Last updated on April 6, 2021
Priest of Forgotten Gods | Illustration by Zack Stella
Today, I’ll be diving into the world of Jund Sacrifice, a relatively top tier deck in the Historic format. While the deck shines the most in BO1, it has a strong presence in BO3 with a stable 59% win rate, lagging just 1% behind decks like mono red goblins or Gruul aggro.
I believe the way the metagame is currently shaping up with so many players heavily investing in Azorius auras, Jund Sacrifice is a deck that’ll likely reclaim a top spot thanks to Claim the Firstborn as well as Priest of Forgotten Gods. Sultai and Azorius control are on the rise, though, so it’ll be interesting to see if the popularity for those decks keeps going up. Both can make the Jund playstyle quite tricky.
This deck takes a bit of setting up, but you’ll easily overwhelm your opponent once all the key pieces are in place. If you were a fan of Rakdos sacrifice in the past Standard environment, this deck plays similarly except this version runs the powerful Collected Company.
With all that said, let’s jump in!
Woe Strider | Illustration by John Thacker
Witch’s Oven x4
Jund Sacrifice’s tactic is simple: set up your sacrifice engines and then benefit from them by having creatures like Mayhem Devil and Blood Artist on the field that continuously bombard your opponent with damage. The Devil can even be used to remove your opponent’s creatures.
Once you reach turn 4 and have four lands on the field, you want to play cards like Collected Company to pull even more of our synergistic creatures from your deck. With that said, let’s look at how all the engines function.
To use our other cards, we need to sacrifice a lot. To do this, we use the infamous Cauldron Familiar and Witch’s Oven combo that lets you continuously sacrifice the cat and generate a food token, which you then sacrifice to bring back the cat. This combo is likely our most important one in the deck.
Second, we have Woe Strider that lets us sacrifice any creature on the field, including the 0/1 token it generates, to scry one.
Last, we have a “removal” sacrifice engine in the form of Priest of Forgotten Gods. This lets you sacrifice two creatures at once to force your opponent to sacrifice one of theirs.
Since we’re technically destroying our own creatures over and over by sacrificing, we need to get value in return. Priest of Forgotten Gods is sort of a value card because it lets us draw a card and net two mana when we sacrifice two creatures. This is great to ramp into an early Collected Company but can also help get your 3-drops on the field.
Mayhem Devil is insane. It deals one damage to any target every time a permanent is sacrificed. Even your Fabled Passage will trigger this, as well as the food tokens you sacrifice for Cauldron Familiar.
Finally, we have Blood Artist that deals one damage to your opponent and gains you one life whenever a creature dies.
Utility and Aggro Cards
For some additional aggro and utility, we have Dreadhorde Butcher. This is a 1/1 haste creature that gets a +1/+1 counter whenever it deals combat damage to a player or planeswalker. On top of that, if this card dies, it deals damage equal to its power to any target. This combos amazingly with our sacrifice engine and is sort of a value card of its own since it can remove an opponent’s creature or planeswalker most of the time.
Collected Company lets us put two 3-drops or lower from the top six cards of our deck on the battlefield. This should help you hit at least two creatures most of the time.
Finally, we have Claim the Firstborn that lets you steal one of your opponent’s creatures until the end of the turn. This is great as a way to fuel your Priest of Forgotten Gods‘s sacrifice cost and allows it to technically turn into a 1-mana removal spell.
The Win Condition
Cauldron Familiar | Illustration by Milivoj Ceran
You win is by combining all these strategies and setting several up. For example, getting a couple of Mayhem Devils, Blood Artists, or the Cauldron Familiar-Oven combos set up. Each time you sacrifice a creature, you get to deal multiple damage at once.
A cat-oven combo can help you deal three damage in combination with Mayhem Devil dealing one damage each time you sacrifice the cat or food and then another damage when Cauldron Familiar enters the battlefield.
All these 1-damage pings may seem low, but they can quickly snowball out of control when you have multiple on the board, allowing for entirely unexpected wins dealing large amounts of damage in a single turn. Because many of our combos can be set up during your opponent’s end step, you should wait as long as you can.
Either load the graveyard with your Familiars or cast Collected Company. Your opponent may end up in a position where they can’t do anything about you getting everything set up at once. This is especially the case since sweepers can rarely be cast at instant speed.
Alongside all these strategies, you want to attack with your creatures whenever possible. Thanks to our combo cards, we tend to keep the enemy board clear of creatures with various damage effects and forced sacrifices.
Mulliganing for this deck is as follows:
- Have a sacrifice combo, for example Cauldron Familiar plus a Witch’s Oven;
- Have three lands, preferably with the ability to cast all three colors;
- Have one of the value engine cards, either a Mayhem Devil or Blood Artist, but a Collected Company is acceptable as well since it’ll likely fetch one of these from the top of the deck, but make sure you have a clear path to green mana on turn 4.
The sideboard has a mix of common options. We have Klothys, God of Destiny to deal with graveyard decks that run things like titans or graveyard recursion. Reclamation Sage is our targeted artifact and enchantment removal. This card is useful against colorless decks or decks that use The Great Henge.
Thoughtseize against control decks or decks that run a lot of removal in general. Act of Treason if your opponent runs powerful creatures, and you need yet another way to take control of them for a turn to push in damage.
Tips and Tricks
My tip is to keep Fabled Passage in hand as long as possible. The sacrifice ability on this land is fantastic in combination with Mayhem Devil, allowing you to deal one damage to any target by sacrificing it.
Also, always calculate how many things you can sacrifice in one turn. Sometimes this will mean you have lethal on the board with all the triggers alone. Using Witch’s Oven or bringing back a Woe Strider to sacrifice everything on your side of the board.
Thoughtseize | Illustration by James Ryman
Bolas’s Citadel is an excellent card that fits perfectly into this deck. Unfortunately, because of its steep casting cost and the fact we don’t run 1-mana ramp like Gilded Goose and Llanowar Elves (honorary mentions #2 and #3), I’ve opted to not run this card in the list. There are metagames where mana dorks can shine, but I believe the current one isn’t it.
Korvold, Fae-Cursed King suffers a similar fate. It’s an excellent card, but at 5 CMC, I just don’t see it being able to hit the field consistently enough to matter. Also, entering isn’t even the main issue. As I mentioned with the mana dorks earlier, all the targeted removal in the game makes it hard for pretty much anything to stick to the field long enough.
Bonecrusher Giant is a card that got cut in this list, but maybe wrongfully so. Having the Stomp ability attached to a castable body is very good. Maybe three Midnight Reaper is too much, and this card can take some of its slots. Feel free to toy around with it.
And finally, Vraska, Golgari Queen. This card might actually be excellent in the mainboard. It would add yet another sacrifice engine but can also double-up as removal and card draw. Maybe adding one of these is something you’d like to try.
Klothys, God of Destiny | Illustration by Magali Villeneuve
This was a concise and to-the-point deck tech. I hope you like these shorter articles! if so, let me know in the comments below.
Jund Sacrifice is mechanically very satisfying and straightforward but allows for a lot of decision making and calculating how you want to sacrifice your permanents to maximize damage. The deck lacks hard removal, which can be unforgiving at times, but it’s hard to fit those in with all the tight engines. While we want to sacrifice many things, consistency is not one of those, after all.
As always, our Discord is a great place for some longer discussions if that’s your thing. And if you want to show us some extra support, Patreon is a great option. You could also just check out some of our other content, if you’re craving more deck guides. Either way, I’ll see you next time for another deck guide!
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