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By: JXClaytor, Joshua Claytor
Nov 17 2016 1:00pm
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Hi everyone and thanks for hanging out with me on Puremtgo.com.  A friend of mine is taking a work trip and needed somethings with which to pass the time, so when he asked if I could loan him a Modern deck I figured I could loan him Mono Blue Tron.  I think the deck is pretty well positioned in the Modern format, and a lot of fun to play.  Heck I've written about it before, so I should know the deck pretty well! 

It is also the only Modern deck I currently (well the rest is being shipped to me) have built. 

In an effort to help him out, and kinda kick this depression that has firmly set itself into me, I decided that I needed to gather as many resources I could for him, and write a sideboard guide and all of that stuff. 

I also decided to share my work with you all!  Let's get to the decklist! 

Decklist


Creatures

2 Wurmcoil Engine:  A huge body that can come into play on turn 3 with the full tron, Wurmcoil Engine is a super important part of the deck.  It is great against Jund, Abzan and Burn, and a huge threat against Liliana of the Veil thanks to the left over tokens when it dies. 

2 Thought-Knot Seer:  I am less impressed with this creature than I should be, but it does serve a purpose.  Protecting your late game threats is what this wants to do, and stripping your opponent of an answer is not the worst use of four mana.

1 Emrakul, the Promised End:  This is a second Mindslaver effect in place of an actual Mindslaver.  The Mindslaver lock is a really great thing, but with graveyard hate at a high because of Dredge, achieving that lock is a bit harder now.  Emrakul may not lock the opponent, but it's a huge threat that can come down earlier thanks to Thirst for Knowledge and tron. 

1 Sundering Titan:  A fantastic card against all of the greedy Modern mana bases.  If this resolves against something like Grixis or Jund, you're setting them back.  Remember that you can count shock lands as a different land type, so destroying two Stomping Grounds and an Overgrown Tomb is a thing that can happen!

1 Spellskite:  A maindeck card that can help shut down two decks that are hard to deal with.  Infect and Bogles I have found to be matchups that are not thrilling, and with a Spellskite in play, that makes their pump spells a little less terrifying. 

1 Platinum Angel:  Another creature that makes life hard for decks like Infect and Bogles, it can also steal wins against decks with little removal in the format, like Suicide Bloo.  Easy to cast quickly with full tron on turn three. 

2 Treasure Mage:  Some decks play Fabricate in this spot, but without Talisman of Progress or other mana rocks, I felt that Treasure Mage was better overall.  You're typically going to look for an expensive artifact anyways, so why not get a body to go along with it?  A split with Trinket Mage may actually be the most correct here, as Trinket Mage can grab Chalice of the Void against those matchups, and Hangarback Walker as another giant threat. 

1 Hangarback Walker: This one is newer addition, and really gives us something great to use all of our mana on.  The thopter tokens when it dies are a just a nice bonus right? 

What is missing? 

Snapcaster Mage:  With the move to so much graveyard hate in the Modern format, Snapcaster Mage has lost a little bit of its luster in the deck.  It's still a great card, don't get me wrong.  Flashing back a Thirst for Knowledge is super, but I think replacing it with utility is a little bit better for the deck. 

Trinket Mage:  I did discuss this earlier, and I might be wrong, I am going to look into a 1/1 split with it and Treasure Mage. 

Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger:  This was almost in the maindeck over Emrakul.  I can see people playing it with that decision in mind.  I think I just prefer the Emrakul as the game breaking threat more than Ulamog. 

Spells

2 Spatial Contortion:  Cheap easy to cast removal.  It can also act as a pump spell for our own creatures, but really, you're going to kill Goblin Guides and early Dark Confidants.  This used to be a four of, but as the format changed, it was time to remove a few copies. 

4 Condescend:  Cheap countermagic that also smooths your draws and helps you dig to your threats. 

4 Remand:  More cheap countermagic, but really this is just a delaying tactic.  This is a tempo spell that allows us to draw a card and slows our opponent down.

