Chris VanMeter Changed My Mind

Brad Nelson has given up and succumbed to the almighty beard. In this detailed guide, he tells you how he found his optimal Jund Monsters list and how you can pilot it to victory at #SCGPROV.

I never thought I’d see the day where the infamous “Bearded One” would convince me to play a deck in Standard. Normally I’m just too bullheaded to listen
to anyone but myself. Constantly grinding Daily Event after Daily Event until my theories become reality and my once laughed at idea is ready to prove
everyone wrong. Well, today I stand before you to say that I was wrong this time around; even though I want my crazy ideas to come to fruition, there is
just no amount of sheer will that could change this reality. This reality, of course, is that Jund Monsters is simply too good to ignore.

Chris VanMeter and I never had a conversation about Jund Monsters that ended up convincing me to get on the bandwagon. He merely convinced me by
continuously demonstrating greatness. You see, our storylines could not have been further from each other. While Chris was grinding the Open Series, I was
preparing for Pro Tour Journey into Nyx and the connecting Grand Prix. This meant that I would be taking a decent amount of time away from my precious

While I was away from my favorite format, Chris was crushing event after event with Jund Monsters. I always felt that Jund Monsters wasn’t that good of a
deck, but was a great choice for Chris when playing on the Open Series. This is because those tournaments are long and I personally believe that playing a
proactive strategy that can also play from behind is a great choice for a tournament that you need to 8-1 to make top 8.

Week after week, I saw Chris do well in the format while I floundered with each and every one of my creations. My win percentage was barely over 50% on
Magic Online, and yet Chris was bulldozing every Open Series he traveled to. Then, this voice in the back of my head began to get louder and louder with
each loss I took:

“You should just play Jund Monsters and stop wasting so many tickets trying to be

I couldn’t justify ignoring it any longer. I told myself earlier this year that I would just play the best deck and stop trying to be so damn clever. I
needed to at least keep my word and give the deck a shot. I sighed, purchased the last couple cards I needed to build it on Magic Online and went to

Let’s fast forward!

Right now, I’m convinced that this is by far the best deck in the format. I have over 100 matches under my belt and can safely say that this is the deck
you should be playing right now. I know it isn’t flashy or tricky, but it’s good. It’s very, very good!

Now I’m not going to say that you should play my version over Chris’s, but what I will do is explain in depth how I came to this exact 75.

One Mana Confluence

There are going to be very few people who agree with me on this land, but I like good mana. Sometimes, it can be “too good” and deal me too much damage,
but casting spells on time has never been more important than it is now. One copy of this land shouldn’t cause too much damage since it is rare that every
land is needed in the late game, but having more ways to cast an early Domri Rade is exactly why this card is in the deck.

Zero Abrupt Decay

Abrupt Decay did not impress me. Ironically, I found it to be lackluster against the more aggressive matchups like Jund Monsters and Mono-Green Devotion.
Abrupt Decay is only great against Sphinx’s Revelation style decks which isn’t a good enough reason to play a specific removal spell since we have access
to Golgari Charm after sideboard.

Four Mizzium Mortars

There’s no reason to not be playing all four of these right now. This is one of the cards to ramp to in the mirror match, a great way to come back against
Pack Rat, and is the best card you have against Mono-Red and Mono-Green Devotion. I didn’t play this deck at all last season, but have no clue why players
started shaving these numbers. This card is just too good not to always want to draw.

Three Dreadbore

I found early in testing that the mirror match centers around having an answer to opposing threats. This could be a Domri Rade; Polukranos, World Eater; or
Stormbreath Dragon. Regardless of what it is, you have to either race them or deal with their permanents.

Rakdos’s Return also puts you on a clock to deal with an opponent’s board presence while also building towards one for yourself. This is why I wanted more
efficient removal spells for the mirror match that could answer everything while also only costing two mana.

Dreadbore has also gotten much better with the new popularity of Naya Midrange. There are many different versions of Naya decks out there, but almost all
of them are running 3-4 different types of planeswalkers, which is the way that they try to take over the game against Jund Monsters. Killing these cards
is essential!

24 Lands

I have no idea how CVM has been playing only 23 lands for the last six months. I played the first version of G/R Monsters at Pro Tour Theros last year and
found it impossible to do what I wanted to do with less than 24 lands, and I didn’t even run Mutavault!

