Approaching Matchups and Sideboarding with Eldrazi Tron

Brandon Ayers

Brandon Ayers

Introduction: Why I Chose Eldrazi Tron

The Modern metagame has shifted drastically due to the London Mulligan and the introduction of the powerful Modern Horizons. With both the Mythic Championship IV and MagicFest Minneapolis now in the books, we know that Hogaak is public enemy #1. Boasting the highest deck win rate percentage in Barcelona and FIVE decks in the top 8 of Minneapolis, Hogaak is without a doubt the best deck in Modern.

Matter ReshaperThought-Knot SeerReality Smasher

Leading up to MC Barcelona, I anticipated Izzet Phoenix being the most played deck and Hogaak a close second. I chose to work on Eldrazi Tron because I thought Phoenix had a good matchup vs Hogaak and I expected graveyard hate to be at an all-time high. I wanted to play a deck that didn’t rely on the graveyard whatsoever. After seeing how the event unfolded, however, I underestimated the power and efficiency of Hogaak.

Once it was apparent that Hogaak was the best deck to play, I had to decide on a deck for MagicFest Minneapolis. I concluded that, although Hogaak is the best deck, it’s also very complex. With only one Modern event to play and the probability of a Hogaak banning being very likely, I didn’t want to invest time into a deck that I would only have one opportunity to play. With all of this in mind, I ended up back on Eldrazi Tron.

Eldrazi Tron has powerful streamlined play patterns, which can make games linear and straightforward. The complexity of the deck comes from the mulligan decisions. In Barcelona, I mulliganed upwards of 20-25 times throughout nine rounds and I managed to finish with a respectable 6-3 record. To gain an edge while playing Eldrazi Tron, it’s important to know that you can win with four and five card hands because you have cards like 《Chalice of the Void》 and post-board 《Leyline of the Void》. These cards can single-handedly win games.

Chalice of the VoidLeyline of the Void

Matchup Guide

Now that I’ve played a few professional-level events to respectable finishes I’ve learned the ins and outs of how to approach matchups, how to sideboard, and most importantly, how to decide when to mulligan. For those playing in MagicFest Las Vegas or wanting to play Eldrazi Tron in a post-Hogaak environment, (I think it’ll be one of the best decks) I decided to write up a sideboard guide with information on what matters in the key matchups and what cards you want to aggressively mulligan to. Let’s get to it!

Izzet Phoenix

Against Izzet Phoenix

Out

Walking Ballista Walking Ballista Walking Ballista Ghost Quarter

In

Leyline of the Void Leyline of the Void Leyline of the Void Leyline of the Void

This is a good matchup for Eldrazi Tron. 《Chalice of the Void》 for one shuts off a majority of their deck while cards like 《Thought-Knot Seer》 and 《Reality Smasher》 pose as hard to answer threats.

Blast ZoneExpedition MapWastes

These games often revolve around 《Thing in the Ice》. Keep in mind 《Expedition Map》 can search up 《Blast Zone》 (which answers the two biggest threats: 《Aria of Flame》 and 《Thing in the Ice》) and can search up a basic 《Wastes》 to play around 《Blood Moon》.

DismemberChalice of the VoidLeyline of the Void

In the boarded games the hands I keep almost always have at least one copy of 《Dismember》, 《Chalice of the Void》, or 《Leyline of the Void》.

Hogaak

Against Hogaak

Out

Dismember Dismember Dismember Ugin, the Ineffable
Ghost Quarter

In

Leyline of the Void Leyline of the Void Leyline of the Void Leyline of the Void
Grafdigger's Cage
Karn, the Great CreatorEnsnaring BridgeAll Is DustChalice of the Void

Unfortunately, I don’t have much advice for this matchup. Beating Hogaak is just tough. The pre-board games I’ve won tend to involve 《Karn, the Great Creator》 + 《Ensnaring Bridge》, 《All Is Dust》, or a turn two 《Chalice of the Void》.

Leyline of the VoidGrafdigger's Cage

Post-board gets much better because we can aggressively mulligan to a 《Leyline of the Void》 or turn three Tron. I prefer to board in the 《Grafdigger’s Cage》 because we often have to search up 《Tormod’s Crypt》 due to mana restraints.

