3/18/2010 TD: "Believe It or Not, a Defense of Jund"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Top Decks, which goes live Thursday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Why is your Deadguy Red decklist actually a UG control deck?

Deadguy Red:


You'd be on 18 at the beginning of the Red Deck's turn three, at which point it would produce a Ball Lightning and attack you for, say, 11. Even with resistance you'd usually be dead at this point because there was this card Fireblast in the format, and the Red Deck played four copies


A lot of players will argue that Rishadan Port (as played in the aforementioned Fires of Yavimaya deck) is the most reviled single card in the history of Magic, but I think that the height of the Deadguy Red deck in Standard—in particular the Mogg Flunkies decks—marked the low point of skill vs. reward in tournament Magic, simply because of the speed of the cards the Red Deck could play crossed with the sometimes-inconsistency of a card like Mogg Flunkies.


Say your third land was a Wasteland (or you didn't have a third land, which could happen), and the opponent Shocked your Jackal Pup. Not only would you, yourself, take 2, but your Mogg Flunkies would be stuck at home. Basically a Time Walk in favor of the opponent; it was never clear that there was a good reason to subject yourself to this potential draw disadvantage. Some players look down on the skill level of Jund card choices for the same reason, every time they witness an aborted cascade attempt (but the two are not at all similar).



Decklist:
7 Forest
9 Island
3 Reflecting Pool
4 Skyshroud Forest
3 Spike Weaver
3 Spike Feeder
4 Tradewind Rider
4 Wall of Blossoms
3 Awakening
3 Capsize
3 Counterspell
4 Forbid
4 Legacy's Allure
4 Propaganda
3 Whispers of the Muse
Sideboard:
4 Chill
1 Counterspell
2 Silver Wyvern
2 Thalakos Deciever
3 Torture chamber
3 Tranquility







If that's "Deadguy RED, with Wasteland, Rishidan Port, Jackal Pup, Mogg Flunkies, and Ball Lightning, I'll eat a hat.
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WHAT DID YOU THINK WAS GOING TO HAPPEN?
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Tight Sight 2010 Dralnu Fog Extended Knights Kor Dad Bolas Ramp
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57070368 wrote:
58280208 wrote:
Even metallix is gone now.
I'm right here.
Yeah... thats a pretty large mistake though it would probably be easy for it to happen. Randomly click on the wrong deck file to load.

But I do really like that list
Grow old or die trying.
This article must be a joke.

Where's the real article, guys?

Waiting on the non-absurd version of the article.

Any minute now...
*hugs article*

I love a good villain, esp when other ppl love them too!
I agree that jund is perfectly beatable but I wouldn't call it harder to play than faries.
Jund is fair. It's really good, and allows for some wiggle room in play quality, but it is fair. Like any other deck worth playing, it rewards play skill. It's just that this point is more subtle because of all the flashy goodness of Jund. I know people are bored with it, but it could be worse. My FNM had 8 arguably tier-1 decks tonight (its not actually FNM, we play standard wed and draft Fri) and a couple randoms. 8 playable decks that players with access to whatever they need felt were worth playing. That's not a terrible meta. Also, to be fair, I win a lot and I play Jund. 

I think the problem isn't so much that Jund is amazing.


In my personal opinion, it is just that anything else that is interesting to play, loses to Jund.


I usually am a concept player, almost theme. I like tribal stuff, or stuff that sits along a mechanic. So I'm not always 'tier 1' focused.


But even when I try to think of things that should fight Jund off. The decks just sound boring to play. There are also decks that people KNOW have a good match up against Jund, but they tend to be equally boring, but those are the ones that manage to make it to the top 8s alongside Jund.

Here's my issue with this article: I didn't start playing until Odyssey, so the only two boogeymans I saw were Affinity and Faeries, so I can only say things about these decks.
Now, lets look at those two decks. One had its entire core BANNED in standard, whereas the other was only good because of really only three or four cards (Cryptic, Mistbind, Bitterblossom are really the only ones that make a huge deal)
Jund on the other hand, is incredibly cheap, there are only two or three cards in Jund that ARE NOT star cards, and those are often swapped out among the decks, and I personally feel that Jund could beat faeries (not sure though)
Oh, and as for reactions to the decks? When Darksteel came out and Affinity became popular, I stopped playing standard and buying any magic cards until Guildpact came out. As for Faeries, the deck only had a few months of serious popularity where I play until 5cc entered its hayday.
Thankfully, not many people where I play use Jund, because of the reasons that people don't like it.
Its a stupidly simple deck that anybody can play decently just because the cards scream "Hey, play us in numerical order!" Sure, there are times where you can't do that, but that is what divides playing it decently and playing it well. The trick is though, even if you don't play it well, Jund still has the chance to win a majority of its games. The first time I played Jund was with a friend's suboptimal version a while back, and I was able to go pretty much unstopped even though I had no clue how to play half the cards (for example, using malestrom pulse to kill creatures because I thought it could only hit creatures >.>)

There's no need to defend Jund, and I don't understand why there's been so much of it going on recently on behalf of the dailymtg.com crew. Its getting old.

