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By: magma728, Jake Beardsley
Sep 19 2019 12:00pm

Urza's TowerUrza's Power PlantUrza's Mine

We all survived Hogaak Summer, and now that Faithless Looting, Bridge from Below, and Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis are gone and Stoneforge Mystic has taken their place, Modern has returned to a much fairer and MUCH more diverse state. In the weeks since the bannings, we have seen more innovation than has certainly occurred in recent memory, if not since the inception of the format. While many of the pillars of the format remain, such as Burn and Tron, there has been a significant amount of upheaval when looking at both paper tournaments and especially online results. Not only have we seen a number of new decks cropping up thanks to the bannings and unbannings, we have also seen large amounts of development occurring within preexisting archetypes and shells. Today I’ll be looking at the work done with one such shell, and possibly the one that elicits the most fear and loathing of them all: Urza Tron. Here’s a list from the top 8 of the most recent MTGO Modern Challenge:

For those unacquainted, Urza Tron refers to (Urza’s Power Plant), (Urza’s Mine), and (Urza’s Tower), which once assembled, allows one to produce obscene amounts of mana and go way over the top of your opponent in short order. Using cards like Karn Liberated, Wurmcoil Engine, and the newest edition to the colorless menace Karn, the Great Creator, the deck is able to put its opponents in a serious bind by deploying threats that outclass those of their enemies in a big way. In addition to these very powerful and versatile threats, the deck uses cards like Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and Oblivion Stone to catch up on any lost board presence it encounters while spending the first few turns of the game setting up the engine its lands provide. In addition, many of its planeswalkers, such as both Karns, can be used as both a threat and an answer, simultaneously advancing your game state while decimating the opposition’s.

Now, this standard Mono Green Tron deck is not the only strategy that uses the Urza Lands to fuel giant plays in the early, mid, and late game. A totally colorless version of the deck that functions more as a midrange strategy with a powerful top end has been making waves in modern for a few years now, and has received a massive upgrade in Karn, the Great Creator and his sideboard full of wishes. Eldrazi Tron uses Eldrazi Temple to add more ways to power out threats ahead of schedule in conjunction with the powerful midgame threats Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher. Here’s a list from the most recent MTGO Modern MCQ:

This list forgoes the overt power of cards like Karn Liberated and instead goes for an approach very much akin to a popular legacy strategy: the combination of fast mana, efficient threats, and the poster child of prison, Chalice of the Void. Chalice gives you lots of breathing room against decks like Burn and Storm, which rely on lots of one mana spells to operate, giving you time to either deploy your Eldrazi or to assemble Urza Tron and blow them out of the water with the Great Creator or a gigantic Walking Ballista.

Which brings us to what I’m actually here to talk about today. The most recent Modern Challenge, where Le_Pip took Mono Green Tron to an impressive top 8 finish, was won by one of the more innovative decks I have encountered since August 26th’s fateful Banned and Restricted Announcement. NSFX took down the event by doing what, at least to my knowledge, had not been successfully done before: combining the two most popular builds of Tron. Without further ado, here’s the list:

This deck combines lots of the things I want to be doing the most in the Modern format. It’s very consistent as a result of the cantripping and mana consistency that come with playing Chromatic Star and Chromatic Sphere, it’s proactive, and it’s overtly powerful. Now the obvious question is why would you play this over one of the more common versions of the Modern’s most popular big mana strategy? The answer is almost too obvious: because it gives you the best of both worlds. Allow me to elaborate.

One of the most popular decks in Modern at the moment is Burn, which has historically been one of Mono Green Tron’s worst matchups because it takes advantage of the bigger Tron’s setup turns and one of Eldrazi Tron’s better matchups, as Chalice of the Void can invalidate roughly a third of Burn’s entire deck. While you forgo Chalice in NSFX’s build, the Eldrazi portion of the deck supplies key blockers and early plays thanks to Eldrazi Temple that can bridge the gap to haymakers like Wurmcoil Engine or Batterskull that can replenish your life total as well as close out the game. Conversely, the presence of UW Control strategies, with and without Stoneforge Mystic, can give the usual builds of Eldrazi Tron issues do to large quantities of spot removal and sweepers, a problem that NSFX’s build alleviates by playing more Planeswalkers. The beauty of this build is that by combining key elements of both variations of Tron, it significantly decreases the problems specific matchups provide.

Thanks for taking a look at the many variations of Urza Tron strategies in Modern with me, and like many others, I do have to point out just how thrilled I am with the state the Modern metagame is currently in. Good luck to everybody else in their attempts at finding their niche in the format, and thanks for reading!