5, Jun, 23

Breakout MTG Archetype Takes Down Multiple Major Events!

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Article at a Glance

Pioneer saw a lot of interesting deckbuilding decisions this weekend. While the new Metamorphic Alteration combo deck certainly caught a lot of people’s attention, it was none other than Azorius Lotus Field to make top eight of both Canada’s Regional Championship and Sunday’s Magic Online Pioneer Showcase Challenge. This deck utilizes Lotus Field and Thespian’s Stage to generate lots of mana. However, unlike the Lotus Field Combo deck, this deck functions mostly as a control deck. The Lotus Field package simply enables the deck to get ahead on mana. If you have ever played a control mirror, you know how important it is to consistently hit your land drops to not fall behind. This deck goes a step further, and it has lots to spend additional mana on.

Lotus Field Synergies

Strict Proctor

Unlike in the Lotus Field combo deck, there are no Hidden Strings to be found. This deck is not reliant on having Lotus Field in play. Rather, it is a control deck that has a few ways to exploit Lotus Field and bypass having to sacrifice two lands. The first way to do this involves Discontinuity. Discontinuity costs two mana on your turn and ends the turn. This means that all abilities, including triggered abilities from Lotus Field, are removed from the stack. If you play Lotus Field, then respond to the trigger with Discontinuity, you get to keep your lands already in play, effectively ramping you from two mana on turn two to five mana on turn three.

This extra mana also works excellent with Discontinuity, because on turn four and beyond, you can then cast Discontinuity during your opponent’s turn and send the turn straight back to you! Discontinuity is still a functional card without Lotus Field, acting similar to a six mana Time Warp. Still, it gets significantly better when paired with Lotus Field and extra mana.

Strict Proctor, similar to Discontinuity, can bypass Lotus Field’s ability that forces you to sacrifice lands. Proctor makes triggered abilities get countered unless their controller pays two additional mana. By simply choosing not to pay two, you don’t have to sacrifice two lands when you play a Lotus Field with a Proctor in play. By playing four copies of Proctor and Discontinuity, it’s quite easy to use Lotus Field to get ahead on mana, which is where the advantage of this deck lies.

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Strict Proctor Affects Opponents

Much like Discontinuity, Proctor isn’t just a functional card with Lotus Field. In a lot of matchups, making triggered abilities cost two more mana can be backbreaking. Proctor being effective on its own is a big reason this deck is starting to have success at the rate it did this weekend. Recently, a Boros Convoke deck emerged that could generate absurd amounts of power as early as turn two by combining Creature token-makers and Venerated Loxodon and Knight-Errant of Eos. Making these triggered abilities, along with the triggered abilities of Reckless Bushwhacker cost more is a big deal.

Strict Proctor is especially great against small Creature-centric decks like Mono-White Humans and Azorius Spirits that rely on small Creatures with good enters-the-battlefield effects to attack in combat. Even as a three-toughness flyer, the card holds its ground in combat, but it’s surprising how many decks in Pioneer rely on using enters-the battlefield effects to their advantage. Mono-Green Devotion especially relies on enters-the-battlefield effects. Between Cavalier of Thorns, Oath of Nissa, and Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner in combination with big Creatures, the deck gets hurt a lot. This doesn’t even include all the triggers from sideboard targets for Karn, the Great Creator.

The Downsides of Strict Proctor

Strict Proctor in some cases can be a liability, however. The biggest example is versus opposing Lotus Field decks, where the opponent can get additional mana by not paying for their Lotus Fields, just like you can. Giving the combo version more mana can be a big problem. Additionally, this deck cut some Counterspells to make room for Strict Proctor and Discontinuity, which can be a problem versus other combo decks and the mirror, where the opponent likely has a higher density of impactful cards. This version of control does not come without its flaws, but when Proctor is good, the deck feels incredible.

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Using Extra Mana

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

Having access to up to two additional mana on turn four can be a huge deal, and this deck makes sure to maximize this. In addition to Discontinuity, the deck also plays three copies of Farewell. Despite the high converted mana cost, Farewell does what most other board wipes don’t do in that it can also hit Artifacts and Enchantments in addition to Creatures. It can even exile graveyards against decks like Atraxa Neoform that rely on it. Farewell is super effective in a wide range of matchups due to its flexibility. This is especially true against Mono-Green Devotion, where specifically exiling Cavalier of Thorns is a big deal. Hitting Wolfwillow Haven and impactful Artifacts tutored by Karn like Cityscape Leveler is super important, too. The knock on it is it costing six mana, hence why it rarely shows up as more than one copy in typical control decks.

The biggest way to really pull ahead with this deck, though, is by playing Teferi. One of the most powerful things about Teferi is that it untaps two lands, allowing you to protect Teferi. This deck takes that to the extreme. Sometimes, two mana isn’t enough to protect Teferi when behind on board, but this deck can untap Lotus Fields instead and have access to excess mana even on the opponent’s turn. One of the best play patterns the deck has access to is to play Teferi, untap two Lotus Fields, then cast Discontinuity on the opponent’s upkeep, and untap with a ton of mana and Teferi in play. From there, the world is your oyster.

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Good Control Cards Get Better

Shark Typhoon

What makes this deck so strong is that outside of Proctor and Discontinuity, this deck get to function just like a typical Azorius control deck would. Most of the cards in the deck are decent, even when played on curve with a Lotus Field. This means the deck isn’t reliant on drawing Lotus Field in the early turns. Rather, the deck can play just like normal Azorius Control. Even Lotus Field is a fine card without cheating on mana, especially when paired with Thespian’s Stage and Teferi. In fact, many players will sideboard out some copies of Discontinuity when opponents are prepared, becoming less reliant on Lotus Field.

Instead of being dependent on excess mana, your cards simply get better the more mana you have. Just Like Teferi, a lot of traditional Control cards scale with access to more mana. Cards like Shark Typhoon and Memory Deluge are decent at pulling you ahead but can be slow and clunky against aggressive draws from the opponent. With more mana, Shark Typhoon turns into a great finisher, and Memory Deluge can be cast alongside some interaction, making it less of a liability. Lotus Field even fixes your colors, so playing super impactful off-color sideboard cards like Thought Distortion is not out of the question. As long as Strict Proctor and Discontinuity are reasonably strong cards in the meta, you sacrifice very little for all that you gain. As a result, this deck feels like a great decision moving forward in Pioneer.

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