The last two weeks I’ve analyzed the cards available for Gruul (
), Rakdos (
), Orzhov (
), and Simic (
). I purposefully left Azorius for last because I wanted to play with the
cards more before bringing to light what Azorius is about. Something felt
off. I’ve heard a lot of players shy away from Azorius on the grounds that
the Addendum mechanic just doesn’t provide enough incentive. While that may
be true, the Azorius archetype isn’t all about Addendum.
Azorius in Ravnica Allegiance just does what it always
does: stall the ground and win with fliers.
There are fifteen fliers at common or uncommon that you can play in your
Azorius deck. And that’s not even counting all the white creatures with
afterlife. With this density of fliers, we can evaluate the Azorius
archetype through the lens of fliers decks in any previous limited formats.
The desirable interaction doesn’t need to be hard removal, but just
tempo-positive plays that allow fliers to attack. Additionally, the
non-flying creatures play the role of blocking rather than attacking. One
of the benefits of this archetypal architecture is that many of the
mono-colored cards that are desirable for Azorius aren’t as desirable for
the archetypes that share a color (Simic and Orzhov in this case).
Slimebind is very good in Azorius because it can cleanly answer a Frenzied
Arynx since fliers couldn’t care less about an 0/4 blocker. But in Simic,
Slimebind loses value since such a blocker has value against the Simic
Combine. The same goes for Sky Tether and Orzhov.
But that’s not all Azorius is made up of in this Ravica Allegiance
. It’s not just fliers and tempo-positive interactive spells and creatures
such as Chillbringer and Arrester’s Admonition. What do all the following
cards have in common?
First off, all these cards are just on-plan for Azorius. They’re great
blockers for the most part, and many are evasive. The key observation here
is that they all have a lot of toughness. And in Ravnica Allegiance, that can be relevant on attacks, not just
I thought this card was going to be a joke. Every time we’ve seen an
enchantment like this, it’s more of a meme deck than anything else. It’s
sweet when they come together, but it’s usually rare. However, thanks to
the abundance of creatures with high toughness that you already want to
play in Azorius, High Alert is a card that just fits in the archetype. I’m
not sure I’ve lost a game where I resolved the card, nor won a game where
my opponent played it. Concordia Pegasus and Senate Courier are already
solid fliers for the deck, but then they turn into monsters. And there’s a
good chunk of card draw and selection in cards like Shimmer that finding
that copy of High Alert isn’t difficult.
Faerie Duelist has impressed me so much, especially in Azorius because the
archetype wants fliers and cards to play at instant speed. I wrote this
little Faerie off initially because I thought the 1/2 body wasn’t good
enough, but every time I played against Faerie Duelist, it was a stone-cold
two-for-one. It’s pretty difficult to play around too because, in general,
that means not attacking and you can’t always afford to do that. I’ll
happily play Faerie Duelist in multiples even though it’s not really as
good as Ravenous Chupacabra and it’s not the best blue common either – that
slot goes to Chillbringer – but it’s definitely in the top three blue
commons, and I didn’t think that would be the case at all.
The deck above is what most Azorius decks should look like in this format.
And I think if you can draft a deck similar to that, you can expect good
results. I find myself splashing black in Azorius fairly often, so keep
that in mind as well. But there’s one more variant of Azorius to have on
Clear the Mind Control!
This deck uses Dovin’s Acuity and Sphinx’s Insight to build
Sphinx’s Revelation into the deck. You play the usual removal spells and
fliers, but the main difference is the abundance of card draw. And you keep
shuffling all these cards back in with two copies of Clear the Mind, making
the card quality in your deck absurd over time. It’s a niche archetype, but
if you’re playing a lot of this format, it’s an important archetype to have
on your radar. This variant of Azorius wants counterspells at a higher
priority and occasionally will manifest as a gate deck because of how
powerful the combination of Growth Spiral and Dovin’s Acuity is, with cards
like Archway Angel really putting the game out of reach.