Arctic_Ghost's picture
By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Aug 27 2020 11:00am

I am sure that by now, we all know what the Mono Black Control archetype looks like. It has discard, removal and annoying creatures such as Chittering Rats and Gray Merchant of Asphodel. I am sure a lot of you haven’t taken the archetype too serious in quite a while either which makes me sad.

With that being said, since Urza Tron is still alive and kicking, (despite the recent banning of (Expedition Map, which I know we all agree was never gonna do anything to begin with and is a bit of a joke) something that some Pauper players are trying, is to stick Urza Tron into every archetype, just to see what happens.

Which brings me to the list we will talk about today. Recently a player by the name of NotGood, (Really known as Zimplify everywhere else) got a 5-0 with the list I am going to be showing you. It has the usual MBC shell, but adds the Urza Tron lands. Do the Tron lands do anything new and exciting for the archetype? Let’s check it out before I keep on ranting.

Credit also goes to Raptor56 for creating the archetype and you can check out their video of the deck where they ran it in a league right here!

Chittering Rats
– This is in my opinion, the best creature this archetype has. While its stats are pretty average, its come into play ability is huge. Making your opponent put a card back on top so they don’t draw a new card can sometimes just win you the game on the spot. Something you hear a lot in magic is being able to “Time Walk” your opponent, which basically means taking another turn because your opponent did next to nothing on theirs. Yes there is Liliana’s Specter to make your opponent go down a card, but I would argue that the potential of setting them back is better in most cases.

Phyrexian Rager – Another staple of the MBC archetype, while again its stats are average, it digs a card deeper and replaces itself, giving the archetype a tiny bit of card draw while also getting a decent creature on the board. The 1 damage that this creature deals to you isn’t to much in the grand scheme of things.

Grey Merchant of Asphodel – Ah yes, good old Gary. I still remember the days of Corrupt being played in MBC, but then Grey Merchant was printed and overall it is the better card. It has the potential to do more damage and gain more life much faster and it costs 1 mana less. It also brings a big 2/4 body that can attack or block well and with graveyard recursion (such as Grim Harvest for example), well you get the idea. Not to mention, he works well with Flicker effects if you want to add that route as well. Corrupt is good, but the doors that Grey Merchant opens are much more worth it in my opinion.

Okiba-Gang Shinobi – Okiba-Gang pops up from time to time when the meta allows it. With only 2 toughness and being able to die to just about anything, this can make the card weak in a lot of metas. Also from my experience, it just isn’t too great against aggro decks. However it can be really good against the other Urza Tron decks and the slower decks in general. Making your opponent discard 2 cards is huge and being able to return a Chittering Rats or a Grey Merchant of Asphodel back to your hand thanks to Ninjustu, can also be a huge game against just about anyone.

Mulldrifter – Well let’s be fair, Mulldrifter is the mascot of Tron archetypes, so it would be breaking the rules to not include it.

Cast Down – Thanks to the set Double Masters, we got this gem downgraded. This is now one of the best removal spells in the Pauper format and if you have access to the color black in your deck, there better be a good reason you aren’t playing at least a couple copies of these. This alone doesn’t put MBC back in the map, but it certainly helps.

Chainer’s Edict – Edict effects are always a good thing to have if they are available to you and this is the best one. Being able to use it later, thanks to the ability of Flashback, is also a really good deal.

Night’s Whisper – Normally in this spot, you see Sign in Blood because sometimes (key word here is sometimes) being able to deal 2 damage to your opponent can win the game. However in this archetype, since you play the Urza lands and have less access to actual colored sources of mana than usual, having to pay only one source of black, as opposed to 2 makes a huge difference. In this type of deck, you want to cast multiple spells in a turn and use your mana, putting Sign in Blood in this deck because you might, potentially, or maybe win the game with it, is just not a good excuse because in the long run it will hurt your mana.

Suffocating FumesNausea is a very popular card in MBC for a good reason. Just like Electrickery in red decks, having a board wipe against archetypes such as Elves and Token based strategies can help a ton. Suffocating Fumes might cost 1 mana more, but can be cast at instant speed, giving the potential to catch your opponent trying to cast spells and blow them out. Another good part about this particular spell is that even against matchups where it does literal nothing, it has the ability to cycle.

Ephemerate – Well, this isn’t banned yet (I really hope its yet and not here to stay) and again, it wouldn’t be a Tron archetype without at least one copy of this in the deck. Although you don’t have a Mnemonic Wall effect to bring it back constantly, being able to Flicker a Mulldrifter to draw tons of cards or a Grey Merchant of Asphodel to drain your opponent for the rest of their life total is just insanely powerful.

