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By: Plainswalker83, Marcus Brunstetter
Dec 01 2016 1:00pm
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Welcome back to another edition of The Modern World! This week I will be covering the deck simply known as Tron. 

Before Eye of Ugin was banned green red Tron was the version that saw the most play. It had access to cards like Pyroclasm and Lightning Bolt. It used the Eye to grind out games and just keep searching up threats that had to be answered. Once Eye was banned though the deck fell by the wayside and another version popped up that was less popular. Well until a few weeks ago when Tom Ross took this version and won the SCG Open with it. 

Ever since Tom won with this list it has been seeing an increase in play. I am to go over the deck so we can see why it regained popularity and you can once again decide if you want to play it or beat it.

This week I am going to start with the lands. For this deck the whole reason to play it is because of the mana it can create.

Urza's MineUrza's Power Plant Urza's Tower

These lands are the backbone of the deck you want get one of each out as fast as possible so you can cast your huge threats and take over the game.  Simple enough right? Well honestly the answer is sometimes it is just that simple.

Sanctum of Ugin

This is the replacement of Eye of Ugin and while it is nowhere near the power level, it is still a strong card. Once you cast 1 big threat you can chain another 1 right after and that can easily be enough to close out the game.

Let’s look at how we can get Tron into play as fast as possible.

Expedition MapAncient StirringsSylvan Scrying

These are you best cards for assembling Tron. They let you either dig deep or actually search for the exact land you need. To add to your chances are these.

Chromatic Sphere Chromatic Star

These “cantrips” help you dig deeper as well as long as give you colored mana when you need it. All very important in this deck. There is also a maindeck Relic of Progenitus which can cycle and draw you a card and also be a hoser for any decks relying on the graveyard and hoping to steal a quick game 1 like Dredge.

Ok so after all of that digging and searching you have Tron out, so now what? Well there are quite a few nice options and all are very powerful.

Wurmcoil Engine Karn Liberated

Both of these options are available on turn 3 and they are both very strong plays.

Wurmcoil Engine really shines against the aggro decks. Gaining 6 life whenever it block and attacks is a huge gain. Plus if they do end up killing it off getting the extra 2 bodies left behind really puts you ahead.

Karn Liberated coming down on turn 3 can sometimes be too backbreaking to try and come back from. I always hated the feeling of seeing my opponent play the powerful planeswalker and remove my only threat or ticking him up to destroy my hand.  With Karn out your opponent almost has to flood the board to take down the walker and if that happens you can play your next planeswalker.

This ghost dragon is devastating in Modern. Most permanents cost 3 or less and you can completely wreck your opponent’s board while on the next turn start to win the game. This card really shines against dredge because it exiles everything completely killing their plan of trying to win the game.  (you can start to see why Tom played this in a dredge heavy environment) 

Ulamog, The Ceaseless Hunger 

Another big threat that can win you the game in multiple ways. Even if the counter him the cast trigger still happens and you are exiling two of their permanents. If they don’t counter it you have a 10/10 indestructible monster that mills them for 20 each time he attacks. That is scary and game winning. 


Not really a threat but it is another maindeck answer for certain decks that give you a lot of trouble.

Path to Exile Oblivion Stone 

This the most common removal package. Path to Exile is one of the main reasons that white was added to the deck. It a clean removal spell and because you usually have such a mana advantage giving them a basic does not often matter. In fact there are plenty of times during the open where I saw Tom path his opponent and his opponent had no basic lands left to retrieve. 

Oblivion Stone is your one sided wrath. There aren’t a ton of permanents that really matter against you in game 1 but this will wipe up the few that do. Or at least keep your opponent from flooding the board and then you can play your Ugin or something else and really take control of the game. 

The sideboard is also something special and I mentioned path being the one main reason for the white splash. Well the sideboard is the other reason. 

