Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Future with Azorius

I've been fairly ill this week, which is why I not only missed my Tuesday post but was absent entirely from MPDC as well. I'm slowly getting back on my feet, and I should have another post Saturday to make up for the one I missed on Tuesday. Thanks for your patience!

A couple weeks ago, I was discussing the dominance of the Izzet Control archetype in Standard Pauper right now and examining whether or not Azorius might have the right tools to combat it. After that post, I spent some time experimenting with a very aggressive build that relied on powerful 2-drops and a great deal of spot removal to try and put a lot of early pressure on Izzet Control. And while the build seemed to have promise, ultimately it wasn't proving to be very effective. So I went back to the drawing board, and starting looking at ways to delay and sidestep Izzet's plan through effects that tap down creatures rather than removing them. This lead to playing quite a few more spells, which pushed the deck more towards the midrange and made Prowess creatures particularly attractive. Here's where I ended up:

These five creatures represent some of the stronger ones in Azorius colors, play well with spells, and have the added benefit of being immune to Twin  Bolt and other 2 point damage spells. The deck can also sift through its library very quickly thanks to Anticipate and Treasure Cruise, all the while casting plenty of spells to keep fuel for Delve. Send to Sleep has proven to be quite strong as long as you have Spell Mastery active, and this deck also finally gives Skyline Cascade a chance to shine. It's quite capable of locking down the worst creatures for two or three turns in a row, giving you plenty of time to power through with your Prowess-enabled creatures for the win.

Thus far I've had great success with this build against Izzet Control specifically. I also had three very close games against the sacrifice-themed Rakdos deck that is seeing more play. I wouldn't say I'm totally satisfied with this build, but I'm certainly pleased so far.

What changes or additions would you make? Let me know in the comments below.


  1. 1st- am sad to hear about illness. Best wishes for getting back on your feet ASAP!

    2nd- I think it's brilliant to drop maindeck permission in favor of tap effects, thereby making more room for other spells.

    3rd- Based on my own testing ( and trying to evolve this idea myself, please be careful of having x4 Treasure Cruises. Send to Sleep is very powerful with spell mastery!

    4th- Vigilance is pretty awesome, and we have prowess and renown mechanics that meet this deck's objectives

    5th- Why pick Felidar Cub over Erase? One is at instant speed that triggers prowess and delve. The creature only feeds delve (assuming you bring in cards from SB to thwart the enchantment; we have no artifacts to seriously fear yet).

    6th- Tipping my hand (I've been tweaking mine since you started writing; it gave me inspiration and hope of success vs Izzet Prowess! Thanks, man), you may want to consider adding Rush of Ice to cheaply and forcibly tap a stoic defender (i.e.: Student of Ojutai) AND still have mana to Sheer Drop/kill it. We're going to kill the targeted creature and feed their delve count anyway, per Sheer Drop, so make it easier to kill on our terms (i.e.: not having to wait for it to tap/attack) by having a 1cmc {U} sorcery (which also trigger our own prowess). Defiant Strike is just always welcomed, too. You've no way to deal with the current evolution of Izzet Prowess: more maindeck'd Whirlwind Adept. Go look at the recent PDCs. You've no way to stop this piece, so unless you are going to win quickly, Mage-Ring Bully just evolved into Whirlwind Adept and delayed that damning killer-combo by three turns. Plus, it's backed by solid counterspelling protection to help it resolve.

  2. 7th and Finally- You've always sought to help me. You've been friendly in the chats and provide me with some of my best entertainment when I look forward to your blogs about stuff we both enjoy. So, I share with the same spirit of virtual fraternity...something that has worked surprisingly well: Rebound. RED DOESN'T HAVE IT (yet?). With prowess, we want creatures on the board and spells cast every turn to buff them. A FREE spell on the turn after which I cast Taigam's Strike (which is arguably/effectively better than the 4th Send to Sleep, owing to delve), maybe even ANOTHER one, swings in effectively. I've enjoyed having at least on white-anthem effect to really take advantage of the tap-aftermath and/or unblockability), but am still toying with it (again, spell mastery vs delve is a serious summersault to consider- probably some better sideboarding considerations vs adding all of this stuff to the maindeck). Center Soul offers a different kind of "permission" spell (and based on the board, another way to make a creature unblockable), and Artful Maneuver can save our creatures from a lot (not all) targeted Rakdos removal...and all rebound spells work for prowess! I've done a few other things differently from your deck as posted, focused on fewer Treasure Cruise/Anticipates as card draw, and more cantrips. I added rebound mechanics to compliment prowess. I added lifegain. I added Defiant Strikes to combat Rush of Battles and Whirlwind Adepts. I added vigilance. Despite these changes, I think we may be able to craft individual and uniquely creative competitive decks to give our metagame pause.

    -Dave Kot, ComixWriter on MTGO

    1. EDIT: Disdainful Strokes, not necessarily Defiant Strike, is what I added to combat Rush of Battle and Whirlwind Adept. I do like Defiant Strike in the sideboard, though.