Written by Sean Hume.
Day Two started out with a speech from my friend James. “Just win,” it basically said. And by basically, I mean that's literally what he said. It wasn't really a speech...more like a passing comment while we ate passion fruit yoghurts and paninis in the foyer of the Brisbane convention and exhibition centre. But hey, at least he had the right idea.
Round 10 vs. Jund (2-1)
This is traditionally a good match up for Tron as our deck is basically tooled to beat Jund and Junk. Between Karn Liberated and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, coupled with massive creatures they struggle to fight through, it's near impossible for them to beat a good Tron hand without some sideboard interaction. Luckily for my opponent he saw quite a few of sideboard cards, and unluckily for him I saw one too.
Game one went about as well as game one should. We rolled two D6 to see who would start, and just like the first round of day one I hit double 6's - I never said I didn't win an invite to the Pro Tour due to good luck. I dropped an early threat into an Ugin and closed out the game with Ulamog. There really wasn't much meat and bones to this game as my opponent and I were both getting warmed up.
Sideboarding, I took out my Collective Brutalities here and replaced them with Engineered Explosives and Thragtusks. While Collective Brutality is a great card, it does nothing against Jund's creatures and therefore is pretty average in this match up.
Game two my opponent managed to roll out a timely 5/6 Goyf and a Fulminator Mage along with a Surgical Extraction on my Tron lands by turn three. Struggling to stabilise, I stuck an Oblivion Stone, desperately hoping to wrath his board, but a Pithing Needle came down naming Oblivion Stone, and that was it for me. All in all this match was pretty brutal.
I sideboarded out my Thragtusks for Natures Claims to try catch that pesky Pithing Needle. Was it poor sideboarding? Was it next level? Who knows.
Game three I took the play and managed to achieve a turn four Tron with some interaction along the way in the form of Engineered Explosives. My turn four Tron required activating an Expedition Map that turn, so I was left with nothing to do and an Ugin in hand. My opponent untapped and cast Crumble to Dust. Hard mode engaged. Scrambling to get a foothold now with no Tron happening anytime ever, I fogged the board for a turn with an Oblivion Stone and managed to hard cast a Wurmcoil Engine. I was staring down lethal damage, even through my gaining six life when blocking with the Wurm, and my opponent had a pesky Raging Ravine that I had to deal with. Alongside those he had a plethora of great creatures: Dark Confidant, Scavenging Ooze, and Goyfs. He had it all, and things were feeling pretty dire. I hedged my bets and swung for six. He happily took it to the face, going to 11, and then activated his Raging Ravine on his turn and swung back. I cast a Nature's Claim (the card I had brought in to deal with a silly Pithing Needle) on my own Wurmcoil, gaining myself four life and two blockers. I threw the token with lifelink in front of the Goyf and the token with deathtouch in front of the Raging Ravine. This dealt with the creature land and skewed the combat math enough that I managed to live. I untapped and played the Ugin I had been sitting on for an age and exiled his board. With my new Ugin and a Karn I dropped the next turn off of a stirrings, I managed to deal with every threat he delivered from there on out, and slowly pieced together a win.
Round 11 vs. Bant Eldrazi (2-1)
Finally on the top tables, I sat down opposite my opponent and started shuffling up. I tried to hide a smile as he leaned over to the game beginning next to us and started bragging about how he had never seen turn three Tron; It was a myth! We presented and my opponent took the play.
Game one my opponent led with Brushland into Ancient Stirrings. At this point I was wondering if he was on G/W Tron and that was why he was bashing Tron so hard. I had seen very little of Bant Eldrazi on MTGO in my testing, which is probably why I didn't automatically assume that's what my opponent was on. Game one went to me after a steady procession of Reality Smashers and Thought-Knot Seers being wrathed by my Oblivion Stones. Karn did work here as a piece of spot removal every second turn, while attacking his hand every other.
I sideboarded out my Collective Brutalities for two Thragtusks and two Nature's Claims. Usually against the Path to Exile decks, I take the Wurmcoils out for Thragtusks, but in this matchup, all Collective Brutality does is kill a Noble Hierarch/Sky Spawner and take a Path to Exile. Leaving in the Wurmcoils means that we are leaving ourselves vulnerable to Path, but we are threat heavy, so we can try and fight a one-for-one game.
Game two my opponent overwhelmed me too quickly with Reality Smashers and Thought-Knot Seers as well as sticking a Stony Silence I had no answer to.
Game three was one of the grindiest games of the weekend for me. Both my opponent and I got down to no cards in hand, trading one for one; a Karn for a Smasher; a Nature's Claim for a Stony Silence. Eventually he was left with a Thought-Knot Seer, and I was left with an Ugin, my +3 bolting him in the face and his Thought-Knot hitting Ugin for 4. We both topdecked pretty excellently, him drawing Smasher, Smasher, land, Drowner of Hope, and me drawing Karn, Karn, Ugin, Ulamog. This game was one of the few I actually felt truly lucky, but sometimes the deck can just draw powerful cards non-stop. In the end my topdecks won the game.
Round 12 vs. G/B Tron (2-0)
Whoever gets Karn first wins. That's about all I can say about this matchup. Also my opponent was playing Fatal Push and I wasn't, meaning he had dead cards against me while I had none.
Game one my opponent played a Llanowar Wastes into an Ancient Stirrings, which made me pretty happy because with my hand, if he had gone for turn three Tron, I was going to lose. I got turn four Tron while he stumbled and only had two Tron lands, a Llanowar Wastes, and a Sanctum of Ugin. I played Karn and kept him off Tron from there on out. It is very hard to enable Tron through a Karn.
Sideboarding, I took out four Collective Brutalities and a Blooming Marsh. I brought in a Ghost Quarter, Crucible of Worlds, Surgical Extractions and a Nature's Claim. This is one of my favorite sideboarding suites in the deck because it allows you to attack from a different angle.
Game two I hit my opponent with turn one Ghost Quarter/Surgical Extraction, and he scooped after four or so turns. This match really turns into a "who has the right stuff" game.
Round 13 vs. Boros Burn (2-1)
Boros Burn is much better positioned in the meta at the moment because of Fatal Push. Collective Brutality is about just as good against Boros as it is against Naya, which works perfectly for us.
My opponent won the dice roll and took the start with a turn one Goblin Guide into a turn two Monastery Swiftspear and Lava Spike, taking me down to 11. I cast a Collective Brutality off of a Chromatic Star, escalated twice to kill the Swiftspear, drain for two, and take a Boros Charm. Brutal. My opponent had more gas, promptly taking me down from 13 to 4 with two Lightning Bolts and an attack. I dropped a turn three Wurmcoil Engine and luckily managed to avoid dying the next turn. From there on out the six life a turn I gained was enough to keep me alive.
I brought in Thragtusks and Engineered explosives and took out one Oblivion Stone, one Ulamog, and two Relic of Progenitus. I shaved down the number of Ulamogs because they're over costed for the matchup, and losing cantrip density for cards that mean we don't lose the game is fine by me.
Game two my opponent curved out and killed me on turn four. catching my Expedition Map with a Destructive Revelry, which he had a Stomping Ground in his deck to cast. I cast a Collective Brutality escalated twice, but it wasn't enough when I had no Tron to follow it up with.
Game three I managed to catch two Goblin Guides and a Monastery Swiftspear with one Engineered Explosives, followed up by a Thragtusk and an Ugin. Two turns of that and I ultimated Ugin, effectively winning the game on the spot. Thragtusk really can't be underestimated as a card in this matchup. If you can get it down on turn three and dodge the Skullcrack, you should be feeling pretty good.
Round 14 vs. Jeskai Control (2-0)
This was the last round I had to win to go 12-2 and then offer the I.D. I had walked up to my buddy James and told him, “There is this guy playing Jeskai control on the top tables. I hope I get to play him.” It seems it was my lucky day. I already covered how great this matchup is for Tron in my Day One article, but I can't say it enough.
