Hey everyone, Alessandro Moretti here from the Top 8 of Paupergeddon Milan 2019!
I ended up with a 6-1-1 record with Dinrova Tron after losing to the eventual winner of the event who played Red Deck Wins.
I opted to play Dinrova Tron for a couple of reasons: it’s easy to play (/s) and the one I enjoy the most, plus I wanted another good placement with the deck.
It was an additional plus the fact that the deck is well placed in the meta-game (since Boros is pretty popular) as long as you setup the deck accordingly.
I’ve been playing this list since basically November 2017, with a few changes when needed:
Dinrova Tron by Alessandro Moretti, Top8
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Remote Isle
3 Swiftwater Cliffs
2 Unknown Shores
4 Urza's Mine
4 Urza's Power Plant
4 Urza's Tower
3 Thornwood Falls
2 Mnemonic Wall
2 Dinrova Horror
2 Forbidden Alchemy
2 Ghostly Flicker
2 Mystical Teachings
2 Pulse of Murasa
1 Rolling Thunder
2 Expedition Map
4 Prophetic Prism
1 Crop rotation
2 Moment's Peace
1 Doom Blade
1 Echoing Decay
1 Dimir Signet
1 Compulsive Research
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Moment's Peace
1 Lightning Axe
1 Doom Blade
1 Fangren Marauder
2 Ulamog's Crusher
During the swiss rounds I faced:
Boros Monarch 2-0
Izzet Blitz 2-0
UB Alchemy 2-0
UB Delver 1-1
Rakdos Monarch 2-1
Of these matches Boros, UB Alchemy and Burn I would say I was favored, Izzet Blitz and Rakdos unfavorable while Elves and UB Delver can go either way based on how the games unfold.
I’m sorry because I don’t recall the names of my opponents due to sleep deprivation, but if you want them added to the report just say who you are!
Now, onto the matches themselves.
Match 1: Boros Monarch
The match-up is generally favorable for Tron because even with a weak start you can get back into the game.
The main things to watch out for in the match-up are:
Sideboard cards already in the main deck (such as Relic of Progenitus, often seen in Italian deck lists)
A very aggro start with a ton of burn spells.
Not knowing what I was up against I keep a slow hand, but luckily for me he has no red mana in the first few turns so all he does is Kor Skyfisher on turn 2 and Glint Hawk on turn 3.
Little happens until my 6th/7th turn when I find the third Tron land and between draws and tutors I end up with the Mnemonic Wall + Dinrova + Flicker loop.
Playing defense against Monarch is often wrong given we play a limited amount of removal and virtually no answers to a Monarch emblem.
We take for granted that out opponent will play something like 4 Pyroblast and 2 Relic of Progenitus to limit our sources of Card Advantage and counter-magic for Palace Sentinels.
Since Boros doesn’t usually start off very aggressive, I like to dilute the answers to aggro and play some aggressive cards myself.
-2 Fire//Ice: a pretty mediocre card since most of his dudes have 2+ toughness
+2 Ulamog’s Crusher: one of the aggressive cards I was talking about. I play 2 copies to deal with exile effects on their part if they Journey or Oblivion Ring it early, while also hoping to play one in the first few turns off a quick Tron.
+1 Fangren Marauder: it helps with slowing them down gaining 5 life for every card they draw off a Clue token or at the very least will eat a couple burn spells that aren’t going to my face.
The first Horror will be dealt with by a Journey to Nowhere after bouncing a Boros Garrison, the second one will target that Journey while I keep his aggression at bay with trading, Echoing Decay and the game will soon end after I Mystical Teachings for a Ghostly Flicker to keep him out of mana.
Ulamog’s Crusher: see above
Match 2: Izzet Kiln Fiend
One of the historically worse match-ups for Tron.
The deck is too fast and we lack early answers to his game plan and game 1 is always lost even if played well.
This time tho my opponent is really unlucky.
