Sunday, August 23, 2015

Modern Bible of RG Tron chapter 27 - RG Tron vs Burn

Oh, Atarka's Command! Why are you Atarka's Command?

I thought I had this matchup figured out and then you came along!

Oh well, I guess eight ways to negate my lifegain from Nature's Claim and Wurmcoil Engine is just what we have to live with now.

Is this a bad matchup for RG Tron?
I used to be very convinced that this was a 50/50 matchup for Tron. Then it all changed. The most recent version of Naya Burn uses another card we truly fear - Wild Nacatl! That is even worse. 

Here is a deck list:

This does look pretty bad for us. 

Things to consider when playing RG Tron vs Burn
It is all about Wurmcoil Engine and surviving. Don't make the mistake that this matchup is about assemling your Urza lands and casting powerful bombs. It is all about gaining life and not taking damage. 

If you manage to land one hit with Wurmcoil Engine you are quite well off, especially if you can then Nature's Claim it on their turn and surprise block some of their attacks and gain additional life. 

You only need the Wurmcoil Engines to win. They are both your best defensive cards and your road to victory.

Useful and less useful sideboard cards
I have been very against fililng your sideboard with cards that are useful in only one matchup. That would leave me with Nature's Claim (on my own artifacts) and Wurmcoil Engine to gain life. That used to be enough.

Now I am not so sure. If Burn is heavy in your meta, you have to pack your sideboard with specific cards.

Dragon's Claw:  While this may look good in theory I think it is too slow and yet another Smash to Smithereens target.

Feed the clan Gaining five (or ten!) life is quite useful against Burn. The problem is once against his ability to negate your life gain. 

Leyline of Sanctity  Leyline requires you to dedicate at least three slots in your sideboard that are not useful against many other decks but it is an option. Be aware that a lot of cards in the burn deck will ignore this. Some RG Tron players consider this the #1 best card against Burn.

Nature's Claim: Our catch-all answer comes in here as well. The sole purpose is to gain 4 life by claiming your own stars (or other artifacts) to stay alive. 

Spellskite: Spellskite both blocks their creatures and reduces the damage of some of their burn spells by 1. This is worthwhile. Spellskite is key to the matchup.

Thragtusk: Five mana is a lot against Burn but if it resolves you have an excellent blocker as well as five more lives. I have not tested this properly yet but some RG Tron players like this option.

Wurmcoil Engine: This is the way you win the match. 

Playing White-Green instead of Red-Green: This matchup is the biggest argument to exchange Red for White in your Tron deck. I generally think this is a really bad matchup (as you are giving up the best Dual Land in Modern), but now you have access to white sideboard cards such as Timely Reinforcements.

Less useful main deck cards
Karn Liberated: While Karn is super powerful you can hardly afford to tap out and he does very little to stabilize. Removing a card from their hand each turn is very useful though. He is slow though.

Emrakul: The big girl idoes nothing in this matchup. She is just a dead draw. Take her out if you are still maindecking her. 

Eye of Ugin: In theory you can chain Wurmcoil Engines with this card or even get a crucial Spellskite. I am reluctant to take it out but it is sloooow.

Oblivion Stone: I have mixed feelings on the O-stones here. They are very slow but they can just save you. Getting a stone smashed to smithereens is the worst. Against a more red Burn deck with Blood Moons, O-stone is obviously more useful. 

Relic of Progenitus: Relic does not do anything here. 

Sundering Titan: Of your giant threats Titan is the most useful. He blocks and he totally wrecks their greedy manabase. 

Sylvan Scrying: This is the slowest of your engine cards. I would not fault you for taking out one or two to fit in more SB cards. 

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon: If Karn is too slow, Ugin is ever worse. To the sideboard with him. The lifegain looks tempting but it is just too much mana. 

Ulamog, the Infnite Gyre: You are better off if this is your maindeck Eldrazi but it is hard to keep him in after boarding. 

As you are not as focused on getting to your Tron this is one of the few matchups where you can consider taking out a single compy of Chromatic Sphere or Sylvan Scrying. Try to avoid it, though, if at all possible.

What do they bring in?

Ancient Grudge: Turns out that killing our artifacts can wreck us in the early game, allowing them time to set up. They are also pretty good against Oblivion Stone.

Blood Moon used to be a big consideration but given their greedy mana bases now you don't have to fear it as much. It would hurt to take out the O-stones and face a Moon though.

Destructive Revelry: See Smash to Smithereens.

Molten Rain/Stone Rain: I think it is a mistake by the Burn player to try to 1-for-1 your lands. This will dillute their deck. They should just go for the kill instead.

Path to Exile: This is one of the few matchups where I really fear Path. It does dillute their deck but our extra land helps very little in this matchup. Being able to out-wurmcoil their paths is probably a reason to keep Eye of Ugin in your deck. Spellskite shines here, of course.

Smash to Smithereens: This has the unique ability to both wreck your development and do damage. Fear it. Destructive Revelry does the same thing.

Skullcrack: Expect the full 8 cards to stop your lifegain in the second and third duel.

Sample video
In this video I take on Burn with one of my RG Tron builds.

Until next week -  may you please gain twelve life from your Wurmcoil Engines.

Next week we take on that beast that never truly goes away; Affinity.

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

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