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Full primer coming in the next few days

Who Am I? + A History of the Deck

Before we dig into the details I’ll tell you a bit about myself and the evolution of this deck. Skip this section if you’d like.

I’m known as Archwizard or TheArchwizard on MtG related forums and I live on the east coast of the United States. I started playing Magic in mid 2013 and began playing Standard around when Theros came out. I took interest in Commander about a year later and I built a couple casual decks. I played these casual decks for a while until the Commander 2014 decks came out and ended up picking up the Teferi precon. I quickly decided to change from Teferi and build Azami simply because at the time she had a well established reputation of being dominant.

This deck has gone through many phases and changes over the years. It started off as a pile of random wizards and other “good stuff”, but I wasn’t satisfied with the result so I began optimizing her to be an extra turns build which I preserved in the final state I left it in here. I played that build up until around late 2016 when I moved to college and my meta changed. The college I went to had a great competitive Commander scene and I began to realize that this extra turns build was insufficient. I needed a way to combat other faster combo decks. As a result, I began shifting her toward a more control oriented build that is somewhat similar to the list you currently see.

I piloted Azami almost exclusively for over 3 years straight up until the beginning of 2018. It was at that point where I took a much needed break from playing her and began piloting other more competitive decks including various Zur and Thrasios / Tymna builds. I was primarily playing these decks up until the end of that year while still updating Azami with new cards. At the beginning of 2019 I immersed myself into the competitive Modern scene and attended quite a few tournaments. During this time my work on Azami was minimal at best and I had my focus primarily set on Modern and other competitive EDH decks. My lack of interest in Azami during this period was mostly because of the power discrepancy between Azami and top competitive EDH decks.

Now fast forward to the writing of this primer, it's May 2020, Flash has gotten banned, and a lot of old decks are returning to the format as a result. The format returning to a diverse state has rekindled my enthusiasm to work on this primer and make Azami as good as I possibly can. My hope is that this primer will be interesting and informative for casual and competitive players alike. Thank you for reading!

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • We have access to card advantage in the command zone that scales well into late game.
  • Our commander functions as a card draw outlet when we have an arbitrarily large amount of untaps with Isochron Scepter and Dramatic Reversal.
  • Since Azami is a combo piece in the command zone we have the opportunity to close the game out relatively quickly.

Cons

  • Our commander costs five mana. 2UUU is a hefty price to pay.
  • We are weak to many stax effects, such as Cursed Totem, Null Rod, Notion Thief, etc.
  • We are generally slower than fast combo decks and must leave mana open early game in order to respect them.

Is Azami for you?

You will probably like Azami if you enjoy:

  • Drawing a ton of cards.
  • Emptying your deck and winning via Laboratory Maniac, Thassa’s Oracle, or Jace, Wielder of Mysteries.
  • Countering a lot of spells.

You will probably dislike this deck if you:

  • Hate playing combo decks. We are almost always going to win through some sort of combo.
  • Want to play the most powerful mono blue deck. While Azami is powerful, she is not nearly as oppressive as she was in the early days of Commander.
  • Rather have your commander as a backup plan. While the deck certainly can function without Azami it won’t be nearly as effective. It’s likely that we will run out of cards quickly and lose as a result.

Viability in Competitive EDH?

Arcane Signet, Fellwar Stone - Excellent two drop rocks that help us ramp into Azami.

Arcum's Astrolabe - For a card that seemed like it wouldn’t be very worth it in Commander at first glance, it has been very useful. Being able to cantrip, help turn on Mox Opal, and filter colorless mana into blue mana all in one card is pretty nice. The filtering is especially good in this deck because we really need blue mana.

Chrome Mox, Lotus Petal, Mana Crypt, Mox Diamond, Mox Opal - Free mana rocks help us power out Azami and other expensive cards early.

Coalition Relic - Being able to save blue mana for our next turn helps us ramp into Azami quite a bit.

Coldsteel Heart - A lot of people may wonder why this card is in the deck because it enters play tapped. Powering out Azami early and consistently is very key to our game plan and while we already play Arcane Signet, Fellwar Stone, and Coalition Relic I believe that having this card as added redundancy is worth it despite entering tapped.

Grim Monolith, Mana Vault, Sol Ring - These rocks along with Mana Crypt net us mana the turn we play them and help us get ahead.

Isochron Scepter - Part of the two piece combo with Dramatic Reversal. We can also imprint a counterspell or bounce spell in slower games in order to stay ahead.

Sapphire Medallion - The quintessential cost reducer for a mono blue deck.

Sensei's Divining Top - Gives us a lot of control over our draws and synergizes well with our fetch lands.

Blink of an Eye, Into the Roil - All around solid bounce spells.