I keep 6 or 7 while he mulls down to 5.
Since I don’t know what my opponent is actually playing, I’m guessing either UW Tribe, UB Delver or Kiln. I opt for an hybrid sideboard plan, keeping in mind UB Delver because it is the most likely deck given the recent evolution of the meta-game
I keep a decent hand with a couple of answers and mana to play them.
When I see the red mana I turn pale.
On his 3rd end step an Alchemy of mine eats a Pyroblast but my opponent isn’t too sure about the play.
I can either discard Crop Rotation to Lightning Axe with Pyro backup or Crop for Tower, Lightning Axe with 6 mana, the problem is if Crop gets Dispelled, I’m done.
I opt for the second choice and turns out in my favor.
Then comes and unexpected Thermo-Alchemist that doesn’t do much, despite my opponent having a full grip.
I save a Doom Blade for more threatening creatures that won’t come, since he keeps doing nothing and concedes soon after killed by mana flood.
While this kind of matches against them is NOT the norm, our best cards are Hydroblast, Pyroblast, Doom Blade and Lightning Axe.
The match-up verges on surviving by playing as many removals and as much colored mana as possible.
Completing the Urzatron isn’t a priority unless we need to speed the game up via mana and card advantage.
Match 3: Dimir Alchemy
The match-up usually favors the Tron player already and I’m playing an higher amount of counter-magic which is a good place to be in to avoid a draw due to time constraints.
Not entirely sure of the matches, I might have details wrong.
The game stales for quite some time as expected for the match-up until I manage to loop Horrors to delete his mana base.
Having no actual race nor burn spells Alchemy will rely mostly on Gurmag Anglers to close the game along with a mix of card advantage and removal. Which is fine for me, since the engine of Flicker Tron is much better.
With that in mind, anti-aggro cards will go in favor of additional counter-magic and answers to Gurmag.
-1 Echoing Decay: see above
-2 Fire//Ice: see above
-1 Prohibit: the only real target are counterspells.
+1 Lightning Axe: answers Gurmag quite well.
In this match-up we are always the control deck and have a shell better suited to do so, having more mana, better engine and better late game.
Unwind: another match where being able to use counter-magic and then Teachings or Alchemy is key to keep ahead.
Match 4: Burn
With Dinrova Tron or Murasa Tron, Burn is quite an easy match if played correctly.
Having no removal will put you at a disadvantage, but playing as little as 4 will make the games much better being able to deal with Thermo-Alchemist, Firebrand Archer and Ghitu Lavarunner although the latter isn’t particularly good against Flicker Tron.
In all 3 game we both keep very good hands showing why both decks are at the top of the meta-game.
His Gitaxian Probe on turn 1 depresses me a bit because I thought I’d have to play against another blue-based decks but I cheer when I see him Lava Spiking me.
I keep with 2 out of 3 Tron lands and naturally draw the 3rd one.
My line of play is Mine-Plant-Prism and Tower on my 3rd turn. I then crack Map for Remote Isle with Mystical Teachings in had.
On the other side just Lavarunner and double Curse of the Pierced Heart.
On my 4th turn I’m at 6 life and my only line of play is to Teachings for Pulse to recover Remote Isle in my turn, hoping none of his 3 cards in hand is instant speed burn.
Post side we need to slow him down as much as possible to reach a mid to late game where we can Pulse of Murasa back to a comfortable life total.
An early Urzatron is irrelevant in the match-up since we need colored mana to interact with them
-2 Moment’s Peace: their most deadly creatures don’t need to take combat steps.
-1 Echoing Decay: it only kills Ghitu Lavarunner
I Pulsed at least three times this game while removing all his Curses with no problems.
Proceed to draw the missing Urza Lands.
Same as the previous game, I have a pretty good hand with double coloured mana by turn 4.
After trading spells and creatures for a few turns I end up with a low life total but I’m able to Teachings for a Pulse of Murasa to seal the deal.
