Monday, September 28, 2015

The Modern Bible of RG Tron chapter 32 - Fighting our cousin

I was originally going to talk about another matchup here (that will happen next week) but a recent discussions in the comments of one my RG Tron videos got me thinking about the matchup against Mono Blue Tron.

The two Tron decks are extremely different. I have heard people say that Mono Blue Tron is the only true control deck in Modern (and I kind of agree with that). I have heard people say that RG Tron is kind of a control deck (and I think that is only in the widest sense of the word).

The matchup is rare in tournaments. Currently RG Tron is 4,24% of the online metagame (#8) while Mono Blue Tron comes in a disheartening 40th place with 0,42% of the metagame (that is ONE deck that placed in whatever timeframe mtggoldfish uses for their statistics).

You can find the constantly updated Modern MTGO metagame report here:

My point is that the matchup is so rare in tournaments that matter that opinions on it differ widely. In fact, you have to care a little more about the opinions of the Mono Blue Tron players as they will run into the matchup far more often than the RG Tron players.

Is this a bad matchup for RG Tron?
MI honestly do not know. I have won against Mono Blue Tron every time I have played it but those were practice games and may not reflect the skill of the players that dare bring Mono Blue Tron to a tournament.

My YouTube channel's resident Mono Blue Tron expert think that the matchup is very favored for Mono Blue Tron and he has a stronger tournament pedigree than I do.

So what are the facts?
Mono Blue Tron players think that they can just counter a Karn and 1-2 other big threats and then RG Tron runs out of steam (provided that Eye of Ugin is not around) and that the mindslaver lock (or Wurmcoil beatdown perhaps) is fast enough to end the game before Emrakul comes down. 

RG Tron players think that the ability to get to Tron much faster than their blue cousin is decisive. We all know how bad counterspells are in Modern and it is hard to counter spells cast by a deck that has much more mana than you do. 

Arguably the mindslaver lock endgame is as strong as Emrakul and Mono Blue Tron can even deal with Emrakul with a well-placed Oblivion Stone. 

Here is a quote from the mtgsalvation forums from a RG Tron player: "Honestly, Blue Tron hasn’t been an issue when I play against it. You don’t really care about anything they’re doing outside of Mindslaver doing its infinite loop, so if you can keep them off that you should be golden. And even that’s tricky, as they effectively need 13 mana to do it in one turn (6 to cast, 4 to use, 2 for Academy Ruins, and then 1 more from the mana Academy Ruins can’t produce due to using its other ability) You might not even need to care about Mindslaver itself; you can just stop Academy Ruins with a Ghost Quarter or something."

Things to consider when playing RG Tron vs Mono Blue Tron
As a basis for this discussion we are going to use this sample list:

There are many versions of Mono Blue Tron and they may require you to play differently against them. Notice that this sample deck has no Oblivion Stones and thus no way to handle Emrakul.

Their creatures are kind of meh. Wurmcoil Engine is a beating but you should have no problem dealing with anything else, especially after sideboarding.

The big danger is the mindslaver lock. Any spellskites in your deck makes mindslaver an instant win so never play them and sideboard them out immediatly.

The main target with Karn Liberated is to keep them off tron by exiling a Tron piece. Exiling two Tron pieces for them is usually game.

Useful and less useful sideboard cards
Ancient Grudge: If you pack this bad boy for Affinity here is an additional matchup where it can prove useful.

Boil: Removing their blue mana seems useful.

Emrakul: If you are bold enough to do what I currently do (i.e. cut Emrakul) this is a matchup where she definitely comes in. 

Land Destruction: If you somehow found room for more Ghost Quarters in your SB they come in, of course.

Nature's Claim: Our catch-all answer seems good in this matchup too.
Slaughter Games: You can Slaughter Games for Mindslaver and then you have solved that problem. They can still win with their creatures though.


Surgical Extraction: While I consider Surgical Extraction to slow to win the RG Tron mirror we are now facing a much slower deck and I can see the point of doing all that setup and keeping them off their Tron mana .

Less useful main deck cards
Oblivion Stone: Depends on how much junk they play. Having a reset button against artifact mana and their creatures seems useful. However, Wurmcoil gets around it. 

Nature's Claim: Seems to have plenty of targets.

Pyroclasm: Kililng Treasure Mages and Snapcasters is not why we play Pyroclasm. Sideboard out.

Relic of Progenitus: Relic stops the mindslaver lock. It also stops Snapcasters. That seems useful.

Sundering Titan: This is a very expensive way to take out one island. Sideboard out.

Ugin: A very expensive way to do 3 damage a turn. 

What do they bring in?
They fear Karn above all else and if they have them they will bring in Pithing Needles. Keep your Oblivion Stones in the deck for those. If they Pithing Needle both O-stone and Karn they are playing a lot of do-nothing cards and you might have to Ulamog them away. Or use your Nature's Claims of course.

If they have any land destruction that will surely come in.

Squelch is a card you have to be aware of.

Mike Pawliuk on the matchup
vs U Tron - I've only actually played the matchup once (!) in the Top 8 of a 1k. (Which you can read here: ) My impression is that we are favoured, but they have a lot of disruption (Chalice, Pithing Needle, GQ, counterspells). I sideboarded (with this list -2 Surgical SB, +2 Roast SB, ): OUT(6) : 4 Pyroclasm, 2 Spellskite. IN(6): 3 Nature's Claim (watch out for Chalice of the Void on 1), 2 Boil, 1 Vandalblast. With the 2 Surgical Extractions I have now, I would side them both in and take out 2 Wurmcoil.

Sample video
Here is one of the many times I have defeated Mono Blue Tron with RG Tron: 

What do you think of the matchup?
Next week we will take a look at one or more other matchups.

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

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