Last updated on January 9, 2023
Azusa, Lost but Seeking | Illustration by Winona Nelson
Mono green control is an interesting archetype to build a deck around. Lots of the best control cards are in white or blue, with black also having control in the form of removal and discard. Green, on the other hand, isn’t as known for its control spells. But that doesn’t mean you can’t build a mono green control deck! You just need to get a little creative.
I chose to go with Azusa, Lost but Seeking as my commander for this deck because there are plenty of great things to do with its ability. The extra mana makes it easier for you to get a leg up on the competition, and you can take advantage of landfall abilities. There are also some fun interactions you can set up with certain cards that you can play repeatedly.
There are a few different methods when it comes to the control aspect of this deck, but none are very friendly. You have some artifact and enchantment removal, but lots of your control comes from stax cards like Torpor Orb. You also have some land destruction methods and some creative ways to make them more effective. Given the nature of this deck, it may be worth having a Rule 0 discussion before you try it out unless you know your playgroup is okay with stax.
But that’s enough preamble, let’s get to the deck!
Tireless Tracker | Illustration by Eric Deschamps
Dryad of the Ilysian Grove
Emrakul, the Promised End
Kogla, the Titan Ape
Oracle of Mul Daya
Titania, Nature’s Force
Titania, Protector of Argoth
Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
Arch of Orazca
Boseiju, Who Endures
Eye of Ugin
Field of the Dead
Maze of Ith
Mouth of Ronom
Sanctum of Ugin
Snow-Covered Forest x13
Temple of the False God
Tree of Tales
Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth
This deck has a couple of goals. Earlier in the game you should look to slow down your opponents and make sure that you’re staying ahead of them. You can do that with cards like Sphere of Resistance, which will be less effective against you because you can play more lands than your opponents. You also have more lands than you normally would in a deck ensuring that you get the most out of Azusa, Lost but Seeking and cards like Scapeshift.
Cards with landfall abilities like Scute Swarm and Horn of Greed are very strong in this deck. Ultimately you want to work your way up to casting Emrakul, the Promised End, which can have a big impact on the game.
You can also easily get Marit Lage out with Dark Depths thanks to how easily you can find specific lands in this deck. These big fliers can help you close out a game, and you’re likely get to your endgame before your opponents thanks to your stax abilities.
While Azusa, Lost but Seeking doesn’t scream control or stax at first glance, it’s a very useful tool in this deck. The ability to consistently play more lands than your opponents is a huge advantage, especially once you have Winter Orb in play. Azusa also works really well with Crucible of Worlds and any land that sacrifices itself. For example, a single fetch land can get 3 uses with them both on the field. This also gives you 6 landfall triggers if you have any on the field.
This deck runs pretty well even without Azusa in play, but you likely want your commander on the field as much as possible. Outpacing your opponents is important for this deck because it doesn’t have a ton of different finishing moves. You don’t want the table to have the ability to answer you when it comes time to cast Emrakul, the Promised End or swing out with an army of Scute Swarms.
One form of stax cards in this deck are those that increase the cost of cards. Sphere of Resistance and Thorn of Amethyst both help slow down the game for other players, but they won’t affect you as much thanks to your extra lands.
Another key element of a stax deck is shutting down any potentially dangerous abilities your opponents have. Torpor Orb kills ETB effects while Collector Ouphe shuts down artifacts. Both also affect you, so make sure you’re playing them at the right times. You don’t exactly want to drop a Torpor Orb right before you cast your Emrakul, the Promised End.
Tangle Wire temporarily slows down the game, but it won’t be a permanent effect thanks to its fading ability. You can slow the game down early without affecting yourself with it later. You can use Winter Orb for a more permanent slow down.
Hall of Gemstone is one of the more effective stax cards in this deck because it won’t really affect you at all, but it can have a big effect on other players.
The same goes for Nature’s Wrath, which can be a great way to slow down decks especially if they play both blue and black.
This deck runs lots of utility lands, so fetching up basics isn’t as important for finding the lands you want.
Sylvan Scrying is a good example of a card that can help you.
Expedition Map also lets you get any land in your deck.
Reap and Sow is a bit more expensive, but it has some versatility as land destruction. It also puts the land right onto the battlefield, which is better for setting up interactions.
Nylea’s Intervention is great because it can get multiple lands to your hand. You can play up to three per turn with Azusa, Lost but Seeking, so this card can end up costing only two mana and getting you three lands.
Hour of Promise can help you to get a couple of lands directly to the battlefield, which can be great for landfall triggers.
Crop Rotation forces you to sacrifice a land to use its ability, but this isn’t a huge deal since there are ways to get lands from the graveyard in this deck.
You want some ways to draw extra cards so you also have answers with a land-heavy deck.
Horn of Greed is a great solution in this deck. You’re playing extra lands, so this also draws you extra cards. It also increases your chance to hit more lands if you only have one to play in your hand.
Sensei’s Divining Top helps you to fix your draws, and it can also draw you a card. This is very helpful for a land-heavy deck because you occasionally need to dig deeper for spells to play.
Sylvan Library also lets you dig deeper for answers, and you shouldn’t worry too much about losing some life. You can play a bit riskier with your opponents slowed down by your stax abilities.
Azusa, Lost but Seeking is your most reliable form of playing extra lands, but your commander isn’t your only option.
Burgeoning can help you to put lands onto the battlefield during your opponents’ turns, so you can still outpace them even if you can’t play extra lands on your turn.
Sakura-Tribe Scout can allow you to put a land onto the battlefield at instant speed. You can add another land on your turn if you need it, or you can tap the Scout on an opponent’s turn and play even more on your own turn.
