Nick and I battled it out once again in a head-to-head of two popular decks in Standard right now: Bant Ramp vs. Jund Sacrifice. It likely isn't a surprise Bant Ramp falls into the hands of Nick Prince this week as I steer toward the Jund Sacrifice side of things. 

Why Play Jund Sacrifice?

Jund Sacrifice has been a constant powerhouse in Standard almost every month since its first appearance in the format, and nothing is different now. However, because of the state of the format, the deck has changed to be able to tackle ramp decks, as well as have a fighting chance against Temur Reclamation. This plan largely centers around the inclusion of Korvold, Fae-Cursed King and Bolas's Citadel.

 

 

Along with the old cards, Jund Sacrifice got many new additions with the release of Core Set 2021 including Scavenging Ooze, Solemn Simulacrum and Llanowar Visionary. Scavenging Ooze might be the most impactful reprint for Standard (and Historic) in the recent sets, while Solemn Simulacrum and Llanowar Visionary play into the Bolas's Citadel plan well. 

The List

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Jund Sacrifice by Ally Warfield

'Jund Sacrifice' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Ally Warfield

Event:

Rank:

Standard

Market Price: $200.82

Cards

Stomping Ground

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $7.92

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/182841_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R} or {G}.)
As Stomping Ground enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Scavenging Ooze

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $1.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215695_200w.jpg

{G}: Exile target card from a graveyard. If it was a creature card, put a +1/+1 counter on Scavenging Ooze and you gain 1 life.

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Trail of Crumbs

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198868_200w.jpg

When Trail of Crumbs enters the battlefield, create a Food token. (It's an artifact with "{2}, {T}, Sacrifice this artifact: You gain 3 life.")
Whenever you sacrifice a Food, you may pay {1}. If you do, look at the top two cards of your library. You may reveal a permanent card from among them and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.

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Bolas's Citadel

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.78

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/187187_200w.jpg

You may look at the top card of your library any time.
You may play lands and cast spells from the top of your library. If you cast a spell this way, pay life equal to its converted mana cost rather than pay its mana cost.
{T}, Sacrifice ten nonland permanents: Each opponent loses 10 life.

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Priest of Forgotten Gods

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/183311_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice two other creatures: Any number of target players each lose 2 life and sacrifice a creature. You add {B}{B} and draw a card.

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Mountain

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222821_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}.)

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Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222820_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Castle Locthwain

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.36

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199388_200w.jpg

Castle Locthwain enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Swamp.
{T}: Add {B}.
{1}{B}{B}, {T}: Draw a card, then you lose life equal to the number of cards in your hand.

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Fabled Passage

Market Price: $6.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215556_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Fabled Passage: Search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library. Then if you control four or more lands, untap that land.

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Gilded Goose

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $1.76

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198394_200w.jpg

Flying
When Gilded Goose enters the battlefield, create a Food token. (It's an artifact with "{2}, {T}, Sacrifice this artifact: You gain 3 life.")
{1}{G}, {T}: Create a Food token.
{T}, Sacrifice a Food: Add one mana of any color.

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Witch's Oven

Market Price: $0.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198898_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice a creature: Create a Food token. If the sacrificed creature's toughness was 4 or greater, create two Food tokens instead. (They're artifacts with "{2}, {T}, Sacrifice this artifact: You gain 3 life.")

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Woe Strider

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206627_200w.jpg

When Woe Strider enters the battlefield, create a 0/1 white Goat creature token.
Sacrifice another creature: Scry 1.
Escape—{3}{B}{B}, Exile four other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)
Woe Strider escapes with two +1/+1 counters on it.

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Korvold, Fae-Cursed King

Color Identity:B,G,R

Market Price: $5.75

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198424_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever Korvold, Fae-Cursed King enters the battlefield or attacks, sacrifice another permanent.
Whenever you sacrifice a permanent, put a +1/+1 counter on Korvold and draw a card.

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Mayhem Devil

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/188173_200w.jpg

Whenever a player sacrifices a permanent, Mayhem Devil deals 1 damage to any target.

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Solemn Simulacrum

Market Price: $1.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215510_200w.jpg

When Solemn Simulacrum enters the battlefield, you may search your library for a basic land card, put that card onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library.
When Solemn Simulacrum dies, you may draw a card.

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Agonizing Remorse

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.35

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207044_200w.jpg

Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it or a card from their graveyard. Exile that card. You lose 1 life.

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Duress

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215662_200w.jpg

Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a noncreature, nonland card from it. That player discards that card.

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Llanowar Visionary

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215462_200w.jpg

When Llanowar Visionary enters the battlefield, draw a card.
{T}: Add {G}.

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Redcap Melee

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199300_200w.jpg

Redcap Melee deals 4 damage to target creature or planeswalker. If a nonred permanent is dealt damage this way, you sacrifice a land.

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Claim the Firstborn

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198858_200w.jpg

Gain control of target creature with converted mana cost 3 or less until end of turn. Untap that creature. It gains haste until end of turn.

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Cauldron Familiar

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.66

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215972_200w.jpg

When Cauldron Familiar enters the battlefield, each opponent loses 1 life and you gain 1 life.
Sacrifice a Food: Return Cauldron Familiar from your graveyard to the battlefield.

