Azorius Control in Standard

Javier Dominguez

Javier Dominguez

Introduction

Hola!

Last weekend the very first MPL League Weekend took place and my weapon of choice was Azorius Yorion control, so I’m here to talk about how I built my version and some tips and tricks about the deck.

Azorius Blink or Azorius Control?

In my opinion, those two decks are different archetypes and they operate differently, even if they share many cards.

Here is my decklist for the MPL League Weekend:

My deck was basically a control deck with some synergistic elements to accommodate the Yorions in the deck. In contrast, here is what Brian Braun-Duin submitted:

Then again, we have a lot of cards in common, but his deck is way more cohesive while my deck was relying on the raw card advantage generated by cards like 《Mazemind Tome》.

Card Choices

I’m going to briefly talk about some of my deckbuilding decisions but I’m also going to mention some cards that I ultimately decided to cut from my deck.

《Charming Prince》

Charming Prince

I early identified 《Charming Prince》 as a liability when my opponents were trying to interact with my shell, but it was also a card that was very good at letting me go over the top of other strategies.

Cutting it made my deck way more resilient against interaction, but it also made it so I couldn’t have those situations where you assemble 《Charming Prince》 + 《Barrin, Tolarian Archmage》 + 《Yorion, Sky Nomad》 + 《Omen of the Sea》 + 《Elspeth Conquers Death》 that pretty much will get out of any trouble. I think it is important for all the decisions in deck building to internally make sense, and it was clear to me that if I was going to cut elements like 《Charming Prince》, I would have to rely on my interaction spells.

《Barrin, Tolarian Archmage》

Barrin, Tolarian Archmage

《Barrin, Tolarian Archmage》 is one of the cards that I liked the most in the early days of Azorius Blink since it would often define matchups against creature decks. However, 《Barrin, Tolarian Archmage》 is very underwhelming in the mirror matches, and even if it interacts very well with 《Skyclave Apparition》 it just wasn’t very played in the tournament for that reason.

《Thassa, Deep-Dwelling》

Thassa, Deep-Dwelling

《Thassa, Deep-Dwelling》 behaved similarly to 《Charming Prince》 even if the raw power was higher. When I just started cutting the synergy pieces, every single of them predictably got worse so I just ended with 0 copies of either.

《Skyclave Apparition》

Skyclave Apparition

《Skyclave Apparition》 is easily one of the most powerful cards in Standard and we are going to see a lot of this card while it remains legal in the format. Already an eternal formats staple, 《Skyclave Apparition》 is simply a very efficient card that doesn’t ask for much but does a lot of work at dealing with different permanents. One of the reasons to be on this archetype.

《Elspeth Conquers Death》

Elspeth Conquers Death

《Elspeth Conquers Death》 is one of the most important cards in the deck as well, and many of the deckbuilding decisions are made because of the existence of this powerful card on either side of the table. I didn’t go as far as playing 《Thirst for Meaning》 to make it better, but ECD wanted me to at least play some creatures. Which lead me to…

《Solemn Simulacrum》

Solemn Simulacrum

I was one of the few players to not cut 《Solemn Simulacrum》 out of the control builds. The reasoning behind not playing 《Solemn Simulacrum》 is that it doesn’t play well with counterspells. While I agree with that statement itself, what happened in my experience was that counterspells made me need even more mana than in the more blink-oriented version, and I because of that I wanted to have 《Solemn Simulacrum》 in my deck in about every matchup. It also curves quite well with 《Dream Trawler》.

《Glasspool Mimic》

Glasspool Mimic

I liked 《Glasspool Mimic》 a lot. Being a land, it doesn’t take much for it to be worth the slot. While it usually becomes a second copy of 《Solemn Simulacrum》, the ideal scenario is creating a second 《Dream Trawler》 threat which usually locks the game in our favor.

《Yorion, Sky Nomad》

Yorion, Sky Nomad

《Yorion, Sky Nomad》 isn’t very good in this deck. While it is a massive powerhouse in the Blink archetype, it is sometimes very underwhelming here, as you often end casting 《Yorion, Sky Nomad》 as a simply 4/5 for 5 mana without abilities. That said, 《Yorion, Sky Nomad》 is still the best thing you can do in certain board states and clearly worth a slot, but I wouldn’t want to have more copies and it can be sometimes trimmed if your 《Elspeth Conquers Death》 are bad.

《Dream Trawler》

Dream Trawler

I’m a huge fan of 《Dream Trawler》 in this deck, and I also liked it on the Blink builds. 《Dream Trawler》 simply has an excellent power level ratio for 6 mana and can win games where no other card would. We can even slam it on turn 5!

