Tron, or Voltron, is a concept as old as time itself.
...well, maybe not quite. But it is as old as Magic.
The idea is to combine multiple cards into a sum that is greater than their parts. Sometimes, you hear this talked about with decks that stack enchantments onto a creature. In the context of Modern, Tron usually means one thing:
Legal in Modern thanks to the inclusion of Eighth and Ninth Editions, these three Urza lands (aka Urza Tron pieces) combined give you seven colorless mana once they are all on the field (1+1+1=7!). And as you might expect, casting a seven mana spell turn on three is pretty darn good.
There are currently three decks that aim to take advantage of the tron lands, and we’ll touch on each in turn.
Eldrazi Tron: The new hotness
The new Eldrazi Tron lists take advantage of the fact that there is a second land in Modern that taps for multiple mana, and the threats it goes well with don’t mind that their lands produce colorless mana.
In this deck, the Urza lands somehow take a back seat to the real powerhouse: Eldrazi Temple, which can tap for mana as soon as turn 2. In point of fact, I have seen this deck win multiple times without ever having assembled Tron, a feat the other decks find very difficult or tedious to accomplish (though it can be done).
Rather than embracing the reactive responses of the other decks we have mentioned, the deck runs a full playset of Chalice of the Void and Thought-Knot Seer. Reality Smasher and Endbringer both serve as heralds of the end times, the first helping to push through any advantage while the second makes small creature decks tremble at the thought.
As this deck is so new, no one dominant version of the deck has arisen. Some, like Pascal Maynard’s list from GP Vancouver, include Simian Spirit Guide to deploy threats as fast as possible. Others eschew this particularly ability in favor of main deck copies of All is Dust, a powerful one sided wrath effect. All versions seem to be trying out the new hotness that is Walking Ballista, which both provides this deck reach and helps keep creature matchups winnable. In combination with Matter Reshaper, the deck results in having a curve far below many of the other tron decks.
That said, this is still a tron deck, and it still possesses a secret weapon: the 10cmc monster waiting in the wings should the game go incredibly long, and Batterskull who can help keep you in the game vs. aggro. Mind Stone provides additional ramp, and in the late game can serve as an expensive cantrip.
The end result is a deck that seems to play more midrange than dedicated ramp, but whose threats tend to outclass those deployed by the opposition. They can even interact with their opponent thanks some number of Dismember, Spatial Contortion and/or Warping Wail.
The end result is a deck that is perfectly capable of building to Tron, but for whom this plethora of mana is a bonus rather than the intent. The meta has yet to settle on whether this deck has what it takes to be a truly top tier competitor, but for now it remains an incredibly powerful list.
Join me next week where we go from the new hotness to old and busted. Until Then!
Author: Robert Trueblood