Whenever a new standard set is released there is always a chance that some of the cards will be so good that they will immediately see play in eternal formats. Sometimes these cards will help push a low or mid tier deck into the top tier. Orzhov Auras was already a decent deck, but with the release of Ikoria, the companion mechanic, and the card Lurrus of the Dream-Den, this deck has become even better. Lurrus of the Dream-Den is a 3/2 for 3 mana. If you want to use Lurrus as a companion, all of the nonland permanent cards in your deck must cost 2 or less. Regardless if you decide to use Lurrus as a companion, it also has lifelink and allows you to cast one permanent spell with converted mana cost 2 or less from your graveyard on your turn. Being able to only play 1 and 2 mana permanents does sound like a downside, but with the right cards, you can get some great value out of this deck. Let’s start with the creatures since I’ve already mentioned Lurrus as the deck’s companion. Alseid of Life’s Bounty is a 1/1 for 1 white that has lifelink which is already decent, and by paying 1 mana and sacrificing it you can give a creature or an enchantment protection from a color of your choice until end of turn. Favored Hoplite is a 1/2 for 1 white and it has the heroic ability. When you cast a spell that targets Favored Hoplite, it gets a +1/+1 counter and all damage that would be dealt to it is prevented. This creature makes it easy to get into a rhythm of enchant, attack, enchant, attack, enchant, attack until your opponent can’t stop it. Combine that with Sram, Senior Edificer and all of those auras you’re putting on that hoplite draw you cards.
Now you can only have one copy of Lurrus as your companion. Since it costs 3 mana, you cannot put 3 additional copies into your deck. You could put all of your copies in the main board, but since it’s a legendary creature, any additional copies in your hand are useless while you have one in play. Don’t let that stop you from doing that if you want to. You don’t have to use Lurrus as a companion. Luckily this deck does have quite a bit of protection, which I will finish later, so a single copy as the deck’s companion is fine. However, this next card also gets value out of the graveyard. Aphemia the Cacophony is a 2/1 for 1 generic and 1 black with flying. At your end step she allows you to exile an enchantment from your graveyard to make a 2/2 zombie token. Over time this can enable a go wide strategy. The last creature in the deck is Hateful Eidolon, a 1/2 for 1 black with lifelink and, similar to Sram who cares about auras coming into play, the eidolon says whenever an enchanted creature dies, you draw a card for each aura that was attached to it.
Now for the enchantments. Since these are on the cheap side, most of them only give a small power/toughness boost to creatures, but that’s okay because it means you can play multiple ones in a single turn. Cartouche of Solidarity gives the enchanted creature +1/+1 and first strike. It also creates a 1/1 soldier token when it comes into play. Gryff’s Boon grants +1/+0 and flying. It also has the ability to recur itself for 4 mana so you can always have a flying creature around. Sentinel’s Eyes grants a +1/+1 boost plus vigilance and, like Gryff’s Boon, it can recur itself through the escape mechanic. Now the two best enchantments in this deck give the enchanted creature +1/+1 for each enchantment you control, and yes, that includes those enchantment creatures, All That Glitters and Ethereal Armor.
For protecting your creatures I already mentioned Alseid of Life’s Bounty, but the deck also runs Karametra’s Blessing which gives the target +2/+2 and if the creature is enchanted, which chances are likely, it also gains hexproof and indestructible. Although this next card is normally seen in the sideboard, it has high synergy with Sram and the Eidolon so it’s perfectly alright to include in the main board if you wish: Dead Weight. It does trigger Sram and enchants an opposing creature. When that creature dies, it triggers Hateful Eidolon. Because of the way its ability is worded, you don’t need to own the creature, just an enchantment on that creature, so for 1 mana you can kill an X/2 creature and draw two cards off of it. Now -2/-2 isn’t much, but it is possible to stack multiple copies onto a single target if you need to, plus with Lurrus you can get back the spent copies and reattach them to other creatures.
The following shell of Orzhov Auras should look something like the following:
COMPANION: Lurrus of the Dream-Den x1
Alseid of Life’s Bounty x3-4
Favored Hoplite x3-4
Hateful Eidolon x3-4
Sram Senior Edificer x 3-4
Alphemia the Cacophony x3-4
Cartouche of Solidarity x3-4
Gryff’s Boon x3-4
Sentinel’s Eyes x3-4
All That Glitters x3-4
Ethereal Armor x3-4
Karametra’s Blessing x3-4
Dead Weight x3-4
Orzhov Auras is like Bogles, but without the creatures having hexproof as static abilities. Being able to use the Alseid of Life’s Bounty and Karametra’s Blessing at instant speed, it comes pretty close. Also like Bogles, it’s a very budget friendly deck. Right now you could put this together for between $100 and $150 which includes a mana base of 4 Godless Shrine, 4 Concealed Courtyard, and 4 Caves of Koilos, and if you have been playing standard for the past few years, you probably have most of these cards already. The oldest cards on this list are Ethereal Armor, which came out during the second Ravnica block, and Favored Hoplite from the original Theros block. Right now, Orzhov Auras is great deck for anyone looking to get into pioneer. It’s budget friendly, it’s competitive, and it’s a very simple strategy that has proven itself time and time again with variants in other eternal formats. Let me know what deck you want to see next in the comments below.