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  • posted a message on [Primer] MonoU Tron - "The well-oiled machine"
    Quote from SwissRolls »

    I've too thought about going crazy and playing stars and spheres. I think it's definitely something to explore but I fear it just makes us a worse green tron. We are MUCH weaker to Stony silence and Chalice of the void if we go into the 10+ 1 Mana artifacts. I do think if we go down that route you might as well go all in and play the 3-4 relics main too. This should allow us to cut down even more lands and probably play 21+-1

    Doing that though will probably cut back the usefulness of condescend as we'll probably be more focused on quick Tron, rather than delaying till we can out grind anyone with our Tron Mana. However the useful of Karn Liberated goes up in our deck if we do this. He wins a lot of games if just played on turn 3.

    I definitely agree that we are weaker to Stony Silence and Chalice of the Void, just like Green Tron always has been. However, we are much better equipped to deal with that kind of hate both because we have Repeal and because we in general function much better without tron than Green Tron. But playing stars/spheres makes us weaker to hate so that's something to keep in mind for sure.

    The difference between stars/spheres and Relic of Progenitus is pretty big though. In most U Tron lists relic is an appealing card because it's a 1cmc spell which cycles and sometimes provides some interaction. However, when we already play a total of 12 1cmc spells, the need for main deck relics diminishes. Providing blue mana is in general much more important than grave hate.

    We use stars/spheres a bit differently than Green Tron. In Green Tron you usually just want to cycle them as soon as possible, but we have the option to leave them uncracked until we actually need the blue mana, i.e. on our opponent's turn. This means that sequencing and timing is far from obvious. I guess another way to put it is that we are forced to decide if we want to crack on our turn to look for lands or to wait until our opponent's turn, but so far I haven't felt limited by it in any way.

    Regarding number of lands. As long as we play the core cards (Repeal, Remand, Condescend and Thirst for Knowledge) I doubt we want to go lower than 23 lands. We still want to go T2 blue spell most of the time and that requires hitting at least our first 2 land drops without having to crack a star/sphere main phase to find the second land.

    Empirical results so far
    I've run virtually the exact list that I posted recently through several leagues and so far I'm very impressed. The only difference is that I swapped the third Repeal for a fourth Remand, swapped Trinket Mage for a second copy of Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and swapped the Pithing Needle in the sideboard for a Spell Pierce. Remember that these are roughly the cards I would play instead of the 8 1cmc spells:

    4 Chromatic Star
    4 Chromatic Sphere

    2 Talisman of Dominance
    2 Karn, Scion of Urza
    1 Karn, the Great Creator
    1 Trinket Mage
    1 Dismember or Warping Wail
    1 Island

    These changes in no way limit us to more sorcery speed game play. On the contrary, as we're not relying on 3/4 mana sorcery speed spells anymore, we're less limited on how and when we cast our spells this list.

    I've tried to push the limit in terms of what hands to keep, e.g. one-landers, for testing purposes, but I can't say that I've felt punished as much as I thought I would. Basically I feel like I can keep a larger percentage of hands.

    What about hate cards? What about opposing Stony Silence, Karn, the Great Creator and Chalice of the Void? The red prison matchup continues to be extremely good. This is because they are incredibly weak to Remand and Condescend and multiple cards which are almost dead in the matchup, i.e. Ensnaring Bridge and Blood Moon. In theory there are games where they go Chalice on 1 turn 1 and get us, but if we're worried about remember that we do have access to a total of 3 Engineered Explosives. Karn, the Great Creator is a 4 mana spell and usually isn't a problem for us to deal with. Stony Silence is not a problem if it comes from UW Control both because they usually can't follow up with fast pressure and because we can afford to board out some number of stars/spheres for game 2. There probably will be games where the hate gets me though, and I accept that fact.

    I can't emphasize just how good 3x Engineered Explosives have been vs any creature deck. They replace Spatial Contortion, a highly mediocre card which we're usually forced to play. Playing it for x=2 is so easy with stars/spheres and the additional River of Tears that for example the Humans matchup has felt really good.

    In general the deck has felt A LOT more consistent in terms of assembling tron, not only because I see more cards of my deck earlier, but also because I can keep more hands which lack a blue land but has tron lands. This is why I've opted to play 2 copies of Mindslaver and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, the overall strongest payoffs.

    This list is very different from a lot of other lists I've tried, mainly because it has 2 4-ofs instead of a lot of 1-ofs. It is a change to the core of the deck and thus changes how the deck usually plays out. The current 75 are not final by any means and there probably will be changes. It's possible that the full 4 of both star and sphere is too much and I believe you can play anything from 0 to 8 depending on personal preferences.

