Azorius Control is often a powerful archetype in Standard, though its power level ebbs and flows. With the release of Theros Beyond Death it gains access to a ton of sweet new tools, bringing it right up to the top tier of the format.
Azorius Control Decklist with Theros Beyond Death
2 Glass Casket 4 The Birth of Meletis 4 Omen of the Sea 1 Banishing Light 4 Narset, Parter of Veils 4 Teferi, Time Raveler 2 Thirst for Meaning 4 Absorb 1 Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis 4 Shatter the Sky 4 Elspeth Conquers Death 1 Dream Trawler 7 Island (335) 8 Plains (331) 4 Hallowed Fountain 4 Temple of Enlightenment 2 Castle Vantress
Arena-Formatted Decklist - Azorius Control 2 Glass Casket (ELD) 15
8 Plains (ANA) 61
4 The Birth of Meletis (THB) 5
4 Omen of the Sea (THB) 58
7 Island (ANA) 62
1 Banishing Light (THB) 4
3 Narset, Parter of Veils (WAR) 61
4 Teferi, Time Raveler (WAR) 221
4 Absorb (RNA) 151
1 Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis (THB) 14
4 Shatter the Sky (THB) 37
4 Elspeth Conquers Death (THB) 13
2 Dream Trawler (THB) 214
4 Hallowed Fountain (RNA) 251
4 Temple of Enlightenment (THB) 246
2 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242
2 Thirst for Meaning (THB) 74
2 Glass Casket (ELD) 15
We'll start with the most obvious reason that this deck is good again – Shatter the Sky. Typically, control decks like this are great when they have access to a reliable four mana sweeper and struggle when they do not.
The other power boost this deck gets is Elspeth Conquers Death. Remember how much play The Eldest Reborn saw? This is the same card, except its up front effect is way better, the second ability is arguably better, and the third ability is the same (except still a little better!).
Dream Trawler is the latest in the line of expensive control finishers that protect themselves, but it's one of the most pushed ones in a while. It has a great mix of lifegain, card draw, protecting itself, and only costing 6 mana instead of 7 or more.
Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis is another exciting new option as a finisher. It can churn out damage pretty quickly to close a game, but the real appeal is the ability to continually reuse it for whatever effect is needed. Between this and Dream Trawler we probably have too many slots devoted to finishing the game.
Theros Beyond Death provides a lot of solid enchantments that this deck wants to run. Omen of the Sea is a solid card draw spell that interacts favorably with various enchantment interactions such as the potent card draw spell Thirst for Meaning. The Birth of Meletis does an incredible job at helping us stay alive, smoothing out our mana while providing a blocker and some life. Having a blocker basically for free encourages our opponents to extend a bit further into Shatter the Sky.
The two broken 3-drop planeswalkers from War of the Spark do great work here as expected. Teferi, Time Raveler is actually even way better than ever before, having a premium Sorcery to take advantage of the +1 ability and a ton of shiny new enchantments and artifacts to bounce. Narset competes with the new Thirst for Meaning (as well as Thassa's Intervention) for the card draw slot, but the planeswalker's raw power level is certainly proven. Absorb makes us want to have more options to keep up at instant speed, which is easier to do with this set release than it has been recently.
UW Control appears to be an extremely powerful option in the new format. It has several choices of very powerful cards in every aspect that you'd expect from a control deck, so expect this deck to be something to be reckoned with for the foreseeable future.