Arctic_Ghost's picture
By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Apr 10 2023 10:53am

I am sure everyone is familiar with Tron by now. Tron gives us the illusion that 1+1+1=7. This comes from the joke that with the 3 Tron lands assembled, those being Urza’s Tower, Urza’s Mine and Urza’s Power Plant, you get 7 mana. Then you cast big, powerful spells and pray you win the game.

Tron in Modern has been around since the beginning and was mainly built to combat the Jund menace long ago. Over time however, the deck has become worse positioned and that is what I will talk about today.

The list we will be looking at today got 5th place in the Modern challenge that took place on 3 12 2023 and was piloted by the player Aardos. Alright it is time for Tron bots to assemble (not the correct reference but I don’t care). Let’s rock!

Wurmcoil Engine – A big 6/6 with Lifelink that can be devastating for any aggro based deck. It can also be a bit hard to get rid of because it leaves behind its 2 wurm tokens. Wurmcoil Engine has never been the best payoff this deck can have and over the years I have thought of moving it to the sideboard entirely, but against some decks it can lead to free wins in game 1.

Cityscape Leveler – The Brothers’ War brought a new toy along for Tron to play with and it is quite good. It hits hard being an 8 power creature with Trample and it destroys a nonland permanent whenever you attack with it or whenever you cast it. The cast part is big because it means even if it gets countered, it still was able to Vindicate something. It also has Unearth which is a small plus.

Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger – Whether you play Emrakul or Ulamog, Tron would feel a bit naked without a huge Edlrazi to win the game with. Ulamog is actually better than Emrakul, the Aeon’s Torn because it is 5 mana cheaper and win games the game just as fast while also removing 2 permanents when it comes down. You get a ton of card advantage out of Ulamog. Emrakul is more powerful but can often be a few turns too slow.

Karn Liberated – Karn has been the mascot of Tron in Modern for quite some time. Karn Liberated is interesting because he can be devastating against some decks and not so great against others. Against slower decks he is very good because he can attack your opponents hand, he can exile permanents at will and then his ultimate should more than likely win the game. Against some of the faster decks, Karn Liberated is a little too slow. The big thing about Karn is that against certain decks, such as Izzet Murktide, removing a Planeswalker from the battlefield can be a bit of a struggle. The longer Karn is on the battlefield, the worse it gets for your opponent.

Karn, the Great Creator – This is one of the main win conditions of the archetype. You will notice later on that the sideboard is mainly a Karn toolbox. There are plenty of decks that rely on artifacts and Karn’s static ability is quite potent against that. Karn, the Great Creators +1 ability won’t be used a ton as you don’t have high casting cost artifacts that aren’t already creatures, but the ability can help.

Normally we see Ugin, the Spirit Dragon in these archetypes and the Planeswalker count at 10. The ratio usually consists of 4 Karn, the Great Creator and then a mix of numbers between Ugin and Karn Libterated. However in this list we don’t see Ugin at all. I have seen lists without Karn, the Great Creator as well. It all depends on the meta you expect to see and that will heavily determine your Planeswalker count.

Ancient Stirrings – While Ancient Stirrings may not look all that good at first, in the Tron archetype, Ancient Stirrings becomes of the best card advantage spells of all time in my opinion.

Sylvan Scrying and Expedition Map – Without Tron you don’t function well. These help with that. You also have a few tech lands you can search up as well.

Warping Wail – Ragavan is the bane of existence for Tron. Wail helps with that while also have other functions as well. All of the choices on this card are quite good, but I wouldn’t play more than 2 because I think the later the game goes on, the worse Warping Wail becomes.

Chromatic Star and Chromatic Sphere – You need help getting Green mana to cast a few of your spells and these are the best ways to do it as they cost 1 mana and draw you a card.

Relic of Progentius – One of the great things about Tron is you get to play Relic of Progenitus as it is pretty much a flex spot. This gives you outs to winning game 1 against decks such as Dredge or Living End which is huge because it means you will be on the play for game 3 if there is one. At worst at the end of the day, you can cycle it away.

Oblivion Stone – This is a powerful way to clear the board. The best part is that this destroys more than just creatures and you can choose to take a turn to make it so you get to keep a powerful permanent of your own.

The Manabase

Urza's Mine, Urza's Tower and Urza's Power Plant – Just like in Pauper, you never and I truly mean never play less than 4 copies of each Urza land.

Boseiju,Who Endures – There are plenty of targets for Boseiju to hit and the best part is that it is uncounterable by normal means.