Eldrazi Tron (Mirror)

Against Eldrazi Tron (Mirror)

Out

Chalice of the Void Chalice of the Void Chalice of the Void Chalice of the Void
All Is Dust All Is Dust

In

Mystic Forge Sorcerous Spyglass Wurmcoil Engine Walking Ballista
Spatial Contortion Spatial Contortion

The Eldrazi mirror match is very swingy. I don’t have much advice for game one besides trying not to draw dead cards like Chalice or 《All Is Dust》! In the post-board games its crucial to mulligan to Tron/《Eldrazi Temple》, 《Dismember》, or Karn.

Karn, the Great CreatorMycosynth LatticeKarn, the Great Creator

It’s not too uncommon for each player to have a Karn and the player with more cards in their deck wins when a 《Mycosynth Lattice》 hits play. Many of my opponents have been overly aggressive with using 《Ghost Quarter》, it’s rarely the best option available in the early turns of the game. 《Blast Zone》 is very important in this matchup because you can kill 《Thought-Knot Seer》, Karn, and, most importantly, 《Ensnaring Bridge》.

Burn

Against Burn

Out

All Is Dust All Is Dust
Endbringer

In

Spatial Contortion Spatial Contortion
Walking Ballista
Chalice of the VoidThought-Knot Seer

Whichever deck is on the play has a big advantage in this matchup. It’s very hard for Mono-Red to beat a game 1 《Chalice of the Void》 or an early 《Thought-Knot Seer》.

Post-board I’m inclined to mulligan until I find a hand with Tron/Temple or 《Chalice of the Void》. On the play, it may be worth keeping a 《Chalice of the Void》 in your sideboard as a Karn target. From my experiences, I’m always usually targeting 《Wurmcoil Engine》, and the upside of having all 4 《Chalice of the Void》s in the deck is just too high.

Azorious Control

Against Azorious Control

Out

Dismember Dismember
Chalice of the Void

In

Wurmcoil Engine Walking Ballista
Mystic Forge

This matchup has always been extremely close. Since the recent addition of 《Karn, the Great Creator》 and 《Blast Zone》 I think Eldrazi Tron is now a slight favorite.

Sorcerous SpyglassBlast ZoneTeferi, Time RavelerJace, the Mind Sculptor

One of the few ways to lose this matchup involves an early 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 or 《Jace, the Mind Sculptor》. Having 《Karn, the Great Creator》 + 《Sorcerous Spyglass》 and 《Blast Zone》 to interact with their planeswalkers makes this matchup easier to navigate from the Eldrazi side. I recommend leaving a Chalice in the sideboard so that it can be tutored with Karn.

Although it’s close, I don’t mind being paired against Azorious Control.

Jund

Against Jund

Out

Chalice of the Void

In

Mystic Forge

Jund is a deck that just recently started gaining traction again since the release of Modern Horizons. This matchup is close to 50/50 but Jund has traditionally struggled against big mana decks and now they have even more cards that don’t interact well against Eldrazi such as 《Wrenn and Six》 and 《Scavenging Ooze》.

Karn, the Great CreatorChalice of the Void

《Chalice of the Void》 from the sideboard is a Karn target, since it’s great when played for one or two.

Walking BallistaLiliana of the Veil

After playing this match more, I did notice that it was often best to play 《Walking Ballista》 on one to combat 《Liliana of the Veil》‘s [-2] ability that requires you to sacrifice a creature.

Conclusion

Based on the analysis of the matchups, I suspect Eldrazi Tron will be a great deck in the post-Hogaak metagame. It’s favored against midrange and control strategies, but weak to Hogaak/Dredge and aggressive decks. I Think Izzet Phoenix, Azorius Control, and Jund will rise to power in the post Hogaak metagame, which leaves Eldrazi Tron in a great position. It’s still a solid choice in the current metagame if you’re looking for a non-Hogaak deck to play in Modern.

Thank you for reading and may the Tron lands be with you!

Brandon Ayers (Twitter)

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Brandon Ayers

Brandon Ayers Brandon Ayres is a pro player from United States. He is a skillful player so he has multiple GP Top8s and is maintaining the Gold Level. In the 2017-2018 season, With a stable and steady run in the 2017-2018 season with good finishes in both Pro Tour Dominaria and Pro Tour Magic 25th Anniversary, he was able to lock up Gold level status again for another year. With John Rolf who is the teammate and best friend in the same town, he joined Hareruya Pros in the 2018-2019 season. Read more articles by Brandon Ayers