Game 1 is all about playing your spells as quickly as possible. It revolves around both players having “some” interaction, but for the most part, both
players are just trying to kill each other. This makes it very important to make every land drop and not worry about flooding too much since both players
theoretically will not need as many spells to win the game since both players will have fewer ways to disrupt the opposing strategy. Stumbling in game 1
with a deck like Monsters can be devastating!

Just because we start with 24 lands does not mean we can’t board out a land after sideboarding.

Sideboard Changes

Zero Nylea’s Disciple

Not playing any Nylea’s Disciples is based on a deckbuilding practice I have been using for years. No matter what tournament I go to, I will always pick
out a specific archetype to ignore. What this does for me is it allows me to focus on the more dominant strategies in the metagame and make sure I have an
edge when going deeper in a tournament. I always select the deck to ignore based on how I think it will do in an event.

Right now I think R/W Burn is on the downswing. It hasn’t been doing that well as of late, and isn’t even that terrible of a matchup to begin with. After
casting Nylea’s Disciple enough times, I have found it to not do what I want it to. By cutting every copy, I now can play extras of spells that will give
me a significant edge in every other matchup. This might cause me to get my face burned off, but I’m willing to take this risk.

Four Mistcutter Hydra

Just like the 24th land, I have no idea how people cut the fourth Mistcutter Hydra out of the sideboard. This is the best card against
Sphinx’s Revelation style strategies and it isn’t even close. No matter what has happened in the game, this card can come down and instantly win the game
on the spot. I will never sleeve up a Monsters style deck without four of these in my board. Hell, they’re even a good card against R/W Burn!

Ultimate Price over Doom Blade

Since we now have access to four Mizzium Mortars, four Mistcutter Hydras, and a 24th land, I am content having the “worse” removal spell against
Mono-Blue Devotion. This small concession allows us to have a great removal spell for any Black Devotion deck we come across. This matchup is very good for
Jund Monsters, but can be easily stolen from us if our opponent has an early disruptive curve into Desecration Demon. Having more answers to this powerful
6/6 is exactly what I want right now.

Chandra, Pyromaster

It’s time to bring this one back! Not only is this planeswalker good against Lifebane Zombie, but it also is a great source of card advantage against the
Naya Walker decks popping up. We need more ways to go toe-to-toe with their recurring card advantage and Chandra, Pyromaster fits the bill.

Matchups and Sideboarding

VS Black/X Devotion

Out (on the draw):

Courser of Kruphix Courser of Kruphix Courser of Kruphix Ghor-Clan Rampager Ghor-Clan Rampager Elvish Mystic Forest

In (on the draw):

Chandra, Pyromaster Vraska the Unseen Ultimate Price Putrefy Putrefy Mizzium Mortars Mizzium Mortars

Out (on the play):

Courser of Kruphix Courser of Kruphix Courser of Kruphix Ghor-Clan Rampager Ghor-Clan Rampager Mizzium Mortars Mizzium Mortars

In (on the play):

Chandra, Pyromaster Vraska the Unseen Ultimate Price Putrefy Putrefy Rakdos's Return Rakdos's Return
On the Draw

Black Devotion players tend to be more aggressive when on the play. They almost always keep in Pack Rats and Underworld Connections since they will have
more time to set up before the Jund Monsters player is on the board. This advantage keeps us from being able to execute many of the strategies that make us
favored in the matchup. We have to play the long game with them when we don’t have the luxury of being on the play.

This means we should take out some of our mana sources to become more dense in the midgame since this will mitigate the damage done by Thoughtseize and
Lifebane Zombie. Underworld Connections can be a serious problem, but there isn’t much we can do about this. Sure, there are different ways we can build
our deck, but the problem with that strategy is that they run hand disruption that can simply put us back to square one with worse options.

Mizzium Mortars is the best way to catch up when they start making Pack Rat Tokens as well as a great answer to any other non-Desecration Demon threats.

They will win when they have it all, and we will win when they don’t. I have played many games in this matchup that involved me thinking I’m absolutely
dead, but then quickly winning when I realize they don’t have an answer to a specific threat of mine. Trust me – they don’t always have it and our
creatures hit hard!

On the Play

We get to switch gears when we’re first to play. Pack Rat is no longer a reasonable threat, allowing us to skimp on removal spells and play more of our
powerful late game spells. Often times, Rakdos’s Return is a perfect card when we have board presence initiative since they are answering our threats.
Often times, you will cast Rakdos’s Return for 3-4, which will likely be for their entire hand. Be sure you don’t lose to a Mutavault attack the next turn
because that is likely what they’re next angle of attack will be.

