Azor, the Lawbringer
– Rivals of Ixalan
January 12, 2018
Commander [EDH]: 4.50
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Azor is pretty much the last character I would have expected to see in Rivals of Ixalan. For one thing, we learned in the original Ravnica block that he was present at the original Guildpact, which would make him over 10,000 years old. He’s in great shape for a sphinx his age, although it’s possible that there’s some vague thing about time passing at a different rate in Ixalan compared to Ravnica. For another, I kind of thought that Ixalan has enough memes already, with the pirates and the dinosaurs and the conquistadors and everything else. But perhaps I should stop analyzing and just be glad he’s here, because he is one of the most powerful late-game creatures I’ve seen in a long time. He’s good in the run-in to the game’s ending when he draws you a bunch of cards and keeps you on top. He’s good when you cast him as a blocker of midrange creatures and your opponent has to wait until you have mana up again before they can try and cast a removal spell on him. And he’s absolutely insane when you start flickering him – is there some way to do that in white and blue?
I never expected that my second favorite card in Rivals of Ixalan would not be a dinosaur. As a proud Azorius member, I can’t wait to get my hands on the guild’s founder. This card is essentially “Isperia, Supreme Judge”, Sphinx’s Revelation, and Sphinx’s Decree all stapled together.
A 6/6 with flying can end a game by itself. It’s nice that he’s a bit bulkier than Isperia because 4 toughness was a bit too easy to get rid of. To review Azor is to also review Sphinx’s Decree. It’s a bit more forgiving than Silence but it affects all players, meaning this guy is mean in multiplayer. This card is just begging to be flickered, something white and blue is good at. Summon Brago and go to town.
Sphinx’s Revelation is a standout from Return to Ravnica and its ripples are still being felt. It gave players enough cards and life to get back into the game or to lock down a victory. The fun thing about the card was determining when it was best to cast it. do you want a 2 card jump start? An overwhelming 7 cards? Or should you save some mana in case you draw a counter spell? Being able to use such a powerful ability every turn is everything I want in life.
Azor is a flavor home run and I’m glad he wasn’t a Planeswalker.
If nothing else, Azor, the Lawbringer is a very fitting mythic rare. It’s right on curve as a body (6/6 flying for 6), and it even brings an effect to the table: a limited Silence effect against your opponents. It only hits them on their turns (so this dies all the same to Doom Blade on your turn), but locking out their instants and sorceries makes it more likely that Azor will live to see you untap with him. And that, naturally, is where the carnage begins.
If the bottom half of his rules text looks familiar, it’s because it’s almost exactly the wording on Sphinx’s Revelation, the notorious Return to Ravnica mythic rare that defined a Standard format (and occasionally bubbles up in Modern). Even if you’re casting him on-curve, an attack on turn 7 will gain you 4 life and draw you 4 cards. With the ability to do it again the next turn. And the one after that. One Sphinx’s Revelation was rough, but multiple ones can border on back-breaking.
Azor is powerful, that’s for sure. He may be held in check by his colors (none of the Ixalan tribes alone can splash for Azor) and his intense color requirements, so him seeing Standard play will be in spite of his weaknesses. I think he has a lot of potential, though, and he might be just what control needed to be a force.
We would love more volunteers to help us with our Magic the Gathering Card of the Day reviews. If you want to share your ideas on cards with other fans, feel free to drop us an email. We’d be happy to link back to your blog / YouTube Channel / etc. 😉