Last week, I wrote Your Guide To Battling With Eldrazi Tron, where I talked about why Eldrazi Tron is a great choice right now for Modern, gave some common tips and tricks with the deck, and finished up with a sideboard guide for five of the most popular matchups.
The biggest response I got from people at #GPVEGAS this weekend was that they really appreciated the guide, but also wish it covered more matchups. I didn't have room for more last week, but today I'm going to continue going over other matchups that you'll commonly see in the incredibly diverse format which is Modern. The #SCGINVI is coming up in two weekends, and I think Eldrazi Tron will still be a great choice for the Modern portion of the tournament.
I haven't played much Standard in the past couple months, but I'll need to start preparing for it at the Invitational, so in the next couple of weeks I'll be writing about Standard. Plus, we've gotten some awesome #MTGHOU previews to talk about! That will be next week, though; this week I have Your Guide To Battling with Eldrazi Tron, Part 2.
For reference, here is my updated Eldrazi Tron decklist.
I only changed one card moving into #GPVegas last weekend, and that was replacing one of the Ratchet Bombs in the sideboard with a second Basilisk Collar. The reason for the change was the expected uptick in mirror matches, and Basilisk Collar is the best card in the mirror. Even though the Grand Prix didn't go well for me, I liked that change and will keep this decklist moving forward. The sideboard plans don't change at all from the matchups I listed last week; for each matchup where I would have sideboarded in the Ratchet Bomb, I would bring in the Basilisk Collar now, so it's an easy swap.
Let's get into some more matchups!
This is probably the most straightforward matchup to sideboard in for the entire format, but I still wanted to make sure to touch on a couple of cards in the matchup. You have two cards in your maindeck that are incredibly more important than any other card, and those are Thought-Knot Seer and Chalice of the Void. Thought-Knot Seer being a 4/4 is the perfect size against Burn, and it also takes their best card from their hand, usually a Boros Charm. It's disruption, a good blocker, and a fast clock all in one card, and casting Thought-Knot Seers and your win percentage against Burn have a direct correlation.
Chalice of the Void on the other hand is also a vital card, but I see many people play it wrongly. If you have only one Chalice of the Void, you really want to make sure it has two charge counters on it, especially post-sideboard. The burn spells that cost two in their deck are not only more dangerous to face but are also more likely to still be in their hand when you are casting Chalice of the Void. Usually countering their creatures isn't as big a deal, but instead you want to be able to get spells like Boros Charm, Atarka's Command, and Destructive Revelry in the post-sideboard games, which they are bringing in to destroy Chalice.
Although this is one of your worst matchups, it's not unwinnable. That's one of the major strengths to playing Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher: no matchup is truly unwinnable. This is the single biggest reason why Surgical Extraction is in my sideboard, however, as being able to strip your opponent of all of their copies of a Tron piece after using a Ghost Quarter is the easiest way to win this matchup.
In opening hands I'm desperately looking for the Ghost Quarter and Surgical Extraction combo, or just early Thought-Knot Seers. Pithing Needle is brought in mostly to name Oblivion Stone, but if you're in a bad spot you can name Karn Liberated as well. Ugin, the Spirit Dragon isn't too scary because none of your permanents are colored and it's usually beatable with just your creatures. Make sure you don't name Chromatic Star with Pithing Needle, as they can still activate it because it's a mana ability. Warping Wail comes in to hopefully counter a late Ancient Stirrings or Sylvan Scrying. Finally, I don't have any other card I love in the matchup, but Hangarback Walker is the last card I bring in to try to increase my clock, even though they have plenty of ways to exile it.
Scapeshift / TitanShift
Continuing with the tough matchups, Scapeshift and variants like TitanShift are also tough to beat. Again, curving Thought-Knot Seer into Reality Smasher is your best bet in this matchup and you have to hope your opponent only draws one or two threats that you can take with Thought-Knot Seer. If you have a Chalice of the Void in your hand and you see your opponent suspend a Search for Tomorrow, then put your Chalice down on zero. The best thing to stop in this instance is Summoner's Pact to try to shut off some of their threats. If you're very lucky and you have all three Tron pieces in your hand, you can also try to put Chalice of the Void on four to stop Scapeshift.
Surgical Extraction also comes in for this matchup to try to remove your opponent's Valakut, the Molten Pinnacles, but that is a tough proposition with them being able to wait until casting Scapeshift to protect their land. I bring in Pithing Needle to name Sakura-Tribe Elder to slow them down, but there are times you can also name Khalni Heart Expedition or Chandra, Torch of Defiance, depending on your opponent's specific list. This is also the main reason why I have Warping Wail in my sideboard, to counter Scapeshift.
Living End has seen a slight uptick in popularity recently, as the new cyclers from Amonkhet have given the deck a boost in power level. Thankfully this is a good thing for Eldrazi Tron, as Living End is one of your better matchups, especially my version with multiple copies of Relic of Progenitus in the maindeck. Surgical Extraction is usually a little overrated against Living End, but besides Living End itself, I usually want to remove Fulminator Mages with it. Having your opponent destroy one or even two lands with Fulminators is usually okay, but when it gets to be more than that, it starts to be a real problem. Ingot Chewer is another good hit to protect your Chalice of the Voids.