Brainstorm - The best cantrip we can play. Appreciates in value when we have fetches and other tutors to shuffle away unwanted cards.

Counterspell - Do I really have to explain why this is here? Moving on.

Cyclonic Rift - The best board wipe we have access to and quite good when we need to use it as single target removal.

Delay - Three turns is a long time to not have access to a spell. By the time the spell comes off suspend the game will usually be over or we will have the resources to counter the suspended spell again.

Dig Through Time - Effectively sifts through our library and finds us more gas for two to four mana in most circumstances. It also allows us to empty our graveyard for Paradigm Shift lines.

Dispel - An efficient counterspell generally used to stop an opponent’s combo, push through our own combo, or protect Azami.

Dramatic Reversal - Part of the two piece combo with Isochron Scepter and an overall excellent card on its own.

Fact or Fiction - A very solid spell that usually nets us a few extra cards or finds us a key card that we’re missing.

Fierce Guardianship - An excellent counterspell that allows us to tap out for Azami while still protecting her or ourselves from our opponents’ spells.

Flusterstorm - A great counterspell for defending our combo or disrupting our opponents that is more difficult to answer than a normal counterspell.

Force of Negation - A great counterspell for protecting Azami while we’re low on mana or for dealing with our opponent’s combos. The additional benefit of it exiling the countered spell is quite nice.

Force of Will - Free counterspells are excellent and allow us to make more aggressive plays.

Impulse - An efficient option for great card selection.

Mana Drain - Counterspell, but better. You get the point.

Mental Misstep - Great counter for stopping early plays that gain our opponents large advantages. Some of the best targets for this spell include Mystic Remora, Carpet of Flowers, Vampiric Tutor, and our opponents’ one mana counterspells.

Misdirection - Allows us to cast our spells aggressively and tap out if needed. Most importantly we can tap out and still protect Azami from removal.

Muddle the Mixture - Usually we use this as a tutor, but this card’s flexibility as a counterspell makes it great.

Mystical Tutor - Overall the best tutor we have access to. It can help us get pretty much whatever we need aside from a wizard.

Narset's Reversal - This is the type of spell that you have to find the right target for if you want it to be powerful. Your mileage will likely vary depending on your metagame. That being said, this spell is also quite powerful when being used on our own spells and has a few neat interactions that provide a lot of flexibility. I cover these interactions in the “Interesting Interactions” section.

Negate - An excellent counterspell that hits a wide range of targets.

Pact of Negation - Generally we use this to push through our combos as it hurts our mana a lot when we use it on our opponents’ threats.

Rapid Hybridization, Reality Shift - Efficient and effective creature removal spells. Either one can be swapped for Gilded Drake if you deem it effective for your meta.

Swan Song - Arguably one of the best one mana counterspells we have access to due to the wide range of targets that it can hit.

Whir of Invention - Usually we use this at the end of our opponent’s turn to find a Mana Crypt or mox, but it’s also useful for finding Isochron Scepter.

Fabricate - Finds us important artifacts such as Isochron Scepter and our mana rocks.

Gitaxian Probe - Getting information on an opponent’s hand and drawing a card for the low low cost of two life is quite good.

Merchant Scroll - Allows us to tutor important cards such as Dramatic Reversal, Dig Through Time, or just any of our counterspells.

Paradigm Shift - Enables us to deck ourselves easily so that we can win via Laboratory Maniac, Thassa’s Oracle, or Jace, Wielder of Mysteries.

Personal Tutor - Usually gets us either Paradigm Shift or Timetwister. Not entirely sure how much I like this card in this build, but it has been solid so far.

Ponder, Preordain - Cantrips are especially useful because they give us a way to plan our upcoming turns effectively while only committing one mana. Since Ponder and Preordain are among the best cantrips available we play them rather than the others.

Timetwister - Not a necessary card to play Azami, don’t worry if you can’t afford it. It’s nice to have for refilling our hand and comboing with Narset, however this can also be achieved with Windfall. The reason Timetwister is amazing is because we can also use it to get rid of all the cards in our graveyard, barring Timetwister itself, so we can combo with Paradigm Shift. Furthermore, the added utility of being able to recur cards and perform loops with it makes it quite nice. If you want to learn more about Timetwister loops please see the Interesting Interactions section for more details. Seriously though, this card isn’t necessary at all.

Baral, Chief of Compliance - The cost reduction Baral provides is excellent considering our deck is primarily composed of instants and sorceries. Baral’s triggered ability is also very useful because it gives our counterspells the ability to filter stagnant cards from our hand.

Cursecatcher - Tends to stop early game combo shenanigans and makes people think twice about how they budget their mana when they interact with us.

Glen Elendra Archmage - Four mana isn’t cheap for a wizard, but considering we get two near uncounterable Negates that cost one blue mana each is quite powerful. Not to mention she draws us cards with Azami and we get to draw an additional card after we sacrifice her the first time.

