Jund Beatdown with Dreadhorde Arcanist in Modern

Parker Ackerman
June 21, 2019

Dreadhorde Arcanist, the card famous the world over for...being really cool alongside Feather, the Redeemed. Which is fine. I, for one, love the cool Feather brews that have popped up across formats. But what about removed from that context? How does Arcanist stack up without Feather in a format that already has multi-format all-star Snapcaster Mage?

Cavedan has shown us it may not go as poorly as you might expect. Today's list was posted before Modern Horizons dropped but I don't think much has changed for the deck. 

We start things off with Burn favorite Monastery Swiftspear, allowing us to start the game off quickly and keep up our beats as we try to close things out. Dreadhorde Arcanist is the major engine of this deck, letting us reuse our spells to get extra pumps, damage, and hand disruption. Grim Flayer is a great source of card selection, and also helps fuel itself, Goyf, and Arcanist. Tarmogoyf is generally great in the deck, giving an extremely efficient beater that can help take the heat off of some of our smaller creatures. Young Pyromancer lets us go wide instead of tall, and Gruul Spellbreaker gives a hard time to a few different cards.

For our spells, Faithless Looting is a great way to dig for what we need while also filling our graveyard, Fatal Push is an all-around great removal spell, and Inquisition of Kozilek and Thoughtseize give us some early-game interaction. Lightning Bolt helps us take out opposing creatures while also giving a bit of extra reach, Maximize Velocity lets us take the opponent by surprise, and Mutagenic Growth is a great way to push through damage, even if we shouldn’t have the mana for it. Atarka’s Command is primarily used for extra damage, but the flexibility definitely gives another reason to include it. Kolaghan’s Command is an extremely versatile spell that can be useful is just about any situation, Become Immense can give a huge boost, and Claim//Fame can help to rebuild after a creature is taken out. Our manabase is very stock with fetches and shocks.


The sideboard is a bit more interesting. Tormod’s Crypt lets us deal with the opponent’s graveyard without sacrificing our own, Alpine Moon is useful against Tron and Valakut decks, and Fatal Push gives us an extra removal spell for when we need it. Rending Volley works well against control, Ancient Grudge works wonders against the miscellaneous artifact decks in the format, and Cindervines is a good way to punish decks that cast lots of noncreature spells while also giving us a way to deal with problematic artifacts and enchantments. Collective Brutality acts as a burn cure-all, Scavenging Ooze pulls its weight against a variety of decks, Searing Blood helps clear the way for our attackers, and Blood Moon can work wonders against a variety of big-mana decks.


  • Keep in mind that Arcanist can get any instant or sorcery from your graveyard, so you can easily play a Thoughtseize, take a card, and then cast it again from your graveyard for free.
  • Maximize Velocity can work wonders at times. Dropping Arcanist on turn 2, then a 2-drop with Maximize is a great way to chip away at the opponent.
  • Become Immense is fantastic with Arcanist, since one cast targeting it will guarantee you can flash it back.
  • Be careful when using Arcanist’s triggered ability that you don’t accidentally drop the toughness of Goyf and Grim Flayer in range to be killed.

Extra Spice:

  • Obligatory: Feather, the Redeemed. It’d probably require you to drop a color, and it would certainly make the deck worse. But we’re not here to play good decks. We’re here to play cool decks, and Feather certainly makes the deck even cooler than it was already. Which is saying something.
  • Fists of Flame is a new card from Horizons and seems like a nice way to finish out a game. The first cast on Arcanist will have it at 3 power, and flashing it back puts it at 6 with trample. Plus, you drew two extra cards. Not too shabby, and it goes pretty well with Looting.
  • Samut’s Sprint can give haste just like Velocity, while also giving an extra 1 power and a scry 1.

The deck does a bit of aggro, a bit of midrange, and a whole lot of fun. There’s definitely customization to be done, and if you want to optimize it even further, I’m sure there’s plenty of room to play with there too. Switch up the cards, switch up the colors, and see what you like best!

Related Posts