Table of Contents
Azorius has been long known for being one of the best colour combinations for control strategies. Azorius Control is an archetype as old as time itself and is widely played, regardless of the format. It’s no different in Explorer where you’ve got access to the best control tools such as Teferi, Hero of Dominaria or Memory Deluge.
However, there is different take on control that could almost be considered a ramp deck and that’s Azorius Lotus Field. Instead of interacting at every juncture until the game ends, you devote the early turns to set up and then interact with hard hitters, eventually taking over.
Let’s take a look at what this deck does differently compared to other control decks and why it’s so strong.
The Lotus Angle
Lotus Field is a hexproof land that produces three mana. When it enters play you will have to sacrifice two other lands. So in practice, instead of having 3 normal lands you have Field to which you’ve sacrificed 2 lands. While this exchange might seem neutral there are some notable synergies. Among the biggest ones in this deck is Teferi, Hero of Dominaria When he untaps lands in the end step, you can untap Lotus Field(s), generating more mana than you normally would.
The real bee’s knees though is Thespian's Stage You can use it to copy our own Lotus Field but, crucially, without having to pay that additional cost. When you copy it, it doesn’t trigger again so you’re free to go. This allows you to ramp substantially without constantly having to sacrifice other lands.
While playing it on turn three and sacrificing two lands is fine, there are ways to circumvent that restriction and come out even more ahead.
Strict Proctor counters enter-the-battlefield triggers and Lotus Field’s is one of them. You play Proctor, immediately follow up with Field, counter the trigger. You’re cleanly left with Lotus Field and nothing sacrificed. What’s imperative to mention is that it’s a global effect so it counters opposing triggers as well. It can be a real pain for other decks since it counters Portable Hole, Cavalier of Thorns, Thalia's Lieutenantand many many more. On top of all of that, it’s an early blocker that helps you stabilise. All in all, every best draw will include Proctor.
In order to increase the consistency with which we can work around Lotus Field’s condition, we also play Discontinuity. On our turn, it costs just two mana so you can respond to Lotus’s trigger by holding priority, playing Discontinuity and ending the turn there and then. The end result is that the Lotus’s trigger leaves the stack and nothing has to be sacrificed.
Discontinuity has a lot of added utility. In the later stages of the game where you have access to copious amounts of mana, you can just play it as a straight-up instant-speed Time Walk And as it exiles everything that’s on the stack, it’s a combination of Time Walkand Counterspell all in one card. It’s truly bonkers!
As in any control deck, here we’ve got a plethora of Planeswalkers. I’ve already alluded to the power of Teferi, Hero of Dominaria so let’s get back on that track.
Teferi’s untap is fully taken advantage of in this shell. Untapping Lotus Field generates a ton of mana which can be sunk into Memory Deluge or the previously mentioned Discontinuity. You can also on your own end step float mana, untap with Teferi and use it again, for instance if you want to play an expensive spell like flashback Memory Deluge but the opponent is tapped out and you don’t want to give your opponent a chance to counter it.
The Wandering Emperoris a true Swiss-knife of a card. It puts pressure by creating bodies, it pumps these bodies, and offers exile removal. All of that is truly excellent. In addition, it provides a little bit of incidental life gain which stabilises you nicely in the later stages of games. It’s also an instant-speed walker that keeps the opponent guessing whether you’re holding up Emperor or Memory Deluge.
As most of our early turns are going to be devoted to setting up, we need a mechanism to catch back up. There is nothing better at that than good old-fashioned mass removal. Doomskar and Farewell just wipe the opponent’s board clean, regardless of their current board position. Farewell is particularly vicious since it also removes all the potential progress and resources that may have been developed in other card types than creatures and other zones like graveyard. The only thing that can stay untouched are Planeswalkers – much to our satisfaction, as we wouldn’t want to remove our own best permanents.
The Interaction – Countermagic
I wanted to include this section despite there being no cards. And that’s the key thing to mention – it’s a control deck with no countermagic. That’s why I alluded to it being a ramp deck essentially since you do nothing, ramp up, and play mass removal or a planeswalker.
While early Jwari Disruption can be counted as permission and Discontinuity sometimes performs that function, there are no cards that are included with the sole purpose of being a counter. That’s not a bad thing – it’s just a different approach to what it means to be Azorius.
