How is the world going to end? Some think by water. Others might say fire. I, however, know the truth. The world will end by creatures from the other side. The Eldrazi. These creatures are basically Gods; they were worshipped as such before they were released. However they aren't like the Gods from Theros. The Eldrazi are as enigmatic as life itself and could easily Crush any of the "Gods" from Theros. They are here and Ulamog is the first of the three titans that is back in Standard. Hello from the other side indeed.
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger has made his impact on Standard and continues to do so. Well how about Modern? Has the Eldrazi impacted Modern at all? Well, he will. I don't think he has made his full impact yet though. I'm here to discuss and update you on my R/G Tron list for Modern and talk about some updates on the U/G Part the Waterveil deck I've been playing in Standard.
I love Tron. In fact it's responsible for winning me the SCG Invitational and, because of it, I now have a token in my image. In the past, Tron has had an awful matchup against Splinter Twin, Infect, and Burn. However if we channel Ulamog he can be our savior, our matchup against Splinter Twin decks have actually improved. The reason Ulamog is good is because of his cast ability. Being able to exile two mountains can be a pretty big game changer. Now I'm not saying we are suddenly favored against Splinter Twin but we are in much better shape against them now. As for that other matchup, Burn is rough to play against and I still believe it's by far our worst matchup.
I played Tron at Grand Prix Pittsburgh, and I played against two Twin decks and three Burn decks. I managed to beat two Burn decks and one of the two Twin decks. The losses were actually really, really close. I'm not here to give you a detailed match report though. I'm here to share the R/G Tron list I'm working on.
So nothing too crazy, the only thing that probably sticks out is Conduit of Ruin in the main deck and the sideboard. Conduit is just a catalyst that allows you to get to Ulamog so much faster. You can cast Conduit of Ruin as soon as you get Tron mana and Threaten to cast Ulamog the following turn, you'll just need more land of any sort. Conduit putting the creature on top of your library isn't that much of a drawback in Modern because of hand disruption. So you actually get to protect it in some scenarios. In the Mirror Match Conduit is fantastic since it gets you Ulamog or Emrakul and it ramps you by two mana, which can pull you ahead really quickly. It also provides a four turn clock which isn't anything to scoff at.
I want to talk about the sideboard a bit and why I'm playing certain cards. I have the split of Feed the Clan and Thragtusk because they are both good against burn but Thragtusk is much better against the grindier matchups like Grixis, Abzan, or Jund. You may be favored against those matchups but just because you're favored, doesn't mean you can't have any sideboard cards for those decks. Especially since Feed the Clan, Batterskull, and Thragtusk do very similar things against Burn but diversifying them allows you to bring some against other matchups. Also, against burn you most likely won't have Tron assembled on turn three; you basically turn into a control deck that wipes he board and gains life. Over and over again. Getting Tron assembled against burn and other aggressive decks should be on the backburner. Staying alive is much more important and in that scenario and Thragtusk and Batterskull are really good since you can just cast them much easier than say something like Karn Liberated.
Also keep in mind if you Nature's Claim Chromatic Star you get to draw a card when it goes to the graveyard. This works with Chromatic Star but not Chromatic Sphere. It's usually pretty safe to use it on Chromatic Star since if they try to Smash to Smithereens it you can still "gain three life" by just paying one mana and sacrificing the Star thus countering Smash to Smithereens. However Chromatic Sphere does have its pluses over Chromatic Star. For instance against the Lantern Prison deck they can't respond to you cracking Chromatic Sphere and instantly drawing the top card of your deck where as they can with Chromatic Star since that card triggers when it goes to the graveyard.
Enough about the cantrip artifacts though. Let's discuss Dismember. This took the spot of Rending Volley because Volley was so narrow. You basically just wanted Rending Volley against Splinter Twin and Merfolk. Dismember comes in against not only those matchups but also G/W Hate Bears, Infect, Elves, Slivers, Zoo, and basically any other midrange creature deck. I really liked it more than Rending Volley in the sideboard. Previously we couldn't play Sowing Salt in Tron because of the double red that it required. Now that we have Crumble to Dust we can.
