Jund Color Philosophy [Slicing the Pie]
Updated: Apr 6, 2021
Hey there, and welcome back to “Slicing the Pie,” a series where I will discuss each of the Shards and Wedges of Magic: the Gathering. In this article, we will continue with the Shard of Jund. Needless to say, I am excited to dive into this wild shard, and you should be too. So, sit down, get comfortable, and let’s talk Jund, the shard that finds freedom in its selfish acts.
With this series, we will have to work to uncover the philosophies of each of our subjects, as there is very little in the way of varied examples when it comes to Shards and Wedges. What this means is that we will have to make assumptions based on what we do know about how the colors of Magic: the Gathering behave. To do this, we will have to set the stage, so to speak, and break it down. I will first expand on the bridge color and then talk about how it pairs up with each of its neighboring colors. After that, we must take a look at what mana is missing from this Shard, and what that tells us about it. From there, we can come up with three different ways of translating the philosophies within that Shard. OK, with that, let's get into it by asking: what is red and how does it transform when paired with each of its neighbors?
Red is honestly one of the simplest colors to explain, and I think that's just the way Red would have it. For Red, nothing really has to be as complicated as people make it out to be. It’s as simple as being guided by your inner self. Its trusting your gut; it's instinct above introspection. Above all else, it’s the passion to follow your heart, no matter where that may lead you.
You see, if you attach yourself to Red, you’d best be ready to live your life guided purely by your emotions. So then, what does this look like when combined with Green, and what philosophies lie within this pair? Well, what we see is that Red brings out the side of Green that embraces its total animal side. It transforms into a philosophy that forgoes everything except for pure instinct and freedom. When combined with Red, Green sheds its ideals of tradition and instead finds harmony in the laws of nature.
On the other side of Red’s pairings, we have something not so dissimilar in Red-Black. The difference between these two pairings, in my opinion, is that this version is the more human side of such a combination. What I mean is that Red-Black doesn't follow the animal instincts of hunter and prey like Red-Green. Instead, it becomes more twisted with the desires of humanity’s darkest impulses. Black is always looking to take on the full extent of its existence and gains power so that it is never restricted. So when Red is brought into the mix, this combination will go about black's selfish needs with added ferocity.
The commonality here with both of these pairs lies in the idea of freedom being the key factor that Red injects into each of these colors.
Both Black and Green see the value in freedom; it’s just pushed to the surface when Red is fused with either of them. So now we understand that Jund is a color combination that values individual freedom above all else and is willing, if not cruel, in its path to achieving this. You see, Jund knows that it must possess the vicious and callous nature of a predator to get the most out of its life.
Now, before we can really understand a Shard or Wedge, it is best to also look at what the missing mana tells us about it, as what a Shard is not is just as important as what it is. In the case of Jund, our missing mana is White and Blue. So, with a lack of any White mana, we know for sure that Jund lacks empathy for those below it, and thinks that rigid social structure has no place in the world. Simple enough, but what does the lack of Blue mana tell us? Well, this lets us know that Jund does not think about the deeper meaning behind itself or the world around it. I would say that with Blue Mana missing, Jund is not looking too far into the future; it is simply acting, following one instinct to the next.
So, with everything we know so far, we now have managed to craft the framework for understanding Jund. From this position, we can now talk about three possible philosophies for this Shard. But remember, there is always more to be discovered about colors than just what we have been shown before. Color philosophy is all about leaning more or less into different parts of the colors’ ideals. So, if you have any alternative ideas for how you see Jund, then write those down in the comments I would love to read them and start a discussion.
Authenticity of Self Through Savage Expression
The first point and one I think is at the core of Jund's every decision, is the concept of authenticity of self, through savage expression. It not only dictates that we follow our heart, but that it must be the animal side of ourselves; the side with no empathy; the side that acts impulsively and aggressively. Red tells us to trust our instincts, Green says those instincts must be rooted in animal impulses, and Black states that those impulses must only serve us, with no thought for others. Jund says that “inside every one of us there is the hidden capacity for animal brutality – it’s just that our cushy lives have pushed that aspect of ourselves further and further down.” To Jund, we must express ourselves through vicious acts, for that is our original nature. It is, in Jund's mind, our truest form.
