Eye of Ugin is banned in Modern, right?
And it caused the death of tron, right?
Well… Not quite.
In fact, Tron is still strong, and it's doing quite well. I thought Tron would be much weaker without its inevitability, but apparently turn three Karn Liberated is still good.
Why is Tron doing well even with Eye of Ugin being banned? Well I have a theory.
Tron is weaker without Eye of Ugin. I can't deny that. However, now that everyone's written Tron off, it has gotten better results. "Dead Tron" means that people will run less Crumble to Dust, Fulminator Mages, and a little less Ghost Quarters. This is great news for Tron players, because undisrupted, we can wreak all sorts of havoc against our opponents. Today I'm going to go over some Tron lists that have gone 5-0 in leagues. I won't go delve too deeply into the R/G Tron lists since I have multiple articles on the archetype. Instead I will dissect the mono-blue Tron list and then talk about the R/G Tron lists and what players are running now that Eye of Ugin is gone. We will start with the Tron list that I haven't yet covered. It is a pretty sweet list. you can thank pierakor.
Mono-blue Tron isn't completely from left-field, but it isn't a deck you see running around very much. Don't get this deck confused with W/U Tron because it doesn't function like that at all. No Gifts Ungiven packages here. Mono-blue Tron functions more like an actual Tron deck and runs the full playset of each Urza land along with the full four Expedition Maps. Unlike R/G Tron, it runs Academy Ruins, which gives the deck access to some hard locks on its opponent.
Big Daddy Ugs! This card's power level is through the roof. Against the majority of Modern decks an Ugin that sticks can end the game, especially against creature strategies. This card was worse when Eldrazi decks were running rampant but now that they've died down a bit thanks to the banning of Eye of Ugin, Ugin himself is a lot stronger.
Angel's Grace stapled onto a creature. I'm not sure this card is better than Platinum Emperion since that card is better against everything else except Infect. Platinum Emperion does cost one more than Angel and that's huge, especially in a deck that can get to seven mana off of three lands and getting to eight requires an additional turn.
Usually you'll see Snapcaster Mage as a one or two-of in blue Tron lists. It's very good in Gifts Tron as a package, but it's also just a good card in general. It's also good with Epiphany at the Graveyard so you can get any instant or sorcery spell when he is revealed.
Solid eight-drop similar to Ugin, the Spirit Dragon in that, against three-color decks, it can end the game on the spot. Sadly, it's also bad against Eldrazi, like Ugin. Luckily that deck isn't very popular right now.
This card is great in Tron decks, especially if you happen to run signets, allowing you to play it a whole turn sooner. The reason it's so good is because it shores up your bad matchups. Any combo or aggro deck doesn't want to see Thought-Knot Seer. Against combo he can steal a key piece. Against aggro he not only gains you life by taking a creature or burn spell, but he also road blocks a lot of creatures and requires your opponent to use anther burn spell/pump spell along with a creature to get it off the battlefield.
Treasure Mage: A creature that can get your end-game artifacts, like Mindslaver, Wurmcoil Engine, Sundering Titan, and Platinum Angel. Also a great topdeck if you've already assembled Tron and/or are in the late game since you can tutor up a big artifact and most likely play it in the same turn.
Very good against aggro decks and attrition decks without Path to Exile like Grixis Control and Jund. Even against decks like Abzan, they have to have the Path to Exile or just lose. A good one to fetch up with Treasure Mage or Fabricate. It can also be recurred with Academy Ruins!
Fabricate: Fabricate kinds acts like Treasure Mage except you trade the body to get any artifact spell you want. In some cases, a Chalice of the Void, Oblivion Stone, or Batterskull is all you need to put the game away.
Condescend: The go-to counter spell for blue-based Tron decks since they can abuse the X casting cost late game, and the Scry 2 findsthreats. Early game I use it to basically counter anything and try to hit land drops or Tron of the Scry 2 ability.
This one I have never played with in Tron before. It was alright overall but it wasn't too exciting. Usually ran more Repeals or a Cyclonic Rift in its place. However, if I had Academy Ruins already then this card was just the best thing I could draw when at a stagnant point in the game.
Remand: Early counter to ensure you hit your land drops and late game can hopefully cycle to get to threats.
Repeal: Love this card. It's just good almost everywhere. Bouncing any non-land permanent and then replacing itself is strong, especially if you can follow it up with Remand or Condescend.
Spatial Contortion: Nameless Inversion for a deck that can't really get removal outside running something like Dismember. A fine addition, I like it more than Warping Wail because it hits all the aggressive creatures better. It also gets around Apostle's Blessing against Infect, so keep that in mind.
