Another Good Use for Umezawa’s Jitte


Lots of great and fun cards, like…

Umezawa’s Jitte ∙ Kitchen Finks ∙ Sakura-Tribe Elder
Tarmogoyf ∙ Bloodbraid Elf ∙ … and Umezawa’s Jitte

While I was doing research for another article I hit upon what, at the time, seemed like an unusual deck list. It was a hybrid beatdown deck featuring basically every card that I already like to play… Kitchen Finks (basically my favorite), Sakura-Tribe Elder (still my favorite despite what M10 did to the old boy), and Umezawa’s Jitte. I could forgive the Tarmogoyfs and so on because the deck also played the Punishing Fire + Grove of the Burnwillows combination that I so admired from Brian Kibler’s Pro Tour Austin-winning deck list.

But the coolest part?

It was also a combo deck!

So you have this angle of just good Green creatures… Literally the kind of creatures I probably like to play too much (see “The Greenest Mage of All” posts here and here over at Top8Magic), but then the deck also has a full-on Scapeshift kill!

I was used to seeing Scapeshift out of Ceta-colored decks, Blue all the way to their Cryptic Commands… but this could work, too.

(Just) Jund Scapeshift

Umezawa's Jitte3 Umezawa’s Jitte

4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Kitchen Finks

4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
4 Scapeshift
4 Search for Tomorrow
4 Tarmogoyf

4 Lightning Bolt
4 Punishing Fire

4 Grove of the Burnwillows
6 Snow-Covered Forest
6 Snow-Covered Mountain
1 Snow-Covered Swamp
4 Stomping Ground
2 Treetop Village
2 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle

3 Extirpate
4 Thought Hemmorhage
4 Ancient Grudge
4 Blood Moon

This main deck is basically the default “what everyone is playing” for this archetype with no modifications from YT. The sideboard is informed from looking at a bunch of different deck lists and not resorting (for once) to Akroma, Angel of Fury.

You probably get how the main deck works already if you are reading this blog; in fact, you are probably ahead of me because I just saw this deck 🙂

… But the sideboard probably takes some explanation.

You can play a sideboard like this one a couple of different ways, including staying straight Gruul instead of going Jund. I decided to go Jund because Extirpate is just that damn good, in particular against Thopter Foundry combo decks. Ancient Grudge is about my favorite Extended card ever… So how could it not join the party? I’ve already got Sakura-Tribe Elder and Kitchen Finks, after all.

Anyway first impression of this strategy was “how can this deck compete with other combo decks,” followed by “I really don’t see how I can compete with a deck featuring Baneslayer Angel” … But after having played it for a while, I really like the feel of the deck.

My first outing was against a Living End combo deck.

He got all kinds of cycling and so forth, but my deck was a bit shy for threats. Anyway he cycled Street Wraith a couple of times but otherwise evoked Shriekmaw to kill my Tarmogoyf… stuff like that. Fulminator Mage kept me off of seven for a while, but he just didn’t kill me. I played two or three copies of Search for Tomorrow and a pair of Sakura-Tribe Elders (the second one was actually Samwise Gamgee at the end of The Two Towers, Umezawa’s Jitte in one slithery hand, ruling the board.

Oh well, you can be 7/7 some other day. What I really want is a basic Swamp.

Kill ya. [Before you kill me, you filthy combo deck!]

I wouldn’t have needed his Street Wraiths because of my Sakura-Tribe Elder beatdown and some Punishing Fire action, but I can’t complain.

Game Two he just drew no Cascade spells. He cycled and cycled and I just played Thought Hemmorhage for Livinig End and he was pretty kold.

I played against a couple of men running the Lightning Bolt Deck… Not surprising, especially for online.

The frustrating part was being essentially unable to sideboard despite losing Game One in the first outing.

I just hit my Kitchen Finks on turn three and it was really easy to win.

I also played against some “rogue” (ahem) type decks and another combo deck (though which kind escapes me). All dubyas so far.

I do think this deck lacks a little bit of “I win” flexibility (for instance, it has no way to disrupt the fastest Dark Depths draw), but all-in-all I was very pleased and I think I will sleeve up a version of this for my next Extended PTQ, provided I play in another one.

What do you guys think about Dead // Gone? It seems like maybe I should sideboard that; just another card that you can bring in against beatdown (though this deck seems generally advantaged), but also the three mana side can fight 20/20 Coldsnap guys better than, you know, the nothing we have right now.