Sanctum of Ugin – Step 1 is have this in play, Step 2 is cast Karn Liberated or Cityscape Leveler and use Sanctum to search for Ulamog. Then Step 3 is cast Ulamog and hopefully profit to victory.

Blast Zone – Although a little slow, it is a board wipe than can be tutored for with Sylvan Scrying or Map.

The rest of the manabase are just 3 basic forests. You could go down to 2 Forests and add another tech land, but I see no reason to do this as being able to cast Veil of Summer out of the sideboard or play Ancient Stirrings is too important.

The Sideboard

Chalice of the Void – Chalice can sometimes just randomly win you games against almost any opponent. Just be careful if you put it on 1 as it does shut off some of your spells as well.

Engineered Explosives – You have the ability get add more than just green to your pool. Explosives still remains one of the best board wipes in the game.

Ensnaring Bridge – You can dump your hand fairly easily, making Bridge amazing against creature based strategies and there are a lot of decks that need to actually attack you to win the game.

Haywire Mite – A Disenchant that also gains you 2 life or it can block a creature to buy you a turn possibly. I like this card.

Jegantha, the Wellspring – If you find yourself flooded, at the very least you now have a 5 power creature to play whenever you need to.

Liquimetal Coating – With Karn, the Great Creator on the battlefield, this can be a great removal spell. It isn’t Mycosynth Lattice, but that is a good thing.

Pithing Needle – Needle can help you out in a pinch against a plethora of problematic permanents. Sometimes I think having 2 is a good choice depending on the meta.

Sundering Titan – There are plenty of decks that have greedy manabases. Might as well punish them for it and then swing for a lot damage in the process.

The Stone Brain – This can help a lot against combo decks.

Tormod's Crypt – This is great against graveyard strategies and it costs 0 which means you can cast it easily the same turn you get it.

Trinisphere – Against archetypes that have a lot of cheap spells such as Burn or Izzet Murktide, this can be an extremely annoying card to deal with.

Veil of Summer – For the low price of 1 green mana, you can tell the control players not today!

Walking Ballista – This can be a win condition in its own right and is a fantastic target to get with Karn. You have tons of mana to work with so winning the game with Ballista can be quite quick.

Verdict and Final Thoughts

Long ago, Tron was originally built to beat Jund when it was the best deck. Over the years however, Tron has gone back and fourth in the format, from being one of the best decks to being one of the worst positioned and then back again.

At one point in time, Tron was the boogeyman in the Modern format, but then that all changed when Ragavan attacked (there were other reasons as well). Ragavan is the literal bane of Tron as you don’t have really any good way of removing it and it also doesn’t help that most of the decks in the format have too many ways to generate card advantage. It is very easy to outpace Tron these days. If your meta has too many Ragavan decks, not sacrificing some sideboard slots to Dismember is most likely a must. It isn’t that Ragavan is an automatic win, but it can snowball the game quickly in a way that all hope will generally be lost.

Another problem I see for Tron is that the formats combo decks can be quite fast and overwhelming while there are disruptive decks like Rakdos Scam (I think it is called that, on MtgGoldFish it is called R/B Midrange). On paper this deck seems horrible for Tron, but at the same time, they can’t make you discard your Tron pieces easily and can’t stop you from drawing a good bomb.

The strength of Tron comes from not only the Karn toolbox, but also from just casting big spells turn after turn. Eventually your opponent should run out of steam. The issue is that most decks have tons of card advantage or win the game too fast.

Should you play this deck? Personally I would say no. I understand it got 5th place in a challenge, but I don’t think Tron is well positioned and I don’t think it will do well consistently. At the time of writing this, Mono Green Tron won the challenge on 4/1/2023 and I am honestly a little shocked, but I feel like the winning deck list was better built than the one I showed you today. I am perfectly willing to admit that I am bad at magic period and that is effecting my feelings on Tron. It could also be that I am just extremely unlucky with Tron and that is also effecting my feelings. At the end of the day, my thoughts on Tron are of course my opinions and not necessarily facts.

However, with all this being said, as always, do remember my words are not gospel. I will always encourage you to try a deck that I bring you despite my personal feelings. Remember that results will vary and always remember to practice!

Would you like to compete in a free Pauper tournament with some great prizes? Head on over to on Tuesday nights at 8pm EDT and play in our weekly Pauper Classic Tuesday's event! Join the chat #PCT to chat with us and feel free to find most of the competitors on Discord!

Thank you so much for reading. Best of luck to you in your next tournament and I’ll catch you all next time!