Do Your Worst - Azorius Treasures

(Prosperous Pirates | Art by Josh Hass)

From Stax to Riches

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another installment of Do Your Worst, where we take a popular archetype and find the most unusual home for it! I'm your host, Philomène, and in this column, we will be looking at decks that should not be – or should they?

Treasures are, for better or for worse, a huge part of our format nowadays. Streets of New Capenna alone introduced 39 cards that generate Treasures, and we're facing more and more of these little Lotus Petals each game. With such a wide variety of cards that create them and care about them, there is definitely a Treasure archetype sitting somewhere between artifact synergy, sacrifice shenanigans, and big mana. So what colors are best suited for this archetype? (You know I only ask because I want to find the worst ones).

Rakdos takes the cake, with 7100 decks, and Jund, mono-red and Izzet follow it up with 5400, 5300 and 5100 decks, respectively. Grixis lags behind at 3300 decks. If we're talking about commanders, Prosper, Tome-Bound is the ultimate king of Treasures, followed by Magda, Brazen Outlaw and Admiral Beckett Brass. Korvold, Fae-Cursed King is being challenged by newcomers Ognis, the Dragon's Lash and Ziatora, the Incinerator, while Galazeth Prismari helms most of the Izzet Treasure decks.

The data shows that Jund colors are particularly suited for the archetype. Blue does show up in Grixis and Izzet decks, and was a primary color for Treasures in Ixalan and the first Commander Legends, but it has largely been abandoned by the mechanic since then. Oh, and what about white? White has nine cards with the word Treasure on it, and three of those actually gives Treasures to our opponents. Sure, white does have Smothering Tithe, but that was a mistake, right? All in all, if we're trying to find the least likely home for all this gold, I think our choice is pretty clear: Azorius Treasures, baby!


The Research

Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator is the only legendary creature in our colors that cares directly about Treasures, so we'll keep a close eye on him and try to find a fitting Partner. We have access to six cards that create Treasures upon entering the battlefield in Azorius. Is that enough to go for a blink theme, with Brago, King Eternal or Alora, Merry Thief and Far Traveler? I'm not convinced.

Treasures are tokens, and we could profit from that permanent type with Ellyn Harbreeze, Busybody and a blue Background, like Clan Crafter. We could also go for artifact synergies: Glacian, Powerstone Engineer could tap Treasures for card advantage, and Rebbec, Architect of Ascension can act as protection for our different pieces. It would be nice to have husband and wife in the command zone, but six mana for Glacian is glacially slow, and his ability is just not that impressive. Rebbec, on the other hand, is a white Partner and could pair well with Malcolm... yeah, I think I can get on board with this!

Some say that Rebbec ascended the stairs of Halcyon into the white cloud of all-consuming energy, but in my headcanon, she secretly slipped out in the night and became a pirate instead. Sorry, Glacian, hubby, but you're dead, and Treasures are shiny. Also, Yawgmoth, you're a terrible person.

Make way for Malcolm and Rebbec, partners in crime!

Rebbec, realizing that Yawgmoth is a manipulative, egotistical sociopath.

A Pirate's Life for Me

How do we get Treasures in Azorius? For one, we're going to rely heavily on Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator to start us off. He cares about any Pirates dealing damage to opponents, so we can include some of them in the crew, and several of them also give us Treasures when they enter the battlefield: Prosperous Pirates, Sailor of Memes, Corsair Captain, and Burdened Aerialist. Malcolm has evasion, so Prying Blade and Goldvein Pick might come in handy. Treasure Map will get us going and draw us cards later on. I know some folks are not so hot on Tempting Contract, but I've seen enough people succumb to the temptation that it's worth the include here. It doesn't look so good next to Smothering Tithe, but we gotta do what we gotta do!

Let's also capitalize on some artifact and token synergies.

Academy Manufactor's presence here will surprise no one. Let's throw Anointed Procession in the mix and double up any token generation. Blastoise can get huge very quick, and it can be unblockable! Arcbound Crusher is a worse version of it, but it has trample! Whirler Rogue can tap Treasures to give our creatures evasion. Ethersworn Sphinx can be cast for cheap and cascade into anything in our deck, being the highest mana value card in the list. Junk Winder is another Affinity card, but for tokens this time, and can modify the board to our liking and help us get in for damage and Treasures.

Okay, we have value, synergy, and all that jazz, but how do we move in for the kill?

Mechanized Production is basically the blue Revel in Riches, right? At worst, it can generate a Treasure per turn. If we have enough noncreature artifacts, Cyberdrive Awakener and Rise and Shine can be very surprising. Urza, Lord High Artificer doesn't win us the game on the spot, but it's just a busted card that will get us an insurmountable advantage.


