Ever since the unbanning of Preordain in Modern, we’ve seen a lot of different decks try to implement the powerful cantrip. Various archetypes such as Jeskai Prowess and Izzet Murktide Regent improved thanks to the added consistency from the cantrip as well as having access to another powerful Sorcery besides Expressive Iteration. While Preordain is certainly a good card, perhaps this unbanning showcases that Wizards of the Coast can afford to be a little less cautious with their unbanning approach. After all, non-blue decks like Rakdos Scam and mono-green Tron are still as dominant as ever.
If anything, this shows that the format does have a lot of different decks to offer. While many of these archetypes have been well-established and long-lasting, there are still some unique and relatively new decks to choose from. Today, we will be highlighting one of the more interesting decks in the format. This deck has popped up here and there for years, but never quite had what it takes to break out onto the big stage. Well, that is at least until the printing of The One Ring.
As it turns out, mono-green Tron isn’t the only Tron variant to have greatly improved thanks to the strong card draw engine. Another version dedicated to utilizing lots of permanents with Charge counters has been putting up more and more results and makes use of a powerful Artifact that’s banned in Commander!
Charging to Victory
What makes this deck so unique is that it features both mana rocks that enter the battlefield with charge counters as well as ways to add charge counters to those permanents. Both Astral Cornucopia and Everflowing Chalice serve as decent mana rocks that help bridge the gap until you can make use of your top end. These mana rocks also make the deck less reliant on assembling all three Tron Lands, Urza’s Mine, Urza’s Power Plant, and Urza’s Tower, in order to cast your spells.
While neither of these mana rocks are super efficient for the amount of mana they provide initially, there are plenty of ways to add charge counters to them to make them tap for more mana. One of the best ways to do so is with the use of Coretapper. Coretapper can tap to add charge counters to your Artifacts, but it can also be sacrificed at any point to put two charge counters on an Artifact, making it less vulnerable to removal. Beyond Coretapper, this deck also plays Surge Node, which enters with a bunch of charge counters with the ability to transfer them elsewhere.
The Engine Itself
While it may seem a little strange to go through all this work just to get mana rocks that can tap for a bunch of mana, this deck can use all of the mana it can get. First and foremost, the deck uses four copies of Mystic Forge, which allows you to chain together colorless and Artifact spells off the top of your library, so long as you can cast them. Mystic Forge even has the ability to tap and remove the top card of your library, allowing you to get rid of excess Lands and hopefully keep casting spells. Notably, you can cast Cornucopia or Chalice for zero mana off the top just to keep your engine online.
Speaking of engines, what makes the whole deck function as well as it does is none other than Paradox Engine. Paradox Engine lets you untap all of your non-Land permanents every time you cast a spell. With Mystic Forge in play, this allows you to untap Forge to remove more Lands from the top of your deck and keep casting spells. Your mana rocks also untap, giving you extra mana every time you cast a spell. Even further, you get to untap Coretappers and Surge Nodes to keep charging up your Cornucopias and Chalices even more.
The One Ring Element
In this sense, as long as you can keep casting spells, you can actually generate lots of extra mana in the process. You just need mana rocks, Paradox Engine, and a reliable way to keep casting spells. Obviously, this includes Mystic Forge, but this deck also abuses The One Ring like no other. Much like how blue decks with The One Ring often play Minamo, School at Water’s Edge to untap The One Ring and draw more cards, this deck can use Paradox Engine to untap The One Ring.
The difference is that The One Ring will untap every time you play a spell, and because The One Ring draws you more spells, it’s quite easy to draw most of your deck in one turn. Once you’ve generated enough mana and card advantage, you can simply play Karn, the Great Creator, grab Walking Ballista and end the game.
Strengths and Consistency
Part of what makes this deck stronger than it appears on the surface is its ability to function without full Tron assembled early. None of the cards in this deck cost a ton of mana, and casting a turn three copy of The One Ring off of Everflowing Chalice is a strong play. Additionally, this deck makes great use of Urza’s Saga both as a win condition and as a tutor for cards like Expedition Map, Manifold Key, Surge Node, and even Chalice if you have a Coretapper or Surge Node already online.
Of course, having access to Tron allows this deck to go a bit crazy rather quickly. All of your mana rocks as well as your powerful four-drops get a lot better, and it becomes easy to cast multiple spells on the same turn. One of the glaring weaknesses this deck has had in the past is that, without Mystic Forge, it can still be difficult to chain lots of spell together and actually win the game. After all, a lot of the cards in this deck are mana rocks and Charge counter enablers, which do very little on their own. However, having access to The One Ring now is a huge boon for this deck, adding a lot more consistency.
Speaking of consistency, this deck also gets to show off the strength of Serum Powder. Serum Powder can act as a weak mana rock in a pinch, but its best feature is that it allows you to exile your hand of cards containing Powder and draw a fresh hand instead of mulliganing. For a deck reliant on assembling a lot of resources together, Powder really pulls its weight.
Even still, though, this deck can struggle closing the game, especially against opposing hate cards. This deck is more susceptible to Artifact hate than mono-green Tron, and unlike mono-green Tron, this deck doesn’t get to run Boseiju, Who Endures and Haywire Mite to answer Blood Moon effects. Blood Moon can be a bit of a nightmare for this deck, as it not only prevents Tron from being assembled, but also renders Urza’s Saga completely useless. On the other hand, this deck doesn’t necessarily need to blow up a Blood Moon to win the game.
This deck naturally runs a lot of cards that fill different roles, from mana rocks to win conditions to Charge Counter enablers that require other cards to be useful. This means that even cards like Counterspells can be quite effective, as the number of payoffs this deck has is rather limited, even with The One Ring in the picture.
Still, The One Ring helped a lot of the issues with this deck. It provides a stream of resources, helping to find missing Tron pieces, mana rocks, and Paradox Engine to keep the resources flowing. Cards like Karn and Inventor’s Fair can help find missing pieces as well, and Karn can even grab cards exiled with Serum Powder when necessary! This deck has its weaknesses, but it also has a lot going for it. If you enjoy crazy combo decks, definitely consider giving this deck a shot.