The banning of Splinter Twin had a ripple affect across Modern that significantly changed how the format operates as a whole. Splinter Twin kept certain decks in check. Decks like Grishoalbrand and many an aggro deck always had to be wary of the turn-four kill that Splinter Twin threatened.

Without Splinter Twin in the format, all the combo decks and aggro decks are free to do whatever they want, since there's no control strategy outside something like Blue Moon. The Pro Tour was dominated by aggressive strategies from Eldrazi aggro to Burn to Affinity. This is an awful place for Tron to be. Tron does not want to play against hyper-aggressive decks or extremely fast combo decks. Tron wants to play against control and midrange decks and these decks are slowly getting pushed out of the format.

Where Does Tron Go From Here?

Given all these negatives for Tron, the truth is that Tron is still pretty good in Modern. I took the deck to Regionals this past weekend and went 7-2, only losing to Grishoalbrand and arguably the best Infect player in the world, Tom Ross. Grishoalbrand is a nightmare for Tron and almost unwinnable, especially if they have the turn-two kill. The same thing can be said about Infect.

What about Eldrazi? Well, I played it twice in the swiss rounds and beat it. I'm not saying it's a good matchup, but it is very winnable. Especially if you play four Oblivion Stones. I want to talk about the list I played and the future of Tron and where to go from here.


The maindeck is basically the same except I shaved a Spellskite for a Thought-Knot Seer. Thought-Knot Seer was very good, especially against Burn. Against Burn it gained three or more life just from the spell it takes with its enters the battlefield trigger, and then it would hold down the fort, gaining you even more life since it blocks well, thanks to its 4/4 body. It also shines against any control strategy and combo decks if you get enough time to cast it. It was also a decent target to have to tutor with Eye of Ugin in the mid-to-late game.

You may see that my list had zero Kozilek's Return. I just found that I would usually be casting Ancient Stirrings for a Tron piece or a big bomb piece because I had established Urzatron. The matchups where you would get Kozilek's Return with Ancient Stirrings you can't really afford the luxury of casting Ancient Stirrings and THEN casting Kozilek's Return. I found Pyroclasm to just be very reliable and I'd rather have a Pyroclasm early over Kozilek's Return, especially against the aggressive matchups. I would play Kozilek's Return if I already had four Pyroclasms or the Modern metagame shifts to a point where Kozilek's Return is the better card.

The other big changes to the deck are to the sideboard:

Sideboard Changes

Dismember: This card is actually surprisingly good and I could see playing a couple maindeck. I liked it a lot against the Eldrazi decks and actually didn't mind playing it against Tarmogoyf decks. Dismember with an active Wurmcoil Engine is basically free. You can also lower the life loss by cracking a Chromatic Star or a Chromatic Sphere for black mana.

Sudden Shock: A great card to have against Affinity and Infect. Nothing feels quite as good as Sudden Shocking a Glistener Elf that is trying to get bigger from any number of pump spells. Sudden Shock also gets around Spellskite, thanks to split second. This card was pretty sweet. I could see playing two or even three if you really want to try and beat Infect. Thing is though, it does still cost two mana and I like Sudden Shock more in conjunction with Dismember. I'd probably run a 2/2 split or a 2/1 split.

Ghost Quarter: I wanted this against the Mirror Match, but it was okay against the Eldrazi decks too. Destroying an Eye of Ugin or and Eldrazi Temple is a pretty big game against them, but sometimes you can't afford to take a turn off to Ghost Quarter an Eldrazi Temple or Eye of Ugin, especially if they've already resolved any sort of threat that puts you on a relatively fast clock.

Ancient Grudge: This was originally Vandalblast, but I wanted Ancient Grudge since it also hits Blinkmoth Nexus and Inkmoth Nexus. Usually you deal with Affinity's board and they are forced to finish you off with a creature-land and Ancient Grudge is really good against that. Ancient Grudge is also very good against random artifacts like Pithing Needle which seems to be appearing in more sideboards.

Thought-Knot Seer: I wanted more of these against combo decks, mirror matched, any aggro strategies, and if I happened to run into a control deck, they would be good there too.