(at)MrEnglish22

Your article title is a blatant lie, that entire article boils down to "But.. but... Jund isn't that bad! Really! Look how broken Affinity was!"

People are aware Jund can be beaten. People are even aware of effective methods to beat Jund. You don't need to reassure people of that.

The problem with Jund is that it can win games it has no business winning with a lucky cascade. Even decks specifically designed to beat Jund, with maindeck hate against it can still randomly lose because their opponent flips enough Bloodbraids, Blightnings, and Pulses to blow their opponent out. A topdecked Bloodbraid is one of the most powerful draws in the game right now, and that's ridiculous. 

Your scenario is ridiculous as well. When are you going to have two cards in hand and nothing on the board by turn 3? After a mull to 4? Yeah, a Jund deck can still pressure its opponent after a mull to 4. Now that's fun to play against. And even if the scenario were likely, the Control player still wouldn't play a Jace after the blightning, because you could quite easily be gripping a Bloodbraid - completely blowing them if you flip into a second Blightning. Even in your scenario in which the Jund player somehow has two cards left and an empty board on the third turn, they can still blitz their opponent with one card.

Jund is beatable. Jund isn't comparable to Affinity or Faeries. That's not what people hate about it. They hate the fact Jund wins games it should not be winning, even when piloted by someone terrible. 

The reason I hate Jund is not because it's unbeatable.  It's because it's caused the format to stagnate.  With the exception of 1 major tournament since Zendikar was released (by the way, that's almost 8 months ago for those counting), Jund has presented more decks per tournament than the next TWO major archetypes COMBINED.  Before WWK, it used to present more than the next FIVE archetypes combined.  Pre-WWK, it made up roughly 35-40% of the field at every tournament it was at (ok, maybe 33-37%, call me a liar for 2%), whereas Affinity and Faeries, broken as they were, only ever made up about 35% at the top of their popularity, and didn't even do it regularly.

The problem isn't that Jund's good or that it's winning everything.  Good players with good decks should win.  I'm just tired of every feature match at every tournament for the past 8 months being the Jund mirror.  I get it.  The curve is Putrid Leech-Sprouting Thrinax-Bloodbraid Elf, the player who hiccups loses, and in case of a tie, the better cascades win.  We've all heard it already.  Now get on with it and cover more interesting matches.

Standard is boring and it's stagnating because nothing beats Jund and nothing's going to beat Jund.

Additionally, as others have said, that proposed scenario with the Blightning and Borderland Ranger is ridiculous.  There was no turn 2 Leech, meaning there's still 6 cards in hand (7 before tha land drop).  There are 4 cards other than those 2 mentioned, none of which are Putrid Leech, meaning they have to be either removal or higher drops.  Bloodbraid Elf into Blightning does just as good a job of Jace removal as just good old Blightning, as does Elf into Maelstrom Pulse or Bolt.  The question asked in the article is just prepostrous, as that situation will never occur.

As for the skill level required by Jund, here's just a note: A friend of mine picked up Jund about a month ago, having never played or watched a game of Standard in his life.  All he knew about the format was "Jund's the best, play Jund and you'll win.".  He didn't even know how to play the deck.  He's now 11-1 in rounds over the last 3 weeks of FNM.  With absolutely no training, practise, or anything, he managed to go 4-0, 4-0, and 3-1 over the last 3 weeks.  He's a good player, but even a good player can only go so far with no experience.  Jund is just that ridiculous.

Jund is quite mindless, that's the number 1 complaint I get from its pilots.

I'm tired of playing against it and it takes up such a large % of the field that it makes Standard very stale. Yeah it isn't as powerful as Faeries or Affinity... but it is significantly more powerful than just about any other deck in the format and has the numbers to reinforce this.

I even hate admitting that, but it is true.

Jund has created a rather stale and un-fun standard.

Grixis beats jund but there is more jund player out so the numbers are weird.

Incin Incin Fireblast Fireblast.  Man…I miss those days.

Sorry, it's very difficult to take anything you say seriously when you claim Faeries was a mindless deck.  I don't even disagree with the premise that Jund is not actually the worst thing in tournament magic ever...but jeez.  I'd better go tell PV that his world class skill with Faeries was actually a minor advantage in a luck-based deck...who knew?

I mean, complaining that Volcanic Fallout sometimes didn't completely blowout the Fae player...It's a three mana spell, and while there was a worst case scenario, it was generally incredibly effective.

