As a magic player, I have dabbled in most constructed formats. Standard, Legacy, Commander and most recently Brawl, all have given me no end of enjoyment in my fourteen years playing this fine game. But when I am asked what is my favourite format, I have to say it is Modern that holds a special place in my heart. It might be because I got into Magic back with 8th Edition, the starting point of the Modern format, or it might be because it is the eternal format I am able to play the most. Whatever the reason is I love me a bit of Modern.
As with any eternal format there is a ton of freedom in what you want to build and play. Even if you don’t want to follow the ‘Spikes’ and play a top-tier deck, there are many brews ready to be put to good use. One of may favourite things to do is to take an existing shell and put a new spin on it. A prime example of this is when our Phyrexia overlord Abbie brewed up a Mono-Red Tron deck, using Pyromancer’s Goggles and Banefire for some spicy wins. This got me thinking. Is there another option for a Mono-Coloured Tron deck? Maybe Black? Well after seeing the power of a very special relative of Liliana at work during Grand Prix Birmingham, I think we might just have been given the tools to make Mono-Black Tron a competitive deck.
Players have tried before to make Mono-Black Tron tier deck, but it has always just fallen short of entering top-level play. The main win condition, aside from the usual Karn Liberated and large Eldrazi, has been Profane Command. This is a fine spell, but aside from the life loss the other three modes have little use in a Tron Strategy. That is where Josu Vess, Lich Knight comes in. A 4/5 with Menace for four mana is pretty good value, but with that Kicker Josu becomes a real monster to deal with. Aside from a well-timed board wipe, there isn’t much that can stop a massive swathe of zombie knights ruining your opponents day. We can even run multiple copies of this undead generator to flood the battlefield with a literal ton of the zombie menace (joke very much intended). So, we have a fun way to win the game, but what else do we put in our deck?
Well let’s start with the usual staples of a tron deck. Full playsets of Urza’s Mine, Urza’s Power Plant and Urza’s Tower help us build up a health amount of colourless mana, while Expedition Map helps us find them if we need them. Chromatic Star and Prophetic Prism provide card draw and black mana when we have the need. Wormcoil Engine and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger provide great alternative win conditions, with Karn Liberated and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon backing them up. Finally, a couple of Field of Ruin help keep greedy mana bases in check as well as giving us some fixing. So, there is the core of the deck, but what do we get for playing Black?
Hand attack and removal my friend, hand attack and removal. We will need time to assemble our board state, and controlling the board is one thing Black does very well. Collective Brutality, Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek all allow us to keep threats out of our opponent’s hands, and in the case of Collective Brutality can also act as a piece of removal. Speaking of removal, say hello to
Dark Salvation. Pairing well with Josu Vess, Dark Salavation can not only give us an army of undead with enough mana sunk in to it, but then can remove a threat that you might be finding troublesome. Damnation and Torment of Hailfire helps us keep the board clear, and we also include a single copy of Sheoldred, Whispering One. Forcing our opponent to sacrifice a creature each turn is great, but if we can discard a Wurmcoil Engine or Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger with Collective Brutality in the early game we can bring them back with her other ability. We round out the mainboard with four Swamps, three Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and a single copy of Cavern of Souls to make sure our Josu doesn’t get countered.
For the sideboard we include Leyline of the Void to battle Dredge and Living End, Surgical Extraction to handle combo and Fulminator Mage for more land destruction. Two copies of Oblivion Stone can help us keep the board clear. Warping Wail is a highly underrated card working a removal, counter magic and ramp, while Spellskite can protect our creatures from pesky removal such as Path to Exile. Dismember is a great piece of removal when we need it, and Platinum Angel can stop us from losing to decks like Ad Nauseam.
4x Urza’s Mine
4x Urza’s Tower
2x Warping Wail
And that is Mono-Black Tron. The deck is pretty sweet, and can lead to some hilarious wins when your either ploughing in for a massive amount of damage, or when opponent has to discard their hand and sacrifice all their creatures to stay alive.
You can even customise the deck to suit your play style. You can lean heavier in to Black for a more control style build, or splash for another colour if your feeling brave. The choice is yours so go nuts. If you have enjoyed todays article why not like and share, it is a great way for you to help support and growth the site. But until next time remember Good Luck and Have Fun.