Game one my opponent audibly sighed when I dropped a Tower into an Expedition Map. We commiserated for a while over how bad of a place he was in right now and then continued with the game. In all fairness, he managed to get me down to 8 or so life with Snapcasters and Bolts/Helixes. But after a point, he ran out of counter magic and I managed to stick an Ugin. He was desperately trying to keep Ugin from getting to ten loyalty, and I kept killing his Snapcaster Mages as he played them. I slammed him with some Worldbreaker cast triggers and a Karn, and eventually he folded. This deck puts on too much pressure for the control decks to deal with.
I took out Wurmcoils and switched them with Thragtusks and I swapped out all my Oblivion Stones for Nature's Claims.
Game two my opponent sat back with a Stony Silence, thinking he had the game locked. It was a fair assumption as I had seven different one drop artifacts. He tapped out during the end of turn to play a Torrential Gearhulk. I responded to that by casting Nature's Claim on his Stony Silence, sacrificed a Relic of Progenitus to remove his graveyard and then after the Gearhulk resolved, I cracked a Chromatic Star to Nature's Claim it. I was back in business. I chained together my Stars and Spheres to dig for a threat, and found a Karn. I used a Sanctum of Ugin trigger off of Karn to tutor up Ulamog, and closed the game out over the next three turns.
Round 15 vs. Living End (ID)
I intentionally drew with Timothy here to lock Top 8 for us both. I offered it, he gladly accepted and shook my hand, and I congratulated him on making the pro tour.
Round 16 vs. Lantern control (1–2)
I sat looking over Oliver's decklist at the Top 8 Tables, noting the Surgical Extraction/Ghost Quarter package he had maindeck and face-palmed a little. But all in all I was pretty confidant I had game here, even though I hadn't tested the matchup. I think perhaps that was my downfall.
Game one he kept a fairly low resource hand with only one land; a risky keep from him. I ended up dropping a Worldbreaker and swinging through, putting him to 6 before he drew an Ensnaring Bridge, which would have been fine if I drew anything but the two Wurmcoil Engines in my deck back to back. My deck dwindled away while I sat there staring at the Ensnaring Bridge with two Wurms and a Worldbreaker on my side of the field. Oliver named Worldbreaker with his pithing needle so I couldn't bring it back from the graveyard when he milled it.
I took out my Wurmcoils and and Collective Brutalities and brought in three Nature's Claims, two Engineered Explosives, and a Crucible of Worlds.
Game two I had natural Tron into Karn, and then a second Tower into Ulamog. Understandably he conceded.
Game three I kept a hand that wasn't going to get a very quick Tron, but it had Crucible of Worlds, Ghost Quarter, and several Relic of Progenitus to protect my Tron lands from Surgical Extraction. On turn three he drew his Lantern and dropped it revealing an Engineered Explosives on the top of my deck. Wonderful. He milled that. I stuck the Crucible and started going to town on his lands with a Ghost Quarter. He had double Ghost Quarter himself, but I had two Relics to protect myself from Surgical Extraction. I was concerned, though, since he almost had the lock on board, and the average mana cost of his deck is so low that if he decided to Ghost Quarter me, I would be too far behind to recover. With this in mind, I decided to Ghost Quarter his Ghost Quarter instead of his Glimmervoid. He chose not to shuffle, pulled the Pithing Needle off the top of his deck, and dropped it naming Ghost Quarter. We had a very complex fight over a Karn on top of my deck with my opponent having three mill sources and me having two Relics to draw with. I managed to next-level it and get myself the card under the Karn, which was an Ulamog. Feeling like I might stabilise, I passed the turn hoping to Ulamog my opponent the following turn, but alas, he cast Thoughtseize. And that was it; Oliver milled me out from there.
All in all I'm very happy with the deck's performance. It's powerful and definitely has resilience in a lot of matchups although you often have to piece together the win. The true skill with Tron is taking unfavorable matchups and figuring out how to attack and disrupt them in the best way possible.
Thanks for reading, and may you always get Karn on turn three.