BW Toolbox Control

Possible breakthrough ahead.

So I re-analyzed how the BG Azor toolbox deck works and found out that it can actually be ported to White which makes the deck better against aggro decks. I also noticed that the BG shell can take some time assembling the pieces to win the game which is not always good in a 9-round tournament or in MTGO.

Azor's GatewaySanctum of the Sun

The key ingredient in the deck is Azor’s Gateway. It loots which helps fix our draws and then flips into a crazy mana machine that adds X single-colored mana where X is your life total. To use this card effectively, we need 2 things:

  1. Have our cards spread across the curve to meet Azor’s flip condition.
  2. Be at a decent life total, or have ways to gain life to get the mana advantage.

Thankfully, Orzhov colors provide very good removal to preserve our starting life and have ways to gain life apart from Azor’s free 5 life points. Let’s start the card selection from the lowest to the highest curve.

Curve 1 – 7 cards in the main. (11.6% of the deck)

DuressFatal Push

For our 1-drops we have 3 copies of Duress and 4 copies of Fatal Push. Because we are generally a combo deck of sorts, it was genius or the BG shell to mainboard Duress for good reasons.

  • Hits something in any deck: burn spells, Planeswalkers, removal, counter magic, combo pieces.
  • It gives plenty of information to sequence your next plays.
  • It disrupts your opponents play because he loses the element of surprise

Fatal Push needs no reason because it will forever be he best black removal until Kaladesh rotates or until Dominaria reprints Go for the Throat or Innocent Blood. It helps keep the board clean early but remains relevant even later in the game by tucking excess copies under Azor’s Gateway.

Curve 2 — 9 cards in the main. (15% of the deck)

Azor's GatewayBaffling EndMoment of Craving

2 drops include 4 copies of Azor because we need multiple copies with the rise of Abrade in the format. It’s also our way to pull ahead and do crazy things and toy with our opponent.

We will also play 3 copies of Baffling End because it is by far, the best sorcery speed removal that erases Earthshaker Khenra, Scrapheap Scrounger, Champion of Wits, Adorned Pouncer, Anointer Priest, Whirler Virtuoso, Glint-Sleeve Siphoner, Winding Constrictor and so much more from the face of the earth.

Speaking of life gain, we will also play 2 copies of Moment of Craving in the main and another copy in the sideboard to support Fatal Push and Baffling End in the Kill-Early- Things Department. The -2/-2 is actually really good against Adanto Vanguard and the 2 life is pure icing.

Curve 3 – 5 cards in the main. (8.34% of the deck)

DoomfallLost LegacyNever // Return

First things first, Never is not included in the 8.34% computation because Azor treats this as a 7CMC card with the latest ruling on card’s CMC outside the stack.

We will run 3 Doomfalls and 2 Lost Legacy in the mainboard.

Yes, that’s right! Lost Legacy in the mainboard is looking to be a decent tech because a lot of decks rely on specific cards to glue their strategy together. Let me show you some cases:

  • RDW – apart from things we can kill, they will rely on Hazoret or Chandra to win the long game.
  • UBx – take away Scarab God and it should be over.
  • UWx – strip away Approach and you win.
  • BWx – name Hidden Stockpile or Anointed Procession and you can minimize their go-wide strategy.
  • RG – exile pesky threats like Glorybringer, Rekindling Phoenix, Regisaur Alpha or Chandra should make the other threats easier to manage

Of course it is not super effective against Mardu, Black Green variants and the likes which is why we will not be running more than 2 so that we don’t see it often in our opening hands but still have that access if we need it.

Doomfall is a great catch-all control card that hits threats before and after they hit the battlefield. It’s also a sure-fire way to kill Carnage Tyrant, Scarab God and Hazoret forever. Against control decks, Doomfall supplements Duress to ensure we can still get our spells through counter magic.

Never is technically a 3-drop and a relevant at that because it is the only 3-mana kill spell that is non-conditional and hits Planeswalkers as well. It also helps us bridge Azor’s flip condition by tucking away a 7-mana card which is sweet.

Curve 4 – 9 cards in the main. (15% of the deck)

Cast OutIxalan's Binding    Vraska's ContemptYahenni's Expertise

What I like about white is that it can remove anything that hits the battlefield apart from lands. It compliment Black really well because Black only removes creatures and Planeswalkers effectively but sucks at dealing with artifacts and enchantments.

We will play a 3-1 split between Cast Out and Ixalan’s Binding because I sometimes want the option to cycle Cast Out in the early draws if I don’t need it and I want to find early answers or even lands if needed.

On the 4-drop slot is more removal in the form of Vraska’s Contempt which is another way for us to gain back some life but more importantly have ways to kill top deck haste creatures or Planeswalkers.

Yahenni’s Expertise is there primarily if we get swarmed. I preferred this over Settle the Wreckage because we already have so much removal early in the game that we shouldn’t be left with so many attackers worth settling. Aside from that, the -3/-3 is again good against indestructible creatures and the incidental free spell might be useful. In some special cases, a Yaheeni’s Expertise cascading into a Moment of Craving can kill a Hazoret. Not saying this is the best way to kill it but I’m happy I have this line of play available.

Mastermind's Acquisition

We also have our money card in the 4-drop slot: Mastermind’s Acquisition. This card extends our mainboard from 60 to the whole 75 because it allows us to access win conditions and answers from our sideboard in any game against any match up. It’s so good that I was tempted to play all four copies. However, with Azor out, I think 2 copies if enough to draw it eventually and wish for something in the sideboard and outright win the game.