Crumble to Dust is colorless, so what exactly does that mean? Well, it can't be countered by Flashfreeze for one and it requires one red source for you to cast it. If that's not enough, then how about this: this card can also be tutored with Ancient Stirrings. Yup, thanks to Devoid, we can pick this spell up with Ancient Stirrings. With that and Conduit of Ruin we become favored in the Mirror Match. The only thing you need to watch from the Mirror Match is mostly Crucible of Worlds and most lists have dropped that card completely.
The only other possible oddball is Firespout. We can't play Anger of the Gods, so this is the next best thing for us. Against Merfolk and Elves it wipes the board through two lords where Pyroclasm won't. Not a crazy card but it is another board wipe and I like it more than a third Oblivion Stone in the board.
That's basically all I've got for my list. I've heard whispers about a G/W Tron deck playing white in favor of Timely Reinforcements over Pyroclasms. That actually seems better than Pyroclasm against the aggressive decks. The only thing is you'll have to play a couple of shock lands which might end up hurting you a little. R/G Tron doesn't have that problem thanks to Grove of the Burnwillows. You also won't be able to play Crumble to Dust. White is known for the sideboard options it gives, but they don't do much here. Stony Silence is a no-no. So is Aven Mindcensor, I don't want to be playing 2/1 fliers in Tron. We do gain Rest in Peace but I'd rather have Relic of Progenitus. Things like Terra Eternal and Sacred Ground aren't that great since Crumble to Dust exiles and doesn't destroy. White might be something worth looking into however, I just haven't yet.
The other deck I want to talk about is U/G Ramp. It's been a deck I've been championing in Standard and recently a similar list Top 8ed Grand Prix Kobe.
Pavel played this deck over R/G Ramp and B/G Ramp. What does this deck have that R/G doesn't? Well, for one it's more threat dense. R/G gets two Dragonlord Atarka whereas U/G Ramp gets four Part the Waterveil, Kiora, Master of the Depths, and Dig Through Time. All those cards are huge game. At worst Part the Waterveil is an Explore. At its best, it will just kill your opponent. Nissa, Kiora, and Dig are excellent ways to keep things going after or during ramping. R/G can't really do that and can easily just flood out if it doesn't draw a fattie. One thing to note however is that R/G has Sanctum of Ugin whereas this version can't really play Sanctum since you want to really awaken Part the Waterveil and cast Dig Through Time.
The sideboard seems well-equipped to combat other ramp strategies, but still seems unfavored against the Atarka aggro decks, even with eight to eleven slots devoted to trying to beat it. I'm also not sure how good this version is against control decks. It's probably fine to being very swingy in your favor depending on how fast you get off the ground and if they disrupt you enough or not. I really like this take on the ramp strategy and it's definitely one I'm going to try out here in the future.
I'm still playing the U/G Part the Waterveil list I've talked about in my past two articles. I don't want to talk about it too much since I've already covered it but I'd like to give you an updated list for those that enjoy the decklist.
Been trying to test Drowner of Hope and Monastery Siege and mostly just trimming down on Gather the Pack. This deck is very different than the other ramp strategies since it gives you much more of a decision tree thanks mostly to Jace. It did sometimes just seem not that threat-heavy. Drowner of Hope kinda of fills that hole; he is a threat, he can buy you time, and he also ramps you. He takes you from six mana to hopefully nine mana next turn if you make a land drop. Nine is the Magic number since that's how much mana you'll need to awaken Part the Waterveil and start spreading them watery cheeks!
Well ladies and gentlemen, as always thanks for reading! Might do some Tron videos next Tuesday, let me know if that's something you'd be interested in. See you next time!
Hello from the other side,