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#1 Alfrebaut on 01.27.10 at 9:35 pm

I played against this deck the other day, while playing a ghetto, all-basics Vore. It’s not bad in that it can go all-out aggro when dealing a control, or control-ish deck. How does it do against the blue version of the deck? I’m sure that’s a fairly popular deck, at least online, as well, right?

As for Dead/Gone, it seems like a decent pick to fight Marit Lage tokens, but where would you slot it in? I feel like the rest of your sideboard already seems to grant the advantage to those matchups you’d need to worry about.

#2 StaplerGuy on 01.27.10 at 9:35 pm

Adrian Sullivan had it in the sideboard of his red deck last season – it did a number on Swans of Bryn Argoll and sometimes some other random stuff. Certainly seems worth considering.

#3 admin on 01.27.10 at 10:18 pm


I just played a couple more matches v. Fae and Affinity.

Fae was pretty unlucky but with Punishing Fire it seemed like a pretty good matchup.

Affinity blew me out in G1 but Ancient Grudge made it pretty easy. I sided out Lightning Bolt for Ancient Grudge in that matchup (not sure if that is optimal).

#4 Alfrebaut on 01.28.10 at 4:03 am

Hey, you know what this deck needs? Some Skred.

#5 von_sparron on 01.28.10 at 7:15 am

I’ve seen versions of this deck running W for PtE. That seems pretty decent – mobs up annoying baneslayers and Marit Lage tokens + can help you hit the magic 7th land. If you don’t want to screw with the manabase Dead/Gone probably does a reasonable job.

#6 l_neiman on 01.28.10 at 10:31 am

Speaking as someone who’s piloted Dark Depths I can say that Dead//Gone is pretty annoying, probably more so than Path to Exile since you can also use it on an early Bob and not give them a free land.

Having said that, I don’t know that it’s better than the other stuff you’re running, especially since most Depths pilots will run GerryT’s hybrid Thopter/Depths builds and Dead//Gone is only against one half of the deck.


#7 bigheadjoe on 01.28.10 at 10:43 am

Two options I have been thinking about for stopping the Dark Depths menace: Crack the Earth and Reroute. Look em up.


#8 admin on 01.28.10 at 11:03 am

Extirpate and Thought Hemmorhage are good against the Thopter Foundry side of the combo (Extirpate in particular)… But don’t really help out that much against the Dark Depths side unless something fortunate happens. If you are already running hot on fortune… etc.

Those both seem pretty sub-optimal. Why wouldn’t the opponent just sacrifice his Urborg (Crack the Earth)? That is assuming he has no other permanents and blew his whole opener on a turn two combo… He would still have an Urborg.

Reroute is too situational. I literally have to have mana open and the Reroute WHILE the opponent decides to go off. If he already has a tempo advantage, he just won’t act until I force him to. If I am going to invest in an incremental solution (i.e. cards) Dead // Gone seems superior both because you can just kill the Hexmage (or Dark Confidant) with one mana before he goes off, and it gives you an out after he’s gone off. With Reroute I have no such mana flexibility. I am going to be running -2 fallow / turn for the rest of the game with this card unless the opponent plays right into my hands. If he is going to do that, I don’t need Reroute.

#9 bigheadjoe on 01.28.10 at 11:16 am

Very good point, Mike. I haven’t played against the deck before and was looking at different options to deal with the combo. I wasn’t sure exactly when the deck managed to go off. Dead//Gone seems like the optimal choice, and for the record I already finished off my set with Joey P’s help before looking into other ways to deal with the combo. Thanks for your insight into those 2 considerations. See Episode 10 of YO! MtG TAPS! for more Michael J. references, to be posted later tonight or tomorrow morning. Gotta get to editing the damn thing now and not just staring slack-jawed at Twitter.


#10 MTGBattlefield on 01.28.10 at 1:45 pm

Another Good Use for Umezawa’s Jitte…

Your story has been summoned to the battlefield – Trackback from MTGBattlefield…

#11 Five With Flores » Rise of the Eldrazi – Transcendent Master on 11.17.10 at 3:38 pm

[…] time there was a superb Constructed format. Some gripers complained that it was overly dominated by Umezawa’s Jitte, but it wasn’t. Teddy Card Game actually wrote an article claiming that Gifts Ungiven […]

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