Prophetic Prism and Bonder’s Ornament – As always in an Urza Tron deck, you have less access to actual colors and so casting your spells can be difficult. The classic Prophetic Prism makes an appearance here to help with that as always.

However, thanks to Commander 2020, Urza Tron got a new toy in the form of Bonder's Ornament. Not only does this card accelerate you, but it also draws you cards as well. Honestly I am not really sure what more you could ask for. Even in some Non-Urza land decks, this card can be quite broken.

Since this is an MBC archetype with the Urza lands, the manabase is as basic as it can get. You have 4 copies of each of the Urza Lands, with those of course being Urza's Power Plant, Urza's Mine and Urza's Tower:8E). Next up we see Thriving Moor and this is a very good addition because you will notice in that while you are playing Mulldrifter in the main deck, you are also playing some red and green cards in the sideboard. Whatever color you need at the time, Thriving Moor can help you. We see 1 copy of Bojuka Bog because of graveyard shenanigans and the finally we finish it off with some Swamps.


1 Ancient Grudge – This is a popular sideboard card that you see in most Tron decks. It can kill 2 problem artifacts at instant speed, which be extremely helpful against a wide variety of decks in the Pauper format.

3 Blue Elemental Blast – Do you hate red cards? Then this is the best sideboard option for you!

4 Duress – A very good card against any control archetype or just heavy spell type of deck in general. Try not to use this too quickly if you are facing a non combo strategy, because you want to use this card right before you want to resolve a specific spell so that you can rip a counter spell or a removal spell out of your opponents hand.

I know most people like to play Duress right out of the gate. However, if you Duress early, think about how many more draw steps your opponent will get to replace whatever you took, when instead you could have waited and played it right before trying to resolve a game breaking spell such as (Grey Merchant of Asphodel). Duress effects in general are much better the longer the game goes, this is something I feel a lot of players don’t think about when using Duress type of cards. While every situation is different, this is just an “in general” sort of way of looking at it.

2 Evincar's Justice – Normally you see this in archetypes where you play (Prismatic Talisman:NPH). While you don’t see the Talisman in this archetype, Evincar's Justice is still really good at being a reusable board wipe. This card also hits creatures with flying as well, so keep that in mind.

1 Gorilla Shaman – This is best sideboard card against the Affinity archetype and it can be extremely good against the Metalcraft aggro strategies as well.

1 Okiba-Gang Shinobi – Another copy for when facing other Urza Land strategies or Combo strategies. It can also be good against some of the more rogue archetypes as well.

3 Weather the Storm – No one likes losing to Burn. Enough said.

Verdict and Conclusion

I will always have love for MBC in my heart. It was one of the first Pauper decks I built and even after all these years later, I still love playing it. However I do agree that it isn’t all that well positioned in the current meta.

Does adding the Tron lands help with that? I asked Zimp that question and he said, “it is better than regular MBC, but does not help MBC all that much to be good in the format.” I am in agreement with him on this because MBC isn’t even a deck that can take much advantage of having access to Tron, however it is a pretty cool idea.

In my opinion. MBC has a pretty mediocre Urza Tron matchup. While you do have discard, Tron has a ton of ways of drawing tons of cards and still going over the top of you. Boros Monarch has enough card advantage to offset your hand disruption, I don’t think your Burn or Affinity matchup is all that good and there are other issues. However, these are just my opinions, not gospel words. After all, MBC did top 8, 2 different challenge tournaments in a row recently and the archetype is known to do well in PCT.

While Zimp did 5-0 with this deck, Zimp is also a very good player and could of ran into 5 good matches, ran hot that day against bad ones or just simply got lucky at the right times he needed to. I am not saying this archetype is bad by any means, I just wouldn’t have high expectations moving forward.

Do I think you should play this archetype? I think it is a fine deck to try out and play but I think your results will vary. By adding the Tron lands, you also can make your deck slower at casting spells, which will hurt against aggro matchups and again, Tron doesn’t offer much to MBC. Another problem for this archetype having Tron in it, is that 8 of your main creatures (Those being Rats and Merchant) cost double black to cast, which means you could become even more limited to how many spells you can cast in a turn. Remember I said this could hurt you, not that it absolutely will.

I will never tell anyone to not try an archetype out. I always say don’t take my word for it, take it out for a spin yourself! Which is what I encourage all of you to do with this archetype, I just think your results will vary on whether or not you have success.

Zimp has sent me an updated deck list as well. Here is where I leave you!

I did ask him why only 2 copies of (Ephemerate:MH1) and he said it can be awkward to have more.

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!

Alright that is gonna do it for this one, thank you so much for reading!