Is Jund broken because Great Sable Stag (or some other abortive pro color attempt at hosing the deck) doesn't always win the game on its own against it?  If we're looking at resistance to "silver bullets"...remind me of the silver bullet that hoses the entire Jund deck?  If there's a comparison here, it's as evidence for the opposite of your argument.

the thing about cascade is that while it can be kind of swingy it's no different than a topdecked lightning helix or anything else off the top. A "lucky" cascade is no different than someone hitting 2+ lands off the top on a turn treasure hunt. I think we all agree that jund is a boogeyman in the format but you're fooling yourself if you think that it is somehow worse than the boogeymen of the past.

Don't be too smart to have fun

the thing about cascade is that while it can be kind of swingy it's no different than a topdecked lightning helix or anything else off the top. A "lucky" cascade is no different than someone hitting 2+ lands off the top on a turn treasure hunt. I think we all agree that jund is a boogeyman in the format but you're fooling yourself if you think that it is somehow worse than the boogeymen of the past.




Sorry, I don't agree with this.  Topdecks have always been in the game.  The difference with cascade is that you "topdeck" a combination of cards.  You topdecked several spells by playing one card.  And these are mostly spells that affect the board.  Like Bloodbraid into Pulse.  Or Bloodbraid into Thrinax.  Jund is full of cardadvantage.  Regular topdecks are not.  And the difference with your Treasure Hunt example, is that you draw lands.  Yes, it's cardadvantage, but it doesn't affect the board, and they are mostly not threats.  It doesn't change the game like a Bloodbraid can.  Or like a chain of Blast into Bloodbraid into Blightning.  Oh look, I just topdecked 3 spells. ;)
In my mind, I see Wizards brass panicking over the Jund-infested field claiming 6 out of the top 8 in Kuala Lumpur.  "How can we downplay this?" they frantically ask.  "I know, let's make the headline read 'Jund is Dead'".  "Brilliant!  But what if the readers actually notice how much Jund there is?"  "Let's have Flores write an article about how total infestation of Jund isn't that bad, because hey, at least it's not Affinity."  "Brilliant!"
Faeries was worse, but that doesn't make Jund good.

It is nice that the dominant deck is pretty cheap.  Only Maelstrom Pulse is really necessary, and hard to complain about considering the Jace & Baneslayer decks that want to beat it.

One of the things to dislike though is that it's pretty hard to answer.  Celestial Purge removes Sprouting Thrinax, yeah, with nothing left behind.  But it's less efficient counteracting BloodBraid and is worthless against Master of the Wild Hunt.  Jund is so non-linear in it's play (while yet a lot of the cards do suggest each other color-wise) that it's hard to fight.  I can use lifegain to fight a burn deck or cheap threat to slip under a counter-wall.  How do you fight a deck that gets card advantage from 5 different angles?

Again, Faeries was worse.  It was maddening trying to guess whether to play around Spellstutter Sprite, Cryptic Command, or Mistbind Clique, all the while Bitterblossom is ticking away.  The different angles there were pretty nasty too.  But again, Faeries being bad doesn't make Jund OK.

And Fires I don't think is the same at all.  If you remove their Fires of Yavimaya, or they just didn't draw one, now they're playing a slow G/R midrange deck.  The deck was good for what it was but you at least had an angle to fight it.  Ditto for Affinity.  Nasty fast, but you knew artifact hate would be useful. 

Jund can be beaten, I'm not claiming otherwise.  But for a casual or rogue designer looking at beating the deck, it's pretty hard to find an Achilles Heel.

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Huh.. am I the only one who agrees with Flores?

I think the general takeaway from studying Magic history and looking at things with perspective is that there's almost always a "deck to beat".  And there's always people complaining about that deck, or about "stagnation". 

People seem to want a perfectly balanced metagame where you have multiple strong decks.. I would point to Extended before Thopter Foundry/Dark Depths.  The problem is that given enough time to optimize each deck, people will eventually figure out the most powerful option.   The "perfectly balanced metagame" is a dream that only exists during times of upheaval (block rotations).

Flores wins +10 interenets for being a Dean Malenko fan. 

End discussion.
Huh.. am I the only one who agrees with Flores?

I think the general takeaway from studying Magic history and looking at things with perspective is that there's almost always a "deck to beat".  And there's always people complaining about that deck, or about "stagnation". 

People seem to want a perfectly balanced metagame where you have multiple strong decks.. I would point to Extended before Thopter Foundry/Dark Depths.  The problem is that given enough time to optimize each deck, people will eventually figure out the most powerful option.   The "perfectly balanced metagame" is a dream that only exists during times of upheaval (block rotations).





yes, I would like ALL type 2 decks to be able to compete evenly. If they're not that's just bad playtesting IMHO..
in Extended you can't have that because there are too many combinations of cards which you can't foresee.

affinity was bad from the getgo, it wasn't some weird combo from weird cards that somehow interacted with cards from different sets.
that wasn't the worst thing, it was that the anti-artifact cards only came the block after that... 

talking about boring has anybody played vs. exalted decks ?! those are mind-numingly boring..

type 2(tribal) has been boring most of the time, I dread to see what happens when Shards-block rotates..
Huh.. am I the only one who agrees with Flores?