Firespout: Against Wild Nacatl decks you are forced to cut some amount, if not all, of your Pyroclasms. I still wanted a sweeper against them, and Firespout is the best one since it hits Wild Nacatl and Kird Ape along with any other creature they had out.

Thragtusk: Never leave without this hefty beast. I love Thragtusk against the aggressive strategies. He buys so much extra time and then blocks once or twice against the aggressive decks and usually gives you enough time to do your Tronny thing.

Life from the Loam: If it wasn't obvious Loam is very good at recurring our Tron lands against decks that are hellbent on keeping us off Tron. Why Life from the Loam instead of Crucible of Worlds? For one, Life from the Loam costs about three times less price-wise… I kid I kid. In all seriousness Life from the Loam is way more resilient. You can't Kolaghan's Command Life from the Loam nor can you lose it to an opponent's hand disruption spell like Thoughtseize or Inquisition of Kozilek. Life from the Loam can also dig you into more Tron pieces since you can cast Life from the Loam with no targets and start dredging it with your draw step or with your Chromatic Spheres and Chromatic Stars.

Nature's Claim: The best spell for us against any pesky artifact or enchantment. We don't really care what our opponent's life total is because of things like Karn Liberated and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, so as long as I can keep hate cards off the table or destroy that Cranial Plating, my opponent can be at a million life for all I care. I also bring in Nature's Claim against the Burn decks so I can hopefully blow up a Chromatic Star and gain four life to buy me time to land a Wurmcoil Engine or Thragtusk. Just remember to try and Nature's Claim Chromatic Stars over Chromatic Spheres when possible; Chromatic Star will still draw you a card if you Nature's Claim it, Chromatic Sphere will not.

Potential Sideboard Changes Going Forward

Surgical Extraction: I am very tempted to run two or three of these in my sideboard to combat decks like Grishoalbrand. Relic of Progentus isn't enough because it can be too slow, and they can rebuild after you exile their graveyard. Not only that, but with Relic of Progenitus they can still just Through the Breach a Griselbrand and still go off. They can't really do that with a Surgical Extraction as long as you extract a Griselbrand. They will be forced to reanimate or Through the Breach a Worldspine Wurm and we can honestly beat that pretty easily since we never hurt ourselves and we have Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, Wurmcoil Engine, and Oblivion Stone, which all combat it pretty well.

Warping Wail: This card has potential since it kills so many small, annoying creatures and counters hand disruption and most land destruction spells like Molten Rain or Crumble to Dust. However, it doesn't stop the most-played land destruction spells: Fulminator Mage and Ghost Quarter. This is why I opted to not run the card. I honestly don't think it's that great right now, but it's worthwhile to keep in mind.

Ratchet Bomb / Engineered Explosives: Good ways to deal with creature-based decks or even decks like Affinity. You won't usually need to get more than one or two counters on it. It is also a very good way to get around Chalice of the Void. Even if they play a Chalice of the Void for zero we can still play Engineered Explosives for one, two, three, or seven and still have it enter the battlefield with zero counters. Just enough to destroy pesky Chalice of the Voids.

Kozilek, the Great Distortion: I have a hard time justifying playing any Kozilek, the Great Distortion over Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, but it's worth keeping this card in mind, especially if control gets big or if you can somehow buy enough time against combo decks to cast this.

Not So Hot Sideboard Cards

Don't fall into the trap of playing these cards.

Painter's Servant: I know this card is supposed to be decent against Eldrazi decks since it will turn off their Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temples. Painter's Servant will also paint your deck, not only turning off Eye of Ugin, but also completely turning off Ancient Stirrings, which is something we can't really afford to do be doing. I would recommend staying away from this card if you're going to play R/G Tron.

Chalice of the Void: We cannot play this card main deck since we have Chromatic Sphere and Chromatic Star. We also run Expedition Map and Chalice of the Void can turn that off as well. The only way you can run this card is if you cut all the one-drops and replace them with Chalice of the Void and Simian Spirit Guides. You'd probably have to increase the land count a little bit though since you'll no longer be cycling with the Chromatic rocks.

And Now for Something Completely Different

I think Tron can evolve into a different deck and become more combo-like with the help of Through the Breach and fatties, which is something I'm going to test. If you have a list similar to this or you have ideas, feel free to post below so we can combine our efforts and make a better Tron deck for the current metagame.