The Tron Box

Urza’s Mine, Power Plant, and Tower offer plenty of options to build around that powerful core in Modern! Tom “The Boss” Ross opens up the Tron Box he uses to customize his lists, giving the pros and cons of the red splash, the white splash, and more ahead of SCG Dallas!

Todd Anderson has the Temur Box.

Patrick Sullivan has the Red Box.

I have an Infect Box.

In it are all possible maindeck and sideboard cards I could want for Modern Infect, anything from a Phytoburst for when I feel like I need a +5/+5 effect to Clutch of Currents for when I want to liven up an Inkmoth Nexus for four +1/+1 counters. Or maybe I want to proliferate a Jace and kill players at nine poison with Tezzeret’s Gambit.

Within the Infect Box I also have the pieces to make G/B Infect and Legacy Infect with or without the white splash. I try to keep everything I could possibly want in the Infect Box, since dealers are likely not to have them on-site.

The dealer booth is sold out of Piracy Charm? How unlucky.

Now I also have myself a Tron Box.

In the Tron Box I have the pieces for any color combination that I want. Sometimes Path to Exile and Rest in Peace are what I want. Sometimes it’s Fatal Push and Collective Brutality, or Lightning Bolt and Ancient Grudge.

In Tron there’s a core green base that I like to play:

After that, depending on what I expect to play against in whatever Modern tournament I’m going to, I fill out the flexible slots to shore up popular and poor matchups.

When I’m approaching a tournament I generally know what genre of deck I want to be playing. There’s a reason I roll with 8-Rack, Infect, and Tron. They are wildly different decks and have wildly different good and bad matchups. Often an 80/20 matchup is the full-reverse 20/80, depending on which deck I brought.

Going into SCG Indianapolis, I knew I would be registering a build of Tron. However, within that 100% I was roughly decided on 20% each of Eldrazi Tron, G/B, G/W, G/R, or Mono-Green Tron.

It wasn’t until about 3 AM on Saturday morning that I locked in my list of G/B Tron.

I played G/W Tron at SCG Columbus last year because it secretly had a good Dredge matchup and few people knew it. Similarly, I brought G/B Tron to Indianapolis because I felt it could secretly have a good Death’s Shadow matchup with a little tweaking.

I got a few things right. Fatal Push and Wurmcoil Engine are very good against Death’s Shadow. I lost to Sam Black on camera in a close match where Fatal Push and Wurmcoil Engine were good, but not really the crux of the matchup. The post-sideboard games came down to Fulminator Mage, recurring it, and Surgical Extraction.

I also lost to Burn and Ad Nauseam in Day 1 of Indianapolis, matchups where the once maindeck Collective Brutalities were very much missed. All-in-all I only played five rounds after byes, all different matchups, and all matchups that I didn’t face at all during the last Modern Open in SCG Columbus. How quickly things changed.

If you choose to play G/B Tron, you should do so because of the strengths that black offers in discard spells. You need a saturation of them to compete against combo like Scapeshift and Ad Nauseam. I don’t think edging out some percentage points against Death’s Shadow or whatever else is worth the costs against the rest of the field. If I were to play G/B Tron again, I’d stick to a more traditional build.

Seven discard spells after sideboarding should give you a solid boost against the combo decks. Against creature decks you can go up to seven targeted removal cards plus some Engineered Explosives. Looks good to me.


  • Discard gives Tron game against combo.
  • Best at removing cheap, large creatures with Fatal Push.


Going back to G/R Tron has some things going for it. First is how much I hate drawing a Blooming Marsh or Razorverge Thicket past turn 3 and how great Grove of the Burnwillows is. It makes the mana perfect and has some outside “get ’em” applications against Death’s Shadow.

Grove of the Burnwillows is a mana source with lifegain tacked on. Mana sources don’t use the stack and can’t be responded to. If a Death’s Shadow player is at twelve life and you activate Grove of the Burnwillows for mana, then the 1/1 Death’s Shadow will die the next time state-based effects are checked (immediately). No cracking a fetchland. No cycling Street Wraith.

