Saturday, August 8, 2015

Modern Bible of RG Tron chapter 25 - RG Tron vs BGx

Its week 25 of the Modern Bible and we are now going to move into specific matchups. This week we will talk about different BGx decks such as Jund or Abzan.

BGx decks are based around Tarmogoyf and Liliana of the Veil. They are value decks, happy to 1-for-1 with the opponent and then eek out a little advantage and come out on top. They are very popular decks with the pros as they feel they never have a really bad matchup against anything, thus rewarding play skill. With a strong discard element in Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek, BGx deck has traditionally done well against all combo decks.

BGx comes in many variants, primarily Abzan (GBW) or Jund (GBR) but straight GB and
GBRw have also done well in the past.

BGx have long been tier 1 in Modern and are often the #1 deck in the format. RG Tron has a fairly good matchup against these decks. In fact, their presence at the top is one of the primary reasons to play RG Tron at all.

Mtggoldfish recently launched a very useful feature with Modern Matchup statistics. You can find it here:
Mtggoldfish gives us a 59,38% win percentage against Jund and even though the Abzan matchup may be a little bit harder it is not a lot harder. It is still a winning matchup for us.

Why is this a positive matchup for RG Tron?
In the world of 1-for-1s and attrition tactics the guy who can play a big sweeper, a Karn or an Eldrazi is king. Our threats are so huge and so hard to deal with that the BGx decks are unfavored to win. We are happy to play from the top of our deck and do not care very much about getting things discarded once we have Tron.

Things to consider when playing RG Tron vs BGx
When you fight Tarmogoyfs with Pyroclasm + Relic of Progenitus make sure you resolve Pyroclasm first. That way, when you use the Relic the damage is already on the Goyf and Pyroclasm does not count towards the Goyf's Toughness.

Emrakul is necessary to keep in your deck because games against BGx often ends up in topdeck wars. Emrakul tends to win topdeck wars and she also makes Eye of Ugin a very severe threat.

If BGx is huge in your metagame consider playing Sundering Titan over Ulamog as your second big threat. Sundering Titan wrecks decks with greedy mana bases and is even better against Abzan as his ability triggers again if he is Path to Exiled.

Even if they successfully wreck your mana base in game 2 or game 3 you can easily win by hardcasting Oblivion Stones and Wurmcoil Engines.

If you use Chalice of the Void against Jund, set it to 2 to disrupt Goyfs and Bobs.

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon shines in the Abzan matchup IF you can get to Tron. He is not as decisive in the Jund matchup but still good. In fact, I think the Abzan matchup is the main reason to play Ugin in your main deck.

Useful sideboard cards
Against any BGx deck featuring white you have to bring in at least two Nature's Claim as there are white sideboard cards that just destroy you (Stony Silence comes to mind).

The 4th Wurmcoil Engine comes in against BGx decks.

I hate Pithing Needle as a sideboard card but bringing it in here for Fulminator Mage is where it shines. I still don't think it is worth a sideboard slot ever. The second Pithing Needle is set to Liliana of the Veil but then all your Oblivion Stones are close to worthless.

Less useful main deck cards
Spellskite is not that useful against Jund but may be needed to redirect Path to Exiles from Wurmcoils and Ulamog from Abzan.

Almost all your cards are useful in this matchup. It is very hard to know what to take out, meaning that you probably can't. Many RG Tron players do not sideboard at all in this matchup, reasoning that this is the matchup RG Tron is built for.

Relic of Progenitus is useful against Tarmogoyfs but not 100% necessary. It is also hit by Stony Silence so is a good card to take out against BGx decks with white in them.

This probably means that Relics and Spellskites are what you take out if you need to bring in Wurmcoil Engine or Nature's Claim.

Against Abzan, Pyroclasm is not that useful and can be taken out before you take out Relics and Spellskites.

What do they bring in?
Fulminator Mage is the #1 card you fear. If they are on the play they can disrupt you before you can assemble Tron. If they are not, you really want to land Karn on turn 3 and start destroying them.

Do not get fancy with anti-LD sideboard cards. Your deck is built to dig up the lands you need and have reciliency against LD. 

Jund can sometimes bring in Sowing Salt which is considered the #1 threat by many RG Tron players. It is not as dangerous as Fulminator Mage, though, mainly because it is much slower. 

Jund could also bring Blood Moon to the table. That is probably a mistake as it affects them as much as it affects us.

Having access to the best sideboard color makes Abzan more dangerous after sideboarding. You fear Stony Silence a lot and have to bring in Nature's Claims unless you are 100% sure they don't have relevant sideboard hate for you.

Sample video
In this quite recent video I take on Abzan with Ugin in the deck.

Enjoy this matchup. It is a good one for us!

Next week we take on Splinter Twin.

For a full list of the chapters of The Modern Bible:

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