It’s not often I see a totally new style of deck that makes my jaw drop, but today’s list deck fits the bill. A pure control deck that utilizes a handful of win conditions that start the game in your sideboard is pretty far from normal, and beyond sweet.
Azor’s Gateway is an interesting new card from Rivals of Ixalan. For 2 mana, you’re getting an artifact where you can effectively spend 1 mana and loot. The cards you discard will be exiled, so you’re losing out on any potential sweet graveyard interactions. In return, you can flip your Gateway if you to exile 5 cards with different converted mana costs. The flip side gives you Sanctum of the Sun and a ton of mana. The more life you have, the more mana you get. Double-digit life totals generate obscene amounts of mana to do as you please.
With that mana, you can start by casting Battle at the Bridge. Not only can you cast a Battle for close to 20, but gaining 20 life will give you access to an additional 20 mana on future turns! Not a bad removal spell to ramp into.
Mastermind’s Acquisition looks like a slight upgrade from Diabolic Tutor, but it plays well with huge amounts of mana. Not only do you get a few additional sweepers in both your main deck and sideboard to search for, but you can make sure your win conditions aren’t clogging up your hand in the early game. Cards like Sandwurm Convergence could rot in your hand, but searching for it when you have the mana available is awesome. You also have Wildest Dreams once you have access to 20+ mana from your Sanctum of the Sun to return your entire graveyard to your hand. From there, you can recast your Battles, your Tutors, and close out the game really easily.
Your removal suite is focused on survival. Azor’s Gateway will help you find what you need and let you discard excess removal spells in matchups and spots where you don’t need them, but you have to survive. Fatal Push is the best tempo removal spell in just about any format, but Moment of Craving is another way to handle early creatures and gives you a little life buffer. Vraska’s Contempt can deal with bigger threats and preserve your life total. Never // Return gives you a slightly slower removal spell with late-game implications, and you even have Bontu’s Last Reckoning and Yahenni’s Expertise to sweep the board of threats.
With so many cheap removal spells and a few sweepers that can handle the small stuff, Doomfall becomes an exciting option. Not only can this help clear the path for your big spells and Gateways, but you can kill your opponent’s biggest threats. You also have Duress to help set you up and clear the path of answers from the opponent.
Azor’s Gateway is your best ramp spell, but Hour of Promise gets you the mana and board presence you need a little sooner. With a whole bunch of Deserts in your deck, getting two Zombies and a couple extra lands is easy. You can even use Ifnir Deadlands to kill smaller creatures, Scavenger Grounds to stop graveyard decks, or Field of Ruins for opposing flip enchantments that are now lands. An Arch of Orazca gives you an additional way to use your excess mana.
The only creature in the deck is a single Gonti, Lord of Luxury, and it’s here for value. Vraska, Relic Seeker can win a game, but it’s also a great way to control the board or put some tokens into play to make sure the game goes long.
This deck has all the tools to survive before your Azor’s Gateway flips and things get completely crazy. I love what this deck is trying to do and can’t wait to try it myself.