I think the general takeaway from studying Magic history and looking at things with perspective is that there's almost always a "deck to beat".  And there's always people complaining about that deck, or about "stagnation". 

People seem to want a perfectly balanced metagame where you have multiple strong decks.. I would point to Extended before Thopter Foundry/Dark Depths.  The problem is that given enough time to optimize each deck, people will eventually figure out the most powerful option.   The "perfectly balanced metagame" is a dream that only exists during times of upheaval (block rotations).




Quoted for untruth.

The problem with Jund is not that it's a deck to beat. I mean you said it, every standard has decks to beat.

Jund is by all means beatable and there's tons of decks out there that have at least decent chances agains it.

No, the problem with Jund is that it's imposible to consistently beat it and have the slightest chances against everything else. All the while Jund doesn't make the slightest effort to have good chances against every other archetype in the current meta.

The reason is because the deck is designed in such a way that even if you completely hate it out, it can still make a comeback with a disrupting cascade or a cascade that puts you on the good end of the board possition.

I personally think that Blightning, Putrid Leech and Maelstrom Pulse are ok. The broken card is BBE and I think it's not even close. A BBE-less Jund deck loses at least half of it's power.

Anyway, this stagnates the meta because Jund is not just the most popular deck; it's the strongest deck without any doubts.

The situation in Extended for example is different, because even if Thopter Depths decks are the decks to beat, that doesn't make them the strongest, only the most popular.

There are tons of Archetypes that can be played which are really strong and many more that are being developed. I believe that makes for a really healthy metagame.

Plus, even if Thopter Depths is the most played archetype, its preatty easy to hate it out. You don't need a whole deck centered on that, and thus you have more chances against everything else.
Flores wins +10 interenets for being a Dean Malenko fan. 

End discussion.



Not quite, since it has to be ended that Dean's best stuff match was in ECW so if he never liked Dean as much again in Turner wrestling he should check out his Eddie match when they left Philly.
Comics Magic #$%! - a sfw blog (at least, there's no nudity!) The blazekite is a simple concept, really - just a vehicular application of dragscoop ionics and electropropulsion magnetronics. Idiot.
Generally I'm a big fan of Mike Flores both on and off this site but I'm really not a fan of this article. I've been playing for several years, play semi-competitively and while I'm not part of the big tournament scene anymore I have several friends who are 'competitors' currently.  I'm a mature player (30 years old) so I feel like I have a bit of perspective about the game even though I wasn't around when' Affinity' and 'Fires' were out.  I did play through Lorwyn though so I'm intimately familiar with Faeries.

I think a deck becomes a 'boogie-man' when people get a certain feeling from loosing to it.  When a deck consistently feels 'un-fair' it's absolutely no fun to play against and we start to vilify it.  You basically feel like the other player is cheating but in a way that is allowed by the rules and so your frustrations seem unfounded and you are a 'whiner'.  It feels like the 'bad-guy deck' found some loop hole in the structure of the game and are taking advantage of it in a way that you, the 'fun' player wouldn't BUT you can't really complain because Wizards created those cards and they know what they are doing right?

Well I do think by and large that the R&D team know what they are doing but part of that knowing is the realization that HAVE to keep pushing the envelope to keep players coming back for more.  We shouldn't be surprised that there's constantly broken things happening, the R&D team is skirting a fine line all the time.  This isn't to excuse them from making mistakes and I for one was very very gratified when one of the WOTC team apologized for making Bitterblosom and (I think) the Vivid Land/Reflecting Pool cards as they did.  Accepting a mistakes goes a long way to rectifying it in my opinion.

This article though, is the exact opposite of that.  It's like a dog caught peeing in your house who just wags it's tail and keep doing it saying, "don't worry about it, it's fiiiiiiiiiine."  I really do think that the power that they gave specifically to Bloodbraid Elf was a mistake.  I think giving it Haste is what pushed it over the top, without Haste it would feel like a powerful card but much less 'unfair.'  So it's an example of pushing the envelope.  They did great getting right up to the line but I think they put a toe over just a bit too far.

This article seem to be saying, "Hey look at these broken decks, these decks are BAH-RO-KEN!"  In comparison Jund is nothing!  This is childish and totally unhelpful for the thousands of players who are frustrated in their gaming experience.  Instead, it would be helpful to look at these decks as examples of where R&D did a GREAT job at pushing the envelope but just went a bit too far.

