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Kor Spiritdancer Art by Scott Chou

Historic Azorius Auras Deck Guide: The Menace Is Back

After being absent from the metagame for a long while, DoggertQBones says Auras is back with a vengeance! Learn about the build he easily took to high Mythic and why it's time to pick up the spiritdancers again!

Hello everyone! It has been a minute since I’ve written a non-Standard guide, so I had to make it special! Auras is probably my favorite Historic deck ever and I’ve been playing it or trying to play it ever since my friend Ginky first created the deck a few years back. While many players think it’s a brainless deck (and don’t get me wrong, it can be), I’ve always enjoyed that the deck is absolutely riddled with small decisions that can easily accumulate and matter over the course of the game.

Furthermore, Auras is one of those decks that gets way better the less people respect it and despite it being a perpetually strong deck, can become a monster in the right metagames. If you need proof, this deck easily propelled me into Mythic and then to top 250 mythic over the course of a few days (which I then quickly lost by playing memes, but so it goes!) Before I continue, let’s take a look at the list I’ve been working with!

Deck Overview

Azorius Auras
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $234.65
Historic
Aggro
best of 3
0 mythic
33 rare
9 uncommon
18 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Companion
Enchantments (21)
4
Ethereal Armor
$3.96
3
Arcane Flight
$1.05
4
Combat Research
$1.40
1
Curiosity
$0.35
1
Aether Tunnel
$0.39
Lands (20)
1
Island
$0.35
5
Plains
$1.75
4
Seachrome Coast
$17.96
2
Adarkar Wastes
$15.98
60 Cards
$328.66
Sideboard
4
Hushbringer
$3.96
1
Adanto Vanguard
$0.35
3
Spell Pierce
$2.07
1
Dovin’s Veto
$4.49
4
Portable Hole
$3.96
15 Cards
$16.47

So I know I just mentioned that this deck gets better the less people respect it and in metagames that aren’t well suited for it. Funny enough, this metagame is awful for Auras. The best deck is Rakdos Midrange which traditionally was a good matchup, but since Crucias, Titan of the Waves came along, has been much harder. Since Crucias is a filtering machine, it allows Rakdos to play all 8 discard spells that they normally wouldn’t, help find removal, and the deck plays four Molten Impact which is insane for them. The next most popular decks? Artifact Aggro with four Portable Hole and four Glass Casket in the 75. Find me a deck that you would play if the top two decks were extremely hostile to you. This may seem like I’m undercutting the deck after praising it, but my point is that even when the best decks are really well suited to beat this deck, they still can’t consistently. I have faced Rakdos (or Jund) and Artifact decks a multitude of times on my climb, more so than any other strategies, and I’ve still only lost a handful of games total. How is that possible?

There’s a reason I haven’t been able to write a guide on Auras in awhile, and that was the lack or protection. Selfless Savior was solid, but only getting one shot at protection and only Indestructible was pretty bad against the many exile effects that were available in Historic. Skrelv, Defector Mite cares little for those. A veritable Mother of Runes, Skrelv is the perfect card to bring Auras back into prominence as it allows you continuous protection, sometimes unblockability, and the chance to do it over and over again is what makes this card so powerful. Auras fell out of the metagame for awhile as it had no way to protect itself from the cheap exile effects from Artifact decks, but now that it can, it’s a completely different ballgame.

The second most crucial aspect the deck gained was a powerful Aura creature. In the past, Azorius had Kor Spiritdancer, Sram, Senior Edificer, and Stormchaser Drake as the payoffs. While Spiritdancer is great, the other two are somewhat lackluster. Sram is solid, but being Legendary and not gaining any inherent buff from Auras is a bit brutal, though we’re still happy to play it. Stormchaser Drake was more of an issue though. You only got to draw cards off casting Auras if it targeted Drake which could severely limit your options with certain draws. Light-Paws doesn’t have that weakness.

Light-Paws, Emperor's Voice is a weird Aura creature as it doesn’t do the same thing the others have done in the past. Rather than drawing cards when you deploy Auras, you get to tutor an Aura you don’t already control and just attach it to Light-Paws. This is a pretty incredible ability to have and arguably makes it stronger than even Kor Spiritdancer! Not only do you get to cheat on mana like crazy, you can run an Aura toolbox where you run a bunch of one ofs that you can tutor with Light-Paws in order to get the most out of its ability. This massive amount of free card advantage has been yet another reason this deck can survive in the face of tremendous hostility.

