Sunday, August 30, 2015

Modern Bible of RG Tron chapter 28 - RG Tron vs Affinity

This week we take on one of the most successful aggro decks in the Modern format but one thing is very different from most other aggro matchups. The strength of Affinity is one of the main reasons we maindeck Pyroclasms in the first place and this is an aggro deck that is seriously affected by all our countermeasures (almost).

Still, it is a very powerful deck that can easily kill us if we stumble.

Is this a bad matchup for RG Tron?
This is close to a 50/50 matchup for Tron. We have a very good chance of surviving the initial onslaught of Affinity and Pyroclasm is just devastating.

Things to consider when playing RG Tron vs Affinity
The matchup is not about you getting to Tron. It is about you surviving the initial charge of Robots. Don't think too hard about Tron. It is perfectly acceptable to keep a hand that can cast Pyroclasm.

Cranial Plating must not stay on the table. It is the #1 target for Nature's Claim, except perhaps their man-lands (see below)

Remember that Oblivion Stone does not hit man-lands. This means that their biggest threat is Inkmoth Nexus and its more normal cousin Blinkmoth Nexus.

Arcbound Ravager is a very powerful card on their side and avoids most of your main deck removal, surviving Pyroclasm and putting his counters on the man-lands.

Ghost Quarter truly shines in this matchup.

You only need the Wurmcoil Engines to win. They are - again - 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. If Affinity is heavy in your meta you can bring in more specific sideboard cards but I am reluctant to do that. Still, I will mention them here.

Ancient Grudge: Instant speed and double removal is very powerful. Can deal with man-lands.

Feed the clan Gaining five (or ten!) life is quite useful against Affinity too. TThe problem is that Affinity - if it gets rolling - has no problem dealing 30 or even 40 damage.

Firespout: Pyroclasm 5-8 would be very useful here.

Nature's Claim: Our catch-all answer comes in here as well and truly shines. We can destroy any one of their cards for 1 mana. That is super important and if you don't pack 4 Nature's Claim in your sideboard you are probably doing something wrong.

Pithing Needle: Many players recommend it for this matchup. I have no experience playing the card versus Affinity.

Shatterstorm/Vandalblast: It is tempting but these are generally considered too slow for this matchup. That goes for Creeping Corrosion as well.

Spellskite: Spellskite blocks some of their creatures and make Arcbound Ravager very hard to use efficiently. If someone actually uses an Arcbound Ravager it is pretty much game over but most Affinity players will not make this mistake.

Wurmcoil Engine: This is the way you win this match like so many others. The Coil has a lot of problems with the flyers but being able to hit for 6 and gain 6 is often enough.

Less useful main deck cards
Emrakul: The big girl does 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.

Karn Liberated: The threats are multiple and fast. Karn does not do enough in this matchup but he is still Karn. I can see sideboarding out one or two Karns if you need the space.

Oblivion Stone: Oblivion Stone fails to hit the man-lands but they still do kill most of Affinity's threats.

Relic of Progenitus: Relic does not do anything here. 

Sundering Titan: This is not the matchup that Titan shines in. Sideboard him out.

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, but try to avoid it.

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon: If Karn is too slow, Ugin is ever worse. To the sideboard with him. This is one of his worst matchups.

Ulamog, the Infnite Gyre: You are better off if this is your maindeck Eldrazi but it is hard to keep him in after boarding. He is just too slow. The fact that he hits man-lands really helps in the first duel. 

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?
Artifact Destruction: We are vulnerable to this but I feel that it dillutes their deck too much and it does nothing to save them from Pyroclasm.

Blood Moon is something you will see but as you are already boarding the full playset of Nature's Claims means that you come well prepared for the Moon. Also your focus on finding your removal instead of finding Tron saves you here. Beware losing all your Green mana to the Blood Moon. Keep a sphere or a star around.

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

Thoughtseize: T
his will be useful as they can remove your removal. They only need one more turn to win. Possibly their strongest sideboard card against us.

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

Next week we take on the little blue men. Its RG Tron vs Merfolk!

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

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