This entry is part 10 of 12 in the series Let's Kill

HayesYour opponents have the right to play Azami, lady of scrolls. Yet you too have the right to take up arms against Azami. Let’s take a look at how the Azami deck works and ways that you can foil her plans of trying to say “I win”.

 

 

Azami is debatably one of the best EDH generals because of her ability to draw, disrupt, and have multiple paths to victory.

Azami, Lady of Scrolls

Her ability to draw with each wizard you play is her best ability because it lets her accelerate into more wizards which give her an exponential amount of resources. Better yet, because of Azami’s rules text she can tap the wizards she plays on the turn she plays them in order to draw a card. Unlike other ability creatures in magic she does not have to wait a whole turn before the green light goes on.

Azami decks turn this card draw into finding an infinite combo and spilling it out onto their opponents. Some of these combos require/give you infinite mana to win, others enable you to draw your entire deck. Here are the notable suspects:

Omniscience

This card is a house, where the only downside is that you might not have enough card draw to hit the stuff you need to play alongside Omniscience. Azami+wizards draws you cards. Enter the infinite exists. Problem solved.

Mind Over Matter

Perhaps one of the most iconic cards that are a part of a two card combo, this guy lets any Azami deck draw their entire deck by discarding a card to untap Azami over and over. If this goes online while your opponent has an available cache of mana it’s game over man.

Ambassador LaquatusBlue Sun's Zenith

These are sinks to enable infinite mana to mill your opponents to death. Don’t worry, blue sun puts itself into the deck upon resolution so your opponent can cast it multiple times per turn if they care to.

Sigil Tracer   Turnabout

When you cast Turnabout you can copy it with the Sigil Tracer and two wizards to untap all creatures you control. Then, while the original copy is on the stack, you can copy Turnabout again. If you have enough wizards you can repeat this to infinitely untap all your creatures, lands, and artifacts.

Power Artifact  Grim Monolith

Basalt Monolith

Gives you infinite mana by reducing the untap costs.

Diviner's Wand

This equipment can sometimes give you an alternative route to kill your opponents via card draw while at the same time giving you even more options for card draw.

Sensei's Divining Top  Future Sight  Helm of Awakening  Cloud Key

This combo allows you to reduce Sensei’s divining top’s cost by one to make it free and play it over and over again after using top’s ability. You can kick off this combo with a giant brainfreeze after you draw your entire deck.

Memnarch

This card allows for an alternate victory with infinite mana to steal all of your opponent’s permanents.

Laboratory Maniac

I win.

Enablers

There’s a host of tutors available to the Azami deck. Mystical tutor, personal tutor, long term plans, and merchant scroll all search for cards the deck wants. Transmute effects can also be added if the deck wants more search effects.

While looking at the ways this deck can win we have to ask ourselves two questions when deciding what to do about disrupting Azami – What are her weak points and how will we get permission to exploit those weaknesses. We have to think about permission because any respectable Azami deck runs a host of counterspells that can be drawn into easily via wizards.

Destruction of Permanents

Enchantment / Artifact destruction is crucial to foiling the hopes of any Azami deck. Since mono blue relies on artifacts to accelerate its available mana count destroying artifacts such as grim monolith, gilded lotus, and their cousins go a long way to slowing the Azami deck’s ability to capitalize with wizards. Destroying key enhancements that allow Azami to go an infinite route denies her and forces her to find another path to win.

Krosan Grip

Kill Azami. Then kill her again. And again.

Killing Azami the moment she comes out is effective by simply taxing your opponent. By forcing them to pay more for their card draw you are buying time. Azami decks can still easily win the game without Azami in play due to her tutors, but slowing her down can be enough to get another deck to win the game.

Long-Term Plans

Silence Azami

I think this is the most effective route. Pithing needle is a great card overall in EDH so even if you don’t need it to fight Azami in any given matchup it can be used elsewhere. Phyrexian Revoker is pithing needle with legs. Linvala, keeper of silence has splash damage that can turn off most of an Azami deck and possibly some of your opponent’s other creatures.

Linvala, Keeper of Silence

Punish Azami

Ruric Thar, the unbowed can be a kick to the balls. Spirit of the labyrinth can act as a silencing effect that slows down Azami.

Get around her counterspells

The sheer amount of countermagic can sometimes feel overwhelming when playing against Azami. I like to visualize decks in EDH that use countermagic as having shields. When the shields are up, combos are not likely to happen. When the shields are down all hell can break loose. Azami’s card draw lets her keep her shields online constantly. Most Azami pilots counter cards that either directly disrupt their combos or wreck their permanents. They don’t care about countering mid level threats because their deck can win so fast that mid level threats are not enough to apply pressure to them.

If you want to get around her countermagic Gaea’s Herald and Vexing Shusher are probably your primary ways of doing so if you’re playing a creature deck. Aether Vial, Cavern of souls are a few other alternatives.

Vexing Shusher

Be wary of spending deck slots to fight against countermagic. By decreasing the number of threats in your deck it slows your ability to put a clock on Azami, if you do manage to resolve a threat.

Political Azami

The most primitive way of killing an azami deck is by getting everyone at the table to gang up on her. In games where she is the only tier one deck at the table this usually happens as everyone is aware of her explosiveness and consistency.

But she can’t beat all of us, right? Even if we gang up on her 3v1?

You’re wrong. Dead wrong. There have been countless games where this method of ganging up has not worked. The Azami deck’s ability to draw cards helps her recover out of situations even where it seems impossible recover. There are so many combos that can easily go online after drawing a few cards. Azami is always a threat as long as she has permanents on the field and is alive.

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