    I would encourage everyone to try this because it's just a very different take on U Tron. Even if you might not end up liking it, it's still nice to get a new perspective. I understand that playing stars/spheres is kind of a taboo in U Tron because it's what Green Tron does and it might seem like weird timing to try this kind of Karn-less list nowadays when everyone seems to play it. But this is one of the best lists I've tried so far and I will continue to explore it further.

    Sorry for the long post but I felt like I wanted to provide the full story. Cheers!

    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on [Primer] MonoU Tron - "The well-oiled machine"
    Am I going crazy?

    I wanted to see what happens if we decide to play 4 copies of both Chromatic Star and Chromatic Sphere. I'll go over the pros and cons.


    1) Fewer lands.
    2) Lower curve.
    3) More likely to have blue mana on turn 2.
    4) Access to multiple colors.

    1) The 4 stars and 4 spheres will let us see more cards during the early turns, which means we probably will be able to go down to 23 lands and still hit our land drops on time. Since non-tron lands, especially islands, aren't what we really want to see, playing fewer such lands should be good. In theory you want to draw precisely enough lands but not more, so being able to trim one land is good assuming we can afford it.

    2) Having access to 12 1cmc spells will increase the likelihood of us using our mana during the first turn. Since most other lists usually only have 4 Expedition Map as turn 1 plays, the first mana of each game usually goes unspent. So in a way, the first star/sphere we play will be effectively a free spell compared to other lists. The stars/spheres do not compete with much else.

    3) The addition of the stars and the spheres will increase the likelihood of us having access to blue mana on turn 2, which we all know is usually a very important turn. This means that we, in theory at least, will be able to keep more hands. Once we've spent our blue mana we get from our star/sphere, we have drawn a new card and probably drawn another one of our blue card, or scried 2 from condescend. If we don't need the blue mana yet, we can probably just wait.

    4) The stars and the spheres will not only give us black mana for Dismember and Surgical Extraction, but also make Engineered Explosives a much more potent card for us. Provided this is the case, it makes a big difference in terms of interacting with our opponents board. Being able to play explosives on x=2 and not only 0 and 1 is a big deal.


    1) Increased weakness to hate.
    2) No chalice.
    3) "More air".
    4) Occasionally clunky blue mana.

    1) Naturally playing more 1cmc artifacts will increase our weakness to hate cards like Stony Silence, Damping Sphere, Narset, Parter of Veils, Chalice of the Void and Karn, the Great Creator.

    2) We will obviously not be able to play Chalice of the Void in this kind of list, a card which single-handedly can win games.

    3) In order to make room for the stars/spheres we need to cut some other cards. This might result in the deck having fewer cards which actually do something.

    4) Relying on stars/spheres as blue mana can and will cause problems from time to time. Whether or not you should crack a star on your turn, or wait in case you need blue mana for interaction might not always be obvious. The biggest problem is relying on star/sphere for blue mana early and then not finding a blue producing land. This is bound to come up some amount of the time.


    These pros and cons are by no means anything out of the ordinary as they're mostly just part of basic deck building theory, but I figured it's worth bringing up anyway. Basically what I've done is to combine how green tron and KCI uses the stars/spheres.

    In this particular list I the stars/spheres replaced 2 Talisman of Dominance, 2 Karn, Scion of Urza, 1 Karn, the Great Creator, 1 Island, 1 Chalice of the Void, 1 Remand. Further more, I made room for an additional River of Tears in the land base and replaced a Dismember/whatever random one-of you could think of with an Engineered Explosives.

    The exact card choices is not the important part here and there are probably better lists for this kind of deck, I just wanted to see what would happen if we play the full 4 of the stars and spheres. Maybe it ends up being great. Maybe I come to the conclusion that I'm better off just playing green tron instead of this mess. I will try this for a while and see how I like it.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on [Primer] MonoU Tron - "The well-oiled machine"
    If we want 4 mana card draw, the best one for us in terms of raw power level is, in my opinion, Gifts Ungiven. We dodge bad draws each time we cast it and can pretty much guarantee that we will get two cards we want. You don't need to have any specific piles that you know will be great, like storm has. Whenever you resolve Gifts and have the time to use the cards you get from it, it's probably going to be great. Sure you need to have access to some number of different options which means some restrictions in terms of deck building, but that isn't really a huge issue in our deck. The problem is that it's sometimes too slow for modern. If Gifts is too slow for modern, then Tamiyo's Epiphany definitely is.

    Hieroglyphic Illumination is a split card where each mode is sub par for it's cost, but the flexibility makes up for that to some extent.