While it’s really Skrelv, Defector Mite and Light-Paws, Emperor's Voice propping Auras up, I do want to shout out what has been the deck’s best enchantment, Combat Research. For regular creatures, this is just Curiosity, nothing special there. However, for Legendary creatures such as Sram, Senior Edificer or Light-Paws, Emperor's Voice, this is Curious Obsession that gives Ward 1 and has no downside. How sick is that? A lot of lists I’ve seen only play a few copies of this, but I quickly went up to four copies and haven’t looked back. The Ward 1 is surprisingly relevant as Historic is all about double and triple spelling early, so while it’s not going to stop someone committed to killing your threat most of the time, it can stop them from also deploying a threat in that same turn which may give you one extra turn to find the win.

All in all, this deck excels because it is very hard to keep down for long. While not as resilient as Orzhov was, you have so much card advantage in this package that an opponent tapping out for one turn can spell their death. Continuously having threats that draw you into more threats is an extremely rare and scary ability for a deck to have, and it’s the main reason that I keep coming back to Auras over and over again.


Best of One

Azorius Auras
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $99.09
Historic
Aggro
best of 1
0 mythic
33 rare
9 uncommon
18 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Enchantments (21)
4
Ethereal Armor
$3.96
3
Arcane Flight
$1.05
4
Combat Research
$1.40
1
Aether Tunnel
$0.39
Lands (20)
1
Island
$0.35
5
Plains
$1.75
2
Adarkar Wastes
$15.98
4
Seachrome Coast
$17.96
60 Cards
$180.66

The deck is already pretty Bo1 centered, only needing a few adjustments to let it shine. Hushbringer is a powerful piece of tech that I love having in Bo1 as it just shuts off a surprising number of decks on top of being a Lifelink threat that can help you win a race easily.


Budget

Budget Azorius Auras
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $19.01
Historic
Aggro
best of 1
0 mythic
4 rare
22 uncommon
34 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Companion
Creatures (16)
4
Selfless Savior
$2.76
4
Adanto Vanguard
$1.40
Enchantments (23)
4
Arcane Flight
$1.40
4
Ethereal Armor
$3.96
2
Aether Tunnel
$0.78
Lands (21)
6
Island
$2.10
11
Plains
$3.85
4
Tranquil Cove
$1.40
60 Cards
$40.12
Sideboard
1 Cards
$1.29

While the deck is more rare intensive than it used to be, you can still make a pretty powerful version with only a couple of rares. While the lands should always be the first craft, the creatures are what really make the deck work so I wouldn’t blame you for crafting those first!


MATCHUPS AND SIDEBOARD GUIDE

Rakdos Midrange

INOUT
+1 Adanto Vanguard-2 Arcane Flight
+3 Spell Pierce-1 Staggering Insight
-1 Cartouche of Knowledge

Rakdos can be a pain to deal with considering they’re likely going to have multiple pieces of interaction in every hand they keep. Despite that, Auras is well suited to beat it as the deck just has so many cards it has to deal with and care about. It’s much better in this matchup to keep creature heavy hands rather than Aura heavy hands as the way you’ll lose is running out of creatures and drawing Auras and lands. Unfortunately, this matchup is really all about the opponent as you can cruise to victory if they run out of interaction early or they stumble, but if they keep having it, it can be hard to win. Be careful on which creatures and auras you decide to deploy first as what you keep after the dust has settled can make all the difference.

Artifact Aggro

INOUT
+4 Portable Hole-1 Curiosity
-2 Arcane Flight
-1 Cartouche of Knowledge

The Artifact decks aren’t too bad beyond the 8 pieces of interaction they have that is pretty hard to deal with. If you think I’m going to say that the draws they don’t have removal you’re probably going to win and when they draw a lot of removal you may not, well you’re half right. Realistically they’re always going to have removal, but it depends how much and when. If they can keep killing your lone threat and deploying a threat, you are almost certainly going to lose. However, if they don’t draw too many (like only 3) or they can’t pressure you when they draw a lot of removal, you’re in decent shape.

