The Lost City of Azcanta

It’s Pro Tour time, so I won’t be talking about Standard today. I’ll let the pros show you new Standard decks or just solidify energy. The past couple of Pro Tours we haven’t seen much innovation and I can’t say that I blame the pros. When you’re playing for thousands of dollars, doing well is most people’s utmost priority. I can still be sad though, sad that they didn’t search for a sweeter deck! It’s all right, I’m here and I’ll do that for you. I’m not searching in Standard but I am searching in Modern. I’ve been looking and playing decks in Modern where Search for Azcanta is good. The best deck I’ve found is Jeskai Control, and it’s a spicy list, but there’s another deck that has been doing well too. BennyHillz has taken his {W}{U} Control deck with Search for Azcanta to an undefeated finish in a competitive Magic Online League. That got me excited, so today we’ll be covering two decks that try to maximize the value that Search for Azcanta provides.

Before we get into the decks, let’s just talk about Search for Azcanta.

Search for Azcanta
Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin

Search for Azcanta doesn’t seem like much on the surface, but we’ve seen what it can do in Standard, especially when it becomes Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin. At that point, you can just start churning through your deck for spells. So, what’s the draw for Modern? Well, in Modern you can put cards into your graveyard a lot quicker thanks to cheap spells and fetchlands. Control tends to have removal and countermagic Game 1. Search for Azcanta can help you filter the top card of your deck every turn helping you avoid drawing dead cards. You don’t want that Supreme Verdict or Path to Exile against Lantern Control or Ad Nauseam. Search for Azcanta transforming is an even bigger deal in modern not only for the cards you can get, but it also accelerates you on mana. Accelerating your mana lets you cast stronger spells like Gideon Jura sooner and it also helps get that third Blue source for Cryptic Command which can be very important, especially when a deck is running five colorless sources like Field of Ruin, Tectonic Edge, or Ghost Quarter.

All right, enough about Search for Azcanta. Let’s look at some decklists, we’ll start with BennyHillz 5-0 from Magic Online.


Field of Ruin
{W}{U} Control has been a deck in Modern for a while. It keeps going in and out of favor, but the most important thing about a control deck in Modern is you need to know what decks are being played so you can build your deck and sideboard accordingly. BennyHillz’s deck is very much a control deck in that he has countermagic and removal, but his deck is also a land control deck. I wouldn’t go as far to say that it’s a land destruction deck, but it can control what lands your opponent has on the battlefield and it will keep utility lands, like Tron lands, creature lands, or even Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, under control. Field of Ruin, Ghost Quarter, and Spreading Seas are all excellent ways to insure your opponent isn’t winning with powerful nonbasic lands.

Field of Ruin and Ghost Quarter help trigger Search for Azcanta even quicker. Add some cheap spells like Path to Exile and Serum Visions and you’ll have Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin in no time. Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin represents anything from answers to threats in the form of planeswalkers. All four of the Planeswalkers in this deck can buy you time so that you can dig deeper with Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin.

I think all Blue based control/midrange decks will slowly adopt Search for Azcanta over time. Even in Grixis it’s pretty good with Thought Scour and can find you Kolaghan’s Commands or Lilianas mid to late game.

I approve of this {W}{U} Control deck. The deck I’ve been playing is similar in a few ways, but it goes just a little bit bigger.


This is the Modern deck I’ve been playing and liking the most. It just does a little bit of everything and gives you so many choices. I do believe the Red splash is worth it because gaining access to Lightning Helix, Electrolyze, Nahiri, the Harbinger, and Desolate Lighthouse is a big deal. Helix is fantastic against creature decks and it helps keep you out of range. Electrolyze can win games by itself and Desolate Lighthouse allows you to win top deck wars. Nahiri, the Harbinger is just a solid catch all that filters your hand and has a real ultimate in grabbing a Torrential Gearhulk.

Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin allows you to end of turn dig for burn spells and just slowly burn your opponent out of the game. {W}{U} Control can’t really do it, at least not at instant speed like Jeskai can.

Bigger is Better

That’s what we say here in ‘Murica. We want giant plates, two liters of soda, and foot long hotdogs. Jeskai is Red, White, and Blue. It embodies all that is America. If you’re not playing Torrential Gearhulk, you’re doing America a disservice!

Seriously though, Torrential Gearhulk is amazing. I know it costs six mana, but so many times you will be casting Snapcaster Mage to cast Cryptic Command which also costs six mana. Now you’ll still be able to do that, but you’ll also get a 5/6 body attached that will eat that Gurmag Angler or Reality Smasher. Torrential Gearhulk builds its own wall and sends your opponent packing to wherever they came from! It’s the American hero we need and deserve.

Glimmer of Genius is very powerful; if you play Standard you can attest to its power. I originally had Sphinx’s Revelation, but you really need to X to equal three with Sphinx’s Revelation to even begin competing with Glimmer of Genius. That and it doesn’t play well at all with Torrential Gearhulk. That was enough for me to just play Glimmer over Sphinx’s Revelation.

Just One Please

Nahiri, the Harbinger
The singletons in this deck are important. Secure the Wastes, Snapcaster Mage, Nahiri, the Harbinger, Field of Ruin, and Desolate Lighthouse are the ones I’m talking about. Each of them have their own purpose and will put in work over the course of a match. Secure the Wastes can serve as a removal spell by blocking creatures, as Fog by jumping in front of Death’s Shadows, it can keep Planeswalkers in check, and just kill your opponent. I was skeptical, at first, of Secure the Wastes until I played with it a couple of times, then I was instantly sold. Nahiri, the Harbinger has been replaced in most of Jeskai lists with Ajani Vengeant and I couldn’t tell you why. His loyalty is low whereas Nahiri can go up right away to six loyalty. Ajani can keep a tapped creature tapped where Nahiri can just exile it. Nahiri can deal with pesky enchantments like Blood Moon, Courser of Kruphix, or even Prismatic Omen. It’s the clear winner for me.

If you like Jeskai and big spells, I highly recommend this deck. If you’re an American, I also highly recommend this deck. I really do think it’s good. These are both great Search for Azcanta decks and I will continue looking for more. I’d love to try and build a Sultai Search for Azcanta deck with Traverse the Ulvenwald and Emrakul, the Promised End. I gotta get to work on that.

Well, this is the end for now. Enjoy your Search for Azcanta and the Pro Tour. I’ll catch you all next Friday.

As always, thanks for reading!
Ali Aintrazi
@AliEldrazi


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