The Card Selection and Card Advantage
At some point, we want to pull ahead and amass resources. Memory Deluge is the absolute best card at doing that here. On turn four, it grabs two most important cards which could be a set up to turn five Teferi or Doomskar. The real value lies in the flashback though. Getting Dig Through Time is great, as it gets you more cards but also cards that you specifically need in a given situation. Getting seven cards deep on later turns is basically like looking through a quarter of your library.
Before you get to that point though you need a bit of setup. Impulse on turn two is mainly there to find either Lotus Field or an effect that shuts off the requirement.
Best Of One
The Best of One version has a bit of a different interaction suite but the core is the same. I play more Doomskar and Temporary Lockdown in anticipation of aggressive Mono White and Mono Red decks.
Matchups and Sideboard Guide
Mono Blue Spirits
This is a very tough matchup. Early when we ramp they get to develop their board and put pressure on us. When we want to catch back up with mass removal like Doomskar, they already have counterspells lined up to deny it.
Sometimes an early Strict Proctor can block here and there and if we then ramp fast enough, there is a chance. Very tough matchup nonetheless.
Mono White Humans
Similar to Spirits but much easier in one regard – they cannot interact with our mass removal. If we can stay alive long enough to play Farewell or Doomskar, we should be in the clear. Thalia, Guardian of Thrabenis particularly annoying and this is where Fateful Absence and March of Otherworldly Light have to pull a lot of weight.
Don’t take too much damage though since a miser’s Mutavualt can steal games that you have otherwise thought to have stabilised.
Mono Green Devotion
Here we side in a nice countermagic package to hold off any payoffs. We actually care about Planeswalkers the most since everything else is Farewell-able. And this is our main plan – make all the plays that eventually lead to a devastating, game-resetting Farewell.
I’ve found a few games in different fashion though. Early Lotus Field, Teferi getting us mana and hence one or two Discontinuity on their turn. Try to march Teferi up to the ultimate. It’s not easy but there might be other avenues to victory.
|+3 March of Otherworldly Light||-4 Memory Deluge|
|+3 Rest in Peace||-1 Temporary Lockdown|
|-1 Strict Proctor|
March is not particularly strong but it does allow us to exile Greasefang, even if at a cost of a card(s). We need to make sure that they cannot do their thing and we’re in the clear.
While normal control decks hate seeing Chariot, it’s not that big of a concern for us since Farewell will be eventually coming, ridding the opponent off of everything they’ve amassed. Greasefang will never win a fair midrange battle against this version of Azorius.
We go over the top so much that the only way Rakdos can win is through Planeswalkers and early aggression. If you see that the opponent’s version is particularly capable of aggro starts, side in Marches for extra removal.
The name of the game is not letting them beat you down too much. I love seeing Reckoner Bankbuster into Fable of the Mirror-Breaker. I don’t want to see Bloodtithe Harvester into Graveyard Trespasser.
|+3 Dovin's Veto||-2 Doomskar|
|+2 Disdainful Stroke||-1 Temporary Lockdown|
|+2 Thought Distortion||-3 Farewell|
|-1 Dream Trawler|
The mirror is certainly an interesting experience. We both do big things and it’s very likely that the first person to do the big thing will win.
You don’t want to miss land drops and focus on the Lotus plan. The more mana you have, the more payoffs you can try slamming through countermagic on a single turn.
Tips and Tricks
On Arena, you need to make sure that you’ve got your full control on when you want to use Discontinuity with Lotus Field trigger on the stack.
Remember that Farewell on all modes will exile your Temporary Lockdown
Teferi, Hero of Dominariacan be a win condition on its own completely since you can keep using the -3 ability on itself and hence never mill out.
You can play Fateful Absence on your own permanents to draw an extra card.
Thespian Stage can copy an opponent’s land such as a manland.
Enjoy our content? Wish to support our work? Join our Premium community, get access to exclusive content, remove all advertisements, and more!
- No ads: Browse the entire website ad-free, both display and video.
- Exclusive Content: Instant access to all exclusive articles only for Premium members, at your fingertips.
- Support: All your contributions get directly reinvested into the website to increase your viewing experience!
- Discord: Join our Discord server, claim your Premium role and gain access to exclusive channels where you can learn in real time!
- Special offer: For a limited time, use coupon code L95WR9JOWV to get 50% off the Annual plan!