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Tron: Legacy

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Last week I teased a Legacy Tron deck at the end of my grab bag article. This deck started as a joke on one of my streams. Someone suggested we play it when I asked for awful decks to try out and then someone else sent in a donation so we would play it through a competitive league. For reference my current Legacy Tron decklist looks something like this:


While this deck started off as a joke, the more I have played it the more I feel like there might really be something here. In fact, I have gone 3-2 or 4-1 in six of my last seven competitive MTGO leagues with the archetype. Most people will start by noting that the deck as a whole is not terribly different from the modern version of bg Tron. In fact there are only six cards in this deck that are not legal in modern:

Bayou
Eye of Ugin
Karakas
Crop Rotation
Toxic Deluge
Sphere of Resistance

Bayou gives us an obvious upgrade to the split of Fast Lands and Pain Lands Modern Tron plays. This is a fairly minor upgrade though – so if you are looking to play some Legacy on a budget replacing these with copies of Llanowar Wastes is fine.

Eye of Ugin is an insane upgrade from the Sanctum of Ugin that we are forced to play in Modern currently. It gives us overwhelming endgame power. It turns any of our land searching effects into an unlimited source of threats given enough time. Eye of Ugin ensures that we are winning almost every match that goes long enough.

Karakas offers some utility against decks like Reanimator and Sneak and Show, but the real reason we are playing it is for the utility it offers with our Eldrazi Titans. Exiling our opponent’s two best cards with Ulamog feels good the first time we do it. It feels even better the second and third time after we use Karakas to return it to our hand to keep getting the powerful cast trigger.

Crop Rotation is a bit weaker than Expedition Map or Sylvan Scrying since it requires us to throw away one of our existing lands, but playing a couple copies does add some more consistency to our turn three Tron count. Crop Rotation is also excellent against Wasteland decks since we can sacrifice the land being wasted.

Toxic Deluge gives us a cheap sweeper that can allow us to keep the board in check even when we are unable to assemble Tron or get wasted off of it. Sphere of Resistance gives us a clean hate card against some of the faster spell-based decks in the format such as Storm and Reanimator.

These Legacy cards are not the only thing that make this deck powerful. Our traditional modern-legal Tron cards are also well-positioned in Legacy:

Oblivion Stone
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Karn Liberated

Since the banning of Sensei's Divining Top, the Legacy metagame, especially online, has been exceedingly fair. Not only have decks like Grixis Delver been moderately popular, but more controlling decks like Four Color Leovold and Stoneblade have popped up to try and prey on Delver by going over the top of it. Much like in Modern, Tron absolutely devours these fair decks that lack land disruption in Legacy.

It is not just against the fair decks in Legacy where these powerful cards shine, though. Against Elves our sweepers clean up their board nicely. Against Sneak and Show both Karn Liberated and Oblivion Stone clean up the threats they are putting into play nicely.

The big question I have gotten over and over again since I really started tuning this Legacy Tron decklist is why play this over Cloudpost. The implied idea here is that because Cloudpost is banned in Modern it must be far more powerful than the Tron lands are. While I agree that Cloudpost is far better at generating obnoxious amounts of mana in the late game, I do not think we really need to be playing the largest threats Magic has to offer to go over the top of the rest of Legacy.

We do not need to be casting Emrakul, the Aeons Torn when in most instances simply casting a Wurmcoil Engine or Karn Liberated is going to be winning most games of Legacy. The biggest hurdle for a “go big” deck like Tron or Cloudpost in a format like Legacy is being able to survive the early game - not closing in the late game. I think that because the Tron lands are all coming into play untapped we have the ability to more consistently disrupt our opponent’s early plays by playing Tron lands as opposed to playing Cloudposts which come into play tapped.

All that aside, Tron is actually far better at producing 7 mana on turn three to cast Karn Liberated than Cloudpost is.

Matchups and Playing the Deck

The most common request I get when posting a new decklist like this are suggestions for how to sideboard with the deck in some of the more common matchups. The following is how I would board with the above decklist against some of the more common decks in Legacy currently:

VS Delver

Delver is definitely our hardest matchup among the popular decks in Legacy. They have a pile of Wastelands and lots of ways to find them. Remember when we are playing this matchup that we are a control deck. It does not matter if they are keeping us off of Tron if we are able to keep their board clear of threats.

In:

? 3 Pithing Needle

? 2 Toxic Deluge

? 1 Oblivion Stone

? 1 Walking Ballista

Out:

? 2 Relic of Progenitus

? 2 Sylvan Scrying

? 1 Chromatic Sphere

? 1 Kozilek, the Great Distortion

? 1 Karakas

We bring in extra removal and sweepers, as well as Pithing Needle to answer Wasteland. We trim Kozilek, the Great Distortion in this matchup because drawing too much top end while we do not have Tron active is a fast way to die. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger is the better of the Eldrazi Titans in this matchup because he still impacts the board even if he does not resolve.

