Lessons Learned from Pro Tour The Lord of the Rings

Lessons Learned from Pro Tour The Lord of the Rings

Mason ClarkModern

Pro Tours spark innovation and grow formats, as the best players use the best decks they can find to walk away the big winner. That held true in Barcelona at Pro Tour The Lord of the Rings last weekend, as players demonstrated the power of the new additions to Modern.

With that in mind, we’re going to examine some of the best decks from the event, all of which used cards from The Lord of the Rings.


Tron had an amazing weekend, which isn’t very surprising when you think about what The One Ring offers: protection and lots of cards to cast — if you have the mana to pay for them. Tron consistently struggles to get both and has no problem in the mana department. 

This deck just gets a bad rap because it feels like there’s not much skill to it. Now, to be fair, relative to all the other archetypes in Magic, that might be a true statement. But that’s just because many Tron decks maximize sequencing above all else. 

Tron also lines up pretty well with the meta. Four color piles were quite popular on Magic Online for the first two weeks after The Lord of the Rings released, and that matchup has always been a good one for Tron. While the Scam matchup is a taller task, the data proves it’s possible to overcome the deck.

Another thing to keep in mind about Tron is it’s a control deck. Your goal is to use your few, huge spells to end the game and dictate the pace of play. Tron overwhelms opponents with Karn, the Great Creator, which gives players access to a multitude of answers and threats (while also being handy in the mirror).

At the same time, players have known how to handle Tron decks for a while now. Decks like Murktide, which combine disruption, pressure and Blood Moon, are the perfect answer for getting a win. And as you go through history, there are plenty of cards good against Tron for every color. All that matters is knowing when it’s time to throw them into your sideboard.


This is the winning deck of the pro tour and also my pick for the best deck in Modern. It plays a strong, Midrange gameplan while also boasting overwhelming starts at very little deck building cost. 

Undying Evil and Undying Malice are two cards you wouldn’t normally play, but they are often just one mana to “counter” a kill spell. That is really efficient while also leading to insane turn one plays. But the real upside of this deck is its mana efficiency. You can easily play the whole game off one or two lands and not be at a huge deficit. 

This deck also sports access to main deck Blood Moon, meaning matchups like Tron (which might traditionally be a bit of a struggle) really fold to all the early pressure and the disruption. There’s also the matter of another four-of card in this deck that’s basically a Ragavan and The One Ring hate piece: Orcish Bowmasters

Bowmasters has taken Modern by storm. Much like Wrenn and Six, this card is helping push Ragavan down (in multiple ways between the ping and multiple bodies), as it’s very hard for the little monkey to ever connect against this card. As for how it punishes The One Ring, forcing opponents to pay for their cards upfront is all you need. 

Despite all these aspects that make Scam seem like a weird “gotcha” deck, you need to take seriously (considering it won and all).


Rhinos is a tempo deck. As the rhinos player, your goal is to get a clock on the board early and then protect it. But why has the Rhinos deck improved so much? That’s where island cycle comes in 

The addition of Lorien Revealed means you can play cards like Subtlety and Force of Negation while still having something blue to consistently pitch to them. This might not seem like a huge upgrade, but in practice it’s pivotal to Rhino’s success. Before the deck just didn’t have that many free spells to protect its win-con. 

Rhinos is also a Blood Moon deck with a fast clock, making for a good Tron matchup. As we saw earlier, that is huge given the deck’s position. 

Rhinos also sports a good Scam matchup. Every Rhino coming with a friend makes it incredibly taxing on the one for one nature of the Scam deck — plus having the two blue forces in the format makes it very hard for Scam to actually scam you. 

Rhinos is sort of the “meta breaker.” The two decks that are perceived as the best struggle with Rhinos. And when your deck really just struggles with cards like Chalice of the Void, and game is definitely winnable.