    There are a lot of options when it comes to blue card draw in modern, but Tamiyo's Epiphany is probably not among the top 10 available to us. However, it only requires one blue mana so it's probably better than a lot of double blue options in my opinion.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on [Primer] MonoU Tron - "The well-oiled machine"
    Quote from Rjawas »
    I played my first competitive rel event (SCG IQ 69 players) with U tron in a while after taking a break.

    I played a list very close to barrin's posted 5-0 with differences being 3/1 chalice split instead of 1/3 and spatials instead of warping wail
    because of the meta I was expecting.

    The tournament did not go well, finished 3-3 drop. The losses were to infect, no surprise, and two u/w control decks. I was a bit surprised by the control
    decks because I didnt get a game off either and it didnt feel exactly close despite the chalices and it historically being a good matchup. They were playing
    dovin's veto which looked good and I didnt draw the greatest but I'm can't help but feel maybe this version isn't as well positioned in the matchup as other versions. The low counters numbers is rough here and tapping out for a karn when they can play a jace or tefferi and kill your tokens is rough.

    I havn't played a lot with this list, just one event, so I cant say for sure but I wanted to know what people who have played this version have felt about that matchup.

    For completeness, wins were against two g/w company decks and g-tron (chalice is a good card lol).

    Yes that version of the deck might be weak to UW control considering the low number of counter spells. Remand is one of the best cards in the matchup imo so just having 2 hurts. I haven't play against them after WAR got released so I don't know what the matchup is like nowadays.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on [Primer] MonoU Tron - "The well-oiled machine"
    Hi LifelessAngel

    There hasn't been any official statement regarding the London Mulligan, but my guess is that it will be adopted. Disregarding any particular formats or particular decks, the new rule is, in my and many other's opinion, better and more interesting compared to the current mulligan rule. In theory it let's you keep a larger percentage of starting hands. This is good for formats like limited where taking a mulligan is very punishing.

    In older constructed formats there is the concern that certain decks will be too consistent with the London Mulligan. In modern these have primarily been Dredge and Green Tron. These are both tier one decks, but looking at the results from London MC Green Tron didn't do particularly well. Whether this is because the new mulligan rule didn't matter too much or because it did matter, but since people had access to their opponent's deck lists and could keep the right hands, it negated some of that upside, is unclear. My impression of the discussion is that Green Tron isn't too powerful or oppressive and therefor wont have any cards getting banned. Dredge is another topic, but I wont go into that one.

    If they wanted to punish Green Tron specifically, my guess is that they would just ban the tron lands. It would create the least splash damage throughout the format; basically only affecting Eldrazi Tron and Blue Tron. Banning ancient Stirrings could also be an approach since the card itself is very powerful and very important to Green Tron, but it would affect a lot of decks needlessly. I haven't heard anyone suggest banning Expedition Map, but my guess is that if they really want to kill tron they will just ban the tron lands.

    What if they ban Expedition Map? My guess is that Green Tron would be out of the picture for sure, at least the way it looks today. It will probably kill Blue Tron as well, but there might be ways to work around it. I would certainly not give up before trying new lists without map. We might be forced to be more proactive since the plan of delaying the game until we hit tron would require an increased amount of delaying, and it's already difficult enough. The first step is probably to add 4 Chalice of the Void to the main deck and make it one of our primary line of play, as there are very few reasons not to in that case. In theory there would be almost no cards in our deck that could find the tron combo, which in turn could make it easier for us to play the prison style. This is something I've gradually been moving towards as the delay and react strategy just isn't working for me against a larger and larger portion of the modern format. In my opinion the most difficult part of Blue Tron is to know when to tap out and when not to. As the format becomes faster and faster, I have found myself tapping out more often. This might just be a matter of personal style though and I would be interested to hear the perspective of other Blue Tron players.

    In any case, if Expedition Map were to be banned, most decks would not be prepared to face decks with tron lands so the amount of land hate in the 75 of most decks would probably be decreased. Also, cards like Ceremonious Rejection might not see as much play. Basically, the surprise factor of our deck would be increased. Perhaps I'll make a version without Expedition Map just to see what it might look like, but it would certainly be a challenge and most likely the deck would be worse or at least rather different.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on [Primer] MonoU Tron - "The well-oiled machine"
    Blast Zone turns our maps and Tolaria West into removal late game. It's useful the same way Tolaria West + Ballista is useful; it makes maps into very real cards later in the game. It's also, obviously, a land which helps us cast our spells, so if we can cash it in for one or even two of our opponent's cards later in the game, that is just huge. Playing it as an on curve spell is probably not what you'd want to do a lot of the time since as a spell it's pretty expensive. Sacrificing a land in the early turns of the game is also a very steep cost. But as long as the price of including it in our deck isn't too high, it's probably going to be great.

