Five Reasons to Play Tron In Modern

Tron is one of the most polarizing decks in Modern. Player either love (and play) this deck or hate it. But is Tron well positioned in the meta right now? I believe so and I will tell you why 1+1+1=7 is so good.

"Urza's Tower, Expedition Map, your turn"
"Oh god, not Tron again"

This is the most common reaction I get from my opponents. I've never met someone who loves to play against Tron.

I love this deck. It is consistent, it has a high-power level and in the right meta, Tron is amazing. In 2018 I played Mono Green Tron to a top 4 finish at Cardmarket Series Hamburg. Dominaria was just released and Damping Sphere was the latest addition to a wide pool of hate cards against Tron.

Therefore, no one really expected Tron to show up in high numbers, which resulted in low numbers of Damping Spheres at all. It was a gamble to pick up Tron, but it was worth it.

Mono Green Tron Sample List, Christopher Brunner, 2019

Raw Power And Universal Answers

Karn Liberated Oblivion Stone Walking Ballista

Mono Green Tron has a simple but effective game plan: Assemble all three Tron lands as early as possible (mostly on turn three) to enable the decks power cards. A turn three Karn Liberated on the play is nearly impossible to beat for most decks and often results in a win. Another strength besides the high power level of single cards is the ability to have an answer to nearly every type of deck you play against.

Relic of Progenitus isn't only a good main deck answer to the many graveyard strategies in the current meta, but a two-mana cycle with upside against all other decks. Oblivion Stone and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon clear enemy boards effectively, Wurmcoil Engine and Walking Ballista are end bosses for every aggro deck. Karn, World Breaker and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger handle any threat your opponent throws at you.

Most people forget one major aspect about Tron: Not assembling Tron is by no means a gameloss. Attacking your mana base requires resources and slows your opponent down. Effects from Ghost Quarter or Field of Ruin give you a basic land instead of a Tron piece, which might lead to a legitimate Wurmcoil Engine off of six lands or Karn off of seven. Getting to 6-8 mana is rarely a problem when your opponents sacrifices pressure for disruption.

The Sideboard Is Flexible

Nature's Claim Thragtusk Thought-Knot Seer

The wide range of flexible answers in Tron's main deck allows it to tune the sideboard against decks that are faster. Thought-Knot-Seer and Thragtusk morph the deck from a big mana deck into a bigger midrange deck, allowing you to play threats without having Tron available. Nature's Claim is mostly needed as an answer against early hate cards like Stony Silence, but it also removes Eidolon of the Great Revel or an Expedition Map in the mirror on turn one.

The remaining slots are free to fill as needed. Whatever the current meta might look like, Tron can prepare for it with a small number of sideboard slots.

Easy To Learn, Hard To Master

Urza, Academy Headmaster

Everyone knows the turn-three-Karn-side of Tron. There are not many ways to assemble Tron and since the game plan is very linear, your turns will be quick and efficient. This side of Tron is excellent for beginners or people, who are new to Modern.

But there are also complex sides of Tron: Mulligan decisions. Owen Turtenwald wrote an article with nearly nothing but mulligan decisions with Tron. The real difficulty here is to analyze the probability of having Tron online on turn 3-4. Tron mulligans very well and only needs 1-2 Lands, a way to search / dig for more lands and a big spell… that's it. I win more Tron games after a mulligan to four than with any other deck.

The Metagame Shifts in Trons Favor

Krark-Clan Ironworks Death's Shadow Prized Amalgam

With the ban of KCI, one of Trons worst matchups is gone. The first look at the latest tournament results shows a high number of Burn, Death Shadow, Dredge, and Phoenix.

Death Shadow and Dredge were always favored matchups for Tron. Phoenix is a close matchup and even the chances to win against Burn have gotten better. Light up the Stage increases the decks consistency, but also made the early turns a bit slower. Casting Light up the Stage instead of a three damage burn spell usually means a turn more to live for the Tron player and a higher chance to bring Wurmcoil Engine online. Main deck Skullcrack became less popular, allowing your Wurmcoil to freely attack without the fear of life gain denial.

The increase of Dredge and Phoenix threatens the Spirit decks, another bad matchup for Tron. Game one is fine against Spirits, but after sideboarding it's hard to resolve threats through their Disdainful Stroke, Stony Silence and Spell Queller.

Hate Cards Become Less Popular

Stony Silence Damping Sphere Ceremonious Rejection

Since Tron is a deck full of artifact and colorless cards, many hate cards who tried to hit KCI also effected Tron. Stony Silence doesn't shut down the Tron lands themselves but doesn't allow you to cycle through your decks with your cheap artifacts. Also, it's the only hate card that Oblivion Stone is unable to remove. Damping Sphere is not that kind of a big threat, but still can be annoying. Ceremonious Rejection on the other hand is very powerful against Tron since every threat except Thragtusk and Carnage Tyrant is colorless.

With KCIs ban and the rise of Burn and Dredge, the valuable sideboard slots will be used to protect against these two decks. Stony Silence will decrease, Ceremonious Rejection will disappear and be replaced by Dragon's Claw, Leyline of Sanctity, Rest in Peace, Anger of the Gods etc.

Conclusion

Urza's Mine Urza's Power Plant Urza's Tower

Tron is in a great position right now. The number of hate cards decreases, two bad matchups are gone. Tron is one of the best decks if it's under the radar, and I believe we're in that exact situation right now. I wouldn't be surprised if Tron grabs some great results in upcoming tournaments.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.

1 Comment

MistuhShep(2019-02-07 20:42)

As a former Bant Spirits player Tron felt unfavoured tbh. Then again, playing against Tron often feels like a coinflip.

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