Oracle of Mul Daya is one of the best extra land cards here. Oracle can help you to drop lots of extra lands off the top of your deck combined with Azusa, Lost but Seeking. It’s basically like drawing extra cards that turn.
Titania, Nature’s Force won’t let you play every land from your graveyard, but it lets you play Forests. You’ve got more than a few of those.
Titania, Protector of Argoth can also get you a single land back, and they both likely create lots of tokens for you in this deck.
Because this deck plays so many lands, it only makes sense to also have landfall triggers.
Scute Swarm is one of the more powerful landfall triggers in this deck. You can increase your number of Scute Swarms exponentially three times in a single turn with Azusa, Lost but Seeking. This card also pairs well with fetch lands or spells that find lands and put them onto the battlefield.
Kogla, the Titan Ape can destroy artifacts and enchantments, and it can also potentially remove a creature with its ETB effect.
All Is Dust is a good board wipe for this deck because it won’t hit your stax pieces, same with Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. These do a good job of emptying the board while leaving you the setup you need to keep the game slowed down until you can build back up.
Looking toward the endgame your biggest finisher card is Emrakul, the Promised End. Because Emrakul is your best bet, you also have some ways to find it. Worldly Tutor and Fierce Empath help you search for it from your deck.
Green Sun’s Zenith can help you get Emrakul right onto the battlefield, but you won’t benefit from its cast trigger or cost reduction. Still a significant threat on the board though.
Scapeshift won’t outright win you the game, but it can create a board state that leads to victory. You can sacrifice a good number of lands and then search for Field of the Dead as part of its effect. This creates a ton of Zombie tokens for you. It also works well if you have Scute Swarm on the field or other landfall triggers.
For colored mana you mostly have Forests and Snow-Covered Forests. You also have Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth to allow your many utility lands to also tap for green.
Maze of Ith can help protect you from at least one big threat each trip around the table, which plays into helping to keep you safe.
Glacial Chasm is even better at keeping you safe, and two life a turn is an easy trade for not taking any extra damage.
Thespian’s Stage is handy for copying your other utility lands if you need to. It can also copy one of your opponents’ lands, which allows you to cash in on popular synergies your opponents might be running like Cabal Coffers and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth.
In the early game you want to be dropping some of your stax pieces to slow down your opponents. Make sure you aren’t choosing any that are also going to set you back.
For example, you probably don’t want to drop a Collector Ouphe right away if you’re relying on a Sol Ring for mana or want to search up a land with Expedition Map. You also want to cast Azusa, Lost but Seeking early to make sure you’re dropping extra lands as soon as possible.
You want to build up a solid land base while you slow down the game. You can use cards like Titania, Protector of Argoth and Nissa, Vital Force to create some blockers if you need them, and you can keep yourself safe with lands like Glacial Chasm. You can search for it with cards like Crop Rotation or Nylea’s Intervention.
Once you have enough mana you can start dropping bigger threats. Emrakul, the Promised End is your biggest threat, but keep an eye out for potential counters because it’s your best chance of winning. Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger and Winter Orb are good ways to stop your opponents from interacting with you on your turn. Playing them first is a good way to make sure you get your finisher off.
You don’t have any combos in this deck, but you do have some cards that work well together. One of the best is Thespian’s Stage and Dark Depths. When you copy Dark Depths, the copy doesn’t get any of the counters so it immediately turns into Marit Lage.
Another good interaction is Strip Mine or Wasteland with any of your cards that let you play lands from the graveyard. This allows you to repeat their effects on each of your turns. If you also have Azusa, Lost but Seeking you can actually destroy three of your opponents’ lands on each turn to help you stay ahead and slow them down.
There’s one issue when trying to cut down on this deck’s cost, and that’s Emrakul, the Promised End. Emrakul is the most expensive card in this deck, but it’s also one of the most important. I’m looking at other cards to cut instead.
The next most expensive card is Sylvan Library. If you don’t have one already you might want to look for a replacement. While not as powerful, Scroll Rack is a possible replacement that lets you delay some of your hand and replace it with different cards. You also have a good number of ways to shuffle in this deck, so using Scroll Rack and then shuffling can help to make it a bit more useful.
Endurance can be useful, but it’s also expensive because it’s part of Modern meta right now. You can swap it out for Regrowth if you’re worried about losing access to cards in your own graveyard, or you can use Soul-Guide Lantern if you’re looking to empty opponents’ graveyards.
If you want to keep using Azusa, Lost but Seeking but don’t necessarily want to play control, another popular build is lands matter. This strategy plays even more landfall triggers and cards that care about the number of lands you have like Greensleeves, Maro-Sorcerer. You may also want to include the new Titania, Voice of Gaea and Argoth, Sanctum of Nature. This is one of the easiest creatures to successfully meld with so many ways to search up specific lands and creatures in green.
Fynn, the Fangbearer is a great option if you’re sold on mono green control but not necessarily Azusa or stax. You already want to build a lot of deathtouch creatures into a Fynn deck, and adding cards like Rabid Bite gives you strong creature removal. You’ll also want a Saryth, the Viper’s Fang to protect your creatures and give them all deathtouch.
Hour of Promise | Illustration by Jonas De Ro
Azusa, Lost but Seeking is a surprisingly effective stax commander. Your opponents won’t be expecting a mono green deck to be so good at control, which also gives you a bit of an edge. Surprise! This deck can be a lot of fun if you’re the one playing it, so make sure to clear it with your playgroup if you want to keep all your friends.
Are there any stax cards you’d include instead? Do you prefer mono green control that focuses on removal and deathtouch? What other builds would you like to see? Let me know in the comments below or over on Draftsim’s Twitter.
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