    The cost of having Blast Zone as one of our lands shouldn't be too high as long as we're not playing a high (unusually high) number of cheap blue spells. Playing more than one copy is probably not necessary since we only need one copy to get the interaction with maps/tolaria west.

    Compared with many other modern decks, we're actually very well equipped to make full use Blast Zone. Not only do we have many ways to tutors for it, but we also have the mana late game to put multiple counters on it in one go. We also don't have very many non land permanents we would like to avoid blowing up.

    I'm currently trying it in this list.

    Right now, Blast Zone is occupying the slot where I'd have the second copy of Gemstone Cavern or the 7th island. The online meta game is a bit crazy right now with a lot of different taxes decks running around. At the same time there are decks like green tron, phoenix, dredge and humans to think about. Basically it's decks who are trying to abuse the London mulligan, or decks designed to punish those decks. For this reason I decided to try the third Talisman of Dominance and a main deck Dismember, just to make the deck work better in a low resource game. It also makes sense considering I'm running 3 Karns in total. Yes indeed 3, with the last one being Karn, the Great Creator.

    I thought I'd try a single copy of the new Karn just to see if there's a way to utilize him. Right now I'm using him as a repeatable Trinket Mage, except the silver bullets are in the sideboard instead of in the main deck. I didn't go out of my way to design the sideboard with Karn in mind though. Rather I just chose cards which I knew I'd want to have access to in various matchups. This way Karn, the Great Creator can be either graveyard hate, a chalice, Pithing Needle as a means to lock out problematic permanents, crucible whenever it's useful or - and I took a page out of Catofthedevils book here - Batterskull as a decent stabilizer. I like batterskull because

    1) I can cast it the turn after I cast Karn provided I have a land.

    2) It is different compared to the other stabilizers I'm running (you know I like diversity when it comes to win conditions/stabilizers).

    3) It actually works well with Karns plus ability in case the Germ would die and I don't have other creatures in play. The animated artifacts remains a
    creature until our next turn, so we can use it as a blocker as well as an attacker.

    My intention is to board out Karn in game 2 if I know what I would like him to be the most. This also means that I'm free to bring in any and as many of the sweet silver bullets in the sideboard as I like. That is the reason why I ultimately chose to include Trinket Mage as well.

    Building the deck this way is a lot of fun and so far it has felt alright. The new Karn is by no means either necessary or superior to any of the other lists I've posted, it's just something different. One problem is that we really want to play chalice on 1, which doesn't work very well with the silver bullets in the sideboard. This particular list is also rather weak to green tron because of the lack of Spreading Seas or Surgical Extraction. On the other hand, we are playing relatively few blue spells in the 75 (and none in the sideboard), which means we wont be as limited by our blue mana as we sometimes can be.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on [Primer] MonoU Tron - "The well-oiled machine"
    It's a minor benefit, for sure. My point is: if you want to play Karn, the Great Creator you also have to dedicate some slots to him in your sideboard. If you're playing a single copy, it seems a waste of slots. If you're playing him in multiples... well, he isn't a good card to cast in the early game.

    I'm more interested in Blast Zone. I fear it's definitely too slow for us, though. Maybe in Amulet Titan.

    Yes I agree. I will try to play him and only use sideboard cards which I'd normally consider playing, e.g. Relic of Progenitus, Tormod's Crypt, Grafdigger's Cage or Crucible of Worlds, and see if I like it. If it turns out to be too fancy or clunky, I'll probably not play him at all. Playing him in multiples definitely feels too clunky.

    I will try a single copy of Blast Zone in the main deck and see how it feels. My guess is that it's probably worth having one copy in the main deck, but time will tell. I'll sum up my experience of the card once I've had time to test it properly.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on [Primer] MonoU Tron - "The well-oiled machine"
    Regarding Karn, the Great Creator, there is the neat line of getting Relic of Progenitus from our sideboard, using it to exile a card from our own graveyard and then getting it from exile with Karn the following turn. Sure, it's a bit silly and far fetched, but it's nice to be aware of that interaction. Relic is a fine card to have in the sideboard anyway, and it draws a card. It can also get the card you exiled with Gemstone Caverns. Just thought I'd mention it. :p
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on [Primer] MonoU Tron - "The well-oiled machine"
    Welcome Catofthedevil!

    Karn, the Great Creator is indeed a tricky card to use. I saw Susurrus play in in the Whir Prison deck and it seems to be a nice fit in that deck. I believe it's a little bit more difficult to use in our deck though.