《Ondu Inversion》

Ondu Inversion

《Ondu Inversion》 was pretty good for me as a way to have an additional sweeper even if it was sometimes clunky, particularly post board, where sometimes I would be very light on answers against some unexpected threats. 8 mana is certainly a lot, but I like having options like this to dig into if a game goes very long.

《Sea Gate Restoration》

Sea Gate Restoration

《Sea Gate Restoration》 works similarly since it is a card that costs 7 and doesn’t affect the board. However, on the rare instances where it is cast, it can simply win the game on the spot if it draws 6+ cards in a control mirror.

《Mazemind Tome》

Mazemind Tome

4 copies of 《Mazemind Tome》 was a concession to the mirror match, where this card is likely the best thing you can have on your starting hand. Keep in mind that if you are on the draw and your hand is relatively weak, it is often better to just save it until you can guarantee to draw a card out of it since it is pretty bad to give the opponent a great 《Skyclave Apparition》 turn in a situation where otherwise that card would be quite bad for them.

《Omen of the Sun》

Omen of the Sun

While everyone agrees on 《Omen of the Sea》 being great, 《Omen of the Sun》 is a cut I decided to make since I found it very underwhelming unless you got to repeatedly trigger its ability. 《Omen of the Sun》 is a card that can sometimes win a game on its own against an aggressive deck, but I chose to play 《Solemn Simulacrum》 on this synergistic slot since I expected control mirrors to be common and I think the artifact just simply outclasses this enchantment.

《The Birth of Meletis》

The Birth of Meletis

I don’t like 《The Birth of Meletis》 much. I think it is a little overrated and overall a card that doesn’t do much unless a 0/4 blocker is relevant or the opponent is playing 《Doom Foretold》. It is still an effect that can smooth some draws and has a minor interaction with 《Yorion, Sky Nomad》 where we can get an extra 《Plains》 into our hand, but overall this card was weak to me and I ended playing only 2 copies which made sideboarding easier in many matchups.

《Glimpse of Freedom》

Glimpse of Freedom

I played 2 《Glimpse of Freedom》 instead of the 3rd-4th copy of 《The Birth of Meletis》. It’s not like I think 《Glimpse of Freedom》 is extremely good, but as I said I don’t like 《The Birth of Meletis》 and I clearly didn’t want to draw multiples even against decks like Adventures, so I went for a split that would also save me some sideboard slots. It is also a card that can be really good against the worst matchup of the deck, Dimir Rogues.

《Essence Scatter》

Essence Scatter

I went for a full playset of 《Essence Scatter》 since I expected most decks to have a high creature count. 《Essence Scatter》 is also the best answer to 《Yorion, Sky Nomad》, since its a very efficient answer to a 5 mana threat that does its job as soon as it enters the battlefield.

《Glass Casket》

Glass Casket

In exchange, I had to cut some 《Glass Casket》s from the maindeck, which was not a very good call considering the number of Rogue decks we saw on the event. I think 《Glass Casket》 is a superior answer to their creatures even if it looks like it would be the other way around, being 《Essence Scatter》 an instant.

The way games often play, the Rogue player decides when to play their creatures, so it is very awkward to sequence 《Essence Scatter》 properly. With 《Glass Casket》, on the other hand, you can decide when to play it once there is a creature on the battlefield, and lets you double-spell with cards like 《Negate》.

《Shatter the Sky》

Shatter the Sky

I choose 《Shatter the Sky》 as my main removal spell and went with the full four copies. It was the best card to hedge against green decks in case they were very popular and I found them way better than 《Glass Casket》 on the mirror match. The biggest reason for that was 《Dream Trawler》, who is otherwise unanswerable, and I expected a lot of 《Dream Trawler》 decks.

《Negate》

Negate

I played 3 《Negate》s which might seem odd considering I had so many 《Essence Scatter》s, but I think 《Elspeth Conquers Death》 is that strong against other Azorius decks that I did like having answers to that card. I also think a common losing pattern against green decks involved either 《The Great Henge》 and 《Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate》, and 《Negate》 can answer both even if its not a great card against those archetypes.

《Sublime Epiphany》

Sublime Epiphany

I like 《Sublime Epiphany》. While it is obviously a very heavy spell I think it is very well worth every single one of those 6 mana. Not only it can lead to very spectacular turns copying cards like 《Solemn Simulacrum》 or even 《Yorion, Sky Nomad》, but it is also an excellent answer to 《Shark Typhoon》, which is a problematic card that gets around both 《Skyclave Apparition》 and 《Elspeth Conquers Death》.

《Crawling Barrens》

Crawling Barrens

I went for 《Crawling Barrens》 over other utility lands like 《Castle Vantress》 or 《Castle Ardenvale》. On 5 mana, I think 《Crawling Barrens》 is almost certainly worse than both of them, but I found myself rarely having nothing to do with mana on the early turns on the game.