Jace, Vryn's Prodigy   - Allows us to loot early on and fix our draws. His minus three planeswalker ability also gives us some nice additional value when we need it.

Laboratory Maniac - One of our three wincons which just so happens to draw us cards when we aren’t using it to win the game.

Martyr of Frost - A cheap wizard that helps us interact with our opponents.

Siren Stormtamer - Gives us the opportunity to protect Azami while drawing us cards.

Snapcaster Mage - Recurring instants and sorceries is powerful. Drawing more cards with Azami is powerful. Why not both?

Spellseeker - This is easily one of our best wizards. It gets us Dramatic Reversal, Paradigm Shift, or any of our interaction.

Thassa's Oracle - One of our wincons that also happens to be very capable of sifting through a large quantity of cards because of our naturally high devotion.

Tribute Mage - Primarily just finds us Isochron Scepter and our two drop mana rocks.

Trinket Mage - Generally fetches us a Mana Crypt or a mox. The reason I love this card so much is because we get to find our crucial mana rocks while simultaneously raising the bar on cards we draw from Azami.

Back to Basics - This card tends to be quite good in most competitive EDH environments, however its strength generally also depends on the context of our hand. This list only plays six nonbasic lands that care about Back to Basics, but there are some draws that may cause this card to hinder us more than our opponents.

Copy Artifact - Usually copies the best mana rock on the battlefield and can be used in combination with Isochron Scepter for various combo shenanigans. I go into detail about the combo in the Interesting Interactions section.

Mystic Remora - Step 1: cast the fish Step 2: ??? Step 3: profit

Rhystic Study - Unlike Mystic Remora, this tends to be more of a tax effect against good players than it is a way of generating card advantage.

Jace, Wielder of Mysteries - One of our wincons which also happens to provide us with card advantage on its own.

Narset, Parter of Veils - A versatile combo and stax piece that can dig us deeper into our library. Since most of our creatures make for poor blockers I don’t tend to rely heavily on her sticking around to deny card advantage. I generally try to play her into a board where our opponents can’t easily attack her so I can get maximum value or try to combo her with Timetwister if I can help it.

Ancient Tomb - Having a land that taps for two colorless is excellent especially considering we have cards like Arcane Signet and Fellwar Stone to help us ramp.

Cavern of Souls - Having uncounterable creatures is really nice.

Flooded Strand, Misty Rainforest, Polluted Delta, Scalding Tarn, and Prismatic Vista - Many people claim they play fetches for deck thinning. The reality is that the deck thinning effect that these lands provide is minimal at best, especially in Commander. The reason we play them is because having the ability to shuffle our library is very useful. Cards like Brainstorm, Ponder, and Sensei’s Divining Top become much better when we have the option of shuffling away unwanted cards. Being able to tutor for Mystic Sanctuary is also quite powerful.

Gemstone Caverns - Great for powering out Azami early. Sometimes it’s an awkward draw if it’s our first or second draw of the game, but overall a very nice way to hit the ground running.

Minamo, School at Water's Edge - Allows us to draw an extra card per turn with Azami as long as we have the mana.

Mystic Sanctuary - Being able to rebuy a spell off of cracking a fetch land is quite powerful considering the low deck building cost.

Saprazzan Skerry - Despite entering tapped and only having two depletion counters, this land really shines with powering out Azami on turns two and three.

Deck Strategy

Under Construction

Deck Pace

Under Construction

Under construction

If you are interested in joining the Discord server run by your favorite Archwizard, then consider joining by clicking the join link below. I try to be active and answer questions there that may not be covered by this primer.

https://discord.gg/RrBQ57x

Credits

A special thanks to the following individuals for making this deck and primer possible:

  • Archmage-Eternal, for listening to my ideas for cuts, helping me test the deck, and supporting me and this deck throughout its metamorphosis.

  • ShaperSavant, for helping make improvements and revisions to this primer.

  • Roryrai, for providing me with the extra push I needed to switch from my old extra turns based build to the combo-control oriented one you see here.

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Date added 5 years
Last updated 1 month
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

9 - 0 Mythic Rares

36 - 0 Rares

16 - 0 Uncommons

20 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.04
Tokens Jace, 2/2 Bird, 2/2 Manifest, 3/3 Frog Lizard
Folders Refferences, EDH (Control), edh, Decks, Randoms, Ideas & Inspiration, EDH Ideas, EDH, Azumi, Artifact, See all 101
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Revision 159 See all

4 months ago)

-1 Aphetto Alchemist main
+1 Back to Basics main
-1 Mind Over Matter main
+1 Personal Tutor main
+1 Reality Shift main
-1 Windfall main