Rewind several months. Modern midrange players are discussing the banned list announcement: “I’m glad the DCI banned Eye of Ugin and put an end to that whole annoying UrzaTron thing…”
“That’s all, folks!”
“Life will find a way—to make turn-3 Karn happen.” -Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park
Anybody who has played roughly 5 games of Commander understands “he (or she) who controls the spice mana controls the universe.” Modern is no different in the sense that having a huge mana advantage over your opponent can lead to some pretty absurdly one-sided games.
More than anything else, I find the sheer amount of diversity among successful UrzaTron decks fascinating. When I was perusing recent deck lists, I found 5 distinctly different takes on UrzaTron on the first page.
G/W Tron, or, “When you’re living in a Savannah down by the river!”
Don’t worry, just because you play G/W doesn’t mean you’ll end up eating a steady diet of government cheese… Chris Farley was to comedy what Black Lotus is to MTG.
Right now the most popular UrzaTron variant is G/W:
G/W Tron is probably the most visible and popular version of UrzaTron right now. The deck foregoes red in favor of white for Path to Exile and better sideboard options like Rest in Peace and Timely Reinforcements.
RIP and Timely both plug major leaks when it comes to Tron’s soft spots—Dredge and Burn, which makes the splash feel pretty natural and explains the popularity of the combination.
“Have a blessed day, Phyrexian friend.”
The particular deck I featured doesn’t include any copies of Blessed Alliance but it is nonetheless another fantastic sideboard option. It is particularly effective against Infect and Burn Zoo.
G/R Tron, or, “Lady TaiGaGa sings her hits.”
I want 3 Tron lands.”
Historically, G/R UrzaTron has been the most popular version of the deck.
“Gom greased lightnin’ you’re burnin’ up that Goblin Guide.”
It is also worth noting that Grove of the Burnwillows is a better land in a Tron deck than Razorverge Thicket or Brushlands because the drawback is irrelevant in a deck that goes arbitrarily large. But ETB tapped or dealing damage to yourself is a cost. Not a huge cost, but a cost.
Mono-Green Tron, or, “Run 3 basic Forrest, run!”
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived by casting turn-3 Karn into turn-5 Ugin.”
Why even bother splashing anything when you can just go straight-up mono color?
I’m not going to lie—I’m attracted to the elegance and simplicity of the list.
“How do the undead buy gumballs?”
It is an interesting take to simply not mess around with a secondary color and go straight green.
Mono-Blue Tron, or, “ How islanded my dream job working at Urza’s Power Plant.”
So far, I’ve featured various flavors of green UrzaTron, but now for the fun stuff…
Shoktroopa’s deck has a lot going on, but there’s a lot to like… especially if you are a huge fan of Mindslaver control like me!
“Slow them down and dig for Tron.”
Permission is pretty devastating in a big mana combo control deck, but a counterspell that helps dig for the last Tron piece is fantastic!
The deck can also straight-up dig while generating card and board advantage, which is powerful in a deck that can go big.
Chalice seems awesome in this deck since it doesn’t rely on 1-drops. Also, it’s worth noting that with Tron in the deck it can set Chalice to basically whatever number it wants! NO SCAPESHIFT FOR YOU!
“A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Unless it’s my opponent’s mind—in which case, I’m going to waste as much as possible every turn for the rest of the game.”
There are fewer bigger and more devastating endgames than controlling your opponent’s turn. If you need more proof of that, I’ll cite the precedent of Emrakul, the Promised End versus Standard.
U/W Tron or, “Double En-Tundra”
“A horrible pun told above the tree line.”
You can thank (or hate) Urban Dictionary for that one.
Last but not least:
I love these blue Tron lists because they are so unique. I get the impression that the pilots have an attitude that’s like “I play what I want.” No disrespect either. I think these decks look pretty sick and I’d really enjoy playing them.
The full 4 copies seems pretty wild. Didn’t I play this deck back when it was in Standard?
Oh wait, we didn’t have Elder Deep-Fiend to combo with sad robot back in the day. That combo is pretty nifty.
This Tron deck is actually more of a U/W control deck that eventually gets Tron (rather than needs it on turn 3 to function) and then uses that boost to push ahead and win against fair decks.
I think the moral of the story is that you can’t keep a good UrzaTron deck down. Even if you ban one of their powerful tools, as long as the Tron survives the deck will go on. It is also cool that before when Eye of Ugin was around the archetype was pretty much consolidated into a consensus best G/R list, whereas now there are a lot of different builds all competing and performing well.
G/W is the frontrunner most popular version but there are certainly reasons to at least consider and try other options. The blue versions also look compelling, and at the very least look like a blast to pilot.