Ravnica is one of the most beloved Plans (i.e. Worlds) by all Magic: The Gathering players. A giant planetary city that includes industrial districts, underground oceans, lush forests and ancient ruins, it has been painted for almost twenty years with numerous legendary sets and cards.
But Ravnica is especially appreciated for establishing the rules, strategies and in general the structure of the classic ecumenical combination.
Today we are going to take a look at the Azorius Guild, the senators and politicians of Ravnica characterized by the use of the
- Lore of the Azorius
- Azorius General Strategies
- Azorius' strengths and weaknesses
- Control Deck Example
- Midrange deck example
"I am the Law"
But before we turn to the most iconic strategies and cards of the last set of Azorius, a bit of history and lore.
The Azorius are the entire judiciary/criminal system of all Ravnica. Founded thousands of years ago by Azor, the sphinx that also stipulated and represented the Covenant of Guilds that established the rules of "coexistence" between all the Guilds of the Plan, was then ruled by powerful creatures such as the noble sphinx Isperia and the devious vedalken Dobin Vaan, Planeswalker in the service of Nicol Bolas.
For the Azorius the most dangerous enemy of Ravnica is the Chaos represented by the Gruul Guild, which they consider as violent savages without purpose and utility to the city, and that of Rakdos, individuals dedicated to outrageous spectacles and murderous troublemakers. Every member of the Azorius must know by heart every written law of Ravnica, and his most important task is to enforce the law and catch every kind of criminal at any cost and without any scruples, whether they are simple thieves who steal from hunger or terrible terrorists.
The pair of
- Witchcraft, spells and instant spells that allow the player to gain considerable amounts of life points or low-cost cards, as well as neutralize opposing spells.
- Multiple removals, cards that can counter creatures or enemy sorceries. For example, you'll have cards that will return creatures back into your opponent's hand or, why not, exile unwanted non-earth permanents directly from the board.
- Low cost, unique flying creatures with unique effects that can be used as life-saving blockers or elusive attackers to bring your opponent to 0 Health points.
Ravnica's new Loyalty expansion also introduced the new White-Blue Guild ability, the Appendix: Appendix cards are instant cards that when cast during the Main Phase of your turn at witchcraft speed allow you to have additional effects, such as drawing more cards, inflicting more damage to plugged creatures, or placing +1/+1 counters on your creatures.
Like any self-respecting Control deck, Azorius decks are more about getting their opponents tired of counterspells, removals, or final abilities than Planeswalkers such as Dovin, Grand Arbiter, rather than reducing his life points to 0. But for those who want to, there's the opportunity to create a Midrange deck with cheap but discreetly powerful flying creatures like Sphinx of New Prahv or Elite Guardmage and protect them from enemy cards with enchantments that increase the creatures' Constitution or counterspells.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Azorius Decks
Favorable match-ups are those against Midrange decks that require large amounts of mana and specific cards to carburet and win. Decks like Monogreen Stompy are useless if you can neutralize the Nyssa, Who Shakes the World or the Questing Beast on the turn, and there is a high probability of bringing these kinds of decks to premature surrender.
Azorius also does pretty well against the aggressive Monored, thanks to cards like Dovin's Acuity that offer a life gain and a constant card advantage, the perfect weapon against the Monored. The important thing in these cases is to hold as a starting hand at least three lands between Plains and Islands, some removal as Deputy of Detention, or generally cards to survive enemy hordes like Depose
On the other hand, Azorius is very poorly suited against uncounterable creatures and cards, such as the terrifying Shifting Ceratops or Chandra, Awakened Inferno. If you also fail to gain enough advantage at the start of the game, any Esper Control (Blue-White-Black) or Dimir (Black-Blue) deck with cards that aim to discard your opponent's hand as Thought Erasure will always tend to win against you.