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What is Jund Doing in Wilds of Eldraine?


"Jund is one of the five shards of Alara. It is primarily Red-aligned, with Black and Green as secondary colors."

... What is Jund doing in Wilds of Eldraine?

I mean... I guess look at the initial standings?

A Charming Red Deck

This writer is happy to report that the best deck out of the gate of the Wilds of Eldraine is... A Red Deck:

Given the now extremely long life cycles of some of the sets in Standard, it is not surprising to see some of the really long in the tooth tools still sticking around. Bloodthirsty Adversary? She is still hastily buying back Play with Fire and Lightning Strike.

There are, however, two standout cards from Wilds of Eldraine that really distinguish this build:

Charming Scoundrel
Goddric, Cloaked Reveler

Charming Scoundrel is so good I'm surprised that O_danielakos even bothered to play two copies of Feldon, Ronom Excavator in this updated build. Feldon does have some long game attrition value, but his primary function has always been just attacking for two.

With her option for a Wicked Role, Charming Scoundrel can do quite the Feldon impression. Charming Scoundrel can't quite barrel into danger safe in the knowledge that her sacrifice will help topdeck a land or a desperate finishing burn spell... But on the other hand she can actually block. I'm not suggesting you block, as blocking is a bad look in general, particularly with your hasty offensive Red Deck... But you can't argue against the option to block in the rare case that it comes up.

Charming Scoundrel has an even more important (forgive me) role in this deck: She can make a Treasure token.

Um, so what?

If Charming Scoundrel makes a Treasure token that means that you will have had two non-land permanents enter the battlefield. That means that you can turn on Goddric.

Don't get me wrong: Goddric is flabbergasting at rate. A 3/3 with haste for three mana? For Standard power level, Goddric is a quick signing. But the additional ability to switch to Dragon form gives this Red Deck-build an attractive route to finishing the game.

Wisely, O_danielakos built lots of ways to get Goddric online. Squee, Dubious Monarch is the king of setting up his new buddy Goddric! In a sideboarded game, Jaya, Fiery Negotiator is the perfect three-four pairing to our Legendary Human Noble. "Make a Monk" is, nine times out of ten will get you (and Goddric) where you need to be. Conversely, the opponent will be speeding towards the graveyard.

The Engines of Eldraine

Up the Beanstalk

How do you feel about drawing extra cards?

Up the Beanstalk is already seeing play in a variety of decks. I'm picking this one as a showcase not because it's a the most Up the Beanstalk-forward deck there is (I mean come on, one copy; and in the sideboard)... But because of the sick finish.

First of all, Up the Beanstalk replaces itself immediately. Rex_Iudex played twenty-seven lands... But you can kinda sorta shave land depending on playing copies of Up the Beanstalk. Each of them can draw you forward... But what if you had more than one in play?

Mind. Blown. Emoji. Am I right?

Twenty-eight of the thirty-three cards in the Rex_Iudex main deck can actually trigger Up the Beanstalk, at least some of the time. Of course, the beauty of a deck like this is that lots of those cards - Herd Migration, any of the Adventures - can also be played for reasonable amounts of mana early in the game.

Bramble Familiar

Here's another one that is featured in multiple builds already.

As a creature, Bramble Familiar is a passable mana Elf. Not a great mana Elf, but it can get you from two to Lukka, Bound to Ruin ahead of schedule. Where this card becomes interesting is moving into the later turns.

You can discard a card to return Bramble Familiar to your hand... Where it can be played as Fetch Quest. If seven seems like a prohibitive amount of mana to tap... have you seen the mana costs in this deck? You might not be getting exactly 7 mana worth of value, but you will often hit Etali or Atraxa.

Following, you can re-cast Bramble Familiar as Bramble Familiar, and start the chaos all over again. You can theoretically pull this off a number of times but I can't really imagine the game going on for very long if you do.

Mosswood Dreadknight

Adventure is a signature mechanic of Wilds of Eldraine. So, it is not surprising that a lot of the key engine cards in Wilds Standard are the Adventure-some sort. We've looked at some big spells in decks with big casting costs. But what about a mid-range? Mid-range decks need card advantage too!

Dread Whispers is a little inefficient... But Mosswood Dreadknight isn't.

The creature side of the card is great on rate. Mosswood Dreadknight is 3/2 for two and has the most underrated keyword ability! Of course if Mosswood Dreadknight dies, the ability to keep it going from Adventure give you both card advantage and a potential mana sink.

In most Standard formats this would be considered more of a control deck, but I feel like Wilds Standard is already so big already it's essentially middle of the road.

The Best of the Wilds

Virtue of Persistence

So, I'm playing an Arena match the other day. I hadn't updated any decks yet, but I figured that Mono-Blue will be okay. Some of these decks can't beat multiple Counterspells; or defend themselves against multiple Haughty Djinns.

My opponent has 20+, but I have three Haughty Djinns on the table. I don't see how he can win. He doesn't have to.

One Virtue of Persistence Lochthwain Scorn and I no longer had lethal. The Adventure didn't even kill anything! The card was effectively less than a Healing Salve!

In my head, the Blue deck is the Control; making anything else the Beatdown. I didn't really think that life totals made a heck of a lot of difference (especially once I was swinging with multiple Djinns)... But just surviving a turn ended up deciding the game. The big spell Jund decks in this format are so card advantageous that any inch can turn into a mile with a single topdeck.

There is no doubt in my mind right now that Virtue of Persistence is the best card in Wilds of Eldraine. First of all, the defining decks so far seem to be Jund colors; mid-range or Ramp.

Lochtwain Scorn does everything one of those decks wants. They are full of super expensive cards (Virtue of Persistence itself being one)... What they need is time. Time to create distance away from oncoming attackers. Because if they live, they can start tapping seven in a world where other people are tapping three.

The card is widely played... Because of course it is! If all you want is to keep opposing beatdown at bay, this card doesn't do just that. It also nets you life while protecting your life total from next turn's combat. I kind of can't believe it actually exists. In the very recent past if you wanted to play something like a Knockout Blow, you had to make room in your sideboard; and it only worked some of the time against primarily one kind of attacking opponent.

The problem with Virtue of Persistence is that you don't actually have to be all that persistent. Most of the decks where Lochtwain Scorn isn't good themselves kill creatures... Meaning that Virtue of Persistence will often grind them out given a little time.

Here's how one Hall of Famer chose to apply the card:

First of all, this deck is extremely hostile to opposing attackers in general. Leyline Binding; spot removal; sweepers aplenty.

But in a long game, part of the genius of this deck is that it can feed its own Virtue of Persistence. You can Bargain with Beseech the Mirror to make sure there is a creature in your graveyard to grind with. Or you can kill your own guys with Drag to the Bottom. The more the more long-term payoff you get.

Lochtwain Scorn is extremely on-theme here. Because Edel played not only all this removal, but a ton of dedicated life gain the same time. Archangel of Wrath? Check. Atraxa, Grand Unifier? Hope to get a block (or ideally land an attack). The sideboard packs a number of singletons that all gain different amounts of life for different amounts of mana.

If I weren't set on starting with a Charming Scoundrel? This deck would be first on my list to try.



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