I’m writing this article on my way home from Seattle, where I attended the Magic Pro League boot camp at Wizards’ headquarters. The entire MPL gathered for meetings, interviews, and to learn about the future direction of the League.
It was cool be treated like professionals, and I look forward to playing this year.
I shared the house and drafted with masters Marcio Carvalho and Lee Shi Tian. Together we did roughly 15 Drafts on Magic Online, going 3-0 five times with four different archetypes.
I’m not quite sure yet how to rate the five archetypes but I know one thing: I like Azorius.
It’s unfortunate that there are so many unplayables rares, which made this color combination quite weak at the prerelease. Azorius is a weak combination for Sealed overall. Green is very popular and you tend to deal with large creatures pretty poorly.
On the contrary, in Draft you can build a tempo fliers deck that can race those green decks, but it requires key a common that might be hard to get multiples of in Sealed. Chillbringer.
This is my favorite common in Ravnica Allegiance, and it is great in both Simic and Azorius.
Here are two 3-0 Azorius builds out of five tries, and I’ll leave you to draw the conclusions.
Yes, seven Chillbringers in two Drafts for six wins total.
You might also notice the four Sphinx of the New Prahv, but I assure you that the MVP here was Chillbringer. Sphinx is not as good as its relatives in other color combinations, and I wouldn’t be surprised if in future I’d take Chillbringer over it, even if I’m already in Azorius.
The Azorius mechanic isn’t addendum, as it would seem. It’s flying.
A good Azorius deck doesn’t need to have many cards with addendum (unlike Rakdos, Simic, Gruul, and Orzhov with spectacle, adapt, riot, and afterlife respectively) but it does need a lot of flyers since all you want to do is race in the air.
Another key to this archetype is Senate Courier, which holds down the numerous 3/2s of the format. It also chips away to help you win that race.
Senate Courier plays very well with High Alert and Angelic Exaltation by helping you block their ability to race while putting a fast clock on them.
This deck was pretty bad. Azorius didn’t look that open but I still managed to scrape out a 2-1 despite having 0 Chillbringer.
Having to play Knight of Sorrows hurts, but you do what you have to do.
I still have to figure out if Sentinel’s Mark is good or bad. If it was a red or green card it would have been much better, since Gruul actively wants to play combat tricks, whereas Azorius would rather its spells be removal, bouncers, or card draw.
I have a pick order for Azorius, to guide you in your next Arena or Magic Online Draft if you find yourself in this archetype. Remember that this is week 1 and I only have a few games/Drafts under my belt.
It isn’t easy to write a detailed, ordered list of cards that you should pick in a vacuum because you always have to be mindful of what you have picked up to that point in the Draft, and what you need to pick up later.
Generally, I prefer taking a cheap spell over an expensive one, and I prefer picking up a flyer over a ground creature. I don’t like to play countermagic and I really like the afterlife mechanic.
Going Esper is also an option for cards like Grasping Thrull that are perfect options for the archetype, and removal spells, since Azorius usually lacks those.
I’m not a fan of splashing and I prefer my mana base to always be stable.
Usually I aim for a 10-9 mana base, which means that I tend to pick my first two Azorius Guildgates highly, especially in this Draft format where Gates is an archetype and people might pick up them up, leaving you with an undesirable 9-8 mana base.
That’s all for today. I wish you good luck with your next Draft, and may the Azorius Senate be with you!