Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Modern Bible of RG Tron chapter 24 - Cutting Emrakul

We are soon going back to Zendikar where the Eldrazi are raging freely. And who is the biggest and baddest of them all? Well, it is this little lady.

I admit that playing Emrakul, the Aeons Torn in a competetive match of magic was one of the factors that drew me to RG Tron in the first place. I don't think I am alone. If you want to play big, gamebreaking creatures you naturally want to play the biggest and the most gamebreakingest of them all.

But when is Emrakul really good in your deck?

What conditions must be met?

#1 You must be able to pay 15 mana
Even with all these Tron lands, 15 mana is still a lot. One "normal" way to pay for big E is 2 towers, 2 mine, 1 power plant, 1 eye of ugin, 1 Forest - that means that she can come down on turn 7 (maybe 6) at the earliest. That is quite late in a game of Modern. Being able to shave off a turn or two off that would be a significant improvement.

#2 You must be in reasonable danger to lose the game if you don't immediately end it with Emrakul
If you are in no danger of losing you could just win with Ulamog, Karn, Ugin or a Wurmcoil Engine. You need a time-walking giant fatty to save yourself. 

Think about it. Those are some very specific concerns. Is it worth having a card that is mostly dead when you draw it in your deck to save you from those few games where you have 15 lands and must play an Emrakul immediatly not to lose? How many percents of games do you really need Emrakul in?

The disadvantages of Emrakul
#1: A dead card in your opening hand or if you draw her early
#2: Useless against aggro (many of our problem matchups are fast aggro decks)
#3: Useless against combo (almost all combo decks are problem matchups)

The advantages of Emrakul
#1 Very powerful against control (already a very good matchup).You never lose in the lategame. However, realistically ... how many decks can really beat an Ulamog followed by three Wurmcoil Engines, all searched out with Eye of Ugin? Not most of the tier 1 decks in Modern and those who can beat that would probably beat Emrakul as well.
#2 Searchable by Eye of Ugin. All the other fatties are too, though.
#3 Once every blue moon people conceed to early to Emrakul. They never do to Ulamog.

Against what decks do you want Emrakul then?
UWR Control - Here you really need Emrakul, as you would against any true control deck. However, control decks are in a bad place in Modern and are seldom a factor. If 20% of the metagame or more is pure control, Emrakul should definitely be in the main deck.

Collected Company - these decks can assemble a combo win out of nowhere and need to die immediatly. Here I can see why you would feel Emrakul is necessary.

Let me know if you can think of any other tier 1 or tier 2 Modern deck where you really need Emrakul

Of course, you solve this by having Emrakul in your sideboard to side in against these decks. Sideboard cards should be game changing and the little old lady sure is that.

I know this topic is highly controversial but I have still not seen anyone defending main deck Emrakul with facts and figures in a good way. Please do if you can.

Having said all this, I am playing main deck Emrakul right now, as well as two Ugins that I don't feel very good about. Why am I doing that? Well, everyone else is and I am sure they as a collective are better Magic players than I am. I just don¨t understand it, though, and I want to understand it.

What do you play instead of Emrakul if you cut her?
The answer here is Ulamog or Sundering Titan. You want one game-winning fattie and which one depends on the metagame. I could elaborate on why Ulamog has a lot of better matchups than Emrakul but the short story is that coming down two turns earlier is just a giant advantage for Ulamog.

If you like, I could dedicate one of the last blog posts in this series to comparing Ulamog and Emrakul in different matchups. Let me know if you want to see this.

Next week we will look at the first of our specific matchups and advice on the playing the match. We are taking on BGx, i.e. Abzan and Jund. Stay tuned.

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


  1. I'm reading your "Bilble", and I want to see the comparison between Ulamog and Emrakul. Please, do it!
    And please, dedicate a chapter for Ugin. It's a great card, especially when we can't cast (or buy...hehehe) an Oblivion stone...
    And congrats from Brazil, dude!

    1. Thanks, G.G. I will try to fit that in the last chapters. There is a great comparison between Ulamog and Emrakul on the mtgsalvation forums.

      Oh, Ugin. I have had so many discussions about him. But yes, I will mention him in the last chapter (and probably several times before)

  2. Awesome series please add that last chapter I have just bought into RG Tron and I pulled out an Ugin the spirit dragon out of a booster pack my fiancée bought me for Christmas

  3. Awesome series please add that last chapter I have just bought into RG Tron and I pulled out an Ugin the spirit dragon out of a booster pack my fiancée bought me for Christmas