Magic: the Gathering

Deck Guide

Pauper: Azorius Familiar - Deck Tech & Sideboard Guide

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Pauper is a format full of complex and interesting decks. In today's article, I'll discuss one of these decks: Azorius Familiar. I'll discuss its strategy, deckbuilding, and bring you a sideboard guide to prepare you against the main matchups.

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translated by Joey Sticks

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revised by Tabata Marques

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About the Deck

Recursion is one of the pillars of Pauper. There are several mechanics and synergies in various decks that focus on repetitions or loops. Azorius Familiar takes advantage of that as much as it can and focuses its entire strategy on small synergies that create these loops.

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Even though it is extremely complex and difficult to pilot, this deck's idea is simple and focuses on Sunscape Familiar, the card that names it. Sunscape reduces by Magic Symbol 1 the cost of all green and blue spells you cast; this enables a few very powerful synergies among our strategies. This Familiar is also a 0/3 creature, which makes it an excellent blocker in several situations.

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With two Sunscapes on the board, you can reduce by Magic Symbol 2 the cost of your blue spells, and with an Archaeomancer and a Ghostly Flicker on the board, you can create an infinite loop by exiling Archaeomancer and an Island. Your Island will return to the battlefield untapped, and you'll retrieve Flicker from the graveyard with Archaeomancer.

This loop with a God-Pharaoh's Faithful on the board enables another loop that creates infinite health points, and gets you an automatic victory on tabletop. In Magic Online, this type of interaction requires you to perform (and click) your actions fast and efficiently, which makes the infinite health points strategy somewhat impossible, but it enables massive life gain if you're fast enough and willing to sacrifice your time to play out this combo.

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Archaeomancer is this deck's main recursion tool, and it recovers any instant or sorcery in your graveyard. With two of them on the board and enough mana, you can use Flicker to control the game entirely and reuse any spell in your graveyard as many times as necessary.

Another card that creates powerful synergies is Mulldrifter, one of the most important engines in this deck, and one of the most iconic cards in this format. This 2/2 Flying fish can be cast for its Evoke cost, and, if you combine it with the cost reduction created by our Familiar, you'll use only one Magic Symbol B for Mulldrifter's Evoke, and you'll open up space in your game to play an Ephemerate or even a Snap on this Flying Fish, creating a lot of value as you do.

One important detail about Snap in this deck is the extra synergy this card has with bouncelands, considering it can double or even triple the mana you create in a single turn, besides acting as removal.

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Lórien Revealed and Murmuring Mystic are the recent, incredibly powerful additions that this deck got. Lórien fits this list incredibly well because it acts as a fetchland early on, and, later on, it is an incredibly powerful source of draw, besides bringing you some recursion. Mystic is this list's win condition because it fills the board with any number you want of Flying tokens, and also deals lethal damage easily, besides locking down any Aggro attacks.

Considering Mystic fills the board on its own, Meeting of Minds becomes remarkable in this list because it is easy to cast and works as a free spell in many situations.

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Mulligan and Game Style

This deck can recover well from mulligans, and its starting hand is incredibly important to define the course of your game.

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We need land drops on the first few turns to guarantee our bounce lands and like so take advantage of the synergy with Snap as much as we can and speed up our curve.

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Regarding game style: this deck acts like a Control deck and can play really well defensively because it creates value at each action until you reach inevitability.

Sideboard Guide

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Our sideboard is well-prepared for Pauper's current metagame. Let's delve a bit deeper into the strategies we use'll against the main matchups.

Vs. Kuldotha Red

Our plan in this matchup is quite clear and will work against any Mono-Red version. God-Pharaoh's Faithful can be a win condition with the infinite life combo, and at least will guarantee your survival until you can control the game. Post-side, the Hydroblasts will deal with the rest.

Be careful with Kuldotha's explosive turns and use your life points well because, in this match in particular, it is your most precious resource.

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Vs. Jeskai Affinity

This matchup is a bit better than the last one. Snap performs well against All That Glitters and Murmuring Mystic can stabilize the board quite easily. However, we still need to be careful with Affinity's explosive turns, and several Myr Enforcers will be problematic. Post-side, we have access to a good package of hates against this deck and its variants.

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Vs. Golgari Initiative

This is a bad matchup. There are several removals that can come from the opponent's side, and their draws create a lot of value. Crypt Rats is an incredibly strong card against our plans, and the Initiative is difficult to deal with. Play more reactively, force your opponent to spend their resources on the cards you want them to. If you manage to lock down your opponent in a counter lock with Ephemerate + Archaeomancer, your victory will most likely be guaranteed.

Taking the Initiative or being the Monarch, as long as you can defend your position and counter an eventual Avenging Hunter or Thorn of the Black Rose, is also a good way out of the game.

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Vs. Caw-Gates

Caw-Gates plays out more like Familiar, and, for this reason, I consider this match to be slightly favored to us, but be careful. Remove your opponent's threats and abuse God-Pharaoh's Faithful to mitigate their attacks. Post-side, we should be careful with Relic of Progenitus and Pyroblast.

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Vs. Mono-U Terror

This matchup depends on the players' respective rhythms. Your opponent will try to speed up their game plan and win with several huge creatures as fast as possible. Post-side, the Circle of Protection guarantees you an almost automatic victory.

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Final Thoughts

Azorius Familiar is one of the best decks in Pauper, and is also one of the most challenging deck to pilot. However, mastering it can be very rewarding, considering it is a strategy that plays well in any metagame and can adapt to any matchup relatively well. It is a great investment for those who like decks with many interactions and synergies and prefer a Control game style.

Another article is finished. Leave your questions and suggestions in the comment section; I'll try to answer all.

See you next time!