Old School Magic Deck Tech: Tron
One way people can break into new formats is by taking a deck familiar in one format and porting it into another. Big mana artifact decks are always popular, from Modern’s Urzatron-based decks to Legacy’s [card]Metalworker[/card] decks and Vinage’s [card]Mishra’s Workshop[/card] decks everyone loves playing Mud.
Urza’s Power Plant[/deck]
So I’ve decided to continue this theory by making a deck that relies upon big mana fast to churn out some kooky mono brown stuff. Here’s the decklist:
Old School Tron, a 93/94 Deck by Christopher Cooper
4 Yotian Soldier
4 Icy Manipulator
3 Winter Orb
2 Jayemdae Tome
1 Chaos Orb
4 Rocket Launcher
4 Tawnos’s Coffin[/deck]
[deck]1 Black Lotus
1 Sol Ring
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Sapphire
4 Mishra’s Factory
1 Mishra’s Workshop
1 Strip Mine
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Power Plant
4 Urza’s Tower[/deck]
As you can see, I haven’t pulled any punches with the costs of cards, only the best will do for this deck!
So we’ll start by looking at the mana base. 5 Moxes and a [card]Sol Ring[/card] are the most efficient ramp spells in the game, along with the one-shot [card]Black Lotus[/card]. Seeing as we will only be caring about amount of mana and not its colour, they can all go in nicely. We want to run a playset of the namesake lands, [card]Urza’s Mine[/card], [card]Urza’s Tower[/card] and [card]Urza’s Power Plant[/card] so that takes up a large portion of our mana base already.
Other considerations for our mana base are [card]Mishra’s Workshop[/card], which gives us three mana from one land, in a deck of all artifacts the drawback is not a drawback, [card]Strip Mine[/card] to deal with difficult lands from our opponents or to jump on a slow mana start and [card]Mishra’s Factory[/card] to provide us with a threat from our lands that can win us the game if we flood out, a real threat in a deck with this many mana sources. Running full sets where possible puts us up to 24 mana sources total, which should be more than enough for our big mana deck.
But what if you can’t afford all of this? Well, there are still options available to you. For the budget minded of you we can look at increasing the actual land count, remove a few of the artifacts and add in a few [card]Fellwar Stone[/card], which, thanks to a reprint in Chronicles is relatively cheap. Unfortunately, the only really useful utility land available is [card]Desert[/card], which helps squeeze a little removal into our mana base too. [card]Mana Vault[/card] also adds more mana than it costs to cast it, but does have the drawback of needing even more to untap it again. This is often OK in this deck, but for the optimised list I don’t think I’d run it. It is certainly a strong role player in more budget minded decks though.
You could also try [card]Candelabra of Tawnos[/card], though that’s not one that I’ve tried yet in the deck due to numbers. It’s certainly not a budget option, but when you have lands that tap for multiple mana each you have to consider a candlestick.
Next, let’s look at the creature base. The best “big” artifact creature is by far and away [card]Triskelion[/card], though this is closely followed by [card]Tetravus[/card]. For this deck though we’ll go with the [card]Triskelion[/card], with reprints keeping the price down nicely for budgets. [card]Su-Chi[/card] is another hard hitter, at 4 mana for a 4/4 it is one of the most efficient creatures in the format and also one of the largest. The same size as a [card]Serra Angel[/card] or [card]Sengir Vampire[/card], it can put your opponent on a quick clock, especially in multiples.
Finally for the creatures we can round out with some [card]Yotian Soldier[/card]. Whilst not the most exciting creature ever, it attacks fairly well and blocks most things safely on the ground to allow us to get to our big, late game haymakers.
Another thing to help us out in the early game and push us over the top later on is our chilly triad of [card]Winter Orb[/card], [card]Icy Manipulator[/card] and [card]Forcefield[/card]. [card]Winter Orb[/card] is a cool (pun intended) way to pull ahead in terms of mana development over our opponent. A Magical Christmas Land hand will have us open up with a turn 2 [card]Winter Orb[/card] into a turn 3 full Tron combo, with access to 5 mana and your opponent’s mana being locked down. The artifact mana can help to keep us out from under our own lock too, letting us throw out [card]Su-Chi[/card]s and [card]Triskelion[/card]s whilst facing down [card]Black Knight[/card]s and [card]Kird Ape[/card]s. A one-sided battle if there ever was one.
[card]Icy Manipulator[/card] can play one of two roles: that of creature lockdown or mana denial. In the creature lockdown plan we can deal with anything that’s bigger than we can handle (not a lot really, but it comes up sometimes), shrinks smaller swarm armies a little and gums tings up until we can land our larger creatures. [card]Forcefield[/card] also helps slow things down by reducing the amount of damage that gets dealt to us by opposing creatures. As a big mana deck we will normally have enough mana to sink into this in the early game whilst we look to then stabilise with the larger spells later on.
The two [card]Jayemdae Tome[/card] are more late game cards. The card advantage that they provide is unreal, and with the amount of mana that we can generate we aren’t often having to take a full turn off to use it, unlike some other decks. [card]Disrupting Scepter[/card] is also a consideration for this deck but two tomes is definitely the minimum you want. [card]Jalum Tome[/card] can do a fair impersonation of it if you need to, but the sheer real card advantage that the [card]Jayemdae Tome[/card] can generate is second to none and should be incorporated if you are able to.
This then brings us to the removal suite. A [card]Chaos Orb[/card] is a must in almost any deck in the format, both for power reasons and the sheer fun of flipping it is one of the attractions of the format. Don’t forget that in this format you have to call your shot and make it for it to succeed, you can’t just flip it willy nilly. [card]Tawnos’s Coffin[/card] gives us an [card]Oblivion Ring[/card] type effect for creatures that, whilst expensive, is affordable. Finally [card]Rocket Launcher[/card] adds to the fun of the removal suite by blasting rockets in your opponents’ faces. Again, its expensive for what it does but is an effective colourless [card]Fireball[/card] that this deck should have no problems in fuelling up.
Creating a sideboard for a deck like this is a little whimsical and can greatly depend o what you’re expecting to face. You could add in a few extra [card]Disrupting Scepter[/card]s if you think you’ll be up against a lot of control, or [card]Black Vise[/card] could provide a good early threat otherwise. [card]Tetravus[/card] can be an alternative top end threat if you want to negate opposing fliers, or you could go for a [card]Colossus of Sardia[/card] if you want to go really big.
If you’re facing an aggressive deck, I like [card]Ashnod’s Battle Gear[/card] as a way to get rid of early [card]Flying Men[/card], [card]Electric Eel[/card]s, [card]Savannah Lion[/card]s and similar cheap creatures or as an additional way to pump your team (as none of your creatures die to it). If you’re having a lot of trouble with these aggressive decks you can look at [card]Ivory Tower[/card] or [card]Onulet[/card] as ways to gain additional life and slow down the clock until you can stabilise with your big fatties.
This deck was one that I put together on a whim, to see if I build Mud in this format. It turns out that yes, you can build an all artifact deck in this format and it’s actually pretty fun to play. Before I finish up I want to leave you with a similar deck that I’ve seen in a recent article. When I say similar, I mean another deck that’s been ported from a Modern deck. If you like Lantern Control in Modern, you’ll love Millstone Dreams.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back soon with another silly deck for your enjoyment.