I do enjoy playing a nice Azorius Control deck when I get the chance. A few weeks ago I got to play Azorius Control to a 12-3; 11th place finish at GP Tampa 2019.
I don’t think Azorius Control is the best deck in Modern but it does have the tools to beat certain decks if you try. The deck to beat right now is Izzet Phoenix so I tried to skew my decklist a bit toward that math up. I guess it worked out because I played against Phoenix 3 times in Tampa and won each time.
The sideboard and main deck of Azorius Control are very customizable. Azorius Control is a reactive deck and you have to try and tune it for the occasion. I like the version of Azorius with 《Terminus》. Azorius Control has a lot of consistency but it lacks the raw power that other decks in Modern have. 《Terminus》 lets you trade some consistency for a decent amount of power. It gives the deck a pseudo nut draw which this style of the deck doesn’t usually get to have. Casting 《Wrath of God》 for 1 mana on your opponent’s turn is really sweet when it happens.
3 《Hallowed Fountain》
4 《Flooded Strand》
4 《Celestial Colonnade》
1 《Glacial Fortress》
1 《Seachrome Coast》
4 《Field of Ruin》
-Land (25)- 3 《Snapcaster Mage》
4 《Path to Exile》
1 《Logic Knot》
1 《Mana Leak》
1 《Serum Visions》
1 《Spell Snare》
1 《Surgical Extraction》
3 《Cryptic Command》
1 《Search for Azcanta》
2 《Detention Sphere》
3 《Jace, the Mind Sculptor》
2 《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》
I played a 《Condemn》 as another answer to 《Thing in the Ice》 and 《Arclight Phoenix》 and also I put a 《Surgical Extraction》 in the main deck. I can’t definitively say that doing this is enough to swing the match up in the favor of Azorius Control but it seems at least reasonable. Lately there seems to be an uptick in the number of 《Pyromancer Ascension》 being played in the Phoenix decks which is a scary card for Azorius.
Sideboarding against Phoenix is a bit of a delicate balance because the deck can attack you from a few different angles. You want to not die to a bunch of 《Arclight Phoenix》 and have enough resources left over to beat fairer threats like 《Thing in the Ice》 and 《Crackling Drake》.
Also, you have to worry about things like 《Blood Moon》, 《Pyromancer Ascension》, and Planeswalkers. This means that I think it is a match up that requires a lighter touch to sideboarding. On the plus side, the Phoenix deck is a bit threat light and it is often not too difficult for them to run out of threats before you run out of answers.
If you are playing any in your maindeck definitely board them out.
It is very good to draw one but there are diminishing returns because additional copies are often dead although it is okay against 《Snapcaster Mage》 as well. I think 2 is a perfectly reasonable amount post board and 3 copies would probably be pushing it.
It is really good to have in play but I wouldn’t really want more than one. It is obviously expensive and clunky and it occasionally gets hit by a 《Beacon Bolt》.
It is fine. It can counter their counterspells and countering 《Manamorphose》 is often fine to do. It just isn’t a very exciting sideboard card.
I would sideboard in more if you had more to sideboard.
Dredge is a fairly scary deck to play against and it will probably only get scarier after the new mulligan rule is put into place. It’s pretty tough to win game one although it can be done with a timely 《Terminus》 or 《Surgical Extraction》 but even that may not be enough. Post board does improve because 《Rest in Peace》 is a very nice sideboard card. Dredge is a much more focused deck than Phoenix so the more good cards you have against them the better.
Again the more the merrier.
Here is another match up where the main deck 《Surgical Extraction》 is potentially relevant since you can potentially tag a Tron land after using 《Field of Ruin》. It’s not a perfect solution since it gets interrupted by 《Relic of Progenitus》 but it is still a lot better than 《Timely Reinforcements》. Try to keep them from assembling Tron for as long as possible. But it is still possible to grind them out in the long game with your counterspells and Planeswalkers.
It’s pretty nice. 2 or 3 would probably be the ideal amount.
It is sort of a pet card of mine in Azorius Control. It’s not bad against Tron since it can win relatively quickly and the tokens can defend your Planeswalkers from 《Thought-Knot Seer》 and 《Thragtusk》.
Games against Tron often go long and any grindy card is probably pretty good.
It is a totally fine card post board since it gets 《Thought-Knot Seer》 and other random creatures. Could see going down to 3 if you had lots of nice stuff to bring in.
Counterspells are pretty good against Tron.
This matchup is fine. If you get to cast 《Terminus》 at some point you will probably win and if you don’t you will probably lose. Try to use your 《Opt》 to maximize your chance of hitting 《Terminus》 if you can. This is the first match up where the main deck 《Surgical Extraction》 is very bad.
It is occasionally very good but very narrow. You probably want exactly one copy.
Counterspells are not great against Humans because of 《Cavern of Souls》 and 《Aether Vial》, but 《Spell Snare》 is efficient and they have a lot of 2 drops. 《Mana Leak》 is probably the next best one and can be left in on the play if you like.
Grixis Death’s Shadow
This is probably one of the best matchups for Azorius Control. You have a lot of inevitability and your answers generally line up pretty well. 《Surgical Extraction》 is not good here but it does something against 《Snapcaster Mage》. 《Timely Reinforcements》 would be better. 《Oust》 and 《Condemn》 are both great since making your opponent gain life can be quite beneficial.
It’s pretty great here. It gets most of their threats including 《Liliana of the Veil》. Bring in as many as you have.
It is a bit of an upgrade to 《Terminus》 since it is uncounterable and overall more reliable. You probably don’t want too many wraths because they also have some Planeswalkers.
It’s a classic control mirror. It is the way Magic was meant to be played.
It is okay against 《Snapcaster Mage》. You are happy to have it in game one but post board hopefully you have better things. I feel like 1 copy is fine to have in the deck.
It is a reasonable card to have post board since there can be 《Vendilion Clique》 to kill post board. Though obviously giving your opponent lands can be pretty bad in the early to mid game.
It’s not super clear to me how much the new mulligan rule will affect Modern. This change is not super great for Azorius Control since it the sort of deck that tries to win with consistency and the individual power of its cards. You tend not to mulligan very much and when you do there is often not a lot you can do to make up for lost cards.
On the other hand, if Dredge turns out to be better and more prevalent at least you can add more 《Rest in Peace》 and draw them slightly more. Also mulliganing to 6 and putting 《Terminus》 away seems kind of nice.