Thirst for Knowledge: One of the main reasons, if not the reason to run blue instead of another color in Tron. Thirst is great at filtering your draws so you can continue hitting land drops or find that bomb. It's also okay to discard artifacts with it since you can pick them back up later with Academy Ruins.
A mini-Wurmcoil Engine that you can buyback! Against decks that can destroy artifacts I would try to cast this when I had eight mana to give it protection from artifact removal by returning it to my hand. This isn't always the case though and sometimes you need to just jam Batterskull ASAP to get a body down and start applying pressure or to gain life.
A Chalice for zero, one, or two is deadly against most Modern decks. A Chalice on one will just shut off Repeal for one and Expedition Map — not that big of a deal if you wreck your opponent with it. Your Maps can just be fodder for Thirst for Knowledge later.
Expedition Map: Get that Tron land, Tectonic Edge, or that inevitability with Academy Ruins! Where R/G Tron lost its inevitability with Eye of Ugin, mono-blue kept its inevitable land in Academy Ruins.
One heck of a card and one of the first Legendary cards I ever read, and it full deserves the Legendary subtype. It's such a rare ability—not only in Magic, but other TCGs as well. Mindslaver is such a devastating affect when you are on the receiving end of it. I have been and don't like it one bit. Keep in mind you can always "see" your opponent's sideboard when they are under Mindslaver's ability.
Who wants a fresh start? I know I do, especially after having assembled Tron! Oblivion Stone is like a one-time Ugin effect except it hits everything. Not X or less, and even hits colorless permanents. W/U Tron doesn't usually run Oblivion Stone because they run signets. Mono-blue Tron doesn't run into this dilemma.
Eye of Ugin for blue decks. Recurring Mindslaver is the hardest of locks in the game of Magic. Recurring Oblivion Stone is a soft lock that creature decks and midrange decks struggle to get out of. Some can't even get out of it. Academy Ruins can also get you back something milled with Epiphany at the Drownyard, something discarded with Thirst for Knowledge, or a used Expedition Map to get a Tron piece that you need or one that was destroyed.
Sometimes you just need to get lucky.
Island: Best land in Magic.
Avoids Choke and that's basically it. Doesn't do much else in this deck.
Also avoids Choke. However, in this deck you can also filter mana to bounce it and replay it if you are in desperate need of another blue source.
Tectonic Edge: Destroys pesky lands that do pesky things.
Tolaria West: Another blue source that avoids Choke. This one also happens to Transmute into any other land or Chalice of the Void!
Wurmcoil Engine: Sometimes you just need more colorless titan!
Chalice of the Void: Remember those decks that struggle against Chalice on one? Like Storm, Infect, Delver, Boggles, Burn, Affinity, etc — remember those? Yeah, those matchups are when you want more Chalices.
Spatial Contortion: Kill those pesky creatures! Death to infect, burn, Chord, and Company!
Bottle Gnomes: A refreshment is nice from time to time. Easily recurrable later in the game with Academy Ruins once you stabilize and want to get out of burn range.
Hurkyl's Recall: For Affinity mostly. That deck swarms the quickest in Modern.
Jester's Cap: Sadistic Sacrament on an artifact. A good way to strip combos or just key pieces out of decks. Taking Lightning Storm and Laboratory Maniac from the Ad Nauseam deck is game over. Also decent against Chord or Company decks to take key creatures out that kill or hurt you big time. Don't bring this in against infinite life combo since we can easily beat that with Mindslaver lock.
Negate: Combo is a problem and Negate will slow them down. To be brought in against decks like Grishoalbrand, Ad Nauseam, and Storm.
Sidisi's Faithful: A sorcery-speed Unsummon. You want to do things like this against Infect at sorcery speed anyway. Also just an 0/4 against aggressive decks that will gain you some much needed life the longer it stays around. Just blocking and then eating a Lightning Bolt is good enough for me.
Squelch: Strong against Ghost Quarter, Fulminator Mage, or other cards that do similar things. Can also nab a fetchland if you can't find anything else to hit and just want to cantrip it.
Before I sign off, I'd like to also discuss R/G Tron and how new lists are functioning without Eye of Ugin.
It seems like more threats and Sanctum of Ugin is the way to go. Both these lists recently went 5-0 in Competitive Standard Leagues on Magic Online, so they have merit. The sideboards of these decks are basically the same: four Nature's Claim, then various protection against land destruction or hate against our worst matchups. I do find it odd that the list running World Breaker isn't running Kozilek's Return and vice versa. Kind of ironic to be honest. Regardless, I'm glad to see this archetype doing well, and I plan to pick it back up and jam games with it on Magic Online to see how much I like it and how good it really is.
As always, thanks for reading and I'll catch you all next time!