One Deck's Trash is Another Deck's Treasure

We're playing the cool kids with all these Treasures, but we're still Azorius, so we're going to be very responsible about our deckbuilding basics.

Ramp

Mana rocks are very synergistic in an artifact deck. Liquimetal Torque can even turn other things into artifacts if we so desire. I really like Midnight Clock in Commander, because it triggers on every player's upkeep, and it assures us that we'll get a full hand later on. Much has been said about Monologue Tax, and yeah, it doesn't always provide the best results, nor is consistent by any means, but it's a white card that can generate Treasures, so into the deck it goes!

Card Advantage

Hey, we're an artifact deck! Sage of Lat-Nam seems good. Sai, Master Thopterist can get us Thopters and cards. Neat! Would you like to pay a single blue mana to draw two cards? Thoughtcast and Thought Monitor have entered the chatShimmer Dragon is a flying beater that can tap Treasures for cards. If you find Esper Sentinel in your opening hand, it feels like cheating. Bennie Bracks, Zoologist and Idol of Oblivion will work well with our token-making endeavors. Pirate's Prize is bad but it makes a Treasure, end of discussion. This isn't Playing with Power, this is Do Your Worst, so we play the best worst cards and we are proud of it.

Interaction

Azorius is known to have access to good interaction. Swords, Path, and Counterspell are in the deck, but that's boring! An Offer You Can't Refuse fits the theme, even if it gives Treasures to our opponents. Dispatch is basically another copy of Swords and Path in our deck. Depths of Desire and Hornswoggle fit in the same category as Pirate's Prize, so like it or not, we're playing them!

Now for the real deal: Spell Swindle. Yes, yes, we won't always counter a Ghalta, Primal Hunger, and holding up five mana is pretty costly, but if we counter a spell with a mana value of five or more, then this is basically a free counterspell, right? Also, it just made DougY's Too-Specific Top 10 - Expensive Counterspells list.

As for protection, Ephemerate can save a precious creature or can flicker a Pirate for Treasure! Siren Stormtamer can deter a lot of interaction from our opponents, and with Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator out, it can produce a few Treasures. Oh, and what about Rebbec? Well, she protecc! And if she's incapacitated, Indomitable Archangel can help too.

Now, let's look at that shiny decklist!

🪙 Malcolm and Rebbec | Strike it Rich | Azorius Treasures

Commander (2)
Creatures (26)
Artifacts (16)
Enchantments (5)
Instants (11)
Sorceries (4)
Lands (36)

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Good as Gold

Azorius doesn't need to be all about taxes and stopping our opponents from having fun! We, too, can be cool and play with Treasures.

It does help that white is getting a lot of love recently, with cards like Battle Angels of Tyr and Smuggler's Share. I've considered Master of Ceremonies, and I do like the card, but I don't want to rely on my opponents to give me what I want - more often than not, I'll receive some 1/1 tokens. (Before you say anything, I know Tempting Contract is relying on opponents. The workaround is that they can't choose anything else than creating a Treasure. There is always one holier-than-thou person who won't make any, but there's always at least one greedy person in the pod.)

Blue's love for artifacts is very synergistic with Treasures, but instead of going for a combo finish as with many artifact decks, we're focusing more on combat, and that's fun too. Lumengrid Sentinel is another way to open up lanes of attack, and Vedalken Humiliator can take care of scary blockers, while being extremely sassy (see flavour text).

Maskwood Nexus doesn't really fit into any of the categories above, but it's extremely useful, especially when one of our commanders cares about a certain tribe (Pirates). It can also help our Prosperous Thief produce a bit more Treasures. I also just realized that she's holding a fish made of gold. A goldfish. Haha. (I'm probably the last person on Earth to finally notice this.)

As a final thought, I think it was hard to do something really bad that revolves around Treasures. If you have enough of them, they just win you the game! Seriously, this article might look clever, but I barely did anything this time around.

But what do you think? Are Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator and Rebbec, Architect of Ascension the right commanders for this deck? Should I have gone for a blink strategy? Did I miss any spicy card or interaction? Let me know in the comments! I'm Philomène, and this has been Do Your Worst. See you next time!

Philomène is a film composer from Montréal, Canada. Her love of card games started in the late 90's with Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Dragon Ball Z and of course, Magic : The Gathering. Preferring a more casual kind of game in commander (art and lore being very high on her list of reasons to play cards), she satiates her competitive urges through Limited formats.