Welcome back to Valuable Lessons. Last week, we discussed Garruk Wildspeaker’s application in Modern Jund decks. Today, we’ll be discussing the strategy that I’ve experienced the most success with over the last few weeks on Magic Online. Blue Tron offers up incredible game against control strategies, great interaction for battling combo decks, and a number of stonewalls that immediately end the game against the aggressive strategies.
I started playing Blue Tron after I saw Shoktroopa demolishing Magic Online events with the deck. For awhile, it seemed like Shoktroopa was 4-0’ing every Daily and Top 8ing every Premier. Here’s a list he used to Top 8 a recent Daily Event.
I played this deck for a bit. I had a lot of success, but I wanted to try a list that was more interested in playing and protecting a Platinum Angel.
Blue Tron is naturally strong against other control decks. In a control matchup, the easiest route to victory is having access to more mana than the opponent. Obviously, Tron is a pretty good way to get more mana than our opponent. Jund is soft to Wurmcoil Engine and Solemn Simulacrum.
Against combo decks, we have access to a lot of countermagic and we can get ahead on cards with Thirst for Knowledge. None of the combo decks in Modern have good card drawing engines, being able to get ahead with Thirst for Knowledge makes it very easy to win counterwars.
Against aggressive decks, we play Platinum Angel. Current Affinity lists only have two copies of Galvanic Blast, the Vial decks never have more than four spot removal spells, and Burn decks need to use two cards to get rid of it. Pact of Negation solves all of these problems. Against a lot of decks, we cast Platinum Angel and nothing else matters. We never need to interact with cards that don’t interact with our Platinum Angel. With Momma Plats in play, we don’t even need to pay for our Pact of Negation, just click cancel, and continue playing. We can tighten the screws by using Tolaria West to search for Pact of Negation. We can even find Tolaria West with Expedition Map. It may seem like Wurmcoil Engine would be the best card against Burn decks, but rushing to a fast Platinum Angel has proven to be the best plan against Burn. In fact, I’ve been beating Burn more consistently with this deck than any other strategy.
Mindslaver lock is a very real win condition. This is achieved by having access to Academy Ruins, Mindslaver, and enough Tron pieces to activate the big artifact every turn. Opponents will usually concede, but sometimes we’ll be forced to go through the motions. It takes a long time to win via Mindslaver lock on Magic Online, in real life we can just draw and tap repeatedly after demonstrating our loop.
Cyclonic Rift seems like it would be a good one-of in theory, but I was very unimpressed with the card. I was always frustrated to find it in my opening hand.
Here’s the deck as I’ve been playing it recently:
Blue Tron (Protect the Queen)
by Jacob Van Lunen
Over five Daily Events, I’m currently 16-4 with this list. The deck plays out beautifully. Best of all, the whole thing can be built for a little over 100 tickets, making it the least expensive competitive Modern deck by a very large margin.
There are some oddballs in the sideboard, so we should probably talk about that for a bit. The two extra lands come in against the white control decks that are likely casting Stony Silence against us. It’s extremely dangerous to keep cards like Talisman of Dominance in there. Expedition Maps can be discarded to Thirst for Knowledge or sandbagged in play to be cracked for value on a big turn where we Repeal the opposing enchantment.
Against Jund, we want to be on a Wurmcoil Engine plan, the goal is to play Wurmcoil Engines and then start replaying them with Academy Ruins. Ask a friend that plays Jund what their plan is against the forever Wurmcoil plan, chances are they won’t have one.
The deck is fairly malleable and we’ll often want to be changing cards from game 2 to game 3. For example, Bottle Gnomes are quite good at buying time against the Young Pyromancer decks and Burn decks when we’re on the play, but we’d be trying to cook while having dinner if we brought them in on the draw.
Squelch is one of the most underplayed sideboard cards in the format, the card does very serious work, especially when it counters Tectonic Edge activations from the Blue/White/Red Control strategies.
I’ll be playing this deck for the foreseeable future. It absolutely demolishes control decks, Platinum Angels aggro decks, and reliably contains combo strategies. The deck is very weak to other Urza Tron decks. We can’t interact well against cards like Karn Liberated or Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and we can’t afford to be spending three of our sideboard slots on a card like Annex that is likely too late to make a difference, especially if we’re on the draw without a Talisman of Dominance.
Blue Tron is a great choice for your upcoming PTQs. The deck is inexpensive, powerful, and fun. I recommend playing a lot of games with the deck before sleeving it up for a PTQ, things can be difficult and understanding when to Remand our own spells and those types of small nuances are things that come with time and practice. I’ve played well over 50 matches of Modern over the last week and Blue Tron has provided me with a higher win percentage than any other strategy.