Racing is easy as you’re almost always going to be faster, so it’s just going to come down to whether you can keep a threat on the board. If you can, I like your odds.

Small Creature Decks Or Decks Hushbringer Hoses

INOUT
+4 Hushbringer-4 Esper Sentinel

Here’s an easy and generic one. If Hushbringer messes with their deck, bring it in. Even if the opponent doesn’t play many ETB or death creatures, if they are looking to race you, this is still likely better than Esper Sentinel. Auras is disgustingly good at racing, so not dying to their ETB triggers is the easiest way to win. If you’re in a matchup that’s all about the triggers, you should hard mulligan to Husbringer unless you have a really good and aggressive hand. Most decks that can’t beat Hushbringer really can’t beat Hushbringer, so use that to your advantage.

Control Decks

INOUT
+3 Spell Pierce-3 Arcane Flight
+1 Dovin's Veto-1 Cartouche of Knowledge

These matchups are rare, but relatively simple. You need to keep a creature on board if possible, and if you can, it’s very easy to convert that into a win. Board wipes are annoying, especially Divine Purge, so try playing around those when you can if possible. There isn’t any quick tips I can give, you just have to play based on your hand and try not to lose all your creatures in a wrath so you can rebuild once they’re forced to use one.

It may seem weird, but that’s really all the boarding you’re going to do most of the time. Heliod's Punishment is the odd card out and more or less a flex spot in the board for the rare matchups I need it. If you want to put something else in that slot, you have my blessing to do so.


TIPS AND TRICKS

  • “Although the deck seems easy, it can be really unintuitive to play. Sometimes you’ll want to play out a spiritdancer just for it to die if you think they can’t cast a removal spell and another card in the same turn. Sometimes you’ll want to hold off because you could be afraid they can spend their mana too efficiently if you run it out.” It’s all contextual and the only way to get better at it is to play Auras more and really try to envision what’s in the opponent’s hand from how they play. This tip was from my friend Tristan who perfectly encapsulated what playing Auras is like.
  • Generally speaking you mulligan to one of your Aura creatures, but that’s not as necessary in Azorius. If you have a hand of a few lands, Skrelv, Defector Mite, Esper Sentinel, and a draw Aura like Staggering Insight or Curious Obsession, that’s more than good enough. Just always make sure you have a plan with your opener, if you don’t see a plan, don’t keep it.
  • In general, if you believe your opponent may have removal, waiting until you can deploy an Aura creature and an Aura will net you some value immediately and play around removal a bit better.
  • Sentinel's Eyes is one of the best Auras as it’s the only one you can naturally rebuy. If you feel like you need the ability to recast it down the line and the Vigilance doesn’t particularly matter, putting it on a creature that’s likely to die can give you plays in the future. Furthermore, when recasting it you want prioritize exiling duplicates of cards first if possible. If you’re unsure what to exile, try to gauge it on when you can reasonably get your Lurrus down and what you would want to recast on the same turn and avoid exiling that.
  • Hushbringer stops all creature ETBs and death triggers. Many players are aware of the first clause, but not the second, so play with that in mind.
  • I tend to aggressively bring Lurrus to hand if the opponent is holding up mana on my turn and I feel that they have removal. Even if they don’t have removal and are holding up something like a counter spell, you can make them waste their turn and get a great resource!
  • If you need to put cards in the graveyard for whatever reason, playing out another Sram when you have one out is a great way to do that. This is particularly important when you have a Lurrus out or you’re trying to rebuy Sentinel's Eyes.
  • Try to save Arcane Flight for as long as possible as that can be the final push of damage you’ll need at some point. By the same token, I wouldn’t not spend a mana and lose out on a card/damage if you have it in hand and can’t use the mana for anything else.
  • It’s on the card, but don’t play Curious Obsession out without attacking as you’ll lose it at the end step. However, if you need cards to rebuy Sentinel's Eyes or the cycle is more important than the enchantment, definitely consider it as a line.

End Step

Despite not being well positioned, Auras has been an absolute delight to play recently and has done a lot to make my climb to Mythic seamless. If you like the playstyle, miss playing it, or want to try something new, I highly recommend Auras for your climb!

Thanks for reading!

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DoggertQBones
DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on
Twitch and Discord.

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