Match 5: Elves
The match-up is usually unwinnable barring incredibly lucky draws or playing a different setup with Flame Slash, Lightning Bolt and Electrickery since it’s a race to who can go bigger the fastest but Tron is just too slow.
The removals I play are geared tot he Delver and Boros match-up but I can luck out and draw as many as I can.
My opponent folds when I counter his last card in hand: Lead the Stampede.
Siding is pretty easy: get rid of all the counter-magic and cram as many removals and Moment’s Peace in there.
Wellwisher isn’t a problem in real life like it’s on MTGO since it won’t stop you from winning quickly.
-2 Dinrova Horror: over-costed and slow, doesn’t do enough for 6 mana.
+1 Ancient Grudge for the eventual Longbow
I proceed to forfeit around turn 7 when an unanswered Ulamog’s Crusher has the best of me and my board.
This has been the worse of the 3 games, never finding the 3rd Urza land nor answers for Ulamog’s Crusher.
I kept with Moment’s Peace but didn’t draw the right answers to fight Elves.
Match 6: Burn
Another easy match-up
It’s over on turn 4 due to natural Tron that allows me to Teachings for Pulse of Murasa and win off that.
I keep with 2 lands, Dimir Signet and multiple answers.
The game continues with me finding more lands (no Tron) in the classic URx Control vs Burn match-up where I trade counter-magic for his damage while drawing cards whenever possible.
I tap low to play a Mulldrifter while on a safe life total that will net me something like 10-12 damage over the next few turns.
Match 7: UB Delver
I know what he’s on since we played close the turns before.
I think my UB match-up is good.
He thinks his Tron match-up is good.
Let’s see who’s right!
I keep a good hand with card-draw and at least two lands, while he wastes the first couple turns with cantrips.
On the 3rd turn I have two different Urza lands, untapped Thornwood Falls with Crop Rotation, Mulldrifter and Prophetic Prism in hand.
I reckon that leaving him more time to set up a race while I do nothing won’t be optimal so I risk the Crop Rotation that resolves, followed by Prism and Mulldrifter.
This quickly puts me in the driver’s seat and my opponent realizes quickly that I’m too far ahead and concedes.
-2 Moment’s Peace: the fog lock is too slow to come online and leaves me vulnerable in the early game if I don’t resolve threats for good.
-1 Ghostly Flicker: Flicker lock is slow too and my opponent won’t easily let me achieve that.
I keep my 7 with a few gainlands and some card draw, giving my opponent some credit and knowing he most likely sided Daze out.
Urzatron is far to come, around 7th turn, but I can quickly solve Delvers and set up my game plan.
During all this, my opponent is on 10 due to Mulldrifter beats.
I misplay trying to trade a Gurmag that I try and Echoing Decay after blocks, but my opponent has double counter-magic and I just lose the Horror. After this, my opponent plays a Relic of Progenitus with me out of mana.
Since I wanted to kill Gurmag because I was afraid of going too low on life total I should’ve played that differently and Echoing Decayed before blockers, that led me to forget about the possibility of a Relic of Progenitus that late into the game.
Relic will basically be the card that wins him the game on the spot since when he untaps with it in play, it exiles 2 Forbidden Alchemy and a Mystical Teachings that made me die to a bit of flood and no ways to generate any answer or card advantage.
The 3rd game starts with only 10 minutes left on the clock which means I’ll probably draw this one out.
I’m forced to keep at 6 due to time constraints with a single land and Dimir Signet but luckily the Scry shows me a land on top.
He goes double Delver, I answer with double removal.
The game goes on for a while with weak hands on both sides until a Gurmag Angler is answered with a Dinrova Horror.
When time is over I’m at 5 and I just block and remove creatures and chimp like a madman.
On the last possible turn he’s on 2 Angler and I’m with Dinrova, Mnemonic Wall and another piece I don’t remember.
The match-up isn’t one-sided as some may think.
