Modern: Mono-Green Tron and Timing

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Modern: Mono-Green Tron and Timing

Tron is back into the Modern metagame. Today, we'll explore how it got back into the Challenges and what it means to the format.

By Gabriel, 08/28/21, translated by Romeu, with help from our readers

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I'm the type of person who loves watching the metagame and its updates, and to bring you some list, I like to look for what some specific results have "something more to say". When certain decks get results, what it says about the format and the deck itself. That said, today we're going to talk about Green Tron's attempts to get back to the format, after all, not so long ago, in the 08/08 Challenge, we had a championship with three Top 8 appearances for this deck that had been dormant since the arrival of Modern Horizons 2. Since then, its lists have been consistently appearing in 5-0 Leagues and other events, such as a solid Top 12 in the 08/22 Challenge, appearances that have been increasingly catching my eye.

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The Deck

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It's even nostalgic to see such a classic list at this very "current" moment in Magic. But being classic doesn't mean that it ignores the contemporary metagame with its large number of low-cost threats like the infamous Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, Dragon's Rage Channeler, and Stoneforge Mystic.
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To combat them, this list is using a relevant number of removals, Dismember and two Warping Wail, which can handle most of these creatures. Another important card is the two Relic of Progenitus, which are not new to this deck, but are especially good in a metagame that frequently uses the graveyard. But let's face it, unlike decks that were made to respond to threats, like Jund Food that I brought up on past article, Green Tron

is the threat

!
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What makes the deck so feared to this day is its amount of high-impact threats, such as Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, Karn Liberated and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, which alone manage to win games with a certain slack, which makes its topdeck, even today, be considered by many as the best in the format. Having so much resource per card makes the Tron โ€‹โ€‹player care little about card advantage concepts (it also makes the deck have a great mulligan, since after having all of Urza's pieces on the board, you only need to fit one of the powerful key cards to, most times, win the game), counterspells will eventually run out and discards usually do little harm. Tron's real enemy โ€‹โ€‹in a battle is the lack of time, decks that finish the game in a few turns end up taking advantage against this deck today, but otherwise, Green Tron proves to be an unavoidable monster with more pressure as every turn goes by.

Metagame Interactions

Well, now that I've talked about the deck, let's see a bit how this list interacts against some contemporary Modern decks! The removals I mentioned above are great for dealing with the current stars of the format:

Izzet Tempo

and

Hammer Time

. Under the right conditions, Warping Wail can handle almost every creature in these decks, while Dismember is just as efficient a removal, even at the cost of 4 life. Because Hammer Time has more aggressive hands, which can connect 10 damage on turn 2, the matchup is a little riskier, but not impossible. Since Izzet Tempo is much more paced, it usually can't handle the pressure exerted by our planeswalkers and creatures.

Temur Cascade

is a deck that, oddly enough, is very similar to Green Tron, having good mulligans and topdecks, rarely doing much until turn three, but after that, poses an extremely impacting threat. It happens that Crashing Footfalls's "shock threat" are two 4/4 Rhino tokens, which is actually pretty strong against most other decks, but next to Ugin, Karn, and Wurmcoil Engine... not so much. So, the similar pace of the two decks gives a big advantage to Tron, which has much heavier weapons in its arsenal.

Sideboard & Timing

"Wow, it looks great against the format, why was it missing then?"

This is where we come to the "something more to say". Because of its famous and colossal strength, Green Tron is a very popular deck. When it had more presence in the meta, all decks reserved some slot on their sideboard specifically for combating Urza's lands.

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As time went by, more and more cards focused on stopping Tron were being released. Modern Horizons II was no different, featuring cards such as Void Mirror, Obsidian Charmaw and Break the Ice which, along with a variety of previously released cards such as Damping Sphere, make life very difficult for the player who tries to generate seven mana on the third turn. So, at the beginning of this new metagame, all decks felt equipped to deal with this match and Tron ended up losing space. It turns out that, due to this disappearance, most players ended up leaving aside Tron when thinking about sideboarding and, gradually, the hates were more limited to cards like Void Mirror, which even be bypassed by another equally new card, Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth. So, the three players who made the Top 8 of this Challenge also benefited from this moment. Of course, it's not any deck can take advantage of this moment in the metagame, as we have seen, Tron is still a strong bet today and has a great weight on the board, which was also crucial for this performance.

Alternatives

After this event, I noticed several other Green Tron appearances in leagues and other events, some with interesting additions that I thought I'd bring to you.
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Starting with another removal option, Gut Shot is interesting for those who want to save mana and life, even though it's much more limited than Dismember, mana efficiency is essential, since Tron must spend the first few turns paying close attention to the plan to search for its Urza lands. On the other hand, it's a much less efficient removal in the late game, so the idea of โ€‹โ€‹the deck having a great topdeck ends up being somewhat dissipated at this point.
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Now, how about a companion? Jegantha, the Wellspring works really well here. Even with the ability to generate mana being of little use for the deck, it's one more creature in your starting hand practically for free, which can still be useful when the deck floods or run out of resources.
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Finally, one of the options I, personally, love: Emrakul, the Promised End is extremely powerful here, having an impact as big (or sometimes bigger) than its relative, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, not to mention that our mother Eldrazi ends up costing a lot less in the mid-game, due to her delirium ability. All these advantages makes Emrakul a very considerable option.

Conclusion

The metagame is an environment with many points to consider, and Timing is one of them. Knowing when to use a consolidated deck that is off the radar is a decision that can benefit you a lot. Therefore, it is super relevant and advisable to constantly analyze the general course of a format, so it is possible to see these options more clearly. And with this advice, I finish this article. I hope you enjoyed the read!
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Gabriel

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