Why You Should Play Eldrazi Tron in Modern in 2020
- Marin Magda
For at least one year now, Eldrazi Tron has stuck around the top of the meta as one of the most successful decks in Modern. It's not even getting much support with new sets, yet it seldom, if ever, falls from tier one status. Basically, any time is a good time to smash with Eldrazi, and this is no exception.
If any deck could claim that it's been through hell and back, it's Eldrazi Tron. From Hogaak, through Oko and the Monored Prowess craze, all the way to the companions, it has seen — and endured — it all. Not all of these were necessarily good matchups, Oko giving it a somewhat hard time, but there was no stopping the strongest Eldrazi Modern deck of recent times.
|Eldrazi Tron by TheTunnelingCat, 8th Place Magic Online Preliminary|
The deck can do nearly anything: overrun the opposition, grind them out, keep both the opposing board and hand clear, you name it. Still, other than multiple War of the Spark cards and one from Core Set 2020, the deck didn't receive anything worthwhile. So, how does it keep putting up strong results, you ask? There are plenty of answers, the first one being pretty obvious at this point, and that is...
It Gained So Much from War of the Spark
This whole set needs no introduction. Considered by some to be a mistake because of the power level of planeswalkers, it's the one that changed the face of constructed Magic for good. Narset, small Teferi, and Ashiok are all part of the same wave, and so is Karn, the Great Creator. His minus ability was the most broken thing in Modern at the time of his printing, eventually reslting in a Mycosynth Lattice ban.
Even that wasn't enough to stop the deck, as it just kept running Karn with every other artifact it had at its disposal. Not only did this allow players to remain creative, it also wins them games they had no business of winning. With most of the sideboard being Karn's playground, artifacts like Ensnaring Bridge, Liquimetal Coating, and Witchbane Orb are all common residents. This is the only major deck that can strictly benefit from over ten singleton artifacts, increasing its chances in nearly every matchup. Many of these artifacts can be completely dead draws in game one but aren't when stowed safely away in the sideboard.
There are two reasons why this section isn't named after Karn. For starters, there's another colorless planeswalker in the block that's actually worth mentioning: Ugin, the Ineffable. Even though he arguably has a stronger passive ability, he's much less flashy and more expensive than Karn. This Ugin has always been in Karn's shadow because of the iffy four loyalty counters, but he can still be a game changer. His passive ability can reduce the cost of all colorless spells, not just Eldrazi, while also being able to destroy most permanents.
The second reason is that War also gave the deck Blast Zone, one of the more important lands for fighting aggressive decks. It helps with not just Monored Prowess and Humans, but also Burn's more creature-oriented openings. All Is Dust might still remain better removal, but Blast Zone can be considerately faster, especially when fetched by Expedition Map.
It May Be the Best Chalice Deck
To put it shortly, Chalice of the Void is a very important, powerful card. Colloquially called "the best Chalice deck," Eldrazi Tron is usually as good as Chalice is. Consequently, when it's not a tier one deck, it's most likely because Chalice is not overpowered in a certain metagame. I dare say that the card, as well as the deck, only gets better with time because of the direction in which the format is moving.
Chalice on one is so powerful, some builds even add a few Simian Spirit Guide in hopes of making that play on the first turn. Most decks that have also been high tier for quite some time, such as Burn and Monored Prowess, usually fold to this play. Better yet, in some matchups Chalice doesn't need a single charge counter to be relevant. Take Amulet Titan, another classic deck that's still very relevant. Although not impossible, it's much harder for it to win without the green and blue Pacts.
It's the Best Eldrazi Deck …
This one doesn't require that much explaining. Even without the new cards and Chalice, you're still left with the classic Eldrazi shell. In conjunction with Eldrazi Temple, the Oath of the Gatewatch trio Matter Reshaper, Thought-Knot Seer, and Reality Smasher makes for a strong line-up that has proved itself countless times. Eye of Ugin may be banned, but the rest of the Eldrazi suite is not.
Because there are many great Eldrazi to choose from, the Tron part of the deck helps you close the game in many ways. It can accelerate the casting of creature spells, pump a Walking Ballista up for the win, or just seal the deal with Karn. Also, unlike the monogreen version, this Tron deck doesn't need to assemble Urza's triplet on turn three to win. It's just a nice thing to have, meaning that while Eldrazi Tron may be a bit less resistant to Blood Moon, it's much more consistent.
… and Very Versatile Overall
For a colorless deck, Eldrazi Tron is enviably resilient. Its learning curve is steep, but it makes the deck more enjoyable and much stronger when properly piloted. It's far from being the hardest, but it has various plays to think about that other decks don't. Learning how to mulligan with it, as well as what to fetch with Expedition Map and Karn, goes a very long way. Advanced Karn plays include finding methods to exile your own graveyard in order to get destroyed artifacts back and also retrieving them from underneath cards like Deputy of Detention. Because of Expedition Map and a changing metagame, setting up a mana base is a crucial process as well. You usually have six singleton lands and, while not all of them are easily changed, you're encouraged to switch out a couple to better suit the current context.
If you're not used to it, only playing colorless spells and aggressive mulliganing might come off as weird, tricky, and/or even stupid at first. The deck doesn't mulligan as aggressively as Monogreen Tron, but it has moments of its own. It still does that a whole lot, it's good at it, and that's great with the London mulligan around.
Finally, even if you don't need a game one Chalice, or you don't draw it in your opening hand, it's still not necessarily a dead draw. You can always play it at a later time as a followup, or intentionally wait until you can put it on the battlefield with multiple counters.
Thanks to all of these factors, the deck generally performs very well in an open meta and a wide range of matchups. Aggressive ones may be the worst, yet there are still tools for fighting those. Against control decks, there's Cavern of Souls and stuff like Emrakul, the Promised End to get around counter magic. There are also other similar options such as Kozilek, Butcher of Truth and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger.
Modern has been called a rotating format for a long time, but Eldrazi Tron seems to laugh in the faces of those making such claims. It never changes much. Even when all those companions were around, the only major change was the addition of Batterskull. Because similar things also used to happen earlier, it might be safe to assume that this deck is nearing its peak performance level, which is why you should consider playing it.
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