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Azorius Decks for Every Arena Format

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The Color Challenge is my attempt to make good Standard, Historic, and Brawl decks for best-of-one MTG Arena in every combination of colors. This week's Color Challenge is Azorius (uw).

I wrote last week about my love for Blue/White control strategies, and you will see my devotion to the slowest, most methodical, some would say the most annoying archetype in Magic this week. It's time for the Azorius Color Challenge!

Deck #1


Nothing makes me think of old-school Magic like draw-go uw Control with Wraths (spells that destroy all creatures, like Time Wipe), counterspells (like Absorb), and card draw (Chemister's Insight, Gadwick, the Wizened). This deck can be very powerful if you do two things well:

  1. Survive the early onslaught of creatures.
  2. Keep Teferi, Time Raveler off the opponent's side of the battlefield and on yours.

Step one is pretty hard. The uw color combination lacks effective early removal. Cards like Gideon's Triumph are terrible if half the field plays with Cauldon Familiar. I am seriously considering Augur of Bolas even though it will miss often. Wall of Runes is something I am thinking about. Lord help us. I tried out Raise the Alarm and Fblthp, the Lost and I can't recommend them. As the deck is, Brazen Borrower and Quench are the two mana plays that keep us alive. If you are on the draw you should mulligan any hand that doesn't have one of these cards, or you will fall too far behind.

Teferi, Time Raveler

Point number two is all about this busted planeswalker. Teferi, Time Raveler makes your life easier if you control him, and miserable if the opponent controls him. An opponent's Teferi, Time Raveler's passive ability keeps you from casting Absorb and Quench. Your Brazen Borrowers and Chemister's Insights lose their Flash/Instant status. On the other hand, if you control Teferi, Time Raveler you get to play on easy mode. The opponent can't respond at instant speed to your activation of Castle Ardenvale or your casting of Chemister's Insight. They can't even counter your counterspell! If the opponent is playing uw lands, the matchup is all about who has Teferi, Time Raveler.

Disenchant

I believe Disenchant is a maindeck worthy card now. I ran one copy in this list, but I have tried as many as three. Witch's Oven, Trail of Crumbs, Fires of Invention, Wilderness Reclamation, and The Great Henge are regular targets I run into. Give it a try and see what happens.

If any aggro-loving mages are still reading, don't worry, Azorius has something for you! How about an army of cheap, unblockable, indestructible creatures with an instant-speed 2 mana pump effect.

Deck #2


The plan is simple, play a ton of small flying creatures and attack for lethal with help from Rally of Wings. There is no question that Rally of Wings is the key card in this deck. Empyrean Eagle is great unless it gets killed, so cast it at a time when you can get some hits in before it dies. Sephara, Sky's Blade is even worse in this regard because casting her often requires you to skip an attack. If you have Rally of Wings you can live the dream and cast Sephara, Sky's Blade, then cast Rally of Wings to untap your creatures and still attack with them, but remember that Rally of Wings is what is killing the opponent, not Sephara, Sky's Blade. That is why we cut her back to two copies.

Rally of Wings
Sephara, Sky's Blade

I tried a slower version of this deck with Depose // Deploy, Dovin's Veto, and Hanged Executioner. I want to play a "smarter", more tempo oriented deck, but in the end the results of the hyper-aggressive version were much better. This deck simply doesn't hang well in a long game, so get it over with! Cauldron Familiar's greatest weakness is that the kitty cannot fly!

Deck #3


Esper Dance decks have been adopted in Throne of Eldraine Standard by desperate Esper Control fans looking for something familiar. The deck doesn't lose a lot by shifting to Azorius, and it allows the deck to have a smoother mana base and use some underplayed cards.

Emry, Lurker of the Loch

Emry, Lurker of the Loch is a value engine for the deck that can get out of hand if left unchecked for a very low cost. Getting back an egg (Guild Globe or Golden Egg) every turn is nice, but Emry, Lurker of the Loch really shines when she is casting a Prison Realm you milled or a Glass Casket you blew up with Cavalier of Dawn.

Cavalier of Dawn

The vigilant White Elemental Knight hasn't seen much play in Standard because it was such an easy target for an Elking before Oko, Thief of Crowns caught a blow from the banhammer. In this deck Cavalier of Dawn is a heavy hitter, living up to its Mythic status. Consider this common situation. You play Cavalier of Dawn destroying your opponent's key planeswalker, enchantment, artifact, or creature and you leave them with a Golem token. The next turn they play more creatures. You play Glass Casket exiling the Golem token, and now the opponent's creatures don't line up well with a 4/6 vigilant threat. The opponent casts more creatures. You cast Time Wipe and return the Cavalier of Dawn to your hand. Next turn you can play it to Golemify an opposing threat, or you can turn your empty Glass Casket into a Golem on your battlefield. Teferi, Time Raveler can also return Cavalier of Dawn to your hand for another trigger. Don't forget to put an egg, a Prison Realm, or a Glass Casket in the graveyard so that if your Cavalier of Dawn dies you get value from the death trigger.

After playing all three of these decks, here is how I would rank them for the current Standard meta:

  1. uw Control
  2. uw Dance
  3. uw Fliers

uw Fliers fold quickly to Deafening Clarion and there aren't many good options for the deck. Mayhem Devil is also a nightmare for the deck. uw Dance is fun, but it is very slow to get going and it has real problems with Casualties of War, a card that has become very popular online. A deck that easily counters Casualties of War is uw Control, and I think the deck will be on the upswing if it can find some early plays that aren't terrible.

Bonus Azorius videos and lists for Historic and Brawl! If you want to cast Teferi in every MTG Arena format, these are for you:

Deck #4


Deck #5


Next week begins the Rakdos Color Challenge. I can't wait to see what the br color combination is capable of.