Hello everyone! Welcome back to another edition of The Magic Hole. This week we are digging into Magic Arena’s newest format, Explorer. Basically, Explorer is Pioneer light, or Historic minus alchemy and Modern Horizons. Either way you look at it, it is Wizards of the Coast’s attempt at having a premier eternal format on Magic Arena. I have to say, I’m excited for how the meta evolves. I’m a huge fan of eternal formats, but I hate the online only cards that we see in Historic, so this basically checks all of my boxes.
All of that aside, what are we running this week? Seeing as how one of my favorite modern decks is Bogles, we are taking our first swing at the Explorer format with Azorious Auras. If you’re not familiar with this style of deck, we’re basically trying to make one or two creatures as big as possible with enchantments like All That Glitters and beat our opponent down.
This deck is a pretty similar build to an Azorious Auras deck I played in Historic, but we notably lose Kor Spiritdancer when moving into Explorer, which is an absolute power house allowing us to draw a ton of cards and get in for tons of damage.
That loss does hurt, but it is made up for significantly with the addition of Light-Paws, Emperor’s Voice. Slightly better than card draw, Light-Paws allows us to search our library for specific auras and put them on the battlefield, with some restrictions. Light-Paws at times proves to be as explosive as Kor Spiritdancer, and the tool-box style that it allows when searching out specific auras comes in incredibly handy. The best feeling is landing a Light Paws turn two, follow it up on turn three with a Staggering Insight searching up a free All That Glitters.
You can do all of this while holding up one of my absolute favorite cards in the deck, a new uncommon out of Streets of New Capenna, Slip out the Back. This card is part of our package of protection spells to keep our Light-Paws, Sram, Senior Edificer, and Stormchaser Drake’s alive, and it does one hell of a job.
As for the gameplay, we went 5-2 in recorded games. Since putting the deck together, it has gone 19-13, and a 59% win rate and took me all the way up to Gold Rank one. I think this deck is solid, but is missing a few pieces to make it a tier one deck. Once Explorer becomes full Pioneer we will get access to auras like Ethereal Armor. A (mostly) strictly better version of All That Glitters. I don’t think we cut All That Glitters because of this, as long as we have Staggering Insight we will want a two mana aura that grows our creature more, it just might be worth cutting it to a one or two of.
Speaking of making cuts to the deck, I think we can do less Spell Pierces and add in another Selfless Savior or add in Karametra’s Blessing. I like Selfless Savior slightly better only because it adds another body we can enchant if things go south. I have had to do that multiple times while testing this deck and that loyal little pup came through.
This was my first jaunt into the Explorer format, and I have to say it felt nice not seeing any of those arena only cards that you see all over Historic. And after the recent banning of Winota, Joiner of Forces, we are likely to see a much healthier format than it has been recently. Moving forward, the format will only get more diverse as cards are added to the pool, and we could be looking at the next big thing in constructed play that Wizards has to offer.
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