I have a bit more to say but that's the crux of my post if you're done reading....

I love building decks, love it.  To me it's the best part of the game.  You can imagine my frustration then when my options in constructing a deck that's meant for general competitive play  are severally limited because every deck I make folds to Jund.  Or if it beats Jund it's so narrowly focussed to do that, that it folds to most of the other decks.  Sure, my deck building skills may not be A+ but they certainly aren't bad.  Standard is the entry level format for local competitive play - which is the heart and sole of the Magic franchise.  When my choice as a deck builder and player are severely limited because of an over dominant deck my overall fun level is GREATLY diminished.  

One of the things that keep Magic going year after year after year is that it allows people to express themselves within the framework of the game.  If I like combo I play combo, if I like green I play green, if I like convoluted decks that recur creatures from the graveyard and accrue incremental advantages I do that.  WOTC job is to allow as many players as possible to express their 'Here I Rule' slogan at the tables of their local gaming shop.  When a deck like Jund exists it stymies that expression in a big way.  What is a bully but someone who dominates you and doesn't allow you to freely be who you are?  I think there's a reason why we use the metaphor of 'bully' and 'boogie-man' when we talk about dominant decks.  They make us feel the same way - limited in our expression and creativity.

People talk a lot about the Kamigawa/Ravnica Standard as a great, great, great time to be a Standard player because of the diversity of decks available.  That's what I've heard over and over and over again.  If that's what players seemed to love - and we know from polls that Ravnica is the fan favorite set - then I think WOTC should go back and see what made that format so exciting for people.

Specifically about Jund:  After playing against Jund A LOT here's my personal feeling as to why it feels so 'un-fun' to loose to - Since loosing can sometimes be fun if the game is interesting and go back and forth.  I've had dozens of matches where I've had the Jund player on the ropes and am simply on the beat-down path to victory taking out chunks of their life-total 8 at a time.  After years of playing this is the time when you know you are going to win, I mean what can they do with 1 card in hand and a loosing board position?  Well historically they could top-deck a Wrath let's say and blow me out.  But then we'd both be top-decking and that seems fair because we're 1 for 1ing each other.  BUT Jund's top-decks are like 5 cards in value.  If I'm in the above position - two turns away from winning - and the Jund player goes Bloobraid Elf into Maelstrom Pulse or Bit. Blast into Terminate they often turn the game from their loosing to their dominating with ONE SINGLE PLAY! If that play was Cruel Ultimatum I'm not so upset because it cost 7 specific mana.  But they paid 4 mana, 1 card and got SO MUCH VALUE as to seem totally lopsided.  

Jund is the only deck that can jump from 2 turns behind to 1 turn ahead with a single play - THAT is a mistake.  If counterspells and land-destruction are un-fun because they don't allow you actually 'play' then Jund is un-fun because they don't allow you 'win' when it's all but decided.  
Neither faeries nor affinity at it's height was ever close to 40% attendance! The reason that jund is not driving tournament numbers down as affinity did is probably because it is easier to play and just get lucky, as such more people feel that they can compete rather than always losing to the good players with faeries or affinity. The fact that it doesn't drive tournament attendance down does not change that it is the most formatwarping deck in history and it is also unfun(although i guess fun is very subjective, so it is not a very good argument). 
Look, article was funny and all but in all seriousness I saw the lists and while I didn't play against Fae I saw the strength diminish as I scrolled down. Magic is not filled with as strong cards as it once was, Fires would eat Jund as would any of the other above lists but why is it the best in standard or the most played? The cards in the format are weak and Jund helps make that case clear even more. I'm pretty sure that Affinity would crush the entire competition, but in all fairness it is the  strongest decklist posted.

Look WotC, don't print $h!t cards with high mana cost and people will play a little more away from dumb and easy decks. Please. I can understand RoE probably gonna start with lowest CC cards being 4 mana but after that please cut it down. 
it really, really irritates me when decks are named like that. "43 land blue?" there is a single playset of a single blue card in the whole deck, including the sideboard. there are some lands with blue activation costs, but then there are other lands with red, green, etc activation costs. there are three times as many green cards in the deck.

if intuition is the crux of the deck, just call it 43 land intuition. it's a deck that hinges strongly on green to win, so 43 land blue is just a stupid, stupid name.
Cascade was a poorly-playtested, luck-based mechanic which is now wreaking havoc on the type 2 tournament scene. Telling us that things aren't quite as bad as they were during the reign of the two most broken decks in recent memory is not exactly a ringing endorsement of the current metagame.

