RNA Cube Set Review: Azorius

The Azorius Senate, now under the leadership of Dovin Baan, has brought us a plethora of new cards for cube. Let’s take a look at what they have in store for us!

Image result for azorius symbol

Dovin, Grand Arbiter

The Kaladesh Vedalkan now rules the Azorius and has a new iteration of himself as a 3 mana planeswalker. 3 mana walkers are traditionally very good, but I’m not feeling it with Dovin. His +1 is a do-nothing activation that requires a UW deck to play a lot of creatures. His -1 creates a thopter, which does protect him, but thopters can only go so far in the environment that is cube. His ultimate is unique, and a super dig through time should get you all the cards you need to win the game, but I’m not sure if everything else Dovin provides is worth it. If you support a UW tempo strategy Dovin might be worth it, however, another 3 mana Azorius card by the name of Spell Queller does tempo a hell of a lot better. Grade C

Lavinia, Azorius Renegade

This hate bear is ridiculous in vintage cubes. Making opposing Mana Crypts and Moxes nearly useless for the low low cost of 2 mana is awesome, and would make this a very high pick for cubes that are keen on cheating things into play. The less powerful your cube is, the less powerful this card gets but there are very few cards that can make a game of vintage seem like a normal game of Magic. If you play with the power 9 I would highly recommend this card, otherwise, you can probably pass on the renegade. Grade B+

Deputy of Detention

Detention Sphere on a body. There really isn’t that much to say here.

Pros: Is a creature

Cons: Is a creature

It’s easier to remove as a creature but also easier to find. If having a creature is more valuable to you, and you still play with Detention Sphere, then this is a good card for you. Grade B

Precognitive Perception

Jace’s Ingenuity, but better. Topdecking this in the late game feels incredible, and it’s still passable as a way to punish players who choose to not play into your counterspells. But I believe that the real home for this card is in combo decks, that need to dig as deep as possible to find what they are looking for. The option to play as an instant or sorcery is really nice, but I don’t feel that this card is strong enough to break into most cubes. Mystic Confluence can also draw you 3 cards, but it can also bounce 3 creatures, or mana leak 3 times, or any combination of the above. Precognitive Perception just isn’t on the same power level as the other 5 mana spells in cube. Grade B-

Unbreakable Formation

3 mana wrath protection is something that we are used to seeing at this point. What I like about this spell compared to previous versions is that it fulfills the 2 roles that an aggro deck would want. When you can just kill the opponent, you are more than happy to cast this in your main phase and throw everything at them. When it can’t do that, it can represent insurance against losing your entire board (tokens remain as well, which is a plus). My one issue with these kinds of cards is that if you have to give up turns that could be spent on developing your board, to instead protect yourself against a wrath they might not have. Grade B-

Warrant // Warden

Mono-blue removal is not something we are used to seeing, and putting on top of the owner’s library is even better than a normal bounce spell. If your opponent is stuck on mana and swings with their Llanowar Elves, you can make their hopes and dreams shatter on the spot. This removal is also not dead against a control deck that plays 0 creatures, and a Serra Sphinx will do a fine job of beating up the opponent. Neither half of the card is incredible, but it is versatile, and that is what makes a card really fun to draft and play with. Grade B

Depose // Deploy

Here we have a very similar card to Fire // Ice. On one side we have Ice that is easier to cast but can only target creatures. On the other side, we have two creatures that will die to an opposing Fire. Regardless, two thopters at instant speed is pretty good, even if it does cost 4 mana and tapping a creature and drawing a card is way better than most people think it is. This card isn’t breaking any new boundaries, but I still believe that it is a fine playable and could do well in a peasant cube. Grade B-

Mesmerizing Benthid

It’s been a long time since we have gotten a 5 mana blue creature as good as Mulldrifter, and I want to say the octopus looks promising. A 4/5 with hexproof is good to have, and the tokens frosting any creature that it blocks is actually pretty nice. Casting this against an aggro deck should buy you plenty of time to follow up with a finisher in the vein of Jace or Teferi. The problem is outside of aggro, this card is only ok. And even against aggro, there are many games where I’ve died before my 5th turn. I’d much rather hold up Mystic Confluence and just bounce their whole board. As much as we want 5 drops in blue, I don’t think this is what we are looking for. Grade B

Sphinx of Foresight

A Leyline that isn’t completely worthless if you top deck it is nice to see. Scry 3 at the beginning of the game is really nice, and will ensure that you will be able to play your lands and cast your spells. If you don’t get this in your opening hand, it’s not terrible either. A 4/4 flyer for 4 is very serviceable, and it does provide value on every upkeep. But in a world where the other 4 mana spell I can cast is a Jace, the Mind Sculptor, I’m more than likely passing this card. Grade C+

Lawmage’s Binding

Murder in UW is surprising to see but very nice to have. Most creatures get completely shut down by this card, leaving them to Convoke and Sacrifice fodder duty. If this card didn’t have flash I would not recommend playing it, but as it stands I am a fan of this card. It provides value to both tempo and control decks and is a great fit for most pauper cubes. Obviously, this card doesn’t make the cut in more powerful cubes, but this is an excellent addition to Pauper. Grade A

Truth be told, Azorius did not get very many stellar cube cards in this set. Thanks to Teferi’s sins, we did not get to see very many Azorius cards push the power level to the point where they are surefire cube cards. A lot of the cards still have good designs though, and for the right cubes will create interesting and fun experiences. Thank you all for reading, I hope you have a great week and an amazing Tuesday!

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