VS 4 Color Control

This matchup is great. At one point I mulliganed to four against this deck, my opponent cast Hymn to Tourach on turn two, and I still ended up winning the game. This matchup plays out a lot like Delver except they do not have a way to attack our Tron once it is online. Our threats go way over the top of anything they can play. Keep their board clear and win the game eventually.

As for sideboarding – we literally do not in this matchup. Our main deck is well-positioned in the matchup and they try to utilize their graveyard enough with Deathrite Shaman and Snapcaster Mage that Relic of Progenitus is relevant.

VS Storm

This matchup feels close from the times I have played it. If they have an exceptionally fast draw they can win the game before we have a chance to interact, but if we have time to get set up we are generally favored.

In:

? 2 Collective Brutality

? 2 Sphere of Resistance

? 2 Warping Wail

? 1 Bojuka Bog

Out:

? 3 Oblivion Stone

? 2 Wurmcoil Engine

? 1 Karn Liberated

? 1 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Post board we get to bring in a lot of meaningful disruption. The fact that we get to play discard, counterspells, and permanent based disruption is powerful in this matchup. Bojuka Bog may seem like an odd inclusion at a glance, but Storm often goes off via Past in Flames. This means Bojuka Bog can let our Crop Rotations be surprise Tormod's Crypts.

Trimming a copy of Karn while leaving both copies of Ugin, the Spirit Dragon in the deck may seem off, but I like having two sweepers in the deck post board. This is because the Storm deck often tries to go off quickly with Goblins in post board games against decks that have the disruption we do.

VS Elves

Similar to Storm, this matchup largely depends on how quickly they can get set up. This is one of the matches where Collective Brutality really shines. Not only is the discard aspect of Brutality powerful for taking cards like Glimpse of Nature and Natural Order, but we can often escalate to also kill one of their creatures in play. The most important creature to keep off of the board is Wirewood Symbiote. Not only does Symbiote allow them to generate value with cards like Elvish Visionary, but it also lets them save creatures from our sweeper effects.

In:

? 2 Collective Brutality

? 2 Warping Wail

? 2 Toxic Deluge

? 1 Oblivion Stone

? 1 Walking Ballista

Out:

? 2 Relic of Progenitus

? 2 Crop Rotation

? 2 Karn Liberated

? 1 Karakas

? 1 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Again we cut some of our less impactful cards for ones that are much better in this specific matchup. Post board we have a whooping eight sweeper effects, so if we can make sure we do not die to the elf player’s combo draws we have more than enough ways to keep their “plan b” in check.

VS Sneak and Show

This matchup can be a bit hard for us Game 1, but post board we get a lot of good tools for interacting with them. Their draws with Omniscience are the most difficult for us to beat since Omniscience gives them an extra turn with Emrakul, which means we do not have a chance to interact with their fatty before it attacks.

In:

? 3 Pithing Needle

? 2 Collective Brutality

? 2 Warping Wail

? 1 Seal of Primordium

Out:

? 3 Wurmcoil Engine

? 2 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

? 2 Relic of Progenitus

? 1 Oblivion Stone

This is one of the few non-Wasteland matchups where Pithing Needle is relevant. If we can stop their Griselbrand from drawing cards, we have more than enough ways to remove their threats from play before they can actually attack us for lethal.

General Sideboarding Strategy

Legacy is a diverse format, so while I covered some of the more popular decks above, there is a good chance a majority of your matches are not going to be played against those decks. In general there are a few things you want to be doing when boarding with this Legacy Tron deck.

My go-to cuts are often Relic of Progenitus, Crop Rotation, Karakas, and one of the two Eldrazi Titans. These cards all provide reasonable value in Game 1s, but there are often just better sideboard cards that are more ideal for the post board games in a given matchup. The big exception to this rule is graveyard based decks since Relic of Progenitus and Crop Rotation for Bojuka Bog are obviously excellent there. The other thing to note here is that while cutting the first Eldrazi Titan is often a good idea, never cut both of them. We want a bomb to find with Eye of Ugin to lock a game up once we have survived the early turns.

The other important thing to note is that Pithing Needle should come in against every deck that has Wasteland. This is the best tool in Legacy for disrupting our Karn-sized plans, so we want to shut it down when our opponent is playing it.

Finally, less is more. When in doubt, board as little as possible if something does not seem obviously good in a given matchup.

Wrapping Up

Legacy is an exceedingly expensive format to get into if you are new to the game. In addition to being reasonably competitive this Tron deck is very affordable and gives you most of the major pieces to a reasonable Modern deck as well. If you are looking to go as big as possible with a control deck in Legacy I would highly recommend giving it a try. If you want to see this Legacy Tron deck in action you can find more than a few videos with it on YouTube.

Have a question about this new Legacy deck that I did not cover above? Let me know in a comment below!

Cheers,

~Jeff Hoogland


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