Pioneer Azorius Control Deck Guide For MTG

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  • How to play Azorius Control

Pioneer is one of the most open formats in the world Magic: The Gathering. There are tons of deck options to complement different play styles. Among these is Control, which are decks that are built around stopping the opponent’s main games and slowly grinding the game by clearing spells and removing threats.



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The best control version for Pioneer is the Azorius (white/blue) Control. This deck takes advantage of the multitude of control cards available in a suit. Azorius Control games can often be tricky, but it is capable of winning against almost any deck if played correctly.

Example Decklist

An image of the Narset Parter of Veils card in Magic: The Gathering, with artwork by Magali Villeneuve

Example Decklist

1 Narset, Parter of Veils

4 Teferi, hero of Dominaria

3 The Wandering Emperor

1 Goodbye

2 Supreme Court

3 Absorb

2 Censor

3 Dovin Veto

2 Fatal absence

2 Make Disappear

March 2 of unearthly light

3 A flood of memory

4 Typhoon Shark

2 Temporary lock

1 Ardenvale Castle

1 Castle Vantress

2 Deserted beach

1 Eiganjo, seat of empire

2 Ruin Field

3 Ice fortress

2 Hall of the Storm Giants

4 The sanctified well

4 Irrigated agricultural land

2 island

1 Otawara, The Floating City

3 planes


2 blast of ether

2 Chrome Host Seedshark

2 A contemptuous move

1 Hullbreaker Horror

2 A mystical dispute

3 needle

2 Rest in a peach tree

1 Summary Disclaimer

Key cards

Wandering Emperor and Shark Typhoon card artwork

Teferi, hero of Dominaria

Magic: The Gathering Teferi, Hero of Dominaria full card with background

The face of the archetype – Teferi, hero of Dominaria is one of his most important cards. Control always wants to have untapped lands so you can keep mana to interact when your opponent is on a turn. Teferi’s plus one ability allows you to still cast spells on your turn, and to free up enough lands to still cast a counterspell. He also draws you a card; Azorius Control always wants to keep its hands full, so this is appreciated.

Teferi, the minus three Hero Of Dominaria ability is also handy for nursing a permanent that you can’t remove naturally, like if it’s indestructible. Although it’s rare, if you use the minus eight ability, you basically win because you can wipe out your opponent’s entire battlefield by drawing cards.

You can use Teferi’s -3 ability on sorcerer speed to cast a shield spell, then use one of your instant speed removal spells to make sure you get rid of the target creature.

Wandering Emperor

The Traveling Emperor MTG card

Wandering Emperor is a fantastic planeswalker that works both as removal and as a way to create board presence. Its best feature is its flash ability, which allows you to catch your opponent off guard and suddenly banish an attacking creature if they aren’t careful with their attacks.

Even if you don’t use it because of the banishment minus two effect, you can still include it during the end phase when you no longer need mana to interact. In general, you want all of your cards to be useful at all times, and The Wandering Emperor fits the bill.

Supreme Court

An image of the Supreme Verdict card in Magic: The Gathering, with artwork by Sam Burley

Azorius Control tends to throw in some board wipes to deal with big boards of creatures and Supreme Court is the best of the lot. It’s pretty easy to cast, but it’s even more important cannot be resisted. This allows it to be safely thrown into other blue decks that might have counterspells like ghosts.

Since Azorius Control doesn’t actually play any creatures, it can’t block them until the later stages of the game. As such, board wipes like Supreme Verdict are essential when handling any creature decks.

A flood of memory

Magic the Gathering Best Draw Spells in Commander Memory Deluge

A flood of memory is one of the best ways to get your hands on cards for Azorius Control. You always get two cards in your hand and get to see four or seven of your library’s best cards.

It has a flashback, allowing you to use it twice. While the mana cost for this is quite high, it generally doesn’t matter because Azorius Control has a lot of lands on the battlefield in the late game.

Memory Deluge is an instant card that allows you to use it in the end phase when you run out of mana for counterspells and removal. In short, you can use Memory Deluge to find a counterspell that doesn’t need to prevent a powerful card from resolving.

shark typhoon

Shark Typhoon MTG card
Caio Monteiro picture and wallpaper

shark typhoon is a way to draw a card and put a creature on the battlefield. There is almost no way to interact with this effect as it is triggered by his cycling ability. The token he makes has flying, which allows him to take damage more easily. Shark Typhoon is one of the main ways Azorius Control gets a creature onto the battlefield.

If you have mana up, however rare, you can cast it as a spell. This often leads to winning the game, as it turns all your counterspells and removal into a way to get creatures onto the battlefield.

Hall of Storm Giants

Magic: The Gathering Hall of Storm Giants full card with background

Hall of Storm Giants so Azorius Control often closes games. It can turn into a big 7/7 creature with ward three to make it hard to take out with both spells and combat. Even if you don’t turn it into a creature, it still provides you with a source of blue mana.