Rest In Peace

These cards are amazing in the respective matches they are for. Rest in Peace comes in to sure up your match up against Dredge to makes sure they do not get the free wins they aim to get. It can also hurt the Snapcaster Mage decks if you feel it is needed or even the Tarmogoyf decks.   

Blessed Alliance is a card that has been showing up in sideboards because of how versatile it is.  The most important modes are gain 4 life and making an opponent sacrifice and attacking creature. So you can have a few copies of this in your board and bring in against a variety of decks. I really like how good it is against Infect and Death Shadow Aggro. 

The rest of the sideboard can be messed with depending on the meta but I like what Tom has in his list. I am not sure that the Ravenous Trap was needed because I feel like he has enough for Dredge but it can be the fastest answer he gets and it is not a permanent so can’t be destroyed. 

This deck seems to be once again a solid choice and adding white was a huge bonus. If you like big mana decks with a ton of answers and consistency then I highly recommend Tron. However if you do not want to play this and all you want to is stop them from winning what do you do? 

Here are a few minor suggestions. 

Play something that is fast enough to go under them. Infect, Burn, or the Reckless Bushwhacker Zoo decks can be good especially in game 1 but after board they can pack enough lifegain to thwart your efforts. Pack your Skullcracks and Atarka’s Commands. They can also up their removal, remember Blessed Alliance is a card. 

Play where you don’t really care what threats they put on the board and their removal will be dead against you as well. Tron does not really interact well with combo decks and can’t really stop you from playing your spells. 

One of the best decks against Tron can be the Eldrazi and Taxes deck. They have Ghost Quarter in the main along with Leonin Arbiter making Tron a lot less efficient. The deck can also present a very good clock.

Mana Leak can be really good against Tron on the turn they first assemble it and you can catch them without any open mana taking out their threat and leaving them with a weak hand. Other hard counters are also good because if they just have mana and no threats or answers there really isn’t anything to the deck. One card that is really underplayed but is card I really love is Avalanche Riders. Of course you would need the proper shell for it but awhile back I messed with a 4 color reanimator value deck with Riders and cards like Siege Rhino and Thragtusk. Who knows maybe it’s time to work on that again. 

So let’s wrap up. Tron can be very powerful and consistent that we know but it is not some impenetrable fortress. It has weaknesses and if you exploit them you are just facing a deck that has creatures and planeswalkers that cost way too much and they will die before being able to cast them. Play it or make sure you can beat it but do not ignore it. It will be part of the meta again and it needs to be accounted for. 

Thank you for reading and next week I will be covering Valakut Breach and Scapeshift. Until next time!!



Great article. It's nice to by MichelleWong at Fri, 12/02/2016 - 09:06
MichelleWong's picture

Great article. It's nice to see a build of Tron which seems it would put a better fight against Infect and Affinity post-board. I would love to know if Tom Ross was able to achieve a greater than 50% win rate against those 2 decks, both matchups of which are traditionally very tough for Tron.

Thanks! by Plainswalker83 at Fri, 12/02/2016 - 22:16
Plainswalker83's picture

I believe he did quite well against both but that could be because he knew the match ups and is very good player. This version of Tron does seem to have better answers against those decks though.

Kataki by MichelleWong at Sat, 12/03/2016 - 04:09
MichelleWong's picture

Does anyone know if Kataki, War's Wage sees much of a presence on Magic Online sideboards nowadays in Modern? Tom Ross seems not to fear Affinity enough to justify a slot in his paper deck, preferring more flexible hate options.

As to Magic Online, in the GW Tron vs Lantern Control matchup, I'd expect Kataki to be potent, because the need to pay all that mana each upkeep would almost certainly time-out the Lantern Control player (both in terms of reducing the Lantern Control player's available mana, but also by forcing the lantern player to click hundreds more times throughout a match).

Kataki by Plainswalker83 at Sat, 12/03/2016 - 13:40
Plainswalker83's picture

Kataki usually sees more play in Chord of Calling type decks because they can tutor for him. Also some aggressive decks can run it because you don't really want to side out creatures for Stony Silence.