It was on the very long game where I wanted some kind of action on my lands, and it is on situations where players have 12+ lands where 《Crawling Barrens》 really shines. 《Crawling Barrens》 is not relevant very often, but when it is, it can just steal a game, which in my opinion justifies adding a colorless land in an otherwise decent mana base.

《Giant Killer》

Giant Killer

《Giant Killer》 is a decent card against green decks that also offered some small protection against decks with 《Shark Typhoon》. If Gruul is the new deck to beat I could see more copies being correct, even though I don’t think this is a card that is worth a maindeck slot.

《Shark Typhoon》

Shark Typhoon

I probably should have played some maindeck 《Shark Typhoon》, because it was very complicated for me to navigate maindeck games where my opponent did have access to it and I didn’t. Against U/B decks, it is also an excellent card to jam on 6 mana if they can’t counter it, and overall it is just very good against anything that plays counterspells. It can also replace 《Mazemind Tome》 against aggressive decks since it is still a decent card if our plan is removal-based.

《Mystic Subdual》

Mystic Subdual

《Mystic Subdual》 is what I used my sideboard slots on after cutting those two 《The Birth of Meletis》 copies out of my deck. 《Edgewall Innkeeper》 is a card that must be dealt with, and overall I think subdual is a reasonable card to pair with 《Essence Scatter》, where we can save our mana to play the counterspell, and if nothing happens, we can just cast subdual somewhere.

It is also better against rogues than 《Essence Scatter》 or 《Glass Casket》, since it simply offers the best of both cards against them. I’m happy that I decided to play this card even if it looks very weak.

《Soul-Guide Lantern》

Soul-Guide Lantern

While 《Soul-Guide Lantern》 is obviously excellent against Rakdos Kroxa decks, the reason why I had it in my deck was 《Agadeem’s Awakening》. With my main removal being 《Shatter the Sky》 I lost enough games to that sorcery that I decided it was a good idea to have an answer to it on my sideboard.

The MPL League Weekend

My result with the deck was 7 wins and 5 loses, and while that doesn’t sound very good compared to what we usually see in tournaments, I think it’s an acceptable result considering the level of the opposition.

Shatter the Sky

Yorion was not a good deck to be on for this event, since players aimed to beat it… and they succeeded. What does that mean for the archeype? I think it’s actually almost good news, since it means the metagame will now try to beat other decks instead of having a bunch of maindeck counterspells. Gruul was the best performing deck of the MPL weekend, and that is good news for 《Shatter the Sky》 itself!

Sideboard Guide

Sideboarding with a reactive decks always depends on what you see, since you want to try to line up your answers with their threats. Keep that in mind adapting your sideboarding decisions.

Azorious Yorion

vs. Azorious Yorion

Out

Shatter the Sky Shatter the Sky Shatter the Sky Glass Casket
Essence Scatter Essence Scatter
The Birth of Meletis The Birth of Meletis

In

Shark Typhoon Shark Typhoon Shark Typhoon Shark Typhoon
Mystical Dispute Mystical Dispute
Sublime Epiphany Giant Killer

Dimir Rogues

vs. Dimir Rogues

Out

Elspeth Conquers Death Elspeth Conquers Death Elspeth Conquers Death Elspeth Conquers Death
Essence Scatter Essence Scatter
The Birth of Meletis The Birth of Meletis
Mazemind Tome Mazemind Tome

In

Shark Typhoon Shark Typhoon Shark Typhoon Shark Typhoon
Mystical Dispute Mystical Dispute
Mystic Subdual Mystic Subdual
Glass Casket Glass Casket

Rakdos Kroxa

vs. Rakdos Kroxa

Out

Glimpse of Freedom Glimpse of Freedom
Mystical Dispute Mystical Dispute
Elspeth Conquers Death Negate
Mazemind Tome

In

Giant Killer Giant Killer
Mystic Subdual Mystic Subdual
Glass Casket Glass Casket
Soul-Guide Lantern

Gruul

vs. Gruul

Out

Mazemind Tome Mazemind Tome Mazemind Tome Mazemind Tome
Glimpse of Freedom Glimpse of Freedom
Mystical Dispute Mystical Dispute

In

Mystic Subdual Mystic Subdual Giant Killer Giant Killer
Glass Casket Glass Casket
Shark Typhoon Sublime Epiphany

Thanks for reading!

Javier Dominguez (Twitter / Twitch)

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Javier Dominguez

Javier Dominguez He is the representative player of Spain. Grand Prix Top 8 is six times, including won the Grand Prix Paris 2014 and Grand Prix Rotterdam 2016 winning victories. At the Pro Tour level, he has brilliant achievement such as winning the 9th place in Pro Tour Battle of Zendikar and Pro Tour Hour of Devastation, and finally top8 in Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan. Read more articles by Javier Dominguez

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