3 Repeal: Bounce spell that can temporarily deal with opposing threats, but really, this is one of the best tools we have against Blood Moon.  While it is a small reprieve, being able to cast this at end of turn, and get our lands back in order to cast giant threats is important. 

4 Thirst for Knowledge:  Finds what we need and allows us to dump artifacts for the late game Academy Ruins

4 Expedition Map:  The first function of this is to find Tron, but do not be afraid to use it to get utility lands.  Ghost Quarter can deal with creaturelands or break up opposing tron builds.  Academy Ruins allows us to rebuy our artifacts and Tolaria West can get out Chalice or Walker. 

1 Chalice of the Void:  Important against Infect (set at one), Bogles (set at one), Burn (again with the one).  Studying the format (which is why there are so many decklists here in this article) allows you to make the most correct decision with Chalice. 

1 Mindslaver:  Sometimes it's a win condition in concert with Academy Ruins.  Sometimes it's a big dumb spell that ruins your opponents day.  Mana Burn is not a thing anymore, but remember you can make them take damage off of shocklands, you can fail to find with Fetchlands, you can make them burn themselves or kill their own creatures.  You just make them take the worst turn that they can. 

1 Oblivion Stone:  Catch all mass removal.  If you have time you can save your own stuff before blowing the stone. 

1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon: I like the Ugin here.  Mono Blue is different than the G Based Tron because those decks are built with getting giant creatures into play as quickly as possible.  While we do look to take advantage of Tron, we are playing a long game that can sometimes lock the game up on turn three or four.  I would like to think that this makes us a little more resilient.  While there are similarities between the two, this deck does not look to drop walkers on the board and overpower the opponent that way.

What is missing? 

Epiphany at the Drownyard:  This is a super spell to play when the full tron is out, but without talisman, I found it harder to cast early, when I would want to use Condescend or Remand.  You're a bit starved for colored mana in the early game and would rather cast countermagic or bounce.  It is quite powerful in the late game, but I think you are better off casting game ending spells. 

Cyclonic Rift:  This one I regret not finding room for and I will probably do my best to find a spot for it.  Hangarback Walker may not be long for the deck if it does not perform as well as it has been. 

Spell Burst: It's awfully fun to lock an opponent out with this, but it always felt like a win more card than a card that just won you the game. 

Lands


7 Island:  See Minamo for more.  This might be incorrect, and nine may be the best number. 

4 Urza's Power Plant
4 Urza's Mine
4 Urza's Tower:  This one adds three mana when all pieces are put together.  I don't have a word count to fill or anything, because there is still a sideboard guide to write, but just wanted to note that this one is slightly different. 

1 Minamo, School at Water's Edge:  Additional Blue source that does not get harmed by Choke or Boil.  I guess it would be just as easy to play around those, because it does make Blood Moon better.  Moons sees more play than the others so it may be more correct to remove these two and add more basic Islands. 

1 Academy Ruins:  I have talked about the Mindslaver lock, and that's great, but it is okay to return Wurmcoil Engines and the like! 

1 Ghost Quarter:  Important to blow up opposing tron pieces.  Creaturelands are a good target for this as well. 

1 Tolaria West:  Blue source that can tutor up Chalice, tron pieces Walker or utility lands.

1 Oboro, Palace in the Clouds:  Almost the same reasons as Minamo, but it may be used to add a second blue mana if you need it.  Just tap it, activate the ability with a colorless land, and replay the Oboro. 

Sideboard

1 Thought-Knot Seer:  More disruption in creature form. 

2 Relic of Progenitus:  Not entirely sold on this as our graveyard hate card right now.  This could easily be Tormod's Crypt or Surgical Extraction.  The card draw is nice so it's not entirely bad. 

2 Dispel:  When you have to counter a counterspell, Path to Exile or Lightning Bolt.

2 Steel Sabotage:  This might be better off as Annul, since it can counter enchantments, but Sabotage deals with resolved Artifacts.  Sometimes you need to bounce an Inkmoth Nexus or Cranial Plating to win. 

