Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Making Magic in the Arena - Jund Junk Food

In this post-Oko standard, it's tempting to believe that Food is going the way of the dodo bird. After all, he was one of, if not the, most important card in the Simic/Sultai/Bant Food decks. However, there appears to be another formula out there for the archetype that has started to make the rounds.

Say goodbye to Oko Food... and hello to Jund Food.

The decklist I'm using comes from MTGGoldfish, but I swapped out a copy of Korvold, Fae-Cursed King for the extra Massacre Girl in the sideboard.

Like many of the current Rakdos Aristocrats decks out there, this deck's primary goal is to establish the Cat Oven synergy. For those of you who aren't familiar, that is the combination of Cauldron Familiar and Witch's Oven. When the cat is ETBs, it pings the opponent for one and gives us one life. Then, using the Oven, we sacrifice the cat to create a food token... which we use to resurrect the cat with it's ability. This can be be repeated every turn to place the opponent on a ticking clock, with enough incidental lifegain to keep us in the game longer than we'd ordinarily be able to.

Or... if we'd rather have cards than life, we could also bring out the Midnight Reaper. While it cancels out the lifegain from the Familiar, it allows us to speed through our deck to arrive at other pieces we may need to speed up our win before the opponent can catch up to us. Mayhem Devil also makes an appearance in this deck. This gets a trigger for both parts of the combo, when we sacrifice the cat to the oven, and then the food to the cat. In addition, it combines well with not only all of the sacrifice outlets we're running... but also any sacrifices out opponents are either utilizing or forcing onto us. In a decent board state, the incidental triggers we get off both the these cards can keep our hand full and our opponent's board clear of threats, since the Devil can deal damage to anything.

Trail of Crumbs is another one those pieces that can net us extra value almost on accident. If we fail to get the oven we need, it can get us an extra food that we can use to resurrect our cat. However, we can also using it to pay an extra mana whenever we sacrifice a food, for any reason, to take one of the top two cards in our deck into our hand as long as it's a permanent. Since all of the cards in our deck are technically permanents, we will literally never miss, even if it's just a choice between two lands.

Gilded Goose is another key piece to our deck. It is a consistent way for use to obtain Food, both from it's ETB trigger and activated ability, which can be useful with a lot of our late game finisher cards, or to bring back our cat for just one more ping. In addition, like Paradise Druid, it's a valuable way to fix and accelerate our mana, except at the cost of a a bit of Food.

As far as sacrifice outlets, it's hard to deny that Korvold serves as one of the best at the top of our curve. If we have extra food or land lying around, we can easily trade it away for more power to him and an extra card in hand. Combined with his innate flying abilities, this can be enough to quickly close out a game in a few swings, or turn around a poor turn of events.

Vraska, Golgari Queen also serves as a key synergistic piece on the board. Like Korvold, we can sacrifice extra food or land we have on hand to her for cards and life. In addition, her negative ability is important removal, which we can use in order to get rid of our opponent's low-cost artifacts, enchantments, or even planeswalkers in addition to creatures. There's a lot of powerful card than Vraska can easily take care of the turn she comes out, which we might not have any qualms letting her die to take care of. While her ultimate is a long shot, it can easily be used to redirect aggression to her instead of us, god forbid we actually pull it off.

Liliana, Dreadhorde General is not just a powerful curve topper which can single-handedly win us the game, but she is just another synergistic piece to our ultimate game plan. Her triggered ability give us cards every time one of our creatures, like our Cauldron Familiar, dies like Midnight Reaper, but without the loss of life. In addition, she creates tokens to either build up a board or serve as sacrifice fodder to Korvold/Vraska. With her minus ability, she can kill off creatures on the opponent's board by forcing them to make sacrifices. And while her ultimate is another long-shot like Vraska, it will be enough to end a game, since few boards can keep going when all but one land has been lost.

Lastly, as far as non-Vraska removal is concerned, we have the standard set of Murderous Riders, which you're probably familiar with. And if the board isn't going in our favor, we have Massacre Girl to clean up the mess.

What I like about this deck is that every piece functions so well together. Every time we sacrifice something on our board, we get something equal or greater out of it with the number of payoffs. It's not uncommon to pop one Food token and see several triggers from multiple sources enter the stack all at once. Once the engine comes together, it's not easy to put a stop to it.

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