Monday, December 7, 2009


I've been thinking about Jund a ton lately, and although all my thoughts rest on that deck. I mean, I also don't want to give anything away at the moment. And everyone is tired of hearing about Jund, I hope. So let's talk about something way more interesting. Control?

4x Glacial Fortress
4x Sejiri Refuge
3x Island
3x Plains
2x Mountain
3x Arid Mesa
3x Scalding Tarn
2x Crumbling Necropolis
2x Jungle Shrine

3x Sphinx of Jwar Isle
1x Obelisk of Alara

4x Day of Judgment
4x Courier's Capsule
3x Mind Spring
4x Path to Exile
4x Lightning Bolt
1x Swerve
1x Essence Scatter
2x Flashfreeze
4x Ajani Vengeant (MVP)
2x Elspeth, Knight-Errant
1x Chandra Nalaar

2x Swerve
2x Essence Scatter
1x Flashfreeze
3x Celestial Purge
1x Pithing Needle
3x Banefire
3x Earthquake

This is Stan Bessey's list, Idaho state champion and man who Top-16'ed it at GP Seattle-Tacoma. He's a member of Team Deckbuilders, and one of the better players I've been able to meet along my journeys. He rocked Jund at the GP, but he's switched from the Dark Side, as it were.

Man I really wish MTGGathererBot would come here and cardlink all my cards. Google Wave is so sweet.

Yeah, I like this list a lot. More so than Wall of Denial.dec that the Austrians were playing at Worlds.

The first thing is the manabase. It's nice how he avoided Rupture Spires completely by using some Shards trip lands as ETBT duals. Gives him a total of 8 ETBT lands (and 4 maybe-ETBTs in Glacial Fortress) which is reasonable for a control deck.

The next thing is Courier's Capsule. I actually have, recently, been considering Divination as a playable card in Standard. Because Jace will die. One way or another. And you want cards, not a fog/target for removal/3-for-1 with Blightning. But Divination is still not playable because it's a sorcery speed, three mana costing spell. And I think under most reasonable circumstances you never want to tap out on turn 3. Ever. Courier's Capsule may need one more mana investment but it comes down early enough when you're on the play that you can just set it down and let it sit there until you need to crack it. At the end of your opponent's turn, even. So it's... like, almost an instant.

This deck just has enough card advantage that it looks like a legitimate control deck.

The random Swerve is fun. It's a card that will randomly screw your opponent over so bad he can't recover, which is a good card to have just one of. For shits and giggles. It gets Blightning, Mind Sludge, Duress, Naya Charm, and Time Warp. Most of the time, it's probably more like a Negate or Hindering Light, as you can protect yourself or your permanents by Swerving away removal or a counterspell.

Against Jund I still like Double Negative however. Since you want to minimize the number of 2-for-1s they're getting on you. Swerve allows you to get your own 2-for-1s, and Double Negative stops them from getting theirs. Which over time, should add up to your winning out in Card Advantage. (That's.... the theory anyway.)

The single Obelisk of Alara is great. The card gives you a lot of options and sometimes swinging with a Sphinx is not the best way to win. Obelisk is multipurpose -- helps you stabilize and helps you deal damage. You can even opt to use every ability given you have the Shards lands out. The green one might even be relevant sometimes! On an Elspeth token.

The sideboard is a little odd, and I can't necessarily explain it. I can only assume there were meta calls Stan had to make for his States. And presumably he made the right calls. 'Cause he won.

It's unfortunate how not cheap to build this is, but at least it doesn't have Baneslayers.