Jund Delirium in Pioneer
Jund has long been a staple midrange deck in Modern, and during the days of Eldritch Moon Standard, Delirium was a powerful deck with the unique option of a one-mana tutor in Traverse the Ulvenwald. Now, with Pioneer, there's a nice midway point for the two decks: Jund Delirium, a deck that utilizes its graveyard as an engine to find and power out threats throughout the game.
Our creature suite starts off with the brand new Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger. Kroxa does a lot of good stuff in this deck. It hurts our opponent, gives us a creature in the graveyard, and acts as a recursive 6/6 threat later in the game. Satyr Wayfinder plays a completely different role, giving us some card selection while also dropping cards into our graveyard to help turn on delirium and give Kroxa some escape fodder.
3 Copies of Traverse the Ulvenwald allows us to run a toolbox of 1-of creatures. Walking Ballista can do a lot for us, acting as a removal spell, a finisher, and a way to get both an artifact and a creature into the graveyard quickly to turn on delirium. Scavenging Ooze can help against opposing graveyard decks, becoming a large threat as the game progresses while also giving us life gain to offset damage from our opponent and our own deck. It can also act as a speed bump against Inverter decks, pushing them into having to win the same turn that they exile their library, while also messing up Underworld Breach combo decks. Murderous Rider is a nice bit of reusable removal, and one we can find with Traverse or Grisly Salvage.
We have Tireless Tracker to make sure we have a constant source of card draw, and Ishkanah, Grafwidow to act as a surprisingly potent finisher if we need it. Both are great against the midrange-grind matchup when we play Swedish Sultai variants. Korvold, Fae-Cursed King does a lot of work in this deck, feeding delirium, drawing us cards, and becoming a must-answer threat over the course of the game. Finally, we have Emrakul, the Promised End, which acts as a huge finisher that also gives us a chance to very directly disrupt the opponent. Add in the fact that she can be as cheap as just six mana, and Emrakul can be a drastically undercosted card that ends games.
For noncreatures, we start things off with three Planeswalkers. Liliana, the Last Hope gives us some minor removal, alongside the ability to build up our graveyard, rebuy threats, and even potentially run away with the game thanks to her ultimate. Vraska, Golgari Queen gives us another sacrifice outlet, removal for small permanents, and an ultimate that has the potential to end the game in a single blow.
For our other spells, we have Erebos's Intervention, to act as removal, life gain, and graveyard hate, all on a single card. Fatal Push is the best 1-mana kill spell in the format and gives us cheap removal alongside Abrupt Decay, which is slightly more versatile and dodges counterspells. Thoughtseize gives us a more direct way to attack the hand than Kroxa, which is really in a format with Inverter of Truth combo and Lotus Field/Breach on top. Grisly Salvage is a spell version of Satyr Wayfinder, and Traverse the Ulvenwald gives us basics if we need them early game while acting as a fantastic multi-purpose tutor later in the game. Finally, Treacherous Blessing gives us three cards for just three mana, while also leaving an enchantment behind for us to sacrifice with Vraska or Korvold for delirium.
For lands, we mostly have the usual: basics, shocklands, a couple fastlands, and a few copies of Fabled Passage which plays well with our graveyard plan and turns on Fatal Push. For utility though, we also have a single Castle Locthwain, which gives us a way to keep drawing cards in the late game.
In the sideboard, we have another copy of Erebos's Intervention , as well as a Soul-Guide Lantern for opposing graveyard-focused decks. Agonizing Remorse also acts as a small form of graveyard hate, while also letting us attack the hand at the same time. Noxious Grasp helps deal with things like three-mana Teferi, Gideon, and a solid chunk of the Spirits deck. Anger of the Gods is a board wipe that misses most of our biggest creatures, and Reclamation Sage is a nice way to take care of any artifacts or enchantments that are giving us problems. An extra Tireless Tracker gives us extra grinding potential. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet is a good way to get extra value from our opponent's creatures dying, and is an important speed bump against mono red. Slaughter Games allows us to deal with combo decks before they get too far along.
- Murderous Rider is only a creature. Sadly, in all zones, the Instant part of the card effectively doesn't exist, so delirium will only see a creature in your graveyard. Keep this in mind.
- You can pay two mana to sacrifice a Clue with Korvold on the battlefield, allowing you to draw two cards and effectively acting as a small combat trick thanks to the +1/+1 counter.
- Similarly, if you attack with a Tracker and Korvold, you can use Korvold's attack trigger to sacrifice a Clue, drawing you a card and putting a +1/+1 counter on both Korvold and the Tracker.
- Reclamation Sage can also target our own permanents if we really need to, such as Treacherous Blessing.
- When you control your opponent with Emrakul, don't forget that you have a big 13/13 sitting on your side of the board. You can easily run your opponent's largest creature at you, block with Emrakul, and come out on top.
- Dictate of Erebos can use our sacrifice outlets to force our opponent to sacrifice their creatures, turning each Korvold trigger into potential removal.
- Sidisi, Undead Vizier gives us a one-time sacrifice outlet that doubles as a tutor, letting us grab anything for a given situation.
- Deathrite Shaman is graveyard hate, a mana dork, life gain, and a finisher all on one card. It won't always be turned on, but when it is, it's one of the most potent cards ever printed.
- Assassin's Trophy feels like a good sideboard card here, since it's cheap removal that allows us to get rid of anything that's giving us a headache.
- Grim Flayer is a great delirium creature, being just two mana, having a potentially large trampling body, and also helping to enable delirium and fix our draws.
The deck is a lot of fun, with a lot of unique interactions that lead to fun lines of play. It has some of that classic Jund feel, while also giving something of an Aristocrats playstyle thanks to the sacrifice outlets and delirium cards.
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