    If we only want one, I think the way you use him is reasonable and the way I would play him. Basically, before sideboard he could act as a main deck copy of any of our sideboard artifacts. As with all toolbox strategies it is clunkier, but as a one-of he really wont interfere much with our general gameplan and he wont restrict our options that much in terms of building the deck. You could use him as a fabricate/trinket mage where the silver bullets reside in the sideboard rather than the main deck. After sideboard he could be replaced with whichever card we would most likely want him to be. Since Batterskull is a reasonable sideboard card, Karn could represent a win condition as well, even if it's a slightly weaker one. I think the key is to not go overboard and redo the sideboard in a major way just to make him work, that would probably make the deck worse overall.

    For this reason, I'm not sure how we would design our deck in order to utilize multiple copies of Karn, the Great Creator. My feeling is that it would probably be better to play a much more prison oriented version where finding lock pieces is the main use for him. However at that point, maybe it's just better to play him in Whir Prison.

    Blast Zone is a card we probably would like to play 1 copy of in the 75 since we have 4 Expedition Map, 1 Tolaria West and Trinket Mage as ways to find it. Playing more than one copy probably means getting rid of some of our other colorless lands, but my feeling is that it's probably at it's best as a one-of. In my lists it could likely replace Tectonic Edge in the main deck, and move tec edge to the sideboard. Either that or the second copy of Gemstone Caverns.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on [Primer] MonoU Tron - "The well-oiled machine"

    For example in matchups like ad nauseum, scapeshift, grishoalbrand, living end (and other versions playing 0-mana sorcery spells) or indeed izzet phoenix or dredge, Ballista is just very mediocre

    To be honest, I don't think you're analyzing the card the right way.

    Putting aside the fact that Ballista is an artifact (very relevant), Ballista is, like, a better card against the 90% of the field. Obviously there are matchups where it doesn't shine. Even in those matchups, anyway, it's WAY BETTER to cast Ballista on two mana, turn two, in order to have a critter, instead of tapping out for things such as Wurmcoil later in the game. I won plenty of games like this, and I actually don't side Ballista out against the decks you mentioned.

    Against Dredge & Phoenix, Ballista is a great card. Not a "middle to meh", just a great card. Miles away from Warping Wail.

    Hm maybe I'm just basing my analysis on the results I've had. I usually don't like ballista very much in those matchups and I've found warping wail to be pretty useful overall.

    I really don't see how Ballista is great vs Phoenix. What am I missing? Warping Wail, on the other hand, kills Thing in the Ice and counters Faithless Looting so in that particular matchup I have been liking wail more. It's an answer to some of their strongest lines of play. I do agree that Ballista is decent vs dredge, but I wouldn't go as far as saying it's a great card in the matchup.

    Anyway, comparing ballista and warping wail is not very meaningful because they're just very different and really doesn't compete for the same slots in most deck lists. It wasn't my intention to compare them in the first place. It might've sounded like that when I initially suggested playing warping wail main deck to be better vs infect etc since you debated playing more ballistas because of those matchups. I would never suggest playing warping wail over ballista or that warping wail could do the same thing, it really can't most of the time. Sure, sometimes you'll spend 2 mana to kill a creature, but that's about as far as it goes in terms of similarities between the cards. What I wanted to suggest, however, was for people to play Warping Wail over something like Spatial Contortion if they in general just want an interactive card main deck. Or that they could try it in 1-2 of the flex slots, which most lists have, and see if they like it.

    I usually end up playing Warping Wail if I have 1-2 flex slots left over and want a flexible card which works reasonably well in most metas. If I knew I wanted to have a better matchup game 1 vs creature decks, I'd probably just go for dismember/spatial/ballista instead. If I knew Ponza or BG Rock would be popular, I might just play solemn over it. Again, this is just how I have been using it and it has felt like a solid card. I'm sure playing other cards in it's place would work out just as well, but my opinion is that it is a valid option for the main deck, especially if you don't know what to expect of the meta.

    Quote from SwissRolls »
    Biggest difference between Karn, Scion of Urza and new Karn is that Sion of Urza provides a way to get to tron as well as being good once we have it. The Great Creator is more like a fancy (very fancy) and weird fabricate. That is not really true, my point is that he most likely wont help us hit land drops. The card advantage is very limited in the sense that we need to have the cards in our sideboard. We really don't want to put darksteel citadel in our sideboard, or maps or talismans for that matter. I'm not sure he's good in our deck, I think I will have to try him out first.

    I'm not trying him as a value engine but more as a win condition. I'm trying him as basically a mindslaver in our deck. Obviously not very good the turn we can cast it, but if we can cast and crack the game usually ends. I see this Karn in that kind of slot in the deck. Most games that grind we end up winning anyway, regardless of having a Karn, Scion of Urza or other walker. I'm trying him out now, but I never had issues in a long game before playing him.

