Archetypes » Junk Fit
Before 2019 upended many decks in Legacy, Junk Fit (or Abzan Fit) was considered one of the strongest fair Nic Fit decks. Junk offers a midrange control strategy backed by the most powerful creature removal in the format in Swords to Plowshares and a whole host of other utility creatures like Gaddock Teeg and Knight of Autumn as well as some interesting top-end threats like Archon of Valor’s Reach.
Junk Fit overview and decklist
Junk Fit by Garrukked
MTGO Legacy Challenge 27th Place - June, 2019
|1||Nissa, Vital Force|
|4||Green Sun's Zenith|
|3||Swords to Plowshares|
|4||Leyline of the Void|
While this deck technically is a four color list, it only splashes a single Tropical Island for Leovold so it “counts”. It packs a full three 5-drops in Titania, Protector of Argoth, Thragtusk, and Nissa, Vital Force in favor of any 6-drops. The goal of Junk Fit, as with many Nic Fit decks is to use the ramp provided by Veteran Explorer to ramp to bigger threats than anything the opponent has.
Containment Priest is not usually seen out of Nic Fit sideboards as it shuts off Green Sun’s Zenith, Dryad Arbor and parts of Meren of Clan Nel Toth but in the right matchup, it can be devastating. Typically Reanimator doesn’t pack a solution to the priest outside of discard and Dredge is usually dead to it. It’s a little weaker against the Hogaak decks which were brand new about the time this deck went through the Legacy Challenge. Some newer white-black decks are testing Kunoros, Hound of Athreos although for Junk Fit that shuts off flashing back Cabal Therapy.
Why splash white?
Historically, the biggest reasons for moving from straight Golgari to Abzan was to get access to Swords to Plowshares. White also added some nice top-end threat cards like Archon of Valor’s Reach, Sigarda, Host of Herons, or Dragonlord Dromoka and white has some of the better hate and sideboard cards like Gaddock Teeg and Ethersworn Canonist. While Swords is still the best creature removal in the format, a few things have changed over the last couple years.
Firstly, Teeg isn’t the silver bullet he once was. I think Douges at the Green Sun’s Zenith laid out this case very well but basically Collector Ouphe does almost the same job without needing white and a lot of great new three drops that get under Teeg have been printed recently. Secondly, the great green-white top-end threats have mostly been replaced by Primeval Titan and Field of the Dead. Sigarda and Archon aren’t as good in a format full of Ice-Fang Coatl. Lastly, Oko, Thief of Crowns is one of the best fair strategies around and many of the creatures Junk previously ran aren’t great against Oko.
A note on Siege Rhino
Back in 2014 when Siege Rhino was printed, it dominated standard and people tested it in a few other formats. Many Junk Fit pilots happily ran the full set of this card. Sadly, by 2019 (and even before although some folks didn’t want to admit it) this card was completely outclassed by newer threats. Cutting the Rhino has resulted in worse Burn matchups but most other matchups are better as a result.
White opens a lot of sideboarding options to Nic Fit and that continues to be true even in the Oko meta. Junk Fit was designed to prey on fair creature decks of the format like Delver, D&T, and Maverick and it has plenty of removal in the form of Swords to Plowshares and Abrupt Decay. Between fair decks and Depths decks, Junk usually packs a few extra Swords (or Path to Exile) in the sideboard on top of the 2-3 in the main deck to have some additional answers. As a result, Junk has a little bit of a better matchup against Depths strategies where it feels closer to 50-50 and favorable matchups against creature decks.
Like most fair, value-oriented decks without counter magic, Junk can struggle against fast combo decks like Storm, Belcher, Show & Tell, or Reanimator and many of the sideboard slots are dedicated here. Typically 4-6 slots are reserved for graveyard hate like Leyline of the Void or Surgical Extraction. For the non-graveyard combo decks, white has a lot of extra answers in the form of Deafening Silence, Gaddock Teeg, or Ethersworn Canonist on top of the usual main deck Collector Ouphe. Typically another 3-4 slots are reserved for this.
Very hard control decks like Miracles historically have been a problem for Junk Fit. Before the banning of Sensei’s Divining Top, the matchup was extremely tough. This is certainly less true since the banning and since the printing of Field of the Dead. In the past a few cards in the sideboard like Choke, Palace Jailer, or even something like Thrun, the Last Troll would be dedicated to beating blue decks.
There’s a whole guide dedicated to Rectors variants which can range from all-in on the combo to mostly fair strategies with a backup Rector plan.
A few intrepid pilots have built Junk decks with a whole heap of utility lands such as Bojuka Bog, Karakas, Phyrexian Tower, Volrath’s Stronghold, and Nurturing Peatland as well as ways to fetch them out of the deck and retrieve them from the graveyard. Having access to a very early Crop Rotation into Bog or Karakas can give the deck some extra outs against fast combo decks like Show & Tell or Reanimator or give them grinding power against Loam decks or decks with Uro.
In 2020, Junk Fit is in a bit of a tough spot. There aren’t as many good reasons to splash white in fair Nic Fit and Junk’s main strategy can struggle against Oko. White does still provide fantastic removal in Swords to Plowshares and great sideboard cards like Deafening Silence, but it isn’t currently as strong as BUG Fit. If you want to play Abzan colors in Nic Fit, you may find more success with Rectors. What that really shows is that many decks are just one to two printings away from irrelevance or one to two printings away from coming back from irrelevance to the top.