2 Dismember:  I am pretty happy with most of the current board, but I am most unhappy with Dismember.  Four life is a hefty fee, and it's not super against Burn.  Maybe Spatial Contortion could fit the bill here?  Granted -3 is a lot less than -5, but there is no life loss involved? 

1 Spellskite:  An extra copy against Infect, Bogles, and Burn. 

1 Chalice of the Void:  Another one.  *DJ Khaled voice*

1 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger:  Diversify your threats.  After Dismember though, I feel like this card may be next to go. 

1 Hurkyl's Recall: Super important against Affinity. 

1 AEtherize:  Super cute spell to help deal with aggro decks. Fogs an attack and buys you time as they recast their threats.

1 Wurmcoil Engine:  Another thing to help out against Jund and Abzan. 

Other options? 

 

Of course there are other options in sideboarding.  Ravenous Trap is very intriguing to me against Dredge.  Filigree Familiar is a nice speed bump against Burn.  I am not super thrilled with the board as it is, but because we're artifact based, we could easily run stuff like Silent Arbiter to help against Aggro, Orbs of Warding against Combo, heck Trinisphere could see some play maybe? 

I think the best thing to do is look at other (for this search, I set the cards to Condescend and Urza's Mine, since nearly every Blue Tron deck plays those two cards) decks, your metagame and mold your sideboard to those factors.  Since I'm online as a player, I have to be prepared for more decks in theory.  Trying to be ready for twenty or so decks is probably a fool's errand, but at least I tried! 

Sideboard Recommendations

Infect


Infect looks to give you ten poison counters as quickly as possible.  You don't have to worry about your life total as would against other decks.  Thirty cards in this deck cost one, so maybe that is what you should set Chalice of the Void on. Apostle's Blessing and Viridian Corrupter are other things to be aware of.  Blighted Agent and Inkmoth Nexus are the two hardest creatures to deal with for us, as neither of them are Chalice locked, and they both have evasion. 

Sideboarding

In: 1 Spellskite, 1 Chalice of the Void, 2 Dismember, 1 AEtherize
Out: 4 Remand, 1 Treasure Mage

Dredge


Dredge looks to fill its graveyard up with a ton of cards and take advantages of the synergies that Prized Amalgam and Bloodghast offer the deck in order to fill the board quickly.  They can end the game sooner than normal with a giant Conflagrate.  Main deck, we have no way to deal with their graveyard shenanigans, so if your metagame has a lot of Dredge running around, I would consider removing the Chalice for graveyard hate out of the main, probably Tormod's Crypt since you could find it with Tolaria West.

Sideboarding

In:  2 Relic of Progenitus, 1 AEtherize
Out:  1 Chalice of the Void, 2 Remand

Jund


Jund is a matchup that I should like, but am never happy to see.  If they rip your hand apart that makes things super hard for you, but if they are unable to do so, and you get resources to play with the games should go in your favor.  Sundering Titan and Wurmcoil Engine are both super in this matchup.  Chalice of the Void, not so much!  Thought-Knot Seer is pretty good here as it can exile their removal, and it matches up well for the most part against their creatures. 

Sideboarding

In: Spellskite, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, Wurmcoil Engine, Thought-Knot Seer
Out:  Chalice of the Void, 2 Spatial Contortion, Treasure Mage

Bant Eldrazi


The Eldrazi deck of choice is not a deck I've actually ever played against.  I've been playing Mono Blue Tron for a while now, and I've yet to get paired against it in League play on MTGO.  Looking at the deck though, I think we can figure out the key cards we need from the board.  Eldrazi Displacer is the most important creature, and Thought-Knot Seer is not far from behind there.  We need to be able to control those two so we do not get draw locked out of the game.  Spatial Contortion deals with the Displacer and Repeal can do some work.  They are a creature deck, but not as fast as the other thanks to their value creatures.  Reality Smasher is a card that I would save countermagic for. 

