. Furthermore a lot of the interaction we have can be somewhat clunky. Although we’d like to play Check for Traps as it’s the closest analog to Thoughtseize, the card is too inefficient as a main deck card. Furthermore, this Standard seems to be defined by the 4 and 5 drops, especially Esika’s Chariot. I’m sure there are plenty of ways to build this, but I wanted to take these principles into my deck building. Here’s where I’m currently at.

Jund Midrange
by DoggertQBones
Standard
best of 3
11 mythic
33 rare
15 uncommon
1 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (3)
3
Wrenn and Seven
$149.97
Instants (6)
3
Infernal Grasp
$5.97
3
Soul Shatter
$11.97
Artifacts (4)
Lands (24)
1
Swamp
$0.25
4
Darkbore Pathway
$43.96
4
Rockfall Vale
$31.96
4
Haunted Ridge
$33.96
60 Cards
$639.6
Sideboard
1
Wrenn and Seven
$49.99
3
Skyclave Shade
$2.97
1
Tangletrap
$0.25
4
Burning Hands
$2.76
1
Infernal Grasp
$1.99
2
Heated Debate
$0.50
3
Check for Traps
$0.75
15 Cards
$59.21

Since getting to your top end fast seems to be vital, I put that at the forefront of my deck building. The curve starts with a high density of 2s focusing on the mana creatures in Tangled Florahedron, Prosperous Innkeeper, and Kalain, Reclusive Painter. 12 mana rampers may seem like a lot, but with Florahedron also acting as a land and a lot of Standard matches being decided by who gets to their top end first, I think it’s pretty reasonable. We have another 2 drop with Valki, God of Lies who seems relatively well positioned as most decks are moving away from small creature removal. I’ve only gotten to the Tibalt mode once, but it’s just as strong as I remember it being in the Sultai Ultimatum days.

This deck only plays one three drop as you should be accelerating straight to 4 most games, but I’m using Grakmaw, Skyclave Ravager. This card has flown under the radar for quite awhile, but I’ve been a fan so far. There’s very little exile removal seeing play so if you’re facing a creature deck, you can very often just have two relevant blockers for the price of one. Furthermore, drawing multiples of this can even be actively good as the second copy will net you a 3/3 token and grow the original to a 4/4 which is the perfect stat line to contend with an Esika’s Chariot.

Next for the 4s, we had to go with the obvious 4 Esika’s Chariot and I decided to go 2 Moonveil Regent. The more colors you play the better Moonveil gets to begin with, but with so many many creatures, there are some concerns to whiffing in the late game which this helps to somewhat alleviate.

Finally to top the curve, we have the 5s. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted Goldspan Dragon or Wrenn and Seven, so I decided to go with both! Goldspan is a better proactive play and puts the opponent in a tight spot very quickly if they can’t interact with it while Wrenn and Seven is there to synergize with Chariot and provide incremental value. I know the general consensus right now is that Wrenn and Seven is better, but I’ve found Goldspan to be more potent when it’s backed up by removal.

Finally, we have our removal and our main reason to play Black. Although I don’t love Infernal Grasp, it does kill everything you need it to at the cost of 2 life. With Goldspan Dragon becoming less popular I wouldn’t be surprised if we could eventually move towards Power Word Kill, but until that happens I’ll stick with Grasp. Then we have Soul Shatter which is a nice versatile answer to most of the format’s problem permanents. My main contention with Shatter right now is that it doesn’t work the best against Wrenn and Seven as you generally want to hit the token rather than the walker, so if the popularity of Wrenn keeps increasing it may be wise to swap this out for something else.

NOTABLE EXCLUSIONS / POTENTIAL INCLUSIONS

Immersturm Predator by Nicholas Gregory
Immersturm Predator Art by Nicholas Gregory

Duress

I love Duress, but now isn’t the time for it. There’s very few Control decks and Check for Traps is more versatile.

Nighthawk Scavenger

I considered Scaveneger over Grakmaw, but getting double black is definitely not free for this deck, although it’s not impossible either. Not counting Pathways, we have 6 Black lands and 14 counting Pathways if you put them on Black. You ideally want 18 sources to cast a 1cc card on curve, but the treasures help mitigate that. However, we’re looking to spend Treasures on 4s and 5s, not 3s.

Lolth, Spider Queen

I was initially playing Lolth over Wrenn and Seven, but if either Wrenn and Seven or Goldspan Dragon stop making sense in the deck, I would put her back in.

Dragon’s Fire

Considering we play 6 Dragons, it’s not too unreasonable to use this over one of our other removal spells. If Soul Shatter stops making sense, this would probably be what I’d opt for.

Inferno of the Star Mounts

A fine one of in the board if you want to beat up on Control a little bit harder.

Shatterskull Smashing

3 color mana bases in Standard don’t have much wiggle room and I currently prefer creature lands to help mitigate flooding. However, if you prefer this over Den of the Bugbear, I think that’s very reasonable.

Meteor Swarm

I’m extremely tempted to start boarding a few copies of this against the Wrenn and Seven strategies, but didn’t include it since I haven’t had time to test it. We definitely have enough Red to support this as long as you’re a bit more careful with your Treasures and this is the best answer to Wrenn and Seven that I can think of. However, I could also be too high on this as a concept since it’s untested.

