Something Old, Something New
In today's video, I'm playing another Azorius Control deck in Pioneer. This time it's Lotus Control a flavor of Azorius Control that Patrick Wu took to a second-place finish at the Toronto Regional Championship. This version uses Lotus Field in combination with either Strict Proctor or Discontinuity. This effectively ramps two mana and gives Azorius Control a much-needed power spike that it has been lacking in recent months.
The deck still plays Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and powerful wrath effects like Doomskar and Farewell. Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is actually immensely important in the deck, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's first delve into how to set up the "combo" and we'll go from there.
Leveling the Playing Field
One of Azorius Control's biggest downsides historically in Pioneer has always been that it is trying to be too fair in a format full of unfair decks. Lotus Control looks to shift that paradigm. Having access to Lotus Field gives the deck a way to keep up with all the shenanigans that most of the other decks in the format are trying to do.
The way we set up our Lotus Field turns is as follows: on turn three we play Strict Proctor then play our Lotus Field. The Lotus Field trigger goes on the stack and then Strict Proctor's ability goes on the stack we can simply decline to pay the two mana for Strict Proctor's ability. From there, we ramp two mana going into our fourth turn. This means that assuming we hit our fourth land drop we'll have access to six mana on turn four. That unlocks basically every haymaker in our deck.
Aside from Playing Strict Proctor on turn three we can also just cast Discontinuity in response to Lotus Field's trigger which ends our turn on the spot. This means the stack is cleared, effectively "countering" the "sacrifice two lands" trigger from Lotus Field. Let me stress that we would much rather have a Strict Proctor on turn three rather than a Discontinuity for several reasons but one of the biggest is that Strict Proctor is actually quite good in the early game versus many decks. On the flip side of that coin Discontinuity is absolutely cracked late game. We'd love to have them at the ready to cast late game on an opponent's critical turn.
On Strict Proctor
Aside from just the "combo" with Lotus Field, Strict Proctor completely shuts down a ton of cards in the early game. Vs Greasegang Combo it stops Raffine's Informant, Saytr Wayfinder (if they're playing it), and even Esika's Chariot. Vs. Rakdos Midrange Strict Proctor disrupts Graveyard Trespasser // Graveyard Glutton and Bloodtithe Harvester. However, we need to be wary if we suspect them having a Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger because they will just get a two-mana 6/6.
Discontinuity is an insanely important and versatile card in this deck. Not only does it enable turn three Lotus Fields. It also is the best Counterspell/Time Stop ever because if you have two Lotus Fields on the battlefield with a Teferi, Hero of Dominaria you can just cast it off of two lands which is extremely powerful.
One discussion I've seen online has been whether we should cast Discontinuity in our opponent's upkeep or wait until they make a game action, such as moving to combat and attacking or casting a spell. In my opinion, it's extremely contextual much like almost everything in Magic. Generally, though I like to wait. We should let our opponent go to cast a spell or attack and then we can shut their entire turn down with Discontinuity.
On the Lack of Early Game Interaction
This deck has a laughably limited amount of early-game interaction. Aside from Strict Proctor, Jwari Disruption // Jwari Ruins, and a Foretold Doomskar or Behold the Multiverse there aren't any spells that cost less than four mana. Which seems like a huge liability, which it certainly can be but think of the opposite side of the spectrum. The fact that every card in this deck is a haymaker and an excellent top deck gives this deck an extra layer of power that a more traditional version of Azorius Control just simply doesn't have access to in its current configuration.
Rather than relying on Absorb's, Temporary Lockdown's, and a much more fair approach to the game Lotus Control leverages its powerful spells to make the opponent actually kill us fast because we have an overwhelming late game.
Now Go Watch the YouTube Video!
If you're wanting to play an extremely powerful and fresh version of Azorius Control look no further than this deck. It has game against every deck in the format and definitely has a gear that a traditional Azorius Control deck wouldn't have. Also if you want to listen to Patrick Wu talk all about his magnificent creation I implore you to go listen to The Control Freak Episode titled "Lotus Control a Deep Dive with Patrick Wu."
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