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Embereth Shieldbreaker // Battle Display

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198550_200w.jpg

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/throne-of-eldraine/embereth-shieldbreaker-battle-display

Forest

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222825_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/zendikar-rising/forest

Overgrown Tomb

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $8.44

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175196_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B} or {G}.)
As Overgrown Tomb enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/guilds-of-ravnica/overgrown-tomb

Blood Crypt

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $14.92

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/182838_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B} or {R}.)
As Blood Crypt enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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This list has floated around Standard during the past two weeks, changing slightly as the meta changes as well. One of my favorite things about Jund Sacrifice is how you can tailor it to beat specific decks in the format, and this list is mostly tailored to facing off against Bant Ramp—specifically with Bolas's Citadel and Korvold, Fae-Cursed King, as well as Agonizing Remorse and Duress on the sideboard.

How to Sideboard vs. Bant Ramp

Most of my games in the Bant Ramp matchup heavily rely on winning with Bolas's Citadel, which I will further address later in the "Gameplay" section. Because of this we want to maximize our chances of hitting them by siding in two additional copies. Along with that, we want to protect our Bolas's Citadel from hate cards or countermagic, which the hand disruption spells help with. Hand disruption is already strong against Bant Ramp by throwing off their tempo and/or getting rid of their payoff cards. Scavenging Ooze is also great against Bant to deal with Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath and Elspeth Conquers Death.

Siding out cards is a little more difficult because we don't have many things that are "bad" in this matchup. I like siding out Priest of Forgotten Gods against the Bant decks that rely on Nissa, Who Shakes the World and Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse, because the opponent makes too many creatures for Priest to be effective. Solemn Simulacrum helps ramp into Bolas's Citadel, but it is a little slow and doesn't put on enough pressure in this matchup. The rest of the cuts are trims of some non-essential cards to fit in the sideboard tech. 

Key Cards

Bolas's Citadel could probably be the title of this article—that's how important it has become in this matchup. If you are expecting to play against Bant Ramp (which you should), you should be packing enough Bolas's Citadels in the 75 to beat Bant. Bant Ramp's new cards help turn the grindy plan in their favor, so having a combo kill in this matchup is increasingly important. 

Sacrifice sources are especially important in this matchup because Bant Ramp is interested in interacting with our game plan, and increasing the damage output with Mayhem Devil helps you stay aggressive and control the opponent's planeswalkers. We already know the importance of Mayhem Devil, Woe Strider and Witch's Oven as key cards of the deck, but they are all especially important in the Bant Ramp matchup.

Trail of Crumbs and Korvold, Fae-Cursed King are also key. While the grindy game isn't the goal in this matchup anymore, card draw is still the way to find exactly what you need to take on Bant. 

Keep or Mull?

You generally want to keep a hand that has two of the following:

You can also keep most hands with the Cauldron Familiar/Witch's Oven combo as well. Your land count should ideally be three, but sometimes you can keep a one or two-land hand. On top of all this, you don't really want to keep a hand if you can't do something on turns one or two. Your opponent is going to be able to develop pressure and pad their life total enough where it's difficult to come back from in the long game. 

Agonizing Remorse or Duress are also very good in the opening hands. However, beware of hands with hand disruption without any pressure or payoff cards. The purpose of hand disruption in this matchup is to throw off your opponent while putting pressure on them and resolving Bolas's Citadel. Without that pressure, your opponent will just topdeck one of their one million planeswalkers and push you out of the game.

So what would the perfect hand look like?

Like I said before, any variation of the three important cards is a keep as well, but this is one of the best hands the deck can get. 

Gameplay

Jund Sacrifice used to beat up on Bant Ramp because we were able to pressure the opponent while simultaneously generating card advantage to out-grind them in the mid- to late-game. However, the play patterns of the matchup have changed because of the inclusion of Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. Bant is now the deck putting on pressure, and Jund doesn't want to make it to the point in the game where Ugin, the Spirit Dragon can resolve. 

This means that Jund Sacrifice needs another way to beat Bant instead of grinding them out. The perfect way to do this is play Bolas's Citadel. This changes a lot of the dynamics of the game, and you largely want to be setting up to win on the turn you resolve Bolas's Citadel or the turn after.

What does this setting-up look like? Ideally you will have a couple of ways to manipulate the top of your library in case you run low on your life total or hit a land on top of your library. My favorite way to do this is to play Woe Strider and a couple creatures to sacrifice to scry lands or unwanted spells to the bottom of your library. Trail of Crumbs also serves this function if you have additional mana. From my experience, with proper setup it's fairly easy to get a Mayhem Devil and 10 permanents to win with Bolas's Citadel the turn you cast it. 

However, Bant is going to disrupt your setup as much as possible, while pressuring your life total with Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse and Nissa, Who Shakes the World. This pressure will make it hard to go off with Bolas's Citadel—however, you can still find ways to win at 1 life in these situations (Cauldron Familiar, Scavenging Ooze, Food Tokens, etc. all gain life to help you keep playing cards off the top of your library). This is where you want some of those hand disruption spells early in the game to take off that pressure.

While a lot of the fundamentals of this matchup has changed, some has stayed the same when they aren't putting as much pressure on you. You still get card advantage with Trail of Crumbs and the Cauldron Familiar/Witch's Oven Combo. You still get extra damage with that combo and Mayhem Devil

* * *

I think this matchup is a lot harder than it used to be, but it isn't necessarily bad—just different! Having a heavy focus on combo killing your opponent is something I love about this version of the deck. Overall, my matches with Nick always came down to if I could win with Bolas's Citadel the turn or the turn after I played it. This version of the deck is tailored for Bant, but if you are still losing, I would recommend putting some of the sideboard cards for the matchup in the main deck and see how that goes.

If you want to learn about this matchup from the Bant perspective, be sure to check out Nick's article