Historic Azorius Auras Deck Guide

Arcane-Flight-MtG-Art

I took a bit of a break from Magic over the summer. Between the cancellation of all IRL events and the poor state of Standard in the past couple months, I couldn’t find a proper motivation to play Arena. Instead I ventured into other games, trying to hone my skills there and learn a thing or two about self-improvement. I’ve mostly failed in everything I’ve set out to do, so with the MPL Split starting early in the Fall, I’ve decided it’s time to get my Magic skills back into shape. I’ve played a couple of Players Tours, but failed miserably in both, mostly due to my play skill being at an all time low. I simply need a lot of practice to get to my peak performance and I’ve rarely been able to just pick up a deck and do well in a tournament. So with the Mythic Invitational on the horizon, I dived into a new format for me – Historic!

Historic has been around for a while, but the Mythic Invitational happening at the start of September will be the first major tournament hosted by WOTC in this new format. Personally, I haven’t touched Historic at all, because I figured something was going to get banned eventually. I wasn’t even planning to play last week’s Arena Open, but my vacation plans fell through at the last minute and found myself with plenty of time on my hands – but no knowledge of the format. I turned to some of my friends, and collected plenty of decklists to play day 1 with. It took me about 6 or 7 tries, but I managed to make day two with Mono White Auras I stole from Marcio Carvalho’s Twitter.

BO1 Historic Mono White Lurrus Auras by Márcio Carvalho – The Arena Open – Day 1 – 7-2 Record

I was pretty impressed with this deck, but I still thought it was mostly a meme for BO1.

Then on Monday, the bans happened and I set out to find a deck for me to dive into the format with. I stumbled upon a Tweet from Simon Nielsen, who claimed that a lot of people did well on day two with the Azorius Auras list he and Jeff Pyka created. I copied the list and spent the last two days playing it on MTG Arena. I’m currently 41-9 with the deck, most of my losses being to the mirror and reached as high as #1 on the ladder at the time of posting. It’s been a while since I’ve played a deck that felt as powerful as this, and the whole of Historic needs to adapt to be able to beat this. After playing only for two days, I’m not 100% confident about my list being tight, but 100% confident it can get you a great win rate in the next couple days.

Historic Azorius Lurrus Auras by Ondrej Strasky – #4 Mythic – August 2020 Season

We’ve previously seen Ginky having a lot of success on ladder with the Mono White version of the deck, finishing #1 on Arena last season. So is Azorius better? I’ve been asked this question a lot by my Twitch chat, and obviously I believe it is.  This is clearly a debate between power and consistency. The manabase of this deck certainly isn’t perfect, but I think the access to powerful sideboard options and the duo of Curious Obsession and Staggering Insight is quite the key. This deck mulligans a lot, because Kor Spiritdancer is the most powerful card by far. The “Curiosity” Auras (draw you a card when you deal damage to your opponent) help to mitigate the effect of these mulligans. With the Mono White version, if you go down to 4 or 5 and you don’t find the Kor, you’re kind of dead. With this version you can get a cheap creature + Curiosity Aura, and you can snowball that to victory. Arcane Flight is also an obvious upgrade to Angelic Gift and overall the quality of your Auras is way higher. I’m not really interested in casting cards like Glaring Aegis and Solid Footing.

Like I already said, mulligan very aggressively. A hand with 3 lands, 2 one drop creatures and 3 of the bad Auras is an easy mulligan. Post-board, things change a bit and you can be more lenient with keeps. For example if you draw a bunch of Baffling End against aggro decks, or a bunch of disruption against slower decks.

As for the specifics of my list, the 4-ofs shouldn’t be touched. Simon and Jeff had only 3 of each of the one drop creatures. I believe that to be wrong as going Selfless Savior into Kor Spiritdancer is a free win against a lot of decks. Alseid of Life’s Bounty also offers you a lot of utility, being both a protection against removal spells and also giving your creatures pseudo-unblockable.

I trimmed the numbers of Ornithopter down to two, and I could see going down to 1. It is of course sometimes very useful, as it’s a great holder of Staggering Insight, but drawing a second copy of it is usually a blank. Don’t forget that it’s an Artifact and therefore it counts for All That Glitters.

I sideboard Adanto Vanguard quite a bit, as I believe it’s already a solid card, and I like having the extra creature as you can sometimes get Aura flooded. Be mindful of this when sideboarding and don’t lower the amount of your creatures drastically, especially against removal heavy decks.

I’ve had 4 Sentinel’s Eyes for the longest time, but after playing multiple games of mirror that came down to decking, I’ve realized I might need Aether Tunnel to actually win games. The games when you stare at each other with 30/30 lifelink, flying, vigilance creatures happen a lot and unfortunately Alseid doesn’t help to break the stalemate, because it forces all your auras to fall off.

I’ve shipped two copies of Baffling End from the sideboard to maindeck, again to improve against the mirror mostly. Don’t think I want more than that, because you queue up into control from time to time.

Manabase is likely right, although I could see tinkering with the numbers of Temples.

Since I streamed a ton with the deck, I’ve been asked plenty of times “why aren’t you playing card X?”, so here are some quick hits.

  • Hushbringer: Only good against Goblins, which I’ve faced exactly twice and I believe to be a good matchup regardless. Your weak point is Krenko anyway and Hushbringer doesn’t help against that. Also liability against Uro.
  • Karametra’s Blessing: worse than Dive Down in my opinion. The upside of Blessing is that it’s better against Wrath effects, but it doesn’t help you against Settle the Wreckage and Extinction Event. It also costs White mana, and very rarely it helps you win combat or deal lethal damage. The downside is that you can’t play Kor Spiritdancer on turn three and protect it with it. I believe that makes Dive Down the better card, so I’m playing that instead.
  • Curiosity: I think 8 cards with that effect is plenty enough, it not giving an extra power and toughness also sucks.
  • Gideon or some other Planeswalker: Lurrus’s condition doesn’t allow me to do this.