Curve 5 – 2 cards in the main. (3.33% of the deck)

Fumigate

I didn’t like the BG’s limitation of using Bontu’s Last Reckoning because of the mana lock is leaves behind. What I like about Fumigate is the life gain which is synergistic with Azor’s Gateway. Clearing the board of 4-5 creatures translates to 4-5 additional mana from Azor. It’s also another way to clear the board without needing them to attack unlike Settle.

Curve 6 – 0 cards in the main. (0.0% in the deck)

Curve 7 – 3 cards in the main. (5.0% in the deck).

Approach of the Second SunNever // Return

When I said a faster win condition, I meant Approach of the Second Sun. The deck has ways to cast 2 Approaches on the same turn. First is by flipping Azor’s Gateway and float like 10-12 mana which is easy since we have ways to gain life and Azor gives you 5 life free. With your available lands, you can tap an additional 6-8 mana to reach 18 mana and cast the first Approach for 7 mana, then cast Mastermind’s Acquisition for 4 mana to tutor for the second one, and use the remaining 7 mana to cast it again and win the game. Don’t doubt the power of Azor’s gateway’s mana production because the mono black Azor and the BG Azor can generate even more mana than 10-12 easy.

Never//Return pops back on the 7-drop because Azor sees it as a 7-CMC spell when you loot it. Look up the CMC ruling if you need more clarification.

Curve 0 – 25 cards in the main. (41.67% of the deck)

4 Concealed Courtyard

4 Forsaken Sanctuary

1 Arch of Orazca – free draws

1 Field of Ruin – hits Azcanta and Adanto

4 Ifnir Deadlands – free removal

2 Scavenger Ground – anti-Scarab/GPG/Embalm

5 Plains

4 Swamp

Because we’re playing quite a number of colorless lands, we must play the tap dual land, Forsaken Sanctuary, to make sure we have the double white or double black when we need them. I hate dying to mana screws.

Decklist for easy viewing:

Artifact: 4

4 Azor’s Gateway

Spells: 31

3 Duress

4 Fatal Push

3 Baffling End

2 Moment of Craving

3 Doomfall

2 Lost Legacy

1 Never // Return

3 Cast Out

1 Ixalan’s Binding

2 Mastermind’s Acquisition

2 Vraska’s Contempt

1 Yahenni’s Expertise

2 Fumigate

2 Approach of the Second Sun

Lands: 25

4 Concealed Courtyard

4 Forsaken Sanctuary

1 Arch of Orazca – free draws

1 Field of Ruin – hits Azcanta and Adanto

4 Ifnir Deadlands – free removal

2 Scavenger Ground – anti-Scarab/GPG/Embalm

5 Plains

4 Swamp

Our sideboard is our toolbox of answers turns the table on our opponent. There’s plenty of 1-offs or “fun-offs” but I assure you I have my reasons for putting them in the sideboard.

Gonti, Lord of Luxury

Gonti’s a really good at sniping powerful cards from our opponent’s deck and use it against them. It’s also a good blocker thanks to deathtouch. He comes in usually for Yahenni’s Expertise if we’re not worried with go-wide strategies. It can also replace Lost Legacy if nothing is worth stripping in our opponent’s deck.

Fragmentize

Fragmentize helps us keep our Cast Out and Ixalan’s Binding active but it generally comes in against Token decks and Vehicles.

Doomfall

The fourth copy of Doomfall can be added against control decks. Sometimes you just want all four copies together with Duress and wreak havoc against control decks.

Oketra's Last Mercy

We talked about life gain earlier and no one does it better at 3 mana than Oketra’s Last Mercy. Tutoring this card after stabilizing against aggressive decks is a free win. Not to mention it also fuels your Azor’s Gateway crazy fast for a very low mana investment.

Zetalpa, Primal Dawn

Sometimes, you want to tutor something up that can win you the game in 2 turns because your opponent has the Negate back up to counter our Approach or Torment of Hailfire and all you discard spells have been used or exiled. So why not call Zetalpa and crash in for 8 a turn? There will be games that get stalled and you don’t have the leisure of casting Approach back to back without the opponent closing in and breaking the stall to his favor so I want a card that can present a decent clock that’s hard to remove.

Torment of Hailfire

Speaking of Torment of Hailfire, we will also adopt this card from the BG shell because it’s the best card to sink all our mana into and watch your opponent count his permanents and his cards to see if he will still get another turn. Torment you for 17?

Cruel Reality

Lastly, we have Cruel Reality. It’s our version of Sandwurm Convergence. For me I think this is better because it reinforces our control strategy which forces the opponent to sacrifice a creature or Planeswalker or lose 5 life. It’s also cheaper and is black which means you don’t need to float a different color mana when you fetch this with Mastermind’s Acquisition.

Wildest Dreams

Another card we will borrow from the BG Azor shell is Wildest Dream. Azor can generate any color mana so we can fetch for this by adding Green with Azor and go through our graveyard and replay all our juicy spells all over again.

Sideboard: 15

2 Gonti, Lord of Luxury

1 Oketra’s Last Mercy

1 Zetalpa, Primal Dawn

2 Fragmentize

1 Moment of Craving

1 Wildest Dreams

1 Torment of Hailfire

1 Doomfall

1 Fumigate

2 Ixalan’s Binding

1 Approach of the Second Sun

1 Cruel Reality

Sorry for the very long post but I’m just excited in my build of Azor’s Gateway. I really think it’s a formidable configuration to maximize the mana.

Please don’t forget to de-board after fetching sideboard cards with Mastermind’s Acquisition, and I’ll see you back here very soon!

Cheers,

Vanson

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