    I do think it is right to probably only play 1 Karn, the Great Creator because he does not got us into the end game. He doesn't stabilize a board state like oblivion stone or wurmcoil engine, but can win a game pretty quickly. He might end up being a win more rather than a card that actually helps us win games more consistently, but it is too early to tell.

    The new Karn definitely has potential as a win condition, and I could see him be useful for tutoring cards like crucible which we sometimes have in our sideboard anyway. Even if we bring such cards in for game 2, they will be available to us in game 1 as well if we play Karn. I do think it will be challenging to design a main deck + sideboard that works well if we plan to make it part of our main game plan. On the other hand, if we just play one copy main deck, how many of our valuable sideboard slots do we dedicate to him in that case? It will be fun to experiment for sure, especially in combination with Mycosynth Lattice. Smile
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on [Primer] MonoU Tron - "The well-oiled machine"
    Yes naturally Warping Wail is much lower impact than most of our other spells, but that's kinda OK because it works really well with the core of the deck. In a hand with a counter spell like condescend or remand and warping wail, we don't need to make a choice until it's their turn whether to kill a 1 toughness creature or not. If we have to play a ballista on turn 2 in order to kill a creature, we miss out on the opportunity counter a spell with condescend.

    Against infect, regular affinity or humans ballista is for sure a more powerful card, there's not much to debate regarding this point really. Still, if you tap our for ballista, there're much fewer things that our opponent needs to play around compared to passing our turn with all mana available. My point is that on the whole warping wail is fine in most matchups but rarely super effective. The effectiveness of ballista depends much more on the matchup. For example in matchups like ad nauseum, scapeshift, grishoalbrand, living end (and other versions playing 0-mana sorcery spells) or indeed izzet phoenix or dredge, Ballista is just very mediocre while warping wail at least has targets or even is highly relevant. To sum it up: Warping Wail has fewer matchups where it's really bad compared to Ballista, but can never be game winning like Ballista.

    In the end I don't think there's a right or wrong really. In either case I'd probably not want to play more than 2 or either Warping Wail or Ballista unless I was excepting a specific meta.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on [Primer] MonoU Tron - "The well-oiled machine"
    Biggest difference between Karn, Scion of Urza and new Karn is that Sion of Urza provides a way to get to tron as well as being good once we have it. The Great Creator is more like a fancy (very fancy) and weird fabricate. That is not really true, my point is that he most likely wont help us hit land drops. The card advantage is very limited in the sense that we need to have the cards in our sideboard. We really don't want to put darksteel citadel in our sideboard, or maps or talismans for that matter. I'm not sure he's good in our deck, I think I will have to try him out first.

    I was testing a lil bit during the last week. I did remember WHY I decided to maximize on Ballistas in the past. Had harsh times without them against Humans, Affinity and Infect.

    I really encourage you to try Warping Wail. I know it looks weird as it is mostly seen in the sideboard of some decks, but I've tested the card for some time now and I've found it to be quite solid. It works well with our game plan in general since it's an instant and it's incredibly cheap. It has a target for at least one of it's first two modes in most matchups, letting us trade cards with our opponent early and delay the game to the point where we can start to take over the game. It doesn't require us to keep up our precious blue mana in order to cast it, which in turn makes it much easier to use as soon as we are given an opportunity to trade it for one of our opponent's cards. If we, for some reason, really want to spend the mana we left up but didn't get the chance to spend, we can always make a 1/1 EOT and use it to chump for life gain or just an extra mana the following turn. It really is quite a unique card for our deck. There's plenty of spicy blue counter spells or card draw available and there's a bunch of different stabilizers to choose from. Where blue tron struggles is having options in terms of removal in the early turns, and Warping Wail provides just that.

    Some time ago I made a similar post about Warping Wail, but I believe it disappeared so I'll just write some of the stuff again. This is a list of relevant cards it interacts with. Some of the cards see very limited play, but a lot of them are very relevant.

    Creatures with power or toughness 1 or less:


    Make a 1/1 Eldrazi Scion
    A thing to note about this mode is that the ramp is instant speed, which means that our opponent wont know about it until it's their end step. This means that in matchups where our opponent wants to counter our spells, a turn 3 Karn might take them by surprise.

    Sorry for yet another long post, but I hope I convinced someone to at least try it. Smile
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on [Primer] MonoU Tron - "The well-oiled machine"
    I tried 4/4/4 recently and I liked it, so you're not the only one. They really are among the best tools for us in terms of interaction since they are castable from turn 2 and works in so many matchups. They complement each pretty well also. The only weakness they all share is being much weaker on the draw, but that goes for a lot of cards/strategies in modern.

    Ok I understand wanting to have one of each of ghost quarter/field of ruin/tectonic edge. I find myself missing ghost quarter sometimes, but not often enough to cut gemstone caverns for one.

