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Budget Magic: $91 (31 tix) Demon Fling Jund (Standard)


Bööresth, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time again! Every since Fling was reprinted in Amonkhet, I've been trying to figure out a way to make it work in Standard. Metalwork Colossus is a pretty reasonable creature to throw at the opponent, but it still only adds up to 10 damage. Ravenous Intruder can get up to 20 power, but it takes a lot of work to make it happen (and also some luck to dodge Fatal Push). Electrostatic Pummeler gets big, but Flinging it almost seems unnecessary, since it typically has trample anyway. Just when I was ready to give up on Fling, I was looking over the cards in Hour of Devastation and realized that Wizards had given us the perfect creature to toss at our opponents: Apocalypse Demon! Unlike the other potential Fling targets, it's really easy to make Apocalypse Demon huge—all we need to do is fill our graveyard with cards; then, we simply Fling it at our opponent (at instant speed, no less) and win the game on the spot! So this week, we're heading to Standard to play a deck I'm calling Demon Fling Jund! Is it time for Fling (backed by a card that looks like an Intro Pack rare) to shine in Standard? Let's get to the videos and see; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Demon Fling Jund (Deck Tech)

Demon Fling Jund vs. Zombies

Demon Fling Jund vs. Madcap Gearhulk Reanimator

Demon Fling Jund vs. Temur Energy

Demon Fling Jund vs. Sultai Reanimator

Demon Fling Jund vs. Mono-Blue Mill

The Deck

The deck is actually pretty simple, featuring a Jund Delirium shell with tons of ways to stock our graveyard to make Apocalypse Demon huge, a handful of other creatures to gum up the board long enough to stay alive for the Fling kill, some ways to find the all-important Apocalypse Demon, and a handful of removal spells. Let's start by talking about the combo itself, and then we'll move on to the rest of the deck.

Demon + Fling

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The goal of our deck is simple. First, we need to get at least 20 cards in our graveyard. Second, we need to get an Apocalypse Demon on the battlefield. Third, we have to find a copy of Fling so we can throw the demon at our opponent's face. Apocalypse Demon itself is a lot better than it looks in a deck that's built around filling the graveyard. It's surprising how often it ends up being a 10/10 or a 20/20 almost by accident. However, we aren't especially good at killing opponents by attacking with Apocalypse Demon, since we don't play that many other creatures to feed the Demon on our upkeep and keep it untapped (thankfully, Fling doesn't care whether the creature is tapped or not). Meanwhile, Fling is pretty much only good when it's throwing an Apocalypse Demon at our opponent, since the rest of the creatures in our deck top out at three power. The good news is that when we combine these two cards, the combo is close to unbeatable, not just killing the opponent for two mana but working at instant speed, which makes it easier to play around various counterspells that could ruin our plan.

Filling the Graveyard

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The main reason why Apocalypse Demon is the best Fling creature in our current Standard is because we have so many great ways of filling our graveyard, which means getting at least 20 cards in the bin is actually quite easy. Vessel of Nascency gets four cards in the graveyard while also helping us dig through our library to find our Apocalypse Demon or other important pieces. Grapple with the Past helps us develop our mana in the early game by getting back a land, and in the late game, it lets us get back an Apocalypse Demon at the end of our opponent's turn to Fling after we untap. Meanwhile, Cathartic Reunion does a great job of turning useless lands or removal spells into fresh cards, while also upping the power of Apocalypse Demon. One thing worth noting: we have a lot of ways to get Apocalypse Demon back from the graveyard, so don't be afraid to discard a copy to Cathartic Reunion in the early game, with the plan being to get it back later when we are ready to combo off.

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Liliana, Death's Majesty is technically another graveyard-filling card, but she actually does a lot more in our deck. One of the biggest challenges of Flinging an Apocalypse Demon at the opponent is that Apocalypse Demon is really expensive. Generally, we want to Fling the Demon on the same turn we play Apocalypse Demon to avoid sorcery-speed removal, which means we'd need a massive eight mana. Liliana, Death's Majesty helps us cheat on this cost. We can play Liliana, Death's Majesty on Turn 5, tick her up to make a Zombie on chump block duty, and then reanimate Apocalypse Demon on Turn 6 and immediately Fling it at our opponent for the win, since all of our lands will be untapped!

Finding Combo Pieces

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Traverse the Ulvenwald is great in our deck for two reasons. First, and most importantly, it gives us a one-mana way to tutor an Apocalypse Demon from our library. Since we get so many cards in our graveyard so quickly, we almost always have delirium, which makes Traverse the Ulvenwald—by far—the most efficient creature tutor in Standard. Second, Traverse the Ulvenwald lets us cut down on our land count, since we can use it to tutor up a basic land on Turn 1 or Turn 2. Don't be afraid to aggressively use it to find lands in the early game—we only have 21 "real" lands in our deck, which means we are counting the sorcery as additional lands. 