Sideboarding

In:  2 Dismember, 1 AEtherize
Out: 1 Chalice of the Void, 2 Remand

Naya Burn


Here is a matchup that Chalice of the Void is good against!  Burn is a tough matchup as well, because it's efficient in what it wants to do.  Remand buys us time, but it is generally terrible, and we need Wurmcoil Engine to get our life back. Pay attention to what has been cast already when dealing with Chalice.  Ideally you'd want to set it at one, but setting it at 2 is correct more often, because it stops their Atarka's Command or Skullcrack (If the deck runs Skullcrack), and getting blown out when you think you are gaining six life is just the worst. 

Of note, the sideboard that Ben used in the recent SCG Open showed the wrong card, this has been updated to the correct list, from his Facebook account. 

Sideboarding

In:  Chalice of the Void, Spellskite, Wurmcoil Engine, 2 Dispel
Out:  4 Remand, 1 Treasure Mage

Lantern Control


This is a matchup that I think should be good, but would not be surprised to see it go sideways if certain things happen.  Set Chalice of the Void for one, and they should struggle until they get Abrupt Decay, and hopefully by then you've found a Spellskite for it.  They do have a lot of hand disruption, but Inquisition of Kozilek will not hit any super important pieces, and while Thoughtseize and Collective Brutality will hit more cards, I am not entirely sure that this deck has an answer in the main deck to Platinum Angel.  If they have an active Ghost Quarter do not play your Academy Ruins in to it.  Get your Ghost Quarter first. 

Sideboarding

In:  Chalice of the Void, Hurkyl's Recall, 2 Steel Sabotage
Out:  2 Spatial Contortion, 1 Hangarback Walker, 1 Sundering Titan

Affinity


Hyper Aggro deck that we can struggle against?  Sure, here is another one!  Chalice can shine here, I would want to set it on two, to deal with Arcbound Ravager and Cranial Plating, but one is not a bad option at all either.  That deals with Galvanic Blast and the smaller dorks.  The creaturelands are important to pay attention to as well.  They limited in regards to answers to Platinum Angel, if you can protect it through blasts you should be great! 

Sideboarding

In: 2 Steel Sabotage, Hurkyl's Recall, AEtherize
Out: Sundering Titan, 3 Remand

GW Tron


The new hotness in regards to Tron decks, the GW version gets superior sideboard cards in additional to the fat threats that GR Tron has.  Karn Liberated is a huge threat to you, as is Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and World Breaker.  I honestly do not like the look of this matchup.  It's very dependent on who gets tron active first, and can cast the largest threats.  If you can break up Tron, do so, and a Mindslaver lock is what I would try to achieve here.  On paper, I just hate this matchup though. 

Sideboarding

In:  2 Steel Sabotage, Thought-Knot Seer
Out: 2 Spatial Contortion, Spellskite

Zooicide

Ok, it's another fast aggro deck, so the plan is just Chalice, stay alive, and then take over.  This deck for some reason scares me less than Burn or Infect, and I think the lack of reach that is has is why.  Yeah it's fast, but it also rolls over to a Chalice set for one.  Repeal is super strong here, as they have no way to give their creatures protection from the instant.  My plan is to just stay alive until my giants can take over, and win from there.

Sideboarding

In:  Spellskite, Chalice of the Void, AEtherize 2 Dismember, Wurmcoil Engine
Out:  4 Remand 2 Condescend

Abzan

This plays similarly to the Jund Matchup, and while there are plenty of likenesses, Grim Flayer and Lingering Souls are jerks.  They also have better removal in Path to Exile.  GBx matchups supposedly have a poor tron matchup, and I like to think that this is true for us as well. 

Sideboarding

In: Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, Wurmcoil Engine, AEtherize
Out:  Chalice of the Void, 2 Treasure Mage
 
Suicide Bloo

Pauper has come to Modern!  The popular Kiln Fiend strategy shows itself off here, and it is a lot of fun!  You basically play Fiend, cast some spells and then give it Temur Battle Rage for a quick combo like kill.  I might discount the deck, even though I have played something very close to it, but early Chalice is great, but it does not stop Kiln Fiend from pumping.  If you can set it to two, do that, and deal with Swiftspear with Contortion. 