    I guess being able to answer anything is nice and maybe I'm judging it too harshly. Perhaps I'll try it in the future.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on [Primer] MonoU Tron - "The well-oiled machine"
    A lot of the complexity of U tron is that the main deck and the sideboard slots depend so much on each other, so I understand your choices for sideboard cards based on your main deck configuration. There really are a lot of different ways to build the deck. I like the 4/4/4 of remand/repeal/condescend, it feels like it really can't go too wrong most of the time.

    I'm not in love with the ghost quarter main deck, but I guess it makes more sense if you have 4 Surgical Extraction and really want to hate on green tron.

    In the past couple of months I've tried some weird decks where I either took the toolbox style to the extreme with a lot of one-ofs and Gifts Ungiven, or tried Champion of Wits and Elder Deep-Fiend combined with Simian Spirit Guide and 4 chalice main. Both ideas worked reasonably well despite being very different, which is a testimony to the fact that you really can take very different directions when building U tron.

    This is one of the lists I'm currently playing, but it will probably changes again soon.

    I usually don't play 3 talismans, but I wanted to try it again. They get a little better with 2 copies of Karn, so I think it's alright. Solemn Simulacrum could really just be whatever you'd like it to be; Snapcaster Mage, Trinket Mage, Gifts Ungiven or one more piece of interaction. I chose solemn because I wanted to try 2 gemstone caverns with the new london mulligan and because it just fixes a lot of problems that 4 chalices could cause in terms of the smoothness of our deck. Right now the MTGO meta is also filled with decks trying to use blood moon and chalice to stop the broken combo decks, so I figured solemn would be fine there as well, even though they already are fine matchups. Dismember is something you honestly could play 1-2 copies of in the main deck nowadays because of some really all-in decks like cheerios and devoted druid. Infect has also become slightly more popular because of all the green tron running rampant. In short: the MTGO meta is pretty extreme right now with people trying to abuse/punish the new mulligan rule.

    I don't really know why, but for at least the past 12 months or so I've had a great record against green tron in the competitive leagues on MTGO. Maybe that is why I don't feel that Surgical Extraction is necessary in the sideboard; I've usually managed without it.

    Regarding Mardu Pyromancer, my impression has always been that it is one of the best matchups for us, so I never really considered it while building the deck. It's similar to other midrange deck except they don't have any scary threats to complement the hand disruption.

    The artifact count is important for our Thirst for Knowledge, that is true, but it is also important to not be too dependent on blue mana to function. This is another reason why I really would like to play a few Relic of Progenitus main deck. One thing I really don't buy is the argument that "it's an artifact, so we can just pitch it to thirst if we don't want it". While that is true, thirst is still only 4 cards in our deck so I'd rather say that being able to discard it to thirst is a nice bonus. Having to rely on one of our four 3 mana cards in the deck to make up for a card which is dead in a matchup is not something we can count on too often. We are not playing block constructed affinity or Whir of Invention and really can't utilize artifacts as well as either of those decks.

    I don't think I will ever understand why Commit // Memory is played in this deck. To me the Commit side is just a 4 mana one-for-one and the Memory side is just a thing that comes up very rarely. I guess memory is kinda fun with Torrential Gearhulk but 4 mana is just too expensive for modern when it comes to one-for-ones.
    Posted in: Control
  • posted a message on [Primer] MonoU Tron - "The well-oiled machine"
    Hi BloodyRabbit, nice to have you back!

    I agree with your analysis of main deck removal/bounce and regarding the utility of Walking Ballista.

    Regarding removal:
    I have tried various lists featuring different combinations och repeal/dismember/spatial contortion in the past. As you say, what you want in your main deck depends on the current meta because these are reactive cards. I usually prefer to play 2-4 repeal for the reasons you stated and then sometimes combine those with 1-2 dismember. Since it's so flexible, dismember is rarely a dead card game 1, with the exception of matchups like ad nauseum, green tron and burn. In general, I tend to favor flexible cards like repeal because it is almost never a dead card but also because it does help us dig through our deck.

    Repeal really is a fantastic card, and one of my all time favorites. The fact that we can, as you said, cantrip it with chalice on turn 1 comes up more than one might think. It is also a good idea sometimes to play chalice on x=0 in the dark game 1 and then decide in their end step if you still want it on 0 or if you just want to repeal it. This can be huge vs affinity decks. Repeal also works really well with ballista as you can both protect it and mess with your opponents math if you can bounce it for one blue mana and then just replay it. It can also protect Tormod's Crypt in some situations, although this is not always very effective. Against green tron you can bounce your spreading seas to target a different tron land. You could probably write a whole essay on the multiple uses of repeal, and remand for that matter, but that's for another time.