The goal in this matchup is to put a Chalice of the Void on zero and use it plus Warping Wail to counter Living End. This is probably Walking Ballista's worst matchup and it's the first card out of the deck. Remember not to bring in Grafdigger's Cage here, as it won't actually do anything to stop Living End.
U/R Gifts Storm
Unlike many other spell-based matchups, this one is actually very good for Eldrazi Tron because of the vast amount of graveyard hate available, but you need to know how to play the matchup. Post-sideboard, the U/R Gifts Storm player can't rely on their graveyard, which means they usually won't have enough of a storm count built up to be able to use Grapeshot to end the game, and therefore their number one gameplan is to win through Empty the Warrens. This means that, as the Eldrazi Tron player, you need to bring in Ratchet Bomb as well as keep in All Is Dust, because you need to be able to stop a horde of Goblin tokens.
Warping Wail is a nice split card here that can either counter Past in Flames or exile Baral, Chief of Compliance. I cut Mind Stone from the deck since my overall curve is lessened so much and there are so many interactive cards that are good in the matchup. Finally, a combination of Matter Reshaper and Reality Smasher get cut because the goal is to just control Gifts Strom and keep them from doing their thing, and the priority isn't about attacking. Watch out for Blood Moon in their list, and you may need to use Expedition Map to search for a basic Wastes early. I also don't hate shaving two more Matter Reshapers and Reality Smashers if you want to keep in Mind Stone if you know your opponent has lots of Blood Moons.
Abzan / Jund
Abzan and Jund are two of the best matchups, mostly because of the card All Is Dust. Their best cards in the matchup are Liliana of the Veil, Dark Confidant, and Tarmogyf, so the usual mythics. Some versions have started to play Grim Flayer over Dark Confidant, which is a good thing for Eldrazi Tron because having a removal spell on turn 2 for Dark Confidant isn't always reliable.
Even though Hangarback Walker and Wurmcoil Engine are susceptible to Path to Exile from Abzan, they still come in as good cards that affect the battlefield. The games are grindy and can last long, and since Chalice of the Void is a poor topdeck, it gets sideboarded out, similar to other midrange matchups. Ratchet Bomb can either take out a slew of Spirit tokens made by Lingering Souls or multiple creatures that cost two mana.
I like having a couple of copies of Relic of Progenitus in my deck in the matchup, but don't think the full four are necessary. If you're playing against a more delirium-fueled version with Traverse the Ulvenwald, however, feel free to bring in the other two Relics for two Mind Stones. The extra card can help you hit land drops, and they are both terrible in the face of a Stony Silence.
This sideboard plan covers all of the various Hatebears strategies, from Mono-White to G/W to even the B/W Eldrazi style. I'm not a fan of Chalice of the Void in any of these matchups, even though it can stop a powerful card such as Path to Exile, because these are again midrange matchups that are based on attrition, and Chalice of the Void is a weak draw in the late-game.
Pithing Needle comes in to mostly name Aether Vial, as these decks are much slower without the help of putting creatures onto the battlefield for free. Horizon Canopy, Tectonic Edge, and Eldrazi Displacer are all reasonable cards to name with Pithing Needle as well, depending on the exact situation. Warping Wail isn't great, but it's more useful than Relic of Progenitus, and the most likely thing to use it for is to exile a Flickerwisp or counter a Dusk // Dawn.
I'm finishing up the sideboard guide with the worst possible matchup, Ad Nauseam. They simply interact on an axis that is extremely hard for Eldrazi Tron to interact with. Even Thought-Knot Seer, our best card against combo decks, can be stopped by a Leyline of Sanctity, which many builds will play in the maindeck. Some people want to bring in Surgical Extraction to try to exile a combo piece, but this isn't the matchup for that because it's so unlikely they will have anything in the graveyard worth exiling before you die.
The best plan Game 1 is to be able to have Tron online quickly and then cast a Chalice of the Void on three, because that will keep their win conditions from resolving and they don't usually have any interaction for a Chalice of the Void Game 1. Even a Chalice set on one is better than people realize against Ad Nauseam because it stops both Angel's Grace and Spoils of the Vault as well as the various cantrips.
The Dismembers can be useful at times because they can kill a Laboratory Maniac, but if they are already casting a Laboratory Maniac, they probably have access to Pact of Negation. There may be times Game 1 where you have to Dismember your own Matter Reshaper to try to hit a Chalice of the Void or Thought-Knot Seer on a key turn, so keep that line in mind.
Basilisk Collar and Wurmcoil Engine come in to try to help you gain enough life to get out of Lightning Storm range, while a Basilisk Collar can help Walking Ballista keep Laboratory Maniac at bay. I mostly use Ratchet Bomb to take out a Lotus Bloom during the upkeep that it enters the battlefield, or a Phyrexian Unlife if time allows.
Hopefully you're confident enough to pilot Eldrazi Tron to victory after the last two articles, but feel free to leave a comment if you have any more questions about the deck. With the all-important #SCGINVI coming up in under two weeks, it's time for me to start focusing a little on Standard after the banning of Aetherworks Marvel. I'm currently sitting in first place on the seasonal SCG Tour® leaderboard, and I want to hold on to win a set of Masterpieces. Brennan DeCandio is right on my heels, though, and I'll need to be prepared. The #SCGINVI will also have the largest payout of any tournament in the history of the SCG Tour®, so make sure you don't miss it!