Sideboarding

In: AEtherize, 2 Dismember, Chalice of the Void
Out:  4 Remand

Grixis Delver
 


Tempo deck with both aggro and control elements.  Looks to take advantage of Delver of Secrets and Young Pyromancer to flood the board and overwhelm you.  They have some countermagic to deal with your threats.  They can get blown out by Oblivion Stone, and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon.  Chalice for one is pretty good, but they have threats across multiple mana costs.

Sideboarding

In: 2 Dispel, 2 Dismember
Out:  4 Remand

Valakut Breach


This is a little played deck, but looks to ramp in to Through the Breach to quickly power out Primeval Titan attacks which fuel Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle.  I think this deck is super neat. 

Sideboarding

In: 2 Dispel, 1 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
Out:  Chalice of the Void, 2 Spatial Contortion

Ad Nauseam


Not a huge fan of decks that can win in your end step, but here we are with Ad Nauseam.  They have limited countermagic, so I would actually try to set Chalice of the Void to zero, and just counter the namesake spell or the win condition whenever they try to go off. 

Sideboarding

In:  2 Dispel, Chalice of the Void, 2 Steel Sabotage
Out:  2 Spatial Contortion, Sundering Titan, Hangarback Walker, Treasure Mage

Jeskai Control


This is a neat deck, and one of my favorites as well.  Looks to land Nahiri, the Harbinger, and get out an early Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.  Nahiri gives it haste, and should destroy the board when it attacks.  Be aware that Boom/Bust is an option out of the board, and try to out control this control deck. 

Sideboarding

In:  2 Dispel, Thought-Knot Seer
Out:  Chalice of the Void, Spellskite, Treasure Mage

Eldrazi & Taxes


I am running out of steam here.  This is an AEther Vial based aggro deck, the vials in this deck typically bring in a Hatebear, which may or may not be hard to deal with.  If you can control the board of Thalia, you should be able to advance to the late game where your big threats can start to take over. 

Sideboarding

In:  2 Dismember, 1 Wurmcoil Engine
Out:  Chalice of the Void, 2 Remand

Merfolk


Ugh!  This is the worst matchup I have ever played against with Mono Blue Tron.  You have islands, they have islandwalkers.  They get to play with AEther Vial so they are dropping creatures into play for free.  They have Spreading Seas to mess up your wonderful plans of Tron.  This is what a nightmare looks like.  It is not unwinnable, but it is a huge uphill battle for you.  Chalice can't even help against Cavern of Souls!

Sideboarding

In: 2 Dismember, 1 AEtherize, 2 Steel Sabotage
Out: Chalice of the Void, 4 Remand

Sun and Moon


This is Jeskai Control without the annoying Blue cards.  They play a Chalice based control list, but you thankfully should go much bigger than Chalice.  We have countermagic for their important things, namely the planeswalkers.    Blood Moon is also problematic, but you can let it resolve if you have blue mana to counter their more important things, and you can wait for a Repeal to deal with the enchantment. 

Sideboarding

In:  Thought-Knot Seer, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
Out:  Chalice of the Void, Spellskite

Bogles 


We end the look at decks much like we started.  Bogles is a deck that looks to pump one creature up to an absurd power and just kill you from there.  Chalice works overtime here.  Setting it for one is outstanding.  We are gonna keep Contortion in because we want to deal with Gaddock Teeg, even though the rest of the deck has little in the way of meaningful targets.  

Sideboarding

In:  Chalice of the Void, Spellskite, AEtherize
Out:  3 Remand
 
These were a lot of words, I hope that you are inspired to give Mono Blue Tron a chance on MTGO in your next Modern League!  Let me know what you think in the comments below, and make sure you check out the additional resources I have left as a sort of post script! 

Additional Resources

A frequently updating page of Mono Blue tron lists. 

Shoktroopa streams the deck at his twitch

Pierakor has written a FAQ here

MTGSalvation has nearly 500 pages of comments and ideas for the deck.

The Tron Subreddit talks about the deck often.