The way Jund operates kind of reminds me of Necropotence decks, but without the skill.
"Make people wait for what they want, and you have power over them. This is as true for merchants and militia as it is for cooks and couples." —Gwendlyn Di Corci
OMG. Something's wrong. I actually agree with Mike Flores. ;)
Manaug.gif | Manawu.gif | Manau.gif | Manaub.gif | Manaur.gif
I couldn't bear to read anymore after Flores claimed that Fae required no skill to play.  Is he playing the same game we are?
Wizards ate my account that needed no sig, so I guess I need one now.
I completely agree with the other posters who said that the problem with standard right now is Bloodbraid Elf.  I don't care about any of the other cards because- even if a card like Blightning can be very strong, it's still "fair."  Wizards made a mistake in printing BBE.  They refuse to learn their lesson that free-spell mechanics (like affinity) will always end up dominating the metagame and will frustrate players. 
So, they're telling us "Look, Jund is less broken than Affinity. We'll closer to getting non-dominating free spell mechanics."

And on the day of the Arcana Announcement too...
I kind of agree with Flores, but there's more bullet points in this "jund question". You see, I'm an old player who returned to Magic right after Zendikar was released. Before this my last tournaments were a PTQ for Columbus in 2003, (which I won playing Affinity but didn't attend it because the organization wouldn't pay the trip...) and the pre-release for Champions of Kamigawa. Back then, every one of my team friends were heavily disgusted with the game state, claiming that affinity was one of the worst things that could possibly happen to it. We all faded into retirement, one after one - even me, who could easily have created some kind of affinity (no pun intended..) to the deck that led me to my best results so far.

So, yes... I believe there were much greater problems at other times. I've witnessed the Urza's block crysis and the Mirrodin block crysis. Jund is nothing but a good rock deck, with a lot of excelent cards reunited on the same time frame.

However, I believe greater problems are limiting the metagame we find on our tournaments. If you search around the internet (and playtest with good players) you'd know that there good alternatives to jund - and I don't mean anti-jund decks. Decks like UW, Naya, White Weenie, RDW or even Junk, are all great decks, with individuality, that can give the Jund player a hell of a fight. Problem is, there are key cards in some of the beforementioned decks that have an absolutely proibitive price point. One can make almost an entire Jund deck for the price of a Baneslayer Angel set! Currently, the second most expensive card in standard is Jace, The Mind Sculptor. And the next one is Elspeth... You see where I'm getting. If those decks could outperform clearly Jund, one would invest in those cards with much more confidence, because I don't know about you guys, but I'd like to see a clear return if I spent +$50 in a single card, as in Top8 at every FNM, regionals, GPTs I'd participate - at the very least.

So, the situation in here requires a cold analysis by the player that seeks results. This kind of competitive players always have in mind this ratio of return/investment, and they'll always want the return to be at least the same as the investment, on the long run. Investing on Baneslayers/Jaces/Elspeths (cards that are on the same league of Jund's best ones) would be easier if
a) Those decks could clearly outperform Jund
b) Those cards would be at the same price point of Jund's.

The negation of point b) is the starting point of my theory and point a is negated by the results that we can witness of the biggest tournaments where those beforementioned contender decks can only match (or surpass very slightly) Jund in win percentage.

There's a reason why out of all that decks (excluding RDW) Naya became very played recently in Magic Online. The perfect build would have (IMO) 3 Baneslayer Angels in the 75, but the deck is already good without it. And it's much closer to Jund's price point than, let's say a UW Control deck, or a deck with 4 angels.

To sum this up, let me just say that I came back to semi-pro play level with my team about 4-5 months ago, and we already have several playsets of the key cards of Standard, except for Baneslayer and Jaces, where the risk involved in their purchase is much higher than it is on cards like Maelstrom Pulse (the most expensive card in Jund). I think that says a lot...
In my mind, I see Wizards brass panicking over the Jund-infested field claiming 6 out of the top 8 in Kuala Lumpur.  "How can we downplay this?" they frantically ask.  "I know, let's make the headline read 'Jund is Dead'".  "Brilliant!  But what if the readers actually notice how much Jund there is?"  "Let's have Flores write an article about how total infestation of Jund isn't that bad, because hey, at least it's not Affinity."  "Brilliant!"


You've got it!

Even with WWk out - the second part of Zendikar - still the "old" Shard rules... must be another R&D nightmare for praising & selling the new edition. How could you write articles about the cool new options with Worldwake, when every new option, every new deck design will be beaten/devoured by a Jund deck.

I mean, how do R&D test a new edition, if mistakes like Faeries & Affinity happen???

Affinity - the most broken cards came with the second part of Mirrodin - Dark Steel. (Ravager, Veil, Skullclamp). So a maximum of 165 new cards that should be playtested and balanced with cards from Mirrodin... an impossible job for R&D!

..." ChangeBigCard(1, 'Saproling_Burst') " href="...:autoCardWindow('Saproling_Burst')">Saproling Burst - Even without the support of fires, it creates 3x 4/4 tokens for cmc 5. Even if these token get weaker each turn, it's clearly overpowered. And of course it's too much for R&D to assume that some combintions could be ruinous. Even without haste, a Pandemonium could create a total of 21 damage.

