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#SCGNY this past weekend was won by a very good friend of mine, Dan Musser, who was piloting the same deck I was, Eldrazi Tron. In the finals he defeated Jeffrey White, who was also playing Eldrazi Tron. Any time there's a mirror match in the finals, it's eye-opening, and now, going into #SCGRICH this weekend, you're going to need to be able to beat Eldrazi Tron. I've written multiple articles about Eldrazi Tron and why I thought it was the best deck to play in Modern after winning #SCGCHAR with it, and now I'm going to write about the other side of the format: how to beat Eldrazi Tron.
That's right: I'm going to be helping the bad guys today, because I know not everyone is interested in playing Eldrazi Tron and instead wants to play something that beats it this weekend, so I'm here to help you out. I'll most likely be sleeving up Eldrazi Tron again this weekend still because I love the power and consistency that the deck has, but if you're also going to be at #SCGRICH and want to know what to play to beat me, well then let's get to it! But first, an explanation of Dan Musser's winning decklist:
- 4 Walking Ballista
- 1 Wurmcoil Engine
- 2 Endbringer
- 4 Matter Reshaper
- 4 Reality Smasher
- 4 Thought-Knot Seer
- 1 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
Many Eldrazi Tron decklists are quite similar these days, but Dan had one major change. He took out the two Mind Stones that have become pretty stock in order to play a Wurmcoil Engine and an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger in the maindeck.
Even though both Dan Musser and Jeffrey White, the two players in the finals, had maindeck Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger in their decks, my position on whether or not you should be playing the card hasn't changed. It's easy to remember the times when you have the mana and you cast an Ulamog that ends the game, but in all honesty I don't think those games are hard to win with the other cards in your deck. There will be plenty of other games, like Game 1 of the finals, where Jeffrey White had an Ulamog in his opening hand and died way before being able to cast it. Even though I myself am not able to play Ulamog in my deck, don't be surprised to run in to opponents this weekend that have it.
The biggest reason why Dan went away from Mind Stone was the lack of Blood Moon in the current format, even though Blood Moon is extremely well-positioned against the top decks. There simply isn't a great shell to put Blood Moon in these days, with the most likely place to find it is in the sideboard of a U/R Gifts Storm deck. It's likely the format adapts and we start to see more Blood Moons again soon, but for this weekend, it was the perfect time to cut Mind Stone.
The rise of Affinity being the most-played Day 2 deck at both #SCGATL and #SCGNY has increased the number of Stony Silences in the field to combat them. Although people don't necessarily think of artifacts when they think of Eldrazi Tron, Stony Silence is still a very good card against the deck, especially in creature matchups where Walking Ballista, Basilisk Collar, and Ratchet Bomb get turned off. This was another consideration for Dan dropping the Mind Stones: he didn't want to have too many cards get shut off from opposing Stony Silences. Overall, I like the move he made of dropping Mind Stone for now, and if I play Eldrazi Tron this weekend, I won't have them in my deck either, so a return of Blood Moon in some form will most likely be a good idea for #SCGRICH.
There are plenty of other ways to attack Eldrazi Tron, though, so let's take a look at the decks that I recommend playing this weekend if you want to defeat Eldrazi Tron.
Ad Nauseam is the nightmare matchup for Eldrazi Tron. They have a very consistent turn 4 or turn 5 win that Eldrazi Tron simply doesn't interact with well. Chalice of the Void, which is Eldrazi Tron's usual way to interact with combo decks, isn't as good here because the spells Ad Nauseam uses to win cost three and five mana. It's very difficult for Eldrazi Tron to gain enough life with Basilisk Collar or Wurmcoil Engine to get out of range of Lightning Storm quickly enough. Common consensus is that Ad Nauseam struggles to defeat Grixis Death's Shadow, but with the rise of Eldrazi Tron and Scapeshift, this could be the perfect weekend to cast Angel's Grace.
Speaking of Scapeshift…
Honestly, at the beginning of the tournament, I really thought Collins Mullen was going to win it. TitanShift is my pick for the best deck to be playing right now in Modern, as it doesn't really have too many bad matchups, and there are plenty of matchups that are very easy. Eldrazi Tron for example has an incredibly hard time beating TitanShift, and if you want to defeat Eldrazi Tron, this is a wonderful place to be. Once pretty big misconception people have is that Grixis Death's Shadow beats up on TitanShift and has been holding it back, but with the printing of Hour of Promise, I don't think that's true. I believe TitanShift to be slightly favored in the matchup, which really means that TitanShift should be the deck in the format to play.
Yes, I know that every deck I like to play loses to TitanShift, and letting you know this hurts my chances at #SCGRICH, but if you want to win this weekend, I think there isn't a better deck than TitanShift. Hour of Promise is the real deal and gives the deck four more reliable win conditions, and this one is able to be cast before Primeval Titan and Scapeshift, which may catch people off-guard.
So if TitanShift with Hour of Promise is such a good deck right now and the way to beat Eldrazi Tron, why did Collins Mullen finish seventeenth when Eldrazi Tron won the tournament? Well, I didn't watch any of his matches, so I'm sorry to Collins if I'm a little off about this, but I have some theories.
I understand what Collins was going for with having a playset of Khalni Heart Expedition in his deck and no ways to interact with his opponent Game 1 besides Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. He wanted his deck to be as linear as possible to be able to win the game as quickly as possible. The problem is that there are still just faster decks in Modern that he most likely had a very tough time against. For example, Storm was a deck he didn't want to face very much and there was plenty of it at the top tables. I think if he simply had Lightning Bolts in his maindeck over some of the Khalni Heart Expeditions and Prismatic Omens, the latter of which is a weak card on its own, I believe he would have had a better chance of beating faster combo decks.
I really liked what Collins had with the four Hour of Promise in the maindeck but wish there was just a little interaction, so this would be the TitanShift decklist I would recommend for #SCGRICH this weekend: