SCG Cleveland Classic Top 4 Report

My teammates and I often joke about my ability to choose the worst deck for the main event, but have the best choice for the classic tournament that is held the following day. For the main event in Cleveland, I chose to play Dredge specifically because I wanted to do something broken with Faithless Looting. It turns out that many decks are currently packing insane amounts of graveyard interaction, which helped facilitate my X-3 record to not be able to make it to day 2. With what I learned from the event, I decided to register Tron for the classic.

For this event, I decided to play a hybrid of our team’s configuration and Jim Davis’s list that they posted. I also used kind of a hybrid of their sideboard guide, which helped me make reasonable boarding decisions during the event. The main reason I chose to play this is I believed that 4 Thragtusk felt excessive and forced you to play an additional basic. I think that the deck needs the utility lands a little more, and for this event it ended up working out. Overall with Tron, don’t keep mediocre hands that “may” get there. Often times, a 6 card hand with a scry and your land search elements are infinitely better than a normal 7 that may get there.

Round 1: win 2-0 vs UW control

This matchup was interesting and can definitely display the power of the Tron deck and the disadvantage of playing control decks in the current meta. My opponent used three field of ruin activations against me during game 1, and I was still able to cast my threats and end the game. The cast triggers are just too backbreaking against counterspell decks, and with their threats being so slow it makes the matchup from that side almost unwinnable. Game 2 was uneventful as my opponent did not find white mana and Ulamog did Ceaseless Hunger things.

Out: 3 Relic of Progenitus, 3 Oblivion Stone, 2 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, 1 Wurmcoil Engine
In: 3 Nature’s Claim, 3 Thought-Knot Seer, 3 Thragtusk

 

Round 2: win 2-0 vs Dredge

Game 1 I mulligan to 5 into Tron and Wurmcoil with a scry on the play. This is a prime example of how well the deck mulligans, and helped me remember that being able to mulligan bad hands is a privilege and not a burden. This matchup is basically a bye just so long as they don’t go nuts in the first three turns. Wurmcoil made my life total go above 30 and I ended up winning. Game 2, having access to natural Tron and Relic of Progenitus ended up sealing the deal.

Out: 2 Walking Ballista, 1 World Breaker
In: 1 Grafdigger’s Cage, 2 Surgical Extraction

 

Round 3: win 2-1 vs Phoenix

Finally, I enter the Phoenix bracket. Generally in modern tournaments, you are liable to play against anything that someone may own, but you have to be ready for the Phoenix matchup. In this game, I mulliganed to 5 to find Tron but no threats and scryed a threat to the top of my deck.  The remainder is history. The phoenix deck is very powerful, but the threats from that deck don’t line up well against ours. Game 2 my opponent managed to stick a Blood Moon but having the Thragtusk plan post board is usually game over. Because they take a turn off to cast Blood Moon and disrupt us, just regularly casting threats usually ends the game.

Out: 1 Relic of Progenitus, 1 Ghost Quarter, 2 Walking Ballista, 1 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, 2 Karn Liberated
In: 3 Thragtusk, 2 Surgical Extraction, 2 Natures Claim

This is where I differ from Jim’s guide, as I believe having access to some number of Claim is important for Blood Moon, as well as potentially being able to break up a Pyromancer’s Ascension.

 

Round 4: Win 2-1 vs Bant Spirits

Game 1 resulted in a mulligan to 5 with Tron plus threat on the play. In game 1, the spirits deck has creatures that don’t really line up well against our gameplan, and having Ugin and Oblivion Stone  to clean up the board makes this matchup pretty reasonable. Game 2 was more of a wash on my part, as my opponent resolved a turn 2 Geist of Saint Traft and found interaction for my board clear. Game 3 was an interesting one, and is a testament to “Never scoop and just continue to play”. My opponent had a Stony Silence in play that completely nullified my hand. Fortunately, I had natural Tron and a ridiculous amount of Thragtusks in play. My opponent was at 6 life while I was at 13, and I had a Thragtusk, 3/3 Beast token, and Walking Ballista in play with three counters to their Noble Hierarch, Selfless Spirit and Supreme Phantom. They were representing Collected Company, and the only way I could win the game was to swing the team and cross my fingers, so I sent the squad. They had the Company as predicted and managed to find an additional Supreme Phantom and Spell Queller. I was ready to concede the game, but then my opponent made an incorrect block and took lethal damage.

Don’t concede until you know for sure you lost, sometimes you get freebies.

