Jund Shamans in Modern featuring Judith!!
New tribal decks seem to be brewed up every day, resulting sometimes in powerful things like Spirits and Humans, and sometimes less-powerful things, like Knights, Soldiers, and Allies. And thanks to Caleb Durward, we now have Jund Shamans. This deck is spicy, and plays around with +1/+1 counter synergies and even a bit of aristocrats.
The list may look a bit weird and cobbled together, but playing it feels surprisingly smooth. The one drop slot, can feel a bit weak at times if all you’ve pulled is a Firedrinker Satyr, but outside of that we have some powerful options. Flamekin Harbinger helps you find Rage Forger, which is one of the best cards in the deck (if not the best outright) while giving you a blocker. Spikeshot Elder starts out feeling a bit on the weak side, costing three mana for just 1 damage, but combined with our lords, can become an extremely potent removal spell or clock.
Metallic Mimic is good for our +1/+1 counter synergies, giving creatures that come into play after Rage Forger the counter they need, and Elvish Visionary is a nice little cantripping creature that can block early aggression or swing in late once we have enough lords. Burning-Tree Emissary is always great in these kinds of decks, and being a Shaman makes it even better. BTE can help us apply pressure early on, especially in multiples. Bosk Banneret gives us a way to play our creatures a little under curve, and is great when we need to dump our hand to get a quick kill.
Now we have Rage Forger, the card that makes this deck. Rage Forger pumps our team and gets us a free ping every time we attack with a buffed creature, and in multiples they can absolutely run away with a game. Judith, the Scourge Diva is another small buff that also discourages our opponent from killing our creatures, giving us another way to get some direct damage while also being able to hit creatures with the trigger. Finally, we have Rix Maadi Reveler rounding out our creature suite, giving us some extra filtering on a solid body, and giving us some extra gas if we can enable spectacle, which between Rage Forger and Judith, that is pretty easy.
The deck is pretty light on spells, and for good reason: Collected Company. CoCo requires us to play a fairly creature-heavy strategy to get use out of it, but when we do it really pays off. Being able to recover after a board wipe is huge, and it can also be used to apply pressure by hitting...literally any of our creatures. The card is absolute gas, and if you’ve never played with it, I think it’s safe to say you’ll enjoy casting it just about every single time. The only other spell we run is Lightning Bolt, since we need good removal, and when every other removal spell in the format is compared to this one, you know it’s doing something right. On top of taking care of any creature with less than four toughness, it can also go straight to our opponent, giving us some extra reach for when the opponent gums up the board or the matchup is a race.
We have a normal shock/fetch manabase here, with the exception of a single Fire-Lit Thicket for fixing, as well as some Cavern of Souls to keep us casting spells and stop our opponent from countering them.
Our sideboard is slightly over half Shamans, but interestingly, they’re mostly still often-played sideboard cards. Fulminator Mage, a shaman, can help against Tron or Valakut decks, slowing them down just enough that we can hopefully get the win. Reclamation Sage is another shaman that sees a lot of play, taking out pesky artifacts like Ensnaring Bridge while also dealing with things like Blood Moon that would stop us from casting spells. Eternal Witness gives us some recursion for decks that have lots of removal, and is, as you might’ve guessed, a shaman. Rounding out our pack of sideboard shamans is Plaguecrafter, a fairly recent card that’s useful against creature-light decks, or even creatureless ones that run Planeswalkers like Teferi. Tormod’s Crypt is useful against graveyard decks, giving us a way to hate them out without losing our ow Judith triggers, and Surgical Extraction lets us target specific cards from a graveyard. Finally, we have Bonfire of the Damned, a nice Miracle board wipe that can also finish off a low-health opponent.
- If you have five mana, you can play a Flamekin Harbinger to find Rage Forger, and then immediately CoCo into it, letting you get a surprise burst of damage.
- Don’t forget about Spikeshot Elder’s activated ability. Even if the board is clogged up, you can easily just dump mana into this guy until the opponent is dead.
- Even if you can’t make use of the mana, don’t be afraid to play your Burning-Tree Emissary, with so many buffs in the deck, getting the 2/2 into play is more important.
- Watch CalebD stream this deck. He’s a very talented player, and is the reason Shamans is getting the attention it is right now.
If you’re like me, you probably think this list looks just a bit too tuned. But that’s okay, you have plenty of options if you want to mess around with the deck (and probably make it objectively worse in the process). Plus searching for every Shaman in the format is a real hoot.
Akki Underminer is on the expensive side, has low power and toughness, and is speculative at best but the prospect of swinging in with this a couple times definitely sounds like fun. And with our lord effects, it might even survive.
Ashling, the Pilgrim gives you a use for mana late-game, allowing you to build it up slowly, and the release all the damage at once as a sort of build-your-own Bonfire of the Damned.
Tilonalli’s Skinshifter is a cool little card that can be basically anything you need it to, although in the current list it doesn’t really do much. This would be better in a deck with more static buffs or other kinds of triggered abilities. Tilonali’s Summoner is funny in a weird way, incentivizing you to dump a whole bunch of mana into this all at once so that they stick around. It can create a quick board presence, and at a certain point becomes a must-kill threat for the opponent.
Ulvenwald Tracker is good if you need some more removal, and being a one drop certainly helps its case. And Fauna Shaman lets you play more of a toolbox game, finding exactly the creature you need when you need it.
Wild Beastmaster can represent a lot of damage for just three mana. Playing a turn two Mimic, turn three this, and turn 4 Rage Forger or Judith means that you’ll be giving the rest of your team a +3/+3 bonus. Not too shabby. Dark-Dweller Oracle lets you get some value out of creature that might otherwise be killed, and can help you finish the opponent off through Judith triggers. It could even dig you into a Rage Forger or Bolt when you desperately need it. Fireblade Artist seems like a good fit if you want to lean even harder on the aristocrats strategy, giving you a potential shock every turn in addition to its 2/2 haste body.
Shamans is a fantastic deck, and feels a lot better than it looks. The potential for quick wins is definitely there, and the lords and reach means that you’re never truly out of the game, no matter how long it may stretch on for. This deck is a ton of fun, and if you’re looking to try out something new, I can’t recommend it enough.
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