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GOAT Magic: Can Standard Bant Beat Modern Jund?


Last week, Richard and I were talking about Standard and how the power of Bant Mythics had almost completely pushed midrange out of the format. As you probably know, Richard's all-time favorite deck is Modern Jund, which just happens to be the greatest midrange deck in the history of Magic. As such, we decided it was time to bring back GOAT Magic—the series where we battle some of the greatest-of-all-time Magic decks against each other—to see just how good Bant Mythics really is against midrange by pitting it against Modern Jund!

For our matchup today, we are both playing stock builds of our decks (lists that posted finishes recently in Magic Online challenges), so that we couldn't metagame against each other. Will the efficiency of Modern Jund's discard and threats rule the day? Will the late-game card advantage and raw power of Bant Mythics prove too much for even the best midrange deck in Magic's history to handle? Let's get to the match and find out!

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GOAT Magic: Standard Bant Mythics vs. Modern Jund

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Post-Game Thoughts

Heading into the match, both Richard and I assumed that Modern Jund was probably a slight favorite in the matchup—we were playing a stock Standard list against what has traditionally been a tier-one Modern deck, after all. And a Twitter poll mostly seemed to agree, with most people thinking that Jund would win. Well, this is one of those cases where everyone was wrong. The matchup didn't even feel especially close, with Standard Bant seemingly a huge favorite against Modern Jund, as strange as that sounds. I quickly 2-0'ed Richard, and while there were ways that Jund could have won (me not having a sweeper in game one, or maybe by drawing the absolute perfect hand and me running poorly), game two was a good example of how bad the matchup is for Jund. Richard had a Dark Confidant on Turn 2 that mostly stayed out on the battlefield the entire game (minus a turn of getting bounced by Teferi, Time Raveler) along with a Thoughtseize, and it simply didn't matter. Every card in Standard Bant is so powerful on its own that the raw power of Ugin, Nissa, Teferi, and Uro eventually won out. Basically, Standard Bant out-Junded Jund, a deck known for being a pile of the best cards and the most efficient removal available in the Modern format. 

Speaking of Jund's efficient removal, perhaps the biggest takeaway from the matchup is that Standard's issues aren't caused by the lack of good answers. Jund has Fatal Push, Lightning Bolt, Thoughtseize, Terminate, Maelstrom Pulse, Liliana of the Veil, Abrupt Decay, and Kolaghan's Command—a list of some of the cheapest and most powerful removal available in all of Magic—and it simply didn't matter. To me, this suggests that Wizards can't balance Standard simply by printing more powerful answers. The problem isn't that answers are bad; it's that the threats are so good (and generate so much immediate value) that even if you can immediately answer them for just one or two mana, you're still losing. Basically, the threats from Standard Bant generate so much immediate value that your best game plan is to not even try to answer them because that's a losing strategy, even with good, cheap interaction spells. Instead, the way to keep up is to either play good threats of your own or try to be as fast as possible and cross your fingers that you can get an aggressive win before the powerful threats take over the game. Rather than better answers, in my opinion, Standard needs worse threats, with more Baneslayer Angels and Terror of the Peaks and fewer Uro, Titan of Nature's Wraths and Nissa, Who Shakes the Worlds.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's my take on the matchup. What did you think? What can the matchup of Modern Jund vs. Bant Mythics tell us about Standard or Modern? What other GOAT Magic matchups would you like to see in the future? Let us know in the comments! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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