Out: 3 Relic of Progenitus, 2 Karn Liberated
In: 3 Thragtusk, 2 Nature’s claim

I didn’t feel that Spatial Contortion was needed for this matchup, but I could be wrong. I didn’t know what else to cut at the time.

 

Round 5: Win 2-1 vs the Mirror

There really isn’t much to talk about here, find Karns on the play and stone rain them until they don’t want to play anymore.

Out: 3 Relic of Progenitus, 3 Oblivion Stone, 2 Wurmcoil Engine
In: 4 Nature’s claim, 3 Thought-Knot Seer, 1 Surgical Extraction

 

Round 6: Loss 1-2 vs UR Phoenix *Tariq Patel

This match was more interactive and fun that my previous phoenix matchup, and I believe that Tariq was an excellent pilot of the deck. In game 1 I mulliganed to 5 but found some Tron nonsense and won with Ulamog. Game 2, I messed up and played my green spell into a Spell Pierce I knew about, and lost the game by not finding Tron. Game 3 was closer but having 2 active Pyromancer Ascension in play sealed the deal for my opponent.

Out: 2 Walking Ballista, 1 Karn Liberated, 1 Relic of Progenitus, 1 Ghost Quarter
In: 1 Grafdigger’s Cage, 3 Thragtusk, 1 Surgical Extraction

 

Round 7: Win vs Ad Nauseum 2-1

This was where I believed that my event was over, because this matchup is abysmal. Game 1 I managed to steal a game with natural Tron, Karn, Karn and Ulamog in that order. Game 2 my opponent had the Lotus Bloom start and I die in spectacular fashion. Game 3 played a lot like the first one, and I needed my opponents to fade a draw step for an untapped land so they couldn’t beat me, and that happened. Sometimes you have to just be lucky and hope for the best.

Out: 3 Relic of Progenitus, 4 Wurmcoil Engine
In: 3 Thought-Knot Seer, 4 Nature’s claim

 

Round 8: Win 2-0 vs Martyr Proc

Now we are in the weird part of the event for sure, and is a testament to the fact that people will play any modern deck that they’re comfortable with and tuned to beat the meta at large. In game 1 my opponent kept a very anemic hand while my hand was very stacked, and they never got off the ground. Game 2 I had a relic in play to insulate myself from Surgical Extraction nonsense from their Field of Ruins, and was able to bait my opponent to casting the Surgical I protected myself by using Relic to exile the land they targeted, and assembled Tron the following turn to end the game. I think that this matchup can be very tough if you’re not sure of what to look for, but having experience with this matchup helped me figure out what to do.

Out: I don’t think I changed anything but would bring in Nature’s Claim if I saw stony.

 

Round 9: win 2-0 for win and in against UR phoenix.

This matchup was a nail biter and a reason why I think Tron should just be the deck to play. On the draw I had to mulligan to five to find a natural Tron, Karn and Ulamog hand with a scry to the top of a tower. Karn answered the first Thing in the Ice and Ulamog ate the lands after my opponent missed their third and fourth land drop. Game 2 my opponent resolved a Blood Moon, but because of their mulligan to 5 they didn’t have the cards necessary to deal with both Thragtusk and Wurmcoil Engine.

Out: 2 Walking Ballista, 1 Karn Liberated, 1 Relic of Progenitus, 1 Ghost Quarter
In: 1 Grafdigger’s Cage, 3 Thragtusk, 1 Surgical Extraction

 

Round 10: ID with Titan Shift

 

And just like that I managed to secure my 4th Classic top 8.  I managed to get some value by being able to walk to a Chipotle that was nearby and crush a chicken steak burrito.

 

Quarter Finals: Win 2-0 vs Esper control

My opponent’s deck was gas, let’s start by mentioning that. I think the deck was built well, but it just didn’t line up well against Tron at the time. Game 1 I had natural Tron plus 3 Ancient Stirrings and game 2 my opponent took a mulligan to 5 and didn’t really get to play Magic.

Out: 3 Relic of Progenitus, 3 Oblivion Stone
In: 3 Thought-Knot Seer, 3 Thragtusk

 

Semifinals: Intentional scoop to Tariq Patel

We managed to reach a prize restructuring that was beneficial for both parties and I scooped the Match.

 

Overall the event was a lot of fun! Tron was a strong choice for the event, as it rewards great mulligan decisions and the consistency is something to be considered when trying to decide on a deck to play. This upcoming weekend, a few local friends trying to qualify will be traveling to Indy and it looks like I’ll be joining them. Stay tuned next week for that report!

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