If you’re playing Lightning Bolt, you can put the Death’s Shadow players into a window where they need to stay below twelve but above three to play around what you could have. It’s great to squeeze the false tempo deck with a taste of its own medicine.

I suggest sticking to the strengths of red if you choose that complementary color. Pyroclasm and Kozilek’s Return are great sweepers that other colors don’t have access to. Crumble to Dust is a great option against Valakut and other Tron decks. Ancient Grudge improves your Lantern Control and Affinity matchups.



  • Can’t interact with the stack or the opponent’s hand.
  • Hard to kill cheap, bigger creatures.
  • Lifegain options are weak.

The deck that started my Tron Box.

G/W Tron was the best build when Dredge was the deck to beat in Modern. Rest in Peace was huge game and Path to Exile was just better than Lightning Bolt. Since then the Modern landscape has changed.

Path to Exile is still a great option against the field since you rarely care about how many lands the opponent has. Against the decks where you want Path to Exile, you ought to have inevitability against with your planeswalkers and big colorless creatures. The only real deck you want to be killing their creatures while being concerned about ramping them is Storm with Baral, Chief of Compliance.

Blessed Alliance is still a fine card. It’s one of the best possible against Reality Smasher. Its main original goal was to kill a Glistener Elf without being disrupted by Vines of Vastwood or Blossoming Defense. Blessed Alliance is worth playing copies of for sure, just not a decisive reason to run white.

Moving forward, the deck should have either Eidolon of Rhetoric or Ethersworn Canonist in the sideboard to combat Storm and Ad Nauseam. Eidolon of Rhetoric is likely better given its resilience to damage-based removal and need for revolt to get hit by Fatal Push (if they even brought it in). Ethersworn Canonist would allow you to cast your artifacts like Chromatic Sphere or Chromatic Star which may otherwise get clogged up in your hand. However, being weaker against Puresteel Paladin might be a concern.

It’s close.



What we’ve got here is the base model Honda Civic. No leather seats, sunroof, or spoiler. Runs great.

I’ve been fiddling around Mono-Green Tron decklists for a while but haven’t brought it to a tournament. Nonetheless, I’m ready to dive into the Tron Box for the extra pieces if the Mono-Green urge arises.

I originally had a bunch of Hangarback Walkers in the deck as a cheapish card that can roadblock early and scale well later in the game. They’ve since been replaced with Walking Ballista. The removal suite before was greatly influenced by the presence of Infect, which is Tron’s worst matchup. Walking Ballista works well against the one-toughness creatures of Infect. After Ad Nauseam’s win in Indianapolis, perhaps it’s time for an Infect comeback. If so, then Walking Ballista is looking pretty good.


  • Running four Forests gives you the best chance against Blood Moon and heavy Ghost Quarter strategies.
  • Your mana is perfect and you’ll rarely have uncastable spells.


  • No great options against fast creatures.
  • Slim sideboard options.

What About Eldrazi Tron and Mono-Blue Tron?

Eldrazi Tron is an Eldrazi deck with twelve Urza’s lands in it. Its main focus is casting undercosted Eldrazi first and assembling Tron secondarily.

I do consider Eldrazi Tron to be a good deck, but the structure is just too different from G/X Tron. For that reason I don’t carry the pieces to build it in the Tron Box.

Mono-Blue Tron falls somewhat in this camp too. With the above Tron variants, the interchangeable pieces are typically few. Mono-Blue Tron is a whole ‘nother animal that I neither have experience with nor own the cards for.

Tron in Dallas

What version of Tron would I play at #SCGDFW? It’s too early for me to call. I don’t even know if Tron is the style of deck I’d want to bring right after Ad Nauseam just won the last Open. You can make a matchup not embarrassing, but that doesn’t mean much if you play it a ton in the tournament.

Anyways, this is the build I’d play if I expected to face a ton of Ad Nauseam and Death’s Shadow (while not completely scrapping the deck against other matchups).

May you naturally always have the turn 3 Karn!