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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Apr 21 2022 10:15am
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Wotc has been doing a lot of banning in recent months to try and lower the power of Affinity and Tron. It seems they have failed with Affinity overall as it is still a power house. However with Tron, it seemed to be a small success.

Prophetic Prism and Bonder’s Ornament got banned not that long ago and since then we don’t see Tron pop up in the same numbers we used to see a few months ago. Both of these cards did a lot for the archetype in terms of drawing cards, fixing colors and giving you ramp. Do remember that Tron can have tons of mana, but a lot of the time it is colorless mana. This means that you need cards like Prism or Signets if you are going to actually cast spells.

The format has also changed a bit and that definitely could impact Tron archetypes. However, Wizards has unbanned Expedition Map to try and throw us a small bone. The question now is, is that going to be enough?

The list we will be looking at today was part of the 5-0 dump from 4/6/2022 and was piloted by the player RClint21. It is very close to the usual Tron we are all used to, but with some new cards replacing Prism and Ornament. Let’s check them out.

 

Mulldrifter – A staple of almost every Tron deck. I personally never run less than 4 if my list is playing Mulldrifter.

Sea Gate Oracle – Great blocker against aggro decks, draws you cards and combos with Flicker effects. Overall this is a great creature to have access to. The most I would play is 3, but 2 has always felt like the right number for me personally.

Mnemonic Wall and Ardent Elementalist – Staples of any Tron deck that runs blue and/or Flicker shenanigans in general. Ardent has come to replace the third copy of Mnemonic Wall for quite some time and I like it. It can actually attack and it costs 1 mana cheaper which could easily make a huge difference.

Dinrova Horror – This is your main win condition for the deck and your end game goal. Once you have this on the battlefield and access to your Flicker/Wall combo, this will pretty much lock up the game. I have seen some lists play 2 so that you don’t get messed up by graveyard hate. If that is a factor for you, running 1 in the sideboard for certain matchups might be a good idea.

Mystical Teachings – A big part of blue Urza Tron decks. Another awesome part of Tron (specifically the blue version) is that you get access to (Mystical Teachings;TSP) and can play a ton of silver bullet cards for any situation and so throughout this list you will see a lot of cards that you only play 1 copy of. What Teachings mainly does is it turns you into a very reactive deck, which can be a big headache for a lot of archetypes in the format.

Impulse and Forbidden Alchemy – These help you dig for your combo pieces and your Tron pieces, as well as your color fixers.

Compulsive Research – A pretty good draw spell for this archetype. Although it is sorcery speed, it still digs 3 cards deep. One thing you can do with Research is win the game as it says target player. Theoretically with 2 Walls out or a Wall and a Elementalist, while this will rarely work, you can mill your opponent out. This would be much easier in paper, but still possible online.

Prohibit and Dispel – Having access to double blue is gonna be tricky for Tron moving forward with Prophetic Prism or Bonder’s Ornament. However, Prohibit will counter just about everything you would want to with Counterspell and having to pay the kicker cost shouldn’t be a big deal for you. Then of course Dispel is just a very powerful card.

Ghostly Flicker and Ephemerate – Here are your combo enablers. I like 1 of each as you can tutor them up with Teachings and you don’t want to draw them super early.

Lightning Bolt and AbradeAbrade is a very powerful card in Pauper as it can deal with almost any threat you should see and destroying artifacts these days is very useful. Lightning bolt of course is just great and with your Flicker combo, you can also win the game by looping it over and over, much like the Compulsive Research combo.

Moment’s Peace – Here is a big way of dealing with aggro decks. You will rarely see any Teachings style of Tron running less than 2 copies of this card in the main.

Pulse of Murasa – This is quite good against anything. It gains life against aggro and Burn, it returns any of your powerful creatures to be played again and it can return a destroyed Tron piece back the grave. It isn’t unheard of to see 2 copies of these in the main deck, but usually 1 is more than enough.

Weather the Storm – Against Burn and aggro decks, this can buy you tons of time.

Expedition Map – The big one returns. You don’t see 4 as you usually only need 1 copy early to get your Tron going. You also need to make room for other spells.

Gruul Signet, Izzet Signet, Simic Signet and Prismatic Lens – Here are your replacements for the banned cards. They aren’t anywhere near the power level, but you take what you can get and trust me you will need these.

The Manabase

I will just say right off the bat. Do not ever play less than 4 of any of the Urza lands. They are the whole point of your deck and without playing 4 of each you aren’t playing Tron at that point anymore.

Thriving Isle and Thornwood Falls – Here are your dual lands for the deck. Falls can help gain you close to infinite life with your Flicker combo and Isle is great at being whatever dual you may need at the time.

Cave of Temptation – This has become a staple of Tron decks and for good reason. Not only do they help filter your colors but they also make a creature bigger later in the game which helps you end the game faster and give your opponent less draw steps.

Bojuka Bog and Remote Isle – Here are your tech lands for the deck. Bog is great for graveyard hate, while Isle is something to get off of Expedition Map later in the game and dig a bit deeper instead of Map being a somewhat dead draw. One tech land we don’t see is Mortuary Mire and I think that is to make room for the third copy of (Cave of Temptation so you have less mana problems. I personally like Mire so if you decide to make that change I understand.

Other tech lands you could play are the Campus lands from Strixhaven and I am sure there are more. However, the sad thing is you only have so many spots and can’t fit everything.

The Sideboard

Moment's Peace and Stonehorn Dignitary – These are your anti aggro cards. I am a little surprised to not see a copy of Dignitary in the main or at the very least 2 copies in the sideboard, but most of the aggro decks being played today have decent answers to the Dignitary and it isn’t the greatest against Affinity so it does make sense to only see 1.

Ancient Grudge – It is really good to have artifact hate these days. Grudge is great because it can be searched up with Teachings and can be used twice immediately.

Blue Elemental Blast and Hydroblast – Take this red mages!

Fangren Marauder – This is still an extremely powerful card against Affinity so it doesn’t surprise me to see a couple copies in the sideboard.

Fiery Cannonade – Everyone can use a board wipe and this is the best for Tron in my opinion.

Pyroblast Red Elemental Blast – This should help stem the bleeding of having to face blue decks.

Verdict and Conclusion

At the time of writing this article, I personally have not seen Tron put up the numbers it has in the past. However, Tron seems to still be a good deck, it just depends on how you build it and the meta at the time.

There are many ways to build Tron. You have this Temur list I have brought you today. There is Mono Green, you can build 5 color, you can build Colorless Tron, there is even a fairly new combo Tron list that Birbman263 has played on their stream recently and it has been putting up decent results. As of right now, it doesn’t seem like Tron is a powerhouse when you compare it to something like Affinity or Boros, but we will have to see if Map being unbanned will bring it back or close to its former glory.

One card we don’t see in this list is Crop Rotation. The reason for that is that you have access to Map again and you have all the Signets to ramp you. Not having to play Crop Rotation is honestly a great feeling because it means you don’t have to possibly 2 for 1 yourself against Counterspell decks. This is just my opinion.

Do I think you should play this deck? Yes I still think Tron is a good choice for both leagues and challenges, but you don’t have to play this particular list I talked about today. However I will say that for this style of Tron, this list is a good place to start and evolve over time. I think the list you would play in a league will be slightly different than one you play in a challenge so keep that in mind as well.

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 Gatherling.com 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!