magma728's picture
By: magma728, Jake Beardsley
Jun 02 2020 12:00pm

Azorius Control is a name that strikes fear into the hearts of many Magic players. If you’ve been playing for any length of time, you have invariably been hit with counterspell after counterspell, board wipe after board wipe, and planeswalker after planeswalker, leaving you feeling completely helpless. Azorius Control is an age-old archetype that needs no introduction from a general standpoint, but in Penny Dreadful it has seen a major resurgence over the past week. As always, Penny Dreadful is a Magic Online budget format where all cards cost 0.02 or less in order to be legal, and it has a fantastic tournament series and league system. I’ve included a link to their website at the end of the article, so be sure to check it out!

To start today’s look at the successes of Azorius Control in Pioneer, we’ll look at a fairly traditional list that aqua601 has been having lots of success with, going 5-0 in back to back leagues with: 

This is about as controlling as it gets. aqua601 has taken a very classic approach to the archetype, forgoing conventional ways to win like Aetherling and focusing more and completely grinding the opponent into dust with the combo of Devious Cover-Up and Clear to Mind recycling each other, along with other counterspells and card draw, back into the deck. They also utilize White Sun's Zenith as another option to close the game a little faster, as it also recycles itself back into the deck to ensure decking will not occur. Teyo, the Shieldmage is another heads up inclusion, as it is extremely effective at containing the Cycling deck featured last week in that it both shuts off Zenith Flare from targeting the player as well as generating blockers for Drannith Healer and Drannith Stinger. Finally, Flood Plain and Mystic Sanctuary can almost leave you feeling like you’re playing a format more akin to Modern by giving you a fetchable rebuy of either a board wipe like Fumigate or a counterspell like Dissolve.

The next deck on the list goes a little bit bigger. Instead of aiming to completely lock down opposing threats, it instead aims to buy time until it can get to one of the most powerful spells in all of the format: Approach of the Second Sun. Here’s rakura’s Azorius Cloudpost:

This is the prime example of what a bigger mana control deck looks like. The Cloudpost Locus engine pairs incredibly well with the raw power of Approach, and the counterspells and board wipes that a more typical Azorius control shell would play finishes off the deck. This build is much better positioned in a metagame filled with other control decks, as the mana advantage the Locus engine provides allows you to go way over the top of your opponents. In addition, Approach gives you a great I win button, making the MTGO clock less of a factor than it would be in a regular control mirror. Finally, Pull from Tomorrow gives you a way to pull (pun 1000% intended) super far ahead of your opponent on cards. If you like countering and controlling while also going big, rakura’s list is definitely for you.

The last deck for today is a little different. Some players enjoy the longer games and increased agency that come with control decks, but feel like counterspells are less interesting than other options you could play. If that’s the case, then you are going to love gladiusintelis’s list. Here’s their list:

Planeswalkers have, since their printing, been some of the most powerful and expensive cards in the game. Fortunately for tap-out control specialists, the options we have in Penny Dreadful, while not A-Listers, are still plenty powerful. Gideon Jura was a Standard all star, and goes a long way to keeping opposing board states away from your life total until they can be properly managed. Dovin Baan and Dovin, Hand of Control keep your opponents off balance while Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor and Jace Beleren keep you churning through your deck until you are able to find your most powerful spells: Urza's Ruinous Blast and Karn's Temporal Sundering. These legendary sorceries are extremely strong payoffs for playing a tap-out strategy, and are sure to make it worth it. Finally, Kefnet the Mindful is a great beater with all your planeswalkers providing value and keeping your hand full. I would like to see a 4th copy of Fumigate in the deck with how common aggro is, but either way this is certainly a deck worth keeping on your radar for upcoming leagues and events.

Thanks for taking a look at the many ways you Azorius mages can keep the rest of us under control. As always, make sure to both check out Penny Dreadful for yourself and let me know what other decks you are interested in having highlighted!