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Greenwarden of Murasa is just a one-of, but it's actually super important for our combo. While we have a ton of ways to get Apocalypse Demon back from the graveyard (Liliana, Death's Majesty and Grapple with the Past), the nightmare scenario is that we happen to mill all of our Flings and lose our ability to combo kill (this is especially problematic because neither Grapple with the Past nor Vessel of Nascency can find Fling). Greenwarden of Murasa solves this problem. Once we get to the point of the game where we are ready to combo off, we can simply tutor up a Greenwarden of Murasa with Traverse the Ulvenwald or reanimate it with Liliana, Death's Majesty to get back our Fling and close out the game.

Staying Alive

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Gnarlwood Dryad and Ishkanah, Grafwidow take advantage of the fact that we usually have delirium to stabilize the board and keep our opponent's creatures at bay until we are ready to win with Fling. Gnarlwood Dryad is really solid against Ramunap Red, giving us a Turn 1 blocker while still being relevant in the late game (or against other decks) thanks to deathtouch. Meanwhile, Ishkanah, Grafwidow makes a ton of blockers, and if our opponent manages to get through them, we can always get the Spider back from the graveyard to fill the board again. 

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Finally, we have a bunch of different removal spells. Magma Spray is great against aggressive decks like Ramunap Red and gives us a way to deal with annoying recursive threats like Earthshaker Khenra and Scrapheap Scrounger permanently. Grasp of Darkness gets rid of bigger creatures while also answering Hazoret the Fervent—which is pretty important—while Cut // Ribbons gives us some free value from the graveyard thanks to the aftermath.

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As for Radiant Flames, it gives us a way to sweep away the entire board against decks like Ramunap Red or Zombies, and while it can be a bit hit or miss depending on the matchup, we can always discard it to Cathartic Reunion when it's bad, which makes it a nice hedge for when we run into aggressive decks.

Wrap-Up

All in all, we finished 4-1 with the deck, but counting an additional loss to GR Energy, our total record was 4-2. Overall, I was surprised by just how competitive the deck seemed to be. While this might be partly because we got a lot of surprise value from Fling, since it doesn't really see play at the moment, we have a lot of good tools in the deck to fight the format. The combination of solid removal, good creatures to gum up the board, and a game-ending combo that tends to catch opponents by surprise seems like enough to win a lot of games.

Our hardest matchups are probably control decks, since a single counterspell on a Fling is devastating. While we can beat these decks by valuing them out of the game by continually getting Ishkanah, Grafwidow back from the graveyard or resolving a Liliana, Death's Majesty, it might be worth playing some discard spells in our sideboard (which is currently mostly focused on fighting aggro and midrange). I could also imagine getting run over by really fast starts from Ramunap Red, but we do have the tools to compete against anything but their best draws, especially after sideboarding. 

When I first started building around the Demon Fling combo, the deck was actually Grixis, which has some benefits and some drawbacks. The upside of going with blue over green is that we get counterspells to protect our combo, and blue has some good graveyard fillers in Strategic Planning and Pieces of the Puzzle. It also has a lot of good ways to find Fling. The problem is that it's much worse against aggressive decks because we lose Ishkanah, Grafwidow, which leaves us hoping to draw into (and resolve) sweepers like Radiant Flames and Hour of Devastation to stay in the game. While for now I think that Jund is the best color combination for Flinging Demons, once rotation hits, the deck loses almost all of its green cards. Thankfully, the Demon / Fling combo itself is really powerful and probably worth exploring in the post-rotation Ixalan Standard format, which means that looking ahead to different color combinations is important. 

Lately, we've been trying to use the ultra-budget slot to show off potential post-rotation lists, but this plan doesn't really work for Demon Fling Jund because apart from the combo itself (and Liliana, Death's Majesty), nearly all of our most important cards leave the format at rotation. While I think it's possible the deck will survive rotation in one form or another, we'll have to wait and see what options Ixalan gives us for filling our graveyard. Thankfully, disregarding rotation, it's pretty easy to get Demon Fling Jund into the ultra-budget range. We simply cut Liliana, Death's Majesty and Traverse the Ulvenwald. In their place, we get Ever After for reanimation along with a couple more reanimation targets in Razaketh, the Foulblooded (which is a great way to find Fling or Apocalypse Demon) and Arborback Stomper for life gain. The end result is a deck that still plays the Demon Fling combo but is more of a traditional reanimator list that just happens to occasionally win by throwing a Demon at the opponent's face. 

No huge changes to the non-budget build of Demon Fling Jund; just some small upgrades here and there instead. We start by optimizing the mana with Blooming Marsh, which is helpful in giving us fewer lands that enter the battlefield tapped. We also get Fatal Push as our primary removal spell, which is especially good in our deck, since we have Evolving Wilds (which sticks around thanks to its synergy with delirium and Grapple with the Past) to trigger revolt. We also get a single Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet as a good tutor target for Traverse the Ulvenwald, which gains us life against aggro while randomly hating on the graveyard, along with a couple Chandra, Torch of Defiance in the sideboard to help in more controlling, grindy matchups. All in all, this build should be an improvement on the one in the videos, mostly because the mana will be smoother, but the differences are small enough that I'm not sure it's worth spending an extra $150. 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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