Lotus Cobra

Cobra seems great in theory as it color fixes and doesn’t use a resource, but if it gets killed you get no value where the Treasure producers always make value. Maybe if people start ignoring small creatures it may be the Cobra’s time to shine again.

Briarbridge Tracker

This may be better than Grakmaw as our 3 drop of choice as it’s much better against Esika’s Chariot. I’d say try both out to see what you prefer, but if Chariot becomes the only thing to be doing, this is definitely better.

Storm the Festival

We’re so permanent dense that I wouldn’t be surprised if we turn towards being a Festival deck. However, the Black wouldn’t make much sense in conjunction since we’re playing it for removal which generally doesn’t jive with Storm the Festival. Something to think about though.

Immersturm Predator

I think this card is nuts right now, but this is the wrong deck for it. You need a higher density of creatures to really make this card shine.

Sarulf, Realm Eater

Sarulf is a super interesting card that I honestly forgot about during this deck’s testing phase. In the deck’s current build I don’t think it would work, however with the growing popularity of tokens through Chariot and Wrenn, playing more removal and 4 of these can make it really hard for the opponent to keep a token on the board which seems like a really interesting way to take the deck.

Binding the Old Gods

This card is amazing when you’re trying to go much higher on the curve like you did for Sultai, not so much when your curve ends at 5.

Culling Ritual

This card is ok, but far from amazing. If you want it play it, but it seems unnecessary right now.

Skeletal Swarming

This is almost certainly too slow of a wincon to make the cut, but it is functionally unkillable in this format which makes it an interesting option.

Arlinn, the Pack’s Hope

I initially played Arlinn in this deck, but she underperformed for me as the modes that weren’t making 2/2 tokens just didn’t fell relevant.

MATCHUPS AND SIDEBOARDING

Skyclave Shade Art by Daarken
Skyclave Shade Art by Daarken

Gruul Aggro

INOUT
+1 Wrenn and Seven-3 Valki, God of Lies
+4 Burning Hands-2 Moonveil Regent
+1 Infernal Grasp-1 Kalain, Reclusive Painter (-2 if Goldspan version)
+1 Tangletrap (if Goldspan version)

The best part about playing this deck is that you’re doing a similar thing to Gruul, but you have a boat load of interaction to keep them stumbling. Play this as the Control deck and you should be able to out value them with time.

Izzet Dragons

INOUT
+1 Wrenn and Seven-3 Valki, God of Lies
+3 Skyclave Shade-2 Moonveil Regent
+1 Infernal Grasp-4 Prosperous Innkeeper
+1 Tangletrap-2 Goldspan Dragon
+2 Heated Debate
+3 Check for Traps

The current iterations of Izzet Dragons are extremely reliant on keeping a Dragon on board to win, so if you have an excess of removal they can’t stop it all. Keep in mind that there’s a new Izzet deck propping up that doesn’t play any creatures so don’t assume every Izzet deck is going to be Dragons. If you see that deck, board out most of your removal and still bring in the Shades and Check for Traps.

Orzhov Midrange / Mono Black Control

INOUT
+1 Wrenn and Seven-4 Prosperous Innkeeper
+3 Skyclave Shade-3 Infernal Grasp
+3 Check for Traps

These strategies are mostly comprised of crappy creatures into Planeswalkers and Blood on the Snow so you just want to do is have the highest threat density possible with a little bit of removal. There’s no real plan for this this deck beyond try not to get blown out by Blood on the Snow.

Selesnya Festival

INOUT
+1 Wrenn and Seven-2 Moonveil Regent
+4 Burning Hands-3 Goldspan Dragon
+3 Check for Traps-3 Soul Shatter

You’re both midrange decks so this is going to be a slug fest, however they do have an edge because they play Storm the Festival. Your best bet is to keep the pressure on and spend your removal just to clear their most scary threats so you’re not left defenseless if/when they resolve a Storm.

Dimir Control

INOUT
+1 Wrenn and Seven-4 Prosperous Innkeeper
+3 Skyclave Shade-3 Infernal Grasp
+3 Check for Traps

Unsurprisingly you just need to keep jamming threats until they run out of removal. They don’t have many wraths (not that they’re great against you), so you can’t really be punished by constantly running out threats.

TIPS AND TRICKS

Moonveil Regent Art by Joshua Raphael
Moonveil Regent Art by Joshua Raphael
  • 99% of the time you should just make a Treefolk with Wrenn and Seven, but you can consider +1ing if you’re desperate for lands and don’t need the board presence.
  • I play Tangled Florahedron as a land significantly more foten than I cast it, but it’s still great on cast as well.
  • Be mindful with how autotapper uses your mana when you have specifically Kalain, Reclusive Painter out. It will prioritize using your Treasure on every creature spell so if you don’t want to do that, be careful.
  • I mentioned this before, but if you play a Grakmaw, Skyclave Ravager when you have one out, your Grakmaw will get a +1/+1 counter and you’ll get a 3/3 token.
  • Try to situate yourself so you have Moonveil Regent and one more card you can cast to immediately get value on it. Obviously if this is your only play earlier you should run it out, but the later you have it, the better.
  • In general, deploying threats over playing removal is going to be better unless you’re under a lot of pressure.

Thank you for reading!

DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on Twitch and Discord.