To this end, Jund is the color combination that not only finds purpose in expressing its raw aggression but also gains satisfaction in the act of consuming the weak, as if displaying its strength over others is a key to understanding its true self and its place in this world. For if I am not able to aggressively pursue my raw instincts, then what purpose is there in my life, other than being a victim? For if you are not a predator, you are the prey. Because of this, there is no middle ground or room for pacifism in Jund. It must always display its raw power in order to prove the worth of its existence.
Chaos of Thought and Confidence of Action
Within the philosophy of Jund, we know that there is no room for deeper introspection. Therefore, any philosophies that fall within Jund must also adhere to the ideal that I call: the chaos of thought and confidence of action. This means that those who follow Jund live a life of mental chaos, but in the end, believe themselves to be the only ones confident in their actions. Only through living our lives with no thought as to why we are doing something may we truly be who we were meant to be. Jund says that so much is wasted in introspection. We must remove the layer of thinking that slows our impulses and taints our actions. Think of it as a barrier that slows your action due to time spent evaluating thought. If we remove that barrier, we may then act quickly and be closer to our truer selves.
Now, this doesn't just mean blocking the thought processes that limit instinct. Part of it is also a complete lack of conscience, a conscience that would limit one’s actions. Jund is following through on an impulse, no matter how brutal or depraved it may be. Red is swept away by its emotions, never letting deeper thought come into play, Green taps into its animal brain which lacks empathy, and Black is consumed by what it desires. So, when we bring all of this together, we of course create a philosophy that is not compelled by thought, but by the chaos of the heart, gut, and soul; a combination that is confident in what it is and what it wants. “The dragon has no pretense of compassion, no false mask of civilization- just hunger, heat, and need.”
Harmony through Domination
So far, it may seem like Jund is a philosophy with absolutely no structure, and while this isn't too far from the truth, it’s important to keep in mind that Green is still a part of Jund, and Green believes that there must be harmony, but not necessarily peace. Harmony through domination means that the creatures of the natural world will position themselves properly given enough time, due to the natural roles of predator and prey. What this means is that a structure is formed through domination and not law. Even though this harmony is formed through brutality, it is still harmony nonetheless. This structure may not look anything like the rigidity of White and Blue's idea of society, but it is a kind of structure.
The best place to look for an example of this idea is in the natural world itself. Here, we see how nature and instinct can create structure and even harmony. In simplest terms, this ideal is derivative of another term here on earth: the food chain. It's a concept that orders every ecosystem into a hierarchy of predator and prey, and in doing so, maintains a delicate ecosystem. Sure, some may strike against those above them when the opportunity presents itself, but the order of power never shifts. So, in this way, Jund still has leaders, but these leaders are not elected, nor does it have anything to do with their policies; it’s just a matter of domination through raw power. So, in a way, the use of aggression to dominate others creates an odd sense of harmony only truly displayed in Jund.
So, we know for sure that Jund is a color combination that can only be its authentic self through its expression of its every savage impulse; not just to act on its instincts, but to truly display its aggression on others. Because of this, Jund lives its life in what others would call the chaos of thought, in that it never thinks -- it just acts out its every human-animal impulse. For in spending time wondering why you act, you miss out on the act itself. It’s in this way of life that any version of Jund will find itself either at the top of the food chain or a victim to something stronger. The philosophy of Jund is one that is confident in its every action, and one where domination is the only law.
Thanks again for joining me in breaking down another one of the Shards of Magic: the Gathering. If you enjoyed then be sure to read through more articles on the site. Also, follow me on social media to stay up to date with me and everything MTG SOCIAL MEDIA