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Last week, we touched on the new hotness in it’s abuze of Urza’s lands.  But from Modern’s inception, another flavor of Tron has been a stalwart competitor.  And while that deck has had many faces, the core remains the same.

Gx: Turbotron!

Of all the flavors of tron, none can consistently find the combo nor relies as hard on the trilogy than Green (x) Tron.

The reason is due to the heavy green influence.  Basically every Tron deck relies on Expedition Map to find their Tron pieces, but the Green splash lets you include Sylvan Scrying and Ancient Stirrings in the lists of ways to assemble your mana.

Once assembled, the deck relies on some rather significant threats to finish the game in short order.

The three above cards are just a sample.  Backing up Karn, Ugin and Ulamog are perfectly reasonable cards like Wurmcoil Engine, Oblivion Stone and World Breaker.

To help with your mana, we can now introduce another mainstay of tron: eggs?  No, really, these are the cards that make Modern Eggs Work.  Chromatic Sphere and Chromatic Star both help to draw you through your deck to find the cards in question, and help you cast a 1G spell on turn 2 while deploying a seven drop on turn three.  By doing double duty, these two spells help the deck both survive to deploy their great threats, and help find the same.

Incidentally, these cards are good enough that the deck eschews Chalice of the Void, since the deck really can’t run both.

This is not all that Green offers for Tron.  Cards like Nature’s Claim, which can take care of pesky artifacts or enchantments, or Thragtusk - a powerful card against midrange or aggressive strategies - help the matchup out.  But in a big way, the land searching is a critical part of why Green-based Tron decks have been the dominant force for a long time.

But wait, you say, where does the X come from?  Well, here’s the thing: basically every piece of top end in the deck requires Tron to be online (or you to have at least six or seven lands in play).  Often, that means you are dropping your bomb on turn 3-4.  And sometimes, that’s not fast enough.  And so the question becomes: how do you want to keep the game going until you can deploy your top end threats?

The orthodox approach, and basically the only of the three options explored until the last few months, was in Red.  Pyroclasm and Kozilek’s Return could help keep small creature decks from running you over, while Crumble to Dust out of the sideboard gave you fantastic game against the mirror, and any other deck that tried to lean too hard on utility lands (bye Valakut!).  

Then a few months back, a new deck started taking hold.  Splashing White over Red became more common, and the deck became the version to beat after Tom Ross took down an SCG open with it in December.

The mainboard gains one of the best removal spells in Modern, Path to Exile.  But more than that, the sideboard gains powerful focused hate, most notably Rest in Peace which targets graveyard strategies.  Given this was the heyday of Dredge, it’s not hard to see why that can be critical.  Other white cards, such as Blessed Alliance help vs. decks like Infect and Bogles.

Then in January, a new card was printed, which (in the eyes of some) supplanted Path as the removal spell of choice.  With this printing, a new day dawned, and GB Tron was born.

Besides Fatal Push, the Black splash gives the deck access to Collective Brutality, another newer card which can serve both as creature removal and hand disruption.  

All three decks are built around the same shell: use Green spells to find and assemble Urza Tron, then crank out insanely powerful threats.  Even in the few months since the latter two have emerged, they have already put up serious results.

There is one main flavor of tron left to cover, so join us next week as we start asking: What if Urza set up shop on an island?

Written by Robert Trueblood


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