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Against the Odds: Azor's Elocutors


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode forty-three of Against the Odds! Last week on our Against the Odds poll, Azor's Elocutors talked their way to victory over Warp World in Modern and Inverter of Truth in Standard, taking home 27% of the 3,500 votes cast! Meanwhile, Mirrorpool and Donate came in at the back of the pack and will drop off of next week's poll (which is probably a good thing, since we'll definitely be playing the new DonateHarmless Offering—once Eldritch Moon releases on Magic Online). As such, this week, we are heading to Modern and trying to bore the opposition to death by talking their ears off. Is Azor's Elocutors filibusted, or all filibluster? We're about to figure it out!

We'll talk more about Azor's Elocutors in a minute, but first a quick reminder. If you enjoy the Against the Odds series and the other video content here on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish YouTube Channel.

Against the Odds: Azor's Elocutors

Against the Odds: Azor's Elocutors Games

The Deck

Azor's Elocutors is a pretty challenging card to build around—I'm not sure that a five-mana creature that said "if this sits on the battlefield for five turns, you win the game" would be playable in Modern, and Azor's Elocutors has the additional downside of forcing us to remove a counter whenever we take damage. That said, there are two basic ways to build an Azor's Elocutors deck. One option is to try to get an Azor's Elocutors on the battlefield, hope that it doesn't die, and pillow fort for a few turns while the filibuster counters add up, but I'm not sure this plan could actually work. All it takes is one Path to Exile, Liliana of the Veil, or Supreme Verdict, and our plan of talking our way to victory over the course of several turns goes up in smoke. The second option is to figure out a way to speed up the process, so instead of waiting five turns to get the required number of filibuster counters to win the game, we can get them all in a turn or two. This was the direction we ended up going with the deck. So, how do we speed up the filibuster?

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Normally, Azor's Elocutors gets one filibuster counter every turn, but this is because each turn only has a single upkeep. Paradox Haze allows us to get multiple upkeeps each turn, which means we get multiple filibuster counters. While Paradox Haze doesn't do anything on its own, the good news is that they stack, so if we can get all four copies on the battlefield at the same time, we can take Azor's Elocutors from zero to five filibuster counters all in one turn! That said, even if we only have a copy or two of Paradox Haze, it still speeds up the process significantly; plus, it helps make up for the counters we lose when our opponent gets in combat damage with a creature or Lightning Bolts our face. 

Contagion Clasp is our backup plan for getting extra counters on Azor's Elocutors by proliferating. While it's pretty slow and expensive compared to Paradox Haze, it has the upside of being able to kill a one-toughness creature when it enters the battlefield, and if we have enough time and mana, we can potentially proliferate away bigger creatures. 

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The other sweet synergy in the deck is using the extra upkeeps we get from Paradox Haze to speed up the process of removing counters from suspended cards. Ancestral Vision is good when you draw three in four turns, but it's great when you draw three in one or two turns thanks to Paradox Haze. Meanwhile, Chronomantic Escape plus two copies of Paradox Haze allows us to lock opposing creatures out of attacking forever, since we can cast the Chronomantic Escape every single turn. Not only does this help us stay alive, but it also keeps our opponent from removing filibuster counters from our Azor's Elocutors by dealing combat damage. 

The rest of the deck is a fairly straightforward blue-white control shell with Cryptic Command to Fog our opponent's creatures and counter their burn spells, a single Dawn Charm as an additional way to protect ourselves from creature damage, Path to Exile for removal, Remand to keep cycling through our deck, and a couple of Snapcaster Mages to flash back all of our spells.

The Matchups

Honestly, I'm not sure there are any good matchups for Azor's Elocutors. It's just so incredibly slow and easy to disrupt. Not only is Path to Exile a killer (to the point where we are playing a copy of Lightning Greaves for protection), but the fact that any damage removes a filibuster counter turns our opponent's Lightning Bolts and Electrolyzes into Time Walks, when our only realistic way of winning the game is getting five filibuster counters. 

Basically, we are worse than other control decks because they have finishers that win the game much quicker and don't require their deck to play unimpactful cards like Paradox Haze and Contagion Clasp, but we are also pretty slow against aggressive decks. Probably our best matchup would be against something like Tron, since they don't have many ways to interact with Azor's Elocutors, but even then we really need to draw all of our Tectonic Edges and Ghost Quarters to have much of a chance. We might also have a chance against creature-heavy aggressive decks like Merfolk if we manage to land a Supreme Verdict at the right time. That said, I don't think these matchups are actually good, but they are likely slightly less bad than many others. 

The Odds

All in all, we won four of 13 matches (good for a 30% game win percentage) and one of five matches (20% match win percentage). Unfortunaly, we only really won with Azor's Elocutors once. Our other wins came against Mono-White Martyr, where we managed to mill our opponent out with their own Mesmeric Orb thanks to Ancestral Vision, and against Nivmagus Boros (our only match win), where our opponent scooped quickly after we dealt with their board. 

Perhaps the most depressing part of Azor's Elocutors is how soul-crushing it tends to be. We had a lot of games where we were one turn away from winning, but our opponent always had the Path to Exile or Supreme Verdict, or even just a Lightning Bolt to remove a filibuster counters. With a lot of Against the Odds decks, we just get crushed until we finally put together the combo, but Azor's Elocutors offers a lot of false hope, where it feels like we're right on the cusp of victory, only to have everything go wrong at the last moment. That said, the deck was still fun to play. Not only did we finally win with filibuster counters, but we also got to lock someone out of the game with Chronomantic Escape and Paradox Haze, which was super sweet! However, I think it's safe to say that Azor's Elocutors in Modern is more filibluster than filibusted. 

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Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive, or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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