Faeries - I believe R&D hadn't noticed, that champion and tribal enchantments did create a new combination. And everyone - except R&D - knew that Bitterblossom's evasive token would impact hard. Even without faerie support, this card was a typical finishing card for a pure counter deck. If you can replace some counterspells for better options (mistbind clique reads "target player can't play spells this turn and kicks ass severly"), feel free to put in 4.

But the true reason, why I can't feel any sympathy with the all the whining and all the false excuses, is because the typical way of R&D to shape the gameplay is by broken cards.

Lets say, R&D feels the lack of white decks in the current metagame, you can expect a broken white card that tries to attend players to give white a try.

With Ravnica, they created broken elves to support green. Green was dominant, so they added a broken black card named bitterblossom to balance things in favor of blue/black, but they overdone it and shadowmoor and Shadowmoor couldn't fix it, so they added some other overpowered cards (Volcanic Fallout and Scattershot Archer) to end the domination... but they failed.

With all the elves and fae, white decks and - even more red - decks suffered... The shards didn't seem to end the mess, although they printed Battlegrace Angel. The best deck was a "I play no cards beside one specific Ultimatum and all the destruction/disruption cards I can get. So 'say hello' to Lightning Bolt and Ball Lightning. But another mistake... ..." ChangeBigCard(6, 'Bloodbraid_Elf') " href="...:autoCardWindow('Bloodbraid_Elf')">Bloodbraid Elf. You can't get a 3/3 for 4 with 'draw a card', but R&D believes it's perfectly balanced to print a 3/2 haste creature that PLAYS an additional card for FREE.

But wait... you can combine Broodbraid Elf with Ball Lightning & Thunder Elemental... Let"s see, if Borderland Ranger + Broodmate Dragon will survive any longer...

And now I shall believe that it's not that bad, because R&D has made other, bigger mistakes and didn't learn a thing??? It's more like "wait until we fix it with other broken cards in the next block, we know that it's nearly as bad as Affinity".

Mana cost calculation is out... long lives "balanced by the next block".

So I can't await the next broken blue cards....

Cheza


PS: I've waited so long for the fetchlands to cycle out... to end the multicolor-without-drawback stupidness, but R&D seems so dependant that they even printed new one... including landfall stupidness.
I Baneslayer Angel  If those decks could outperform clearly Jund, one would invest in those cards with much more confidence, because I don't know about you guys, but I'd like to see a clear return if I spent +$50 in a single card, as in Top8 at every FNM, regionals, GPTs I'd participate - at the very least.



in my experience with baneslayer angels since November I have top 8'd every FNM, States, every GPT I've played in where I put 4 in; including extended.
they were the best borrow I ever made and live up to the hype
you get to say to jund players "oh I'm so sorry you didn't flip a pulse"
Does Mike actually believe that the "problem" with Jund is the Blightnings or is he just intentionally setting up the straw man here?  Seriously, the problem is cascade.  In particular, Bloodbraid Elf.  Blightning is a great card and doesn't deserve any hate.  Free spells are always going to be a bad idea.
Cascade was a poorly-playtested, luck-based mechanic which is now wreaking havoc on the type 2 tournament scene.

I disagree, somewhat.
Cascade's "problem" is just a rather extreme occurrence of the same problem Morph had: Most of the cards with Cascade are garbage, except for that one that's really good.
I came back to playing magic about 14 months ago after taking about 3 years off.  I left at the beginning of Kamigawa block (not because of affinity but personal reasons) and then came back between the releases of Eventide and Shards.  Before my break, I had been playing competitively in Standard, Extended and Block since the release of Urza's Legacy, just after Academy season thankfully.  (why doesnt anyone call that 'Blue Summer' like Necro's dominance was called the 'Black Summer')

Firstly, I think Flores's depiction of Fires here is a little narrow.  I remember standard then to be quite diversified.  Yes, in a vacuum Bird into Fires into Blastoderm into Saproling Burst would always be game over, but we don't play in a vacuum do we.  At that time there were several decks that were adequately prepared maindeck for that procession of cards.  Flores mentioned U/W control so I won't go into detail although it was my deck of choice then.  Mono-blue Skies had Daze, Foil, Thwart and cheap enough creatures that they could race Fires.  Rebels and counter Rebels could often make a guy every turn with Ramosian Sargeant/Lin Sivvi to block Blastoderm and also both a multitude of enchantment kill to keep the Sap Burst off the table.  There was also mono-red ponza with LD and Tangle Wire.  Netherhaups sporting both Jokulhaups and Obliterate had a very good game against fires.  The same was true for the other Nether Spirit deck which was U/B control.    There's 9 decks that had a good game against this 'deck to beat' and none of them had an auto-loss to the rest of the field.  Like I said, diverse and dare I say balanced.  I actully found this format quite fun and satisfying as a player.

