Misery on a Budget – Modern Mono-Green Tron – Deck Guide

There’s nothing quite like a good common enemy. They’re the basis of most films and stories, and are an excellent plot device to force a group of characters that wouldn’t normally band together to join forces. For nearly a decade, the Modern format has had one common enemy that most players are generally pretty vocal about. Let’s take a look at the original boogieman, Modern’s first Thanos, Green Tron.




Budget Modern Mono-Green Tron by Darren Magnotti


Header - The Deck

Urza's MineUrza's TowerUrza's Power Plant

The green versions of the UrzaTron deck, named after the popular 80s cartoon Voltron, are land-based ramp decks that look to assemble a collection of Urza’s Mine, Tower and Power Plant on or around turn three in order to create seven total mana and start pumping out tremendous game-ending bombs way ahead of the curve. It is typically capable of putting these lands into play on time in an extraordinarily high percentage of games due to its extreme redundancy, which has given the deck quite a reputation of being an unfair menace.

The deck’s infamy largely comes from its main threat to turn that seven mana into, Karn Liberated. Due to Karn’s pacifist nature in the story, his card representation usually enables a prison style strategy where he’s capable of forcing an opponent into submission rather than outright killing them himself. The rest of the deck tends to follow suit, keeping the board mostly clear of all nonland permanents until the opponent is dead at the hands of a giant artifact monster or their own concession. Most players aren’t particularly big fans of being squeezed to death in a giant robotic bear hug, so Karn and the deck that produces him have gone down in history as one of the least fun decks to play against in Modern’s history.


Header - The Threats

On a budget, Green Tron largely has access to and takes advantage of some classic dollar-bin EDH staples. Non-budget versions have traditionally relied on the Eldrazi in some form or fashion as the biggest threats to use all of that colorless mana on, and this list looks to play similarly.

EndbringerSteel HellkiteUgin, the Spirit DragonThragtusk

Endbringer is a versatile threat and utility creature that brings practical application to any stage of the game. From drawing into additional gas to mowing down a field of creatures using its damage ability in conjunction with Basilisk Collar to taking out a key blocker so the rest of the crew can attack in for the win, the card is as functional as it is unpleasant to look at.

Steel Hellkite can similarly deliver some alternate application with its ability to clear away permanents, on top of being a giant flying fire-breathing Dragon that can take on the likes of a Murktide Regent singlehandedly.

In addition to the Karns mentioned earlier, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon is also here to play, spraying his ghostfire at an opponent’s face after permanently removing any colored permanents they may have put into play. Rounding out the package is a Standard classic, Thragtusk, who is typically included as a means to stabilize after an aggressive onslaught before casting the bigger baddies in the deck.

A common theme with the threat package in Tron decks is each card’s ability to act as an expensive removal spell attached to a permanent body that an opponent needs to be able to answer. Between their size and card type, not all opposing decks are going to have access to the tools required to make this possible, which gives the Tron deck a tremendous leg up in matchups where opponents have come to grind.


Header - The Setup

Chromatic StarSylvan Scrying (Timeshifted)Expedition MapAncient Stirrings (Timeshifted)

So how can a deck reasonably assemble three unique, specific lands by turn three with any sort of consistency in this economy? Tron relies on an extensive and redundant package of tutors and eggs that help the deck get things moving. By sacrificing the first two turns of a game playing some combination of Chromatic Star, Chromatic Sphere, Sylvan Scrying and Expedition Map, combined with some clever abuse of the London Mulligan, Tron has very little issue finding the pieces it needs to get the ball rolling.

Common advice you’ll hear when tuning in to a video or stream featuring Tron is to “mulligan early, and mulligan often.” This core of early turn plays is nearly guaranteed to turn any hand with two Tron pieces into a turn three assembly, and can take you pretty far with just one piece should multiple eggs or tutors be used. There’s no particular need to worry about keeping a threat in the opening hand because the deck is brimming with threats and ways to find them. Eggs drawing additional cards and Ancient Stirrings digging deep to find any missing Tron piece or threat ensure that everything else lines up once those three lands are in play.


Header - How Does It play?

On the whole, Tron is one of those decks that’s good when it’s good and not great when it’s not great. While I know that that’s definitely not the useless doesn’t-mean-anything type of sentence that you come to ChannelFireball.com to read, it’s more to say that Tron is a deck that has a lot of polarized matchups, and its success is extremely matchup dependent.

Because of its high consistency and relatively linear game plan, Tron only really attacks from one axis while presenting one tremendous weak spot. Any deck that is looking to deal as much damage as possible in the early turns of the game while the shields are down is going to have a pretty easy time against their Tron opponent. This means that the likes of Burn, Infect, Domain Zoo or any of the myriad combo decks that don’t rely on putting permanents into play are going to enjoy being paired against the Tron player.

On the reverse, there are a good number of decks that are either looking to take advantage of permanents, which means that Tron is in a fairly to highly favorable position. Decks like Jund, blue-based control, Yorion piles and Crashcade are all generally in a place that will be hard-pressed to keep up once the Tron value gets rolling.

Outside of matchup specific notes, the budget version of the deck plays fairly similarly to the full version in honesty. With the opening sequencing being the same, the only real difference is the suite of threats, and with where the Modern metagame is at right now, there’s not a whole lot of difference between a six-mana Dragon that can wipe an opponent’s board and a six-mana Wurm that blocks an opponent’s creature forever. Most of the creatures are going to be larger than what an opponent might have going on anyway, and the planeswalkers are unmatched by anything else in the format, so the plan to go over the top of whatever the opposition is presenting is still present and just as meaningful. The deck certainly feels less flexible due to the omission of Walking Ballista, but generally the play patterns line up in such a way that there aren’t too many dissimilarities. 


Header - Upgrades


Modern Mono-Green Tron by Weiden


Moving into the full list, the deck largely stays the same. The threat package becomes slightly more workable while maintaining that removal-on-a-stick vibe, as the rest of the playsets are filled out.

There is also the option to lean into the zoomer-Tron variant – which is arguably the more popular of options – and play Karn, the Great Creator in addition to the traditional selections. The upside of the zoomer package is that it interrupts a handful of strategies in the format that Tron doesn’t typically disrupt, while also offering a much more flexible suite of cards out of the sideboard to be wished for via small Karn.

In contrast, boomer Tron (shown here, which omits Karn, the Great Creator) leans more heavily into life gain to stabilize and transition to the later game, sacrificing utility for raw power and higher individual card quality. Either way to take the deck is a solid choice in my opinion, as both are sure to secure the title of “FNM Villain” for whoever wishes to take on that mantle. 

That’s all for this one. Tron is one of those decks that I’ve had a love/hate relationship with throughout my days in the Modern scene, and always conflicting to pilot for those that don’t absolutely relish being the bad guy. Picking up this deck will all but guarantee that you will not be invited to the next birthday party or after-work drink social, but at least you can relish in the schadenfreude that comes with it. Until next time, remember: stay safe, play smart and thanks for reading. 


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