It’s a very interactive game focused around trades of resources, where Tron aims to generate card advantage and buy time while UB Delver needs a quick race.
The most threatening card in the match-up is probably Delver since it attacks one of Tron’s weakest point in the game: the first few turns where we set up.
Which in turns makes Gurmag Angler much more threatening.
Lightning Axe: the cheapest answer to Gurmag that doesn’t force me into another color
Dinrova Horror: UB Delver doesn’t have answers to it and it always buys us a bit of time by slowing their race
Fire//Ice: tapping mana in upkeep against a deck that plays with 2-3 lands at most can be quite backbreaking.
Fun fact: I once killed double Delver in another event.
Turn 8: Rakdos Monarch
This midrange deck is designed to prey on Tron archetypes because it keeps attacking the hand and graveyard, but I played the match-up extensively on both sides and know that my best bet is overkill card advantage and Rolling Thunder.
I manage to keep a Pulse of Murasa, Ghostly Flicker and Prohibit in hand that allows me to avoid him playing a Thorn of the Black Rose while I draw multiple cards a turn with Flicker on Wall and Prism.
He quickly concedes soon after.
I will only win if I either put too much pressure on him or if I chain too many Mulldrifters.
+2 Hydroblast: I need some more countermagic for Blightning that really hurts early on.
-2 Moment’s Peace
-2 Fire//Ice: I could’ve kept these in but they just tap Gurmag Angler and can’t kill Thorn of the Black Rose
-1 Ghostly Flicker: my board will most likely be empty so I won’t really have many uses for it.
-1 Doom Blade.
5th turn Thorn of the Black Rose with Pyroblast backup.
I concede quickly after.
Shame this game wasn’t streamed because it was kind of unbelievable.
I get hit by:
I end up with an early Urzatron but my hands is already empty, I end up stealing his Monarchy somehow and keeping his board as empty as I can.
The first Crusher comes when he’s on only 1 Chittering Rats, I’m ready to move it to the graveyard but weirdly enough it survives.
I tell him «Now I’m expecting a Thorn of the Black Rose».
And here we go: Night’s Whisper first, Thorn of the Black Rose, go.
My turn: I play Mulldrifter and I draw the second Ulamog’s Crusher
The first eldrazi just die on thorn, he second went discarded via Blightning. :'(
I get out of that with a couple Mulldrifters, Mnemonic Wall and becoming the monarch in quick succession.
Shortly after my opponent is on 14 life, I have 13 mana with Power Plant and Rolling Thunder in hand.
I can either clear the board and deal some damage to him, keep both in hand, got to 3 life from his attack and hoping for a good top deck even when my opponent has Raven’s Crime in the graveyard.
My only out tot he game is Urza’s Tower.
Promptly I draw one and Rolling Thunder him for 14. Sweet victory.
Anything that generates card advantage is key in the match-up
Bojuka Bog because Raven’s Crime.
Awesome! Brand new play mat for me!
I really hope to face Burn or some other decent match-ups in this quarter final.
Instead I face RDW which is probably the worst match-up I could find in this Top 8.
Unknowing of what my opponent’s playing, I keep a slow hand with just some card draw and a couple counters with 3 lands.
I just need cheap, quick answers to aggro and that’s it.
He starts with 1 drop into Valley Dasher, I Hydroblast the Dasher.
Not sure if there are cards that can effectively swing the match-up much other than Moment’s Peace and Hydroblast, the best option would be Stonehorn Dignitary because it circumvents the Flaring Pains they probably play.
Other than that, just hope they draw badly.
One last paragraph to give my last impressions about the whole tournament: the environment is growing bigger and bigger and while I played forward and won more games I clearly felt the players getting better and better.
Even Burn players were pretty good, for as much as one can be playing Burn.
Despite that people were calm and friendly, like every other Italian tournament.
I was pretty happy to see old and new faces and knowing interesting people.
I guess I can now go back and try to achieve my bachelor.