Sideboard Guide

As for the sideboard, I’ve been pretty happy with how my numbers work. Dive Down is great against all the removal decks, and the mirror as well. Spell Pierce is the best counterspell, but I wanted to have some hard counters, so I’ve included a copy of each of Dovin’s Veto and Swan Song. Gust acts as a split card that’s good against both red aggro and Field of the Dead decks. Grafdigger’s Cage is your hate for the Cat + Oven decks, which is your worst matchup. It also randomly hoses Kethis Combo especially now that they don’t have Teferi. Adanto Vanguard rounded up my numbers against control.

Mirror (aka the only matchup that matters)

InOut
2 Baffling End4 Selfless Savior
2 Spell Pierce2 Adanto Vanguard
1 Swan Song1 Staggering Insight
2 Dive Down1 Sentinel’s Eyes
1 Dovin’s Veto

This matchup is mostly about Kor Spiritdancer. I’ve thought about playing some Glass Casket to battle this matchup, so when this deck picks up in popularity consider that. Usually the game just ends with one side sticking Kor when the other doesn’t but there are the fun games, where you go to infinite life with Lurrus reviving Selfless Saviors for infinite chump blocks. This usually happens only in the first game, because post-board there’s more disruption.

Mono Red

InOut
2 Baffling End1 Aether Tunnel
2 Spell Pierce2 Adanto Vanguard
2 Aether Gust2 Ornithopter
2 Dive Down2 Curious Obsession
1 Arcane Flight

I believe Adanto is good on the play, especially if you can get Staggering Insight on it. Swap those with Spell Pierce, if you manage to lose a game. This is a pretty favorable matchup in my opinion. Savior and Alseid do a good job of protecting Kor, and you’re like a turn faster aggro deck. Sometimes you can also gain a million life.

Gruul Aggro

InOut
1 Baffling End1 Aether Tunnel
2 Aether Gust2 Adanto Vanguard

On the draw I like going to the full 4 Baffling Ends trimming an Obsession. This matchup is truly easy. They have very little removal so you often win with just a naked Kor.  Don’t be afraid to mulligan really aggressively.

Mono Black

InOut
1 Swan Song1 Aether Tunnel
3 Spell Pierce3 Arcane Flight
1 Adanto Vanguard2 Baffling End
2 Dive Down2 Ornithopter
1 Dovin’s Veto

This is how I’d sideboard against the control version with a bunch of removal and board wipes. Against Mono Black Aggro just board like if you’re playing against Mono Red (keep in Ornithopter instead of Aether Gust). This matchup is problematic, mostly because of Extinction Event. It’s hard to protect your creatures against that so be mindful of it.

Field of the Dead Decks

InOut
1 Swan Song2 Adanto Vanguard
3 Spell Pierce3 Sentinel’s Eyes
2 Aether Gust2 Baffling End
1 Dovin’s Veto

This is how I would board against the stock Bant version. However it can change based on the version. If they have a ton of spot removal Dive Down gets better. If they have fliers Ornithopter gets worse, etc. I’ve been mostly farming these decks, but I believe the Sultai version with Extinction Event could potentially be a bad matchup.

Azorius Control

InOut
1 Swan Song2 Ornithopter
3 Spell Pierce3 Arcane Flight
1 Adanto Vanguard2 Baffling End
1 Dovin’s Veto1 Aether Tunnel
2 Dive Down

Be vary of Settle the Wreckage! This matchup isn’t super easy, but post-board when you can counter spells it gets way easier. Not having T3feri hurts this deck so much, and I’m not sure how much of it we will see moving forward.

Goblins

InOut
2 Aether Gust2 Adanto Vanguard
2 Grafdigger’s Cage4 Selfless Savior
2 Baffling End

They usually don’t play much removal, but if you see a ton, leave in some Saviors instead of Alseids. As with UW, I believe Goblins aren’t very good right now. The only way you lose this matchup are fast Muxus or fast Krenko. Try to Baffling End their Lords that give haste, which should be plenty enough to race Krenko.

Sacrifice Decks

InOut
2 Aether Gust2 Adanto Vanguard
2 Grafdigger’s Cage3 Selfless Savior
2 Baffling End1 Aether Tunnel
2 Dive Down2 Staggering Insight

Likely the worst matchup, but I’m currently 2-0 against it. They have three main ways they beat you and you have answers to all three. Priest of Forgotten Gods dies to Baffling End, Dive Down and Alseid counter the critical Claim the Firstborn, and Grafdigger’s Cage or just a big creature stops Mayhem Devil shenanigans. In some games it will all line up and you will win, in some it won’t and you will lose without much you can do about their answers.

akr-008-cartouche-of-solidarity

Amonkhet Remastered is coming out next week and I’m sure it will shake up the metagame quite a bit. However the Amonkhet block was a relatively low powered one, so unless WOTC throws us a curve ball, I’d be shocked if this deck still wasn’t a tier one. This deck’s power level is high and it’s also resilient to hate. I wouldn’t hesitate to pick it up for some free wins, if I were you.

Thanks for reading!

Ondrej Strasky

Ondřej Stráský is a member of the 2020 Magic Pro League. Twitch / Twitter

0 0 vote
Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
2 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Alejandro_Saldias
Alejandro_Saldias
1 month ago

Great article, and good tips if the historic meta and the deck, thank you

Victor Tinoco
Victor Tinoco
1 month ago

After Amonkhet release, all I see is Jund Sacrifice had to switch to standard to keep climbing after losing 3 times in a row to the worst matchup which now is even worse thanks to CoCo and sided Thoughtseizes