Second, should I even comment on Affinity?  How all those cards (Vial, Ravager, Clamp, etc) made it through R&D is beyond me.  Why Ravager wasn't banned long before it actually was is, again, beyond me.   I guess it was just another one of those Tolarian Academy style brain farts they have time and again....

Third, I would like to say that Fae was a little overpowered and I'm sure frustrating for many during standard.  It reminded me of INV/ODY standard when U/G madness and 'Tog were the only Tier 1 decks. I wasn't reminded of that format but specifically Fae reminded me of U/G madness.  Cheap threats (or free) with card advantage and countermagic to back it up.  I can't comment about TSP/LOR Fae because I only got to sleeve Fae up a few times toward the end of LOR/ALA when it was already hated by B/W Tokens, mono-white kithkin and R/B Blightning.  From what I've read regarding Standard at that time it seems there were several decks that could beat Fae consistently, from mono-Red to Reveillark combo.

  I switched to U/W Reveillark during last summer's PTQ season because of the hate against Faeries.  I'd take a mostly auto-loss to Fae to be great against the rest of the format.  Which actually turned out to be a decent meta-game format despite being slightly warped by the little blue fliers.  Faeries could be beat consistently though, again, without the deck good against it being weak against the rest of the field.  B/W tokens made many T8's as did 5CC, Reveillark, G/W Tokens, Blightning, CascadeSwans, mono-green elves and mono-black elves.  Everyone of those had game against Fae or could beat everything but Fae.  I also found this format, once developed, interesting and fun.

Lastly, Jund... Ok, not nearly as bad as Affinity, but how many decks ever were worse than Affinity? Only two I can think of, Academy and Necro.  In my opinion Jund is waay worse than Fae or Fires.  It's worse than U/G Madness or 'Tog.  I don't even think extended Illusions/Donate before Necro got banned was as bad as Jund.  3Deuce and Land Grant Sligh beat Donate consistently at least.  You either played a deck that beat Donate, you played Donate, or you played something that beat 3Deuce and Land Grant Sligh.  What beats Jund consistently?  You might say Spread 'em, but I don't believe it's that consistent and it loses to everything else in the format.  Naya can't beat Jund consistently although it's probably second closest.  U/W has game but again, not even close to an auto-win.  WW, Boros/Koros and RDW are fast enough to close the game before Jund gains too much of an advantage, but if they have even one hiccup (oops I didn't draw my steppe lynx) they're dead too.  I've been playing 16 land WW since February and I can't count the number of times Bloodbraid into any of Pulse/Bolt/Terminate has caught them back up. Even Bloodbraid into Blightning or Thrinax can be a backbreaker at certain times because now I've either discarded my Braves/Paths/Harm's Ways or they can block for several turns until they get Seige-gang or Broodmate.  The card advantage Jund creates without actually drawing any extra cards is silly. 

Look how warped the format has become because of Jund.  Two 4 slots in one deck are devoted to turning lands into Islands. When else would this be a viable main deck strategy or even out of the 'board?   Two other decks are creatureless (or as good as in the case of Wall/Sphinx/singleton Iona) because Bloodbraid into removal is often "good game."  The last option that's been very marginally successful against Jund is to play as many creatures as possible as fast as possible and hope it gets there (Eldrazi, WW, RDW, Bushwhacker)  One past method that some have used to success at getting past "unfair" decks is to ignore it and beat everything that beats it.  It's not even remotely possible to do that in this format because it is such a large part of the field.  As an example, a friend of mine T8'd at the Star City 5k in Indianapolis last weekend.  He was playing Jund and played against Jund 7 different times in 11 rounds including the T8.

Jund isn't 65% of the field because people like playing those colors or because Sprouting Thrinax or Blightning looks cool.  As competitive players the game we play is well beyond that.  It's 65% of the field because every deck has to work to beat Jund.  The margin of victory for any deck vs Jund is at the most with Spread 'em  which probably only wins about 2/3 (think I'm being generous here) of it's games.  Every other deck is barely better than 50-50 against it.

I remember reading in the Duelist magazine back in the day why Zuran Orb was banned.  It wasn't because Zuran Orb won any games by itself or combo'd with another card to gain a win.  It was because such a large portion of the field at one specific pro level tournament played it. 

I will be going to several standard PTQ's this summer and hopefully regionals before that (I haven't seen a schedule, but haven't heard of them being cancelled either).  I hope Eldrazi shakes things up or all of us will be in for a 'many toothed summer'.
With regards to the legacy deck, would treasure hunt work better than intuition?  That plus manabond seems like it would allow you to drop nearly 10-20 lands in one turn.