    One card I've been trying out sporadically for the past half year or so is Warping Wail. I once made a list of every relevant creature and sorcery spell in the format and concluded that it is a reasonable inclusion in the main deck. The third mode can always help us chump, "pressure" planeswalkers, ambush x/1:s or surprise ramp for one turn. The card I would compare it to is Spatial Contortion. They both kill small creatures, but spatial kills slightly larger creatures as well while wail can to a lot of other things. Both are very cheap since they only cost 2 mana and doesn't require blue. Personally I prefer wail over spatial main deck if I had to choose, and in general I think you'd want to choose one of the two. I guess you could run a 1/1 split. To me spatial is more of a necessary evil since there are a lot of matchups where it's just dead but we still need it vs decks like humans and spirits, and as such I'd prefer to put it to the sideboard. I would never out wail in the sideboard like eldrazi tron does. They need it for the counter, we just play it for the versatility.

    Chalice of the Void
    This card is very good in modern right now, so playing multiple copies in the main deck has huge upside. However, to think that it will automatically win the match if you play it on turn 2 is probably a mistake. It buys us a lot of time, sure, but how we follow up is very important. This is why Karn, Scion of Urza also is pretty good right now. Once your opponent is crippled by chalice, all you need in terms of winning the game is starting plussing Karn. If we play chalice on turn two but we have to wait until we can play our 6+ mana spells, our opponent gets a lot of time to recover. Obviously we're still favored to win the game, but you really want to leverage the advantage of chalice as soon as possible. Same thing goes for when your opponent plays an early Blood Moon. It's very scary if they follow up with Goblin Rabblemaster or Chandra, Torch of Defiance, but not scary at all if they don't have a follow up.

    One thing I can't agree with is playing Relic of Progenitus alongside multiple copies of chalice. Don't get me wrong, I wish I could play a playset of both sometimes because relic is just perfect for our deck, but the downside of having relic stuck in our hand is, in my experience, not worth it. Same goes for Surgical Extraction. It's a card we really want in some matchups, especially vs green tron, but it also happens to be a matchup where we really want chalice on 1. I just really think it's unnecessary to put ourselves in the position of having cards stuck in our hand. Tormod's Crypt is a perfectly fine option in terms of graveyard hate. The difference between 0 and 1 or 1+1 mana is much larger than it might look. In a perfect world I would probably play 1-2 crypts and 2-3 relics because the cantrip of relic is exactly what our deck wants. It's just that the downside of having it stuck in our hand when we really want it is so much bigger than the upside of drawing a card.

    I've talked a lot about Talisman of Dominance in the past, so I'll try to keep it short. The idea is that they help our deck game 1 regardless of matchup. This is especially important when playing cards like chalice main deck which does nothing to help us whatsoever. I guess it's just a matter of taste in the end though, however I just don't buy the argument that "I side it out in almost every matchup, so I think it's bad". In game one we could be playing against anything, so we don't want too many matchup specific cards. Until I know which cards I want the talismans to be, I'd rather have them be a card which smooth out our draws. The fact that our mana base, with regards to our lands, is fundamentally flawed in terms of how many blue sources we have access to, combined with the fact that we in general would prefer to spend our land drops playing tron lands rather than islands, is another reason why Talismans isn't such a low impact card as it might seem at first glance. Talismans almost never make a big impression because you don't see them win a game, but you sure notice them when you top deck them instead of another card. This might make them look lackluster but I think they are very important.

    Oblivion Stone
    I cut Oblivion Stone from my lists some time ago and I can't say I've missed it much in general. The card make s a lot of sense in green tron since they can spend 8 mana on turn 4 more reliably. They also need it vs opposing blood moons. We, on the other hand, have a lot of answers to annoying non land permanents in repeal and Cyclonic Rift and also care less about such permanents in general. It's true that oblivion stone is very good when it destroys the opponent's board, but it's also a very bad card in a lot of matchups. If I want to have a card vs creatures, I'd prefer to play dismember over it nowadays. I guess it's not a big deal in the end though, I just think it's worth discussing the usefulness of otherwise auto-included cards sometimes.

    Assassin's Trophy
    This is usually only a concern when playing vs the BG rock deck, which plays trophy in combination with Field of Ruin. What I like to do is just to take out Expedition Map after sideboard and let them spend their mana on removing my tron lands. This way I don't get out-tempo:ed as easily and if they spend a trophy on one of my lands I'm virtually up a card. This strategy has worked very well for me despite only playing a single Wurmcoil Engine.

    And just like that, I wrote another book. Sorry for the long post. Cheers!
    Posted in: Control
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