This past weekend we saw the final Magic: The Gathering Mythic Championship of the year won by Piotr Glogowski piloting Jund Sacrifice. The deck aims to stick an early combination of Cauldron Familiar, Witch’s Oven, and Trail of Crumbs to generate early value before taking over the mid-to-late game with Mayhem Devil and Korvold, Fae-Cursed King. It has a lot of great tools to deal with the prime target of the format, Jeskai Fires. Thrashing Brontodon answers the namesake enchantment outright, while Cauldron Familiar and Mayhem Devil can win via noncombat damage. The breakout deck of the tournament designed to beat Fires, Simic Flash, struggles more against the Jund deck due to a higher density of low-cost, must-answer threats.
The true all-star of the deck (and possibly the format) is Casualties of War. Multiples times at MCVII we saw the card decimate boards from nearly every other deck in the format. It feels powerful at a two-for-one and absurd beyond that. With multiple relevant targets across the format, it’s no surprise that Piotr went for the full four in his main deck. I trust his numbers, given he went undefeated the entire weekend.
Not the world’s likeliest cat-lover.
Analyzing and attacking the new meta
Last month’s ban list update axed three of Green’s most powerful cards, which gave the metagame a sorely needed shakeup. The immediate frontrunner for the best deck was Jeskai Fires of Invention. We saw MTG legend Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa take the deck to top 8 at Mythic Championship VII. Because the deck suffered no hits from the ban list, it felt like an obvious springboard into the format. Built specifically to prey upon the Fires decks, Simic Flash was piloted by players such as Brad Nelson with much success at the MC. Being able to stick an on-time Nightpack Ambusher and hold up countermagic is a fantastic strategy versus Fires of Invention. Not far behind these, we have an Izzet Flash variant, Adventure decks of the Golgari and Gruul variety, and old-fashioned Azorious Control. Today, I want to look at the winning deck and see how it performs after taking Mythic Championship VII. I’m going to play a few matches and discuss some of the key takeaways and choices.
Jund Sacrifice: Match one vs. Gruul Aggro/Adventures
The Gruul matchup can be tricky if we can’t develop a board presence fast enough, as seen in game two. Because their creatures can outsize Mayhem Devil rather fast, we need larger defensive options. We need early interaction and good blockers, so Lovestruck Beast is a great card in this matchup. Because Gruul focuses predominantly on cheap creatures, Casualties of War isn’t at it’s best here. Wicked Wolf is an ideal mid-game card that adds to your defenses while removing opposing threats. I think role assessment is likely the most important thing to keep in mind when navigating this matchup. Stabilizing against this deck may not look or feel as safe as other matchups, but knowing when to start applying pressure is a crucial element in scraping out victories.
Match two vs. Simic Flash
Simic Flash was a deck built to prey on Jeskai Fires, and because of that, we are slightly favored against current builds. The name of this game is cheap threats. Because the Flash deck is built to counter the plays from turns three and beyond, the early threat represented by our Cat-oven engine is brutal for them. Game one, we were able to develop a Trail of Crumbs and Mayhem Devil early on. This requires their early plays to be reactive, which completely dismantles their game plan. Game two, the opponent even saw multiple copies of their sideboard Sorcerous Spyglass, but we ignored it completely. Having cheap threats that demand fast answers leaves us wide open to shift into a creature-centric gameplan for these matchups.
Bonus game vs. Simic Flash
Our opponent, unfortunately, left the match after game one, but I wanted to share this as it’s a great example of the swing potential of the Cat-oven engine. Our opponent had a bit of a slower start but was able to make Nightpack Ambusher and start churning out wolves. We were able to completely ignore what they were doing and turn an overwhelming board disadvantage into a convincing win. With Simic’s only truly evasive threat being Hydroid Krasis, Cauldron Familiars do a great job of gumming up the board and protecting our life total. With this, we can try and resolve one threat at a time while looking at two, four, even six cards a turn to refill our hand.
Overall, Jund Sacrifice feels like one of the most powerful decks in the format, and I’d be surprised to see it going anywhere any time soon. Moving forward, I would imagine Simic decks to adapt to them while not sacrificing their Fires matchup. Aggro decks are either going to need to be hyper-fast or majorly evasive in order to outpace the life-swing presented by the cats. To fight all of this, Azorious Control may even start looking to add more copies of Planar Cleansing. The format has a lot of powerful things going on that require powerful answers. I think Jund Sacrifice has one of the strongest pairings of threats to answers in the format and will continue to thrive because of it.
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