I don’t bring in Rakdos’s Return on the draw because they have board presence initiative. This makes it almost impossible to ever have an opportune time to
cast the spell. Not to mention they will have enough time on the play to get Underworld Connections online which can quickly get them back in the game even
if we take their entire hand.

VS Jund Monsters

Out (on the draw):

Courser of Kruphix Courser of Kruphix Courser of Kruphix Xenagos, the Reveler Xenagos, the Reveler Xenagos, the Reveler Domri Rade

In (on the draw):

Ultimate Price Mizzium Mortars Mizzium Mortars Putrefy Putrefy Rakdos's Return Rakdos's Return

Out (on the play):

Courser of Kruphix Courser of Kruphix Courser of Kruphix Xenagos, the Reveler Xenagos, the Reveler Xenagos, the Reveler Mutavault

In (on the play):

Ultimate Price Mizzium Mortars Mizzium Mortars Putrefy Putrefy Rakdos's Return Rakdos's Return

It’s not every day that I would advocate less lands on the play, but that is just how volatile the mirror-match is! It is extremely important to make as
many land drops in the mirror match as possible which is why the person on the play will sometimes have enough time to kill off an Elvish Mystic. Even if a
mana producer isn’t killed, the player on the draw will often times need one more land than the person on the play. This is because the way to break serve
in the mirror is to be able to play two spells in the same turn. Often times you will need to hit that sixth land on curve to be able to either overload a
Mizzium Mortars or cast a two mana removal spell and a Polukranos, World Eater so be able to play around Rakdos’s Return. Getting chocked on mana while on
the draw is the easiest way to lose the mirror.

You don’t want to “flood” out when on the play since you just want to stick a threat and continuously kill your opponent’s creatures or develop your board
position. Domri Rade plays an essential role in this since it can do both.

VS Sphinx’s Revelation Control


Mizzium Mortars Mizzium Mortars Dreadbore Dreadbore Dreadbore Scavenging Ooze Scavenging Ooze Scavenging Ooze Polukranos, World Eater Polukranos, World Eater


Mistcutter Hydra Mistcutter Hydra Mistcutter Hydra Mistcutter Hydra Vraska the Unseen Golgari Charm Golgari Charm Chandra, Pyromaster Rakdos's Return Rakdos's Return

I originally followed CVM’s exact sideboard guide where he took out every copy of Polukranos in these matchups. What I found was that even though this big
dumb animal isn’t that great, it does do some important things like threaten to kill an opponent. It has a pretty big body which means than they can’t
ignore the card even though it never seems to win the game. It’s just a role player that will sometimes be the distraction we need to resolve our more
important threats.

VS R/W Burn


Xenagos, the Reveler Xenagos, the Reveler Xenagos, the Reveler Domri Rade Domri Rade Domri Rade Domri Rade Dreadbore Dreadbore Dreadbore


Mistcutter Hydra Mistcutter Hydra Mistcutter Hydra Mistcutter Hydra Rakdos's Return Rakdos's Return Ultimate Price Putrefy Putrefy Mizzium Mortars


That is the only rule in the matchup. Don’t do it! I don’t care what your reasoning is. You do not shock yourself no matter what. End. Of. Story!

VS Naya Walkers


Scavenging Ooze Scavenging Ooze Scavenging Ooze Courser of Kruphix Domri Rade


Rakdos's Return Rakdos's Return Chandra, Pyromaster Vraska the Unseen Mizzium Mortars

I haven’t actually played this matchup much, but this is how I have been sideboarding. I would like to know what you guys think about my plan, but I have
not been impressed by Domri Rade in the matchup. It tends to lose me the game when it doesn’t hit creatures which makes it a liability. I would much rather
just play proactive cards that are either killing my opponent or removing their planeswalkers.

I apologize for not having some sweet new brew for you guys to crush with this weekend, but the bearded one stifled my progress. All hate mail should be
directed to Chris VanMeter (Editor’s Note: Chris’s email address is [email protected]) for ruining the Standard format and bringing the
best deck to the spotlight. I assure you that if your goal is to do well in a Magic tournament this weekend, there isn’t a better deck capable of that than
Jund Monsters.