Although it costs six mana, you usually don’t use Hall Of Storm Giants until the late game stages when you have excess mana. This is a good follow up after the board wipe show to get more consistent damage.

Hall Of Storm Giants goes well with Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. Teferi can eventually tap two lands, which can help make Hall Of Storm Giants essentially cost four mana instead of six. Another option is to open Hall Of Storm Giants so you can reactivate it when it’s your opponent’s turn to make a blocker.

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How to play Azorius Control

Image of Dovin's Veto card in March Of Otherworldly Light

Azorius Control is based on using your instant spells to react to everything your opponent does and shut them down. The deck is often very grindy and games take a while to win, but once your planeswalkers start hitting the battlefield, it often snowballs.

Don’t use your counterspells right away. It is important to assess how threatening the card will be if it resolves. It’s better to let the creature hit the battlefield if it’s not dangerous, then remove it later by clearing the board so you can save the counterspell for something that would have a bigger impact on the game state.

Temporary lock is a great way to deal with low mana permanents at any point. There isn’t a lot of disenchantment in play in Pioneer, so chances are these permanents will remain banished. Farwell is a powerful late-game board wipe that can deal with problems more permanently when banishing instead of just destroying. It also deals with the graveyard to push back graveyard-based strategies, which are plentiful in Pioneer.

Creature spawning lands are key to keeping the pressure on. Ardenvale Castle is a consistent source of 1/1 tokens that can be made at instant speed. Hall of Storm Giants is another way to turn a land into a creature, and this one is a much bigger threat.

Castle Ardenvale can be used twice when mixed with Teferi, Hero Of Dominaria, as it can open Castle Ardenvale after you use it to craft a token.

Removal spells should be reserved for the most threatening creatures on the battlefield. Creatures with low power should generally be left alone, while stronger ones should be removed. Azorius Control doesn’t mind taking damage as it can turn things around in the late game. He wins after a long grind, so it’s important not to focus on dealing damage.

An ideal starting deck will have at least three lands and some interaction spells that you can cast early on. You don’t need your big endings like that Teferi, hero of Dominaria and shark typhoon early in the game, so even if you don’t have them in your hand, it’s a good idea to wait until you draw them naturally. Mulligans can do a lot of damage to Azorius control, as it’s a lot of one-for-one trades until your winners start showing up on the battlefield. As such, you generally want to avoid mulligans unless you open one or more lands. While holding a two-land card is risky, it’s worth sticking with if the rest of the hand also has a low curve, risking falling too far behind. Otherwise, it’s best to mulligan to try to get a more acceptable hand.


Hullbreaker Horror by Svetlin Velinov
Hullbreaker Horror by Svetlin Velinov

The Azorius Control sideboard is quite simple. It mostly consists of other counters that you can board against certain matchups. A despicable stroke is a useful counterspell to make sure a high payoff spell doesn’t resolve – something that is common with Pioneer.

Pithing Needle it’s good to use against decks that run activated abilities like Mono Green Devotion and Rakdos Sacrifice. Rest in peace completely shuts down several graveyard decks as they are all exiled when they are sent to the graveyard. Against decks that stack a lot, Summary Dismissal ithis is a good way to turn it off as it wipes a bunch of pages and kicks them all out.

Technical options such as Hullbreaker Horror they are great for a control mirror matchup because not only are they unstoppable, but they also have flash that can be cast at any point. Once it hits the battlefield, you cast so many spells that it’s easy to return more spells and permanents back to your hand with its effect.

A burst of ether is an anti-red and green card that slows them down a lot and should be used as a pseudo-counterspell for decks that play those colors.

A mystical dispute is another color enemy card, this time for blue, that gives you a counterspell you can cast for just one blue mana. Against control mirrors, this is especially useful in winning counterspell wars. Chome Host Seedshark it’s useful against matchups where you need a little more board presence, as it turns all your non-creature spells – which pretty much the entire deck is made up of – into token generators so you also have a large battlefield of tokens to turn into creatures.

Pros and cons

Magic The Gathering Supreme Verdict artwork
Supreme judgment of Sam Burley

Azorius Control is amazing holding back everything the opponent does. His multitude of interactions generally allow him to win against combo decks with ease, and there are plenty of ways to keep their main combos from disappearing. Is also excellent against most variants of midrange records, as these usually play fair creature removal – something you don’t have to worry about since you barely play any creatures.

Where Azorius Control struggles the most is against Aggro guys. Since Aggro decks are built to win as quickly as possible, it’s not uncommon for them to win the game once you draw enough mana to start interacting with them.

While a board wipe can disable them, many creatures in Aggro decks are rushes that can get the job done despite this hindrance. To beat Aggro decks, Control needs to be very selective with low mana removal to stop the bleeding. However, sometimes this is too challenging, making it Azorius Control’s worst matchup.

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