Commander Primer: Azami, Lady of Scrolls

In this overhauled Commander primer Leonard treats us to the beauty of blue shedding light onto the much feared general Azami, Lady of Scrolls.

Last Updated 12/02/2012

There is probably no other commander that can vie with the kind of late game Azami, Lady of Scrolls has to offer. Infinite mana engines, “stroking” your opponent out, or just locking up the entire board — these are just a couple of game-winning scenarios a competitive Azami deck can conjure up.

Pair that with the brutal consistency of her early game, a strong tribal theme (wizards), and an awful amount of built-in combos that can win you the game in a blitz and you will understand why Azami has rightfully gained a pedestal amongst the most dreaded competitive generals of all time.

Welcome, welcome to Azami’s world of ever drawing more!

Draw More, Combo More, Win More

If you have a look at the deck list below (click on the image to enlarge), you’ll notice that Azami is far from being straight forward. There is seriously a lot going on in this deck.

Click image to enlarge

However difficult to dissect because of the sheer possibilities open to you as a player, the basic premise of this blue beauty still is, in stages:

  1. Ramp early through an extraordinary amount of artifact ramp and your sometimes infinite mana engines.
  2. Stall the opponent out by establishing board control with the help of your wizards, counters, and superior card advantage.
  3. Finally, close off the game by comboing off big time.

Oftentimes you won’t even need to get to stage 3, when, for instance, a little ramping plus an early Bribery, or a turn-3 Patron Wizard will already suffice to bring the game home. But as mentioned in the introduction, it’s the long game that really favors Azami, and that’s what you will usually be going for.

With such a huge emphasis on combos in the deck, you best make sure to familiarize yourself with each and every combo before entering battle.

Tutors

First up, there are a couple of tutors in the deck which, aside from the infinite draw combos, should help you find exactly the cards you’re currently looking for.

Here is a list of all the tutors:

Mana Engines

Apart from the infinite mana engines listed below, there are a couple of others ways to generate a considerable amount of mana, such as:

Keep these in mind when building your game as they already provide you with a massive board advantage.

Onto the infinite mana engines then!

Infinite Colorless Mana

Producing infinite amounts of mana is just a simple two-piece combo:

Tezzeret tutors well for either of the monoliths, whereas Long-Term Plan might just be the only way, besides heavy card draw or indeed infinite draw, to tutor for the other combo piece, Power Artifact, directly.

Infinite Blue Mana

You should always value colored mana highest, so this is where the real meat is: infinite blue mana. There are a couple of ways to go about this:

Note: If you combine High Tide and Extraplanar Lens together, you won’t even need that many islands for Palinchron to untap in order to effectively produce a surplus of mana each time you bounce and re-play it.

Other ways to produce near-infinite blue mana rely on the untapping of Candelabra through Mind Over Matter. For this to work, you need a hand readily filled with cards already:

I’m sure there are many more ways in the deck how you can produce infinite mana. Many of them overlap in certain ways, so that it all comes down to your creativity and how well you know every nook of the deck.

Card-Draw Engines

Card advantage is fundamental to your game plan and the main strength of the deck. Despite Azami’s ability to draw cards off fellow wizards, which is an extremely powerful, game-beating ability on its own, there are a couple of infinite card-draw engines buried deep within the deck with which you can find whatever missing combo piece you want.

Once you establish a card-draw engine, the deck switches to solitaire mode and you’l be usually very close to combo-killing your opponent.

Here are the infinite card-draw combos in the deck:

Combo Kills

The Sensei’s Top combo is probably the strongest combo kill in the entire deck. You draw your entire library and can thus, through playing your cheap artifacts smartly, establish any of the infinite mana engines and go for any kill configuration you favor.

Here are a couple of important combo kills worth noting including the Top combo kill sorted by basic premise:

Stroking out
  • Produce infinite mana + Blue Sun’s Zenith for x = the amount of cards in your opponent’s library + 1 card to kill the opponent on the spot. Can be used to defeat an entire multiplayer table because Blue Sun’s shuffles back into your library and can thus be redrawn (through e.g. Azami).
  • Sensei’s Top combo (see above under Card-Draw Engines) to draw your entire library, then play out your artifact ramp to establish an infinite mana engine, then go for the Blue Sun’s Zenith kill (see directly above).
Milling out
Bouncing the board
Board take-over
  • Produce infinite mana + Memnarch to take over the enemy board

Miscelaneous Combos

The “Tef” board lock

The “Tef” board lock remains one of the most annoying combos in Commander that is incredibly difficult to prepare against. Here’s the recipe:

The way this works is that whenever your opponent casts a spell, it gets exiled by the Pool and in response he or she can cast another spell previously exiled by the Pool, but which then will be suppressed by Teferi since he only allows sorcery-speed casting now. (You are still free to cast your stuff through the Pool though.) This works also with Omen Machine plus Teferi.

Other, Not-So-Obvious Combos

Frequently Asked Questions

If you still got questions concerning the deck, even after watching the 30-minute deck tech video below, let us know, and we’ll gladly put the answers to them up here for everyone to scavenge through.

Final notes
  • Play Jace, the Mind Sculptor over Beleren if you can afford it. The sheer power level and versatility of Big Jace is on a whole different plane.
  • Scrying Sheets is not worth playing over Cavern of Souls by the way, because its ability, while sweet, is too mana intensive, and Cavern does produce colored mana for your wizards, which does matter.

Thanks for reading!
—Leonard

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4 responses to “Commander Primer: Azami, Lady of Scrolls

  1. Candelabra of Tawnos is heartbreakingly expensive… may I ask what card could possibly take its place? Does the deck lose a lot of efficiency without it?

    • Candelabra enables more infinite-mana combos in conjunction with Mind over Matter. As far as I know, it’s effect is unique, and it plays well with Tezzeret too. However, it’s not integral for the deck. More cheap ramp would be the obvious choice to replace it with — or perhaps more counterspells in the form of Force of Will? As I haven’t played the deck in months, I honestly don’t know.

    • My line was that if you could already make them draw an insane amount of cards (Blue Sun’s Zenith), you didn’t need a maniac to win. That said, maniacs do work nicely with the draw combo since you only need Azami, Mind Over Matter, and three open mana. But what would you cut for it?

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